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Racist behavior has created quite a spectacle over the past couple of weeks.  First we had the unbelievable comments of  an American "patriot" and model of rugged individualism, Cliven Bundy, followed closely by the hateful words of a "wonderful example" of business acumen and team ownership, Donald Sterling.  While the conservative media and political elite initially hailed Bundy as a hero, as soon as his racist comments left his lips, they started to run for the hills.  In Sterling's case, there was virtual universal condemnation as soon as the tapes of his despicable remarks became public.  The behavior of the public and the media seemed to confirm that racism is simply no longer acceptable in America.  But is that really the lesson here?  Is it more accurate to say that unrefined, blatant racism is no longer acceptable in America, but racism in any other name, in fact, is pervasive?

We live in a world of instant communication where words uttered carelessly travel at the speed of light.  It is, furthermore, a world of "political correctness"  and a 24 hour news cycle where those careless words can end a  career, political or otherwise.    It is therefore, not surprising to see the reaction to the Bundy and Sterling mutterings.  Yet to believe that with this  universal condemnation we have seen an end to racism is naive.  It goes along with the thinking that now that we have elected a black President, racism is over in America.  The truth is that racism has taken on many new identities over the past few years.  We have seen it behind the camouflage of the need to tighten voter registration laws based on disingenuous and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.  We have seen it behind the mask of a need to secure our borders as our Congress refuses to pass immigration legislation.  We have seen it in the ever tightening and diminishing availability  of women's health and abortion clinics under the guise of a concern for the quality and safety of women's health services.  We have seen it in Congressional refusal to act on an increase in the minimum wage under the shield of misinformation regarding its impact on jobs and small business.  Why am I calling these actions and acts racism?

Racism in my opinion is the willful discrimination against any identifiable group.  That includes all minorities, women, the young and the elderly.  In every case listed above, the overwhelming negative impact is on one or all of these groups, while at the same time, the status quo is clearly to the advantage of those in political and economic power.  In broad terms there has been a concerted effort to keep the poor and the disenfranchised poor and disenfranchised.  At the same time there is an effort to keep the Federal Government as far away from these issues as possible to allow the states to establish their laws based on local mores and the desires of their own power elite.  It brings back memories of the old "states right's" battles of the 50s and 60s over school desegregation.  Only now it is about voting rights, women's health, immigration and minimum wage.  The issues may be different, save voting rights, but the thinking behind them is the same.

The fact is, that while we have traveled some distance away from being a racist society on the surface, we have a long way to go to impact where it really counts.  It may no longer be politically correct to be openly racist, however it is ok to support policies that openly discriminate. As I talk with my grandchildren, they seem to be entirely color blind, while aware of the challenges faced by Jackie Robinson and others.  As the song in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific says," you have to be taught to hate".  I know that my wife, my children and my son-in-law will do everything we can to make sure my grandchildren never learn to hate.  How about you?
Cross-posted on rationalpolitics.co

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sorry to be pernickerty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, samddobermann

    Could you do a quick re-format of your diary as it looks like you have done a cut and paste from elsewhere. In the process you have some peculiar line endings and it could do with a couple of extra "returns" to separate what appear to be different paragraphs.

    At the moment the text is running together in a way that is making it difficult to read, especially around the inserted picture.

    There's also a better omnibus word than "racism" for what you are describing - xenophobia.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:51:49 PM PDT

  •  the problem with what we teach our children (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    is that there are so many other sources of information and at some time, they will look away from their family to other reference points.  While we pray they will return, at the same time, perhaps due to our failure as parents, children will turn out so very different than what we had hoped for

  •  Some of this problem depends upon which sport (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, samddobermann

    you like. If you watch tennis only, the NBA debacle may not affect you. And on and on. I've seen it. As long as it isn't in their face, it is ignored and therefore allowed.

    " Is it more accurate to say that unrefined, blatant racism is no longer acceptable in America, but racism in any other name, in fact, is pervasive?"

    If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. Bob Dylan

    by weezilgirl on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:45:12 AM PDT

  •  One thing about Barack Obama being POTUS... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jakkalbessie

    No one doubts that racism is still alive in America.  Not even the far right, who so loudly declare it dead.  They make the big deal out of it that they do because they know they have to try and cover their asses on this.  Their rank and file - the Bundys and people like them - are far less urbane about their racism.  For the people in power on the right, it's scary to think that such sentiments get shown naked in the light of day - it'd cost them the middle-ground voters everyone still fights for.

    Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

    by Jon Sitzman on Thu May 01, 2014 at 06:26:26 AM PDT

  •  I think what you are generalizing racism as being (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samddobermann

    is more accurately referred to as Hierarchical Authoritarian Paternalism - HAP. It is the societal structuring which establishes a pecking order based on gender, ethnicity, age, power, and wealth. Well-connected, old, wealthy, white-skinned men are at the top of the heap and poor, young, dark-skinned females are at the bottom. Power and control flow from the top down while resources and wealth flow from the bottom upwards.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:24:28 AM PDT

    •  kbman, what you say is generally spot on but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman

      below either the lowest or with different levels are the disabled — whether physically or mentally. In fact that dichotomy is an imperfect divider with classes of its own folded inside.

      A lot of physical disabilities are becoming more accepted into mainstream but those with "mental" problems are really on the bottom of any pecking list. One  of the salient manifestations is the application of and the ignoring of violence against them.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:07:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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