Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Rant About Racism

I don't like this. But I'll post this anyway.

The post will not be politically correct. Please, do not be offended.

In English this unit, we're doing a study of “minority” literature. I quote minority, because we're still only talking literature written by those of African descent; the majority of minority literature. Why don't we study Indian or Chinese or Japanese or Slavic or Latino literature when we talk about the minorities in American literature? I don't think I know anybody my age who's even looked at a copy of the Vedas. But then, that is a religious document, so I guess it's not a great example.

We're discussing African American literature. Whenever you talk about those who have a different color skin tone, the idea of racism will come up. (look at me, going modern instead of reaching over and grabbing my dictionary from my bookshelf) divines racism as “A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races, determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”

Again, from is the definition of Social Darwinism. “A 19th-century theory, inspired by Darwinism, by which the social order is accounted as the product of natural selection of those persons best suited to existing living conditions and in accord with which a position of laissez-faire is advocated.”

Two very complicated ways of saying, “We're better than you, ha ha ha.”

A lot of horrible things have happened because of racism. This is not a history lesson. You know what has happened in history. You know the outcomes, the effects. I'm just taking up time and space here while trying to convey an opinion. To me, racism is just a contrived way to make people feel good about hurting other people. Racism gives people a “reason” to be, well, mean. In some ways, racism is like people being playground bullies; it's childish.

Two very unique views of racism come from TV shows. The views are similar, and I believe worth bringing up. I have never seen “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” a Star Trek episode which I think aired in the original TV series. I'm not sure, I've only heard about it from my dad. Babylon 5's “The Geometry of Shadows,” is another twist of the racism idea.

In “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” a war is being fought on a planet; a war fought between people with white on the right side of their faces and black on the left side of the faces against those who have black on the right side of their faces and white on the left side of the faces. To us humans, there was no difference. There was no reason for that race of people to be fighting the war.

In the Babylon 5 episode, the problem deals more with cultural differences, but the overall theme can still be applied to the idea of racism. A race of people had this custom in which once every five years, they would gather together and reach into a barrel. Inside the barrel would be a bunch of either green or purple scarfs. The scarfs decided which side an individual would be on for the coming war. The sides were chosen by luck-of-the-draw. Taking this whole idea of racism further, if one were to remove a green scarf and place that green scarf on a purple guy's shoulder, the purple side would turn on their ex-companion and fight him.

Completely arbitrary, right?

I'd like to draw a comparison between the green scarf placed on now-ex-purple guy to how people with light skin but still of African descent were treated. We're reading Black Boy by Richard Wright, and he depicts how his white-skinned grandmother was still treated as a Negro. To young Richard, who was around six or seven, it did not make sense that his grandmother was treated just like any other Negro.

I think I agree with Richards point of view on the whole thing. I don't understand it. I dislike it. I struggle with judging people; I know I struggle with judging people. But racism is very wrong.

To be honesty, I'm not sure if anything good has come out of this post.

One thing I would like to mention, before closing, is how much I despise some of things that have been done to “eliminate” racism. An American (white) reporter was in Africa, doing a portfolio on a man from one of the countries in southern Africa, I really don't remember the details. In the opening lines of her portfolio, the reporter referred to man as an “African American African.”

Think about it. Just think about it.

1 comment:

  1. Hm.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, because just like taking care of the earth, this subject has become one of little thought for me simply because people have carried it way too far and it annoys me.

    It seems like Americans just can't do anything right. They have to either be at one extreme or another or they get bored. We, I guess I should say.