This past Saturday, I participated in a panel on “Race, Racism and Social Justice.” The subject was apropos in light of the recent murder of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia after so many witnesses changed their stories.
As the panel spoke about many issues, we focused, of course, on the black community. One person on the panel said the problems facing the black community are “sophisticated and complex.” I differed in that I see the problems we have as “simplistic and basic.”
I am a strong advocate that the more we say that something is difficult, challenging, hard and so forth, the more human beings are likely to reject trying to do something about it. But if we tell them that it’s “a piece of cake” or “something a 4-year-old can do,” then people aren’t put off by it.
If, as an infant, we knew how hard it was going to be to learn to walk, talk and get “potty-trained,” I wonder how many of us would have refused to try. But not having anyone tell us how hard it was going to be (and, even better, not understanding how hard it was going to be) we all did it. Think about it. Put any infant into any country and that child will learn the language. Yet as adults, learning to speak a second language is something many of us find difficult, if not impossible.
If the black community is a “food desert,” and we have tons of empty lots, why aren’t we growing our own food? Nothing has changed since the beginning of man. People need to eat. At one time people scoured the earth for food. Modern man scours the earth for jobs to buy food.
Childraising is still a basic function. A mother and father must nurture the child. A child’s brain needs stimulation and one doesn’t get it by ignoring the kid. If ancient moms took their children to the forest to see nature, modern moms need only visit the local parks. With child rearing, you get back what you put in. Put in nothing and you get nothing. I saw an episode of The Apprentice where Donald Trump’s 18-month-old son was shown. Even at his age, he knew his father was involved in business and building buildings. If as a parent you don’t instill knowledge, how does one expect children to get it? Schools only have your children for five hours a day, if that long, and nine months out of the year. Parents have them the rest of the time. Isn’t it obvious who has more influence on the kid?
Education has always been the key to success. Every scientist, brain surgeon and nuclear physicist was once a snot-nosed kid who didn’t know a darn thing. But they got an education. And as I am quick to tell many, even a fool can teach you something. If the fool climbs an electrical pole and touches the wires and kills himself, then we all learn not to climb an electrical pole and touch the wires.
Now don’t take this wrong. I understand that racism exists. But how many of you would be insulted if I called you a “Kaffir”? Most blacks in this country wouldn’t have a clue. But to someone in South Africa, the work is akin to “nigger.” Racism, as people throw it about, is valid only if you react to it. No one can make you feel inferior. You make yourself feel inferior.
Yes there are injustices in the justice system. But this society and country is all most of us know. Therefore, when we don’t buy into it (like by not voting) then why are we shocked when the system is applied to us unfairly?
I am very glad that Third Unitarian Church put on that panel discussion. Even more, I was honored that several people told me they came out specifically to meet me and hear my opinions. The conversation we held was lively and, if nothing else, it allowed subjects to be discussed and opinions to be given.
The only thing missing was young people. They are the future and the ones who can best benefit from hearing so many diverse viewpoints. If we want our children to think, then we have to place them in scenarios where they can.