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US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters

Posted By: beemerman2k

US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 10:10 PM

Today's Yahoo News web site has an article that summarizes a speech given today by the US Attorney General, Eric Holder. In that speech he claims that the USA is a nation of cowards when it comes to discussing race matters. While I appreciate his speech, I must say that I disagree with his "nation of cowards" viewpoint.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090218/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/holder_race

Aside from my daily life experiences, I often rely on this web forum for an indication as to where the USA stands on various issues, including race matters. To the degree that this web forum is an indicator of the general population, the USA is a very different country today than the one I grew up in. I have found the members of this web forum to be extremely open when it comes to discussing racial matters. And whether I agree with the sentiments expressed or not, I can say I have never regretted the expression of those sentiments or questioned the motives behind the person expressing them. The members of this web forum have been outstanding in my view, so I am taking this opportunity to say, "Thank you" to everyone of you for your outstanding example and willingness to engage in discussions on race.

Oh, I can tell you for sure -- and so can come of the members of this forum -- that agreement is often an elusive goal! Yet in all the debates, no one has ever hesitated to be totally honest with me or afraid to express their potentially explosive viewpoints with me. You have all respected me enough to tell it like it is, and for that I am honored. (If everyone agreed with me, I would seriously question the sincerity of the discussions and I might be chastising this board for actually being the very cowards Eric Holder is talking about!) And I have been honored by some of you when I am asked to express my own views on race -- no matter how controversial my views might be. And of course, no one lets my questionable views go unchallenged either!

If we are going to continue to grow as a nation, then we must all be prepared for the truth. Candy coating and otherwise watering down our views isn't going to solve anything in the long term. I've engaged in some discussions where we had to part ways and simply "agree to disagree" until at least one of us learns enough to see the other persons point. We have to be willing enough and bold enough to risk hurt feelings to fight for the genuine prize of the truth! (The truth of how we feel, that is. The TRUTH is something that I don't think any of us has cornered!)

I suppose I can sympathize with those who might hold back; these days, you say something non-PC, you are immediately labeled a "racist". That is very unfortunate as I believe the "truth" may often be things that -- taken at face value -- are indeed offensive! However, there are indeed certain aspects of our lives, our families, our cultures, our ethnicities, and our races that are indeed inferior and need to be addressed as such! Unproductive habits are exactly that, and calling it something else, like "culture", doesn't change what it really is one bit! Anyhow, I think that us Black Americans have done a lot to quell open communications to our own detriment. So to the degree that I can, I aim to change all of that. So...anyone up for the First Amendment?! thumbsup

I write this because I feel very grateful to belong to a community of riders that, quite frankly, are very honorable and so far ahead of the social curve so to speak.

Never put on white gloves when dealing with me. Take 'em off and start swinging! I can take it. And when I sit down in my corner with a bloody nose and mad as all hell, just know that in my heart, I am very much thinking about our encounter and the truth that you're trying to beat me over the head with smile

OK, I have enjoyed countless conversations over the past 8 years, but I do want to make a special shout out to: David, Pilgrim, Huzband, Marty Hill, EffBee, Boffin, TyTass, and countless others, really, some of whom are no longer on this forum (probably banned for their racist views rofl Just kidding folks! Sheesh.)
Posted By: David

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 10:32 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Never put on white gloves when dealing with me. Take 'em off and start swinging!


Okay, I'll start. To me, you're a black man, not an African-American. I refuse to use that term.

Is that okay with you? grin
Posted By: upflying

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 10:37 PM

Discussion of race is a taboo subject. I have been trained, programmed and threatened not to consider it, profile it, show it or discuss it under any circumstances. Any mistake, implication, breach or open display of racism would result in my immediate termination. Same goes with a discussion of gender, sexual orientation and religion. Call me a coward but I kept my mouth shut and managed to keep my job for 30 years.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 10:38 PM

Originally Posted By: David
Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Never put on white gloves when dealing with me. Take 'em off and start swinging!


Okay, I'll start. To me, you're a black man, not an African-American. I refuse to use that term.

Is that okay with you? grin


Oh boy, what a mess. Hell, I don't even know what I am these days!

I guess, without ever thinking about it, I refer to myself generally as a black American (sometimes I capitalize the 'b', othertimes I don't -- whatever!).

Yeah, that'll do just fine (hooo, we're breakin' new ground here, folks!)
Posted By: upflying

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 10:48 PM

David brings up a good point though.
I wish to be called a Swedish-American.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 10:50 PM

Wow, as a law enforcement officer, I can see why people need to feel like you are applying the law without bias or prejudice.

I do wonder, though, what our society could learn -- and especially the black community -- were we to find a way to receive open and straight forward observations from those who are in your line of work. I am certain such information would be earth shattering to us. Everyday you see the outcomes of poor decisions, and I'm sure you have a hunch as to what lead to some of those terrible errors. No doubt you see social patterns as well, some of which are typically associated with race, gender, sexual preference and all the other criteria you are not allowed to consider. Yet this information could prove rather critical to some of us out here.

Quote:
I wish to be called a Swedish-American.


Duly noted. Unfortunately, the California office that handles such "Change to Racial/Ethnic Status" request has been shut down due to budget constraints.
Posted By: upflying

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 11:09 PM

I agree, but to share my thoughts would be considered by some to be stereotypical, opinionated and close minded. LEO's are almost always on the receiving end of threats, biases and insults from members of the minorities. Any attempt at explaining LEO relationships with minorities would result in immediate outrage and contempt from the community. Sorry, but the new age of racial understanding and change isn't coming from me.

Posted By: Paul Mihalka

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 11:15 PM

OK, now I'll get into trouble. One of the strongest impositions of PC is that we are all created equal. We have the same rights, we have to have the same respect, but we are not equal. I think there are definite general differences between what I might call sub-races in the human race. You can't ignore that even where racism is not a subject, like traveling in Europe, you'll notice that the average Italian is different from the average German or Scandinavian. The difference is greater between the major groups of white, black, oriental. I'm sure there are differences in sub groups of black people in Africa, like some group in general is shorter, some taller. Same in Oriental, the Chinese is not the same as the Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese. Differences also exist in mental disposition. Some groups are more business minded, some more aggressive etc.
Covering up and trying to ignore these differences is a disservice to humanity. Talents should be promoted and developed. Shortcomings can be improved if recognised. Nobody is helped by ignoring the situations. Eric Holder may be right. PC made us cowards in considering race.
Wow, I don't believe I said all this...
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/18/09 11:25 PM

Paul, you are to be commended for your boldness!

I'm sorry to keep jumping in on this thread like I am, but I wanted to comment for fear that someone mis-understand what you're saying here. In his book, "Roots", Alex Haley narrates the thoughts of the newly captured African slave, Kunta Kente, as he observes other slaves working on the plantations in America. Kunta Kente notices, with great astonishment, that these overseers have no idea what they are doing: they have members of the Fulani tribe planting seeds, whereas every African knows they are the most skillful herdsmen out there! And others from various tribes have other specialties that are not at all being put to use in the New World. Their ignorance the specialization of the African tribes are resulting in highly underproductive plantations! Although he is highly opposed to his new life in captivity, he feels that if you're going to subject people to this way of life, at least do it right!

So yes, without coming out and saying so, I would argue that both Alex Haley and his ancestor, Kunta Kente, would heartily agree with your observation.
Posted By: Flyer5

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:11 AM

Oh my there are black people on this forum . I will have to leave.

Just kidding of coarse. I have never really had the urge to discriminate against anyone because of race or color . I never understood the reasoning behind it . I have like 6 different nationalities in my family tree one of them being Polish and I enjoy the jokes as much as the next guy . The things that do piss me off are the people who feel they deserve special treatment because of race or color , and preach that all white people are out to get them. I think if you are American you deserve the same treatment as everyone else no more no less . Dave
Posted By: smiller

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:14 AM

Quote:
One of the strongest impositions of PC is that we are all created equal. We have the same rights, we have to have the same respect, but we are not equal.

I agree that all human beings are not equal in every respect, most of us have our talents and our weak points, and yes, some have the innate capability to truly excel and some seem incapable of producing much no matter what opportunities are provided. The 'created equal' phrase is more poetic and looks better in print but I think what it really means is that all citizens should, within reason, be provided with at least an opportunity to achieve equal success, and then they will make of it what they will. We don't always do that well now, and I'd have to disagree that all citizens truly enjoy the same rights and level of respect. Of course in adulthood one earns rights and respect and that's as it should be, but in order to provide a level playing field in later life there needs to be equal opportunity in the developmental stages and we're still not doing that uniformly well, and I think some of it does have to do with inherent prejudice. The formal barriers to minority involvement in society are falling rapidly (including the rather striking recent example), but I'm not sure that we can quite yet consider the job done.
Posted By: Bheckel169

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:16 AM

I simply don't fall into any category that I'm aware of when I think in terms of ethnicity or culture. I am an American first, a family man second and I happen to have a job. I've found it incredibly divisive to start differentiating any more than that. I won't call myself a german/american or an english/american or an irish/american even though I'm some of that too. When President Obama and others call him an Afro American I cringe. He's as much a caucasian as he is a black man in my view. There are no formulas, percentages or measurements that change my opinion. We are who we are and we naturally gravitate to those things we have in common and thus you're here with us joining us in our conversations and I would continue to see it that same way if we were talking in person. I must say that I find that this differentiation often comes from black Americans as it does from anyone else. My hope is we'll all some day, get over it and get on with being American's.
Bruce
Posted By: Mister Tee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:23 AM

As the other black man on this board, I guess I feel obligated to say something here.

Beemerman2k, I will join you in the "free-for-all" ring as well, and I will also ask of the other members to please just say what's on their minds, and not necessarily what they think they have to say in order to maintain political correctness. Along those lines, the Tee has also been accused of having extreme viewpoints, and not even on this board.

And I have to agree with you, we make better cowboys than we do farmers! Yee haw!
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:31 AM

Quote:
smiller:The formal barriers to minority involvement in society are falling rapidly (including the rather striking recent example), but I'm not sure that we can quite yet consider the job done.
Sorry, Seth, but that's not my experience. For 12 years, I've worked with a wide variety of private and public companies; and, my anecdotal experience is clear. Blacks are significantly underrepresented in supervisory or leadership positions. That can only be for one reason.

As I write this, I try to picture a Black person in any of our client companies who holds an executive position and I can't. Today, I worked with a school corporation and there was a Black woman in the group, but I don't count governmental agency hiring of Blacks as the type of progress we need.

Three years ago, we hired a young Black woman to lead one of our smaller departments. She earned her stripes and is now a my peer in position and opportunity; has demonstrated initial success and, with experience, will likely be very successful. She will be the only or one of the few Black female consultants working directly with CEOs and business owners we know.

I would challenge anyone one reading this thread who works for a public or private but non governmental organization to tell us how many Blacks occupy executive positions in their companies. I hope I'm wrong, but I'd bet it's very few.
Posted By: smiller

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:39 AM

My use of the phrase 'falling rapidly' was intentionally vague. I didn't mean to imply that I think we're anywhere near reaching full equality in the ways you described, and in fact I agree with your assessment. The tricky and pothole-filled question is why things are as they are. I'm not sure I agree that there's only one reason, but what do you think it is?
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:42 AM

I have a sort of different take on it from Eric Holder.

I think there is a place and a time for discussing sensitive subjects, which isn't every place and all the time. Discussing race isn't, or shouldn't be, such a "sensitive" subject anymore, after more than a half century of hashing out the equality of the races, not to speak of the hundred years or so before that when issues such as slavery were decided. There are newer issues which are perhaps even more sensitive than that.

There was an editorial in our local paper recently, which made a lot of sense to me. The writer was a member of the Davis, CA city council. Some group wanted the city council to consider issuing a proclamation in support of the Palestinians. This caused a heated debate, spanning several meetings, with testimony pro and con from a lot of people who were emotionally involved in the issue. I don't remember what the council finally did about it, nothing, I think. But her point was that this issue had absolutely nothing to do with the city business of Davis, CA, and that the city council had lots more germane things to consider, including the fact that Davis, like so many other municipalities, is under water financially and needs to do something about that. Her further point was that not only was this a distraction from city business, but open discussion of the issue had created fractures within the community that didn't previously exist. That a sense of hostility between groups of people was created by open discussion of the issue, that hadn't existed before. Is this hostility in the city of Davis, CA, a useful and necessary step to take in the eventual resolution of the disputes between the Palestinians and the Jews, or is just a gratuitous source of ill feeling, like flipping someone off in traffic?

I assume the same result would have occurred if the city council had been asked to issue a proclamation for or against homosexual marriage, which is another hot issue.

Probably nobody these days would ask for the Davis city council to issue a proclamation on race, because they consider themselves so far beyond that that there is nothing they could proclaim that everybody doesn't already agree with. Now that's probably not true, is it? What if somebody asked the Davis city council to issue a proclamation in favor of paying compensation to the descendants of slaves. I'm sure that would stir up a hornet's nest. But is that a hornet's nest that needs poking, or is it better to let race relations evolve as various remaining inequities are sorted out relatively quietly through the courts or various other venues that exist for those purposes?

I think it's entirely possible for two neighbors to live next to each other for 30 years who don't like each other, don't approve of each other's habits, and don't want to associate with each other, but who smile across the driveway to each other if they happen to go out at the same time to pick up the newspaper in the morning. Would it be a mutual benefit for them to have an honest discussion of their mutual dislikes? No doubt, if they did so, they would find that some of their dislikes are based on misconceptions and not reality. Others wouldn't change. Is it better for me to know specifically why my neighbor doesn't like me, or is it better to just realize that the chemistry isn't there, and I should look elsewhere for my friends?

In saying that you shouldn't have to discuss issues of race or other sensitive issues at all times and all places in order to not be a coward, I'm not saying that you should go through life with blinders on, either. We saw what happened when many Germans did that during WWII, and when many Americans did that with respect to race at many times during our history. I'm saying, get involved when you can make a difference, not when it's just stiring the pot. Granted, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 12:47 AM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
I suppose I can sympathize with those who might hold back; these days, you say something non-PC, you are immediately labeled a "racist".


Yeah, that's kind of the short version.

A lot of white people, myself included, have been somewhat put on the defensive by minority groups who have tuned themselves to be highly offended at the slightest misstep on the part of others. Al Sharpton is leading the charge yet again today; the cartoon is indeed in poor taste, though I don't believe race played any part in it at all. Sharpton's not the only one though, and it kind of gets to me after a while. If there was a time when the average black person felt that most white folks looked down on him, I can't help but think that the tables may have been turned.

The coverage last fall of the Bradley Effect and its possible impact on the presidential election is a good example. Consider this quote from a CNN article last fall:

From the beginning of this electoral season, pollsters and pundits alike have warned that Obama needs a six- to nine-point lead to overcome the so-called "Bradley Effect," which is nothing more than a sanitary way of saying people are hung up about race.

The effect is named after Tom Bradley, the 1982 California gubernatorial candidate who led in the polls right up until the votes were counted.

While willing to tell pollsters they would vote for a minority candidate, the theory goes, some California voters just couldn't stomach casting a ballot for a black man once the curtain was drawn and nobody was looking.


The author implies that white voters who tell pollsters they'll vote for Obama but ultimately vote for someone else driven by racist motives. I contend the opposite: they are (for the most part) color-blind, but are absolutely terrified of saying anything that makes them appear racist. That would include telling an anonymous pollster that do not plan to vote for Obama.

Am I a coward? Maybe. At work last month we were given permission to take an hour or so off and watch the inauguration ceremony on the TV in the lunch room. There were maybe 25 of us in there - mostly white people, and a couple of black women. One of them was visibly happy, to the point of applauding during the actual oath. The rest of us were pretty low-key. I felt uncomfortable, I guess because it was apparent that race mattered to her. I'm not sure, I'm making this up as I go along here. I guess it wasn't clear to me whether she felt like Obama's presidency was was a victory over racism, or a victory over white people. When the subject of race comes up I'm never really sure, I guess. I get tired of thinking about it sometimes, and wish for King's dream, i.e. that one day none of us will give a rat's ass about skin color.

David has put his big stinky foot down by insisting on calling you black, and I guess that's another area for discomfort. No one is sure what to call each other any more. Supposedly "negro" and "colored person" are offensive, which leaves me wanting an explanation for the continued existence of the United Negro College Fund and the NAACP. African-American seems like such a clumsy word. Seven syllables instead of one: black. That's the engineer in me I guess, pushing for an economy of ink. And "black" is unacceptable because...? There's some stigma associated with the color black? Really? Because it doesn't accurately describe the color of a black person's skin? Heh. White doesn't explain my skin either. We could go with brown and beige if we wanted to be more accurate.

Anyway, yeah, maybe we are a nation of cowards. But there have been enough examples of people being publicly crucified or losing their jobs, just for being perceived as racist, that I think a lot of reasonable-minded white folks are keeping their heads down purely out of a sense of self-preservation.

Don't even get me started on the whole "niggardly" fiasco. That's a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
Posted By: Couchrocket

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:00 AM

I think we may have left "skin color" issues behind us. As in, "You look different, and it causes me to ______ (fill in the blank) you!" Typical fill-ins used to include, hate, fear, feel superior, feel inferior. We moved on to who was majority, and who was minority in terms of sheer numbers, and while still divided along "racial" lines it hasn't really had much to do with skin color per se. More about power, who has it, and who doesn't. At least in metropolitan areas of this country, we've left that pretty much behind, and in terms of media, music, movies, the arts, etc., we've "almost" left that behind us in terms of representation that begins to resemble reality. And over time, and with opportunity, there seems to be the beginning of a sort of leveling out in most other areas of life in America. Certainly President Obama's victory means something significant, even if it isn't "the end of the issue."

What we have left over are huge cultural divides along skin color lines, that have nothing to do with skin color. In some ways, those may be harder to get beyond than mere skin color differences. I'll use the term "Black Culture" only because I can't think of a better one, as the primary example. Some in the black community have attempted to define for all in that community what "Black Culture" is, and it seems to have become a litmus test for some sort of black "authenticity" that one must have to have a voice in the black community. At least that's how is seems to an old, fat, white guy.

I'll use another term, "mainstream," again only because I sort of know what I mean by it, and can't think of a better term. Some in the black community who have "mainstreamed" are branded as inauthentic, Uncle Tom, or traitor. Talk about confusing to the rest of us. "Mainstreaming" looks like access and success in sharing the American Dream, but there is what feels to me like a rising sentiment among some that it is a "White" American Dream and blacks should not aspire to it for that reason.

My comments, of course, are a gross oversimplification of a very complex situation. I can certainly understand the desire and need for cultural identity "of one's own," and even the desire for one that isn't one "picked out for us" by a majority culture. But it does create an obstacle to "moving forward" toward the salad bowl, if not the melting pot, and it is distressing to me.

A long time ago I learned some valuable things about institutional racism, white male power, and some other things that made me think long and hard about the lenses I look through as I observe the scene. I consciously work toward reconciliation in a personal sort of way, never knowing if I'm helping or not.

I don't think we're cowards, I think we're uncertain about how to communicate effectively. We're worried about being misunderstood. We're worried that unless we use "just the right PC signals" that we'll be considered "this or that."

I too admire this place for its frankness, combined with both sharp humor, and the governing sense of "good will" that for the most part provides a context for discussion.


Posted By: dewtwo

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:30 AM

Try growing up in Rural Georgia from a family that was devastated 150 years ago by the "war of Northern Aggression". My parents moved up north when I was 9, so I lost probably 90% of my racist opinions. I was in Ohio from 9 to 25. There was 1 black guy in my high school graduating class. You want separation of the races head up to the suburbs in the North. Here in the south, we mostly live in harmony. (Don't tell the media; they think we all hate each other) My perception (and that of the iddie bittie dynamite professor at Ohio State) is that up North, blacks are loved as a race, but despised as individuals. In the South, blacks are hated as a race, but loved as individuals.

For me, it is not about the color of your skin; it is about the economic class you are in. I don't want to hang around in poor black areas or poor white areas. I don't wish to hang with black or white poorly educated people; I want to have an intelligent conversation. If I see a young man walking towards me, I may get apprehensive, and cross the street. Color is not the issue. A white boy or a black boy could be a threat. I don't want to go to a Baptist church whether it is a "black" church or a "white" church. Some says that these thoughts make me a racist. Nope, not this time.

Your comments about blacks not working in upper management is probably mostly true; this is also true for women, American Indians (still can't say native Americans), Asians, people from middle eastern decent... As a previous employee of Merrill Lynch, Stan O'Neal was the president that made a name for himself. Was very aggressive, and I got laid off during his tenure. Am/was I mad; hell yes, not because he was black, but because he was selfish; I lost a lot of money thanks to him. When he was making $$ for the firm, all was well. When the market fell apart, he took the blame. That is what a CEO does.

I will say, I have had more positive experiences with black people in the service industry since Obama was elected than I have had in a long time. On several ococcasions, I went to restaurants, and people seemed happy to be there. Coincidence? You decide...
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:37 AM

I wanted to review all the responses to date to this before making any comments. Thanks to beemerman2k, clearly not a coward, for raising this issue.

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Aside from my daily life experiences, I often rely on this web forum for an indication as to where the USA stands on various issues, including race matters. To the degree that this web forum is an indicator of the general population, the USA is a very different country today than the one I grew up in.

I don't agree that this forum is an indicator of the general population. In my limited participation (just under a year) the members of this forum are generally better informed than the general population (a large portion of whom cannot find the United States on a world map, who think "Africa" is a country, and that Iraqis and Iranians are all "Ayrabs).

I will, however, accept that things have changed greatly in the past 50 years. I entered first grade the very year of Brown vs. Board of Education; prior to that, the town I grew up in Delaware had separate schools for black and white students. I remember my father telling me, before my first day of school, that things were changing, and I shouldn't treat any of my classmates differently because of their skin color. On the other hand, last fall my mother referred to me as a "traitor to his class" for voting for Barack Obama, so perhaps things haven't changed all that much.

I was a student at the University of Michigan in April 1968, and I vividly remember when the news of the MLK assassination hit the airwaves, one of my room mates said, "Good, somebody finally shot that nigger." It's a remark I will never forget, and made me realize that racism was pervasive, not just limited to the south.

Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
OK, now I'll get into trouble. One of the strongest impositions of PC is that we are all created equal.

This is hardly PC, since "all men are created equal" dates back to the founding of our country. It's ironic though, that Jefferson owned slaves; at the time, they were property, not people, so even for Thomas Jefferson some people were created more equal than others.

At the risk of getting myself into trouble, I worked in Saudi Arabia (where slavery wasn't banned until 1962) for 5 years. The Saudis are the worst racists I have ever encountered, and as far as I was considered, their American employees were treated as "house niggers." We were tolerated because they needed us, but we were only barely better than dirt. Since I had a choice (I could leave -- as soon as I got my passport back from my employer), this isn't equivalent to growing up black in this country, but at least I have some direct experience of being a despised minority, which isn't the case for most caucasians in this country.

So, to some degree, I agree with AG Holder. Can you imagine Mel Brooks releasing "Blazing Saddles" today? Every time I have watched it on TV, they have bleeped the sound track. Having an African-American president is an opportunity to finally begin discussing these issues more openly.
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:43 AM

We've walked down this path before

In sociology class today I presented an overview, including graphic videos, of non-violent civil disobedience in this country from 1954 to 1968.
Non-violent actions evoked violent, brutal, and heinous responses from some Americans, resulting in the deaths of many and the traumatization of our Society.
From the Voting Act of 1964 a new political force emerged leading 44 years later to the election of an American who may not have been able to vote back then.
I think we have come a long way, with the journey far from over.
I believe Americans do discuss race, but many of the discussions are within a homogeneous group and not conducive to bringing members of different backgrounds into the conversation.
This limited social intercourse may become positive, or negative WRT members of a different group.
Too often "race relations" involve confrontational or adversarial procedings, IMO.
Until the issue is one of what happened, not what race was involved, we will stagnate or advance at a glacial pace.
Stereotypes, generalizations, bias, and discrimination are alive and well, here, and around the globe.

Reason, intellect, wisdom, are often overridden when race is involved, whether as a result of ignorance, fear, or malice doesn't matter, the outcome is lacking justice, and without justice there is no true freedom.

In my life I have been a coward through omission, comisssion, and submission.
I have also, at other times, been the antithesis, though I would hardly call that heroic.

Sex, politics, religion, race, taboo topics?
Sadly, in many cases, yes.

A "nation of cowards"?


Perhaps.

"Never mind, dear, we're all made the same, though some more than others. "
Noel Coward
Posted By: Kitsap

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 02:04 AM

I grew up in a multi cultured neighborhood and didn't realize what racism was until my teens. Sure physical differences were obvious, but when your young and your best friends are black and Latino but unaware of those monikers who cared.

I figure other than blood types all of our parts are interchangeable and deep down we all want the same things. Each individual is remarkable in their own right and should be valued for that. It’s sad that we can’t get beyond the physical differences and focus on what we all have in common..

As for the Swedish Americans, I can't believe I married one of you being a Norwegian American. Every Christmas that damn lutefisk! Talk about a demented culture.
Posted By: VinnyR11

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 02:20 AM

I agree with those that say this board does not give a good representation of the U.S population in general, so it's probably erroneous to deduce any nationwide feeling from those on this board. Having said that, it certainly is worth having the conversation.

We lived in Munich from 1988 to 1992. While living there I encountered an interesting situation where someone was completely lacking prejudice due to race, and it impresses me to this day. Two of our kids went to the International school in Starnberg. The playground, their group of friends, and any party they went to looked like the U.N. It was an amazingly diverse population, and the kids all seemed to get along no matter what they looked like or what their first language was.

One day my son, 8 or 9 years old at the time, and I were at home talking baseball. I started talking about the old days and said that Jackie Robinson was one of the greatest players of all time. I told him how Robinson also had to overcome huge obstacles, because he was the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues. My son then asked me a question that just blew me away. He said, "Dad, what's a "black baseball player?". I didn't have any idea what he was talking about. I thought I misunderstood him, but he repeated the same thing. I finally realized that he just didn't have a clue that people "sort" other people according to race or color. He had black friends, and of course knew they were different looking, but he couldn't process "black baseball player". To him, someone is just a baseball player. A "great baseball player" makes sense, but not a "black or green or yellow one".

I am far from being able to do that, but it's something that I think about every time a discussion of race comes up. It was the first thing I thought of when I read Beemerman's original post, and it's now 17 years later.

I traveled an awful lot for many years and made many lifetime friends in different countries. I agree that not all of us are created equal; however, I think it has absolutely nothing to do with what color we are, what country we're from, or what religion we are. People within every ethnic or religious group are as diverse as any two groups you can name. Education, opportunity, and home life have much more to do with our make up than anything to do with race.

Someday talking about a "black baseball player" will make no sense, but we're still pretty far from that ideal (myself included).
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 03:11 AM

Wow, outstanding comments from all! Wow.

Mister_Tee, glad you posted here. Post your web site so folks can get to know you better. This man rides as hard as anyone on this web site. Meet Paul Mihalka and other riders on this forum who live in the Washington, DC area.

JohnRan: I am a contract software engineer, so I see the insides of many of America's corporations. Some do better than others when it comes to having a diverse workforce. Probably the best example I have ever seen was the CountryWide Financial company (yeah, the mortgage folks who ripped off so many people). They had a very diverse executive staff that consisted of women, and people from many different colors -- black, brown, tan, etc tongue

Dave McReynolds: you are a wise man indeed!

Joe Frickin' Friday: not that it means anything to me, but I did find that cartoon in todays New York Post to be offensive. Was that the intention of the author? I think so. Does it matter? Not to me. I don't read that news paper anyhow. What should people do about this cartoon? For those who are offended, they should simply go elsewhere for their news. It's that simple to me. When that publication, which I imagine is already hurting for readers, realizes the huge market they are missing out on they will learn to produce more culturally sensitive content. The worse thing we can do, however, is to protest, to scream, to shout, and to make an issue of it.

Couchrocket: great post. great insight. great understanding.

Quote:
Can you imagine Mel Brooks releasing "Blazing Saddles" today?


"Blazing Saddles" was hilarious. But there were also movies that came out that painted unflattering pictures of blacks that in my view, kinda backfired. For instance, my girls love the movie "Dumbo", and I love it too for those 4 crows! I love those crows! Obviously, they are depicting a kind of shiftless southern black man. But my goodness, their characteristics! "I've seen a house fly. I've seen a dragon fly, but I've never seen an elephant fly!" That animation captures the humorous traits of a people lost in time. Same with the monkeys in the "Jungle Book". I guess I'm supposed to be offended by them, but I love the music, "...man, what a beat...", and I love King Louis! That good ole Swing Era Jazz! Too funny. Anyhow, blacks have often been portrayed as monkeys and so on. I grew up hearing all kinds of jokes of that ilk. (How come OJ can run so fast? He thinks the football is a banana! White 7th grade classmate told me that one day back when OJ was a star football player for the Bills)

Great thoughts, all. I really appreciate everyone's insights here. I'm not for stirring up the hornets nest just because, but I do think we are too uptight when it comes to race -- and for good reason. Yes, too often there is hyper-sensitivity among black people who seem to be just waiting for you to slip up and show the world that there's a racist buried under all that niceness.

Time for those days to become a long forgotten memory.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 03:23 AM

Oh, another great film that just kills me every time I see it is, "Airplane"!

I remember I was at my Aunt's house (she's in her 70's) and that movie came on, so I told her to watch it with me. She couldn't believe it! The Peace Corp scene where the white American is trying to teach the natives how to play basketball, and the next thing you know, the natives are playing like the Harlem Globetrotters! And of course, the classic scene is the 2 brother's speaking jive. Oh my goodness! Classic!
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 04:10 AM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
While I appreciate his speech, I must say that I disagree with his "nation of cowards" viewpoint.


Maybe, but it got people talking, didn't it? Which was the point he was making.

FWIW, I thought the NY Post cartoon was offensive, too. And not funny. And didn't really make sense. (If you have use words to explain a cartoon for people to get it, it misses the whole freakin' point of drawing a cartoon).
Posted By: BendBill

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 04:49 AM

What a cool thread. I want to return to the first 2 postings:

[1--b]beemerman2K:[/b] Thanks for starting the thread. You have an advantage in starting the topic because of your race. Well . . . that and you've been a member whose thoughtful postings we've seen before, so in the ethos category, people trust you.

But more significantly, you made it sound nonthreatening in the vague PC sense. You made it inviting, welcoming to others to join in the conversation. That was grace.

2--David immediately showed an honest and direct response to the whole naming issue, which causes so many people to freeze, cower, misunderstand. It is important because the terms we use matter, more to some than others. But they do matter.

A tangentially related anecdote--Just last week in one of my advanced research writing courses at a community college, a student politely corrected my phrase "American Indians" in class, gently reminding me that the correct term was "Native American." He was not trying to be snarky or puffed up with the faux righteous indignation of public posers. Instead, he wanted to get it right in the realm of public disourse. He knows, as does David,
that naming matters.

I just as politely informed the student, that according to much recent research, as well as polling of tribes/nations, that the earth has apparently shifted beneath his--all of our--feet. The favored term is now "American Indian." Better yet, I suggested, use their tribal names, even if they sound odd, such as Nimipoo rather than Nez Perce, Lakota rather than Sioux, Salish rather than Flathead, etc. { I may even have that idea wrong; only one Paiute suggested it to me]

And then I was able to end with a bit of humor, I hope. Whatever you do, do not call any tribe by the names that other tribes called them. Thus, in Montana the Gros Vente [Big Belly or Big Wind] were misnamed because the French trappers misinterpreted a gesture they made with both hands in front of their stomachs. But it was much nicer than what their neighbors, the Blackfeet called them: The Hairy Noses smile

There was a point here, I think, but maybe it got lost in translation.

Posted By: lvnvbiker

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 05:33 AM

I happen to work in one of the most inbred redneck industries in the world(mining) and deal with the bullshit racist crap daily. I am really fed up with the BS from both sides of the fence myself. The cold hearted reality IMO is that the opportunity to be whatever one wants is there if one is willing to put in the work that is needed to get it. I admit that there is predjudice in todays society, as a white male with full sleeve tattoos and enlarged ear piercings I am subject to it also. The education and experiance that I have has not mattered in the past due to ink and earrings when it came to getting the job because I did not fit the image that they felt should be presented. Not to lessen the reality of racism in the US past present and future, but the tides are swinging to reverse racism and that does seem as wrong as the preceeding types. I hope for a world that color of skin, or areas of birth have no reflection onthe ability of the person. From my perspective I could care less where you are from or what shade of skin you have, what matters is "who you are" and the job that you do. I have friends that are from all over the world and from many different religions including muslim, and we all get along because the stuff that matters to us is not color or creed but the things that are deeper than that like honor, respect, and the abilty to love without conditions. Why can't we all just get along?
Posted By: TyTass

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 06:27 AM

(posted in response in general not to EB)

Yes. We have been "here" before as Tim said. And the way I see it, we will continue to be "here" (in a more general sense) as a nation for quite some time to come. Certainly we've made progress, but IMHO we have climbed only high enough up the mountain to realize we still cannot yet see the summit. We haven't yet fully realized, much less achieved, those lofty ideals we set forth upon our creation as a nation. We're a lot better off than most, but it's a work in progress, and we have a long way to go.

Where is it that we're heading? As many have alluded I don't think the issue is one of just ethnicity or gender ... or religion ... or sexual orientation ... or economic status ... or whatever group a person is born into or finds themselves part of later in life. For me, Scott hit the main point ... it's a matter of cultural identification.

