Posts Tagged ‘bigotry

01
Mar
13

All Things Are NOT Equal

There is a tendency among many white people to get mad when someone is called out for saying something that is considered a racial slur, such as “nigger-rigged” or “towel head” or “an illegal” or whatever. It’s not that they necessarily deny the fact that such terms have racist or bigoted overtones, but they try to deflect and blunt the accusations of insensitivity by pointing to other terms.

They’ll argue, “Well, it’s just as racist to say [dago, kike, mick, honky, etc.] as it is to say those other things, but where’s the outrage when those terms are used?”

First off, let’s stop with the false equivalency.

Black and Hispanics are routinely targeted by police and punished more severely than whites for the same or similar crimes. People of color are routinely passed over for jobs or promotions for no other reason than the color of their skin. They are often given worse healthcare and less attention in school and get denied housing far more often than whites. I could go on, but either you recognize these things or you stubbornly insist they aren’t true, so I’ll stop.

Point is, a racial or ethnic slur related to a group that is routinely shat upon is inherently worse than one directed at a group that is far less antagonized and has much more privilege.

A slur at a Jewish person still carries a lot of weight, because there are seriously violent anti-Semitic folks around still. However, they still fall slightly down the severity list (at least in North America) from slurs against folks like blacks, Latinos and Muslims.

As for Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans and other such groups for which there are colorful slurs, how often are those groups actually discriminated against in this country? Particularly in comparison to non-whites.

You throw around the N-word, and you’re throwing around something volatile. Call me a “honky,” and that hardly even registers; it certain won’t hurt my feelings. You might as well call me a “ninny” or a “weirdo” or a “geek.”

Wouldn’t it be better…far better…to work toward everyone in the country actually being treated the same based on their personalities, behaviors, skills, etc. regardless of color, ethnicity or religion rather than trying to make like slurs against people who have the upper hand are anywhere remotely equivalent?

Because when you do that, or point out to me that “gyp” is a slur (derived from Gypsy)…and yes, I do try to catch myself before speaking that word, and I haven’t used “Indian giver” in ages…when you do those kinds of things and say they’re just as bad (when was the last time you even met someone who strongly identified as a Gypsy?), I can only think one thing. You know you’re wrong, and you’re getting defensive.

I’m not saying any slur is good.

But stop trying to say they’re all equal.

At least until there’s actually equal treatment and equal opportunity in this country.

11
Jul
12

Shutting Down the Other Side

I’ve often addressed the issue of privilege, particularly white privilege (since I’ve come to understand just how much of it I have…and even white people less privileged than me have…in the 16 years I’ve had a black partner/wife and a biracial son…and in the past 7 years, a biracial daughter, too).

I’ve done this at this blog, I’ve done it on Twitter, and I’ve done it in responses to various people’s articles and posts complaining about being “made to feel guilty for being white.”

First, I’d like to direct you to this web page my wife tweeted about yesterday, which is pure gold and if you read this and still don’t get why denying privilege and/or telling people in various groups that they’re wrong about their own experiences is a bad thing, perhaps you never will get it:

Derailing for Dummies

Now, back to my own mini-rant…

I’m not saying white people (and I’m going to pick them because they’re the largest and most privileged group in the United States, particularly the heterosexual ones, but this applies to anyone who is privileged in comparison to someone else)…well, I don’t think they should be guilted per se. But I do think they need to pay attention, get out of their own boxes, listen to others, educate themselves and stop making assumptions. In short, white folks do need reminders about their privilege, because it clearly hasn’t sunk in. America’s going back to bad habits (or worse habits) and everyone who’s “other” is getting shat upon instead of people shitting on the government, business and social forces that allow discrimination, bigotry and all their cousins to exist.

Too many people think there is equal opportunity and fair treatment in developed parts of the world, particularly the United States, Canada and Europe. They think that racism is dead. But looking at the rates of arrests of non-whites, non-white profiling and harsher punishments for crimes by non-whites, those figures alone show a picture that proves society is not fair to people of color (blacks and Latinos, in particular). Also, housing and employment continue to be areas of huge inequities. Oh, and education.

And yes, I have tons of examples if you really want them. Call them anecdotal and dismiss them because of that if you like, but I think 16 years of seeing this shit up close as a white person with brown people in his life makes me more an expert on discrimination than anyone who plugs their ears (conservative or liberal) and says, “I’m not like that!” or “That’s not true!”

Change comes through awareness. And I mean awareness of the people who perpetuate the bullshit. Who continue to benefit from privilege and never work to share it with others and make sure others can have the same access. When we are aware some people aren’t treated fairly, we can begin to chisel away at racism, homophobia, sexism and all the rest.

It’s the only way. Be aware of your part in it. I have to be, because it’s the morally correct thing to do, and I try to do my small part. Please do yours, too.

15
Jan
10

Hatin’ On Haiti

So Mrs. Blue and I go to a diner for breakfast this morning. An old boxcar diner, where there isn’t much distance between you and the other folks, and you get quite the cross-section of humanity dispersed among 10 or so rotating stools.

At the end of the boxcar, Man A says, “So, how much are we sending to Haiti now to help them?”

Man B: “Hundred million, I guess.”

Man A: “One hundred million dollars to help Haiti? Great. Like they were there for us helping after 9/11.”
_________________________

This logic just floored me, on several levels.

First off, what aid was Haiti, one of the poorest nations on Earth, going to give us after terrrorists took down the World Trade Center twin towers? They don’t have money. Oh, maybe they could send in their vast numbers of med-evac helicopters and transport injured New Yorkers to their top-notch Haitian medical facilities?

Second, how exactly can we scoff at their current tragedy and try to even compare it to 9/11? Less than 5,000 people, if I recall, died in that terrorist attack. This earthquake took out more than ten times that number of people in Haiti. The 9/11 attack happened in a nation with great emergency response, and while there was dust and other ill effects for months thereafter, at least we didn’t have to worry about dead bodies rotting in the streets all across the city because there were not enough people or infrastructure to cart them away.

Haitians, already forced to live in poverty thanks to how we and other nations have butt-fucked them for years, including we here in the U.S. propping up corrupt regimes there, now have the threat of disease on top of everything else, and the stench of death literally hanging in the air.

I’m not saying that we can help the entire world, but it seems like we have all sorts of willingness to, say, help out nice looking Asiatic folks when a typhoon or tsunami strikes, because we might vacation there one day. But no one vacations in Haiti.

And we throw open the doors for white or very pale tanned Cubans when they make it to our shores, but we turn the Haitians away and make them row back sometimes in their own rickety boats.

Yeah, sweet.

Let’s let 50,000 dead go untended, and leave the multitude of others, injured or perhaps close to death themselves, just be damned because they aren’t pretty enough for us. Because they’re too poor to be bothered with.

Or maybe because you’re stupid enough to believe Pat Robertson when he tells you their suffering is because of  pact with the devil made centuries ago to free themselves from the French. No matter that Pat totally got his history wrong and didn’t even know who was controlling them. No matter that it essentially suggests that one of the most successful slave revolts in history couldn’t possibly have succeeded with the help of Satan because they’re just a bunch of stupid Negros and always have been.

Yeah, let’s dehumanize them some more.

Not only are they trash, but they’re also just this side of being demons, right?

If that’s what you believe, and if you can turn a blind eye to suffering so close to our own borders, in a nation we messed up (and in very recent history, I might add), then shame on you. Because you don’t have the love of anyone in your heart, then, certainly not the light of Jesus.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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