RACE HISTORY 2 - John Wawrzonek

Race As History

The Challenge

Could "racism" ever become history? It is already, but few humans know about why. A great place to get the whole story is at The Human Journey. Earlier anestors evolved in many different places but one group developed brains like ours. Eventually they migrated to every corner of the planet, but those that mean something to racism migrated north. And then something we are all familiar with happend. When they got out of the sun in northern Europe, the melanin in their skin slowly disappared because their skin was not getting enough sun to make vitamin-D. It is a bit hard to believe but go south and skins get darker untilyou reach near the equator and they are pretty much black. Were there other differences. Yes, any group that stuck together would likely pick up appearance difference from one another and so you got what we call race.

I imagine that if in every classroom in the world, not just America, there were a textbook with the full true story: Color as a vitamin problem; slavery, especially in America; the absolutely true story of what happened, rather than the white wash in most books (since most are written in Texas); teachers fully dedicated; eliminating descrimination by police; and so forth. I remember an Alabama school book gave slavery one paragraph and made it soune like a kids birthday party, while the white rulers in Alabama were doing everything they could to be sure blacks could not vote.

Given enough time and enough work it will happen. But the truth must be in the right places and must be heard again and again.

Perhaps every class or school should stage To Kill A Mockingbird every few years. And perhaps all children should tell their stories to other children no matter their race. And perhaps every child's story should become part of a book, like a year book, but a life book. And perhaps some difficult memories like my own, of driving though the south in 1950 of "whites only" signs, and whites talking about "poor white trash" for those who were not so sucessful.

Of course, who would object: adults who grew up hearing other stories; and grown up children who still believed family stories. But perhaps we need a new songbird, to tell the truth, as plainly as possible of slavery in America, of families torn apart, of lynchings, of dawn to dusk in the cotton fields and beatings for picking a few too little.

But perhaps even more important is to tell the "race" story; how skin color comes from sunshine, and to study genetics and to find whatever differences there are do not amount to any more than the differences between poeple in other races. And then to tell the stories of other "races." Perhaps Mongolians, American Indians, and our Founding Fathers, who wrote the right words, but thought the wrong thoughts.

Justice is hard work, but it must be taught gently. Guilt is a bad memory and especially a horrendous accuzation. It will not happen overnight, but some morning years ahead, someone will wake up to a different world.

Listen, be gentle, and think about the golden rule. And that is not the end of the story, this is really only the beginning, for I believe that god gave us such amazing minds that we could do such amazing things, but that also took a great deal of work. Every child or grown up should be able to say "I am a..." followed by a word describing something beautiful. For me, my "I am a..." would be a landscape photographer (or was until my knees gave out).

Salt Marsh Just Before Sunset
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