The Sounds of Racism by Fran White

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The sounds of Racism resound in the image above and if we add lyrics to this depiction of rage and racism, the following words from the production, SOUTH PACIFIC, could accompany the horrific concerto that was heard:

You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught as sung by Ensign Cable in his role as the conflicted lover of a young Polynesian girl in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s production; You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year.”

These very enraged people in the photo, members of the KKK and other supporters of racism have been carefully taught to hate and fear others of different races, facial features, religion and sexual orientation. They are demonstrating a legacy passed onto them from their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and on and on in the family tree.

Racism cannot be eradicated by legislation, nor the destruction of Confederate statues and monuments since these beliefs are so ingrained into the soul and collective unconscious of these racists. Only through their awareness of such destructive beliefs and the motivation, on the part of the racist, can this cancerous, destructive and hateful legacy be finally destroyed. This is a daunting and, perhaps, an unrealistic expectation since racist are so conditioned to believe and follow the expectations of generations of their families who have rewarded their behavior with love and encouragement.

Perhaps, if some of those photographed racists would be aware of the destruction of lives impacted by their irrational behavior and subsequently take ownership of the death of that beautiful young woman in Virginia who was attempting to peacefully change their generational beliefs, their hate, and fears. This quest to eradicate this embedded cancer of racism appears to be almost impossible since this evil has been with us since the beginning of time when human enslavement did accompany racist ideology, and this identical evil was exhibited in the concerto of rage orchestrated in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The cure for this social cancer is for each one of us to attempt to peacefully and cleverly teach, one racist at a time, one despicable deed at a time, not to fear and hate. Yes, this is a monumental task to “unteach” generational ideology and emotionally imbedded beliefs. We must first examine our own beliefs, words, and actions that may reflect unconscious suggestions of racism inherited from our own family of origin. Next, we must target those in our social or professional circles and gently open the channels of awareness within these observed and identified racists.

Change in behavior will never occur unless one is aware of that action or belief and is sincerely motivated to eradicate such offensive and destructive actions. The motivation to change that behavior which deeply offends you is dependent on the value that racist places on your friendship or professional association. Indeed, this is a daunting, overwhelming and highly time-consuming task but street demonstrations and protesting is risky and does not effectively change one racist at a time for a cumulative elimination of racism.

Dr. Fran White is a psychologist and marriage and family therapist who has been in private practice for over three decades. She was a columnist for her regional newspaper and has written about human behavior and problem-solving. Fran resides on the Eastern Shore with her husband, Tom, and is a grandmother of nine grandchildren.

 

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