Increasing Hatred: a Primer

At the risk of throwing a tablespoon of baking soda into a pint of vinegar (yes, we homeschoolers do this type of thing), I have a question for those abuzz about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.

My own suspicion is that, like me, many people don’t watch the Academy Awards and aren’t terribly sure who Will Smith or Chris Rock are. Some may share my suspicion that news organizations are thrilled to have something titillating to write about so they can ignore President Biden’s verbal doddering, the rising price of gas, armies of unscreened illegal migrants pouring across the border, and the increasing crime rate. However, with all the attention being paid to the Academy Awards fracas, there is one word I am not seeing.

That word is racism. One black man assaulting another black man or one black man insulting a black woman may be odious, but it is hard to define as racist. Which leads us to a conundrum that vexes our society. If, as we are increasingly being told, any problem, disagreement, or fight between two people with different pigmentation is by definition motivated by racism (in one direction only), then we can’t possibly share a civilization.

In the “nothing new under the sun” category, segregating people by skin color has not been a rousing success throughout history. Yet, we are increasingly doing just that.

Despite protestations that it is no such thing, it is hard to see a Washington State school district’s vote to consider students’ race when punishment is meted out as anything but the type of favoritism that leads to resentment. A friend of a friend (yes, anecdotal evidence but I see no reason to doubt it) related that students in her California school district get different lunches based on their racial identity. That seems a great way to get two fourth-graders to despise each other. Forcing some students to have substantially higher test scores than others in order to be admitted to college doesn’t lead to warm, fuzzy feelings.

What would have happened if instead of Will Smith hitting Chris Rock, the aggressor had been, let’s say, Alec Baldwin? Would he have gone on to a standing ovation a short time later? Would the episode be discussed as one man losing control and behaving inappropriately or would we be seeing headlines blaming every white person, dead or alive, for the violence? In our Alice in Wonderland world, is anything ever as simple as it seems?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments on this Susan’s Musing article.
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