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Why is race such a taboo subject?

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posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 06:49 PM
I have to agree with both Ceci, and Benevolent Heretic, it's always better to know exactly where someone stands on a particular topic. Sometimes in an attempt to not offend or practise subtlety, one can lose track of where a person stands on a topic. When in doubt, be blunt. You can always apologize later.

So Nagin actually survived the Mayoral primary, I somehow missed that. I must say I am surprised. I figured if one guy was going to pay a political price, it would have been him. In the mayoral debates I seem to recall at least two other blacks on the podium, who is the opponant for Nagin?

Ceci. Has your research on the Minutemen changed your opinion any? I noticed that you have some rather strong opinions about them, mostly on the negative side.

To my mind, they are trying to serve a purpose. That purpose is to attempt to embarras the Federal government into actually doing their job of protecting our borders. I don't think they have a racist agenda at all, as some have hinted, or flat out accused. I certainly have not seen any proof of this in any of the various media sources (TV, newspapers, and online), and given opinion that the various media sources hold about the Minutemen Project, I think we would have heard something.

posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 07:40 PM
This is off-topic, but I wanted to say that I'm learning some things about race/racism and the African American past and how it is relevant to African Americans today from this Feminist thread...

I never understood why black people held onto their past (slavery) like they do. I mean, the black people alive today have never been slaves, I have never had a slave. What are they crying about? Let's move on. But as I discuss feminism and look into women's past, and the oppression suffered by a male-dominated society, I gain SOME understanding of the black outlook.

I'd like to say I think it's best we all shake off the past and go from here, but in educating other people, it's important to remember where the oppression has come from and to stay aware of the past, while not 'holding it against' the group who oppressed us in the past.

In other words, as a woman and a feminist, it's important for me to remember when women didn't have the vote (among many other societal rights) and to realize the ground we've gained, but it's also important to remember and acknowledge that many men (and women) still feel that men and women aren't equal. We're not societally treated as equal yet, so we must keep educating and talking about it.

And it's also important that I don't hate men for the oppression of the past and the oppression that remains today. It's a matter of education.

And I just think it's interesting that I have realized the same thing about black people. They don't need to live in the past and hate whitey, but they need to be aware of where they came from, how far they've come as a race and how far they need to go. And they need to keep educating other people and encouraging education to take place.

Just thought that was kinda cool.

posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 08:04 PM

posted by Benevolent Heretic: “This is off-topic, but I wanted to say I'm learning things about racism and the African American past and how it is relevant to African Americans today . . I never understood why black people held onto their past slavery like they do . . “ [Edited by Don W]

As a white person, I cannot possibly know that feeling. I’m the one who said, based on my observations, that every white person born before 1954 is prejudiced. (Which includes me.) And too darn many born afterwards are, too. I think Jewish people would be the most likely to appreciate the adverse heritage of American blacks.

It is plain to see the wide interpretations given by people posting here, to the same event. America is definitely a work in progress. To be generous.

[edit on 4/30/2006 by donwhite]

posted on May, 1 2006 @ 02:38 AM
seagull, yes, it is true that sometimes you have to be blunt to get your point across. There are cases in which sometimes the niceties just have to go and you have to make your point. However, that falls under the same line as choosing your battles. And, I've learned that in the arena of debate sometimes you have to think closely about how to address certain subject matter. And then, there are other times, you just have to come right out with it and ask the question.

Yes, Ray Nagin made it past the first mayoral primary in New Orleans. His opponent is Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu, a relative (?) to the Governor of Louisiana.

As for the Minutemen, my mind has changed partly about their group. I think that at the outset, they are trying to help shed light on illegal immigration. However, they are not trying to help the cause of ridding society of their xenophobic leanings. And that is what I was trying to say on that thread. With this, I believe that it might seem good with what they are doing; but they are attracting the wrong element to their outfit. With that, I mean groups with much more extreme leanings than the Minutemen. And because of that, their message has the ability to be misconstrued by people already beleaguered by lack of jobs and an easy scapegoat. However, jsobecky and I still debating about it.

Benevolent Heretic,

I am sorry that I haven't been able this weekend to participate more on parrhesia's and your wonderful thread. In the coming days, I plan to speak out more about women's issues because they are just as relevant. I truly do feel that as women we have to redefine ourselves and what our purpose is in the world. That too is important because as females, we work twice as hard and contribute quite a lot to society. And sometimes, our work has been ignored.

About comparing feminism to the Black experience: that's partly the idea. I think that in women's history we must never forget where we came from. But we must never let that be a lodestone around our neck. For Black people too, history is important because it sets a precedent for our behaviors today. Yet, we can't use that history as a crutch. We have to use the past as a part of pride. And yes, it is true that sometimes as "oppressed" groups, we hold on to the past and easily get mad when others use it against us.

