This article presents an interesting dialogue that I think many Americans need to have. (Firstly, I will address the close-minded that revile the source news firm I cited: I get my news from several outlets, and the international ones always have something that the US doesn’t report on, even the propagandized ones.)
My mother-in-law shared this with me, and remarked how remarkable it is that no one has brought attention to the difficulties of being a white blonde in America. Wait—no, I’m not kidding. Ever heard a dumb-blonde joke? Hush, yes you have. And I can tell you’re smiling as you think of your favorite one. They’re funny right? Yeah, even I’ll admit it in lieu of my mother-in-law. She’d probably laugh at them too. Because she knows it’s a stereotype, a caricature, one that doesn’t apply to her. Do you know who created it? Marilyn Monroe. And she wasn’t even that kind of gal. Look at a photo of her taken before she got big, and you can see intelligence beyond her dumb-blonde bit. Very few women actually fit this stereotype naturally. It’s an unfair one.
My mother-in-law continued,
OR WORSE….being a blonde woman living in Hawaii….not a day goes by I don’t experience prejudice and discrimination because I’m white and blonde…not Asian, black, Hawaiian, islander, Filipino, Japanese….basically any other race except white, and my dad is Spanish so technically I’m mixed…but no one cares…I’m blonde…a woman…white….in Hawaii…three strikes…you’re out!
And you know what? I’ll be a post-modernist for a second: the Hawaiians have reasons to be mad at white folk. One of which is that they were a sovereign kingdom which we conquered through sleight-of-hand. And a secessionist movement is alive there. But is racism cool? We all know the answer. My mother-in-law, whom I’ll henceforth refer to as MIL, since hyphenating is tiresome, should not be prejudiced.
Let’s bring this back to gingers (but keep this example in mind). My wife is a bodacious redhead, and even before I married her the pseudo-ginger-hating sort of got on my nerves. I’ve never seen that South Park episode, and, from the description, it sounds funny, and even good satire. But, like the article points out, I don’t think common people get the point of the episode, and rather created a cultural irony in deriding redheads. I get that it’s mostly light-hearted, but do we need it? I mean [and you’ll see that this is a very exploratory conversation for me: I’m pulled in several directions] after all that some Americans have suffered under cultural and even codified racism, do we need to arbitrarily create a class to pick on? We’ve already done that once.
And I think this writer has a good point: ginger jokes mock real racism. But I disagree with him about white supremacy. No, I am not a white supremacist. I think the bull crap that happens when white males are told to “check your privilege” is evidence that there is reverse racism at the service of a long overdone and outworked Affirmative Action system, but I’m no racist. In fact, it irks me when I’m called a racist when I make an observation, comical or intellectual, about something concerning non-whites. It doesn’t matter what it is: crime, ghettos, driving, rice, what have you—since I’m not brown or black, my ability to speak on such things is revoked because I “don’t understand what it’s like.” That is racism. That is a lack of critical thinking. Didn’t the great MLK struggle for us to judge a person, not by the color of their skin, but by the content or their character? We have that ability now! It’s 2014! It’s the future! But the race pimps won’t stop. The race pimps agitate things, and prod us to be indignant about mole hills. There’s another reason for you to not ginger hate: the race pimps already find enough people for us to despise. To add pseudo-hate to more pseudo-hate is just nonsense.
We have a problem in America, and it’s apparent to our neighbors. We are overly race aware. A friend of mine who was studying abroad from England, and happened to have Chinese ancestry, noticed that even in of the friendliest places in the world, even BYU-Idaho, that people often asked her where her family is from on the assumption that she’d consider herself Chinese over English. She said back home she’s simply a person. I have another English friend to corroborate her own experiences to that analysis.
And why? Why after a hundred and fifty-four years since our nation came to civil bloodshed seemingly over racism do we still remind each other of a bad past? Is it because forty acres and mule weren’t properly given out as reparations, and it shouldn’t be forgot? Is it because Asian cars are outperforming our homemade cars, and we’re bitter? I reject any explanation like this. For one reason, they’re silly; for another, I think Americans are better than that. Yet, for reasons like the Treyvon Martin fiasco and the demand for hate-crime prosecution when no evidence existed, and CNN editing the 911 call to push that point further, or even the non-racist but more recent fury over Facebook hunting photos, Americans also scare me! What are we doing? We’re reactionary, and we let the media push us into it! We are better than this. I read a quote that I can’t attribute to anyone because I forget the origin, but it is “There are two types of people: those that walk into a room and turn the TV on, and those that walk in and turn the TV off.” I won’t make the claim that we used to be the latter, since the Founders were terrified of pure democracy because of an uneducated public. But I will say that we are more capable that we are doing. We can critically think. We can be skeptical. We can examine. We can read!
Maybe I’m getting myself worked up. Maybe I’m just a mad white guy who doesn’t understand how good I’ve got it. Maybe I’m just envious and want a scholarship for a trait I can’t control. But I guess you’ll tell me that in the comments. And please do.