As most of you know, I love writing stories about the past - specifically those about funny moments that have occurred along my journey which I can employ to bring salient points to life. One such story has to do with my son and a funny comment from his youth. I suppose he would have been six or seven at the time.
Both my wife and I were passionate that our children be raised in a welcoming and inclusive environment. In our household we never treated anyone differently because of the way they looked or where they came from (unlike the adults around us when we were children), and as I look back I realize race and skin color were just not discussed in our home. I am a bit unclear as to why the subject was never broached at all, but do not recall any questions ever asked by either of our children regarding the matter.
One day, and I do not recall all the details, the subject was raised by a visitor in our home. Both our children seemed genuinely perplexed by the topic. Ultimately, the guest advised my son that he was white. My son looked at him quizzically and started in a loud voice. “I’m not white, I’m peach.” So it was with an innocent mind pointing out the obvious.
We now live in a land where race and skin color are trumpeted from every mountain top and valley, and many voices (from many different backgrounds) have become shrill, and hate filled. Sadly, the rhetoric has been allowed to stand mostly unchallenged… As a result, division has been fueled to an epidemic level. We endure partisan pundit after partisan pundit repeating their own skewed opinions as fact. I often wonder if they truly believe the divisive words they say or if it’s all just for ratings or “clicks”.
There are many things that individuals are able to change in this world, today more than ever, but one thing we cannot change is our race. No act of God or man can change the fact that I descend from English, Scottish, and Slovak lineage, and nothing can change your heritage either. Since we cannot change it, the topic could easily be viewed as simply a part of each of our stories as opposed to our entire identity (as some would have it). It is my strong belief that we are all unique individuals, and that no one part of us can define us completely.
Unfortunately, there are the historic realities that muddy the waters and make many topics complex. The blemishes of slavery and segregation are a difficult and damning part of American history, and we must own up to the outrages and the implications emanating from them.
The entirety of my life the government has been attempting to create some magic bullet that will make it all go away, but there is none. Most of the programs attempted to legislate equity by race have been abject failures. They did not work 50 years ago, and they are not working today.
In my opinion, color-blind laws that enforce fairness regardless of skin color or heritage have been very effective and just. The vast majority have paved the way for progress for all.
There remain racist entities within the country, but these are fringe elements, not the epidemic that many would have you believe. There are simply no facts to support the unfounded claims of widespread racism.
When you really study the topic, the root cause for much of the anger and inequality felt in our country is because of a serious generational poverty problem. Many of those mired in the morass of generational poverty find themselves feeling cheated and left behind. Though it does impact minorities as a higher percentage of their population, poverty is a color-blind problem and there can be a color-blind solution. According to the 2020 census, on an absolute basis there are nearly twice as many Caucasian people living in poverty in the United States than Black people. This is a statistic that is rarely, if ever discussed. And to be frank, I don’t care what color people are who are struggling - I care that they be helped.
We need to stop fighting each other and start fighting for our future - for the children and families that are affected by the poverty that is crippling so many in this country. The wealth gap is getting bigger by the day, and as inflation rears its ugly head more than ever we need policies that support those in need - no other prerequisite [period].
In my view, we desperately need to migrate into a color-blind society for so many reasons. One that judges people by the content of their character as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so famously counseled. When Americans of all races, creeds, and colors join in unity to beat back the politics of hate and division we all win.
Remember - Children do not come out of the womb hating. They do not come out of the womb focusing on skin color or race. Something my son made clear all those years ago. Children’s minds are sponges and they soak up what they are taught. Tragically, so many today are taught to hate, or taught to feel less, or taught that they are at a disadvantage because of one part of their physical self. Too many in our society have become masters at the art of injecting poisonous indoctrination into the minds of our vulnerable young and it needs to stop.
This great country is a Union, and in the spirit of such I propose we start allowing our unity to define us - instead of allowing our differences divide us.
I’m peach - I’m tan - I’m brown - I’m black - I’m white - I’m tall - I’m short - I’m fat - I’m thin - I have freckles and so many more attributes that make up the greatness of our nation.