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Racism and Understanding

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posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 04:54 PM

rac·ism (rā'sĭz'əm) Pronunciation Key

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

American Heritage Dictionary

A broad and complicated topic. One filled with emotion, hyperbole and assumption; contradiction, exaggeration and distress.

Historical; and yet modern in the connotations and implications as well as the effects and impedimenta that comes with racism.

Evident in comedy, culture, industry and economy. It weaves it's way into almost every aspect of our lives and yet we avoid it, ignore it or blame it on others.

"John Q Public walks into the room, looks slyly around and says, 'Did you here the one about the ______________'" You are immediately offended and amazed at this, yet others around you laugh and ask if John knows "this" one. Why did John look around? Because he knew that he was going to say something offensive to a certain group of people and he was ensuring they would not hear. How very kind of John.

Dave Chappelle stands on stage and reiterates the story. He does this with out looking around and millions laugh. How very good of Dave.

Does the one invite the other? Has Dave validated John? Or is it that Dave being black has a pass on telling racist jokes? Or is it simply OK if your a comedian to tell racist jokes? Where is the line?

This thread is about Racism.

Not Slavery
Although the effects of racism to the extreme are perhaps best illustrated by the slavery of one group of humans by another because of the color of their skins.

Not Reparations
Whether they are due or not is for another topic.

I would like to invite everyone to tell their own story, relate their thoughts and viewpoints on Racism and how they perceive it. understand it, or are impacted by it.

I truly believe that we as ATS members in good standing can debate and discuss anything. Our members are intelligent and thoughtful, apply these characteristics here and perhaps, just maybe, we can accomplish something.

We are not going to solve the worlds racism here. yet we may just come to a different view ourselves. An epiphany if you will...


posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 04:58 PM
I would also like to invite world views on this subject....

Perhaps some members that live outside of the United States can provide us a different and enlightening point of view...

But PLEASE PLEASE Remember the
T and C
And the
Social Issues Posting Guidelines

Thank you..


posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 07:24 PM
An ephiphany? Not always a good thing, though in this case it is.

Racism, as we all know can be offencively overt as is the case with the KKK, and neo-nazism, or it can be subtlely covert as with slyly understated, unwritten rules.

My own experiance with subtle and not so subtle racism, or bigotry took place in the Alaskan fishing grounds and I'm sure it is still occuring today given that it was gaining ground when I left the business.

I entered the commercial fishing industry in the Spring of 1986. First time I had ever been away from freinds and family in my life, at least for extended periods of time. My father told me it would be alot like the American frontier as far as attitudes and viewpoints were concerned. Damned if he wasn't right on the money.

Almost immediately I ran into the stereotype that all Native Americans are drunks, either in reality or soon will be. Or that all Norwiegan/Swedes were. A stereotype based on an all too real reality, but a stereotype non the less, since not all of either group are. Being of neither group, and young college age kid, yet another stereotype was hung on me. Lazy, spoonfed, wanting it all handed to me, and not being able/willing to do a days work. In the late 80's the fishing industry, at least the canning and freezing aspect of it were still dominated by the same folks who had started the Alaskan fishing industry on a large scale. Namely, caucasions of Northern European descent. It wasn't 'til the early 90's that Hispanics and Asians began to flock to the industry in larger numbers. By 1995, the plants I worked at were, at a minimum, at least 50% or more; non caucasion with many beginning to get into lower and middle management. Lest any think I had a problem with that, I don't and didn't, when the majority of your available workforce is Asian, and or Hispanic, it only makes sense to have them in management. By the 90's I had begun working my own way into lower and middle management, buying fish, job interviewing, quality control, crew management, and and finally shipping. In middle management I began to run into another bias based upon race.

The "don't hire white men" bias. This bias is based again on an all too true stereotype that white men, not women mind you, just men; don't want to work. But like all stereotypes the small truth is lost in the bigger lie. I'm a white guy, where I got to I got by working my ass off.

Ooops, I'm getting off topic a little, and starting to rant. Don't want that. Hard, though.

