Racism or Classism
I had something entirely different in mind planned for today's post but received something that made me think and wanted to share it. We all gets "those" emails, you know, the ones forwarded from your mom, friend, friend of a friend, etc. I don't do chain mail, so most of the time, I'll glance through it, check it out on snopes and either let the sender know it's a falsehood or just delete it and forget it. Recently, I got the one about Michael Richards and comments he made during a performance at the Laugh Factory (which was all caught on tape). I've always thought he was an idiot, but when you combine celebrity with idiot, you have someone who unfortunately gets a platform for his idiocy. I deleted it and forgot about it.
Today, I received an email from the son of one of those many moms who love to send out the fw emails to their children. His mom and my mom both forwarded the same email to us. Instead of deleting and forgetting about it, he responded and sent it out to the list of forwardees. I read it, asked him if I could post it, because he made some excellent points which gave me food for thought. So instead of me trying to explain, here is his response
So I got this email from my mother, a very loving a caring white person in MA. I'm sure she will be embarrassed, but I will be responding to every person that ever got this email sent to them. Oh to be a militant black youth 12 hours a day. (that's a joke about being half black) I feel that if someone has time to put together the trash I just had to read, I can put together a reply. To whoever you are sir, or madam, I hope this finds you. (you are certainly a sir, but I'm keeping an open mind)
First of all, well I'll put it like this: I'm not responding to you mom. I'm responding to the guy that made this email. So anything you read that I say is to him and not to you. (well actually its to anyone that gets a feeling in their soul of "yes!" when they read that email)
So first of all, Michael Richards didn't say this because he didn't go to court for what he said in his stand up act. He just apologized. (Here's the incident in question, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCbrEbEyheM) Now, just going from that incident in the first place we can say that what he said was very racist. Had a white man been talking through his show- he would have said very different things. Why not just say those same things? Why should it matter that he's a nigger? And for the record, 50 years ago he probably would have been strung up with a fork in his ass (that's if they even let him in the building) and really I think I could stop there... because that alone kind of proves the disparity between whites and non-whites.
But now that we have that out of the way, lets discuss what this email I am responding to specifically says. The thing is, there are many white people that are racist. There are also many black people that are racist, as well as Indians, Chinese people, Latinos, you name it. Any person that judges another individual based solely on race is technically a racist. Though for practical purpose, any individual who harbors distrust or dislike for another race is racist- it doesn't matter what you are. For our reference (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/racism) racism is defined 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.
Another definition is intolerance of other races. The interesting thing is the difference between the type of racism that groups hold. Non-whites tend use both types of racism with each other. But between whites and non-whites, the vast amount of whites tend to hold to the first definition and non-whites tend to hold to the second. In layman's, white people think black people can't learn good and black people think white people suck.And just to get a few of these other things out of the way, things that don't matter but just need to be said. White people get Martin Luther King day off too. Maybe you should just embrace him as an American hero and be proud of what he has done for your country. And apparently St. Patricks day isn't a holiday for white people, and here I could have sworn it was..
There are Asian/African/Mexican/Arab Americans and all that... and guess what?!!! EUROPEAN AMERICANS! Isn't that so exciting? Yeah I think so too, so maybe next time you are mad that Jose is really into his Mexican culture, maybe you should spend a little time checking out your roots and perhaps have some ethnic English food. Oh that's right, it sucks... and that's why they decided to eat other stuff. But wait, there's more than English food. You have French, German, Polish (I personally like the peroggi's) Italian, Greek (but wait are Italians and Greeks really white? Well they would probably not say so when put in a blanket statement including George Bush, but if you had them fill out a census they'd totally be white.) and you have Swedish food, and Spanish food (remember Spain? Lot of culture there... totally white) And that's just the food... So, maybe you shouldn't be so mad about being white and not having any culture, maybe you shouldn't have abandoned your roots. (But what actually happened was that your ancestors abandoned the culture when they came to America so that they could fit in with all the "white" people and you think that everyone else should do that now, but you actually wish you were still in touch with your own past) For the record, there are British American Clubs. I've driven past them... If you're real mad about not having a club to join then go sign up.
