Here in Albany, it’s often difficult to get past race. Our racial tension is well documented, and it’s on going as well. However, sitting in the new Cask & Kilt Irish Pub Friday night, I was struck with one inescapable fact: We can all get along.
Sitting around were people of multiple ethnic groups, various socioeconomic positions, and even a few who probably have a different sexual orientation than most of us. What was remarkable, if you choose to listen to folks who seek to divide us, is that we were all having a fantastic time.
Part of the reason is that, quite frankly, the Cask & Kilt is a heck of a place to spend some time. It was my first trip in there, but it won’t be my last. An Irish pub is something I deeply enjoy, and I’ll do everything I can to ensure this one sticks around…but that’s neither here nor there. What was more important was seeing what I hope is Albany’s future.
Division happens. Walk into any high school in the area and you will typically find most people identifying with their own ethnic group. This form of natural segregation is virtually impossible to overcome except through time. Most of it isn’t really based on skin tone, but interests. White kids who enjoy hip hop will identify with black kids who enjoy the same thing, while they won’t get along with black kids who love to head-bang on the weekends.
At the pub, this segregation just didn’t happen. There were black folks, but they and the white folks mingled freely. Skin tone seemed to have no bearing on anyone’s feelings regarding one another. It was kind of refreshing to tell the truth.
Albany has been a divided city for far too long, and we need to start working with one another to end those divides. We need to reach across the aisles and say, “You are my brother or sister, regardless of skin tone.” We need to put an end to the racial animosity in this community, and we need to do it by talking to one another and simply treating each other as adults.
“But Tom,” you might be asking, “what if the other guy doesn’t want to do the same?” It’s a fair question, but my answer is “so what?” You are only responsible for your own actions. You cannot be responsible for someone else’s. However, you can take the high road and be the better person. It will take time, but attitudes will shift.
Sitting there in an Irish pub, I saw that we really can all get along. Rodney King asked if we could, and I have seen the answer. We most certainly can. Now, all that’s left is for us to actually do it.
Written by Tom Knighton. Tom Knighton is the managing editor of Laws-n-Sausages.com, a political blog focusing on SWGA. He is the former co-owners of SWGAPolitics.com and currently serves as the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia