• October 31, 2014

What Does Race Have to Do With It?

Making sense of our 'national conversation'

What Does Race Have to Do With It? 1

Joyce Hesselberth for The Chronicle Review

Enlarge Image
close What Does Race Have to Do With It? 1

Joyce Hesselberth for The Chronicle Review

By any measure, this has been a busy year for news stories about race. The most recent, involving the firing of Shirley Sherrod from her post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture over remarks on a videotape that initially appeared racist, followed in the immediate wake of accusations by the NAACP that the Tea Party harbors racists. But the year began with a furor over Sen. Harry M. Reid's comments about President Obama's being a "light skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wants to have one." Another set of controversial comments followed in the aftermath of Rand Paul's victory in Kentucky's Republican Senate primary, when he questioned whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act represented an unwarranted intrusion into the private sector.

Just as summer reached its peak, a new surge of stories hit, centered initially on the release of recordings of the actor Mel Gibson apparently wishing that his ex-girlfriend would be "raped by a pack of niggers," and referring to Latino workers as "wetbacks." That news was paralleled by a stranger tale about the Justice Department's refusal to challenge voter intimidation purportedly committed by two members of the New Black Panther Party, in Philadelphia, in November 2008. And those were just the most attention-grabbing news items. California alone produced stories that easily might have garnered more coverage—the arrest of the Grim Sleeper killer, for example, raised issues of racial profiling via DNA and challenged the bizarre notion that serial killers are always white—if most of the other headlines had not played so effectively into broad partisan debates that are wracking the country.

How are we to make sense of, let alone keep up with, all this attention to race? Journalists assigned to just this task are finding it taxing and tricky. Frank Rich, a columnist for The New York Times, in little more than a week lurched from concluding that Gibson represented "the last gasps of an American era" to opining, regarding the drama over Sherrod, that "we have been going backward since Election Day 2008."

But how can we be both advancing and regressing in matters of race as a nation? That confusion reflects the challenges journalists face as they struggle to report on the partisan accusations of racism being hurled between the Tea Party movement and the NAACP.

Since the emergence of the "race beat," in the mid-1950s, and continuing through a new critical attention in the 1980s to possible race-baiting in campaign ads, news editors and journalists clearly regard reporting on race matters as part of their charge. But as the coverage generated by the selectively edited video clip of Sherrod's comments indicates, that interest is easily manipulated. This summer's spate of stories suggests that the work of covering race is being stymied by the complexity of the subject. It is time for academics who study race to step up and help journalists with this difficult task.

Let's start by engaging with the "national conversation on race." After all, it was an academic, the Harvard law professor Lani Guinier, who first proposed holding one in 1995, in the hope that it would at last break "the great taboo" on race. That seemed possible when President Bill Clinton attempted to institutionalize the conversation, in the summer of 1997, with his Initiative on Race. The series of "town meetings" that followed, led by the historian John Hope Franklin, though, drew little media attention—partly because they lacked the drama of our current crop of news stories—and they were attacked on partisan grounds as being one-sided affairs.

Yet reporters and news commentators retained the concept and use it to this day to frame the way certain stories either follow from others or broadly reflect national interest in racial matters. The conversation now seems to have become an incoherent cacophony of conflicting voices, and academics have a unique opportunity to weigh in on how this particular cultural process operates.

The first insight we can offer is that much of this conversation has little to do directly with race. This is evident in how racial-news items emerge from the torrent of technological developments that are changing how we receive and consume news stories. President Obama suggests as much in blaming our "media culture" for fueling the frenzy that turned Sherrod's powerful story of personal transformation regarding race into a contrary exhibit of apparent reverse racism. Obama was joined in that assessment not only by a number of concerned journalists, but also by Anthony "Van" Jones, who resigned from a White House position over political activities and comments he had made before he joined the administration. Jones sees their common predicament as produced by "the venal nature of Washington politics in the Internet era." Partisanship is a crucial factor, but the key development here is that these stories are generated by the new technologies of video capture and posting.

Consider for a moment: What links Sherrod's story to similar media sensations over comments by white men like Don Imus, Trent Lott, and Bill O'Reilly? They each had edited clips of their words posted to and circulated among numerous Web sites, reaching audiences far beyond the immediate ones they assumed they were addressing. Certainly race was the focus of those selective edits, but the larger issue here is that the technologies are redrawing the line between "private" and "public" in American life. The change is most evident in the intense concern over privacy linked to Facebook, but it manifests itself in numerous ways as Americans grapple with the exposure their words and behaviors now may get. The shifting of the line may also reveal just how segregated private life in this country remains, but the ways in which race now becomes news are byproducts of the technological transformation.

We can also point to the fundamental role that core features of American culture play in shaping how we talk about race. In particular, our fixation on certain remarks as potentially revealing of a person's racism is a function of the commitment to individualism in our culture. Belief in individualism, in turn, powerfully inhibits our ability to see race as permeating our social landscape and profoundly skewing life chances. But we cannot grasp this by focusing on race alone; rather, we have to see how an underlying belief in individuals shapes the ways Americans think about a whole range of concerns, such as patriotism and equality. As the Sherrod case underscores, we purvey remarks as the embodiment of an individual's racial sensibilities, perhaps additionally asking if they also reflect the possible breadth and depth of racism in the nation at large. This cultural conditioning around individualism is exactly what makes it difficult for Americans to then recognize broad social and economic factors that profoundly shape the relevance of race. We orient ourselves, instead, toward discussing ideals of equality and fairness primarily in terms of individuals.

The dynamics of the shifting line between public and private, as well as the powerful investment in individualism, point to the underlying role that culture plays in how we talk about race. The notion of a "conversation" is quite apt in this regard, serving as a powerful diagnostic for how culture-bound we remain when it comes to race. Conversations depend on codes of etiquette and decorum that shape our expectations of who can say what and which kinds of topics are appropriate. The conventions informing those codes are powerful and deeply naturalized. Unless we can begin to think about them consciously—as occurs in the most enlightening moments of the "conversation," such as with Imus and Sherrod, when the discussions become about our racial expectations and assumptions about who can say what publicly—we will make little progress in talking about race. In that sense, racism is not as much of a problem as are the cultural taboos around talking about race. We are so concerned about transgressing etiquette that we spend little time formulating new ways of talking about race.

But as experts on race, we need to do more than just explain how the "conversation" does and does not work. We also need to learn from it and use it as an opportunity to question or even revamp some of our fundamental assumptions about race. The important lesson from this summer's exchanges, for instance, is that racism is not a sufficient means of explaining why and how race matters. The charges of racism being exchanged between the NAACP and members of the Tea Party movement suggest that we need something more than that key term to guide discussion about the relevance of race in peoples' thoughts, actions, and political positions.

For that matter, we should use this as an opportunity to reassess how we even define race. Given its urgency as a social and political problem, we tend to think of race as a basic reality—a stark, defining condition of existence. But race is composed of many cultural rules and rituals, taboos and licenses to which we give very little thought, but which affect our judgments about whether words or incidents are "racial."

Much current scholarship on race is informed by Howard Winant and Michael Omi's concept of "racial formation," which construes "race as an autonomous field of social conflict, political organization, and cultural/ideological meaning." But our "national conversation on race" suggests otherwise—race is not "an irreducible component of collective identities and social structures." Rather, it is one dimension of the underlying cultural dynamics that shape Americans' everyday lives and intense interest in media stories. Explaining the aspects of race that are not reducible to or effectively rendered by the concept of racism should be one of the aims of current and future research on race. Which brings us, once again, to Sherrod.

Her story neatly frames our current situation. In the first airing of her remarks, people listened to hear if what she was saying was racist or not. But as more of what she said emerged, people heard something rather different—a story about how she had changed in her racial thinking, and how she had come to see race in a different framework. Listening for racism seems to entail an assumption that people's racial beliefs are hard-wired or ideologically determined. Both Sherrod's story and the unfolding history of this national conversation indicate something different: that people also engage in an active, variable process of making sense of when and how race matters in a person's words or deeds. Our conversation is as much about how we make those assessments as it is about race.

John Hartigan Jr. is a professor of anthropology and director of the Americo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His most recent books are What Can You Say? America's National Conversation on Race (Stanford University Press, 2010) and Race in the 21st Century: Ethnographic Approaches (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Comments

1. mbelvadi - August 16, 2010 at 11:37 am

Please consider the impossibility of having a "conversation" about race, or anything else that matters, when the loudest voices, those of certain media channels and politicians, are interested only in manipulating the discussion for their own profit rather than having any kind of honest dialogue about issues. Looking at the breakdown in national discussion about race in isolation from an understanding of the breakdown of civil discourse more generally reminds me of those who attempted to explain the extinction of the dinosaurs as entirely a dinosaur-specific problem (eg looking at genetic and other issues of dinosaur anatomy) without noticing that a mass extinction across all phyla happened at the same time.

2. gloriawalker - August 16, 2010 at 03:02 pm

"Where do we go from here chaos or community?" As a native African American I have never been so disappointed in this country. I personnaly have been threaten,physically beat,emotionally harmed, professionally degraded in regards to respect as well as pay. I understand why others of my race chose to fight back with guns, move to other countries or pass for another race. If there is an answer let me hear it.

3. janyregina - August 16, 2010 at 03:54 pm

Who shapes this dialogue? Race is a manmade construct; man should be able to change it. Gloria, I wish I had your answer. In answering what race I am, I ignore it. I am so sorry that others and I have harmed you. I was raised in the 50's with "colored" water fountains on the edge of a town where the "black" section was the next street over. I did not understand racism then. Now, I have to search myself when I think an automatic thought. Some are not willing to question what they were taught personally and institutionally. I have missed so much in not getting to know that gentle couple who lived across the street. I need help with this. We all do. We need community.

4. gplm2000 - August 16, 2010 at 04:04 pm

From a primary racist: "After all, it was an academic, the Harvard law professor Lani Guinier, who first proposed holding one in 1995, in the hope that it would at last break "the great taboo" on race." Ms. Guinier is nothing more than a race-baiter and promoter of affirmative action to an extreme,i.e. give 2 votes to a black to one for a white to make up for slavery. Yet she is never accused of racism. The writer of this piece is of the same ilk--blame whitey, but let's have a conversation about race, then blame whitey again.

There will never be a national dialogue or accomodation of the American Negro. It is imposible to do so when the discussion centers around one side being wrong and the other side being deserving. Apples and oranges. Aside from the cultural differences that cannot be reconciled, it is impossible to do so when one side lives a self-defeating culture. A culture mired in poverty and violence. One enslaved to the "poverty pimps" who get rich living off the backs of the black poor.

Most black institutions are failures culturally and financially. One can review the black-run cities and find poorly managed finances and lousy schools. Their ideas center around getting money out-of-whitey by annexation of counties, raising taxes on the rich, or forcing school integration through busing. All of them failures. Then the poverty pimps have more ammunition to keep racism alive and well.

5. authentic - August 16, 2010 at 05:19 pm

Unfortunately, especially in the elite African American community they too often equate any slight or slip up to racism.

6. janyregina - August 16, 2010 at 06:13 pm

When you get up in that rarified, ivory ether, I suppose there are degrees of elitism. Some people get a kick out of thinking they are superior to others. Perhaps, they are compensating for their feelings of inadequacy afraid that others might think they aren't "up to snuff." The color of one's skin is simply that. Nothing more than melatonin. When the dominant society fails to educate and will not admit ethnicities, they form their own schools. You mention sides. I suspect you mean to anger people. You sadden me.

7. 22097984 - August 16, 2010 at 11:56 pm

We had a conversation Nov of 2008...The guy from Hawaii won. Looking for hours and hours at your belly button will not make it any more interesting or relivant to the world. Get over it and move on.

Oh, and save me the list of "Blacks/Hispanics make this much and live this long." The same list can be made for various groups including Indians and white coal minors from West Virginia.

Let it go people. Let it go.

8. nordicexpat - August 17, 2010 at 05:18 am

@gplm2000 #4,

Lani Guinier said no such thing. You obviously don't understand what she means by "cumultative voting," since everyone gets the same number of votes under such a scheme. I'm not sure if I agree with the proposal, but in principle it could apply to any minority group, including conservatives who find themselves in a group dominated by liberals. Why don't you actually reading the sources themselves for a change rather than parroting other people's misconceptions?

