Monday 31 August 2015

Racists and Bigots

I guess we all are products of our childhood. Most of who we are and what we become is formed by some mysterious process during our formative years. I’ve heard it said that 90% of your personality is set by the time you are five years old. That probably explains my love for sweets, my immature behaviour and my fear of authority figures. The last one might be a holdover from my hippie years.

I was told by my daughter in no uncertain terms that my use of the term “oriental” is racist. I find that hard to believe, but Maegan is seldom wrong about these things. I was brought up in an era that used racist terms to describe every race, nationality and even local differences were up for ridicule. I don’t feel that the terms were meant to be hateful. Well, not from me, I don’t hate anyone. I dislike politicians and stupid people, but that is pretty normal I think.
I don’t see how “oriental” can be racist. I use it to describe people who are from the Asian sub continent or The Orient as I came to know it. I should mention that Maegan told me the proper term is “Asian” when referring to people from the Orient. Does this mean that I am being racist when I call all of those people who live south of the 49th parallel “Americans”? They are actually citizens of the United States of America so I guess I am correct in calling them “Americans”. Should I call the Mexicans and my fellow Canadians “Americans” as well? I don’t know where the people of Panama would fit in, North or South. Speaking of South Americans, what should I call them?

I didn’t get into this conversation with Maegan because I see her too seldom to waste time arguing with her. Plus, she is pretty smart and would inevitably win any argument I might start. Even if I was right, I would be wrong.

Personally, I think that racism is more about intent than words. There have been a couple of racist incidents involving drunken passengers in cabs lately. There was racist intent being directed at the drivers and it is right that these passengers are being held accountable for their actions. The driver was just doing his job after all and if the passengers objected to riding in his cab they could have walked home. The insults were all basically “Go back to where you come from! You aren’t welcome in my country.” Which country is that, the one your ancestors were kicked out of somewhere in Europe? We are all from somewhere else, even the indigenous peoples came from Asia, maybe the Orient.

Perhaps our indigenous peoples are oriental. I wonder what Maegan would think of that?

I guess that the bottom line is that there are good people from every country and race. There are assholes that come from every country and race. What we need is somewhere else that we can send them just like our ancestors sent us “to explore new lands”. Mars seems to be far enough away so that they can’t come back to bother us for a century or two.

Let’s send all of the racists and bigots into space. We shouldn’t even give them a ship capable of a return trip. We don’t want the Martians sending them back where they came from.
Image result for marvin the martian

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