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BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?

John on the Sunset Coast 19 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM
Riginslinger 19 Feb 09 - 11:00 AM
katlaughing 19 Feb 09 - 11:04 AM
Bryn Pugh 19 Feb 09 - 11:05 AM
Ebbie 19 Feb 09 - 11:07 AM
Ebbie 19 Feb 09 - 11:11 AM
pdq 19 Feb 09 - 11:12 AM
Mrrzy 19 Feb 09 - 11:18 AM
meself 19 Feb 09 - 11:18 AM
olddude 19 Feb 09 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,AR 19 Feb 09 - 11:23 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 19 Feb 09 - 11:31 AM
number 6 19 Feb 09 - 11:38 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 19 Feb 09 - 11:42 AM
robomatic 19 Feb 09 - 11:44 AM
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Subject: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM

Yesterday, in a speech, that can be seen all over internet, Atty. Gen'l Eric Holder, noted that Americans, in their personal lives are largely cowards, avoiding speaking of things racial with friends, acquaintances and neighbors.

Many comments on the web disagree, some vehemently, with his assessment, or even that he brought it up at all I believe much of what he had to say was spot on. I know that I am uncomfortable speaking of racial matters with people of color, even though I consider myself color-blind. Only a couple of times have I had private conversations with a Black person about race where it didn't turn into a blame the other guy thing.

We currently have threads going on about Rev. Wright, and of the Chimp/Stimulous editorial cartoon. We've had threads about singing SC Foster or Old Man River in dialect. These are extreme cases, and test us mightily...but we have never spoken of race relations as part of our daily life while discussing these specific topics. Can it even be done without falling into ad hominum posts? Such discussions can be cut dead, by the mere accusation of 'Racism' making them very difficult to continue.

JotSC


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:00 AM

John - I've been hoping that the election of a black president will lessen the sting of being called racist. As you say, it stops the dialogue on almost any subject. If one party can't come up with an intelligent response, he/she simply calls the other person a "racist," and expects the discussion to end.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:04 AM

Excellent question, John.

Such discussions can be cut dead, by the mere accusation of 'Racism' making them very difficult to continue.

I've seen that happen several times, here.

My ex-son-in-law is form Antigua. We had a lot of discussions, mostly of him telling me about incidents of discriminations he has experienced over the years since coming to live here as a teen. He knew he had unconditional support and love from me and my family and there was never a question. Now, my daughter is dating an American of African descent, the same holds true. One curious thing about him, his family has been unable to find any slaves in their genealogy which is extensive.

Around here, there is more racism towards Hispanics. I have many long time friends who are Americans of Mexican descent, but haven't been out and about enough to meet anyone new, but I think the newer residents probably feel more racism than my friends. I find it more difficult to get to know them and talk with them because I do not know enough of their language and I see that as my problem, not theirs. We do shop at specific Mexican shops, partly because we like what they have for sale, but also to show support.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:05 AM

The problem with an accusation of racism (and pretty much every other "ism") is that in defending it, one labels oneself as that of which accused ; and in not defending it, the accuser is convinced of his rectitude.

What never fails to piss me off is the "but" which invariable follows "I'm not a [insert relevant adjective], but . . . ".

No ?

(As a Limey I'm not qualified to cast nasturtiums on Americans, even tho' Mommy is a Septic :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:07 AM

Years ago I served cups of soup to two Japanese college students while the two white boys didn't get any. They protested. I said, Well, they ordered the meals where soup is included. You didn't.

One of the Japanese students said, Ha! How do you like that , white boy?

(Nothing particularly significant about the story- I just like it.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:11 AM

Dern it. I left out the definitive part:

Well, they ordered the meals where soup is included. You didn't. I don't like to discriminate but...


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: pdq
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:12 AM

"As a Limey I'm not qualified to cast nasturtiums on Americans..."

Try the forged nasturiums next time. Much stronger than the cast ones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:18 AM

Big time.

Also, don't forget "bless their heart" - (followed by some awful insult said indulgently).


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: meself
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:18 AM

"...but we have never spoken of race relations as part of our daily life while discussing these specific topics. Can it even be done without falling into ad hominum posts?"

On the contrary, John, there have been a number of times here when people have "spoken of race relations as part of our daily life while discussing", etc., and the ensuing discussion does not necessarily fall into ad hominen attacks. For instance, Azizi has offered considerable insight into her experience growing up African-American, while any number of white posters have related anecdotes from their own experience by way of making some point regarding race relations.

As for "cowardice" - remember, "discretion is the better part of valour".


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: olddude
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:22 AM

I would think electing a black president after 40 years of struggle does indeed show how far this great nation has gone. Obama wasn't elected by minorities only , he was elected by the American people all colors and creeds ... No we are not Racial Cowards ... we may take a while to atone and admit our sins of the past, but we put our sins in the front of our window for the world to see and don't hide them as many other countries do. We also teach our kids to be better. Yes there are hate groups, there always will be no matter what country you live in. WE came a long way ...

Not perfect by any means, but you will be hard pressed to do better I thinks. Unlike the American of my childhood, American's are looking at people as Americans these days and I thank God Almighty for it


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: GUEST,AR
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:23 AM

At the current rate of "PC" here in the UK I imagine in about ten years it will be the whites rattling the sabre about racism !


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:31 AM

When I first became a road salesman (peddler, if you will), one my first customers was the Afro-American (term in vogue then) owner of a furniture store. Over the years as territories changed and businesses moved, he and I would cross paths, and he was again a customer of mine at the time I retired.

A few years ago, a very hot, summer day in the valley, I walked into his store. He was wearing a colorful dashiki and matching skull cap.

"When did you start doing the African thing?" I asked on greeting him.
"Well, if you haven't noticed after all these years..." he answered with a huge smile.
"Oh, I've noticed, alright," I said, "but this is the first time in over thirty years I've seen you attired in other than a dapper, double-breasted suit."

He was one person I felt comfortable speaking of race with, but somewhat guardedly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: number 6
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:38 AM

Holder made that remark to a crowd celebrating Black History Month at the Justice Department..... the actor Morgan Freeman comes to mind here .. the following is an excerpt from Wikipedia regarding Freeman ...

"Freeman has publicly criticized the celebration of Black History Month and does not participate in any related events, saying, "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history." He says the only way to end racism is to stop talking about it, and he notes that there is no "white history month".

More from Freeman ... "Freeman once said on an interview with 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace: "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man."

I can't help but fully agree with Freeman. Once we stop seeing each other as black or white ... we don't have a problem.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:42 AM

"Azizi has offered considerable insight into her experience growing up African-American, while any number of white posters have related anecdotes from their own experience by way of making some point regarding race relations"

Azizi and her posts prove (test) my assertion. So never is too strong. We rarely discuss our race as part of our daily life.

Oldude, that is not what the thrust of the Atty. Gen'l's comments were about. He acknowledged, that we've come along way in the public sphere of race relations; he was clearly addressing private race relations, as I noted in my opening sentence. Do you think he is wrong about that? I don't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: robomatic
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:44 AM

I think Americans can find among themselves, in every ethnic group:

Racial Cowards

Racial Prevaricators

Racial Optimists

Racial Ignoramuses

Courageous Advocates of Racism

Courageous Advocates of Non-Racism

Courageous Advocates of Anti-Racism

Wasn't it in the movie "Bulworth" that the eponymous character announces to all and sundry: "I think we should f*&^ each other until we're all the same color!"?

I think that took a little courage to write, print and film. . .

In short, I think that Americans are among the overall best confronters of racial matters, having lived with 'em since the inception, fought a war over 'em, and dealt with 'em up and down the entire legal system AND the entire political system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:54 AM

Bryn Pugh said (correctly):


What never fails to piss me off is the "but" which invariable follows "I'm not a [insert relevant adjective], but . . . ".


Remember what "but" means. It means, "Forget what I just said; here's what I really mean."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bert
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:56 AM

...until we're all the same color!...

We ARE all the same color under our new President.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 12:01 PM

I think Americans can find among themselves, in every ethnic group:

TRUE -- But THAT ISN'T THE POINT of his comments. There are most always individual who take brave stands..go against the grain publicly.

PRIVATE LIFE is what he is speaking to. Do people of different races living in the same neighborhood, shopping at the local market, speak with their neighbors frankly about their views. I believe overwhelmingly this does not happen.

He is not speaking to educational, political and work place gains which are light years ahead of 50 years ago. He is talking about everyday personal interaction and dialogue.


And I'm the Conservative at Mudcat...I'm beginning to feel like a flaming Liberal, based on many of the responses here. Stay on poin folks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 01:12 PM

For instance, there are a thousand reasons to be concerned about illegal aliens residing in America, but if one is to mention just one reason, someone will call him/her a racist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 01:45 PM

"Americans" - you surely mean USAians. Please don't insult the normal folks of Canada, Central & South America.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 01:58 PM

You think Holder stands corrected?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:09 PM

One of the problems with discussions of any sort is that most people are trying to be heard, but most people are only eharing that which they prefer to hear and then responding by truing to be heard, but are only met by people who can only hear what they prefer to hear who then trespoind with....

I need some aspirin.

I got some good advice once which was not to say anything you would not say in just the same way while wrapped up in a relaxed, loose embrace with the person to whom you're speaking. Wouldn't it be GREAT if communication followed that advice? When we're speaking, we'd be able to feel the hearer tense up as the words leave our mouths, and maybe we'd try a little harder to soften our speech.

Hm, but we're in text.... well, I think I'll just start by borrowing Andres' approach:

Abrazos,

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: akenaton
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:09 PM

I'm far left on most things political but in America, "liberalism" appears to be the problem; these people...and there are quite a few on this forum, will tar ya if you dare to dicuss race or sexuality objectively.
You will be called a "vile filth spewing bigot" if you disagree with their most illiberal stance on these subjects.

Just like Rig says really!


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:11 PM

Canada has its share of bigots, racists, etc. Hell, we have 'reserves' for Indians (First Nations people; aboriginal people; native people). That institutional racism. I do my best to avoid that kinda crap, but when I was growing up it wasn't until I was about 14--and I got a slap across the face for being a wise ass--when I heard a close family relation say regarding a person's skin colour, "It's only an accident of birth." The kid (me) replied, "Some accident considering he's got two Black parents." Hoooooly, did I pay for that remark. It kinda ranked there with that same close relative saying, "Eat everything on your plate; there are children starving in Korea." I said, "Name three!" Swack.

Times are changing. Likely not as fast as we'd all like, but changing nevertheless. King said it best, IMO: words to the effect that he looked forward to the day when people were judged not by the colour of their skin but by the conduct of their character.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 03:14 PM

I wouldn't say cowards..pragmatists...realists..desiring to make some amends for past abuses..fatigued..mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 03:20 PM

Peace has always been a weisenheimer; its in his genes.

As to racism, I think--apparently along with Mister Freeman--that there is no such thing in any objective sense that can be treated as a topic of general discussion. Individual merit is much more interesting, and lumping people into pots of color is about as dumb as arguing against the theory of evolution. It doesn't serve any purpose, and often offers heat without light.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 03:41 PM

I have trouble grouping people by colour, religion, socioeconomic status, banjoplayers, whatever. I find all kinds of red flags going up if I encounter inclinations in myself or others to limit individuals to a group.

I feel a bit uncomfortable with the term colour blind in this context. Is that something to be proud of?

I am not (I hope), nor would I ever want to be colour blind. Better to see and embrace and value all aspects of the person than to be blind to any of them, especially the lovely package that person is wrapped in. And by package I don't mean only colour of skin. The package includes the intelligence, wit and personality formed by experience and society with other people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 04:15 PM

I was listening to NPR earlier, and some caller thought Holder should resign over the remark..


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 04:25 PM

Why? He spoke the truth. Maybe someone else should have other than the attorney general, but why should he resign? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 04:26 PM

To me it is racist to make race the issue. How about "Human Relations? If race comes up, deal with it then and there instead of making it a prerequisite for relations. When trying to overcome differences it is just stupid to start things off by emphasizing the very differences one wishes to overcome.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 05:36 PM

As several have commented, his statements - in context - were certainly correct and completely justified.

The problem is that the only way it will ever really be easy to talk about is when there's no need to say anything.

We do have a ways to go, and there are many other very similar subjects.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:07 PM

The problem is that the only way it will ever really be easy to talk about is when there's no need to say anything.

That sums it up pretty well. As with hair colour.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: robomatic
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:29 PM

JotSC:

I think we are entering a period where we can speak more frankly about race when appropriate, as in not every barbecue with neighbors must result in a heart to heart about race, sex, or the true American social 'third rail', money.

I went to college as a freshman, straight into a social experiment, the institution of a dormitory which was targeted to be a black dormitory. I found it very interesting and eductional, but it didn't mean I was talking about race every day.

I also don't personally think that every incidence of cowardice is denigrating. I think it's natural and often acceptable to make "discretion the better part of valor".

Years ago I saw a movie called "The Hell With Heroes" and while I've totally forgotten it, I've remembered the title and used it to myself when that word is being flown from the media staff for folks who had few choices or were really victims.

As for Holder, I missed the actual statement and context of it, so I'm sort of glad there's a fuss but at the same time there should be some latitude for freedom of expression which also means freedom of (mis) expression. If we become afraid to merely utter anything in public, we enter into our own Stalinesque world, which in fact we are doing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:49 PM

Well, gol friggin' danged...

Now here's a subjets that I have wrutten about here in Mudville goin' back a few year and a subject near and dear to my heart...

Not...

Seems that "divide and conquer" has been alive and well in the US forever...

Okay, it is now cleaverly codified with an entire language that has replaced the old "nigger and honkie" times but is still very much alive and...

...well... Well, not so well and that is a good thing...

For me, I had the fortune of spending a great deal of my life living with black folks and so I'd kinda like to recuse myself as an impartial witness... In many ways I am more black than white... I play black music... My speech is very influenced by the speech patterns of black folks... I trust black folks more than whites...

I guess that makes me some kinda racist... lol...

But really, yeah, Bill Clinton tried to get this discusssion going back in '96 'er '97... The country wasn't ready yet...

I'm not too sure when the country will be ready 'cause this discussion is going to lead to a discusssion of "repair"ations and white folks have been conditioned to not want to talk about repairing the damage that our country has done to black people...

"Well, Ralph, why should I have to pay for somethin' that my great grand-daddy did?"

Well, becasue we all live in a country of great wealth and alot of that wealth was created on the backs of black folks, that's why...

So, that's why the conversation doesn't happen...

As fir me, I'd love nothin' more than to have this discussion... It would not only be specifically about balck folks but would open up the larger question of how America's wealth can be expalined and who should be benefiting...

Lastly, there were no African volunteers in 1619 to board a ship headed for the colonies to "help out" (lol...)...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 09:20 PM

Resign over the remark? The poster is a perfect Red Queen: sentence first, trial later--if at all. And he's been such a strong Obama supporter for so long.   I'm truly shocked.

But I'd certainly say Holder's remark is over the top, and I'm surprised to hear Mudcatters defend it. (Or maybe not so surprised).

Those who do defend it seem to be a type often seen here--far more comfortable in the ivory tower of ideological purity than in the grit of actually getting something done--in real politics. Politically it was a classic faux pas. Politics is the art of the possible. So you want as many supporters as you can get. Holder's statement does not help the cause, to put it mildly.

As a black friend of mine at work noted, even if Holder believed this, he should not have said it. It doesn't even matter if it's true or not.   It's pointlessly inflammatory--and being Attorney General is not exactly like being a Mudcat poster.   My own view would be that some Americans are "cowards", some aren't. Some probably feel that discretion is the better part of valor in this sort of topic. It also depends on how comfortable you are in general with your conversation partner.

But I don't buy this "we are all Martin Gibsons", "we are all racists", "we are all...(fill in the blank)" tripe. Even though some people here seem to like to wallow in that stuff.   Sorry, hairshirts have never seemed to fit me. And I''m not alone.

Holder should have thought twice. I would think that all Cabinet Secretaries--and that's what Holder is--should know they are constantly under the microscope. People are just dying to pounce on them--so don't give them the chance.   It goes with the territory. My sympathy for Mr. Holder is limited.

But I hope--and expect--that he has learned from this. Biden was considered to be the loose cannon--not Holder.

Obama might be starting to wonder if he's captaining a ship of fools. Which of course would not reflect well on the man who appointed them.

But it's still early. Better to make your mistakes early and learn from them.

In fact the Holder remark is actually trivial in the grand scheme of things--despite the seemingly endless fascination of such small potatoes for some Mudcatters. Obama has actually had some good success. He's managed to get the huge stimulus bill passed in an amazingly short time.   He's rolling back some of the most despicable Bush ideas.

And now it looks like he will be able to get voting rights for DC--quite soon even. The vote in the Senate, I understand is scheduled for next Tuesday.    Voting rights for DC would be a big feather in Obama's cap. Maybe then people will stop the endless nitpicking--for at least 30 seconds.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Janie
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:06 PM

I opine that one significant reason race in the USA is so difficult to talk about has to do with validation. It is difficult to accept that each person has their own point of view, based on a complex set of experiences and social learning, and that each person's point of view is valid. To validate does not mean to agree with. It means acceptance that each of us has a point of view, is entitled to our POV, and the understanding that POV is based on our interpretations of our individual and collective experiences and teachings. It includes the notion of respect for one another's POV, and implies a mutual willingness to be open to the notion that one's interpretation may not always be "the truth" of the situation. It also recognizes complexity, incorporates the willingness to acknowledge ambiguity and relativity.

