Hobbling Around the Issues: Ethnicity in America

First, I should give credit to badlandsbadly for bringing this topic up. If you haven’t seen it you should visit his blog. Typically he writes IH (intelligent humor for those of you who don’t live in my mind). His post was about Black History Month. Although I tried to express how I felt about this in the comments of his blog; I just couldn’t get the topic off my mind, so here we are.

When I think about ethnicity in America, I have some mixed feelings.  There are a lot of benefits to having a diverse society. That being said, having a month dedicated to celebrating one group of individuals based on race, seems like it just reinforces segregation. Here is a summary of how I feel, but then I want to point out something that I haven’t heard anyone talk about.

“I think that there are so many people throughout history who have drastically changed the world. I think instead of having a “black” history month, each month should be dedicated to great inventors, scientists, artists, etc. It wouldn’t hurt for Americans to start learning about the people who have shaped this country, regardless of their ethnicity.

In fact, I think we should quit having African-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, etc. Why can’t we all just be Americans? Each group of people has contributed to our society in good and bad ways. I understand being proud of your heritage, but the more we separate each group based on ethnicity, sex, age, or anything else, the less strength we have as a nation. A strong rope is made of different strands, but it is only strong when the strands are woven together.”

Ok, now for the subject no one seems to be addressing. Our President is the first black president right? Actually he’s not. His mom was white. He is the first president to have ever had the opportunity, based on physical qualities, to present the case for equality. I feel like he dropped the ball on this issue before he became president. The fact is, there are not many of us who are purely one race. In crude terms, most of us are mixed breeds…mutts if you will. Why the president did not point this out as part of his platform while running for president is beyond me.

When are we going to realize we are all different, and that difference is ok. In fact, it’s great. Race should not be celebrated or put down in this country. Achievements, inventors, great humanitarians, etc. should be celebrated regardless of race. Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do you think?

For information about potential mixed racial status of other presidents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_heritage_of_United_States_presidents

21 thoughts on “Hobbling Around the Issues: Ethnicity in America

  1. The “Other” field was too short, so here’s my answer:
    I think Black History month is good for at least 2 reasons – African Americans have historically been more (and more consistently) oppressed than other ethnic groups nationwide, so it is right to give the acheivers plaudits, and it also reminds us of American complicity in their suffering which shouldn’t be forgotten.

    but there’s no reason other groups shouldn’t be highlighted throughout the calendar as well.

    • That make sense. If accomplishments individually (regardless of race) are recognized, I think that Black History Month is a good thing. My biggest issue is recognizing significant events in our nations history but recognizing them as history. I want us to move into the current world and into the future with anticipation and excitement knowing that regardless of who you are, what you look like, the problems that you grew up with, etc. You can do amazing things.

      So, do you think that President Obama should have gone further to showcase the fact that he, like many of us, are of mixed decent and it’s time to step over the black/white line?

      • As far as his lineage, I think that Obama should lead by example. There is something to be said for marching through an issue by just acting as if you’re right.. By engaging with his detractors, he gives them more weight.
        Sadly, I don’t think Obama has been as inspiring an office holder as he was a campaigner.
        I hope that makes sense…

        • That does make sense, and you are right about campaigning. The first time I remember hearing him speak after he started running, I thought he was one of the best orators I had heard in a long time. I think a lot of people are pretty discouraged about politics in general right now because last election there was so much hope for positive change. It seems like once people get elected their integrity starts falling way too fast.

          • I don’t think he lost his integrity. But at a certain point, you have to be the guy. I think he went ridiculously far in trying to be accommodating and reasonable, but when that didn’t work, he never stepped up, and it seems like things just got worse.
            Very disheartening.

            • Don’t you think our society makes it difficult to really step up on anything? As far as the integrity thing, I think that Obama, like many other politicians, made promises he couldn’t keep, but that is standard practice in Washington. I like to believe that he (like other presidents) really wanted to accomplish a lot for our nation, but it is difficult (impossible) to get everyone together on any issue…for lack of a better phrase…you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

              It is really politics in general that has lost it’s integrity more than any one person. We (as a nation) seem to have created a system where everyone’s motives; especially if you are a public feature, are questionable.

              Lobbying is the standard practice and everything else seems to be on one extreme or another. I wish that someone, while running for office, could make and keep at least some promises, but we have complicated our government so much that political people have to jump through hoops to accomplish anything, so even the best intentions and trying to do everything you possibly can, just gives the media more to argue about and doesn’t accomplish anything.

              Disheartening is the perfect word.

  2. I liked this Rebekah. Seems like government and civil rights are both corrupted by power hungry people. I just want some honest and pure hearted people championing the rights of the people regardless of their race.

    • Me too Kim, and thanks…it can be a touchy subject, but it shouldn’t be (in my opinion). Until we start seeing beyond race or appearance at all really, we will never be as strong as we could be. P.s. I hope everything goes well this weekend!

