Who is an American Part III: People of the Corn

Bridging the silos of a diverse cultural landscape:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: another city in the heart of the Midwest in the middle of the corn belt and the Amber Waves of Grain. This highly ordinary city of the American heartland may define the undercurrent infecting the consensus of our nation.  To the South of Milwaukee between the urban sprawl and the corn fields stands a community named Oak Creek.  In this community the Sikh temple massacre  happened.  A Neo Nazi (White Power) gunman shot and killed seven people in the Asian Indian Temple.

According to the latest census data Milwaukee beat New York City, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland for the dubious honor of being America’s most segregated city. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the reason for this is rooted in the region’s economic and political history. “We’ve got housing policies, zoning policies, steering that occurs in real estate industry. Historically that offers, and I think there are still some people who don’t want to live with people who have different skin colors than theirs.” Mike Lowe, WITI TV Fox 6 Reporter, April 1, 2011, 
The interesting fact is that with the exception of New York City, all of the other most segregated cities where in the Midwest region. This is not the deep south. These are the People of the Corn in America’s bread basket. How can this population of well intended hard working Midwestern values, along with love of God and country be laced with this segregationist logic? And is this the subtle breeding ground of the hatred displayed in Oak Creek.

Though not the authority concerning these people; there is somewhat of an understanding and empathy from the prospective of my African American heritage with some sprinklings of Scott Irish ancestry and experiences along the way. This experience is not unlike many fellow lighter complexioned African Americans native to the  south eastern portion of Ohio as my family is; who are considered by some as backward, country or not black enough.  Likewise, on the other side similar stories of this region persist including that of the descendants of Sally Hemings, the slave mistress of President Thomas Jefferson. They persisted but were denied for many years; recognition as part of his family by not being white enough.

The ignorance of any White Power movement cannot be overstated in this heterogeneous nation. However, are fruits of these breathtaking episodes of hatred being nourished by figurative corn rows of segregated neighborhoods, resources and education etc?  Allowing the People of the Corn to grow those subtle seeds of discontentment, eliminate equality for all ethnisities created in the Imago Dei (Image of God). Reconciliation rest upon God’s Amber Waves of Grain.

As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!” John 4:35 (MSG)

The love of God is the connecting power to overcome the rows of division allowing Christ’s spirit to merge all into the harmony.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” Romans 5:5 New Living Translation (NLT) 

With this truth we can all sing together:

“America! America! God shed his grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!”

Kevin K. Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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