It would appear that almost any discussion that includes race or ethnicity as part of the topic results in cries of "racism" aimed at the speaker.
In some cases it might be true but far too often it's an excuse to stifle facts and opinions contrary to those playing "the race card." I'm not saying racism isn't ever in play with those discussions, but I'd take issue with always.
When people complain about President Barack Obama's policies, many times, far too many times, the word "racist" is thrown at the complainer. Based on many disgusting remarks and pictures flying around the Internet, unfortunately, it is true more often than it should be. But the average person should be able to disagree with the president without automatically being labeled a racist.
My own issue with the president is that he was elected without any concern for his background and experience, and I do wish the Democrats would stop anointing their standard bearers based on one speech. (Mario Cuomo, anyone?) So, my opinion all along was he would be in over his head, and I think I've been right about that, without discounting the impact of almost total Republican obstructionism. Does any of the above make me a racist?
I object to our "special relationship" with Puerto Rico. Why? Quite simply because it smacks of 17th century Colonialism, and I'm shocked that The United States of America, the so-called leader of the Free World is still in control of a clearly separate country with its own distinct language and culture, clearly foreign to our own.
I don't think Puerto Rico should have a vote on the subject, I think that The United States should just say, "You're free!" I might add I felt the same way about Hawaii ever becoming a state. I do believe proximity ought to play a factor in such decisions, as well as culture and language.
I object in this day of an ever-increasing public expenditure of my tax dollars for public employees who speak Spanish. We don't do that for any other group of immigrants, and there are thousands of them from Arab countries, India and Africa, and we never have. Somehow they all seem to get by without all of that extra taxpayer funded help. Perhaps that extra help is at the root of the illegal immigrant problem. This is an English speaking country. I don't expect the French or Germans to provide me a free interpreter if I choose to move there, the language will be my issue if I do.
I was a teen during the '60s, and clearly remember the horrible displays on the nightly news as Southern law enforcement officers turned dogs and hoses on blacks attempting to overturn entrenched racism, including the right to vote, or even to sit in certain restaurants or to attend schools. I supported all the efforts to right decades of such clear and obvious discrimination. I supported any and all laws and procedures that helped overturn the worst of it. That included all parts of what is collectively known as "Affirmative Action."
Now, it's more than a half-century later. All of those laws are still in place. I have to ask why. Why is it necessary for special treatment based on race for people to advance themselves? All are entitled to and receive a decent (?) education. Favored college placements and scholarships have been offered based on race for most of those 50 years. If advancement is still an issue, something else is wrong. I include test scores on civil service exams, where normal procedures are not followed to allow for people with lower scores to be hired out of order based solely on racial makeup.
Women's rights groups are constantly bombarding the media with reports that purport to show discrimination toward women, yet we have a woman as secretary of state, we have women politicians and leaders at all levels of government, women CEOs and in certain professions a very large majority of women who pretty much dominate that profession. We would also probably have a woman for president if it hadn't been for the power and influence of Oprah Winfrey (another woman, strangely enough). So again, why are their laws still in place that require hiring based solely on race, ethnicity or gender? Aren't all of those laws discriminatory in nature? Were those laws meant to last forever?
How about "hate crimes"? It certainly sounds harmless, maybe even justifiable, doesn't it? That is until you find out that those laws only apply to certain identifiable and legal minorities. An example was a fairly recent case of a white boy who dated a black girl in Buffalo, and who was taunted by neighborhood black males every time he walked her home. Finally, one night, three of those boys jumped him, beat him severely including smashing him in the head with a piece of cement. Guess what? No hate crime because he was white. Apparently only white men can commit hate crimes. That makes no sense at all. This young man was clearly assaulted solely for his skin color. Do we really need a separate law to deal with savagery like this? I don't think so. The "why" shouldn't mean anything, the "what" is bad enough.
I'm sure I just lost any credibility I may have had with any readers of a more liberal bent. I doubt I gained any points with those somewhere to the right of those people. But if you were to have a conversation with individuals who don't identify themselves with either political group, I think you'd find an awful lot of agreement.
When we stop singling out people by sex, ethnicity and race via public policy, and just start treating everyone the same and equally, things might improve.
Paul Christopher is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org