I was informed by a man the other day that I could never understand the issue of ethnicity and race because I am only a “white woman”. He told me I could not possible have the capability to look past his color, yet it was he who would not look past mine. My ethnic background and heritage was totally dismissed by him as being “just white”. That became my character to this man. Because I was not black – and never will be – I could not be a part of a conversation, let alone part of a solution. I can only be part of the problem. Would his tune have changed had he known of my German and Irish heritage? Is he aware of the bigotry and biased my forefathers faced when coming to America from “the old country”?
Today, Senator Obama has some paths for [fill in the color] communities:
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds — by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.
For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs — to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.
Well, Senator Obama, I am all for breaking down the legacy of discrimination. I am all for the equality of all- just as stated in “The Constitution of the United States of America”. I am interested in the nation where every legal citizen – of every color, of every ethnic background, of every religion, of every walk of life, of both sexes – be afforded the SAME opportunities.
I think it flies in the face of everyone to hear of projects and programs that are geared to bring equality by making one portion of America “more equal” to make up for lost time. If you truly want to end racial bias – then stop making race the qualifying factor on everything. We say “Let’s look past color. We must look past color.” And then we hinge EVERYTHING on color. How does that make sense? Is it just me that doesn’t get it? We need to look at the socio-economic issues without color being the key data. A poor person with no opportunity is a poor person with no opportunity… whether they are of Asian descent, African descent, German descent, Mexican descent, etc. And if they are legal residents and citizens of the United States then they ARE the reason for the government – and when done right, they are the government itself. It is “of the people, by the people, FOR the people..” I checked my copy – there is no color coded adjective appended to people! I get that it hasn’t always been that way. It is that way now, so let’s move on! And if there is an area where it’s still not that way – let’s address it, and FIX it!
There are affirmative action programs out there that are not working. Let’s start by looking at those to see what needs to be done. Instead of throwing more money at things (which, by the way has not helped education in this country AT ALL), let’s step back and take a look at what we have going on now. Let’s look at the government programs and see what is wrong with them. And while we are designing the fixes, lets take a look at the programs as opportunities for “American communities”.
Because you see, Senator Obama – and anyone else willing to listen – that’s where I want to live. I want the “One America”, not the “White America”, not the “Black America”. I want the melting pot we once were. I want our culture to be “AMERICA”.
I have a dream…..
Raw data transcript available here