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Race

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.

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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 trained 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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Education

‘Anti-Racists’ are Racist: Do Not Apologize for Being White

‘Anti-racists’ claim that whites, by virtue of their skin color, are detrimental to society

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Ibram X. Kendri, the bigoted professor from Boston University and director of their Center for Antiracist Research, says that whiteness is a problem for all of society, indeed for the entire globe. Who knew?!

Kendri, who was included in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, seemingly knows a lot about white people. In fact, he professes to know about every white person in America if not all over the world.

Me? I’m one of those people who merely gets up every day, brushes his teeth, gets dressed, eats a decent breakfast, and goes to work. I had no inkling that in the U.S. and other western nations white people like me had been “socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white.” How naive I have been all these years!

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Now I discover that to be “less white” is a virtue! It requires one to be “less oppressive, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant,” and, more humble, more willing to listen, more willing to believe, and, get this, “to break with the apathy” that white people like me exhibit and “to break with white solidarity.”

Woke Institutions and Brainwashed Authors

White solidarity? Darn, nobody told me about this. Thank goodness it’s all become so clear thanks to enlightened (white) authors such as Robin DiAngelo, who wrote the thoroughly racist and condescending book White Fragility, and thanks to companies such as Coca-Cola which have the foresight to impose programs for its white employees, to be less white.

When there’s a challenge in front of me, I actually do strive to find the right answer, particularly something related to numbers. I will collaborate on occasion, but most of the time I prefer to figure out things for myself, aided by the “all-knowing” Internet.

Am I arrogant, oppressive,  defensive, or ignorant? No one has ever brought this up. Being white, however, I guess I can’t help it! I don’t seek to inhibit the success of others, but I’m now informed that by virtue of my skin color I am detrimental to society. Mea culpa!

The Anti-Racist Racists

With Coca-Cola and other organizations teaching white people to be less white, I’m wondering, will the sequel be how Asians can be less yellow and Indians can be less brown? In America, both groups seem to excel academically. Perhaps only domineering Caucasians, particularly 60+ white males like me, however, are the ones upsetting the apple cart all over society.

Was I given a free pass for the last 40 years? I mean, all the while nobody mentioned my whiteness as a social and cultural problem. My black friends from Little League, high school, various hiking groups, and other groups around town haven’t said squat. So, up ’til now, presumably, I was doing okay. Perhaps they’ve merely been nice to me while whispering behind my back.

Heeding the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought our common goal was to live in harmony and to reach a state of color blindness where people were judged by the content of their character and not by their skin color. Hmmm…  I guess that is no longer in play.

I’m wondering, what would MLK conclude about today? Would he speak up against the propensity of the Left to define everybody else by class, sex, or race? Would he be opposed to pitting young against old, rich against poor, black against white, rural against urban, male against female, and all the other phony dichotomies that the Left relentlessly promulgates each day?

Absurd From the Get-Go

Imagine the unending uproar if someone drew up a list of how hundreds of millions of black people all over the world could become “less black.” The  absurdity of regarding all white people, hundreds of millions of them, as having a general set of characteristics, let alone having those characteristics be detrimental to society, is the grand facade of the ages.

How long will “woke” organizations maintain this illusion? Have they been coerced to the point where they’re afraid to say, “This is ridiculous, and needs to stop now”? [Actually, they have been coerced.] Will decades pass before we see the end of this malarkey?

I do not apologize for being a white person, just as no person of color has to apologize for their ethnic background, skin color, race, or religion. If you’re a good citizen who respects the rights of others, that, my friend, is sufficient.

Morgan Freeman, who played God in the movie Bruce Almighty, wishes we would do away with Black History month and merely have history. Freeman also wants us to stop regarding individuals as black and white and simply let people be people. Amen to that.

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Education

To the Left, Even Math is Racist!

The false bill of goods that Leftists peddle will haunt their advocates and apologists for decades

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Picture a young Isaac Newton, Madame Curie, Henri Poincare, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing, or, for that matter, Pythagoras, Euclid, or Archimedes as newly enrolled in a Portland, Oregon grade school. Exposed to this state’s edict regarding how math is to be taught, would any of them have achieved prominence? Would the world be the same?

Consider the ladies profiled in the movie Hidden Figures, including Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan. Without them, we probably still would have made it to the Moon, but maybe with more difficulty and more delay.

Racism! It’s Everywhere!

The Left relentlessly seeks ways to dumb down education so that anybody, at any time, can get a passing grade regardless of what they know. If black lives truly matter, as well as white lives, shouldn’t students be competitive in the workplace? Otherwise, how are they going to land decent jobs?

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‘Social justice’ warriors detect racism, real or imagined, all day long, everywhere they look, particularly in education. Achievement tests, end-of-grade testing, report cards, and the mere act of assigning letter grades to a student’s performance are all absolute signs of racism according to the Left.

Nevertheless, if a student — any student — has been attentive and diligent and has applied himself or herself, not one single quiz, achievement test, final exam, or end-of-grade test precipitates undue concern. Such tests do not represent a stumbling block for students who have been appropriately taught, been attentive in class, done their homework regularly, and appropriately studied for tests.

Even in ‘poor’ schools, a decent teacher and a motivated student can yield academic success.

Measuring Tools Matter

Those on the Left prefer to cast aspersions on American education, stop all testing, apparently for all students, for all time. So, no more SATs for high school juniors and seniors. No more ACTs. After all, the tests are hopelessly biased against anything but the Caucasian majority. Although Asians seem to do well…

To the Left, testing, academics, and the English language, in and of itself, are merely tools of oppression and must be abandoned – now.

Isn’t it odd that the Left never pushes for more rigorous standards? “Why are tests needed at all?” they demand to know. “Learning takes place on many different levels. Why conform to the white man’s version of what represents academic achievement?”

Let’s assess the ramifications of such assertions.

The Very Long Way Home

How confident would you be driving across a high bridge, over a wide river, knowing that the bridge was designed by engineers who ‘learned’ math in Oregon, or didn’t take any final exams in college? Knowing the academic credentials of the bridge designers, or lack thereof, could change your driving habits.

What if you need brain surgery? Among a handful of brain surgeons in your area, you learn that some never took final exams in medical school, or any exams at all! These same surgeons turned in no college papers, took no quizzes, and perhaps spent little time in class.

Suppose they’re all good surgeons and have successfully operated on others? You’ve got this nagging suspicion, nonetheless, that your best choice would be among the brain surgeons who attended class, did well on quizzes and tests, passed final exams, and proved to be academically superior.

Would anyone find you to be discriminatory? Can we find fault with your decision to seek a formally trained and tested brain surgeon?

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Mechanical and structural engineers, and brain surgeons, do not represent the brunt of society; everyday people do. Whether it’s receiving change at the grocery store, having your car fixed, hiring a masseuse, or any of dozens of other product and service options, as Ghostbusters fans would say, “Who ya gonna call?”

The lifetime economic curse that Leftists advocates bestow upon those who follow their edicts is crippling. Suppose you attend a university, such as Rutgers, where proper English is not required, exams are not given, and graduation is all but guaranteed? Knowing the background of students who matriculated from such an institution, what future employer would choose such students over others who have bonafide academic credentials?

Haunted for Generations

The false bill of goods that far Left groups peddle will come back to haunt their advocates and apologists, not merely for years, but for decades to come.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Based on what the Left deems to be sufficient, anyone who thinks he or she will be able to compete for jobs is in for a lifetime of rude awakenings.

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