the right thing, the wrong thing, no thing

There is a recent ideology circulating America regarding race relations. It’s basic premise is that the way to eliminate racism is to cease discussing it. It is an interesting, albeit flawed ideology. The assumption is that racism is merely an ember being fanned by fanatics who refuse to let it die and play the “race card” (strongly dislike that phrase) at every turn. It assumes that ignoring a non-issue will make it go away.

 There are a few problems with these assumptions. The first is that racism is an ember. Perhaps in relation to the overt, violent form previously seen in this country, that is a correct assumption. However, racism is not a black/white issue. It’s an issue of powerful vs powerless. Those of African descent in this country DO enjoy a much better quality of life than in any decade before. Yet, I contend that the mindset that created racism lives on. Hispanics would tell you that sans slavery, they are being treated in Jim Crow fashion. Arab-Americans would have you know that they are viewed as if THEY were the ones who flew the planes into the towers. How many movies, tv shows, etc. must Asian endure where they are the butt of stereotypical jokes? Racism is now diluted because it’s not predominantly by one race towards another. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was, is, and will remain… racism.

What HAS changed is people’s perception of racism. We are so politically correct now as to have removed most language that can be perceived as “offensive”. The double standard created when people make fun of themselves, yet scream at the top of their lungs when someone from outside their circle does the same has created an climate of numbness to real issues. Either the N word is offensive or it isn’t some say. Intent is irrelevant, the word is the word. I call my daughter stinky. Does she stink? I certainly don’t believe she does, but I, as her father have the authority to help define her. It’s similar with the N word. But since our “leaders” can’t even agree on a common approach to such a minor issue as the use of that word, we find ourselves mired in trivial bs while larger issues go overlooked. Management needs an enema. Rev. Sharpton may never live down the Brawley incident. Therefore whatever he says of merit, unfortunately loses credibility. Same thing with Rev. Jackson and the “hymie town” affair… and the affair. Many issues are lost when the “leaders” who push those issues have public relations (many would say character flaws) issues that prevent people from hearing the message. Yet, President Bush, after misleading the public about WMD’s (which is in my humble opinion, a more egregious offense than Brawley or Hymie town) is still accepted as the leader of this great nation. Al Sharpton is a charlatan and George Bush is a leader? Neither assumption is 100% true (nor 100% false). But it shows the dichotomy in people’s thinking that foster a mindset where real issues are buried by personality.

But those are minor flaws in reasoning. The biggest issue is thinking that racism will disappear if we just ignore it. Will a pregnancy disappear if you do nothing? Maybe cancer will be cured if we just stop talking about it. Which of societies ills has been ended by a cease and desist order or rational conversation? I was told long ago that you have three choices when faced with ANY dilemna… you can do the right thing, the wrong thing, or nothing…. The worst of the three is nothing for you have now released control and will be forced to react rather than act. Racism will not end by doing nothing. We haven’t come this far as a country by inactivity. Stay active people… we have a long way to go.

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One Comment to “the right thing, the wrong thing, no thing”

  1. I agree. Often it just comes that we do not want to deal with the ugly side of our existence. We don’t want to look in a mirror. We’d rather believe that everything is gravy but the fact is; just believing everything is good isn’t going to make everything good. “Stay active people….we have a long way to go.”

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