Monday, March 24, 2008

It's about Time

" Open up your mind. Let your fantasies unwind."
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom of the Opera

Einstein once mused something to the effect that America suffered from not having enough taverns. He hailed from a culture that located taverns on almost street corner. These taverns filled nightly with repeat patrons to continue discussion on typically two topics, politics and religion. By contrast, in America these topics were deleted from polite parlor conversation. Einstein felt that lack of beer and banter left Americans rather naive in these two areas.

Well, I am second generation American, descended from the folk who hit the taverns and talked the forbidden topics. So it was not the least unusual for my twenty-something daughters, at Easter dinner, to bring up the fascinating speech presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, delivered last week on race relations. (See Obama’s speech )

In response to the revelation that his longtime pastor and friend, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, made inflammatory remarks regarding white people and white America, Obama took up the task of defining himself in the context of the race issue.

It is about time we had some new ideas floated around in addressing this longtime stand- off between two groups of Americans.

I can speak as a minority member at times but I cannot speak as a black person. Both groups overlap in one area. Facing job discrimination as a female in the 60’s when women were only eligible to be nurses, teachers or clerical workers, I can tell you it is not pretty to be left out of the game. This discrimination cuts you to the bone as a person, your sense of self and worth. Why, you wonder, are you thought to be not capable? Worse, you question...Are you really not capable? Is it really true? These are strikes against you that can trigger the course of a lifetime of tragic personal loss that pervades the entire spectra of what it means to be a person. Nothing should snatch that away, our human dignity and sense of worth. It is death to the spirit.

Equally though ,as Obama points out, white Americans today did not commit these crimes. He noted that as children of immigrants, white Americans feel that America is not handing them any special privilege. I lived my life with two white males, my father and my husband. I watched these men work long hours, hold second jobs, transfer from state to state to keep the money coming to support their families. They worked, not in the" grass is greener" pastures imagined by hardcore feminists but in the heartless mines of corporate America. They did a lot of work they would rather not have had to do. I know first hand for the white male, it is no picnic working to keep food on the table. And it is hard to see the money they earned and need to support their own families, taxed away.

There are two sides to the racial tensions. I congratulate Barack Obama for having the spine to bring that point into the discussion. Race issues cannot be solved in the absence of honest dialogue, which may host more mutual understanding. Through mutual understanding, the tension may start to dissipate.

My young’ uns are virtually colorblind. They do not know the world Rev. Wright grew up in that molded his hatred and anger. Race relations will remain unresolved in the grip of that model. Newer, more colorblind images have to be allowed to enter the American portrait. Unequivocally, these images are found in the innocence and sincerity of a new generation that as I have said, are indeed colorblind. Our black brethren may take comfort in knowing that their white brethren have indeed heard their cry in the wilderness…we took action and it is seen in our progeny.

On the lighter side on race…below are some fun URLs on what is going with black fraternities nationwide. Our younger daughter’s friend, Greggy (wearing the back glasses) , recently came to family taco night and gave us a mini course on stepping. I have provided the URL’s. Stepping is a team activity that is done competitively with fraternities around the country. Greggy’s group ‘Dem Boyz’ has performed in movies and apeared on TV spots like Regis and Kelley. They have preceded bands at concerts like Usher. 'Dem Boyz' works with inner city kids also.

This performance may have been at Rider University. Be sure to turn up your volume. Have fun!

Stay tuned.


MediumPetey said...

It is ironic that someone like yourself who has, in the past, regarded the skin color and ethnicity of students on a bus---and identified them as Hispanic, and therefore possibly "illegal", makes such assertions on race.

I find it disturbing that you fail to see the oddity in that.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

It is not strange, Sir, because you misconsrtued the entire point of the debate I was undertaking as well as my personal views.

MediumPetey said...

Misconstrued? Misconstrued? I think not, M'Lady.

You identified students who de-boarded a school bus as possible 'illegal aliens', because they "looked" Hispanic. I shan't spend more time already asserting what has been previously asserted.

The conclusions who have drawn about them is filled with racial stereotypes of those of Latino origin.

So, I certainly have misconstrued nothing.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Just to be clear to my readers, the purpose of the discussion on illegal immigration was to address an issue that is a nationwide concern as well as a presidential campaign issue...It was not about politically correct terminology and the appropriate use thereof which is another issue entirely.

Betsy said...

So are readers to believe then that you simply bluster your way through posts and that what you write is more or less a bunch of BS?

