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Mon Nov 24, 2014, 02:33 PM

 

Racism: The Impossible Discussion ...

Last edited Mon Nov 24, 2014, 04:13 PM - Edit history (1)

As many know/have witnessed, I am frequently engaged in running "battles" on the topic of Racism. While I have, yet, to call anyone, here on DU, a Racist; many, have understood me as having done so. I have repeatedly asked/challenged those making that claim to cite to a single instance of me having done so; but, each request has gone unfulfilled ... and rightfully so ... because I haven't.

In fact, I have (mostly) limited my participation in "race" threads to merely correcting the improper usage of antiquated/non-academically accepted definitions of the term ... And that seems to be a full-time job. This seems to be the accepted practice on DU ... for every topic, other than race. ETA: Imagine the DU response to someone opining that climate change is a hoax, or that vaccines cause autism, or that "trickle down" valid because "it is (they are) widely believed" or because a journalist said so, or because someone wrote it a decade ago?

Many here want to argue/believe that "racism goes both ways" and cite to "the common usage" of the term, or Webster's and/or pre-2000 writings on the topic. That would be fine, if the definition had/has remained unstudied and stagnant. It has not; rather, as with most phenomena, academic study results in refinement of our understanding of the observed ... It happened with the Earth's shape, with gravity, and Earth's position in the universe; and it's happening in such fields as climate study, economics and human behavior ... most of which, people (liberals) readily accept.

My "problem" with the current state of discussion, and the reason I entitled this OP as I have, is because without an accurate/common definition of the term racism, no discussion of racism can be had.

But I'm tired ... I'm tired of reading "Racism goes both ways" and when I post a correction, getting "well, that's not what the dictionary says" responses. Then, I post the 21st century definition, from peer-reviewed academic journals, with citations leading to the work describing the evolution of the definition, and I get ... "Well. I don't accept the definition! We will just have to agree to disagree." Then, in the very next thread on Racism, I get to repeat the process, as the very same people, repeat the same "racism goes both ways" arguments.

Tell me ... How is this any different having a climate change discussion with a fox-watching conservative?

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply Racism: The Impossible Discussion ... (Original post)
1StrongBlackMan Nov 2014 OP
bravenak Nov 2014 #1
JustAnotherGen Nov 2014 #2
Behind the Aegis Nov 2014 #3
noiretextatique Nov 2014 #4
Blue_Tires Nov 2014 #5
lovemydog Nov 2014 #6
rbrnmw Nov 2014 #7
1StrongBlackMan Nov 2014 #8
rbrnmw Nov 2014 #9
1StrongBlackMan Nov 2014 #10
rbrnmw Nov 2014 #11
kwassa Nov 2014 #12
marym625 Dec 2014 #13
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2014 #14
marym625 Dec 2014 #15
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2014 #16
marym625 Dec 2014 #17
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2014 #18
Pacifist Patriot Dec 2014 #19
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2014 #21
ismnotwasm Dec 2014 #20
marym625 Dec 2014 #22
ismnotwasm Dec 2014 #23
marym625 Dec 2014 #24
ismnotwasm Dec 2014 #25

Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Mon Nov 24, 2014, 02:55 PM

1. Find it no different that any disscussion with people who refuse to remove the blinders they wear.

 

I have repeatedly tried to discuss the reality of racism in America and the ramifications of the years of white supremacy and violence on the psyche of Black people in America. The negative images pumped into us as Americans from the media and the System we live under. We have been America's whipping boy for so long it has become natural abd unquestioned. Switch the words black for white, and you will see a pile on of people stressed out that people are saying bad things about white people. Those same people never get all up in arms or defensive when things are said about black people. They will find ways to justify it.

Another thing I noticed is that some seem to think racism is a boack probkem that black people need to solve by being more like white people. They seem to think that our speech or manner of dress is the real problem and that we can somehow 'overcome' the obstacles by dressing better and speaking in a non regional dialect . They never ever question the fact that those 'obstacles' exist. Why should there be extra obsatacles you must overcome?

