The New York Times ran an opinion piece by Ekow N. Yankah titled “Can My Children Be Friends With White People?”. The author deliberates why the real friendship between White and Black kids (and adults) is highly unlikely, commits himself to teaching his sons to never trust a white person, and generally disseminates the idea of racial mistrust thanks to, you are right, Donald Trump.
Unlike that Black man, I prefer to refer to people with a capital letter signifying that “black” and “white” is not about the colour of their skin but a general term for a group of people when it is for some reason necessary to bring forward their racial ancestry. Unlike that man I do not use the term African-Americans because Black Americans are not Africans, not all of them are descendants of people from Africa, and Black Americans are the same as Black British or Black Cubans. Stressing the skin colour is not the best way to refer to people. However, this is both scientifically fine (human beings are anthropologically classified into races, though people may choose to feel and be united despite the race factor) and acceptable by the very group in question (Blacks refer to themselves as Blacks). Today, race and phenotype can be treated with slight differences in various countries. But if Black people refer to themselves as Black people or African-Americans instead of Americans, who am I to contradict them.
The whole point though is not in the way that would be appropriate for calling whole groups of the population. The point is that minorities do everything in their power to divide the countries further. And they start by teaching their kids, inbreeding social divides in the little ones, making sure that when grown their “boys” treat people with another skin colour, ethnicity, language or sexual preferences with distrust, fear, contempt, and hostility.
Mr. Yankah speaks about racial wounds, about the hurt of all sorts. And it sounds quite earnest. We all know about recent history, about today’s politics. He knows it from within. The Black Americans live through it every day. But the reason they do is not only in White politics (and surely not only in the White House politics). It lies somewhere mid-way, where the Blacks deny their children the right to decide for themselves if the Whites can be their friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were as many Whites denying their children the same right in relation to Black friends. But the liberal political correctness and moral lynching of anyone with another opinion shush the potential authors of “Can My Children Be Friends With Black People?”. It would look bizarre, borderline, crazy. Why doesn’t “Can My Children Be Friends With White People?” sound crazy to the polished American public?
At the end of his piece, Mr. Yankah states apologetically that “there is hope” and “we can declare that we stand beside one another against cheap attack and devaluation; that we live together and not simply beside one another”. Nice offer to the White people to stand together and fight together after rejecting the idea of friendship. Way to unite for the common good — tell your opponents that you need them to help you but you don’t actually want them as your friends.
This does not stop with only the Blacks vs Whites. In the same manner adopted kids of gay parents could be taught to not try to be friends with straight kids; children of American Indians should be told to hate the White kids due to even more substantiated historical reasons; or even boys may be instructed to hate the girls to the point of totally avoiding them just in case. This is bad education — it leads to social division instead of social unity. Not that this unity is undoubtedly achievable or even wholesome. But at least this is some ideal the human race should strive to achieve.
Mr. Yankah has every right to care for his children’s well-being and to freely express his opinion. His children have every right to think differently and learn to find friends by shared interests, common passions, even coincidental oddities — not by the colour of their skin, the eye shape or the gender (should I say gender identification?).
And when those children make friends with other kids with a different skin tone it shouldn’t be just for pretense, it should be for real. When you pretend to be someone you are not, you subdue your own personality to the point of either hating it or hating the others. When you are made to subdue it you definitely hate even more. That is why real friendship must be based on real foundation instead of superficial political correctness. And this is why real unity is achieved when all sides of the human spectrum are treated as colours of the same rainbow, not separate rainbows.
Minority talk is good to a certain point only — when it helps defend the rights of minority representatives in a better way than when this minority is not recognized or even oppressed. At other times, minority talk is dividing the nation, underlining the differences instead of similarities. It is somewhat okay when all the participants of such talk are adults, but counterproductive when kids are instructed in terms of minority divisions and taught to act according to such divisions. This would never stop the social tension and rifts between various groups. This would hurt those kids just like some political grievance has hurt Mr. Yankah. He was bruised and decided to immunize his children in the worst possible way — by planting mistrust in their minds still open to the world. No denying that the world can be quick to bruise those kids in its turn, but isn’t it too much bruising?
There is only one way I can understand Mr. Yankah’s mistrust. It stems from the very medium where his piece was published. The New York Times cunningly manipulated the title. What came out online as “Can My Children Be Friends With White People?” is published in print as “Can I Befriend White People?”. The liberal press is dividing the people and the nation at the same time as it declares how divisive the new administration is. But what is the difference then between the author, the newspaper, and Trump with his supporters? Each is serving the interests of its own minority group — the hurt Blacks, the hurt liberals, the hurt conservatives. They are hurt for many reasons, one of which is that their parents taught them all to mistrust the others, to keep together with their own minority, and to carry this pain into the future.
If the past is any indication of the future, these people might temporarily succeed on an institutional level, but they fail on so many personal levels. People who are able to put their pain and mistrust aside rise above the wrong lessons their parents might have taught them, and make the future look more promising. Minorities certainly enrich the nation but if left in their cocoons they do not shape a nation. Does Mr. Yankah want a divided country for his children or does he want a united nation?