Note: The following article repeats a discussion had previously. Asking questions and insisting upon better answers remains the key to shifting the good from the poor, where media and politicians reside.
During my second attempt at fourth-grade in K-12 education, I asked an honest question in January, “Why should I celebrate Black Pride month? I am not black.” My teachers were shocked, utterly speechless for several seconds, and then I got suspended from school for being racist and asking inappropriate questions. My (Hippie) parents came unglued, and my life became immediately more complicated. This does not mean I do not have people from history of black skin that I do not respect, admire, or would like to emulate. The question posed meant then, and now, why should I have pride in all those with the specific melatonin in their skin if I disagree with their choices? For example, I love pre-1990s Jazz and Rhythm and Blues (R&B) Aretha Franklin, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, Fats Domino, etc. I hold in tremendous respect. I’m not too fond of the majority of R&B since 1980 or so, as it hurts my ears, doesn’t sound right to me, and the words to some of the songs have no meaning. No disrespect offered, do not choose to be offended, I have eclectic tastes in people and music.
I celebrate many of the historical figures of all races for their accomplishments, shared cultural sacrifices, and their lives spent improving my life. Dr. Charles R. Drew, and Dr. Thomas Sowell, are but two examples in this category. Don’t worry; I have the same problems with Mexican Pride Month and several other month celebrations and holidays. I am not racist; I am an American and would rather see some American Heritage months! There are some excellent examples of American’s that should be celebrated, maybe not with Federal Holidays, but they deserve more attention than they have received to date.
In the US Navy, an open secret that resulted from the Patriot Act of 2001 was being investigated as a terrorist. I had been asked several questions regarding why certain people act the way they do, the religious motivation, and the tools most popular with terrorists. As I had a reputation for being a trustworthy instructor, who didn’t laugh at questions or people asking for information, and as a person who investigated thoroughly the topics requested. I answered the questions raised from my fellow shipmates. The audience were a couple of Boatswain Mates, undesignated deck seamen, and some undesignated firemen. My officer walked in, heard a small excerpt from the conversation, and the next day started an investigation into my links to terrorism through Navy Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, and the CIA as he was “scared I was a terrorist.” I am neither a terrorist nor a racist. I am not a bigot, nor am I ignorantly asking questions to embarrass, denigrate, or deride. I am a life-long learner and student of human behavior, and I like asking tough questions to facilitate improvement first for myself, then for others.
October 2020, Representative Deb Haaland (D) assaulted my email box with an email whose subject line read, “Pride v. Discrimination.” In reading the email, several questions percolated. Since Rep. Haaland (D) cannot answer the questions posed previously regarding veterans’ abuse in the local VA Hospital, I raise the following questions, looking for answers and honest dialogue. I raise these questions as a measuring stick for your representatives in government; let’s ask tougher questions of those who desire to lead—holding in our hands the information to make more informed choices at the ballot box.
Pride has several standard definitions, and the following are sourced from my Webster’s Dictionary (Unabridged):
“A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
“Consciousness of one’s dignity.”
“The best state or condition of something; the prime.”
“Confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, based on their shared identity, culture, and experience.”
Leading to my honest questions: why would anyone in the House of Representatives be concerned with someone else’s pride, singling out a group or individual for recognition? Would involving yourself in another person or group’s pride mean you are not serving your entire District equally, as we hired you to do? Why is “LGBTQetc.,” pride acceptable, but White Pride unacceptable, as discovered in several Google searches? Doesn’t discrimination mean to support one group or interest over another group or interest? What happened that conflicts of interest are no longer criminal? For example, suppose you are a member of a group, and that group receives preferential or prejudicial treatment from the government because of your actions as an elected government official. In that case, I am left to ask when was this decriminalized? Are these actions not exemplifying racism, sexism, etc., abuse of power?
Dignity, primacy, doing something worthy of pride, confidence, self-respect, shared identity, shared culture, and shared experiences are attributes of people who accomplish something, not merely make a socially convenient choice. Why does America not celebrate American Pride month? America has done tremendous things to advance the cause of all people worldwide, but is not allowed a pride month; I don’t understand.
While I was living on the streets homeless, I met several people who were proud of being homeless and wore their homelessness as a badge of honor. Yet, I wonder, what do they have to be proud of? These people have no jobs, live from hand to mouth, game (defraud) the welfare system, prey upon other people for subsistence, and are proud to wallow in their own filth. Now, I am not by any means classifying all homeless in this category, merely speaking of a distinct subset of people I have met.
As defined, pride requires actions, and other people herald those actions and show pride in those accomplishments. Hence, in this instance, pride is not selfish but selfless and requires recognition by others who generally might not share the same ideals but recognize an accomplishment and glory with you in your success.
