JOANNA CLARK, San Juan Capistrano
Despite the overwhelming biological evidence that humans are a single race that evolved out of Africa some 250,000 to 300,000 years ago, racism permeates our lives today.
Most of us today accept that our world is not flat and that it revolves around our sun, yet we remain convinced that we exist as different races. Additionally, over the past 500 years, we have been taught that a hierarchy exists between these races that makes the so-called “White” race superior to the others.
This “racism,” as pointed out by Robert Wald Sussman, author of The Myth of Race, has resulted in “prejudice, hatred, and great injustices to Jews and non-Christians during the Spanish Inquisition; to Blacks, Native Americans and others during colonial times; to African Americans during slavery and reconstruction; to Jews and other Europeans during the reign of the Nazi in Germany; and to groups from Latin America and the Middle East during modern political times.” More recent has been the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rem’mie Fells, Riah Milton, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Oluwatoyin Salau, Jacob Blake, as well as the countless other Black lives lost to police brutality and racist violence.
We need better background checks and to look for history of racial bias in police candidates.
Prejudice and hatred are not limited to race, however. Bigotry and hatred can, and are, directed at anyone perceived as “different.”
In 2017, President Trump focused his hate-filled rhetoric on the transgender community. Since then, violence has taken the lives of 25 trans women in 2017, 22 in 2018, 27 in 2019, and 25 in the first six months of 2020. Dissatisfied with the body count, the Trump administration moved to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act’s protections against LGBTQ discrimination in health care and health insurance.
We are a diverse species, and it is our diversity that makes us great. It is time we put our childish myths behind us, grow up, and learn to live together in peace, with mutual respect, equality, liberty, and justice for all.
And what better place to start than the classroom.