It is cool that you realized that. And it's also great that you brought up the fact that we have to use that past as a point of education. It is too easy to be angry at the past. Heck, I could blame White people for everything they did to Blacks. But, what does that prove? Nothing. Instead, I would much rather use history as a form of "talking points" in order to raise questions and get to some conclusions.

On this thread alone, the discussion of history has brought up some interesting questions. Now I think that's super. I just hope that instead of getting mad at each other, we step back and be able to converse about these issues. This thread alone has given me more courage to discuss these issues instead of being shy about them. I feel tremendously lucky that you, seagull, donwhite, jsobecky, Saphronia, HarlemHottie, police_officer339 and other posters will discuss these issues with me.

We must be able to realize that what we say here is okay. And that we can be able to unwind these ideas together for greater understanding. And like I said before, no one is perfect. We all have our beefs. But, am I appreciative that instead of keeping it bottled up inside that there is a place in which we can bring them out into the open.

Agree or disagree, always know that everyone here has my respect and generosity. Always continue to work on those things to gain some understanding.

[edit on 1-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 1 2006 @ 03:06 AM
donwhite, you said something interesting in your post that I would like to highlight:

Originally quoted by donwhite
As a white person, I cannot possibly know that feeling. I’m the one who said, based on my observations, that every white person born before 1954 is prejudiced. (Which includes me.) And too darn many born afterwards are, too. I think Jewish people would be the most likely to appreciate the adverse heritage of American blacks.

I think that people can have an idea about how other groups feel through being open-minded in regards to issues, history and current events. However, I think that some people from all walks of life display a form of "racial denial". By this, I mean that somehow, they do not get a grasp of the events regarding a different racial group--even if you spell it out to them. "Racial denial" is far different from being sensitive to the history and the suffering of others.

Now, I can say that I cannot imagine what it must have been like to been in such a horrific situation as being in a concentration camp. And even thinking about it now, it brings tears to my eyes to think how genocide was committed in the name of racism and nationalism. But by knowing history, I feel that I can be sensitive to the fact that tens of thousands of people were killed. I have seen films, read books and visited museums which highlight these facts. This I do know. We should try to stop any actions that might lead to the same thing--especially in Darfur.

Jewish and Black people do have a lot in common in terms of history, oppression and being social outsiders. However, the good thing is that for the majority of relationships between African-Americans and Jewish people have been all right. But, unfortunately, the tensions between the two groups have been more of a focus than the positive connections. And, I think it has to do with location more than anything (meaning more East Coast than West Coast).

All the relationships I've had with Jewish people have been fine. All the Black folk around me have treated Jews with respect. And it was the same for Jewish people too. This is my experience from being on the West Coast.

That's the question that I have. Perhaps for African-Americans (or Jewish people) on the East Coast, is there a different perspective (Okay, I know what Jesse Jackson said, and about Farrakhan, not to mention the issue with businesses in Black neighborhoods, etc.)? Can you explain the tensions that exist in places like New York? .

I understand it partly at the outset, but then again it might have to do with something regionally there on the East Coast that I don't understand. Never hurts to ask.

[edit on 1-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 1 2006 @ 05:39 AM

Originally posted by ceci2006
I thought a lot about what you had to say today. And, I would like to give you my extreme apologies for hurting your feelings. I did not mean to say things that annoyed you or made you angry. I only wanted you to know that I had sympathy for your incident.

I concede that I may have read your words more literally than you had anticipated, though again my experiences regarding racism have been many more than just one incident.. worse still they've been condoned/justified because I'm white. I hope I don't have to explain the hypocricey of this.

Thankyou for you apologies Ceci. I respect your courage in creating this thread- it has given me greater insight into the opinions of [about] whites and racism in general.

[edit on 1-5-2006 by riley]

posted on May, 1 2006 @ 04:25 PM

Originally quoted by riley
I concede that I may have read your words more literally than you had anticipated, though again my experiences regarding racism have been many more than just one incident.. worse still they've been condoned/justified because I'm white. I hope I don't have to explain the hypocricey of this.

Thankyou for you apologies Ceci. I respect your courage in creating this thread- it has given me greater insight into the opinions of [about] whites and racism in general.

You're very welcome, riley. And you don't have to explain yourself. I am very happy that you came back here. I'm glad that you accepted my apology.

I also thank you for your comments. The thread was meant to bring insight and education about people from all walks of life. Not just one group. But everyone. Even though we have different opinions in our posts, each post is used as a way to talk about the issues instead of it coming out in anger. In fact, I learned quite a deal from your insights.

All that I ask is don't be a stranger. Continue to contribute here. And do not be afraid to ask questions.

posted on May, 2 2006 @ 07:32 PM
Taking a look in the mirror at your own race, let alone race-relations in general is a hard thing. This was especially the case when I decided to answer my posts for the "Minutemen" and "How Sweet It Is--To Be Rich, Republican and White" threads. Both threads, I had exchanged posts with other people in an atmosphere mixed with tension and enlightenment.

Two great questions came out of those exchanges:

1)Am I strong enough to look at my own race and criticize them if need be?

