Another short post, this time sort of political but actually more just irked by what I see as an apparent attempt by a presidential candidate NOT to utter a racial epithet in public against President Obama. Of course he says he wasn’t even thinking the word and his press secretary said he wouldn’t even dignify questions about it, saying it’s us who are misinterpreting it. But come on… well, you tell me what you think of the comparison of these two videos:
In March 2009 I wrote a post that I called Some Random Thoughts. It was basically a quick hitter of commentary on some current topics and basically rants I had that I just needed to get off my chest. Then last November I had a political rant on health care in America. I’m feeling the need for my third random rants post, thus that’s what this one is. I hope you read and comment; I’m having my say anyway.
In the United States, the political season is upon us. This year it seemed to start earlier, as we started getting hammered with political ads back in July. That’s because then it was the beginning of primary season. I hate political ads, and have never been swayed by any of them. To me, most of the process is fake, and most of what you hear in an ad is a lie. One thing that’s really odd these days is that, unless it’s an ad attacking someone, they never say what party they’re with. If they’re attacking Obama, you know the person is Republican; if you’re not, you’re a Democrat. Frankly, I hate attack ads, and surveys have shown that an overwhelming majority of people say they hate them. Yet they work, and the nastier one can make their ad, the more likely they’re going to be elected. It’s the fault of the people; if more people did their own research into someone instead of deciding based on political ads, these things would go away, or at least temper themselves. We are our own worst enemies; it’s a shame.
It seems that everyone I know says they hate bullying. Yet bullying still continues, and frankly it’s starting to get out of hand. We had bullies back in our day as well, but I don’t know of a single kid who ever committed suicide because of a bully. The thing is, almost no one seems to ever help a kid being bullied. Parents say they don’t know; schools say they’re not allowed to do anything; the police say it’s not their jurisdiction. I’ve always said if I were a parent and my kid was being bullied that I’d have gone to the other parent’s house and threatened to beat that parent up, or gone directly after the kid. Sure, that’s when everyone else gets involved. Even other parents are bullying some kids, and then don’t want to take any responsibility when a kid kills themselves; y’all remember that story, right? Everyone needs to be watching their kids, but the parents of kids being bullied and the parents of potential bullies. The latest girl to kill herself was only 12 years old; neither she nor the kids bullying them were legally old enough to even be on those sites. Hillary Clinton was right; it takes a village to raise a kid. And on this topic, y’all need to go read this post by Holly.
Next, there seems to be too many kids being killed in some fashion by parents these days; what’s all this about? The latest was a pastor down south who “forgot” his 14-month old daughter was in the van and she died of overheating. There has been a rash of these all over the place; what’s wrong with people? In my very first rant I mentioned fathers who were killing their kids to spite the mother; now it seems there’s a lot more mothers killing their kids, and it’s usually because they just decide they don’t want to deal with them anymore or are doing it because they want to be with some man who doesn’t want to have kids. There really needs to be more education and more oversight on young mothers, otherwise this epidemic is going to keep happening, and it has to stop.
And finally, a word about “isms”. I put a question out on my FB business page asking people if they’d ever step in to help someone who they saw was a victim of some kind of “ism”. The only response I got was one guy who said he didn’t understand the question. That tells me that he, and others, have absolutely no understanding of what to do when they see someone being treated badly because of racism, sexism, gayism, etc. There are just too many of us deciding to “mind our own business” instead of stepping forward to help someone when they can. Are there times when you should err on the side of caution? Sure; that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the phone and call 911 or something, does it? Bad things are going to continue happening to people until someone decides to step forward and offer some kind of support. When Rodney King was beaten, the only support he got was some guy who filmed the whole thing, and the local populace acquitted the police, not believing their own eyes. When it takes the federal government to protect someone’s rights, it shows that the entire system of common sense and decency if flawed. Remember this part of the old axiom; if you don’t stand up for someone else’s rights, when it’s your turn there won’t be anyone to stand up for you.
I think that’s enough. I have more but now I have to go drink something cold and cool down. Just some things to think about; what are your thoughts?
Most people are going to think this is an easy question to answer, but I’m here to tell you that most people are deluding themselves, unfortunately.
Zig Ziglar says that, and I’m paraphrasing, positive thinking won’t allow you to do everything, but it will allow you to be better at everything than negative thinking. He’s one of the most positive people in this country and has been pushing out this message for more than 40 years. Here’s a guy who went bankrupt twice, yet found his way to the top of his profession, which is sales, and is one of the most sought after speakers in the country. If you don’t know about this guy you’re missing something.
When you think about positive or negative personalities, you don’t have to think in absolutes. No one is positive every moment of their life. No one is positive every moment of their day. Being positive doesn’t mean you can’t complain about something, or point out bad things. What it means, however, is that you have the ability to determine how you’re going to let it affect you over the course of your day or over the course of time.
