Sunday, April 06, 2008

Racial Issues, Part 1

I think Glenda Overstreet and I may finally agree on *something* related to racial issues. Seriously! The last 3 paragraphs in her post, "Apology vs. Action", may be the best common-ground place to start healing America's racial issues.

America has serious racial issues that we haven't handled very well. When I say "we", I mean EVERYONE in America: Whites, Blacks, Natives, Grandparents, Adults, Children, even Deceased people. Every generation in American history has faced racial issues that have changed over time. The issues we face are not the exact same racial issues that our parents, great-grandparents, or great-great-great-great grandparents dealt with. And each generation has handled these issues in their own way.

These racial issues are very complex and deep-rooted, and it will take a LOT of work on all sides before these wounds can be healed. I appreciate Glenda's last 3 paragraphs because she at least acknowledges that slavery has happened to some members of every race at some point in history. I'll add further that every race has also, at some point, enslaved members of other races. There is no such thing as an "innocent race".

I understand that in America's early years most blacks were brutally enslaved by some whites (not ALL whites). I also understand that blacks suffered discrimination even after slavery was abolished, and that some blacks still face various forms of discrimination. The thing is, Blacks aren't the only race to face discrimination in modern America. Policies like affirmative action, racial quotas, and other ill-conceived policies only substitute one form of discrimination for other forms of discrimination.

Whites and Latinos, Natives, and other races all suffer various forms of discrimination from members of other races. Everyone has their own stories of discrimination they've faced in their lives. Speaking from my view as a white male, I've seen and experienced discrimination many times, in many ways. But individual stories are not the point.

People must look past their own personal experiences, and realize that racism affects everyone. Blacks have legitimate reasons to feel historically exploited by America. So have Natives and Whites. There isn't any race in America that hasn't been exploited or discriminated against at some point in history.

Today we are all supposedly recognized as equals before the law, regardless of race or gender or etc. Which is how it should always have been, because each one of us is as human as the next person. Nobody is more human than anyone else. We are all equally human.


Thomas Lessman

World History Maps by Thomas Lessman

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