2)Does anyone have to prove that they are not racist?

In the past, and present, I have spent quite a deal thinking about those two questions. Even though, both inquiries were asked with a different intent than above, these are issues that each and every one of us has struggled with in terms of history, current events and politics. For a few, they know where they stand and are unrepentant about it. For others, these are deep, questions probing beyond the surface of race relations. And in my own continued search for those answers, several things have come to me.

1)For a dialogue about race-relations to happen, these questions have to be taken into consideration. Each conversant must be able to look into that mirror from time to time to ask those questions on each topic brought up. Because if they don't, it is easy to get angry and potentially walk away from a valuable exchange between people from all walks of life.

2)As I learned from the two threads, it is simply too easy to call someone else racist. Sometimes, if the situation provides itself and the person simply spills out what they think about another race without apology or empathy for others, perhaps the term is inevitable. However, in badly needed conversations about race, one has to see the entire situation on a multitude of levels and be able to rigorously ask questions civily. One must also face these issues bravely--even when it hurts.

3)Be prepared to forgive and not forget. What I mean is that when discourse about race happens, sometimes a person has to forgive what the person said in the attempt to refute and enlighten those around him/her. However, these exchanges in race-relations are important. And each discussion has its own points that you don't forget until the next conversation. You can learn from each one and take it with you when you are confronted with hard questions next time.

I have been accused of actively "seeking race" in subject matter. I don't think anyone "actively" seeks anything. Sometimes, it becomes the point in topical subject matter. No one sets out with their intention of being "firestarters" (unless they are trolls
). However, when people do say things that are wrong or derogatory about another race, sometimes you have to speak up. Otherwise, those same comments will be continuously tolerated and taken as truths without rebuttal.

It is much better to clear the air than let it fester and overwhelm you. With that being said, you have to take a hard look in the mirror each and every time you do. In all debates, you have to revitalize and reevaluate your principles. Just a simple glance alone in that mirror can also do wonders to your character.

What does everyone think about this? Does anyone else have any suggestions about having an open debate about race on a civil basis?

Or, does one "actively" seek race out on all issues and uses it as a point of contention (I'll give this one more thought and answer this point in a future post)?

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 08:50 AM
Great questions, ceci!

Originally posted by ceci2006
1)Am I strong enough to look at my own race and criticize them if need be?

Being white (and the person that I am), I am accustomed to looking at my race critically. And I don't identify with 'my race' like I think many people of other races do. You've got your proud black American, the Hispanic who is proud of their heritage... but for someone to say that they're proud to be white
All of a sudden we have thoughts of supremacy.

White people aren't really allowed to be proud of their race, so we've learned to either do it quiety or overtly as a skinhead.
Or the third option, which I think a lot of white people feel, and that's ashamed or embarrassed. And then there's the fourth option and that is to be neutral about it. Neither proud nor ashamed.

And that's where I am. I don't look at 'my race' as a whole. We are individuals. I see total jerks in my race and I see lovely people in my race. So, to me, to group us together as 'my race' is, in itself, racist. And I think the same is true regardless of race. Just as saying anything about how "black people do this or that" is racist.

It's clear that some black people liberally use the N-word and some don't think it's appropriate. Some believe in affirmative action, some don't. Some think reparations are in order, some don't. Some are total jerks, some are very wonderful and cool people!

It's the same with white people, so I can't identify with my race and look at them critically. But I will be the first to look at a person critically (including myself), regardless of their race.

2)Does anyone have to prove that they are not racist?

I thought for a long time that I did. I felt a certain amount of responsibility for how minorities (especially black people) have historically, and even today, been treated by white people. But by participating in this thread, I have kind of backed off of that position. I still feel the same about equal rights, but I do own the fact that there are some racist ideas and thoughts left in me, even if they're not particularly negative. I still have persistent, lingering impressions of race in general that I haven't really been able to shake completely.

And I'm really ok with that. As has been mentioned, we can't expect to be color blind. That is neither practical nor the goal, as far as I'm concerned. The goal is to allow for and celebrate our racial differences and work toward further social equality.

Or, does one "actively" seek race out on all issues and uses it as a point of contention?

I know I don't do this. Race is rarely an issue in conversations I have, unless someone makes a derogatory racist statement, then I usually come out swinging.

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 12:51 PM
A willingness to constructively criticize, to a point, would seem to me a sign of integrity, as long as one is willing to accept criticism ones own self.

I am white, of European decent, and am proud of my heritage, which is English, Scotch, Dutch, German, and French. Most of my family hail from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. I am proud of that heritage, how I go about declaring that pride is what brands me a supremist, or not. The or not applies here, in case anyone wonders
. Thought I'd make that clear. Moving on.

