Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I was all set to go on a rant about 'park-ism'. A study of the public parks in New York City has discovered that the quality of public parks is related to the affluence where they are. Approximately, one out of nine parks in NYC is 'below standard'.

No kidding! Is anyone surprised by this? Parks in the more affluent areas of the city have non-profits-like the Central Park Conservancy-tending to them. In the less affluent areas the parks are looked after by the NYC Parks Department.

So, congratulations to trend-setting New York City for adding another 'ism' to our vocabulary!

Speaking of parks, someone overheard the following conversation on a playground-it is the best example of how to deal with racism that I have ever seen.

Child #1: Is that your mother?
Child #2: Yes.
Child #1: Why is she white and you are black?
Child #2: Because I am adopted, and black people have more melanin than white people do.
Child #1: Oh, let's go on the high bars.

Talk about out of the mouths of babes! These kids have the right idea-they took the emotion and judgement out of skin color by using-facts! What a concept!

Skin color, like many other physical traits, is evolutionary. People with darker skin don't sunburn as easily as those with light skin. So doesn't it make sense that people who evolved in warm climates would have darker skin. The skin color is nature's protection against the sun's damaging rays. It is not a signal of anything else. We have added our own spin to skin color.

Imagine what would happen in the world if we filled our children with facts and left our own smoldering biases in the garbage where they belong? Would our kids have the ability to view people as people or would skin color, country of origin, language, stature, sex and age be the criteria for evaluating people.

Don't get me wrong-race and culture do matter. To be 'color blind' is ridiculous. The question remains, can we accept people as they are and make judgements from facts and not from biases that have been cemented into our psyche.

Let's take the first step today and stick with the facts!


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