At the rate we are going, America will never solve its racial problems. Why? Because we continue to view enacting laws as the solution when the only way to overcome racism is through changing hearts. People are not racists because they are born that way. Rather, they learn to be racists. Further, no racist has ever stopped being a racist because of laws passé by Congress or rules enforced by government agencies. Laws can alter human behavior somewhat, but they cannot alter hearts and until we alter hearts we will continue to suffer the results of racism.
For example, we sometimes slow down to obey speed limit signs but typically only when we fear there is a chance we might get caught. This concept is known as reluctant compliance. It means we go along not because we accept the validity of the speed limit but solely to stay out of trouble. It is the same when dealing with racism. Laws and the rules of government agencies can result in reluctant compliance, but they will not change the heart of the racists. Rather they just breed resentment and resentment sometimes boils over in tragic ways. To overcome the scourge of racism in America we are going to have to adopt a new approach.
The sad fact is that racism still exists in America—a fact borne out by the horrific slaughter of Christians in the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina by a hate-filled bigot who murdered innocent people simply because of their race. Dylann Roof committed this heinous crime because he grew up to be a resentful young man with a heart filled with hate. Roof was not born a committed racist. No baby is. Like all racists, he learned to be a hate-filled bigot. Racism and bigotry are learned behaviors. So shame on those who aided and abetted in this young man growing up to become a throw-back to the worst days of Jim Crow, days when cowardly bigots acted out their racism while hiding behind hoods and robes.
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