Thursday, April 2, 2015

Too Many Peeves To Count . . .

But who’s counting? I have had writer’s block, not because there is nothing to write about, but because there is too much to write about. My brain is over stimulated with the constant ills of the world that I hardly have time to wrap my head around one, when another is right behind it. I decided I would do a blog touching on some of the things irritating me and move on because to tell you the truth it’s not only disturbing, but quite draining to read what is going on day in and day out. Is anyone still keeping track of Bill Cosby’s accusers? Last I heard Chelsea Handler threw her hat in the ring. Nevermind.

One of the things I couldn’t bring myself to blog about was the recent racist SAE chant on the bus by members of the Oklahoma University chapter. Several members were recorded singing a little ditty using the “N-word,” and later a video surfaced of their den mother also singing the “N-word.” The university took swift action condemning and shutting down the chapter, and the guilty students apologized. This same fraternity has had similar issues in other colleges throughout the country. Now they are reporting that at a national leadership conference about four years ago, this same chant was taught to leaders, who then taught it to pledges and it became part of their “culture.” I cannot understand how so many individuals, supposedly educated and from good families, could participate in this kind of hate oriented culture. I’m not going to get any answers to the “why,” but I believe if they could go along with it, then there is a good chance they were raised to think that way. No one is born racist, it has to be taught. Those who aren’t racist would immediately take offense to the use of the N-word and would hopefully speak up or, at the very least, not participate. These guilty students would like to chalk it up to a stupid mistake fixed with an apology. I don’t think an apology s going to cut it. Considering the situation and all they stand to lose, I’m not very impressed with the change of heart.

Then we have 13 year old Mo’ne Davis who amazed the world with her baseball skills so much so she made the cover of Sports Illustrated. She wasn’t bothering anyone, just focusing on her athletic skills. But, a smart mouthed college student, Joey Cassleberry, an infielder for Bloomsburg University, tweeted a comment about Mo’ne which led to his suspension. He tweeted, “Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis. What a joke. That slut got rocked by Nebraska.” Mo’ne is only thirteen and what could she have done to deserve such an offensive comment? Certainly Mo’ne was hurt by the comment that ended up going viral, but her compassion led her to write to the president of Bloomsburg. She asked him to give Cassleberry another chance, saying everyone makes mistakes, everyone deserves a second chance. The university, while appreciating her act of forgiveness, would not change their decision. Cassleberry apologized, even saying he was a big fan of Mo’ne. Was he sincere? I doubt it. But hopefully she gave him something to think about. More mistakes. More apologies.

And then the state of Indiana passes the “Religious Freedom Information Act” which gives businesses, religious institutions, and associations the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion. Now what in the world could be wrong with this law? Here I am thinking we have come so far, only to find that we, as a country, have regressed back to square one. I was reading some place that this law may actually allow an EMT to refuse to treat a victim based on his religious beliefs. Even if the law has been carefully worded so as to disguise the intent of discrimination, the results will most certainly have that effect in many situations. The first business to openly go along with the law is Memories Pizza, in Indiana. The O’Connors, owners of the business, support the law and said it is their right to deny services to anyone in the LGBT community. As soon as their story was out, 500 people went on Yelp to give the business a review, bringing their rating down to one star. On top of that, the family received threats via phone and on social media, forcing them to close their doors. In any case, there has been no apology as yet, and I don’t expect one. But, there is a lesson to be learned. Maybe hate begets hate? And wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Love one another as I have loved you?” I don’t recall reading about any exceptions. It was a pretty clear statement. And I also read somewhere that “Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine.” Here’s to hoping the O’Connors will find Jesus and follow his example.

Finally, (only because my eye is already twitching) I read an article by Nellie Andreeva from that came out a few days ago. It started a little firestorm of controversy online. She feels there is too much diversity on television all of a sudden. “Too much of a good thing,” she called it. In her opinion, 2015 has gone to the extreme in giving roles to minority actors with newly introduced shows like How To Get Away With Murder starring Viola Davis, Fresh Off The Boat, “Jane, The Virgin,” and “Empire.” I might add these are some of my favorite shows and they are entertaining and refreshing specifically because of their diversity. The writer however feels “The pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction.” Seriously? Can the pendulum ever swing too far back on this issue? Let’s say most people had televisions by the 1950’s. I was born in the 1950’s and watched plenty of it. I remember “Julia,” starring Diane Carroll airing in 1968. There were a few more black comedies I watched that I can name, like “Sanford & Son,” “Good Times,” “227,” “The Jeffersons,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Family Matters.” But, by comparison, I can name dozens of television shows that starred white actors and didn’t even have a minority in them. And, as you might expect, the light bulb finally at went off at after all the criticism the article got. The editor issued an apology for the article. Another insensitive “mistake” and more out pouring of apologies. Was his apology sincere or was it an attempt at damage control? I’m going with the latter.

I used to think we were making progress as far as tolerance and understanding. I used to think we were slowly coming around to appreciating different cultures. I thought the pendulum was swinging in the right direction, but it seems it is not. These few examples are disheartening, and there are so many more out there. Even people who should know better and do better aren’t, they are too busy making apologies instead. It makes me sad that the world my children have been born into is getting worse every day. I worry about the future for their generation and their children, who have not even been born yet. It seems the further we have come, the farther behind we fall.

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