Sunday, August 22, 2010

Racial Division

Why can't we all get along?

I find this question most interesting in the society we live in.  We live in a country with just about every race from around the world.  Yet we still have many issues with race relations.  We continue to say "Why?" to ourselves on a daily basis.  The 'Why' for me is quite simple.  The loathing of races different from us, is deep inside and many 100's of years, if not thousands of years in the making.

I will speak today on black - white division.  This is always the number one hot button topic in the US, when it comes to race relations.  The surprise people have with the fact we are still fighting this battle of equality, is baffling too me.  Why would you expect after only 40+ years of civil rights actions, that things would be OK?  Do we think a few items of  legislation wipe away 100's of years of slavery and degrading acts by the white members of this country against the black members?  To me that's where the problem starts.  There are two sides to this equation that I'm not sure everyone understands. I get it that most White Americans realize that the acts their ancestors performed were appalling. The problem comes in when White Americans say that they "get it", but, "When do they stop paying for their ancestors mistakes?".  I would say to them "Why even ask that question?", live your life the way you believe it to be lived.  You can't atone for the misguidance of others, trying to will result in failure.  White Americans can help relations with Black Americans by treating Black Americans as equals, plain and simple.

The conversation about the N-word is a great example to me of how White Americans miss the mark.  Why would a White American, knowing the history of this country, even entertain the thought of using this word?  In my opinion, it's because White Americans feel like they have done enough to repair relations between Black Americans and White Americans.  They feel like everyone is over it so it's OK to use.  This word and many like it, shouldn't be used period.  Why any group of people would ask "Why can't we use it?", is a clear sign we have a long way to go in race relations.

The other side of this problem is centered around the Black American community.  People within this group, for which I am one, and people outside of this group of people, have somewhat of a confused perception.  We wonder why this community has some of the major issues it does.  To me it is quite simple, as I eluded to earlier; We as a community have been degraded, beaten, killed, and persecuted for 100's of years in this country.  There's an embedded self esteem problem in our community, which will take us many more generations to overcome.  The fact that Black Americans and White Americans don't understand that as a whole, is a large driver in our lack of understanding of this issue.  

We talked earlier about White Americans asking why can't they use the N-word, that Black Americans use.  Let us discuss the Black American side of this equation.  I personally don't like the use of the word at all, but, I know why it is used.  It goes back to my statement about 'an embedded self esteem problem'.  Black Americans use this word to degrade other Black Americans, as well as a term of endearment, "There goes my N^^^^^".  I think what is lost in all this is, Black Americans were called this term everyday of their lives, for 100's of years.  When some started to rise from the lower ranks, they used this term to degrade other Black Americans they felt were beneath them.  Fast forward to present time, the word is being used same as before, as well as a term of endearment.  You may view this many different ways, but, there is a glimmer of progress.  We as a community are challenging ourselves to not use words like this, and to support each other in our endeavors.  It will take the Black American community to realize this word and any word degrading our race or another race is unacceptable.  This holds true for White Americans and any other race on this planet.  We can't be told from another race this is bad.  We are a community that has come out of being 2nd rate in this country, thus we respond poorly to other races telling us right from wrong.  This is the normal order of things, we all have been in a situation where we chose a different direction just because someone told us to go another way.   Black Americans can help relations with White Americans by simply understanding they are equals.

We must ask ourselves, "Do we truly understand what the other side is going through?".  I will challenge that we don't, otherwise we wouldn't have one race asking another race, "Why can't I use that degrading word you use, that I used to use to put you down?"

We are all human beings, we live, we die.....


Mr. P36