“Children will listen. Children will look to you for which way to turn, to learn what to be,”
Hatred and bigotry are learned.
You are not born with intolerance; you are shown the way by parents, family members, neighbors and the general public.
The writer's parents bragged that they would never vote for a Catholic politician, or one of Italian dissent, or German or any other non-WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) candidate.
These were the same parents who routinely used racial and ethnic slurs in general conversation, always in reference to their belief that everybody else was a second-class citizen.
The writer recalled sadly an incident in an American airport where his parents and he were having lunch waiting for a flight when his dad yelled at their server that the server wasn’t American because the server spoke with an accent.
The server was Puerto Rican and the writer was sad to note his father’s ignorance, that the server was in fact an American.
After pointing out the error, the father retorted angrily, “Doesn’t make any difference. If they’re American, they need to speak without an accent, same with Canadians.”
An irony is, his parents were Irish immigrants who had an accent.
“Careful the tale you tell. Children will listen. Tamper with what is true and children will turn,” (Streisand). “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. It’s got to be drummed in to your dear little ear. You’ve got to be taught to hate all those people your relatives hate,” (Oscar Hammerstein).
Bigotry and racism often stand in the way of cultural interaction and lead to distrust and crime. Watch the next time you’re in a grocery store or retail outlet and note whether the person preceding you in line or being assisted is treated equally. You may just see that a Caucasian person is met with friendliness and enthusiasm while the person of color is whisked through the process curtly bordering on rudeness.
When you see this, speak out and be a spokesperson for change.
by JONATHAN MCCORMICK Black Press
Children are not born racists therefore it is imperative society, we, speak up.