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White Supremacy

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Comments

  • Al Jazeera recently aired an ITV movie about the confrontation with China, and how this is preceded by European countries and the USA colonizing their cities and the economy. https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2017/11/coming-war-china-171128124059730.html

    I had no idea that the USA had cavalry in Tianamen Square in 1900. They showed the exclusion laws re Chinese immigrants to America, racist cartoons - not in the program was that Canada had specific laws too excluding Chinese people except to build the inland rail system. I suspect the Australia, New Zealand, the UK and other places had exactly the same racist policy.

    Basically, and persuasively, the prog makes the case that first European trying to run things in Asia, then the USA doing the same thing, is basically an extension of the historical anti-Chinese racism. And why wouldn't China be concerned about being surrounded by USA military bases and their navy. Further, the program showed it made perfect sense that the communists won the country: the nationalists were puppets.

    They focussed specifically on the Marshall Islands, where the Americans have a mini-America "Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site" on an island called Kwajalein, which looks like beachfront paradise. And less than a mile away is a much smaller island called Ebeye which is basically a garbage dump with the densest population in the Pacific and the worst poverty. And it's been written about and talked about since the 1970s. This is colonisation going on right this moment. Racist, imperialist, and is it white supremacy?
  • Gene in particular stresses that the feelings of individual white people are his least urgent concern - we have it backwards if we're trying to change racists' hearts first and hope social change will follow. In fact it works better if the social change is imposed first, even against the will of the majority, and then people tend to adjust their opinions to it after the fact.
    Do you (or your sources) propose a specific mechanism for this imposition?
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Ohher wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Lighter skin was certainly part of the reason Obama was elected.

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion?
    The entire history of the United States where light-skinned people got treated better than dark-skinned ones.
    Actually, world, but the US is the subject of your query.
  • This article on the same subject, implies that colourism might get worse.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Dave W wrote: »
    Gene in particular stresses that the feelings of individual white people are his least urgent concern - we have it backwards if we're trying to change racists' hearts first and hope social change will follow. In fact it works better if the social change is imposed first, even against the will of the majority, and then people tend to adjust their opinions to it after the fact.
    Do you (or your sources) propose a specific mechanism for this imposition?

    I wondered about this as well, given the response to government-imposed school integration: in addition to the protests some of us are old enough to remember, some white parents sent their kids to private schools and many left the cities for the suburbs in order to avoid having their kids in integrated schools. On top of that, integration stalled out, and now, as data from the UCLA Civil Rights Project show, we're now going backwards.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Neither says anything about Barack Obama. You're making assumptions.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Lighter skin was certainly part of the reason Obama was elected.

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion?
    The common sense connection between the articles and my statement should be enough, but I found a more direct indication.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ohher wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Lighter skin was certainly part of the reason Obama was elected.

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion?
    The entire history of the United States where light-skinned people got treated better than dark-skinned ones.
    Actually, world, but the US is the subject of your query.

    You are mistaken about the subject of my query. I'm familiar with colorism as a general phenomenon. My query is about your claim, quoted above, that "Lighter skin was certainly part of the reason Obama was elected." (Emphasis mine.)

    As someone who voted for Obama in 2008, I strenuously object to your characterizing my vote this way. My vote for Obama had fuck-all to do with his skin color. He got my vote because he's smart, well-educated, an optimist, proposed policies I favor and was a Democrat. I'm confident that a fair number of my fellow Obama-voters would also object to your characterization, though I haven't polled them.

    Look up the Wiki article on the 2008 election and note the photos. If voters truly are the clueless color-imprinted, racist, instinct-driven moronic ducklings you seem to imagine, they had a far paler choice on offer: John McCain was paler than even most palefaces.

    While there, you might also note some facts and figures. Turnout, for example -- higher than in many presidential elections. Vote margins: nearly 10 million more votes for Obama than for McCain. Electoral college: 192 more votes for Obama than for McCain. Three states that hadn't gone Democratic in federal elections in decades went for Obama over McCain. Obama also flipped 6 other recently "red" states.

    Obama's opponent was white; for your argument to hold more water than the meniscus on a drop of morning dew, Obama (despite his equivalent-if-not-superior qualifications to McCain, and McCain's serious misstep in selecting a flittergibbet running mate) would have to have LOST THE ELECTION. Your argument is ridiculous on its face, and if you're capable of embarrassment, you have good solid grounds for mortification here.

    What you're actually trying to claim is that a candidate with equally good qualifications but darker skin would have lost the 2008 election. I admit that's possible (though it's hard to imagine just HOW dark she'd have to be to lose to Sarah-one-heartbeat-from-the-presidency-Palin). But please: go ahead: support your claim that 10 million American voters themselves of varying shades of beige and brown are incapable of seeing past the melanin levels in a candidate's skin -- which is, frankly, one of the more racist remarks I've encountered on this Ship.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    ... Lighter skin was certainly part of the reason Obama was elected.
    Can you support that statement with something other than supposition?

    I'd be very surprised were there exit polls: Did you vote for Obama because his skin is lighter? But then, perhaps there were.
  • Al Jazeera recently aired an ITV movie about the confrontation with China, and how this is preceded by European countries and the USA colonizing their cities and the economy. https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2017/11/coming-war-china-171128124059730.html

    I had no idea that the USA had cavalry in Tianamen Square in 1900. They showed the exclusion laws re Chinese immigrants to America, racist cartoons - not in the program was that Canada had specific laws too excluding Chinese people except to build the inland rail system. I suspect the Australia, New Zealand, the UK and other places had exactly the same racist policy.

    Basically, and persuasively, the prog makes the case that first European trying to run things in Asia, then the USA doing the same thing, is basically an extension of the historical anti-Chinese racism. And why wouldn't China be concerned about being surrounded by USA military bases and their navy. Further, the program showed it made perfect sense that the communists won the country: the nationalists were puppets.

