The Naked Emperor

06 May 2007

Dam Racism

I recently got to see the British version of a classic old (1955) movie called "The Dam Busters". It's a fairly true story of a British genius who designed weapons to destroy dams in Germany during World War II and the men who carried out the mission.

I hadn't seen the movie for many years, it rarely comes on TV. And now I know why.

It's a "bad" movie. Not the acting, directing, writing, or cast. They're all very good. Some say that the final battle scene in the original "Star Wars" was stolen from "the Dam Busters".

No, it's bad because in the movie the Squadron commander's dog is named "Nigger". He' a beautiful black lab. I understand that in the American version, his name was dubbed to "Trigger". Another problem is that the commander was so taken with his dog that the code word they radioed back to tell of success was chosen for his dog. They forgot to dub that use of "nigger".

So I doubt you'll ever see it. Pity, it's a great movie otherwise. They rarely make them like that nowadays.

Coming on the heels of the Imus affair, I guess we're all a little sensitive. I just don't know what we can say anymore.

As you know, I love words. But I tire of having to chase they're ever changing meanings and correct usages.

Imus was fired for saying "ho". Is this bad now? Will Santa now have to say something else on 2007 Christmas cards? Will I now have to ask thenakedempress to pass me the long handled flat bladed cultivator when I'm out in the garden?

Frankly the whole Imus affair was handled rather badly.

At best, he's a minor national shock jock. I never heard the comments he made, and given that his audience is maybe a few million at best, I doubt if you did too. He reaches, at best, one percent of the population.

But now, with all the airplay and controversy, I'm sure you heard ABOUT his comments. It was major news McNuggets until a real story came along.

I didn't know about the team. All I know is that they played for a national championship. I don't recall what school they were from, and I don't know if they won.

He call them "nappy headed hos". I haven't bothered to check out if what he said was true. I automatically dismiss his comments because he is just a shock jock looking for attention. But I guarantee that many, if not most individuals, upon hearing about this flap, first question was "Well, is it true?".

So instead of having maybe a million or so "intellectuals" who listen to Imus wondering if any of the comments were true, all the airplay meant that there were a HUNDRED million or so asking.

And how much good did that do for the girls reputation? Thanks, Al.

Since we are all up in arms over racism, I thought I'd pose a couple of thoughts.

Notice I said thoughts, not feelings. Before you continue, please depress your psychological clutch, put your emotions in neutral and put your brain in gear.

I hope you can do that because most of my readers, all hundreds, er ones of you, are nekulturny. Very nekultury.

Are you offended?

Only if you're Russian.

In Russian, that means "uncultured", and is a high insult coming from any westerner, especially an American.

But since I know of no Russian readers, I doubt if I'll get hate mail or death threats.

I've tried my best to insult you, yet you're not offended. Why?

Because although words are powerful, they only have the power we each give them. Others have the power to speak or write words. We decide how much power to give them.

Another good example is "Nigger" or "Ho". If a non-black person uses those words towards a black, there's a racial incident. But if a black person uses them on another black person, no offense is taken. Same words, different outcome. But why?

Are members of one race allowed to use words that non members are not?

Or is is because the listener decided not to take offense from some races but will from others?

We decide, each of us individually, what power to give the words used around us.

Which bring us to the main principle of fighting racism. Consider the source.

Frankly Imus is a has-been desperately seeking attention. The girls played for a national title, among the best twenty or so people in their sport. Should your self image be "Champion", or what a person such as Imus says you are?

Not that the girls, and only the girls should have been a bit annoyed. I know I would have been. But remember the person making the comments is an attention hound. The cruelest thing you could do to him is ignore him.

Just tell Al, and Jesse, and the media,"He's just using our talent to try to get ratings. We ask that you not give him the controversy he so desperately wants. Please let the matter drop and let him crawl back into his unimportant little world. Please allow us to enjoy our hour of triumph without the flea bites and gnat stings of such parasites. Thank you. We will now entertain any questions about our team, our play, and our school, but the subject of Imus is closed.

When considering sources of racism, lets look at racism from the racist's point of view.

Classically, racism is when someone believes one race, usually his own, is superior in some or all ways to one or all other races.

We have folded the classic definition of prejudice, believing racial stereotypes into the modern definition of racism.

For the sake of argument, we will accept the following is true. We'll accept it because, well it IS true, and because it's my blog and I get to write it. Nyah Nyah Pfffft.

I have met many people of many races. I have met a few greats, mostly good people, and several outright jerks from all races. When it comes to telling the good people from the jerks, skin color is a totally unreliable indicator.

So when you go to an interview, and someone says we don't hire (insert racial epithet here), lets look at that person. For the sake of example, we'll make him white, and the interviewee black.

I've tried to recall what percentage of blacks there are here in America. Lets use 15% to argue.

So this prejudicial person has just automatically cut himself off from 15% of the available talent pool without even looking at that persons abilities. What would you call such an employer? What would you call a businessman who cut himself off from 15% of available customers without even trying?

I think the word stupid is well used here.

And if the prejudicial person is black, cutting out 85% of available talent or business makes even less sense.

So racists are, by nature, stupid.

So if someone calls you nigger, kike, wop, cracker, spic, etc. that person is stupid. I'd have included more epithets, but that's all I can recall at the moment. Guess I'm not too good at racism.

If a stupid person calls you a name, and you believe it, what does that make you?

I remember back in the second grade or so, I and another student were asked to stay by the teacher. There was a problem of cheating. It seemed that this person had cheated off my test, copying all my answers. He was so intent on writing down exactly what I did that he even put MY name on the top of his page.

That taught me a great lesson. Never accept the person next to you's answers, ever. He is probably a good bit more stupid than you are. I know that boy was.

So to sum up. Racists are stupid. One says you are (insert insult X here). Therefore you are "X".

(Insert annoying basketball buzzer here) WRONG!!!

Let's get these lessons straight. Words only have the power YOU give them. Racists are stupid. Never accept your worth to society from a stupid person.

Clear enough?

Before I end the lesson today, class, and let you turn your emotions on, lets talk about those emotions.

One should never get emotional about racism. With one great exception.

If someone makes a racist comment to you, you may feel angry. Only accept this anger if it is productive.

I'll give you an example from my own life.

My educational career was checkered at best. Moments of great failure and moments of great triumph. The failure came first.

When I went back to school with the intention of gaining admission to Veterinary school, most around me cautioned me against it. After all, I hadn't been successful at all in college so far, and Vet school is one of the hardest professional programs in the nation. They didn't think I could do it.

They told me so, and it really pissed me off. I used that anger to keep me going in tough times, both in undergraduate and in Vet school. I was determined to "show" them that I could do it. I knew that the best revenge is living well, and i was determined to succeed.

That anger kept me motivated. Here I am, years later, doing OK. And I'm a doctor.

Do not let anger over a stupid person's comments eat you up. They can if you'll let them. Only accept anger if it will help you accomplish a goal.

Some guy called you a "X" and refused to hire you? Go to school, do well there and in business, buy his business from his boss and FIRE HIS ASS. Can you think of a more eloquent or effective response to racism?

It's a lot harder than just a protest, but much more satisfying and effective.

Take it from me, making critics eat their words is one of the best moments.

until later,



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