Our three older kids are color blind. My youngest is not. I’m not talking about their actual ability to distinguish colors. I’m talking about the way impressionable minds are influenced on matters of race and bigotry, today versus a few years ago.
What if I said that race relations are no worse than they’ve ever been? What if I said it’s all an explosion of hype generated by seekers of attention, ratings, and blog views? How many would call “bullcrap”? How many would call me a racist?
And what if I told you to view the events of Trayvon Martin and Ferguson until today, through the eyes of innocent children, both black and white? What is the message that bombards their mind and how do they possibly process it?
We have four children in our household (in a very white small town). Our 19, 17, and 16 year-old heard little to nothing about racism in their developing years. They would appear to be of the generation that is finally enough generations removed from civil rights struggles that skin color is an issue only among a very very small minority of the U.S. population.
But now it seems that this small minority is thrust purposefully and constantly into the spotlight at an alarming rate on a daily basis. How many people are actively seeking the very worst of attitudes and actions of blacks, whites, Hispanics, and police officers, for the purpose of presenting an interesting or sensational story (and making a particular group look bad)?
This is the world that my 10 year-old now sees. Take the very worst of actions of all police officers nationwide and make sure everybody sees them and knows about them. What happens to our children’s views of police in general?
What about Black Lives Matter? Who makes the news out of this movement? Primarily those who destroy the most property or make the most inflammatory remarks toward police or white folks.
And who gets the most airplay among the white racists? I’d imagine it’s the hate groups like the KKK or the Westboro Baptist Church?
It’s a dangerous view of our country. We take the worst offenders we can find and give them the grandest stage. We are constantly invited to judge many by the actions of a few. For the impressionable young eyes and minds, lost is the opportunity the go through life truly color-blind. Instead they are constantly tempted with opportunities to prejudge.
Cops must be bad. Maybe all blacks are bad too. I guess all white people are racists.
Maybe it’s time we change the tone. Racism exists in ignorance and evil hearts. But it’s entirely possible that, if racism truly energizes and grows in our country, it will be because of the way it’s reported and talked about, and not because of the way families are raising their children (but that would mostly account for the current level of racism…I guess).
The worst people act their worst when the cameras show up. And the most inflammatory footage gets the most airplay. This becomes our children’s view of a bigger world, as skewed as it may be.
Politicians pander to the outraged and indict the innocent in their quest for votes. Political correctness has expanded the list of things that make you a racist so that the race conversation never runs out of steam.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Abe Lincoln preceded Obama as president. I’ve heard Jim Crow more times in the last year than I’ve heard in my previous 47 years. If you’re looking for something to get angry about, there’s always a chance around the next corner. If you’ve never felt the need to defend yourself or pick a side, you’ll have your chance for that as well.
Those with the ability to do the most damage to race relations with their words and their actions cannot continue to receive the largest audience.
Sure, there are problems. But the national conversations about race are basically a waste, totally counterproductive, veiled in political correctness and political maneuvering. The picture of America as a whole is not as bad as the picture that is painted for my young son. Americans really are better than that.
So please stop calling everything and everybody racist. And stop digging for idiots to interview and video. The quest for spotlight, approval, and political power has no value. And it might just be luring our youth (and adults) into a more active role in racial tension and bigotry.
Those who choose to be angry will be angry. Those who choose to hate will hate. But so many choose to love. And love is color blind. Make sure your kids know about the many many people that choose love. And please choose to be one of those people. Hopefully your kids will be watching.