Wednesday, February 28, 2007

One Last Word on Racism

Let me start by repeating my third definitions of racism:

  • Racism is where one treats an individual or group as "special" and deserving of special treatment that they would not otherwise receive. This special treatment is bestowed purely because of the color of their skin or of their different country of origin.

Let me add one more quote:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." - Dr. Martin Luther King

Please remember this when I make my next statements concerning what I believe is the most blatant and harmful example of racism in America. It is the quota system. This asinine idea was given the name "affirmative action". The idea of forcing educational institutions and employers to be mindful of the color of their applicants clearly violates my own definition as well, as those immortal words of Dr. King. In fact, both Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy expressed that quota systems would do more harm than good to the civil rights movement.

This is not reverse racism, it is in fact, treating minorities like second-class citizens who are otherwise, incapable of finding the jobs or getting accepted on their own. It is not only insulting to truly capable individuals, it attaches a stigma of self-doubt. Some may and do wonder if they were truly deserving of the fruits of their accomplishments. What's more, individuals are getting into positions they wouldn't have gotten to without the quota system. Statistics indicate that a much higher rate of college dropouts are minorities who got into the college due to the quota system and not by being exemplary students.

It is ironic that it was Richard Nixon, in trying to boost the Republican party's appeal to minorities, who incorporated the quota system as law. Yet, whenever the subject of removing the system comes up, it is the Democrats who can be counted on to vehemently defend the system.

If you want examples of individual liberals making remarks that can be thought of as racist, you can look up Joe Biden, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or Louis Farrakan. Nothing these individuals, or anybody else, for that matter can be anywhere near as damaging as the every day double standard that goes on.

  • Quarterback Matt Leinart has a baby out of wedlock. Even though this was announced after he had left the school, USC was inundated with calls from alumni and others who wanted to express their disapointment. A few months earlier, basketball player LeBron James was announced to have a baby out of wedlock. Guess how many people called the Cleveland Cavaliers? I'll bet it was less than 1. Why? Because people judge these two athletes subconsciously by the color of their skin. Blacks, being inferior, can slide past these rule of morality but a fine upstanding white man cannot.
  • David Howard, an assistant to Washington D.C.'s black mayor, Anthony Williams, used the word "niggardly" in a private staff meeting. This raised national attention. Why? The word sounds racist even though it has no such implications, whatsoever in it's definition. Howard was forced to apologize and resign for using the word. Why does nobody get upset when a black man uses the word "caucus"?
  • From the LA Weekly: "Last Halloween in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach, where neighbors put on a lavish fright fest each year, three young women left a haunted house and found themselves caught in a street brawl with a crowd of teenagers. By melee’s end, one woman’s face was fractured in 12 spots, her teeth were broken and she’d suffered partial loss of sight in one eye. Two of the women suffered brain concussions and assorted broken bones after being kicked, punched and even struck by a skateboard wielded as a weapon. " The attackers were black teenagers. In the trial, the judge ruled against DNA evidence and slapped the attackers with house arrest. Even with this slap on the wrist, the black community went up in arms and many were calling the ruling "unjust". I wonder what the extent of the damage due to the inevitable riots would have been had the skin colors been reversed and the same result had happened. How much of Jesse Jackson's face would we be seeing right now?
  • Do I even have to bring up OJ?

Monday, February 26, 2007

A New Definition

Since the Academy of Motion Pictures has changed the definition of what "documentary" means, I think we need to re-visit some older films. Since films that are mostly fictitious now qualify as a "documentary", there are many past films that I feel should get retroactive Oscars for being excellent documentary films.

The Godfather: This is an excellent "documentary" on immigration to America, particularly from the Italian point of view.

Jaws: Who can forget this fascinating "documentary" on marine biology?

Star Wars: This is a very in-depth look at the American Space Program. Many NASA scientists give their points of view. I particularly appreciate the disagreement among scientists as to the nature of the force. This "documentary" gives you a lot to ponder.

Sideways: Alexander Payne's fascinating "documentary" that explores Southern California's coastal wine region and delves into how wine characteristics reflect on those who drink them.

Cinderella: This "documentary" examines the conflict between the ruling class, the middle class, and the lower class. It's particularly effective at the end where it shows it is truly possible for someone in the lowest class (a slave) can actually rise up to the ruling class with a little luck.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Black History Month

I hope you are all enjoying February or "Black History Month" like I am. It's the one month of the year where I get to change my entire perspective of history. It's almost miraculous isn't it? I mean, on how for this one month, I am aware of black slavery that took place 160 years ago. This month, I am aware of all the uses of the peanut. Jim Crow laws also populate my thinking of history, not to mention, individuals like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King.

Yes, this short month really opens my eyes. You see, this is because, as I have been told, that the other 11 months of the year are "White History Months". Therefore, the rest of the year is where we only think and talk about George Washington, Christopher Columbus, et. al. From March to January, black slavery never existed and every individual of any historical importance was white.

