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

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posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 05:05 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
For me, to apologize means I have done something wrong, whether it's on purpose (I'm sorry I was mean to you) or accidently (I'm sorry I stepped on your toe). And THAT'S what I feel that reparations and the apology that's wanted of me are about. I feel like an apology is being demanded of me.

I'm not trying to single you out BH, I just thought this quote might be helpful for my post.


As most of you already know, I'm not American and I'm not black, so I may be way off base on this one, and if so, I'm sure I will be corrected.

I honestly don't think any black people want apologies from individual white people for past actions. I believe they are seeking an apology from the government for years of institutionalized racism, such as the segregation laws. It doesn't require anyone to feel personally responsible, it only requires the government to step up to the plate and say 'You know, The government of the United States of America did you wrong in the past. We deeply regret that it happened and we won't let it happen again'. After all, this was their own government that relegated them to second-class citizens by passing discriminatory laws based on race.

Does that seem unreasonable?



[edit on 20-9-2006 by Duzey]




posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 05:31 AM
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Originally posted by The Black Widow
If the world were simple, I quite say this to be the solution:

Sit everyone in a dark room... no light what so ever. And let them all talk. No one will actually be able to truly distinguish the differences, this I know for a fact.

I think that the inflection in the voices would make your chances better than 50-50 to identify them.

The written word, like this thread, is a better way. Even then, it's not foolproof.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 05:43 AM
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Originally posted by Duzey
I honestly don't think any black people want apologies from individual white people for past actions. I believe they are seeking an apology from the government for years of institutionalized racism, such as the segregation laws. It doesn't require anyone to feel personally responsible, it only requires the government to step up to the plate and say 'You know, The government of the United States of America did you wrong in the past. We deeply regret that it happened and we won't let it happen again'. After all, this was their own government that relegated them to second-class citizens by passing discriminatory laws based on race.

I wouldn't have a problem with that, if it would stay at that level. But I do believe it would be used as an admission of guilt in a court of reparations. That is why it hasn't been done yet, imo.

If the fear of using it in a lawsuit wasn't there, I believe that Bill Clinton would have offered an apology. After all, he was called our "first black president".

Edit: typo

[edit on 20-9-2006 by jsobecky]



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 06:04 AM
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Dominant Class equates to Dominant Theory...In most cases, approaching all actually, this is, or rather was, the case, but only so long as communications and access to information is controlled.

In a free-thinking society, which ours is, this theory would seem to have a few holes. In this era of almost instant communication and instant access to information of all sorts, this theory is being shaken to its very foundations.

One dominant ideology is going to have problems taking root in a culture whee access to most information is readily available in many forms, particularly the Internet, not to mention most libraries. All western nations have this, and most, so called third world nations are well on their way to achieveing this as well.

Oh, there are still issues regarding the flow of information; particularly into some of the more totalitarian regimes that exist in the world, but even there; the information can get in, and does...making change inevitable, if not bloodless.

Theory of racism...this particular theory as stated in your thread has been totally discredited. A few foaming at the mouth fanatics still cling to it, but could hardly be called a minority, muchless a majority. It's a rather odius little theory, especially when used to espouse some form of superiority in morality, or spirituality merely because of skin color. Like I said, odius.

That there are differences between the various races of humanity is due solely to enviromental factors in which the race developed over the millenia. Merely cosmetic, and meaningless in the larger context of our lives.

Information is key to defeating both these theories. They'll never completely disappear, because there will always be weak-minded individuals who'll look for any excuse for their failures in life. Weakminded individuals of all races, ethnic background, and religious background will always seek a scapegoat.

Perception is a theory? Perception is how we view the world, and is effected by enviroment, our upbringing, and a whole host of life experiances as we grow older. Usually our perceptions change as we grow older and, hopefully, wiser. Only a fool's perceptions don't change as he or she grows older and moves through life and the world. Very few of us have the same perceptions of the world that we had as children, most of us realize very early in life, that life ain't fair. It's how we deal with that little revelation that defines us in so many ways...anger at the world for not being fair manifests itself in many ways...racist or bigoted behaviour is one.

Ones perceptions can be altered...they are hardly locked in concrete.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 07:29 AM
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seagull, you brought up some good points about dominant culture and perception. It made me think about the whole issue.


You have voted seagull for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have used all of your votes for this month.


Let's talk about dominant culture. It has existed as long as culture has. Is dominant culture a bad thing?

Let's talk about perception. As seagull stated, perception is a result of numerous factors. Perception in regards to dominant culture can be given a negative connotation by simply using the term in an unfavorable manner; i.e., tying it to racism.

