American Views On Race

Views on race in America are largely American-centric, and for good reason. Its where Americans live. But from a world-wide perspective, our views are narrow.

I lived in Germany when I was in my first tour of duty with the Army. While many of my caucasian brothers and sisters in arms were of Anglo-Saxon or even of Germanic descent. Other than how we dressed and our short haircuts, many of us fit in with the host population. But for those who are brown or black-skinned, we sometimes stood out. In many places where I traveled in Germany, the cab drivers and service people were other than German. In that, I mean predominantly Turkish or sometimes Indian in heritage.

In fact, as a Native American, somehow I passed off as a Turk at times. I had a lady friend who would invite me to a Turkish bar with her and there was never a problem. I mean, back in that time where I lived, some of the Turks had a violent temper. I once saw two American soldiers badly beaten by a group of Turks. These guys looked like your average nerdy white guys and they weren’t being belligerent. They were racing to get their car door unlocked and down the road. But it was like a movie. The driver dropped his keys and couldn’t get in since he was rushing so fast. So the two guys got beaten badly. I didn’t have the courage to step in because I would have been beaten too. I once saw a guy suplexed by a Turk. As a wrestler, I can still see that beautiful move in my mind. But the American had his head bashed in pretty badly when it hit the cobblestone.

Another time, me and a white buddy of mine were walking down the street in Kaiserslautern (K-town) and we saw a group of guys just off the main street. I yelled out, "where’s the party?" (maybe in German or English, I can’t remember). When they turned and looked at us, they were skinheads. They had leather and chains and didn’t look at us too kindly. So we kept moving on.

Another time, I was certain we were going to get beaten up. I’m sure we looked like drunk, gullible, harmless Americans as we left the Monster’s of Rock Concert. As we entered the concert earlier in the day (like in the morning since it was an all-day festival), they didn’t allow us to bring certain things in the stadium. So we wandered to the woods nearby and stashed our gear. Late that night, we went back for our gear. There were faint street lights, but then it was dark where our gear was. As we walked down the path, a big group of German guys were ahead of us. They kept looking back at us. As we were walking, part of the group stopped and we passed them. We came up to our gear and as we walked back onto the path, both groups had turned to approach us. We were boxed in. So we at first moved slowly into the woods and then started sprinting for our lives to get away.

While in Germany, we had the chance to go to Paris for a tour sponsored by my unit. That was a terrible choice because everybody got drunk and were fighting, but that’s another story. My problem was I didn’t know anything about Paris. I was a 19 year old soldier and not very worldly. Since the aforementioned drunken soldiers were unruly to hang with, I ventured out by myself. I like it that way. What was not super great was all my travels were by foot. I couldn’t catch a Taxi cab. I was totally discriminated against. I couldn’t speak French, so all the cabbies just ignored me. No habla, right? I couldn’t get on the Metro (subway) system either. Nobody would help me. I didn’t know how or where to get tokens or passes. Heaven knows I tried. So I ended up walking everywhere. I even had trouble getting food at times.

I’ll take you to last year in Thailand. First of all, when you visit a country, you obey their rules. If you get thrown into a Thai prison for doing something stupid, that’s on you. Even the U.S. Embassy would have their hands tied to help if you did wrong. You can’t step on or deface the Thai Baht, their money, because it has a picture of the King. You can’t say anything bad about the King. Its so different from the U.S. where people freely bash politicians. You also can’t buy a Buddha as a trinket, wear a Buddha image, or take a picture with your head higher than a Buddha. If you post to social media and they see it, they’ll look you up and catch you at the Airport before you leave. But you know the most tricky part of it all? There is an outright gouging of foreigners. There is a sign that says "Thais" and the other "Farangs". One line for one and another for the other. There are different prices for entry. Often you pay a higher price for food and transportation. Its just how it is.

As I’ve been researching a trip to Costa Rica, many "Ticos" frown on Yankees. Yes, we are loud, impatient, lack understanding, and are downright obnoxious. Whereas the Ticos are on their own time, they are so chill and laid back, and they don’t like American’s getting loud and angry. They also don’t like Divas.

All over the world, I’ve seen Americans think they are special and want things their way. Well, the world ain’t Burger King. Sometimes, you get what you get. We don’t make the rules. If you have to wear long pants and long sleeves to visit a temple, that’s what you do. If you need to wear a head and face covering, then you do it. If you can’t wear short-shorts or go topless on the beach, then tough. They make the rules.

Joe Rogan called it the "pussification of America". He had a guest, a Mexican immigrant who was recently naturalized. He said the people in American who treat recent immigrants the worst are the 2nd and 3rd generation Mexicans. Somehow, they’ve fallen into following the narrative put out there. He said "Facts don’t matter". He would tell of what was happening in Tijuana (TJ) when the caravans were going through. The locals didn’t like it at all. Much of it was orchestrated by the cartels. In 100F heat, guys in black hoodies would herd women in children in front of them. They had tattoos from head to toe. They had to hide behind innocuous looking people to get across the border. When generous food agencies would come and give the immigrants food, the cartel would take that food and re-sell it out behind the building. But somehow, this guy was chastised heavily for telling the truth. It didn’t follow the narrative.