Sounds okay, to me as a white person although, I do ponder about Latinos, Asians, and American Indians and why they apparently are not a part of history. Some radically-thinking people believe that history is history, and not specific to any one particular race. I wonder if there is any truth in this.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Regarding Racism

Since Erik has asked me to find examples of racism and since this is February, which has been designated "black history month", I'll devote some articles to racism. This is a touchy subject for many, myself included. Racism, in my opinion, is a very overused word. One can't seem to publicly state anything regarding skin color without stirring up controversy and having the ugly "r" word brought up.

We all have our opinions on this matter. I am going to give you my definition of racism. Feel free to comment, criticize, and give your own definition.

My definition of racism is in three parts:

  1. Racism is where one believes that another person or group of people are inferior due to the color of their skin or their different country of origin.
  2. Racism is where one believes that another person or group of people are not deserving of rights or materials due to the color of their skin or their different country of origin.
  3. I don't think too many people would take issue with my above statements. It's my third form of racism that I suspect many might disagree with.

  4. Racism is where one treats an individual or group as "special" and deserving of special treatment that they would not otherwise receive. This special treatment is bestowed purely because of the color of their skin or of their different country of origin.

When one witnesses one or more of the above actions, one might be inclined to privately or publicly call the individual a "racist". I disagree with this assumption. Only the person who exhibited the behavior really knows in his or her heart, whether or not it's really due to racism.

A good example is the case of Michael Richards. Recently, at a comedy club, some individuals, who happened to be black, heckled him, apparently very strongly. Richards rebuked with a stream of foul language and racial epithets (including the 'n' word). Richards was obviously really pissed off. He knew nothing about his verbal attackers, personally, but the one thing he could see was the color of their skin. He wanted to get back at these hecklers. Now the questions are: Did Michael Richards spew out hateful stuff because he knew saying things like the 'n' word would offend his attackers or was there a deeper purpose? Did Michael Richards, in fact, hate them specifically because they were black? The answer to these questions is Only Michael Richards knows. The rest of us can endlessly speculate, debate, and accuse but that won't answer the question.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Postscript: Two Coaches

I don't want to press this issue too much more but I want to follow up on my Two Coaches post. After the game, I switched to ESPN for the analysis. After a brief synopsis of the game, the analysts very quickly got to talking about having a black coach win a Superbowl. They spent a good 10 minutes talking about it - more time, I may add than the time they devoted to anything else. Can we get over this now and move on?

Friday, February 02, 2007


I think I've heard and watched about 10 different analysts explain how the Bears can beat the odds and beat the Colts in the Superbowl, this Sunday.

The Colts have the better quarterback, the better offensive line, and the better receivers. The Colts have the better defensive line and they are probably about equal at the linebacker position. The Colts have the most consistent place kicker in the game. The game will not be played in sub-freezing temperatures.

Anything can happen but I have to go with the favorite here. I predict it to be a close, tough defensive battle in the first half, but the Colts offense will prevail in the second half and win easily. Final score: Colts 34 Bears 13.

Of course, I've been mostly wrong this entire postseason.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Two Coaches

Additional Note: I was going to post this article anyways, but now it will also serve as a partial response to Erik's challenge to find examples of racism from liberals. (See Erik's comments in Ride and Drive aka The Fusion Challenge). I know Erik is expecting me to find individuals who say terrible racist remarks. I'll post some of that in a later post. It is my assertion that racism abounds in the media in much more subtle ways. This is an example:

Sunday, February 4 is a big day. It is, after all, Superbowl Sunday, arguably the most important Sunday to Americans with Easter coming in at a distant second. The weeks preceding a Super Bowl are always filled with inside stories and such. Sports magazines and Sports sections in newspapers will inevitably give us stories concerning past Superbowls, team histories, more information about the host city, player stories about what it took for them to get to this point, and other human interest stories. One of the leading stories this year, is of the two coaches - Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts.

One of the interesting stories about Dungy is that he proved to the football world that he is not afflicted by Shottenheimer Syndrome (or maybe Knox Syndrome. You pick.). This syndrome, in case you don't know, is when an NFL coach completely loses his ability to effectively coach in the month of January. Dungy certainly seemed to have it. Year after year with the Buccaneers and then, Colts would inexplicably fail after successful regular seasons.

Lovie Smith, only in his third year as a head coach, was selected as a defensive coach by Dungy for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith made a big impact as the Rams defensive coordinator and helped them get to the 2002 Superbowl. When he took over a fledgling Bears team, they improved immediately.

These, and other stories have come come out. I am a bit dismayed, however, at why such a big deal has to be made that both of these successful coaches are black. This isn't the 1940's. It's not the '60s. When do we just congratulate these coaches and not pay so much attention to the color of their skin? The media didn't point out that two of the first head coaches to be fired after the regular season ended just happened to be black. Blacks are and have been successful in virtually every aspect of business. We've been at the point where they, as much as anybody else, are judged on their abilities. Those who succeed are rewarded.