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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-11 10:01 AM
Original message
Why is it that
white people never think "it's about race"?

It's so easy for the dominant culture to pooh-pooh the idea that some ideas/actions are inherently racially connected.

:banghead:
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-11 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. When you find out, can you let me know?
Bonus points if you can also explain the white people who cling so desperately to the "it's class, not race!" mantra despite all evidence to the contrary.
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-11 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. The saddest part is
these are LIBERALS!

People who understand that there IS racism in our culture. That there are active racists. You see them lay claim to it - they know it. Yet, when it comes up against their own "privilege", their own "pet ideas" - then - oh no! It's most certainly not "racism" - and anyone who thinks otherwise has some kind of gd chip on their shoulder.

The truth is, white people in this country can NEVER understand what it's like to *not be* the dominant culture. Some try to understand. Some try to empathize. Some try desperately to counter it (guilty as charged) - but the honest truth is, unless you've been a victim of the dominant culture, you'll never truly understand the dynamics at play.
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Kweli4Real Donating Member (792 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-11 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I would only add ...
"The truth is, white people in this country can NEVER understand what it's like to *not be* the dominant culture. Some try to understand. Some try to empathize. Some try desperately to counter it (guilty as charged) - but the honest truth is, unless you've been a victim of the dominant culture, you'll never truly understand the dynamics at play."

So rather than fight it; maybe they should just listen.
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Kweli4Real Donating Member (792 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-11 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. Why is it that a fish ...
never thinks about water?

Some need both the presence (to make them feel fulfilled) and absence (for everything else) of race.
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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-11 07:41 AM
Response to Original message
5. When you're at the top of the racial caste system
and hold all of the cards, you don't have to care about race. :banghead:
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
6. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. Repost:
Since I'm thinking this may be my last post on DU, I decided to try and tackle this question a bit

I think that for a lot (not all, but a lot) of whites, they dismiss or reject that things are obviously racist because then that would cause them to have to look at the racist behavior that THEY have participated in during the course of their lives.

I've noticed that for many whites, the only thing that they are willing to designate as openly racist are things like Klan rallies, burning crosses in the yards of people of color, or Nazi thinking which identifies the white race as the "master" or "superior race." They're happy to denote that type of behavior as racist, likely because this is behavior they have never engaged in themselves.

The more subtle acts are the ones that get a little shaky, and alot of people of color will tell you it's the "subtle" acts that we are confronted with every single day and that wear us down the most. It's the black person that's constantly ignored at the counter as they try to purchase something or at staff meetings at work (until something goes wrong). It's the Hispanic that's followed through the stores as if they're going to steal something. It's the Indians in turbans that are stared at as if they're from Pluto. It's assigning motives/thoughts/behaviors etc. to people based solely on the color of their skin, and I bet alot of white people have done this. To me, this is why there is such an adamant refusal to acknowledge that this type of behavior is racist because few people (particularly those who wave the "liberal" card as though it's their gateway to Heaven) will admit to engaging in racist behavior.

Alot of "subtle" racist behavior stems from "subtle" racist thought. I just had a discussion here with a poster who openly stated their disappointment with blacks and Latinos because apparently, we only support President Obama "because of the color of his skin." In this person's head, this is not a racist statement. I attempted to explain how offensive this was, but this person was insistent that what they said was not bigoted and that because another black person agreed with them (a black anarchist who stated that "Obama was messing it up for all black people") that what they said was okay. I tried to explain to them why this comment was inaccurate and offensive, but I don't know why I bothered because the person was insistent that it was not a bigoted statement and the entire sub-thread wound up being deleted. This is why as a country, as a culture, we are unable to get anywhere on this topic. People won't take responsibility for their thoughts/behaviors and then everything winds up being swept under the rug. Eric Holder was right.

My husband, who is white, has often told me that it was not until he wound up spending SIGNIFICANT amounts of time immersed in other cultures that he came to realize that alot of his thoughts/perceptions/behaviors towards certain people left much to be desired. Even phrases he used unthinkingly came to take different meaning when he put them in a global context, one such phrase he used to use was something like "I'd do the same for a white man" until he said that to a Thai army captain who looked at him like he'd lost his mind. (I'm reminded of that whenever I think of Fergie saying that her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, was "whiter than white" when she was caught trying to sell access to him for hundreds of thousands of dollars.)

At the end it boils down to ignorance (some good-hearted, some not) a lack of exposure and probably a lack of historical understanding. This is not about class or education -- there are some dirt poor white people who "get" it, and there are some worth millions who never will. (And yet another reason the "class" discussion that so many desperately try to throw into every discussion about racism is not nearly as relevant as they try to pretend it is.) It's about exposure and I also think it's about CARING enough to try to understand and respect the viewpoints of people who have had very different life experiences in this country based solely on the way in which they look.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 03:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. You GO, girl!!!
:applause:
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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. You are correct
and it's sad that it has to come to that. Got into it with a poster that thought that the only way racism would be gone is if everyone got together and became brown. I'm not sure if the poster was being sarcastic or not. I asked, Is that what it has to come to? Isn't doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do reason enough? Obviously not. Your husband is like a lot of white people--it's not going to sink in until they experience it first hand, or it becomes personal.

