By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
That won’t be easy to do unless you quit your job to become unemployed, you stop paying the mortgage on your overpriced house and start looking for a rental, or you get lucky and win the lottery to fall into that exclusive group of income taxpayers who contribute the most to reducing the federal deficit. If you are industrious and ambitious, you could join a union, become a dirt farmer, take classes to become a tradesman, a technician, or a truck driver, or you could go to college to become a member of some powerful professional association like the AMA.
In most cases minority status is bequeathed on a person when he or she is born. The genes of the parents, their location on this planet when the child is born, and the wealth the parents have at their disposal are the main culprits in determining minority status. In this country a parent’s political outlook is likely to influence the child to support one of the two bickering political parties that take turns being the voice of the minority of voters.
The culture, religion, language, and education of a child’s parents also have much to do in providing him or her with the essential minority markings which are not easy to erase. Caste in some countries fixes your place in society, although that criteria is gradually becoming obsolete thanks to pressure from unprejudiced outsiders. What is most important for any child in America is that he identifies himself with a specific minority quickly and adopts their philosophy in order to exploit its possibilities for enhancing his welfare and status in a community.
Conventional wisdom for making progress in our modern American society as a member of some minority is: “When in Rome, be a Greek. In a heterosexual community, be a homosexual. In California, be a Latino, an Asian, or a geek!” The abused outsider has the power to attract the media’s attention. A non-conformist member of some minority has the unique opportunity to preach tolerance and shout about the most blatant acts of discrimination. Any small minority of humans has much greater influence on our country’s sensitive, poll-watching leaders than the inactive and apathetic Silent Majority.
Perhaps you have already noted the advantages of being a member of some recognized minority. There are frequent street demonstrations to join, flags to wave, signs to paint, noise to make, and lobbyists to pay. The ACLU may even assist you if they can find some outrageous situation to expose and condemn or some biased authority figure to sue to increase their creditability as a protector of human civil rights. The federal government may pick up your cause celebre, but their solution is usually to use a sledge hammer to pound a thumb tack into a cork bulletin board. Then, some responsible federal agency with follow-up and decide they can do nothing because they lack personnel, funding, and Congressional support.
It’s fun being part of a minority because you can make fun of the stupid things the majority does. The majority elects people to serve in Congress and in state legislatures who fail to please voting citizens when they take office because they can’t even balance a budget. It supports preemptive wars to bring about regime changes in far-away places that can’t be accomplished despite our good intentions and our sincere efforts to waste billions of dollars and thousands of human lives. It advocates spending money the government doesn’t have to improve the lives of the unfortunate citizens that our government’s lax economic policies have ignored, displaced, and ruined.
Tell me, which powerful minority do you want to join? A religious one, a political one, a wealthy one, a professional one, or a popular one that is always seeking to do the impossible: change things for the better?