9. newpseudo - August 17, 2010 at 07:55 am

To #7, I will let it go when 7 year old Black girls (Ayana Jones) are no longer murdered by the police as they sleep. I will let it go when 92 year old Black women (Kathryn Johnston) can watch tv in their homes without the police killing them.

10. newpseudo - August 17, 2010 at 08:07 am

To #4, you wrote that, "Most black institutions are failures culturally and financially." Were all the banks that recently needed financial help Black run? Were the auto companies Black run? Are all the states that need financial help today Black run?

You wrote, "The writer of this piece is of the same ilk--blame whitey, but let's have a conversation about race, then blame whitey again." Could you point out the sentence where Hartigan blames White people? I'm not saying it isn't in his article, but I seem to have overlooked it.

11. p4philani - August 17, 2010 at 08:41 am

Please allow me to quote former South African president Dr Thabo Mbeki “It has been argued that those who point to the persistence of racism in our country (South Africa) are themselves racist. Those who propagate affirmative action are accused of seeking to introduce reverse racism, or, more directly, of resort to anti-white racism. Some assert that the description 'racist' is merely an epithet used by bad people to insult others, as well as a means of intimidating and silencing those who hold views critical of the government. Alternatively, it is said that the issue of racism is brought up by unscrupulous politicians, in an effort to mobilize black constituencies to support them. After all, so it is said, we ended apartheid and therefore racism, when we became a non-racial democracy in 1994. On the other hand, others within our society argue that those who are most vocal in seeking to suppress discussion of this issue are those who benefited from centuries of colonial and apartheid racial domination. These will go on to say that the privileged do not want this discussion because they want to maintain their privileged positions at all costs” unfortunately in South Africa issues of racial tendencies are still dominating our daily lives. Legacies of white supremacy are still haunting us as South Africans. Majority of Africans are still landless although they make up more than 70% of our population. Inequalities are still reflecting race composition in workplace; Africans who are the majority are underrepresented in terms of management. Philani Lubanyana@ Umlazi.Durban.South Africa.(p.lubanyana@yahoo.com)

12. trendisnotdestiny - August 17, 2010 at 10:06 am

There are two major problems that I take issue with here in this thread:

First, I get tired of the contributors like gplm2000 who actually take the time to post, but to sell us 'the apples and oranges' notion that we should not waste our time (or some version of this is just too difficult or it cannot be solved). This reminds me of the same crap that most institutions who want to avoid scrutiny say in the face of opening a dialogue. You know, CEO's in front of senate commissions giving testimony that the problem either does not exist, is not relevant or is impossible to sort out with the given means... Sell indifference some place else gplm2000.

Second, when racism comes up, I rarely see it discussed as intertwined with dominance in a culture. The screed of white versus black or the social engineering of the 'artificial' race construct issue arises, but very little to do with power. The very thing that most of us want to gain from this conversation gets avoided or co-opted by the dialogues moving in all directions away from dominance....

What we should be asking here about race could be similarly true for gender, sexuality, religiosity and most difference. What unites these interests is how power is used to discriminate against each of these groups en masse. In terms of a critical discussion, in my mind, there should always be three questions we ask about a particular question involving institutional analysis of power differentials:

1) Who benefits
2) Who is harmed
3) Who has the power to ensure 1 & 2

When looking at race, gender, sexuality, religiosity through these lenses, it becomes much harder to get bogged down... During the last 400 years, the answers to these three questions have been pretty clear in terms of the authors of social darwinism:

1) Rich white men from Western European backgrounds (who benefits)
2) Indigenous people of color, women, LGBT, non-Christian(harmed)
3) We all can speculate about this (who has the power)

To have a discussion about racism in America requires us to confront how power works in this society (labor/capital) (underclasses and middle classes) (nepotism, crony capitalism)
After watching how financial reform was handled recently, we seem to be not ready to talk about how power works (sovereign or disiciplinary)....

Most of the really traumatic events in life: domestic abuse, rape, genocide, slavery, exploitation usually involve several characteristics:

1) Apathy or Indifference
2) Seeing "The Other" as less than
3) Abuse of Power

For some in this culture, challenging power has led to even greater loss, but the privileged few here who afford the CHE dues could find a way to discuss the intersectionality of dominance in this culture and confront issues of power.

13. profbanks - August 17, 2010 at 10:22 am

An interesting essay that contains much truth but also conflates very different racial incidents. I don't think that Don Imus' comments, which were not taken out of context, are comparable to the selective editing of Shirley Sherrod's comments. Don Imus made his comments on live radio whereas Shirley Sherrod's speech was tape almost a year ago at a NAACP function that was not televised. Her comments were edited and the media that used her comments failed to do its homework. The author fails to seriously take issue with the impact of 24-hour news cycles that foster quick and sloppy reporting with little or no prior investigation.

Without question the race issue has gotten more complicated and academics have been writing about this development for a decade, but the news media has been too busy to notice.

14. cwinton - August 17, 2010 at 10:30 am

Labels are certainly convenient. Almost everyone in this country is actually a mosaic, a mix of different cultures, religions, and racial classifications. And then there is sex and sexual preference. Lani Guinier's mother was Jewish, her father Jamaican, but she is labeled as African-American. Why? How many centuries of ancestry in this country are needed to be described as a native American? When people die violently, we immediately attach labels to both victim and perpetrator. Some labels seem to have gained a bit of cachet (geek seems to have gone from negative to positive, where we now have the Geek Squad, complete with stereotypical glasses and pocket protectors) while others continue to inflame passions. Some cannot even be used without consequences (or even approximated - who would dare use the word niggardly in a public context any more?). I wish the author of this article well in seeking to get more academic dialog going on this topic, but as the posts above demonstrate, people, even academics, are going to have a very difficult time separating themselves from the inherent human tendency to label others, however ambiguous those labels might be.

15. 1reader - August 17, 2010 at 10:33 am

The political Left in this country thrives on tales of racial persecution just as the political Right thrives on tales of religious persecution. Both stir up stories and perceptions to solidify their bases. Politicians love to divide people into people groups, because group think is easy to control and manipulate. What we need in our dialogue is a stronger emphasis on individualism rather than group identity.

On power: the institutionalized racism in this country is in affirmative action laws.

16. eevee - August 17, 2010 at 11:27 am



The comments of #4 demonstrate the dynamics of racism. for racism to have any effectiveness it must be fueled by power--institutional power like govts, schools, corporations, etc. that can back up the individual's racist behavior. But, most important, racism is based on the belief that one race is superior to another. This country institutionalized racism when it adopted slavery and kept it legalized until the 60s when we finally began to see the demise of Jim Crow. Isn't is naive to think that racism disappeared as soon as institutionalized racism was no longer supported legally?

Black people are only 12% of this population and will never have the power (or even the desire) to do to others what was done to them. We don't have the power to alter your destiny, tell you where to live, keep your from getting what you want out of life. The NAACP is hardly a power base--it's one of many human rights advocacy groups that tries to protect and support a particular group of people. But the NAACP is long past its heyday and wields little influence beyond which what is accorded in the media.

Number 4s bitterness and hostility toward black people is troubling. Believing he or she is superior to black people (evidence the mgmt failures although none of those failures can outdo the repeated failures of George Bush who after bankrupting his personal businesses moved on to the USA!) is a prime ingredient of racism. Imagine being a black person walking into his or her classroom or authority center--would these judgements interfere with the success or rights of the black person in his midst? Do you think #4 would be fair?

Do us a favor--give us your name so we can stay away from you, please.

17. 11232247 - August 17, 2010 at 11:35 am

All of this suggests that African-Americans (as a group) cannot compete in a color blind and egalatarian society. It matters little which standardized measurement is chosen (i.e. ACT, SAT, LSAT, GRE, MCAT, etc) or how one cares to slice and dice the numbers by socio-economic status; the gap between African-Americans (as a group) and white Americans (as a group) has consistently remained slightly less than 1 standard deviation of difference between the two cohorts.

In statistical parlance, this is a significant difference if you are trying to understand how well "groups of people" are able to retain and process new information.

Therefore, it seems to me that affirmative action laws will need continuance in this country in perpetuity in order for African-Americans (as a group) to have access to the same levels of power and prosperity normally reserved for everyone else who is able to rise in a traditional merit based system. Sadly and unlike other minorities in this country, there is little evidence that African-Americans (as a group) will ever manage to compete on their own.

Naturally, the major drawback is that this type of policy is that it perpetuates the popular liberal & conservative notion that "individual" African-Americans are also unable to compete in any merit based organization. This is both an insult and a grave disservice to those individuals who fall into this category.

18. eevee - August 17, 2010 at 11:48 am



1reader--institutionalized racism includes the legacy "birthright" admissions policies of schools that favor white students ( George Bush, for example, to Yale) just because their families went there, not because of intellectual capabilities.

Affirmative action was created to assist a country from an era of legalized racism and apartheid to one of diversity. Its mission was to encourage the power base--white people--to look beyond their friends and family and consider people of color who showed merit and abilty to succeed. The problem with affirmative action was that it was almost exclusively managed by white people with views similar to yours--we have to hire or admit black people and they are all of equal and low ability; there is no difference among them--one is just like another. White people are so much more superior, why are we being forced to give one or two of them a chance when it means denying this place to a more deserving white person?

I'm not surprised affirmative action programs failed when the people who ran them did so with that point of view rather than one of excitement over an opportunity to find new talent from different backgrounds than yours and to mentor them to success.

19. hopeful_buffalo - August 17, 2010 at 11:58 am

What has race got to do with it? As long as "we" make it a flash point issue, it will be everything. I live in a city that has a very large black population, and often feel the other side of the story. If those that have suffered from racist treatment in the past cannot get past that, and stop treating the progeny of the their oppressors in the same manner, prejudice and mistrust will continue. All black schools and organizations are ok, but not white. There is a college in my area that has an all Native American dormitory floor. But, that is not allowed for Asian, White, Hispanics, etc. All Black Schools should be considered racist. If racist behavior is wrong against one race, it should be wrong to practice it by any race against any race. Until the "get even" attitudes are gone, there will always be the catalyst for racial violence and prejudice behavior by all. Equality can never be if our government, our schools, our people keep making exceptions and either giving more and less to one group or another.

20. 1reader - August 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

eevee,
I would argue that affirmative action laws are racist, because they presume that black people need extra help. I do not in any way think that black people are inferior. I think poor performance is caused by social programs that focus people on getting around the system instead of through it. Individual success and ability is severely undermined by this help. Despite their good intentions, affirmative action laws impede progress.

We have laws against discrimination. These laws are enough, if enforced. The courts should decide cases on an individual basis. Companies or institutions that allow discrimination should not survive.

I agree with you, "birthright" admission policies favor whites. I think these should be ended. We shouldn't combat them with laws that favor blacks; we should end them. We should emphasize individuals and resolve individual situations. Otherwise, one is stirring up racism, almost always for political gain.


21. gloriawalker - August 17, 2010 at 12:20 pm

To those of you that blame African Americans (native) for the problems get a grip. To gplm2000: I am African American and I graduated from a traditional Black college in the south. I entered traditonal White universities for (north and south)MA and DBA with no additional help and excelled by making excellent grades even when the professors did not want me in their classes because I was the only female and the only African American.
I worked in traditional White higher education institution where I excelled but was always paid less that the whites even thought they did not have the education or experience I had. My production was higher and I never received any recognition from my job. When I was recognized by the state and national organization my employer ignored it even though they had private invitations. My employer tried to stop me from community involvement and customer satisfaction as well.

When you speak of violence get a grip- I was beat by White Americans because of my color (paper bag). Black students on the so call traditional white campus were beat and killed by a White racist group also. The news made it look like a riot the people came to the campus to beat them and later me (the only African American). The college administration covered the events up.

