John Andrist: A Second Face of Racism and Sexism

People gather for the Women's March in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

There is a subtle form of racism that exists even among those who decry the practice.

I noted a few weeks ago that those who think Native Americans require special benefits are, in fact, racists. An estimated 80 percent of them function just like the rest of us, having walked away from reservation life.

The special laws enacted for blacks only are also racist.

Chinese Americans congregate in separate communities in many of our major cities. China Town, they call them. But they do so voluntarily for their own reasons.

Many folks, particularly rednecks, believe Muslims are inherently dysfunctional. They too are practicing racism.

In truth, most of the racial defects we perceive are simply culturally based.

Some might call me a racist, because I believe there is strong evidence that blacks have a tendency to be athletically superior, that they have been blessed with better body rhythms, but there may be no real research to support it.

Perhaps my label should be reverse racist.

Many of us like to count numbers on the basis of sex. In government, there are far fewer women than men.

North Dakota’s legislative makeup is more than 80 percent male. The inference is we have a social responsibility to elect more women. That’s acceptable, so long as we don’t vote for them just because they are women.

Although I did not vote for President Obama his race had nothing to do with it, and I’m really looking forward to the day I vote for my first woman president — for a good reason.

Elected women govern every bit as well as men. Sometimes better. But perhaps that makes me sexist, which is a cousin to racism.

To eliminate racism and sexism, and get rid of the notion that we are members of any special class, we need to practice judging people individually, by what they really are, not by what group they represent.

Women, more than men, are inclined to give a greater piece of their time to social causes. They seem to be in a strong majority in church leadership and attendance, at concerts, and at art galleries.

You still see more men than women in taverns and at athletic events.

There are far more women in nursing and K-12 education.

In my thinking women are a superior sex in more things than men. That most certainly makes me sexist.

So where am I going with this?

To eliminate racism and sexism, and get rid of the notion that we are members of any special class, we need to practice judging people individually, by what they really are, not by what group they represent.

We will not have arrived until it simply is not news to report black and white crime, sexual components of governing units, even sexual orientation.

We won’t be there until our law books have been expunged of statutes that either limit or provide special benefits for anyone other than for need and ability.

We clearly have a long way to go.

Inauguration Day

I watched the inauguration Friday. It occurred to me that I had no memory of watching any other inauguration.

Then I realized the last six inaugurations were work days for me, because the legislature closes for no person. Once the sessions begin there are no holidays.

For me the inauguration felt like a 4th of July celebration.

I also liked it because it gave me a good look at the Washington Mall filled almost to capacity, with an unbelievable horde of people, standing or sitting where I have jogged perhaps a couple dozen times. You don’t go to that city without seeing the mall.

Who could not love the rendition of “God Bless America” by the Mormon Tabernacle choir and the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by that golden-voiced 16-year old girl, without all of that sliding around most singers employ these days?.

I didn’t really care for the president’s speech, save for a few bits and pieces. I’ve never cared much for his words or his speaking demeanor. But I’m pretty pleased with most of his cabinet appointments.

It also pleased me that they didn’t talk about the 60 or more Congress people who stayed home as a protest, as if anyone cares. Who does?

How can you not like that for nearly 250 years our country has had a presidential election every four years, accompanied by a peaceful transfer of power on each inauguration day?

We are blessed.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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