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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oooo! Bunnies

Now that I have your attention...

AOTL Series On Race - Part VI
Are There Too Many White Bigots In America?

The most consequential racism is the result of white bias vis a vis a minority. The reason for that is sheer numbers. There are more white people than anyone else. White people heavily weight the American consensus because they are the majority. The “white consensus” is often discussed in the press and media where it is called “American opinion” or “Public opinion.”

During the 2008 election a popular question in polling industry was “is AMERICA ready for a black president.” See these links:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6642868

http://www.insidepolitics.org/heard/WestReport207.html

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/03/poll.black.president/index.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/04/opinion/polls/main4151937.shtml

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/archive/236/blog/w/lee_camp/when_deciding_between_hillary_4172.html

Even the liberal media was complicit in this subtle, but nevertheless significant race gaffe. The question was not whether America was ready to elect a Black president, but whether there were too many white bigots who would refuse to vote for someone because they were black. It could be suggested that there are other racial groups ambivalent about having a Negro in the Oval Office. But I have observed that even when people of other races don’t want blacks living in their neighborhoods, they are sympathetic with black people because of their similar battles against racism. While Barack Obama’s presidency was not supported by every Asian American, Native American, Latino American, or African American, etc, few of these people would have been put off by him because of his race.

The question of America’s “readiness” for a black president was a specific query to the white majority. The intended framing of the question in terms of “readiness” was a way of not being offensive to the bigots. On the surface it sounds much nicer to say one is not ready for a black president as opposed to saying someone has a superiority complex and/or some other racial hang-ups. It absolves the guilty on one hand, but on the other, the implications of readiness are grossly insulting.

First, there is an implication of doom. It is like asking if Whites have braced themselves for this terrible event as if they were prisoners being walked to their execution. Not being white, I can not imagine what the basis of the fear is. I can only speculate that those who “weren’t ready” were (are), um, I don’t know… Bigots? Racists, maybe? Or were they not ready in the same sense we are ready when we go out on the town? Did they not have their hair and makeup done? Did they not finish decorating the cake? I have yet to have this explained to me?

Also, readiness hints at permission, the same kind of permission that was categorically denied dignity-seeking Blacks previous to and during the Civil Rights movement. In those days it was not uncommon to be told “it’s not your time yet” by people who were accustomed to weighing in as the guardians of America. They were wrong.

To some it may seem as if I am obsessed with the past considering that yes, America was ready for a black president, but bear with me; the issue was not whether we were able to elect a black person, but the continuing issue of our national character. In the 21st century we still speak in coded language that hints at an acceptable bias. When we ask if America is ready for a black president we not only coddle the racist by not calling them what they are, we suggest that they may actually set the standard of how we view each other. It should be an affront and an insult not only to black people, but to everyone who IS “ready” for a black president that the question was posed with such kid gloves. You want a post-racial America? Stop giving legitimacy to the racists.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

AOTL Series On Race - Part V

The Racist Good Friend

I was once driving with a good friend of mine who tends to tell stories so finely detailed with minutiae any normal mind will wander while she is talking. I have no recollection of how this particular story began. I only remember mentally recoiling when she got to the point of her story which was “and I was the only white girl there, no offense.”

For the sake of clarity she was talking about being outnumbered by black people. When she said it, the subtext dictated by her tone was not “it was a positive, cultural, eye-opening experience for me. I can’t wait to go back, no offense.” There was trepidation in her voice that would suggest “I felt totally vulnerable and threatened being around so many black people, no offense.”

What is sad is I have heard stories like this reported by white friends (no, not you) who have found themselves “stranded” in seas of blackness on occasion. From Harlem to Compton, I’ve had white friends end up “on the wrong side of town” and the story always turns out the same; nothing happened.