I have seen that tactic used quite often. Something is repeated so often that the perception is accepted as reality.

So, if I frown, shake my head, and cluck every time I say "dominant culture", soon others will take it to mean that dominant culture is bad.

The way to combat that is to challenge it when it happens. A word to the wise, however - expect to be tagged with a ton of labels from those whose premise is challenged by your questions.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 07:50 AM
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Dominant cultire by definition implies one or multiple submissive cultures, becky. And when one is placed in the submissive category, any equality is tossed out the window. True, dominant cultures have existed throughout history, and they have always forced the "lesser" cultures into oppression of one kind or another.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 07:54 AM
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Dominant culture doesn't neccessarily equate with bad. It means just what it says, it's dominant.

Same with dominant ideology. Doesn't neccessarily mean bad...

A dominant culture gone bad, for whatever reason, will change; or rather has changed, and soon will no longer be dominant. It's dominant ideologies are another thing entirely. It will never go away entirely...good or bad. Ideas cling, whether for good, or for ill. Someone will always find something to like about it that suits their purposes...

Obviously ideas and culture are too interconnected to separate. You can't have one without the other. One can't be changed without changing the other. Whether its good or bad, is a matter of perception. Perception is all we have to work with. Sometimes all our perceptions will be in agreement, sometimes not. Facts are perceptions, for that matter so are falacies...



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 07:55 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
I wouldn't have a problem with that, if it would stay at that level. But I do believe it would be used as an admission of guilt in a court of reparations. That is why it hasn't been done yet, imo.

I'm sure the US government has lots of smart, expensive lawyers on the payroll. If they are worried about being sued, have one of these lawyers write the apology and put in great big bold letters across the top 'Without Prejudice'.

Pun not intended, but acknowledged.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 08:02 AM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
No. I'm using articles from white authors because they probably can do a better job of articulating the problems that white people have about race than I could. Read what they have to say.

What problems do 'white people' have about race Ceci?
I would honestly like to know what you believe. Which whites are you accusing of racism and oppression? American whites, Scottish whites, S.African Whites, French whites, rich whites, poor whites? Please be specific.. it's difficult to know exactly what you mean when you use generalisations.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 08:04 AM
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Originally posted by Duzey
I honestly don't think any black people want apologies from individual white people for past actions. I believe they are seeking an apology from the government for years of institutionalized racism, such as the segregation laws.


I have NO problem with this at all. I actually think it should be done. I support it fully, in fact. As long as it's not hooked to any "admission of guilt" or further action. After all, the people in the government today aren't the same ones who condoned slavery and segregation laws. In fact, it is the government that outlawed slavery and eradicated segregation laws. And even if there are individuals in the government who would support segregation laws, they have no power to do so. They are individuals. I am not against a governmental apology and I'm not sure why it hasn't happened.

A few words and thoughts on Perception
(Emphasis added to external sources)



Perception is more than the sum of all the sensory input supplied by our eyes, ears and other receptors. It is the active selection, organization, and interpretation of such input.
social psych


We play an active part in our perception of our world. What we learn all throughout our lives will play an active role in determining how to select, organize and interpret what we hear and read. Since we are each individuals with vastly different experiences on which to draw, we will all interpret and perceive input differently. The input doesn't change, but take 10 people and they will all perceive it differently.



Immediate or intuitive cognition or comprehension; a capacity to "see" in light of experience. Our perception including moral, psychological, and/or aesthetic qualities alters of our world according to our understanding, insight, and experience. In The Giver Jonas's perceptions of his family members and his community change.
The Library Link


Again, our understanding, insight, and experience of life (including childhood, education, job experience, religious background, nature and nurture) will determine the end product of our perception.



the way in which individuals analyse and interpret incoming information and make sense of it.
wps glossary


Our own individual analysis and interpretation contributes to our perception. Perception is an individual condition. One person's offense is another's insight. It all depends on the individual.

And I'll go even further and say that the individual has a choice about his or her own perception of a given stimuli. Since we play an active role in our perception, I believe we can choose how to perceive a situation, word or other sensory input. I believe we can decide whether to perceive a situation positively or negatively. I believe this because I do it all the time.

On Malcolm X

Many do believe that he was a racist. Even after his 'enlightenment'. And that's ok. It's ok if people think he had no redeeming value, too. Just as it's ok for others to think that he was a great leader. It no doubt has everything to do with perception.


IF someone has the perception that he was a racist until he died, I can understand the use of the term "disappointed". In other words, "I'm disappointed that you would hold in high esteem a man who I believe was a virulent racist."

