Thursday, July 9, 2009

From Emily: a follow-up to "Unbelievable"

Before we move on to other posts, I want to take a moment and discuss the article Erica posted about on Wednesday. First of all, I echo everything Erica said. The country club is wrong, and I hope someone takes them to court over this issue, where I'm still optimistic the club will lose this battle.

On a less militant note, I'd like to address a different component of racism. The club didn't just object to the campers' complexions - the parents of white children reported feeling afraid that the African-American and Black children would hurt the other kids in the pool. If you aren't used to being around people who don't look like you, it can definitely be a disconcerting experience the first time you are, so it is understandable that some of the white swimmers felt uncomfortable when the campers joined them in the pool. But no matter how much ground we gain through expensive legal battles, we cannot overcome racism without overcoming the fear that drives it. Most people are racist because they are terrified of losing something, whether it's their life, their job, or the lifestyle they've becoming accustomed to.

So here's what I want to see: More mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, teachers, pastors, and coaches teaching younger generations to accept and love people regardless of something as insignificant as skin pigment. I want today's children to grow up knowing that dark skin is no more frightening than dark hair. While we're at it, let's also combat the very snobbery that cloaks racism in many communities that claim to be accepting. Let's teach children to love and accept kids who wear inexpensive shoes and live in a run-down apartment or a trailer park.

Posted by Emily

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