Saturday, August 26, 2006

Racism (and why I don't think it's a problem)

Recently, a Louisiana bus driver made headlines when she made the black kids sit in the back of the bus. The follow-up headline on Yahoo! read "School bus incident reignites racism debate." You know what? I don't think there should be a debate. You wanna know why?

Because this story made the news.

If racism was as rampant as the racial demagogues would have us believe, nobody would have reported this because it wouldn't have been considered newsworthy. Rosa Parks wasn't newsworthy because she stood up to racism; she was newsworthy because she was unusual. Now, the reverse is true: this bus driver isn't newsworthy because she is (apparently) racist. She's newsworthy because nobody behaves like that anymore.

Last year, black students on my campus made a big fuss after some of them were the subject of drive-by epithets. During another incident at around the same time, the university police department came under scrutiny after complaints that an officer had overreacted while dealing with a group of black students. A day or two later, about 50 black students "marched" down campus' main drag, supposedly speaking out about the "racism" on campus. But after looking at what happened, I don't think it was racism.

This is my fifth year here, and during that time I've made a discovery: there is a segment of the male college-age population that likes to drive around and shout rude statements as pedestrians. I myself have been the subject of such drive-by harrassment on at least two occasions. In my case, the perpatrators shouted sexual suggestions and called me innapropriate names. Now, does that mean that these hooligans are "sexist"? Well, they probably are, to a degree. But deep in their souls, do they believe that women are inferior to men? Probably not. Most likely, they're just jerks out to have a good time bothering random people.

I think it's the same think with the reported racial slurs. These people probably weren't hard-core racists; they were probably just jerks. As for the incident with the police, IIRC, this was a group of 50 or so people out by the basketball arena at about 11:30 pm. Residents called with noise complaints, and the police came to break up the gathering. Someone shouted something at the cops, and one of them shouted back. This, coupled with the drive-bys, supposedly showed that racism was a problem on this campus.

You know what? I don't buy that for a second. When they had their march, nobody came after them with sticks and dogs. Nobody shouted "Nigger go home!" Nobody got their house egged. Sure, there are people on this campus with racist attitudes, but the rest of the campus knows they're stupid.

You wanna see real racism? Try being black in northeastern Africa. Yeah, that's right. I said Africa. I hate to break it to you, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Sharpton, but really? America today is about the freest you're gonna get.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

School's almost back in session . . .

. . . and holy cow have I grown up a lot over the summer. I broke my ankle Memorial Day weekend, got tendonitis in both wrists from a three-week temp job and got bullied into being in the official photos for my sister's obscenity of a wedding. I also submitted my first short story and received my first rejection letter. Whee. On to the next submission. My other sister is now at Purdue and doing fairly well in the NROTC program (at least, I think she's doing well--she hardly has time for outside communication). I'm a lot less dependent on TV and Internet to keep me occupied, and I'm a lot more likely to get things like chores and homework assignments done in a timely manner. I don't really have evidence of this yet, but it's there. It's one of those thought-shift things. I just know the change is there.

The trick to profiting from all this change will be making sure the changes in myself don't get overridden by old, destructive habits like staying up too late and sleeping in all morning. Also, I need to watch what I eat. But other than that, I think God's gotten me to a place where I can actually start to act my age more often than not, which is a big thing for me. My intellectual age has always been leaps and bounds ahead of my emotional age, and for the first time in my life they're actually within ten years of each other. I don't have to keep the latter in check through conscious effort so much any more. This makes me very happy. I can deal with people and situations as they arise and I don't have to hide in my room all the time in order to feel secure. I have a better understanding of who I am now--and that person is someone I want to know better.

So here's to my fifth (and, God willing, last) year of college. A few more classes, an internship and then I get unleashed on the real world. Whoo-hoo! *cue maniacal laughter*