The Wrong Side of the Fence
A more productive piece was planned, and may still come, but I’m just not in the mood. You see, I’m finding myself in the Right but on the wrong side of the fence on many issues.
And seeing as this is Martin Luther King Jr. Day I thought I’d stop to write about what’s really on my mind.
So bear with me as I start with the word “Nigger.”
In case you didn’t click the link, I want you all to read what the dictionary website has to say about the word:
The term nigger is now probably the most offensive word in English. Its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years, although it has been used in a derogatory manner since at least the Revolutionary War. The senses labeled Extremely Disparaging and Offensive represent meanings that are deeply insulting and are used when the speaker deliberately wishes to cause great offense. It is so profoundly offensive that a euphemism has developed for those occasions when the word itself must be discussed, as in court or in a newspaper editorial: “the n-word.”
Despite this, the sense referring to a “black person” is sometimes used among African Americans in a neutral or familiar way. The sense referring to other victims of prejudice, especially when used descriptively, as to denounce that prejudice, is not normally considered disparaging—as in “The Irish are the niggers of Europe” from Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments —but the other uses are considered contemptuous and hostile.
Really, the most offensive word in English? What I take offence to, is that it’s called the most offensive word in English. I’ve been called a lot of things, but I’ve never used a word that could be considered the most offensive as a way to identify myself with my peers.
Well, that’s not fair. Apparently there is a new word, Nigga, which has a completely different meaning even though it sounds the same. I, being a Caucasian, just haven’t “earned the right” to say it.
Talking to my 14 year old cousin, who is a true American Mutt, the conversation of race was brought up by a news article siting Native Americans angry with the Redskins. She is part Native American and enjoys rooting for the Redskins! While talking, forgive me if I fast forward to the relevant part, she speaks up “you mean like when black people call each other Nigger?” It was completely innocent and relevant to the conversation, but her mother Gasped! How dare that word come out of her daughters mouth in any context! My immediate reaction was “Exactly!”
I then went on to tell her that the culture has made a completely different form of discrimination, a word that is racist upon which race is using it refer to another. But words aren’t racist or hurtful, people are. Just like guns don’t kill people, they are just the tools people use to do so. The word Nigger is a perfect example of how those who claim to see racism everywhere are usually the most racist.
When you can use a word, but I can’t… I believe that’s called discrimination.
Which is exactly what legislators tried to do when they tried to pass voter ID laws. Under the disguise of “protecting the sanctity of voting” Pennsylvania passed a voter ID law. Steven Colbert probably has the best coverage on the subject if you’d like a little education and entertainment. The United States has no national or mandatory ID laws and elections have always been handled on the local level, so it’s left to the States to decided what they are willing to accept as proper ID. Some may require Government issue only.
Doesn’t matter how these up-scaled gerrymandering laws passed, now the Genie is out of the bottle and the United States has had a history of voter fraud in its past. (I’m to lazy to find a situation; It’s a blog, either take my word for it or go study US history)
We need all kinds of IDs to take part in society on the International, National, State, and Local level. What kind depends on what activity, or right, a person is participating in. When we register to vote we get Voter Registration cards. There is precedent in regard to every other aspect of our lives, I’m curious why extending this to a voting both is an “undue burden” where it’s not in other avenues of our lives.
Most of us would assume you don’t need an ID to ride a bike, but did you know that in some states you HAVE to produce an ID if riding on a public road when asked by an officer or you could be arrested? Here’s looking at you California. So if showing proof of who I am, when participating in a government activity, is now an “undue burden,” then I have to wonder what the long-term consequences of striking down these “discriminatory practices” are. What other things are “undue burdens” to the american public? People seem to forget that putting the Genie BACK in the bottle has just as many long-term unforeseen consequences, and we as a society require identification to do almost everything in this country except the most important and taken for granted thing. So what else will get rolled back, derailed, or stopped because of this?
Legal discrimination is nothing new. The Government is the only entity that can actually legally discriminate at will and does so all the time. Recently I considered buying a HUD home. That was until HUD refused to sell under any conditions because my father works with another HUD broker. Since he works for a HUD broker I cannot buy any HUD home no matter who has them listed. None of his immediate family can.
Once the Government properly IDs me and it’s disclosed who’s in my bloodline, all bets are off. However, if he was just “some guy who raised me” there wouldn’t be any conflict. So yes, I absolutely know what discrimination is like, it’s impossible to know the same way you do.
Maybe that’s kinda the point of a “White man Holiday” like MLK day. So we can reflect on how far we’ve come and where we are going. Discrimination is everywhere and it’s easy to get side tract with all the negativity; it’s easier to do nothing about it when it doesn’t affect you.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I’d like to focus on moments of promise like the one with my cousin, where in her world Nigger was just a word. No different then saying “scruffy looking Nerf herder.”