Racism in America: Roots and remedies
Racism has existed in America since the beginning. The United States of America is not united. In the US, racism is a systemic cultural issue that divides our society. We are divided, not united. America has always had a strong racist current, since the time of slavery, since the beginning. In that day and time, dark skinned humans were viewed as lesser beings, with few to no rights. They were the property of light colored people, like a table or a chair. It is difficult for people today, people like myself anyway, to understand how this was every a reality in our country. But times do change. We know that. The country and the world were different then, so much different from what we know today.
We continue today to drive inequality right down at the roots of society, in our education system, for example. Our education system today creates a disadvantaged population, generation after generation, mostly made up of the so-called people of color, as if someone's skin color makes some difference in how human they are. Education continues today to be funded by property taxes, which of course creates great inequity for those who live in poorer neighborhoods. And we know now that the banks who lend money to people to buy homes had a lot to do with why our neighborhoods are still segregated in many places. Many institutions have contributed to the racism in America, and still do. In a capitalistic society, it's all about the money. Who decides how money is spent and what it buys? What is money, really? What is its true nature? In a capitalistic society, money translates to the capability to do anything. More money translates to more capability.
Funding schools through property taxes systematically, and with intent, creates a reality of inequality, an inbalance in capability, ensuring that specific segments of our population get less money and will be disadvantaged forever. The irony is stark, given the Constitution of this country and its Bill of Rights. All men are created equal is just a sentence with nice words. Words are words and actions are actions. Sometimes words become intentions, and still they are not reality. Words become reality only when they transform into actions. America has never lived out the intention of these words.
How did we get here? The origin of racism goes back a long ways, and I won't attempt to cover that in this blog. What I will say is that no one, on human is born a racist. Humans are taught racism. They are taught racism by their parents mostly, and by the environment they live in while growing up. This is where we must focus our efforts, as well as on the institutions that continue to create disavantage for some and advantage for others.
Now, perhaps, we can turn from our past and make real change. But this must include real systemic change like deciding as a society that every child in our nation deserves and gets an education funded by the same amount of money per child, so that our schools have the same quality of teaching, of buildings, and of supplies, for each and every child. Until we see each and every child as equals, as our Constitution declares, and until we change our fundamental systems to act on this belief, we will never come close to reaching our potential, nor the dream that has captured the hearts and minds of people worldwide. This is how we can create a new nation that lives the concept of equality. This is how we can make the dream come to fruition. This is the first and most important step. Everything else is just words.