Racism

Meph’s worst nightmare has always been that one day all of us will learn to love one another, regardless of the color of our skins and treat each other as equals. To this end he has fought hard over the millennia. He heard John Lenon’s Imagine and thought that the lead guitar was superb. But the lyrics were toxic. ‘Imagine there is no hell below us? Heck, the bastard is after my job,’ Meph said to himself, alarmed. On the other side, the bearded white guy in the bathrobe and the booming Charlton Heston voice too was pissed off, because the song began with ‘Imagine there is no heaven.’

“Listen, kid, we gotta talk,” said the Lord to Meph, the fallen angel.

“Let’s have him whacked, Sire,” said Meph. The rest is history. Mark David Chapman appeared and put six shots in Lennon’s back, killing him instantly.

The concept of equality, human rights and universal love and peace are anathema to Meph. (Meph is what I call the Satan).

There have been a few flashes in the pan over the centuries of course……

First came the 6th century BC Persian conqueror, Cyrus the Great who, when he entered Babylon, found the citizens cowering in terror, fully expecting to be enslaved, raped and/or murdered. Instead, old Cy told his generals to proclaim justice for all and the right of the citizens of conquered lands to own their own property, pursue their religious beliefs and customs, unhindered. But then all good things must come to an end. Cyrus died, lesser mortals took over the reins and all those lofty ideals were history.

Meph must have said to himself,’ Phew, that was close.’ Can you imagine what the world would have been like, if Cyrus had had successors who were willing to carry the torch of emancipation forward, instead of being greedy, power-hungry despots? Meph was now on a roll. Knowing that humans were by nature lazy, he gave them slavery over the next five centuries….. till the other side began mobilizing it’s own Navy Seals (a.k.a. messiahs).

The first Seal was a guy in the far east, named Confuscius, who preached morality, justice, love, peace, etc, etc and other wimpy, cringe-producing traits that were meant only for losers. Soon he was history. Then came this Indian guy whom folk in the west like to call ‘Booda’. Booda taught folk how to pierce their ears, lie down on their sides with their legs straight, smoke a joint and meditate naked in a trance-like state, while making sure that their richards (et al) didn’t sag down due to gravity (his statues at least show him that way).

Next came the superstar, the guy Andrew Lloyd Weber made famous. We all know about this unassuming soft-spoken blonde absent-minded carpenter who mixed up his orders and built tables when his customers wanted coat hangers. He is the guy who famously made the first effort at diplomacy with the Roman Emperor Tiberius, proclaiming, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

Happy with frankincense and myrrh, stuff that you will never ever find on a grocery store shelf, our friendly carpenter was convinced that he had to sweep up everybody’s sins and gulp them down like a massive spiritual vacuum cleaner-cum-recycle bin – and then die, leaving everybody cleansed of guilt and ready to be bad all over again. Moral: Diplomacy or no diplomacy, too much myrrh can be hazardous to your logic.

The tale of the carpenter was a sad one but his Dad didn’t give up. Over the millennia there have been 10802 Christian saints, ending with Pope John Paul II, the last guy to be canonized. That’s what being made a saint is called – canonized. While Christians got canonized, they launched crusades and the Muslims got canon-fodderized. Who said Christianity is not a militant faith?

Other sporadic efforts at reform followed – the 622AD Dastur-al-Madina (Charter of Medina) drafted by the Prophet Mohammad, that brought peace between the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims and even the Pagans, declaring that all faiths and traditions to be a part of humanity. Sadly, he would turn out to be the only Muslim ever, to say that and actually mean it. Magna Carta followed in 1215AD England, bringing in for the first time the concept of a parliamentary democracy. It turned out to be not worth the paper it was written on.

Meph swatted all these efforts at reform away skilfully, plunging us all repeatedly into chaos, bigotry, discrimination and slavery.

The other side didn’t give up. A millennium passed In quick succession after that followed the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) and the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution (1791). Mephisto laughed at them all.

Sorry, the last one was a mistake. You can delete that one. The 1791 US Bill of Rights was about devolving power from the Federal Government to the States and their white citizens. Black slaves weren’t citizens, or even human. Meph didn’t even notice the Bill and neither will I waste any more time over it. He however noted the vast rolling prairie lands of America and saw the potential for a long-term base there.

