Firstly, let me apologize for my absence. Post after post went discarded after I didn’t like any of them, and it has forced me to come to a conclusion: I am funniest, sharpest, most sarcastic, and wittiest when I am ranting about something, so from now on that is what this blog is going to entail. Me, ranting about things. Given the response from my last post, I think that’s a good idea overall. So without further ado, let’s skip the long, boring apologies and just get to the ranting.
These past couple of months have been a dream for a writer like me. People in all places of power around the world have been fucking up royally, providing people like me with enough pungent material to keep people sated for eons to come. But while I could talk about how the government is further trying to fuck up the environment, or how BP is essentially being allowed to skull-fuck the ocean, or how Obama is failing more spectacularly than a Biggest Loser contestant in a pool full of deep-fried chocolate pudding, or how Hollywood needs to pull its collective head out of its collective ass and give us something more than the celluloid puke that they’ve been shoving down our throat for the past six years, I’m not. No, I’m not going to talk about any of those things (except when I just talked about them there). No, my topic for the day is Backwards Racism.
What is Backwards Racism? Well I won’t get up on my high horse and claim that it’s an actual term (although Urban Dictionary probably has some asinine definition). I use the term ‘backwards racism’ to describe when either:
A. A race is racist towards its own members.
B. A race is racist towards another BECAUSE the race in question was racist towards it now, or in the past.
Both of these ideas are equally asinine, but I guarantee you it happens a lot more than you may be willing to believe. And before we go any further, let’s get one thing out-of-the-way: I think affirmative action and the idea or reparations is utter bullshit. And no, I will not qualify that with a “But I’m not a racist” statement, because I don’t need to. If you take that statement as racist, you’re an easily offended moron. If you don’t take that statement as racist, then you’re smart enough to understand basic concepts of writing. Hooray for you, here’s an invisible medal that means nothing. (cue sounds of cheering to boost your ego).
Firstly, I wish to pose this question to you: “Which race that exists in the world has never been enslaved?” Take your time, no need to rush. Think about it for a second.
Ready? Okay. So what are your answers? If you answered, “none,” then hooray for you! You clearly know basic level history. Here’s a cookie. If, however, you are one of the ignorant ones who answered any race, then please hold your palm flatly in front of your face, and slam it into your forehead for every race that you answered.
There are no races on this planet that haven’t been subjected to slavery on a mass scale at one point in time or another. And anybody who tells you different either know nothing about history, or is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. You want to guess which race, on the whole, were slaves for the longest time in history? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t the Africans. It wasn’t the Japanese either. And it wasn’t the Saxons (the ancestors of most ‘white’ people). Do you have your answer yet?
Well I’ll be honest, I tricked you. There is no right answer, because every single society on this planet has practiced slavery at one point in time or another throughout history, even enslaving their own race. The Saxons did it, the Francs did it, the Gauls did it, the Africans did it, the Chinese did it, and I could go on but that would just become tedious. The point of the matter, is that if we go back far enough, anybody on this entire planet can claim that their ancestors were slaves at one point in time. The Greeks don’t apologize to the Egyptians for the decades in which they were enslaved underneath Alexander and his successors, Perdiccas, Craterus and Meleager. France doesn’t apologize to the rest of Europe for when Charlemagne conquered and essentially enslaved, murdered, raped and killed everybody who wouldn’t convert to Catholicism. England doesn’t apologize for its enslavement and conquering of Scotland, India, China and all the other territories that encompassed the once grand British Empire. China doesn’t apologize to the Mongols, or its own people, or to Japan for its enslavement of them during the ancient Chinese dynasties, particularly under the Tang Dynasty. This list could go on and on, because every single race that exists or has existed upon this planet, has either practiced slavery, or been enslaved at one point throughout history.
So what is the reason that these governments don’t atone for the horrible atrocities that they committed throughout history? Well the answer is very simple, and two-fold:
1. The people who committed the crimes and those that endured them are long dead. Demanding that someone, whose only connection to the crime in question is his ancestor, pay or receive reparations for that crime is just asinine. It’s akin to arresting Marilyn Manson, because his stage name is similar to Charles Manson’s real name. It’s like demanding that the muslim nation as a whole pay for the rebuilding of the Twin Towers because some mis-guided fuckheads, who just happened to share their ethnicity, decided to destroy them. It’s also completely moronic as demanding that Lance Armstrong fly you to the moon on his bicycle, because he shares his last name with Neil Armstrong, the famous man who was the first human to set foot upon our planet’s luminary satellite.
