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Racial Tensions and the American Dream

While I realize this post will not be popular among many people, I believe it is important to discuss issues of race, privilege, and what really makes America great.  While this post has nothing to do with editing and proofreading, my background in education and cultural research leads me to write this post.  Moreover, as a Christian, I believe that God is appalled at some of the ideas of racism and exclusion being espoused by some of his alleged followers.

As everyone should be aware, there was an atrocity carried out in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend that threatens to widen the divide and increase violence in our nation.  I find it lamentable that there are people who believe the white population is being persecuted.  As a white person, none of my rights have ever been infringed upon, but I have witnessed many people of different races, beliefs, and cultures treated abhorrently.  While I worked very hard to earn my PhD and get to where I am today, I had benefits and privileges that many others may not have had access to.  In fact, I believe that where I grew up and the opportunities that I had were / are not available to many people in the US, especially those in minority groups.  I grew up in a small town that was nearly 100% white.  I came from a farming family that was not wealthy and struggled at times.  However, they improved their lot in life and helped me in many times of need.  I could have been homeless a few times if not for the help of my family and friends.  Additionally, I went to a small school where the student to teacher ratio was quite low and we had access to quality learning materials.  This is not the case in many places and for many people in the country.  Many inner-city schools are overcrowded and lack funding and materials to properly educate children.  It is no coincidence that most of these schools’ populations are poor minority students.  The segregation of schools in the country is still very much a reality and many predominantly minority schools are underfunded and experience horrible conditions.  If I had grown up in that environment, I seriously doubt I could have attained the things I have. Many other white people may not agree with me, but I strongly believe that it is easier for white people in the US than it is for any other group.  I do not have to worry about any other person singling me out for my skin color, ever.  I cannot even imagine what that would be like.  No one looks at me suspiciously or treats me differently because of my race.  White privilege does exist and when white people accept this, we may begin to heal as a nation.

There is no room in this nation for hate groups that parade around as an alternative right wing movement.  No matter the name they claim, they are all deplorable.  While I do not think the American Dream is dead, I do believe that it is exclusionary to many people today, as it was in the past.  Anyone that fights to keep the confederate flag and statues of confederate warriors is painfully disillusioned at best and radically racist at worst.  Furthermore, criticism of the President’s initial statement concerning Charlottesville is warranted.  There is a significant difference between punching a person and trying to mass murder people with an automobile.

It amazes me how members of both major political parties forget things that happened in the past.  When former President Barack Obama would not identify terrorist acts as being radical Islam, many lambasted him to no end. People spoke continually about the issue, but forget this ever happened.  Now many of these same people are offended because others are questioning Trump’s comments that place all protest groups in the same category.  Although certain members of BLM and other groups have been violent at times, they have been fighting for equal rights. However, the alt-right, the KKK, Neo-Nazi’s etc. are not fighting for equality, but to infringe upon the rights of others.  In many cases their infringement includes the promotion of the death of those who are different.  I do not understand how anyone can place these groups in the same category.  BLM and other similar groups have been driven by a desire for equal human rights.  However, the white nationalist movement is driven by hatred and the desire to destroy the rights of other people.  There is no room for this in the US.  If we continue this path, the outcome will be more violent and bloody, and will result in the loss of life for far too many of our fellow citizens.

Finally, these two statements are what make America great:

  1. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…
  2. …Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

How can we read these excerpts from the Declaration of Independence and Emma Lazarus’ poem without denouncing racism, hatred, and the exclusion of others who are different?  It is time to heal the nation by promoting the equality of all people and destroying those things that demean those who are different.

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Cody_Perry View All

I recently completed my PhD in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) at the University of Wyoming. I have published multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and have a book chapter coming early next year. I aim to explore issues of privilege and equity of education, especially as they pertain to STEM education.

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