Let’s get really heavy today
The truth of many things we deal with in society is that their history is something to be decried and learned from instead of celebrated. But in some weird self-sabotaging bout of ignorance we as humans and even more so as Americans tend to pass over that until forced to confront the matter. That comes from all sides. Because often historical issues are not just about Racism, they are about Bigotry. And while often used interchangeably, they are not in fact the same.
Racism is a systemic issue based on a combination of power, prejudice, and discrimination. Bigotry is just that cocktail of humanity greed and ignorance mixing with prejudice and stereotypes. While one leads to the other often, they aren’t always the same. For instance, I’m often confronted by the notion that a person is not racist because they have dated an American Minority, or have a friend who belongs to an American Minority group(You’ll understand why I am singling out the US minority groups in a minute). While this often does make them less like to be a pure bigot, they are not mutually exclusive in a world where we must interact with each other for simple and basic reasons.
In fact, the very nature of the person’s interactions with the potential bigot are what can usually help you tell whether they were just caught with an inartful phrase; use their association as a shield; or happen to fetishize a particular culture or interacting with that cutlure. And in the end, that’s what you want to know. Over the weekend I was talking about the situation intra-racially with R&B singer Tank and his inartful phrasing, and I called everyone bigots who were in a particularly line of thought. That’s because the word transcends race and class. Which is what we’re dealing with. It’s the Difference between Dan Snyder owner of the Washing D.C. American Football team in the NFL, and the curious case of black women with gay friends who hate depictions of gay men on TV. But put a pin in that I’ll get back to it.
When you talk about racism people tend to get sleepy or upset. The sleepy ones have heard it all before and are mentally impervious to the idea because they have this deluded opinion on race in modern society. The upset ones are usually mad about being called out for their racism, bigotry, or the privilege that arrises for them from those. It is an interesting thing to study as a lay person. Much less in my blogging capacity. However from time to time my study calls for me to correct things and give a bit of history. Usually a glossed over or relatively unknown piece like the one behind the photo below.
So this particular piece of lighter fluid has come out recently after the Ferguson Protests. And of course it is fake right? Well sorta. This is not photoshopped. And yet it is not in fact a legal government document. These have never existed as legal government documents. However, it is in face real. And has far worse an origin than you think.
In the early to mid 1980’s an event called the good Ol Boy’s roundup was held in Tennessee on a yearly basis(That part I’m sure is not surprising). The organizer of this event was then ATF Agent Raymond Eugene Rightmyer, who at all times claimed it was not a racist event. Then when caught with materials like this, claimed he was trying to get rid of it and keep things like this from the event.
During the event this license as well as T-shirts of MLK in sniper crosshairs, OJ’s head in a noose, and dead black men sprawled out before law enforcement vehicles with the title Boyz In Tha Hood. In fact, multiple agents of the ATF were in attendance at these events. So were known KKK members, and folks that belong to both categories. This was also a place filled with what actual male to female sexism is. And while some reports are officially unsubstantiated, things got very “loosely consensual” with the amount of alcohol(rumored to include untaxed Moonshine) flowing through the place. So you might wonder how I know about this. Well it is simple. They got caught. They got found out, rounded up, hauled off to jail, fired obviously, and were convicted.
It was the kind of embarrassing thing that should have been blasted everywhere. And it was for a bit when the initial information came out due to citizen militia-men infiltrating. But you don’t hear it brought up. In fact, despite all of the people involved getting handled by the alarmingly swift hand of the Government, John William Magaw then director, as well as most other parties who know or knew about it spoke very little. Not even to cash in for lucrative expose based deals. Why is Magaw important here? Well he was there.
So out of this 80’s event, we had the first instance of these existing. And we all know how well bigots hold on to “good ideas” so updated versions have been seen new as recently as this year. And it doesn’t help that things like race in America never get talked about honestly enough to be dealt with. So every day you create more bigots. Why did I use bigots on something like this? Because even though they are government employees, they were not in that capacity for this. The ATF could be called racist for employing them. And certainly they may be racists if they use system discrimination to be proponents of their prejudices, but since we don’t have that info we just have bigots.
And it doesn’t just cover black and white issues in America. Because remember what a bigot is. And let’s pick up that pin from earlier. Daniel Snyder the bigot who owns the Washington D.C. team does in fact do a lot of charity work. And even gave money for assistance during Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean Tsunami victims. But remember as I said, you have to look past the interactions to the person. For instance, a big deal was made about the current, but outgoing Navajo Nation President sitting with Snyder in his booth during the game between DC and Arizona. But it shouldn’t surprise you at all. Afterall, what better way to take some heat off that get accidentally caught with someone who is constructively out of power already, and who you just closed a business deal with.
But I know I know, he’s Jewish how could he be a bigot? Well as I said before anyone can be a bigot. Their nationality or ethnic classification does not matter. In the same way, you are still a bigot if you care about animals, but think the Romani are all tricksters. The same way you can want to protect black people from systemic racism, but think women shouldn’t have the same ease of access to birth control as men have to condoms. The same way you can claim you want gender equality but bash any depiction of women or men as conservatively sexist when they are restricted in abundance of clothing, or liberally sexist, when they are without a majority of clothing. The same way you can have gay friends, but not support gay marriage. The same way you can fight sexism, but call Obama a “Halfie” or a Nazi. Or the black guy who does IT work at your job, “not really BLACK.” or say “That girl is pretty for an Indian.” Or go to church every Sunday to praise Jesus that you’ve had painted to look like an Italian man instead of the dark skinned arabic Jew he was. Or of course some of my favorites, the things in your online dating profiles, your method of writing characters that don’t share your ethnicity, and how badly you want to hold on to bigoted phrases like Paddy wagon, Peanut Gallery, Redskin, and be a member of the Tea Party.
But before this gets into a Note from Your Favorite Super villain I have one last image for you. And it does a great job at illustrating the way bigoted thoughts turn into racist action.
The words used in each photo come from media depictions. And while this was particularly telling, just look at the difference in the coverage of Ferguson now, and the riots at Penn State after Paterno quit and Sandusky was found to be a pedo. Look at how championship celebrations are talked about and then think about this. Is your city’s sports team winning an excuse for rioting? Okay if you said yes is that more riot worthy than actual brutality by the government on unarmed members of the community? If you said either was not okay fine, but if one is okay and the other is not, guess what group you just joined? The reality is Civil Libertarians, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Democrats, and yes even Moderates excuse all kinds of civil displays of lawless behavior. Until of course that is done by a group other than those who look like them. Remember the backlash at Occupy? Even so called liberals were on television saying those people need to get broken up, and those people need to get back to work and stop leaching. Think about Immigration, those people coming over our borders and stealing jobs. Think about Ebola, we need to stop those people from Africa from coming and bringing it here.
Something to think about as you relax tonight and go to work tomorrow. Notice I didn’t call you a bigot. But I bet you almost felt like I did and dismissed me for saying it. The funny part is a purposefully put you in that position. Either you will examine your biases and bigotry and do something about it. Or you’ll reject the notion and go deeper in. But I’ll be content either way. Reform or Regression, I’ll have been proven right. Now I have more to talk about the difference between racism and classism, but I’ve talked a lot and…WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE!