I was just reading an Associated Press article on the Internet, bearing the above amazingly un-insightful headline. And, the story beneath the headline was equally un-insightful. But, it was the use of a statistic that caught my eye -
"Four of every 10 white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, calling them "lazy," or "violent" or blaming them for the ills of black America, according to the AP-Yahoo poll."
Exactly where is the surprise in that? Chances are that four of every ten Americans hold a least a partly negative view toward their neighbors, regardless of their race. Here's the deal ...
- There is no genetic, inborn dislike of the unlike. Racism, on all sides, is taught by those considered to be authority figures within the family, neighborhood and community. This indoctrination generally begins informally, at an age pre-dating that of understanding, through casual conversations among adults overheard by small children. Wishing to please the adults, the children memorize and practice the litany of hatred which they have heard, hoping for positive recognition.
- It seems to be a part of human nature, at least in many people, to want to look down the social ladder and see somebody beneath them. If there's nobody there, they will - in their own mind - place somebody there. Nobody wants to be on the bottom rung.
- There is resentment for some historical events within all ethnic and racial groups. Some of these events are well-known outside the group primarily affected by it, others are relatively obscure and well-hidden from 'outsiders '. The holocaust, and enslavement of black Africans in post-colonial America, are probably the two best-known. The Turkish war of genocide against the Armenians in 1915-1916, at the cost of 1.5 million Armenian lives, is probably one of the least remembered. The Irish and Italians weren't exactly received with open arms when they immigrated to the USA. But, we tend to forget about those things which happened before most of us were born ... if we ever learned about them in the first place. The whiners get the attention.
- Revisionist history has become a fun subject for our liberal left educational/indoctrination centers to foist upon the innocent young. The basic philosophy there is one of - if you don't like the way things happened in the past, rewrite history the way you would have liked it to have been! The hope there is probably that 'if a thing is ignored long enough, perhaps it will become less noticeable in the future.' If you ignore a scab it will heal more quickly ... but if you ignore a cancer, it may just kill you!
- Most people have had at least one negative social interaction with someone of a different race or ethnicity ... and probably 20 times that many with people of their own race/similar ethnicity, but which do they remember? (That was, of course, a hypothetical question which I shall now answer ...) They remember the one with the member of a different race, because there is something about them that makes it more memorable. It may be the color of their skin ... or the way they talk ... or their manner of dress. Regardless of what it may be, there is something about them that causes us to make a mental generalization about all the others who may resemble that person. That's just another negative aspect of human nature. Here's a surprise for some of you readers -human beings are not perfect, and the vast majority don't even strive for - or desire - perfection. It's easier to go with the flow of one's peers. 'Going with the flow' requires less objective thought, provides less emotional turmoil and less social conflict than taking an oppositional stand. On a slightly more positive note, you remain on good social terms with your peers and reap the rewards of being accepted as one of the like-minded masses.
Almost every race and ethnic group has been on the receiving end of prejudice somewhere and at some point in time. And many - besides people of African descent - have ancestors who were slaves. What would be newsworthy, would be if the media stopped fanning the flames of racial discord with insipid,sophomoric articles such as this one!
There must be some point in time at which we are all ready to put the injustices of the past to rest. Resentment of things that happened to ancestors 150 to 2,500 years ago is ridiculous! Yes, it was a bad deal. But, as the Irish and Italians have done, get on with your life - the one YOU have in the here and now. Living in the past is counterproductive, in that it will not resurrect your ancestors ... it will just keep feeding resentment. And that resentment seems to cross-feed to those you resent - who go merrily about resenting the resenters for their resentment, which only feeds that resentment, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
But, this is just the way I see things. I may be as socially myopic as most people seems to be. I'm not certain that I'm finished with this subject yet, but I'm going to post it anyway. I can always come back and continue it at a later time in a separate post.