That is a tall order and can reguire a significant commitment of psychic energy within the context of relationships as well as a mutual commitment to "stay the course" if the relationship is to be preserved. It is possible to value professional or personal relationships that are not particularly close or intimate, and if they are not close or intimate, it is difficult to assess the commitment of the other to "stay the course." That being the case, it is not surprising that people often choose to hold onto the relationship they know they have, rather than risk losing any connection.

My own rather broad experience in my relationships with friends and professional colleagues is that issues of race have very little effect or need of discussion in our personal relationships, and that we can easily talk about our differences in experience and interpretations of events and situations that have been influenced or affected (effected?) by our differences in race and all that implies in terms of life experience, cultural history and context and social learning. In short, we value and validate one another. Each of us recognizes that we have something to learn, and also to teach. The dialectical process flows easily and naturally, not because we are color-blind, which would mean disregarding the realities of our psychosocial personal and socio-cultural histories, experiences and social learning, but because there are not value-judgements placed on the ways we are different. The ways we are different include racial identity and experience, but we are also different in many other ways. Mostly, however, we are alike in our interests, values, education and aspirations. Like all significant relationships, they are built on a solid bedrock of common ground.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:09 PM

Click here for the Associated Press article on Holder's speech. If the article is accurate, I think I could accept with what Holder said, although I might not completely agree.

I'm not sure it's a lack of courage. I think it's a lack of communication - or a lack of the ability to communicate. The U.S. is not at the point where people of different races can discuss racial matters with honesty, a feeling of safety, and a degree of comfort. We're just not at that stage yet, and I don't think it's something that can be forced; although I think having a black President will move us along a lot quicker.

We're still at a stage where I have to think twice about describing Barack Obama as a "black President," because some people think I should say "Black President" (with a capital B), and some an "Afro-American President." And it we're still at the point where we argue about such things, then we certainly haven't "arrived." I don't know that it's actually cowardice - we just haven't reached that stage of interracial communication.

I would often like to know how it feels to be in another person's shoes when that person is suffering injustice - but oftentimes, it's patronizing just not appropriate to ask. You have to have a certain level of friendship and trust before you can ask such things. I guess I can name only two or three black people with whom I have been able to discuss racial matters with complete honesty and comfort. Is that shameful that I know so few? I dunno - I think that's just the way it is.

-joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:34 PM

I think most of you have missed the point of Holder's comments. I think Michael Medved, the liberal turned Conservative talk show host has misinterpreted his remarks. Have any of you read them or heard them.

Once more into the breech:

Holder acknowledges the great stride America has made in race relations in the public sphere. He is thinks we can do better in our private inter-personal relations. He thinks Americans are afraid to speak of race relations with neighbors of different races to understand what Blacks think about Whites or Hispanics or Asians, in a personal way, and so on among each group. We are, not everyone but generally, afraid to speak openly about race to anyone outside our own group. I believe that to be true, unless it is in a controlled moderated situation.

Ron Davies finds those comment over the top, and pointlessly inflamatory. He thinks the AG made a classic faux pas. I could not disagree more. And I don't think that Holder is placing the blame only on whites.

I don't think he means for any of us to knock on somebody's door and ask how they feel about whites, or or Asians out of the blue. I think he has in mind that as ideas come up, we should talk openly about things racial, perhaps as Robomatic notes, if they're in the news or come up in some other way.

That doesn't mean that anyone should be nasty or confrontational about it; it doesn't mean that if we say hear something outside of our comfort zone we need to be defensive, or the converse

Isn't it better to learn one on one about others perceptions of us and vice-versa? Doesn't that make more sense than mandated 'sensitivity training'? Doesn't that make more sense than imposed, restrictive speech codes?

I'm not sure where Bobert's post is going, but I didn't hear anything about reparations in Holder's speech. But it might be a topic for discussion amongst friends or neighbors of different races.

I think Holder hit just about the right note. He did not blame any group; he did point out that we can do better, but that as nation we are generally afraid to speak when we are not anonymous. Someone pointed out that some people are not afraid, and some are...I think most are. I think Holder spoke truth.

I don't think Eric Holder should resign based on anything he said yesterday. I don't think he said anything that anyone should take offense at.

Somebody wrote that they were surprised that anyone at Mudcat would defend Holder's speech. I am astounded that, given the left tilt to this website, there aren't more people here agreeing with him, and with my defense of him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:50 PM

C'mon Sunset John. You think the majority of Americans will be fine characterized as "cowards" in any context?   By the way, have you ever heard of Toby Keith? Lots of Americans identify with his "Courtesy" song. That's a more likely reaction to this sort of remark. Fortunately, it was not Obama who made it---he knows better.   

It may be fine with you-- though somehow I doubt it.   As I said, one of my black friends at work said it was a mistake on Holder's part. I suspect my friend's political instincts are better than yours.

Though, as I said, if you are only speaking for yourself, fine.

Problem is: at this point Holder is a political figure--and there are consequences for him for inflammatory speech--which this is, and needlessly so. Holder will have to get used to living in a fishbowl--like every other politician.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: fumblefingers
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:57 PM

Holder had some more to say about race. He reckons there are too many blacks in prison.

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/race-baiters-want-racial-quotas-for-prison


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Janie
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:09 PM

John, I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Our nation is well-served when those in positions of well-defined and circumscribed political power are willing to "speak truth" to the power embodied in the collective body politic of the general population. Mr. Holder's remarks signify both courage and respect for the capacity of "Joe Bloe" to contemplate and be responsive, rather than reactive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:10 PM

Well, I listened to the whole speech, live. The only shocking thing about it is that we/I are not used to a speaker being so blunt. However, I did not feel that "the" remark or any part of his speech was over the top. Keep in mind that the context was Black History Month.

Keep in mind also that he was referring to "us", not to "you". It was not accusatory, it was inclusive.

When he said, "...in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards..." , he could have used a more politic term than 'coward'. Had he instead said, "in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of intimidated people."

Would that have been better? Less confrontational?

In my own family I have in recent years used a term that the family deplores. I have charged that our family is not/has not been honest, people preferring to gloss over or to ignore some elements of our commingled history, continually arriving at a conclusion that has little resemblance to what really happened.

They prefer to think that "we don't like to hurt other people's feelings", instead of facing that we are trying to spare only ourselves.

I stick with my interpretation, because we are all adults and we should be able to face truth. If not now, when?

Perhaps Atty. General Holder things that we are adult.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: mg
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:10 PM

THere are too many in prison and I would like to see as many released as can be safely released, with electronic surveillance, prison-like facilities where they must be in for the night but allowed out in the daytime, mandatory work, paid or unpaid, parenting classes, vocational education, subsidized employment. For all races of course. Very frequent drug tests. Screening would have to be really really good though and surveillance would have to be very very good with no second chances. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Janie
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:12 PM

Or...."What Ebbie said."


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:19 PM

Ron

1--I do not think any part of EH's speech inflammatory. I wish it were, so I could carp at Democrats.

2--Is your sample of one black friend a definitive survey?

3--A former Black customer of mine, one of the few with whom I openly spoke of racial issues would likely be in sympathy with Holder's remarks. Saleem is not (at least was not then) either a black activist nor an Uncle Tom type. Is he an accurate survey of how Blacks think?

4--I AM speaking for myself, of course. I am drawing on sixty years of interaction with folks of all races, creeds and ethnic backgrounds. In school, in playgrounds, on my paper route, working along side of, working under the direct supervision of, attending parties, giving parties, attending weddings and other happy occasions, advising and counseling, I have had contact and interaction with minority peoples. We once had a Black family, whose church celebrated Jewish holidays, to a Passover meal. We explained the ritual to them from a Jewish perspective, and they told us how their church interpreted those same actions. I have to admit that before the age of 10 I had very little interaction with Negroes (as we called Black folks in those days).

Perhaps if I had had more interaction as with that Black family or Saleem, I would have more of an understanding of other American groups.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:38 PM

Some I'm put to mind of a remark made by the late Robert Benchly:

Girls today will talk about anything.......in fact they won't talk about anything else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:06 AM

Exactly what is the purpose of referring to someone as a white person or a black person?

To use the term infers that there is something wrong with that person or that the person is better for some reason.

To use those terms is racial. Just talking about it keeps it alive.

It is the racists that keep bringing it up and perpetuating the problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:14 AM

Because, Sawzaw, folks of different ethnic and racial backgrounds often have different historic backgrounds. Sometimes it colors (no pun intended) how they interact with others.

It behooves us to understand each other as a means of eliminating, to the extent possible, tensions between groups.

PS-glad to see you took time away from your other duties.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 01:50 AM

Not only that, Sawz, many people take great pride in how their ethnic group met challenges.

Plus 'racial' does not necessarily denote 'racist'. Big difference.

(By the way, you meant 'imply', not 'infer'. You/I imply something, I/you in turn infer its meaning...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 07:43 AM

Look, John, it's simple.   The vast majority of Mudcatters are educated and articulate people. That means we can express the same thing in many different ways. You can choose to be incendiary or not.   You do not, for instance, cite Hitler in a discussion of how popular Obama is--unless you are trying to be an agent provocateur---which in fact a lot of Mudcatters enjoy being. We realize the power of words--and we enjoy it.

Similarly, Mr. Holder is a very educated and articulate individual.   Had he said: "Many Americans still refuse to grapple with the issue of racism" nobody in the media would have taken notice of the speech at all--that is a totally unobjectionable way to phrase what he did say.

But the word "coward" is a loaded term. I'm surprised that as an educated person you did not see this.

Not that his reaction should be considered the litmus test of anything, but look at the reaction of our own delightful poster, Mr. Riginslinger.   He doesn't seem very pleased at Mr. Holder's choice of terms.

Consider the months-long huge storm then-Senator Obama caused when several of his words were picked up and used----out of context--especially by Hillary.   I suspect Obama wishes he had not said that some people are "bitter" and "turn to guns and religion" as a result. I suspect that if Senator McCain had not so thoroughly botched his reaction to the financial crisis, while Senator Obama was the picture of calm and good sense-- , McCain would have won the election.   And I suspect that many people are still bitter at Obama's use of "bitter".   So why antagonize them further?

Mr. Holder should have learned from his leader's experience.   In both cases the speaker was talking before a very friendly audience--and may have felt he could let his guard down. Wrong.   (The irony of Obama's experience in San Francisco is that it was a friendly blogger, on Huffington Post, who first publicized his remarks.)

Your own reaction to my comments reminds me very much of Teribus lashing himself to the mast and going down with his ship, rather than choosing a more seaworthy vessel in the first place.

Anybody who recognizes the power of words would see that "cowards" is just the wrong word for Mr. Holder to use in this context--unless he actually wanted to create a firestorm.   And as a politician, he should realize that carrying out President Obama's agenda should be the top goal of anybody on his team. So a needless distraction from that path should be avoided--as should risking alienating somebody needlessly--which calling them a "coward" may well do.

Mr. Holder is just lucky that there is a real firestorm going on now--the continuing plunge of the world economy. His words have sunk like a stone most places---except where people enjoy debating--like Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 08:01 AM

As a politician--and as a strong supporter and friend of President Obama--Mr. Holder should realize that carrying out Obama's agenda should be his #1 goal.   This controversy emphatically does not serve that goal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 09:42 AM

"Plus 'racial' does not necessarily denote 'racist'. "

To say race is not racist. To say black man or white man is racial.

Every time someone says black man or white man it pokes a stick in someone else's eye.

There is no reason to say it unless you want to infer superiority or inferiority.

That is what causes the problem. That is what perpetuates the problem.

If you don't agree with him that you are a racist, that makes you a coward.

All the cowards here raise your hand and if you don't raise your hand, it proves you are a coward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 10:05 AM

You're right Ron, had Holder looked down at hos shuffling shoes, and twiddled his thumbs as he euphemistically chastised us, nobody would ever have heard what he said, let alone pay any attention to it.

I think most of the comments posted in gainsaying his comments prove the validity of his statement. We know that America is improving in the public sphere. We pride ourselves on being open to these improvements. But we do not, for the most part, discuss it it with those others.

As I read all those posts Phil Ochs came to mind, "Love Me I'm a Liberal." Support the right causes, but don't let them affect us personally

KERBOOM!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: robomatic
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 11:53 AM

Now that I've had a chance to read the article and listen to the speech, I can say that not everything is said as diplomatically as possible, and about time.

I have no problem with Holder, and in fact I'm pleased as punch that this kind of talk is opening up. About Damn Time!

So far this administration is going good places and keeping up the tradition of WHAT AMERICA IS ABOUT.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:11 PM

"To say race is not racist. To say black man or white man is racial.

"Every time someone says black man or white man it pokes a stick in someone else's eye.

"There is no reason to say it unless you want to infer superiority or inferiority." Sawz

Good grief. You really do not get it, do you. Your reality is far removed from mine. It "pokes a stick in someone's eye"? Why? In what way? You mean, until you mentioned it, they didn't know that they were Black? Until you told them, they didn't know they were White? There is nothing wroing with 'racial' (in the sense that we use race in any way but human.)

You still have 'infer' wrong, by the way. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: mg
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:22 PM

I do not see what the fuss is about. I do think someone, or a group fo people, need to lead discussions. I don't think it should be the attorney general though. Maybe someone akin to the surgeon general(where is he?)..the equivalent...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:24 PM

It seems to me that "black" or "white" simply describes somebody. I don't see how it infers superiority or inferiority in any way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 12:55 PM

Right, Rig. Racial does not equate with racist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 01:34 PM

I think it is rather presumptive of us to assume we are only talking about two groups of people, when there are many many other groups, mixed groups, subgroups, people raised as parts of other cultures when ethnically they might be different (Korean orphans, like my niece for example)..all sorts of things to consider. First generation vs. fourth...

What have people had to give up culturally, and even denying their heritage and their families, in order to survive and prosper in America. The Italians, Chezks?..oh should never have tried to spell that..

We probably need a whole team working onthis. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 01:55 PM

Guest,mg--while we are speaking primarily about black/white relations, owing to the long tortuous history between them, we are not speaking only of that. Here frome my post of last night (and I believe several others have made this point in one way or another):

"He thinks Americans are afraid to speak of race relations with neighbors of different races to understand what Blacks think about Whites or Hispanics or Asians, in a personal way, and so on among each group."

I don't think we need teams; we don't need sensitivity training, and we don't need focus groups. We just need to talk, and not take offense at what we hear, nor give offense unnecessarily. MO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:31 PM

I think that Holder's statement must be placed in context. Yes, white America has swept race as an issue under the carpet, generally. "I don't see color" is a racist statement in itself which has a veiled message that if it's black there must be something wrong with it.

I see all kinds of colors, nationalities, cultures and diversity and I embrace that.

Cowardice is another term for avoidance because it's unpleasant. In this context, I think Holder was correct.

Stringsinger


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: gnu
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:46 PM

I dunno if this has been said yet as I did not read the whole thread.

I read number 6's post where he said, in part, "I can't help but fully agree with Freeman. Once we stop seeing each other as black or white ... we don't have a problem."

I agree, if I can take it even one step further (if indeed, it was not sIx's intenetion in the first place... my apologies, sIx). If, indeed, we ALL stop, including stopping seeing OURSELVES as black or white or brown or yellow or polkadot.

If you are proud to be a white or a black or a polkadot, is that not, in itself, racist?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:49 PM

gnu, she says, patiently, No. That makes you racial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: gnu
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:59 PM

But, if you ID with a racial group, are you not.... oh, I knew I should have just kept working on my raft foundation design.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 04:00 PM

So what if you're color blind and you see Reverend Wright as green?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 04:47 PM

It isn't easy being green.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Peace
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 04:55 PM

'"It's Not Easy Bein' Green" (lyrics by Joe Rapposo)

It's not that easy bein' green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-
or something much more colorful like that.

It's not easy bein' green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water- or stars in the sky.

But green's the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why? Wonder,
I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!
And I think it's what I want to be.'


Ebbie's right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM

Does all this apply to other differecnes - such as, male and female, or Catholic and Protestant or fat and thin? How about banjo players and fiddlers? Drinkers and teetotallers? Drivers and non-dr8ivers?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 05:08 PM

My point is, some of the time those differences might be what you need to talk about, more especially when they are leading to disaggreableness, but pretty well all the time what you want to talk about is going to be things which aren't different about you, which are likely to be most things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 05:37 PM

That brings up an element, Kevin, that I hadn't thought about. Thanks.

If we are supposed to be colour blind, as some say, does it follow that we are not supposed to notice whether the one we are speaking with is male or female?

I submit that making generalities, especially derogatory ones, about the sex of the person is what would create the problem.

If I say, "You as a man of course will not understand what I mean when I say xxxxx", that is sexist.

When I say, "You, as a man, may have had a different experience from mine as a woman", that is not sexist but the recognition of sex.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: number 6
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 06:34 PM

When we see that we are not just male / female, black / white, muslim / jew, straight / gay and have the true inner courage to accept we all are just human beings ... then maybe .... well, we wouldn't have to have politicians telling us that we are racial cowards.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: pdq
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 06:43 PM

We seem to knee-deep in meaningless terms and phrases. Perhaps they are invented to make the sayer of said terms sound like they know what they are talking about when they really don't.

