There Goes the Ruddy Two-shoes

Race, Sadly

Posted by ruddytwoshoes on April 27, 2008

Something is wrong when trigger-happy detectives fire a storm of fifty bullets without warning — wounding three unarmed men of color and killing one of them because they were PRESUMED to have a gun — and get acquitted in the court of law due to what is proclaimed a failure of the prosecutors to present evidence that the detectives’ actions were criminal.

Something is just utterly, appallingly wrong.

But is this farce a genuine surprise? No. That makes it a sadder, sadder state of affairs.

The acrid conclusion of the Sean Bell trial accentuates a reality that the law, in essence, is supposed to repudiate. However, why is this so unsettlingly far from unheard of, and why does it feel as if this is not going to be the last case of racial discrimination not only in our judicial system but also outside of it? Somewhere, another member of an ethnic minority group is falling victim to this quicksand merely because of his non-white skin color, and tomorrow another one, and another one, and another one.

Perforations like the Sean Bell case verdict, which reminds us of other victims of police brutality like Amadou Diallo and Rodney King, whose assailants were exonerated, as well as other instances in the recent past that glaringly exhibit bias against ethnic minorities (remember Jena Six and Pedro Zapeta?) — coupled with idiotic racist media emissaries like Bill O’Reilly, his buddies on Fox News, and film companies engaging in the exploitation of racial stereotypes — perpetuate the quagmire. It poisons the social relations we should all be capable of making, and something has to change.

I moved to Hagerstown, Maryland from the Philippines before my 18th birthday. I had received notice from my stepfather, the Hagerstown resident, of the possibility that people in Hagerstown might discriminate against me because I looked different. Confident in my known garrulousness and level of proficiency in the English language, I took it as a grain of salt. However, the time it took for Hagerstown to stun that confidence was short. In an instant, the identities of an intolerable Chinese math geek, a Japanese karate master, an Asian prostitute, a Vietnamese nail stylist, and a Latina immigrant! were being positioned upon me by absolute strangers who had not even a pitiable modicum of idea about where the hell I came from and who I was. Friends did not come easy, and I enjoyed very limited opportunities to show people how erroneously I was portrayed in the movies and/or pornographic materials they saw. It is incensing, but I am directing my rage towards those who propagate these stereotypes and not those who are made ignorant by these socializing agents.

I am not able to offer new viewpoints on this issue. I expect everyone to be aware of the dreadful consequences that racial discrimination and stereotyping yields. What I can offer is a piece of advice (seemingly overused but evidently not, considering the rampancy of the problem) that we may easily be able to utilize in a hopeful attempt to lessen this problem of premature, groundless hatred that is ogling at our increasing isolation, waiting to pounce: Let us educate ourselves. Let us wander off the path of ignorance our television screens, filmmakers, and other media organs are manufacturing for us. Let us open our minds and carry a healthy skepticism in us so that we may be able to question what our “reliable” news and entertainment sources are communicating to us. And where it applies, let us not stop at buying only one version of a story; there may be two or more sides to it, and every side deserves a hearing. Let us remember that what may be true about a member of a minority group may not necessarily apply to another member of the same group, because everyone is different – genetically, biologically, mentally, and socially. Most importantly, let us not stand by the hatred sported by others. Let us speak out, for failing to do so may well imply that we support them in their hating, too.

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