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

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posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 10:29 AM
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BH,

I am sorry that you feel that way. I honestly did not know that we were in a struggle together. In fact, I truly didn't even think of it that way. But since you are the paragon of tolerance and people think of you as such, I will defer to you. After all, you have taught me to be more laissez faire in my threads. And you have also brought forth that I am perhaps short-sighted in my views and that you presume to know more about fighting racism than not only me, but out of all of us.

You are the voice of wisdom. And with the respect that I afford you, it is your turn to teach us the right way to be tolerant and kind to each other. You have the floor. I will sit back and read how you answer these perplexing problems. I'll contribute now and then, but for the most part your wisdom will lead us toward better enlightenment about the issue at hand.

I will try to listen to everyone else a lot better. I will be a better participant and will make an effort to work with all of you to get to the bottom of this issue.

There will be no u2u to make things better. I won't try to apologize again since you find that so unappealing. I won't even beg for forgiveness since you don't like it.

But, I will tell you a few things. I don't have a chip on my shoulder. I am really neutral about race. And truly, I'm not hateful of anyone. I am not resentful. I am not asking for a handout. I've done my best to contribute to this thread the way I know how. And I am sorry that it is to the utter dislike of everyone, but it is my opinion. I am sorry it disturbs you and the others so.

But I've seen the light in this entire affair. And I think that we need to be a little bit more understanding of each other. With that, you can lecture all of us on how you fight racism.

Thank you for pointing out my faults. Majic and you are right. I will try to change.

But one thing I will not do is cease from expressing my opinion because I feel that it is just as important as yours. And since we are trying to be equals here, it is offensive and uncalled for to put my ideas on trial. This is a topic that we all can contribute to.








[edit on 13-8-2006 by ceci2006]




posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by donwhite
So why do I think whites owe blacks? I dunno.


Isn't it called white guilt? I'm not a proponent. I don't think men should 'pay' for the oppression of women either. I think we should move to equal ground regardless of the sins of the past. I don't male-bash and I call people out when I see them doing it.



Is there such a thing as a collective guilt?


Oh, yes, there is such a thing. It's what you are feeling, from what I can tell. And that's ok, really. It's fine. It's just not for me. If you think it will do some good, then how can I fault you? I just think it adds to the pot of negativity. I just choose not to participate.



In the 1950s, while at Keesler AFB,


Hey! I was at Keesler, too!
In the early 70s, though, not the 50s.



Does anyone owe anyone for the humiliation suffered each and every day they rode to and from work on public transportation?


In my mind, the only people who could possibly owe THOSE black people who actually experienced that humiliation would be the people who placed the signs and the people who made the laws that they were ok. Had I been around, I would have either sat in the back or ripped the sign down. Had I been there then I would have done everything I could to reduce the humiliation they experienced! I would have joined with them in their fight for equality. But I wasn't there.

I have never supported any organization or action that discriminated against human beings because of their color or for any other reason. OF WHAT AM I GUILTY?



So we just forget all that? Hey, then’s then, now’s now.


No. Not at all. I don't plan to forget that part of this country's history any more than any other. Please don't confuse my lack of willingness to somehow try to make up for how some people treated others back then with a lack of acknowledgement. I KNOW what happened and it's awful! It hurts my heart to hear of the way blacks were (and still are) treated.

Where the disconnect comes for me is where the color of my skin makes me responsible or somehow indebted to others simply because of the color of their skin. That's where I get lost. Some people (you apparently) think that my skin color means I owe something to someone of another skin color, even though they don't have to sit in the back of the bus or take home scraps of food. It's just a difference of opinion.

Despite what Ceci believes, I feel great compassion and sorrow for what happened then. I don't feel GUILTY for it. Because I didn't do it. For me to be responsible for what people, whose only commonality with me is that we share a skin color, have done in the past would be like me saying that black people should make some reparations for crime in this country. It's insane and racist in my book.

The very best thing I can do to further racial equality is to treat other people with respect, dignity and equality, based on WHO THEY ARE, not the color of their skin!

To pretend that I can somehow make up for the suffering that was done back then is ludicrous, not to mention terribly condescending!

Great discussion!



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 11:40 AM
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BH, I know you have great sorrow and compassion for what has happened in the past. However, you don't have to presume to think for me. That is very offensive. Unfortunately, you still have a habit of misconstruing my words.

