Demonstrators staged a “die-in” on Dec. 31, 2015 in Chicago, following the shooting deaths by police of a 19-year-old college student, Quintonio LeGrier, and his 55-year-old neighbor. Bettie Jones, and a release of the video showing the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

‘Remove the two-by-four in your own eyes’

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“Mr. Fountain … I’m a little confused over this Sunday’s current column. Forgive me, but I just don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. I wonder why you always sound so angry to me,” a reader writes.

“ … Also, as Christians, are we not supposed to forgive and love all our brothers and sisters, even our enemies? Maybe it would suit you better if you used your forum to promote peace,

understanding, and love amongst all of us. … At that point I would love to open my blinded eyes and see you, Respectfully … ”

Dear Sir, I probably “always sound so angry” to you precisely because you don’t, and won’t, see me.


From my vantage point, there isn’t a single ounce of anger in what I wrote, which was part of my forthcoming book, “Soul Cries”

Anger? That’s not my heart. And if you can’t “get that” from the constant refrain in my poetic essay — “see me” — I’m not sure you ever will.

Sir, may I ask: What do “forgiveness” and “love” have to do with the right to free expression or truth? And who are you to tell me what “would suit better” in both subject and craft as a writer?

What better way to “promote peace, understanding, and love amongst all,” as you say, than to share my unadulterated reality, even if it makes you uncomfortable?

No, what would help eliminate division is when all men are truly seen as created equal.

When we acknowledge that hate lies at the root of the social division and devices designed to dispossess or destroy people of color across the globe.

“We are all Christians,” you say.

So tell me: Were “we” all Christians when on the floor above the dungeons of slave castles in West Africa good church folk worshipped the God of heaven while Africans lay in the hell of urine, blood and feces beneath their holy feet, awaiting transport in the Middle Passage?

Were “we” all Christians when good God-fearing Southerners auctioned black men, women and children off like livestock as they stood naked — poked and prodded of their human dignity?

Were “we” all good Christians when slaves were flogged, castrated, raped and tortured? And how many good Christians stood up in the face of the hate they witnessed their neighbors inflict for centuries upon the souls of black folks?

What of the Jim Crow era when “we” good Christians went to church on Sunday morning and to lynching picnics on Sunday afternoons after service, posing for photographs in front of the charred and brutalized corpses of my people? Weren’t “we” all good loving Christians back then?

And today, when unarmed black men are shot down like dogs by white police; when we continue to be denied equal access to capital and to quality education; when ICE agents snatch brown babies from the arms of mothers; and when President Trump breathes divisiveness and hate and plans to “build the wall” rather than building up humanity, aren’t we all supposed to be good Christians then too?

Well, where are they? “We,” the good Christians — especially those dressed in conservative Republican cloth who once boldly proclaimed Christian values, love and humanity?

I know … Now I sound angry.

So what? Deal with it.

And may I suggest that what may “suit you better” is to remove the two-by-four in your own eyes before you talk about the alleged speck in mine.

At that point, maybe your “blinded eyes” will be open enough to see me. Right now, it seems your eyes are wide shut. And that, sir, is a choice — yours, not mine.

I see you. See me.

Respectfully …

Email: Author@johnwfountain.com

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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