As I think about racism, I think what bothers me most is the arrogance of it all, an arrogance spawned and nurtured by governments, both in this country and elsewhere, allowing or perhaps encouraging people to buy into one of the most specious types of human behavior imaginable.
What prompts this post is the story about how some people at the Republican National Convention allegedly threw peanuts at a CNN camerawoman, saying, “this is how we feed the animals.”
Then, I looked at the makeup of the crowd at the RNC, and saw very few non-white faces…but what bothers me, again, is that the Republican Party has not really done anything to draw different ethnic groups. Their arrogance allows them to pander to their base unashamedly, only thinking of other ethnicities as objects to be captured to win elections.
The voter suppression efforts are, again, so arrogant. Americans have the right to vote; because voting is a right, politicians and governments should do all they can to make sure the most people possible can exercise their right…and yet, the laws put in place feel like they were put there to shut certain groups out, in order to make sure the Republican and Tea Party candidates win.
It is so arrogant.
At least the Justice Department shot down the voter ID laws in Texas. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/30/politics/texas-voter-id-law/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1) The state attorney general said he will appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court, but again, how arrogant is it to think that it is OK to deliberately bar people from the polls?
The government and society-supported racism has historically been supported, in specific rulings, by the United States Supreme Court. The most noted case is the Dred Scott case, where the Chief Justice, writing for the majority, said there were “no rights of a black man that a white man is bound to respect.” Reading that still takes my breath away.
In Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson refused to block a voter ID law (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0815/Why-judge-refused-to-block-Pennsylvania-voter-ID-law) Judge Simpson doesn’t see where the law will impede the ability of poor and minority people to vote. In the spirit of arrogance that this post is about, Pennsylvania GOP House Leader Mike Turzai said publicly that the new voter ID laws will help Romney win the state in the general election. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/mike-turzai-voter-id_n_1625646.html)
This racial arrogance has caused so much pain for others. It has fooled white people into thinking that no matter who they are, they are always better than black or brown people, and it knows that governments, churches and institutions will, or have, for the most part, supported them.
The arrogance makes those who allow racism and racist feelings to abide in them think they are more intelligent, more capable, and absolutely within their rights to spurn anyone who is not …white.
I don’t know how the budget will shake down if Mitt Romney wins the election. It is clear that Paul Ryan’s proposed budget doesn’t seem to care too much for black, brown and poor people. The arrogance of people makes them forget that there are still serious barriers in our society that prevent people from getting work; studies show that black and brown people are still discriminated against in hiring. And Romney, who has never had to worry about where the next meal will come from, or watch his parents worry about that, said in an ad that if kids want to go to college, they should “ask their parents” to help them, give them a loan.
Arrogance. He doesn’t know how many parents are struggling just to keep their heads above water, and that includes everyone, black, brown…and white.
In the wake of Hurricane Isaac, I thought back to Hurricane Katrina, where the arrogance of racism, which spawns fear and uncaring, accounted for the government to send National Guard soldiers into the city of New Orleans, when people, mostly black and poor, were drowning in their homes, or sitting on roofs, desperate to be rescued. I still think of the pictures of old people, sitting out in the hot sun for hours, waiting for someone …to care. Too many died waiting.
The killing thing is that many whites who are racist will not admit it; they will get immediately defensive if such is suggested to them. During the Republican primary, one of my Twitter friends was furious when I said that Newt Gingrich was playing to his base. I was referring to some of his comments on those who are poor and who are on welfare.
My friend…unfriended me.
I am holding my breath as this election gets into final gear. I am sure that those who plan the campaign know how to speak to the racist underpinnings of this country’s citizens without saying things that will get them in trouble. But they will say them…and those who are supposed to understand, will. And though I am talking about Republicans today, be clear that there is no way I am saying that some Democrats are not just as racist, and I am not saying that ALL Republicans are racist. But racist or not, the arrogance that supports racism abounds in this world.
It’s sad, this arrogance, and it keeps America from being the greatest she can be.
A candid observation …