Only Conflict, No Resolution

by And the White Lion Roars!

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I have reasons to roar today. First, I overshot the bathroom in the dark this morning, wound up in the closet, and when I tried to sit I hit my toe on the wall. The toe is now just a tad purple, and sore. Then, I started writing this post, and hit the magic key, whose location I have never been able to figure out, and all the writing disappeared. So, second shot here. Many questions have been popping into my head since my last post. Some silly, some serious. Like, how can some people look at the words “Pepto BismoLLLLLLL” and see the second word as “bismOOOOO!?” And why do mixed nuts never contain walnuts? They taste good, they’re healthy, and….just why?

And, as always curious about evolutionary biology, wondering what sort of survival strategy is not learning from our mistakes? It seems as if evolving in that direction would benefit us, but we just don’t.

Did big insurance help fund the Hobby Lobby court case? The one in which the company, Hobby Lobby, sued all the way to the Supreme Court to force their religious beliefs into their employees private lives by not allowing the company health insurance to cover birth control medications. I don’t know if anyone has asked this question, but it would be one less medication that they must cover, improving their bottom line a little more at consumer’s expense. I just can’t imagine that a craft store chain such as Hobby Lobby has that much money. In my work I see many examples of insurance companies trying not to pay for things, one more would not surprise me, but it would make me roaring mad!

And last of all, a subject that has made me roar since I was a school girl; racism. Racism has been at the forefront of public discourse for much of the last six years, since President Barack Obama was elected. There have been many verifiable instances of clear racism toward him, and toward many black people since 2008. There have been many police shootings of unarmed black people, and statistics show that black people have a much higher likelihood of being arrested for drug offenses and of being shot by police, despite the fact that black and white people use drugs at about the same rate. Every time a black crime is publicly reported certain conservative news channels and talking heads vehemently disparage them, but when a white crime is reported the same people report it as the poor white victim, not responsible for his own actions, often blaming it on the violence of rap culture infiltrating the teen consciousness. There have been incidences of making “jokes” of lynching black people, and the recent video of a University of Oklahoma fraternity singing a chant of how there will never be (the N word) in their frat. There have been retaliatory policemen shot after protests (and at protests) against police shootings of unarmed black people. And oddly, it seems in the media that it is actually worse to be called a racist than to actually be one. If anyone accuses anyone else of being racist, the accused goes into damage control to prove that they really aren’t. But few are willing to acknowledge their feelings that people of color are somehow lesser than whites. I encounter it every week at my job, since we added a doctor to our practice whose name is not European enough. It is always couched in “I’m so sorry, but I just can’t understand them.” Yes, you can. You just don’t want to because their skin is brown and their names and religions don’t square with yours. “They,” in fact, speak English better than you do because they learned it in a classroom, and not from parents-filled with slang and the relaxing of grammar rules. I am married to someone who immediately gets impatient with anyone who has an accent when he calls a business and reaches a call center employee. So, just be honest-it has nothing to do with how they speak English. I encounter it frequently with people who watch “Fox News,” which has been demonstrated  by non-partisan fact checkers to only tell the truth about 18% of the time. But to the people who watch them, not for factual news stories, but for validation of their view that the world was an exponentially better place in the Leave it to Beaver world of the 1950s. Now, of course we all know what that means-the world was whiter in that world, and gays and women knew their places. President Obama has tried, as have many others, and he’s only been savaged for it by people who are not willing to let go of that imaginary past. The thing that frustrates me and makes this White Lion roaring mad is how dishonest all of this discourse is. All the blaming of blacks for the way the deck has been stacked against them all along is an absolute refusal to see truth. Yes, there are people, both black and white who abuse food stamps and other helping hands, but these are the extreme minority. There are more white people than blacks who are on food stamps, but blacks are labeled with the term “welfare queens.” This simply must stop. But it can’t stop until is is openly acknowledged and a conversation can be started that is completely honest with a view to making The United States of America a country that offers freedom and opportunity to all her people.

Addendum: Since I posted this one it occurred to me that maybe some people become so defensive when it is suggested that they are racist. Perhaps an explanation of terms. These are my ideas, as I’m not sure that a dictionary could possibly define such a painful term. So here’s my take: if the first thing you notice about a person is their race, you may have a small problem. Yes, it is a part of who we all are, but if you must refer to the woman in the yellow dress as, “the black lady over there…” If you blame a person’s race or ethnicity for their behavior, but in your own group you recognize the complicated nature of the human personality (nature, nurture, peer pressure, etc) then you may have a race problem. “Well, you know, he IS Jewish.” “Latinos are just that way.” These are racist ideas. These are ideas that explain behavior by race, without room for nuance-there’s race and nothing more. There are very few people who are so overtly racist these days that they are wearing white sheets and lynching anyone different than them. Not many people deny service to groups of people they distrust or dislike anymore, though some very public incidents have occurred regarding serving gay weddings-most businesses want business, and will grit and take money from anyone in the name of profit. The reason racism is so hard to solve now is that it is very subtle and insidious. I know some of Jim Crow’s descendants, and all of them deny being racist in the most belligerent manner. “I am NOT racist! I had a black friend as a child.” A relative I’ve mentioned here before gushes embarrassingly over black babies, Ben Carson, Herman Cain and Tiger Woods. Well, Tiger Woods before his sex scandal. You know how those black men LOVE white women! Tiger will never be the token black hero again. He’s too black now.