The Barbershop Diaries, Volume I, Issue 17: The Current Racism

Sometimes A Klan Rally Is Just A Klan Rally

Sometimes A Klan Rally Is Just A Klan Rally

Now the right wing glue-sniffers are attacking ACORN, Justice Sotomayor, Aunt Jemima, Mr. Bojangles, and (acting) President Barak Hussein Obama.  Next up: Al Jolson.

I suppose it all started when the Egyptians, in a brief moment of sanity, released the Jews from bondage to spend forty years trying to understand why freedom wasn’t truly free.  There was certainty in bondage, even if such certainty was miserable.  Humans are nothing if not adaptable, and if given a choice between a duel of wits with the Sinai Desert , or trusting the largesse of a benevolent dictator, most people tend to lean towards the devil they know.  Onward through the fog of victimization and the tyranny of oppression.

As “free” men and women, we are free to wander the desert for as long as we wish, but I know of no human person who could, or would, tolerate being lost anywhere with their family for forty minutes, let alone forty years – and that goes double for being lost in any kind of a desert.  Methinks the whole “forty years” narrative was an allegory…on the banks of the Nile…with or without meaningful interpretation.

The choice to opt for freedom does not come easy to anyone at any time – or at any level of psycho-emotional development.  Like most things in life, freedom is a process and processes can be thought of as having bony elbows and hardened knees.  Most everyone realizes this important fact unless they happen to be a teenaged child or young adult.  In which case I am an advocate of tripping the little darlings, saving the rougher fare for the thirty-five year old non-relatives who have not learned to discriminate between bull feces and shoe polish. 

Ethnocentrists – a polite term for racist – seem to possess the fecund, counterfactual imagination that one, or a basket of, ethnicities offer all that could possibly be necessary for human life to sustain itself on this planet and beyond.  If we maintain open-mindedness long enough to follow this line of reasoning to some definitive conclusions, we arrive at such treasures as, “we can see accurately well into the future,” and, “we have supernatural powers not possessed by others.”  While absurd on their face, such beliefs are not far-fetched leaps of logic beyond the “faith” required to believe that dead people can reanimate themselves, or that we are all under the moral surveillance of an omniscient sky-spook whose job it is to mete out justice to one and all – simultaneously.  And while this paints most every religion with a broad brush, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the latest heap of effluent tossed onto the American political stage has been primarily the work of a fundamentalist, Zionist subculture within the United States which believes that humans fed dinosaurs, willingly and unwillingly, and that the entire planet is only 6,000 years old.  The zeal possessed by this subculture extends well past the point of credulity, past mere delusional thinking and lands smack into the outright insanity of, “it is because I was reared to believe that it is so.”  In point of fact, the zealously religious are among the most racist creatures on the face of this planet.  In activating the fear-based core components of any religion – be they phantasmagorical or merely perceptually-based science – we virtually ensure the emergence of racism and prejudices of all kinds to rear their ugly, demented little heads.

By way of intermezzo, I did just refer to perceptually-based science as a form of religion. 

For those not used to poring over journal articles or who are not familiar with the intercollegial backstabbing that takes place in the hallowed halls of academe, let me just point out that the existence of your physical form relative to anyone else’s is an article of faith to science.  Meaning, of course, that there is no certain knowledge that the fundamental building blocks of which we are all made actually exist anywhere at any time — we take it on authority that our interpretation of our perceptions means what we have been taught it means. 

By this logic, I make no absolute distinction between current scientific evidence that is tainted by human interpretation and much older human-tainted evidence based on outside organizational authority — both, in time, lead to the same sort of lunacy that we are observing taking place, right now, among the fundamentalist evangelical right-wing of the former Republican party and their corporate “amen” section. 

One can make the argument that the religion of Science is self-correcting, but my observations have not born that belief out to any greater degree than the self-correction that has taken place in most standard religions.   In a pinch, I would opt for the religion of Science over most every other religion, but this prejudice still leaves a huge gap between legitimate, age-old and sage tribal knowledge and the best of current scientific conclusions.  I and Ken Wilber agree that both sources of knowledge are crucially important to living a happy, meaningful human life. 

