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

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posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 10:14 PM
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A couple of things caught my eye when reading your response:


Originally quoted by Benevolent Heretic
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.


Actually, no you won't be. In fact, I encourage you to bring up whatever experiences you have toward this subject. It's one thing that I've been wanting people to do.


I won’t be accused of being ‘uncomfortable’ talking about racism, simply because I bring up a related aspect of white culture.


No, you wouldn't. In this stance, you'd be speaking about your own experiences related to the beauty aesthetic in the view of one White woman. Duzey brought up her point of view, as a White woman. Why would you think that your voice wouldn't count as well? I brought up my point of view as a Black woman. karby brought her point of view as a Black woman.

Our experiences are brought up individually. But we're not spokespeople for an entire race. Nor should we be. However, that part gets mistaken all the time. I think that people get caught up on "grouping people" together. And that's what HH was discussing in her previous posts when she made her request.

What you also forget is it isn't you that is the focal point here. It is the experience and the knowledge that is needed from everyone. When people bring their different experiences to the plate, we are contributing our own piece to the fuller picture of what the "beauty aesthetic" does to us by race and gender.

We aren't bringing up our views simply to attack another race. We are talking about how we view these matters in our own perception. No one is getting attacked here. But it is easy to assume so because people "miscontrue" exactly what we're trying to say.

It is like the times you accuse me of "misconstruing" your words.

It is all right to share your point of view. However, this is a discussion. Other people are also allowed to bring their views to the table. Sometimes, the views of others contradict your point of view. Unfortunately, when those views do not gel together, it is easy to think that you (as a person) are getting attacked. But, I think that all experiences can be allowed to be questioned and discussed as long as they don't get ignored and written off as "fantasy".


After all, that is my race so naturally I would be more knowledgeable about it and more able to speak to it.


You would be. But as you brought up your perception of how Black people should feel in terms of their own beauty and hair, it should be just as fine for someone else to bring up their perceptions about white women as well.

And that is the problem. There is a double standard here.

Some people feel it is perfectly fine that their point of view gets aired, but at the same time they denigrate others for sharing their point of view to the point of accusing them harshly. It's great that you are patient, kind and insightful. But, you've got to accept that same amount of freedom for everyone to contribute how they see the beauty aesthetic. Not everyone does. In fact, those who do get angry most blatantly ignore the most essential parts of what is being said. Or else, they misunderstand what is being said and write it off as something more than what it is.

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. But someone can't ignore the times when the cigar lazily burns a hole in the curtain and causes a small fire. If they do, an inferno is on their hands.

I agree with what you had to say, but I think that you are missing the point that women of color have double prejudices to fight against. Sure, it is easy to go natural. But, when you have to deal with others who aren't as enlightened as yourself in society, one has to grapple with their close-minded attitudes pertaining to gender and race. That's when the "beauty aesthetic" goes awry and is not as simple as you make it out to be.

It doesn't have anything do with blame. It does have something to do with pointing out how things are. That doesn't even cover the things that people of color have to go through on a daily basis. If people of color had to name all the things we have gone through, it'll stretch more than a hundred-page thread. And if you get outraged at the things mentioned by myself and others of color on this thread, imagine how you'll be if that thread ever sees the light of day with full participation.

And these perceptions are not only made because of region, race and class; they are also made in terms of the generation. That also paints our point of view especially when it has to do with the subject matter.

That is all I was trying to say. Besides that, feel free to contribute your point of view. It would be nice to read what you have to say.


[edit on 26-9-2006 by ceci2006]




posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 11:12 PM
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Since we're trying to figure out how to reach the middle ground here, I thought it was time to pull out something from the way-back machine.

The perception in terms of diversity can be addressed by discussing Jane Elliot's test regarding treatment in society: shot as documentary, she separated people in terms of "brown eyes" and "blue eyes" (years back at time when Oprah didn't sell out, she did such a test on her show). I decided to bring up some information for people to read about this phenomenal test in regards of opening people's eyes on the issue of race-relations and racism.