Basically, the term "racial coward" means nothing in the real world. You can use your own imagination to give it meaning, I suppose, but what is the point.

Another example is "wedge issue".


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 06:46 PM

"You still have 'infer' wrong, by the way. :)"

How? :)

Did anyone see the movie version of "I'm not Rappaport" when Walter Matthau looked Ossie Davis up and down with his reading glasses and said something like "My God, you are black".

It sort of illustrates what I am saying. He was not even aware that Ossie was black until he brought it up.

That was a hell of a funny movie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 09:11 PM

Sheesh. Sawz, a friend of mine loved novels and would, if she wasn't stopped, regale all and sundry with the intricacies of developments in said novel.

I have nothing in particular against fiction- I write it myself - although I prefer factual material. It is hard enough to get at the truth even when it is labelled documentary.

One day my friend insisted on telling me the story she had just finished. Blow by blow. With great enthusiasm she said, "And then, and then- after the a-hole he had shown himself to be you wouldn't think he would have done such a decent thing but he did, he did!

"Mickey, I said, Of course he did. It was fiction."

So you are still impressed that "He was not even aware that Ossie was black until he brought it up."?

Regarding 'infer', when someone is speaking obliquely of something he/she/you are 'implying' something. Anyone listening 'infers' the meaning of what he/she/you implied.

So when you say, "There is no reason to say it unless you want to infer superiority or inferiority", the chances are good that you mean that someone might 'imply' superiority or inferiority.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 09:57 PM

Now look, people. Nobody denies the importance of dealing with racism.

But those who mock the idea of Holder just saying that many Americans have not dealt with racism should consider the recent past: specifically Obama and the "bitter" remark--which as I said was a major issue for months, thanks to Hillary--and came close to derailing Obama. I'll bet you a nickel that President Obama, having learned from this, has now had a talk with Mr. Holder, pointing out that "nation of cowards" just isn't the way to win friends and influence people--and just now he has some more pressing business than trying to bring white America to the true path in matters of race.

The idea is fine, the incendiary language is not.

Further, it should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it that the best possible way for the Administration to improve race relations is for the Obama Administration to be extremely successful in grappling with the economic problems of the nation as well as dealing with a tricky international situation. This will give the lie to the fondly held canard that blacks somehow aren't up to one of the hardest jobs in the world, as well as further burnish the already excellent image and role model President Obama now presents. And be far more effective in changing minds than any jawing about race.

To that end, he realizes he will need the support of people all over the US--including in red states. The passing of his program will depend on the support of many who disagree with him on various issues.

Therefore he would be foolish to endorse the idea of alienating anybody needlessly. And that is exactly what the phrase "nation of cowards"--in any context--does.

I suspect strongly that outside Mudcat, the views of Sawsaw and Riginslinger are closer to the majority--especially in "red states".

It makes no difference if the overwhelming majority of Mudcatters think "nation of cowards" is just peachy.    Mudcat is just not an accurate reflection of the US population. And wishing, I'm sorry to say, will not in fact make it so.

President Obama has his eye on the prize: dealing with the economic and international situation. And soothing the ruffled feathers of those who don't like "nation of cowards" is a distraction from more pressing business. So the way to avoid that problem is just to avoid inflammatory speech--which I predict is now the word being sent to all Cabinet members.

It's just not productive, any more than many of the other pet Mudcat projects: removing "In God We Trust" from coinage, deleting "under God" from from the Pledge, deleting "so help me God" from the inaugural oath. These are all pointless trivia when it comes to dealing with national problems.

Certainly is fortunate that the Mudcatters pushing these and like projects are not in positions of any power in the Administration. And if they were, and tried to put these ideas into practice, they would be quickly shown the door.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 10:35 PM

My God you are correct.

Infer is what you get when someone implies something.

I hereby present you with the February 2009 Mudcat Golden Tweezer award.

I don't know if I was impressed, (are you sure you are using the word correctly?) But I thought it was funny and at least to me it reinforces my conclusion that if you quit mentioning someone's race or your race, every time a bug farts, the friction will eventually go away.

I am tired of hearing the terms being used incessantly and I do not believe they should be used at all. I do not see the need to use them at all.

Let's treat people equally by not describing them as black or white or yellow or red.

If it makes you happy I will restate what I said:

Every time someone says black man or white man it pokes a stick in someone else's eye.

There is no reason to say it unless you want to imply superiority or inferiority.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 09:21 AM

"President Obama has his eye on the prize:"


               Yes, he's been running for reelection since January twentieth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 10:31 AM

Gee, Rig, you wanted Holder to resign over his inflammatory language---which totally supports what I've said--that some people are not totally smitten with his choice of phrase.

So President Obama has been running for re-election since 20 Jan?   Exactly---and by doing what every other president who had designs on a second term has done--by doing the best job possible.

And he has gotten the largest money bill for quite a while--possibly the largest ever-- through Congress in the shortest time---easily eclipsing even FDR's 100 days--it hasn't even been 50 days.

Now on Tuesday, it looks like he'll be getting a bill through the Senate for DC statehood. And soon thereafter DC will have real representation--for the first time ever.

Of course much of this is due to the Democratic majorities--much of which is in turn due to the brilliance of the Republicans in tying themselves to a classic losing cause--trying to restrict immigration and refuse a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here.

Gee, I wonder where most of the stalwart restrictionists are now--looks like most of them have been defeated. And S.t Thomas (Tancredo) says he's going to step down.   There''ll be a place for a stellar intellect--like yourself?--to lead the cause.

But, you know, regarding the new administration, sometimes I think you don't support President Obama. By the way, have you gotten used to saying "President Obama" yet?   Inquiring minds want to know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 10:34 AM

"St. Thomas"


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 02:34 PM

The common platitude is that all races and cultures should be blanded together to create a harmonious whole. This is pure sophistry and denial that different cultures, people who look different from one another and have different sets of values exist.

There is a black community whether white people want to recognize it or not.

I don't pretend to know how Americans think about this issue. I can't imagine anyone else really knowing either.

Sometimes a provocative remark can wake people up on important issues.

There is a kind of phony liberalism that exists that says black people don't exist.

I think Mudcat is a pretty good reflection on how many people in America think.
Judging from the comments, a contentious discussion on issues such as race reflect
the changing attitudes of the people.

I celebrate differences in people. I appreciate that many injustices occur because some don't want to face them.

Black culture goes beyond just skin color which really is not essential to separate people genetically or phenotypically. Black culture in America stems from having to grapple with slavery and it's aftermath. Holder is right in that we still haven't come to terms with
this abomination even though many white Americans pat themselves on the back as being
liberal and unprejudiced. Yes, when it comes to facing important issues in America,
we are cowards.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 03:10 PM

"wedge issue" - sounds very uncomfortable, whatever it means.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 03:29 PM

"sometimes a provocative remark...."    So far, the track record is not good.   See, as I said, the "bitter" remark and the months-long controversy that resulted.

Most Americans, hearing as they will, just the sound-byte "nation of cowards"--you can bet they won't hear it in context-- will not be inclined to have a sober and enlightening discussion---on anything.   That's just human nature.

So to use that term is just setting yourself up for failure if you ever expect anything good to come of a discussion following it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Jayto
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 03:33 PM

In the American media I think race is a bigger issue than before Obama was elected. You can't turn on the news without hearing something about it. It is driving me crazy non-stop race race race. Obama is who I voted for because I thought he was the better man. I said MAN period no need to classify further. I don't think Americans are race cowards either. Race is something that sells for the media and if they would drop it I think it would fade away. I don't talk about race with my friends because it does not matter to me. The only time race pops in my mind is when I watch TV and they shove it down my throat. Just like terrorism, finances, extreme weather, you name it the media gets higher ratings and more money by creating fear and anger. So they jump on anything they can to get a rise out of people. They are the ultimate shit stirrers. Sometimes things are good to stir people up about and need to be addressed and exposed. Can there really be issues like this everyday 24 hours a day? Corruption by our political and corporate leaders is a way more drastic issue yet they devote little time to that. Poverty in America is horrific but you only hear about that when it has to do with some political agenda that is never as noble as they make it seem. Alot of Americans are too focused on trying to keep their jobs, feed their families, and keep their houses right now to spend to much time thinking about race. I am not saying race relations are perfect or anything like that. I know there are alot of people out there that have their problems regarding race. For me though it is not an issue at all. I think if the news outlets would stop fueling the fires it could improve even more. They always point out race and gender on any story they have that doesn't involve a white male. Bernie Madoff has anyone heard them refer to him as a White Male? Nope. Did they ever refer to Clinton as a White male president? Nope When they refer to Obama as our Black or African American President they are putting a label on him. He is a man. A truly intergrated society would not mention a color before the title. Obama is my president not my African American president he is my President. I respect the man because I am not surprised an African American can lead our country. I knew it all along because I have known there is no difference in people regardless of race ugh man I am getting very worked up so I better stop now and chill out. I just wish the media would let up on it. I am happy our country elected an African American President but I just wish they didn't even notice they did. I also wish the media would stop acting "Look what we did." that to me shows further that in their minds there is a difference. Ok time to calm down .
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 05:14 PM

You don't have too high an opinion of "most Americans" Ron. I'd call what you said there a much harsher criticism of your countrymen and women than was contained in that soundbite...


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 08:22 PM

Well, my two proudest days as a white guy living in a country afraid to talk about its past:

1. Tommy Smith and John Carlos and

2. Barck Obama

Yeah, two different situations but both very heartening...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 11:06 AM

One of the reasons one would need to be able to discuss race is because people are not all at the same point of growing about race issues. Much as we might like people to be governed by our own personal point of growth, they aren't. They're growing at THEIR own rate. Makes things messy. :~)

In one organization in which I am active, I can preach all I like, without using race words, about unity/tolerance/love (for example). (It's an org where "preach" is a good word, not an anti-folkie word, LOL.) But if people are carrying racist stuff which they do not realize they are carrying, they will think they are hearing me... but they will miss huge parts of the thing they are actually asking for some help to look at.

Right now the place a lot of the org's folks are stuck is that they need to wrap their minds around the different cultural values their exec operates by. To them it looks like he's abusing their time, and they whisper nervously (when they feel safe enough) about the "CP Thing." ("CPT" = "Colored People's Time.") I'm from Chicago. I know all about CP time, and what the positive cultural values are that look, from an outsider's view, like the abuse of time..... CPT is actually GOOD time, IMO! :~)


I can't teach them what I know, when they ask for help, if I do not have some facility in breezing past the "shocking" language to get to the thing that is actually on their minds. I can't help them distentangle the racism and classism that confuses them, to get back to the love, unity, tolerance thing-- back onto solid footing.

I need the words to toss them a line to pull them back out of the swampy stuff.

I need to keep my eye on the PRIZE and not get confused about the journey to GET there.

See? It's harder to do in text. We are, though, not only a people of eye contact but of words. If we stop the words, we miss the opportunities to use them when ears are open, minds are open, but eyes are confused.

===

And no, I do not think it is cowardice. I think it is an honest effort people make-- to be nice. To be kind, To avoid giving offense. Yes, in some settings this becomes a PC-Police thing-- the PC police also, really are just trying to make nice. They use awkward, bothersome methods, because they too are at their own point of growth, but if we all keep looking for demons, we are going to delay human progress toward Getting Along and Playing Nice. :~)


"Don't shoot the messenger." You can shoot me for having said any of the above, or for whatever you think I meant by it or however you think I was feeling about you (and you, and you, etc.), but ya know, I am only the messenger; I'm off to do some good work on this stuff today, in fact, so--

Love ya! Gotta go! :~)


Abrazos,

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 02:48 PM

Nobody argues that talking about race should be avoided. But "nation of cowards" is not the right invitation--in Appalachia, small-town Pennsylvania and a host of other places.

"...your countrymen..."

True, I don't think "my countrymen" would take kindly to that sort of description.

It would be interesting to know if anybody believes the British would like to be characterized as a "nation of cowards".   And it really makes no difference if Mudcatters would accept this designation.   Mudcatters are just not an accurate reflection of sentiment outside Mudcat--either in the US or UK.

There is also a rather obvious difference between provocative and negative. And anybody who does not believe "nation of cowards" is the latter is advised to consult a dictionary for the definition of "coward".

Face it, it was a false step by Holder.   President Obama has probably apprised him of this, and Holder probably now has learned from this-- and learned that from now on, as Attorney General, he will be living in a fishbowl.   Holder is also lucky there is so much else going on now that his quote is already nothing but a trivia question.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 03:06 PM

Also, anybody who thinks Mudcat is an accurate reflection of US sentiment--on any political issue--might want to stroll down Memory Lane on some of the old political threads. Seems to me, if Mudcat had ruled, the 2004 election would have been lopsided--against Bush. (How many pro-Bush posters can you cite on Mudcat in the runup to the 2004 election.) Not close to the way it turned out. And sorry, I don't buy the idea that Diebold machines would have made that much of a difference. The center of gravity at Mudcat just is left of center.

If you don't believe this, consider the hosannas given Senator Kucinich on Mudcat--and compare that to the actual votes he got.

Political threads on Mudcat are often worthwhile, and always entertaining.

But they can't claim to be a good mirror of US society.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 03:28 PM

"Every time someone says black man or white man it pokes a stick in someone else's eye.

"There is no reason to say it unless you want to imply superiority or inferiority."

I'm afraid I can't agree with that, Sawz. If for nothing else, there is the matter of simple identification. You're at a party or a meeting and someone asks you, "Which one is Charles?" Three men are standing in a group, all wearing business suits. "So you say, 'Charles is the black man." Thus distinguishing—not discriminating, or implying any kind of superiority or inferiority—Charles by the most obvious, and perhaps the only distinguishing characteristic of his appearance.

Someone says, "I'm looking for a woman named Joanne. Which one is she?" So you indicate a group of four women standing together talking and say, "Joanne is the one with the auburn hair." In no way are you implying that an auburn-haired woman is either superior or inferior.

It's when these distinctions still exist (as they always will), but they mean nothing of significance beyond themselves, that we can say we've moved a bit closer to being civilized.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 04:46 PM

Well, it would be nice if we collectively could be colorblind but there are still socio-economic problems that within our society that are a direct result of some 260 years of slavery and another hunderd years of Jim Crow...

That is the discussion that needs to take place because it still is negativelu impacting the black community...

And, as I have pointed out in the past, I believe that some kinds of "repair"ations are still in order... A good start would be to tell the truth about our past... We have sugar-caoted it with a century's worth of mythology v. history... We have collectively been too quick to sing the company fight song because it in an easy key and easy to learn...

At some point we need to address the high incareration rate of black males, the number of one parent black households, the high poverty rates among black families...

If we can't get the history correct then how can we expect to get the "repairs" right??? It is not possible...

But, my guess is that there majority will continue with the company fight song and just sing louder when ever someone tries to change the subject... In a nutshell, the country is in denial...

This isn't just about getting along... It's about leveling the playing field... It's about fairness... It's about justice...

And it ain't gonna change unless an effort is made...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 04:53 PM

Remind me of the time I watched a boxing match on TV--a white heavyweight against a black heavyweight. The announcer identified them by the color of their trunks....now that's PC


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 06:15 PM

And the black guy always wears white trunks so it won't look like the white guy is shadow boxing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: mg
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 06:50 PM

Bad news folks. We are going to have to talk about other taboo and/or painful subjects at the same time. Namely sex and reproduction, sexual abuse, grandchildren, other biological stuff that is too hot to handle in many cases. Violence, intimidation, exploitation, slavery, etc. Also we are going to have to talk about land. Like how did we get this whole continent? We are going to have to talk about religion, which condoned some really bad stuff and perpetrated some bad stuff, but also probably kept us from being worse. We will have to talk about epidemics...it is a miracle the Irish were allowed to set foot in America given their epidemiological condition..

There is a whole lot we are going to talk about that is very primal and almost needs referees and guidelines etc. One place to start is not to have dialogs but to have monologs, adn I think in the area of ancestry..this is the story of my ancestor Susan Edwards..pioneer, .. Richard Richards, coal miner, Salvio Morelli, truck gardner, Mishako Tomika, store keeper, Chung Fung Lee, laundry man... so that others can get this somehow. And it should be put in Ancestry.com or somewhere where everyone can see it by name, and by type of story... mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 06:57 PM

Huh???

Okay, why not start another thread for that, mg???

I mean, by the time we throw in eevryone's Susan Edwards and Richard Richards then the disussion become so overweighted with filibuster and bluster in general that we can no longer see the forest thru the trees...

I'm sorry but this won't do...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Jayto
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 07:11 PM

I am remembering why I very seldomly venture down to the b/s threads. It's always a bunch of bs lol jk. I had to come down here to them because today when I woke up I was full of shit and knew it. I am going back to the music threads now if I get in a bad mood or angered again I'll be back lol I am laughing at myself with this post.
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 02:25 AM

I was unaware of the AG's comment until I saw this thread this evening. By chance, I spent six hours on Friday at a session of what's called WRAP training. WRAP stands for "White Racial Awareness Process", put on by the Kaleidoscope Institute, a Los Angeles outfit headed by an Episcopal priest named Eric Law, and sponsored by the Euro Caucus of my American Baptist Region, Evergreen Association. I didn't know what to expect. I came away convinced that it was one of the best six-hour seminars I'd ever been to.

