Well, President Obama has been in office just 11 months, and people are now making broad judgments about his efforts so far. He already has done more than Bush did in eight years to move the country in a progressive direction, in spite of all that remains to get this ship of state back to some semblance of democracy and humanity.
One set of issues now cropping up involves “what has he done for black Americans?” Given that no group supported him as overwhelmingly as black Americans, that is an excellent question. And it has been one of the last ones to be raised lately, it appears. At Politico, one article by Carol Lee a few days back raised a set of issues along this line. It begins thus:
President Barack Obama deflected criticism Monday that he has not been attentive enough to the African-American community, telling American Urban Radio Networks that he was unconcerned to see that kind of message coming from former supporters such as actor Danny Glover.
President Obama said that Glover was just one of few discontented folks, that most black actors supported him so far, and also cited his support from black Americans in the polls. He was asked these questions, significantly, by one of the very few reporters (April Ryan) in the White House press corps, with whom he had a rare one-on-one interview. He is certainly accurate about the polls. Interestingly, Politico does not link to the full interview, and thus ignores the full question asked by April Ryan, which was much deeper and probing:
Speaking of the African American community, this seems to be a shift in black leadership, as it relates to supporting you. You have the CBC that’s upset with you about targeting on the jobs front — African Americans, 15.6 percent unemployment rate, expected to go to 20 percent; mainstream America 10 percent. Then you have black actors who supported you — Danny Glover, who’s saying that you’ve not changed, your administration is the same as George W. Bush. What are your thoughts about the fact that black leadership is grumbling, and the fact that people are concerned with you being the first African American President, and they thought that there would be a little bit more compassion for black issues?
He made an interesting comment to Ryan’s question, to quote Politico again:
“Is there grumbling?” he asked rhetorically. “Of course, there’s grumbling, because we just went through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” “We were some of the folks who were most affected by predatory lending. There’s a long history of us being the last hired and the first fired. As I said on health care, we’re the ones who are in the worst position to absorb companies deciding to drop their health care plans,” Obama said. “So, should people be satisfied? Absolutely not. But let’s take a look at what I’ve done.”
Right on point, so far as I can see. Black Americans and other Americans of color have taken harder hits from this Bush Depression than have white Americans as a group. And Obama inherited almost all the Depression problem. You can raise serious questions about the white team he has advising him on the economy, but not about that he inherited this problem. Politico notes too that
Obama repeatedly used the pronoun “we” in discussing America’s black community, but insisted that he shouldn’t be expected to target policies exclusively to African-Americans. “The only thing I cannot do is, by law I can’t pass laws that say I’m just helping black folks,” Obama said. “I’m the president of the entire United States. What I can do is make sure that I am passing laws that help all people, particularly those who are most vulnerable and most in need. That, in turn, is going to help lift up the African-American community.”
The “we” is indeed revealing. This is the first case since 1789 where black Americans could really be part of a strong “we” statement from the head of state. Interestingly, again, Politico leaves out a lot of substance that Obama gives about his take on the “state of black America” in replying to Ryan:
I think this continues to be the best of times and the worst of times. I mean, I think it’s the best of times in the sense that never has there been more opportunity for African Americans who have received a good education and are in a position then to walk through the doors that are opened. And, obviously, you and me sitting here in the Oval Office is a testament to that. I think it’s the worst of times in the sense that unemployment and the lack of opportunity, particularly in some cities, has never been worse. I mean, you look at a city like Detroit where you used to have an enormous African American middle class built on the auto industry — that city is in hard, hard times right now. Now, just going back to the point you raised earlier about our responsiveness to the African American community, imagine what Detroit would look like if we hadn’t stepped in to make sure that GM stayed open. . . . [However,] if you’ve got double digit unemployment in cities like that, we’re going to have to make some special efforts, and it starts with early childhood education; it starts with education generally. That’s why I’m putting such a big emphasis on that. But it also means that every federal agency has to make sure that the assistance that’s being made available to the general population is targeting those hard to reach places, so that they are also benefiting from our overall efforts to lift up the economy.
Eloquently put, clearly, but it is striking that at no point in this interview does President Obama note the widespread racial discrimination facing black Americans in housing, employment, education, and policing, and he does not even touch on the critical need of these “federal agencies” to enforce aggressively the (now mostly weakly enforced) U.S. civil rights laws. He continues to use language that plays into the soft version of the white racial frame, language about education and socioeconomic conditions that does not frighten off moderate or liberal whites.
In our recent book Adia and I point out that this playing to moderate/liberal white sentiments was true, with only one major exception, during his entire presidential campaign. In a “post-racial American,” a black President still cannot openly and candidly address a/the central problem facing African Americans—and indeed all Americans: Systemic White-Imposed Racism and its many facets and impacts.
The President said: “I mean, I think it’s the best of times in the sense that never has there been more opportunity for African Americans who have received a good education and are in a position then to walk through the doors that are opened. And, obviously, you and me sitting here in the Oval Office is a testament to that.”
Maybe Obama just doesn’t see systemic white imposed racism against black people as the primary reason blacks are so economically hard hit during the recession. Maybe he sees the gaps in education as the culprit. People who drop out of high school are always hardest hit during recessions because they don’t have the skills that will keep them employed during difficult times. Read Below:
High School Dropout Rates
View as PDF (Best for Printing)
Among youth ages 16 to 24, Hispanics accounted for 41 percent of all current high school dropouts in 2005. However, they only made up 17 percent of the total youth population. (See Table 1)
Young people who drop out of high school are unlikely to have the minimum skills and credentials necessary to function in today’s increasingly complex society and technological workplace. The completion of high school is required for accessing post-secondary education and is a minimum requirement for most jobs.1) High school dropouts are more likely than high school completers to be unemployed.2) Additionally, a high school diploma leads to higher income and occupational status.3) Interestingly, however, many youth who drop out of high school eventually earn a diploma or a GED. 4) One study found that 63 percent of students who dropped out had earned a diploma or GED within eight years of the year they should have originally graduated.
5) Studies have found that young adults with low education and skill levels are more likely to live in poverty and to receive government assistance.6) High school dropouts are likely to stay on public assistance longer than those with at least a high school degree. Further, high school dropouts are more likely to become involved in crime.
Dropout rates of young people ages 16 to 24 in the civilian, non-institutionalized population gradually declined between 1972 and 2005, from 15 percent to a low of 9 in 2005. (See Table 2) In this indicator, dropouts are defined as individuals ages 16 to 24 who are not enrolled in and have not completed high school. In 1972, the dropout rate among non-Hispanic blacks was 21 percent, 12 percent among non-Hispanic whites, and 34 percent for Hispanic youth. These rates have since declined substantially for each group. The dropout rate for non-Hispanic black youth reached an historic low of 11 percent in 2005. (See Figure 1)
This drop is at least in part related to increased incarceration rates among black male high school dropouts, which more than doubled between 1980 and 1999, thus removing them from the civilian non-institutionalized population on which these estimates are based. Rates among Hispanic youth have declined in last few years from 30 percent in 1998 to 23 percent in 2005.
Differences by Race and Ethnicity:
Black and Hispanic youth are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to drop out of high school. In 2005, 6 percent of non-Hispanic whites ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school and had not completed high school, compared with 11 percent of blacks and 23 percent of Hispanics. (See Figure 1) The high rate for Hispanics is in part the result of the high proportion of immigrants in this age group who never attended school in the U.S.9 Asian youth, with a dropout rate of 3 percent, had the lowest dropout rate among all racial and ethnic groups in 2005. (See Table 1)
Obama’s a Harvard graduate. He’s a driven perfectionist and has certainly encountered racism in his life. There’s no question about this. Yet, he did not allow the racism to detract him from his goals. Like most perfectionists, he may just have the approach that if he can accomplish middle class status, other blacks can too. However, dropping out of high school is the Termination of Hope in almost all circumstances.
Here’s the site that details the above Statistics:
In speaking to an audience that’s not predominantly black, Obama always tows the white racial frame line. I do think he could do more, for example, targetting moneys for inner-city communities. Money can be targeted to urban areas without using race as a descriptor. Right? So he could definitely be doing more, but he’s already doing a great deal and he’s only being pres for 20days short of a year. He appointed Van Jones to work on green jobs in urban areas, but Jones chose to resign rather than put up with Fox News underwritten blacklash. And if the Civil Rights Department of the Justice Department just goes back to pre2000 status quo, that alone will be a good 90 degrees in the right direction. So, gotta give him that.
As for the CBC, they have to speak up for their constiuents. Blacks are being hardest hit and it has nothing to do with education. The idea that education is a panacea is as errant as the notion that America is a meritocracy. Plus, with so many other groups whining like all hell’s breaking out on them, and it’s not, they had to speak up. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.
Now, I do agree that Obama’s DoD could effectively rescind “don’t ask” in relative short order; and in the same vein, Obama could at least acknowledge racism as a major hurdle for people of color in front of a mainstream audience.
Then again, he risks losing even more white support. Who knows how many people would decide that Beck was on to something with his accusation that Obama has animosity towards white people. So there’s that. And I think part of what the CBC hopes to do is complain so much and so loud that they give Obama cover to act without his being accused of racial revenge.
Citing examples of black college graduates who were stigmatized due to race does not have bearing on the fact that 11% of black students drop out of high school as opposed to 3% of Asian students and 6% of white students.
This fact accounts for more jobless rates among blacks than individual discrimination cases that college graduates encounter. 11% translates into millions of disadvantaged kids from the beginning of their lives. The road from here into crime is easier since unemployment for long periods of time and crime are closely related. Obama knows this and this is what he is addressing. He’s not catering to whites when he realizes this phenomenon, he’s voicing realities.
Obviously,Obama wants a black cultural push to work within the system and succeed by whatever means necessary. Asians are willing to do that. In a study about why children drop out of high school, 43% of the kids who dropped out cited that they associated with other kids who were not interested in school. Skipping classes and the freedom that high school offered was too great a temptation to resist to stay in school.
Asians foster an environment of resisting the streets from Day 1 with their kids. They work together as a community to reinforce education as the number 1 priority in their children’s lives. Here’s a study on Why Children Drop Out of High School:
“Dropping out is not a decision that is
made on a single morning. The survey probed
students’ experiences before dropping out of high
school and found that there are clear warning
signs for at least one to three years before they
drop out that these students are losing interest in
school. National studies show that such warning
signs appear and can be predictive of dropping
out as early as elementary school.
67 percent of students described a pattern of refusing to
wake up, missing school, skipping class, and
taking three hour lunches – and each absence
made them less willing to go back. These students
had long periods of absences and were
sometimes referred to the truant officer.
In our survey, 59 to
65 percent of respondents missed class often the
year they dropped out and 33 to 45 percent
missed class often the year before they dropped
out. Consistent with national data, absenteeism
is the most common indicator of overall student
engagement and a significant predictor of
Other warning signs include: low grades,
discipline and behavioral problems, lack of
involvement in class and in school activities,
pregnancy, being held back a grade or more,
students who transfer from another school, and
those who experience difficulty with the transition
year of 9th grade itself.
Respondents report that they started to lose
interest in school well before dropping out, with
71 percent saying they lost interest in school in
the 9th and 10th grades. Fifty-eight percent of our
survey respondents indicated that they dropped
out in the 11th and 12th grades. Nationally, much
of the dropping out of school has shifted from the
last two years of high school (typical three
decades ago) to between 9th and 10th grades
today.Still, a plurality of students drop out
with less than two years to go in their high
Too Much Freedom
38 Percent Say Too Much Freedom and Not
As young adults grew older, they had more
freedom and more options, which led some away
from class or the school building. It was too easy
to skip class or join in activities outside of
school. Nearly two-fifths (38 percent) of respondents
to the survey cited this as a factor in their
decision to drop out of high school. In our focus
groups, a young man from Philadelphia told us,
“Once you get in high school, it’s more like you
have more freedom. In middle school, you have to
go to your next class or they are going to get you.
In high school, if you don’t go to class, there isn’t
anybody who is going to get you. You just do your
The issue isn’t about whether racism exists in America. Of course it exists! My feeling, however, is that it does not account for the huge disparity that exists between the rate of high school drop-outs among blacks versus other ethnic groups. Blacks don’t drop out of school because teachers are biased against them. They drop out because of the lure of the streets. It’s “more fun” to play than to work. When kids realize their mistake, they’re jobless at 25 and 30 years old because they lack the skills to compete in an extremely competitive market place.