Where is the bias, you may be wondering. This reflects an enduring myth that there is an epidemic of black people preying on lost white people. I admit the Reginald Denny attack in 1992 was sickening, and there are some areas of any city that would not be my first choice to visit. While visiting Northern Idaho earlier this year I kept in the back of my mind that region’s recent history with white supremacist groups. A sense of caution is good to have, but simply being around a lot of black people is not a cause for panic and by the by, it does not make for an entertaining story.

The sale job on black inferiority in America is hundreds of years old. Applying false values to Africans is what allowed people who otherwise thought themselves enlightened, like Thomas Jefferson, to tolerate and even support the institution of slavery. I won’t recite all the myths, but I will refer you to Atticus Finch’s summation to the jury in the film “To Kill A Mockingbird” here http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechtokillamockingbird.html

Atticus touches on a few of these myths that endure in spite of evidence to the contrary.

I never confronted any of my storytelling friends because accusations of racism just make people defensive. I would have had to deal with “How can I be a racist? You’re one of my closest friends” and the bit of guilt I would have felt would have killed my debate libido.

But the issue stands; if this is how my friends feel, sheesh, what hope is there? Well, as enduring as these myths are, people’s submission to them is fluid. Whereas the idea of a black U.S. president would have been a dream not too long ago, enough people surrendered enough of their prejudice to elect a black U.S. president in 2008. Since then, a growing number of people believe he is lying about his religion (insert muted trombone mwah mwahhhhhhhh here).

Giving cause for more hope though is the fact that each successive generation rejects a little more of the bullshit from the generation preceding it. One day they’re buying race music and the next they’re voting for black presidents. Next thing you tell me they’ll lose their fear of a black majority! Oh no! Now that’s the story I want to hear!

And Northern Idaho was beautiful.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quick Recap Of The Dr. Laura Demise


In 2007, Laura Schlessinger writes the following response to racially controversial remarks made by boring radio jock Don Imus in her blog: "As for Imus, it would seem his arrogance caught up with him. His remark was insulting, stupid, mean, and ugly. It was so seemingly off the cuff that it seemed to casually familiar a thing for him to say."

In 2010, Laura Schlessinger goes bananas and utters "Nigger nigger nigger... nigger nigger nigger... nigger nigger nigger... nigger nigger" on her radio show. Incidentally, her caller did not find this advice helpful.

Schlessinger appears on Larry King and announces the end of her show in order to "regain her first amendment rights" which she feels have been violated... apparently.

Sarah Palin backs up Schlessinger in a message she tweets in Klingon saying "No retreat! Must reload!" (rough translation)

Country shrugs wondering when the government violated Schlessinger's first amendment rights.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Obama-Dog Epilogue

I was awakened by another ruckus this morning and so was the dog. Motorcycle cops were making sweeps up and down the street and helicopters were flying over. They were preparing for Obama's flight out. I was willing to go back to sleep, but the dog wasn't. He started whining to go out and like me, he doesn't like to repeat himself so I jumped out of bed and took him out.

Once we were out I decided to stay on the curb with the other onlookers which in hindsight was kind of silly since we ended up waiting out there for 45 minutes just to see Obama ride by in a Suburban. They didn't even bring the Caddies. It detracted from some of the thrill I found.

Jack whined to go home the entire time and I was already bored so we didn't bother to stay to watch the helicopters take off. When we got back, Jack hurled in the bushes. I think I rescued a Republican dog.

The Cellophane Racist


Some people you can see right through. As much as they try to fool other people and themselves that they stand for equality and fairness and all that gay shit, at the end of the day, they would much rather be in a bunker with a Racist Deluxe than Clarence Thomas or even the late Negro-friendly Jack Kemp.

