Race V (Conclusion)

Genetically speaking, some scientists believe that there is a very good reason why there is so little genetic diversity among large human populations: They all descend from the same group of survivors. Granted, Christians believe that the survivors in question happened to survive a flood. Scientists point to a supervolcano eruption. Point is, we are all of the human race and at some point we all share the same ancestors.

According to the Wikipedia page about the genealogical relationships of the current and former presidents of the United States of America, Barack Obama is a descendant of Edward I of England and William the Lion of Scotland, the eleventh cousin of George W. Bush, The tenth cousin of George H.W. Bush (once removed), eighth cousin of Jimmy Carter (twice removed), seventh cousin of Harry Truman (three times removed), fourth cousin of Lyndon Johnson (three times removed), and a third cousin of James Madison (nine times removed). If our former leaders can be this interconnected, then there is a possibility that most of us just as if not more interconnected. Six degrees of separation indeed. It has been estimated that as many as 150 million Americans, or half of the U.S. population are descendants of European royalty. You might not think you’re related to that other family with the same last name as yours, but chances are that you really are related, it’s just so long ago that neither of you remember.

So go ahead and talk about race, hatred, superiority, inferiority, stereotypes, intermarriage etc. It’s time to deal with our issues. Our pretending to have solved the problem isn’t helping anybody.

Race IV

Some people look to the Bible to justify their racist points of view.

Matthew 27:22-25, “22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.
      They all answered, “Crucify him!”

 23″Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
      But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

 24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

 25All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!””

Antisemitism is hatred of Jewish people. Many people pull out this verse and get all worked up about how they killed Jesus. They even agreed that it would be on their kid’s hands as well. Too bad we weren’t pay attention to this verse: “34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:34) If Jesus could ask God to forgive the Jews responsible for his death, then shouldn’t we find it in our hearts to do the same for their descendants who had nothing to do with the crime in question?

Leviticus 25:44-46, ” 44″ ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”

Slavery and racism come hand-in-hand. It was because Pharaoh feared the Israelites that he forced them into servitude. The origins of slavery pertaining to Africans are lost in time. You can enslave something you think is equal to you or it would do you as much good if you enslaved yourself. The whole superiority complex of one race over another is an old story. The Egyptians were a cohesive society long before Israel existed. The European Society was much more developed than the African society. The more advanced the society, the more less-advanced societies that came into contact with them were at risk, especially if slavery was perfectly acceptable to the greater society. Sadly, slavery still exists today. It might not be as recognizable or cruel as its past forms, but so long as people are not free it is an evil we have to fight against especially if people justify it by pointing to Bible verses.

Galatians 3:26-29, “26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Race III

One of the places were race matters most today is in any of our prisons. Most residents keep apart from other races. Many others wear tattoos that identify them as members of various racist groups or subscribers of various racist philosophies. I understand that prison is the place where you do whatever you have to in order to get by. If you did something to get you there, you’ll do whatever it takes to get out of there in one piece. Of course, if you are in prison, racism is the least of your problems.

“I think he was doomed to be a failure – being biracial and all.” Someone said of another in a conversation I might have eavesdropped as I was going toward my destination. Is belonging to two races a disadvantage? I think not. With anything it will be difficult to adjust, find your true identity, get over any confusion, and deal with others who will make fun of you. But if you can get past that intact, then there are a few advantages. Certain scholarships and other considerations, employment, if he ever gets tired of being one race, he has the other to fall back on. No body can help their parents, their race, or their circumstances, but they can help their attitude. It’s not as if biracial people haven’t accomplished great things. Isn’t our own president, in fact, biracial?

Race II

Racism is a learned behavior. If your words and actions aren’t outwardly racist, sometimes your behavior gives you away. You kids will grow up knowing who your friends are. Will they see that your friends are mostly like you? Will they see that your friends are a diverse group? Will they see you working side by side with those you were silently taught to keep away from? If you aren’t taught to be racist from day one, you have to be taught not to be racist from day one.

Schools that are in communities made mostly of one race ought to go out of their way to teach kids to be respectful of all races. When a teacher notices a racist statement carved into the lunch table ought to scratch it out. I don’t care if that table was from the fifties or sixties, it ought not be allowed. Teaching tolerance isn’t enough. Being comfortable with coexistence is needed. Our differences aren’t our weakness, but they help us celebrate our commonalities. Every single ethnic group that has ever lived in the States (with a few peaceable exceptions) have lived, fought for, and died under the Red, White, and Blue in most every war we’ve ever fought. If we can fight a war together, then we can win the war on Racism together.

It starts with refusing to blame generations past. They did what they thought was right in their time. It’s time to do what is right in our time, right here and right now. It starts with refusing to continue blaming your problems on the actions of people who are of the other race. That’s what Hitler did that lead to the murder of millions. Your problems are more or less of your own making, or of everybody’s collective making. Either way, it will take effort on your part and on everybody’s part to solve all our problems. Taking time out to blame others doesn’t get us any further down the path of solving the problem in question. It starts with recognizing the value inherent in every individual. Nobody is worthless. Everybody can contribute. It starts with recognizing that equality doesn’t allow for superiority or inferiority. It starts with teaching the young to respect all people and with forgiving the old for their failure to respect all people. It starts with making a choice to overcome that which you’ve been taught with what is right and true and just. It starts and ends with you.

