It’s time to end racism once and for all and deal with other important issues

Published 11:09 am Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Neddie Winters’ challenge to the people attending the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration Monday spoke volumes.

“I challenge you to act to change the next generation so that we can leave a better legacy of race relations so we can deal with other issues other than race. Enlist them, engage them, equip them and empower them to live a life greater than what we live in,” he told the audience. It’s a mission we all need to pursue.

Regardless how much we talk about the improvement of race relations, the sad fact is racism is still all around us. Sometimes it’s very visible; other times, it slips around silently like a thief in the night, waiting for the right moment to show itself and catch an individual or an entire group of people unaware. For practical all purposes, racism is hatred, and it has never left us.

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We are part of the reason it is still around; something Winters pointed out Monday night, when he said, “I believe we’re passing on the burden and the bondage of racism and racial strife and racial hatred and racial division and racial prejudice because we’re not doing anything intentionally not to pass it on.”

That, he said, has to change, and the only way it can change is by dismantling and changing the system our forefathers developed and has allowed racism to perpetuate over the years.

“We have a responsibility to dismantle the structure of the system and stop the racism,” Winters said.

“We have to dismantle a lot of stuff. Stop getting out your flashlight and your magnifying glass looking for the racist, because the system is the problem, and we’re part of the system, and we’re prolonging and perpetuating the very system we’re tying to dismantle.”

We are in the 21st Century, and things like hatred and prejudice are archaic and wasteful behavior. Winters is right; we have been dealing with racism too long and there are more important issues in the world that need our attention. It’s time make the changes and move on.

And if we need to look at examples of how, we can look at two men who were honored Monday; King and local civil rights activist Frank Crump Jr., who both worked to change a system that encouraged racism and division.