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post #1 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Telling the truth about race and reaction

For some reason that completely escapes me, I told a Caucasian acquaintance of mine the truth (as me, my friends, and my relatives experience it) about 9-11 and being Black in the USA. Specifically, I pointed out that WE had never felt everyone was feeling the same after the attack. I talked to my brother on Sept 12, and he had the same reaction I did.

Fear.

But the knowledge that we were still far likelier to be killed by a cop making yet another 'tragic mistake', rather than terrorists. We were still far likelier to be killed by a domestic terrorists than foreign ones.

(Fun Gulf War Fact: A Black US soldier from Harlem was more likely to be killed at home than in Iraq or Kuwait.)

We kept our mouths shut for fear White people would start up lynch mobs again. But the idea that racism had somehow gone away was patent nonsense.

The experience of racism is like paranoia. Youlive in constant fear that the cop driving by will roll down his window and shoot you. Or you'll be on your way home, and they'll just shoot you down. And there's no legal recourse. They don't convict cops for murdering Black men in the United States. But unlike Paranoia, Black men get reminded every month or so that it ISN'T paranoia. When there's yet another Amidou Diallo or Abner Louima.

Needless to say, she was a bit shocked. Black folks often temper their words around Whites, and this time I didn't. One rather hopes I didn't lose a friend over it. But it was an enormous relief to tell the truth.
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post #2 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 02:03 PM
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Okay, I totally don't agree with you saying that whites don't have to adapt their attitudes. Give me a break. I don't know how things are in the north, but where I live whites have to constantly be careful what they say because any little slip... and little thing that the black people don't like will get you bitched at, beat up, or boycotted by the NAACP.

I remember being told by black people in my class after writing a paper using quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. that I can't possibly understand what he meant.

Puhleeze. Just because we're the majority doesn't mean we're not the target of racism. Black people are just as quilty of it as whites are.

Example 1: When black people try to blame whites today for slavery.

Example 2: When the NAACP and black get mad about the Confederate flag in South Carolina because it represents slavery but then they put chains around their license plates to remind them of it.

I mean, there's more than one case of hypocracy there.


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post #3 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 02:38 PM
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This is a very interesting thread, Volcana. I must confess that I'd gotten fed up with the racism attacks in some Venus-Serena threads. Because they're black, we have to be careful when stating an opinion about them or we're branded racists.
Racism in this country isn't about race but about culture. Black people who've obviously lived here their entire life, who speak the language just like everyone else, who live their lives like every one else won't encounter many problems, I think. A person who has a clear Muslim name (eg Mohammed, Ahmed,...) will.
I have friends of a different race but who're just as Belgian as me and I know they've never had any problems. That's why I often don't understand why people keep on going back to the fact that Venus and Serena are black. I've always seen them as American, just like Lindsay, Jennifer are American.

But until now I never realised there's a security issue involved! I always thought Americans were proud to be living in a multi-racial society, I'm surprised that racism is still so big!
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post #4 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 03:16 PM
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That confederate flag crap is just nonsense! Do we go and put up the nazi flag after world war2? Do we go and put up the Vietnam flag? I am sorry but the south lost that war and their bastard flag should have been done away with. If you were jewish would you want america flying the nazi flay over the state capital?

If you want to represent the good aspects of the south, fine. I'm sure not everyone in the south back in those days was racist, but they benefited from a racist society that held blacks in enslavement forcing them to work with no compensation. That is the legacy of the south, that is what that flag stands for. That is what those southern boys died for in the war. Slavery. Human suffering and degradation. This is america and if you want to fly that hateful flag in your yard, fine. Just be upfront about what your doing. Don't hide behind some false sense of "southern Pride" or some lost "legacy". I'm sorry but that legacy was built on the backs of others. That legacy was the work of enslaved people. In fact it is their legacy not anyone elses. They built the south through their uncompensated labor and all that plantation gentility is just false B.S. How can someone be oh so civilized while whipping and raping people?

Ha! I am so sorry but I have no sympathy or understanding for Southern people who care about that flag. If you're great grandparents fought and died for the south they died for the wrong cause. They were on the wrong side. The people of the south during that time were anti-america and the ultimate terrorists. I am so glad that that evil institution and all it wrought was torn down and destroyed.

It just burns me that some people don't feel the same way. As if they can somehow justify what the south did. What rose colored glasses are they wearing? I mean that kid from america who fought for taliban was crucified in the media and rightly so. What those southerns did was a thousand times worse than that because there were a thousand times as many of them who turned their backs on america.
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post #5 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 04:55 PM
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Blacks in the north even thought there were technically free were treated much worse than blacks in the south.

Also, don't forget that the American flag that flies in our country now ALSO flew over this country when slavery was legal.

The Confederate flag is about CULTURE and HERITAGE. It is NOT a symbol of hate. And personally while I detest Nazis, the swastika does not bother me at all... it's actual meaning is quite different than what the Nazis used it as.

