Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights

Through Thick and Thin

with 9 comments

It’s been awhile since I wrote a “Through Thick and Thin” post. The phrase still and likely always will appeal to me. Partly because it’s a reminder of a more bucolic era, it is an old phrase. Partly because I like running around in the woods and fields myself. I don’t do as much of it as I used to. Moving right along, a lot has been happening lately, so why not comment on several trending events?

Chick-Fil-A. Sigh. This has gone off on so many tangents it’s gotten truly bizarre. Note above image. Conservative black churches tend to be very anti-LGTB. So we have people who in living memory were a terribly discriminated against minority … actively advocating continued discrimination against another minority. It’s images like this that explain why the aliens haven’t contacted us yet. While I respect people’s right to oppose gay marriage, I won’t dignify their opinion by referring to it as a “defence of marriage.” Marriage is not under attack, it needs no defence. In fact, if marriage is such a good thing, why shouldn’t any two adults be allowed to get married? So much silliness though. Tortured explanations from the left as to why it’s OK to use the power of the state to discriminate against Chik-Fil-A. I still don’t think so. Claims by Chick-Fil-A’s defender that this is a freedom of speech issue. No, aside from some rhetoric, no one’s freedom of speech has been threatened. Yet. I’ve seen a mangled Lincoln quote trotted out by LGBT defenders to bolster their cause. Yeah, adopting Faux News tactics doesn’t impress me.

Granted, some of the groups that Chick-Fil-A has been funding (it’s not just their owners, the corporation itself is a big donor) have been designated as hate groups. I find the appellation “hate group” as annoying as “terrorist group.” It’s a label to demonize a group and their opinions. Neither terrorism nor hate is an ideology, so when it comes right down to it, as a descriptive label its misleading as best. It’s an attempt to frame the discussion in such a way that the other side’s concerns can be ignored. That’s not really a good way to resolve an issue. Lastly, after defending Chick-Fil-A’s right to donate to whoever they please, let me say this. They are donating to some groups that are spreading the most horrific lies and falsehoods about homosexuals. Groups that are advocating the death sentence for gays in Africa. Not cool, not cool at all. I won’t be patronizing Chick-Fil-A, and I heartily encourage others not to do so.

Syria. Sigh. I’m writing a post about it, but it’s complicated. Kofi Annan is quitting as UN-Arab League envoy for the Syria conflict at the end of the month, he claims foreign meddling by both sides is making his job impossible. How the UN ever got involved in an internal, not international, dispute is not mentioned. China and Russia support the Assad regime. The USA and the west are supporting and arming the Islamist revolutionaries. Yes dear readers, China and Russia are supporting the secular government of Syria, while the USA is arming Islamist rebels, including Al-Qaeda linked groups. The people who we call terrorists when they are fighting us. As my more astute readers know, supporting Islamist rebels was such a  great idea in Afghanistan, how could it go wrong in Syria?

The Mars Curiosity Rover sets down on Mars this weekend. Hopefully. It’s the most amazing rover ever deployed, jam-packed with whiz-bang experimental gear. If it lands OK and functions OK, it will be like the Hubble on Mars. If they forgot to convert English measurements into American measurements, or installed something backwards, it will be a waste of over 2 billion dollars. This is what the old folks called “putting all of your eggs in one basket.” I still think that at a dozen cheaper rovers based on the wildly successful Spirit and Opportunity rovers would have been a better option. I hope I’m wrong.

The Aurora shooting … conspiracy theories abound! This is priceless. Yes, it looks like this will be as good as the Truthers or the Birthers, or maybe it will be a flash in the pan, who knows. It’s a fascinating how some events can trigger conspiracy theories. Scientists are no doubt gathering data and examining this as I type, this is like seeing a supernovae. So much can be learned about the psychology and sociology of conspiracy theories if one watches one actually spring forth. In this case, the current Holmes version is that this was some sort of false-flag government operation to act as an excuse for gun control. And that the person being tried isn’t actually Holmes. Pass the popcorn.

Australia refuses US carrier base. Yes, Australia in no uncertain terms said they saw no need to have a US naval base in Australia. No doubt the USA will punish them for their refusal in some way, but it’s nice to see a bit of sanity in the world. WTF does Australia need with a US base, and all the attendant problems that go with it? World War Two is long over, there is no threat to Australia that requires the presence of an American carrier task force. And why does the USA want a naval base in western Australia? It’s all part of the militarization of the world, apparently we are going to be the world’s policemen now. I’m not kidding, Marine units are now being trained to act as world policemen. There’s so much wrong with this I don’t know where to start, so likely there will be a post on it in the future.

