Recent conversation about racism with my teenage son prompted me to write this article. Thanks to The HuffandPuff Post for publishing it.
The conversation started with us both agreeing that racism is bad. Phew… He is not a racist. Than things became more complicated and I could not escape a feeling that school does not go any further than just saying that racism is bad. There is no critical analysis offered on definition of racism, roots and causes and, of course, solutions.
Firstly, in our very enlightening conversation, we tried to define racism. I found that my definition was different to that of my son, or, rather, what school taught him.
I offered a simple definition: Racism is ostracizing, ridiculing, persecuting or discrimination of someone on a basis of his / her race or ethnicity – genetic human features that cannot be changes or chosen. Discussion of the roots, causes and consequences of racism is not racism.
The conversation drifted to crime statistics in USA and…. then I realized that we are raising ostriches, yes, the birds that bury their heads in sand with the first sign of danger.
I mentioned that African Americans are over represented in crime statistics. That caused my son, a gentle soul, no doubt, jump. O, my God, Dad – this is such a racist thing to say! Whites, Latino and black all commit crimes and bringing up the statistics like that is plain racist!
I thought, steady boy, proceed to explaining yourself before he start thinking that his dad is a KKK member. I explained that African Americans suffered centuries of slavery, oppression and all sorts of bad treatment. That impeded their opportunities, access to education etc. That, inevitably, make a class of people prone to higher crime rates. Importantly, we should not hush those things up but think of how inequalities can be rectified in a constructive respectful manner.
There are populations around the world that earned my respect by turning from the most oppressed into most advanced. Israel is the perfect example. Israelis said – we turn ourselves into the most educated, most technologically advanced people in the world – and they did.
Look at African Americans – in every music channel rappers promote the whole class of people as some criminal “Bros”. The culture of victimhood is in everyday’s mindset. That needs to be resolved, so African Americans enjoyed the same living standards, access to education as anybody else.
Thank God, my son agreed that statistics cannot be racist – statistics are facts that must prompt, firstly, a constructive open discussion and, secondly, identify actions to be taken to address social wrongs.
My question is to schools. Why and who promotes the views that it is racist to mention inequalities?