Friday, August 26, 2016

So, You Say You Can't Be Racist?

I've been told that someone who is not white cannot be racist. Hmmmm. Okay.

That's fine. Okay. Even though racism is defined as prejudice or discrimination against people based on their ethnicity or skin colour and that skin colour is not specifically stated to be anything but white I'll play along with that for the sake of argument.

But then, I see the same people break into the exact same rhetoric that someone who is white would be chastised for because it's racist. Okay. But, we have determined that you can't be racist towards someone who is white. Got it.

So, let's make a new term for it. Well, not even a new term. Let's bring in a tried and true term. We won't use racist...we will just say that if you choose this type of rhetoric you are an asshole. You may not be racist apparently, but you are still being an asshole. Copying the rhetoric of other assholes that you have a problem with because you see it as racist is still being an asshole. You are no better than the person you dub racist if you are saying the exact same type of things but justifying it by saying you can't be racist because you aren't white.

So, the fight against racism is against people being assholes, if you really break it down. So, being an asshole as well accomplishes...what? How does this further us as humans? How does it improve discourse? How does it break down barriers? How does it encourage love, caring and bonding? How does this build bridges?

Oh doesn't.

So, what kinds of rhetoric am I talking about? Glad you asked. I just happened to have a blog post full of them from my personal blog. Enjoy!

Originally posted at Allthink

Friday, July 1, 2016

Guns, Guns, Guns!

I don't get guns. I don't get why people want them. I don't get the appeal. I don't get the need, for the most part. I just don't understand how people can equate guns with freedom. No one is free if they are shackled to a gun and always looking over their shoulder. That isn't freedom. To me, freedom is NOT having a gun...not needing a gun. I don't see freedom in guns. I see death. I see destruction. I see war. I see violence. But I don't see freedom. Yet, there are people who cling to their weapons and claim that it is giving them freedom. It is a concept that is beyond my understanding. But, whatever. If you love your hunks of murderous metal that much, have them. Enjoy. Just keep them away from me and for gawd sakes, don't frickin' shoot me. Go off and play bad boy with a gun. Have the time of your life. If it makes you feel special and all tingly, enjoy. I don't want to take away anyone's gun...well, unless that person is bound to end up slaughtering people. Then I think it's a good idea to make sure that a person doesn't have a gun. But, whatever. If a person has a gun and they aren't bothering me with it, knock yourself out. It's you and your families life, statistically, that you are playing with. As long as you don't play with mine and put me in danger, then go nuts.

Originally written for Allthink 

The Right didn't win Brexit...the Left LOST it...

So, how did all of that demonizing of the Leave side work out for everyone? Calling 17 million people bigoted idiots didn't exactly create the result you wanted, did it, fellow Lefties. Nope. You ignored the concerns, needs and realities for 17 million and it cost you dearly. Despite what you may think, democracy did work and the disenfranchised rose up against you.

In Britain, the Remain camp was generally more upwordly mobile, university educated, more well heeled city dwellers who are so out of touch with life outside of their bubbles that they thought merely writing off 17 million people as hateful idiots would equal a win. It didn't. The Left didn't listen. It ignored. And worse, it dismissed. This was the Remain camps referendum to lose...and they did.

It's now time for the Left to collect itself, accept it's faults and how it screwed up and start listening to the concerns, legit or not, of the disenfranchised, just as the Left wanted everyone else to listen to them during the Occupy movement, with Black Lives Matter, with UK Uncut, etc. The more conservative working class in Britain are trying to tell you something. Blaming everyone else or your screw up, Lefties, doesn't cut it. It's time for you to listen...and, heck, even "check your privilege!" Your macroagressions against "the other" backfired...and they weren't going to take it anymore.

Originally written for Allthink

The Problem With Victimhood

Victimhood...the never ending saga.

The problem with the whole idea of victimhood and using victimhood as some kind of leverage in SJW culture is that, well, at some point and time, every human on the planet is a victim of something....and in many ways, if one breaks things down and analyses it, we are all victims of something all the time.

So, what actually happens is pitting victimhood claims against other victimhood claims for a vicious battle over who is the most victimized, with a prioritized list of how it all works...a predetermined hierarchy that is used as a rigid, almost biblical guide on how this victimhood culture is supposed to go, with each group having their place on the ladder.

What a degrading and pathetic system. Why are we doing this? And who gets to determine whose victimhood status is more valid? The hierarchy automatically puts straight, white males at the very top, and thus almost invalidates any claims of victimhood by anyone who is seen in that group, and as a result brushing aside the many hardships that some white males actually do experience. Why should this been seen as right or just in any sense of the word? It isn't. There is no advantage to ignoring the realities of anyone who may have suffered or been a victim. It's all valid. At the same time, it is all valid, but also doesn't really matter, in some ways. If we are all victims of something, and we are, then the victimhood card becomes useless and must be tossed away.

