The myth of American Racism

Posted: August 24, 2008 in ACLU, Celebrating Diversity, Politics, Racism, Religion, War

You know how a weak US dollar is good for the economy?  TOURISM.   I’ve just been through San Francisco, at Fisherman’s Wharf, followed by the San Diego ZOO and Sea World (not all in the same day, of course).  We kept track, and I heard no less than seven different languages in San Francisico.   One Euro is running at about 1.5 US dollars these days.  So a whole lot of our European brethren are over here taking advantage of the great exchange rate.

And you know what?  There were no bombings.  No shootings or assasinations.  No race riots or hate crimes to speak of.  Everyone ran around, walked around, bustled and hustled and stumbled and jostled and…somehow miraculously managed to get along just fine.  I’m not saying it was all kumbaya and happy smiles, but everybody coexisted.  They blended, and had fun!

I’ve been to a great many countries in this world, and MOST other countries are almost exclusively ethnically homogenous.  Korea, Thailand, Japan.  They are very race pure.  They have a strong ethnic identity, and are in many respects fairly xenophobic.  Most still look down very strongly on inter-racial marriages.  Even Australia and New Zealand are almost exclusive Anglo, with only a relatively small aboriginal population.

And yet, when I was stationed overseas, I could walk into the Food Court at the PX on base, and instantly I would see a whole spectrum of skin colors and ethnic backgrounds.  While Palestinians are blowing up Israelis, and vice versa, while the Tutsis and Hutus are slaughtering each other in Ruwanda, in a little enclave of US-ness, you’ve got a black family getting ice cream at Baskin Robbins, while the asian family is getting Subway, and the plain ol’ white folks are getting General Tso’s chicken at China Express.  No hostility, no fear.  Because we are used to it.  It’s just the way we are.

I once had a counterpart from the Aussie Army ask, as we sat around our field rations one night, what an American looked like?  I thought for a minute, and said that there wasn’t really any ONE look for an American.  Blacks, indians, chinese, whites…anybody could be an American citizen.  He just shook his head.  Not because he thought it was a bad idea, it was just a foreign concept to him.

And yet we continue to hear so much about how we need to “open a dialogue” about instituional racism in America.  We need to cleanse the wounds, heal the past, etc., yada, ad nauseum.   I’ve noticed that Obama has toned down his racial rhetoric a bit of late.  I can imagine that the two extremely affluent, ivy-league educated people “of-color” may have finally realized the strange dissonance is running for President of the United States on a platform of overcoming racial inequality.   Seems to me like they done overcome it pretty well.

What I see is a lot of manufactured drama carefully spun out and woven into a well-polished and premeditatively emotional package designed to influence black (and white) voters to “vote for the black guy.”  Not necessarily the most qualified candidate.  The Black Guy. 

You see it on a lot of the Prog blogs.  You hear it in the righteous indignation of Democrat shills and sycophants who insist that you’d only vote against Obama if you’re racist.  This, ladies and germs, is what they call an oxymoron.  Or perhaps, circular logic.  Also know as the self-defeating argument.  I have to vote for the black guy to prove I’m not racist.  So I’m voting based solely on race.  How is that not racism?  Perhaps it is better described as racialism.  If I vote for McCain, I’m not actually voting for McCain, but against the black guy. 

If I cannot vote against Barak Obama for any other reason than he is black, then the very groups who are so vehemently decrying racism are also requiring that I ignore his qualifications and focus solely on the color of his skin.

In other words, racism.

I’m here to tell you, we may have our problems, but the US is probably one of the LEAST RACIST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.  Even the much vaunted European countries are very ethno-centric.  Our greatest struggle with racism is that we seem totally incapable of just letting it die.  We take such immense pains and troubles to show how “sensitive” we are to racial issues that we end up constantly keeping it in the very forefront of the social consciousness.  You can’t heal from something if you keep tearing at the wound while screaming, “LOOK! I’M BLEEDING!”

What if maybe, just maybe that guy is not a racist; maybe he’s just an asshole.  Maybe the system isn’t really out to get black people; maybe poor, uneducated black people are committing a greater proportion of the crime.  And maybe that means that there’s a larger issue at work here than vigilante white judges stickin’ it to the poor black man.  You know, just because they can.  And most of us whiteys is just haters.  Or something equally as vapid and emotion-based.

The worst thing in the world for this country is for us to just vote for a black man.  Instead, we should vote for the most qualified man or woman, regardless of the skin color.  As long as we continue to make race a pivotal issue…it will remain a pivotal issue.  Let’s put it to rest, and get back to dealing with people as people, not as members of some elite, untouchable poor disenfranchised special interest group.

  1. Two Dogs says:

    Absolutely wonderful post. See? You are supposed to be writing.

  2. Candy says:

    Deliciously good writing. More. More more more.

  3. Hoodlumman says:

    Motion passes: Article was excellent.

    Nice work, Steve.

  4. kontan says:

    One of the best I’ve read in a while

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