Racism is a social cancer gnawing at the vitals of American civilization. President Clinton's race initiative has raised this issue on the national level, but it has not eliminated the problem.
Most white Americans do not comprehend the pain and anguish their bigotry and intolerance have caused African-Americans. This is the root cause of our racial malaise. To paraphrase the Talmund, most of us tend to see things not as they are but as we are.
America is a land of immigrants. Most newcomers voluntarily came to the New World seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity.
Despite great adversities, the vast majority were gradually assimilated into the mainstream of society as part of America's great melting pot. In general, their expectations were basically realized.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most African-Americans. They were involuntarily severed from their African cultures and brought here to be sold as slaves on the auction block to Southern planters.
Millions perished en route to the New World. In the final analysis, slavery was a bitter and dehumanizing experience for both master and slave alike.
More than a century after the demise of the South's peculiar institution, most African-Americans are still seeking the same civil and political rights experienced by nearly all other Americans. This has caused most African-Americans to experience great frustration and anger.
Dr. Martin Luther King's dream is still far from realization. Most African-Americans are still judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. Indeed, most live under a hideous system of de facto racial apartheid.
To transcend this problem, America must become a truly integrated society adhering to the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
America's destiny still lies in the melting pot. To realize this destiny, the social cancer of racism must be completely eradicated and creative Americanism revivified and harnessed on behalf of social progress.
The realization of the American dream will not be easily achieved, but each of us can gradually alter our erroneous assumptions and deeds, thereby bringing that dream a step closer to fruition.