The difference between the Cellophane Racist and the Racist Deluxe is that the former (the first one) can't, for some reason be so upfront with how they really feel. Usually it is because they are in politics or have political aspirations. Politicians can't be sidelined by defending blunt statements such as "We need to preserve our white privilege." Instead they say things like "quotas don't do anyone any good." Of course, like all other racists they assume every time a minority is hired it was done on a quota basis when in fact we all know that only nine out of ten minority hires are quota-based.
The Cellophane Racist is currently active in the debate over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. While Newt Gingrich touts the Brutish line of the Racist Deluxe comparing Muslims to hate groups, the Cellophane Racist tempers things by insisting opposition to the planned gymnasium and cooking class site is nothing against Muslims. It's just providing a voice to the 9-11 victims. Yeah right. One thing they haven't answered is exactly what is a proper radius for Muslims to skulk anonymously in the shadows because if you make demands of where Muslims CAN'T be, whether in the name of "sensitivity" or sheer arrogant bias, you have to announce where they CAN be. Then you have to come up with a list of who CAN be where you don't think the Muslims should be and before you know it you've drawn up segregation plans. Congratulations. You really are a racist.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Losing The Dogs


I used to be under the impression that rescue dogs were generally grateful and appreciative overall because on some level they are aware that they were "rescued" from a worse situation. My rescue dog is an aberration because he has a sense of entitlement that would make one think he is completely unaware that I did him a favor. Right now he keeps rubbing his nose on my arm to disrupt my typing so I'll pay attention to him. And there he goes to lie on the couch where he's going to pout at me.

Well, sometimes I give into his ploys. Look at those eyes. I'm not made of stone. That was the case yesterday when he interrupted me to take him to the dog park up the street.

For the past few days there have been temporary no parking signs on the street for Monday and Tuesday. I thought for sure it was because they were filming a movie or television show. When we got to park the adjacent parking lot was empty and the dog park was locked shut. Jack just thought that I was being mean, as if I would expend the energy to walk up the street just to tease him. I could do that on the couch. Stupid dog. So I began pulling him home as he strained against me with his nails scraping across the pavement.

Knowing that the dog park was closed, earlier today I decided to work off some of his annoying energy with a walk around the neighborhood. As I got ready to take him, I heard some ruckus outside, but did not think much of it until I got out to the street and saw the familiar lack of traffic with motorcycle cops interspersed down the way. We just done had a motorcade come through.

It was a flight plan first used during the W Administration. The helicopters would land in the soccer field adjacent to Jack's beloved park. From there the president and entourage would get in their vehicles and roll down Barrington Ave. So much for Hope and Change. I was hoping they would change travel plans when Obama became president. I must admit, it is cool to have the president roll down your street, but not when you're out running errands and you can't get home because your street is blocked off.

And now Jack knows the inconvenience of having the president visit your part of town. I don't have the heart to tell him the park won't open until after Obama leaves tomorrow. If Jack remembers this it may be an issue in 2012. I tell myself now that I'm in control and I'll vote for whomever I prefer, but if Jack looks at me with those eyes on election day, I may have to pull the lever for Sarah Palin.

The Racist Deluxe



A bigot is someone who holds an irrational bias against someone who is different. Due to this bias, the bigot may try to prevent people against whom they are biased access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A racist is someone who holds irrational biases based on race, ethnicity, or sometimes religion. Some people's biases are stronger than others resulting in an array of possible bigotry and racism. Those with the strongest racial bias are what I like to call the Racists Deluxe.

Though racism is bad, there is one thing we can appreciate about the gold medal-winning overt racist; you always know where they stand. You can't mistake it. These people freely use racial epithets without being ironic. They openly blame other races for their problems like Anne Kaczowka (see A Brief Forensic Layout Of Modern Racism) who while attending a Tea Party rally insisted that it was the "minorities and illegals" who get all the benefits which is clearly not the case. If anyone went into business selling Hard Rock Cafe style countdown clocks set to reach zero the moments whites are slated to be surpassed as the racial majority in the U.S., they would make a mint off this group. They are unhappy people who blame their unhappiness on minorities and perhaps others, but odds are, even if the race genie came and banished all minorities, they would still be unhappy. What these people need is therapy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Brief Forensic Layout of Modern Racism

One item currently delineates whose who in the show of American racial progress. That issue is the planned construction of an Islamic center in lower Manhattan near, NOT AT, near the site of the WTC attacks on 9/11. This is a local issue for the people of New York where support is mixed, but opponents have turned it into a national issue and now opponents with no connection to this local issue are weighing in.

