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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 10:50 PM
Original message
The Causes of Racism
Racism is a belief that other races are inferior to ones own. It is typically accompanied by hatred at the individual level, discriminatory policies at the social and political level, and violence at all levels. Consequently, it is a major cause of war, as well as atrocities committed during war. Here is a typical definition.

Former President Jimmy Carters recent claim that much of the right wing outrage directed at President Obama is the result of racism was not surprisingly followed by more outrage from those who dont want to be reminded that racism remains a serious problem in our country. But this problem needs more light shone on it. If our country fails to come to grips with its racist past and present it is likely to plague us for a long time to come.

I dont know to what extent understanding the causes of racism will contribute to its solution. But it is certainly true that an understanding of causes is often the first and most important step towards solving any problem.


THE CAUSES OF RACISM

Racism has many causes, and there is a lot that humankind has yet to learn about it. Here are four causes that I have found through my experiences or reading to be the most important:


The desire to exploit other people

It is highly likely that the root of most racism seen in the United States is its legacy of slavery. Slavery in the United States represents one of the cruelest episodes in the history of the world.

How can one justify such cruelty? It is possible to rationalize it only by dehumanizing or demonizing its victims. One has to make the case that the victims are inferior or wicked. Noam Chomsky explains the psychology behind the propensity of people to justify their own cruelty, in his book, What we Say Goes:

When you conquer somebody and suppress them, you have to have a reason. You cant just say, Im a son of a bitch and I want to rob them. You have to say its for their good, they deserve it, or they actually benefit from it. Were helping them. That was the attitude of slave owners. Most of them didnt say, Look, Im enslaving these people because I want easily exploitable, cheap labor for my own benefit. They said, Were doing them a favor. They need it.

The dehumanization can be very subtle. One way of doing it is to honor those who know enough to stay in their place. Thus was the myth created that our slaves were grateful to be slaves. These ideas were perpetuated with numerous historical markers erected throughout the South, which honored slaves who fought for the Confederacy. James Loewen gave several examples of this phenomenon in his book, Lies Across America What our Historic Sites Get Wrong. A typical example is this one:

Dedicated to the Faithful Slaves who, loyal to a sacred trust, toiled for the support of the army, with matchless devotion, and with sterling fidelity guarded our defenseless homes, women, and children, during the struggle for the principles of our Confederate States of America

These historical markers are grossly misleading. Whereas more than 130,000 slaves escaped to join the Union Army, and thousands of additional slaves aided the Union cause in numerous other ways, a study of 150 thousand Confederate soldiers found less than a dozen of them to be black (and probably most or all of those were coerced into being there). By the end of the war the myth of the happy slave had been shattered though historical markers throughout the South continue to keep the myth alive today.

The idea expressed in the above noted historical marker is dehumanizing because it purports that the only good black man is one who reacts to his own exploitation with slavish loyalty to his exploiters. Normal humans dont feel that way about those who exploit them.

On the flip side of that coin, the word drapetomania was coined by the psychiatrist Samuel A. Cartwright, in 1851, as the mental illness in which black slaves were plagued by an excessive and abnormal need to flee captivity. If its normal and honorable for black people to be grateful to white people for enslaving them, then those who dont wish to be enslaved must have serious mental problems.


Low self-esteem

A related cause of racism is low self-esteem. Only a small minority of ante-Bellum Southerners owned slaves. Yet racism went way beyond the slave owners. For much of the remainder of the white population of the ante-Bellum South, racism provided a means of feeling superior and bolstering their self-esteem.

In his book, The Sane Society, the humanist psychologist Erich Fromm discusses among other things the human psychological needs that differentiate us from animals. Two of those needs are rootedness and a sense of identity. The healthy and mature way to address those needs is to develop ones own individual personality and sense of identity. Fromm singles out nationalism and racism as the two most common strategies that Americans (and others as well) use to cling to the familiar and provide them with a sense of identify that they are unable or unwilling to develop on their own:

Man freed from the traditional bonds afraid of the new freedom which transformed him into an isolated atom escaped into (a state) of which nationalism and racism are the two most evident expressions Along with the progressive development went the development of the negative aspects of both principles: the worship of the state, blended with the idolatry of the race or nation. Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism are the most drastic manifestations of this blend of state and clan worship, both principles embodied in the figure of a Fuehrer (Fromm wrote this in 1955)

Many substitutes for a truly individual sense of identity were sought for, and found. Nation, religion, class and occupation serve to furnish a sense of identity In the United States the sense of identity is shifted more and more to the experience of conformity. A new herd identity develops, in which the sense of identity rests on the sense of an unquestionable belonging to the crowd. That this uniformity and conformity are often not recognized as such, and are covered by the illusion of individuality, does not alter the facts.

Elaine Sihera explains the psychology of how low self-esteem works to create racism:

They project all their negative feelings outward unto others, especially on to the most weak and vulnerable. When we truly love ourself and appreciate who we are, we can appreciate how others feel and accommodate them more Racism comes through a feeling of unworthiness, of being 'victimized' and of being a failure. Someone has to pay for such low feelings and self-perception. This means a need for scapegoats in order to feel superior and to exercise personal power over others. Racist people tend to feel insignificant, isolated, wronged and unloved and they remedy that feeling of exclusion by blaming someone else for it

So it is that rabid racists can summed up like this:

White supremacists and other racists are waving a large flag that says: "I feel deeply inadequate, insecure, fearful, flawed. I am terrified of anyone knowing about these feelings, so I will hide them by pretending to be better than others. This will protect me from ever having to know how defective I really feel."


