These past 24 hours I’ve been introducing the boys to the joys of NBC’s “Community”. They’re loving it, of course, and have just heard Jeff declare that “not being racist is the new racism”.
Oh, Jeff, so well said!
We seem to have come to a point in our culture that we’re constantly walking on prejudicial eggshells. We spend so much time and energy trying not to offend people who are different, that in trying not to offend, we’re doing it anyway. We’ve over-corrected to the point of lunacy.
How nice would it be if racism and all minority prejudices were just not an issue. No issue at all. Why no issue? Because people wouldn’t even consider that these differences go in any way towards defining a person.
Ask a 5 year old child not raised to define a person by their differences to describe someone. More often than not, they will give you a very honest and insightful description of that person, prejudice free. Even if the colour of skin is mentioned, these young children only use it as a means of differentiating skin colour for identification purposes.
Let’s imagine a conversation between such a child and his mother. You’ve all heard similar discussions before, “Tammy has black skin and I have pale white skin covered in freckles.” It’s a physical descriptor, not a judgement of character based on their physicality.
Or perhaps; “Yes Mummy, you know Tammy. She’s got black skin and pretty shining eyes and like to wear pink all. the. time. She can swing higher than anyone else in my class!“
What’s the most important part of Tammy that this child sees? It’s not the colour of her skin, but the fact that she’s so awesome because she can swing higher than anyone else. Tammy is being instinctively described by what a 5 year old literally sees before his eyes, and better yet, he sums up with what he thinks is her greatest characteristic – swinging so high!
Tammy’s value is seen in her unique accomplishments, not her looks, not her cultural or gender identity, and not in the prejudicial assumptions so readily assumed by so many adults of the world.
We should all instinctively think like this 5 year old child…. Our world would be a much simpler and nicer place to live.