Let’s get this all in perspective

outrageously racist posterThe inauguration of President Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United States was the occasion of much self-congratulation. I haven’t yet heard “Only in America” but it’s only a matter of time.

This is cause for satisfaction on the part of Black America; it’s a watershed event and a welcome change. Nevertheless, the facts that just a few months ago this event was deemed unlikely to be acceptable to the majority of white voters and that it would’ve been an absolute impossibility prior to the elevation to national hero status of General Colin Powell is a disgrace.

Hypocrisy in abundance

Fine words have been spouted by generations of luminaries: slave-owning Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and countless others. But the state of race relations in the U.S.A. is still abominable. In my lifetime Black Americans living in the “Land of the free and the home of the brave” have been treated in a despicable fashion. The situation has improved immeasurably in the last 50 years, but it’s still abominable.

So, what to do?

Just like here in New Zealand, the answer lies in education.

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”

Derek Bok, American Educator and Lawyer

Education of Black children gives them a chance to drag themselves out of the ghettos. Education of white children erodes prejudice. Throughout the world, the spread of education has dragged people out of poverty: enabling them to increase their incomes and empowering women to limit their child-bearing.

Racism in America–and here in New Zealand–won’t disappear overnight, but it’s possible in a generation or two.