    They focussed specifically on the Marshall Islands, where the Americans have a mini-America "Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site" on an island called Kwajalein, which looks like beachfront paradise. And less than a mile away is a much smaller island called Ebeye which is basically a garbage dump with the densest population in the Pacific and the worst poverty. And it's been written about and talked about since the 1970s. This is colonisation going on right this moment. Racist, imperialist, and is it white supremacy?

    Australia has a long and shameful history of racism against the Chinese and people of Asian appearance more generally. I think there are still substantial elements of Australian society that is racist against the Chinese and other non-English speaking people. I still think that despite our protestations to the contrary, we are British at our core. Racism is no longer official Government policy.

    I imagine that people in China don't make too much of a distinction between Europe and America, in the colonial period and today. I don't make much of a distinction between the two. America is an immigrant nation comprised mostly of people whose forebears emigrated from Europe or were bought there from Africa. It is a European state in America, like Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil etc etc etc.

    I can see the Chinese military perspective. I just wish they weren't governed by totalitarians.

  • Ohher wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ohher wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Lighter skin was certainly part of the reason Obama was elected.

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion?
    The entire history of the United States where light-skinned people got treated better than dark-skinned ones.
    Actually, world, but the US is the subject of your query.

    You are mistaken about the subject of my query. I'm familiar with colorism as a general phenomenon. My query is about your claim, quoted above, that "Lighter skin was certainly part of the reason Obama was elected." (Emphasis mine.)

    As someone who voted for Obama in 2008, I strenuously object to your characterizing my vote this way. My vote for Obama had fuck-all to do with his skin color. He got my vote because he's smart, well-educated, an optimist, proposed policies I favor and was a Democrat. I'm confident that a fair number of my fellow Obama-voters would also object to your characterization, though I haven't polled them.

    Look up the Wiki article on the 2008 election and note the photos. If voters truly are the clueless color-imprinted, racist, instinct-driven moronic ducklings you seem to imagine, they had a far paler choice on offer: John McCain was paler than even most palefaces.

    While there, you might also note some facts and figures. Turnout, for example -- higher than in many presidential elections. Vote margins: nearly 10 million more votes for Obama than for McCain. Electoral college: 192 more votes for Obama than for McCain. Three states that hadn't gone Democratic in federal elections in decades went for Obama over McCain. Obama also flipped 6 other recently "red" states.

    Obama's opponent was white; for your argument to hold more water than the meniscus on a drop of morning dew, Obama (despite his equivalent-if-not-superior qualifications to McCain, and McCain's serious misstep in selecting a flittergibbet running mate) would have to have LOST THE ELECTION. Your argument is ridiculous on its face, and if you're capable of embarrassment, you have good solid grounds for mortification here.

    What you're actually trying to claim is that a candidate with equally good qualifications but darker skin would have lost the 2008 election. I admit that's possible (though it's hard to imagine just HOW dark she'd have to be to lose to Sarah-one-heartbeat-from-the-presidency-Palin). But please: go ahead: support your claim that 10 million American voters themselves of varying shades of beige and brown are incapable of seeing past the melanin levels in a candidate's skin -- which is, frankly, one of the more racist remarks I've encountered on this Ship.
    I did not say your vote. I did not say every single white vote. I do think Palin was a part; both her incompetency and, unfortunately, because she is a woman. Another factor is that the previous president was George Bush and there was a reaction to his party.
    I did not say that Obama won purely because his skin was not as dark as his father's, but it was a factor.
    Read the link in my last reply to you. It has data.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    edited September 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I did not say that Obama won purely because his skin was not as dark as his father's, but it was a factor.
    Read the link in my last reply to you. It has data.

    The piece by Palash Ghosh in IBT has zero data. It's almost entirely opinion based on the writer's own experience, a writer who flatly denies that Obama experienced the racist treatment Obama says he experienced.
  • But then, why should we believe Obama when he talks about his own experiences? It's already been made abundantly clear that personal experience only counts when it supports lilbuddha's argument.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    I did not say your vote. I did not say every single white vote.

    Agreed; you didn't mention votes at all. You said lighter skin color was part of the reason Obama was elected. Are you now suggesting that elections are not decided by votes?
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I do think Palin was a part; both her incompetency and, unfortunately, because she is a woman. Another factor is that the previous president was George Bush and there was a reaction to his party.
    I did not say that Obama won purely because his skin was not as dark as his father's, but it was a factor.

    Swell. Please provide some actual evidence for your assertion that Obama's lighter (your word) skin color (considerably darker than McCain's) was a factor in his getting elected. Alternatively, try acknowledging that you cannot provide any such evidence, and that the fact that Obama WON the election puts an ENORMOUS hole in your argument.
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Read the link in my last reply to you. It has data.

    I read it. As noted by Ruth, no data. The opinion of a single individual. Do you really want to put that up against 192 electoral college votes?

  • Arguing about the exact amount of prejudice faced by Obama seems like something of a red herring. This thread keeps disappearing down tangents, which I grant I’m guilty of myself.

    Colourism is a useful word to have in the mix though. So colourism is a subset of racism, that would - I theorise - operate most often as an unconscious bias. How do you tackle that ?

    Exposure & integration would be my guess. If mainstream media carried more positive representations of people with darker skin tone, such attitudes could be broken down over time.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    As regards the rest of the discussion I would say:
    • Intention matters
    • Structural inequality exists
    • Whitenormative assumptions are common, and reinforce structural inequality
    • White supremacist thought is evil
    • Ignorance and hatred are not equivalent
    • It is true that lower exposure to multiple ethnicities probably results in both more prejudice and more ignorance
    Intention matters, but it does grant complete innocence because of whitenormative assumptions. And whitenormative assumptions do more than reinforce structural inequality, they tacitly support the more direct forms of racism.

