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  1. #41
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Wildcat, I'm surprised and pleasantly so by your points and willingness to continually engage the other members in this debate. I'm not participating though, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your POV.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  2. #42
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    Not that you are asking me, but I'll chime in on this one: An individual might hold "racist" attitudes, regardless of his skin color... but individual racism and institutional racism are two different things, and what minorities often experience is institutional, systematic. Even if they hold racist attitudes, these attitudes do not have the net effect that the racism implicit in the institution has.
    All right... but what you're talking about is a stratified society, concentration of power by ethnic group. That doesn't always correspond to majority status. In fact, I can think of two cases in history (Manchurians in China and Afrikaners in South Africa) where power was held (not just transiently) by a vastly outnumbered ethnic minority. Oh, and don't forget the Tutsis in Rwanda. That's three.

    So to go back to the original question, I'm guessing it's not precise enough to ask "Can only a majority be racist?" The more pertinent question is "Can only those in power be racist?"

  3. #43
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by anii View Post
    If you don't believe that white americans still benefit largely from generations of institutional racism...
    That isn't the same as saying that the institutions as they stand today are racist. If you're trying to prove that there was racism in America's past, well, I believe we're already on board with that one.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    All right... but what you're talking about is a stratified society, concentration of power by ethnic group. That doesn't always correspond to majority status. In fact, I can think of two cases in history (Manchurians in China and Afrikaners in South Africa) where power was held (not just transiently) by a vastly outnumbered ethnic minority. Oh, and don't forget the Tutsis in Rwanda. That's three.

    So to go back to the original question, I'm guessing it's not precise enough to ask "Can only a majority be racist?" The more pertinent question is "Can only those in power be racist?"

    I covered this already by pointing out to Wolf that majority/minority is NOT always about number. Number is kind of incidental; advantage, power, and the like are much more relevant.

    We can talk about individual racism. Individual racism is horrifying and offensive. However, no matter how horrifying and offensive we find it, it is NOT the same thing as hegemony. So can African American people be prejudiced (and even discriminate) against white people? Yeah. But horrifying and offensive though it may be, it is NOT the same thing as systematic, institutionalized, and historical discrimination.
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  5. #45
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I covered this already by pointing out to Wolf that majority/minority is NOT always about number. Number is kind of incidental; advantage, power, and the like are much more relevant.

    We can talk about individual racism. Individual racism is horrifying and offensive. However, no matter how horrifying and offensive we find it, it is NOT the same thing as hegemony. So can African American people be prejudiced (and even discriminate) against white people? Yeah. But horrifying and offensive though it may be, it is NOT the same thing as systematic, institutionalized, and historical discrimination.
    Then what role does the individual play in institutional racism?
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  6. #46
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Then what role does the individual play in institutional racism?
    The individual can work against it or default to it. You don't have to be malicious to be complicit with hegemony.
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  7. #47
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    The individual can work against it or default to it. You don't have to be malicious to be complicit with hegemony.
    So who or what is the positive driving force of this hegemonic system? If it's not any one individual, and it's not any group of individuals, then how does it exist?
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I covered this already by pointing out to Wolf that majority/minority is NOT always about number. Number is kind of incidental; advantage, power, and the like are much more relevant.

    We can talk about individual racism. Individual racism is horrifying and offensive. However, no matter how horrifying and offensive we find it, it is NOT the same thing as hegemony. So can African American people be prejudiced (and even discriminate) against white people? Yeah. But horrifying and offensive though it may be, it is NOT the same thing as systematic, institutionalized, and historical discrimination.
    Individual racism may not be the same kind of racism as institutional racism, but it is in now way less racist.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  9. #49
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    So who or what is the positive driving force of this hegemonic system? If it's not any one individual, and it's not any group of individuals, then how does it exist?
    Well, that's the thing about hegemony; it exists in the fiber of the environment. It is expressed in tiny details... like what is taught in schools and what is left out, how language patterns are judged as correct/proper or incorrect/improper, how schools receive some funds through property taxes, etc.

    It exists because of historical assumptions about what is valuable and not valuable, and it's so woven in that it's sometimes kind of invisible. There are the people who work against it, the people who default to it, and the people who actively deny that there is a problem.

    An example of the hegemony in action: History Education. For a long time, what American children learned in school was white American history. Beyond a mention of slavery, African American history was simply not covered. This is a problem for lots of reasons (it presents to children an imbalanced and dishonest-by-omission history, it affects the self-concept of kids, especially African American ones, etc). Somewhere along the line, someone called bullshit on this practice and started to change this. One way they tried to raise awareness of this deficit in education was by implementing "Black History Month."

    So those are the folks working against it. The people who default to it don't really think about it or consider the problem of not teaching this history. They just shrug and do their homework. And every once in awhile, there will be a denier--frequently a member of the "ruling class" (ie, very likely a white male individual) who complains about Black History Month (or Women's History Month, or whatever) because they see it as "reverse discrimination." These are the people who see the system as totally fine the way it is and who regard these efforts as unnecessary and even offensive.

    I do think that things are changing (because of the efforts of people working against the system). The system IS better than it was, and more African American history is taught than before outside of BHM. More African American authors are a part of the American Lit curriculum. But if everybody just complied with the system, we'd still be learning only the history and literature of white male Americans and drinking from separate water fountains.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Individual racism may not be the same kind of racism as institutional racism, but it is in now way less racist.
    The system is less racist than it was, sure. That's because there have been individuals working against it for over a century now.

    I don't mean to excuse individual racists; they're definitely a problem. But what still exists in the system is still more harmful to the group than what individuals can inflict. Individuals act upon individuals; the system acts upon the whole.


    EDIT: Also, individual racism, while awful, is more VISIBLE than that which is ingrained in institutions. You can vanquish an enemy that you can see much more easily than one that is camouflaged.
    Last edited by Eileen; 07-21-2008 at 07:46 AM. Reason: had more to say
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  10. #50
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I covered this already by pointing out to Wolf that majority/minority is NOT always about number. Number is kind of incidental; advantage, power, and the like are much more relevant.

    We can talk about individual racism. Individual racism is horrifying and offensive. However, no matter how horrifying and offensive we find it, it is NOT the same thing as hegemony. So can African American people be prejudiced (and even discriminate) against white people? Yeah. But horrifying and offensive though it may be, it is NOT the same thing as systematic, institutionalized, and historical discrimination.
    Well, I'm with you, Eileen... but my earlier posts on the topic were in response to the wildcat's mention of majority vs. minority.

    Oh... interestingly, while "...systematic, institutionalized, and historical discrimination" is indeed terrible, it has also been how the world operates from the beginning of recorded history up until now. People groups have conquered and dominated and discriminated against other people groups, forever and always, for time out of mind.

    It is only in the latter parts of the 20th century that we see nations even begin to pursue an alternative course. So my advice is, please be patient with the world. This idea of non-discrimination in institutions is startling and different, and much of the world will have to be patiently coaxed into accepting it.

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