On race and color

I’m going to start with a statement that I’ve made before: people are people are people; they should be judged on their merit alone. I know that when I meet someone of a different race, I don’t judge them based on their skin or appearance. Although there may be an initial element of surprise at how differently they look from me (and that’s okay), I will judge them based on their merit, and by that I mean this: are they a good and decent person; are they honest and hardworking?

I believe most people in the world judge others based on these basic questions, if given the chance. I think the time when the color of one’s skin or their race automatically meant certain things, is in the past. Race relations have been getting better, slowly but surely, until new tensions were introduced by weaponized untruths such as critical race theory (in the US) and ridiculous immigration quotas (in Europe). We’ve been allowing shysters and grifters to dictate new codes of morality to us, the decent, law-abiding people, new codes that are meant to terrify us and induce false guilt, not correct any wrongdoings.

I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t racial problems in the world. There are plenty, but on the whole, they are fewer than before. People are behaving better toward each other. They may grumble, they may make stupid remarks, they may even get into fights, particularly when drunk or angry (for unrelated reasons such as the economy and lack of jobs), but in the end, I believe people are judged by their peers based on their merit, not their race or their color. I believe all of the racial tensions that we’re seeing now aren’t based on color or race, but on misguided (and in part, insane) expectations and on differences in culture/tradition/religion. Now let’s delve into some of the issues that have cropped up lately.

I’m not going to use the various new terminologies of critical race theory that have gotten a lot of press. I refuse to learn them. I am going to talk as a person would talk to another person, based on common sense and mutual respect. Those who would use new words to describe old problems and would accuse instead of discuss are the ones who are causing the racial tensions and the bad color optics. Do not listen to them. Call them out for what they are. Use your common sense. Do not let a bunch of loud gasbags who probably haven’t put in an honest day’s work in their entire lives, dictate how you live your life. These are assholes, plain and simple; lying assholes who couch their utter lack of actual thinking and actual work in academic language, who come up with bullshit papers that build on more bullshit papers, to justify their utterly meaningless careers and lives. They are contributing nothing to the wellbeing of humanity — they are actually detracting from it — and in the end, they will get the full brunt of what they deserve, as they live and after they depart this world.

There are old problems, and there are new problems. Let’s talk about the old problems first, because they’ve been around longer.

Slavery. Colonization. Exploitation. These are the old problems. When it comes to the current racial tensions related to these acts of the past, we’re talking about the era of colonization and expansion of European empires, and the time of plantations and slavery in the US.

This was wrong thinking that went beyond pretentious after-dinner discussions and was put into action by many countries. This caused so much harm, for so long, harm that’s been thoroughly documented in the annals of history. It is important to point out that it was government officials, people of influence and others with an axe to grind or an ulterior motive such as cheap labor and easy wealth, that created these problems. The wrong thinking, the thing that got this nasty ball of evil rolling, was the idea that cultures different from Western standards were primitive and thus inferior. It then stood to (wrong) reason that they could be conquered, colonized and exploited for their vast natural wealth, which they “weren’t putting to good use”. And it didn’t take long for the conquerors to “realize” that the people of those countries, being “primitive” and thus “inferior”, could also be put to good use as slaves.

That was the thinking of the time, and it wasn’t new even then. The idea of conquering lands and taking slaves has been around since the beginning of our recorded time. Just look at what the Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian kings used to do. Look at the oldest city states in that region of the world, and you’ll see that as soon as a city was formed and developed, its king wouldn’t be content enough to hold it, develop it and care for it, but would quickly look around for other city states to conquer, for wealth to steal, for people to kill and enslave.

Coming back to the more recent time of colonization and slavery, it is important to point out once more that it wasn’t everybody of that time (17th, 18th and 19th centuries) who thought this way. It was, as it usually is, the tail the wagged the dog — a relatively small group of people of wealth, government officials and others with influence and a mercenary spirit that developed these ideas into the actual deeds that happened. If you’ll look through accounts of the time and newspaper articles, I’m sure you’ll find people who spoke out against these things. But just as it happens now, when entire nations are dragged into wars unwillingly and those who are in the military have to obey the orders that are given to them, no matter what they think of them, those countries were eventually “convinced” into doing these things. I doubt that any normal, decent person of the time, when presented with the situation impartially, thought it was a good idea to go and kill the people of another nation and take their wealth, but that’s not how these ideas are usually presented. No, they’re presented as propaganda through various mediums such as newspapers, books, textbooks, speeches, etc. Certain sound bites are repeated over and over, until people believe them.

