Category Archives: racism

Ten Things Tuesday

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Ten Eleven Twelve Things That Are Currently Pissing Me Off.

1. The media reports about Ben Roethlessberger’s accuser. OK, look – I don’t know who is telling the truth. This girl may have been assaulted or she may big a big lying liar who lies. But the media repeatedly talking about her blood alcohol level just smacks of blaming the victim and it is unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE! I had been drinking way back in 1985 when it almost happened to me. And you know what? Having a blood alcohol level below the legal limit would not have changed his intentions. It would not have made me capable of fighting off a larger, stronger person. It would not have given me eyes in the back of my head to see him silently stalking me, grabbing me, and trying to force himself on me. So, FUCK YOU, MEDIA!

2. Santonio Holmes and his stupid behavior and his even more stupid twittering.

3. The health care debate. I support health care reform, but I know there are many who don’t. And that is their right. But if you are going to oppose it, oppose it for intelligent reasons. In the past couple of days, I have heard so much nonsense. One person in particular is vocally opposed to HCR not because it affects him in any way shape or form – he won’t lose coverage or pay more money. No – he opposes it basically because it will be helping people NOT LIKE HIM. He doesn’t like the idea of health care being provided for poor people. Or sick people. Or immigrants. Nice, asshole.

4. And while we’re on the topic of health care reform – can’t we all play nice? How on earth people can call themselves “pro-life” and then call for the killing of children of those who voted for the bill, or throwing out racial slurs, or any other number of horrible, vile things? I read this recently and my head exploded.

5. A soda tax. That’s what the city is considering. A two cents per ounce tax on beverages sweetened with sugar. That would add 40 cents to a typical 20 ounce bottle and almost DOUBLE the cost of a 2-liter. This is the stupidest idea since the bajillion dollar trash cans.

6. My six year old daughter asked me if she was fat the other day. I can be self-deprecating, but I don’t do it in front of her. I don’t talk about being fat, I don’t call people fat, I don’t ask if I am fat. I blame our fucked up society.

7. People who don’t stop at stop signs. What? The? Fuck? Every single day, I see someone cruise right through, or slow down, but not stop. Seriously – how much of an effect are those four seconds really going to have on your day? And what makes you feel you are entitled to just ignore the laws that are there to protect me and my children? I swear, if any of these assholes cause me or my family any harm (or even near-harm), I will be dragging them from their car and beating the living shot out of them. I hope I can count on one of you to bail me out.

8. And while we’re on the subject of entitled assholes, what on earth makes people feel they have the right to litter? I can’t even grasp the train of thought that tells someone it is OK to just throw their trash wherever they want. When I see someone do it, I will pick up their litter and stop them, pretending to be helpful: “Excuse me – you dropped something.” I generally keep the “asshole” part in my head, so I don’t get MY ass kicked.

9. Re: Number 8 – this goes for cigarette butts, too! Why do people who wouldn’t consider throwing their (potentially highly taxed) Coke bottle out the car window not hesitate to throw their cigarette butts out? Ignoring the huge risk of fires, if every single one of the approximately 45 million smokers in the US threw out even one single butt (probably a low estimate) every day for a year, there would be a pile of them the size of over 11,000 (potentially highly taxed) 2 liter pop bottles. And since they don’t easily degrade, that pile would grow and grow. Stop it, people!

10. Facebook. I like facebook for a number of reasons. I want to punch it in the nads for even more reasons. I am sick to death of fan pages. I mean – there are a few that I find humorous, interesting and/or useful. But most fall into the categories of either a teenage fan girl (OMG, I LOVE whatever thing/person/band/etc sooooo much) or mean girl (so and so is a douche). I’m sick of looking at them.

11. And while we’re on the topic of facebook and mean girls, those fucking QUESTIONS! You now the ones – you get a notification that someone has answered a question about you and then you need to earn “coins” to see who. I hate those. For the record, friends: I have never, EVER skipped on a check, I am not tone deaf, I am aware that I need to lose weight, ditto on the shitty clothes I wear, I don’t think boxed wine is classy but that doesn’t mean I won’t drink it, I’d never pull a fire alarm as a prank, and I don’t want to hook up with YOU, either! If you are wondering about something, formspring me.

12. I was going to bitch about education (yet again) but I think that warrants its own post. I know, you’re all a-tremble with anticipation.

So – what’s pissing YOU off?

It’s My Country, Too and There Are a Lot More Like Me

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Sometimes I am envious of the “popular” bloggers – I wonder what it would be like to have lots of readers, to get lots of comments, to be admired by people you respect. But there is one good side to not being popular, and that is the lack of hate mail. I truly don’t know how people deal with it – being called names, being accused of horrible things, etc. That I don’t envy at all.

I’ve been blogging for four years now and I have received a few snotty comments here and there, but nothing particularly hateful. Well, today, that changed and I received my very first hateful comment. It was in response to this entry. An entry about NOT hating each other, ironically. I didn’t publish the comment, because I felt like it would be a big, ugly smear on what was truly meant from the heart. But I’ll tell you here what it said: “Fuck you nigger! Get the fuck out of my country!” Isn’t that precious? The commenter chose to remain anonymous, though I’m not surprised – most trolls usually do.

In the post, I was trying to express the sheer, sickening, ugliness of racism and I think he just did that in 10 words. So thanks, anonymous.

I also had a whole slew of things to say to anonymous about his character and intelligence – I was all set to express my moral outrage at such a comment. But again, I think those words tell you everything you need to know about him (or her).

