“Taylor, you can’t love the music and be afraid of the people. They’re the same.” – Perfect Harmony
I never intended to talk on this blog about race relations, but the subject’s been on my mind lately, especially since I’ve been talking to my youngest sister about the current climate recently. MV Sis (Militant Vegan) is a pro-Black Lives Matter, feminist, Trump-hating, Amber-why-do-you-think-white-people-need-any-help person. When I try to talk about my fears that with the addition of so many migrants, the Europe I’ve dreamed of visiting won’t be Europe anymore when I do see it, but rather the Middle East Part II, she asks me why change is so bad. I don’t think I expressed myself well to her, so I’ll try it here.
I am, if you can be of such things if you’re not black, proud of my European heritage. According to 23andMe, I am basically entirely Northwest European, with a large chunk of that being British. I am mostly a complete Anglophile, to the point that I follow people around if they have an English accent, but I love many of the cultures of Europe. I think each country has such exciting histories, such cool languages, such beautiful cultures and beliefs and traditions. As an aspiring anthropologist, cultures are THE THING for me. I think it’s one of the best things about life that each country/region has its own things to offer, to teach visitors about. And though I live in the world’s self-proclaimed melting pot, I do kind of wish people would for the most part stay in their own countries, aside from visiting and tourism.
The reason for this? Racism? No, a love of culture and a deep, deep sadness that cultures are slowly being lost. I remember once as a child hearing a statistic about at what rate world languages were being lost, and I literally cried over this. To me, life is all about learning. I want to learn all about the cultures of Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, et cetera, their unique quirks, their famous historical events, the crazy lines of monarchs that ruled them, their superstitions and folk tales. If you haven’t studied anthropology at all, you can’t imagine how much we are the same, and yet, how we are wildly, wildly different. I LOVE that we’re all different. The trouble is, we’re losing that.
Let me make it clear. I am not racist, though I like to pretend to be to shock people. One of my favorite movies as a child was Perfect Harmony, which was a story set in 1950s South Carolina about a white boy and a black boy bonding over their love of each other’s music. I was raised in a family that taught me it’s good for people to be diverse, black, white, gay, straight – if you were a nice person, you were welcome. I was born in 1981, and growing up, race was simply not an issue. My town had very few black people, but when they were there, I don’t remember a single unkind thing said to or about any of them. Kristin and Marshall and Derek were my friends and I didn’t care in the slightest that they had dark skin and liked to jokingly call me a cracker. Before the last handful of years, I had thought, while racism will never completely go away, that race was no longer an issue in the US. Now, it’s all people talk about.
Not to sound old and crotchety, but I really worry about the generation of people now in their late teens and 20s. Let me explain by way of example. Not too recently, there was a scandal at Evergreen College in Washington state in which a completely un-racist, unoffensive, actually-bringing-people-together email from a professor was leaked, and the SJW corps of the college decided to reenact the 1960s by basically holding the president and other teachers hostage, not only talking to them without respect but screaming foul language at them, chanting “Black Power,” demanding they be let off homework, and demanding a list of really stupid concessions (yeah, because we need more useless positions like “Diversity Coordinator”), all while complaining that because slavery happened, they are all oppressed. The privileged American liberal arts college students are oppressed because there are not enough black/trans/little person staff members.
Now, I don’t understand this push for diversity. I am a left-handed, autistic, asexual, overweight, redhaired Celtic Pagan, and I don’t complain that there aren’t people like me on my college staff, at the Oscars, in the media. Because…why does it matter? I understand that if you’re growing up unlike most of the people around you in some way, it can be lonely and make you feel uncomfortably singular. What I don’t understand is why, say, an all white-male staff somewhere is inherently wrong. Maybe those were all the best-qualified people for the job. If I go somewhere for service and the staff doesn’t look like a Gap commercial and there’s not at least one in a wheelchair, one who’s non-binary, and one who’s at least 30 percent Cherokee, how does that affect anything? How is it hurting me?
As I wonder this, it feels like the world around me has gone absolutely bonkers. I’ve seen videos of Swedish people talking about how they’re basically losing their culture, and presenting this as a good thing. I understand and feel for people who are trying to escape the so-called “shithole” countries, and I do think the surrounding world should try to help improve these nations, hopefully starting with let’s not bomb them quite so much. But I’m sorry, I do not think the answer is “Let’s just let everyone into the non-shithole countries.” Remember the South Park (no spoilers please, I am basically 8 or so seasons behind) episode with the immigrants from the future? It was all, “Oh, yes, let’s help these people by letting them stay,” and what happened? The present started to get shitty for EVERYONE.
I’m especially baffled as to why the pro-immigrant camp, made up largely or completely by outspoken feminists, is so incredibly apologetic and defensive of Islam, why someone pro-Sharia law helped organize the Women’s March. Why is it the FUCKING WORST THING IN THE WORLD that President Trump (probably lying) says he’s famous so women let him grab them by the pussy, but there’s little or no fuss from them about female genital mutilation, or honor rape, or the skyrocketing sexual assault in Europe perpetrated by unapologetic Muslim immigrant men? You’ve heard of #MeToo (probably seen Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan rant about like they’re on meth), but do you know about the 120 Decibel movement? I bet a lot of you haven’t, and there’s my point.
The 120 Decibel movement in Europe, mostly in and around Germany, is a push from survivors of rape by migrants for their stories to be listened and responded to. The authorities in these countries are literally telling these women to stay quiet because they’re afraid of being perceived as racist. Events have to have all-women zones, trains have to have only-women cars, signs are posted pathetically explaining to men why it’s not good to gang up on and rape women. One perpetrator who admitted to raping a young boy said, “It’s not a crime in my country.” Then go back to it, asshole. One who raped a young woman said she was just too pretty, and he wanted to have sex with her. These are people who come from cultures where women are treated as lesser. One young woman, while being attacked, pleaded that she was a virgin, and the rapist told her she can’t be a virgin, because she’s white.