Having pride in ones heritage is great. All of the races have much to be proud of, and equally much to be wary, even ashamed of. None more than another. It's probably my imagination, but I sometimes get the feeling that whites are supposed to apologize for being white. Like they have any control over that. Are there instances in history that whites as a whole should be ashamed of? Yes, of course. Only a complete bigot would say otherwise. Just as other races have things in history they shouldn't be especially proud of. We can all think what they might be without dredging them up here. Hopefully we learn from them, and don't repeat them.

why hold the sins of the father against the sons/daughters? That strikes me as shallow and self-defeating. Acknowlege the sin, learn the lessons, don't repeat the sin, move on. I realize that this may not be greeted with applause from some of you herein. To dwell on the horror of the past would seem to play into the hands of the ghosts of those who perpatrated the horror itself.

Realize that I am not in anyway advocating ignoring atrocities of the past, I am not. What I am saying is dwelling on it to the detriment of growing away from it merely gives the ghosts their victory.

This next sounds trite, even to me as I am writing it. We are in the process of developing a multicultural phenomenon here in America. We've had setbacks, and will in all likelihood suffer more in the future. There is always a backlash to societal change, we all know that. It's up to us to attempt to educate others around us in whatever way we can. America has a wonderous oppourtunity in the next couple of decades for growth in understanding of the other. It will, however, not happen overnight, or next week. I doubt many of us here at ATS will even be alive when, if, it happens. Maybe the teenieboppers here might see it in their lifetimes, but it'll come. Provided we, most Americans I mean, continue to work at it. The world has never seen anything quite like what America could be, and I think will be, eventually.

Understanding of the "other" is the key. We have all said that, in one way or another throughout this thread. Most of us live it, to a lesser or greater extent in our own lives. Erradicating the fear of the "other", is a part of that. Move past the fear, and understanding must inevitably follow. Reverand King knew this, Ghandi knew this, my mother and father knew this, I know this.

Wow, I just lumped myself in with some rather luminous company

Overly optimistic? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. It seems a dream worth dieing for. Many, of all races, have. We can all name some of them.

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 09:30 PM
Benevolent Heretic and seagull, what you said was really great. I thank you both for your answers to my questions. And yes, I think there are mean and nice people from all races. It partly has to do with character when discussing notions of pride. I do agree that Whites often get attacked for having "pride". And that is part and parcel because of the historical leanings and atrocities that have happened. But I think a difference can be put forth.

I also see people as different within their race. This thread alone demonstrated that. However, I think you are both right in the way that people assert notions of pride. It's not only a factor of White people. All other races do it too. It has to do with the context of "pride" and how you use it. For example, there are White people that discuss their "ethnicity" when talking about where they came from (as seagull did). That does not bother me. It also does not bother me when there are Italian, Irish, Portuguese, etc. parades celebrating the nationality or ethnicity. I think in that context, there's nothing inherently wrong. It would be the same thing if they had a "Gullah" parade, or a "Nigerian" festival.

However, when you assert the notion of pride knowingly in a way in which it hurts people in another race, then it gets problematic. In this way, by assuming totally that everyone in a racial group "thinks this or that way", then you are not only doing a disservce to yourself but to others. But to take the time to critically think about your statements in talking about that pride, does a lot of wonders.

But if you are not willing to understand or empathize with another's point of view while asserting your race, then that is part of the problem as well. If the intent is to educate others about your race I think it is part and parcel for people to build bridges when describing the good things about your race. This is something that we all should practice, imho.

However, you cannot make blanket assertions and expect to get away with it. You also have to know the difference between "ethnicity" and "race" when you make statements or questions regarding your own race and others. You also have to demonstrate a willingness to understand others and their point of view. And, you have to at least show that you care.

About "actively" seeking race: I think that there are your "race-baiters" as equally as those who are interested in the civil rights movement who discuss isses regarding racial groups. However, I still think that it has to do with the subject matter. A topic is not a singular one. It has many sides to an issue. And even if race is the last one remotely tied to it, the perception of other racial groups to the subject matter is fair game.

However, I think that bringing up race, or addressing racial concerns in a given topic does disturb the sensibilites of some who would like things not to grow in a multi-cultural light. And with them, any critical analysis which includes race could seem like a missile fired at a tanker: damage is high, and retaliation is almost certain. One thing that I should have mentioned above is the fact that when people discuss race, they almost always personalize the issue. When you handle it the right way, it could be beautiful. But when you go off "half-cocked" without thinking about another race with little or no remorse, that makes it ugly.

It is one of the lessons I learned from participating in the "Minutemen" post alone. Almost each statement is riddled with personalizing remarks in regard to race. With that closeness tied to the subject matter, you know that every sentence is going to be laced with emotion and almost contempt for the other side. And that is sad. Perhaps that issue would have been better treated with a little distance and more observation. I too could have been better served with distance, I realize now.

I hope that I won't be stepping on any toes, but can someone please explain the entire notion of "White guilt"? I think there are things that makes anyone in any race feel guilty. But what is it about this term that makes some White persons angry?

[edit on 3-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 4 2006 @ 08:16 AM

Originally posted by ceci2006
...can someone please explain the entire notion of "White guilt"?

