Yes, that title is a little sarcastic. This is a bit of an off-key post for this blog, but it's a subject that has been gnawing at my mind for quite a while now. All of this below is my opinion, gained and crafted by my own observations and--to put it fancily--philosophy of the world.
Racism. Today, being a "racist" is one of the worst smears that can possibly be added to your name. If you're a politician, you have to be extra careful whenever you allude to minority groups (on any subject), because your speech could be twisted into racism.
I wonder, though, what would happen if the world started treating racism like it is. I mean, we all call it horrible, degrading, dangerous, discriminatory, and other such things. And racism IS horrible, degrading, dangerous, discriminatory, and other such things. But there's always one adjective missing from the list of things describing racism. Why don't we ever use it?
Racism is horrible, degrading, dangerous, and discriminatory. It's also really, really...stupid. I can still remember my reaction when I first found out about modern-day racism, which actually was kind of late in my childhood. I'd always thought of racism in terms of slavery and the civil rights movement. I knew that there were still some racist people in the world (there will always be nutters we have to share the Earth with), but I really didn't think about it. I'm a caucasion girl who, for a long time, lived in a wealthy county (though my family certainly was not wealthy), where there weren't many minorities and no racial tension. I don't remember how exactly I found out about prevalent modern-day racism, but it was an accumulation of events, I think: a conversation with my mom about racial tension in the south, a page in a history book, and other things. I didn't feel horror, disgust, anger, or other motions you might expect. I distinctly remember my feeling of surprise when it finally dawned on me: "Well that's...dumb."
|Racism exists? Huh?|
I shall, predictably, now turn to the recent case of Martin and Zimmerman. I will say right up front that I do not know of what Zimmerman is guilty. A life has been lost, and that is tragic. However, I would like to know how this particular case made the news. Never mind. I do know. The guy who killed was white. The guy killed was black. And our beloved media pounced: obviously, this is a case of RACISM. The public will love it, in all its terrible glory.
Wait, what? A black guy killed a white guy a while back, also claiming self-defense. Why didn't that make the "big news"? In my opinion, there's more evidence supporting Zimmerman's story than the black guy's story. However, I'm not a member of the police force or the judiciary, and I don't have all the facts. It's not my place to decide. What disturbs me is how much people pretend to know about the case, when we don't really know anything. There were people calling for "justice for Trayvon" before the whole story even came out. All that the racism hype is doing is stirring up the possibility for some sort of explosion.
Affirmative action isn't helping anything either. Hey, it was necessary for the short time when there was prevalent racism. However, now all it does is give unfair advantages to people who, many times, do not deserve them. Colleges and workplaces are so frantic to appear modern, anti-sexist, anti-racist, and politically correct, that they bring their own quality of education and products down if they do not hire the best people to fill a government-imposed quotia. Let's say a black woman, of moderate capabilities, applies for a job. A white woman, of bad capabilities, also applies. A white man with excellent capabilities applies as well. Who's going to get the job, if the workplace's female-and-black quotia isn't filled? The company, and subsequently, all of its employees, suffer a loss when the best person is not hired.
I am a great believer in the power of expectations. As long as we, as a society, expect people to be racist, that is exactly what we will get: racism. I'm not saying that we should ignore racism. I'm saying that we need to keep racism in a balanced perspective. For example, calling a murderer racist when there's, you know...actual evidence that it was race-driven. That includes both white AND black killers. Think about it: you are more likely to be called "racist" if you're white, which is racism in itself: setting expectations on somebody because of their race. All of these accusations breed racism and resentment: blacks may think all whites are racist, and whites, annoyed with the unfair handouts minorities recieve because of their race, may brand all minorities as lazy slobs leeching off of their tax-dollars.
And the results are things like this. Seriously? GROW UP, people. Argue that the signs are in bad taste. That our president is awesome. That his policies work. You know, a conversation that is actually logical. But no, clearly, we must jump to the assumption that the man who put up the sign is racist. Obviously, those signs are extremely disrespectful, and I do not approve of them, but where did some of those protestors get the idea that they were race-driven? I don't like our president. I also forget that he's black most of the time.
When it's plausible that one of Julian Smith's make-believe scenarios could take place in the future, there's definitely something wrong.
All images found via Google Imates. Video taken from Julian Smith's YouTube account. No copyright infringement intended.