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max sg Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 12:38 PM
Original message
Racism Doesn't Exist Anymore
I wanted to share this article here in response to a prevalent attitude I am encountering more and more these days.

Racism: If They Won't Change, Change Your Mind
by Max Gordon
Sapience Magazine
February 2006

Nig***rs are made.

Several months ago, I went to see a friends play. I arrived at the off-Broadway theater a half hour early because I hadnt yet reserved a ticket. When I got there, two men, both white, stood together going over some papers behind a small makeshift desk. Neither acknowledged my presence. I waited patiently for a minute and a half as they continued to converse. Since I was the only one waiting in line, I finally spoke.

I said, Good evening. Im here to see the play. This is where I buy a ticket, isnt it?

Yes, one of the men replied. Youre in the right place. Were just finishing up some paperwork.

I adjusted my bag, nodded and waited. The men finished their conversation several minutes later, exchanging an elaborate goodbye as they gathered their papers and separated. The man who hadnt spoken to me lowered himself into a chair behind the desk. I pulled out my wallet, expectantly. He pulled out a cell phone. I watched in disbelief as he held the phone to his ear, listened for another few minutes, and then concentrated on the tiny screen while typing in a text message.

Time stops for me in moments like these. I am having one of my this-cant-be-happening-yes-its-really-happening moments. What I need is a committee, a hotline I can call, someone I trust to tell me whether I am experiencing racism in this moment or not. It definitely feels like racism: he is white, I am black, hes the ticket seller, I still dont have a ticket in my hand. It would be insane to wish for the days of the Jim Crow South, but it must have been easier then to recognize racial hatred when it occurred. If the response to Id like a ticket please, Sir, were a growling, white Mississippi face, purple-red and barking in mine, Were gonna sell you a ticket when were damn good and ready to, boy! it would at least have ended any speculation on my part about what was happening to me.

http://www.changeatsapience.blogspot.com
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Same thing when you're a white-haired old white woman,
it's like I'm totally invisible to many people, don't exist at all, am not standing there, waiting for information, waiting to get help with an item, waiting to ask about something.

Some people fairly reek with the "What are you going to do about it?" attitude. It's "I have the power to ignore you, here, so I'm going to." I'ts more like endemic rudeness. But I'm sure it happens on racial basis as much or more than on white-haired geezerette basis. I've often thought if I could be a buff young guy with tattoos on both forearms, I'd get waited on a heckuvva lot faster.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. If Only for Fear of Being Beaten Up!
There are still young people who underestimate us little old ladies. Five of us are taking a construction company for court for violating the contract they signed with our co-op. We'll see what they think afterwards about messing around with mature women!
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amitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Ageism is alive and well. I'm still young, but I've seen it happen.
Edited on Thu Feb-02-06 12:56 PM by amitten
America only respects those viewed as productive. As such, children and the elderly are last on the list.

And the respect for minorities has risen only as has their earning power, it would seem. America only loves you if you have purchasing power. :patriot:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. It Wasn't Necessarily Your Race
I'm a mature white woman, and I've had that happen in several major cities in this great nation in the past 10 years. It may be just the lousy work ethic that passes for SOP in this economy. If there were favoritism shown to a white person standing next to you, or appearing after you did, then the indications would be clearer.

You may be right, of course. There isn't a good way to read the heart of a man, especially third hand. So much for our great nation.
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amitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. True...I'm white and have had similar experiences with customer
service. Cheap labor often equals young and stupid labor, and you get what you pay for. Good service is NOT a priority anymore.
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davidthegnome Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Well...
It most certainly sounds like lousy customer service, but I'm an average white man, and I've gotten the same crap myself. I really don't think it has anything to do with racism, though, to be sure, I can't probe into that man's mind to find out. It sounds to me like a severe over-reaction, and I would wonder about the customer having a history of paranoia, perhaps suggest therapy. It absolutely makes sense to be irritated by that sort of lousy service, what doesn't make the least bit of sense at all though, is to immediately jump to the conclusion that it's because the man is prejudiced. He's probably just a regular idiot, working a lousy job, who doesn't really give a damn if he pleases the customers or not.

Again, I can't be certain as I lack the ability to go back in time and read minds. However, this sounds like a pretty clear case of crying wolf.
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I hope you're reincarnated as an old white-haired woman next time.
Edited on Thu Feb-02-06 04:19 PM by Idealist Hippie
"you" is Davidthegnome, not max.
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Kerrytravelers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. But as a white person, you do not have the history of clear racist
hatred as experienced by minorities. When you acknowledge the history, one can not help but question the behavior of certain individuals.
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amitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-02-06 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Agreed. Very few straight young white men seem to be willing
to accept racism as a fact of life. They think that if they're not seeing it, it isn't happening. Which is ridiculous.
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Catfight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
10. It's the poor work ethic of the young generation. I really doubt
this had anything to do with race. I've had plenty of experiences with poor work ethics and ignoring you as you stand and wait. In public one time waiting, an entire black staff ignored me and didn't even say "one second please," didn't even acknowledge I was there. I told the manager that it was the worst customer service of any corporation I've experienced. The least that could have been done is acknowledge me as a customer. Needless to say, they did change management and it's a lot better. However, this is very frequent, try going to the mall and shop at a trendy store, the 'kids' there are detached and aloof. Customer service is dead. Welcome to the next generation of rudeness.
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BoneDaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-03-06 08:07 AM
Response to Original message
11. I have no doubt that racism is alive and well but...
as a white male who has experienced plenty of moments like the one above, I would hazzard getting flamed that NOT every experience where someone does not treat a person of color with great respect may not be a situation of racism at all. The person they are dealing with may just simply be a total asshole. This is a phenomenon that is hard to gauge whether it is legitamate racism or just poor interpersonal skills.
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