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Products of Our Environment?

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I do not ignore racism. I choose to not make it a part of my life. During everyone’s though process there are different checks and balances that one goes through when evaluating situations. Was an action performed by someone else due to the color of my skin?

I decided a while ago that I would remove that from the forefront of my mind and hopefully it would help me live a happier life. It is clear to me while reading the following story about a crime that obviously was racially charged that I have accomplished just that in some level.

(Houston Texas AP) A teenager described as a white supremacist was sentenced Friday to life in prison for savagely beating and sodomizing a Hispanic boy at a drug-fueled party.

David Henry Tuck, 18, was convicted Thursday of aggravated sexual assault in the near-fatal attack. Witnesses testified that he hurled racial insults and shouted “white power” while sodomizing the 17-year-old victim with the plastic pole of a patio umbrella.

I did not ignore the fact that the victim was Hispanic, however it does not hurt me more or less. It is a horrible crime, and it would feel just as horrible if it was because the victim was discriminated against because they were purple or blue. It is hard to ignore that the perpetrator is labeled as a “White Supremacist” and also that the article has the title ” ‘Evil’ teen jailed for savage party beating.” I also do not ignore the fact that it was a party full of drugs and alcohol. It still does not excuse the action and life in prison seems like a fitting punishment for the crime.

I could go on and on about all the labels that were put on the kid that committed the crime, however the most troubling part of the article for me was the following.

He also said Tuck had an abusive, absent father and was raised by a single working mother. His only role model, Hinton said, was his older brother, a skinhead who is in jail.

Automatically the blame is diverted from the stupidity of the act to the environment. While I do know first hand that a broken home can be a very tough environment for a child to grow up in, creating all sorts of discipline problems that can develop into self destructive activities, I do not believe that it is simply a matter of environment.

I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. There are always choices that people make and even as a kid, it is still a choice to take the wrong path and eventually become a racist, criminal, etc. I don’t believe that we are a product of just environment, it is a huge influence but not impossible to override. I have known people that grew up in the worst environments that “build” the worse people, and they came out better than people with a silver spoon shoved where the sun don’t shine and “perfect” parents.

I believe in family being one of the basic pillars of our society. I also believe that a family benefits greatly by having a man and woman because kids need to have both role models while growing up. I am not against gay marriage, or even adoption by same sex couples, but I believe that in a household where there is a single parent situation there is a much higher risk of the child developing behavioral issues.

It is not only due to the statistics and studies I have read in the subject but what I have seen first hand. A relative very close to me was bounced back and forth between parents and it created all kinds of problems for him. It is to the point that he ended up looking for approval in all the wrong places and never got the love that he really needed from the people he wanted it from. Sad situation and something that hurts me inside, especially because there was so many people trying to give him love and steer him the right way. In the end I still believe there is a choice that everyone has to make. We all have the capability of taking wrong paths, it is knowing that we are going the wrong way and making the decision to keep on walking in that direction that defines who we really are.

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  • just another reader.

    very interesting. i appreciate your words.