Racism is really another word for ignorance. It's another way of saying that nature should have had only one type of flower or tree. It's another way of looking at the world with your eyes closed to diversity and change. Racism is another word for fear. Fear of the unknown is understandable, of course, and for many of us those of different races and creeds are the great unknown. Most of us are brought up in a particular environment with a particular type of people. For example, let me give you some statistics that I got from the US Census Bureau, on a large scale we have a total of 2,100,562 people in Utah, 1,999,509 of which are white that is 95%. There is only 18,613 total blacks, that is not even 1% of the population. The other majority is of course the Hispanic population but they also only have about 4%. So we may come in contact with these other races, but it is almost just a "passer by" situation, most the time not even becoming acquainted with them let alone getting to know them on a personal level. So we think "there goes a different person" and most the time different to us can be viewed as negative.
Often we do not put those thoughts into words. We simply, as it were, stick to our own. We are comfortable there and it is where we belong. We often repeat our parents' philosophy on race and that too is understandable. They set our standards and we often, unthinkingly, adopt them. Some of us may be more aggressive in our attitude, of course, but generally we are just unthinking. Like Thomas Jefferson for instance, he wanted to pass a bill that would make all slaves "free and independent" sounds like a good idea right, but here's the catch he wanted to send them basically to some secluded island where they wouldn't be able influence or have contact with the white race. Thus, proving are country was founded on ignorance.
Now on an even more personal level to all of us, a couple more statistics these coming from the US Census Bureau also, the population estimates for cache county, as per July 1, 1998. There is a total of 87, 227 people in cache county, 83,168 of which are white that's 95%. Brace yourself, the total number of the population of cache county that are black is just 354 that is .4% not even half a percent. Also, 4% are Hispanic and a little over half a percent are American Indian.
Today I would challenge you to look at other races with open eyes rather than a closed mind. I would challenge you to be honest about your beliefs. I would suggest that you ask yourself what makes you feel the way you do about race. Is it an experience you have had? Is it something you have learnt at home? Can you give logical reasons for your feelings? To do this you must ask yourself are your fears justified? Are races really different? Does culture really matter? All these are intertwined questions and ones that we must answer before we can tackle the vexed problem of racism.
Basically we are all the same human beings. We have the same number of hands and legs. We are born and we die the same way. It is what happens in between that determines our place in society and our relationship with one another. If we think about it is the fact that we are born in Africa or in Utah really important?
Facing racism means facing your fears. They may be fears for your safety, for your family, for your culture or for your beliefs. Facing racism can be difficult but it can be done. That is not to say we should not be afraid but we should recognize that one race does not have the monopoly of evil or that culture has to mean the same thing to all people. We have to be prepared to listen to other views and, even more difficult, to allow that such views may be relevant. Most religions are about respecting the rights of others. We cannot claim to have a religion and yet close our eyes to racism. Truly religious people know that we should reach out across the racial divide. They know that what is...