What should the end goal of racial integration and communication be?
Recent high profile media events show that racial conflict often stems from people making assumptions based on racial stereotypes, in the absence of experience or actual understanding of diverse perspectives. The end goal of racial integration and communication should be to provide people with a better understanding of others’ perspectives. In so doing, these actions will eliminate assumptions based on racial stereotypes, and in turn, lead to less conflict and more positive relationships. Trayvon Martin’s name covered the headlines in 2012 after he was shot to death while walking in a neighborhood. The assailant shot Trayvon assuming that the black teenager was up to no good. While it will never be known for certain what was in the shooter’s mind at the time, one has to wonder whether perceptions of black male teenagers being involved in crime and drug use led to this tragedy.
Racial integration and communication can help reduce the reoccurrence of similar incidents. As people of different races spend time together and communicate, they begin to develop a greater understanding of each other’s perspective. The communications may demonstrate what they have in common as well as their differences. Either way, the dialogue causes people to be seen as individuals, not just products of their race. Perhaps if the shooter had seen Trayvon as an individual, the outcome would have been much different and a life would not have been lost.
The events in Ferguson, Missouri also provide an example of how the stereotypes can generate racial unrest. When a black teenager was shot by a white police officer, some people of all races were quick to jump to conclusions based on racial stereotypes. Some whites were quick to view the deceased teenager as a thug who had it coming. On the other hand, some blacks immediately viewed the officer as acting with prejudice because of the teenager’s race. The result was explosive, as riots erupted.
Race relations and communication should seek to prevent another Ferguson incident by providing a means for all involved to see each