Thursday, February 19, 2009

The latest furor about Race, the US being banded a nation of cowards!

One could argue the toss about whether it was the place of the Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer to make this comment in his department at a function commemorating ‘Black History Month’.

No matter what was said and why, let us just go back to some real truths which need to be addressed and gradually resolved in time. The election of Barrack Obama should make it easier to address the hush topic of race in the open without fear, as sometimes is the case for fear of offence.

Having lived in the US for nearly 15 years and having traveled the length and breadth of the country, I can speak with an element of first hand knowledge as well. People of all races work fairly harmoniously together, and socialize after work, however they go back to their segregated neighborhoods. I believe it is a matter of comfort for them to live side by side with people of the same race, be it Italian American or African American. I have lived in neighborhoods that are new in the Western US where if the area is less than 20 years old, and all the homes are new, they tend to have a racial mix that is representative of the area, and in that sense no ghettoes are created. Of course in luxury neighborhoods, the Indian and Chinese Americans are more represented than even White, as compared with the area’s racial mix.

In a similar vein, watching kids in schools that are in old neighborhoods racially segregated, it also seems to have a system of apartheid, which despite years of trying to integrate, have not actually happened. In college students tend to lunch and therefore socialize in racial groups, and only where some races are totally underrepresented like Indian Americans, they kind of get an honorary white acceptance.

These examples illustrate the need still for their to be a debate, and for whites and blacks to make a conscious effort to integrate more, so that fear of a black family next door does not arise. It is easier said than done, and we have to make an effort. In that respect the word coward, which can be interpreted in many ways, is one that is apt. We are not confrontational enough to call a spade a spade and in that sense we are cowards. Lets therefore not get bogged down in the words used, but just accept the reality and address this issue in a way that will promote racial harmony. We have to first accept there is a problem if we are to find a solution.

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