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Election polls expose some Americans' racism to the world

Monday, September 29, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT

I believe by now that most Americans realize that the electronic media carries news around the world. That is, what I   say in Columbia can, within a few minutes, be read in Australia.

That is why I am embarrassed. Even though I am an African-American I am embarrassed because people of color throughout the world have probably seen The Associated Press-Yahoo poll and know that there are many white Americans who will not vote for a person running for elective office because his skin is black. I hope these people around the globe understand that whites are a majority in America, and, because of our failing educational system, many might unfortunately think they are a majority in the world and therefore believe their attitudes are OK.

Some of these people also believe that terrorists are out to get them, and since many Muslims are people of color this is another reason for their hatred. So, I want to go on record as saying that I personally refuse to get pulled into wars because of their warped views. White Americans have a right to hate as many people as they want to because of the color of their skin, but they do not have the right to drag the rest of us down with them. If I should be killed by an terrorist, please do not think that I died being grateful for the bigotries that some white Americans enjoy expressing to the world.

Most of us who were born and lived our early lives in a segregated America got over the feelings of hostility years ago and moved on. Some people will die harboring deep-seated prejudices and hatred in their hearts. That is too bad, but I'm not sure anything can be done to change that dynamic. For a lot of people, some Christian churches have helped them get over their hostilities. Other so-called churches have done just the opposite.

The problem of racism in America is one that should be dealt with every day by schools and the media. It is ridiculous to think that we can sit at the world's table and talk about human rights when some of our own people are tainted with bigotry. Most Americans get totally upset when certain radical black Americans keep bringing up this issue because not every black-white misunderstanding is based on racism.

Nevertheless when these bigoted white Americans are depending on men and women of color to go on the battlefield and risk their lives and well-being to defend their freedom their attitudes need to be addressed by responsible people.

Neither John McCain's nor Barack Obama's skin color has anything to do with the crisis in the financial market that threatens to bring the whole country down. And bigoted people dragging their diseased baggage into the polling booths to vote their hate is not going to help the situation. In fact, there is not one problem in America that prejudice, bigotry or hatred will solve, and people of any color who have these kind of attitudes need to learn productive and effective methods of dealing with them, because the modern world is getting less tolerant and accepting of these dead philosophies.

Recently, I attended a farmers market in a major U.S. city, and there must have been merchants present representing a half-dozen other countries, many in their native dress but all speaking English. This was America at its best, a merging of cultural traditions, an actual melting pot.

With so many truly important issues threatening our way of life, it's sad to have to take time to discuss matters people should have settled in their minds once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and the majority of Americans decided to put the past behind them and work toward a more prosperous future.

And I really don't know what hamlet, where in the United States a person would have to live, not to realize how many bi-racial people live in America. From where I sit, I have to believe that racially-prejudiced white people are the minority in the United States. And, if not, in another generation they will be.

Now, the Democrats and Republicans love this stuff. The more they can do to divide people the better they think their chances at the polls will be. And they are both probably right. After a while, the people get so tired of the bickering they decide not to vote and figure the lesser of the evils will maybe win.

One of the things this latest poll on the racial divide should tell us is that before we set out to go someplace like Iraq and tell the Shiites and the Sunnis how they should get along together maybe we should send diplomatic teams into America's neighborhoods and teach people how to get over themselves and learn how to live in a civilized society.

It would be a lot cheaper financially, but with all the guns I'm not sure what it might cost in human lives. Some folks are convinced that racial prejudice is one of their constitutional rights.

 You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at nolen@iland.net.

 


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