    That’s fair comment.

    I’d also amend my list thusly:
    • 1) Intention matters
    • 2) Structural inequality exists
    • 3) Whitenormative assumptions are common
    • 4) Whitenormative assumptions reinforce structural equality
    • 5) Whitenormative assumptions functionally enable more purposive forms of racism
    • 6) Colourism exists
    • 7) White supremacism exists
    • 8) White supremacist thought is evil
    • 9) Structural inequality, whitenormative assumptions, colourism and white supremicism are all forms of more or less purposive racism
    • 10) Intersectional issues magnify the impacts of these social trends
    • 11) The expression and experience of all forms of racism varies significantly depending on context, on both a small and large scale
    • 12) DNA percentage and cultural heritage are not the same thing
    • 13) Genocidal practices have impacted communities such that some individuals have been deprived of their cultural heritage.

  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Furthermore, the conjunction of 6 & 12, should not be used to minimise the experience of people impacted by 13.

    In general, anyway, trying to rank people’s experience of pain is not helpful.

    (Also - why the list - because I feel if we establish common concepts / language it would be a lot easier to talk constructively about what to do about it.)
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Genuine question @Doublethink, “more or less” is often used to mean something other than the literal meaning of the words as in “I’m more or less finished here.” Whereas I get the sense that you have the more literal meaning in mind in your (9) - i.e. purposive to a greater or lesser degree. Is that what you intended?
  • Yes, purposive to a greater or lesser degree is what I meant.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    The
    Al Jazeera recently aired an ITV movie about the confrontation with China, and how this is preceded by European countries and the USA colonizing their cities and the economy. <snip>

    The UK history in relation to China is horrendous. We used military force to maintain the liberty to sell opium to the Chinese when the government was trying to restrict it, and the opium sale was intended to finance the purchase of tea for profitable sale in the UK. This was regulated by the “unequal treaties” put in place following the Opium Wars which gave special legal status to (certain) foreigners as well as special trading rights. It is something which many of the nineteenth century Christian missionaries to China were very uncomfortably aware of, and which tended to put them at odds with the British government and commercial interests in China.

    It is not forgotten in China both in genuine feeling and in political ‘gamesmanship’.

    When I visited a few years back I was treated very much as an honoured guest in one of the former ‘Treaty Ports’, but was very conscious of the mixed history of British interaction with China; conscious both of not wanting to presume in any way, but also of not wanting to let my consciousness of that history make any awkwardness in my interaction with my hosts.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    More recent interaction has necessitated less lately.

    Nothing necessitates rudeness and hurtful words on a Purg thread. Nothing.
    Host hat on
    @mousethief, criticisms of a person’s argument belong in Purgatory, but not of their behaviour. You know where it needs to go.
    Host hat off
    BroJames Purgatory Host
  • Making snarky personal comments on an internet discussion board is considered rude.

    Pissing on the body of the deceased at funeral is also considered rude.

    The same word can cover a range of different things of varying severity and most people can take this in to account. (e.g. calling someone out for being rude is only infrequently taken to be an accusation of corpse desecration.)

    Except when it comes to racism. That seems to be one of the few words where people freak out and assume that it can't possibly cover a range of things all differing in severity. I don't think there's an easy semantic fix to preserve white folks' delicate feelings when told it's not acceptable to call someone "n----r" to their face any more.
    Exactly. The curriculum advocated by Twilight is equivalent to teaching mythology first and teaching history later, after the kids' attitudes and preconceptions have already been established on the basis of that mythology. Thus pretty much guaranteeing maximum resistance to the truth when it is finally presented. It's challenging to teach history if it is necessary to unteach a whole bunch of stuff first - and that stuff that was taught and repeated by trusted adults. "Welcome to History 12. Hey kids, we're finally going to talk about genocide, slavery, and colonialism! Surprise! Lots of famous historical figures were racist monsters!"

    The U.S. has already run the experiment of soft-pedaling its history for most of the twentieth century. Kids being taught "the War of Northern Aggression" (or "the Late Unpleasantness" if you want to be less confrontational) was all about state's rights and had nothing to do with a certain "Peculiar Institution". Resort to gauzy euphemism is why so many American states are dotted with treason monuments to this day.

    Two points of interest about this approach. The first is that to allegedly preserve the feelings of white children an effort is made to erase most non-white people from American history. The second is that no one in the U.S. worries too much about how kids are going to feel about the British when teaching them about the Revolutionary War (or the War of 1812, assuming they even learn about that largely forgotten conflict).
  • Ruth wrote: »
    Dave W wrote: »
    Gene in particular stresses that the feelings of individual white people are his least urgent concern - we have it backwards if we're trying to change racists' hearts first and hope social change will follow. In fact it works better if the social change is imposed first, even against the will of the majority, and then people tend to adjust their opinions to it after the fact.
    Do you (or your sources) propose a specific mechanism for this imposition?

    I wondered about this as well, given the response to government-imposed school integration: in addition to the protests some of us are old enough to remember, some white parents sent their kids to private schools and many left the cities for the suburbs in order to avoid having their kids in integrated schools. On top of that, integration stalled out, and now, as data from the UCLA Civil Rights Project show, we're now going backwards.

    That's the million-dollar question. I wish I knew. Most of the expansions of civil rights in our history have been imposed and enforced by liberal Supreme Courts and functional Congresses, and God knows we don't have either one of those right now.

    Another problem is the persistent myth that school integration failed, when in most places it was really never tried. (See here for a good brief history of white resistance to integration.)