The stereotype was never so evident than when I was asked to conduct job interviews when I was home on vacation... I was told more than once, that we wanted to hire as many Hispanics as possible, and not as many white guys because the Hispanics know what work is and will finish out the season...the implication was plain. White guys don't want to work and won't finish the season...even though the guy who was going to be doing the interviews (me) had been working in the industry for, at the time, close to ten years w/o a whole lot of down time. That was the beginning of the end for me in the industry. It wasn't the straw the broke the camels back, but it sure as hell excellerated the process. The company president was the one who sat there acrosss the desk from me and told me that. This is a multi million dollar company...

Token white guy, you only got that job because you're white, etc... I've heard them all. If you'll excuse a momentary lapse into rantdom "Don't ever say I, as a white guy, haven't experianced bias, 'cause I've been there done that. I lived with it in the work place and away from work, in varios guises for the entire 15, almost 16 years I worked in Alaska's fishing grounds. It can be tough, being the only White guy in a cannery holding just over 1000 workers. Not just at work, but since its a barracks enviroment, off work as well. You have to ignore, or at least try to ignore the attitude, but it can be hard, 'cause you know, at least in your case, the attitude is wrong.

Please don't think that all of them were this way, 'cause they weren't...the closest freinds I have in this life are the Hispanic and Phillipean freinds I made in Alaska. It's odd, kindof, that I have many, many more nonwhite freinds than I do white.

White male bashing is the last of the "cool" biases. We see it all the time in media, both print and electronic. No one gets very outraged about it, seemingly. Even I don't get as outraged as I do if I run into a bigot going off about Jews or Blacks or Hispanics or whomever. Conditioned responce? Maybe.

Is this what you were after, Semper?

[edit on 7-4-2007 by seagull]

posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 10:16 PM
Exactly Seagull

Thank you,

You have also brought to our attention one of the Group Dynamic aspects of racism.

That of Layered Racial Stereotyping...

Essentially you experienced and were witness to, several different racial attitudes within one singular environment...


Apparently the racial attitude changed with the change in the racial makeup of the environment, and you were there and experienced it. You must absolutely have a unique viewpoint and understanding of the base concept we are evaluating...

I would love to hear more if you can expand on it...


posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 11:29 PM
I live in the north of England, a place where there have never been a large number of blacks, so, as a result, I admit I've never really given too much thought to the plight of black people.

That is, until I saw this video recently (posted below), which is a short documentary (8 minutes) showing how black kids were given two dolls - one white and one black - and asked to choose the one which was 'nice'.

The kids consistently chose the white doll as the nice one, which opened my eyes really to how black kids see themselves in relation to white kids.

These are only kids, and yet, already, they see themselves as being ugly compared to white kids.

Surely, the white population is largely to blame for this state of affairs. We are letting black people down by either being blatantly racist, or indifferent, if young kids see themselves as being ugly compared to others.

This ought not to be. And anybody who claims to possess an ounce of humanity, or in any way civilized, has no business looking down on another person simply because of that person's skin colour, IMO.

[edit on 7-4-2007 by Old Man]

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 04:32 AM
I think Seagull's experience gets at a very important aspect of racism which is foundational to the entire institution yet often overlooked in modern contexts.

Racism is founded on utility in various ways.

It is useful for this stoneage tribe to declare itself chosen people or whatnot and the guys over the next hill to be "barbarians" because it unifies the public and forms a group out of individuals in response to a common enemy.

It is useful for slave owners to suggest racial inferiority of an inslaved caste (i'm not going to get deep into that, but it speaks to the point of racism) because it falsely substantiates the institution of slavery and similar practices. You can see it in Huxley's Brave New World for example- the "Epsilon class" is stupid, so a nearly enslaved existence isn't evil for him- it makes him happy because he is provided for and the demands are simple and unconfusing. And you can justify the distrust you must have towards a person whom you wrong in such a way without admitting that he might be mad at you for doing something wrong, if you also typify him as a brute savage.