Obama is doing the black community a favor by asking them to please take responsibility for ensuring their kids stay in school and get an education.
Black culture isn’t the problem.
Racism and disparities within education account for the drop out rate as much as the individual drop out. Then of course, if a teenagers knows that even with a MBA from Harvard, s/he’ll be discriminated against, you can’t blame them, and their immaturity, for wondering what the point is, anyway.
Fixing education won’t fix the numbers.
You’re just wrong about the importance of education to the black community. Even the article you site fails to point the finger at the black community.
And perhaps I ended the copy-paste a paragraph too soon. Here’s more with my emphasis:
“Various academic studies have confirmed that black job seekers have a harder time than whites. A study published several years ago in The American Economic Review titled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” found that applicants with black-sounding names received 50 percent fewer callbacks than those with white-sounding names.”
I always wondered about this particular study. I found it interesting that they chose to pit “Lakisha and Jamal” against “Emily and Greg.” I notice they didnt pit Lakisha and Jamal against Emily and Greg, and then pit Bambi and Bubba against Emily and Greg. Names impart more than an idea of ones race, they also tend to hint at ones upbringing, and allow others to form judgments, (rightly or wrongly) about what sort of person is going to come walking through the door. I personally dont think of Lakisha and Jamal only as “black” names. I think of them as lower class black names. Much like I think of Bambi and Bubba as lower class white names. Now, Bubba may very well have transcended his upbringing and gone to college, and be an outstanding citizen in every way, but if I am in HR for a large corporation, and I have a large pile of applications from people with similar qualifications, I am looking for any excuse to cut down that pile to a number I can actually interview. Its a sad truth that my prejudices are going to be part of the filtering process, and that Bubba and Jamal may end up in the discard pile. As someone hiring for a company, it is also a fact that I am not only going to be considering experience and education, but I am also going to be looking for a person who fits the company, who will get along and not be a problem, or expose my company to unnecessary liability. And both Bubba and Jamal would raise my alarm flags. Bubba may well be an insensitive racist jerk, and expose my company to liability from his actions, and Jamal may be hyper-sensitive and attribute every lost promotion to his race and not his performance, and again, may have the net result of costing my company a lot of money in legal fees.
Ditto with the employee who comes in with a lot of “womens associations” or “African American associations.” It isnt necessarily “race” that is knocking them out. I would happily hire a qualified woman, or any minority, or member of any religion, but if there are signs I might see that might lead me to feel that this person is going to be a problem because of strongly held personal beliefs, they would be out. And face it, joining the “Womens” this, or the “African American” that, kind of says that YOU are discriminatory. You are holding yourself off from all the other people in that field who are not women or African American.
There are lots of people who have names that will get them discriminated against when applying for jobs. (Moon-unit?) I know people who change their names, or go by a middle name, to avoid this little fact. Quite a few immigrants to this country from Europe made their names more American sounding on purpose, to avoid this. (Others had their names changed for them at immigration)
Mind you I am not saying there is no element of racism in hiring practice. I am sure that there is. Also sexism, and other biases. However, there are other factors at work besides just racism. When you are applying for a job, it is part of your job as an applicant to have some idea what the culture of the company you want to work for is like, and, to make yourself seem to be someone who will be a good match for it. If that means wearing formal and boring business attire, then so be it. If it means making your name sound more mainstream, then so be it. I find it surprising that this would be surprising to anyone. Companies usually want people who fit their corporate culture, whatever that is. If you are applying to work with the Christian Ministries, you might want to leave the pentacle at home the day you interview, and leave off the resume, “jumping naked over a fire at Beltane” in the hobbies section.
Racism costs companies money. It hurts productivity if people cant work well together, and it ties up resources if they are constantly involved in legal disputes. They have a high incentive to avoid the issue. Which means that if you seem like a racist, or seem hyper-sensitive to racism, either way, you are less likely to get in the door.
1 – Read the entire article at NY Times, please. Both you and Maranda.
2 – Both Bambi and Bubba are usually nicknames. Only Bambi shows up in the top 1000 popular names in the last 50 years and that just 12 times. Its highest rank was 563 in 1979. Lakisha was in the top 1000 19 times and only 5 times was it out of the top 500. And that’s not counting different spellings like Lakeisha. Jamal was in the top 1000 at least 40 times and only 4 times was it out of the top 500. Very few people would be writing down “Bambi” and hardly any “Bubba.” So lets dismiss with that part of your argument.
3 – You are correct that middle and upper class blacks mostly give their kids either mainstream names or names like Condoleeza that refer to some other mainstream art.
4 – Productivily and profits go up with diversity.
5 – I very much so take issue with your opinion about people joining minority membership clubs. They’re being as discriminatory as the “mainstream” group holding themselves out from others not in that field. We segregate ourselves in response to racism, and I don’t know of any group besides the CBC who wouldn’t allow a white member.
Well, all depends on which “study” we use. Below is an article regarding the Huge Pay-Off for Blacks If They Have An Education:
Regressions By Popular Demand: Black Education Pays Extra
Bryan Caplan PRINT
EMAIL CLEAR HIGHLIGHTS
Home| EconLog| Archives| Permanent LinkIn my critique of Harford’s chapter on statistical discrimination, I wrote:
But is it really true that the market fails to reward blacks for getting more education? Is it even true that the market rewards them less? I tested these claims using one of the world’s best labor data sets, the NLSY. The results directly contradict Tim’s self-fulfilling prophesy story.
Blacks actually get a substantially larger return to education than non-blacks! The same goes for experience, though the result is not statistically significant. The real lesson of the data is that if you are young, gifted, and black, you should get a ton of education, because it has an exceptionally large pay-off.
I start out with a simple benchmark regression of the logarithm of annual labor income on Black (=1 if the respondent is black, and 0 otherwise) and Grade (number of years of education completed).
Yes, in this specification, education pays blacks more than twice as much as it pays non-blacks. At the same time, adding this control variable makes the coefficient on Black much more negative. The upshot is that at low levels of education, blacks earn much less than non-blacks; but at high levels of education, they earn more. This result remains even if you add a lot of other control variables, but I suspect that two regressions have already tried most readers’ patience.
Incidentally, the cut-point in this equation is roughly at 15 years of education. This means that blacks with fewer than 15 years earn less than comparable non-blacks; blacks with more than 15 earn more than comparable non-blacks. (Adding more control variables pushes the cut-point down to 13 years).
If this were a journal article, I’d look for a more recent version of the NLSY, and run more robustness checks. But still, it’s striking that one of the best labor data sets in the world decisively rejects the view that statistical discrimination reduces blacks’ incentive to try to better their lot. Instead, the data strongly support the diametrically opposed view that acquiring education is a great way for a black worker to credibly tell employers, “No matter what you think about the average black, I’ve got the right stuff.”
For the statistical charts please go to article:
What point are you really making No1KState? That black people should just roll over and play dead because of racism in America? You mean like Obama did? You stated:
“Then of course, if a teenagers knows that even with a MBA from Harvard, s/he’ll be discriminated against, you can’t blame them, and their immaturity, for wondering what the point is, anyway.”
Let’s get real No1. The kids who drop out don’t Know What an MBA from Harvard is! They haven’t stayed in school Long Enough to know anything about Harvard, much less what MBA stands for. Do you really believe when a black child drops out of school in the 10th grade he does it because,”Well, if I get a BA from Yale..or maybe Dartmouth..in Poly Sci..and then try to get into Harvard Law..I probably won’t make as much as a white guy from Penn State with a Law from Michigan State! OK. I did the math! I’m outta here!”
You know better and so does the rest of the world. They drop out cause their friends are telling them, “Let’s go see Avatar today instead of havin’ to do that math test.” Since it’s so easy and many black families are single parent families [Obama’s was] it’s a short ride to simply dropping out. Asians Culturally emphasize education [yes, I used the word CULTURE]. It’s not like America doesn’t already know this. I am simply stating facts. If you want to extrapolate and assume I am assigning blame to black CULTURE, you are free to do so.
“What point are you really making No1KState? That black people should just roll over and play dead because of racism in America? You mean like Obama did? You stated:
“Then of course, if a teenagers knows that even with a MBA from Harvard, s/he’ll be discriminated against, you can’t blame them, and their immaturity, for wondering what the point is, anyway.””
I agree with your point. I worked in construction to save money for college, and, as a female, I was well aware I was going to face discrimination and lower pay than my male colleagues. (And I did) However, the question for me wasnt, “Will I make every bit as much as my male peers and have the same opportunities they do?” I knew I wasnt. The question for me was “Will I make better money even being discriminated against than I would if I took a more traditionally “female” job? The answer to that was a resounding “yes.” I would have made minimum wage in a “female” unskilled job, and in an unskilled position in a more “male” job, as a laborer, I started at $12.00 an hour.
How much worse would my life have been if I let the fact that the red carpet would not be rolled out for me as a female keep me from the job altogether? A lot. I’ll answer that myself. If you let adversity become an excuse not to try, thats on you. Life isnt always fair, there are some real injustices, and that sucks. But if you give up at the starting gate, you have no opportunity whatsoever to try and change that fact for the people who come after you. Even if you, yourself, dont reap all the rewards of your hard work and effort, and if you, yourself face more discrimination than is fair, if you do it anyway you lay a foundation for those who follow you. So that they may have a warmer welcome, and more opportunity. Is that worth nothing?
It isnt “race” that determines whether or not you make decisions like this, it IS upbringing. It just so happened that the foster home I loved best were people who felt this way, and imparted it to me. It wasnt my crappy public school. It wasnt my socio-economic status. It wasnt my “race,” or “privilege,” it was individual people in my life who told me to try, and to believe in myself, and to not let difficulties stop me from doing my best.
If the message some are sending their children is, “well if things arent fair, there is no point in trying,” that is a huge part of the problem. Life just ISN’T fair. Its not fair for a lot of people of all colors, and both genders. Its not fair now, and it wasnt fair yesterday, and it probably wont be fair tomorrow. No matter how bad you personally have it, someone somewhere has it worse, and someone somewhere has it better. What other people have or dont have isnt the point. The point is, “This is what I have to work with, what is the best I can make of it?” It would be nice if we could work to make things MORE fair, for everyone, (and we have, things are much more fair in many ways now than they were 100 years ago) but its never going to happen if people refuse to even try because it isnt perfectly fair NOW.
Excellent Comment Illusions! That’s what I call Survival Tactics and Not Victimology. Let’s be realistic about life here. It is up to parents and family to encourage and instill a willingness to try and succeed. “Failure is not an option” should be a mantra that all races should adopt if they hope to survive.
1 – Wondering what the point is doesn’t necessarily mean that a child quits high school. Much like wondering what trigonometry has to do with life doesn’t necessarily mean a student drops out of trig to pick up that extra PE. Sorry that wasn’t clear.
2 – When did I say adversity was a sufficient reason to refuse to try?
3 – Who’s sending their children the message that if things aren’t, fair there’s no point in trying?
4 – You’re right about race, but wrong about the impact of privilege.
If you and marandaNJ are determined to try to take apart my arguments, the least you could do is address what I’ve actually said and not what you imagine me to imply. Now, let’s look at the entire phrase and not just the one sentence.
First, let me make clear that there’s actually a lot of research of info I’m leaving out. I’m not just randomly commenting without having some idea of the statistics and reality I’m referring to.
It’s interesting that neither of you address the my initial point, written in the “topic” sentence as I in high school: Racism and disparities within education account for the drop out rate as much as the individual drop out.
So lets combine the racism and disparities within public education, including but not limited to both facilities and the soft subjects, with the knowledge that all your effort may not (and the reality that’s inappropriate to share with kids is it probably won’t – take a look at the stats before you make a big case about hopefulness and effort) change your circumstances, throw in imaturity and what do you expect to get?
And lets be clear – lots of schools need kids to drop out and sometimes dropping out comes as a result of not having the tools to properly cope and reject racism in a constructive manner. Like I said, it’s telling that both of you jump to the second sentence and clobber about culture and parents and individual responsibility in the black community without addressing culture, teachers, and individual responsibility in the white community and nation-at-large in ending systemic racism in employment and education. It’s almost as though you might actually agree with me on those points. And so on a site titled “racismreview” it seems more appropriate to address the racism in American society and culture and leave how blacks should and do respond to racism to a site titled “racismresponse.” – Oh, and just so you don’t have to attempt to figure out what I mean, I am taking it upon myself, however arrogantly, to suggest if you want to discuss topics outside the scope of this blog, you do so on another blog. Or, at least lets stick to the main title of this particular post, right? Cause you have to concede that to talk about the state of black America without mentioning racism is like talking about the state of America without mentioning our crumbling infrastrucure, current economic woes, and oh, racism.
