We live in a racially confused society. We think that celebrating diversity is more about pointing out differences than recognizing humanity despite those differences. We think that progress is a solution rather than the beginning of an uphill climb. We think that political correctness inoculates us from our own predispositions to prejudice. We think prejudice is an incurable affliction. We think justice and equality are the same. We use the guise of fairness as perfume for our racial enmities. We are wrong on race and culture more often than we are right, and we rarely admit this is a “we” issue.
I wish that I could just teach you through my actions, the way that my father taught me, that there should be no external conditions placed on the way that you treat someone. I wish that I could show you, the way my grandfather showed me, that a prejudice you may hold does not need to define you, nor does it need to be something you hold inside as a private poison. I wish that I could institute in you a respect for diversity in culture, ethnicity and personality that would allow you to be exposed to all of the beautiful puzzle pieces that surround you- even the ones you weren’t designed to fit with.
Mostly, I wish that I could find a way to give you the gift of being able to recognize and respect the random privilege that you’ve been given- to be born into one of the world’s most incredible nations while being raised with the skin color, language, and religion of the current majority. May you never be ashamed of what you can’t control, and may you never fail to recognize and respect the same in others. You are privileged. There is no guilt in that. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. There is responsibility, however. You have the responsibility to recognize your privilege. You have the responsibility to seek an understanding of how that privilege affects you. There are things that I won’t have to teach you because you are white-looking, male, American, Christian children with two parents. You need to know that the racial confusion and brokenness in our society leads to other precious, beautiful, equally valuable children needing to be taught things that would never even cross my mind as your father.
I’ll probably never have to teach you that for your own safety from those who are sworn to serve and protect you, you shouldn’t play cops and robbers, wear a hoodie, visit certain sections of a store, or carry a dark looking wallet.
I’ll probably never have to teach you to mind the warning sirens, convert to survive, stay out of school to avoid kidnapping, or how to sail away with strangers to escape death threats.
I’ll probably never have to teach you how to make a good child bride, the way to maximize output as a brick kiln slave, to be mutilated in the name of cleanliness, or to deal with no remedy for those that violate your body.
I’ll probably never have to teach you not to feel shame over the language of your parents, or their place of origin, or their religion, or their love.
I don’t want you to feel guilt. I do want you to feel SOMETHING. Gratitude. Empathy. Outrage. Hope. If you can feel those things than it means that you can recognize humanity. It means you aren’t wasting your privilege. It means the right kids got lucky.
You approached this topic beautifully, and wrote it even better. Thank you for this. I think I’m going to bookmark it and use it throughout my life, so just in case, please don’t delete it =]
Great Job Steve!