It’s never my intent to, as older folks used to say, beat a dead horse; but there has been a seemingly consistent decline in race relations throughout this country over the past several years. I’d intentionally chosen to steer clear of the topic altogether some time ago following a series of columns simply aimed at calling attention to the nation’s problematic issue. In lieu of recent events however, I find it rather difficult to “hold my tongue” any longer as the mostly dormant embers of hatred appear to have been fanned to the point they’ve detonated and taken on the form of an uncontrollable inferno.
From the earliest point in the lives of most Blacks, an impromptu education explores methods as to how the “elephant in the room” is to be avoided. Most people, especially in the south, have a keen awareness that the elephant exists. However, history dictates that the best thing to do is simply leave the rabid animal to marinate in the hatred that fosters its mere existence.
Unfortunately, there are those cases when the inevitable can’t be avoided, no matter how hard one might try. Occasionally, events transpire that stir up remnants of bitterness from many years ago. It begins to percolate until the ills of hatred spill over and saturate every remotely intuative person infected with an utterly incurable ignorance. Otherwise intelligent individuals begin to regress and become consumed with the ills of an era long-passed.
Circumstances in this country have deteriorated to a point they are strangely emblematic of conditions that existed seventy-plus years ago. Parents of virtually every race that isn’t Caucasian find it necessary to educate their children and young adults as to the proper means of defusing confrontation. Of course, not everybody employs the same passive approach. This explains the periodic birth of conflict. When the residue of hostilities compels people to accentuate each other’s differences as opposed to embracing them, anarchy is the eventual consequence.
There was a point when it appeared the melting pot known as America had matured beyond the side effects of adversarial ethnic relations. Now, the country is enthralled in the grips of a hatred mirroring attitudes of a not-so-distant past that pose a debilitating threat to any semblance of uniformity. George Santayana, a famous philosopher, poet, essayist, and novelist stated: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Of course, things are just a tad bit different today than they were in 1817 or 1917 and it might be a little more difficult for professed extremists to accomplish a feat such as sending the immigrants back to the countries from where they came. Truthfully speaking, many people of foreign descent have never been to the country of their parents’ or grandparents’ origin and have only known America as “home.”
It truly baffles me as to the desire of organizations such as the KKK, neo-Natzis and white supremacist groups who want to “take back their country.” I’m curious to know what exactly they propose as a means of getting all the other nationalities to simply sign over their rights as U.S. citizens and leave.
I’ve often taken out time to stop at parks or simply observe the interactions of young children and how they behave. When watching a group of toddlers playing, there is no evidence of hatred or bigotry. They’re more concerned about having fun and play together without thought of race, nationality or personal beliefs. It quickly becomes readily apparent that hatred of another person, for whatever shallow reason, is truly a learned deficiency. The mere concept of hate isn’t something that is embodied by people from birth but has to first be introduced, cultured and then re-enforced.
As of late, there has been a push across the country to remove anything pointing to an era that was openly prejudiced, demeaning and degrading for most every race except Caucasians; especially Blacks. I do understand the resentment among many toward reminders of the period and respect their desire to not have any evidence of it forced upon them. It would be most beneficial if, perhaps, removing the various statues, flags, and other symbols of hatred could somehow dissolve the bitterness still existing in the hearts of people. Hardly; but one can fantasize. Another option would be to simmply preserve the memorabilia within the confines of museums to be viewed much like dinosaurs…as relics of an age long-passed.
All of society would, perhaps, be better served if focus was redirected from the destructive nature of those who’ve emerged as products of hate. The truly shameful part is that a great majority of people who hate others don’t even have a full understanding of the reason why. Hatred results from a lack of knowledge coupled with the grave misunderstanding of fact that is then combined with refusal to change which is, in short, ignorance. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.