Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

March 17, 2014

Stumptalk: Detrimental political racism in america

By Jim Sykes
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — None of us were born with preexisting prejudices. Intelligent people will recognize and remove learned prejudices that are wrong. One of those would be if you either support or oppose a politician based on the perceived race of that politician. Race should never be considered. To paraphrase Satchel Paige, what race would you be if you didn’t know what race you are? Skin color has nothing to do with determining the race of an individual. Some years ago, blacks in America started referring to their race as African American. Those two words normally identify geographical areas and many Africans have white skin. Race is determined by analyzing the individual’s DNA.

Having worked for and with individuals from many ethnic groups, I don’t believe that there is a significant difference between any us because of our race. Some will say that because I’m white, I cannot know what it’s like to be black. It’s not necessary for me to know what it’s like to be black, all I need to know is right from wrong. Growing up and working with blacks taught me they are basically no different than me except for skin color and possibly eye and hair color, none of which makes us different from each other in the basics of life and our desire for our future. We have a different culture but I attribute that to a difference in our childhood environment. All of us have been denied opportunities during our life because of the prejudices of others. My preference is to think all of us are members of the same race — human.

The detrimental and disgusting use of racism by some in the current administration, many members in the press and some previously respectable progressives and black leaders should be offensive to all Americans. It is primarily being applied to those who oppose the current administration’s policies. Those now claiming racism seem to forget that citizens of both political parties and races resisted some of the same policies in former administrations but it was not called racism because our president at the time was not considered black. The fact is that our current president is not black either so criticism of his policies should not be called racism. It’s true that our current president’s skin color is not the same as previous presidents and although he pretends that he is a member of the black race, his ancestry is half white and half black and his DNA doesn’t have a color. It’s entirely possible that many of the citizens that are referred to as white and are being called racist have more black ancestry than our president. The president has exhibited more racist actions and statements than most of those who oppose his policies.

It has become axiomatic that the right not to be offended is in the U.S. Constitution. I have read our Constitution, studied it, and memorized parts of it but cannot find the right not to be offended anywhere in that document.  It must be in the same place where the Court found the right to an abortion and same sex marriage since I couldn’t find those either. Maybe being a white conservative Christian disqualifies me from being offended.

Dr. Ben Carson, a world-renowned brain surgeon, stated that when he takes a patient to the operating room and opens the cranium, exposing the brain, he is operating on the actual thing that makes that person who they are. The hair, scalp and skull are merely external coverings of the critical entity — the brain — that determines all of the most important things about us as human beings.

We have a choice of concentrating on superficial characteristics, which mean little or nothing, or concentrating on the source of our humanity, our intellect, our personality and the content of our character. A great American, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. made those observations years ago. The great tragedy of Dr. King's legacy is that politicians have tended to confuse two kinds of policy, one is removing barriers to success and the other is intervening to try to guarantee success. In my opinion, our president is obsessed with personal power, same sex marriage, racial privileges and blaming others for his failures. He is running roughshod over the separation of powers because he doesn't have the competence or the patience to get what he wants any other way. He is violating his oath of office every time he changes a law without Congressional approval.