Leaving the plantation

I am a black guy. In my roots, there are people that go back to Africa and Europe. There were some slaves in my past as well but I haven’t bothered to find out. I wasn’t born in this country or Africa but I’m a visible minority, nonetheless. 

You would think that I would be liberal in my politics and worldview but I’m not and I’ll explain why.

While I was growing up, my parents taught me that racism was real. There are people who prefer those who share the same culture or color of skin and shun those who differ. So I was taught to be wary of those situations where racism can occur.

But I was also taught that if I worked hard and applied myself that I would experience a lot of success even though there may be some racial bumps along the way. In my entire lifetime, I was never taught to expect that the ancestors of the ancestors who treated my ancestors poorly would be expected to pay for the sins of a people long dead and gone.

My father taught me that the best way to silence racism was to treat everyone with respect and by my work ethic and responsible decisions, I would demonstrate my value and worth as a human being. And shame those who mind can only see one color.

And he taught me not to look to the government to solve my problems or to give me an advantage. That only leads to dependency and a poor self-image, e.g. “I can only get ahead when someone forces the system.” Today I have a healthy self-image because I know I didn’t get an artificial leg up through government programs that treated me differently.

Yes, there is some real structural racism that should be dealt with at the government level. But much of what is called racism today is an insult to what many of the early civil rights leaders had to fight for – the ability to vote, to go to the same school, use the same bathrooms – to be treated just like everyone else.

Today’s civil rights leaders seem more interested in extorting money and obtaining special preferences that treats the black community uniquely. The exact antithesis of what the original civil rights leaders fought for.









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