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Fri Apr 6, 2012, 10:16 AM

Interesting e-mail exchange between white columninst & Black American.


Racial dialogue opens eyes about how Americans can live in harmony

When people are angry, deep down, about something that has appeared in this space, they strike out, and the Orlando Sentinel's email system doesn't screen hostile communication.

Sunday's column criticizing blacks who continue to tell a younger generation that they're oppressed raised a few hackles. The column came after a march in Leesburg to support the family of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager shot to death in Sanford by a neighborhood watch captain who isn't black.

Yet, among the seething emails was a particularly thoughtful one from an Atlanta resident named Wayne Howell Clemmons, a molecular biologist and self-described "proud African-American man, aged 41."

What followed was an intriguing and rare exchange, one that got both of us thinking. And today, that window is open for readers to consider a chunk of the back-and-forth and to become part of a conversation that doesn't happen very often but should.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-04-06/news/os-lk-lauren-ritchie-racial-debate-20120406_1_blacks-racism-racial-dialogue

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Reply Interesting e-mail exchange between white columninst & Black American. (Original post)
Baitball Blogger Apr 2012 OP
mzteris Apr 2012 #1
Baitball Blogger Apr 2012 #5
Taverner Apr 2012 #7
Solomon Apr 2012 #14
izquierdista Apr 2012 #2
1StrongBlackMan Apr 2012 #8
izquierdista Apr 2012 #10
1StrongBlackMan Apr 2012 #11
izquierdista Apr 2012 #12
1StrongBlackMan Apr 2012 #15
treestar Apr 2012 #16
provis99 Apr 2012 #13
izquierdista Apr 2012 #19
Spazito Apr 2012 #3
Baitball Blogger Apr 2012 #6
1StrongBlackMan Apr 2012 #9
treestar Apr 2012 #17
1StrongBlackMan Apr 2012 #18
RC Apr 2012 #4

Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:11 AM

1. that white man hasn't a clue

He may not think he's racist, or say he's not, but really - he is. He may not even know it. But he is.

Does he make eye contact with young black men? Any blacks at all? Does he walk on the other side of the street, pull his little girl a little closer when he sees a young black male. Make sure his doors are locked when he's driving by a group of black males?

Just his uppity attitude that it's black people with the problem says it all. It's changed, yes. SOME white people have changed. The rest, they just drove that racism underground. They hide it under a thin veneer of civility and PC. But in reality? Nope. They haven't really changed at all.

Until they embrace black people in their every day lives. Their homes. Their families. When they STOP seeing color and START seeing the person. Then they can - just maybe - make that claim.

Until then, all I can say is STFU. You're not black, so you don't know. You have not one whit of an idea of what it's like to be black in America.

One other thing blacks of privilege are treated much differently than middle or lower class blacks. So comparing Obama to the "average black man" is like comparing the Queen of England to the average British citizen. Yeah he's a self-made man, but the fact remains, he is a man of privilige and that makes a huge difference.

Put him in a black hoodie, walking in the "wrong neighborhood at night" and he's just as likely to be shot as Trayvon. Except of course for all those Secret Service guys.

And I'll add that the virulent hatred of Obama by Republicans is not just because he's a Democrat, but because he's BLACK. There are people who are outraged that a BLACK MAN is in the WHITE HOUSE. So not even HIS privilege takes away the racism completely, now does it?

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Response to mzteris (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:58 AM

5. Precisely.

Now, I understand the fear of getting mugged. Frankly, I would have the same reaction walking down a dark street where there was a white man, black man or Hispanic male coming my way. There's a lot to be said about being prudent and avoiding the situation where you leave yourself exposed to attack. (In my time the way they put this: a conservative is a Liberal who has been mugged.) But that's a lot different than passing laws or policies where it's okay just to single out black males because statistics claim that they commit the most crimes. Maybe the statistics reach that conclusion because only black males are being targeted. In fact, when police are forced to use a more equitable way of pulling people over on the highway, statistics turn out very different.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:04 PM

7. I felt much safer in any part of Oakland over South Boston...

 

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Response to Taverner (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:57 PM

14. Lol. It was palbable there. Real bad.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:26 AM

2. White columnist is dense

 

As are most people who have never stepped out of their privileged status and seen life from a different angle. Travel can help them do that. But the majority of white Americans have never set foot outside of the country, let alone tried to live in a place where they are not the majority, not in the privileged group.

