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culture:The totality of learned, socially transmitted behavior. All the "products" of a SOCIETY: A large number of people who live in the same territory, subject to a common political structure and participate in a common culture. Society/SOCIAL STRUCTURE is the interaction; Culture is the product of the interaction, both material and non-material (meanings, beliefs, values, ideas, norms, etc).
dominant culture: one of five final cultural categories (a subtexture of social and cultural texture), its rhetoric presents a system of attitudes, values, dispositions, and norms that the speaker either presupposes or asserts are supported by social structures vested with power to impose its goals on people in a significantly broad territorial region.
White Identity and Race Relations in the 1990s
Dominant group status and the emphasis upon racial categories have also affected the ethnic identification of white Americans. Ethnic divisions among whites played a significant historical role in intergroup relations in the United States; however, the boundaries of the dominant group have extended from English-Americans in colonial America and the nineteenth century to include all Americans of European ancestry (Doane 1993). This in turn has reduced the strength of white ethnic identities. For example, Alba (1990, pp. 50-51), in a study of ethnicity among whites in the capital region of New York, found that one-third of the whites born in the United States were unable to identify themselves in ethnic terms and one-quarter of those who did provide an ethnic affiliation subsequently said that it had little or no significance. Other researchers (Farley 1991; Lieberson and Waters 1986; 1993; Waters 1994; Hout and Goldstein 1994) have found that half of white Americans name more than one country in response to ancestry questions, and that ancestry responses may vary from survey to survey or be influenced by the presence and order of sample answers. These findings reinforce the notion that ethnic differences between English, German, Italian, Irish, and Polish-Americans (to name a few) play little or no role in everyday life. For most white Americans, ethnicity has become an "optional" identity (Waters 1990), a vague awareness that one's ancestors came from a particular country or countries, and an identity to be asserted on special occasions (such as St. Patrick's Day) but kept hidden the remainder of the time. This weakened sense of ethnic self-awareness among white Americans is significant in that it enhances the sense of culturelessness and the feeling that one is the same as everybody else.
This sense of white "invisibility" constitutes a significant and generally taken-for-granted advantage for whites in their day-to-day existence. McIntosh (1989) describes a broad range of hidden privileges enjoyed by whites, including: not being asked to speak for one's race, not being outnumbered, not being viewed as the "white" teacher, lawyer, etc., not being judged on the basis of race, and seeing oneself broadly represented in the media and in school curriculum. Another benefit is having one's trustworthiness taken as a given. Unlike African-Americans (see Anderson 1990, pp. 163-206; Feagin and Sikes 1994), whites have generally not had the experiences--due to their race--of walking down the street and having a stranger clutch her purse, shopping and being followed by store personnel, or driving and being stopped by the police for no apparent reason. As Ellis Cose (1993) demonstrates in The Rage of a Privileged Class, these experiences often impose a significant social and psychological cost upon people of color. As a black respondent interviewed by Feagin (1991, p. 115) observed when commenting upon the cost of coping with racial discrimination, "you just don't have as much energy left to do as much as you know you really could if you were free." The advantage of being white is not to have to absorb this cost--and not even to have to be aware of the benefit being received.
The American Cultural Tapestry
There is some truth to this idea. The United States is certainly a culturally diverse society; however, there is also a dominant culture. Immigrants became a part of this culture by giving up many of their differences so that they could fit into the mainstream of society. Some would argue that the United States has often had a cultural "cookie-cutter" approach with a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, male mold or shape as the model. White immigrant males could easily fit such a mold by adopting an Anglo name, converting to Protestant Christianity, and speaking English without a foreign accent. However, not everyone could fit the cookie-cutter mold. People can't change their gender, skin color, or hair texture. Some people melted more easily than others.
Dominant culture: The cultural group that controls the major aspects of social power, values, and norms within a society.
People of color: A term used to describe all non-white racial or ethnic groups.
Power: The ability to influence others, enforce one’s beliefs, or get what one wants.
Prejudice: Conscious or unconscious negative belief about another social group and its members without knowledge of or examination of the facts: bias.
