Though I have become a mostly peaceful person in my older age, there are still two things that will warrant an immediate,and most often, violent reaction; An assault on my family and an assault on my character.
I think the accusation of being a "racist" is being tossed around too loosely these days. This is a very serious , hurtful and offensive accusation to be tossed around the way the liberal left does. It's mostly done as an "end all" to a conversation about ideals or policy that they do not agree with. The use of this term, along with the word "ignorant" are immediately thrown out to either justify their stance or discredit their counterparts ideas.This isn’t to say that the conservative right do not have their own “end all” words or accusations, just that this one, in particular, is a very horrible one to easily (and most times, unjustly) tag a person's character with.
"is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. Today, the use of the term "racism" does not easily fall under a single definition.
The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different in their social behavior and innate capacities and that can be ranked as inferior or superior.[The Holocaust is the classic example of institutionalized racism which led to the death of millions of people based on their race. Researchers have found that teaching students about the Holocaust may require a more in-depth coverage."
Racism is not a joke and it isn’t an easy accusation to ignore. When you call someone a racist, you are putting out into the world that the recipient of the accusation has an inner hate of anything and everything relating to a particular race. Furthermore, you are claiming that this person is an overall hateful person ( one must conclude that anyone that is capable of hateful feelings towards humanity of a different race must also be easily bigoted of anyone different than themselves).
That’s a lot of hate. Racism in our country’s past has long been a stain in our history. Though the Emancipation Proclamation freed those subjected to slavery in the 1800s, racism continued in the south for many decades. Living in the segregated south came with many dangers. Violence towards blacks was easily ignored and beatings, rapes and murders were very common. During Hitler's reign, Jews were rounded up and killed in the most horrendous ways imaginable. The Irish were also subject to hate and slavery in our country in the 17th century. Many states passed legislation barring Irish settlers from moving into their states. Racism is a horrible, horrible ideology. It has long been a black mark in human history and continues to be so today, however, this does not to mean that anybody who disagrees with an idea that is in some sort of way relating to a group of a different race , is a racist.
In today's political spotlight, the case of border security and proper vetting of immigrants of terror supporting countries has highlighted the news. This has sparked many debates , rightfully so I suppose, however some of these debates have triggered an excessive use of the accusation of racism being thrown around. Take the Travel pause that was passed by President Trump. This bill put a temporary halt to the issuance of Visas to 7 Countries with close ties to terrorist networks. This list was comprised by President Obama in 2011 and reinserted by President Trump, along with additional incentives, at the start of his presidency.
Some have claimed this move to be discrimination to Muslims and the Middle Eastern people ( completely ignoring the 40+ muslim majority countries who are not on this list) Others would contend that this has nothing to do with racism or xenophobia(a word, may I add, that most of the people who freely use it now, never knew it existed until they were told to use it.) They would claim that the vetting process currently being used has been too lenient, possibly dangerous and that a temporary pause to those receiving entry into our country from the countries on the list may be in order to allow a review into how this process could be continued in a more responsible and somewhat safer way. No matter whether you support or do not support this policy, it is clear to see that there can be an intelligent debate on the pros and cons without trying to label a person who supports this policy, a racist.
The second political policy that has been highlighted recently is the Border Security measures that have been passed under President Trump, including the building of a wall separating Mexico from America. Again, this is a policy that has been championed by every president in the last 20 years. This is an issue I take very personally, being of Mexican descent. On one hand, I understand the difference between Legal Immigration and Illegal Immigration. I think those who who can not separate one from the other are engaged too intimately with their ideology. I do believe in being a sovereign country and believe that we must protect our country from anybody looking to do it harm, either socially, or economically. I also understand that there is already many security instruments being used along the border, including fences, barricades and security forces. Though I don’t know for sure that a wall would be helpful, effective or pointless,(neither do the people who are opposed to it) I understand that erecting one, would be no different than the measures we already have in place. I consider this to be an upgrade of the measures we already have.
My second position extend from the first. No, I don’t believe that everybody that is flowing into this country illegally is seeking to do harm to us, at least not intentionally. I know this because I know these people. I know some of them personally, I have spoken to them, I've interacted with them, I’ve heard their stories, I’ve been acquainted with their families. You see, unlike most people who debate this subject so passionately, I do so with real knowledge of the people that are affected. Though I now live in Hammond,Indiana, a suburb of Chicago, I was not raised here. I am a second generation American on my Mother's side. She was granted her citizenship after being married to my father, a Chicano ( American born with Mexican heritage) I was born and raised on the border of Texas and Mexico. My mother and two of my siblings live there now along with many other family members. I have seen first hand the onslaught of immigration and the terrors and heartbreaks of illegal immigration. I have looked into their eyes, seen their fears and have felt their rage. I have seen them come from behind cars, begging to not be turned in. I have heard their stories of trying to go further north where their chances of being caught and sent back was less. We have hooked people trying to swim across the River Grande while fishing. I have seen Border Patrol agents ( most of which are Chicanos) arrest and deport illegals, I have seen soldiers shoot into the water from the bridges, attempting to deter swimmers from crossing into America. I have also seen the criminals that have entered into the country illegally. I have seen their drug dealings, I have seen their violence, I have been chased by them and confronted by them.
You see, when I discuss situations like these, I am able to do so from, not only a position of logic, and knowledge but from very intimate and personal experiences, having been raised on the border and from being of Mexican descent. I am fortunate to have had the experiences that I did and even more grateful for having been friended by many people of many different races.
Yes, I have experienced racism. Yes, I have experienced prejudice. Yes, I have been targeted by police and falsely accused, and yes, Racism is real , and though, in my opinion, it is nowhere as prominent in this country now as it was 50 years ago, ( yes, I'm serious, read a fucking book) it is very much still present. Still, I do not and will never cast a generalization to anybody because of the, sometimes negative, experiences that I have had.
The term racist is a very powerful one and one I take very seriously. Yes, I do have many different ideas on policy and politics and yes, some of them are debatable, especially to those who are strict followers of ideology. I have always and will always leave room for intelligent discussion, however, if a person becomes so bold as to ever, seriously accuse me of being a racist, the way I have seen some do to other people so easily, I promise that my retort will be a swift and extremely violent one.
In closing , consider every other possibility before coming to the conclusion that the person you are addressing is ,in fact, a racist, and consider the history and atrocities that you are now accusing this person of being a part of. I like to think the best in people before I consider the worst. I think lots of people who speak and think from a position of logic are too easily characterized as being apathetic or bigoted. Much to the time, neither are true. Remember that making any accusation without having any real knowledge of the life and experiences of the person you are accusing will not only make you look like an ignorant asshole, it may also get your ass kicked.
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Don't be afraid.... That ringing you hear in your ears is just a bit of ...
The views expressed at Braynnoise.com are those of the authors only. You are not required to agree with or even read so if you get bent out of shape about his views for any reason, that's your business.