We all must be racist because…

A shocking accusation was recently shoved down my throat – I was branded a racist. Since this is news to me, I had to examine the reasoning behind such a statement.

One attack came about because of a joke I made about the Arroyo Chico bike path and then, just to add to the horror, I may have mentioned one of my ongoing beliefs of how nice it would be if Americans were required to speak English.

To top off my alleged bigotry fest two weeks later, I then posted a photograph of two New York City tourists and pointed out a menacing man in the background. Since the menacing man happened to be black, I was again branded as an Archie-Bunker-wanna-be. Edith, get me a beer.

Which way do we go/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Some folks may be so hell-bent on finding discrimination at every turn that they will create things that are not there.

Since it didn’t even occur to me that pointing out a menacing figure in a photograph, regardless of the menacing person’s ethnicity, could be construed as racism, we have to wonder why some folks came to that conclusion.

Perhaps they are suffering from their own racist beliefs. Or they could be so hell-bent on finding discrimination at every turn that they will create things that are not there.

Using this type of illogical thinking, we can find other instances of prejudice that we never knew existed.

I must be anti-Catholic because I haven’t been to church in about four years. I must be anti-white people because, alas, I always opt for wheat bread, sometimes with nuts.

I’m surely anti-Polish as the only words I know in my ancestors’ native language translate to “butt,” “poop,” and “pee pee.”

I drive an American car, which can only mean I am anti-Japanese.

I must be anti-cat because I own two dogs, anti-mouse because I own two rats and anti-life since I am learning to shoot a gun.

I undoubtedly hate trees because I still use paper, hate the Earth because I drink from plastic water bottles and hate wildlife because I have screens on my windows to keep out bugs.

Give me a break.

Politically correct tip-toeing has gone too far when we have to fear everything we do will be construed as bigotry, hatred or some type of anti-everything crusade.

As the attack proved, if some people are looking for something hard enough, they are going to find it. And some people do look that hard for someone or something to hate.

It also proved that sometimes those who cry the loudest for tolerance are themselves the most intolerant of other points of view. There’s a word that sums it up nicely: hypocrite.

One more lesson gleaned from the rabid attack is that some people really need to lighten up.

No wonder folks are frequently dropping dead from stress – if they become so wound up over something as innocuous as an Arroyo Chico bike path sign, we can only imagine what happens when real problems arise.

They may simply run for the hills – provided they could find the hills with those narrow blinders on.


Beware of jerks

Beware of jerks

What do you think?

Have you run into such situations?

Has political correctness gone haywire?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in danger, gross stuff, life, Rynski Column, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to We all must be racist because…

  1. Don Smith says:

    I’m reminded of that movie with Haley Joe Osment (sp?), when he played a character that always saw dead people.

    Some people can’t help but see racist people all around them.  Especially when someone disagrees with them.

  2. Rynski says:

    Hey Don,
    Thanks for chiming in. It’s a sad fact, for sure.
    I’m not familiar with the movie you mentioned but I’ll check it out, esp. since the last few I’ve seen (aside from Drag Me to Hell and Evil Dead) have been real stinkers.

    • radmax says:

      Hey Rynski-bet you watched those flicks with that cemetary lovin’, condemned death-trap nut. Be careful Rynski…haven’t heard from a Dan Rakowitz type in a while….

      • Rynski says:

        oh, what do you have against my cemetery lovin’ beau? he’s quite charming, actually!
        dan rakowitz (aka chicken man dan) is still safetly locked in an asylum. he was a menacing figure, too, but i don’t know if saying so will get me labeled as someone who is anti-boil-your-girlfriend-and-feed-her-to-the-homeless.

      • radmax says:

        Ha!…sure wouldn’t want to take sides on that one, bound to be some redeeming qualities in a cannibal/murderer…probably had a ‘rough’ childhood.

      • Rynski says:

        RadMax! I am aghast…are you perhaps implying all those who grew up in less than fortunate circumstances turn into cannibal murderers? how completely prejudiced of you.

      • radmax says:

        Now, there you go again, Rynski! Completely misconstrued my statement to suit your own selfish ends… 🙂

      • Stephanie says:

        You know I lived in that building, right, ryn?  That summer.  I lived right there.  9th and C.   I think dan rakowitz murdered the girl after I moved out, if I remember correctly — but we were, uh, living there at the same time.  I was “safe” in Williamsburg (in an area that is STILL bad) when the murder occurred.