I'm sorry that you do. I will try in the future to be more clear. I will especially repeat my points ad nauseum from now on so that you can understand them better.

Or until you suggest a better way for us to communicate on this highly important topic. On this, I will defer to you as well.






[edit on 13-8-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 12:22 PM
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It would be a better discussion if some of these puzzling statements were clarified, BH. For example, donwhite's statement that certain commercials are racial.

I'd like to know what makes them objectionable, but the explanations haven't come. How are people to understand if they don't receive explanations? I find this frustrating.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 12:32 PM
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Me, too, jsobecky. I'm still wondering about the Oreo commercial. I was thinking about it last night. Is any picture of a black person eating fried chicken racist? Can a black man eat a piece of watermelon without people losing thier minds?

How sensitive is society supposed to be to these stereotypes? Does one's intent carry any weight at all?

HH - If the black boy in the commercial had more lines than the white kid, would that be fair? Wouldn't that be overcompensating? What about the commercials where they're all black? Should everything be 50-50, even stephen? Do we really want to live in a society where we have to be so careful as to not hurt someone's feelings or step on someone's toes?

I heard an Asian comic last night and one of his lines was, "I know you're all wondering when I'm going to start singing 'She Bangs'" I thought that was hilarious. He was making fun of the fact that the US hasn't caught up on the idea of diversity. Yet. But there was no anger. He laughed at it.

So did I.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 03:26 PM
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It looks like I missed quite a bit, so I'm going to tackle the posts from last to first. BH, you're up first!



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
HH - If the black boy in the commercial had more lines than the white kid, would that be fair? Wouldn't that be overcompensating? What about the commercials where they're all black? Should everything be 50-50, even stephen?

I understand what you're saying here. In my post about the commercial, I believe I said, "once, just once, I'd like to see it done differently," although I didn't go back to check. The point isn't statistics, or percentages, or quotas. There was a time in this country when blacks were almost never chosen to be in commercials, and, from what I understand, all that changed when blacks made a big deal out of it, arguing that if these corporations wanted our money, they should make us feel welcome. Well, making us feel welcome is not sticking us in the commercial, but waaay in the back.

So, to reiterate, I don't think advertisers, or whoever does commercials, should keep a 'racial tally,' just use the actors chosen in a meaningful way. For example, in my original example, I don't think the black actor was needed. He didn't say anything. He didn't really interact with the principal. He came off as a 'token,' which is really what offended me.

Did that make sense?



I heard an Asian comic last night and one of his lines was, "I know you're all wondering when I'm going to start singing 'She Bangs'" I thought that was hilarious. He was making fun of the fact that the US hasn't caught up on the idea of diversity. Yet. But there was no anger. He laughed at it.

I'm only giving my hypothesis because you asked. I would not have volunteered this, because I know very little about the Asian struggle, here in this country. I had a few Indian friends, but I'm no expert.

So, it seems like you're asking, why blacks take it so seriously? Well, for one, we don't have any identifiable home country. We have a continent, which isn't at all specific enough to be of any help. So, this here country is all we've got. Thanks to media representations, people all over the world think I'm a thief, or a hooker, or a drug dealer, on sight. When I get fed up with how I'm treated here, I don't have any place to go where I'll be greeted with open arms.

Also, Asians are considered the 'model minority,' so there's no negative stigma attached to being Asian that I know of. If the worst stereotype of my people that I could come up with was bad singing, I'd be delighted. I would also take it as lightly as it seems he did.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 03:27 PM
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double post

[edit on 13-8-2006 by HarlemHottie]



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 03:42 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite
Slavery. America’s albatross. The sin “we” have not atoned for. The tragedy that afflicts America today. And yesterday. And will tomorrow.

So why do I think whites owe blacks? I dunno. Do today’s Germans owe the forced laborers of WW2? Do the Japanese owe the captured Americans for their forced labor? Do the Swiss bankers owe the descendants of Jews who deposited their money before going off to Auschwitz? Do Americans owe the survivors of the Tuskegee experiment? 390 black men experimented on for 40 years. 1932 to 1972. Why did we - collectively - hold black men in such low regard in 1932? You know without me having to remind you, we would never have done that to Harvard Medical School graduates. Is there such a thing as a collective guilt?


donwhite, I think I love you.


You read my mind, and put it much more eloquently than I ever could have.

You're an extraordinarily thoughtful man, and I thank you for participating in this thread.



