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View Full Version : Race relations: America's great shame or its hope for the future


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
5th Jun 2008, 15:23
...and while normal light ribbiing and banter is encouraged. please let's not let this descend into (yet another) US Bashing thread :=

===

Obviously America has some shameful episodes in its past, and some in its present, but who amongst us doesn't? Certainly not the UK.

I got to thinking though that for all that has gone on before, America as a country seems to be gradually rising above its past. Obviously, there will be as many opinions on that as there are people reading this, but look at recent history and compare it with today. One of the greatest ironies I can think of is that the US helped liberate Europe from the most extreme form of racism - with a segregated army. And the people who fought returned home to a country little changed from the one they left.

You can pick a date, and I'd probably pick the mid sixties as a turning point when laws that required separation started to be replaced by laws that forbade it. Some might even say the pendulum has swung past the centre point, others that there is plenty still to be done. What's clear though is that if an American from a hundred years ago was to see his country now, he would be amazed at the changes that have happened.

If you think this is nonesense, compare it to the middle east, where people are still fighting conflicts that are thousands of years old. Or maybe think of Scotland and Ireland, though in fairness they might be a better representation of America today with maybe one foot in the past and one planted firmly in the future.

And I'm not writing this because we now have a black presidential candidate, well black-ish, and enough so to cause him problems a hundred years ago. It's something I've been thinking of for a while.

So yes, in America racism has figured prominently in some chapters in the past, but how might it be written into the future?

frostbite
5th Jun 2008, 15:30
It will never go away.

It's too deeply ingrained into people of all races - just manifests itself in different forms.

Binoculars
5th Jun 2008, 15:39
Well said, Mr A. Unfortunately like most societal changes it's not even close to being uniform. I still shudder at some of the utterances I heard from those in the deep south, not out of a sense of political correctness I hasten to add. Negro, black, African-American, whatever floats your boat is fine with me.

No, it was more the sheer uneducated hatred which most of us these days find a bit shocking. Opinions to which there are no replies available because of the simian intelligence from which they emanate.

This isn't designed to be US bashing, and Australia has its own questions to answer in this regard, but I have found the Australian version of racism generally to be aimed at the perception that the accused are being trough-fed unlimited amounts of money which is then pissed up against a wall, rather than a dislike of the colour of a person's skin. I have found most of my countrymen to be more than accommodating to anybody who appears to be making an effort to achieve and provide for themselves.

To some that is just a different version of racism, but to me it makes a fair bit of sense. Let's hope that the changes over the last forty years or so continue until the colour of the skin really doesn't play any part in our opinions of human worth.

I think that will happen, in part because of what some see as excessive political correctness, but which in fact means that my kids and their friends don't give a second thought to someone's race. Whenever I'm tempted to rail against the young I look at them and think how much more tolerant they are of a lot of things compared to a couple of generations before.

We evolve, and let's hope we continue to do so. It will probably take the death of a couple of the older generations with poisoned attitudes before these things can be consigned to history, and not for one second am I ever suggesting that primeval attitudes will ever disappear completely. Envy and fear will continue to ensure those things will always be with us.

G-CPTN
5th Jun 2008, 15:56
IMO, the fact that Obama has been universally described as 'black' when, I believe, his gene-pool is 50% 'white', suggests that the hint of non-white is a subject of interest.
There must be many people in public life who cannot claim 100% 'pure-white' origin, yet are not referred-to as black, presumably because their non-white contribution is not of African descent (albeit several generations back).
So is the 'race' question merely centred around Afro-Caribbean people and their descendants or are Arab and Asians also considered 'foreign'?
When you consider the spread of true races across the face of the Globe (and their interbreeding) is the trigger predominant features that persist among the offspring?
I'm trying to find a race (such as Scandinavians or Magyars) who are never picked-out as being 'different', yet don't feature in the original stock of the USA . . .

