Bigotry and Racism are Learned Behaviors
Recently our local paper published an article about two high school students in Palm Beach County who posted a racially-charged video on YouTube. While the school board struggles to figure out how to address the problem, the parents of the two teenage girls have hired a prominent criminal defense attorney. Oddly, the girls have not come out publicly and apologized or even attempted to explain their behavior. This is not an isolated incident by any means.
In Gainesville, FL a few weeks ago, two girls published a similar video on YouTube. I find this to be sad and frustrating at the same time. Our country has moved into the 21st century, and issues of racism, bigotry and prejudice should be behind us by now. In these instances, I blame the parents. Bigotry and racism are learned behaviors. Children learn most from the actions and words of their parents. While some may say it’s peer pressure and influence from outside forces that form these views, if the parents instill a strong moral compass in the child, outside influences can be denied.
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in our country. My parents raised my brother and me in a way that we were colorblind and religiously tolerant. I cannot say the same for some of my acquaintances since we grew up in the era of the civil rights movement and social unrest. However, my bigoted acquaintances also had bigoted parents. As they say, the apple does not fall too far from the tree. We've come so far as the country in so many different respects it is a shame that we can't get past the base emotions of prejudice and bigotry. I am raising my children the same way I was raised, by being tolerant of others and by judging a person by the content of their character and nothing else. I wish the rest of us would do the same.