My disdain for the behavior of those who choose lunacy and pathological fantasy over more grounded, scholarly and spiritual religious interpretations reflects my belief that most religions lead to a variety of loathsome “us versus them” confrontations of which the current racism is clearly associated. 

For the scientifically inclined who remain unconvinced that two or three major intellectual revolutions in the Philosophy of Science have taken place just in the last 100 years, I am not alarmed.  Eventually the positivistic certainty with which the scientifically-consecrated enoble their own thinking and perceptions will come beating on their skulls to deliver, unto them, the requisite humility of the saints.

Restoration of sanity is a process and like everything else requires both a willing student and a clearly presented, easily grasped curriculum. 

Evidence of racism is evidence not of a poorly presented curriculum but, in the present case, evidences a strident, arrogant denial of the most obvious matters of fact.  There is no learning failure taking place in the case of racism, there is only a dedicated unwillingness to look at all of the evidence that is as plain as the nose upon the human face. 

I do not mean to be dismissive of  matters of obviousness since there are, by some accounts, over two billion (2,000,000,000) sense impressions available to our perception at any given instant in time.  My point is that we are not lacking for any information here.  What we are lacking is a reliable apparatus or process for sorting through all of this information and coming to some competent conclusions before the moment leaves us in the dust and we are served up, yet again, with another moment and another two billion slices of information to sort through.

In a pinch for time, racism is one of many processes human beings use to sort through all of the information that our existence makes available to us.  Hard as it might be to believe, only a dozen or so generations separate us from a period in human history of such hostility that, had we engaged one another during the twentieth century with the same enthusiasm for bloodshed that we once did a handful of generations ago, we would have mindlessly murdered twenty times the one hundred million we actually did slaughter during the twentieth century.  For those keeping score, that would have been that two billion number again.  What this means is that for most of human history we have been brutally bludgeoning one another to death, or running in mortal terror from someone who wanted to brutally bludgeon us to death.  War, terror, running – these are all snappy events that do not suffer contemplative types very well, if at all.  We need to get to the point and we need to get to the point quickly… because the (fill in the blank with your favorite social piriahs) are a-comin’.

Communities of shared values have been, in fact, THE way human beings have adapted to the threats we have encountered from each other for most of the time our peculiar genetic encoding has been in circulation.  Racism and religion walk foot in mouth together in terms of needing to get snappy, if not impolite, before someone I do not know drills a spear or an arrow someplace where I know it does not belong.  Build a wall, dig a moat, fashion a drawbridge – fairly quickly people develop a prejudice for family and community and a strident, if not arrogant, suspicion of anyone trying to worm their way into our Keep.  “Famly values,” as it has been used and misused in the present moment of cultural morality has been nothing more than an encoding of the term, “racism.”  It is not by sheer coincidence that as soon as Ronald Reagan started on his peculiar bandwagon of “family values,” that more demonstrably ill people of color were rounded up and thrown into more and more prisons, as a percentage of their total population, than demonstrably ill white people as a percentage of their total population.

Ethnocentrism = racism = war = religion = insanity.  Since most people harbor an affinity for both ethnocentricism and insanity, peace and the pursuit of happiness only require we rid ourselves of racism, war or religion, as single entities, to weaken the entire tangle that represents the pursuit of our unhappiness.  We have already tried to rid ourselves of racism and war to no avail…both have snapped back into prominence with a vengeance.

I propose, then, that we simply rid ourselves of religion.  We can still go to church, if we like, but methinks it is time to stop giving religion a free ride in the tax department.  And I, for one, will stop sending money their way that will not be spent  strictly on the flock of which I am a member.   No more tithing to an overarching, aging bureaucracy in some far-off land.  All politics are local, and so is all community.  I am done with religion as a means of creating a moral compass for the great unwashed masses, or as a means of saving my bacon for a better time and place.

The time is NOW, and always has been; the place is HERE and will always be.  

