Thursday, April 10, 2008

Am I A Racist

With the latest revelations about Senator Barrack Obama’s long time pastor still ringing in my ears I began to think about my own beliefs when it comes to race. To be clear I’m a white male, 6 feet tall about 225 lbs and with blue eyes. My biggest visible flaw is male pattern baldness (I shave my head to make up for it) so I really don’t know much about being a minority although I was born into a poor working class family my mother worked hard to improve our lot in life and did so. I’m now doing the same and consider our family as upper middle class.

I’ve never considered myself a racist, at least not the KKK type anyway but as I reviewed my own beliefs I came to realize that maybe I am kind of like the alcoholic who rarely drinks but when he does he gets black out hammered.
I rarely think of racial issues in the sense of thinking one race is better or worse than the other but then find myself musing about the lack of ability of Africans to develop their own countries. Is that racism or the reality of someone who works in Africa and is often frustrated by the never ending cycle that sees governments continually rip off their countries oil money while poverty grows at horrific rates? I don’t see African’s in general as failures because they are black but because of the culture of take as much as you can today and worry about tomorrow only when it’s today.
Here at home I often get angry at the fact that we can’t talk about some of the realities that face our country without being told its racist behavior. In Canada where I live there is a major problem with the Native Canadian community making up about 80% of the prison population while making up less than 10% of the general population. This must sound familiar to my American friends as the statistics are very similar to those that speak about the African American prison population.
I often muse that the budget for the Indian affairs department is the third largest budget at the federal level yet the reserves are ghettos without the most basic of services being available and the auditor general doesn’t have the authority to conduct audits of this department. I don’t see this as racist thinking because I’m a tax payer and expect all taxpayer money be spent responsibly and help those it’s intended to help yet if you try and bring up such issues you are called a racist who is trying to put down Native Canadians. Recently a man who was so drunk he took his two infant children outside only dressed in their diapers. It was minus 40 degrees and all died in the snow. On a talk radio show the host was interviewing the Grand Chief of the Province in which the incident occurred and began the interview by saying how sorry all Canadians were and asked what we the general population could do to help prevent something like this from happening again. The Chief responded by saying it was the Whiteman’s fault for not giving this man the hope he needed to reject alcohol and that we should stay out of it. I was appalled by this response and yet it got worse when the radio host got angry the Chief began screaming and calling him a racist and hung up on the interview. Afterwards I just couldn’t understand the Chiefs reaction and why he turned to racism as a defense of the indefensible. A man full stop got drunk and murdered his kids through neglect.
I see the same effect in the US, whenever a politician attempts to speak out against an African American they are branded as a racist, just look at how quickly black leaders turned against Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro recently neither of whom has ever been accused of being racist before but when they questioned Barrack Obama’s abilities and wondered if some of his popularity was due to the color of his skin they were vilified.
Is America ready for a black President? I would say yes but is America ready for a black man to be beaten by a white man during a Presidential race? I say loudly NO. If the republicans get tough (as they will) with Obama and knock him about and he loses I predict race riots and cries of voter oppression like we haven’t seen in America since the 60’s. Should the democrats be equally foolish and hand the nomination to Clinton you’ll see the same thing.
The Obama speech in response to the controversy was well done and echoed much of what I believe and maybe saved his run for the democratic nomination but will not save him from becoming the black nominee for President instead of the democratic nominee for President who happens to be black and that’s too bad for I don’t believe we can get past this divide until we all agree to judge another person by their actions and beliefs. If we are judging Obama by his association with this pastor fine but if we are judging him because he’s black we’re fools.
Here at home I fully believe it’s time to close down the Indian Affairs department and the reserve system. We can never get past the anger until we stop dividing our peoples and recognize that with the exception of the new immigrants to our country we’re all Native Canadians now.
Back to the original question am I a racist…maybe in today’s world because while I believe that every person is equal regardless of color, country of origin, religion, heritage, sexual preference or gender I also believe strongly that just because you’re a minority visible or not it doesn’t excuse bad behavior, lack of effort to be a good person or give you an excuse to sit around and piss and moan about your lot in life and what the government owes you and for some that’s enough to suggest I’m a racist…you decide and let me know what you think.