Our ABCUSA region is unique, I think, not only among ABCUSA regions, but probably among mainstream US religious denominational groupings, in that we have intentionally organized ourselves in "ethnic" caucuses: Euro, Black and Asian, and we operate by consensus, so that each of the caucuses has an equal voice in regional decision-making, and nothing is done that anyone can't live with. We explicitly abjure Robert's Rules of Order, under which the White plurality used to make all the decisions by up-or-down vote. When we were run that way, the black churches generally didn't even bother to send anybody to the meetings, and Asian participation was sporadic. Now we have participation pretty much proportional to the actual numbers of churches and members in the region. Though the spur that led to our founding was the ubiquitous issue of the ordination of homosexuals, our growth and healing is coming about largely because we intentionally refuse to refuse to talk about race.

Anyhow, I would encourage any of you who are Christians and have an opportunity to participate in this sort of seminar to jump at the chance.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 11:40 AM

Why Christians?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 12:31 PM

If I have a black friend, his race and my race usually have nothing to do with what brings us together as friends. I have had two very close black friends, one of whom, Jerry, was a motorcycle rider and he and I shared long rides together, we both dug the Blues, and we shared a unique and offbeat sense of humor. The other friend Art was a co-worker who also shared my kind of humor. We touched on race during our conversations, but only incidental to some other aspect of our stories. I remember Art straightening me out on some misconception I had about what "black people think", but mostly we just never felt the need to make our races a topic of conversation. Was that out of cowardice, or simply because our respective color had so little to do with our relationships? I believe it was the latter, and I personally think that is a healthy approach.


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Subject: Why Christians? Kaleidoscope...
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 12:36 PM

"Why Christians?" Because Kaleidoscope Institute is a Christian leadership training outfit. I am sure there are somewhat analogous seminars out there for the differently theologized, but I'm only in a position to recommend the one I went to, and while I think an ecumenically minded non-Christian would have found it very interesting to observe, I don't think it could have been fully participated in or fully benefitted from by someone who didn't share the basic Christian POV and terminological apparatus, God and Gospel, so to speak.

Our trainer, Lucky Lynch (whom I had imagined to be an Asian or possibly black man) is a white woman, raised Catholic (now I'm not sure, maybe Episcopalian), who worked for many years for the Los Angeles office of the NCCJ. FWIW. So she undoubtedly could have spoken effectively to a group of other or mixed faith, or to a group of other than white or mixed race, for that matter, but the specific language used in this training was aimed specifically at Christian whites. (And in this particular training, all except one of the trainees was American Baptist, the exception being Lutheran.)

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 01:23 PM

"Why Christians?"


             Exactly, we need people who are capable of making rational decisions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 01:47 PM

Well count me out ;-) I'm not just a Christian, I'm a Christian Esperantist!


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 01:53 PM

Rig, starting a useless fight on a subject other than what this thread is about is just a bit counterproductive. Also, your prejudice against Christians is patently uninformed, and is, in itself, not rational. Obviously, you know nothing about the broad range of Christian or other religious belief. Learn something before you spout off.

Now—back to our regular broadcast.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 02:02 PM

Okay! To start out with, I don't consider Christianity to be any better or any worse than any other superstition, but personally, I don't think the problem of racism will ever be solved until people deal with it in a rational manner.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 02:27 PM

A large percentage of the people I know (and I know I am not unique in this), whether they are regular church-goers or not, consider themselves to be Christians. In the case of the non-church-goers, this usually springs from the fact that their parents or grandparents are, or at least were, affiliated with a Christian church of one denomination or another. So that, at least by default, they consider themselves to be Christians. I also know a number of people who go to church regularly, some of whom serve on the church council—and I number four pastors as good friends:   people I can sit down and have a good, rational discussion with. Including discussions about religion itself. These conversations often get quite philosophical in character, not just religious. Lots of ethics:   how people should treat each other and how societies should work—without adhering to any one religious belief, or any religious belief at all.

And that includes racial issues. One of these pastors, by the way, is black.

Among the church-going but non-clergy that I know, there are news reporters, musicians, attorneys, health care professionals, university professors, and yes, scientists. And one state legislator.

Trying to claim that these people are not "rational" is not rational.

Don Firth

P. S. For one thing, Rig, you're lumping all Christians, perhaps all religions, into one catagory and claiming that non of them are rational. When it came to doing something positive about racism, how do you explain someone like Dr. Martin Luther King? He was a Christian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 02:33 PM

I suppose one needs to probe the depth of their addiction. As far as MLK, I guess nobody's perfect.

             But I'm not going to antagonize you folks on this any further. It's an important topic and I can see that I'm not helping.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 02:55 PM

One last comment and I'm off the subject.

The vast majority of the peoples of the world adhere to one religious belief or another. You consider it to be nothing more than superstition. Very well.

But if you are going to accomplish anything, you have to work with it or around it. Trying to confront it head on by dismissing people who believe this way as "irrational" only alienates the very people who can do something about what needs to be done. You may feel you've made your point, but you wind up with the very people who can do something turning their backs on you because they consider you to be irrational. Not very productive.

Don Firth

P. S. True, it should not have been brought up. This is the curse of the "knee-jerk atheist."


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 11:51 PM

Atheists need to work on their racial issues just as much as Christians do, but the terms in which they need to address the issues, in order to be rational, need to be different from the terms in which Christians need to address the issues, in order to be rational.

Again, just my opinion. I am not sure, if one hears the voice of God speaking to you out of a bush that is engulfed in flames but not being burnt up by them, how one can deal with that in a rational way that is not also superstitious. But if you haven't had that experience, I can easily see how you might think someone who had was off their rocker. In my case it was not a burning bush but an open, almost full half gallon bottle of Almadén Mountain Chablis, but it confronted me with the same dilemma vis-à-vis rationality that Moses, if he had actually existed and actually had that experience, would have faced, maybe even moreso by virtue of my epoch.

This is far afield from the issue of racism, and Americans as racial cowards, but the training I went to on Friday, Christian though it was, was spot-on on the topic.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 09:51 AM

"260 years of slavery and another hunderd years of Jim Crow"

Keep bringing it up and it will never go away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 11:06 AM

And if you don't bring it up it will never go away either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 12:24 PM

Having an interesting day here learning about how politics and diplomacy overlap and diverge. In diplomacy you need to be able to [help folks] talk about things no one wants to talk about, and find a way for them to want to talk about it, and find a way for the discussion to go well.

Not quite Mudcat process. :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 09:27 PM

"...if one hears the voice of God speaking to you out of a bush that is engulfed in flames... how one can deal with that in a rational way that is not also superstitious?"


                   That's a tough one. We'll have to put Pat Robertson on it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 10:32 PM

Yes, it is a tough one, and even tougher if (as one could say about my wine bottle) that voice ("of God", whatever that means; I didn't believe in God at the time) gives you the direction you need to stop being a total fuckup and start being somewhat functional. In my case, I had to admit that not being so rational any more was a lifesaver. That was in 1984, and the change in my life appears to have been permanent. I'm not saying you, Riginslinger, need to find God to be able to function; I'm not even saying you need to find God for any reason. But I needed to and did and am glad for it. I'm increasingly convinced it's not a one-size-fits-all universe, and when you insist I must fit your preconception it irritates me almost as much as it does when Pat Robertson makes the same mistake.

Haruo

PS To Susan, I think part of the message I got from the Kaleidoscope WRAP training was that not only do we need to have these discussions about things we don't want to talk about, but that we need to start by examining ourselves, looking at how race and racism affect us (which, especially if we're white in many US contexts, includes looking at the hidden privileges our whiteness accords us, and initially this needs to be done with the supportive participation of fellow whites). Very interesting stuff. They had a list (not exhaustive) of about 20 possible benefits my whiteness my accord me that might not be available to me if I were non-white but otherwise in my own situation. I had to admit that some of them were definitely true, and about 3/4 of them might be true or were true at least some of the time. I had not, prior to this training, had any idea how much of this sort of invisible privilege I might be receiving.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: fumblefingers
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 12:13 AM

I don't need a government official telling me who I should be talking to or about what. Holder is supposed to be Attorney General and the guy who lines up criminals for the president to pardon when he leaves office. Private discourse between private citizens is none of his business.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 12:38 AM

If he were trying to curtail private discourse I would agree wholeheartedly, fumblefingers, but if he was (as I think he was) simply making an observation about the way the country looks to him, then he's got as much right to his opinion as you or I. Maybe if we all started talking openly about this stuff, a dent might be made in the rate of incarceration of black young men and other rather embarrassing facts about the self-imagined melting pot's reality.

Incidentally there's an interesting opinion piece at Associated Baptist Press entitled Was Jesus a racist?. Again, I commend it particularly to the Christian reader.

Haruo (Leland at ABP)


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 07:23 PM

Good article. Most interesting!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 08:07 PM

I have refrained from posting to this thread for 5 days, having said all I had to say about it. I have, however, read most of the new posts each day. I am amazed, and even bemused, by the defensiveness caused by Holder's comments in most of the responses. I really had thought that there would be substantial agreement with him on the 'Cat. Wrong!


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: mg
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 10:12 PM

I agree wtih him and I wish that he would lead the discussion, if he were not the attorney general. A. He will probably be too busy. B. He is supposed to be totally impartial. C...maybe it should be done by a team of people. But I think once we feel it is safe to come in out of the woods people will talk. This is worth at least a subcabinet post, or a Very Important Position Name. Who would be good? A few people...of course you need intra as well as interracial-cultural. People of mixed race included of course.

Definitely include Arabic and/or Muslem people. They couldn't even claim minority status for the longest time..maybe they can now. Include Mormons. All the time people were asking are we ready for a Black president (of course we were) we were proving by many many derogatory statements we probably were not ready for a Mormon one. Eskimo/Inuet (oh we could have had one as vice-husband). Back to Mormons...if we all had done the things they do to stock up etc., we would probably be in better shape, although more overpopulated. Include European groups who were very mistreated and looked down on..Greeks, Serbs, etc. And someone just start collecting the stories...Smithsonian?   mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 10:31 PM

Talking about race is fine, John.

However, for the n'th time, you may want to consider that alienating your discussion partners by calling them "nation of cowards" may not be the best way to start your conversation.

President Obama understands this. I'll bet a nickel Mr. Holder now knows it too.

It's amazing that there are still some Mudcatters who haven't learned this elementary lesson.

And there's a middle ground between a Stepinfetchit approach and "nation of cowards"--it's called a civil conversation.

Fortunately President Obama is serious about being post-partisan and trying to include people with various viewpoints in making policy.

And that's not, as some Mudcatters seem to believe, selling out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: fumblefingers
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 12:37 AM

Haruo,
Holder isn't being quite honest. He isn't talking about race in general. He isn't talking about Asians or Arabs. He's talking about sub-Saharan Africans and non-Latino Caucasians. He made his remarks to a room full of blacks celebrating "Black History Month." He said, "On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated." The old adage "Birds of a feather flock together" goes back, in English, to the 16th century. There's plenty of truth in it. The fact that there's no "white history month" or "white caucus" in congress or "white Chambers of Commerce" nor will there ever be, convinces me that a colorblind society is a long way off.

I've been married to an Asian for 38 years. I'm not afraid of talking about race to my wife, provided I leave her relatives out of the conversation. I'm quite comfortable among Asians.

To suggest I should strike up a conversation about race with a black or a black should initiate a conversation with a white person isn't an idea that will ever go anywhere. Either the two parties would stutter and stammer around the subject or it would end up in a slanging match.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 03:58 AM

Our American Baptist Region, though, fumblefingers, is in fact organized with three caucuses, Black, Euro and Asian, and Regional decision-making is by consensus, requiring the agreement of all three caucuses. As a result we now have proportional participation by all three, whereas in the olden days when we were "colorblind" and used Robert's Rules of Order to decided things, the Black churches were notable mostly for their nonparticipation, and Asian participation was spotty. And guess who "colorblindly" ran the show? And we are getting to where we actually can talk about race, both within and between our caucuses. And act and interact together regardless. Treating "us Euros" as a minority group, if that's what you want to call it, seems to be working well. We are no longer any where near as "voluntarily socially segregated" as we were even five years ago.

I'm not sure I would characterize the limitation of Holder's field of reference to dishonesty. In the specific context of Black History Month, it's an entirely understandable limitation.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 06:38 PM

Well, I think it very appropriate for Holder to bring up the subject of race... Crimes committed against blacks and/or blacks is a national problem... The high incarceration rates of black males is astounding when compared with white...

There are socio-econimic reasons for these fatcs and we collectively would all do better if we looked at our history, talked about the things we have done wrong (as well as right) and then tailor programs and policies that are aimed at correcting waht is obvously a problem that is a drain on our resources...

Yes, I have often spoke of "repair"ations but this doesn't have to be in the form of checks written to black folks... There are other tools in the "repair"ations box...

But until we accept history over mythology we won't collectively understand why we need to address this, yes, problem...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 07:13 PM

I think that the issue is brought into focus when "racial cowardice" is mentioned.
It's confrontational but that is sometimes the only way to bring a need conversation into focus. I see it as a fact stated. Many Americans have avoided race relations for years despite
King, Malcolm, Stokely, et. al. I have no problem with the name.

Why should we "make nice" on this issue after years of bloody slavery and prejudice?

I think there are some guilty consciences at work here. Lets really talk about it. That was Holder's motivation.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 11:50 PM

If somebody thinks there is a need to be confrontational in talking about race, I'd hate to attend any meeting that poster sponsored-- on anything--and it's obvious President Obama would feel the same.

The us vs them attitude endorsed by the poster--which has resulted in nothing but a bitter stalemate--- in so many issues--is exactly what President Obama is trying to get beyond.

The poster is obviously more interested in living in his ideologically pure temple than in getting anything accomplished.

Folkies have a reputation for being fuzzy thinkers--and perhaps sometimes it's justified.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 01:55 AM

I'm not sure which "the poster" you're referring to, Ron. Holder was not a poster, not here anyhow, and neither he nor anybody I've seen posting here that I can think of has endorsed an "us vs them" attitude. I can see how what I have described about the workings of my church's regional group could be misinterpreted as an "ideologically pure temple", so maybe I am "the poster". I don't think anything I'm associated with would ever really merit the description "ideologically pure" ;-) though. And we certainly don't have an us vs. them attitude. Ebbie and Stringsinger were the ones who brought in the term "confrontational", but I don't see how either of them would fit the rest of your comment about "the poster". Technically in this thread I suppose John on the Sunset Coast would be the default meaning of "the poster", but I'm not clear how anything he said would have elicited either of your criticisms. Could you clarify "the poster"?

And Bobert, thanks for the word "reparations". The last few times I've run into this issue (including at the WRAP training) people used the term "retribution" rather than "reparations", and clearly the latter is less punitive in connotation.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 07:51 AM

" It's confrontational but sometimes that is the only way..."   That is a classic endorsement of an us vs them attitude.

Which, as I said, is exactly what President Obama is trying to get away from. As anybody who listens to him even a little can hear.

Does anybody believe the president was happy when Holder said "nation of cowards"--especially considering the months-long flap Obama endured because of his "bitter" comment?.

Obama has learned from that.   It's time for Mudcatters to do the same.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 11:00 AM

Your point (as I perceive it, anyway) could be paraphrased as "it's better to be non-confrontational than to be honest". "Confrontational" does not need to be taken the way you took it. One can be confrontational with a "wake up!" call, without any sort of "us vs them" issue being involved. And confrontational could be simply a poor choice of words rather than a description of a poor choice of intentions. Like saying "retribution" instead of "reparations". The meaning is the same. The connotation is quite different. At least I think I'm clear now that "the poster" was Frank "Stringsinger". Thanks for that.

One other thing, to the extent that I understand Holder's attribution of "cowardice", it would apply as much to Americans "of color" as to us "colorless" folk. What he was saying, as I understand it, and I think this is something Obama would actually agree with in principle if not in wording, was "stop being afraid to talk honestly and openly about race."

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 11:12 AM

Ron Davies' mantras are "it's confrontational" and the President is trying to get away from this.

As to the first...it is a statement meant to get everyone's attention. It did. And that's good because were talking about it.
If Holder had said, "Y'know, it would be a sweet gesture if each of us discussed how we feel about race relations, and sat around a camp fire and hugged each other and sing Kumbaya" No body would have tqken him seriously.

I hope Ron is wrong about the President's reaction. I haven't heard any comments in disagreement with his AG. If silence is acceptance of the remarks, then this would be the first thing I agree with the President on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 11:37 AM

Here is Holder's Actual Speech, courtesy of the DOJ. It is worth reading, and, if not for the "cowards" comment, probably would have gone unnoticed. For my part, I think his comments are valid and important.

As for you, John, I always had you figured as just another of those crusty, conservative curmudgeons. For that, I am sorry. You brought this up, and kept it alive--it shows where your heart is. Thank you for trying to keep us honest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 12:40 PM

Thanks, M. Ted. Not a bad speech on the subject, for a political bureaucrat. I agree that the phrase "nation of cowards" is probably the only thing that got it any press play let alone a thread on Mudcat. fumblefingers said it was addressed to a "roomful of blacks", but as far as I can tell it was addressed to a roomful of Justice Dept. employees, and it was right on target to them.