And while the South was guilty of slavery the winning side also still had slaves, don't forget that. Also, it was the North that launched the march of terror by that mass murderer Sherman. Northern armies raped and murdered thousands of innocent civilians. So fuck off, if Southerners want to pay homage to the people who died to protect us from invading butchers, we will, got it?

You say the South turned their backs on "America." "America" is about freedom and choice... how is the North attacking the South to FORCE them to remain a part of "America" something that a peace and freedom loving people would do? Now, I'm happy that the United States is whole and I'm happy that slavery ended, albeit it never should have existed. But blaming the South for slavery and the civil war is beyond stupid.


Beige, you forgot the rest of that statement in this country... "majority rules, minority rights." I understand that there are more problems for minorities than there are for the majority here. I'm just saying that it's not something that they alone face. The majority of whites in this country are not racist, yet we are typically ALL labelled as such when one white person does something horrible that is race-related. And even you must admit that often times blacks and other minorities scream racism and "haters" when whites make comments that are NOT really racial in nature. Often minorities use "racism" to cover up their own failures in certain areas.

And I'm GLAD that blacks and minorities stand up for themselves. Did you not see the part about Martin Luther King Jr. who I respect more than any other person in history? My problem with minorities standing up for themselves is when it becomes less of a defense and more of an attack on the majority simply because they are the majority.

And I realize that it's easier on gay people now that it has been in the past. But I also don't blame all heterosexuals for the crimes against gays. When a man walked into a gay bar 10 minutes from here a few years ago and shot a ton of people simply because he hates gays, I didn't go around screaming, "all heterosexuals are haters! haters!"

Anyway, my point is, you can stand up for yourself all you want, but just be careful that when you're hurling terms at people, they're the right people.


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post #6 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 05:48 PM
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I am a latino living in Canada, and I really don't look like the typical hispanic, at least the sterotype that exists in the US and Canada. I am of italian and spanish ascendance and for that reason, I am often mistaken for italian, spanish or french.

In my country of origin, racism isn't an issue, at least not to the point it is in the United States, in fact there are very few blacks there, there is though some racism towards other minorities such as asian or natives, but it never got to level it did in the US (I mean, there isn't a KKK there). The racism is mostly not accepting those minorities fully into society and some sort of discrimination and sterotyping.

I explain that to say I can't really feel what a black person feels living in the United States, my experience with racism is limited to what I read, in books or newspapers, or watched in movies or TV, or even read here.

I do understand however that black people have suffered a lot in the US and they still do. Although racism in Canada isn't as strong as in the US, I still could see cases of discrimination towards blacks, and how some people label them as criminals or uneducated based only on their skin colour.

However, there is some true on what someone said. There are two sides on this. It's true that black people have reasons to be angry and to defend themselves, and we can't compare what they suffered to what whites are going through dealing with them.

But most of the people I know are not racists, and are agaisnt racism, but most of them still fear blacks, and I think that brotherhood attitude doesn't help. I do understand the reasons for that but I believe that things are much better than they were some years ago (although far from perfect) and we all need to move forward to try to live peacefully, without discrimination and hatred. It's a long process that is for sure more difficult for minorities, specially blacks but I believe most of black people want just a better life, not revenge for past or present offenses.

The whites have to give up a lot, much more than blacks, but blacks have to offer something as well. Attitudes like "you are a brother, how can you say that about another brother?" certainly don't help.

Volcana, you are probably right about blacks being more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist, but saying the naked doesn't always help. Remember that after September 11 people were scared, there were (and there are) a lot of anger, a lot of patriotism, desire of revenge, and if you said something like that, you are likely to be labelled as antipatriotic, even though you are not and you are just stating the truth. In very emotional periods it's dangerous to say the truth when it isn't what people want to hear. Remember what happened during wwII, anything german or japanese was attacked and insulted.

I know it's easier from my position to say that, but some times, it's better to have the viewpoint of someone who isn't emotionally involved and can give a more objective perspetive.
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post #7 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 05:58 PM
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Blacks in the north even thought there were technically free were treated much worse than blacks in the south.

Worse! How can you tell me they were treated worse! Do you want me to name the relatives I lost to lynching in the south? And I am not talking all the way back to slavery. I am talking sixty years ago.

Also, don't forget that the American flag that flies in our country now ALSO flew over this country when slavery was legal.

Yes I agree. Those who enforced the constitution were all hypocritical. But it was the ideals that were important, not the men behind those ideals who turned their back on them.

The Confederate flag is about CULTURE and HERITAGE. It is NOT a symbol of hate. And personally while I detest Nazis, the swastika does not bother me at all... it's actual meaning is quite different than what the Nazis used it as.

