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Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Certainly more narcisstic and un-empathetic (is that a new word?) than most presidents or for that matter, more so than anyone i have ever met, and certainly the most unprepared, ill mannered and unpresidential of any president in my lifetime. He has the least leadership abilities of any president, the worst public speaking skills, absolutely no sense of decorum, no clue as to how a “normal” grownup male should behave and he seems totally incapable of grasping, not to mention acknowledging, his faults.

As an american living overseas, I can say that while some here may well have disagreed with his predecessors in the White House, no president has ever been such a constant source of embarrasment or ridicule across europe as him. And all of this is beside his facist-friendly politics, his economic plan, if he has one, his nepotism, his admitted illegal groping of women, or his obvious racism, or his orange skin and small hands (mutant?)

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-president-insane-20170828-story.html

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I have a new favorite song!! The lyrics are strong but so very correct. We all know, or most of us know, or have met at least one racist in our lives, or someone who is “soft” about racism. They tell you they aren’t, but laugh at racist jokes, maybe even tell them, but they assure you, they “don’t believe this way”. I remember when I lived in NW Portland. I had just repainted and refurnished my flat. I threw a party. A boyfriend of one of my cowokers told me and my guests a racist joke, he made sure he had everyones attention. I was mortified!! I looked him right in the eye and told him that racism is forbidden in my house and my life. I asked him why he would think it was acceptable. We had never met before that night. I apologized to my coworker and tgen told him he needed to leave, immediately. He then said that he “wasn’t that way, but wanted to see my reaction”. I responded; ” Well, now you’ve seen it. I hope you hesitate the next time you want to tell such a crass joke”. 

This is one of the strongest ways to help people realize just how unacceptable racism is. It hits in the head like a baseball bat and we need to stand up with all of our strength against it. The more we make it known PRECISELY how unnacceptable it is, the more uncomfortable it becomes. Education is a strong tool. Use it in positive ways. Use it with strength.  

Here are the lyrics; 
If you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

Be it your sister, be it your brother

Be it your cousin, or your uncle, or your lover

If you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

Be it your best friend, or any other

Is it your husband, or your father, or your mother

Either change their views

Or change your friends

If you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

So if you know a racist who thinks he is your friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

Call yourself my friend

Now is the time to make up your mind

Don’t try to pretend

Be it your sister, be it your brother

Be it your cousin, or your uncle, or your lover

So if you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For our friendship to end

#NowPlaying Racist Friend – P3 Version by Naomi Pilgrim 

https://open.spotify.com/track/72OqDR7ynES3bChfTMNRzW

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Sarah Palin, one who has never been know for having a keen, inquiring mind nor the sharpest of intellects, showed her true “colors” the other day, and the Trumpettes are falling directly in line. The former governor of Alaska and Vice-Presidential nominee was quoted as saying that we should boycott the Mall of America on the grounds that, and I quote, “Santa was always white in the Bible”.

How nice of her to make me aware of that fact. Obviously there’s been a gap in my education somewhere, hard to think of where though. I guess I must have been absent on the day they taught racist idiocy.

Anyway, if you’re curious what she had to say, and actually you should read it because the Trumpettes believe every word this fool says, Here’s the link; Sarah Paling Calls To Boycott Mall of America

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This is what I hope will be the first of numerous posts about the Nakba, the “Catastrophe” in Arabic, which is generally used to describe the forced removal of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948. The anniversary, if that is the proper word is generally recognized on May 15, the day after the foundation of the state of Israel, according the Gregorian calendar, being of course, May 14, 1948. But as this very well written history points out, it didn’t begin in 1948, but some 200 years earlier. This is a very sad tale of long term oppression, of brutal imperialist  governments without a care about the people in their rule, but outside their borders. I would ask EVERYONE to read this, to ask questions, to find out what REALLY happened in 1948,, why those who were forced out of their homes and country are STILL not allowed to return. I promise it will anger you, I truly hope it will open your eyes.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2013/05/20135612348774619.html

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IMG_0667

AZIZ

It wasn’t the noose, it was the bullet.

