Why is race such a taboo subject?

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posted on Apr, 14 2006 @ 07:31 PM
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After my experiences in answering both the immigration and Cynthia McKinney threads, I have discovered that the only time race is addressed is when one poster is "blaming" another race for the wrongs committed. This has not only happened in these threads.

And then, the posts get ugly. Every stereotype in the book is raised. And when other posters try to bring up legitimate issues affecting the "race" in question, they are shouted down and insulted.

My question is whether an honest discussion of race is a taboo subject. For myself, I would rather know what side people stand on than have their views under cover. Then, I would know how to address certain issues.

In the same vein, this thread is not to attack anyone for their views. I would rather have posters enlighten one another about the issues of race so that there would be an understanding amongst all of us. I think that there could be a civil discussion about race, if people would really try to do so. I for one am willing to listen to other people to see what they think.

What does everyone think about the issue of race? And why are you so ready to adopt the stereotypes of another race? Are you willing to learn about other races and cultures in order to ensure racism stops?

[edit on 15-4-2006 by ceci2006]




posted on Apr, 15 2006 @ 08:23 PM
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[*sound of crickets*]

This is exactly what I expected. I guess it is easier to put down someone because of their race instead of asking questions and learning something new.

Fair enough.

[edit on 16-4-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Apr, 15 2006 @ 08:49 PM
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Well I have nothing against other races. That's what makes humanity kindof interesting
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posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 01:48 AM
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ProudCanadian,

I think so too. And I am also willing to learn about other races and cultures to see what they are about as well. The problem that bothers me the most is when people use stereotypes from what they see on television or hear from talk radio. I know that most people are afraid to ask questions about another race. But, isn't it better to know why people from other races do some things than not?

I would.



[edit on 16-4-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 12:18 PM
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Most people are uncomfortable discussing any aspect of race for fear of having an innocent remark misinterpreted and quickly having someone brand them a bigot and/or a racist. One has to tread that ground very, very carefully.

Most of us have opinions on race issues, we wouldn't be human if we didn't. I certainly do. I don't feel that any of my views on race are in any way bigoted or racist. The amount of pigment in ones skin does not reflect character or lack thereof.

It's just that most conversations of this topic quickly degenerate into two or three people accusing each other of being bigotted, we've all seen this happen more than once.

Still, and all, by all means, let's give it another try.

Dr. King said it best, and I paraphrase here, "Men should be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin." He said a lot of very profound things of that nature. I can't think of a better way to phrase it than the way he did.

Now, having said that. I do have a real problem with folks playing the race card in society, and politics. I have long since lost any respect I ever had for the Rev. Jesse Jackson for precisely that reason. At every oportunity, he plays the race card, his speeches that portray every african-american as a victim of either overt and/or covert racism, as a white very anglo-saxon, though not so protestant male, I find that insulting to me as a person. He isn't the only one that does this by any stretch, just the one that comes to mind first. I have no racist tendencies that I am aware of. Nor have I ever had any pointed out to me by any non-caucasion friends, of which I have several.

It is tough to avoid stereotyping by race. Especially since we are bombarded by stereotypes constantly in the electronic media. The biggest african-american stars today are, seemingly with few exceptions, rappers and hip-hop artists who portray themselves as thugs.

The exceptions are few seemingly; Denzel Washington and Bill Cosby are the two that immeadiately jump out at me. Talented, and they have stayed uniquely themselves. I am sure there are others out there who have done the same. Another would be Charles Barkley, hall of fame NBA player, and possible future politician. Uniquely outspoken, and for the most part unapologetic.

Hispanics have much the same problem with stereotyping in the mass media. When was the last time anyone saw a major hispanic movie character that was wholly sympathetic? Since I am not a big movie goer anymore, there may be some out there, but I betting it's not as many as unsympathetic. It is so hard to avoid the stereotypes portrayed, and not bring them into real life opinion.

Hope this helped give the thread a badly needed bump. This discussion does need to take place, without turning into a flame war.

[edit on 16-4-2006 by seagull]



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
My question is whether an honest discussion of race is a taboo subject. For myself, I would rather know what side people stand on than have their views under cover.


I don't think discussing race is taboo. I just don't have anything much to say about race. I'm not at all uncomfortable discussing race, but to me, it's like discussing hair color or sexual orientation.

It's only when people stereotype or come down on a group of people that I get involved to try to point out what I see as bigotry and racism.

I mean, what is there to discuss about race? What specifically did you have in mind to discuss?



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 04:00 PM
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First of all, I would like to thank you guys for being brave in answering my thread. I find that I am rather courageous in posting this thread because sometimes, I read on the board that people are quick to use stereotypes to condemn a group of people instead of asking the needed questions why a particular race does something.

I agree with seagull that discussing race honestly is a taboo for some on the board, because it is an uncomfortable topic. Most, but not all, would rather reside in their stereotypes instead of asking questions about that particular race. I just want to say that I want to listen and learn from other people so I can help dispell the stereotypes I have too.


Originally quoted by seagull
Now, having said that. I do have a real problem with folks playing the race card in society, and politics. I have long since lost any respect I ever had for the Rev. Jesse Jackson for precisely that reason. At every oportunity, he plays the race card, his speeches that portray every african-american as a victim of either overt and/or covert racism, as a white very anglo-saxon, though not so protestant male, I find that insulting to me as a person. He isn't the only one that does this by any stretch, just the one that comes to mind first. I have no racist tendencies that I am aware of. Nor have I ever had any pointed out to me by any non-caucasion friends, of which I have several.


seagull, I think that is a good question to bring up. It is easy to see that Rev. Jackson plays the "race card". It is easy to see that he might be perceived as an "ambulance chaser" in terms of being there everytime something affects the Black community. However, I tend to view him in his historical context. He was right there at the side of Rev. Dr. King when he was shot. He walked with him on his marches in the South. And, he among other people, took up the torch to highlight racial injustice. This is not to excuse him for his scandals. But, I think that he plays an important role in the African-American community because he does address concerns about racism against Blacks.

I do not think that he is as outrageous as people play him out to be. His speeches (which I saw one several years back) are inspiring. I think that the feeling outside of the community in which he is "pulling the race card" might be perceived is because he is constantly bringing up race in his talks. But, one must think that he also went overseas to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He has also played an important role in trying to campaign for the rights of the poor and the working class.

So, he has a varied, interesting record. But, I see him more than just "pulling the race card".

Btw, can anyone explain to me what exactly the criteria of pulling the race card means? I think I have a meaning of what it means. And in the Cynthia McKinney thread, HarlemHottie brought it up and no one answered her. So, I'll ask it here again.

Why do White people constantly say that when African-American leaders speak on certain issues, they "pull the race card"? Do you think that is a cop out for not listening to what the dignitaries have to say? Or, is there really a specific problem in this? To be fair, I could also say that some white males "pull the race card" when talking about "quotas" and "reverse racism".

As for "ganstas", the same could be said for Eminem and the Beastie Boys. They both adopt the "gansta image". But no one ever says that they are "role models" for the White Community. This is not to discount what you said, because it is a problem in the African-American community. But, perhaps hip-hop developed as a way to talk about the conditions of the Black community (as well as slam poetry), they have a prominent role (such as Dr. Dre and Ice Cube [who produced the show Black/White on FX]). But that's not to say they are the only "role models" of the Black community. I believe there are other people within the African-American community to look up to that have nothing to do with hip-hop.

Hip hop, in itself, has provided a bridge between different races and cultures. It still can be used to talk about life in general. But I think what you wanted to address is its commercialization and immersion into the mainstream. The mainstreaming of "gansta rap" has its problems because some songs do advocate violence. I don't like that at all. But there are other songs that actually address issues that won't be talked about in the media. It can be used as a political art form. That is one of the virtues of hip-hop. But "gansta" rap is simply a genre.

As for Charles Barkley, he said that he "wasn't a role model" several years back, I think.


Originally quoted by Benevolent Heretic
I mean, what is there to discuss about race? What specifically did you have in mind to discuss?


Benevolent Heretic, that's a great question as well. I started the thread for anyone to ask any questions they have about another race. And hopefully, someone representative of that race could explain these questions civilly without anyone getting mad. That's what I meant. But I am glad that you are one of the ones that speak up against stereotypes because just one voice makes a difference.


My other question is, why is everyone quick to blame the African-American community when they come out supporting an issue that is contrary to what others believe? For example, whenever a prominent African-American (or perhaps, not so prominent), gets into scandal or in trouble with the law, the first thing people from other races get upset about is "what the Black community" says. Or that "the Black community is out to blame the (i.e., the system, the cops, the politicians)." Doesn't anyone see that Black people are individuals too? And that they have different opinions? But, whenever people see a group of Black people on television supporting a particular person or cause--it is immediately pointed out as "the Black community". Is that a problem of the media?


[edit on 16-4-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
I started the thread for anyone to ask any questions they have about another race. And hopefully, someone representative of that race could explain these questions civilly without anyone getting mad. That's what I meant.