And, btw, I do think there is such a thing as collective guilt. Although all Germans weren't neccesarily SS, Germany, as a whole, had to pay reparations.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 04:09 PM
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Robert Jensen speaks again about how white people face their task of combating racism. He examines this through a list of fears. Most notably, I would like to highlight three. I will note again that Mr. Jensen is white:


Excerpt: 'The Heart of Whiteness'

A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have -- literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable. That fear is not completely irrational; if white privilege -- along with the other kinds of privilege many of us have living in the middle class and above in an imperialist country that dominates much of the rest of the world -- were to evaporate, the distribution of resources in the United States and in the world would change, and that would be a good thing. We would have less. That redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just. But in a world in which people have become used to affluence and material comfort, that possibility can be scary.

A third fear involves a slightly different scenario -- a world in which non-white people might someday gain the kind of power over whites that whites have long monopolized. One hears this constantly in the conversation about immigration, the lingering fear that somehow "they" (meaning not just Mexican-Americans and Latinos more generally, but any non-white immigrants) are going to keep moving to this country and at some point become the majority demographically. Even though whites likely can maintain a disproportionate share of wealth, those numbers will eventually translate into political, economic, and cultural power. And then what? Many whites fear that the result won't be a system that is more just, but a system in which white people become the minority and could be treated as whites have long treated non-whites. This is perhaps the deepest fear that lives in the heart of whiteness. It is not really a fear of non-white people. It's a fear of the depravity that lives in our own hearts: Are non-white people capable of doing to us the barbaric things we have done to them?

A final fear has probably always haunted white people but has become more powerful since the society has formally rejected overt racism: The fear of being seen, and seen-through, by non-white people. Virtually every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds and hearts and bodies. In our heads, we can pretend to eliminate it, but most of us know it is there. And because we are all supposed to be appropriately anti-racist, we carry that lingering racism with a new kind of fear: What if non-white people look at us and can see it? What if they can see through us? What if they can look past our anti-racist vocabulary and sense that we still don't really know how to treat them as equals? What if they know about us what we don't dare know about ourselves? What if they can see what we can't even voice?


Usavior, who is black, answers a book review about race-relations in the Greenwich Village Gazette. Mr. Usavior's concluding words are powerful and worth thinking about:



Aesthetic Unrealistic
Answer to Racism


The truth is that it is Black people who have the answer to racism because only Black people will be able to hold white people accountable in the way that they need to be held accountable—in ways that they can see and touch and feel. Only Black people can define what they are owed and convey the suffering they’ve had at white hands. It is arrogant for white people, such as the ones authoring this book, to even suggest that they have any such answers. What they are saying is merely that somehow a wrong was done, not necessarily that they are accountable, but that they will define racism, define the victim’s experience of racism, and define and dictate the ways in which it ought to be dealt with. The only thing that white people must do is renounce all the things that allow for their privilege. They must stop saying the things that perpetuate an imbalanced society; they must stop assuming that poor colored folk need to be enlightened by them and rescued by them. They must stop subjugating, objectifying, rationalizing, brutalizing and oversimplifying.

Our value as human beings lies in what we can do to help the next man, what we can do with our two hands—not only our lips or our pen—to make the world better.

Only then will racism truly end.


Robert Jefferies, who is Black, expresses his views about race-relations. His comments were written as a joint piece on Black-White Relations:



Black on White
In my life I have met very few white people who fit the old stereotype of race haters. Most white people I've met have been decent, respectful, and sincere. But my anger towards them is on most occasions without compromise. What do I want from them?

I want them to do what any decent human being would do when confronted by a tragic situation: I want them to jump in and try to make it better. Instead, they usually respond with defensive expressions of regret, prefaced by abdication of any personal responsibility. Sometimes they blame those who live in the squalor for its existence.

It is their indifference to my things, the horrors of my life, that angers me. For unlike my white brothers and sisters, I am forced to care about the things of their lives. Just to survive, I must care about their fashions, their political processes, the threats to their survival. I must care about the threat of communism, or the threat posed by Iraq. I must care about their industrial pollution of the planet. I must work in their companies and care about their government, their police, their clean streets. I must care about their children on drugs, and about protecting their banks � the ones that won�t give me a loan. I must care about their mass murderers that kill only their kind, while they ignore the murderous effects of drugs and ignorance on my people.

I must care about their things. I must also be prepared to intelligently discuss them and even to offer solutions for them or be deemed ignorant, regardless of my educational qualifications.


