Yesterday I found myself sitting with a group of private military contractors discussing racism and political correctness. There was a guy from the south and one from the Midwest as well as two with Hispanic heritage and myself. The guy from the south was relaying a story about nearly being fired from a contract because he referred to someone as black rather than African American. My guess, as this happened within the last decade, is that the person he was referring to had never been to Africa, spoke no African, and did not know of any African relatives. And, I’m pretty sure that the person who initially referred to this individual as an African American in the conversation had noticed that the guy was of a darker pigmentation that is commonly identified as black, and that the same person would have referred to a person of lighter pigmentation as white rather than European American.
The real question is, who is the racist? Is it the person who without thought or judgement describes a person as black or is it the politically correct person who consciously identifies a difference that means more to him, who categorizes a person as different and in need of protection, and applies a designation based on a heritage not claimed or identified with by the labeled party.
Now, this is just my opinion, but if you know me, you know that it is most likely correct or that I’m joking and if I’m joking it is probably still correct. A racist, someone who identifies differences in people and acts differently towards others based on those identified differences. The racism can be a product of active indoctrination, as various societies still preach hate towards others of different faiths or color to this day or passive indoctrination. Passive indoctrination occurs when, for example, a profession causes a person to only be in contact with the worst of a given population. This can happen to police officers or security personnel who primarily have negative contact with a given population, be it a cultural population or the customers of a bar, for example. After repeated negative contact with this small segment of the population, the negative impression is then reflected upon the entire population. So, racism is a learned trait.
However, there is a certain racism to political correctness. Liberals who identify people as black (African American) or gay, or transgender, or whatever and decide that these groups need protection are racist. In their minds, they first need to identify these differences; they first have to look at members of these groups as different before taking steps to label others who look at members of these groups as different as racist. The person who identifies another as “the black guy” or “the white guy” over there, with no more concern than saying “the guy wearing red shoes” is not a racist if merely providing a descriptive characteristic without any attempt at categorization or derogatory intent.
On the other hand, if I said “the guy in the red shoes” I’m probably not saying it nicely. What male wakes up and decides “today I think I’ll wear my red shoes?” Oh, and for that matter, those ugly rubber shoes. Ok, going off topic, but really if I say “the guy in the red rubber shoes,” I’m not saying it in a nice way.
So then, whether or not someone’s comment is racist is dependent on intent. If someone describes another as the black, or white guy without negative intent or without any other intent other than giving a description, he or she is not racist.
However, if I say, “the guy in the red rubber shoes” I’m thinking that the guy is an idiot, and, well, I’m probably right.
Thanks for stopping by.
Monday, March 27, 2017