Here is a Facebook post I put up, a thoughtful response from a reader, and my response to his response.
A columnist named Mark Purdy in our local paper said the Washington Redskins NFL team’s mascot name, Redskins, is based on a racial slur.
Uh, before political correctness, team owners chose their mascot name from among the animals, people, or natural phenomenon that they thought represented strength, courage, speed, or a regional or ethnic group of which they were proud. Team owners did not choose racial slurs as the name of their team. They picked cougars, braves, hurricanes, Fighting Irish, Phillies, patriots, mustangs, etc. The names Indians, braves, Seminoles and redskins were chosen because the choosers admired the fighting spirit and courage of American Indians.
The extreme eagerness of some groups—mainly Indians and blacks —to use electron microscopes and the most paranoid reasoning to take offense at all manner of innocuous things is breathtaking. View member Joy Behar once asked Whoopi Goldberg if Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) was racist. No, explained Whoopi, it refers to the retail businesses who rely heavily on Christmas sales to make a profit for the year finally going into the black because of gift buying. And the self-righteousness of the bullhorn priests of political correctness, like Purdy is similarly jaw-dropping.
Nouveau heresy hunters like Purdy have gotten the Stanford Indians to become the Stanford Cardinal? (the color not the bird—I guess they were afraid “reds” might be confused with the school’s ideology). Dartmouth started out as a school for Indians. Their original mascot? The Indians, duh. Now they are the Big Green. The Big Green what?
Seems like Purdy ought to let the people of DC decide whether they want to be similarly nutty about avoiding offending whose whose profession is finding things to be offended about. Please note that a push to force Florida State to stop calling its teams the Seminoles was laughed out of existence. NCAA called it off, in part because the Seminole tribe itself opposed changing the name.
Patrick Jacques Good point John - I wrote an article on this a few weeks ago https://www.facebook.com/PatrickLJacques?ref=hl...
My take on racism in Europe and America
Last weekend, a security guard followed me around in a big sport apparel store. I was looking for a knee brace.
My ego was hurt.
I’m 35 years old. I’m married. I have a child. I make a decent living. I give to every cause I can afford to give.
Why would he follow such an honorable citizen as me…? (I think very highly of myself, I know ;-))
Is it because I’m dark?
Was he a racist?
I doubt it. You know why? Because he looked just like me.
I tell you why I think he was following me.
It’s because, sadly, the majority of the people who get caught stealing in this area look kind of like me.
Since the guard cannot follow everybody, he follows the guy who, based on his experience, is the most likely to cause trouble.
And to be totally transparent, I had not shaved, I was wearing beat up sweat pants, I had flip-flops on, and a tee-shirt I’ve been wearing for 15 years which probably did not help.
Can I blame him for following me? I don’t think it would be fair.
Who knows? In his place, I might have done the exactly same thing.
So here is my point:
No matter what color you are, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes before jumping to conclusions as to what his or her motives are.
I did not enjoy being followed but I recognized the guy was just trying to do his job.
Before I left the store, I asked him: "man, were you following me?"
He said: "why?". He seemed embarrassed.
I said: "because I see you everywhere I go"
He said apologetically: "no, I was not following you".
I said: "alright friend, have a good one!"
I think he was following me. But I had a hard time holding it against him. He did not mean any harm.
Now, is there such thing as racism? Yes.
Racism exists. It exists among all races.
But today, I can’t help but to wonder if most (not all of course) of the racism going on in Europe and America is not mostly fear-based (you assume the other side hates you or wants to harm you, so you hate the other side).
Let’s take the example of racism against black people:
Nelson Mandela is probably the world’s most admired man still living. He is black.
The most admired athletes in the world are black (in fact, 4 of the 5 highest paid athletes in the world are black, I just checked)
Nearly half of the 10 top selling music artists in the world are black.
The most successful talk show host in the history of television is black.
Will Smith was the best paid actor in the world at one point. He is black.
Even the president of America is black.
It’s difficult for me to believe that a big part of the non-black population hates black people just because they are black.
