What Makes America Great: Race
Now, as you read this title, odds are you might think “Hold up a second! America has had a horribly racist past, why would you pick that as a point of America’s greatness?” Well I’m so glad you asked! Much to many American’s chagrin, ‘tis true we haven’t always been on the right side when it comes to race and gender, and it’s oft argued today that we’re still on the wrong side. However, I think too many have devoted a ‘glass half empty’ perspective to this topic, and missed points that we should celebrate. Today, it’s not uncommon to turn on the news and hear people rant about the racial inequality of our day, but this is almost always a point of division, too few focus on what we can unite behind in our progress.
Slavery is clearly America’s greatest scar upon her face, it was so extensive that it even took the generally racially proactive Christianity and twisted it to say things like, “God made the white man superior” or something akin to that. But in spite of the horrors of slavery, there arose many civil rights leaders, underground railroads, and people willing to die in America’s most bloody war to end slavery. Why do those that speak of America’s sins in slavery forget the abolitionists that existed since our very founding? In fact, most of the writers of the Constitution tried to put the abolition of slavery in the Constitution, but had to compromise on it by simply banning the import of slaves because the Constitution wouldn’t have passed if slavery was banned. Even so, abolitionists took the risk of smuggling slaves to freedom. We even strove to fight a war over slavery, how many other nations have done that? Now of course, after the Civil War, the clawed hand of racism failed to alleviate its grip much, but still civil rights movements flourished. Yes, segregation divided America, but did not whites and blacks march with Dr. King in protest of such? Businesses and corporations are now forced to go through rigorous training to prevent racism in the workplace and in politics.
No society shall ever be perfect, but America has come a long way towards it. To be racist is ultimately a personal choice, we must not point to our past and cry out in angst towards America, we should point to our past and show how far we have come and where we should be headed, together.
This flows in to a self-hatred of America that some feel about our history when it comes to race, I’ve even heard it suggested that our very Constitution should be replaced because it was written by slave owners. But even if the Constitution was written be the worst of people, that still doesn’t take away from the fact that it has the most impressive Government structure out there, and as I aforementioned, the Constitution was originally intended to ban slavery. Frederick Douglass spoke very favorably to the Constitution when it came to race and equality. Douglass once said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress” thus I think I’d rather look at our struggle on racism as an opportunity for progress instead of a chance for division. This is true even for our Civil War monuments, yes most of them were white supremacists, but why tear them down? That was our history, as horrible and offensive as it can be, we should display those monuments and show how far we have come. Imagine if Christians and Jews took the sane perspective and demanded that the Roman Colosseum be torn down, or that all the Nazi concentration camps be burned? It would be ridiculous! The horrors that happened in that Coliseum and those concentration camps are among the worst in human history, yet they are our history. If we cover up the past and refuse to remember and learn from it, then are we not bound to repeat those same mistakes?
So why do I say that race is something that makes America great? Because we took the horrendous practice of slavery and unequal rights from the old world and our past, and instead of tearing each other completely apart, we grew. Though we shall always have more to work on, we must not forget that this must be done together and without malice. America is now one of the greatest melting pots in the world when it comes to race, culture, and religion, and that is something to be proud of.
Word of the article: No matter where you come from, you’ll never be a ‘dandiprat.’