Submitted by Kenan Gultekin
Has anyone else been watching the school board hearings about No Place for Hate? In response to former students speaking out about experiencing racism in school, the board adopted a policy to foster a more inclusive environment. And now the culture wars have arrived in Coronado.
The hysteria over encouraging schoolchildren to be kind and to treat people equally if they are different is ridiculous. The peaceful march in Coronado last summer that was followed by former students telling stories of being subject to racism in our school was not a “riot.” Belittling the five year-old and nine year-old children of school board trustees is shameful.
Coronado, please do not listen to the fear-mongering. No one is trying to turn your children and grandchildren into gay communists who hate white people. I’m going to repeat that because it bears repeating. No one is trying to turn your children and grandchildren into gay communists who hate white people.
To those who are worried about a five year-old who is happy there is “no place for hate” in her kindergarten and who are concerned that a nine year-old is just repeating what her parents said, do not worry. Those children are going to be just fine. In fact, they will thrive because their parents challenge them to see the world from different points of view, to appreciate the wonderful diversity of this world.
I worry instead about the snowflakes who melt at the mere mention of the word “racism.” I am concerned they are just repeating what they hear on talk shows. Do they actually believe that teaching students about discrimination faced by minority groups is anti-American? Or have they become tools of those partisans who seek to divide us?
Here is some food for thought. I can say the following and still love America: It was racist for white people to own Black people as slaves. It was racist because white people justified owning Black people as property because white people viewed Black people as being inferior. That racist viewpoint did not end when slavery ended, or when the military was desegregated, or when civil rights legislation was passed.
It is worth noting that it took a civil war and three (three!) constitutional amendments to end of the abhorrent institution of slavery and begin the process of extending basic human rights to Black people. Once slavery was abolished, all forms of institutional racism were not immediately eradicated. To believe that racism disappeared after MLK marched and Obama was elected is to deny the truth.
And it is not just Black Americans who experience racism. Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans do too. And people are discriminated against for more than their race: religion; LGBTQ+; learning disabilities; gender; and weight. There are real consequences for the people who experience them, from depression to eating disorders to suicide.
I am not calling anyone racist or saying America is a terrible country. I am saying this country has a history of racism and discrimination. If you can’t handle that truth, then melt away, little snowflakes. I, for one, welcome the uncomfortable conversations shedding light on the dark history of this country. I am confident our children and grandchildren have the strength to carry the weight of the past and the promise of the future of this great nation at the same time.