Thursday, June 19, 2014

Racism is the new Four Letter Word

I shocked a black woman yesterday by telling her that occasionally I blog about racism.

She visibly startled, as if I had said "boo". But  as I spoke, she quickly recovered and shook her head in agreement that yes, racism is an issue that still needs to be addressed.

But I realized, I had struck a nerve.

I spend a lot of time on the internet so I'm used to the denial and outright anger when the word "racism" comes up. White people immediately internalize that word and they do not hear "something someone said or did was racist." What they hear is, "I am white. Are you calling me a racist? How dare you? I'm not a racist. If I were we wouldn't be having this conversation." And on and on until they are sufficiently certain that they are not personally being called out on racist behavior or actions.

To talk about racism to a white person who is inexperienced at addressing matters of race is an exercise in tedium. Because first they have to exonerate themselves. They must make sure that they are not included, they have to make sure that the rules against generalizing about white people are being followed - that is, if there is one white person who is the exception to the rule against millions who fall under the umbrella of what's being discussed then the caveat must be given - "You can't say all white people, because that's just raci...I mean wrong."

It's also helpful if to white people to discuss racial issues without using the words "race" or "racism". To discuss anything to do with *whispering* black people. Political correctness and the corporate boardroom have given us words to use to discuss race without ever saying the words Black or Asian or Latino. All you have to do is talk about "diversity."

"Our organization is diverse." "We embrace diversity." Which can mean anything from we have a rainbow coalition to we don't push women down the stairs. At best it means, "We find that having different people from different backgrounds gives our company an edge." At worst it means, "We realize that hiring only white people makes us look bad."

What I hadn't realized is that using the word "racism" has become taboo among black people as well. We have learned to use all the euphemisms. We have learned to describe racism in individual acts of hatred rather than an overall and collective system of oppression.

We have learned that "racism" has been reduced to something akin to "bullying." And as we are constantly told, bulling is an increasing problem but it's up to the "victims" to fight back. As long as they do so in ways that are constructive.

There's always a caveat, isn't there? There's always a "way" to discuss these issues so as not to make anyone feel bad.

Except for the person who already does.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

GOP: You Created This Mess. Fix It.

Prisoner Deal
Posted on Jun 8, 2014
Adam Zyglis, Cagle Cartoons, The Buffalo News

Once, in the bad old days of politics, we could always count on Republicans to parrot the wrong side of an issue but do the right thing for America as a whole. Slowly and in their own time, sometimes dragged kicking and screaming, but eventually, they would do what was right.

That changed with the advent of the Tea Party. The Republican Party invited and promoted into their party a group that they can't even rightly be called right-wing. They're just Haters.

Spurred on by the Fox Network, The Tea Party hate anyone and anything that does not represent all that is  white and conservative, straight and male. They despise anyone who does not espouse the most narrow view and interpretations possible of Evangelical Christianity. Most importantly, they truly disavow nearly all forms of government that do not include mob rule and anarchy. Worst of all, they simply cannot tolerate and any idea that a nation that supports each other is better than a nation of individuals left to sink or swim on their own.

Eric Cantor's defeat has taught the Republican Party nothing. The GOP are blaming his loss on their inability to correctly read the polls. There, they have a point, considering their faith in an inevitable Romney presidency that was fueled merely by numbers pulled out Karl Rove's ample backside.

Just as with the failed Romney campaign, the GOP will believe any reason for losing except the truth. The GOP want to claim that supporting immigration reform was Cantor's undoing. Or that Cantor was trying to be "all things to all people," as if partisianship in office is now mandatory, rather than trying to find consensus.

Believing their own hype is not their greatest conservative failing by far.

The greatest failing of Boehner's GOP is buying into an ideology that they don't even believe in, just to get votes. You'd have to go a long way to prove to me that John Boehner truly hates black people, gays or thinks that women shouldn't have autonomy over their own bodies. I don't think John Boehner much gives a damn about immigration, legal or illegal.

But espousing the poverty of those ideals keeps the likes of Boehner in office and wields what meagre power he holds as a human on this planet. What he and the others of his ilk in the Republican Party are doing is far worse than parroting or pushing a conservative agenda because they believe in it. They push an agenda of white male patriarichal supremacy for their own personal gain, power and money.

It would be easy to say that John Boener believes in male white supremacy because, obviously, he is white and male. Supporting the power structure would make sense for him, right? But the truth is, it's not that simple and John Boehner no more believes in male white supremacy than I do.

No, what he and the GOP do is worse than the base racism and treachery of any Tea Partier simply because while the average Tea Partier should know better and doesn't, Boehner does.

Boehner's GOP does what Republicans have done since the advent of the Southern Strategy:  they use and abuse their ignorant, mostly white followers and do it for votes, power and money.

They have sold out America for their own personal gain. It's really that simple. It's beyond treason, it's evil. Their strategy worked for several decades, but now it's failing badly. The dog they brought in to guard the house is turning on the family.

  • The Tea Party doesn't just want to talk about slavery, they want to prove black people were better off as slaves.
  • The Tea Party doesn't want to talk about securing the borders, they want the right to shoot people as they cross.
  • The Tea Party doesn't want to acknowledge gay marriage, they want to challenge the idea of gay people having the right to exist.
  • The Tea Party doesn't want to talk about abortion or even birth control, they want women to surrender their rights at puberty.Most of all, the Tea Party doesn't "want their country back", as they are so fond of saying. They want to destroy The United States of America, from the inside out: infrastructure, schools, healthcare, and any vestige of the social saftey net.
The Tea Party are not patriots. They're not "civil libertarians." They are traitors to the ideals of "Liberty and Justice for all," not the privileged, male, white few. None of their ideas are acceptable if this country is to have any sort of future that does include us becoming a third-world backwater.

The Tea Party can only further destroy, not only America, but whatever remains of a sharply divided Republican Party. Cantor's defeat proves that. It's long past time that the Republican Party did what was right and ousted the Tea Party and their racist, sexist, anti-American ideals from their ranks.

The old guard Democrats also have a responsibility to support the GOP's efforts by ousting the "Blue Dogs" and "DINOS (Democrats In Name Only) from their ranks. Democrats will have to move from their current position that is actually just right of center and move back to the actual left. This will give Republicans room to move back to more centrist positions.

The Republican Party can only divorce the Tea Party by doing what is right for all the rest of us. The only reasonable course for conservatives is to lend their support to each and every progressive ideal; to redefine their positions to levels that that they can live with, but that the Tea Party cannot. Then and only then will the GOP be able to shake off the dust of their past, secure the future of their party, while also securing the ideals of liberty this country was founded upon.

Then and only then will the Republican party have a future at all.