It pains me to see how, in a world where technology and information are ever-present, ignorance seems to rule supreme. Lately, citizens have been inundated with news and social media posts proclaiming this country is racist and bigoted with absolutely no proof of the claim. What’s worse is the information is readily available that proves, empirically, the exact opposite. One need only spend a few minutes online giving a handful of studies a cursory review to find that the very perceived issues being railed against presently do not exist. There is no racist trend in police shootings, as can be evidenced by a study conducted by Washington State. Black men and women in America are not being hunted down by law enforcement, a fact that can be seen in comparing crime statistics and the relevant data available at the FBI or Bureau of Crime Statistics between any racial groups.
What this country does have is an education problem. We have an issue with the school system failing to teach numerous generations how to think critically, to perform their own research, and to maintain a healthy level of skepticism in the face of uncorroborated reports. We have a body politic who have grown too comfortable in our nation’s success, whose complacency has caused them to forget that it is their civic duty to remain informed so as to make educated decisions in policy and voting. We have entire swaths of the population who don’t know our history, who cannot name the last book they’ve read or when they read it, who would rather spend hours binge-watching ‘Tiger King’ and vomiting idiocy on Twitter instead of spending even a few minutes to ameliorate their growing ignorance. This isn’t to say the people are imbeciles, rather they have become lazy, and their collective slothful conduct will be the death of the greatest political experiment in the history of mankind.
We can all point to situations of bigotry and work to ensure they never happen again. We can have conversations about reforms, government policy, and interpersonal relationships, but these can only be had if we are all informed. Emotions do not always reflect reality, and the ubiquitousness with which people seem to believe their anger or sadness legitimizes a view of the world disconnected with reality will only continue to prevent any chance for constructive conversations.
Finally, we should all rejoice in the fact that what I have said is the fact of the matter. How is it this country seems to burn itself to the ground over incidents so rare instead of understanding and celebrating the fact that we have come so far? This isn’t even to mention that when these aberrations occur they are swiftly dealt with accordingly. Pull your heads from your smartphone screens and look around you: this nation is not what media narratives are making it out to be.
We are not a nation that suffers from rampant racism or bigotry. We are a nation that can rally and realize the truth. It is not too late. We are Americans. God bless.
SGT, US Army (Ret)