Obama might regret the spin conservative talking heads have given it in Appalachia or small-town Pennsylvania, but I think overall it is probably a good thing and I'm sure Obama would agree with that assessment of the speech, if not the turn of phrase.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 12:52 PM

It's not true, as many privileged folks assume, that African Americans necessarily want to talk about race. Most of my AA friends through the years have just wanted to know that their white friends, bosses, colleagues, etc., are talking about it. They report being very tired of having to educate "us" before they can open up to "us" enough to be real friends, colleagues, etc. They have wanted, like so many other members of oppressed groups, for "us" to do our homework and not use what they wopuld prefer as friedn time to become teaching time. "Are you in this because you like ME-- the individual, unique me-- or because you see Black skin on a face friendly enough to ask your hard questions?"

I recently sought out a uni Phd for scholarly papers to help with a particular issue in which I am working; she had written extensively on what Black leaders face when they head mostly-white organizatons. This correspondence has been leading to a lovely, collegial internet friendship. We have not asked one another what our respective races are, which I think is part of the delight.

She recommended that I be able to define what I mean when I refer to racism in the settings in which I have long been part of the solution/change, because so many people assume that it mainly means violence or intentional economic discrimination; the deep damage racism has done to all sectors of US society is much broader than that. It often operates at a level where it's not easily accessed by the very people who have been conditioned in race-pattered ways.

Racism hides from us when we try to look inside. It was designed to work that way, and it doesn't mean that we don't care to change, or don't want to look inside. It doesn't mean that we lack the capacity to know ourselves. But it does mean that oppression is so nasty that it tunnels in, deep.

What follows is my latest email to her, in response to that invitation.

I find definitions stop conversation sometimes, especially when I'm looking to get deep into the heart of a person or an issue. Early this morning, Zora Neale Hurston nailed this one for me, as I listened to the audiobook of her short stories, Mules and Men. This passage provides material for what I think is the better way to take white folks along on a scary ride. I needed to transcribe this passage anyway, so here it is.

===

Hurston, regarding the difficulty of collecting folklore and her assignment to collect it, in the mid-1930's, among the Black communities of Florida:

"... Folk Lore is not as easy to collect as it sounds. The best source is where there are the least outside influences, and these people-- being, usually, underprivileged-- are the shyest. They are most reluctant, at times, to reveal that which the soul... lives by.

"And the Negro, in spite of his open-faced laughter, his seeming acquiescence, is particularly evasive. You see, we are a polite people, and do not say to our questioner, '[aw,] Get outta here!' We smile, and tell him or her something that satisfies the white person because-- knowing so little about us-- he doesn't know what he is missing.

The Indian resists curiosity by a stony silence. The Negro offers a feather-bed resistance. That is, we let the probe enter, but it never comes out. It gets smothered under a lot of laughter and pleasantries.

The theory behind our tactics: The white man is always trying to know into somebody else's business. 'All right! I'll set something outside the door of my mind for him to play with and handle. He can read my writing, but he sho' can't read my mind.

I'll put this play-toy in his hands, and he will seize it, and go away. Then I'll say my say, and sing my song.' "

===

I'm waiting to get the print copy to finalize punctuation, dialect, etc.

How to use it-- oh, zillions of ways, but letting white folk interact with this and explore how things may seem in present time, how this may feel to hear, examples they may wish to share, learnings they may be able to pass along to others just beginning the journey.... hopefully a process that lessens their "need" to learn from Black folk and their ability to actually LEARN and grow-- something I have often heard from African Americans as a deep desire for closeness without having to train someone they'd prefer to be a partner and/or friend with. And of course I'll have stories to share there, as a peer facilitator of that conversation, that step in the journey.

My feeling-- Zora Neale Hurston SAID it, we do not need to ASK people too much more than that! Thank you, Zora!



Wikipedia has quite a good section on Zora Neale Hurston and links to other good resources, some audio and some as HS lesson plans that older learners also can use.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 12:57 PM

Thanks, Susan. And Zora.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 07:10 PM

"I always had you figured as just another of those crusty, conservative curmudgeons. For that, I am sorry."--M.Ted

Don't be sorry; I'm all those things, and proudly so. What I am not is someone who posts just to stir the pot. I believe in sound conservative principles, even if noted conservatives screw them up from time to time.

I had dinner with an elderly cousin, a couple of weeks ago. His first wife was several times a delegate to Dem. conventions, and the only reason he wasn't, he was working. He asked me if I were still [after the Bush years] still a Republican. I assured him I was...I wouldn't disown my party, even as I wouldn't disown a wayward child. I got a smile out of him.

I didn't start this thread to chastise anybody...I started it because I thought it important to be discussed, if for no other reason than for my own background...meager as it might be...in promoting good race relations. I think that a very conservative position, although I am very leery of special programs which are not specific to need.

JotSC


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 10:28 PM

"Americans, Racial Cowards?"

   Until they begin to deal with the problems related to affirmative action and minority set-aside contracts, they probably are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 10:43 PM

I'd like to share some admittedly somewhat random thoughts on this subject:

..."to the extent that I understand Holder's attribution of "cowardice", it would apply as much to Americans "of color" as to us "colorless" folk."
-Haruo

I agree that Holder's remarks were and should be for all Americans, regardless of our race or ethnicity.

I think that many people are reluctant to bring up the subject of race, even in situations where it would be helpful to do so * because those people (regardless of race/ethnicity) have been taught that it is socially inappropriate to mention another person's race, and those people )regardless of race/ethnicity) are afraid of being labeled as a racist for merely bringing up the topic of race. Being labeled a racist often results in negative societal and negative professional consequences...


Because people (regardless of race/ethnicity) don't want to face possible misunderstandings and negative consequences, they often publicly pretend that race doesn't matter. Yet all the while institutional racism continues and misunderstandings continue and personal prejudices continue...and information isn't share when it would be at the very least interesting...So many missed opportunities.So little time we have together socially.

*for instance, if a person in an intergrated setting plans to meet a stranger for the first time and describes what she or he will be wearing but doesn't mention her or his race (but then again, it's likely that somebody has mentioned it beforehand).

**
When I wrote that many people are reluctant to bring up the topic of race, I should hasten to say that obviously, some Mudcatters are not "most people". The subject of race comes up a lot on this discussion forum.

**

As I have said before, it is a shame that there are so few people of color who post on Mudcat. Perhaps I should amend that sentence to "so few people of color who publicly acknowledge their race and/or ethnicity [with "ethnicity" here meaning "Latino/Latina"].
If there were more Mudcatters who are people of color [insert the "publicly acknowledge" phrase] than we {meaning Mudcat members and guests) could (but not necessarily would)M have a fuller, less one sided discussion about these topics. I would love that.

****

While I appreciate Zora Neal Hurston's life work, it is my opinion {since I can only speak for myself just as everyone else does on Mudcat), that her comments are very dated. I have many problems with what Ms Hurston said in that quote, and how she said it. I'm sure that Zora Neil Hurston knew the folks in that town, and perhaps they as a population were shy. But given her description of her interactions with them in her book Mules To Men, I wouldn't call the people she wrote about "shy".

I think my main problem with that quote is the use of singular references to refer to a multiplicity of people-"The Negro"; "The White man". I really dislike those kinds of references because they appear to me to presuppose that there is only one way that diverse people live and move and have our (and your) being...And obviously just as all Black people don't look alike, all Black people don't think and act and react alike. And the same is true of non-Black people, whether they be White, or Asian, or Native American, etc etc etc.

And this sentence "And the Negro, in spite of his open-faced laughter, his seeming acquiescence, is particularly evasive. You see, we are a polite people, and do not say to our questioner, '[aw,] Get outta here!' We smile, and tell him or her something that satisfies the white person because-- knowing so little about us-- he doesn't know what he is missing"...

Don't you think that sentiment is dated? I definitely think so. I also think it's stereotypical, and reflects badly on Black people and on White people or would reflect badly on us and on you if that description were universally true (since any description would be true for some percentages of any population.

**

One of the things that I like about Mudcat is that I can "meet", get to know, and learn about people in different cultures both within and outside of the USA.

Do I think that Mudcat is always easy for a person of color-No.

{I was going to write "for a lone" person of color but edited myself, and then decided what the heck, I certainly do feel alone here sometimes just as other people probably do depending on the topic/s being discussed).

But nobody said growth was always easy. When the going gets too rough for me, I disappear and then I come back or at least that has been my pattern. But other Black people might have no problem whatsoever with this forum, if they really gave it a try. I recognize it's my nature to burn up energy and then disappear to replenish my energy...I certainly can't blame that on Mudcat.

Does any of this have anything to do with the subject of this thread? I think so.

**

Thanks, John for starting and continuing this conversation. I think it's needed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 11:19 PM

My apology for mis-identifying the title of Zora Neal Hurston's book. The title is Mules And Men and not Mules To Men.

I admit that there is something about that mistake that makes me chuckle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 11:40 PM

Azizi,

NO, I do NOT think Hurston's statement is dated. I would not have posted it if I did not find it completely relevant to the situation so many white folks find themselves in, in their interracial relations.

I think Hurston describes very well how far too many interracial "friendships" actually ARE, of which the white folks in them are painfuly unaware and which I believe their Black "friends" would describe much as Hurston did.... It's exactly this that causes so many well-intentioned white folks to claim, fatuously, that "some of my best friends are Black."

I also do not think the AA people I know IRL are "dated" when they share similar perspectives... I wish we were further along than we are, but IMO we are not, in far too many settings and relationships.

I think it's very clear from the context what Hurston means when she describes people as shy. Her ability to elicit the folk tales she elicited happens not because she simply asks for stories, but because she has relationships in that town that allow her to be among them, close to them, when the stories flow and that the trust people have towards her creates a willingness to "outdo" one another in the tales.

Hurston's description, BTW, is even MORE apt when in addition to the "color line" there is also a "class line" that people are trying to cross. Put a white raised-middle-class person into contact with a raised-poor Black person and nine times out of ten I would bet big bucks you will still see, today, exactly what Hurston describes.

Make the two parties of similar class and yes, it may look differently....

But does that mean, no matter how good that progress may feel to the parties involved, that anything really has changed?

And from which end does that dynamic need to change? The white end.

And who has to do their homework to bring about that change? The white person.

And who is waiting for it, still? Look around.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 12:01 AM

Susan, I disagree with just about everything you wrote, with the exception of your descroption of how Hurston got folks in her hometown to share stories with her. But, in my opinion, that exception has very little to do with the topic of this thread.

I'll let my previous comment speak for itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: mg
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 01:25 AM

I got a memory triggered by someone mentioning Native Americans. I was about 5 when we drove to Texas to visit my mother's family. Somewhere we stopped at a park in the Southwest and I got my head stuck in the bars of a picnic table. Don't ask me how, but I was upside down and my parents had already left. So I was upside down dangling from this picnic table and really stuck and these two Native American men..and I swear in my memory they were wearing feathers and native dress...this would have been around 1953..because if they were wearing jeans and flannel shirts I wouldn't have probably screamed bloody murder. I don't know what I thought they were going to do to me. They actually unstuck me from the table, but I was terrified. And I don't know how I could have gotten any prior stereotypes of Native Americans anyway..my parents certainly never said they are going to harm you...we had no TV, very little social contact in general....an occasional library book but we were told we we were too bad to deserve library books..so how did I get that stereotype? A mystery. I knew they were Indians, although we had essentially none where I lived...and they terrified me..mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 01:40 AM

Susan and Azizi,

again I would say, thanks Susan (and Zora) for the quotation, which I think has much of truth and merit in it.

however, I would say that I agree wholeheartedly that the aspect of Ms. Hurston's phrasing that you, Azizi, took the most exception to, namely the stereotyping singular male generic wording "The Negro", "he", "his seeming acquiescence", etc., etc., both because of its treatment of a group as if they were all the same ("the Indian" and, put into "the Negro's" mouth, "the white man"—it's not only blacks that she singularizes this way) and because of its silent assumption of a default masculinity). This usage is pretty dated, and can be highly annoying, as you, Azizi, found it. It's also a feature of much of the work, spoken and written, of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and of so many other writers on the subject from Frederick Douglass to Malcolm X and beyond, that to allow it to get our goat enough to turn us away from passages written that way because of it is, I think, unhelpful, and will greatly reduce the body of writing we can draw on on the topic. (And of course it was a generally normal way to phrase things, not only by black writers but by whites and others.)

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 07:29 AM

Harou, I appreciate your point that the singular masculine referent was standard usage at the time that Zora Neal Hurston wrote her books and articles. Actually, I hadn't focused on Huston's use of the male pronoun. Thanks for pointing that out.

I agree with you that the singular referent for groups of people is dated. But what I take the most exception to in Zora Neal Hurston's quote is her use of what I believe to be negative and untrue stereotypical descriptors for the entire Black population. In my opinion, Hurston is saying that Black people routinely engage in
shuckin' & jivin' * when White people (presumably even in good faith) ask them any question.

And, according to Houston, White people will accept anything that Black people tell them, because "they know too little about "The Negro" to know that they're being "played".

I don't believe that those descriptors of Black people or of White people were true across the board in Houston's time and I believe that they are even less true now.

Furthermore,
in my opinion, neither the mindset & nature that Houston describes of "The Negro" nor the image of the clueless "white man" are useful when it comes to engaging in open & honesty communication between people of those two races, or any other races/ethnicity.


*See Professor X response to the question "What is shuckin and jivin'


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 08:15 AM

Well, sure... There are folks, both black and white, who don't want such a discussion to occur... Some think we are beyond having to have such discorse... Other because of shame... Others for fear of facing historical truths... I mean, there are many reasons that folks don't want to "go here"...

But there are different layers of "going here"...

My own opinion is that the starting point is replacing the mythologies that have been passed down in our schools... I mean, if we can't talk about slavery and Jim Crow in terms of what it was without the revisionist sugarcoating then we can't begin the converstaion... If we can't speak of the amount of wealth and infastructure that we all enjoy that was created on the backs of black people then we're not ready to have the discussion...

This is the starting point... Okay, it may be old stuff to lots of people who have taken the time to cut thru the mythology but to way to many folks the retelling of our history isn't a "refresher course"...

Yeah, lets un-clean up the story first... We will get no where until we accept reality...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 10:05 AM

Azizi, I agree that there are stereotypical descriptions of "the [racial type]" in Hurston's piece that are certainly not useful or truthful now, but I am not sure they were as useless or false then. I am pretty sure I'm not competent to judge the issue, and it strikes me that Ms. Hurston and her professors or editors may have been engaging in the very behavior pattern she was describing, making it sort of a meta-stereotype. I've never lived in the South, and by the time I was old enough to think about it the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, so it's all chronologically in a period where history is vague for me and mythology tends to fill in for it.

Haruo


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Subject: Abrazos, Many Voices
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 10:10 AM

Zora Neale Hurston was and remains a respected folklorist. This morning, all I can see is a folk lore collector being called "dated" by another folk lore collector.

At a website devoted to preservation of folk matters, that is just hilarious to me.


But trying to get past that, I would point out that Hurston did not mean at all, IMO, that ALL people whose ethnic group she referenced necessarily would fit her description. Or that the divide she describes so eloquently was or would remain un-crossable, permanent, intractable to change. She's using archetypal speech to say something about the process of collecting folk lore. She's also describing a timeless chasm which will have to be faced squarely by anyone trying to get their feet on the bridge. She most surely is not saying it isn't crossable. (She's putting a plank in the bridge.)

When she says that her informants are shy about providing folk tales, she describes a common problem ALL folk collectors have faced and will face-- people who hold the "old tales" often do not realize how precious are the contents of their memories, and are shy about handing them out. It happens in music collection just as much. Here at the Cat we're happy to type them up from the distance the internet provides, but at any Mudcat Gathering you will see, in addition to thinking a remembered tune isn't worth much intrinsically, that some of the people present are shy about singing AT ALL in front of others. The Hurston passage I quoted wryly comments on what was ALSO going on in her time-- white collectors were going around, funded, touring the "folk lore" territory.... (That's clear from the rest of the preface not quoted here.)

Other collectors, too, have found ways of putting their contributors at ease enough to record or transcribe music, stories, etc. Then the opposite problem to shyness comes into play-- competition between contributors, deliberate shading of the shared material by an informant.... giving a "newly" made-up item as an old one....


Hurston shows us how she avoids all these collecting issues, and presents a powerful set of stories rich in meaning. Do we shun the stories and the power because, in her time, people whose stories she collected repeatedly used the n-word to describe themselves????????? Or do we draw them inside ourselves to let the intrinsic truths do the work in us that they were designed to do? Wait-- let me just go edit the Holy Bible the way I mnight like it to read! :~)

Any "received" material-- It is what it is. One takes the best and leaves the rest. We can't travel back in time and say, "Oh Zora, shut up about all that old stuff."   

BTW we also can't edit Soledad O'Brien's many-stranded program, "Black in America," which referenced so many times in its recent airing, "The Black Man." That was not HER term in the program, it was her interviewees' term. It's archetypal language used to showcase the commonalitites created BY RACISM.

If someone uses archetypal language in a preaching tone, does that mean we are ALL supposed to use it in conversation? No. It means the preacher isn't going to expend the listeners' time by spending an hour in addition to the sermon, saying the complicated sociology to which s/he is referring.

