LetÂ’s Eracism This Month

This month is Black History Month. Instead of spending column inches on what the seemingly racist Mayor Nagin said about God’s “Chocolate Plan” for the Big Easy, I am going to comment on what I feel is the root of the ever-growing problem: racism. So prepare yourself, for I may actually make sense.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” IÂ’d like to see that one day. But it seems that minorities from both sides seem to use the media to crush those ideals every day. 

Jesse Jackson was quoted as saying, “When we're unemployed, we're called lazy; when the whites are unemployed, it's called a depression.” And not to be one-sided, David Duke makes my research of quotes easier, starting with “I don't call myself a white supremacist. I'm a civil rights activist concerned about European-American rights.”

These people are poisoning our culture by telling us that everything is a black-and-white issue. Our “leaders” usually have their own agenda: polarize their fan base and become wealthy preaching whatever it takes to keep their attention. We need to make up our own minds and realize the only true difference between the other races and your own is the pigment in your skin.

I propose to eliminate the African out of African-Americans along with the European out of European-Americans. We are all Americans, no matter where we came from, and using our ancestral origins as a dividing line divides our country. Take the time to make up your own mind and realize that when we label, we only propagate the hatred on both sides.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Dr. King’s words rang true this year with the confederate flag controversy at LSU. The marches were almost like Dr. King’s, but I felt that some of the issues were, dare I say it, racist. Some of the demands were for more black, tenured professors, more funding of minority programs, and more minority recruiting.

I have read remarks in various LSU forums regarding our school as “not diverse enough.” This enrages me because our school doesn’t enroll based on race, but on applicants’ scores on standardized tests and GPAs. Besides, the university is listed as 11% black, with the national average according to the census at 12%. For a national flagship school, we have a good representation. In response to that argument, I have heard that the state is 46-48% black and our university should show that.

Hmmm. We have this outstanding university in North Baton Rouge with over 9,000 students called Southern University. The other big college in Baton Rouge is Baton Rouge Community College. Among the three main campuses here, we achieve about a 45% black attendance. I’d like to think that the people that use these statistics to say that LSU is a “white only” university are neither ignorant nor stupid, yet they polarize a community that should be rejoicing that there are such a large number of people getting higher degrees.

As for the minority tenured professors, I think that is somewhat racist. I think LSU is facing budget cuts and should, as always, hire the most qualified candidates for the job. Black, white, green, taupeÂ…the color doesnÂ’t matter (no USC professors, please) as long as they arrive here ready and excited to educate the youth of LSU. Besides, the flip side to that argument is whether or not Southern University recruits minorities (white and Hispanic in their case), and if the white or Hispanic students were to question that issue, would they be labeled as racists for wanting the same equality that is being demanded for the minorities of LSU?

The other problem that I have with race relations is the youth of today. Rap music, gang violence, teen pregnancy, and high school dropouts are stereotypically attributed to the black population, but all races make up those numbers. However, the black youths seem to bring up the fact that they were enslaved and they have to be given reparations. I scream when I hear that. I didnÂ’t have slaves, their parents werenÂ’t enslaved, and minorities have the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, and other scholarships to help them get into a good school, but the advantages that are bestowed upon them because of race are passed up sometimes. Upsetting.

Their parents, and the older generations that fathered the children that walked with Dr. King, are the ones that I have undying respect for. Those generations pushed the race movement forward at a time when there was no NAACP as we know it today; when “separate but equal” meant separate diners, bathrooms, and water fountains; and a time when they filled in the pool at City Park with dirt instead of integrating with the blacks.

Those brave men and women really suffered the indignity of racism, and some even gave their lives so that everyone today can live Dr. KingÂ’s dream of a colorblind society. They started the colorblind society, because although they were looked down on by the whites, they still held their heads high and didnÂ’t stoop to the level of wanting revenge for the way they were treated, just equality. They are the true role models of the kind of people that we should be celebrating this month.

And on that note, I wish you and yours a very happy Black History Month, and remember: It doesnÂ’t matter how you got here, we are all in the same boat now.

Holden doesn’t have “black” or “white” friends; he has friends. Become one.