Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Self-fulfilling Racism

If I had to pick the one thing that ails this country more than any other thing, it would certainly be the inability of individuals to see the world through the eyes of people unlike themselves. I'm reminded of this every time an unfortunate event like Ferguson happens, or Trayvon Martin. But I can even stretch it out into school shootings, drug use, teenage prostitution, poor education, or something as simple as just being a black man walking down the street.

The people who view the world only through their own lens are the ones who give this nation it's black eyes.

There's a narrative in this country that black people, especially black youths, are dangerous and naturally inclined to be this way. People will point to statistics to back up this false fact. Yet glaringly lost in front of the eyes of those who believe this, is their own role in causing this "reality" to exist. That people in this country, largely white, actually believe a certain class of people is predetermined to act a certain way has come to justify their own behaviors in helping to create this very "reality."

It is disgusting. It is racist. It is wrong.

And most of all, it is destroying this country, that many of those very same people love to call "the greatest."

What happened in Ferguson is merely a symptom, no different from Trayvon, or any other situation, that gives a class of people a feeling of being second class. This is something white people come to recognize during moments of tragedy, but that blacks (and others) have to live with every day.

As recently as 1970 people in the south were still challenging school integration. But I'm told the ills of slavery no longer exist. Really? People might not be kept on plantations anymore, no. But they're locked into awful neighborhoods plagued with violence, drugs, terrible schools, and a stacked deck against them when trying to escape. And I know the deck is just as stacked today as it ever was before when the supporters of racism managed to find themselves a black man to rule in favor of keeping it stacked.

Conservative inspired racism is the greatest ill on this country. Not every conservative is a racist, and not every other person isn't. But it's systematic among the conservatives, who have the greatest sway in fixing the problems. And who refuse to because they themselves believe there are classes.

This country cares more about profit than it does the lives of not only black youths, but youths in general. You don't need to look at Trayvon or Ferguson to see that when we have Newtown, CT as well. And the promoters of this profit are the same people who promote the racism, which in turn creates their self-fulfilling reality to justify their actions.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no saint. I've made racist comments, held prejudices, and done some shitty things. But I'm concerned for the lives of other people, and know that a rising tide lifts all boats. Unfortunately, we live in a country where many people want the tide to rise. They just don't want everyone to have access to the boats.


If you think FOX News is reputable then you clearly view the world through that same jaded lens I was referring to above.

Last night on Sean Hannity's program a protester in Guy Fawkes mask said, "Fuck Fox News" and then broke their camera. At the time this was happening, Hannity was repeating the tired old comment, "people are just using this as an excuse to vandalize and loot", while the reporter was focused in on the all important "New Amsterdam vodka" bottle on the sidewalk.

Yes, people are burning buildings and looting because they're bored on a Monday night. Nailed it!

Hannity wants to paint the picture, one he believes in because it has lined his pockets, that black people in Ferguson are the problem here. That Officer Wilson is innocent. That black people are violent, drinking and looting, when there is no need to be. Etc. Etc. You get the picture.

However, when it comes to our military, specifically something like Abu Ghraib, guys like Hannity would defend the US Military. You consistently heard things like, "it's just a few people. It's not the entire military."

Yet this line of reasoning is seemingly lost when reporting on Ferguson, or any other situation pitting a white man vs a black. It's never "a small bunch of people" or "the majority of people are not doing this." Rather, the minority is the majority.

Hannity wants to focus on the problems being caused by the people in Ferguson, and not the problems people like him, and his network, are causing for them; perpetuating.

Yet the reality is when it comes to something like the military, or even the police, there should be no excuse for terrible behavior at all. When it comes to black people in Ferguson, or elsewhere, the reasons for why things are happening rarely become the focal point for a Fox News host. Who gets defended and who gets excoriated pretty much tells the story.

Once again, the profits of the company and its hosts more important than the lives of the people in this country.


After protesters shut down some roads last night, a driver on the east bound I-580 in Oakland was interviewed, and he said something like, "I can understand the frustration people are having about racism in America, but...interrupting people trying to get home is probably not the best way to deal with it..." Is that so?

This whole idea that "people need to handle this in other ways" is a joke. I don't know what the best answer is, but the idea that being pliant and calm is going to get you anywhere is a farce.

If peaceful marches had the effect of fixing problems, there would be no problems. People have marched peacefully. These are reactions to those actions having resulted in no gains. Shutting down traffic does not result in injury, and yet it forces people to focus on the anger people have.

Peaceful marches are easy to ignore. Easy to drive past. Easy to honk your horn at.


If you ever needed proof that the old soul of San Francisco has crossed the bridge, last night in Oakland offered us a bit of it. The Occupy movement was a clear indication as well.

San Francisco is no longer the place for artists and thinkers and revolutionaries and beatniks and those truly concerned for others. Maybe the aging class of these types still exist there, but it is the youth that foments change. And that youth is showing itself on the East Side of the Bay (in conjunction with Berkeley, of course).

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Oakland becomes a better place because of it, while San Francisco becomes a different place. Different does not always mean bad. But the reality of what San Francisco is has changed drastically. Hopefully the national narrative of it does as well.

However, if you want to come to Oakland, get in quick, because like San Francisco you are probably running out of time.

No comments:

Post a Comment