Editor's Note: Tangela Ekhoff is an inspirational speaker and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. She blogs about marriage, motherhood and life in Oklahoma at Homegirl on the Range, and has written for CNN's Belief blog.
By Tangela Ekhoff, Special to CNN
(CNN) - On a hot, steamy summer day, when I was 10 or 11, my mama and I rode downtown to do a little shopping. As we got off the bus, I looked up the street toward the Alabama capitol. In the distance, I could see a gathering of people. Glimmers of white dotted the crowd like cotton on the side of a dusty road.
After we finished, we got a couple of cold Cokes to go. My mother was uneasy that day.
"We need to hurry up and get home before something bad happens,” she said.
As we got on the bus and headed up the street, I could see more clearly. It was a Ku Klux Klan rally. I looked out the window and right outside the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Rev. Martin Luther King's voice became the sound of movement, there was a grown man and a little boy of maybe 5 or 6. They both wore matching white robes and hoods on their heads so you couldn't make out their faces. The little boy looked me square in the eye, gave me the finger, and screamed "Dirty N-–." The man patted the boy on the back and laughed out loud. This wasn't 1955. It was 1979 or 1980.
Mama put her thick mahogany arm around me, and tried to wipe the tears off my face. "I'm sorry, baby. Always remember they wear those hoods to hide their faces, but those robes don't hide their hearts. They're cowards." I looked up at my mother, and she was crying, too. I wasn't a little girl anymore. I was a little black girl in Montgomery, Alabama.
Not so long ago, racists had to work hard to spew their venom. They had to starch their robes, get in their trucks, and meet face-to-face with others who viciously hated minorities, gays, women, Jews, and even Catholics.
These days, cowards use the anonymity of computers as their robes and hoods of hatred. With a click of a mouse, you can witness a virtual cross-burning led by the guy in the next cubicle.
It's ironic to think that someone who posts about "lazy" blacks and Hispanics might be running a cyber-Klan meeting while on the clock. With a few keystrokes, people have allowed the hate in their heart to reveal itself by sharing, reposting, and curating images and words that are destructive to the very fabric of our nation.
The last few weeks have been frightening for me as a mother and as an African-American. I had just begun to wrap my brain around the senseless shooting of Trayvon Martin. This past weekend, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I now live, two men have been accused of going on a rampage, apparently targeting and shooting men for just being black. One of the assailants took to his Facebook page before the murders to hurl epithets and threats. As a mother, it makes me worry what kind of America my sons will inherit.
Online, I have seen my social media pages erupt into a digital uncivil war. The Mason-Dixon line is no longer a physical place; it's a state of mind. Some of my virtual friends have used these tragic situations as an opportunity to let their inner racist roam free. I am appalled at what some have posted and reposted.
I am not proud of the way some African-Americans have used social media in the aftermath of Martin’s death and since the Tulsa shootings. Demanding justice is understandable and necessary; demanding blood is wrong. As a community, African-Americans need to take a good hard look at the images, ideas and actions that we are projecting to the world. It's painful to hear, but until we start seeing the value of our own lives, no one else will.
Many of the people spreading hate online call themselves Christians - just check their profiles. Sadly, many of these Christians feel that Jesus loves only people who look like them, talk like them, act like and live like them. Perhaps, it’s the stained glass image of a blonde, blue-eyed Jesus that gives people license to use Him to shepherd their digital racism. The truth is Jesus was a Jew. Jesus was a minority. The true picture of Jesus in the New Testament is one painted by his character: kind, forgiving, loving and healing.
Around the holiest time of the Christian year, the time of Jesus' crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, we should all stop to think of his amazing grace. Are you worshiping a Jesus who only loves some people, or are you worshiping a Jesus who died for all of our sins?
America needs to have a come-to-Jesus meeting about race. It's a conversation that has to happen, if we are going to move forward. It is a conversation that should come from a place of healing and honesty, not anger and hate. As the mother of two young sons, I pray we work this out in their lifetime.
Although my own mother came of age in an Alabama that was segregated and defined by vehement hatred of blacks, she never harbored any ill will toward white people. She loved my husband, who is white, just as dearly as she loved her own sons. She lived long enough to vote for the first African-American president, and she believed our country was moving forward. Pancreatic cancer stole my mama last year, but the lessons she taught me about treating every person as a child of God will stay with me forever. I hope to pass this legacy of compassion on to my own children.