As a veteran of the US Military, I was taught service through sacrifice, and pride in accomplishment, pride in sharing a collective culture, identity, and experiences that stretch hundreds of years into the past. I am not against having pride in people who share your melatonin level who have accomplished things worthy of admiration and respect. I do have some concerns when pride is based upon false accomplishments, outright lies, or manipulating current social climates or historical facts. For example, of what do the LGBTQ communities have to be proud? They mainstreamed personal choices and forced their bedroom activities into the public conversation and not much else.
Why should I care that you are proud you created a dialogue, carved out exceptions to laws to support you being preferential, and are forcing your lifestyle and preferences upon society? What have you done to elicit pride? Why should anyone else share in the LGBTQ pride? What selfless accomplishments have the LGBTQ community done that the non-LGBTQ community should reflect pride in the LGBTQ community?
Honestly, I could care less about your bedroom preferences, hetero/homo, etc. I do not care! Keep your bedroom activities in your bedroom, and I have no problems. Make your bedroom a public issue, and I now have a problem. For example, at a movie theater, the action between couples detracted from the movie I paid to see. Worse, it was witnessed by several children, who were way too young to see a pornographic display at a movie theater. If you choose to bring your bedroom into the public square, you deserve to enjoy the consequences of public ridicule and suffer judicial action.
Another example, at various times, I have engaged multiple people about “Black Pride,” “Latino Pride,” and other forms of melanin based pride. In this specific instance, the group was about 8-10 young black males urging everyone to have “Black Pride.” They were employing the term, and I asked several questions, “What had they accomplished to have “Black Pride?” “What did ‘Black Pride’ mean to them personally?” “How do they show “Black Pride?” I am not casting aspersions upon the entire black race, as I have had similar conversations with many other races and people and received extraordinary answers to these same questions.
However, this group could not name a single black person of accomplishment outside of sports figures. Not that some athletes deserve to be remembered for their actions on and off the fields of athletic achievement. The group also disagreed whether someone was “Black Enough” to be considered in “Black Pride” refused black professionals as “Uncle Toms” such as Carla Harris, Susan Chapman, Clarence Thomas, Marshall Thurgood, Robert Smith, or Aliko Dangote. Thus, I remain concerned when celebrating melanin-based pride as the ignorance of why we celebrate casts significant doubt on future generations’ willingness to perform to a level worthy of pride exemplified in previous generations who accomplished greatness.
Why does discriminating continue to get a bad name? I discriminate every day when choosing between blue colored jeans and black colored jeans, between socks, and between foods. Yet, recognizing and understanding the difference between one thing, person, event, etc., and another remains a natural action and central to discriminating as a term and a process.
The legal definition for discrimination is as follows: “The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” I unfairly discriminate against corn on the cob, refuse to eat that nasty stuff on a cob, and rarely eat corn when removed from the cob and frozen. President George Bush hated broccoli, unfairly and prejudicially. When individuals are subjugated to an other individual’s choices based upon melanin levels in their skin, religion, or birth sex (not gender choice), harm (physical, emotional, mental, financial) is done to another; isn’t that just part of life. There are laws to protect one from another when real harm is committed. Again, leading to the question, when an elected official chooses to support one group, over another, for preferential treatment, doesn’t this definition lead to charges of prejudicial treatment and break the law?
For example, Rep. Haaland’s email is promoting a social activity, a choice, and a lifestyle over others in her Congressional District; thus, promoting the idea that those selecting this lifestyle, or making this social choice, are preferential to all other lifestyle choices, and social activities in her Congressional District. Since the representative appears to favor one lifestyle choice and social action over all the others, doesn’t this open the representative to charges of preferential treatment, unfair treatment, and being discriminatory? What happens, and which takes preference when LGBTQ, Latino, and Black concerns all crash together asking for preferential treatment, but the resources demand none can have preferential treatment? What about everyone else in her Congressional District? Are they just out of luck for not belonging to the right melanin-based lifestyle, choice, or social activity to obtain preferential treatment?
Elected Officials, please heed and understand that lowering yourself and your office to select winners and losers means that everyone loses! Elected Officials, do you understand this concept? If so, why do you insist upon not living this concept as an elected official? Why do so many of your peers in elected positions follow your example? Why do so many government employees follow your standard in selecting based upon everything but fairness, honesty, integrity, and demean and degrade themselves while groveling to the current preferred community?
Conservatives, we need to recognize and respond more directly and more bluntly to the actions we witness in the behaviors of Elected Officials of all types, sizes, and levels of government. Judges should not be getting a pass when they let off criminals because of melanin-based interpretations of the law. The school board should not be designating funds based upon melatonin or automatically assuming that melanin dictates intelligence and potential. What about the other populations, peoples, communities, etc., America is a melting-pot where all should be treated equally under one standard of law. Except, since the 1960s, this has not been the case in America. Let’s start asking tougher questions, demanding coherent and logical answers, and holding those elected to live a higher standard that supports the “Rule of Law” in America!
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
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