“If you and marandaNJ are determined to try to take apart my arguments, the least you could do is address what I’ve actually said and not what you imagine me to imply. Now, let’s look at the entire phrase and not just the one sentence.”
You know No1, I share your frustration here. I often feel that regardless what I argue, or how I support it, you are going to frame it according to your existing belief system, and not actually listen to my perspective. I also feel you sometimes select parts of my argument (like Bubba being more of a nickname than a given name) rather than look at the underlying point I am trying to make. I am imperfect. It makes me sad that we seem so at odds when in my opinion we both really want the same thing, we just define the problem of racism differently.
“Oh, and just so you don’t have to attempt to figure out what I mean, I am taking it upon myself, however arrogantly, to suggest if you want to discuss topics outside the scope of this blog, you do so on another blog. Or, at least lets stick to the main title of this particular post, right?”
You know, I think the first part is uncalled for, personally. I could as easily point out that many of your arguments seem incredibly racist, against whites, and that some of what you argue here goes against what I perceived the spirit of this blog to be. That we review racism in order that it be brought to an end. Not to review racism in order that we may perpetrate another form of it. Personally, I dont like your argumentative style often. I think you are openly racist, and unapologetic about it. Despite that, you are also very intelligent, and very well informed.
As to the second part of your complaint, I apologize if I digressed, but you happened to make an argument using a study that I had been mulling over. I wonder quite often about the study designs. Not because I deny racism, but because I personally think it is being overstated as THE cause for all the inequity we face in America, rather than A cause. I think there are more variables at work here, and that to truly solve the problem of inequity in America we need to take a broader view. My opinion, obviously not shared by many here. However, as you pointed out, diversity is important. I dont want to silence you because I dont like or agree with your conclusions, or your point of view.
I do care deeply about the issue of racism. I have personally experienced it in all its glory, and I know first hand how painful and damaging it can be. Had the title of this blog been “bashing white folk for fun and profit” I would not have come. I came because I want to see racism (and sexism and classism) come to an end.
Directly relating to the topic, I dont think it is completely odd that Obama would not want to bring up racism at this moment in time. More whites in number are in poverty right now. I understand that a greater percentage of the black population is in poverty. But we vote by number, and most Americans dont stop and consider the statistics when they look around and see so many they know suffering. More voters are white and in poverty now (or desperately close to it), and he is a politician. Politically, it may not be the time to bring up the idea that they are somehow benefiting from a power structure that operates at the expense of POC. That, (in my opinion,) does not mean that those people who would reject the idea that they are a privileged class, are inherently racist. It means that not every one is a race scholar, and many people use personal experience to determine truth or untruth. Obama being wise enough to know that this may not politically be the time to hammer that point home, is not being swayed by racist white America, as much as he is being savvy about what can and should be done right now, at this time.
Or, it could be, and I am not saying it is the case, that Obama does not actually see the problem the way some blacks do. Obama did not grow up in your America. He grew up in mine. Although he was better off than I socio-economically, he would have been exposed to many forms of racism unless he led a completely sheltered life. Perhaps his viewpoint is his own, and it isnt that he is sucking up to the white power structure at all. Perhaps you are mistaken that all people you define as “black” share the same culture and hold the same ideology. He is an individual human being, with his own life experiences and family history. He doesnt have a generic “black” history or set of values that was issued to him at birth any more than I have a “white” set.
Sorry to be responding so late. I’m just now noticing this comment.
If your point about Bubba and Bambi was that the study was flawed, then I assure you, it wasn’t. If you have some other examples of names used mostly by poor whites, I’m interested to hear those. Besides, whatever flaw may have been in the study about names, that doesn’t address the higher rate of employment black men with degrees have in comparison to white men with degrees. I do apologize for having not addressed your point about whether or not studies are flawed; but I did accurately read that you were attempting to undercut evidence of racism, right? I wasn’t using that name study to make my argument. It was just included in the article I was referring to. That’s why I kept asking you and marandaNJ to read the entire article. It’s only 1 page. So, I could’ve been annoyed that you mentioned it, cause it was definitely not part of the central point. And I’m hardpress to apologize for that since I was responding to you and marandaNJ both.
Ironic, isn’t it? You’re disappointed that I’ve picked at some part of your argument rather than the underlying point when you didn’t have take care to read my argument which you were responding to. .
I know numerically, there’re more poor whites than blacks. I also know that since the 80s, poverty has been racialized as black. The overwhelming images of poor people are of people of color, not white people. And the overwhelming images of black people are us as poor, not middle class. So average white voters aren’t thinking in those terms.
Though, you’re right that they’re suffering, and that the disadvantages of class may outweigh the advantages of whiteness. I’m just not sure that addresses that fact that poor whites have it better than poor blacks; or that poor whites have gotten better loan terms than middle-class black regardless of credit rating/score/history, income, downpayment, collateral, etc. To the extent that Obama’s making a political calculation, yeah! He’s speaking in terms white people can receive, cause were he to tell the truth, his approval rating would fall even more.
I mean, health reform has been a trip, hasn’t it? It was the Becks and Limbaughs who brought up the spector of race, of health care reform being a form of reparations.
You’re right that whites who’re struggling don’t wanna be told that they’re benefiting from racism. They’ve never wanted to be told that. But the problem isn’t that they look around and see so many whites struggling, the problem is that they’ve allowed better off whites to convince them that they should align themselves with whites and not poor blacks. Cause really, addressing racism and acknowledging the real barriers black people of all social classes face doesn’t mean we do nothing for whites who need help. But it hasn’t been blacks who’ve voted to empower corporations over labor; blacks don’t vote to weaken the social safety net. Blacks didn’t vote for the tax cuts that weren’t paid for. We don’t support deregulation. Poor whites don’t have an enemy in blacks. If it weren’t for their own scientifically observed racism, the country would be far more economically just than what it is. And just so I’m clear, I don’t mean each and every single black person. I mean, for example, the 90% that voted for Gore rather than Bush.
When I have suggested that all blacks have the same ideology? I disagree with my parents on a number of issues, and I was raised by the black couple who conceived me. There’re very few blacks, though, who share absolutely nothing in common with other blacks as blacks.
When did I suggest anyone has a set of values issued to them at birth? Now, if Obama didn’t have a “generic” black experience, it’s in large part because he grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii whereas most blacks live on the mainland.
Could you list the allegedly racist things I’ve said? Where have I perpetuated another form of racism? Have a used an argumentative style when someone wasn’t arguing with me? What support have you provided for the things you’ve said that I’ve disagreed with? Violence against whites in Hawaii? I don’t disagree that there’s racial violence against whites. I disagree that it’s the same as the institutional racism faced by people of color, including natives in Hawaii.
Also, when have I wrongly framed something you said according what you imagine to be my belief system? And how do you think I define racism, anyway? What do you think is my “belief system?”
Questioning whether or not racism against people of color is being overstated is nothing new. If you would look into it, do the research, read the studies, you would see that if anything, it’s understated. I was shocked at some of what I discovered.
Now, I will admit that your questioning the name study aggravated me. But that’s because in the past months, there’s been another commentor who would find any reason to question the findings of a study. (D Johnson, I don’t intend to engage you, just recall what happened.) Someone quoted from a study finding that white students from an auto mechanics class had better employment outcomes than black students from the same class because their white professor had brought the white students into his existing job network. He didnot do the same with black students. The researcher held for grades and personal traits such as likabiity. D Johnson, though, questioned the findings because the researcher probably didn’t hold for IQ. Another time, D Johnson questioned the finding of the ACLU in relationing to racial profiling in traffic stops because he felt they got the math wrong. So yeah, you may have gotten some of the aggrevation that D Johnson started. And yeah, I’ll apologize for that.
Also, be sure to describe what you find is “argumentative.” Previously I would number my points . . . nevermind that. Now, it’s as much about trying to keep everything organized for myself, in the face of having to constantly respond to you and marandaNJ both, than being argumentative.
I forgot to add – Does part of your definition of racism includes groups like Black Association of Journalists? Organizations like that come about in response to racism. If a person finds groups like those problematic, what they’re taking issue with is a response to racism, not racism itself. Hense, the distinction between racism “review” and racism “response.” Accusing these groups of discrimination and bias only serves to perpetuate pro-white racism by rejecting one strategy for fighting racism and preventing its internatilization. I’m aware that even the most well meaning whites sometimes have issues with these groups. Now, I’m not saying this about you in particular just an observation of things in general: people with this view are usually unaware, or some don’t care, of the impediments people of color face.
1 – You’re using a study that uses data from 1992. The question posed in the op and which the article I cite addresses concerns the recent economic downturn.
2 – I’m not assuming you’re blaming black culture. You make it very plain that you’re blaming black culture in your earlier comment, re
3 – Did I suggest black people roll over and play dead? I mean, at what point did I use those or any similar words? I only said a child’s immaturity cannot be blamed – meaning dropping out for whatever reason short of some sort of abuse is immature.
4 – You’d be surprised at what any random high school student knows. And what I am “assuming” is that you’d likewise be stunned to learn what black students know. It’s part of our response in black culture to send stories like these out on the grapevine to form a bulwork against racism – so that we know what to expect and know that if we do have a hard time getting a job, it’s the more about system than us.
5 – It still remains that until we acknowledge the problem, racial bias in white Americans and American culture at large, no amount of education will erase the disparities in employment and income. Pointing out a scientifically found and measured flaw in American culture at large and white culture/people more specifically will do more to close the gap than picking at imaginary flaws in black culture. Are there black youths who sneer at education? Yes, but they’re no more representative of black culture than white goths.
6 – You’re so very, very wrong about black culture. There’re more than enough actual scholars on the issue that you don’t have to actually be black to be better informed about black culture. And don’t get me wrong, many black people themselves have the same ill-informed opinions, a product of American culture at-large. They’re wrong, too.
Let’s just kinda boil this down very, very simply. If the two of us were to define any particular culture, we wouldn’t start with 2000 and come to the present, right? Neither would we start in 1990, right? Anyone studying Greek culture would have to go back to at least 750 BC (I just googled it.). While we can’t go back nearly that far in defining black culture, it’s not unreasonable to start in the 50s, is it? The whole point of Brown vs Board was for black kids to get better education. HBCUs were started and are largely maintained by predominantly black groups to improve educational opportunities for blacks. So, at what point does such an overwhelming majority of black Americans sneer at education such that blame can be assigned to black culture? 11% sounds like a lot, but it shouldn’t in the face of the 89% who apparantly do graduate, or the fact that even today, less money is spent per black child in public education than per white child, or the fact that a very good number of schools depend on children dropping out cause of lack of resources.
7 – Obama is just towing the white racial frame line cause otherwise he’d have even white liberals crying foul for his mentioning racism.
No1KState states: I only said a child’s immaturity cannot be blamed – meaning dropping out for whatever reason short of some sort of abuse is immature.
I already stated in my original comment that children drop out for totally childish reasons as in they want to see a movie instead of taking a math test. You’re the one who brought up Harvard grad school for the “reason” black kids drop out.
Which means No1 that this is ultimately Not about children, it’s about adults who are responsible for those children. Those adults should not accept their children dropping out. Education and its value should be drummed into a child’s head from birth. You keep using the same excuse for lack of black employment: Society. When will it become: Family and Individual Responsibility?
In regard to a totally equal society, now that we’re on the subject, there ain’t no such animal. In the former USSR it wasn’t really about Pure Communism where everybody had a piece of the proverbial pie. If you read anything about Communist Russia you know it was a Very Corrupt system with high ranking Party members driving a Mercedes and all the other millions waiting in line for a loaf of bread. Why do you think so many Soviets wanted to defect to the US? Because half of their relatives wound up in Siberia if they so much as whispered a word against “THE PARTY”.
A member of my own family was a member of the Communist party in America in the late 1940’s. He testified before the US Senate Against the Party when he realized all of the above. He was an idealist too. But then discovered that Russia never practiced pure communism and that contradicting any Orders was extremely dangerous.This person was very well educated and very in favor of an egalitarian society until he realized that Russia was in no way, shape, or form what it tryed to portray to the rest of the world.