Ignorance, fear, upbringing, and peer pressure

I consider these factors together because theyre all related in the way that they produce racism. When children are taught by their parents that other people are inferior or subhuman, they tend to grow up believing that. When their peers exhibit the same beliefs and behavior, those ideas become solidified in their minds. In the absence of experiences to widen their horizons, they remain ignorant of the realities of other peoples. And people tend to fear what they are ignorant of, especially if they have been taught to fear them. In that way people can pick up racist beliefs without ill intentions. Thus it is that:

When the person has already been fed negative stereotypes, and does not have the actual real life experiences with at least one within the particular group, then the chances of racism are increased.

The mechanism by which parents transmit racism to their children can be subconscious:

Parents can have a massive effect on their children. Every time they react harshly to a person of another race they are teaching their children the subconscious message that this is the right thing to do It can become part of what they are.

Yet, this kind of racism can be remedied. I knew a guy in college (Ill call him Greg) who routinely talked like a typical racist. Then the first black student (Ill call him Jim) moved into our dorm, and Greg and Jim got to know each other and became friends. One day they were driving in a car together, and Greg inadvertently used some blatantly racist language. He told me about it later about how bad he felt when he realized what he said in the presence of Dave. He had become so familiar with Dave that he no longer thought of him as a black guy, but rather as just one of the guys. The habits of a lifetime can be hard to break even after the ignorance that led to them begins to dissipate.

On the importance of education:

The only change will come through education and awareness of why those actions might not be appropriate, the consequences they carry for others as well as the alternatives that are available. Until people who know no better undergo an educative process around racism, ignorance will always keep racism thriving, especially among those who have no desire to act differently.


Lack of empathy

Empathy is perhaps the must human of all human characteristics. It is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another person, and understand and feel what that person is going through. I believe that it is the ultimate source of all morality. With sufficient empathy, it is very difficult for racism to thrive, even in the presence of other factors that tend to encourage racism. George Lakoff, Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, explains that empathy is primarily what makes liberals/progressives who they are:

Empathy is at the heart of progressive thought. It is the capacity to put oneself in the shoes of others especially those who are in some way oppressed, threatened, or harmed. Empathy is the capacity to care, to feel what others feel, to understand what others are facing and what their lives are like. Empathy extends well beyond feeling to understanding, and it extends beyond individuals to groups, communities, peoples, even species It goes to the heart of our values, which are the basis of our sense of justice.

Progressives have a moral obligation to act on their empathy a social responsibility in addition to personal responsibility, a responsibility to make the world better by making themselves better. This leads to a view of a government that cares about its citizens and has a moral obligation to protect and empower them All progressive legislation is made on this basis.

Lack of empathy leads to racism:

The lack of empathy that many Whites display is both a sociological and a psychological problem. It is the indifference to human suffering that allows ordinary people to engage in extraordinary acts of violence. It is the lack of empathy that allows people to sit by and blame people for their suffering. Each semester I show lynching photos like the one above, so my students understand the shear brutality of racism. One of the most disturbing aspects of these photos is how much glee and pride are evident in the faces of the White lynch mobs Think of the sheer lack of empathy and the viscous brutality that is associated with smiling at something like this. This is what racism does. It makes people indifferent to human suffering, and it allows them to rape, rob, pillage, and kill without guilt or conscience It allows them to look at racist insults as something that people of color should turn a blind eye to.


OUR DIRE NEED TO COMBAT RACISM

The events of recent weeks have shown that pockets of rabid racism remain in our country, with the potential to do great damage. The idea that their country elected a black man as President is driving the rabid racists out of their minds, and the possibility of widespread violence seems to grow with each passing week.

Racism harms not only its victims:

Racism harms white people by stripping them of their ability to feel. Instead of hearing the hurt, the pain and the anger expressed by those who suffer from racism, they choose instead to deny the humanity of others. In so doing, they deny the humanity of themselves.

Margorie Cohn, in her book, Rules of Disengagement explains through the testimony of former U.S. soldiers, how the U.S. military uses racism to motivate its soldiers to kill:

Jody Casey pointed out that the disregard for Iraqis comes from the top. They basically jam it into your head You totally take the human being out of it If you start looking at them as humans, then how are you going to kill them?

Arab American soldiers and sailors have been singled out in training by drill instructors who used them as examples of what the enemy looks like. They were Arab; the enemy was Arab; Arab meant stupid, dirty, devious fanatics, ultimately less than human

Mike Prysner described one operation in which his unit forcibly removed Iraqi families from their homes without warning literally throwing people out into the streets. If the men objected, they were detained and imprisoned Prysner observed physical and psychological abuse of hundreds of detainees Racism is a vital weapon deployed by this government Without racism soldiers would realize that they have more in common with the Iraqi people than they do with the billionaires who send us to war.

Indeed, without racism it is unlikely that the Iraq War would have generated enough public support to be politically feasible.

Ill end this post with an excerpt from a statement on combating racism made by the American Psychiatric Association at the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR):

We strongly believe that respect for the inherent dignity and well-being of each member of the human family is the psychological foundation of freedom, human justice, and peace in the world. This important principle is recognized in the United Nations Charter (1945), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and every subsequent human rights declaration and convention, including the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965). Therefore, we urge the integration of psychological and positive mental health concerns into the framework of the WCAR as a necessary condition for the effective implementation of remedies, and corrective and preventive measures and strategies.

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Rosa Luxemburg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. The only way these people are racist is that they allowed to racist
Congress should toughen up race relation laws in this country. Perhaps we should start looking at coubntries that have successful race relations?
We should start with the media - they are the rebel rousers.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Laws are for when it's close to impossible to remove a certain behavior otherwise....
Edited on Sat Sep-19-09 11:00 PM by BlooInBloo
I'm not that pessimistic about racism (at the stage it's at, at any rate).


EDIT: Then again, depending on each specific law you referred to but did not describe, I may or may not agree in each case.
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. Not looking for trouble here,but the race relations here are
no worse than in those other countries to which you refer.

What countries are they,anyway? Just curious.
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blue neen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. The original post mentions Nazism and Stalinism, so I would assume that
would be Germany and Russia at one time in their respective histories.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. Fuck all that. Just wait for them to die, and stop making new ones.
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Rude Dog Donating Member (151 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Yeah, that's a good one.
They're some of the most baby-happy folks out there - gotta combat the Great Brown Menace, y'know.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. The "new ones" I refered to are a *sociological* entity, namely bigots...
Edited on Sat Sep-19-09 11:24 PM by BlooInBloo
as opposed to the generic biological entity *people*.

In terms of waiting for bigots to die, and stop making new bigots, we're winning that - we've got negative population growth. Extinction isn't coming as *fast* as we would like, but it's ultimately effective.

And dismantling environments in which bigots thrive will help speed up the process.


EDIT: Removed anaphors due in recognition of confusion about my first post.
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
4.  This post seems to imply that whites are the racists and blacks are
Edited on Sat Sep-19-09 11:01 PM by virgogal
the recipients of the negative feelings.

What about other races' feelings about different skin color?

How do Asians feel about Hispanics?

How do Blacks feel about Indians?

How do Whites feel about Asians?

A most complicated issue.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Our group is #1
That's a universal across human culture, to value your own group above all others. It's an attitude that has survival value. On the other hand, being outgoing and friendly can be highly dangerous at times. Let these attitudes stew inside a skull for a few years and it would be hard NOT to come out with various racist attitudes.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. Where do you get that idea?
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Holy Moly Donating Member (86 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
36. black social hierarchy?
I've read and heard discussed that american blacks loosely have their own social pecking order hierarchy, from lightest skinned being on the top down to the darkest skinned being at the bottom.
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #36
64. I've also read and heard
that color color pecking order exists in Latin countries, India. It's not that uncommon in this world that values whiteness.

Dividing the plantation by color was an effective control tool.

http://www.africanamericanimages.com/aai/Willie%20Lynch...



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DatManFromNawlins Donating Member (640 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 01:50 AM
Response to Reply #64
72. google "paper bag test"
7th warders in New Orleans for the longest time held themselves above the rest of the black people in the area. Dutch Morial would have never been elected if it weren't for his fair complexion.
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 02:05 AM
Response to Reply #72
73.  I don't have to google.
My grandfather was the first person to explain the paper bag test to me. I was going to my first dance at the Autocrat and he took that occasion to give me a history lesson.

The way I remember it, the 7th warders believed they were better than the black and white folk of the area.

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blue neen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. Very thoughtful post.
I found the explanation of the dehumanization of victims the most interesting of all...it is quite applicable to the situations at this summer's town hall meetings. There were people at those meetings who heckled disabled supporters of health care reform, who heckled single working parents who were without insurance. I would sit there and wonder, "How can these people be so cruel to others who are truly in need?"

It seems that many in this country have forgotten "The Golden Rule."

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #9
52. Thank you...
The townhall meetings seem like an organized effort to inject racism into American politics with an intensity we haven't seen for a very long time. Rather than forgetting the Golden Rule, I believe that these people simply have no use for it and never did. They bring to mind John Dean's book, "Conservatives without Conscience".

The experiences you discuss in post # 50 remind me of some stories my mom told me a long time ago.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
11. Don't underestimate competition
A lot of what I have heard for decades from working class folks is a backlash against affirmative action.

They seem to feel they are being unfairly rejected for a job they apply for due to government imposed racism and quotas and that makes it easier for them to justify racism.

That any job they apply for they are at a disadvantage due to their race.

The big picture of society anf overall justice matters little to them when they need a job to feed their kids.

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blue neen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I have observed a different phenomenon on that subject.
I've seen people use racism to cover up for their own inadequacies.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #12
34. Certainly, those types will use anything to deflect their inabilities
I'm talking about something different and much more widespread, as in 9 out of 10 working class people in the town I grew up in.

Most jobs were at local refineries, plants etc. and those are the good jobs, good job security, good pay, good benefits that everyone wants. You can work there for life and retire with good benefits.

The guy applying for the job at the Monsanto plant or the BP refinery etc., the guy applying for the post office job or other government job, or city jobs etc.. They cannot see why anyone should be put in front of them because of skin color, and even if it isn't even factually the case, and some white guy got the job, they don't know that and the myth is ever present in their mind.