These are just for everyone's information and also to initiate further discussion.




[edit on 13-8-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 04:21 PM
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posted by HarlemHottie

donwhite, I think I love you. You read my mind, You're a thoughtful man and I thank you for participating in this thread. And, btw, I do think there is such a thing as collective guilt. Although all Germans weren't necessarily SS, Germany, as a whole, had to pay reparations.


Thanks, HH. I've only been to NYC once and that was a quick stop. Flew in Saturday AM, stayed over at the Waldorf, went to a show, ate late supper at Sardi's across the street, then tripped through Central Park the next day, back to Idlewylde Sunday PM to be at work Monday AM. I missed Harlem and maybe seeing you?! Uh, that was in the late 1980s. Anyway, it seems my mission is raising white consciousness. It’s proving to be one tough task.

Yes, HH, if the general population benefits from the sacrifice of a few, then why does not the general population acknowledge that and make an appropriate (and proportional) gesture?

All the more so when the sacrifices of the few are made distinctly against their will! Under force and compulsion and the very real threat of mutalation, beating or death. How is that so easy to forget or overlook? I once thought we were all in this “boat” together, but it seems some want to stand in the bow and let others do the rowing?



[edit on 8/13/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 04:36 PM
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I second HH's praise of you, donwhite. Your eloquent posts are a demonstration of what we all ought to be considering when discussing race relations. Your words show the depth of true wisdom, candor and intelligence that should be contributed towards understanding one another.

I thank you very, very much. Please continue to participate in this thread. Continue to act as a true voice of reason in teaching us tolerance and dignity when dealing with this complex subject matter.





[edit on 13-8-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 04:50 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite
Yes, HH, if the general population benefits from the sacrifice of a few, then why does not the general population acknowledge that and make an appropriate (and proportional) gesture?


I think if the general population benefits from the sacrifice of a few, they DO owe those few at the very least a gesture of appreciation. The first thing that comes to mind is the military. I appreciate (and will express such) anyone who has ever served in the military. They have served and fought to make my country what it is today.

I don't however feel a debt is owed to the grandson of a military vet. That's where the disconnect is happening between what you believe and what I believe. Now, I might express appreciation to him for what his grandfather did for this country, but the grandson didn't serve his country and I don't think I owe him anything. He didn't make the choice to go fight for his country. He didn't make the sacrifice. For all I know he may be a criminal. He may not deserve my appreciation at all, but his grandfather did. He is not his grandfather.

I really wish someone (DW, HH?) would address this. If white people 'owe' something to black people, don't men owe something to women? If the color of my skin makes me indebted to black people, by the same token, doesn't the fact that every man has a penis make him indebted to every woman for the injustices her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother faced at the hands of oppressive men???

And donwhite, are you just not going to answer the Oreo question? If you care for me to understand where you're coming from, please explain. If you don't care, then I guess I'll go on never quite understanding.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 06:04 PM
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Interesting Questions to Ask When Considering Race-Relations

Robert Jensen speaks again about how white people face their task of combating racism.



Excerpt: 'The Heart of Whiteness'

A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have -- literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable. That fear is not completely irrational; if white privilege -- along with the other kinds of privilege many of us have living in the middle class and above in an imperialist country that dominates much of the rest of the world -- were to evaporate, the distribution of resources in the United States and in the world would change, and that would be a good thing. We would have less. That redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just. But in a world in which people have become used to affluence and material comfort, that possibility can be scary.


I can see the reason for Mr. Jensen's attitude. It appears that he is for the arbitrary "redistribution of wealth", i.e., communism, and thus against capitalistic principles. His ideas would never play in the US.


Virtually every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds and hearts and bodies.


He does not acknowledge that the same thing can be said about non-whites. This attitude promotes the notion that whites can never understand the plight of people of color.


Usavior, who is black, answers a book review about race-relations in the Greenwich Village Gazette. Mr. Usavior's concluding words are powerful and worth thinking about:






Aesthetic Unrealistic
Answer to Racism

The truth is that it is Black people who have the answer to racism because only Black people will be able to hold white people accountable in the way that they need to be held accountable—in ways that they can see and touch and feel. Only Black people can define what they are owed and convey the suffering they’ve had at white hands. It is arrogant for white people, such as the ones authoring this book, to even suggest that they have any such answers.


