09/02/12 — A new racism: Don't listen to the haters -- or those with another agenda

View Archive

A new racism: Don't listen to the haters -- or those with another agenda

There will always be idiots.

So, no matter how much many of us might want to think that there is no longer prejudice -- or at least a much more limited amount -- in this community and around the country, that is just not realistic.

There will always be people on both sides who are too short-sighted to get that we can live together in harmony and benefit from each other's ideas. They do not see that we are all Americans.

But there is another danger -- and one with more serious implications.

And yes, it is racism, too.

The new trend -- well, not really that new, it has been going on for decades -- is to suggest that those who are black or from disadvantaged homes, need extraordinary measures to succeed, that without some program, special tutoring or some kind of artificial hand-up, they cannot possibly achieve on their own.

In fact, this is becoming big business -- especially for those who seem to make it their mission to focus on anything that might be able to be construed as racial bias. They do not want to talk about the real reasons behind the problems some families face -- because if they are solved, there will be no more need for them or the massive amounts of money they manage to squeeze out of their crusade.

The good news is that there are millions of black Americans -- and others who come from challenging home situations -- who have not only beaten the odds, they have done it on their own and with distinction.

At the Republican National Convention, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke of her own humble beginnings -- and parents who would not let her dream anything less than big.

And there she stood -- a speaker at a national convention and a former top White House official. She broke two barriers -- as a black American, and as a woman. And she is not alone.

There are young people in this community right now who are fighting their circumstances and seeking the education and making the choices that will set them free to live a rich, fulfilled life. They are earning scholarships and working hard to get their degrees or the training that will allow them to make their own way. They are making their parents and their communities proud.

And they are not alone, either.

There were other speakers -- as there will be at the Democratic National Convention -- who are the children of immigrant or simply educated and employed parents who were raised to believe that they could make it, dream big and succeed. And they did.

They are now fulfilling their parents' dreams of giving their children the chance they never had. They are the sons and daughters of heroes who worked their whole lives to build a better future for their families, starting from nothing to get there.

The message is simple. Don't believe the hype.

America is still the place of dreams and possibilities -- for all those who are willing to work for them. Sure, there will be obstacles to climb and setbacks to weather. Any journey worth taking is full of those, too.

And these are challenges children from families of all sorts face as they prepare to begin their lives. They face "haters," temptations and bullies. They have days when they want to give up, and times when all the hard work just does not seem worth it.

They persevere -- and just about any child in any Wayne County high school can, too.

The difference between those who make it and those who don't lies first in the example they see at home. But even that is not enough to keep some down. They decide they are worth more and can achieve more. They listen to the advice of mentors and teachers and ignore the lure of peer pressure.

And in many cases, they make it.

The stories of those who have succeeded do not always get told. It is the nature of the world -- we hear the bad news first. But that does not mean the other does not exist.

And we need to tell more of those stories -- as  examples of what is truly possible.

Published in Editorials on September 2, 2012 1:36 AM