As a pre-teen boy, my parents adopted two children from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I’ve said before, some reservations make the ghetto or barrio look like Disneyland. It is in a barren place out in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing there. Not even trees. There are not many businesses other than a grocer. There are lots of adults wasted laying along the streets. We visited an attorney to help us with adoption. The lady was overweight, which was odd for a place where people are starving. We sat on some chairs and boxes. The floor was either a dirt floor or dirt was covering the floor. All I know is it soaked up the pee that shot across the room when the lady coughed. That is a distinct memory I’ll never forget. When we did a Bible school with a missionary there, some of the college students were gathered around a cute little dog. The Indian boy who brought it over said they were eating it for dinner that night. It was the reality. Years later, I read how gangs have taken over. They extort people or their own families out of their monthly checks from the government. Many of these people have nothing. You don’t see racism because there’s no other people around to be racist to them. Years ago when the American Indian Movement was super active, they shot FBI agents who came on the reservation. The agents had like 50 bullets each in their bodies. We had a close personal friend who was a U.S. Marshall who went to the reservation to issue a warrant to a murderer. It was a scary time with machine guns and lots of bad feelings. And our U.S. Marshall friend, he was Puerto Rican.

One last story from the reservation (I have many). We had another missionary friend who preached at a church at Sharp’s Corner, a remote community miles from Pine Ridge. He lived in a small trailer next to the church, which was broken into many times. He said he didn’t keep anything of value there. You could sense a lot of fear when he talked. When we came to visit, he was doing a funeral of a gang member. He had us sit close to a door where we could escape should the other gang show up. Then he said we should just drive away as fast as we could. He was really afraid. It would have been a mass firefight. It was life on the Rez.

I think people should stop protesting and doing things they know nothing about. They don’t know the real problems and the sources of those problems. I told someone, there are probably 5-10 problems for each community before you ever get to racism. If you want to help someone, there are other ways to do it. It is such a difficult situation. Like on the reservation, I’m not sure what the answers are. If there was an easy solution, people would have done that already. One huge key is education. I’ve heard such positive stories about inner city kids being schooled at home because of the pandemic who are actually learning now. In the schools, teachers spend more time disciplining and dealing with unruly students than actually teaching. Smart kids are often placed in peer groups to bring up the numbers of the lesser performing students, which is chaotic for them. I know a local teacher in our town who quit because of the meanness of kids. When you think of the problem of unruly kids, it makes you wonder how they were raised. Sometime in the past, somebody went to a party, had a good time, had unprotected sex, and then ended up with a child. Parents are not ready to commit to a child, they don’t have the means to support the child, and often kids are left in neglect. It is a lack of values and no responsibility that are the primary source of the problem. They turn to the streets and the vicious cycle continues. It comes to having responsible relationships, actual planned parenthood where a loving family wants a child, having a home with means to support a family, and then raising them with values and a good education so they can survive in the world. Giving people free money doesn’t work if you see how Native Americans are treated on reservations. It doesn’t help anyone to pay them off for having no sense of self worth, no contribution to society, and no reward from doing hard work.

That last part is key. Its why socialism never works. Everybody gets paid the same and nobody is rewarded for working harder. So why work harder? If the State controls everything, then why do anything? Why not just stay at home and do nothing because you’ll still get paid. There is no self worth in that.

As for me, I take pride in anything I do myself, and that’s a lot! YouTube is great for everything. There is nothing you can’t do outside of YouTube. I installed a carburetor and other parts on my lawn mower not really knowing how to do those things. And the mower runs great. I did that myself and I pat myself on the back for it. I feel so good about myself when I do things on my own. Yes, I pay for expertise when I need to because that’s what you do. You pay for expertise because they’ve earned that with education and experience. Their hard work is why you go to them. But if there is no benefit from making something of yourself, then why do it? I went to school for 12 years to earn my Ph.D. I had better damned well get something out of all that hard work. Otherwise, why do it?

I’m a proud Native American. I’ve made something of myself. There are so many examples of all races of people who are successful contributors to society. But there are also a lot of people who don’t have real responsibilities, they don’t have kids to care for, they don’t have employees, they don’t have a mortgage to pay and gain equity. These are often the ones who want socialism. They usually rent, move from place to place, live out of wedlock, and usually don’t have kids. They see disparity in income from the outside never asking why that is so. They see the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But they never seek solutions. Socialism is not the answer. Its the reverse of success. In many ways, race is like a caste system, like in India. In Thailand, its the common people and royalty. In Marxism, its the proletariat, bourgeois, and peasant classes. Everybody has a purpose. And they aren’t getting paid the same. People get paid for what they contribute to society. If they don’t contribute, they don’t get paid. If they don’t have a skill, expertise, or other capacity to contribute, then they’ll struggle finding success. Believe me, everyone can find a skill. Minimum wage jobs are meant to be stepping stones while in school or developing a skill. Maybe minimum wage is for when you work on your GED and catch up what was lost in youth. But minimum wage was never meant to be a living wage. Its a contribution to yourself until you find your success.

People need to think about what they say. They see things so clearly in their minds, but they don’t connect the dots. Politicians sit on high horses totally disconnected from the people. Its why term limits are absolutely necessary. One Detroit city councilwoman said a US congressperson is there "to bring home the bacon". That’s it. But that’s not it. How does a congressperson making a modest wage end up being millionaire’s? How does a Bernie Sander’s become a millionaire when they never made anything outside of the government? Its not right. Representation of the people is what we need. Not 20 year politicians who have built caucuses and networks that benefit themselves, but not necessarily for their constituents. Its a broken system. Its what is most broken about America. Even the President is limited to 4-8 years. But a Senator stays in his or her cushy seat for life. That’s what’s sad. No representation. No progress. No limits. Its the primary source of all our problems.

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