Just saying that sentiment is quite real, very widespread, and drives a lot of anti government and racist points of view.

They don't have anything against the black guy, but they see it on an individual level not a wider view of inequality. That that person as a man should not be at a disadvantaged in the hiring for this one job, vs the man standing in line beside him due to race. Especially not a government mandated disadvantage.

Same applies for gender based hiring, but it's less insidious because it lacks the race element.

To shrug that off as simply someone covering up some inadequacy is short sighted.
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blue neen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #34
50. I personally have been discriminated against in school and on the job.
I am now in my 50's and graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration in 1977. Back in those days, most of my classes were at a ratio of 2 females to about 30 males. I had professors state flat out that the women in the classes would have to work harder than the men to make the same grades. One prof actually stated that no woman in his class would make higher than a B...the guys in the class, BTW, supported us and hated him for his prejudiced attitude and helped to get him fired after that semester.

I was actually asked the question, "Are you pregnant?" by an employer before I received a well-deserved job promotion. Honestly. "Are you pregnant?" The government had already mandated that the question was illegal, however it was asked routinely at that time.

One employer offered me a manager's job at a pay-rate of 1/4 what the man who held the job was making. I turned them down and told them they insulted me. Another man was given the job, and he definitely was paid more than I was offered.

Some of my friends and I were pretty talented athletes in high school, however Title IX was not passed until 1972...not much help to us. Girls and women today have many athletic possibilities, but they still do not have the same opportunities as male athletes.

I could go on and on about discrimination that I have experienced and am sure that many others on this board could do the same. The fact is people who are different than white males in race, gender, sexual orientation are the ones who have been at the disadvantage. I do agree that the sentiment you are speaking of is quite real and widespread; it's a shame that the men who feel that way can't take a walk in the shoes of those of us who are "different."

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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. Yes it is a shame
But in their eyes two wrongs do not make a right. They refuse to see farther than that, or to admit it if they do.
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #11
65. You're saying racism is fueled by affirmative action.
What was the excuse to justify racism before affirmative action?
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Solomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #65
78. White people got the most benefit out of affirmative action.
The propaganda about it, i.e. making it black people's fault, is truly disgusting.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #78
80. They don't blame black people for affirmative action
They blame the government.

I agree with you though, just relating what I hear from those around me as a person who is a high school drop out, who worked my way up from minimum wage jobs like cleaning toilets to construction jobs etc. to a 6 figure income from my own business.

So that maybe you can understand where some of this sentiment comes from, and have a better insight as to how to help fight it.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #65
79. I wouldn't know, I was not an adult in the 1960's.
I'm just describing what I have heard in my working life from those around me, working at lower calls or middle class jobs.
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #79
83. I wasn't an adult in the 60s, but I was aware of racism.
I knew that the people working in the lower and middle class jobs were not there because they were geniuses. I knew that those in my community could perform those jobs as good as and/or better than the privileged ones.

I see the anger against affirmative action as an excuse. Before affirmative action, they did not have to compete with others for jobs. They benefited from privilege and it didn't matter if they weren't qualified.

Some use affirmative action for excuse when they know they are not qualified.

JMHO
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Solomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
14. You make good points, but there is an error in
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 01:14 AM by Solomon
your argument and that error is the source of all confusion about "racism."

The error is the assumption that racism is caused by the feeling of superiority. That is the crucial error.

Here is the bottom line. On this planet there is white, and non-white. White can only come from a white mating with another white. If a white mates with anything else, a non-white is generated. Birth rates of whites are not keeping pace with birth rates of non-whites. Thus, some whites have what is called fear of genetic annihilation. That is to say, if the races freely mingle, the white race would eventually melt away.

Whites like to stockpile guns, bullets, bombs,projectiles of all kinds. No problem spending half the gnp on bombs. Psychologically these "bullets" are the answer to the "bullets" of non-whites, i.e. sperm which carries the power to "cancel" the "white race". The fiercest attacks are reserved for the darkest non-whites. Why? Because the darkest non-whites carry the most powerful genes in generating non-whites.

Some whites don't care about or fear genetic annihilation, but some whites care very deeply about this.

This fear is a very different animal than the "superiority" complex your argument is based on. These people don't so much think they are superior but rather fear extinction. The only way a minority in such a situation could survive, could ensure against being overrun, is to dominate the non-white people. To achieve domination, the color pyramid has been established like the Tower of Babylon so that other non-whites will see themselves as separate from each other, rather than simply "non-white."

The significance of the difference between the superiority argument and the fear of genetic annihilation argument is that one can clearly not believe one is superior, but still be a racist. Thus you hear some white people saying all the time that something or someone isn't racist, because the thing or person does not involve superiority issue. Yet all the while attempts to hold back non-whites are "justified" on other grounds.

It's not so much about hate as fear.




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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #14
22. I note the need to feel superior as just one of several causes
I don't say that it is the only cause.

Our whole slavery institution was rationalized on the basis of the superiority of whites. Southerners have had it drilled into their heads for several generations, since the beginning of black slavery, that they are superior to black people.