Did you know that Stalin [the master mind of the USSR] used to walk around wearing the dress of a peasant so he’d appear like “one of the people” and then had millions of citizens murdered?
Capitalism is very imperfect. Yet, there’s just no Utopia No1 much as you’d like to think so.
What makes you think I want an utopia?
Let me be as clear as possible: a black high school student will get wind of the fact that even black men with big time college degrees are having a hard time getting a job; they will then add, multiply, and subtract the totality of their situation; and I’m not surprised they drop out. And even there, a great deal of the problem is academic racism, especially in the soft subjects.
You’re still displaying your ignorance of black culture.
We’ll stop assigning any blame to (white) society when (white) society ceases to be of blame. Did you read the entire article I sited? Who’s to blame for those college educated black men who can’t find a job? I repeat:
It is odd to focus on one or two studies, and to focus just on certain aspects of education, when the evidence from HUNDREDS of studies cited and reviewed in books like my Racist America, Systemic Racism, White Racial Frame, Myth of the Model Minority, and 30 other books I have done with colleagues on race/racism issues demonstrate widespread racial discrimination against Black Americans (and other Ams of color) as fundamental to this society from the 1600s…Focusing on a few studies and not the bigger picture is useful for whites who still run this society’s major institutions and control its framing. That is part of typical racist framing. Why not focus on the racist foundation well documented on this site. For example, how about a US Senate with no elected Black Senators, and very few Senators of color at all in it. The tooth fairy did not create that reality, perhaps the world’s most powerful political body. In 2009-2010 still run by elite white men….
I personally am not trying to “control” any framing. I would just like black people who complain about being unemployed [which is legitimate] to realize that education can remedy this For the Most Part.
You insist that any white person’s objective is control. Control what? Some misguided people really do dislike blacks because they’re a different race from themselves. However, I don’t believe the majority of whites think this way.
It’s about feeling comfortable with a minority that is very much Divided Joe. Half of the black population is middle class, hard working and dependable. The other half [and that’s alot] have scoffed at education and then complain about the dire consequences. Did it ever occur to you that White America would LIKE more blacks to be educated and that this fact would significantly reduce crime in our country?
What’s insidious and nefarious about asking the 50 percent of blacks lagging behind the rest of the country and behind their own black middle class brothers to step it up and Do What Asians do? How does this translate into “You just want to be a mean ole whitey and keep blacks in their subservient place”?
Racism IS a problem in America, Joe. I dont disagree with you at all. I disagree with the idea that it is a “white” problem exclusively. Part of the reason we have had so few black Senators IS because of racism. It just isnt all because of white racism. From Wikipedia;
“Since the 1940s, when decades of the Great Migration resulted in millions of African Americans having migrated from the South, no state has had a majority of African-American residents. Because of this, an African-American candidate cannot rely on the black vote alone to be elected to the Senate. This means the candidate must reach out to other races and groups to become elected to the United States Senate and to many congressional seats. Despite this issue, four African Americans have been elected to the Senate since the 1940s: Edward W. Brooke, a liberal Republican from Massachusetts; and Carol Moseley Braun, Barack Obama, and Roland Burris (appointed to a vacancy) – all Democrats from Illinois.”
In order for an African American candidate to be elected, he has to be able to get blacks and whites to vote for him, much like Obama did. And whites did indeed vote for Obama. But he is constantly being criticized for not taking a stand more firmly on the “black” issues. He cant. He was elected to represent the interest of Americans as a general whole, not to do favors for a group of voters that feel they have more claim to him based on his skin color. If he is seen by white voters to be playing race politics, and favoring one skin color over others, he will not be electable for a second term. If he is seen by some black voters and NOT playing favorites, and favoring their issues over others, he may not be electable for a second term. Race is an issue in politics. That very true. But not only to whites. Look at the constant criticism of Obama here, on this site. When you play the race card, and divide the American people up based on color, you make it hard for us to come together to support our common interests. It works against the process of getting black Senators elected to expect them to promote black interests over everyone elses. But, it seems to me that many in the black community with enough power to get air time are unsatisfied with a black or bi-racial politician who does try to treat Americans as a group of people, rather than coming down on one side or the other of the race issue.
Another part of your post, that in 2009-2010 elite white men still hold power, that comes closer to the real problem, as I see it. I think it was Noam Chomsky who said, and I paraphrase, “All the divisions, black, white, male, female, etc., are all distractions from the truth. It is the rich against the poor. It always has been.” In this case, the rich are white. But to attribute the benefit created by this divide to ALL whites, is pretty lackluster, in my opinion. In Europe, before African slavery and the creation of “racism” (by your definition, I argue it existed long before that) there was still the exploitation of the poor and powerless by the wealthy and powerful. Nothing has changed. The same game goes on, and the way it manages to continue in a Democracy is by convincing us, the common poor, that we are each others problem, and pitting us, the natural majority, against one another. While we bicker and fight, and point fingers and lay blame, the elite quietly take from us our money, our resources, our power, and, if we are not careful, eventually even the pretense of our Democracy. The poor of all colors and ethnicities in America and around the world have common interests. And were we not fighting one another over who the powerful like best, we could realize this and serve those interests. But instead we time and again, fall for the politics of fear, and subvert our own interests out of spite for some other poor sucker who is in essentially the same boat we are.
So yes, I agree with you that the lack of black Senators in America is the result of racism. But, I disagree that it is because whites alone are unable to look past their own short term interests to make that happen. It is also because blacks are unable to look past their own short term interests and support a candidate that takes a more holistic view of Americans.
We need to get corporate money out of our electoral process if we want America to stand a chance as a real democracy that serves the interests of her majority. Not the white majority, but the poor and middle class majority. Attributing the problems with our electoral process to racism alone is not helping. We need to look at the bigger picture here. The game being played here is older than the 1600s. Divide and conquer is as old as strategy itself. Poor POC and poor whites have more in common than they have difference. Focusing on the difference does not help them to see that fact and gather together as one political force.
Many people, now that the Soviet Union is disbanded, have forgotten what America was fighting during the 50 year Cold War. We take so many freedoms for granted in America that if we lived in the Soviet Union in the 1960’s we would wish we were back America with all its flaws. A great book to read is Animal Farm by George Orwell who used animals on a farm as an allegory of the modern day Soviet Union. There is professed equality, but this is a sham.Until 1989, both 1984 and Animal Farm were banned in the Eastern Bloc.
Animal Farm is a dystopian novella in the form of an allegory by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democratic socialist and a member of the Independent Labour Party for many years, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and was suspicious of Moscow-directed Stalinism after his experiences with the NKVD during the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel “contre Stalin”.
Time Magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005); it also places at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is also included in the Great Books of the Western World.
How in the world did George Orwell get dragged into this?Prime example of ‘derailing’.
No1KState stated: “Pointing out a scientifically found and measured flaw in American culture at large and white culture/people more specifically will do more to close the gap than picking at imaginary flaws in black culture.”
There is a great deal of talk regarding White Culture as if it is a clearly defined entity, like the components of a cell phone for example. There is also a great deal of talk about Black Culture as if that can be easily defined also. Could you No1 please explain to me Specifically what constitutes white culture? What constitutes black culture? Please be careful how you respond because you are in fact defining millions upon millions of people.
However you define either of them, black culture doesn’t include rejecting education for the sake thereof.
I personally dont think “culture” is definable by skin color.
1 – Then is it defined by nationality, region, religion?
2 – For all practical purposes, there is a culture the broad spectrum of African Americans share that we don’t have in common with white Americans or other Americans of color.
I mean . . .yeah, you’re right to a certain point. I would imagine a white South African and a black South African might have more in common culturally than a white and a black American. Sure. But in the historical context in which we live, where the experiences of our ancestors was defined by race, there’s nothing incongruent about black Americans having a distinct culture from white Americans. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I prefer clapping on 2 and 4; but there’s nothing wrong with clapping on 1 and 3. Have you read I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS?
Sorry – the comment was submitted before I was actually finished.
But to continue, when we read the book as a class assignment in high school, I was the only student who knew there was no way Maya put mud and dirt on her legs on purpose after her grandmother had slathered Vaseline all over her. In the creative writing classes I took, I always had to make some culture-related adjustment cause my white classmates otherwise had no clue what I was talking about. In a college class on American culture and movies, classmates tried to argue that race had nothing to do with culture and especially pop culture. By the end of the class though, after a project that was supposed to yield the top 5 movies for our generation had to be amended because not one of the movies selected featured black thesbians and most black students I knew had probably only seen 1 or 2; and in discussions I could talk about movies they didn’t even know had come out, they quit arguing.
So yeah. A black Brit and a white Brit may have more in common culturally than a black Brit and black American. I’m not definitely certain about that, but it would surprise me. But here in America, chances are your culture can be defined by the color of your skin.
3 – But I guess that’s a debate we could save for later, right? Cause at the end of the day, it still remains to be the case the culture black Americans participate in, even assuming it’s the same culture for other Americans, does not involve devaluing education.
1) Well, if you look it up, it is defined in a lot of ways, by the various disciplines, but in general, it is not defined by genetics, or physical traits, but by shared belief systems, knowledge, and values, often including language because language is the mode of transmission for belief systems, knowledge and values. I dated someone from the UK for three years, and there was a big cultural difference between us, but there was also some cultural similarity. (We have the same skin color) Here in the US, there is a quite large cultural difference between Hawaii and the mainland, and even between the states there are differences. Within states, there are also variations where you have had immigrants from one part of Europe as opposed to another settle, as well as where you have immigrants from other non-European cultures settle in fair numbers. There are also differences based on class, as class tends to influence your access to modes of cultural transmission such as education. I would say to say there is a white and a black culture in America is to vastly over simplify the issue. Obama, for instance, is much more likely to share my culture than yours, because he grew up on the same island, regardless of his skin color or mine.
I think one of the problems we are having is that we are pretending there is one “black” and one “white” culture. I agree with you, that it isnt part of the “black culture” to not pursue education. But it is part of the “poor culture.” Poor whites, hispanics and blacks all tend to undervalue it, and not emphasize it as a family value. They may call the meme differently, poor whites tend to criticize those who seek education as being snobbish and thinking you are better than everyone else, while poor blacks tend to say you are “trying to act white” in addition to the others, but its the same meme that tends to circulate among the poor.
What is being described as “white culture,” in my opinion, is several different memes, not all of them originating in Europe. Like them or not, they are very successful memes in terms of getting ahead as a group, and promoting the development of technology. (Including written language) These memes are in fact shared by the middle and upper classes in many countries, among people of various skin colors and ethnicities today.
2) What specific elements do you refer to that black and white Americans do not share, and I guess you are saying because of skin color, cannot share? I am not being intellectually lazy here, I have been trying to think of some. Discrimination is not really viable. White immigrants here have faced it, as well as females, and poor males. Mind you I am not saying that it was to the same degree in all time frames historically. I am not discounting the level of discrimination that blacks have historically faced in America. Ugly people are discriminated against, short people, fat people, poor people, most people do have some idea what it feels like to be rejected for something about YOU, that you may or may not have had control over. We could share that.
Not all blacks in America have a family history that includes African Slavery, which is an obvious something whites in general cant share. However not all whites who came to this country were pilgrims. Many came as indentured servants, and many did not place themselves in the position of indenture willingly, as we would define that today. I am not making the claim that that is the same as hereditary slavery, obviously, hereditary slavery is much more hopeless than periodic or temporary slavery. Our country is build on exploitation of those unable to defend themselves against it, and that includes Europeans historically, as well as Africans and African Americans. Again, I am not trying to argue that all whites have had it as bad as some blacks, but there certainly could be a lot of common ground here. I personally would love to see the meme of exploitation of those unable to defend against it explored more vigorously, as well as combating the variant of it we call “racism.”
And no, unfortunately I havent read that book. I have read the poem, but that doesnt really relate to clapping. I do wonder though, if the clapping thing applies to younger people. Does it?
3)Well it does and it doesnt, like I explained above. My observation is that the poor of many ethnicities tend to act as though the desire to get educated and move upwards financially in life is somehow a betrayal of “your kind” where kind can be defined in many ways, family, skin color, etc. Consider how the Republican party positions itself against “elitist” educated white liberals for its poorer less educated white members.
No1 Said: I always had to make some culture-related adjustment cause my white classmates otherwise had no clue what I was talking about.
