Tuesday, September 4, 2012
I am going to wade into a major fray and let the chips fall where they may.
A few months ago a wannabe gangsta named Treyvon Martin got shot. From what I have been able to gather it was a justified shooting and it should have ended there but it didn't.
The usual gang of hate mongers moved in and decided that because the incident crossed racial lines that it was racism or something and the uproar went as far as the White House and the president even went so far as to comment on the incident and make a fool out of himself.
I'm sick of it. I am sick and tired of people fighting over race, creed, color, sex, national origin and sexuality. There are a whole lot more things we can fight over than that stupidity.
As a seaman my sworn enemy is the sea which is constantly trying to kill me. While I am out there I have to stay on my toes and be surrounded by people I can count on and I really do not give a damn about who they are. What they are is imperative. Lives and big money are always at stake here and I cannot afford the luxury of having to be assigned a shipmate based on something stupid like race or color. Competence is imperative and that is that. The rest is bullshit. Frankly, this is one place where things become very clear. This lifestyle has a clarity to it that is generally not experienced by a whole lot of landsmen except for some of the people in military service and not a whole lot of them when you consider that most GIs are in support roles.
I was born white. That is to me nothing more or less than a simple accident of birth. Two white people married and I am the product of the union. It is as simple as that. I feel no sense of guilt nor shame over this because I really had nothing to do with this whatsoever. I am guilty of nothing more than simply being born. I do not owe anybody anything because of this.
Prior to the sixties there were an awful lot of places that were denying black their basic civil rights that are guarenteed to all people under the constitution. There was a hue and cry in the sixties and Martin Luther King came to the head of the line as a leader of the black community. He was right in what he wanted then and years after his murder he is still right. He simply wanted a place where people of all races and colors could eat together as equals at the table of freedom.
Legislation was passed and enforced and many blacks were given their basic civil rights and guarenteed their freedoms. It simply should have stopped then and there because they had been given the tools to work with to make their own lives for themselves.
There's quite a difference between legal and social equality. Legal equality is just that. You are equal under the laws of the nation. It should be this way for everybody and to a certain extent it is, minor corruption, nepotism and a few other things notwithstanding. Right now just about every government sponsered program of any sort is open to everyone that can meet the requirements for entry.
I suppose some non-rocket scientist out there is going to ask how come the FBI agents that infiltrate white supremecy groups are all white but let's not get stupid here, people.
So there it is. The tools are out there and you now have something to work with. Get to work.
Of course, a bunch of people said that blacks were not being allowed into the oaken paneled back rooms where the brandy and cigars are served with the old men and the old money. I know that this may come as a surprised, but I haven't been invited there, either. Then again, I really don't care for cigars a whole lot and instead of brandy served in crystal glasses I'd really rather have a cold beer served in the bottle it came from. I'd also rather drink it on my back porch. So no great loss.
What may surprise you is that I was invited to join a yacht club once and I did. The reason was simple. I had been spotted in my sailboat several times in the Tongass Narrows running the holy hell out of her with the stern squatting down in the water obviousy exceeding the hull speed of her. For a boat that size I sailed the holy hell out of her and it was noticed. She also sported a hailing port of Kodiak, which was several hundred sea miles of an open ocean crossing away from where I was when I was asked to join.
I guess someone in the club chased me down and followed me into a waterfront ginmill where I was invited to join. To this day I do not attribute being invited to join the club to be anything more than the fact that I was one hell of a sailor and that someone felt I had something to bring into the club. I still think to this day that if I had been a minority of some sort I still would have been cheerfully invited to join.
When you couple the fact that I was a fisherman/carpenter/cab driver at the time and had a less than stellar reputation as a loose cannon I believe I was asked to join on merit alone. I could have been purple for all they cared.
In short, all of the crap we have done in this country for minorities is a bunch of hogwash that actually keeps them down. It sounds an awful lot like Rudyard Kipling saying that 'we must take up white man's burden' because all of the poor little brown skinned people are incapable of taking care of themselves and that IS a bunch of crap. Minorities are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. I have faith in this because I see it all the time.
When you reserve a percentage of contracts for minority run companies it is just another way of the government saying that they do not believe that minorities can compete on an even playing field. It simply isn't true. They can.
This well intentioned plan only serves to create friction and continue the belief that minorities are not as capable as everyone else.
