Boy, oh boy. Lots of fascinating responses. I would like to say thank you to Saphronia for the honorary WATS. I am grateful for your support. And
I am equally grateful for your participation in this thread.
And I appreciate seagull for what he said, because it demonstrates that we need to be more mindful of judging others. It is fair to examine the works
of a certain dignitary and see if he/she fits into our criteria of ideals. But, we also have to cut some slack too.
Originally quoted by riley
I have even been told that I 'have it better' by non whites [as in plural not all] .. well yes I'd agree if I didn't have rocks hurled at me.
Although I have sympathy for your situation, I have to ask one question. Why do you think that Whites have it better than "non-whites"? You said
it in your response. And you said that you'd agree. I just want to know why.
Originally quoted by Imaginary Reality 1984
We aren't allowed to use certain historical words even in a careful thought out discussion. People of all races and religions often refer to others
as 'there people' and so segregate themselves completely. We need to put aside our hangups of race and language, we should be able to use words we
want as long as it isn't meant in a nasty way and we need to stop segregating ourselves.
Yes, that's true. But there is a historical and social context to the N-word. It's not fair that your friend was attacked for using it--if it were
acceptable to use it amongst your Black friends. But still at the same time, it is an inflammatory word. And, sometimes in a public situation, you
have to be judicial in using it. I think that the same thing goes with Black people. Black people when they are amongst themselves, use the
"N-word" quite frequently.
However, there is a way to explain this. First, the "N-word" has been used in such a racially volatile way that in its modern context, it is
offensive because it brings back all the "racial baggage" Black people have experienced. For someone outside the race to use the word, it is
literally like being punched in the gut.
On the other hand, when Black people use the word, they use it as a way to desensitize themselves from its painful implications. By taking the
"N-word" back, they are taking the power away from the word and rendering it useless.
Sadly enough, I don't know where I stand on this issue, except to say that it's best to be socially mindful when the word is used. If I were White,
I would not want to shout the "N-Word" in the middle of Watts or Harlem. Lest, you had a death wish. However, if there is a meaningful discussion
of the word and people are trying to make sense of it, then perhaps it should be used in its context to get to the bottom of why it is offensive.
It is sad that historical words are afforded this power. But, you have to realize, not all people are over its use--especially when it was a commonly
printed word in newspapers during the 18th and 19th century.
What are some other thoughts about this?
Originally quoted by jsobecky
Today, black role models are shifting away from politics to the members of society that busted their butts to succeed; the doctors, the business
people, the teachers. Bill Cosby gets shouted down because he gets in the face of the black inner city that has a 4 time higher death rate for young
black mothers than white mothers. He is unpopular because he comes down on the heads of black men that abandon their role in raisng the children that
they father. He is a man whose message I admire, although there was a time when I hated him because he had made an overtly racist statement.
Education is the key. And not Black History 101, but med school and the bar.
So, is that what you wanted to know, ceci?
jsobecky, I agree that people need to have a jaundiced eye when looking at dignitaries. However, I have to agree with Benevolent Heretic that you
can't always ignore the good that the person has done. I don't think that Rev. Jackson is not socially redeemable. I do understand that you tend
to root out the hypocrisy that might lie with Rev. Jackson's character--not to mention other leaders that might be just as hypocritical.
Despite all the things he has done, Rev. Jackson has fought for civil rights. That is a good thing about his character. Do I approve that he has an
illegitimate child? No. I don't. But in my eyes, it only shows that people are human. They make mistakes. And they are not the paragon of
perfectness. But, was Rev. Jackson prosecuted for these "shakedowns" as you say? No.
So, what you claim might or might not be legitimate.
As of role models, I think you are right. Black people do have to have role models that present good examples for young people. For example, one of
my role models is Rosa Parks. Mrs. Parks is a personal hero of mine because she was a woman who refused to give up her seat. It was her simple act
that started a boycott of Busing in the South. She went on to benefit others by her acts--especially in building a center to educate youths. She
demonstrated the power that one person can do to change society.
And there are other role models in this strain. One is Shirley Chisholm, one of the first Black women in Congress. Another was Congresswoman Barbara
Jordan. And yet, still another is Dr. Charles Drew. And of course, Benjamin Banneker, Crispus Attucks, Dr. George Washington Carver and Phyllis
Wheatley. I'd ask you to look the last five up, but you would probably think that this was also part of "Black 101".
I think it is rather close-minded to think that all the role models Black people possess is mainly regulated to sports stars, rap stars and the
notables. Yes, lawyers and doctors should be honored. But, one of the problems of using "Black 101" as a phrase to denote that knowing our history
is lesser than other histories, is to ignore all the Black inventors, innovators and other participants that have contributed to American History. In
fact, I can say that in my family resided a Tuskegee Airman. Here is more information about them and how they served honorably in the military as
My grandmother also knew a Buffalo Soldier as well.
The Tuskegee Airmen and Buffalo Solders both are considered heroes.
However, in the vein of sports heroes, most certainly you must not forget Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. To my father and his generation, Jackie
Robinson and Joe Louis represented pioneers which fought not only for the honor of African-Americans, but for the conscience of the nation. So, you
cannot dismiss all of our sports heroes as being bad role models.
I get what you are saying. And your intentions are good. Black people do have to take the criticism and allow ourselves to reevaluate our
priorities. And yes, you satisfied my question.
Originally quoted by sdcigarpig
Most people, when they see a few people of a particular race, tend to get an impression of how the rest would be from those actions.
That is what I meant when talking about "images". We are quick to judge others on these fabricated characteristics. So, it benefits everybody to
ask questions and meet people from different walks of life. You don't have to go whole hog. But take a step one at a time and keep an open mind.
It is improper just to brand someone "a racist". However, if there is proof of past actions and there is a record of racism to back it up, then the
shoe fits. Other than that, we have to be a little bit more thoughtful into reading the intentions of other people.
To everyone else:
Please do ask more questions. Ask lots! Keep the conversation rolling! And I still have that shout out to the other ethnicities and races to
participate. Please come on by!
[edit on 22-4-2006 by ceci2006]