John Galliano said he doesn't remember ever praising Hitler or saying "people like you (Jewish) would be dead," because he says he was drunk and drugged up beyond belief.
Galliano's defense of "it wasn't me, it was the drugs" reminds me of Dr. Richard Kimball's defense of "it wasn't me, it was the one-armed man," in that both are fictional.
His defense does shed light onto how far have we have come as a world when dealing with race issues. The way I look at it, nothing says progress more than the fact that Galliano would rather be perceived as an alcoholic, junkie degenerate than a racist.
Fifty years ago, he would have been an alcoholic, junkie degenerate AND a racist, and he would not mind at all that people perceived him that way. Now he wants us all to believe that he is absolutely NOT a racist, he just can't stay away from drugs or alcohol. In his mind, it is more socially acceptable to be an alcoholic junkie than a racist.
Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
His other reason for why he is not racist is that he is gay, so he "knows how it feels to be discriminated against." That is probably true, but being discriminated against does not stop people from discriminating against others. In fact, being discriminated against may actually lead people to discriminating against others. Like the child who was abused growing up to abuse his/her own kids.
I am reminded of an experience that I had in third grade. I was going to a new school in a new neighborhood, so I was understandably nervous. I didn't know anyone, no one knew me. I walked into class, looked around nervously, and a girl, let's call her Sally, said: “You can sit here next to me.”
It was incredibly nice of her. She certainly did not have to do that, but she welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I wasn't the new kid. I repaid her kindness by doing the exact opposite to her.
See, I came to find out later that Sally was not one of the cool kids; she was one of the kids the cool kids picked on. I was also one of the kids the cool kids picked on. So when the cool kids made fun of her while I was with them, I of course joined in and teased her with the others. It didn't matter that they teased me as well. I wanted to make them think I was like them, not like her.
I believe my experience can be applied to groups as well. There is always a group that is discriminated against. In America, first it was the Native Americans, then African Americans (who face bigotry even today), then the Jews (ditto), then Irish, Italians and Polish, then Asians, now Muslims and Gays.
Just as I joined the cool kids in teasing Sally, so will discriminated groups discriminate against other discriminated groups.
I know a lot about this subject, because I am a member of the most discriminated group, the White American Males. We are the most discriminated group, in that we are not discriminated against. Which isn't fair at all - we deserve to be discriminated against just like everyone else!
But no, it's always about the blacks and the Jews, the two finalists in: "Who's Been Discriminated Against The Longest," (coming this Fall on FOX). Yet for some reason, many black people don't like Jewish people. Many Irish, Italians and Polish don't seem to like Jews either. And don't even get me started on how they feel about the Gays.
OK, you got me started.
I remember watching an episode of The Daily Show where they showed a clip of a black woman saying that she didn't think gays should have the right to get married, and she is certainly not alone in that thought. There are Irish, Italians, Polish and even Muslims who feel that way. Why would these groups, who themselves were discriminated against, who were told that they weren't good enough, who were not even treated like normal people, then turn around and treat others the way they were treated?
I guess they were doing to others what was done to them.
We have come a long way, though we have a long way to go. If any silver lining comes from Galliano's situation, it's that he does not want to be perceived as a racist. The baby steps we are taking as a nation and a world have brought us to a point where being a racist is thought to be worse than being an alcoholic junkie.