Tag Archives: Racism

Manners Matter

The recent trials of Curtis Reeves and Michael Dunn are sure to add fuel to the arguments for the increased need for more gun regulations. Reeves is on trial for the murder of Chad Oulson. Reeves had repeatedly asked Oulson to quit texting during the previews for the movie, Lone Survivor. He even went so far as to report the texting to the theater manager. Oulson, tired of being harassed by Reeves, picked up Reeves popcorn and threw it at him. Reeves then lost his cool, or panicked, or both, then took out his gun and shot Oulson.

Michael Dunn, is on trial for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn was at a gas station in Jacksonville, FL and asked a group of teens in an SUV to turn down their music. After the teens castigated Dunn with a barrage of threats and profanities, Dunn claims he saw a weapon in the SUV (no evidence of which was ever found) so he fired several rounds at the vehicle, presumably in self-defense.

It is easy to blame these murders on an angry racist subset of society, with too easy access to firearms. But that only gives us an excuse not to look deeper. The uncomfortable truth, one that most of us are guilty of, is that as a society, we have lost our sense of civility. We have forgotten that good manners are not something that we demand to be bestowed upon us, but rather something we bestow upon other people. It used to be an automatic attitude, drilled into us as children, that in order to live peaceably with others we sometimes had to endure some inconvenience and discomfort. We took our unruly children outside the restaurant or theater; we made our calls and answered our beepers outside or in the lobby. Even though we might be tired, we offered our seats to the elderly and handicapped. We didn’t push to the front of lines, or cuss out store clerks. As children we were taught to respect our elders and those in authority. We said please, thank you and excuse me, because it was how people with a good upbringing behaved.  Not because they were “magic” words we could use to get our way. We recognized that driving was a privilege not a right. We didn’t tailgate, cut people off, run red lights, or poach parking spaces on purpose.

We were also taught how to control our temper. We learned early that a tantrum would not get us toys or candy, but it might get us a spanking. Punching walls throwing things or otherwise destroying property wasn’t tolerated either. We were taught to try to find polite solutions to the people or activities that irritated us and if no polite solution was found, to remove ourselves from them.

Our homes, our schools, our churches and even the TV shows we watched, all taught us that everyone had rights. No one’s rights were more important than anyone else’s and those rights were to be respected. Sadly, not anymore.

Today’s gadget driven society feeds our egocentricity. We can be out in public without actually interacting with anyone. We have superficial conversations with friends, family, and even complete strangers, while ignoring the people right in front of us. We can hide in the apparent anonymity of a Face Book post or Twitter feed, and never have to really see the results of our words. We can blame guns, we can blame racism, we can buy into the ideal that we need more laws and stronger laws to protect us from each other. What we really need to do is some soul-searching, both individually and as a society. We need to ask ourselves how many more people have to die a senseless death before we recognize that our society is morally sick. It’s the kind of sickness that happens when people ignore the needs of their souls. It’s a sickness that no law, no government program can fix. It’s something we must recognize and heal ourselves.

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A New Kind of Slavery

Segregation of Restrooms

Segregation of Restrooms (Photo credit: Universal Pops)

Since the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial, I have watched the reactions from all sides with a sense of frustration. More than once I have found myself shouting at the radio, TV, or computer screen “just what do you want from us?”  The supporters of Trayvon and his family were adamant in their desire for a fair trial, for justice.   Once granted that trial and justice being served, they now want another trial in Federal Court under civil rights violations.  OK, just what was it that you wanted?  Justice or vengeance?  The leaders in the black community are calling for an end to racial profiling. However, they refuse to earnestly acknowledge that it is the violent behavior of many young black men, and the undisputable fact that young black men commit a disproportionate number of crimes, that are the causes of such profiling.  Instead, race-baiters like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and local black leadership foment an unreasonable fear of white people, and authority.  Many black parents now teach their children to keep their hands in view and speak respectfully to police officers. They tell them not to wear baggy pants, hoodies in the summer or let their underwear show.  They teach them not to be out late at night or hang out in certain areas or with known gang-bangers.  They  teach their children that they must do these things not to instill better values, but because white people have an irrational fear of black people and because of this, young black men are always in danger of being unfairly incarcerated or worse.  Funny thing is, these are some of the same things I have taught my kids.  Not because they might be the victims of a perceived injustice, but because it is the correct way to behave.  You are supposed to have respect for authority, and to dress and behave respectfully, if you want to be respected yourself.

There is clearly a disconnect between how the black community and the white community perceive identical situations.  In the white community, it makes perfect sense to assume that someone who dresses like, talks like, and has the same swaggering posture as a thug, is a thug.  According to the black community we should not make such assumptions unless the person has actually committed a crime against us. Mind you, it’s OK for blacks to be suspicious of other blacks, but if it is done by a white person, it’s profiling and should be illegal.   To most business owners, it is a sound business practice to analyze inventory and to secure merchandize that is often stolen.   If those items happen to be frequently purchased by blacks, then it is not business, it’s racism.

Almost without exception, black people will tell you of how they have been followed by store clerks, heard the locking of doors, and witnessed white people clutching their purses tighter when they approached. Even the President told of his experience.  I know that personally, when I meet a black person, unless that person, is dressed like or acting like a thug, I don’t behave that way. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who does. Could the experiences passed down from generations past, documented  accounts of past horrid treatment at the hands of whites, affect how you perceive your world today?  Could it be perhaps, that you have been conditioned by your culture to expect this kind of treatment and are hyper-sensitive to it?