I've never heard it termed as "white guilt" specifically, and I'm going to speak in in the first person, yet try my best to represent "my race"
So, if any white people out there disagree with me, please understand that I'm not speaking for everyone, just attempting to generally represent the white folk.

All my life I have experienced angry black people. That's not to say that all of them I’ve encountered have been angry, but it has been a continuum of experience that black people I’ve known, encountered and seen on TV and in movies have been angry at “The Man” for the oppression of the black man over the last couple hundred years.

Whenever I’ve made an attempt to talk about it with black people, their anger has overwhelmed me and I have backed out. (Only recently have I grown to be ok with other people’s anger.) But it has been made clear that simply being white makes me, at least in many people’s minds, somewhat guilty of the crimes of humanity that my ancestors may or may not have committed, and certainly guilty of the crimes that my race committed.

It has been made crystal clear throughout my life.

In reading and watching movies about the history of this country and the enslavement of a race by another race, I have felt myself feeling anger and astonishment, sorrow and guilt - at the prospect of the treatment of one human being to another.

So, over the years, basically I have been told that, because of the color of my skin, like it or not, I am “The Man”, only slightly less guilty than those who actually imprisoned and used people as one would keep livestock.

On the other hand, somewhere in the back of my mind, I KNOW this isn’t my fault. I am not guilty in the least of treating my fellow man in such a disgraceful manner! It is NOT my cross to bear! I have never done a thing to oppress another human being! In fact, I am a Soldier of Grace! I fight for the exploited, for those who are misunderstood, or unseen or oppressed!

So I have this dichotomy of thoughts and feelings going on in my person. And when someone would suggest that I’m acting a certain way because I feel guilty or because of ‘white guilt’ it suggests that they also think I’m guilty. And I feel it’s an unfair and unreasonable accusation. WTF have I got to be guilty about? Most likely I’m acting that way because I’m human.

It’s RACISM. When someone accuses me of “white guilt’, of feeling guilty because of the color of my skin, I am a victim of racism. It reinforces the guilt and sorrow I talked about above. And I don’t like it any more than anyone else of any color or race does.

If I’m off base people, correct me. Like I said, that’s the first time I have heard that specific term, but it hit home and I immediately knew what it meant to me.

So now, I looked it up and all I have said applies.

White Guilt

This refers to the guilt that whites, particularly white liberals, feel about racism, imperialism, colonialism and other forms of oppression. Proponents of white guilt explain that while whites may not necessarily be racist on an individual level, they live in a racist society that automatically grants them certain advantages at the expense of other people.

In addition, to speak to the second part of the paragraph above about living in a racist society, I wonder what we should do about that, other than what I'm doing. If I would commit suicide because I refuse to live in a racist society, would that help?

The second part of the paragraph above just adds to the 'white guilt' feeling. It's like blaming modern man for the oppression of women. Sure some still don't get equality, because change takes time. Hating men, bashing men, blaming men does no good. To change the societal mindset of a people takes time. And hey, I'm Sorry, but I'm doing my best.

Does that help at all, ceci?

posted on May, 4 2006 @ 08:25 AM
Yes, it does. Thank you very much for trying to explain it me. I had just seen this term thrown around on the board the last couple of days. I have always had a sense of the words but didn't know how to adequately explain it in the past. I had only known the word as being used in such a negative way across the board, that's all.

With that being said, I don't have time enough right time now to give you an appropriate response that I would like to. But, I will think about what you said. I also have other questions that I will introduce, but I will do that later as well.

Thanks for your response, Benevolent Heretic. I always find your words and sentiment comforting.

posted on May, 5 2006 @ 02:03 AM
Benevolent Heretic,

I am gratified that you answered my question. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer to this notion. After thinking about it all day as I went about my work and errands, I find that the only way to explain it is to distinguish the difference between "guilt" and "having a conscience".

1)To have guilt for something is to acknowledge wrongdoing. People from all walks of life know some parts of history which blatantly radiate past atrocities. However, they are not part and parcel of participating in those occurrences, unless it is proven that they actually committed crimes against humanity in some way, shape or form. No one, unless they have done an actual offense against another human being should have to say that they are guilty.

But in the same fashion, the consciousness of past history and its perpetration on certain racial groups should not be forgotten because it figures into how we play as actants in current events. To not know history, in short, is that we are doomed to repeat it. The acknowledgement alone helps the cause of solidarity and empathy for others. It lets other people know that you do understand where they are coming from and why they react to certain events in such a fashion.
To show compassion alone emits caring. And that is far better than feeling guilt.

We've got to take terms like "White Guilt" and throw it out the window, imho. It is as bad as the N-word in my point of view. It stigmatizes people for caring and feeling emotions for other people. Showing concern for others should never be negative.

2)Let's equally acknowledge this caring by saying that we "have a conscience" regarding the attitudes people take. On the Minutemen board, I caught a lot of derision for saying that I had a conscience. I don't think it is wrong to say that you have one. It is a part of character and it should be demonstrated. But in the same way, I was told that "caring about undocumented workers" as human beings is "racism masked as concern" and "liberal PC crap".