It might even explain why things get misunderstood from time to time:



BLUE EYED:
A Guide to Use in Organizations


Jane Elliott, a pioneer in racism awareness training, was first inspired to action by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. As a third grade teacher in an all-white, all-Christian community, she struggled for ways to help her students understand racism and discrimination. She adopted the "Blue-Eyed/brown eyed" exercise, (in which participants are treated as inferior or superior based solely on the color of their eyes) as a result of reading about the techniques the Nazis used on those they designated undesirable during what is now called the Holocaust.

The purpose of the exercise is to give white people an opportunity to find out how it feels to be something other than white. The exercise gained national attention when it was featured on the Johnny Carson Show in 1968 and again when it aired on the ABC News show, Now, in a segment called Eye of the Storm. After 16 years of teaching, Jane Elliott began to offer her training to scores of corporations, government agencies, colleges and community groups. Millions of people have been exposed to her powerful message through her appearances on Today, The Tonight Show, Donahue, Oprah Winfrey and PBS' Frontline series in a program entitled A Class Divided.



This is the synopsis of the film, which should be seen if it ever comes on television again. Ms. Elliot's approach to teaching what discrimination is like is very thought-provoking:




Blue Eyed lets viewers participate vicariously in the "Blue-Eyed/brown eyed" exercise. In the video, we see adults from Kansas City, Missouri, who were invited by a local organization, "Harmony," to take part in a workshop about appreciating diversity. We watch as the group is divided according to eye color. Since the blue-eyed people are "on the bottom" they are crowded into a small, hot room without enough chairs and watched by strict security. Jane Elliott leaves them for a long while without any information while she prepares the brown-eyed people to be "on the top." The brown-eyed people are given answers to test questions and instructed to demean the blue-eyed people. When the blue-eyed people are brought into the room, some are required to sit at the feet of the brown-eyed people as Jane Elliott treats them according to negative traits that are commonly assigned to people of color, women, lesbians and gay men, people with disabilities, and other non-dominant members of society.

Jane Elliott is unrelenting in her ridicule and humiliation of the blue-eyed people. When participants express sadness, shame, or tears, she drills in the point that participants only have to live this reality during the workshop, while people of color receive this treatment for a lifetime. Despite the fact that the group is participating voluntarily and, to some extent, knows what to expect, it seems clear that the exercise is painful. The blue-eyed participants experience humiliation and powerlessness. The participants of color watch as white people learn what they already know to be true. Later in the film, people of color talk about the stress of being denied housing, job opportunities, and dignity as parents.

Interspersed between clips of the exercise we see Jane Elliott in her home and on the streets of her community describing the origins and consequences of the exercise. She describes, with great emotion, how her family has been harassed and ostracized as a result of her efforts to educate white people about racism.


After seeing it done on Oprah's show, I was pretty amazed at the outcome. The people in her audience were pretty shocked at the way they were treated. And the discussion afterward was quite moving because Ms. Elliot's exercise hit the point home how subtle and insiduous discrimination is.

This is something that can be thrown into our present discussions. But, I wanted people to read of something that was done to teach people about how systemic racism occurs in society.

Update: I found the films that documented the Blue-Eyed/Brown-Eyed Test!

You can watch the entire thing conducted by Jane Elliot here on A Class Divided. Especially watch the first ten minutes of the program. That still is an eye-opening experience for myself. However, seeing the entire thing is mind-blowing for a lot of people.

If you are having trouble with seeing the program, please read the transcript in its entirety.



[edit on 27-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 26 2006 @ 11:20 PM
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There are two questions connected with the "Blue-Eyed" test by Jane Elliot that I would like you all to pay special attention to. They deal with the reactions of her test and how it might be perceived. Ask yourself these questions and see if you would feel differently if you had to take such a test.



6.1 White viewers may say, "Nothing like that happens in my organization or community. People don't use the outdated term 'boy' with black men. There is no group of people who are told to sit on the floor."


How do you know? Is it possible that many white people underestimate the extent to which discrimination is alive because they are not the targets of racist actions? [Help viewers see that, as Jane Elliott says, "We live in different worlds - one black, one white."]

