Monday, March 7, 2011

Prejudice comes in many flavors

Some time ago I wrote a parody on prejudice. I don't think it went very well. So, it is with some real trepidation that I even think about writing on this topic again....and yet, if I want freedom for me and my friends, if I want to end prejudice in one part but ignore prejudice in another, then I must not really care about prejudice - I just want what I want. If you haven't figured out yet, I'm what most refer to as "white". I am friends with and work daily alongside those who are typically referred to as "black". (For some reason we still seem to need these designations in this country) I guess I recognize on a certain level that a person is white, black, etc., and it gives a certain amount of information, but really it means little more than that it's part of that person's characteristics and very quickly it is a minor part. That's just, "Joe", "Sue", "John". It's who that person is under the skin that is far more important. We may differ in our poliltics, religion, our taste in music, even our preference of food. But, well, it's Joe. What if "Joe" suddenly started wearing a red bow-tie and a conservative suit. Would I believe he is now Muslim, a follower of Malcolm-X? Is that a threat to me? Would I correlate that to mean that he doesn't trust me as I'm white? Would I then not trust him because I think he doesn't trust me? Will I begin looking for Black Panther marches? Will I be afraid if I find what I think is a march? What if all of that? Does it mean that Joe is against me? What if none of that and it only means that Joe was given the tie and perhaps even the suit as a gift from someone he loves? What if we could care less because we are friends and co-workers? Do you see? This is a very touchy topic, the concepts are so very subjective that things can easily be misunderstood. The definition someone places on a symbol can really determine what they see to be the truth. And yet, to others, that very symbol may mean something else entirely. In the end, isn't more logical to ask if you are concerned? Isn't it more likely that a person's views may differ from anothers but that doesn't make them hate mongers? Isn't it quite simple to judge a person by his actions rather than some "symbol" that can be subjectively interpretated? Why do I bring this up? Well, recently the story came out that Kid Rock is being honored, and some are refusing the festivities because he incorporates a symbol in his music that is, well, very charged . That particular symbol is the flag typically called the Southern Flag, the Stars and Bars, the Dixie is also called the Rebel Flag. For some, it symbolizes a period of hatred, bigotry, abuse and violence. As such, it screams of racism and anyone who flies that flag must be a racist. What if it means something different to that person flying that flag? What if that person sees that symbol in a different light? Do I think Kid Rock's use of that flag is a great idea? Not really. It's too charged, too loaded. A good example is the crossed ss of the Nazi flag. Did you know that is a very old symbol of luck, like a four leaf clover? For that matter, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that somewhere the clover is a symbol someone flew who abused someone else...we seem good at that on this world. My point, symbols carry a message....but sometimes the message is very subjective. Since the symbol is so subjective, maybe it's not so reliable as a means of casting someone as a terrible person. Here are some links to some Kid Rock videos. Watch if you like. I like the energy he puts into his music, I like his range. And, I think some people have seriously misjudged him.