Choosing to hate people simply based upon the color of their skin is despicable! Likewise, presuming that all whites are inherently racist based strictly upon the color of their skin is appalling.
“How is it that Asians can succeed in America and we can’t?” That was the question some of my friends and I asked ourselves as teenagers. Growing up in Los Angeles, Asian owned businesses were plentiful throughout the ‘hood. Equally common was the animus blacks felt towards them. Rappers and racepreneurs like Jesse Jackson contributed to the disdain we felt for foreigners establishing their businesses on our turf. The perception was that the American dream was obtainable for other ethnic groups, just not for blacks.
To our detriment, we didn’t realize it was our own racism that prevented us from understanding that Asians were simply capitalizing on the opportunities available for all Americans within our borders. Unfortunately, many blacks today have hindered their own progress by blaming “the man” for their socioeconomic status rather than themselves.
Racism in America has moved to the back of the bus. Desegregation and public shaming made that possible. It’s largely episodic and situational today. Those that advance this notion of “institutional racism” not only ignore the fact we have a black president, they’ve neglected to realize blacks occupy government jobs more than any other ethnicity by percentage. Check out your local DMV, post office and Clerk of Courts, or look up the actual employment numbers. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/09/152297370/government-job-cuts-threaten-black-middle-class). In short, blacks are the institution.
Perceived or real, racism doesn’t have to deter you from being all God created you to be. That’s why I’ve come up with five easy steps to eliminate racism, and here they are:
1.) Remove “conversations” on race from the national limelight: Have real conversations to resolve the problem rather than providing excuses to cause violence. There should not have been any protest in California over Ferguson, Missouri. I recently heard author and syndicated radio host Michael Medved attribute the success of the Jewish people, despite the Holocaust and anti-semitic rhetoric often heard across the globe, to their ability to shut up, forgive, and move on. I’m paraphrasing, of course. He confessed that when he meets with other Jews, they hardly, if ever, discuss past atrocities that killed so many of his people. The reason is simple: doing so would unnecessarily resurrect emotions and issues that have largely subsided and been resolved. Victims can become angry people if they’re unwilling to forgive and move forward. Anger makes it harder for anyone to move forward. As long as you hold onto a grievance, you will feel entitled to recompense whether it’s justified or not.
2.) Stop with the “color blind” nonsense: I know your intentions are well meaning, but it’s unproductive. God enjoys variety and so should we. If he didn’t, he would’ve created all of us the same. We travel because we like to see different regions, ethnicities and cultures. There’s nothing wrong with that! We’re doing each other a disservice by perpetuating sameness at the expense of diversity — in the true sense of the word. Our differences can help us to appreciate one another if we let them.
3.) Learn from our kids: Martin Luther King Jr. succeeded! It’s foolish to have “conversations” on race relations while ignoring obvious gains. America is less racist now, not more. Our kids aren’t as concerned about who’s racist. They’re concerned about who is safe, trustworthy, and fun to be around. Just last week I observed a group of teenage friends walking a dog together and enjoying each other’s company. Two were white, one Latino, and one black. Let’s hope their college professors don’t teach the minorities their best friends they’ve grown up with are inherently racist.
4.) Eliminate political correctness by confronting the cause rather than the symptom: It’s beneficial to stereotype and racially profile, particularly when chasing down criminals and terrorists. We’ll never correct the endemic problems in our communities without pointing out the obvious problems that exist within them. Single parent homes, absentee dads, promiscuous “baby mamas,” joblessness, low high school graduation rates, and high crime rates aren’t going to be solved by pretending the American dream is nonexistent for minorities. Cause and effect is not a fantasy. Similarly, terrorism cannot be contained by blaming Americans and Jews for Islamic hate. Like addiction, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one.
5.) Differentiate prejudice from true racism: Everyone has natural prejudices towards others due to fears, unknowns, and stereotypes. However, most of us aren’t racist! Prejudice can easily be overcome through education, integration, and humility, but racism is largely a spiritual issue that deals with pride and other matters of the heart. Any conversation to be had on race requires thick skin, coupled with an ability to discern between right and wrong. Jumping to conclusions rarely helps matters.
We shouldn’t be so quick to pull the trigger on the “R” word; it might come back to bite you. That’s certainly been the case for black Americans.
Photo credit: jbherrera (Creative Commons)
Carl Jackson is a radio talk show host – his web site is www.carljacksonshow.com