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Mon Nov 24, 2014, 09:09 PM

2. I'm sick of it too

They can always start their own thread -and never do.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Tue Nov 25, 2014, 01:26 AM

3. Not impossible but certainly difficult.

I see it from the other side and can empathize with the difficulty you and other AA members face, especially in the light of some horrific racist events and their aftermaths. As a Jew, I see it here with regards to anti-Semitism...A LOT! As a gay man, I don't see too much push back in regards to homophobia, but there is quite of bit of "fag" jokes that seem to get the "ok" from allegedly "progressive" posters.

It is difficult, but don't let them bog you down with "the dictionary says..." it is nothing more than a misdirection. I actually have a pat response in regards to anti-Semitism, I post it, then re-focus the discussion. If that doesn't work and they keep blathering on about the "definition", then s/he isn't worth the time, and unless a bigger point can be made, I move on to something/one else. I don't know if it will help you, but it might.

"How is this any different having a climate change discussion with a fox-watching conservative?"

In some cases, the is absolutely NO difference, but there are some, who with time, do come to understand. But, let's be honest, sometimes, it is nothing but a damn exercise in futility.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Tue Nov 25, 2014, 11:42 AM

4. I do not see a difference

Some white people are vested in denying racism because they are vested in continuing white supremacy. On my phone...will revisit.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Tue Nov 25, 2014, 06:57 PM

5. Just remember that some posters love to play dumb in an argument

just to piss you off...

When you see this happening, just walk away...Not worth the aggravation...

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 05:13 AM

6. Great post and I agree.

I'm tired of it as well.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 06:04 PM

7. k&r

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Response to rbrnmw (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 06:18 PM

8. All for naught ...

 

Thanks.

I don't know that you have seen this; but, here's some good and informative stuff:

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/26/us/ferguson-racism-or-racial-bias/index.html?hpt=hp_t5

The editorial is good; but, the links to relevant studies and writings will open the eyes of anyone willing to see.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 06:44 PM

9. thank you

I wish more people would read your posts as the education they are. I have learned a lot from reading your posts.

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Response to rbrnmw (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 08:08 PM

10. Thankyou ...

 

I try.

I suspect many do read my posts; but quickly discount them because ... you know ...

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 08:59 PM

11. they are the ones missing out on some of the best DU has to offer then

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 09:54 PM

12. Look at WHO you are talking to ...

I've been here nine years, though not active that whole time, and I used to simply follow subjects and arguments that interested me. I like to argue. To a point.

In the past year I take much more care to watch who is saying what, and that has been far more revealing to me.

In my opinion, the ones that keep showing up over and over again in race threads in opposition, even when they are presented with truthful and compelling arguments, are the closet bigots. They are not obvious about it, they don't directly say something racist, they might never make a statement that would get hidden by a jury. They do keep advancing critiques in opposition repeatedly, that reveals they have this agenda.

I'm sure all of us could come up with a group of names very quickly.

And, it would be very hard to prove a case to the admins without spending hours of research that I personally don't have.

I will also say that over these nine years, I've seen other constituencies here complain about the same thing: feminists complaining about tolerated misogyny, gay members about anti-gay attitudes and remarks (this turned into a major war) various other groups not even allowed in GD anymore, (gun arguments, Israel vs. Palestine, etc.). And we see it every day in GD in the endless war between the far left and the more center left.

Some the treatment Obama receives, pro and con, is legitimate. Some had other issues.

but pay attention to WHO is saying things, and focus on that individual. And go after them, within the bounds of this forum.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 01:15 AM

13. It's different because people can't admit

They are racist. They don't want to believe it so rather than taking a look at themselves, they deny.

It's different because it's personal and white privilege doesn't exist in their world. They see themselves as liberal and progressives so they're different than your average red neck.

It's different because people basically suck.

I am enraged at some of what I see.

I am also sorry. I'm sorry. I'm just sorry.

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Response to marym625 (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 11:15 AM

14. But that's the thing ...

 

unwittingly doing/saying something that is racist, does not make that person a racist (and few PoC, would argue otherwise).

No one is seeking an admission that someone is racist; rather, everyone (most) just seek that that someone stop doing/saying racist stuff.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #14)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 11:55 AM

15. I understand where you are coming from.

I am sure you are correct. Perhaps saying something stupid doesn't necessarily equal racist. Maybe admitting something said is racist?

