WAR and Racism
"All Arabs should be killed!"
"Muslims should be killed
and buried in Pigskin,
so they can't
enter their heaven!"
"Arabs and all people of color
should suffer for this attack on America."
"You can't understand my hatred of Israel,
as you're not Black!"
These words of ignorance, and the "no response" are what I've been hearing lately.
Before the attack on the Towers, I heard:
"My ancestors were held in Slavery,
and I want $ for their suffering!"
"I'm white and I consider all affirmative action
to be reverse discrimination!"
"The Jews run the US!"
And it's all the same old racist, bigoted and/or anti-Semitic Bullshit!
As this awful tragedy now has NYCHA people writing some scary crap to Spotty, I decided that Spotty is going on a hiatus. When something important concerning NYCHA in general (not Black NYCHA nor White NYCHA nor Yellow NYCHA nor Red NYCHA) needs to be reported, we'll rethink our usefulness and decide if a newsletter that supports ALL NYCHA employees, and DOES NOT choose to participate in racial bating that can only lead to misery and pain, can be productive in highlighting areas that need to be addressed.
But for this issue, in the midst of this enormous crisis, I'll use Spotty's soapbox to rant about these concerns.
In issue 86, we published a chart showing the racial disparity between the large numbers of minority employees of NYCHA and the relatively few executive slots filled by minorities.
It was a factual chart, as it used both the slots that NYCHA has for execs and the actual names and racial components of those executives.
Yet, I received a few notes that expressed outrage at our "pandering to Blacks." (Believe me, much stronger words were used by some.) Meanwhile, minority employees also complained that Spotty had only scratched the surface. Some of these went further and found racism in our report.(?)
The messages that hurt the most were the ones I sent that weren't answered. Some, but thankfully only a very few (3) past sources now refuse to answer any mail from Spotty. It was not until just yesterday, when I compared the dates of my unanswered email to the publication of Spotty at that time, did I realize why one of these racists never replied. The other two had written their complaints about my "writing Black". The final person must have been intelligent enough to know how foolish he'd look.
(The racist NYCHA Super on Manhattan's East Side with his awful Amadou Diallo jokes has long been off our mailing list at OUR insistence!)
And, I must admit, I find myself lucky to have found the hidden racists who, while "nice" people in almost all other aspects, harbor such ignorance or hatred that they view any attempt to highlight real grievances from people who have factual representations of their being treated in a discriminatory manner as an assault on their own standard of living.
They fear that by giving the downtrodden a fair share of the "American Pie", their slice will be all that much smaller.
As I consider myself to now have lost both a Black and a White friend over this racist crap, and Spotty has had the small defection of readers, I want to address my view on this.
I'll read any responses I receive and then decide if the Spotlight was a wasted effort to try to give NYCHA employees (of any color, ethnicity, religion, or place or Planet of birth) a newsletter that was geared to giving ALL of NYCHA's employees a voice in their daily struggle to be productive in a lumbering, politically hampered, managerially deficient Leviathan like NYCHA.
I'm a White, middle-aged (54) male who was raised Catholic. I'm a Viet-Vet, 30 year Construction worker. I've sat in muddy ditches in below zero weather getting piping ready for welding, and I've sat on the Board of Directors for NY Mensa. I've both shot people and tended to those who needed help for their injuries.
I'm proud of much of my life, and hope that I've done more good than bad. But I know I've done both!
My ethnicity is Irish, with a small dash of German thrown in.
And that may be where my views are nurtured.
I've read a lot of history, and that is why I find the current racist intercourse so disturbing.
(And I won't belabor the treatment that England gave the Irish. It was awful! But England has done nothing more than what SOME Irish now wish on people of color. Some idiots just don't get it!)
While many people may believe that the Northern States were so advanced in their thinking on human rights prior to the Civil War, they are wrong. (Here comes that word folks!) While the North had nothing near the level of dependence on Slave Labor as did the South, and therefore lost little in pushing to free the slaves, the North had long used other "niggers" for their purposes. These niggers were Irish and White, but that didn't stop other Whites from refusing lodging, refusing hiring and sentencing those Irish who dared to want equal treatment to punishments ranging from jail through hanging. It took many years before those in the "Establishment" ever looked upon the Irish without disgust and contempt.
