Friday, August 06, 2010

Racism, What I Have Learned (Part 3)

If we are to end racism in this nation then we cannot depend upon it just dying out. That will never happen. As long as people are willing to accuse others of racism it will be perpetuated. Racism is harmful to everyone but false accusations of racism is unjust.

Other than physical harm we must realize that the concept of harm done is a taught concept just as racist attitudes are taught. We must come to a point that just because someone says that something is harmful doesn't mean that they actually are harmed. There must come a time when individuals take full responsibility for their own feelings and thoughts.

We must also realize that as long as there is an opportunity for personal gain or political gain of some sorts the idea that racism will be perpetuated. And one means that will be used to perpetuate it is by redefining what constitutes an act of racism. As long as there are laws in regards to racism I will guarantee that racism will be perpetuated unjustly because the perception of it will still exist in some people's mind.

We are already seeing this. False accusations of racism are being made day in and day out with the lone purpose of political or personal gain. People are using it to unjustly stereotype a whole group of people and then demean anyone who is a member of that group or perceived as associated with that group. People will falsely use it to attack the integrity of others simply because they disagree with someone's ideas. Racism is being used falsely as a means to denounce laws which may affect a certain group of people more than others. And the only reason it may effect this certain group is the fact that this group is known to be the largest offenders in regards to the issue in question.

These are just a few ways that racism is being used. Are these the acts of a racist nation or are they the acts of those who are unjustly using racism as a tool for personal or political gain?

In closing I will say that we already have laws against the idea of physically harming another person and these laws do not need the accusation of racism to enforce them. It is only when the harm is other than physical that necessitates the accusation of racism in order to enforce the laws against racism. And we can declare that the perceived harm done is harm taught. And if it be harm learned then it it needs to be unlearned unless we are willing to tolerate unjust accusations.

I guess what I am saying is that we do not live in a perfect existence. Acts of racism will ever be committed by individuals in a multicultural community. By the same token false accusations of racism will ever be committed by individuals in a multicultural nation also. But we do not need to stereotype a whole nation based on these individual acts. We just need to stop thinking of ourselves and others strictly in terms of race alone. We need to think of ourselves as in terms of being individuals of which our race is but one attribute that helps us define our self as an individual of which we have no equal.

The Constitution says it best when it declares that we are a nation made up of people not a nation made up of many classes of people. It is time we begin to live up to that principle. And it is time that we demand that our government rule by that principle.

9 comments:

msladydeborah said...

Griper,

When we began this discussion I knew that you were prepared to have a debate in the traditional manner. Which I can do. However, I found out years ago that if you remove the topic of racism out of the box it becomes easier to explore and discuss.

I also believe that there are more people who have come to this point of recognition than we can imagine.
They realize that it is counterproductive to believe that people from different groups are all the same. We are just not that monolitihic.

For the first time in a long time the nation is having a nasty conversation that is filled with all of the negative beliefs that we have about one another. It is a major diversion for a group of people who have so many other troubles to deal with. No matter what race a person is-the economy, our overall health and well-being is being put to the test. Instead of finding our common ground and making ways to work together-we are squabbling like little kids. Meanwhile-things are still on life support.

If we are a nation of people who are talented who know how to use our brain and our resources. Then we really need to get on wtih this part of the business. I am pro leaving those who feel that having the point and counterpoint discussions on racism to have their debate. While the rest of the people sit down and act like we have to do something to turn things around.

The Griper said...

that is fine Deb with me. first you wanted to leave race out now you want to leave racism out.

i think we are both coming to the same conclusion. i think you might like my next part on this issue.

Rational Nation USA said...

Griper - A wonderfully thought provoking series. So like you and I applaud you for your efforts here.

One of the best discussions on racism, and it's abhorrent outcomes, I have read was by written by Ayn Rand.

She accurately determined that racism is the highest and most offensive form of collectivism. And of course it is politically motived.

If you are interested I will be glad did up the specific discussion by Rand and send you the book and chapter. I will send the link if one is available.

The Griper said...

RN,
the idea behind racism always existed. it is only recognized in its present state of definition when it occurs within a specific society.

before, the promoted form of collective identity was defined as nationalism. Europe was and still is the best example of this.

in So. America the collective identity is in terms of economics, the poor vs the rich.

Marx promoted collective thinking in terms of the worker vs the business owner.

but one thing each promoted, the powerful group over the less powerful group.

and individuals seeking to possess power have always used this as a tool to grab power.

it is the tool of every man who seeks to dictate the lives of others.

SjP said...

Griper,

This has been an interesting debate/discussion. I have found it simply fascinating and in many ways, my friend, somewhat disturbing.