And here's the one that gets to Seagull's post- It is useful for your employer to euphemize that "Mexicans know what work is and will ride out the season" because its nicer than saying it more directly "You can get a Mexican to stay in a job that he can't stand against his will because language makes them less employable and common family situations in their demographic (having loved ones still in Mexico to bring over, or fearing that an illegal in the family will be discovered if they end up dealing with the government for lack of a normal, self-supported life) make them less able to go out of work and seek more reasonable employment".
If he put it that way, which is the real nuts and bolts of it- that you can be a little bit more exploitative of immigrant labor because they have more to lose if they lose their job- that would mean admitting to you and to himself that he realized that he had a factory full of people who were doing something that most people would refuse to do, for a wage that most people would refuse to settle for, because they were afraid that if they didn't accept it they might have their lives turned upside down.

The really interesting thing about that one is the way the racism works- it's double edged and hurts both the exploited and the unexploited. White guys are stereotyped and discriminated against because you can't exploit them, while immigrants are positively stereotyped as justification for creating market conditions for labor which are unfavorable to those immigrants as well as to the negatively stereotyped white guys.

And that, of course, is the all-time classic trick of racism in America- convincing poor white people to be racist in order to keep them from making common cause with minorities, even though both are being screwed by the same master. As long as the white working class is angry and racially biased against immigrant workers, there's no danger of them welcoming the immigrants into a common effort to improve conditions for all workers.

As long as poor whites gain a sense of status from being told they are superior to blacks, there's no danger of both groups banding together to demand better schooling and better opportunity.

I think that's the greatest reason why there is a need for a concilliatory tone in the race-relations discussion- because whatever there may be between us to hash out, or for that matter even if we just plain cannot find it in our hearts to forgive one another EVER- we've got common problems that we can only solve together just so that we can be in control. How are we supposed to fix things if we aren't in control?

That's what gets missed. I don't expect people to forget there are still fools out there who hate them, or that there have been injustices, or anything else like that. All I expect is the acknowledgement that I don't hate you, and you don't have to hate me, and there's no reason we can't work together to set things right- THEN- after we have surrendered the distrust and the separation between us- we will have the power to deal with the issues of contention which cause that distrust and separation.

We're handcuffed together and we need to get to a locksmith. Yes, if I let you lead, you MIGHT get us lost. But if I don't let you lead, I can't go anywhere without you, and we DEFINATELY won't get where we're going that way. I can extend that trust at times if you can at times as well.

That's where I'm coming from for anyone who distrusts me for being white.

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 07:59 AM
I could not agree more with one exception..

I don't see the need for a conciliatory tone so much as a professional one.

This is a hard issue, I think all can agree on this and if not, they should read the history on here. That being said, hard issues sometimes, no most times require hard truths and the realization of difficult concepts that apply equally to ourselves.

That is the "rub" is it not? Taking responsibility for our own complicity no matter how minuscule WE may think it is. Any at all and we have contributed to the problem, and not the solution. Every time we watch Chappelle, Mencia, don't walk away from the "jokester" or think that derogatory term when we get cut off in traffic. We have to learn to fight the issue proactive and not reactive.

In my line of work, I sadly see both/all sides of the issue all too often and all to realistically. The degradation of our fellow man, the baseless assumptions and the actions taken as a consequence to our attitudes surrounding something as common as skin color, are astounding. This behavior is propagated on both sides of the isle, or more accurate on ALL sides of the isle.
Some may be contributed to a defense mechanism, however this is of course not productive, though I suppose human nature.
Some is obviously our upbringing, some our station in society.
Some is sheer ignorance.

Regardless of the cause, the effect is one of separation and that simply contributes to the furtherance of the problem.

I rode through a construction site the other day, heading out to interview a subject in reference to an investigation i was doing. It was around noon and most people were sitting around, breaking open their lunch boxes. I happened to be thinking about the issues we are discussing here and how I was planning on addressing them on ATS, when I noticed something. There were numerous small groups of men and women gathering in the sunshine all over the compound. Each group picking out a spot where there was a place to sit out of the dust coming from the road.
What struck me was the racial separation of the groups. Each group was either completely White, completely Black or completely Hispanic. It was so complete that I went back around to make sure I was seeing this correctly.

Now this was a small thing in concept. That we prefer to take our leisure with those we are the most familiar with. But it is indicative of the deeper problem we are now discussing. We have become so separated on our own, that we segregate ourselves now with no need for the government to do it for us.

