Category: Racism


So, I’ve been away for the past week or so.  Doing freelance video work for the Kansas State Fair.  It’s a busy week, but I get to work with some great guys, see some great (and some shitty) shows and make great money.  I don’t have anything prepared really – but I thought I’d get on here and post some random junk…

The Pope in England: I cannot believe people still care what this man has to say.  Now, he wants atheists to apologize for Hitler?  I won’t go to much into detail with Hitler, but I will say that his issues went far deeper than religion.

Hitler’s name and deeds have been thrown around so much that they’ve essentially lost all meaning.  How many times have you heard, “Man, our waiter is like the ketchup-nazi.”  “Oh, you mean that our waiter is going to order the slaughter of millions…over the ketchup?”

Not to defend Hitler, but at least his evil was out in the open. The Pope should pay closer attention to his own evils (and the evils of his own organization)…and quit blaming atheists for the world’s woes.

Hawking on Larry King Live: I finally got around to watching Stephen Hawking on Larry King Live…I thought he was brilliant and blunt (if you have not watched it yet, head over to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AdKEHzmqxA and check it out).  He’s usually brilliant, but not often blunt.  He didn’t go into great detail about what his new book was about, just that the scientific account is complete and that theology was unnecessary.  He was so blunt that at the end of the interview, I almost expected him to throw down the microphone and yell, “Hawking Out, Bitches!”

The panel after this interview left a little to be desired.  I felt Leonard Mlodinov did a good job of explaining how the universe may have come about…but I’m aggravated that he dodged the “Are you atheists?” question…  “Yeah, we’re saying that there’s no reason to believe there’s a Creator. But, we aren’t willing to attach the word ‘Atheist’ to that.”

Father Robert Spitzer talked a lot about why he felt there was a creator, but he mentioned nothing (nada, zilch) about the God of the bible. The one with the rules and the punishment and the Adam and Eve and the Jesus…just, “There’s probably a God.”  He did nothing to back up the bible…

Deepak Chopra…does anyone give a shit what this guy says?  Really…

Also, I listened to “The Grand Design” audiobook once…and am going to do it again.

My Dad: I am noticing more of my dad in my mannerisms as I get older.  This is a good thing.

Pray for Them: Lots of people say “Pray for our Troops fighting overseas” without the slightest inkling that that’s the whole reason they’re in that mess.  I Support our Troops even if I don’t always support their mission.

Theist Coworker: A coworker (who is Mormon) asked me what religion I am, I responded that I have no religion…and that she would be unlikely to meet anyone less religious than me.  She asked if I was against religion.  Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to answer this properly, I simply said, “Yes and No…I’ve no problem with people using the concept of God to guide their own lives…I am against it when they use the concept of God to guide others’ lives.”

Country Music Idiot: While working at the fair this year, one of the country music performers (let’s call him “Blake S.”…no, that’s too easy…let’s go with “B. Shelton”) said to the crowd, “One of the things I love about Kansas is that everybody gets to be themselves…and you can be as redneck as you want…and no one will judge you” then continued (paraphrasing, but not exaggerating) “But not them people who wear their pants below their ass…man, why do they do that…it just looks STOO-PID!!!  Next time you see one of them, tell ’em to pull their pants up over their asses!”

Implied racism aside (I know, white guys do it, too…), how narrow-minded do you have to be to say that everyone gets to be themselves in one sentence…then dog on people for how they dress in the next?

Activia commercials: Erectile Dysfunction, hemorrhoids, laxatives, that “not-so-fresh-feeling”, and “clean your balls.”  Over the years, companies have bombarded us with TV commercials that deal with very private issues.  We see ads all the time for private products that people purchase for private use…and they’ve never bothered me.  But, I find Activia commercials hard to stomach.  Why? Activia’s sole purpose is to help women who have trouble shitting.  Sure, the ads tout variety and flavor…but the underlying message…eat Activia and you’ll be shitting better in two weeks.  Jamie Lee Curtis is shitting better thanks to Activia…and YOU can TOO!

The problem is that Activia really isn’t a “private” product.  It’s something you keep in your refrigerator.  Have any of you seen Activia in someone else’s fridge? I have…at my mother-in-law’s house.   All I could think of is, “My wife’s mother doesn’t shit right” (shudder).  Not only that…I want to ask her, “Sooooo, are you shitting better?”

Gross.

//jb//

There is a good chance that this post will be taken the wrong way.  So, I will begin with an atheist perspective on the different races that make up our planet.   (Note: I said “an” atheist perspective…not “the” atheist perspective) 

When you see people from a physiological perspective, you see every person the same way.  Genetically, our differences are so minute, that judging people based solely on color is counterproductive.

I believe racism is a learned behavior based upon the human brain’s instinct to seek patterns.  Let’s say you have three rooms, in each room – two toddlers and some toys.  One room has one white toddler and one black toddler, one has two black toddlers and one has two white toddlers.  While I have not tested this, I believe you will see similar behavior in all three rooms.  Kids either sharing or not sharing, playing together or not playing together…none of which is impacted by their race.  Of course, the children notice the differences, but they – at least at this age – play no role.

While humans are not inherently racist, we do inherently seek patterns.  Let’s go into the room with the white and black child.  Each child will act differently…that’s where the pattern seeking behavior kicks in.  Each child will likely associate any differences in play with the other child’s skin color.  Here is an example…again, this is just a thought experiment, so please don’t associate any scientific credence to it. The white child picks up a toy block and throws it across the room.  The black child picks up another toy block and puts it in his mouth.  If both children observe this behavior, there is a good chance that the black kid will associate white kids with throwing toys (especially if the thrown toy hits him/her) and the white kid will think that black kids put toys in their mouths. 

This does not mean that ALL black children put toys in their mouths – or ALL white children throw things – it is just a generalization based on observations and patters.  Sure, this stuff is trivial…but I think it shows how our brains can make meaningless associations simply using our desire to find patterns.

Okay – enough of that…and if you’re still with me…thanks! 

So, I take my kids to the pool a few times a week.  While at the pool last week, I struck up a conversation with a woman who is Polish.  I know very little about her…only that she is 60…she shares a birthday with my middle daughter…she now comes to the pool five times per week…and she was born in Poland and moved to the US as an adult.

While we were talking, a group of black kids came into the pool.  They were having a good time chasing each other, splashing around and doing normal ‘kids in the pool’ stuff.  They were also screaming and making a lot of noise – which was a little annoying.  I told the woman that I taught my kids at an early age not to scream in the pool because it makes the lifeguards nervous – but the kids were just having a good time.  What she said surprised me…she said, “I am not prejudiced, but I noticed that they are black and it seems in the US that these children are taught that rules do not apply to them.”  Here is a person who is as close to “the outside looking in” (which I think is a good way to be objective) – and she has come to this conclusion.  A conclusion she had no problem sharing with a stranger.

I have a hard time calling her statement “racist” – because I don’t believe she thinks any less of the children or their potential…in fact, her criticism wsa more toward their parents…and society in general.  I don’t think she would treat those children any differently than she would white children (or hispanic children, etc.). 

While I disagree with her, I can see where she’s coming from. I can see where someone would come to that conclusion, and it concerns me that this is what people see our society.

What do YOU think of her statement?  Is she right? Is she wrong?  How did she come to this conclusion?  How do you feel about someone who is on the “outside looking in” making this sort of association?

And…discuss…

//jb//