The smallest minority on earth is the individual.
In my last contribution to the decline of Western literature [Itâ€™s Not Personal â€“ Police and You] I mentioned that it was the first is a series of articles addressing the national controversy surrounding peace officers and their interaction with the public. My plan in part II was to dissect the Michael Brown case, but, as many have heard me say before: a plan is just a list of things that doesnâ€™t happen. With recent events and the mood of the protests weâ€™ve seen nation-wide, Iâ€™ve decided to take a run at the subject of race. Yes, I understand that Iâ€™ll probably have as much luck with it as properly answering the question, â€œDo these pants make my butt look big?â€ However, it needs to be addressed so Iâ€™ll risk the heat.
Race, to quote the late George Carlin, is an accident of birth. Pride in oneâ€™s race is a false premise. It insinuates that the racial pedigree of a human being is a choice, or relevant to their abilities, intelligence, or rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Would you take pride in your predisposition towards sickle cell anemia, alcoholism, or need for sun block? How about being proud of the date you were born, or the color of your eyes? These are all things that you have zero control over and are not in any way feats of personal accomplishment. Race is just random chance, like your parents, family, and shoe size. Iâ€™m not saying one shouldnâ€™t be grateful – itâ€™s fine to be happy you werenâ€™t born in Somalia or without your toes. Itâ€™s not beyond any of us to be glad weâ€™re not living the life of someone who is worse off, but thereâ€™s a big difference between being grateful you were born in modern Japan rather than 1400, and saying â€œIâ€™m glad Iâ€™m Japanese because that means Iâ€™m better than everyone else on the planet â€“ letâ€™s invade China!â€
Wrapping yourself in some race flag is a fantastic way to avoid reaching your full potential. Not only does it limit you mentally, it ends up preventing you from forming proper relationships with other people – People who might offer insight, help, friendship, love, partnerships, and all other manner of life enriching behaviors. It perpetuates the problem, and is actually self-destructive. Thatâ€™s why so many of us feel our stomachs turn when we hear people like David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, or any other race supremacist, speak. We know theyâ€™re not only wrong, but pernicious â€“ and if weâ€™re honest about such people we need only ask one question: If theyâ€™re the best their race has to offer, what more information do we need to conclude their premise is flawed?
Today, racism in America usually amounts to people of white ancestry being accused of such by people of black ancestry. It happens with all races, but America has a long and sordid history of belligerent and crushing racism towards black people â€“ Thatâ€™s a fact. I was born in 1968, right at the tail end of some seriously turbulent racial times. There are plenty of people still alive who experienced the ugly of it all first hand. And for that matter, there are people alive that still experience it regularly. However, to suggest that racism in 2015 America is in any manner comparative to 1860 America is like comparing transportation in 2015 to that of 1860 â€“ you might as well be speaking about our relationship to alien life on another planet. Most of us simply have no point of reference. Yes, Iâ€™ve read about people who traversed the continent in buck-board wagons, but itâ€™s not a practical experience most of us have had. Nor is slavery, scalping, crucifixion, plague, mongrel hordes, Viking conquest, having to churn our own butter, or â€œwhites onlyâ€ bathrooms.
In practical terms regarding forward movement of law and personal rights, America is actually about 95-98% of the way there â€“ but, in human terms, not so much. The events of the last 6-months have set the clock back 40 years. The level of stupidity that has come to light is depressing.
I could go on for pages pontificating about it, but it will make as much difference to present day America as if I never bothered. Those who need to re-assess their views on race are most likely not reading this. And judging from some of the outrageous statements Iâ€™ve recently heard protesters make, I doubt many of them could read and absorb it, either.
So, that raises the question: why bother?
Well, Iâ€™m not going to. Instead I offer is this:
There are only a few simple truths in life; at the top of the list is that none of us can change history. The past is the past and whatâ€™s done is done. Another is that each of us only has a limited amount of years, days, hours, and minutes on this planet. None of us get to know that number, and none of us get out alive. Time is short. We all have to choose what we will invest effort in.
Personally, Iâ€™m not willing to take the blame for the behavior of people who lived before me. I wonâ€™t apologize and I wonâ€™t be writing checks. Itâ€™s my time, so Iâ€™m going to live my life. It will be in an honorable manner based in a fair exchange of goods and services, and Iâ€™ll be holding as best I can to the principles of non-aggression. I will make my relationship choices based on the merits of each individual I encounter, and not on their racial make-up.
If you want to do business, be friends, exchange ideas, or share a laugh, Iâ€™m open. If you want to accuse me of some absurd harm to you due to my skin color, feel free to go pound sand. Iâ€™m not your problem, regardless of what Cornel West and Minister Quanell X says, or whatever level of guilt the latest Quentin Tarantino production attempts to suggest. On the other hand, thereâ€™s a great way to make me your problem and thatâ€™s to attempt violence towards myself or anyone I hold dear. That I will not abide.
Itâ€™s a pretty fair deal. And I think the world would be a better place if more people offered the same. So, Iâ€™m suggesting this to the suggestible reader: in all of your interactions with others, embrace the concept of the individual. Itâ€™s the true foundation of liberty.
â€¦But, far be it from me to tell anyone how to live.
Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.
â€“ Eleanor Roosevelt