What would happen if the managers had stated that "all Blacks must sit together seperate from the Whites?" Exactly...
Yet we do it all on our own with no assistance what so ever.


posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 11:07 AM
Vagabond... Economic racism? That's not a term I've run across before, though somewhat appropriate to that particular circumstance. A specific sort of bias, actually can't call it racism persay, as much as a very specific bias against white guys.

We all buy into a certain amount of stereotyping, almost inspite of ourselves. Some one is...therefore all are... Example: Some Hollywood stars are left-leaning twits, therefore...all Hollywood stars are left-leaning twits. Having witnessed this, and to a certain extent been victim of it, I've made concious efforts to avoid doing so myself, it can be really tough to do, though.

Working in the grocery business, sort of night manager, sort of not... I have the oppourtunity to deal very closely with what some would euphamistically refer to as "the dregs of society", ooh lookie there, another stereotype. Most are nothing of the sort, but are treated as such simply because they do their gracery shopping at night, or like the taste of Thunderbird (shudder). Horrific taste in alchohal aside, that doesn't neccessarily equate to "dreg".

Semper...ask and ye shall recieve...I'll answer any question you might have to the best of my ability.

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 01:04 PM
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the 60's. At that time there simply were very few to no non-white people there. So by the time I was 19, I had seen maybe 10 non-white people. And had not known any.

The town and family where I grew up was (and the town probably still is) pretty racist. My father especially was against black people. His version was the "black people aren't bad... they can't help being black" sort. He was a man of peace and did not advocate violence... black people were to be 'pitied' for being black.

When I was 19, I moved from the PNW to Louisiana. In case you aren't familiar with that area, there are several black people there. My first job was as a janitor in a bank, where I was one of three white people on a crew of about 30. And here my education in racism began.

One of my jobs was to carry the garbage bags that were too heavy for the older ladies to carry safely. The first few days, it was "Hey, white boy!" To which I replied (as I had been taught when addressing my elders) "Yes ma'am?". "Tote this bag!"... "Yes ma'am!".

And for the first few days I was kind of scared... in a totally new place, immersed in a totally strange culture, surrounded by people of a sort I hadn't really experienced before.

But it only took about two weeks before "Hey white boy! Tote this bag!" turned into "Honey, would you carry this bag for me?". Which got the same response from me: "Yes ma'am!". And the word got around from the ladies I was working with (age difference was such they could have been my mother) to the guys on the crew and they started treating me nicely as well.

But the curious thing is, as I was more accepted by the crew, the management of the crew (white) became less friendly. Even though my work was impeccable.

Then I got a job as a carpenter, on a crew that was all white. The difference was dramatic. The various other crews, roofers, etc that happened to be largely black were treated like crap... "colored boy" this and "colored boy" that. Even if the speaker was a generation younger than the "colored boy" they were talking to/about. This disgusted me.

So this was a real eye-opener, to say the least. For one thing, I very quickly saw the BS factor in the whole "black people can't help being black" nonsense.

And of the two groups I was around during my time there, they both started out in the racist mode... letting stereotypes and generalizations and assumptions set their policy.

But it was the largely black crew I was on that showed the most maturity and openness. Even when I was doing the carpenter work and was working with black crews that were initially hostile, by the end of the second day or so it was all good guys in good fun.

Now this is also a generalization. I encountered more than just one or two black people that hated "whitey" and were in no way going to even entertain the thought of a friendly relationship with such.

Just as I met more than a few white people who were not racist either, and were more interested in who someone was than what color they were.

And today? Well, as I said, the first 19 years of my life were immersed in a racist culture. My father was a good man (human, therefore with his faults), and the vast majority of what I learned from him was valuable. So I have to be aware of this every minute of every day. I work in a profession where I work with people from literally all over the world. And even now, some 35 years later, I have that 'kick' of suspicion/pity/wariness when I meet someone for the first time. Fortunately, it lasts just long enough to remind me to approach the person as a person not a color/ethnicity.

