Why aren’t we scared of white men?

Yes, I asked that question. Yes, I know #notallwhitemen Blah blah blah. That’s the bullshit we hear from the privileged race when they don’t want us thinking about them poorly.

Unfortunately, that kind of credit doesn’t get extended to others, black men and Muslims in particular.

Whether we want to see it that way or not, black men are viewed as inherently scary, even as teenagers (Trayvon Martin). If it weren’t this way, why would so many cops who shoot unarmed black men get away with it. They get to play the scared card, even though it’s not justified.

Meanwhile, white men make up the vast majority of serial killers and mass murderers in the United States. Check this out.

But still, this idea persist that black men are scary. Muslims are scary.

WHY do we believe that? Because of what’s portrayed in movies? Who’s writing those screenplays? Who’s publishing those movies? Because of what we see on TV in the news? Who controls the media? Because of what your neighbors tell you? Do your neighbors have black FRIENDS?

It can’t be based on facts. Nothing supports the idea that black men are more dangerous than white men.

So what then? How about prejudices we hold near and dear to our hearts? It comes down to the idea that some is different. And because white people control the media, TV, movies, etc., there’s no way for people to successfully portray something else. Or, when they do, white people freak out about what’s happening on their TV (the success of Grey’s Anatomy, black*ish, How to Get Away with Murder). Never mind that MOST shows are still dominated by white casts.

When are we going to get real and address the problems? White killers and terrorists are treated as individuals – “James Holmes had mental problems,” making him an “other,” a “not one of us.” The same would have been said for the Columbine killers, Sandy Hook. All of it. At what point will people stop and just accept that yes, they were part of YOUR group? They are YOUR people.

Until we get there, they aren’t going to get the help they need. They’re cast off as things that don’t matter.

Well, excuse me. But I’m tired of people dying because people can’t accept that everyone’s got issues, and we’re all in this together.

 

The First Amendment

Lately in the US, between the fight for marriage equality and the responses to the murders of unarmed citizens by the police and the mass murders, there seems to be some confusion about what the First Amendment means.

The text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, what does this actually mean? What’s the scope?

The First Amendment to the Constitution is part of The Bill of Rights. To protect themselves from the tyranny of prior rule, the new citizens of the United States wanted to protect themselves from being forced to practice any particular religion and to have the right to practice any religion they wanted, if they so chose. They wanted to be able to speak freely about their ideas without fear of punishment. They wanted to be able to gather together and share those ideas. They wanted access to their government to correct problems.

But, there are obviously some limits on what the government can do. The first word of the Amendment tells you who is being prohibited from acting: Congress. “Congress shall make no law…” Later, the 14th Amendment made this applicable to the States and their governments.

People cite the First Amendment as their right to say things that a lot of people consider hateful. Christians use it to justify their discrimination against gay people, since it’s in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong (I don’t really see it) and they’re entitled to their religious beliefs.

A guy in Seattle was walking around with a Swastika armband. A friend posted the article and some comments popped up in defense of the guy and his right to wear the armband and that no one should be able to say anything nasty to him about it.

The First Amendment has very little to do with what individuals say to each other. The First Amendment is about the government and how it interacts with citizens.

Nothing in the First Amendment says anything about the inherent rightness of people’s statements nor about immunity from response to those protected statements. Put simply, just because you have the right to say whatever you want doesn’t mean that what you’re saying is right. If what you say is hateful, do not expect people to respond kindly. The fact that you think your statements are backed by Jesus or Allah or whoever doesn’t change that.

So, go ahead. Say whatever you want. But be prepared for the response.