I also mention fear as a cause, but it is only one cause. There is not just one single cause for thie.
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Petrushka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #22
71. Hm-m. Wondered if black slaveholders felt a "need to feel superior" to other blacks . . .
. . . or to poor whites in the South.

Found the following research---Black Masters: The Misunderstood Slaveowners---and
bookmarked it to read later:



http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4074/is_200601/... ;col1
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 02:30 AM
Response to Reply #71
74. I'm certain all of the slaveholders, black and white, felt superior
to those who were enslaved.

But, I really don't believe the Africans were enslaved because the Europeans felt superior. I have a hard time believing they were that stupid. They enslaved the Africans because it was easier than enslaving the Native Americans and other whites.

They wanted slaves to build this country and they didn't care who they enslaved. The superior/ inferior crap evolved to justify enslaving and dehumanizing other human beings. It also worked to keep poor whites from uniting with blacks. A unified population might just decide to revolt against the minority in power.

The more things change....
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Petrushka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 05:24 AM
Response to Reply #74
75. Darnit! I just typed a lon-n-ng reply to your post and lost it! Anyway . . .
:fistbump:

You're right: "The more things change...." (**sigh**)

Anyway . . . in my googling tonight (this morning?), here
are a couple links that looked promising enough to bookmark
for later:

http://www.kon.org/urc/v4/tikhomirova.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=YF5U4IkcFS4C&dq=rednec...


All best!







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Solomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #75
77. Hope that stuff makes you feel better.
LOL
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Petrushka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #77
82. Hm-m. "Better" than . . .?
:P









:hi:
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #14
33. Oh dear... Did you GO THERE???
Oh yes you did!!! :hide:
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Solomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #33
37. LOL You know it.
:hi:

It's the truth everybody wants to ignore.

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Blue_Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #14
86. this is one of the best descriptions
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 12:00 PM by Blue_Roses
of racism I have ever heard--and I was born, raised, and still live in the Deep South! I think you are spot on. I will say however, that there is some fear associated with race. For example, when integration started in the 70's, a black family moved into my all-white neighborhood. I thought it was cool, but I was just a kid. I had NO idea the ramifications and hate that it would bring out amongst neighbors. I remember they were riddled with gunshots all the time until they finally moved. The dad was a doctor and the mother was a teacher--to two of the cutest kids. One of the bullets barely missed her while she was sleeping on her bunk bed.

That was my first experience with the hate and fear of racism. I remember my parents saying how many didn't want them in the neighborhood because of their color. While my parents disagreed with how they were treated, they never took a stand. I always felt so sorry for them and their kids and tried to befriend them, but they were distant--and understandably so. I think that NOT speaking out about racism is the same as condoning it. However, living in the south, I know first hand the names and hate that whites received for taking that stand.

Racists are a nasty, nasty group. x(
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
15. Another key aspect
from a sociological standpoint is competition for jobs.

Historically in America, racial animosity isn't a big problem when people are living near each other, per se.

But if the economy is tight, and the labor market is such that there is serious competition, and immigrants as a group are seen as a threat to the employment of the people who got there before them, it's almost universal that these conditions result in discrimination against the "outsiders", which came to include Irish immigrants, Asian immigrants, African-Americans, and people from Mexico and Central America.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #15
35. Yes
Some of the other things I discussed are somewhat related to that, but I think it should be considered another distinct cause.
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #15
63. The African ancestors of most African Americans
were not immigrants. They were already here when many European immigrants arrived. African Americans as well as Native Americans were not immigrants who threatened their jobs. They were treated as "the other" but not because of job competition.
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #63
69. +1.
So many good points in what you said.

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MellowDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
16. Actually, racism is an ideology...
so there are no "causes" for an ideology, only causes for why people believe in that ideology. And when it comes to racism, there is only one cause, ignorance. You can want to control and exploit others, have low self-esteem, and have a complete lack of empathy and yet still you would only be a bigot at the least. The ideology of biological racism requires you to be ignorant to believe it. Most "racists" nowadays don't even believe in racial superiority, but they are very bigoted for many different reasons listed.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #16
23. In other words, you don't consider racism a type of bigotry?
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MellowDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #23
31. Racism itself is specifically an ideology...
one that is inherently bigoted. So yes, it is a type of bigotry, one that comes with the belief of racial superiority.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #16
32. I strongly disagree with your assertion that the ONLY cause of racism is ignorance
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 10:14 AM by Time for change
In particular, the racism generated by the institution of slavery had a very large economic component to it. It was not simply a matter of ignorance. There was an aggressive effort to paint black people as inferior, so as to justify slavery. Ideologies do have causes -- they don't just appear for no reason. And in this case, the self-serving motivation of justifying exploitation of black people was a major cause.

And in any event, racism is not just an ideology. It isn't just a set of beliefs. It involves hatred, fear, self-identity -- in short, a complex array of feelings.
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MellowDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #32
54. I agree with you...
that to be a racist nowadays especially, you have to have hatred, fear, etc. as well as ignorance. But back in the day it was accepted sceintific "knowledge" that blacks were inferior, so you could have been a perfectly happy fellow who was a racist and felt no hatred per se.

