America Not Racist?

by on May 17, 2021 · 18 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, History

by Ernie McCray

To the premise
that America is not racist
I can hear my mother say
“You could have fooled me”
with all that
sweeping and dusting
and mopping
she did at AT&T
with her Howard University
college degree,
around 66 years
after slavery,
Jim Crow
then at the helm
of Black folk’s
not mattering,
a complaint
still alive today
in the USA.

And it shouldn’t take much
in the form of imagination
to decipher
what, say, a Cherokee
might have to say
on the genocide
his folks suffered
at the hands
of the nation’s settlers,
not to mention
that indigenous tribes
remain colonized
and set aside,
forever decrying
the desecration
of their sacred sites
and being mas-cot-ized,
into a multi-million-dollar enterprise
featuring
unflattering Chief Wahoo
kind of caricatures
sewn onto
caps and hats and jerseys
donned by fans
chanting “wo-oh-oh’
and tomahawk chopping,
unsensitized
to the proud people
they’re dehumanizing
with their playful war cries.

That’s racism
in the sight of loving eyes.

And how can
the same
not be said
in response to the shame
regarding
folks of Asian descent
being stigmatized
by ignorant misunderstandings
and vicious lies
that tie them
to the
spread of a deadly disease?

And what about
how native Hawaiians
are mostly portrayed
as laid back
and happy-go-lucky
in movies and TV;
how Muslims
and Jews
have been looked down upon
as a rule
through much of
the nation’s history;
how paper towels were thrown
to Puerto Ricans
who needed
shelter from
the heavy torrential rains
and flooding
accompanying the
crushing winds of Maria
a Category 5 hurricane.

What else other than racism
could possibly explain
Mexican children
being caged
under a bridge
in El Paso
or American born Latinos
being told
to go back to Mexico
for speaking Español?

How is all of this
not evidence
that racism is rooted
in America’s very soul
like a cancer
that’s metastasized
out of control.

And the bigger question is
how can denying
that it exists
allow us to get rid of it?

Oh, we need answers quick.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks May 17, 2021 at 12:21 pm

Not all descendants of European ancestors are unaware, Ernie. But nothing seems to have changed in the corporate world has it?

Report Reveals Major Corporations Are Funding Lawmakers Behind Anti-Democracy Bills

“It is now more urgent than ever to build a just transition away from fossil fuels and fight off attacks against protest and our freedom to vote, so that we can have a planet our communities can thrive on.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/10/report-reveals-major-corporations-are-funding-lawmakers-behind-anti-democracy-bills

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Irina May 17, 2021 at 5:54 pm

Once again, Ernie, your words speak truth. Maybe the orange fascist did us a favor by peeling back the layer to expose the rot of racism that, as you point out has metastasized through the land.
It has motivated some of us to engage in some hard conversations, but the rest are simply living in self-righteous denial.
Good piece.
Thanks.
Irina

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Avatar Thomas Gayton May 17, 2021 at 9:16 pm

RIGHT ON HERMANO! The legacy of RACISM still afflicts this nation that professes EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL.

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Avatar BARBARA LEWIS May 18, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Yes, thank you for expressing why, as a country, we are moving closer and closer to the drain. For the 1% it all about the money–who gets it and who doesn’t ..keeping the so called “minorities” in a subjugated position while still advocating that old divide and conquer–You’re not like those others, etc….it’s a shame what can happen to a nation’s soul.

Keep letting your heart speak.

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Avatar Ken Druck May 18, 2021 at 2:27 pm

Thank you, Ernie, for one of the clearest, most honest statements about the roots of racism in America that I have read. Trusth and reconciliation must replace abject denial and ignorance if we are to move the needle in hopes that our grandchildren might live in a more just, caring, and compassionate world.

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Avatar Chris May 19, 2021 at 8:57 am

“how Muslims
and Jews
have been looked down upon
as a rule
through much of
the nation’s history;”

It’s interesting how in my life I had/have friends growing up who had been victims of anti-Semitism (two of which had Holocaust survivor parents) and others whose grandparents did not survive. They had dealt with racism all their lives yet see what’s going on right now in the Middle East as a victory due to the higher # of casualties on the Palestinian side. On NPR this morning, I pilot was quoted as saying something to the effect that while the civilian casualties are sad among the Palestinians are sad, Israelis matter more. Likewise there IS a lot hateful anti-Israel sentiment coming from my fellow liberals as well. And by that I don’t mean simple criticism of Israeli actions but full blown attitudes of “F**L Israel” and “F**k Zionists” and “Israel has no right to exist”. Both sides are guilty and deep down both sides know they are guilty.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks May 19, 2021 at 11:38 am

I do not understand your comment of “both sides are guilty…both sides know they are…” This is in relation to what exactly? Who started it depends on who invaded whom I would think.