tony draper
5th Jun 2008, 16:42
Don't think the older generation dying out will solve the problem,can't speak for the USA,but instead of dislike or distrust for newcomers in the UK disappearing over time which it naturally would, they promote new resentment among the poulace with this lunatic Political Correctness,and with what seems like bias against the existing population, this is having exactly the opposite effect to what the silly fluffist bastards intend.
Lord save us from do gooders.
:cool:

Binoculars
5th Jun 2008, 16:45
Quite right, Mr D. I think this is Political Correctness gone mad, and the gummint orta do sumthin about it. (7? 8?) Maybe time to go to bed. Somebody call me a taxi so I can listen to another talkback radio sponge tell me what's wrong with the country....)

djk
5th Jun 2008, 17:11
I agree with frostbite.

Just the other day a truck passed me, on the bumper sticker was a picture of the confederate flag and next to it "Never apologize for being white".

I was just surprised that the guy never had a brick put through his truck window

brickhistory
5th Jun 2008, 17:25
Just the other day a truck passed me, on the bumper sticker was a picture of the confederate flag and next to it "Never apologize for being white".

I was just surprised that the guy never had a brick put through his truck window

And the difference in that and a "Black Power" or the like bumper sticker is?

Besides free speech, that is..............................


I'm gonna enjoy this one, I think. Another thread by 'experts' telling it like it is here - based on anecdotal evidence, remote observations, and the like.

Does racism exist here in the US? Yes, of all colors (pun intended).
Shocking that it is so.

Thankfully, it doesn't exist elsewhere in the world. How about that white guy PM in Japan, that's certainly something, isn't it? Or the Aboriginal extraction PM there in Oz. Man, it's good to be enlightened.

Please tell us more.

djk
5th Jun 2008, 19:29
Quote:
Just the other day a truck passed me, on the bumper sticker was a picture of the confederate flag and next to it "Never apologize for being white".

I was just surprised that the guy never had a brick put through his truck window

And the difference in that and a "Black Power" or the like bumper sticker is?

Besides free speech, that is..............................


I'm gonna enjoy this one, I think. Another thread by 'experts' telling it like it is here - based on anecdotal evidence, remote observations, and the like.

Does racism exist here in the US? Yes, of all colors (pun intended).
Shocking that it is so.

Thankfully, it doesn't exist elsewhere in the world. How about that white guy PM in Japan, that's certainly something, isn't it? Or the Aboriginal extraction PM there in Oz. Man, it's good to be enlightened.

Please tell us more.

I was just giving the guy in the truck as an example, it would be just the same to me if it was the other way round.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
5th Jun 2008, 19:46
c'mon Brick

There's supposed to be no US-bashing and you go straight from zero to US-bashing-bashing. I think you may have missed the point here.

:ugh: :ugh: :ugh: :ugh:

Davaar
5th Jun 2008, 19:54
No! No! Aaaaaaaaaaaetc.

It is in the best traditions of the thread.

It is verboten to ----- what is the verb? Yes: "to ram" ----- to ram religion ----- where? Yes, "down the throats" ----- down the throats of the body politic, but quite acceptable to ram religion-mockery there or elsewhere.

djk
5th Jun 2008, 20:00
Racism will exist whereever you go.
Obama has made great ground in the area of racial equality by winning the Democratic nomination, but you'll still have those that won't vote a black man purely because of his colour and not because of his ability to do the job.

It's easy to find examples of racism where ever you go.
When I worked for a German merchant bank in London, at the time of the local elections, supporters of the BNP took it upon themselves to graffiti the side of the building with several swastikas.

In my side of the office, I'm the minority. and yes, I'm white. But I get along with my colleagues and occasionally when I'm outnumbered in a debate, I'll say tongue-in-cheek "you're only saying that because I'm white".

