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

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posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 11:06 PM
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Ceci,

I read the article you posted about Crash, and it was sooo interesting. When I saw the film, I was especially moved by two scenes. One, the near-death of the little Hispanic girl and the subesequent piety of both men involved, her Catholic father and the Muslim doctor. I think religion can sometimes be good for the soul, if you need it.

The other scene 'moved' me alright... to revulsion. What happened to Thandie Newton at that traffic stop was absolutely disgusting.


But, I think the filmmaker did an exquisite job of illustrating the strain racism has not only on black people in general, but on black men. Terrence Howard, who I usually hate and have given the appellation 'Scumbag,' played a character I actually sympathized with. I see it everyday- it's bad enough to be dehumanized and not able to protect yourself from those meant to 'protect and serve.' It feels even worse to be unable to protect your loved ones, much less your woman, from such abuse.

And they wonder why black men make rap- a medium widely used to brag about one's ability to do just those things.

Thank you for bringing the article to our attention. I can only hope you garner a few more responses. I've noticed that people rarely respond to your articles.

This excerpt might encourage people to take a look.


While viewing "Crash" may make some people, especially white people, uncomfortable during and immediately after viewing, the film seems designed, at a deeper level, to make white people feel better. As the film asks us to confront personal prejudices, it allows us white folk to evade our collective responsibility for white supremacy.


'Crash' and the Self-Indulgence of White America




posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 12:29 AM
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originally posted by HarlemHottie
I still think you missed the point. Jso attacked me for not denouncing Ceci. His reasoning, as stated, was that she's "one of my own." I responded that I have no more responsibility to denounce her than jso has to denounce those murderers.

Jso's original comment was not in the vein of conducivity and neither was my response. In essence, I was calling him on his racism, in assuming that, because I'm black, it's my place to control another black poster.

HH

If you're going to drop my name, get the story right, not "The World According to HarlemHottie".

I didn't attack you. I called you out for your double standard. And it had nothing to do with "because you're black, it's your place to control another black poster." It had to do with the fact that you've been quick to attack white people for their comments, yet when it comes to ceci, she can insult an entire race and you are silent.

Do you do that because you are both black? I don't know and I don't give a damn. And thinking back on it, it was probably not the right thing to ask, because I could have predicted that you'd try to make it a racist statement by me, simply because there is no good defense for your actions.

Silence often means assent when a wrong is committed. That's what I'm seeing here. And yes, you have no responsibility to speak out when ceci attacks the white race, even though a good friend would caution her to control her temper. But that nullifies your right to criticize white people for their words.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 12:38 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
If you're going to drop my name, get the story right, not "The World According to HarlemHottie".


As it is my post, I am completely in my rights in stating my opinion.

I refuse to willfully derail the thread any further. If you wish to continue this, U2U me.


Edit to add: In retrospect, I realize that other posters may feel the way you feel about my so-called "silence," and also that you deserve an answer, just as another human being. My behavior does appear unfair. So that you, and they, don't walk away thinking I'm racist, I thought I would respond to the argument you raise.


Originally posted by jsobecky
It had to do with the fact that you've been quick to attack white people for their comments, yet when it comes to ceci, she can insult an entire race and you are silent.

Do you do that because you are both black?... And yes, you have no responsibility to speak out when ceci attacks the white race, even though a good friend would caution her to control her temper.


When this thread began, I did not know any other posters here. I had spoken with BH before, but we weren't 'buddies'. Therefore, when I found other posters insensitive in their remarks, regardless of whether I agreed with them or not, I called them on it, on the board. I would not have done so had I been in U2U-communication with them.

For example, I have spoken with Ceci, privately, about her approach on this topic. Whether I agree with her or not, I don't like name-calling. It detracts from progress. Another example: Since BH and I started U2U'ing, we resolve our issues there, instead of here.

I think that covers it. I still think you, jso, presented your argument poorly, surrounded by abusive language.

[edit on 25-9-2006 by HarlemHottie]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 02:36 AM
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Sorry HH, but I have to reply to jsobecky's statement because it seems so ridiculous.



And it had nothing to do with "because you're black, it's your place to control another black poster." It had to do with the fact that you've been quick to attack white people for their comments, yet when it comes to ceci, she can insult an entire race and you are silent.


What should be asked is why do you stay silent when others attack the Black race? You don't feel obligated to correct fellow white posters on their behavior. Why should she feel she has to do the same to her own race?

Believe me. You've done your fair share of insulting behavior toward Blacks. Still, no one tries to restrain your behavior. So, yes, the double standard remains.


Do you do that because you are both black? I don't know and I don't give a damn. And thinking back on it, it was probably not the right thing to ask, because I could have predicted that you'd try to make it a racist statement by me, simply because there is no good defense for your actions.


By asking these ridiculous questions, you do give a damn. And yes, it is racist with this line of thinking. I'm surprised at you. You can call the actions of others racist, but you can't restrain your own behavior. Saph, HH and myself have remarked at different times on the thread how racist you are. Unfortunately, nothing has been done to curb the behavior.

Three posters and four mods have called attention to the behavior directed toward me on this thread. Their words have not stopped it. So why would you think coercing Saph and HH would work?

There is a good defense, though: to encourage others to watch your behavior closely for any racial animus and condescension. Because you keep on causing discord, your actions demonstrate how much vigiliance others should take in rooting out your negative behavior.


Silence often means assent when a wrong is committed.


You ought to know. You often watch until the action goes down and then you pit two posters against each other to instigate further trouble.


And yes, you have no responsibility to speak out when ceci attacks the white race


I'm glad you acknowledged that she had no responsibility. And if this is so, why do you feel the need to command her to curb my behavior?

It shocks me that people would put their manners aside to have the guts to make such a demand on Saph and HH. It is rude, belittling and rather racist to ask them to do such a thing.

Furthermore, your remark is a continued defamation on my character. I've never attacked the white race. And it is racist of you to attribute my race to a type of "violent action". The stereotype of attributing violence to black people has been used and given a lot of mileage through comments like yours.

In fact, I don't like violence. I said it before on my "race is taboo" thread and my blog.

However, I have defended myself against constantly repeated insults and virulent actions that continue to defame my character, behavior, parentage, education, race and posting style.


... even though a good friend would caution her to control her temper. But that nullifies your right to criticize white people for their words.


It does not. This is a specious argument. It doesn't make sense what you are trying to say. How does her action of not getting involved in a situation that isn't hers, render her unable to criticize white people? I think this is more of your doublespeak here. HH, Saph and myself can criticize whomever we choose. And if you don't like it, too bad.

HH has spoken with me privately. And I understand exactly what she's trying to tell me. I also do not like name-calling. I still claim the action of defense after being called denigrating names while being accused of behaviorial issues amongst other things.

