steffanie rivers

Steffanie Rivers

*A well-known pastor of a Texas mega church once said “when you hold on to your history you hold on at the expense of your destiny,” because most people are so busy being unhappy and unproductive they spend little to no time in the pursuit of happiness and life-changing productivity.

And while I tend to agree with the pastor, the reality is that somebody has been working overtime re-enforcing hate, negative stereotypes and teaching children to do the same.

It’s no wonder fifty years after the March on Washington a police officer still will shoot a black man ten times and call it a justifiable death and Miss America gets what amounts to internet hate mail because of her brown skin.

No matter how much we try to get past our history some people are determined to shove racism in our faces then tell us it’s a figment of our imagination when we call them on it.Therein lies the dilemma. We push our children to follow their wildest dreams, while preparing them for what we know to be the reality: Even when you are twice as good as the competition, some people continue to judge you by the color of your skin.

And even when you’ve committed no crime, you are presumed guilty and could be killed because of it.Sure there’s that ten percent who are nationally recognized and have crossed over the invisible line of acceptance. But ninety percent still have not. And sometimes, as is the case in Chicago, black people are killing themselves more frequently than anyone else. Without knowing it, their violence perpetuates the negative stereotypes and, some say, justifies the hate. Even the president can’t escape haters in congress who would rather see the government shut down than to fund a medical insurance plan created by a black man.

Or is that just my imagination?

If we’re going to continue to push for justice and social equality it’s going to take more than a change in the laws. It’s going to take a change of people’s hearts and minds by re-enforcing love, positive stereotypes and teaching children to do the same. That’s probably going to take working triple-time.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. For comments, questions or speaking inquiries contact her at [email protected]