2. The crime was committed by and happened to people who are only related to the two parties. Demanding that you receive reparations for something an ancestor went through is like demanding that the state of Idaho pay you a million dollars because your grandfather choked to death on a potato.
And yet, this is a debate raging in our country right now. Black people and various other ethnic groups, who had some crime committed against their ancestors by people who are long dead, are demanding that the American people pay them reparations. Some Black people feel that all white people owe them because the systems that were set up during the times of their oppression, both during slavery and the Jim Crow law era, benefited white people, and thus they should pay for that. This very idea is the epitome of idiocy. But since this is apparently acceptable, I wish to submit my own proposal for reparations that I think I am owed. My great ancestors, the Gauls, were enslaved, raped and murdered by both Charlemagne and the Roman empire. Thus, I feel that French and Italian people everywhere, owe me money because they clearly benefited from the situation, since Gaulish slaves were used to power the Roman Empire and the early French Empire led by Charlemagne. I’d also like a pony, a yacht, a harem of naked Swedish and Icelandic supermodels, a free trip to the moon and the Nobel fucking peace prize while I’m at it.
“But Mark, you magnificent bastard,” you cry, “That happened nearly two thousand years ago!” Yes, and slavery in America ended 150 years ago. You can’t, as the overused saying goes, have your cake and eat it too. Either time factors in, or it doesn’t. If time doesn’t factor in, then there’s no point in complaining about something that happened to someone, by someone, that aren’t even alive anymore. And if time does factor in, then there can’t be a cut-off point. Are you starting to see the absolute idiocy in the idea of paying back people for something that didn’t even happen to them?
Now there are extenuating circumstances. Can Jews who are still alive and experienced the atrocities of the prison camps and death camps in World War II demand reparations from the German government? Yes. The crime happened to them. And just to be clear, the Jewish community Did ask for that, and they were awarded reparations.
How about Japanese Americans that are still alive and were interred in the “relocation camps” after pearl harbor during World War II (Way to go, FDR, you paraplegic fuckhead)? Can they demand reparations from the American government for that? Yes, because it happened to them. And just as the example before, they did demand reparations, and they were awarded it. And they deserved those reparations too.
But when it comes to people who are asking for reparations on behalf of ancestors (ancestors that have been dead for over a hundred years in most cases), then it just becomes silly. Plus, the American Government can’t even be the ones you blame, if you can blame anybody still alive. Before the civil war, the states had much more singular power than they do now. Federal law was very simple and very broad, and it was left up to the states to decide matters of local law, such as commerce, law enforcement, militia organizing, and yes, slavery. This is the very reason why some states allowed slavery and some didn’t. If you want to blame any government for slavery in the US, you can only blame the individual governments of the states that allowed slavery. In terms of which states allowed slavery, it was based very much upon their economy. States that had a much more large-agriculture based economy (such as sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, coffee, etc) were more likely to legalize slavery, while those with small-agriculture based economies (such as grain, dairy, meat, etc), or factory based economies were less likely to do so.
Furthermore, most people in states that allowed slavery didn’t own slaves. It was only the richest people who owned the large plantations that used slaves. I won’t go into the economy reasons for why these people would own slaves, as that’s an entirely different essay altogether, but suffice it to say that very few people needed (or could afford) slaves. So now we’re onto the matter that it wasn’t the government to blame, but rather the people who sold and bought slaves (none of which, again, are still alive). So now we’re onto the ridiculous idea of hunting down the descendants of slave owners and demanding that they pay the descendants of the slaves that their ancestors owned. And the rabbit hole deepens…
The idea of someone, whose only connection to a crime is their ancestor (or someone who held their post over a hundred years ago), repay someone for a crime that only happened to a distant or long dead relative of theirs is just plain ridiculous, yet many people still demand it and try to make it as reputable an argument as they possibly can, which is very little.
But this essay isn’t just about reparations, it’s about backwards racism as a whole. So let’s move on for now, we’ll come back to this boondoggle later.
Here we have another pitfall of the idiocy of backwards racism: racist epitaphs, slang and slurs. There is a widely known ‘truth’ in that a race can use its own racist epitaphs (such as Black people using ‘nigger’, Chinese people using ‘chink’, etc), but the minute another race uses it, it because racist and offensive. The very idea that a word by itself is offensive, is utterly moronic. I’ve had black people accuse me of racism simply because I use the word ‘nigger’ in a contextual setting. I, being the kind of person that I am, promptly told him that it was his right to be offended at anything he damn well wished, but he had no right to tell me what I can or cannot say. His rebuttal was something I’ve heard a lot, especially when I attended college in Boston: “Only we can use that word.”
