Saturday, October 27, 2012

AP Racism and Freshman English, FSU

Having lived in what some would term diverse communities for much of my life, I observe with sadness and scorn the many stories I hear and see about racism.   In Miami, during the 80s and 90s, my condition of birth was shared by a minority of citizens.

What I found was that since Cubans were considered a minority in federal terms that they found it relatively easy to discriminate on any basis which suited them.  It is human nature, to a point.  Not that I didn't have plenty of Cuban friends I did.  I liked their coffee and much of the music, etc.  But life is life.

One work experience was rife with sexual and ethnic discrimination.  I was one of the very few white males (few males of any stripe) in the place, and they took their shots.  I did not pursue legal recourse or any of that, although I probably had a better case than many I've seen in the news.  Hey, if they didn't want what I had to offer I could go elsewhere.  And I did.  So, bully, woman, hispanic.  She did seem a little underhanded but I believe she seriously regretted it by the time I left.  OK. Not to the point.

Still not to the point; I was just thinking that I bring out strange things in women.  I must learn to harness this somehow.  If I could learn to direct their reaction to something less dramatic than homicide.

Now the AP has a story about some university guy's study showing explicit and implicit racism.  It mostly focusses on white against everyone.  I tend to think this is a thing which has a kernel of truth and a bushel of BS.

When you have a culture in which young people who don't act like punks are ridiculed for "acting white", would you say that is a racist phenomenon?  I would.

The study uses techniques and questions which are iffy at best.  It seems to go the way of my English professor at FSU.  He wanted us to pull all sorts of hidden meanings and symbolism out of everything.  He was very keen on homosexual symbolism.  I caught on and finally wrote a paper for the class.

To write the paper I got stoned and drunk and invented every possible bit of sexual, homosexual, and maybe even trisexual context to the most inane of passages.   It was to the point of absurdity.  He ate it up.

I fear the same is being done with the subject of racism.  Since it is tough to find outwardly and overtly in the places they look, they claim it has gone underground.  That's like that cop who asked if I was going to be a good boy and admit to stealing some stuff and tell him where it was, OR was I going to act like a criminal and deny any knowledge of it.

I didn't steal the stuff.  So, damned if you do or don't.  It is the same thing here.  According to Chris Matthews and some others, if you are not a fan of Mr. Obama's political philosophy and way of handling the job, you are clearly racist.  It carries on like that in other areas but right now any of the usual political lampooning aimed at Obama is liable to be tagged as racially motivated.  Maybe it even has a bit of sexual symbolism too.  Maybe lesbian love symbolism, I don't know, ask my ex professor.  That dimwit.

You can find prejudice and bias and racism everywhere if you choose.  That does not mean that hate and unkindness lurk there, just that you can delve into the absurd they way I did at FSU.

Those crying race over and over are doing more to foster tribal disdain for others than even the KKK.  They've done it so successfully that some black thugs have killed people and justified it with things we know nothing about like the shooting of a black kid by a jewish hispanic man in FL.  Well, his dad was jewish I think, so he may be a druid for all I know.  The point is there.

For the record, lots of people do not much like other races.  At least they prefer their daughter marry only chinese, or black, or white or hispanic or arab or whatever.  It is how people are.  That doesn't mean they carry this all that far and seek to eliminate or even hurt the feelings of others.  They usually don't.

I remember a jewish guy getting the very evil eye for bringing me into his house in high school.  I remember a black guy's grandmother not so discretely cussing him out for dragging me in the door.  It happens.  I knew they meant no awful harm, and I figured maybe they were right--I'm a bad influence.

Oh, I should explain.  The default nationality in my discussions is my own, USA American.  Since the friends mentioned above were also born citizens, I did not list a continent or country in order to describe them adequately for the purpose of the story.  Continentally, we were all American-Americans, even though Canada and a bunch of places are in South American and North America.  It's a quiz to name which one contains Canada and Mexico.  You got a 50/50 shot, and everyone in my class passes if they pay the green fee.  That's what I call it, "a green fee".   Save the world, pay up.  You'd never guess that my teaching career started and ended on the same day.

The thing is, people in parts of California, or in Wisconsin or more homogenous places read these stories and assume all this racism must be southern white rednecks out to make trouble.  Some of that may exist but nothing like they pretend.  So, people outside actual interaction with lots and lots of other ethnicities form opinions about the fiction they are fed as fact.

All the while ignoring that, per capita, blacks are highly racist--far more so than whites in this century---, hispanics are more tribal than whites, and often rival blacks in their racist thinking.  It is obvious and easily tested.  Go walk into a predominately black area of Memphis.  If you are black walk into a white area.  The former has a 99% chance of being harassed or beaten or otherwise made to feel unwelcome. The latter has maybe a 10% chance of receiving dirty looks and maybe a rude question.

