GLASS HOUSES

It makes sense that people around the world can enjoy occasional America-bashing; god knows we make it easy for them. We export the worst parts of our culture – fast food, corn syrup beverages, idiotic entertainment, Jerry Lewis – around the globe, we still have a strict policy of American Exceptionalism in global affairs, we have an unpleasant tendency to start wars, and (worst of all, in my opinion) a large number of Americans know absolutely nothing about the world outside our borders. Many people around the world no doubt conceive of Americans as the stereotypes that some of us work so hard to deserve: as anti-intellectual, violent, proudly ignorant slobs who eat KFC every day and drive pickup trucks.

When I read non-U.S. news sites it's hard to miss the occasional "Look at how barbaric Americans are" stories, usually focusing on gun violence, racism, our failing healthcare system, or the latest can-you-believe-this-shit proposal from some Republican state legislator. Part of the reason that people in one country look down on another is to distract from their own problems, but there certainly is a ring of truth to these criticisms. Like I said, we do make it easy for anyone who wishes to paint us with a broad brush. It would be silly to take it personally or to point out the bleedingly obvious fact that stereotypes do not describe all members of a group accurately.

The one and only thing that bothers me is the accusation that America has a race problem. The smugness in some of the foreign coverage of the Zimmerman trial, for example, was palpable. We do, of course, have a race problem. But here's the thing: the planet has a race problem. I'd argue that racism, be it institutional, social, or held by individuals, is a bigger problem in any number of places than it is in the U.S.

Recently Italy made the news when some right-wingers threw bananas at the country's first black government minister. This borrows the "monkey noises and banana hurling" antics that soccer hooligans have been using for years on black players. Domestic politics in the EU – from Russia and Eastern Europe to Germany and Spain – are often tainted with xenophobia and racism. Ethnically homogenous societies in Asia – particularly Japan but also Korea and China – are hardly good role models. Watch a big sporting event in any South American country and you see the exact same "Everyone in the seats is white, everyone on the field is black" dynamic that you see here.

My point is not that the criticism of the U.S. as a place with a race problem is unwarranted. Rather I'd caution people in other nations from giggling at our Zimmerman trials and Rush Limbaughs with an air of superiority. Maybe stick with mocking us for believing that climate change is fake, at least until your society addresses its own issues with racism, nationalism, and xenophobia. We're not exactly alone in having those tendencies both individually and collectively.

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63 Responses to “GLASS HOUSES”

  1. giri Says:

    All true. Also, very meta. Beam in eye and what not.

  2. eau Says:

    OK.

    I'll stop saying the USA is racist when Americans stop claiming they have solved racism.

    See also: Class.

  3. eau Says:

    Also,

    "It would be silly to take it personally or to point out the bleedingly obvious fact that stereotypes do not describe all members of a group accurately."

    Which always – always – happens here whenever Ed or anybody else mentions the South, or the obese.

    I'll just go wait under my bridge…

  4. nunya Says:

    My first trip to Spain in 1992 had me confront a good number of people who went on at length about racism in America and, short of bringing up Spain's unfortunate history of genocide, there wasn't much to argue. My next trip in 2001 was markedly different. The very same people who had admonished my people had finally been infiltrated by the rest of the world.

    Suddenly nativism was the word of the day and preservation of the culture (because Chinese and Koreans didn't take a siesta) became paramount. Itbecame obvious that these homogenous folks had never had to deal with other appreciably different cultures before and had not found a way to adapt.

    The truth is that people seek to take advantage of whatever edge they possess at a particular moment in time. The civil rights battles we have had in America are what will happen in Europe and someday Asia.

    America has a myriad of sins to atone for but racism is on the wane here, particularly in those under thirty. Europe and most of the rest of the world still have a lot of catching up to do. Of course, the lack of slavery may speed the process along.

  5. middle seaman Says:

    American music, actually mostly African American music, is the world's music. A European movie has an American music sound track.

    American higher education is by far the best in the world and also the most democratic. Even terrible students can find a welcoming college. Our scientific achievements are second to none.

    Talk about racism. Europe has resurrected its antisemitism as if Hitler is still alive and well. Even in heroic countries such as Denmark, whose stance during WWII was admirable, don't walk the street with a head cover.

