America Politics

The World Doesn’t Need White Men Anymore

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the world ever needed white men, but there was a time when many people were convinced that it did. White men did a pretty good job of convincing and bullying all the non-white-men (women of all colors including white and everyone else) that white men were essential to civilization. Lately I’ve been struck by the bloated sense of self-importance that fills the prose of my favorite writers – Steinbeck, Hemingway, London, Kipling, Maugham, Verne, Melville, Stevenson – these guys were convinced of their place in the world and how important it was to keep it. White men – the keepers of order and civilization. White men – the last bastion of sanity between the encroaching primitive civilizations and the hysteric female imperative. White men. Yes.

I think – and I’m not sure of this – but I’m pretty sure – I grew up in the last years that white men were the self-acknowledged and self-proclaimed masters of the universe. The 1970s and early 1980s were a time that the world was still processing the movements of feminism, Native Americanism, Black Pride, Hispanic pride, Asian pride, and multi-genderism. I don’t know what to call all of these movements – but they can all be lumped together under the banner of “Straight White Men Are Not Better Than Anyone Else” movements. These movements took place mostly from the late 1960s through the 1990s and during much of that time – white men still held the keys to the kingdom.

It was a time when it was still okay to tell black jokes (if there were no black people around), it was okay to characterize Asian people with a language that sounded like ching chong and with slanted eyes, Hispanics were still considered lazy and sneaky (the men) or lascivious and waiting for rescue from white men (the women). It was fine to demean other white men with descriptions about how they had female genitalia, how they were homosexual, or how they were (fill in the blank) like a (fill in the blank). To be a straight white man was the ideal.

I think I can pretty well pinpoint when it began to change. Bill Cosby and the Cosby Show – a black doctor wearing colorful sweaters and raising a respectful family. Whoopi Goldberg becoming a wise character on Star Trek: The Next Generation. All of this right around the 1984-1988 period. The world was thrown on its head – suddenly there were African-American characters who didn’t speak with a ghetto accent, Hispanics on television who were not drug dealers, and Hillary Clinton – the First Lady, actually had the audacity to take on real political issues like healthcare and gender equality. Mind you, it was still fine to tell gay jokes through much of the 1990s – but much of the mythology of the straight white man being the pinnacle of civilization had worn off by the time I graduated in 1990.

Perhaps it was that sense of being thrown adrift into a world heading towards equality that pushed me to join the US Marine Corps – a last bastion of white masculinity. I’m happy to say that in the USMC, I was part of a multi-racial fraternity – that while still heavily self-segregated (whites and blacks tended to sit at different tables in the mess hall) introduced me to African Americans, Latinos, and even Eskimos – but I’ll be brutally honest here – it was much easier for white guys to get promoted even in an equality Marine Corps. And it was don’t ask/don’t tell – which translated to it not being okay for guys to be gay. As for women in the Corps – they were treated as inferiors and sexually harassed almost constantly during the time I was in.

Between 1994 when I got out of the Marines and 2008 when I graduated from the University of Hawai’i – things changed even more drastically. I majored in Anthropology – I suppose in part because I grew up reading Tarzan, Robinson Crusoe, and other books where white men encountered and learned to live with the ‘savage’ other. I was always fascinated by the pre-Christian, pre-Muslim, primitive cultures of the world. I was drawn to the wild blood drums of howling fires in far off lands. I sought the pageantry and intense passion of intense humanness. I wanted to peel the onion layers of civilization back to see the reality of the human condition. I gazed at the other with a white man’s eye. My advanced level of civilization – looked down on the people of the world with a paternal eye born of thousands of years of white men dominating everyone else. Our society, however, was moving on.

Now, in 2016 – I live in a rural Oregon town where straight white men still rule supreme. From the time I graduated to now, I’ve traveled a good bit of the world. I married the daughter of an Arab shepherd I lived with in a poor African village. I left my country for nearly half a decade and then returned to this region of ignorant white men in huge gas guzzling trucks who look down on the world with a paternal eye while they cut down ancient trees in exchange for paper money to buy gas and vegetables grown far away by non-white laborors on multi-million dollar corporate farms owned by rich white men.