Once again, an attitude of "only blacks can possibly know what racism is, and what reparations are due us".


Robert Jefferies, who is Black, expresses his views about race-relations. His comments were written as a joint piece on Black-White Relations:





Black on White


It is their indifference to my things, the horrors of my life, that angers me. For unlike my white brothers and sisters, I am forced to care about the things of their lives. Just to survive, I must care about their fashions, their political processes, the threats to their survival. I must care about the threat of communism, or the threat posed by Iraq. I must care about their industrial pollution of the planet. I must work in their companies and care about their government, their police, their clean streets. I must care about their children on drugs, and about protecting their banks � the ones that won�t give me a loan. I must care about their mass murderers that kill only their kind, while they ignore the murderous effects of drugs and ignorance on my people.




"Their things"? I thought we were one country, one nation. I would be curious as to what are "his things", and if I am obligated to care about them, even though reciprocity is objectionable to him.


I must care about their things. I must also be prepared to intelligently discuss them and even to offer solutions for them or be deemed ignorant, regardless of my educational qualifications.

Statements like these are emotional platitudes, with no basis in fact or logic. Their purpose is to foment a sense of "them vs us". They should be rejected out of hand.

[edit on 13-8-2006 by jsobecky]



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 06:07 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I really wish someone (DW, HH?) would address this. If white people 'owe' something to black people, don't men owe something to women? If the color of my skin makes me indebted to black people, by the same token, doesn't the fact that every man has a penis make him indebted to every woman for the injustices her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother faced at the hands of oppressive men???


You're absolutely right, about men anyway. Much like a lot of white Americans, many men of all colors accept their privilege without even thinking about it. I made a point to enlighten my (black and male) boyfriend on the sneakier aspects of sexual discrimination. It would have been difficult, except that he and I had the opportunity to work for the same company, so we could talk over stuff at the end of the day.

However, I have to disagree with your initial assumption, that racism only happened to my grandparents. In fact, I'm working hard not to be a little offended by what I see as a negation of my own experiences of the last quarter century. I know you don't mean to offend me, though, so I'll just try to answer.

Like I said to WestPoint, who never answered me, btw, racism and oppression have not stopped. They may have slowed down, or become more subtle, but they have definately not stopped. For example, right now, young black men in my age group, one of whom could be my brother, or my future husband, are almost completely disenfranchised from the job market, even the well-educated ones. That translates into the prison statistics we know so well. According to the dominant society, as reflected in the MSM, black men either don't take care of their families, or are born-criminals. Neither could be less true. When any man is unable to provide for his family through legal means, he goes crazy- the depression, the emasculation, etc. And that's the black man you see on the nightly news. Honestly, I've asked, and the guys I know with records would much rather have steady, legal jobs, where they won't be arrested. As it is, they may find a seasonal job, or something else short-term, but they have to pay rent and eat year-round. Often, a single man with no dependents doesn't qualify for any governmental aid, and having a criminal record can't make that any easier.

Unfortunately, our government has decided, in its infinite wisdom, not to address the root of the problem, which has to be "re-discovered" by every generation's social scientists. Instead, they expand the prison industrial complex, thereby creating jobs for another, different group of people. Not that I begrudge anyone their chance at the American dream, but if our economy doesn't work for such a large segment of the population, you would think they would figure something out a little more equitable.

So, that's one example of present-day oppression.

ps, You wrote me a long post a few pages back, and I didn't forget. I was getting ready to reply when I saw this other question.

[edit on 13-8-2006 by HarlemHottie]



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
I can see the reason for Mr. Jensen's attitude. It appears that he is for the arbitrary "redistribution of wealth", i.e., communism, and thus against capitalistic principles. His ideas would never play in the US.

I don't think he meant an official, governmental redistribution of wealth. I believe he was referring to the natural redistribution that would take place once opportunity, and pay(!), was equal across the board.



This attitude promotes the notion that whites can never understand the plight of people of color.

And do you honestly think that you could? Although I know lots of white people, some very well, I don't think I could truly understand how it feels to be white in America. I can imagine that it would be exhilarating, empowering, and, mostly, pretty sweet, but I can't know for sure, and it's likely that I'm wrong.



I would be curious as to what are "his things", and if I am obligated to care about them, even though reciprocity is objectionable to him.

He actually explained what he meant in the paragraph that you quoted.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 06:27 PM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
However, I have to disagree with your initial assumption, that racism only happened to my grandparents.