White Irish people were treated this way, and they fought back. Gangs proliferated in early NYC, and many of the Manhattan Gangs were manned by these Irish. People were killed and others were made to suffer.
The Civil War draft riots, where New Yorkers rioted, in numbers never matched again, to refuse to be drafted to fight in the war. The riots were led by mostly young, Irish males. In newspapers from that time we read that the Irish had two main objections. The more public one was that the Irish were furious that the "rich" were legally allowed to evade the Civil War draft by paying a sum to the government. The Irish complained that they didn't have the kind of money needed to buy a deferment, as the sum was equal to some yearly wages.
But the more important background issue was that the Irish feared that eradicating slavery would make the jobs for the Irish scarce. You see, the Irish were doing the work nobody else would do, work that racists would term "nigger work. Freed slaves might come and take these jobs, was the Irish fear.
This was not a proud time in Irish American history, but it was MUCH more understandable that the present, and somewhat related, reaction to NYCHA's Exec chart. I assume that the person in question worries that he might have to vie against more people of color for promotions, should racism be somewhat tempered in NYCHA's Executive ranks. He should read the Irish history, both in Ireland and here in America, before he so quickly angers when shown proof that others are now being treated the same way his ancestors were. The fact that he might need to compete on a more level playing field should not have caused him anger. It should, instead, have engendered pride!
There is much in my ancestry that makes me proud. Hell, I'll be the first guy in a bar to brag about my family from Kilkenny, Ireland. I believe that the White Irish immigrants did more than their share to make America great. But many immigrant-based families can rightfully make that claim, as immigrants did the work needed to advance America in all of our US history.
And, as nearly every nationality has some history they'd rather forget, the Irish are not alone in this. (The Native Americans, whom we once called "Indians", certainly can make every American feel shame for parts of our history!)
So, it's the White folks,
if not the Irish in particular,
that cause racism within NYCHA.
It is a cancer that infects ALL of NYCHA, as well as much of the world. While there may be many who believe in equality and who don't judge people by where they come from, there are so many that do that it helps keep racism alive.
And Blacks are definitely NOT immune from this cancer. As much as my White friend's racism has upset me, losing my faith in a Black friend hurts all the more.
This Black NYCHA employee sent me a well written, well-sourced piece of racist rhetoric that was mind numbingly aimed at explaining why we should blame "the Jews" for everything. Osama bin Laden should NOT be hunted, even if he was behind the terror, as it's really the Jews' fault!
Now, maybe some believed that my ranting against Kalman Finkel's maneuvering to get his "associates" that $100,000,000 lease for a decrepit Long Island City warehouse that is in such poor shape it can't even garner a certificate of occupancy makes me into an anti-Semite.
If you're a Christian crook trying to pull a Finkel, you'd be written about just as much.
The only religious problem we've ever mentioned concerning Finkel was his misuse of NYCHA offices and employee work time to hold private, Jewish Male only, prayer services on the taxpayer's dime. Other than that, Kalman's religion is none of my concern. Nor should it be yours!
But, according to the trash I was forwarded, the Jews are responsible for the Trade Center devastation.
Even if the author was right, his essay kept pointing fingers at actions taken by the US. But each action was blamed on Israel, not the US.
Listen, if someone wants to list the various reasons these terrorists had a gripe with the US, that's fine. I personally don't believe everything our country has done in the Middle East can be justified. On some scores, I'd side with the Arabs; on other, I'm with Israel. And, in many other actions taken by the US, I've dissented from the majority view. Even in this current crisis, I fear more the possible assault on the Civil Rights and the coming loss of Constitutional protections that will be justified by this attack than I do having further attacks on our shores. I fear "winning" this war, but losing the America we'd be fighting for.
For another example, on another website that I pay for and maintain, many essays by Robert Lederman have found a home (Click Here). Mr. Lederman is a well-known critic of American foreign policy, and has a particular dislike for the Bush family and its history. I agree with much of Mr. Lederman's points, and I was fascinated by how well he has researched and footnoted his work.