And (hilarious again) I am NOT aiming to go chide my (AA) Bishop for delivering the powerful and cogently brief statement I heard, to a mostly-white group of evaluators; they had been discussing a delicate situation but skating uncomfortably around the racist elements affecting a "black man." He spoke briefly and archetypally about him as a Black Man to point their view toward that side of the issues... it was a "teaching moment." Trust me, I did not jump up in his face and say, "Oh wait, Boss, no no no! I am SURE Miz Azizi would not like to be hearing all THAT!" :~) No. I did not do that. I, instead, took an opportunity very soon after to invite more AA folk to sit at that table and say their say (to borrow Hurston's phrase). I missed their voices and I'd rather hear theirs than describe theirs at that table (or this one).

===

Ultimately, Zora Neale Hurston is just one voice in the dialog. Others' voices also are important: our voices here are important, though I doubt any of US will ever gain the loving admiration Zora Neale Hurston attained....


This year's Black History month (no of course it's not material that should be "month"-long), coinciding with Obama's ascension to the White House, has presented many, many voices. Holder's is one. The whole month's array of voices has been pretty amazing. And, in some places, pretty uncomfortable.

Is change ever comfortable?!?!?

When it's messy, at what point does one flinch? THAT's the moment to look at, exactly. THAT is where the change, for each of us, sits. In the spot where we lack the muscle to step over the stumbling block. Right there-- not where the step is easy on any particular day.


Thank you, Zora. Thank you Glenda, thank you Donnell, thank you Nathan, thank you Kim, thank you Jaslin, thank you Miresi, thank you Jerrie, thank you APPLE members, thank you Njoki, thank you.... the list is long. It's heterophony.

But thank you, also, to every person of color who took whatever opportunity, no matter how flawed, to move forward-- no matter how much stereotype they had to play to seize that opportunity. For getting their head up out of the foxhole, for risking being accused of selling out.


And thank you, Azizi.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 10:37 AM

More random thoughts:

Earlier in this thread, Susan made this point which I agree with wholeheartedly:

"One of the reasons one would need to be able to discuss race is because people are not all at the same point of growing about race issues. Much as we might like people to be governed by our own personal point of growth, they aren't. They're growing at THEIR own rate. Makes things messy. :~) "
-WYSIWYG; 22 Feb 09 - 11:06 AM

-snip-

One of the ways that might be helpful to raise the issue of race in integrated or same race/ethnicity groups which are convened for that purpose is to ask people to talk about when & how they first became aware of race-not just Black or White but any race different than one's own, or one's own race being different than some other peoples. mg's 28 Feb 09 - 01:25 AM remembrance about Native Americans is one such memory.

Another topic that might elicit discussion is to ask people to consider when they were aware that race hurts (or racial names can hurt, or being a different race can be hurt full etc etc).

Still another way to elicit discussion about this difficult subject is to talk about the feelings of love & hate that some people in certain races have for other races and for their own race. For example, speaking in generalities which are admittedly problematic, I think that African Americans and perhaps Caribbean Americans' historical preference lighter skinned people is a sign of racial hatred. While it's true that Eurocentric standards of beauty is the source of that skin color preference, but that doesn't negate the fact that we (Black people) need to own up to and root out such in-racial prejudices. European standards of beauty are also the source of a very deep rooted (if you'll pardon the pun) example of Black self-hate. I'm talking about the concept of "good hair" and "bad hair". "Good hair" was-and still is for all too many African Americans-defined as hair that is the same or similar texture as many White people. "Bad hair" is hair that is tightly curled and frizzy like many-but not all-people of African descent. The "afro" hair style in the mid 1960s was the first crack in the high wall that African Americans had built to hide our unhealthy, negative attitudes about our hair. But (to use that same pun again), the roots of that self-hatred are deep and very tangled.

An example of Black self-promotion and at the same time Black put down of White people (since the words "love" and "hate" may be too emotionally loaded) is the familiar saying that "White boys can't jump" (referring to the sport of basketball), or the generally held (among Black people and among White people) opinion that Black people naturally have more rhythm than White people and therefore White people can't dance (as well as Black people).

I admit that I still believe that one. :o)

But you see what I'm getting at? Most of us still have work to do regarding this issue of race & color and what it means to us, and to our nation, and to the world. I think racism or prejudice (which I think of as a milder form of racism) is like a cancer. I think that most of us have to work real hard to rid be racism-free. And when we can pat ourselves on the back that we are racism-free, we have to be alert to the real possibility that we didn't get all of the deep rooted racism from our system.

Maybe that work is really never completely done. Once we face up to ourselves and our attitudes and feelings of self-promotion and our own group promotion and other race put downs, we need to remain vigilant that such attitudes that we thought we eradicated don't grow in us again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM

I wrote my latest post before I read the one that Susan wrote. As a result of that post I better understand the context under which Zora Neal Hurston wrote her comment that Susan quoted.

However, I stand by my specific concerns about that quote and my general concerns about using singular references such as "The Black Man", "The Black community" and "The White man". I also have concerns about using general referents such as "Black people" and "White people" without adding some qualifier such as "some" or "many" or "in my opinion" or "In my experience".

But that's me. As I was raised to say there are "different strokes for different folks". Or as I learned on Mudcat from Susan, another way of saying the same thing -YMMV (your mileage may vary).


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 10:57 AM

I'm going to take the liberty of reposting two comments from Hilda Fish, an indigenous Australian Mudcatter who hasn't posted on Mudcat at least as a member since January 2008. I think both these posts are very powerful. And I think that both of these posts could (I was going to say "should") be useful to elicit discussion about how race hurts. I think these two posts could be effectively used with same race (for instance with all Black groups or with all White groups) or with multiracial groups.

I'll add the first comment in this post and the second comment in my next (and probably my last post) to this thread.

Subject: RE: BS: Responses To Racism
From: hilda fish - PM
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:05 PM

Azizi I'm back too but just for a min. I've already posted you about my anger re racism at another time and I just need to say a little more on this. It hurts it hurts it hurts. Sometimes I just have to grab my throat to stop the sob. Ultimately that's what it's about whether its print, internet, face to face, whatever. It breaks the heart. I find that there is a point where I have to withdraw I am so enraged. It's no good ignoring stuff in the hope it will go away. It doesn't as history shows. Confronting and challenging it wherever it pokes up, like ripping out a bad weed before it kills the garden when it's too late, is my answer. And by the way black is what we have all become who are not 'white' - many Indigenous people are neither 'black' nor 'white' in looks but are black in psychology and the impact historically and in the day to day of racist comments, attitudes etc. ultimately kill the hope of our children from the instant they are born. It's a bit of a platitude to say to develop a thick skin - my people have done that in order to survive and still it hurts. The 'thick skin' response is also a form of denial of racism and how it impacts on many people in this worl. Its not just that we get a bit sulky you know. It puts most of us on the bread line, homeless, uneducated, unemployed, dispossessed in more ways than can be said, dying horrible deaths. It's not afternoon tea. Racism is racism - it is not anything else. Anti-racism is not feminism - it is not communism, it is not left thought. It is something I demand or my fellow human beings make a stand on in order that we are not so continually demeaned as a group. See, here I go again!!! It rips my heart out and it makes me wild! I can never ignore it and I am embarrassing and obnoxious often enough in my attempts to grab it's head and rip it off. I stutter and stammer for words but I will not let anyone get away with it if I can help it. Thick skins I think we have a plenty wouldn't you agree Azizi? It's the heart that is always human. It breaks and breaks. Racism!! If I could just grab hold of it, take it to the river and drown it I would be a happy person. As a famous Oz once said, I luv yoos all, but not some.xx

Responses To Racism


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 11:01 AM

Subject: RE: BS: Responses To Racism
From: hilda fish - PM
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 01:00 AM

I just can't see that there is a problem saying THAT IS OFFENSIVE - THAT IS RACIST - IT DEMEANS ME - IT DEMEANS YOU - IT DEMEANS WHAT IS HUMAN IN US ALL. IT IS NOT RIGHT. IT IS NOT SOMETHING I'M PREPARED TO LET GO BY UNCHALLENGED. IT IS CRUEL, DANGEROUS AND MURDEROUS AND IF I WAS IN YOUR FACE YOU'D CERTAINLY FEEL HOW I FEEL ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING. GET THIS INTO YOUR HEAD - RACISM IS AN INSULT. I AM CALLING YOU A RACIST. GO AWAY!!!!! To name it and attack it is a good start I think. A story - I was once at a pub with a friend. It was a social meeting between a big group of people of like mind. Various people were getting up to talk about things. It was all pretty progressive and 'good'. Then this guy got up and in response to an article in a newspaper stated that Aboriginal people were more aligned with animals than human - that white people were superior and it was time that Indigenous (Blak) people got the picture. And so on. Everyone listened politely while I started steaming. Oh dear I thought, waiting for my 'friends' to rip him to shreds one way or another. They didn't. There was a lot of polite discussion about how what he said was unacceptable. Un...f...acceptable! I was dying there by what he said and I was dying there because no-one (here you are Azizi) was watching my back. Here we go again I thought. I have to stand up and name this crap and condemn it because no-one else is gonna. They don't even see it. Or they believe in 'freedom of speech', 'politeness'. I thought for a minute and realised no-one was going to listen so I launched myself out of my chair and gave him a mighty smack in the mouth. Everyone grabbed me but I did get a good kick in.    I was hauled out of the pub and banned. Well. I was shaking and in a shocking way but I felt good - not belittled or victimised - but good. Now those who know me know that I am pretty mouthy sometimes but not violent. The worst I mostly do is getting into a swearing frenzy and walk away but truly, mostly I am polite, ladylike, blah blah blah. Some Koories in the front bar came out and sat with me. We sat together and then various people including my friends came out and condemned me at first for being 'violent'. We talked and basically I said they were gutless for not naming and challenging it - they said they had left that to me. Why me? They saw it too. Why always us to deal with this stuff? Everyone knows about the lynchings and the shootings and all the terrible stuff that is given permission through racist words and racist deeds. Sometimes I am beyond words as my people are sometimes so beyond words that all we can do is scream, go mad, and yes, smack someone in the mouth. The guy said he'd never speak like that again in front of me if that is the result. What did I care what the racist creep thought. He hadn't cared about me or my blood. All I can say is name it, challenge it, reject it in all its forms. Its not a polite discussion you know. Good phrase Azizi - "need to know and see is that somebody's got our back". I'd like to rely on that as one human being to another. Life has shown that I can't - yet. And yeah, come to Sydney Azizi and stay with me or Freda. You can see how Australia practises its racism!! There are many forms (just joking heh heh). Oh, the first time I heard "Strange Fruit" was in Melbourne at a folk club such a long time ago. Everyone thought it was a terrific song - I was the only Aboriginal there and I cried and cried and cried once I got what it was about. Everyone thought I was drunk!! How awful and sad is that song? What can I say? Rest in peace all my brothers and sisters on this planet who no longer walk the earth because someone did not like your skin. I honor your short lives and your suffering and will not forgive so easily and well not let racism have a healthy life wherever I meet it. Rest in peace. That's the bottom line isn't it?

Responses To Racism


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 11:23 AM

So, as I noted earlier, some Mudcatters think "nation of cowards" is just peachy. Surprise, surprise.

Perhaps you'll start to understand if I put this in another context.

Suppose I said:   "Mudcatters are fuzzy-thinking leftists, addicted to absurd conspiracy theories and determined to waste everybody's time and effort on meaningless and counterproductive crusades on trivia like removing references to God from our coinage and the Pledge of Allegiance."

"Now I'd like to talk to you on how you can learn to think logically and finally make some sense on political threads."

How many Mudcatters do you think I'd get to say: "Yes I certainly am what you say, and I'd like to learn to improve.   Please help me."

Yet this is exactly what Holder did with "nation of cowards".   He used a broad-brush attack, by no means valid for all Americans.   And by his incendiary phrase, he guaranteed a negative reaction from the people he would be referring to and trying to reach--who, believe it or not, are mostly not Mudcatters.

And yes, it is obvious that this sort of needlessly inflammatory language, and the us vs them attitude it promotes, are exactly what President Obama is trying to get away from. Since it means nothing productive is accomplished.   Just people yelling at each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 11:27 AM

Azizi, I agree with the strategies you mentioned and have used them often with good results. More information about them is available here: www.rc.org and there is a section there on one approach to healing the hurts of racism, United to End Racism.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 12:00 PM

Regarding the Hilda Fish posts, I say this: "It takes longer if you don't start." We don't need to know all-- understand all-- to start.


Por ejemplo: One day long ago, I had recently heard a speak-out [ethnic group panel speaks only, everyone else actually LISTENS] say pretty much what Hilda Fish said. I was getting onto a city bus in the normal course of a work day. A passenger getting on in front of me starting giving the AA male bus driver some crap. Thinly veiled, and quite nasty. My thought, "Oh SHIT! I gotta do something NOW, and I am not ready!" I shrugged and stepped up the steps strongly. I knocked into the speaking racist a little bit while the driver drew breath to "reply." That distraction gave ME the moment to "reply," myself, as I dropped my change into the fare box and grinned at the driver. He grinned back as the racists had to move back while I spoke, because the bus WAS moving.

My first time "replying," myself.

I wanted to know if I did it right-- needed the informational feedback, then, so I could LEARN. I said to the driver as I sat across from him in an empty front seat, "Is it OK I interrupted you?" "Yes, MAY'UM!" was the pithy, Chicago-toned reply. "Ah'm learnin,' I said back.


Adult education is based on TAKE AND DO, then reflect for the learnings. It takes longer if we don't start.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: mg
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 05:57 PM

I posted the words to a new song in the singing thread..a Swedish woman talks about the foreign ways of her Albanian?? boarding house roomers...she does not realize she is really as much a foreigner as they are...

And about stuff being passed on..I guess by the time I knew about prejudice etc. (and was taught to be prejudiced against Protestants, which was everyone who was not Catholic, including my mother's family..Buddhists, Jews, athiests, were all Protestants)...anyway..my father was definitely prejudiced against Swedes. I have never heard of anyone in my life being prejudiced against Swedes..it is just low low on the scale. Anyway, a neighbor had given his mother some alcoholic beverage on Christmas Eve and gotten her tipsy and ever since then he had it against Swedes..although he was a very nice man...that is one way prejudice grows..actual experience..that gets passed down..a bit of Christmas cheer gone awry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 06:31 PM

You do have a good point about Mudcatters, Ron;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 06:39 PM

I am a quarter Norwegian and was brought up in an extended family that also included (part-)Swedes. My maternal uncle (half-Norwegian) and his wife (half-Swedish) took over the job of raising me and my three siblings when my parents died (at which point I was 14). Their daughters were, of course, a quarter each Norwegian and Swedish. In our extended family it was a very old and loved joke (lame, but loved) to say "of course, a Swede* is yust a Norvegian* met his brains knocked out" (* or vice versa, of course). No one I ever knew took that old saying as any sort of slur or denigration of anyone's intelligence. I suppose three generations or more earlier, it might have been entirely different. When I hear blacks use the N word of other blacks, as what appears to be a neutral term or even a term of endearment, I'm reminded of my ancestors' reciprocal braininess. Incidentally, in online discussion situations I have indeed run into a couple of Swedish Americans who took strong offense to the "joke" I just recounted. Just left me shaking my head in wonderment, and unable to bring up any really sincere apology.

Of course, there was a time here in Seattle, long before my time, but after my Norwegian ancestors had arrived in the area, when it was not uncommon in Seattle to see signs that read "Help Wanted - No Norskies Need Apply". My guess is that those who posted such signs intended them to cover "Svenskies" too. The town (now neighborhood) of Ballard was founded largely because of the difficulty Norwegian and Swedish immigrants found in renting quarters in the city of Seattle. I've often wondered if Seattle's largest private hospital, "Swedish Hospital", was so christened as part of a backlash, and effort to show that Swedes could do something of value besides fish and cut timber.

My own Norwegian ancestors were farmers, first in the Woodinville-Kirkland area (where our family graves still lie, including my own parents' urns) at a time when the Woodins were their next door neighbors and there was as yet no -ville, later around Monroe-Snohomish and ultimately near Sedro Woolley. When my grandmother Emmye Anne Boone married my grandfather Andrew Jacobsen, and drove with him from Texas to Washington, she was written out of her family's wills and lives for decades for the sin of having married a "Norwegian logger". (I think he had worked a summer or two as a lumberjack to put himself through college - they met at a student convention of some sort at Baylor - but he was definitely a farmer by background and occupation.)

I had my first actual lutefisk just this past Christmas, and actually it wasn't bad. It won't oust sushi from its place in my favorite foods list, but if faced with it again in the future I won't refuse it. Heretofore in my experience lutefisk had only been a musical part of Christmas; we had a custom of dancing around a very narrow tree, in a circle, to Stan Boreson's Xmas cassettes. (Of course I've watched an occasional Lutefisk-Slurping contest at Ballard Seafoodfest or Syttende Mai.) Nowadays there's not a whole lot left in Ballard that says "Scandihoovian"; Skandies' restaurant is a Tandoori place, and the Viking motif at the corner of Leary and Market has been replaced by some very postmodern-looking, Tolkienesque mushroom sculptures. Okay, okay, I guess they're Witness Trees, but I still think most of them look like fungi, and not particularly Scandinavian fungi at that.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Amos
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 06:46 PM

The thread title is like somethign out of a Rush Limbaugh addrss, reeking of round condemnation but diffused by over-generalization and false categorization.