    As far as whites undermining civil rights efforts, that's certainly a problem. It was exacerbated by the federal courts drawing a distinction between "de facto" and "de jure" segregation, allowing Northern cities to claim that it was just a big ol' coincidence that all their schools were segregated and who was to say it had anything to do with racism?

    I will say that federal enforcement of integration in the South made undermining it at least more challenging than in the North, because at least in North Carolina, most of our school systems were (forcibly) integrated county-wide. Cities and counties didn't have separate school systems for the most part. There was not a convenient 95%-white school district right next door in the suburbs for people to flee into, so whites had to set up private segregation academies and pay to attend them if they wanted to get out of integrated schools, which takes more effort. Nowadays public charter schools are doing a lot of the work for them.

    I think decreasing white supremacy would take a concentrated effort at the federal level along a number of lines, beginning with reinstating the Voting Rights Act, and not allowing any geographical exceptions this time. We would have to admit that racism is a nationwide problem and not just amongst Republicans, rural areas and the South. And I do not see a way forward to make it happen. The nation was certainly divided in the 60s, but at least we were all working from the same news sources. Today we aren't even in the same reality.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I did not say that Obama won purely because his skin was not as dark as his father's, but it was a factor.
    Read the link in my last reply to you. It has data.

    The piece by Palash Ghosh in IBT has zero data. It's almost entirely opinion based on the writer's own experience, a writer who flatly denies that Obama experienced the racist treatment Obama says he experienced.
    Ooops, my bad. This is the article I meant to link. I wasn't intending to link Ghosh's because I think he didn't get it quite right. I believe Omama had racist encounters, but my experience in the US, and that of people I spoke to, indicates lighter-skinned POC receive less hate. Not no hate, just less.
    The articles about colourism don't connect the dots well enough? OR do you not accept that it does?
  • Ohher wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I did not say your vote. I did not say every single white vote.

    Agreed; you didn't mention votes at all. You said lighter skin color was part of the reason Obama was elected. Are you now suggesting that elections are not decided by votes?
    Wow. That is some crazy logic.
    Some of the people who voted for Obama voted for him because he was light enough to be acceptable to them. They didn't want McCain, and perhaps didn't want a republican at all. And Obama was a palatable alternative. In part because he is light. And articulate.
    Does that mean every voter? Of course not. Does it mean that it is the only reason, Of course not. But it is an obvious factor.
    Here is the article I meant to link. And no, it doesn't contain an exit poll. But it does contain related data. The connection is not hard to make.
    Look at Hillary Clinton. She fits the sterotypical desired qualities people say they want in a male candidate. Strong and articulate. But people find that threatening in a woman, so people voted for no-chance independents, abstained from voting or voted for Trump.
    Unless you think there no misogyny and they just voted rationally. But obviously, from your posting, you do believe misogyny exists. Do you believe that it exists with gradation? That there are actually point of view between barefoot and pregnant and let's treat everyone equal? If you can handle that, what is so difficult in accepting that racism works the very same way?
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Look at Hillary Clinton. She fits the sterotypical desired qualities people say they want in a male candidate. Strong and articulate. But people find that threatening in a woman, so people voted for no-chance independents, abstained from voting or voted for Trump.

    Interestingly we can put a number on this. Hillary Clinton got 62,279 fewer votes in 2016 (~0.046% of the 2016 electorate) than Barack Obama got in 2012. Of course, not all this difference is necessarily attributable to the causes you mention.
  • They are different elections with different factors.
    It would be an interesting test to see if the US is more sexist than racist.
    Obviously, there are often multiple factors in a decision. Unless one either doesn't believe racism exists, or think that it only exists as a binary position; it is reasonable, rational and logical to conclude that the shade of black makes a difference to some people.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    They are different elections with different factors.
    It would be an interesting test to see if the US is more sexist than racist.

    As an interesting historical factoid there are only two people who have ever gotten more than 65 million votes in an American presidential election. One was black. The other was a woman. This doesn't mean that racism or sexism don't exist in the U.S., just that presidential elections are the kind of "small n" data set from which it's difficult to extrapolate large trends.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The common sense connection between the articles and my statement should be enough, but I found a more direct indication.
    I was going to respond to this, but Ohher, Ruth, and Lamb Chopped all got there first, and made most of my points. Even your second article isn't that convincing.

    My only problem with Obama was that he was a Cook County (Illinois) Democrat, a group that is synonymous with corruption. It took an awful lot to get over that (perfectly rational) prejudice.



  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    edited September 2019
    The Yahoo news article isn't just unconvincing -- it's actually rather problematic. It says:
    As one part of the online-based study of 1,329 people, Willer showed white subjects a photo of President Obama where his skin had either been lightened or darkened to emphasize his African-American heritage. Those who saw the darker-skinned photo were far more likely to say they supported the tea party movement (22 percent) versus those who saw the lighter-skinned photo (12 percent).

    So it's not about the people who voted for Obama and why -- it's about the tea party movement that rose up in racist reaction to his election. What's more, the Yahoo news article mis-represents the study. The actual title of the study is Threats to Racial Status Promote Tea Party Support Among White Americans. If you look at the abstract of the study, it doesn't say anything about a lightened photo. It says,
    In Study 1 we sought to make salient the president’s African-American heritage by presenting participants with an artificially darkened picture of Barack Obama. White participants shown the darkened photo were more likely to report they supported the Tea Party relative to a control condition.

    This study tells us how colorism affected people's level of support for the tea party, but nothing about people who voted for Obama.

    That colorism exists is clear. I have a friend who told me that color is so important in her family that when a baby is born, their first question isn't "boy or girl?" -- it's "light or dark?" And look at the history of which black people the powers that be in Hollywood have historically promoted (though that tends to be more of a problem for women than men -- intersectionality matters, as Doublethink has noted). I have no doubt that the tone of Obama's skin was a factor in his rise to power, and that would have been present all along -- when he was attending college and law school, getting an internship after law school, being elected to the Illinois legislature, etc etc. So it's probably not coincidental that the first black US president is not super dark; he would likely have faced higher hurdles along the way if he were as dark as his father. But whether more white people would have voted for him for president if he had lighter skin and less if he had darker skin is hard to know; he's the only person of color who's been at the top of a major-party ticket in this country.
  • Crœsos wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    They are different elections with different factors.
    It would be an interesting test to see if the US is more sexist than racist.

    As an interesting historical factoid there are only two people who have ever gotten more than 65 million votes in an American presidential election. One was black. The other was a woman. This doesn't mean that racism or sexism don't exist in the U.S., just that presidential elections are the kind of "small n" data set from which it's difficult to extrapolate large trends.
    If one is going to get pedantic, it would be the percentage of votes from eligible voters, not mere numbers that would matter, given the expanding population.
    The economic recession was also happening, so that will be a factor in Obama's election.
    Obviously racism and sexism exist in the US.
    For the protestation against the idea that Obama's lighter skin colour was a factor to be true, racism would have to be binary. Either burning crosses or loving everyone regardless of colour.
    Does that seem to reflect reality? Certainly doesn't reflect history.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Twilight wrote: »
    Continuing the discussion of how this is being discussed: Two things.

    1. Someone up thread said every time we had this discussion institutional racism, "had to be explained."

    Because every time a thread on racism comes up you make it about how you and your family are personally nice to black people, so you can't possibly be part of the problem. Nice is great! I'm not saying stop being nice to black people! But your niceness to them doesn't mean they're any less likely to get shot by the cops or denied a mortgage or their kids sent to a crappy school.

    Every time we have a thread on racism we end up mostly talking about how to change the hearts of racists. In my comments here I am following the lead of Gene Demby and Nikole Hannah-Jones, two black journalists whose work I often read. Gene in particular stresses that the feelings of individual white people are his least urgent concern - we have it backwards if we're trying to change racists' hearts first and hope social change will follow. In fact it works better if the social change is imposed first, even against the will of the majority, and then people tend to adjust their opinions to it after the fact. That's what happened with integration in the South - social science research shows that kids who attended integrated schools (like thoroughly, evenly integrated throughout the school system, not just busing ten black kids into an all-white school) have less racist opinions than kids raised in segregated schools. And integration never would have happened if the feds hadn't forced us to it. Northern cities haven't integrated properly even almost 70 years after Brown v. Board, because their politicians brokered deals with the federal government to be left alone.

    That is my problem, is the focus on addressing whites' feelings first. You can't reason somebody out of an emotion. When the conversation constantly comes back around to trying to cure racism by fixing white emotions it means the most urgent problems will never even be looked at.

    It might surprise you to know that I agree with that completely. And I'm not just "nice to black people." I guess I end up telling such stories after people have tried to convince me I'm a racist and it's foolish of me to respond because those same people want to believe it too much to ever stop.

    However, I have always voted for the sort of things like affirmative action and busing, you just mentioned.

    I don't think we should teach small children myths. The turkey thing was simply the only "history" I could remember from grade school. My husband can't remember any history at all until eighth grade. I just don't think 8 year olds need to hear the very worst thing Americans have ever done before they learn anything else.

    I definitely agree with the Gene Demby school of thought, over the sort of writer Ruth quotes above. I'm against trying to get people to put themselves through self-analysis to root out any grain of racism when what's far more immediately imperative is better schools in poor areas, doing something about the drug and crime problems that make urban areas so dangerous for ordinary black families trying to raise children and antidiscrimination in lending and housing. I've been at the polls voting for those things in every election since I could vote.

    Sure it would be great if no one ever gave a waitress job to a pretty woman over an ugly woman. We could make men take reprogramming classes so they would be as a attracted to obese women as thin ones. We could work on the fact that tall men are hired over short men to a very real degree. But as hard as we try we will all always have bias. We may not even realise that we're marrying people who remind us of our mother. We will never, ever really care as much that our friend has cancer as we will if we get the diagnosis ourselves. Only Jesus can truly love his neighbor as himself.

    So while it would be nice if people with disabilities were never discriminated against, I expect they would rather have wheelchair access to buildings than to have us all read a book about subconscious vestiges of belief that people in wheel chairs aren't as smart.

    But tell me this Antisocial Alto, why is it "everytime a thread like this comes up" I'm put on the defensive and questioned so that you can ridicule my answers ? Lets hear your defense! Lets all assume you're a racist and you can tell us all about the work you've done to make things better for black people and your qulaifications as a non-racist . Show me your resume so I can laugh at it and make your face turn red.
  • This is interesting on colourism and passing in action - it’s long, but I’d recommend reading all the way to the end.
  • Twilight wrote: »
    I don't think we should teach small children myths. The turkey thing was simply the only "history" I could remember from grade school. My husband can't remember any history at all until eighth grade.

    You must have been very confused about why there were fireworks in early July every year. Of course, Independence Day doesn't fall within the academic year. I wonder how schools should approach the "problem" of explaining to kids why they get Martin Luther King Day as a holiday?
  • EliabEliab Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eliab wrote: »
    (FWIW, I don't 100% agree with it - because my racial identity (white British) is not based on an assumption that I have a meaningful set of shared experiences with other people who are white and British. I might do - but I don't think or care about it, and so my claim to identity is not a claim about experience. I'm quite prepared to accept that a minority ethnic group is more likely to have, and care about, common experience associated with race, but because I don't say "I'm white" as a way of summarising my experience, I don't hear "I'm black" that way either.
    Part of what you describe is white privilege. My identity is based on many things, but colour is something society does not allow me to ignore. White people can generally ignore theirs. UK culture is white. Even in cosmopolitan London this is true. You can choose your identity, this is not true for black and brown people.
    Part of why you might not hear someone say "I'm black" as identification is that because, in the UK most black people have a culture they were raised in as well as well as being British. Jamaican, Nigerian, etc.
    However, BLACK is the primary way white Britain sees people with black skin.

