Abolishing Racism

I’ve been a HUGE fan of Morgan Freeman ever since I saw him play Easy Reader on The Electric Company.  However, there’s an amazing interview of his that was floating around Facebook last month that has me wanting to jump up and hug him more than ever.

This is actually from an interview he gave on 60 Minutes a few years back.  I’m not sure if he still feels the same on the subject as he did back then, but I still wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, regardless.

Unfortunately, in the overly-PC society in which we currently live, I would be considered a racist if I were to utter such words in mixed company.  And being a white woman would only compound the bad feelings, since the common perception is that I have no idea of the trials and tribulations that black people went through during the times of slavery.

While it’s true that I have no first-hand knowledge, I don’t think that I need to have experienced the atrocities to understand that black people were treated abhorrently back then.  I don’t need to watch Schindler’s List to know the hell that Jewish people were subjected to back in the time of Hitler’s reign, either.  Things like that are a part of our collective consciousness.

The other thing I would point out is that, like me, most people in my generation and the generations since have also never experienced the racist atrocities that their ancestors endured.  They may have had stories told to them by their parents or grandparents, but that doesn’t mean they actually lived it themselves.

Believe me, I’m not belittling the horrible treatment people back then had to go through; any inhumane treatment like that is elitist, mean, and unnecessary.  But I also don’t think it’s healthy for people who never lived it to keep carrying the flag of anger and resentment around like some sort of badge of honor.  Indignation like that seems to be nothing more than a way for people to cry “Life’s not fair . . . gimme something!”

What I really find interesting is that a group of people who were deemed “less than”, and had segregation forced upon them, are actually now in favor of segregation themselves.  That’s what things like “Black History Month” and “The United Negro College Fund” are basically doing, in my opinion.  They’re keeping black people and white people (and Asians, Indians, etc) segregated into their little groups; rather than allowing everyone to coexist in the great melting pot that is our world.

And besides, like Mr. Freeman said, how can you relegate the history of an entire race of people to one month?  As he pointed out, there isn’t a “White Man/Woman Month”, or a “Celebrate Judaism Month.”  I’m not suggesting that those be created – we have too many monthly tributes in my opinion anyway – but there shouldn’t need to be a certain month celebrating black people.  They should be celebrated every day, just like everyone should.  It’s our diversity that makes us special and worth celebrating; regardless of race, religion, gender or what have you.

I truly applaud his suggestion for how to end racism:  STOP.  TALKING.  ABOUT.  IT.  Yes, we need to discuss things that have affected our lives, to a point.  But to bring them up whenever it suits our need only succeeds in keeping the bad memories and emotions in the front of our minds.  That’s not the path to healing.  Steps have been taken, and policies put into play to ensure that we don’t fall back into the malicious treatment of a group of people who deserved to be treated as well as anyone else on this planet.  It’s not perfect yet – just as there’s a long way to go for equality overall – but I know it’s better than it was, and I believe it will get better still.

So I’m going to do my part, at Mr. Freeman’s suggestion.  I’m going to stop discussing racism, once I’ve stepped down from this soap box.  I invite others to do the same.  Let’s join together to abolish racism once and for all!

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 09:51:47

    I love Morgan Freeman and I love what he had to say. If racism comes up, the way that the attacks on women’s rights have been, then yeah, it needs to be fought and talked about. But the continued segregation isn’t helping. yes, we should all be proud of who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going. But let’s try and do it together.

    Reply

  2. Bette Golden Lamb
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 10:29:57

    I love Morgan Freeman, too. But let’s face it, he leads a privledged life, not the same as a blue collar worker in Alabama.who has to listen to the “N” word tossed around by whites, to his face, or, not so silently, behind his back.
    It isn’t the open discussion that promotes racism, quite the opposite. It’s the nasty innuendos, and the constant aside jabs, and the continued lack of respect for others. That promotes it, and it starts as a whisper in the crib.
    I hate the talk of “white” or “black” or “yellow” or “brown,”all the alienating terms that separate us. But if you think not talking about racism makes it go away — well, if only that were true!
    No, I think we need to talk more about it, right along with women’s rights, education, and the growing body of elitism, and class separation that is hounding every one of us.
    Would love to see more blogs like this, Alyx. Good job!
    Bette

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 10:41:03

      I didn’t mean that we should ignore racism, hoping it will go away, & I agree that frank discussions on how to fix the problems can be very helpful. But for someone to say “My ancestors were abused, so you owe me!”, that’s the part that I think needs to be abolished.

