Monday, July 10, 2006

Naval Academy's Questions About Race, Religion Stir Discord

Naval Academy's Questions About Race, Religion Stir Discord - Washington Post

The headlines in the local community news could easily blare, “Racism found hiding in homes of Annapolis”. The story makes it seem that the feelings of freshman sponsors are somehow odd when, quite to the contrary, they are the norm. It may not be moral, but it certainly is natural to have a preference for someone of the same ethnicity or religion.

The only interesting twist to the story is how obtuse the Naval Academy administration must be not to figure out a more subtle vehicle for allowing families and midshipman the ability to pair with participants for greatest comfort. Is this not why ‘mixers’ were invented?

Leaders say that stereotypes are inaccurate, yet we still apply them. We say sexism is bad, but we still treat men and women differently. Racism is bad too, yet each of us constantly battles the natural tendency to be racist. When we deny our own tendencies toward arbitrary discrimination, we rob ourselves of the learning that describes when the exercise of personal preference relieves another person of life, liberty or the full pursuit of happiness.

So before we square off and the race cards start ‘flying’ on all sides, let us take a moment to survey our own lives and how many times we dart into racist mindsets, only to quickly return to the protected haven of personal preference.

Yes, Annapolis should clean up its act, but so too should the rest of America, Black, White, and all the rest. This event allowed us a quick peek inside American homes. Americans live in glass houses when it comes to race, mostly because we do not pursue it as if it were an issue that we care to resolve.

James C. Collier


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