The Rockford Files

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Whoever came up with the liberal platitude that “Children have to be taught to hate” was either a liar or a fool, or both.  He certainly never had children of his own, and, if it weren’t impossible, I’d say he must never have been a child himself.

There was plenty of ethnic strife in my elementary school.  There were no blacks or Hispanics in my hometown (and if there were Asians, I don’t remember them), but their absence kept us from falling into the racialist fantasy that all white people are the same.  As in most of the Midwest, Germans made up a solid plurality of the population of Spring Lake, but we had more than our share of Yankees, and enough Dutch that, when I went away to Michigan State, I already knew most of the Scottish and Jewish jokes.  There were Irish, of course, and a small minority of Poles, of which my sisters and I were by no means the most obvious, our mother’s genes hidden, as it were, behind my father’s name.

It is true that children, when thrown together by circumstance—such as the requirement of universal education—will mingle freely with one another, but to mistake such activity as color-blindness or unawareness of ethnicity is naiveté, at best.  Properly reared children know to be respectful to one another in front of teachers and other adults, but on the playground, the law...

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