A great Marine Corps commercial begins with a recruit perched atop a towering platform with the water many feet below. He hears his drill instructor's voice telling him that if he quits now, he will always quit in life. The recruit responds
and says, "so I jumped." The recruit left the known safety of the platform he was on, to immerse himself in the unknown realm of the water below. What he realizes after conquering his fear is that once he was immersed, he came back up out of the water, better, braver, and a Marine.
This commercial is the story of where we are on the issue of "race" in this country.
With the pool of integration below, each of us stands poised on the platform of cultural and "racial" identity or history and status quo, worried that we will lose something if we jump. Therefore we simply dabble in the water with our toes, not venturing in fully to explore all that immersion offers.
"Blacks" feeling that they will have to compromise their "blackness" if they immerse and "whites" feeling like they would have to share their "whiteness" if they jump. Oh yes, as a country we've dabbled in the water with our toes before, but neither side has ever left the safety of the platform to go for total immersion. Total immersion is scary, because we must give up everything to leave the platform for what lies below.
Total immersion is the only way to experience life and we have that opportunity in this country now if we would decide to jump and immerse ourselves in the pool of integration. Enacting civil rights laws was dabbling our toes in the water. Seeing "blacks" achieve historic accomplishments is dabbling our toes in the water and even desegregation was just dabbling our toes in the waters of integration, but we need immersion. And if we're going to jump in full-scale here's what we've got to do. Leave the platform and jump.
Because we have never immersed ourselves in the pool of integration, we are all worried and scared of what we might lose, never equally contemplating what we could possibly gain. What if "leaving the platform" to plunge into the pool of integration we find out that we really are greater together in this country?
Eyes have not seen nor ears heard what the possibilities are for an integrated, United States of America, but it will take us all immersing ourselves in the pool of integration and not merely dipping our toes. Today, lets jump and find out how great the water is down there.