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What can we do to address race-relations and solve racism?

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posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 12:32 PM
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Just to clarify my intent, I don't think melding cultures is necessarily the right thing to do, either. My thought was in perhaps a marriage between 2 people of different cultures, they may feel that it was advantageous to meld some of their cultural differences for the benefit of their children or whatever.

So, the intent behind my question - How do you meld OR accept (whichever you see as preferred) two different cultures, was to learn how people deal with relationships where 2 cultures are concerned.
I could have asked it better.


I know when I dated an African man, he brought some of his culture into our relationship (and I'm sure I brought mine) and it was something to get used to and consider as we prepared for our future, which at the time included a family.




posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 12:44 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
So, the intent behind my question - How do you meld OR accept (whichever you see as preferred) two different cultures, was to learn how people deal with relationships where 2 cultures are concerned. I could have asked it better.


I also don't believe interracial marriage should be mandated and or promoted, it's a personal choice and not one that needs advertising. But if two people of different race or culture were to marry then I tend to think that some blending of cultures would have to take place. Not because the two people cant accept each other for who they are and for what they stand for, but because my concern is that the children might have to pick and choose which culture they want to "accept" as theirs if there are two very distinct choices.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 12:48 PM
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Problems can also arise when people of different religions marry. Most of that comes from outside the couple, however; i.e., from the families.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Problems can also arise when people of different religions marry. Most of that comes from outside the couple, however; i.e., from the families.


Yup, they can, for example I'm an Atheist and I've already made up my mind that my children will be raised up as such . So my future SO either has to be religious and fine with that, or not religious because I'm not budging on that particular issue. But the family thing I believe thing is what forces people to mainly stick to their "kind" when it comes time for relationships. I don't know but I assume for most who have a good relationship with their family it's either, ruin relations with your family or go with what you want and love.

BTW I'm really looking forward to this conversation, "So (my name) what church do you belong to? Silence, "Sir, I haven't been to a church since I was 8 years old, I'm not a particularly religious person." More awkward silence...



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 08:07 PM
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...while the father is silently thinking "Well, we'll just see about that", and the mother thinks, "He's such a nice boy. Takes care of his appearance. Is that a number 3 haircut?"



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 09:56 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Since it seems to find it’s way into so many discussions, I’d like to know what culture means to you. And, if it relates to racism in any way.


Excellent question, jso! I agree with your definition of culture.

In reference to your question about "cultural differences," I found that I had a lot to say, but no way to articulate it, so I searched the term (yay google!) found an article that addressed some of the stuff on my mind.


It is clear, then, that some important elements of African language, religion, music, and family structure have African origins, and that the distinctive characteristics of African American life are not merely imitative or derivative of substandard European. However, what is equally true -- but not yet widely admitted -- is that all these African elements were present in British North America from the early seventeenth century on -- and they strongly affected the European culture with which they came into constant and creative contact. In other words, the "American" side of the African American equation was itself highly Africanized from the very beginning.


I've been saying this forever, I just didn't have any research to back me up. In general, I have no problem clearing up some of the stickier points of 'black thought' for my fellow 'not-black Americans,' but when it comes to the obvious stuff, I have to admit, I get a little pissed. 'Obvious stuff?,' you ask. Let me tell you.

Now, we all are aware of the stereotype that black people are supposed to be ignorant buffoons, right? Well, I never would have thought people actually believed that, and before you tell me "No!," they do exist. I share the following potentially identifying real-life experiences with you (all) because I feel we have grown closer in this thread, and I really wanted to explain how I feel to my friends.

I changed schools a lot, trying to find the right 'fit,' so I learned quickly how to adjust. It was easy for me, because I'm social, but also, because I was always just a little ahead of the class, due to outside reading. I wasn't much of a 'studier,' but I was always in advanced classes and stuff.

When I went to a new school, I had more trouble with the teachers than I did with other students. It wasn't always bad, but it was extra. Once, amazed at my reading proficiency, of all things, a teacher took me from classroom to classroom, making me read passages of the older kids textbooks, to prove to them it wasn't an impossible feat. Funny, but it didn't make the other kids like the new girl. Or, the time I was accused of plagiarism, because I had used the word 'excluded' in an essay, that we had actually written right there, in the classroom.

Based on these experiences, I didn't walk away hating white people for steadily under-estimating me. I thought that those particular white people were as stupid as they apparently thought I was. But, I also have to ask some serious questions, like, Aren't they Americans? I mean, black people did not just get here. We've been here for a while, probably before their ancestors, shouldn't somebody, sometime, have told them, yeah, I met a black guy once, he added two and two, and got four! Or something?! I don't want to, but I think its willful ignorance.

