When it comes to race relations, we of course would not be returning to virtues of a golden era of racial understanding; rather, we are overcoming our past failings. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal, but history tells us that we are loath to put that ideal into practice. As Americans, we tend to act like “it only happens here”, for better or worse. At the same time, we hear other nations berating America’s sordid, racially divided past. But guess what - most countries are much, much worse. Australia’s discrimination of Aborigines, France and Germany’s treatment of Muslim immigrants, Africans wholesale slaughter of fellow Africans from other tribes, China’s oppression of it’s non-Han minorities, Japan’s underlying prejudice against all gaijin, and so on and so forth.
This doesn’t excuse America’s past or current behaviors; instead, it serves as an illustration that this is a long-standing human problem, one that America addresses quite publicly for the world to see, and a problem we have made great strides in overcoming. America has been upfront about its race problems, even if it makes us uncomfortable. This is commendable, and demonstrates that America continues to address her problems and has used the ideal that “All men are created equal,” as our ultimate goal, expanding the idea well past its original scope - land owning white men - to include the entirety of humanity.
The virtues we learn from evils of racism are tolerance and patience. Tolerance for others and patience to consider how far we’ve come, despite acknowledging that there’s still work to do. We must also be vigilant to not fall into the depressing belief that everything is worse today than it was or should be.
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