Dear world and easily offended people everywhere: Nobody has a monopoly on any word. Get that through your thick skulls. Thank you, and please pull your heads out of your collective ass. The next time any one person tells you that only “they” have a monopoly on any word, tell them that you have monopoly on the word ‘persnickety.’ When they say that it doesn’t make any sense, simply smile knowingly and walk away to let them wallow in their ignorance.
A word by itself is not offensive, and anybody who thinks it is needs to be introduced to reality. Look at the difference between the next two sentences.
“Nigger is a noun in English and should only be construed as intentionally offensive when used in a pejorative context.”
“Nigger originates from the late 16th century, where it evolved from the word Neger, which comes from the latin niger, meaning black.”
Neither one if offensive, yet some people would have you believe that I should contextualize those sentences in order to not risk offending or alienating anybody. This is ridiculous, since nigger is just a variation of neger, which comes from the French negre, which in turn comes from the latin niger. Niger, in latin, simply means black. So lets just replace nigger with black for a second here.
“Black is a noun.”
Suddenly there is no offensive context, which means there shouldn’t be any offensive context when nigger isn’t used a pejorative context, because it is just a variation of the word that MEANS THE COLOR BLACK. Now I’m not saying that we should rename black crayons to nigger crayons (cause that just sounds silly), but I am saying that calling any word by itself offensive, despite the context in which it is used, is just plain stupid.
Which brings me to the point of a race being able to use its own racial epitaphs but getting their collective knickers into a twist when someone else uses it. If I walked into Brooklyn and said “Hey! What’s up my nigger?” I would get beaten worse than a piece of meat in a deli. But if I was black, they would treat it as a greeting. Now if we put out the idea of race from our minds, this suddenly seems like total idiocy.
Let’s pretend everybody is the same race for a second (which we technically are. Race is just a difference in melanin levels and changes in what genes are rare and common). Now lets look at the previous statement in terms of context: “What’s up?” There’s a greeting. What is up? What is going on? How are things? “My nigger.” A subject of the greeting. In this case, nigger is being used as a pronoun. It is being used to replace the person’s name, and is not being used in a pejorative context at all. It is simply being used as a replacement pronoun for ‘my friend,’ or ‘my brother,’ or someone’s name.
Without race factoring in, the idea that such a greeting could be okay by one set of people, but highly offensive when said by others, is just plain ridiculous. The very idea that one set of people can say something that another cannot, just perpetuates racism. When you say that black people can say “What’s up, my nigger?” As a greeting, but I can’t, you are saying, “They are different.” You are perpetuating the very racism that we should be trying to avoid. The very seed of racism is the idea that a race is different and/or inferior/superior to your own. Delegating phrases and words that only certain races can say just perpetuates this idea of differences and superiority or inferiority.
Am I saying that I should be allowed to call black people niggers? No, (although I am able to do so, as I have free speech). What I am saying is that designating a word to be something okay to be said by one set of people, but not okay by another is just ridiculous. Saying that only black people can say ‘nigger,’ is like saying only Irish people can say ‘potato-eater.’ When used a regular word or phrase, both of these are harmless. And using them in a pejorative context is just bad manners, so trying to say that only the set of people who it would apply to in the pejorative sense is essentially saying that it is always a pejorative sense, which is plain moronic.
Pejorative, for you people who are confused, is to use something in a negative manner, such as an insult or racial slur. I.e. “My ass itches” (not pejorative), compared to “You’re an ass” (pejorative).
So now that we’ve established that both reparations and the banning of a word just because it can be used in a pejorative sense is stupid, let’s move onto the last topic: Full backwards racism.
Why do we have a black history month? Why? Are black people so boring and succinct that we can encapsulate their entire history into 28 days? And February? Not only do we only give one month dedicated to the history of an entire race but we give them the shortest month of the year? The very FACT that black history is separated from regular history and only given 28 days out of 365 is solid proof of racism still being alive and well. Black history is just plain history. It shouldn’t be taught just 28 days out of the year, it should be taught all year-long with the rest of history.