Originally written for Allthink

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why Do Some Western Liberals Spit In The Face Of Muslim Liberals?

So, I'm on twitter as I tend to do and am currently looking at tweets by one CJ Werleman who is a "Columnist for Middle East Eye. Host of 'Foreign Object' on iTunes. Author of The New Atheist Threat." Apparently, people who speak out against religion are a threat. Who knew? And what is a "new" atheist? It's the same as an old atheist...but they haven't been jailed or killed thanks to secularization. Unfortunately, if you look a 13 Muslim countries in the world, atheists can be sentenced to death by the state. But, hey, who is to judge, right? That would get you labelled as a neocon Islamophobe in CJ's circles.

He also seems to have an absolute disdain for those Muslims pushing for reform within Islam. He seems to particular have a hate on for Maajid Nawaz of the anti-extremist Quillium Foundation. Meanwhile, he does seem to have a thing for ultra-conservative Muslim organzations like CAGE UK. That's pretty twisted and makes a mockery of the whole concept of being a liberal. A liberal supporting ultra-conservatives over true liberals? Absurd.

As far as I can tell, CJ Werleman sees himself as some kind of progressive while selling out any progressive who doesn't happen to be in the West. Apparently, to him, the Muslim world is one giant, homogeneous land where everyone wishes to adhere to conservative religious belief without question and completely shuns seemingly all Muslims in the Muslim world who would like to live in a secular, liberal, free society. How dare people want to live like that. No, these are brown Muslims. Their culture is different. They shouldn't have liberal ideas pushed on them...or even mentioned to them. They don't deserve anything better than what they have. All their desire for a better life, for change in their countries, their wish to have a society where they are more free to express themselves is just them being brainwashed by Western imperialists who are using concepts like freedom and secularism to control the minds of a few to overthrow the much better ultra conservative regimes that he seems to feel shouldn't be challenged...or something.

In this case, it seems that CJ Werleman and his devotees have abandoned liberal ideas and aspirations. They have forsaken their liberal brothers and sisters in Muslim countries in what almost seems like a ridiculous form of racism where brown people in certain places on earth who wish for change aren't deserving of the same support from liberals that liberals in the West give each other, or at least should. Apparently, CJ Werleman's hate of "New Atheists" is far stronger than his desire to support non-white non-Western liberals. He is more obsessed with hating one group than he is helping another who is deserving of support and help.

With "liberals" like CJ Werleman, who needs conservative enemies?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"I Hate White People"

Just sitting here, watching twitter. I searched "white people" to see what I can see. Interesting indeed. I mean, I'm not even digging deep here. I'm just plucking stuff off the live feed as it goes by for the most part. So, I'm just putting this out there. I don't think I will comment. Yes, there are things I can say, but I also know what the pat answers will be, or my comments may be taken the wrong way. And please, just don't assume you know what I would say. You don't. So, I'll just let it be.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What Is This Cultural Appropriation Stuff?

Okay, in the last month we have had two high profile cases where this whole concept of cultural appropriation has busted loose. First, it was that African-American student at San Francisco State University that accused a white kid with dreads of cultural appropriation. Today, Justin Bieber was being ripped apart because he decided to sport dread-locks.

Now, here is what I can get behind. I know the whole black face thing is bad...and I get it. It has always had negative connotations. It's history is routed in insult. I can see why we steer clear of it. Got it. I'm on board. I understand why the Washington Redskin's logo is problematic, using a stereotyped depiction of a Native American as a logo is an understandable bad thing to do. I can even somewhat understand the uproar over those Native headdress knock off's that aren't really anything like traditional headdresses, just influenced by it, but I can see how they feed into stereotypes and can be problematic depending on how they are used, although don't see it as universally terrible.

But then comes the issue of dreadlocks. And that's where I stop and say no. That's my personal boundary on where I am NOT going to support people being upset.

In my 42 years on this planet, I've seen white people wearing dreads. It's not exactly some new thing white folks picked up. It's been around for a long time. In fact, it seems to me the word dreadlocks is about the only thing that has really been appropriated because seemingly any type of matted hair is called dreadlocks.

But, looking into the history of this varied hairstyle, there does not seem to be one clear, distinct culture it comes from. Love it or hate it, in this case Wikipedia does an interesting job of breaking down the assortment of cultures the "style" has been found in.

So, the question arises: When someone says that dreads are cultural appropriation, what culture is it exactly that is being appropriated?

