I was having an ill advised political discussion at work. I was having it with a coworker whom I respect. When I say I respect him, I mean as a human and as a fellow educator, his politics are inconsistent and hip-pop at best. He’s a great rapper by the way. No really. He’s a great writer and rapper. We are blessed to work in a school where these arguments can be made. Blessed may be strong. We add value and it’s recognized. Point is we had this conversation in front of students and the world didn’t end.
While I was explaining that mans natural state is freedom and liberty, he was justifying the theory that mankind needs to be managed to save it from itself. He asked how my “theory of liberty” would help the less fortunate. I explained that we are able to help them now without the mandates, and that wouldn’t change. True charity is not mandated. Conservative Hippyism teaches that one is generous because it is always the right thing to do. Being made to be so is false, it is a lie. Typically it is forced when something is expected in return or it is an enablement to keep someone in their position of dependence the opposite of independence. Simple really. See my previous post: Choking on Charity.
He asked me how I can justify not making others be charitable through taxation and entitlement when I hit the ….here it goes…GENETIC JACKPOT. I must admit, I have a fine head of hair for my age, and most of it is still my original color. I have to fight to put on weight. My beard grows evenly, even in a drought. I keep myself svelte enough. I don’t think he meant those genetic attributes. He was referring to my ethic race and gender. Seriously, he can’t believe that historically the luck of the Irish is based on fact. They got some of the worst luck I’ve ever heard of. Everybody’s ruled their island except for them. A few centuries ago everybody left with their suitcase. Last 50 years they’ve all been leaving with their briefcase. That’s for another post. At least they don’t have snakes. I know he meant that I’m a white male.
Among the crazy statements I’ve heard, that one really takes the cake. Mostly because it’s disguised as an accusation, when really it’s one of the most racist things. It used to be called reverse racism. Which doesn’t exist. You’re either racist or you’re not you can’t do it backwards. The first thing a statement like that does is, it tells me that anything I have or I’ve earned was only given to me because I’m a white man. It assumes that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to earn it. It says that I’m a cheater and by no effort of my own, I’ve been given all that I have. It also assumes that the rest of the world is just as crooked as he is. That the rest of the world would respond in turn to my “whiteness”. It’s an indictment to an entire culture. Which is Horseshit thinking that tells people they have to be managed by a benevolent government. As if the people in that government aren’t also human. That statement assumes that everybody out there is a small minded as he is, and only gives things to those who deserve it by way of their skin color. Let’s not pretend that some of that doesn’t exist. But he was being specific that all white people have a genetic jackpot that they hit. And just get stuff because of it.
More subtly, it makes an atrocious racist statement that he believes he is fighting, But really upholding through arrogance. It says that if I’m white and therefore get everything, that black people don’t get anything in therefore must be subsidized. It assumes that they can’t earn without people like him and their benevolence. It assumes that there they are a lesser people who need handouts and government oversight. By calling me the genetic jackpot winner, what does that make them? Does it make Mexicans and African-Americans the jackpot loser? What exactly does that a statement assume of others? It’s such racist drivel and Horseshit that I could go on and on. I did ask him to think about that statement and decide which period of history, and whose regime that sounded most like.
Never mind the fact that there is no genetic jackpot that I’ve won. Unless you consider arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and a heavy tendency towards alcoholism a genetic jackpot? Where do I line up? Let’s get another ticket!
I know this is the part where I’m supposed to defend my work ethic and tell you that everything I have ever earned. That’s not true. I’ve been given quite a bit. Anyone whose given me anything had their own agenda, charitable or otherwise. If I wanted it I graciously accepted it. I have gratitude every day for the things I’ve been given. But that’s not what he was talking about either. So let’s not even go there.
And as for the metaphor: in order to hit a jackpot one has to have actively played a part in the stakes. To be born a certain way, the person has no active part in the stakes. I did not put an order in for parenthood. I love my parents dearly, but we all Know we would have chosen actors, models and the wealthy if we could have. It might be an interesting conversation, if you could have, or had to, who would you have chosen for your parents – and you can’t say the ones you had?
More to the point: I know so many white folks who, in my judgmental opinion, haven’t amounted to shit. Have you been to Pasco County, Florida?