From the Perspective of a Blind Man Who Refuses to Play Victim
Commentary by Daniel T. Zanoza, Executive Director
I could probably count on one hand how many times I have mentioned the fact I am totally blind in my writings. And the reason I did mention my blindness was due to the fact it was germane to the issue I was writing about.
Of course, I could have played victim, but I chose the wrong political philosophy and the wrong political Party to make hay out of taking that route.
I have been published in major magazines, my work has also appeared in text books as examples for student writers to follow, but without a doubt, if I were a liberal, my writing career would be far beyond where it is today. However, I'm perfectly fine with the lot I have in life and the principles I have tried to adhere to in my journalistic career over the past 15 years.
You see, if I were a liberal and claimed victimhood, the mainstream media would have portrayed me as courageous. I would have had special interviews in the local newspaper when I lived in Chicago's near southwestern suburbs. There would have been television spots talking about how I didn't let my blindness interfere with my life goals. You know the spiel. It's been played out so many times in the press we could write the script blindfolded, please excuse the pun.
Ann Coulter's latest best-seller titled "Guilty" explains the culture of victimization perfectly in one of the book's early chapters. Coulter uses individuals like President-elect Barack Obama and movie star Halle Barry to illustrate her points on the subject. Coulter says Obama prefers to link himself with the black father who abandoned him for a reason. The author of "Guilty" says many who are multi-racial prefer to identify with their African-American roots because it will give them an advantage in America's present day society where victims are celebrated to a point of absurdity.
Coulter hits the nail right on the head with her assessment of this cultural phenomenon. While Obama and Barry grab on to their black heritage, they essentially throw the white women who raised them under the bus.
From the beginning of Obama's presidential campaign, he made it clear he was a black man. However, in doing so, Obama acknowledges and gives credence to the racism which plagued the United States for nearly 200 years.
In the Jim Crow south--as in the west beyond the Mississippi--when it came to race, the parameters were drawn in very stark racial lines. If an individual had one drop of black or Indian blood, that man or woman was not white. These were racially-motivated guidelines, akin to the idea of Arian purity which we saw advanced by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Even though Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels and their henchmen demonstrated few of the physical traits they associated with Arian purity, the "model" which allowed human beings to fit into this "privileged group" was set. Blond hair and blue eyes gave an individual an advantage in what Hitler hoped would be his thousand year Third Reich. The same mindset, though to a vastly lesser extent, existed in the Jim Crow south and the American west with regard to the native Indians.
This is what Coulter failed to address in her writings on the culture of victimhood. Individuals like Obama and Barry play into the ugly history of racism when they play up their African-American heritage and deny the other ancestry which makes up their DNA. Of course, as Coulter does affirm, the trade-off has value to individuals who would rather promote their personal agendas than right cultural wrongs.
This is exactly what Obama was doing with the writing of "Dreams of my Father". In actuality, he had only met his biological father once before authoring his manuscript. Clearly, Obama not only played the victim card, but he played the racist card as well by identifying with a man whose actions mirror one of the great failings of the African-American cultural zeitgeist which dominates black America today.
If Obama would have called himself what he is, a multi-racial American, the President-elect would not be entitled to many of the societal perks which the dominant media ascribes to selected groups. So Obama, like many others, not only accepted the racist labels of the past, but embraced them for what they could do for his career. To Obama's benefit, the headlines read: "The black man who overcame racism", "the first African-American President", "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream fulfilled" and a litany of victim-filled descriptions which provided Obama with an historic motif which, in reality, he is not entitled to nor should he want to accept. In an even more sadder sense, I'm sure Dr. King would not be happy with the politics of victimhood. King's words--about a culture which looks at a man or woman, not for the color of his or her skin, but for the content of their character--has been totally rejected by American society in the early 21st century. Perhaps we have not come very far regarding the issue of race after all.
As usual, though she lacks tact and her message often gets lost because of this fact, Coulter's book speaks of some important truths regarding our nation and where we are headed. If being the victim brings us success, it sets a low bar of achievement for our children to reach. This mindset also diminishes the accomplishments of those who don't play the victim card in their lives while inflating the accomplishments of those who do. Sadly, human beings, like water, seek the point of least resistance. If a man or woman can go further by claiming victimhood, many will indeed claim victimhood. It's part of human nature. Subsequently, it will take something more than Ann Coulter or this humble author to right a ship which in the view of many is floundering.
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