PIMPS ARE PEOPLE TO USE PEOPLE TO GET MONEY BY ANY MEANS- WHAT DO YOU CALL THE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES THAT RECRUIT TO DO THIS YET THE STUDENTS NEVER GRADUATE. WHO GAINED THE SCHOOL BECAUSE THE STUDENTS ARE PAYING LOANS FOR A LIFETIME.
Black institutions did well until intergration. I know doctors, lawyers, teachers and many other professionals that attended these school. Most of all when I was in the MA program the others realized that I was smarter. Professor were divided on how to treat me but I stood tall. I also have compared HBCU to the other schools and discovered how SACS, governmental entities decided these schools no longer need to exist. So they do all they can to eliminate them while the traditional schools capitalize on the targets "students".

gplm2000 there is more that I could say but you are a sad sad something.
Do you know who Dr. Charles Drew was and what happened to him?
Do you know who designed the traffic lights?
Do you know the average age an African American child walks and talk?
Do you know how many African Americans have Bachelor degrees, Masters and Doctorates in the US?
I SUPPOSE YOU LOVE THE INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE THAT COME TO AMERICA SO IT IS OK TO GIVE THEM SETTLEMENT MONEY OF $1,OOO PER PERSON WHILE THEY WORK, GET FREE EDUCATION AND ACCEPTANCE EVEN PUSH NATIVE AFRICAN AMERICANS BACK UNTIL WAR.

WHEN YOU SPEAK OF VIOLENCE THINK OF EVERY COUNTRY THE EUROPEANS HAVE INVADED AND HOW. SOUTH AFRICA, UNITED STATES, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRAILIA ETC.

When will you wake up stop this foolishness and realize we hurt, bleed, breathe too.

22. jamccain - August 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

To # 4 and 17-Why does God allow people like you to continue to exist. You are of no benefit on earth? Like Satan you breed and thrive on HATE.

To #21 Loved your retort to gplm2000.

"affirmative action laws are reverse discrimination?" Ok get rid of all the affirmative action laws that protect minority groups and see how those minorities will desenigrate back into slavery serving in the "master's plantation house and plantation fields." It's not that African Americans are not intelligent and strong people, they are. But the power structures that be is not going to "ever" play fair and equal. So we need laws set in place to help protect minorities because otherwise we would not have a chance in hell. This is Satan's world and he has caused a DIVISION between the human family. He control the powers that be and only God will be able to bring a new order and do away will all evils.

23. hopeful_buffalo - August 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

gloriawalker - What stood out for me in your note was your mention of South Africa. South Africa and other Afican countries have moved on to remove all "white" rule. They have also moved into taking farm land and lives from average income farmers not of their race. I cannot image changing the entire world. But, if the anger is controlled, and more people of different races begin to stop thinking only in terms of those races... those religions... and all the other excuses we have for dividing ourselves, maybe we can get this "country" on track. We all know there are bad people in this world, and they exist in all the races.

24. 1reader - August 17, 2010 at 01:42 pm

#22,

We have anti-discrimination laws for protecting minorities. If discrimination laws are enforced, discrimination will be weeded out. If the laws aren't enforced, then adding more laws won't help.

On the other hand, affirmative action laws discriminate against people because of race and gender. They can also create a dependency mentality in the people they are designed to help, diverting focus and energy toward "getting help and preference" rather than succeeding on merit and hard work. They undermine the personal achievement of individuals, leaving questions about whether the people "helped" would have succeeded on their own merits. They give excuses to those passed over for a job. They cause resentment in those who feel slighted because they are not eligible for the benefits or favoritism. They cause defensiveness in those who receive the benefits. They stir up strife.

I believe we'd be a lot further along in terms of racial equality if affirmative action policy had never existed. Discrimination should have been fought straight on, case by case, with strong punishment for those found guilty. Unfortunately, one political party heavily relies on stirring up racial hatred, making minorities angry and whites guilty, which translates to sustained power and votes.

25. 11232247 - August 17, 2010 at 01:44 pm

I believe the grammar usage and writing style of Jamccain (#22) has made a better case than I ever could have (see #17) for why America will need to maintain our current array of affirmative action laws into the foreseeable future.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

26. eevee - August 17, 2010 at 02:34 pm



ireader--

affirmative action laws weren't only created for minorities. Affirmative action was needed so that whites, those who do most of the hiring and make all the decisions, would allow free competition and go outside their pool of friends and family to give others a shot. While you might be fair and open, consider # 4 as head of a search committee, a manager, or even a teacher.

I'm not even arguing for affirmative action but I believe the attack on the mission of affirmative action is often specious, hypocritical, selfish and often racist (superiority based). There are so many people, talented, who need to be brought in, who need mentors, whose only flaws are poverty, gender, skin color, etc. Outreach is always good, no matter what you call it.

Give me a break on those anti-discrimination laws. Only in situations where overt discrimination occurs and where the victim is lucky to get someone to support him (and has the money to fight a system) in an environment allied against him, will someone get justice via this means.

In a country that is largely run by white people and provides whites with countless privileges and options, I am always surprised at the outrage expressed when this subject comes up. As any job coach will tell you, finding jobs usually depends on you know--it's never been a meritocracy anywhere with anything.

27. trendisnotdestiny - August 17, 2010 at 02:37 pm

It is very tiresome to read privileged white men write about race as if they have some insight as to what racism is....

Again, those who benefit from the policies of the dominance or the culture of power exist by virtue of mostly transgenerational wealth transfers, cultivated relationships within power and the appearance/embodiment of white culture ($$$$ profits over people). However, what is most absurd is when power claims impotence or helplessness....

Calls for reverse racism or racism dependence are the types of convoluted prejudices by people who are not able to clearly see what their impact on people has been: historically, relationally, or as individuals acting in their own self interest (who do not want anymore competition from "the perceived depths of the underclass")....

This is the worst form of racism where the distortions in the system are used as an excuse to claim victimhood or denial. This is a common theme for the future as people of color all over the globe will be competing for resources knowing the history of oppression within and outside white America where our Federal Reserve, Pentagon, Financial and Higher Educational Institutions are the elite launching pads of another generation of white male plunders looking to seize and maintain extreme wealth while the rest wallow without health insurance, get cancer the drinking water while mining for natural gas or get ripped off in their neighborhood banking institutions (payday lenders).... At some point you have to look out into the environment and admit we do not do a good job of taking care of people (especially people who are different in appearance)....

As a white male in this society, it sickens me to see such a lack of reflexivity and the deeer-in-the-headlights fear that what you have is going to be taken away like 5 year old clinging to a toy. Grow up, its not just about you!

28. 1reader - August 17, 2010 at 03:12 pm

trendisnotdestiny, #27,

People against affirmative action (people I've heard talk about it, anyway, which are many) do not seem to be motivated by fear of privilege being taken away. I'm certainly not. I want what's best for the poorest and weakest in our country, and in the entire world, just as I assume you do. I'm not claiming any sort of personal victimhood. You and I have a difference of opinion on how that can be best and most quickly achieved.

What's childish is to start name calling, and attributing my opinions to fear or bad motives rather than discussing the real arguments for and against affirmative action laws.

By the way, I'm not a white male.




29. gplm2000 - August 17, 2010 at 03:33 pm

Thank you all for proving my points. I am amazed at the bitterness of many posters towards anyone with legitimate criticism of black culture. Maybe someday you will realize that it is not about "melatonin" and all about a self-defeating culture. No one can deal with those who defend the indefensible, such as lousy schools, neighborhood killings every night(film at 11), mismanaged city govts., ill-prepared kids for nothing good, phony churches and colleges, plus "poverty pimps" for leaders. BTW, S.Africa is going down the economic tubes and is hardly a safe place to live. Maybe following the path of Zimbabwe---a place of "riches to rags".

The American Negro (the correct societal name) needs to realize that success comes from earning respect in a society, not having the govt. impose it. They need to join the societal mainstream and fully participate. Currently, they listen to no one else but the "poverty pimps" and college faculty.

30. marka - August 17, 2010 at 03:35 pm

We continue to be prisoners of our own views of history ... and 'race.' Certainly much 'discrimination' has occurred against racial/ethnic/cultural/gendered groups by those in power. One of the more striking bits of discrimination is against the poor - socioeconomic status is a far more significant factor in many interactions & discriminations in our society -- if you can't pay the fare, life isn't fair. And even more amazing to me is that many of us think this is perfectly OK - perhaps we can 'help' po' folk by 'giving' them minimal housing assistance, food stamps, and other welfare, but of course they aren't entitled to nice homes, cars, clothes, etc., we aren't obligated to give up much to help them, and we don't need or want to interact with them. And this is reflected in our laws: discrimination on the basis of socioeconomic status is generally not illegal -- if you can't pay for housing, food, etc., there is no obligation for anyone to give it to you (collectively, we might provide welfare, but you can't sue someone for not giving you the housing, car, food, etc., for a reduced or eliminated fee). In any number of countries, this is actually encouraged and supported by many customs (e.g., caste in India, and to some extent in other parts of Asia (peasant farmers); social class in England, and 'working' class v. capitalists in other countries)

The key to such abuse is seeing differences between 'us' and 'them.' For example, we in the US used to talk about the Irish 'race,' the Italian 'race,' the Polish 'race,' the -fill in the blank- race.

Our current understanding of biology is that there is only one 'race' - the human race. Continued talk of different 'races' serves to perpetuate the sense that there are important differences. Until we get to a place where 'race' is no longer something we need to talk about, these differences will continue to be accentuated.

So, how do we break out of this vicious cycle? Well, we can certainly acknowledge our past shortcomings in seeing distinctions (ethnicity, culture, gender, etc.) as significant differences that justify unequal treatment -- we've discriminated against Germans, Italians, Poles, Irish ... you name it, we've discriminated against 'it'. We can talk about the many commonalities we share as part of the human race that override any distinctions or differences. And we can focus on the content of character of each individual, as we move towards a place - far in the future - where those differences of class, ethnicity, culture, custom, gender, etc. are far less important than those things we share in common.

31. newpseudo - August 17, 2010 at 04:42 pm

To gplm2000, no, thank you for proving my point. You didn't answer my questions (in #10) because you didn't want to address the "self-defeating culture" of the bank administrators and others (see #10)who needed to be bailed out.

Also, you didn't point out in the article where Hartigan blamed White people. I'm not saying it isn't there. Perhaps I missed it. Please point it out.

32. newpseudo - August 17, 2010 at 04:54 pm

To hopeful_buffalo, if you're referring to HBCUs, they are open to everyone. Most of them also have White, Latino, and Asian students.

The only all Black organization (at least I think it's all Black, I really don't know for sure) is the New Black Panther Party and I'm unaware of anyone (other than their members) who say that it is ok. Could you be more specific and name the schools and organizations that you think are all Black?

33. fslady - August 17, 2010 at 05:23 pm


#6: "The color of one's skin is simply that. Nothing more than melatonin."
#29: "Maybe someday you will realize that it is not about "melatonin" and all about a self-defeating culture."

In the midst of so much drama and debate, no one pointed out that "melanin" is the pigment that gives skin it's color and not melatonin. If we require our students to be accurate, we should be the same.

34. 1reader - August 17, 2010 at 05:47 pm

newpseudo,

The bank administrators are "self-defeating" because they are also part of the dependency culture--highly dependent on government for their every move and profits. Bureaucrats love dependency, because it shores up their own power. That's why the banking industry fails, then demands and always gets, bailouts.

Banking/ finance is one of the most highly regulated industries in the US, and so the most corrupt. Instead of competing to please the multitude of individual consumers for their profits, they simply collude with bureaucrats and regulators to set up deals (You get us a sweet deal, and we'll support your political cause). In the recent crisis, bureaucrats wanted banks to collude in their affirmative action housing projects, and when it became obvious that banks couldn't make money by following, the bureaucrats and banks colluded in the "bundling" scheme. AND, the bureaucrats called people "racist" who tried to stop the scheme.

Highly regulated industries get accustomed to free rides, risk-free profits and bailouts, and they no longer know how to run a real business that can win the business of of free-minded consumers. See health care.

What Thoreau says applies, that "government never of itself furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way." Affirmative action is government getting in the way.

35. trendisnotdestiny - August 17, 2010 at 08:28 pm

@ 1reader

QUOTE
"People against affirmative action (people I've heard talk about it, anyway, which are many) do not seem to be motivated by fear of privilege being taken away. I'm certainly not. I want what's best for the poorest and weakest in our country, and in the entire world, just as I assume you do."