The exercise exaggerated certain insults to make a point, like having blue-eyed people sit on the floor. This may not happen, but what does? [Get viewers to name relevant examples instead of trying to convince them that racism happens.]

What if it did happen? What would you say or do? How would you feel? If it did happen, what would it mean about you? What would it mean about the organization? [This question cuts through the defensiveness and denial underlying the statement that "nothing like that happens here."]


These next questions are the ones I have in the back of my mind every time this phrase gets said:



6.2 White viewers may say "The color of one's eyes or skin is irrelevant to me. I treat everyone the same."

Do you think that all people want to be treated the same? Do you want to be treated like everyone else? Why do many white people think that the only way to be fair is to treat everyone the same? [This is an opportunity to validate that many white people were wrongly taught that to notice difference is offensive.]

What happens to people with unique needs in a system that treats everyone the same? [This line of questioning is an opportunity to tap viewers' own experiences interacting with inflexible systems. This may help them to understand better the experiences of others.]

What is a respectful way to acknowledge and respond to people's differences? [If the group is of multiracial or multicultural, and if the people of color choose to participate, this line of questioning can lead to a frank discussion of new group norms that are acceptable to everybody.]



These questions are very thought-provoking because they get to heart of what we've been talking about.




[edit on 26-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 02:15 AM
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There are some readings connected to Ms. Elliot's use of the "Brown-eyed/Blue-Eyed" Test. I thought the most interesting one is a speech that she gave a few years ago at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke about racism. In it, she speaks about her views regarding why she has worked on race-relations since 1968. I think that her words have something for all of us to learn:


Jane Elliott Attacks Racism in UNCP Address

"I am not here to be loved," Jane Elliott told a UNCP audience of 800 at Givens Performing Arts Center. "I am going to offend every one in this room." The former elementary school teacher and noted expert on racism discussed attitudes on racism, sexism, ageism and every form of discrimination during her speech October 9 as part of UNC Pembroke's Distinguished Speaker Series.

Microphone in hand, the small, white-haired grandmother proceeded to deliver an hour-long, blistering sermon against prejudice of all kinds. Elliott created the legendary "Brown Eyes/Blue Eyes" experiment that, she says, proves that racism is a learned behavior and not part of the human genetic code. The experiment taught children to discriminate against one another on the basis of eye color.

"We had one (brown-eyed) girl with a mind like a steel trap who never misspelled a word until we told her that brown eyes were bad," Elliot said, demonstrating the power of prejudice in shaping children's self-images.



[edit on 28-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 08:10 AM
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"We had one (brown-eyed) girl with a mind like a steel trap who never misspelled a word until we told her that brown eyes were bad," Elliot said, demonstrating the power of prejudice in shaping children's self-images.


Absolutely horrible. She should be thrown in jail for child abuse if she deliberately caused this child to suffer like that.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 10:07 AM
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You know, I've never been too comfortable with Ms. Elliott experimenting with these 3rd graders' self-esteem, either. I mean, I think it's a great lesson to learn, I've done it myself, as an adult but children are awfully impressionable at that age and I don't approve of experimenting with their self-esteem.

I'm uncomfortable because in my opinion, third graders aren't old enough to even make an informed decision whether or not they want to be involved in such an experiment. I support the thought behind the experiment 100% and think it's a wonderful way to 'put the shoe on the other foot', but not for kids.

When I was an adult, I took several adult-education classes over a period of years that put us through similar techniques to teach us life lessons, but we were adults and signed up for it. And as an adult, I learned the lessons well and have drawn on them all of my life. I'm very thankful for the mind-expanding exercises we did in this vein.

It's interesting that after having experienced the "inferior" position, when moved to the "superior position", they weren't as hard on the other kids. Lesson learned.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 01:57 PM
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HH sorry I didn't respond to you earlier but I've been working lots of overtime so haven't been online a whole bunch. I wish I could explain racial profiling but I'm in corrections not a street cop Semper would do a better job on that then I could.