Bluntly put, the Arab-Palestinians did not ask for a group of violent European Arab-Semites to invade their country and take it over after WWII any more than the Native Americans on this continent and the people of Africa asked for other Europeans to invade and take over. I doubt very much that Ernie’s ancestors begged for a space on the slave ships…

But colonizers always demand their ‘right’ to self-defense against those they invaded, and always act so shocked that the invaded tend to rise up and fight the occupation of their land. Wouldn’t you do the same if someone with guns came up to the home your family has lived in and farmed for ten generations and told it was no longer yours get out or be imprisoned or murdered? When you’ve lived in what could easily be compared to a Warsaw Ghetto for the last 70 years…I can’t imagine the emotions that would be inside me.

Zionists are Jewish but not all Israeli Hebrews are Zionists. As a matter of fact there are Israeli Jewish protest groups that are adamantly against this South African-style Apartheid their government enforces on the Palestinians. They don’t get much MSM coverage, though…

But in your comment you hold both up side by side as equals! If you compare government policy you see very little real difference between SA Apartheid and Israeli Apartheid in terms of the conditions the Palestinians actually live under. Negligible differences. So again US policy supports and funds Apartheid. Are you in favor of this?

Here’s a couple of questions for you. Exactly how did the Arab Semite survivors of the Nazi Germany extermination campaign from all over Europe end up taking over a small country in Western Asia? Who said they could? Who armed them? Why didn’t they return to their homes in Poland, Ukraine, Germany, France, Austria, etc?

Not that after having my neighbors ship me off to Fascist death camps I’d be wanting to go back so you don’t really have to answer that one…

Last big question: What country benefits the most from this? Remember that our country throws tens of billions of our tax dollars at Israel every year so just what do we get out of it? And please, don’t use the worn-out excuse that the US feels guilt for refusing refuge to so many escaping Jews before our entry into WWII. Since when did the US gov ever show remorse? The US being a capitalist state does nothing without some kind of direct reward or payback, so what do you think that is?

Here’s a couple of cuts from other readings that makes one question and think on that rarely seem to be answered by any US foreign policy officials.

+ There’s a theory that Israel controls US politics, that the most powerful war-making state the world has ever known is a mere puppet of Israel, institutionally incapable of asserting its own agenda in the Middle East. This is a convenient myth for both parties, since it makes Israel seem more powerful than it is and it tends to exculpate the US from direct complicity in egregious human rights abuses. But in fact the US finances Israel. It is dependent on us. Its crimes are ours. We paid for them.

+ Bari Weiss, the doyenne of the anti-cancel culture movement, has written a column on how canceling the lives of Palestinian children is merely an unfortunate necessity in the quest to preserve the dream of Zionism…

+ Some might call this an invocation of lebensraum, the idea, put into homicidal action by Nazi Germany, that adjacent territories must be absorbed to feed the natural growth of the state, regardless of the consequences for indigenous populations.
____

So in closing don’t feel so free to throw labels out calling people anti-Semitic when what they are is being against great injustice and colonialism perpetrated by people who just happen to be Jewish. As people supporting Black Lives Matter are not anti-Caucasian, neither are those supporting a Palestinian homeland anti-Semitic disparaging the Hebrew beliefs. Again, who invaded who?

Chris, here is a very short essay to perhaps get a more inclusive viewpoint of what it feels like, just another tiny voice pleading for help in the darkness.

This Must End
by Dr Yasser Abu Jamei
https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/05/17/this-must-end/

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Chris May 19, 2021 at 2:29 pm

My understanding is, Jews were in fact native to the land that has since become Israel long before Arabs came and occupied it. We could go in circles forever on that and I just don’t want to. My bigger point was that even people who are victims of racism and oppression can be perpetrators themselves. That’s why I gave the examples I did.