Go be an immigrant for a while. Go someplace where you stick out. Someplace where people make assumptions about you because of the shape of your eyes, your skin tone, your overall appearance. Try to fit in, maybe even to the point that you speak their language well enough to get compliments for it. Then you will find out that until you open your mouth, people will still assume from your appearance that you don't belong. Do that and then you can get back to us with your opinion on racism.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:07 PM

8. Dense ...

and willfully, and possibly deliberately, so.

It is so easy to say, "it's not me that is racist, so you are making me uncomfortable whenever you mention racism."

Well, while you may not be actively racist, you certainly benefit from a racist system that allows you to believe that any successes that you accomplish, or failures that you suffer, are the result of your actions and your's alone.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:36 PM

10. Denying what is painfully obvious

 

I'd go further to say that all humans are racist. They prefer their own social group to outsiders, and there's good reason for that from our evolutionary history. Why do you think we make up categories, when they really aren't that obvious? Or based on some superficial characteristic?

I once confided that I had a hard time distinguishing Indians from Pakistanis. The Pakistani I was speaking with was taken aback, because it was the most obvious thing in the world, something that he had learned to do as far back as he could remember. To me, they all belonged into the "not my group" category.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 03:21 PM

11. That last sentence ...

is very honest ; but more, extremely self-aware.

But I'd like to offer that all humans are prejudiced or harbor racial bias; but this is wholly different from being racist.

Racism is bias/prejudice plus the power, be it individual or institutional, to affect the target of your bias/prejudice.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 03:41 PM

12. OK, so I'll edit that

 

We're not all racists; we all have our biases and preferences. Racism is when you use those to act in opposition to the Golden Rule.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 06:31 PM

15. Exactly!!! n/t

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 06:48 PM

16. I agree with you

white right wingers take it too personally - they don't understand one is just saying the system favored them. I have righties who are stuck on black on white crime and how the media isn't covering it but covers the Martin case, as if there is no separate issue. There is a publication out there which apparently finds them for easy reference for idiotic white right wingers.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:44 PM

13. Americans need to be tourists in Europe more often.

 

It's an eye opening experience when you go to a foreign country where the average inhabitant does not think America is the greatest place in the world, and is worried you might be an actual caveman.

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Response to provis99 (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:22 PM

19. Now you give me an excuse to post this

 

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:34 AM

3. What is lacking, imo, from the author of the article is...

any indication of what the writer actually learned from the exchange, what, in her thinking, was actually changed if anything.

I saw little change in her thinking from her first response to her last.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:00 PM

6. I was thinking the same way.

She seemed to be wanting to have more of an impact on him, than he was having on her. If anything, he spoon fed her the details so she could understand better the points of his argument.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:15 PM

9. That ...

is exactly why many Black folk are unwilling to engage in substantive discussions of race with white people ... It seems to always go to a place where their (the white folks') understanding of racism, trumps the Black folks' experience(s) with racism.

I have learned long ago to judge satisfactory, any discussion of racism that does not include the white person saying, "Yeah. But I ..."

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 06:59 PM

17. But aren't you sort of saying they can't disagree or challenge any point because of their race?

Has there never been a white person who can discuss this without pompously claiming to have a better understanding?

And there are disagreements among blacks. And every right wing white nitwit has Herman Cain, etc. to lean back on.

What of white vs. white debates on race? I have debated racism with right white wing idiots. Hopefully my understanding is good enough for that. Interestingly, they at least know it is wrong to be a racist and deny it wildly (while still somehow finding all Zimmerman says to be true without proof, to cite the most current case).

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Response to treestar (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:01 PM

18. Answered via this question ...

How can you, Black or white, disagree with me on how I feel; what I have experienced and how what I have experienced affects me?

Whenever you, as a white person (assuming you are white), TELL me of your understanding of racism, as an expression of your disagreement with my experiencing racism, you are necessarily pompously claiming to have a better understanding, by denigrating my experience.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:57 AM

4. There's no problem

 

Camping out is fun! Everything is just fine





There is a person in this pile and he is black.



I am seeing way too many homeless people on the streets here, begging, with cardboard signs. Most are Blacks.
A surprising number are either on crutches or in wheelchairs. You have to know they are not faking because they have a leg or two missing. Occasionally part of an arm.

How can we be the Greatest nation on earth,
if we can't/won't even take care of our own citizens?

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