We should take a moment to think before we click. Would Jesus of Nazareth "like" an image or message that you are about to share, or would your Lord and personal savior un-friend you for spreading hatred of your brother or sister? Would Jesus read the comments section and be proud that you call him Master?
The opinions expressed are solely those of Tangela Ekhoff.
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She bases her argument of why anonymity is bad on "What would jesus do?".
How did this even make it on CNN?
I enjoyed Ms. Ekhoff's article. It makes me angry there are still families who teach hate and prejudice in the greatest nation in the world. I was taught to love and respect all people. How do you call yourself Christian and hate others. Jesus said to love thy neighbors. That's everyone! Jesus set the example by loving everyone and atoning for ALL the sins of mankind. I am white and Mormon and have felt, to some degree, prejudice. I lost a job because of my religion. In the mid 1800's Gov. Boggs signed an extermination order calling on citizens of Missouri to "shoot on sight" any Mormons they came across. That extermination order was just recently recended. I will say narrow-mindedness is alive in America.
That's why its the new form of bullying. Got all kinds of bigots coming outta the closet, all that.
Nobody complained about blackplotation films like Blackula.
"As a community, African-Americans need to take a good hard look at the images, ideas and actions that we are projecting to the world. It's painful to hear, but until we start seeing the value of our own lives, no one else will."
PERHAPS you should focus an entire article on that BEFORE telling "racist whites" what to do. Perhaps you should address the fact that Political Correctness does not absolve you of your responsibilities to society...that just because you are "X" race you don't get a free pass.
I was on public transportation and this woman was either albino or half black but another full black woman yelled at her. You go girl! You go keep acting white it will take you places far! (i'm white and I spoke up. Hey I'm out of a job for 3 years! Being white hasn't helped me any! That shut up that crazy woman for sure.
I agree with topspin, we as the black community must first get our act together. Create and proliferate positive roll models, be a positive roll model. We owe it to ourselves and others as citizens of the USA.
you just proved her point.
Does anyone remember, in this time and place, that Jesus was not blond and blue eyed? Nor was he Caucasian at all. He was a dark-eyed, dark-haired and probably fairly dark-complexioned Middle Eastern Jew. Somehow, I doubt if He particularly favors the "white" race, since He was not a member of it. The oldest "portraits" of Him, possibly dating back to when some of the Twelve were still around, are the ancient Greek and Antiochian icons. Look 'em up.
Used to be in the 1980's it was an insult if a jew/hebrew was called white. now today they dont care.
This just proves what blacks have been saying all along: racism is alive and well in America. And as usual, most racists are cowards and have to hide behind something – a white hood, and now a computer screen name. This is no surprise.
More racist stuff happens today to whites than blacks. Give any familiar equalness to them and they feel empowered to do something to someone who is not black as payback for slavery. I have seen asian females harrassed at metro stops because there is no ligt argument against asians who did not own any black slaves in China. So this come uppance is a fake ritual right thought to be deemed long in the comming. Me being white I do not even go to a white church and do not live with white people. I tried living in a white town but it felt too weird. I prefer a mixed town.
As long as blacks have black people saying on video to kill all white babies and money is given to them to keep saying that then we will have issues. Those types do not belong in ANY history book at all. Keep reading news a rapist is out attacking just white men. Thats racist sick and perverted. The anger comes from gentrification. The illegal act of kicking out a race of people to make way for better housing for richer people be they white or black or asian.
So now those kicked out blacks move nextdoor to white in a white town and they openly verbly attack them since they have no one else to attack.
Right now you sound like a racist! This was a great article it's also fair and true! People could learn a lot if they would just listen with open minds! By the way can you please tell me when was the last time you've heard of black people actually hunting someone down without reason due their race. Have a great day all!
Where is the legal system to fight against blacksploitation?
I just learned of blacksploitation and my jaw dropped! Where is the rage in that people?!?!?!
You really want them to jump on movies made in the 70's get a life
Pay no attention to the cowards.
For all of these people saying intra-racial crime (crime within The same race) is only a problem with blacks, you need to realize that most crime is intra-racial. Thats right, whites typically are the victims of other whites. It has to do with who you are around.
