The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 20, 2012

Share the dream


The Register-Herald

— In many regards, there has been great progress in the United States in the last 50 years.

But sadly, in one of the most important areas — how we treat our fellow citizens —  progress is still greatly lacking in our country.

It will be 50 years in January since Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.

In it, King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

That historic moment came to mind last week in Raleigh County when the parent of an Independence High School student stood at the county’s Board of Education meeting and expressed her concerns over racial slurs being directed toward and used around her son at school.

The mother of the ninth-grader explained she wanted to bring this behavior to the board’s attention and offered to be a part of the solution.

She added, “When I was going to school in the ’70s, we kind of expected it, but now it’s 2012.”

Exactly.

If we’re not careful, we can quickly slip back to an era of disrespect at the very least and even violence at the worst.

It’s a form of bullying, which has gotten a fair amount of attention of late, and rightly so.

We cannot sit back and hope this situation doesn’t erupt once more. Racism and prejudice have no place in our society. Older generations should not pass down hate.

Racist “jokes” don’t help the situation and should not be passed around.

Some of our schools have stated they have a zero tolerance policy towards racism. The same should be implemented in our community, as well. We shouldn’t be involved in any activity that breeds hate.

As diverse as our society is in 2012, how does racism even still exist? Except for the ones that continue to feed the ugly attribute.

Our nation has been divided over many topics, beliefs and cultures. But it’s time to band together for common good and toward common goals.

Continuing to unravel a nation with hateful speech and a lack of unity will cause a ripple effect that will be felt for many generations to come.

Let’s make a stand, individually, as a community, as a state and as a nation to stop prejudice.

That is one dream that we can all share.