Race And Interracial Issues: Why Do They Make Us Squirm

October 19, 2009
Written by Janice S. Ellis... in
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Many of us would like to believe that race, and interracial issues are no longer a major problem in this country. However, if we just look around us, we would witness incidents almost on a daily basis that not only whisper, but scream to us that bigotry, prejudice and racism are not just alive and well, but thriving.

What painful reminders that old habits, old ways of thinking, separatist traditions, linger, die a slow death, if indeed they taste death at all.

The Associated Press’ reporting of how a white Louisiana justice of the peace recently denied a marriage license to an interracial couple is just one small example of the racist and separatist practices that undoubtedly occur every single day in this great country whose very existence came about and still depends upon people of every shade and hue.

Keith Bardwell, the justice of the peace, who refuses to marry interracial couples, has taken it upon himself, and believes himself to be, the preserver of racial purity for the sake and well-being of any unborn children, and those whites and blacks who do not readily accept them.

What piety. Mr. Bardwell the great purveyor, singlehandedly determining what is in the best interest of posterity, the community, and society in his neck of the woods.

The real question is: Who is going to save that community and the greater society from the likes of Keith Bardwell?

The future well-being of our children, our communities, our cities, our nation, and our society will continue to be at risk until we become comfortable with having an honest, open, and ongoing conversation—as uncomfortable, and painful, as they might be—about those matters of race that have plagued us historically and continue to do so.

The vestiges of racism in this country have far-reaching influence on the negative forces that we confront daily; they severely compromise the short-term and long-term impact of precious resources at our disposal.

Continuing to believe that separate but equal has real value and weight in a world that becomes more intra-inter connected and intra-inter dependent by the minute is sheer folly. Such a belief gives not only a false sense of security, but a dangerous one.

Hanging on to such anachronistic ideas is only a breeding ground for extremists and terrorists, whether they come in white hooded robes, serpentine turbans or shrouds, or AK-47 toting mercenaries.

America is not the only country with race relations challenges. Like global warming, it is an issue that continues to threaten the planet in lesser or worse degrees. At worst, we have our vigilante and white supremacist groups while other countries have their ethnic cleansing. And like global warming, if we continue to ignore race relations, it could ultimately be our undoing.

With global warming and all the other issues we face here at home and across the world, why do we need to continually spend precious energy, time, and resources on trying to highlight, and hold on to those superfluous, insignificant things that divide us? Why do things like skin color, the food we eat, the music we listen to, where we gather to worship even if we believe in the same God but call Him by a different name, create such a division in our society?

At what point, will we spend time and energy to better understand our differences, take time to celebrate what we hold in common, and what binds us as human beings. We are all part of one race: The human race. Until we accept that fact as one which sets us apart from everything else on planet earth, then we will never make progress on those daily issues that divide us or the real issues that threaten our very existence.

Silence, denial, and fear are the real enemies we face when tackling the issues and matters surrounding race. What a shame. It need not be, if we could just let go of those false comfort zones of separateness, and notions of superiority.