Death To All Juice? Are you kidding? Where will it end! I can't even fathom hating juice to the degree of calling for it's total demise. Prune perhaps - but never "All Juice" - c'mon!
So since this sign appeared at a NYC anti-Israel rally last week there's been all kinds of speculation as to whether or not the misspell was intentional to avoid arrest for breaking NY's hate crime laws. Intentional or not - the fact that anyone is holding a sign calling for death to all of any people with no real outcry is pretty amazing. I can't help believe that if you replace the bearded guy with a white, confederate flag wearing, redneck - and the word Juice with something referring to blacks or hispanics - then probably a different outcome. Perhaps also a different outcome if it's a black guy referencing whites or hispanics. It just seems odd. The line between racism and tolerance isn't only thin - I think it's imaginary.
I hate racism talk - and I especially hate hypocracy in racism talk. The word that baffles me most is "reverse racism". Isn't that an oxy-moron? I know it's used to describe a minorities prejudice against a majority - but isn't that just racism too? Webster defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities; that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular racial group, and is also the prejudice based on such a belief. If that's true - then shouldn't reverse racism simply be the absence of such belief? If so - then reverse racism would be a good thing and something to aspire to. But that's not the way it is.
I'm probably a little heightened to it all from my recent trip back home. It's hard to spend a week in small town Texas without feeling its effects. A neighboring town to my parents is known for once having a sign that boasted "The blackest land (referring to the dark soil) and the whitest people." Dad and I drove to several local cemeteries one day looking at old family grave sites. Each cemetery had a smaller, less kept section - usually divided by a road, creek or ditch - that's the section where black people are buried. Most of these things are remnants of segregation - but it's amazing how embedded in the culture it still is. Actually, only a year ago signs that read "No more blacks" stood in front yards in our former Dallas suburb neighborhood. They were referring to a few black families that had moved in over the past couple of years - one being our next door neighbors and Colin's best friend. Oddly enough - the neighborhood was heavily Asian populated as well - but that was alright I suppose - just no blacks.
But it's everywhere to some degree I suppose. Just a couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine was speculating on some day moving away from SoCal. He grew up here and is feeling more and more a minority these days. He isn't racist - hates no one - but just trying to figure it all out. He had considered Brentwood, TN. a few years ago - an upscale suburb of Nashville. I lived there for 14 years and later sent him this picture...
It's a beautiful statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest that greets you as you drive into Brentwood each day. Forrest was a Confederate Lieutenant from the Civil War as well as the founder of the KKK. I assured him that the inherent undercurrent of racial divide there wasn't gonna sit well with him or his family either.
Anyway - I don't have any answers - and really didn't set out to write about racism. I'm really not even that hung up on it - but do find it exhausting. And to think that it's as easy as "let's just love everyone" is stupid. It's as old as mankind and is instinctively natural to some degree - though that doesn't excuse it. I just thought the Juice sign was both funny and sad. However - all of this reminds me of a couple of my favorite things. The movie Crash is without question one of my all time favorites. It's brilliantly written and happens to subtly take a look at current day racism. I'm reminded that I'm due to watch it again. If you haven't seen it - do. But without the kids. Also one of my favorite music videos - it's from Ben Folds and is a few years old. It's just funny - a great spoof of white suburban angst. You Tube won't allow embedding it - so you'll have to click the link. There's a few bleep outs - but you'll get it. Enjoy....