Recently, I read an article about Chris Carter, a former NFL player, whom I, and my husband, have always enjoyed listening to on a tv sports program. He always seemed so pleasant and to appreciate other’s individuality. I never had the impression he bore any deep-seated grudges or life-long complaints.
Boy, was I wrong!
The other day, he was quoted as saying that he had been “disrespected” his whole life. “Disrespected” is the new buzz word for blacks who feel they have been insulted or humiliated. And, the humiliation is always assumed to be based upon their blackness.
But, is it? I am not questioning whether racism exists. My question is whether every insult or “disrespecting” that happens to a black person is directly related to their ethnicity. Is it fair to assume that every interaction between a white person and a black person that ends badly for the black person is always BECAUSE they are black?
After all, though the recent incident in Starbucks was offered as proof of racism because two black men were arrested, the fact is that the store had a policy that you could not use the bathroom if you weren’t a customer. The men did NOT buy anything nor would they leave, so by the restaurant’s own policy, Starbucks would have been justified in insisting they leave. When the men refused to leave, the restaurant took the only action left to them by calling the police.
On the face of it, no racism was involved.
But……………because the men were black, the assumption was that racism was the ONLY reason that the police were called. Was it racism? Was it really a racist reaction to a tense situation?
Years ago, our family was subjected to extreme shunning for a personal choice we made. People would cross the street rather than walk past us. We received death threats. Our children were abused in the schools. Was that racism? Since we are white, few would have labeled it as such.
But, what is the difference between what we lived through and what blacks claim they live through? What makes abhorrent behaviour against one person be called racism and yet, against another person….well, there was no label.
Having lived through some horrible times myself, I would never minimize what blacks, and other minorities have experienced. But, I also believe that racism is too often used for pragmatic reasons. There are those who benefit from racism! As awful as that sounds, it is true.
After all, racism is a divisive idea. In today’s America, it usually posits blacks against whites. It creates intense anger in those who feel abused and it also prevents the commity and unity of thought that a society or country requires to succeed. Racism is a social construct that gives power to one person by subjugating someone else. Racism is a powerful weapon because, once you divide people, you can manipulate them. This is why Democrats always label black and white controversies as racism. Once a victim is established, the Dems can leap to their “defense”. And in return for the Dems supposedly standing with the victims, the victims are expected to vote Democrats in. And, once in office, the Dems will funnel money to minority causes. It is a vicious cycle that, in the long run, helps very few, except the politicians because, history teaches us that this dependency has not helped the black community, as witnessed by the demise of their family units in so many sad cases.
Besides, singling out one group of Americans and giving them more, based solely on their ethnicity, is, by definition racism. And, giving money to blacks, just because they are black, creates hostility and tension from those who do NOT receive that aid.
Nothing good can come from racism. Whites are always blamed for racism, but, it is a two-edged sword because blacks often discriminate against white. What else can explain the existence of the Black Caucus in Congress and the NAACP?
Racism also divides even blacks from other blacks because blacks who do not follow the black “agenda” are routinely vilified by other blacks and many Dems. How can it not be racist to demand that all blacks follow an agenda set up by someone else? Why do famous blacks who have accomplished so much have to continue to push back against those who call them “Uncle Toms”? Aren’t those blacks who insult other blacks “disrespecting” their fellow Americans, who happen to be black and who also happen to be Conservative?
Lastly, consider slavery which is always used as an example of racism at its worst. According to Thomas Sowell, racism has existed in every society for all of history. In some cultures, it still exists. And slavery was not always whites over blacks. In Africa, conquering black tribes made slaves of other tribes that they defeated. Egyptians enslaved many different cultures, not because of the ethnicity of those people, but just because Egyptians had defeated them!
So, how long can the past injustices associated with slavery be used as a pretext for favoring blacks? It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a single slave alive today. Isn’t it time for the descendants of slaves to “move on”? Isn’t it time for all of us to stop being “African American” rather than just “American”? Why are there Hispanic Americans? Aren’t they just Americans? Why are there Chinese Americans? And, if you are going to divide Americans into ethnic groups, why are there no “Swedish Americans”, “German Americans”,or any other ethnically identified American groups?
It’s because there is no monetary advantages in grouping those other ethnic groups.
If there were no pecuniary benefit in maintaining racism, it would end. Perhaps if the blacks who feel “disrespected” would try to understand that not every insult is a result of racism. Sometimes, people just don’t like your ideas ………………or, maybe they don’t like you! That is NOT racism. It is just human interactions.
So, while racism is a useful construct for politicians, we should all strive to be more understanding of our fellow Americans. And, while we shouldn’t “disrespect” anyone, please understand that contentious situations have a wide variety of causes and almost all of them have nothing to do with racism!