Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Guess We Can't All Get Along

I think it’s about time we gave up on the idea of racial unity. It has become pretty obvious to me that people just are not going to be able to get along. People are always going to be the way they always have been. I’ll give you an example. This Sunday I was at a Caribbean day celebration at my old school in NJ, Rutgers. There were lots of West Indian types of food, gifts, and of course, lots of music. About 6 hours of reggae music to be exact. Now one would expect that if there was a lot of reggae music, there would be a lot of white people there too right? No? Well, look at it this way. A lot of people are into the music genre of Ska. If you aren’t familiar with Ska, just think of it as a musical ,mix of punk music and reggae. It sounds a lot more like reggae than anything else, accept that it’s mostly performed by white bands with the occasional black member. Ska’s fans are also mostly white, with occasional black fans as well. The point is that you would think that if these people liked Ska, they would like reggae too right? Well, that just is not the case. It seems like people only like music if people that look like them are singing it. There’s a band called 311 that sings a lot of songs that have reggae beats to them, but oddly enough, none of their fans were in attendance either. Rock and Roll only became popular among white people after a white man sung it, and it seems like the trend hasn’t changed since.
It may seem a little pessimistic, but I don’t think that people are in fact getting any closer. I mean, look at this whole war thing. Most people were all for the bombing of those brown people because , well, it wasn’t them who were being bombed. It was not them or anyone they knew. I’m sure if Europe were being bombed a lot fewer people would have supported the war. The expression out of sight, out of mind really applies here. It is easy to accept the deaths of people you know nothing about and will never have anything to do with. One of the most disturbing parts of this war is the absence of PTSD among the vets. Vietnam vets came back all messed up because of what they saw, and what they did. It seems like today soldiers have no conscious, that the fact that they’re bombs were killing innocent women and children in the name of freeing them did not phase them at all. They were OK with taking away other people’s children as long as they are able to go home and see their own.
It’s not that I have anything against the soldiers, I hope they come home safely. It’s the fact that the government has demonized the Arab people so much that Americans believe that they are all bad, and that we should bomb all of them. I wonder where it will stop. Arab people are being rounded up and forced to register. I wonder what would happen if Irish people had to do the same, just to make sure that they were not terrorists? Is there any evidence that America is not waging war on the Arab world? Is there any reason for them to believe that we care about what happens to them? Of course not. America’s intentions are not as important as what our perceived intentions are. America’s actions have only shown aggression, threats, force and intimidation. What have we done accept for provide unconditional support for Israel?
The news is not all bad. People are starting to like music of other cultures regardless of who sings it. People are starting to have friends of other races, but it is not enough. Most people do not know or care the difference between an Indian and a Pakistani, and most don’t even know that those two countries are almost constantly at war. The average American thinks we should bomb both countries. Our ignorance is our downfall, and President Bush’s black and white view of the world doesn’t help. We as Americans are very ready to hate any country which disagrees with us, just as we are ready to blacklist anyone who disagrees with the president. It’s like we are back in the 1950’s again, instead of Communists we are afraid of Terrorists. But McCarthyism seems to be back in effect, and no one cares, or else they are too afraid to say they are. No one will speak up for the Arabs whose rights are abused, no one will say that Israel has committed acts as atrocious as the Terrorists attacks against them are. No one will say what’s on their mind because God knows what will happen if you do. That’s America as it is now, but not as it should be. This isn’t where we are supposed to be. Am I bitter and cynical? Yeah, a lot actually, but that changes nothing of what I said. But as long as gas prices go down,. Who cares who gets bombed and who dies?

addendum 02/16/07 I've met some Iraq veterans, and talked to a lot more, and they do have PTSD just like anyone who has been in a war. War I think now that I'm older, has a way of humanizing people in the end, even when the enemy is trying to kill you, you understand a little better why they want to kill you. And, war or not, gas prices have gone up no matter what since I wrote this back in April of 2003. Still though, I don't think race relations have gotten any better; it's just something we are going to have to accept.

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