Hate is Taught; teach your children to see the colors

Hate is taught. Hate is learned. Hate solidifies injustice. On the anniversary of what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 92nd birthday, this is a good time to revisit this piece, which I wrote in 2014.

My neighborhood is diverse. Black families live in the first two houses to my south, followed by a Lebanese family. Northwest and across the street lives a highly observant Muslim family. A Greek family lives across the street to my southwest. Around the corner live several Indian families. I like where I live. It reminds me, daily, that the world is a big place. It reminds me, daily, that we all need to get along. It reminds me, daily, that I need to remember that every culture has a different worldview. It reminds me that we all love our children, want the best for our families, and that ‘your way’ is not the only right way.

The local high school takes pride in their diversity. The main entrance is lined with national flags. There is a flag for every nation represented in the school. When my son graduated in 2010, there were 8o flags hanging in the hallway.

As I walked those halls the other day, it was a reminder that we need to teach our kids to see color. Just as every family loves their children, but rears them differently, every culture brings something different to the neighborhood B-B-Q. To raise colorblind kids is to deny them the opportunity to take a bite from the world’s great buffet table.

Sikh or Hindu, Jew or Muslim, Christian or Shinto, black or white — don’t raise your kid to ignore the differences, because you can’t. Raise them to look past those differences. Raise your kid to revel in the differences, to take a page from someone else’s book, to have pride in one’s own roots whilst having the courage to explore another’s background. Raise your kid to see the differences, embrace and respect them, and at the same time, see what makes us all human.

I don’t want a colorblind society. I want us to see the colors.



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DStan58 is a teacher, a writer, a dad, a voice-over actor and poet. He's a melanoma survivor and a pulmonary embolism survivor. He's bringing sonnets back,