Racism in America, Land of the Free and Home of the Intransigent

Oprah WinfreyStory UpdateOprah Talks To Swiss Newspaper About Alleged Racist Encounter

 

Racism in America, land of the free and home of the intransigent. Every word, every action– no matter the subject or size — brings a great gnashing of the national dentures. Understanding, compassion, or any emotion other than hate is not just difficult to find, it is extinct.

The latest weirdness is Oprah Winfrey’s $38,000 purse. Considering 98% of the world can’t imagine $38,000 for food and the remaining 2% have skewed priorities, a fight between a Swiss clerk and a woman with more money and power than God hardly qualifies as a realistic stand-in for international racism.

Was the clerk a racist? Quite possibly. She might be a stone cold neo-nazi, but there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest or disprove it. There is only “she said, she said.” Should she have politely gotten the purse for Oprah? Undoubtedly. That is what good customer service is about. But being an asscake about it doesn’t prove racism either.

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LBJ’s Great Society Was a Great Idea

The Great SocietyLBJ’s Great Society was a great idea. Enact anti-discrimination laws and economic reforms to pull the country out of Civil War-ear reconstruction and bring equality to the masses.

How’s that working out for America? Not so well as it turns out.

The reforms weren’t worthless. Racism is still rampant, but lynchings are a lot less common and even middle class, passive racists think the KKK is a losing proposition. That is progress, if by progress we mean a slight dip in rope sales.

Busing, tried to send some of that nice middle class school money to the inner city and failed — but not for the reasons everyone thought. After the initial white flight, things stabilized, but school funding dried up for everyone. Busing was the ancestor of school flight, not white flight. Voucherists want the government to pay them to take their kids out of school and STILL leave poor kids to fend for themselves at the cost of poor public schooling.

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OK America, Let’s Chill the F*ck Out and Recognize Facts

thefacts

OK America, let’s chill the f*ck out. We have become a nation of whining babies demanding protection from threats at the cost of basic freedoms. We act on pure emotion before the first piece of evidence or verifiable fact rears its ugly head. Regardless of which side of an issue people take a vast left/right/center conspiracy gets locked into hard heads unable to see the tiniest validity in opposing opinions, regardless of facts.

I don’t know a single person of any race (including an Inuit friend) who hadn’t chosen the “correct” verdict for the Zimmerman trial before the first word of testimony.  And almost all of those verdicts centered around real or perceived racism.

The trial and verdict became almost exclusively about racism, not the murder of a young man. Trayvon got the short shrift. People are already forgetting him as a human being except that he wore hoodies, ate Skittles, and drank Arizona iced tea. He is quickly being reduced to slogans on protest signs and one day soon will end up like Martin Luther King. Rather than living on as wise and courageous man who demonstrated the violence and good in life within the context of his own, King is now only a series of quotes culled from his speeches. I expect more people can quote the famous lines of the “I Have a Dream” speech than can remember how he was gunned down, the name of the man who did it, the city in which it occurred, the extreme sadness of the day it happened, or the sacrifices he made in his real life.

Wearing Hoodies, Eating Skittles, and Drinking Arizona Iced Tea

The trial demonstrated this by ignoring judicial process. A person is innocent until proven guilty, period. The Murder 2 conviction required proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. And for all the talk about who was on top and who yelled for help, nothing other than Zimmerman killing Trayvon and his negligence in getting out of the car like a cowardly lunkhead emboldened by a gun was beyond a shadow of a doubt. That doesn’t mean racism wasn’t involved. It means it couldn’t be proven to the standard the law requires.

Unfortunately, a man who verifiably killed someone with little to no provocation in a situation he could’ve avoided, walked — in part because everyone was so cranked up over what they wanted the trial to be about, they forgot what it was really about. Don’t get me wrong. Racism exists in this country. It is virulent and terrible. Laws are unevenly applied and though I can’t prove it, my suspicion is they were in this case.

There was some evidence to suggest Zimmerman harbored some racism in his walnut-sized brain, but that doesn’t prove it was virulent enough to make him act out. IMO, it had as much to do with an overzealous, lunkhead who couldn’t follow instructions as overt racism at the moment of the crime, but that is conjecture, not fact. Test that hypothesis…who calls 911 and THEN commits murder? Skinheads proud of shooting a black man might, but they would likely brag about it, not try to beat the rap.

Or this story about a military drone crash near Tyndal AFB, FL. As the story comments show, most of the commenters — who normally jaw a lot about crazy, birther-like conspiracies from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity — were every bit as loony as those they criticize.

The Facts: Birtherism from the Supposedly “Reality-Based Community” Crowd

I have some personal knowledge about these aircraft and their missions and tried repeatedly to show the facts. Yet, commenters saw conspiracies ranging from nefarious NSA plots, to intentionally blocking a major highway, to the aircraft looking suspiciously like those from 9/11. It was easy to bat them down with verifiable facts, yet few of them could entertain the notion that the crash was nothing more than a run of the mill aircraft crash. That is the stuff of birtherism from the supposedly “reality-based community” crowd.

I’m not sure when America became such an ignorant place where we base predetermined notions of truth  solely on fears and cherry-picked facts. We aren’t dumbed down, we are all becoming bat-shit crazy, a nation of 350 million Balkan countries of one. We are so fearful that facts no longer matter. That is a very troubling development, scary in fact. The essence of America as a great country is quickly slipping away on the wings of fear and distrust of anything and everything, even those things that happen before our very eyes.

Maybe the wings of that trumped-up “spy drone” are a harbinger of worse things to come.

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