The topic of race relations is often front and center in American — partly due to an unfortunate time in our nation’s history, but also because of professional “race hustlers” who profit from division. Hollywood star Denzel Washington has identified the solution.
A reporter asked Washington how he felt. More specifically, whether race relations improved under President Obama. “The president of the United States can’t legislate us into liking each other. We have to step forward and ask questions about each other and engage,” he said.
Washington is right: passing a law simply doesn’t work. If we want to come together, we need to do that as individuals. It is a truly beautiful message, and it’s one we should all take to heart.
We do not need to wait for the government to do something. In reality, there’s not much the government can do. If we can take the time to learn something new about our neighbors, co-workers, and even friends, race starts to become a non-issue. It simply turns into a conversation between two or more people — not black, white, and so on.
The reporter seemed to be trying to get Washington to take the bait and make a big deal about race, but he didn’t. He handled it with the kind of class that you would expect from a gentleman.
Reality can be harsh sometimes, and the truth is that it seems like some people attempt to exert power over others by making race the centerpiece of every conversation.
This is not necessary at all. Real progress would mean to put aside identity politics and fashion for ourselves a real sense of community — one where we join together as a group of individuals and solve problems.
You have heard the oft-repeated phrase that you fear which you do not understand. Could it be possible that we are just experiencing a mass confusion? Not enough people are taking the time these days to really to learn about each other. The time exists, even in our busy world, so it’s a matter of will.
It could be reasoned that this is why our current political climate is so volatile. Right now, President Trump is trying to lead our nation, but he’s being accused of every evil under the sun. It’s as if some people don’t want him to succeed, even if his success would be our success.
This phenomenon is a microcosm of a larger problem, particularly in political life: Because politics is still often considered a “taboo” subject, we can tend to make assumptions about what another person believes without even talking to them about it.
The truth is that without individual connections, people tend to demonize one another. If we hope to ever heal racial divides and prejudices, it’s going to take all of us to reach out and get to know someone that perhaps we see every day but don’t speak with too often.
As Washington said in his interview, “Race relations have to do with race relations. […] So it’s up to us.” Keep preaching, Denzel. Everyone, regardless of background, needs to hear this message every day.