That which identifies a group as unique is that which also sets them apart. Some people don't wish to be discinct and instead wish to belong. So, it is at once a blessing and curse. Black/white, male/female, gay/straight/bi, religious/agnostic/atheist, etc. Some people already have one foot in one group, and the other foot in another. Considering we are indeed a melting pot (as many nations are), subgroups are going to continue to emerge. Who speaks for them? Specifically, who speaks for the 25% black, 50% hispanic, 25% Native American, bisexual, agnostic, vegan, women who were born-to-poverty but rose to professional careers as Wal-Mart clothing buyers and who are only emotionally comfortable wearing purple leotards and ostrich feathers in their hats on the 2nd Tuesday of every month in celebration of their group founder?

In my attempt at levity I know I threw in things that may seem ridiculous and frivolous choices ... but in a larger sense, that is indeed where I see us heading ... and I think it's unfortunate. However, not because it's an inevitably bad thing, but just because it's going to take so long for us to keep slicing the demographic pie far enough. For me it seems silly in the extreme that we are going to take many, many decades to come to accept the math involved with the demographic pie chart:

If we continue to cut the pie to show all the possible minorities, we will eventually arrive at the individual - which is precisely what our more rather-enlightened forefathers hoped to achieve (but didn't know how to actually it achieve themselves).

People are going to fuss over the majorities and minorities for a very, very long time.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 09:00 AM

So why do you refer to yourself as a black (Black) American? Why not just 'American'? I don't ever refer to myself as a white American, because it's obvious what color I am, as it seems to be with you from your avatar. IMHO, if someone wants to be treated equally, he or she should present themselves as such and not make a point of mentioning race, religion, etc. unless it is necessary. This only serves to point out the irrelevant differences.
Posted By: Patallaire

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:09 PM

Since the door is opened, the question of referral is a strange one, Black, African American, Negro, etc. I don't know which movement named who or what, it just changed and I am not sure there is agreement, so we are confused. The funniest thing I saw was Murray G, another black rider who was on the board, he stood 6'4 or more, walking through white Gunnison,Co in shorts and his riding boots and a tee shirt. There wasn't a local who knew where to look!
Posted By: Jake

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:41 PM

Growing up in Detroit in the early 60's, I thought I had a fair understanding of race relations. It wasn't until a minor experience I had in the late 80's that I truly grasped the racial divide that can exist between whites and blacks. I was in the Air Force in Omaha, and I was meeting my good friend Charles Williams for lunch at some swanky West Omaha restaurant that my girlfriend recomended. Charles and I got there at the same time, and as he entered the restaurant with me walking just behind, I noticed a restaurant-wide momentary pause. It was one of those EF Hutton moments, where everyone quieted, glanced, then went back to their lunches. After we were seated, I say "Charles - did you notice that?" He looks at me with a knowing grin, then said "What do you mean?" Then I went on to describe what I noticed, wondering if I misinterpreted the patrons' reaction. My little leap of non-PC ness was asking Charles "Did that happen because you're black?" Same grin, Charles said, "Glad you noticed. The answer is of course yes, and that happens to me several times a day, everyday, and for all of my adult life, and it always will. That's just the way it is."

A simple little incident that showed me how insulated many of us are to the realities of what Eric Holder is talking about. I told my good friend Charles that he is a big beefy stud for not going postal due to the unforgivable ignorance that is in this world. He characteristically brushed it off as it not being a big thing. But it is.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:51 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Joe Frickin' Friday: not that it means anything to me, but I did find that cartoon in todays New York Post to be offensive. Was that the intention of the author? I think so.


The cartoon bothered me because the whole chimp mauling incident has left me very disturbed; it's an awful, awful tragedy for the woman whose face was literally shredded, and for the chimp who was stabbed, struck with a shovel, and shot before dying alone and scared out of his mind. IMHO using a tragedy like that as the butt of a joke only two days after the incident is in very poor taste.

Tragedy aside, the interpretation of the cartoon varies widely, depending on who's talking. The take-home message I got out of it was that the stimulus bill was written so badly that it appears to have been authored by, um, well...




The classic "monkey at a typewriter" (and its variations) is a metaphor for randomness that dates back about 100 years, and does NOT have its origins in racist portrayals of black people. Indeed, I believe that if all of this had happened under Clinton's or Bush's presidency, the cartoon would have been non-news, and that double standard is what bothers me.

Come to think of it, it did happen under Bush's presidency.

The message of the cartoon is directed at what the arist suggests is a poorly written stimulus bill; IMHO, individuals who extend its message beyond that (e.g. Roland Martin: "...it shouldn't take you long to figure out that the subtle message was clear: comparing President Obama to a chimpanzee") are deliberately misinterpreting the artist's intention. Things like this reinforce the gut feeling that I think a lot of white people harbor, which is this: anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of public opinion. IOW, it makes us reluctant to say anything.
Posted By: Whip

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:53 PM

"I would challenge anyone one reading this thread who works for a public or private but non governmental organization to tell us how many Blacks occupy executive positions in their companies. I hope I'm wrong, but I'd bet it's very few."

The number one manager/executive in my company is a black man.

He is by far the finest man I have ever known. He is a retired drill instructor from Lackland Air Force Base.

He has been with me since April of 1989.....yes, almost 20 years.

I can't imagine running my bidness with out him.
Posted By: BeamieToo

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 01:59 PM

An interesting thread here indeed. I have been living and working in Holland for the last 20 years and can certainly agree with what VinnyR11 has already said about color blindness with regard to race differences NOT being prevelant issue in many Western European countries. This is not to say that predjudices and stereotypes don't exist here because they do. They just don't seem to interfere with a normal social development and cohabitation. The Dutch and the Belgians are always cracking jokes about each other. Here in Holland the northern Frisians are seen by the west regions of Amsterdam and Rotterdam as alien beings and visa versa. Athenian Greeks are different from Island Greeks, Bavarians differ from Rhinelanders. So what of it ! It's not oppressive and it shouldn't be either. If people want to make their color an issue in life than that's they're own choice but I can't get along with that. People like Al Sharpton need to start blazing a new trail and get on to what matters today. BTW I loved Blazing Saddles !
Posted By: VinnyR11

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 02:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
The message of the cartoon is directed at what the arist suggests is a poorly written stimulus bill; IMHO, individuals who extend its message beyond that (e.g. Roland Martin: "...it shouldn't take you long to figure out that the subtle message was clear: comparing President Obama to a chimpanzee") are deliberately misinterpreting the artist's intention. Things like this reinforce the gut feeling that I think a lot of white people harbor, which is this: anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of public opinion. IOW, it makes us reluctant to say anything.


I agree 100%. Well said.

Try to have this conversation out in "the general public arena". It's not so much "a nation of cowards", as it is people on all sides fed up with twisting everything into a political or racial issue. Conversations often go nowhere, so they rarely begin.

IMHO, Sharpton, as part of his continued and longstanding self promotion, has done as much disservice to racial harmony and understanding as anyone I can think of. I'm hoping that Obama's coattails will bring to light a much better group of leaders within the black community.
Posted By: Hermes

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 02:45 PM

At the risk of swaying from the general sentiments of the replies, and with all due respect to Beemerman, I offer this:

The NY Post cartoon is clearly offensive for its intended target and it feeds feeble minds stuck in decades past. Threads, such as Beemerman's, I am sorry to say, have a similar effect. While we all can now espouse our righteous indignation with latent racism abroad, and beat our chest how open minded we are, we do nothing but peel away a scab that is trying to form on a very old and worldwide wound.

There are many examples in the world of old wounds being kept open to fester. Being the crusty old bastard I am, I coyly wonder if there is a purpose or advantage in doing so?

Vinny's kid's, at the International School in Starnberg, have it right. It ain't an issue if no one makes it one. In Vinny's case he made it one, the NY Post made it one and Beemerman' thread made it one.

Enough already lets ride, lets meet, lets look forward.

p.s.

You asked for candid replies, didn't you Beemerman?
Posted By: chrisolson

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 02:46 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
I would challenge anyone one reading this thread who works for a public or private but non governmental organization to tell us how many Blacks occupy executive positions in their companies. I hope I'm wrong, but I'd bet it's very few.
My former employer many years ago was ATT and earlier a regional Bell company. They were basically white male oriented.

But companies are not all the same and change over time. I've worked for Amex for 15 years ... Ken Chenault is the current CEO. Blacks and particularly women are very well represented at all levels of management. Since we're into classifications of people, we also have a fair percentage of folks in wheelchairs and at least two little people (one a mid level manager) at my work location alone. I can't speak to Amex's world wide operations.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: upflying
I agree, but to share my thoughts would be considered by some to be stereotypical, opinionated and close minded. LEO's are almost always on the receiving end of threats, biases and insults from members of the minorities. Any attempt at explaining LEO relationships with minorities would result in immediate outrage and contempt from the community. Sorry, but the new age of racial understanding and change isn't coming from me.


That strikes me as a rational decision, considering that anything you say here is available to the public, your professional superiors, and others in a position to affect your life for views you express.

It's an interesting social conundrum, because in the constitutional scheme of things, freedom of speech is not to be infringed by the government. Thus, a private employer may infringe your free speech rights under some circumstances, but since the government is your employer, where does that leave the situation?

Here, of course, I'm speaking of overt infringement or penalization, not the quiet discrimination against you that might take place in the form of missed promotions, etc.

Pilgrim
Posted By: Paul Mihalka

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 02:54 PM

Experience and anecdote:
On one of my rides in 198x, as it was lunch time I stopped at a little diner in a little town of eastern Tennessee. The tables and booth were full so I sat down at the counter. I got the same reaction as Jake describes with his black friend. Everybody looked up, stared, than kept on. At the counter was one other person, a black gentleman. After a while he asked me: You are not from here, are you? No, and told about my trip. Oh, he said.
Later I met people at the local rally I was going and mentioned my experience. Well, they told me, white people sit at the tables, black people sit at the counter.

Same time period. There was the story that at the Two Wheels Only campground a black/white couple was staying. The owner recommended they leave, because a rough rider group is booked for the weekend, and it might not be safe. The couple left. The worst part is, the couple sued the TWO owner for discrimination.
Posted By: smiller

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 03:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
Same time period. There was the story that at the Two Wheels Only campground a black/white couple was staying. The owner recommended they leave, because a rough rider group is booked for the weekend, and it might not be safe. The couple left. The worst part is, the couple sued the TWO owner for discrimination.

I don't exactly think the TWO owner was in the right in that case. Instead of 'recommending' that the couple leave the right thing to do would be to welcome them and if necessary eject the rough rider group at the first sign of trouble.
Posted By: Whip

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: smiller
Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
Same time period. There was the story that at the Two Wheels Only campground a black/white couple was staying. The owner recommended they leave, because a rough rider group is booked for the weekend, and it might not be safe. The couple left. The worst part is, the couple sued the TWO owner for discrimination.

I don't exactly think the TWO owner was in the right in that case. Instead of 'recommending' that the couple leave the right thing to do would be to welcome them and if necessary eject the rough rider group at the first sign of trouble.


....or...what I would have done. Tell em the bikers are comin and offer my house to them if they feel uncomfortable at any time.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 03:26 PM

As Jake astutely observed:

Quote:
A simple little incident that showed me how insulated many of us are to the realities of what Eric Holder is talking about. I told my good friend Charles that he is a big beefy stud for not going postal due to the unforgivable ignorance that is in this world. He characteristically brushed it off as it not being a big thing. But it is.


It is difficult to under estimate the impact that this kind of treatment has on the black mind. Incidents like this drive home the point that no matter how much you decide race doesn't matter, every day you are reminded that it sure does matter to the rest of the world. Such incidents are not a one time, or even a rare occurance. They happen virtually every day of your life. I was at the local mall recently with my youngest black daughter, and she brought white girl friend of hers with us. An older white woman stopped us to marvel at how pretty the young white girl was -- all the while totally ignoring my black daughter! I politely pointed out to her that I felt they were both beautiful girls and they both have very proud fathers. So even my 5 year old girl is beginning to undergo experiences that will enforce for her an indentity not just as an American, but as a black American, because that's a distinction the wider society has placed upon her.

The sum total of these incidents is a unhealthy coloring of the mind. It makes one come across as hyper-sensitive because you no longer know when a slight was intentional because of your color of just done out of ignorance. Given the long history in our country of blacks being compared to monkeys, you don't know when it's being done out of racial hatred versus when it's being done out of complete and innocent ignorance.

I never knew that other Presidents, least of all Bush, were ever humorously compared with chimps! Thank you for making me aware of this. Now I am going to forward this "Bush or Chimp" link to every one I know who is angry over the New York Post cartoon. Seeing this material causes me to see yesterdays cartoon in a new light. Prior to this link, the only light I had was that of history -- and not all that ancient history, either. When Rodney King was being beaten down by the CHP's back in 1991, the cops were jokingly referring to him as a "gorilla in the midst".

In fact, I would strongly argue that the sum total of all these slights are what actually creates and sustains a "black community" -- we are simply a group of people who identify with each other because of our common history and present battle against racial descrimination.

Now, having said all of that, I love that passage in the Bible where Jesus calls us to be, "wise as serpents yet innocent as doves". What that means to me is this: be aware and informed of your community and your surroundings, but do not be a part of the problem. Don't pretend the prejudices don't exist, but don't resort to evil means to combat evil forces, either. In other words, take to heart the calls in this thread to constantly insist on being seen as simply an American! And if someone wants to put a hyphen on that identity, well that's their problem!

Now, my homework is to "get over it", and to start insisting on being simply an American. Your homework, however, is to expect and to courageously engage in conversation that might be falsely interpreted as "racist". A tough assignment, I agree. Now, don't go looking for trouble! As Dave McReynolds points out, sometimes it is better to just let sleeping dogs lie. But if your heart is clean, don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Travel internationally, and you risk cultural misunderstandings that risk being viewed as offensive by natives to that land. But we travel anyhow, right? Same here. Consider it the cost of purging us all from an ugly past thumbsup
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 04:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Hermes

Vinny's kid's, at the International School in Starnberg, have it right. It ain't an issue if no one makes it one. In Vinny's case he made it one, the NY Post made it one and Beemerman' thread made it one.


Hermes, you and I disagreed about the desirability of acknowledging the step that was taken in the U.S. when the election of President Obama was celebrated, not because of his politics, but because of what it meant about the development of U.S. ideals.

We continue to disagree in general about this racial acknowledgment subject. I think you're mistaken. Here's why, at least as the situation exists in the United States.

First, let's ignore kids and what they think and how they react. It's irrelevant to any adult consideration - they have no life experiences, good or bad, to shape their thinking. They do not live in this world.

Where you go astray is in thinking that all individuals and all cultures are the same under the skin. While certain basic drives and emotions are the same (love, hate, etc) they are not the same in the way they live their lives or think about things. While the U.S. Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, the thinking that statement reflects is that all men are created equally in the eyes of God, with all the same rights that flow from God. It did not suppose that all men are equal in their capacities for all things.

So, what we are left to examine, then, is the fact that men and cultures differ. They have different strengths and weaknesses and thought processes which may or may not be useful in the society in which they live, so until the world becomes racially and ethnically homogenous, it behooves us to understand one another. Open discussions are the way to that understanding. It is for just such purpose, the pursuit of truth and understanding, that the Founders wrote freedom of speech as the first amendment to our Constitution. It was too important to leave to chance interpretations.

Now, to an example. James and I have had discussions of this nature away from this forum, so I leave it to him and others of his epidermal hue to comment on the value of what follows; I don't present it as fact.

One of the propositions I put forth to James was that President Obama, in proposing certain solutions that are being called "socialist", was calling for solutions rooted in black experience in the U.S. (No, he does not have a family history of slavery, but that's irrelevant to this thought.) Slavery in this country made blacks a despised minority, both while they were slaves and during the Jim Crow years (and still, to some people). Anywhere in the world or in time, despised minorities come together to cooperate in promoting their own individual and group survival - Asians and Jews come to mind. A black man who tried to make it on his own in America during much of the previous three centuries, outside his ethnic group, would have fallen on his face. He might even have been killed in some places, for the effort. Thus, the development of "group think" as a survival tactic. "Group think" can mean a lot of things, but among those things is the idea of sharing within the group and helping one another get ahead. That is not an outlook to which the U.S. has largely subscribed across the board since its inception. Yes, there have been cooperative groups and efforts, DeToqueville commented at length about the characteristic, but it has not been a government policy until recent decades. Now, we have a genuine leader whose thinking is shaped by that outlook, and he has gathered to himself others who share it regardless of the source of their beliefs.

In trying to create a tranquil society (an effort each of us must make), it is important to acknowledge things like that. My thoughts above may not be right on point, but they represent an attempt to understand why, for instance, people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson could get away with claiming to be "black leaders." It seems to me that any or all of their ilk ought to be tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail by the black community. However, if my thoughts are correct, their claims to status are not rejected because the ethnic attitude may be this: "They're worthless but they're ours, and we got nobody else out there."

Now, there are others out there, beginning with the President of the United States, and many others, finally. Perhaps, with that development, the race-hustling charlatans will fade away and real leaders, worthy of respect (if not agreement) from anyone's point of view or background, will become more prevalent.

One can only hope so, because the black (or AmerInd or Asian, or whatever) experience is a fact of life in the United States, and they are Americans, as worthy of respect as much as I, of Swedish immigrant extraction, am.

Pilgrim

Posted By: Mike

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 04:23 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
As Jake astutely observed:

Quote:
A simple little incident that showed me how insulated many of us are to the realities of what Eric Holder is talking about. I told my good friend Charles that he is a big beefy stud for not going postal due to the unforgivable ignorance that is in this world. He characteristically brushed it off as it not being a big thing. But it is.


It is difficult to under estimate the impact that this kind of treatment has on the black mind. Incidents like this drive home the point that no matter how much you decide race doesn't matter, every day you are reminded that it sure does matter to the rest of the world. Such incidents are not a one time, or even a rare occurance. They happen virtually every day of your life. I was at the local mall recently with my youngest black daughter, and she brought white girl friend of hers with us. An older white woman stopped us to marvel at how pretty the young white girl was -- all the while totally ignoring my black daughter! I politely pointed out to her that I felt they were both beautiful girls and they both have very proud fathers. So even my 5 year old girl is beginning to undergo experiences that will enforce for her an indentity not just as an American, but as a black American, because that's a distinction the wider society has placed upon her.

The sum total of these incidents is a unhealthy coloring of the mind. It makes one come across as hyper-sensitive because you no longer know when a slight was intentional because of your color of just done out of ignorance. Given the long history in our country of blacks being compared to monkeys, you don't know when it's being done out of racial hatred versus when it's being done out of complete and innocent ignorance.

I never knew that other Presidents, least of all Bush, were ever humorously compared with chimps! Thank you for making me aware of this. Now I am going to forward this "Bush or Chimp" link to every one I know who is angry over the New York Post cartoon. Seeing this material causes me to see yesterdays cartoon in a new light.


I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. Our interactions across racial lines is the one area that best illustrates the notion that perception almost always trumps reality. I've never been in the position that you, a black man, has been, where a steady stream of slights, both intended and unintended, has shaped your perception of how others see you. I think that the divide is illustrated by the chimp cartoon and the controversy it's generated: You, as a black man, are painfully aware of the hateful imagery (actually seen in a lot of cartoons) that illustrated blacks as monkeys. To me, that association never entered my mind. Like Mitch, I was most aware of it being associated with slams against our recent white President, George W. Bush, and only took from it with the notion that the bailout was drafted by incompetents. The whole idea of it being racist would never have occurred to me, particularly since the bailout plan was mostly drafted by a bunch of white folks in Congress. Truthfully, I still don't see the connection, though I thought the cartoon was pretty lame (as Eebie noted, anytime a cartoonist has to explain what he meant he's failed).

This is actually a pretty good illustration of why I just generally avoid discussions touching on race--while I don't believe I harbor any racist sentiments, I'm keenly aware of the fact that there is an unending supply of people who are always willing to tell you what really you meant by what you just said. For me anyway, it doesn't feel so much like cowardice as it does like avoidance--I'd just as soon not engage in a conversation where I know that someone is eager to twist my words and misrepresent my beliefs. I don't have the energy or the tolerance to argue with fools.
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 04:30 PM

Thanks, all. This has been the most fascinating discussion since I joined this forum.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 04:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Hermes
There are many examples in the world of old wounds being kept open to fester. Being the crusty old bastard I am, I coyly wonder if there is a purpose or advantage in doing so?

You asked for candid replies, didn't you Beemerman?


Indeed I did -- Thank you!

Pilgrim, while I feel your post is typically brilliant, and you express these matters better than I ever could, I believe that Hermes does have a point.

Remember that conservative black author, Shelby Steele? He wrote a book entitled, "The Content of Ones Character", in which he argues that blacks have fallen into the trap of "jockeying for the 'innocent victim' label". Steele argues that there is power in being viewed as an innocent victim. You are considered to be above the fray, yet preyed upon at the same time. Steele suggests that blacks aren't the only sub-group of Americans who embrace this "innocent victim" moniker, but it is unhealthy and unproductive nonetheless, because it isn't true! So yes, Hermes, Steele would argue that indeed this rehashing of old wounds does indeed serve the purposes of some.

Quote:
Now, there are others out there, beginning with the President of the United States, and many others, finally. Perhaps, with that development, the race-hustling charlatans will fade away and real leaders, worthy of respect (if not agreement) from anyone's point of view or background, will become more prevalent.


Hmmm, I guess these are the people whose purposes may well be served as Hermes points out! Yes, these new leaders are having exactly this effect. Just like that restaurant incident Jake spoke of, or so many questionable interactions with innocent blacks with the judicial system have made us feel unwelcome as American citizens, the election of Barack Obama has had a complete, and I would argue, overwhelming effect in the opposite direction! To me, this is a window of opportunity to finally shed the old thinking, and this is where the Al Sharptons and the Jesse Jacksons of the country have to get on board.

Probably, time and death will do more to shed the old thinking than anything else will. Sometimes, I feel that way as I realize just how old school my own thinking is. I am impressed when I read some of the posts on this thread that implicitly chastise me for my thinking that is clearly rooted in yesterday.

Quote:
This is actually a pretty good illustration of why I just generally avoid discussions touching on race--while I don't believe I harbor any racist sentiments, I'm keenly aware of the fact that there is an unending supply of people who are always willing to tell you what really you meant by what you just said. For me anyway, it doesn't feel so much like cowardice as it does like avoidance--I'd just as soon not engage in a conversation where I know that someone is eager to twist my words and misrepresent my beliefs. I don't have the energy or the tolerance to argue with fools.


Your promotions of healthy thinking are not and will never be in vain! Even if you are mistakenly taken as a racist, your words will not be forgotten and later on, that person will realize the beauty of what you are saying. So yes, avoid the fools, but keep saying what needs to be said to those who will listen thumbsup
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 05:29 PM

Just saw the cartoon.
I did not take it as racist.
Stupid, yes.
It doesn't convey much unless you look at the Beware of Dog sign.
Is this an attack at Democrats who are fiscal conservatives? (Blue Dogs)
Is it an attack on police, gun control, animal control?
I think that even w/words, it falls short of the mark.

Beemerman.
I always thought that Putney Swope was ahead of its time.
One of the first to take a satirical look at racism in employment, black militants, and in a no holds barred way.

If you haven't seen it, give it a look and tell me what you think.
Posted By: Woodie

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 05:32 PM

"avoid the fools"

Wish that I could! At least at lunch I can avoid the phone/email and read this interesting thread. Most certainly NOT a representative cross-section of America, which is why I'm here.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 06:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Jake
I was in the Air Force in Omaha, and I was meeting my good friend Charles Williams for lunch at some swanky West Omaha restaurant that my girlfriend recomended. Charles and I got there at the same time, and as he entered the restaurant with me walking just behind, I noticed a restaurant-wide momentary pause. It was one of those EF Hutton moments, where everyone quieted, glanced, then went back to their lunches.


I can accept that such an incident could make the person at the center of attention rather uncomfortable. But what does it say about the people in that restaurant? Later in your post you suggested they were "unforgivably ignorant." Is it possible they were merely...curious? This was 1960's Omaha, Nebraska, right? I'd imagine a black man in that restaurant during that time was probably very unusual, and there was probably a lot of hushed murmuring - "A black man? Really? Where?" as people craned their necks to bear witness to the most unusual thing they'd seen all day.

Again, even as uncomfortable as you and your friend must have felt, the most I'd be willing to accuse those people of was bad manners (hey, it's not polite to stare). I can't think of a good reason to impute malice, prejudice, racism, or anything of that sort.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 06:16 PM

Quote:
Same time period. There was the story that at the Two Wheels Only campground a black/white couple was staying. The owner recommended they leave, because a rough rider group is booked for the weekend, and it might not be safe. The couple left. The worst part is, the couple sued the TWO owner for discrimination.


Works both ways. I've always sought as many diverse experiences/adventures in my life as I could possibly pack in. I push the envelope as far as my own safety is concerned more than my family would like, but less than some others do, given my desire to live long enough to collect Social Security. I wouldn't mind experiencing more black culture. I'm pretty sure, though, that some of the places I might visit would push my envelope of safety beyond the limits I feel comfortable with.

Back in the Marines, I had a black buddy on Okinawa. I was a 3.5 rocket gunner, and he was my loader. We did everything together on base, and a little bit together off base. There was a notorious black area of Okinawa called "4 corners" or something, and one time I asked him if we could go there. He said we could go there, but I would end up getting stomped and he wouldn't be able to do anything to help me. 'Nuff said.

Could have been similar to the owner of the 2 wheels campground. Maybe he would have been willing to go to bat for the mixed race couple if worst came to worst; maybe not. Apparently they thought not, or they wouldn't have sued him. Maybe he was just trying to be realistic, like my buddy's warning to me in Okinawa.

Of course, the difference is, I can sit here and think about how my life might be enriched by further exposure to black culture, but I have many, many other potential sources of enrichment if that exposure would come at too high a cost. Black people generally have to become immersed in white culture if they want to progress in America; they really don't have a choice.
Posted By: David

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 06:18 PM

Good thread.

I'd like to note that the divide between blacks and whites will give way to the divide between hispanics and non-hispanics, for just a brief while.

Then the divide will be between rich and poor, regardless of race. And that divide will be with us for decades.
Posted By: Woodie

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 06:36 PM

Originally Posted By: David
Then the divide will be between rich and poor, regardless of race. And that divide will be with us for decades.


Already is. In some situations it's very hard to separate the education/economic divide from the racial divide, hence the term "socio-economic".
Posted By: David

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 06:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Woodie
Originally Posted By: David
Then the divide will be between rich and poor, regardless of race. And that divide will be with us for decades.


Already is. In some situations it's very hard to separate the education/economic divide from the racial divide, hence the term "socio-economic".



It ain't nothing like what it will be. At least that's my prediction. Stated otherwise, it won't be socio-economic but just plain ol' economic.
Posted By: Husker Red

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 07:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Originally Posted By: Jake
I was in the Air Force in Omaha, and I was meeting my good friend Charles Williams for lunch at some swanky West Omaha restaurant that my girlfriend recomended. Charles and I got there at the same time, and as he entered the restaurant with me walking just behind, I noticed a restaurant-wide momentary pause. It was one of those EF Hutton moments, where everyone quieted, glanced, then went back to their lunches.


I can accept that such an incident could make the person at the center of attention rather uncomfortable. But what does it say about the people in that restaurant? Later in your post you suggested they were "unforgivably ignorant." Is it possible they were merely...curious? This was 1960's Omaha, Nebraska, right? I'd imagine a black man in that restaurant during that time was probably very unusual, and there was probably a lot of hushed murmuring - "A black man? Really? Where?" as people craned their necks to bear witness to the most unusual thing they'd seen all day.

Again, even as uncomfortable as you and your friend must have felt, the most I'd be willing to accuse those people of was bad manners (hey, it's not polite to stare). I can't think of a good reason to impute malice, prejudice, racism, or anything of that sort.


As a person living in Nebraska at that time I have to agree with Mitch. West Omaha is certainly less than 5% black today, 20 years ago is was probably less than 2%. Most Nebraska towns are less than 1% black. I imagine this was a pause because of the novelty rather than hostility at his presence. I vividly remember when I was in 5th grade a group of school inspectors came through our crowded cafeteria. One of the men was black and that cafeteria went dead silent and everyone stopped to look. That was the first time most of us had ever seen a "real live black person!" We were all quite amazed at our good fortune to see someone so unique today. Bad manners of us to stare, no doubt, but I don't think it was racist in any way. Sadly, I'm sure the black man left thinking we were a bunch of racist hicks and the experience probably shaped his outlook in a negative way.
Posted By: Ken H.

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 08:00 PM

Originally Posted By: SweetP
So why do you refer to yourself as a black (Black) American? Why not just 'American'?

Why not just 'Person'?

My point is when categorizing people into groups, usually done based on personal opinions of what characteristics makes one person belong to the group and another not, everyone has a different ‘line’ where they consider doing so acceptable or not acceptable. You (maybe subconsciously) imply that referencing a person as “a black (Black) American” is unacceptable, but referencing them as “American” is acceptable. Why is drawing the line at one point not acceptable but drawing it at another point is?

People ARE different (thank gawd) and attempts to prompt blindness to those differences is both futile/impossible, and IMHO actually counterproductive.

Where we as societies, and individuals, get in trouble is in assuming a (usually) negative attribute is common to all members of the group. I.e. – stereotyping. An assumption that is always wrong.

We need (not just this nation (the US) but globally) to get past viewing differences as a bad thing and to recognizing the value in them. And in that, sadly, we have a long, long way to go.


I'll go back to my corner now...
Posted By: pbharvey

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 08:01 PM

My daughter volunteers at an inner city Christian ministry center in Washington DC. Several of the children there used to stare at her and ask if they could touch her hair; they had never seen a white person up close. You can almost see the Capitol from where they are but they may as well be in a different world.
Posted By: bridwell52

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 08:59 PM

My wife's co worked had just received her masters and was throwing a big party. Food, drinks and dancing in a big hall. The wife wanted to go and I said sure. I asked her if we would be the only white people and she said does it matter?
We arrived to a huge gathering and we were the only white people. I knew some of the people there from previous jobs and one girl said to me "David what brings yoooou here. We laughed and talked about the new graduate. No one stared at us, we ate next to strangers that treated us like family with much conversation and laughs.
It was obviously a big deal to every one there that this women had earned her degree. Her teachers came and spoke as did her family and friends. Pride was everywhere.
Then we got to drinking and dancing and had a ball.
I learned a lot that night and was damn glad I went. I can honestly say now I know what it feels like to be the odd ball.
Well maybe because I have always been odd.LOL
David B
Posted By: Hermes

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 09:20 PM

[quote=Pilgrim
Pilgrim
[/quote]


I am not so sure if we disagree all that much on the general principle of the US ideal which broadly speaking is that of tolerance amongst all cultures, races and religions. After all, we here in Canada are pursuing, with varying degrees of succes, those same lofty goals.

Our differences are a matter of degree as to what constitutes a reasonable level of observing (as per our first 'encounter') the obvious, eg.that the President is, well, black. Given the above US ideal, it ought not to have been such a big deal (Canada's Governor General is black and female and not much was made of it in the press).
We may also differ in our perceived need to reassure each other at nausia of our infinite tolerance and color blindness. Actions speak louder then words.
Finally, we may differ in our level of acceptance of the relentless regurtitating of old grievances.The way forward is forward.

Where we do disagree wholeheartedly is with your appeal to 'lets ignore kids and what they think and how they react. It's irrelevant to any adult consideration - they have no life experiences, good or bad, to shape their thinking'. All I can hope, is that we do not take your advise to heart. When it comes to racial harmony, we, as adults, can learn a whole lot from the kids and if we would foster that harmony and not poison their journey into adulthood with old concepts and prejudices, we would have this whole racial thing licked in a generation, or two.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 09:35 PM

Ken,


I didn't use the word nor was I implying that using 'black American' is 'unacceptable'. You were reading too much into my question. Beemerman said he 'generally' refers to himself as a black American and I was curious as to just when he would do that. When I have occasion to tell someone I'm an American, I don't put 'white', 'left-handed' or 'tall' in front of it because they don't affect the quality of my being American, nor are they, IMO, particularly relevant.
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 09:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
Same time period. There was the story that at the Two Wheels Only campground a black/white couple was staying. The owner recommended they leave, because a rough rider group is booked for the weekend, and it might not be safe. The couple left. The worst part is, the couple sued the TWO owner for discrimination.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect this occurred when Frank was running TWO. He wasn't the subtlest person in the world. The first time I ever stopped there (in a car, to check it out), he yelled at me, "Can't you read the damned sign?" When I told him I was between bikes, selling an FT500, and buying a HawkGT, he warmed up a little.

The current owners are a little easier to get along with.
Posted By: Bud

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 10:11 PM

Just like some religious leaders who refuse to speak up when their members commit terrible crimes (honor killings), I find that I can not accept the fact that leaders in the black community do not speak up.

Except for Bill Cosby, few, if any, black leaders are addressing the number one issue that keeps the culture of poverty alive and well. Single mothers. Any way you analyze it, a single mother has the deck stacked against not only her, but her children as well. This is not an issue that will be solved by government programs, compassionate whites (liberal or conservative) or other well meaning non-blacks. It can only be solved by the black community and will only be addressed when the community refuses to let it be the norm.

