Raina Fisher

Through the Looking Glass

It’s rare for us to spin our wheels and muse on what one might see when he peers back through the lens of time. There is a tell-tale sign that stems from his nostalgia for an era.

He may pine for the good ol’ days in America. In his mind, the country ought to mimic the values held by members of the “Leave it to Beaver” cast.

As fleeting as time is, we get to pinch a vapor and hold it in our hand, if but for a moment, when we gather to eat at the table with our clan.

If we mix a measure of face-to-face colloquy with them and toss with a splash of back-and-forth banter, we get an aroma that’s bound to imbue the hearth with a bounty of joy. It is a line to reel in the message in a bottle.

The peak of the ’50s may be music to some. In this vein, what one may hear as the sound of a song is a siren to blare and pierce the ear of the other. For them, this is a time of brutal oppression and segregation.

Skin color set the tone on the bylaws, from which seat you may sit on a bus to the spot where you stand to wait for it to stop, from the fountain to quench your thirst and the diner where you grab a bite to which school you send your child.

No, they didn’t air this sort of stuff on the tube — you know, reality. But you could join the mob and hang out in the gallows to watch a lynching.

It’s as though the masses met up to go to a party. The hangman pulls the lever the way a disc jockey spins a record.

This plague would doom and beset the black men who’d meet their fate at the end of a rope by a staggering rate — 73% to be on point. Murderous predators do not heed justice with just a noose.

To curb the wrath and thirst for blood the shill burn, mutilate and torture some of them. The vile depravity of the insane snap photos to make postcards; the horror of such a scene is swift to haunt the sane (NAACP, 2018).

To hang an innocent man is a yolk to sink the soul of those with the gavel, yet the crux is for them to have one first to bear the burden.

The image flashes of a judge, jury and executioner who taunts onlookers as they beg for him to lift his knee from the neck of a man in crisis, yet he opts to steal the breath and seal the death of George Floyd.

This is what split the wound on the mend from 1955 with the vicious murder of Emmett Till.

There are still towns which live and die by “separate but equal” rights for black Americans. At last, a school in Cleveland, Miss., yields to the pressure to desegregate — this wasn’t 50 years ago, but a mere five.

The core of this allegory ought to orient us to the thread of time.

To dress slavery up in the cloth of an era is pitiful and painful. What kind of fiend hunts a human to abduct from their home and then deign them a piece of property?

The villain in this tale is an abase scourge in league with the devil. Venture to sneak a peek at the record as he strips their name when he lists them like stock by age, sex and the hue of their skin — a B for black or M for mulatto.

There comes a time when we all itch to unearth the arc which spans the gap from those who we give credit for our life to us.

Alas, many who set out on the quest to uncover the trail to their tree will stumble on the tubers of ruin and fall through the vortex of despair.

The plantation owner aims to erase them from the annals of history. He robs their descendants of a heritage; a chain binds them to a phantasm as they yearn to trace their lineage back.

All the while, the rain in Africa falls on the plains of America. It waters the soil for a new seed to sprout. All of us intertwine on the vine — thus, we can grow as one fruit to harvest, or slice it with a sickle and rot on the ground.

As the years fade, a chasm glares in the midst of poor urban communities where a surge of minorities dwell. The spur to ice them out is the prejudicial practice of red-lining.

Predatory lending is the impetus for reverse red-lining. In the main, a lender is the hunter who preys on a protected class as a ruse to crush them.

The abode where penniless whites abide is in the worst trailer parks, on the opposite side of the track in rural USA.

While both lodge with penury, affirmative action is the hoist to heave a leg up for the former, but it doesn’t lift a finger for the latter.

There are some who deem the sake of a quota as part and parcel the soft bigotry of low expectation. It is for all intents and purposes a way to cut the deck by pip and suit, which isn’t a big to-do for those who qualify on the merits.

But for them to oust one and force him to retire, though he’s her superior—well, that is the rub. The rook is to act as a vector to propel her to advance and knock him off the trajectory to earn rank in one fell swoop.

So, is the path to a level field to chop one down for the other to step up on?

The beauty of America stretches from her majestic mountain ranges and towering redwood forest to the winds in her sky which blow her amber waves of grain, from the shore of her sun-kissed sands and seas to the rivers that rage to cross her heartland.

Yet, in spite of all her glory, she bears a scar — a mar to match the hurt which roils in those lost in the abyss of time (Beavers, 2017).

To be sure, we have come a long way. But as straight as the road might be, the trek is going to be far, if we turn a blind eye.

The sting of racism sharpens the acuity and the anguish of those who feel the prick of the rabid lance.

Who can stoke the flame of our divide, yet rise a victor? A society which prods a brother to banish his sister is one that will fall.

When we come to terms with what people of color are trying to fight for, then we can create a better future. But to do so, it’s imperative for us to hear them cry, as they rouse us from our slumber to grasp their pain.

It is a sad day when our brothers and sisters feel that we don’t value their lives; the time has come to show them that they do matter to us.


RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is rainafisher@hotmail.com.

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