If Zimmerman Is White -- Then So Is Obama!
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
You know, this racist/racism stuff is really getting difficult to understand. Is George Zimmerman a white man or an Hispanic man? Is President Obama a white man or a black man?
The media made a point of telling us that Mr. Zimmerman was a "WHITE Hispanic. OK. Then I suppose that makes our President, Mr. Obama, a WHITE African American, right? We are told BOTH men are half white.
The obvious question is: Which half gets top billing? And who, exactly, gets to decide?
I seem to recall that, sometime ago, the government decided that for the census, Americans got to decide to which race they belonged. I checked off "Other." Heck, I don't REALLY know what I am! Neither do most people alive in America today.
I present as a descendant of northern European ancestry. I traced my family back to the eleventh century and we were in what is today called The Netherlands. Then on to Germany, then Belgium, then France, then England, then Ireland, and on to America where we settled -- and some of the family closest to me married American Indian wives -- and about two generations later, I showed up.
I have no idea of the hanky-panky that went on between The Netherlands and South Carolina! But, I dare say, being the lusty family that history teaches we were, I expect there was a lot.
All this migration (Read -- international hanky-panky!) does not make me unique in America -- not by a long shot. In fact, it makes me about average.
We are a mixed blood lot, we Americans. Of all the tribes of earth we are, I suspect, the most difficult to label -- as far as race is concerned. Heck, we don't even know how to label each other, anymore! Is he a White Hispanic man, or a Hispanic White man. Is our president a White Black man or a Black White man? See what I mean? It's nuts!
I have no clue, none, zip, nada as to why God decided there should be more than one race on planet earth. No clue. But there MUST have been a reason. We are just not intelligent enough to figure it out.
Racism is a fact of life on planet earth. There is no escaping it. Anyone who believes it can be overcome is extremely naive, disingenuous, or just plain dumb.
Remember when we Americans elected our first President of color? The media went nuts referring to something they called "post-racism" in America. Fat chance.
Needless to say, it wasn't. It didn't happen. It hasn't happened yet, and frankly, I don't think it ever will happen.
We are what we are. Try as we might, we simply cannot change our wiring. Oh, we can LEARN to tolerate each other, to, "get along," if you will, but, hey, the schematic for "Human Being," Model 0000000000001, somewhere out there in the celestial tech shop, has not been upgraded. We ARE what we are.
Now, all this is not to say that we cannot live together in some degree of harmony. We can, and we have. But my point is, we are deliberately blind to the elephant in the room. We ARE different ... period.
Seems to me we would be better off, all of us, if we simply allowed ourselves to be honest and stop dancing about the truth -- which is -- that we are all, to some degree, racists. If you are not, then, you are not a human being.
Lord knows, you cannot legislate racism away. America tried that. It hasn't worked. In my less than humble opinion, it never will work.
As I write this, it is Sunday morning. America is more segregated on Sundays than any other day of the week. Why? To our horror, we find that different races tend to worship together, segregated from all other races. How horrible! How HUMAN!
Our public schools are integrated in name only. Walk into any public school cafeteria at lunchtime and you will see black kids in a group, by themselves, and white kids in a group, by themselves. Visit a prison and you will find white groups of prisoners and black groups of prisoners. The same thing holds true for street gangs (even more so, actually).
Our large cities have black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods broken down even more by nation-of-origin communities. Small towns are less likely to be broken down by nation-of-origin neighborhoods, but certainly by black and white neighborhoods. Again -- we are what we are.
Now, I know these comments are not going to sit well with a LOT of folks. That's understandable. It is not politically correct to speak honestly, anymore, about anything, but especially about racism. I would ask you to remember -- this is ONLY my opinion.
Racism is not going away. It is, (as I said above) in my opinion, a part of the human condition. We must accept it, learn to deal with it (when it rears it's ugly head), then move on. We have learned to deal with our inevitable death. Mortality on this planet is 100%. We live with that knowledge everyday while, at the same time, being industrious, creative, and to some degree -- happy.
Having said all the above, there is one thing I find absolutely despicable. That is when one side (or the other) of America's political spectrum USES race/racism to further their own agenda. We see that currently in the controversy in that small town in Florida. Insertion of politics and media has precluded a satisfactory ending for everyone involved.
So. How do we rid ourselves of racism? Honestly, I don't think that is possible, now, or in the future. In fact, I think it is the wrong question. There may not even BE a "right" question. It may boil down to humanity finding a "work around" solution much the same as we do to computer problems that are unsolvable.
We are what we are: small, prejudiced, bigoted, envious, ... HUMAN. Deal with it.
J. D. Longstreet