Thanks for your explanation. This question bothers me a little and I'll tell you why. But first, I want to say that I appreciate you tring to get an open dialogue about this. And I believe that you're coming at it from a position of curiosity and that's very cool.

For me to "ask a question about another race", for example, "What do black people feel about Cynthia McKinney"? I have just made a racist statement. Because "black people" do not think with one mind or speak with one voice. They are individuals.

"What do Mexicans think about the illegal immigration issue"? Well, there are some that are highly upset about it and some that support it.

For me to "ask a question about another race" is assuming that they think alike or act alike because of their race. And that is racist.

I have been immersed in both black and Mexican culture and I can tell you that each person is as different as I am from the next white woman down the street. Or the next black woman or the next Mexican woman. Know what I mean?

To ask a question about a race (like "what do y'all think about this"?) is to group that race as having one opinion or one outlook or one goal and that's just NOT the way it is. It's like asking, "How do women feel about George W. Bush"? or "How do gay people feel about illegal immigration"?

The best you can get is a percentage. Maybe 39% of women love Bush, 46% hate him and 15% are somewhere in the middle. There is no "representative" opinion among women. And if I were to stand as the representative of women, I would NOT be speaking for them all. I wouldn't be representing them any more than Saphronia would represent black people.

Do you get what I'm saying?


I hate the race card, the sex card, the gay card. I hate the whole deck!



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 05:00 PM
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Ceci. I may have misspoken myself when I said race card, I'll leave that for you and others to decide. What I meant was the "we are victims" card. Now before someone jumps on me for being racist or something of the sort, let me at least attempt to explain myself. What I mean by victimcard is this: We are owed something by the government or society for past and present sins against us, and this applies to any group or groups that see themselves as oppressed. My opinion is that this is a self-defeating notion, it keeps one from accomplishing anything for yourself. Others far more eloquent then I, have attempted to point this out. Bill Cosby amongst them. I am not denying that bigotry of all sorts exists, obviously it does. It rears its ugly head on this forum often enough to prove that. But to allow it to run ones life, or attitude towards life, would seem to me to allow it to win. Refusing to become a victim of it, allows it no power at all. My opinion.

Rev. Jackson can indeed be a marvelous speaker, no denying that. His work with Dr. King was excemplary. I think he has lost his way because of his seeming fascination with victimhood, instead of preaching success through refusing to be victimized. I am sure he has made speeches, and written articles about that, and the media has just ignored it, after all victims make much more attractive television then succuss stories.

I may indeed be buying into the stereotype I railed against earlier, I conceed that it is possible I have. If so I am certainly willing to molify my opinion. It just seems to me that he could be doing much more than he is. Utilizing the bully-pulpit if you will. By drifting so far to the left as he has, he risks marginalizing himself and his supporters. There is no denying his ability to inspire, but he can be equally polarizing. The questions about his financial dealings continue to haunt him as well. If one is going to cast stones, one needs to be without sin ones own self.

I'm rambling. Hopefully I clairified my views, at least somewhat.



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 05:00 PM
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Benevolent Heretic,

That is fair that you said that. But sometimes, I feel that you have to ask questions like that in order for someone to speak up. I do know that each person from a different race has their own feelings about the matter. And that is good. But then again, the blanket accusations continue against the another race, because the questions go unasked.

For this thread, that's why I framed the questions the way I did. Because I would much rather have someone respresentative of another race answer the questions and dispell the myths. I do know that people cannot speak for an entire race. But it would be better if people would take the time to discuss some aspects of their race in their opinion so that I could get a clearer picture.

This thread is only to dispell stereotypes.

I've also grown up in a multi-cultural setting in my entire life. For this, I've been very lucky because I've learned many things about other races. And still, I have questions about why people of different cultures do things. I know for myself being Black, I cannot possibly be the entire voice of my race. But if other people join in and talk about these differences, perhaps some new things can be learned and change perceptions. I would certainly hope that people like Saphronia and others would join in to bring in their ideas and provide different perspectives.


Seagull, that is fair to say. You have made yourself clear. And I am glad that you are being frank about your attitudes. Again, I say thank you.

As for the race card: I would hate to be a "victim", nor use the "race card" as such. But, I think there is a difference between playing "the victim", and highlighting aspects of racism. I think that if there is an injustice played against you, then you must address it. But, then again, it must be distressing that some people continue to use the "race card" over and over. I tend to think that if you acknowledge something wrong that is happening to you, you must tell others and go through the channels to get some kind of redress. However, I also acknowledge that when one goes through the proper channels, they sometimes get ignored by the system. So, while I would think that to some complaining about racism might be seen as "victimization", to others it is a call for empowerment.



