Sunday, April 12, 2015

Two Nations, Under God?

It's been a long year ...

Last May, in the wake of the Donald Sterling nonsense, I commented -- rather vehemently -- about the old fella's 'mistreatment' at the hands of certain "hating and seething" "thought police" ... "angry, directionless ministers beseeching ... already converted choirs" that Sterling was worse than just a crusty curmudgeon, left up to his neck in societal sea change.

I empathized with Donald Sterling  - not unlike my own 'old man', a creature from another era; many decades and learning curves behind the new prevailing winds of (surface) tolerance and color-blindness.

In Germany, which has its own shameful past to get past, there was this, a cartoon caricature à la Charlie Hebdo, but in one of Deutschland's more respected publications ... As a loose analogy, let's imagine if this howler from The Onion made it onto the New York Times' print pages:,32540/

So understandably, Germany, then die Außenwelt, grew a little on edge when Der Spiegel called out Süddeutsche Zeitung's disturbing depiction of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, by chiding, Jüdische Hakennasen-Krake greift sich die Datenwelt?" ... which roughly translates to, 'Jewish hook-nosed octopus grabs the data world?'

Is that what you're saying with your cartoon, Süddeutsche???

... prompting a not-quite-heartfelt tweet of apology from SZ, and a bemused sanitation of the original offending / offensive representation:
Facebook swallows ...
Back in the U.S., beneath the low-hanging clouds of Treyvon Martin (and increasingly noxious fumes of his killer), there was the late summer incident in Ferguson, Missouri, leading to civil unrest throughout the fall ... but this was an incident which, though tragic, unnecessary and poorly handled, was not, initially, black and white ... and, I argued, should not have been less cut and dried than a simple case of bad against good, right from wrong, law and order.

Simpl(isticall)y speaking, what happened in Ferguson either exposed still lingering racial divides in the U.S., or tried its damnedest to undo many decades of racial and societal progress made.  I desperately wanted to believe the latter ... that we, as a nation, had come so far;

that despite Ferguson, those race-baiting and flailing were just trying to fan flames which, for the most part in the second decade of the third millennium, were refusing to do anything other than smolder ...

That the United States had, in fact, made progress; had come a long way in terms of race and tolerance ... and that apart from the
amplified and emotionalized series of events sprung last summer, it could not be argued that progress had not been made ...

I still believe this.

Even in the most recent obscenity, the cold-blooded, shot in the back killing of black Walter Scott by white (southern) ex-cop Michael Slager, there is the overriding question of law and order ... If I, myself white, got out of a car at a traffic stop and ran away, defying a police officer's first request to remain in the car; then fighting to relieve that cop of a weapon, before running away again ... Would I be shot too?

Would, or could, you?

The question of why Walter L. Scott was running ... just what he was thinking ... remains not only unanswered (though it's been suggested he fled because he owed child support), but largely unasked; certainly not dissected nor addressed in the media or public discourse at large.

Regardless, "black lives" (all lives) certainly matter.  This goes, or should go, without needing to say.

Despite this ^ ^ ^

I still want to believe ...