Modern Day Racism

23 01 2016

“How was Aruba?”


“Ah man bro, it was epic.  Have you ever jet skied?  It’s a lot like skiing and the turning is so peculiar.  It takes a long time to get it but once you do it makes skiing look like a kid’s toy.”


“I’ve never been to Aruba but I hear it’s out of this world?  I recently went to…”


“Yeah it was, but no disrespect to my fellow Jewish folk but there were too many Jews there.  I was hoping to not have to deal with that kind of atmosphere but, oh well, I’ll just go somewhere else next time.”


“Ah nice man, yeah I gotcha.  I went to Thailand and China recently.  I surprised my girl one day and took her to lunch.  I had a helicopter waiting for us, which took us to our own private island to eat.  It only cost $1200 in Thailand.  Can you believe that?!  The last time I went to Hawaii that same thing was seven to eight thousand!”


“Ah, you’re doing it right man.  Epic, epic.  I did something similar in…”


“And in China they have no concept of lines there.  Basically just imagine a piece of cheese thrown out onto the street and a whole bunch of rats attacking each other for it.  That’s how people in China are.  They have no concept of manners and literally no word for ‘excuse me.’  Such a rude place full of ungrateful people.  So if you like that, you’ll like China.”


I was on a ski lift at Park City, Utah while listening to this conversation.  These guys were the definition of high end vacationing skiers.  One might conjure up an image of snooty skiers in their mind (by the way, I was also skiing.  Sorry my snowboarding roots friend base).  There was more to the conversation but it was basically one guy bragging about how much money he spent and then the other guy saying how much money he spent.  They really weren’t listening to each other, other than saying, ‘yeah bro’ or ‘right, right.’  Obviously, as shown above, it got into a back and forth about talking down certain groups of people.


What did these guys expect?  That they could go to places in the world and not have to deal with the people or traditions who were already there?  Especially with the guy who went to China.  Was he thinking that since he was white people would then then cater to his culture instead of living and functioning normally in their own?  Why does this guy think that his version of politeness even means the same thing in China?  I’ve been to China and there is a whole different perspective and cultural norm on how one navigates the certain situation he tried to describe.  It is an ego driven response where we somehow have gotten to a place where people think everything revolves around them, regardless of where they are in the world and who they are interacting with.


Another problem with all of this is that these two guys are probably extremely influential people given their affluence.  What they say about different groups will carry over to decisions they make about their friends, their business, who they hire, who they vote for, their families beliefs, etc.  They didn’t say any direct or known derogatory racist names but they might as well have.  And because they didn’t say an aggressive, and known racist term, their remarks will go largely unnoticed whenever they talk about similar things in the future to whoever else they chat with.  People won’t see it as aggressive but the passiveness of this kind of modern day racism is wreaking havoc on and largely responsible for what is holding back whole communities of people and propelling popular hateful candidates like Donald Trump or any other of the handful of candidates on the conservative right.  Somehow conservative whites feel they are being attacked because society has become more equal in past decades and conservative leaders have manipulated people into this thinking and that losing their racial superiority has somehow been an unfair process in and of itself.  In society’s attempt to make things more equal, limiting and taking power away from dominate groups, who once saw it as normal to oppress people, will forever be seen as an oppressive process to the dominate majority.  Hence where the term ‘Reverse Racism’ and ‘All Lives Matter’ gets its gusto and the term ‘White Privilege’ goes largely unnoticed.  Welcome to the world of modern racist and oppressive language.  You might as well be saying ‘spic’, ‘bitch’, ‘wop’, (insert aggressive derogatory name here).


Will we ever be in a position to call out people that talk and think like this in the same way as if they used the term, ‘nigger’, ‘kike’, ‘chink’ or something grossly aggressive of the sort?  It is much more sophisticated, this modern day racism, and perhaps it needs sophisticated responses.  I found myself wondering if I should call out these two guys for their racist language as I sat there dangling on the ski lift.  I didn’t and perhaps I perpetuated the problem by staying silent but I just didn’t know how to approach it with these two.  Having done so in similar situations in the past has really made those people instantly write me off in a way I know that now they are talking to their friends and family and others in a derogatory way about me.  Ignorant or pompous asshole or accusatory-controlling-little-prick are the common names thrown in my direction and that feels like I’ve also perpetuated the problem.  Somehow, I don’t see that as a solution, even if I deep down felt like these guys needed to be called out satisfying my own sense of justice.


Hence is the racial outcome of the society we live in.  Talking to these types of people about racism is a Herculean task.  We see these people as children who need to be informed of what being racist actually means and how it’s perpetuated but then they get all crazy offended that you are calling them out as being racist.  It such a display of ego over-sensitivity and white privilege absolutely (and bringing that term up just implodes things further)!  The conversation instantly turns volatile and it’s turned on you as the accuser.  Coming from a white man who has just said some racist shit, it’s often the only situation left in America where you are innocent until proven guilty, and the accuser is easily looked at to blame.





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