Archive for the ‘bigotry’ Tag

Bigots Exist   Leave a comment

Bigots exist. They come in all shapes and sizes, all walks of life, and all skin colors and cultures.

Some are easier to spot than others. The Alt-Right has some scary websites. The Ku Klux Klan still exists. Racism isn’t only ugly when it wears a pointy hat and talks with a hillbilly twang.

It’s also ugly to me when it wears fashionable togs and has a college education.

There was never a time, except for a 30-second moment of hesitation in the voting booth, when I was going to vote for Donald Trump, but that moment of hesitation was courtesy of Hillary Clinton calling my husband and a fair number of other people I know “deplorable”. If I’d ever been planning to vote for her, that would have been when I decided not to.

Racism doesn’t just come from rednecks and neo-Nazis. It can be found in black neighborhoods and political offices. Racists lump individuals together into identity groups and ascribe common negative features to that group rather than deal with them as individuals. That collectivism bridges all cultural, social and economic differences. Racist have one unifying quality in common … they reject people as individuals.

Collectivism has been the root of just about every terrible idea in history. It has rationalized wars and harm to one’s neighbors throughout time. It doesn’t change its spots just because it issues from people who have college degrees or law licenses or have worked for the government.

Today’s social justice warriors may share nothing with the Alt-Right besides this collectivist urge, but because everything in their orbit is judged through the lens of collective identity, anyone they lump into a category with negative features becomes irrelevant to them.

Thus it’s fine to say that anyone supporting Donald Trump is in a “basket of deplorables” that needs to be kept away from the reins of power because “Oh, my god, you know how those people are.” Those people have less worth than other people because they don’t belong to one group, but belong to another. There is some superficial scale for measuring oppression based on skin color or gender and those people are not deserving of sympathy or empathy.

Identify politics is a root-source evil. It creates division in society and tons of misunderstanding because it deals in stereotypes. Bigots can come from rural Georgia, but they also emerge from Chappaqua New York.

Collectivism is a societal poison and the antidote is to abandon identity politics and start treating all people as individuals deserving of dignity and respect.

Posted December 15, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy

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Try Being Friends   Leave a comment

About three decades ago, my husband and I met his now-best friend, a Native fella – half-Eskimo – who introduced us to Alaska’s gun culture.

Image result for image of talking to opponentsTo be fair, I had been on the fringes of that culture my whole life. Growing up in Alaska, guns had always been. They were like frying pans or cars … a useful tool that just were. I wasn’t afraid of them because I was taught how to shoot, first rifles and then handguns, when I was young. In those days, I still hiked into the Alaska wilderness without a gun … this was before I knew someone who was mauled by a bear after he shot bear spray into the bear’s nose and discovered that doesn’t disable bears … it mostly just pisses them off.

Ray, however, was raised in the gun culture. He owned several guns then. He owns more now. He’s never felt like shooting up a shopping center, although as a teacher in the public schools, he wishes he could carry concealed because he dislikes being helpless in the face of someone else’s murderous rampage.

But that’s really a side discussion. My reason for bringing up our friendship with Ray is that, prior to him introducing us to his collection (what some folks might call an arsenal), I always figured that anyone who owned more than a single 22 for bird hunting, a single 300 for large game and a single handgun for home protection was something of a gun nut who sort of creeped me out. I’d done some practice shooting, of course, but the idea of reloading my own bullets so I could afford to kill dozens of (paper) targets in a single afternoon had never occurred to me.

Image result for image of talking to opponents

In fact, when Brad first moved to Alaska he was absolutely freaked out while working in an Alaskan village to realize that EVERYBODY there owned guns … carried them with them … left them loaded while leaning in the corner. Later, when we started dating, he realized that gun ownership and treating it like a tool was normal in Alaska. And, then we met Ray and we both changed our definition of normal.

Brad grew up in a culture where no “nice or normal” people owned guns or enjoyed doing anything with them. He never knew anyone who was “nice and normal” who had any (or at least admitted to having any) guns.  Many decent people who have no interest in guns simply can’t imagine what it must be like to be someone who is passionate about something whose primary purpose is (from the perspective of the observer) to kill people. While we endless debate gun ownership and concealed carry using words, logic and fact — each taking our respective sides in the issue, the arguments constructed using these three tools of intelligence are not what brings people to their pro- or anti-gun position. For most people, that position is derived of from emotional or intuitive beliefs. Brad grew up in a city where guns were used to kill people. I grew up in a wilderness where guns were used to defend against carnivorous animals. We employed the tools of logic retroactively in defense of our personal position and so does everyone else. Most of our political views are arrived at by emotional or intuitive discovery.

