Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Feeling Disillusioned By Humanity

There is times when I feel absolutely inspired by humanity; their kindness, their love, and resilience in time of tragedy, and sorrow. However, there is also times when I feel disillusioned, uninspired, and disgusted by humanity. Sadly, this is one of those times. 

Ordinarily, I pay no mind to Miss America pageants. It is not really my thing. However, this recent uproar over Nina Davuluri winning Miss America, and causing a spark in causing racist tweets. Don't believe me? Here's an example: 

This pissed me off, people, enough to the point where I felt I really had to say something. Yeah, my blog post is just one post of many, and it may not cause any impact yet it ate up inside of me. Now, I was the type not to let things fester on the inside. I needed to write. I needed to articulate my feelings into words. I had to process what was on my mind in order to get through my internal conflict. 

First of all, Nina Davuluri is GORGEOUS. She won this fair and square. Secondly, racism is not cool. Not cool at all. Racism is rooted in ignorance, hate, and fear. Let me correct some assumptions that those racists have about Nina:

1) Nina is not an of an Arab descent. She is of Indian descent. Okay. That's two separate thing. Nina hails from the Midwest (Oklahoma, Michigan), and is currently living in New York City. She is an AMERICAN. 

2) Nina is not a Muslim. And even if she is, so what! She's more likely to be a Christian, or a Hindu. Or maybe she's an Atheist. Who knows, and honestly, who gives a flying rat crap what she believes in. 

3) India is nowhere close to Saudi Arabia. Check your geography, people! India is 3,000 miles away from Saudi Arabia. 

4) Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, is also gorgeous. Just because she hunts, is in military, sports tattoos, and is blonde does not mean she is a true American. Let me tell you something. America is not founded on hunting. Only 12.5 million people hunt and fish out of 300,000 million people living in US. That's 7% (Wildlife and Fish Game). Only 7% people hunt and fish!!! Then there is only 36% of adults have tattoos. I'm one of them, by the way. Only 9% of Americans are enlisted in military (26.4 million people). The last time I checked, not every of us is a blonde, and fair-skinned! 

5) The last, but not the least....49.9% children enrolled in today's schools are not white. That's almost half of us white people! There will be a drastic shift in next 30 years with people of color, and white people. Soon us white folks will be in the "minority". 

Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American to win Miss America 2013

I take a very small comfort in knowing that racists are basically bunch of idiots that are uneducated (not necessarily academically educated), and did not do their homework prior vomiting their thoughts out into the social media world. I don't care if they are a republican, conservative, liberal, democrat, socialist, or apathetic. I don't care if they are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or an Atheist. What they did is terrible. It is sad to spew hatred like that. It makes me so ashamed of being white at times.

Johnathan A. Ferrell 
To make the whole matter worse in me feeling disillusioned about humanity, I also read an article: Instead of Getting Help, He Was Shot to Death. A long story short, Johnathan was involved in a serious car wreck, and was obviously in a shock. He went around the neighborhood, knocking on the doors, to get help. No one helped, and police was called. A police officer showed up, and did your old "Shoot first, ask later" gig. The cop shot Johnathan multiple times, and unfortunately, Johnathan passed away from his extensive gunshot wounds. This young man with a promising future was shot and killed. Why? He was black. One could argue that it was not about skin color, but think about it, if it was a white man, then would have this cop hesitated to shoot? Probably.

Those two examples I just mentioned are ever-pressing issue that we have with racism. I don't believe that we have really made a dent in reaching to the position of healing, and true tolerance. When I say the word, tolerance, I don't mean putting up with someone you don't feel comfortable with, and keeping your distance away from them in order to maintain conflict-free environment. Tolerance, at least to me, means being able to interact with people you don't feel entirely comfortable with, showing love to them, and respecting them for who they are.

Some people may argue with me that racism is dead because people are more aware, more "tolerant", and more understanding now than ever. Some even go as far as saying, "Oh I have a black friend", or "I have a friend, who happens to be (insert ethnicity, or race)". Once in while, I even get that phrase from people, "I am not a racist, but...."  This reminds me of a movie based on a book by Grisham, Time to Kill, and there is a scene that stood out the most in my mind about racism.

Carl Lee Hailey: Well, you are white and I'm black. See Jake, you think just like them, that's why I picked you; you are one of them , don't you see?. Oh, you think you ain't because you eat in Claude's and you are out there trying to get me off on TV talking about black and white, but the fact is you are just like all the rest of them. When you look at me, you don't see a man, you see a black man.
Jake Tyler Brigance: Carl Lee, I'm your friend.
Carl Lee Hailey: We ain't no friends, Jake. We are on different sides of the line, I ain't never seen you in my part of town. I bet you don't even know where I live. Our daughters, Jake; they ain't never gonna play together.
Jake Tyler Brigance: What are you talking about?
Carl Lee Hailey: America is a war and you are on the other side. How's a black man ever going to get a fair trial with the enemy on the bench and in the jury box? My life in white hands? You Jake, that's how. You are my secret weapon because you are one of the bad guys. You don't mean to be but you are. It's how you was raised. Nigger, negro, black, African-american, no matter how you see me, you see me different, you see me like that jury sees me, you are them. Now throw out your points of law Jake. If you was on that jury, what would it take to convince you to set me free? That's how you save my ass. That's how you save us both.

The point of the whole dialogue between Carl, and Jake was that one can't afford to be color-blinded. Too many of us, especially us white folks, choose not to see people for who they are. We try not to see their skin color. We try not to see their religion. We try not to look at their age. We try not to look at their gender. We try to ignore their sexual orientation. We pretend not to see disabilities. We really need to understand that we have to stop ignoring what is there. Yes, we see colors, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities. 

When I walk into the room, the first thing people notice is that I am a woman based on obvious physical attributes that I have. The second thing people do notice is my hands moving, and that I must be Deaf. The third thing people do is either feel intimidated, or apathetic so they withdraw, and pretend that none of those attributes about me exists. Every day in, and every day out; I'm painfully aware that I am a woman, and especially so, Deaf. The Deaf thing stands out the most. I'm consciously knowing that my Deafness intimidates people. It makes people feel uncomfortable even if they try not to be, and sincerely want to get know me. The wall is always there between me and the hearing people. I'd imagine it is how a person of color feels especially if he/she is the only person in the room full of white people. Without meaning it to be, we are automatically different. Just like that. 

As a Deaf person, I would love to have a hearing person come up to me, and apologize. Not for what he/she did as a person, but for what hearing people have done to my people, my language, and my culture. I bore no ill will to hearing people. It is a first step toward healing, and forming bridge between the Deaf and the hearing world. I wonder if people of color feels the same way. Do they want a white person to apologize to them for what white people have done to them; the history of oppression, rejection, intolerance, hate, and violence that was maimed on them? I would imagine the answer would be a yes. 

In order to really address that yes, we do have a problem with racism, we have to remove our rose-colored glasses, and see the country for what it is. If we have such a problem with Nina winning Miss America crown, or having a cop shoot a black man before asking questions, then it is quite obvious that racism is still an issue.