Friday, April 18, 2008

something to think about for friday

a friend of mine sent me this link (registration required) to an AMAZING op-ed in the nytimes.

Quote #1. “If we can’t live in our country and be accepted as free citizens and human beings, then something’s the matter with something — and it isn’t me.”

Quote #2. "To demand truth commissions of other nations, while evading them at home, is unhelpful."

the first quote brings me to an interesting barrage of thoughts. as i think about growing up in the south, i oftentimes remember the older generation that had influences in my life. you know, the individuals that were one generation removed from slavery, the generation that were sharecroppers, the generation that lived through the depression, the generation that had the kkk burn crosses on their lawns, the generation that saw lynchings, the generation that had no police force to call upon for protection, the generation that lived jim crow before it had a name, the generation that gave up their seats on the bus, and the generation that bred the civil rights leaders. they saw and LIVED it all! i don't think that it is enough to say that wisdom comes with only age. wisdom comes with age AND life-changing experiences. in this day and age, we spend so much time with "educating" ourselves and learning big, fancy words, but, so many times it's all empty. this first quote is so eloquently put in its "poor" literary quality and the message so powerful with this combination of words that would get a resume thrown out of the window. i say that to say this, complex does not always mean better. sometimes, the truth in its simplest form is the way to open eyes. after all, if no one understands what you said, how effective can it really be???

as for the second quote, i have heard these sentiments echoed for as long as i can remember now. whether it be animal rights, tree rights, or the rights of people abroad, how can this country CONTINUE to be focused on these matters when there are PEOPLE (yes, they happen to be of color) that do not have all there rights (in the form of equality and true freedom and exempt from racism and prejudice) HERE....AT HOME!?!?!?!?! it makes no sense. i guess the fact that we have the laws to "protect" us from blatant racism, that we should be happy and just sit back and accept the hidden or discrete racism that plagues the entire country. as kanye west summed up america's (and the uk's too for that matter) view in his song "all falls down": "even if you in a benz, you still a n*gga in a coupe"!!! white america should be GRATEFUL that obama is the black man about to win the presidential election. cuz, if it was me or some other black men about to be the strongest man in the country, white folks would be in some serious trouble!

that's enough thought for the morning. maybe i will have more before i leave the office today.


Blogger Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Blacks have conditioned whites to believe that "racism" is bad, but "hidden racism" is less bad. The fact is that ALL antagonistic color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior is suspect and potentially corrosive to individuals, relationships and society.

"Racism" is systemic color-aroused denigration, subjugation, exploitation based on skin-color and ethnicity, right? So, if it's not demonstrably systemic, like a white person calling a stranger the
"N" word on the street, then that's NOT as bad as "racism" because it's not systemic, right?

It is entirely possible for a public act to be blatantly color-aroused and therefore suspect to most people without the same act being obviously "racist" to those same people. And so when you try to convince people that everything must be "racist" before it rises to the level of "blatancy" that requires action, YOU, YOU are setting the bar so high that you will, most times, be unable to convince others that there is sufficient cause for action.

It is obvious that Geraldine Ferraro's comments about Barack Obama were aroused by the color of Barack Obama's skin. They explicitly referenced the color of Barack Obama's skin as the basis for their rationale. So, the remarks were color-aroused. However, they are only "racist" if they were unjustified, right? So, if a person believes that they were partly justified, that person has to reject your argument that the remarks were racist. Certainly, the person cannot form an opinion as to whether the remarks were "racist" until the determine whether the remarks were justified.

Well, what if criminal law worked on the same principle, particularly hate laws? Certainly the defendant called the victim, a stranger, the "N" word just before the stranger shot the victim. That's enough for a hate crime conviction, because the defendant's verbal acts specifically referenced the victim's skin color in the act of committing the crime.

But, what if the standard were higher? What if, in addition to proving that the "N" word was used, you had to prove that this particular use of the "N" word was "racist"? Well, then you'd have to have expert testimony on the definition of "racism" and on the fact that "racism" motivated this use of the "N" word.

Would that reduce the likelihood that anyone would be convicted under hate crime statutes? You bet it would! Criminal laws have to be sufficiently clear to let the defendant know what is forbidden. Is the term "racism" sufficiently clearly to enough of society that forbidding "racism" would forbid all "racist behavior"? Of course not! That's what we spend so much time arguing about!

Criminal law makes simple evidence of color-aroused anger sufficient to increase the penalty applied. Change the burden of proof to "racism" and thousands of people would go free who would otherwise have been convicted.

7:23 PM  

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