I think we, black people, or at least some of us, need to try considering certain facts before drawing conclusions about how people feel about us.
And when some people do seem to treat us unfairly, before assuming it’s because we are black, it might be worth asking ourselves:
"Did I or any of my peers do something that may have caused certain people to feel and act in certain ways towards me, even though they don’t know who I am?"
Now, to my non-black friends:
I know some of us, black people, can drive many of you non-black people NUTS by seeing evidence of racism everywhere!
I know some of you are thinking:
"Watta h… are these people problems? Will they ever take any responsibility for anything? With them, it’s always somebody else’s fault!"
"I’m sick and tired of hearing these people crying and complaining."
So let me try to explain something to you:
No people in recent history have suffered more abuse, trauma, discrimination and humiliation than black people both in Africa and America (some of it self-inflicted, I know, but still).
Now I know some of you are thinking right now:
"There you go again! I’m tired of hearing that same old story."
"What do I have to with this?"
"Why do I have to pay for this?”
I understand how you feel! I really do! But, please try, just for a second, to understand where we, black people come from.
What happened in the past is NEVER a legitimate excuse for behaving irresponsibly in the present.
And I’m in no way trying to make excuses or trying to justify ANY unacceptable behavior.
But I believe that when we get even just a glimpse at where the other side comes from, it helps interpret his/her behaviour which can go a long way towards improving relationships.
Look, a woman who has been cheated on in the past will often see signs of cheating in her current relationship that may not be there.
A man who has been to war may continue to fear for his life years after returning home.
That does not make them freaks. This is how most people react to trauma and abuse.
"If it happened once, it’ll probably happen again. Next time it happens, I’ll be ready for it".
That’s how the brain functions.
And just as sad as it is true, parents tend to pass on their fears to their children who pass them on to their own children, and so on.
So please, my non-black friends, understand why sometimes, black people can be extremely sensitive when issues involving races arise even when they have never, themselves, been victimized.
Please understand why sometimes it’s hard for us black people to be 100% objective when it even only just looks like one of us has been discriminated against.
Please understand why for many of us, it’s hard to even consider that perhaps we may have a part of responsibility in whatever is happening to us!
As a people, it is sad to say, but black people’s cup is full. They have taken all the crap they could take.
And when your cup is full, when your heart is full of pain and anger, your reasoning is not always balanced.
"Why should I have to pay for this?" you’re probably asking yourself.
You shouldn’t have to pay for anything.
Of course, you should never allow a person, no matter what that person’s color is, cross your boundaries.
You should never accept behaviors that are unacceptable.
But what I want to tell you my non-black friends is this:
When you see us overreact, try not to take it personal, it’s our pain coming out!
It has nothing to do with you!
Are we, black people blameless? Absolutely not! We have our issues, and some of these issues are extremely serious.
But again, I believe that having some understanding of what goes on in the mind of the other side ALWAYS HELPS TO IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS.
To make progress, we need, on all sides, people who are patient and forgiving even when it seems beyond the capacity of any human being to be patient and forgiving.
This can only happen when and where there is compassion and understanding.
These are real issues that all of us have been handed down, that none of us can be blamed for, that will not easily be solved, and that we must find a way to resolve.
So I repeat, before you jump to conclusions, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
This is my advice to people of all colors.
I, John T. Reed, like most of what Jacques said but I disagree with some of it.
Blacks were right to want certain laws repealed: those that authorized slavery, segregation in government settings, and discrimination by race in government employment. Done in 1865 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other laws.
I do not agree with imposing anti-discrimination laws on private businesses and colleges. As Milton Friedman said, discrimination based on irrational criteria is its own punishment. For example, if the Philadelphia Phillies don’t want to have any black players, that is their right. It would probably mean they will have fewer victories and few, if any, black fans. No need for the government to get involved. Plus giving blacks and other “disadvantaged” minorities the right to sue over discrimination has clearly given rise to all sorts of distortions from phony suits to bending over backwards to let blacks misbehave to blacks slacking off in studies and work behavior to outsourcing to automation, etc.
