I’ve shared quite a few thoughts on race relations in the past few days. It’s clear we have a problem. Most would agree.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit, and I’d like to offer up a comprehensive solution.
There are four ideas here, but I think to work, we need to make them all happen. Clearly, this is a dynamic situation, and I’m under no illusion my list is exhaustive. But hopefully, this will get the ideas flowing…
National Military Service for all adults
Israel requires that all children, when they reach the age of 18, enlist in the Israeli Defense Force. I think there are a number of reasons why this would be a fantastic idea for the United States.
Serving in the military would create the shared (meaning, young adults of all races, together) experience for all American young adults of serving their country. During this service, kids would be taught an American civics course. This would give all of our youth an appreciation for the generations that fought for this country and why they did. The perfect antidote to public school and college indoctrination.
The civics course would also give them a shared and united understanding of the American political system and why it’s important to participate. Ideally, this would create much larger contingent of informed and active voters.
This would also serve as the antidote to the absurdity of “celebrating diversity”: discovering, emphasizing, and celebrating what unites us.
Other benefits would include teaching our young adults how to be physically active, reduce obesity, give them a network when they get into the professional world, help some bypass college and move right to a career, and some could stick with the military and serve.
Embrace the system
Our capitalist system has been criticized as being made by white men for white men. It is said to harbor institutional racism. Yet, so long as there is Oprah Winfrey, Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, Ursula Burns, and Kenneth Frazier, to name a few, there’s proof that it’s just not true.
Our system was designed to give anyone who wanted to embrace it a chance to be successful. The problem is that whites, in particular, have had at least a 100 year head start, and it’s just not realistic to make that up in a week, month, or even a year.
However, we can start working within poor neighborhoods (which include black and white kids) and make sure they not only get the proper training necessary to enter the work force with a beginner job when they’re in their teens, but we can also spend much more time showing them what’s possible instead of demoralizing them with messages of roadblocks, obstacles, and hate.
There’s definitely a marketing aspect to this, but there needs to be messaging programs designed to overcome the message of the left that blacks are hunted down and killed by police and that the system is rigged.
It is that kind of messaging that makes many in the black community call successful blacks, like those mentioned above, “coons,” “Uncle Toms,” and “sellouts.” Allowing black kids to grow up with that kind of daily messaging them consigns them to a life of poverty, if not outright crime.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time on “white privilege” in the past few days. Today, I realized too many white people, including me, to some degree, think it is one thing, while it means something entirely different to blacks.
Whites believe it means they’re getting jobs and opportunities because of their skin color that blacks would not get. What I’ve learned from days of conversations is that’s not really it.
What “white privilege” really is about, to many blacks, is that whites don’t have to look over their shoulder or control how mad they get or how they look to others the way blacks do. It’s not about opportunities so much as it is an ever-present suspicion just waiting for the slip up.
A friend told me of his multiple traffic stops – one for not using a blinker when changing lanes (something I’ve wished 100 times someone would enforce, but that I have never seen). It’s the slow build of a traffic rap sheet that results in suspended licenses or possible jail time which makes it more difficult to get jobs.
In general, I’m not a proponent of traffic stops or speed traps, as it is. And I’ve not given this enough thought to get into specifics, but police departments should have to submit their pull over, ticket, and arrest records for monthly or quarterly audits. When flags are raised with disproportionate demographic representations in one category or another, that is an opportunity both for training and penalties for the officers or department leadership.
Evening news reform
The largest problem we have in this country – especially as it relates to fractured race relations – is the media and an agenda driven narrative. Bias is one thing. Most every media source contains an element of bias. But our mainstream news is decidedly left-leaning and, at this point, is doing their best to create a narrative of discord and division.
We can argue about media truth and bias all day. My proposal makes that irrelevant. It’s simple. From 5-6pm local time, Monday through Friday, the Republican and Democrat parties each get 30 minutes to report the political news of the day.
They can have anyone they want do the reporting, the production, etc. But this way, Americans get mainstream exposure to alternative sides to stories and access to stories that may otherwise go unreported.
I’ve thought about this one quite a bit: the freedom of speech ramifications, the Fairness Doctrine, the potential for evolution into state media. But that’s why you just make the time available to the parties and leave it up to them to make it happen.
Again, these four ideas are just a start. And they’re not detailed, reviewed, and ready ideas. But I think they address some of the core elements missing in our current society.
As long as there are humans, there’s going to be racism. And we should not forget, white racism against blacks is only one form. There are members of every race who have issues with members of other races – just like there are high schoolers that give other high schoolers crap for the clothes they wear.
But we can do everything possible to ensure and enforce legal protections and continue to teach – not with the current guilty until proven innocent hammer, but with messages of positivity.