Mitt Romney says 47% of the American people are irredeemable. They consider themselves victims, are dependent upon government and will not be convinced to take responsibility for their own lives. Essentially, it is a waste of time to try to persuade them to assume personal responsibility.
John Crisp, an English professor at Del Mar College in Corpus Cristi,Texas, was very astute in his observation when he wrote in a recent column:
The really hard labor in our culture has always been done by Hispanics, blacks, other minorities and poor whites. And they've always aspired to something better -- if not for themselves, for their children.
Sometimes our culture encourages this sort of aspiration -- certainly, at least, with lip service. But at other times, subtle mechanisms work to keep people in their places. One of those mechanisms is the myth of the inherent laziness of the poor and non-white, a fabrication essential to the maintenance of the status quo and so pervasive that sometimes even the poor and non-white begin to believe it.
The reaction to the former was one of horror and condemnation. It threatens to take us back to a dark place from which we thought we had escaped. We, as a society, would like to think we have matured beyond the restrictive labels. The latter reminds us that we still have a ways to go. Romney's statement is symptomatic of an ugly disease in the human heart.
There always exists an inclination to classify people into certain "bite size portions," to segregate them into specific boxes of prejudices. Therefore, we call them lazy, shiftless, unproductive parasites with no ambition. We say their sole desire, modus operandi, is to promote, elect and enhance a government that will enable them and cater to their selfish aims.
There is an inherent bent in all men to prejudge different men and women and place them in select neat categories. This makes us comfortable in dealing with them and easier to discriminate against or exploit them.
Since this is how they are.
This is all they want to do.
This is all they aspire to be.
We are justified in our reaction and attitude towards them. They do not deserve more than so much and what we are grudgingly willing to concede. Furthermore, it must be on our own timetable and terms, so as not to cause us any inconvenience or discomfort.
So we steal the children of Africa, enslave them, tell them about the salvation of Jesus but keep them in shackles. In our effort to maintain this horrific institution, we engage in a devastating conflict that claimed the lives of more than 750,000 of our brothers. Peeved and disgruntled that we could not get our own way, we organized the KKK, instituted share-cropping, created Jim Crow laws and allowed the formation of barrios and ghettoes.
Even our churches and missionaries were complicit in this effort. Though, we ostensibly worship the same God, it is not possible to do it together. While bringing the gospel to foreign lands, the missionaries many times would discard the local cultures as worthless. They would regard the converted as brothers but brothers who could only be "hewers of wood, or fetchers of water." Moreover, in heaven, some believed that there will be mansions for them and different mansions for us.
As the old mores were assaulted and invalidated our stereotypical field diminished. Hence, we had to create new barriers to keep them in their place.
They could not play baseball until Jackie Robinson.
Golf was not their game until Tiger Woods showed up.
Tennis was not in
their portfolio until the Williams sisters came on the scene. Indeed, Indian
Wells, California is still not happy that the pair are excelling at "our
The sisters refuse to play in that tournament because of the abuse and racial taunts they must endure there.
It is always unwise and dangerous to pigeonhole people and paint large swaths of mankind with the same brush. We all have liberal and conservative impulses.
Black Pastors are refusing to endorse Barack Obama because of his stance on abortion and same sex marriage.
We must remember people are not computers to be programmed to obtain a particular desired result.
Lest you think this attitude and malady is peculiar to America, I hasten to remind you of:
The World Trade Center
Apartheid in South Africa
Sudan and numerous others.
Despite the most ardent entreaties of Gandhi, the Hindu South and Moslem North could not see eye to eye. So, we end up with India and Pakistan seemingly always at each other's throats. The primary goal of the Arab world is the extinction of the Jewish State of Israel.
To casually dismiss, disdain and disregard any group of people is an insult to our Creator. To determine the capacity, destiny and ability of another human being is to assume a god-like stance and become arrogant. It is demonic and evil. Rather, it is far more rewarding and profitable to take the time to know your neighbor personally and individually.
You will be
pleasantly surprised how much we are alike than different and aspire to the
same things. In addition, one never knows on the day when help or comfort is
necessary from which quarter it will come. The Bible, as always, is our best
example and reference. Consider once again the story of Rahab, the prostitute, Ruth,
the Moabitess, or the Good Samaritan.
Suffering is all inclusive. It does not care where the solution comes from.
Finally, it is written in the Book ,"The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy, there is none that doeth good, no not one."
Suppose Jesus had said, "Father, they are beyond hope, a lost cause. They are not worth the time and effort."
Where would you or I be?
V. Knowles is a husband and father with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick.