Sunday, November 13, 2005

The bad side of bigotry

Continuing our all-John Hinson weekend, I present to you a letter I wrote to The Vermilion regarding his racist column. My reply's pretty long (and that's after I spent an hour editing it), so I can only hope they print it in full. But I trust them.

Take our country back...from bigots

I always bristle whenever John Hinson appeals to Americans to "take our country back." What he's saying, of course, is that WHITE Americans take back the country. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his Nov. 9 column, which ranks among the most irresponsible pieces that he, as well as the Vermilion, has ever published.

Not once in his column does Hinson explain what is so bad about people of other races settling in the United States. He obviously sees nonwhites as an intrusion on "his" country, which his ancestors "rightfully" claimed generations ago. What he fails to realize is that American culture is far more complex than that envisioned by his white-supremacist view.

Hinson blames America's problems on such bizarre scapegoats as world cuisine, hip-hop music and cultural studies. Personally, I LIKE all of those things! This country would be boring if everything conformed to a bland, whitebread snapshot of some fictitious era. Every aspect of American culture (be it music, literature or food) owes its existence to multiculturalization. Think about that the next time you listen to a pop song or eat a peanut-butter sandwich.

Viewing the United States as a nation with a single "national" culture is absurd. Even the idea of one white race makes no sense, considering the conflicts between the British, French, Spanish, Germans and Irish that marked colonial times. Contrary to Hinson's view, I'd argue that most white people are happy mingling with those of different ethnicities and cultures. This is what separates them from the racist whites who claim to speak for all of us.

Why should it bother anyone if a group of citizens chooses to speak their native language? Has life become an action movie where foreigners inexplicably speak English amongst themselves? We've already seen the peril of pushing one national culture: south Louisiana was settled by French Canadians, who were exiled from Nova Scotia because of cultural differences. Once here, they found themselves disallowed from speaking their own language and from following their own customs. Because of this forced assimilation, the Cajun culture nearly went extinct. And yet, this is exactly the sort of thing that Hinson advocates!

Hinson's choice of words further reflects someone blinded by his own bigotry. America is "growing darker?" Our country "is looking more like Mexico or Africa?" These are rhetorical devices straight out of a 1920s minstrel show. We should have buried this kind of insulting commentary with Strom Thurmond.

The Onion, the famous satirical newspaper, once published a white man's response to Hispanics becoming the largest minority in America: "Wait, there's still plenty more of us then there are of them, right? Phew." Yes, John, this facetious comment rings with truth: white America still holds most of the power and almost all of the federal leadership. If you're looking for the causes of our nation's problems, the White House might be a better place to start than Chinese restaurants.

Ian McGibboney


Flamingo Jones said...

Excellent response, Ian. I'm glad you're calling him on this.

Nick said...

The sad things is, the column started off fine in the 1st paragraph, and could have ended up making an argument for real border control and placing blame at the feet of our government officials who refuse to close off our southern and northern borders. That would have been perfectly fine with me.

Alisha said...

Too bad you had to graduate because this could be a good back and forth argument with this ignorant asshole! You need your column back!!!! Good response though!

Ian McGibboney said...

I would LOVE my column back. Or to get another one. Any employers out there? Hey? (Echo...echo...echo...fade away...)