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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 20, 1995)
Monday, February 20, 1995 Page 5
Hiding behind mask of racism
My friends, we are presently
faced with a deadly foe that is
entirely capable of collapsing the
cracked and crumbling foundation
of our social state. It spreads and
infects like a virus, leaving wounds
that quite often never heal and scars
that never really go away.
I’m speaking of racism. The
eternal plague of humanity, the
scourge of the masses, the disease
without a cure.
The racism that runs unchecked
today is far different from that of
10,20 or 30 years ago. It used to be
simple in the sense that it was
largely one-sided and blatant.
Whites persecuted blacks and
openly treated them as second-class
citizens for the better part of 200
In recent years, however, racism
has evolved into a beast that is just
as destructive as before, but now
includes a subtlety that resembles
an ocean current’s undertow — you
don’t realize the harm until you
start to drown.
There is a backlash among the
ranks, swinging and punching
through the walls of social order,
sucking in any who will join in the
free-for-all decline of the urban
In this new age of racism,
whites, blacks and other minorities
prey on the fear of and for their
counterparts by initiating and
cultivating irresponsible and
devious actions and accusations
which give rise to the one thing we,
as a country, have fought so hard to
Stereotypes, founded by poor
heritage and tradition and sup
ported by the continuously damag
ing media microscope, still eat
away at the delicate relationships
between various peoples. To many
blacks, Hispanics and other
minorities, the white race is the
enemy, the oppressor, the reason
for segregation in the first place. To
many whites, the minorities are the
source of violence, crime and
general rot in cities across America.
These classifications are ab
sorbed into the communal psyche
and are impossible to break loose
after being repeatedly hammered
The Colin Ferguson debacle is
an example of an individual
attempting to take advantage of the
uneasy racial relations in the
United States. Ferguson was
charged with shooting 25 people on
a Long Island Railroad commuter
train on Dec. 7, 1993. Six were
killed in the attack.
Ferguson claimed that the
shootings were committed by a
white man who stole his gun while
he was sleeping on the train. The
gun was a semi-automatic assault
rifle, which begs the question of
why Ferguson was carrying a
loaded gun on a train anyway.
The point of this column is not
to convict Ferguson (since a New
York jury did just that on Friday),
but to show that in order to save
himself, he attempted to interject a
racially motivated argument.
(Ferguson has since changed his
story, saying that a black man who
looks like him is trying to frame
The same can be said for Susan
Smith. She fanned prejudiced
flames by claiming, on national
television no less, that a black man
was responsible for the disappear
ance of her two young children.
The state of South Carolina was in
an uproar, applying tremendous
pressure upon the black community
while searching for a suspect.
Smith has since been charged with
the murders and is presently
Then there’s the television
menace. If you don’t think that
television plays a powerful part in
our decision-making processes,
then you’re probably living in a
Every day we see whites, blacks,
Hispanics and others portrayed in a
particular manner by the news and
entertainment media. We are
bombarded by repeated images of
blacks killing blacks in the ghetto,
whites in high positions being
pointed out for crimes against
humanity, illegal immigrants
(especially Hispanics) sucking a
free ride from the government,
minorities across the world killing
each other savagely; the list goes on
The influence of television, as
well as damaging statements by
selfish people, makes it easier to be
engulfed in racism. But we must
look beyond the hatred if we are to
survive as a nation.
Racial prejudice, discrimination,
social oppression. All of these
illnesses can be eliminated through
understanding, time and effort.
The cure is inside all of us.
Justice isajunlorbroadcastlngand news
editorial major and a Daily Nebraskan col
‘Bleeding hearts’ in all races
My black heart is bleeding, but
most people wouldn’t notice it.
Especially the people who think of
African Americans as powerless
victims, including many African
Americans who see themselves that
way. The perspective of a bleeding
heart comes from a safe vantage
point, which is not thought possible
to be enjoyed by African Ameri
My white, bleeding-heart
counterparts are very uncomfortable
with the idea that “their” perspec
tive can be shared by an African
American. I’ve actually been
treated with more hostility by them
than by any bigot. The thought that
an African American has ideas
based on a privileged perspective is
hard for many to understand.
African Americans are not
thought to be capable of having
bleeding hearts. It’s something that
has been associated more with
white Americans who sympathize
with less-privileged people. The
bleeding-heart “liberal,” for
example, arbitrarily decides what
powers the victim should be given.
That’s ridiculous. The “victim”
doesn’t have to let the liberal speak
To think that African Americans
are powerless is to say we have
done nothing as a people. It is also
to say that as individuals we’ve
done nothing without a helping
hand from our benevolent white
bleeding-heart friends. That, too, is
When discussing race matters,
we bleeding-heart types tend to
mistake an African American’s
viewpoint as that of all African
Americans. African Americans, on
the other hand, accept the role of
the victim-spokesperson too
willingly. Since historically we are
thought to have not had any
E. Hughes Shanks
advantages, anything different from
the standard victim viewpoint is
very strange to many people.
Many people are surprised to
find that we don’t all think like
victims, wc don’t act like victims,
nor do we all feel like victims. As
long as African Americans can
show that victimization is only a
part of who we really are, people
will deal with us on a higher level.