Lastly, a bonus image to share. This made me laugh. Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above two images are claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Both have gone viral on Facebook, so I think they are pretty much public domain, I have no idea who to credit them too. Heck, I could make an entire blog just from the interesting images that crop up on Facebook daily, I’ll certainly try to post more of them here in the future.)

Written by unitedcats

August 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

“I’m Not a Racist, But … “

with 5 comments

I travelled around Australia and New Zealand with my wife at the time a few decades back, and one of our observations was that people we spent time with sooner or later said “I’m not a racist, but … ” And then they followed with some really racist observation about Aborigines or Maoris. It was kind of sad. And then there was the time we were at a dinner party and the conversation got onto the subject of children raised by wild animals, then, without missing a beat, they segued into a conversation about whites raised by Aborigines. And I’m quite sure all of these people would have been quite insulted if it was suggested they were at all racist.

In any event this post was inspired about a poll that was recently taken in America. Basically non-whites think the racism situation has improved in recent decades, though not as much as whites think it has improved. No surprises there, the situation regarding racism in the USA has certainly gotten better since the fifties and overt segregation. What surprised me though as that a significant number of whites report that they now feel discriminated against. I mean, I knew there were some whites who felt discriminated against, it’s not that hard to find whites whining about how minorities have all the advantages now and they are the discriminated against minority now.

People like this make me angry. Anyone who thinks whites face discrimination in the USA simply doesn’t understand the pervasive and all encompassing racism permeating American society. This is still very much a country where whites rule and in almost every facet of society being white, especially white male, is a huge advantage. And while whites might certainly come across instances where a non-white is hostile and prejudiced towards them, it simply isn’t the same as the subtle miasma of racism non-whites deal with on a daily basis.

Some examples. I read an interview with an American Air Force general. They asked him if he encountered any racism during his career, since he wasn’t white. He had two interesting examples. He said that of course he met many people in the course of his life. And often the first question that comes up when getting to know someone is “So, where are you from?” And our Air Force general would answer … Ohio. And sometimes people would get annoyed at him for answering that, because of course they were really asking him about his ethnicity. Tell me, will a white person ever encounter this kind of reaction if they tell a fellow American they are from Ohio? Not in the USA they won’t. Another example, same source. This general was at an official function in Washington. He was wearing his US Air Force uniform, which had a US flag on it and says “US Air Force” as well. The American wife of a diplomat came up to him and said “Oh, you must be a general in the Chinese Air Force!” Would that ever happen to a white US Air Force general? Would a white US Air Force general even be asked if racism was a factor in their career?

See how subtle this is? For example, I was walking through Berkeley with a friend a few weeks back. A woman getting out of her car shouted out at him the breaking news of the day … the verdict in the Oscar Grant trial. Tell me gentle white reader, has any stranger ever shouted out to you some news of the day because they thought that as a white person, you would want to know? My friend of course is black. He even commented, Gee, I guess she told me that because I was black? Yerp. This is nothing new. Abraham Lincoln once met with a black political leader of his day. Afterwards, someone asked him what he though of Mr. Lincoln. He said: “That was the first time in my life where I spent an hour talking with a white man, and he didn’t once mention that I was a black man.” And this is what I mean by pervasive underlying racism. Whites in America can go through their entire life without someone pointing out that they are white. Non-whites are reminded constantly that they aren’t white.

My point is that we are still a long ways from being some sort of post racial society in America. In fact in many ways we have a veneer of being post racial, but racism is simmering quite nicely under the surface. Just becasue it’s no longer politically correct in most circles to espouse racist views, doesn’t actually mean that racism went away. In my next post I will expand on the unpleasant topic of how liberals can be both simultaneously racist, and yet declare and apparently believe that they aren’t. Then of course there’s the whole nasty business of just how brutal and overt racism was in the USA. The lynching of Laura Nelson and her 15 year old son in 1911 illustrated above is a good example. Pictures like this were commonly reproduced and sent as post cards! Times have changed for the better for sure, but we still have a long ways to go.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is Public Domain under US Copyright Law. It’s a photograph of the lynching of Laura Nelson and her son. And to end on more pleasant note, in New Zealand we hitched a ride that took us nearly 800 miles. Our driver was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, he paid for our meals, wouldn’t accept gas money, and was just in general a prince of a man. Yet at one point in the drive, he said “I’m not a racist, but … ” My wife and I braced ourselves for some horribly racist remark. ” … it really bugs me how Maoris drive on the freeway in big cars with their long hair waving out the window.” We didn’t see that one coming.)

Written by unitedcats

June 17, 2011 at 9:44 am