I Never Did Get It.
I was pretty busy yesterday, so I didn't mention poor Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday. It's actually the 19th, anyway, isn't it?

Well, diligent bloggers Todd and Jacob had their acts together, and now I'm inspired to write about racism.

I grew up in a household headed up by an avowed liberal father and a moderate mother, neither of whom was racist. I never learned the "n" word until I reached grade school, when I heard it and used it as a generic insult for everyone until someone explained what it meant. I didn't get it then and I still don't get it now.

So, having excess melanin in your skin makes you "less than," somehow? Then why were people in the 70's (when I was a youngster) lying out in the sun getting tan? Tightly curled hair is "bad?" Then what's with all the perms? I was mighty confused, especially since I didn't know people were divided into separate groups. I mean, when I was a kid.

My dad had taken all the negative stereotypes about any ethnic group and inserted "Republicans" in their place. For instance, Polack jokes became "Republican" jokes. When we went to the one shopping mall at the time in upscale Oakbrook, my father would tell us, "Lock the doors. This is a Republican neighborhood." You get the picture.

Later, I learned about cultural differences. Still later, I learned about the effects of stress and violence on brain chemistry. That's when I became a conspiracy theorist. Crack cocaine seems tailor-made to keep poor neighborhoods down, but that's a discussion for another post.

Long story short: we have to stop dividing our country into segments, into "us" and "them." That includes my dad (and me.) While I still lean left, people of all colors, kinds and ideologies are my fellow countrymen. If I disagree with someone, the kneejerk reaction shouldn't be to hate them or consider them stupid, selfish, or stupid and selfish. We're in deep trouble as a nation; it seems we actually revel in our divisiveness.

The "rugged individualist" mentality has gone too far, in my opinion. True, we aren't responsible for other people's actions, nor should it be our job to support someone's bad decisions or behaviors. On the other hand, we have to realize that if some members of our society, our country, are sinking, they take us all down with them.

Poverty, lack of education, hopelessness and despair weigh us down. Also, rampant short-sighted materialism, a thirst for war and vengeance, and greed weigh us down. Instead of wallowing or blaming, we should throw all our energy into being the best society this planet has seen. Not the most comfortable and lazy, not the mightiest bully, but the fairest, the least destructive, the healthiest, the bravest. I'm not saying I have the answer as to how to bring these things about, but we can start by viewing ourselves as one cohesive whole, rather than unconnected "others," who obviously are to blame for all of society's ills. Because, of course, it couldn't be our own fault, could it?
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

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