I saw a post last night that infuriated me. I am blown away that it was allowed to remain. But some of the comments are even worse.

I am no innocent. I have made mistakes. I would rather be called out on them and, if too dense to see that a comment is racist, have it explained to me. I remember having to explain to a relative why hearing their kids say, "that's so gay" was hurtful to me. I finally gave up. And this relative sees herself as liberal as they come. The kids, all teens, understood immediately and stopped doing it.

I don't know what the answer is. Maybe just say, "can we talk about this in an objective, friendly manner?" Even though I don't think that should have to be asked, maybe it would start a calm discussion.

I am at a loss.

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Response to marym625 (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 12:08 PM

16. Link please ...

 

I saw a post last night that infuriated me. I am blown away that it was allowed to remain. But some of the comments are even worse.


Funny ... the other day, a DUer was taken to task for posting something that his grand-father said (about slaves could have ended slavery because they had weapons and out-numbered those that enslaved them). I think I was the only respondent on that thread that did not see the post as racist!

I am no innocent. I have made mistakes. I would rather be called out on them and, if too dense to see that a comment is racist, have it explained to me. I remember having to explain to a relative why hearing their kids say, "that's so gay" was hurtful to me. I finally gave up. And this relative sees herself as liberal as they come. The kids, all teens, understood immediately and stopped doing it.


I hear you! Now, try explaining the impropriety of that statement to someone that argues that saying it is OK, because 20 years ago, the dictionary said "Gay" means ... (Or, maybe you have ... and that's why you finally gave up )

I don't know what the answer is. Maybe just say, "can we talk about this in an objective, friendly manner?" Even though I don't think that should have to be asked, maybe it would start a calm discussion.


Sorry ... But we can't even come to terms with terminology!

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 12:13 PM

17. I will send the link in a private message

I would rather not take the chance of linking it here as something that can be alerted. Only because of the subject matter of the post and my comments

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Response to marym625 (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 12:17 PM

18. Good enough. n/t

 

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 01:53 PM

19. I admit I get very frustrated when people don't understand the distinctions...

that make prejudice, discrimination, and racism different from one another. And more to the point, don't grasp the power and institutional differentials that make "racism goes both ways" beyond absurd. Very good post.

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Response to Pacifist Patriot (Reply #19)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 04:24 PM

21. And, the same ones that wish to strip out the power dynamics ...

 

of racism, are so quick to recognize it when discussing, say, "the 1%."

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 04:16 PM

20. It's been explained, and explained clearly.

Racism, by definition does not include some sort of bigotry against whites. Whiteness is the invisible standard, all else is held against; whiteness isn't forced to 'explain itself', it's the default state, the 'norm'.

When a society is entrenched in whiteness, it cannot see itself without effort and discomfort. We, or I, rather, as a white person have to embrace this discomfort, accept that I have white privledge. I also feel, not 'white guilt' in the fashionable sense of the term, but a social responsibility as a white person, perfectly in line with my progressive values to try and not be an ignorant, racist ass. It takes effort. Certain Whites, when confronted with this idea of racial effort in their lives, react rather than think. It's a under the rock pretentious and emotional response, harmful and hurtful.

To point fingers at the other and say 'look what 'they' do, simply reinforces racism, to do so is a racist act in itself, IMO.

And as whites, we don't call each other out on our own shit often enough, we awkwardly laugh at jokes or pictures that are subtly or blatantly racist, perhaps presented by a relative or friend. I can tell you that personally, my husband and I have drawn that line in the sand. We call it out. We say 'that's ignorant' or 'don't be a racist shit' or 'that's not funny'

Recently, I had an awkward situation with the husband of a very ill patient. He showed me a picture on his phone that was disgustingly racist. I'm stuck here as far as responses. So I expressionessly said, 'oh wow' and left the room. I then talked with an AA nursing assistant who was working with them. I feel her out to see if she's experianced any racism--she had heard references to to "the Asians that work in the cafeteria" (yeah this guy is a piece of work), but nothing directed to her personally-- which she HAS experienced before, several times. I've made sure she's comfortable talking to me about it-- or not, she's a grown woman. She's also a bit shy, and I'm anything but.

I told her that he was a racist shit. (and a few other things-- she gets a kick out of my cussing) Not what exactly. She chose to change her assignment, which she's done before, with my full back up. She should never be forced to be in a vulnerable position with a person like that. That's an example by what I mean by my responsibility as a white person- to stay internally aware of my own, to understand what racism is, and to call it out whenever I can.






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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 06:36 PM

22. Can you please clarify your second paragraph

I can't tell exactly what/who you're referring to. Since you state you call out racist shit, I assume you are not talking about one white person calling out another. But, I can't tell.

If someone laughs at, and doesn't speak out against, racist, bigoted or misogynistic joke, they're just part of the problem.

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Response to marym625 (Reply #22)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 07:42 PM

23. When you are white

You are going to run into racism from the inside, so to speak. One may not recognize it, or more frequently, deny it, or, project it onto someone else. And I'm absolutely talking about calling out racism in other whites. The point of the OP, is racism has a structured definition, involving the dominant culture/race oppressing others, dismissing concerns of racism, the effects of racism, and trying to project racism onto an oppressed class of people.

Tons of history around this. I've heard racism against blacks compared to how the Irish were treated for instance--as a path to redefine the word, and take skin color and actual history out of the equation.

Look at this for example

James Watson Throws a Fit

im Watson is one of the most important scientists of the 20th century. He is also a peevish bigot. History will remember him for his co-discovery of the structure of DNA, in 1953. This week, Watson is insuring that history, or at least the introduction to every obituary, will also remember him for being a jerk.


In a fit of pique and self-pity, Watson is selling his Nobel Prize medallion. He will become the first Nobel laureate in history to do so. He gave the Financial Times several reasons why, this Thursday, he will auction off the gold disk, symbol of the highest honor in science (expected price: up to $3.5 million). He claims that, even though he ran major research institutions and served on corporate boards until the age of 79, he needs the money. He might donate it to universities, he said, or buy a David Hockney painting. Oh, and he also mentioned to the FT that he’s selling the medal because he has become an “unperson,” and “no one really wants to admit I exist.”

This is not about the Hockney. Selling the medal is Watson’s way of sticking his tongue out at the scientific establishment, which has largely shunned him since 2007. Watson had been making racist and sexist remarks throughout his career, but he really outdid himself seven years ago when he told the Sunday Times that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.” He further said that while we may wish intelligence to be equal across races, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.”


Finally, for once in his life, Watson didn’t get away with making ignorant, prejudiced statements. The board of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which he had led for almost 40 years, fired him (although he’s still chancellor emeritus). The president of the Federation of American Scientists said, “He has failed us in the worst possible way. It is a sad and revolting way to end a remarkable career.” The director of the National Institutes of Health, where Watson ran the Human Genome Project for many years, released a statement saying Watson’s comments “are wrong, from every point of view—not the least of which is that they are completely inconsistent with the body of research literature in this area.”


http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/12/james_watson_selling_nobel_prize_dna_structure_discoverer_s_history_of_racism.html

Here is a very intellectually gifted man who didn't get called out until 2007. He was protected by the same social structure that supports racism. I'm sure individuals found him distasteful. Perhaps there were earlier complaints that went nowhere. This man had to get so over the top with his statements in academia was left with no choice but to censor him. He remained protected, and now is aggrieved because he doesn't understand. How many whites listened to him without saying anything, no matter how they may have personally felt?

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 07:56 PM

24. Thank you for the clarification

Please understand my confusion in your first post.

Just a personal story regarding the Irish and how they were treated in the US. My grandparents were both from Ireland. .my grandfather came here in 1900 and my grandmother in 1910. She was 19 at the time. She worked as a domestic for "the blue bloods of Boston" her first few years here. She wrote to sister, "It's a terrible thing to be a slave to the yanks."

I have always called out any kind of negative talk based on skin color, sexual orientation, etc. I don't even know I understood it when I first did. It was just what my parents did, so I did. I was damn lucky to have the parents I did.

Nice clips in your post. Thank you

By the way, I remember when that happened with Watson. Took too damn long

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Response to marym625 (Reply #24)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 08:26 PM

25. ...

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