Black people, at least in terms of Africans, are the oldest race on the planet. Their history encapsulates fifty thousand years, if you count the oldest recorded remnants of civilization found in Africa. All the other races on the planet can barely boast a history of ten thousand years, let alone fifty thousand. If any race should get just a measly 28 days, it should be everybody but the blacks. Because if we can encapsulate fifty thousand years into 28 days, clearly we can encapsulate 10,000 year into that time period with no problem.
What do the rest of the world have? A few tombs, some cave drawings, and neat looking castles? The black people have the origin of the human race. I think they win. But then we’re still in the same problem. The main problem I have with “black history month” is it immediately says, “Black people are so meaningless, that we will study real famous people like Marco Polo, Columbus, and Julius Caesar, the entire black race only gets 28 days.” It causes the same problem that the aforementioned banned word idea causes. It precipitates racism, it doesn’t help to hinder it.
And what about Affirmative action? “Hi black people. We don’t think you’re good enough to work for your own rewards, so we’re going to give you stuff easier than other people. Aren’t we nice?” Again. precipitates racism. People, black, white, green, blue, purple polka-dotted monster, should be awarded their rewards by the quality of the work they do, regardless of race, skin color, gender, etc. Affirmative action just perpetuates the idea that certain races do not have to, or cannot work as hard as others. If that isn’t racism, I don’t know what is.
And this is just perpetuated by the government itself. If you’re starting a business and have a person of ethnic background as one of your founders, you are now eligible for various grants based upon that very factor. “We don’t believe you can raise money by yourself, you poor little minority person, so we’re going to give you this money for free. Aren’t we nice?!” No, you’re patronizing. Giving someone something just because they are a certain gender, sexual orientation, or race is just saying that you don’t believe that they are capable of working for it themselves.
Am I saying that affirmative action was started to just perpetuate racism? No, of course not. I may be many things, but conspiracy theorist isn’t one of them. Affirmative action was started with good intentions in mind. Its purpose was to stop and prevent racism, but the way it tried to go about this goal was counter-intuitive. It demanded that work places and places of learning have a certain percentage of minorities. This doesn’t stop racism, it causes it. But I can sympathize. The government couldn’t come out and just tell people to be just people equally. That clearly would have been too much for our feeble plebeian brains to comprehend.
So my point? These very things serve to only perpetuate and propagate racism, not halt it. And thus: Backwards Racism, albeit indirectly and mostly by accident. The problem lies in the fact not that these practices and ideas exist, but that instead of trying to abolish them and just have equality, many people want to continue and expand them. Many black Americans believe their entire race deserves compensation for slavery. Some Chinese Americans believe that they deserve reparations for the pseudo-slavery their ancestors endured during the construction of the railroads in the American west.
Know who truly deserves reparations? The southern states who were destroyed in the American Civil War. The civil war was about anything but slavery. The south was promised reconstruction when the north won. They never got it (great going, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant and Rutherford Hayes, you idiots). Southern reconstruction was a complete and utter failure, and still to this day, the south is feeling the effects of the devastation it suffered in the civil war. Slave owners in the south barely numbers more than 4% of the entire southern population, and with the civil war over, the south deserved reconstruction by the north who had devastated it. I’m not saying the people in those states deserve money, however, since the atrocities didn’t happen to them. But the American Government does need to provide compensation to the states themselves for the massive blow they dealt to them in their culture, economy, and various other things. The true meaning and cause for the civil war is too large to cover in this essay, but you can rest assured that neither the meaning nor the cause of the civil war was slavery. Anybody who tells you different is either ignorant, or a liar.
So what can we learn from all this? Simple: treat everybody equally. Afford nobody any concessions simply based on one of their traits, and give nobody any inhibitions simply because of any of their traits either. The key to destroying racism isn’t to provide reparations or an easy street for minorities, but to forget about race.
Forget about black, white, red, blue, pink, Chinese, Japanese, English, Indian, African and American. Stop treating people as a race, and just treat everybody as a human being. If we stopped thinking of ourselves as black, white, American, English, Chinese, etc, and instead thought of ourselves just as human beings, racism would be far quicker to die off, than it is with stupid ‘concessions’ like Black History Month, Reparations, and Affirmative Action.
And remember kiddies: You have the right to free speech. You don’t have the right to not be offended.
Until next time, dear readers.
And yes, I know this post is massive. It’s to make up for not posting for a while.
P.S. If you were offended by this post, I make no effort to apologize and regain your favor. It is your prerogative to be or not be offended by something. It is my prerogative to write what I want, when I want, how I want. Keep in mind that everyone has the right to free speech, but nobody has the right to not be offended. :)