There is nothing inherent in being an American that adds up to being one way or another on racial issues or topics. It's a ridiculous proposition on the face of it,

'Nuff said.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 09:10 PM

Haruo (6:39), I remember a charming - and old - Swedish woman telling me stories of her life.

She said that one day her husband came home practically reeling.

"Yon!" she said in shock. "You are drrrunk!"

"Oh, ya," he agreed cheerfully. "I met a Norrrvegian."


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: goatfell
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 11:45 AM

yes


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 01:33 PM

Care to elucidate, Goatfell?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 06:16 PM

My grandmother, who grew up amongst the Swedes and Norwegians of Minnesota, once explained to me that the Swedes tended to be Baptists, who neither drank nor danced, while the Norwegians tended, now famously, toward Lutheranism, who say that, "The Bible says nothing against the consumption of achohol in moderation, and we're not going to go against the Bible."


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 06:35 PM

Seen in the Ballard District in Seattle, a bumpersticker that reads
         Norwgian driver.
Thank you for not laughing.
Lest one consider this to be an ethnic slam, the driver was Norwegian and he's the one who put the bumpersticker on his car.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: akenaton
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 06:56 PM

Elucidate??.....moi??


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 07:12 PM

And the really handy thing is, the Bible never comes out and defines what is meant by "moderation". ;-) My Norwegian forebears were teetotalling Baptists (as am I for what that's worth, though in my case with cause). As for the Ballard Bumpersticker, some Swedes might say, sure, he put it there himself. After all it does rather underscore the anti-Norwegian formulation of the "brains knocked out" proverb.

But it has been a long time since anyone has, I think, suffered any serious mistreatment on account of Scandihoovianism, at least hereabouts, whereas discrimination against blacks remains not only in existence but in many ways entrenched in the social reality in ways we are often not even aware of when we're participating. (I know, speak for yourself, Haruo, but I know there's lots of it out there and some of it in me.) It won't be solved in a Mudcat BS thread, with or without Norsky kibbitzing. But we need IMO to talk about it and work on it.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 07:17 PM

"Care to elucidate, Goatfell? " Using a new name, ake? :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 09:24 PM

"Mudcatters are fuzzy-thinking leftists, addicted to absurd conspiracy theories and determined to waste everybody's time and effort on meaningless and counterproductive crusades on trivia like removing references to God from our coinage and the Pledge of Allegiance."

Here Here Ron. I agree with your description but I hope I am not painted with that broad brush.

I still assert that those that have to keep up these constant references to someones race are the ones that keep racism alive and well.

Did anybody see the Scifi movie about the Alien and the Human that were stranded on a deserted planet? They were at each others throats but eventually the Human ended up raising the Alien's offspring after the alien died.

There was nobody there to constantly point out that they were different and after a while they forgot about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 10:45 PM

Yes, I think you're right, Sawz. When one begins to look at the NAACP and MALDEF as racist organizations, the whole thing comes full circle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 11:36 PM

"Did anybody see the Scifi movie about the Alien and the Human that were stranded on a deserted planet? They were at each others throats but eventually the Human ended up raising the Alien's offspring after the alien died.

"There was nobody there to constantly point out that they were different and after a while they forgot about it." Sawz

I'm bemused that you use fiction as example. It proves nothing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 01:21 PM

Well what proves anything in your opinion Ebbie?

What would suggest to a person that they might inadvertantly be keeping racism alive by constantly pointing it out?

The words of Kermit the frog?

Nothing racist about it at all. Just the standard lies told by a political operative, out of her depth, who happens to be African- American. Whenever this administration is in trouble they send out Condi Rice because the press, which is mostly white and male, gives her a far easier treatment than they would a white male.

So a cartoonist must use racial overtones to make his point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:02 PM

fiction as example. It proves nothing.

Fiction, I agree, is not useful as truth, if by truth we mean facts. Fiction is seldom used FOR that kind of truth. But GOOD fiction is useful as a showcase for some of the greater Truths of life.

It can be a rich source for looking into the mirror and seeing beyond the surface. It can nudge us to go seek out some facts. It can awake in us a hunger to learn about the past. It can inspire us to approach the present more open-mindedly. It can ask us to be accountable to ourselves about how we will choose to think and behave in the future.

GREAT fiction can even thread its way into our most stuck, unhealed spaces to provoke a cathartic, healing flood of feeling and expression. And THAT is a process-- inborn in all humans-- that our present culture too often dulls. It's too bad that it does; it's one way of staying and/or becoming as fully human as possible.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:28 PM

What Susan said.

The movie was "Enemy Mine," (1985). Very good science fiction movie.

This movie did, indeed, have an excellent message. But it projected a possibility, unfortunately not very often an actuality. Expressing the possible is one of the important and powerful functions of good fiction.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:40 PM

There was nobody there to constantly point out that they were different and after a while they forgot about it.

A beautiful thought indeed, Sawz. But it must be said that there are two different conditions to be considered here. One is acceptance, as in the movie you describe, where the differences in fact are considered unimportant int he relations between individuals. The other is suppression, where a tacit agreement to oppress, alienate or marginalize a group of "different" individuals is held onto in practice but not talked about, a form of silent agreement and hypocrisy. These are very different things.

When acceptance is the condition, no need exists to make much mention of the differences. When tacit oppression is the condition, it is an urgent and vital need to call it out and say it as it is.

I notice not long ago the state of Florida issued an official aplogy for its "separate but equal" white-and-colored drinking fountains back in the era of segregation.

So it is still somewhat of an issue even though it is much less of one than it once was, and not something to be ignored. But I concur with you that raising racial discrimination as an issue where it is not in fact in play significantly can be very counter-productive.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 03:08 PM

Well Amos, I haven't seen those drinking fountains for a while and good riddance. Now we can turn the page and quit wallowing around in the past as if we need to punish ourselves to purify ourselves.

I really hadn't though about them for a long time until you mentioned them. Should you be congratulated for reminding people of unpleasant things in the past? Of keeping the animosity over that alive?

I get a mental image of those Muslims that must march and beat themselves on the back with something that makes them bleed. That makes them holier somehow. So holy that they can murder someone who does not believe in what they believe in.

Take your own guilt trip Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 03:41 PM

You miss my point entirely. I do not have a guilt trip about the past--I was simply pointing our how long it took Florida to acknowledge its own past.

Ignoring the past is not the remedy; because that which gets thoroughly ignored tends to persist and resurface for later dramatization, resulting in the multiplication of Republicans.

But I do have a desire to see courage in facing what is happening in the present, and when that includes racial discrimination, the courage to say so. The fact that conditions are greatly improved is no excuse for ignoring what is, when it is.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 04:32 PM

Just saw a great classic film on deeply-buried "shame" that allows any "ism" to stay in place-- "Gentleman's Agreement." It's a little soft on the way forward, but very strong on the content of many of the issues. Would be useful in any anti-ism effort... would love to have a copy in my library.

The print copy of Mules and Men arrived today; the afterword (70's I think) is also helpful to place Hurston's work in useful context.

Tools are good.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 04:47 PM

Thanks, Amos, very well put. In AA I was told, Sawzaw, "you're only as sick as your secrets", and the fact is there is still (often, maybe usually) secret racism endemic in much of American life — perpetuated in part both by the silence Holder noted and you seem to favor, and by the mostly voluntary social segregation Holder also noted and regretted, but about which you are silent and counsel silence. If silence is favored over truthtelling, the secret racism (individual and systemic) will just fester until it erupts again in some unpleasant way. This is not about keeping animosity alive (when proposed by a black), or holding onto guilt trips over our forebears' sins (when proposed by a white), it is about getting the root causes of existing animosity out in the sunlight where they can be seen for what they are and discarded.

And based on my experience at the WRAP training, I can say that I saw evidence of lingering bias, prejudice and discrimination that I had not previously recognized, some of which is probably recumbent in my own psyche. And I'm disinclined to think that I am the only one. This is not past stuff, it's current stuff. And it will be current in the future if it's not aired out and undone in the present. So while I'm ambivalent about the political usefulness of that one little phrase (see thread title), I applaud Holder for what he said overall, and hope that those he was addressing take it to heart.

Haruo

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 04:54 PM

"I was simply pointing our how long it took Florida to acknowledge its own past."

And what point does this make?

Why are you worried about how long it took? Did you have anything to do with it?

I didn't. It is pointless to me.

Are you living on land that once belonged to Mexicans? They claim it was taken from them by mean Americans. When are you going to move out and let them have it back or pay the rightful owners of the land?

But where would you move? To land that once belonged to Native Americans but was taken from them? Perhaps back to Europe or Africa?

Social injustices will never end will they? They will never be erased. We will always be miserable and feel guilt over something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 05:11 PM

The problem with just forgetting the past, as Sawz apparently would like, is that the past still haunts us...

*Black people are suject to greater per capita incarceration

*Black people are disporportionately put to death for crimes

*Black people are less educated than whites

*Black people suffer from dsiporportionate poverty

*Black people are disporportionately murdered than whites

Yes, more inconvient truths with which to deal!!!

Now the white supremists have their theories on why the above list is reality... They say that white people are superior...I don't buy that and most Americans don't either... I hate to kerp carping back to the retelling the story from the perspective of the truth... Why is it that the United Sates cannot bring itself to say that slavery and Jim Crow was wrong and profusely apologize for it and to look at ways to correct the damages done to black people as a result of slavery and Jim Crow??? Is that asking too much???

I guess it is because whenever anyone brings it up we get the same ol' worn out "Why should I be held responsible for what my grand daddy did???"

That isn't the point... The point is that these same folks enjoy the wealth that was created on the backs of black folks... How do you think the railroad was built??? Or bridges??? Or highways??? Or court houses??? This was and still is infastructure that is part of American wealth... It was disporportionately built with black labor... Yeah, inconvient truth...

Thisd ain't no alien baby... This is millions of black people still being born int poverty and crime and in neighborhoods with falling down schools...

I mean, this is where the discussion begins... Not with alien babies or white middle class sensitivity groups...

And guess what, folks... I know ya'll think I'm like this stuck record but until that discussion occurs and we are all on the same page in the game plan book then we have not moved forward but just treading water...

Yes, an inconvient truth...

There's a reason that black males are incarcerated 5 times greater porportionately than whites...

We can have all the discussions in the world but without understanding our history, we won't get anywhere becuase we won't have that perspective that screams at US, "There are reasons for this!!!"

I mean, how do you fix something without having an understanding how it got so broken???

And personally, I am sick of that grand-daddy alibi... It is thoughtlesss, racist, ignorant and cruel...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 05:16 PM

AS i SAID RECETNLY IN ANOTHER THREAD, ARGUING ABOUT WHICH WAY TO SOLVE SOMETHING-- AMONG POTENTIAL ALLIES-- IS PART OF THE LEGACY OF "ISMS".

sorry capslock

And it's so much easier to divide than to unite. We do it here at Mudcat every day, sometimes all day. :~)

Sometimes I like to look at the inactive threads after the heat has died down and just note all the commonalities that were posted, while people thought they were right-fighting.

And then I take that sense out into the world and tell people how real communication occurs and how messy it can be, and what were the international commonalities I saw in there. It's kinda encouraging, actually, if I intentionally take that long view. And I like all of us a lot better when I do that, too. :~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 06:01 PM

"*Black people are suject to greater per capita incarceration"
What is the ratio of crimes?

"*Black people are disporportionately put to death for crimes"
For what crimes?

"*Black people are less educated than whites"
Why Bobert? Could parents be the reason?

"*Black people are disporportionately murdered than whites"
By whom Bobert?

You copy and paste these talking points from somewhere while you really don't know and don't want to know the underlying facts.

Are you saying an equal number of crimes are committed by all races and therefore an equal number of people must be locked up or executed?

Washington Post:
Nearly half the people murdered in the United States each year are black, part of a persistent pattern in which African Americans are disproportionately victimized by violent crime, according to a new Justice Department study released yesterday.

The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that from 2001 to 2005, more than nine out of 10 black murder victims were killed by other blacks, and three out of four were slain with a gun. Blacks, who make up 13 percent of the population, were victims in 15 percent of nonfatal violent crimes.


Could that possibly be a reason for more people of one race on death row and incarcerated?

Should there be a mandatory minimum number of crimes that people of each race must commit on order to bring about fairness in the penal system?

After that is straightened out should we do the same for each gender?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 06:54 PM

I'd say that more people are "racial cowards" in the sense that they
are afraid of being accused of being racist, and that everyone is on a
big racist witch hunt. I'd say that that's more realistic.

People on a racist witch hunt.
In my neck of the woods, somebody wrote a column about businesses that
they consider to be racist, because they notice that some of their
products are locked up, such as "black hair care products, etc." and
they claim that these are products that blacks use, and will likely
steal, so the shop keeps those products locked up.
This is an example of a witch hunter for racists. It didn't occur to the author of the column, that many shop owners keep a count of their stock, and those products are the ones that are stolen the most often,
therefore they do keep them locked up. The author of the column
mentioned products such as "black hair care products", which are also
used by whites. White people have black hair too, and that they aren't necessarily stolen by blacks.

People afraid of being accused of racism: We have to say "yes" to
black people, because in my experience, whenever somebody says "no"
to a black person, they get in a frenzy and claim that "it's because
I'm black. That's racist." It does happen, whenever they don't get
their way, they start with that, when they don't realize that it's
not because they're black, and they don't understand that people
can't get their own way every time. The whole bit "you're just
saying that because I'm black bit" is getting worn out.

Reason one why obama won:
I bet that if obama didn't win, then there would be a race riot about
the voters being racist for rejecting him "because he's black."
Therefore, he was accepted because he's black.

Reason two why obama won:
According to news reports, there was a large increase in the number
of people who voted this past election, particularly young people.
That highly increased the percentage of democrat votes.
Most of these witch hunters for racists are the
ignorant, and rebellious youngsters who can't wrap their
minds around the fact that "Yes, you can say no to a black guy,
and it doesn't mean that you are racist."

I am not a U.S. resident, but if I were, I would not vote for
obama, and not because he's black. It's because I actually
listen, and don't agree with all of his doctrines, regardless
of whether he's white or black.
I do not support abortion, for example. Why? Not because he's
a black guy for abortion, but because I have common sense.
I don't support abortion because, if people want engage in
intercourse without having to conceive a child, then they
should have the common sense to use the proper birth control
methods. It's common sense these days that condoms can break,
and that there are other birth control methods that are by
far more effective. Use a diaphragm, and take the morning
after pill.
The freedom of choice act is being abused. "Liberals" are
claiming that anti-abortion laws were denying them of their
freedom of choice rights. What about the abortionist denying the
unborn child the freedom to live? They conceived a living being,
so they should be stuck with the responsibility of letting the child be born if they didn't have the common sense to use an effective birth control method to prevent conception.

This is a reason why I would not have voted for him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 07:00 PM

Okay, Sawz... Let's make it real simple for you seein' as yer into that law-an-order stuff...

Why is it that black males are more apt to be involved in criminal activity than whites???

See, I don't care what phenomana we observe...

It's understanding how black folks got where they are is the important discussion...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 07:10 PM

"I get a mental image of those Muslims that must march and beat themselves on the back with something that makes them bleed." Sawz 3:08

I don't know about Muslims doing that, specifically, but it was not too long ago that some Christian church leaders did that.

Sawz, on the subject of whether one should let sleeping dogs lie, your opinion, frankly, does not count to me- until the day comes that the subject/dog is one that involves you directly.

An analogy:

As I've said before, I was reared Amish. (The Amish in this country, as it happens, have been treated well snd that is not my point in the story.)

One day during the Civil Rights movement my ultra-conservative brother said, "I think they have right on their side, but since we as a country agree in that, I think the Blacks are pushing too hard, trying to go too fast. Not everything has to be done at once."

I said, "You mean, if the Amish had been denied some basic rights and the country finally agreed that it was not Constitutional, you would be willing to wait for another year? Or wouldn't you say something to the effect of: "Hey, if you know it's wrong, stop it right now!"

And brother grinned and agreed.

My point: Until you can put yourself personally into the equation I frankly don't think you know what you're talking about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 07:12 PM

"Are you saying an equal number of crimes are committed by all races and therefore an equal number of people must be locked up or executed?"

". . . must be locked up or executed."

Is this the only method of dealing with crime that conservatives can think of? You don't need to have a Ph.D. in Sociology to see that more often than not, crime rises out of poverty aggravated by the rigors of "second class citizenship," and the feeling that many people in this situation have that there is no hope, no chance to dig themselves out and make a better life for themselves. The best way to deal with crime is to alleviated or eliminate the conditions that breed crime.

Of course, that might lead to things that carry the whiff of socialism. . . .

Don Firth

P. S.   Now corporate crime is an entirely different matter. CEOs who screw their companies into the ground through their own greed, incompetence, or illegal practices (ignoring regulations when the regulatory agencies are manned by their own friends) are not at all averse to a little socialism in the form of government handouts. Capitalism for the poor and middle class, Socialism for the rich. The Right Wing has a most interesting take on the concept of "redistribution of wealth."


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 07:41 PM

Eb,

I don't think brother won too many of those with you, did he... Smart boy... Knew when to just smile and agree...

