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Racism in 'post-racial' America

  1. Jan 26, 2008 #1

    mheslep

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    Compared to where, exactly?

    Edit by Ivan: In order to avoid further derailing our thread about the 2008 Presidential candidates, I started this tread. I then posted this story and moved the appropriate posts here from the other thread

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-iweala23jan23,0,1775254.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2008
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  3. Jan 27, 2008 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Of course one finds it everywhere, but frankly I was shocked at a few things that I saw in some southern states, such as open racism by high ranking company managers. One that I met was even comfortable enough to do stereotypical racial impressions on the plant floor in front of employees. If someone did that in California he would be in court before he rolled his lips back.

    Sidenote and one major exception to the rule: There is a major company in Jersey where one's position in the company is entirely dependent on race. For example, every mechanic was Polish. Every line worker was black... It was so blatently obvious that one has to wonder if they have courts in NJ.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  4. Jan 27, 2008 #3

    mheslep

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    Reasonable post until that.
    2006: San Bernadina Punk Riot. "reportedly caused by a group of youths advocating white power and making racist remarks to many of the concert-goers."
    2006: Jail Riots Illustrate Racial Divide in California
    1992: LA Riots. aka "the Rodney King uprising"
    and there's much more of the same in recent memory for Ca. The last major public racial riot in SC was 40 years ago during Jim Crow.

    To get back on topic, I wonder if Sen. Obama would consider SC or his native Chicago is more racially harmonious. I'd put money on SC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008
  5. Jan 28, 2008 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Jail inmates and punk rioters don't vote. I was talking about professionals.

    Btw, I grew up in Los Angeles and went to a high school that was about 50% white and 50% black. I can only say with certainty that I found some southern states to be more racist that anything I was used to experiencing. And I have spent a good part of several years working in the south. Beyond that, racism in the south has long been recognized due to events such as those in Selma Alabama. Anyone who remembers the days of MLK knows this all too well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  6. Jan 28, 2008 #5

    mheslep

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    So did I. I work with a former military (black) guy who's from the northern US and was stationed all over the south for years. He often says that the only place he's ever had a racial epithet directed at him was outside the south (Boston, Philly).
    Arg. That South has little in common with today's, and its likely because Selma and MLK did so much to force attitudes of the time into the open where they could be destroyed. But that didn't happen so much elsewhere, no, no. No need in in small northern towns where the demographic was and still is 100% white. One can sit inside the gated homogeneous community and watch another PBS special about the '60s south and feel oh so smug while the cops are pounding R. King on the other side of town. Listen, listen! He said 'yawl'. Must be a racist.
     
  7. Jan 29, 2008 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    There are certainly examples of racism everywhere; I'm not disputing that point. But the South had institutionalized racism that is rooted deeply in the culture. If you are telling me that this is changing, that's great, but I know what I saw many times. And beyond my personal perceptions, it is fair to say that institutionalized racism dating back hundreds of years doesn't just vanish in forty years.

    Note that name calling is not institutionalized racism, which is much more subtle. I am also talking about fundamental perceptions at the core level. But I will give you this: I have a cousin in Illinois who was as racist as anyone I've ever met. I wouldn't even be surprised to learn that he once donned a white sheet. But now, as an old man, he supports Obama!!! So drastic change is possible within one lifetime.

    One correction to a statement made earlier: My HS in LA was fairly evenly mixed with blacks, Latinos, and whites. I was thinking that we had about an equal number of blacks and whites, which is correct, but about another third of the student body was comprised of Latinos - mostly Mexicans.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  8. Jan 29, 2008 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    A related story and a favorite of ours: About twenty years ago my wife and I rented an RV and toured the NE. One afternoon we stopped at a beautiful camping spot in Vermont and parked the RV. The manager of the facility was a very nice little old lady who was glad to share her stories, which she did at great length. At one point she told us how she didn't like it when "the boys from down South come to visit". I don't recall exactly what her objection to visitors from the South was, but we ended up talking about racism. Eventually she made the following comment nearly verbatim: "I don't like the way they [Southerners] treat the negroes [pretty sure they were still called negroes to her]. "It's not right at all", she insisted. "I think they should be treated just like anyone else". And then came the line that my wife and I will never forget: "Why I've even opened the door for one before!"

    It eventually became clear that in her mind the civil war had never ended. The point is that profound change takes time. Sometimes change only comes one death at at time [ie. the old guard dies off due to age].
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  9. Jan 29, 2008 #8

    Art

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    On a trip to California some years back to a major multi-national with 1000s of employees I was surprised to see the stark divide between staff members who were overwhelmingly white and the shop floor which was comprised totally of ethnic minorities. A black staff guy I dealt with there over a couple of years told me he was the 'token' black and being also openly gay he was the 'token' representative for covering two minorities :biggrin:

    That was over 10 years ago so perhaps things have changed since then.
     
  10. Feb 9, 2008 #9
    After living in the States now for three + years I get more and more insight into the racial relations that are quite unique in the US as compared to other countries.

    First and foremost the term racism is to abstract, more specific would be the struggling black/white relationship. I would just like to summarize a couple of observations that I made over the past years and y'all can comment on them.

    1. Whenever the discussions turns to race (white) Americas get extremely uncomfortable and feel like they are walking on eggshells. Hardly ever does one say what one actually things (at least in public)

    2. When talking about the history of slavery, the shear fact that thousands of white union soldiers died for the cause of abolition seams nowhere mentioned. (Lets not kid ourselves, no slaves no civil war).

    3. The racism is at least as strong both ways, albeit expressed differently. I recently learned from a teacher friend that the word "white" is actually used as bad name calling among black children. Especially in regards to academic success. A subculture where academic success is ridiculed has slim chances of progress.

    4. In general, the subculture that has statistically the highest crime rate is subject to generalizations. (In the Netherlands it is the Moroccans, in Germany Turks etc).

    It seems like the US is in a vicious cycle that I do not have a solution for, other than "we all need to change" which is not very practical.

    It seems very clear that the current status quo is perfectly fine with most white Americans, therefore we should not expect any action from this group any time soon.
     
  11. Feb 9, 2008 #10

    Astronuc

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    That's a reasonable assessment of the current situation. Segregation, for the most part, is persistent - mostly along economic and cultural lines, but that translates into separation by race and ethnic group.

    US society has yet to transcend the issue of race.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
  12. Feb 9, 2008 #11
    We probably would benefit from copying Alexander by requiring all marriages to be mixed. Just for a generation or two.
     
  13. Feb 9, 2008 #12
    Telling people who they can and can't marry would not benefit anyone. But, I see your point, except there are too many races for this work. A lot of racism is directed towards a particular race. So race "A" is racist towards race "B" therefore marries into race "C" and sidesteps the intended purpose. Or they simply never marry at all.
     
  14. Feb 9, 2008 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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  15. Feb 9, 2008 #14

    mheslep

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    Sure it would. Ideas like this are designed to benefit the totalitarians in charge, just as the mixed marriage idea was designed to pacify Alexander's soldiers and his enslaved populations in his time. May not be what everyone under the lash desires, but of course what do they know?
     
  16. Feb 9, 2008 #15
    We went for many generations telling everyone in many states that only non-mixed marriages were legal, so this shouldn't come as a completely new idea. And, at the end, have you ever looked at Brazilian supermodels! If we could get James Dobson and Howard Dean to promote it, it should catch on pretty quickly.
     
  17. Feb 9, 2008 #16

    mheslep

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    Was wrong then, and 'requiring' is wrong now.
     
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