I've heard too much from white people about how black people with support black candidates "because they're black". If white people support a white candidate, it's because "they're the most qualified candidate". You'll notice that they don't mind if black people support a white candidate. I don't know what they think of white people that will support a black candidate.

Too much ignorance is because of poor teaching and the country's censored and fantasized history and poor media coverage. The history of race and dealings with the Indians, Mexicans, Chinese, in addition to black people, in the US has been severely censored. Most wonder out loud why there's a Miss Black America contest, Negro Baseball League, Black History Month, BET, HBCU's, etc., (and don't like the idea) and don't know the history. They don't know that Jim Crow segregation has morphed from de jure segregation to de facto segregation. They don't know that black people have been dehumanized for the past 400 years. With dehumanization, came segregation. With segregation, there was no black participation. In that lack of participation, came invisibility and ignorance. With ignorance, there's no learning; without learning, there's no knowledge. Without knowledge, there's no respect.

It's ignorance and lack of respect that makes one a racist.




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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Good Lord, your post gave me the chills
With dehumanization, came segregation. With segregation, there was no black participation. In that lack of participation, came invisibility and ignorance. With ignorance, there's no learning; without learning, there's no knowledge. Without knowledge, there's no respect.

If there was a bowing down "I'm not worthy" smiley, I'd be using it right here. Spot on and f*cking BRILLIANT.

We see that lack of respect every day. Everybody screams about being sent to the "back of the bus" or other aspects of the black experience in this country like it's just some casual throw away line and not something that our mamas, daddies, grandmothers etc. actually experienced and is a source of pain and/or anger. We aren't even allowed our own damn history and unique experiences. And now they're trying to clam MLK.

The disrespect shown Dr. King around here lately has made me come close to actually harming my computer. With one hand, folks state that "King knew it wasn't about race, it was about class" or focus solely on his work on labor rights and the Vietnam War, which completely distorts what the man championed his entire (and all too short) life which was human rights, specifically BLACK AMERICAN RIGHTS. And with the other hand, they have the nerve to moan that King would be so disappointed/angry/etc. at Obama for "insert bs here." The fact that 90% of black Americans, and that includes black Americans who were alive during the Civil Rights Movement, support this president is ignored. To be honest, I think that there are large numbers of white "progressives" who are nothing short of FURIOUS at the black community for still supporting Obama and in greater numbers than they support their black representatives in Congress.

Like you said, it's okay for blacks to support white Democrats. Then we were "supporting our own interests." But for some reason, we are supposed to have turned our backs on Obama 14 minutes into his presidency and if we don't it's only because "we're supporting him because he's black." He has done several things that I have disagreed with or thought were poorly executed, but he hasn't come CLOSE to doing something that would cause me to turn my back on him. Never mind the countless articles and informative briefs on how his policies have benefited the black community. (And don't even get me started on how the five black academics/journalists who disagree with Obama are lauded here while the 687 who support him are completely ignored.) According to far too many, Americans of color only support this president "because of the color of his skin." It's times like this that it is very difficult to distinguish which is worse -- the bigotry of conservatives or that of liberals.
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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-20-11 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. You're too kind
and here's what you're looking for...

It struck me later to add "indifference", but I'm glad you liked the post.

MLK's first duty was to black people and black civil rights, he added the other issues later. He was very much hated and/or misunderstood by white people while alive. I find it very ironic that they can't wait to claim him, esp. since it is a historically diluted version. Dr. King did far more than tell everyone to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya".

I think that there are too many white "progressives" that aren't happy that a black man is in their White House, and like you said, also aren't happy that black people haven't deserted him after 3 months in office. The rabid right and teabaggers have made their feelings VERY clear.

You're right, I need to read about the stuff Mr. Obama has done right by black people, there's plenty of articles that tell what he's done wrong.
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-20-11 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. "You're right, I need to read about the stuff Mr. Obama has done right by black people"
I think this is something all of us need to do more of. I think we should start putting together a list of Obama's policies that help (or hinder) our community. As the impeccable keeper of the "Graphic Examples" and "Black History" threads, is this something you'd like to start?? I'd be happy to help and contribute as long as my donor star allows.

Here are a few articles that I've come across in the last few months that I've found informative:

'The Agenda - The Root looks at the president's record on issues that affect blacks.' - http://www.theroot.com/views/agenda-what-obama-has-done...

'A Black Agenda some choose not to see' - http://www.race-talk.org/?p=3679

'White House outlines tax benefits for Black families' - http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=3678
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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Again, you're too kind
As the President, there will be 10,000+ articles per day on what he's done, what he hasn't done, why he can't do it, why he did it, etc. That would overwhelming, IMO. Maybe some websites or article links will do for now, like the above examples, or individual posts as needed.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. White people also like to forget about Malcolm X.
Whites are quite comfortable with a dead black hero dedicated to non-violence. They conveniently forget (or for the younger ones, never knew) about the alternative approach provided by such leaders as Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, or of the Black Panthers, or any other less peaceful groups. The current understanding of MLK for many whites is wildly inaccurate, their sum total of their knowledge is the "content of their character" quote out of context.