What I’m trying to say is that you can’t hold entire nations or entire races and colors, responsible for the decisions of a few bad eggs. You must realize that coercion was used quite a lot by rulers and regimes of the past. People did things not because they believed in them or they liked them, but because they were ordered to do so. You also can’t hold entire races or colors responsible for these acts, because not all of them participated in them. You have to remember that numerous so-called “white countries” never engaged in colonization and slavery. They’re the ones that weren’t wealthy in the Middle Ages and in the Industrial Era, and they aren’t doing that well nowdays, either.

I can give you one personal example: my country of birth, Romania, has never engaged in any of those acts. What’s more, Romania has been overrun, conquered, raped and pillaged throughout history more times than I care to remember. Did we, as Romanians, ever vow to go and conquer, rape and pillage other countries ourselves? No. All we wanted to do was to defend our country, even though we were outnumbered and outgunned most of the time. We did the best we could, we suffered through the occupations, through the tributes paid in blood and money and children, through all of the corrupt regimes, and all this time we tried our best to get along with all the different races that wanted to settle in our country: we had Tartars, Ottomans, Russians, Germans (Saxons), Romans, Slavs, Huns (and the list can go on). We were enslaved, we were persecuted, we had our lands stolen from us, we had our children stolen from us, and yet we are somehow still here as a nation and as a country and as a language, and we get along with the various ethnic groups that now exist within our borders. I’m not saying you should emulate Romania’s example, because it involved terrible suffering. I’m saying that not all white people did harm to the black people, or to the people from the Far East, and so on. Even more to the point, the very countries that are now blamed for these historic harms (US, UK, France, Spain, etc.) contain so many different white people of different origins, that you cannot issue blanket statements about their general guilt without being terribly wrong.

Here’s something else to think about: white men, women and children were also slaves, throughout history, including the time that people from Africa were enslaved. And in the slave trade of today (that’s right, slavery still exists, but it’s hidden from view), people of all colors are being sold into slavery. I would also encourage you to read up on serfdom and indentured servitude, which were practiced throughout Europe for much longer than slavery and weren’t much better in my opinion. If you want to read up on some of the biggest injustices done throughout history, you should read up on European history. Those particular readings will point out quite clearly that white Europeans did unspeakable things to other white Europeans from neighboring countries and even from the very same countries, long before they stepped out of Europe to do more of those same things to people of other races and colors. I’m not saying these things to get into an argument about which race or color suffered more. That’s a very unpleasant game to play. All races have suffered throughout history. All have inflicted needless harm and killing on their own people. Instead of playing the comparison game, we should come together to create a better world for our children, no matter what color they may be.

To get back to colonial times, sure, plenty of people ended up believing the propaganda. Yes, they enjoyed the prosperity that trickled down, more or less, even though it was ill-begotten. Yes, many ended up thinking they were a superior race. Just like it’s happening today, when people are drinking the period-appropriate koolaid and they end up screaming bloody murder on the streets, vandalizing cities and terrorizing innocent people in the name of stupid ideas that they’ve bought into…

Furthermore, you cannot hold entire races and colors responsible for the actions of dead people who died long ago. It’s been many generations since then. The people who got those horrible situations started are dead. The people who participated in them are dead. The people who were enslaved and exploited are dead. Long dead. Colonization itself is dead. The kind of slavery that some are getting so worked up about is long dead. Make no mistake, critical race theory is actually injecting racism into the public discourse, mostly at the expense of whites. It is trying to legitimize anti-white language and behaviors. Refuse this hateful lunacy now or you will regret it. We, the whites of today, are not guilty of the past crimes of our nations, done at the behest of leaders long dead, nor are we responsible for heeding all the bitchy, whiny speechifying of entitled little shits writing bogus papers out of their tenured offices at leftist academic institutions.

