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At the End of The Day We Are All Humans
Ever thought about the quote “There is strength in the differences between us. There is comfort where we overlap”? When thinking about present day Race Relations in America this is what comes to mind. In the wake of this new era, race relations have unfortunately grown increasingly tenser day by day. There’s a common tendency to talk about civil rights in past tense when it in fact is also present tense we should be talking about. Racism has undoubtly been a major issue since the colonial Era and therefore is presented as past tense but it is just as bad in today’s society hundreds of years later redeeming it to be present tense as well. American society to this day continues to experience high levels of racism and discrimination essentially leading to a more polarized and divided nation. Consequently, part of today’s apparent dividends appears to be a matter of short-sighted perspective and lack of knowledge— many of us who feel that the nation has never been so split have only been politically conscious for a few decades at maximum and therefore have a short time frame from to compare the growth or ingrowth of American Race Relations. In order to improve race relations in America we are in a crucial need for deeper racial education, fostering new interracial relationship with acceptance, and consciously embracing the beauty of diversity.
The first step crucial for positively influencing racial relations is by obtaining a deeper education. Learning the why things happen and their direct impacts. Statistics show the majority of present day Americans don’t know their family’s heritage and don’t know what their ancestors went through decades ago. And don’t care to know either. What. How are we supposed to embrace each other if we don’t know the struggles faced in the first place? In the Article Too many Americans don’t know or care about their History by Cal Thomas, “The American council of Trustees and Alumni has released the results of a survey, which finds only lightly more than half of those who took a multiple-choice survey knew that Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme commander of allied forced on D-Day. Fewer than half knew that franklin Roosevelt was president.”. This has a significant impact on education because Americans aren’t possessing historical knowledge of significant events in history, former presidents’ names and even historical knowledge of their own country. How does that make sense at all? Michael Poliak off, ACTA’s vice president of policy, says:” We aren’t adequately preparing he next generation for the challenges of career and community with this apathetic approach to our national heritage. These people are unlikely to understand the cost of maintaining our nations freedom”. This is scary because education and knowledge is something we lack in all departments across the board. It is disturbing that some people don’t even know the people who granted freedom and fought to preserve it. Research says that when the majority of people understand their own families’ roots, an ethical feeling may be exhibited and therefore would promote acceptance and respect across all ethnic groups. It’s like it open the eyes and allows an individual to see from the other perspective. According to Alex Landeu, Survivor of a 2009 Denver police assault; besides people taking the time to listen rather than defend themselves “It is critical to assess organizations because there is a lot of misinformation out there. We in general need to be better listeners, in many cases I feel like we are great at crying wolf but not great at listening especially if it doesn’t impact us individually. Why would someone go out of their way to listen to other problems when it has nothing to do with them, after all its 2018 when times have significantly changed from the beginning. Some organizations even perpetuate the misinformation and then it leads to even larger horizontal divides within our community (Landau 2). Overall, Americans are very quick to defend themselves but not as deliberate when it comes to the listening part. It is hard for someone to understand the impacts of racism when they haven’t personally experienced it and that is why a deeper education is more necessary now than ever.
The second step essential to improving American Race Relations is fostering new relationships across all ethnic groups. Learning about traditions and the ethnic backgrounds of people is a big factor. Learning about abut heritage and places dear to each other is just as crucial. Most importantly acknowledging and accepting we all come from different walks of life and obtain different stories. And it’s okay!! Today we still see huge stereotypes, misconceptions, and presumptions about what it means to expose and be a part of interatrial relationships. And more importantly why we don’t have many. Without realizing it in our minds we possess assumptions that make us judge, avoid, or act harsh fully towards people who are different than us. Simply only for the reason that we are different. We just naturally as human want to be around people who are similar to we are. For example, in the article Ways to Improve Race Relations Paul Schnell says, “Oftentimes when I think about the circle I associate with its people who are a lot like me… All of us need to ensure we have real relationships with people who are different from us, not just racially or culturally. We need to feel comfortable talking about our differences across our differences”. (Schnell). This is significant because how are we ever going to be able to recognize and more importantly accept each other’s differences if we aren’t associating with different ethnic groups. A huge part of a successful town, community, nation, and world is accepting the fact we look up at the same stars and see different things. Schell’s comment is also significant because these stereotypes we see daily dictate the way we think about, talk about, and promote interracial relationships. While we cannot just rid these stereotypes (I wish it were that easy) we can combat them and decrease their significance by doing something that demands affirmative actions be taken essentially putting yourself out there. For example, volunteering, introducing yourself to neighbors, and attending social events. All of these things give the opportunity to foster new relationships with all different kinds of people on all different walks of like you wouldn’t otherwise meet. Americans are good at not doing something if it does not benefit them so we have to find a happy medium where we can do things and see some benefit from it. According to research people are fearful of initiating friendships and communicating because they are fearful of other viewpoints and that theirs might then be deemed as worthless. Everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint and we should respect them even if we don’t necessarily agree. A successful result of fostering new relationships will promote an opportunity for growth in personal strength and development while also bringing American Relations closer rather than apart. Something we all should remember is the quote said by Stephen Covey and that is “Strength lies in differences, not similarities”.