Another black CNN contributor whining about racism. Am I surprised? Doesn't CNN think that eventually the public will get sick of their channel/station whatever which is looking more and more like the "Jesse Jackson Sounding Board" everyday?
This is exactly what she said, people like you who would "NEVER" say this in person. Why is that?
I don't think she was "whining" for a particular group. I think she was clearly saying that people should hide behind Jesus and the internet.
You're also welcome to get your news elsewhere.
And by "should" I meant "shouldn't." Oops.
Liberals hate the freedom of expression on the internet because it can cross the boundry of political correctness. People can actually speak their minds without all the public stigma that goes with it. That is why liberal politicians are trying to silence the masses.
I've read comments from news sites all over the nation on Trevon Martin and Zimmerman. Whites come down on both sides of the issue. Blacks are nearly 100 % on the side of Trevon despite having the same information. Black folks need to clean their own house before telling white folks their house is dirty.
The funny thing is this – any one of you race hate mongers in this post who bothered to spend one day actually living with the 'other side' would actually find a lot in common with your fellow citizens. I've done it and I know. Sure we all have differences, but I guarantee you'd be surprised at what you really find. That's of course if you're not coward enough to take on a challenge like this??
The left hates ideas (which is fine)...
... the right, people.
Just to get back to the Cleopatra thing for a minute. She was Greek. She was of the direct line from Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great's generals. They (Ptolemy, Demetrius etc) pretty much ran the middle east after the death of Alexander until the Romans came along.Cleopatra was the last of her line. After her, Egypt became a Roman province.
If you do not agree with everyone or do not like something you are a racist now?????????????????????????????
If you don't get the message that this young lady is trying to make, go back to school and learn to read !!!!! It's obvious where you are coming from .
Racism is what jesus taught. And look even before the time of jesus whengod gave israel to the jews. They just did not walk in and told everyone get out! The jews withthe help of 2 other cities commited genocide and racial cleansing of the land. The next genocide was from god to flood the earth and preferred the house of moses as the preferred human bloodline. The flood was not 100% about sin but racial purity.
Can't we all just get along??????????
Given 13 percent of the general populace, Blacks are grossly OVER-represented in pop culture and media.
I don't think so. If you look at music history, Black folks are responsible for creating or influencing the majority of American music today. Rock, Metal, Hip Hop, Jazz, Blues, Country. I'm not Black and even I can see this. There are just some things Black folks are far superior at. Each race has their own strengths and weaknesses, prove me wrong.
Embrace your differences and celebrate the uniqueness of others, if everyone on this planet was the same, it would be one hell of a boring place.
Remember in the past before political correctness when you knew who your enemies were because they clearly voiced their oppinion? If you are too young to remember, it was much preferred to today where people smile in your face and then stab you in the back.
People are stifled by poltical correctness. They used to be able to speak their mind in public and in social situations. Now they have to pretend to go along with the nonsense. So being able to post online without fear of retribution by the liberal PC machine is healthy and probably prevents alot of violence in the long run.
"Being anonymous keeps me from becoming violent..." Really? You are a brat. So is anyone who agrees with you. Grow up.
I think, the anonymity of internet- is an avenue for people to express they're feeling- and that includes frustrations and fears. I don't think it's hatred- for most.
Hate comes from fear. The net has done society no favor by allowing people who would otherwise be forced to face their fears to hide and never move forward. It used to be that if you wanted a life you had no choice but to gather your courage, build your confidence and go out into the world. Now, you don't have to grow mentally or psychologically at all. You can simply create a fake name, a fake personality and a fake agenda and voila! Instant imaginary life. That said, I think the net has the potential to make the world a much more hateful place since so many people aren't facing their fears.
Anonymity is the only thing that keeps some reincarnation of the Gestapo from being instated any and everywhere in the world (including here in the US). As for hate spewing... pitiful form of human expression; ignore those who do it. By focusing on it as an item, you validate the hater's perceived worth in spewing it. Letting it occur anonymously AND ignoring it are the only way to get people to "face their fears" and what-not. Tangela Ekhoff's mother was completely correct: They're cowards. Simply do your part to stay anonymous online as well. To be identifiable is to be targetable. It makes it all the easier to not be troubled by a coward's absurd opinion if they don't know who you are.
