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  1. #51
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    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.



    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.
    I can see your point, but institutional racism can be combated by changing individual attitudes, as well. I just had to take issue with wildcat's implication that minorities cannot be racists, which is completely false.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  2. #52
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    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.

    No way! I won't be patient with the world, and I hope that others won't be either... because impatience and the action that follows impatience is what changes the world. I don't advocate VIOLENCE or anything (because, in addition to being contrary to my ethics, it also ultimately slows down progress), but activism is important... the "fierce urgency of now" and such.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  3. #53
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I can see your point, but institutional racism can be combated by changing individual attitudes, as well. I just had to take issue with wildcat's implication that minorities cannot be racists, which is completely false.
    It's false to say that individuals in the minority cannot hold racist attitudes, but I'd say that it's generally not possible for minorities to discriminate against the majority because the institution is set up such that it favors the majority... So the racist attitudes may be kind of toxic to individual interactions, but they are ultimately impotent in a way that the racist attitudes of those in the majority weren't, for awhile (and aren't, probably, in some cases).
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    It's false to say that individuals in the minority cannot hold racist attitudes, but I'd say that it's generally not possible for minorities to discriminate against the majority because the institution is set up such that it favors the majority... So the racist attitudes may be kind of toxic to individual interactions, but they are ultimately impotent in a way that the racist attitudes of those in the majority weren't, for awhile (and aren't, probably, in some cases).
    I would argue that racist attitudes are never impotent and that a minority with a particularly poisonous racist attitude toward a majority can cause a lot of havoc in a society (sub-Saharan Africa has suffered through this in the post-colonial era). You can't just explain away intolerance by saying, "Well, these people were oppressed, it makes sense that they hold grudges. . ." All peoples have been oppressed throughout history. I am not going to argue that it was all equal, and a lot of it was not recent, but I won't make excuses for anyone in this day and age, either.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  5. #55
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    No way! I won't be patient with the world, and I hope that others won't be either... because impatience and the action that follows impatience is what changes the world. I don't advocate VIOLENCE or anything (because, in addition to being contrary to my ethics, it also ultimately slows down progress), but activism is important... the "fierce urgency of now" and such.
    Activism is important, but you have to be in it for the long haul. My point is that in order to accomplish your goal, you must first understand the enormity of the task before you. I believe that you will have to think multi-generationally, and it starts when you promote a culture consistent with your point of view.

  6. #56
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I would argue that racist attitudes are never impotent and that a minority with a particularly poisonous racist attitude toward a majority can cause a lot of havoc in a society (sub-Saharan Africa has suffered through this in the post-colonial era). You can't just explain away intolerance by saying, "Well, these people were oppressed, it makes sense that they hold grudges. . ." All peoples have been oppressed throughout history. I am not going to argue that it was all equal, and a lot of it was not recent, but I won't make excuses for anyone in this day and age, either.
    I'm not making excuses for anyone. I'm not in favor of any destructive attitude that can affect any level of interaction. I just don't think that it's possible for minorities to commit discrimination on a level beyond small interactions--so wrong though it may be to hate one's neighbor for her skin color, it causes much less ultimate harm than the racism that exists on the macro level in the system(s). And the attitude is a big problem when it yields the effect of limited opportunities/advantage for its victims. That happens in the system and not to the majority.

    Essentially, I believe that the term "reverse discrimination" is a big load of culturally insensitive and incorrect BS (that is wielded by white dudes most often). Perhaps "reverse racism" isn't patent bullshit. Not sure.






    So, I guess a relevant question is--what activism will yield more progress on this front? Working with individuals and building individual awareness? Taking on the system, changing policies? I believe that both are necessary, but that what will ultimately change more minds is altering the fabric of the systems. I can tell one person about black history, or my fellow educators and I can teach a whole school.

    I suppose that I have cynicism mixed in with idealism here, too. I believe that by forcing the system to adopt nondiscriminatory practices (even against what those who hold particular positions of power might believe), it's possible to shape the next generation into something better and less racist. I believe that most grown-up racists are a lost cause.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  7. #57
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    I do want to emphasize that I do not think it's OKAY to hold racist attitudes on an individual level. They ARE toxic and they DO impede progress. I just think that individual racist attitudes A) are, in part, developed because of a system that has inherent inequalities, B) are harder to change than the system, and/or C) have fewer immediate effects than a discriminatory system (which may be less hostile in its racism than the individual).
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  8. #58
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    Essentially, I believe that the term "reverse discrimination" is a big load of culturally insensitive and incorrect BS (that is wielded by white male whiners most often). Perhaps "reverse racism" isn't patent bullshit. Not sure.
    Be careful, or you'll behave in a manner consistent with the notion that white men deserve whatever is done to them.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I'm not making excuses for anyone. I'm not in favor of any destructive attitude that can affect any level of interaction. I just don't think that it's possible for minorities to commit discrimination on a level beyond small interactions--so wrong though it may be to hate one's neighbor for her skin color, it causes much less ultimate harm than the racism that exists on the macro level in the system(s). And the attitude is a big problem when it yields the effect of limited opportunities/advantage for its victims. That happens in the system and not to the majority.

    Essentially, I believe that the term "reverse discrimination" is a big load of culturally insensitive and incorrect BS (that is wielded by white male whiners most often). Perhaps "reverse racism" isn't patent bullshit. Not sure.






    So, I guess a relevant question is--what activism will yield more progress on this front? Working with individuals and building individual awareness? Taking on the system, changing policies? I believe that both are necessary, but that what will ultimately change more minds is altering the fabric of the systems. I can tell one person about black history, or my fellow educators and I can teach a whole school.

    I suppose that I have cynicism mixed in with idealism here, too. I believe that by forcing the system to adopt nondiscriminatory practices (even against what those who hold particular positions of power might believe), it's possible to shape the next generation into something better and less racist. I believe that most grown-up racists are a lost cause.
    "Reverse racism" is a weird concept. If what they are arguing exists actually does, it's good ol' fashioned racism.

    I also think that minorities can practice discrimination. Large-scale rape and murder would be pretty horrific, right? I pointed out the examples in sub-Saharan Africa. How about South Africa specifically? Maybe the most odious racial discrimination in the world for decades. They had brave resistance movements fighting the apartheid-era governments. They ALSO had violent terrorist and criminal elements that raped and butchered innocent white people (some not even native South Africans). Not discrimination? Of course it was. They were targeting white people (in their minds: "rich and oppressive") on the basis of race. I don't think it gets any more racist than that.

    I have to take issue with the "white male whiners" terminology, too. You undercut your own point about "culturally insensitive" when you use loaded words like that. It's approaching PC hypocrisy there, and I am not sure you mean to do it.

    As to "the system," I am not in favor of forced social engineering at all. The best way to teach people what is right and what is wrong is by example when they are young and social stigmatization when they are old enough to know better. Also, it depends on what you mean by "nondiscriminatory." Government-mandated affirmative action would be disqualified immediately in a nondiscriminatory society. It necessitates discrimination, by definition.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #60
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I have to take issue with the "white male whiners" terminology, too. You undercut your own point about "culturally insensitive" when you use loaded words like that. It's approaching PC hypocrisy there, and I am not sure you mean to do it.
    I'll just reply to this part because I'm juggling a lot of tasks at the moment.

    I intentionally used those words (to express how irritating I personally find it), and I am aware of the phrase being hypocritical. *BUT* I think that it is relevant to consider who makes those arguments the most often and question why. If I took out "whiners" and just said "white men" perhaps it would lend itself to a more constructive conversation.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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