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Are we really a racist nation?

The phrase “Can’t we all get along?” by the late Rodney King was uttered after he was brutally beaten by Los Angeles police officers three decades ago. He knew he had been wronged, but he said the right thing. His words were prophetic; sadly not enough live by that creed.

While we may differ in our thought processes, political views, gender, ethnicity and religious beliefs, we should harken back to his words and focus on what we have in common rather than our differences.

Race Baiting

Some in the political world believe that it is to their advantage to pick at our differences. Too often that has worked in the past, but it is starting to change. Several years back, during a campaign stop in Danville, now President Joe Biden said, “Republicans want to put you back in chains.” He knew that was untrue, but he calculated that such a lie would help the campaign.

In the realm of public safety, during the last presidential election, many big city mayors understood that President Donald Trump had done much to lift many out of poverty. To offset that, their minions in the street demanded that police departments be defunded. They seemed to not care that reduced law enforcement presence was the very thing that gangs and other law breakers want. While at the same time, it is the last thing that law-abiding citizens want. Particularly senior citizens that live in the same communities where hoodlums prey on the vulnerable.

Things have become so out of kilter that one can simply imply that something is racist and too many will whimper and crawl into a corner. Look at the streets in downtown Richmond last year. Because of an incidence of murder by a rogue police officer halfway across the country, the leadership of the City of Richmond and the governor of Virginia allowed mobs to destroy private businesses and public property. It made no difference to the rioters that the mayor of Richmond is African American or that a number of the businesses that were vandalized were minority owned or that their employees lost their income until if and when the businesses could reopen.

Racism of Low Expectations

For the last several months the governor’s administration has shown themselves to be the racists of the worse kind. They appear to believe some cannot compete because of the color of their skin.

They want to reduce higher math courses that are especially important in today’s world of technology. Rather than encouraging all students to do their best, they perceive that because African American aren’t taking higher levels of math, they must not be as capable. To follow that insult up, now we have college educated professors that are telling young people that they don’t have to use proper English in either their written work or in conversation. Misleading them into believing that this will not affect their future. They are telling these young people that using proper English is an act of racism. There is no doubt in my mind that in the years to come, when these individuals don’t get hired or don’t get promoted, they will be told it will be because of racism, not that they cannot effectively communicate in the common language that others can understand.

Young people are led to believe that because of the pigment of their skin, they won’t be given equal opportunity because we are a racist nation. If that were truly the fact, how can one explain away those that have been successful in their chosen profession.

Consider the humble beginnings of such people as U.S. Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina, or Justice Clarence Thomas, or Dr. Ben Carson.

Can we be a racist country when one of the richest ladies in entertainment, Oprah Winfrey, and President Obama have risen to the peak of their chosen field? Consider all the sports stars that make millions, not because of the color of their skin, but instead because their commitment to hard work.

All of Us Are Americans

We all can be proud of our heritage and past struggles; let us celebrate our differences. However, we must learn to stand on our own and live together in today’s world.

Frank Ruff Jr. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.