The racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling prompt some thoughts about race, prejudice and parenting.
One of our favorite LDS hymns is "If You Could Hie To Kolob," and it has a marvelous third verse that contains these words:
There is no end to matter;
there is no end to space;
there is no end to spirit;
there is no end to race.
Much as we love the song, we may disagree a bit with that last line if it's being used in the context of physical characteristics. Of course, W.W. Phelps, who wrote the words, may well have been referring to the "human race."
Generation after generation, children are born to parents of different races through interracial marriages. And that's a wonderful thing.
When one of our daughters worked in Queens, N.Y., as a social worker, her office was in the most diverse and racially blended neighborhood we had ever seen. It was not possible to watch people on the street and identify them as African-American, Asian, Caucasian or Hispanic. They had come from a number of different heritages.
As a Christian Science Monitor editorial put it, “The new American ‘us’ isn’t white, black, Asian or Hispanic. It’s all of these and much more. In fact, the fastest-growing group in the country is ‘multiracial.’ ”
Interracial marriage and interracial children, once stigmatized by society, are thankfully becoming more accepted every day and everywhere. This “blending” may be the best thing that could happen for civilization.
Will the time come when society matures to a point where we don’t categorize or label people by the color of their skin? We can only hope so.
In the meantime, there is nothing more important than to teach our children to see people for who they really are and not for their race or ethnicity. It is tragic when kids learn bigotry from adults, because children are naturally tolerant, nonjudgmental and nonprejudicial.
A little personal illustration of this happened several years ago after we had been guests on the "Oprah" show. Several of our kids were on the show with us, and as we traveled home we were talking about what a great time we had and what a great person Oprah Winfrey was. One of us happened to mention that Oprah was black (the proper term in those days), and our 6-year-old responded, “Oprah is black? I didn’t know that!”
Kids are essentially colorblind and blind to prejudice, and it is our job as parents to keep them that way.
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at www.EyresFreeBooks.com or at www.valuesparenting.com. Follow Linda’s blog at www.eyrealm.blogspot.com.