People must move beyond skin colour

Standard

By Art Laramee

With the news media spiking racial tension before, during and after the George Zimmerman trial, there have been calls for a conversation about racism in America.

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News launched his conversation with a strongly worded “Talking Points Memo” presented on July 22. His focus is on the exceedingly high fatherless families among blacks and the high black-on-black murder rate.

Many black leaders and commentators have had a lot to say about racism practiced against blacks in America. They have led the conversation for decades, and whites have been afraid to participate unless it is to support their case, because blacks have the history of slavery in America on their side. And black children hear that same refrain as their outlook on life is framed.

President Barack Obama tried to declare an end to the war on terror saying “But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”

The same could be said for declaring an end to the war on whites conducted by black leaders for decades since the Civil Rights victories of the ’60s. This war consists of black leaders declaring their status as unequal to whites because they are victims of white oppression.

Blacks claim they are victims of many things, including the legacy of slavery in America. The fact that slavery existed for more than 10,000 years in every society since agriculture was invented doesn’t seem to have stopped these societies from rising above that legacy and taking their place in the world.

But the unwillingness of blacks to let the slavery legacy go and focus on personal accountability of their status has retarded their socioeconomic growth in general. Of course there are many examples of successful blacks including the spectacular success of Dr. Ben Carson who rose from poverty to become the world’s greatest Neurologist and a phenomenally wise observer of human behavior. But you don’t hear the victimology philosophy espoused by him or his like.

Racism has many definitions but boils down to hatred of one race by another race. Many black leaders claim racism is American white bigotry practiced toward blacks. In my 74 years on this earth, having lived in nine states, I have not witnessed very much white bigotry towards blacks.  But I have read many news articles and seen television programs where blacks paint whites with the broad brush of racism and isn’t this exactly what racism is?

Many whites resent being called racist and, many of the blacks charging racism as the basis for a criticism are in fact practicing racism themselves. Blacks make mistakes just like whites and have good and bad people in their spectrum just as whites do and it is silly to make believe no black person is eligible to be criticized or that such criticism is based on racism.

It is time for blacks to see themselves as equal partners in our society and see themselves as responsible for their status and to take personal responsibility for changing that status if they are unhappy with it.

It is also time for blacks to understand that if someone doesn’t like them as an individual, perhaps there is some personality incompatibility that creates that dislike and not the color of their skin.  Certainly many people don’t like me because I am conservative or for some other reason, but I don’t attribute it to the color of my skin.

While it is true that religious, ethnic and cultural stereotypes exist, they do for all peoples not just for blacks. Everybody puts up with some prejudice, but they don’t usually, make a big deal out of it.

Blacks should understand that it is no fun to be around someone who is so politically correct that you have to walk on eggshells to make sure you don’t offend their sensibilities and that has nothing to do with skin color.

My view is if blacks would lighten up, stop seeing themselves as victims and stop seeing things as connected to their skin color, they just might discover that there is very little in their life that has anything to do with skin color.

Then they would be faced with what the rest of us are faced with every day of our lives.

Art Laramee is retired. His experience includes a career in the computer industry and periods of involvement in political activism and the news media. He lives in Surprise.

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