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Looney Observations on Race - Another Spin-Off. Part I(8 posts)

Looney Observations on Race - Another Spin-Off. Part Iczardonic
Jun 13, 2003 1:36 PM
It seems like most people feel that racial discrimination and racism are one and the same. Maybe racism is the only form of discrimination that Doug was getting at in his thread anyway, but I think that all forms are worth considering, because they all stem from the same assumption: that racial differences are a matter of objective fact.

Obviously, there are perceptible patterns of difference that anyone can see. The question is, in America in 2003, are differences between races more than skin deep? Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos and Native Americans have been living in the same country for generations now. America is a country with its own "culture" that for the most part supercedes historical ethnicities. Even religion is no longer a dividing line, as we have Asian Protestants, White Buddhists, Black Muslims, etc. We watch the same entertainment, eat the same foods and fight against the same foreign enemies, etc.

Most recognize that racially motivated hatred is wrong. So why is racially motivated love still accepted as a matter of course? Can anyone tell me that they have never seen a person of a different race that they didn't find physically attractive? Can anyone from a racially diverse area tell me that they have never found a person of a different race that they didn't have at least as much in common with as with people of their own race? I'm not suggesting that marrying a person of the same race is racism. But if you wouldn't even consider a mate who is not of your race, it might be worth thinking about the reasons why.

I also find it interesting that so many are willing to settle with plausible deniability of racism. It does not matter that epithets and jokes are still common. That does not prove to them that the attitudes behind these epithets are not carried into job interviews or performance reviews. It doesn't even matter that minorities are still demonstrably underrepresented in management position or educational environments, as one can never prove to them that this discrimination is motivated by racism.

Yet, these standards of proof are drastically lowered when it comes to convincing them that racism is no longer a problem. The presence of a relative few blacks prove that racism no longer exists in a given field. Why is it that people who see no evil in white dominated fields are convinced that the demographics of the NBA prove that the pendulum has swung the other way, and that "reverse-racism" is the new menace?

Next - "Reverse Racism"?
Looney Observations on Race - Another Spin-Off. Part IIczardonic
Jun 13, 2003 1:37 PM
Logically, "reverse-racism" would seem to mean sentiment that defies racism. Of course we know that we are to interpret it as the same as regular racism, but directed at whites. And much effort is put into drawing moral equivalences between the two. I don't know how anyone could equate the violent subjugation of blacks with the bureaucratic disappointment of whites, but such people appear to be legion. Millions of blacks institutionally proscribed from higher education can be swept under the carpet, but a handful of whites forced to attend their school of second preference is a matter for the Supreme Court and the intervention of the President. Seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

But in their shoes I might embrace just such a stretch, given the alternative -- acknowledging the role that racism has played in all of our lives. Racism is a crime against humanity, not just racial minorities. For every black person denied an opportunity, a white person was denied the legitimacy of his own achievements. Black beneficiaries of affirmative action are assumed to feel unqualified and unfairly promoted. But do whites feel that their achievements are diminished by the fact that our laws and our society have given them a undeserved leg-up over potential minority competitors? Maybe you're white and you've never entertained a racist notion in your life. Maybe your parents didn't either, or their parents. That does not change the fact that a few bad but powerful apples spoiled the barrel of American race-policy and implicated all whites in their agenda by applying it to all whites. It's not your fault, but neither is it not your problem. And it is not blacks that affirmative action opponents should be addressing their outrage to, it is the whites who broke the system, tilted the field in their favor, and cheated everyone.

Understandably, few whites care to step up and acknowledge this. But you can't solve a problem until you acknowledge it, and sometimes solutions can involve bitter medicines. We apply this kind of home truth to people all the time. Ironically, we often apply it to the black community for their failure to overcome the forces of injustice, poverty and disenfranchisement aligned against them. But where is the bootstrap lecture when it comes to whites having to relinquish their tainted advantage? Buried under a chorus of obtuse denial and rationalization, as if Affirmative Action represented the same kind of hatred and malign intent as Jim Crow.
"Looney" is an apt descriptionmoneyman
Jun 16, 2003 7:01 AM
If you feel so guilty about the situation you are in, why don't you quit your job, move to Oakland, and volunteer at a community center to teach the skills you have to people who would otherwise be left without, due to the systemic discrimination you believe is in place?

A fallacy that you seem to base much of your argument on is that "black" people have a homogenous "community". Nothing could be further from the truth. There are public "black" figures that would like us to believe there is a singular community, only because it helps them stay in power. But there is no more a "black community" than there is a "white community" and to believe otherwise is pure fantasy. In addition, in order to define a "black" community means you have to define "black", which is a lot more difficult, perhaps impossible, to put into practice than to assume can be done.

I'll not participate any more in this ridiculous topic, at least not with you. Why don't you discuss something you actually know soemthing about, like .... Well, I'm not sure what that would be. But when you figure it out, let us all know.

What makes you think I feel guilty? Oh wait, you copped-out . nmczardonic
Jun 16, 2003 10:30 AM
Jun 13, 2003 2:13 PM
Don't have time to respond to all that, but a few points.

*Love. Take it however you can get it. There's no evil in loving someone of your own race. As an aside, I've been attracted to many Asian and black women, and I've been repulsed by a great number of white women (not just looks, mind you). Skin color is about the least of the issues. As you note, there are frequently cultural and social issues that are associated with race or skin color, and that can reduce the number that you are attracted to. Love is rare enough that I'd say anytime it's found, it's good.

*Reverse racism. Treating someone differently, and negatively, due to race is racism; can't define your way around that. Whether it's justified is another matter. I guess the problem I have is how far back to you go to punish some people, in effect, to help others who had ancestors who were victims of wrongful discrimination? Further, what is the appropriate remedy? I just don't think continued racism is justified against anyone.

Your argument *assumes* that whites presently are beneficiaries of prior racism. While it might be true for some, I do not think it is fair for all or even most. That being the case, I think our fundamental sense of justice and fairness in America tells us that you only punish the wrongdoers, not those who may have only remotely, tangentially, or minutely benefitted from prior bad conduct. I've thought hard about this, but I can't even begin to fathom how I personally have ever benefitted except in the remotest sense from prior racism. My ancestors were not slave owners; my father, when I was growing up, was a high school teacher and coach; I paid my own way through college and law school, and got into law school based purely upon numbers. I got a job during law school and after, but I know for a fact that firms make extraordinary efforts to solicit minority applications, because I was on the hiring committee and subsequently a partner in three firms. So, my point is that I do not believe it is valid to assume that anyone is now a beneficiary of prior discrimination to justify reverse discrimination.

Why bother? He is obviously on ....Live Steam
Jun 13, 2003 2:27 PM
some sort of mission. He rants and raves and for what purpose or to what end? I don't think anyone knows. Not even he. Most of what he has been spewing as of late is insulting and is as prejudicial as he intimates many of us to be. I thought we could debate issues on a reasonable level, but his arguments prove to be disconnected form the basis upon which they were formed. He leaps to conclusions that fit his thesis. Weak. Very weak.
I would never assume. That just leads to assumptions.czardonic
Jun 13, 2003 3:08 PM
What is implied by your mischaracterization of my argument?That you don't understand, or that you don't want to? I specifically said that cultural and social issues are not associated with race on a widespread basis. Yet you assert that I said the opposite. Curiously, you otherwise basically reinforce my original thesis: that skin color is a minor issue (or at least it should be).

Ancestors? State sponsored racial discrimination is a matter of living memory. That is a fact that you can't wish away (though you can ignore it until the clock runs out).

Tell me this. If my company engages in illegal and unfair business practices without my knowledge and gets caught, am I spared the effects of its punishment? Can I point to the "fundamental sense of justice and fairness in America tells us that you only punish the wrongdoers" and divorce my work product from the misdeeds of management? No. Whatever good faith I put into my job is still tainted by the malfeasance of those directing the enterprise.

Whether any of this justifies "reverse discrimination" is another matter. But it seems to me that a large part of condemning reverse discriminiation is convincing yourself that regular discrimination does not continue.
re: Looney Observations on Race - Another Spin-Off. Part IStarliner
Jun 16, 2003 8:53 PM
Is there any way you can sum up what you want to say in two or three sentences? Then let us chime in and we'll have a discussion.

Discrimination and racism are not the same thing, just as love and sex are two separate things. One can be present without the other; or both can be present together.

IOW, one can be a racist and not discriminate, just as one can discriminate and not be racist. So which one of the two is the evil one?