Let us choose to love one another simply, responsibly and compassionately – right here and right now, in this very moment.

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19 thoughts on “The Barbershop Diaries, Volume I, Issue 17: The Current Racism

  1. Pingback: The Barbershop Diaries, Volume I, Issue 17: The Current Racism « COTO Report

  2. Pingback: The Barbershop Diaries, Volume I, Issue 17: The Current Racism « C.O.T.O.

  3. Sadly, tiny minds rid of religion and tribal mythos remain only proto-human. So the uber-parasites determine to keep the herd exhausted and wary, uneducated and unenlightened. Domesticated animals probably have a better life.

    • We can educate people beyond religion. There is no mythos left…and it’s not coming back. WE are both mythos and the logos, the legend and the reality.

      I know my domesticated animals have a better life than I do. Sometimes I get jealous and stay at home…but they don’t pick up my keys and go to work for me, so I’m kinda stuck.

      • Yeah, I went and took a lookie last night, but I’m glad for the link because I didn’t see that particularly prescient blog entry and tete-a-tete.

        Unlike Joe, I don’t get to drink anymore. I feel every damn thing without the benefit of an anesthestic.

        Nor do I get to be surrounded by the people I grew up around…in some cases, not such a bad thing. On the whole, though, one needs to venture far and away from their rhizome to gain a clear appreciation of the fortuitous circumstance of not just their birth, but of their very survival. I don’t think I would have survived the life I was bound to lead living here in Texas…the odor of the “fatherland” still permeates and penetrates the air in nearly every corner, which means that differences and deviances are treated harshly when they are not snuffed out outright. To be the strongest bull elk in Texas means to be a trophy on someone’s wall and maybe a featured guest at one or two meals. I sat and chatted with a teacher who informed me that the kids who had the most pride in their home state always got deferential treatment in the “class participation” portion of their daily grade, if not more. This while he was caught in the misery of a sinus infection caused in no small measure by the chemical and biological stew that represents the “air” of southwest Texas.

        It’s one thing to love one’s home because of one’s love of one’s self. Texans take this bit of natural provinciality a step beyond to insist that everyone who lives here love their home as much as they do. Sorry, kiddies, I have seen the promised land and Texas ain’t it…not even close. People who “love” their home don’t pour non-biogradeable chemicals into their water table just so they can avoid being inundated by fire ants. People who love their home don’t treat their domesticated animals to being dumped, wholesale, onto a freeway or in the middle of a busy street. Furthermore, people who love their home don’t allow carpetbaggers like the Bush family to set up their operation and allow it to run, unabated, for over 50 years, trashing both their home and their country of origin, in the process.

        Texas has alot to be denied before it obtains much of anything to be desired, such that provinciality becomes a clear signal of psychological ill-health and delusional thinking.

        There are many good things about Texas, but love and pride in one’s home state needs to take a back seat to a fervent desire to seek and do much better in the “clear thinking” department.

  4. A new missive by Bageant raises an issue your comments about Texas also suggest….http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2009/09/american-literature-has-abandoned-poor-whites.html It may just be that poor whites, who form the backbone of our military and proto-fascists movements, might also provide the stubbornness, grit and anti-authoritarianism the rest of the 99% of Americans need to get out from under the uber-1%. For sure it’s only the rightwing that ever addresses them. Maybe we should give it a try?

    • We need to do something, Claudia…the Baptists are starting to feel, “left behind,” and, true to form, this means that we are all going to hell, anyway. Including them.

      My wife’s truck got booted for being parked someplace downtown near the courthouse. She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but there’s no reason for a city to predate on its own citizens to the tune of 100 dollars…we hardly ever go downtown. I know I knew nothing about this “booting” policy and it’s not exactly prominently displayed anywhere. It’s clearly intended to be hostile to out of towners, but, more than that, it reflects more of this fatalistic, Rev. Hagee worldview that suggests the Rapture is close at hand and that means….la-dee-dah-dee-dah.