It also saddens me to see the statistics of the percentage of young black males in prison. A whole generation is being lost.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 10:41 PM

Luckily, I've had work to distract me from my hobbies.

IMO, racial discrimination is a function a person's inability or unwillingness to
question one's own ideas and assumptions. Racial discrimination does not
stand up under critical, fact-based, intellectual scrutiny. Cultures and geo-
graphic regions that exhibit low levels of intelligence and/or low levels of formal
education tend to be fertile manure beds in which discrimination flourishes.

In those cultures and regions, critical analysis, questioning of assumptions and
intellectual pursuits are replaced by superstition, religious beliefs and handed-
down traditions and (mis)beliefs.

In short (and maybe too broadly) discrimination is a result of ignorance and the
willingness to remain ignorant.
Posted By: pbharvey

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 11:05 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
Luckily, I've had work to distract me from my hobbies.

IMO, racial discrimination is a function a person's inability or unwillingness to
question one's own ideas and assumptions. Racial discrimination does not
stand up under critical, fact-based, intellectual scrutiny. Cultures and geo-
graphic regions that exhibit low levels of intelligence and/or low levels of formal
education tend to be fertile manure beds in which discrimination flourishes.

In those cultures and regions, critical analysis, questioning of assumptions and
intellectual pursuits are replaced by superstition, religious beliefs and handed-
down traditions and (mis)beliefs.

In short (and maybe too broadly) discrimination is a result of ignorance and the
willingness to remain ignorant.


I find your association of low intelligence with religious beliefs discriminatory.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 11:21 PM

Quote:
In short (and maybe too broadly) discrimination is a result of ignorance and the
willingness to remain ignorant.


Did you mean to say racial discrimination, John? Because if you didn't want to limit it that way, there must be an awful lot of ingorant rich people who are members of an awful lot of exclusive clubs that discriminate against an awful lot of people who don't "fit in."!


Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 11:34 PM

There will always be economic discrimination based upon one's wealth or earning power, but those things are not intrinsic human characteristics as are race, hair or eye color, height, etc.

I will broaden the term (for my use) to include intrinsic human characteristics.
Posted By: Jake

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 11:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Husker Red
Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Originally Posted By: Jake
I was in the Air Force in Omaha, and I was meeting my good friend Charles Williams for lunch at some swanky West Omaha restaurant that my girlfriend recomended. Charles and I got there at the same time, and as he entered the restaurant with me walking just behind, I noticed a restaurant-wide momentary pause. It was one of those EF Hutton moments, where everyone quieted, glanced, then went back to their lunches.


I can accept that such an incident could make the person at the center of attention rather uncomfortable. But what does it say about the people in that restaurant? Later in your post you suggested they were "unforgivably ignorant." Is it possible they were merely...curious? This was 1960's Omaha, Nebraska, right? I'd imagine a black man in that restaurant during that time was probably very unusual, and there was probably a lot of hushed murmuring - "A black man? Really? Where?" as people craned their necks to bear witness to the most unusual thing they'd seen all day.

Again, even as uncomfortable as you and your friend must have felt, the most I'd be willing to accuse those people of was bad manners (hey, it's not polite to stare). I can't think of a good reason to impute malice, prejudice, racism, or anything of that sort.


As a person living in Nebraska at that time I have to agree with Mitch. West Omaha is certainly less than 5% black today, 20 years ago is was probably less than 2%. Most Nebraska towns are less than 1% black. I imagine this was a pause because of the novelty rather than hostility at his presence. I vividly remember when I was in 5th grade a group of school inspectors came through our crowded cafeteria. One of the men was black and that cafeteria went dead silent and everyone stopped to look. That was the first time most of us had ever seen a "real live black person!" We were all quite amazed at our good fortune to see someone so unique today. Bad manners of us to stare, no doubt, but I don't think it was racist in any way. Sadly, I'm sure the black man left thinking we were a bunch of racist hicks and the experience probably shaped his outlook in a negative way.


Mitch, Husker Red -

My aversion to the situation was not that I felt any malice toward the restaurant patrons, but for a fleeting moment, I felt the weight of what Charles experiences everyday. I'll stand by the ignorance I cited (which was meant for a much larger audience than the people in that restaurant) but I'll take back my description of it being unforgivable. Charles certainly forgave them the minute it happened, and I feel that he truly appreciated that I, at least, noticed. I'm certainly not maligning the fine people of Omaha, but describing what happens everyday in America, in my town and in yours.

Between yesterday's post and this one, I was reflecting on this thread. What if Charles was wearing his Air Force uniform when we walked in that restaurant? You can bet the experience would have been different. Do you need to have malice to display racism or discrimination? I don't believe that. I believe ignorance is at the root of it. Visual identifiers such as a uniform, or medical scrubs would have been enough to make his presence more "normal" and acceptable, I'm sure. But in this case, it was the color of his skin. So, I agree with Mitch (but not his math!) in that there likely wasn't universal hatred being channeled toward him, but it sure felt like discrimination to this white boy. Enough to never forget it.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 11:41 PM

Quote:
I find your association of low intelligence with religious beliefs discriminatory.
Religion and the holding of religious beliefs is not the sole domain of people of lesser intelligence. However, for many, unquestioned doctrine substitutes for critical thinking.

How can one explain why so many church goers are the most rabid racists? Does the doctrine to which they subscribe encourage it, condone it, excuse it?

Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 11:50 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
There will always be economic discrimination based upon one's wealth or earning power, but those things are not intrinsic human characteristics as are race, hair or eye color, height, etc.

I will broaden the term (for my use) to include intrinsic human characteristics.


Are personality and family connections intrinsic human characteristics John? My understanding is that in most exclusive clubs, the amount of money you have might get you an application, but if that's all you have, the next communication you hear from the club will start with "Regretfully...."
Posted By: Jake

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/19/09 11:53 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
There will always be economic discrimination based upon one's wealth or earning power


Boiling this all down to bar-room talk, a good friend of mine opined on the human situation thusly: "People use whatever they can to get ahead. Chicks use sex, Dudes use power, and God help you if you are poor, or worse, ugly. If you are ugly and poor, you are going to be discriminated against for your whoooole life."

I've been formulating a pithy intelligent retort. I'll get back to you when I come up with one.
Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 12:32 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
How can one explain why so many church goers are the most rabid racists? Does the doctrine to which they subscribe encourage it, condone it, excuse it?


Not in the churches I've attended...

That's a pretty broad brush you're painting with. Citation? Facts?
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 12:34 AM

Last week I read Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Outliers: The Story of Success. I hadn't been all that impressed with his first book, Blink, but this raised some interesting ideas, at least in its first half. His basic thesis is that, while hard work and talent are important, the sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time, preferably with the right family background, are just as important. I've been reasonably successful in my life; I accept that a great deal of my success is due to sheer dumb luck. Life isn't fair.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 12:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Jake
Originally Posted By: JohnRan
There will always be economic discrimination based upon one's wealth or earning power


Boiling this all down to bar-room talk, a good friend of mine opined on the human situation thusly: "People use whatever they can to get ahead. Chicks use sex, Dudes use power, and God help you if you are poor, or worse, ugly. If you are ugly and poor, you are going to be discriminated against for your whoooole life."

I've been formulating a pithy intelligent retort. I'll get back to you when I come up with one.
Having been poor and ugly most of my childhood and adult life, I can sympathize with your friend's remark.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 05:50 AM

Originally Posted By: DaveTheAffable
Originally Posted By: JohnRan
How can one explain why so many church goers are the most rabid racists? Does the doctrine to which they subscribe encourage it, condone it, excuse it?


Not in the churches I've attended...

That's a pretty broad brush you're painting with. Citation? Facts?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Baptist_Convention

The Southern Baptist Convention split from mainstream Baptism and was formed to support slavery. "A survey by SBC's Home Mission Board in 1968 showed that only eleven percent of Southern Baptist churches would admit Americans of African descent".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacks_and_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints

The LDS Church barred blacks from the priesthood until 1978 (meaning they could have no leadership positions and could not participate in certain sacraments).

http://www.djournal.com/pages/archive.asp?ID=226460

(From 2006) "The Rev. John Stevens says Fellowship Baptist Church in Saltillo voted not to approve blacks as members during a scheduled Sunday night business meeting . . . According to Stevens, the church made race an issue after a biracial 12-year-old boy, Joe, began attending Fellowship Baptist with his temporary guardians. "

http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/uk-bishop-attacks-church-racism/2005/08/30/1125302514054.html

"The Church of England is infected with institutional racism and is still a place of "pain" for many black Anglicans, according to its first black archbishop in England."

etc.
Posted By: lvnvbiker

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 06:51 AM

The post about the room pausing reminded me of something. Here in Vegas there is a predominately black area of town, that one of my previous places of employment was near. The surounding area was full of really good cultural food shops and being a guy that loves good soul food I decided to go and try a few of these shops out on my lunch hours. Thinking back on it, I can not remember a single time that I went to any of these places to get food that the exact thing did not happen. Now one does need to realize that I am a fairly stocky, bald and shaven smooth headed guy with pretty extensive tattoo work covering both arms completely, although on the majority of these lunch trips the tattoos would not be visible due to the suit and tie attire that was required as a member of the corporate sales force, but still I am paper white, bald, and have a goatee and mustache. Upon entering these establishments weather alone or with racialy diverse co-workers the restraunt that was in full swing would go silent and pause as the clientele and staff stopped and took a good look, then after the pause things would slowly return to normal. Being a pretty smart fella I realize that things outside of the daily "norm" of the places would cause a slight disturbance and even mild curiousity, and just went about my business with out realy caring. My point is that this happens to alot of people, weather color, body modification, or way of dress is the cause it happens. Right, wrong, or indifferent people will react to something out of the norm, and on a case by case basis there are alot of really stupid, rude, and just assinine people in this world but for the most part people are pretty decent, and alot of the time they are just plain nice.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 07:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Jake

My aversion to the situation was not that I felt any malice toward the restaurant patrons, but for a fleeting moment, I felt the weight of what Charles experiences everyday.


One of the great racial dividing points is that the majority doesn't experience what the minority experiences every day. It's easy for us white folks to say that a racially offensive comment is no big deal, that a cartoon relating a monkey to a black man doesn't mean anything, because we're not the ones the racial epithets are aimed at on a regular basis.

I had an enlightening experience a few years ago when one of my colleagues invited me to a weekend conference for prospective law students at Iowa. Well, who could turn down a free weekend in Iowa City? (Especially when it turned out that another of my colleagues who was along knew about this strip club in Coralville that had cheap beer and the friendliest . . . but I digress). Nobody bothered to mention what I found out when I got there - that the conference was organized by the Black Law Students Association and aimed at getting black students to think about going to law school.

So for the whole weekend, I was the minority. There was no overt discrimination. Everybody was incredibly polite and gracious to me. But in the mock trial that we did, every one of my objections was overruled to some glee from the audience, and my side lost in an overwhelming voice vote, and I found myself wondering, is it because I did a poor job, or is it because I'm white and they're biased against me?

I realized I was looking for hidden meanings and subtle indications of racism. And I realized that the question of whether I was objectively correct in finding those hidden meanings and subtle indications was unanswerable, but that the subjective feeling of being isolated from the majority was inescapable.

I won't claim that I've achieved total racial enlightenment. But I do understand that the perception of racism may or may not be the product of the intentional presence of racism. I understand that differences between groups can lead to a perception of exclusion whether or not there is a conscious intent to exclude. What we need is not "sensitivity", if that means simply shrinking from and avoiding conflict. What we need is enlightenment - non-judgmentally seeking to understand from the viewpoint of others - into why that conflict exists and persists.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 12:27 PM

Thanks for the data David. Bigotry and piety have for too long occupied the same pews.
Posted By: VinnyR11

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 01:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Selden
Last week I read Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Outliers: The Story of Success. I hadn't been all that impressed with his first book, Blink, but this raised some interesting ideas, at least in its first half. His basic thesis is that, while hard work and talent are important, the sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time, preferably with the right family background, are just as important. I've been reasonably successful in my life; I accept that a great deal of my success is due to sheer dumb luck. Life isn't fair.


I've read both these books as well. I hated "Blink" in which I thought Gladwell was forcing "facts" to fit his opinion. Not very enlightening IMHO. I also thought "Outliers" was much of the same although I hated it less.

If interested in the point about "sheer luck", or to put it another way, statistical probabilities of success, I'd recommend "The Drunkard's Walk" by Leanard Mlodinow. Good stuff, very readable, and it leaves you with plenty to think about.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 02:40 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
Thanks for the data David. Bigotry and piety have for too long occupied the same pews.


I would encourage everyone to read Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". This particular Baptist preacher would heartily agree that too often, evils such as racism are sustained because of the silence, if not outright support, of the American church. King wrote this letter while sitting in jail having been arrested for the protests he led in Birmingham, AL. The letter addresses 6 or 7 clergymen in Birmingham, AL who considered him to be an outsider causing trouble in their otherwise peaceful city. It's interesting, segregation was often sustained and strengthend by churches, and it was likewise dissassembled by churches. You look at pictures from King's marches and you see him locking arms with all manner of Protestant and Catholic clergyment and Jewish Rabbis. Maybe religion simply amplifies the sentiments we already bring to the table? I don't know, just thinking out loud I guess.

Just a few closing points:

- I refer to myself as a black American when I find myself in the context of discussions on race. Generally, yes, I consider myself to be an American.

- I love Bill Cosby! And I love the model the Obamas are for the black family. These issues of raising healthy families are coming to the forefront now, and not a moment too soon.

- As Obama pointed out in his inauguration speech, the ground has shifted from beneath our feet -- certainly from my feet anyhow. Time for new thinking! I have learned A LOT from reading the posts on this thread, and I am greatly humbled.

- Please please please prepare to engage in discussions on race with black Americans. You might be labeled a racist (save this thread so you can show it to your accusers if you must), but do not lose heart. Many of us blacks still live in the past. Fear of what could happen to us if we're wrong works to keep us from seeing today's realities for what they are. Because of this thread, I now see that New York Post cartoon in a new light, and I am now of the position that it was not intended to be a racist depiction of our black President. But that's because Mitch and others had the boldness and the willingness to challenge my views. I didnt' see it at first, but now I do. Thank you!

Others sacrificed far more than hurt feelings for thier country, so taking a stand and challenging old school views on race on the part of everyone, blacks included, is the least we can all do. Thank you all very much for posting your healing thoughts on this thread. thumbsup

Oh, one last encouragement: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Do not just wholesale dismiss another person's concerns and fears. If you take a minute to listen and to consider, you'll see what it is they are concerned about, and then you can properly address the issues in a way they will appreciate. This is critically true when it comes to racial matters as we all have different perceptions from common experiences.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 03:04 PM

OK, here's a for instance as to what I mean by the value of communication and how in time, other's will come to understand your point. I sent the link that Mitch posted out to a number of people yesterday, and here was a response I got from a good friend of mine (a black American woman speaking of the "Bush or Chimp" website):

"Some of those expressions on Bush's face are very funny but I stand by my outrage."

OK, can't win 'em all, right? Today, I check my Inbox and here's what she said in respose to my telling her that we cannot tell someone what they mean. If they tell you what they mean, then we have to accept that. Therefore, while our read on that cartoon may have been that it was racist, if the author claims otherwise, we have to listen to him and to those who understand his original intent:

"I agree but as Eric Holder said yesterday, we are a nation of cowards because we refuse to talk about this and if we did I think we would better bridge the gap rather than just talking past each other."

So there is it. Now she's sees it, too. And in fact, her complaint is that the reason the divide exists is because we fail to communicate about race!

So do not let yourself get discouraged. Ever. Your words are not in vain. And when you get the typically firey and violent reaction and are called a racist because you are trying to help someone see that they really have nothing to fear, do not take it personally. Just stand strong and keep going, people will come around -- some sooner and some later.
Posted By: Boone60

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 03:44 PM

It was cowboy work and we were partners. For seven years I was signed in to a 340 man max security prison cell hall with a black Sergeant, and then for a year we worked a segregation unit together. It was interesting and fun, and many times we had frank disussions about race and politics. Occasionally he would be upset by something he perceived as being racially biased, after talking together, sometimes his opinion would change if I saw things from a different angle. He opened my eyes to many things I hadn't considered, such as how upset his circle of black friends where over the acquittal of OJ Simpson.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 05:51 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
If they tell you what they mean, then we have to accept that. Therefore, while our read on that cartoon may have been that it was racist, if the author claims otherwise, we have to listen to him and to those who understand his original intent


If I believed what everybody tells me about their intent, I would be out of a job.

There are some affirmations of good intent that are just not believable. David Duke says he's not racist, he just favors voluntarily establishing a separate homeland for African-Americans "so each race will be free to pursue its own destiny without racial conflicts and ill will". Do we take him at face value?

Whether it was done through bad intent, ignorance, or inadvertence, the cartoonist should have been aware that the cartoon carried offensive racial connotations. If it was intentional, he deserves to be condemned, and if it was unintentional, he needs to be educated and enlightened. Thus, the need to communicate.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 06:30 PM

Quote:
If I believed what everybody tells me about their intent, I would be out of a job.


The road to hell is paved with what?

I sometimes wonder if any act ever committed in the history of the world was ever done with bad intentions.

I'm sure most sane people who ever committed a crime had some excuse in their own minds for committing it, and at the time, they didn't believe they were "wrong" for committing the crime:

"I'm sober enough to drive."

"I needed the money more than the banks did."

"She screwed my best friend, so they both deserved to die."

etc. etc.

I'm sure most insane people who ever committed a crime had some insane excuse in their minds for committing it, and probably none of them believed they were "wrong" either.

So we have to judge things, like the cartoon, for the effect they have on other people, and not by the intentions of the author (as distinguished from "intent" under the law, e.g. Mr. Jones went to his girlfriend's house with the intent of killing her).
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 06:49 PM

Quote:
So we have to judge things, like the cartoon, for the effect they have on other people, and not by the intentions of the author


Yeah, but that doesn't mean the authors intent was malicious, and intent matters! Although I think the proper response among those offended was simply to not buy the newspaper, if blacks could have seen that this was indeed the work of someone who was ignorant of history, then I think that would have prompted a somewhat different response. And in fact, that somewhat different response might happen as soon as enough blacks come to the realization that this was an ignorant, yet innocent mistake.

Again, this about international travel. If I go to France and intentionally offend their culture, I'll be treated differently than if I unknowingly do or say something that is considered a cultural offense. The former might result in an angry response, whereas the latter, I hope, would prompt correction. How would a French citizen know what my intentions were? By my response! If I say, "tough, get over it. And where's the 'Freedom Fries'?" That'll give them a pretty good indication of how I feel about them. Whereas if I respond humbly and ask forgiveness, it's as good as forgotten.

I haven't heard from the cartoonist in this matter, but given the evidence I have seen from Mitch and from TV and radio discussion (NPR and Larry King, for instance), I have seen enough evidence that suggests that this cartoonist made a grave error, but an error nonetheless. Therefore, I hope this creates an opportunity for our country to discuss our respective cultural taboos, and for us also to decide not to take every slight so personally -- which is probably the real answer to all of these misunderstandings as I know many have said over the course of this thread.
Posted By: Lineareagle

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 08:09 PM

I am of the opinion that it does not matter what I think about a person, it is what they think about themselves that is the issue.

Several examples.

Obama. Frankly I never saw his race until it was pointed out by the media and by Obama himself.
I saw an eloquent, well educated and charismatic man, who I enjoyed listening to and felt some kinship on the issues he was addressing.
Frankly I was disappointed that he talked about his 'race' and I was annoyed that so called pundits kept making it an issue.
I suppose his life experience was such that it was an issue for him and so it was something he would eventually refer to. I didn't see him as a 'raced' man, but he saw himself as such so . . .

I played football with a very good friend,he was one of three others and we were inseparable off the field. I had meals at his house, he ate at ours.
One day he was very distraught. Why? My sister is going out with a black! It was the first time I saw his color, Richard, you are black. He was shocked. Richard NEVER considered himself 'black' he was Jamaican. Because he didn't see himself as black, I didn't either until he made a distinction that I had never seen.

My daughter in law is Chinese. A wonderful gal, certainly I noticed her race the first time I met her but very quickly she became daughter in law, doctor, great friend. About a month ago during a conversation she brought up her race. My other daughter said,you never played the race card before. Obviously she thinks of herself as Chinese, I suppose I should too?

Finally to all you Americans, I'm one too by the way.
Generally if you ask an American where they are from they answer Texas, CA, Iowa etc. Ask a Canadian and you will get their pedigree, German, British etc.
Interesting how people see themselves.

I believe we must give people the opportunity to define themselves and on that definition we interact.

Personally I am very grateful I have not been forced to define myself by someone elses standard. I hope that as opportunities arise for people, and education is the great opportunity, IMHO, then we will see them able to rise above the definition and stereotype to become whatever they want and be comfortable with who they have become.
If it was my stimulus package, a HUGE amount would go to education for all.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 08:15 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Yeah, but that doesn't mean the authors intent was malicious, and intent matters!


Intention does matter. That's why the concept of murder exists: person A deliberately kills person B, person A gets charged/convicted of murder.

But outcome also matters. That's why the concept of manslaughter exists: person A had no intention of killing person B, but the outcome was predictable based on his actions, so person A does not get to walk free, despite having had no intention of killing person B.

As has been pointed out by a few folks in this thread, each side seems to perceive a unique portion of any racial incident; in most cases, it seems that black people perceive only the slight, and white people perceive only the intent. Take the cartoon we've been discussion, and imagine this dialogue instead:

Black dude: "Look, I know you didn't mean anything racist by it, but that cartoon kind of scratches at some old wounds, you know?

White cartoonist: "You're right, I didn't intend any offense, but I can see why the monkey imagery might be bothersome."

Instead, black opinion leaders resort to immediate hammer blows, and the white cartoonist go completely on the defensive.

Here's something I've wondered for a while. As I pointed out earlier in this thread, it's currently considered acceptable to directly compare the physical attributes of a white person to a chimpanzee. OTOH, we're being told these days, in no uncertain terms, that it is absoluteyl NOT currently acceptable to directly compare a black person to a chimpanzee for any reason.

My questions:

Will there ever come a day - 20 years, 100 years from now - when we really don't give a rip about skin color, and it's OK to compare white people AND black people to chimps without anyone getting upset by it?

Will it ever be OK to take a sitting black president and compare his facial expressions to those of a chimp, as the folks at www.bushorchimp.com did?

Will it ever be OK to use the monkey-at-a-typewriter metaphor to criticize the actions of a sitting black president?
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 09:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
As has been pointed out by a few folks in this thread, each side seems to perceive a unique portion of any racial incident; in most cases, it seems that black people perceive only the slight, and white people perceive only the intent. Take the cartoon we've been discussion, and imagine this dialogue instead:

Black dude: "Look, I know you didn't mean anything racist by it, but that cartoon kind of scratches at some old wounds, you know?

White cartoonist: "You're right, I didn't intend any offense, but I can see why the monkey imagery might be bothersome."

Instead, black opinion leaders resort to immediate hammer blows, and the white cartoonist go completely on the defensive.


Such a discussion would have taken place if a black person knew this cartoonist on a personal level or even as a co-worker/editor, but so far as we know, no black person did know him or get a chance to review the work and therefore the cartoon went out unchecked.

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
My questions:

Will there ever come a day - 20 years, 100 years from now - when we really don't give a rip about skin color, and it's OK to compare white people AND black people to chimps without anyone getting upset by it?

Will it ever be OK to take a sitting black president and compare his facial expressions to those of a chimp, as the folks at www.bushorchimp.com did?

Will it ever be OK to use the monkey-at-a-typewriter metaphor to criticize the actions of a sitting black president?



I'm sure that day is coming fast. I think it will be here by the time Obama leaves office.

We cannot ignore the weight of history, brutal history. Some pretty mean and horrific things were done to black people, and all the while the tormentors depicted blacks as monkeys. So it's a sort spot with us.

Will a day ever come when a Swastika no longer bothers a Jewish person? Will a day ever come when the red communist star no longer bothers an American? Will the day ever come when the B-29, "Enola Gay", no longer bothers a Japanese person? Some pains hurt real bad and it takes a while for them to heal (imagine a political cartoon in a Japanese newspaper, drawn by an American, of an American bomber dropping a figurative bomb of protest on the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, can you imagine the outcry that would cause?! I shudder to even think about it. "b-b-but..I didn't know...I wasn't even born in 1945! We draw similar cartoons of this happening to American Presidents and no one gets upset!")

Now, you did stipulate a black President. When it comes to Presidents, all bets should be off, regardless of his race. The problem, though, is this: sometimes it is difficult to insult the President without also offending every member of his race or gender or religion or whatever. But I suppose if one found a way to do that, everyone would get a good laugh out of it. History never associated white men with chimps (sure, in modern times comics might have done so, but how many whites were enslaved, torchured, massacred, denied work, denied housing, or just denied anything because of such associations?), so when that web site juxtaposed President Bush with a Chimp, no one walked away thinking, "Oh, white men are chimps". And nowadays, apprently, few people walked away from that cartoon associating black men with chimps as well, but this was not always so, and that's the problem. History.

But the way in which we blacks often react to such pain is totally inappropriate, I'll give you that.
Posted By: bakerzdosen

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 10:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Selden
Last week I read Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Outliers: The Story of Success. I hadn't been all that impressed with his first book, Blink
FWIW, Malcolm Gladwell's first book was The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

As to the intent thing: I've gotta agree with one of the comments I read from another newspaper cartoonist. He simply stated that he didn't blame the cartoonist at all, as it's not his call to make. He blamed the editor who approved it. That's their job - to determine what runs and what doesn't. The cartoonist has his/her own myopic view of the world, and he/she simply needs to be free to crank out cartoons. Whereas the editor is the one responsible for determining appropriateness and if someone will be offended by content. And yeah, the editor probably looked at it as the perfect cartoon as it melded two top news stories into one, and since the stimulus was technically written by a bunch of white guys, no one could ever be offended by the chimp reference.

Not really being privy to the ins and outs of the newspaper cartoon (political cartoons) side of a newspaper, I don't know exactly how much of that is true, but the fact remains that there is always an editor between a content creator and production - to avoid just such a situation as this.
Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 11:17 PM

Originally Posted By: DaveTheAffable
Originally Posted By: JohnRan
How can one explain why so many church goers are the most rabid racists? Does the doctrine to which they subscribe encourage it, condone it, excuse it?


Not in the churches I've attended...

That's a pretty broad brush you're painting with. Citation? Facts?



In Response to David:

The Southern Baptist Convention split from mainstream Baptism and was formed to support slavery. "A survey by SBC's Home Mission Board in 1968 showed that only eleven percent of Southern Baptist churches would admit Americans of African descent".

40 years ago...



The LDS Church barred blacks from the priesthood until 1978 (meaning they could have no leadership positions and could not participate in certain sacraments).

30 years ago, and they are not "most churches"



(From 2006) "The Rev. John Stevens says Fellowship Baptist Church in Saltillo voted not to approve blacks as members during a scheduled Sunday night business meeting . . . According to Stevens, the church made race an issue after a biracial 12-year-old boy, Joe, began attending Fellowship Baptist with his temporary guardians. "

A church with a problem... and, I've never attended there. And wouldn't.



"The Church of England is infected with institutional racism and is still a place of "pain" for many black Anglicans, according to its first black archbishop in England."

The topic is "Americans being Racial Cowards. I've never attended church in England either... and maybe as the first black archbishop that's his perception.

etc (?)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


We make it a point to remind one another that it's not fair to say, "All Blacks....", or "All BMW riders....", or "All (put what you will here) ...."

I'm simply suggesting, that there are millions of people who have a religious faith, who are not "rabid racists". Myself being one of them.


Posted By: ghaverkamp

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 11:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Yeah, but that doesn't mean the authors intent was malicious, and intent matters!


Intention does matter. That's why the concept of murder exists: person A deliberately kills person B, person A gets charged/convicted of murder.

But outcome also matters. That's why the concept of manslaughter exists: person A had no intention of killing person B, but the outcome was predictable based on his actions, so person A does not get to walk free, despite having had no intention of killing person B.


I think you're off a fair bit on your distinctions here.

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Here's something I've wondered for a while. As I pointed out earlier in this thread, it's currently considered acceptable to directly compare the physical attributes of a white person to a chimpanzee. OTOH, we're being told these days, in no uncertain terms, that it is absoluteyl NOT currently acceptable to directly compare a black person to a chimpanzee for any reason.


I have a difficult time understanding why this even needs much thought. We have a history of racism in the U.S. during which we have referred to blacks in America as various subhuman species, including "monkeys."

Now, I suppose one could make the argument that chimpanzees are not monkeys, and therefore, comparing a black man to a chimp is not comparing a black man to a monkey. That is, at best, an overly intellectual argument given the origin of the issue.

Alternatively, one could argue that we are simply so race-blind now that we shouldn't let such nonsensical historical legacies corrupt good political cartooning. That reminds me of an uncomfortable thread we went through here not so long ago.

Will there ever come a day when such imagery won't be offensive? Sure. Whenever all such historical wounds truly are healed, not just when people would like to believe they're healed for politically expedient reasons.
Posted By: azkaisr

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 11:44 PM

I have read this thread with interest but have almost no direct contact with it to be honest. I work and live in a world where the main racial interactions I have are between Hispanics and Whites and not Whites and Blacks so I am really not that attuned to it. Mexican culture (Sonoran really) is something I have known since I was a kid here in Arizona. It is no more foreign to me than Chinese or Swedish Culture. Having a lot of people working for me both here and in Mexico, I don't get too hung up on the Latino thing either. The only time I feel it is when I watch something that is overtly white or black. Chris Rock isn't funny to me because I don't relate to his humor because I don't have a lot of those feelings. Same with Dave Chappell.

Not saying racial tension doesn't exist, but in my world it is doesn't really come to bear. The black people I do work with seem about the same as the white people in regards to education and social interaction. Even with the border trouble now, I don't look at this as a brown problem like a lot of transplanted Gringos do. David Baker is right to say the economic divide is what is going to test our kids more than the racial one.

Tom
Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 11:48 PM

Originally Posted By: ghaverkamp
Will there ever come a day when such imagery won't be offensive? Sure. Whenever all such historical wounds truly are healed, not just when people would like to believe they're healed for politically expedient reasons.


What do you think that will take? Is there anyway to quantify when it is "truly healed"?
Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/20/09 11:53 PM

Originally Posted By: azkaisr
David Baker is right to say the economic divide is what is going to test our kids more than the racial one.

Tom


Well said, Tom. We only have to go back a few weeks and review Effbee's post on what happened in Argentina.

Any issue that can be brought to bear, to cause infighting, tension, and division, will be encouraged by those who would like to see the government step in and take over EVERYTHING.
Posted By: Quinn

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 12:26 AM

Does anyone remember the black city counsel member who was mortally offended by a fellow member referring to things getting lost in a "black hole?" He demanded an apology for such insensitivity. After it was explained that a black hole is a fairly common event caused by a collapsed star and nothing to do with race, he still wanted an apology because it sounded like it could have been racial. My reaction was to wonder where I can find a list of words and phrases that are off limits to whites? To males? To tall people?
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 12:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Dave McReynolds
Originally Posted By: JohnRan
There will always be economic discrimination based upon one's wealth or earning power, but those things are not intrinsic human characteristics as are race, hair or eye color, height, etc.

I will broaden the term (for my use) to include intrinsic human characteristics.


Are personality and family connections intrinsic human characteristics John? My understanding is that in most exclusive clubs, the amount of money you have might get you an application, but if that's all you have, the next communication you hear from the club will start with "Regretfully...."
Personality characteristics are intrinsic yet are usually not readily discernible until one reveals them through one's behaviors.

Family connections? I don't think so. How we we know who's adopted and who isn't?

Your reference to clubs is interesting. There are at least 3 clubs in Indy where Blacks and Jews need not apply, but that's an old story, just like the fact that all the pillars of the community are founding and sustaining members.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 12:42 AM

Quote:
Then the divide will be between rich and poor, regardless of race. And that divide will be with us for decades.


Though this is a hijack, David, can I ask if you're speaking globally or about the US, specifically?
Posted By: David

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 12:47 AM

I was speaking about the US, specifically.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 12:52 AM

That's interesting to me, because if true, I wonder how it breaks out between the generations. We've transferred so much wealth from younger generations to older ones, I'd suspect younger people, absent jobs, might try to reclaim that wealth through political and other means. Recent riots by young, unemployed Greeks comes to mind.
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 01:09 AM

tall people have an advantage

From Psychology Today, 2003


"Height matters. Tall people get larger salaries, higher status and more respect. Furthermore, the advantage seems to be life-long.

Timothy Judge, a business professor at the University of Florida, calculated that each inch in height corresponds to $789 extra in pay each year, even when gender, weight and age are taken into account. An extra six inches, for example, results in an extra $4,734 in annual income"

But we are noticed when we walk into a room.
I have comments about my stature directed at me constantly.
Some people only see my height, not me.
Yes, the air is fine up here, I did play basketball, and I was rejected by NASA's Teacher in Space Program for being too tall.

