LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ

We’ll Have To See About Adding More Colored Stripes

What do minority groups (of any stripe) do to get back at people who give them a hard time? Very simple. They keep changing the officially approved name by which they are to be referred. Needless to say, that doesn’t make for open communication—especially as one is always uncertain if one is using the right term of address. For instance: Negro, Black, African-American. Or: Indian, Amerind, Native American.

For sexual preference, there are any number of mostly pejorative terms. What is Fred Astaire’s The Gay Divorcee really about? Can an American teenager see that film without wincing at its title?

That wince is now a feature of American life. It even extends to Latin America. I once wrote a blog mentioning Peruvian Indians. The next morning, I noticed a comment that the moniker I used is now considered racist and I should call them campesinos. What? Does that mean that all Peruvian farmers are descended from native peoples? That can’t be true, as I know there are Peruvians of Japanese extraction, many of whom are profitably engaged in agriculture. And where do all the Chinese vegetables at Peruvian chifas (Chinese restaurants) come from if not from Chinese farmers living in Peru?

The most ridiculous politically correct minority name by far is LGBTQ. The Q (for Queer) was added later. Why? Who likes the idea of being referred to as a Queer? That’s a term from the bad old days, no?

I predict that sexual minorities will not be successfully integrated into our culture until all these politically correct terms are trashed. Whatever dignity is gained from the term is lost by the unwillingness of the majority culture to engage on that level. And what about that flag with all the colors? It’s like the American flag in the old days when they added not only a new star but a new stripe every time a state joined the union. And besides, how many other colors can we add?

 

 

 

It’s Gone Way Beyond Taco Bowls

Sculpted Mariachi Band in Albuquerque’s Old Town

Whose America is it? Does it belong to those Scots-Irish who have lived in these United States for generations, or does it belong to the people who meet a different profile? There is no disputing the fact that our demographics are changing. And that seems to be causing a lot of pain among those who appear to be “left behind.”

Here’s a little summary from National Public Radio of what is happening to the racial composition of the U.S. as of 2017:

  • The Asian population grew by 3.0 percent to 21.4 million.
  • People who identified as being of two or more races grew by 3.0 percent to 8.5 million.
  • The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population grew by 2.1 percent to 1.5 million.
  • The Hispanic population (including all races) grew by 2.0 percent to 57.5 million.
  • The American Indian and Alaska Native population grew by 1.4 percent to 6.7 million.
  • The black or African-American population grew by 1.2 percent to 46.8 million.
  • The white population grew by 0.5 percent to 256.0 million.
  • The non-Hispanic white alone population grew by 5,000 people, remaining at 198.0 million.

Just take a quick look at that last item again. The non-Hispanic white population has grown by only 5,000 to 198,000,000. That represents a 0.25% growth rate. We casually tend to treat Hispanics as a separate race. According to the Bureau of the Census, Hispanics can classify themselves as White, Black (Cubans for example), Asian (some Filipinos for example), and American Indian (some Navajo for example). Now compare that measly 0.25% growth rate to all the other growth rates in the above table.

“I Love Hispanics” Says the President-Elect While Praising His Taco Bowl (?!) from the Trump Tower Grill

While our Presidente claims to love Hispanics, he probably only loves Devin Nunes and a handful of other of his supporters who happen to be Hispanic. All the rest of them are rapists or worse. Doesn’t he know that he represents what once was a strapping majority and is on its way to becoming a minority? That’s already happened to Los Angeles. What is Herr Trumpf going to do? Deport Asians, Blacks, and—Heaven forfend!—American Indians?

My guess is that there is going to be a reckoning at some point. What is happening to the United States is a throwback to the Know-Nothings of the 1840s who were so violently opposed to Irish immigration. Eventually, the Irish won; and even Trumpf accepts them as sort of, kind of white. The Republicans are holding on to power by the skin of their teeth, and due largely to outrageous gerrymandering.

Does racism have a future in America? I don’t think so. We all have a part to play in carrying on the American Dream.

By the way, what in blue blazes is a taco bowl?

June 16, 2015—Day of Infamy

Mark That Date in Your Book of Infamy

That was the day Donald Trumpf and his wife Melania rode that escalator at Trump Tower to announce his run for the presidency. And that was the day he decided to attack Mexican-Americans and promise to build a “big beautiful wall” for which Mexico would pay:

Donald Trump kicked off his presidential bid more than a year ago with harsh words for Mexico. “They are not our friend, believe me,” he said, before disparaging Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

And with that speech came an injection of open racial hate into American life from a presidential candidate. The hate continued to build until only the hard core of his supporters were exempted from being called “losers.”

Alas, on that day, we all became losers. Big time.

 

Betty, Veronica, and Racism in America

One Can Learn a Lot from These Two Young Women

Both Women Were Equally AttractiveI came back to my apartment early this afternoon while Martine was watching The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963) on TCM starring Glenn Ford, Dina Merrill, and Stella Stevens. The two latter stars are in competition with each other to marry Glenn, who is the father of Eddie (played by Ron Howard), his son from an earlier marriage. It is Stella, the blonde, who wins, while the raven-haired Dina ends up sucking a mop in left field.

The film made me think of the Archie comic books I used to read in my youth. In these comics, the blonde Betty is pitted against the dark-haired Veronica for Archie’s affections and, not coincidentally, ours. I seem to remember that my sympathies were with Betty, and probably intended by the cartoonist to be so. There is something of the Dragon Lady about Veronica.