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
5th Jun 2008, 20:08
In my side of the office, I'm the minority. and yes, I'm white. But I get along with my colleagues and occasionally when I'm outnumbered in a debate, I'll say tongue-in-cheek "you're only saying that because I'm white"....and you're in Minnesota??? :ooh:




...ok, back to the thread

SOTV
5th Jun 2008, 20:08
Hilary, to her eternal discredit, has tried in an oblique way to raise the race issue during her campaign. She was the solid gold, stitched on, hands down winner of the Democratic contest for their nomination before it started. What happened? A more credible candidate put himself forward. Her behavior over the last few days has been a disgrace. A speech, sorry philippic, failed to endorse the rightful winner and seemed to be trying to delay the fact until she was offered a quid pro quo.

How will America vote? Hopefully along the normal Elephant/Donkey lines but somehow I can see race coming into it. Maybe from the Hispanic community rather than the expected Black/White arena.

Good luck.

djk
5th Jun 2008, 20:11
In my side of the office, I'm the minority. and yes, I'm white. But I get along with my colleagues and occasionally when I'm outnumbered in a debate, I'll say tongue-in-cheek "you're only saying that because I'm white".
...and you're in Minnesota???




...ok, back to the thread

Yes, in Minnesota they have one of the largest Somali and also Hmong communities in the US

brickhistory
5th Jun 2008, 20:34
djk, I understand now, thank you for clarifying.

---------------------------------------------------------------

a-rgh, no, I understood the point. I reject its premise.

There was/is/will be racism in the US. As there is in every other country of the world.

As was so well said in another thread, we're just "monkeys in designer sunglasses." Attempting to gain status at the expense of others is inherent in us - by using race, gender, height, money, etc, etc.


It's interesting to note, that to the best of my recollection and zero searching, no US ppruner has written that Obama's race is a factor in their deliberations. Only that the non-US ppruners have decided that it must be.

Of course, we must just be hiding it.......................

Davaar
5th Jun 2008, 20:35
It is impossible to avoid racism, and the imputations, however unjust.

I do not have a vote, so it does not matter, but if I had I might well vote for a black candidate. I might well, for example, vote for a black candidate called Gen Colin Powell. That makes me a good white guy, more or less. I would not vote for a black candidate called Barack Obama, because I do not like him and I have no idea what he stands for ("Change"?!!! Huh?). That makes me a racist.

I am not all that fond of Hillary either, so I have no partisan position; but the news coverage I have seen is heavily pro-Obama and anti-Clinton.

I suppose it is too late to recall Nixon?

Overdrive
5th Jun 2008, 20:37
All too often, what is essentially more an issue of culture, is expressed and manifest as an issue of race... either by default of people too ignorant to know any other way, or those whose ends it suits. Labelling and attaching guilt is a great way to stifle resistance to change, and realistic, necessary debate and discussion.

The usual name-callers are much less seen and heard recently, when the issues of contemporary immigration (to the UK) are raised. The difference? The vast majority are white Europeans... anyone speaking out cannot be called racist. Even the government and opposition have actually had to speak about what is a genuine pressing concern... first time in a long time.

Some of the PC brigade have taken to very weak and ineffectual "we're more fortunate than them" attempted guilt trip. This is a good thing, because it is total balls, and most see it as such.

We should be long past the narrow racist thing. It gets in the way of so much that really does matter, like forced high-speed remapping of countries, cultures and lives, with little benefit to most of those experiencing it.

Overdrive
5th Jun 2008, 20:42
("Change"?!!! Huh?).


Now isn't that word just one of the great political spin discoveries of recent times? Tried, tested and battered to death here in the UK.

Davaar
5th Jun 2008, 21:33
Just been speaking to an officer of field rank, no less.

He is gung-ho for Obama and thinks Caroline Kennedy would be a great Vice-President or at least consultant in choosing a Vice-President. Help bring change, you see.

Mr Putin and other hard-nosed SOBs around the world must be laughing like drains.

nahsuD
5th Jun 2008, 21:50
Here is an interesting take on the very subject. Heard on the radio today between 12:00 and 15:00 EST:

"Martin Luther King said, 'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content their character.' We are ignoring Obama's character (and Jeremiah Wright's and Tony Rezko's) and we're only talking about Obama's color. So I don't know what kind of progress has actually happened."