If he writes an essay critical of the US, or praising Osama bin Laden, I'll translate it into HTML and post it. If he finds facts that make us look bad and Osama bin Laden look good, I'll post it. Facts are meant to be shared, no matter who looks good as a result.
But had he tried to justify the ACTIONS taken by the terrorists, or wrote a piece that seemed to ask for people of one race to desert the military at a time like this (as I believe the linked document does), Lederman would need a new site for his work.
I'd remove his essays ASAP!
But, unlike the author of this tripe (Click Here if you have a need to read this missive), I, and I believe Lederman, have NEVER sided with terrorists who kill innocent people for sport. That includes Black Panthers, Irish Republican Army, the Israeli Mossad, Ben Laden's cells, the KKK, Americans who committed atrocities in Vietnam and other wars and all other civilian based attacks performed by criminals who should be locked-up!
No matter what the motive, killing the innocent makes you a criminal. And forget the "They made me do it" excuse. Unless we're to go back to when American judges ruled that a short skirt on a woman justified rape, we can never justify violence against non-military targets.
My take on the linked essay is simple. It attempts to give justification to the indefensible. It's message would justify anything done by anyone of color to retaliate for past perceived injustices. Those that forward it do damage to this country.
When a person of any heritage now falls for racist rhetoric, he/she is turning his back on all the troubles his own people have had to suffer. He is, by example, confirming that the policy of mistreating people of other (races, creeds, religions etc.) is acceptable. By doing so, he or she spits on their own ancestors, Hibernian or British, African or Carribean, justifying ANY racism justifies your own ancestor's tormentors.
And that goes beyond shame: it is a sin!
And whether you are Black and you justify terrorism, or a White who rejects facts on racism, you're not a friend of mine. So, to two people I once respected, I say good riddance. This life is waaaaay too short for me to waste time and emotion on the loss of a friendship to someone who is not trying to leave this world in better shape than when they first arrived.
To another friend I've mentioned in past issues of Spotty, Ed Donahue, I say, "Well Done!" (Ed is a retired NYCHA contract inspector.)
Instead of passing out racist crap, or ignoring the problems of today's society, Ed operates differently. While he went through the horror of having a spouse slowly die from Cancer over this past year, and only buried his beloved "Dolly" a few short weeks ago, Ed doesn't cover himself in writings about how others should just give up on life or our country. Ed went down to World Trade Plaza and started digging in the rubble to help people he never knew.
Ed's not one of the brave emergency workers we all adore. He wasn't paid to go into that hell. He had no uniform allowance for the clothes and boots he ruined. He had a bad cough and hurt like hell after 16 hours of grueling, back breaking work while breathing a strange smoke, a smoke which had nobody asking about what caused the strangely sicky-sweet odor.
Ed knew that, unlike the City's emergency workers, he would NOT be covered by Worker's Comp. if he injured himself. He didn't know if his own health or life insurance would cover him while he worked to get bodies out of the site of "an act of war!"
And, believe it or not, Ed NEVER even thought to ask where the "White" people were buried!
Just as he never would have screamed at the Civil Right's marchers in the 1960's that "It ain't your war!", as seems to be the intent of the racist essay linked above.
He didn't think Whites should turn their backs on Blacks in the 60's!
Just as he certainly would NOT advocate desertion by Black soldiers today!
Ed is fully aware of the plight of Ireland under England's rule. But he would have punched you had you suggested he not work on the rescue effort because some victims were British.
Ed worked until he could no longer, as did other construction workers.
Ed is a Proud White Irishman who, while fully aware of life's injustices, does not use any excuse to try and divide Black and White. He abhors racism. He tries to help any who need it, no matter what flag they fly or what language they speak.
When heard what had happened, Ed saw an opportunity to HELP his fellow HUMANS, no matter if they be his color, religion or rooted for the same teams. He put his life on the line to help others.
If you differ with that spirit,
you've been reading the wrong rag!
The author of that essay saw an opportunity to divide the American people at a time of crisis, and so the author grabbed a pen and began spouting crap meant to do more harm than those 4 planes ever could!
Mix at your own peril!
© 2001 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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