All men are created equal — Thomas Jefferson’s message to the world when he wrote the Declaration of Independence — cautiously admonitory and prudential, yet clear and unmistakable.
And yet, I am saddened by the fact that this historical mandate that we should be equal is more honored in the breach than in unconditional compliance.
The truth is, our national flag rises on Independence Day, and so is the banner of racism.
With patriotic fervor, we are happy when we celebrate the 4th of July. But at the same time, it is so depressing for me to think that because of prejudice, many of us are only clowning ourselves into believing that we are born equal when our action – and even our hidden intentions — denies that we are.
I empathize the feeling of those racially discriminated against. I take exception of their nemesis — bigots and chauvinists who think that by the color of the skin, they are a superior race.
Skinheads and their gangster-like genre that terrorize and vandalize our neighborhood are notorious signatures of our great racial divide. The infamous Ku Klux Klan had perhaps been outlawed in almost all states but underground, their tribe had multiplied. Their presence in our midst makes our society too fractious to live in, if it is not in fact, because of racial hate, already dangerously frightening.
More than just racial predators in many ways, they do not only embarrass but also shame all Americans and all those who love this country and live here for the rest of their lives, when this great nation preaches to the world that human beings are created equal. For, racism is not only a social plague attributed to whites against blacks or colored people, but in fact a racist could also be of any color or race.
The worst racism is racism that dwells in one’s heart, and the most dangerous racists are those who overtly profess racial equality by mouth but covertly — and in most cases clandestinely — act exactly the opposite, to lure and catch their victims off guard.
Let us revisit the archive of police brutalities that showcase this racial infamy. Much has been written about New York’s "finest", the NYPD, as a model of equal opportunity and affirmative action. Its manual code of ethics stands out when police officers conduct their police operations to catch criminals.
But in 1999, look what they have done to a colored immigrant from Haiti named Abner Louima who was not only beaten to death by four white New York police officers but also savagely sodomized. Aside from criminal prosecution of the culprits, a $465 million lawsuit sought the vindication of the victim's death in the hands of these reportedly racially motivated killers.
Just standing there in the doorway of his apartment unarmed and harmless, a black Guinean, Amadou Diallo, was shot 41 times by fully armed NYPD all-white officers. These police officers reasoned out that they fired their guns several times because they thought that the victim was armed, an excuse that only baffled the mentally retarded population in the country.
Diallo's death reportedly showed racial hate bordering on insanity. A standing police target, he could have been shot dead or disabled with only one bullet — but shot 41 times brings to mind a senseless overkill. It communicates the degree of racial hatred usually ignored in biased police reports.
The catch here is that, in law enforcement, putting one’s life at the mercy of what just one believes with those itchy fingers on the trigger is what makes racism extremely dangerous. It snaps out life devoid of reason, only racial prejudice and hate. Either the lawmen in this particular incident were hopelessly incompetents or psychiatric misfits suffering a severe delusion, possibly an advance case of racial paranoia.
The Los Angeles Police Department had the same history of this kind of violent racial let down. Remember Rodney King, an African-American who was almost beaten to death by white officers of the LAPD right in front of the TV camera? A devastating riot that followed still traumatizes Los Angeles up to this day.
These are dangerous racial mad dogs on the loose. The case of Joseph Ileto in 1999 outraged the Filipino-American community nationwide. A white supremacist bastard named Buford O Furrow, Jr. gunned down Joseph because he was a "colored" postal service provider. This son of a gun was as mad as hell. His kind could be all over, roaming the streets of Los Angeles, New York and cities and counties elsewhere.
But let it not be mistaken – as I said, racism is not a monopoly of whites against blacks or colored people and vice versa. African-Americans, Latin Americans and Asian-Americans, can be as super-bigots as white European-Americans are notoriously known to be, given the same opportunity of prejudice the latter now have in our hate-filled society at its moral breaking point.
Blacks, whites and colored criminals alike also have their respective abhorrent records of racial notoriety. Studies even show that successful Asian-Americans and Latinos hardly leave their own community and join the mainstream. In business and social relations, they patronize only their own original race to the exclusion of others. Surveys said Blacks who are successful in life are especially noted for this clustering racial bias.
This simply means that the continuing war for racial equality is getting worse, more particularly in school and workplace. Covert racism is gaining ground, as in the case of the State of California, following the demise of affirmative action through an infamous state initiative or balloting. Minority hiring and school admission had dropped, deepening the great racial divide and strengthening the great dividing wall that separate minorities from the mainstream.
Historically, the school battleground had shown a pattern of bigotry, but our justice system had been bedeviled. Early on, it could even hardly decide in favor of desegregation. Whites and blacks preferred to segregate and live separately because they mistrust each other anyway and to force them to live together would be an unacceptable imposition.
It was only about 100 years later when the 1954 landmark decision of the Supreme Court (S.Ct.) in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, that the doctrine of separate but equal was thrown out of the book. The S.Ct. ruled that, "… in the field of public education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place."
In court, the racial battle is a swinging pendulum. Not too long ago, it was whites’ turn to cry out loud against racial discrimination.
I am not talking about complaints of reverse discrimination which is commonplace. I am referring to bigotry that stigmatized the justice system. The O.J. Simpson celebrated trial of the century has created this notion in the mind of the public that if you have a predominantly black jury, the black litigant in the case wins.
To the predominantly black community, Simpson won the murder case because he happened to be the darling of his race that sat on the bench. Thus "down with black racism!" became the new battle cry of the disquieted predominantly white community.
My caveat to the racially hyphenated named American public, i.e. Filipino-Americans who are visibly a noisy lot when confronted and confronting a racial prejudice, is simply this: Racism from the conservative right (whites), is as abominable as racism from the radical left (colored bigots). The same with any kind of bigotry that comes from the center perpetrated by ONEL (by others not elsewhere listed, the survey said).
My thoughts on this have always been consistent as I wrote them down in several published and unpublished academic papers and editorial writings: Regardless of ethnicity, we are Americans first, and our racial origin only comes next, after we have chosen to live in this country and be Americans who deserved to be constitutionally treated equal. Those who cannot live with that here in the United States are better off living with their own race in another country where they rightfully ought to be.
The bottom line is, if the celebration of our Independence Day genuinely comes from our heart and soul, no one should pretend to be an American with such un-American discriminatory attitude and bias that prejudice and demean further this already racially divided society.
It does not only insult but also desecrate the national flag when racists participate in our Independence Day flag-raising ceremony. This solemn occasion symbolizes the long and hard struggle that we have against what racists are in our fractious society since Jefferson wrote down the Declaration of Independence.
If you ask me, by their own choice, racists really have no business being there while we ceremoniously raise the spangled banner to the sky to mark the feeling of patriotism that burns in our hearts in just that brief gripping moment of respect and owe, which assures each one of us that we live in this nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are, regardless of race, created equal.
If you are such unfortunate specie torn with hate because in your heart you believe that different races are all inferior except yours, that’s Hitler’s thought of creating a superhuman Aryan race.
Hitler and those who think like him, are just the opposite of what we are celebrating on July 4th. #
© Copyright Edwin A. Sumcad. Access NWS July 01, 2009.
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