I also oppose affirmative action and minority set asides which are just racism under new management to use Thomas Sowell’s phrase. (Sowell was a student of Friedman’s) The correct standard is color blindness well articulated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
The election of Barack Obama was hailed as the realization of King’s dream. The hell it was. Obama is president because of the color of his father’s skin. The content of his character is best summarized by his per-presidntial resume, which is essentially blank. There is not a snowball’s chance in La Jolla that Obama would be president now if everything about him were identical except for the color of his father’s skin.
Jacques requests that we whites be patient with them regarding seeing racism everywhere in everything.
Black Hoover Institute Fellow Shelby Steele said, “The civil rights fight is over. We won.” He is quite correct. Most prominently, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Sowell is also at the Hoover Institute)
Blacks seem to take for granted another little thing 19th-century white Americans did: 640,200 white Americans on the Union side were killed or wounded in the American Civil War which freed the slaves.
But what we have found is that a great many blacks did not want the equality they said they wanted. They wanted special treatment—racism under new management. They said they wanted an end to segregation, then, almost the next day, they segregated themselves as much as any Deep South Woolworth’s luncheonette counter in high school, college, and military dining hall tables.
The plain fact is that many blacks today are actually extremely unhappy that racism in America against blacks has disappeared with regard to laws. They truly want to turn back the clock to the days of segregation and Tuskeegee and all that because they are more interested in having something to bitch and complain about than they are in equality.
One claim is there is still racism in America. Honey, there is still everything in America, and everywhere else and there always well be. If you are going to demand hand-outs and special treatment untul there is no racism in Amercia, you are going to demand handouts and special treatment forever—which appears to coincide with empirical observation. You will never be satisfied.
Laws cannot cure all ills. The aspects of racism which should be the subject of laws—segregation and discrimination in government settings—have been legislatively fixed. The way for blacks to fix the rest of racism in American is to behave better, integrate, intermarry, and—pardon me, be patient.
And join the freaking club. How in the name of God did blacks get the idea they are the only ones on earth who do not get treated fairly? My wife and kids have been discriminated against by affirmative action. I was explicitly discriminateid against by two girls who said they did not want to date me because of my lack of Jewish (in one case) or Armenian (in the other) “ethnicity.” A guy cut in line in front of me once at a West Point snack bar.
Nobody know de trouble I seen…
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed almost 50 years ago. The applicability of the word “patient” has long since passed. When one is too patient for too long with people, they violate the coaches saying
What you tolerate, you encourage.
Whites have tolerated black whining and complaining and phony accusations of racism and race hustlers like Sharpton and Jackson and Wright and Obama for not only too long, but far too long.
The blacks who are still whining about rasicm need to grow up. Move on with their lives. Whites need to tell them that and stop tolerating and thereby encouraging more whining and never-ending demands for handouts and special treatment.
There are about 200 countries now. Pick one and live there. They will almost all pick the US—which very much begs the question of “Well then, what is all the whining about?”
And then there is this argument about the reason we whites don’t understand why blacks whining about racism is never ending is because we have never been black, never walked in their shoes. Bullshit! I read the book Black Like Me when I was in my early twenties. It was written in 1961 by a white Dallas, TX native named John Howard Griffin. Here are some Wikipedia comments about the book’s author:
In the autumn of 1959, John Howard Griffin went to a friend's house in New Orleans, Louisiana. Once there, under the care of a dermatologist, Griffin underwent a regimen of large oral doses of the anti-vitiligo drug Methoxsalen, trade name Oxsoralen, and spending up to fifteen hours daily under an ultraviolet lamp.
Griffin was a white native of Dallas, Texas and the book describes his six-week experience traveling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man.
