Racism is Indeed, a Learned Behavior!

Speaking from experience, I know that racism is a learned behavior. Children are not born with the ability to talk or walk. They have to be taught to do these things. The same applies to the morals and values we instill in our children when they are young. I was born and raised in the North and I moved to the South as an adult to raise my children. I have experienced racism and prejudice in the North and the South. I do not attempt to distinguish the racism between the two places, nor do I judge an entire race based off of one person’s opinion. Please don’t misunderstand me. When I speak of racism and prejudice, I’m speaking from every perspective. Contrary to what most people think, racism is more than a black and white issue. Prejudice involves more than race. I have seen and personally experienced a lot of people who are prejudice against their own race. I have seen and personally experienced racism from all nationalities. Somehow, this has to come to an end. That end begins with our children.

I was raised to believe that “white” people were always against me. That no matter what I did, I would never be good enough in the eyes of “white” people. This always struck me as strange because my maternal grandmother was a “white” woman. Even with that being the case, I still believed what I was taught. It wasn’t until I got older, that I knew that what I had been taught was a lie. That’s not to say I didn’t experience racism and prejudice, but never on the scale of which I was taught to believe it would be. When I became an adult, I realized what the problem was. It had nothing to do with a certain race, but the individual person themselves. When I began having children of my own, I made the decision to break the cycle that had been passed down to me from my parents, and from their parents to them.

My children were not taught to see anyone’s race, but to look at each individual person for who they were. I have taught and continue to teach my children that they need to base their opinion of people on their actions, not the color of their skin, even when the same is not being done of them. The same way they are taught not to judge people based on their race, they are also taught that they don’t have to live up to the so-called stereotype of “black” people. Unfortunately, this has caused them to experience prejudice from other “black” children. They tell my children that they are trying to act “white”, because my children don’t like rap music, they don’t use slang, and they use proper English. I myself have been told the same thing. I even had a so-called friend tell me that I was a “white woman” trapped in a black woman’s body. THAT is the type of ignorant thinking and teaching that keeps our country divided, that keeps black children from believing that because of their skin color, they can’t achieve what they want, that keeps them believing that they don’t stand a chance in today’s society. The same applies to “white” children who are raised to believe they are better than others, that because of THEIR skin color, they don’t have to work as hard, that things will be handed to them because of who they are. When these children, on both sides, become adults, their thoughts and beliefs are completely shattered. When a “black” child becomes an adult, they are then introduced to things like affirmative action, the EEOC, and other organizations that are there to “protect” them, and give them the same opportunities of “white” people. “White “children become adults and see these things and start believing that jobs are being “taken” from them because of the “EEOC, NAACP,ACLU” and any other acronym you can think of.

The prejudice and racism started hundreds of years ago, and cannot be washed away overnight. However, if every parent can teach their children to love themselves, and treat people how they want to be treated, we can begin to end this. When we teach our children that they have the ability to shatter the former images of racism and prejudice, that, regardless of what they may see or hear around them, that they DO stand equally, they ARE the same and THEY can make a difference, then and only then, do we begin to take action against breaking this vicious cycle.

Racism is a reality in the world we live in but it is NOT a necessity!

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