By Tony Farkas
I grew up in a time when you either had three or 13 channels of television, and finding something to watch after school meant it sounded like a fast snare drum when you changed channels.
During that time, there were public service announcements and after-school specials that put out information on just about everything, including race relations and similar items.
One commercial that still to this day rings in my ears is one where a father and son were talking about a friend who was mad at the son, who did not understand why. When the father got to the nub of the problem, it was because the son introduced his friend as his “black” friend.
The father said if they truly were friends, his son should have said only that, and leave the adjectives behind.
Every time an argument shows up in the press, or there’s a riot somewhere because a member of a minority race was killed, that commercial comes forward in my mind.
Simplistic as it may sound, I honestly believe the best way to combat racism, both real and perceived, is to stop using it as a basis of classification.
I’m not saying that discrimination doesn’t exist, because it does. Having been a victim of it more than once, it’s a pretty heinous treatment, and it should be eradicated.
(I worked at a place where there only were six white people in a staff of 50. Even as a supervisor, the names I was called and the insults that were levied at me were harsh. I also lived several years in another country and know first-hand about being considered inferior.)
Everyone should be on the same page about eradicating racism and discrimination. The federal government, along with the states, mandated things like race, color, creed, etc., but as with everything that has the touch of government on it, it was not enough.
More and more efforts are being used to eradicate what now is view as a systemic problem — in society, the justice system and hiring practices — and more and more ridiculous programs are cropping up in response.
Take critical race theory, for instance. Because it’s believed that racial issues are not being and have never been addressed, educators at every level have designed a curriculum to study this. Problem is, it’s really just a theory, and one that isn’t applied in a manner that addresses any changes.
Because of the perception of racism being ingrained everywhere, it’s being blamed for minorities being behind in education; it’s the culprit that has led to sentencing disparities in criminal cases; it’s the cause listed for income rates being less for minorities; it’s even being blamed for higher rates of illness and lower life expectancies for minorities.
Similar programs such as DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) exist precisely because there continues to be a perception of injustice, and while this, CRT and other programs are currently grass-roots level, if the trend continues, the government will begin mandating equity. Affirmative Action is a primary example of the government mandating equality, yet as always, there will be no equality when one group is knocked down to prop up others.
That there is the rub. These programs, while probably well-meaning, perpetuate racism by their very existence. If you continue to dissect society into its relative parts, then society will continue to look at each other in that manner, and people like Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Michelle Obama and the like will continue to hustle race issues.
From the top down, any reference to race, religion, etc., just needs to go away. There’s no need for race questions on job applications, grant applications or the annual Census.
Children, and even adults, can be taught respect, and learning about the sins of the past as a cautionary tale will provide context and information and not stoke the fires of discrimination. Continuing down that path will instead put targets on the backs of people who are not minorities, and the process begins anew.