George Floyd and the Legacy of Bigotry

At HardWired News, irreverent humor is our stock-in-trade.  Remember our tongue-in-cheek pieces on the disease “Liberalitis,” our lampooning of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, or the suggestion that Millennials be sent to “re-education camps”?  All good fun at the expense of otherwise serious topics of the day.

But some things just aren’t funny.  And those things include bigotry aimed at humans, bigotry’s cousin—racism, lynchings and other murders.  We cannot but be horrified at the image of George Floyd systematically strangled to death under the knee of a police officer.  Public rage at this and other such incidents is natural and right.

Sometimes, though, the supposed cure is as bad as the disease.  The response to the Floyd murder included protests, which are understandable and even constitutionally protected.  But that spilled into arson, looting, murder, villainizing the police while calling for their abolition or even, in some extreme cases, their killing.  “Woke” politicians and other invested uber’-liberals apologized for or even endorsed some of these outrageous measures.

We all viscerally get what bigotry is: colloquially, attributing presumed characteristics of one or a few people to all in the group to which they belong.  Beliefs that black people are lazy, Jewish people are greedy, or Polish people are dumb are all examples of foolish, harmful bigotry.  Any intelligent person knows that this kind of bigotry is both morally wrong and stupid.

The outrage over George Floyd’s murder resulted in a collective cry condemning racial bigotry and the actions it causes.  Because of Floyd’s killing and similar acts undeniably founded in racism in the past, police were condemned en masse’, with calls for their wholesale disbanding and harsh punishment.  The irony and profound illogic are that such calls are precisely the same type of bigotry the protesters, politicians and pundits are condemning.  The kind of bigotry used to oppress black people for centuries.  In the instant case, it applies to police in general the attributes and propensity for mayhem exhibited by only a tiny minority of them.  And it calls for action to be taken against all people in the group—e.g. the police—for the actions of a statistical very few.

“So what,” one might say.  “An eye-for-an-eye and a tooth-for-a-tooth.”  The police are hardly an oppressed underclass.  They have had it good for a long time and can fend for themselves.  “Payback is a bitch.”

The crimes against Floyd and others like him are undeniably rooted in racism born of bigotry.  But to use exactly the same logic toward police, whites in general, or any other groups one might select, justifies and perpetuates that type of thinking.  It gives permission to other bigots who have simply picked a different group to rage against.  Each bigot thinks their target group is genuinely vile and their own opinions are justified.  Hitler doubtless thought he was truly helping the German people by ridding them of rotten characters when he incinerated four million Jews.  Such is the nature of bigotry.

No one can argue against punishment of policemen who are offenders, better training, banning chokeholds, stronger civilian oversight and the like.  But seeking retribution against police as a group is only a form of bigotry that validates and encourages it against others, including people of color.  Those of us who favor civility, compassion, and racial fairness must avoid the most base temptation to embrace bigotry and metaphorical lynching of groups with which we are angry if we truly care about victims like George Floyd.

That’s our opinion, and we’re stickin’ to it.  Maybe—just maybe—we can find something funny to write about next time.

The Cat-In-The-Hat and Racism

Popular dictionaries define racism as a belief that people’s characteristics, their qualities and faults, are determined by race (or ethnicity).  It was behind Hitler’s murder of millions of Jews and countless lynchings and shootings of blacks in the American South.  Needless to say, racism works profound injustice and is behind divisions that exist in America and many other societies.  Anyone with an ounce of sense and a modicum of human experiences knows that qualities and faults are individual and not determined by a person’s ancestral group.

There has been enormous progress during my lifetime in improving racial justice and Roofrace relations.  Nonetheless, racism continues to rear its ugly head.  A notorious recent example was the shooting of nine black people in a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015 by the demented white supremacist Dylann Roof.  He is being tried for murder and very likely faces the death penalty.  Periodic events such as this cause people to rightly remain on edge, and society needs to continue to be vigilant regarding any embedded racism.

