I have railed for years; jumped on my soapbox at every chance in every bar in Seattle to proclaim that adults are what they learned as children. More often than not, I'm met by silence. I'm not sure that maybe all parents are happy with what they taught their children, or they simply don't give a shit.
The other night, we watched an MSNBC special titled, Civil War. If you didn't see it, you should. I imagine it is available for streaming. It's a bit long, possibly overly long. Still, it is an eye-opener as young children and politicians try to understand and, in some instances, rewrite our history in terms of racism to fit what they already believe.
I listened to one boy in particular, a bright and eloquent young man, as he tried to debate with his teacher whether the Civil War was really about slavery, and other young people in the piece just wanted everyone to stop talking about race and slavery. Mostly the kids that felt that way were from the South, and it is my opinion that family members and friends have already brainwashed them.
I remain steadfast in my belief that what children become is what they learned at the feet of their parents and other adults. No child is born with racist tendencies; that is learned in their formative years, the first ten years of life for the most part.
Imagine a two-year-old child playing with toys on the floor. A new story comes on the TV about a Black person who committed a crime. The racist or semi-racist parents are watching the TV, and one of them, generally the father, says something like, "They should lock that fucking n***er up!" or something to that effect.
The child is still playing with toys on the floor; the parents don't think the kid is listening. But they aren't deaf - they heard the words of their parents. They may even cast a quick glance toward the TV to see what is on the screen. That image and the words of the father are now linked in the mind of that child. Chances are, there will be many more instances like that in that child's home over the next ten years. That child is now programmed for racism.
As I listened to and watched this show, a thought occurred to me. Are people who are blind from birth racist? Are people who are deaf from birth racist? I'm going to say with little chance of contradiction that a person who is both deaf and blind from birth is absolutely not racist.
Why? Because they were never subjected to the sounds and sights of racism. A mind never exposed to those thoughts and images can't possibly be racist, in my opinion. There are no absolutes, and someone may be able to present an example of someone who is blind, deaf, or both who is a racist, but I can guarantee you that they are in the smallest minority imaginable.
Racism is learned. Racism is taught from a very early age. It is passed on from generation to generation as surely as is money and property. When we find an answer to the problem of teaching our children racism, we will be able to move away from that as a national problem.
Discussing life, politics, and philosophy in the language of the bar.