Real Racism

May 13, 2014

So let me see if I understand this correctly, an 80 year old man who grew up in a tough environment makes some comments that many people believe to be racist in nature and it throws the entire country into an uproar. Yet this is exactly what happened after Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling told his alleged girlfriend that he did not want her to post photos pictures of herself with Black people on her Instagram account. Keep in mind that Sterling made these comments on a telephone conversation in the privacy of his own home. He had no idea that the conversation was being recorded. Once his comments were leaked to the media they immediately went viral. For about a week after the comments were made Sterling became the lead story on every national newscast, the headline story on just about every major newspaper , and the dominant topic on every major news network. The strongest reactions however came from the sports networks. Most African American sports show hosts and ex athletes were calling for Sterling’s head. Demanding that the NBA Commissioner take swift and decisive action against him. The White people in the sports media were practically falling all over themselves to prove that they were more “Outraged” than the next guy. ESPN the biggest sports network in the country was actually pre-empting programs so that they could provide a forum for their analysts and talk show hosts to weigh in with their comments and opinions on the matter. Did Sterling’s comments really warrant this type of reaction. I would like to ask two questions here.

The first is to all those outraged individuals whether you be Black, White, Asian, Hispanic whatever; Honestly if you have a father or maybe a grandfather or other family member or friend who is Sterling’s age, have you never heard them make comments about another race or nationality in a private conversation that were similar or even worse than Sterling’s? Better still have you yourself ever made such comments?

Secondly were Sterling’s comments really that bad? Did they really warrant this type of reaction? Yes the remarks were insensitive even hurtful but given the context of the situation couldn’t they reasonably be interpreted as the  rantings of a jealous old man whose 30 something girlfriend was going around posting pictures of herself and showing up to Clipper games arm and arm with a bunch of younger and better looking athletes and ex athletes.

What is really interesting to me is that around the same time that Sterling made his comments another situation, that I believe was a much more serious example of racism, went basically unnoticed. Former Secretary of State and current Stanford University professor Condoleezza Rice was invited to be the commencement speaker at the Rutgers University graduation ceremony. Ms. Rice would appear to me to be the ideal person to speak at such an event. She is a person who was raised in relatively humble surroundings in the then segregated south, that went on to graduate college and get her Masters and PHD degrees and eventually be appointed th the third highest office in the United States. In addition to her accomplishments Ms. Rice is a person who always conducts herself with grace and dignity. She is equally comfortable discussing basketball with the fans at a Stanford game as she is discussing policy with World Leaders. So who wouldn’t be thrilled to have Ms. Rice speak at their commencement?  The answer to that is members of the Rutgers faculty and student body. Immediately after Ms. Rice’s invitation became public knowledge there were  a wave of protest demonstrations throughout the Rutgers campus. Of course the demonstrators did not refer to race as their reason for their opposition to Ms. Rice. Instead they pointed to her political views and her involvement in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

These so called intellectuals would be aghast at even a suggestions that their opposition to Ms. Rice was racially motivated but a closer look at what is really going on here tells me differently. The professors and students certainly have a right to disagree with Ms. Rice’s political views. I myself disagree with many of them. But this is a graduation ceremony not a political forum and it is unlikely that Ms. Rice, who is no longer in office, would be espousing any political agenda. So what is really going on. It seems to me that the real problem is that Condoleezza Rice does not fit the profile of what these liberal intellectuals believe a Black woman should be. She dares to have her own opinions. She does not use race as an excuse or to gain advantage. She demands to be judged on her merits. She is true embodiment of the American Spirit. So therefore, according to the Rutgers professors and students, she should be scorned, ridiculed and be looked upon as someone to be afraid of.

In my way of thinking this is the most dangerous form of racism. Trying to keep people in their place, not allowing them the freedom to have their own thoughts and ideas and shouting them down when they do. The whole country gets bent out of shape when an old fool like Donald Sterling makes some off the cuff remarks. Sterling’s crimes are simply words. His thoughts are irrelevant if his actions contradict those thoughts. Sterling has mostly Black players on his team and a large number of Blacks in high level positions in the front office. He has received a Lifetime Achievement award from the California NAACP and was scheduled to receive another before this incident. How many of those outrage people in the media can say the same?

On the other hand the protesters at Rutgers chose their words carefully. Their protests are carefully designed so that those in the media will sympathize with them. Their actions on the other hand result in highly successful African American woman being denied an honor that she rightly deserves. It also denies the students of all races and nationalities the opportunity to be educated and inspired from a person with the credentials of Condoleezza Rice. In the long run hurt feelings are basically harmless and heal pretty quickly but being afraid to be an individual to step outside a stereotype is something much more dangerous and can last forever. So I ask which is worse?

