Why Kids May Be the Answer to Improving Race Relations

Take one look at the news these days and you can feel deeply pessimistic about the state of our country and feel great despair about the future in terms of race relations.

Racial divisions deepen. Violence between police and African-American men flares up again and again. There is a glaring lack of trust between citizens and the law enforcement agencies entrusted to protect them. Fear, resentment and economic disparity among the classes appear to threaten the fabric of our great nation. In fact, if this country were a quilt, there would seem to be rips, tears and fraying throughout.

But despite the seemingly insurmountable problems, I see a small glimmer of hope. It’s tiny, minute even. But it’s real and, if I’m right, it could be the very antidote to this poison infecting our country.

That salvation is our kids.

My oldest son just finished kindergarten at a wonderful school in our neighborhood in our South Florida community. Among his 20 classmates were black kids, white kids, Hispanic kids and Asian kids. His class is a melting pot. It is proof that in our section of the country, at least, our kids are growing up in a multicultural setting that will inform their beliefs, choices and patterns of behavior for the rest of their lives.

My kids will grow up knowing nothing other than being surrounded by people who look different than them. The faces they encounter will be a mixture of colors and nationalities. They will play with and befriend kids from a diverse group of backgrounds, cultures and socioeconomic strata. They will simply have no choice because that is what our community looks like.

That excites me.

Our world is not homogenous. It rarely has been. Sure, when my great-grandparents emigrated to America there were communities like Little Italy, where mostly Italians lived and relied on each other amidst the culture shock of a new beginning. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, we walk among people from all corners of the earth and get a taste of faraway cultures with the click of a mouse. We need to fully embrace that ability to shrink our world and see each of us as part of a human family.

I’m white so it’s a challenge for me to properly understand exactly what those of other races endure on a daily basis in our country. I don’t feel that I’ve ever been discriminated against or profiled. Maybe I’ve been rejected for a job or a place at a college because of my ethnicity but if I have, the decision wasn’t overt. However, even if I’ve been fortunate enough not to be a victim of these behaviors, I can certainly understand them. I’ve known enough people from other backgrounds in my life to see how discrimination and marginalization has affected them and those that they love. It sickens me. Deeply.

Maybe, just maybe, our kids hold the key to a future without fear of those who don’t look us, allowing everyone to be judged on their merits. Maybe by learning from the earliest of ages that skin color is not indicative of behavior, they can ever so slightly begin to change the thinking of their generation. As the great Louis Armstrong sang, “What a wonderful world that would be…”

(Photo credit: Cristian Carrara via Source / CC BY-ND)

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About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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