    The hate of Arabs is endless and bottomless. Since poor Arabs immigrated to European countries in the large millions, European hate them.

    The almost bankrupt EU with Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Greece at unemployment levels we experienced during the Depression maintain the unbelievable moral colonialism of telling the Egyptian what to do and Israel is considered by them a danger to the world.

    Yes, we do terrible things. Our penal system is a disgrace, our safety net fits underdeveloped country, our banks control the political system, racism is alive and well, we go to war killing our and other peoples' kids at the drop of the hate, since 1980, except for Clinton who is widely hated, all our presidents were and are idiots.

    We are bad almost as bad as others.

  6. J. Dryden Says:

    @ eau: Surely you don't intend to deprive us of *recreational* bigotry…

  7. Elle Says:

    I'm mostly very fond of America, but I think that most non-US citizens tend to have mixed feelings about the US. If your work is remotely international, then the experience of relating to the US is akin to having a selfish and frustratingly intransigent boss. The gap between the breezy (and cheesy) rhetorical flourishes about freedom, and the reality of people's experience of living in the US is a wide and tempting target.

    The thing about cultural imperialism is that information mostly flows one way. The rest of the world has a veritable flip-book of tropes in their heads about America's racism because we've all seen the news footage, and read the books, and watched the TV series and films. There are papers in European high school history syllabuses on the US civil rights movement.

    Zimmerman's case got coverage in Europe because the US gets coverage in Europe, and that's what you were all talking about. I was in Brussels for a meeting when the judgment came down, and it was one of the things we group of people from across the EU (which, incidentally, doesn't include Russia or many of the states commonly described as Eastern Europe) talked about over lunch.

    Someone in one of the comments here (on another topic) described the US as doing better on human rights than some other countries. Nunya and Middle Seaman have both asserted that the US is ahead of Europe. It's very hard to argue that when the US resolutely fails to sign up to any kind of international instrument that might enable the enjoyment of rights of black and minority ethnic citizens to be assessed and benchmarked.

  8. Elle Says:

    (PS You're totally right that many people in other countries do have an unwarranted sense of superiority when they look at egregious examples of US racism. It's akin to the people who can tell that Paula Deen is acting out, because it's so obvious, but don't understand that they themselves benefit from systemic white supremacy.)

  9. Samuardo Says:

    As an Australian, I have to say there's very little popular emphasis on America's race issues over here. (Then again, our apparent racism is pretty well publicised globally so we tend not to cast stones. Our latest political solution to the arrival of refugees is somewhat embarrassing, and the collective quality of life of our Aboriginal population is… err… fucking terrible. A few years ago some Indian students were bashed in Melbourne and the press in India went berserk. People marched through New Delhi burning effigies of our prime minister and shouting "Australian are racist," apparently oblivious to the irony of that statement. Australians are generally ashamed of our unique colonial heritage and pre-emptively ashamed about being racist, even though on the whole we're a pretty laidback and inclusive people.)

    No, people over here don't ridicule America's race problem. To the contrary, the US seems a beacon of multicultural integration. What we spend the most time ridiculing is your right-wing quasi-theocratic political discourse and your weird obsession with guns. The Zimmerman trial received some desultory coverage over here (nothing like a black, non-George-Bush president or a good bombing, but it was on the news) but the emphasis wasn't on the racial profiling aspect of the case. It was on the fact that a guy with an apparent history of resisting arrest and domestic violence was allowed to purchase a gun and drive round his housing community on some kind of vigilante neighbourhood watch patrol. In Australia, our media don't portray the US as having a race problem, but a gun problem.

    We do like Glee, though. And McDonalds.

  10. c u n d gulag Says:

    Yeah, we hardly have a monopoly on racism.

    The difference is that here in America, our racists are armed to the teeth with all sorts of assault weapons.

    In other countries, the racists have to do some actual work if they want to kill people different from them, instead of 'standing your cowardly ground' here, and blasting away with a handgun at X number of feet or yards.
    Racists in other countries have to "earn" their "kills."

