Archive for racism

Day 6 (racial discrimination 2)

Posted in racial discrimination, social commentary with tags , , , on July 15, 2008 by joelle blackstarr

“Just see if you can Jew him down.”

“Damned Asians!  Y’all can’t drive to save your lives!”

“Look at you, with them Puerto Rican shoes on.”

“They smell like dogs when their hair gets wet.”

Have you ever uttered any of those statements in your lifetime?  If so, did you realize the impact that they carry?  I have often said that while Caucasians may lead the pack when it comes to racism, they certainly hold no monopoly.  Almost all of us, at some point or another, have uttered some type of racial or ethnic slur, many times without even realizing that you have done so.

I try to add a little flava, and a little humor to my posts from time to time, but, the main reason for opening this blog is to help keep racism at bay, to help launch a platform for obliterating it from society in . . . well, someone’s lifetime, and to make everyone aware that racial discrimination is alive and well.  I am often accused of bringing up the issue of race in the course of conversation.  I am guilty as charged.  Unlike so many people that I’ve come across, I have no qualms about bringing up the subject of race.  I see no harm in making folks aware of the FACT that racism still exists.  It seems that it is sometimes very difficult to make others understand the concept of why their attitudes or statements are racist in nature.  I need no primers in the subject matter as racial discrimination is a part of my life, almost on a daily basis.

The first step that I take in explaining that a person’s words or deeds are racist in nature, is to try to get them to understand that there are two parts to racism:  the person practicing racism and the person who is at the brunt of the racist remarks or actions.  It is usually the one practicing the racism who has the most difficult time grasping the notion of racism.  For example, if a Caucasian has not been  a victim of racial discrimination in their lifetime, they will rarely understand why you take offense to something that was said or done.  It’s relatively close to the difference  in learning by the wisdom of others and learning by experience.  One can conceptually grasp an idea presented by another, but, will not necessarily get the full meaning of it unless they have actually experienced that concept in action.  Racial discrimination can be easily placed in the same category.

The tenets of racial discrimination can be either subtle, blatant, or both.  Those that are blatant are very easy to deal with.  They are usually as plain as the nose on one’s face.  We normally come across it when it is being used by someone who is all too aware of what they are saying or doing, and, more often than not, don’t really care.  It is the subtle form that gives us the most difficult time in both recognizing it and correcting it.  The examples that I gave at the very beginning of this post are some of the subtle forms of racism and racial discrimination.  They are subtle mostly because they are not usually directed towards a particular person, have been picked up by hearing it from family and community members, and are most likely used without even realizing the error of their ways.  Subtlety can often be determined by the intention, with ill-will not being a part of that intent.

To obliterate racism and racial discrimination one can start anywhere.  The important thing is to . . . start.  Since we are always in our own backyard, why not start there?  Let us take a closer look at the things that we say and do.  Let us be conscious of the impact that words and deeds can have on others and upon ourselves.  A wise man said that ignorance is bliss.  A wiser man said that ignorance is no excuse for bad behavior.  If we recognize that our words and actions are harmful, we can monitor them.  By monitoring them, we can weed that behavior from our daily routine, eventually obliterating it from our lives altogether.

copyright  ©  2008  freedom

Day 5 – the (ir)responsible press

Posted in political commentary, politics, racial discrimination, social commentary with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2008 by joelle blackstarr

I took extreme offense to the cover of Vogue, which showed LeBron James alongside model Gisele Bundchen.  The picture, to me, immediately brought to mind King Kong and Fay Wray.  It brought to mind the very picture that America likes to portray when it comes to African-American males:  a monster of a being who endangers the lives of white women.  I considered it an insult.  Most of the brothers who chimed in on the discussion at the time, also saw it as offensive, and the same image came to mind.  Only one or two sisters agreed, but, for the most part, they seemed to think there was no discriminatory undertones about it.  That debate raged on for quite a while, and, as with a lot of debates in cyberspace, ended with “agreeing to disagree”.  I was pleased enough that one female was persuaded to change her views after having heard the reasons that the brothers gave. Along comes the July 21st issue of THE NEW YORKER.  It’s entitled “The Politics Of Fear”, and is said to be a simple lampooning of today’s political scene and Obama’s right-wing critics.  The cover (shown here) is about as tasteless as one can get.  It’s one thing to attempt a bit of humor and satire,  but, I believe that this goes overboard.

There is a segment of the population in America that is deathly afraid of Black Americana.  Now that one of us is up for the presidency, hate-mongering imagery is the last thing we need in the struggle to not only gain the votes of those who have not made a decision, but to keep the votes that are already promised.  If there is doubt still in the minds of some of white America, this cover may help see to it that they make up their minds quickly – and run with wing-ed feet to the McCain camp.

