In commemoration of Juneteenth Day
The 8 minutes, 46 seconds lethal knee-jerking, chokehold, and neck crushing of excessive police brutality force inflicted on the late slain George Floyd and now endured heavily by his family and the Nation and the world over as a whole, has had far more adverse American and global ramifications and consequences than originally acknowledged. Déjà vu all over again, it is as if the last straw has returned to break the civil rights reforms of the 1960s. Skeptics of the far-right opine the past incarceration and poor lifestyle and career choices of George Floyd as the justification to not only discredit him and thus rationalize his killing but also to undermine the historic lingering grievances of the black Americans and many others in the fragile American landscape.
The fact remains that Floyd’s slaying was only the tip of a huge iceberg that re-awoke the nation’s conscience; putting to the back burner the continued affliction of pain and agony as endured by the African and Native Americans, and now regressively pained by tens of millions of “colored” others is not any longer viable. The only way forward is for the Nation to face and embrace, and correct its past misconducts and pledge to avoid the ongoing of heinously systemic mistreatment of the native indigenous and black population and its myriad lingering racism/sexism aftermath now grappled excruciatingly by tens of millions of “other colored” immigrants before we could once and for all strengthen the pillars of American ideals and values the nation is anchored on. It is in fact meritorious to invoke Juneteenth Day again and again so to safeguard equality and equal opportunity for ALL Americans.
The fact is that the alt-rights and neocons for their sake of domineering global monopoly had felt in the driving seat since the collapse of the Soviet Union, now feel more re-empowered by the current divisive rhetoric and policies of the current US administration. Consequently, the modest and by and large symbolic socio-economic and political reforms of the past fifty years have now regressed to yet a new low point of reckoning. Intensified, the chronic systemic racism and its extensions namely, sexism and misogyny, and biases and discrimination-far more than ever deeply entrenched in our institutional, corporate and individual fabrics-is hijacking the American dreams, ideals and values as equality, equal opportunity, due process, habeas corpus, the rule of law and blind justice. Unless addressed comprehensively and ameliorated sustainably at fundamental levels by the whole Nation, it is gravely feared that the very fabric of the American society will be torn apart literally from underneath us all Americans.
The systemic institutional racism in contrast to individual racism has disregarded, denigrated, denied the basic natural, human, civil and constitutional rights of not only the African and Native Americans followed by Latinos/Hispanics but that it now, in essence, has adversely impacted the daily lives of up to two-thirds (including women and most 20th century immigrants) of our 333 million otherwise law-abiding and hard-working populations in the U.S. The systematic, endemic and institutionally ratified beliefs for the self-entitlement and consequently the supremacist misacts of the historically arrived northern European “whites” aboard the Mayflower had landed on Plymouth Rock as the puritans from as far back as the late sixteenth century, has afforded them to feel like the sole proprietors of this still great land and Nation of immigrants! In retrospect, although with their arrivals they led the collateral annihilations of millions of native inhabitants from the 574 native nations and topped it off by the enslaved black human beings to them remains moot and put back in the burner of oblivion; simply put, their denial is immaterial to the crux of inhumane and savage mistreatment of the innocents. It is not surprising when the natives’ slogan in the Americas states, “Battling Foreign Terrorism since 1492!”
The Nation may not fully feel the harmonic equality and peace as the pillars of our purported modern civilized and strong nation until the overdue justice is duly served to African Americans with slave ancestry in particular. Meanwhile, the issues of race, ethnicity, diversity, cultural identity and ancestry have become far more complex compared to the early days of the republic when immigration only encompassed the “north” European puritan and another exodus. For instance, the majority of the Americans whose parents emigrated to the U.S. post-WWII, particularly after the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s are from south/southwest Asia and “north” Africa, the Caribbean and Latin/South America. The majority arrived not necessarily for better economic opportunities but to escape from religious and or political persecutions. In fact, most recent immigrants arrived with education and wealth from middle-class families in their country of origin. They yearned for equality and equal opportunities, blind justice and the rule of law, and a better future in a civil, secular, secured, and peaceful adopted land for their families and children.
Among the recently arrived, those with origin in the so-called Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are classified as “white” according to Federal regulations and the US Census. Thus, despite many feeling the sharp racism and discrimination as labeled as “colored”, they have no special legal or societal protective status. Whether black or white, the fact there are fifty shades of each remains irrelevant to a racist or even worse to institutional racism. The Iranians for instance are among the earliest who carry key haplogroup biomarkers in their genetic pedigrees and as further diversified and strengthened by many other distinct brethren in MENA from as far back 40,000 years ago which make them “white.” The reality in the west especially in the US remains they are at best mistreated as “colored”, a skin-deep environmental phenomenon that has nothing to do with one’s character, potential, deeds or conducts.
So, most are frowned upon, mistreated, and discriminated against by the “mainstream” public at large, sensational rating and advertising-driven media, employers, and federal and state governments. Their skin color or lack thereof and their “exotic” complexions, their accents, names, and their ways of life are ridiculed as lesser beings. Their discriminatory mistreatment has ironically been exacerbated when our government and the government of their native home from which they fled from are at odds. As a result, this has and will more than ever shatter their safety, security and equal opportunity, unless it is addressed by the nation as a whole and protected by the letter and spirit of the laws. Whether or not they are Muslim by practice, or by sheer birth in a Muslim family, a convert or by simply by associations such as the Sikh and Hindus as well as Iranians for instance with Armenians, Assyrians, Judaic, Zoroastrians, Agnostics, Gnostics, mystics, spiritualists, humanists, and Baha’i beliefs, they remain perceived as “Muslim” let alone “Arab Muslims” and must thence, bear guilt by fallacious association!
As if the historical and institutional root causes of racism against the American Natives and African Americans in particular been fundamentally addressed at all beyond the usual band-aids, that the dilemma now endured by MENA immigrants and their plights for equality and safety and as celebrated by sensational media and right or left-wing political slicks for their own ulterior motives especially post September 11, 2001, has now added a new dimension to the national agenda.
It is commendable to note most noble humans including many whites in our society and communities commit, adhere to and exercise the overarching golden rule of “treating others as one would expect to be treated.” And yet, as history teaches us unless we do learn from history, that as individuals or as a nation we are doomed to repeat it with far more devastation.
Epitomizing, let me close with a poem by Sa’adi the 13th century Persian Poet of Iran:
Humans are all integral members of one same frame,
Since they all, at first, from the same one eternal essence came.
When by hard fortune one limb is oppressed,
The other members lose their desired rest.
If thou feel’st not for others’ misery,
A Human, therefore, is no name for thee
Golriz Ghahraman, ‘I feel such sorrow when I imagine my parents’ fate’ (excerpt from her Memoir just published in New Zeeland)
Rahni, D.N., Iran as the Historical Tri-Continental Bridge, and Ireland? An Ethno-Cultural and Etymological Interconnectedness Rahni, D.N., Is Persian a homogenous genetic and thus distinct “superior race”?