I have commented many times how I don't hate whites and am not racist towards them. And if I have to, I will repeat it over and over so that everyone is clear on my position and outlook towards white people. I shouldn't have to be put on trial for my opinions. Despite this fact, it continues to happen without remorse.

But, there is a surefire way to stop the nonsense: to focus on the topic and stay away from issues related to my personality. And then, try to understand the issues a little bit more from the other side. Some posters have done this. Others have not. For myself, I'm always reading what white opinion leaders and scholars say about racism. And I post some of their findings here as well. I'm doing my part to learn about the issues. And if that is the case, how can I be even capable of things I've been accused of if I am learning about how whites view race-relations and racism from their own words and comprehending what is being said?

However, the only problem is you, right now. You keep on disrupting the thread with nothing new to add. I propose that you take a time out once again and rethink the both sides of debate. Your own feelings regarding your own inherent racism are standing in the way. You need to work on lessening them for your own sake.

And while you do so, the rest of us will continue with two good topics on the plate: the beauty aesthetic and the movie, Crash. We've got to continue to focus on more intellectual matters and leave the petty ones behind. We can't be stopped by these disturbances again.

I thank HH for bringing up the latter issue. I've wanted to discuss this film for a long time and I think that both Jensen and Wosnitz say a lot of good things in terms of dissecting the issue of race in 2006.

And Duzey and karby, the comments to your issue are coming up.





[edit on 25-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 02:45 AM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
You come out of nowhere with such a vitriolic post.

I don't see how my strongly reacting to your claim that racism 'doesn't affect whites that much' could be considered vitriolic. In fact I'd call it 'reasonable'.

I give you a thoughtful response, and you disappear.

I disapeared because offline I had an unexpected family re-union [
] so I had to keep the phone line free for the last couple of days. I was also very excited so had trouble concentrating. I'll be sure to inform you in future if this happens again and I'm really sorry that I didn't make responding to your post a priority. I'll answer it later tonight.

Oh I nearly forgot:



[edit on 25-9-2006 by riley]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 03:25 AM
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Originally posted by riley
I don't see how my strongly reacting to your claim that racism 'doesn't affect whites that much' could be considered vitriolic. In fact I'd call it 'reasonable'.

The points you made were reasonable, I agree, but you did use quite a few exclamation points, caps, and flaming faces.


I disapeared because offline I had an unexpected family re-union [
] so I had to keep the phone line free for the last couple of days. I was also very excited so had trouble concentrating.

I hope it was the good kind of "unexpected family reunion." If it was, then I'm glad you had some time to relax with your family. Always a good thing.



I'll be sure to inform you in future if this happens again and I'm really sorry that I didn't make responding to your post a priority. I'll answer it later tonight.

I'm not taking offense at your sarcasm because I was a little snippy myself. I admit it.


It's just, you haven't posted here in a while, and then you swoop down and write a whole angry essay in response to two sentences. That was kind of out-of-nowhere, you have to admit, but I understand it's an issue you're passionate about.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 06:28 AM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
The points you made were reasonable, I agree, but you did use quite a few exclamation points, caps, and flaming faces.

Three emoticons, no flames.. yeah I used caps but I only used one exclamation point [pg 55
]. Were you guessing.. lieing or just prone to exageration? My posts are already intense enough- there's no need to make them any more dramatic.

I hope it was the good kind of "unexpected family reunion." If it was, then I'm glad you had some time to relax with your family. Always a good thing.

Yes it is was and thankyou.. it's been ten years of waiting.

I'm not taking offense at your sarcasm because I was a little snippy myself. I admit it.

I thought it apt.

It's just, you haven't posted here in a while, and then you swoop down and write a whole angry essay in response to two sentences. That was kind of out-of-nowhere, you have to admit, but I understand it's an issue you're passionate about.

I'd been trying to stay out of the thread but had already made it clear that if I see more anti-white remarks that I'd.. remark on them. It's called aversion therapy.


[responding to your other post now..]

[edit on 25-9-2006 by riley]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 06:46 AM
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Just a few observations from work. In case you don't know I work in a mainline prison with about 2,000 inmates and due to the fact that I worked a second 16 hour shift in two days I was tired. My Sgt and I were shooting the breeze while watching inmate movement and we discussed this thread he'lll be on to check it out later and we both know that many people believe that inmate population is mainly one color so we checked. I'm not addressing this well so please bear with me I do so because of a couple of pages earlier about black on black crime. We discovered that the population is 30% white, 30% black, 30% hispanic and the remaining 10% pacific islanders/native. Mind you these are approx figures. We also discovered the crimes were also pretty evenly spread out and there were just as many instances of white on white as black on black. Anyhow as I said I'm very tired so I hope I'm making my point that at least in this instance the crime ratio is pretty even,If I'm not well 6 hours of sleep in 48
.

Just as an aside my Sgt who is one heck of a good guy happens to be black he told me I'd better mention it just to make sure that nobody thought I was manipulating facts.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 08:51 AM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie

Originally posted by riley
Even when I first mentioned it I was asked if maybe I provoked it or remembered it wrong.

You were not asked those questions by me. If you are addressing someone else, do not use me as a proxy.

Proxy? I wasn't addressing someone else. Your comments on 'anti-white/reverse racism' were equally as offensive and I added them to that list. They were also racist.

JESUS! I had no idea. If you notice, in my last post to semper, I did ask him to provide me with specific (American) examples.

Thus far this has been about race, not nationality.

Thank you for sharing your friend's story with me. It will help me to understand how racism works in other places.

It would work the same as everywhere else.. it just varies with politics.

That is disgusting, and just as bad as lynching... except for the small difference that lynching was state-sanctioned.

That 'small difference' would be relevent if we were discussing Amercian history. It is not state sanctioned now so therefore not reflective of current race related issues.

[I'm not saying that to take away from the horror of what your friend and other women experiences.

Seems you were going tit for tat. Whats the point of that? This thread is riddled with 'but blacks have it worse' .. well that depends on when, where you are and the political climate. I for one probably woudn't want to visit certain parts of South S.Africa as I am certain their history has created much hostility towards whites. Do they deserve to be murdered for what their ancestors did? History repeats.

It would probably be more helpful to 'race relations' if you, Ceci and Saph communicated your own experiences of racism rather than experiences of previous generations.. that way we can empathise as peers [yeah I know that sounds corny]. Why haven't you? Tell your own stories. What is it like to be the decendents or slaves? Does it define who you are at all? Influence relationships between family and friends? How can you sill feel opression from it even though it was so long ago? Do you know where abouts in Africa your family came from? Do you know anything about their culture? Ever been to Africa? Do schools teach African languages and culture at all? Tribal customs [if possible]? Should they? This subject interests me.


As a woman, I am personally disgusted, and don't take that as bs. I knew a black girl in college who was raped by white boys in a frat.

This is relevent and apparently happens alot in your country.. that may be related to race .. but I've also heared that they have 'rape rooms' in frat houses. If thats true thats quite disturbing.

