Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pride & Prejudice


After Tuesday’s election, I am 100% convinced that I am racist. I hate black people. Don’t be alarmed for I also hate white people. I hate the Asians, can’t stand Indians (Indigenous, East and West), Hispanics, and basically anyone I can get my ignorance on (don’t want to exclude my Middle Eastern brethren so I hate you all too). I hate the way black people are so damned loud. We go through all this trouble to meet face to face just so we can bellow at the top of our lungs about what Jayshawn did to Libaysha (pronounced lie bay shuh). Can you please bring the volume down to 10? I hate the way white people wear shorts at the first glimmer of sunlight, even in winter. Go put some damn corduroys on! It’s still f*cking cold out! I hate the way Spanish people converse with such nasally intonations. Why don’t you vapor rub some prescription strength Vicks on your chest and clear all that up? Is that ok Mookie? I especially abhor big nosed Nigerians with all their multi million-dollar inheritances that can only be accessed with my bank account information. Why am I so hateful you ask? Why not (and I hate you for asking?) The equally ubiquitous nature of my hatronage however renders itself innocuous and allows me to harvest fruitful relationships with individuals of all races.

Had I defined the issue before a heated discussion ensued, I could’ve avoided an extendedly passionate, 4 -5 hour debate regarding racism (probably not since I’m sure I instigated.)
The argument; Everyone is racist but will never acquiesce due to the stigma it accompanies (much like we condemn liars but that trait is inherent in us all). The counter argument; a) I am on crack and b) not everyone is racist.

The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular racial group, and that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief.

I believe we all have a preference as it relates to race and everything else. In order to identify a person, place or thing, one must first have prior reference points from which to extrapolate meaning. If I said, “ look at all those fruits”, you have already referenced an image that you personally and commonly identify with. It could be apples, oranges, or the derogatory reference to homosexuality, but your reference point has already been tapped and unarguably travels with emotional baggage. Some folk seek further clarity as to transcend misunderstanding but all will ultimately pass judgment.

Now does this mean you have to hate oranges in order to love apples? Yes and no. You don’t have to detest oranges but in order for a preferential relationship, and therefore prejudice to exist, something / someone has to occupy the position of the non-preferred item. You cannot have two favorites so you may just happen to overlook the orange that is equally as qualified as the apple for the fruit position. Does this make you a bad person? Yes. Admit it. You suck. Albeit unintended, favoritism makes you shady if your decisions adversely affect the livelihood of said orange. By not admitting prejudice, you run the risk of enacting “one size fits all” models that plays favorites and eventually ostracizes said orange from your society. The orange will eventually rise up against your oppressive regime, protest and file multiple discrimination suits. Eventually you will realize that in an office of 300 fruits, you have only employed one underpaid orange, in the mail room.

In hindsight, my argument was fundamentally flawed in that it addressed only parts of racism and not the whole (2 eggs and a cup of sugar do not a cake make). I focused on prejudice, which is a prominent by product of racism, but ignored the supremacist component, which is where the contention centered. My argument was prejudice unto itself in that it discounted specifics of the definition in order to justify its preference (Proposition 8 is bullshit by the way). No wonder my boys were so vehemently opposed. I have come to expect such hostility from black men however.

I don’t believe any race is superior to another but I do uphold higher expectations for those I resemble. It is akin to cheering on your home country during the Olympics, no matter the event. It is called pride. Does my pride make me prejudice? Hell yes! Does this make me a bad person however? No. I acknowledge my prejudice and that realization makes me a much better person than you (seriously, I’m great). Acknowledgement is the first step so here goes; Hi, my name is Alf and I’m a Racial-holic.

Sidebar; The predominant argument refuting the existence of reverse racism remains the balance of power and the belief that those who cannot deny civil liberties cannot effectively enact racism. Bullshit. Reverse racism exists. You affect the universe by the energies you emit so if you harbor prejudice, it will manifest itself and be paid forward. If you choose to solely associate with your preferred race, you deny yourself the benefit of exposure to alternate cultures / perspectives and vise versa. Your ignorance consequently stifles your own growth, inevitably becoming a detriment to your community. We all have the ability to affect lives and if you genuinely don’t ascribe to that philosophy, you grossly understate your societal value. Now go forth, and place an ad on Craigslist seeking black & white friends. Sidebar complete.

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