The Hobby Lobby Fiasco

March 26, 2014

The Hobby Lobby situation epitomizes both the beauty and the ugliness in todays’ America. Hobby Lobby is an individual corporation specializing in Arts in Craft products that is challenging one of the provisions in the Obamacare law that mandates that any health insurance plan that a company offers to its employees must include specific types of birth control  that violate the religious beliefs of its owner and many of its shareholders. Hobby Lobby is OK with the majority  of the contraceptive options in the mandate but they draw the line when it comes to the morning after pill and the IUD device which they feel are both forms of abortion. Hobby Lobby is a fairly sizable corporation with about 600 stores and 23,000 employees nation wide but it is certainly not Microsoft or General Motors. In fact until this week I had never heard of them. The beauty of all this is that a relative small corporation like Hobby Lobby can challenge a Federal law and have that challenge reach the highest court in the nation. It shows how the Constitution, a document created almost 240 years ago that was designed for a nation consisting of 13 States and about 2.5 million people, still works today in a country that has grown to have 50 States and a population of about 317 million.

Unfortunately there is also the ugliness. This of course manifests itself in the coverage that this case is getting from both the media and the politicians.  The liberal faction is naturally trying to make this a case about women’s rights. The portray the Hobby Lobby executives and shareholders as a bunch of Rich White ( code words for bigots and racists in liberal speak)  gun-totin, bible reading rednecks who are out of touch with todays America. This has become the liberal M.O. Paint people as bigots whether it be anti woman, anti gay, anti minority and you win the argument. But at what cost? This strategy of condemning anyone that disagrees with them only leads to further divisions in our country.  There is no longer any trust,  no longer any understanding , we are left only with a multitude of special interest groups. Whoever screams the loudest or  hurls out the most insults wins.

This case is not about Women’s Rights. No one is questioning a woman’s right to use any form of contraception nor is anyone questioning a woman’s right to have an abortion. What this case really boils down to is does the Government have the right to require an employer to provide a benefit to his employees that directly contradicts his religious beliefs.

If this sounds like I am taking the Conservative side on this issue I am not. At least I am not siding with the viewpoints of the Conservative politicians and the Conservative media. The conservative media likes to portray themselves as “Real Americans”, supporters of the constitution. In reality they operate the same way as the liberals: Divide and Conquer. Rather than take the high road on this issue they are using it as another excuse to attack the President. Is that something that a “Real American” does? The groupthink that is prevalent on the Fox News Channels is so disheartening. All the anchors and so called experts on the channel were absolutely giddy yesterday because they were provided with another opportunity to attack Obamacare as though it was the greatest evil the country has ever seen.  Then of course we have the politicians there was Senator Ted Cruz up on his soapbox acting like America’s savior, denouncing the president and preying on the fears and prejudices of his supporters.

The Hobby Lobby case is an example of how the system works. Both politicians and the media should celebrating this and urging people on both sides of this issue to accept whatever the Supreme Court decides. Of course that will never happen. The media is only concerned with creating controversy and  boosting ratings the politicians are only concerned with getting elected and we as a result remain a nation divided.

Is it Me?

March 25, 2014

I will begin my blogging career with a simple question: Does anyone even try to make sense anymore? I should clarify that saying by anyone I am really referring to our so called leaders, our Senators,  our Congressmen even our President and Appointed Officials. Anyone also includes the media, our News Anchors, the Television and Radio Personalities who are supposed to be providing us with unbiased explanations and insight but do just the opposite.

America is now at a point where we are more divided than at any time since the Civil War.  On just about any issue we can be pretty certain that half of the people will see it one way and half will take the opposite view. Whether we define it as the Conservative vs. Liberal, Democrat vs. Republican or however else you care to define it; it all boils down to half the population on one side and half on the other. I don’t mean to suggest that it is a bad thing for people to have their own opinions. That is one of the things that makes America great. What I am suggesting that the opinions that we are getting form our leaders and from our experts in the media are not necessarily their own. Instead they are  driven by the ideology  that ascribe to  or the “side” that they align themselves with. Let me use Obamacare as an example.  Logically a law of this magnitude is going to produce a certain amount of controversy. The lack a clear description of its provisions and the problems with the rollout only added to the controversy but can really be that no Conservative Leaders support  the law yet every Liberal Leader does.

Where has the great American leaders gone? Is there anyone out there who isn’t afraid to take a stand? Is there a politician out there who is more concerned with the good of the people than promoting  party ideology? The media is even worse. Everything is liberal or conservative Democrat or Republican. What happened to compromise, to bipartisan legislation, to making sure we get it right? These are the things that America desperately need but it seems that they are a thing of the past. I don’t claim to be an expert on many on the issues that face us but I do believe that there are probably very good solutions to most of them. We need to start electing people who are committed to finding those solutions.