G-CPTN
5th Jun 2008, 22:02
I might well, for example, vote for a black candidate called Gen Colin Powell. I think many (non-American) whites would probably agree, but Powell 'proved' himself on the International stage.
Now what about Ms Rice?
Does she tick the two (maybe three?) boxes that might dissuade the conservatives?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
5th Jun 2008, 22:07
a-rgh, no, I understood the point. I reject its premise.
I don't mean to single you out. In fact I'm not doing so as many people seem to have missed the point.

which is...

not that there is racism in America, in fact I agree it's everywhere and it's also natural part of human makeup. What is important is not whether or not we have racist thoughts, but what we do with them.

not that Obama is running for president

but that America is gradually making changes away from its past towards a different future, unlike some other countries who seem to have lives in the same morass for thousands of years.

My point was that America's ability to overcome it's past - or to at least move in that direction might be one of its greatest achievements.




...and how come nobody commented on a segregated armed services playing a role in defeating Nazi Germany. At the very least it's ironic.

Lydia Dustbin
5th Jun 2008, 22:09
I must admit i was rather confused with the title of this thread when it first appeared and where Aaaargh wanted to go with it. I didn't bother commenting. Why single out the US for having great shame over its race relations from all of the other countries on the planet:confused:

reynoldsno1
5th Jun 2008, 22:35
How about that white guy PM in Japan

... I don't think too many people of Korean descent would think Japan is any great model of tolerance ...

Minnesota - 10,000 lakes and a few weirdos :} (still got the T-shirt, but it's shrunk a bit....)

Davaar
5th Jun 2008, 23:00
Reynolds I think he means that "white guy" by name of Shinzo Abe

Ozzy
6th Jun 2008, 15:38
Racism is actively and openly practiced in the US. People are accepted into school, jobs, etc based on the colour of their skin. It's called "affirmative action". The meaning of this term has been lost on today's generation. What affirmative action was meant to do was to enable minorities to have the same level of access to opportunities the majority already had access to so they could compete on a level playing field. It then warped into discrimination rather than equal access and competition on merits.

Ozzy

EchoMike
6th Jun 2008, 16:14
I'm in semi-rural Florida, not the sticks, not Orlando . . . and here's what I see on racism in the US.

There's nowhere near as much overt racism in 2008 as there was in 1978. There's still "tension", but it is more "carefulness" instead of outright, active hostility. The people with unpigmented skin are careful (most of the time) not to insult the people with more pigmented skin, because it is now felt to be politically incorrect (people like to be part of the "herd") and race-based crimes ("Ah kilt him 'cuz he wuz green!") are actually illegal here and severely punished.

The people with more pigment in their skins are also "careful" because they have no desire to open old wounds.

It is sort of an uneasy truce - and while there is still bigotry, it is much less visible, and more importantly, much less often ACTED upon.

What's happening is that we are getting out of the "habit" of racism. People seldom use ethnic slurs in casual conversation any more, and never use them in polite conversation. To do so is instant social death.

I've seen improvement, significant improvement, and I hope to see more. We're not perfect, but I think, in general, "race" in the US is slowly becoming less of a flash point. We're actually learning to live together reasonably peacefully, most of the time.

And yes, I'd vote for Colin Powell in a heartbeat, or Condi Rice (for VP), or for Madeline Albright (for Pres), but I'm not going to be voting for Obama because I don't care for his politics, for me the color of his skin is an absolute non-issue.

Best Regards,

Echo Mike

West Coast
6th Jun 2008, 18:23
Racism is actively and openly practiced in the US. People are accepted into school, jobs, etc based on the colour of their skin. It's called "affirmative action".

And other similar programs. Knowing my luck when my house goes up in flames, I'll be on the second floor and they'll send up a 90 pound female firefighter to try and carry me out.

Ozzy
6th Jun 2008, 18:26
And other similar programs. Knowing my luck when my house goes up in flames, I'll be on the second floor and they'll send up a 90 pound female firefighter to try and carry me out.:D:D:D:D:D

Exactly