It is not an intrinsic part of human nature to be intolerant to another human because they differ in some way from you. Intolerance is taught as has been pointed out many times before if you watch two children of different ethnic groups play with each other you will see no sign of racism. These children do not see color and have no preconceived notion of who or what the other one represents other than a playmate. However as the children grow and their minds begin to expand they begin to both consciously and subconsciously pick up on the seemingly human culture of sticking with their own race because it’s comfortable, it’s familiar, Neighborhoods become ‘unintentionally” segregated, as children age their circle of friends becomes more and more homogenous. Job offers are made by identifying a person’s skin color, ethnic group, gender, religion, etc. rather than a person skill set. Intolerance leads to many things, the overwhelming majority bad, from workplace and housing discrimination, pay inequality, segregation, to an irrational fear of the unknown qualities of someone who shares the same basic human DNA structure but simply looks different, has a different belief system or was born on the opposite side of a man made line in the earth defining one country from another.
As we prepare to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this upcoming Monday one can only contemplate that he would no doubt be pleased with the many strides this country has made since his passing. The election of President Barack Obama a fulfillment of his dream that his four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. But as far as we have come as a nation we are still a long way from achieving the America that Dr. King gave his life for.
Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average more than nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher. They average over 40 times more income than the bottom 90 percent.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report, as of 2017 there were around 554,000 homeless people in the United States on a given night.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. In 2017, an estimated 1 in 8 Americans were food insecure, equating to 40 million Americans including more than 12 million children.
African-American unemployment remains about twice as high as white unemployment. In 2018, black unemployment averaged 7.4 percent, compared to an average of 3.7 percent for whites.
In every age group, current trends and policies are widening the ownership gap between African Americans and other groups. This gap reflects two fundamental factors: First, African American homeownership was particularly battered in the housing crisis, sharply reducing household wealth among African American families and dramatically lowering the long-term prospects for recovery for black homeownership at all ages. Second, African Americans continue to lag other races and ethnicities in employment, wages and income.
According to FiveThirtyEight police officers are indicted in fewer than 1% of killings, but the indictment rate for civilians involved in a killing is 90%.
According to the Guardian people who are African-American/Black are twice as likely to be killed by a police officer while being unarmed compared to a Caucasian/White individual.
According to Mapping Police Violence 69% of the victims of police brutality in the United States who are African-American/Black were suspected of a non-violent crime and were unarmed.
Sadly in 2019 a member of Peter King a representative of Congress told the New York Times “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” and King is unfortunately not alone in his ideas. When asked to comment on King’s comments President Trump did not denounce them instead saying he hasn’t been following the story. As Dr. King so eloquently put it: “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” But this should come as no surprise as the President has consistently defended white nationalists; sought to exploit the census to dilute the political power of minority voters; described immigration as an infestation, warning that it was “changing the culture of Europe”; derided black and Latino immigrants as coming from “shithole countries,” while expressing a preference for immigrants from places like “Norway”; and generally portrayed nonwhite immigrants as little more than rapists, drug dealers, and murderers at every opportunity. All this to pander to a base in America that believes to “Make America Great” we need to harken back to a time before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Was even a thought in his parent’s minds.
However I remain hopeful. As I’ve said before I believe this country is headed in the right direction, ever so slowly. It is up to us as a people to raise our voices as one and drown out those who would have Dr. King’s dream become just that a dream and never a reality. We’ve come a long way but still have a long way to go. Let us not lose sight of the finish line and march to it together in brotherhood.
The surest way to control the narrative, to ensure that the few can control the thoughts and choices of the many through clever slogans and sound bites is to endeavor to keep the many ignorant.An uneducated society is the biggest threat to our democracy.The founding fathers understood this as Thomas Jefferson stated:
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
Public education has been under attack by some for many years now.Just last week The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration’s initial education budget would strip $10.6 billion from federal initiatives.Many of the cuts would disproportionately impact poorer school districts.Something the founding fathers would be dismayed at. John Jay was quoted as saying:
“ I consider knowledge to be the soul of a republic, and as the weak and wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of that latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people that means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.”
And John Adams wrote:
“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”
Turning a blind eye to the dismantling of public education is to in essence relinquish our democracy over to the few who will continue to bamboozle the masses in order to maintain their wealth and power.
There is nothing more ugly than division and hate for each other with the exception of those who promote it for personal gain. One day they will have to stand before the creator and justify the unjustifiable.
There is nothing more beautiful than unity and compassion for each other. Blessings shall be showered unto those of us who who practice it. For we all God’s children regardless of what we may look like.
What does it mean to be American. It means you are part of a diverse community that includes individuals of different races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious beliefs and a host of other differences. That we embrace those differences so together we become greater than the sum of all us. That we educate ourselves on each other’s differences so we may be better understand our fellow Americans. That we rebuke those who believe in dividing us by stoking the prejudices and fears that innately resides in each of us so they can enhance their own power and wealth. That we reject the notion that preaching uniformity will make America great again, as if the continued diversification of this great land made us not great. That we dismiss those who believe we should isolate ourselves from others instead of showing compassion for those who are suffering from other countries. That we do not simply quote the words All Men are Created Equal but that we actively live them. It is in the melding of each one of us into society as a whole and the embrace of that philosophy that makes us American.
The foundation of any great democracy is the
education of its citizens. For any democracy
to flourish its people must be knowledgeable
enough to comprehend the matters of
contention which are paramount to the well
being of the masses. Without an educated
populace democracy becomes nothing more
than an illusion to be manipulated to the will of the few.
To paraphrase one of my favorite movie characters Morpheus from the Matrix what we have to understand is that most people in the world we exist in are not ready to be unplugged. Many of them so afraid of their own potential that they will fight the urge to believe in themselves, to believe that their possibilities are endless. They fight it in order to so call fit in. Your can be freed of this mindset but you can only be shown how, it is up to you to take the first step by believing in yourself. You have to let it all go. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Until you believe in yourself your mind like most around you remains a slave to society. Trapped in a prison you cannot taste, see or touch. A prison for your mind. But once you believe in yourself you enter a world without society’s rules or controls a world where you open yourself up to the limitless possibilities. Now the question is simply are you ready to be unplugged.
When a society willfully lets itself be divided by anyone whose primary agenda is to pit the masses against each other so that they may bolster their own personal wealth and power it can not be surprised to see unrest among the masses. It can not be surprised to see the very foundation on which it was built begin to crumble. It can not be surprised when it begins to fail from within. For the good of society as a whole the masses must put aside their differences and work together to reject what makes them different and embrace how their diversity has made them stronger. They do this only through a willingness to by listen to and learn about each other. It is only then that the masses will be able to stand up to those looking to divide, those who would see society crumble as long they themselves benefit and say no we will not stand idly by and let you destroy us. We are one, bonded by the spirit of humanity.