Typically I write my blogs without a specific timeline. I do this because 200 years from now, when space aliens take over the planet, I do not want to expose future generations of my family to the wrath of these foreign invaders. I surmise that when these Martians, Plutonians or Belgians control our universe, they will ignore my dull, lack of timeline musings, just like you do today.
Recent news events have forced me to reconsider my anachronistic universal approach to blogging. Daily peaceful protesting, marching and the occasional stolen pair of Nike shoes are now dominating news headlines as the Covid-19 pandemic have been politely asked to take the back seat of the car, to allow a greater virus to takes its place in the front seat.
Minneapolis – Saint Paul is a twin city in Minnesota, and being a twin myself, I can certainly understand the attraction of that location. I wonder if the parents force these twin residents to dress in the same outfits, like my mother did for the first 15 years of my life. The cuteness of this adorable twin city ended on May 25, 2020.
George Floyd died at the hands (or more accurately the knees) of police officer Derek Chauvin who aggressively pressed his knee on the neck of George Floyd for over 8 minutes. Mr. Floyd’s final words were “ I can’t breathe”, which was fortunately filmed by a spectator’s phone camera. Centuries of suffocating silence about racial discrimination imbedded in American Law and Order could no longer be ignored. Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and his silent partners were charged with aiding and abetting to the murder. I never found The Police Academy movies funny, but now all were questioning that very training of police across the country.
In the early 1960’s The Women’s Liberation movement began a revolutionary focus on the injustice and inequity of women’s status in society. Protests, demonstrations and marching at rallies became regular routine to raise awareness of the gender bias in the fabric of social order. Men took a while to acknowledge the movement, though there was great early support for women going braless.
During this radical movement, women lashed out at the ignorance of men labeling them as male chauvinistic pigs. For decades, chauvinism was a word that was linked to uninformed, misogynistic, catcalling, wolf whistling men. Unfortunately, the true meaning of that word got lost in translation during the 1960s.
During the Napoleonic wars, short little Mr. Bonaparte was being rather successful in taking over the world. Nicolas Chauvin was a legendary French soldier and patriot who was boisterous and brash in his advocation and unquestioned devotion to of the French leader. Similar to a good ice cream cone, all great things must come to an end. As a punishment for Napoleon’s world concurring attitude, the British exiled him to the island of Saint Helena where he served his life sentence in Covid-19 free isolation.
Meanwhile back in France, good old Nicolas Chauvin was telling any French Citizen who would listen, that Napoleon must be brought back to reestablish France as the greatest country in the world. Unconfirmed stories suggest that Chauvin created beautiful red hats with “Make France great Again” to help in his mission to return to past glory.
The enlightened French population smiled sarcastically at Nicolas Chauvin as they drank their lovely red wine in outside cafes. The loudly mocked his dated pathetic position, and the word “Chauvinism” became a synonym for those out of touch with current times.
Derek Chauvin’s criminal behaviour had motivated thousands of people in hundreds of U.S. cities to demonstrate against imbedded racism within every police department in the country. As passive white people declare “I don’t have a racist bone in my body!”, those bodies are being questioned about their inaction and passivity to a 400 year old national problem.
One clear distinction being made is there is a catastrophic difference between non-racist and antiracist. The former is as Bruce Hornsby sang just, “The Way It Is” versus the latter, which demands actionable demonstration of those bones in your body. This will take courage that many, including myself may not possess.
Every person in every land must appreciate, understand and most importantly demonstrate they are not chauvinistic. Time today is not the time of yesterday. The world of overused camera phones, are now transforming “he said, she said” arguments into indisputable, evidential images that even the masters of photo shopping cannot ignore.
My years of experience teaching at international campuses, has taught me very important lessons of multiculturalism. My privilege of living as a white man in a white man’s world is over.
With exposure to the anger, the passion, enthusiasm and the love of millions of world citizens demands that your head must eventually come out of the sand. What you see, what you hear, and most importantly what your heart and brain will slowly internalize and comprehend will answer the question, are part of the problem, or will you be part of the solution?
One can no longer lean into the overused comfortable excuse of “I didn’t know!” With awareness comes responsibility, and whether you choose to accept bias media coverage of your choosing, you are now aware of the problem.
Few care about your feelings, your thinking or your theories on why and what has led you to decision time. Officer Chauvin is clearly the new chauvinistic pig, lost in a world that does not exist anymore. The real question is: What are you going to do?
Cue the Blong: MADNESS I offered this before, but now the lyric “The racist in the boardroom has a wonderful laugh” echoes chauvinism.