Race hustlers will immediately say reading that book is not enough. Actually, yes it is. I also have spent time with blacks as fellow students, fellow soldiers, fellow coaches, and had them as subordinates, peers, and superiors for 50 years. I have read other books like the Autobiography of Malcolm X (while I was in Army Ranger school being deprived of food and sleep and driven to carry a heavy pack and rifle for 10,000 meters a day school—kind of a slave-like experience) and heard a zillion blacks talk about their experience including the very moving Alex Haley Roots experience.
The notion that it is absolutely impossible for us whites to understand what it is like to be black in spite of all the efforts many of us have made is simply a lie. When they let their guards down, the black race hustlers admit that people are all the same. I know. I heard that from black soldiers in Vietnam, black athletes, black singers, comedians, etc.
Well, which is it? We laughed when Bill Cosby told jokes about growing up as a kid and being told to “go long” in a street football huddle or getting in trouble for drinking directly out of the water bottle in the frige because we whites had experienced those things, too. Blacks who say we can never understand what it’s like to be them are bullshitting us, maybe sincerely, but it’s bullshit. Either we are all the same—which DNA and other science says is generally the case, or we are not. Too many blacks are trying to argue both sides of that according to which suits their purpose of the moment
Jacques says blacks have gotten the most crap. Really? Then why did my Irish older relatives tell me when I was growing up that the Irish did?
When I was younger, Jews seemed to claim the title of the world’s biggest victims, pointing mainly to Hitler. When I was young, Jews seemed to overreact a lot to some teenagers who couldn’t spell Nazi putting a swastika on a synagogue. The swastika painters were probably just using that symbol to get their vandalism on the evening news. Painting, say, a curse word would not have accomplished that. To hear many Jews of that era react, every such swastika meant another Hitler was on the verge of taking over the country.
No, they weren’t. Hitler killed himself in 1945. Before he killed himself he killed the antisemitism brand. More recently, Jews generally no longer react that way. World War II is over. The Jews, among others, won. And unlike many blacks, they now act like it.
How come Jews go over their persecution complex when the persecution stopped, but many, maybe most, blacks have not? I don’t know the answer, but I do know it is purely a personal problem of those blacks, not anything that any whites have the slightest thing to do with.
The late, liberal senator Patrick Moynihan famously said in 1969 to his then boss President Nixon
The time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from a period of 'benign neglect.' The subject has been too much talked about. The forum has been too much taken over to hysterics, paranoids, and boodlers on all sides. We need a period in which Negro progress continues and racial rhetoric fades.
Either that was not tried or it didn’t work.
I propose a new approach mindful of the fact that 50 years of patience with black whining has accomplished absolutely zero.
Next time a black grievance professional whines about racism holding blacks back, the nearest white should tell him,
Oh, shut up! We’ve been listening to that crap for 50 years and we’re fed up with it. We gave you everything you were legitimately entitled to and more, yet your demands never stop. Go get a job. Raise a family. Compete like a self-respecting man or woman for your piece of the pie. No more handouts or special treatment. You get treated the same as us. If you don’t like it, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out to a better country. And if you cannot find a better country, why can’t you see that that proves your neediness and list of grievances long ago became absurd?
Patience, like everything else, is only a virtue when applied moderately. Too much of anything is a bad thing.
John T. Reed
Here is an email from a reader:
Another really good article. Anyone who complains of racism/discrimination in this country needs to visit countries outside the U.S. There, they will find that any "ill will" offered in America based on skin color is but a drop in the ocean compared to the rampant and, in many cases, VIOLENT racism that exists in other areas of the world. What we currently have in the U.S., compared to other countries, is best described as "minor" or "minimal."
Being married to a woman from Mexico City, I have personally been in danger in various areas of Latin America based on those people's hatred of the White Man in general, Americans in particular, and their rage that a "paisana" would "step outside the race" and marry a "gringo." Experiences ranging at the low end of being refused service to, at the high end, blatant, profanity-laced insults to my face and offers to fight. And I have seen light-skinned Latin American people discriminate against dark-skinned Latin American people, or abuse/mistreat them because they come from a poor section of town or a villiage outside civilization. Don't see much of that going on in the U.S.A. today. Maybe in backwoods, redneck shitholes in the deep South after the sun sets, or in an inner-city ghetto, but not in a "normal" everyday situation.
