When I first met Lyle Foster in 2008, I knew right away I would like the guy. A small business owner, very intelligent, and funny in his approach – three pros right off the bat. Plus, when we met we were sitting along side each other as candidates for a city council election. We weren’t running for the same seat, so that made it all the easier to like him.
Since that time, I have grown more and more respect for the man. He was one of the few who wrote me when I was incarcerated; he has believed in me when others didn’t; he has brought a lot of development on the north side of Springfield with little government help. Above all that, he is a good man.
One of the things he regularly does these days (aside from running two businesses, tending to tenants of his rental lofts, and being involved in several community organizations) is contribute to the News-Leader on a regular basis (I don’t think the guy sleeps… no, really).
His articles are ones I read with dedication, and rarely miss. Not because I always agree with him; I do not. Regardless of my position or his, he makes me think. A few times we have gone back and forth with our thoughts. In short, I enjoy the guy.
The reason I bring him up is this: he recently wrote an article in the News-Leader, Talking about race issues should not be taboo. In it, he asserts an overall belief that because race is a taboo issue to discuss, our best, brightest, and most educated young adults are making choices in life that are – well, in my words – ignorant. Whether its a college frat chanting racist songs about lynchings, or the “splash” made by Starbucks wanting to discuss the race issue over the counter, we seem to think the topic of race is either a joke or one that should be discussed in passing.
Why is this? Well, this is where I agree with Lyle Foster 100%: the issue of race is taboo – one we are almost afraid to talk about – and in not talking about it we leave our nation in a world of ignorance, especially the younger generations. We don’t talk about race, history, and things we as a nation have overcome. We don’t talk about things we could be doing to improve society. We don’t act like a civilized, enlightened and capable nation.
Now, here is where Lyle and I may disagree – and that’s the “why”.
Why is it we don’t talk about it? The same reason we can’t talk about gender or sexuality: yes, it’s taboo. Why is it taboo? Because it has become nothing more than a political issue, and the issue is completely monopolized by a group of people who, if you have any sort of difference of opinion, you are racist, sexist, or a bigot.
If you disagreed with Obama, it wasn’t because he is so far out in left field that Cubans find him more palatable than they do their own Socialist leaders. It can’t be because his policies on economics, foreign relations, and social issues are not in keeping with what your positions are. Nope – it’s solely because you are racist. That’s all.
Same thing goes with Ferguson: forget the forensics, forget the investigation, forget the truth – if you aren’t on the black guy’s side, you’re racist.
But this is not only limited to race. There are other taboo topics.
For instance, did you know that if you use terms like “polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled, over confident, out of touch, secretive, will do anything to win”, you are sexist… well, if it’s in reference to Hillary Clinton. You read that right, all the terms used daily in today’s political arena are now code words for “I’m sexist” when used in unison with Hillary. There is a group dedicated to telling you just that, and spending their time finding these references against the Democrat Presidential Candidate.
Let’s do one more category (yes, category – because we can’t be individuals, we have to be in groups). The LGBT community – well, not the community as a whole. The activists. The LGBT activists will tell you they want to promote tolerance, yet the blogs and social media posts by the same crowd are filled with terms like evil, ignorant, intolerant, backwoods, bigot, anti-Christ. That’s just the few I found in one article’s comments section, looking only at the first nine comments out of the 247 made. I personally know a MSU college professor – a doctor in Sociology – who uses very similar terms on his Facebook page.
That, in lowly Springfield, MO.
So, where Lyle and I agree is that when the issue of pretty much anything that creates groups or sub-categories of Americans comes up(race, gender, sexual orientation), we can’t talk about it. It is taboo.
I don’t know why he personally thinks that is, but it is pretty clear that the same group that has a monopoly on those groups as a voting bloc will destroy you socially if you disagree.
Talk bad about female democrats, you are sexist.
Disagree with Gay Right’s Activists, you will be threatened.
Disagree with forensic evidence and side with a white police officer, your town will burn.
From a conservative who sorely wishes to discuss race, gender, and sexuality in a rational manner, I am here to tell you it seems impossible. It seems that if I personally want to talk about these topics, my opinion (regardless of how grounded, educated, and well thought out) will lead me to be called a racist and misogynistic homophobe.
How do you “talk” when you are cornered? How do you have a rational discussion with somebody who promotes tolerance and hypocritically happens to be the most intolerant person you know? How do you say “I disagree” when you know that as soon as you say that you are a backwoods, ignorant bigot?
Maybe it’s not impossible. However, until those very same people who are saying they want unity stop dividing the debate in to “good and bad” or “right and wrong”, we will get nowhere.
So, in conclusion, when the other side is ready to stop being the adjectives they are using against me, I don’t really know how to talk to them. Not that I’m better than any other human being, but I am better than to act like a fifth grader crying on the playground because not everybody agrees with my point of view. And I’m not for sure, but I would venture to say I’m not alone in my position.
When the individuals who are acting like children are ready to put their big boy (or girl (watch it now!!) britches on, maybe race and other said topics will stop being so “taboo”.
Maybe when we can do all that, we can give a little more hope to American posterity and how their society will interact and behave.