I think that a lot of these so-called "cultural differences" are manufactured, for whatever reason, but with the end result of making us feel uncomfortable with each other before we even meet. Not only that, they also give us an 'official' reason to do so. The availibility of that option enables latent racism.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 10:32 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
What is culture to you?
How important is your culture to you?
What aspects of your culture are more important than others?

Those questions are easy for me, yet difficult at the same time. Until about the age of 5, I thought of myself as just an American. I had black friends and white friends. Then, as I had recently learned that I was black, I started to look for myself in the world around me, and what I saw was not pretty. I read about the middle passage, slavery, and this country's treatment of blacks since then, and by the time I was about 8 or 9, I was totally shocked and appalled by white people, all white people. I thought that all of you were just one step from becoming an angry, lynching mob. That lasted until about 11, when I started to understand the nuances of the situation.

So, in answer to your question, before learning American history, I had very little sense of culture. I didn't consider what we ate and how we talked to be 'a culture.' My sense of black culture came when I started looking into what exactly connected me to the people they brought over on those ships, or the people who toiled in the fields. I saw that we danced the same, and made the same sounds when we lifted our voices. Initially, I was sad, I didn't want to be associated with a slave, or oppressed, but then, I realized that I wouldn't want to identify with the slavemaster, either. Think of all that guilt. I realized the amount of grace required to wake up everyday knowing that you belong to someone else. I wanted to identify with that.

My own sense of black culture is rooted in that beautiful ability to remain graceful, and free at heart, even in the worst of situations. That is extremely important to me. That's what I meant when I said I could never assimilate.



What do you think and feel about other people's cultures?
Do you think the various cultures get in the way of relationships?
How have you worked to meld cultures or accept others' cultures?

I love other peoples' cultures! Since I'm trained as a historian, I can really appreciate their evolutions, and it always amuses me how little things change, over millenia, even.

"Work to accept other cultures"?! Who am I? If the people I know come from a culture that is foreign to me, I think it behooves me to find out more about it. If I'm truly interested in the person, I'll want to know what belief structures may inform their opinions and actions, and I'll want to know dietary restrictions, in case I invite them over. A lot of the 'foreigners' we meet are still very much attached to their native lands, and if I want to be a friend, I have to respect that.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 10:57 PM
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You're right, HH - emphasizing cultural differences can and will lead to racism, or at least a sense of uncomfortableness. For example, the common attitude is that all blacks love fried chicken and watermelon. Christ, I don't even know if that's true! But it serves to perpetuate a myth that blacks are lower-class because they like those foods. Well, I like chicken and watermelon, too, so what does that make me?

Another one: Blacks have forsaken Christmas in favor of Kwanzaa. Well, if that does't make me think you hate Santa Claus, I don't know what does.

And racist attitudes are not always a product of low education. You're probably aware that 3 guys working at Bell Labs invented the transistor. Brilliant guys, doing incredibly ground-breaking work. Did you know that one of them - William Shockley - espoused the idea that blacks were genetically inferior to whites? So it comes in all shapes and forms.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 11:57 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
For example, the common attitude is that all blacks love fried chicken and watermelon. Christ, I don't even know if that's true! But it serves to perpetuate a myth that blacks are lower-class because they like those foods. Well, I like chicken and watermelon, too, so what does that make me?


Hey I like chicken too, watermelon not so much (more of a peach kind of guy), but anything chicken and I'm there. I suppose that makes us people who like delicious foods JSO.



posted on Sep, 5 2006 @ 09:02 AM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
Now, we all are aware of the stereotype that black people are supposed to be ignorant buffoons, right? Well, I never would have thought people actually believed that, and before you tell me "No!," they do exist.


I believe that they do exist. I've been talking with my husband about this subject and we realized that we're so far removed from the mindset of 'mainstream America' and the experience of the general public that we just don't see this. Or even hear about it. Not these days, anyway. I never hear people I know (in RL) make racist statements.

And when people are together in groups and talking about race, they don't want to be embarrassed by being politically incorrect and making derogatory racial statements, because they don't want someone like me calling them out. So even if they have these negative thoughts and feelings about minorities, they're not going to voice them, not around me, anyway. Because I'll do my best to make them think about it.

Interestingly, when my husband and I are alone together, we DO make racial jokes. Simply because we know we don't really mean it and we know where the other is coming from. We joke about all races and all subjects. We're South Park when we're alone, but wouldn't show that to other people simply because they might not understand that it really is a joke.



Once, amazed at my reading proficiency, of all things, a teacher took me from classroom to classroom, making me read passages of the older kids textbooks, to prove to them it wasn't an impossible feat.


I cannot conceive how a teacher would think that's the right thing to do! Did she not realize that there was a real person in your skin? Were you a 'show-and-tell' project? No surprise the students didn't welcome you with open arms.



I thought that those particular white people were as stupid as they apparently thought I was.


I would say they were ignorant. Sometimes ignorance is innocent, and sometimes it's very ugly. Sometimes there's no excuse for it.



...shouldn't somebody, sometime, have told them, yeah, I met a black guy once, he added two and two, and got four! Or something?! I don't want to, but I think its willful ignorance.


That's exactly what it is. Willful ignorance. You can tell someone something 500 times and show them and prove it to them (as you know) and because they WANT to believe something different, because it serves their agenda or purpose, they will believe what they choose to believe. And that goes for everyone in any particular situation, not just whites thinking blacks are dumb.



I think that a lot of these so-called "cultural differences" are manufactured, for whatever reason, but with the end result of making us feel uncomfortable with each other before we even meet. Not only that, they also give us an 'official' reason to do so. The availibility of that option enables latent racism.


This is really important, I think. And I think it's important to 'get' this concept whether we're talking about white people or black people. Because I think it's a two-way street that serves to maintain and support latent racism, as you say. Because it seems to me that many people of both races (just talking about black and white for now) want the barrier firmly in place for some reason, of which I am totally unaware.

What is the benefit of keeping that barrier in place? What is the advantage (for both races) of maintaining the status quo as regards how we think about each other?



posted on Sep, 5 2006 @ 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Interestingly, when my husband and I are alone together, we DO make racial jokes. Simply because we know we don't really mean it and we know where the other is coming from. We joke about all races and all subjects. We're South Park when we're alone, but wouldn't show that to other people simply because they might not understand that it really is a joke.


I know what you're talking about BH, when I'm with my friends, people whom I've know for years I can say racial jokes about them and likewise they can say one about me, it's OK. We all know we don't mean it it's just for a laugh, nothing to die over for. And like you said we joke about everything and anything, others who don't know us may interpret this the wrong way but we all understand it not serious.

And I think by making such stereotypes and jokes a taboo subject you empower and legitimize them. Think about it, you give them credit because you don't want to talk about them in fun, people treat them as if they're true whereas we treat them like the jokes they are.

[edit on 5-9-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Sep, 5 2006 @ 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
And I think by making such stereotypes and jokes a taboo subject you empower and legitimize them. Think about it, you give them credit because you don't want to talk about them in fun, people treat them as if they're true whereas we treat them like the jokes they are.

That's an interesting point of view. You legitimize things by not talking about them. Not terribly unlike the ruckus raise by the cartoons of Mohammed.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 06:23 PM
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One of the most arrogant things I've read so far is the fact jsobecky said that some Blacks celebrate Kwanzaa instead of Christmas?

Was there a survey conducted?

The second thing is just that because someone exchanges bodily fluids with another race does not mean that they automatically have the power to tell the other race what to do, know everything about that race, and of course, belittle the members of that race in order to feel superior about your own.

And you don't get immunity from being racist from anyone just because you've been with someone of another race. You still have to work at it.

Has anyone watched Monster's Ball or White Mischief lately?

It's like asking whether a lot of drunken Irishmen substitute St. Patrick's day for Christmas.


Culture is much more than assuming what other people do. It's learning about what others do without making retorts about what "Blacks do" and "What they don't". I see that some lessons have not been learned at all. Stereotypes continue to be perpetuated.

Do us all a favor. Please just ask how Blacks celebrate their culture and why they do the things they do instead of making assumptions? That is all I ask.


[edit on 8-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 06:40 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
One of the most arrogant things I've read so far is the fact jsobecky said that some Blacks celebrate Kwanzaa instead of Christmas?


I believe you misunderstood the Kwanzaa reference. He was stating it as a myth. He was talking about cultural stereotypes. Fried chicken, watermelon and Kwanzaa.



Originally posted by ceci2006
The second thing I felt was heinous is that just because someone exchanges bodily fluids with another race does not mean that they automatically have the power to tell the other race what to do, know everything about that race, and of course, belittle the members of that race in order to feel superior about your own.

And you don't get immunity from being racist from anyone just because you've been with someone of another race. You still have to work at it.


I don't see where anyone has said or insinuated that "exchanging bodily fluids with another race" gives them some kind of power, knowledge, superiority or racism immunity. I don't get your reference. Maybe you could quote what you're referring to?



[edit on 8-9-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 06:52 PM
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And maybe not. Because I feel that since Blacks like me "scare the crap out of you" whatever I might say might be taken the wrong way.

However, when I am fully back to my posting duties here, I will write my full answer.

I'm just dropping in for a short while to see the progress of the thread and add my two cents.

Be glad. You've had two full days to spread your view of how race relations should be. And you will have more time to do so.

