Can’t We Just All Get Along? Or Are We ALL Racists?
Our columnist/business & technology pal Tim Bryce of Florida has presented a very interesting premise for a recent column. He suggests we have overused the word “racist” to the point that it has lost its original meaning . The watered down word can be applied so liberally that in Tim’s mind, in one way or another, we are ALL “racists.” Here’s the case he makes in this week’s column.
Tim Bryce -Are We All Racists?
Often considered the touchstone of a person's perspective on life, the word "racist" has been so overused, it has become the punchline for jokes and in danger of losing its validity. The word is as overused and abused as the word "technology" which seems to be applied to everything. The word "racist" was originally created to describe a person who believes a particular race is superior to another. However, it has morphed into something used outside of race, such as when discussing political or religious inclinations. In other words, it has gone way beyond the color of a person's skin. For example, consider how Black Liberals treat Black Conservatives. It is no longer just about the color of your skin, it is also the politics you observe.
By today's standards, I contend we are all racists. There is always some faction we do not agree with or share our views, be it based on race, religion, sex, ideology, politics, business, or cultural nuances. As such, we dismiss them out of hand. A lot of it is based on ignorance, but I also believe it is rooted in our animal instincts as "competitive domination." Such a loathsome perspective of another group results in a variety of adjectives and nouns, such as bigot, extremist, fanatic, opinionated, segregationist, supremacist, zealot, chauvinist, sexist, etc. In reality, such words suggest nothing more than "intolerance" of another group. For example, many heterosexuals do not understand or accept the homosexual perspective, it is "unnatural" to them and, as a result, do not wish to be associated with them.
People of different cultural or religious backgrounds cannot find compatibility either, they do not understand their customs or beliefs, or perhaps there is some history whereby factions fought in the past and have difficulty burying the hatchet today. To illustrate, I visited Saudi Arabia a few years ago where I was teaching some management classes. In talking with my Saudi contacts after hours, I asked about their relationship with Israel. I made the observation the Israelis were not going away any time soon, so why not develop a dialog to see what the two countries had in common. I was politely, but sharply, rebuffed. The Saudis made it clear they had no desire to have any connection whatsoever with the Jewish state.
The biggest problem with being a racist is when it turns to hate and violence which, of course, leads to confrontation, maligning the character of another group, dirty deeds, and war. Most of us though keep our racism in check to avoid such incidents. We may not like another group, but we are unwilling to break the law.
Consider the disparity between the following groups:
- Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc.
- Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and others.
- Upper, middle and lower socioeconomic classes.
- White collar workers versus Blue collar, management versus unions.
- Liberals and Conservatives, Socialists and Capitalists.
- Intellectuals versus the unsophisticated.
- Heterosexual marriages versus Homosexual versus Polygamy versus extramarital affairs.
- North versus South, East versus West.
- The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
If we have a problem with any of these groups, and say so in public, we are considered racists. According to political correctness though, we are all supposed to live together peacefully and accept the foibles of each group. Anyone who believes this is taking it in the arm. Think how bland and awkward our lives would be if we truly believed this. We would have to be on guard 24/7 to prevent any faux pas from occurring. Rather, it is our diversity that makes our world interesting. Some things we will like, others we will not. It's like Sushi; you either like it or you do not. Since it is not universally accepted, should we eliminate it completely and replace it with something like Soylent Green? As human beings it is virtually impossible for us to agree on everything. Completely eradicating the racist concept would only lead to a life of mediocrity.
Accusing someone of being a racist is today's politically correct way of putting someone on the defensive by saying, "I do not like you." The reality is, it no longer matters as the word has been overused and watered down.
Those who do not believe they are racists better take another look at themselves in the mirror. They are not being honest with themselves.
Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and periodically on KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington "The Morning News" with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube.