9 December 2006

Racism, Political Correctness, Discrimination

It seems to have spread everywhere. Its on talk shows, its on stand-up comedy shows, its on discussion groups, its on Craigslist. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with last weeks on-stage comments by Michael Richards (who plays Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld), but suddenly it seems everyone has started discussing the issues of racism, political correctness and discrimination. Or arguing. Or fighting.

It seems to be such a deep issue for many, and a personal issue for others, and the arguments get to the point where they become scary. Just to give you an example of whats going on, here are some titles I noticed for some of the topics springing up on Craigslist:

- Do All Blacks Want White People Exterminated?
- Are most white Americans racist?
- If you are white, then your great-great grandparents suppressed the Indians to make room for more illegal Europeans to arrive

Whats going on with this country? I can go on forever with the subjects; they deal with everything from blacks to whites, asians, muslims, mexicans, and all you can feel is hate! Either that or people trying to be politically correct and arguing with everyone else about why they shouldn't say certain words or phrases.

The problem starts with all this political correctness. Why should anyone stick to a specific word or phrase to be "politically correct"? It is just this type of thinking that creates this feeling of difference. If you call someone an "African-American" rather than a black person, does that change who he is? He is a person, and by definition being black just represents what he looks like. It is like saying someone has blonde, brown or black hair. What difference does it make?

It shouldn't make a difference; but trying to be politically correct has us worrying about not saying the wrong thing, or thinking of someone the wrong way.

I remember watching a show by Carlos Mencia recently, and he probably explained it best; he was in a queue somewhere and there was a person in a wheelchair who was allowed to go through faster than him. Carlos look at him and said, you're no different than us, get to the back of the line. At this point, the handicapped peson said "Thank you", as Carlos was the first person to look at him as a full person, and not just a wheelchair. Another example is, through some his routines he sometimes does a few jokes about retarded, or mentally handicapped, people. He did a stand up show infront of a number of these people, and was worried about using those types of jokes, but decided to test them out and see the reaction. They worked, and they got a laugh, so he went for the full on jokes with the impersonations and everything. By the time the show was over, he recieved major applause, and some of the audience told him how they loved it because they felt he talked to them as humans and included them in the jokes in his routine, and didn't look at them as lesser people because of their handicaps. This is exactly the same; you can't bring a specific race down for who they are or what they are.

Some whites are worried about making fun of blacks to their faces because they might be looked at as racists, but i'm sure it goes on behind closed doors. Isn't that another part of the problem? If everyone can just ease up and take things as a joke as long as its not too offensive? If they make fun of them behind their backs then there must be something wrong. Same with blacks. Same with asians, mexicans, arab, or any other race. Everyone should just try to take it easy. If I, for example, wasn't so uptight about being called a certain word, then even if it is used in a light hearted manner it coule be used in a good way.

The Laughter Factory, the venue where Michael Richards performed, has put a ban on comedians using the N word. The point is, if someone wanted to insult another person, it doesn't need to be with a specific word. Banning a word is not the solution. This whole use of vocabulary has created this issue. If people stop worrying about it, stop taking it in offence, stop thinking of words to describe where each other are originally from or how they look, then maybe part of this problem wouldn't be here.

Everyone is human, we are all one and the same. I can't stand people who belittle someone because of their past, skin color, age, sex or anything else. Stop all the hate otherwise it just might signal the end for all of us.

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