If you knew me in RL, you would know I don't play that rape self-censored expletive, nevermind who or why] At least your friend and the other victims can rest easy knowing that the perpetrators will be punished, as they should be.

I'm hoping it was the same gang but it was happening [from what I know of it] over the space of five years. Of course if it had've been a standard rape they would've spent only a couple of months in jail as per usual.


Also, I didn't know, or had forgotten, that you were in Australia. The conversation we were having here had kinda focussed on the US, and our race problems.

The racist generalisations on these threads have been about all whites.. not just american ones.

I really don't know what goes on, 'on the ground,' in other countries, so I guess none of the information that I've gathered in my young life applies to you. That's okay. It doesn't cost anything to be wrong.

Going by what I know about american culture.. [that taints all others] with this 'white guilt' thing and the amount of [though warrented] focus that is put on slavery, lynching and segregation.. I'm not surprised that american whites might feel reluctent to complain about racism. Sounds like a white can be spat on in your country and if they protest they'll get "Stop winging.. it's not like you were enslaved or anything." Yes society needs to remember history.. but people shouldn't be holding grudges against those who are innocent. What does that accomplish? I get the impression some want to avenge history.. how are people going to do that? Revolt and enslave anyone who hasn't got a tan? Slavery and lynching is not the white mans' shame.. it's the shame of all those individuals who practice and who continue to practice it.

[edit on 25-9-2006 by riley]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 09:53 AM
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Is Racism a Decoy, a Diversion, Cunningly Used by the R&Fs?

If you read my posts, you know I divide society into two groups. The R&Fs, rich and famous, and the P&P-er, poor and poorer. The upper half of the old middle class aspires to join the R&Fs. Gated community living. 2 SUVs. Vacation home in sight of Aspen. Retire at 59. Etc. The lower half of America’s once great middle class has been wiped out. They were the blue collar middle class. America’s working men and women who were members of the once great labor unions like the UAW, the LGW, the IEW, the UMW, and many others, had obtained good wages and outstanding fringe benefits, for hard work. Those people find themselves now in a race to the bottom. Hello Shanghai. New Delhi. Singapore. Etc.

A friend worked at the AmStan Foundry in my home town, American Standard Sanitary Company. Producers of up-scale cast iron bath tubes and other high quality household plumbing fixtures. It was hard, hot work to move a 200 pound cast iron tub along an overhead trolley out of the oven, glowing a dull red at 400 deg F., to receive its coat of paint which will be baked into porcelain. The union had made his job one of the better paying jobs in my city. Another example. IH - International Harvester - had a plant in my city that assembled small and medium sized farm tractors. They had a foundry next door that cast the engines, transmissions and axles. The guts of any farm tractor. The assemblers were almost all white and the foundry workers were almost all black. But when the CIO union came to town, the wages of both sides of production were equalized. In other words, the union was color blind.

From 1932, America’s unions presented a united front. They supported the Democrats. Until 1968. Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa had gone to prison, put there by Democrat Robert Kennedy. The union rank and file loved Hoffa and hated Kennedy. The Teamsters Union was not only America’s largest union, but also held the dubious distinction of being its most corrupt. 5 of its first 6 presidents ended in prison. (That union corruption was not the fault of the rank and file membership.)

So what happened? Nixon was making his second run for the presidency. Nixon and Hoffa made a secret deal. Hoffa would break the Teamsters away from the unified AFL-CIO, and support Nixon. In return, Nixon would let Hoffa out of prison! Both men always denied the deal, but it clearly happened that way In 1969, Nixon remitted Hoffa's sentence and he was out of prison. I liken that “unholy” alliance to “giving the labor union movement pneumonia.”

Fast forward. On August 3, 1981, the air traffic controllers (PATCO) struck for higher pay and better working conditions. On August 5, 1981, Pres. Reagan - ironically one of the founders of the Screen Actors Guild - fired all 11,000 of the striking air traffic controllers. That pitted the United States Government squarely against organized labor. The anti-union floodgates opened wide. I called that the ‘coup de grace’ of the union movement.

In 1954, the infamous and inhuman scheme of control and exploitation practiced in America since 1865, most vigorously in the 13 states making up the Old South, but also to a lesser extent in the remaining states, was declared to be ended by the great Chief Justice Earl Warren and the unanimous Supreme Court. Jim Crow was dead! (I say CJ Earl Warren is #2 to CJ John Marshall!)

Here we are in 2006, more than a half century later, two generations , still arguing vigorously over how to undo the adverse effects of the illegitimate successor to the institution of slavery, and if so, what to do. The institutions of slavery began in 1619. 245 years passed before the great document, the Emancipation Proclamation. Measured in generations, between 8 and 12. The Brown v. Topeka ruling rests squarely on the “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment. I fault Pres. Eisenhower the brilliant leader of Operation Overlord, for doing nothing in 1954 on his own to undo the disadvantages newly “freed” Blacks faced. He was forced to act in Little Rock.

Pres. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925 which is the first Federal document laying out the desirability of giving a hands-up to America’s Blacks. Another Executive Order, 11375, was issued in 1965 by LBJ. Why you may ask, have we seen only executive orders and have not seen a federal law? To answer my own question, because Southern senators filibustered in the Senate to prevent any effective laws from being passed. It was to overcome this resistance that the cloture rule of 2/3rds majority vote to shut down debate was changed to the current rule of 3/5ths vote.

To his good credit, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission Act passed by a Democratic Congress and was signed into law by Richard Nixon. No, unlike Bush43, Nixon did not “sign off” on the law. He enforced it vigorously. Nixon had faults but hypocrisy was not one of them.

In 1973, the Burger Court rendered the Roe v. Wade case. Roe holds all citizens have a right of privacy which means neither the state nor federal governments may intrude into their life except upon a “compelling state interest.” No one has suggested being pregnant is a compelling state interest. The 2nd part of Roe divided pregnancy into trimesters. In the1st trimester, no laws at all are allowed, decisions are to be between the woman, her physician and her conscience. In the 2nd trimester, states may make laws respecting abortions, but only to the extent such laws regulate abortions for the health and safety of the woman. In the third trimester the Supreme Court said that any state law could be passed respecting abortions so long as the law was reasonable and served some legally acceptable purpose.

This did not satisfy anti-abortion leaders who realized they had been presented with an issued that could be used to mobilize a new “base” for political action. The Constitutional ‘Right of Choice’ was rejected by the Religious Right. Their own vision of the truth was to be substituted. The religionists have been unable by force of argument, to persuade millions of women to their view. Their arguments have been rejected wholesale. Ever since Roe, the Religious Right has fought to subvert the laws of the land to enforce their private religious values which they cannot achieve by legitimate means!