Consciously embracing the beauty of diversity is the final step to improving race relations. Thinking about it the human race is complexly diverse in many ways from gender, religion, race, wealth, sexuality, and even individual life styles. We live in a world with billions of people who want to live and experience new things, meaning: we constantly want to expose ourselves to new things, to travel, to try new things. In the article, “The Key to a Peaceful World” Jordan Bates, an entrepreneur says, “Our common pains and joys are what bring us together, but our diversity makes us unique.” This is significant because we are so diverse but share common joys and common pains as well. The problem as seen in the film Selma, Directed by Ava Devaney is where Martin Luther King Jr. is arguably fighting to secure equal voting rights. All he wanted was for blacks and whites to be equal. He stood up for what he believed and that is that we are all created equal therefore should share equal rights. So many people in our world have had their basic right taken from them simply due to a lack of understanding on what they are entitled to. “An understanding that difference in appearance, belief, of way of life does not make one person better than another” (Bates). By not understanding each other people can feel intimidated, bullied, depressed and even mistreated. In order to overcome these boundaries that set us apart from each other we must work against them by showing compassion because together we can do great things. This is important because compassion allows us to signify and represent our impact in something much larger them ourselves. “It allows us to forget our selfish desires and strive to better the lives of the less fortunate” (Taylor). Truly caring about others, their life and status fills us all with a purpose and an abundant amount of peace. At the end of the day we are all humans constantly experiencing highs and lows but striving to be happy. Our lives are all different but yet the same. We don’t need to be an exact copy of one another but instead we need to embrace our diversity and celebrate the uniqueness of everyone. How are we supposed to build the best America a leading nation of everyone is working against each other to obtain a little more power than everyone else? The only way we will see improvements is if everyone intentionally works together to do so.
Furthermore, some may argue that we as a nation have become too polarized and there is no hope to reform. Here we are about 60 years later still facing these issues. Nowadays we don’t see slavery as being as persistent as our ancestors saw it but there have been other events that took place. We have been trying to break these stereotypes, stigmas, and barriers for decades now if it hasn’t worked yet then it most likely never will. A research poll conducted by ABC shows that 63 percent of people currently say, “race relations are in bad shape and have no chance of Improving”. Today we are seeing more often than ever mass shootings happen on a daily basis, racism occurring all around us, and the high profile of black vs white police profile shootings. In the commentary released by Chicago Tribute Albert R. Bloomberg states “The civil rights movement broke down economic and social barriers and unshared in new opportunities for Black Americans. Politically, the voting rights act has made America a better country, but the road remains tough (Bloomberg). This is significate because it is hard not to lose hope and give up on something when you don’t immediately see results. As humans, we are driven by actual results we want to see results now; not later but now, without that we presume no purpose to do whatever we are doing. Here not only are we missing success but we are seeing it take off in the opposite direction. In an interview presented by former President Barrack Obama he encourages people to seek the political will to keep changing this country for the better. He says, these issues we are grappling with go back for decades, even centuries. But if we can open our hearts and try to see ourselves in one another. If we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right. I’m confident we will lead our country to a better day. (Obama). First of all, 60 years later A black man held a position as US president in the White House. That itself is a big deal. In the film Selma, all they wanted was equal rights with white people. And because of martin Luther’s contributions and dedication to the American People President Obama was able to deliver his legacy he one day hoped for. In the end though it may seem like we are too far apart for improvement there is still hope and it begins with seeing the world through optimistic eyes. Optimism is a strategy that ensures a better future for everyone. As a society seeking reform of Racial Relations we need to see the world in the simplest of eyes. Never Stop dreaming and continuing to believe that anything is possible. Because like Obama once said, unless you believe that there is potential for better days out there you are unlikely to take responsibility, initiate change and see the anticipated better days. If you assume there is no hope you guarantee there is no hope.
Overall, Race relations are currently just as significant now as they were in the beginning but now it is time to consciously make efforts to improve them. There’s a tendency to talk about Race Relations in a past tense but we need to talk about it as a present tense, these are still issues happening far more prominently than they should be. “If there is hope for Americans to move forward as a country it lies in the promise that democracy can bring those from different cultures and different views together to the same table where they can work collaboratively based on a larger shared identity and common good” (Stapler). Much of what we know, or what we think we know about political polarization is based on polls and surveys that force respondents into choices that may fail to capture the complexity of how people actually feel. People aren’t expressing themselves and their thoughts anymore. The good news is that counteracting polarization and getting back to the ideals America was founded upon is not a lost cause, if only Americans are circumspect enough to recognize what we have in common. We are all Americans sharing the same American identity and American Dream for a happy successful life, it is grounded in a shared if unrealized aspiration to grantee the rights to life, liberty, and democracy. We were all humans until race disconnected us, Religion separated us, Politics divided us, and wealth classified us. America was not built on fear, America was not built on judgment and America was not built on greediness but it was built on courage, imagination, and a shared purpose.
- Bates, Jordan. “The Key to a Peaceful World.” pp. 112-34.
- Email, Asharf M., et al. The Art Of Killing A Dream, vol. 20, no. 3-4, 2013, pp. 64-79.
- Heckman, James T. “The American Family in Black& White: A post Racial Strategy for Improving Skills to Promote Equality.” vol. 140, no. 2, pp. 70-89.
- Landau, Alex. “How Americans See Race and Racial Relations is Shifting Dramatically.”.
- Luther King, Martin, actor. Selma. Directed by Ava Duverney2015.
- Stapler, Renee. “5 Key Takeaways about views of race and inequality in America.” July 2015.
- Sarah, Song. “Majority Norms, Multiculturalism, and Gender Equality.” vol. 99, no. 4, 2005, pp. 473-89.
- Schnell, Paul. “Ways to Improve Race Relations.”.
- Taylor, Jared. “A Brief History of American Race Relations.” 27 Sept. 2013.
- Tribune, Chicago, and Alfred A. Bloomberg. “US race relations: Six surprising statistics.” Editorial. 18 June 2015.
- Touch, Steven A., and Michael Hughes. “Whites’ Racial Policy Attitudes in the Twenty-First Century.” The Continuing Significance of Racial Resentment, Mar. 2011, pp. 134-52.
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