Racial Tension: Waiting for a Spark

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Racial Tension: Waiting for a Spark

The economy is going down, the cost of living is going up, divisions are growing wider. What happened the last time we were in this situation?

Here is a fact of human nature. It is easy for people to get along reasonably well as long as life is good and everybody has money. It is when the going gets tough that hard feelings over real or perceived wrongs rapidly boil to the surface.

Things are about to get tough.

Some people look at Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy, for example, and see a nation on the verge of a new era in improved race relations. The United States could be about to elect its first-ever non-white president. If Obama becomes president, some will say racism is becoming a thing of the past. The reality on the ground is that tensions between races are ratcheting up, not down. They are becoming more visible in everyday life. The old divisions that led to the Los Angeles riots in 1992 have not been mended. They still exist in the living rooms of a growing number of foreclosing homes across America.

One recent example was a tense moment in a meeting of the Dallas County Commission. Here is how the Dallas Morning News described the incident:

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork. …Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections “has become a black hole” because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud “Excuse me!” He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a “white hole.”That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster’s, is perhaps “the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape.”

Whatever your thoughts about the merit or ridiculousness of the charge that “black hole” is a racially charged term, step back for a moment and consider. These are officials who are supposed to be leading the people they represent. The individual who demanded an apology was a judge. People were upset and offended. Other county officials had to intercede to break up the rapidly escalating argument and get the meeting back on track. Afterward, Commissioner Price emotionally told Fox News that anyone using the terms “black hole,” “angel food cake,” “devil’s food cake,” “black sheep of the family,” or “white sheep” should watch what they say because these terms are racist.

Watch the clip and it is obvious that no racist innuendo was intended in comparing the central collections office, where paperwork disappears, to a black hole. Nevertheless, within moments a meeting of normally rational people quickly became a tiny race war.

Clearly, racial grievances continue to simmer under the surface for many people.

Take another prime example: the tempest of controversy surrounding Denver’s annual State of the City address. A jazz singer was invited to open the ceremony by singing the national anthem. To the offense of those in the audience standing with hats in hand and hand on heart, she instead sang the lyrics of the “black national anthem” to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

When asked why she did it, the singer said it was because of her emotions about being a black American and a decision she had made long ago to no longer sing the national anthem. Growing up in the south, she sang both songs, she said, but now feels that the sentiments of freedom expressed in the national anthem are not a reality “for black folks in a town with Jim Crow laws ….”

Such sentiments are not uncommon. If Michelle Obama, a wealthy, highly educated woman said in the lead-up to her husband’s nomination that “for the first time” in her adult life she felt proud of her country, it is obvious that many, many Americans probably feel disenchanted—to say the least—with life in America.

And with the economy deteriorating so quickly, tension between neighbors is bound to get worse.

National economic conditions are deteriorating, Americans are divided on a number of issues, and it doesn’t take much to set people off anymore.

It is no coincidence that the 1992 Los Angeles riots—which resulted in 54 deaths, over 10,000 arrests, $1 billion worth of damage, and around 1,000 buildings burned to the ground—occurred at a time when oil prices had recently spiked, the first Gulf War was still a recent memory, unemployment was stressing family budgets, and America was in the throes of a recession.

For six months in a row, the economy has lost jobs, the housing market is in its worst slump since probably the Great Depression, the financial sector is collapsing in upon itself and oil prices have spiked to a record $140 per barrel. The dollar, which has been plunging in value, is causing the price of food and fuel to rise, and America is involved in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As bad as things are, some economists suggest the economy is only in the early stages of the current downturn.

Simmering racial tension is like tinder, and the economy is the spark that will set it ablaze.

Granted, Hurricane Katrina was an unprecedented disaster, but the rapidity of the breakdown of law and order among residents after the storm hit is an omen of what is to come.

God’s prophecies, recorded millennia ago, speak plainly of economic and racial discord seizing America—and reveal its explosive outcome. The Bible’s words are coming about. This specific prophecy is explained in Chapter 4 of Gerald Flurry’s book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.