    • DesertLibertarian says:

      You are a racist.

      Don’t you know that by being born white, you have oppressed the my people  for years?

      It is your responsability to work and pay taxes so that the I can collect wellfare, food stamps, and soon obamacare. (GOGO Barak, finally we can beat down the man)

      you make me sick.

      Keep your job and keep repaying me for all the hardship you caused me by not being born with the same disadvantages I have.

      • DesertLibertarian says:

        whoops typo in the first sentence!  there is no edit button!~”oppressed the (sic)”

      • leftfield says:

        Which is the greater sin: your racial stereotyping, or my calling you a redneck cracker based on your racial stereotyping?

  3. Don Smith says:

    Ryn, the movie was “The Sixth Sense,” with Bruce Willis.  I’ve never seen it—but that line by Haley Joe l Osment (I misspelled his name earlier) was all over TV. 

    On a serious note, it’s sad to see the ephitet “racist!” being abused.  Racism is an ugly thing, regardless of which race is the victim. 

    But, when hyper-sensitive people start labeling anything that mildly offends them as “racist,” or use the word as a shield to avoid losing an argument, pretty soon the word loses its power.  It’s viewed as crying “wolf.”
    IMO, more and more people are growing sick of being labled as bigots for simply disagreeing with someone. 

    We are indeed living the old Chinese curse:  we are living in interesting times.

    • Rynski says:

      Thanks, Don. I’ll put “The Sixth Sense” on my movie list.
      And I hope your observation and thought that “more and more people are growing sick of being labeled as bigots for simply disagreeing with someone” will perhaps lead to some type of revolution in thinking. But I can only hope.
      And “interesting” is a very nice way to put the times we’re plagued with! hahahaha.

    • leftfield says:

      Ah, my good friend Don. 

      Again we agree on just one thing – that racism is ugly.  Where we differ is that I don’t believe a society has to be involved in redlining or denying the vote to be labeled racist; nor does an individual have to be engaged in name-calling to be racist.  Conservatives and the conservative movement have been very vocal in their denials of racism and claim that their efforts are directed towards eliminating “reverse racism” and creating a “color-blind” society.  I do believe that most conservatives are not interested in returning to the days of Jim Crow.  I also believe at the same time that most conservatives are committed to maintaining white privilege in this country.  They are fine with the idea that people of any color can live anywhere they want, but terrified of the idea that they might lose their dominant social, economic and educational advantages.  

      Take, for example, the movement to eliminate affirmative action programs.  I will agree these programs have their problems, but I do not see the conservative movement desiring to replace them with an improved version.  No, they just want to eliminate them knowing that doing so will relieve their fear that the current dominant race and culture could one day lose hegemony in “their own country”. 

      • koreyk says:

        I agree with you totally, Leftfield.  I also think that fear is behind the somewhat recent rash of conservative charges of racism against the left.

  4. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Nice to see you back, surprised you didn’t tell ’em all to shove it! I think some people have just have no lives, so they jump on the bandwagon of bashing those who speak out, even in humor, to feel like they are part of something. A ‘feel good moment’ in their empty existence. You were not even serious about the subjects, yet the incidents became a soapbox for the pc crowd to pontificate their ‘correct’ opinion. Who cares about differing points of view. I may not always be right Rynski…but I’m never wrong. Keep up the fine work.

    • Rynski says:

      Mornin’ Radmax! Thanks for your fine comments. My original version of the essay had some “shove it” type lingo (actually, I love the phrase: go fly a kite) but that version was for purging. This one was for publication.
      Besides, it’s too soggy and dark down where those folks live – I don’t really want to go down there. It might make Sawyer and Phoebe get earwigs or fleas!
      Thanks, as always, for your support as well. I’m so glad you’re honest about not being always right – but never wrong. You always make me smile.