It seem some folks say that the answer is "black culture" or "African culture". Wha? That's a pretty generic, all encompassing "culture". What even is that? I mean, African culture? How many countries are in Africa? How many cultures within Africa are there? How many cultures of people who originated in Africa but are now outside of Africa for a variety of reasons are there? Is the argument that there is one, giant, uniform African culture that has a copyright on this particular way of wearing ones hair? So, I don't really understand what this culture is. It doesn't account for the many, many, many cultures, sub-cultures, sub-sub-subcultures, etc that exist within any ethnic group. For that matter, all "blacks" aren't from one homogeneous culture anymore than all whites are.

So I object to these generic cultural claims that seem so wide sweeping, where blacks, or even crazier, the all encompassing POC (people of colour) and white seem to be the only two cultures that exist. And somehow, dreadlocks, or whatever you want to call hair that is twisted, matted, clumped together, or meticulously, artistically manipulated, depending on what the wearer is doing with them, are reserved exclusively for POC.  Does this mean ANYONE who is deemed POC is free to do something that appears like dreadlocks with their hair, but those deemed white aren't? I'm confused.

I've been seeing a lot of kids on twitter who are talking about cultural appropriation bringing up celebrities like Kylie Jenner, the Kardashians and some other people I don't know as examples. Apparently, they feel that when white people wear dreads, it's celebrated and seen as cool, but when black people do it, they are seen as thugs and hoodlums. Again, this is something I see as a pretty generalized view of things. I think it's far more complicated than that. But one problem I see is that way too many of these kids are watching really crappy TV and listening to terrible, terrible music.

Here is what I don't get. The Kardashians are olive/darker skinned Armenians. I would think they would fall under the category of POC. BUT, apparently, they are deemed to be white. Huh? How is this determined exactly? Who is judging? Who makes these calls? Apparently, because olive/darker skin Kardashians are seen as white, them wearing dreads is bad....very bad. Okay, well, here is one way to solve the problem...quit making stupid people famous! If they piss you off, don't watch them. When people don't watch them, they go away. Real simple.

Next thing that drives me nuts is when some say "White people can't judge what is and isn't cultural appropriation, only those who are from the culture being appropriated". Okay. Well, here is my problem with that. Does this mean that automatically, because someone says that something is appropriated from them, even though evidence suggests that this is just not true, they must be believed because they are perceived as a victim in this case? And as a result their view is above scrutiny and must be taken at face value and is the final word? There is no room for any criticism of their claims? As that Wikipedia article clearly points out, this wide range of styles melted down under one name has existed across many cultures for thousands of years. So, given that, yes, there is ample reason to challenge claims of appropriation. And it is legit. So, no, the accuser does NOT always get the final say and their view is not above being challenged.

Furthermore, what I don't understand is what exactly the problem with wearing the hairstyle is. We live in a world where cultures have mixed, blended, and influenced eachother since, well, culture started to develop in the human species. We learn from eachother, influence eachother, pick up ideas, etc, etc, you get the picture. There is going to be cross over in cultural practices. That's the way the world works. And right now, we live in a globalized world where cultures are colliding, mixing, influencing, and changing like never before. Ya, cultural practices will alter and blend. It's going to happen. It doesn't have to be seen as bad as accusers seem to imply it is.

I fail to see the damage that a kid wearing dreads is doing in the slightest. I have yet to have anyone explain how it is damaging. I don't understand how it can even be seen as insulting, although I have yet to actually see someone say that it is insulting...they just say it's cultural appropriation and therefore bad and white kids shouldn't do it.

When I was younger, I went to a ton of music festivals. And it was great. And at that time, dreads were quite popular with the damn kids. I would go to see bands and the bands would all have at least one person with dreads, and half the crowd would be sporting them. And it was black kids, white kids, hispanic kids, native kids, whoever, all wearing them, all experiencing these festivals together. No one was running around telling anyone they were appropriating anything, and everyone seemed to get along. What the hell happened? How did it suddenly become "This hairstyle for us, that hairstyle for you...NO MIXING!" When did the kids get so darn crazy. Why can't we go back to that getting along, sharing cultural practices, enjoying life stuff again? Why did it all go so off the rails? How are we getting divided when it seemed like we were united? Is the crime of a white kid wearing dreads so important that we must now divide people into who can wear and who can't wear this hair?

Furthermore, where does it end? How far is this going to go. Is everything we wear and do going to start being scrutinized and analysed and ultimately policed? Is the goal of the people who seem so mad about white kids wearing dreads to ultimately end the practice? Is the goal to compartmentalize everything based on the perceived or real influence of the practice or style? Are we requiring people to stay within a prescribed list of choices that conform to their particular "culture"?

There has to be a line. There must be a limit. Personally, I declare that this vendetta against white kids wearing "dreads" crosses a line, and no I will not feel guilty for that, and no I don't believe for a second it is because I am minimizing the voice of anyone and I am a racist jerk. I feel that I am basing this on well thought out analysis, common sense and logic.