I wrote last week about how proud my wife and I are that our son was doing a speech at his middle school on racism. Well he brought home the championship trophy. The teachers and judges said it was the best they had heard in years. So in honor of his victory I am publishing his written speech. Of course the written words don’t do justice to how he delivered it, which included the song “Where Is The Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas playing in the background, but at least you can see what at least one of the young generation thinks about where we are. So without further ado, the award-winning speech:
98% of us are racist. Of course, some more than others. But almost all of us are racist in some way. I’ll admit, even I’ve done some racist things.
By definition, a racist is someone who believes that someone’s ethnic background will determine how they act and how they live their lives.
I’m sure that many of you have used stereotypes before. Like, “Well all black people love Kool-Aid and fried chicken!!”
My friend Ryan is obviously not black, but he still loves Kool-Aid! Liam who is known for being British, loves fried chicken!! Does that make them black? Stereotypes are often times not true and very racist, like how you assume that all Asians are great at math! I’m not going to name names, but an Asian friend of mine has a C+ in Algebra. You see?
All of us have used stereotypes like these before, so basically, pretty much all of us are racist by definition. I’m sure that many of you assume that I love watermelon. Raise your hand if you think I love watermelon. Guess what, I don’t. If you raised your hand, don’t be ashamed, because, sadly, we live in a world controlled by racism.
Racism is an out-dated concept. Racism was mainly created for three reasons, fear, anger, and guilt.
Imagine you’re on a boat headed for antarctica, or some unexplored place.Then when you get to shore, you see some figures standing on the beach. Once you get closer, you notice that the figures are human, but they have green skin!! Now can you honestly say that you wouldn’t be kind of freaked out by that? It’s human instinct to be afraid of what we don’t understand.
Well how do you think Europeans felt when they first arrived in Africa? Or Columbus when he stumbled into America? To be honest, they were probably afraid at first.
The Holocaust. One of the most tragic events in Human History. 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children, murdered. The Nazis would actually pull up a flat-bed truck to a window underneath nurseries for babies, then toss all the babies and newborns down into the truck. All this hate, all this killing, all this anger, for what?
Well as I’m sure you all know, Germany was defeated during WWI. Because of this, citizens all over Germany were furious. They started to think of who to blame for their defeat. So Hitler said, “Hey all the Jews are traitors because they are different!” That’s not actually what he said but still, did he realize that lots of Germany’s technology was created by Jewish people? So they started systematically killing Jews in Germany-controlled territory all because they were angry about losing a war.
What about the slaves in early America? Of course not everyone thought it was right. So they had to create lies to hide their guilt. So they started calling blacks, my ancestors, “inferior”! They didn’t even call us by our own names! Now was this right? Of course not! It just made slave owners feel better about themselves.
Now speaking of slavery, this is one of the main cases of stereotypes. They said, “Oh well all those slaves love working in the fields, picking cotton for 15 hours a day!” Really? Really?! Stereotypes are stupid and can be hurtful. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Rothacher used Max as an example, saying he was a gardener. All the students in class started laughing and pointing at Max. Mr. Rothacher said, “Is Max a gardener or something?”
The class responded and said, “No! He’s Mexican!!” They basically said that because he’s Mexican, all he’ll ever amount to is a gardener.
But it’s hard for us not to use stereotypes with shows like Tosh.0, Family Guy, and South Park. By seeing stereotypes in these shows, we are thus encouraged to use them in real life.
Look, I’m not going to ask you all to just stop using all stereotypes this second. But instead, watch everyone else, whenever you see someone else using a stereotype, just say, “hey you don’t know that.”
We learn as children that everyone is different in their own special way, and it’s true. Someone’s skin color doesn’t have to determine how they live their life. Look around this room, no two people are exactly the same. We are all beautiful and individual in our own ways.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you, now ask yourself, Where is the Love?
Well written and delivered Son. The future is bright because there are lots more kids who think like this out there.