    Yes, I think I mostly agree with that (except that I didn't say that I don't hear "I'm black" as an identification - I said that I don't (automatically) hear it as a claim to a set of experiences - but I suspect we're using different words to mean more-or-less the same thing). And i think you're absolutely right that it's because I'm white that I don't (and don't have to) associate racial identity with a particular experience of how people treat me - but nevertheless, that is my (lack of) experience, and does affect how I hear identity claims.

    An analogy to see if we're on the same page. I'm in an opposite sex marriage, but occasionally find people of my own sex attractive. I could say that I'm bisexual, but I'd be wary about doing that, because I know to some people I would appear to be claiming a common experience with people who have struggled with prejudice and rejection on the grounds of sexuality. In my situation, I've never had to deal with that, and probably never will.

    So far, I think we're in agreement.

    I would go on to say that I don't think if I (or someone with exactly my feelings and experiences) did claim to be bi I'd be wrong, or lying. I think it would be a true description, because I don't think "how other people have treated you" is fundamental to the idea of sexuality, even if it is, in many cases, an inescapable consequence of sexuality. But because I know (albeit not by direct experience) that there is a close association, I'd be careful about saying something which, on a meaningful definition of 'bisexual' is true, in order to avoid being understood as implying something which in my particular case would not be true.

    I'd apply the same to race. I think that there could be racial identifications that are defensible as being factually true, but which in certain contexts will be taken as meaning something that is not true, and therefore cases where thought and sensitivity are advisable.

    I think (I might be wrong) that you'd go a bit further than me in thinking of the experience of being treated as part of group R as aspect of identity R, rather than simply being unavoidably associated with it, but I don't think that's a major disagreement.
  • EliabEliab Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    Russ wrote: »
    A person's race (if that term is meaningful) is part of their genetic inheritance, and is an objective fact. Given a sample of your DNA, it would in principle be possible to identify you as white and as of British descent.

    Sure. But given sufficient knowledge, you could also tell from my DNA that I probably have dark hair, brown eyes, short-sightedness, a low probability of baldness and a bicuspid aortic valve. These characteristics are as much a part of my genetic inheritance as skin colour, and the fact that skin colour is considered to be of far greater social significance than any of them isn't because of biology.
    Identity in a slightly different sense seems to mean a person's conception of themselves, a subjective feeling. And whilst we don't choose the feelings we experience, it seems that people have a choice as to how much emotional energy they invest in different aspects of who they are, in the same way that an expat can choose to identify more or less strongly with their adopted country and their country of birth.

    Agreed, but I think lb's point that racial identity is, in our society, imposed on some people far more than it is on others by the way they are treated is well-made. Not everyone has the same degree of choice about how invested they are in a racial identity.
    Alongside the genetic inheritance you were born with, your parents also passed on to you a cultural heritage. Language, art, history and religion. Which is tied up with shared experience.

    True, but that's not the sort of 'experience' being discussed.
    Lamb Chopped has talked of how she has inherited Cherokee blood but not Cherokee culture - an example that makes it clear that the two are separate things.

    The people that lilbuddha is suggesting that LC should be sensitive to the feelings of are presumably those who identify with Cherokee culture.

    Which makes sense if equating race with culture is a reasonable thing to do. But maybe doesn't if it isn't ?

    No, I think you've completely missed the point she is making there.

    Her point isn't about how much Cherokee culture someone has inherited or chooses to express at all. It's about people being treated negatively because they have had no choice about how their society sees them and treats them. That's what lb is advising we (people who have not had that particular negative experience) should keep in mind and be sensitive about, and to that extent I agree with her.
  • ...so I've been mulling this over, and trying to decide whether to post. I'm going to try to do this very carefully, so please be patient with me.

    Relevant articles:

    --"Opinion: Senator Told Truth About ‘Light-skinned’ Obama" (Black Entertainment Television (BET)). From an African-American.

    --"The Plight of the Light-Skinned Black Man: President Obama’s Other Problem" (Stephanie's Epiphanies). From an African-American blogger.

    --"President Obama and Skin Tone: Do skin tone and speaking accents matter in politics?" (Psychology Today). From the writer's pic and name, I think his ancestry is probably from India. Short article, and to the point.

    I was confused by this particular strand of this thread. In my own thought, opinion, observation, and many things in the media over the years, there were all sorts of factors in Obama's election, besides his competence and fitness for the job.

    I think Dubya (Pres. Bush) was the biggest factor. So many people were so sick of him, angry with him, and scared of what he'd done. Plus another Republican president, right after Dubya, seemed a bad bet. Plus Sarah Palin was totally unqualified and unsuitable to be VP--or prez, if she had to take that office. Sen. Lieberman, the presumed VP candidate, was furious--and there would've been one hell of a mess if McCain were elected.

    When Obama was elected the first time, ISTM the whole world gave a sigh of relief, and the emotional tone of the world changed overnight. Look at the Nobel Committee: they gave him a Peace Prize before he'd even done anything! They were that relieved,

    I think his light skin and white maternal grandparents helped, too. It shouldn't make a difference, but we're not there yet. And, as a white person, this is way above my pay grade; but my understanding is that many African Americans didn't think he was black enough--if at all. And there is a "color caste" within the African-American community. Both are reflected in the above articles.

    FYI: I simply plugged "Obama elected light-skinned" into the Duck Duck Go search engine, and got hits from various perspectives. Since I was looking for confirmation whether my understanding was correct, I went with hits that looked like they'd address that, without a lot of yelling. It was a nice surprise that two writers are African American, and the other is a person of color.