The Race Nobody Wins

Nobody knows the origins of racism. So long as different ethnic groups have existed, so have hatred between them. It isn’t just about hatred of others or superiority, but it’s a means to power. The play book goes like this:
1.) Blame your current problems on some other ethnic group.
2.) Be a good speaker and whip the crowd into a frenzy.
3.) Tell the crowd to vote you into power so you can solve the problem.
4.) Fix the problems and deal with the ethnic group quietly.
5.) Blame any problems on another ethnic group…

Yoda once told the young Anakin Skywalker, “Everything! Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.”

It is the year 2010. Our president is biracial. One would think Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream had finally come true. Yesterday, a rally was held in a park celebrating the white anglo-saxon protestant. A few months ago, the president mended fences between the police department and a college professor by drinking beer in a garden. For being in the post-racial era, I have never in my twenty years of existence seen as much trouble with race issues over the last year or so than ever before. We might have come a long way since the Civil Rights Act was passed, but we haven’t gone as far as we think. We still have a way to go. It is time to talk about race.

Who benefits from racism? Certainly not those on the receiving end. As far as those on the giving end, only the people in power can use hatred to their advantage. Have you noticed that they never directly get their hands dirty? Which leaves those actually being racist. They gain acceptance, reputation, etc. among their peers and are foolish to everybody else. Racism is a stepping stone to genocide, nothing but murder on a mass scale. In the end, nobody wins by being racist. It is usually only a matter of time before the givers are on the receiving end of racism.

Speak Freely

I was recently watching a program about the history of Nazism in America. One of the earliest leaders decided to deny that the Holocaust had ever happened. A news program interviewed a bystander who was also a holocaust survivor. The upset man stated, “Free speech is alright, but not hatred against man.” (Sometimes I wonder if generations past haven’t talked much about the sixties because they are ashamed of what they did. Know this, there is forgiveness for those who would ask for it.)

Awhile ago, I mentioned the history of the phrase about shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. When there isn’t a fire, it’s deadly. When there is a fire, it’s usually worse. In the panic that ensues many people are trampled upon and the like. But what if a man was standing on a soapbox shouting to a crowded street corner? Does free speech protect him no matter what he says? In theory, yes. In practice, no. At certain events, to speak your alternate point of view can get you into trouble. If you really want to protest anything, you must enter a free speech zone. One free speech zone was a concrete reinforced chain link fence some five miles away from the event they were protesting. If they can now tell you where, when, and how to practice your Free Speech rights to protest, will they one day declare what you can say? Who can know for sure?

When your opinion is agreeable to the event you are attending, there is no problem. When your opinion is not, you risk legal issues. We’ve all heard the news reports of arrested pastors and guests escorted out of ethnic festivals. Do we really have a right to kick out people who don’t agree with us? If a racist wanted to make himself heard at a tolerance gathering, would he not be making a fool of himself? If an atheist wanted to participate at an interfaith festival, should he not be included? If a man wanted to restore the original tribal lands of the people who were here first, should he not have the right to say so?

I supposed the problem lies in the sorts of people who are good orators. These people, who by virtue of speech alone, can whip a crowd into frenzy. They draw people to them. This skill can be used for good or evil. Nazis leaders use it for evil. Winston Churchill used it to fight that evil. It’s not only the orators, but the listeners. The ones that easily get caught up in the emotions of just being there.

So it all comes down to Free Speech. For it to truly be free, that means one must risk it’s proper use and its misuse. One must put up when another has the mouth of a sailor or even the mouth of a preacher. The moment you say, “You can’t say that!” Is the moment you invite others to tell you what you can and cannot say. Now that is hardly speech at all, and it would most definitely not be free. One thing I do agree with, is that hatred against man is certainly nothing to admire, no matter who is hated or who does the hating.

Are you mad at me?

(So I’ve been a little sporadic. Part of that is writer’s block combined with a side of laziness. Part of that is because of the things going on around here. For one, construction on the outside of the house is completed and we are now focusing on the inside, which is my area of expertise. Two, my sister, a former exchange student, requested that one of us be present for her wedding, so I’m doing what I can to prepare for that. Finally, I am still training and have seen some positive results. I’m optimistic about the next few months.)

I can’t stand it when people ask questions like that. If you aren’t mad and you say no, they don’t believe you. If you are mad and say yes, they get offended. If you aren’t mad and say yes just to mess with them, they get offended. If you are mad and say no, they still don’t believe you. The question is usually followed by, “Did I do something wrong?”

In those simple questions I hear:
pride – I am a wonderful person, you have no right to be mad at me.
selfishness – I have a problem with the fact that you have a problem with me.
insecurity – I feel bad that you are mad at me, it bothers me to know that you are mad at me.
inconsideration – I can’t understand why you’re mad at me, I was only doing something I felt was important.

Perhaps the problem isn’t so much the question, but the asker. What are their motives? Do they really care that they did something to make me upset with them, or are they asking because they can’t stand it that I am mad at them? Why can’t I be upset that them? Don’t I have every right to feel that way?

The people I know who don’t need to ask that question would not have carelessly done the thing to cause the anger. When they do slip up, they begin with: “I’m so sorry, forgive me.” How can you be mad at somebody who genuinely asks for your forgiveness?