Give It A Rest?

I was sitting watching Nickelodeon with my 11 year old daughter the other day, Friday, I think it was, and a particularly sloth-like day at that, and every half hour there’d be one of those “Kids Today!” or “Kids Can Make A Difference!” or “Buy Transformers Cereal You Little Bastards!” or some such named little vignette that would appear. You know the type: a ‘special’ 2 minute long or so “Kidumentary” between the end of one show and the start of another which the networks point to when the FCC comes sniffing around and say “Look! We’re doing edumacational public interest stuff! Really!”
I do feel sorry for today’s youth, however. We got Conjunction Junction; they get stuck with Linda Ellerbee.


Anyhow, after the third or fourth of these (did I mention that I was exceedingly lazy on Friday night?) my daughter turned to me and said “Hrumph. I guess only black kids are special. There’s never anything about us normal kids.”
Now, my girl is the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful 11 year old you’ll ever encounter. But this bothered her a lot. She then said “I don’t judge kids by their skin color; it’s what’s inside that makes you special.” I know I certainly could not have expressed such sentiments at her age. But her frustration I guess I’d call it hit me like a bolt of lightning, because she was right. Now, I know that February is Black History Month, but every single one was only black kids talking about being ‘special’ and ‘wonderful’ and how they were in effect demanding to be recognized as such. It struck me that there is a real danger that the guilt-laden or perhaps willfully guilt inducing/dispensing network executives were going a bit overboard and are perhaps even running the very reak risk of creating the very conditions that they claim to be seeking to overcome.
As NJ Sue notes in the post below the “ethnic grievance industry” is a very profitable enterprise that needs to keep fomenting crises to justify its existence. When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s racism was a real, widespread and more importantly socially acceptable problem. But that is simply not the case anymore. Is there still racism? Of course, but the important thing is that in our society today it is no longer socially acceptable to make racist jokes and innuendos, it is no longer acceptable to make jokes at the office. Our mindset has changed, and it is clearly reflected in our youth.
We were down in North Carolina over last weekend, and I’ve never seen so many mixed-race couples. Frankly, you see a hell of a lot more of them in “racist hick red state” North Carolina than you do in the New York Times’ backyard. And the best part of it is that no one cares. As a kid I never saw any, but by my college days in the early 80s in Virginia it was uncommon but not unheard of; and now it’s no big deal.
Our society has changed; we have gotten better to the point where it seems to me racism is no longer a major issue in our society. This is an issue that the left has won, and they need to see that or they run the risk of creating a whole new generation of people who see things in racial terms, which I thought was what we were trying to get away from.

24 Responses to “Give It A Rest?”

  1. Because I Just Love the Name

  2. Ken Summers says:

    Heh. I specifically remember when I was about 5 my cousin trying to make sure I didn’t say anything about one particular family friend looking “different”. I had absolutely no clue (seriously) that he was “different“.

  3. Aw Ken, what a gorgeous picture! We (TOWACA) were raised the exact same way. Everybody was “yes sir’d” and “no ma’am’d”, be they black, orange, green, purple or Venusian. The Marine Corps is the same way, but that ‘every Marine’s green’ thing can be the culture shock from hell to those not from a background like that.
    One of the best moments I can remember was when Ebola was 8 or so, and watching ‘Blazing Saddles’ (don’t even start on me-we’re the liberals in the family) and asked “Mom, is nigger because they’re from Nigeria?” He’d never ever heard the word before. I though ‘cool beans! The Brat’s colorblind.’ We did something way right.

  4. Ken Summers says:

    Heh. That’s funny, sis.
    I never saw this “NNDB” site before, but the first thing that struck me is that they list “sexual orientation” third. WTF cares?

  5. Mr. Bingley says:

    I don’t know Ken, but Sharp As A Marble had some fun with that site. Use the search function and look up your favorite celebs!

  6. Ken Summers says:

    Ha! I looked at that before but didn’t read it closely!
    I am disappointed that they apparently have never heard of Brian Keith.
    And in case you’re wondering, yes, there is a reason why this thread makes me think of Brian Keith.

  7. John says:

    Mr. B, this hits me especially hard, as my kids will be biracial. What race do they choose on their government forms? Do they pick the minority race to get preferential treatment? (God and me forbid.) Although, being Asian, the expectation of high achievement means that they won’t get to be as special as their minority status might otherwise lead one to believe.
    Where I grew up (where WVA, MD, and VA meet), mixed race couples were not the norm, even in the 80s. There were no blacks in my high school, and only one (East) Indian and one Asian in an 800+ person student body. I assume you went to school in Eastern VA under the influence of DC if there were a few mixed couples around in the 80s. I still feel a little bit of apprehension when I go back with my wife across the Potomac from home into to WVA. I just have to put the Sons of Confederate Veterans sticker on the car, right? 😉 However, the worst racism I’ve encountered has been all up North, and it’s subtle: was the bad service intentional or not? Down South, you know right away who you’re dealing with.

  8. Tributaries says:

    Bloggeridigeroo

    No, I have no idea what I mean by that title.  Ante Em says she got a digeridoo whilst indulging …

  9. Ken Summers says:

    John, leave off the SCV sticker. WVA was Union.

  10. Ken Summers says:

    And tell the kids to leave the space blank. It ticks off the bureau-rats.

  11. Mr. Bingley says:

    Hi John
    I couldn’t agree more. Not to start up a civil war flame-a-thon, but I’ve always thought that the south was actually less racist than the north because the south had been forced to ‘deal’ with it, whereas the north could sit back in smug superiority.
    I went to UVa in Charlottesville…certainly too much under the influence of DC for its own good 🙂
    I’m very proud of how kids today don’t seem to ‘care’ about race like we did; to me that sems to be the best possible outcome. But there are factions in our society that live for, and off of, the discord.

  12. Mr. Bingley says:

    Where we grew up, in extreme northwest NJ, it was very rural as well, and there was but one black family in town. How rural? Well, we got our electricity from the Sussex Rural Co-op, “Co-op” being latin for “the power goes off when it’s cloudy”. We also had a party line phone until the mid-70s. For the younger members of our audience, a ‘party-line’ phone was not some hip swinging 70s Studio 54 prop, but was in fact a single phone line for your entire neighborhood. So if one of your neighbors was on the phone you couldn’t use it. You’d pick up the phone and hear Charlotte blabbing away, and all you could do was wait…and wait. We’d just put a man on the moon, but we had to share our phone line.
    Anyhow, what I was going to say before I sidetracked myself was I grew up in an isolated area in the north where traditional and rather unsavory racial views held sway, and, as they were all that there was, I adopted those views. I’m not proud of it, but I also don’t really hold myself accountable to the worldview that I had as an 8 year old living in the middle of the woods. Anyhow, my views matured as I did, and especially during college when I rubbed elbows with different races every day. And I see the kids today being mostly oblivious to issues like this that we got all worked up about, and I think it’s friggin’ great. And what the hell were we thinking?
    Ok, time for another aside: the first indian guy I ever knew (indian as in India) was a guy that I drove busses with in college. Great guy, normal guy, very funny, but what was really cool was that he was looking forward to going to India after college and getting married to the girl that his parents had pre-arranged for him to marry. He’d never met her, but they had corresponded and he had pictures of her and she was a gorgeous. And I thought you bastard! There all of us guys were going through the sturm und drang of college dating and rejection, and he had a babe waiting for him!
    And I thought “how do I sign up?”
    heh.

  13. Crusader says:

    Somehow I don’t think you did to shabby with your bride, there Bingley. But yeah, old Vernon was not the most diverse community. I think there were 2 black kids in the high school when I graduated, one being in my class, one Aussie, and one Indian (who was a babe, and a genius, too).

  14. Mr. Bingley says:

    Oh heck no!
    But at the time I didn’t know she was out there waiting for me…

  15. Ken says:

    Ken,
    MD was Union, too, but all over the Western part of the state you can find post cards with the Southern Cross on the front and the following motto on the back: “Maryland, Confederate by Choice, Union by force, and Southern by the grace of God”. That sentiment goes double for Jefferson County WVA, the site of John Brown’s last stand in Harper’s Ferry. Funny thing is that I recently found members of my ancestry who are from the hardcore Virginian side mentioned in this article,
    http://www.storyroot.com/Anderson.html
    which details an incident involving the only Union unit in VA. Given the Confederate proclivities of that branch of the family to this day, I was pretty shocked.
    My kids are going to leave the space blank. Or check “Other”. That really pisses the bureaucrats off, because they hae no action plans for “Other”, but it counts in their tallies.
    I agree that the South has been forced to deal with its racial issues in a way the North hasn’t. It’s a lot like the difference between Japan and Germany. We made the Germans reapply for admission to the human race, but gave the Japanese a free pass in order to piss off Stalin. The result is that Germans shy away from judgments that even have a tint of racism (even when necessary with their Muslim populations), while there are right wing Japanese groups blaring messages about Japanese superiority from the loudspeakers of busses (painted with the Hi No Maru and the sunburst IJA flags) almost every national holiday. One nation dealt with their past, one ignored it.