Inferring what I can about you from your comments, I am assuming you found this a source of discomfort and angst? In a mostly Anglo-Saxon Protestant classroom, like the ones I was in, I had to make adjustments for being Catholic. I have to confess [no pun intended] it hurt. I remember a “friend” asked me if I did my homework once. I told her I hadn’t done it. She responded with, “Did you give it up for Lent?” Ha-ha-ha! Oh, how funny! I will never foget this. I remember how humiliated I felt. What an awful thing to say huh?
I remember my mother once went to a parent meeting. All the other parents were talking about having a pot luck on a Friday. One parent said, “You can bring anything you like. None of us are Catholic so we can eat any meats etc.” [ I should explain that practicing Catholics are supposed to eat only fish on Fridays.] My mother, who is a pretty proud person could have just kept her mouth shut, but those snarky protestants got to her, so she told me she said,”I’m a Catholic!” My father was proud of her and this turned into a family story about snarky-ass Protestants.
If you multiply this a hundred times, I can imagine what it must be like to be black in a mostly white classroom. So, it’s not exactly like you’re preaching to the choir No1 when you talk to me, I won’t go that far. But let’s just say you’re preachin’ to Some of the Other church-goers. It ain’t like I can’t relate in any way at all.
America can be cruel. What have I done with this? Well, I’ve sublimated these experiences to a extent. I also really try to look beyond this stuff and talk about Anything Else But Religion, cause my attitude is It’s None of Their Damn Business.
I also [I’m being very honest here] utilize my intellect and education to illustrate I guess, “Don’t pull that Old Money Protestant We-Were-On-The-Mayflower bull with me. I am more knowledgable and educated than you guys are, and you know it. It’s not about When you Got here, but what the hell did you do After That?”
This usually shuts ’em up. In fact, my dad was very aware of this Mayflower baloney and he had a similar way of shuttin’ ’em up. He would tell me, “Snow ’em with your intelligence and how well-read you are! They can’t compete with that and I love their reaction.”
My father was very well-read. He was also the villifed Catholic plus he had the added disadvantage of being very olive colored and very short [of French descent]. Why was he so short No1? Because he had a curviture of the spine. He was indeed, a hunchback.
He told me about when he was growing up, [and I hope you appreciate that I’m sharing this on public internet, but he passed away years ago, and if it helps someone he would have liked that] he was called, “the kid with the ass on his back” by school mates. What did he learn to do? He told me he took boxing lessons and became the best fighter at school. Coupled with his formidable intellect, everybody eventually respected him.
Again, I’m not comparing our experiences with being black. I’m just sharing some personal stuff about how I do know how cruel people can be about stuff not of your choosing to control: like race or physical defects or religion.
But their are alternatives to ruminating about these hurts and hating the people who inflicted them. Look for commonality, cause there’s plenty of that. Ask your family to fill in those gaps that the outside world refuses to. Don’t let hate eat away your soul. I agree with Illusions. It’s not about forgiving, it’s about Your Peace of Mind. Hate can ruin you, it doesn’t affect the people you hate one iota though.
Who said anything about hate? Or ruminating about hurts? What are you talking about?
Aside from that, though, thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing your family stories too. I like personal stories because it means more than always citing stats. Plus, I think I communicate better when I do include personal examples.
Regarding ruminating about hurts, the bottom line is don’t plop all the white people into one little bundle just because Some white people are idiots, and then dwell on this. There’s a segment of whites who will Always be narrow and mean-spirited because they’re insecure and need to use other people [often other races] as scapegoats to compensate for their own deep seated inadequacies. You will Never reach these people.
On the other hand, many whites are sensitive and have lived through plenty of pain, so they can certainly relate to racial pain. These are the people who can be reached and are worth reaching.
Anyway, Happy New Year No1! Go watch The Godfather Trilogy! [Just Kidding!]
Another Fantastic Comment Illusions. Stuff I struggle to say, you are very articulate with. Hope you comment on this blog for a long time. Just reading your stuff is a mini-education.
I shouldn’t comment now because I haven’t read either of the last two comments in their entirety.
But there is a definable black culture as distinct from white culture due to the difference in our histories. Culture doesn’t involve genetics or phenotype, but it does involve history and collective memory. And black history and especially collective memory is distinct from white history and collective memory. It’s not as though nothing from Africa remains in blacks culturally.
If you ultimately agree with me that black culture doesn’t include devaluing education, then what are we talking about beyond that? Wasn’t that the whole point? Let’s stay focused, here.
Let’s see . . . some differences of course is music and history. The food we eat. Our vernacular. Social rules, religion and religious discourse. By religion, I’m referring to Black liberation theology, not Catholicism or any particular Protestant denomination. The importance of community and family. That’s what comes to mind right off the top of my head.
As for discrimination . . . for the most part, unless the person demonstrates otherwise, I can count on having someone to lean on in terms of resisting racism. I’m not sure other disadvantaged groups have the same sense of solidarity. Though I feel safe in saying we also assume any person of color will be a pillar or soon need a pillow, and our solidariy usually encompasses them as well. West coast gangs aside, a poll during last years (2008) election season showed white Americans rate animosity between blacks and Latinos higher than either blacks or Latinos. I’ve never felt as though I could lean on a random white woman in solidarity against sexism; some white women have internalized sexism to such extent, they’re often their own enemy in terms of resisting sexism.
“Cannot” was your word. I never said blacks and white cannot share common culture.
“I’ve never felt as though I could lean on a random white woman in solidarity against sexism; some white women have internalized sexism to such extent, they’re often their own enemy in terms of resisting sexism.”
I would say that the first part of your comment here is on you, not because there are a lack of white women who could be a source of support regarding sexism. But saying that, in regard to the second half of your statement, I would say you arent incorrect in the second statement either. Although I would add that the same holds true for “some women” of any color in America.
“Let’s see . . . some differences of course is music and history. The food we eat. Our vernacular. Social rules, religion and religious discourse. By religion, I’m referring to Black liberation theology, not Catholicism or any particular Protestant denomination. The importance of community and family. That’s what comes to mind right off the top of my head.”
I dont think any of those things make much of a case for a single “black culture.” Many of them are shared with many whites in various regions, (with the exception perhaps of the Black Liberation Theology) and they certainly arent shared by all blacks. I couldnt find any numbers to indicate what percentage of African Americans believe and worship in that way, but I am going to guess it is not a majority.
Also, using the same criteria, there are whites clearly divided along those lines too. Again, I would argue that to say there is a “black” and a “white” culture is just a gross oversimplification of the truth. In a country the size of America, although we all do share aspects of an “American culture” (which for good or ill is spreading globally in many ways thanks to the media) we are also quite diverse underneath that umbrella. Unfortunately for the argument for a “black and white” culture, we are not cleanly dividing along race lines. Much like the genetic evidence, there is far more difference between individuals within the groups than there is between the supposed groups themselves.
A very important concept regarding oversimplifying and dividing a huge country into “white culture” and “black culture” is that the huge majority of whites really don’t identify themselves with the statement, “I’m white. That’s me. That’s all you need to know. You can assume the rest.” Excuse me? No Way!
In the first place, as I’ve stated in previous posts, I myself have beefs with other white groups: Old Money Snobbery, Narrow-Minded Protestants etc. So don’t stuff me in the Whitey Bag, cause there’s alot of these guys I don’t want to be with.
Same goes for most whites. We argue with Each Other alot and don’t like being lumped together. We easily divide along all kinds of demarcations. So it’s like trying to mix oil and water in a science experiment.
Billions of people fall under the definition of white from 1.different ethnic backgrounds 2.different religions 3.different family dynamics and values 3.different educational levels 4.different incomes 5.different personal experiences. Saying “Whites habitually do thus and thus” or “Whites have habitually thought thus and thus” is like saying “All plants on Earth can thrive in dry climates despite lack of moisture” or “All mammals are omnivores” or “All insects are harmful to humans”. From a purely scientific stand point, it just doesn’t fly.
Plus, we must ask what constitutes being white along ethnic/biological lines? I know people from South America [Ecuador to be specific] who speak Spanish and are of European descent. They consider themselves Hispanic and White. They are not descended from the indigenous populations of South America. Thus, they are Spanish speaking people who settled in South America from Europe. See? Complicated.
I also think racism, as it exists for the most part in America in 2010, is based on socio-economic status, not ethnic background. Poor African Americans are discriminated against much more than middle class African Americans. However, poor whites are discriminated against by middle class whites also.
The fact that so many African Americans are indeed poor, may make statistical studies appear that there’s discrimination based on race, while it’s really based on education and economic status.
Again, a disenfranchised people started out on the poverty level through no fault of their own. But millions of blacks have reached middle class status after the CRM. The other 50 percent has a choice. I really believe that. Drop off the train and continue on the sidelines of mainstream America or stay on and break the cycle.
This is why it’s so important [here I go again]that blacks Within the poor black community embrace education instead of dropping out and perpetuating the Cycle of African American Poverty. For every black teenager who drops out of high school, he is influencing 5 other black teenagers to do the same. It increases exponentially and tragically.
I may have missed something, but rather than “here you go again,” this is the first time you’ve distinguished one group of blacks from another by socio-economic class.
Still though, I think that there is a false notion that any group of blacks devalue education. For example, it’s the poor that get the worst facilities, least resources, and least-experienced teachers. (This goes for poor whites as well.) Notwithstanding that poor urban communities pay a higher proportion of their income in property taxes to try to get better education in the community.
It’s also the case that with schools like KIPP and HCZ Promise Academy that there is a great deal of desire for learning and education even in poor black communities.
May I suggest for you any of Johnathan Kozol’s books? I’ve only had the chance to read Savage Inequalities, but others are on my to-do list.
Now, I’m not fond of Evangelicals myself. But it was the American Council of Catholic Bishops who instigated the trouncing of women’s rights in the health reform bill.
Lastly, as pertains to white people, the truth of the matter is that all of you, and likewise all Americans, are immersed in the white racial frame. The only difference is that being and living amongst blacks, I experience the info needed to rebuff a lot of racial myths. And being a member of a politically connected family, at least in terms of my area, I know how white bias and privilege gets turned into policy. So, unless otherwise stated, we do treat whites as all the same. There’s just no reason not to. Part of the white racial framing is that minorities are all monolithic groups, that only whites are individuals. But whites just aren’t as individual as they like to think. Just as minorities aren’t all monolithic groups.
No1KState said:”So, unless otherwise stated, we do treat whites as all the same. There’s just no reason not to. Part of the white racial framing is that minorities are all monolithic groups, that only whites are individuals. But whites just aren’t as individual as they like to think. Just as minorities aren’t all monolithic groups.”
Well, given that I’m white and I also have access to the way whites think, just as you said you have acccess to the way blacks think, I am in a position to rebuff racial myths You may hold about whites as well. Fair enough?
“According to the white racial frame” really means “somebody handed me a catch-all phrase for All White Behavior and It’s a Source of Comfort for me to Think of Whites in a Simplistic, Rudimentary Manner”. From a scientific view point, contrary to what you’d like to believe, there really Isn’t a White Racial Frame Box from which all whites magically step out to begin each day, No1.
First of all, whites [and again we’re talking about billions of people on Planet Earth] absolutely do not think of other ethnic groups as monolithic.That would be a psychological impossibility given that Billions of Whites Come Into Contact With Billions of Other Ethnic Groups All Over the World Every Second of Each Day. On a business basis, a friendship basis, a romantic basis, you name it.
If whites really treated all ethnic groups “the same” [one simple illustration] business would not be able to be conducted on a global basis. An American trying to do business with a man from India would not succeed if he didn’t see his business partner as an individual.
A French person would not be able to do business with a black man from South Africa if he didn’t treat him as an individual. A white man from Australia would not be able to do business with a man from Korea if he didn’t see his business partner as an individual.
The more Anyone Gets to Know Anyone else, the more we subconsciously adjust to that Individual person. We quickly learn if that person is shy or gregarious, has a sense of humor or is rather serious, is direct or prefers a more discreet social approach to conversation, is a family person or a loner, is fastidious or more relaxed.You really believe other ethnic groups do this, but Whites don’t Except with Other whites?
This is absurd and you know it. In the world you are describing, nobody would be able to communicate or function at all No1.
Furthermore, No1, am I treating you Right Now like some stereotype? Do you feel that I am doing this? I’m White, You’re black. Here’s a perfect mini sociological experiment right here. Do you think my communications with you are based on some White Racial Frame Stereotype I have about you, or have I been consistently trying to give you my honest opinions and treating you with courtesy and respect as an individual person? Cause, if I am treating you in a monolithic fashion, I don’t believe you’d still be communicating with me at all. Please think about this.
