Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Nation of Cowards

We live in a society ruled by sound bites. I'm guilty. I caught the Eric Holder headline, that we are "essentially a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing race, and I thought, wow; somebody other than Bill Cosby wants to openly discuss racial divides in America. Yeehaw. Then folks were discussing his 'segregated weekends' comments, and I reacted with "Yes, That's true!" Then the next snippet was out there; that Holder believes black history does not get equal priority treatment in American education. And I'm getting fired up.
-So, trained by recent election "editing", I read the full text (really!) and, considering his target audience, thought it fairly benign. But it's good the militants and wingnuts are war dancing. The louder fringes sometimes distract some of us "cowards" to discuss a bit, too.
As to Holder's speech, a few thoughts:
- The racial divide in the workplace still exists, Eric, and won't disappear as long as unidirectional "correctness" rules apply. I work in a diverse workplace, and the LAST thing ANY of us wants is another black/gay/feminist/aged activist that shuts down free conversation because of the eggshell threat of their being offended on behalf of their "cause." Interestingly, the issue-sensitive folks seem to have fewer qualms about offending others. Has it gotten better? Well, yes, if you look at company responses to laws against exclusion or harassment of "protected" categories. My point, I guess, is that it's time to eliminate the "protected" provision, and just insist on multi-mutual respect.
- Eric wants black history taught. OK, I'm with him, to a point. It probably plays a more important role than Irish history in the development of our country. But he says it's not getting "equal priority" in history education. Equal to what? The writing of the constitution? The civil or world wars? Exactly how much of the current history curriculum SHOULD be canceled to make room for more black history? (Yes it's already being taught) Doesn't Native American history play at least an equal role? Wouldn't Hispanics relate better to southwest flavored American history?
- If you want more black history education, teach the whole truth. If you must vilify Thomas Jefferson for having slaves and concubines (which has NOTHING to do with his historic accomplishments), discuss openly that MR. King plagiarized his thesis, and terror and riots were instrumental in the not-so-civil rights changes. Discuss OJ, discuss mayor Berry, and discuss Rev. Wright. Write texts that present the not-so-correct side of black history, as well as the positive contributions of people of race. Won't happen (yet), because cowards exist of every color.
- Mr. Holder thinks the workplace is civil (see above), but the country spends it's weekends segregated. That folks tend to gravitate to folks most like themselves is no major surprise to me, but I don't see any lack of interest in black culture exhibited by white folks. In fact, one could argue that the cultural melting pot has taken on a distinctly dark hue. I'm not sure what actions or laws Mr. Holder would suggest to get more people sharing backyard BBQ, but the fact that he is in a position to make the speech that stirred the sleepy populace speaks volumes to me about racial acceptance and tolerance, and the "future" he describes where "everyone is truly valued."
- Asides-
- Watch the video of Barack walking into the window at the White House, thinking it was a door. It was funny, along the lines of Gerald Ford clumsy, something any of us could easily do. Until SNL can do a skit based on THAT, allowing the president to laugh at himself with us, they are blatantly pandering to the politics of racial "correctness" that I had hoped Mr. Holder was wanting us to discuss. (or is it just respect for the office of the prez? Right.)
- Who at the New York Post thought the chimp cartoon was funny? I believe the message was that we have fostered a wild and out of control congress and administration that has turned dangerously against us by writing the stimulus bill. Um, whether or not that's what you believe, there is nothing funny about the hell folks are going through due to the economy, and nothing entertaining about the woman in critical condition, mauled by a "pet". PLUS, why in Obama's name would you give Sharpton and Cronies Inc. fodder for their hate machine? Wait, look who we're talking about here. The Post can't edit spelling, for Palin's sake.
- I've decided to follow a friendly writer's advice about truth. "Write as if your parents are dead." Sorry, Mom.

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