Those against the construction of the community center are, for the sake of openness and truthfulness generally white and conservative. Their line in this debate is that in light of the fact that the 9/11 attackers were also Muslim it is insensitive to build an Islamic community center near the site of one of the attacks. This is evident in Sarah Palin’s contribution to the debate via Twitter – “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing.”

Another white conservative Heidi Harris complained that allowing Muslims to build the center makes “them” see “us” as weak. Both sentiments are the clearest charts of the core of racist sentiment today. First, both women express senseless antipathy in the sense that they are essentially to punish all Muslims, including Americans for the attacks. Through their words it is apparent they think of these Muslim Americans who are entitled to the same presumption of innocence as Sarah Palin and Heidi Harris, as the enemy. Second is the arrogance they display in thinking that they can tell American Muslims what they should do in order to make “Americans” feel better. Sarah Palin and Heidi Harris don’t speak on behalf of America. They speak on behalf of an embittered segment of America that somehow think they have the keys to the country with the right to push minority groups around because it makes them feel better about themselves… I’m guessing. They certainly don’t speak for me. A Muslim community center near the site of Ground Zero only “stabs the hearts” of people who resent Muslims, or in other words, racists. Whether or not Sarah and Heidi like it, those Muslims they are railing against were attacked on 9/11 as well.

Imagine how absurd it would be if there was a movement to prevent Sarah Palin or Heidi Harris from speaking anyplace white people blew up a church or lynched someone or prevented black people from voting or owned black people etc. It would be pretty absurd. Ms. Palin who loves to talk about Freedom would inevitably use that as an opportunity to talk about how blocking her access was an infringement on her Constitutional rights. It seems for Palin, Freedom is something for which she is the guardian so only the Americans she prefers can benefit

***

Earlier this year there was a Tea Party rally in Boston and the Boston Globe captured feelings of some of the attendees which would have been comical if it was not so desperately wrong. One rally participant, Anna Kaczowka commented that it was “just the minorities and illegals who get the benefits. Everybody who works gets nothing.” Also featured were the thoughts of Valerie Shirk who attended the rally with her husband and 10 kids. “The problem in this country is that there are too many people looking for handouts” said Shirk. When asked why she accepted Medicaid, Shirk said she did not want to stop having children and her husband’s income was not enough to cover them all with private insurance. The Shirks are white. Here’s the article. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/04/15/tea_party_rally_generates_plenty_of_criticism_opposing_views/?page=1

In a previous post, “Profiling The Profilers” I discussed a specific case of the old double standard and hypocrisy in which those who most loudly defended racial profiling of minorities were incensed to find out that there were conservative whites who fit profiles of potential radical threats according to law enforcement. It was decried as an attempt to go after political enemies when in fact it was simply a response to a measurable increase in activity among certain white people who were associating with groups with antisocial history. It was not merely a decree announcing that “Whites need to be profiled.” It was a quantifiable assessment that these groups have posed palpable threats as evidenced by the plots that have been foiled by law enforcement.

In defense of progress though, I will take this opportunity to point out certain improvements in this state of affairs that has been years in the making. In 1986 Congress mandated that anyone convicted of being in possession of five grams of crack cocaine be given the same sentence as someone convicted of being in possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine. It seems the majority in Congress got whipped into fervor. Crack meant black, and Blacks had historically been given stiffer sentences on average for committing the same crimes as Whites. So in a way Congress was simply codifying a uniformity of racial inequity.