For instance, I hate racism with a passion; I would, obviously. The United States is a racist country; heck, that’s not anything new, because truthfully every country in the world is racist in some fashion, so we’re not alone, and we’re not even at the top of the heap. I could easily walk around with a chip on my shoulder being angry at “the man” for holding me back, and blaming everything bad that happens to me on racism. And trust me, I know there are a number of things that happen to me that are based on race.
Instead, I tend to go a totally different route in my thoughts. Whereas I know racism exists, I also see the opportunities for breaking down some barriers here and there. I see that people of color aren’t allowing things to hold them back; at least not all of them. I see that people of color are achieving things that wouldn’t have been possible even 30 years ago, and that’s saying something. As I watch the news about Arizona’s stupid immigration bill, I not only see Latino people protesting, but a host of white people, often more of them that Latinos, protesting as well.
I also tend to believe that most people are inherently good, and that good things will happen for all of us. That I do it without any religious belief astounds some folks, but hey, that’s me. I do believe in the laws of attraction, though, and that we tend to bring on what we think, and who we hang out with helps determine where we’re going to go in life. I treat everyone fairly, and everyone gets the benefit of the doubt until they’ve proven themselves to be untrustworthy.
Two days ago I had another consultant tell me on the phone that I was too nice. It’s an interesting thought, and actually it’s funny because I often think our friend Sire is too nice. What I’ll believe instead is that we’ve decided to be more positive and inclusive than negative and obtrusive. We’ve decided that we want people to interact with us in a positive manner than in a negative manner, even when we might be calling someone out (that Sire is a trip!).
Back in March I asked what kind of friend are you, and some of the responses indicated that some of you like to stick to yourselves. You kind of missed the point of the question. I was basically asking if you believe people want to be around you, and if they do why. Except in networking meetings, probably because people sense I’m kind of tense, I tend to draw people to me. People talk to me all the time; I meet people who start telling me their issues almost immediately; it’s freaky. Babies are drawn to me; they stare and play with me all the time. Older women are drawn to me, and many of them comment on my eyes; I don’t quite get that one. Shy people are drawn to me, and people in trouble are drawn to me. I’ve always figured that if I were a negative personality overall, that wouldn’t happen.
So, with a bit more fleshing out of the topic, which personality do you consider yourself to be, and why?
I was reading a post by Adria Richards of But You’re A Girl on a topic called Is Google Voice Racist, and knew I had to comment on it. However, since she uses Disqus, and you know how I feel about Disque and blogs that use that kind of commenting system (I found another one called Intense Debate that’s like it that I don’t like either”, and I mentioned that I was clearing away iritations in 2010, I don’t want to comment there, so my comment will be here. By the way, you need to read some of the comments on her post also; quite telling, I might add.
Her gripe is that a girlfriend sent her a message and said “Hey Girlfriend”, but Google interpreted that as “Hey Negro.” Okay, what the heck is that about? She then posted a video that I’ve seen before, and commented on the post where I saw it, where HP has this new face recognition software that will have the camera follow you around, but, at least for many, it doesn’t work on black people. I mean, just because we’re tired of being followed around in stores doesn’t mean we don’t want software to work like it’s supposed to.
There’s always been things like this that pop up from time to time online and in software. Those of us who are offended find it either racist or bigoted. Those who aren’t say they don’t see it and wonder why we always say it’s racist or bigoted. Those who aren’t offended are never minority, by the way; that seems to figure when it comes to trying to identify racism or bigotry.
First off, I don’t see race everywhere, though some of my friends think I do. But I call things out whenever I need to. For instance, through this blog and my business blog I’ve called out people for many things. Back before the last presidential election I called people out for overt racism against Barack Obama and Muslims in a post called What, A Muslim Can’t Be President? I called out racism by the New York Post after they posted a cartoon equating President Obama to a monkey. I actually talked about the topic of what a racist is, because so many people throw the word around way too often. And I had to join Rachel Maddow in her smackdown of Pat Buchanan when he made a bunch of racist statements on her show earlier this year. I’ve even addressed it here, with my strangely named President Obama Calls Limbaugh A Racist post.
But these types of things just keep coming up over and over. There was one Microsoft software program where, if you typed in a certain thing asking about black people, a picture of a monkey came up. There was also a specific search term for Michelle Obama kept bringing up a picture of her with a monkey face. Even now there’s another Microsoft program running in Poland and another photography program. Sorry folks, but that’s racism no matter how you slice it.
Here’s my issue. There’s always going to be racism; I understand that. I don’t like it, but as long as there are people who look and act different and everything else isn’t equal. What I’d like is a little bit more accountability for when these things happen, then a little bit more support from people who may not be directly affected by it, but know something bad when they see it. Adria didn’t deserve to have the one guy say she was wrong and that’s just how software works; that was probably one of the more moronic things I’ve seen in a long time. It can’t always be minorities looking at something and saying it’s racist or bigoted or whatever; someone else has to step forward, in higher numbers than what happens now, and call those perpetrating this mess out on it.