I think you are confusing the cause of racism with the cause in the *belief* of racist ideology. The cause of racism being literally made up out of thin air as an ideology is much as you say it is, economic incentive at the time for slavery. But the only way people can believe in that ideology nowadays is through ignorance combined with all those other things. And now racism has little to do with the institution of slavery and a lot to do with bigotry. You also have to wonder if those that created race and racism actually believed it. After all, they created it for a very material purpose, and I wouldn't doubt that they didn't believe their own bullshit. Like Thomas Jeffreson. Something tells me he only believed racist ideology to the point where he wouldn't have to feel bad for treating fellow humans like "chattle". After all, they were "sub-human". And even then, his personal life shows that he probably didn't even really buy that.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #54
55. It's sometimes very difficult to differentiate what a person really believes vs. what they want to
believe. A person who wants to justify slavery in order to justify their own actions may "believe" that black people are subhuman, or at least believe that they believe it. But in their subconscious mind they may know otherwise. It's the psychological process of "denial". It's VERY common.

I don't agree that racism today has little to do with slavery. It originated in slavery, and it is transmitted through the generations. That is why racism is much more prevalent today in the American south than it is in the north. The attitudes that developed during slavery were very strong, and have had great staying power over time. That's why we see still see so much attachment to the Confederate flag in the South.
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #32
56. Was it not a common belief by the military hierarchy early in WWII that
black men just did not have the right stuff to be a competent aviator? Seeing a group of Tuskegee Airman attending a convention at the same hotel at which we were staying in Atlanta in the mid-1990s gave me cause to reflect on what they had endured just to get their wings. I then hung my head in shame realizing that these men and others had come back from war to the same discrimination they had endured before the war and this caused me to further reflect on the reception that Jackie Robinson got for an extended period of time after having broken into major league baseball almost two years after the end of WWII. I then recalled how my native state had later voted an outstanding US senator (Al Gore, Sr.) out of office for having had the temerity to support civil rights legislation and I now again hang my head in shame that one nearby congressional district, eaten up with zealous tea-bagger-types, keeps returning a Marsha Blackburn to office. Something ugly still lurks in the hearts and minds of a puzzling number of people and this ugliness sometimes boils over into rage in some when provoked by the provocateurs. :D
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #56
57. I'm certain that was a common belief
I don't know HOW common, but I'm sure that it was common.

Not only Al Gore Sr. Racism had quite a lot to do with Al Gore Jr.'s defeat in the presidential election of 2000. It's no coincidence that he lost every Southern state, including his home state. And in Florida his loss can be attributed to, among other things, inferior voting machines in poor black districts, the illegal scrubbing of tens of thousands of black voters for the voter lists, and a ballot in Palm Beach County that was purposely designed to confuse voters who intended to vote for Gore. Take away any one of those factors and there would have been no Bush presidency.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:53 AM
Response to Original message
17. Insanely long to state the obvious.
People are racists because they have been taught to hate by their parents and their community.

People are racists because they have been taught to fear the unknown instead of embracing differences.

People are racists becaues they have been taught to believe themselves "entitled" and "superior" therefore others must be "inferior" and "unworthy" of their compassion and understanding.

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Czar One Donating Member (93 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #17
30. Even that explanation is too long:
FEAR, plain and simple!
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #30
62. Fear of what?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #17
61. I don't see why
simple one line sound bites are preferable to a more detailed discussion of a complex issue.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:00 AM
Response to Original message
18. The elite teach racism because discrimination is profitable for them . . .
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 02:01 AM by defendandprotect
"You have to be taught to hate and fear -- you have to be carefully taught . . . "


Same with every other class of people they exploit --

women, homosexuals, Jews -- whatever . . .

But most of all

NATURE

---

Organized patriarchal religion's "Man's Dominion Over Nature" and "Manifest Destiny"

the licenses to EXPLOIT nature.




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proteus_lives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:21 AM
Response to Original message
19. Humanity is the cause of racism.
As long as we've been walking upright, we've gathered in groups and hated/feared/fought other groupings. No way around it. And we still haven't evolved past it. All groups have the racist tendency.

Sucks but the only way to combat it is on the individual level. Teach your kids.
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Aragorn Donating Member (784 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 06:39 AM
Response to Original message
20. how can you
write such good stuff most of the time, and yet help perpetuate the myths behind prejudice by using the term "race"? You do realize there is only one race of humans on this planet?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #20
26. For one thing
I'm an epidemiologist. Epidemiologists study the causes of disease in people according to innumerable different characteristics. One of the characteristics we study is what we call race. Different races have very different susceptabilities to many different diseases, for many reasons. We study those reasons in order to understand why different people have different susceptabilities, so that we can figure out how to prevent those diseases.

In that respect, we find the concept of race helpful. I take it that your objection to the concept of race is that you believe that the concept itself leads to racism. I tend to disagree with that, though it's possible that you are right to a greater or lesser extent. But I don't think that refusing to acknowledge our differences is helpful.

When you say that there is only one race of humans on this planet, I think that what you mean to say is that we all have a common humanity, and that should be recognized. I agree with that, and I tried to emphasize that in this post (in my discussion of empathy), though not in those words. But that doesn't mean that there aren't differences, or that we can't learn useful things from studying those differences.

Still, it is worth pointing out that our differences are far less than racists would have us believe. That's why I noted ignorance as one of the major causes.

