Shallow minds abound in the grandstands

Posted by Tom Camfield

Human race: “all the people in world considered as a group” (Cambridge Dictionary); “all of the living human inhabitants of the earth” (The Free Dictionary). In the phrase “human race,” the word “race” essentially means “species.” As pointed out in Grammarphobia, “In recent years, the associations of  ‘race’ with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th-century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the word often being avoided with reference to specific ethnic groups. Although it is still used in general contexts, it is now often replaced by terms such as people(s), community, etc.” 

In other words, there is no “White race” or “Negroid race” or “Mongoloid race” (etc.). No Nordic race or Teutonic Race. No Caucasian race. No superior “race” of any kind. The human species/race, meanwhile, actually is evolving into ethnic mongrelism. Our own president, for instance, might be half German and half Scottish (as Trump) . . . or half African-American and half Irish (as Obama). I have a young great granddaughter who basically is half Korean, a quarter Jewish, and a quarter of the well-mixed European represented by my wife and me.

“White supremacy” then is merely a desperate resort of small minds seeking large status on the cheap—and even that is based on vague ethnic stereotypes.

The hypocrisy of a flag supposedly representing a Constitution dedicated to equality. That’s what the NFL football-Sunday protest has been about. And Colin Kaepernick should be playing professional football.

I had a lengthy feel-good blog all about birds set to go here. But I decided it would have been a cop-out of sorts in this day and age—when the very ambience of our society is plagued by ethnic egocentricity emanating in large part from the poseur heading our government. Our stopping to smell the roses wouldn’t  feed the bulldog. 

The principles of our Constitution continue to be twisted to serve the few rather than the many.  You may attack me personally all you want when you find yourself unable to articulately refute reality. But my attitude is not “fake news;” it is real. It is founded in actuality. I continue to see a lot of ethnic discrimination at the root of things going on all over the country. 

To make things clear for those who don’t know me: I’m what’s called “white” physiologically by the roll of the dice and thanks to a non-tropical climate, but multi-colored in attitude beneath my skin. I’m also in my 90th year and I’ve witnessed a lot. In just my younger life there were the Great Depression, the Holocaust, the Ku Klux Klan . . . World War II, Korea, Vietnam . . . I’m a veteran who served under our flag during the Korean War in 1951-’53.

Society has matured in some ways as my life moved on, but the  social conscience with which I aged still refuses to allow me to idolize individual materialism over concern for the suffering. We live today in a society in which the conception of white supremacy has been given new life by an egocentric president, a cruel individual devoid of emathy. That’s an obvious truism, but many just refuse to admit to it out loud. But one has to look no further than his treatment of dying GOP Senator John McCain, American hero, for proof of that.

In view of only a single species, the human “race,” how can one be called “racist?” you might well ask. The now widely used expression “racist” has become accepted into common usage to refer to one who creates species sub-divisions in the public mind to gain support for his own ego. Hitler in the 1930s and ‘40s created his “Master Race,” a concept of Nazi ideology in which the Nordic/Aryan society was the highest level of human existence, superior to all others. This supposedly comprised a Nordic area including Germany and other other northern European areas. He actually began his ethnic cleansing of his empire with the Holocaust, during which he systematically murdered approximately 6 million European Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe, between 1941 and 1945.

Our own society today is being tailored in more subtle ways toward a white plutocratic dictatorship—via immigration laws, a border wall, alien export, eliminating health care coverage and social programs for the sick, poor and elderly, assaults on science and education, emphasis on militarization.                 

Even the Ku Klux Klan has been revitalized by the current white-supremacy mode in high places and has come out of the closet to gather in ugly little covens again here and there. It’s not exactly a total resurrection of the soul-less old South; we now just kill young Black men with guns rather than ropes. The evil is still there with Blacks suffering death as perceived lesser beings. Even when unarmed, they are shot dead on a regular basis in the streets these days.

I believe I will try to eliminate my own occasional inaccurate use of  “racism” and just turn to speaking now and then of  “ethnic denigration,” “ethnic-based hatred,” etc.