No one in my generation, black or white, has attended a segregated school, used a segregated bathroom, eaten at a segregated lunch counter or knew anyone who owned or was a slave.  Our parents may have, our grandparents surly did.  But that was two generations ago.  We get it. We really do. Judging someone by the color of their skin is wrong.  It’s why we no longer form lynch mobs, or petition to keep black people out of our neighborhoods.  It’s why we think nothing of working, shopping or commuting with our black neighbors. The thought of returning to the pre-civil rights era is as abhorrent to us as it is to the black community.  That is why whites in America are becoming increasingly frustrated at being judged for what our ancestors did to your ancestors.

Told by politicians pandering for their votes, a media desperate for ratings and leaders within their own community hungry for power, that they deserve reparation, many of today’s blacks are no longer content with seeking a level playing field and a color blind society, they seek retribution.  By allowing themselves to be used by leaders more interested in increasing their own power, and by becoming dependent on government entitlements, the black community has embraced victim-hood.  By doing so, they have willingly become slaves all over again.  And this time no amount of white guilt can undo the damage.  It’s something the black community must do for itself.

And Justice for All

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Trayvon Martin Protest – Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

As the George Zimmerman trial gets underway, there have been cries throughout the country for “justice for Trayvon. What we all should be asking for is justice period.  I’m hoping that the trial will answer some of the questions I have about what really happened that night.  Zimmerman was obviously beaten.  I’d like to know why.  For me it hinges on one thing.  Who approached whom?  If Zimmerman was actively following Trayvon it could be reasonably assumed that Trayvon was the one who felt threaten and he beat Zimmerman in an act of self-defense.  On the other hand, if Zimmerman was simply observing Trayvon, then he was acting in self-defence. What troubles me about this trial is that before most of us had heard anything about this case, the media was already spinning it as the racially motivated killing of a poor, defenseless black child by a paranoid neighborhood vigilante. The evidence that was shown early in the case was carefully edited to fit this narrative.  Time has given us a clearer perspective.  Zimmerman is not simmering with a deep-seated hatred of blacks. Yet, he is not a likable character. A cop wannabe, he lost a lot of credibility when he and his wife lied about their financial status.  Trayvon, however, was not a squeaky clean choirboy.  He had a been suspended from school and had a history of smoking dope.

Equally troubling is how the race baiters (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton et. al.) wasted no time in using this tragedy for self promotion.  Making sure the cameras were rolling, they posited their theory that Trayvon was killed because white people have an unreasonable fear of young black men who wear baggy pants and hoodies and listen to rap music.  Nowhere in their call for a dialog on racial profiling was the admission that maybe, just maybe, young black men who fit that description are looked upon with suspicion because a disproportionate number of them are involved in violent crimes.  Instead they stoked the dying embers of racial tension.  So much so, that the fear of race riots has possibly caused the prosecution to resort to dirty tactics to ensure a conviction.  This is in stark contrast to Travon’s parents.  Good people who tried to do what was best for their troubled teen.  They have turned their grief into action by setting up a charitable foundation.  They continue to pray for peace, healing and justice.

I do have to wonder though, what if the evidence shows that Trayvon was the aggressor?  What happens if Zimmerman is found innocent.  Is justice really what is wanted here? Or is it vengeance? Regardless of the verdict, justice for George Zimmerman is justice for Trayvon, too.

Pretty Fly for a White Guy

Me being a Stereotypical Nerd.

Image via Wikipedia

When it comes to fairness in this country it seems we have come full circle. We have a black president. Hispanics will soon be the majority in this country. We have doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, policemen, firemen, politicians and astronauts of all races and genders.  So who is really discriminated against anymore?

I have come to the conclusion that, the most discriminated demographic in this country is…….the white heterosexual male.  I know a lot of you are thinking, whaaaaaat? But before you get David Duke to come and fit me with a sheet hear me out.

Yes, once there was a time when being a white male gave him an unfair advantage, regardless of his wealth or social status. But those days are over.  Now you have the NAACP, the National Black Caucus, The Hispanic Chamber Commerce, NOW, the League of Women Voters and The Gay Straight Alliance. Our society considers these organizations to be progressive and enlightening. They are not presented as discriminatory. What you don’t have is the NAFAWG (National Association For the Advancement of White Guys), White Voters United or The White Guy White Gal Alliance. Organizations such as those would immediately be considered discriminatory even though they would exist for the same purpose as the before mentioned organizations.  To unite people of a specific ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

There are no scholarships set aside only for white guys, yet there are numerous scholarship opportunities exclusively for blacks, Hispanics and women.

There are no start-up loans for white guy businesses even though being a white male doesn’t automatically grant you a higher economic status. There are however, loans for minority businesses.

White guys have no rhythm or sense of style, they can’t dress and Lord knows they can’t dance.

Affirmative action doesn’t apply to white guys. They have to get a job or promotions strictly on their own merits and work ethics.

White guys have to endure being called crackers, gringos, chauvinists and homophobes. But heaven forbid they call a woman “sweetcheeks”.  Uttering the highly forbidden “N word” could get him sued or fired.

The time has come for a truly level playing field. For all forms of public financial, educational, and employment assistance to be color and gender neutral and be based solely on need. So that all persons regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation, can have the freedom to pursue the vocation of their choice and to live by the consequences of those choices.

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