Although our political viewpoints are polar opposites, I am Facebook friends with a gentleman named Trestin (whose blog is titled Trestin Meacham). Last December, Trestin was engaged in a discussion on his Facebook page which led me to ask him if he was interested in elaborating on his comments by writing a guest post for DI. He offered up the following:
Recently I had a discussion on Facebook in which the subject of racial preference was mentioned. I stated: “I don't believe we have equality. Let's face it minorities get preference in many ways, and I'm not too bothered by that.”
When I entered the service, my recruiter asked me if I was part Native American. I told him no. He then explained that if I was Native American I would be more likely to get the rate I wanted and be promoted. I once again (to his surprise) said no, because I am not of Native American decent, and did want my service to be based on a lie. However, I had another reason for telling him not to lie about my racial origins.
I was born into a single parent home. My mother’s life was a mess in many ways. In school, I was not well liked by my many of my teachers. No adult likes a nine year old that knows more about the subject you are teaching than you do, and is not afraid to tell you when you are wrong. I was often in fights with other kids.
I did not start getting my head straight until I was in high school. I started getting involved in sports, and became religious. I went from being an angry bitter young man, into one of the more popular kids in our school. The key to this change and everything good in my life since was the realization many of my problems were my fault. If I wanted my life to improve, I was going to have to change myself. Two things I read had a profound effect on me; the biblical story of Joseph in Egypt, and a poem:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul
.-Invictus by William Ernest Henley
This poem helped me realize that no outside force could conquer me, unless I allow it to conquer. I was no longer a victim of my circumstances, and vowed to never be again. Yes, bad things still happen to me that are out of my control, but I am the one who chooses how I react.
I think that most of our racial problems stem from the illness of being a victim. That goes for all races. We all know that great injustices were done in past. I many ways people of certain racial backgrounds do have more to overcome in this life. However, just like me, only those who shed the burden of being victim will be able to rise above their circumstances.
Do not think that this is some kind of lecture intended for minorities. It is intended for all people. White people are just as guilty about embracing the cancer that is victimhood as any group. I have heard many white people complain about affirmative action and how unfair it is to have such a system. Yes, I suppose that it is somewhat unfair, but what are you going to do about it? Are you going to be a victim and blame your problems on outside forces, or are you going to rise above your circumstances?
Life is not fair, and those who expect it to be will never have any kind of peace. I am not going to spend my life being a victim. I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul.