We have all seen the news reports, articles, and the social media maelstrom in the days since the church shootings in Charleston. The newest wrinkle to the story is if people find the word “nigger” and the confederate flag offensive.  The opinions vary and the emotions on both subjects run high. From taking a word back and removing its power to not acknowledging and respecting the regional heritage that an antiquated symbol represents.

Personally I am not offended by either the word or the symbol. In order to be offended, I have to allow myself to be offended.  I refuse to invest my time, effort, or intellectual consciousness in either concept to that extent.  Life is too short and I have too many things to do along with people and experiences to enjoy than to invest in such meaningless actions. One of the greatest gifts given me by my parents was knowing and remembering at all times and in all circumstances who I am. No pejorative word or ill-conceived multi colored xenophobic battle emblem can or ever will change that.  That word and concept have long ago been relegated to the Minden heap of my mind and thankfully, recently have taken similar steps in our regional and national consciousness.

You can place it in a song by contemporary music artist, spell it ending with an “er” or an  ”a”; fly it as a flag, wear it as an article of clothing, or place it on souvenirs. You can use them as both a desert topping and a floor cleaner and it still makes no difference. We all know what each means and stands for: hatred, oppression, and exploitation. If you choose to include those aspects along with treason, sedition, and a humiliating lost cause at sustaining economic superiority based on human subjugation and enslavement while choosing to call it “heritage,” be my guest.  Both go hand in hand, so  please, go ahead and enjoy your “heritage.”

Look, I am not the one to tell other people how to live, love, or what to say. Those who know me will be among the first to tell you I am the living embodiment of counter culturalism and behavioral contrarian actions. But in being that, I also realize people do judge and react to you biased on your actions and beliefs.  We can say, do, and believe most anything we choose, but rarely seem to realize the consequences in advance of our actions.  When faced with those consequences, contrition is more often an afterthought rather than a prohibitive or cautionary fore thought.   Why are we so prone to live in the past? Engaging in concepts and actions that have proven through the centuries to be destructive, demeaning, and personally degrading to us not only as individuals but also collectively as a species?   Why do we hold on so tightly to looking back into the darkness instead of looking forward into a future so bright we have to wear shades?

I’ll stay here in the 21st century,   helping make the world a better place and looking forward, instead of backwards. That futuristic flying car should be here any day now, so maybe some of us should try looking forward…and up…so it doesn’t land on them.

Dr. Pierre Bland is a small animal practitioner who offers office and house call appointments to his clients.  His offices are located at 3225 N. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and can be reached at 954 673-8579.