I am not making that assumption. How many times have I said that racism exists? I see it and speak out against it. I have never said nor indicated that racism is 'over'. No way. I know that's not true. In fact, I've said just the opposite many times.

Slavery is over. Racism, however, is still alive and unfortunately well. And I have never denied that.

Please don't ever think that I think that. I KNOW that most black people who live around white people deal with discrimination and racism most days.

My question, though is: Why do I, simply by the virtue of the color of my skin, even though I don't discriminate against people based on the color of their skin, owe something to the victims of racism?

Now, I'm happy to fight for racial equality, and I do. But not because I'm white! But because it's the right thing to do! But I don't want to be told that I'm beholden to a race of people because I'm white. Don't you understand that? I would think blacks of all people would understand that it's not right to group people together based on the color of their skin!

HH - I honestly hope you don't take offense at what I say because I'm really just trying to get to the bottom of this.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 06:43 PM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
I don't think I could truly understand how it feels to be white in America. I can imagine that it would be exhilarating, empowering, and, mostly, pretty sweet, but I can't know for sure, and it's likely that I'm wrong.


I don't think you're wrong. I think after what you have experienced as a black woman in the US, to wake up one morning white, you would see a very different situation and it would probably look pretty sweet to you. At least for a while, until you grew accustomed to it. Then everything else about life would settle in and I honestly doubt you'd be any happier than you are right now. You'd have a different set of problems and issues to deal with, but at first, yeah, it would be a rush.

And I bet it would hurt you just as badly as it hurts me when people called you racist, just because you didn't understand something. It would hurt you just as badly as it hurts me when a black person assumed you were racist just because you were white. You'd get tired of explaining to black people that just because you're white doesn't mean you think you're better. The words "white privileged" would sting just as badly.

Because although you might feel privileged for a week or a month or a year, it would wear off and you'd just be you again. And mean people would be mean to you for other reasons. Maybe you'd be fat or gay or deformed or a woman. Or maybe you'd be beautiful and people would think you were stupid or selfish or a bitch.

But it would just be your life and you'd deal with what life threw at you.

I don't think I could understand how it would be to be black in the US, either, unless I experienced it. I know it's enough just being associated with black people. I know how it is to be with black people and be watched in a store, not because I'm black, but because I hang around with black people. I know that feeling. And I can't imagine what it's like to feel it every day.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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Racist Relations


Originally posted by ceci2006
Robert Jefferies, who is Black, expresses his views about race-relations. His comments were written as a joint piece on Black-White Relations:

"Majic, your ancestors did some terrible things. Therefore, you must be punished. Even though you didn't exist then, and had no way in heaven or hell of doing anything about it, it's still your fault, and I condemn you and everyone like you to be confined within a prison of guilt forever."

"Be ashamed. Be very ashamed."

"Now, here's what you must do..."

If your father committed a crime, I wouldn't throw you in jail. So why must I be repeatedly convicted of a crime I didn't commit?

Because I'm white?


This Is Racism

I am all for discussing the issues, remembering (and hopefully *cough* learning something) from the past and not sweeping anything under the rug, but those who seek to punish anyone for the color of their skin are racists, plain and simple, and I will have nothing to do with such evil.

The solution to racism is not more racism.

Why am I so opposed to those who want me to feel guilty for being white?

Because I know they're wrong -- and hypocrites on top of that.

Racism Is Not The Answer

Of course I have no business saying anything about this because I'm white, right?

I'm not allowed the "privilege" of speaking candidly about Black Americans because I'm white, right?

Wrong.

I used to play along with "whitey guilt" and let myself feel guilty for years and years. And I felt hopeless because I thought there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. I can't change my race, after all.


I avoided the issue of racism because -- like anyone else would -- I didn't want to feel guilty.

One day I realized why it felt so wrong. Because it is wrong. Feeling guilty helps no one, and only perpetuates the misery we should have all overcome long ago.

Now I'll say what I damn please, and that's how I fight racism: with honesty.

So -- lucky you
-- here are some more of my honest (and copious) opinions, and my personal recommendations for Black Americans -- or anyone feeling oppressed.

Getting Over It

Blacks aren't the only minorities who suffer from withering discrimination and a system designed to imprison them, though it's clear to me that Blacks have been singled out for especially horrid abuse especially by those who claim to help them.

That's "The Structure". It exists, and it's not just maintained by "The Man", but by everyone who helps perpetuate the hateful myth that Blacks can't succeed in America.

