During the winter break, our family watched the movie 42, the story of Jackie Robinson and his rise to the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African-American to make it to professional baseball. I had mixed feelings about this movie prior to watching. I want my boys to understand meaningful moments in African-American history, but I want to protect them from the ills of racism, and I knew they would witness the raw racism of that time, and, sadly, I know they will encounter it at some point in their lives. Maybe not the boiling hatred that my father coped with or the obnoxious comments I endured, but the subtle slights or perceived judgments passed down to them because people are clueless to their own biases. One of the burdens in sending my children to school was wondering when someone was going to call them a nigger and how I was going to explain the meaning of a word steeped in hatred, oppression, and other adjectives that can never truly define it. Today, I witness racism fading with diverse groups of friends playing together and families of every race and culture coexisting in love. I see it losing its grip with each generation. With more than eight years in the school system, I have not had to console any of my boys because of scenarios similar to those of my own childhood. I can only hope that our conversations about the beauty of their skin, the blessing of their intelligence, and the incredible value of their worth, because they are unique, will give them the confidence to speak up for themselves, stand up for others, and respect all. As I was writing this last night, I hesitated to continue, because, well, there are some that feel this is a moot point; that either racism no longer exists or that people will not change. And then I was reminded of a young man that divided a nation again on this very issue, Trayvon Martin.
Michael McAuliff, a writer for the Huffington post shares and questions also if racism in America still exists, given past and current examples, with Trayvon Martin in the center of this question. See the link below to this article.
So, do you feel racism still exists? How do you address this issue with your students and children? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. Your time and insight on this issue can benefit others.
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com