It is pretty clear to us here in Flemington that we have an illegal immigration situation. The main problems we face are the overcrowding and over use of our infrastructure and water. Boro council monitors the situation and this fall passed the stacking ordinance to begin to address this strain on our limited resources due to this continuing influx. I witnessed the discussion on the stacking ordinance among the stakeholders here, Boro council, Police Chief Becker to name a few. I felt it was an intelligent and fruitful discussion. Flemington has begun to face the reality of illegal immigration and the problems that accompany it, intelligently and with a fair amount of compassion too.

And in the same piece:

After you view this piece on YouTube, consider this---about 15 years ago I waited for the school bus on the corner of West Road and N. Main with my two daughters. In those days, fewer than 5 students at any given time got on and off the school bus at this stop. Today at times I may see 25+ high school students get off the school bus and they appear to be mostly Hispanic. Second, having children that age, I am around the twenty-something/early thirty-something crowd now and then. These newlyweds, double income/no children young American citizens, are paying their own way. They can barely afford a house and to start a family. Meanwhile illegal immigrants are taking advantage of America’s entitlement programs such as free education and medical care in emergency rooms that cannot refuse them, living in places that those paying their way and for these entitlement programs as well cannot afford. This hardly seems like fair or sound policy.

Mrs. Greiner, if you can't recall this particular Flemington specific racist outburst on your part, you can review your readings here:

No one else wrote these words but you.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

There are any number of people, including myself, who do not believe that noting that Hispanics may be here illegally is anything other than depicting the state of affairs. An inordinate number of Hispanics are in fact entering the US illegally. This is what the illegal immigration question discussed by the presidential candidates at the time that piece was posted centers on, the large number of Hispanics who are illegally residing in the US…

I am indeed puzzled as to how it is that one does not notice another person’s ethnicity. As for me I pretty much notice if a person is white or black or Oriental, male or female young or old…These kinds of observations seem pretty much the social norm.

I stand by the quote cited which essentially informs that there are Hispanics who may be here illegally.

Betsy said...

As for me I pretty much notice if a person is white or black or Oriental, male or female young or old…These kinds of observations seem pretty much the social norm.

Oriental? Do you call black poeple negroes as well? In any case, it's funny that you seem to think it's only brown people are here illegally - while giving everyone else a free pass. How eurocentric of you, Mrs. Griener. I guess white people are never illegal in your world.

Courier News Flemington blog said...


I am truly lost here...There is a national debate on illegal immigration... I think it is an interesting problem that definitely needs to be addressed by our next president for everyone's sake... it is not a problem because people have a certain ethnicity. It is a problem because people are residing in the US illegally. That's it... all I am talking about...

I am at a lose to see how noticing someone's ethnicity is an egregious moral transgression...

MediumPetey said...

"I am at a lose to see how noticing someone's ethnicity is an egregious moral transgression..."

The act of noticing someone's ethnicity is not in and of itself a 'egregious moral transgression'. It is such an observation in the context of all the other problems you list---overcrowding, 'over use of our infrastructure and water', large numbers of high school students boarding a bus.

Taken as a whole, a powerful argument can be made that you're blaming the Latino
people you have observed ---overcrowding, 'over use of our infrastructure and water', large numbers of high school students boarding a bus is their fault. This is aside from the fact that the people who you observed may not be Hispanic, may be citizens, and may be here legally.

That is the 'egregious moral transgression'.

MediumPetey said...

and the only things described as 'oriental' are rugs. People who are from Asia or the Pacific rim are Asians. Not Orientals.

Betsy said...

Mrs. Greiner, what you apparently don't get is that making assumptions of a person's residency status based upon the color of their skin or ethnic background is simply wrong and racist. It's no different and no less racist than assuming that all Irish are drunks, that all blacks are criminals, that all Asians wash clothes for a living, that all Poles are dumb, that all Jews eat Christians for breakfast before controlling the world's money supplies, that all Muslims are terrorists, that all Italians are mobsters, etc. etc. etc.

Do you get it now?

Courier News Flemington blog said...

You interpret things I say to your own liking...I cannot prevent that but they are your interpretations...not my views...

You suggest that one can make powerful arguments from my points but you are the ones making them. I will make my own arguments when or if I choose to make them.

When or if I do take a position, I say only what I mean to say...

No, I do not get it, Betsy, I do not even think the kind of thoughts you do...

I am finished here...10-4