First I have a problem with benevolent notions of wanting to help, but giving people a kick in the ass. Granted that AA resistance is not monolithic (It was wrong to suggest it). However, I do not believe (as a former financial consultant at a major brokerage firm in 1990s) that your comments fully capture "the zero sum game" belief that many white males with privilege attach to first attaining wealth and then maintaining it.... all other policies reflect the fear of losing wealth. You see this in the accounting, offshoring swiss bank accounts and tax policy. Hence a conservative approach to money, family formation & social supports.... Your point is well taken, but I fear that it is more naive approach when considering the game of global capitalism. One could suggest that my position is equally naive that AA policies do not necessarily assist people out of poverty. But, my response is that there are so many destructive elements aimed at the SES, people of color communities and single mothers that I am realistic about how long transgenerational wealth stability will take as their communities suffer almost 2-3 times as much poverty, imprisonment, financial predation etc.... Sending someone a life raft while they are treading water is better alternative than letting them develop their backstroke....

QUOTE
"I'm not claiming any sort of personal victimhood. You and I have a difference of opinion on how that can be best and most quickly achieved."

I wasn't referring to you with those comments by any means. My point here was to challenge the idea of reverse racism as an equivalent to our racist histories. Its not! Its different. It is kind of like taking a vacation in an abandoned house versus living there permanently. One aspect is a person's mobility or an ability to opt out of a given situation in the dominant culture. This is where reverse racism is a canard because we know there are different standards for different people (who cannot opt out given similar circumstances)... this is where access to resources and a families accumulation of wealth provide advantage (largely on the backs of the underclass)....

I have read your comments and applaud your dialogues even as I challenge a few things.

QUOTE
"What's childish is to start name calling, and attributing my opinions to fear or bad motives rather than discussing the real arguments for and against affirmative action laws."

I can own that! Again, this wasn't really directed at you. But I will say that authors here like eevee and gloria walker do an excellent job of naming problems (better than I) and issues surrounding AA. My overall point was that with arguments like reverse racism or racism dependence, the issue of power/dominance gets pushed aside in a competitive form of apples and oranges BS (see glpm2000).....

These are my questions: maybe you could have a go

Who benefits from anti affirmative action policies?
- immediately
- longterm

Who is harmed by these aAA policies?
- health, income
- emotionally(stigma), dependence

Who has the power to shape 1 & 2
- historical context
- interested parties

Peace

36. fizmath - August 17, 2010 at 11:04 pm

trendisnotdivesity said:
"It is very tiresome to read privileged white men write about race as if they have some insight as to what racism is....

.......
As a white male in this society, it sickens me to see such a lack of reflexivity and the deeer-in-the-headlights fear that what you have is going to be taken away like 5 year old clinging to a toy. Grow up, its not just about you!"

Wait a minute. You are white and also say that whites don't know what racism is?

37. 1reader - August 17, 2010 at 11:50 pm

trendisnotdestiny,

I don't believe the tripe that for some people to rise others must fall ("zero sum game"), and I don't think many (if any) conservatives (who tend to be anti-AA) believe that either. It seems to be much more of a "liberal" belief that the proverbial pie is a fixed size, etc. Conservatives believe that people become rich by creating products and services (wealth) for others. From my former experience in a Fortune 500 company, I think that most business people (who tend to be conservative and relatively wealthy) think society rises or falls together, and that more wealthy people means a larger market for their products. It's a part of their daily conversation, hope, and excitement to think about a wealthy China, for example. If Africa and inner-city slums would rise, then all the better. The more wealthy people, the bigger their market. A conservative's distaste for government programs is that they believe these programs hurt the economy as a whole, which makes everyone poorer and shrinks the market. It's selfish, sure, but inclusively so.

On your questions:

What are anti-AA policies anyway? Simply the absence of AA policies? That's called equality under the law. But going with it...

Who benefits from anti affirmative action policies?
- immediately
I don't like calling immediate gains true benefits; politicians on both sides fight each other for the immediate benefits of politicizing this issue. Those who would have been discriminated against in individual cases would immediately gain if AA were stopped.
- longterm
We all do.

Who is harmed by these aAA policies?
- health, income
- emotionally(stigma), dependence
The discriminatory AA policies themselves cause emotional stigmatism and dependence. AA might have played a role in getting me my current job, since I'm the only female professional in my organization. This distresses me. I wish this doubt didn't linger. I've seen a black woman put into a position she wasn't ready for, and she failed. This doesn't help anyone. Government programs help like an addictive drug helps. They don't really help.

Who has the power to shape 1 & 2
- historical context
- interested parties
Voters.

The only way "the wealthy" have any power to supress others is through us giving government power to discriminate. If we give government power to discriminate (always ostensibly to help the poor), then favoritism can be bought by the wealthy and powerful, and it always is. In the name of affirmative action (and many other "good causes"), we give bureaucrats arbitrary power, which they always sell for political gain. See the banking and health care industries.



38. newpseudo - August 18, 2010 at 06:25 am

1reader, you wrote, "The discriminatory AA policies themselves cause emotional stigmatism and dependence. AA might have played a role in getting me my current job, since I'm the only female professional in my organization. This distresses me. I wish this doubt didn't linger. I've seen a black woman put into a position she wasn't ready for, and she failed."

I've also worked in private industry (as well as in academia) and I've seen many White men put into positions they weren't ready for, and they failed. (A lot of times when they failed, however, they received really great severance packages.)

You are in no position to speak for anyone but yourself. You cannot get inside another person's head and speak for them. You don't know what another person's life experiences have been and what distresses them. If you were speaking for yourself and have doubts about your abilities, then that is your issue and your problem.

39. 1reader - August 18, 2010 at 08:18 am

newpseudo,

In forums such as these, we all comment on sociology outside ourselves. It'd be rather dull to only recite our own direct experiences. I observe, you observe, and we offer insights and generalizations on human nature and the effects of policy on society.

From my observations at a large company, there was no discrimination against women or minorities. Any discrimination was against white men, under the banner of AA, and this was sanctioned and institutionalized. Men could not speak up about it without being attacked, and they were amazingly complicit.

People who view people in terms of ethnic and gender groups would see this as a tiny move toward justice (a minor compensation for vast past problems between others of similar genders and races, with much more compensation expected). I saw it as unfair discrimination and favoratism among individuals, and I saw it as an unhealthy and harmful policy that should be stopped.




40. newpseudo - August 18, 2010 at 08:50 am

1reader, I'm not sure how your response relates to my post. You observed that a Black woman failed in a position. I observed that many White men have also failed in positions for which they were not ready. That's life. Some people succeed and some people fail in their jobs, for various reasons.

From my observations at a large company, no one was discriminated against, and especially not White men. You have your observations and I have mine.

You have some lingering doubts about something (not sure what)and that distresses you. If you think you might have gotten your job because of AA and you're distressed and have lingering doubts, then quit. Otherwise, don't assume that your problems (lingering self-doubts or whatever) with AA are shared by everyone else who might have benefited from AA.

41. 1reader - August 18, 2010 at 09:16 am

newpseudo,

My response was primarily related to this part of your post: "You are in no position to speak for anyone but yourself."

42. 22261984 - August 18, 2010 at 10:19 am

It's easy to overlook the big story in these recent controversies, namely that everyone involved -- the Obama administration, the Tea Party movement, the NAACP, Ms. Sherrod, and don't forget Senator Webb -- now proceeds from the same basic premise: No one (white or black, Latino or Asian, etc.) should be discrimianted against because of skin color, and justice should be colorblind. That's good news -- great news in fact, and all Americans can take pride in it.

And the fact that there is this basic consensus -- not only among those in the news but, more importantly, among the overwhelming majoritiy of all Americans -- means race relations are better than other, are in fact very good, and will continue to improve even more. That's happy news, too, for everyone outside the racial-grievaance industry, and an important blessing always worth counting.

Indeed, I never can understand exactly what the national conversation is supposed to be about: Nearly everyone agrees that racial discrimination, though it still exists (in ever-declining amounts), is wrong and that individuals should be judged as individuals. (I guess we could also discuss the role of culture in the nagging persistence of racial disparities -- and the bias it unfortunately encourages -- and in particular the disastrous effects of 7 out of 10 African Americans now being born out of wedlock. But somehow I don't think this is what those calling for the national conversation on race have in mind.)

43. 22261984 - August 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

Post 43 was from Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity, btw.

44. trendisnotdestiny - August 18, 2010 at 10:33 am

@ fizmath,

yes on both accounts for the most part.... there is the life we learn with and the life we live after that.... I think living in dominant culture that privileges whiteness can prevent all the various ways of knowing about racism for many (including non-priviledged members of society): personally mediated, institutional and internalized forms.

Often, the dominant culture attributes success or characteristics of whiteness to their own personal struggle not realizing that they are carrying a whole knapsack of unearned privileges (see Peggy McClintock's work here --- the invisible knapsack). What we tell ourselves about ethnicity, body shape or perceptions of difference are often molded by cultural norms....

I am not immune to this either.... however every once in awhile someone comes along in your life and challenges your world view.
So my perspective on racism as a white male with privilege unchalleneged has been quite different than my education on how racism works in society as someone in an interracial marriage. I am not a pillar of non-prejudicial thinking, but my explicit goals are to be open to hearing peoples' stories of racism, sexism, impoverishment, and how they internalize receiving contempt (the most toxic of all)... (instead of explaining them away as a form of disciplinary power)

QUOTE
"Wait a minute. You are white and also say that whites don't know what racism is?"


Fizmath, I do not believe in reductionism... so I am quite certain that white males with privilege who understand racism exist, but as a trend this is a group that most commonly offers these excuses in discussions and promotes policies that reinforce the dominant status quo: (note I offer no monolithic statements of certainty or completeness)

1) Post-racial commentary
2) Denial of its existence, Avoidance and Blame
3) Reverse Racism arguments
4) Racism Dependence

In ending, my position is that by virtue of living in an overtly/covertly racist culture that we all suffer from biases that are embedded in our thinking. It is the job of the academic to create moments of awareness which challenges these biases in ourselves first and then within our support systems expanding knowledge incrementally.... There are no paragons of virture here and no one is innocent or has an easy roadmap to relational harmony.

45. trendisnotdestiny - August 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

@ 1reader

"I don't believe the tripe that for some people to rise others must fall ("zero sum game"), and I don't think many (if any) conservatives (who tend to be anti-AA) believe that either. It seems to be much more of a "liberal" belief that the proverbial pie is a fixed size, etc."

I do not think very many people with rich imaginations do believe in a zero sum game, but the people who in my experience use this rhetoric the most are the corporatists (kind of putting a hole in your belief that conservatives are more holistic thinkers theory). Conservative interests over the last few decades have embraced short term, compartmentalized profit taking over all other things (this comprises a zero sum game of sorts). When you think of the Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute, many of their policies attack current New Deal programs using zero sum arguments to persuade the populace. Your analysis may require a bit more reading and nuance

QUOTE
"I think that most business people (who tend to be conservative and relatively wealthy) think society rises or falls together, and that more wealthy people means a larger market for their products."

If you knew very many wealthy people, you would know that wealth does not want added competition (see the internet bubble)... The truly wealthy that I know (above 25 million in assets)see society rising through capital innovation, technology, building... They see labor as something to be used and is replaceable... Let's not glorify the ultra wealthy here... In large swathes, they are far from humanists...

Your responses to the questions struck me as simplistic and rather unresponsive to issue of power (this confirms my earlier belief that your argument for racism dependence is really a canard as an attack on government (in favor of corporations)

The issue of addiction is an important element in your dependency belief, but not everyone helped by AA is dependent. Last week, Pew came out with research showing the 20 million americans avoid poverty based on social security... Many conservatives lump AA in with medicare, social security and pell grants. They call them entitlements (which is an abusive way characterize the social safety net). Do you address social security dependence or medicare dependence in this analysis. No, instead you miss the central theme defining our economic history over the last 30 years: socializing risk and privatizing gain.....

QUOTE
"The only way "the wealthy" have any power to supress others is through us giving government power to discriminate. If we give government power to discriminate (always ostensibly to help the poor), then favoritism can be bought by the wealthy and powerful, and it always is. In the name of affirmative action (and many other "good causes"), we give bureaucrats arbitrary power, which they always sell for political gain. See the banking and health care industries."

