Let me give you a little history before I dive into this subject with both feet. I was raised in the ‘burbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1968 until about 1983. I had limited exposure to other cultures during that time. There were other nationalities in Minneapolis, but generally not where I lived. I never gave the subject much thought. When I was 17 I moved to Mississippi briefly and then to Alabama with my then husband, where his family’s from. Can you say culture shock? We lived in the boondocks for nearly 18 years, where I raised my kids during part of that time. When he and I split, in 2000, the kids and I moved to the town I live in now. The population here is about 25,000. You’ve heard the phrase “You can take the girl out of the country (or city), but you can’t take the country (or city) out of the girl”?
OK. So what exactly is racism? It is simply the approval or disapproval of someone based on the color of their skin (my own definition). I’ve never adopted the mindset of the general population. Racism bothers me. It’s a cancer that spreads because of intolerance, indifference, lack of respect, and ignorance. Unfortunately, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Racism is perpetuated by the attitude of certain groups of people towards others, and the “others” that happen to be of a different race reciprocate, and so it goes. What it boils down to is the actions of a few, tainting the reputation of a whole race in the racist’s eyes. I have a problem with that. I agree wholeheartedly that there are a lot of dingbats out there, but I wouldn’t rub elbows with, say, David Duke, even though our skin color is similar. I’ve heard, “most of the people of that race are like that.” “Really?” I say, because I don’t know most of the people in that race. Is it even possible to know most of the people of a specific race? Doubtful. So why use the generality? Because it’s convenient to make generalizations about people because of their appearance. It enables you to “fit in” with friends. It provides a commonality allowing you to bond together, and besides, it’s tradition. It’s uncomfortable defending people from false allegations (unless you’re a lawyer and getting paid for it, I suppose). So why not just blend?
I denounce it because it’s illogical. You can’t make me believe that all males, all short people, or all brunettes are alike. It’s the same thing. I reverse the roles and imagine that it’s my family’s name or race being slandered because of something I had nothing to do with. So what if they continue to do it even when you stop? When you keep going back and forth it’s just like five-year-olds hollering “poo poo face” at each other and neither side will hush! Someone has to step up and be the bigger person.
Does my point of view reflect the fact that I’m a Christian? Yes. In other people’s cases? Well, I can’t speak for everyone else. I do know that it’s not my job to judge someone else’s life, how they live it, or what season they might be in. There’s a very good saying that goes, “What other people think about me is none of my business.” The only one I can change is myself. Diversity can be a beautiful thing. Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all poured from the same molds?
I have a pretty simple philosophy about what we should be doing while we’re here on earth. Making it a better place. Helping each other. Positively contributing. In the U.S., preserving America’s integrity. There’s actually a selfish motivation behind my philosophy that could have a ripple effect if enough people applied it. When I am a positive influence on the people I touch, it makes my little world a better place for me, my kids, my friends, my family and acquaintances. If we all did it, the ripples would overlap each other and love, peace, and brotherhood would have a chance to spread in place of hate. It worked for a while back in the ’60s. Have we learned nothing more since then? We need each other now more than ever, because as we’ve seen, Big Brother isn’t able to take care of us. We’re going to have to start taking care of each other. United we’ll stand, divided we’ll fall.