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Thread: Racism

  1. #31
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    I've lived in Vancouver, Canada, all my life. I would say I identify most with British Isles ancestry (half english, quarter scottish, quarter norwegian), which make up less than 36% of Metro-Vancouver's makeup. I also identify with either upper-middle class or upper-upper class (depending on which side of the family I'm identifying more with - one side is land-owning nobility from Europe). Those being factored in, I feel particularly blind to racism. I don't see it, in a usual sense. I know a lot of jewish executives who prefer to hire family. I know a lot of asian executives who prefer to hire family. Same with arabs, wasps, italians, ad nauseum. That would appear as groups racially tending to their own, even if much of it is simply nepotism.

    I know when I choose managers and directors in the future, familial ties will strongly tie into one's success getting such a position. Race will not be a factor to me, but somebody looking from the perspective of race would probably perceive a racial bias. Reality's bias is such that most of my extended family are wasps, so I dismiss that it's a racial bias.

  2. #32
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnFpFer View Post
    I think a lot of my "white" friends and associates see me as the "exceptional" "black" person-because of my family's socioeconomic class. Many people will say overtly hateful things around me, and then add, "Well, I'm not talking about you, of course. You're not like them, or other blacks." Because I was/am often the only "black" person in a group, it's rare that people have feared my reactions, or walked on eggshells around me. There's strength in numbers.
    That stinks :\ Sorry to hear that. Even to say you're "exceptional" is racist too.

  3. #33
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnFpFer View Post
    I get that sentiment. Racism and classism are similar, but they are two different things. People of color typically contend with both, at all socioecomic levels.
    One thing that Tim Wise has pointed out (not that he originated it) is that racism works, in part, to keep poor whites and blacks from finding common cause, and keeps poor whites voting for the interests of rich whites. The poorest whites in some areas can be among the most openly racist (not that all are) since that's one way they can identify as powerful and feel better about themselves.

    I do think it's tough for people in the majority/privileged group to be fully aware of all the subtle ways in which minority/unprivileged are reminded of their lesser status.

  4. #34
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    One thing that Tim Wise has pointed out (not that he originated it) is that racism works, in part, to keep poor whites and blacks from finding common cause, and keeps poor whites voting for the interests of rich whites. The poorest whites in some areas can be among the most openly racist (not that all are) since that's one way they can identify as powerful and feel better about themselves.

    I do think it's tough for people in the majority/privileged group to be fully aware of all the subtle ways in which minority/unprivileged are reminded of their lesser status.
    Oh, hell. Reading that was like a lightbulb moment. Puts the Calvin peeing on Obama sticker in a new light for me.

    As for the second part- yeah. Hence this thread.

    Thanks for your input, Seymour.
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    One thing that Tim Wise has pointed out (not that he originated it) is that racism works, in part, to keep poor whites and blacks from finding common cause, and keeps poor whites voting for the interests of rich whites. The poorest whites in some areas can be among the most openly racist (not that all are) since that's one way they can identify as powerful and feel better about themselves.

    I do think it's tough for people in the majority/privileged group to be fully aware of all the subtle ways in which minority/unprivileged are reminded of their lesser status.
    Yeah except the one thing Tim Wise doesn't mention is that the richer whites like to proclaim their superiority over poorer whites on the grounds that they're less racist than they are. The irony of course being that the group of whites most responsible for oppressing blacks and poor whites is the one most loudly proclaiming their devotion to "diversity" and whatnot.

    Zizek made a good argument about how anti-racism is in many ways the new racism. If you're not racist, you have full rights to look down upon those who supposedly are.

  6. #36
    man-made neptunesnet's Avatar
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    ^ Oh, yeah. The irony.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Do you really have to hear the crap? This is part of what I'm struggling with personally, is whether it's my responsibility to speak up when people make racist remarks, or if just keeping my mouth shut is okay. I don't like confrontation but I would want someone to tell me if I inadvertently said something offensive.