And as reasoning is not the source, whence either disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles. David Hume

 

What most anti-gun people are really feeling (rather than thinking) is that there has to be something strange about you if you like guns. They see the gun as an instrument fit only for killing people … or maybe animals (which they often feel emotional about as well). If you like this instrument of death, you are sufficiently different from an anti-gun person that you are viewed as dangerous, mentally ill or culturally inferior. You’ve become the “other”. You are now allowed to be denigrated, segregated and subjugated by having your individual rights taken from you “for your own good” and “the good of society”.

Image result for image of integration on gun issuesWe’ve been here before with other subcultures within our society. Think blacks between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. Yes, we are discussing cultural segregation here. Anti-gun culture believes it has the high moral ground because “those gun nuts” are different from them, so therefore must be avoided and controlled, but this belief is based on ignorance. Meet an anti-gun person and you will almost always learn that they don’t know anyone on any real level who is not an anti-gunner. Like all such cultural segregation, the barriers can be broken down by getting to know those on the other side of the gap.

 

This, by the way, works both ways. People who favor more gun regulation are not actually motivated by taking away our liberty. They don’t see it as a liberty issue like they do smoking pot, having sex with whomever they want or the question of what to do with their Sunday mornings. Conversely, people who favor robust 2nd amendment protections do not have a higher threshold for the acceptance of violence or aggression. In fact, they probably carry because they have a LOWER tolerance for aggression and they want to protect themselves and others (maybe you) from the violence of others.

If you made some friends on the other side of the issue, you would know that those who think differently than you are not evil. They may be sincerely deceived because they’ve never actually talked to anyone on your side of the issue. And you might learn something too. Brad, especially, became much more accepting of guns from having become Ray’s friend and Ray eventually came to accept trigger guards and gun safes as a good way to keep his kids from accidentally shooting a family member.
Image result for image of integration on gun issuesCultural identity differences are often erroneously attributed to political identity affiliations, but studies show it’s really the other way around. What is important to us in our culture drives the political choices we make. Not understanding this empowers political partisans who have a vested interest in maintaining power by keeping us divided. The last thing they want is for us to become committed to protecting all of our individual rights, including the ones we ourselves do not exercise.

Gun owners are just one kind of subculture. It’s a highly porous subculture made up of people of all walks of life who largely agree on this one issue. There are many others, which are topics for another blog post. The thing about judging a subculture from the outside is that we frequently can’t imagine how people can think the way they do. At the best, we feel condescending toward them. You may even feel justified in being disgusted by or terrified of members of the gun owning subculture.

Yeah, “disgust” is a very strong word that we usually don’t want to admit to feeling, but if the idea of my owning a gun hits you on a visceral level, then your reaction is probably not rational, though you may apply reason later to justify your emotional position. And, I’m going to right here acknowledge that I feel “disgust” when I think about people who want to disarm ordinary citizens and let criminals and government thugs have complete control of the culture. And that’s even knowing people like my sister-in-law who opposes guns.
Image result for image of cain killed abel with a rockAnnie is a good, decent person who was raised back East and knows nobody (save her brother and sister-in-law) who owns guns. She could not imagine why anyone would need one. When we took her hiking in the Alaska wilderness, she threw a fit when I donned my sidearm, certain that it was going to leap out of the holster and shoot one of our party. I “compromised” by going behind the truck and switching the configuration of a back holster under my shirt so we were a full day into the trip before she realized I was still armed and nobody had died. She realized it when a moose stormed out of the trees and I pulled the gun when the moose didn’t swerve to avoid us. I didn’t shoot the moose, but the shot I fired over its head convinced it not to continue in our direction. We don’t know for certain what it was running from, but we found fresh bear scat and tracks in the direction it had come from … which helped Annie to understand why we brought a gun.

Prior to that experience, Annie would have said that my arguments for allowing people to be armed were wrong. “Guns are dangerous. They harm people. Nobody needs a gun.” But stop and think about this. I’ve never shot anyone. I’ve never had an accidental discharge of one of my guns (because there’s no such thing as an accidental discharge if you’re handling your guns properly). I’ve never had a kid get possession of a gun of mine and be able to do anything harmful with it (my guns have trigger guards that I barely have finger strength enough to disengage, let alone a kid, so if putting them out of reach doesn’t work, they can’t be fired by a child anyway). Ray has never had any of these things happen either. And neither have the vast majority of the millions of gun-owners who exist out there.

