We Can Do Better, America!

By Samantha McKenzie

Everyday we see more and more media posts of people spewing hate or racist rhetoric. It’s become so common now that no one seems to be shocked. We are repulsed, but we aren’t really shocked.

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Many of us have been on either side of this divisive talk. We are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. I choose the latter. I want to do something for my children. It scares me to think that they will have to grow up in America, one of the greatest countries in the world, and have to experience this type of unwarranted hatred. I want to do something for your children too.

It is taking a toll on us all. Let’s face it, we can no longer sit by in silence as this type of negativity chokes our nation. I still believe that we are all good people at the core. I certainly believe there’s still so much more work to be done.

Racism is America’s cancer. It has grown and taken over all parts of our collective body. It’s seen in the judicial system, the educational system and the political system. It’s no longer just what the KKK represents. It’s a part of the culture of everyday people…and national figures. It is America’s ugly secret that we no longer have to whisper about.The hate is being screamed aloud.

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When I first moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., an anonymous call came into the newsroom one day. The person told me that there was a racist sign sitting in her neighborhood and then rattled off the address. When I arrived, with my camera in hand, there it was in plain sight. On the front porch of a single family ranch-style home sat a piece of plywood spray painted with the racial epithet, “No N*ggas Allowed.” This was my introduction to the South. The year was 1990.

Prejudice gives birth to discrimination, and with all the evidence available to us today, it still continues to infect our nation. It takes root in two ugly truths: we want to be superior and we are full of fear. To give it up, we would first have to relinquish the idea that we are better than others. Next, we would have to believe that there is enough of everything in this world to go around — enough homes, jobs, transportation, food, clothing and shelter…and certainly enough love. We can be equals and share in the goodness of what this world has to offer.

As a woman who hopes for a brighter future, I encourage all of us to participate in eradicating this disease. Challenge your own stereotypes. Challenge conversations without causing a disruption. Make a conscious decision to be a part of the change.

We can and should do better.

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