The biggest part of racism is what you learn in the home especially when there is nothing to counterbalance it.
I heard these words on a recent PBS Newshour and they immediately went to my notepad for future thought.
When we are young children we know very little about the world outside our immediate home. We think of our parents as almost godly. They can do no wrong. By the time we are teenagers many turn 180 degrees in that belief but often the damage is already done.
I admit that I grew up, like most of us, in a very sheltered life. I never knew anyone that was very different from me until I was off on my own at college. I went to a Catholic grade school and a small rural high school. As I recall there was literally no one of color or ethnicity different from mine.
Fortunately, my parents although they were more racist than some did not teach me to be a racist. For the most part it never came up. But for many racism was thoroughly embedded in them by their parents even before they went to kindergarten. In my recent trip to Disney World we traveled by car. On the return trip we decided to go through Alabama. What I saw there reminded me that prejudices are still very much a factor in that part of the country. Many there call it their heritage and adamantly uphold its principles.
I must admit that if I have any prejudices it is for people in that area of the country. I still blame them for the million people killed during our Civil War that they provoked. To see a huge statue of Jefferson Davis so proudly displayed in front of Alabama’s capital building almost made me shutter. To me Davis was a traitor to his country even beyond Benedict Arnold. At least Arnold’s betrayal only resulted in a few deaths. I know there are many Civil War buffs out there that celebrate each battle that claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives. I see that period as the darkest and most shameful time in our nation’s history.
Racism will continue to be a part of the American fabric for generations to come. But I have a dream that as times goes by it will strangle fewer and fewer people. God told us to love one another and he didn’t put any restraints on that command…