Conclusion. It has taken me a long time to reach the point of my story. There are only 168 hours in a week. The Patrician Rich and Famous know if they can keep the Proletariat Poor and Poorer busy fighting issues that mean nothing to them, Race and abortion, Prayer in school, “Under God” in the Pledge, School vouchers & Etc. That will give them time to deal unimpeded in the really consequential matters, which are War and Peace, taxes and globalization and time to run the country their way. For the 2006-2008 election cycle, the R&Fs have opportunistically added the issue of immigration.

Since 2001, they have adroitly used scare tactics based on the Nine Eleven Event along with “timely” disclosures. All of which I contend are simply diversions to keep us from dealing with real issues like Universal Access to Affordable Health Care, educational opportunities for everyone, global warming, air and water pollution and so on. Issues that will ultimately determine the quality of life most of us will have.


[edit on 9/25/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 10:53 PM
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Originally posted by riley

Originally posted by HarlemHottie

Originally posted by riley
Even when I first mentioned it I was asked if maybe I provoked it or remembered it wrong.

You were not asked those questions by me. If you are addressing someone else, do not use me as a proxy.

Proxy? I wasn't addressing someone else. Your comments on 'anti-white/reverse racism' were equally as offensive and I added them to that list.

Don't try to change the subject. When you first told us what happened to you (in the Why is Race Taboo thread), I was full of sym-/empathy. So, when it comes to the topic you just brought up, how you were asked if you "remembered it wrong," that was not me.

If you recall, I asked you specifically for statistics. That wasn't because I didn't believe you. For me to get a clear picture of any social problem or epidemic, I always look at a few personal accounts and then the numbers: that way, I get the overview (how often?, is it increasing?) and the personal effects (ie, "victims often suffer from PTSD," or whatever).


Thus far this has been about race, not nationality.

Actually, no. Thus far, this has been about race relations in the US. I'm not sure if that was the OP's intent, but, since most of the posters here are American (I've gathered), the original topic has been refined a bit to focus on our issues. That doesn't mean you can't add anything useful to the conversation, it's just, for people who don't know you, it might have been helpful for you to state where this thing happened to you.


This thread is riddled with 'but blacks have it worse' .. well that depends on when, where you are and the political climate.

I've mentioned this incident over and over in this thread because I have yet to get anyone's response to it.


On June 7, 1998, Byrd, 49, accepted a ride from Berry, Brewer, and King. Instead of taking him home, however, the three men beat Byrd, tied him to a pickup truck with a chain, and dragged him about three miles. An autopsy suggested that Byrd was alive for much of the dragging and died only after his right arm and head were severed when his body hit a culvert.[2]

King, Berry, and Brewer dumped their victim's mutilated remains in the town's segregated black cemetery, and then went to a barbecue. [3]

State law enforcement officials and Jasper’s District Attorney determined that since King and Brewer were well-known white supremacists...Numerous aspects of the Byrd murder echo lynching traditions, including mutilation or decapitation, and revelry, such as a barbecue or a picnic, during or after.
article on wiki



...I've also heared that they have 'rape rooms' in frat houses. If thats true thats quite disturbing.

I can neither confirm nor deny this, since they wouldn't have told me. Suffice it to say, frat boys of all hues have attempted to rape me and my friends. I'm now out of college, and we all survived 'intact,' if you know what I mean.


Of course if it had've been a standard rape they would've spent only a couple of months in jail as per usual.

You're right. IDK the laws here, and I'm sure they differ by state, but at my college and many others across the country, guys were getting away with it. They got 'more time' (suspended, expelled) for plagiarism.


The racist generalisations on these threads have been about all whites.. not just american ones.

That's not true. I admit that I have recently become so frustrated that I may have lost some of my characteristic composure, but, throughout this conversation, I have tried to be very careful about generalizing and specifying who exactly I found to be at fault. If you want to address the overall tone of the thread, that's a different issue, to be taken up with all the posters.



Yes society needs to remember history.. but people shouldn't be holding grudges against those who are innocent.

No one is innocent. You are not understanding that, in this country, white-on-black racism happens every single day. Ceci and I have posted many academic articles relating to just this. The incidents to which those studies refer do not include "being spat on." They discuss the systematic disenfranchisement of the black and brown peoples of this nation. This disenfranchisement includes, among other things, being systematically shut out from the workplace and the voting booths, those places that embody true American citizenship.

And please note my use of the word "systematic," "not haphazard." You(the rhetorical 'you') don't keep people purposefully ignorant for hundreds and hundreds of years and then expect them to blend into society seamlessly. They have a problem, and, because you caused it, it's up to you to fix it.

Instead, in this case, Americans of color have been given... affirmative action, which only works for you if you're in the right place at the right time. For example, if you're a black or hispanic kid, attending one of our nation's many throw-away highschools, you may have been too busy fighting for your life to get good grades. If you did manage to get good grades, the sole guidance counselor has 300 other kids in your class to deal with. How much time can she spend on finding the best opportunities for you? So, in the end, that leaves poor young adults of color with no way of even finding the doors affirmative action is meant to open. If this were another thread, I would get into how we're all screwed because poor white kids don't have many opportunities either.



What does that accomplish? I get the impression some want to avenge history

No, people want to stop living in it. We would love for this not to be an issue. That would be like... the suns finally rising at the end of Nightfall. I would know that my (as-yet unborn) kids won't have to live with this yoke around their necks...

The only way for that to happen is for people to be real... with their prejudices and misconceptions and then, with our government. They're screwing all of us. We just have to look up for a minute, from our our personal miseries, and look at the big picture.

(out of space, will continue)
[edit for clarity]

[edit on 25-9-2006 by HarlemHottie]



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 11:53 PM
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to riley, cont'd...


Originally posted by riley
It would probably be more helpful to 'race relations' if you, Ceci and Saph communicated your own experiences...Why haven't you?

I have. Like you, I was questioned to the point of... forget it, you know?


What is it like to be the decendents or slaves? Does it define who you are at all? Influence relationships between family and friends? How can you sill feel opression from it even though it was so long ago?

I wrote this waaay back, on pg 33. I was responding to BH, so if I seem like I'm generalizing, go back and read what she said to garner this reply.

Originally posted by HarlemHottie
we (current adults) were raised by people who survived in a world peopled with those sickeningly racist whites. Everyday was, quite literally, a life or death struggle to them. If you were allowed in the store, the clerk would treat you bad, but don't sigh or roll your eyes because, within 5 minutes flat, your ass could be strung up on the nearest tree. Or, you could 'get away with it', only to put your kids to bed that night, and wake up with a molotov cocktail in your bed.

Imagine the stress of knowing that any day could be your day, and of course, you pass that along to your kids. It's like having a Vietnam vet for a parent. [I love 'em, but the majority are so scarred psychologically that being raised by one was probably very difficult.] So now, here we are, the kids, like Ceci and me, some of us incredibly pissed that "white people" (as it was generalized, because it was true at the time) screwed our parents over/up, whatever the case may be. But, we learned in school that some white people came together with our parents generation and tried to fix all that. So, we were relieved.

Then, you grow up, and look around in the real world and see that, while the more overt examples of racial terrorism have mostly been eradicated, it's still there. So now, we have a few problems, the first of which is, apparently, we've been lied to, en masse. That's enough to piss anybody off. Look, again, to Vietnam, and those disillusioned youth. Second, wth are we supposed to do??? The world seems to think we solved that problem, so how are we supposed to get the attention needed to make something happen? How do we make the story break? We try to use tragedies to highlight the continuous nature of the problem, and, instead of talking about it, people make fun of Jesse Jackson. Then, they "sweep it under the rug." I'm sorry to use that contentious phrase again, but that's why she said it.

Take Hurricane Katrina. While I'm fully aware that white homeowners in the area suffered as much property damage, if not more, than local blacks, the human suffering inflicted on survivors after the storm was mostly directed at blacks. I'm sure you heard about the group of survivors who, trying to escape the water, attempted to cross a bridge into the next town. They were shot at by local law enforcement. The only reason we heard the story was because there were a few British citizens in the group and they told the BBC when they got home.


That's not a full answer to your question, but I thought it would serve to get the ball rolling.



Do you know where abouts in Africa your family came from?

No, but some black people do. There was a show on PBS (during Black History Month, but they might show it again) where they had Oprah, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and a lot of other American blacks tracing their geneologies, based on DNA, through black and white family trees in the American South, all the way back to various places in Africa and Europe.


Do you know anything about their culture? Ever been to Africa?

Yes I do. I was briefly a linguistics major and I was shocked and amazed (in the good way) to find that, while "talking black" is often taken as a sign of ignorance, it is actually a dialect all its own, with strong ties to West Africa. That was both interesting and self-affirming.

Although I haven't been to Africa myself, I know lots of people who have.



Do schools teach African languages and culture at all? Tribal customs [if possible]? Should they?

They don't, but they should. Like I said before, it's self-affirming to see yourself reflected elsewhere. When I was little, we called the way we danced (with the characteristic concentration on the pelvis) 'dancing nasty.' When I got to college, I took a class on African religion and watched tapes of my African sisters doing the same exact thing! They even 'dropped it!' I couldn't believe my eyes. After growing up in a place where anything African, like me, is denigrated, it felt good to realize that I was just one in a long line of African women. We've been dancing like this since the dawn of time.

[edit to answer a question I skipped]

[edit on 26-9-2006 by HarlemHottie]



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 01:39 AM
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Originally posted by gallopinghordes
I work in a mainline prison with about 2,000 inmates...

Then you might be able to give me an educated perspective on this speech I found. What do you think?

Also, everyone else is invited to participate too.
I just figured a professional might have some special insight on the subject.



Drug Busts=Jim Crow
by Ira Glasser, retired Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, President of the Board of the Drug Policy Alliance.
[from the July 10, 2006 issue of The Nation]
This article is adapted from a speech Ira Glasser gave to the Correctional Association of New York.

...Despite these patterns of racial targeting, it has not been fashionable among liberals to see drug prohibition as a massive civil rights problem of racial discrimination. Perhaps it would be easier if we examined the way racially targeted drug-war incarceration has damaged the right to vote, a right quintessentially part of the rights we thought we had won in the 1960s with the demise of Jim Crow laws.

Until recently (there have been some changes in the past few years in some states), every state but two barred felons from voting--some permanently, some in a way that allowed, theoretically but often not as a practical matter, for the restoration of voting rights. Because of the explosion of incarceration driven by drug prohibition, more than 5 million people are now barred from voting. The United States is the only industrial democracy that does this. And the origin of most of these laws--no surprise--is the post-Reconstruction period after slavery was abolished. Felony disenfranchisement laws, like poll taxes and literacy tests, were historically part of the system that arose after slavery to bar blacks from exercising equal rights and, in particular, equal voting rights. Felony disenfranchisement laws were, to a large extent, part of a replacement system for subjugating blacks after slavery was abolished.

If you want to contemplate what this means, consider the state of Florida in the 2000 presidential election, where 200,000 black Floridians were barred from voting because of prior felonies in an election in which the presidency was determined by 537 disputed votes. If even one-third of these people had actually voted--say, 70,000--and if they voted in the usual proportions that blacks vote for the Democratic candidate--say, 80 percent, probably a low estimate--those 70,000 voters would have produced a 42,000 net gain for Al Gore.

...
The kicker for all this is that all these black citizens who were disproportionately targeted for arrest and incarceration and then barred from voting are nonetheless counted as citizens for the purpose of determining how many Congressional seats and how many electoral votes states have. During slavery, three-fifths of the number of slaves were similarly counted by the slave states, even though slaves were not in any way members of the civil polity. This is worse. In the states of the Deep South, 30 percent of all black men are barred from voting because of felony convictions, but all of them are counted to determine Congressional representation and Electoral College votes. If one wants to wonder why the South is so solidly white, Republican and arch-conservative, one need look no further.

The fact is, just as Jim Crow laws were a successor system to slavery, so drug prohibition has been a successor to Jim Crow laws in targeting blacks, removing them from civil society and then denying them the right to vote while using their bodies to enhance white political power. Drug prohibition is now the last significant instance of legalized racial discrimination in America.



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 02:00 AM
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I like to thank Harlem Hottie for her answers. I also like to add that for myself, I've mentioned how my parents were treated during Jim Crow and Civil Rights era. I also mentioned that some of my relatives were slaves and had to walk a hundred miles to their plantation. I have not been to Africa, but I know African people by virtue of my family and my own work.

Furthermore, there have been programs in my hometown that did educate us on the lives of African people especially when it had to do with tribes, languages and customs. I had learned more about Africans through distinct courses I have taken and through several groups related to international culture I had participated in. And of course, I've talked with Africans about themeselves, their culture and their lives in many different capacities.

I also mentioned in my answers to karby, how I felt close to the ties to Africa. Furthermore, I also discussed not only in "race is taboo" but in this thread, many other experiences that I had. However, those things are always overlooked--especially when people do not consider our experiences as equal to theirs.

HH, Saph and myself contributed many things to this thread close to our hearts and minds. All I have to say if there are those who consider that this thread is nothing but "blacks had it worse", they are mistaken. This is not an aim of the thread. This thread is solely devoted to discussing race-relations as well as trying to solve racism.

And for the most part, Americans and Canadians have discussed this issue here. But I did call for people internationally to come and speak out. And international voices have graced the thread various times. However, most attention has been paid to American society and how they deal with racism since most participants came from the United States.

So when we discuss slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era, we were dealing with the effects of those times had on America presently.