I will share an experience with you from work. I was working as a hearings escort officer (on overtime) we took a white supremist out to take him to the hearing and for some stupid reason on his part he decided to covert by partner and I to his sick little cause; he was telling us that more blacks then white were in prison and that proved inferiorty; I looked him in the eye and said "Huh and yet here you are in prison and still screwing up." Shut him up. And no he didn't convince us my partner was Jewish and I've no time for that stupidity.

People have stupid notions the stats we had showed equal amounts in terms of race of inmates. We have massive gang problems and gangs come in all skin tones but they all have one thing in common. The common factor is hate; they all hate the other groups and that hate causes violence. By the way, as an aside one of the white gangs is called the Peckerwoods have you ever heard a more stupid name then that? Why would anybody want to admit to the world that they belonged to a group called the Peckerwoods?



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 02:05 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
It's interesting that after having experienced the "inferior" position, when moved to the "superior position", they weren't as hard on the other kids. Lesson learned.

Yes, but at what cost? It is obvious just from this thread that negative experiences stick with and affect people for a lifetime. Some more than others.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 03:37 PM
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This is what Jane Elliot says in response to her critics of her project. This comes from the transcript of "A Class Divided", which I still do highly recommend everyone to see in its entirety on Frontline (links are above). I think that there would be a different opinion of her work if one witnessed actually what went on. Otherwise, misconceptions will continue about what she was doing:


JANE ELLIOTT: I think the necessity for this exercise is a crime. No, I don't want to see it used more widely, I want to see it--the necessity for it wiped out. And I think if educators were determined that we could be very instrumental in wiping out the necessity for this exercise. But I want to see something used. I'd like to see this exercise used with all teachers. All administrators. But certainly not with all students unless, unless it's done by people who are doing it for the right reasons and in the right way. I think you could damage a child with this exercise very very easily and I would never suggest that everybody should use it. I think you could have training classes for teachers, bring them in, put them through the thing, explain what happened, do the de-briefing and then practice doing this until teachers, until a group of teachers were able to do it on their own. And I--teachers are not disabled learners, they could learn to do this obviously. If I can do it most anyone can do it. It doesn't take a super teacher to do this exercise.


[edit on 28-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 04:18 PM
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Originally posted by gallopinghordes
By the way, as an aside one of the white gangs is called the Peckerwoods have you ever heard a more stupid name then that? Why would anybody want to admit to the world that they belonged to a group called the Peckerwoods?

Maybe because the suffix "-heads" was already taken?



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 04:43 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Yes, but at what cost? It is obvious just from this thread that negative experiences stick with and affect people for a lifetime. Some more than others.


Yeah, that's why I think these 'exercises' should be performed on adults on a voluntary basis and not on children in a captive environment. The lesson is just as powerful and life-long. In fact, I think it may be more impactful as an adult. It's easy to write off, forget or minimize experiences had as a child but as an adult, the impact is more real, has more weight and the emotions are easier to recall. Just my opinion.

I want to stress that I think something like this is needed and that's the sad part. I would like to see parents taking an active roll in teaching their children about discrimination of all kinds. And kids who wear glasses or are fat or short or 'different' all suffer discrimination of one kind or another in school.

Compassion is sorely lacking and since you can't make people feel compassion, it would be nice if parents taught about it more. I know my mother did. She actively TAUGHT me to feel compassion for other people.



posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 11:56 PM
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Ceci, I haven't watched the film yet, but I'm planning to. Based on what you posted, the concept seems like a good one. I think it may be bit much for a third-grader, though. Highschool might be a better time for such an exercise.

I'll say more when I've had a chance to review the film.

gallopinghordes, it's ok that you didn't get right back to me. riley has taught me patience.


And, your story cracked me up. That 'Peckerwoods' thing is peculiar...

To take your advice: Semper, if you are out there, would you mind gracing us with your presence for a moment? I would like your educated opinion on a speech I posted a few pages back. Here's a link: Drug Busts=Jim Crow

The guy who made the speech, Ira Glasser, retired Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, President of the Board of the Drug Policy Alliance, presents a lot of facts that sound about right, but I wouldn't know. Do you think his thesis is backed with enough facts to merit consideration?



