Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): The Race Debate

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Race Debate

I'm sick to death of this conversation, but it appears we're going to continue having it long after I'm gone. So here we go. I'm going to talk race for half a second, and then I'd like to stop for the rest of my life. I've had enough. 

First, I'm actually quite sick of people asking me to give my thoughts on the topic of police and race. I think it's mildly racist to make the assumption that I have something special to say on the topic by virtue of my race. Mostly when police shoot an unarmed person, I feel desperately sorry for everyone involved. 

Police shouldn't be asked to "police" with weapons a man selling black market cigarettes on the streets of New York City. The only danger New York police were fighting when they placed Eric Garner in a choke hold was the danger that a guy might be making money without giving the government a cut. Police are put in an incredibly awkward position when they are given deadly weapons and then asked to police at the point of a gun things like broken tail lights, expired tags, and city code violations. (And yes, I recognize it's slightly more complicated than that. But only slightly.) There's zero excuse for making a bad situation worse by killing police. That's sick, and those people are clearly mentally imbalanced. 

Since we're on this topic of race, I'll tell you what fires me up.

I'm sick of the indignity of people assuming that the opportunities I've received are due to race. That's outrageous, but I can tell you in the last week, two, well-meaning liberals have explained to me that I have been given the opportunity to write a political column (or appear as a panelist on television) because I'm a minority woman. Um. I'm just spit-balling here, but maybe I've been given those opportunities because I'm a pretty decent writer, and I work at it. Every.single.day, I write. Conservatives have occasionally made those assumptions, but it's far rarer from the right than from the left in my experience. So, stop it. Are there people who land in positions based on how they look? Of course. Victoria's Secrets runway shows are particularly cruel in that regard. More often, people get jobs and opportunities based on who they know. Does this give certain people advantages? Sure. Does that mean the whole world is racist?Of course not. It means they're people, and almost all of the people I know are trying--really trying.

Third, I'm really tired of well-meaning people trying to speak for everyone else. I can't tell you the number of Facebook posts I've seen in the last few weeks saying things like, "Police think this.... Black people believe this..." Those are awfully bold generalizations. Stop attempting to tell other people what they think, because truthfully, you don't know. You're making assumptions, and if your assumption covers an entire race or a very broad workforce, you're wrong. You're stereotyping. You're doing the very thing your self righteous Facebook post is accusing everyone else of doing. Stop it. 

I'm going to give a perfect example: I have two cousins, unrelated to one another --one white, one black, who both grew up in the same small Kansas town. They're friends. They graduated from the same high school in the same class. They have similar economic backgrounds, similar post high school educations. They're both in their mid-30s, and have since moved to slightly larger Kansas towns. Reading their Facebook posts about the current race situation has been a revelation. 

One cousin posts repeatedly about how the police have done a grave injustice to the black community. He posts a lot of Black Lives Matter stuff. The other cousin posts a lot of stuff like this: "Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. She didn't trash the bus. Big difference." Now guess which one is white and which cousin is black, and get back to me. It's probably not what you think.

And this has apparently become a thing: Counting the number of black people wherever you are or in photos. I'm sorry, but that's just gross and creepy. I've seen a number of people making comment about how few black people are at the convention (already!!?), and the other day, I had lunch with someone who doesn't like Overland Park because there just aren't enough black people there. I can't even imagine wandering through the world keeping a mental tally of the number of black people in random shopping centers. Unless it's a KKK rally, the number of black people in attendance at an event or a particular shopping center really isn't relevant. So, stop it. 

People are people, and lots of people do stupid things. There's no reason to add to the nonsense with self-righteous posts on social media or by demanding that others take a stand on Facebook. 

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