In my last column I touched very briefly on racism as evidenced in the death of Trayvon Martin and the reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Events since that time have only deepened my conclusion that most race issues will never be solved — at least in my lifetime.
I know that sounds pretty brutal, but the truth is often hard to swallow in our “why can’t we all get along?” world.
One of the first issues we must come to grips with is how we individually or collectively view events. When the tragic incident first occurred, many media sources were quick to report on the racial aspect of it without any rational analysis of the facts.
Indeed, it was the person who received the 911 call who made the first mention of race, and yet one of the major television channels made it sound as though George Zimmerman actively displayed a racial motivation!
In my last column, I wrote about the steps in problem solving. The first step is to define the problem — accurately. In the case of race issues, the problem itself is multi-faceted. On the surface it is cultural. However, there is a deep economic aspect of this problem and also many accompanying social issues, including education.
And to further muddy the water, racism is virtually treated solely as a white versus black racial problem. Ask yourself what Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would do for a living if blacks and whites started getting along. You can also ask yourself what they do for a living anyway. The real starting point has to be on a two-way street.
Our nation has struggled and is struggling with civil rights and great progress has been made. Trillions of dollars have been expended on welfare, social and civil rights programs. Some of it has had positive effects, but money alone will not solve cultural and societal problems. I suppose uneducated, unemployable people with more money is to many a positive thing, but it ignores the fact that they are still uneducated and unemployable.
If you examine the animal kingdom, virtually all higher species learn their behavior from the parents. Hunting, grooming, finding and preparing a place to live, breed and establishing your territory are mostly learned and partially innate behaviors. Over the past 50-60 years forces have actively worked hard to destroy the nuclear family under the guise of progressivism, relativism, feminism and many other isms that we manage to invent.
Those forces have been very successful in destroying the influence and authority of parents over their children — to the detriment of the entire society.
So how do you fix cultural societal problems when you don’t have two parents on hand to nurture and train the children? I don’t believe you really can because so much must be done in the first three to five years that sets the stage for the rest of a person’s life.
Absent that, you can load up the school system with a lot of behavioral modification education programs like nutrition, personal hygiene, anti-bullying, gender neutrality, hostility to Christianity under the guise of religious tolerance, racial tolerance and others while taking time away from less valuable subjects like English, history, science, math, philosophy and so on. And education must not be that important if we allow children to drop out of high school when they feel like it.
If you remember your homework assignment from my last column, you were supposed to think about the nation’s public education system in light of my discussion on the influence of the press, politicians, unions and other special interests and then figure out how we are going to prosper as a nation in the next 100 years.
In my opinion, trying to do the myriad social and cultural tasks of the nurturing family with the public education system is sheer folly. Is it any wonder we are falling behind the rest of the world in producing scientists and mathematicians?
But let’s get back to racism. The education system can’t fix it. The special interests can’t fix it, either. Neither can the press or the politicians. We, the people themselves, have to fix it ourselves — both the black and the white. Each of us owes the other a measure of respect that comes with being human beings.
If we don’t show that measure of respect for others, the fabric of society will break down. We aren’t wolves, foxes, hawks or eagles that prey on others — at least most of us are not.
While most of us believe in mutual respect, we don’t always put that belief into action. If some people choose to disrespect the traditions, cultural mores and behavior of others — especially those in the majority — conflict is inevitable. We once had the concept of the “melting pot” in which our ancestors all became Americans. Someone cleverly changed that to the concept of the “salad” wherein all the ingredients maintained their identity while still being part of the salad.
And, thus, some of us became hyphenated Americans.
Sometimes I’m surprised we don’t have more conflict than what we do. If we could get the press, the politicians and other special interests out of the way we could probably fix the rest on our own.
And for the record, I don’t like salads very much.
And that’s the way I see it.