It has been two weeks since the mass shooting took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Makeshift memorials are still being placed on the grounds outside under the hot summer sun and, like the new floral arrangements that arrive daily, the horror remains fresh in our minds. As it should. The conversations on race and racism need not be pushed aside to make way for the next tragic event for that will come soon enough. It needs to continue and remain prominent in our headlines and our households until, as the Confederate flag is destined to be, racial intolerance is taken down once and for all.
Racial hatred need not exist. Through more than a century of anthropological studies on race and culture, we now understand that human behavior is learned, conditioned into infants beginning at birth, and always subject to modification. Our temperaments, dispositions, and personalities are developed within sets of meanings and values that we call “culture.” The American Anthropological Association believes it is high time we all recommitted to the basic meanings and values of respect and end racism.
Through its directives, committees and, most importantly, its members, AAA promises to continue the conversation.