Monday, November 24, 2014

Unlike Colbert, America sees race

The incomparable Stephen Colbert, of the eponymous "The Colbert Report," almost always tells his African-American guests that he doesn't see race. Not even his own. Some people tell him that he's white and he takes their word for it.

With last week's announcement from President Obama that his administration would delay deportation for as many as 5 million illegal aliens in America coupled with this week's grand jury decision clearing a cop of killing of an unarmed black man in Missouri, we are seeing nothing but race.

It's who we are.

Instead of a "post-racial" America that some saw after President Obama's election in 2008, we are firmly in the grip of racial hatred once again.

The immigration issue, though, reminds me of the Woody Allen joke from "Annie Hall":

"This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken.' And, uh, the doctor says, 'Well, why don't you turn him in?' The guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.'"

We have this crazy love-hate thing going with hispanics, particularly Mexicans. We love their food, but mostly we love how cheaply they will do manual labor. 

And, it's no longer just farm work or house cleaning. Hispanics now do most construction jobs in California. Even in Bend, roofing companies hire Mexicans because they can pay them less than white Americans.

And yes, many companies that employ/exploit Mexicans are the same ones that then turn around and rail against our government for letting all these illegal immigrants into this country. Is that not crazy?

Without cheap hispanic labor, this country's economy would collapse. 

Like many cultures, we need to exploit many workers to benefit others. 

Afterall, this country was founded on the principle of slavery, which was unpaid, forced labor. 

Yes, it is true that having so many undocumented people living in this country causes some problems, but we are willing to endure the closure of some hospital emergency rooms or the exploitation of our government's social services just so we can keep the hedges trimmed or the pool cleaned at such a bargain.

The problem isn't them, it is us.

President Obama set a trap for Republicans and they were eager to fall for it. Their hatred for Mexicans came shining through. Not exactly a winning strategy.

As for the tragic case in Ferguson, Mo., where yet another police officer shot yet another unarmed black man, the media is fanning the flames there.

Afterall, it is sweeps month, when the networks set their advertising rates based on viewership during November. Riots make for strong visuals or so they think.

Any casual viewer of cable news or listener of talk radio or reader of comments after stories on the web, can realize that racism is alive and well. 

The disgruntlement after President Obama's re-election has turned into vocal outrage. 

Nevermind that the stock market is at record highs or the economy has rebounded. An alarming number of white Americans feel threatened by people who don't look like them. 

This is also a byproduct of the escalating income gap, but that's another story.

The bottom line is that we are crazy. And, we need the eggs.

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