Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sad Father Land

I give up.

I've been fairly vocal about race in America:  trying desperately to keep perspective while all about me were losing theirs.

I've acknowledged my shortcomings, on par with yours ... yet endeavored to point out that "racism" is not, nor should it be, the automatic knee-jerk, go-to response to every frustration that comes down the pike.

It isn't always cut and dried ... It's certainly not always black and white;

I've empathized with Donald Sterling ... not because he was "right", but because he's old.  I was inclined, and still am, to step back and recognize an old man's f(l)ailings ... as I might recognize the increasingly churlish, not wholly appropriate remarks of my own 'old man' - born not of hatred, but of longing:  for another era, another body, another lifetime to be able to choose more wisely ...

I 'got' Donald Sterling.  And I get you, Dad.  Happy Father's Day.

Though at times, the things you say are not right, I can't police your thoughts ... and your actions have always spoken louder than any petulant, unfunny words you might utter.

You and Mom taught me well ... but I will also get old ... and toward that end, I get you.

Just like I 'got' Donald Sterling ...

I'm on record on a social network arguing, in terms of race relations, that "in the United States, there has been VAST progress. Yes, there are still pockets of ignorance (and unwarranted 'fear') ... but they are shallower pockets, at this juncture in history, than in many other countries" and,

"To refute this, or keep trying to suggest otherwise, is as irresponsible as it is inaccurate"
(December 2014).

Now, six months later, in the wake, and midst still, of Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Baltimore ... New York City cop killings, Texas chainsaw pool parties ...

This Stooge of the South, showering pure racial hatred ... my revised verdict is in:

The U.S. seems no further along than the early/mid-20th century, if not the 19th, in its white and black dynamic:  its overall preference for segregation, its deep-rooted fear and mistrust of 'the other'; the tangible efforts that have been made, too often couched in a language of equality ... "affirmative action" and fulfilling of quotas, if not demands ... instead of, and at the expense of, inclusion or actual integration.

Americans don't seem to want to be integrated.  U.S. institutions, societal fabrics, don't -- in fact, won't, and refuse to -- support it.

Awareness -- thoughts, recognition -- are one thing.  Action, and actual change, are another.  As with Old Man Sterling (or Stormin' Norm Glovsky), these must go hand in hand before premature judgments get handed down.  I don't believe Donald Sterling is "racist".

I no longer believe the United States has made substantive progress in terms of race.