Thursday, April 15, 2010

Words without works

In 1821, an African American woman, Mary Bateman Clark, sued one of the most powerful men in the nation to be released from an indentured servitude contract that bound her to work as a slave for 20 years in Vincennes, Indiana.

Ironically, the man who indentured her, General Washington Johnston, was an Indiana legislator and later a judge who denounced slavery and supported laws banning this practice.

His intent in the legislature was to assure the freedom of Black people, but his actions contradicted his intentions. He held slaves. Clark won a lawsuit against him that set a precedent for bringing an end to slavery in Indiana.

We frequently see such behaviors in 2010. Good intentions, contradictory actions. According to Kochmann and Associates, a business that teaches cross-cultural communications, men such as Johnston operate from an internal locus of control. Blacks come from an external locus of control.

Johnston and many other Caucasians believe that all power lies within --- pull yourself up by your bootstraps -- and what is most important is the intention of a person, regardless of the actions.

Blacks in general belive that power is external --- God will make a way.

Mary Clark learned that actions speak louder than words.

Good intentions without good works have no meaning. Waiting for someone else to do "it" -- whatever "it" is -- nets nothing.