Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Civil Rights, how America must treat its own people

Race is as important as we make it. Every culture places a level of importance on race as they deem necessary. In some countries, it is one of the least important measures and in others it can dominate their lifestyle.

Growing up, my heroes were the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Harriett Tubman, Rosa Parks as well as many other leaders of the African American community. Sadly still today, the division of race affects this country on both sides. I have lived and traveled across this country and have seen it play out in several places and fault can be placed on both sides.

We need to focus on the same values and ethics that Dr. King spoke of and apply them in our lives. We need to show human decency to one another. We are all Americans before and after July 4th and we need to act that way towards all people regardless of their race, status or any other factor that we might use to discriminate or demean them. We need to take ownership for our acts of commission as well as those of ommission. People must be seen as who they are before anything else, people.

While we may disagree about their legal status and their right to be here, they are here. We need to treat people with human decency. We have rights and responsibilities towards those who are in prison, so why shouldn't we have laws of human decency towards any one person who is living in this country? We may not like that someone is here illegally but it is no reason to treat them as less of a person. The verbal attack of calling someone a "sub-human" was a derogatory term during a part of American history that was deplorable and abhorrent. This type of mentality exploits and exposes our overall ignorance for people in general and gets plenty of attention in this global economy that we live in and it DOES affect how other countries look to us as the example that we OUGHT to be.

During my time in Coast Guard, recruit training, if someone was punished, the whole company was punished. This applies to us as a country as well. When one of us is seen as culturally or racially insensitive, it weakens us as a country overall. We have all, for the better part, learned that if you don't have anything nice to say, then, say nothing at all.

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