And try the Middle East--where, at least per my knowledge, everyone comes from pretty much the same ethnic group--but they kill one another based on differences in religion (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--all of whom espouse "thou shalt not kill" in their Holy Books).
Same exists in the Pacific Rim. And don't get me started on Africa--where entire groups are wiped out by other groups/warlords based on skin shade, nose width, etc. And when I say wiped out, I don't mean followed around a store or refused service--I mean heads, arms, legs, etc. chopped off and the female members of your family raped and murdered (and maybe not in that order).
Interesting to note that the truly destitute poor in this country are usually the recipients of Government money for which they don't have to work . . . but rather than use this money to clean up the house or look for a job, the monthly handout is used for alcohol, drugs, guns, cell phones, tennis shoes, and bling/tattoos. Not, of course, for birth control . . . so, plenty of kids being born, who also take the "dole" and grow up hating the White Man and complaining about discrimination . . . whilst continuing to not contribute to society. Which is funny when you consider how many White people are in this destitute situation as well, but since they can't claim that the White Man is discriminating against them, they usually blame the "Government," which, by the way, is the agency providing them with their money.
I agree with you whole-heartedly: embrace the goodness that exists in America and shut the hell up. If you want to see "real" racism, travel to another country. If you want respect, stop living like a piece of crap, take control of your own life, and make something of yourself. But stop trying to justify your personal misery based on events which took place many years before you were born.
My ancestors (White) fled from Lithuania, Ireland, and Wales because the ruling parties at the time (also White) were killing off their particular class of society, justified, of course, by either religion or politics. Should I be vehemently opposed to White people, because White People killed off my ancestors? Hundreds of years ago? Doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Maybe everything that happens within the U.S. is not ideal and can be improved upon . . . but, believe me, it is a whole heck of a lot better here than it is everywhere else in the world.
I worked for an Aussie company for a year. They absolutely HATED Americans (and told us so to our faces) and said that they only tolerated us for work in the U.S. and Canada because we were "cheap" labor--compared to what it would cost to fly someone in from Australia, room and board, rental car, etc. Us Yanks LOATHED working there. I do remember that they expressed an almost-universal disgust for the Aboriginal people--whom they had brutally almost exterminated, much more violently than what I've read about in the U.S. Vs. Native Americans. Never met any Aboriginals--but I heard they keep pretty much to themselves in their own societal groups--often far away from the White Man. I had a pretty bad experience with Australian people and do tend to avoid them here in the U.S. But I don't "hate" them.
Steve Harvey, the comedian, did a bit about his trip to Africa. He said that no black person should ever call themselves anything other than "American," certainly not "African-American," because no black person from the U.S. could survive an hour in that country, save on a tour or safari. You can probably find it on YouTube--it is really hilarious. He says that nobody in the U.S. should take for granted what we have here.
My friend from Sierra Leone said the same thing. Which is why he married a California girl and lives in San Diego. He always expressed shock at how black people behave here--nothing like Africa. And my wife says the same thing about Hispanics in this country. Funny thing--in Mexico, the people don't consider U.S. Hispanics to be "Mexican." They actually call them "Hispanos de los Estados Unidos" and look down their nose at their tattoos, cholo shirts, do-rags, and excessive, garish cosmetics. My mother-in-law actually corrected one one time--told him, "you're not Mexican--you were born in the U.S., which makes you a Gringo." Plus she could hardly understand him--because he spoke Spanish like 50 Cent the rapper speaks English--knowwha-ahm sayin'? My wife actually speaks in English with most American Hispanics--because their Spanish is so bad it is almost unintelligible. The only time you see them moving to Mexico is to avoid U.S. law enforcement.
People really need to count their blessings, not their problems. Particularly when there are so many folks in other countries who would LOVE to live here--racism and all--to avoid being killed or enslaved in their native lands.