Now you might say, well I'm not British anymore. And that may be true. So start a cowboy club or something. Just let in cowboys. Nothing racist about that, until you start telling people who is and is not a cowboy. Start a club that involves any cultural or recreational activity whatsoever, and it is perfectly ok to exclude everyone who does not take part in that activity. That has nothing to do with race. Interesting fact, white people can go to black colleges. Crazy right? Well maybe they should work on the fact that it is called a black college and maybe many of the the professors at these schools should lose some animosity towards certain races but, they'll never say you aren't smart enough to get in based on your ethnicity. If white colleges existed, I think it would entail something else.
Interesting fact again. Do you know why black children are not often adopted by anyone that isn't black? I'll bet you think I'm going to say because white people are racist. No. Black social workers put a great deal of effort into making sure that black children are not adopted by other races especially whites. They think that the child deserves to be raised by his own. This is stupid. Very stupid. Any family that can raise a child with love and responsibility should be able to adopt any child. I make this point to show that I'm not just mad at white people.
Now lets touch on another line, " You rob us, car jack us, and steal from us." You know how sometimes black people say "who you callin 'you' people?"... well this is why. White people commit crimes too, but apparently not to whoever "us" is.Pageants... I'm not even gonna cover the pageants as racist. Pageants are foolish and objectifying. We should stop them as they come from a sexist time and would never find a foothold in today's world if it wasn't already "tradition." Nuff said.
So anyway, what is the point of all this? Where do we go from here? How can we end racism? Well the thing is, racism isn't really the problem. The smartest thing that the upper class ever did was manage to convince poor white people that they were better than black slaves, (and part of something special: whiteness) which has led us to America's interesting race problem. Our race problem is really a class problem. When the average white American Joe says "they're taking our country away" he's talking about all the undesirables of whatever sort taking the country away from him and every other god blessed American white guy- be it George Bush, Donald Trump, or Jim who works at home depot.
When Rich American Joe (the Donald Trumps you don't know) says "they're taking our country away" He's talking about poor people (and 95% of the population is poor to him, another 3% are acceptably middle) And that is why the problem with racism never really goes anywhere. Black people are not and never really were held back because they had black skin, but because they were poor and exploitable. It has carried over into just being a color thing, but for most people it would make no difference if racism went away, it would still be hard to get a job or a taxi. Black people with money tend to do very well. In fact, all people with money tend to be doing very well. The only people with a problem are the working class. And if you can't stop working today, you are working class. You probably want to believe you are middle class which is exactly what people with all the power would want you to think. Good job.
Anyway, next time you hate a person. Hate them because they are an asshole. Judge a person by their character. Next time you are mad that you get left out of the culture fest, learn about somebody else's culture, mix that sh*t up, learn about your own, or just start a new culture. "Black" culture popped up because there was a group of disembodied people that felt they had nothing to belong to-- go ahead and do the same. Now don't even get me started on why I put "" around black... actually let me just put it this way, if African Americans came from a country called Bumbum then it would be Bumbum culture indicative of people native to that geographical location, but as blacks have no unique geographical location to base their culture its just called "black" even though having the skin color doesn't mean you know anything about the culture or prescribe to it--or that people of different skin colors are not a part of it. Whereas white culture would really just mean stuff white people do and since that could be anything, not to mention arbitrary, you can't call it culture.
Oh and P.S. I looked this up after the fact because I didn't really want to look like an ass, or worse, the kind of guy who sends out emails fabricating false information.
and while I'm at it
Read books, they're good for you. Delete forwards, they're bad.
I invite anyone to respond to me.
and for my friends, I thought you would find it really funny that I did this.
Tim has a point. "Our race problem is really a class problem." And another thing, the next time you hear the Michael Richards of the world, no matter his race, creed, color or politics, spouting off about this, that and the other - just remember. "Money doesn't buy you class."I love you mom.
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree?