Saturday, July 16, 2005

Part I

It’s Time for the Pot to Start Calling the Kettle Black

The first of a __ part series

by The Windjammer

I left the blank space in the number of parts simply because when I get wound up on a subject, more often than not, I don’t know when to stop and couldn’t even if I wanted. People continue to condemn otherwise innocent phrases when they get a broomstraw crosswise and suppose that someone somewhere is going to take offense where none was intended, so I may never run out of material. At least not so long as we continue to subscribe to the flawed philosophy of thin skin and call it "Political Correctness."

When I was a mere tad, and believe you me, that was a far piece back, we had a saying among our backwoodsy people. We said, "It’s the pot calling the kettle black," when we wanted to make an unfavorable but accurate comparison between a talker and a talkee. The talker in question was usually tearing someone else apart for committing a sin this week that the talker didn’t get caught doing last week.

The comparison between the pot and the kettle had its foundation in observation of an everyday phenomenon. It wasn’t much of a phenomenon then, but with today’s high-tech solutions to the energy problem, the only time the bottom of the aluminum skillet turns black is when the cook gets her/his mind on something other than the business at hand. The bottoms of our cast iron cookware turned black from wood smoke and red oak flames. Anyone who has cooked over a pine-knot campfire knows that black is a fact of life. Cook stoves got hot top, sides and bottom and they could make a kitchen hotter than the hubs of Hades when you had to prepare a meal for upwards of fifteen hungry field hands, some of whom wouldn’t know pigweed from pussley, on the spur of the moment and on a wood-burning cook stove. Air conditioned facilities for cooking, dining and used-food disposal was non-existent. Where I lived, electricity still came in the form of lightning strikes or a 6-volt wet cell to operate the radio.

I’ve done a little word twisting in this piece to make it mean something else entirely. We need to return to the age-old custom of telling it like it is without trying to sugar-coat the bitter pill of human frailty which we have been trying to swallow for the last few decades, believing that we should be "politically correct" and not hurt anyone’s feelings. The problem may be a lot larger and have more far-reaching effects than even the most skeptical among us truly professional full-time skeptics ever imagined.

Police officers and others in a rather sensitive security environment can be castigated, criticized and criminalized for profiling. We even started giving it a racial overtone a few years back by calling it racial profiling. There may have been some basis for calling it that, especially when higher numbers of arrests or apprehensions occurred in high-crime areas and most of the residents in that area were of some particular racial or ethnic group. Crime is not a respecter of persons, it is color blind and has no ties to ethnicity. There is and has always been a close tie to crime and to susceptibility based on a number of factors which include environment, social habits, etc. If you put 300 kids in a room and give all of them loaded sixguns which they, untutored, are to draw, twirl and shoot, sooner or later somebody is going to get shot in the foot or somewhere else equally important.

So it is on the streets. When you engage in nefarious activities, you are either going to bring grief upon yourself or upon others. And chances are, you are going to be "profiled." That usually is not a sight one would travel a thousand miles or more to see. It appears in the records as "felon" of some sort or other and the profiling is hard to erase. The paper trail may be comparatively easy to shake, but like it or not, the nearly invisible but ever-present trail of stigma stays with you and always rubs off to some degree onto your kith and kinfolk.

When we condone criminal activities of any kind by trying to whitewash them through calling them something other than what they really are, we only deepen and perpetuate the problem. The same result comes from what has come to be defined as appeasement. If we face the truth, there ain’t no such animal when dealing with any organized entity. Appeasement is only another word which they translate as "Victory" with a capital V.

We have people who honestly believe that we can defeat terrorism by appeasement. Those ignore history.

It may be wrong to tar all members of any ethnic, political, religious or racial group with the same brush because of the actions of a few criminally inclined individuals who claim affiliation with such a group, but that will happen because humans tend to react in that way..

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