We have an old saying in Romania that goes like this when translated: “If you stir up the manure pile, it’s going to stink again.” That’s what’s going on now. The people who are stirring up the manure pile are doing this on purpose, because they want to cause a stink. They have an axe to grind themselves, an agenda that they want to fulfill, and their agenda is pretty simple: they want to profit from the mess that they’re stirring up. They want to justify their meaningless, useless little lives. I can assure you that decent people on both sides of this issue never thought of arguing about these things after race relations became somewhat normal, but the people who are stirring up these tensions are not decent people. They masquerade as respectable people, self-appointed thought leaders, self-appointed community leaders or academicians, but they are none of those things. This is where the misguided and insane expectations I mentioned at the start of my post come in… These people would disturb the race relations in entire countries simply to advance their personal agendas, and they must not be allowed to do so.

Immigration. This is a new problem, and it’s one that perhaps deserves its own post, so I’m only going to talk about it here as it relates to race and color. (As a side note, immigration itself isn’t new. Just have a look at the history of immigration into the US during the late 19th and early 20th century and the attitudes of existing US citizens back then. Tensions related to immigration have always been around. What is new are the waves of undocumented and mostly unwanted immigrants pouring into the US and Western Europe.)

I must first say that I am myself an immigrant, so I cannot be against immigration. I emigrated to the United States in 1991 with my parents, all three of us seeking a better life. We went there and we worked hard. Our hard work was in the end rewarded, as we became prosperous. We learned English, proper English and we did our best to integrate ourselves into the communities where we lived. We respected the laws, the culture and the traditions of the United States. We paid our dues and we did well.

As an immigrant, I must also say that current-day immigrants are treating the countries that are receiving them with disrespect. They’re not learning the language, they’re not trying their best to integrate into communities, and they don’t obey the laws, and the culture and the traditions of those places. Instead, they form enclaves where they begin to bully, abuse and assault the unfortunate citizens who live in the area, forcing them to move or worse, killing them or raping their children (there are plenty of cases of this sort of behavior in Western Europe). They force their outside religion on the citizens of their adoptive countries and they proselytize aggressively.

Do you see the incredible tragedy of what’s happening? A people uprooted, abused, killed and raped by their own country, moves to another country where they end up uprooting, abusing, killing and raping the people of that country. The victims become the abusers! And then we wonder why there are racial tensions… If some of the things you’ve just read in this paragraph seem unreal to you, please do some online searches on violence in the UK and in France. Just the things that have happened in recent months ought to make you realize the situation has become untenable.

I also mentioned at the start of this post that I’d talk about how culture ties into this. Well, what we as Westerners must realize is that the things that we’re accusing the immigrants of doing are part of their culture and that in their own countries, the sorts of things they’re doing are considered normal. I don’t mean that murder is normal anywhere. But marriage with underage girls is quite normal in a lot of Arabic and African countries. It’s certainly not okay in Western countries. Rape is also condoned and victims are intimidated into silence. If you don’t believe me, research this. Large groups of people, multiple generations living together in small spaces is also normal in many other countries in the world, but it’s unusual in highly developed Western countries. Disrespect for women is also a cultural norm in many of these countries. Because the public infrastructure is not developed in a lot of these countries, it’s also normal for a lot of immigrants to be unfamiliar with bathrooms, with running water, with toilets, and with proper disposal of garbage and recyclables. But that’s where the integration part comes in. Governments must hold classes where they stress what is mandatory and what is recommended or polite in those countries, for each and every single immigrant. And immigrants must recognize that they must pay their dues. Out of respect for their adoptive countries, they must obey their laws or else… Out of respect for the countries where they’re received, they must do their best to fit in. Out of respect for the cultures in those countries, they must learn about them and about the traditions of the people who are allowing them to live in their countries, or else they must leave. Immigration is a two-way street. If immigrants only take and take and take and they don’t give back, they’re not welcome and they shouldn’t ever be welcome.

