Liberté, égalité, fraternité – But Not For You

by Glenn R. Geist

There’s an interesting narrative in the July 10th New Yorker: Shakespeare’s Cure for Xenophobia in which the author mentions the withdrawal of a research assistant job offer by a professor who asserted that it was because he was Jewish and there were too many of them in the Ivy League school already.

CNN reported recently that an Airbnb “host” was punished for turning away a Chinese American guest for being “Asian”

“I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth. One word says it all. Asian. It’s why we have trump, and I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”

Telling such stories often raises the ire of self-titled Liberals these days as does any suggestion that racism exists outside the boundaries of the approved dialectics. Watch what happens if you assert that Lakota Lives Matter or that being Chinese doesn’t expose you to suspicion and prejudice and of course, college admission quotas. It doesn’t matter how many generations worth of American you are, it’s always “where were you born” and too often: “you speak American very well.”

Back in the 1990s some local police officers in my Illinois town protested to the FBI that they were being required to stop and hassle non-Caucasian drivers headed to the business district, whether they worked or lived there or not. Has that gone away? I don’t know but when a black, female Florida State’s Attorney was pulled over this week for no apparent reason it made headlines as well it should have, but you don’t hear as much about what I know still goes on.

READ: Truth is Always the First Casualty of War

If you’re of apparent European ancestry, it’s rather rare for people who just met you to ask where you were born. My wife gets asked constantly. She acts as though she were resigned to it, but it annoys me greatly. After all she’s a Midwesterner by birth and accent. She has been stopped by police and suspicious people in airports who basically want to hear her voice. We were even pulled over on the highway in New Mexico for no other purpose than to ask where she was born.

According to the numbers I see, the ethnic group most prone to random stops and harassment and even being shot by police are Native Americans. Having mentioned this several times and having been instantly and viciously labelled as a racist I have to wonder if our national solipsism epidemic has engulfed what used to be an appeal to humanism, human rights and the self-evident rights of man etched into the hard surface of American life. Equal rights, equal protection but some are more equal than others and some aren’t equal at all.

It’s not as though I no longer support liberté, égalité et fraternité along with our French friends, I just don’t support those who want to make that apply only to certain people, while labeling all other people as having undesirable racial characteristics.

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Posted by on July 14, 2017. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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8 Responses to Liberté, égalité, fraternité – But Not For You

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    July 14, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Liberty, equality, brotherhood. We haven’t had those particular dynamics in America for generations.

  2. Neil Bamforth Reply

    July 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    ‘turning away a Chinese American guest for being “Asian”’

    maybe he was a dog lover and thought the chap was Korean? 😉

  3. Phuong Li Reply

    July 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I’m from Vietnam. and i get sidelong glances, but not questioned by cops, I think not. I feel it badly at the times when earing out and shopping. It makes me sad.

  4. Mark Willis Reply

    July 14, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    You might find some interesting information at FBI.gov/Table 43, Uniform Crime Statistics. This breaks down crime in the US by gender, race, and etc., if you are interested. Unfortunately there is yet no data base up and running that tracks deadly force by police, but one is being worked on as I write this.

  5. Glenn Geist Reply

    July 15, 2017 at 8:41 am

    There is no doubt that America’s largest race problem concerns African Americans. There is however more to racism than police brutality and crime. Much more and that’s what I’m talking about here.

    The point I’m trying to make here is that being persecuted, oppressed and otherwise mistreated should, in my opinion, be a lesson; something that teaches compassion, prompts activism on behalf of all and toward the goal of equality and liberty and justice for all. Seeking to keep the argument against bigotry as the property of one group or especially one organization seems as wrong to me as wrong can be. There’s enough to go around that no one needs to hog it.

    There are a few who will react angrily at the notion that anyone else deserves compassion and indulge in a racism and lack of compassion or empathy of their own and yes, racism is not the sole property of anyone and opposing it is the obligation of all moral people. It’s wrong no matter who is the giver or who is the recipient of racism and to quote a famous orator, whosoever does it to the least of us, does it to all of us. What does it take away from you or me that someone different is the subject of suspicion, prejudice and the more subtle forms of bias? Why is something that should teach compassion teaching race, class and ethnic exceptionalism or stereotyping?

    I should point out that I have and have had a number of close friends and indeed a relative who are Korean Americans and none eat or would eat dogs. The person in question here was an American Female. I do think it’s off color to make generalizations about color whether the “joke” is about food or driving ability or criminal tendencies or any other trait or tendency. Racism is about all of us.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      July 15, 2017 at 9:40 am

      “Racism is about all of us.” You are right Glenn, and I regret my cavalier remark. After spending a lifetime in law enforcement one tends to become cynical about virtually everything, and respect is reserved for the few, when it should be for the many.

  6. Rory Lee Reply

    July 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I’m 84 and I remember US always being for money, more money, and even more money. That buys equality in the USofA.

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