My Dream for The End of Racism
Special to the Mirror
All men, all women, all races, all creeds, are equals. Not only is this my firmly held opinion, but it is also an indisputable fact. It resonates from the essence of my being, and indeed, from the very essence of the human sprit. God views all His children as equals, and we too must wholly embrace the truth of human equality. You see, full equality is not only the noblest of ideals, but it represents the only hope for humanity. If humankind does not learn to transcend ethnic boundaries, then the world will never cease its quibbling, its fighting, its devastating lack of cooperation.
That we still live in a world with not only discrimination, but even slavery and ethnic genocide, is as disturbing as it is sinful. We must work towards eliminating racism altogether. Yes, it does sound like a lofty goal, but I truly believe that sometime in the future humanity will be able to forever rise above the prejudice and intolerance that has stained the earth with so much blood and so many tears. And we must begin this mission of equality here, at home.
Fortunately, in America, with each passing year, it seems the sickness that is racism dissipates more and more. I am overjoyed that I live in a country where anyone who wishes to succeed may do so, given sufficient drive, devotion, and commitment. This alone places America on a different level than the other nations of the Earth. Throw on top of that the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans claim they would vote for a black president and the ever-increasing multi-racial representation in local, state, and federal offices, and you have a situation unprecedented in the world.
The U.S. abolished slavery in 90 years, a time span far shorter than that of other nations, and indeed we acquired emancipation through our bloodiest, most gruesome war. This no doubt due to the unique status of our beloved nation as being one founded on the principal of equality. With this ideal imprinted on our national psyche from day one, it was inevitable that we would ferociously work towards this goal. This notion of God-given equality on which our nation was founded set us on this righteous path from the very beginning. Since the Declaration of Independence was signed and U.S. soldiers started marching in 1776, our nation itself has been on a continual march towards freedom, and we grow ever closer to our destination. We should all take pride in how far we have come.
We have rapidly progressed into a society where sports and entertainment and business and politics are open to anyone with the requisite skill. Everywhere we see judges, actors, corporate executives, mathematicians, soldiers, athletes, teachers, of every race and origin. No one claims that racism is extinct, but it is endangered. And if we are to entirely extract this venom of prejudice from the United States, I proclaim Americanism to be the key.
We all share the same goal. At Santa Monica High School, the scourge of racism was dealt with through ďmulticulturalism,Ē through isolating and separating the different ethnicities in history classes, as well as through school sanctioned and sponsored events and celebrations for various cultural groups. I agree with the goals of those at the high school whom have made these multicultural efforts, but I completely disagree with the methods and I feel that they are unhelpful, and even counter-productive. For the sad truth of the matter is that students continue to segregate themselves in class, at lunch, and after-school. I believe a new approach must be taken.
Instead of breaking down students by race and ethnicity, we should bring them together, all as Americans, all as equals. We should stress the one culture that we all hold in common ó the American culture. There is so much to share and to be proud of in our nationís glorious history. For such a young country we have such a vast and wonderful culture. There must be more American celebrations, more patriotic exercises, more focus on America and why our ancestors came here, more study of this nationís valiant efforts at fighting for freedom around the world, more reminders of what is great about this country, and more of an effort to foster brotherhood among all students as citizens and equals in this magnificent land. However, these efforts must not be confined to our school campuses, but we must offer the crown of brotherhood to all Americans, from sea to shining sea.
This prescription for the disease of racism is not only the most potent, but the only one that will bring us closer together, the only one that will make us truly one people, under one flag. This will ensure that America will never die, and that we will forever be a haven for the oppressed, an escape for the persecuted, and a guardian of freedom. This will give us the power, the strength, and the personal experience, to go about the business of ridding the entire world of racism. Once we are completely free of this plague, we can bring the message to the rest of the world and forever destroy racism so that in can never again destroy us. And the message is the same, only the scope is broader: We are more alike than different. We all live in the same place; Earth is home to us all. We are all Godís children. We are equal in His eyes, and we must be equal in each otherís as well.
I pray that the God who gave us the gift of free will, will inspire us to fulfill our human potential, and that He will help us to understand that free will is not free, but that it comes with a burden. May He give us the strength to someday bring about a world liberated from senseless hate and hostility. And until that day, may he give us the strength to protect the weak, the innocent, and the oppressed.
Please join me in this prayer.
Steven Miller, 17, graduated from Santa Monica High School in June and will attend Duke University in the fall.