So actually, I can look at that as a gift. Because that little 'kick' does not allow me to fall into stereotype-mode.


posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 02:03 PM

Does the one invite the other?

Yes. It's a "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" situation.

Has Dave validated John?

Yes. It's a "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" situation.

Or is it that Dave being black has a pass on telling racist jokes?

Yes. It's now okay for people to abuse whites. The proof is all around us every day. There are a number of "minority associations". If whites did this there'd be a tremendous hue and cry.

Or is it simply OK if your (sic) a comedian to tell racist jokes?

It's become an accepted standard that, if you're a comedian, you can insult the hell out of whites. It shouldn't be. If minorities want to take pot-shots at whites, then the street should run both ways.

Where is the line?

Good question. I can't wait to hear the answers.

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 02:05 PM
I grew up in the Midwest in the 60s. And much like OMS, my parents' racism was of the "they can't help it" variety. I guess that was a pretty popular type of racism at the time, considering what the country was going through.

Only a couple black girls attended our grade school of about 200 students. One of them was in my 2nd grade class. My mother had told me not to play with the black girls and when I asked why (she should have known that was coming), she made up some lame response like they're dirty or something. I remember questioning my mother's judgment a lot as a child and this was no exception (thankfully).

In one of our more physical games on the playground, it so happened that I ended up very close to this black classmate in sort of a prolonged wrestling hold. I still remember the beautiful brown skin of her neck against the pink dress she had on and the coarseness of her nappy hair so close to my face. Her skin was about 2" away from me and as I breathed in deeply through my nose trying to catch a whiff of just what a black person smelled like, I discovered that she smelled like soap.

I knew in that instant that my parents had no clue as regards black people. I bet my mother never smelled a black person for herself.

As an adult, my parents were unable or unwilling to shake off the lies they had learned about black people, but I (thankfully) had no trouble. While I was working at a research and development branch of GTE, where American white people were the minority, I met and fell in love with a man from Uganda, who I will call "Amannya". I had dated a Mexican man before and he had been at my parent's house many times... My parents loved him. But when they learned I was dating a black man, my father "put his foot down" and informed me that Amannya wasn't welcome at their home.

My mother had come around a little by this time and she would have let us both visit, but my father read bible verses to me that supposedly explained why we shouldn't be dating, and hesitantly, my mother deferred to my father's judgment (as was always the case). He was impotent to control me and refusing to let me bring Amannya to the house was the only action he could take to try to make me break up with him. Little did he know, the fact that he didn't approve was actually an incentive, rather than a deterrent.

Interesting that I write this on Easter Sunday... Our family, being very religious, ALWAYS had a large celebration and family meal on Easter. When I informed my parents that I'd be bringing Amannya, my father absolutely forbade it. I said, "Well, if he's not welcome, I'm not welcome," hoping to bluff my father into giving up his ridiculous rule, just for the holiday.

Boy, was my face red when he called my bluff, "Well, then, you're not welcome."

Not welcome at my own family gathering on Easter?!?!? Oh, it was a real heart breaker. But I was really stubborn and it hurt my heart to tell Amannya that he wasn't welcome at my parent's, even for a special occasion. So, I told my father I'd be absent on Easter.

It turns out that Amannya had already made plans for Easter with some of his male friends, thinking that I would be at my parents'. So I spent that Easter morning alone in my apartment, missing my family and missing him and realizing just how stupid my father was being to turn away his daughter because of his own ignorance.

Months later, my mother became very ill and Amannya wanted to visit her in the hospital. We went to the hospital and had to "hide" in the waiting room until we saw my father leave, then "sneak" up to my mother's room, so Amannya could meet her and give her his gift. She held his hand and cried and blessed him for coming to see her, but also for being so understanding about their prejudices. It would be their only meeting.

My mother died of bone marrow cancer that year and my father died a couple years later.

Remnants of the prejudice that my parents ingrained into me from a very young age are still with me. Like OMS, I have that 'kick' of suspicion/wariness when I meet someone of a different race, but I'm able to quickly brush it away. And every experience comes together to make me who I am. And I am thankful for them.

More in response to the other posts later.


posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 02:27 PM
This is a true story about my grandfather.