LelaSo, knowing that, just consider this. Ray is your friend and you must tell him to his face that “You should not be allowed to own a gun to protect your family. I would rather the mentally ill guy who lives next door to you be able to stab your entire family to death than you be able to protect your loved ones with that gun.”  How would you feel delivering that message? Could you imagine yourself telling me and my family that we should stay out of the wood or accept that being mauled by a bear is one of the risks? Could you imagine yourself attending my son’s funeral and telling me that we should have simply stayed out of the woods if we didn’t want him to die that way?

No, really! Let yourself imagine what that conservation would be like. I’ve got tears on my cheeks and snot running out of my nose and we’re standing over the closed casket of my son because you were so opposed to my son owning a gun that you’d rather he be mauled by a bear than able to protect himself.

Image result for image of integration on gun issuesBecause, if you’re going to take the disarmament stance on guns, that is actually the argument you’re making and you should have the moral courage to say it to the faces of the people you’re advocating to disarm and leave helpless in a dangerous world. To me, that makes the world more dangerous than it was when I had a gun to protect myself and my family. If you’re advocating for the government to do the disarmament for you so you can avoid the discomfort of that conversation, then you’re a moral coward who doesn’t want to own up to the implications of your own positions. And if you knew anyone in the gun culture, you might be able to put a face to the people you are segregating, denigrating and subjugating. It then becomes a whole lot easier to both imagine that conversation and imagine attending the funeral of their kid or wife who maybe would not have been stabbed to death or eaten by a bear had they been armed. In other words, you would grow some compassion and empathy for the “other” PEOPLE you are judging.

 

 

I know Ray to be a sane, kind man who would never shoot up a shopping mall. I know that because I know Ray. Because I know him, I think the rest of us are better off when people like him have a few of the guns. I’d rather have the guns in my hands or Ray’s than only in the hands of criminals or our political masters. That’s because I see people in the gun culture as people, not as opponents. If we can challenge ourselves by focusing on nurturing our human connection with our political opponents by relating to them as people, we’d see increased success in getting our opponents to see the world our way.

Collapsing the subculture barriers in our society through actual human relationships dissolves our political differences rather than simply negotiates them. By interacting with those who hold different viewpoints from us, we discover that our differences of political principle are really rationalizations of our bigotry toward those whose experiences, activities and pleasures we simply cannot imagine sharing.

Reasonable Bias   Leave a comment

All of us have biases. We want to believe we don’t. “I’m enlightened and I don’t base my decisions on subconscious or unconscious cues!” We say that, yet we do just that every day, all day long.

Discrimination is a survival skill, so it is biologically impossible not to be biased. It’s written into our DNA. I’m personally not a big believer in evolution, but neuroscientists say bias is how we survived as a species. Our ancestors saw something that looked scary and either ran away or killed it. Those who didn’t gradually died off, leaving behind the ones who fled or fought.

Some people would say that we in the 21st century no longer need that fight or flight response, so should overcome those inner demons in order to make “rational” decisions. There’s no reason to distrust our fellow man or protect ourselves from him. All will be well if we just let go of our bias … bigotry … racism … violence … guns … religion … nationalism … etc., etc., etc.

I’m unconvinced. I grew up in Alaska, where the civil rights debate was already long over before the United States got around to discussing it, but a product of being raised during the Civil Rights movement is that I try always to admit to myself that I have biases. As a human, I am flawed, damaged by the Fall. But then so are my fellow humans. I hit pause when my instincts might say to distrust someone of a different race or nationality or religion. I’ve met some lovely people by doing that. Yet ….

I’ve been in situations where my gut reaction was to not trust someone and mostly I’ve been proven right by that person’s behavior. I can’t always explain those hunches. Discernment of spirits is a gift of the Spirit, but it might also sometimes boil down to bias — hundreds of pieces of evidence that alert my gut to not trust this person regardless of skin color, religion, ethnicity, gender or whatever. Sometimes you just know somebody is a risk to you.

So while I stand against bigotry, I don’t stand against bias because I think it’s a useful tool for self-protection. Joyce Brothers suggested that the gut knows what the head hasn’t get processed.