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

Don,

Thank you for your latest post. It is always good for your remind us about race-relations from your point of view. I think it is appropriate to say that first of all (bringing back HH's theory of a "larger" and "elitist" group of people who are pitting us all against each other while they get the spoils), that yes, there are people invested in not having all of us get along. I think that this is tied to the "gate-keepers" of information. Some facts are withheld or taught to be "unbelievable" by the public in order to keep the fighting going on.

I also agree with the fact that the thread shows two distinct types of views regarding race. That is why talking about it is important. There are factors that are not being dealt with because people want to selfishly keep their beliefs in tact. It seems disturbing to some that when new ideas come to the plate, these items are considered disruptive to what has been considered gospel. I think that because people want to keep things "status quo", they are willing to fight tooth and nail in order to "not believe" someone else or to "ignore" the experiences of others. It might have to do with the fact that some questions have gone unanswered.

Sometimes, I think the dichotomies have to do with "privilege". No one in the dominant culture wants to break those "privileges" apart. They have been obtained "unearned" and people are willing to keep fighting so they stay "unearned". As a result, it is best to ignore what others say and denounce anything that tries to "dismantle" the privilege as being "delusional". Some of these "unearned privileges" are "invisible" in many ways. By virtue of birth and skin color, they occur. As a result, there is nothing anyone can do. Surely some people would say that they would renounce their privileges. But when it comes to that better treatment and the upward social mobility, will they turn it down? Heck no. No one would. They would keep on getting while the getting is good.

9/11 brought us two steps back in terms of finding our commalities and sharing our diversity. And that is because people are too wrapped up in showing their patriotism in isolationistic terms. Anyone who is "different" is suspect now. And it has been re-emphasized by Mr. Bush and his followers. He has done more to hurt race-relations in the present day due to his "Are you with us or against us" preaching than anyone else.

That is why knowledge about racism remains "separate", but certainly "unequal". The two different views are based on who recieves the privileges and who doesn't. I think that if things were truly equal, there wouldn't be any problems discussing this matter. No one would be mad. And, of course, people would get a grip and hash out everything calmly without worrying that the thread would "get out control".

To demonstrate this dichotomy at play, I would suggest that people go back and track who has been saying "the thread has been going out of control". As you do that, ask yourself why do you think this is said? What constitutes it "going out of control"? If solely one race discussed this issue, "would the thread go out of control"?

These are some thoughts that I've had. Again, I give you my gratitude for contributing your wisdom. Furthermore, I will be sure to see the talk on CSPAN this weekend to further enhance my learning about race in society.


[edit on 26-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 02:49 AM
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Sorry, Duzey, that it has taken this long to discuss the beauty aesthetic. I have been woefully busy and I wanted to answer you thoughtfully about how I see your question. So, finally, I have a chance to answer your question and try to analyze it somehow.




Originally quoted by Duzey

Is this kind of attitude common? Do thousands of little black girls all over the US feel like they aren't pretty because they are 'too dark'?


I think there's a lot of mixed signals out there in terms of the beauty aesthetic. At first, they are telling you that you are all right who you are. Then, you have this insiduous message that you have to fit this narrow category of women to be accepted. And, I think that the media takes this latter message to subjugate women and disrupt our own feminist leanings by making us waifish and dependent. These messages go on to raise the bar for all races of women to strive to be the most perfect they can to be satisfactory to what dominant culture dictates.

However, the Black women I have grown up with and surrounded myself around has not had a problem with self-image. We love who we are. And they are always proud to say so. But still, those same problems with the "beauty aesthetic" creep in to divide us and to make our self-esteem lower than it is.

History, racism and society has especially hard on Black women. In the past, we had to solely try and make ourselves different from the horrible stereotypes produced from the slavery and Jim Crow era. We didn't want to be "Mammy" or "Aunt Jemima" or even "Prissy". We didn't want to be considered by some as having "loose morals" because of our past being "slave mistresses" to the Master. And, we didn't want to be infantalized because of the Darwinism that goes on due to the fact that we were viewed as "lesser than".

Above all that, we had to deal with the "color bar". The "color bar" said that the lighter you were, the better. And so, the beauty aesthetic belonged to those blacks who could "pass" in society compared to those who couldn't. And those that passed were lighter skinned black women with straight, thick hair and light eyes. In fact, you could read this type of legacy in Alex Haley's final book, Queen. Queen Haley was a light-skinned "child of the plantation" who could pass if she wanted. But, in the very same way, she had deal with the color bar while facing the trials of her life.

That is why such a celebrity as Beyonce Knowles is a compelling figure in this society. This is a woman who had the blonde hair and the hips. However, the more famous she got, the more "whiter" she became. Her hair became blonder. Her skin became lighter. And she got thinner and thinner to fit the beauty aesthetic. I agree from the blog essay that I posted a while back that she was put out there as a "woman" that young Black girls could identify with: a Christie doll with fake, weaved in hair.

The same could be said for Mariah Carey and J-Lo. As they became more famous, the lighter their hair and skin became. If you saw early pictures of J-Lo, she was not that light. But after her relationship with P. Diddy, she became "whiter" and "whiter" in her movies while still trying play "Jenny on the block". It is as if to say that if women of color have to get rid of their culture, their looks and their heritage in order to be more accepted and marketable in society.

This is especially the case with hair. No Black lady is without her "straightening comb" (electric or over the stove) or oil. That is because if we went "natural", then society would shun us because of the "beauty aesthetic". Our "natural hair" is not accepted by the dominant culture because it reflects something that is "too ethnic".

And that is the thing that succinctly bothers me about this issue. It seems that if one looks "too ethnic", they are not accepted as one who buys completely into the "beauty aesthetic". In fact, the entire thing about looking "too ethnic" corresponds with the post-9/11 push to get rid of diversity and have it replace by one bland culture. It is as if the "dynamism" that comes with "ethnicity" is a little bit "too out of control" for someone's tastes.

It seems that this narrow "beauty aesthetic" wants to erase the more interesting aspects of our looks in order to suit a bland, uniform type that seems to be fragile, etheral and rather wan. If women looked sick and powerless, then the male hegemony would stay in tact. This is doubly so for Black women.

This is why I mostly agree with karby's comments.

A woman should be who she wants and be allowed to exude her power. She should be able to feel okay with herself and do what she wants without society's dictates. She should. But as there are subtle barriers that still block the progress of people of color, women are not left out.

Women of color are the most vunerable to the "beauty aesthetic" due to the fact that they have a double prejudice that they have to face. They have to be accepted for the color of their skin as well as their gender. They have to fight both of these prejudices at the same time.

So, we have to work harder at maintaining our sense of power and self-esteem than our male counterparts. And it doesn't help when Beyonce is out there helping the dominant culture hold that bar over our heads.

I have more to say about this, but I'd like to think about it further.



[edit on 26-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 05:49 AM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie

Originally posted by riley
I don't see how my strongly reacting to your claim that racism 'doesn't affect whites that much' could be considered vitriolic. In fact I'd call it 'reasonable'.

