Soooo, I posted an anecdote a while ago entitled, That’s Like So Totally Racist, a critique of pubescent stupidity that happened to reveal itself around the misusage of the descriptor-of-disparage du jour: racist. Let me preface this by saying that I write for amusement, the underlying reason why I do and say ninety-nine percent of the things that I do and say. The story that I am recounting in TLSTR is not about my personal feelings about racism, it is about being both amused by and annoyed with certain vacuous elements of our youth culture, inexplicably promoted and encouraged, as illustrated by the misuse of a word.
SouthernHerf has quite a few followers, but commenters are primarily limited to my mom and a few others. It is suspicious, then, that the title with the word “racist” in it continues to generate hundreds and hundreds of comments. It is more than suspicious; it is revealing. There is money in racism, in talking about it, writing about it, complaining about it, feeling it, lying about it, inventing and nurturing it. These comments flooding in daily I’m sure are from bots looking for who knows what, they won’t find anything on my site, but why is that particular word the search word? What are they seeking, and from whom?
Personally, I don’t believe in racism, I think it’s nonsense if you take the real definition of the word, not the political inferred adulteration of it. I do not know anyone who believes one race is superior to another solely based upon their race, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it simply means they are foreign to me. I know a lot of people, of all races, who are prejudiced against different religious, socioeconomic and/or ethnic groups, but usually it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with feeling more comfortable around similar groups of people. If we distort a natural attraction to common denominators for political gain or in order to impose control over one group or another, we are courting a fractious society that will not survive. How will we be able to uncover our similarities, to overcome prejudices, to find our underlying common denominators, if we cannot speak honestly and civilly to one another on any stage whatsoever without recrimination? Once the word racist is thrown into the wind, we cannot.
Our lives are separate, and our perceptions are sculpted by our realities, which are also completely individual. If a black man is suspicious of white cops because all they seem to do is arrest black people, well, he is entitled to his suspicion of white cops, which may or may not be legitimate. It doesn’t mean that either the man or the cop is racist. We are all free to choose whether to discover, or to judge, every moment of every day. For now. And this is true for all variations of individuals, and the decision of one individual is no definitive descriptor of an entire society, nor should it be.
I long for the days before identity politics, rampant race-bating, blame-gaming, and scape-goating. I long for the days of politicians who didn’t feel so important that they deserved entourages, immunity, and insider trading privileges. I miss the days of the jokes poking fun at every class and strand of human being that stood apart, and the character it required of all to not be offended. I miss the days when good was good, and bad was bad, and we all knew which was which, and nihilism was safely ensconsed in the offices of academia, a concept to flirt with, but never to marry. I miss when people were just people and it was the content of their character that mattered, not the color of their skin…ahem. Mostly, I miss goodness. I miss the feeling that we as a nation, as a people, are good and kind and generous, a belief that now would be thought of as jingoist and xenophobic and ignorant.
I wonder whether our duplicitous elected officials are reflections of us, or if we are of them. I hope it is neither, but it may be a sum of both. The preoccupation in public education with diversity, division and victimization helps keep us as a society internally and externally separate. It feeds the fire of hatred by packing it with distortions and stuffing it in the walls where it is insulated from the cool wash of reason. And, yet, we all sense the heat, we sense that something is about to blow, and the politicians and pundits wave their arms and scream and point their crooked fingers and hold out their palms in expectation, all the while telling us that what they need is a little more money and everything will be fixed, all will be perfect… But I don’t want perfect, I want good. And I don’t want a politician to buy me so much as a hot dog, mush less insurance, food and shelter. And I don’t want psycho bots trolling blog posts to prey upon people who may be writing about ideology’s racist unicorn. Leave us alone, already. Most of us are inherently good.
If you would like to leave a comment, I’d love to hear some perspectives on this…