Current Events in our Area: Someone recently was passing out flyers in the town next to us that said something about ‘anti-white’. To be honest I haven’t seen them, only heard about them, and they handed out on Martin Luther King Jr Day. It sounded like a group that is very racist.
Past: I know in the past my family as with most has had family members that have done things that I would be ashamed of if it was me and I have family members that also did some super amazing things too. I love to find things out about my family, especially the good — but once in a while the bad slips in too. I’m sure I have family members that enslaved people but I also have family members that moved north because they despised slavery so much that they refused to live in states that allowed it to occur.
Current: Living my life feeling the guilt of what my ancestors did seems an impossibly stressful way to go. Personally I want to do what I can to treat everyone equally and to stand up for everyone I can. As I find behaviors that are morally against my own beliefs I want to translate that to action I can take on my part as opposed to guilt. Guilt to me feels like a word that should be used to describe a feeling for our own actions.
Action I can take:
Not turning a blind eye to injustice
Speak out when I see inequality
Be inclusive myself
Volunteer for programs in high need areas
Donate to low income areas
(If you have close friends too, you can also have open discussions.)
When I feel guilt over things my children did, it’s not because I caused their actions — but because I feel I should have taught them better. My ancestors on the other hand were operating within the mores of their time and had to make their own moral and ethical decisions. That is not anything future generation can have any control over, just like I don’t expect my children or grandchildren to have an control over my actions.
Researching my family history I try not to include both the good and the bad, trying not to just gloss over the history that makes me cringe as I document everything, but then I also find the history that makes me realize that I come from some amazing people. Stories like my great grandmother that came from Italy by herself with three little girls under the age of ten on a ship before 1905. She was in the United States for WWI and WWII then had…