Even the most carefully constructed plans, including my brilliant writing schedule, have flaws. I wake up this morning, anxious to see what my next genre/focus was to be, and turn on my computer only to find that I have left out the two most important days of the week–Saturday AND Sunday. Some may call this mistake a subliminal message to myself to take a break from posting, but today I am choosing to ignore such a ridiculous notion.
My life goal, which is an ongoing struggle for a pessimist such as myself, is to always find the joy in every situation. Today, that task is easy—because both days have no focus specified, they are automatically classified as grab-bag days where anything goes. I get to retain creative authority (over myself, yes) to share/discuss anything that comes to mind.
This is probably a topic more appropriate for a Tuesday, but it has been on my mind a lot lately (well, more than usual if that is possible). The big ‘r’ word. Ridiculous? That is a descriptor of this, but not the actual word itself.
Make no mistake about the size–Big and bold. Racism. I hope that got your attention. Too many people shy away from this, deny its existence in America today. Too many people fail to recognize it in its most subtle forms, causing them to state it is no longer an issue. Wake up, world.
The earliest use of the term began in the 1930’s as a way to discuss Anti-Semitism. (But do not dismiss the racial prejudice and discrimination that existed long before the coinage of the term.) The concept broadened and became a key term in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s. Even after such discrimination has been outlawed and bigoted expression stigamized, personal prejudices continue to influence society today in all aspects of life: education, family, religion, career, economy, healthcare–the list could go on.
One question keeps circling in my mind.
“Will we ever become a color blind society?”?
Do we even want to? Or will the power struggle continue between groups who build solidarity based on superficiality?
“What about the concept of ‘Self-Segregation’?”
In 2006 a small town in Louisiana was brought to national spotlight due to high racial tensions resulting in violence. The controversy began because of a tree, which was a “traditionally known hangout of white students.” Students typically self-segregated, congregating in specific areas. One day, black students sat under the tree, and arrived at school the next day to see nooses hanging from its limbs. Events escalated over the next few months, leading to violent fights and even arson of the school’s main building.
In 2009 the New York Times ran an article on the segregation occurring in Montgomery County, Georgia each year on prom night. In this case, many of the students stated they wanted a combined prom like most other schools, but parents continue to resist the idea and the school refuses to sponsor such an event.
Even in 2010 segregation occurs in places most people would never think twice about, such as churches. According to the August edition of Socialogical Inquiry, 9 out of 10 churches are segregated. The criteria for segregation in this case is 80% or higher identified as a particular race. (The CNN article that lit the fire in my mind)
What continues to shock me the most, even more than the instances of racism that occur, are the reaction individuals openly share with regards to the issues. Take a moment and read comments on any media site (even social networking sites and multimedia sites have their share of unnecessary and hateful speech).
I have always been a child of cultural curiosity and acceptance, never satisfied until my books and baby dolls were an acceptable representation of the diversity surrounding me in the world (literally, the WHOLE world. My town was 99% Cuacasian Protestant) It came as no surprise to my mother when I became seriously involved in an interracial relationship. Individuals protested of course, citing reasons from the bible (generally a gross misinterpretation of scripture from Genesis 11) and personal concerns such as “but what about the children?”
What about the children? I am not denying there will obstacles for them to overcome (even ridiculous ones that shouldn’t be an issue, such as filling out standardized forms and deciding on ONE race to identify themselves as). My personal experiences have made me even more adamant that color is irrelevant. Do not judge one another based on the color of one’s skin, or the heritage of ancestors. Have enough personal integrity to look past an individual’s skin color and figure out WHO they are. Each man is responsible for his own character. I cannot being to comprehend a world where segregation is voluntarily chosen, which is really no better than forced segregation, though perhaps more socially acceptable. Do we really wish to step backwards as a nation in terms of teaching acceptance?