People know this.  Yet the race thing is still played as if it is some other way.  That is the reality of the here and now.  Study it, search for it, make your Jesse money off of it, or maybe try to quit fueling it and pitting group against group--usually based upon condition of birth.  This mythological belief system must go.  Maybe one person doesn't like another or disagrees with him or her, and the whole race thing is secondary, or so far from the issue at hand that no one has thought of it.

Crying racism, even though you have to claim it is underground, is much easier than actually debating philosophy or dancing through a logical syllogism.  It is shameless pandering and an attempt to discredit and squelch opposition without having to explore and win a point in discussion.

I've got no time for racism, I'm too busy being islamaphobic, and for good reason.


Stay Dry Easties

While we sweat the Santa Anas and heightened fire risks, you nor'easters are in for another assault altogether.  If you live on low land that could flood, don't wait until the water is way up and you have to sit atop the chimney.

These events always cause me to think of the value of being able to produce electricity on site.  It is silly that by now most buildings aren't self sufficient.  But we have to subsidize our friends while pretending this is a government job.

Don't forget, it was the same basic bunch who made it illegal to produce your own power not so long ago.  Those of you in love with regulation no doubt bought the story at the time that it was for your safety and so everyone would pay their fair share.

OK, so most places are dependent.  That means those in the storm path need to get things set so you can get by without official utilities for awhile.  If you worry about FEMA or someone not coming and getting you out of your house or telling you that breathing is easier above sea level, then I guess we'll see you on the news.

Hurricanes and other storms are pretty much a game of doing for yourself what you can with what you've got.  There will be a few people in your neighborhood who can think.  Glue yourself to one if you are baffled about which way is up.  Or, if you thrive in such emergencies,  calm the panicked ones who may seek your counsel in one way or another.

Good luck.  I hope it goes away and nobody loses anything.

Genetically Controversial

One of the ballot initiatives, here in California, deals with genetically modified food labeling.    At first glance I thought, oh, I wonder what defines genetically modified.  Several strains of various vegetation have been created or modified by grafting, hybridization, and tweaking this and that to aid in the natural selection process.  Does that count?

I also thought it would be interesting to see if most of what I eat falls into the genetically modified food group.  But I had to delve a little into the measure to see what I could see.  What I could see was that some food which matters not to me has to be labelled while other products don't.

Without coming right out and saying it, the measure almost calls out company names and insists they label, while being sure to lay down big speed bumps for mom and pop operations and small farmers.  It is not even across the board.

That is usually the case with regulation that looks dandy on its face, but then turns out to be a case of special interest and/or company A getting something in to screw over company and/or special interest B.  The old government-business partnership which we are told is commerce heaven.

I'd like to know if my chips have been modified with some kind of gene that makes me stupid if I eat it, but this initiative doesn't look like a reliable way to know anything.  Dog food would be required to label but some things that I actually eat wouldn't.  I forgot the specifics.  They lost me when I realized that when they drew the line they gerrymandered to include some but not others.

Today, in a parking lot, a guitar player's wife asked me if I eat genetically modified food.  Probably.  She has a sticker on their car in favor of prop 36 or whichever it is.  I asked if this wouldn't add to food costs and administrative costs.  "Oh no, they just have to add a little to the label, it costs almost nothing. Vote for it, that is all you need to do."   I pretended I would, even though we already know my mail-in ballot has already been sent in, read, and tossed in the trash by my political adversaries.

I'm pretty sure I voted NO because I saw it as an open door to cutthroat corruption, and because implementing it and enforcing it are sure to affect costs, and now we have more food police bureaucracy.  Maybe if it had not been such a pick and choose type of thing.

That was what blew me away back when NAFTA came about.  I skimmed it---a rather hefty tome--and discovered they named specific companies and dictated who could do what where.  That is not free trade, that is the spoils go to political allies and those who own a piece of government.  If it is not a document describing principles and rules, but rather one bestowing certain rights to specific firms, then it is garbage.  That's my view.

Anyway, what if the genetically enhanced food I've been eating has twisted my mind and if it were untwisted I'd not think this way at all?  I'll bet I could sue someone if only I could remember what I thought before their genes made me think like this.

Shock therapy.  Like what put me off of Playboy way back when.   I was in the Air Guard doing about 25 or so make up drills.  Since they had no women's barracks, they put me up at a Holiday Inn.  Had to be equal.  So, I was wild and crazy and ended up with a slightly older woman who had a fairly new set of enhanced hoots.  Ever since, I have preferred real life.   The stuff in the magazines all looked fake after that.

Just my luck, as time went on this sort of installed baggage up top has become way too common and popular.  I say, if you aren't reconstructing, just leave it be.  In any case, my view of such matters changed and stayed that way.

So what would shock me into not thinking how I think?  See what genetically modified food does to one's mind?  Maybe that explains our governor, ex governor, senators and difficulty of legally throwing anything away.


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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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