Tolerance Is Not a Destination

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Is there still racist in USA? Yes. One news in the Jakarta Post Nov. 9 answered it for me. A NFL football team called “Washington Redskins” has raised a protest in Minneapolis on Thursday. The protesters, of course, are American Indians which say such name is disrespectful. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura supported the protesters, while Redskins owner Dan Synder said it won’t be changed.

Yes, people, racist is still out there. Even in the world’s largest democracy named the United States. It is also a shame for USA that two months earlier just cellebrated 50 years of Martin Luther King’s speech about equality. This is also a challenging moment for a nation that just breaking racial boundaries once Obama is elected.

As Americans can be racist, Indonesians can too. As we can see there is still a lot of racism, and it is unquestionable. Even in a nation that has “bhinneka tunggal ika” (unity in diversity) as a national motto, racist insult is still exists. Two days ago, my friend Nadia was parking her car wrong. Someone yelled to her “Dasar Cina!” (Chinese!), without any explanation on how her race affects her parking.

Racism is not biologically given, but taught. I remember a picture of a Negro and a white baby are touching each other. Once we see the picture, we remember that each of us has respect within. We do not need to listen to King’s speech first, even before saying ‘mama’, the spirit equality and respect are already inside.

As we grown up, we hear too much stereotypes that made our perception changed. Tolerance and respect become unknown, unpopular. We prefer to believe in prejudice, even it has never been proven. Our interaction to other race depends on just stigma. Without even realize that such prejudice is the best seed for racism in the future.

Like the best quality sunflower seed in the arctic, tolerance seed that fed by prejudice won’t work at all. Once tolerance has gone, racism suddenly dominates the conversation. That is why tolerance now has changed as a never-ending effort. Now, tolerance is not a start, nor a destination, but the journey itself.***