An Idea to Improve Race Relations in America: Solution Sunday
Last July, Senator Tim Scott and I began challenging our constituents in Oklahoma and South Carolina to consider participating in an Initiative called “Solution Sunday.” At the time, the nation was reeling from the race-related shootings of police officers and African-American men in Minnesota, Dallas and Baton Rouge. Our states have experienced the worst that racism brings out—for example, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot in Oklahoma and 2015’s tragedy at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, just to name a few. However, our states today have progressed in race relations and reflect the growing cultural diversity of America.
As our nation continues to grapple with the aftermath of Charlottesville, and now the national anthem debate in the NFL, we are releasing a video that provides a solution to try to help the nation be a more UNITED States of America. Our “Solution Sunday” idea is simple – we encourage Americans to address racial tensions by engaging people of another race over meals in their home. So, we challenge each person or family to give one Sunday lunch or dinner for building relationships across racial lines. Obviously any day of the week works since the goal is to engage on the personal level of your own home to break down walls, ask questions, express concerns, and build trust across our communities.
For those looking for Washington to fix this problem, don’t hold your breath. Remember, Washington DC is a reflection of the nation, not the other way around. True change comes from our local communities. Prejudice, stereotypes, and confusion occur among many races. It is harder to stereotype when you know people first-hand. Friendships, trust, and understanding happen when we engage and learn from each other’s cultures and experiences.
Unfortunately, social media has only exasperated divisions in our nation, including race. It has become a fortress for social reinforcement instead of a place for respectful dialogue and the exchange of ideas. While it may be more convenient to remain divided, we must pursue more intentional relationships that honor one another. For those of us who are Christians, we believe that all people are created in the image of God and have worth and value. An appreciation for life and the human dignity of every person is one of the greatest legacies we can model for our community, and leave for our children and grandchildren. We must build respectful unity together, one family at a time. As Tim Scott often says, “You can’t hate what you know.” We think something like Solution Sundays may hold the key to the solutions needed for our nation.
I TOTALLY AGREE, IF WE CAN GET PAST THIS:
- 41-year-old Robert Pattison went to introduce himself to his fellow firefighters at Engine 55 at Joy and Southfield in Detroit. Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty calls it a tradition for firefighters. “It’s not mandatory, it’s voluntary,” he says. “You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in.” And Pattison, a probationary firefighter, decided to bring a watermelon wrapped in a pink ribbon. We’re told some African-American firefighters were instantly offended, since 90 percent of the people who work at Engine 55 are black. This world seems to be getting dumber and dumber by the day. It doesn’t matter that Pattison didn’t mean anything by it and didn’t mean to offend. What matters is the snowflake meltdown of the black firefighters which led to Pattison’s dismissal. I can speak from experience and say, especially at younger ages, that not everyone sees the world the same way. To some a watermelon is just a watermelon to be enjoyed by everyone.”
- University of Mississippi: Ole Miss Greek Life leaders cut their three-day leadership retreat to nearby Camp Hopewell short after black students discovered a banana peel dangling in a tree outside of one of the camp’s cabins. Another sorority president reportedly told the newspaper that the incident was especially painful, because “bananas have historically been used to demean black people.” The newspaper reported that many of the students left the retreat “in tears” because they didn’t feel “welcome” or “safe.”Ole Miss senior Ryan Swanson, who was also in attendance at the retreat, said he discarded the banana peel in the tree because he could not find a trash receptacle. Swanson told the newspaper that he “sincerely” apologizes “for the events that took place this past weekend.” “Although unintentional, there is no excuse for the pain that was caused to members of our community,” Swanson said.
A lost shoelace at Michigan State University caused a racial uproar Wednesday after someone mistook it for a noose. MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon released a statement Wednesday morning saying she was “distressed” after finding out “a student reported a noose was hung outside of her room.” Simon commended the student’s “courage” for reporting the “racial incident” and put out a clear message. “This type of behavior is not tolerated on our campus,” Simon said. “No Spartan should ever feel targeted based on their race, or other ways in which they identify.” But by Wednesday afternoon, the investigation by MSU Police revealed there was no noose. Instead, they found “the object was a packaged leather shoelace and not a noose,” MSU spokesman Jason Cody said in a news release, adding that the shoelaces “are packaged in a way that someone could perceive them to look similar to a noose.” Officers tracked down and interviewed the student who lost both of the shoelaces. That student happens to live on the same floor as the one who made the report. “Also, the original shoelace found inside the residence hall was not directed at any individual,” Cody said, adding that police believe someone found the shoelace and put it on a stairwell door handle after picking it up off the floor.