Privilege: 1. Power and advantages benefiting a group derived from the historical oppression and exploitation of other groups. 2. unearned access to resources only readily available to some people as a result of their group membership.
Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
I did not go about to change the provided definition of IR because it makes sense to me. Just as the vast majority of the definitions you provided make sense to me, which is why I only went about changing a very few, very specific sections of a very few of the definitions you provided. I included explanation of why I wanted to change those parts (incoherent as those explanations may have been ). If you can provide a reason for your definitions to stand, I am interested in hearing it.
I'm not. I am trying to include class as a factor in the undeniable social inequity present in the US today.
I'm not. I absolutely agree with your statements.
Indeed. However, since I do acknowledge this what is the point of this statement?
Question for you: Is this thread about strictly race and inequity, or is it about general social inequity in the US and what we might be able to do about it? I am aware of what the title is, and I may be mis-interpreting the actual intent of the thread. Please answer A or B:
Many thanks in advance for your response.
Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
Thank you for this concise answer...
I'll have something to say on this, but I want to answer your questions first.
As I explained earlier, I am concerned with accurate definitions of what things are. Once this is understood and agreed upon, the discussion can then move to the examination of the consequences of being what has been defined. I have seen far too many discussions spiral into worthlessness because of a simple confusion regarding the true definition of what was being discussed.
Social issues are often difficult to define precisely. If others are comfortable with a given definition, they are certainly free to use what they see fit, or try to convince me of the accuracy of the definition. If they use a definition different from mine, I will continually check during the discussion to see if an apparent disagreement is due to this difference of definition.
I would do exactly what I did here: Present my changes and why I favor them. Present these for further discussion, as it were.
I do not need anyone's permission to present anything for further discussion.
Absolutely. Frequently. And I always point it out. And when I believe a particular definition is inaccurate, I always continue to refer to it in discussions until either I fully understand where I was seeing an inaccuracy that was not present, or the person who was changing it saw the inaccuracy of theirs. I do this all the time. And I've even experienced being told "We are going to do it this way. Shut up or get out.".
I am not a member of the dominant culture. I stated my reasons for the changes I proposed.
I am not a member of the dominant culture. I am not responsible for how members of that culture behave.
Finally, here is the problem I see with constraining this kind of discussion to race only:
It is entirely too easy for the dominant culture to say something like: "Why, racism is no longer a problem! Look right here, we have a black woman as the Secretary of State! And a Hispanic as Attorney General! See? Racism is a thing of the past!"
When we all know that racism, including institutional racism is alive and entirely too well in the US right now. I believe that a wider discussion of inequity in the culture, while certainly more difficult, may be more productive.
Additionally, I believe that limiting such discussions to race only tends to encourage another inaccuracy
the terms "dominant culture" and "white people" are synonyms. They are not. This may be easily demonstrated by the fact that there are many rich non-white people who are members of the dominant culture, and I can think of NO poor people of any color who are.
Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
That's because far too many times, conclusions are attributed to race when they are actually a result of class (or more accurately, wealth and corruption).
Well, that's your prerogative to speak of race only, but I will continue to bring class into the discussion when I believe it's relevant.
I would do EXACTLY as I have done. OMS disagreed with some of them and stated his opinion. And I agreed with his exceptions.
I would do EXACTLY as I have done. I would voice my exceptions regardless what others thought. Isn’t it pretty obvious that I have no trouble doing that?
What gives me the right to have and express my opinion? I don’t need anyone’s permission (except the staff of ATS) to voice my opinion on ANYTHING on this board, as long as I remain within the T&C.
Absolutely. I do that in life all the time. I note where I may disagree, talk about it like adults and come to an understanding. No power struggle involved. No accusations of racism. Either the definitions stay, we change them or come to a compromise, like adults. But in any case, it’s OK for me to voice my opinion about it. I have never been fired, divorced or attacked for voicing my opinion.
Only one problem… I’m not from the dominant culture.
See above… And, by the way... if the class aspect is supposed to be left out, why do you keep referring to the Dominant Culture? Why don’t you just say “white people” if that’s what you mean? Or is it ok for you to talk about class, but not us?
