It's all about perspective

Archive for the ‘Topic of the Day’ Category

In the beginning…

So I want to talk about race. I’ve done this before, but in my previous post I only talked about science and splitting hairs between the definitions. This time, I want to talk about what this little monster called race has done, what it’s been doing, and what it’s likely going to do to us if we don’t do something. I’ll likely not get to all of that in this post, but I have to save something for next time.

Unfortunately, there is no real progression of racism so a simple linear look at race in the United States is somewhat worthless. Now we can track it and study it and find it throughout history, but race is a subtle thing with not-so-subtle trappings. Its like finding out that all your apples taste sour not because of that new fertilizer you’re using, but because of what your great-grandfather used; it was fine for him at the time, but now its wreaking havoc on you. Now this shit our forefathers threw all over the place is coming back to poison us.

Seeing as how race is a social construct it changes with each new leap or change in culture. This used to take several generations, but with the advent of the modern age and the swiftness with which information can be distributed these changes occur at a much more rapid pace. So now we find ourselves trying to figure out where to go from the forgotten and broken promises made in the 60’s, the 70’s, and all the way back to the Bill of Rights. This was supposed to be the future and the future wasn’t supposed to be racist or have anything to do with skin color. And for anyone, ANYONE, who says that race and racism is over because we managed to get a black man in the White House; shut up and sit down because you haven’t been paying attention for pretty much your whole damn life.

The United States of America, the country I love and, contrary to how I write about it, am so proud of, needs to face the truth about itself. This country was born from the womb of racism. Our forefathers committed heinous atrocities all in the name of economic progress. We hunted down and killed Native peoples by the millions. We bought and sold human beings. We treated human beings like little more than trinkets to be done with as we wished. I say we need to own this. We need to take responsibility for what our predecessors did because no one else is. We were shamed into action in the 60’s and 70’s, but shame, like anger, is an emotional energy that only lasts so long and does not extend into the next generation. Now we sit here almost two generations down the road and there is no real change that can be counted. One person, one family making good does not a revolution make, nor fulfill a promise.

Every time we pledge allegiance to the flag, every time we sing the Star Spangled Banner, every time we cheer the Braves or the Chief’s and we’re talking about a sports team instead of political leaders, every time we tell an off-color joke, every time we laugh at an off-color joke, every time we cross the street to avoid someone who looks different than us, we say to our children, our friends, and our society that “all of that stuff was okay. All of it was necessary and perfectly fine. You don’t have to take responsibility for it either.” This absolutely must stop.

So let me start at the beginning.
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Wow

Okay, so I’ve completely been neglecting this site. I took some serious time off to focus on school and managed to graduate. I got done with the last assignment on Saturday and now I just have to wait until the 16th when I walk and they give me my diploma.

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I decided to go back to school. Time flies so fast.

So pretty much none of the goals I had when I started this site have been attained. I’ve not lost any great amount of weight. I’ve not become a hub of sociological thought online. I’ve not really done anything with this place.

As the english say, in french, “c’est la vie” such is life.

But I did graduate. Now I get to enter the real world. At least until I get in to grad school.

Peace.

Racism?

I’m a member of a few social networking sites. Myspace, Facebook, Atheist Nexus, and a place called OkCupid. OkCupid is an entertaining site as it mashes up a dating site like Yahoo personals or Match.com with a social network site like Myspace. I have some fun on there and have met a few entertaining people. But what sucks the hours right out of my day is the forums.

Just like any forum there are varied and sometimes quixotic topics ranging from “how many drinks would it take to sleep with the poster above you” to “critique my profile.” Today though, I was looking through the forums and ran across this topic titled “In the name of God…” It was started by a thirtysomething white male in response to a few emails he had received.  Apparently the original poster (OP) specifies on his profile that he is only looking for a single white female. The person who emailed the OP inquired about this and wondered if he would be willing to “give up on all other races and possible love connections just because they are not white.” The OP responed to this by relegating his choice in skin color on his potential mate to the same level as hair and eye color, weight, or height. The woman emailing the OP brought in God and made the OP out to be a racist and herself to be more enlightened because she’s a God-fearing woman and the OP must not be. What followed has been a flurry of topic responses calling him prejudiced, racist, a bigot, and many others. There are plenty of responses that back the OP, but far more that denounce his choice of potential mates.

So I have been wondering, is this man’s exclusion of several ethnicities from his pool of potential mates based on racism or on a measurement of attraction he has no conscious control over?

