Thursday, October 28, 2010

"A Nation Divided"

CNN has been examining the state of racial relations here in America. I have watched a number of specials, interviews and reports dealing with this issue and quite honestly, I am sick of it. It has me wondering how much of an issue racism actually is and how much of it is actually created by oversensitivity and the media.

Someone is probably getting upset right now reading this..."How dare he say I'm just oversensitive!" Really, well let me explain my view.

Recently I heard an interview with Al Sharpton. He made the statement that we have to recognize the "N-word" for the derogatory term that it is. "Every other race has a derogatory term that is taboo to use, why shouldn't the black race have one." Now, in my opinion, this is one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard, spoken out of what I see to be insecurity. If you are truly insecure with yourself then the power of a derogatory term holds no influence over you. Call me "honky", "cracker" or "white trash" if you wish, I don't care. Your opinion of me doesn't change the truth of who I am. And if you hate me because of my skin, my sexual orientation or my religion, so what. You're an idiot.

The fact is that we are creating racists everyday by making such a big deal out of racism. It is the supposed "targets" of racism that are causing racist reactions, creating new racists and acting racist.

Growing up I didn't see colors, I saw people. From third grade to fifth grade I highly respected a guy named Felix. His mom and dad were from Africa. I never saw Felix or his family as "black". He was just another kid in my class. My best friend was a kid named Sovan. He and his family were from Cambodia, an exotic idea but not one that made me look at him any differently than another kid.

Later, when I was 13, one of my friends was a guy named Tony. He was black but I never really paid it any attention. He was a friend and his skin color was never a factor.

It wasn't until I was well into my teens that race became an issue adn only then because other races pointed it out to me. I still didn't see "color" but others saw mine. I was exposed to racism not by racist whites but by minorities who saw all whites as racist...Now, who are the real racists?

Since coming to prison my experiences with racial issues has become more pronounced. Constantly I hear people blaming the "white man" for their problems. I see shows mocking whites and comedians making jokes about white guys. Recently a "black" magazine (Essence I think) was bashed by the African-American public beucase it hired a white fashion correspondent. An African heritage sotre refusing to hire a white man because it does not work for the "theme" of the store...

Personally, none of those things bother me. If I opened a European heritage store I would probably only hire those of European decent, not out of racism but out of a sense of commitment to the idea behind that business. No major issue is raised when "reverse" racism occurs, the "minority" verses the "white man", but the smallest transgression by a white person is blown out of proportion.

I'm not trying to say that racism doesn't exist or that its not a problem. What I am saying is that the more of an issue we make out of it, the bigger the problem becomes. Dr. Laura says the "N-word" 11 times on the radio and CNN airs 20 different programs that showcase the interviews with Dr. Laura, the victim, and every specialist on racism they can find over the next week. Suddenly, what was either an ignorant act of racism or just poor judgment, is now a serious matter, more proof that our nation is divided. Maybe that's what we want, a nation divided.

Here's the fact of the matter, if someone is a racist, so what. That perosn is entitled to his or her opinion. the more of an issue you make out of ignorant statements or ideas, the more power you give to them.

A law forcing a business to hire a certain number of minorities is, in my view, racist. And if an employer chooses not to hire someone based on race, so what, it's his business. If you disagree, don't patronize the business.

I am white and in prison I am the minority. I am often racially discriminated against and deal with racist attitudes because I am white. Guess what, I don't care. I deal with people who treat me fairly and equally. I avoid those who don't. Their attitudes have no affect on my day-to-day activities and I realize they are born out of ignorance, not because I have done anything wrong.


  1. I agree with you. And I never saw differences in skin color as a child, either. We're all just people.

  2. That was a great post... I wish they would read this on the news.

  3. One of the best posts on racism I have read. Great job! I completely agree with you. I think lots of people make their lively hood on keeping the nation divided. It is just sad.