I don’t understand how you can talk about the Dominant Culture (not a race), and then tell us to leave class out of this discussion. Sounds clearly like another double standard to me.
I have already said that I didn’t find them offensive. Not at all. Just inaccurate.
I didn’t forget to consider anyone’s feelings. I had NO IDEA that a simple, politely stated disagreement would cause you to be so offended or have hurt feelings, to the point where this has now become the main subject of the discussion… And of course, to you, it’s all about race, er, um, excuse me, the Dominant Culture…
And no one said anything about them being “derogatory”. Again, you have misquoted.
Seems you actually don’t want to hear what others in this discussion really think or have to say, because if it disagrees with you, they get accused of having “gall”, being part of the dominant culture, trying to exercise their power over you or being inconsiderate…
Raiford Guins: User Generated Content?
Social networking, it nearly goes without saying, doesn’t appear to be that “social” at times, or maybe “all too social” as social value isn’t easily separated into categories of “on” or “off” line.
Online space isn’t, in any way, exempt from offline biases, prejudices, and power relations. Both inform one another. As users our perspectives on the world and on those who occupy it doesn’t magically disappear when one signs in. Identity isn’t easy to slide out of online as ideas about identity are often reinforced. Anna reminds us of the old adage of the anonymous user as a dog-the color of its coat is made clearly visible, projected into the space of networked computing. It should come as no surprise that damaging/dehumanizing addresses of race and ethnicity occupy the Web as US media conglomerates continue to maximize stereotypes and fabricate self-serving ideas of raced subjectivities for profit and to preserve power establishments.
The Global Hierarchy of Race
White societies have been the global top dogs for half a millennium, ever since Chinese civilization went into decline. With global hegemony, first with Europe and then the US, whites have long commanded respect, as well as arousing fear and resentment, among other races. Being white confers a privilege, a special kind of deference, throughout the world, be it Kingston, Hong Kong, Delhi, Lagos - or even, despite the way it is portrayed in Britain, Harare. Whites are the only race that never suffers any kind of systemic racism anywhere in the world. And the impact of white racism has been far more profound and baneful than any other: it remains the only racism with global reach.
Being top of the pile means that whites are peculiarly and uniquely insensitive to race and racism, and the power relations this involves. We are invariably the beneficiaries, never the victims. Even when well-meaning, we remain strangely ignorant. The clout enjoyed by whites does not reside simply in an abstraction - western societies - but in the skin of each and every one of us. Whether we like it or not, in every corner of the planet we enjoy an extraordinary personal power bestowed by our color It is something we are largely oblivious of, and consequently take for granted, irrespective of whether we are liberal or reactionary, backpackers, tourists or expatriate businessmen.
The existence of a de facto global racial hierarchy helps to shape the nature of racial prejudice exhibited by other races. Whites are universally respected, even when that respect is combined with strong resentment. A race generally defers to those above it in the hierarchy and is contemptuous of those below it.
This highlights the centrality of color to the global hierarchy. Other factors serve to define and reinforce a race's position in the hierarchy - levels of development, civilizational values, history, religion, physical characteristics and dress - but the most insistent and widespread is color The reason is that color is instantly recognizable, it defines difference at the glance of an eye.
Of course, the United States has changed. Most Americans would no longer accept a melting pot or a cookie-cutter culture. In fact, it has become common to describe the United States as a mosaic or a tapestry. These now popular metaphors suggest that it is acceptable to keep one's differences and still be part of the overall society. In a mosaic or a tapestry, each color is distinct and adds to the overall beauty of the object. If you remove one piece from the mosaic or one thread from the tapestry, you destroy it. Today, it is easier to keep your differences. Differences in gender, race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation are acceptable and need not be abandoned to have an equal opportunity to achieve your life goals.
To understand American behavior and public policies, it is essential to know the culture of the United States . In many languages culture usually refers to art, music, history, and literature. In the United States , these would he viewed as the results or artifacts of culture. Our definition of culture is much more anthropological. In American English “culture” simply means the way of life 0 a group of people passed down from one generation to another through learning. It includes fundamental beliefs, values, thought patterns, and worldviews that are shared by most Americans. We can examine these external aspects of culture and infer that they reflect our internal values, beliefs, and worldviews. Unless we understand American internal culture, it is almost impossible to explain external behavior, including our public policies.