Obama spokesperson Bill Burton was given the following explanation by a New Yorker staffer: “The cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s left-wing critics have tried to create”.  If there was previously any failure of the left-wingers to create that image, then, The New Yorker’s cover will see to it that just such an image will get out to the American public.  Of that population who fears Black Americana, there are those who truly believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim.  After all, the press said so.  There are those say that His wife, Michelle, is unpatriotic.  Note the flag burning in the fireplace.  Note the picture of Osama Bin Laden hanging on the wall.  The media is gospel.  If the media alleges that Sen. Obama and wife are anti-American, then it must be so.  If the media implies that they are both a threat to the American way of life, then, by all means, it must be so.  This is irresponsible “journalism” at its very best, and as you can see, I am hard-pressed to call it journalism.

At the time this post was being made, Sen. Obama had not issued a statement in either direction.  If you know me at all, you now that he has been my choice for president since the early days of his campaign.  That being so, it still irritates me that Mr. Obama always remains so cool, calm, and collected.  I am waiting for him to fly off the handle and give some one an old-fashioned cussin’ out.  In fact, I’m waiting for that day when Obama threatens to whoop some a$$.  Although that might be nice, we know he’s got way too much class for that.

The spin doctors from both sides of the fence will perform their magic and it will all blow over until the next derogatory item comes this way.  Obama will weather the storm as he always has.  THE NEW YORKER will sell more copies than the law allows.  Obama’s diehard followers will declare that it will not hurt him in the end.  I’m one of those diehard followers, but, I’m not so certain that it will do no damage.  I believe that there are people who truly believe that if the media prints it, films it, or records it, then . . . it must be so.

No one gets a pass in my house, not even THE NEW YORKER.  If this keeps up, there won’t be a decent enough rag left in America for me to read.  It pains me more that THE NEW YORKER knows just what it is capable of producing: irresponsible “journalism”.  freedom is out.

copyright  ©  2008  freedom

i get pissed off. . .

Posted in social commentary with tags , , , , , , , on May 27, 2008 by joelle blackstarr

i get pissed off at racist white people. i get ticked off by ignorant black people. i am miffed by black women who constantly put brothers down. i am angry at brothers who refuse to step up, man-up, and pay up for the children that they’ve neglected. i get infuriated with politicians. i get . . .

“i get” number one . . .

white people hold no monopoly on racism, but, they certainly lead the pack. most of my Caucasian friends have no clue as to what it’s like to be black and try as they may, their attempts are quite feeble, not to mention annoying. i am sick to death of being told to stop bringing up race. they are not at the receiving end of racial discrimination. evidently, they seem to think that discrimination is a thing of the past. one reality is that if we should stop bringing up the race issue, that will only serve to make them truly believe that discrimination is a thing of the past. i am that constant reminder that it is far from gone. i’m not asking for any of them to step into my shoes and feel the pain. the fact is, i hope that neither they nor anyone else ever has to feel the pain. i’m just asking that they stop intimating that discrimination is history, and that I should not continue to bring up the race issue.

why does there always seem to be a problem with me bringing up the subject of race? it happens to be a dominant portion of my daily life, and certainly not by choice. the fact of the matter is that i usually don’t have to bring it up – they bring it up themselves. the subject most often comes into play when they mention the holocaust (not the black one in Rwanda, the Jewish one in Germany). when i decry that it was an historic disaster but that slavery in the U.S. was just as catastrophic, the almost inevitable answer is : why do you always have to make it about race? unlike a lot of people, i’ve never seen race as a problematic piece of subject matter. i am beginning to believe that the reason my friends don’t want me to tackle the subject is that they know deep inside that they are probably guilty of some of the same disgusting habits that i often attack when it comes to race relations.

i recall my many years of being a part of the work force, and one blatant example comes to mind. i’d be sitting in the lunchroom, just about finished eating, when a Caucasian friend asks “you want these chips?” when i reply “no, thanks”, the retort is “i was only going to throw them away – you may as well have them.” that’s followed by them tossing the bag onto the table near me like they didn’t hear me say “no, thanks.” that burns me up like nothing else. they, somehow, don’t realize that what i hear is “here – take my trash. i’m done with it.” perhaps they do it to everyone, but, i can only see it from my vantage.

i’ll take a guess and say that as long as i am Black, i’ll continue to bring up the subjects of race and racial discrimination. that’s not because I want to keep something going or continue to blame them for many of the missed opportunities caused by their words and actions – in fact, the opposite holds true. i wish that there would come a day when i’d never have to bring it up again because it had been totally obliterated. things being what they are, i want to be . . . need to be that constant reminder that racial discrimination is still very much a part of most Black folks’ lives, and possibly always will be.

freedom says that no one gets a pass.

copyright © 2008 freedom –