In the mid-70's, my grandfather was walking out of a public library in a large city at high noon. He had an armload of safari books. He was a hunter who ran a metal fabrication shop before he retired.

He loved his boilermakers and his Pabst and his books. He followed the laws to a "T" and paid the IRS every dime it felt he owed them. He worked like a dog, scraped to feed his wife and two children, and dived on any loose change he saw on the sidewalk, saving every penny he could spare.

In 1968, he paid $130,000 cash for the new home he wanted to buy my grandmother from the first time he saw her speed-skating on a pond in the 1920's. No one can doubt that he worked for it, day in and day out for 40 years or so.

Now he's walking out of a library with his arms full of books. He's dressed in a nice suit. He always was when he was out in public. He's on his way home. He's going to stop at the store and buy two nice steaks for dinner. Grandmother always lets him do the shopping. He has a great eye for meat and produce.

He is approached by a young man, not well-dressed, but presentable. The young man demands his wallet at the point of a large hunting knife. My grandfather refuses. The young man asks if Grandfather wants his guts on the sidewalk. He says that isn't necessary. The young man begs to differ.

Grandfather asks why he wants the wallet. The young man replies, "It ain't right that you got all that. You should spread it around."

Note that he's dressed in a nice suit and carrying books. There is nothing else to indicate that Grandfather has "got all that".

How do you think this confrontation ended?

Edited for clarification.

[edit on 4/8/2007 by Tea]

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 04:06 PM

Originally posted by semperfortis
"John Q Public walks into the room, looks slyly around and says, 'Did you here the one about the ______________'"


Dave Chappelle stands on stage and reiterates the story. He does this with out looking around and millions laugh.

Emphasis mine.

And therein lies the key difference. John Q is doing something even he thinks is wrong, hence the sly look around. John Q is perpetuating racism.

Dave Chappelle, on the other hand, is poking fun at racism, and is comfortable with doing so. And by doing so, Dave is venting some of the power away from racism, and is working against it.

As far as comics in general... comics make their living by making fun mostly of people. And all kinds of people are funny. That is one of the things I like about Carlos Mencia (and he is not one of my favorites)... he makes fun of everybody.

This should not be limited solely to non-white comedians making fun of whites. That, I am opposed to. But for a comedian of any color to make fun of people, by accentuating the stereotypes is not a big deal, I think.

Some such jokes I find funny, others, not. Much as with comics in general.

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 04:09 PM

Originally posted by Tea

How do you think this confrontation ended?

Well, hopefully your grand-dad hauled out a whoopin' and presented it to the young man...

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 04:12 PM
Tea, I'm not going to guess, but I'm eager to hear the ending.

I'm really enjoying these stories and this discussion.

Originally posted by semperfortis
I don't see the need for a conciliatory tone so much as a professional one.

If, by conciliatory, you mean "to pacify", I agree. I don't say things to pacify anyone. If, on the other hand, you mean "to reconcile" or to spread goodwill, I think it's important to do just that.

Racism needs to be discussed in a professional manner, that's for sure. But racism has and continues to hurt people deeply every day. It's terribly painful. So, remaining completely professional might not be what's called for here. We're not discussing materials with which to make shoes or the best stocks to buy. We're talking about a history of people filled with pain.

These stories of racism that we tell are all well and good. But many people today wake up every day to face it all over again. For some people, getting through the day is a great struggle because of the reaction to the color of their skin. Not all people certainly, not even all people of a certain race. But in the most dire of circumstances, people are being hated and discriminated against because of their color for their entire existence.

So while I don't wish to "pacify" or "condescend", I do wish to speak with a certain amount of reverence and understanding for the pain that racism causes in people's lives.

posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 06:53 AM

And therein lies the key difference. John Q is doing something even he thinks is wrong, hence the sly look around. John Q is perpetuating racism.

Dave Chappelle, on the other hand, is poking fun at racism, and is comfortable with doing so. And by doing so, Dave is venting some of the power away from racism, and is working against it.


How do you think it would be received if a White Comedian did this same thing?

How would it be received/ I am afraid I know how it would be. Racism would be cried to the roof tops. And yet, where is the difference?