Sawz,

See, you isolate what you fear of black people as if that justifies not looking at how many black folks have come to where they are... Yeah, no wonder you don't want to have a discussion... You want to preach... Black folks heard 'nuff of that preachin'... That's the preachin' of Jim Crow... Yeah, even ol' Jim had his rationalizations and mythologies... Heck, Jim ain't all that dead even today...

Me thinks you would benefit from living in a housing project for a few weeks in Sotuh Philly or SE Washington, D.C.... Maybe that's the only thing that would get your attention...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Janie
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 10:21 PM

I have a feeling I am going to regret wading in at this point, but here goes....

I can understand that the use of the word "coward" raises a lot of hackles. Coward is a word that many people will hear as a value judgement. Had Holder said Americans are afraid to talk about race in an open, honest and vulnerable way, there would be lots less backlash, and perhaps no thread on Mudcat that has run to the number of posts this thread has. However, one can choose to not assign a value judgement to that word, and simply focus on the metacommunication of fear.

Holder's use of the term "coward", at least provokes discussion. Whether it provokes so much defensiveness on one hand, and blame on the other, in the way people interpreted this one word in his comments is unclear to me.   What is apparent within this thread, however, is that most people, regardless of their position, are not doing what Holder suggested might be helpful. That is, really talking to one another, rather than at one another.

We all experience and interpret reality through the lenses of our own experiences and what we are culturally taught. There is no doubt that racism, sometimes blatant and sometimes blind, continues to operate in our society.   That does not mean that every unsatisfactory experience an African-American person has with a Caucasian person is the result of racism.

If you are interested, google "cognitive distortions". One thing that rarely gets acknowledged is that the way experiences and culture/social learning occur lead to cognitive distortion is universal, and the experience of being part of a minority population does not give one a corner on the market on detecting racism or prejudice even in the face of clear evidence within society of devaluation, discrimination and/or prejudice because of one's race or ethnic origin.

I am going to use a term many are sick of hearing me use, dialectic.   Are we willing to engage in the dialectical process, in our own individual, internal dialogue, and in our dialogue with others on this forum?   Are we open to one another? Are we prepared to listen? It does not require the participation of the few people of color who regularly post for a meaningful and respectful conversation to occur, though that would be good. It doesn't really even require that one set defensiveness or "moral righteousness" aside. It does, however, require that one assume an attitude of mutual respect and an assumption of good intent.


For very different reasons, like Azizi, this is probably my last post to this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 11:23 PM

Janie-

Bingo. And since the word "coward" raises visceral reactions--especially among the people Holder might be aiming at--see the amazingly violent and long-lasting reaction to the much milder "bitter"--it was the wrong word for Holder to use.

As anybody with a smattering of knowledge of psychology would see.



Especially since President Obama doesn't need anybody to pick needless fights when he has enough on his plate with the economy and the foreign situation.

And since President Obama has said--over and over--it's time to get beyond the us vs them mentality.

As I noted earlier, I suspect President Obama has informed Mr. Holder of this--and we won't hear any more obviously incendiary terms from Mr. Holder again. And he now realizes he lives in a fishbowl.

And before Mudcatters yet again drone on about how this is dodging an important issue:

1) It is in fact possible to discuss race without insulting your discussion partners.
2) It's actually far more important, as several posters have noted, how you treat people day to day. Talk is cheap.

And it's also worth noting, that due to the real crises now going on, Holder's remark--almost everywhere else but Mudcat--is at this point nothing but a trivia question.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 12:27 AM

"put yourself personally into the equation" And who is not in the equation?

"some Christian church leaders did that." Yes and that was senseless too.

"yer into that law-an-order stuff." And Bobert is not with all that Bush is a crook stuff?

You all ways want to tell people they don't know anything because they have not experienced something. Use that same test on yourself.

Are you and Iraqi, a Palestinian? A Jew? Have you ever been the Potus? Have you ever done any heroine, murdered or raped anybody? Ever been the richest man in the world? If not, you have disqualified yourself to pass judgment on anybody involved in those things.

You long for the days of riding on that buss back in the 60s. News flash: They are over. Look at the calendar. You enjoy living in the past while denying the present.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 07:55 AM

Empathy, my man, is not a sin...

It has served me well in all of life's endeavers... But beyond that, Sawz, I have perhaps experienced alot more than you... I've made a real effort to mix it up with people in the real world... When I say "mix it up" I don't mean argue... I mean, interact... That's why you don't find me here on the computer very much... I go out into the world everyday and mix it up...

You can learn alot by mixing it up...

Then if you take what you learn and add in a little empathy then you come away with a more "pro-human" view because it is based on your own personal experiances with folks and not what someone else wants you to think about folks...

When it comes to race, I have done quite a bit of mxing over the years and, for me, that has been a good thing... It started along time ago during the civil rights movement when I was still a teenager and my "commie-mommie" became involved with SCLC... And it continued with me going to a racially intgergrated college and then becoming a jail-house teacher in the Richmond City jail, and a drug counselor in the inner city of Ricmond and then another 15 years as a social worker working with black folks...

Does that make my opinionss more valuable than yers, Sawz, on the subjetc of race??? Well, maybe not more valuable bu arguablt more correct in the big scheme of any discusiion that Holder might get going...

As for this this thread, I've kinda gotten to where others have gotten in that the repetition is getting rather not worth posting so, unless there's something "new and improved" that needs addressing, I think I'll just take me a sabatical...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 08:04 PM

Lot of good material at OTR. Look around when you get there, but here's one:

http://www.otrcat.com/world-acoming-p-48581.html

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 09:25 PM

I always appreciate finding out what people really think. I've gained some particular insights in this thread, and for that I am grateful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 11:26 PM

"...insights...".   Not that I necessarily think this might be one of your insights but I would like to say I definitely don't believe all Mudcatters are "fuzzy-thinking leftists, addicted to conspiracy theories, and determined to...."   Now I'll admit there may be a few who show some of these tendencies but....

My point was that tarring all Mudcatters with that brush was exactly what Holder did with "nation of cowards"--and just as fair.

Fortunately, however, I'm sure your insights had to do with various Mudcatters' take on racism--since Holder's remark is a very small subset of of that topic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 10:46 PM

Bobert:

Honestly, What you are saying has a lot of truth to it but most the conditions you talk about are in the past and you are living in the past. Either everything you did was a failure and you need to keep on beating that dead horse or it is time to turn the page and proceed from here. To Awaken in the Now as Tolle says.

In any case, nothing, no amount of experience or knowledge, gives you or I the right to say that something is a fact if there is nothing to support it. You accuse GWB of claiming something was true when it was not but you are not too bad at it yourself.

We can have as many individual opinions as we want. We can compare then and discuss them but for a person to claim your opinion is right based on some non fact is an ego trip. Vanity, self Worship. It used to be called Vainglory and it was one of the seven deadly sins.

You constantly claim that your opinion is correct and it is superior to someone else's opinion and because such and such that supports it is a fact true when there is no basis for the fact.

Maybe you could loose that pent up hostility of yours that shows itself once in a while in the form of threats of physical violence if you could just admit when you are wrong. Just let it go and climb down off of that high horse.

It does not hurt me a bit and I have been wrong about things because I don't go around blowing my own horn about how great I am. My ego is not busting at the seams.

So Eric Holder can call me a racial coward all he wants. I don't mind but I am never going to bring up the subject of his or my race because it is not productive and has no positive meaning or purpose, just a form of bickering that leads nowhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: M.Ted
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 07:16 PM

Fair guess as to the insights Ron, though, as you know, most of that has been out on the table for a long time. This is really more about the sharpness of the knives in the drawer--

I do enjoy the conspiracy theories--especially the surprising and unexpected ways that they are interjected into ordinary discussions, and the leftist fuzzy thinking is a joy, though it lacks distinction unless it is peppered by equally fuzzy rightist thinking.

I must say that, enjoyable as it all often is, I occasionally hanker for real political discussion, though that seems to be either extinct, or at least highly endangered. Global warming, or something...


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 08:44 AM

Frankly, I think Eric Holder was right, and he was right to say what he did. Every time one tries to engage in a meaningful discussion about race, midless idiots jump into the fray chanting mindless platitudes, demonstrating they are incapable of thinking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 12:49 AM

Please describe "a meaningful discussion about race".

Give an example. I don't think I have ever witnessed such a thing. They all seem like arguments to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: mg
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 01:01 AM

I would say there are people here I would have an honest discussion with and some I wouldn't discuss what time it was...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 09:13 AM

I agree, MTed, Mudcat political threads are sinfully entertaining.   What a cast of characters. The fuzzy-thinking Left. The commentators on the Right who are constantly looking for a sinking ship so they can lash themselves to the mast.   The intellectual giants who are beset on every hand by terrible conspiracies--and who see, as the rest of us can't, the mortal danger the world is in from:   religion, Mexicans, the "$ystem", "unhealthy knowledge"; in fact an amazingly long list.   The simon-pure ideologues who would far rather slit their wrists than compromise and actually get something done.

Who needs TV or fiction when Mudcat political threads provide so much diversion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 10:05 AM

'"Please describe "a meaningful discussion about race".'

             I don't know if we have meaningful discussions about simply "race," unless it would be in a biological sense, but one should be able to engage in a meaningful discussion about something like Affirmative Action, for instance, or social bigotry, which is what, I think, is the kind of thing Eric Holder was alluding to.

             I think he's right, if you don't have the discussion it will never go away. But the way things are, if you engage in a dialogue now, people tend to form in their own groups for cover, and it's difficult to have a discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Sawzaw
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 03:46 PM

Affirmative Action is discrimination.

It is doing different things for people depending on their race.

One gets this and another gets something else based on their race.

Therefore you continue doing what you claim you are ending.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Peace
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 03:50 PM

A meaningful discussion about race will address win, place and show.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 03:53 PM

And also-ran!


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 10:00 PM

Therefore you continue doing what you claim you are ending.

Much of the time this is probably true, but there are situations where fight fire with fire is a better strategic approach. If you don't talk about the thing you'll never know which is which.

Entrenched prejudices perpetuated below the level of public discourse, be it by doctors "warning" their patient that the specialist they have just referred you to is black, or real estate agents steering people away from properties "you probably wouldn't feel comfortable in" because of either the prospective buyer's or the surrounding population's racial makeup, or unspoken racial (and gender and age-group) profiling by traffic cops or customs agents, etc etc, are much too prevalent (and continuing to benefit from unwillingness to talk about race) to make the three "no-evil" monkeys a desirable role model in the case, in my opinion.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 09:06 PM

Part of that discussion came home to me today... My wife and I had to drive home today from Raliegh, N.C. with a trailer loaded with plants and I just didn't want to drive on the interstate so we took US Rt 15 which runs thru Farmville, Va... Now back in the 1959 Farmvillehen schools were desegregated Farmville closed its public schools rather than let its white kids be eductaed with black kids... There were no public schools for the next 5 years... It's interesting because Farmville was also the home of Longwood Teachers College for Women???

In 1968, maybe '69, I was traveling to southwest Virginia with a number of organizers... Two were balck... We stopped for lunch in Framville and we were all refused service...

Now it's easy for white people to say, "Hey, I didn't do that"... Well, fair enough, you didn't... But there a black folks who remember not being able to go to school because the leaders of their community didn't want thei kids to have to go to school with black kids...

This is part of the larger discussion... I mean, kids can have things haooen to them that become imprinted for life if folks don't come in and help them with these debilitating thoughts and anger...

Ain't no magic wand here that can be waved over our history and cleanse it... Don't work that way...

White Americans have a duty in the preemble to the Constitution, a statement of our national beliefs, to correct the ills of its past... Black Africans didn't sign up to be captured, stuffed in boats, taken to the colonies and be sold into slavery... Those were the acts of white people...

If there was ever a long over-due discusiion , this is it...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 09:13 PM

Bob, I came late to the reality of slavery with its long-lasting implications versus freedom with all its options. What brought it forcibly home to me is one day when I suddenly thought about what it would be like to have to tell your child that he or she "can't do that or go there" because of the color of his or her skin.

It was a devastating event to me; I was so ashamed to be part of the race that accepted it, perpetrated it.

When my own daughter was born, I made sure from practically day one that she had playmates of every color around and that I did too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Donuel
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 09:44 AM

Everything I know about Norwegians and Norwegian bachelor farmers I learned from Garrison Kiellor. In fact most of the folk music I hear comes from the Praire Home Companion.


I have never been a coward, even as a child, about discussing race, attitudes and my regret for those who persist in teaching hate.
The cost for such opinions and rhetoric has been high including beatings, verbal abuse and social stigma.

The culture of hate propogates this little phrase "we don't discuss religion or politics". Later within their trusted like minded friends they speak of Sarah Palin being a breathe of fresh air or how the new neighbor might be a secular humanist/satanist, that Rush Limbaugh described only last week.


The cowards regarding discussing race or sharing experiences make 'diversity' a noun to be avoided rather than an active verb.

Sometimes in a couple, only one person is willing to cross a racial line.

Can you blame them? Once bitten twice shy.

Maybe you have to be stupid to persist seeking communication with those who are racially stigmatized or maybe you are heroic.

What is certain is that it is still not easy for many people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 04:56 PM

Garrison Keillor should probably get the Nobel Prize in Literature the same year Pete and Peggy Seeger share the Peace Prize ;-)

But it's critical to understand that the vast majority of black slaves imported to the US were actually imprisoned and enslaved by black African rulers, and only came under white "ownership" when those black African rulers, looking to fund their equivalent of a stimulus package, sold them to the highest (Euro) bidder. Not all, but a large majority were "acquired" in this way. And on the other end of the thing, virtually every black American (including those who, like Obama, have no known US slave ancestors as well as those all of whose ancestors in the 1850s were slaves in the US, as well as those more than half of whose 1860 ancestors were white, have profited in many ways from the indentured servitude of the United States' slaves of African origin. When it comes time to speak seriously of retribution, restitution or reparation, there is a very tangled web waiting to be unwoven...

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:03 PM

Folks, do y'all understand that not all racism comes out as hatred? Some of it comes out as the most deeply-felt love. It's hard to ask people to root out what can feel so good.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:15 PM

Yes, there is, Harou... But before we can collectively figure out how to "repair" the damages that have been done to black people we need for the revisonism to be revised to tell the truth... Slavery is so glossed over that most white folks are clueless as to how that institution is still paying negative dividends...

The "noose" incident of a couple years ago tells us that we haven't done a very good job telling the story correctly...

Sorry about my unusaullly scattered thinking last night... I'd been on the road for 3 days... I meant to say that rather than desegregate the schools in Framville, Va. the white leaders in the ciommunity chose to just close all the public schools!!!

Some folks say "Well, I didn't havde nothin' to do with slavery". while others say "Well, I wasn't part of the Klan" and think that thr discussion is over but that's not true at all when we have folks alive today who were part of closing the Farmville schools rather than desegregate...

But it goes way beyond just desegregation... That is just one of the many remedies that outr society, both black and white, owes itself... We've all been jipped nuy it is black Americans who have suffered the most from the jipping...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Donuel
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 06:38 PM

Arabs were also respondsible for the initial capture and holding of people until the ships arrived.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 07:04 PM

"...virtually every black American (including those who, like Obama, have no known US slave ancestors as well as those all of whose ancestors in the 1850s were slaves in the US, as well as those more than half of whose 1860 ancestors were white, have profited in many ways from the indentured servitude of the United States' slaves of African origin." Haruo

I have a lot of trouble accepting that statement at face value, Haruo. True enough that - most - of those African folks survived physically in the 'new' world. However, deprived of family and friends and history and language and the right to make their own future on their own terms in their own homeland as EVERY slave wrested from Africa was, how can you or anyone say that they "have profited in many ways" from their enslaved state?

Frankly, I don't think that any 'white' person has a right to make that determination.

Reminds me sorely of Barbara Bush talking about "how well it was working out" for some of the Lousiana folks crammed into the stadiums when they were displaced by Katrina and Rita, people who in many cases didn't even know if their friends and kinfolk had survived. Or like the Senator who said to the two little boys, "Admit it- isn't this kind of fun?"

As for it frequently being Black African people who captured other Blacks to sell into slavery - I suspect that the demand was there before the supply was proffered. Or do you perhaps not believe that Europeans did NOT show up on African shors and offer top dollar for every Black captive they presented?


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Greg F.
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 09:27 PM

not all racism comes out as hatred... Some of it comes out as the most deeply-felt love...

Refresh my memory as to the definition of assbackwards, please.


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 09:34 PM

Are you asking me to explain that, Greg?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Americans, Racial Cowards?
From: Haruo
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:43 AM

Ebbie, I wasn't saying they haven't been harmed, just that they have also benefitted. Much of the wealth of the United States as a whole can be attributed in part to the value that was extracted from the slaves, and while you might look at the stock market this week and wonder just what sort of wealth the United States has, I'm talking about the difference between being a poor black child in the US today vs. being a poor black child in Burkina Faso today. I am not saying there is no wrong that needs setting right, I am only saying that defining and quantifying it is a complicated mess. Likewise, as Bobert said, "we've all been jipped" (leaving aside the racism inherent in that last word), so white Americans (and Americans of Asian, Amerindian and other descent) have also been harmed by the effects of American slavery. And all of this has no chance of being straightened out if we pretend it never happened and refuse to talk about race.

Haruo


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