  11. middle seaman Says:

    Mr. Gulag, weapons make little difference in racism. The different comments above more than aptly show that racism is universal. As such, lynching (a rope is enough), beatings, gang rapes and old faithful thorough discrimination do well with bats and punches.

    It may pay to partially list groups racism targets. First and foremost, American Indian from Canada to Chili. Europe, the killer of more than 100 million people in the 20th century, has Jews, what would have they done without hate of Jews, Arabs and Roma (i.e. Gypsies). Australia has the Aborigines and the many Indians. And so on.

  12. Major Kong Says:

    @Samuardo

    Australia got all the criminals, America got the Puritans.

    By all accounts Australia got the better deal.

  13. Arslan Says:

    Xenophobia and nationalism take on a very different character around the world. For example, in Europe Islamophobia is all the rage, and one argument Islamophobes use is protecting gay rights. Obviously that doesn't jive with the homophobic nationalists of Russia or the White Supremacists of the United States. On the anti-racist side, I see that one problem in the US and Canada in particular is the projection of our ideas about "race" onto the rest of the world, so that you hear so-called anti-racist liberals prattling on about other countries being full of "brown people" or "white" vs. "POC"(everyone else). In reality many people Americans see as "white" are no privileged as whites are in America. Eastern Europeans in many cases suffer from the same stereotypes and chauvinism that many "non-white" peoples suffer from.

    Moreover, I get sick of supposedly "enlightened" liberals saying how: Middle Eastern or Latin American countries = "brown people." The countries of the Middle East and Latin America are incredibly diverse, with different people of all phenotypes. Their internal cultures are mixed and diverse and have as much depth as the culture of the United States. They also have to deal with problems like racism and religious sectarianism, just like those liberal Western countries. Pretending to care about "the brown people" is a half-assed attempt at white liberal anti-racism which in fact is in itself racist, because you're reducing diverse, mixed cultures with a particular skin color.

  14. Arslan Says:

    Also one correction. Most countries in "Eastern Europe" ARE in fact in the EU now, with others joining. Greece, the Baltic states, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Hungary are all in the EU. I think Croatia just joined and Serbia is expected to join soon. BiH is basically a EU colony. Can't speak about Macedonia(FYROM) but nobody cares about Macedonia anyway.

  15. Alex SL Says:

    Seconded. My country of origin and my country of residence have their own problems. The thing is only that everybody consumes the news about (1) their own country and (2) the USA. Simply because the latter are so damn important for the rest of the world, be it because they buy your stuff, they sell stuff to you, they are your most powerful ally, or they threaten to bomb you.

    So if Americans do stupid things, everybody reads it. If, say, the Bulgarians do stupid things, it is mostly the Bulgarians who read it. (No idea really, I picked that country at random.)

    That being said, the political system of the USA currently does appear to be one of the more dysfunctional among developed countries, at least as far as I can tell from the outside. Belgium generally tops it though, and let's just not think about what is going on in Hungary…

  16. Anubis Bard Says:

    @nunya,

    I wish I could agree that personal racism was on the wane in the US, but I see the opposite. It's true that the old-fashioned racism of inferior African genes is on the wane, but that's being replaced seamlessly (I think among the under 30 crowd as well) by a more modern and sophisticated racism of dysfunctional cultures and damaged goods. The precise same stereotypes of violence, sexual excess, indiscipline, laziness and unreliability just get laid over a new explanatory narrative. Run this idea past even a good liberal and they'll just tell you that it's not racism, it's just – unfortunately – an accurate reflection of how things are for now. And so, for now, and as always, Black kids don't get hired, don't get that apartment, don't get welcomed and go to jail for their first joint.

  17. guttedleafsfan Says:

    @Samuardo,

    Canadians also see the US not so much racist as gunnist. Must be a Commonwealth thing.

    Of course we see it up closer since a goodly portion of American guns find their way here to help Canadians kill each other. And the NRA maintains a lobby to try and open a small but tasty market. Lend-lease for the 21st century, as it were.

  18. acer Says:

    There is a certain irony in getting a lecture on the wonders of multiculturalism from a fucking Canadian.

  19. Buckyblue Says:

    Lived a year in France after college, in Bordeaux, and met some of the most wonderful, professional, racist people you would want to meet. Africans were the targeted group and mostly norther-African/Arab. So when areas outside of Paris erupted in mass car burnings and the like a few years ago, it was no surprise. My feeling at the time, and I think it still holds true, was that at least the US acknowledges that there's a race problem, but the Europeans I met seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact. They were fine keeping the Arabs in their own ghetto, which usually meant somewhere outside of the expensive central city.
    As far as some saying the south has a race problem and the north doesn't, yeah, Glass Houses. I live in one of the affordable white-flight counties west of Milwaukee and the racists are running around here, and sitting in my classroom.

  20. anotherbozo Says:

    A black American friend was once elated to learn that the Peace Corps was sending her to Africa. Unfortunately, Somalians recognized her only as of West African heritage and thought themselves far superior. She suffered indignities for two years.

    Somalis? Nigerians? Of course most of us would have failed to detect any physical difference.

    And then there's the scientific evidence that our DNA is all traceable to African origins anyway.

    Neil Degrasse Tyson is probably right—aliens have studied Earth but decided that there's no intelligent life here.

  21. chatroulette Says:

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  22. guttedleafsfan Says:

    Hey Acer, where did I mention multiculturalism?

    – Kwame Jesus Fatima Singh Smith

  23. acer Says:

    @guttedleafsfan:

    Didn't mean that for you.

    Although I still find the whole Quebecois situation hard to fathom.

  24. John Doheny Says:

    @middle seaman,

    "American higher education is by far the best in the world and also the most democratic."

    You're joking, right? There are public schools in every American city where the roof leaks, the AC/Heating systems are antideluvian, 20 year old textbooks are shared one to every three students and violence is so pervasive the schools have metal detectors and employ private security forces. Of course, since most of the students at these schools aren't white, nobody important gives a crap.

    Oh, you say, but our UNIVERSITIES are second to none! Well, as someone who taught for six years at a "top American university" I can tell you from personal experience that students shelling out $38,000 a year in tuition are getting an education that doesn't hold a candle to the undergrad I enjoyed at state-run schools in Canada at one tenth the cost. Many of the students I dealt with couldn't write a coherent essay or, in some cases, a coherent sentence. And many were products of the best and most expensive private schools in America, which doesn't say anything good about the quality of education there either.

    @Nunya,

    "America has a myriad of sins to atone for but racism is on the wane here, particularly in those under thirty"

    Not exactly. Among "Millenials" in general yes, but if you seperate "white" millenials it's no better than it ever was.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/167590/race-millennials-and-reverse-discrimination#

    "The results weren’t heartening. Overall, 46 percent of Millennials agree that the government pays too much attention to the problems of minorities, with 49 percent who disagree. 48 percent also agree that discrimination against whites is a genuine problem. When you disaggregate by race and count only white Millennials, the picture is much worse.

    A solid majority of white Millennials, 56 percent, say that government has paid too much attention to the problems of blacks and other minorities. An even larger majority, 58 percent, say that “discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.”"

    I have no problem at all with placing the United States as a nation somewhere in the middle of the pack with all these issues, better than some, worse than others. But that's not how America presents itself. The default trope is always American Exceptionalism, the "shining city on the hill" to which the whole world aspires. As someone who lived abroad for decades, I can tell you that much of the "America bashing" discourse spoken of here comes from people fed up with hearing how bloody perfect WE are, loudly and often. The US on the national stage often comes off like that self-absorbed fat head at the party who won't shut up about himself.

  25. Rick Massimo Says:

    Am I wrong in thinking the US is the only country to have a freely elected head of government from an ethnic minority?

    Sure, the ugly reactions that's provoked in some quarters is telling, but still, that's gotta count for something.

  26. Elle Says:

    Also one correction. Most countries in "Eastern Europe" ARE in fact in the EU now, with others joining.

    The definition of 'Eastern Europe' is very fluid, but according to the EU's own definition, the majority of countries are not EU member states. I've bolded states in the list below that are EU members, and italicised states that somewhere on the accession pathway.

    Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

    **Other formal, acknowledged candidates for access are Iceland and Turkey.

    For an indication of how long the process of accession can be, Turkey entered into negotiations with the EU in 2004. The process can be very internally contentious, with Norway having started the process and withdrawn three times, and Iceland having very robust internal discussion about accession. The EU has been trying to pull Switzerland to heel for some time, but there accession process is currently frozen.

  27. Elle Says:

    Well, that formatting nearly worked. The list is unbesmirched by my open tag.

  28. Elle Says:

    Wait, no it's not:

    Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

  29. guttedleafsfan Says:

    offtopic note about cultural unity.

    Growing up a four-minute walk from the US, I noted a marked difference in the attitudes of our "Proud American" friends and relatives and us "Proud Canadians." We tended to feel a fuzzy connectedness with our countrymen however far away, even Edmonton Oilers fans. They were Mainers whose "real Americanness" was embodied in their own considerable virtues. There was a suspicion and hostility towards other regions that we did not feel towards, say, British Columbia .

    The other thing I noticed is that history is narrower there than elsewhere. From the evidence of the bookstores, libraries and school curricula in that admittedly small town,(and this was three decades ago) History, all of it, started in 1776 and stopped after American won WWII.

  30. mothra Says:

    let's just not think about what is going on in Hungary…

    Wait, what's going on in Hungary?

    Yeah, everyone hates what is different. I remember going into a Moroccan restaurant one evening in Paris. I was alone, the restaurant wasn't busy so the waiter chitchatted a bit with me. He complimented me on my French but told me he knew I wasn't French because no French woman would ever carry on a conversation with him the way I did. He was Algerian or Moroccan, don't remember which.

  31. mothra Says:

    Oops…I should have clarified–no WHITE French woman would have carried on a conversation with the North African waiter.

  32. guttedleafsfan Says:

    What is going on in Hungary is the same thing that was going on under Nazism – persecution of the Gypsies.

  33. BobS Says:

    There was a banana thrown on the ice in London, Ontario a couple years ago when Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers was on the ice for a shoot-out during a game with the Wings.

  34. guttedleafsfan Says:

    In London, are you sure? That is Nazem Kadriland. Musta been a Detroit fan who smuggled his banana in which he kept his brains across the border.

  35. Xynzee Says:

    @Leafs: my Canuckistani relos aren't so forgiving of you Torontans ;)

    Need to correct you on 'Murakun history there.
    Prior to 1492: nothing
    1492: Columbus discovers the greatest country on Earth! 'Muraka! F***! Yeah!
    1492-1620: nothing. Though there were rumours of Spaniards deciding to not to taint the greatest country on Earth! 'Muraka! F***! Yeah! By speaking some foreign language, and went south to be lazy with their siestas n all. Cause the southern parts aren't really 'Muraka.
    1620: Pilgrims arrive with God and Jesus and save the heathen injuns from themselves and teach them how to farm and hunt. The injuns were sooo thankful that they gladly gave the pilgrims all of their land from sea to sea.
    17-oh it's not important: we let the English assist us in driving the CheESMos* out of the greatest country on Earth! 'Muraka! F***! Yeah! With their funny French stuff. We also had to inform some of the natives who were unclear on the concept that this land was ours because of Plymouth Rock.
    1776: we drove the Red Coats out of the greatest country on Earth! 'Muraka! F***! Yeah! Because they wanted to take o'r gunz! This was done single handedly with both hands tied behind our backs in less than a year. Cause we're 'Murakuns! F***! Yeah!
    During this time the heavens parted and God bestowed upon us the Constitution and BoR. Cause we're 'Muraka the greatest country on Earth! 'Muraka! F***! Yeah!
    1776-present: the world looks to us to solve all their problems.

    Now don't you feel blessed to live next to the greatest country on Earth! 'Muraka! F***! Yeah! ;)

    *CheESMo: cheese eating surrender monkeys

  36. guttedleafsfan Says:

    Blessed, and humbled. Gosh darn it yes, sorry eh.

  37. BobS Says:

    I wouldn't know if he's a Wings fan or not, but the guy who was charged and fined was from the enlightened environs of London. Ironically, Simmonds got himself in trouble with the league for calling Sean Avery "faggot".

