What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.

The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course….
The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun…. Ecclesiastes 1:3-9


The words of Qoheleth, in Ecclesiastes, have a melancholy discouraging ring to them.  Yet, how often does history repeat itself, but in a different form and context.


Having read Colson Whitehead’s book, The Underground Railroad, reinforced the  terrible period of US history when slavery was the  accepted “Peculiar Institution” in so many areas of our country.


Again, reading Jim Fergus’ One Thousand White Women strikes another chord of racism.  That the United States government would actually trade white women to the Cheyenne nation in order to maintain peace on the frontier is not only appalling and unbelievable but again goes to the heart of racism, ignorance and prejudice. 


The recent Presidential election sparked deep seated resentment towards immigrants and minorities in our country.  Recent bullying and racial incidents among school age children point to the fact that children are mirroring what they hear in the world of media and possibly in their own homes. It is well documented that economic insecurity and fear have led to the rise of the KKK and other groups in our country’s history. 


As Qoheleth voiced…”there is nothing new under the sun.” But each age of human beings needs to recommit to hope and to collaborate with others to root out the causes of racism.  Rhetoric can be hurtful and harmful.  As Pope Francis stated in 2014 when speaking about the World Cup:

“To win, we must overcome individualism, selfishness, all forms of racism, intolerance and manipulation of people….”  Everyone wins when everyone participates.


Ann Kasparek