Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Racism, tribalism, us-themism and all divisions...

I thought I understood racism once, but acknowledge I am only a po'redneck and not smart enough to KNOW anything about it. I feel it is about stereotypes and expected perceptions of reality... once told that there were lots of women available for sex in the field training area I was kind of excited... then the only women I saw all day long were the ones dragging their kids along trying to sell sodas and dried squid wrapped around a peanut to American soldiers on the perimeter. They didn't look like anything I would want to make love to, but the Cokes were priced right and I could learn to like dried squid wrapped around a peanut. Darkness came and the commerce increased (sex, weed and local alcohol), since I was still a real clean living American boy - I didn't engage, I knew nothing about causal sexual gratification. I did know that when one of the women breast fed her baby that afternoon I was not turned on (no matter what they think in California - it is just the other end of needing to change a diaper). Sleep called to me after my guard shift. I just didn't get it.

My father wrote to me, an very unusual thing, and warned me about indulging in things I might mistake as love. It looked to me like he still thought of the Asians as an enemy or not as good as we (White Americans) were. It wasn't so, but then he wrote without trying to stomp on me and my individuality, and I read it as he were still a Father in charge of my choices (which, he always allowed me to make a fool of myself and would call it to my attention straight up, was not his intent). So I stopped sharing much of importance in my life with my parents, just the next mission, the next tour, the problems I found the thoughts I had, but I hid a lot. Before I went off to die in Vietnam I had a quiet talk with my mother in the car, and told her all she had missed and why, she cried and told Dad, and then I could go off and die. Didn't die, they missed me twice, but I was a small target in a target rich environment.

God was good to me, I got an assignment to the 82nd Airborne, promoted, Jump School and then married. Selected (involuntarily) to be a Drill Sergeant, a son and ever onward. Now my wife was a Korean, she is still a Korean although she has become a naturalized American Citizen, High School graduate in 1984, and school trained for several care giving jobs (she likes taking care of old, special needs and babies) -- still she is a Korean, with all her own language, culture and norms. Oh, she was saved and is a Southern Baptist also, a Korean Southern Baptist. I have given you all the boxes you can put her inside, stereotype her and such - she will still surprise you. She does me. I don't think of her as Korean, I have an endearment I call her (Yobo) and her name to introduce her by (KC for Americans; Hong, Kum Cha for Asians). My mother wanted to be her friend, and in Korea the husband's mother is the Evil Elder Female trying to constantly train young fool female into a proper wife - at least until the second son is born... boy, did my wife and mother have trouble overcoming their expectations to find the real person in each other.

Bring my son into the picture, and my wife wanted him to be a Korean boy (they do believe that blood will tell there) and I constantly assured her that he would be an American. We were both wrong, in the end - still being written down in History - he is Gideon and as unique as his father, which will always trouble his mother, my wife.

I did what I thought was correct in raising him, being a Man I thought he needed to try a lot of things, stub his toe a lot (he broke his arms skate boarding, but he fails enough to know he has to get better), know that not too much is going to be given him and if he really wants it he best work for it. But I should have done more because I didn't have any idea of how he would grow up in a world expecting him to be Korean. I should have picked up on his second grade teacher that thought he should do better in Math, because of another Korean boy that was just brilliant. Korean children are difficult to compete against, since you are always striving against the child with two concerned parents hovering over their production and grades. I think he just wanted to have friends and fun, since that is what I think he had most of... can't tell his story. He was a bit rebellious (which his father thinks is great, and his mother can't stand), he was tough (which both parents liked to a degree) but not a bully, since he was picked on a lot as a child.

But America, and probably the whole world worries over the stereotype and expectations and I didn't have enough sense to see that everyone else saw my son as an Asian, a Korean, and he didn't fit that mold well enough for the Americans, Asians and Koreans to be happy with him. He makes his way through the world with lots of fools around him trying to fit him into their expectation boxes, but probably ignores it until it gets to his wife and son. Then the gloves will come off.

Okay, my wife's church selected an English Language Pastor for that service, and it was the American with lots of schooling and four adopted Asian children. I didn't vote, not being a member of much except Humanity and sometimes I wonder about that. I did vote in the local election, and am still waiting for the final results. I don't like projections from exit polls, since they are normally in the cities. And there are a lot of people in small towns and farm country that vote but seem not to count. I am sure we need less government, better system of punishing those that harm us, and stop thinking of our GREATNESS and responsibility for making everyone else in the world wonderful as we are... they can figure it out on their own.

The news folks are concentrating on hanging Cain for his misdeeds, or alleged misdeeds. Penn State is looking for some coaches, it is also too big to fail and can expect a stimulus package, I laugh because I only applied to Drexel and the University of Miami (I didn't want to spend too much money on applications to schools) and I hadn't really thought about it, Penn State or the Pennsylvania Military Academy (which would have been a natural and kept me out of the life I ended up living). The Republicans are supposed to take the victory over Obamacare in Ohio as a win, the loss to the Unions as what is going to happen. I think, seriously, that the Union Contract for teachers should detail how the Union is expected to succeed in education of the students. If that were in the contract it would be great, but it never will be.

I do know, having read "Your Teacher Said What?!" by Joe Kernen and Blake Kernen, that Europe will continue to fold and fail, magnificently. That the more America looks across the pond at the greener grass there and try to emulate the European examples of social justice, the more we can expect violence in the streets - a direct result of too many regulations and trying to provide the world to the voters... and building a debt that can't be paid off. Like taking out that mortgage that you aren't working hard enough to cover in your personal life.

Don't live your life inside a box, especially one that someone else has put you inside of... he can't do that, he's a _____, she is not ready for that, she is ____,.

My brother doubts my math abililty because I wrote a "box of 45 APC was twenty dollars and 30-06 was about a dollar a round" and not being a shooter of those rounds thought they were the same - well, he isn't a shooter at all and thinks most of our elected representatives don't shoot for fun and that illustrated another box to me. The one we put our representatives into, because they are acting on business, agriculture, energy, war, international policy, money, finance and such -- they probably don't have a clue, have to grab the local EXPERT and find out that ONE Opinion. And real experts are stars on TOP SHOT, PhDs in Social Policy or Human Experiences - or just Earl, your friendly rapidly aging blogger. And I know nothing but that God is Good, and we have a long way to reach Heaven. Better get started.

Thought you, the reader, might not understand why I married my wife, you would be like the government (US Army) which worked very hard to discourage our marriage, because you know what kind of a woman would want to marry an American soldier. And this picture is the one thing about her I didn't tell you above, one of my co-workers exclaimed one day that the reason I married my wife was that she was a tough as I was,,, and that could have had a bit to do with it. I always thought it was because I loved her, but I am not an expert.


threecollie said...

Great post

Jeffro said...

Whatever the reasons for your mutual attraction, you both have made a marriage for the ages for sticking with it against all odds. You two are to be commended. Period.

Long-time RN said...

Wonderful post.

Yoda of Math said...

Regarding Gideon, I remember when he told me that one reason he didn't push himself in math was because he "didn't want to be one of those smart Asian kids". That comment still cracks me up. It also keeps me from making some invalid expectations with my school's Korean exchange students. Thanks, Gideon.