Denver Post columnist Terry Frei got fired for tweeting: “Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.”
- The use of atomic bombs that destroyed tens of thousands of Japanese people should make you uncomfortable, so maybe don’t say things like this.
- Frei made it personal by referring to a specific person.
- The thing that insensitive bigots don’t understand is that they seem to think this is all about personal offenses and sensitive snowflakes, which means they clearly don’t get it. It is systemic, institutional, structural injustices that screw over women, minorities, the poor–through policy and social practices. It’s about unfair, degrading treatment of entire groups of people based on some relatively arbitrary identity marker. It’s not personal sensitivity.
I have a tendency to see the world in terms of the big picture on an extremely macro-level. To me, we absolutely cannot divorce anything we think or do from its socio-historical context, including science, including religion, and including beliefs that we tell ourselves are “personal.”
That said, I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this, but I’m angry. I’m angry at the system. I’m angry at all the white people I know who casually ignore systemic injustice. So, here goes.
Institutional or systemic racism is racism expressed and performed in social and political practices.
This is different from an individual or clearly defined social group (like the KKK) being racist.
Many white people seem to not be aware that systemic racism exists. Or they don’t care. Lack of awareness and lack of caring comes with privilege. Just because you don’t put on a white hood does not mean you don’t participate in racist practices. That’s what systemic racism means.
Sons of Anarchy finished its seven-year run this December. I used to love the show, though the last couple seasons seemed needlessly violent and mostly served to make me hate all the characters (except Chuckie and Venus–may Tig and Venus ride off into the sunset together).
At some point last season, I realized that Jax wasn’t going to get a redemption arc. What happened at the end of season 6 was the nail in the coffin. And that’s the thing about human beings that is hard for me to reconcile sometimes. Not everyone gets redemption.
We live, we work, we do shitty things to each other, we might make a few people happy, and then we die. And when I look back on this year, I see a lot of these shitty things, and I can’t help but think.