But it’s possible that vigilance can be carried too far.  Recently First Lady Melania Trump donated the iconic Dr. Seuss children’s books to school libraries as part of an effort toGrinch encourage reading by youngsters.  The librarian in a Cambridge, Massachusetts elementary school rejected the gift saying the books were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”  Then a black woman, a prominent Democrat and former Georgia legislator, LeDawn Jones, appeared on the Fox Network’s Tucker Carlson show to double down, saying that old Dr. Seuss was a well-known racist and a purveyor of racially charged images.

Cat in the Hat
Alleged Racist

Maybe you’re as surprised as I am that The Cat in the Hat not to mention Thing One and Thing Two are racist.  I can understand the evil Grinch—he was simply bad to the bone—and I’m not just saying that because he’s green.

 

It seems that Dr. Seuss, in his early years as a cartoonist, supported the World War II effort by creating some propaganda cartoons on behalf Seuss political cartoonsof the government lampooning Hitler and the Japanese war leader Tojo in, of course, an unflattering way.  And he also illustrated ads for a popular insecticide product, Flit.  Some of the illustrations contained figures that could be fairly construed as unacceptable stereotypes of Arabs and black Africans.  It’s noteworthy that these kinds of illustrations were in the context of the times and—while clearly insensitive especially by today’s standards—were in the mainstream then, particularly so with our government’s Seuss race cartoonwar propaganda effort.  One could fault FDR as much or more so than Dr. Seuss for the propaganda illustrations, and I don’t hear mainstream Democrats calling for the boycott of Franklin Roosevelt.  Dr. Seuss also was an outspoken voice for racial justice for African-Americans and published many illustrations supporting his point of view, which was quite unpopular at the time.

Even if you believe the venerable Seuss should be condemned for his racial insensitivity in spite of his public stand for racial justice, it’s hard to justify bashing Sam-I-Am or The Cat in the Hat.  After all, the sins of the father should not be visited upon the sons, as Shakespeare taught us in The Merchant of VeniceSeusss It seems to me there are plenty of real racial villains—David Duke, George Wallace, Dylann Roof…I’d name more but we’d run out of room.  Spotlighting Dr. Seuss and his cast of iconic characters as racist villains seems to cheapen the conversation about racism in America and undermine the credibility of those who are speaking out about it.  Maybe, as Dr. Seuss taught us, we ought to think a  little more carefully before we condemn.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.

Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

Top Ten Ways of Knowing Trump is a Racist

CNN Anchor
CNN Trump Basher

President Donald Trump was wildly criticized following recent violence in Charlottesville for saying both sides of clashing demonstrators shared blame, and both contained some “good people.”  And after his media-bashing rally in Phoenix Tuesday night, CNN doubled down on the claims.  We followed him closely during the campaign and in the White House.  He never said anything racist and has made public statements, recently and going back many years, condemning racism, white supremacist groups and the like.  He speaks regularly about uniting America and viewing all of its people as equals, while his platform includes rebuilding inner cities and the like.

Yet the left, and particularly the national media, assume as a given that he is racist and courts white supremacists, despite all the contrary evidence.  In the face of this chorus, how can we really know if he is a racist?

Here are the Top Ten Ways to know that Trump is racist based on recent statements from public figures on the left:

10 For the love of God, he’s a WHITE man (Maxine Waters)

Sanders Crazy

9   All billionaire businessmen exploit minorities (Bernie Sanders)

8   He ran on law & order, and we all know who that targets (Al Sharpton)

7   The president wants to stop people from illegally sneaking across the southern border; c’mon (Nancy Pelosi)

6   He colluded with Russia to defeat Clinton; if he’s that unfair, he’s got to be racially unfair (Adam Schiff)

5   Why else would I want him assassinated? (Missouri Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal)Schumer talking

4   He’s a Republican president, so I’ve got to say anything to take him down (Chuck Schumer)

3   No person of color has hair like Trump’s, so it must be a fashion statement against minorities (Stephen Colbert)

2   95% of black people voted against him – do they know something? (Rachel Maddow)

Fake News CNN 4

And the Number One Reason we know Trump is a racist…

1   OK, he probably really isn’t, but we hate him so much for calling out our fake news (Jake Tapper)

 

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