Tag Archives: racism

Racism shows its ugliness

Racism is an ugly and hideous condition that needs to be eradicated from civilized society. Tragically, that won’t happen.

A gunman drove three hours from his hometown in central New York to Buffalo and shot 10 Black Americans to death while they were shopping in a supermarket.

I am left to wonder: How in the name of all that is holy do you stop someone from doing what this gunman did? We cannot execute them all. We cannot round them all up and send them to prison.

Our hearts are shattered. We are left to ponder this latest spasm of gun violence that is wrapped by the specter that the shooter is a filthy white supremacist. He wrote a lengthy manifesto reportedly taken from right-wing talking points about something called “replacement theory” that laments that white people are being replaced by people of color.

So, he went to Buffalo to take matters into his own hands … I suppose.

The gun violence debate will ratchet up, as it should. So will the debate over the racial bias condition of many millions of Americans.

I am left to wish for all I can that we can find a way to end the violence we have all witnessed in Buffalo, N.Y. That’s all I have at this moment.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

CRT: not about ‘hating’ America

Someone has to explain to me: How does teaching our public school students about race, racism and discrimination indoctrinate them into a “hate America” thought process?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he intends to prevent teachers from educating students in his state about such things as slavery, racial discrimination and how that played a part in the development of our nation’s history.

They call it “critical race theory.” Perhaps it’s the name of the concept that has so many politicians up in arms. The terms “critical race” somehow are interpreted to mean that students who learn about racism in this country will grow up hating themselves as Americans, that they will be so darn ashamed of their country that will grow up to seek to create a vastly different country.

I don’t get it. I do not understand why public educators must be told they cannot teach such things to our students.

It is a fact that this country enslaved Black people. It is a fact that those people were denied the rights of citizenship in the country of their residence. It also is a fact that society didn’t value Black people as full-fledged human beings; they were deemed the “property” of their “owners.”

Shouldn’t teachers be allowed to educate students on what all of that means to citizens today? And shouldn’t teachers also be allowed to tell students what the country has done over many years to repair the damage that was done to those who were enslaved? Yes and yes … in my view.

I see nothing wrong with teaching children about the racial history of this country. It is a major part of our national story, the one that is still being written.

Someone has to explain why that is such a bad thing. Let’s discuss. OK? I’m all ears.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Racial justice: Has it arrived?

One jury verdict does not necessarily signal a trend, although some thinkers and analysts are trying to ascribe a trend to the Georgia jury that convicted three white men of murdering a black man.

The trend that some are asking: Does this verdict signal the arrival of racial justice in America?

Let’s hold on here. Ahmad Arbery was jogging through a white neighborhood when he was accosted by three men who seemingly though that Arbery, who was black, didn’t belong there. One of the men shot Arbery to death and that individual, Travis McMichael, was convicted of all the charges associated with the killing.

The jury, comprising 11 white people and one black individual, delivered a stern warning to anyone thinking they can hide behind a “self-defense law.”

What about the racial justice question? If it spells the end of verdicts that acquit white people of killing a black person on flimsy evidence, the answer is “no,” we don’t have racial justice. Nor do we have it if a jury acquits a black individual if he kills white victims, such as what occurred in 1995 when a mostly black jury acquitted O.J. Simpson of murdering his former wife and her friend.

I am not going to ascribe an abundance of significance to the Georgia jury’s verdict. I welcome it, but let’s wait a long while before we attach any historical significance to what the jury has ruled.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What is ‘woke’?

I need to brush up on my glossary of contemporary idioms.

For example, I do not know how to use the term “woke” in a sentence … even though I am doing so at this very moment.

I saw a definition that describes the word “woke” thusly: the quality of being alert to injustice and discrimination in society, especially racism.

That’s it? OK, I understand all of that, but today’s discourse contains this word all the time and I am finding it a bit distracting. For instance, when I hear the term or read it my mind freezes for an instant as I try to remember what it really means. “Woke” this or “woke” that. Adjective or noun?

I write this blog for my own pleasure. I recognize fully one shortcoming in my own writing skill, which is that I am not fully fluent in contemporary language. It’s kinda getting away from me, sorta like the new media age has lapped me at least a couple of times.

I’ll just have to be content with relying on my old-fashioned use of English as I plow through these discussions. As for my use of this term “woke” … well, I’ll have to pass. I’ll surely know “wokeness” when I see it.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Listen to The Bulldog

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The 20th century’s greatest statesman was so wise on so many fronts, levels and issues.

His view that a nation must remember its past reminds me of something I saw while my wife and I were visiting friends in Germany in 2016.

Our friend took me to what they call in Nuremberg the “The Documentation Center.” What, you might ask, is the Documentation Center?

It is an exhibit that walks visitors through the Nuremberg war crimes trials that commenced shortly after World War II. Axis Powers officials were put on trial for their crimes against humanity. You know, The Holocaust … for example!

Our friend Martin told me straight up that Germany does not hide its past. The descendants of that terrible Nazi regime confront the ugliness of that era head on, he said. “We aren’t proud of it,” he told me. However, they put it all on full display for the world to see.

I came away from the exhibit moved and shaken at many levels by what I read and saw.

Five years later, the debate in this country centers on “critical race theory.” It speaks to the enslavement of human beings by other human beings. It poses fundamentally sound questions about the United States today remains a racist country.

These are not specious questions. They are legitimate. They deserve to be studied and discussed in our classrooms, in our dining rooms, in our living rooms.