"The Structure" can stand only as long as people give it power -- and it's not just whites who give it power, but everyone who throws up their hands, gives it supremacy over their hearts and bows down before it.

Many new immigrants to this country know all about ghettos (or barrios) and being discriminated against -- and not just by whites, by the way. Add to that not speaking the language and you have an entire population ("sub-class") ripe for -- and victimized by -- exploitation.

Immigrants who succeed in this country do so not by whining about how they're discriminated against, but by working their butts off -- as immigrants have since time immemorial. In fact, they usually have to work a lot harder than the "privileged class", but they do it anyway, because bitching about it won't make it go away.

Feeling oppressed? The first step to overcoming oppression is rejecting it.

The people who are telling you there's no hope are damn liars.

Don't play along with it. Don't buy into it. Don't allow those who truly want to oppress you to demoralize you.

That's how they control you.

Refuse to be oppressed.

The Oppressor Within

Throughout the so-called black community I see many advocates for anger and despair in the name of "justice", and very few who call for what truly needs to be done. That's because bad news sells better than good news -- and guess who controls the media?

If the goal is filling the morass between black and white, Black Americans need to do what all great Black Americans have done in the face of adversity: take action. And not action driven by fear, anger, self-pity and hatred, but action driven by courage, hope, strength and self-belief.

No, it's not easy. In fact, rising above discrimination and prejudice one of the hardest things anyone can do.

But no one can do it for you.

No one -- no matter what obstacles they face due to their race -- will ever succeed by pointing fingers. That solves nothing.

Want to overcome the prejudice you face? Do what all great Americans have done: do your best.

The power to succeed doesn't come from others, but from within you.

Insist on personal excellence. Refuse to be a victim. Take responsibility for your life and make the world in your image.

Success is the best revenge.






P.S. I'm thrilled that we can have this sort of discussion on PTS. It means a lot to me.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 07:22 PM
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BH, I'm going to respond to every single thing you said, because neither you nor Ceci should be so discouraged that you give up.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
HH, I honestly feel I have done my very best. And your request to do so had a lot to do with my continuing presence in this thread and my interaction with Ceci and her opinions and thoughts, because I respect you a great deal. I just feel we're at an impasse.

Thank you for staying this long. It looks like things got a little heated. You two must be very much alike, personality-wise, to clash so fiercely everytime you disagree. My take on it is this: agree to disagree, but stay with the fight. Ceci and I disagree on illegal immigration, and a few pages back, she asked me, a little tersely, to present my sources. I was taken aback by her tone, but I provided the sources. It occurred to me that she is, as she herself said, a hound when it comes to debates.



I'm sorrier than I can say to find that a sizeable portion of black people shares Ceci's opinions and thoughts. It only explains to me why racism is such a strong continuing force. I knew that a lot of white people contributed to racism - but I had no idea the extent to which black people also contribute to it until my participation in the race threads here on ATS.


I would re-phrase that last sentence. I think that black people REACT to racism, unless you meant the "white people do this" and "white people do that" thing. That, I think, is the result of black people being isolated from the mainstream. Most black people in my neighborhood come into contact with whites only very rarely, and when they do, those whites are in positions of authority.



I actually thought Ceci was an anomaly. But to hear that many people feel the same way she does is certainly disturbing to me. I find it very sad and disheartening that anger and resentment drive much of the communication between black and white people as regards race. I honestly thought we were farther than that.


You have to understand, when people are mistreated, they get angry. When those who mistreated you get off scot-free, you get resentful. Imagine if Germany never paid that reparation money. Israel would be figuring out how to bomb the hell out of them.

We can't possibly be "farther than that" if there was never any restitution. They didn't fix it then, but problems don't go away just because you want them to. What would you have us do? Let it all slide?



But I guess it can only be expected that some black people won’t be satisfied with moving toward a neutral ground or an equal stance.

That's not fair. It's not just some black people who resist that move toward equality.


A new slate, a fresh beginning sometime in the future isn’t good enough. They want something more. They want payback of SOME SORT. They want the pendulum to swing the other way, if only for a short time. They feel robbed and want to be reimbursed.

I only agree with the last sentence. If we wanted the pendulum to swing the other way, we wouldn't be asking for financial reimursement; we would want full ownership of you and all your issue.