    I'm thrilled Barack was president, and that barrier was broken. I'd rather have had Hillary; but Barack did a great job.

    FWIW, YMMV.



  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited September 2019
    I've also been wondering -- hesitantly -- about posting and I want to go back to something @Gramps49 wrote about the church failing the Charleston shooter Dylan Roof. I don't doubt that may be true but in part it may have been because nobody in the church or community had any insight into how extremist white supremacist groups operate and organise, where they disseminate information and find togetherness online. The more obfuscation or denial exists around everyday racism, the harder it is to spot a deadly threat to black people.

    When I first saw a news report in 2015, Roof was shown wearing a jacket with flags of both apartheid-era South Africa and the former white supremacist state of Rhodesia. Both flags are often symbols used when representing white supremacy. He belonged to a racist website named Last of the Rhodesians.

    Roof believed that there would be a white nationalist takeover in the United States within seven or eight years. in the same way that young white men who have never been to southern Africa or grown up in what is now Zimbabwe, who have only tangential connections to what was once white Rhodesia, firmly believe that a 'new Rhodesia' will be restored once a race war has taken place. Many white supremacists and extremists are reclusive, they act alone but feel that they belong to a global network of people like them, pariahs, outcasts, but secretly vindicated.

    I'm from a Zimbabwean biracial family, as some here know, and what Lamb Chopped describes about belonging/not belonging is what I have always thought of as being 'split at the root', a family history of erasure and assimilation, 'passing' and resistance to 'passing'. I grew up with a brother who pored over Soldier of Fortune magazines, dreamed of becoming a mercenary, was outspokenly racist in a way nobody in the family could understand. He repudiated the Shona and 'coloured' side of the family, obsessed about the danger of white genocide and belonged to numerous rifle clubs and 'conspiracy theory' societies that were anti-Semitic and anti-Communist. From the outside, my brother seemed like a reclusive loner and social misfit. He didn't care what others thought; he had his own hidden tribe.

    His fears about change weren't that different from those all around him who believed Rhodesia had been betrayed by Britain. He grew up in a family determined to pass for white because the advantages of being white outweighed anything else. He knew he was only saying what many were thinking. Fortunately he didn't act out as Roof did.

    Apologies for the length, it is still very painful to write this down.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I can imagine that it was vey painful indeed, and you have our prayers. Also thanks for your courage and what you've written.
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    All may wish to note that this discussion is now in Epiphanies our forum to discuss issues where people are personally invested. You may wish to read the rules, if you are not familiar, as they are a little different than Purgatory.

    Gwai,
    Epiphanies Host
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Thank you, @MaryLouise

    Thank you, @Gwai

  • @MaryLouise
    Thank you for sharing.
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    The more obfuscation or denial exists around everyday racism, the harder it is to spot a deadly threat to black people.
    Very true.
    I would add that it is not only threats like Roof that are more difficult to spot, but also the erosion of rights.
    Roof and people like him are supported, and also supported are reduced opportunity, reduced compensation, and increased marginalisation.

  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Hi lilbuddha.

    Yes, I was thinking last night that one ongoing problem with the inherent 'invisibility' and denial around race is that on the Internet we operate in a cloaked and problematic invisibility that often doesn't protect some of us when we try to talk about topics like this. And I was acutely conscious that disclosing personal details is one way to sidestep talking about systemic racism, which is so important here in 'unlearning racism' work. And that structural erosion of rights or support for black minorities is a constant danger.

    A close friend of mine who is living with severe disability was telling me how she battles to participate in online debates about disability when able-bodied people assume she is entering the conversation as an 'equal', an 'us' and not a 'them', while in reality she is sitting in a wheelchair and slowed on the keyboard by hand tremors. She doesn't consider her disability to be invisible in everyday life, but if she doesn't keep reminding online posters where she is coming from, they assume she is just throwing out generalised opinions into the arena.

    How does she speak out with the credibility and authority of someone who lives out the consequences of disability and public ignorance of what disability involves? Because the spectrum of prejudice/bigotry/ignorance is structural, pervasive and ongoing, she doesn't want to implicate or accuse any single person in her confrontation of prejudice, but able-bodied individuals do feel threatened or 'got at', and she is constantly in a defensive position.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    Many white supremacists and extremists are reclusive, they act alone but feel that they belong to a global network of people like them, pariahs, outcasts, but secretly vindicated..

    ...belonged to numerous rifle clubs and 'conspiracy theory' societies that were anti-Semitic and anti-Communist. From the outside, my brother seemed like a reclusive loner and social misfit. He didn't care what others thought; he had his own hidden tribe.

    MaryLouise, I'm seeing that as a good description of a (largely but not entirely) male phenomenon. With clear parallels to the so-called radicalisation of young Muslims.

    What I'm not seeing is how you can think that cracking down on "everyday racism" (whatever you mean by that) will have any beneficial effect on this sort of conspiracy-oriented mindset.

    Measures that address the under-socialisation of young males, involving them in communal activities which channel their energies and offer a pathway to a position of some status in the community, may help. I suspect - no proof - that those who are recognised as talented in music or sport tend to be more immune to the attraction of these extremist movements. And if such shared interests cross boundaries of race and class and religion, that helps too.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Hi @Russ, sorry not to get back to you sooner. I've been thinking about how best to answer you.

    What puzzles me is that you don't understand what 'everyday racism' might mean for black people. This would vary from place to place to some extent, different contexts,. different histories. If you have black work colleagues, black churchgoers, black neighbours, black friends, you would in all likelihood have some idea of what they deal with from day to day. If you don't have any daily interactions with black people, that would indicate a problem in itself because a segregated life in a white bubble means you need never think about racism.

