Thursday, August 28, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 0 comment

Same problems, different day

Same problems, different day| Yes, We Rise  Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln stated:

 “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The year was 1858 and he was talking about the preservation of the Union. The House divided speech became famous because it stated a basic simple truth. The United States couldn’t become a great nation half slave and half free. Within 3 years the nation would be involved in the Civil War.

Fast forward one hundred years. During the Civil Rights movement you heard a similar mantra.

"Separate doesn’t mean equal." 

There was some progress made, and the future seemed brighter. People seemed to be making a good faith effort. However, looks can be deceiving.

We are in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. What have learned? Where are we as a country?

We have an old problem with a new name: Self-Segregation.  

A recent article in the Washington Post conveys that white people don’t have a lot of black friends. In using the average of 100 friends for both, white people have 1 black friend while black people have 8 white friends. Read: Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends

Truthfully, we tend to make friends with people that we are comfortable with, share similar interests with and with whom we share cultural/social background. Recent events have shown that we still have a way to go. Self-segregation among those that are able to afford to do so puts the those who have been historically disadvantaged in a perilous state. Those who are isolated tend to reinforce negative opinions of certain groups.

Same problems, different day| Yes, We Rise
Washington Post graphic
If you don’t know any representatives of certain groups you will make blanket statements. There is a course that education majors and others need to take called Diverse Populations. In this class, students are required to take a long look at their beliefs with regards to certain groups, and gain ability to start to empathize with these groups and see them as people. They also have to volunteer for 15 hours with a group they usually don’t associate with.

I think that a similar classes need to be taught in all high schools. For all the stereotypes from both sides there needs to be some common ground understanding and respect.

The media has a way of dehumanizing and sensationalizing certain groups and for the most part, it has historically remained mute on the seemingly parallel routes that this country is taking. Social Media reinforces the biases. With blatant lies being thrown around, those that feel the most comfortable in their own bubbles believe that their views aren’t just the right one but the only one.

Of course, the other concern in this self-segregation issue is that those who aren’t affected by certain socioeconomic circumstances couldn't care less. That also needs to change. We have come to a point in this country’s development where a whole swath of the population doesn’t matter. When you continue to have a default stance of them versus us, you have no growth. You have stagnation and the slow death of the national spirit.

Benjamin Franklin said
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

** Dr. Headley **


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