It is understandable how unusual
a bleeding African-American heart
might seem. To someone who
doesn’t know an African American
who has had any advantages, a
bleeding heart may not seem
possible at all. African Americans
traditionally have been considered
as being only victims without any
influence or control over their
White Americans are often
amazed to find that people of color
don’t all think alike. African
Americans make this mistake, too.
The color of a person’s skin should
have little to do with what they are
thinking. People often find that
their views are decided on before
they even start talking.
As an African American, I know
my bleeding heart seems odd, but it
bleeds just the same as any other. In
order to have a bleeding heart, a
person has to have enjoyed some
privilege or advantage. African
Americans can have advantages,
Lode around on this campus.
Virtually every student, by compari
son, is at a considerable advantage.
Any college student has advantages
that most people don’t. There is no
comparison to the amount of
privilege enjoyed historically by
whites in this country, but education
has its advantages just the same.
Some African Americans who
enjoy such advantages and accept
the victim role for themselves are
making a big mistake. We are in a
sense victims, but we are much
more than that. It is important to
understand that. Otherwise African
Americans will only be seen in that
way. Actually, African-American
college students might even be
more privileged than white stu
dents, since being in college is
more unusual for us.
When it comes to issues about
race, most people seem to feel they
already know what the other person
is thinking because of their color.
African Americans, for example,
are expected to be sympathetic to an
African-American “perspective” —
whatever that is. In my 36 years,
I’ve learned that this mythical
perspective has certain undesirable
yet essential elements.
One of these elements is that all
too-familiar view of African
Americans as victims first. This
includes idea that African Ameri
cans have no power, never had any
power and won’t ever get any
power—unless it’s given to them.
That is, at the very least, very
offensive to people who have
worked hard to achieve their goals.
Kudos to whites who don’t see us
that way. And thank goodness, all
African Americans.don’t see
themselves that way.
Anyone can have a bleeding _
heart, but who needs one?
Shanks Is a graduate student and Dally
like house arrest
Pointing at the TV set, Slats
Grobnik: “Why’s Dan Quayle
giving us such a line of balo
What baloney? The man very
forthrightly says he isn’t going to
run for president.
“Yeah, but listen to the tall
story he gives us for not running.
Does he think we’ll buy that?”
I accept it. He says that
raising a campaign fund and
running for president would be
disruptive to his family. Why
should that raise doubts? After
all, he is one of the country’s
strongest advocates of family
“OK, then tell me this. What’s
Unless he has recently taken
up stamp collecting, I believe
that he is an avid golfer.
“And he’s good at it, right?”
Very good. Regularly shoots
in the 70s, which most hackers
only fantasize about.
“That’s what I thought. So
how does a guy get that good at
Well, you can either cheat or
play and practice a lot.
“See? This guy’s a golfer.
And there’s no game that
disrupts family life like golf. Out
of the house in the morning. On
the course all day. Then sitting
around with the guys, counting
the scores, paying off the bets,
playing cards, and guzzling gin
and telling a lot of lies.”
Well, the doctors insist that
we get our exercise.
“Did you know that golfers
get divorced more than bowlers,
country dancers or
That wouldn’t surprise me. It
just shows how much they love
the ancient game and will
sacrifice for it.
“No, just shows that when a
golfer says he wants to be with
his family, it’s an excuse for him
to leave because he’s losing at
cards. Any time someone gives
me that spend-more-time-with
the-family routine, I know it’s a
“OK, and how do teen-agers
spend their day?”
They comb and primp their
hair in the morning, usually
several times before they get it
just right. Then they go to
school. Then they come home
and make phone calls. Then they
go hang out.
“You got it. Is that how you
want to spend a day?”
. Impossible. I don’t need that
much time for my hair.
“So it’s a lot of baloney, all
these famous guys saying they
want to spend more time with
their families. Remember what
Michael Jordan said when he
quit the Bulls?”
I don’t remember. The city
was weeping so loudly I couldn’t
“He said he wanted to spend
more time with his family.”
So? That just shows what a
fine young man he is.
“Ah, but then what did he do?
After a few days of changing
diapers, watching Mister Rogers
and going to the Jewel to push
the cart for his wife, he packed
his bags and went down south to
Well, as Plato said, a man’s
gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
“Right. It ain’t natural for a
man to spend all of this time
sitting around with his family.
“You ever hear of a judge
sentencing a guy to go to work
every day? Nah. But sometimes a
judge will sentence a guy to
house arrest because sitting home
all day is real punishment.”
You may have a point.
“Sure. So if Quayle was
worrying about disrupting his
family, how come he ran for
Congress and was a senator?
Then when he was vice presi
dent, all he did was fly halfway
around the world to go to foreign
funerals. What kind of family life
is it when you tell your wife and
kids: ‘Gotta fly off to Zimboolie
for a dictator’s funeral, if his
people don’t bum the body
But the presidency is so
awesome a job. It is bound to
have an effect on your family
“Why should it? You work at
home, so you can’t phone your
wife from a bar and tell her
you’ll be late. I figure that being
president has got to improve a
guy’s family life.”
I don’t see how.
“Ask Mrs. Clinton. Without
state troopers, a guy can’t get in
any trouble if he’s all worked up
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