  5. winnieo says:

    I think part of the problem is that bigots of all flavors are being called out on their bigotry. Their defense is to yell, “Bigot!” rather than look honestly at themselves. It’s a back-asswards form of  “I know YOU are, but what am I?” Adolescent behavior.
    Unfortunately, we have been raised in a culture where prejudices of all kinds are so very subtle that we don’t even realize their effect.
    Consider the confirmation hearings of Sonya. Very little about her qualifications (except to misrepresent them) and much ado about her “Latina woman” remarks.  Because of our cultural upbringing, we fail to recognize that every white man who has ever been considered for the Supreme Court brings with him, “I am a white male, and I will bring that gift to the bench in making my decisions.” He doesn’t have to say it–it’s understood.
    I suspect the “menacing figure” in the photograph was pointed out by you half in jest (as we all know the stories of danger in NY–another stereotype, of course). As a woman, however, stranger danger is a very real factor of life. We must always be on the look-out for menacing figures, whether we are walking at night through Sam Hughes neighborhood, or sitting alone at home with unlocked doors day or night.
    Each of us can only examine ourselves, and we must do that endlessly since we have been raised in a white man’s world. Don’t let the comments get you down.

    • Rynski says:

      Thanks, winnieo. You brought up some very insightful and interesting points to ponder. Kind of scary, too!
      Self-reflection is a tough one that many people run from as if on fire. It’s much easier, as you mentioned, to point to others and call them names. I recall one spot-on quote: “When you point a finger at someone you have three more pointing back at you.”

      • winnieo says:

        And when those three fingers point back at something we don’t like, we have two choices: change or denial.  Change is  scary and hard; denial is familiar and easy.
        Has political correctness gone too far? Or has it been distorted to support [fill in the blank]?

      • Rynski says:

        ohhhh, you are GOOD!

    • koreyk says:

      Well, I think the guy in the photo looks a little menacing, but that was just a frozen piece of a bigger picture.  I don’t know what I’d think if I were there in person.  Context plays a big role in perceptions, as well as how attitudes develop.

      A few years back I was visiting relatives in Chicago. One of my cousins and I were walking down one of those long narrow pedestrian tunnels that connect to the gargantuan parking garage under Grant Park.  As we rounded a 90 degree corner, we almost bumped into a 40ish, casually well dressed black man.  As we passed each other, he said “Hi, how’s it going?”, and I responded “Pretty good, how about yourself?”.  After we got beyond earshot, my cousin admonished me for responding, saying something like “You can’t let your your guard down.  Mugggers start out with friendly talk  before they attack.  This is Chicago, not Tucson.” 

      I saw the man’s comment to us as a friendly gesture in an awkward situation.  My cousin saw the potential of being a Chicago crime statistic.  Was he just being cautious, or paranoid, or racist? 


    • Stephanie says:

      You wanna know who you really need to look out for?  Sam Hughes.  Of course, he’s dead, so you’re safe, but do a little research on the guy — yick.

  6. ldonyo says:

    I thought the original caption was funny. I guess I’ll have to go back and look at it again and see if I can find what all the fuss was supposed to be about. 😉
    The funny (noy ha ha funny, the other kind) thing is that if Ryn were black, no one would have said a word. That’s just messed up.

  7. azmouse says:

    Glad you’re back!

    The so-called ‘anti-racists’ were the biggest perpetrators of  hatred I’ve ever come across! Of course, being the big mouth I am, I had to get in the middle of it, which is my own fault. Personally, I just couldn’t believe the ridiculous and unnecessary meanness spewing from these people.

    I’m just glad to see you back and better than ever. And yes, I DO believe political correctness has gone way to far.

    • Rynski says:

      Thanks, AZMouse – I am grateful for you support – but sad you had to endure some of the hateful barbs. You’re too sweet to be subjected to such junk!
      And just a quick note: I am “officially” back to work Wednesday but wanted to post this essay to get it out of my head. Always appreciate your comments…esp. when you agree with me (haha!)…but even if you don’t.
      One more quick note: whenever my cemetery-lovin’ boyfriend makes me dinner, I think of your story of SPAM casserole!

      • azmouse says:

        LOL!!!  I was watching Sanford and Son the other day, and Fred made Spam Almondine!! I was laughing so hard!

        I will always believe that anyone can make their point and still be nice about it. But once I started getting to mad, I backed off. Never want to lower myself to the haters level.

        Glad you posted this and look forward to you coming back. I wanna know all about this boyfriend of yours…..lol..

      • Rynski says:

        Good for you bobbing above the hate level!
        …and don’t worry, you’ll be reading about cemetery boyfriend in my dating blog, for sure!
        p.s. sanford and son was always one of my favorite shows – I WANT THEIR YARD!

