Teach your children well

I may not have had a lot of jobs in my life, but I can tell you that parenting is by far the hardest. And I am very aware that the most difficult years are yet to come.

More than anything, I want Jordan to treat everyone with respect and be as nice to everyone as much as possible. During the past couple of months, I was made painfully aware that racism is still alive and well. Not as bad as some would have you to believe; after all, Obama would not have been elected president were it not for the white votes. But, as one poster in the P-G forum accused me of, I had been living in La-La Land, completely unaware that there were more than a just a few people who harbored racist feelings and agendas.

I live in a community where I am in a minority or close to. On my street, if nothing else, there are more black people than white people. Having grown up in a town that was about 98 percent white, I welcome this, and truth be told, I was a little prejudiced growing up. So I think it is great that my child plays with and goes to school with children of all skin colors, something I never did.

I tell Jordan over and over that God made us all special and different. Some people are black and some are white. Some are big and some are small. Some are in wheelchairs. Some have scars. I am hopeful that this is sinking in.

But how is it that there is this hate going on in the country right now, even right here in the Pittsburgh area? What makes someone fear another with a different skin color? I have heard and read such sad and disturbing things, both on the news and in the P-G forum. It is beyond me that this stuff goes on in the 21st century. Martin Luther King Jr. would be disappointed.

Yesterday on the Marty Griffin show on KDKA, Marty commented on how the kids that harbor this hate do so because of the parents, a sentiment with which I whole-heartedly agree. But where he and I part ways is when he said that these high school kids who don't stand up against the racist comments are also a product of their parents. Obviously, I am pretty far from having a teenager. But I was one once, and I am quite sure it is even harder today to go against the grain. Peer pressure is incredible. I am confident that my child would never make a racist or prejudiced comment, but would she defend or stand up to someone else? I just don't know.

I wish I had all the right answers and could make this hate go away. I guess all I can do for now is to reinforce good values, respect, and tolerance in my child and hope that others will come around. I know the world will never be perfect, and there will, sadly, always be people who do bad things. But I can dream that as the years go by, through generations, people can become more accepting and respectful.


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