America is a country that has struggled with racism from the beginning of slavery. Since that time, generations of whites and nonwhites have participated in the real life script of racism. In this script, white denies that they are the villains and blacks accept the role as the victims.
The script of racism in America is a serial that starts with the slavery generation and continuing through to the present generation. Since the abolition of slavery to the present time, America has achieved some amazing technological and social progress, yet racism continues to be a problem.
The Oklahoma University (OU) students, who were members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity, chanted racist slurs using anachronistic words. Their behavior demonstrates that America has a long way to go to reconcile racism. The university is to be commended in taking swift actions by shutting down SAE and expelling two students responsible for the distasteful and racist song.
What is disturbing and disappointing about the OU students and their racist chant is that they are young men and woman who were born around the time when 9/11 occurred. You would expect that 9/11 would have made them cognizant of the evil of hatred and racism. Also, you would expect them to learn that hatred does not lead to anything that benefits humanity.
The college experience is an opportunity not just to educate oneself for a job but also to broaden one’s mind to help them make a positive contribution to society. Students cannot do this when their mind is still distorted by racial hatred and ideology.
College is the first-place where most students experience their independence from their parents. It is possible that some students in experiencing this independence will abuse it by engaging in acts that are illegal and similar to what the OU students did. For example, binge drinking, smoking pot, and committing rape are not uncommon on some college campuses.
We do not know exactly who or what is responsible for young people like those of OU embracing the ideology of racism. There are a number of factors that can be considered: parental values that include racist ideas or behavior; the hatred and disrespect shown to President Obama; and the upsurge of what can be called race related problems during the past year are all factors that could have contributed to this disturbing behavior.
That the OU students made their racist chant on the day commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Selma–Montgomery march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, in Selma, Alabama, serves as a poignant reminder that racism is a difficult problem to eradicate. It also shows that America still has more bridges to cross.
How is America going to bridge the chasm of racism when they have not yet completed the bridge to help them cross it? Despite the progress that has been made in race relations, the racial divide seems unbridgeable. Despite great overall progress in America, bridging the chasm of racism remains an elusive problem.
America will not be able to complete the bridge across the chasm of racism until they own up and acknowledge that racism is a serious problem. White society must make this acknowledgement as no problem can be solved without someone accepting responsibility for it and taking steps to correct it. This is achievable by implementing a reconciliation process similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) similar to what South Africa did.
The only authority that can do this is a bipartisan political initiative that will establish the scope and requirements of the TRC or similar program. This must be a unanimous decision by that would involve the Congress approving it.
America must recognize that racism has tarnished it soul, destroyed the lives of people, and robbed them of their spirituality. It is time America seek healing from racism so that people can live their lives free of hatred.
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