Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

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Indiscriminate thoughts on discrimination

George Foster - December 7th, 2006
Indiscriminate thoughts on discrimination
Thank goodness for modern technology.
Without the small digital camera that filmed Kramer… I mean, Michael Richards, his racial tirade might never have been revealed. If nothing else, our camera-phone obsession should provide a deterrent effect that may help eliminate such acts of racism.
A white man calling an African-American “nigger” over and over is bad enough, but the same guy taunting black people about lynchings from another era transcends stupidity.
Don’t worry, no matter how many times Richards apologizes, he has received his punishment – his career in entertainment is over. Richards’ typecasting as quirky “Kramer” has been replaced by the notoriety of the most notoriously racist outburst in film history.
The Michael Richards incident is proof that racism is still pervasive though looked down upon by most Americans. That hasn’t always been the case.
I’ll never forget an infamous story of Ty Cobb, the greatest baseball player of all time and maybe the most hated. In the early 20th century Cobb was a noted bigot and generally vile person.
When Cobb jumped into the grandstands during a game to pummel a severely handicapped heckler, the league suspended the Hall-of-Famer for several games. Though his Detroit teammates hated Cobb too, they refused play during his suspension in support of Cobb. You see, the heckler had done the unthinkable for that era; he called Cobb a “nigger-lover”.
“Nigger” isn’t even listed in the official Webster’s Dictionary I use, but it has to be the most interesting word in the English language.
As a white man, I am not only uncomfortable discussing the N-word in this column, it makes me uneasy to say the word aloud at this moment while alone. Why? Because of what “nigger” represents.
Nigger means whites snatching Africans from their families and homes and being shipped thousands of miles away in chains. Nigger means being whipped, shot, or lynched without regard to any basic human dignity. Bottom line, the word “nigger” represents blacks being forced into slavery and treated as animals or worse.
On the other hand, African-Americans often use the N-word when describing each other. Rap songs sung by blacks frequently use the word when discussing their friends.
Black athletes sometimes refer to each other as “nigger” with a positive meaning of strength and courage.
Several years ago, CMU’s white coach asked and received permission from his black basketball players to use the word “nigger” with its positive meaning during practice. Someone overheard the white coach using the word with his players and he was soon fired.
The moral to the story seems to be that racial and ethnic slurs may be negated if the historic victims use the otherwise inappropriate insults. If you are a white Anglo-Saxon man, you won’t get away with saying anything remotely racist. And rightfully so.
In the case of U.S. Senator George Allen, justice prevailed again when a racist was exposed in an unguarded moment on film. As a Caucasian, Senator Allen referred to a filmmaker of Indian descent covering his campaign as “macaca” (monkey). Allen also welcomed him to America (the filmmaker is a native of Virginia). From the time of his racist slip, Allen’s popularity dropped from a double-digit percentage lead over his challenger in the Virginia polls to losing the election by an eyelash.
Ironically, Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate in the recent election by one seat and Republican Allen’s razor-thin loss was the last Senate seat to be decided. Whoever said one person can’t affect the outcome of an election?
Amazingly, one word on film was enough to change the course of history.

 
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