Thursday, July 2, 2009

Global Racism

I just listened to a report on the BBC about how the European Football Federation gave referees the power to suspend matches and end matches for racist behavior. This comes on the heels of several incidents in Italy and elsewhere where African-descent players were harrassed by racists in the stands.

I am also reading a book about discrimination in post-war Detroit and the lengths that white and recently immigrated white ethnic home-owners went to to keep blacks out of their neighborhoods.

The past is filled with stories of the disadvantaged (usually, but not always) members of the advantaged majority fighting to maintain their privileges. Our favorite state of all, California, even passed a Constitutional Amendment to protect homeowners' "rights" to exclude people from neighborhoods based on race in the 1960s. Even today, the Europeans seem unable to cope with immigrants or even their own citizens with whom they have had close contacts for centuries ever since they were jerks during the colonial period. People's fight to maintain priviledge is indicative of the struggles we will face as the world changes and becomes more integrated. People will fight against a loss of their standing in the world. It is something of which we must be vigilent.

Also, people are not inherently democratic or even capable of democracy in this country. They are perfectly happy to exclude people and take other's rights to create new ones for themselves, and they are perfectly happy to create a tyranny of the majority, such as what happens with Ballot Initiatives in disfunctional places like California. I admire our Founding Fathers all the more for recognizing that we must create a system that does not leave questions of rights to the everyday citizen and understands that a republic is better suited for a diverse, complex, large country than a true democracy.

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