February 4th, 2022 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

When I was a little boy, I remember hearing a loud explosion, looking out our kitchen window and seeing a cross burning in front of the Catholic church. My mom, a daughter of the American Revolution whose relatives had been in the U.S. Congress, attorneys, and military officers, and my dad, a first- generation Italian born to immigrant parents, told me not to be afraid. They told me it was just people who liked to celebrate on Friday nights. (By setting off dynamite and burning crosses?)
By the time I was a teenager, this home-grown terrorism toward Catholics had reached a new peak as the first Catholic was elected president, and the United States traditionalists said that the pope would take over running Washington. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and John F. Kennedy became one of the most beloved presi- dents to serve our country.
As an adult, I once asked my mother if she ever knew anyone who was in the Ku Klux Klan, and she very ca- sually said, “Only my dad when he was very young.”
Growing up it was not unusual to hear derogatory
from some of the teachers toward the students. Consequently, I began to treat my non-white students from the Philippines and China, or the African American, or LGBT very special.
I was their guy because, as a musician, I didn’t see differentiators and didn’t care. All I wanted to know was how they played their instrument.
My liberal approach to these minority kids became so obvious to them that one of my gifted African American students came into my office one day and said, “Mr. Jacobs, I need to tell you something.” She went on to say that her friends desig- nated her to be the one to tell me to stop treating the Black kids so differently. She said, “Mr. Jacobs, we just want to be treated the same as everyone else.” That girl was 13 years old, but she taught me a lesson that has lasted for my entire life.
As the president of a re- search institute with brilliant scientists from all over the world, and as a student at one of the most diverse schools in America, Carnegie Mellon, I saw first-hand that intelligence, ability, and more importantly work ethic, drive,
and ambition was not limited to only one race.
The only thing one has to do is watch some of the reality TV shows to see messed-up people, and that’s not race- based. There are gifted, kind, and not-so-kind people of all races.
That statement “of all races” is really where the problem begins. There truly is only one race, the human race, and liking people be- cause of skin pigmentation, hair texture, eye shapes, or any other differentiator should be a nonstarter for any of us, but hatred is definitely taught.
Some of the absolutely most beautiful people in this world are amalgams of all races, colors, and creeds. So, if you’re a hater, look in the mirror and try to determine what it is you hate. It may be looking back at you. Oh, and do 23andMe genetic testing. You may be a part of one of the races you hate.
As Albert Einstein said, “What a sad era when it’s easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.”


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