Skin color as a racial characteristic is a different ballgame.
Connotation changes based on group context/makeup.
Stature can also have this type of discrimination (height/weight)but I think any negative aspect is directed more at the individual and not all tall/fat/short people.
WRT racism, I think sometimes the indivdual is not seen as an individual and therefore receives negative responses solely based on being one of them . (Whoever them might be)
I used to take a friend home after HS basketball games. We had known each other and played together for many years. He was a friend/team mate.
His family lived next to and above a well known club/bar in a certain section of Miami that was mostly populated by black families and businesses. When I took him home and got out of the car to go upstairs I was probably the only white male in a square mile. When we went into Gil's Spot I definitley was the only one.
The first time, obvious reactions to me. Over time these reactions became less noticeable and I was seen not as a white male, but as a person who liked music and had friends in the club.
End of story.
But, if I were to encounter some of the same people in a different context, I don't know how similar the encounter would be.
(This was in the 1960's so the world is very different today).
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 02:58 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
Originally Posted By: Dave McReynolds
Originally Posted By: JohnRan
There will always be economic discrimination based upon one's wealth or earning power, but those things are not intrinsic human characteristics as are race, hair or eye color, height, etc.

I will broaden the term (for my use) to include intrinsic human characteristics.


Are personality and family connections intrinsic human characteristics John? My understanding is that in most exclusive clubs, the amount of money you have might get you an application, but if that's all you have, the next communication you hear from the club will start with "Regretfully...."
Personality characteristics are intrinsic yet are usually not readily discernible until one reveals them through one's behaviors.

Family connections? I don't think so. How we we know who's adopted and who isn't?

Your reference to clubs is interesting. There are at least 3 clubs in Indy where Blacks and Jews need not apply, but that's an old story, just like the fact that all the pillars of the community are founding and sustaining members.


The point I was trying to make is that the educated wealthy from the right families seem to have at least one thing in common with your uneducated poor who are religious: the desire to associate exclusively with others who think, act, and look the same way they do. From that perspective, I see very little difference between racial discrimination and social discrimination.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 03:02 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
That's interesting to me, because if true, I wonder how it breaks out between the generations. We've transferred so much wealth from younger generations to older ones, I'd suspect younger people, absent jobs, might try to reclaim that wealth through political and other means. Recent riots by young, unemployed Greeks comes to mind.


Absolutely. FDR was just a primer for Barack Obama, and I'm sure someone will pick up where he leaves off. While I lean to the left, I know that you can't have any of these social programs without a solid business backing to generate the taxes needed to pay for it, as we're finding out in California. As the poor grow in numbers and gain power, I'm afraid the solid business backing will erode.
Posted By: KDeline

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 03:29 AM

May be off of the original topic a bit but what do you think would happen if someone tried to start Ivory Magazine, or white Miss America, etc? Whites are cowards because of the forced PC, we don't dare do that. Frankly I'm tired of hearing about all the silly division. Each is different in their own way whether we like it or not, and some just can't move past that.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 03:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday


As has been pointed out by a few folks in this thread, each side seems to perceive a unique portion of any racial incident; in most cases, it seems that black people perceive only the slight, and white people perceive only the intent. Take the cartoon we've been discussion, and imagine this dialogue instead:

Black dude: "Look, I know you didn't mean anything racist by it, but that cartoon kind of scratches at some old wounds, you know?

White cartoonist: "You're right, I didn't intend any offense, but I can see why the monkey imagery might be bothersome."

Instead, black opinion leaders resort to immediate hammer blows, and the white cartoonist go completely on the defensive.



Based on his other works, I'm not particularly ready to give Sean Delonas the benefit of the doubt in the "didn't mean any offense" department.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 12:49 PM

Quote:
The point I was trying to make is that the educated wealthy from the right families seem to have at least one thing in common with your uneducated poor who are religious: the desire to associate exclusively with others who think, act, and look the same way they do. From that perspective, I see very little difference between racial discrimination and social discrimination.
I get your point and the end result may be the same, however, I don't equate snobbery and pretention with bigotry. Hell, we've got evidence of snobbery right here as in the occasional HD-bashing thread. laugh

It's funny to me to walk through the 1st class section of an airplane to my tourist class seat. I know I'm walking by corporate stiffs who couldn't afford the seat price if their company wasn't paying the freight, but they act like they own the airplane. I guess it's snobbery too that I figure I could buy and sell most of the people in that section.

Smugness is it's own reward.
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 01:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave McReynolds

The point I was trying to make is that the educated wealthy from the right families seem to have at least one thing in common with your uneducated poor who are religious: the desire to associate exclusively with others who think, act, and look the same way they do. From that perspective, I see very little difference between racial discrimination and social discrimination.

But there is a difference between self-selected grouping (such as anglo, black, asian, hispanic students eating together in a college cafeteria) and external grouping, based on appearance. You can instantly and at a distance tell what "race" a person likely belongs to by his skin color, without knowing anything at all about his social status (unless he's wearing a HD t-shirt wink ). I occasionally dress like a bum, but I'm a white bum, which carries some degree of privilege with it.

Last night I stumbled on a great "turn the tables" video on YouTube: The Job
Posted By: David

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 03:07 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
[quote]It's funny to me to walk through the 1st class section of an airplane to my tourist class seat. I know I'm walking by corporate stiffs who couldn't afford the seat price if their company wasn't paying the freight, but they act like they own the airplane. I guess it's snobbery too that I figure I could buy and sell most of the people in that section.


Next time, please, don't pause and gawk. It's keeping the flight attendant from getting me warm peanuts and a Mojito.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 04:01 PM

Originally Posted By: KDeline
May be off of the original topic a bit but what do you think would happen if someone tried to start Ivory Magazine, or white Miss America, etc? Whites are cowards because of the forced PC, we don't dare do that. Frankly I'm tired of hearing about all the silly division. Each is different in their own way whether we like it or not, and some just can't move past that.


If I had a dollar for every time this question had come up in my discussions over the years, I'd be a millionaire!

First, black American culture is an American sub-culture. That that means is that we have issues that must be addressed that do not apply or concerns that are not shared by the main culture in this country. Because of that, there are media forms that are created to address our unique concerns. Web sites, magazines, TV and radio shows, etc. American in general would not appreciate it if the mainstream media outlets spent too much time on issues that only pertain to a subculture of this country. And if the general population doesn't want to hear about these tangential concerns, then advertisers don't want to hear it either, and advertisers are what makes this whole machine work.

When I was a child, every black home had a subscription to Ebony magazine. Today? Relatively few do. I wonder if any of my 3 black daughters are even aware of Ebony magazine (OK, I'm sure my 12 year old is, but I don't know about the 9 or the 5 year old). Today, black Americans are finding themselves able to share in the mainstream culture in a way that wasn't possible when I was a boy. So now, these unique issues are becoming less of an issue with us. The day black culture truly integrates with mainstream American culture is the day when Ebony and Jet become pamphlets.

In any case, advertisers see a financial opportunity to market their products to a sub-culture whose issues are not addressed by the mainstream culture, so media that appeals to that subculture are created. There are media outlets that appeal to blacks, women, Latinos, the various Asian cultures, gays, the political left, the political right, motorcyclists, and so on. Why do we need Sport Rider magazine? Why can't we all just read Cycle World? Because advertisers know that there is a sub-culture of motorcyclists who only care about ripping up the pavement with the latest high tech machinery available. Such riders don't care about dirt riding, or baggers, or choppers, or ..., they only care about hp/weight ratios, track times, and the latest in protective gear.

If the demographic trends and predictions that I read hold true, and indeed continue, and Latino culture becomes the dominant culture in this country, then you will see a fundamental change in the media. Either the CBS's of the nation will have to air material that primarily appeals to Latino culture, or the Univision TV network type of outlets will become the dominant media outlet in the country. When that day comes, I would not be at all surprised to see an Ivory magazine.
Posted By: John Ranalletta

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 04:18 PM

Originally Posted By: David
Originally Posted By: JohnRan
[quote]It's funny to me to walk through the 1st class section of an airplane to my tourist class seat. I know I'm walking by corporate stiffs who couldn't afford the seat price if their company wasn't paying the freight, but they act like they own the airplane. I guess it's snobbery too that I figure I could buy and sell most of the people in that section.


Next time, please, don't pause and gawk. It's keeping the flight attendant from getting me warm peanuts and a Mojito.
i thought that was you...
Posted By: KDeline

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 04:48 PM



First, black American culture is an American sub-culture. [/quote]


IMHO that is how most black people view themselves, thus keeping us divided.
Posted By: Silver Surfer/AKAButters

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 04:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Whip
"I would challenge anyone one reading this thread who works for a public or private but non governmental organization to tell us how many Blacks occupy executive positions in their companies. I hope I'm wrong, but I'd bet it's very few."

The number one manager/executive in my company is a black man.

He is by far the finest man I have ever known. He is a retired drill instructor from Lackland Air Force Base.

He has been with me since April of 1989.....yes, almost 20 years.

I can't imagine running my bidness with out him.



Right on WIP! I work for a company that employs in excess of 75K people. Our Supply Chain VP is black, my Corporate Logistics boss is black, our VP of HR is black, and there are countless other minorities in positons of authority. This makes not one damn bit of diffence to me as they are all amazing individuals with impeccable qualifications, education, and talent. Beyond that, they are excellent communicators, champions of diversity and fairnesss, and most of all warm and caring individuals. I can honestly say that I love how each of them has contributed to our company, the community, and the personal growth and well being of all employees. I am a better person for knowing them.

My gripe lies with the Sharpton's of the world who look to turn every misfortune into a racial battlefield and fuel the fires of hatred and devisiveness, or those who use racism to describe their lack of progress or growth when no effort has been made on their part to grow themselves. In my mind there are slackers and neerdowells of every race and that's fine, in those cases all that I ask is that you don't drop the race card in my face when you fail to progress. Have I seen instances where minorities have been treate unfarily? Absolutely, and I despise and condemn those actions for what they are. It sucks, and I respect and admire those who are able to rise above. I also recognize that it can be so extreme in some case that people are beaten down and unable to rise above. I do feel that the tide is shifting and in many areas racism is less prevalent.

When I returned from Vietnam in 1974, I was unable to get the classes I needed for my degree because the Vietnamese (or are they yellow people? Is that PC?God, I'm so tired of this s&%t!) refugees had priority for enrollment. Wait a minute! I just spent two years of my life trying to help and defend these folks (right or wrong), and now I must put my dreams aside once again? I was at the time, upset, but not bitter. Did it stop me? No. Was i more difficult? You betcha. Was it worth it? Well, I know many highly educated, successful Vietnamese that I have the privelege of working alongside. I guess I'm trying to say that many of us face challenges regardless of our DNA.

I wish folks would just let all of this racial BS go and get on with it. I don't care what color you are or where you are from. I only care about who you are and how you contribute to the overall well being or advancement of the human race. Referring to Obama as a black American IMO is devisive. Someone said earlier, he is as black as he is white, an American. Get over it!

I must say when I sam the chimp cartoon, the first thing that came to my mind was that it was a slam on Obama, and I immediatley thought, "how f&%$'d up is that? It was clearly vague enough to lead to misinterpretation. Really poor journalism and journalist editing at a minimum. What's to defend? Someone should lose their job. They will certainly lose readership.

Anyway. What a great forum. Hope I didn't offend anyone
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 05:15 PM

Originally Posted By: KDeline

IMHO that is how most black people view themselves, thus keeping us divided.


You say that as though it's a bad thing. The fact that America has sub-cultures speaks to our strengths, not our weaknesses. Our diversity is what gives us a competitive advantage over many other countries. Look at how comparatively creative our collective culture is: movies and music born here are exported and warmly received all over the world. Just like we don't need a nation of purely cruiser riders, but sport bikers, tourers, and custom choppers make those bike gatherings all the more appealing, so too do our numerous sub-cultures. Were we not such a free and open society, sub-cultures would not be permitted, let alone valued and allowed to fully flourish and mature.

The only problem is when there is discrimination against members of a subculture that society needs to pause and consider its ways. But the mere presence of subcultures is a good thing in my view.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 05:44 PM

Beemerman,

I think KDeline has a legitimate question and I also think your response was a bit of a dodge. There are myriad so-called 'sub-cultures' in America and they do have serious concerns about a range of issues. They form organizations, hire lobbyists, elect political representatives, start corporations, etc. etc. But these are generally in the framework of ensuring that they get equally in housing, jobs, education and so forth. As entertaining or image/confidence building as Miss Black America may be, it does fly in the face of equality because the contestants have to be of a particular race to compete. Even though the rules don't specifically state it, the official organization language leaves no doubt. So, where's the outrage? And why is that any different from a PRIVATE club wanting to limit membership to whites?

When I worked for the government in the 1980s, my agency approved a proposal for black officers to start their own 'Black Affairs' group, complete with a one day presentation of all kinds of subjects on black history, achievement, issues, etc. to which was attached a MANDATORY attendance by all officers during official work hours. Yet when another officer proposed to establish an 'Irish-American Affairs' group, it was refused, with no explanation. I refused to attend the Black Affairs presentation, not because I was anti-black, but because I was anti-discrimination. Fair is fair.

This isn't about selling beauty products or magazines, it's about double standards and the cowardice to denounce them.
Posted By: Boone60

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 05:51 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
The only problem is when there is discrimination against members of a subculture that society needs to pause and consider its ways. But the mere presence of subcultures is a good thing in my view.


I disagree, discrimination against anyone is wrong. I dislike forms that ask if I'm White, Black, Asian, etc.. Which leads to affirmative action, and whether race should be a factor in hiring or college admissions.
Posted By: REVz

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 05:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave McReynolds

The point I was trying to make is that the educated wealthy from the right families seem to have at least one thing in common with your uneducated poor who are religious: the desire to associate exclusively with others who think, act, and look the same way they do. From that perspective, I see very little difference between racial discrimination and social discrimination.


A lesson within a lesson for me and I thank you for helping me see it. What does this mean?

A few years ago, at first blush to the comment above I might have felt agitated at the categorization of the "uneducated religious." Some years have passed, you take a deep breath and you read on to the last sentence and say, yeah...I agree.

I can't say I'm as well educated or as highly trained as most here seem to be. I have a few graduate degrees, and I am religious.

That said, I am now living in a community that has a sector of fairly affluent population and racially UN-diverse with regard to African-Americans. At the same time it is a community, that is diverse with respect to people from cultures from literally the entire world. In this small town we have world corporate offices of two very large companies. These same white-collar executives and scientists are a big part of the community here, and quite frankly a big part of our church community too. So the uneducated religious categorization would be quite a misnomer here, but your concluding point is well taken.

Classism can and does exist. Here rental and broken down homes are quickly purchased when vacated, they are torn down, and grass is growing within a week(that would be the one week of summer ;-), truthfully I have never seen anything like it. On the flip side the corporate money/foundations/etc., makes this community have things(arts, science, parks, community activism, public school programs) most larger towns would not even begin to have.

Yet, there is classism here in the schools, businesses, clubs, social events etc. So you are right with the point that the desire to associate exclusivelydoes exist, it does here.

Whether that meets the definition of social discrimination you meant or not I will leave that up to you, I don't think that was your point. This town hasn't been around for 200+ years, and I haven't seen anybody physically abused for not having the right social dress, home, clubs, and toys.

And my point?

It was right in the beginning of this, after a few years you take a deep breath try to understand what the other guy is saying and you may just discover it wasn't the categorization you thought it was. And even if it was, if you stop listening at the beginning you miss the other point(s) which were right on.

I pray that we are moving ever closer to that time when we can take a deep breath and listen to what goes on around us, and keep listening when the discussion seems to get choppy. I am sure that forms of discrimination will continue to exist, I can only hope that as the years pass by it is diminished to the largest degree possible.

I'm glad that this post has gone on for 11+ pages, it means that the group hasn't stopped listening to the others...
Posted By: Boone60

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 06:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Selden
But there is a difference between self-selected grouping (such as anglo, black, asian, hispanic students eating together in a college cafeteria) and external grouping, based on appearance. You can instantly and at a distance tell what "race" a person likely belongs to by his skin color, without knowing anything at all about his social status (unless he's wearing a HD t-shirt wink ). I occasionally dress like a bum, but I'm a white bum, which carries some degree of privilege with it.

Last night I stumbled on a great "turn the tables" video on YouTube: The Job


Selden,
I was thinking about the college dining room self-segregation when I read the speech by Eric Holder. Lots of opportunities are being lost by this self-selected grouping.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 06:28 PM

Originally Posted By: SweetP
This isn't about selling beauty products or magazines, it's about double standards and the cowardice to denounce them.


This is a difficult question to answer and I'll tell you why. It's only in the time that I have been an adult in this country that a black woman could become a "Miss America", and that was Vanessa Williams back in the 80's. It's only been in the past 10 or so years a black person could be a head coach of a NFL football team or a quarterback of an NFL football team. Black films were nonexistent until Spike Lee came along and finally made some. And now you name a black movie star and I'll show you the black film avenue that gave that person their start (usually a Spike Lee movie). Wesley Snipes, Hallie Barry, Sam Jackson, Lawrence Fishburne, Martin Lawrence, and the list goes on. You never would have heard of these people if they didn't have an avenue for their talents and skills. Many sub-cultures will create mirror organizations to provide avenues of achievement for its members when such avenues do not exist in the mainstream culture.

Anyone who is sane would much rather be a star in the mainstream culture than in any sub culture, believe me! Hallie Barry isn't going to quit working in Hollywood so she can limit her career to black films I assure you that (to the relief of many male viewers out there I'm sure!)

There used to be a "Negro League" in baseball in this country. What happened to it? Well, the MLB opened up to all people and now the Negro Leagues are a distant memory.

As various avenues open up, you'll see these sub-cultural mirror organizations disappear. They don't exist out of some warped desire on the part of blacks to be different and exclusionary, they exist because members of this particular subgroup were effectively excluded from participation in mainstream American culture. Do you really think that Art Shell was the first black man eligible to be an NFL head coach? That Jackie Robinson was the first black man eligible to play professional level baseball?

I cannot answer for all that is being done in this regard, there are some strange things happening out there in the name of diversity that even have me scratching my head, I can only address the historical reasons for such thinking. The ground is shifting faster than societies can adjust, and some of us still live in a past world that does not reflect today's realities. I will say this, though, as America opens up these sub-cultural mirror avenues will deteriorate for lack of interest, just like the Negro League in baseball did. For instance, my favorite sport is college football. On Saturday, I don't watch Grambling versus Florida A&M, even though those are football teams from historically black colleges. No, I want to see the best that the nation has to offer, so I watch USC versus Notre Dame, Texas v Oklahoma, Michigan v Ohio State, Florida v Florida State, baby thumbsup

I have 3 lovely black daughters and I think the world of them. All 3 of them go to Catholic schools that are overwhelmingly white. They love it there and the school loves them; I don't think words like "racism" would ever find a home there. But this reality was not always the case. It is today and for that we are all grateful.

Oh, back to the question at hand: no one is being a coward by not addressing them. These are relic of yesterdays thinking, and as people realize that today is not yesterday, in general such race based activities will dissolve. Yes, there will always be those who are slow to get with the times, but they will come around when there is dwindling support for their outdated plans. Feel free to continue to be the voice of reason; if you feel something is outdated and no longer necessary (or was never necessary), speak up! Engage in dialog that investigates why it still exists, or why it is necessary in the first place. You won't win them all, but maybe you'll hasten the day when folks start living in the present.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 06:38 PM

Oh, one last thought. To contend that the black sub-culture is what's keeping us divided is also, I would argue, an outdated view of things. Of the many blacks you see in the media today, how many of them live in what would be considered "black neighborhoods", and send their children to black schools? Today, historically black colleges are operating with extremely tight budgets because blacks by and large no longer feel it necessary to attend these colleges. How many of your black friends, riding buddies, and co-workers live in black neighborhoods?

Today, "classism" reigns supreme. Middle class people congregate together regardless of race. Same with the upper classes; Oprah Winfrey won't even think about visiting my mostly white neighborhood - we're a bit too plebeian for her tastes!

Blacks, by and large, are finding their way into the mainstream; living in non-black neighborhoods, attending non-black schools, working at non-black corporations, and riding in non-black motorcycle groups (thus, my presence here!). It's the poor of all our respective races that are probably the last to truly integrate.
Posted By: Whip

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 08:06 PM

I would like to comment on "classism". I don't want to argue about whether or not it exists cause it does.

"Classism" is what you make of it.......or what you let it make of you.


I have run in almost all the "classes" in my life....except the super rich.

I ran the streets as a young man hangin out with thugs carrying chains. Tryin to figure out a way to get $$ without goin to jail.

I've spent many a day and night with athletes in an urban area doin anything from playin basketball for a $1 a game to goin runnin at 5am in the dead of winter tryin to stay one step ahead of a rival school or competitor. I can still see everyone of their faces. Between us we didn't have change for $5.

I've traveled the US with millionaires in private jets and played golf at "restricted" country clubs. No one carried anything less than a $20.

I've even hung out with foreigners on bikes in Torrey. Money has never even come up in conversation.


The only group that wasn't havin any fun and acted like they were never satisfied or happy with their lives or anyone around em was the group that had the most.


I've parted ways with them.......prolly for that reason....don't really know. They just don't fit into my life any longer.



How many days till Torrey????????????????


There's a bunch of great peeps and fun waitin on me when I get there.


Life is too short.


Your Philosopher

Whip
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 09:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Boone60
Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
The only problem is when there is discrimination against members of a subculture that society needs to pause and consider its ways. But the mere presence of subcultures is a good thing in my view.


I disagree, discrimination against anyone is wrong. I dislike forms that ask if I'm White, Black, Asian, etc.. Which leads to affirmative action, and whether race should be a factor in hiring or college admissions.



Yes, another relic from yesteryear. May the most qualified person get the job. Period. Don't like it? Then get qualified! thumbsup
Posted By: Paul Mihalka

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 09:51 PM

A little bit of a hijack. What I find absurd is putting among "races" "hispanic". What is hispanic? It only means that they came to the USA from a Latin American country. It can be any combination in any proportion of mostly white, black, and idigenous Americans, and may be a bit of others. It is as much of a non-race as it can be.
Posted By: Heck

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/21/09 10:03 PM

+1 thumbsup
Posted By: upflying

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 12:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
A little bit of a hijack. What I find absurd is putting among "races" "hispanic". What is hispanic? It only means that they came to the USA from a Latin American country. It can be any combination in any proportion of mostly white, black, and idigenous Americans, and may be a bit of others. It is as much of a non-race as it can be.

Agree, but the political correctness police has now required the term Hispanic. Calling someone Mexican could be deemed offensive.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 04:45 AM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
As various avenues open up, you'll see these sub-cultural mirror organizations disappear.


I suspect some of these sub-culture organizations you mention will not go quietly into the night as the Negro league did.

Certainly in some cases of racial conflict, righteous indignation seems like a very rational response. Those cases cases in which the response seems overblown can fall into two categories:

1. an entrenched attitude of vigilance toward any slight at all, a feeling of "virtue in victimhood," a sense of pleasure/power/accomplishment at putting the offender on the defensive.

2. a deliberate, conscious effort to overstate the egregiousness of the offense in order to ensure the longevity of an organization(s) dedicated to fighting oppression.

Having read the NY Post's apology for the cartoon, today I saw an article quoting the NAACP chairman as follows:

"This is tastelessness taken to the extreme," he said. "For the publication to suggest the only people who object to it are constant critics of the New York Post is beyond ridiculous.

"This was an invitation to assassination of the president of the United States and anyone who was not offended by it doesn't have any sensibilities."


Maybe I'm a socially inept engineer and I should be faulted for taking people at their word, but I didn't see where the Post's apology said that no one was upset except constant critics of the post. Should I start reading between the lines more, or does the NAACP chairman need a lesson in reading comprehension?

And the rest of his statement - about the cartoon being an invitation to assassinate the president, and anyone who disagrees has no sensibilities - wow. eek That's not an opinion leader, that's an opinion dictator.

So why would he make statements like that? Does he really feel this way? Is he trying to get people to feel like they need the NAACP to fight for them, so that the NAACP will continue to have dues-paying members into the distant future?

I do not suggest racism is dead, but I do believe it will die a long, long time before organizations like the NAACP do.

Quote:
No, I want to see the best that the nation has to offer, so I watch USC versus Notre Dame, Texas v Oklahoma, Michigan v Ohio State, Florida v Florida State, baby thumbsup


I humbly suggest you remove Michigan from your list... frown
Posted By: velomoto

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 07:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
... So why would he make statements like that? Does he really feel this way? Is he trying to get people to feel like they need the NAACP to fight for them, so that the NAACP will continue to have dues-paying members into the distant future?

To those with knowledge of the American history, or the recent election, the racism in the cartoon is clear. I for one was astonished to find people who had absolutely no understanding of the underlying messages of the cartoon.

Perhaps the anger is feigned and is intended to stir up support - but this would be no different than many of the actions of the NRA and other political groups. Money is power. More members, more money...

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Quote:
No, I want to see the best that the nation has to offer, so I watch USC versus Notre Dame, Texas v Oklahoma, Michigan v Ohio State, Florida v Florida State, baby thumbsup


I humbly suggest you remove Michigan from your list... frown
Yes - I'd second that recommendation... and replace them with Penn State! thumbsup
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 01:29 PM

Quote:
"This was an invitation to assassination of the president of the United States and anyone who was not offended by it doesn't have any sensibilities."

I feel like I must be one of the last people in the nation not to have seen the cartoon, so I googled it last night. I must not have any sensibilities, because this reading of the cartoon didn't occur to me until I saw this quote. However, after reading this, I see the cartoon in an entirely different light, and I better understand the furor now.
Posted By: BanjoBoy

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 04:11 PM

Can we talk about this? laugh
I grew up a Red-Neck/Hill-Billie in the backwoods of northern CA, and was usually on the "giving" end of racism. Then I met this cool Chinese lady in '83 and ended up marring her.
Her parents hated "round eyes" and my parents didn't like anybody who wasn't white. We told our parents to go to hell and eloped to Reno. We are still happily married today, and find our laughter together. Even though we have relations with our surviving parents, it's a shame that ignorance, and racism had to change things.

I had to trow my two cents in here, because now I've been on both sides of racism.
Even though our Country has a ways to go as far as racism is concerned, we've come a real long ways. I think each generation is more "enlightened" than the last.

"I write this because I feel very grateful to belong to a community of riders that, quite frankly, are very honorable and so far ahead of the social curve so to speak."
We probably are ahead of the curve, because that RT you're riding doesn't care what color you are or where you're from, it just likes to be ridden!
I think it is good that we can talk about these things here. It makes us all more enlightened.

I'm proud to be an American, and I'm proud to be a BMWST member!
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 04:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Werdsirom
I'm proud to be an American, and I'm proud to be a BMWST member!


After reading and participating in this discussion for all these pages, I feel the same way, too. thumbsup
Posted By: MotorinLA

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 06:24 PM

Although it is good to have discussions about controversial subjects and sometimes this leads to being able to see a different point of view, there are limitations to what can be accomplished simply by sharing opinions and talking.

Take politics as an example. It is a prohibited subject on this board. Why? I suspect because it causes division and never leads to a productive outcome. When beliefs are deeply ingrained in people, no amount of ‘discussion’ is going to lead to agreement or mutual understanding. IMO in these cases discussion will only lead to stronger polarization.

As a LEO I probably get publicly accused of being a racist more often than the average person. Based on my personal experience I can say that most of my efforts to explain my actions to my accusers have had little or no noticeable success. Explaining that the reason the person is getting a ticket is because they committed an infraction, not because of their skin color is seldom met with a positive response. An elderly Black man even told me, “Just wait until Obama becomes president!” in some apparent ‘threat’ that when this took place no Black person would be stopped for running a stop sign ever again. The only exception I have seen to this is people that use ‘the race card’ simply as an attempt to get out of a ticket, not because they actually feel that the stop was racially motivated. Conversation usually reveals the difference between these groups fairly quickly.

Do I personally make some assumptions based on skin color? Of course. However, these assumptions are generally more of a culturally based nature than a racially based nature.

Why is it that children often tend to be more colorblind? Because they don’t constantly discuss and focus on race as an important issue. It is my opinion that race is such an issue in the US because we talk about it too much. Should we address the issues of inequality based on race? Sure. Do we create further polarization between races by constantly focusing on race? I personally believe we do.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 06:46 PM

Quote:
Take politics as an example. It is a prohibited subject on this board. Why? I suspect because it causes division and never leads to a productive outcome. When beliefs are deeply ingrained in people, no amount of ‘discussion’ is going to lead to agreement or mutual understanding. IMO in these cases discussion will only lead to stronger polarization.


One difference is that most people, I believe, left, right, or center, would truly like to see better race relations in this country. And are willing to listen to different peoples' views of how to make that happen. Few people feel that further polarization among the races would be a good thing.

I don't think the same thing can be said of politics. Most people with polarized views, to the right or to the left, are perfectly happy with those polarized views, thank you very much, and don't particularly believe that a movement toward the center or in any other direction other than theirs would be a particularly good thing.

As the Romans used to say, quod erat demonstrandum: just compare the tone of this discussion with some political (or verging on political) discussions we have had.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 07:16 PM

MotorinLA, to me, there are 2 basic reasons (no doubt more, but I see these 2 most often) that kill what could otherwise be productive conversation:

1) People engage in the discussion to teach, rather than to learn. So confident are we that we have the truth, that we want to go and pour it all over everyone else and whoever doesn't want to listen to our point of view (like the example Mitch provided of the NAACP chairman) we violently ostracize them from the conversation. That's why I promote an attitude of seek first to understand, then to be understood. I have learned a lot from others in this discussion on race. Furthermore, I am pleasantly surprised at how well non-blacks understand racism in America. Some of these posts have been incredibly insightful and have helped me to see how I appear in the eyes of others, and therefore how I can tailor my position to more closely match reality.

2) We somehow link ourselves to "symbols" and then feel we have to defend that symbol. The symbol might be an idea, a person, a political party, a religion, a deity, or whatever. But as soon as someone verbally questions our symbol (Barack Obama, George W Bush, Democrats, Republicans, NAACP, Al Sharpton, Rush Limbaugh), we take the assault personally and then angrily respond in kind.

Both of these attitudes are killers when it comes to having a productive conversation on anything, especially race, politics, and religion.

In keeping with this, I do want to challenge all to engage with the priority of learning rather than teaching. That means you do not presume to be so knowledgeable as to be a teacher; if someone asks you for clarity or for an opinion, then there's an opportunity to share your views. If they are warmly received, you just taught! Congratulations. But your real test is whether you learned anything from the engagement. If not, then why not? And presuming you were dealing with a bunch of close minded idiots is not an adequate excuse, either. I think blacks really need to take this to heart in discussing race. There is an assumption in this country that blacks don't need to be taught when it comes to this subject, but I think this is false. We have just as much to learn as anyone does and so we, too, especially need to show up to the table to learn. What do we need to learn? How to let go of the past for starters. How to live as full and responsible citizens in a free country as well. How to raise strong families as is the standard among our white counterparts, too. We blacks have a lot to learn! How to vote, how to live such that we avoid having to deal with the criminal justice system, how to....

Secondly, engage dispassionately. Your ideas or your leaders do not depend upon you for their survival! If they are strong and true, they can stand up to the light of scrutiny all by themselves. Deities don't need you to come to their rescue either, they are perfectly capable of standing on their own. Otherwise, all we achieve is the silence of counter views, but silence does not equal agreement.

I suppose a good third would be to know when to walk away from an encounter gone bad. When tempers rise and passions get stirred, that's probably a good sign that any hope of a productive conversation is now gone.

Now, having said all of this, we've made it this far as a nation with our closed approach to discussing race, so maybe it's best to keep a lid on it. I don't think so, though. If we cannot approach the subject with mutual humility and a desire first to learn, then to teach, then it's all a futile effort. But if we can manage to open the door on this closeted subject, freedom and peace will pour down upon our nation like never in history. Blacks will come to understand whites and therefore appreciate history in a way like never before. That doesn't mean agree with history, but understand it. And it's understanding that brings healing. Whites will understand blacks better as well, and be in a position to help life us out of the chains of history so we can all celebrate this great country and our great history together.

As Jesus of Nazareth would say, "The truth shall make you free". But no one learn the truth if they don't show up FIRST with a desire to learn.
Posted By: MotorinLA

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 08:45 PM

Beemerman2k,

I think that you are making a very good point about being open to learning, however, sadly I think that a large portion of our population, regardless of race, is far less receptive and open-minded than yourself (myself included).

Discussions involving race are often rooted in deep beliefs and also involve a strong emotional component. If we could get people to be more personally responsible, more open-minded, more willing to learn and be more tolerant of each other, I’d write a lot less tickets. The problem is that human beings tend to be self-centered and self-serving (cynical, I know, but still ‘human nature’). Speeches about harmony and equality are great, but not very realistic based on what I have observed so far in my personal life (if you need proof, just look at all the ‘wonderful’ things people have done to each other through the last few thousand years).
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 10:22 PM

Originally Posted By: velomoto
Perhaps the anger is feigned and is intended to stir up support - but this would be no different than many of the actions of the NRA and other political groups. Money is power. More members, more money...


Agreed, the NAACP and other organizations like it can exist only as long as Colored People believe they need a National Association to help them Advance. The problem is that such organizations have a vested interest in the continued existence of racial strife, much as the military-industrial complex has a vested interest in tweaking foreign policy so as to foment international military conflicts. It's one thing when an organization pumps up people's fear the loss of their guns and distrust of politicians; it's something else entirely when an organization pumps up people's fear and distrust of their neighbors.

