Charleston, SC – It’s an unfortunate reality that what often brings good people together is horrible tragedy. Last Wednesday, nine people were gunned down during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Sunday night, thousands of people marched across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, between Charleston and Mount Pleasant, in a show of unity, love, and sympathy for the victims and their families and friends. The beautiful irony is that those heinous murderers, apparently motivated by racial hatred, resulted in a massive show of unity and togetherness among thousands of people of all ages and races.
Where there is conflict and hostility, there is often also compassion and unity. For example, as we recently reported, the incident of police brutality at the pool party in McKinney, Texas, led to competing protests, but it also led to an incident of spontaneous compassion and understanding. Of course, violence and conflict are more sensational, and, therefore, may be reported a hundred times more often than peace and unity. However, that doesn’t mean that evil is a hundred times more prevalent or more powerful than good. It merely means that in a sea of mostly peaceful coexistence, individual acts of hostility will stand out, but individual acts of kindness will not.
Sadly, it is obvious that the mainstream media sometimes is not content to merely report on strife and conflict but attempts to create strife and conflict on which to report. Many stories are clearly designed to fan the flames of racial tensions. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to be working.
If the race war is as horrific as the major news outlets would have you believe, you would never know it from watching the scene on that bridge in South Carolina. Approximately 15,000 participants, mostly complete strangers to each other, stood side by side while smiling, talking, singing, holding hands and chanting, “One race, the human race!”
There is an old saying in journalism: “if it bleeds, it leads.” There is a reason for that, but that phenomenon makes it even more important also to take note of what is more positive and less sensational, more beautiful and less infuriating, more loving and less hateful. Because the bigger picture – the picture that rarely makes headlines – is that peaceful coexistence is not impossible. As the scene on Ravenel Bridge last Sunday showed, it is what most people want. Decent people of all races and nationalities must be careful not to let anyone be it racists, politicians, media outlets, or anyone else, pit us against each other.