And, no, a fresh slate sometime in the future isn't good enough. It's been 40 years since Civil Rights, and how many since the Emancipation Procamation? I mean, damn, how long do I have to wait to be totally American?

I'm being a little militant only because I want you to get the point. You hit it on the head. Black people are very, very angry. Angry at being used to build a whole country, only to be squeezed into its ghettoes. Angry that the people who have misused us for generations continue to get away with it. Angry that we are the modern "people without a land," but that no one even wants us to talk about why.



The pendulum is swinging down to its lowest point and sometime in the future, it could arrive there and be stopped by us all working together. But if there are large numbers who insist on continuing the movement and forcing it to the other side so they can feel compensated, then I’m afraid the momentum will only continue to grow and swing back harder the other way when the time comes.


I can see what you're saying, but, there are lots of black people who would pay to see it swing the other way, for even a minute, just as proof that whichever god we pray to has not forsaken us. That's really how it feels. Like we've been forsaken by our god and by our fellow Americans.



I hope you know that there are many white people who do in fact care to a great degree. I just get so tired of being shot down as apathetic and told that I don’t have the capacity to understand simply because of the color of my skin. And I’m sure you can understand why I don’t care to ‘hang in there’ and keep trying.

I do know that there are some white people who care, but, as evidenced by this thread, not "many." I do know, however, that you are one of them, and I'm glad. Thank you for fighting for me and my future offspring.


I don't think you're apathetic. However, with all kindness, I do think that it's a bit unreasonable for you to think you could understand the black experience. Like I told jsobecky, I don't think I fully understand the white experience, and I've been immersed in it my whole life.



I will certainly continue on my path as regards racism and discrimination of all kinds, but I will do it in my way. With love and understanding, not anger and resentment.

By all means, do it your way, just as long as you're doing it.



posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 08:41 PM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
Black people are very, very angry. Angry at being used to build a whole country, only to be squeezed into its ghettoes. Angry that the people who have misused us for generations continue to get away with it. Angry that we are the modern "people without a land," but that no one even wants us to talk about why.


I get this. I understand this. You're angry. But at whom? Do you discriminate or are all white people guilty and responsible?



However, with all kindness, I do think that it's a bit unreasonable for you to think you could understand the black experience.


I don't claim to. When I say I understand, I mean I understand what has happened. I understand that you're angry. I understand why. I understand as much as I can in my current state, but I'll never know what it's like to be black. Because I'm not.


Originally posted by HarlemHottie
You have to understand, when people are mistreated, they get angry.


Let me just share something here. I am a victim of repeated childhood sexual abuse by two different family members, both men. I was raped at 17 by a trusted older 'friend', a man. I do know a little bit about being mistreated, about betrayal, pain, lifelong wounds. And I was angry at men for many years. In fact, I hated them. It was only much later that I realized that my anger and hatred was only hurting me. It was only after I cast off the anger and hatred that was eating my soul that I could begin to heal.

I'm still not completely healed. I never will be. But my abusers don't have control over me that they used to. I have taken my life back from them. They no longer dictate how I feel about all men. I have become discriminating in the men I hate. My husband does not deserve to suffer for what those other men did to me. I must discriminate. Not on the basis of who has a penis, but on the basis of who is a good man and who is a bad man. My husband (and the many good men that I know) don't owe me a thing for what those other men did.

What's the difference?

HH - I'm not expecting you to say that everything's peachy. It's not. We all know that. I just don't understand how you expect to be reimbursed for experiencing racism. What would you like to see happen? Knowing that we're moving toward racial equality (or maybe you don't think we are?) what could realistically happen tomorrow that would make you say, "There! That's more like it"!

Being a woman and knowing that men and women aren't yet treated equally, I realize that these things take time, no matter how "right" they are. I want gender equality NOW! I want gay rights NOW! I want racial equality NOW! But it's unrealistic to expect to wake up tomorrow and have it all fixed. We as a society are moving toward them and that's good, right? I don't expext you (or me) to sit back and relax thinking all is right with the world. It isn't. Not when a black man doesn't get a job even though he's more qualified. Not when a woman gets paid 67% of what a man gets paid for doing the same job. Not when a loving gay couple can't legally get married.

Nobody has yet addressed the matter of reparations to women, who for many years couldn't contribute to who ran the country but were forced to have the children and raise them without pay. Women, who weren't allowed to have jobs and careers and live fulfilling lives of their own. Women who STILL don't get the respect they deserve.



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