    My cousin is a third-generation British citizen. Her great grandfather from Southern Rhodesia was given British citizenship as a reward for having served in the King's African Rifles in World War I. He moved to Britain to study at the London School of Economics in the 1940s and his children and grand-children were born and grew up in the UK. My cousin points out that there isn't a week without people making assumptions based on her skin colour and reminding her she doesn't belong in Britain: people she meets on the street, in subways, in the workplace, ask her where she is from or tell her to go back to Africa, somewhere she has never lived. She is a highly qualified midwife who lectures in obstetrics and works in the NHS. Because of class divisions, white working-class patients often assume she is someone who makes tea, has somehow cheated the system to get a good job, is incompetent and a recent migrant. When she with others in her community agitated for Stephen Lawrence's case to be reopened, she received hate mail for months. These and other acts of minor or serious aggression, discrimination and disrespect are simply the tenor of her daily life.

    The connection between everyday racism and white supremacist extremism isn't simple. Often racist hate speech (like sexist or homophobic joking) is tolerated by people who are not supremacist and downplay the offensive attitudes of co-workers or friends. What everyday racism provides is a camouflage and protective screen behind which white extremist groups can hide and organise. White supremacists stick out like a sore thumb in more racially integrated, progressive communities. If such thinking is seen to be an aberration and unacceptable, there isn't a place to hide or believe 'everyone secretly thinks this way'.

    The rise of the alt-right, populist right-wing and neo-Nazi groups across Europe and elsewhere offer alliances and tacit support. Not every alienated white male who posts on forums such as 4chan, 8chan and Reddit is an ultra-violent white supremacist but the connection between misogyny and domestic violence is now seen as an indication of likely terror incidents against black, gay or Jewish people. The anger and blame associated with a need to believe in white male superiority begins with mental illness, or negative interactions with people of other races perceived to be in direct competitions for housing, votes, benefits or jobs. Often these hostile assumptions are addressed or corrected when the 'loner' is a child but when we are looking at a racialised society and implicit sharing of these beliefs, the discovery of a cult-like group with an existing hate ideology may turn a grievance into hatred and threat.

    I hope that goes some way towards answering your questions. I don't think music classes or shared sporting activities will address (or distract from) the irrational and intense complex of fear and hatred that makes up white supremacist thinking.

  • RussRuss Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    What puzzles me is that you don't understand what 'everyday racism' might mean for black people.

    I'm not saying anything about what it means to black people.

    I'm disputing the efficacy of a low-tolerance approach to "everyday racism" in addressing the phenomenon of what you rightly describe as a movement of violent alienated loner conspiracy theorists.

    White supremacists ISTM have come across (increasingly online these days) ideas that make them feel good (righteous, justified) about being angry white males. Society telling them that their anger is bad and their whiteness is bad and their masculinity is bad doesn't tackle that; it feeds it.
    The connection between everyday racism and white supremacist extremism isn't simple.

    Life isn't simple. But "not simple" can be used as a cover for ideas that haven't been thought through.

    Tackling everyday racism as a cure for the disorder of white supremacist groups is being put forward - without adequate consideration of cause and effect - by those who want society to attack everyday racism for it's own sake.

    The snake oil salesman, questioned as to how his remedy works, can easily reply "it's not simple"
    I don't think music classes or shared sporting activities will address (or distract from) the irrational and intense complex of fear and hatred that makes up white supremacist thinking.

    You've come across Men's Sheds ? The notion that men form bonds when working alongside others on some shared interest ?

    I'm just guessing here that what would really have made a difference to the lives of these white supremacist men would be the experience of sharing interests alongside one friendly black man of their own class and culture.


  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @Russ, if you don't understand what everyday racism might mean for black people, then the efficacy of a low-tolerance (your phasing, not mine) approach to white supremacist violence is never going to make sense to you.
  • Russ wrote: »
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    What puzzles me is that you don't understand what 'everyday racism' might mean for black people.

    I'm not saying anything about what it means to black people.

    That seems like a rather large omission. Why the indifference?
    Russ wrote: »
    I'm disputing the efficacy of a low-tolerance approach to "everyday racism" in addressing the phenomenon of what you rightly describe as a movement of violent alienated loner conspiracy theorists.

    White supremacists ISTM have come across (increasingly online these days) ideas that make them feel good (righteous, justified) about being angry white males. Society telling them that their anger is bad and their whiteness is bad and their masculinity is bad doesn't tackle that; it feeds it.

    Contra @MaryLouise, it's not that complicated a line between the idea that black people are all lazy, criminally-inclined savages and the idea that therefore white people should run everything. Leaving casually racist ideas about inherent black laziness, criminality, and savagery unaddressed seems like an invitation reach white supremacist conclusions.

    I'd also dispute that feeling angry towards other supposedly inferior races is the same as "feel[ ing ] good (righteous, justified) about being . . . white".
  • Crœsos wrote: »

    Contra @MaryLouise, it's not that complicated a line between the idea that black people are all lazy, criminally-inclined savages and the idea that therefore white people should run everything. Leaving casually racist ideas about inherent black laziness, criminality, and savagery unaddressed seems like an invitation reach white supremacist conclusions.
    The line you draw is not a complicated line because it is essentially a line with one point. In reality, the line between not racist and explicit racism has many more points. one of those points is as simple as being uncomfortable. Because that discomfort is what blocks hiring, promotions, equal pay, etc. Another is that black people are not inherently lazy, but their culture is/they are victims of their culture, so individuals are more likely to be lazy. That shift from race to culture is still racist, but not as far down the line and much easier to justify to oneself. Black people are better at sports, East Asians excel at maths and are industrious, etc. Racist but "positive". And those have modifiers such as "tend to be" to take the racist curse off. Still racist to be sure, but again, more easily hidden from oneself.
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