  8. James says:

    What’s so menacing about the person in the back. i see a guy with a tee shirt. like the guys in the front. he has pants on. Like the guys in the front. So somwone tell me what’s so menacing about him? I wonder if you were to move one of the guys in the front to the back would he look menacing to you also? None of them look menacing to me. But then again i’m from Nw York. LOL

    • azmouse says:

      Ya never know…the guys in the front could be looking at a map to figure out where the best place would be to leave their truckload of homemade bombs. The serious looking man in the back, overhearing their plans, must act fast to avoid a horrible tragedy!

      Ryn picked one of many pretend outcomes from the picture, as we all could do.

      Hey!! Lets all look at that pic and see what we can come up with! LOL!

      • Rynski says:

        i love it, AZMouse!! Yes – let’s have a photo caption/scenerio contest! Winner gets a handcrafted piece of Ryn ART! Sawyer and Phoebe will judge entries. So far they say AZMouse is in the lead with the homemade bomb scenario….

      • azmouse says:

        Oh my gosh, I’m winning! And the only one! lol

        Okay, okay, I want the art. LOL How many ideas can we come up with?

        How about, all three guys are actually friends. They’re here from Cuba, visiting their great friend, leftfield, to let him know how their mutual buddy, Fidel, is doing.
        The smiling guy, with his hand on his stomach, loves American processed foods and feels so happy to be in the states. The guy with the map, which he got from leftfield, shows areas along the mexican border where they can help leftfield leave water and food for the illegal immigrants. The Cubans are happy to help their friend leftfield.
        But, the guy in the back, having now been exposed to American processed foods and helping illegal immigrants get food and water, is in serious, deep thought. He is contemplating staying in the United States, with the help of leftfield, to pursuehis dream of becoming a world renowned model, instead of being forced to be a figure skater in Cuba.

      • azmouse says:

        …..or they are traveling acrobats from Yugoslavia, ready, yet nervous, to take on the Big Apple!

      • Rynski says:

        AZMouse!! You are COMPLETELY leading the pack! You’re on your way to the RynArt prize! Add more to the contest post!


      • leftfield says:

        P.S. we call each other “comrades”, not friend.

      • radmax says:

        Az!…Have you been reading old comments from Hands Like Clouds again! 🙂

    • Rynski says:

      hahha! Hi James, thanks for your input. I’ve met plenty of menacing people who still had their pants on…and yes, some who did not.
      Guess it’s a combination of perspective and subjectivity as far as who looks menacing. I lived in NYC for 17 years and have developed a “menacing radar” that has not let me down – except for the one time I almost married a psychopath.
      Perhaps, as winnieo pointed out, women are more on the lookout for menacing folks?

    • Stephanie says:

      You’re learning to shoot!  AWESOME!  Let’s go target shooting together.  You can use one of my guns if you don’t have one.   Gus will be happy to teach you the finer points of not shredding your thumb, etc.  FWIW, I prefer revolvers to semi-automatics.  I refer to Gus’s semi-automatic as “Sir Jams-a-lot,” and I am not talking about music.  Yay!  Let’s go shoot things!

  9. ben says:

    Racism is alive and well in Tucson, Arizona and America. It doesn’t take much for Americans to hate to the point of violence. We need no outside assistance from Al Queda or The Taliban…we do a darn good job all by ourselves.
                                                                      Love & Peace

  10. Carolyn Classen says:

    I too agree with Ben. Non white people (myself included) tend to be sensitive about race issues based on the past prejudice we have encountered in America (and elsewhere).  Remember that poignant scene in the 2005 movie “Crash” when actress  Sandra Bullock walks by a black man in the street, and clutches her handbag closer to her?  Racism is based on fear, ignorance and hate.  In that photo above, would you have gotten so much anger directed against you Ryn, if it had been 2 black men/tourists in front, with a “menacing looking” white guy in back?

    • Rynski says:

      Good point, Carolyn, as always. I highly doubt there would have been much anger at all if the “menacing looking” man were white. Sigh. It’s so frustrating.

    • azmouse says:

      Hi Carolyn,
      I don’t think anyone would’ve said anything if the picture was the way you describe.

      My children were raised wih a very, very dear friend of mine as one of their Grandfathers. That’s who he was to them, no questions asked.