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 12:02 AM
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I will gladly review it, but I got nothing on your link HH.

Semper



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 12:14 AM
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I found it..

I'll have an opinion in a few.

Semper



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 12:16 AM
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All I can say is that the positive experience of the lesson could also stick to the third graders for a lifetime. In fact, if the film was watched, the "third-graders" as adults speak about their experience of participating in the "Blue-Eyed/Brown-Eyed" test.


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

HH,

I also had mixed feelings of such an experiment when I heard about it. But, I watched the film and it made an impression on me because the adults were no better than the kids when adopting the "racist thinking" that was engaged during the project. I will wait to see what you think about it. I think there is more to be said about the "Brown-Eyed/Blue-Eyed" test to add to the plethora of thinking so far.



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 12:41 AM
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HH

Although this thread lost any validity before, your article is compelling and I appreciate the kind way you asked for my opinion, so here goes.

It is an good article. Not great, good.

First let me say that I am the foremost Law Enforcement Officer SCREAMING at the top of my lungs that we have lost the "drug war" and the money needs to go into rehab. programs and education. It has become ridiculous to the sublime.

Second, his figures are somewhat skewed, however everyone that writes a paper does that.
Here are some pretty accurate figures that actually show a similar trend to what he is saying.

Minorities and Drugs
Stats
Have to do some clicking to get up to date, but its there.

Overall I agree with what he is saying, to an extent. I have personally witnessed the racism he speaks of, having worked for years in uniformed narcotics. So yes, it is there.

One thing that he did though that may cause some to discredit his article, is lumping minorities into the "Black" category.

i.e.

it was revealed that although only 17 percent of drivers on a stretch of I-95 in Maryland were black, 73 percent of all the cars stopped and searched for drugs were driven by blacks.leftindependent.blogspot.com...


The correct numbers are 73 percent minority. The racial profiling that was taught, (Yes I was also in the classes) was actually directed largely at Hispanics. Thought to be responsible for moving large quantities of Cocaine, one good "stop" was a ticket to promotion. He did this to emphasis his point, yet he should have stayed within facts that can be verified.

It is still wrong, yes in any form. And completely unnecessary as I was able to demonstrate by leading my department in drug arrests for several years making completely random stops.

It is my opinion, (Opinion mind you) that compiling numbers like this in an effort to support your contention does little to give one confidence in the entire premise.
However, if read carefully, he makes good points and presents a valid argument.


Make no mistake about it, racism is alive and well at your neighborhood police department. But there is hope, there are those of us that combat it at every turn. No I am not some crusader, I just believe in what I do and what I am supposed to do is work for all of you, no matter what color. Racism and other issues are tearing away at the foundation of what I have spent my life in service too, and I will never give in to it.

Semper



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 01:16 AM
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Semper,

This thread didn't lose validity. But your research on this thread did. If that's what you meant, then I agree with you.

But the entire thread has been very insightful and good. And again, it takes people to make it viable. I thank you for answering HH's question and trying to push it more towards this end. But, for the sake of letting it be a clean discussion, I would if I were you focus on making it better instead of complaining about what it is not.

And I try to make it a clean discussion every time I don't have to answer remarks like yours throughout the thread.

I'm sorry I had to say this, but I don't appreciate the fact that this thread is any less important because it serves to offer different opinions other than yours.



[edit on 29-9-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 01:22 AM
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And again you start the bickering.

Shame, all I was doing was answering the request of a polite poster. Not you.

Your interjection was rude to say the least. I posted because of HH, it was you that caused most of us to stop posting here, not her. She deserves my respect and I will answer her anytime she asks me a question.

Semper



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 01:29 AM
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It wasn't rude. It was pointing out what you said. I'm not starting the bickering. I'm just asking you to pay the thread a little more respect.

Where is the harm in that?



posted on Sep, 29 2006 @ 07:37 PM
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I was directed to this thread, now, by several other members.


It will take me awhile to read it all, but even just based on this one page, I know there must be some good stuff here.


Unfortunately, ceci, it appears your approach is as caustic here as in the other thread we are currently posting together on.

:shk:

How unfortunate.



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