I’m a different person today and it seems like every day I meet new people online (especially) and offline. While most people I meet are acquaintances, some turn into genuine friends in the long run. So, who are my friends today?

I have friends who are Christian, Muslim, Occultists, Atheists, Jews (though I need more Jewish friends honestly). I have black friends, white friends, Asian friends, Hispanic friends, Arab friends, gay, straight, and trans friends. I have young friends, middle-aged friends, and friends who are more advanced in age, wealthy friends, and friends who sometimes need a hand up…

… but all in all, I just have friends. 

Too often we put labels on people, those labels sometimes stick like flypaper and other times can be hurtful. I remember once having a friend who had to take a call while hanging out and they said, “I’m over my white friend’s house,” which kind of struck me. I wasn’t offended, I am white-skinned, but it felt awkward that my friend who happened to be black, saw me only as his “white friend.”

If we cannot accept that we’re all human beings and are united, regardless of superficialities, then we might as well say the divisive groups and organizations have won and just give up now. A white homeland, a black nationalist homeland, these are what some sectors of society want and more and more I am seeing this segregation take hold in America. People are afraid of their neighbors, they see everyone like this or that, they want to separate, they want to “be with their own kind.”

Is the melting pot of America a failed experiment?  Was all of the progress we’ve made over our tumultuous history for nothing? Do we just throw in the towel and say, “you win,” to these hate groups?

As a nation, are we embroiled in that much cowardice and self-deceit that we cannot just see that shared humanity in one another, and respect that we’re different but the same? None of what we’re seeing today was the dream of MLK Jr., he didn’t say that he had a dream that we all stuck to our own kind… if he did I didn’t hear that speech!

…Are we that bitter and self-aggrandizing?

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

…Are we so afraid of our neighbors that we need to live in safe spaces of our own “kind?”

“I have a dream that one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

I refuse to sit silently and go calmly into that dark night, I refuse to be fearful of my neighbors, I refuse to let Dr. King’s dream, become the American nightmare. I refuse to cower from those different from myself, I refuse to let fear and hate, bitterness, and despair be a part of my life. I will not let my kids live in that kind of world, I refuse, I resist that with every ounce of my being and will until my final breath!

I didn’t leave a movement based upon division so that society can embrace that very same thing. I didn’t spend years of introspection to break my trepidation and hate, just to see society embrace it as the new norm. American’s are becoming a cartoon caricature of themselves, parroting the mainstream media, talking about unity, but segregating themselves like cowards. Are you victims or are you victorious? I choose the latter. 

Inclusivity, equality, an egalitarian society, these things do not encompass any form of segregation. If we’re to change society to truly embrace those things, segregation should be mocked, it should be the target of ridicule and contempt, not seen as a symbol of “progress.” The last time I looked into a dictionary, “regression,” was the opposite of “progression!”

I refuse to lose hope in Dr. King’s dream, I refuse to see enemies in my neighbors, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). I have friends… period, I have neighbors… period, and we are human beings… period. I have no room for hate in my heart, it’s too full of love today, and I have no time for those who would separate me from my brothers and sisters, regardless of our differences. If you are for segregation today; all-white this, all black that, then you are a coward and stand aligned with the message of the hate groups and extremists we combat today. 

One final quote from Dr. King;

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”