Attack The Source There really is no way of getting around it. There is a great deal of
racial tension in the United States today. Nine out of ten people in society today believe
that racism does exist and is something that affects millions of people everyday. There is
not much arguing that can done with a statistic like that. What is it that causes so many
problems between each other? Is it that we are afraid of the unknown? Whatever the cause
is, we have been trying to fix the problem for many years now. Since racism is learned and
not genetic, it is something that needs to be taken care of in school starting from the
young children. In Brown v. Board of Education, the whole issue was that schools could
be segregated only if they were “equal”. This was decided by the case of Plessy v
Ferguson. Schools in the South were not equal so Brown v. Board of Education was filed.

Supreme Court Judge Earl Warren decide with the rest of the Supreme Court that
segregated schools were in fact unlawful. Schools went through drastic changes but some
schools didn’t like the idea. Schools in Prince Edward County had closed due to the ruling
and children in the county lost out on their education. This had caused some racism to
occur in Prince Edward County. The most effective solution for solving the racial tension
problem is to change the curriculum, text books, and to keep up, if not increase, diversity
training in the work force today. First of all, there needs to be an agreement that a
problem does exist. It is after all evident through racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan,
Neo-Nazis, and Skinheads. These are hate groups that threaten and dislike people, not for
the content of their character, but the color of their skin or what country they are from.

although these are extremes when it comes to racism, it is something that affects so many
people everyday in the United States. What is racism really? Racism is not knowing
anything about someone when you look at them, but disliking them anyway, not because
of who they are, but what they are. Racism is cowardly. More importantly, racism is a
weakness and an obvious sign of ignorance. So what is it that makes us racist? More than
likely, it is the fear of the unknown. In other words, it is a lack of education. The only way
to battle this ignorance is to educate oneself. That is why the key to solving the problem is
not Affirmative Action, or bussing kids around the different schools, but instead it is
education and starts with the young generation. The first thing that needs to be done is to
up-date the text books and books in general that are read by the students starting from
Kindergarten or first grade. The books need to be changed to include different cultures
and their positive contributions to life, and not just focusing on one group. Curriculum
change is also something that can do some benefit in understanding others. For example,
instead of having black history one month, why can’t every month have black history in it?
Students could learn about black history all year around, and not just condensed into one
month. This goes the same for other cultures also. This is something that would along
with educating ourselves, help break up stereotypes we have of others. In James
Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” , the narrator talks about students’ future with the education
system as it is. The narrator says, “All they really knew were two darknesses, the darkness
of their lives, which was now closing in on them, and the darkness of the movies, which
had blinded them to that other darkness, in which they now, vindictively, dreamed, at once
more together than they were at any other time, and more alone.” This is an example of
how children back in those days had no real future except for the ones they saw in the
movies, which was like a dream world to them. Racism hit its high point in the 1960’s and
today it is still flooding society. Throughout schools in America, racism suffocates the
classrooms, cafeterias, and hallways. There are many programs aimed at stopping racism
but teachers and socialization programs cannot sway the racism out of the children’s
minds. The children are not the problem. They are the products of what their parents
created. From the day a child is born, it is learning from his or her parents. Instead of
trying to cram a child’s mind with anti-hate messages, teachers should attack the source of
this problem, household, before it is too late. It is not the teacher’s fault that they cannot
help their students avoid racism. Racism is everywhere and it begins in the home. If a child
grows up in a racist household, he or she more than likely will take the traits of his or her
parents. If parents teach their children that their race is far superior and other races are
evil, that child will grow up believing his or her race is better than other races. Children
don’t know right from wrong. They do what their parents do and say. If a father tells his
young child not to play with the black boy down the block because he says black people
are bad then that child will believe his father. Children are fragile and extremely ignorant
creatures. Children learn from their parents just like animals do in nature. For example, a
baby bear is taught everything by his mother. It is taught how to hunt, where to seek
shelter, how to defend its self, and how to act around other animals. If this baby bear is
taught only to socialize with the brown bears and stay away from the black bears then that
is what the baby bear is going to do. The same exact thing goes with humans. If parents
teach their children to only socialize with white people then that is exactly what the child is
going to do. When I was a child growing up my best friend’s father was extremely racist.

He did not want anything to do with black people. My friend was told not to associate
with black people. His father even tried to get me to follow in his beliefs, but my parents
taught me different. My parents taught me not to judge people by their skin. As time
progressed I noticed that the beliefs of my friend’s father stuck in my friend’s head. Racism
grew like a cancer in my friend. At first my friend would tell racist jokes. I figured he
didn’t mean any harm with these jokes so I let them pass without question. Over time I
noticed that he believed these jokes and took them seriously. It got to the point where I
would just ignore him, but there were times when he couldn’t be ignored. I tried to talk to
my friend, but it was like talking to a brick wall. The beliefs of his father were tattooed on
the inside of his brain. I didn’t know what to do. I had no idea that the worst was yet to
come. My friend started becoming extremely vocal in public. There was a time I was
talking to one of my friends, who happened to be black, after my high school’s football
game and my racist friend pulled me aside and said, “Hey Ced, why are you talking to
him?” That might sound like an innocent question, but if you knew my friend, you knew
what he meant. This was the beginning of the end. I was really getting aggravated with my
friend but on the other hand I was getting worried for him. I was worried that he would
say the wrong thing at the wrong time and end up getting seriously hurt. Another time, we
were walking down the street and a black kid, no less than ten years old walked by, and
my friend said, ” I bet that nigger stole that jacket!” My mouth dropped. I couldn’t believe
his latest ignorant remark. I asked my friend if he ever needed a liver transplant and that
black kid was the only possible donor, what would he do? He replied, “I would probably
die!” This was the straw that broke the camel’s back because a friendship of sixteen years
ended at that moment. Parents are the biggest influence in a child’s life. Children look to
their parents for support and guidance. Without the proper support and guidance, children
are headed on a road to nowhere. Racism is not something that will just disappear. But it
is possible to minimize it if we keep it under control. Yes we can still teach about unity
and equality in our schools, but if we don’t attack racism where it begins, then those
school programs won’t be of any value. Not all children will fall into the category that my
former friend fell into. Many children grow up in racist households. My friend was a prime
example of someone who couldn’t climb the wall of racism but there are many children out
there who climb the wall of bigamy every day. The problem of racism isn’t a permanent
problem. Racism is like a cancer, if it is caught early enough it could be treated but if it is
caught too late it could be deadly. Therefore we must attack racism from its source, the
household, before it is too late.