20100718

Vicious Cycle

Warning: this blog topic is heavy! If you want to avoid that, here is the latest on the garden -- I put a planting strip between the brick seating area and fence and threw in some Great Northern beans to grow something there until I have more permanent plants. Plus once the beans are done I can turn them into the soil for fertilizer!


For the permanent plantings, I took cuttings of Salvia elegans (nice in salads if you can get over the fuzziness, good flash fried, not so great dried), Salvia officinalis, Lavandula dentata (currently dying), Melissa officinalis (dead as a doornail, probably good, since it can be invasive) and Rosmarinus officinalis (still green but not rooting, I think I need a greener cut).
 Things in containers keep the dog from digging...
Quercus agrifolia bark, Laurus nobilis, Mentha piperita and bbq tools!
 - end of garden talk, heavy stuff starts below -

I read a blog yesterday that showed a video of a Black Panther (edit: New Black Panther Party head Samir Shabazz) promoting violence against white people. For the most part, the comments about the video were a combination of knee-jerk defensive reaction and "hate in any form is wrong" response. One person gave the "what would happen if a white man were promoting violence against African Americans" line, which I have to say grates on my nerves.

To me, those who ask that question are on par with those who are openly hateful. From my perspective, that question was originally coined in order to incite strong emotions and perpetuate the cycle of ignorance and hate. It's insidious, asked as though it were an innocent enough query, when it will most likely elicit a strong emotional response. So the one who perpetuates it either intends to foster ill feelings or did not take the time to take a breath and think about what the question really asks.

If we take a step back and think objectively about the question, we would see that people  generally act consistently with their beliefs. Those who are sympathetic or are maneuvered into sympathy by a charismatic speaker will agree. Those who disagree will either take a stand or walk (or run, depending on the situation) away. Unless he were particularly captivating, the white man would have the same fate as that Black Panther: his rant might be passed around the internet for awhile to stimulate gut reactions one way or another and then he'd fade into obscurity when the next loudmouth appeared.

By the way, I have to point out that people generally promote their views in locations where they are most likely to have a sympathetic audience. I seriously doubt I will ever see a Klansman spouting his spin in Watts, or a Black Panther pontificating his position in Westwood.

So where do you weigh in on my interpretation? Do you think I'm off base or missing some sort of critical information? Is there some reason to my view, or...?

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Edit: I have mentioned this elsewhere, and on thinking about it, I think it's relevant to this entry.

I have been in a situation, as mentioned by the commenter, where the tables were turned, when my date (who was white) and I were singled out by skinheads. The responses of passersby were exactly the same as those in the video I saw. While some people looked at us sympathetically (and yes, some looked at us with derision, emboldened by the power granted by the skinheads), everyone rushed by as quickly as possible. NO ONE took the initiative to voice a dissenting opinion. Nor would I expect them to do so: face-to-face, people in the process of spewing venom are frightening.

Now that I think about it, I've also been shoved in a bar from behind by an angry drunk man (who was later outside the bar beating his girlfriend who told me to mind my own business when I asked if she needed help) and punched from behind by another angry man on speed. No one helped me in those cases, either, so maybe it's just me! On the bright side, I have learned pretty handily to be my own knight in shining armour since I can be reasonably sure that chivalry has gone the way of the dodo.