As I said at the start, people should be judged on their merit. I know that race and color ultimately do not matter if someone is a good and decent person. It’s cultural differences that introduce tension, particularly when there are stark differences between groups of people. We have to constantly keep in mind that in the West and the North, we have evolved to think very differently from those in the East and in the South. To some extent, it’s okay for these differences to exist, particularly when they’re part of long-standing traditions. That’s why there are countries, so that different cultures and traditions can exist and the people that belong to those cultures and traditions can congregate and separate from other people in those places. It’s when people from different countries are brought together in close quarters that problems arise, and this is why it’s so important for incoming immigrants to do their best to integrate. The onus is on them to change in order to fit into their adoptive countries, not the other way around! I do not believe the citizens of a country should be the ones that change in order to accommodate the immigrants. The citizens of a country have an absolute right to keep their own cultures and traditions alive, and the immigrants must change in order to fit into that place or else they are not welcome there, and rightfully so. I’m not saying they need to change completely, but they must fit in, out of respect. This was the norm, the expected behavior, during millennia of immigration. It’s only during the past decade or so that governments have tried to force-feed their citizens a different ideology, and it’s wrong. The way to handle these situations is to ask: how would peaceable, understanding people do this? Instead of legislating race relations, communities ought to hold open discussions where all points of view, from all sides are heard, solutions are developed and also implemented. with people of different nations, races and colors are the right ones, particularly when it comes to things that are deeply entrenched in people’s psyches like culture and tradition. Slow, steady and respectful wins the race, in more ways than one.

It’s also important to point out that I harbor no illusions, if it hasn’t already become abundantly clear to you, about people of one color getting along better with one another “if only other colors or races weren’t present”, as certain groups of angry people have espoused throughout history, including nowadays. That is most certainly not true and history has proven this beyond doubt. I believe quite strongly that people will always find reasons to argue, fight, hate, murder and persecute each other, even when they’re part of the very same family tree. Having people of a different race or color present “there” simply gives them a scapegoat to blame, but as soon as the scapegoat is out of the picture, they’ll go right back to finding fault with each other. No, as far as I’m concerned, peaceful co-existence is about people who share common values, particularly lifestyle and work values, who come together in communities where they can collaborate with each other to good effect, no matter what race or color they are. We also have to admit that this peaceful co-existence is made easier (not perfect, just easier) when those people also share common cultures and traditions, and that typically happens when they also share a common race. Will this change with time? Yes. It has been slowly changing, no thanks to the agitators. Nationality will in time supersede race and color, and that’s why immigrants must integrate into the cultures of each adoptive country, for the good of their communities and those countries as a whole. People need to have a common bond, something that holds them together, something that gives them a sense of identity, of belonging, of community. The more traits they share, the better their chances of getting along with each other will be.

A Guide To A Good Life

Learning English

This is the fifth video in a new series where I talk about the people, experiences and things that have helped me in life. Who knows, perhaps they’ll help you as well! In this one, I talk about how learning English well has shaped my experience as an immigrant to the United States, about how learning English is still very much of relevance in today’s world, and I also offer some comments on the state of immigration in the US and Europe.


The lure of the West and its subsequent disappointment (for some)

Here’s a thought: the very people who rail the most against the restrictions imposed by the state in autocratic countries, the most vocal opponents of such regimes, the ones who crave an escape to the West, are the ones who fare the worst after emigrating to free, democratic societies such as those in the Western world. You can think of it as an inversely proportional relationship between one’s dislike for a government or a regime and their likelihood of doing well in a freer, Western country that runs on capitalist principles.

They, unlike those who make their own little worlds at home in spite of the surrounding conditions, those who make the best of the situation, these vocal dissidents have let themselves be defined by what they perceive to be the restrictions of those societies. In other worlds, their lives have become dominated by what they criticize; they themselves have become the voice of those restrictions. Their very purpose of being is now defined by those societies: they live to criticize them. Because of this, their transplantation into a Western society would be fruitless. I don’t say this triflingly; I saw this happen first-hand.

