By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –
Race relations on evening news broadcasts should have its own segment just as sports and weather at the national and local level. It could then become apart of our dialogue as the weather, sports, or other matters we talk about on a daily basis. Until this happens, we will forever be content to only show outrage as awful racist, or race-related events continue to happen.
Within two months, we have had two very high profile murders where race played a part in the motivation for the crime’s occurrence. First, it was the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida, which is still the center of television talk shows, demonstrations, and hearings.
Wouldn’t it be grand if the evening and morning news shows had a regular, daily segment in their programming on race relations along with weather or sports? Shouldn’t issues of race be just as significant?Actual progress in race relations grows and starts with how we think, act, and react in our daily encounters.
Whether racial profiling, brandishing want-to-be police power, raw testosterone unleashed, or a mixture thereof, the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman event and its consequences implore more questions that need fair and open dialogue if we are to go beyond the labeling and quit falling into the exact same old recurrent cycle of accusation and denial.
Then last week we had the wanton killing of a Muslim mother of five. The killer or killers left a calling card imploring the family to get out of America.
And, have we forgotten the senseless killing of a black man in Mississippi who happened to be walking to a convenience store when he was beaten and run over by a pick-up truck driven by white teenagers which were looking to kill a Nigger. White Teens killed an innocent unsuspecting black man.
But, what about all the low profile events, those that don’t make national news, that occur on a daily basis in communities all across America, involving people of ethnic and racial groups?
An overriding question: Why is it possible for us to always avoid facing matters of race when they are such a part of our daily lives in blatant and subliminal ways?
Until we are willing to take inventory on an individual, group, and societal level, of those factors factual and fictitious that shape our approaches and activities as we socialize with others who are distinct from ourselves, race will continue being a divisive and damaging force. Race relations on evening news broadcasts as a regular normal segment could go a long way to end the divisiveness.
Events that would otherwise be considered as struggles that are common and regular encounters take on a life of their own, fueled by the stereotypes and labels that we allow to order our worldview and hang on to. Do we care whether they’re accurate or inaccurate? Are we frightened to analyze their veracity, for fear it might guide us out of our comfort zone, shatter the monochromatic world naturally retreat?
Do we actually believe we’ve more to gain than seeking the truth about others unlike ourselves by remaining close-minded and cloistered? How about the enlightenment and richness that awaits us if we break through the blinders of racial bigotry?
How many more killings and ugly events will it take for us to eventually get to the heart of the matter: Cease jumping the gun, stop over- or under- responding, stop retreating or raging, stop denying or over compensating, cease being reticent or exceedingly enthusiastic, merely stop the extremes when it comes to race. Normalcy, in all its significance, will continue to elude us, until our extreme reactions end.
But how can we get there? Who possesses the conversations and activities to result in change that is meaningful? We all do.
Wouldn’t it be grand if communities all across America held forums and town hall meetings on racial problems just as they do on educational issues, taxes, and other public policies?
Until racial diversity is as regular and as American as apple pie, we have quite a ways to go, and we need to be attentive about it with every opportunity and in every aspect of our daily lives.
Feature photo credit: constitutionclub.org
Edited and Reprinted with Permission of USAonRace.com