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What's the Differents? - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
What's the Differents?

There's something to be said for spending your entire weekend glued to (or in our case, removing glue from) your kitchen. It keeps you off the Interwebs, and that alone keeps your blood pressure down.  We're now back, at least from 9 to 5 7-8ish to 3-4ish, to regular weekday work schedules; and for me, that involves needing to use the computer for Things- and the crap, it creeps.

And is creepy. Story after story, just today, recounted the rampant inhumanity of humans near and far, including people in power and privilege who really should know better.

Here are just three of them. Sadly, two of them are local, but I'll start with the one that isn't.

The latest potential hotspot for racial strife is a Texas town north of Dallas; fortunately, nobody got shot or killed, but all the ingredients were there: a mixed-race group of teenage kids at a community pool party got a little out of hand, and neighbors responded with racist taunts and, worse, called the cops, who proceeded to strongarm some of the African-American teens in attendance and even drew a gun on at least one of them.  That officer has now been suspended, and the department is investigating and sounds reasonable at high department levels, but the backlash against the teenage "thugs" is already coming from the usual defenders of Police Good, Black People Bad crowd. If they'd just obeyed the nice officer's command to disperse, none of this would have happened.  Uh huh. And when white Girls Gone Wild on the Jersey shore, or Good Ol' white frat boys burned down half of downtown Louisville after their basketball team lost a game in March, none of them got choke-holded, threatened or assaulted.

If you don't see it, you just aren't looking.

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Then here: Lancaster is a mixed-up suburb, unsure what it wants to be when it grows up. Its public school sports teams long sported the nickname "Redskins"- until a few months ago, when the school board voted to change it, to a new one of students' choosing.  The Nutjob crowd went nuts, as you would expect- holding a school-day protest where their kids boycotted classes and marched through the town (patently illegal truancy, yet amazingly the mostly-white po-po's were there to protect rather than assault the mostly-white protesters); a few campaigned to vote down the school budget as a further protest; and while they failed in that, they did get two pro-Redskins-name candidates elected to the school board. But the leader of the movement said she was not planning to change the name back.

At least before last night, she was. Last night, she led an absolutely shameful protest at the final meeting of the outgoing board, at which the eighth grader who designed the logo for the new team name (the Lancaster Legends) was supposed to be honored for her accomplishment:

Board President Kenneth Graber commended Korissa and all the students for their effort in the process of selecting a new mascot. “How proud we are of all the students ... They acted very maturely and as adults,” he said. “All of the community is very proud of you.”

But it quickly turned nasty.

As Korissa’s family, dressed in Lancaster’s red and black school colors, was called to the front of the room to be recognized, some Redskins supporters stood and turned their backs.

Many of those who stood up wore T-shirts reading, “Change It Back!” Showing no emotion, they stood for several minutes with their backs turned.

What a message to send to one of your own students: your effort, your initiative, are less important than our old stupid preferences.  These sentiments, once at least muted, are now encouraged by the flame-fanning of Fox News and right-wing radio talkers, who think it's perfectly fine to insult your opponents and win at all costs.

It sickens.

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Is it just at the local odd town level? Fraid not. Witness the actions of one of the most prominent local Republicans, his party's 2010 nominee for governor and now an elected member of the area's largest school board. Crazy Carl showed up over the weekend at a Tea Party rally in a southern tier town where he probably thought nobody would be paying attention. But the story still got out:

After starting by berating Republicans for speaking without cohesion or leadership, Paladino veered off into what some thought was “borderline” racism by referring to all the “non-Americans walking around” the University at Buffalo campus. Asking “why do we have this huge population of foreigners?” Paladino answered his own question. While they pay higher out-of-state tuition their first year, they soon declare themselves residents, and pay the lower tuition, Paladino stated.

This is because “we have la-de-da legislators,” Republican-in-name-only GOP officials and liberals allied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Paladino said.

Later, when he spoke to reporters, Paladino made reference to those “damn Asians coming here to go to school” and keeping local students from educational opportunities.

Eventually, the faily Buffalo paper (that's a typo, but I like it) picked up the story, though without the actual quote; UB put out a response confirming that 99.9 percent of its foreign students pay non-resident tuition and by immigration law cannot seek resident tuition status and maintain their visas; and the Crazy One even issued something of a non-apology apology, causing the Niagara River to part and several hundred Asians to run over from Canada to beat him about the head.

Oddly, the main right-wing talker here had a reporter at the event where this all happened, but I've yet to see a lick of coverage from them. They're all on about the Big Prison Break that they want to blame on the Governor.

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The common thread in all of these is the Usses against the Thems.  I've never really been one of the Usses, so maybe that's why I sympathize with the Thems as much as I do. Growing up, in a somewhat lower economic strata than many kids, without religious or sport connections to them, and with siblings so much older that I didn't have friends through my sisters- put it all together and I was uncool from the get-go.  So I made friends with who I could, and at one point that included the only black kid in the entire elementary class year.

To me, he was just a kid. We rode bikes and traded baseball cards. But I heard the n-bombs being dropped- and, more importantly, so did he. Gordon's family moved away before junior high; I wonder how much the mistreatment affected the family's plans.

I would've hoped that we'd be long past that all by now. Now, I can only pray for a change.

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