And all of this has led me to a conclusion that I should have come to long ago. The world doesn’t need white men anymore. It really doesn’t. And it never did. The reign of the white men is coming to an end. They won’t give up without a fight, they will continue to dominate for as long as they can. Donald Trump carries their banner. To some extent Hillary Clinton carries it as a proxy for her husband – a man who was the most powerful man in the world and used his position to fuck an intern who was just barely out of her teens – and got away with it. Bill Clinton would carry the white man vote if he were able to run – and for that reason. Hillary Clinton might win because she brings Bill with her – she was the ‘Good Wife’ who stood by her man. White men don’t hate Obama for his policies nor because he is black – they hate him because he is not a white man. It’s why Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio stand no chance of winning – they are Latino – they are other. Bernie Sanders is a different story – being a non-practicing Jew who likes guns – he stands as an almost white man other – but not quite. He may get the white man vote – it’s hard to say.

I’m saying a lot here – I don’t expect this kind of honesty to go without harsh responses from white men and from non-white men both. Let em go. I’m happy to hear my blind spots. Thank you.

America Crime and Punishment Politics

A Scary Nazi World

I admit it. I’m a little freaked out by the world we are living in.
This morning there was a NPR Story about Donald Trump followed by a story about how Hitler’s Mein Kampf was released for the first time in 70 years in Germany.
It’s not the first Hitler allusion the universe has put next to Trump. From a ‘mistake’ at the beginning of his campaign where an aide put Nazi SS soldiers on the White House lawn to a Trump supporter yelling Sieg Hail! at a Trump rally in Vegas while a black protestor was dragged out of the building. Maybe it’s foolish, but I believe in signs from the universe. I’ve seen too many, benefitted from too many, and ignored too many (to my chagrin) to discount them completely. I’m rational and hate to admit that I have a hippy dippy side, but there it is, I do. And I think the universe is trying to tell us something. I think we are heading into a very dark time, my friends. I hope I’m wrong. Hitler committed suicide in 1945. A year later, Trump was born. I think it’s worth considering a re-incarnation. If ever there was an anti-Christ – few will deny that Hitler was he. Scary, scary, scary Nazi world.

chris damitio Uncategorized

Making a Better 2016 – Choose Your Own Adventure

One of the things I learned last year, was that it’s futile to try to save the world and everyone in it – especially when the person next to you on the bus is miserable and your backyard is a toxic waste dump. I know- I’m being a little dramatic – call it poetic license and let’s move on.

Well, actually, let’s not move on. I was trying to do something sneaky there – I was trying to make you think closer to home without implicating you or me – and let’s face it – it sounded disingenuous at best. We all need to be implicated. Revolution should start with yourself. Or better yet – with me (since I’m you to you).

I can’t save the world or anyone in it when I’m a mess. The first thing to do is to save myself. Ideally, to save myself while keeping those around me safe. This may seem selfish at first glance – but imagine this scenario:

You are on the Titanic and the ship is sinking. For illustrative purposes, it’s sinking really slowly. I mean really, really slowly. It might take years to sink, but in the meantime – no one will come to help. It’s up to the passengers to save themselves. You are there with your spouse and children and friends around you. Even your parents and siblings are on board. The ship is going down and if you don’t do something everyone will die. How do you save the most people? (Now it’s like Choose Your Own Adventure)

If you ****
****wait for someone to come along and save you and your loved ones turn to page 61 (where you all die waiting for someone to save you)
****decide to save your spouse and children by putting them in a lifeboat and shoving off turn to page 63 (where you float aimlessly while those around you die and then you freeze to death because you didn’t take the time to find a jacket and then your family eats your corpse before dying of exposure because you didn’t think about provisions or the elements – by the way – they die of exposure after they eat you)
****go back to your cabin to put on your cold weather gear and grab supplies turn to page 65 (where you have more decisions to make)
****wait for someone to tell you what to do turn to page 67 (where someone else makes all the rest of your decisions for you and may or may not give the book back to you at a later time)
****give up turn to page 69 (where you will die)
****rally all the passengers and attempt to fix the ship using teamwork and a positive mental attitude turn to page 71 (where the ship sinks and everyone dies but in a spirit of great solidarity)
****make yourself a martyr turn to page 73 (where your story ends and the fate of those you love remains unknown forever)

What’s the best option? You choose.

I choose the option where I prepare myself to be in the best possible position to save those I love and care about. Life is all about options and choosing the best one you are able to. Yes, sometimes we choose terribly. It’s no use beating yourself up over that – as long as you are still alive, you can still make choices. Choose your own adventure. Choose your own path. Fix yourself first and then you will be in a better position to help others. If you are totally fixed – I tip my hat to you. I’m not. Not by a long shot. So, I have no business trying to fix anyone else. I’m working on me – I’m conducting my human revolution. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my journey with you.