      When my kids were younger, their school was trying to get together an overnight fildtrip to Camp Cooper. There were enough Mom’s and Grandma’s to supervise the girls overnight, but not enough Dad’s and Grandpa’s. My husband and I asked ‘Papa Joe’ if he would go with us to help supervise the boys so the trip wouldn’t get cancelled. Everything was great, till he showed up. Since we were all white, and ‘Papa Joe’ was black, they knew he obviously wasn’t my kids blood Grandparent, and everyone was suddenly uncomfortable. My kids were crying, because they never thought to question why he was black and they weren’t, they just loved him.
      Luckily, it all worked out, and the trip went on as planned, with ‘Papa Joe’ there too.

      • Stephanie says:

        azmouse, that’s an interesting story you tell about Papa Joe, but what is your point?

      • Rynski says:

        hey – i like the papa joe story, and all AZMouse’s stories. she adds a bit of charm and info to many posts. she is offering a personal anecdote on the topic of discrimination.

  11. Pingback: “Racist” photo contest - best entry wins a prize - Rynski’s Blogski

  12. leftfield says:

    This is another one sure to get a lot of response.

    Hi Ryn, I hope you’re able to enjoy the rest of your vacation time.

    My take on “Tucson Photogate” is similar to Winneo’s.  I think there are several common and harmful assumptions around race and class behind the “menacing” comment.  I won’t go into all of them, but only mention the most obvious – that young black males are dangerous and probably up to no good, especially if they are not in a location or of an appearance we would associate with the upper economic classes.  This assumption is just a part of the background noise for most white people, not something that is even in our concious awareness mostly.  This is one of many reasons why I call our society racist.  It’s relatively easy to pass a law saying that everyone can sit anywhere on the bus they want.  It is much more difficult to eliminate the deep-seated institutional and cultural racism that has been a part of American life from day one.

    Now, having said that, I will also say that we all make assumptions many times a day.  If the man in the photo was wearing a T-shirt with a likeness of Bill Buckley, I would assume he was “menacing” and probably plotting some sort of evil plan.

  13. A.Farley says:

    It wasn’t me, Welcome back Raceski. Nice that you’re back in town, Much Love, Farley

  14. Karen Nelson says:

    Yes, we all have prejudices of all kinds. It is almost impossible not to. We don’t want to, we don’t try to cultivate it. We may even go out of our way to try to prove that we don’t. But we do. It sometimes comes from ignorance, sometimes just from isolated instances we have had in our lives. I’m sure the persons who may have accused you of racism, have their own prejudices about others.
    By the way, the man in the background looked menacing because he seemed to be observing the other men (or the photographer) with a scowl on his face. That’s it.

  15. Mike Brewer says:

    I would love to export the civility, rational sensibilities, and humor from these posters in Tucson,  to the national debate.
    Azmouse, your narrative is so funny and so ON.
    I have little more than recollections to contribute to the brewing racial flap that is becoming viral, other than prayer. St Paul admonished us to “pray unceasingly.” Many of the citizens of this nation still consider prayer a high form of action. It is needed badly for the balance of  this summer of discontent. Especially, when the discontent is on someone’s payroll.
    I have three vivid experiences etched in my memory, that make me deeply concerned for the safety of our Citizenry in these public displays of lizard brain at the round of Townhalls.
    I worked for KRLA Radio in Los Angeles, as a cub reporter  in the summer of 1965. I was assigned to  the Watts Riots. So few really know how fast  that human behavior known as “symmetrical escalation” can occur. Minutes to hours can alter history.
    Again in 1968, I was transferred from the bush in Vietnam to the Marine Provost Marshall’s Office of Internal Investigations for the quelling of mounting racial tensions after Martin Luther King was shot.  The conflagrations that arose came forth in minutes of disagreement.
    And last, I was at the Moratorium against the War in Vietnam  on October 15th, 1969, in Chicago, Illinios. I was there as a writer. I will never forget the gas masks.
    It is for these reasons I will pray.

  16. Cindy says:

    Political correctness has gone too far but it was a mistake to not be more careful when joking about a picture of a black man lurking behind two white men and calling the black man a mugger-to-be.  That does reinforce racial stereotypes and not being considerate of that is maybe something to own rather as error than to be defensive about.

  17. Stephanie says:

    Ryn — fwiw, EVERYONE gets called a racist.  For no reason.  EVERYONE.  ALL THE TIME.  People told me I was racist because I knew O’Hara was an Irish last name and Van Pelt was a Dutch one.  See what I mean?  And what does that tell you about the people calling me a racist?  Probably the same thing is true about people calling you a racist.  Oh, fwiw, Calexi thinks you’re anti-cat.

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