  38. Xynzee Says:

    Picking up John Doheny's final para: It's a combination of the exceptionalism mixed with our willingness to gladly stick our fingers in others' eyes whilst ignoring the lumberyard in our own. That's what really pisses people off.

    @Leafs: Any time there. LOL! :)

  39. guttedleafsfan Says:

    Calling Sean Avery names got him in trouble with the NHL? Simmonds should have got a bonus!

  40. guttedleafsfan Says:

    Anyway I have it on good authority that the word in question was not "faggot" at all but "fashionista". Justice for Wayne Simmonds!

  41. BobS Says:

    I hope that "good authority" isn't what you're calling Rob Ford these days, but on the subject of 'Canada's game', any word from up north on whether the NHL plans to put a team in Toronto any time soon?

  42. Big dog Says:

    It seems fairly clear to me that, given that we elected Obama to two terms as president, this is not a racist country. Does racism exist here? You betcha. I grew up in a family of NYC Irish cops who spoke and praciiced horrible forms of racism, but I firmly believe that they represented a dying breed, not dead, but dying. I think that most Americans are trying to make this scourge disappear, some by hiding their heads in tha sand, but many others are actively engaged in doing something about it, and those latter people's efforts are paying off, too slow for some, but we are making progress. Needless to say,the battle requires constant vigilance, and the still active racists among us are not going to give up without a struggle.

  43. Bernard Says:

    lol, so everyone lives in glass houses and throw stones?lol. so what else is new.

    what does concern me is the idea about American Education. boy if what we have/education wise/ is good. are we in trouble. the education is mere rote today. there used to be education, but hte Republicans fixed that one.lol blame the Republicans, yes i know, we Southerners don't like Education, never have and never will. thanks to Reagan now we don't have educaiton any more.

    just didn't want to leave the destroyer of American Society without the necessary plug/ honor.

    racism is the Southern white Way, always has been and always will be. keep them dumb white folks dumb, has been the White REpublican way.

    and it works!!!

  44. guttedleafsfan Says:

    @Bob S, oh ha very ha. Go ahead, mock the afflicted , we who remember Ballard have been through that which only makes us stronger.

    Poor Detroit! At least they have still got their arena and the money to upgrade it. I think that the Sabres should donate some players to them as a gesture of civic altruism. Then Motor City would at least have real Buffalo Wings.

  45. BobS Says:

    You can always find a spare dollar or two lying around for welfare to wealthy owners of professional sports teams.

  46. guttedleafsfan Says:

    You speak truer than you know – remember the Winnipeg donation drive c to keep the Jets there? And the inside story of why the lockout talks broke down is, all the owners missed an offer deadline waiting around for the pizza delivery guy to tip them.

  47. Scott Supak Says:

    Hey, at least the French (who certainly have their problems with racism) LIKED Jerry Lewis.

  48. sluggo Says:

    @Xynzee

    History you left out:

    1980- Ronald Reagan scores winning goal against the Soviet Union to win the Gold Medal and cause the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    USA! USA! USA!

  49. Alex SL Says:

    Rick Massimo,

    This or that South American country has recently managed to get their first indigenous president, for example.

    mothra: Wait, what's going on in Hungary?

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/?s=hungary

  50. Robert Says:

    Buddhist mobs in Burma /Myanmar have been abusing Burmese Muslims for a while now. The idea of violent Buddhist mobs is challenging for Americans, but there they are. Singapore is an independent city-state because the Indonesians didn't want all those overseas Chinese running their economy. Idi Amin expelled the Indians from Uganda. Turkey expelled ethnic Greeks from the Levant.

    Humans plus power equals @$$h0le$. If the Tibetans ever get their country back, I fully expect them to treat the Han as gently as the Israelis have been treating the Palestinians.

  51. Big dog Says:

    I am having difficulty trying to figure out what this is all about. Racism and ethnocentricity have been around forever and seem to mark the behavior of our ape kinsmen. It's likely that our Cromagnon ancestors ate all the Neanderthals they could find. Are we having this conversation because some dirty foreigners are pointing their fingers at us because of the antics of our own racists and by saying that they are just as bad as us gives us some kind of catharsis? We can all point fingers at everybody, us included, but I'll be damned if it makes me feel any better.