Continue to practice your form of colonization while I'm gone.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 07:09 PM
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Judgment In Passing


Originally posted by ceci2006
Continue to practice your form of colonization while I'm gone.

I don't think this is a very fair thing to say.

Perhaps we could be more constructive?



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 07:23 PM
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Answering a request for clarification would not be amiss, either.

How can we expect to solve anything if we go stomping off in a huff, if only metaphorically, when someone asks a question or requests some form of clarification?

Acting the martyr doesn't help the cause any...



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 07:32 PM
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Originally posted by seagull
Answering a request for clarification would not be amiss, either.

Very true, esp. if a request for clarification has been made.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 09:58 PM
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Originally quoted by Majic

I don't think this is a very fair thing to say.

Perhaps we could be more constructive?


Yes, Majic. It was not a fair thing to say. But nevertheless it is true. Suppose, you had someone in a post insult your parents, insult your committment to "deny bigotry", and claim because of your "nastiness" in another post they don't want to talk to you again, all of a sudden go back on their word?

All after someone says, "Black people like Ceci scare the crap out of me. I choose not to believe her."

I guess a more constructive thing to be said to BH is whether she would benefit more with a thread of about race-relations started on her own rather than "occupy" the thread of others, especially of one who "scares the crap out of her". Her "occupation" here is similar to the "occupation" of Iraq: she is trying to force her type of ideology on others who she considers "not like her in the fight against racism". And that is wrong.

I never told her to stop. I felt that she might not be able to handle what I say because I "scare the crap out of her". And believe me, I am sorry that I do "scare the crap out of her".

But in a way, I'm glad too. Because it will let her know some Black people will not lie down and take some of the petty insults and "good intentioned advice" coming out of the mouths of some whites who constantly perceive us as "lesser than" yet pretend that we're all "equal" here.

I'm not the one to fear around here. Because I'll say for the sixth time (with a shout-out to my poor, beleaguered friend who had to explain 20 times), I am not racist. I do not hate white people. In fact, I do not hate anyone. I am not angry. But I am frustrated that I have to explain things many times to get people to understand my point of view.

I do not like people who treat others badly of all races. Especially when they fingerwag and "play dumb".

I usually put my foot down to fight for the least of us. That is not a bad thing.

I hope that is quite more constructive than my rather abbreviated comments earlier. There are a few more things to add as well:

And yes, as I read the movement to "deny bigotry" around here, I wonder who's bigotry are we trying to deny? The bigotry of whites? Or the bigotry of blacks? Since there are probably more whites around here, there must be also a constructive way to answer this question?

Forget the thank yous and the well dones. Let's focus on whose bigotry are you trying to quash?

And in defining that bigotry, who are you aiming towards?

I know that you'll say that you are trying to quash the bigotry of "everyone". But let's get down to brass tacks. Are you truly in it for "everyone"? Or, is this only supportive of "some of us"?

When trying to define bigotry and its usage, it is always helpful to be truly clear. I am sorry to say so, but there is always an underlying reason things are done.

And as much as I applaud you on your efforts, I'm sure that more needs to be said about "denying bigotry" than just simply saying the words. Something has to be done to educate other people. And despite everything, this is still a very good and educative thread. And I thank those who have contributed to it despite how I feel about some of them.

However, there are people here who will say that you are encroaching upon "freedom of speech". Yet, at the same time the next thing that flies out of their mouth is that they "don't feel guilty" and "they don't want to talk about racism".

And then, come the "collaborators" that deny they are racist, but point the fingers at those who do the actual leg work in fighting racism. And those "collaborators" are willing to sell out their own family in order to keep their principles of quiet racist intent in tact while silently getting the "trouble makers" out.

But, don't mind me. Instead of saying that what I spoke of above is an "illusion" and a "manufacturing of the facts", I would rather you just read the bottom.

I get pretty tired of being told that the NAACP is like the KKK. The next time they tell me that, I'll just tell them that the 9/11 Widows are like the KKK. Then, we'll both have something to argue. And no one wants to go there, do they--especially when some of those widows just happen to have spouses that are firemen and policemen?

Perhaps, they'll get it into their heads that oft repeated aphorism is stupid and does nothing to solve the deeper problems on the path towards "denying bigotry".

Learning about culture is the tip of the iceberg. You can talk about your culture until you are blue in the face. But when someone else doesn't want to understand you, will not understand you because it fights their perceptions or lies that they actually understand while repeating the same old crap about your race, you are still out of luck.

That's why I focus on honesty. Somehow, people don't respond to kindness, graciousness and diplomacy. Politeness is also trampled upon in a discussion like this. Honesty is the only way to get things across, no matter how hard they sound to others.




[edit on 8-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 11:35 PM
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Just one thing Ceci,

Remember, sometimes a whisper is the loudest voice of all.

Semper




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