Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Commentary: Does The Racist Bell In Richmond Toll Or Is It Just Politics?

By Tiffany Quivers

On Monday, September 28th, the Richmond Times Dispatch ran a story on the NAACP’s protest of a large banner depicting President Barack Obama as the Joker from “The Dark Knight” movie.

Inside local companies, coffee shops and homes, the resulting debates ensued: Is the banner racist or a legitimate political opinion?

What is difficult to debate, however, are the messages we send to our children. Ask a 5-year old to describe the Joker. Scary, evil and bad are mentioned. Then try to explain to that same child why his or her President is depicted as such a person. New questions arise: Is Obama evil like the Joker?

Some Americans will tell their children that he is evil and bad. Is someone evil and bad because we disagree with his or her political view? Does the Joker image distance President Obama’s humanity just enough to leave room for hate?

If we continue to teach our children that people with whom we disagree or find different are scary, bad and evil, how can they grow into the adults who lead our country to the next level domestically and globally?

Consider the words of renowned Civil Rights lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston, “Do not bind the children within the narrow circles of your own lives. Teach them to hear the song without hating the singer. Make them understand that it is just a question of reconciling the want and desires of different human beings, each equally entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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