If we had to develop a graphic representation of the American dominant or mainstream culture, we might consider an iceberg. Most of an iceberg is under water and hidden. The same is true of culture. Most of it is internal or inside our heads and well below the water level of conscious awareness. While the visible tip may change—as an iceberg will melt with sun and rain—the base does not change very much over time. In the same way, one’s fundamental beliefs, values, ways of thinking, and worldviews change very slowly.
This part of culture is learned unconsciously simply by growing up in a particular community or family. No parent sits down at the breakfast table with a child arid teaches a lesson on “cultural values.” Rather they are learned unconsciously just by growing up in a particular family. This is the reason we are relatively unaware of our cultural values until we leave our country and interact with people of other cultures.
"Gary Weaver is a member of the faculty of the School of International Service at American University in the Division of International Communication."
As a target for bicultural education, dinomia emphasizes the acquisition of the dominant culture for minority group students in only those domains in which it is in minimal conflict with the minority culture, or in which is essential for 'success' in the dominant society: education and communication to be sure, and perhaps business/economics and politics as well. Values, beliefs, and behaviors of the dominant culture in such domains as religion and family life only need to be learned for passive recognition and understanding, but not necessarily adopted for active use. (The converse would be true for majority group students in a bilingual-bicultural program.) Dinomia requires the productive acquisition of only those elements of the second culture which could coexist in complementary distribution with those elements of the first culture which must be maintained by their students who choose to retain native cultural identity.
Bicultural education should be an enriching experience for all students, not a limiting or compensatory one; it should broaden the range of choice for cultural identity which students may one day make, but it should not make such choices for them, nor force unnecessary or premature decisions.
(Not) Talking about Race in the Classroom
Pollock’s new book, Colormute: Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School, explores what happened at Columbus High School and how the events exposed one of American society’s most confounding questions: when to speak about people in racial terms. Americans often fear that these conversations will reinforce “racism,” Pollock explains. But failing to speak about race can be even more detrimental. “If we see that black and Latino students, for example, are performing poorly in school, and we never explicitly address it, we send a message that these patterns are both acceptable and expected,” she says. “In effect, we perpetuate the problem.”
Identifying racial achievement patterns, however, is only the first step in solving the problem, she says. “Americans, inside and outside of schools, have to look at our own roles in creating these patterns.” [...]Although Pollock’s work focuses on the field of education, she by no means confines the dilemmas of race talk to the realm of schools. Educators, she says, experience these traps with particular intensity, as they confront the nation’s diversity and inequities every day. As a result, Pollock argues that teachers and policymakers have the greatest potential to attack these dilemmas head on. Education has often been called the great equalizer, but how adults and children talk about race in schools will play a critical role in determining whether or not that is really the case.
Are there social boundaries when talking about race
I thought about how, when discussing race and racism in a forum that is not directly geared to an audience that is confronted with racism om a regular basis, a social boundary is crossed.
Here is an example: In Toronto there is a locally well-known children's author and poet who owns a popular black - focused bookstore. She was interviewed for an article on the lack of black publishing companies in Canada and gave her opinion. What she said was measured and consise - she did not 'whine' or 'blame the Man' or anything, but was still labelled as being "outspoken." What I noticed, and have noticed in the media is whenever a person of colour is asked to give their opinion, commmon words are used to describe them:
"Controversial." - All that allow the reader / listener / viewer to easily dismiss them as being irrational, or my favourite, 'too sensitive.'
The same has been said of my writing in various media outlets, which I admit, annoys me a bit. I write what I feel - simple as that, but by using those words, it is portrayed as though you are talking out of place. Yet when I watch CNN's Jack Cafferty - who is paid to give his opinion ( including calling a Congressperson an 'idiot' and that she should 'shut her mouth'), I wonder if his job has ever been in jeopardy over what he is 'allowed' to say on TV.
