The dictionary definition of a racist is as follows:
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
I don’t know any people who fit that definition. That does not mean I don’t know of any because I know of many. Louise Day Hicks, who tried to prevent busing in Boston, Southern Governors who tried to keep schools segregated or prevent voting, the religious lunatic who assassinated Gandhi and the bigot who shot Martin Luther King. So when I say I don’t know anyone, I mean I would never associate or even argue with anyone I thought was a racist. I certainly do not see that person when I look in the mirror.
Forgetting the dictionary, and who we know, who or what do you have to do to be considered a racist. I think it’s all about hate, and hate is a terrible emotion and at one time or another we have all felt that we hated our parents, or friends or teachers or an idea. But we didn’t think of ourselves as racists—we were merely angry about something they did or said or believed. A racist has usually been taught to hate from a very early age and unless they have an experience that negates the teaching they will probably continue to believe that their race or religion is superior to the target of hate.
When I was at USA Networks we designed an award winning campaign called ‘Erase the Hate’, the purpose of which was to promote respect for individual differences. We were all proud to be part of something that could make a positive impact. But what exactly are individual differences? For our campaign we focused on race, religion, gender, age, culture, and disabilities. These are all things that we don’t have much choice about. We didn’t talk about things like weight, hair color, not bathing, smoking, taste in clothing, political persuasion, or being a vegetarian, because these were all things about which people made their own life choices. But lately, if you object in any way to these items, you are considered to be prejudiced or intolerant. Tolerance is a word that belongs right up there with bigot. I think it is arrogant and condescending to say we are tolerant of another person’s beliefs. It implies that what we believe is better or right, but we’ll let you have your own little beliefs and we won’t object to them—at least not publicly.
There’s a show on Broadway called Avenue Q. It’s a great show and totally politically incorrect. It makes you laugh from beginning to end and a good portion of the time you are laughing at yourself. There’s one song that is especially germane to this blob called, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” There are a few verses that, although I don’t agree some of the sentiment, I find appropriate to what we have become as a society --very quick to label or accuse people of being racists based on limited information. They are as follows:
“Ethnic jokes might be uncouth,
But you laugh because
They're based on truth.
Don't take them as
Everyone enjoys them -
It goes on...
“Doesn't mean we go
Around committing hate crimes.”
“The Jews have all
And the whites have all
And I'm always in taxi-cab
With driver who no shower!”
I wrote something a few days ago that apparently offended a few of our readers. I was trying to be funny and clever, and even David says it didn’t work. But who I am and what I have done in my life is much more telling than two sentences in a blob. And it does push my buttons (and I find it equally offensive), to have people who because of a word or a phrase pretend to be, (as we say in our house), ‘TVOMO” (the voice of moral outrage), when they have to attack rather than discuss an issue as important as this. We’re just sayin...Iris