There are some biases that we should set aside though and for good reason. I try never to hide from those whose opinions are different from my own. In fact, I’ll invite an argument with them just to hear what they have to say. Why? Diversity of opinion is a far better methodology for solving complex problems than the utilization of similar-minded folks. Far too many people live in a bubble these days, refusing to even entertain arguments they disagree with.

That, by the way, is a more dangerous discrimination than choosing to live in an all-white (or all-black) neighborhood, because you can commute out of that neighborhood to interact with other races, but when you segregate your information and opinion, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to see realities that you may one day wish you’d seen earlier.

It’s why I’m listening to all the presidential debates. I know that in the end, I’m not going to agree with certain candidates. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are both statists intent upon taking away my freedoms to enrich themselves or their own special interests and I opposed dynastic rule on principle, so Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will not be getting my vote. Regardless of that, I will listen and take notes and then read the transcripts later, because for me, it’s important to be fully informed on as many sides of the issue as I can manage. That doesn’t mean I have to agree, but it does mean that at times I might change my mind … if the evidence is strong enough to warrant it.

But know that if you come at me arguing for (example) gun control and you haven’t bothered to look for solutions favored outside of your own bubble, that you’re not going to convince me because I have already looked at your argument and found it to be lacking. Until you take the blinders off and look at the other side (or several angles), you are showing your bias rather than your reason.

Posted October 14, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy

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Liberty, not bigotry   Leave a comment

I frequently don’t agree with Jim Minnery, but when he says something smart, I give him due.
The fact is that there is a difference between discriminating against a person and discriminating against their behavior. The Bible teaches Christians to love people, but to stand against their sin. Christian bakers don’t cease to be Christians when they’re baking cakes. God doesn’t compartmentalize our lives into that which is acceptable when we’re in our jammies and that which is acceptable at work. We are called to serve God at all times.
We can be friends with gays. We can bake them birthday cakes. We can photograph their sporting events. None of these activities promote the sin of sexual immorality. A gay “wedding” however does. And that is where the water hits the wheel. If you’re going to claim that gays have a right to live as they want without discrimination, without being forced to comply to a societal standard, then you must also recognize the right of Christians to live as they want without discrimination and without being forced to comply to a societal standard.
But, of course, the current agenda is to force us to violate our beliefs or be marginalized, stripped of our businesses and treated like pariahs. There is discrimination going on here all right, but it isn’t homosexuals who are free to conduct their businesses however they want, without fear of being forced into “reeducation” programs.
Religious freedom laws provide for liberty, not bigotry

Jim Minnery

OPINION: Rush to judgment on Indiana for religious freedom law shows an intolerance for diversity. Pictured: A Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally held at Town Square Park in Anchorage in March 2012.BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News

I eat and breathe at the intersection of politics and faith. I have a special appreciation for that line by Sting, who said, “Poets, priests and politicians, have words to thank for their positions.” It’s what I do day in, day out. And recently, it seems like everyone’s on board.

As you might have read, Indiana is in the news. Boy, is it in the news. Gov. Mike Pence has made the Hoosier state more prominent than Larry Bird and John Cougar combined. What did he do?

He signed a bill passed by the Legislature known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law similar to one passed by the U.S. Congress, signed by President Bill Clinton and on the books in 20 other states. RFRAs were implemented basically to provide a referee when a government mandate comes up against the religious beliefs of an American.

RFRAs require that before someone’s religious freedom can be overridden, government has to demonstrate a compelling and legitimate interest in doing so and that it’s using the least restrictive means possible.

Those who’ve gone apoplectic calling the Indiana RFRA an “anti-gay” weapon businesses will use to turn away customers are missing some very basic points. RFRAs are in place (did I mention the U.S. Congress and 20 states) as shields — not swords. They cannot be used affirmatively to deprive others of the protections of law. In fact, in 22 years, no RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination.

So what’s really going on?

The LGBTQ community successfully convinced enough judges that the rights of individuals holding natural views on marriage should be trumped by those with evolving morals and standards. Thus, you have wedding vendors like photographers, bakers and florists actually being forced out of business if they don’t partake in same-sex wedding ceremonies.

In nearly all the cases I’m familiar with, these vendors had no problems whatsoever serving gay customers. They did it all the time. They simply weren’t comfortable participating in a wedding ceremony that didn’t actually have a bride and groom. In a case in Oregon, the labor commissioner said his goal was to “rehabilitate” the baker — not close her doors. If you’re cozy with that kind of government language, you need to catch up on some history.