As far as calling Israel an “apartheid” state, that’s just not entirely true. Up until recently, Arabs and Jews and everyone else who lives in Israel proper enjoyed full citizenship and equal rights and for the most part got along fine. There is even a Palestinian women on Israel’s Parliament. The real issues are along the Gaza strip and occupied territories and that’s complicated. I do not support a lot of the tactics and cruelty Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians, but I don’t support the BDS movement either. So yes I stand by my statement of both sides, regardless of who invaded who first.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 19, 2021 at 3:37 pm

Bottom line, Chris – the Palestinians need their own country and government and the Israelis are preventing them from obtaining them.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks May 19, 2021 at 9:42 pm

Ummm, Chris, Arab Semites are…Arabs hence the use of the word. And, to be blunt, we all came from Africa originally and the ancestors moved around a lot, ya know?

Agreed Mr. Gormlie, they need a piece of their country back to call their own. AT the very least! But that obviously is not exactly the plan that I think I keep seeing…

Chris, another thought-provoking read for you:

“To make matters worse, gangs of Israelis began roaming the streets chanting “Death to the Arabs” and beating up any Palestinian they could get their hands on. Israel’s militarised “Border Police” forces naturally took the side of the aggressor. The situation began to descend into pogroms – mob violence against a racial group backed or allowed by the state.”

Can you imagine yourself the target of this?

Palestinians Have A Right To Defend Themselves
By Asa Winstanley

Middle East Monitor

https://popularresistance.org/palestinians-have-a-right-to-defend-themselves/

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar F.U May 22, 2021 at 6:38 am

So racism does not exist in America because we have a black vice president?

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks May 22, 2021 at 12:49 am

Eerily similar to the US racist neo-nazis Fascist organized militia assault on Jan. 6th who did not even think that everything they say or tweet will be recorded…except that the Israeli government is sending the army out with the rioters to help kill. Does anybody realize this was nearly here since 1 out of 5 in the US militia attackers were cops and/or military both active & retired… It ain’t just here, people. This is sprouting up all over the world.

I am absolutely horrified. Europeans almost exterminated a people and now the decedents of those Europeans who survived are destroying another culture using the same techniques and ‘reasoning.’ Like the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland, the killing starts by the government doing its utmost to provoke a response…and when it comes they kill everybody, babies, kids, grannies, dogs, chickens… Does anybody else have the horrible thought of just when will the Israeli Zionists finally just ‘exterminate’ the problem? I mean, isn’t that what this is all about, slow motion genocide? No more Palestinians would solve this problem, right? A hammer only sees nails…and they have a big hammer with all the weapons we sell them.

Warning: This article about it is not for the faint of heart, and another scary part is that I’m quite certain there are plenty in this country that completely agree with what the Israeli government is doing since they seem to want to do the same to parts of our population as evidenced for the last few hundred years with no change of behavior on Jan 6 2021.

‘Today We Are Nazis,’ Says Member Of Israeli Jewish Extremist Group

https://popularresistance.org/today-we-are-nazis-says-member-of-israeli-jewish-extremist-group/

Israeli Jewish extremists used instant messaging services to organize armed militias to attack Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Voice messages, texts and other communications indicate they coordinated attacks in cities where Palestinians live in close proximity to Jews – including Haifa, Bat Yam and Tiberias in the north, and Ramla and Lydd – Lod in Hebrew – in the center, to Beersheba in southern Israel.

continues at link above…
_______

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Chris May 25, 2021 at 6:14 pm
sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks May 26, 2021 at 11:58 am

Thanks Chris, but I use dial-up internet which is old school that won’t run youtube or streaming or listening to music or much of anything else! It is good for email, shop orders, for reading articles, and best of all it’s cheap which means I can afford it.

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Marcia Boruta May 29, 2021 at 8:18 am

Always happy to come upon Ernie’s thoughtful words. Although, honestly, I only check the OB Rag when I’m trying to find out the status of the Pier! Glad it’s partially opened. Hope I get there before it closes again…

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 29, 2021 at 10:35 am

Greetings, Marcia! I recall those days you were involved in trying to get the “peace economy” rolling.

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Avatar Marcia Boruta May 29, 2021 at 11:34 am

Hi Frank! Yes, indeed. Feels futile, but I was glad to get an email today from “Win without War.” The challenge remains to redirect resources to human and environmental needs in so many government budgets…

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Avatar nostalgic May 29, 2021 at 11:22 am

Ernie, a special thank-you for a lesson in what to say when you say it. I was just trying to think of the right word to replace “Indian,” not ready to use “Indigenous Native American” and you showed me “Cherokee” (Yes, my example was from the Cherokee Nation). Muslims, Puerto Ricans, I think you chose words that the people would have wanted you to use, although I myself am not always sure. Thank you.

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