Tuesday, January 17, 2006

THE POST 9/11 CLASSROOM, continued....

On the television screen was an image of a small boy, not quite school-age, sitting in his father’s lap.

Interviewer: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Small boy (smiling wryly): “I want to be a policeman.”

Interviewer: “Why do you want to be a policeman?”

Small boy: “Because I’ll have a gun.”

Interviewer: “Why do you want a gun?”

Small boy (wry grin breaking into a large smile): “So I can kill all the niggers!”

Mike Wallace asked those questions approximately ten years ago, but I will never forget that ‘60 Minutes’ interview that took place in the home of a Ku Klux Klansman. This interview haunted me for months….in fact, it still haunts me. It underscores what we already know, that prejudice is learned. We may learn it from adults, from teachers, from friends, from literature, and from television and other media. Children learn lessons when they are young which may shape their beliefs for the rest of their lives and by judging from the father’s huge grin, the young boy above learned his lesson well.I think about this boy from time to time, now a teenager, and wonder if he still wants to ‘kill all the niggers’. I wonder if this young man went to a school where he interacted with students from different cultures and backgrounds. Did he carry this learned hatred from classroom to classroom and from teacher to teacher? Were his beliefs reinforced or countered by his teachers?

Copyright, 2006...to be continued....

1 comment:

Maddy said...

It is learned - as our nature
is naturaly loving and
hopeful and curious. It is
devastating to know that criminals
were once beautiful children
without love or hope in their
home to inspire them towards
a happy life.