Tuesday, February 26, 2008

An Enlightened People.

If you (like me) grew up in an urban area, you would be astonished to hear some of the things that come out of the mouths of 14-year-olds in Fringe City, USA. I work with kids in an area far enough out of the real city to display the ugliest aspects of American provincialism. I've been at this job for awhile, and so I've pretty much gotten used to wincing when these boys and girls start trumpeting their true beliefs. What's especially disconcerting is that they are part of a social class that allows them to take their ideas out into the larger world, where they will vote in national politics and be considered first when legislators consult "The People". Naturally this doesn't bode well for the future of our society, but the First Amendment guarantees the right to communicate freely, despite the yawning abyss in logic and rationality that characterizes many views.

The topic of today's discussion was race. After covering the material that I had scheduled for the session, I opened the conversation up to include pretty much whatever any kid wanted to talk about. There's one boy in this group who can be counted on to present the most extreme viewpoints on any controversial subject. In all fairness, he was provoked to comment today. Someone mentioned that February is Black History Month, and proceeded to provide a few factoids about inventions devised by African-Americans. This was followed by a rash of complaints about the lack of any "White History Month". As you've likely guessed, the group was wholly made up of Caucasian youth. Had there been even a single Black kid in the room, I am certain that the flow of the talk would have varied tremendously.

Here was a homogenized collection of privileged youths, unhindered by the petty concerns of the working class, whining about some imagined lack of celebration of the white race. Apparently the overwhelming sense of entitlement these boys and girls regularly display has been so assimilated that it precludes compassion for the plight of any human being not immediately related to them. Big surprise, right? But the justifications that they employ to defend their own selfishness can be mind-boggling. Fortunately there are two kids in that section (strangers in a strange land evidently) who tend to take a more nuanced view of the happenings of the world. It's to their credit that they feel enfranchised enough to confront some of the more outlandish propositions put forth by the rabble. And I'm often grateful that they relieve me of any urges to directly tackle the most ignorant statements. I like to remain an objective moderator in such exchanges, so that I can minimize any claims of personal bias.

It wasn't until my outspoken token-racist got started that things got truly out-of-hand. He happens to be unabashedly Christian, and seems to filter all of his politics through a mesh of distorted religious doctrine. He is typically undisturbed by the strictures of scientific thought, but for the purpose of discussing his beliefs on race he conveniently adopted a mockery of the "theory" of evolution. He suggested that Blacks were where they were in society because they are somehow "stuck within evolution". Then he followed by proposing that God had made Blacks as "just another class of animal" to be subject to the domain of Adam and Eve, who were (not coincidentally) white. In his eyes it naturally followed that African-Americans should accept their subjugation, because it was obviously God's Will.

I don't know exactly what the majority of the class thought about what this precociously grating boy had to say, yet I can tell you that quite a few of them were laughing and cheering for his reasoning. More tellingly perhaps, it was left up to the aforementioned pair of 'brainwashed rationalists' (believers-in-science) to fight the tide of sheep-like amusement emanating through the room as the "War on Political Correctness" was being valiantly waged. What struck me was the unquestioned assumption that Adam and Eve were White. It didn't seem to matter that Eden was commonly accepted to be located in the Middle East. When I asked this youthful white supremacist to explain this disparity, he replied that God had made Adam and Eve in His own image- and (obviously) God is White. Who can argue with that?

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Blogger jefg99 said...

Simple question. As white as a ghost?

I believe in...living one's life such as it doesn't matter if there is a god or not. It shouldn't really make a difference in behavior. Hence, the (need for)argument is lessened, making more room for things that we can affect.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Dagrims said...

As I get older, it becomes much more clear that the world is full of stupid people.

9:44 PM  
Blogger jefg99 said...

dagrims, is that because you're making more friends?

8:54 AM  

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