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Yes we did

As the world well knows, on November 4, 2008, the United States voted to elect Barack Hussein Obama to be it’s 44th president.

I volunteered for the Obama campaign that day. I was asked to drive out to Republic, a short 15 miles from Springfield, because they needed more help than any of the Springfield offices did. It was a small office in the corner of a shopping center; decorated with every bit of campaign paraphernalia they could find. We were going out to canvass neighborhoods to ensure Obama supporters knew where their polling place was and that they actually got out to vote.

I was astounded to learn that I would be one of three team “captains” because I could drive and I knew the area. They needed people like that because, unbeknown to me, the Obama campaign had bussed almost 50 volunteers from Texas to Missouri. Not just for the 4th either; they had been in Missouri since Saturday. I was amazed, touched, and embarrassed all at the same time and all for the same reason; these people spent their time and energy to volunteer in a place they had never been before, to help people they had never seen before, to help a candidate they believed in, but I only had time for a single day.

I have always said that the faith most important to me is the faith I have in human potential. I will always remember November 4, 2008 as the day that faith was proven to be fact. There is no limit to what humans can do when we work together.

And did we work. I drove and we walked and the hours just slipped through our fingers as we knocked on door after door. After six very long hours the whole of Republic was finally canvassed. Then they sent me and six other out-of-town volunteers to a southern district in Springfield where a very large section of democrat-friendly voters had not been canvassed. Out we went again at 4:30. For the next two hours we rushed to talk to as many people as we could.

We were given two packets consisting of 8 streets each. I had been given two people. I gave them a street to walk and I took a street to drive. Thankfully the alignment in my car is still spot on. As I approached one of the houses on the list I would hop out of my car, let it continue rolling, talk to the person at the house, and then jump back in the car before it rolled away from their property. Dangerous, yes, but it allowed me to cover the same amount of ground as two people on foot.

It was 6:20, the sun had gone down, and the street lights were of no help in finding the addresses on our list, but I was able to talk to one last person. His garage door was open and I found him sitting outside enjoying a cigarette. I introduced myself, told him I was with the Obama campaign, and asked if he had voted yet. He told me he hadn’t and that he wasn’t sure if he was registered. I was kind of stunned. I said “sir, you’re registered to vote. And if you’re sure you are registered to vote, but your polling place doesn’t have your name on the rolls, they have to give you something called a provisional ballot. It’s only 6:25, your polling place is not that far from here, and if you are in line by 7pm they have to let you vote. This is possibly the most important election you will ever have the change to take part in. Don’t pass this up.”

He looked at me for a second, glanced at the ground, and then looked at the clock hanging on the wall in his garage. “You know what? Fuck it” he exclaimed as he dashed over the get the helmet for his scooter. “I’ve still got time right? And they have to let me vote right?”

“Yes sir they do. Thank you sir!” My heart was pounding as he drove his scooter off into the night.

I don’t know whether he was able to vote or not, but I am so excited he tried.

It was projected that Greene county only needed to have 42% of the vote for Obama to take the state. We capped out at 41%. Our efforts made this state undecided even three days after the fact. 5859 votes separate the two candidates.

That night, as I sat with a few friends watching the results at a downtown restaurant, I was speechless as I watched Senator McCain stroll out onto that stage and concede the race. The place erupted in deafening applause. A hard-fought campaign season was finally over. We could all rest, if only for a moment, and enjoy our victory. Now the hard work begins.

Yes we did.

Public Service Announcement:

GO EFFING VOTE!

Go here to find out where!

Now ends your PSA

Thank you

Two weeks and counting

Dear Voter,

I have been watching with intense scrutiny the presidential political cycle since last year. I watched, I listened, and occasionally I commented on the theatrics. At first I was a Clinton supporter, but as time passed and the politics became thicker than year-old engine oil my fealty changed. Barack Obama has been doing everything possible to stick to the issues of the campaign at every stop. Talking at length with anyone who would listen about his plans for the economy, education, immigration, the war in Iraq, and how to get this country back on track.

Please click here to read the rest of my letter:

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A letter to the undecided

While roaming around on the internet reading various stories I found the following letter on the blog My 2 buck$. Originally sent out to 40 people, it has been re-emailed and posted to forms on the Washington Post’s website as well as other sites. It’s even been verified in full by the hoax busting site Snopes.com. I’ve read it several times. It is very well written and appears to be a very balanced view of a political figure by a member of her constituency. Take a look at Gov. Palin’s story from an Alaskan voter: (more…)

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