Monday, October 20, 2008

Rejecting Racism and Elitism

Many people probably have heard the stories, but this clip is really something else. While, at a high level, I appreciate many Republican ideals, this whole social conservatism thing is getting a little out of hand. Even Colin Powell agrees.

Having spent a number of years living in the south side of Chicago, I've been through my share of racism. It's not pretty, and a little bit of a shock when you first hear someone call you a "chink" or make generic Asian-accented sounds in your direction.

While we see that racism is still quite prevalent in many parts of the United States, I'm happy to say that my days of enduring racial harassment are more or less over. Working in a meritocratic environment can work wonders in dispelling tasteless and counterproductive mindsets.

Given the current social and political landscape, ultra-conservatism is closely linked to other perceived intellectual deficiencies such as creationist dogmatism. It's easy to put down others as being uncivilized or somehow intellectually challenged. But we are living in a society that's highly interconnected and increasingly places more value on mental flexibility. We should therefore be educating others.

But it's not enough to just pay lip service while still maintaining that aloof (alienating) elitism. Having spent time now at both a public and an ivy-league university, I can definitely sense an elitist undercurrent at Cornell. Alienation works both ways; everyone would have a far easier time realizing the value of keeping an open mind if those of us who are privileged keep an open mind (and open arms) as well.

I particularly liked this bit on the Guardian (although the Ghana entry was very sad).

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