Thursday, August 6, 2009

Race in America II

Based on a recent story reported in the news, I found myself doing a bit of self exploration concerning racism. Obviously this is a very emotional and personal issue with many people, both the protagonists and the antagonists. Opinions and feelings run deep. I wanted to spend some time wading in with a few thoughts of my own.

It seems to me that too many people are far too quick to raise the racism flag. They believe that behind every uttered word that they disagree with, even to the slightest degree, stands a raving, rabid racist. I suspect that many people who feel held back, or haven't been successful, or haven't achieved their goals, are looking for someone else to blame for their lot in life. In some cases, racism may have played a role, but in many others, it had absolutely zero impact in their current situations. In short, I think people too often use racism as a protective shield from reality. The problem is that when it happens to one person in one particular situation, many others grab hold and go along for the ride. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't my doing. I am not responsible. Those other people are just prejudiced against me. Maybe my explanation has some merit, but I am reluctant to say this is the whole story.

I have known many people over the years who seemed to be genuinely good and decent people but who held that they were superior because of their race. I have had some of these folks try to argue that the ideas behind a stereotype are basically accurate, otherwise there wouldn't be a stereotype.
  • All jews are cheap;
  • All black people are illiterate criminals;
  • All muslims are terrorists;
  • All hispanics are gang members;
  • All italians are mafia hoodlums;
  • All asians are bad drivers.
So, where do we go from here?

(Part 2 of a 3 part series)