Justice continues to turn a jaundiced eye to people of color. When peaceful protests evoke punitive measures (either overt or disguised) it epitomizes the very injustice against which protestors are demonstrating. Not a great day for the First Amendment.

Violence initiated at Charlottesville by neo-Nazis and the KKK last August (headlined a “violent white nationalist rally”) drew a memorable free pass for white supremacy from a president worried about his voting base, pretty much defining his own character. A young woman (Heather Heyer) standing up for peace was run down and killed. A young man (DeAndre Harris, 20) beaten almost to death by neo-Confederates was Black and pretty much unknown, and our society moved on to consider such things as the President’s insistence on a “tax reform” bill favoring the wealthy.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides . . .” said Donald Trump dismissively—and moved on to immigration proposals that would allow fewer black and brown people into the country. An interesting site in this regard can be found by Googling the  headline: “Trump immigration deal MUST bring in more Norwegians, boot out everyone else.” It is from the Chicago Tribune, dated Jan. 17 this year. It includes reference to Donald’s infamous denigration of immigrants from “s—-hole countries.” The word also is contained in the Internet link which I can’t include here because of the ptleader.com censor.

But, meanwhile, back to the flag I  proudly carried as a Boy Scout back in 1941. Don’t try to tell me a person’s social conscience is somehow worthy merely by obsequious sheeplike deference to a flag on football Sundays. That alone in no way is validation of a patriot.

The “Black Lives Matter” and Sunday football protests I’m centered on here deal with the eroding soul of our flag,  nowadays sometimes being given false colors. Such protests are in no way intended to denigrate our soldiers who fight and die while unified under that same flag. Such protests are about trying to maintain and apply the principles the flag supposedly represents—along with, of course, deep respect for those who have fought and died, been maimed physically and mentally for those very principles. . . freedom, equality, the pursuit of happiness . . .

The whole football-Sunday protest thing is about making our flag a worthy symbol of respect. It flies not only over our armies abroad—but also over our institutions and streets here at home. There’s more than a little stupidity in the grandstands these days. Some just insist on pretending that their ethnic hatred is patriotism.

As I wrote the other day: “In today’s muddled society I stand firm in the belief that ‘Black lives matter’ more that money in the form of football ticket sales. Ostracized protest leader Colin Kaepernick, former Super Bowl quarterback, continues refusing to cave in by promising to no longer champion Black justice in return for being hired back into professional football. Bless him for not selling out."                                    

If you disagree with me, that is your prerogative. If you use the N-word, you’re beneath contempt. In any case, please explain what is the basis for your thinking—beyond a convenient meaningless platitude or two, or some ignorant stereotype. I think a lot of uniformed warriors also would like to know. I also would be highly interested if I were in harm’s way in everyday life right now—just because I was Black.

In reference to players kneeling during playing of the national anthem, on Trump’s stand on race and social justice issues: “The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America. It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”—Robert Kraft, owner, National Football League’s New England Patriots

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UPDATE (May 3)—The full early story of DeAndre Harris, the young Black man badly beaten at Charlottesville, included the fact that one of his assailants effected his arrest by reporting to police that he (Harris) had been the attacker. Harris was arrested on a felony charge of unlawful wounding. He eventually (seven months later, in March), was cleared in court of a lesser assault charge that could have given him a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. 

It was reported today (May 3) that Jacob Goodwin, white, 23, of Arkansas—one of the six individuals who had beaten Harris with metal pipes and wooden boards—had been found guilty of a felony count of malicious wounding. Sentencing scheduled for this summer could include 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Three other of Harris’s attackers—ages 24, 18 and 50—have been arrested, while two remain unidentified. One of the three in custody now is on trial, with trials for the others scheduled.

Goodwin, who originally had filed the charges against Harris, had attended the rally wearing large goggles, boots and a full body shield. He wore a pin considered a tribute to Adolf Hitler, and another that is the logo of the Traditional Workers Party, a white nationalist group.

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