First off, I was talking about white Americans and black Americans.
Secondly, blacks have subjegated knowledge about whites, especially how to interact with whites, that whites themselves don’t acknowledge.
So when I’m out and about and have to address a white person, I don’t speak black vernacular. I soften my voice. I play gentle and cuddly. Unless the salesperson is starting to act shady, then all I have to do is harden my voice, furrow my brow, just pretend that I’m about to turn into an angry black woman, and they come correct.
The reason you know I’m black is because when talking about African Americans, I use first person pronouns. Plus, while I’m brilliant at writing dialogue in any vernacular I’m familiar with, when typing, I stick to standard American English. I don’t break too many rules of standard grammer. So I have that going for me. But what if we met in the street, and you saw my dredlocks and heard my Southern twang and black vernacular, how would you react then? What would you think then?
Do you really think you’re different from over 200million other white Americans? You’re really not. You’re quite typical, blaming the unemployment rate among blacks on blacks, citing our mythical rejection of education. Though you were sure to spell out that blacks are just as smart to guard yourself against accusations of racism. Still, you rely on conservative commentator John McWhorter for information about the black community. You accused me of racism for asking if white Americans wanted a cookie for letting black people vote since 1965. You showed that just like a whole bunch of other whites I’ve encountered, you don’t really know what a racist comment sounds like. So you acknowledge racism but reject its impact on employment; and, while you protect yourself from accusations of racism, you’re quick to throw one out. And let me tell you, that’s very common among white Americans. Whites have even accused black groups of racism for their very existence, complaining about double standards for rising in the ranks of anti-racism groups.
Sure some whites are poor and some are rich. Some are conservative and some are liberal. Some like pie and some like cake. But upwards of 93% of white Americans all fit the same cookie cutter mold. No, you’re not born into the white racial frame. You’re nurtured into it. You’re nurtured when you watch the local news.
It’s in my best interest as a black person to treat all white people as though they’re the same when it comes to race, otherwise, I get treated like I’m some random “baby mama” video ho.
I forgot to paste this like about the white racial frame, it’s a post Joe wrote a few months ago.
You’re correct on All Counts! Guilty as charged. Discovered for the White Racial Framer I am indeed. You, absolutely, have “rested my case”.
“Still though, I think that there is a false notion that any group of blacks devalue education. For example, it’s the poor that get the worst facilities, least resources, and least-experienced teachers. (This goes for poor whites as well.) Notwithstanding that poor urban communities pay a higher proportion of their income in property taxes to try to get better education in the community.”
Perhaps you did not grow up poor enough to notice it then. I would not begin to argue that there are not inequities in our educational system between the poor and the wealthy. I would also not argue that minorities disproportionately fall into the category “poor.” But to discount that there is a tendency among the poor to undervalue education I think, is burying our head in the sand, and saying “la la la… Im not listening.” If you ask people the question, “is education important,” you may get the answer “yes it is.” But what we claim is important is not the totality of what gets imparted to our youth. When we hear messages that educating yourself is positioning yourself against others of your “kind” (however you define that) you are being schooled to devalue education. Further, you are being told that to reach for it, you risk losing the approval of “your kind” (however you define that)
As I said in another post, the Republican party does this all the time, by calling educated liberals “elitists” who “think they are better than the rest of us” and selling the “simple beer drinkin’ good ole boy,” (or girl as in the case of Sarah Palin) as desirable, while bashing people who sound educated as “placing themselves above us.” On a familial rather than group level this same thing is accomplished by saying “education is important” but then not focusing on schoolwork, homework, and calling people “snobs” who are more educated than yourself.
“So, unless otherwise stated, we do treat whites as all the same. There’s just no reason not to.”
If this is how you treat people, then it is little wonder you hold the opinions you do. I would guess that some of what you suspect is racist attitudes toward you are actually due to the fact that some people would find you unpleasant to deal with. The beauty of racism is, that you dont have to look at your own personal role in interactions. You can just attribute any negative you encounter to “white racism.” Not your own racist attitudes, or to any hostility you may be projecting, it allows you the illusion of blamelessness.
“It’s in my best interest as a black person to treat all white people as though they’re the same when it comes to race, otherwise, I get treated like I’m some random “baby mama” video ho. ”
I seriously doubt that. Clothing and hairstyle choices do impact other peoples first impression of us. There are hairstyles and clothing I could wear too that would effect the way people initially view me. But you shouldnt confuse the two.
“But what if we met in the street, and you saw my dredlocks and heard my Southern twang and black vernacular, how would you react then? What would you think then?”
I personally would think you were either a stoner, (depending on the rest of your outfit and your overall bearing) or a black radical. Your accent would be just an accent, in my opinion, it would tell me something about where you grew up. What you said in that accent would tell me how you think, and what kind of person you are in terms of education and character.
I grew up speaking pidgin. I know that HOW you speak says more about where you are from than who you are. However, I have done my very best to clean it up, and speak what we call “proper English” in Hawaii. Why? Because there are many who cant understand you if you dont, and that affects your prospects in terms of employment and personal relating. I dont feel it is “racist” that I gave up my pidgin to be more easily understandable. Japanese as a language is also stressed in Hawaii. Not because of centuries of Japanese oppression, but because they make up a large block of our tourism industry, and speaking Japanese means you get an edge when applying for jobs.
Everything that you are attributing to racism is not necessarily racist. It may be prejudice, (my feeling that you may be a stoner or a black radical because of your dreadlocks) but it isnt racist. Treating all whites as if they were the same without looking for other clues as to who they are as a person IS racism. You are making your judgment of a person based on skin color alone.
“And being a member of a politically connected family, at least in terms of my area, I know how white bias and privilege gets turned into policy.”
Obviously it does. It is the golden rule. “He who has the gold makes the rules.” In America, “he who has the gold” has traditionally been white. Ditto for Europe. However, there have always been underclasses who were not represented by the policies of their country. Even when they were the same color as the person who has the gold. I would argue that you are conflating two things, racism and classism, to make your own argument stronger. I am sure it works for you in most cases, but it just isnt good argument in a technical sense.
Again, I didn’t read the entire thing, but I’ll respond to the first couple of paragraphs.
One could argue that a great number of poor of all races in America devalue education. More poor than middle and upper classes? Though, what I’ve seen presently and historically is that poor people do as much as they can to get their kids good educations. So to attribute a phenomenom that’s happening to all black people on black people, or just a segmnet thereof, is unfounded.
For everything I’m attributing to racism, there’re studies and research to back me up. If you have questions, Fine. But really, white trash names? Lets say you conducted such a study and found disparities, what would that have to do with “black” names? Or the fact that white male convicts have the same or better chance of getting a job as a black man with no criminal record? You can raise a question here or there if that’s what you see fit to do, but you can’t question the totality of all the studies and research that indicates anti-black bias affecting everything from employment to health treatments. If poor white people are being discriminated against on the basis of their name, that’s wrong. But you’re talking about something that affects a segment of the white population vs something that affects all of the black population. And neither case has to take away from the other.
And yeah, “unless otherwise demonstrated,” I do assume a white person, as a white person, has racial bias. “Unless otherwise demonstrated” also means I look for clues. That you or marandaNJ think otherwise is a making of your own imaginations.
There’s no doubt that people in power exploit to some agree everyone. In fact, when black slaves and white indentured servants began working to closely together; or when black and white sharecroppers began protesting together; the rich would use race to tear the two groups apart. The difference is poor whites at least got to be white.
“So to attribute a phenomenom that’s happening to all black people on black people, or just a segmnet thereof, is unfounded.”
I dont do that. You do. I make it very clear that I do not believe all blacks undervalue education. I think it is a meme that passes among the poor often. I do not think poor families do “all they can,” I grew up VERY poor, and in poor homes that were headed by both whites and PoC. Not to mention the people in the neighborhoods surrounding me were also poor. It was a rare family that sat down with their children and helped them with homework on a daily basis. Or who took them to the library, which is free. Or who read to their children nightly, or gave incentives to their children for reading as opposed to watching TV with them. In the upper and middles classes, those behaviors are more common. There are obstacles to getting a good education in the US that are classist. (And racist) You are absolutely right that the qualities of teachers and equipment, etc., is poorer for poor children. But that does not change the fact that the families themselves are not doing all THEY can. My poor Japanese friends were pushed. Parents gave up all personal luxuries to ensure their kids got any possible edge. The temples often held “Japanese school” that many of my friends had to go to after regular school to teach them language and instill cultural values in them. In many poor families of other ethnicities I knew, including white ones, the parents often had as many toys as the kids did, and it wasnt all sacrifice for the younger generation. Very few poor Americans feel that they can live without cable TV and cell phones, when giving up those items might give allow them to invest more in their children both in terms of time, and money. Not to mention if the media is a way that people are indoctrinated into racism it might protect them to limit their exposure. No. Poor people in general do NOT do everything they reasonably can to ensure their children do better than they. Many of them have been conditioned by the system to feel that they are helpless, ineffectual, and there is no point in trying. If someone else doesnt come in and intervene, nothing can change. Obama pointing that out is not being a racist, or sucking up to whites. He is simply pointing out that they should do all THEY can do, rather than just waiting for everyone else to change. You cant make anyone else change. You can make yourself change.
And, I notice that while you are all in a fuss about the lower class name issue, you are missing one thing. You yourself admit that the names in question are not usually selected by middle and upper class blacks. Why isnt it racist to say that lower class black names represent “black names” in general? Why isnt that stereotyping, to suggest that black women are Lakisha’s and not Annes?
“In fact, when black slaves and white indentured servants began working to closely together; or when black and white sharecroppers began protesting together; the rich would use race to tear the two groups apart. The difference is poor whites at least got to be white. ”
You are right, and they still are. Nothing has changed because we are so petty and stupid that we fall for the same divide and conquer strategy over and over again. You say “the whites got to be white.” And? What does that mean? They got to be crapped on while holding onto some internal feeling that even though their life sucked, they were somehow better than the blacks. What did the blacks get? They got to be crapped on while holding onto some internal feeling that they were somehow (morally) superior to whites. Big difference there, No1. Seems to me they both got a whole lot of nothing.
No1 said:Though you were sure to spell out that blacks are just as smart to guard yourself against accusations of racism.
So you really believe that I’m Just Pretending that blacks can scholastically do just as well as any white? That I made the comment that blacks are just as smart as whites, so that a great deal of benefit would fall on the poor black community if they embraced education, merely to protect myself against racism? Is there Anything that isn’t nefarious about white people No1? I hope you can emotionally survive the rest of your life given such unbelievable cynicism. Because I sure couldn’t live like this.
You hate whites No1. And that’s racism. Whatever you learn about an individual white person, even if it’s positive, you twist it into something ugly. Even if a white person Attempts to communicate with you, you assign some insidious horrific motive for this communication.
And this is how you intend to combat racism in America. Where other blacks Want African Americans to receive the benefits of a free education, you believe it’s a lost cause from the get-go. So, really, who is trying to keep poor blacks in the same position they were in 50 years ago, you or me?
No, I don’t think you’re just pretending.
No, I don’t hate white people. To borrow a phrase, some of my favorite people are white.
When did I suggest anything is a lost cause?
I never suggested obtaining an education was useless or that I hate white people. In reading that into my comments, you’re doing what lots of white people do, take a comment and exagerate the implications then beating up on a straw man. Ie, Glenn Beck accuses Pres Obama of having a deep-seated hatred of white people because Pres Obama said the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting Prof Gates. No, I don’t think you’re Beck. No, that’s not what I’m saying. I am saying you’re both doing the same thing.
I mean really, since when does pointing out your guarding yourself against accusations of racism equate to some insidious horrific motive? You went from my comment about immature teenagers to suggesting that I’m trying to keep poor blacks in the same position they were in 50 years ago. A charge that even liberal, sympathetic whites assign to “race hustlers” like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Sr. We want to keep black people down for our own benefit. As though a few “race hustlers,” if Sharpton and Jackson were that, could keep tens of millions of people in a particular social position. That logic falls back on its own face.
Besides, I thought the whole point was that whites have a propensity to respond out of the white racial frame, not my own personal feelings about white people. And of course, you’re unaware of how I’m treated when I don’t guard myself from being stereotyped as a typical black woman, and every shred of evidence indicates upwards of 93% of whites have some degree of racial bias. Racism isn’t limited to the mean-spirited or narrow-minded.