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
21. Good post but I don't see how we discuss the causes of racism
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 07:13 AM by malaise
without including the economic aspect. Indeed I start with the justification for 'otherness'. The other was the barbarian, the other wasn't Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Anglican, whatever. The other was Irish, African, Mexican, brown, yellow, Indian, etc.

The English thought the Irish were inferior for religious regions hence they could be exploited while the English got rich.
The 'white man's burden' was their justification for exploiting every other race as they captured countries and people while setting up their capitalist enterprises.

Modern slavery had a significant economic component. Neither Britain nor the US could have become wealthy without slavery. Today the 'other' means foreigners whose governments are forced to keep wages down so that cheap labor is always available so that a few can become filthy rich while the world's poor (of all shades) live in squalor.

add
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. I did include an economic component
It was the first section of this post -- the desire to exploit other people.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:46 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. True but you explicitly mentioned
discriminatory policies at the social and political level and those followed the primary reason - free labor to accumulate wealth. The social and political levels merely provided cover for economic exploitation.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #25
28. I think that discrimination at the social and political level follow all of the causes of racism
Economic exploitation is an important cause of racism, but I doubt that it is the only one.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. It is the lynchpin of institutional racism
and unless we understand that it will never end. The other has to be inferior or we cannot justify why we are entitled and they are not. Now let me be clear that throughout history this 'otherness' has often incorporated more than just race and ethnicity, but it always guarantees that the exploiter becomes more powerful and wealthy than the 'other'.

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #21
58. "The English thought the Irish were inferior for religious regions hence they could be exploited"
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 08:24 PM by Hannah Bell
wrong way round. when people want to use others, they invent reasons to justify it.

plenty of examples where there was no racial or religious difference, but the phenomenon we associate with "racism" still occurred, & similar specious reasons invented to justify it.

Burakumin in japan = a caste of people who look just like japanese, speak japanese, practice japanese religions, *are* japanese - but were subject to all the discriminatory measures linked to "racism" here, save outright slavery, & the system of discrimination was held in place by the state "family registration" system, so they couldn't just move & "pass". and still is, though to a lesser extent.

State systems, esp. imperial ones, need an underclass to do the shitwork, & produce it through a variety of means.

When the institutional supports for such beliefs disappear, the practices disappear within a few generations.

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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 07:48 AM
Response to Original message
27. Another truly invaluable, brilliantly insightful post by Time for change.
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 07:48 AM by Joe Chi Minh
If only those fundamental causes of racism could be taught in all schools (including the private ones) at the earliest possible age at which they could be understood, in just a basic way, what promise and hope it would provide for everyone, not just the victims.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #27
53. Thank you Joe
Yes, I believe that knowledge is one of the big keys to ridding the world of this plague.


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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
38. Nowhere in the OP is it pointed out that racism has no basis in science
but pretends to be scientific. Instead racism is simply characterized at best as the result of unhealthy attitudes or unhealthy socialization or at worst mass pathology.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Isn't it obvious from the causes that I discussed in the OP that it has not basis in science?
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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Not really
You make racism sound like a mental illness
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. I didn't make it clear that racism is the result of unhealthy attitudes?
I said in the OP:

How can one justify such cruelty? It is possible to rationalize it only by dehumanizing or demonizing its victims. One has to make the case that the victims are inferior or wicked.

You don't think that dehumanizing and demonizing are unhealthy attitudes?

I said:
The humanist psychologist Erich Fromm discusses among other things the human psychological needs that differentiate us from animals. Two of those needs are rootedness and a sense of identity. The healthy and mature way to address those needs is to develop ones own individual personality and sense of identity. Fromm singles out nationalism and racism as the two most common strategies that Americans (and others as well) use to cling to the familiar and provide them with a sense of identify that they are unable or unwilling to develop on their own:

That doesn't make it clear that racism is the result of unhealthy attitudes?

I said:
The events of recent weeks have shown that pockets of rabid racism remain in our country, with the potential to do great damage. The idea that their country elected a black man as President is driving the rabid racists out of their minds, and the possibility of widespread violence seems to grow with each passing week.

That doesn't make it clear that I'm saying that racism is characterized by mass pathology?

I don't know what you're looking for.



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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. The problem is that's what you reduce racism to!
Attitudes and feelings, rather than an ideology with its own sort of heuristics (however warped), and people who believe it because it guarantees them real-world privileges.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. You say in your first post on this thread:
"Racism is simply characterized at best as the result of unhealthy attitudes or unhealthy socialization or at worst mass pathology."

And then when I show you that I did in fact characterize racism in precisely the way that you suggested, you say "The problem is that's what you reduce racism to!" -- which is exactly what you reduced it to in your two sentence critique of my post.

Except that my post had a lot more explanation and discussion of the issue than your two sentences did -- so I didn't reduce it to those things, like you did.
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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. I think there's been a misunderstanding, or I haven't been clear enough
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 02:42 PM by BOG PERSON
I said: "Instead (of showing how racism is an internally consistent system of oppression with its own history and method of discourse) racism is simply characterized at best as blah blah blah..."

So you see, that is why I disagreed with the OP
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. Yeah, that's perfectly clear now
:sarcasm:
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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #47
49. What's not clear?
I think your analysis relies too much on psychologization of political/historical problems to be very useful, that's all.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #49
59. That's not clear to me either
I'm sorry I used sarcasm -- That was pointless. I was getting frustrated.

