Saturday, October 19, 2002

Avoid The Label: Good, Evil and Other Higher Truths Damn Us

We humans get into deep shit when we avoid the obvious and start constructing imaginary worlds out of the terms we use to describe real world things. For example, the debate over "Racial Profiling": when does a physical description cross the line into being discrimination? It's a troubling issue for our society, but not difficult if one looks at it. When a possible criminal or terrorist is identified, the physical profile determines those people who will need to be examined as potential threats. If the word goes out that a white man is the DC sniper or a black man is the mystery rapist, anyone resembling that person in the area affected will be detained and double-checked. But this appears to be too much for people lately, as the USA begins its search for terrorists of middle eastern origin.

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit by two men who were removed from a Continental Airlines flight on New Year's Eve when a passenger complained about "brown-skinned men."

Debevoise's decision, filed Thursday, came a week after a federal judge in Los Angeles reached a similar conclusion in refusing to dismiss a similar lawsuit involving an Arab-American removed from a United Airlines flight on December 23.
[source]

Recently two people of middle eastern descent (POMEDs, a group that includes Jews and Arabs) were thrown off a plane in the wake of September 11, 2002. Some passengers felt "threatened" by them; they were removed and flown on another flight. While we here at penetrate.blogspot.com loathe the distinct anti-Arab bias that has been felt from Hollywood media for the past 30 years, and while we detest the Judeo-Christian influence in that media and in American politics, we're also not about to deny the obvious. If under assault by a different group, race, or people, one will first and foremost use physical characteristics to determine potential enemies. The reason is simply practical: when at war with Rome, and there are 12 people in a room and one is Roman, watching the most likely enemy while keeping a guardful eye on the others is an optimum strategy for survival.

In our modern time, with people afraid to offend or "discriminate," the trend is toward avoiding any kind of racial profiling except that of white people. You can bet your last dollar that if the DC sniper turns out to be a white male, all white males in vans will be inconvenienced as these two POMEDs were. Since America is no longer run by exclusively white people, and since the American voters include now a very active voting bloc of Hispanic and Black and Asian voters, we can assume that there's no inherent pro-white bias to government. Therefore, in theory, these white males are being racially profiled, just like the lone white male in a BMW in a black neighborhood late at night will be assumed to be buying cocaine. Are we denying the obvious in limiting their ability to sue?

The world of humans is best off when reality is recognized and not hidden behind social "truths." We can talk about the people who might not fit the profile in individual cases, but in considering the case as a whole, we have to wonder which method will catch the one guy with a bomb: worrying about individuals, or focusing on profiling and catching the "bad apple" in the whole. One nice thing about tribalism/racism is that it doesn't set up a double standard; it simply says, "This is wanted, and that is not." This is how Osama bin Laden has spoken of his people mortal enemies for 3,000 years, the Semitic Jews, and how terrorists speak of Israel's primary ally, the United States. Wouldn't it be nice if America was as honest as its ostensible "enemies"?

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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