Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blame it on the Kingdom of Prussia

This morning I was reading news on IMDB and caught an interesting article, the opening line of which stated:

"Matthew McConaughey and his model girlfriend
Camila Alves are planning to move to her native Brazil, so their new baby can learn about his heritage."

They are going to move to South America so that their baby can learn about his heritage. That's so awesome!

But wait a second. Isn't the baby also white?

I literally didn't know what racism was until my sophomore year in high school. I knew the definition, I knew the concept, but I didn't UNDERSTAND what it meant. I grew up in the military, where I was surrounded by THE MOST AMAZING men and women (and their kids), all of whom came from a different state, different background, had different color skin, different colored eyes, hair, etc. I was raised in an environment which is as close to a pure meritocracy as is humanly possible. All that matters for a Marine officer is his/her integrity, work-ethic, dedication to family, and six-pack.
As I've gotten older, however, I've learned a lot about racism and discrimination. I'm the offspring of Mormon Welsh-Irish farmer-immigrants who came over around the late Victorian era. Oh yeah....and I'm a WOMAN. I've certainly been teased, made fun of, accused of various (nonsensical) things, and been treated unfairly (yes, that means sometimes to my benefit) simply because of my religion or sex. The above quotation is a perfect example. "His heritage" is South American. He has no Caucasian heritage, apparently. White people are just slave-owning, materialistic megalomaniacs who wants to hold benefit concerts, right? If a white American parent refuses to let their son or daughter date/marry a person who is black or Asian or Mexican, that parent is a racist. If the parent of an Asian child refuses to let them marry someone of another race, they are called "traditional."
What I love most is the utter absurdity that is the Equal Opportunistic Movement. It's not the idea that's absurd, but the process. Everyone insists on having their own "heritage". Everyone insists on having an America that is free from racism and discrimination, yet in so doing they are simply reinforcing the fact that they are somehow different and special. "We are ___, so we are being oppressed by the heritage-less White Man."
My family has only been in this country for about 100 years. I'm a fifth generation Tovey/Morgan and a fourth generation Ralph/Hensel (British/Prussian). I don't think it's appropriate to be making payments in perpetuity to the Native American populous. They insist on their independence yet refuse to take it. I don't think "White Guilt" is acceptable in the media. Popular music made my white men consists of them screaming about wanting to kill themselves. They're worthless, they are creeps, they are losers. Popular music made by black men is about how buff and brave they are, how much money they make, and how many bitches and hos they have sex with when they aren't making money. The majority of the people (and I mean family lines) living in this country are people just like me. We were poor immigrants who came over - stinking and louse-infested - a few generations ago. We came from Ireland, we came from Japan, we came from Brazil and Jamaica and Nigeria. It nauseates/infuriates me to read about past wrongs in this country, even more so to witness and be reminded (daily) of our current wrongs. I'm a history major. I'm not ignorant to the plight of the minorities in this country or any other. I'm also not ignorant of who those minorities are.
You don't need a sexy accent and dark skin to be a minority, or to know what racism and discrimination is like, or to have heritage or culture. You don't have to have grown up in the American south to have painful reminders of the suffering of your ancestors. You aren't excluded from being a racist if you're from another country or culture. I think that wanting to raise your child in different cultures is an incredibly enriching, healthy decision. I also think it's okay for a white person to get offended by insinuations that we are oppressive, that our lives are easy, and that we are somehow without struggle.

We're all people. We're all assholes. Stupidity, ignorance, hatred, cruelty are all universal.

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