      I agree that labels are very alienating, & would love to see us all stop using them. It might not come to full fruition in my lifetime, but I can do my part in not using them.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Bette. Thanks for visiting.

      Reply

    • Craig
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 19:58:59

      Bette. I just read your comment. You’re right about the worker in Alabama confronted with the “N” word all the time. That’s a different conversation than what we were originally talking about. We were talking more about the other people that the sort of racism you described aren’t touching or affecting, but they are carrying the torch of bitterness and playing the race card anyway. If someone is directly touched and influenced by racism, we definitely should talk about it and confront it, and do something about it. Thanks for bringing to light that distinction.

      Reply

  3. Craig
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:27:02

    As a step toward that end, I propose that when anyone is asked (In that little section of forms that is designated as ‘voluntary information’) for “profiling” information, they refuse to answer. I understand that at times they won’t LET you not answer, but as much as you can, don’t give them that information. The only reason they want that information is to prove they are not being sexist or racist. In order to do that they have to pigeon-hole everyone into their categories of “black”, “white”, “female”, “Asian” (which is hypocritical and contradictory). If race isn’t an issue, then it shouldn’t matter whether or not they have enough of one category or another. If it’s truly not an issue, they shouldn’t need to know, for ANY REASON.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:38:49

      I agree, wholeheartedly! The only problem is that there will be people who will scream “discrimination” or “racism” if it suits their ends.

      It has often bothered me that companies will hire someone based on his/her race, in order to meet a quotient, rather than hiring the best person for the job. Sometimes that will be a person of one race & sometimes it will be of another, but I’ve seen a potential employee get passed over for someone of a different ethnicity, when it was clear that the one who was hired wasn’t as skilled as the other, but fit the percentage needed for the company to look “good” on the books.

      Equality shouldn’t mean “equal number of people from different ethnic groups hired,” but “all ethnic groups are treated equally, & the best of the melting pot gets chosen.” If you want to get chosen, make sure you’re one of the best!

      Thanks for stopping by today, Craig.

      Reply

  4. Kaye George
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 15:43:40

    I agree with the above commenter that black people are still fighting a ton of racism, at least where I live. For that reason, racism can’t be ignored yet. I hope the day comes, but that might be when we’re all intermarried enough to have the same color skin and shape eyes. I have no idea what the solutions are, but I know we haven’t arrived there yet.

    (Why is commenter underlined as misspelled above??? The is the comment section and it’s spelled correctly. The Comments section doesn’t know how to spell commenter? Just wondering.)

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 15:53:16

      I hope we NEVER get to the point where we all have the same color skin & eye shape, simply because some of what makes us each our unique will be gone. What I hope is that we all develop racial color blindness, & religious blindness. And, while I’m aware that there are still some people out there who practice racism & the use of racial slurs (which is extremely unfortunate in the 21st century!), I don’t believe that reverse segregation is the answer.

      Maybe the solution isn’t to stop talking about it, but to change the dialogue we’re having…especially with our children. If we can teach more tolerance to our children, eventually it will become our reality.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kaye. As for the spelling question, it doesn’t show up on the blog as misspelled, so I’m sorry, but I don’t have an answer for you.

      Reply

      • Kaye George
        Mar 16, 2012 @ 15:55:56

        I agree that reverse segregation isn’t an answer, but don’t know what is. There are many parts of this country where your skin color is a real handicap.

        I just thought the commenter thing was kinda funny!

  5. Craig
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 20:07:53

    I have never seen cats look askew at other cats like they were thinking “Oh… You have ORANGE fur. You’re not as good as us pure black cats”. Black cats, and Siamese cats are looking at black and white spotted cats and thinking ‘interracial’. Calico cats are skulking in the corner thinking, “Are you @#$&ing kidding me? I can’t catch a break!”.

    Hopefully, we’ll start thinking more like the animal kingdom and just look at other people thinking, “Another breed, different coloring, but still a human”.

    Reply

  6. Bette Golden Lamb
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 21:55:48

    I look forward to the day when Martin Luther King Jr’s, I HAVE A DREAM … is a reality, And you know, I don’t much care which route we use to get there (peacefully).. I just want to be in that kind of world!
    Best to all of you.
    Bette

    Reply

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