The violent civil war in Sierra Leone is a prime example of American racism. As individuals and as a nation, we promote white interests over those of “people of color.” I’m sure that most readers don’t have the foggiest idea about what’s going on in Sierra Leone. I’m also sure that almost everyone knows about atrocities in white Yugoslavia, white Israel, and white Ireland.
In Sierra Leone, rebels are enslaving and maiming innocent people to undermine the present democracy. The rebels, a band of youths with machine guns, sell diamonds stolen from their own country on the international black market to fund their army. Without diamonds, a precious resource in the West African nation, the rebels would be powerless.
The photographs of men, women and babies with arms cut off at the elbow and severed legs are appalling. Indeed, these pictures make TV images of the Middle East look benign. But, in an age where media-driven propaganda constructs American public opinion, no one knows and no one cares. Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world, is of no interest to the United States because its citizens aren’t white and its resources don’t include oil.
Certainly, America has always intruded in the affairs of “colored” nations such as Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, and Iraq, but all of those missions were ones of killing vilified minorities rather than liberating destitute people. Indeed, all of these wars were fought in the name of democracy (read: capitalism), not freedom.
The fact that the United States predominantly deals with select nations like Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Canada and France is testament to the fact that America cares only about white people. The friendly Japanese, by the way, were the only “people of color” to be considered white by South Africa during apartheid.
So Sierra Leone is not a valid civil war to intervene in, like the deteriorating school system in Philadelphia is not a valid cause to pour money into, because of race and class. The only reason that the United States involved itself in Kosovo was because the Kosovars are white. If Yugoslavia were a few miles east or south, it might not have been such a worthwhile cause.
This is not to say that we as individuals are inherently racist. But the news media certainly are and they feed us our worldviews. Open up The New York Times international news section and you’ll see big articles on Israel, Ireland, Spain and Russia. The small blurbs at the bottom of the page might be charitable enough to donate a word or two to nations like Ecuador, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.
As America becomes a more diverse nation, new news media such as the Spanish language press are popping up and it’s important to foster their growth. Cookie-cutter news sources yield cookie-cutter views, and in the end we become no better off than the Soviet Union where the government distributed news-propaganda.
One white dies in a suburban school or in a European democracy and America is up in arms, while the deaths of thousands of earthquake-ridden Turks, flooded Indians, amputated Sierra Leonese or inner-city blacks are shrugged off and filed away.
The first step to breaking this cycle is to aid causes, like that in Sierra Leone and other parts of the Third World, instead of denigrating the people of those nations by using them solely as sources of cheap labor.
Sadly, however, it seems that the same nation that committed the silent genocide of the Native American people will maintain its status quo with racism.