  52. Bitter Scribe Says:

    Foreigners have been bashing the United States over race relations since before there was a United States.

    "The yelps for liberty are loudest amongst the drivers of negroes." –Samuel Johnson

  53. Xynzee Says:

    @Scribe: oddly, nothing seems to have changed from those states. They're probably more irritated today because their "freedom" and "God given Right" to own slaves has been impugned upon.

    On a semi related note:
    Someone I went to HS w is wondering why it's so awful that some athlete used the n* word, when they use it amongst themselves, and it's so prevalent in culture and society. If he was 18 or 19, I'd get it. But a 46yo?? Bullshit!

  54. anonymous Says:

    Suddenly nativism was the word of the day and preservation of the culture (because Chinese and Koreans didn't take a siesta) became paramount. Itbecame obvious that these homogenous folks had never had to deal with other appreciably different cultures before and had not found a way to adapt.

    I have a question: Why should they adapt?
    It's a nation state of people sharing a culture and a language (which is quite unlike the US). Shouldn't it be the immigrants who adapt?

  55. Xynzee Says:

    Update: equality is that whites should be able to use the n* word too if they can.

    Ah privledge at it's finest.

  56. Xynzee Says:

    @ Anonymous: great question.

    As an expat—though to a culturally close country—I just accept that "that's the way it's done here." It's just a different way of solving the same problem. I'm the one who has to adapt. When in Rome…

    There are few things that bug me, especially newspapers. Best way to describe it: slow day at the news desk. But hey, what can I do?

    The other one is "Sydney Syndrome" aka just an amazing ability to just be in the way. Sydneysiders do it par excellence. Eg. Stopping *in* the landing of an escalator, in the subway at morning peak to look for one's ticket, and not understanding why people are angrily pushing one out of the way.

    BTW: Sending you wishes, luck, good vibes and prayers for your work situ.

  57. JohnR Says:

    Acer: "..from a fucking Canadian."
    What – only celibate Canadians know about multiculturalism? Seems sketchy to me, but I'll take your word for it.
    Also, too, what Major K said. The Strine criminals were much the same when it came to land-grabbing and native-bashing, but at least they weren't mealy-mouthed, pious hypocrites. Of course, the Puritans largely weren't either – they were a pretty hard-nosed bunch of semi-pious thugs by all accounts (but I may be prejudiced from having lived in RI).

  58. guttedleafsfan Says:

    John R, as a widow aged 113 I can verify the truth of your asseveration. Although younger Canadians during playoffs do gain a certain amount of objective multicultural insight.

  59. guttedleafsfan Says:

    BobS,

    |Glad you mentioned Ford as I am hoping Ed will include him if he does a Moron Mayor Marathon type piece. We have been trying to exchange him for Marion Barry or for anyone, really, and such exposure would help our cause.

  60. guttedleafsfan Says:

    PS that would include Doug of course, 2 for 1 deal of the century!

  61. moderateindy Says:

    My nephew moved to Dubai, and noticed how racist the Arabs are towards Pakistani, and Indian people.
    Racism is merely a form of tribalism, which is deeply ingrained in our brains.
    Is there anything more ridiculous than 2 high schools from neighboring suburbs or rural towns building up a bitter rivalry, where the people from the other school are represented as the hated "other". Somehow, the kids and parents from the town 5 miles away, with identical socioeconomic conditions are easily portrayed as "different". Packers- Bears fans a good example of tribalism, although I have gone to Lamebeau (see what I done did there) Field for games and Packers fans are consistently kind, even when I am wearing a Bears jersey.
    Of course some thinga are inherently true about the evil of the "other" The Red Wings and all their fans all suck!! Until of course they become Blackhawks, go Hossa

  62. Edward Says:

    Hilarious. Someone should write a book about "class-action park". It sounds like something out of The Simpsons or a Hunter Thompson story.

  63. Kaleberg Says:

    Major Kong – Don't bad mouth the Puritans. They're the ones who broke the divine right of kings, and it was Massachusetts where the courts first threw out slavery and later laws against gay marriage. Also, Australia wasn't the only place to get its share of convicts. Georgia was also a penal destination.