As I think about that now, I have to think that it relates a lot to how people respond to issues of emotion during these critical times. I think that emotionality is a core value in discussion and participating in positive racial relations. People do have to feel something about other races in order to respond.

However, it can go the other way around. Emotions are powerful. And people have to treat their feelings responsibly when going about relating to others. However, when hot-button issues rise to the surface (like illegal immigration and affirmative action), the loudest speakers are usually people who let their emotions override their common sense. That does not mean that we have to be emotionless when discussing these issues. We have to keep our feelings in check.

The way to do that is to set a gauge on our consciences. By that, I mean, we have to think about how we view other people without the stereotypical stuff going with it. It is hard to do. But, I think one has to shut the negative definitions off when learning about another person's culture or attitudes. And we have to at least empathize on the level of being human beings.

With that being said, I love different cultures and languages. They give insights into how people relate with each other on many different levels. These things ought to be known by everyone. But, there has to be some way to shut off the words of naysayers that solely engage on a unilateral attack of demanding the "same culture for everybody". I think it is arrogant to say that other cultures have to submit to a larger culture without having to integrate their own. If we had that, I agree that the world would be pretty boring.

So, in essence, we must not feel guilty, but still have a conscience about things and people. That is the most important thing to take away from the lessons of guilt. We only have to say sorry for the things we do. It's sad that people have to dredge up all this history and force others to feel accountable. Instead, educate with history, society and politics. Critically think about it and then try to place it in today's context.

You'd think it'd be an easy thing to do. But, a lot of people can't do it. They would rather just repeat the ideas of what their pundits tell them to do.

posted on May, 5 2006 @ 02:23 AM

Originally quoted by Benevolent Heretic
I wonder what we should do about that, other than what I'm doing. If I would commit suicide because I refuse to live in a racist society, would that help?

No one should have to go that far. At least, I would hope not. I think that first people do need to acknowledge that we do live in a racist society. That is not said flippiantly or casually. It is simply true. We all have preferences, stereotypes and atttitudes about other groups of people. No one can escape it because this consciousness is aided and abetted by the media, the government and public officials. We have to acknowledge this in ourselves and others. No one can be totally blameless, imho.

With that being said, I would much rather view today's society as being a work in progress, much as you do. Change does come slowly. But with that notice of racism, we have actually gone farther than most societies would. That means that we know that there are symptoms to the problem. It gives us something to start with. Now, we have to work with trying to slowly undo those symptoms by continuing discussion and encouraging people from different walks of life to interact with one another. That way, we can overwrite the stereotypes and the bias that we have had before and put forth new meanings about another race.

It simply has to be done on a small level first and then gradually raised to the next.

However, it is easier to prescribe the cure rather than acting it out. For some, like you and me, we are ahead of the curve. We know that these things happen and are willing to work on relating to others on a caring matter. We also know that there are people who refuse to even acknowledge race (or racism) exists and will get angry when the topic is even brought up because of the unwarranted fear of losing everything that they hold dear.

The people who have the most to lose are the hardest to work on. They would rather be set in their ways than entertain even the simplest notion of change.

But, I think that for people who at least demonstrate in a small way that they are willing to listen and to ask questions, that's where the discussions of race-relations can start.

So, don't give up on humanity yet. There are a lot of people who care about others and are willing to help build bridges instead of burn them down. The only thing that needs to be abolished is fear. Fear is the greatest ally of racism.

The question is how to get those who have "racial denial" to admit there is racism and to get them to look past their own sensibilities to acknowledge another side of the issue.

[edit on 5-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 6 2006 @ 09:35 PM
Ceci, Thank you for starting this thread.

Your comparison of black slaves and illegal immigrants showing the similarities was
interesting and thought provoking. Many new ideas for me to ponder.

Saphronia Your beautiful discriptive language about our differences in race and culture adding to the enjoyment of life, was wonderful

Benevolent Heretic You have voiced many of the problems we face while trying not to be racist.

When I was younger I lived in New York City for awhile. One time, by mistake, I ended up in Harlem. Yes, I was afraid. But the fear was that I was the one who was different. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Everyone was looking at me. It was very uncomfortable. This scene always stayed with me.

Not many African-Americans attend the Catholic church in my parish. But, remembering how I felt when I was the only white person, I smile and say something pleasant hoping they won't be as uncomfortable as I was.

I felt that all posters to this thread have added important dimensions of thought.

I am a white woman and I believe that I am older than most of you. I was born and brought up in a small town in the state of New Hampshire. There were no "persons of color" at that time in that area.

We did learn about slavery and the Civil War in school. My memory is of the compassion and horror we felt about people being owned by another person. This was the only context in which we knew about African-Americans.

I really don't think we were prejudiced because we did not have any contact with black persons at all. They were below the radar, as we say today.