So I wonder, are there social boundaries - visible or invisible - on who can say what? Is it about keeping a comfort zone? Is ignorance bliss?
Originally posted by ceci2006
Are there any others who have a solution for letting different races discuss race related issues?
Originally posted by chissler
As we have seen, and experienced, it is quite the slippery slope. For two individuals to constructively discuss this matter, it takes both of them two be of a special breed. My opinion on the matter can not openly insult you, and if it does, you need to get passed this emotion if we hope to continue a discussion. And this works both ways. If you have an opinion of myself, I need to look at the broader picture and bypass how I may feel about yourself, or the message itself.
Expectations, egos, etc., all need to be checked at the door. Individuals must enter the discussion with no predispositions and be willing to listen as well as speak. And not just listening. Listening it self is not enough. We need to really pay attention and listen to learn, to understand, and to grasp a concept that may exist on a level that we previously did not comprehend.
I think "we" are all a little guilty of wrong doing with a thread will remain nameless. Finger pointing or "kitchen sinking" does nothing for a discussion. Emotions got in the way on an issue that is certainly emotional. But for the sake of discussion, emotions need to be checked at the door.
After all, we are not asking how to best spew our thoughts and opinions onto others.
We are asking for a solution to properly discuss race relations.
Frankly, I think in a crowd as large at ATS, it is next to impossible. We can try our best, and I would like to see another effort in the future. We can certainly learn from our mistakes. But to come from this with any positives, we first must acknowledge the error in our way. We have almost 600 posts of how not to discuss race relations. Hopefully in the future we can match that with a how to discuss race relations.
No emotions, egos, expectations, predispositions, etc., permitted. Just an open mind and a willingness to admit the flaw in our own ways. As Rogers & Maslow said, nobody is perfect. For one to attempt to be perfect, we first must accept that we are in fact, not perfect.
Originally posted by ceci2006
not to be quick to call someone racist for what they say,
The people who personalize these issues often view race-relations unilaterally.
The different views expressed must be considered and accepted in race-related discussions.
But that depends on whether people are humble enough to look at themselves and accept responsibility for what they have done and said within conversations such as these.
That is why personalities need to be checked at the door in order to constructively approach these problems instead of turning it into a complaint fest.
Yes, we are. However, there are always those who don't want this solution to happen.
But what I can say, I think we can all agree that we all want polite discussions in which people check their egos at the door.
Originally posted by Majic
This thread has been selected as an AbovePolitics.com Featured Topic.
Applause worth 1500 PTS Points has been awarded for the original post.
Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
How about calling someone "dominant culture"?
How about telling someone they have no empathy or conscience?
How about saying that they don't care about anything or that they're acting superior?
How about saying that they're not credible or believable?
How about an accusation of "selective hearing
Is it OK to be quick to say these things about other people in the conversation?
Are these things conducive to a good discussion?
But aren't you personalizing it when you accuse the other people in the discussion of not having empathy, not caring and not having any conscience?
Aren't you personalizing the discussion when someone challenges the definitions you put forth so you accuse them of being part of the "dominant culture"?
Aren't you personalizing it when you continuously mention whether someone is credible or believable?
Or when you accuse others of practicing "selective hearing" simply because they don't agree with you?
Aren't you personalizing it when you accuse others of acting superior?
My views must be accepted?
Why must our views be accepted by others?
Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to follow your own rules?
Are you willing to check your personality at the door?
Are you willing to refrain from making judgments about other people's motivations?
Are you willing to let other people disagree with you without it necessarily meaning that they don’t want solution?
Are you willing to check your ego at the door?
I swear, if you followed your own rules, we could have a hell of a discussion!
Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
How about calling someone "dominant culture"?
The United States is extremely culturally pluralistic, socially stratified, and racially divided. Popular news magazines, such as Time and U.S. News and World Report, often reiterate this fact. The April 9, 1990, issue of Time examined the growing percentage of people of color in the U.S. population. A November 1993 special edition of the same magazine explored the effects of immigration on the "changing face of America." Diversity of race, culture, ethnicity, social class, religion, language, and national origin is a fundamental feature of interpersonal interactions and community structures.