A culture of slavery. A heritage built on the backs of others while others were lazy and sipped mint juleps. Sorry but you cannot divorce slavery from this flag. You can't divorce the fact that the south only seperated because the instituion of slavery was threated. Those people who lived in the south who did not have slaves but benefited from slavery and did not object and try to change things are in my opinon just as bad. Just like the people who did nothing when the germans came for the jews.

And while the South was guilty of slavery the winning side also still had slaves, don't forget that. Also, it was the North that launched the march of terror by that mass murderer Sherman. Northern armies raped and murdered thousands of innocent civilians. So fuck off, if Southerners want to pay homage to the people who died to protect us from invading butchers, we will, got it?

March of terror? What about the terror of young babies torn from their mothers? Women raped, men beaten? No the northern soldiers do not get an excuse for their behavior but their behavior does not absolve what the south did either. Also slavery was abolished in the north as well as the south. The north was not exempt. oh and it boggles my mind that soldiers who protected the southerns from the invading butchers were themselves butchers! Don't you see that? How can anyone not see that? I am not talking about the people in the south who stood against slavery, just those who benefited and practiced it. From you I believe you have the Hitler's mother attitude, that despite what Hitler did his mother would have still loved him.

You say the South turned their backs on "America." "America" is about freedom and choice... how is the North attacking the South to FORCE them to remain a part of "America" something that a peace and freedom loving people would do? Now, I'm happy that the United States is whole and I'm happy that slavery ended, albeit it never should have existed. But blaming the South for slavery and the civil war is beyond stupid.

From this I gather if the people of texas rose up and decided to reinstitute slavery based on a majority "choice" you would not like it, but live and let live? I dont understand that mentality when slavery infringes upon basic human rights. No one has the right to subjugate someone else no matter what the majority says.
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post #8 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 11:25 PM
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The lynchings you talk about were after the civil war, not before. Although it WAS misplaced... people were angry with blacks in the South majoritively because Northern leaders forcibly put former black slaves in charge of governments in the South.

And yes, blacks were treated worse in the North. In the South, although they were slaves, they usually had decent places to live and food to eat. That wasn't the case in the North.

You obviously don't know a lot about this period of time other than the typical "we were inslaved and treated badly and it's all southern white people's fault" that you've been taught, so frankly I'm not going to waste time arguing with you anymore.


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post #9 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 2002, 11:44 PM
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You are not worth my time. It's obvious that you, my friend have a limited experience with this time in history. To suggest that were no lynchings during the time of slavery is just ridiculous when there are records! Yes records, of how runaway slaves, as one example, were treated. And no I did not say all runaway slaves.

Further, the treatment of blacks in the north was not worse than slavery. From your one statement you revealed a lot about how little you know. To suggest that roof over your head and scraps of food, yes scraps ie leftovers that the family in the big house didnt want, is naive. The people in the north were not truly free, but they had much more freedom and opportunity than there southern counterparts.

Upon rereading your posts I have come to the conclusion that either you felt no inclination to read and RESEARCH the subject and are probably relying on second hand misinformation or worse your own assumptions.

From my own background it was a necessity to learn about my FAMILY past. I have traced my relatives as far as several pre civil war plantations. I have seen documented records of births, deaths, prices for new slaves and exchanges for trades...etc I have seen documents about lynchings. So how in the world can you tell me that it didn't happen or exist?

You have reaffirmed my previous belief about non people of color. Maybe its because you believe the issue doesn't affect you that you can take a cavalier approach to the subject with your shoddy abc movie of the week research. I guess the same can be said of men who probably truly do not feel concerned or connected to the women's movement. Or native people who have no idea of the issues facing immigrants or st8 people who cannot grasp the indignities gay people suffer. I hope I'm wrong. In any case I'm glad you decided to end the discussion because I can already see that nothing I say will have an impact on your limited worldview.

PS just for the record I never said it was "all southern white people's fault". In any case from your previous posts I believe you would place the blame of slavery firmly on the slaves shoulders.
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post #10 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2002, 09:13 AM
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Interesting, thought provoking thread.

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post #11 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2002, 12:40 PM
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comment by Scotso.

"In the South, although they were slaves, they usually had decent places to live and food to eat."

I don't know what you have been told about slavery, but this was certainly not the case. I could go on and on about the atrocities of slavery, but I won't. But I wanted you to know that you have been misinformed. And before you accuse me of being angry, I'm more angry that people actually believe this crap than I at you in particular. But you are from the south right?

As for not tempering myself arounds whites, I try not to around my friends, but when it comes to somebody I don't know that well, I probably do. As far as I'm concerned, if you're my friend, I don't need to walk on egg shells around you, and I don't. Although I must admit, I do talk about race much more with my black friends than I do with my white ones.

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post #12 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2002, 03:17 PM
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Bravo Volcana. Very good thread. It's great having the opportunity to see what's on people's mind with regard to such a sensitive issue. I appreciate everyone's sharing.