Just like the people that hate illegal immigrants the most are legal immigrants that have gone through the system, the people that hate these policies the most are successful blacks because it robs them of the status of success. People look at successful minorities and wonder if they were successful because government made it easy for them. I can't blame a successful minority for being angry over these policies.
He's mad as hell because his credibility is in question. His success has been undermined. HE made HIS success (for example)as a contractor by having HIS projects built to specification, on time and on budget and not because some governmental agency saved a slot for him. He'd damned proud of that and damned well should be.
Incidentally, speaking of financial success and money, over the years I have been handed cash money from the hands of just about every race, creed, color, sex, national origin and sexual preferance. I happened to have noticed that not once has this money ever not been accepted by anyone. For example, I was paid for a load of fish by a Jew and I took the money down to a Chinese restaurant where the money was accepted without so much as a glance.
The government sector is one place that makes people ask a lot of questions. Let's use DMV as an example as it is something many of us can relate to. When you go into the DMV office and see a minority behind the counter an awful lot of us wonder if he/she got there on their own or were simply hired to fill an arbitrary quota of some sort. I know I have. If they screw things up I figure I was right on that call and if they make things right, I generally figure they were likely hired because they were the right person for the job. I'll admit I'm not always right but like a lot of us I do tend to think along these lines.
Recently I went downtown the the county building to have something taken care of and was greeted by a pair of black women. I admit to being skeptical at first but it didn't take long for me to find out that these two women knew what they were doing and were there to help me. They were extremely helpful and I went home thinking that for once someone in recorded history the county building put the right person on the right job. My guess is that they were hired because they were the right people for the job as it should have been.
A while ago there was a short-lived little movement to start teaching 'Ebonics' in public schools. It didn't go very far but the fact that the subject even came up is nothing more than an insult to an entire race.
The language in this country for the most part is English and most states require four years of it to be taught in high school before one can graduate. It should also be noted that a high school education in this country is free to anyone that wants it. Mine didn't cost my parents a dime.
By even suggesting we teach Ebonics, which is nothing more or less than poor English we have just suggested again that an entire race was incapable of learning the basic language of our country. I am not bashful and one day when I was downtown I asked three successful looking black women what they thought of teaching this language and I sure got an earful, not that I didn't expect it.
These successful women, and I asked three of them, considered it to be an insult to their race and I can't say as I can blame them for feeling that way. After all, all three of them sat through four years of English classes in high school and likely at least freshman English in college and passed. They learned the language and as one woman said, "I may not speak English as well as the Queen of England, but I can read, write and speak in coherent sentences!" I liked this woman. She had a lot of pride in herself and quite a bit of polish.
One field of endeavor where minorities seem to do well without a whole lot of help is in the services in general and the Marine Corps in specific. The Marines have a few friends on the hill and generally manage to avoid having social experiments crammed down their throats.
When I see a Marine uniform my eyes go straight to the sleeves. If the sleeves are empty, I look at the collar. Then the chest to see his resume. Then my eyes go to the face. If I see the man is a Staff NCO or an officer I generally assume he's a squared away Marine and there are none of the other questions that go along with how he got there. I know. He was promoted to that grade on merit alone. This is how it should be.
Incidentally, blacks comprise about 11% of the country's population. The percentage of blacks in the Corps is a hell of a lot higher than that. That tells me that there are quite a number of blacks that have decided that they want to be judged simply by their own merits and on a level playing field.
Some minorities may moan and bellyache about the white man keeping them down but I don't want to hear it. It makes no sense to me to keep anybody down. It's just poor business. It's a whole lot easier and cheaper to let someone rise to utilize their talents and drive. With any luck they just might make or invent something that makes my life easier. It's also easier to let someone take care of themselves so I don't have to suupport them.
Dr. King once said that for every black man being held down in the gutter, there's a white man sitting on top of him keeping him there. The truth is that I have a whole lot better places to sit than on top of some guy in a gutter. My porch steps with a cold beer sounds a whole lot better and while I am sitting on my porch, feel free to climb out of the gutter. I simply do not have the time or the inclination to sit either on someone or sit in a gutter.
I have heard for years that people want to rid the country of the scourge of racism. I do, too, but it isn't likely to ever go away 100% as there will always be those that blame their failures on someone else but we can sure eliminate the brunt of it.
Racism is nothing but a waste of time and talent and we have a shortage of both but for as long as people are held to different standards it is not too likely to go away.
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