You might want to re-think your understanding of lobbying, incestuous boards of directors, offshoring of assets in swiss bank accounts, access to proprietary information and whole host of accounting strategies that assist wealthy clients in maintaining their influence, hierarchy and ability to control employment.

Lastly, you mistakenly assume the government has more power over people than corporations. The power of any nation-state in a world controlled by free market capitalistic interests is reduced by industries ability to generate GDP growth. I have said this before, but it apparently needs to be restatedd: industry is the King, government are industry's servants and consumers are the jesters. Most educated people would already acknowledge that our government is corrupt, but to ignore the benefactors of this corruption creates a myopic view to understand Affirmative Action

46. trendisnotdestiny - August 18, 2010 at 11:36 am

@ 22261984

"And the fact that there is this basic consensus -- not only among those in the news but, more importantly, among the overwhelming majoritiy of all Americans -- means race relations are better than other, are in fact very good, and will continue to improve even more. That's happy news, too, for everyone outside the racial-grievaance industry, and an important blessing always worth counting."

A couple of questions:

1) Who do you put in your overwhelming majority that say race relations are getting better? Any sample from Arizona? Chicago?

2) With mass joblessness, unemployment, financial predation, imprisonment and crises of ecology, where are these communities of improvements of race relations in the US (be specific)

3) Please enlighten us about who the members are in racial-grievance industry. Make sure to be comprehensive because your words assume a certain level on par with the financial sector or the military-industrial complex.

"Indeed, I never can understand exactly what the national conversation is supposed to be about: Nearly everyone agrees that racial discrimination, though it still exists (in ever-declining amounts), is wrong and that individuals should be judged as individuals."

The fact that you cannot understand the conversation does not support your points, in fact it confirms beliefs that you see what you want to see... Please provide some evidence that racial discrimination is declining (overt declines, covert declines, institutional declines) need references for this one...

Maybe someone might show you so empirical evidence of wealth disparities in this country before and after the housing crisis. Or how about the number of payday lenders in neighborhoods of color. Also, discrimination takes many forms and you seem so certain that is lessening, but we know that in times of economic depression/recession that families of color are twice to three times as affected by economic cycles.... While we all would like to be more positive about a topic that is difficult to confront, what we do not need are the disingenuous selling its all better now as a form of therapy.... You are better than that!

47. 22261984 - August 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

@trendisnotdestiny: Rather than provide you with all the documentation you list, I would just ask you to consider objectively the relationship, rights, and opportunities of different racial and ethnic groups in, say, 1650, 1950, and 2010. You can also look at recent Gallup polls, our president's lineage, the civil-rights provisions in the U.S. Code, and some Census data, and then watch a couple of hours of prime time TV. Maybe take a look at this: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/193050/some-fun-facts-know-and-tell-martin-luther-king-day/roger-clegg

It's hard NOT to be positive!

48. jimania - August 18, 2010 at 05:41 pm

Anytime people bring "qualifiers" (race, age, etc.) into the discussion it is to make excuses, demand privilege or otherwise gain a self serving result. It should be noted that when "race" comes into discussion it is almost always for blacks or hispanics, you really never hear it applied to east asian, inuit, American indians. It's hard to respect any "diversity" when people talk out of both sides of their mouth - one time I'm supposed to notice race and another time I'm not supposed to notice race.

49. getwell - August 18, 2010 at 06:00 pm

Labels...labels...rhetoric...rhetoric...blah...blah...blah.

I have a day job (with a Masters degree, yet highly underpaid) with real deadlines and responsibilities, so could those of you who run-on-at-the-mouth in these comments please try to shorten your monologues so that I can actually read your CHE comments in one sitting:)

In my job at a major medical research center, I encounter EVERY diverse culture and ethnicity on the planet...and each person seems to have one common goal - curing sickness and disease.

Seriously people, does color really matter when you're sick and/or dying?

50. trendisnotdestiny - August 19, 2010 at 08:26 am



@ 1reader
Derivative investments are a zero sum game. I wonder who pushed for these to be unregulated investments en masse during the last twenty years?

@ 22261984,
I see your point... In considering the gains achieved over time, it is hard to refute that some progress has been made. However, most forms of racism have transitioned from overt forms (KKK, Segregation, Lynchings, Inability to secure a loan until early 60's) into alternate or competing forms of racism disguised under auspices that everything is OK now....

Polls in Pennsylvannia suggested 15-20% of the state population was "not ready" for a black president (as if his heritage was as simple as black and white)....

Also, I might add that just because he got elected does not mean that his race, class, sexuality, religios beliefs are not co-opted as a means to sell us that look we gave you a non-white president.... now let us go back to doing what we want with the economy, health care... Obama doesn't represent the middle class... his financial advisors Geithner/Summers are running the show... He is a figure head in corporate model designed to market race to citizens in more pallatable forms....

haven't looked at the national review article, but will! stay tuned

@ jimania,

QUOTE
"Anytime people bring "qualifiers" (race, age, etc.) into the discussion it is to make excuses, demand privilege or otherwise gain a self serving result. It should be noted that when "race" comes into discussion it is almost always for blacks or hispanics, you really never hear it applied to east asian, inuit, American indians."

People who use always and never rarely stick around to fully understand their errors... There are so many examples to throw out here I am going heed getwell's advice and suggest there are more important things in the world jimania's indifference

51. honore - August 19, 2010 at 10:36 am

Nothing like that 4-letter word "race" to bring out the "best" in our academic/administratie communities. And ah yes, we all have THE answer, as we continue to step on each other's heads in our climb to reach that race nirvana.

Seriously now, the dynamic of "RACE" around the world, but especially in multi-racial societies will NEVER be over, not because I say so, but because 500 years of racial "encounter" in the Western Hemisphere (itself a "racist" term with Euro-centric orgins, many will claim) have proven this consistently.

There is NOT 1 country/culture in the world where "race" (even in predominantly ONE racial group contexts (China, Japan, India...) is not a source of social strife.

However, what I believe sets the USAmerican context apart from the rest of planet is that we (not all) dare to engage the machinations of a racial utopia not yet witnessed on this earth.
Right or not, good or bad, do-able or not, the American podium of race dialogue AT LEAST continues to keep "race" before the masses who for the most part would rather grab their gym bag, wax their kayak, keep their tanning appointment or grab that plastic doggie poo bag and run out to immerse themselves in their non-racial fantasy life, while completely ignoring that RACE has for CENTURIES been the primary determinant of where, how and what quality of life we each have.

Some crusaders will always claim to possess the holy racial grail within their hearts if not their hands. Others claim to "rise above the fray" and tell us all, "I just don't see race" (from their all-white, upper-SES, preciously-restored Frank Lloyd Wright mansion in University Hts, where illegal Mexican Indian lawn crews and pool skimmers broil under the August sun to maintain their perfectly "non-racial" comatose world reality. They don't "see" these people either.

From the "racial" continuum, stories will erupt from all corners of the American "race" pot.

We will tell ourselves (not all) that with a "Black" president, we've had as much "dialogue" as we need(ed) to EVER have, but yet NEVER ask the question..."Is Obama categorically Black or is White?".

And while we decry the 1-drop rule as the invention of a syphilitic, toothles, illiterate slave owner in colonial America that defined "negro" as anyone with any "black" ancestor, we STILL observe this cultural and historical inanity EVERYDAY.

Are Halle Berry or Vanessa Williams Black? Says who? The old slave-owner in colonial "Carolina" who spent more time in the barn with his female slaves than learning to read?

We hear "people of color" again and again, but NO ONE, ever asks, "where did this racist term come from?" and why do we accept it so readily, when it is grossly offensive to MILLIONS of people around the world who had NO ROLE in its creation.

A former Japanese-born graduate student of mine shared that he was furious to hear Americans throw this term at everyone THEY perceive as NON-White, as if WHITENESS was THE ONLY benchmark from which to measure, judge and categorize the rest of the planet.

He added... "I am Japanese IN Japan and EVERYWHERE else on the planet and I will NEVER accept American ignorance, culturalism, tribalism and provincialism as the metric by which I will EVER view myself".

Another student of European descent from a Latin American cultural context also raised the issue of Americans' myopic view of the rest of the planet and the people IN IT, everytime she heard the term "people of color" on her Ivy League campus where she couldn't believe such ignorance would regularly meet up with its best friend "arrogance". She was of German descent from Brazil where she shared stories (with Americans who could be bothered to listen) about the LARGEST Oktoberfest out side of Bavaria...in Blumenau, Brasil (google it). No, not in Milwaukee!

An undergraduate from Nigeria, once shared that he found the term "people of color" totally useless at any level because it ONCE again allowed the "white" man to define OTHERS with absolutely NO consultation. He added that it was absolutely incredible to hear American volunteers in HIS homeland refer to him and his people as "non-white" or "people of color". I as left speechless and grateful at that AH-HAH moment then and still today.

Yes, the "race" dialogue is healthy but Americans typical view of the racial realities of others continues to be naive, ill-informed and subsequently awkward, if not out-right wrong.

Let's stop listening to the Taco Bell Chihuaha and spend some time communicating with the HUMAN at the other end of Lolita's leash. YOu just might learn that "Mexican" is NOT a race.

Yes, yes, I KNOW, "race" is a social construction and if you believe that widely chanted nonsense then be sure to tell Zulus they are just imagining their tall height and that Pygmies just "think" they are not.

Racial differences DO exist and denying them and sugar-coating "difference" with "non-racial", politically-correct terms such as
"diversity", "multi-cultural" or UGHHHHH...."people of color" just serve to deny EVERYONE their authenticity and reduce ALL of us to faux-political rubble.

P.S. NOW, the CHE editors can remove this post, no doubt because of its TOO close-to-home reality check. After all, we can just continue to cite studies, statistics and "findings" of think tanks in hermatically-sealed, high-rise offices in Washington, DC, staffed by totally "non-racially" cognizant "experts". And haters...go at it...I know you will.

52. trendisnotdestiny - August 19, 2010 at 01:12 pm

@ Honore


You make an excellent point here (one that I am guilty of all the time, mostly through ignorance and academic lingo).... "People of color" tends to be a default phrase to describe a large group of non-white males with privilege.... Thank you for your effort to reshape this discussion so as (at least with my language)to make change a relational understanding with the world we live in....

I know I will be changing the way I write about the complexities of race...

53. wturnertsu - August 19, 2010 at 03:30 pm

There can be no real dialogue about race until those who, historically, have benefitted most from institutionalized application of racial differences as the basis for hiring, promoting and firing. How shocking is the notion of forcing others to enter the back door of an establishment to dine, because of the color of their skins. Yet, when, out of necessity they enter, they are still rquired to pay the same for the food, but not permitted to use the same clean toilets that others use, to discard the waste. In a democractic country, with a constitution espousing equality among men, the government actively enforced such racist policies for centuries. Those who benfitted gained an adbantage from which they still reap a greater disproportion of the resources from the country; they've also reaped greater resources from other peoples of color from other countries.

There will be a real discussion on race when theose who have benefitted in the past discover that it is a new day and that it is to their own advantage that the matter be honestly addressed in a civilized and sincere manner. China has far too numerous a population of non-whites and they have a very formidable armed forces and economy. Unless the racists here in America learn to deal with the impact of racism here among their own black cousins, whom they've discriminated against, they'll never be able to deal with the homogenous people who are called Chinese, whom they've also discriminated against.

It is ridiculous for those who had loved-ones to die, directly as a result of 9/11 to think that because of their deaths, Americans must stop being Americans. President Bush declared it a war. As a result of that war, the Iraqis and Aghanistani people suffered a lot more collateral damage than the 3000 plus we suffered on 9/11. I, as well as any decent humanbeing, moan and regret the deaths of all of those who lost their lives. But, I, for one, do not believe their deaths justify the wholesale change in a basic-tenent of what being an American means and what America, itself, has always stood for. No crying woman on t.v., still moaning the death of her family member, despite the millions received from the government and private insurance, should succeed in blocking the right of a people who practice Islam from constructing on their own private property a structure, which, is otherwise in compliance with buildiong codes, the ordinance of the city of NY and the laws of the U.S. and the state of NY and which there exists no evidence, whatsoever, that the structure will be used to engage in criminal or terroristic activities.