However, in the more formal aspects of society, such as institutional policies, practices, and power allocation, Anglocentric and middleclass cultural values predominate. The organization and government of schools provides one illustration of this condition. Most school structures and procedures are grounded in mainstream cultural conceptions of law, order, reason, and rationality. Another illustration of the predominance of Anglocentric, middleclass culture is that the significant power positions in politics and economics tend to be held by people from this cultural background. A third illustration of this predominance is the extent to which intimate relationships are established along ethnic, racial, and social lines in the United States. In forming marriage partnerships and religious affiliations (two of the most intimate contexts of interpersonal relations), United States citizens are predominantly ethnic in their choices.
Although laws exist to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, gender, age, and creed, the society of the United States continues to be plagued by attitudes and behaviors that are derogatory to some ethnic, cultural, and social groups, and preferential to others. Thus, unofficial inequality flourishes, manifesting itself in racism, ethnocentrism, prejudices, favoritism, discrimination, cultural appropriation, and cultural hegemony. One revealing sign of such inequality is the frequency with which racial hostilities are reported in headline news. Another is the absence of some ethnic groups, such as Native Americans and Latinos, in leadership positions, and their virtual invisibility in the national popular culture.
Many people in the United States still believe that there is a single acceptable way to live, look, and behave as an American and a human being. The standards for determining what is appropriate derive from the Eurocentric mainstream culture. Anyone who deviates from these standards is considered to be unAmerican; they become objects of scorn and are subjected to discrimination, being denied equal access to institutional opportunities, political rights, economic rewards, and respect for their human dignity. Multicultural education is a potential means for correcting these distortions and inequities.
The role and practice of racialized discourse in culture and cultural production
The phrase racialized discourse alludes to the ways in which society gives voice to racism (Wetherell and Potter) and includes explanations, narratives, codes of meanings, accounts and narratives that establish, sustain and reinforce oppressive power relations. Racialized discourse is a set of social practices that favours the ingroup and denigrates the out-group, categorizing, evaluating and differentiating between groups. Cultural racism is a discursive practice.Or, as John Fiske (1994) explains:
There is a discourse of racism that advances the interests of whites and that has an identifiable repertoire of words, images, and practices through which racial power is applied.... Discourse does not represent the world; it acts in and upon the world. (5)
Dominant discourses operate by strongly influencing public perceptions and practices (Karim "Construction"). The rhetoric of racism is woven invisibly into the everyday, common-sense notions that constitute what gets defined as reality (Essed) and normality. Racialized discourse commonly draws upon the concept of normality - culturally and politically acceptable patterns - that forms the core arguments made at the expense of individuals, groups or nations viewed as "other" (Ferguson).
It is important to note, however, that although dominant discourses serve as a map that defines particular issues, they are not a manifestation of a static set of monolithic ideological and cultural positions. Discourses change as particular socio-political circumstances in a society change. But dominant discourses do construct a field of meanings that appear to be the only valid and valued forms of discourses possible because they have become universalized, normalized and naturalized.Van Dijk contends that everyday racism or racist discourse is part of what has been called the "new racism," which also includes aversive racism (Gaertner and Dovidio) and symbolic racism (Sears and McConahay). The new forms of racism can be distinguished from earlier forms, which included slavery, segregation and racist public discourses as well as individual bigotry. It can be argued that contemporary expressions of racism are somewhat subtler and carry with them a veneer of democratic respectability;
Originally posted by ceci2006
There needs to be a few things established when it comes to the issue of race-related discussions so far:
1)There is still a problem with laying the ground rules when it comes to race-related talks.
Furthermore, there is a problem with also establishing a type of language in order for people to be on the same page.
Power issues are also at the fore when it comes to conversations related to the subject matter.
2)The problem with the establishment of ground rules still coincides with what is accepted by the dominant culture.
In other words, when there are different points of view expressed that do not register with the ideas or terminology of the majority, then it is quickly discounted.
3)"Racialized discourses" also are affected by what has been deemed "normal" by the dominant culture.
This is through the quick establishment of who holds the power in a conversation.
Power also determines "selective hearing" in some cases.