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Racism in the USA

By jardinier ·
A couple of days ago I had the good fortune to meet an Afro-American. He is an IT Pro who works in Sydney, but retains his US citizenship. He was able to satisfactorily answer all my questions regarding the status of Afro-Americans, and explained in detail how the racial tensions between black and white actually manifest.

Incidentally, he found no problem in my using the term "black," and frequently used this term himself in his description of the status quo.

I would be most interested to hear the opinions and personal experiences of any American of any shade of color, on this subject or, for that matter, anything else about racism in general.

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Racism through the years

by AV . In reply to Racism in the USA

I think there will always be racism no matter where you go in the world. Today though, its not limited to black and white. I would like to share some experiences that I have had over my lifetime in Northeast America.

I am white. When I was a child, I made a friend at school that was black. We used to play together and sometimes I would go to her house and have dinner. After a short while, my mother told me I couldn?t see her anymore because she was black and I was white. My mother thought it didn?t look good. That was the mindset in the late 1950?s or early 1960?s when I grew up.

By the late 1960?s things changed. Black people gained more acceptance and status in society. At that time though, I was a friend of an interracial (black and white) couple. They were only semi-accepted by society and if we went out to a public place together, people would stare. There was always a stigma, to the point that they couldn?t find a place to live. Neither race liked this arrangement.

After the great rebelliousness against the establishment of the late 1960?s and much of the 70?s, a renewed consciousness grew (I like to think of it as a cultural renaissance) that allowed for acceptance and tolerance of all people of all races. America became even more diverse. People from all countries came here to establish a better life. Both good and bad, they helped create a country where diversity was acceptable. I don?t know if this could have happened in another country at the time.

Today, racism still exists, but so does the opportunity to make a different life no matter what race you are, And be accepted.

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Mixed Race Folks

by jgoth1 In reply to Racism through the years

You mentioned the interracial couple. Did they have any children? I am a multiracial person and have had an interesting life, observing all the stereotyping and wondering where I would fit in. When people would meet my black/East Indian dad, they would have that "I never knew you were black!" look on their faces. I think there are more and more people like me out in the world now who check OTHER on all the forms and applications. Maybe when enough people are mixed we can move forward and get past the race thing and enjoy this amazing planet and each other much more.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Mixed Race Folks

When the races have been mixed all up there will be no more racial hatred like in China when it kept getting invaded they simply just breed out the invaders.

But unfortunately we have seen numerous cases of the same race killing each other off in alarming proportions so I'm not at all hopeful.

The best that can be said for racism is that it gives a reason for some form of dislike between different races but when you see the same race set about on genocide like in Africa or in India where the only difference between India and Pakistan is a "religious" one that was brought about by simply drawing a line on a map by the retreating British.

To me at least the more things change the more they stay the same the only difference is that new ways are found to hate others. While it makes absolutely no sense to me unfortunately that is just how it is maybe when man kind grows up all this stupid junk will be left behind.

Well I hope so anyway but as neither of us will be around by then it's really a moot point isn't it?


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They had 2 children

by AV . In reply to Mixed Race Folks

I also knew another interracial couple that was a little older and they both had separate families from other marriages.

All of them fit in now because most people are used to diversity in race and religion. Of course, there are still bigots but thats ok too. Its their loss.

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By your silence ...

by jardinier In reply to Racism in the USA

you vindicate the words of my Afro friend, who has visited his homeland quite recently. He said that, apart from the appointment of a few token judges and police captains, blacks in general were looked down upon and treated as inferior.

A friend who used to spend 6 months of each year in Beverley Hills, also told me that racism was alive and well in the USA.

And what about all you guys who are proud to have served your country in Vietnam, fighting alongside Afro-Americans on whose lives you were mutually dependent; do you have nothing to say?

Replacing the terms "******" and "black" with "Afro-American" does not change attitudes.

Now there is an interesting example of racism in my own back yard, so to speak. In the particular area of Sydney in which I live, there are many South African immigrants, and especially of the Jewish persuasion. These people grew up under apartheid, and have brought that attitude with them. For the most part they are extremely rude and arrogant, and look down on people who are not in some skilled profession.

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By our silence you can assume. . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to By your silence ...

...that many people, myself included, are growing weary of the few TR contributors who continually put the USA, for whatever reason, in their sights for continued criticism.

(A "little voice" in my head says, "Ignore it, Maxwell. Just ignore it.")

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Vocal size

by Cactus Pete In reply to By our silence you can as ...

Mine is apparently bigger than yours lately.

[Which probably crosses another line...]

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dpetrak - remember this?

by maxwell edison In reply to Vocal size

dpetrak, Remember this? (Go back about 5 months.)Don't ask me why, but I decided to post it here. (Regardless of that little voice telling me to "ignore, just ignore".)


I suppose I can best explain my position on race relations with a couple of illustrations - one real, one fiction.

The fiction one:

I'm a child of the 50s and 60s, and I grew up watching a lot of television, including the original Star Trek series. If you're familiar with the crew of the original Starship Enterprise, you'll know that the crew was made up of a wide range of races and cultures, but it was never discussed - or even pointed out. It was just there. Lt. Uhura wasn't the "black" communications officer, she was just the communications officer. Mr. Sulu was not the "Asian" Sulu, he was just Mr. Sulu. Captain Kirk wasn't the "white" captain, he was just the captain. The same applied to the whole crew. I suppose the Vulcan, Mr. Spock, was singled out for being different, but never for being "different", if you know what I mean. All were accepted for themselves and for their expertise. That was a "color-blind" environment, and race just wasn't a factor.

The only racial story was the episode, "LET THAT BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD" where a white/black slave runs from a black/white man (colors reversed). The race issues illustrated in that episode showed not only the destructiveness of racism as it targeted a person of another race, but also how it caused personal battles within them both.

Wouldn't it be nice if we just didn't make race a factor in judging others - or even labeling them?

The real one:

I hire people for a department of our company. On one occasion a few years ago, I went on a marathon interviewing session, talking to about six people a day for three days straight. My supervisor (a staunch Democrat, by the way, while I'm the Republican), asked me about my potential candidates. "I think we should consider George", I told him. "Which one was George", he asked? "George was the guy who was here at eleven o'clock on Monday", I said. "Oh, the Mexican guy", was his reply. I can honestly say that I didn't even notice George's race. I really didn't - until it was pointed out to me.

Here's another interesting tid-bit. I suppose I've filled out 3 census forms in my life (1980, 1990, 2000). On the 2000 census form, I left blank the "race" question. Isn't it a coincidence that in that year, I got a knock on my door to "verify" the information. Coincidence? I think not.

This obsession with race is something I don't want any part of. I just want to deal with Lt. Uhura, Mr. Sulu - or George.



P.S. By the way, racists come in all colors, not just white. And racists live in many countries, not just the USA.

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By the way, racists come in all colors

by Oz_Media In reply to dpetrak - remember this?

I agree and think the whole thing is targeted to the USA merely because of the size and diversity of the population. Whereas MOST or even MANY Americans have no racial predjudices there are still many that do.

With the history of the USA being formed around racism (even if it was to FREE others from racism as in the civil war)the focus has always been racism. Therefore there is a much greater attention paid to the USA when it comes to racists.

My former neghbour was brand new to Canada from Alabama, he said racism was rampant there. He did note that other parts of the US were not as racially focused but added that most of these communities, cities, states or whatever were mainly white, therefore it wasn't an issue.

I see the exact same thing here (especially in Vancouver where elbow room is tighter) with Asians and East Indians. Now they ALL get lumped in as 'chinks' or 'hindus' even though many are Vietnamese, Korean, Pakistani etc.

The cultural differences brought by SOME immigrants speak for ALL immigrants, just as the racial slurs by SOME locals speak for ALL locals.

In India it is quite normal for several families or extensions of families to live in the same house and everyone puts their income into a community pot for sustaining the household. In caucasian Canada, this is not the way we live. When you're old enough or able to, you move out on your own. Now people complain about large characterless houses that house 15 -20 people who all work under the table delivering flyers, newpapers, security jobs etc. For his they are resented as it is not the way mainstream Canadians live and it goes against the grain. Enter, racial slurs about East Indians, or anyone brown for that matter. And so it goes for all immigrants here, I went through it as a British immigrant, when I still had an accent, we are known as snotty and pompus (thanks to TV). Canaduans are known as laid back dopers who just want to save the trees. Americans are seen as arrogant yet uneducated. Australians are known to not take anything seriously and just party.

We ALL have our stereotypes, it is just a matter of how the population is mixed in a given area as to how they are perceived. In a Latino neighbourhood, whitey is the fool. In a black neighbourhood, same thing. In a white neighbourhood it's whoever the minority is (black, chinese, indian etc.)

Population creates racism and segragation of class. The tighter the population, the stronger the segragation, we do it to form our comfort zones and it's normal worldwide. My old Fijian best friend used to tell me all the white jokes when I went to Fijian birthday parties etc. with him. Whites are racist, so are blacks and everyone else. BLack neighbourhoods have as much racism against whites as whites do against blacks, WE have segregated ourselves do to our comfort zones and population density.

Just the USA? No.

More noticable in the USA? Yes.

Why? Population density.

Where I live now, there is NO racism whatsoever, I live in a mixed society in a small neighbourhood and everyone has room to move and accept each other for what they are.

Conclusion? The US MAY have more racisits than other countries but that is due to a larger and more dense population, proportionatly I think they are no different than other countries in this respect. Just like people being a**holes in public places or parading like peacocks in bars.

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Barbara Jordan and Racism

by generalist In reply to By the way, racists come ...

I seem to recall that Barbara Jordan, a black woman who, among other things, was a state representative from Texas and a keynote speaker at the 1992 Democratic Convention, spoke about racists of all colors and got into trouble for it.

I can also say that racism exists, but things are a lot better then they were for African-Americans and for other races. I'd give it another forty or fifty years before things reach the point that it is rare.

Unfortunately the national media tends to fan the fires in search of stories. For example, in the Spokane area we had a group of white supremacists called the Aryan Nation. The image we got from the national media was one of being a hot bed of racism.

It also didn't help that Mark Furhman, of the OJ Simpson case, moved to the same area not long after the case was over.

Oddly enough, the national media never seemed to notice that the Spokane City Council had a black woman and a woman that was part American Indian as members. And they never mentioned the Chase Awards, given to kids who show community spirit, named after the first black mayor of Spokane.

I have to heartily agree with what Oz_Media has pointed out about racism in general. It covers all races and is a function of culture, population and people in general.

I can say that I myself try not to be racist and I have done my best to teach my kids the same. If enough of us think that way, racism will fade over time.

Unfortunately, I doubt it will totally disappear.

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