As for all the "noble" people who've commented about this article... you yourselves by demanding anonymity to disappear are the hate-mongers. You want a face to yell back at. A face to hate back at.... HOW is that in line with the entire theme of this article? (You missed the whole point – it wasn't really about anonymity, but hate)
I have seen some very vile comments by both Blacks and Whites in recent months. Most people would not dare say any of these things outloud in public due to perhaps the racist tone and also the combined political correctness that we all seem to abide by these day. Simple opinions that are not racist have been touted as racist comments, people twisting others words and views to accomplish some sort of agenda for themselves. Everyone has opinions based on experiences and they should be allowed to express those opinions, it is when those opinions are based soley on hatred and skin color that we should really have an issue with it. We can hate the evil that all humans perpetrate and let's admit it, all races have evil in their midst.
Jesus was an Arab, he was born in the middle east, he most likely had olive skin, brown eye and hair.
It's funny how whites claim him as blue-eyed and blonde and blacks claim him as Black, he wasn't either.
Jews/Arabs are classified as "White" according to the U.S census bureau, so that makes him white.
Same thing Cleopatra, she wasn't black, she was middle eastern and Egyptians are middle eastern.
Jesus was jewish, not arab
...Jew isn't a race.
Arab isn't a race, either.
Ever hear of Tay-Sachs disease? If it is not also a race/ethnicity why are there certain diseases for people of that group just like African Americans get Sickle Cell Anemia? Not to mention mitochondrial DNA traced back 2000 years so yes, Jewishness can be BOTH a religion and an ethnicity my gentile friends
I get your point, but you really should try getting your facts straight. Cleo wasn't egyptian. She was from Alexandria and she was white.
Alexandria is in Egypt.... lmao
If I remember my Ancient History correct (it's been a few decades now) then during Alexander the Great's conquests of the Ancient World, he left something like 26 different cities by the name 'Alexandria' (or very similar variants that get translated into 'Alexandria' – at least in English) littered across his conquered territories...
just sayin: keep your petty comments to yourself, especially when demonstrating your ignorance...
All the Egyptian Pharoahs ever found were white with red,blonde or brunnet hair FACT!the oldest egyptian mummy 5,500 yrs old is nicknamed "ginger" becuase of his red hair.
That is just an outright lie and btw, there are some Africans with reddish hair
No Melo- Egypt is in Africa, it's in the northwestern region right above Sudan.
Very well written. The internet has been the place for a lot of hate these days, as they go to the internet to do this because they feel safe about the anonymity they have rather then going out in the public to spew their hate.
I get pleasure from, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You've ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye
As for Trayvon Martin, where is the out rage for young black men killed nightly, in many of our cities ? Do we only get upset when a white guy does it ? Are we forced to call a hispanic white, in order to hype the story more ?
The media has tried to publically lynch Zimmerman. They even altered the 9-11 recording.
Where's the outage that in far too many school districts 50% of many blacks and hispanics drop out ? Where's the outrage regarding their unemployment rate ? Or the rate of unwed black mothers ? Why is black on black murders of young men, just another minor news report, buried on page 8 or hardly mentioned on the local network news, yet alone national media ?
Just last night, two young black men invaded a HOME and shot another black man, (Jason Green, 36, of Columbus, OH) Did the neighborhood rise up and protest ? Will this get statewide or national media attention ? No.
Daniel Taylor, was 19, when he shot and killed Elto Moon, 18. Taylor claimed self defense and accepted a plea deal which resulted in a four year prison term. Elto was armed with only a blue bandanna, hanging from his pocket. SHOT in the BACK.
The mother's of these men grieve for them and hardly anyone else cares.
it is hard to be outraged when all youth have so little value for human life.
I care. Black-on-black crime is probably the biggest challenge for the black community. Those outside the black community can do little to affect a change. Sure, ending the destructive War on Drugs might help. Providing economic incentives within the black community might help. But there are deeper problems than that that only the black community can address. Young black people who aspire to academic excellence are persecuted by other black kids. Too many black kids have no fathers to guide them and no black role models to look up to. Sports figures do not count as role models, since they themselves often have deep-seated emotional problems and since so few children have the athletic prowess to be pro athletes. There are no role models more effective than two loving, supportive parents.
