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Sunday, May 11, 2014

You Look Fine To Me (a follow up to "You Don't Look Right!" - kinda)

I actually got a few comments via email on the post about the Supreme Court and their ruling on affirmative action. In case you do not follow this blog or keep up with the Supremes and their rulings - late last month they ruled that affirmative action (the conscious process of admissions where candidates are admitted to a school based on race/ethnicity vs qualifications, for the purpose of diversity) was not constitutional. I agreed with the ruling. I am not going to repeat my words - look back a few posts.

On race relations, bigotry, and discrimination I have an observation. Any of you that have kids and allow them to play freely at a public park know this. I just got back from an afternoon out with two of my grandchildren. A girl 8 1/2, and a boy 6. After a gourmet meal at McDonald's we went to a city park with a playground that was nearby. There were four or five children that were already there when we got there, playing on the slides, see-saw, swings, etc. These kids were of various ages - I would guess 4 to 11. They were also of various colors. So after my grandchildren joined in there were black, white, and brown children playing together. My comment is this - I, and the other parents/grandparents there were the only ones that noticed that fact. To my grandkids and the others, there were just kids; all there to have a good time. After thirty seconds or so they were all playing together, pushing each other on swings, joining in on the see-saw, playing tag, etc. and intermingling between all those activities with total abandon. Another five or six children of various ages arrived while we were there.

After several minutes of playing, one little black girl saw the swings were empty. She said "Let's go swing!". When no one responded, she went up to my grandson (about her size, if not her age) and said "Let's go swing!". When he did not respond (he was in a serious see-saw mode), she grabbed his hand and said "Come on friend, let's swing!". She nor my grandson had any inkling of color or race. They were "friends" playing together - even after a few minutes. I watched all the kids closely after that. There was an obvious familial connection between some of them and that showed. Other than that "bias" (and that was mostly shown in who to aggravate first) there was no acknowledgement of anything other than the common goal of fun. The scene made me think of how adults would have done it. I will admit that in this day and age race/ethnicity would not have prevented most adults from interacting in a group. Working/playing together works with adults to a degree as well. But, there is always a sense of tribe that exists, at least to me. There is not the abandonment of color that occurs with children.

I wonder if the generation of my grandchildren will be able to hold onto this color blindness? One thing that will help greatly is the fact that racial lines are blurring so much. I myself now belong to a racially mixed family that would have shocked if not offended generations before. I have a black son-in-law, a black niece and nephew, and a mixed race grandson. I would do anything I could for any of them. In fact, except in this context, they are not my "black" relatives. They are just my family.

The other thing that quickly changing the outlook of race is the mixed race marriages. As I said above, I have a daughter that is in one. The number of "brown" people of mixed heritage is growing by leaps and bounds. If you have people at your Thanksgiving table of all colors how can you draw color lines? Plus, if a generation or two down you are a child of mixed parents that were from mixed parents, how can you be prejudiced? Unfortunately, I am sure there will be a percentage that will find a way. However, I am convinced it will be a small number.

The other issue is the business of race. I am convinced that the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world, along with the NAACP and KKK types of organizations will continue to look at color/ethnicity as long as possible. Their livelihood and existence requires it. However, if the masses refuse to give them credence and credibility, it will not matter.

We can hope.

1 comment:

Brian in VA said...

Racism is not genetic, it is learned. I hope that, someday, it dies out but in my lifetime, I'd settle for becoming smaller and smaller.

I'm like you; I can hope.