Thursday, September 6, 2012

Socialists vs. Racists: Political Conditioning and You

I stopped visiting Crooks and Liars for a while because it gave me a headache.  When I first started getting into the blogosophere crap, I started out briefly on Ace of Spades.  Some of my conservative readers might enjoy that place, but having experienced both sides of the fence, I can tell you the only difference between the two sides is their political bent.

But because I'm an idealist at heart, and my hopeless hope hasn't been completely ripped from my chest, I went back over to Crooks and Liars recently to wade back into the madness.  Today, I read an article there about why we should have a "serious discussion about race."  The author was lamenting how conservatives lament the race card.  Of course, when it came time to point fingers to blame someone for "the race card," the Right Wing caught the blame.

I thought about it for a moment.  Yes, why don't we have a serious discussion about race?  Let's just sit down and talk about it.  But then I thought about how this conversation would go.  Here's a snippet of how the scenario played out in my mind.

Bartender:  So Mr. Busey, what will you have today?

Gary Busey:  I'll have a black russian.

Bartender:  Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Busey, but we're out of coffee liqeuer.

Gary Busey:  Oh, so you only do white russians eh?  You racist son of a bitch!

Bartender:  Sir, I'm not racist, we just don't have the right ingredients to give you what you want.

Gary Busey:  Well, why don't you just go out and buy some?

Bartender:  I'm sorry, Mr. Busey, but it's just not in our budget.  We have to wait until the end of the month.  There's just not a high enough demand to justify . . .

Gary Busey:  Oh, so there's enough for white russians but not black russians?  I see.  Look me in the eye and tell me you're not racist!!!

Bartender:  Mr. Busey, I assure you, I'm not racist.

Gary Busey:  BULLSHIT!!!  YOU'RE LYING!!!

And that's pretty much how it would go.  Even if you looked them dead in the eye and swore on the God they know you worship, they'd never believe you when you tell them you're not racist.  But don't think you're getting away conservatives.  You're just as bad.

Let's play a little word association.  I'm going to say a phrase, and you say the first thing that comes to your mind.  Ready?

Social Justice.

Uh oh, I think I just heard a few people shout "SOCIALISM!"  Maybe some of you were even brave enough to let the big "C-Word" out (Communism . . . minds out of the gutter please).  My point, in case you haven't figured it out or neglected to read the title, is that this stuff is all about political conditioning.

Both parties have conditioned a large portion of their electorate to associate certain words and/or phrases with detestable concepts.  "Welfare Reform," is "racist," while "social justice," is "socialism."  I think I've said this before, but American politics, aside from being a madhouse, is little more than a fictional game of heroes vs. villains.  It's the Champions of Justice vs. The Big Bad Racists.  It's Joe the Plumber, wrench in hand, vs. The Red Commie Menace!

Serious discussion won't happen until *both* sides turn off their conditioning and stop making this about good vs. evil.  Until then, you're all just LARPing.*

*LARP - Live Action Role Play.  You can fully understand my insult by following this link.

9 comments:

Silverfiddle said...

I'm one of those curmudgeons who think we don't need a "national discussion" on race. Who would conduct it? How would it be conducted?

We have no homogeneous groups in this country. There is no typical white guy or African American, Mexican immigrant, etc.

We're all human beings, and the vast majority take people as they come in daily life. We can't ask for much more than that.

Anonymous said...

This is a touchy subject for many reasons Jackie.

In my opinion, the only "cure" to racism is time, and anyone who says otherwise is a deluded fool.

You have to realize that the very foundation of the problem is one that is not going to be solved in our lifetime. There are many different levels of "racist" and to not be aware of this fact is surely going to lead to a slower resolution.

At one end of the spectrum, you have a person who was raised in an integrated neighborhood, where he has at least acquaintances of every background. This person tends to be a lot more tolerant and resistant to the social pressure of racism, no matter his or her race.

At the other end of the spectrum you have a person who was told to hate and programmed to hate at a young age, this person is going to go hog wild and pig crazy every time they can exercise these feelings and values, again no matter what race they are, this person is just waiting for the chance to show their side is right.

We are all a little bit racist, and that is OK. It is OK to acknowledge we are in fact different, even if we do share 99.9% of the same genes, we are each unique.

