The Giving Lens

Monday, May 5, 2014

I kinda feel a bit sorry for the stereotypical American "racist"

The L.A Clippers (soon to be ex) owner, the various jokes during the White House Correspondence Dinner highlighting racial divisions, and this guy... 

I kinda feel a bit sorry for the stereotypical American "racist". 

Are these people vestiges of a bygone era? Sure. Society changes over time, for good or ill. Some people change with it. Others, not so much. However I do think there is a difference between ignorance based on a lack of education and social cohesion, and simple-minded, hateful people. 

Cliven Bundy doesn't strike me as a man with hatred for millions of people based only on their skin colour/culture, but a man who was raised in a country where people are constantly force fed opinions from both sides of a political system eternally at odds with one another, never stopping to think "Hey... can't we just try to get along and stop being dicks?"

One minute he was a champion of the people for one side of the coin; Conservatives in this case; the next, vilified by both camps as a repugnant racist. 

Would I like to live in a world where all my opinions are seen as the right way forward? Of course. Do I think that a lot of my views are just basic common sense and simply basic human ideals? Sure. However I sometimes have to ask myself what if I was someone who didn't agree with gay rights, or who thought that black people were inferior to white people? Not for any hateful reasons; that's just how I saw the world. How would I feel if I was told that I was disgusting for even thinking that way? 

Mr Bundy raises a good point when talking about Rosa Parks and MLK. That was that essentially, (at least in hindsight) it shouldn't matter where we sit on the bus, just so long as we all can sit on the bus together. (Incidentally Rosa Parks was a badass and what she did was awesome. It had to be done, at that time. Now though? Things like that should just be pizza at this stage.)

Do I agree with what he said in the various interviews? No. Do I agree with Donald Sterling's views? No. But I do think there is something to be said for the possibility that when a group of people speak with one voice and seek a change in a society, you have to be careful not to let that voice become an aggressive order. 

Naive as it is to hope for a truly democratic, cooperative and inclusive society, letting each one of us live in peace and harmony, it is my hope none the less. Free speech is as important as the air we breath. Silencing people who have different views (Just so long as they are not hateful and seeking your destruction; Religious fundamentalists for the most part) is not the way to go. 

Educating people, equipping them with the tools to critically think about why they think the way they do should be the first step toward maybe coming to an understanding, and possibly changing those views for the betterment of humanity should be the ultimate goal. 

It all just seems to me like the "media" built this man up for one reason, and then just tore him down the next. Not because he's a racist, but because they could. 

Are people like Mr Bundy and Mr Sterling racists? It's kind of hard to argue that they are not. Are they just people with different, now out of touch views in today's world, where even private opinions are the business of everyone? Well, that one is pretty clear to me.