SLIDING BACKWARDSOn a recent hike I saw a couple of young California Striped Racers crossing the trail, enjoying the sun.
SEEN ALONG THE TRAIL
An agonizing disappointment to boomers is the new crop of racism that seems to be the spearhead of a wave of bigotry and narrow mindedness in the US.
We spent the early and mid 60's fighting to end segregation, American apartheid and blatant discrimination. The entire culture was swept up in the drama and federal legislation moved to excise intolerance and set up an even playing field, imperfect and flawed though some of the legacy efforts have been. Feminism followed in that wake, connecting with efforts of earlier generations of suffrage campaigners to even the score for women. Still it seems as though it has been for naught.
New studies and reports find a complex mix of racist attitudes in American today. Some of the young, the reports say, don't know or have not been taught what discriminatory or prejudicial behavior is. "Post racial" is a term that is used.
Then there is a poster child of our new dilemma, the matter of NIGGER. Some of you maybe offended seeing it here. Back in our youth it was a phrase never used in civil or polite conversation. Today its use is a map of how confused we seem to have become. Is it OK for African Americans to use the term, but not for anyone else? Though people of color divide on this. Is it wrong for a Caucasian to criticize its use or even to use the word? Depends on who you ask, doesn't it?
Remember the early argument about weather Black's could be racist? Some who suggested that a person of color could also be a racist were themselves called racist. Today most agree that a person of any color or ethnicity can also be guilty of being racist, ethnocentric or bigoted in other ways.
LGBT people have probably garnered more media attention for their struggles for equality in the last few years, though old fashioned racism has not disappeared. Classism stalks modern western life even as women still fight to overcome, the barrier being their birthright.
From where I stand on this planet there is plenty of evidence of narrow mindedness, discrimination, fear, prejudice and hatred. The targets are men and women of all color, all ethnic origin, all gender identity or sexual preference. And so too are the perpetrators.
It is easy to paint the broad stroke villain as being white men-Anglos/Normans/Saxons and in America in particular there is a sad history of invasion, genocide, land theft, broken treaties done by our government run mostly by white men. However there are many other guilty of such insensitivity and crimes around the globe with different casts of color, ethnicity, heritage and land of birth. We know that Africans too were partners in the horrible sin of slave trading. Patriarchy is written into the history of cultures north, south, east and west. American white men are in fact easy targets for criticism, but then if that is all who you see as offenders, you suffer tunnel vision and are not looking on a large enough scale of history and geography.
One of the most economic and employment vulnerable
today are legions of men, 50 plus, who were dislocated by the Great Recession and who are still out of work, unemployable or underemployed. Who in today's political climate are likely to carry their banner? Perhaps I should go cautiously here, less some of the dunderheads in our legislative branch of government who fail on intelligence about or understanding and sensitivity to half of the human specie, just might pick up that standard.
Our ability to find a commonweal, a set of normative values, a framework of equality, a true open-mindedness is honorable and necessary work for this democratic republic. It will be challenging, painful and will demand our better angels. To continue as we are with confusion, ignorance, rampant narrow-mindedness and condoned bigotry will lead only to apocalyptic political and cultural landscapes.
The area was the scene of a recent "controlled burn."
The sky was a palate of contrails.
HATS OFF TO THE SAN LUIS OBISPO TRIBUNE
The paper editorialized today that William Randolph Hearst would have approved of Lady Gaga's recent adventure at his famous Castle, now a state park. Nick Franco, the highly respected local State Park Supervisor has been suspended, for mysterious reasons, since approving of Gaga's use of the Hearst Castle for a production shoot.
Lady G paid some $300 thousand for the use, left additional funds to underwrite a water use study, did a promotional piece and a public service message about water conservation. The Hearst Corporation approved "loaning water" and the entire undertaking. Governor Jerry Brown wrote approvingly to Lady Gaga.
The paper hints that perhaps some bureaucrat's nose may have been out of joint. Maybe or she is angry they missed their moment of closeness to her Lady G.
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Stay tuned.
See you down the trail.