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Sterling Grundy and me, Racist ? Vol 43

April 30, 2014

If you remember Woodstock , you must be a Boomer !

Racism is in the news these days as Donald Stirling, the basketball team owner, was caught lamenting with his girlfriend about her type of friends. Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who grazed his cattle on federal lands but did not want to pay for the privilege, also got into trouble lamenting the case of the negro. Both instances generated lots of outrage and commentary. Thankfully, my racism is not news, yet.

This subject and its sidebars is larger than a single blog or person, but let me mention a few points. First, lets tackle the privacy issue. A guy was talking in his own home, about something he felt deeply about, to a friend he trusted, at least at that point. We have no idea what caused the outburst, what was said by his girlfriend prior to the taped recording, the environment at the time, nor the circumstances surrounding the obvious relationship fight. What was a young girl doing dating a married 80 year old in the first place ? A few adjectives come to mind.

Next thing Donald knows, his words are all over the media. I am sure he did not give his permission for their release, and it worries me that the bitch ( by any definition, that is what she is now ) seems to have gotten away with an invasion of privacy. Hopefully, Donald will sue her, and extract some form of punishment, so that everyone will understand that some form of privacy ( not all, as the NSA activities have shown ) is all we really have left in this society. After all, aren’t the British papers getting sued today over taping people against their wishes.

The overreaction by the media is another problem. My adult children are always quoting TMZ, like I quote a NY Times article. Therein lies the problem. Most social media today is adventurous at best, allowing gossip to percolate into the mainstream without some form of edit. Bomani Jones, an ESPN host, commented that it was well known, from previous court cases, that Stirling discriminated against Blacks, so why was the story just coming into the mainstream now, when this should have been dealt with years ago ? He called everyone who was outraged at Stirling’s words today frauds, when it was well known that he had racist leanings years ago. The difference is our new media, and its lack of rules. Personally, I like to think of twitter, Facebook, and all their ilk like the light bulb that burns brightest just before it burns out. Soon, we will tire of their game, and realize that it is not news that they serve up as content.

The Bundy example is even better. Cliven was immediately upheld by numerous conservative pundits for using federal lands without paying a marginal sum for the privilege – something about federal overreach versus the small job creator. As soon as he gets the chance, he uses his new pulpit to expound his views, and forces all those smart FOX commentators to disavow him. Who looks stupid now ?

Next, lets tackle the racism issue. Boomers, like everyone else, are racist. Everyone, including Blacks, are racist. Let me explain. Briefly, to love yourself, you must have a self worth, a feeling that you are special. Rationally, if you are special, everyone else must be less special, or not as special. This does not mean that you hate everyone else, but it does mean that you think more highly of yourself than most other people think of you. The “specialness” usually translates into “me versus them” feelings. For example, I am a white male, so a part of me feels superior to all non white non males. I am tall, so I feel superior to short people. These feelings, or thoughts, are inherent to our emotional makeup, our self esteem, and are necessary for our definition of self. I am sure that a Muslim female feels superior to me in her own way, and I expect her to. Where the problems start is when these feelings become overwhelming. Our “ism’s” should only be a small part of our make-up, say 25%, allowing our socialization to make up the rest. Thus the majority of our identity should be filled with a respect for life, a respect for all other people and their cultures, a respect for the planet – whatever you were socialized to believe. This overwhelming majority of our make-up is good, and helps society grow.

So, lets do way with labels, as my kids would tell me. Overall, I try to agree with them, but I do have one question. When Stirling talked about Blacks, and Bundy talked about “the Negro”, were they talking about the same thing ? All the Boomers I talked to believe that they were discussing the same thing, the culture of the Afro-American, not their skin colour. Interestingly, since we all came from somewhere else, is calling yourself an anything-American a form of your internal vision, or is it perpetuating a cultural phenomena that includes racism ? In effect, if we want to get rid racism, don’t we have to start with doing away with anything – ism ?

If you need to call yourself a Ukraine – American for example, are you feeding your self worth, or denoting that you are different, and want to be treated differently ? Someone smarter than I am will have to answer that question, but it does lead to my one form of racism – I do not have a problem with skin colour, but I do view certain cultures with distain. Black, white, green, or blue skin, who cares. It’s what is inside that counts, and most Boomers would agree. It’s when you start to try to push parts of your culture on Boomers that we rebel. We understand that a melting pot of peoples is a necessary thing. The melting can take time, and that is also understood. So, maybe the real message today is to look at the two old white guys and not get angry, but realize how far we have come from their day ! Stirling and Bundy are a dying breed, thankfully. Me, well, I may never get over my aversion to gay marriage, but that my problem now, isn’t it, not yours ?

Next on Boomers – wtf !, why failing, and failing fast, is good for you !

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