Daily Archives: July 21, 2013

When racism isn’t racism, bigotry isn’t bigotry

Hi readers.

Back during the bad old days of my hippy-dopesmokerism, during the throw-rocks-at-cops times, during the turbulence of the Vietnam War, this happened:

I was sitting on the steps of the University of Texas Student Union Building with two other Veterans Against the War, five self-proclaimed Black Panthers, two Viva La Raza types, and a handfull of white girlygirls not wearing bras.  Two of the girlygirls were paramours of a couple of the Panthers.  The subject of racism came up.

Keep in mind that all the Panthers and both Viva La Raza types were white-haters, though they indulged those two white guy among us by ignoring the fact we were white.  Indulged the girlygirls similarly.  And keep in mind the two Hispanics had no love for blacks, nor the blacks, any love for Hispanics.  Only the white girlygirls and we white Vets Against the War had felt no anti-black nor anti-Hispanic rage against the others of the group.

So tirades against whites became noisy, Hispanics and Panthers all in agreement, all making blanket statements proclaiming white bigotry.  Somewhere during that I asked, “You guys are lumping us all together because we’re white.  Isn’t that racism?  Is it different when you do it, as opposed to a white lumping you all together?”

Caused an uproar, general outrage and denial.  Universal even among the girlygirls, and one of the white guys.

Victims of racism can’t be racist!”  Repeated and re-phrased in numerous ways.  “Only whites can be racists because they have the power!”

Wellllllll.   Uhhhhh.

I suppose it’s probably consoling to a guy getting his ribs caved in by someone standing above him yelling, “You honky bastard!” to know he’s not the victim of bigotry and racism. 

Or my neighbor in Placitas, New Mexico, who, though an old unreconstructed hippy, couldn’t get the Hispanic guy who controlled irrigation water to open her gates to her orchard when her turn came because of his outspoken hatred of Anglos.  “My trees are dying because of what white-hating son of a bitch!”  Her old hippy too-much-sun face reddening.  “There’s nobody but other Hispanics I can appeal to!”

But at least it wasn’t racism.  At least it wasn’t bigotry she was a victim of.  Because bigotry and racism aren’t possible for people who don’t have the power.

Old Jules

Bigotry, counter-bigotry, and civility

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I stirred up a nest of hornets with the last two posts, the first being an attempt at unbiased observations concerning everything I’ve understood through observation during my lifetime, as well as extensive reading on Jewish, Christian, western civilization, Moslem, and ancient history.  The post wasn’t intended as an attack against the state of Israel, an indictment of Jews, anything of the sort.  Even in the re-reading of it I can find nothing to support such a claim.

Nevertheless, wossname, leanpower,  a man with strong Israeli ties who, himself, is in the business of designing, manufacturing and selling war weaponry, accused me of something considerably stronger than simple anti-Semitism.  I responded in anger, and for that I apologize.   That second post.

The issue of whether or not I’m an anti-Semite is of no importance.  The larger question of whether the viewpoints I expressed in the first post are an indictment of anti-Semitism against the holder of those views, however, is indeed an important question in the modern world.  Though not to me, personally.  I have no investment in modern Israel and my views are of zero importance to anyone.

But I’d offer the suggestion that the responses to what was said in the first post contained evidence that, if I don’t fully understand the issues [and provided my views are the result of a lack of information, as opposed to being a result of a bias against Jews in general] I’m in good company among a lot of other people within the US and elsewhere.

The problem is further complicated by the fact that only a tiny piece of the western world has ever read Biblical texts, know nothing of the times surrounding the Jewish Revolt, know nothing of the times preceding WWII when the discussions began concerning a Jewish state in the Middle East.  Know nothing about the floods of Jews fleeing Germany and its neighbors during the 1930s into Spain, Portugal, the Middle East, anywhere willing to accept them.  Know nothing of the starving hoards of Jews begging all the great powers to give them refuge, and the trickle of acceptance.

The miniscule dribble of acceptance by the powers for thousands of Jews without homes, many without money, food and clothing, asking for help.  And a response amounting to refusal by default.

Seems to me the post-war context for the formation of the Israeli state is trapped within that pre-war reality, and the post-war general recognition of what had come to pass in Germany, Poland and other Axis-occupied areas  for those who didn’t flee.

Given the ignorance and horror of all that within the general non-Jewish population, the acute awareness, on-the-other-hand, by Jews, it’s not difficult to understand why discussion of the issues become heated.  If modern Israel and its behavior as a nation weren’t so crucially involved in US foreign policy, the entire matter would be better left alone.  Better left to be settled by Israel and the surrounding countries.

From my perspective, that is not the case today.  Even with the care I take to isolate myself from world news I frequently see Israel threatening to bomb, say, Iran.  Bomb it whether the US approves, or disapproves.  Which would almost certainly expand to US involvement, and quite possibly a lot of other countries.

Which is to say, evidently modern Israel is willing without the consent of the US to lead the US by the nose into conflicts the US mightn’t find to be within its own best interests.  Or to allow Israel to be destroyed without the support of the US, which Israel is acutely aware won’t happen.

In that context is it acceptable for a US citizen to have viewpoints differing from those manifested in the behavior of the modern Israeli state?  Is it possible to examine and criticize, even wrongly, the policies of Israel if that examination leads to a conclusion that Israel has other alternatives than constant war?

Is it possible to examine and express these views, even if the views are developed partly out of ignorance, without being a Jew hater?  An anti-Semite?  A follower of the beliefs of the ELDERS OF ZION lunatics?

What I believe is of no consequence to anyone.  Israel and Washington DC don’t call me for advice on these matters.  So the post, whatever I might have said in it, was of zero value except to arouse an Israeli militarist to play the race card to stifle any expression of perspectives other than the Israeli one.

I withdraw from the whole affair.

Old Jules