[edit on 16-4-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 05:30 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
I feel that you have to ask questions like that in order for someone to speak up.


I totally agree. The more we can discuss the subject, the more educated we become, the more ignorance we deny!


I think it's important to note that there are differences in races, generally speaking, that should be celebrated. I live in New Mexico and I absolutely love the culture. The food, the colors, the dress, the language, the family values, the art! It's a 'difference' that I feel is a wonderful part of who the people are.

But I don't deny that racism exists. It exists from any one race to another. I (a white woman) have been the victim of racism. It's not something that is applied only to people of color.

Racism, in my opinion, is nothing more than fear and ignorance. People are 'afraid' of people who are different than themselves. And that's really sad, because being curious about people who are different leads to one thing. Education. And that's the way to get past racism, in my opinion.



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 09:17 PM
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Thanks Benevolent Heretic for saying that. I think that it is important to note that racism does not exclusively happen to a select race. It happens all around the bend. I'm sure everyone has their views on race, and there is a time to just be brave and talk it out.

I, for one, generally am afraid when talking about race and racism because it is such a sensitive subject and people get very emotional about it. But I am not afraid when a stand needs to be taken. That is the reason why it took a lot of courage to bring up this thread. We need to use this thread to educate and enlighten other people in terms of discussing race.

Which brings me to another question:

Do your political views paint your views upon race? Or does your region help contribute to your views about race?

Those are two other questions that I've always wanted to ask, if anyone could take them.



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 12:28 PM
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Indeed victimization does occur, that is something that knows no racial or ethnic boundries. When it occurs attention should be called to it, without a doubt. Whoever is victimized, in whatever fashion, certainly have the right to have their grievance heard.

My issue is the people, regardless of background who play the victim in order to receive more than their fair share. Air your grievance, get/seek justice, then move on. Whatever happened to working for it?

I realize that bigotry exists in many forms in our world. I don't see it ending anytime soon either, because until we all look, think, and act like clones of each other it is going to exist.

My political views tend to swing to the right of center on most political issues. I don't think my race has much, if anything, to do with my poitical views. I think my life experiances have had much more to do with the altering of my views on matters of politics. I have gone from a rather liberal democrat in my late teens and early twenties, to a rather more concervative view now, but independent. It's possible that my race may have colored my views, but I don't see it.

In an aside, I find it odd that not many people are getting in on this. Maybe I was more correct than I thought.



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 02:30 AM
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Originally quoted by seagull

My issue is the people, regardless of background who play the victim in order to receive more than their fair share. Air your grievance, get/seek justice, then move on. Whatever happened to working for it?


There's two ways to see victimization. One is when a law is enacted as an enabler to victimization. In this way, I see the historical "Separate But Equal" laws as an example. Suppose, you wanted to drink at a water fountain. But you couldn't find a "colored" water fountain. The only one in the vicinity was a "White" fountain. I'd say that this was victimization at its highest. It isn't the person being the "victim", per se. Instead, there are outside forces making "victims" because of racial prejudice. The same could be said with the act of lynching. A person who is lynched is clearly "the victim" in a case in which he or she was attacked by a mob who didn't want him or her there.

The other way to look at it is what you have been talking about: when a person continues to be "the victim". I believe that people cannot simply hang on to the "victimization" role. They have to try and work out the circumstances. But, even with that, things can backfire. Because once someone does speak out in a highly volatile situation, they end up getting shunned due to the fact that the "race card" is held in a cynical light. Their pleas end up not being addressed because like in the Cynthia McKinney case, people just think that it is an "excuse". So, while being a "victim" is not a good thing, there are societal forces at play that prevent you from getting the best treatment in the workplace, or in a town, or maybe even in health care. You have to pick your battles. But in no way can you say, "Oh woe is me!" everytime. I would think that would be beneath anyone's dignity to act that way all the time if they are in the mentality of a victim.

You have to be vigilant though because sometimes there are situations that just happen without any pre-cursory effect. If they involve racial prejudice, you are "the victim" no matter what. I think there is a choice whether you stay the victim or address the situation as it comes.

But still, you have to take everything as a case-by-case basis.



Originally quoted by seagull
In an aside, I find it odd that not many people are getting in on this. Maybe I was more correct than I thought.


