I'm so angry I don't know what to say.
So was I at first, but now--think of something to say and say it loud and wide.
I am often embarrassed by similar elements in Texas, so I know how you feel. And I'm a native.
The white racists are demonstrating the only valid argument against Affirmative Action--those who benefit from it too long (as in, centuries of white privilege) lose touch with reality.
It's probably no consolation that some are saying that things are even worse in South Carolina
Mind you, as an Australian, I can't really boast: our supposedly centre-left government and the right-wing opposition are both fighting for the racist vote by seeing who can be harshest on asylum seekers
I certainly don't think it's limited to Arizona...racism is rife in some parts of Texas, including where I live, and I've read of it in many other states--and nations--as well. It's not limited to the old, or the young, or any particular religion--or even race--it seems to be a chronic debilitating condition of the human race, with abscesses of it breaking out again after a supposedly successful treatment. Fear and resulting hatred of the different--race, religion, origin, social condition, gender, gender preference--any hook to hang the victim on.
Saw something on TV tonight (flipping channels) about a "church"--naturally one of those "don't trust anyone but us, we're the only true religion" churches--that teaches its kids that God hates the world and all the people in it (except those in this church.) Hates this, hates that, everyone else is going to hell...it's sickening.
That brought tears to my eyes. I posted it to facebook earlier this evening. It's just beyond my comprehension.
2010-06-05 04:08 am (UTC)
That's disgusting! I cannot believe a school principal would make that decision! They should be educating those kids fairly, promoting tolerance, compassion and understanding, not bending to the whims of the narrow-minded! I'm almost lost for words. That principal has set a terrible example for the children in their care.
Yes, he did. He's not alone, though. After all, there's that community leader (councilman & radio "personality") pressuring him and promoting hatred and violence. The principal will have rationalized his decision in a way that saves his face--perhaps as "I did it to protect the school and the children from verbal abuse from passersby." He may have felt (and may have felt rightly) that calling on law enforcement to protect the school and children was impossible in that town. That community slid into acceptance of overt racism and overt attacks on even children over a period of time--they elected that councilman, for instance--and while I don't exonerate the principal, I will say the entire mess isn't his fault alone.
A study done years ago found that if verbal and physical abuse was not confronted instantly--it escalated. The kind of people who abuse do not stop until confronted, and the later you stop them, the harder it is. They're bullies; they gather supporters; the problem gets bigger; they move from mutters to loud talk to screaming to throwing things....because they can. Because at first people are just uncomfortable with it...and hope the problem will go away...and later they're scared.
It's definitely not fun to live in Arizona right now. And even worse is living here and administering a program on indigenous rights. And as if that weren't enough, a program that draws international students.
But, knowing you, you'll continue to be a beacon of fairness and sanity in the midst of whatever. You're one of my heroes.
oh that just breaks my heart. and this is the country that is supposed to be a superpower...
Superpower doesn't equal super-good, alas.
Of course, no other superpower in history has been super-good either, but we certainly do manage to downright flaunt our dirty linen.
Wow! I wonder if that principal had his job threatened if he didn't comply. Is it too trite to say, "why can't we all just get along?"
Edited at 2010-06-05 01:12 pm (UTC)
Morning news is the city councilman who stirred up the trouble has been fired from the radio station. He's still city councilman, and (being of That Kind) will no doubt run for an even more prestigious office or become a Fox News commentator.
It's not that it's too trite to say "Why can't we all just get along?" as hopeless--it takes two to tango but only one to mess up the dance.
Some people don't want to "just get along." They want to be in charge, controlling everyone else. "My way or the highway..." except they'll have blocked off the highway and want to control that, too (as happened after Katrina.)
Some people disgust me. I wish I didn't have to share my country with people who act that way. There are plenty of people in this area who think that way although they don't usually act out that badly.
2010-06-06 06:20 am (UTC)
So disappointing, But also, one error.
I was unaware of this news item, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. I read several articles about it, and even though there are some variations on the facts, the whole mess is a very disappointing look at humanity.
