Heathcote: Shocked by perpetual recycling of ‘racism’ - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Heathcote: Shocked by perpetual recycling of ‘racism’

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Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 10:45 am

I am a longtime resident of Ahwatukee, raising three children as a single parent, and also having the wonderful privilege of working as a psychologist in private practice serving a wide range of individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

I am also an immigrant from Germany and have been a guest in this country for well over 20 years. As an outsider and observer, I have concluded that “racism is alive and well in America” and shows its ugly face to many, especially if you happen to be “ different.”

As a German immigrant I am often the joke about Nazis (being born many, many years after World War II) and most people have very little information about historical events, time lines, etc. As a mental health professional, I hear many sad stories about being singled out and treated differently, just for standing outside of the “norm.” Over the years I have spent here in the United States, I am continuously shocked about the perpetual recycling of “racism;” what is the purpose of that?

Growing up in Germany, I learned early on, that Germany’s sad history must NEVER be repeated. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. or a lot of common sense that “scape-goating” and racial profiling are the breeding ground for hatred and blame, ranging from the “welfare moms” to “gang bangers,” who are causing the financial crisis of America (never mind Wall Street, etc).

Clearly, some people do not understand the profound “mountain moving” the Honorable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished for ALL OF US. Please don’t take his name in vain and talk about “black brothers.” We are all brothers and sisters and I would like to believe I came to America because I can be “all I can be” and that we all have the same “dream.” I pray Dr. King did not die in vain and we all try much harder not to stereotype or base our opinion about a person on their looks or their place of origin. Dr. King chose his words of wisdom carefully and with his own life experiences:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963)

Please don’t write about subjects that you obviously have no knowledge about Linda Turley-Hansen (“Not racism, and not guns; it’s moral absence that’s doing the killing,” AFN, Sept. 6); if your opinion is the majority of America, I will keep my German citizenship, thank you.

• Dr. Astrid Heathcote is a longtime Ahwatukee resident, mother of three, and a psychologist in private practice.

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