Wednesday, April 18, 2007

racism violence fear and shame

Wikipedia define racism thusly:

Racism is a belief or ideology that all members of each race possess
characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially to distinguish it
either superior or inferior to another race or races. It is also the prejudice
directed against someone of a differet race based on such a belief.

So in the huge media frenzy over the violent deaths of 33 people in Virginia on Monday, I just have one question: Does it not prove we are racist?

What do I mean? Well, Tuesday, another 58 people were killed or found dead in Iraq, in violence which sans doute is related to the ongoing U.S. occupation and U.S. instigated four year old war.

So does the average American consider the violent deaths of Iraqi people less important, less cause for, as the Seattle Post Intelligencer put it today "Rage and Grief" than the violent deaths of American people? It seems fairly obvious to me that they do. Based on proportion of national population, Iraq's loss on Tuesday is 1700% bigger than America's loss on Monday.

In fact, I bet the average American is more disturbed emotionally, yesterday and today, about the violent death of 33 VT students than they are or ever have been about the deaths of 800,000 people in Iraq under U.S. invasion and occupation.

So does that make us racist?

Roy Barnsness pointed out the other night that we all, each and every one of us, have fear and shame, and that we must, in one way or another, live with the horror of the fact that we are constantly in both roles: victim, and perpetrator. How can we end the passive and active violence which we experience and perpetrate, perpetrate and experience? Can we choose to examine our fear and shame and ... de escalate the level this violence?

1 comment:

Megs said...

it's the 'could that be me? is my world safe?' question, isn't it, which distinguishes the horror in Iraq (to which the answer is pretty easily 'no' for westerners) and the Virginia shooting (to which the answer is very possibly 'yes' for most westerners). What you're doing on this blog Bens is restructuring our response to the horror in Iraq as being very possibly 'yes' too - a noble quest, for these are PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME! (which is easy to forget, because being safe is more important to us than being human...........)