The points you made were reasonable, I agree, but you did use quite a few exclamation points, caps, and flaming faces.

You see, riley, you can't win. If it's not your words, it's your "tone" or your "attitude" or your "lack of empathy" or your "emoticons".

You obviously need lessons on kow-towing and walking on eggs.



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 06:52 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
If you're going to drop my name, get the story right, not "The World According to HarlemHottie".


As it is my post, I am completely in my rights in stating my opinion.

Of course you are. Just don't play to the crowd that your statements are fact when they are only your opinion.


I refuse to willfully derail the thread any further. If you wish to continue this, U2U me.

Not worth my time.



Edit to add: In retrospect, I realize that other posters may feel the way you feel about my so-called "silence," and also that you deserve an answer, just as another human being. My behavior does appear unfair. So that you, and they, don't walk away thinking I'm racist, I thought I would respond to the argument you raise.

When this thread began, I did not know any other posters here. I had spoken with BH before, but we weren't 'buddies'. Therefore, when I found other posters insensitive in their remarks, regardless of whether I agreed with them or not, I called them on it, on the board. I would not have done so had I been in U2U-communication with them.

For example, I have spoken with Ceci, privately, about her approach on this topic.

My point exactly. You call out white posters on the board but to ceci, it's out of the public eye and not subject to verification.


I think that covers it. I still think you, jso, presented your argument poorly, surrounded by abusive language.

Not poorly, or abusive. Harsh. But you don't want to hear facts, just a feel-good re-affirmation of your "feelings".



originally posted by ceci2006
What should be asked is why do you stay silent when others attack the Black race?

You mean like defending "Reverend" Jesse Jackson because he spat in white people's food?


Why should she feel she has to do the same to her own race?

Forget race. Why should it enter into her judgement? Bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless of skin color.


Believe me. You've done your fair share of insulting behavior toward Blacks. Still, no one tries to restrain your behavior. So, yes, the double standard remains.

Yes I have, like condemning JJ for his behavior.

Other than that, you can accuse all you want, as is your method. But you cannot point to a single incident where I insulted blacks on this board.

On the other hand, your racial attacks have been numerous and well-documented.



Saph, HH and myself have remarked at different times on the thread how racist you are.

Now there's 3 unbiased sources.


Of course you call me racist. Not because I am racist, because I'm not. You three simply don't like someone who disagrees with you or questions your premises.


Three posters and four mods have called attention to the behavior directed toward me on this thread. Their words have not stopped it. So why would you think coercing Saph and HH would work?

Uhhh, ceci.... nobody except HH and Saph are defending your actions as "normal".

And I didn't coerce HH and Saph. If they can't answer a simple question then that's their problem.

Let me say that I too, would have difficulty defending such a position.


Furthermore, your remark is a continued defamation on my character. I've never attacked the white race.

What was it you said about genetics, ceci? Denial is dangerous..


And it is racist of you to attribute my race to a type of "violent action". The stereotype of attributing violence to black people has been used and given a lot of mileage through comments like yours.

Yadda yadda yadda. What are you babbling about now? Your opinion again?


However, I have defended myself against constantly repeated insults and virulent actions that continue to defame my character, behavior, parentage, education, race and posting style.

Except that you haven't done the one thing that would help you... to accept the fact that you have done wrong instead of defending yourself. There is no defense for your actions.



quote: ... even though a good friend would caution her to control her temper. But that nullifies your right to criticize white people for their words.


It does not. This is a specious argument. It doesn't make sense what you are trying to say. How does her action of not getting involved in a situation that isn't hers, render her unable to criticize white people?

It blows her credibility out of the water is what it does.


I still claim the action of defense after being called denigrating names while being accused of behaviorial issues amongst other things.

You had better learn other coping skills. If you *ever* make it to corporate America, you'll be canned in a heartbeat if you resort to attacking people and name calling.

Finally, I stated in an earlier thread the tactic of making something appear to be true by simply repeating it a million times. That's the tactic you, HH, and Saphronia try to employ by calling me racist. The problem is, you have no facts, no incidents, to back you up.

The moderators have given you incredible leeway to vent your bile. It has been noted here by many posters.

I think that your goal is to make this thread into a rant on black history/black power.



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 12:26 PM
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Who exactly is making the determination that light skin and straight hair is the standard of beauty? This author calls it the “white media”. Who is that?

Nappy Stories



It is as if the White media has become so enamored with the truth of its propaganda and so confident of its effectiveness on the psyches of other races and ethnic groups that it does not hesitate to make these ridiculous and arrogant declarations. And it does so over and over again.

We were force-fed the poison of White racism into our minds and we began to look at the world (and ourselves) through strange, inverted glasses. And our world, the marvelous world of Blackness, the African world of strength and beauty; was effectively turned upside down and we began to believe the lies and to accept them as facts and (even more devastating) we began to assault the minds and the spirits of our children with the bitterness of our self-hatred. We threatened in our fits of anger, to "beat all the Black" off of them.

We told our daughters and our sons to do something with their "ugly nappy head" or we threatened to "slap all the naps off" their heads. And in doing this to our children to our men and to our women, we adopted the mind-set of our enslavers and our enemies and we passed this sickness down from one generation to the next and it is still with us now.


This isn’t going to change until black women throw away their skin lighteners and hair straighteners and refuse en masse to go along with the standards that have been set by this enigmatic group called “the white media” whoever that is…

Tyra, Halle, Beyonce, J-Lo, Mariah, Alicia, Oprah, Queen Latifah, and Jada need to take a lesson from little old Nadia Turner (below) and step into their beauty and claim their space as beautiful and powerful black women. They are the people who have the power to change this stupid beauty standard thing for black women. I can’t help but wonder what change would take place if every black woman who wanted to (including the famous ones) would shake off the unnatural beauty standards imposed by this “white media” and embrace their natural beauty. The “white media” sure aren’t going to be the ones who initiate the change.

Nadia Turner. Truly beautiful American Idol contestant:






If we don’t know ourselves, not only are we a puzzle to ourselves; other people are also a puzzle to us as well.


Not to mention being a puzzle to other people. If black women don’t truly know themselves and express their natural, beautiful selves, then I also find it very difficult to know who they are.



"So my dear sisters, please be your Black self and keep your natural Black beauty ...... your strong, bold, and beautiful naps as opposed to weak, limp, and lifeless strands of hair. Your Creator made your beauty naturally unique! Your Creator wanted your Black natural beauty to stand out amongst the peoples of the world."


Hear! Hear!


Fortunately, it seems that people are embracing who they are and rejecting the unnatural standards being imposed upon them. It's about freaking time!


