What is racism?

Racism3Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, commented that with the sad recent deaths of unarmed blacks in Ferguson, Chicago and Staten Island at the hands of police, the word “racism” has been tossed around like a salad bar. Every talk show rumbled on about it with little attempt to define it.  Odd since racism is such an important and emotionally loaded word.

Racism appears difficult to exactly define, since every source consulted reveals various differences and nuances.  A feature that seems common to most ‘official’ definitions invokes discrimination or prejudice, often based on stereotyping, aimed at a race or other identifiable group, and usually with a motive to gain power or control over the group.  While untidy, this definition seems one with which most people would generally agree.  The problem for me is in the application.  The Rev. Al Sharpton has no such problem, apparently, since he sprinkles every public pronouncement very liberally with the word.  He sees racism virtually everywhere he looks.  And his confidante, Barack Obama, seems to share his beliefs, though is somewhat more inhibited with his public judgments.

So, what about the three aforementioned incidents and racism?  Our president and the reverend have both proclaimed all to be examples of discrimination intentionally wrought by white cops on black citizens.  But what is the discrimination?  Are the white cops really making assumptions about blacks in general, and then predisposed to shooting or choking them to death?  I don’t know the answer to this question, but would suggest that neither does Obama or his friend Al.

Could the three incidents cited above be explained not by racism, a desire to dominate a sector of the population, but rather be explained by facts?  Much more crime of all types is committed by blacks per capita in the US than by any other race.  By far, more violent crime is fomented by blacks on blacks than by whites on blacks (which is actually exceedingly rare).  There is no doubt that black neighborhoods tend to be much more violent than equally impoverished white neighborhoods (but can poverty really be an excuse for violence?)  Given all this, are cops not to be more careful in patrolling a black neighborRacism4hood?  They would be idiots if they weren’t.  So could it be that most cops, white or black, invoke assumptions (dare I say prejudice?) about crime and likelihood of crime, in neighborhoods they enter?  Throw into this scenario the fact that more blacks are raised in fatherless families, cannot benefit from such a relationship, and is it any wonder why black youths may have less respect for law enforcement or other authority figures?

The more our nation mulls over the recent highly unfortunate events, the more it will conclude that these events were not so much, or at all, racially motivated but motivated by grim realities…realities that black America needs to formally recognize, and remedy.


Race sensitivity…

Race sensitivity 2
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire recently queried, “Is it my imagination or are blacks more sensitive than ever to race, race language (i.e. racist), racial equality, equal pay for equal race, etc.?”

Am I wrong to suggest that blacks compared to just ten or twenty years ago are better educated, have more “high level” jobs, dominate all major sports, nearly dominate the entertainment industry and news outlets?  Yet we hear more from (usually self appointed) black spokesmen that their race is disadvantaged.  Clearly blacks have a ways to go (there needs to be more black NBA owners for example), but would one not think that if progress is made at a faster pace than ever before, that the ‘spokesmen’ would tone down the rhetoricRace sensitivity 3

And where does white man’s guilt and struggle for ‘atonement’ end, and responsibility of the black manforthe black man begin?  With a disproportionate number of blacks taking advantage of affirmative action and Welfare, why are blacks not getting the “leg up” they apparently want?  Does the answer always have to lay in the hands of White America, in Congress for more laws, in the treasuries for more handouts?

Freedom of speech…

Don SterlingThe NBA, its esteemed commissioner Silver, the great multitude of professional basketball players, Hollywood icons, the media, the potential buyers of the LA Clippers, and yes our very own President, all directed venom and contempt at the Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling, following his racist remarks – remarks that were secretly taped and sought to disparage his girlfriend from entertaining black jocks in public.  Crazy remarks considering that Sterling lives in a world of black athletes, many of whom work for him, and this year, win for him. Nevertheless, he admitted to making the comments, again, made in private.  But they were words.  WORDS. Let’s grow up America….sticks and stones… we all know the saying.

Sterling was a crazy man for saying these things.  He was a stupid man for thinking the things that made him say these words.  But he can’t be too crazy and stupid to have amassed a fortune, and put together a playoff NBA team and premier franchise.  He has done nothing criminal.  People are entitled to think stupid crazy things.  It is a constitutional right.  Believing himself in need of proving his worth and newly appointed power, Commissioner Silver has passed judgment, fines, bans and has said he wishes to convince other franchise owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers .  If the commish does this, this bruhaha will result in something more than a frothy war of words, a lawsuit that Sterling will win.

Racist, crazy, stupid…and on the right side of the Constitution.  Few thinking people embrace racism, but this action will not help expunge it.  Let Sterling’s ignorant actions cause him such embarrassment and discomfit in public that he sentences himself and slink into obscurity on his own.  Otherwise, in court he will rightly clean the clock of the NBA, and demonstrate what we all know, freedom of speech is at the heart of our country and Democracy.