My last blog post was over a year ago. I’ve been hiding from my blog, and the honest truth is that my depression has been heavy, life has been chaotic, and I haven’t wanted to sit down and spend an hour or more writing. But in light of the recent tragedy that has happened in Dallas, Texas (which is just a few hours from me), I felt a heavy burden on my heart to write about something that isn’t (commonly) addressed during these sad times.
Racism. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Ermehgerd, she’s so stupid, that’s all over the media!” but stay with me here – there’s a method to my madness, I promise. The basis of these attacks on the human population can all be traced back to racism.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, this post is NOT about any-color supremacy. Or to put-down any skin color. If you take off our skin, we all look the same. It’s no different than when my hair was blue, purple and green a few weeks ago. If I shaved my head, I’d look like any other person with no hair.
But I digress.
Racism is the basis of these attacks. What I want to address though, is the basis of the racism. How did people get to thinking that there was a hierarchy for skin color? Because of our nation’s history. Segregation, slavery, and the mentality of superiority were driving factors to make one person view another as a lesser entity, and want not-equal things to happen to them. But don’t limit your thinking to the “whites and the blacks” in terms of skin color – this happened in many countries around the world to people FROM the very country that was persecuting them. Egyptians were slaves to other Egyptians, Saudi Arabians were sold as slaves to other Saudi Arabians, Africans were slaves to other Africans. The major difference in all of this is when the lines of color are crossed – when a person of one color skin is a slave to a person of another color skin. Africans were sold as slaves to the Saudi Arabians. Muslims were sold as slaves to other European countries.
But how did it all begin?
Racism was invented by society. It’s a thought process that views someone else as inferior simply because they are different than you are. Money was and still is a very large driving factor in this continuing mentality, as those with money view those without as lesser individuals. How did racism begin? It’s a educated guess or theory at best, and I’m leaving that one up to the people qualified to tackle it.
What is on my heart and mind as a mother is the fact that it continues. Narrow-minded thinking gets passed down to the next generation by way of expressing opinions as truths, and the younger ones don’t know to challenge it, so they accept it as the truth they know. Many times their eyes are opened later in life and they change their opinions, and many times it’s not. Is this due to a lack of options, a lack of understanding, a lack of intelligence, lack of ___? Possibly. Each situation is as different as each person. The main issue is that it still continues. Generation after generation get fed this narrow-minded way of thinking, and not given the option to form their own opinions.
So how do we fix this? How do we combat this issue that has plagued humanity as a whole since seemingly the beginning of history? By teaching our kids to think for themselves. We as parents need to allow – NO, we need to encourage our children to keep an open mind about everything in life, and to decide for themselves what their beliefs are. By no means am I saying to not parent your children! We are their guides to all things in life, from healthy eating habits, safe places to go, the right things to say, how to dress and not look like you’re from the 1980’s (bless my daughter’s heart!*), and how to worship and praise in the religion of your church, amongst many other duties. But if your child decides that they are different, shouldn’t we encourage that (within reason)? If they decide that they are a Democrat in a Republican household, what exactly does it matter? It’s a matter of beliefs, plain and simple. It may change how you communicate, but it shouldn’t change how much you love them. If they decide that Catholicism is not their thing, and they are going to be Jehovah’s Witness, then that’s their thing. We as parents should love them anyway, and still support them and invite them to happy and peaceful Sunday dinners (mindfully avoiding the conflicting issues…there should be plenty of other things to chat about!)
So what does this have to do with racism? Everything. Racism is a learned behavior; it’s learned by watching and listening to how those around them treat others that are different. If it starts at home, it can end at home. If we as parents are mindful of how we treat others, our children will learn this. If we do not discriminate based on superficial circumstances, our children will not either. If we do not spew hatred because of a difference in beliefs but instead teach tolerance, our children will learn to tolerate those that are different and love them for who they are. If we teach morals, our children will learn morals.
Let me reiterate that: IF WE TEACH MORALS, OUR CHILDREN WILL LEARN MORALS.
Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Leo Tolstoy said “Everyone thinks about changing the world, but no one thinks about changing himself.”
We can’t change anything unless we change ourselves. The next generation has no hope of making the changes that this world needs unless they are taught how. We can complain all we want, but until enough of us DO something about it, nothing will change. Many of us as parents do not have the capability (or time, for that matter) to attend rallies, protests, or campaign on a political level to make significant changes. But we are raising the next generation, and our possibilities for changes are as endless as our children’s imaginations.
R.I.P. to those that have lost their lives in the recent attacks, and may the hearts of the surviving family members be comforted during this painful time.
*There’s nothing wrong with the 80’s, it’s my all-time favorite decade! But we are not in the 80’s, so I try to encourage my daughter to at least coordinate her outfits, not layer the first 8 things she pulls out of her closet… 🙂