  3. I think we should celebrate people’s positive accomplishments, rather than an ethnicity. And, note that I said we should celebrate their accomplishments – not necessarily the people, themselves. History has a tendency to blur the real story – classifying everyone as either villains or heroes. The truth is, most people that achieved greatness had some not-so-great characteristics as well.

    • So true. All of us want people to think we were and are perfect, but our families know the truth. If you live with someone, it doesn’t take very long to realize how human everyone is.

  4. I really like your ideas for this subject. Is there a way to educate people about this? Perhaps rounding up a group of advocates and giving the ideas a name and a core cause (for example, the gay rights activists, etc), people would educate others about it and share the knowledge.

    At least it would convince people to think critically and independently about the issues instead of relying on society to instruct them how to think.

    • Thanks so much. There has got to be some advocacy groups that I could contact, and that is a great idea. Thanks for the idea and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. Just skimming, but not only do we need to get rid of black history month, but we need to get rid of affirmative action, too. It’s totally NOT a matter of race- it’s a matter of opportunity. People can’t say we’re all equal and then play a trump card that gets a person an advantage. And any more, companies/colleges etc are forced to not accept the most qualified person because of stipulations placed upon them.

    We are all Americans. Period. And Natives are a pretty darn oppressed group of people and have been since the white man came in and took over their country.

    Ya, we’re all mutts more or less (except those coming over our southern borders for the most part…..) anyhow. There is nothing wrong with being proud of heritage, but a person can’t claim equality if anyone is given any kind of advantage based on race.

    If you are going to celebrate achievement, celebrate achievement but don’t pull the race card, because otherwise, it truly will never end.

    Just my .02; ymmv, of course……..

  6. “Black History Month” just reinforces “race”, period. To me it is a “race card” played by politicians who were forced by certain segments of society that wanted special recognition for being black. The fact is Americans of all colors were involved in building this country. I am officially an immigrant German (had to be naturalized – despite having been born to American parents – yah; we’ve lived a strange life indeed!) – should there be a “German-American Month”? (Einstein would be listed in there). Or how about a “Chinese-American Month”? (for the Chinese played a major role in opening up the western railroads and the west).

    (sigh). Sometimes we are TOO honest sometimes. Here is a blog we made: Strictly A Point of View (http://wp.me/2bG9D). It’s our new blog, and a place for some of our personalities to rant and rave. And guess what we started with? Black History Month. In this Month and this blog we are doing what so many others are doing: featuring black Americans, one per day for the month of Feb. However . . . these are African-Americans who have not done so well. Wayne Williams was one of them; Marion Barry another. Just to give the “flip side” to what we see as a racial issue of our times: the celebration of a particular ‘race’ or ‘culture’ over another one. And to tell the truth, I’m just waiting for the repercussions: someone saying it’s wrong to feature blacks with bad histories during this period, or why don’t we list Hitler (we’re saving him for “White History Month”). I’m sure I’m gonna get accused of racism before it’s done – for telling the truth about someone. But then again, I’ve heard so much hatred and bad attitude directed towards “my” kind of people (white ones) – that I’ve given up and gone beyond caring. Let ’em think what they want about me; only I know the truth, and the truth is rather kind (despite some dark periods of even greater darkness that I’ve left behind).

    Racism is a bad thing no matter what color it comes in. And to me Black History Month just perpetuates the thing. It’s not about creed or color of skin. It’s about being human – and doing something positive with your live – and lifting your OWN self up despite the odds (and I’ve had odds against me for a long, looonnnggg time) – and proving your own worth by being more than human – and being humane.

    • Well said, and I will check out your other blog. So true about being humane too. I think that there is a lot of racism toward everyone…maybe white men the most…our society while preaching the wisdom of equality, has catered to the special interest groups in just about every way. There will never be a “color-free” America, but the lines in the sand just grow deeper when one particular group, based on race, gender, or anything else that we have no control over, is singled out for praise or rebuke.

  7. Hey Rebekah. I came here on the recommendation of Kebperspectives. It seems that we have similar views on race awareness in the US. Good thoughts here, and I’m glad that I’m not the only blogger who is bringing this up.
    I agree with you… I too chose the 2nd yes and the 2nd no. I would be fine with either of these perspectives.

    • I checked out your blog, and I think we do have the same opinion on this issue. I really hope we start to see more and more attention being placed on this, and other issues that, for whatever reason,seem to be taboo.

      • Glad to be able to bring you two together! I love when people of similar perspectives can meet and discuss the important things to them. This is part of why I joined the blogging community. I don’t need to be a millionaire when I am done with my life, I have made a significant difference right here. And, even if this is the extent of our mutual interactions (doubtful, but who knows?) we will all remember it as long as we are able. That is what matters to me.

        • Well said! Blogging has really meant a lot to me. After I broke my hip and was home most of the time, I started to feel really depressed and disconnectd. That was when I started this blog, and I have enjoyed it so much. There is something so important about debate and discussion for me. It really helps me feel alive, and it is good for maintaining brain health too. 😉

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