The more and more I read and see, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is all about separation. Equal, but only as it applies to one specific group. Other groups are not allowed to be equal, at least not and remain politically correct.


posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 08:28 AM

Originally posted by semperfortis
How do you think it would be received if a White Comedian did this same thing?

How would it be received/ I am afraid I know how it would be. Racism would be cried to the roof tops. And yet, where is the difference?

You may be right. And assuming for the moment that the white comedian's performance was not one big rant against black people (again demonstrating the importance of context), then the problem would be with the racism criers, not the comedian. Because there is no difference that I can see.

I have also noticed what appears to be a bit of a double standard here. And it is not only in matters of race. Some years ago I was hanging out with some friends who happened to be women and they were telling some anti-male sexist jokes. Quite funny, as it happens; I got a good laugh. But when I mentioned to them the sexist nature of what they were saying their response was along the lines of:

"Well, men have been making sexist jokes for years"

Undeniably true. And undeniably does not make it OK. If sexist jokes are considered 'inappropriate' then they are inappropriate. Punch and counter punch does not advance the relationship between the groups.

And regarding the assumption above that the white comedian's performance was not one big rant against black people: I have seen some comedians of one color or another whose performance was one big rant against another color. These comedians, to my mind, are racist and are perpetuating racism. Again the difference with Dave Chappelle... his jokes vary widely, in my experience.

posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 10:01 AM
Hi Semper, thanks for starting this thread it's great, I'm enjoying reading all the stories.
OK, so here's my story:

Back when I was 6 y.o., my dad was a cub scout leader. He wanted to put together something very special for the boys, and since he was in public relations, he had a few contacts. One of them was the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, so my dad asked if he could get one of the ball players to come to a restaurant dinner for the cub scouts. Red sent Curt Flood. Some of you older guys may remember Mr. Flood was, I believe, the 3 rd black man to become a professional ball player. This was in 1960.

Now, I had just been adopted by my family. I was and always have been, quite different from my adopted family. I love them, they're good people, but we just have very different beliefs and approcahes to life. Anyway, I was the type of kid who was always asking weird questions. Often, my parents would squirm with embarrassment when I asked some question of another adult. Well, this time I'm about to tell you about, really took the cake as far as they were concerned.

We all gather at the restaurant for dinner. (I later learned that baseball players were never paid for any appearances they made, it was just something they had to do as part of their contract.) I'm quite sure Mr. Flood would have rather been doing most anything than spending an evening with an allwhite, upper middle class white cub scout troop. But he was very polite. I was seated next to him and even at 6 y.o., I noticed that no one was talking to him, no one was even looking at him. None of the little boys even asked him a question. He was there the entire evening all by himself and he looked very sad and a little bored. Towards the end of the evening, after dinner was over, I finally screwed up enough courage to ask Mr. Flood the question I had been wanting to. I asked him this:

How does it feel to be one of the first black men in professional baseball?

My parents completely freaked and had an enormous attack of embarrassment and shame - after all, nice white people don't discuss ANYTHING about race with blacks, you just don't. My parents tied to hustle me out of the restaurant as fast as they could. But before they could get me out of the room, Mr. Flood answered my question:

He took me by the shoulders and asked my name. I told him. He called me by my name, and with his hands on my shoulders and a lkind light in his eyes, spoke the words I will never forget. He said:

"Young lady, don't EVER stop asking those kind of questions. They're more important than you know. Don't EVER, EVER stop asking those kind of questions, I really mean that."

When we all got home that night, I was given a lecture 8 ways to Sunday about not discussing racial issues ever with a black person, it wasn't nice. Unfortunately, my own shame rose up and it overshadowed Mr. Flood's words. But about 10 years later, after having put the shameful incident out of my mind, I was reminded of this event. And, being older, I was able to fully comprehend the meaning of what Mr. Flood had told me that night.
I have never forgotten his words and I try to live by them every day. He understood the importance of not hiding from the race issue, but of trying to talk it through with members of other races.
But I'll tell you, that shame stayed with me for a long time and ate at my soul more than anyone can imagine.

