Public Bigotry and The Outraged

Concerning recent news of crime of another country or city, or the crimes committed by an individual of another culture or demographic- why must the public assume ‘all’ are at fault? Whether the media is to discuss India and its rape victims, Chicago and its murder rates; or Muslim men found guilty of sex trafficking, white person found to be racially insensitive in a debate, etc.. The presumption is always ‘all’, not a few and those individuals that have committed the crimes as individuals. No it is always, almost always, public bigotry and outrage attributing the cause to a collective rather than to the individual(s) or the perpetrators.

If a white person exhibits racial insensitivity then it is confirmation that all white people are racist. Or that this individual is a representation of their group-that being white America (a monolithic phrase attributed).

If a Muslim extremist decides a path to a rewarding heaven is by destruction of the livelihoods of others it is then Muslims as a whole that are barbaric in nature. Never the individual easily impressionable, and easily forgetful in the worth of self and humanity.

If there is a man obsessed with power, or one that expresses his insecurities and sickness aggressively on the innocent not consenting, the public assumes that it is men generally. Men are not to be trusted as they are all potential rapist, abusers or a danger waiting to happen.

These few examples are of major complaints that are read and heard throughout the news today, yesterday and tomorrow. To assume that ‘all’ are the case for danger, a reason for distrust rather than to aim at those that commit their crimes.

The underlying thought here is the obsession with assuming a collective understanding of how humans function in society. With the presumption that we all exist in our respective monolith, rather than as individuals first. The sudden urge to accuse the singular characteristic as the definition of all others similar-without consideration of the diversity that exist in what is thought to be sameness.

I am referring to terms such as ‘white America’. A collective, a monolith-that actually exist with distinctive identities and cultures. Though I’m referring to that white kid in class being assessed by the bitter, yet equally ignorant classmate. This kids heritage is assumed to be that of slave owners, though he may not have had any. This kid’s background of poverty is not related to the oppression or subjugation of others. A finger is pointed at him by the equally bitter and ignorant as the reason for the greater crimes committed by individuals, again, not related to him. However, since this white kid uttered something racially insensitive in class the argument then is about the racism, like his own, persisting in white America. An issue that harms the rest.

I’m referring to that comment made by Margaret and the other following made further down by John. A news story about men who appear not quite white and not quite black, yet they appear nothing like a Christian either. “A group of Muslim men”, they both snort and sneer. The news headlining that all men in the photo provided were charged with raping and kidnapping several young girls and women. It’s a common story of sex trafficking gaining interest among the media reporting something ‘new’ and forgotten. No one else may convince Margaret or John that all Muslim men are not deviant barbarians. No one may convince them-whether calmly in a thoughtful retort; or a call to shame through either mocking or carrying on back and forth in anger. Their thoughts are indeed ignorant and problematic, yet the comment thread has not gained a single light of awakening. “It is my opinion and I have a right to it”, as each reply or will eventually state. What do they say, then, when the Christian rapes and destroys the livelihood of others? Their thought is one of deflection. That  is an act of someone in-Christ like and that person exist as an individual; therefore not Christian. As to assume so would include both as having probability of committing a similar crime.

Lastly, I’m referring to those that believe a culture exist where men are free to rape without consequences. And that rape is a monopoly, held primarily among men-all men with the potential and intention to rape. “Not all men” is a phrase to specify the issue as an individual crime, whether grouped or not. The rebuttal then is that this phrase is offensive as it allows men thinking of self, to not consider the greater cause by the commonality of the victims perpetrators. Include ‘race’ and ‘religion’ to see how this topic becomes complicated. Talk about rape culture and black men and see raised concerns over the constant acquisition of young black men historically and presently accused of such a crime. It is then individual if one is black, to avoid racial insensitivities.

Why is it ‘all’ rather than a few or those individuals that have committed the crime in particular? Not much has changed with these continuing discussions of the same news, though with different details. Those that point a finger are set within their opinions, a wall built of continued anger and distrust. Nothing has been accomplished in argument assuming crime is associated to the groups most distrusted. No common understanding has been formed as such people wish to point and categorize.