People, who were professed believers in Islam, commandeered the planes causing the destruction of the Towers; Islam, itself, didn't. It is not for Obama, or anyone else, to question the wisdom of the followers of Islam to build their Cultural Center near "ground zero." It is for the owners of the property and for the believers to decide and for them, alone. Even if they own property directly on top of the site of the Towers, if they chose to build there, as Americans, we should not question them or their decision. While some Muslims flew the planes, Islam, itself, didn't. If those of us who truly love and respect this country and believe that the grand experiement must continue allow folks to hijack and corrupt our way of life, even in the face of something as sensitive and horrendous as 9/11, then we are on a dangerous and slippery slope to the end. Given the deaths and terrorism of the Klan, perpetuated against innocent and helpless blacks,while professing to be doing so in the name of Christianity, if we follow the same logic of some family-members of the direct victims of 9/11, black folks would want to prevent the construction of churches anywhere in America; Or, Y.M.C.A.'s or its' new name: "The Y." Ridiculous, right. It is just as ridiculous for the person representing the embodiment of who we are, as Americans, to come back, and for political expediency, say that he "questions the wisdom" of people to build a religious structure on their own property.

We need a dialogue on race. However, it cannot be facilitated by someone who is still insecure or ambivalent about which race he is in, himself. If it is facilitated by such a person, there will be too many rush to judgment; too many premature declarations such as "post-racial" climate and and hasty decisions to silence, what appears to be racism, in order to disprove suggestions that he is showing favoritism towards blacks. Let's have the dialogue. But, let us have secure people facilitate the discussions, from both, or all races represented in America. The Chinese are great and growing. If we don't start soon to educate our non-black brothers and sisters about their racism, China ascendency portends danger for us and our non-black relatives, here in America,

54. 1reader - August 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Test. I've tried to post lately, but I get an error message that says "Page Not Found." Trying it again before submitting a long message.

55. 1reader - August 19, 2010 at 10:34 pm

trendisnotdestiny,
You write, "Conservative interestss over the last few decades have embraced short term, compartmentalized profit taking over all other things (this comprises a zero sum game of sorts)..."

Short term thinking is promoted by government intervention in the market. Look at the finance industry, where banks were forced into making subprime mortgage loans by bureaucrats trying to fund their affirmative action home ownership policies. It was extortion. Obviously, this would cause banks to fail, and so they colluded with government in bundling and derivative schemes, a very short-sighted goal for both gov't and their partnering/ colluding corporations. The problem never would have grown in a free market. And I'll let you look into which congresspeople tried to stop the schemes, and which called those trying to stop it racists, using terms like "lynching."

I lack any zero-sum argument examples from Cato or Heritage to comment there.

56. honore - August 19, 2010 at 10:40 pm

trendisnotdestiny...thanks for the compliment.

The issue or "race" in the USAmerican context is viscerally uncomfortable for all. Anyone who denies this is taking a cowardly vacation from reality and truth.

Not many of us are into self-flagellation and much less would look forward to a "dialogue" with so many running with so many sharp political objects swinging. The thought of an honest dialogue is truly chilling for us.

Who among us would welcome a stick poked into our eyes. Even the conveniently racially blind already, would wince at that prospect.

On most of our campuses (especially mine), a very lucrative "race" industry is maintained from semester to semester by an extensive cadre of anointed race-baiters and well-scripted apologists who never tire of hearing their own duck-speak and race double-talk while wearing their racial "advocate" and "ally" costumes and confusing them for couture.

The future of the USA depends more on a genuine race dialogue that is still muffled. And most of us will not admit it and so like the proverbial ostrich, we will continue to bury our heads while the rest of the world moves on without us. And while the ostrich keeps its eyes covered the politically opportunist hyenas circle around.

Trend....keep writing, I know you are already thinking overtime and it shows...Madison, WI

57. 1reader - August 19, 2010 at 10:40 pm

trendisnotdestiny writes "In large swathes, they are far from humanists..."

That's your judgment. I have a problem with self-described humanists who insist that their idiosyncratic notions about a planned economy will work, despite so much evidence to the contrary in history. The myth for decades in academia has been that "to trade with someone is to control them," "to employ someone is to oppress them." I think this is dead wrong, and most of the offered alternatives would take freedom away from people (freedom is slavery!). This is hardly humanist.

"you miss the central theme defining our economic history over the last 30 years: socializing risk and privatizing gain..."

Risk and gain should be inextricably linked, and they would be if not for government intervening to "help." See above example about finance. See healthcare and every other heavily regulated industry.

58. 1reader - August 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

trendisnotdestiny writes "Lastly, you mistakenly assume the government has more power over people than corporations."

Any oppressing power of corporations can come only through collusion w/ a powerful gov't. When corporations fail in a free market (fail to please consumers, who stop funding them), they go away. Explain to me how an inefficient or corrupt corporation can survive, one that fails to please consumers and meet their needs, except by colluding with government. Monopolies can only be sustained by collusion with government. W/out gov't corporations must compete. The more power we give gov't, the more it props up corporations that would fail in the free market.

For example, we gave government tremendous money and power to run Medicare/caid, and this power has been sold in collusive exchanges, unearned business for political support. A company gets its $2000 wheelchairs qualified to sell for $30,000 each through Medicare. Medicare beneficiaries think they're getting a $30,000 wheelchair for free, when really society is paying $30,000 for a $2000 wheelchair. A producer who might sell wheelchairs for $2000 each can't compete, because people are getting them for "free." The producer is oppressed, the consumer is oppressed, but the bureaucrats and colluding businesses become richer and more powerful. It's the same w/ every drug and medical tool. THIS is why healthcare costs have skyrocketed! And you want gov't to "help" the poor more???

If we now start sending billions more to Washington, corporations will care even less about the consumers' needs and desires. They will bow even more at the feet of the bureaucrats on the health committees and regulators. Decisions on our healthcare will all be political.

I bring it back to gov't power, yes, because I really believe that that's the source of most problems. If it wer really about helping the poor, more people would propose subsidies for the poor only, allowing the market to keep prices low and quality up. But it's about power, about making as many as possible dependent on government.

"The ideal Government of all reflective men, from Aristotle onward, is one which lets the individual alone--one which barely escapes being no government at all." H.L. Mencken

59. trendisnotdestiny - August 20, 2010 at 01:57 am

@ 1reader

There are so many opportunities to challenge comments here that I am fatigued by all the possibilities.... So, there may be more to come later, but here goes...

QUOTE
"Risk and gain should be inextricably linked, and they would be if not for government intervening to "help." See above example about finance. See healthcare and every other heavily regulated industry."

Please do not "should" on yourself.... Also, the issue is not about the linking laissez faire ideologies of risk and gain, but for whom gain and risk EXTERNALIZED onto. There are three major pockets of groupings for organizational sake: corporations, government and consumers.... The issue is how does public-private partnership triangulate consumers into a faux left and right divide through socializing risk while privatizing gains.... It is helpful here to understand the neoliberal turn (Henry Giroux, David Harvey, Noam Chomsky) all write about this well even if you do not subscibe to their politics. This is important since your last phrase misrepresents the reality of the last 30 years where industry has been the exalted financier of government which has led to the overall dismantling of regulation in this society as well as deleveraging New Deal commitments... The problem is not too much regulation, it is that the belief in it has been gutted from both sides of PPP (poor competency , poor funding and apathetic belief in oversight)... At the highlest levels of power, regulation is conducted by the very same people who have created this mess (derivatives, SIV's, credit-default swaps, flash-trading, front-running trades, misrepresenting trades or transparency)... You would really have to be asleep for decades to believe that we have too much regulation (see Harry Markopolous)

In terms of the Healthcare industry... We do not know what a heavily regulated industry looks like anymore (see the air traffic controllers in early 80's)... De-regulation of our financial industry in the late 70's with the Marquette Decision (1978) and the 1996 Citigroup case that essentially gutted Glass Steagall... Our form of regulation is to fine health/pharma companies when they screw up after the fact provided a whistleblower assumes the risk for consumers (see Wendell Potter) ... you might wiki the number of legal settlements by the healthcare industry over the last few decades (non-disclosure agreements, payoffs of plaintiffs and penalties/fines). This is a bit rambling here, but the essence is that there is some need to recapture some regulatory authority as wall street, the oil, coal and healthcare industry's have ascended too quickly.

As someone whose family goes three generations back in the medical field, I have had a unique vantage point from which to watch how the healthcare has become gutted as 47 million americans could not afford insurance and millions file for bankruptcy as the un-regulated market drove up prices using technology and free-market business mode.....

Lastly, we must recognize in this country that the goal is to find a balance between private, public and consumer interests; not for anyone segment to reign. The problem of the last thirty years is that industry has ascended too quickly buying government and ensnaring consumptive consumers along the way... This incestuous group of corporatists (media, finance, pharma, energy and military) have modeled to government how to sell consumers what they want to hear and not deliver. We do not see the people with power who really affect change, we see their spokespeople and mouthpieces...

60. trendisnotdestiny - August 20, 2010 at 02:13 am

@ 1reader

QUOTE
"Short term thinking is promoted by government intervention in the market. Look at the finance industry, where banks were forced into making subprime mortgage loans by bureaucrats trying to fund their affirmative action home ownership policies."

In terms of SHORT TERM THINKING, far more influential is the business cycle of production using quarterly earnings; you know, shareholders-CEO's-accountants... Also, banks were not forced into anything in capitalistic society; they have choices... Dick Fuld and Lehmann made some choices, Thane and ML made some similar choices (actually it was Stanley O'Neal) and Goldman and others did... but please do not victimize the one group of people (Banksters) in the society who got wealthy and re-imbursed from public monies during this crisis... It offends ones intelligence.

Subprime loans were engineered by the industy not shoved in their face as to be forced sell something they did not want to do for profit.... Bill Black (UMKC) has written extensively on this. The FBI knew in 2004 that massive fraud was occurring and said so, however Greenspan, Bernanke (claimed that there was no bubble in housing)... Brooksely Bourne is also a player here too warning about derivates from her perch at CFTC, but got shutdown by Rubin and Summers.... To understand what has been happening over the last decade all you really have to do is read Larry Summers and Bob Rubin's comments in context to see who is running this economy.

Lastly, as engineers of control fraud, CEO's used affirmative action as a selling point in the overall scheme to sell homeownership (Bush's rhetoric during this time was the ownership society). All of this was cover marketing... They knew that many who were going to be sold mortgages were not going to be able to pay them (and they charged them higher fees up front --- the sweat spot of the subprime industry with people who had rocky credit). There is so much evidence that this bubble was an engineered boom and bust cycle to play for profits that I will let that sink in with you for awhile... or at least until I read your next paragraph...

61. trendisnotdestiny - August 20, 2010 at 02:29 am

@ 1reader

"The myth for decades in academia has been that "to trade with someone is to control them," "to employ someone is to oppress them." I think this is dead wrong, and most of the offered alternatives would take freedom away from people (freedom is slavery!). This is hardly humanist."

You have obviously not read Marx.... Even from a different ideological viewpoint as yours, Marx discusses capitalism's strengths and weaknesses in such profound ways that it would be hard to post your thoughts with any credibility without first addressing your main critic... Your rhetoric here suggests only a curosry discussoin of the contexts between labor and capital. I invite you to strengthen your arguments using Marx, but first you have to understand them...

62. trendisnotdestiny - August 20, 2010 at 03:00 am

@ 1reader

QUOTE
"Any oppressing power of corporations can come only through collusion w/ a powerful gov't. When corporations fail in a free market (fail to please consumers, who stop funding them), they go away."

Not true... in my estimation it is a co-opted or weakened government by industry that allows oppression. Statutory or regulatory changes, duplications, competitions... There are some 8 financial regulating agencies in this country: SEC, CFTC, OCC, FDIC, OTS, Federal Reserve etc); when government and its resources have been fractured and weakened, it become the wild west of profit-driven corruption involving all three groups. But make no mistake, this occurs because government has been starved of resouces and looks to industry to solve longterm problems with short term financing (see Birmingham, Alabama Taibbi, 2010)

QUOTE
"Explain to me how an inefficient or corrupt corporation can survive, one that fails to please consumers and meet their needs, except by colluding with government. Monopolies can only be sustained by collusion with government. W/out gov't corporations must compete. The more power we give gov't, the more it props up corporations that would fail in the free market."

