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Racist in the streets

Date: 2018-May-28           Author: Barry Shatzman

By now there's a good chance you've seen this video of a woman's racist tirade against a U.S. veteran who happens to be Asian.

It has a special interest to me because it happened about a block from where I used to live. And as a cub reporter in California's Bay Area, i've covered Fremont and its government.

Although Fremont is a very diverse city, i'm not surprised this happened there. For one thing, the numbers don't paint the whole picture. Fremont's diversity isn't very well distributed around the city. The city is made up of pockets. But there's a better reason i'm not surprised. I've seen similar things happen there. To more than one person i know well. With ethnic backgrounds as different as you can come up with. Oh... and the city's synagogue was vandalized with anti-semitic graffiti.

But that isn't why i'm writing this. Nor is it because i want to publicly shame this woman. In fact, i'm writing this because we shouldn't be publicly shaming her.

She isn't the only racist in the country. Hell... i've already pointed out she's far from being the only racist in Fremont. Sure... she's ignorant. And her anger is completely irrational. But blaming her won't solve anything. We need to get to the core of the issue.

I know some of you are thinking that core is Donald Trump. And yeah... he is the country's Racist in Chief. But Trump didn't invent racism. He merely made it popular again. And just to be clear, the racist incidents i referred to above took place long before Trump ran for president.

If you woke up tomorrow morning and found out that Trump no longer was president, do you think racism will have gone away on the horse he rode out on? To make that argument you'd have to explain why 60 million Americans voted for him in the 2016 election. They either supported his racism or weren't bothered enough by it to question whether it's a good idea to be putting this guy in charge of stuff that matters.

Which brings us back to why we shouldn't be publicly shaming this woman.

Of course we should show the video. We need to do everything we can to make racism less and less deniable. And for what it's worth... she happens to be the star of it. But just because we show the video to fight racism, that doesn't mean it's a good use of our time to focus our anger at her. For one thing, what do we hope to accomplish with what a friend of mine calls street justice on the information highway?

But for another, remember those 60 million people i mentioned above? At most, she's only one of them. Doing the math, that leaves 60 million people with similar issues.

If this woman really is convinced that some ethnic group is a problem... her questionable reasoning skills are only brought into further question by her belief that yelling at one will make all of them leave. So tell me... is that really the road you wanna go down too?

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