One small correction: In Clues for the Clueless, you mentioned that the Constitution wasn't racist. Sadly, I must disagree: Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3, regarding the Census, reads as follows:
"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned... according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."
This language was altered by the 14th Amendment, thankfully, but I think it underscores that even our founding fathers were tinged by partiality and some forms of racism.
One other counter point. I do NOT condone the racist remarks and the uncivilized conduct of those embroiled in this mess in Prescott, AZ. I do however, have a question: Can government sponsored art reach the point of being propaganda and having a race agenda? If it can, then I can understand SOME frustration by a FEW who view the government as imposing a certain "racial quota" on art. For example, there is a famous photograph of three firefighters raising the flag over the ruins of the twin towers after 9-11. The three firefighters in the photo happen to be Caucasian. When crafting a sculpture based on this photo, one artist was asked to alter racial characteristics of two of the firefighters so as to be more inclusive. (It was like Prescott, AZ in reverse.) Just something to think about. That's all.
2010-06-06 07:40 pm (UTC)
Re: So disappointing, But also, one error.
The Constitution, by its own definition, includes its amendments. Though it was originally written both sexist and racist, later amendments changed it, ending slavery and providing former slaves and citizens of all races the rights of other citizens. That states promptly made unConstitutional laws and had elected presidents who would appoint Supreme Court justices to uphold the Jim Crow laws is not the fault of the Constitution.
In present tense, the Constitution (remembering that it includes all later amendments--they are part of it) is not racist. Our founding fathers (and mothers, thanks) were, and too many people still are.
Can government sponsored art reach the point of propaganda and have a race agenda? Consider government sponsored art prior to the past fifty years. How often were persons of color depicted as anything but servants, slaves, or criminals? How many statehouses in formerly Confederate states depict African-Americans well in the murals on the walls? Ever notice that long after African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Native peoples were serving honorably in the military, all the faces on the recruiting posters (which are a prime example of governmet-sponsored art) were white guys?
So yes, of course government art can be propaganda (usually is) but the only time people are annoyed is when they dislike the message. If it's their own propaganda (whether it be a flag or a mural or a statue) they're fine with it. In a statue intending to symbolize an event, there's always a choice between using the specific individuals, or (in the size event that 9/11 was) trying to symbolize the fire department. A sculpture that actually included all of the firemen and policeman who acted heroically that day would be too complex to have the impact wanted...so if the sculpture is supposed to represent the enter department...it had better show diversity, because the department is diverse. And if you're going to pick out three specific individuals because they performed a symbolic act...what about all the others? The true analogy to the school in Arizona (which is racially diverse) is the entire fire department.
I would not have objected to honoring those three white guys...but I would object to honoring ONLY those three white guys. The act of planting a flag is symbolic, and consciously related to the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima...national, not local or personal symbolism.
But some people will hate it, because they just don't want to recognize the level of diversity that exists and has existed.
2010-06-07 05:44 am (UTC)
Re: So disappointing, But also, one error.
Thank you for the reply. You are quite right that the Constitution is a living document. I only intended to convey that it once read differently.
I think the conversation about government art, propaganda, and race is interesting. I didn't intend to be vitriolic. If I've been inappropriate, please pardon me.
2010-06-07 01:18 pm (UTC)
Re: So disappointing, But also, one error.
I didn't read it as vitriolic.
However, general policy here, I prefer identified correspondents on any topic rather than "Anonymous" posts. This is a room in my online "house" as it were; guests to my house don't wear masks...I know who they are. As with the house in reality, people who show up masked are viewed with suspicion until they are identified. (The unmasked who are troublemakers get uninvited, just as in real life. It's rare, but it does happen.)
So it's time for you to unmask, smile and say Hi to everybody and get acquainted.
You will not find "And God said, Let there be White People and let them be better than anyone else and run everything and have all the goodies" anywhere in there.)
Of course not. The original was written by brown- and olive-skinned people.