Race, Culture and Competency in the Times of Hatred, Bigotry, & President 45

Trump on Oval Office with portrait of “Indian Killer” Andrew Jackson over his shoulder.

Guest Commentary

Published October 12, 2017

The problems that our country faces as a whole are the consequences of Western civilization. Racial inequalities, healthcare disparities, educational gap, growing divide in economic classes—you name it—are severe consequences of the civilization we currently live in. And although Western civilization has contributed and enriched the human experience, its inability to separate itself from colonizing other peoples contributes to the overconsumption and never-ending materialism that will eventually lead to our species suicide.

Mother Earth is an powerful, never-ending giver of life and she will continue to exist long after we are gone. This is a fact that even Western science hasn’t elaborated or discussed on any serious level, yet.

The very problems our country faces with our current president is that he is a product of the society that socialized him, which is essentially a culture that has created and perpetuated ethnocentrism to undermine groups of people that may have different beliefs, morals and values than their own. In other words, he is not a product of an alien race or society and, therefore, we are not in disbelief as a result of whatever preconceived notions we might have about whatever it is we think we know about that group and subsequent society. He is, in a very real sense, an epitome of the civilization that is finding its way towards its own destruction.

Western culture created and perpetuated ethnocentrism to undermine entire groups of people that may have different beliefs, morals, values, histories, and color of skin and we witness the actions and undermining of our President in nearly every challenge, catastrophe, and mistake that presents our Chief in Command. Throughout Western history, this concept has continuously repeated its same mistakes of dehumanizing and disenfranchising people of non-Western societies and our current path is not shy of continuing that path. We all see the need for this way of living to end, but what do we do?

There are millions of peoples who currently support, rally, or applaud our current president using the convenient facade of “obligation” for one’s country, but fail to publicly credit that their support is ethnocentric and bigoted at its foundation. He is a threat to all things pursuing equality and unity – something that the human family has been overcoming for thousands of years. The issues at hand, facing our nation and world centered around the concept of race, which was created, maintained and perfected by those who were ethnocentric from its beginning, may have a tremendous impact on all peoples. We are all participants in the development and growth of our species and at the end of our tenure here on Earth, the concept of “we are all related” may prove to have some truths after all.

With the growing population of diverse communities and peoples of color, it is becoming unwelcome and unsatisfactory to publicly display acts of ethnocentrism. Calling someone a “racist” is no longer tolerable, for example. It is becoming more and more unpopular to earn the title of “racist” in the United States of America as people of color increase the makeup of America’s ethnic population.

It is through their own mechanism of ethnocentrism that those from Western cultures fail to address the shortcomings of their cultural shortcomings and people from communities of color will literally have to wait for them to destroy themselves, along with countless others from other cultures and peoples, from within. It’s not going to come from their God. If you can recall significant acts of American history, it was from their God that justified the taking and near extinction of not only an entire group of people, but their food source and their most revered relative, the eagle. It was the justification and belief that influence policy that removed countless Indigenous peoples from their lands in the United States of America.

White people have been committing atrocious acts of violence against groups of peoples, even amongst themselves, since they have arrived in the Western Hemisphere and are showing very little signs of making any significant change. Among our peoples and our communities we face a great deal of perpetuated violence for a variety of reasons. The more we voice this, the more people will hear it. The more we educate and learn the truths of our history, the more we will avoid similar atrocities to each other in the future because we are all good people.

The more people are in tuned with the way they do things and why, the better we are to understand how those “things” influence many aspects of daily life, such as the way one communicates both verbally and non-verbally in comparison to another person from an entirely different part of the world. It wasn’t until the last generation did “multi-cultural” literature and aspects of history, culture and language were introduced into the classroom. And for the most part, are still taught by educators that don’t fully grasp its languages and purpose in the classroom. The stories and knowledge of why our children are taught the things they are taught in the classroom are failing us as a nation. For example, not many realize the flaws of Western science and where it falls short and, more importantly, how that influences billions of peoples view while here on Earth. We are becoming, more and more, people of consumption, only. We are pushed to participate in corporate society that the main purpose is to drive sales, economic growth and to consume products and services, which means stripping the Earth and the people that have them from their rights to them.

And like all people come from culture, not all know why they do the things they do, communicate the way they do, and perceive the world they way they do. That’s the beautiful thing about culture – it will always change. As we are witnessing more and more municipalities, states, governments abolish the recognition of Columbus Day and replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day, there are concerns, questions, ignorant statements and beautiful statements on its change. We are participating in a changing culture that is moving to understand and demonstrate competency instead of “political correctness” which will always fail. Think on that. Being “politically correct” will always fail compared to being competent of what is respectful, appropriate towards people. In other words, you just know instead of simply avoiding.

Although many of the statements expressed may seem like opinions, they are not. It is impossible to ignore the actions and it is time to recognize, take action and move forward for our species, for our country, for our future. The time for legacies of a race, family or person has been long overdue. Saying no to bigotry, hatred, racism will soon be a thing of a past and we can only hope, but through hope comes action, teaching, listening, learning – together.

Continue to be a strong ally. As the fad goes, “be the difference.”

Darren Thompson (Ojibwe/Tohono O’odham) is a Native American flute player and writer from the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe Reservation in Northern Wisconsin. He contributes to Native News Online, Native Max Magazine and Powwows.com. For more information please visit www.darrenthompson.net

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  1. Michael J. Madrid 2 years ago
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