Monday, October 22, 2007

Race In The News

Has anyone noticed how many news stories revolve around race lately? It seems most stories I read, or hear, have something to do with race, or culture. Following are a few examples of the types of news stories that seem so common recently.

A New York City Councilman, named Charles Barron (D), has said that he wants to remove all pictures and names of the founding forefathers displayed at the City Hall there, and replace them with the likes of Malcolm X and other civil rights leaders. Bill O’Reilly, on his show The No Spin Zone on the Fox News Channel, interviewed this man on January 16th. Mr. Barron expressed mush contempt for our forefathers to say the least. Bill also asked him about the city of New Orleans, which in relation to this story, has removed the names of some forefathers at 26 different high schools and has renamed them. Mr. Barron supports this, and his argument is that the forefathers (Washington, Jefferson, etc.) were immoral, hypocritical slave owners, and ought not to be admired. Anyone educated in history could punch holes in these arguments the size of Nebraska. They may not have been perfect men, but they did set up a system of government that could evolve and allow for change, such as the eventual abolition of slavery. It is hard to convince people of Mr. Barron’s mindset, but one thing we must keep in mind is that the past cannot be judged based on current day values.

Another racial issue concerns an $180,000 statue created from the now famous photograph of three firemen holding up the American Flag at Ground Zero. In the picture it is three white men, but the statue shows one white, black, and Hispanic man. Guess what, political correctness strikes again! The argument is that it is supposed to showcase the diversity of those firefighters who lost their lives that day. If that is the case, then why use the pose in that particular picture? Why not express it in an original way? Kevin Horrigan, in the Post Dispatch, wrote an article titled “Heroes Aren’t Metaphors” in which he discusses the fact that out of the 343 firefighters who died only 24 were black and Hispanic. In other words, 93 percent of the firefighters that died on Sept. 11th were white. Sure, unity between diverse people is magnanimous and ought to be commemorated in some way, but it remains unclear as to why we should misrepresent history, and thus reality itself, for politically correct, nonsensical, mumbo-jumbo reasons.

In Orlando, Florida, of all places, a Saudi princess has been charged with beating her maid and pushing her down a flight of stairs. The Associated Press, over the holiday break, published an article about Princess Buniah al-Saud, and her arrest for aggravated battery. The next day she was charged with stealing $6,000 worth of electronic equipment from her chauffer! They say she could face up to 15 years in prison for the battery charge alone, if convicted. Apparently the Saudi Embassy is trying to get her off with the Diplomatic Immunity “Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free” card. Nice, eh?

At Harvard University there is controversy surrounding a dispute between Lawrence Summers, the President, and Cornel West, a professor. Mr. West is a black man who teaches Afro-American studies at Harvard. According to Post-Dispatch columnist Gerald Early in his article “The Public Rebuke of a Public Intellectual”, Mr. Summers, a white man, wanted to crack down on grade inflation and what is deemed improper behavior for a Harvard professor. Apparently Mr. West’s granting of A’s to his students was far above the norm. He has also participated in the making of a rap CD, which he admitted to on the O’Reilly No Spin Zone. There is no doubt that race will become an issue in this story, and does anyone want to guess how long will it be before litigation erupts and Mr. Cochran is spewing another lame rhyme in defense of his client? The race card is far too overused in this country, and people are being accused of racism in lieu of “wolf”. This needs to stop.

Illegal immigration has become a big issue again; it is all over the news. A group called United to Secure America has recently placed ads in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch urging citizens to become more involved in this problem. Pat Buchanan addresses this issue in his new book The Death of the West. There are many disturbing stats out there right now about illegal immigration, and its relation to drugs and crime. This is a very thorny issue indeed, and is presently one of the most heated being debated right now. So, what is the point you ask? It merely seems as though every other news story out there has something to do with race, ethnicity, culture, or what have you. We might ask ourselves why stories of this nature are seemingly becoming more common. Does it have something to do with September 11th? Also, what is the purpose of presenting news to us in this way? Is it to divide us amongst one another? Does this seem appropriate for a country that prides itself on being a melting pot, and preaches color-blindness? Or, is this just good, fair, and honest reporting? Perhaps these stories exist as they do specifically because we are a melting pot (tossed salad is more like it). The point is to keep your eyes open, stay informed, and then you can decide for yourself.

If you heard someone say something like, “ Asians sure are lazy,” or “A black heavy-weight fighter? Blacks can’t fight!” or “Hispanics can’t dance, why bother with a dance competition? Some white guy is just going to win anyway,” you would think that person was crazy, would you not? Why is that? Is it because, whether we care to admit it or not, there exists distinctive characteristics within people of different races, ethnicities, and cultures. This then begs a question- is racism really about a person’s appearance vis-a-vis skin pigmentation and hair texture, or is it more about particular behavior patterns within specific groups?

Racism is not all about skin pigmentation anymore. Some people simply do not like the behavior of other people, and let’s face it, people of distinctive races act in distinctive ways, generally speaking. So when a bank rejects a disproportionate number of black applicants for home mortgages, is it because of the amount of melanin the melanocytes in their bodies produce, or is it because people who just happen to fit into this group tend to be financially risky and unreliable?

How could anyone deny that there are distinct differences in behavior between people of different races or ethnicities? After all, how did the following stereotypes get started in the first place? Italians and Irish are hot tempered, Asians are cerebral and academic, Jewish people are frugal, Russians are drunks, the Polish are dumb, Brits are obtuse, etc., etc. When a white kid wears his hat sideways and speaks jive, don’t people accuse him of acting “black”? And when a black kids sits in the library studying all day, his friends accuse him of trying to act “white.”

The problem with stereotypes is that they are unchanging. Generalizations are a different matter. Everyone, despite how liberal (original definition) they think they are, generalizes. Blacks accuse whites of being racist, women accuse men of being sexist, liberals accuse Republicans of being white, wealthy, bigots, etc. Generalizations are not unyielding, however. Case in point, it is the liberal Democrats today who are the sexist racists.

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