Contrary to popular understanding among white people, racism isn’t limited to individual encounters or insecure people. It’s a systemic, institutional, and cultural phenomenom that rears its ugly head at just about every chance.
As for you, yeah you’ve interacted with me on the level. With the exception of lumping me with other “angry” black people. Don’t confuse despising racism with despising white people. Whether or not you believe poor blacks are just as intelligent as anyone else is a bit besides the point. If you weren’t trying to guard yourself against charges of racism, at the very least you wanted to be sure no racist trying to use your comments to their own end. Otherwise, what’s the point with the all caps? Maybe you think poor blacks devalue education because they don’t believe they’re as smart as anybody else. If that’s the case, you have to ask yourself where and when they would’ve gotten that idea since all children start primary education excited to learn and eager to succeed. You think their parents tell them they don’t have to try hard because whitey’s gonna get them anyway? Or something like that?
But here’s another thing I’ve found typical of white people – even those who say they want equality fail to listen to blacks and facts and evidence about how to get there. Not unlike your insistence that the problems poor blacks face has so much to do with their alleged disregard for education. Still, that doesn’t explain why black men with degrees have an unemployment rate twice that of white men with degrees. Or why KIPP schools and the HCZ academy do so well.
Seriously, you’ve engaged with me for a hot minute and decided that I hate white people. Darlin’, that’s typical white behavior all day long. And I haven’t even mentioned, which I’m about to, the way whites have blamed blacks for social failures since slavery. Blacks were accused of not valuing education enough even before integration.
To No1: First of all, please don’t call me “Darlin'” cause that’s condescending, and you know how you hate that right? Well, I don’t like it either.
In your former comment you said: “But upwards of 93% of white Americans all fit the same cookie cutter mold. No, you’re not born into the white racial frame. You’re nurtured into it. You’re nurtured when you watch the local news.
It’s in my best interest as a black person to treat all white people as though they’re the same when it comes to race, otherwise, I get treated like I’m some random “baby mama” video ho.”
Then you claim:
“No, I don’t hate white people.”
Say what? Thing is No1, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck..you get the idea. You make extremely denigrating remarks about how whites [excuse me American Whites only] treat all other ethnic groups Except their own in a monolithic fashion. You accuse me of saying blacks are inherently just as intelligent as whites To Cover Myself Against Racist attacks. You tell me, “You’re just like all other whites!” And I can only assume that’s not a compliment coming from you! Then you back cycle and ‘take it back’ that you don’t hate Whites.
Well, forgive me if I’m confused. You’ve got what’s known in vernacular circles, No1, a huge chip on your shoulder. I have my doubts if you have many white friends. They must have to walk on eggs constantly huh, or you’ll do what? Your ‘angry black woman’ thing [your words, not mine]. Is is possible for you to Even Attempt to See Human Beings as Individuals? I think you see every white through a hate-filled lense.
The thing is, you told me once when I was posting here in the summer as smoke.a.newport, when I told You I had black friends, you said, “Well, when questioned, studies have shown blacks only call white people, who claim they are a black person’s friends, as mere Acqaintances.” In other words, my black friends who I consider Real Friends would only refer to Me as an Acqaintance? And you weren’t deliberately trying to hurt my feelings? Yeah, sure.
You did your best to make me feel demeaned and insulted. Everything I said, you attacked even if it didn’t have Anything to do with Racism. You tryed to make me feel insignificant and ashamed. But you didn’t succeed. So don’t worry about it too much. And please don’t hand me “Oh! Whites as Victims!” meme either cause I’m aware that’s part of your considerable arsenal against whites.
The bottom line is Love is stronger than Hate, No1. I love my black friends, and you can’t take that away from me, no matter how hard you try. In your own way, you are just as misguided as the worst white supremacist.
And now I’m trying to get you to no longer love your black friends?
Sorry I offended you.
But I don’t hate white people. I didn’t say I had white friends, just that I had white roommates.
What’s hateful about the fact that all Americans are immersed in the white racial frame?
Insignificant and ashamed? No, I have not tried to make you feel insignificant and ashamed.
You attacked everything you say that doesn’t have anything to do with racism? Like what? The ROOTS comments? If you read my response, you would’ve seen that I apologized if you sincerely thought I would’ve never heard of ROOTS. As far as equal intelligence, I added that at the very least, you wanted to be sure no one who felt blacks weren’t as intelligent used your words to their own end.
Try to hurt your feelings? No, I wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings, I was just responding with a stat that I had read somewhere – I think a book by Eduardo Bonilla. He interviews a bunch of kids and finds that first, more white college students than black claim to have friends across the racial boundary; and second, upon follow up interviews, what white kids called “friends,” black kids called “acquaintances.” Do you think I was trying to say your black friends probably don’t like you? No. If that’s what I wanted to say, I would’ve said it. I was questioning whether or not these “friends” of yours were actual friends.
So you think I see every white through a hate-filled lense? Yet, you really haven’t shared anything hateful I said about white people. What I say about white people comes from having read lots of research and studies. Most of the white folks I know personally are cool, if naive about racism, but few whites aren’t. Check the facts.
You come across as the typical white person. Is that a compliment? Hmm . . . a better question would be how is that an insult? I remember once, a white classmate said they didn’t think of me as “black.” Was that a compliment?
Now, I’ve been called an anti-white racist even though no one has demonstrated how I’m an anti-white racist. But as misguided as the worst white supremacist?
Does that mean I think black people are better and should rule the world? That’s odd cause I thought I wanted poor blacks to stay in the same position they had been in 50 years ago?
As for the hate filled lensed, again I gotta ask – what are you talking about? What have I said that was so hateful? And lets make a distinction between hateful and offensive. You might find “darlin” offensive, like I don’t use when I’m writing “Happy birthday, Darlin” on my friends’ walls. But it’s hardly hateful.
And I think that’s just the point here. Not very many whites know the difference between hateful and offensive. I don’t think all whites are inferior to blacks, less intelligent or less moral or less attractive or anything like that. I’m just looking at all the research and studies, including psychological studies showing that very few people are without bias. And also, that the more a white person watches the news, the more prejudiced against blacks they become.
Yeah, I have an “angry black women” thing I do. You won’t believe some of the ridiculous things I’ve had to hear, and on the days when I don’t feel up repeating facts or history, I use my “go to,” and get some peace.
So really, take issue with my facts or something, cause I know what I feel about white people and it’s not hate. Is the lens really mine or yours? As in, what makes you think I hate white people, and not racism? And do all people of color who reject the myth that some significant segment of the black community devalues education?
In fact, what have I said that equates to what you’ve said about black people and education?
So, facts or nothing at all. Please take a break from the emotional appeals to love and hate and hurt feelings. Cause from what I’ve learned from having to deal with white people, accusations of racism quickly close the conversation. Or, is repeating something that’s said by mainstream America racist?
“Ironic, isn’t it? You’re disappointed that I’ve picked at some part of your argument rather than the underlying point when you didn’t have take care to read my argument which you were responding to.”
Well it is ironic that we have the same complaints, but, I do take care to read your arguments. Often more than once. Generally, I bring up elements I disagree with more than those I agree with. In this case, the study design. Bad science bothers me in general. Not only when it applies to racism. I am not from the sociological discipline, my discipline is philosophy. In case you dont know, it is a very broad field that encompasses, (being the historical root of) many of the more specific disciplines such as sociology, but also the “hard sciences.” Broadly, philosophy places great emphasis on logic, and reasoning, and argument. So, I am more sensitive to violations thereof. Studies exist to try to quantify, in this case, to quantify the impact of racism. However, the answers we get, (in general, in any form of query) are dependent upon the questions we ask. You say here;
“I do apologize for having not addressed your point about whether or not studies are flawed; but I did accurately read that you were attempting to undercut evidence of racism, right?”
And the answer to that is “No, I have no interest in undercutting evidence of racism.” What I do have an interest in is making sure we are quantifying it accurately. I have no interest whatsoever in denying racism. Period. However, I approach the subject with different assumptions than you seem to. As I said earlier, it often seems as if you feel it is THE problem, when for me, it is only one manifestation of, or instance of, a broader problem. I personally want all instances of discrimination based on things that are inherent, (things which we have no choice over realistically) to stop. This includes but is not limited to things like gender, “race,” ethnicity, class, height, age, looks, etc. My interest in being specific about what is racism and what is not is not to undermine the fight against racism itself. It is an ugly, painful, wasteful practice, and it needs to end. I just feel that to address it, we need to isolate it and quantify it properly. As an example, if what we are seeing is classism, then approaching the problem as if it were racism alone will not necessarily be effective. On the other hand, if some things are working in the battle against racism, conflating classism and racism may make us stop using tools that ARE effective. If we are going to say things like “scientifically proven racism” then we had better be using good scientific methodology. In the hard sciences, you dont get to throw a fit when people question your methodology. It is a given that they will run your experiment backwards and forwards, and tear it apart. The same with argument in philosophy. Its just the way it goes. I dont think sociology should create a special set of rules for itself, and in the fight against racism, I think it works against the cause to do so. If you are going to use the term “science” to support an argument, you better be prepared for the scrutiny that comes with science. It isnt personal. And it doesnt mean the person scrutinizing your methodology is trying to undermine your cause. (though they may well be in some cases) Personally, my interest is in fairness and accuracy.
As for suggestions as to what might be actual lower class white names, google “white trash names” or “trailer trash names.” In general, for girls, names that are of stones, (Diamond, Amber, Ruby, Crystal, etc.) Angel, Candy, Missy, and more “mainstream” names spelled creatively. For males, names that are a combination of first and middle names, (Joe Bob, Billy Ray, etc.) or a given first name that was originally a nick name or diminutive, (ie; “Billy” as a given name instead of “William.”) Also names like “Earl” “Dale” as one website suggests, look up NASCAR racers names for examples.
“I mean, health reform has been a trip, hasn’t it? It was the Becks and Limbaughs who brought up the spector of race, of health care reform being a form of reparations.”
I think it is a shame that people are making health care a race issue, and nothing that comes out of Limbaughs mouth surprises me at all. But I personally dont think either side is addressing the issue in a way that will bring long term relief. While I think extending insurance to all Americans is a start, I feel we need to be taking steps to increase the supply of doctors. Personally, I think just increasing the amount of people who CAN seek medical care, without addressing the shortage of doctors, will just drive up price and lower the quality of service overall. (Basic economics) Its a good first step, in my opinion, but we need to make it easier for people who wish to pursue a career in medicine, and are competent to do so, to do so. There are huge artificially created barriers to entry to some fields, medicine being one of them. They are designed to ensure supply never equals demand, and thus keep price (salaries) high. We need to fix that.
“Also, when have I wrongly framed something you said according what you imagine to be my belief system? And how do you think I define racism, anyway? What do you think is my “belief system?””
If you dont mind, let me address that in a separate post. This one is already dragging on, and even I get sick of my novellas. Plus, it will require me going back and re-reading your replies, many of them, and while I enjoy them, today just isnt the day I have the energy to do that.
“Also, be sure to describe what you find is “argumentative.” Previously I would number my points . . . nevermind that. Now, it’s as much about trying to keep everything organized for myself, in the face of having to constantly respond to you and marandaNJ both, than being argumentative. ”
When I say I dont like your argumentative style, I dont mean that I dont like you to number the points. (It actually helps me too, so I dont mind that at all.) Nor do I mean that you are “arguing” in the common sense of the word. I mean that I sometimes find your logic inconsistent within your argument (singular) or when considering all your arguments taken together as a body. An example, claiming that historical suffering is something we should consider for PoC, but then when the historical suffering of a white group, Irish for example, is brought up, you brush it off by saying, “Well they arent discriminated against now.” (I paraphrase) Mind you, I am not trying to claim the Irish SHOULD be capitalizing on their historic suffering. I personally believe that we are only entitled to claim “suffering” for the things we as individuals actually experience ourselves, regardless of race. I dont even mind you hold one opinion or the other, you are entitled to feel and believe what you do, I dont think everyone has to agree with me. However as a style issue, I dislike that your logic is inconsistent. Either historical suffering transfers like an inheritance or it doesnt. Which brings me to;
“I forgot to add – Does part of your definition of racism includes groups like Black Association of Journalists? Organizations like that come about in response to racism. If a person finds groups like those problematic, what they’re taking issue with is a response to racism, not racism itself.”
