Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do We Have A Problem?

   Paula Deen apologized multiple times for using "racial slurs." People have crucified her, but not literally. She lost millions and jobs. People now dislike her and others finally figured out who she is. People bought her cookbooks and rose to support her. All of this has brought a word back to the forefront of conversations. Racism. I am not an expert. I am fortunate enough to encounter all walks of life in my job. It is so sad that a dream that began so long ago has not moved as far as we think. Sure, we no longer make blacks ride in the back of buses or drink from different fountains, but we are not in a country that tolerates all colors and creeds. I am getting ahead of myself. Let's define the word first.

  Does that make Paula Deen racist? I don't know. People say that the south looks at things differently. They do, but that is something that should have changed a long time ago. I think whether it was 1986 or 2013, a "plantation style" wedding is a very insensitive thing to do. America has a very bloody history that we should learn and move on from. Behavior is learned and sometimes passed to people without even being realized. I am not related to my late step father, but once in awhile catch myself imitating his mannerisms. Scary. Conversations have been had about racism more frequently in the last few days and regardless of what side your on, this country has a problem.


   We have a tolerance problem. It goes beyond skin color. Kids are bullied and so are some adults. We have become desensitized to so much and we blame anyone, but ourselves. I don't understand how we strayed so far. Most of us are guilty of telling a "black joke," or in some cases a "white joke."
I was very fortunate to have grown up surrounded by different colors. I am guilty of stereotyping and am ashamed of it. A lot of people probably are and just chalk it up to," that's just what we do." That is the problem. Regardless of color. We give words power. We make jokes and make fun of people for humors sake. We do this without thinking of how other people feel. Some people will go through life never knowing the sting of a word. Other people have felt them and in some cases probably wish it were a fist instead. Words can hurt way worse. We haven't learned a thing in over forty years. We make our comments and go on with our lives. We have no regard for what others pick up from our actions. We simply continue and do not break the cycle. I am not saying that everyone should always smile and that we should love one another. It is the way it should be, but it simply isn't practical.

  I don't know how to fix it. I can only try to live my life and be a better person. God knows I have not always done the right thing. My blog may offend people from this moment on and I make no apologies. Let's start with the elephant in the room. We don't publicly talk about it, but being a lower to middle class white male is the worst thing to be. On the outside we are considered lucky, but in reality fewer scholarships, less financial aid, and not always the first choice for jobs. Other people get more opportunities thrown their way, but it is all in how you use them. The problem today is that people think they are owed something and a lot of us would rather it be handed to us. Which brings me to the next group.

  The privileged. They will tell you that they work hard and some do, but the richest people of this country all came from money. Rags to riches stories are few and far between. Some these people believe that they are members of a special club and throw what they have in the faces of the,"have nots." I know a few that have said that they have had to work and it's true they did. While they had a job, mommy and daddy continued to pay credit card bills, student loans, and were around to clean up any messes that were made. The American Dream has changed. People now judge success by dollar signs and the standards have become impossible to live up to. This breeds envy which turns to jealousy and in some cases hate. I feel like I just channeled Yoda. The upper percentile has forgotten that you can't take it with you when your gone. I don't believe that means they should constantly give it to the poor. Equal distribution should be a case by case basis, but if you make more, you should pay more. Simple math. We spend so much time trying to buy the dreams that other people sell, that we forget how to live our own lives. This began in the 90s and has gotten worse.

  Gay people won a victory today and they deserved it. Next to African Americans, I think the gays population sees the most persecution. I don't understand why this country spends so much time hating someone for who they sleep with. Has anyone taken a look around at all the bigger problems?
We grow up hearing words like "fag" and "queer," and they find a way into our vocabulary. It boggles my mind that parents want their children to be better than they were, but still pass on the same ignorance that they learned. We use them and they become normal. The anthem at one time was , "We're here. We're queer. Get used to it." The word was used as armor, but it was still derogatory. I am not gay so I can't say how that it feels, but I'll revisit that theory in bit. I will say this. I don't understand the need to persecute people for who they sleep with. People will say the Bible defines marriage as a union between man and woman. It does, but let's leave the judgment up to God. Oh wait we can't. This country only allows the use of religion when it benefits the majority. The country was founded on the Freedom of Religion, but we separated church and state. Anyone else confused?

  The hip hop/urban culture has a lot of beautiful elements. Music, style, art, food, and in a lot of cases a strong sense of family. Different isn't always bad. I will probably offend here and again I am sorry, but it needs to be said. If a word is bad, it is BAD. It is not right that some blacks can refer to each other by one of the most negative words in the American vocabulary, but it is wrong if whites, Mexicans, Asian, or Indians refer to them by the same term. If it is to be deemed a "racial slur," which it is. STOP USING IT YOURSELVES. The cycle has to break somewhere. The current group of people living in this nation were not alive in the Civil War. Most white people living have never owned slaves and black people living have never been slaves. Learn from the history and get passed it. There shouldn't be a "Black History Month," every month should be black, white, Indian, Asian, and American History Month. We live in a world of stereotypes. Not every black man is a criminal, not every white person is handed everything, not every Asian is incredibly smart, and not every person of middle eastern decent is a terrorist. You would think that we could look past stereotypes and get to a place where we are all truly equal.

  Is Paula Deen racist? She may be I don't know. I know she makes excuses like a lot of us do. Where you are from doesn't give you the right to be insensitive. I wish that we all could see the other side of things. Live in someone Else's shoes for a day or more. Words hurt. We may find them funny, but other people might not. Freedom of Speech isn't an excuse to say whatever regardless of who it hurts.
Burning crosses at Christmas is still unnecessary and backwards. We are a country that was created as a melting pot. If we are truly trying to make this land a better place, than something needs to change now. We are all in this together. It is our job to be able to see people as individuals regardless of color. Equality is a dream and we have not achieved it yet. If you think we have, then you're part of the problem and you should take a good look at things. We give words power and we could all stand to think a little more before we speak.  It's OK to say hi to strangers, not a crime to ignore stereotypes, a beautiful thing to love things outside of your own comfort zone, and magical to be the a person isn't afraid to take a different path from time to time. You can't please everyone and you don't have to like them, but could you imagine the kind of world it would be with a little more toleration.



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