Both Women Were Equally Attractive

I grew up thinking that blondes were more beautiful. After all, there were Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett Johansson, Dominique Sanda, Brigitte Bardot, Uma Thurman, Grace Kelly, and Catherine Deneuve—not to mention several hundred others. It was only later that I fell for brunettes like Nastassja Kinski and Natalia Tolokonnikova of the Russian rock group Pussy Riot.

But for the longest time, I was in love with golden-haired beauties. I cannot help but wonder whether it was a subtle form of racism implicit in the dichotomy between Betty and Veronica. Thank God, now I think all kinds of women are beautiful, even the green ones shown on the old Star Trek show. Fortunately, I have not become fixated exclusively on the green ones, because else I would be desperately lonely.

Green Women Can Be Nice…

 

“They Stomped the Floor”

Alabama Governor and Presidential Candidate George C. Wallace (1919-1998)

Alabama Governor and Presidential Candidate George C. Wallace (1919-1998)

Politically speaking, I come from a very divided family. My brother and I were Liberal Democrats, my mother was an independent (she loved John B. Anderson in 1980), and my father was a staunch follower of segregationist Alabama Governor George C. Wallace.

Actually Wallace was not always a segregationist. He started out as a circuit judge of the Third Judicial Circuit in Alabama, where he was known for his fairness, irrespective of race. He even called Black attorneys “Mister” rather than patronizingly referring to them by their first names.

When he ran for governor of Alabama in 1958, he was defeated by John Malcolm Patterson, who ran with the support of the Ku Klux Klan, against which Wallace had spoken on occasion. (in fact, the NAACP had supported Wallace.) This loss wrought a change in the candidate: “You know why I lost that governor’s race? … I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again.” And he wasn’t.

From this point on, Wallace adopted an wavering segregationist policy. “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”

Alas, my poor father was also anti-integration. As an uneducated factory worker, he was afraid that Southern Blacks were coming to take away his job. So he thought Wallace was the man to stem that tide. Today, he would probably vote for Trump.

Good Ol’ Boys

Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland

In many parts of the United States, there is a class of males usually referred to as Good Ol’ Boys. We have become accustomed to letting these Good Ol’ Boys have a “Get Out of Jail Free” card whenever they step across the line. But what happens when these same erring Good Ol’ Boys are the police, mayors, judges, and district attorneys. The result is injustice, and lately, injustice on a large scale.

The Internet has been used too often to convey outrage. Today, in this post, I want to convey sadness. The strange death of Sandra Bland (pictured above) troubles me. Why should someone so young and so beautiful end her life in a jail cell by hanging herself with a plastic garbage bag. Oh, it could have been someone older and uglier and fatter, and the injustice would have been the same. But there is an added poignancy for someone who should have had a rich, full life.

I don’t know whether Sandra suffered some massive affront to her dignity that caused her to commit suicide—or whether she was “helped” by Good Ol’ Boys wearing badges. The facts have not come out yet. I’m just saying that this should not have happened whatever the circumstances.

If the Good Ol’ Boys turn out in the end to have been evil malefactors, they should suffer the full consequences.

A Two-Tiered Highway System

Bus Accident in the Andes

Bus Accident in the Andes

Peru is a major destination for international tourism. It can also be a deadly one. While the nation has improved the highway system connecting such tourist magnets as Lima, Arequipa, Nazca, Cusco, and Arequipa, many large towns in the Andes are linked by roads that are unsafe. This is compounded by the fact that not only the highways, but also the long-distance bus lines, are also two-tiered. A point-to-point Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, or Ormeño bus will generally get you to your destination safely; but a second class bus plying the roads between such cities as Huancayo and Ayacucho takes much longer, picks up and drops off passengers whenever requested, and is likely to have an overtired driver who has been at the job for over twelve hours. When that is combined with night driving, inclement weather, and bad roads, the result can be a fatal accident such as the one illustrated above.

According to the Peru This Week website:

Congresswoman [Veronika] Mendoza has highlighted the inequality inherent in the consistent state of disrepair of roads in rural Peru. “It absolutely cannot be that only roads on tourist routes are in a good condition while the internal transport highways that Cusquenos use aren’t being cared for in the same way,” Mendoza stated, later adding that “We also have to consider the additional difficulty for transportation that the arrival of the rainy season will bring.”

Statistics released by Sutran, Peru’s national government land transport authority, reveal that road deaths have risen dramatically in the past year. According to El Comercio, deaths caused by road accidents from January to August 2013 have risen 36.5% compared with the same period last year.

Many American tourists are interested in following the line of the Andes and visiting the highland cities with their spectacular mountain views and native arts and crafts. While this is not impossible, there is considerable risk attached to such an itinerary.

Photo of Serrano Boy

Photo of Serrano Boy

Part of the problem is that, as in other countries that are racially divided, Peru suffers from racism against serranos and cholos, descendants of the Incas and other peoples inhabiting the Andes. We tend to think of the Andean tribal peoples as being the majority in Peru, but that is not the case: The narrow coastal desert zone holds the majority of the population as well as the economical and political power. The result is that the rural Andes are underserved by good roads and public transportation.

If and when my planned trip to Peru takes place, I will be careful to take the first class buses to major tourist destinations—at least until I have been able to scope out the situation myself.