"As long as people are willing to accuse others of racism it will be perpetuated." I'm disturbed that you did not spend much (if any time) discussing the fact that "as long as people are willing to engage in racist behavior it will be perpetuated". This is very disturbing to me.

My recognition of racism was not something that was taught to me. I experienced it. Your premise implies that my parents should have told me that the seats were better in the balcony of the movie theater and that's why all "Negroes" had to sit there. Or that my classmates simply forgot to give me invitations to their birthday parties. Or that I misunderstood my classmates when they would play the childhood game of "eenie, meanie, minie, moe".

As a child, I was shocked to learn that it was because of the color of my skin that I could not sit where I wanted or be invited to birthday parties or that I was considered the "n-word" to be caught by the toe rather than the "tiger" I was taught. Was I "harmed" by these actions - NO! Where these actions racist - YES! But, instead of being taught that I was harmed, I was taught that the ignorance of others could not keep me from who I was or who I was to become.

As an adult, I have learned that such ignorance will rear its ugly head without my decree that someone is guilty of being a racist or that I have been "harmed" by the racism of another. Indeed, even as I write this, I am involved in a workplace related situation that has everyone up the chain of authority afraid that I will charge them with a racial harassment law suit. Now, one can only ask why that is the case, since I've never indicated that what I am experiencing is racial motivated. I have, however, indicated that it is because of incompetence.

I feel quite comfortable in saying that most ethnic and racial minorities do not get up in the morning with the intent to prove that the "harm" that they may encounter is racially motivated. They get up each morning - just like any other red blooded American - with the intent to live and live well. I can also say quite comfortably that if or when they are "harmed", racism is not the first thing that comes to mind as the cause. In fact, it is the question "WHY?" because not only do we NOT want to GO THERE or believe that to be even a real possibility. Unless and/or until the familiar buzz-words and phrases start to be uttered that we realize that "ignorance" has once again reared it ugly head.

"Racism is harmful to everyone but false accusations of racism is unjust." Racism is unjust. It is used to deprive individuals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is used to deprive individuals of equal protection under the law. It is used to deprive individuals of being individual.

Yes, I it is true that I am "too close to be objective". Kind of like my best half declaring that drug-free natural childbirth ain't that bad.

The Griper said...

SjP,

"My recognition of racism was not something that was taught to me. I experienced it."

Experience is a teacher also. it may even teach us things that directly oppose the teachings of our parents. we do learn from our experiences.

maybe i should have used the word "learned" instead of "taught" in my phrasing of that statement in order to make it clearer.

"Racism is unjust."
yes, racism is unjust when it is enforced by law. it was the fact that laws in support of racist attitudes that prevented equal protection under the law.

Ms. Parks is a hero not because she would not give up her seat on the bus to a white person. she is a hero because she defied an unjust law that dictated that she give up that seat.

SjP said...

Griper, c'mon now...

Rosa parks is a "hero because she defied an unjust law that dictated she give up her seat"? The history books are filled (or should be filled) with those who sought to fight against unjust laws. Some of them even died because of it. But, laws such as these were enacted by the people they were elected to serve. The "Jim Crow" laws of the south and understood in the north were put in place by those who were racist. And yes, Ms Parks was in fact a hero because she would not give up her seat to a white person because not doing so could have gotten her killed.

Racism is ugly. It is toxic. It is a cancer. And, I will continue to call it out when and where it rears its ugly, toxic, cancerous head. To do otherwise would be against everything that I believe. Racism cannot be blamed on an unjust law. It can only be blamed on the racist nature of those who enact them.

Now before I call it a night, I will say, my friend that I have enjoyed this series and discussion. I believe it to have been honest, thought provoking, and even somewhat enlightening. It would be a great day if such a conversation were held in earnest around the country between all Americans. Wouldn't you agree?

Goodnight...

The Griper said...

SjP,
your response is only indicative of our foundational political differences.
you see government as the servant of the people thus laws reflects the will of the people.
i see government as the master of the people thus laws reflect the will of those elected.
thus you blame the people and i place blame on the government.

we both see rosa parks as defying the threat of the application of force. the only difference being who was the applier of force.

the one thing that our differences reveal is that Geo. Washington was correct when he said,

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

in other words, government is not to be trusted regardless of whether it be the servant or master because it is an institution whose only purpose is the use of "force". and laws enacted gives them the authority to apply force as necessary.

LandShark 5150 said...

Griper - kudos to you and your readers that made their marks.
I'm afraid that the issue of racism will be around for generations to come or until we begin to look at ourselves with self worth. Standing on the merits of of the person and not the people.And as long as people of all races refuse to earn and expect worth to be given, we will continue to this discussion.
Again you and those who contributed to, all deserve kudos for the input. Griper- nice job!

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