I recently heard on the radio 45% of American Black males do not graduate from high school. Why does their education end before their 18th birthday? Is there something culturally askew where education has no value? Are they born not to succeed in life? Is there a genetic code that denies them fruitful opportunity for living? The answer to those questions is a resounding: No!
So what options are we left with to try to understand the statistical failures of Black men to earn the right to higher education in the American public schools system? The only reason I can come up with — beyond the usual ghetto code of the street and poor economic standing and disinterested cultural educational values is: Racism. Is it not Racist that 45% of Black men do not finish high school? Is it not Racist to not make that matter a national emergency with the same urgency and imperative used against terrorists in faraway lands? Where are those 45% going to end up? On the street? In prison?
Is it Racist that the Army now takes high school dropouts? I guess you don’t need a high school diploma to shoot a rifle. As we turn away from the 45%-ers, so too, do we turn away from the myth of Racial Harmony. We aren’t getting warmer and friendly across cultures. We are getting more openly dumb and dangerous as witnessed in the NYPD shooting of a Black man in Queens over the weekend — and oddly defended by the police as a sort of “viral reaction” to a perceived dangerous element:
It is known in police parlance as “contagious shooting” — gunfire that spreads among officers who believe that they, or their colleagues, are facing a threat. It spreads like germs, like laughter, or fear. An officer fires, so his colleagues do, too.
The phenomenon appears to have happened last year, when eight officers fired 43 shots at an armed man in Queens, killing him. In July, three officers fired 26 shots at a pit bull that had bitten a chunk out of an officer’s leg in a Bronx apartment building. And there have been other episodes: in 1995, in the Bronx, officers fired 125 bullets during a bodega robbery, with one officer firing 45 rounds. Just what happened on Saturday is still being investigated.
Police experts, however, suggested in interviews yesterday that contagious shooting played a role in a fatal police shooting in Queens Saturday morning. According to the police account, five officers fired 50 shots at a bridegroom who, leaving his bachelor party at a strip club, twice drove his car into a minivan carrying plainclothes police officers investigating the club.
In addition to shooting unarmed Black men, we also have the wrenching of racial harmony at Boston University with the rise of a Whites-Only Scholarship:
Joe Mroszczyk, president of the College Republicans at Boston University, admits he set out to stir up a hornet’s nest when he came up with the idea of offering a whites-only scholarship at the school. But he got a little more buzz than he bargained for. All the media attention is focused on a $250 Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship offered by Mroszczyk and the BU chapter of the College Republicans.
Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher; they must write two essays; and, here’s the kicker, they must be at least one-quarter Caucasian. The application itself offers an explanation: “We believe that racial preferences in all their forms are perhaps the worst form of bigotry confronting America today.”
Richards allegedly lashed out at Jews during performance earlier this year, yelling at one audience member: “You’re a f***ing Jew. Your people are the cause of Jesus dying.”
Carol Oschin, who was at the show, said: “We didn’t know if this was part of the act. He was getting very (verbally) violent, very agitated.”
O.J. won’t go away as the wounds of Race and culture re-explode in hatred and viciousness. Mel Gibson’s previous rant confirmed that, when things get rough, go ahead and blame it on the Jews like Michael Richards did.
One of my UMDNJ medical students, a bright and worldly Indian woman, asked one night in class why some people use a fake “Indian accent” when they are trying to be funny or act stupid or indignant.
We discussed several reasons why it was acceptable to make fun of an Indian accent, but not a “Black accent” or an “Iraqi accent.” The “Stupid Southerner” and the “Crazy German Nazi” accents have been safer for others to mock mainly because the mocking was first done by the originating culture.
I offered my theory of “The Apu Affect” from The Simpsons where, for over a decade, the Indian accent has been made socially safe to mock in mainstream media during Prime Time television and that results in a dulling of cultural sensitivities that leads to the unfortunate stereotypical use of the accent by non-Indians. Have we always been culturally insensitive and racist but just repressed it better than we do today?
Or has Hate Speech found fresh footing in the foundation of Freedom of Speech where we can now openly be as dumb and as dangerous as we wish in our mocking of other cultures and Races without fear of retribution or punishment?
I believe hateful thoughts and feelings must be publicly expressed so a public correction and shunning of the behavior can be heaped upon the offender to set the wrong right. The problem today is the hate is spewing forth with ferocity, but we’ve lost our community nerve and our national moral fiber to spigot the spew, and force it down the drain where it belongs.