Thursday, June 26, 2008

Life and Experience Living In America

Ever since Obama’s "brilliant", "remarkable", "historical speech" on race in America the media and talk shows have jumped in offering expert opinions on how Americans should talk to Americans. Today the big thing is it starts at home with the children. What we do and say in front of our children will determine how our children think when they are adults. This may factor into how our children look at race issues, politics and life in general, but there is one thing all the experts don’t say. I believe, and this is only the opinion of a father of 4 grown children, that all children are individuals the same as all adults are individuals. The environment outside of the home and life experiences they face as young adults has more to do with their outlook on the world than their parents.

Due to economical differences in the world most of the experts, celebrities and anlysts grow up and live in a world far removed from the average street wise kid or average working American. Take away their income and place them in an inner ctiy living environment working as a mechanic, service station attendant, plumber, delivery driver, or any other job dealing with the public for 3-5 years and then ask them their views on the subjects they are now discussing. Let them live in inner city neighborhoods where average Americans live making 8-12 dollars an hour. Let them raise 2-4 kids on this income and have both parents working for this same amount just to raise their kids. Let them live this way for a period of time with no guarantee of a better future and then ask them their views.

At one time every culture around the world looked to their elders for advice and wisdom based on their life’s experience. Sadly younger generations started turning away from seniors because young adults felt the older generation had screwed up the world and it was up to them to correct all the mistakes of past generations. By doing this we have lost a great deal of knowledge and experience. We have also lost a sense of American culture, history and the principles for which our country was founded.

Today most parents teach their kids not to discriminate against other kids because of color. It’s when the kids become young adults and venture out into the cities that life hits them in the face and reality sets in. The average white American cannot tell you with absolute honesty where their ancestors originally came from. If their grandparents came from another country they may be able to claim that culture and speak about it. Get farther back to great or great great grandparents and the average white American will shrug their shoulder and give you their best guess. The average black American will claim Africa as their ancestory regardless of whether their original ancestors did or did not come to America as slaves. Most have relied on television, movies and what they have been told about the African culture to be true and now claim it for their own culture. You will find very few average black Americans that have ever set foot on the African continent. On the other hand the average Hispanic American will lay claim to the Mexican culture and most can speak the Hispanic language. I have met Americans that are clearly from Hispanic and Asian descent that cannot speak the native language and know nothing about the cultures, except from television, movies and what they’ve heard.

It’s natural for people to want to be different yet feel the need to have their own culture and sense of belonging to a group of people they can identify with. This has led to voluntary segregation not only in America but through out the world. Communities are set up not by government but by individuals that feel comfortable living in neighborhoods that identify more with their sense of culture than in neighborhoods that have a diverse population. Communities like this will not accept outsiders moving into their neighborhoods if they do not adhere to the common culture of their neighbors. Young adults that enter these communities can find out very quickly that entering these neighborhoods can result in resentment and sometimes violence. When this happens regardless of what we teach our kids about racism, it goes right out the door. It’s life’s experience like this that will dictate what our kids believe in when they become adults. Until all Americans decide to let go of their ancestors cultures and claim the American culture as their own we will always be a nation divided. I don’t see it happening in my lifetime, nor in my children’s lifetime. No President regardless of race can change how individuals think or what they believe. People living today cannot change nor should they be held responsible for things that occurred decades ago. We and our children have a future to look forward to, we need to get on with it and stop crying about the past. If we act like responsible adults and teach our kids the importance of family values, God and loyalty to our Country maybe we would see less drugs, violence and teenage pregnancies.

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