Sunday, January 13, 2008

Culturist Thought of the Day - America is NOT Racist

My descriptions of Western culture mention that we believe in democracy, women's rights, the separation of Church and State, and individualism. People are surprised to hear that these are not universal beliefs. I explain that Americans often incorrectly think their values are universal. But when I describe the West as anti-racist I really get indignation. "Surely we are very racist" comes the reply. Silence follows my response that we are amongst the least racist places on earth or in history. While Barack Hussein Obama's campaign has gotten the issue into international news, we need to set the record straight; Western nations like America lead the world in the fight against racism.

Americans, again, too often fail to take notice of the rest of the world's difference. Korea is very racist. My wife is Korean. Walking there we have had strangers stop us and tell her she is a disgrace. At a jazz concert two years ago rocks were thrown at us. That is their culture. I do not bring this up to say we should condemn them or invade them to make them follow "human rights." I bring this up to say that such behavior would be considered outrageous beyond belief here. Even if we were brave enough to whisper support for such thoughts, we would be rightfully scared of acting on them. In our society, I am proud to write, few things are worse than to be called a racist.

But racism is not just about attitudes. Korean, Chinese and Japanese laws are overtly racist. If you are not of the proper racial category you cannot become a citizen of these nations without marriage to one of them. If you marry someone from the right lineage and wait some years you might be able to get Asian citizenship. But even then, your "mixed-blood" child would not be allowed in the army, they may be excluded from public school, and many government and private jobs will be impossible for them to attain. This is not to condemn them, this is how they anchor their identities. Our notion that we should not discriminate on the basis of race is noble, but it is only ours. We should, however, be very proud that our laws, unlike those of other countries, actually forbid racism.

Until the United States and for much of our history, most nation's identities were based on race. German was not only a type of citizenship, it was a race. Japanese is a racial designation. I can tell you what a Filipino looks like. I cannot, however, tell you what an American looks like. We are the exception to the rule in that we are not race based. The traditional Indian caste system is largely based on color. And in countries like those of Latin America, to the extent that they have it, mobility is much more constrained by race than it is here. Western nations are pioneers in the concept of a race-blind society.

I am bragging. Yes I am. But this is necessary. While racial discrimination is illegal here, while we have affirmative action programs to help minorities, while we even have an African American candidate for President, we still hear that America is a very racist country. This results from our comparing ourselves to some unattained ideal and NOT from the rest of the world. While Barack Hussein Obama is running for President and getting race discussed, it is important to note that he is running. That he is considered a viable candidate to be our national leader is remarkable. Those who would take this point of pride from us need to be confronted with a factual comparison. While the world watches our elections it is important for us to brag that America is among the LEAST RACIST NATIONS ON EARTH. This fact should be proudly featured in any description of the West.
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