Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cleansing ourselves of hatred

GUEST: Linda Rosekrans, English professor at SUNY Cortland and member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, talks about her college course that explores the demeaning of ethnic heritage implicit in the use of Native American mascots and team names.

Racism has many victims, but only one face. In studying racism directed at one race, ethnicity or religious group, we can learn about its universal manifestations. German anti-Semitism in the 1930's is perhaps the most instructive of all. 

People argue about what "never again" really means. If that wisdom is applied only to the rights of one group, then nothing is learned at all. If applied to all people, then it is the illumination needed to guide our actions as moral beings. 

Racism is a disease that erases one's humanity, no matter where it is directed. We are all susceptible, of course. We want to revere our own heritage by taking revenge for past wrongs. We are lured into believing we are "God's People," free to follow our most murderous of inclinations. 

Exploring the racism within ourselves is a necessary first step in asserting our basic humanity. Mascots are a good place to start. And the journey is not about a team, it is about cleansing ourselves of hatred. 

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