I am against racism, and sexism, et al, in principle. Period. While I do understand, believe me, I do, that these types of groups arose as a response to racism, I disagree that that necessarily means that they are not racist themselves. (Or sexist.) I dont disagree with their intent. I disagree with the method. I think it would have been just as, or more, effective to have an organization called, “Association of Journalists for Equal Opportunity” or some such. Why? Because “they did it first” is not an excuse. If you are drawing a line based on race, it is racism. Ditto with gender and sexism. I dont personally care that some racists are offended by the idea of black people having their own little club. I care that it promotes to the next generation of humans the idea that the lines have merit at all. Sports may be an area where gender lines have merit, based on physiology, but journalism is not such an area.
It also limits the number of members, inherently, in a group formed to fight a cause. I would never presume to join a group of any kind that had “Black” or “Mens” as a restriction in the title. If the title of the group were more open, I might. More members, in a democracy, equals more political power. I also would never join a group that had “white” or Womens” in the title. Because I would not want to exclude people based on gender or color when those two things should have no bearing. In my opinion, there is a big difference between saying, by our actions, “I am against racism, period.” and saying “I am against racism when it is against me, but for it when it promotes my interests.” I understand the good intentions that caused their creation. But good intentions famously pave the way to hell. Its about more than us and our own short lifetimes. We need to think about what we are inadvertently teaching our children. In the case of groups that form along race and gender lines, we are SAYING race and gender should not matter as considerations, but then we are acting as if they do indeed matter very much.
I also, personally, am surprised that white acceptance of such divisions is not seen as patronizing. “Well, we dont discriminate (whether that is objectively true or not) but “they” need those groups to build their self esteem.” (Same for womens groups) I would be mad as hell if I were hailed as “a great woman ________.” I want to be recognized as good, bad or mediocre compared to the entire pack I am competing in, not have the pack subdivided somehow so that I get a nicer title, perhaps, but never get full recognition if I should happen to be one of the greatest ever. Imagine if we handed out “A’s” in biology and then “Womens A’s.” Somehow getting a woman “A” just wouldnt carry quite the same punch as getting an “A” overall, when the entire class was considered. “The greatest black American journalist that ever lived” is somehow just not the same as “the greatest American journalist that ever lived.”
Maybe its just me. When I ran track, my coach used to deliberately tell me, “not bad at all, for a girl.” Because he knew I didnt just want to be the fastest girl, I wanted to be fastest period. I wasnt of course, physiology and all, but I never stopped pushing myself to try. There were only two boys faster, and I was happier being the third fastest overall than the fastest girl. It meant more to me somehow, and it still does. I would find it humiliating to have a line drawn in an intellectual area, personally. I am surprised any one at all finds it tolerable.
@No1KState: Illusions said: In my opinion, there is a big difference between saying, by our actions, “I am against racism, period.” and saying “I am against racism when it is against me, but for it when it promotes my interests.”
Precisely No1! That hits the nail on the head, BAM! And part and parcel of the whole problem is trying to address racism in general as part of a “White Racial Frame” theory. This theory claims that White American People [we can’t even include Europeans in this definition] are responsible historically and through the present day for practicing racist actions against other ethnic groups. Thus, this is the framework within, according to you No1, All Aspects of what we term racism must be addressed.
You consistently, as Illusions has stated, dismiss racism that ethnic groups within the White Group have encountered with [paraphrasing] “that doesn’t count” or “it wasn’t as bad as blacks had it”. And indeed it probably wasn’t. But it still should “count” from a strictly scientific standpoint. You can’t call a study “scientific” and then ignore huge parts of empirical evidence because it doesn’t further your cause. Because, if we do that, it’s not actually science is it?
The white racial frame theory claims that whites have inflicted most of the racism in America historically and presently, correct? It also posits, and I have a Huge Problem with This, that white people in general are predisposed [Say What!] to subjecting weaker races to humiliation and degradation. Like it’s genetic? Or that whites live in a cultural norm that Always trys to put themselves first and Everybody else on the planet next.
This ideology is very important because if you buy into it, it spawns remarks such as, “Just like a white person!” “Damn, if that’s not a white thing!” It spawns hatred is what it does, based on race! It spawns Racism! And this is what we’re supposedly attempting to diminish. Where’s the broader ideology of terminating All racism?
I suspect part of what’s going on is the pay-back meme I’ve mentioned before. Many whites in America used to lump black people together and make these Exact same remarks such as, “Just like a *&#@!” and “Damn if that’s not your typical *&^#@!!!”. So it feels comforting to say these words about whites, within a “scientific” context. Yet, the White Racial Frame is a theory or philosophy to try to explain why whites subjugated blacks to begin with. And the answer to that was POWER as Illusions tells us.
The power of one group over another because of superior technology and weaponry. And this power game was practiced all over the world for 25,000 years. So to define the power game as exclusively the province of the white man, and then to further limit this definition into White American Men is like trying to stuff a hot air balloon into a ring box. It just won’t fit from a scientific standpoint.
Plus, it exhanges one form of racism for another. This is not furthering the cause of anti-racism for everybody. I can’t count how many times I’ve read on this website, “Yeah, but according to the White Racial Frame”, Or “The White Racial Frame tells us” Or “You’re just acting from the White Racial Frame!” It’s like a computer program that can’t be adjusted one iota or the whole shootin’ match will explode?
Plus, if someone suggests that the race issue be approached through a much bigger lense they are accused of “derailing”. Derailing from what? From the White Racial Frame of course. The WRF is not a religion folks. It’s a perspective. One perspective.
Is it possible to look at racism Very Productively from another position rather than the White Racial Frame one? I think it is. Ultimately, the goal is the same. It’s just a question of arriving there by a broader route. Like the freeway with 4 lanes and room for everybody, instead of an unpaved back country road that can’t accomodate anything but a one-horse wagon. Insisting on viewing race from this White Frame meme can sometimes cripple one from viewing race in a much broader perspective. And constantly taking new variables into consideration, ladies and gentlemen, is the essence of true science.
I’m gonna respond to your last comment, illusions, and your last comment, marandaNJ, right here. I didn’t read through everything cause I also responded to another comment marandaNJ made to me. But I’ll finish later.
1 – I didn’t say anything about the Irish suffering now. Nothing of the sort. AS I recall, we were talking about Ireland and not the Irish here. And what I said is that America has not more rights in Hawaii than England has in Ireland. Now, I may have said I don’t see what Ireland has to do with intra-national racism in the US. I still don’t. Anti-black racism in the US started with little consideration of Ireland in mind.
2 – In what ways have a suggested that racism is wrong unless it’s used to my benefit. I haven’t said anything like that. Not remotely close. That’s just what the two of you decide to think about what I say, first that I’m racist against white people, though I haven’t seen either of your produce evidence that I am. Then obviously that I’m okay with racism so long as it’s in my interests.
So I’ll be clear about my feelings on “racism” in the name of anti-racism. I’ll concede that yeah, groups that start off as anti-racism can become anti-white. I’m not aware of any, but sure, that’s possible. That said, if we’re going to correct centuries of prejudice and bias against black people in this case, it’s only logical that some actions benefit black people and black people alone. That’s not racism. Racism is based on the belief that one group is superior to another, not that one group has been oppressed by the other. I mean, if you broke your leg, would you demand that the doctor put your entire body in cast?
Now, yeah, you were pretty much doing what I suspected. You want to make sure we properly quantify racism. Like you said, you think it’s overstated. So obviously, you weren’t looking to quantify up. Most of the names you list as white trash names, I know black people with those names. They’re actually pretty mainstream as far as can tell. I mean, I have a cousin named and some friends named Crystal. So your issue in that particular study is pretty much moot. And I repeat, that wasn’t the main study of the article. Did you read the article? Please read the article. Let’s throw out the name study. What’s the explanation for unemployment among black men with college degrees being twice that of their white counterparts.
And it’s not the questioning of studies as such that bothers me as much as questioning studies and carrying on as though the study should be question without having done the study yourself. That’s what scientists do, right? That’s why scientists and statisticians are so specific, so that others can test their findings by doing their study exactly the way they did it. Now, I don’t know what you know about social science, but having declined to major in social science cause I had had my fill of math, I’m positive it works the same. In fact, that’s how Dubois designed it to work. So what bothers me is questioning a study without bringing up other studies to back up your assertion. At least marandaNJ used a study to get at the central point I was making, albeit a study that had not a whole lot to do with the central point I was making.
Sure, you can explain what you think my views are in another post. And please do read through past comments. You could maybe visit my blog if that helps. So far, you’re wrong.
And marandaNJ, have you read the posts or books on the white racial frame? Or, do you think this is something I just made up?
I forgot to respond to the paragraph about health reform – I didn’t say I think the Dems and Obama have done everything right. I said that it was conservative whites who brought race and racial animosity into the issue. I said that poor whites would benefit from policies that black people support. I’ll add here, if I didn’t say it earlier, I think poor whites vote with Republicans for the own racial issues, including the hate they project and ascribe onto people of color, not because of black people bringing up race. We know better.
On second thought, there’s really no good reason for me to read repeated, unfounded attacks on my character.
So what I’ll do is review how we got here, or least part of how we got here.
marandaNJ suggested that Obama was correct not to mention racism and that problems like unemployment were of black people’s on making because black people don’t value education enough.
I responded by saying she was wrong in that analysis. Perhaps, a nicer way to put it is that it’s untrue that black people don’t value education enough. That the problem is racism, for example, we see a great disparity in employment even amongst men with college degrees.
marandaNJ never responded to today’s unemployment numbers.
I suppose illusions was suggesting that maybe the issue was race but class to the extent “black” names set people apart. That still doesn’t explain the unemployment numbers we see among men with college degrees, right? Cause at the end of the day, racism or classism, discriminating against someone on the basis of their name is wrong, right? Certainly, it can’t be that black applicants aren’t doing their due diligence on the company’s culture. I mean, to a disparity of 4.4%:8.4%?
I never addressed other -isms, not because I don’t believe their important, but because when looking at the disparity of employment between college educated men, they’re really unimportant.
illusions, you haven’t presented any data suggesting more class bias; you’ve only question data showing racial bias.
marandaNJ, you haven’t sited anything hateful I’ve said about white people. What’s so hateful towards white people about rejecting the notion that the problem is that black people don’t value education? By blaming black people for the employment numbers, aren’t you blaming the victim? “Cycle back” and claim not to hate white people? When did I say I did?
Which does remind me, “White people as victims!” meme of mine? Do you mean because I mock the idea of white people as victims? White individuals can be victims, I don’t question that. But that it’s indicative of something approximating the widespread bias people of color face, yeah, that’s mockworthy.
Oh, and the questions I ask, “When did I say education was a lost cause?” and others, I don’t mean rhetorically.
Illusions Said: I grew up VERY poor, and in poor homes that were headed by both whites and PoC. Not to mention the people in the neighborhoods surrounding me were also poor. It was a rare family that sat down with their children and helped them with homework on a daily basis. Or who took them to the library, which is free. Or who read to their children nightly, or gave incentives to their children for reading as opposed to watching TV with them.
EXACTLY right again Illusions. After a point in time, a poor family [meaning generational] isn’t poor due to outside circumstances. They’re poor because of an attitude of defeatism
and habits of depending on the State to fix their ills, not themselves. So, yes, impoverished families don’t value education as much as middle class ones do. That applies to all races, and it applies to black people. How many poor families sit around reading Shakespeare instead of watching American Idol? How many families at the poverty line own a flat screen TV but not one magazine subscription? How many own all kinds of video games, but not one computer? It’s a Choice. Nobody is completely helpless, and that includes poor African Americans. The self-fulfilling prophecy is, “We’re going to fail anyway, so why bother?” And guess what? They do fail!
The fact still remains that when it comes to men with college degrees, the unemployment rate of blacks is twice that of whites.
Now, illusions and marandaNJ, I’m through. I got (American) football and chicken fried rice to do. Next time, if there is one, lets deal with facts and not suppositions. Lets keep the entire context in mind.
“The fact still remains that when it comes to men with college degrees, the unemployment rate of blacks is twice that of whites.”
I did go and look at the United States Department of Labor statistics, and I was unable to find the data for 2009 that the article mentioned. The site seemed to indicate that data was to be released in a day or so. However, I was able to examine data from previous years, and there is clearly a higher rate of unemployment for college educated blacks. And, it is roughly consistent for all educations levels, suggesting strongly that it is not linked to choices in major. It very likely is exactly what it is purported to be, racism. With the available information, I could see no other reason for the disparity.