  16. John says:

    That last comment was me, not Ken.

  17. Whoa, don’t even get me started on the Japanese, having personally experienced their version of a ‘free’ society. Every day. For months on end. (Trust me, it’s not just for holiday show.)

  18. John says:

    THS, if you were there in the military, you got a really skewed view of Japan, especially if it was Okinawa. I lived and worked in Tokyo for almost 2 years. I have a love-hate relationship with the culture, but there are aspects of it I really appreciate. And they never claimed to be free, only Democratic. It takes a really strong will and a job in a non-Japanese company to be free in that society. But it is possible.
    But they have never apologized to the Koreans or the Chinese. It’s funny how many Chinese over here in the US hate the Japanese. Many are here because of the Japanese, but the hatred is deeper than that – each views the other culture as inferior. My wife has a very unique view on this. She is Taiwanese, and her mother was born on Taiwan during the Japanese occupation (1895-1945). Her Grandmother did not speak Mandarin, only Japanese and Taiwanese, and that side of the family always said that they preferred the Japanese occupation to the GMD. My wife’s father was a GMD soldier who wound up in Taiwan after fighting both the Japanese and the Communists. Because his family did business with Japan before the war, he speaks Japanese, so he always spoke with the wife’s grandmother in Japanese. But early in the war, he was drafted by the Japanese to work in a RR depot, and the GMD made him a deal he couldn’t refuse – sneak us information on troop movements, or we’ll kill your family. So he became a GMD agent. If anyone has a reason to hate the Japanese he does (he left a wife and 2 kids in China after his unit shipped out to Hainan in 1949, and when the last of the UN / Japanese occupation ended, the Commies came and he never saw them again). Still, he speaks to me in Japanese because his accent is rather odd, and frankly my Mandarin sucks. So whenever I start getting down on Japan, I think of him and get a new perspective. However, we do NOT hang the sunburst flags we got climbing Mt. Fuji when he comes to visit. Too much IJA in that flag, I think.

  19. Mr. Bingley says:

    I have a few korean friends and they really really don’t like the japanese; the memories are still too fresh.

  20. I have a love-hate relationship with the culture
    As I do, John. Yes, it WAS with the military, though not in Okinawa (and don’t EVER make the mistake of calling an Okinawan ‘Japanese’. If you escape with your face intact, it will be a miracle.) My couple years experience has been in the towns and countryside surrounding the humble fishing village of my birth (yes, you read that right and I’m a Japanese citizen by virtue of that fortuitous event.): Iwakuni, southern Honshu, Yamaguchi prefecture, aboard MCAS Iwakuni. If Tokyo is the cosmopolitan center, then Iwakuni is the agrarian back of beyond. MCAS is a such a small airbase, it really has none of the worldly trappings (or advantages for the less adventurous) of a big city posting. It also doesn’t suffer alot of the ‘taint’ that envelops bases in general. Once you step out that front gate, you’re a gaijin in Nippon.
    The people are marvelously friendly in their own right. Lost on your way to Kentai Castle? Ask any farmer in the field or lady hanging laundry out. They’ll give directions and offer a Suntory to keep you cool as you go. I have had some of the most magical, mystical experiences of my life in Japan. Sunset by the Torii at Miyajima, slurping fresh oysters by the dozen (from the beds we passed on the ferry ride over), all on the same island where they sent the kamikaze pilots for R&R before their last flights. The shadow people haunting the walls of the Conservatory, the only building still standing at Ground Zero. I’ve been there at midnight on the Kentai. Using buckets of flaming embers hung off boat bows, drawing fish to the surface, the fisherman send tethered cormorants into the water to scoop up the catch. The whole procession bathes the seven arches of the wooden bridge in a Dante’s Inferno glow. Oh, yeah, I love it.
    The caveat? The stain amidst all that is the casual racism. Hand lettered signs tacked to restaurant, club, attraction or bar doors. Everything in Kanji except the ‘no gaijins’ or ‘gaijins not allowed’. It was everywhere from Hiroshima to the tip of the southern coast. And it meant every foreigner. There were exceptions to the rule some if you were blonde and female. Men would chase me down the street, diving through my companions, beseeching me to return to that establishment with them. I would point out the crowd of friends and the handwaving would begin. “No no no! No them! You!” Hanging on my arm, trying to pull me away. And then they would curse the guys with me and scuttle off. Every time I got home (SoCal at that point) and took a young Ebola to Disneyland (as if that atoned for being gone most of the year), I’d look with a jaundiced eye at the hoards of Japanese tourists queuing at the ticket boothes. I’d think “Man! Just for one day I’d like to stick a sign on Mickey’s ass that says ‘No Japanese allowed.'” But we don’t do that here. Cause it hurts.

