As a child, I had a close relative who got easily angered. Practically any little slight could make him mad at you. Of course, children do thoughtless things all the time, and I was very thoughtless. The only way anyone knew he was angry was the fact that he would withdraw and not talk to anyone. It didn’t matter who angered him, or why. He was mad at everyone. Most of the time, we never really knew. Sometimes, if you thought back to the events of the day, you might remember one thing you might have said or did that he could have objected to, but he never really clarified that for us. A few times, when I would ask him what I did to upset him, he would just say, “Well, if you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.”
He learned how to be disappointed at life and tried to make everyone else just as miserable as him.
There certainly are a lot of people in this world that seem to be bent on making all of us miserable as well. One of the most prevalent these days is the charge of “racism” that is spread so broadly to so much of society.
Don’t misunderstand me. I do know that racism exists, and that we should treat everyone kindly and fairly. It is an essential concept that flows from the Biblical belief that we are all God’s children and created equal in His sight:
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27)
Unfortunately, many of the charges of “racism” see to be flung far and wide, indiscrimminately. Many people seem continually angry, leveling their charges against anyone and everyone. You might think you’re not racist, they say, but that just shows how blind you are to your racism.
Like my relative, the anger seems always just beneath the surface, or even right at the surface, just ready to be sprung. We need do very little – sometimes nothing – to be told that we are hopelessly racist. We don’t know what we’ve done, but it doesn’t matter. If you don’t know what you’ve done, it’s too bad. You’re still guilty.
So many things are considered racist these days that would have been laughed at decades ago. But it seems as if our attempt to rationalize our anger means that we can find justification under almost any rock.
For example, many times people call our food or our food choices racist. Recently, Mother Jones magazine said that eating 3 meals a day is racist. They failed to inform us whether eating more often or less often makes you more racist.
In San Diego, people were calling John Boehner racist because he does not like Mexican food. I wonder if many of the Mexicans who only eat their native cuisine are also racist because they don’t eat Thai or Polish food? Or is my son, who doesn’t like Italian food because he’s allergic to olive oil, actually just a racist and doesn’t know it?
The Principal of a school in Portland said that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are racist. That doesn’t make sense. I mean, the peanut butter is brown, and the jelly is “of color”. Oh, I get it. The bread it “white”. Wink, wink!
Like my relative, we typically don’t know that we’re doing anything that is offensive. That’s because we’re often not being offensive, but someone just simply insists that we MUST be offensive. But those charges are often leveled against people who have very liberal ideas themselves and would never dream of doing anything racist.
For instance, a Coke commercial was recently called racist for showing an Arab leading a camel across a desert. Of course, no Arab would ever lead a camel across a desert. They would have their daughter do that.
Billy Crystal was accused of being racist during a tribute to Robin Williams. He made a joke about a Muslim woman. How insensitive! Robin Williams, himself fairly liberal, would probably have laughed himself if he were still alive.
Katy Perry gave a performance at the American Music Awards in which she appeared as a geisha. Her staunch racism finally showed through because someone said that was racist.
A swan near Warwick University was accused of being racist because it would honk and chase after people who came near where it stayed, but only if those people were minorities. And, of course, it was racist because it was a WHITE swan.
It’s all so sad, because it takes away from discussions about real oppression that is taking place in this world, whether it’s real racism, oppression against religious minorities, sex slavery, etc. It’s time to put aside these silly, trivial charges of racism if we are expected to take real charges seriously.