Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Let's Talk Race Relations
A discussion about race has often been seen as akin to skipping through a cow field. Despite the scenery, odds are pretty good that you're going to step on something and at the very least, there's going to a stink by the time you're done. As I stated above, much of the talk has originated from members of the black community while very little has come from whites, which gives the impression that whites either don't care or are supposed to just not say anything. So, with that in mind (along with the cow field analogy), let's take are shoes off and go for a stroll.
I grew up in the deep South during the 1960's while the Civil Rights movement raged all around me. I was interested in the movement,
Throughout school in fact I had classmates who were a mixed lot. No one cared. No one refused to sit by or play with or talk to any of the other kids because of it. There was never any discrimination when we went to lunch or the restroom. Nothing. The only difference any of us noticed was that some got off at different bus stops or walked a little further than others. Now, Mrs. Knights was a bit different. I don't think it was that she didn't like white children. I just think she hated Republicans. Strange isn't it? We had a 5th/6th grade "Presidential Election". I wanted to be "Robert F Kennedy". I had been following his campaign and I just plain liked him. I remember staying up that fateful night in June and watching live as he gave his last speech in the Ambassador Ballroom before exiting to what would be his death. I had previously watched as he announced the death of Martin Luther King just a month before and all the subsequent riots just as I watched the murders at Kent State by the Ohio National Guard and the Chicago police riots during the Democrat Convention as well as the Weathermen, sit-ins, Anti-Vietnam War protests, SLA and Patty Hearst (little did I know then, but I would later serve on the security detail in her wedding) as the '60's morphed into the '70's. It was exciting and dangerous times and I was totally engrossed in all of it.
I served on a two police related projects. One was police and community relations committee which arose from some incidents similar to Ferguson and Cleveland. The other was a police advisory board and a special merit review board. In both instances, I would hear first hand---without the media spin---about situations police officers, EMS or the fire department would engage in every day. Frankly, I don't know how they do it. I'd sit and listen as they recounted encounters---occasionally with terrible outcomes---and watched their expressions as they relived each moment; searching in their mind's eye at the same time whether there was something they could have done differently. I think I can safely say that none of these officers started out at the beginning of their shift with the thought that someone would be harmed by the time it was over.
As for the Oscars---grow up. Just because all the nominees are white doesn't mean there's some conspiracy going on, especially in uber-liberal Hollywood of all places and not when the President of the Academy for Motion Picture Art and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, is both female and black. It sounds to me like a bunch of spoiled kids not getting their way. Perhaps the reason there were no black nominees or black oriented pictures nominated was because no one turned in a performance that any of the randomly chosen Academy members who voted thought was worthy of a nomination. Maybe there weren't any pictures which were of sufficient quality compared to the others which were nominated. Ever think about that? Are we now supposed to have a quota system of nominees based on race and/or gender instead of performance or quality?
Whites are the only group which are not allowed to be self-represented. In the past, it was argued, that was because whites were a racial majority or that they held key positions, therefore special hiring quotas were put in place, which later applied to women as well because they were a minority. Perhaps that was a good thing since it served notice that individuals could not be kept out because of the race, gender or other factors including sexual orientation or religion. However, it didn't always ensure the best candidate was hired or was awarded the government contract.
Secondly, you can dislike cops or the legal system all you want, but when you're told not to do or to do something law enforcement (and EMS or the fire department) or a judge, simply do as you're asked and keep quiet unless you're asked for information. Pay attention to what's going on around you. Keep your hands where they are visible and no exaggerated movements. While we're at, if you don't like your prospects, then instead of blaming society or others, try paying attention while you're in school.
Lastly, there really are no real differences between people except how they present themselves and how they treat others. If you act like a thug or jerk, odds are pretty good that's how people will perceive you and that's how they'll treat you. If you treat people like they're different, there's a pretty good that's how people will start to act. Everyone deserves the same equal chance to prove themselves, be it as a neighbor, employee/employer, or as a friend. It's up to them what they do with that chance.
United States Department of Labor, Women's Bureau
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
Bullying Bruises Grades for Black and Latino Students
A Neutral Look at Police Brutality
The Justice Blog: Police Violence and Race
Who's Boycotting the Oscars So Far