Then, something happened one particularly hot summer’s day in 1619, which convinced Meph that settling down there had been the right choice. 19 men, their skins black as ebony, bodies emaciated and bedraggled, their skins split open by whiplashes and their sores festering, were herded ashore at a settlement called Jamestown, Virginia, in the east coast of the New World. They had been brought by Dutch traders who had claimed them as booty from a captured Spanish slave ship.

Initially these 19 were accorded certain freedoms as ‘indentured servants’ (somewhat similar to bonded laborers in India) but all that changed pretty fast. As more of them poured in from across the Atlantic, they lost the little freedom of movement that their white masters had allowed them and became full-fledged slaves, living day-to-day at the complete mercy of their masters.

The advent of Abe Lincoln and his famously toothless Emancipation Proclamation did nothing to reform American society and bring succor to the slaves. Though no longer in chains, they nevertheless remain just as wretched, even today. Most have settled in black-majority ghettos that have white-majority police forces. There may no longer be boards announcing ‘colored only’ or ‘whites only’, but at heart America remains just as segregated as it was six decades back.

Today, white (liberal and ambivalent) America is in denial. If you poll any group of progressive whites in the US, they will tell you that racism the US is a thing of the past, over, finished. They will vehemently aver that there are no racists in the US anymore. The ready reaction will be – Why, didn’t we elect a black President?’ In fact, egged on by right-wing TV anchors and hosts, many of them actually believe that they face more discrimination than black people. Multiple polls however contradict this perception.

Here are some poll findings from the US that I came across in the net, from a post titled, ‘Hey, Smug White People: You (Yes, You) Are a Racist, Too’, by Kali Holloway, at AlterNet.org…..

1. White people are more likely to support the criminal justice system, including the death penalty, when they think it’s disproportionately punitive toward black people.
2. Black men are sentenced to far lengthier prison sentences than white men for the same crimes.
3. Black children are more likely to be tried as adults and are given harsher sentences than white children.
4. The more “stereotypically black” a defendant looks in a murder case, the higher the likelihood he will be sentenced to death. The degree to which the defendant is perceived to have a stereotypically black appearance in any CCTV footage (broad nose, thick lips, dark skin, pants slipping down below butt, hoody) could mean the difference between a sentence of life or death, particularly if his victim was white.
5. White people are more likely to have done illegal drugs than blacks or Latinos, but are far less likely to go to to jail for it.
6. White people view lighter-skinned African Americans as more intelligent, competent, trustworthy and reliable than their darker-skinned peers.
7. White college professors are more likely to agree to mentor white students.
8. White people, including white children, are less moved by the pain of people of color, including children of color, than by the pain of fellow whites.

Frankly I find polls unreliable, biased and pressured to show a trend where it does not exist. But in the case of Ms Holloway’s post, it comes with the links to the polls and data sources. I however have to admit I haven’t checked out all the sources. The post can be found at the link below….

Hey, Smug White People: You (Yes, You) Are a Racist, Too

I found the title a bit offensive even though I am not white and if I was, I could construe the title and the article itself as a racist piece of work. But that does not diminish the fact that the contents of the article need to be taken seriously.

Ps: In case you do decide to read the above article, don’t forget to read the comments. Some of them are gems. I will leave you with this one from an old man in a seniors’ home……

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“Just today I was watching the 1966 film ‘The Bible’ with a 75 year old black man. At the scene that had the people leaving the Ark with the animals, I remarked to him that, if there really was a Noah who re-seeded the human race after a flood destroyed everyone else, then he and his family had to have been Negroes, since modern archaeology has proved beyond doubt that the human race started with black Negroes.

I also pointed out the glaring nonsense of having so many predators and prey living together in such close proximity for so long inside the Ark and having them walk off, nice and friendly in the end. The two polar bears would not have survived that part of the world in an Ark, I told him. 

On the subject of slavery, my friend embraces the facts about the enslavement of white Jews in the Bible, which was an ancient event. He takes it to be an even of far greater import than the enslavement of his own black ancestors in America, which happened just a couple of centuries prior.

He accepts the Jewish story as more valid and says that white Jews in Israel deserve special reparations, a status that the Jews claim was accorded by God. My friend, like many other blacks, dismisses any talk that black people deserve similar reparations too….”

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