Let me be clear. Most of the migrants in Europe, or at least a good portion, are likely decent enough people who are seeking a better life for themselves and their children. I can’t find fault with that, except that it inconveniences my idea of what Europe should be, and that’s my own problem. But an awful lot of these migrants are taking government handouts, not looking for work, not trying to learn their new country’s language, not making the slightest attempt to assimilate. If I moved to a country with traditions and language unfamiliar to me, I would be working my ass off day and night to learn these things. And I would not crowd the streets shouting that my birth country’s values and code of law need to replace that of the land that’s kindly taken me in and is providing for me. How DARE you get so much and not only give nothing back, but demand ever more and more, taking advantage of the fact that right now, the worst thing in the world is to be labeled a racist.
Islam. I freely admit I do not like Islam. Since fairly early childhood, I’ve been reading my father’s many books on world religions, studying Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and obsessing over the Greek, Norse, and Roman pantheons of deities. I tried to read the Koran a couple of times, and for whatever reason, I just didn’t find it interesting. Growing up, I knew, oddly for me, very little about Islam, aside from the prohibition of pork, the praying five times a day, that women were required to cover up either their hair or their whole bodies. I thought it’s like most other religions I’ve read about, in that it has its merits and it also has its flaws. Over the past few years, it’s dropped down to being probably my least favorite religion, because although I am not a feminist, I am offended by Islam’s subjugation of women. I highly recommend to you the movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.” I sometimes randomly remember the ending, which is an extremely bloody and graphic stoning to death of a young mother accused of adultery because her husband wanted to marry another woman.
I’m not under the illusion that all Muslims hate and rape women. I’m aware that most of them are good people who simply have beliefs that don’t line up with my own. I want religious variety in the world, the more the better. I also don’t think all Muslims are terrorists. But how many terrorist attacks motivated by the Islamic concept of jihad do we have to endure before people will stop reacting with “It’s not all Muslims, though,” and before we start thinking maybe Islam is not, in practice, a religion of peace?
Another movie recommendation, a documentary called “To Die in Jerusalem.” It’s about a teenage Jewish girl, Rachel, who was the single victim of a suicide bombing by a teenage Palestinian girl named Ayat, and the struggle of Rachel’s mother to try to talk to Ayat’s mother about what happened in the hopes they could find peace between them in their grief. Once she did get to talk to her, Rachel’s mother tried to simply get Ayat’s mother to admit that what her daughter did was wrong.
Ayat’s mother responded to every question by excusing the actions of Palestinian terrorists and her daughter on the grounds of “occupation.” Basically, that the Jews were the privileged class and therefore deserved every act by the Palestinians, even when they led to the death of two teenage girls. Their pictures were repeatedly shown side by side. You would think they were sisters. Even Ayat’s father pointed to the wrong photo when he was talking about Ayat. It reminds me of that story of the white mentally-disabled man who was kidnapped by four black teenagers, held hostage, beat, cut so badly his skull was partially visible, all while the captors repeated, “Fuck Trump, fuck white people.” And black reporters refused to call it a hate crime, or evil, saying it was a response to the centuries of oppression of black people.
Slavery’s been over for an awfully long time, and though yes, black people had it fucking hard for a long time in this country, I would argue that today, with Affirmative Action and the prevalence of the SJW way of thinking, black people have it pretty good right now. And I am not racist against black people (one of my nephews is a quarter black, even), but even the black people I watch on YouTube calmly show statistics and make reasonable arguments that currently, if a black person is not doing well, it’s largely their own fault. Just as it is with white people or any other race, if you drop out of high school and/or have kids before you’re financially stable, yeah, you’ll likely always be struggling. If you commit crimes or take part in the 52% of homicides that are perpetrated by black Americans, you’ll likely go to prison. Not because of some “school-to-prison pipeline.”
And yeah, there’s racism against black people today. But that, and the fact that slavery happened to people none of whom are alive today, does not equate to the 1950s-type of oppression a lot of black people think they’re still living under. I saw a debunking-sort of video the other day, where a black woman emotionally claimed she was subjected to threats and racist abuse by a cop who pulled her over…and then the police released the officer’s body-cam footage, and it turned out he was, if anything, overly polite and patient with her.
One of my favorite YouTubers is a young Nigerian-Canadian woman who’s made some great videos about how black culture in the US is a major cause of lack of success in life, while she herself is an example of how to do it right. She was raised by parents who came to Canada with nothing, worked hard, raised her to value education and strive for a financially and romantically stable life, and the young lady (YouTube user name MyNameIsJosephine) is in a long-term relationship headed for marriage, is determined not to have children until she can afford them, and is in college studying to be a lawyer. She argues passionately and reasonably in her excellent videos that her race is not oppressed. I highly, highly recommend her, she’s not only informative but fun and funny.
This post has gone on a lot longer than I ever intended it to, especially for a topic I never expected to discuss here. I want to close it here, but I’m not sure how to end. I imagine what I’ve said might offend one of the handful of people who, for some reason, read my blog. If it has, I apologize. This topic is not my usual thing, but the point of this blog has been to speak to the ether about things hard or impossible to say to anyone I know. I hope I’ve made some kind of sense, and that I’m not coming off as a bad person. I wasn’t before, and I’m not now. And maybe, being autistic, I’m just not socially-adept enough to say what I feel tactfully. In any case, I’ll take the easy way out and end with a quote.
“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” – Gustav Mahler