In another real-life case, a Christian graduate student is literally kicked out of her counseling degree program at Eastern Michigan University because she was reluctant to provide relationship counseling to a gay client. Apparently in today’s university setting, you either support the LGBTQ movement or you get out of the counseling vocation. This is surreal.

How about this example opponents of RFRAs need to answer. If you are an adoption attorney with a belief that children inherently need a mother and a father, a thought that used to not be so divisive, should you be required by law to place a child in a household led by a lesbian or gay couple? Mind you, most adoption attorneys today would have no problem doing so. This is about the attorney whose convictions tell her she can’t. Should she be forced to find employment elsewhere?

Can you imagine the Westboro Baptist Church, the despicably anti-Christ-like group in their disdain for homosexuals, using the full force of government to require a gay-owned printing shop to make their signs? How about the head of a local Ku Klux Klan using the attorney general to close down a tuxedo shop owned by an African-American family for refusing to do the Klan head’s wedding?

Everyone needs to breathe deeply. We live in a pluralistic society, and differing views are what make our cultural fabric so rich and textured. Just because hyperbolic voices scream that RFRAs are about making gays and lesbians drink from separate water fountains, sit on different parts of the bus and allow restaurants to post “No Gays Allowed” sign in their windows doesn’t make it so.

Alternative lifestyles are embraced in our world today more than at any other time in history. That is simple, basic truth.

What we’re seeing today is something entirely different. Some, not all, in activist circles essentially want to “rehabilitate” the remaining parts of society who don’t “evolve” on fundamental truths about human sexuality. Let’s all say it together — “It’s OK to disagree. It’s okay for some people to be uncomfortable with others.”

If you really want everyone to think and feel the same in a country that has E Pluribus Unum as its motto, you risk sounding a bit like that same song by Sting — de do do do de da da da.

Jim Minnery is president of Alaska Family Action, a public policy and advocacy group.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, emailcommentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

 

Posted April 10, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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On Being a Racist   10 comments

(Hubby Brad is making one of his rare guest appearances. Lela)

 

Hello, my name is Brad and I am a racist.

I must be a racist because the barista at Starbuck’s scribbled “Race Together” on the side of my cup. Apparently I look like a racist. Apparently Lela does not because her cup just had her name scrawled on the side along with the secret code for how she likes her coffee. Her friend Susan, who looks very Alaska Native, was also not blessed with the invitation to have a conversation with a white coffee-dispensing college student about race. My friend PJ — RACIST!

Lela and I are generally opposed to putting our images out on social media. It’s not like the NSA doesn’t know who we are or what we look like, but we don’t want to make it any easier for them. You’ll just have to take my word for it — I’m white. My eyes are blue-green, my hair is sort of honey brown and my skin — well, this time of year, it’s blindingly white. We don’t get a lot of sun in Alaska in the winter and since it rained all last summer, it’s been about 18 months since I’ve tanned. So I think this is the whitest I’ve ever been.

I know — disgraceful! How can I have any understanding of what darker-skinned people feel when my skin is this white? And I was buying coffee with another white guy at a bookstore! Can’t you just smell the white privilege?  White men who can read at a 6th grade level and afford designer coffee! Obviously we need to discuss race relations in America with our barista! I mean, she has dreds. She can’t possibly be a racist!

So here’s something to know about the inner workings of my mind. Like most human beings on the planet, I do have some prejudices. I prefer vanilla over chocolate ice cream, for example. I discriminate against flavorless Lower 48 blueberries in favor of tart Alaska blueberries. I like Jeeps better than Subarus which I prefer over Fords. If given a choice, I will choose movies that feature explosions over romantic comedies. I don’t like some people and love to hang out with others. I discriminate all of the time. We all do and that is not necessarily an evil thing. Trust me on this — Alaska blueberries — WAY better than Lower 48 blueberries!!!!

Ah, but is my choice of coffee companions an indication that I discriminate in favor of white people? Could be. I grew up in a rough New York City neighborhood during the bussing era of the 1970s. In the 5th grade, I was stabbed by a Puerto Rican girl for no reason I ever knew and I haven’t really had much use for Puerto Ricans since, but if you are a friendly Puerto Rican and don’t try to stab me, I’ll eventually warm up to you. You know the saying — once stabbed, twice shy, but you can prove to me that I can trust you. And, then I was once beaten up by two drunk (Alaska) Native men, so if you’re a drunk Alaska Native man harassing people in downtown Fairbanks Alaska, you might want to steer clear of me. I’ve learned to growl and threaten to bite rather than get kicked in the ribs again.