Speaking as BH - This is not my perception of Malcolm X, but as I have said, I don't know about the man. Yet.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 09:42 AM
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Originally posted by Rasobasi420
Dominant cultire by definition implies one or multiple submissive cultures, becky. And when one is placed in the submissive category, any equality is tossed out the window. True, dominant cultures have existed throughout history, and they have always forced the "lesser" cultures into oppression of one kind or another.

The username is jsobecky. And I disagree with your statement about equality and oppression.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 09:45 AM
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Sorry, jsobecky, which part do you disagree with and why?



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by seagull
Dominant culture doesn't neccessarily equate with bad. It means just what it says, it's dominant.

A dominant culture gone bad, for whatever reason, will change; or rather has changed, and soon will no longer be dominant. It's dominant ideologies are another thing entirely. It will never go away entirely...good or bad. Ideas cling, whether for good, or for ill. Someone will always find something to like about it that suits their purposes...

Dominant culture can change through other means, also. Take, for example, the influx of illegal immigrants into the US. There is a very real possibility that the dominant culture will change if it is left unchecked.

You're right about the ideologies. They can live on forever, as part of our history, architecture, etc.

One more question for all: how would you describe the dominant culture in the US today? What is bad about it, if anything?



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by Rasobasi420
Sorry, jsobecky, which part do you disagree with and why?

The idea that the non-dominant cultures have to be oppressed.

Take New Orleans, for example. What would you call the dominant culture there. French? Cajun?

How about Tucson? Mexican? American Indian?

Which cultures are oppressed in those cities?



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 10:47 AM
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I think it would be nice if everyone participating here would answer all the pertinent (not personal) questions put forth by other posters.

As HH said, I'm the only one to answer the question about Jews and blacks. And I'm fairly ignorant on the subject.

To aid in this effort, here are some questions that have been asked over the past few pages that could (IMO) use some fleshing out:


Originally posted by jsobecky
I've heard the music defended as being a realistic look at black life. So how does that affect the perceptions of blacks?



Originally posted by Saphronia
I want to know why--prettier words can't be used to address reparations and apologies for the treatment of black people in this country.



Originally posted by Saphronia
I just want to know why the idea [of reparations and apologies] is so repulsive that it draws such a grimy reaction.
...
I really would like a "get over it" person to explain the disgust that the thought of reparations to black people brings upon them.



Originally posted by HarlemHottie
When we were talking about Malcolm X, I defended him. Two posters ... expressed disappointment with my stance ... I wondered why.



Originally posted by Duzey
I believe they [black people] are seeking an apology from the government for years of institutionalized racism, such as the segregation laws. ... Does that seem unreasonable?



Originally posted by jsobecky
One more question for all: how would you describe the dominant culture in the US today? What is bad about it, if anything?



Originally posted by jsobecky
Take New Orleans, for example. What would you call the dominant culture there. French? Cajun?

How about Tucson? Mexican? American Indian?

Which cultures are oppressed in those cities?



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
And can someone explain to me... What do you mean when you use the term "Dominant Culture"?


That last one wasn't a quote, but I didn't want it to get missed.


Going about this conversation with an attitude of curiosity is (IMO) a much better means of discussion than preaching or telling everyone "how it is", which is a subjective judgment. Asking and answering questions is (IMO) the best way for all of us to learn. None of us holds a monopoly on racial knowledge. Nobody has exclusive racial-relations comprehension to impart to the rest of us. So these questions (and others - I hope) might be the best way to continue this thread.

Just my opinion.



[edit on 20-9-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 11:36 AM
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I won't be around much today... that whole work thing...
But I wanted to take a quick shot at some of these.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
As HH said, I'm the only one to answer the question about Jews and blacks. And I'm fairly ignorant on the subject.


Apologies to HH... BH pretty well nailed what I was going to say on this one, hence my non-answer. Sorry for not at least saying that... I must add that I, too, am pretty ignorant here. I used to work for a guy who was Jewish... I was with him for 4 years, before I found out, from some casual remark he made... he thought I knew... I didn't, and don't care.


Originally posted by Duzey
I believe they [black people] are seeking an apology from the government for years of institutionalized racism, such as the segregation laws. ... Does that seem unreasonable?


I have mixed feelings on this one... I would not be opposed to an honest and sincere and real apology from the government for its past actions. However, I would be very skeptical that an apology coming from a gov't mouthpiece would be anything other than drivel, designed to curry favor and votes. Further manipulation. And I am opposed to that.



