The progress made with race relations in the United States is once again challenged by an act of hate. Racial tensions, boiling over for years, threatens the safety of our communities, rule of law, civility, and common decency. Americans should not tolerate hate, discrimination in any form from any group. Despite decades of progress, there is much work to be done. But, are Americans up for the task.
Our recent approach in expanding diversity is a complete failure. While the public places great responsibility on policymakers to legislate tolerance and unity, much of the work needs to be done in the hearts and minds of individual Americans. Elected officials have an important role, but everyday people need to make the choice to finally end racial, gender, and religious division once and for all.
Elected officials need to focus on creating a color blind society that does not fight hate with hate. Society needs to move towards unity and forgiveness, not revenge and other forms of discrimination. But, government does needs to ensure public institutions provide equal access and equal service to all communities.
Improving access to quality education, safe communities, and infrastructure investments can balance economic outcomes. While past investments proved fruitless, skill gaps and lack of exposure plague minority communities, leading many to turn to criminal endeavors for sustenance. Government cannot solve all the problems, but it can help position all communities to accept their share of responsibility for contributing to society.
Many politicians contribute to our problems, as they strategically focus on differences among subgroups in campaigns. Instead of speaking with one message to unify voters, politicians’ message differently based on the group in the audience. In doing so, they promise voters a society completely dependent upon one’s race, gender, or religion. A direct contrast to the color blind society that affords equal opportunity regardless of race, religion, gender, or ideology.
Even in our most diverse cities, people choose to live around others that look like them, speak like them, pray like them, or think like them, segregating off communities into subgroups. Regardless of efforts to diversify areas, people still flock to comforts of those with similar traits. People should step out of comfort zones and abandon stereotypes in order to learn about others around them.
Our society does a fairly good job of condemning obvious hate speech. Although, some discriminatory statements go unchallenged, as it comes from groups claiming to represent the best interest of minorities or entertainers that possess widespread popularity. The goal should not be to end hate from some, but end hate everywhere. Contradictory positions provide cover for those that harbor these destructive and unintelligible positions.
Going forward, our society needs to work towards unity, shared values, and forgiveness, however difficult it may be. Harboring resentment, vengeance, or ill will simply continue to foster hate. Anger and over sensitivity will never unite society. In a society of diverse cultures, there will always come challenges with the potential to divide us. Sometimes, the agreement to disagree is needed. But, violence, property destruction, and division is never the answer.