I think that more communication is required in order to solve the problem of racism. But it has to be controlled communication, otherwise anger, frustration, arguments or even physical violence can occur. For this reason, we must all be cognizant of this particular risk when talking about race to someone who might not share our beliefs.

Therefore I am more inclined to believe that both blacks and whites at the individual level should temper potentially volatile opinions unless they are capable of managing the potential confrontation that might follow. (Of course, some people will feel that confrontation is the only way to get things done. To them, I say 'more power to you').

Organized group discussions are perhaps a better forum to affect people's attitudes toward race. It would also help if the media would stop portraying more negative than positive images of minorities. This too would impact people's attitudes--especially those who live abroad and base their attitudes on what they see via the media as a true representation of what living in a racially diverse society is all about.

At the individual level, I think the following would go a long way. If you are offended by a statement, you should have the courage to speak up. Obviously, this goes for blacks, but whites should do it, too. But remember to pick your battles wisely so that you will be listened to, and not written off as a whiner.

I don't know which race tempers their words more. I don't know if it's even important to know. I feel that whites generally temper their words in an unsatisfactory manner because we temper both criticism and praise. What I mean is that often we won't insult black people because we don't want to be called racist, but we won't compliment or praise blacks either because we don't want to be associated with being a [you know what]. Of course, everyone is not like this--I know tons of exceptions. I think we should NOT temper our praise of others and we should not fear the consequences of doing so.

I don't know whether most individual blacks temper their praise of whites. Personally, I've receive many compliments from my friends of color. I think as a group, blacks tend to NOT temper their criticism of whites thanks to people like Jesse Jackson and others. So this is a step in the right direction. I think that as a group whites DO temper their praise of minorities. This is NOT a step in the right direction.

I am by no means on a crusade to change the world. I am simply sharing my perspective on the issue. Hopefully, the world will one day be attacked by some extraterrestrial aliens and we'll all have to unite. That way, we will sincerely and undoubtedly feel a part of the one and only true race to which we all belong: the human race.
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post #13 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2002, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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It just comes down to no longer being willing to collude in a lie.

People like to pretend that white privilege is no longer a factor in life in the United States. People like to pretend that discrimination against blacks is no longer a factor in life in the United States. (Not the same thing, of course.) It's more comfy for those people if I don't bring it up, but it's less comfy for me.

Regardless, I don't know of anyone who walks around the United States worrying that black cops will murder them and the criminal justice system will let the cop walk. (Except other blacks.)

And I know that, in New York anyway, Black cops don't kiill white citizens by mistake. White cops kill blacks 'by mistake' enough to make the news a couple times a year.

You'll note I said little about slavery or Jim Crow in my posts. I'm talking about now. The 21st century. Living in constant fear of sudden death is debilitating. September 11th gave white americans a glimpse of black americans world from the inside. Constant fear and not knowing where the next attack will come from. Now knowing which one of your friends or relatives will die next. Knowing everytime you go out running, your mother worries you won't come home. Everyone has to worry about criminals. Blacks get to worry about the racist cops too.

The big difference with 9-11 though, is, white americans got to worry about some guy with a long beard half a world away. Black americans are worried about our neighbors. And our absence of legal recourse against them. We're still in way more danger from our fellow americans than we are from Al Quaeda.

That's a bitter pill.
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post #14 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2002, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Beige
Very nice, Bright Red, very nice. I hate to put a damper on your terrific post but since we're being frank:

I'm all for unity but the whole "one race: the human race" sentiment never sat well with me. I never embraced this unofficial worldwide "campaign", if you will, because people will always people and people are prone to be selfish and inevitably will always want some form of control. In relation to this topic, if everyone on this earth were white the problem of bigotry would still exist. Rid of people of color, the next issue would be religion or homosexuals followed by whites with certain hair color, etc.

Sorry for the pessimism but that's how I see it.
No need to apologize, Beige. I often share your pessimism. I do like the "one race, human race" sentiment not only because it's idealistic, but also because it's the truth. We are the same race.

The implications of achieving this ideal are far-reaching. Basically, people would be accountable for things they can control (actions, words, etc.) instead of things they can't control--like sexuality or skin color. The world would be a little bit fairer.

As MLK Jr once said (and I paraphrase), 'One should be judged by the content of their character, and not by the color of his skin'.
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post #15 of 64 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2002, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Volcana
...September 11th gave white americans a glimpse of black americans world from the inside. Constant fear and not knowing where the next attack will come from. Now knowing which one of your friends or relatives will die next. Knowing everytime you go out running, your mother worries you won't come home. Everyone has to worry about criminals. Blacks get to worry about the racist cops too...
Very powerful statement. It's atrocious that law-abiding people can't feel safe at home, and the very people that are sworn to protect are sometimes the enemy.

There's no easy solution to this problem.
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