See — RACIST! Or maybe the Puerto Rican chick and the Native guys hurt me and I learned the lesson they were trying to teach me.

In high school, I was smitten by a black girl in my history class who would never give me the time of day. My best friend is an Alaskan Eskimo. My wife is part-American Indian. My very beloved daughter actually looks more Indian than her mother. Once I was the only white man on a remote job site and three of my black coworkers announced I could call them the “n-word”. I guess these non-whites have f failed to notice that I’m a bigot, huh?

I’m Irish American and like most American whites, I am uncomfortable with this topic. In fact, I feel like I don’t have a right to have a contrarian opinion on this subject. The only reason I’m posting this is that Lela insisted. It was about 17 years ago that my coworkers honored me by trying to let me into their group. I couldn’t say the “n-word” without blushing and choking. They thought it was funny and tried to get me to practice it, but I never could do it. Finally, they took pity on me and said I didn’t have to. But why was it hard for me to say it? They called each other “nigga” all the time. It appeared to be a term of endearment and camaraderie. I was honored that they gave me permission, but I couldn’t say it. Since then, I’ve asked quite a few white people if they could say “n-word”. I haven’t found any that could. They are absolutely embarrassed by the term.

Why?Because we’ve all been indoctrinated to never have bigoted thoughts about people of color and to never, ever say the n-word. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, but I want to just point out that there’s a double standard. White people have been taught to be careful of the sensitivities of non-whites, but non-whites are not necessarily held to the same standard.

Have you ever seen an Indian fella wearing a “Native Pride” hat? You see it a lot here in Alaska. I’ve often wondered what would happen if I wore a “white pride” T-shirt, but I fear getting beat up again, so I’ve never run that experiment. This week in Fairbanks, we’re having the Festival of Native Arts, where Native people get together for Native dancing and eating ethnic foods (muktuk and seal oil, yummo!) and non-Natives are expected to plunk down big money to go watch this, but they aren’t permitted to participate. We’re supposed to respect this exhibit as healthy cultural pride. What if Irish people were to get together for jig dancing or Germans were to get together for beer drinking and glockenspieling and say it’s okay for non-Irish to pay money to watch, but they can’t participate — what would be the reaction?

BIGOTS!

But what really bugs me is that 17 years ago, I could say “nigga” to a black man and he would call me friend, but today I don’t think those same men would honor me with that privilege because black people today are no longer judging white people by the content of their character, but by the color of our skin. White people are expected to apologize for being white, as if that is anything we can control any more than a black person can control being born black.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like racism to you? It sure sounds a lot like racism to me.

Are You A Racist?   4 comments

I mostly have stayed mum on the racism debates because I’m frankly tired of the topic and I don’t think the histrionics surrounding it are getting any of us anywhere. And I would have stayed quiet if one series had not ended before I was ready to take up another. So here is what I think:

The rules of our current society are stacked against a reasonable discussion of racism because most people are not allowed an opinion. If you’re not (cue snotty accent) “a person of color”, you aren’t allowed to have an opinion. You are deemed a recipient of “white privilege”. You can agree with your accusers and plead guilty or you’re deemed a racist. There are no other options allowed, so no reasonable discussion is possible.

I’m part American Indian. That makes me a “person of color”, though I am also part Swedish and Irish, so my opinion counts less if I disagree with other “persons of color”.  So, I’m going to start out by saying — if this offends you, that’s okay! You probably need to examine yourself on the issue anyway.

Racism is defined as

  • the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
  • prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior
So, based on that definition, I want to pose a series of questions for consideration as I would pose them to my cousins on the Rez.
  • Do you believe that all white Americans are inherently racist?
  • Do you believe that whites have better jobs because they are white?
  • Do you believe whites do better in school because the white teachers give white children better grades just because they’re white?
  • Do you believe that anytime a white cop shoots a minority suspect it is because the cop is racist?
  • Do you believe that every Indian in prison today is there because of institutional racism?
If you answered “yes” to any one of the above questions, according to the above definition, you might be a racist.
And, just so we’re crystal clear here — although I posed it to my cousins, I’m including every reader of every race in the OP. White, black, Asian, Indian, biracial … if you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you might be a racist.
Tell me where I’m wrong!

Posted January 1, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in racism

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