It's hard not be pessamistic when its a positive discussion about race. I too wish that others would join in because it would bring a different thread to the fabic of the discussion. It makes me sad to count all the threads that demean other races while there is one that features an open discussion, no one wants to put their two cents in.

But, I have hope. And I thank you seagull for your continued participation and belief that this subject is important. I too think it is relevant--especially in these times.

Perhaps it would have been more lively if I would have insulted another race and made someone mad. But, jeez. I'm too decent a person to do that.

So, I'll just ask more questions to see if someone can respond:

What stereotypes stick out for most people when they view different races?

Is it easier for you to talk about another race when you insult them?

What questions about another race would you like to know the most--if you could ask them?



[edit on 18-4-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 11:04 AM
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Yeah, insulting someones racial background would get you a responce, but definitely not the ones you're looking for
.

Each case should be judged separately, as it comes up. In that I do agree with you, but alot of people find it easier to use the stereotypical to judge all cases "equally". I find myself doing that sometimes, a kneejerk reaction to events going on around me. This is illustrated very clearly in the ongoing immigration debate. Kneejerk reactions all over the place. This is where the stereotyping of people does its most grievous amount of damage. Heat of the moment actions, with sometimes regrettable consequences.

I would think that it would be harder to talk about race while being insulting. Eventually you will begin to repeat yourself, and who wants to listen to a parrot? Gets boring after the third or fourth go around.

Oddly enough, I don't have all that much curiousity concerning race. Culturally, now that's something else entirely. I could come up with all sorts of questions fairly quickly.



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 11:31 AM
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Thanks, Ceci for re-asking my question.

I really did want an answer.


I think this is a good thread but it is unfortunate that more people aren't jumping in... Considering the comments I've seen on this board, we all could use some neutral space to have this discussion.



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 01:29 PM
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I have a question. I am of Native American assent. Why am I not afforded the same rights everyone else is griping about? When filling out a job application, I must PROVE my heritage. I have to be affiliated with a tribe that I must provide with geneology papers. Why is there no other race of people that must QUALIFY for affirmative action? If you tell me that you are black, I don't tell you to prove it. Isn't this against my rights somewhere? If you are fighting for equal rights, why must you only fight for one group? Is it because those issues only affect you personally? Why attach a "racial aspect" to it at all? Fight for everyone, not just a certain group or race. I don't want to be a victim and I am extremely tired of the other "victims" out there crying poor me all the time. Next time you're in the vicinity, go to a Reservation and then tell me how oppressed you are.



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 02:20 PM
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Originally posted by danigirl1974
I have a question. I am of Native American assent. Why am I not afforded the same rights everyone else is griping about? When filling out a job application, I must PROVE my heritage.


Well basically because it is a very easy claim to make…

An affiliation with a tribe cuts down on the amount of paperwork needed because the tribal nation issues an official photo ID and will provide assistance to any employer seeking any additional records. Usually with the ID the employer simply copies it and has the prospective employee sign an affidavit allowing certain requested records to be released from the applicable tribal nation if needed.

Employer’s request this information because of various tax breaks and usually the desired fulfillment of minority status on the respective payrolls etc. If your ancestry can be directly linked by blood to a family member listed in the Dawes Commission Roll Book there are more incentives/advantages for both.



mg



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 02:37 PM
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That doesn't clarify in my mind why Natvie Americans are the only group required to provide such documentation. That's great that the employers get a break for hiring Native Americans. Is that not true for every other member of a minority? Why aren't Vietnamese or Hispanics required to register or prove their minority status? I'm just saying, if you are fighting for equal rights, fight for everyone. Not only one group because it affects you personally. In that stance, you are fighting racism with racism.



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 03:01 PM
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Originally posted by danigirl1974
If you tell me that you are black, I don't tell you to prove it.


I used to date a black man and he told me that any person who had any African heritage at all was considered to be black, regardless of what they looked like. Now, I'm not sure I agree with him, but that's not the point. My point is that if a black or Asian or Latino person claims their race, it's pretty easy to tell.

I also have Native American heritage, but aside from having dark, straight hair and dark eyes, you can't tell. Some of my brothers and sisters show it more than others in their bone structure, but I take after my mom. So, if I used my heritage to get a job, I would understand if they wanted proof. Basically because you can't tell by looking at me.

My guess is that Native Americans are required to have proof of heritage because it's not easy to tell their heritage by sight. Also, I believe there are extra benefits that Native Americans qualify for beyond being labeled as a minority. That's all just a guess, though.

PS. I believe affirmative action only adds to racism. I do not support it at all.





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