Monday, February 21, 2022

Racism--American as Apple Pie

It's Black History Month, and even the talking heads on Fox are quoting MLK, albeit in a very limited fashion. Were he not assassinated (while standing up for organized labor), were he around today, he'd have plenty to say about these talking heads.

It's an odd time to be American. Fox is a propaganda network that's hypnotized a good portion of the country into not moving forward. It's normalized racism to the point where we can't accomplish anything for all of us. Were we to do that, it would benefit all those other people we revel in stereotyping.

The current source of outrage is all those people out there who want to teach our children Critical Race Theory. The fact that it's a college level course that we'd never heard of before all this brouhaha is neither here nor there. John Oliver just discussed it on Last Week Tonight, and played a clip of Tucker Carlson first saying despite talking about CRT for a year, he didn't know what it was. Tucker followed that admission, of course, by bitterly criticizing it.

Now we have a movement, in the red states for now, to restrict what we can teach. You can't teach anything that might make students feel bad. You can't discuss white privilege, for example, even though much of our country was literally built by people of color enslaved by wealthy white people. Our White House was largely built by slaves. Now A Tennessee law is looking to ban books, and of course it's being replicated elsewhere. 

Bigotry is the coin of the realm in these United States, and of course there are people fighting to keep it that way. A whole lot of them, like Tucker, are featured prominently on Fox, and they have millions of viewers parroting their talking points. I hear them from UFT members more than I'd like to admit We like to think we're smarter than everybody else, but we're just as susceptible to propaganda as anyone. 

Of course, as long as you think that people of color, or immigrants, or people of this or that religion, or gender, or sexual orientation are out to steal your way of life, you'll fight tooth and nail against it. They're here for your jobs. For goodness sake, it's us against them. Of course we have to act.

So when arguments come up about, oh, canceling crippling student debt, you say no, they'd better not do that. If you allow them to cancel that crippling student debt they'll be able to quit one of their three minimum wage jobs and work toward something better. Then you'll lose your job, to them, and you'll have to settle for a lower quality of life somehow. 

And when they talk about universal health care you need to say oh no, I don't want all those other people to have free health care. It will be expensive. How will we pay for all that book banning we need to do? Who's gonna pay Tucker Carlson's salary?

And when they talk about voting rights, sorely curtailed by the Supreme court, repeatedly, you say oh no, let those people wait on long lines in the heat if they want to vote, and arrest anyone who gives them water as they stand there. Screw them. People fought and died for this right, and it's the least you can do to stand out in line for hours with no water. 

Parental leave? Forget it. That's just sheer laziness. Why should we support people having babies? It's their choice to have all those babies and we don't want to pay for that. Why, stuff like that is socialism, and socialism is bad. I know because I learned it in school, and every goshdarn commentator on Fox says so. 

The problem Fox fails to point out, of course, is that a whole lot of white people, their viewers, also end up ruined by student debt, debt they wouldn't have if they lived almost anywhere but here. A whole lot of white people don't have health insurance. Some die because they're afraid to visit an emergency room and incur thousands of dollars of debt. I know, or knew, someone that happened to. And it's hard for white people to vote when they live in those targeted districts. And guess what? When people of color don't get parental leave, white people don't get it either.

We live in a country that has normalized huge socialist-style benefits for people who least need it, while spitting in the face of most Americans in dire need. We have a huge network based around telling people this system is somehow good for them. We accept racism because we buy into this insane and counter-productive mythology. 

In the end, we're hurting ourselves, and all Americans who aren't gazillionaires. We're making laws so that we, the teachers, participate in keeping our brothers and sisters uninformed and compliant. Racism and bigotry are as American as apple pie. But when we deny rights and benefits to some, we deny them to all.

We're not nearly as smart as we think we are. I once again recommend The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee, which examines this in great detail.

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