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No, Not Everything is Racism

Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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Racism isn’t what many seem to think it is. The word has been stretched and pulled, expanded and homogenized to fit a great many things. It’s been made to mean “racial,” and the two are essentially different in at least one vital way: Racism contains the contemptible component of inferiority; racial does not.

Racial refers to physical, cultural and ethnic characteristics of races and ethnicities, often manifesting itself in stereotypes. Stereotypes are common characteristics observed over time. They aren’t negative in and of themselves—unless they’re applied negatively. That said, generally I avoid them because they can be hurtful without being racist.

For example, I’m Italian and Irish. I have a Roman nose. It’s prominent. And it’s part of my DNA from my Italian father. It’s one of my racial characteristics, and it’s stereotypical. If someone were to say of me, “He’s got a big nose—I wonder if he’s Italian,” they’d be applying a stereotype. The comment wouldn’t be racist; it would be racial because it lacks antagonism and/or application of inferiority. It could still hurt or offend me, but it doesn’t because I like my Roman nose.

Here’s another personal example: A friend’s mother, after meeting me for the first time, warned him to be careful with me because, “Italians, they steal, son.” She applied a negative stereotype that’s based on cultural characteristics depicted by Hollywood—AND in real life. Italians DO steal, but so do people of other races and ethnicities.

I once witnessed two Italians in Naples drive up on a moped, one hop off and enter a parked car and extract its radio, hop back on the escape scooter, and ride off—all in about 20 seconds. I found myself admiring their efficiency. It’s like they were German, not Italian.

Stereotypes, not racism

My friends mom’s mistake was in misapplying a stereotype. She didn’t denigrate my ethnicity or lower it below hers, she simply stereotyped me unfairly—and racially. She wasn’t being racist. Nor did what she say imply inferiority. That said, I admit that I don’t know the worst of racism; I simply don’t have that experience.

How many times do we read about someone using a stereotype to describe another’s race or ethnicity and who’s tarred and feather as a racist for it? Again, using stereotypes can be hurtful and can offend, but doing so isn’t always racist.

Who’s a fan of The Office? Remember when Michael Scott does his Ping routine? He uses hurtful and offensive stereotypes involving slant-eyed glasses, buckteeth and speech. It’s clearly cringe-worthy and would never fly today (and shouldn’t), but is it racist? Is Michael Scott racist?

Meaning means everything

Words have meaning. They mean what they mean and altering and expanding them based on culture or politics or ideology is a recipe for turning them into bombs. Is racist an umbrella word for racial? No, both are unique words with unique meanings. It’s just that one is being used as a weapon to malign and cancel.

I say we take more care to understand words and their meaning and that we resist slinging them like stones and lobbing them like grenades. I say also that we fight real racism with clear heads and full hearts. Let’s make love our byword. After all, it’s the best of all words and, thankfully, one with a meaning that never changes.

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Patrick is a journalist and writer with degrees in English and journalism. He served six years in the Navy where his life was changed forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California with his wife, dog and two cats. He enjoys hiking and cycling, taking pictures and blogging at https://luscri.com/



 
 
 

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Life

A World of Possibilities for Each Of Us

Let us be free to like what we like and not have others be the gatekeepers of our intellectual pursuits

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I read a remarkable Letter to the Editor in a college newspaper, from a young black student. The point of his letter was so amazing and its insights so profound that it needs to be shared across the country for everyone, of all races.

This student wrote that, as a black male, it would inaccurate to make judgments about him without knowing him personally. He highlighted, for example, that while he likes some rap music, he much prefers traditional rock and roll, and even an occasional country song.

Is Your Bias Showing?

He wrote that if you think a black student should not like country music then your bias is showing. Why couldn’t a student, of any race or ethnicity, enjoy a particular type of music even if it’s not traditionally ascribed to his or her particular group? Who is in control here?

He likes historical novels, modern novels, biographies, and autobiographies. He was captivated by a biography about the Wright Brothers. He enjoys poetry and finds the poems from many writers to be relevant to him, from Maya Angelou to Carl Sandberg.

He suggests that there is a world of possibilities when it comes to entertainment, music, and literature. Why, he asks, must we be confined to the narrow band of choices that others, particularly within our own races and ethnicities, suggest that we adhere to? Who decides what is best for all members of a particular group? On what do they base their decisions?

Who Chooses?

Who determined that venturing outside of such restrictive limits is somehow being a traitor to one’s group? And what does it mean to even be a traitor when it comes to literature, history, music, and so on?

He pointed out in the most eloquent of terms that following the dictates of a small section of the populace and adhering to the stereotypes that prevail are extremely limiting to one’s personal freedom and an attack on one’s individuality and, potentially, creativity.

With so many experiences and possibilities that one can enjoy, he ponders, why limit yourself, especially at the age of 19, 20, or 21 to predefined, limiting confines?

No Free for All

I marveled at this young man’s wisdom which seems to transcend his years. I certainly was not as wise and perceptive myself at that age.

