The following essay was written by Anthony Flaviani (aged 17) and won third place in Scotl

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The following essay was written by Anthony Flaviani (aged 17) and won third place in Scotlandville Magnet High Schools, Baton Rouge, La., black history month competition. It was written in February of 1994. Anthony is allowing it to be carried as a text file on CompuChurch's BBS system The Holy Cloakroom. No reproduction is allowed nor may it be copied or used in any other publication without the express permission of Anthony Flaviani, The Fountain BBS, 1:3800/13, at (504) 775-5879. It is being presented in the exact form it was turned in to the selection committee. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble"(Hebrews 12:15). In today's civilization many people wonder whether or not we have improved in racial conflicts, but the answer is different for everyone. Some people say yes, while others say no, but I think it depends on your definition of prejudice. Webster's Dictionary defines prejudice as an opinion without adequate basis. Prejudice is a two sided issue which consumes both blacks and whites. It is so consuming that sometimes we do not even notice it. When a black female walks into a predominantly white store and suddenly finds herself being watched, does this mean that the white people are prejudice, does this mean she is prejudice for thinking they are watching her because she is black, or does this mean both are prejudice. For a long period of time, blacks had rights, but failed to be treated as equals. Today, most of this has changed. Blacks are being treated as equals in almost every industry. Today, the attitudes of most people is that they feel privileges should not be taken away from someone because of the color of their skin, and in the same way, people think privileges should not be given to people based on the color of their skin. Some people say that blacks separate themselves from the 'American Dream' by calling themselves African-American. These people say that it is nice that they are aware of their cultural background, but they believe that America is a melting pot where people from all nationalities come together and merge into one. By calling themselves African-American they bring forth a new idea that America should be a tossed salad in which people from all nationalities come together as one while still keeping their nationality. Is this the cause of the racial tension? Has society improved or deteriorated? Well, the answer is both. Since the time of slavery, society has struggled to end racial tension. Blacks are being respected and being treated as equals, but racial tension has increased. Actual prejudice has decreased, but the claims of prejudice has increased even though most of these claims are phony. Most of the racial tension is being caused by the false claims of prejudice. Politicians have also had a hand in creating racial tension. Some politicians feed the fire on racial issues just to promote themselves. The lack of family values also adds to the fire. Society has improved in many areas, but this is not enough. Society still faces it's biggest challenge. This challenge is whether or not we can get along together without judging each other by the color of skin. Martin Luther King's dream of a society in harmony with each other is possible, but it will take some time. It will probably take a few generations of children to adapt to working with people that are different in appearance, but not different any other way. Prejudice will end when everyone realizes that we were all created equal. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love"(Romans 12:10). "If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently"(Romans 8:25), but while we wait we should take the responsibility to set examples for everyone else. We can not sitaround wondering when civilization will be in unity with each other, because it will never happen unless we all do something about it. We can not force people to like one another, but we can teach our children to treat others as they would like to be treated. "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is

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