February 13, 2013 Edition

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Mankind produces
one make and model

Stephen D. Robinson
Guest Writer

"Hoxie, The First Stand," a 2004 Peabody-award-winning documentary, aired on our local PBS station this past Sunday.

Even though next year I will be 60, I am still unable to understand the concept of racism and why some people still cling to it.

From since I could remember, the difference in the tone of a person's skin was no more significant than the color of that one's eyes. This mindset I have inherited is largely due to my upbringing as a military dependent.

My father, a career Air Force enlisted man and a native of Biggers, married his Pocahontas sweetheart and took her to his base in Laredo, Texas, where my brother and I were born during the two years that followed. Then his assignment was changed to Waco, Texas, and after that he was stationed at Bitburg, Germany, where my sister was born.

The first week of September 1960, I was introduced to Ms. Oakley. I immediately remembered the shows I was hooked on during the 50s in Texas, all westerns of course, one of them being the "Annie Oakley" TV series.

So, when I heard her name, that is what rang a bell in my mind, not the color of her skin. That year, I appreciated Ms. Oakley, not only for her physical beauty but also for the gift of education she brought me.

Thanks in part to my experience with my first-grade teacher, I have always associated African-Americans with intelligence and patience even before the civil rights movement of the mid-60s.

Mark Twain is quoted in his writings as stating: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

Adding to Twain's observation is that being raised as a traveler prevents prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness from even taking root in a young mind to begin with.

My travels as a military dependent growing up, then serving as a missionary in South America after graduating from high school in the early 70s until 2010, has convinced me that there is never any basis for racism in the world at any time or any place.

Humans are not like dogs or other animals, where there are certain breeds some may consider superior to others. Mankind, however, produces only one make and model, and that is the human race; anything different about us can only be as significant as eye color.

Stephen Robinson, a freelance educator, lives in Pocahontas and attends religious meetings and does social work in Lawrence County. He has a website at www.3HED.com.

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