Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Casualties of Media

Lets clear the air right off the bat.
I consider myself a Southerner,  I live in a rural community, I'm conservative, I'm white, I'm a farmer and I'm a Christian. So in the eyes of a liberal urbanite, it would not surprise me in the least if they were to automatically assume that I was an inbred, hog calling, "racist."  I have no problem with first impressions.  We all have them.  It is those that pretend they see everything through an objective lens that irk me the most. My second biggest ire would be those that pass judgement upon that which they know nothing. To my limited knowledge, there has only been one perfect being to ever walk the face of the earth.

It would appear to me that the qualifications for being labeled a racist have been broadened to the point that no-one can escape its stigma. Enter the NAACP and poor Ms. Shirly Sherrod.

Now here is an organization that has clearly outlived its original purpose.  Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the organization didn't fill a need or that racism is not an issue today. Racism exists across the aisle, across the tracks, and across races of every kind. But as has been pointed out many times over the years, without social turmoil between the race it purports to champion  and  the [insert the race of your choice], this organization begins to fade from the limelight. Its feeling of self-worth dwindles. In today's world, don't we all have the ACLU as our advocate? A representative for all persons, not just one race.

But this isn't about the NAACP in particular.  Its not even about the consequences of pretending that "our crap don't stink" and then stirring up the hornet's nest.  Its about where we are today as a society when it comes to race and racism. And as I'm sure Ms. Sherrod will attest, we are heading backwards.

Individually, we have become far too pre-occupied in proving to the world that we are not racist.  We have apparently redefined to the term to include any action or thought that remotely recognizes any difference among the races.  Lets face it, there are differences. Instead of sweeping them under the rug we should acknowledge them. We should not flaunt them, but there is no harm in openly discussing our feelings or expressing our paradigms if we do it honestly and without reproach.  It is the holier-than-thou crowd that continue to tear away at our progress.....

1 comment:

  1. James,
    When I saw the blog "Jim Tom's unpondered musings"it struck such a deep cord in my memory!I often drift back in my mind to my chilhood spent with Jim Tom in Vidalia.His quiet grace and humility are the qualities that I remember most.I feel so fortunate to have had him as my grandfather and spent those many summers with him.I regret that I didnt plumb his mind more deeply for his musings for I am sure that they were profound.
    On the subject of racism I am reminded of an event that occurred in 1955. when I was 9 years old.I had some kind of run in with a black boy at
    Shelton's store . I had called him a nigger just as 'bigdaddy' was coming out to get in the car . He said nothing until we got home and then he told me that he was going to have to whip me for calling the boy that name. I had heard Mr Johnson and most of the men in town use that term, and I couldn't understand what I had done wrong.Jim Tom explained that it was wrong to call some one that because it was a term of disrespect.He spanked me( two licks on my butt that I couldn't even feel)and it was forgotten.Many years later we were going to the drive-in in Ferriday one evening when I was about 17.He suddenly asked me if I remembered the event. I said that I did and he then asked if I knew what he was trying to teach me. I confessed that I did not.He said that the term nigger in itsself signified very little , but the act of Calling the boy a nigger did."It's about respect", he said."respect for yourself as a gentleman and about respect for the boy as a human being just like yourself except for an accident of birth.I have always remembered the event, but it has taken me some time to fully comprehend the full extent of the implications.This case of Mrs Sharrod is a similarily perplexing situation.I cant decide whether she is pointing the way to racial healing or simply expiating some private guilt.Perhaps she should be seen in the role of the man in the parable who when asked by his master to do an unpleasant task at first flatly refused. But then ,after considering what the right thing to do was ,he did it anyway.The Lord seems to be saying that it's ok to not immeadiately do what is right ,but it's essential that we ultimately do it.The other guy ,you will remember, said that ' sure ', I will certainly do what you ask " but then never did it.Jim Tom was all about doing and not much on talking about it.We will just have to press on and try to treat each other with respect even though now the racist shoe seems to have shifted feet.We are all flawed heros ,mrs Sharrod notwithstanding.