I looked around the flat for meaning. It was sparsely furnished, with only a couple of side chairs, a table and a sofa, three seat, blue in colour, with a warm yellow woollen blanket and a pillow on it, it served as his bed. Together it barely filled an otherwise empty space. A chair lie overturned in the middle of the floor next to the broken coffee table, oak, matching the parquet floor. The length of rope dangled ominously across the chair and table. On the floor I found two pictures in wooden frames. I had seen them before, Pictures of his beloved family. Aziz showed them to anyone who came to visit, but few ever came.

The day tried to peek its way in through the windows, casting what seemed a cruel light upon what lay on the floor. As I set the telephone back into the charger, I thought back to our conversations. They often revolved around his family. How his father had taught him to be a handyman, but also pushed him to become a doctor, and he did, a very good doctor in fact. His father told him that if a man is good with his hands, if he can find the patience to work well with wood, then he has the mindfulness to do anything. He had intended to pass that along to a son but was denied the chance.

Aziz never finished telling me what happened on August 27th, 2012, around noon. They knew about the fighting that had started but it hadn’t reached Damascus yet… The unrest in the poorer areas had grown and gross violence was becoming the norm. He told me the shelling started on the other side of the city at around 8:00 a.m. They started to grab what they could quickly. Aziz went downstairs to secure the transport when the mortar hit. His eyes filled with tears when he told me about his wife and two daughters, who did not survive, and all he could do was to wave me away, unable to say more.

In the ensuing days, he tried to use his considerable skills as a doctor to help the injured but realized he had to leave Damascus when a colleague of his was kidnapped by the fighters for a 100,000£ ransom. This is not an uncommon occurrence, he tells me. He left his office, his practice, everything behind for the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The camp had been established about a month earlier and was already overpopulated. Protests were held daily about the lack of food and accommodation. Not long after his arrival he met a man who claimed that for a substantial fee he could offer him passage to Europe.

Unable to put the loss of his family behind him, Aziz was hoping for a new life here. Raised in an upper class environment in Damascus, he had never been subjected to racial harassment before. His Muslim beliefs simply did not allow for such thought, he believed. The fact that he was still waiting for his immigration paperwork to finalize when he first heard the taunts didn’t help, he knew he couldn’t react in any way or risk being sent immediately back to Damascus, which would mean certain death. This once proud man became only a shadow of his jovial, funny, intelligent self. I often wondered what his life had been like earlier in Damascus, but now he rarely left his apartment.

One Tuesday, about a month ago, he ran across a flier on the bus seat advertising a rally in support of refugees from Syria, although he didn’t speak Swedish, he was able to understand the meaning. In a rare moment, he decided to attend. It was an October afternoon, a Sunday, when the rally was held at Medborgarplatsen here in Stockholm. About 350 showed up and speeches were made, in Swedish. Although Aziz couldn’t understand, it moved him to see this. Perhaps he was misjudging Sweden, perhaps it was the open minded country he had heard about after all. Then everything changed. A group of about 25 skinheads decided to show up. What started as shouting and fist waving soon turned very violent. Aziz tried to get away, but was stuck in the crowd. Bottles and rocks were being thrown and Aziz went into a panic. Visions of his homeland overcame his logic as he started to fight back. Grabbing a stick, he swung at two of the Nazis, hitting one, Ole, across the back. Ole turned and they stood almost face to face. Fortunately, the police arrived, Ole turned away to avoid another arrest, and Aziz ran to safety. Ole made a permanent memory of Aziz, however, vowing to revenge.

Aziz was devastated. I had no idea, until I read his notes, just how deeply his sorrow rooted itself. He told of the nights of darkness, nightly visions of the explosion and the loss of his family. The aloneness and isolation he felt here in Sweden made so much worse by the fracas with Ole. He had no way out. He couldn’t practice medicine. It would take seven years to become certified, and he felt completely trapped. He had decided to end it all.

The police arrived and the ambulance, no one could understand the noose around his neck or the bullet hole in the window. What was the connection?

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I’m troubled by someone who really took me by surprise a couple of days ago and feel the need to write about it. There is a woman that I followed at the time on Twitter and also befriended on Facebook who really shocked me. It was very late last night or early morning, around 1 am, and i was doing a quick browse for any good news I could find, especially with regards to Palestine’s bid for statehood status. I found words from someone about the Troy Davis execution and couldn’t believe it!