Call me what you want – I really don’t care. It’s not the word. It’s the use of the word, if that makes sense. The word is just that – a word. Six letters that mean absolutely nothing if we don’t let them. It didn’t hurt me or scare or intimidate me or humiliate me in any way. But the fact that there are people out there who think it’s appropriate to use those six letters in an attempt to hurt or scare or intimidate or humiliate their fellow man. That is what bothers me. The fact that there are people out there like this, people whose words and actions and prejudices and hateful, horrible lives may actually have the effect that they want? That hurts. That there are people like this who may have an influence on our children? That is scary. That there are people like this who may be responsible for our laws or our safety or our employment or our way of life? That is intimidating. That the whole world in watching the actions of the people of this country and sadly, it’s these types of actions that get notice and reflect on us all? That is humiliating.

But still, anonymous? You fail. You fail at your pathetic attempt to wound. There may be others like you, but there are a lot more like me, and we’re better than that. We’re better than you.

40 Years and We Still Have So Far to Go

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Yesterday’s post on crap email was perfect timing. This morning I decided to check it and delete the bajillions of forwards that I had no doubt gotten since the last time I logged in. Most of the time, I don’t even read them anymore, but for some reason, I just randomly picked one to read. And what I saw made me absolutely sick.

The subject was something about Barack Obama and I thought I’d take a look. I’m so sorry I did. It was a terribly racist joke. I won’t repeat it here, because knowing what it said serves no purpose. The fact that it even exists in this day and age is what is important. Especially today – the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. One would hope that the death of this incredible, peaceful, inspiring, loving man would have served to change this country. That in 40 years, we could be far enough ahead of the kind of thinking that creates and sends forth hateful, hurtful, racist messages. One would be wrong.

I got this email from someone I am close to, someone I love. This person would never intentionally hurt someone. This person would tell you (and believe it) that they are not a racist. Sadly this kind of quiet racism is everywhere. We all know about the overt racists. Everyone has seen photos and videos and news stories about the kl@n or the crazy, gun-toting, white-p0wer militants. We’ve all heard the stories of the black man being dragged by a truck, and we’ve all seen the videos of black men being beaten by police. We’ve seen shooting rampages targeting Asians, Indians & Muslims. We watched Reginald Denny get dragged from his truck and nearly killed. We’ve seen churches and synagogues and mosques looted and burned. We know about Matthew Shepard. The point is – we all know about these people. And most of us want to distance ourselves from that sort of hate.

But the other type of prejudice is just as dangerous (and prejudice comes in many forms, but I am using racism as an example in light if this email). They are the folks who would vehemently deny any sort of racism, and really believe that they are not racist, and yet, like this sweet, caring, loving persona that I know, perpetuate it by telling a racist joke or crossing the street because a black man walking towards them, or hiring someone else, or voting for someone else because they “just aren’t ready for a black manager/doctor/president”.

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance told me they she would not be voting for Barack Obama. Her exact words were, “I am not a racist. Really, I’m not. But I don’t think I want a black president.” I hate to break it to you, pal, but you are a racist. It couldn’t be clearer to me. And really, if you feel the need to start your sentences with “I’m not a racist, but…” then it should be clear to you, too.

I have another friend who has done some of the things I have mentioned and yet goes out of her way to “not be racist”. She is very proud when she tells you that they are colorblind in their house. She gave me an example of trying to point out a person to her daughter and that she was using all these different adjectives to describe them, but never once did she say that the person was black. And her daughter had no freaking idea who she was talking about. She didn’t seem to understand that it’s OK to describe an African American person as such. She felt that since she didn’t refer tot neh person as black or African American, she must not be racist. And yet, she’ll laugh at a racist joke.

I can remember a day many years ago when I was with a relative in a restaurant and we were meeting my friend TD, who happened to be black. We were looking for her and my mom asked what she looked like. I said she’s black, about my height, long hair, etc And she cut me off at “black”, with a ssshhhhh and a slight head nod to the black man sitting nearby. I said, “it’s ok, he knows he’s black” (I knew him – he heard me and laughed), and she looked like she swallowed a cat. I told TD about it afterward and her thoughts on the subject were “White people are crazy.” I think she was right. Because I could never understand the need to be “visually” colorblind – you can’t be. Just like you can’t help but notice someone’s bright red hair, or their wheelchair, or my fat ass. You can’t not see it – it’s there. Who cares about “visual” colorblindness. It’s the internal, emotional, intellectual colorblindness that is important.

It’s OK to notice that someone is black or white or female or male or gay or Muslim or whatever. It’s OK to mention it, if it important to the story or situation. When you mention it when it isn’t, though, then maybe there’s something behind that. I was on a message board the other day and a woman was telling a story about how her husband tried to help a woman and child being abused by a man and how the man and a bystander turned on him. Sucks, right? But her story went like this: We saw an African American man yelling and manhandling a woman and child and he stepped in and the man turned and came at him and then another African American man was walking by and he started in on him, too.” See – it’s the same story, but she felt like she had to make the point of the participants’ races. My version still told you the same story – good Samaritan, man abusive to woman and child, bystander jumps in, Samaritan hurt. What does race add to that story? Not a thing that I can see except to make a point that the “bad guys” were black. Who care I they were black? I only care that they were bad. Guess what else appeared further along in this post? You guessed it “I’m not racist”.

These are just a few examples of many that come across all the time. Basically good people who really don’t believe they are doing anything wrong. Who don’t see the harm in making hurtful comments, or making judgments based on race (or sex or religion or whatever), or perpetuating hateful and incorrect stereotypes for the sake of being “funny”. They just don’t think they are doing anything wrong. But I am reminded that slave owners didn’t think they were doing anything wrong, either. Neither did Hitler.

It makes me sad that a man like Martin Luther King, Jr – an amazing, beautiful man – devoted his life to fixing this problem in America and died in vain. Sure, we have come a long way, but not long enough to say that we’ve fulfilled his dream. I’m sorry, Dr. King. Some of us are still dreaming.