I spent 10 years in the brokerage industry doing that... I have a unique perspective to discuss this, but that is a bit more of an intimate conversation. Monopolies are sustained by many means (government facilitation is among them, but the only one)... I am not here to sell you massive government control over all sectors of this economy so lets not confuse things as your anti-government centered rhetoric.... However, as someone who gravitates to a balancing of approaches, you might want to tone it down.... Other than through a popular up-rising, reconfiguring government to work for consumers is the main solution to fixing our problems.

Let's not forget how effective government was in lifting us out of depression in 1930's with major resistance from the oligarchs of the day (rockefeller, carnegie, morgan); FDR's policies led us out of a difficult period using social safety net as incentive for risk and innovation.... not entrepreneurship platitudes backedup by a pay-to-play model of diploma debt....


Its late 1reader, I am out of here for now....

Upton Sinclair once said it is hard to get a man to know something when his job requires that he not know it.... This reminds me of our conversation (especially with your racism dependence argument)... You are getting paid to ignore the fact that by being more collective the greater good benefits. Instead, you cling to the "you're on your own" belief that everyone has the potential to overcome adversity... This is the difference between an ideal and reality.

63. 1reader - August 20, 2010 at 08:15 am

trendisnotdestiny,

It simply takes observation to see that giving government power results in favoritism. The more regulations and gov't programs, the more lobbyists, the more collusion, the more corruption, the more artificial scarcity, the more black markets. In a free market, with laws that ensure transparency and enforce contracts, the corporation is held in check by millions of free, discerning, locally knowledgable consumers. What breaks this good balance is government.

Compare health care and finance industries to electronics. If when big flat screen tvs had come out at $8,000 each, the government had declared them a human right, then they'd likely be selling for $20,000 each, but "free" to the those the government favored in its distribution program.

But you can't even admit that health care is heavily regulated!

On your 'greater good,:
There is a difference between wanting people to help each other and wanting the government to force people to help each other. The more government takes the responsibility (which gives gov't power, which gets sold), the more the public feels at ease thinking someone else is taking care of others. And because power gets sold, the collective fails in taking care of people. The bigger government has gotten (% of GDP that's gov't has risen tremendously over the decades, in victory after victory for your socialism), the less the rich have given directly. "They've taken my money, and they're doing it," is the deluded (or cynical) belief of the people.

That's it from me. You can have the last word.

64. trendisnotdestiny - August 20, 2010 at 09:49 am

@ 1reader,

I guess I am bit bewildered after having a lot of time responding to your comments about how you got here from our dialogue:

QUOTE
"It simply takes observation to see that giving government power results in favoritism. The more regulations and gov't programs, the more lobbyists, the more collusion, the more corruption, the more artificial scarcity, the more black markets. In a free market, with laws that ensure transparency and enforce contracts, the corporation is held in check by millions of free, discerning, locally knowledgable consumers. What breaks this good balance is government."

It is as if you have nothing to add to this discussion other than opinion... This is fine normally, but then yor 4 posts on Aug 19th seem to be more about venting than creating a dialogue... This is disappointing.


QUOTE
"There is a difference between wanting people to help each other and wanting the government to force people to help each other. The more government takes the responsibility (which gives gov't power, which gets sold), the more the public feels at ease thinking someone else is taking care of others. And because power gets sold, the collective fails in taking care of people. The bigger government has gotten (% of GDP that's gov't has risen tremendously over the decades, in victory after victory for your socialism), the less the rich have given directly. "They've taken my money, and they're doing it," is the deluded (or cynical) belief of the people."

This is zero sum thinking 1reader.... the government does not force people to help one another. This is different than taxation which is the cost of doing business... I wonder if you are under the illusion that your money is really yours (let's face it, most of us are renting our resources)... If the pool of money that went into social supports from public coffers were no longer invested, it would not go back to you directly. There will always be the BBD (bigger and better deal) using OPM (other people's money).....

Did not really want the last word here, but OK

65. 1reader - August 20, 2010 at 10:26 am

trendisnotdestiny,
I do appreciate the time you've spent responding. I did get a master's in English at one point, and so I'm familiar with your authors and basic arguments, and I've read many perspectives on the financial crisis. So my ideas are not formed as blindly as you seem to think.

I'm preparing to leave the country in a few days, and I'm busy packing and tidying things up at work, etc., so can't spend as much time as a conversation of this type deserves. And my luggage will NOT include my computer!

Perhaps we'll meet again on this forum.

66. trendisnotdestiny - August 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

@ 1reader

Enjoy your travels and be safe...

67. gplm2000 - August 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

NEWPSEUDO: "Were all the banks that recently needed financial help Black run? Were the auto companies Black run? Are all the states that need financial help today Black run?" ANS: NO. You miss the point. It is that black-run cities and schools are a disaster for the very black students enslaved to poverty and ignorance. HBCUs are only slightly better. Why? It is a self-defeating culture. No improvement has been shown for decades.

The banking crisis was the result of US govt. insisting on affordable housing. It forced through laws and coercion banks to make loans to those who should never of had them in the first place. Yes, yes, the banks took advantage of the situation and made lots of money. Why not, since the bank can make all the loans it wants with no risk--because the Feds guarantee the loan. Smart business. The stupidity is "elected" officials pushing social justice at the expense of everyone else.

GLORIA WALKER#21: "When will you wake up stop this foolishness and realize we hurt, bleed, breathe too." Stop what foolishness? Asking you to get up off the street, heal your wounds (over 45yrs. to do so), change a self-defeating African culture, then become Americans and fully participate. No one but yourselves is stopping you.


68. trendisnotdestiny - August 20, 2010 at 02:21 pm

gplm2000,

You are case and point that bigotry is alive and well; morphing into areas of colonized blame and ignorance...

Personally, if you never posted here again, we would all be the wiser....

69. newpseudo - August 20, 2010 at 05:47 pm

gplm2000, no, you miss the point. It isn't ok for White run institutions (or institutions run by other races/ethnicities for that matter) to bring the country to the brink of disaster and then you dismiss it as smart business. Wrong is wrong and being White doesn't make behavior that is destructive to the entire country acceptable in the eyes of any fair-minded person.

You wrote: "Asking you to get up off the street, heal your wounds (over 45yrs. to do so), change a self-defeating African culture, then become Americans and fully participate." Please tell me how Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, Condoleeza Rice, Reginald Lewis, Chappie James, Ruth Simmons, Geoffrey Canada, John Johnson, Paul Williams, Bessie Coleman, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Dr. Charles Drew, Madame C.J. Walker, Garrett Morgan, Benjamin Davis (Sr. and Jr.), hundreds of thousands (maybe millions since the beginning of our country) of African American military personnel, and I have refused to get off the street and fully participate??

You also wrote: "No one but yourselves is stopping you." Yea, right, tell that to Ayana Jones and Kathryn Johnston.



70. applefitch - August 20, 2010 at 07:56 pm

I appreciate the guarded optimism of Professor Hartigan but if the above comments are any indication, that optimism is sadly misplaced. What we really want are converts not conversations. This is as true for race scholars as it is for the Fox News fan. We've never had a "national conversation" on race let alone much anything else and not without reason.

It's naive to think that academics are capable of changing anything, especially with regard to race. We're awash with studies on race, ethnicity, inequality, and if you take this mountain of research seriously, things are as bad as they've ever been if not worse. Reports of the sky is falling fill issue after issue of social science journals, and for all of this "collective wisdom" very little has been done in concrete terms - but it's been a boon for tenure, promotion, and academic careers. It just makes us feel so good when we righteously proclaim the need redeem others.

In short, the typical academic in the social sciences is more akin to a theologian than a scientist. As such, academics don't wish for solutions to racism, inequality, sexism, among the myriad of other -isms in the world. They need such research platforms to keep their jobs and train the next generation of theologians.

71. rambo - August 20, 2010 at 09:32 pm

The office of Multicultural Affairs at colleges/universities are/will be the last places since the workplace doesn't have one. Diversity now include white people and people with disabilities.

72. gplm2000 - August 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

To Trendsnotdestiny and newpseudo, your views are the kind that prevent any dialogue about race. Your refusal to consider any shortcomings by black culture. The issue is not one "whites do it too" or "gosh look at Adam Clayton Powell", instead it is about the black culture of today that repeatedly hurts itself. The refusal to integrate, open racism against anything white, poor academic standards whether K-12 or HBCUs, blatant racism on the part of Congressional Black Causcus. How can their be a discussion about race when you do not want one? Sort of like making Israel(whitew) and the Palestinians(blacks)discuss peace. One side does not want it.

73. honore - August 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

gplm2000, and of course whitey will be blamed for:

***80% illegitimacy rate of all black children
***90% abandonment rate of black children by their "fathers"
***black-on-black crime
***chronic prison OVER-representation
***persistence of academic de-valuation in black communities
***perpetuation of "black" culture as drugged, blinged & booty-licious
***TOTAL ignoring the impact of AIDS and all STDs on blacks
***viewing teen pregnancy as "oh well" and accepted
***continued denial of importance of pre-natal care
***constant physical self-detruction of black communities
***denial of personal responsibility as a determinant of future
***continued acceptance of corrupt, dishohest "community leaders"

You won't see ANY of these topics in Afro-Am 101 on ANY American college campus. No, they're too focused on reading rap poetry, participating in poetry "slams" about "the man",reading fairy tales about the "diaspora" and attributing the Pyramids to Kunta Kinte, and reading Halle Berry's biography about how she has suffered as "black woman" in Hollywood mansions.

74. newpseudo - August 22, 2010 at 07:43 pm

To gplm2000, no, your views are the kind that prevent any dialogue about race. You describe Black people as being monolithic, but I bet you understand that Timothy McVeigh doesn't represent all White people. I don't listen to hip hop, am not a criminal, and don't view teen pregnancy as ok. I will also give even Sarah Palin the benefit of the doubt: If she could have done something to keep her teenage daughter from getting pregnant, she would have done it.

75. trendisnotdestiny - August 23, 2010 at 10:30 am

@ glpm2000

This discussion is not about addressing the perceived problems by the dominant culture of black America. Racism or any ism for that matter deals with power.... Who has had the power? Who maintains the power? Who benefits and who is harmed? To miss all of the factors that impinge upon all colonized populations is repeat the exact types of "disciplined" racism in the name of open and honest dialogues. Edward Said's orientalism and Foucault's Discipline and Punish addresses these questions as does Galeano's history of Latin American (open the veins)...
A discussion about race with you is very limited since you clearly have not done the required reading to fully challenge your positionality in this culture....

@ honore

Reductionism abounds... My biggest problem with your post is its stubbornly monolithic understandings... First, the information you cite does not really contribute to contextual understandings of culture but of perceived outcomes witnessed by a dominant unobjective culture. Where is the context? This is racism we are talking about not your grocery list!

By providing your list as problems, it seems that you are so bent on interrogating black culture that your aims reinforce stereotypes that are neither required or necessary except to maintain the status quo. Where are list of white problems or are not perceived that way?

Also, in your personal experiences that you have written about here in CHE, you have not convinced us that you have been able to deal with race effectively in your own life other than through blame, denial or avoidance.... You are neither innocent nor guilty, but are responsible for offering up your agenda first before "illuminating" or pontificating about other groups' deficits in the name of providing a hard truth....

Who is to say that you haven't fully worked through your own issues that distort world views? Real work around racism starts with the SELF and moves outward (isomorphism)... It involves understanding ones' own privileges in relation to the system world, but it also avoids blame, denial and avoidance. We have overt/covert forms plus more incidious avenues in insitutions and internalized cultural beliefs of inferiority. Many discussions on race fail in the dominant culture because of this lack of reflexivity. By owning our historical part in this relationship, we begin to EXTERNALIZE the affects of racisms damaging internalized effects.