I suspect these organizations will continue to hold the position that "race relations have come a long way, but still have a long way to go," regardless of what the actual state of race relations may be. I think it will be necessary for black people at some point to pull back from the harsh rhetoric of black "opinion leaders," because I don't believe those leaders will rein in their own rhetoric at an appropriate time - regardless of when any of us feels the "appropriate time" may be.
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/22/09 11:43 PM

Eventually we will reach a point of diminishing returns, but I don't think we're there yet. And then something else will come along.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 12:25 AM

Interestingly enough, I found the following article a few minutes after my previous post:

A New Mission for the NAACP
The youngest president in association history leads at a time when many question the body's very necessity.



Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 12:36 AM

A good friend has just become head of our local NAACP.
This will be the closest link to leadership in that organization
I've had.
He is a good person and it will be interesting to see what direction he takes (tries to?) them.
Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 01:26 AM

Hmmmm... been watching for a few days, and even commented a little.

There are people in this country, and outside this country, that would LOVE to see America crumble.

The tools they will use to implement the destruction will be largely financial, racial, sexual, or gender inequities issues.

Does it go unnoticed by us all, that racial cartoons and chimpanzee cartoons were "acceptable" when they were put upon George Bush and Condoleeza Rice? Or Clarence Thomas?

No... the outcry only comes when the "offense" is levied against someone who is trying to move America further and further down the path of socialism and/or blatant communism.

A friend of mine returned from a trip to Russia a few years ago and told of meeting conservative Russians who asked, "Why is America going down the path that they told us was so wrong for so many years?"

We think this long, lengthy thread is about racism. It is not.

It is about people OUTSIDE of this forum that want to keep the topic alive, festering, bubbling. Those people are going to use it, along with the financial, sexual, and gender inequities in our society to CONVINCE us that the government needs to step in and be our answer in all things.

I wonder how many of us, in the last days this post has been going on, have written our Representatives, or attended a town hall meeting, or in someway recognized that there is a MUCH bigger thing going on.

...DaveTheAffable, feeling rather contemplative.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 02:02 AM

Originally Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Does it go unnoticed by us all, that racial cartoons and chimpanzee cartoons were "acceptable" when they were put upon George Bush and Condoleeza Rice? Or Clarence Thomas?

No... the outcry only comes when the "offense" is levied against someone who is trying to move America further and further down the path of socialism and/or blatant communism.

We think this long, lengthy thread is about racism. It is not.


I think you need to start a new thread. I do not agree with what you are saying and this is what I consider to be very off topic. Racial discrimination in this country precedes communism, socialism, or whatever else you want to assign blame to. This is about each of us dealing with the one person we have control over, our own lives and our own hearts.
Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 02:09 AM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Originally Posted By: DaveTheAffable

Does it go unnoticed by us all, that racial cartoons and chimpanzee cartoons were "acceptable" when they were put upon George Bush and Condoleeza Rice? Or Clarence Thomas?

No... the outcry only comes when the "offense" is levied against someone who is trying to move America further and further down the path of socialism and/or blatant communism.

We think this long, lengthy thread is about racism. It is not.


I think you need to start a new thread. I do not agree with what you are saying and this is what I consider to be very off topic. Racial discrimination in this country precedes communism, socialism, or whatever else you want to assign blame to. This is about each of us dealing with the one person we have control over, our own lives and our own hearts.


With apology if it seemed like a hijack. I think what's been said INSIDE this forum has great value, and I have learned from it.

I painted with too broad a brush when I said "We think this long, lengthy thread is about racism. It is not." That was unfair.

My greater concern was for a national view that looks at multiple issues... and a new thread would have been more appropriate. I would delete the post, but that then causes more confusion.

And on a personal note... I like your posts Beemerman!

Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 02:32 AM

Thank you Dave.

I started this thread for 2 reasons:

1) thank this great community for always telling it like it is, even on issues of discrimination and

2) to encourage positive and productive communications.

I would not argue for a second that there are parties out there who will seize upon our social weaknesses for their own gain, but that's not what divides us -- external parties exploiting us that is. Each of us needs to always be, "wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves"; aware of our surroundings yet ensuring that our own hearts and hands are clean.

To me, government has played as great a role as it possibly can when Eric Holder made the statement that inspired this thread. Any greater role by government would be inappropriate in my view (and even his position is one that I stated up front that I don't agree with, I think people are open to discussing this subject when given a good forum to do so).
Posted By: REVz

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 01:36 PM

ironic? From the Writer's Almanac today(2/23)...

"It's the birthday of W.E.B. Du Bois, (books by this author) born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (1868). His town was virtually all white. But he didn't really notice racial discrimination — he said that he was only aware of it when people visited from out of town. He was smart; he went to Fisk University in Nashville and then to Harvard, where he was the first African-American to get a Ph.D. He taught sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and he carried out the first serious sociological study of African-Americans, which showed that poverty and crime in black communities were a result of racial barriers in education and employment. In 1909, he founded NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."


Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 01:43 PM

NAACP call for firing and boycott of NY Times


And, same as this thread?
If We Don't Talk About Race.... Leonard Pitts
Posted By: Stir

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 10:44 PM

Hey, kudos for you to have the cajones to bring this up. :-)

That said, I saw this on Digg, took the test and found out I prefer black people....slightly.
Posted By: Stir

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 11:01 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnRan
Quote:
smiller:The formal barriers to minority involvement in society are falling rapidly (including the rather striking recent example), but I'm not sure that we can quite yet consider the job done.
Sorry, Seth, but that's not my experience. For 12 years, I've worked with a wide variety of private and public companies; and, my anecdotal experience is clear. Blacks are significantly underrepresented in supervisory or leadership positions. That can only be for one reason.


I don't agree with your hypothesis. Blacks are over represented in Sports, entertainment and politics. Blacks are ~11% of the population. And yet in these fields, they are hugely successful. Why? I feel because there is a cultural interest in those fields. In the field of engineering or business, there just seems to be a lot less participation. One of the best software engineers I know, is black. He is rewarded for his talents. I don't know any other black engineers. I think it comes down to interest and pursuit. It does not seem to be one of racism. I see the same effect with white engineers. White kids aren't interested in engineering or going to engineering school, so the majority of engineers I see are the H1b Visas from India.
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/23/09 11:45 PM

Originally Posted By: tallman

Um, that should read New York Post. These are somewhat different newspapers.
Posted By: ghaverkamp

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 12:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Stir
Originally Posted By: JohnRan
Sorry, Seth, but that's not my experience. For 12 years, I've worked with a wide variety of private and public companies; and, my anecdotal experience is clear. Blacks are significantly underrepresented in supervisory or leadership positions. That can only be for one reason.


I don't agree with your hypothesis. Blacks are over represented in Sports, entertainment and politics. Blacks are ~11% of the population. And yet in these fields, they are hugely successful. Why?


I'd be curious how you arrived at your numbers. Black athletes may be overrepresented in comparison to the country at large. Certainly, blacks are hugely underrepresented in supervisory and leadership positions in athletics. I seriously doubt you can find any numbers to support that blacks are overrepresented in entertainment or, especially, politics.

Originally Posted By: Stir
I feel because there is a cultural interest in those fields. In the field of engineering or business, there just seems to be a lot less participation. One of the best software engineers I know, is black. He is rewarded for his talents. I don't know any other black engineers. I think it comes down to interest and pursuit. It does not seem to be one of racism.


It doesn't take "formal barriers" (as Seth called them) to constitute racism. The formal barriers are much easier to remedy.
Posted By: smiller

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 12:50 AM

Originally Posted By: ghaverkamp
It doesn't take "formal barriers" (as Seth called them) to constitute racism. The formal barriers are much easier to remedy.

Yes, which FWIW is why I noted that we should not consider the job done simply because the formal barriers are diminishing. The remaining 'informal' racism is a much more insidious and difficult target. That's what I was trying to say even if I didn't communicate it well.
Posted By: Polo

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 01:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
A little bit of a hijack. What I find absurd is putting among "races" "hispanic". What is hispanic? It only means that they came to the USA from a Latin American country. It can be any combination in any proportion of mostly white, black, and idigenous Americans, and may be a bit of others. It is as much of a non-race as it can be.


Hispanics are from Hispania, as Caucasians are from Caucasia. cool
Posted By: Paul Mihalka

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 01:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Polo
Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
A little bit of a hijack. What I find absurd is putting among "races" "hispanic". What is hispanic? It only means that they came to the USA from a Latin American country. It can be any combination in any proportion of mostly white, black, and idigenous Americans, and may be a bit of others. It is as much of a non-race as it can be.


Hispanics are from Hispania, as Caucasians are from Caucasia. cool


You are absolutely correct in it's real meaning, but in the USA it is used in a different definition but still mixed in with "races" for population statistics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanic#Definitions_in_the_United_States
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 01:33 AM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Originally Posted By: Werdsirom
I'm proud to be an American, and I'm proud to be a BMWST member!


After reading and participating in this discussion for all these pages, I feel the same way, too. thumbsup


Thanks for bringing this up, James. Your cogent thoughts have clarified many things for me. I think I get it all now.

Can fix me up with Hallie Berry? I promise not to embarrass you. wink

Pilgrim
Posted By: Polo

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 01:45 AM

This is a very difficult subject. It has so many angles.

I like many of you have never really felt the sting of discrimination. I am Mexican, but I do not represent the stereotype, thus only after I engage in relaxed conversation and my accent surfaces do people begin noticing differences.

Political correctness in my opinion is what keeps differences present. If I need to think about what I should call this or that person, then I can't stop thinking about them as different.

I believe that's what David meant. I would submit that skin color should be used as an adjetive, but not as a label.

I have friends and acquaintances from many ethnic backgrounds, but I try to keep that in mind only in regard to their sensitivities, rather than to their race.

I make it a point to remember not to offer chorizo and eggs to my muslim friend, a beer to my Mormon buddy, or a steak to my vegetarian pal. But that is where I draw the line. I learned long a go that trash comes in every color, and so does treasure.

I don't have as many friends as I would like, but I certainly would like to keep all of the ones I do have.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 02:39 AM

Polo: Great post! You took out all the difficulty and the many angles and put it down in a straightforward manner. thumbsup

Quote:
Can fix me up with Hallie Berry? I promise not to embarrass you. wink


Pilgrim, if I had access to that woman, you'd all know it by now. Aside from the huge smile on my face, I'd be showing up at all the rally's and unrally's with a partner in tow and a new BMW every time smile

OK, so maybe there are portions of the USA that are not represented on this forum, but to the degree that there are I am very impressed with the level of insight everyone has to this issue, and to the sacred ideals we share as Americans.

Pilgrim, you always "got it"! Maybe you learned a few new twists here and there, but I think you "got it" long before you met me. Hell, I'm tryin' to learn from you, partner!
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 07:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Polo

Political correctness in my opinion is what keeps differences present. If I need to think about what I should call this or that person, then I can't stop thinking about them as different.


Please, anybody who throws the phrase "political correctness" around, read George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language", especially the section on "meaningless words", and tell us what you mean.

People are different. Different doesn't necessarily mean better or worse. Different can teach us new things and give us new perspectives. But part of the difference is history. People are the product of their history, though that doesn't mean they have to be the prisoner of their history.

We can't just pretend that history didn't happen. There are wounds in this country that are still too deep for that. Within my lifetime, black people couldn't drink at the same drinking fountain I could. Within our President's lifetime, his parents couldn't have married in many states. There are people alive who haven't gotten past those times and probably won't until they die. History won't fade away because we ignore it. History will fade away when we pay attention to it and try to work past it.

To go back to the beginning of the thread, I don't believe that we're all as color-blind as we'd like to think we are. I don't believe that society is as color-blind as we'd like it to be. The first step of a 12-step program is to be honest about your failure. Race is an uncomfortable issue, and we're afraid of it and we'd all really like it to go away, but pretending it's not an issue won't make it go away. No matter how well-intentioned or well-meaning or liberal-minded each of us is, we all have to be open to the possibility that we still have something to learn, and we have to keep in mind the likelihood that not everybody is as well-intentioned as we are.

We all need to stop patting ourselves on the back about how far we've come, and look down the road to see how far we still have to go. Open, honest, understanding, and brave dialog is what we all need.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 03:42 PM

David,

As wary as I am of some of the information in Wikipedia and its progeny, I think it fairly sums up 'political correctness' as 'behavior seen as seeking to minimize offense to gender, racial, cultural, disabled, aged or other identity groups'. Then one could continue ad nauseam defining each of those words. Each of us is free to define PC but none of us is unfamiliar with it and few have ever NOT used it. You yourself use the term 'liberal-minded', which I suspect would not yield a universal definition.

If you wish to not pat yourself on the back on how far you've come, you may, but I'm rather pleased with myself for the changes I've gone through to get to where I am. Yes, old habits do indeed die hard so I'm no angel, but I try.

I doubt that 'history will fade away', a literal impossibility, nor should we wish it to do so. 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'. That would be tragic.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 06:27 PM

To me, there are at least 2 components to discuss when studying race in America: history and current events. History is critical if we wish to understand how things came to be the way they are. The only caution, of course, is that we need to be careful as to whose history we read and of the motives of the historian. But assuming we are basing our views on a good and reasonably objective historian, we can come to understand how things got to be the way they are.

But we must also be careful because history often measures past events and societies against today’s social ethics, and that then prompts an unfair reading of that past. Furthermore, we must learn about human history, and not just African/European/American history. I say that because the wider the view we have of past events the better context we have to examine where our own history falls on the ethical map of human kind so to speak.

I say this because I have read more than once that, "the United States has the bloodiest and most racially evil history known to man". When I read such sentiments I think one of two things: either this writer is trying to push an agenda or this writer is not at all aware of the greater history of humankind. I can read my Judeo-Christian Bible and find cultures that wouldn't even consider ours worthy of mention on the scale of evil human history (Egypt for obvious reasons, Assyria, too: what was it they sacrificed to their god Molech? That's right, their first born child.). In fact, we need not necessarily look to history; we can simply judge our ancestors by the yardstick of today's current events. How does our slave past stack up to what's happening in the country of Zimbabwe? Somalia? Sudan? Can anyone really say one is "better" than the other? Which would you choose if you had to?

Well, at least the starving masses in Africa who are subject to all manner of horrific events are free. Yes, that's an important characteristic for sure, but would you rather have 5 or 10 or 20 or 30 years of a free life of pain and starvation or a long life as a slave in a country whose ideals mandate that the nation must work to end your plight and to see you through to full citizenship? I'm not saying there is a right or wrong answer to that question. I am only saying that you have to pick your poison, but it's all poison with none any more poisonous than the other. Keith Richburg, a black American journalist based in Detroit, MI, wrote a book entitled, "Out of America", in which he examines these very questions. His controversial conclusion -- controversial in the eyes of many black sociologist and historians anyhow -- is that whatever evils brought his family to America, he thanks God he's here. When he observes, as a journalist, the horrors of life in Africa, he feels the poison of slavery did indeed have potentially worse alternatives for the descendants of those who were left behind.

Another important point we all need to appreciate (and this fact is not at all obvious to blacks) is the history of our European brothers. I wasn't at all aware until my college years that the Irish and the Scottish suffered oppression under the English. I wasn't aware until my 30's of the genocide the Armenians suffered under the Turks, or that the Slavic region is so named because "Slav" means "Slave". These facts helped me to understand that us versus them oppression has been here in all forms long before humans learned that there were other humans of different races on this planet. I can also examine how other cultures have dealt with their oppression for better or for worse, and copy those aspects that I value.

OK, so let's say we have an appreciation for history, and we understand how things got to be this way.

The other side of the conversation concerns how we deal with today's biases against people because of various criterion such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or height as tallman pointed out. Regardless of history -- in fact, let's forget about history for a minute -- how important is a sense of equality to us as a society? How much do we value measuring each other by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin or the gender of our souls or the beliefs of our hearts? And this is the real question at hand, isn't it?

To me, history is critically important in helping me to understand how we came to be the way we are. Some read history and walk away angry at all they have learned. That is trajic in my view because to me, you have not fully thought out what you have read. That, or you have a lot more learning to do! But whether we are aware of history or not, we still have to deal with today.

OK, so what's my point? I love what DavidEBSmith has to say because he has an appreciation for history, and he understands how things came to be this way. That understanding drives him to make sure we don't rest on our laurels, the calling is way too important to finish the job half way and then call it a day. But I also love what Polo and SweetP seem to argue, that regardless of yesterday, we still have to be what we need to be today, which I don't believe DavidEBSmith would at all disagree with.

What a great thread thumbsup
Posted By: Whip

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 08:39 PM

How do ya feel about reparations ???
Posted By: smiller

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 08:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Whip
How do ya feel about reparations ???

Aw, don't tell me you're pushing that idea again...


grin
Posted By: Whip

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 08:44 PM

Originally Posted By: smiller
Originally Posted By: Whip
How do ya feel about reparations ???

Aw, don't tell me you're pushing that idea again...


grin


For Armenians living in Texas.....only.

wink
Posted By: Les is more

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 09:51 PM

This is a marvelous thread.

Quote:
We all need to stop patting ourselves on the back about how far we've come, and look down the road to see how far we still have to go. Open, honest, understanding, and brave dialog is what we all need.


Well said Eebie.



I've always felt that the growing pains of dealing with prejudice are a little like the awkwardness of adolescence when you're trying to figure out the complexities of dealing with a member of the opposite sex--What do you say--where do you look--what's acceptable--how do you start a dialog--whats the secret handshake or password required to start a relationship?

This piece from The Onion had me rotfl at it's portayal of those awkward feelings.
Posted By: BendBill

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/24/09 09:51 PM

Thanks, beemerman2K, for emphasizing history. Very interesting and necessary contexts. And to Whip for bringing up reparations.

Both your points remind me of how eastern/Midwestern urban views, and Southern views vary from those of many of us educated in other regions. Of course, then there are you Texans, but that's another problem altogether smirk

Many folks schooled in the Northwest and Southwest have a different slant on race, at least in relation to history. Just last week I was re-reading Patricia Nelson Limerick’s The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West. The most popular of the New historians of the 80’s, she rapidly became one of the standard American historians of the West. Her overarching thesis: politics, regionalism, corporations and national business interests were inextricably intertwined with 19th- and 20th century race relations. And our race relations, by the way, were different than “back” East, or among the South’s “peculiar” problems.

Consider her account of California’s and Oregon’s 1865 arguments against the 15th Amendment: “If we make the African a citizen,” argued an Oregon newspaper, “we cannot deny the same right to the Indian and the Mongolian.” Kinda shows where their real worries lay.

Although westerners were anti-slavery, they were not welcoming to the small number of blacks who moved here in the 19th century. However, depending on where one lived, people on this half of the continent were often more concerned with various American Indian tribes, Mexicans, the “heathen Chinee,” and those wicked Mormons, though we could count on Midwestern people lynching the Mormon’s founder, Joseph Smith—hence their move to Utah.

Then there were the Japanese. I was raised in California schools and universities: reparations meant compensating Japanese Americans detained in prison camps during WW2. Later, I believe, it came to mean compensating descendants of American slaves. And just reading the chop-logic of Earl Warren and William O. Douglas promoting the internment of the entire California Japanese population is alternately embarrassing, sad, and amusing, if one likes to make fun of fatuous reasoning.

In sum, I find historians' accounts of race to be more complex, yet satisfying, than the pronouncements of many other sources in the popular media.

Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 03:49 AM

Leslie: that Onion piece is too funny!

In a way, it's quite true, too. Only I don't mind it one bit.

However, I do wonder what's coming if Obama really screws up. I might have to stay home and board up the windows eek
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 03:54 AM

Bill, having lived in both Arizona in the 80's and Los Angeles for about 3 years this decade, I appreciate that the views on race out there are quite different then that which we have back East.

Now I'm for an open society and all, but who let an ST1300 owner in here?! C'mon folks, we do have our standards, don't we? smile

(Yes, I'm jealous. That's a sweet lookin' bike you got there, Bill thumbsup)
Posted By: MotorinLA

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 04:34 AM

Beemerman2k wrote:
Quote:
Well, at least the starving masses in Africa who are subject to all manner of horrific events are free. Yes, that's an important characteristic for sure, but would you rather have 5 or 10 or 20 or 30 years of a free life of pain and starvation or a long life as a slave in a country whose ideals mandate that the nation must work to end your plight and to see you through to full citizenship? I'm not saying there is a right or wrong answer to that question. I am only saying that you have to pick your poison, but it's all poison with none any more poisonous than the other. Keith Richburg, a black American journalist based in Detroit, MI, wrote a book entitled, "Out of America", in which he examines these very questions. His controversial conclusion -- controversial in the eyes of many black sociologist and historians anyhow -- is that whatever evils brought his family to America, he thanks God he's here. When he observes, as a journalist, the horrors of life in Africa, he feels the poison of slavery did indeed have potentially worse alternatives for the descendants of those who were left behind.



Let's see if this spices up the conversation...

It is interesting to me to observe the change of vernacular from "Blacks" to "African-American" in the United States. Most African-Americans are far removed from people in Africa today. It makes me wonder if people who emigrated directly out of Africa within the last 30 years are proud of the way African-Americans are ‘representing Africa’. In my experience (generalizing, of course), immigrants from Africa are humble, soft-spoken and non-confrontational. This is a stark contrast to the loud, in-your-face attitude that I commonly observe displayed by many African-Americans in the Los Angeles area. IMO putting on traditional African garb and superficially emphasizing your African heritage is a far cry from truly embracing the African culture. It seems more like a gimmick than a true attempt at capturing the spirit of Africa.

On a side note, the Black community must have more power than it thinks, considering that 12% of the population of our country can make 82% of the population worried about what to call them…
Posted By: Dave in Doodah

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 06:10 AM

I have to agree with this... my ancesters came here from Germany and Ireland, but I am caucasian...? I am getting ripped off.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 06:57 AM

Originally Posted By: MotorinLA
In my experience (generalizing, of course), immigrants from Africa are humble, soft-spoken and non-confrontational.


I used to do cab license revocation hearings. I think I'd have to disagree with you on that generalization.

On the original point, which is echoed by a quote from Booker T. Washington in the Wikipedia page on reparations that somebody linked to, I think the question of "did they end up better coming here as slaves than staying there in Africa?" is a false dichotomy. What if Africans had been brought here voluntarily, as indentured servants, who gained their freedom after a certain number of years, like many white folks were? (Indeed, that blacks became slaves and whites became indentured servants was arguably one of the major social dividing forces between the races). What if they had brought over as free settlers? That gets into a whole bunch of what ifs - what if there weren't slaves to work on the plantations, what if there wasn't the economic growth in the American colonies created by the Triangular Trade, what if Africans weren't able to profit off selling war captives into slavery and had to turn to some other economic engine, like agriculture, that was better for long-term development? But to say slavery was better than staying in Africa is like saying having one eye poked out is better than having both poked out. It may be, but not if there is a third option of having none poked out, and it doesn't make it desirable.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 11:03 AM

Originally Posted By: MotorinLA
It makes me wonder if people who emigrated directly out of Africa within the last 30 years are proud of the way African-Americans are ‘representing Africa’.


If the level of support for Barack Obama on the continent of Africa is any indication, then I'd say, absolutely.

Originally Posted By: MotorinLA
In my experience (generalizing, of course), immigrants from Africa are humble, soft-spoken and non-confrontational. This is a stark contrast to the loud, in-your-face attitude that I commonly observe displayed by many African-Americans in the Los Angeles area. IMO putting on traditional African garb and superficially emphasizing your African heritage is a far cry from truly embracing the African culture. It seems more like a gimmick than a true attempt at capturing the spirit of Africa.


When you see African nationals at large in American society, you usually only see 1 or 2 of them out there making their way in a foreign land. I would suggest, however, that you go to some African gatherings in the LA area. You will not see a group of humble, soft spoken people! Are you kidding me? You will see the most energetic and boisterous crowd around. And I hope you like to dance, because you'll have to come prepared to expend a lot of energy on the dance floor to some absolutely great music.

Quote:
On a side note, the Black community must have more power than it thinks, considering that 12% of the population of our country can make 82% of the population worried about what to call them…


And it's high time the rest of us start putting that power to productive use. I loved the line in Obama's speech to Congress last night when he basically said, "...when you drop out of high school, you are not just quitting on yourself. You are quitting on your country!" I do not believe he was voted into office because he is black. He was voted into office because he managed to convince enough people that 1) he is not George Bush and 2) he is up for the job (just my 2 cents, let's not get political here, please). But since he is black, I am all for him using the color of his skin to motivate all youth to get it together and become productive citizens. When Obama says those words about dropping out of high school, he carries with it a tremendous amount of credibility and weight among young people of all colors, but of blacks in particular.

And I think you, MotorinLA, and I both would love to see these young black youth learn to channel their energies into positive and productive means. After all, someone is going to have to pay off this Stimulus Packagerofl...cry...
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 01:36 PM

Interesting that African ancestry should come up in the conversation.

I recently traced my ancestry and found some interesting facts:

- I am a descendant of Colonel Dubaku from the African nation of Sangala. He served with distinction under the General Zuma, although Zuma’s regime was hostile to the United States. In fact, Dubaku came here to, um, negotiate better relations.
- Dubaku met my mother, who worked at a restaurant, while living in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, my mother was killed in a terrible car accident, where my father, Dubaku, was also gravely injured. For reasons unknown to me, a federal agent took something that was imbedded in my father’s body before he was taken to the hospital. I'll never forget my father's last words to me, "Kill the cockroaches!" Yeah, sure Dad, that's why I wear pointy shoes!
- Strange how history isn’t really past. Last I heard, General Zuma is preparing a terrorist attack on the White House of all places, and that attack will commence this Monday evening, from 8-10PM, and will be aired on the Fox television network. Well, rumor has it anyways. We’ll see what actually happens.
- Tradition has it that this one federal agent named, Jack Bauer, is hated by my father and General Zuma, and it is hoped that he will not interrupt the attempted coup in Washington on Monday.
- The really amazing thing is that all this has happened in a period of about 9 hours on one day!

Well, that’s all I know for now! eek smile rofl
Posted By: Whip

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 01:44 PM

Dubaku Jr.

rofl

I'm sure glad I watched that on TIVO before you summarized the last episode.

This season is better than last.


Whip
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 01:53 PM

David,
If one brings up the Triangle Trade aspect, it is only fair to point out that the overwhelming number of slaves taken from Africa to the New World ended up in places other than what is now the USA.
Over 90% went to other countries.
If we are to discuss race in America in an historical context it might be appropriate to mention the contmeporary differences between "racial matters" in the USA and other nations in the Americas.
There are distinct differences.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 02:16 PM

Beemerman,

I would add to your reply to Motorman that, if he's talking about Africans he comes into contact with while in uniform, he's facing someone who lives where the police are generally not especially loved. I've been to several countries in Africa and can assure him that going to the police would not be my first thought if I needed help. It's understandable that they would be humble and non-confrontational because that's the way they survive at home vis à vis the police.

Speaking of the term 'African-American' or 'Afro-American', I've always been puzzled and, frankly, sort of amused by it. As a certain governor and former VP candidate found out, Africa is not a country, it's a continent, with probably the broadest variety of peoples anywhere. I can't remember anyone I met referring to him/herself as an 'African', but rather to either a tribal or national identity...yes, even one of many other countries from throughout the world. At one time or another, every country in Africa was run by a colonial power. Strictly speaking, a Moroccan, a Kenyan, an Egyptian, a Namibian or a Mozambiquen are all Africans but that's about where the similarity ends. Berber, Masai, Arab, German, or Portuguese, brown, black, white, or oriental, and so on, quite a brochette.

I was reminded of the statement that The Champ is widely purported to have said after his fight in Zaire, 'Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat.' But, Zaire, now Dem. Republic of Congo, is a miserable place, so one shouldn't judge all of black Africa by it. Also, a comment that a good friend, a black Ghanan, made regarding black Americans who go to West Africa and kiss the tarmac while saying that they have 'come home', although it is very possible that any slave ancestors came from the other side of the continent. She said that there were thousands upon thousands of people in West Africa who would change places with them in a NY minute. laugh


Posted By: Paul Mihalka

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 02:37 PM

A bit of different subject, but part of discrimination and prejudice.
Best example of how far the people in the USA have come to have a open mind, It is great that a person, Bobby Jindal, of 100% Indian origin, a native American because his mother was pregnant with him when arrived in the USA, converted from Hindu to Roman Catholic, can get elected to high office and is considered as a possible candidate for President of the United States of America.
I remember that for the election of John F. Kennedy it was considered a problem that he came from a Roman Catholic and not Protestant background. Things have come a long way...
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 02:51 PM

Yes, Paul, that is significant, not to mention that this man is also the governor of the State of Louisiana of all places! It wasn't all that long ago, certainly within my lifetime, when this man and his family would not have felt too welcome down there.

Whip: yeah, I guess I should have put a warning on my family history to those who may have missed this week's documenary on The Relations between the United States and the Honorable Regime of General Zuma! smile

SweetP: if that's what Ali said, imagine what Charles Barkley would have said eek
Posted By: SC_SVRider

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 03:08 PM

As a mother of two interracial daughters I wonder, (sarcastically at that) if they should be called African-American Indian-Irish-Scottish-Dutch- French-German-Czech-Caucasian Americans. Wow, now try to fit all of that on a college application!

We as a nation, well as a world actually, have a need to label people. We do it with children in school, in college, in work, and well life in general. What does it really accomplish? We all know we come from different heritages. We can see we are different in color. Isn’t a person’s values and personality what really matters, not the color of their skin?

Quote:
A simple little incident that showed me how insulated many of us are to the realities of what Eric Holder is talking about. I told my good friend Charles that he is a big beefy stud for not going postal due to the unforgivable ignorance that is in this world. He characteristically brushed it off as it not being a big thing. But it is.


Jake – I have dealt with the issues of racism through my daughters. I only hope that Shawn and I have given them a good enough base of instruction as parents to deal with it on their own as your friend did and does every day.

Quote:
I guess it wasn't clear to me whether she felt like Obama's presidency was a victory over racism, or a victory over white people. When the subject of race comes up I'm never really sure, I guess. I get tired of thinking about it sometimes, and wish for King's dream, i.e. that one day none of us will give a rat's ass about skin color.


Shawn and I had a long talk with the girls about President Obama, when he was running for President, to ensure that their support of him was not because of his race, but because of his response to the issues this nation faces. They watched all of the debates and the inauguration and it was then that they felt pride in him becoming president. Because they believe he was the best MAN for the job, not because he was interracial. I know not everyone liked him and supported him for that reason, but at least I know my daughters could put facts and their own reasoning behind the man they supported.

My youngest daughter was watching the news the other day and noticed how they were referring to him as a “Black President”. She said, “shouldn’t they just be calling him “the President”, the color of his skin shouldn’t matter…“

Maybe we did teach her something…



Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 03:32 PM

Rainy: I was enjoying the fact that we finally have a black President, and I didn't think I'd ever get tired of hearing about it. But last night during all the commentaries around his speech, I reached a point where I wanted to shout, "OK, enough already! We know what color he is! Let's talk about the nation and his plan for our recovery!"

Well, the good news is that going forward there will be no more infatuation for a leader based upon that leader's race or gender, I hope. From now on, hopefully, we'll simply elect a President, and then lampoon him accordingly smile
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 03:42 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
From now on, hopefully, we'll simply elect a President, and then lampoon him accordingly smile


rofl
Posted By: bobbybob

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 03:55 PM

I'd say that, after reading thru this LOOONG topic, Holder knew exactly what he was doing when he said what he said. And it WORKED! wink
Posted By: Whip

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 03:59 PM

Originally Posted By: bobbybob
I'd say that, after reading thru this LOOONG topic, Holder knew exactly what he was doing when he said what he said. And it WORKED! wink


I think it was all James.

I can't give credit for anything to any politician.

...maybe Castro.

rofl
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 04:00 PM

Oh, pa-leeze, Beemerman! You saying that infatuation based on gender would be history? S'pose Hallie Berry were elected....still feel that way?
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 04:22 PM

Originally Posted By: SweetP
Oh, pa-leeze, Beemerman! You saying that infatuation based on gender would be history? S'pose Hallie Berry were elected....still feel that way?



Infatuation? No, that would be love, sweet, love cool
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 05:46 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
From now on, hopefully, we'll simply elect a President, and then lampoon him accordingly smile

Not having GWB to kick around any more was one of the big worries of Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and similar comedians immediately after the election. No problem!
Posted By: velomoto

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 09:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Selden
Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
From now on, hopefully, we'll simply elect a President, and then lampoon him accordingly smile

Not having GWB to kick around any more was one of the big worries of Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and similar comedians immediately after the election. No problem!
+1 thumbsup
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/25/09 10:36 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k

Well, the good news is that going forward there will be no more infatuation for a leader based upon that leader's race or gender, I hope. From now on, hopefully, we'll simply elect a President, and then lampoon him accordingly smile


Well . . .

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/25/national/main4827964.shtml?tag=topHome;topStories

Quote:
The mayor of Los Alamitos is coming under fire for an e-mail he sent out that depicts the White House lawn planted with watermelons, under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."
. . .
Grose confirmed to the AP that he sent the e-mail to Price and said he didn't mean to offend her. He said he was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.
. . .
"I'm sorry. It wasn't sent to offend her personally - or anyone - from the standpoint of the African-American race."




Oy. dopeslap
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 12:23 AM

"First Dog will be a rescued Portuguese water dog, says Michelle Obama."

QED. I hope this doesn't offend fans of PWDs. laugh
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 12:34 AM

Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith


Oy. dopeslap


Wow.

If he truly was unaware of the stereotype (unlikely), then that means he forwarded a cartoon he really didn't understand, then he's the King of Dumb for forwarding it.

