(from Marvin’s blog, Paid In Full, December 7, 2016)
Matthew John Schmitt, my co-founder in The Table Setters, shared this post on Facebook already about the apology to Dakota Native Americans from a host of retired US military soldiers in regards to the oil pipeline recently temporarily halted. It’s awesome in it’s written form. God has gifted me with the ability of stories in film. This is a powerful 2.30 second visual of what real forgiveness looks like. Straight, no chaser!
Not yelling and pontificating on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC, or even Facebook. Real Forgiveness means a real apology. It also requires both parties to come to The Table of Forgiveness and to be specific of the injustices perpetrated on each other. Or, by one to another. For this country, that’s broad brushes of paint filled with blood! The blood of Native Americans, the Blood of Mexican-Americans, the blood of African-Americans, and yes, blood of my Asian-Americans (including Pacific Islanders) brothters and sisters ancestors. Ancestory from my good friends in the Asian community like Diane Ujiiye, and Jason Chu! I mention my Asian brothers and sisters because they need some upfront acknowledgement to their ancestral sacrifices. The history books overlook horrible injustices to them, me, and all previouly mentioned groups above.
Let’s not bullshit, where does that leave all my pink (white) brothers and sisters of a different hue in terms of forgiveness, apologies, and real listening? Real listening means not playing chess with people of color that have deep wounds. No, “Yeah but’s”. It means just taking the time to hear our seemingly drawn out historically convoluted stories of our history in the context of being a person of color in America! It means, actually listening at a few Table Settings before you point-counter-point. If you haven’t been told, I’m telling you now, it pisses us off so much. Just simply listen. Listening requires no response. And, when and if you feel the need to apologize, be real. See this video, that’s a real f’ing apology. And for the record, my father served in a racist, seperatist WWII military with honor for his country and him regardless of the injustices he experienced (watch the movie Solder’s Story). Members of my family serve and honorably served in in all wars, other members of my family serve and have served as police (that’s black and white officers in my family), fire, and EMT; doctors, nurses, etc. So any unconstructive (no other form of protest for him to use) critique of Kaepernick (NFL) excuses of what he’s doing by taking a knee is redundent and hypocritical! The exact reason you’re fighting against what he’s doing is the reason all soliders fight for his ability to protest in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Look at King, Ali, Tommy Smith and John Carlos (68′ Olympics); look at The Woolworth lunch counter participants, look at water hose victims in 64′, watch Bloody Sunday participants on the bridge in Selma, read the bios of Don Cornelious of Soul Train, watch Michael Jackson who stood his ground with MTV, or I personally might not have had a career, and ask countless others in Dakota. The list could go on and on.
This apology was beyond, “heart felt”. My pink brother laid it on the line, spoke clearly, specifically, and succinctly about what the wrongs were. Paused. Bowed.
And then lowered his head in asking for full forgiveness in front of a tribal leader.
Interviews about the forgiveness event: Real Journalism, Not Opinion!
You can hear it in his voice as the speaker wears the uniform of still the most brutal war in our US history, our own civil war; and in that uniform, he apologizes. You can see it on the faces of other soldiers who kneel with him and ask for forgiveness under his representation. And, you can hear it in the accepting of his apology by the tribal leader saying wisely, “ this is a 1st step” in that forgiveness process. Most, not all Americans, so let me be clear: my brothers and sisters of European Anglo descent want this quick fix. 400 years is not a quick fix, the land we took is not a quick fix. The pain exhibited by most people of color from 400 years of mental, physical, and emotional harm will not be fixed overnight as we did not take this land peacefully overnight. And the fruit enjoyed by many came at the cost of people with skin that looks like mine or a derivative of: Asians, African, Native, Pacific Islanders, and Latinos who paid a heavy cost for “this land is your land, this land is my land” song, but did not reap that fruit. Instead they picked the fruit and reaped no rewards except systematic ghettos strategically placed in cities, reservations, and some rural areas all over the nation! So, even though that song is a folk song as a protest song with an ironic twist that we know that’s not qute true!
History tells us that certain lands are my land, certain areas are my areas, and certain schools are my schools, but not all! So this is a heavy price that we are baring the fruit of after years of ignorance in regards to how we avoid and ignore the injustices. And now, that price is upon us as a nation to be Paid in Full. So, what will we do? Will we continue to scream and shout. Or, will we follow the lead of the Dakota tribe and stand strong? And, will we follow the lead of this amazing group of people who came to ask forgiveness? Or, will we continue to teach generation after generation on what it means to be separate in church under God, in school under tax dollars, and in zip codes under city codes? I say, we are collectively better.I say I have hope in all Tables set regardless if I’m sitting with a Klan member, black lives matter activist, or whomever comes humbly to the table, ready to listen. Just like this video sets the example…..
The people who came to build the railroads, yes, my Asian brothers and sisters, ancestors of Jason Garreth Loke and Diane Ujiiye, is not a quick fix! In my humble opinion, I learned from this Native American wiseman that it’s the 1st steps that count! Now at Table Setters, we wanna come take 1st steps with you. As Thelonious Monk said in his famous jazz piece: This is Straight, No Chaser! It’s a hard pill to swallow, but this is the fruit of our good old country. We truly earned the Red, the white, and the blue stripes as if they were on our backs for (all) of our our past injustices whether brown, pink, and shades there in-between as people of color, and pink people. 🙂 There has been a sacrifice made in this country. And not all those sacrifices have been acknowledged!
My Table has many cups that runeth over for many pieces of bread to be broken. Here, take this in remembrance of what we all participated in. Drink this in solidarity with me as to not repeat those actions and to take responsibility for the injustices of the past. Write with me the New history books so it reflects the real colors of our flag from the truth! Not one man’s truth. But the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God. Please, Please Help us God.
- Son of Marvin Wadlow Sr a WWII Honored Vet
- Son of Virginia Lee Wadlow who built fuselages for WWII bombers after suffering through racial injustices in the workplace that she built them.
- I am Father to Marvin Pulefaasaasina Wadlow III, Morgan Malosi Wadlow, and Malcolm Alofa Wadlow.
- My father, probably is a descendant of Ghanaian or Nigerian slaves stolen from Africa and brought through the middle passage to America.
- My sons are descendants of African and Polynesian Blood from my brothers and sisters of Pacific Islander Asians who’s land was also taken from them! I’m so proud of my sons’ Asian blood!