10.17.2008

The moccasin mile-walk

Somewhere along the way, I’m sure we’ve all heard the maxim, “Never criticize an Indian until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.”

If you need a higher authority than me, how about “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” More simply, “Love one another.”

For me, all of these were early lessons about discrimination. They gently put me in my place and have kept me there.

My friend Mat O’Keefe over at “Papamoka Straight Talk” learned about such things on his grandparents’ knees. As immigrants from the counties Claire and Cork in Ireland, they were met in America with overt discrimination.

Papamoka has shared his thoughts on such discrimination in a post, “True colors in politics,” which features two video examples of overt racism by Republicans. (Unfortunately, I am on a dial-up, or low-speed, connection which prevents me from viewing videos.)

Go HERE to read Mat’s straight talk and view the videos and, by all means, leave him a comment expressing your own views.

Here are mine:

Sadly, there will always be those who believe they are the models of perfection for all persons. I don’t believe this is a phenomenon systemic to or based ONLY in the Republican Party.

As a Southerner who lived through – indeed, was an eyewitness to - past civil rights struggles, I can say with some authority that such hatred - or fear - of others is based in ignorance – the lack of education. Not the rudimentaries required to “get a job,” but a well-rounded, liberal education which exposes one to the world outside a narrow-minded existence.

Ironically, as I type this at 4 a.m. Friday, “CBS Up to the Minute” is airing a segment on how poorly America’s education system stacks up against others in the world.

I’ve always heard that “man fears most that which he does not understand.” What is needed is more understanding.

Finally, let’s not make the mistake – in the event Barack Obama is defeated – of blaming every vote for John McCain on racism. The dedication to conservatism in this country remains very strong, and it existed long before an African-American was at the top of a political party ticket.

***

In every (every!) political race, when candidates are at the post and come out running, there are always promises of meaningful improvements in America’s education systems. In the end, as we juggle all the issues important to us and to this nation, education always seems to fall precipitously to the bottom of the priorities list.

I would argue, it remains the single most important issue, the key to solving all the others.

If this country is so damn great, would someone please explain to me why we continue to neglect the minds of its children?

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Read more “Papamoka Straight Talk:” LINK

2 comments:

Tiny said...

I agree with you and Mat whole heartedly. At age five, my dad taught me that God made everyone in different colors. That we were all God's children and that God loved each of us equally.

I taught my children and my students, "The knowledge you gain is the only thing you will ever own that no one else can take away from you." I still stand by that conclusion from my own life experiences.

Early education is very important for all children. My dad was orphaned while in the fourth grade. He told everyone, "I went clear through school. I went in the front door, clear through the school and out the back door."

However, he was a self educated man and helped to build a substation, working for $1.00 a day. Then he worked at that Power Company Substation for over 35 years, supporting a wife and eight children.

We were always taught, "Ignorance is no excuse for the law." Meaning no excuses for disobeying the laws of the land. We live in a Universe of laws. We need to make education a priority, along with adequate health care.

Bill Sumrall said...

Amen and double Amen!