Natural Hair in the Workplace



For years, I ran away from "naps." That's shorthand for nappy hair. Old folks in my family called it "bad hair." For African-American women of my generation, leaving our hair in its natural state was taboo. But that way of thinking is passé.
...
More than a decade later, styles such as locks, twistees, microbraids and Afros are cropping up more and more in the workplace as younger generations of African-American women, and men, embrace their natural hair.


And I would give the same advice to white women. Get over the tanning booths and spray tans. Stop it with the silicone injections, the lip and cheek implants, celebrate your natural breasts and rears. Don't let this illusive group of people define what beauty is! We, as women, have the power to define it, to broaden it. Stop blaming it on other people and TAKE BACK the reins. Don’t wait for them to be handed over.

I would add that I personally think eating disorders are more dangerous effects of the unnatural "beauty standard" of the US than skin lightening and hair straightening. And the current knowledge I can find on this indicates that proportionally, more white women and girls are affected by eating disorders than black women, although the number of black women with eating disorders is increasing.

And if we are encouraged to talk about all races in this thread, I'm sure I won't be chastised for bringing up the beauty standards from which white women suffer and I won’t be accused of being ‘uncomfortable’ talking about racism, simply because I bring up a related aspect of white culture. After all, that is my race so naturally I would be more knowledgeable about it and more able to speak to it.

Edited for spelling.

[edit on 26-9-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 02:17 PM
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BH, it is nice to see you back!


I had hoped you would post again. You've said some interesting things that help with my thoughts about the dichotomy of what women of color have to face. These are some more things that I am thinking about.

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

It seems there is more to be said in regards to the "beauty aesthetic", Crash, and of course, HH's post about drugs and Jim Crow. I'll be answering on these issues a little bit later.

[edit on 26-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 07:56 PM
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For most people - including the two of us - that's painfully true; such untangling is a life's work in which we can make progress but never feel finished. But that can obscure a more fundamental and important point: This state of affairs is the product of the actions of us white people. In the modern world, white elites invented race and racism to protect their power, and white people in general have accepted the privileges they get from the system and helped maintain it. The problem doesn't spring from the individual prejudices that exist in various ways in all groups but from white supremacy, which is expressed not only by individuals but in systemic and institutional ways. There's little hint of such understanding in the film, which makes it especially dangerous in a white-dominant society in which white people are eager to avoid confronting our privilege.


I agree with Robert Jensen's and Robert Wosnitz's assessment of the film. By masking "prejudice" through its use by various people in the film, the authors' point about systemic and personal racism stemming from one source is rather obscured. The problem here is that the movie does make white people feel quietly content that they don't have to face their own racist attitudes. It also depicts a problematic attitude here in terms of not pointing toward the source of racist attitudes in the first place.

One is often left with the feeling that the "minorities" are to blame for the various problems happening in the film. What is worse is that showing the various ways class, race and politics intervene, that it blatantly uses the time old phrases regarding the "Golden Rule" and "not seeing a color". By using these two attitudes as a cloak, more subtle aspects of racism are hidden and ignored that are more deeply prevalent in the film.

In fact, each of the white characters in the film get off the hook from their racism depicted in the film:

1)Sandra Bullock's character receives help and a hug from her house-keeper when she falls down the stairs.

2)Despite the fact Matt Dillion "felt up" Thandie Newton and humiliated Terrence Howard, he is "absolved" for his actions by saving Thandie Newton in a later scene. That is despite the fact that he brow-beats the Loretta Devine both on the phone and in person when Mr. Dillion as his character is getting health care for his father in the film. Ms. Devine, in the film, is depicted as less sympathetic, but he pays her no respect--especially when it comes down to her name.

(And yes, I felt disgusted by the way Dillion uses his authority and racism to humiliate both Terrence Howard and Thandie Newton in the film. It is horrible that he doesn't even get his "wrist" slapped for such a thing. Instead, he gets a new partner and whole lot of sympathy for his ailing father in the movie).

3)Brenden Frasier (As the D.A.) tries to get out of his "carjacking" by making a photo-op to show he's not prejudiced while his Black PR spokeswoman silently looks on despite hearing the racist attitudes of himself and his wife (Sandra Bullock) in both his house and work.

4)The gun shop owner (by virtue of 9/11) gets off of his racism because the audience could identify with the fact that he wouldn't sell the Muslim Doctor's father a gun due to the fact that he might be a "terrorist".

5)Ryan Phillipe, as the young cop, is "absolved" from his shooting the Detective's (Don Cheadle) brother by burning his car and disposing it in a neighborhood of color. He walks away and left to stew in his own guilt (the "white guilt" stance gets punished here as well). But in the end, because the Detective's brother has a jacket a mile long, nothing will probably happen to him.

(However, one cannot help but feel sorry for Phillipe's character because he is one of the "sensitive" whites in the film who tried to file a report on his ex-partner [Dillion]. But it seems that the more insensitive whites win in this film because they are hardened by the reality of the situation without calling attention to the privilege they receive. But in the end, Phillipe's character uses that same "invisible" privilege to get off of his crime of shooting the Detective's [Cheadle]brother.)

6)The white detective who shoots the Black detective, is let off because the LAPD cannot handle another "racially charged" case.

In fact, "good blacks" are made to suffer for the acts of the "bad blacks" in the film. It is as if the film is saying that "good blacks" can do all they can to stand the system as it is, but when they finally get angry about it, then they get a taste of being a "bad black" by being humiliated, ignored and almost infatalized by their stances.

With all that being said, I honestly think that Jensen and Wosnitz is correct in saying that the film does not force people to look at the "systemic" levels of racism that stems from privilege. As a result, the motion picture buries the problem and lays the blame elsewhere while giving white movie goers a feeling of "not having guilt" and "not being able to question their own stance on race".

As controversial as this interpretation might be, Crash is still a very good film to see. It just doesn't deal with race-relations and racism as it is. It doesn't deal with the history, politics or societial notions of where racism stems from. It pretty much leaves one as clueless from the beginning to the end of the film. In fact, it doesn't pose any questions of worth at all except those that remain ignored and unasked.

I still think that the film is important to view in terms of race, but it is a movie that invites discussion because it does subtly hide the more insidious aspects in its display of various characters especially when it has to do with everyday situations that obviously the dominant culture "doesn't see" and "easily miss". And that is very troubling to me. There's things attributed to cultural experience that people of color can see with the film. But for the white movie goers, the same scene can pass by and feel that they've learned nothing, except to throw that guilt away and feel happy that it isn't "their type of racism" anymore.

This reflects the type of "racism" that can be easily depicted by "crosses burning on lawns" as well as the tagging of the Persian owner's store. Not to mention, when one race is being described, a portion of the dominant culture can write that off as being "racist" because it "introduces division".

But the problem here is that Jensen and Wosnitz bring up the types of racism that a lot of people here and elsewhere cannot detect and often write off as being "delusional", "full of lies" and "fantasy".


[edit on 26-9-2006 by ceci2006]




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