    My husband was miserable at work during the election. He works in IT for a trucking company- there are drivers that aren't white, but basically the entire administrative staff (IT, accounting, etc) is white. Apparently he was on the receiving end of more than one email fwd that included pictures of watermelons on the White House lawn, an Obama foodstamp, and stuff like that. He didn't say anything because he needs the job, but he felt (and still feels) like he was compliant by not saying anything.

    I don't mean to make all my examples about Obama but it really seems like having a non-white president has dug up a lot of latent racism in the US. Or, maybe it wasn't that latent, but it's clearer for people like me who could kind of skate by without being very aware of it before.

    I can relate to your not wanting to feel ostracized. I often feel when I engage (albeit reluctantly) in conversation with white people about race, institutional racism, and white privilege that I don't have much ground to stand on because most of the time I'm discredited because I am a person of color - I'm not deemed impartial.

    However, I think you could possibly look at your situation differently. You could try using your privilege to your advantage in this case. As I see it, your co-workers would be much more willing to try and understand from you why racist jokes, racist E-mails, and other forms of racism are unacceptable and not "just fun" because you're white instead of from a person of color. Here, you can speak for those who are silenced and can't speak for themselves.

  7. #37
    Nickle Iron Silicone Charmed Justice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    One thing that Tim Wise has pointed out (not that he originated it) is that racism works, in part, to keep poor whites and blacks from finding common cause, and keeps poor whites voting for the interests of rich whites. The poorest whites in some areas can be among the most openly racist (not that all are) since that's one way they can identify as powerful and feel better about themselves.

    I do think it's tough for people in the majority/privileged group to be fully aware of all the subtle ways in which minority/unprivileged are reminded of their lesser status.
    I absolutely agree. I think David Roediger and Matthew Frye Jacobson both do a great job in illustrating that point in their respective books Working Towards Whiteness and Whiteness of a Different Color.
    There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe.

  8. #38
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neptunesnet View Post
    I can relate to your not wanting to feel ostracized. I often feel when I engage (albeit reluctantly) in conversation with white people about race, institutional racism, and white privilege that I don't have much ground to stand on because most of the time I'm discredited because I am a person of color - I'm deemed impartial.

    However, I think you could possibly look at your situation differently. You could try using your privilege to your advantage in this case. As I see it, your co-workers would be much more willing to try and understand from you why racist jokes, racist E-mails, and other forms of racism are unacceptable and not "just fun" because you're white instead of from a person of color. Here, you can speak for those who are silenced and can't speak for themselves.
    You're probably right, and I want to work up to that. I know that sounds spoiled and it probably is- it's a way of being reluctant to give up privilege (the privilege of being able to not identify as an ally when doing so might be detrimental to me). In part, I don't feel confident enough in my command of the issues to answer the inevitable confrontational volleys that would come back to me. But even typing that feels like an impotent and cowardly protest of what I know I should be doing.
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  9. #39
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Yeah except the one thing Tim Wise doesn't mention is that the richer whites like to proclaim their superiority over poorer whites on the grounds that they're less racist than they are. The irony of course being that the group of whites most responsible for oppressing blacks and poor whites is the one most loudly proclaiming their devotion to "diversity" and whatnot.

    Zizek made a good argument about how anti-racism is in many ways the new racism. If you're not racist, you have full rights to look down upon those who supposedly are.
    Sadly, seems like everyone likes to have someone to look down on. I was raised as a fundamentalist in Texas, so I find myself defending fundamentalists and Southerners both here in New England (something I wouldn't have predicted I'd do) since they tend to be prejudiced against both here, in my opinion. It's funny to hear someone who rails against prejudice talk about Southerners all being a bunch of "ignorant racists." So the irony isn't entirely lost on me.

    Open racism is easier to confront and judge, but that doesn't mean that all kinds of subtle prejudice don't exist, even in those claiming moral superiority. That doesn't make confronting racism (and other prejudice) a worthless endeavor, even if we go about it lopsidedly and imperfectly.

  10. #40
    Senior Member LEGERdeMAIN's Avatar
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    I find that poor whites in racially mixed worker communities aren't prejudice against blacks or blacks against whites, but that they are united in their prejudice against illegal, non-english speaking south/central americans. What do you make of that?
    “Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I’m here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…”


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