In 1863, in the midst of a bloody Civil War, Abraham
Lincoln gave the Emancipation Proclamation legally freeing
all those who were slaves in the southern states. 100 years later it was not the
stars and bars who where still upholding a racist and
segregated society, but rather the stars and stripes (This
rant is in no way supportive of the people who still wear
the Confederate Flag. Your arguement is dead. If it is
heritage, it is a heritage of hatred and exploitation.).
The red, white and blue falg which to most of us has stood
for freedom and a land of equality really, that is if we
take a deeper look at it, stands more appropriately for the
land of inequality.
Right from the start of European expansion into the "New World" we find expoitation and oppression. Without going into specific examples, there was the complete robbery by the settlers of the Native Americans lands, property, family and lives. As the America's became colonized and farms became bigger, slaves where shipped into the America's from Africa. For the African's were much more "practical" than any indentured servant. Racially speaking, America from the start has had a incredible hierarchy and slave mindset. Not until all the race riots and activism of the late 60's did we start to see some of this slave mindset disappear, or maybe better said, hide itself.
Thirty some years later, can we say that racism is no a issue in our Country. Can we honestly say that race is not a issue when the KKK still has rallies on our Main Street. When you can hear everyday at select tables across the lunch room, jokes about "nigger's". Or when Boneheads are running our local scenes. And it isn't always as noticeable or forthright as it is with the Klan or Boneheads. Many people I know of as very racist will tell you there is not a racist bone in them. And please don't get me wrong. This article is not just me judging the world. Rather a look inside myself as well. I will freely admit that I still struggle with personal prejudice everyday. It is a process.
This is a passage from Bob Blauner's book "Black Lives, White Lives". I believe that what Florence Grier points out in this interview is important for us all as it gives some insight onto why people are racist. "...I've seen youngsters that I've taken care of until they got three or four years old, I've seen the youngster gradually withdraw. After I've taken care of the baby until he is big enough to notice me when he gets out in public...and he'd meet me up in Kress, and he'd say, "Momma! There's Florence!" and then she'd say, "Shhhhh! Shut up! You're not supposed to be with her up here!" And...gradually...he would get to the place where he wouldn't, he wouldn't speak to me so much-in public." She later adds..."And this is the way they teach these youngsters prejudice and selfishness. He learns by the time he's five years old that "Florence is a nigger."
And guys and girls, if racism is learned. Then we have got to learn to hate it. Also, racism is not just a white issue. If we are to rid ourselves of a racist society we must all (That is everyone. Red, yellow, black and white.) throw down our walls of prejudice. It is a daily thing. We need to take each other as we are, as humans. Judge people on an individual basis, not by the color of their skin. Don't put up with racism. Speak out against it. It can be as subtle as telling a class mate or some one you work with that you'd rather not hear their racist joke. Or it can be as big as helping set up a anti-KKK rally while the KKK is on the other side of town. (Peacefully...violence accomplishes nothing.) End racism in you life, and hopefully that will help put an end to it in others.
(Just a side note to end. I am in no way trying to disrespect this Country. I in no way want to overlook all the progress that has been made and the freedoms that we do have. It is just, we can not forget what we have come from and where we need to be heading.)
"Those who fail to learn lessons of history are doomed to repeat them." -George Santayara
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