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Love thy neighbor as thou would love thyself

Jesus Christ (Mark 12:28-31)


What if the neighbor hates me, Sire?

Wouldn’t loving him make me a schmuck?

– Spunkybong (Nov 26:11-14)


There is no question that force, in the killing this August of 19-year old black American, Michael Brown, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the St.Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, was excessive.

I am not a cop and therefore cannot put myself in Officer Wilson’s shoes but to me, like many others, pumping six bullets, two of them through the back of his head and the rest while he was prone on the ground, does seem excessive.

Is racial prejudice involved? Almost certainly. Numerous American university PhD theses have stressed on a how a white cop will automatically perceive a gun in the hands of an unarmed black man and invariably won’t see one in the hands of an obviously armed white man. This is racial stereotyping and it happens all over the world.

Instances of racial discrimination abound. Turks look down upon the Kurds, Shias on Sunnis and Sunnis on Shias, Chinese on Uighers, Cambodians on their Vietnamese minority, Malaysians on their Chinese minority, Israelis on Palestinians, Chinese Singaporeans on Indian Singaporeans, everybody is looking down on someone.

In a number of oil-rich nations in the Middle-East, Like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, it is open season as regards discrimination against foreign workers who toil in on the lowest wage brackets, such as construction workers and domestic help. Reports on the confiscation of passports by employers and the squalid dormitories with workers packed like sardines inside, are well documented.

Mankind has been unable to embrace the uniqueness of diversity. Xenophobia, the fear and intense dislike of people who are ethnically different, has reached epidemic proportions. In those same above countries to the east, misogyny, the hatred toward women, is also alive and well.

And yet we choose to single out and express selective shock at what is happening in America. A 2013 survey by The Washington Post, a daily known for it’s left leanings and therefore considered reliable as regards this particular issue, shows that the US is among the most racially tolerant nations in the world (the others being the UK, Canada and vast swathes of South America.

One conclusion of the survey stood out. India, the very beacon of democracy and Gandhian values, was found to be second from the bottom of the tolerance scale, with Jordan taking the honors as the least racially tolerant nation in the world. Full 43.5% of all Indian survey subjects responded that they would prefer not to live next to people of other races.

The US has two state governors who are of Indian origin. If I imagined an American as the Chief Minister of an Indian province, you would have to certify me insane.

Referring back to the Michael Brown shooting, few are aware that just minutes before he was killed, he had robbed a convenience store and roughed up the poor store clerk. There are now folk coming out of the woodwork claiming that the huge black guy in the store’s CCTV video was actually not Michael Brown but someone else who looked like him. This is in spite of the fact that his side-kick, a guy named Johnson and his lawyer had already admitted that it was in fact Michael Brown who was behaving like a thug in there.

What will they claim next? That Michael Brown had wings and a halo behind his back? That Heinrich Himmler appeared in Darren Wilson’s dreams the previous night and commanded him to shoot the first black guy he saw the next morning? Why can’t we stop being delusional and live with the facts – that Michael Brown was a strong-arm shoplifter who had a long life of crime ahead and instead, got what was coming to him?

Compounding all this is the recent denial by the store owner that he ever said that the petty thief in the video was Michael Brown. His recant is understandable. He has a family and wants to continue to live.

Then we have the go-with-the-flow American media houses who have repeatedly brought their collective credibility to disrepute. Expecting this faux fifth estate to bring up the robbery issue or show Michael Brown up as anything but a law abiding citizen, is expecting a bit too much.There is a near-complete info black-out on the convenience store robbery, just as there was when innocent Iraqi civilians started getting killed by George W’s not-so-smart bombs and evangelical marines in 2003.

It wasn’t patriotic to criticize the Iraq invasion then. It is racism to reveal the real Michael Brown now.

In the end, I would lay the responsibility for the growth of xenophobia on the Almighty. Why couldn’t he have made us all look the same? Don’t giraffes look the same? Can you tell one raccoon from the next? Why, Lord, did you make us different?

What the heck, it’s all water under the bridge. But I have an idea, Sire. Just send us down another cleaning guy. We can sin and then your laundryman can come down and take our sins ‘unto’ himself like some kind of celestial sponge, the way that the one you sent us on 1 AD, did. We’ll then be happy again, unencumbered by the guilt that is associated with sinning. For a while at least.

Only, Sire, this time make sure your guy owns a Laundromat chain.