Martin always had Malcolm as a counterweight, the other possibility of outcomes in the civil rights struggle.


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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. No, the whitewashing of Malcolm has happened as well
And the ignorance is every bit as deafening surrounding Malcolm as it is regarding MLK. Now, the focus is solely on his "progression" from black militant (which didn't happen until very late in his life, close to his death) and wondering "what kind of Democrat" Malcolm was. I personally believe that Malcolm would laugh in the face of anyone who tried to pinpoint any allegiance to any particular party on him.

Malcolm was a black separatist who despised the white power structures in this country, including political parties, and was only concerned with the plight of the Negro. If he aligned himself with the Democratic party for any reason, it was solely because the Dem party had attracted so many blacks and he was going to go where his people went. That was it. The fact that white Democrats are trying to claim Malcolm as one of their own shows the astounding amount of ignorance surrounding this man and what he was about.

And Brewman's point about many whites hating MLK when he was alive and now trying to claim him (by minimizing and distorting what he did during the Civil Rights Movement) is right on the money. Anyone who thinks that these same folks slashing and burning every move Obama makes now will not be trying to claim him in 20 years just as they're trying to do with MLK isn't paying attention.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Malcolm was a separatist
and was not affiliated with any political party. Otherwise, he would not be a separatist! He scared most white people back then.

Being a child of the sixties, I remember driving through the South with my parents on vacation, and being shocked by a billboard that purported to show Martin Luther King in a Communist Training School!

I think I have posted this before, the billboard was something like this:



Though with King specifically this was ridiculous, the irony is that the only white American political party to advocate for civil rights before World War II was the American Communist Party. They payed for the best legal talent to defend the Scottsboro Boys, and took their case to the Supreme Court twice. This is one of those pieces of American history that rarely gets talked about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Party_USA_an...
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Wow. Thanks for that really interesting tidbit, kwassa
Though with King specifically this was ridiculous, the irony is that the only white American political party to advocate for civil rights before World War II was the American Communist Party.

I can't say I'm all that surprised, especially given the number of times people have tried to label King a communist. And a traitor. And the anti-Christ. :spray: Which is interesting when you now see the number of people trying to simultaneously claim that he was a liberal AND a Republican. :eyes:
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Kweli4Real Donating Member (792 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Yeah, you right ...
That section (hell, the entire post) was too strong to come from a mere mortal.

I would only add to the quote (though I'm certain I will weaken the post):

With dehumanization, came segregation. With segregation, there was no black participation. In that lack of participation, came invisibility and ignorance. With ignorance, there's no learning; without learning, there's no knowledge. Without knowledge, there's no respect. Without respect, there can be no reflection. Without reflection, there can be no change. Without change, there is no need for continued dialogue.

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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. +1
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-20-11 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. just so members know
this post was deleted in error and member was told it was ok to repost.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
20. Simple answer...
Because they don't HAVE TO. There is no threat to their ignorance because of their "reserve currency" status. THAT assumption
is now being challenged all over the African continent! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Oh, that is my new phrase for 2011
"reserve currency." :thumbsup: That is just simply SPOT F*CKING ON.
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Kweli4Real Donating Member (792 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-11 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
23. To extend the conversation, just a bit ...
I was thinking about all the threads I have read, here and on other sites, where white people seem to want to argue some equivalence of weight of opinion between whites and Black on the subject of racism, i.e., my opinion is just as valid as your opinion. It's as if, reading about and/or thinking deeply about racism, somehow equates to being the victim of racism.

But it struck me the other day (while reading another thread), no one seems to make that leap on any other issue other than race. No one argues that their opinon on alcoholism, informed by reading about or having once known an alcoholic, is as (or more) valid as that of an actual alcoholic, or one that lived in a home with a alcoholic. No one attempts to tell an incest survivor that their academic knowledge of incest is more significant than the survivor's experience.

I would suggest that this distinction as a clear example of white priviledge. What think you?
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-11 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. hmm - I'm not sure I agree with this.
The arrogance of people who think they "know better". . . the ones who say -

- "just stop drinking" to an alcoholic and doesn't understand the physiological addiction, nor the deep-seated psychological dependence;

- "just get over it" to a victim of abuse and they've never ever experienced the trauma and psychological damage suffered;

They can and do think their simplistic and one-dimensional "opinion" based on on absolutely NO FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE is a "first-rate answer' to the problem.

I think the difference with race is that few people can ADMIT that they got where the are due to an unfair system rigged in their favor. They want to believe they succeeded on their on merit, period - when nothing could be further from the truth. Over 200 years of institutionalized racism insures that "white" continue to benefit from a system biased in their favor.

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