The problem creeps in when your message and your mentality is cycling around this difference as if it is a bad thing. People such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are as racist as it gets. They are just as bad as the Black Panthers, the Aryan Nation, and the old guard of the KKK. When you make your focus solely on race, you do the other 99.9% of that person a grave injustice. Our government actively supports racism, they are in love with it.

As corny as it sounds, we have got to simply evolve with the passage of time through this mentality of awarding guilt, pride, status, entitlement and pressures due to simply your genetic flavor.

Jersey McJones said...

Jack,

There's BIG FAT FACT missing from the right's discourse about race in this country: There is still a lot of racism and racial hatred and tension out there.

There seems to be this massive blind spot shared by most conservatives when it comes to that.

I've been around. I've known many, many people. And I've listened. I know for a BIG FAT FACT that racism is still very prevalent in America today - and it is most pronounced among conservatives.

Take the Tea Party movement. Where were they when the GOP one-party state doubled the debt? Why was it that only when Obama was elected did this movement really get going?

Let's get real.

JMJ

Jack Camwell said...

Let's all get one thing straight, shall we?

Racism is a belief that you are intrinsically better than another person based solely off the color of your skin. A racist believes that his race is the dominant race on the planet, based on genetics, and therefor should have dominion over all races "beneath" him.

Do you know why conservatives have a "blind spot," to racism? Because most conservatives aren't actually racist. Sure, white people might gravitate to other white people, but it's not because of some sense of racial superiority. It's because it's an easy way to identify someone who is most like you and has had a similar experience to your own.

That's not racism. Stereotyping? Sure. But stereotypes are not racist. Ignorant, but not racist.

You might disagree with my definition of racism, but that's because the Democrats have spent years widening the definition so they could fit more people into the "racist" category.

They want minorities to feel like all conservatives are racist. It keeps them voting for Democrats.

I know a lot of conservatives, and not a single one of them is a racist. At least, they're no more racist than the average democrat.

The Tea Party is filled with people who were fed up with all the bullshit. If you pay attention, Tea Partiers generally hate George W. Bush because of the wars, the deficits, and all the other nasty stuff.

You might be surprised to know that in some spirit, I myself am a Tea Partier. I don't subscribe to most of the stuff they talk about, but in 2008 I said to a lot of my friends, "if the Republicans can't beat Obama, then I'm forming a third party."

It had nothing to do with Obama being black. It had everything to do with the fact that he spewed out a completely bullshit message, and everyone bought it. Despite the fact that I predicted all of his policy failures, despite the fact that I told people that he didn't even have the POWER to do the things he promised, people still voted for him.

Sure, there are still racists out there, but not supporting a particular policy point does not count someone as a racist. The Tea Party movement would have happened if Hillary Clinton was president, although I'm sure that everyone would have said "well conservatives are obviously sexist."

How convenient that a black man and a woman were the nominees that year.

Politics is not about working together to solve problems anymore, Jersey. It's about playing the feild right so you can get your opponents to shut up.

Anonymous said...

Caption this Gary Busey picture: http://ow.ly/duUra

FreeThinke said...

"[T]he only 'cure' to racism is time, and anyone who says otherwise is a deluded fool."

AMEN to that, brother.

There's nothing more that can -- or NEEDS -- to be said.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Jack,

These GOD-DAMNED, FUCKING CODE WORDS -- or whatever the FUCK you want to call them have GOT to GO.

A GIANT pain-in-the-ass.

PLEASE get RID of the fuckin' things.

~ FT

Jack Camwell said...

If you're referring to my use of allcaps, I generally try to stay away from it in my writing. I only used it here was in the dialog parts to denote shouting. I mean, I could have used an "!" but that doesn't always indicate shouting.

If you're referring to my usage of the term LARP, I provided the definition of it at the end of the article.

I also try to avoid using bold and italics as much as possible.

Or were you referring to the actual content of my article?

So could you be more specific?

jez said...

Silverfiddle isn't a curmudgeon, he's an optimist.

"the vast majority take people as they come in daily life."

is an aspiration, not yet a fact.

It's getting better, but there's some way to go, and even where "live" racism is rare, the entrenched privileges & disadvantages remain.

For example, consider how attitudes towards the police differ between ethnic groupings. Leave aside whether the difference is dominated by perception or actual performance of officers, because either way that perception is significant. If you didn't feel that the police were a service that you could use to protect your rights, how would that affect your behaviour?