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Woes of Womanhood

Woes of Womanhood
In the news today was yesterday news, about another country. Today BBC re-reported about at 10-year-old girl raped and now pregnant. The parents unknowing of the cause, and unknowing of their child’s term. They instead pacified her dark reality that her belly is growing due to a stone.
I sit here to read through the comments of concerned people, male and female, around the world. Those in defense of their country and others condemning the savagery of an act- not tolerated within more developed nations. Though this fact does gloss over that rape and forced pregnancy are a common occurrence around the world. Yes, rape and forced pregnancies are more likely to occur in some places more than others, but the point remains that it is occurs. And for it to happen to someone so young and innocent, though it is a matter of concern regardless of age and sex as well, is truly devastating.
The woes of being a woman.
She is told to be the backbone of the family dynamic. She is the house wife, the care giver, the cook and the mother treated as the same-a domestic animal; if not respected in some countries, and different cultural places. In some countries and places, around the world, this demand to become a domestic animal is introduced so young. At the age of 12 years-old she is a ‘woman’ without reaching womanhood. She is expected to be a mother though she is just a child herself. At the age of 9 years old she is told that her place is not outside, unless her culture demands all hands in the fields. Her place is in the kitchen or at the dinner table, mat or floor, her place is here. Her purpose is to serve and to be selfless while doing so. She is then taught to be the voiceless, compliant, master of her husband’s home.
Regarding sex she is not given any power or consideration that she too may enjoy pleasure, not pain. In some counties and places the power of sex is given to a male, who is taught to allow his desires to roam and to partake in several trials. She, then, is only allowed to be nonresistant. This too is true in more developed nations. Where the fault of her not consenting is within question of what she had worn that night or how much she had had to drink. In other cultures it is how tempting she may have been, so passively, to reveal her wrist. By this way women are taught that sex is power and that is what is given to the other sex. Then must we forget that women may enjoy sex too! She may be labeled a slut, a hoe in the process of her demanding attention as men demand attention. Or she simply enjoys the act of pleasure with her mate, preferably one that is respectful of her consent. In all what is forgotten through critic and debate, is that women enjoy pleasure.
These are a couple of vague explanations of some negative occurrences in life that impact a woman. No, as it impacts one it also impacts all. Whether we are to experience the negatives or not as individuals, we too understand the demands and dangers of it all becoming a possibility. And for others it is a significant chance of reality as they skirt through life in their environment always cautious of their surroundings.
And what is difficult to fathom here is how a child must forget being a child to experience these woes of womanhood. At 10 years old to experience a traumatic event, then to bring new life into this cycle of hurt. No, a ‘stone’ sits within her belly. What a curious way to explain the rape-as it cannot be described any other way-into her body, her mind as she carries this ‘stone’. For how long or how much longer she may think. How will this ‘stone’ may be removed? A natural cause, one by surgery or medicine? One could only imagine the difficult situation of either depending on the health resources available to her.
I can only imagine how she must feel, as her awareness of the world outside of child’s play is now stark. I’m not imaging her as herself, since a picture will never be provided. Instead I’m imaging her in different faces and facial features. Where her skin is brown, dark or white. Whether she has shoes on her feet or scrapes of cloth wrapped around, or even a sandal. The country where the rape occurred and where this child may live is not the concern so much, though only for her access to health resources. The skin color, genetic makeup of the predator, the rapist is not a concern here. The concern lies with innocence. The concern lies with a direct violation of a body. As it is something all too common in all places.

Monuments to the Confederacy

There is a heated debate over the public presentation of confederate soldier monuments decorated throughout the southern region of the United States. A dozen have been taken down in the light of recent vocal public outrage, which has caused additional outrage in itself.  NBC sites the Southern Law Poverty Center stating that over 1,500 monuments to the confederacy still remain. And the upset on either side of the debate remains as well, since the pressure to either keep or to remove the monuments is the decision of the government. What is the argument of either of the outraged? That the monuments to the Confederacy are history. Well they both agree that the monuments are both symbolic and important. What is the debate then? One side assumes that the monuments are a history of a defense to the crimes against humanity and the treason that cost the lives of over 1.2 million men [and women] union and confederate soldiers. A war that ultimately devastated the economy of the South, which then influenced the history of ‘race’ relations with its freed population of black Americans there after. As to where the monuments should be relocated, the majority consensus say a museum, while others say they should be all destroyed and forgotten. The other side, seemingly the direct descendants of confederate soldiers as well, argue that the monuments are history and should be honored and should remain. The confederate soldiers should be honored for their valor, for the act of fighting in a war. I’ve noticed that those that argue this point are those that support soldiers no matter if the war that was fought was just or justified in its subject. Their offense is that a soldier’s duty has been taken for granted. As well, they ask ‘why now?’ They are asking well the monuments have been present for well over 50 years or more. Why now is the public outraged of their presence?

The argument between the two sides is agreed upon by myself as well. What are my thoughts on the debate rather? I will tell my opinion as a person of several influences. I am a black American, a descendant of black American slaves. I was born and raised in the rural South part of north Georgia. I grew up on a road that was part of the Callaway Plantation Farms, which still remain in name today. I grew up on the same roads as my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother who was most likely a slave. My rural town is connected to a historic district town called Washington, GA. In that town I remember my kindergarten school tour to the Callaway Plantation house. As well I remember my time walking about the center staring at the courthouse and the large tree that stood before it. The tree has since been taken down. I always noticed the large tree, however I never paid any attention to the confederate monument that stands before the courthouse. As my mom would drive around I would definitely see it. However I did not know to whom it honored or what it honors. I was never taught in school why it was there. As far as I know I was not concerned, no one was concerned about its presence. Now that I am observing an outrage about confederate monuments, as an adult, my feelings towards the monument of my hometown remains, honestly, unconcerned.

Again, I am a person of several influences and one of my influence is my great interest for, and my study of, history. I have recently graduated with my degree in history, specifically about western civilization. On my personal free time I will read more, watch more, discover about the history of the United States. As one of my southern history professors stated ‘I like history that is told in my backyard’. What I have been taught, and what I have learned on my own, is that the preservation of history is important. As well the preservation of a history torn and destroyed is important. There is a great importance, then, in the matter of people making historic decisions about their history regardless. The fact that a racist society decided to honor the Confederacy with monuments to the soldiers that had died in vain, is a historic decision. The more vocal outrage calling out the racial insensitive that is reminded with the presence of confederate monuments is now history. And if our government decides to take down all 1,500 or more monuments in light of outrage will be recorded in history. We will, indefinitely, be reminded that the American Civil War was fought and Confederacy had lost. We will forever be reminded that this was an important battle fought. This is what makes history interesting. As long as there is a record of an idea and of its existence, we will forever be reminded.

With or without the presence of the monuments, we still have descendants of the confederate soldiers that regard the valor highly. They honor their history with decorated confederate flags as shirts, hats, bras, bumper stickers for trucks. They will forever speak of ‘Southern Pride’ so long as they have children to continue their culture and beliefs. We will still have a segment of the U.S. population to remind us that the Confederacy mattered to millions of people. And that their voice and beliefs is why the monuments were erected in the first place. We are forever reminded.

Should the monuments stay, then? I am stating, as an opinion, to regardless of the decision made by local governments, the history remains and is reminded.