Cynthia Bond Hopson

The Past May be Ugly, but We Cannot Choose Ignorance

The Past May be Ugly, but We Cannot Choose Ignorance

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The Past May be Ugly, but We Cannot Choose Ignorance

“There’s none so blind as those who will not see…”

Go ahead and add those who refuse to see, don’t want to see, and don’t want us to see, or know better, because if we know better, the assumption is we will do better. We cannot ignore or unknow that the world is made up of systems, of haves, have nots, the powerless and the powerful, and whether you read about it in fourth grade or when you’re 81, we cannot afford ignorance.

When I was a journalism professor, I taught freshmen and sophomores and I usually included a section on diversity, culture, and ethnicity topics, and one day one of my adult learners angrily said “I’m sick of all this talk about diversity and inclusion. Why do we have to keep talking about it?”

I was a lot younger then and I wondered the same darned thing but I took a deep breath and answered,” Do all the children in this community have a safe and decent home and school? Are women still paid less than men? Are people still judged negatively because of their names and customs?”

I said “When we live in a perfect world, we won’t need these conversations. Until we do, we’ll keep talking.” That’s still my stance.

Yes, I wish everybody could “just be American,” and I even get the whole notion of a melting pot—if you’re making mush, however, I think our world is more like a rich vegetable soup where we’re all in the same sauce but the carrot is not trying to overshadow the lima bean or take his place. Sister corn is great by herself, but she enjoys joining the tomatoes, onions, and green beans to create perfect harmony.

This is a simplistic explanation for how diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and access–all of it matters, and why uncomfortable history, hijacked into a scary conglomeration called critical race theory, must not be diluted, hidden, or silenced into obscurity. We must face the true facts (not the politically manufactured ones) that our American past is not all butterflies and roses.

I grew up in a household where brave Caucasians often arrived in the middle of the night to help my family and our neighbors get registered to vote. Some were college students and they lived in our homes and risked their lives and livelihoods to insure the generations—theirs and ours—would be brave, would stand for right, speak the truth in love, and live meaningful lives. Because of them, and my parents’ lessons and example, I celebrate, rather than merely tolerate, difference.

Nobody in their right mind would try to explain the Holocaust to a second grader, but when the curious pre-teen asks his great-grandmother about the numbers on her wrist, she will surely explain and not sugarcoat their significance.

With suicide among teens who are struggling with gender issues at an all-time high, we mustn’t let our governors and legislators make laws that further push them toward a place where they can’t even use the bathroom without harassment.

This is a pivotal moment in history, so we, the people, must pay attention and choose to teach/learn historical truths appropriately. When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is partly responsible for eliminating diversity, gender, and inclusion initiatives and programs and we learn of similar measures by governors in Arkansas, Indiana, Texas, West Virginia, and Tennessee, now is not the time to twiddle our thumbs. The truth is we might not like the past and what it says about us, but pretending it doesn’t exist, won’t make it go away. Not today and not tomorrow.

Looking for inspiration and straight talk with a bit of attitude? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more, and now every first and third Sunday on 94.7 FM, she’s hosting her very own podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, & One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There to Here.” In each episode she’ll share some of her favorite people who’ll inspire and uplift you. She’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful, so slow down, you’re in for a treat!


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