Amir is an 8 year old black child and is called a nigger by another child. He becomes violently angry and lashes out at the other child. The question is, HOW did he know to be offended by the word? How did he know that the word “nigger” was supposed to cause him pain? Because we taught him to. We, as a society taught him to become emotional, angry, even violent any time he heard the word – from someone of a different race.
His very first books taught him that white people and black people talk differently in order to expose him to “black culture.” The white characters in the books were racist and to be despised. He was taught racism as he was taught to read.
He was exposed to the word nigger through movies. The white man would oppress the black man. The black man would do nothing. Then the white man would call him nigger and he would lose control, violently attacking the white man. He saw the same scene over and over. Only the faces changed.
I know because I was there. I was his mentor. I tried to teach him differently – that he was the master of his own destiny, his own emotions, and that no word could take that from him. Unfortunately, I fear my voice was drowned out the chorus of society continually hammering into his head from birth the Magic Hate Button which was to be his racial identity.
Hatred will always control the debate so long as we continue to teach it to our children. So long as we teach them to lose control of their emotions at the utterance of words we are just lining them up to the assembly line of Magic Hate Button installers, just waiting for bullies, enemies and politicians to push them.