Thursday, August 24, 2006

Racism and Hatred in American Culture, Part 2

I was going back through the archives and wanted to expand abit on this post I wrote back in April regarding the undercurrent of racism that is flourishing here in the U.S.
All emotions exist in varying degrees. I have found that the key to a healthy lifestyle is striking a balance that feeds the good ones such as compassion, love and humility while not completely ignoring the latent shadows of hate, xenophobia and racism that exist inside of me. To deny that they are there in some form allows them to grow and fester without my knowledge. While I may never spray paint hate messages on the building of a perceived enemy, or beat up another human being until they were unrecognizable, I could make statements or observations that are damaging towards the dignity and respect entitled to all human beings; even those, and perhaps especially those who refuse to show me the same courtesy.

Personal responsibility is one of those things that is bipartisan and universal. There will always be others who have no concept of that type of individual accountability, or outright reject it, but I have to be willing to hold myself to the highest standard if the tide is ever going to rise again in this country and flood out the toxins.
I say flourishing because that which usually lurks in the shadows is slowly but surely making its way out into the open. Crooks and Liars has the Caferty File segment covering just three recent examples by politicians.

Also, Arcturus posted a link to the following news story on the Eegee Board:
Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children.

The situation has outraged relatives of the black children who have filed a complaint with school officials.

Superintendent Kay Easley will meet with the family members in her office this morning.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also is considering filing a formal charge with the U.S. Department of Justice. NAACP District Vice President James Panell, of Shreveport, said he would apprise Justice attorneys of the situation this week. He's considering asking for an investigation into the bus incident and other aspects of the school system's operations, including pupil-teacher ratio as it relates to the numbers of white and black children, along with a breakdown of the numbers of black and white teachers employed.

"If the smoke is there, then there's probably fire somewhere else," Panell said in a phone interview from New Orleans. "At this point, it is extremely alarming. We fought that battle 50 years ago, and we won. Why is this happening again?"
In my opinion, it's happening because there are plenty of unabashed racists being given plenty of airtime on television and radio stations - Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Bill Bennett, Pat Buchanan, Chris Simcox - the list goes on and on and on.

Latent feelings of hostility towards Otherness is stoked and comforted by having people like that given prominent spotlight attention instead of public denouncement - it allows the flaming racist/bigot/xenophobe who sits at home disgusted with the Mexican "terrorists" crossing the border, or the new Arab family in the neighborhood, or the gay couple he saw leaving one of those bars holding hands to feel justified in their perpetual state of hate.

When I say that the political climate in the U.S. is poisoning the well, I wish I was being flippant. In reality, I want to be convinced that there will be a huge outpouring of compassion and tolerance but the crickets are chirping. Why is that?

That rhetorical question will go unanswered in an acceptable way as long as I keep seeing Rush's face scowling at me every time I pass a Clear Channel Billboard on my way to work.

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