Everything You Ever And Never Wanted To Know About Racism And Stereotypes

There is no doubt in my mind that racism is alive and well. It may well be the largest growing ‘sport’ in the country. I see it everywhere I look, it matters not one iota what your roots are, it only matters where you find yourself. Sometimes racism merely is an annoyance, as in being asked  something like you are not from around here?

On other occasions it takes a much more sinister turn. One only has to look at the past to understand the present, and it is easy to make assumptions about the future.

Corey Washington pulls no punches, he takes racism head on. It is wrong, it should not exist, racism should be a class taught in history classes, not something that we deal with today. Yet it is a subject that we hear about on a daily basis. There are also many double standards as to what can, or can not be said. Maybe the biggest issue in the US is the use of the ‘N’ word. It is happily bandied about in Rap songs, but woe be that any white person should make such a remark. Careers have been ruined by the ‘N’ word.

Corey Washington makes the very convincing argument that no-one should use the word PERIOD. I am in agreement, but the likelihood of that happening is right up there with discovering that the Moon is indeed made of cheese!

The nasty ‘N’ word is just the tip of the iceberg, you can find derogatory descriptions of the doyens of many countries.

I grew up in England and the favorite target was Paddy the not quite intelligent Irishman. During my stay in Germany I found that the favorite target were the Gast Arbeiters (Guest workers), mainly from Poland that were ridiculed.

One common thread that I have found in this subject is that the stories stay the same, only the races involved change.

Corey Washington takes us into the very murky world of racism and stereotyping. I thought I had a pretty large vocabulary of disparaging remarks, but Corey Washington has me beat, he has researched the subject more than I ever would have.

I think this sentiment comes out best in the opening paragraph:

I’m not an expert on race. Well, nobody is. Don’t let any of these TV pundits or anyone else fool you—nobody has a hold on the title of “race expert.” Now there are people who have spent a great deal of time studying and compiling data on race, and people who have spent a great deal of time interviewing people and getting their experiences and thoughts down for the record; but that doesn’t make anyone an expert. The truth of the matter is everyone’s experience with racism is different. All we can do is open an honest and sincere dialogue to learn from one another.

It is easy to stick labels on people. This is a game that we all have played for centuries. Without doubt the new label involves anyone that is a Muslim, they must be a terrorist! In fact the quote goes along the lines of:

Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

While the statement rings true in many ears, it is completely wrong. The Baader Meinhoff group were certainly not Muslim. Neither were the Japanese sect that released Sarin gas into the subway system.

Time is very much a double edged sword. And few people have long memories. If you look back in history it is plain to see that racism is wrong, yet we ignore that and let it flourish in our modern world. Do not get me wrong I am not asking that we take this to the ridiculous lengths of Political Correctness that some might advocate, just that we show a little common courtesy. I am a white Caucasian who happens to live in a predominantly African American neighborhood. When outside the most common swearword I hear is the ‘N’ word. It is not the white Caucasians that I hear it from but the African Americans, particularly the young teens. The word is used as a term of endearment!

I found Plain Talk to be a very challenging book, oh, do not get me wrong, when I say challenging I am not talking about the quality of the writing, it is first rate.  It is the subject matter that gives me concern. I will pose the question, how do we remove racism from today’s world?

Plain Talk has had me sleepless for days. You can pick up your copy from Amazon. Corey Washington also has a web site in support of the book.

Simon Barrett

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