We've seen how the Post cartoon could be fitted with numerous interpretations, but I'm struggling to come up with more than one interpretation here, namely the stereotype that black folks are especially fond of watermelon.

Is that an offensive stereotype?
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 02:43 AM

I remember when Tiger Woods was ascending to the top of the golf world, there were racist jokes being told about him. Wasn't there something about if he won the Masters, fried chicken would be served as the main course or something like that? Well, Tiger went out there and kicked their butts, and then again, and again, and again, and... Strange, but I don't hear those jokes being told about Tiger Woods anymore cool

Barack Obama is going to have to do the same thing. His plans are going to have to be so successful that it silences even his greatest critics. If he manages to turn this economy around in short order in a way that lasts, then the jokes won't be at all funny anymore.

No pressure or anything Obama, but you can consider this yet one more straw on your back that you have to carry every day.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 03:28 AM

Quote:
Barack Obama is going to have to do the same thing. His plans are going to have to be so successful that it silences even his greatest critics. If he manages to turn this economy around in short order in a way that lasts, then the jokes won't be at all funny anymore.


It's important to realize what people can do and what people can't do. Nobody can turn the economy around. No group of people can turn the economy around. The economy will turn itself around in the "fullness of time."

What a person can do is to give other people hope. Like or hate what FDR's PROGRAMS did during the depression, what HE did was to give people hope, and that's why he would have been reelected for as long as he lived. If Obama can do as much, that's worth something.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 05:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

We've seen how the Post cartoon could be fitted with numerous interpretations, but I'm struggling to come up with more than one interpretation here, namely the stereotype that black folks are especially fond of watermelon.

Is that an offensive stereotype?


Well, this page from the (no sh*t) Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University says it is:

Quote:
It became part of the image perpetuated by a white culture bent upon bolstering the myth of superiority by depicting the inferior race as lazy, simple-minded pickaninnies interested only in such mindless pleasures as a slice of sweet watermelon.


On edit: That quote, out of context, may trigger some people to start mumbling about whiny liberal political correctness. There's a lot more on that page, some of which is so offensive, I wouldn't quote it. Read the jokes quoted and tell me there's no harm meant.

It also says that blacks eat less watermelon than the national average, possibly to avoid the stereotype, which makes it even better that the stereotype is stupid and factually incorrect.

On the other hand, I was watching The Matrix Reloaded on BET tonight, and it did seem like there were a lot of commercials for KFC and Popeyes. None for grape drink, though there was one for Welch's Grape Juice, and none for watermelon. wink
Posted By: Polo

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 08:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith


Oy. dopeslap


Wow.

If he truly was unaware of the stereotype (unlikely), then that means he forwarded a cartoon he really didn't understand, then he's the King of Dumb for forwarding it.

We've seen how the Post cartoon could be fitted with numerous interpretations, but I'm struggling to come up with more than one interpretation here, namely the stereotype that black folks are especially fond of watermelon.

Is that an offensive stereotype?


Yes, he was unaware, right. And the Pope is Jewish.

Like I said, when I try to keep my friends sensitivity in mind, I don't offer my black friend either Fried Chicken, nor to go for a swim... wink

Likewise, I expect them not to offer me Tacos, or "conqueso" (What the hell is "conqueso"?) dopeslap
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 09:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Polo
Like I said, when I try to keep my friends sensitivity in mind, I don't offer my black friend either Fried Chicken, nor to go for a swim... wink


[quote]Likewise, I expect them not to offer me Tacos...


Why not? You don't like tacos?

Does your black friend not like fried chicken?

It's a shame if awareness of a stereotype is the thing that keeps you from enjoying tacos (or your black friend from enjoying fried chicken).
Posted By: Polo

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/26/09 10:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Originally Posted By: Polo
Like I said, when I try to keep my friends sensitivity in mind, I don't offer my black friend either Fried Chicken, nor to go for a swim... wink


[quote]Likewise, I expect them not to offer me Tacos...


Why not? You don't like tacos?

Does your black friend not like fried chicken?

It's a shame if awareness of a stereotype is the thing that keeps you from enjoying tacos (or your black friend from enjoying fried chicken).



If you're buying, you can chose the menu. grin
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 02:06 PM

Wow, look at what I found on Yahoo news this morning:

-----------------------------------------------------
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – The mayor of a small Southern California city says he will resign after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090227/ap_on_re_us/mayor_watermelon_e_mail
-----------------------------------------------------

Seems a bit harsh to me at first glance. On the other hand, if one of his police officers ends up shooting an unarmed man under questionable circumstances, and then walks, the riots would be unbelievable and this Mayor would be used as having set the racial climate for the city.

Still, seems to me a simple, heartfelt apology would have sufficed confused
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 03:15 PM

Did you notice dopeslap this link on the page the article is on?
Posted By: Polo

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 03:19 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Wow, look at what I found on Yahoo news this morning:

-----------------------------------------------------
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – The mayor of a small Southern California city says he will resign after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090227/ap_on_re_us/mayor_watermelon_e_mail
-----------------------------------------------------

Seems a bit harsh to me at first glance. On the other hand, if one of his police officers ends up shooting an unarmed man under questionable circumstances, and then walks, the riots would be unbelievable and this Mayor would be used as having set the racial climate for the city.

Still, seems to me a simple, heartfelt apology would have sufficed confused


We don't know what pressure has been exerted on him, nor from what sources, but I disagree with you, I would not be satisfied with an apology. To say something like "I didn't know that XYZ had a hidden meaning" is just a puny display of ballessness (my word) and hypocrisy.

To err in human, but to be childish and stupid is unacceptable from a politico. While working at a State agency, an innordionate amount of managerial time went to police use of government equipment for personal purposes. Frankly, if a tenth of that effort would have been applied towards getting things done and improved, we'd have a model government. Yet, thi sman evidently has the time to use his computer to forward jokes? He has too much time on his hand; I would conclude that his community is not being well served.
Posted By: REVz

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 04:24 PM

Clint Eastwood weighs in here

sorry if this has already been posted...

As Homer Simpson once said, "Is there anything those people in Hollywood don't know?"
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 04:39 PM

Originally Posted By: REVz
Clint Eastwood weighs in here



Quote:
The Dirty Harry star insists that he should be able to tell harmless jokes about nationality without fearing that people may brand him "a racist".


So he thinks he should be able to do what he wants without accepting any personal responsibility for the consequences.

Quote:
In those earlier days every friendly clique had a 'Sam the Jew' or 'Jose the Mexican' - but we didn't think anything of it or have a racist thought.


Yeah, Clint, you didn't think about it all, and probably never asked Sam the Jew or Jose the Mexican how they felt about their nicknames. What quaint moniker would you have used if DeWayne was in your friendly clique?

I think it's ironic that Clint and his end of the political spectrum are always whining about how "liberals" are self-absorbed, and his whole comment can be summarized as "I want to say whatever I want without having to care if it offends somebody else". Sorry if it's too much trouble to think about other people's feelings. What an a**.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 04:56 PM

Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith

I think it's ironic that Clint and his end of the political spectrum are always whining about how "liberals" are self-absorbed, and his whole comment can be summarized as "I want to say whatever I want without having to care if it offends somebody else". Sorry if it's too much trouble to think about other people's feelings. What an a**.


Eebie, maybe he wants the same thing I do. That's the freedom to say whatever I want without having to care if it offends somebody else. Not necessarily to indulge in that freedom thoughtlessly, for self-censorship is the essence of manners, but to have that freedom, for it's hard to say almost anything any more without offending someone.

Pilgrim
Posted By: EffBee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 05:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
It's hard to say almost anything any more without offending someone.


We've been divided and conquered. Rather than a unified country of Americans, we've allowed others to dictate to us how we should feel, how we should be offended, how we should react, how we should complain, how we should sue, how we should be "compensated." We been quartered, sliced and diced as if we're under some giant Popeil Veg-O-matic.

EVERYONE is their own group. EVERYONE cannot be spoken about in anything less than glowing terms. EVERYONE should be made to feel good. Every slight, real or perceived, is immediately branded with an -ism. Racism, sexism, genderism, age-ism, weightism, heightism, you name it.

Is there hate speech? Sure. And like flag burning it should be allowed so that those who do not wish to associate with the haters can easily identify them. Probably has something to do with the First Amendment, too. But to constantly be LOOKING for offenses is to ignore the differences that identify us as well as unite us. Similarities do not unite us. They only align us. It is the acceptance of the differences, quirks, irregularities, yes even stereotypes we perceive in others, that brings us close. To have each group so separate itself culturally, physically, emotionally, socially that they cannot interrelate for fear that someone might FIND offense where none was intended is divisive, isolating, and destructive to the goal of a truly unified nation. And I can't think of a time in recent history when we've needed to be more unified than now. Yet the divisionists persist. It is, after all, the source of their power.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 06:24 PM

Originally Posted By: EffBee
Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
It's hard to say almost anything any more without offending someone.


We've been divided and conquered. Rather than a unified country of Americans, we've allowed others to dictate to us how we should feel, how we should be offended, how we should react, how we should complain, how we should sue, how we should be "compensated." We been quartered, sliced and diced as if we're under some giant Popeil Vegematic.

EVERYONE is their own group. EVERYONE cannot be spoken about in anything less than glowing terms. EVERYONE should be made to feel good. Every slight, real or perceived, is immediately branded with an -ism. Racism, sexism, genderism, age-ism, weightism, heightism, you name it.

Is there hate speech? Sure. And like flag burning it should be allowed so that those who do not wish to associate with the haters can easily identify them. Probably has something to do with the First Amendment, too. But to constantly be LOOKING for offenses is to ignore the differences that identify us as well as unite us. Similarities do not unite us. They only align us. It is the acceptance of the differences, quirks, irregularities, yes even stereotypes we perceive in others, that brings us close. To have each group so separate itself culturally, physically, emotionally, socially that they cannot interrelate for fear that someone might FIND offense where none was intended is divisive, isolating, and destructive to the goal of a truly unified nation. And I can't think of a time in recent history when we've needed to be more unified than now. Yet the divisionists persist. It is, after all, the source of their power.


I think that's what happens when judgement is taken out of the equation. Similar to public schools with their "no tolerance" policies, where we read articles occasionally about some child being expelled for giving another child an aspirin for a headache, or some TSA policies on airlines regarding who gets searched or things you can't take on an airplane with you, or in this case, what remarks are acceptable and what remarks are not based solely on the language and not the context in which they were made. It's as if the rules of society have been turned over to computer programers.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/27/09 06:51 PM

I kinda agree with Clint. The Humor River is down to a trickle. Jane Fonda (Whoa! I don't believe I'm quoting HER) once said that she didn't find humorous any joke that made fun of someone. If that element is eliminated, you're left with the bear and the bunny rabbit jokes that are cute, but no one rolls in the aisles like they did at Richard Pryor gigs or Mel Brooks films.

People 'these days' are just too thin-skinned. Lighten up, have a giggle, laugh at yourself. There are more important issues that need addressing rather than sterilizing humor.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/28/09 02:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith

I think it's ironic that Clint and his end of the political spectrum are always whining about how "liberals" are self-absorbed, and his whole comment can be summarized as "I want to say whatever I want without having to care if it offends somebody else". Sorry if it's too much trouble to think about other people's feelings. What an a**.


Eebie, maybe he wants the same thing I do. That's the freedom to say whatever I want without having to care if it offends somebody else. Not necessarily to indulge in that freedom thoughtlessly, for self-censorship is the essence of manners, but to have that freedom, for it's hard to say almost anything any more without offending someone.


I read this to say:

"I should have freedom to say anything I want and you should not have freedom to respond".

Presumably you only care if you offend someone if (a) there is a negative impact on you from the other person being offended or (b) you have a moral compunction against causing unnecessary injury to other persons. (b) is an internal prohibition against offending another person, so unless you are complaining that you are restricting your own freedom, you must be talking about (a). So what you are saying is, you should not have to suffer any consequences for saying anything that offends another person. Your freedom to offend trumps the other person's freedom to object to being offended.

Presumably, if you were the mayor of Los Alamitos, you would demand the freedom to send out jokes about watermelons and blacks and would demand that no one have the freedom to object, point out the obvious racial insult, make fun of you, call you mean names, or refuse to vote for you at the next election. How else is your "freedom" being infringed upon, other than through the natural consequences of your actions?

The problem I have with the extreme individualist viewpoint is that it only pays lip service to the rights of others to have their freedoms not be injured by your exercise of your freedoms. There is no principled reason that you should have the right to express an insult and I should not have a right to be offended and to express my offense. There is no just reason that your choice to say "blacks like watermelons" should trump my choice to say "you are an idiot for saying blacks like watermelons and I don't think you should be mayor of my town".

I really don't see what freedom of yours is being infringed if your actions have consequences. If I go onto Folks turf and want to shout People slogans, is my freedom to do so being infringed because doing so will get me killed? Should I be hurt that my freedom to offend the Folks at will is being infringed upon?

And really, if you did want to say "blacks like watermelons", how is your freedom to do that being infringed? People on this DB would criticize you? Oh, boo hoo. Your neighbors might not like you so much? Comes with the territory of being a rugged individualist. Your government boss might come in and say, you've violated a whole bunch of workplace policies against hate speech and we're going to suspend you? You had the freedom not to work at a place that has hate speech policies. You can go off and live in a cabin like the Unabomber and sit around and offend people all day, but when you do it around people, you should expect that sh*t will happen.

What you're saying is that someone else being offended offends you, and you should have the right to not be offended, but the other person shouldn't. You want immunity from being offended for yourself but no one you want to offend should have it.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/28/09 02:57 AM

Originally Posted By: EffBee
To have each group so separate itself culturally, physically, emotionally, socially that they cannot interrelate for fear that someone might FIND offense where none was intended is divisive, isolating, and destructive to the goal of a truly unified nation.


C'mon. Nobody is really talking about people accidentally offending each other. And before anybody brings up the councilman who didn't know that "black hole" was an astronomical term, nobody really suffered any harm for his stupidity.

Making jokes about blacks and watermelons is not accidentally insulting. If it wasn't intentionally insulting, it shows a depth of ignorance of the history of race relations in this country that itself imposes moral culpability. If you don't understand that you're using a symbol that is strongly identified by the minority with hundreds of years of oppression by the majority, you deserve to be verbally pilloried for your ignorance.

I think black people in this country have to wonder sometimes, why do white people not understand that symbols like watermelons, monkeys, nooses, Confederate flags, fat mammys, and the N-word have very powerful negative connotations in the context of the black-white relationship? Are they being uncaringly ignorant or intentionally indifferent? By eagerly quoting racial insults from the days of slavery and segregation, are they covertly expressing approval of those days? That's what's isolating and divisive, not somebody saying "Hey, we really don't like it when you say that because it reminds us of the bad old days".

If I try to walk into a mosque without taking off my shoes, somebody will point out to me that it's a grave insult to do that. Hopefully, I will take my shoes off because I now understand and because I respect the people in the mosque enough to want to not insult them. Are they being divisive and isolating? If I argue that they're infringing on my freedom to keep my shoes on even if it insults them, and insist on pushing my way in, wouldn't it be reasonable for them to conclude that I'm doing it out of animosity and disrespect?

There are some symbols in the black-white relationship that are so powerful, using them out of ignorance is itself an offense. It tells black people that white people really don't know how blacks got to where they are today, what they went though, that we haven't made an effort to know, and that we really don't particularly care to know.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/28/09 07:48 PM

Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith
Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith

I think it's ironic that Clint and his end of the political spectrum are always whining about how "liberals" are self-absorbed, and his whole comment can be summarized as "I want to say whatever I want without having to care if it offends somebody else". Sorry if it's too much trouble to think about other people's feelings. What an a**.


Eebie, maybe he wants the same thing I do. That's the freedom to say whatever I want without having to care if it offends somebody else. Not necessarily to indulge in that freedom thoughtlessly, for self-censorship is the essence of manners, but to have that freedom, for it's hard to say almost anything any more without offending someone.


I read this to say:

"I should have freedom to say anything I want and you should not have freedom to respond".


You read that wrong. Completely wrong. Freedom of speech, and the freedom to impose private consequences as a result of speech or actions, flow both ways. The government should play no part in it, nor should any organization funded by the government play any part in inhibiting freedom of speech. I speak particularly there to colleges, especially public colleges.

Perhaps I read you wrong, too, for from what I see, your position would lead you in very few steps to the kind of "hate speech" laws that have been put in place in Canada and other countries. Do you look upon those laws sympathetically?

Finally, I will say that I am not particularly sensitive to hurt feelings, mine, or others, although I do generally try to avoid giving gratuitous, unfounded offense as a matter of simple courtesy.

Pilgrim
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 02/28/09 10:19 PM

Hoo, not an easy subject to discuss, is it?

DavidEBSmith, were I to guess, I would bet my bottom dollar that you are a black man! I never thought I would ever meet a non-black man who understands how it feels to have to deal with these racial slights everyday to the level you do. You have paid close attention to the experiences of others who are not like you, and for that I commend you.

Our conversation on race must be held in a manner that is different from most other discussions. I would argue that the value of this conversation comes not from those who speak, but from those who listen. Anyone and everyone can and should feel free to speak freely and to know that they will be heard, no matter how different and unpopular their views might be. Yes, Dr. Martin Luther King's words will be heeded more than mine will, but that doesn't mean my sentiments are not legitimate and do not have value. DavidEBSmith might have incredible insight into the problem, but that doesn't mean his are the only views worth hearing. And I have learned much from everyone who posted on this thread even if I didn't appreciate the value of your views on first read. There are no right or wrong answers here, only real life experiences. To me, the only qualification a speaker must have is that they have lived life in the USA and have had interactions with people of other races.

That's how I view this subject; all views have value.

For what it's worth, I am going to comment on the very valuable sentiments expressed by Clint Eastwood, Pilgrim, EffBee, and others over the course of this thread with respect to the hypersensitivity blacks often have toward what we percieve as slights against us. I believe that the key to our collective maturity as a people (black Americans, specifically) rests in the very perspective these men have expressed.
Posted By: BendBill

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 12:08 AM

Whew, beemerman2K! Glad you're back on the thread. Most of all because the tone you set throughout the thread is most likely to promote conversation.

On several side issues, I have already noted logical fallacies that arise when ardent folks get too warm in advocacy: In one sidebar alone, I could count faulty generalization AND faulty cause/effect . Most recently came the straw man in intentionally altering the quote of another.

I personally know several academic types, nearly monomaniacal in their race/class/gender interests, who are willing to look favorably upon campus speech codes as long as they make people talk nice.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's been almost 40 years since Tom Wolfe pointed out how people with a bellyful of good intentions can make causes NOT work, or at least seem ridiculous. [At the time he was talking about Leonard Bernstein and his fashionable pandering of the Black Panthers, making sure his black servants were replaced by white ones for the party smirk


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,904627,00.html? Review of Wolfe’s “Radical Chic” and “Mau-Mauing the Flak Catcher”: “Few scenes could better reveal the painfully comic convulsions that beset oldfashioned, dead-serious liberalism in the age of the ripoff, the put-on, and the total acceptance of verbal overkill.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nowadays, listening to young college students, I'm convinced that the old-fashioned guiltmongering once used upon and by earnest liberals will merely be viewed as odd. Well before Obama, it already sounded dated.

Perspective: Obama was elected to worldwide applause. Numerous late-night comedians satirize the near-mystical adulation of the media, blacks and whites. Holder brings up the "nation of cowards." You starting--and almost presiding--over the thread.

Point: Young, forward-looking, articulate black intellectuals and consultants, like we saw on CNN before the election, and who Shelby Steele and Robert Boynton have been writing about for over a decade--I hope hope hope they become the leaders and spokesmen for any conversations about race.

Don't let it be taken over by any old guard. They succeded much sooner than they believed. It's time for new voices.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 02:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
The government should play no part in it, nor should any organization funded by the government play any part in inhibiting freedom of speech. I speak particularly there to colleges, especially public colleges.

Perhaps I read you wrong, too, for from what I see, your position would lead you in very few steps to the kind of "hate speech" laws that have been put in place in Canada and other countries. Do you look upon those laws sympathetically?


No. That's why I don't get why you and Clint are talking about restrictions on your freedom of speech. I don't think Al Sharpton protesting the NY Post or citizens complaining about the mayor of Los Alamitos involves any sort of government action, so it's not a first amendment issue, and I don't think anybody has (or should have) any sort of immunity from responses like that. For that matter, politicians or government officials expressing their negative opinions of someone's speech doesn't make it a first amendment issue, either, until they start trying to pass laws regulating the viewpoint they oppose.

I guess I'd have to disagree on the first part of this, insofar as, I can think of many legitimate situations where government restricts speech. Time/place/manner limits on political speech, billboard regulations, etc. etc.

An apropos example for this discussion would be a policy that prohibits speech that is racially/sexually/religiously offensive in the government workplace. Without getting into all the legal background on the tension between the first amendment and workplace discrimination laws, and because it starts getting into areas I can't opine about outside my employer, let's just cut to the chase and say that, if at my government workplace, somebody went around saying racially offensive things, I would expect that person to be disciplined, and I would not think that "freedom of speech" would be a particularly good defense.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 05:38 AM

OK, as if I haven't spilled enough of my guts already, what I'm going to say here really needs to say among us (right, fat chance, I know). I am simply saying that the perspectives and thoughts that I am about to share would rank among the most controversial ever said about black America. So it's a good thing I'm a nobody or this could get some feathers all in a tizzy!

Earlier in this thread, I mentioned my paternal grandfather, Moses Granberry of Moscow, TN. He passed away at the age of 84 back in the summer of 1999. That would place the year of his birth at 1915. No doubt he saw a lot over the course of his lifetime with respect to race relations in this country.

I asked him once what he thought of the Civil Rights Movement. He felt that it was ultimately a great cause, but he felt that at the time, we black Americans were not really ready for the freedom we were fighting for. He felt that it takes a real sense of maturity to be able to navigate your way in a truly free society, and that maturity was lacking among us blacks in his view.

And that, he told me, was the true and ultimate damage to black America from the institution of slavery. More than the labor or the brutality -- something that even "free" people often have to bear up under -- it was the complete dependence upon another for one's own well being. For countless generations, blacks lived lives unaware of the skills necessary to survive and to prosper in this country. Unable to read or to write, count money, work with financial institutions, and engage in other exercises necessary to conduct life in America, these slaves were totally dependent upon their masters for their survival.

To my grandfather, we had not yet fully grown up as a people as of the 60's. We really didn't yet appreciate what it really meant to be responsible for ones own well being, and for the well being of your family, your community, your race, and your country. I have thought much about what he told me and I think I see what he means. Whenever I see what I consider to be the unhealthy lifestyles of my fellow black Americans -- substance abuse, disrespecting law enforcement and other social authorities (teachers, parents, the elderly, political leaders), when I see the gansta rap culture spout their self righteous pronouncements against our country and those who are charged with its peace, when I see our terrible family structures -- or complete lack of a family structure! -- I am reminded of what my grandfather told me. Yes, in many respects, we have not yet grown up as a people. We too often live like children in need of outside authorities to look after us (this is probably the reason why the "center" of black America is to the "left" of American in general).

I think it was tallman who pointed out that 90% of the Africans brought over in the Slave Trade ended up at destinations outside of the United States. Those slaves, and of course our African brothers and sisters, weren't subject to the kind of treatment black American slaves were that created in us a sense of dependency. Therefore, many of them come to this country and wonder why black Americans aren't taking greater advantage of all that this place has to offer. They come from more mature cultures with more responsible values and a more directed purpose.

OK, my point. I am no sociologist, but I would bet my bottom dollar (although I already lost my bottom dollar to DavidEBSmith when he posted his remarkable understanding of what blacks go through, but let's pretend I still have another dollar left) that it is much more difficult to, on average, insult an African or a West Indian than it is a black American. Why? Different histories for one -- those words don't mean the same to them as they do to us because they were not oppressed by the same system that created them. But I think another reason is because they come from more mature cultures. And therefore, they don't allow themselves to be so offended by the ill meaning words of others.

Come to think of it, I am reading Barack Obama's book, "Dreams from my Father", and in it, he says this about an encounter his father had with a racist man in Hawaii (the Barack in this story is the father of our President, and "Gramps" is our President's maternal grandfather):

Quote:
In fact, I can only recall only one story that dealt explicitly with race; as I got older, it would be repeated more often, as if it captured the essence of the morality tale that my father's life had become. According to the story, after long hours of study, my father had joined my grandfather and several other friends at a local Waikiki bar. Everyone was in a festive mood, eating and drinking to the sounds of a slack-key guitar, when a white man abruptly announced to the bartender, loudly enough for everyone to hear, that he shouldn't have to drink good liquor "next to a nigger." The room fell quiet and people turned to my father, expecting a fight. Instead, my father stood up, walked over to the man, smiled, and proceeded to lecture him about the folly of bigotry, the promise of the American dream, and the universal rights of man. "This fella felt so bad when Barack was finished," Gramps would say, "that he reached into his pocket and gave Barack a hundred dollars on the spot. Paid for all our drinks and puu-puus for the rest of the night -- and your dad's rent for the rest of the month." - Page 10-11 (in the hardcover version of the book)


Therefore, (I know, finally, right?) we black Americans still have a ways to go to reach full maturity as a people. We need to learn to stop giving others the power to offend us and instead, to turn such occasions as opportunities for understanding (if at all possible). At the very least we need to learn the power that we have to enable or disable the ability of someone else to offend us.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 05:54 AM

You know what? I would love to read a similar thread concerning women's issues. While I think it has the potential to be just as controversial as a thread on race, I think most of us guys acknowledge that we don't understand women at all (as our many nights sleeping on the couch can attest to!).

Personally, I believe that women in general have suffered from the same "parental" type treatment from men that black Americans have from whites. I think that this has produced a similar dependence in women on men that blacks have toward whites -- in fact, probably more so. Much more so I think.

In any case, I think it's easier for a white person to understand a black person than it is for a man to understand a woman. So I would readily and heartily welcome such a thread if any of you female readers are interested thumbsup
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 03:57 PM

James,
Last night my wife and I went to an event sponsored by the Black History Cultural Club.
"Change, Where do we go from here?"
I find your comments about geographic influences interesting.
The drummers and dancers from West Africa and the Carribean were fantastic and stayed for the entire evening.
The step artists and hip hop performers from a local university left when their performance was over.
They missed out on more than they could imagine.
The keynote speaker is a former student of my wife who taught her in the 1980's.
That lady now has her Doctorate and it was moving to hear her acknowledge my wife and her father as the two major influences in her life.
She stated that it was the encouragement, support, and example my wife offered her during High School that gve her the inspiration
to pursue the path that has led her to become recognized as an expert in the field of low level socio-economic students and how to motivate them.
Strangely enough, on Friday, another "lady" accused my wife of being a racist b***h not willing to do anything to help her son (who was disciplined for beating the tar out of another student).
This "lady" has three students by three different fathers, none of whom are involved in the family.
The kids are in trouble and struggle with school. The mom's take is anyone who doesn't give in to her demands is a racist.
I don't hold out hope for her to change and find it unlikely her kids will either. I hope, however, I'm wrong about that.
My point is that racism is a two way street. No matter how well intentioned you may be, someone may not accept what you've done because you are different than they are, so it was "racism" that caused you to do that (either positive or negative) thing.
"You only did that so people don't think you're a racist" is as much of a problem as "you did that because you are a racist".
Best wishes.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 04:38 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
But I think another reason is because they come from more mature cultures. And therefore, they don't allow themselves to be so offended by the ill meaning words of others.


I think this is at the center of Kent/Fernando's lament, and the point I made earlier in this thread ("anything you say can and will be used against you..."). Some people are so hypersensitive that it appears as if they are deliberately looking for the most offensive interpretation of anything anyone says to them.

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Originally Posted By: Barack Obama
...he shouldn't have to drink good liquor "next to a nigger."


Now that you've broken the ice with that quote, I can use that troubling word to further my point. "Nigger" is now widely interpreted as being so incredibly, unmitigably offensive, that in mainstream media you will almost never see it in print or hear it uttered. That is to say, context no longer matters, and as far as broadcast radio and television are concerned, "nigger" falls in the same category as Carlin's infamous Seven Dirty Words, despite the fact that the FCC has no problem with it.

When a word is considered so offensive that it overrides the defining power of context - so that a discussion even about the word becomes cumbersome - I think that just makes white folks want to back away slowly.

As an aside, the weird thing to me is that "nigger" is kind of meaningless, in terms of its etymology. The word is a corruption of the original Spanish/Portuguese word "negro," which simply means black. And yet, "nigger" carries more baggage than slurs that are deliberately constructed from words that bring definite meaning, such as "porch monkey" or "jungle bunny."
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 07:02 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k

In any case, I think it's easier for a white person to understand a black person than it is for a man to understand a woman.


"We all know that men and women are different – "different" doesn’t begin to cover the ground, we aren’t even the same species. In fact, we’re so different I’m surprised we can breed.
Why is that?"


Taken from Men Are Hunters - Women Are Berrypickers copyright Kent Lundgren, 1999.

Black men and white men are the same species, but the male and female of each race have been misclassified as the same species. Thus, understanding and communication are easier in one case than in the other.

Pilgrim
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 10:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
As an aside, the weird thing to me is that "nigger" is kind of meaningless, in terms of its etymology. The word is a corruption of the original Spanish/Portuguese word "negro," which simply means black. And yet, "nigger" carries more baggage than slurs that are deliberately constructed from words that bring definite meaning, such as "porch monkey" or "jungle bunny."


Oooooooooooooooh! eek

OK, that's it. I'm calling for a race riot at Mitch's place. Who's in?!

(Oh wait, you're an engineer, aren't you Mitch? Maybe we can take 5 from the rioting and you can take a look at my bike, OK?)

Alright, change of plans. Race riot/Tech Daze at Mitch's! rofl

I didn't realize that using the word "nigger" was being so avoided in this discussion. Yes, context is everything, and if we're going to openly discuss race, then we have to openly discuss race!

The funny thing about that term is that, as you know, blacks often use it against one another. It's our sick humor that implicitly says, "you know those horrible and disgusting stereotypes whites put upon us? I totally reject those images, but in your case, the shoe fits" rofl That's the sick humor behind us calling one another that term.

OK, having said that, I loath the term. I do not use it nor do I permit other blacks to use it on me. I appreciate the humor behind its usage, and if these knuckleheads had the sense enough to limit their use to private contexts I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with it (although I would think to myself that we need to elevate our own image of ourselves).

I think the other very real concern among us blacks is this: we are a minority in virtually every context in which we live, from work to school to the gym to sports to ... So the last thing we want to have to tolerate is folks carelessly tossing around insulting terms, and then telling us not to be so thin-skinned about it! Yes, that word only as the meaning that I assign to it, and it only has the value that I assign to the speaker. Agreed. But I still don't want to have to hear racially demeaning terms as I live my life. This kind of scenario is a nightmare one among us black folks, so that has a lot to do with the hyper-sensitive reaction you might get from us if we perceive a lack of respect based upon our race.

To that, I can only say what I have already said many times: stand strong and do the right thing! If your attempts at reconciliation are mistaken for racism, do not take it personally. Do not! Stand strong! Your sentiments are not in vain. Your listener might need some time, but usually, eventually, your message of freedom and understanding will sink in. Of that I am pretty confident thumbsup
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 10:37 PM

Originally Posted By: tallman
My point is that racism is a two way street. No matter how well intentioned you may be, someone may not accept what you've done because you are different than they are, so it was "racism" that caused you to do that (either positive or negative) thing.

"You only did that so people don't think you're a racist" is as much of a problem as "you did that because you are a racist".
Best wishes.


Yes, this is a tough scenario to have to deal with. Again, say the right thing (and your conscience is the judge of what the "right thing to say" is), and do the right thing, and then move on.

OK, since I'm into quoting folks, allow me to share one of my favorite passages from the Christian Bible to make a point:

Quote:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, i will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eyes and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eyes", when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.


These are the words of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded by his apostle Matthew in the 7th chapter (and can I get an amen? ..AMEN! OK, time to pass the plate smile)

When we first dwell on the problems and faults of another, that creates an environment of hostility and conflict. Little will be accomplished here. But when we first dwell on our own shortcomings, all manner of doors open up. What Jesus is saying here is not Christian doctrine, it's the reality of how humans behave! You don't need an ounce of Christian faith to see and understand the point he is making.

When a black person is caught up in dwelling on the perceived speck of saw dust in the eyes of a white person, or when a white person is dwelling on the speck of sawdust in the black person's eye, you can forget about communication and understanding. It ain't gonna happen.

The best thing that we can do is to first take the plank out of our own eye. In other words, approach the conversation by first admitting your own faults, even if that fault is your failure to understand certain concepts (like I don't understand why that NY Post cartoon was racially offensive or I don't understand why you think everything I do is because I am a racist. Help me out here, would you please?). If the person you are dealing with has integrity, they will reciprocate with a mutual open attitude that invites your input as well.

I remember a friend of mine named Terry, who belonged to a Christian group I used to belong to back in college when he said to Jim, another friend of mine, "brother, please help me to remove the plank from my own eye". To that, Jim responded with, "but why?". Then Terry said, "so I can see clearly to remove the speck from your eye". This was Terry's diplomatic way of wanting to discuss a problem he was having with Jim, but also wanting to first invite Jim to comment on Terry's own short comings. I was quite impressed with Terry's approach to the problem they were having.

