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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Diane English, May 20 2006. Interview U-0184. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Focusing on racism will hinder interracial unity

English argues that racism is immutable. As a result, racially-focused dialogues hinder interracial cooperation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Diane English, May 20 2006. Interview U-0184. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DE: Yeah. It is some positive stuff that we have done out there. If you want to give them that history, give them positive history, not something that every time a student says something out of the way a white versus a black, oh that's racist. What else would you think if they are reading these type books about racism? Why wouldn't they go, "This is racist. You racist, blah, blah, blah." This is the whole thing that he talks about that goes on at his school. It's not right. [ Interruption to answer the door] I really think racism is going to be here forever. That's a lifetime thing. It's just a matter of people being able to deal with it and move on. A lot of people have learned to deal with it and keep moving,. I don't feel like it's hindering--. It didn't hinder me any. It just made me stronger. It made me work harder to succeed in whatever I want to do.
SARAH THUESEN:
What in your mind is the best way to teach that to kids, to teach them how to move on?
DIANE ENGLISH:
I think by reading positive material, giving them a positive outlook on life, letting them see other sides of life. It doesn't have to be surrounding around a bunch of racist type things. They are going to face it anyway if they grow old. They going to face it one day. The best thing for them is to employ them and let them know this is what has happened. This is what can happen. It's okay to read those books, but let them see this is what some have done already. This is what can be done. This is reachable. This is a goal that you can achieve. That doesn't matter about where you came from, how you got here but this is a goal that you can get to. A lot of kids like that. Some of the kids are confused. They don't know what they want to be when they grow up. Well, if I be this then they won't give me a promotion. That's the wrong attitude. I think parents need to work harder on their children's attitudes, impressing that it doesn't matter about now. Think about tomorrow. Your tomorrows are not promised to you, but at least it's a dream. It's a thought. It's a good thought. We can dream. Nobody can take a dream from you, can they?