Editorial: Life can be tough, especially when battling societal ills

Life can be unfair.

The older we are, the more we become aware of that hard truth.

It’s just too bad when you’re young, you do what seems like the right thing, and it backfires.

We were reminded of all this as we put this month’s edition of the newspaper together and came across the item reported on page 5, under the Oct. 18 entries.

A Lebanon High School student was charged with disorderly conduct after he punched another student for making racial slurs.

Before we go any farther, we want to make it clear we’re not condoning the punching part.

School rules are clear and fighting isn’t the way to solve most problems, including this one.

We’re also not condemning school officials and police, who had to do what they had to do.

Rules are rules.

But at the same time, we appreciate this kid’s righteous anger.

He overheard the “punchee” and some other students making racial comments, walked up and asked the guilty party to repeat what he had said, which he did.

Whereupon, the “offender” walloped him.

We obviously aren’t getting a lot of particulars from the details of the sparse account in the police report, but there’s enough that we can be pretty sure we have a good sense of how this went down.

We commend the kid who stepped up and addressed this situation, even if he took the wrong tack to address the problem.

Much as we’d like to believe it, racism hasn’t left us. Some among us are still shallow and self-centered enough to find it necessary to elevate their superiority over others, especially if those others are visually or otherwise unique.

That’s exactly what racism is.

The rural, self-reliant culture we live in, for all its strengths, sometimes can manifest itself in short-sighted and inconsiderate ways.

We can easily ignore the fact that some of the most productive, community-minded, patriotic citizens in east Linn County are people whose skin color is a little darker than the majority’s or who, maybe, didn’t grow up here. It’s sometimes easy to crack or laugh at a joke putting down someone who’s different from ourselves in some ways.

It gets more serious when we take it further.

Not only is racist thinking morally indefensible, it’s illogical.

Those who make racist assumptions run afoul of a whole slew of those logical fallacies we hopefully learned about in school. There are way too many of them to list here.

Google “common fallacies” and it won’t take long to see connection between racist and faulty thinking.

Anyone who has traveled overseas will soon realize that, despite our bluster, Americans aren’t as superiorly intelligent, self-sufficient, morally upright and ultimate lovers of liberty as we like to think we are, compared to many others around the world. It can come as a bit of a shock to some of us to realize that other people have good ideas too.

Racism is wrong, pure and simple, and it’s thankfully become more socially unpopular in recent decades.

We’re being a little rhetorical, maybe a little preachy, here, but we realize how easy, in our culture, it is to slip into this. It’s good to go back to basics once in a while.

We know our schools attempt to teach the afore-mentioned principles.

Back to our flawed hero. Yeah, he shouldn’t have punched the offending party, but we hope the authorities in this case proceed with due leniency, given the other offense here.

And, maybe, just maybe, that true offender might have actually learned a lesson.

Like we said, life isn’t fair. We hope the judge is.