Over the next few days, I was eager to see if there would be any responses to his letter. Surely, he’s going to get some blowback. Someone of his own race will tell him that he needs to get “back in his lane.” Someone will tell him he’s “not acting black,” or not black enough. Somebody else will say that he’s been brainwashed, probably from an early age and he’s trying to capitulate to the predominant Caucasian culture. Someone might call him an “Uncle Tom.”

While I was monitoring the publication, actually nothing was said of his letter. I hoped maybe somebody else, or lots of somebody else’s, understood the man’s viewpoint. They could see the wisdom in his observations. I thought perhaps someone would comment in that direction, but that didn’t happen either.

Free to Choose

In the larger sense, it’s a shame that blacks and other minorities, as well as Caucasians, are supposed to act this way or that way. Hispanics are supposed to prefer this versus that. Asians are supposed to do this versus that. Why, exactly, do these illegitimate confines continue to rule the perceptions of vast numbers of our population?

Why can’t we be free to like what we like, to prefer what we prefer, and have others not be the gatekeepers of our intellectual pursuits?

I have no knowledge of this young man and how he has fared in his studies and overall life. I surmise that whatever he’s doing, whether it’s continuing in his education, landing a job, entering the military, volunteering, traveling, or simply taking time off, he will continue to pursue his interests and remain unique.

Bound for Success

Hopefully, he’ll continue to sidestep unwarranted, prevailing norms that dictate what he can like, think, and be. May we all strive to have such personal freedom.

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Life

The Democrat Playbook: Discontent and Dissension

The Left continues to perpetrate outlandish, radical programs and policies

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In a Gallup Poll four years before Barack Obama was elected president, 74 percent of white Americans and 68% of black Americans said that race relations were good. Less than one score later, today, 43 percent of white Americans and 33% of black Americans say the same. What changed?

Fomenting Distrust

Half of the nation relentlessly seeks to racialize every issue. Radical Leftists represent a minority of the Democrat base but yield tremendous influence over the rest. Thus, increasingly, people feel less trusting, less joyful, and less like they are an integral part of a unified nation.

National unity is a powerful construct for countries old and new. Without unity, social progress is stymied. What signifies unity? A national anthem, secure borders, a common language, a shared history, a constitution that guarantees the rights of the citizens, and agreement as to what constitutes effective governing.

Without unifying elements, a nation will weaken, and its social conditions will unravel. If we are not subject to the same laws, rules, and essential morality, achieving agreement, compromise, and cooperation on various issues is harder.

Lacking unity, a military cannot function as needed. Our elected representatives cannot serve us effectively. Our law enforcement officers are likely to be perceived as unfair to all.

Who, Indeed,  Benefits?

Who benefits from a disunited America? Who wants us to be fraying at the edges, and who wants our citizenry to distrust one another? The disuniting of America is an intentional, long-term goal of the Left. By their convoluted reasoning, we are an evil nation and must be dissolved.

These zealots scoff at patriotism. They believe that religion is only for the weak-minded. The family unit, to them, is a Right-wing tool of oppression.

Obama defined what the Left now regards as standard in assessing America – we’re merely another country, one of 200+ on Earth. Pride in being American is no different than pride in being Greek. Nothing is special about America. People flock here every day because of their misunderstanding of our true nature.

The Left is committed to putting America last in all things and to assigning blame to our nation in all domains. Dividing the population is their key strategy. As long as blacks and whites don’t see eye to eye, and as long as other groups are told that they’re being marginalized, the Left is succeeding. Even as immigrants throw off the shackles that formerly bound them, the Left tells them that they are being oppressed, that they could have more, and that the white man is their nemesis.

Compelled by Ideologically

The commitment of these anti-American zealots is lifelong. To them, you don’t succeed in  through hard work; success is a matter of privilege and not much else. Whenever they can hack away at America’s strengths, they’ve done their good deed.

Their ideological compulsions to loathe Caucasians, Christians, and straight people propel them each day. They’re small in number but loud in amplitude. Their views infect academia, publishing, TV, radio, Hollywood, and the arts.

They gain psychological strokes from one another for denigrating our institutions and our traditions, and they are dangerous. Many of the world’s internal revolutions succeeded because a small minority took the reins while everyday citizens did little or nothing. Consider the origins of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and Mao and the Chinese.

The more fanatical and vocal these groups are, the more influence they have over those less committed but willing to go along. Our saving grace is that those on the Right will never capitulate to the antics of the Left.

We know right from wrong. We know our nation’s history, where we did and didn’t do well. We know our place on Earth and why people still seek to come to America daily, while virtually no one wants to leave.

They Will Not Succeed

The Left’s programs and policies are destined for failure because they have no faith in the goodness and virtue of the common man and woman. Thus, we on the Right have tremendous power, if still largely untapped. We need to make our voices heard, to stand up in the face of unfounded attacks on our country and targeted individuals.

Our combined strength will make a difference. The progress we seek can come sooner and more easily than we imagine. Corrupt regimes, once reaching the tipping point, fall quickly, such as the former Soviet Union, the Philippines, and East Germany.

As the Left continues to perpetrate outlandish, radical programs and policies, the pushback will be equal if not greater. Even many of those with whom they had made inroads are realizing the perilous path that the Left is treading.

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