And that, I believe, is why racism is bad for EVERYONE, white, black, brown, red, it also hurts the racists and their innocent children.
Thanks for letting me share this story, it's one of my favorites and it's a very important memory of one of my heros. I don't think Curt Flood ever stood down from a race issue when it came up,he dealt with it like a gentleman, but he didn't allow people to hide from their racism either.

posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 10:37 AM
Forest Lady. I'd always heard that Mr. Flood was a very good man. Nice to have it confirmed by someone who actually met him. Thx.

Most racism is, IMHO, just that sort; the condecending "they can't help being what/who they are." The sort that most, unless you are consciously listening for it, we might not notice unless its directed at us in particular.

I have to correct what I just said, when I said racism, what I really meant was bigotry of any sort. It hurts just as much as a more virulent brand of bigotry, maybe more; since a lot of the people using that tone might not even realize they're doing it. An example from my own life.

My grandfather, was a county sherrif during the Roaring Twenties and during the Great Depression, one of his deputies was a black man, those of you familiar with depression era law enforcement might realize just how rare that was, even in the much more liberal Pacific Northwest, my grandfather who wasn't racist in the slightest would use the N word in conversation, not even realizing, I think, that he was using it. Until one morning at the breakfast table, one of my sisters, don't remember who; casually, or maybe knowing my sisters as I do; not so casually, asked him straight up why did he use that word. I recall my grandfather just sitting there for a moment, he never answered, but he never used the word ever again. I'm sure he never used the word to his deputies face as they were both colleuges and freinds. I think he simply didn't even realize he was using the word. Unknowing, or perhaps unthinking, bigotry is just as painful to the victim as any planned barrage, maybe moreso simply because of the casualness of it.

Bigotry is a learned pattern of behaviour. It can be broken, if the person truely wants to break it. It can be done and has been done in many circumstances. I loved my grandfather, and in retrospect, I don't think I was prouder of him, even at such a young age, as I was at that moment. A lifelong pattern of behaviour shattered in a moment and never, to my knowledge, repeated.

So far I'm liking this far.

posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 01:58 PM
Weither I, or we even notice it at all.

1. The black guy/gall who can't drive a block without getting pulled over by the PD.

2. The white guy who's passed over by someone who's not as qualified but of a "minority" race.

3. The Muslim guy who walks around in his traditional outfit, with everyone looking at him like he will blow up the bus.

4. The Asian kid who's already espected to blow the curve in class, no matter how smart he/she is.


I will tell you a story about deep rooted racism that I personally ran into. I don't know if you have noticed this but I'm a white male. I used to work as a vendor who traveled all over the Southwest of the US from West Texas all the way to Florida, and from South Texas (Laredo) at the way to Kansas. We have crews from 2-15 depending upon the job. We went to this job in a actual Home Depot in (not saying the city) deep North East Texas, right on the boarder with Arkansas. Checked into the hotel and went over to the Home Depot. Did kind of notice that there were only white people everywhere we went. I was the crew chief, we went to the Store Manager and let him know we were here for the job. He looked over my crew. Then looked at me and asked if I had to use the two "N-words". I was so totally stunned, I didn't know what to say for a second. Sure I know there are people who don't like certain people. They may even sneer, or be rude to them. But I had never heard someone just open up right in front of everyone and say that. Thats when the smart-
took over and I said he was my boss, and I sure hoped a stupid redneck like him wouldn't mind if he and I fixed their store. Well needless to say, in the next twenty minutes we were all in my car driving really fast down the highway as purty much the whole town, sheriff, guys in sheets in the back of pickups were chasing us in to the next county. We finally pulled over to a state trooper a couple of counties away. He had reports that we had all tried to rob a homedepot in (certain city). After spending a day in jail, we were released because some honest guy had told the state troopers the whole story. It turns out that the city and county in question was run by old "Reformed" Klan members. We were advised to never go near that place again, or we were probably dead. My boss actually ordered us to go back and make good, finish the job or it was my butt. The job would have payed my company about $25k for 4 hrs work. I told them no, and I havent been working for them ever since.

[edit on 9-4-2007 by Royal76]

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