Monday, December 22, 2014

The Three R's

In the olden days, the 3 R's stood for "reading, writing, and arithmetic," the foundational skills taught in school. This ditty did not bode well for American education, since "rithmatic" bastardizes the legitimacy of the King's English. Off to an inauspicious start perhaps, considering that American education now ranks 36th in the world of nations?

In a new tactic having to do with socialization, a community organization from the inner cities has adapted the 3 R's for a new cause. These letters stand for race, religion, and respect, an abbreviation born of a desire for better relations between the police and the people on their beat. 

Everyone knows that people of color are still targeted by police. Everyone knows that equality on paper has not translated to equality in real life. Everyone knows that  despite the election of a real African-American President, race relations have not forged ahead.

This morning, CNN featured a discussion between the not-so-brilliant anchorwoman Ashley Banfield and a respected community leader of the female persuasion. They discussed the wondrous new adaption of the 3 R's (race, religion, and respect) and how necessary it was to implement in order to improve relations between law enforcement and human beings.

Not too many things make my blood pressure rise, but this new acronym did the trick. First of all, what does race mean in this context? Instead of implying the oneness of all peoples, it underscores the differences.

Secondly, religion has been the scourge of humanity since Cain and Able had a little disagreement. And what religion is said community leader referring to? Given the bent of the American population, it probably means church a la Christianity. I can't imagine this woman urging her charges to read the Torah or the Koran, let along Lao Tsu or Confucius. Since love begins with an 'L', the more appropriate concept, it had to be scrapped in lieu of a less accurate term.

The word respect in this triumvirate is the most plausible one. No one can argue that respect is a vital key to good relations with anyone or anything, including Mother Earth. 

So with this grumpy analysis of a good intention gone wrong, how about the best 'R' word of all:


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