I have just finished reading all 10 pages and found the discussion of the questions
enlightening in many respects. I particularly liked the fact of two or three people working out their different feelings by analysis of the issues. Perhaps their feelings were the same when the discussion ended, but we understood more about all points of view.

I was also impressed by the variety of subjects covered under the race umbrella. The questions that you, Ceci, kept throwing into the mix were great and all worthy of careful thought.

donwhite provided some excellent education of the history facts involved with the question of racism.

Racism Dies Hard. Many White’s Have A Lethal Dose of It, One Man’s Point of View
on Race In America, And Lt. Columbo Said, "Oh, There is Just One More Tihing . .

However, donwhite, I do have to answer a few of the statements you have made.

by donwhite: As a white person, I cannot possibly know that feeling. I’m the one who said, based on my observations, that every white person born before 1954 is prejudiced. (Which includes me.)

My first sight of a black person was in 1955 when I became the bride of a soldier and moved to Fort Bragg, NC. I did not know about separate water fountains, etc. so I made a few boo boo's. I needed to get my hair cut and I found a number in the phone book and called and made an appointment in Fayetteville. When I tried to go into the shop I was met at the door and told I couldn't come in, it was colored only. Stupid me, I asked, "well should I come back later?" Again I was told this was colored only, no whites.

donwhite I know I saw this post that seagull is quoting, but darn if I can find it again so I will list his quote.

posted by seagull: “Donwhite. GOP equals racist? I would say that those particular ads were playing to a wider audience then just "racist Republicans" of which there are, no doubt, a number. But you are painting with an awfully broad brush, my friend, when you say GOP equal racist. [Edited by Don W

And you answer:

Maybe so, SeaGull. Maybe not. I will concede this much, that a lot of persons who label themselves as Democrats voted for Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2. Those same people could have voted for Humphrey or McGovern. Neither were ever called “racists” to my best knowledge. Or, they could have voted for Mondale. Racist? Not to my knowledge. Or they could have voted for Dukakis. A racist? No one has said that to my best knowledge. Al Gore. John Kerry. Again, not to my knowledge in either case.

My voting career started out as Democrat. In fact I did work on some of those
campaigns. Over the years I did change to voting Republican. I believe the Democrat Party has changed.

You are speaking of republicans voting a "one issue" and that being race. I guess I am also a "one issue" republican but my issue is abortion. That is my top issue but the size of federal government is on my list too. All of the Republicans I know are voting for these issues.

I lived in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary. Alan Keyes was my choice. The only reason he did not show good in the primary was because of that old standby, "I'm afraid to waste my vote". Race was not the issue. Voters make their fear come true. If all of the people voted for him who thought he was the best man he would have won.

Alan Keyes stands for all that Republicans hold dear. John McCain won the NH
Republican primary that year.

So, donwhite, I hope I have answered your question as to why I would not vote for Al Gore or John Kerry.

posted on May, 7 2006 @ 04:33 AM
Thank you for your fantastic comments, Mahree. And welcome to the thread. I am glad that you took the time to read our comments and added a few of your own. I especially appreciated the fact that you got something out of our talks. I am beginning to realize by the depth of the answers and the great questions posed by everyone, this thread represents an compelling place in which people can hopefully be honest with their feelings. And I am also happy that people take the time to read the responses and learn from what is written.

As I have reiterrated many times, the goal on this thread is the talk civily about race. In that fashion, I am opening up the floor to anyone who has a question or who can provide an answer to perplexing issues that we can talk about. Here, you don't have to feel shy or frightened of our responses. As spoken about in earlier posts, all of us would like people to speak their minds. Furthermore, we try our very best to treat everyone on this thread with respect and kindness when posting the answer.

So, I continue to step up on that soap box and holler out to anyone to ask any question that is on their minds. And I hope so because this is a thread that is sorely needed on this forum.

Mahree, I do have a question for you. Even though you grew up with no Black people around you, did people still have any feelings about them (like from the newspapers, television, movies)? Or were people in your town neutral about Black people in general? Like I've told others, that this is not to put you on the spot, but I am curious by this.

And these questions are opened up to everyone else:

1)What are some stereotypes that are most prevelent when you think about another race?

2)Do you think it is hard to discuss issues about race-relations when you are in a situation in which you are the only one of your race amongst other people of another race?

(This has happened to me many times, but I would like to hear this from other people)

3)Do you think that justice is truly colorblind?

4)Do you find it hard to talk about race-relations with others of your own race?

As for my own answers to these questions, I will think about them and then try to answer in future posts.

[edit on 7-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 7 2006 @ 07:39 AM

your question: . Even though you grew up with no Black people around you, did people still have any feelings about them (like from the newspapers, television, movies)? Or were people in your town neutral about Black people in general?

Well, for one thing, we did not have TV for most of my young years. I really don't remember anything like an answer to your question. It may have been because I was young and just not interested in any thing much that didn't relate to me personally.

