The Race Dialogue in America

I usually don’t speak up when it comes to divisive politics and social issues these days – especially when it comes to race, since I’m a privileged white girl and no one would listen to me anyway (har har.)

But in regards to the firestorm surrounding the unthinkable slaying of Trayvon Martin, I only have one thing to remind people amidst some of the oversimplified commentary I’ve read lately: racism is NOT a uniquely American problem, nor is it a uniquely white problem. Genocide, ethnic/racial/religious cleansing, and hate crimes have been perpetuated all over the world for thousands of years, by people of every color, against people of every color – to include (gasp) white Christian males. I don’t think I need to list examples here because – if you’ve ever picked up a history book – we all know it’s true.

Maybe it’s just the patriot in me getting defensive when I hear racism defined as an “American cancer.” I may not have travelled the world or studied every statistic, but I have been around and met enough very different kinds of people to know that prejudice hides in every corner, including in countries that are supposedly more liberal and progressive than our own (I do speak from experience there – it was surprising.)

Racism is an ugly thing, and maybe one day humanity will finally overcome it, so that tragedies like Trayvon Martin will never happen again. However, I strongly feel that for a country of over 300 million people to manage, America is still the most diverse and least segregated countries in the world. I wish the media wouldn’t pin this on the U.S. so exclusively, and recognize racism as the human problem that it really is.

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