These particular people would quickly find the faults in such a society (because they have become wired to do this) and would become dissidents of the West, criticizing the overt commercialism (for example) of such a society. They would find no solace in the freedom offered there and would instead resort to vocal criticism of the faults of that society. They would make poor use of the facilities of that society, they would contribute little or nothing to its betterment, but would instead fill their days with discontented moans. They’d likely pen editorials about the shackles of the West, etc.

If you want immigration success stories, you should look for those who can find the good in any situation, those who in spite of the conditions imposed on them, managed with what they had, provided good lives for themselves and those in their families, and were bright points of light in those autocratic societies. Get those people in the West and they’ll likely do the same, if not more, with the opportunities provided to them in those free societies.

A Guide To A Good Life

Perhaps some PSAs on manners are in order?

I’m starting to think one of the things that’s missing in the US these days is an emphasis on manners — particularly things to do or not to do in public. In the past, books on manners were widely read, but these days, I think I’m pretty safe in assuming manners are not on people’s radars. That’s a shame.

We’ve got a huge influx of immigrants and visitors from all sorts of countries. We, as a country, should do what we can to let them know what’s expected of them while they stay here. If we don’t, we run the risk of lowering public standards for everyone, and I don’t think that’s what we want.

There are two urgent issues that ought to be addressed right away:

  • Personal hygiene: in this day and age, with such easy access to water and soap, there is NO excuse for not staying clean. A shower every day ought to be the recommended standard for everyone.
  • Passing gas in public: this should be a big NO-NO. You’d assume people would know not to do this in public, especially in tight spaces, like on airplanes, but they either don’t know or they don’t care.

I’ve written about personal hygiene in the past, and also about passing gas on airplanes, but these things obviously bear repeating…

On two recent flights, we had the misfortune of being seated next to people who smelled horribly — they had this acrid stench of stale sweat that filled your lungs and made you want to cough and run away. On both occasions, they were from under-developed countries.

I’m not saying all folks from those countries have hygiene problems. We’ve known and befriended quite a few good, decent, clean and well-mannered people from third-world countries, people who are living and working in the US and have integrated themselves nicely in US society.

Still, it seems quite a few people from under-developed countries have a hygiene problem. For whatever reason — customs, habits, etc. — they either aren’t aware that they smell, or aren’t taking steps to remedy the situation. They should be educated, because they need to know what our standards for hygiene are. Don’t think we’re offending them — we’re doing them a favor by being honest with them. Or would you rather prefer we laughed at them behind their backs and ostracized them?

Passing gas in public is a nasty habit that isn’t restricted to recent immigrants. I’ve seen this across all segments of US society, and it’s disgusting every time. Doing it in closed spaces, like on airplanes or buses or trains, makes matters worse, because the rude and filthy people who do it turn the unwitting passengers next to them into helpless victims. What can you do when there’s no place to go and the air around you is filled with the putrid stench of someone else’s bowels? You hold your breath, your eyes bulge, you hide your nose and you curse under your breath, but still, you say nothing, because you don’t want to offend, right? You’re wrong. You ought to speak up and ask whoever’s doing it to stop, because it’s offensive. Shame the shameless creep, speak up! You’re doing yourself and everyone else a favor.

Tonight, while on a flight, I did just that with a woman whose children kept passing gas behind us. They were even bragging to each other, saying “I farted!” and “I farted again!” I asked her as nicely as I could,to tell her children to stop doing it. Her reply was, “Do you have a control button?” To which I wanted to reply, “You’re the control button, lady. You’re the moral compass of your children. The education and manners you instill in them now will guide throughout their lives, so if you can’t even teach them when to fart and when not to fart, you’re not a good parent.” But she was clearly argumentative, so I simply told her that it smelled very bad, and she had no manners if she didn’t do something, then turned around and ignored her.

In spite of the unsuccessful exchange, her children stopped passing gas for the remainder of the trip, so I got the result I wanted. That’s why I want to encourage you to speak up the next time someone does that to you. Stay calm, but shame them, publicly, because public shame has always been a good reason for people to change their behavior.

Of course, the better, more mannered course of action would be for the government or for a NGO to put together a few PSAs about things one is expected to do and not to do while in public spaces in the United States. It’s high time that happened.