Originally posted by jsobecky
One more question for all: how would you describe the dominant culture in the US today? What is bad about it, if anything?


To me, the dominant culture in the US has gone too far in the direction of what may be called "taking care of #1". The culture (as a generalization) seems to be obsessed with short term 'profit'. Meaning 'profit' in several ways: Businesses seem to be focused on profits for the quarter, without regard to the long-term effect; jobs are shipped overseas, for instance, because it looks cheaper. Having been involved with some of this, the long term costs have in my experience sometimes more than offset the apparent, ideal, short term savings. And I mean 'costs' in more than just $.

Individuals run up huge credit card charges for short term 'goodies', without calculating the long term interest costs... things like that.

I have also observed (or perceived...
) a trend towards less acceptance of differences... people often make a big fuss about trivial differences. I do not have any hard data to back this up, it is just a personal observation.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
And can someone explain to me... What do you mean when you use the term "Dominant Culture"?


"Dominant Culture" is a tricky one... it is not a clear-cut, sharply defined thing. One form of DC is the one whose philosophy makes laws. Right now, that DC seems to be trending toward gov't intervention in personal lives more than is appropriate as far as I'm concerned.

Other DCs are at all levels of a civilization, and merge and shift. For instance, some sections of Tucson for example clearly show a Mexican DC. Others, Native American and still others what might be called Soccer Mom DC. And the boundaries are not sharply defined.

So I guess DC is the general of all generalizations, maybe?

(And this, right after I said what I see 'bad' about the nation-wide DC...
)



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 11:56 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
As HH said, I'm the only one to answer the question about Jews and blacks. And

I thought I had given an answer to this before, but let me offer my .02 again:

Yes, there is a difference in the feeling I get when I hear the word reparations in regards to Jews as opposed to blacks.

1. Jews received reparations because of the Holocaust which is still fresh in our collective memories. Slavery occurred centuries ago. It's no longer a memory, and there have been measures taken to eliminate it.

2. Jews have not come back asking for more. Instead, they have taken an arid strip of land and turned it into a home. And still they are actively and openly persecuted to this very day. Blacks cannot say the same.

Here is a link that offers a view on reparations:

Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks - and Racist Too

I'm sure the above will appear racist to some here. It is not. But I encourage you to debate the points and not the emotions.



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 12:13 PM
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I have another question to add to BH's list:

Why do Whites don't want to deal with the more problematic issues of race? Do they just skate right over them and ignore them? Or do they want to create their own concocted notions about what isn't racism and try (through the infiltration of the dominant culture) make a certain society believe them to get off the hook from believing the past harms done to people of color?

Or do they have something in their biological make-up that makes them ignore the things that people of color have been trying to tell them?


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And then, a word about the "dominant ideology" and "dominant culture":

It does exist. The culture that has supremacy over the way information is disseminated could be perceived as bad if it does subjugate other groups under their control. That's why the subject matter they transmit to average citizens is a "dominant ideology". If this "dominant ideology" is in the form of a "racial memory" (i.e. a perception that stigmatizes another social group and puts the "top" culture on the social hierarchy as "superior") and does not do anything to change it, you get the same old subjugation down the line.

The evils that have been perpetuated before continue to happen without anyone in the dominant culture trying to re-write past wrongs because the notion of "privilege" allows them to do so.

That is why "dominant culture" and its transmission of "ideology" is relevant and rather alive and well even today. And most definitely, it hurts people of color.

------------------------------------------------

riley, by all due respect,

If you read the articles by white authors discussing these issues, that would give you a clue about what needs to be done. Otherwise, I have nothing more to say.

And when you ask of "which" whites, I mean whites of all ethnicities. But we're not talking semantics here about ethnicity. This is a thread about race. For purposes regarding race, we're using the "racial categories" instead of "ethnicities".

--------------------------------------------------

And by all due respect, jsobecky's assessment about reparations misses several important points:

1)What happened during Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Era and the modern era (Rep. John Lewis getting a concussion from a beating from a cop, "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, the Church bombing that killed four little girls, Hurricane Katrina) is still fresh in a lot of people's memories especially in the South. Why, you don't hear of anyone chopping down the town "lynching tree", do you?

Well, one particular white male's memory might not remember this, but the rest of us very well remember the recent past in which some of our relatives had endured the harshest treatment and violence that this country has had to offer.

2)Maybe we keep on asking because perhaps the government ignores us. And there is still a perception that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 (which can be voted down by Congress in the next 25 years) took care of everything towards Blacks.

