The painted faces on the street, caricatures of long ago

Racism in America is like a pot on the stove, if you aren’t vigilant it will bubble over and make a big freaking mess. We’d like to believe that as a country we’re all that and behave in a somewhat civilized manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s been bugging the crap out of me and finally this week it has boiled over and I think it’s a good thing. Now it’s out in front of us and now we have to deal with it. You can’t sweep shit like this under a rug.

willis

It’s pretty clear what it is. Don’t make me quote Justice Potter again. Discourse is part of the fabric of this country. It is what this country was essentially founded on. However, if you’re going to behave like ignorant heathens, please don’t try to tell me you’re Christians and righteous in the eyes of the Lord. As an old friend taught me, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. You people are ignorant heathens and an embarrassment to the real church. You’re the people that are going to get to St. Peter all righteous and shit and he’s going to say “What the hell were you thinking?” And y’all can take your sorry racist, bigoted hateful butts off to eternal damnation and have a good ol’ time.

Because Jimmy Carter was right. These people do not want to be led by what they perceive to be a black man. As ugly as that is, it’s the truth.  Notice how Michael Steele went into the Witness Protection Program?  Is like they disappeared him.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.  And at the end of every day, Obama himself is not a black man.  They can say he’s Kenyan and Muslim and every other boogieman out there until the cows come home, they’re full of shit.  He’s a biracial man like a lot of this country is now.  And Hawaii is still one of the 50 States.  I read recently that by the year 2051 this country will look like a giant mocha latte. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

I had a discussion earlier this week on this subject. We agreed that essentially we were all racist on some level, whether we chose to admit it or not. The difference was how each of us handled that information. Do we embrace the differences or judge by them?  Does a group of young men walking down the street make me nervous? Sometimes. If they were Hispanic would that make a difference? Not really, same answer, sometimes. If they were black? Same answer. Asian?  Same answer.  (The worse violence I’ve seen in my life was imparted on an Englishman by a Tong gang)  It depends on the vibe of the group. Yet if a group went off and started committing a crime, what would be the qualifiers? White/black/Hispanic/Asian Male, 6’2″ blue pants white shirt. In that order. As children we are taught to separate the round ones from the square ones and the blue ones from the yellow ones. It’s part of the learning process. My friend’s 4yo son was identifying Volkswagon bugs yesterday in traffic calling them Slug Bugs. We saw an original VW and he announced Old Skool! Naturally it carries over into identifying each other. The kid with the straight black hair is different from the kid with the red hair who is different than the kid with the blonde hair who is different from the kid with the curly hair who is different from the dark skinned kid with the kinky hair. That’s natural. How we handle that information in the future is where we run into trouble. Do we judge based on hair color? Skin color? Racial background? Heritage? I like to point out that as every new group got off the boat in New York, they were the new dogs to kick. The Irish took their share, the Poles, the Jews, the Russians, the Indians, the Afrikaners, even the Germans. So what is it in our make-up where we have to single out a group of people and treat them badly? And what fuels that to the point that it becomes hatred?  The fact that they have something you don’t?  What is this the 3rd grade?

A lot of what I’m seeing in the current protests is vicious, racist and always threatening on the edge of violence.  It’s really the first time we’ve seen the right mobilize in the streets in years.  Normally, it’s the left in the streets.  The Civil Rights protests from the 60’s spent a lot of time turning violent.  The Anti-War protests from the 60’s turned violent.  The colleges were such a mess I thought as a child I would not be able to go to college because the colleges would all be gone by the time I got old enough to go.  Then the protests started getting more organized and peaceful.  Now it’s unusual for a protest to get violent, at least excluding the “rent-a-mob”, who are a bunch of anarchists who join in every protest just to stir up shit and cause problems.  And right now the left isn’t in the streets.  I remember the demonstrations in the 80’s over AIDS.  We had a disease that has killed more people than the Swine Flu ever will and a President who wouldn’t utter the term.  And that spawned Act-Up.  I hated them because I felt their antics took away from the real issue, which was that people were dying and research was not being properly funded.  PETA is also responsible for similar antics.  And right now we have a television station that pretends to be delivering news but rarely gets any of the facts right.  And they have several shows on that are fueling the discourse with half baked lies rather than reporting the truth.  Those people like to demonize Keith Olberman, but they don’t even check their facts.  If they did, they would know that he’s pretty right on with his facts every single night.  Occasionally there is an error, sometimes it’s fact checking and sometimes it’s stumbling over the script and he always comes back and corrects it the next night.  “Last night we reported XX and it was really XY”.  Anyone who watches him would know he’s an equal opportunity gadfly.  Obama got it last week.  Obama got it during the election pretty bad in a Special Comment too.  Because unlike Faux News, Olberman seeks the truth.  We should all seek the truth.  Right now the truth is most of this protesting has to do with race and little to do with the truth.  The truth is the United States rates last in industrial nations in the health care provided to it’s citizens.  The truth is we pay more for a lot less.  The truth is that 45,000 of us die from lack of health insurance every year.  The truth is most of these morons who are protesting would benefit hugely from a revamping of the health care system.  The truth is not one of these ignoramuses is actually benefitting from the system the way it is.  So they take to the street and bring their signs depicting Obama as Hitler, which is absolutely laughable if it weren’t so offensive.  (We know how I feel about comparisons to Hitler) Obama as the Joker is pretty offensive as well.  Here’s a hint:

jolson

It’s ok to disagree with policy and it’s fine to take to the street.  And it’s fine to have your children out there with signs that say “I don’t want to pay for this”.  That’s good protest.  I’ve never liked burning the flag, I’ve never liked burning Presidents in effigy and I don’t like what I’m seeing right now.  It’s racist, it’s not good protest.  When things spun out of control in the 60’s, leaders were assassinated.  In one decade a President, his brother, and two Civil Rights leaders were assassinated.  We were spinning out of control.  We’re heading down the same path now.  Fifty years later, we’re still fighting the race issue and the racists are still in our midst.  If we don’t speak up right now, we are complacent.

There’s a lot of talk about White Privilege.  The term actually makes me bristle.  White Privilege is overt and covert.  I bristle over the idea that it’s overt in my life.  And I don’t believe it is.  It is covert.  I don’t think twice about hailing a cab.  I promise you, our President couldn’t hail a cab in NYC last week if he showed up with out the Secret Service.  I can write a check just about anywhere.  If I walk into a high end store I am not suspected of being a shop lifter.  Possibly out of my element but never a shoplifter.  I’ll bet Whitney Houston (just because she’s been out of the public eye for so long) could walk into a store in a town where she wasn’t known and be pegged for a shoplifter.  That’s wrong.

It’s everywhere.  How do  you erase it?  Wait until 2051?  Call it out where you see it?  I don’t know the answer, but I do know that recognizing that there is a problem is the first step to fixing it.  We’re all sitting around saying “I’m not a racist, but.”  But, yeah you are.