George Zimmerman is “not guilty”

I am not happy with the verdict. But, let’s stop blaming the jurors. We don’t know what instructions they got from the judge and it is not easy to be a juror. Remember that the prosecution job is to convince them that Zimmerman was guilty without reasonable doubt. They failed to do so. Rather than getting angry at jurors, defense lawyers or the judge, we should be angry at ourselves. What type of society are we living in where a young black teen is seen as a threat? Let’s look at our own hidden biases first before blaming other people.

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The curious case of Boston Bombing Suspects

If you are reading this, you already know that the two suspects were identified as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. One of the suspects is dead after a shootout where he killed an MIT police officer. The other is on run, armed and dangerous.

They both hail from Chechnya which has a long, turbulent political history. When the FBI released the pictures of suspect, the most uncouth behaviour by commentators started. Some of the people on the political left hoped they were white. Some on the right hoped they were brown and Muslim. They turned out to be white and Muslim. Yes, Chechens are white according to U.S census. While the FBI and the Boston police were investigating and doing their job catching these perpetrators, media decided to speculate and mess up people’s lives. Hence, a Bangladeshi man was attacked by a bunch of racist dudes because you know he was brown and Muslim. Sunil Tripathi and Mike Mulugeta were misidentified as  suspects by redditors because police chatter is so conclusive? It is not. We still don’t know if Sunil is alive or not. He went missing before the bombings and his family was trying to search for him.

This is why normal citizens who are not part of law enforcement should lay off speculating. You are not a detective; you do not have the training or the skills. If you think someone is a suspect, contact the police. They follow up the tips to see if it is legit or not. Media is culpable by not vetting their sources and just making up a bunch of theories.

Hope all the people who were misidentified sue the hell out of media companies. Hope Sunil’s parents find out his whereabouts. Hope the second suspect is caught without bloodshed. We don’t need more by-standers and brave police officers losing their lives.

Update: Dzhokar Tsarnev is caught alive. Bravo to the law enforcement in United States. Their competence and professionalism more then made up for the kerfuffle caused by the media.

So, segregated proms are still happening in 2013

Still sick and feeling lethargic but I had to write a post when I read this Gawker piece.  According to  the article,  Georgia teens from Wilcox county are trying to raise money for an integrated prom. Apparently segregated proms that are privately held are the norm.When I read this, I was shocked.

Look, I know racism and bigotry is still happening and as a person of color, I experience it. But, why allow such a situation to continue?  The article says that the segregated proms are funded by parents and students. The school doesn’t hold a prom. I feel that the principal is just washing his hands off the problem. He knows the situation is wrong but doesn’t want to amend it. He could just rectify by holding a prom in the school. I see through your excuses, Mr. Principal. 

Hope these teens succeed in holding an integrated prom. At least, the teens are living in 2013 and not 1950.

Anyway, still cannot wrap my head around this. For all the racism in Canada, this will not be allowed to happen here.

Let’s talk about racism in North America

Ooh, we are talking about a sensitive topic. I think one of the reasons it is so hard to have a proper discussion about racism is that people’s initial reaction is of defensiveness. There are also anti-discrimination laws put into place (for good reason) and people fear losing their jobs. So, people will deny that their behavior was racist. However, the most important reason is that people think of racists as monsters.

I am not racist because I am not Hitler.

I am not racist because I am not Hitler.

 

I do not subscribe to this ideology. I cannot be racist.

I do not subscribe to this ideology. I cannot be racist.

But, nope that is not the reality. Most folks who say something prejudicial and discriminatory are your “average Joe”. They might even be “good people”. They are your neighbors,  friends, and co-workers. Or it might be you. People get defensive when get called on their racial prejudice because they think we are comparing them to the most extreme, hateful segments of society. In their mind, they are not Nazis or part of KKK.

Guess what, when people call you out on your racism, they aren’t accusing you of being a Nazi. They are however stating that your remarks are wrong and very hurtful to that person. In fact, if you are called out on your racial prejudice, introspect on how your remark, behavior and action can affect a person negatively. You might just become a better person after it. Just apologize to the person who feels they have been made to feel inferior due to your careless remarks. Half the time, I see people say dumb things out of sheer ignorance. Refer to my first blog post. People say dumb things because they don’t know better.

Sometimes, people think they aren’t doing anything wrong because they might have a friend from that racial group. For example, I am not racist because I have a black friend. I am allowed to say the N word right? No, you are not. When my brother was in high school, I overheard him say the N word. I was appalled. His reasoning was all my black friends say I can use it. Nope, you still don’t have the right even if they give you “permission.” It is one thing for a young black man to reclaim a word that was historically used to dehumanize them. It is another thing for anyone else to use the word because rappers use it and it will make them seem cool. Guess what, N word isn’t cool. It has got such an appalling history to it. Why would you want to utter such a word? After I explained the racial history behind the word, my brother regretted his speech and has been more thoughtful about his behavior.

We all make mistakes. We all say something stupid out of ignorance. It happens quite frequently in Canada. We have people from all over the world. I have made the same mistake. Learn to accept your mistake and be more aware of your actions. Let’s not generalize or stereotype people. You might have a negative experience with a person from a particular cultural background. Understand this: there are good and bad people everywhere. That individual was negative. Let’s not make assumptions based on their skin color.

 

 

P.S: I don’t think I gave full justice to a topic like racism. It is such a complex issue. I didn’t talk about how racism is a social construct because I am not talking g about it in an academic way. I feel regardless of your race, you might have felt uncomfortable about someone’s remark or you might have been called out on a prejudicial remark.  I just feel we shouldn’t demonize people but educate them and start an honest discussion about race.

Dear White Canadians, Brown people like Christmas too!

Okay, I was inspired to write this post after a real-life incident that happened with my Dad.  A truck driver at my Dad’s workplace outright accused my Dad and other minorities for the reason Canadians (meaning him and other white people) cannot celebrate Christmas openly.

Now, I didn’t know Christmas was under a threat. I haven’t heard of any one getting shot in the gut if they uttered the words Merry Christmas in Canada. First of all, there are people from countries like India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka etc. who are Christians. That means, they go to the Church and celebrate Christmas. On top of that, plenty of Non-Christians like Hindus and Sikhs also celebrate Christmas because it’s been secularized and commercialized to a large extent. I know that in India, Christmas is a national Holiday and plenty of malls, luxury hotels and shops have Christmas decorations. So, no one feels offended when they see Christmas trees and mall Santa Claus.  In fact, everything is prettier and there are awesome deals to have. Also, plenty of Hindus, Sikhs and Jain just leave the Diwali lights on for Christmas. No point of taking it down after just a day; plus the house looks pretty with the lights on.

What, I think that truck driver was talking about was the use of Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas in various public institutions such as the schools. Guess what, if even one parent complains about the holiday because they feel it encroaches upon their religious freedom, good bye Merry Christmas, hello Happy Holidays. In addition, there are plenty of atheists who might feel a religious holiday has no place in a public institution. People might just be overly political correct because they don’t want to offend anyone.

Anyway, don’t be ignorant fools and look forward to the Winter Solstice coming in December.

P.S: I know not all white Canadians think like that. The title is tongue in cheek.

P.P.S: Er, there is a reason I have used the word white rather then Caucasian.  I think this Wikipedia definition sums it up:

Caucasian race (also CaucasoidEuropid, or Europoid) is the general physical type of some or all of the populations of EuropeNorth Africa, the Horn of AfricaWestern Asia/Middle EastAsia MinorCentral Asia and South Asia.[2] Historically, the term meant people from these regions, without regard necessarily to skin tone