I have noticed that in the course of this thread, when I have openly admitted or discussed shortcomings in the black community, it was follow up with whites discussing how they have fallen short as well. Go back and peruse this thread and you'll see the pattern I am talking about. "Openness breeds openness" my preacher used to say.

In any case, it's this type of non-defensive attitude that everyone is going to have to adapt for us as a nation to have a successful conversation on race. Clearly, not everyone is ready for such an engagement, but we will be someday. Of that I have no doubt.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/01/09 11:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
Black men and white men are the same species, but the male and female of each race have been misclassified as the same species. Thus, understanding and communication are easier in one case than in the other.

Pilgrim


I remember when a woman I knew, who was a student at Harvard University, said to me, "there is greater variation within the respective genders than there is across genders". In other words, there is greater variation between men there there is between men and women, and vice versa eek

Needless to say, I cannot more strongly disagree with that sentiment, but it's out there. So don't be surprised if not everyone agrees with you, Pilgrim.
Posted By: BendBill

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 05:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
[quote=beemerman2k]
Now that you've broken the ice with that quote, I can use that troubling word to further my point. "Nigger" is now widely interpreted as being so incredibly, unmitigably offensive, that in mainstream media you will almost never see it in print or hear it uttered. That is to say, context no longer matters, and as far as broadcast radio and television are concerned, "nigger" falls in the same category as Carlin's infamous Seven Dirty Words, despite the fact that the FCC has no problem with it.

When a word is considered so offensive that it overrides the defining power of context - so that a discussion even about the word becomes cumbersome - I think that just makes white folks want to back away slowly.

As an aside, the weird thing to me is that "nigger" is kind of meaningless, in terms of its etymology. The word is a corruption of the original Spanish/Portuguese word "negro," which simply means black. And yet, "nigger" carries more baggage than slurs that are deliberately constructed from words that bring definite meaning, such as "porch monkey" or "jungle bunny."


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Great post, Mitch. Now I must ask: Aren't there ANY other academics out there who can join in? People who teach and profess that "context" is much more a factor than the above statement implies?

One of my colleagues and friends, with her doctorate in speech and impeccable alternative credentials ala Berkeley/transgender/Marxist and the usual Bay Area staples, once answered an angry white male student's aggrieved statement that blacks could say the n-word while he, the white victim, was muzzled. Her calm reply was that context was key: whites saying the word linked it to a history of degradation, but most importantly to a public show of power. Blacks, especially certain classes and in some contexts, "appropriated" the term for themselves. [Speech theorists love to say "appropriated" cool]

Seemed like a good distinction to me in a world short of distinctions.

But then there are those young folks again: several weeks ago, one of my son's friends, a young black police officer who rides sport bikes with us, used the word in joking about my son's riding moves in the twisties. None of the 5-6 folks [25-35 yrs] in the group even gave it a passing shrug. Which left me wondering: Is that the new cool? Or a sign of the degradation of language?
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 02:16 PM

Bill,
This is a discussion I have often w/students.
I disagree w/the Speech Doctor.
IMO, using the "N" word, or words like; "Ho", "Bitch", "fag", "mick", "spic", "kike", "Jap", "chink", "wetback", "Halfbreed",
"gook", "slant eye", and all the other words that are/were used in a negative manner with regard to a specific group cannot be rehabilitated through "appropriation".
One might even argue that to have the group that the slur was directed at incorporate the word
into their everyday speech would be a victory for the original group that used the word
in its most negative connotation.
To me, the context doesn't erase the past.
On New Year's Day, Beth and I were sitting on our deck.
Behind our house is a multi-family complex.
A car pulled up blasting music.
"F*** you My N****r" and many other verses similar to this came blasting through the woods, easliy heard from over 100 yards away.
The fact that it was a Black Man playing the music did not in any way, IMO, liberate, minimize, rehabilitate, or make positive, the "N" word.
It seemed more like a pathetic cry from someone who has little understanding of, or use for History.
I do not want my daughters, my wife, my friends who are female called "ho's".
Nor do I think that using defamatory, inflamatory language by the group it was intended to insult changes the fact that once upon a time, and in many cases unfortunately, still upon this time, the word was a powerful tool used by intolerant people.
Now I also tell students not to let words have power over you.
I tell them not to fight just becasue someone says X.
I believe that words only have the power we allow them to have.
But, some words, IMO, like some incantations, are better left unspoken.
It would be better, IMO, to find a new word, a word that is a positive word, a word that emphasizes the good found in people and use that word instead of recycling a word replete witha history of hate,
intolerance, bigotry, injustice, legal abuse, and criminal misdeeds.
I have a suggestion.
Yo, my Man.
For being a Man is what it takes to correct the problems of today.
Your friend w/the Doctorate may accomplish more good in the long run by emphasizing the
fact that data shows that having a Man in the plan can do more to fascilitate success in school and life than all the offensive words in the world shouted at the top of your voice.
Best wishes.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 03:05 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
OK, that's it. I'm calling for a race riot at Mitch's place. Who's in?!

(Oh wait, you're an engineer, aren't you Mitch? Maybe we can take 5 from the rioting and you can take a look at my bike, OK?)


rofl rofl rofl

I am indeed an engineer. I place a high value on reason and logic, and I prize rational discourse. Given the difficulty we have discussing something so universal as politics, it's been amazing, gratifying, and edifying to see such a fruitful discussion unfolding here in one of the most difficult, volatile venues available: the internet discussion board. Thanks for getting the ball rolling, James. thumbsup

Your grandfather's perspective on the effects of slavery was one I hadn't encountered before. I've only ever heard of the damage caused by the oppression of black people for so long; the idea that relieving black people of the burden of managing their own freedom for many generations may have left them ill-prepared to manage their own freedom when the time came is intriguing.

My own short experience with mismanaging newfound freedom? In May '91, after a year of making the Dean's list, I turned 21. This meant I now had access to alcohol, not just when I managed to get it, but whenever I wanted it; that is to say, I had not yet been burdened with managing my own alcohol consumption. For the next few months of summer school, I found myself trying to study advanced engineering subject matter with a beer or three in my hand every night. Result? A "B" in heat transfer, a dropped thermodynamics course, and an "F" in metallurgy. Oops. dopeslap I did better the following summer, by which time I had learned some self-displine: homework first, then large quantities of beer. grin

For a fictional example, look to Shawshank Redemption: Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore's character) had been incarcerated for so long that he was terrified of being released from prison. He nearly killed a man to stay in prison, and ultimately committed suicide after he was released. Red (Morgan Freeman) had trouble adjusting after he was released, but the movie hinted at the difficulty of adjusting the sudden change from total oppression to total freedom.

So now I'm imagining an entire generation of newly-freed slaves who have never before experienced the burden of managing their own freedom - of making their own decisions about when, where, how to live. Continued oppression by the white majority was certainly a huge obstacle, but the lack of any experience or even cultural knowledge of self-determination/discipline/management must have been at least as big a factor.
Posted By: EffBee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 03:58 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
I asked him once what he thought of the Civil Rights Movement. He felt that it was ultimately a great cause, but he felt that at the time, we black Americans were not really ready for the freedom we were fighting for. He felt that it takes a real sense of maturity to be able to navigate your way in a truly free society, and that maturity was lacking among us blacks in his view...

...For countless generations, blacks lived lives unaware of the skills necessary to survive and to prosper in this country. Unable to read or to write, count money, work with financial institutions, and engage in other exercises necessary to conduct life in America, these slaves were totally dependent upon their masters for their survival...

...I have thought much about what he told me and I think I see what he means. Whenever I see what I consider to be the unhealthy lifestyles of my fellow black Americans -- substance abuse, disrespecting law enforcement and other social authorities (teachers, parents, the elderly, political leaders), when I see the gansta rap culture spout their self righteous pronouncements against our country and those who are charged with its peace, when I see our terrible family structures -- or complete lack of a family structure! -- I am reminded of what my grandfather told me. Yes, in many respects, we have not yet grown up as a people...

I think it was tallman who pointed out that 90% of the Africans brought over in the Slave Trade ended up at destinations outside of the United States. Those slaves, and of course our African brothers and sisters, weren't subject to the kind of treatment black American slaves were that created in us a sense of dependency. Therefore, many of them come to this country and wonder why black Americans aren't taking greater advantage of all that this place has to offer. They come from more mature cultures with more responsible values and a more directed purpose...

...Therefore, (I know, finally, right?) we black Americans still have a ways to go to reach full maturity as a people. We need to learn to stop giving others the power to offend us and instead, to turn such occasions as opportunities for understanding (if at all possible). At the very least we need to learn the power that we have to enable or disable the ability of someone else to offend us.


Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Continued oppression by the white majority was certainly a huge obstacle, but the lack of any experience or even cultural knowledge of self-determination/discipline/management must have been at least as big a factor.


James, your comment is admirable in its candor, and I know you have placed a lot of trust in us by being so honest. I might otherwise take issue with the broadbrush approach of "we as a race," because I see so many, many examples of blacks who understand perfectly the responsibilities and duties that come with true freedom. But I'll acquiesce to your general statement and forego the hair splitting.

I wonder, though, given when the Civil Rights movement began, and the generations that have followed, if the sense of continued victimization which seems to keep many from learning how to handle the fullness of life on their own, still comes in the majority from treatment by whites? With black ordained and non-ordained "ministers," black television hosts, black media personalities, black entertainment personalities, even attorneys general and presidents bombarding their own race about how they're still getting the short end, does this not hold greater sway in holding back a people from saying, "it's there and its ours if we want it, all we have to do is master it." And if so, then what would be the motivation for all of the above to continue to beat down a people by telling them that it's NOT available to them or that they have to have life's equalities GIVEN to them rather than, always having been worthy and deserving of them, simply have to master the process of learning to use them? Would it be that their popularity base, power and money stems from maintaining an inflamed race issue?

If the audience were yours to speak to, what advice would you give Black America? And equally, white America?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 04:24 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
Black men and white men are the same species, but the male and female of each race have been misclassified as the same species. Thus, understanding and communication are easier in one case than in the other.

Pilgrim


I remember when a woman I knew, who was a student at Harvard University, said to me, "there is greater variation within the respective genders than there is across genders". In other words, there is greater variation between men there there is between men and women, and vice versa eek

Needless to say, I cannot more strongly disagree with that sentiment, but it's out there. So don't be surprised if not everyone agrees with you, Pilgrim.


That rattling sound you hear in the background is me digging through my chatboard toolbox in search of the tongue-in-cheek icon that I just know is here somewhere . . .

Because I don't want to change the thrust of this valuable thread, I'm not going to respond to your Harvard acquaintance's remark, other than to say I think she is badly mistaken. Further discussion along that line should be in another thread.

Pilgrim
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 04:37 PM

I note for interest's sake, that according to the historical news clip I saw this morning, it has been 202 years since the United States banned the importation of slaves. It was a step of the possible toward eliminating the cancer that so undermined our professed ideals.

And we think we have a political divide in this country today, and we're so concerned that one legislative act or another will have an adverse economic impact on once class or another.

It took a fraternal bloodletting of epic proportions to work it out, but work it out we did. Now, if we can just keep in mind the price we've paid to get to where we are, and not throw it all away.

Pilgrim
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 06:46 PM

Originally Posted By: EffBee
James, your comment is admirable in its candor, and I know you have placed a lot of trust in us by being so honest. I might otherwise take issue with the broadbrush approach of "we as a race," because I see so many, many examples of blacks who understand perfectly the responsibilities and duties that come with true freedom. But I'll acquiesce to your general statement and forego the hair splitting.


This absolutely is a gross generalization. Some black families have made significantly more progress than others. Some didn't have to start from as far down the social ladder as others, too. Some got lucky by migrating north to work in the factories, which led to other opportunities as well. But yes, this is a very giant generalization.

Originally Posted By: EffBee
I wonder, though, given when the Civil Rights movement began, and the generations that have followed, if the sense of "victimization" which seems to keep many from learning how to handle the fullness of life on their own, still comes in the majority from treatment by whites? With black ordained and non-ordained "ministers," black television hosts, black media personalities, black entertainment personalities, even attorneys general and presidents bombarding the black community about how they're still getting the short end, does this not hold greater sway in holding back a people from saying, "it's there and its ours if we want it, all we have to do is master it." And if so, then what would be the motivation for all of the above to continue to beat down a people by telling them that it's NOT available to them or that they have to have life's equalities GIVEN to them rather than, always having been worthy and deserving of them, now have to learn to use them. Would it be that their popularity base, power and money stems from maintaining an inflamed race issue?

If the audience were yours to speak to, what advice would you give Black America? And equally, white America?



I'm kinda chuckling to myself here; leave it to EffBee to just get right to the heart of the matter! I've been dancing around for pages upon pages, but EffBee is going to nail me down right here and now cool

My answer will contain some more gross generalizations, but my hope is that you add it to the bucket of information you use to interpret what you see going on out there. My views might add some value, or they might not. But since you asked...

I have already answered your question, really, I just didn't phrase it as such. I will again refer to the quote by Jesus of Nazareth:

Originally Posted By: Jesus of Nazareth
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, i will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eyes and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eyes", when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.


Were I given the floor for a minute, I would first address black Americans. I would call for the immediate end to what I entitle the "bitterness movements" among us. This very mindset was characterized by many over the course of this thread, but probably most pointedly by tallman when he wrote:

Originally Posted By: tallman
My point is that racism is a two way street. No matter how well intentioned you may be, someone may not accept what you've done because you are different than they are, so it was "racism" that caused you to do that (either positive or negative) thing.
"You only did that so people don't think you're a racist" is as much of a problem as "you did that because you are a racist".


The bitterness movement holds strong to the idea that says this: "I am an innocent victim and you are a guilty perpetrator". Therefore, you see no signs of self examination, no sense of introspection, no humility among those with this mindset.

Now, I honestly do have respect for the aims and goals of such groups as the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam. They have done much good for blacks over the years to bring about equal rights and social justice, and even helping us to see why we should consider ourselves worthy of being treated as equal citizens. But my criticism of these groups is that they crystalized the "bitterness movement" mentality and made it popular and mainstream in black consciousness. You want to have a very short career as a black leader in this country? Refute the black "bitterness movement". In my opinion, many of today's civil rights leaders are merely the latest advocates of what I call the "bitterness movement".

I believe that Louis Farrakhan lived long enough to see the unhealthy results of bitterness movement thinking, and that's why he organized the "Million Man March" in Washington, DC back in 1995. The whole point of that gathering was simply this: let us first take the plank out of our own eye, and then we will see clearly enough to remove the speck from our white brother's eye That was the point of that gathering. Unfortunately, the energy from that time has dissipated over time and seems to have been lost.

I believe black need such a gathering on an annual basis for a time where we address the plank in our own eye. In such a meeting we collectively agree that:

- you have a run in with law enforcment? Nobody is going to riot over your butt if you were arrested in the context of something that does not represent our ideals (work, family, church, politics). In other words, if you were out speeding or driving while drunk or gang banging, you're on your own!

- you have a run in at school, nobody is going to riot over your butt unless you are at least a B student. Otherwise, you're on your own.

- a newspaper prints something you find offensive? Don't buy the paper and move on. End of story.

Now maybe we can filter out the whining to only those cases that seem to truly have a legitimate unjust element to them. As of now, it's out of control.

Dr. King had it on straight and I believe time and history has shown his words to be those that called us all to where we need to be as a country. King had faith in America! King had faith in you, too. He lived by this faith and he died by it, too. King was a good man and he was right! King was not a spokesman for the "bitterness movement". In fact, he loathed such sentiments. King was a spokesman for the "American Ideal" movement! And it's the work of that movement that black American needs to recommit itself to.

So no more dwelling on the speck of sawdust in the eyes of white America! No more! Time to dwell *SOLELY* on the plank that is in our own eyes as black Americans. Time for us to *openly* address our own shortcomings! Time for us to consider forming an apology to white Americans for the countless mischaracterizations of their actions and intentions as being racist when they were not!

And if we're going to learn to better manage our freedoms, that means we're going to learn how to become students. And if we're going to become students, then we're going to learn to listen to everyone who cares enough to speak their minds -- be it those sentiments that address where we are now (like DavidEBSmith) and those that address where we need to be (like Clint Eastwood, Pilgrim, EffBee, and others over the course of this thread). One thing all these Americans have in common is that they have always been free and therefore they have something of value to teach those of us who come from lineages that have been tainted with slavery. Not every bit of information will be readily received, but it will be listened to, considered, and recalled when we reach that appropriate level of maturity to where we can appreciate the information in its proper context.

Mitch: that reference to that film, "The Shawshank Redemption" is a very good one. Great film and a great mataphore for the concept I am trying to bring forth. As black Americans, we were "institutionalized" by slavery, segregation, and paternalistic government programs. Now it's time for us to leave those bad perspectives behind and join the fight for independence!

Now, were we to actually do this -- to promote this message, these values, and this ethic -- here's what I would bet my other bottom dollar on: America in general would fully embrace this movement by blacks to 1) truly let go of yesterday 2) thank the society at large for their involvement in our freedoms even when we failed to realize it and to appreciate it 3) and to fully embrace the rights and responsibilities of a free people. Many of the social problems we face would disappear overnight. And what of those rare instances when white truly are taking advantage of blacks or the poor? Society at large would totally condemn such actions long before blacks even got word of it because nobody honors a person who would step on another who is trying to do what is right.

No more bitterness movements! No more bitterness mindsets! Humility, openness, honesty, faith, first addressing the plank in our own eye so we can see clearly to remove the speck of sawdust in our brothers eye. These are the values I would have black America embrace!

Now, as you mentioned EffBee, many black American families have already crossed this bridge. They have long ago left behind these bitterness mindsets if they ever had them to begin with. They live as full and free Americans and they do not see the world in "black and white", but in "red, white, and blue" thumbsup So they would serve as even more powerful examples and leaders than most white could simply because they can say, "here's how we rose from the ashes".

But these aren't the kind of families being pointed out by tallman, motorinla, or others in this thread, so my message is not directed at those black families that do appreciate all that America has to offer.

In fact, my only message to them is that they continue to do what they do and to serve as examples for the rest of the country.

My message to whites in America is what I have said all thread long: do not allow yourselves to be deterred by misunderstandings, conflicts, mischaracterizations of your motives as being "racist" or anything else. What you have to say is of great value! I would also call upon us all to do what blacks need to do and that is to continually address the planks in your own eyes as well. Not just for race relations but so that we can all have healthy souls that continue to strive for a better society.

But my strongest words are for the black Americans who subscribe to the message of the bitterness movements, who do not look at the plank in their own eyes, and who dwell on the speck of dust in the eyes of whites in America. It is this group that I am addressing first and foremost -- which includes me, too, by the way. I learn a lot in this forum from you all, so you'll even see growth from me if you go back and read what I might have written in the past that contradicts what I might write now. That's called growth! And for that I am thankful. When I debate you, I am not looking to defeat you, I am simply trying to understand where you are coming from and to have my doubts addressed to see if you can help me make sense of the things in my mind that do not line up with what you are promoting. But I always reserve the right to grow in my understanding. So all you ever get to see is a snapshot of where I stand at this point in time. You are perfectly free to affect that snapshot if you'd like, because I will listen to what you have to say.

I hope this answers your question EffBee. This is the most honest, open, and heartfelt response I can generate to your inquiry.
Posted By: EffBee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 07:21 PM

James, my eyes actually have tears in them at your courage and honesty. We ALL still have a long way to go. And the path we're all on does not seem to be leading to enlightenment --- only more bitterness, finger pointing, accusations, damage, destruction, and (hopefully not) violence.

The cause of race relations, growth, strength, pride and national unity would be well served to have a million more voices like yours be heard, and listened to. I wonder if that's possible if there's no money in it for the leaders on either side?


Posted By: Boone60

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 08:18 PM

Originally Posted By: EffBee
James, my eyes actually have tears in them at your courage and honesty. We ALL still have a long way to go. And the path we're all on does not seem to be leading to enlightenment --- only more bitterness, finger pointing, accusations, damage, destruction, and (hopefully not) violence.

The cause of race relations, growth, strength, pride and national unity would be well served to have a million more voices like yours be heard, and listened to. I wonder if that's possible if there's no money in it for the leaders on either side?



I think so. The election of Obama does much to remove the us vs. them struggle, and his policies may well show that this nation is trying for what we hope is best.
Posted By: Stir

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 10:17 PM

Beemerman,
Eloquent choice of words. Too bad they can't play to a broader audience.
Posted By: EffBee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/02/09 11:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Boone60
Originally Posted By: EffBee
James, my eyes actually have tears in them at your courage and honesty. We ALL still have a long way to go. And the path we're all on does not seem to be leading to enlightenment --- only more bitterness, finger pointing, accusations, damage, destruction, and (hopefully not) violence.

The cause of race relations, growth, strength, pride and national unity would be well served to have a million more voices like yours be heard, and listened to. I wonder if that's possible if there's no money in it for the leaders on either side?



I think so. The election of Obama does much to remove the us vs. them struggle, and his policies may well show that this nation is trying for what we hope is best.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. There is a segment, and it is not small, who claim that the 47% of the population who did not vote for Mr. Obama did so because they are racist, rather than accepting that there were political and ideological differences between the candidates. Thus the divisive inflamers, who seem to want to maintain the breach between the races, are still at it, even in victory. Again, I ask, what motivates them? Is it not that there is money to be made, power to be secured? Racial harmony would cost a lot of these people their jobs, their platforms, their influence.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 12:07 AM

Originally Posted By: EffBee
Again, I ask, what motivates them? Is it not that there is money to be made, power to be secured? Racial harmony would cost a lot of these people their jobs, their platforms, their influence.


This was my point much earlier in the thread: entities/individuals whose existence/relevance depends on racial strife will not be particularly thrilled to see total racial harmony.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 02:13 AM

The "divisive inflamers" may be maintaining their own power by preserving racial disharmony, but they may also be raising legitimate issues while doing it. And it's temptingly easy to blame all racial disharmony on the professional race-mongers, but that's a gross oversimplification.

The difficulty of race is that we like to have a single simple solution for everything, and in this area, there is no single simple solution. Making Al Sharpton shut up will not cure racial disharmony. There are plenty of reasons for disharmony without the Sharptons stirring up new ones.

James talked the legacy of slavery and learned helplessness. Other people have talked about personal initiative and simply putting the past behind. The reality is, everybody's right to some extent. The effects of history are there for everybody, some more than others. It's not a uniform burden. Nor are the skills to overcome that burden uniformly distributed. Some people have them more than others. Saying "black people need to stop being divisive", "black people just need to work harder and stop expecting handouts", or "black people can't get ahead because of the lingering effects of racism" are all gross oversimplifications as much as "black people like watermelon and fried chicken".

People have raised a lot of issues and arguments regarding race in this discussion. None of them is the universal answer, and perhaps there isn't one (or perhaps there is.)
Posted By: EffBee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 02:28 AM

Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith
The "divisive inflamers" may be maintaining their own power by preserving racial disharmony, but they may also be raising legitimate issues while doing it. And it's temptingly easy to blame all racial disharmony on the professional race-mongers, but that's a gross oversimplification.

The difficulty of race is that we like to have a single simple solution for everything, and in this area, there is no single simple solution. Making Al Sharpton shut up will not cure racial disharmony. There are plenty of reasons for disharmony without the Sharptons stirring up new ones.


Ah, but imagine the far simpler job before us all if we could get the "divisive inflamers" to stop sewing the seeds of bitterness and discontent.

But as long as they persist, then any further effort stands a good chance of being sabotaged by their venom. Should we then not do anything? Of course not. But what we should do first, IMO, is to silence them or come to an understanding of what their goals are thus neutering their efforts. And that is a directive that cannot come from the white world. As James pointed out, it's really not in our hands any more.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 08:13 AM

Originally Posted By: EffBee
Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Making Al Sharpton shut up will not cure racial disharmony. There are plenty of reasons for disharmony without the Sharptons stirring up new ones.


But as long as they persist, then any further effort stands a good chance of being sabotaged by their venom. Should we then not do anything? Of course not. But what we should do first, IMO, is to silence them or come to an understanding of what their goals are thus neutering their efforts.


Under what pretext and how would one 'make Al Sharpton shut up' or '...silence them...'? Do you suppose that would have any negative repercussions?

'There is a segment, and it is not small, who claim that the 47% of the population who did not vote for Mr. Obama did so because they are racist'.

Do you really want to make such unsupportable and patently incredible statements the underpinnings of your argument?
Posted By: EffBee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 07:11 PM

What "we" as a nation should do first is to come together and tell the divisive elements that while much remains to be done, we're going to focus on the positive that has been done, move forward from that point, and that their disruptive influence is no longer welcome.

As for my statement, it is neither unsupportable nor patently incredible. If you didn't watch much of the media, its commentators and its guests, if you didn't read the dozens and dozens of online blogs and the thousands of comments made therein, I can't help you.

On to less accusatory issues, I can't thank the people on this board enough for the absolutely professional way they have handled this incredibly controversial issue. We've seen differing opinions handled (mostly) without the animus and bickering that a highly charged topic like this can generate. James (beemerman2k) you and I have met several times and spoken very openly with each other when you lived in CA. I have always enjoyed your frankness and shared with you the pain that both races cannot seem to find the path to mutual agreement and resolution. I believe we have each others' respect. However, my appreciation for you has grown exponentially as your candor and non-agendized comments in this public forum have revealed you to all as I've known you. . . as a man of great principle, strong beliefs, high morals and unquenchable hopes for blacks, whites, and our entire nation.

Much the same goes to everyone else who has participated here (and who I hope will continue to participate). This is not an easy discussion to have. It is an issue that is not resolved, but with some of the wisdom and openness displayed here, may be resolvable some day. And soon I pray.

I can't recall when I've been more impressed by the people assembled here. I applaud you all.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 08:47 PM


I would like to thank everyone who participated in this discussion for your manners, your willingness to listen, your willingness to think, and your hosest remarks/questions. While I am very pleased with the discussion we have enjoyed, I am not at all surprised that we could conduct ourselves in such an exemplary fashion. I know of no other place on the Internet where these issues could have been covered in such a civil manner. And like I said when I opened this thread, I knew I would have no trouble getting folks to open up and to say what you really think. I don't know where Attorney General Eric Holder hangs out, but it obviously ain't on BMWST.COM! rofl

EffBee, you know I have always enjoyed our conversations. You also know that I have had my convictions long before I even knew who Barack Obama is. I knew this country had turned the corner on race some time ago, and that the incidents we see from time to time in the media are, for the most part, residual incidents from people who are caught up in the past. And yes, of course you have my respect! You have both a tough mind and a tender heart (this was the name of a great speech by Dr. King, based upon that scripture in Matthew 10 when Jesus sends out the 12 apostles and calls them to be "wise as serpents yet innocent as doves". King points out that oftentimes, tough minds that are as wise as serpents lead to hard hearts -- or what I label as "bitterness movement" thinking. Other times, a soft heart is accompanied by a soft mind (nice, loving and forgiving, but also completely ignorant of the realities of life). We are called to have both tough minds [learned] and tender hearts [forgiving].) You exemplify these virtues in your everyday life, EffBee, so I consider myself quite blessed to be named among your friends.

Quote:
What "we" as a nation should do first is to come together and tell the divisive elements that while much remains to be done, we're going to focus on the positive that has been done, move forward from that point, and that their disruptive influence is no longer welcome.


My "tough mind" makes me feel that if the election of a black President doesn't put concerns about race to bed in this country, then nothing will. Regardless of how you feel about Barack Obama (or the trillions he's borrowing eek), his election says volumes for how far this country has come in this respect. But the tender heart in me hopes for this: that we can come together to listen. That we can come together not to defend our position or to defend our symbols, not to "win" an argument, not to label, not to teach, but to listen and to learn. If those of us can just make this our policy when it comes to managing the race relations we come across in our lives, our very openess and humility will invite and encourage a similar response in those we converse with. More than anything, fear of the terrible past coming back to life is what prevents many (most?) blacks from truly opening up without feeling threatened and vulnerable. You can help us see that we have nothing to fear (but fear itself cool). Yes, there are many who feel they have little to learn and everything to teach -- they aren't ready yet for growth cry But for those who are mature and who value all that this country can be, they will consider the encounter to be life changing.
Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 09:27 PM

Originally Posted By: EffBee


As for my statement, it is neither unsupportable nor patently incredible. If you didn't watch much of the media, its commentators and its guests, if you didn't read the dozens and dozens of online blogs and the thousands of comments made therein, I can't help you.



Out of the 300 million people in the US, I'm reasonably certain that one could find thousands and thousands of bloggers and others who would make any number of claims, from the existence of flying saucers to trolls living in the middle of the earth and anything in between. But that doesn't make them true. To proffer that everyone who voted for a candidate other than Obama is a racist is absurd. Would it be reasonable to claim that every black who voted for Obama did so because of his color or because they were anti-white? Equally absurd.

That point aside, I think I did ask you a legitimate question about your statement suggesting that how to handle the 'divisive inflamers' is to 'silence them'. Just how would you propose to do that? As odious as you may find them, their language, beliefs, or non-violent actions, they are all protected under the First Amendment. Simply because they are an impediment to your cause, no matter how noble, is not grounds to infringe on that right.

If your reference to 'accusatory issues' was directed at me, that's lamentable. Posing a question is not an accusation.
Posted By: Boone60

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 09:40 PM

SweetP,
It looks like you are misunderstanding the point that EffBee is trying to make.
Posted By: EffBee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/03/09 11:49 PM

This is what I said:
Originally Posted By: EffBee
There is a segment, and it is not small, who claim that the 47% of the population who did not vote for Mr. Obama did so because they are racist, rather than accepting that there were political and ideological differences between the candidates.


This is what you said I said:
Originally Posted By: SweetP
To proffer that everyone who voted for a candidate other than Obama is a racist is absurd. Would it be reasonable to claim that every black who voted for Obama did so because of his color or because they were anti-white? Equally absurd.


I believe there is a distinct difference between my statement and your interpretation of my statement. I might normally say that I don't appreciate having my words twisted, but this has been such a peaceful thread so far that I'm going to just let it pass.

As for this:
Originally Posted By: SweetP
That point aside, I think I did ask you a legitimate question about your statement suggesting that how to handle the 'divisive inflamers' is to 'silence them'. Just how would you propose to do that? As odious as you may find them, their language, beliefs, or non-violent actions, they are all protected under the First Amendment. Simply because they are an impediment to your cause, no matter how noble, is not grounds to infringe on that right.


We silence them by ignoring them, by taking away their power and neutering their divisiveness. Silencing them, as I described it, was a passive act. Their First Amendment rights remain intact.


Originally Posted By: SweetP
If your reference to 'accusatory issues' was directed at me, that's lamentable. Posing a question is not an accusation.


What you said was:
Originally Posted By: SweetP
Do you really want to make such unsupportable and patently incredible statements the underpinnings of your argument?


You posed a question which accused me of making "unsupportable and patently incredible statements. . ." You choose to focus on the fact that the accusation was posed as a question. I could not escape the fact that it IS an accusation.

Let's not sully the fine discussion that has gone on before us by getting into a personal squabble. I'm available offline to discuss whatever you'd like. Send me a PM. And let's let the main topic here get back to the incredible sharing and honesty that has brought forth so many excellent perspectives, ideas, and helpful suggestions.


Posted By: SweetP

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/04/09 02:21 PM

PM sent.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/04/09 02:42 PM

Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith
The "divisive inflamers" may be maintaining their own power by preserving racial disharmony, but they may also be raising legitimate issues while doing it. And it's temptingly easy to blame all racial disharmony on the professional race-mongers, but that's a gross oversimplification.

The difficulty of race is that we like to have a single simple solution for everything, and in this area, there is no single simple solution. Making Al Sharpton shut up will not cure racial disharmony. There are plenty of reasons for disharmony without the Sharptons stirring up new ones.

James talked the legacy of slavery and learned helplessness. Other people have talked about personal initiative and simply putting the past behind. The reality is, everybody's right to some extent. The effects of history are there for everybody, some more than others. It's not a uniform burden. Nor are the skills to overcome that burden uniformly distributed. Some people have them more than others. Saying "black people need to stop being divisive", "black people just need to work harder and stop expecting handouts", or "black people can't get ahead because of the lingering effects of racism" are all gross oversimplifications as much as "black people like watermelon and fried chicken".

People have raised a lot of issues and arguments regarding race in this discussion. None of them is the universal answer, and perhaps there isn't one (or perhaps there is.)



Sorry, but I did want to comment on this post before this thread dies a nice quiet death.

DavidEBSmith, once again I am quite impressed with the depth of your understanding. I am only making 1 and only 1 point, though, and that is this: whatever your situation (regardless of your race, really) scapegoating, blameshifting, and finger pointing are counterproductive with respect to helping you to improve your lot. Whether you are a poor minority child in the inner-city or a wealthy billionaire who feels he/she should be worth yet another billion more, blaming others for your plight prevents you from seeing the real issues that keep you where you are.

Bitterness movements based upon race, gender (yes, there are movements afoot where the woman is the innocent victim and the men are the guilty perpetrators and vice versa (she is Eve and I am Adam)), class (the poor are the innocent victims and the rich are the guilty perpetrators and vice versa (I am responsible and they are not)) all take this kind of counterproductive view of things. They [Insert target group here] will always exploit us, therefore we need to erect laws and policies designed to protect us from their predatory ways -- regardless of whether those laws are in keeping with the principles laid out in our Constitution and/or Bill of Rights.