3)Perhaps Jews are of a lighter skin color and have benefitted from the system despite the discrimination of their religion. They have broken through the glass ceiling. Blacks and other people of color continue to be subjugated by the "dominant culture" by virtue of action and ideology.

4)And probably, because there is still systematic and widespread hatred and racism towards Blacks that relegates them still, in a way, as second class citizens. They were the victims of insiduous institutional racism that continues to happen. Blacks are quietly denied opportunities while those "with a sense of entitlement" can still obtain them without problems to this day. Those with a "sense of entitlement" and "ownership" in America can use the ideology that was fed them by the dominant culture to "play dumb" and "say that racism is over" while getting everything and more.

5)Sadly enough, it isn't about telling people that they are "playing the victim" or portraying Blacks as "greedy". It's about denial that persistently happens afforded to the treatment of race. And when those with a sense of "entitlement" and "ownership" realize that, there will be an overwhelming amount of resistance to reparations due to ignorance and prejudice.





[edit on 20-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 12:47 PM
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Great post, OMS. I think, to me, the term Dominant Culture, while it may exist, is fairly useless because nobody can really say who it is.


Originally posted by jsobecky
Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks - and Racist Too


Very interesting. Lots for me to learn about this subject. Apparently there were black slave masters who owned many (50-80) slaves to work their sugar cane fields. I had no idea...

Dixie's Censored Subject


In 1860 only a small minority of whites owned slaves. According to the U.S. census report for that last year before the Civil War, there were nearly 27 million whites in the country. Some eight million of them lived in the slaveholding states.

The census also determined that there were fewer than 385,000 individuals who owned slaves (1). Even if all slaveholders had been white, that would amount to only 1.4 percent of whites in the country (or 4.8 percent of southern whites owning one or more slaves).

In the rare instances when the ownership of slaves by free Negroes is acknowledged in the history books, justification centers on the claim that black slave masters were simply individuals who purchased the freedom of a spouse or child from a white slaveholder and had been unable to legally manumit them. Although this did indeed happen at times, it is a misrepresentation of the majority of instances, one which is debunked by records of the period on blacks who owned slaves. These include individuals such as Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry, of Colleton District, South Carolina, who each owned 84 slaves in 1830. In fact, in 1830 a fourth of the free Negro slave masters in South Carolina owned 10 or more slaves; eight owning 30 or more.



Black Slave Owners


Many black masters were firmly committed to chattel slavery and saw no reasons for manumitting their slaves. To those colored masters, slaves were merely property to be purchased, sold or exchanged. Their economic self-interest overrode whatever moral concerns or guilt they may have harbored about slavery. Since the black masters benefited from slavery, they rationalized that because the institution was profitable, they could not relinquish their valuable property without being reimbursed. So black masters continued to own slaves even when the Union army was preparing to invade South Carolina in 1864. . . .


Pages ago, a few white people mentioned that their ancestors did or didn't own slaves. I'm wondering, of the black people posting here, were your ancestors slaves? Do you have any information about it?



posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 12:52 PM
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Yes, my ancestors were slaves. In fact, two of my past relatives had to walk to their plantation over a hundred miles in chains while the procurers rode in comfort to the plantation.

But, that is all I will say, because the rest is too personal.

And yes, it is interesting that there were Black slave masters. But, of course, that is when history is used in such a way to disenfranchise the reparations movement and further build up the lack of empathy against it. It's the same thing as blatantly ignoring what happened in the past 60 years.

Perhaps, the Black slave owners purchased slaves as a way of obtaining freedom for those they knew. It happened all the time. During times of slavery, people worked within the system. And some were more clever than others to keep their family in tact while slave auctions tore Black families apart through selling them on different plantations.

There are many ways to interpret these reports.

-------------------------------------

It seems that not all of our awarenesses, comments and questions are being considered. I would certainly hope that some would try to answer them in the notion of true equality. Or else, there will be members here that would consider equality lip service.

I'd like to post once again this excerpt from "Privileged":



I found out that talking about racism is very difficult for white people. We find all sorts of ways to try to direct the conversation in other directions: for example, "what about sexism, heterosexism, ableism?" "I'm not a racist, I just see a person." We might get angry, defensive, sad, and we might feel guilty, but we will always be uncomfortable if we are really open to hearing what is being said.


-----------------------------------------

OMS, they can say who dominant culture is. However, it might hurt some to acknowledge which members of society comprise this group. And by keeping it vague, it allows some of us in society to not feel any empathy or understanding toward others.


[edit on 20-9-2006 by ceci2006]



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