I was talking to a friend last week about her situation at work. She was miserable, mostly because of her co-workers. They were negative, she said, always choosing to complain about every little thing. It was bringing her down. What she didn’t realize, though, is that she was contributing to this negativity by participating in it. And her lesson is one almost anyone can learn. The quickest way to improve your surroundings is to start improving yourself.

2014 brought race relations in the United States to one of its lowest points in a generation. Convinced by the media that the police killings in Ferguson and New York City were driven by racism, thousands of protestors took to the streets to remind the world that “black lives matter.” What they don’t realize, apparently, is that they’re preaching a message everyone already believes in. Sure, there may be a small pocket of racists that still hold on to backwards beliefs, but those people will never be converted. These protestors want to change a “racist” system, but their evidence for the existence of such a system is weak.

Stop the Conversation

If you want to eliminate racism, you have to start by disavowing it yourself. Morgan Freeman once said that the only way to end racism was to stop talking about it, and I’m starting to think he hit the nail on the head. Yes, America has a history of shameful behavior towards black people. Yes, slavery was abominable. But no American alive today ever owned a black slave. What good does it do to continually bring up the deplorable actions of people long dead?

I’m not suggesting we whitewash history or forget the past. But I am suggesting that the unfortunate realities of black America in 2015 are due more to liberal economic policies than the legacy of slavery. Democrats won over black support with irresistible temptations of welfare, affirmative action, and other policies intended to help African-Americans get on equal ground. But those policies have had a trap-like effect, condemning generations of black Americans to a cycle of poverty.

Want to stop police brutality? Stop giving cops a reason to use force. Want to clean up crime? Stop being a criminal. The problem is this shouldn’t be a black vs. white argument in the first place. There should be no “black community.” There should be no “black leaders.” This is the legacy of liberalism, which promotes ethnic solidarity and resentment instead of individualism and self-reliance. There is room for preserving culture and history, but those should come second to the culture of America. One nation, indivisible.

Democrats and race-baiters like Al Sharpton have a vested economic interest in seeing racism continue. If they can’t find it, they’ll make it up. Until the people out there in the streets with “I can’t breathe” signs wake up and see how they’re pawns in this political game, the divisions will widen. Six years after America elected it’s first black president, that’s a real shame.