What's not clear is that your posts contradict each other, as I explained in post 45. I assume you didn't mean them to, but they do. Once that happens, it's extremely difficult to make sense of your train of thought.





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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #59
66. No, they actually don't
I'm pretty sure you just misread my first post in the thread.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. It IS.
:hide:
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BOG PERSON Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. If racism is a mental illness
then whiteness is the most common symptom.
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dugaresa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #38
85. Perhaps it does have a basis in science, in Darwin's Natural Selection
Fitness to survive isn't just in your ability to live long and outlast the flu. Fitness is also in your ability to reason and think.

We would like to think that our reasoning and thinking has a positive influence. However people's ability to manipulate a situation to the better-ment of themselves and their offspring is a concept of "fitness". If I am smart enough to realize that living in a cave is smarter than living in the open, it makes me more fit. (that is a positive idea that results in survival).

But if I realize that I can have more to myself, if I manipulate the group to pick on another group and deprive that group of food. That is fitness too, although it is considered morally wrong it doesn't mean it isn't a survival mechanism. If I tell the group I am special and I am smart enough to con them into giving me more, that helps me right?

If I convince them that the blondes in the group are a drain, and I use anecdotal evidence to back it up and there aren't enough blondes to fight back and they aren't smart enough to argue against it, what happens? The blondes lose, I win and I have their stuff or I block them from getting anything and taking more for myself. That is to an extent Natural Selection.






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subcomhd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
48. root cause I can't address
but I think it is clearly used in this country by the moneyed interests to keep working people divided.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 08:29 PM
Response to Original message
60. The cause of racism is the ways our brains work
fundamental attribution error.

What makes us humans? Among other things is we see patterns and divine causality. We put labels on things. Race is one of those things.
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #60
68. Sure, ok

Among other things is we see patterns and divine causality. We put labels on things. Race is one of those things.

Yea so? If a label caused hatred, we would hate horses, dogs, plants, trees and everything else on this planet and would have gotten nowhere.

It's a learned response, kind of like a fear of strangers to the Nth degree.


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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
67. The lack of empathy of many whites?
Edited on Sun Sep-20-09 10:24 PM by Confusious
So many ( A majority of ) white people are racist. And they are psychotic also. Please expand upon that.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #67
76. You want me to expand on your two sentence simpleton summary of my post?
Edited on Mon Sep-21-09 07:02 AM by Time for change
What is there to expand on?
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felon Donating Member (27 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 01:35 AM
Response to Original message
70. so how do you explain
Edited on Mon Sep-21-09 01:36 AM by felon
a buddy of mine that is 35 years old & until last year did not have a racist bone in his body. Then one day he said "you know every time i've been done wrong, it was a black guy" he says now he wont associate with any black people because he doesn't want to take chance on them screwing him over again. How can you say what made him that way? ie. fear, hate or what
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #70
81. Mental imbalance?
:shrug:
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dugaresa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
84. You seem to be only focused on racism in the US, however this is a problem that goes back probably
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 11:33 AM by dugaresa
before recorded history.

Something in human nature seems to trigger racial, class or religious superiority.

The Egyptians, Sumerians, Romans, Greeks, Europeans, all have a history of slavery, viewing other groups as being inferior or viewing other folks's beliefs as bizarre or worth contempt.

It isn't something that just happened.

Jews in Europe were reviled for their religion. They were made to live in ghettos in some cities and were in some cases expelled or fled for their lives from countries like Spain. An entire group of productive citizens left a country for fear of their lives and because another religious group viewed them as a threat.

In most cases if you research deeply the threat is either related to money, power or irrational fear.

Let us examine the case of the Jews.

Well they were a group that didn't mingle, they didn't like intermarriage (neither did christians) and they kept to themselves outside business matters. But does that really make them worthy of disrespect? Not in my book.

They looked like other folks in the regions they settled in. So clearly it wasn't their skin color.

Ooooh but go back far enough and you find that the Jews did loan money. Why? Because early Christian doctrine dictated that Usury was forbidden. Loaning money wasn't a money making operation for Christians so Jews were smart to exploit it. However being in ownership of people's debts, can make you the bad guy even if you aren't. Then when some smart Christians realized that the usury laws were dumb, they got rid of them or worked their way around it and then they viewed the Jews as competitors. Is it likely that they used religious differences to help them demonize and dehumanize the Jews. Before you know it you have horrible renditions of Jews in literature and you can manipulate your fellow Christians by giving them a group of people to hate, all because it suits your business purposes. Heck you can even blame them for the Plague while your at it.

Chomsky pointed out some of these very issues in his People's History book. Indentured servants and slaves started to mix, because they saw that they were in a similar situation. Before you know it the slave owners realize that they can't have their slaves thinking they have options and they don't want them mingling with the folks who will eventually be free. So they set up class divides and provide options the the white slaves (indentured servants)can only have and create barriers to make sure that there is truly a division (however made up) to help them keep their unhealthy hold over those folks and keep the slaves in check.

Something about human nature does this, however unhealthy it is and we can't seem to shake it. We really should but history has shown it has been with us for a long long time.





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Blue_Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #84
87. very interesting...
:)
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Blue_Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
88. what an interesting thread...
and insight :) This is what we should be talking about.
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Solomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #88
89. Yep yep.
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