      I thought this whole millenial thing would come and go like all the others, but this one is shaping up to be a HUGE deal for alot of people, especially here in the American South. There will be ALOT of angry, nasty white southerners looking to take revenge on other people because, after all, they’re going to spend an eternity in Hell by definition and their reading of the Revelation according to John of Patmos.

      We can start by researching John Steinbeck’s family who were among the first Zionists to spend any time in Judea in the mid 19th century. They were actively working to bring the Jews “home to Zion” even back then.

  5. I was raised a Baptist so I do really know the fear/despair/anger you’re talking about…so much of it is cultural, almost post-colonial. And their recourse to blame the “usual suspects” instead of confronting the real oppressors is a form of cowardice IMHO.

    Of course it’s a far from uniform condition, many (like my mother’s family) from the same background and geography managed to avoid the bitterness and despair. I think that segment is the one we have to appeal to- they have the best chance to reach Bubba.

    The scapegoating game is as old as human history and promises the emotional release of the mob. It works best on beaten people who are unable to cooperate in effective action. The mob may be their first ensemble experience. We have to offer other options.

  6. Part of Jefferson’s “Tree of Liberty” letter ( http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/96oct/obrien/blood.htm )just sent me by a friend:
    “The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…..what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?”

    We have alot of common ground and should share the resistance.

    • Nah…I think the speed of the media is faster than the speed with which the typical human brain comprehends the consequences of its impulsive actions.

      Glen Beck is mentally ill…nothing coming out of his mouth is anything but a distraction on which the media is expected to feed. The only prudent thing to do is hold Murdoch and Fox accountable for handsomely paying a mental patient to have their breakdown on the air for all to see. Fox and Murdoch will do anything to get the issue of race back in the shadows where it can continue to damage and destroy the various tissues holding what’s left of this nation together.

      People are looking for relief, for catharsis, and Beck fits the bill on the right. As long as people are watching Beck, they won’t be out in the streets doing any systematic, organized damage.

      What these idiot media moguls do not realize is that they are laying the groundwork for the rise of another Josef Stalin — a left wing leviathan who WILL correctly identify the source of the problem and who WILL extinguish it at the cost of as many human beings as it takes.

      We’ll know that such a monster has risen when members of the Bush family and their business associates start disappearing without a trace.

      If Obama had half a brain, he’d be secretly funding such a monster and his private army…it’s the only way he’s going to leave the Presidency alive. And, yes, it would have to be a male…there aren’t enough testosterone-poisoned females out there from which to draw the requisite, “talent.”

  7. I suggested that column, not because of Beck, but because of comments about common concerns and the end of the left/right paradigm.

    I suspect it’s only because you live in Texas that you fear our new demagogue would be a “leftie”. It’s really irrelevant anyway because they will certainly be Totalitarian. The social issues that seem to determine right/left are only window dressing to distract people as Tyranny grows.

    I’m pretty progressive in the usual sense, but I have no hesitation in making common cause with those who reists tyranny.

    • make that “resist tyranny”………..PS: the Bush family has long been comfortable with and colluded with tyranny. I doubt they’ll be discomfitted.

    • I don’t fear Josef Stalin. I’d welcome him. The right-wing, pro-capitalist pabulum is something I’m tired and weary of.

      I fear the pro-business tyranny more than the left because I work around it.

      Tyranny sucks from either direction, pro-corporatist or pro-socialist.

      If you don’t think direction matters, check out NSM or Stormfront for a warm-fuzzy from the right. People need to be able to think freely, but intolerance is not something I’m fond of unless it is in relation to the intolerant.

      The elites can, and have, polarized the great unwashed masses to work against one another. I fear no educated person, but I am sure frightened of ignorant, well-armed people.

  8. Location, location! 🙂 Here I am in Hawaii, which new-age nitwits call ‘paradise’, grinding my teeth over post-colonial cultural dysfunction. A few good-ole-boys would be a welcome relief. Tho I’m sure if we traded places I be fed up with them too in short order. Whatever their flavor: they’re all zombies!

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