And, by the way, not only racism. Add sexism, homophobia, and other intolerances to the list as well.
Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been a lot of racial rhetoric, and frankly it’s getting on my last nerve. Let’s get this one out of the way; racism exists in America, and in other countries around the world. It’s not exclusive to America; there is story after story, if you care to read, talking about racist behavior in countries like Mexico, England, Australia, Germany, France, Zimbabwe, etc. Yes, I threw in Zimbabwe, which is a majority black African nation.
For people throwing around the word “racist,” it’s important to put a definition of the word out there so we have a starting point. This also will preface part of what I’m going to talk about later. There are three main definitions of the word from Webster’s New World Dictionary:
1. Belief in or doctrine asserting racial differences in character, intelligence, etc, and the superiority of one race over another or others.
2. Any program or practice of racial discrimination, segregation, etc, specifically such a program or practice that upholds the political or economic domination of one race over another or others.
3. Feelings or actions of hatred and bigotry toward a person or persons because of their race.
Now, you want to talk about things that are funny? I still have my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary from 1977, the year I started college, and numbers one and two above have been switched. Pretty interesting, eh? How many definitions change like that? Almost none; I’m not overly happy about it, because it changes the connotation of things, but I’ll deal with it.
What do I mean deal with it? If you go by the second definition first, it pretty much limits who or what can be a racist in certain circumstances. With the original definition, only the people who are in power can be racist, because only the people who are in power can create programs of discrimination and segregation against others. In America, that would be the white majority; in South Africa before the mid 90’s, that would have been the white minority. In Uganda in the 70’s, it would have been the black majority.
With the new definition as number one, it starts to muddy the waters. With that definition, there are few people who really fit the category of being a racist. For instance, though I might think Rush Limbaugh is a racist, I can’t fit him into either of the first two. Race baiter maybe, but racist? Strangely enough, he doesn’t have the power, even though a lot of people listen to him and enjoy him (no one will ever be able to explain that one to me). He does easily fit #3, though, but how do you hold someone accountable for a #3 listing?
Now, Pat Buchanan is another story. How about this quote:
“White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks.” – Pat Buchanan
Now that’s racist, and incorrect, as Rachel Maddow pointed out:
Okay, we’ve clarified that, I hope. Now, as a secondary conversation, there has been a lot of noise saying President Obama should be saying something about this stuff, yet he remains “strangely quiet.” Folks, let me tell you this. There’s absolutely no way President Obama can win on his particular issue. If he says something, it’s going to set off a firestorm. By saying nothing, the firestorm is just the water rumbling a little bit, but not quite bubbling yet. My imagination would definitely love to hear it, though:
Rush Limbaugh is a racist; did you hear what he said about me?”
Sean Hannity is a racist; did you hear what he said about me?”
Glenn Beck is a racist; did you hear what he said about me?”
“Fox News is racist; did you hear what they continually say about me?”
Unfortunately, he can’t say it, and it’s not necessarily true. They’re not racists, folks. They are race baiters, as I called Limbaugh earlier, and I don’t know that’s much better. When everything someone else has to say is followed up with by making a comparison between how a white person might think about something, or about assigning every action a minority does and assigning it as “getting white people back,” that’s race baiting. Just the admission that someone might have a reason to get white people back is interesting:
“Yeah, we’ve treated you badly, given you lousy schools, won’t hire you because we don’t like your name, have segregated you, made you slaves, keep blaming you for bringing down the finances of the country and ruining the country because you’re not white like we are, and now you want to get us back because, in some fashion, you’ve proven to me that you’re something other than what I’ve been calling you all these years?”
Whew; glad I got that off my chest. 🙂 Anyway, just a short point I wanted to make. Every country has them, everyone has to deal with them. In America, yes, it’s hate speech, and I’ll say my peace against any of these people or entities when I feel it’s appropriate, which could be almost every day. It’s a shame that someone like me has to interpret every negative action that occurs and wonder if it’s because of race or because someone else just didn’t happen to be feeling me at that moment. Sometimes it’s both; now that’s scary!
Anyway, I think it’s time that, in some regard, we try to take a small step backwards, take a deep breath, then see what warrants a response and what doesn’t. Our politics and religion has gotten racial; I guess that’s the price minorities pay for progress. But I’m a little bit tired of it all; lots of noise, but nothing’s getting solved, no one’s trying to progress. If we continue just trying to hurt each other without trying to make ourselves and the world better, then it’s a lot of wasted effort. And frankly, I don’t need to have the words continually on my mind; I have other things to worry about.
What about you? Don’t y’all just love the new personal me? 😀