Reconciliation movements take the opposite approach: we are all healthy or we are all sick, but we must all work together to make this country the place our founders intended it to be. Everyone had duties and all are responsible in protecting our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Therefore, let each of us commit to doing what is right regardless of what another does. We can only account for one person and that is our own selves thumbsup
Posted By: David

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/04/09 09:07 PM

James, see if you can guess which country this is:

1) Very low crime rate.

2) Average home is ca. $1.2 million.

3) Highest per capita income in all the world (just under $100k, I believe).

4) Nearly 60% black, and with a horrible background in slavery.

I just find that interesting, since in many cities whites in the US would think "crime-ridden, poor, inner city" with "blacks."
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/04/09 09:52 PM

This reminds me of that NPR show, "The World", which begins with a geographical quiz whose answer is revealed later in the show.

My first thoughts were places like Morrocco or some other Northern African country. Then I thought about Dubai; I know nothing about that place other than the people there are quite wealthy! But having googled your question and finding some material on Wikipedia (which pointed me to the country of Liechtenstein by the way, but I'm going to ignore that recommendation) and go with...Qatar? confused

Here are the top 10 poorest countrys, all in Africa, from "richest" to "poorest":

Central African Republic
Eritrea
Niger
Sierra Leone
Guinea-Bissau
Somalia (I would have guessed that this country would be at the bottom of the list)
Liberia
Burundi
Congo
Zimbabwe
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/04/09 10:15 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
I am only making 1 and only 1 point, though, and that is this: whatever your situation (regardless of your race, really) scapegoating, blameshifting, and finger pointing are counterproductive with respect to helping you to improve your lot. Whether you are a poor minority child in the inner-city or a wealthy billionaire who feels he/she should be worth yet another billion more, blaming others for your plight prevents you from seeing the real issues that keep you where you are.


I don't disagree with this at all. The point I was trying to make is the scapegoaters and blameshifters may have something worthwhile to say, but it's lost in the noise and counterproductive results generated by their methods.

To use everybody's favorite example, I've heard Al Sharpton say some profound and thoughtful things. But then there's an incident that requires a news conference, and the cameras come on, and he's back to the blame game. He's a very talented communicator and a charismatic leader, but he seems stuck on bitterness, whether as an intentional tactic or an unconscious mindset, and he's not using his substantial talents to help anybody, black or white, get past divisiveness. Which is tragic.

In the NY Post cartoon flap, there was a point to be made. Going on the attack wasn't a productive way of making it.

Quote:
Reconciliation movements take the opposite approach: we are all healthy or we are all sick, but we must all work together to make this country the place our founders intended it to be.


Bitterness, hate and divisiveness are all harmful emotions. We can choose to hold them closer or we can choose to put them aside. But that is easier said than done.
Posted By: David

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/04/09 11:34 PM

It's Bermuda!
Posted By: Lets_Play_Two

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/04/09 11:51 PM

Originally Posted By: David
It's Bermuda!


I know a guy who lives in Bermuda. An expatriot Swede who was given citizenship (not easy to come by). He lives in a $30 million house overlooking Hamilton Harbour and used to make about $50 million a year managing real money and doing a very good job. I wonder how much he skews the per capita data?
Posted By: Selden

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 12:34 AM

Originally Posted By: DavidEBSmith
[Sharpton is] a very talented communicator and a charismatic leader, but he seems stuck on bitterness, whether as an intentional tactic or an unconscious mindset, and he's not using his substantial talents to help anybody, black or white, get past divisiveness.

I watched Sharpton and his entourage come into Emory University's main library a few years ago, and I would say that, more than anything, he is stuck on himself.

By the way, Emory made its Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database available to the world recently. It's a remarkable resource.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 03:33 AM

Tell you folks what. Remember all that stuff I wrote about black Americans and learned helplessness and so on? Well, I was quite nervous about Barack Obama's candidacy. Sure, he could get assassinated, but I was also worried about a white backlash if he won the election. I am still a bit concerned about that in my heart.

But now I'm watching 24 on Hulu.com (great way to watch the show at your own convenience) and the White House has been taken by a bunch of black men. They are fully armed and they have the President as hostage. They even roughed her up a bit. It wasn't that along ago when a scene like this that had black bandits would have resulted in a serious public backlash -- even though it's just a television show! The very thought and the fact that actors played it out would be enough. Some poor brothers who are in the wrong place in the wrong time would surely have been lynched after a show like this just 40 years ago! Even now, I am not at all comfortable with it.

I remember just a few years ago a black man played the role of Jesus in a play in New York City or New Jersey. That man received death threats because he, a black man, played the role of Jesus! confused

When you are a minority, these are the kind of things you have to think about. I know I'm being fearful and paranoid, but man, why did the bandits have to be black?! I'm glad those guys have jobs and all, but dang! eek
Posted By: Kathy R

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 04:40 AM

I never knew that I needed to grow, until I looked back to see where I had been.

Someday their skin color won't matter. I sure hope it's soon. In my own little white woman way I am happy to feel the shedding of our collective negative mind set. Our President is black. Actually he's caramel. I'd like to throw the whole color wheel out.

All that matters is that all Bad Guys are male. ( will someone tell me where the emoticons are? ;-)
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 01:01 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
But now I'm watching 24 on Hulu.com (great way to watch the show at your own convenience) and the White House has been taken by a bunch of black men. They are fully armed and they have the President as hostage. They even roughed her up a bit.


Dammit man, some of us haven't rented the DVD's yet! Stop spoiling the surprise! mad


(funny how we never had this problem in the days before you could rent TV show DVD's... grin)
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 02:37 PM

Mitch: check it out on Hulu.com. A friend of mine recently turned me on to this web site. You can watch all kinds of shows, free of charge on this site. They give you a choice: sit through about 2 minutes of commercials and then watch the show uninterrupted, or watch the show and see the commercials spread throughout. At this point, you'll only see 1 or 2 commercials, no doubt because the site is so young. When this catches on, though...

Sometimes, I wonder what a "black 24" television show would look like, or a "black X-Files" show. Drug Lords would be portrayed as aliens from other planets intent on taking over the earth. As their influence over law enforcment and local governments spreads, that means their evil plans to conquor the world are coming to fruition. Governments and multinational corporations are, of course, simply "window dressing" to mask the true workings of these alien beings. In other words, it's not secret federal agencies that work in collusion with alien interests like on "X-Files" or "24", it's these ever powerful drug lords that do.

Various eposides would probably conjure up some wild theories to address aching questions in the black mind with respect to:

- why is the African continent, a land hugely rich in natural resources, the poorest on the planet? (obviously there are deep, "other-worldly" powers at work here smile)

- how could little ole Europe and little ole Japan dominate geographical regions many times their size? Whereas hugely large political entities have relatively smaller influence (compare Japan vs China in terms of world influence over the previous 100 or so years. That's changing now, but traditionally...)

- why did my lineage get selected for this particular history: the slave trade up until life in America today as opposed to remaining in Africa and dreaming about what life is like in America? For what great and grand purpose am I possibly being called to fulfill?! What? Work at Walmart? cry

- what planet did various black leaders throughout American history, and especially Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barack Obama, come from? Why did they come to this planet during the time they did? (Sent to battle the ongoing alien invasion perhaps?)

- how come white guys can walk around in freezing weather in shorts and a tee shirt, and I freeze my butt off even though I am wearing a winter Eskimo coat? eek

- what sick, alien mind invented this concept called, "morning", and why can't my day begin at, oh, around 2PM? mad (This would no doubt be a 2 part special show, maybe even without commercial interruption tongue)

Anyhow, you get the drift. These and other pressing questions would be answered with the latest in techno-ideas from black writers in Hollywood.
Posted By: tallman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 02:42 PM

James,
While dated in some ways, the information on how it works in Africa may still have some relevance.
http://www.amazon.com/Investment-Biker-Around-World-Rogers/dp/1558505296
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 03:40 PM

Wow, looks like a good book, tallman. Thanks.

(Most financial books put me to sleep faster than you can imagine, but given this guy is touring the world on a bike, maybe that'll be enough to hold my interest. I do not have a financial mind, unfortunately).
Posted By: ltljohn

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 05:07 PM

I guess it’s time for me to jump in now. I have been lurking around and my thoughts have been expressed here by others far better than I could have done myself. I have a question.
First a bit of background.
I grew up in Maine in an essentially all white town. I can remember only 3 black kids in high school in the 7 years between my older sister’s graduation and mine. Integration was something being fought about down south and mostly we wondered what’s the big deal why can’t everyone go to the same school?? Fast forward to the Navy in electronics school I hade 4 room mates. Two were from the deep south (very red necks) one from NYC (northern redneck) the other from the south but he was black. Now the black guy was one of the laziest people I have ever met in my life, so my young impressionable and naive self started to believe that the things the other three were saying about blacks were true, maybe they are lazy and dishonest etc….. Well after spending lots of time working with and for black people and actually getting to know them I realized the truth that hey he’s just like me. So he listens to different music and has different ideas about things but so what. While I was stationed in Pensacola , FL I was invited to go hunting with a co worker from a tiny town in Mississippi, while here I heard people using the N word in normal everyday conversation but it did not seem to have a hateful connotation to it ( I have read previous posts about this) it was just so much part of the culture. The other thing I noticed was that during the day everyone both black and white interacted around town but at night everyone went to their side of the tracks (literally the train tracks divided the town).

Recently I was watching programs on the history channel about the civil rights movement and listening to the anti integration speeches and Klan rallies and such and these people had a deep down vicious hatred for blacks.

Which brings me to my question.

Where does that deep down hate come from?

Even though I have had some misconceptions and believed the stereotypes I never hated anyone. The hatred has not gone away, there are still plenty of people out there that have this deep down hate in their minds, just look around the internet.
I just can’t conceive having a vicious hatred for someone just because they are different.

If we really want to have harmony don’t we have to figure out where that hate comes from?

With credit to Dr. King; I think that if we all teach our children to judge a man by the content of his character and not the color of his skin things will keep progressing for the better.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 05:38 PM

Quote:
Where does that deep down hate come from?


There are always "reasons" for hatred. Many Southerners prior to the Civil War resented having the will of others from outside the South imposed on them, and so voted to secede. They resented losing the Civil War, and having to stay in the union. They resented losing their farms and estates in the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, and in some cases having blacks put in various public offices through elections or appointments that seemed to be rigged. They passed this resentment down through the generations.

That last thing causes me more wonder than the underlying "why" of the hatred: how can the resentment be passed down through the generations? My family was dispossessed from their holdings in the South after the Civil War, and helped found the town of Palestine, Texas. Those original settlers may have had good reasons to resent the North, and by association, blacks. But by the time I came along, nobody in several generations had been treated unfairly by any Northerners or blacks in any general sense. All the folks who settled Palestine were dead by the time my generation came along. And yet the racial hatred was just as strong, if not stronger, in the '50's when I grew up than in any previous generation.

This is not localized to racial hatred between blacks and whites in the US. You can see the same thing in relationships around the world: Bosnians and Serbs, with racial tensions kept in check for 70 years under the Soviets, only to burst into flames again when the Soviets withdrew, Jews and Europeans, Northern and Southern Irish, Hutus and Tutsis, Indians and Pakistanis, Israelis and Arabs, etc.

I felt strange growing up in that culture. I remember going over to the playground when I was about 8 and joining in to play with some black children on the swings or merry-go-round. My folks noticed and were appalled, and ran the black children off. I got a lecture, which I don't remember. It didn't stick. I continued to be puzzled about why I couldn't play with the black children, and would sneak off to wander around the black community from time to time. To me, my reaction seems more normal than other people's reaction in adopting the racial hatred that is passed down from their parents. The blacks hadn't done anything to me; in fact, they were nice to me when I visited in the black community, so I liked them. But I suspect that far more people adopted racial hatred passed down from the older generations than didn't. I wonder why that is?
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 05:58 PM

Originally Posted By: ltljohn
Recently I was watching programs on the history channel about the civil rights movement and listening to the anti integration speeches and Klan rallies and such and these people had a deep down vicious hatred for blacks.

Which brings me to my question.

Where does that deep down hate come from?

If we really want to have harmony don’t we have to figure out where that hate comes from?


That's a great question, and one I would love to hear some answers to as well.

Just so you know, Martin Luther King, Jr wrote a book back in 1963 entitled, "Why We Can't Wait", which focused on the reasons behind the protests that took place that summer in Birmingham, AL. A copy of King's essay entitled, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" is in that book. In any case, in the first chapter of that book he ponders the same questions you posed: "...are blacks so hated because blacks fought this country in some war at some point in time?"

My personal theory is that all manner of negative images were spread about blacks to justify the enslavement, and later the segregation of blacks in this country. It's a common tactic; if you can dehumanize a people -- that is, consider them as something less than human -- then it's not such a bad thing to treat them as something other than human, is it? Jesus only said, "Do unto others (implicitly he means humans, right?) as you would have them do unto you", but he never said this about non-human life, right?

Who among us gets all knotted up over the fact that farm animals are slaughtered everyday so we can enjoy nice steaks, hamburgers, and mmmmmmmm fried chicken!? rofl They aren't humans and they were obviously put here to feed us, right? So what's the problem? It's only those California tree-hugging vegetarians who think otherwise. They're nuts; they actually want to treat all life as though it is as valuable as human life. Anyhow, we can't subscribe to that view and still enjoy our meat-eating lifestyles, can we? If it ain't human, then it ain't a "sin" to mistreat it.

Blacks have been historically portrayed as being lazy, stupid, self serving, disloyal, and unpatriotic, regardless of what reality might say is true. Therefore, those among us who fulfill these stereotypical views got lots of media coverage (TV, movies, music) in times past, while those who didn't received barely a mention. When Bill Cosby launched "The Cosby Show", people called it a fantasy show, even though I grew up in a household where my father is a University of Michigan Ph.D. and my mother is a SUNY - Binghamton, Masters in Business Management. My brother is a LASIK eye surgeon in Los Angeles, CA (http://www.LasikSpa.com) Families like mine don't exist in this country according to our own lore; we're a big fantasy (although to my great relief and pleasure, this has changed greatly since Bill Cosby's TV show. Today, families like mine are getting more exposure in our media thumbsup).

So blacks were labeled as "niggers", and as you know from reading this thread, now -- to my dismay -- black youth toss this term around like it's going out of style. This is a dehumanizing term; he isn't a man, he's a nigger. I believe the use of this term makes it easier for black gangbangers to kill other blacks in this society. "I didn't kill a person, I killed a nigga" is the rationale that takes place nowadays. cry

That's my take on things, anyhow. Anyone else wanna offer up an explanation to ltljohn's excellent question?
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 07:10 PM

Great response, Dave.

Obviously, I am totally and 100% against any form of discrimination, let alone segregation and slavery. Having said that, I can see why southerners would get upset over this issue. If the federal government offered to buy the slaves from their masters with the purpose of setting them free, that would be one thing. But to simply mandate that these people be set free without any compensation to the plantation owners is like asking someone to just let tens or hundreds of thousands of personal net worth just walk away scott free!

I wish the government could have offered a bail out to the slave owners so that emancipation would not have cost them the potential fortune that it did, but I am glad my ancestors were set free however it was done.

Your post does offer insights, however, that I had never really considered before.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 07:32 PM

Quote:
But to simply mandate that these people be set free without any compensation to the plantation owners is like asking someone to just let tens or hundreds of thousands of personal net worth just walk away scott free!


I think that probably overstates the financial consequences to the plantation owners of having their slaves freed. Objectively speaking, the farmers who were able to hold on to their farms after the Civil War could just hire workers from a vast pool of unemployed people for as long as he needed them and then send them on down the road when he didn't. Slaves had to be maintained year-round, which has to have been a more expensive proposition.

I think it was more emotional than economic. Sort of like the threat of gun laws now, but much stronger, I think. Even the most strident of gun fanatics has to put up with a lot of people telling them what to do these days in the US, so they sort of get used to it. In those days, I don't think a typical white plantation owner ever contemplated that anyone would ever tell him what to do about anything.
Posted By: DavidEBSmith

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 07:43 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k

Sometimes, I wonder what a "black 24" television show would look like, or a "black X-Files" show. Drug Lords would be portrayed as aliens from other planets intent on taking over the earth. As their influence over law enforcment and local governments spreads, that means their evil plans to conquor the world are coming to fruition. Governments and multinational corporations are, of course, simply "window dressing" to mask the true workings of these alien beings. In other words, it's not secret federal agencies that work in collusion with alien interests like on "X-Files" or "24", it's these ever powerful drug lords that do.


Here's a recent review of a new book called Blonde Roots that sounds interesting:

Quote:
For those who suffered during 400 years of transatlantic slave trade, the story Bernardine Evaristo weaves in Blonde Roots could have been a dream come true. In her fantastical reversal, the British-Nigerian author makes white Europeans the slaves and black Africans the slave owners.

The main character, Doris Scagglethorpe, is a 10-year-old serf on England's "Cabbage Coast" when she is abducted while playing hide-and-seek with her sisters in the fields.
. . .
"Every morning I'd repeat an uplifting mantra to myself while looking in the mirror. I'd try not to see the 'pinched nostrils, pasty skin, greasy hair, pale shifty eyes and flat bottom' that the Ambossans labeled inferior."
. . .
When Doris makes an early break for freedom, she rides an Underground Railroad that is an abandoned subway line. She passes through the "Vanilla Suburbs," home to free whites "and generally a no-go area" to the ruling elite.


More reviews here on Amazon.
Posted By: Mister Tee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 10:36 PM

In reference to a few posts made a while back, I'll try to answer the question of how one race can hate another by drawing an analogy. To my own life.

There was a period of time when I was younger, I had many negative influences in my life. Or at least, certainly, not productive influences. My hero was Malcolm X, and I aligned myself with radical black extremist groups such as the Black Panthers. Ain't never trust whitey. Whitey is the MAN. The MAN is out to get you. Isolate yourself from the white man. This was a long time ago, and I'm not in any way proud of those associations. Basically, I grew up. Did I really hate white people? Of course not. Were white people really out to get me? Of course not. So what was I so afraid of? That's a question I asked myself, and the answer became apparent sometime after entering military service, when we all became one color, green.

I was afraid of losing my identity. My black color. My race. My heritage. It occurred to me that, to a great extent, white people felt the same way. A lot of the hatred and animosity toward blacks (and other races) was really displaced fear over losing their own identity through integration, and eventual racial intermarriage. This is a very perplexing issue to black people in America, since the majority of black Americans have at least some degree of white in their genes. Most black males have the attitude that "if we mix all the races in to one, the problems of the world will be solved." And similarly, most black females do not approve of racial intermarriage. That has been my experience, anyway.

Me, I'm proud of being black and I don't want my race to die. Similarly, I think a world where we are all one race would be boring, and we would find plenty of other ways to divide ourselves and compete with each other. That is the nature of man. I also believe that the majority of white people feel the same way. The issue of racial intermarriage will always remain as a wedge to complete and total integration and harmony, and it is one that I do not readily have an answer for.
Posted By: Paul Mihalka

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 11:00 PM

"The issue of racial intermarriage will always remain as a wedge to complete and total integration and harmony, and it is one that I do not readily have an answer for."

I respectfully disagree with you. I see among friends and people I meet wonderfully functioning iterracial marriages. White with black or oriental like Japanese/Chinese/Korean, white Persian (they are NOT Arabs) with a wonderful lady from Sierra Leone, You name it. May be we end up with a few more Tiger Woods and Barack Obamas...
Posted By: Mister Tee

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/05/09 11:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Paul Mihalka
"The issue of racial intermarriage will always remain as a wedge to complete and total integration and harmony, and it is one that I do not readily have an answer for."

I respectfully disagree with you. I see among friends and people I meet wonderfully functioning iterracial marriages. White with black or oriental like Japanese/Chinese/Korean, white Persian (they are NOT Arabs) with a wonderful lady from Sierra Leone, You name it. May be we end up with a few more Tiger Woods and Barack Obamas...


My point isn't to agree or disagree with anyone, attack anyone or alienate anyone. I'm just respectfully raising the issue, because I believe it to be one, that's all.

BTW I'm not disagreeing with you.
Posted By: MattS

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/06/09 12:03 AM

Quote:
...that probably overstates the financial consequences to the plantation owners of having their slaves freed...farmers who were able to hold on to their farms after the Civil War could just hire workers from a vast pool of unemployed people for as long as he needed them and then send them on down the road when he didn't. Slaves had to be maintained year-round, which has to have been a more expensive proposition.

I think it was more emotional than economic...

I think it was very much an economic situation. Were slavery economically viable in an industrializing economy, it would have been preserved.

Around 4,000,000 slaves were freed during the course of the war, with an average value (in 1860 dollars) of $1,800 per head. The equivalent would be as if the government came to Hertz and said, "These cars you own. Not yours." Huge blow, entirely economic.

Now, to maintain persons in the northern economy, in the 1860s undergoing industrialization, is a very costly endeavor. Much cheaper and suitable to pay wages alone. Dismantling the plantation economy was very advantageous to the north, the human rights aspect certainly secondary and used to political advantage (and military victory).

The war, and the ending of the institution of slavery in the United States, was certainly a sea change. The grinding of the plates, so to speak, of the agrarian economy and the industrial. And remarkable that it didn't involve a slave rebellion despite large numbers in some districts.

An ultimately happy ending, but very much an economic decision at the time.
Posted By: ncsonderman

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/06/09 07:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Bud
Just like some religious leaders who refuse to speak up when their members commit terrible crimes (honor killings), I find that I can not accept the fact that leaders in the black community do not speak up.

Except for Bill Cosby, few, if any, black leaders are addressing the number one issue that keeps the culture of poverty alive and well. Single mothers. Any way you analyze it, a single mother has the deck stacked against not only her, but her children as well. This is not an issue that will be solved by government programs, compassionate whites (liberal or conservative) or other well meaning non-blacks. It can only be solved by the black community and will only be addressed when the community refuses to let it be the norm.

It also saddens me to see the statistics of the percentage of young black males in prison. A whole generation is being lost.





I haven't yet read all of the pages (only to page 7), but I wanted to chime in before bed. Although I do really respect Bill Cosby and maybe Chris Rock for pointing out truths through their positions, I think that one flaw with pointing out the many single black mothers is the lack of pointing out why they are single black mothers. Our criminal justice system has tried to round as many black men up as possible due to minimal drug charges etc. I know that many crimes are jailable offenses, but the fact is that our system is flawed. Look at the difference for penalties for getting caught with a small amount of crack cocaine (black oriented) vs. powder cocaine (white oriented and more dangerous). Not only is there a disparity in the amount needed to do serious time, it's a huge difference. Trust me when I say that I'm not someone who thinks that we should let criminals walk the streets. I am actually hold the extreme belief that people who commit violent crimes should be executed if enough evidence is there to convict. They are not a quality part of society and have forfeited their right to remain in our society.

I grew up in the Ohio suburbs and did have black friends who I did everything with. I've been to parties in which I was the only white person there and saw the same types of reactions that the diners in the Omaha steakhouse displayed when the black man enterred with his buddy. I did have to get frisked at the door which I found odd and pointed out to everyone that they were reinforcing stereotypes by having fried chicken and koolaid (in addition to the adult beverages)....really not kidding about that stuff. We got in a brawl on High St. in Columbus when some guys made some racial remarks (this was in the early 90's).

I've done some reading on race, the most recent being the NYT best seller "The Covenant" by the Tavis Miley group. I don't always agree with what I read, but it's good to get other viewpoints. That is the same reason that people should not listen solely to Liberal media or Limbaugh media. Getting both viewpoints is most often the best plan, even if it's just a way to have better amunition when arguing your position later.

I agree with the statements about Sharpton that were made earlier. I actually dealt with him while at a NC hosptital and could not believe how corrupt this man was. That is definitely NOT a leader who people should follow.

Race needs to go away and we need to focus on the content of the individual rather than the cover. If you are poorly educated, have poor manners, have a disrespectful appearance, or show a lack of social awareness, I'm not going to spend much time with you. A person needs to take responsibility for who they are and how they represent themselves. I'm not saying you have to have invented the gamma knife, just that you look around and want to improve yourself. Take responsiblity for your own decisions. Sadly, our government enables such behavior and is now moving forward rapidly to take away individual rights. They are working as we speak to finalize the enslavement of our doctors with national healthcare. Healthcare a right? What's next?

Sorry I got off topic a bit. Just focus on the substance of the person. If you don't like them after you meet them, don't spend time with them and move on to someone who is worth spending time with, regardless of epithelial tone.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/06/09 03:28 PM

DavidEBSmith: that looks like an interesting book. I'll have to read it for myself to see the portrayal of history the book offers up.

There have been a few role reversal films that have come out over the years. A few that I remember include:

- "The Hulk" with Bill Bixby: an episode where a black farmer captures whites and holds them as slaves. Great plan except for one little mistake, he also captured The Hulk! Uh oh... eek

- "White Man's Burden": A film that came out in the mid-90's, starring Harry Belafonte and I think John Travolta, in which the roles of blacks and whites in this country are reversed. Harry's family are well to do, respected people in their community, and if I remember correctly, his son or daughter is dating a white person. Then the many prejudices of Belafonte's character of that largely disfunctional race of people come out into the open. Interesting encounter Travolta's character has with the police as well.

- Saturday Night Live's "Mr. White": A must see skit starring Eddie Murphy as "Mr White". Eddie dresses up as a white man and takes a walk around Manhattan to see what life is like when you're white. He buys a newspaper and the vendor looks at him strangly when Mr White attempts to actually pay for the paper. He rides a city bus, and when the last black passenger exits, a cocktail party breaks literally breaks out on the bus! And finally, Mr White goes to a bank to take out a loan. The black loan officer, shocked that Mr. White has no job or documentation supporting his ability to repay the loan, is amazed that this man would even bother to apply. Then, a white co-worker offers to handle the situation, and of course apologizes for the treatment by his black co-worker and proceeds to hand over stacks of cash to Mr. White! rofl I found this little skit to be halarious as it plays on the image most blacks have of the relatively easy life white men must enjoy in this country.
Posted By: Dave McReynolds

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/06/09 05:09 PM

Quote:
Around 4,000,000 slaves were freed during the course of the war, with an average value (in 1860 dollars) of $1,800 per head. The equivalent would be as if the government came to Hertz and said, "These cars you own. Not yours." Huge blow, entirely economic.


To complete the analogy, the equivalent would be as if the government came to Hertz and said, "These cars you own. Not yours to own anymore, but we will make available to you a fleet of cars that you can continue to rent out provided that you pay the upkeep and fuel costs for them."

Granted, the plantation owners lost their capital investment in slaves. However, if the purpose of making a capital investment is to realize a future benefit, the future benefit was still available after the Civil War, through hiring day labor, at arguably a lower cost than before the Civil War under the slave system.

I would offer that the only group truly to suffer economically from the abolishment of slavery were those who profited as slave traders. And to that I say, "Oh well!"

Sorry, there was another group who suffered economically from the abolishment of slavery: the slaves themselves, who in general probably weren't fed or housed as well after emancipation. But I don't hear many of their descendents complaining about it.
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/06/09 05:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Mister_Tee
Basically, I grew up.


Great personal testimony Mister_Tee thumbsup I can certainly identify with what you are saying. In my early 20's, I went through a serious Malcolm X time. There I was, a happy go lucky black man in Boston (a city known for its poor attitudes on race although it has come a looooong way since those days), and I bought a copy of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". Man, I thought an 18 wheeler truck had hit me at full steam! That book floored me. That's when I officially joined the "Bitterness Movement", or what Dr. Martin Luther King called the "Politics of Despair" (when you hear his speeches and he talks about the "Politics of Despair", this is what he's talking about, groups like the Black Power Movement and the Nation of Islam to name just the most prominent).

I had good, long, debates with -- mostly my father, but with other relatives as well (such as my grandfather, Moses Granberry). I couldn't understand why these people -- people who actually lived and experienced all that racism had to dish out (my father was born into a family of sharecroppers and picked cotton in Tennessee until he was about 10 years old) were not angry and rallying to Malcolm X's cause confused

They would listen to his speeches, agree with Malcolm in principle with his analysis of the race problem in America, but then part ways with him on 1) his views that all whites in America are "devils" and 2) his solutions of separatism and "black Nationalism" (a move to create -- preferably a formal political state, but an informal one if necessary, where blacks live, rule, and maintain our own economic independence from the United States).

OK, at my father's urging, and because of his lifelong admiration for Dr. King, I decided to investigate the counter argument -- that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I poured myself into all 6 books that King authored, with my favorites being, "Stride Toward Freedom" (written in 1959 and focusing on the Montgomery Bus Boycott with some deep theological insights into the race problem) and "Strength to Love", a collection of speeches that he decided to write down. This is the book that his great speech, "Tough Minds, Tender Hearts", a speech I referenced earlier in this thread, appears. Tough minds alone = bitterness movement thinking. It is blind to one's own contributions to the issue at hand. It seeks not reconciliation and peace, but war and division. Tender hearts alone = quiet submission to an unjust system. It turns a blind eye to the problems at hand, seeking instead to simply inquire, "Can't we all just get along?". A Tough Mind + with a Tender Heart = a willingness to conquor the problem without seeking to conquor the people. thumbsup It seeks to "take the plank out of ones own eye first, then to help remove the speck from your brothers eye". It places ones own life on the line first, and calls others not to do as you say, but to do as you DO. OK, although as it turns out, this "peace, love, and non-violence" stuff is actually more difficult than what all out war would be, sign me up, I'm sold! It's more difficult on the body, but offers a great deal of peace to the soul. As sister Pollard replied to Dr. King's inquiry over whether she was tired having to walk to work everyday during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest". That is now the name of a popular book on the Civil Rights Movement.

Been on King's side ever since.

In short,

Quote:
Basically, I grew up.
clap
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/06/09 05:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave McReynolds
Sorry, there was another group who suffered economically from the abolishment of slavery: the slaves themselves, who in general probably weren't fed or housed as well after emancipation. But I don't hear many of their descendents complaining about it.


Actually, you do, you just don't recognize it as such. This whole reparations movement is based upon a promise made to the slaves at some point in history (frankly, I know nothing about the origins of this promise, maybe someone out there care's to educate me on this?) that upon emancipation, each slave family would get "40 acres and a mule" (which is also the name of Spike Lee's film company) so they could farm their own land and survive. The promise was never fulfilled, many freed slaves literally starved to death, and many blacks are angry about that to this day. Thus the call for reparations.
Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/06/09 05:29 PM

Originally Posted By: beemerman2k
This whole reparations movement is based upon a promise made to the slaves at some point in history (frankly, I know nothing about the origins of this promise, maybe someone out there care's to educate me on this?) that upon emancipation, each slave family would get "40 acres and a mule" (which is also the name of Spike Lee's film company) so they could farm their own land and survive.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40_acres_and_a_mule
Posted By: BanjoBoy

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/08/09 03:25 PM

This is great beemerman2k, I keep reading all these treads with different peoples aspects/views, on Racism, and it really gets me thinking. (and keeps me thinking)
And thanks Les for letting it go on.

Since a woman I work with from Harlem, plays the Deliverance Theme when I walk into the room, I'm going to take this opportunity to change my display name to BanjoBoy!
We don't want to take ourselves to seriously. (Unless we're talking about oil threads)rofl
Even though we have a ways to go as far as racism, (I understand what Holder is saying, but he could've should've worded it differently) we sure have come a long way.

We all came here for sport touring, but riders discuss other topics has the most posts and I think that shows the level of intellect here.
When I signed up to BMWST, I never thought I would be enlightened on racial matters.
Man I love this forum! clap
Posted By: doc47

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/11/09 11:12 PM

I never knew that other Presidents, least of all Bush, were ever humorously compared with chimps! Thank you for making me aware of this. Now I am going to forward this "Bush or Chimp" link to every one I know who is angry over the New York Post cartoon. Seeing this material causes me to see yesterdays cartoon in a new light. Prior to this link, the only light I had was that of history -- and not all that ancient history, either. When Rodney King was being beaten down by the CHP's back in 1991, the cops were jokingly referring to him as a "gorilla in the midst".

In the 1860s there were cartoons of Lincoln depicting him as an ape.

"Until the color of man's skin is of no more significance,
Than the color of his eyes...."
Bob Marley
Posted By: beemerman2k

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 03/12/09 02:26 PM

doc47: this term, "Toubab", is used in Alex Haley's book, "Roots", in reference to white Europeans and Americans. But, as far as I can recall, the book never takes the time to actually define the term -- is it neutral in it's meaning? Derogatory? Complimentary? What exactly is the meaning behind the term?

By the way, major kudos to you for your life's work. Your work carries much in the way of significance and meaning! Money cannot buy the kind of difference you are making thumbsup
Posted By: KMG_365

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 04/04/09 06:28 AM

Originally Posted By: BanjoBoy

Man I love this forum! clap
Word! cool


Makes me squeal like a pig! rofl







lurk
Posted By: mbelectric

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 04/04/09 12:14 PM

[quote=doc47]When Rodney King was being beaten down by the CHP's back in 1991, the cops were jokingly referring to him as a "gorilla in the midst".

***These were LA Police, not CHP...*****

MB>
Posted By: BanjoBoy

Re: US: A Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters - 04/05/09 02:09 PM

Originally Posted By: KMG_365
Originally Posted By: BanjoBoy

Man I love this forum! clap
Word! cool


Makes me squeal like a pig! rofl




lurk

"Now squeal like a pig! Boy!"
Man, how could I have forgotten that line? (Cuz I'm not cool?)
Hey Jamie, I got to use that for my sig line. OK?
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