Archive for March, 2009

Lie to me

March 6, 2009

So last night I watched the latest episode of Lie to Me, a show on Fox.  It’s a fairly entertaining show; it’s one of those shows that makes you think you’re learning something while you’re watching it – like House, or Burn Notice, or 60 Minutes. On a side note, I thoroughly enjoy Burn Notice, they are definitely pro 2nd amendment. Back to the matter at hand: I think I won’t be watching Lie to Me anymore.

Last night the episode was about a black firefighter who was dating (clandestinely) the white niece of the white fire chief.  he was one of two black firefighters in the fire house, and he was hazed and ultimately killed. This is one of those crime/CSI-type shows, but their hook is that they look at people facial expressions and body language to tell who is lying. So, the team (who are all white except for one who is Latino) gather up all the white firefighters and put them in a room and show them facial expressions of black people and white people that have a description attached to them.  The participants have to decided if the description matches the picture.  The two examples we see on the show are a photo of JFK and one of Barack Obama – both with positive descriptions, inspirational and noble respectively.  The administrator of the test informs us that this will tell us who is the most affected by his racism which will be determined by reaction time to the image and description.  Presumably, the longer you take to associate good descriptors with a black person, the more racist you are.  As it turns out, or so we are informed, is that 80% of white people are racist – they just don’t know it.

Is it just me, or is our president a black man? Aren’t white people the largest racial group in this country? Wasn’t slavery (a worldwide institution- not uniquely American- at the time, before the Civil War, and after it still in many countries) abolished (uniquely American) in this country by white Christian majority?Are they serious with this stuff: I’m a racist and I just don’t know it? Actually, I think the test is flawed.  In the part of the test we see they show photos of JFK and Barack Obama, as I already said.  Well, I believe those guys are politicians – one a former president, one a current president. What if the reaction time is skewed because someone doesn’t or does agree with politics of the person shown? Though they both are designated as democrat, Obama’s policies make JFK look like a conservative.  Wouldn’t the test be more effective if the participants were shown faces they were not familiar with?

It is just so baffling that the show made that claim of racism (unwitting racism no less) and that most people probably sat there and took it. I’m sorry but that’s not entertainment. To say that white people are inherintly racist against blacks- which is the claim the show made- is like saying that black people are inherently more violent than white people.  Now, I’m pretty sure that latter statement would be referred to as racist.  And it is.  Just as much as the first part of that statement. Not to mention, they are both untrue.

But, it’s okay these days in this country to say that white people are racist just because.  And, as we all know, because we’ve been taught in school and in the media that ONLY white people can be racist – a minority can never be considered a racist – even if they don’t like someone because of their race. And a lot of white people seem to be okay with this.  They take this with a very conciliatory attitude for Lord knows what reason. Perhaps it’s  “white guilt.” Well, okay.  If that’s your problem then you’ve got issues.  But good news, you don’t have to live with your white guilt anymore! Walter Williams, professor of Economics at George Mason University (and a black man!) has a gift for you :  http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/gift.pdf.

Take the gift, and get a life.  And also visit the rest of Prof. Williams’ site http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/ and get a little bit smarter.

Thankfully, yours truly does not need this gift as my family, on both sides, only goes back 4 generations in this country at most. So, we had nothing to do with slavery – but then neither did anyone living in this country today. Even if I came from a family that had a history of holding slaves, I still would not need this absolution of guilt because I am so wonderfully insensitive and blissfully politically incorrect.