Mama put her thick mahogany arm around me, and tried to wipe the tears off my face. "I'm sorry, baby. Always remember they wear those hoods to hide their faces, but those robes don't hide their hearts. They're cowards."
~ Mama was right.
This is a very well written and wonderful article. I agree with most of it. The only thing I have a problem with is when she says the "senseless killing of Trayvon Martin." I would postpone making a judgement on that issue until all the evidence has been presented in a court of law. I am also an agnostic, not a Christian, but I do agree with the way she called out the hypocrisy of many Christians. I hate racism in any form but one thing I would like to point out to the author is that racism can and does go both ways. I have been the victim of blatant racism from black people because I am white. It is not right to be racist against another race no matter what your color is.
This was well written.
and another thing.. its not like there aren't a novels and non-fiction that everyone can read about the AA experience.. However, in school, books by black authors is under the heading of "african american literature" and there is almost a sign saying "blacks only" in that section of the library.
Have your mind blown and read "Invisible Man" (ellison)... it is a real eye opener... but if you order it on Amazon, their computers will assume that you are African american and start making suggestions about AA literature... their racist programmers don't realize that perhaps someone might just be interested in well written AMERICAN literature ...
I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill by assuming that the "racists" at Amazon are just thinking that you must be African American if you like good African-American literature. I ordered a black figurine from Lenox for my black friend's first baby. Now Lenox is sending me brochures on their latest African-American offerings, as if I am black. Actually, I enjoy looking at the brochures and admiring the artwork, and I am not the least offended that they don't "get it" that I'm not black.
Well, the took down my last post I guess.
I think she makes a good point.
Aetheist have no beef with people of a different race.
Christians believe god purposefully made people of different races. It stands to reason that they believe that "race mixin" is against gods will.
Why are they so many segregated Christian churches. One has to wonder.
I'm a Christian and that is the first time I ever heard that we believe God 'purposefully' made people of diiferent races!!!!!!!!!
If you're an atheist , and it seems you are, I thought you were all about science? If you are then you'd know that clolour, shape of eyes / face / features came about over many years due to mainly to climate.
Please keep your home grown bigotry out of sensible conversations. It might be construed as "hate" on here!
You can't see the forest for the trees. They did not say all christians, and I for one have met some of the most racist people using their imaginary "god" to defend their positions. Any extremist can give a group a bad name.
I don't know where you get your information, because there is nothing written in the Bible to support the idea that God disapproves of racial mixing. According to the Bible, God created one man and one woman, of indeterminate racial makeup. Today's variety in skin tones is due to environmental and evolutionary factors. Therefore, it makes no sense to suggest that Christians believe that "god purposefully made people of different races", although I'm sure that, granted, there are a few that do.
There are (de facto) segregated churches because most humans feel more comfortable around others who are like themselves. It's normal behavior and has nothing to do with hatred. It's the same reason that the white kids and black kids sit at different tables in the school cafeteria.
The guy's an idiot, out-group procreation is very natural, not to mention fun.
"I spewed the same hate back (well whites think this is reverse hate, but its not)" This I don't follow. What hate did you spew back?
According to this article racism only works one way. Were you aware that the black panter group was here in FL?
You should try reading the article before commenting. I'll leave it as an exercise for you to actually read the article and find where she indicates her disappointment with non-white posters doing the same thing.
Posted on I thought about vineagr too. But if the shirt is made out of cotton or any other non-animal fibre you are out of luck! Nice looking shirt though, what a shame!
The Federalist Papers were written, or at least printed, anonymously.
To the commenters who would claim that "words are just words", I pray you never find yourself in a hated minority. This was an excellent article and may God bless the author for courageously sharing her thoughts.
Very relevant it was – and true.
I agree with this article, the internet could very well be fueling the current surge in hatred. It got the "Arab Spring" going did it not?
It also got the hatred of anything Christian going. Seriously! There have been at least 8 Christian articles on CNN Belief Blog [which is run by an anti-Christian] And each one engenders more and more hatred, blasphemies and profanity.
The 'Christians' who hate another race are Christians in name only. They do NOT practise Christianity.
At this moment in time People of colour are not alone in the hate stakes.
Actually, the only thing generating anger at Christians are their attempts to force non-Christians to live by their arcane rules. Aside from that I do not think most people care if you worship a Fig Newton. Really.
Read above. I am a Christian, and the LAST thing i would want to do is force something down people's throats. Jesus never forced anyone, but said "Come to me".
LOL...most hilarious comment yet!
It wasn't sensless. The guy was fighting for his life. How many more shots to the sidewalk could the guy have taken before he was unable to defend himself?
Rather than jump to conclusions that happen to match our personal desires and hatreds, why don't we wait to see what the jury decides. You appear to be a perfect example of the very problem being described in the article.
Rather thank jumping to the conclusion that what RS said had the slightest thing to do with "hatred," why don't you wait to see what the jury says?
My, my, my, how readily the actual merchants of hatred are so ready to project what they engage in the most onto others.
The jury will not be speaking to RS's comments.
Why would anyone assume that a person that stalked and and tried to stop a random individual is the innocent he claims to be after killing the person he stalked? The jury will see and hear all the evidence and decide. But that is ONLY happening because the gov't was not allowed to ignore the killing as they wanted to.
The Black Panters are not representative of the Black community any more than the KKK or Aryan Nation speaks for the white.
Ive always been curious when we talk about a "discussion about race"..what exactly is there to talk about?.other than skin color shades...We all want the same thing...Safe streets, A nice home, A good job, and for our children not to work as hard as we do.. But, that doesnt sell newspapers. In stead we are forced to believe that one "white" guy , killing one black kid is a reflection of white/black racism...While the everyday murders of whites by blacks or blacks of blacks isnt talked about because its racist...Lets talk about that...
That makes perfect sense to me.
So, what made Trayvon "suspi.cious" enough to stalk and confront. What made the police decide the the killer's explanation was good enough for them, with no need to investigate the victim's death?
I'm sure a white kid walking in the neighborhood would have had the same response by both......... Right.
Do you HONESTLY believe that if a black man had shot a white kid in the same manner Zimmerman killed Martin that the police would've taken his word for it and allowed him to walk away like they did in this case??? Be honest...
Ted Nugent??? Ted NUgent????!!! You're looking to TN as a positive symbol for truth and honesty about why and how
people are hateful????
Personally, I find nothing positive to be learned from that guy. I find HIS "free speech" to be perfectly scary...
The article by Tangela is sad especially the part "I wasn't a little girl anymore. I was a little black girl in Montgomery, Alabama.". I am white I didn't choose to be born white nor has anyone chosen to be born black, yellow, pink, or purple! We are all human beings, we all breathe, love, cry, and hope. Why can't we all live together without race or discrimination? It is interesting to note that I am Canadian and married a person from the US. He tells me that in the "deep south" this race thing is still alive and happening. I was shocked to hear that and more shocked that ever to hear that his father who was born in the deep south is a racist! The nicest man you would love to meet but the fact still remains that he is racist. As I am writing this, it shocks me more than anyone can imagine. I didn't think these types of people existed. But when you are born and brought up in that mentality it would be difficult to change anyone. It has to be a conscious effort to change. I saw a lot of African Americans while in the south and it's interesting that I saw them but didn't even notice their colour, they were just another person to me. Being brought up in Canada we don't have this diversity of African Americans, we have some but we do have a lot of multicultural sectors in the bigger centres as in Asians, Koreans, Ukrainians, etc. We are all cut from the same cloth. I agree with Tangela's mother, the KKK has to put on robes to disguise themselves first because they are cowards and secondly they don't want to be arrested. What a joke...it's time to hang up the robes boys or should I say country hicks which is what they are because they have no clue about anything outside of their little realm of hatred and will go nowhere in life either. We need to turn off the media which in my opinion thrives on causing frenzies, turn off social networking and start looking at the world around us rather than click on buttons that really in the end brings no satisfaction whatesoever to your life. Education starts at home and the more people discuss race and discrimination the more our children will learn that it doesn't matter what colour your skin is, it is who the person is as a human being. We must all start with our children to ensure that eventually racism will be a thing of the past – finally.
I just wish in your town the Canadian government would import a few thousands of "those people" you are so sympathetic with. Bet you'd end up like your father in law real fast. But don't sweat it – it probably won't happen.
Ignorant, sir, you are......
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