Why do we care?

A friend of mine in Amarillo posted a question on Facebook that wonders whether we should care about what pro football, hockey, baseball, soccer and basketball players think about police brutality.

I told him “I do” care. A lot.

Pro athletes are protesting the shooting of a young black man in Kenosha, Wis., who police shot at seven times, hitting him with four rounds in the back. The young man, Jacob Blake, is paralyzed; it might be permanent paralysis.

Meanwhile, a white teenager allegedly killed two protesters who were marching for justice in the earlier mentioned case. He walked past police officers with an assault rifle. He was allowed to go home that night. He surrendered the next day. I won’t mention the alleged shooter’s name because I don’t want to give him any more publicity than he deserves.

The first incident involved a man who was fleeing the cops. He had turned his back on them. They shot him with a Taser, then with a pistol. The other one involved a young parading down the street brandishing a rifle, yet no police officer thought to question him.

Again, the first man is black; the second man is white.

That is why the pro athletes are upset. It is why they are boycotting the games they are supposed to play.

It also is why their voices are worth hearing and heeding as they seek justice in an unjust world.

Yes, Trump is a racist

I tried for all I was worth to avoid hanging the racist label on Donald J. Trump.

This effort came in the wake of the individual’s history of hateful rhetoric aimed at African-Americans, Latinos and even Asians.

Trump has pushed me over the proverbial cliff with his latest birther non-response to questions that have arisen regarding U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.

Trump is a racist. There. I’ve said it. I also mean it.

Trump was given a chance yet again this past weekend to disavow the hideous lie that the first African-American/South Asian to run as a major-party vice-presidential candidate is not qualified because of her citizenship. He did not say what he should have said, which was: Of course she’s qualified and I welcome her to the campaign. 

Trump danced around the question and said it was beyond his scope to comment. Ridiculous!

Trump fomented the birther lie about President Obama, the first black president of the United States. Now he’s doing the same thing to Sen. Harris. Obama was born in Honolulu; Harris was born in Oakland, Calif. They both are U.S. citizens. The discussion should end. The president, though, keeps it alive by refusing the declare categorically that this rumor is a racist rant.

Instead, Donald Trump takes his place among the racists.

Despicable.

Confederate flag also represents treason, oppression

Donald J. Trump just cannot bring himself to acknowledge what a majority of American southerners now admit … that the Confederate flag symbolizes racism.

Oh, no. Trump declares the flag is a symbol of “Southern history.” Well, yeah. It is that. The history, though, includes the Civil War. I know Trump has heard of it.

The war began when the Confederate States of America decided it wanted to form a new country. To do so it had to separate from the United States of America. Then the rebels fired on the Union garrison in Charleston, S.C. harbor. The war was on!

The conflict killed more than 600,000 Americans. Yes, I include the Confederate forces as “Americans,” even though they committed a treasonous act by taking up arms against the federal government.

Why did they go to war? Because their states wanted to keep human beings enslaved. They wanted the right to “own” humans as property. It’s been referred to euphemistically as a “states rights” issue. It is no such thing. The CSA wanted to retain the right to oppress human beings.

They fought the Union forces under the Confederate flag that Donald Trump — the man who has no understanding of history and its complexities — says represents “Southern history.”

The Confederate flag well might symbolize “history” to many Americans. To many others it represents hatred, oppression and enslavement. It is no coincidence that contemporary hate groups — the KKK, instance — flies the Confederate flag while spewing hate speech aimed at African-Americans.

Is that worth honoring? Hardly.

Social media get him again

Donald J. “Racist in Chief” Trump managed to step into a pile of dog doo yet again, tried to yank it out of the stinking pile, but it was too late … I venture to say.

Trump thought it would be clever to retweet a video of a supporter of his yelling “white power!”

Then he pulled it down. Deleted it as if it never happened.

As the saying goes, oops. I am not the first one to tell Trump this, but it happened. It’s out there. That makes social media as much of a curse as it is a blessing. You cannot unhonk the ol’ horn, Mr. POTUS.

Trump and his Trumpkin Corps say he didn’t see the video. He doesn’t know the guy. If it’s true that he didn’t see it, then how does it go out on his Twitter feed where it is seen by his millions of followers?

I ain’t buying it.

Racism takes many forms

I am seeing this drama unfold from some distance, but given my history with Amarillo, Texas, it isn’t as far as many other communities on which commented regarding similar issues.

A local lawyer, Jesse Quackenbush, wants to open a Mexican food restaurant called Big Beaners. It has, um, drawn considerable opposition within the community. Why? The term “beaners” is perceived by many Latinos to be an ethnic slur. Some of us Anglos see it that way, too.

Quackenbush, known for his feisty and occasionally combative nature, isn’t backing down. He wants to open the joint in early July; I understand he pushed the opening date back a few days.

He said he isn’t going to change the name because he already has ordered restaurant supplies — napkins, cups, plates and such — with the name Big Beaners inscribed on them.

This story, it seems to me, is a direct result of the rising public awareness of racial and ethnic sensitivity that has been pushed to the front of our consciousness. I haven’t spoken to Jesse Quackenbush about this, although I do understand he is digging against the racism allegation.

I just would suggest that the term “beaners” is a term that has racist connotations to many of us who hear it. I wish he would rename the restaurant he intends to open.

We return to Amarillo on occasion to see family and friends. I guess I should just acknowledge that I won’t darken his door as long as the establish carries a name that I find offensive.