First and foremost everyone needs to understand that there is only one race, and that is the human race. Now I admit we come in a variety of colors, shades, and hues; but this is in no way justifies any form of discrimination on anyone’s part. Let it be said again, discrimination is wrong, evil, and unacceptable. Still to be honest this has happened in the past, is happening now, and will continue into the future. So let us admit to this and also state that it is getting better despite the attempts of race baiters, politicians, and the truly prejudiced. In fact if these people were removed there might be true and amazing progress. So if this is the problem what if any are the possible solutions? Where and what are the keys to lasting acceptance among people? Despite all the books, articles, and speeches understanding may be encouraged and grown by addressing three areas: economics, education, and culture.
First the economic underpinnings of prejudice and what can be done about their effects. When a group of people finds it difficult to impossible to find a good job two things will happen. One the people who work and must pay extra for those who do not will resent this. Two the group that cannot find work will end up with a damaged psyche, and develop a feeling of hopelessness. What can be done to change this around? To start with federal, state, and local governments could provide low interest loans to people who would start businesses in blighted areas as well as to companies that go out of their way to hire the chronically unemployed. When there are jobs available people have a sense of pride, an outlook that brims with hope and confidence; a feeling that the future is out there and waiting to be grabbed.
Second on the list of divisive circumstances is education. If education were equal and available for all then everyone would have a roughly equal starting point. Sadly this is not the case. The education system is too dedicated to passing a set of tests to fully educate our children. This can be overcome by parents who help and support their children, by parents who are well-educated themselves and who provide learning experiences above and beyond what the school gives. So what can be done here? Scrap the high stakes testing theory of education and concentrate on teaching the basics. Once this is done then the schools’ may provide both advance courses in academics as well as vocational courses to all students. Also the habit of passing students who are not academically ready for the next grade must stop. Nothing succeeds like failure. How do you learn to walk? By falling and getting back up. How did you learn fire is hot? By getting burned and burned again till we learn. We learn as much by our failures as by successes. So reading, writing, and arithmetic are what is needed.
Third and last are the cultural aspects that cause a difference in attitudes, expectations, and acceptance. This means the thug, gang-banging lifestyle, replete with the violent rap that glorifies evil that fails to uplift the spirit that justifies violence and crime as the path to respect and wealth. The expectation that law enforcement is corrupt and out to get you not protect you and thus does not deserve respect or support drives a wedge between groups. Also the willingness to be a lifelong drain on society instead of a productive member must be changed. This means a limit on social programs that act as a crutch. All a crutch will do is weaken the area over time as it makes you dependent on it. No free phones but put payphones in the area. Make the locals have an interest in seeing that these phones are not destroyed, also increase the police presence in the area. Maybe by giving low cost loans to members of city services who agree to live in a troubled area? Above all open lines of communication between people. Allow people to learn that our similarities far outweigh our differences. We all want the next generation to be better off in all ways. Well until next week may you have fair winds and a following sea.
ROY POKLADNIK, is a teacher and problem solver welcomes comments and suggestions for topics . He may be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org.