The Racism Card ?by Karl W Hoffman on Sep. 11, 2010, under Uncategorized
The Racism Card
Racism, just the sound of the word invokes gut wrenching feelings and congers visions of drastic behavior. It terrifies politicians if they haven’t used it first, and brings businesses to their knees. As if it where some ominous black cloud, it also inhibits all rational communication. So why do we use it so loosely?
I believe the history books have not been changed yet as to the out come of the Civil War, the North won. The reality is, that the Majority of Americans that fought in the war and many who gave their lives, was to end slavery and foster freedom for all. It did take well over 100 years for this county to over come civil rights violations and in some parts of the country it took longer. Then, just when we as a country began to heal and make major strides toward equal opportunity in just about every avenue of the American dream, here comes the ugly word “Racism”.
Once the word is used, we as ordinary people have lost all hope of dialect. The word seams to strip the dignity from the most passive of individuals leaving no other alternative but to communicate though a group of attorneys bleeding the entire system like a plague that will infect anyone who comes in contact because they are the only ones impervious to the effects of the word like some demon of democracy that only money will appease.
Playing the racism card seems to be the weapon of choice in the contemporary battles of win at all costs regardless of the collateral damage to people and communities. It is used more and more in the immigration and border security issues when a side doesn’t get their way and wants to use the most drastic of insults that can be printed to prove an irresolute point. Well as my mother used to say “consider the source”
The racism card seems to elevate the pompous leader or glory seeker to new heights of incitement. It is always a crowed pleaser when there is nothing else so say and the risk of losing attention is high.
Lets take a trip to Arivaca a small border town on the Arizona/Mexico border in the wilderness of the high Sonoran Desert. Arivaca has a Saturday farmers market till noon on the main street, the only one that is paved, a community center with a world-class skateboard park built from selling tee shirts. There is a human resource center where meals are prepared daily, by volunteers, for those in need, and a community garden.
The people in Arivaca are compassionate with a deep respect for privacy yet ready to help one another while keeping an open mind to social differences. The border has a strong but different kind of patriotism developed by multi cultural camaraderie and cross border acceptance demonstrated in the day-to-day life, and the many community functions of this small peaceful border town, where the closest law enforcement is over 1 hour away.
I have had the good fortune to experience life here for almost 6 years. Amidst the invasion of government agencies, soldiers, humanitarian groups and hate groups a like, and organized crime, all mixed with the agony of migrant traffic and drug smuggling while at the mercy of the sensationalizing media. This is a community that has no audience to play for as the world watches the border and immigration debacle unfold.
This past 4th of July parade and celebration in Arivaca was the largest ever. There where a few from out of town, but the majority of locals was the usual mixed bag of cowboys and vaqueros, retired folks, hippies and bikers, business owners, artist, musicians, professionals, and a few dubious characters. Some of the welcomed guests in the parade where, the US Air Force Color Guard, The US Border Patrol Color Guard, Trico Electric, The Border Patrol Horse Patrol, Pima County Sheriffs Department and a politician. Arivaca people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and customs all donned the red white and blue to display their patriotism. How refreshing, that nowhere was even a murmur of racism.
The same phenomenon happens through out the year when individual celebrations occur such as Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, The Day of the Dead, Halloween and the Folkloric Festival not mention the many benefits and functions at the Arivaca Community Center. Every one joins in with the same zeal and respect for one another and their customs and culture.
Learning from this small independent community might just be a lesson the rest of this country could use.