I wonder what our elections would be like if candidates were represented only by their words and actions. And the appearance of the winner was revealed post-election...
This is a sensitive topic in the United States, but needs to be discussed. One disturbing trend I hear (I live in New Jersey) is:
"I'm going to vote for Barack Obama because he's black. And because his father was a Muslim. Voting him into office will serve as an example to inspire black people in our country to better themselves, and a message to the Muslim world that we are not evil."
That, my well-meaning friends, is racist.
The speaker has just judged a fellow human being on the one attribute over which he has no control — the color of his skin. Sadly, the position expressed above is absolutely no different than if the speaker had said: "I ain't votin' for him 'cause he's a nigger."
Discrimination is prejudicial treatment — for or against — categories of people based on race, age, or sex. Racism is discrimination based on skin color.
The same principle holds true if someone votes for Hillary Clinton: "... because she's a woman." Sexism.
Seperately, why would anyone think the religious beliefs of our hypothetical future president's father will influence the opinion of radical Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East?
My brother is married to a black Jamaican woman. Together, they just had a beautiful baby boy. I want my nephew to grow up in a meritocracy. I don't ever want his self-esteem to be hacked off at the knees because he thought he achieved something in life due to the color of his skin, rather than his ability.
Let me put it another way. If someone shows up at TOONE GUITARS looking for a job as an apprentice luthier, I'm going to judge him by his abilities.
It's that simple.
Racism is a biological response to threat evaluation. Primates in the wild have fractions of a second to determine if a disturbance indicates life or death. From our evolutionary response comes categorization, including stereotypes — and racisim.
I would speculate we all have racist thoughts. If you are honest with yourself, you might admit to a moment of fear or uncertainty — at some point in your life — when encountering a person of a different race. I am at peace with my moments. Evolution speaks. What matters, though, is your reaction to your racist thought: do you linger in the irrational, or do you push toward understanding and acceptance?
That is the measure by which I judge a man, or a woman.
I don't see any way out of the morass of political correctness, other than by returning to a meritocracy based on individual human liberty, as expressed by Jefferson: "All men are created equal." Not regarding talent, but in the eyes of the law. And not more equal as legislated by law.
Under our United States Constitution, as originally written, all are equally protected.