It’s one thing to express sadness over the dreadful events leading to this death, it was tragic, it could have and should have been avoided, and i have little doubt that if he had been a white middle class male he would not have been convicted. In no way am I trying to minimize this dreadful event.  However, this person chose to finally reveal her true colors big time! She wrote, and I quote “All lazy people are white people, too. All those trashy Welfare and food stamp receiving white people living in trailer parks, driving rust bucket pickups with gun racks, Confederate flag front license plates and NASCAR stickers with seven kids who never get baths are invisible to them because it defuses this stereotype. – white people smell so bad.” and also other diatribes about how due to the execution that she now, and again, I quote “Hates all whites, and has no trust in any of them” and a couple of other tweets that have since been removed.

Needless to say, since this person had never posted anything even remotely resembling this before that I had seen, I was SCHOCKED!!  I send her messages trying to ask her to explain what she meant, was she quoting someone, or what in the hell was going on, but received no response, now I can believe that her silence could have been due to the fact that I was white. Since then I have also found that others had accused her of grievous racism on twitter earlier.

I understand the anger, but if you stop to think about it, how is this helping the situation? I decided to take a look at the problem.

In his blog Modern Racism and It’s Psychological Effects on Society, Neil Brick MA Ed describes racism like this and I quote;
“Racism is defined as an individual’s discriminatory behavior and prejudicial attitude toward people of a certain race or institutional practices (whether motivated by prejudice or not) that subordinate a certain race’s people. (Myers, 1993) Subtle prejudice may be defined as exaggerating ethnic differences, rejecting minorities for supposed non-racial reasons and feeling less admiration and affection for minorities. I will define modern racism as a subtle form of prejudice. I define it as modern because though some overt forms of racism appear to be on the decline (Myers, 1993) other more subtle forms still exist. Subtle forms entail a subconscious attitude that the holder may be fully unaware of, or one that is known and repressed, and yet influences their thoughts and behaviour. This attitude may become more conscious through education and self-exploration.”

He continues saying that modern racism is becoming more subtle, less about overt actions and more about underlying attitude. As such it is more difficult to see but more severe. No longer are people burning crosses on the front lawn, but the concept of equal employment, for example, is merely that, a concept. We create a view of being politically correct while continuing the same racist attitudes, a polite form of racism, if you will.
Racism has also become scientifically measurable. Again quoting Myers “One method which he quotes is to show a video to a group of white people containing an argument during which a white man lightly shoves a black man. Only 13% of those polled considered that an act of violence, however, if the roles were reversed then 73% found it objectionable and that the black man was acting violently.”

For the purposes of this discussion, I should also point out that I am speaking of the more private forms of racism, the institutionalized forms, that which we see in commercial advertising and media are a different issue. Of course they feed the concepts that racial stereotypes are based upon, and in many ways allow it or even encourage its continuance.

It is our tunnel vision, our inability to broaden our cultural perspective that stands most in the way of an equal multicultural society. Of course racism, and its’ opposite, are learned. To assume otherwise is as foolish as it is unconstructive. The basis of racism is fear, fear of the unknown, fear of cultural or lingual differences, and from the misunderstandings that come from the fear and inaction. It’s obvious to me that to overcome that type of fear takes growth in one’s own self-confidence.
Myers also raises the interesting question, is modern racism an act of self ego defence of those who are unaware of their own insecurities or of the effect of such beliefs and behaviours on the common psyche? The effects of being bullied by your peers for whatever reason are very well documented, and I won’t go into them in this article, but suffice it to say that the use of the word “boy” is fine when describing a child, but the word “nigger” as a label is never acceptable for use by Caucasians.

Having said all that, is ranting any help at all? There is an understandable urge for a primal scream when confronted with something as obvious and totally unacceptable as Troy Davis’ execution – but does that justify succumbing to racist slurs?It is this writers humble opinion that such indulgence is NEVER justified.  I do understand and have said many times that the American justice system is basically racist, but lashing out the way she did proves, at least to me, that she is a racist as well.

You can of course, dear reader, agree or disagree, mind you I would love your comments, and I thank you for reading.

 

 

References:
Modern Racism and It’s Psychological Effects on Society http://bilingualeducationmass.wordpress.com/category/modern-racism-and-its-psychosocial-effects-on-society-including-a-discussion-about-bilingual-education/

 

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