Here’s an incident that happened recently a little more than a month ago. In this, I’m asking you to please, try and absorb the relevance of different people’s perceptions, and apply non-judgmentally when asked to share your thoughts regarding current societal debates. The church I attend was making and sharing bags filled with free treats, and fun projects paired with the blessed teachings of Jesus Christ. This is the hands and feet of Christ’s ministry hard at work during the initial outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was a lovely day, and once again our church was going above and beyond, sharing the love and inspiration throughout our community. On this particular day the nice gesture of my church’s diligence, showed up on my doorstep. As the smile grew larger on my face while reaching down to retrieve the bag and treats, I noticed on the box of Hostess Ding Dongs, a note stating “you’ve been Ding-Dong Ditched!” Immediately I took a step back, quickly gauged my neighboring surroundings, and contemplated in confusion while confirming the note. At first I didn’t know what to think, being I was bombarded with the paradox of our church, who’s treated my family and I for the past three years with complete kindness, could possibly have no idea of the history behind Ding Dong Ditch?
So, I quickly closed the door in frustration and left the bag of treats outside. Honestly, I was more offended than scared but after a while I knew my kids were soon to wake, so I recovered the bag, sanitized the box and threw the note away. I was perplexed, do I inform my family of the history of “Ding Dong Ditch” or ignore the message, in hopes that whosoever came up with the idea to include the note, to a family who represents about only 2%, give or take, of our church’s congregation, truly had no knowledge that within the kindness of their act, could be misrepresented as a racist implication.
Now when I say “my, the or our” church I’m speaking in general, being I believe based off the inclusion, peace and joy shared from years of worshipping, my church does not condone any biased disregard for whosoever seeks the teachings of Christ. As for teaching a history lesson, being I’m the head of the house with a Christian background I had to explain the root, as opposed to allowing them to grow in ignorance of a cultural norm that was once and still is painful in the hearts of the oppressed.
Here’s where my earlier plea of wanting people to “absorb the relevance of peoples different perceptions” comes in to play. I believe someone knew, but most didn’t, and as for the one or two that may have known, I’m sure meant no harm. As such, the allowing of said idea wasn’t flagged as an issue because it was never perceived to be a threat within their history. This can explain a lot regarding the current issues plaguing the mindset and voices of today’s heartfelt, but misinformed opinions spoken from the mouths of decent people.
So why now? Why would I bring this up almost two months later? Because not only are we still in the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustices continues to rise, protests are ensuing, and whatever else the negative powers to be incites as controversy, is running strategically amuck! As such, the time its now to be of witness and introduce by way of experience thought-provocative/teachable moment, where knowledge needs to be empathetically shared and explained. Moreover, it needs to be impressed upon the mindset of both sides, just because people have a different perspective, doesn’t mean they’re the epitome of evil intent. Thereby, hopefully creating a space where dialogue can enhance worthy conversations, as opposed to the rash (expected) reactions of people angered by fear.
By now if you’re wondering, or at a complete loss of knowledge regarding the history of “Ding Dong Ditch,” Allow me to take you on a brief walk down memory lane per the afflicted. Ding Dong Ditch was once, and still across the country known as “nigger-knocking.” As such, when the Watchmen/Patterrollers (now known as policemen) and the Slave Patrol merged into night vigilantes on horseback (now called the Ku Klux Klan) roamed black neighborhoods at night, they’d knock on doors to perpetuate and incite fear.
Horridly, if or when a black person who’d open their door to investigate the “knock” would either be severely beaten, shot to death or dragged out and lynched. Such is history, right? No. Not for the ones oppressed by the hatred of racism, because for our people it’s still happening! If this surprises you in any way, research the dark history of going on a “pic-nic” or “breaking the buck by white slave masters.” Now, I know most would care less to look up or research what I’ve mentioned, and to that I say to each there own.
Just know, that more and more people are starting to noticed a correlation in others, who only “cherry pick” or is drawn into biased based propaganda, spewed as historical facts, e.g. the watering down and reconstruction of misinformation, geared towards like-minded constituents.
If that’s your sensationalistic fix, so be it, but please don’t be another person standing behind a mask in confidence, while trying to impress your colleagues, friends and family with satire, or cleverly snide remarks regarding racial issues per rebuttal or social media. Not to forget, knowing fully well your ill-equipped, and still personally offended by the hierarchy price tag of an educational system that didn’t truly prepare you for the debate on said topics, but then again if it doesn’t upset, concern or effect your rights, continue to trust your path. Just know that the lack of knowledge, whether historical or spiritual in wisdom, will one day lead you down a road thick with unconscious bias. As such, landing you within a corrupt circle of injustice, regurgitating ignorance viewed as racists remarks, but then again, that’s just a matter of perspective, right?
Think About It.
*Just in case people are “perplexed” regarding how I feel about current racial events, know that per my 50 years of being encompassed within this reality, 45 years of which I’ve been aware, I am not angry. Why? Because my faith is in God almighty. As such, I must forgive, love, respect and speak what has been given unto me e.g. peace, as opposed to fear and angered retaliation. The insidious nature of evil’s intent will not claim what God has embedded in me. That’s my choice and that’s why I choose to perceive, live and achieve in this life the example. May God bless and show you the way to righteousness.
Reginald O’Neal Gibson