Sunday, December 26, 2010

Equality & Accountability (part II)

Pictured Above: George Lopez, Racist and Unfunny In Any Language.

In the United States, large segments of academic, government, media and corporate institutions are "race-ists," which does not imply hatred of any groups, rather it signifies an obsession on race, a belief that race is the great social and economic determinant." This vision is especially prevalent in universities, in which race and ethnicity effects virtually every aspect of their policies from: preferential admittance policies, ethnic-specific academic advisers, to curriculum and even the funding of segregated student housing.

The great irony is that disciples of "race-ism" seek constant dialogues on race, yet they are incapable of transcending empty mottoes and engaging in intellectually honest exchanges of ideas with individuals with differing beliefs. This means that they rarely see the blatant contradictions in their positions. The most obvious contradiction is that "race-ists" are obsessed with real and imagined white racism, while they turn a blind eye to expressions of racism of non-white individuals. Another major contradiction is the manner in which race-ists address ethno-political assertions of different groups. African-Americans, Latinos and other groups are encouraged to vote for their (perceived) narrow, group interests and to vote for their ethnic compatriots. Whites are expected to approve of these ethno-political expressions and to promote broad national interests, but never their own (perceived) group interests. In other words, not all groups are held equally accountable for their racism and ethno-chauvinism. This implies that progressives hold whites up to standards of objectivity and believe that minorities are not capable of or willing to transcend their own ethno-subjectivity.

This is seen in the manner in which public figures, approach the comedian George Lopez, including President Obama, who recently appeared on a TV commercial to promote Lopez's new show. This is surprising considering Lopez's repeated use of the term "mayate," which in Mexican slang is a derogatory term against African-Americans and gays. We can be certain that President Obama would not take a white comedian's use of a racial slur so lightly. But, because this is a non-English term we can (reluctantly) give Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt. Prior to this commercial, Lopez appeared at an election rally with Obama and stated:

"It is the time of the Latino, your time to step up, your time to take this country over...But si se puede (yes you can) doesn't mean anything unless you go out and make it happen."

And during his stand up routine Lopez stated:

"This is a new America...While you were out playing sudoku, we've taken over the country."

Imagine what would happen if a white comedian declared at a political rally"

"it's time for us (whites) to defend our political hold and vote for their ethnic interests..."

Of course, the media, political and academic elites would justifiably be up in arms and demand that the said comedian rescind their call for white ethno-nationalism. This brings up a host of questions, such as: Why don't race-ists or the general public denounce Lopez's ethno-chauvenism? Why do race-ists unabashedly support the ethno-political assertions of Latino and African-American communities, yet are horrified when whites do the same? Why do race-ists promote the idea that minorities should unabashedly vote for the (perceived) interests of their communities, yet the white majority is asked to vote for the (perceived) general good, even when it is against their own self interests?

Before we continue I must emphatically state that I am NOT encouraging reciprocal white ethno-political activism. Quite the opposite, I would like to see all Americans pursue the greater good of the United States rather than their narrow ethnic, economic and regional interests. I would like to see all Americans participate in civil society and political life as individuals and as local communities, rather than ethno-political lobby groups competing at the troughs of a bloated spoils system.

Rather than encourage his fans to vote for the "Latino Agenda," I would like to see Mr. Lopez encourage them to vote to advance the economical, social and environmental welfare of all Americans. I am deeply concerned that the asymmetrical expression of ethno-political identity is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to a resurgence of ethno-political identity politics among European-Americans, which will certainly not lead to the "more perfect union" that President Obama desires. Until now, tarring and feathering individuals with the label of "racist" has been effective at silencing white ethno-political expressions, but increasingly more people are balking at the double standard. Perhaps, when whites were an absolute majority, this may have been sustainable, but with an increasing number of minority-majority cities and states (like California and Hawaii), the logic and incentives of whites to openly lobby for their ethno-political interests, like any other group, is growing. If we want to maintain a peaceful and prosperous union, the only answer is to hold all Americans equally accountable and to emphatically declare that a Black or Latino Congressional Caucus is just as revolting and un-American as a White Caucus. And let's all declare that George Lopez is unfunny and bigoted in any language.

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