For 23 years a coalition of people of all races has been working to lobby to have the law amended and this month President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act. It’s a bit of a misnomer, since now the ceiling was raised to a mere 28 grams of crack cocaine to get the automatic five year minimum sentence. But it was unanimously passed in Congress. That’s something.

If the word racism has lost all meaning as some claim, it’s only in the mind of people who are either in denial or don’t want to face the reality that when racial bias and arrogance are practiced by a racial majority, it has real consequences. It puts the minority under a much tighter scrutiny at every turn. It perpetuates destructive myths that when accepted as truths can result in a restrictive environment for minorities. It can infringe on the access, freedom, and rights to which every American is guaranteed under the law. Whether it is Sarah Palin telling people where they can and can’t congregate or anyone else insisting minorities are more dangerous and need to be incarcerated for longer periods of time, it is another way of people saying “I am better than you” or “I’m more American than you” when in fact they are not.

It would be ideal if we could abolish hypocrisy. That is a tall order. We may never be void of our capacity to maintain double standards, but like sentencing for crack cocaine offenses our behavior can be adjusted. And it is not just incumbent on so-called racist white people. After all, it would be hypocritical to demand something of one group that you don’t demand of yourself.

: )

Thursday, August 5, 2010

AOTL SERIES ON THAT RACE DISCUSSION PART I: INTRODUCTION

Saying things that sound good, but mean nothing is part of the job of president. People with the drive to lead tend to get windy at times and as a result they say more than what they need to say from their bully pulpit. So amid the ado and aftermath of Henry Louis (Skip) Gates arrest by a white police officer in 2009 President Obama announced a need for a national discussion on race. I have no idea what Obama had in mind. The only thing I could imagine was that he thought it was a good moment to say something that sounded good but meant nothing.

A year later, a group of once-starry-eyed liberals are now becoming jaded as if they ran out and bought the textbooks immediately following Obama’s suggestion. They are losing their faith waiting for this discussion to begin. In Obama’s defense, he never said that he would begin this discussion. He simply threw the hot potato out there and no one picked it up. Dumb people are too dumb to lead a discussion on race and smart people are too smart to want to take on that responsibility.

Smart people know in order for there to be a discussion there has to be a more than a topic. There has to be a question. The problem here is not that there is no one question, but many questions people have.

-“Why are black people today being so picky?”

-“Why are white people oblivious to just how racist they are?”

-“Why am I a racist if I just want my kids to stay within their own race?”

-“Why are black people complaining about racism when they have all the power?”

-“Why do people only talk about black and white when racism comes up?”

-“How can I be racist when my cousin adopted a Black?”

-“Okay, if I don’t say ‘nigger’ what word am I supposed to use?”

-“Racism is when your boss touches your butt, right?”

-“Is it racist if I don’t like Puerto Ricans but I’m cool with everyone else?”

I, of course have an answer for these questions and other questions like them and I will address them in this special AOTL series which will constitute MY discussion on race. It won’t really be a dialog, but I don’t need a dialog. I know I’m right.

So please feel enjoy this series of rehashed pain and suffering that we’ve all heard before, but perhaps without such clarity and definition. Don’t let the half-assed graphic above fool you. This will be a quality offering. It won’t be pretty and there may be hurt feelings, but I promise one thing; I will enjoy it.

Next installment: “A Forensic Display Of Modern Racism”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

AOTL BEGINS A NEW SEASON... SOON


After a summer hiatus (I had an outside job so it really wasn't a hiatus) AOTL is embarking on a new exciting season with more to the point relevant commentary that won't be heard anywhere else, not even on those smartass Comedy Central shows with Stewart and Colbert.

In the meantime, here's a news update featuring some of todays headlines (which can be heard anywhere else). Stay tuned!

Obama Celebrates 49th Birthday
Sorry, all you failed assassins.

Alex Rodriguez Hits 600th Homerun
Sorry, Red Sox fans.

Federal Judge Overturns California Proposition 8
Sorry, Assholes.


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