  21. John says:

    THS it sounds like you hit the racism that constitutes a lot of the “hate” part of my love-hate relationship. You got it a lot worse in the boondocks, although I traveled to Kansai and further south quite a bit. My wife feels the same way about Japan – imagine all the gaijin treatment you and I faced bound up with an Asian face and the Japanese not understanding why this Asian does not speak Japanese.
    On the other hand I saw some behavior in Taiwan and Japan by US servicepeople that made me pretty ashamed, so I can’t completely blame the natives for not liking male gaijin with short haircuts (which included me).
    By the way, did you get to Nagasaki? I like the city and the Peace Park much better than Hiroshima, although Miyajima is much prettier than anything I saw on Kyushu.

  22. US servicepeople that made me pretty ashamed
    Not to excuse the goons/Gomers I’ve served with during my years in, but there’s a whole lot more general animosity because of the thousands of these folks. The military’s an easy scapegoat because they’re instantly recognizable.
    No, I never made it north of Hiroshima. Just too darn busy in a gun squadron on a 6 (if we were lucky) month det. Wish I’d a chance tho. And your poor wife! We actually had a Capt. Takemura in our sqdn. An inscrutable oriental face…born and raised in Chicago.(Ya gotta LOVE the United States!!) He neither spoke nor understood one word of Japanese. They were all at the ‘O’ club for dinner one night and one of the Maj’s asked about dessert. The English-challenged Japanese waitress waved her hands, trying to put together the phrase with her limited English. She finally managed “NO…dessert” followed by a torrent of Japanese. Which caused a torrent of outraged exclamations (NOT directed at her) among the officers, as in “What the f*ck? NO dessert AGAIN??!!” (this being a recurring problem at said club and cause of much consternation) The poor girl tried explaining repeatedly, with her two words and Japanese flusterings. She finally caught sight of Tak, slouching down in his chair, hoping not to be noticed. Rushing over, she started rapid fire shreiking in her native tongue, complete with exasperated arm movements. At last she was done. Silence fell and then a voice asked ‘Tak. Whud she say?’
    Tak smiled at her, she smiled back.
    “She said ‘NO DESSERT!'”

  23. John says:

    THS, I think that it’s not the quantity of the goons, it’s the relentless exposure around the bases. In any given company-sized unit in the military, in business, or what have you, there will be about 5 – 10 dedicated peckerwoods, and another 20 or so part-time peckerwoods. Around military bases, these guys keep rotating through, causing trouble. I spoke with Japanese who remembered Americans on R&R on their way back from Vietnam, some of whom were in the Americal division. Imagine what a taste those bozos left (not that everyone in Americal was a goon, but you know what I mean). And I know exactly what you mean about the military being easier to recognize, but the tourists being just as bad sometimes. When I was in the USSR for the first time, there were a bunch of tour groups taking advantage of Glasnost to see the Evil Empire up close. Wearing cowboy hats and boots in Moscow. Most of them, I’d bet, had never been near a horse in their lives, and probably didn’t realize how much like the southbound end of a northbound equine they resembled. Although the Finns were by far the worst-behaved tourists in the USSR, hands down.
    The worst behavior from servicepeople I observed in Japan was pretty much where you’d expect it – a busload came down to Nagoya from Yokosuka to see the fertility festival. You know, the one where they parade the huge, orange (and very lifelike) wooden phallus through the street. With all the opportunities to see Japanese matsuri, why did the base commander OK a bus trip to that one (and either they were drinking on the bus, or got a huge head start immediately after disembarking)? I blame the CO or the XO that OK’d the trip more than the goobers drinking in the street.
    My wife found some friends and had a really good time. Like I said, it is possible to be free in Japan with an iron will and a job outside the “salaryman” routine. My wife’s best friend over there is from Hokkaido, and Hokkaido people are the least “Japanese” you will find – the island was only settled en masse in the 1880s, so the natives have a frontier culture that puts them in between American and Japanese outlooks. (By the way, the “no gaijin” signs in Hokkaido, the few that do exist, are in Russian).
    I love the story about the Japanese-American. My wife and I had some pretty funny moments when we first got to Japan because the waitresses would always look at her when speaking to us, and I would be the one to answer while my wife gave her best “dumb foreigner” smile.

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