I was out of the country from 56-59. So, really my first real attention came in the 60's with the civil rights movement. From what I can remember my friends and myself were ready to protest. We admired MLK and the brave people who were actively involved.

ceci, here is a question I have left over from those days. Maybe you can answer for me. This has stuck in my head all these years. The pictures of little children being bussed to a school where they were hated, and not just by other children, but also by adults. There was always the chance of physical injury too.

I know how hard it is to go to a new school where you do not know anyone. I would think that a mother's heart would break at sending her child into such a position.

posted on May, 8 2006 @ 04:20 AM

Originally quoted by Mahree
ceci, here is a question I have left over from those days. Maybe you can answer for me. This has stuck in my head all these years. The pictures of little children being bussed to a school where they were hated, and not just by other children, but also by adults. There was always the chance of physical injury too.

Actually, you are talking about my parents' generation when the first integration took place in schools across the country via Brown v. The Board of Education(1954). But when I think about those milestones in education, it is rather fascinating to think that such a ruling passed over fifty years ago. Not even a generation has passed and still there are pushes for "segregated" schools in places like Omaha, Nebraska. Or the discussion of school vouchers.

The other amazing thing to note is that my generation is probably the first to truly take advantage of an integrated school ssystem. Those that came before us had to deal with second hand desks and books. And even broken down school facilities. And it is sad to note that when I recently saw a news report a while back that there are still schools still in this manner because all the funds are being diverted to the "richer neighborhoods" and their institutions.

I could only imagine the hostility that the Central Nine had to experience on their first day of school in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is terrifying to think that racial divisions were so deep that to simply walk into a different school you would be spit upon or barred from the doors by the state guard.

But that's what the pioneers of integration had to deal with as they were getting their education.

It still blows my mind about the tremendous hardship they had to face in order to be situated in a place in which they could embrace their possibilities while dealing with the overt racism and lack of concern. Their fortitude in dealing with the opposition of those days are not lost upon me. They are also role models in my book for withstanding the worst humanity had to offer in order to reach their goals and to make something of themselves.

And, now, it seems I owe them quite a deal for enduring a tough situation. It gives me strength and purpose as I continue to pursue my goals. And their efforts make me proud because it demonstrates the persistence of the human spirit in times of struggle.

[edit on 8-5-2006 by ceci2006]

posted on May, 12 2006 @ 02:29 AM
If there has been two words that have been thrown around whenever race is mentioned, it is the phrase "race-baiting". Yes. I have used it. And you have probably used it too. But what does it mean, entirely?

Does it mean that by mentioning race as part of a topic, that the writer is trying to inflame the passions of the reader? Or does it mean that when race is noted as part of subject matter, it is to be dismissed because it is considered a "weak" form of an argument? Whatever questions are asked, "race-baiting" is often part of someone's "rhetorical arsenal" as a way to re-direct the topic to less sensitive fare. And because of that reason, it is used to as a tactic to divert frank, badly needed discussions about race.

"Race-baiting" is fascinating because it places the inquirer in a unique position. First, they have to try and validate the experience according to race in a discourse. Secondly, they have to make their point on top of describing how race fits into a topic. But for the person to whom the query is placed, by saying such a phrase distances themselves from to topic of multi-culturalism. In fact, by declaring the opponent "a race-baiter", they invalidate race as something meaningful. Furthermore, they give the impression that they do not want to deal with race, as if racial issues bother them.

The worst of it all is the fact that "race-baiting" is often used to mean that anything afforded to race is a "side-track" issue that needs not be mentioned. More or less, it should be swept under the rug so that no one would have to be "exposed" to such powerful and emotional testimony. It is a way to say that those feelings regarding race do not matter. Not to mention the fact that race is an "ugly" discourse that needs to be kept in the closet and shut away with a padlock.

That is why "race-baiting" needs to be defined and examined. The discussion of race should not be disregarded in this manner. Or else, people will use phrases such as this one to pound the inquirer into submission through words and actions. And by closing off alternative points of view regarding racial issues, means the open-mindedness that is afforded to other topics is quietly dismissed because semantics have often tied the word "race" along with "negativity" and "anger".

It is hard to forget the historical, social and political programming that has happened in society in regards to racial issues. On the other hand, it is simple to mention a specific racial group and point out a dignitary or a politician which espouses particular views. But, it is much more difficult to do the research and investigate what other people of the same race think. And many, when posed with questions about multi-culturalism and race, would rather use the term "race-baiting" than delve into these issues and learn something new. In totality, "race-baiting" is used as a way not to feel and get in touch with the histories that bind us together.

In the end, we must not let this happen. We need these discussions badly. We cannot call others ignorant or foolish because of what they do not know. Instead, we should deflect the word "race-baiting" and continue to bring up the issues about race which matter the most. It would be defeatist to simply let such a word undermine different experiences and concepts of life other than what is legitimized by "dominant" culture.

[edit on 12-5-2006 by ceci2006]

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