So, to be the stubborn-voice-of-telling-it-like-it-is has its own responsibilities starting with you as an individual. Before making a list of defects with little idea how they will be used to further discipline a disadvantaged population, you might try reading those authors who have an indigenous understandings like Paulo Freire or Howard Zinn...

In ending Honore, it is not that you do not have something to teach us; I suspect that you do (see #52), but unless your opinions can be shaped by the very same people you so knowingly discuss, then I offer up a speculation that you are stubbornly holding onto a piece of yourself that is too painful to let go.

In the dominant culture, this is usually about feeling misunderstood and misrepresented by the minority culture. You convert reverse racism in your mind to represent the majority view. As a result you take on a defense to show that racism works both ways to make sense of the humiliation of being misunderstood. But racism is not monolithic and has more to do with power and dominance just like all the other "isms".

There are very few cultures that want to be reminded of their deficiencies while those defining those deficiencies still attribute success to personal responsibility, social darwinism and a "just get over it" attitude of racism... The dialogues start not with blaming white folks, but with being open to each others experiences and tolerating that we all bear some responsibility for one another.... (as I bear the responsiblity of potentially triggering you about race).




76. honore - August 23, 2010 at 11:39 am

Trend, i will not argue with YOUR perspective. It is YOURs and you can embrace it.

However, I would refer you to the title of the article and then remind you that we ALL have valid experience, perspective and synthetical analysis of all the factors that comprise "race" as a social dynamic.

And reducing another's experience to an exercise in faux-psychoanalytic babble insinuating neurotic or otherwise psychotic machinations, when they are not congruent with your particular kaleidoscopic view serves no one.

I speak from MY experience and not YOURS. I do not diminish the validity of your voice or perspective. And I don't dismiss your response in #53 because I KNOW that my comments challenge the mediocrity, cliche'd "analysis" and non-think of the abundant drones on our campuses who have absolutely no depth of understanding about "race" other than that which they just heard at the most recent "diversity" as theatre lecture at the performing arts center.

We all deserve to aim a bit higher than bumperstickers and soundbytes on Bill O'Reilly for our understanding of American "race".

Having lived outside of the U.S. for large chunks of time, I CAN SAY with authority that Americans are DECADES (if not centuries) behind the rest of the planet in ANY viable analytical attempt to observe "race" as an inescapable reality, regardless of how many "race doesn't really exist" parrot dialogues hosted at the campus multi-cultural centers.

You may not agree with my perspective or my view of the "other" but nevertheless to dismiss anyone's view or experience is not very "inclusive" or "tolerant". Do you think?

Americans of all racial backgrounds have a long way to go in their reluctant journey to race nirvana and declaring certain groups and certain of their blatant (your words) "deficiencies" as subjects that they don't want to be remind of is like telling the cancer patient, "oh, let's just ignore that ugly ol' X-ray 'cause it's just not pretty".

American escapist, denialist, apologist strategies on race have gotten to where we are --- a VERY ugly place.

It really is time to look at the ugly truths and this time open the door to the surgeon and not Ronald McDonald.

77. trendisnotdestiny - August 23, 2010 at 12:54 pm

@ honore

The only problem is that the surgeon's vested interests are not aligned with the patient.... This affects the health of system and is major reason I resist the neoliberal turn...

Its not actually about dealing with things, its marketing to different segments solutions, strategies and tactics to keep things the same; name profit...

Honore, I appreciate your thoughts here while in disagreement

78. gplm2000 - August 23, 2010 at 02:51 pm

Actually "Trend...", you are right, I have not done the required reading you demand. Thank heavens, please do not suggest Cornell West. Dummy me just watches the news at 11pm, reads the newspaper, hopes Congress does not force any more affordable housing plans on the taxpayer, and hopes that affirmative action plans to enforce diversity will not put me out of a job. After all, I am a white male. Me thinks that you need to wake-up and pull your head out the sand. Racism and the unwillingness to have a dialogue about it is all around you. Those opposed may surprise you.

79. trendisnotdestiny - August 23, 2010 at 04:02 pm

Actually, Cornell West is very appropriate.... He is someone who has experienced racism, talks about the problems with internal and external analysis AND has credibility (about 25 books) and still finds a way to be hopeful... gplm2000, I suspect if you took his class at Princeton (all the way through) that your experience, insight and reticence to spew divisive nonsense would all improve; but I do not know enough of your ability to be challenged, tolerate difference and dealing with necessary ambiguities that go hand in hand with institutional analysis....

QUOTE
"Me thinks that you need to wake-up and pull your head out the sand. Racism and the unwillingness to have a dialogue about it is all around you."

Interesting, that you reference the Ostrich metaphor as a means to suggest that you are speaking a certain truth that (I and others) are not willing to see. I am one of the strongest voices here that acknowledges the prevalence of racism and the unwillingness to have a dialogue about it, but how you begin a conversation matters....

It is not good enough to point to conservative talking points on race that are designed by white america to reinforce negative stereotypes. Also, it is not good enough for white america to spout off critiques of black america as if they are the more educated group about oppression. Lastly, it is far from good enough to talk about racism without including how neoliberal economics always creates disparities between white shareholders and brown/black bagholders....


80. rick1952 - August 23, 2010 at 05:26 pm

Often, discussions about race get caught up in blame and guilt, which are not productive ways to discuss any topic. Quite a number of the previous posts reflect this blame and guilt pattern.

We can't build common ground among ourselves as a nation if we are blaming each other for societal shortcomings or feeling guilty about things we can't change or control.

Often we approach the topic of race without having had as much exposure to or knowledge about its history in our society as we believe we possess. We often believe that we "know" more than we do, or have "experienced" more than we have.

We have had over 400 years to create the racial divide that afflicts the USA, to develop and foster the attitudes and behaviors that undermine our ability to be "...one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all." This history is one reason I believe race is one of our most difficult topics for discussion and why it lends itself so easily to self-righteous mis-statements and misconceptions.

Our nation is not alone in facing this problem, as at least one previous poster has noted. While we must face our long history of bigotry and discrimination based primarily on skin color, when you think about it, how different is that from what the people of Northern Ireland struggle with in terms of religion? Or the struggles in the Balkins based on religion and ethnicity? Or how the Japanese have treated the Koreans? Or how Kikuyus and Luous treat each other in Kenya? We can go to almost any nation or place in the world and find the same struggle, though it may be rooted in religion, ethnicity, language, or other social characteristics. And the arguments are always the same - the privileged ones claim the targets are lazy, unwilling to work hard, live immorally, etc. As Milgram revealed to us in his study on Obedience to Authority, we (human beings) have a pronounced tendency to blame the victim. As Zimbardo described in the Lucifer Effect, those with power and authority can easily become oppressors of the weak or despised. This is a human problem. If we want to have a productive dialogue about race relations, we need to face this issue as a human issue as it is experienced in the USA, not as a problem of one group or category of persons.

As intelligent, college-educated persons we all would probably argue that we are open-minded and we might even consider ourselves humble despite our educational status. Yet, we probably don't hear that little "trap door" in our mind shut or recognize the arrogance that we naturally display as members of the privileged class in our society. So, we don't really listen to others when we claim to engage in dialogues about race; instead, we engage in self-righteous and accusatory diatribes that reinforce our own beliefs and misconceptions.

If we want to improve race relations in the USA, we need to develop much greater humility as well as a true willingness to listen and learn from each other. And that, as many of the preceding posts demonstrate, is easier said than done.

If nothing else, we need to recognize that we can't change others by judging them or blaming them for circumstances which are dictated as much by societal structures as they are by personal choice. A productive dialogue about race (or gender, or religion, etc.) will require that we change the way we approach the topic. And it will require patience and persistence because it is unlikely that the consequences of over 400 years of history can be undone in our lifetimes. We can advance our nation another step forward in its progress even if we can't resolve the issue of racial discord once and for all.

81. honore - August 23, 2010 at 06:26 pm

rick1952, as usual you bring a tone of civility to an otherwise uncivil and discordant "dialogue" about the "dialgogue", it is afterall the "American" way.

It goes something like this..."don't tell me, I will tell you and my bombs are bigger and my guns are longer, so shut up and listen to your Uncle Sam".

My only caveat is that the American Indian/NativeAmerican/1st Nation member might be hard pressed to come up with all that patience, humility, non-judgemental and philosophical largesse at the daily sight of his/their former homeland stolen, beaten and raped away from them...but that's just my "opinion".

As the most irrefutably and historically invested in this place we call "America", I believe their interests, perspectives and well-being are consistently prescribed by others, regardless of all the good intentions and insightful prescriptions for inlusive "conversation" into which they will be invited. No doubt this is a result of their microscopic representation in the national demographic quilt which defies their almost total extermination.

Nevertheless, good to see you are around.

82. rick1952 - August 23, 2010 at 08:02 pm

Honore - thank you for your kind words. My comments rarely garner such praise.

Your caveat is well-taken yet I believe patience is none-the-less warranted for Native Americans as it is for the rest of us precisely because, as you note, our usual mantra is "don't tell me, I will tell you and my bombs are bigger and my guns longer..." Responding to violence with violence generally results in more violence, immediate and long-term.

I recognize my prescription is not an easy one; in fact, it requires great courage and intelligence (which, unfortunately, human history suggests are both in short supply.) I have reached an age where my fundamental understanding of my Christian upbringing has changed. I have come to appreciate in a new way, given my almost 60 years of life, the wisdom in the gospels - love your enemy, do good to those who despitefully use you; forgive others. The most important commandments - love God and love your neighbor. Judge not lest you be judged. I regret it has taken me so long to truly understand the faith in which I was raised.

If only we had the courage and intelligence, collectively, to follow these Christian admonitions. Of course, many of the purveyors of this advice met untimely and cruel deaths, from the very start right up to our own times. So, I concede the point of your caveat.

Good to see several of your posts. And, I was also impressed by the thoughtful and informed posts by trendisnotdestiny.

Since I will be occupied with the start of another academic year and may not have as much time to think, reflect and post as I have had this summer.

Take care and have a good evening.

83. honore - August 24, 2010 at 12:23 am

Rick1952...I don't know how you did it...but I like it...

84. mfortuna - August 24, 2010 at 11:17 am

The (largely inchoate) comments posted following this article do make #1 mbelvadi's point.

85. gplm2000 - August 25, 2010 at 05:29 pm

Trend..., all of us want a genuine dialogue about race. It is the single biggest problem facing the US. Even to the point that our society is paralyzed to find socioeconomic solutions to a plethera of issues--self-defeating black culture, how to stop the inner city violence, how to stop leaders from promoting white and black stereotypes, what to do about the growing anti-American muslim population, etc. However the discussion is stymied because it takes two+ sides to have one. Currently there is only one side and it carries the big stick of diversity come hell or high water. Few will expose themselves to this force of which you are a member.

86. gplm2000 - August 25, 2010 at 05:33 pm

Whew! I was afraid it was a four-letter word.
inchoate
adj [ɪnˈkəʊeɪt -ˈkəʊɪt]
1. just beginning; incipient
2. undeveloped; immature; rudimentary
3. (Law) (of a legal document, promissory note, etc.) in an uncompleted state; not yet made specific or valid
vb [ɪnˈkəʊeɪt] (tr)
to begin
[from Latin incohāre to make a beginning, literally: to hitch up, from in-2 + cohum yokestrap]

87. princeton67 - August 25, 2010 at 08:49 pm

<Comment removed by moderator>

88. trendisnotdestiny - August 26, 2010 at 08:01 am

@ gplm2000,

QUOTE
"Trend..., all of us want a genuine dialogue about race. It is the single biggest problem facing the US. Even to the point that our society is paralyzed to find socioeconomic solutions to a plethera of issues--self-defeating black culture, how to stop the inner city violence, how to stop leaders from promoting white and black stereotypes, what to do about the growing anti-American muslim population, etc. However the discussion is stymied because it takes two+ sides to have one. Currently there is only one side and it carries the big stick of diversity come hell or high water. Few will expose themselves to this force of which you are a member."
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Folks, sorry about the long post here, but it is important to put this dialogue into context. So, let's re-cap. gplm2000, you have had ample opportunity to make your points. Here are your words from these five posts. Each of these comments is troubling because it combines enough knowledge to sound plausible with the right amount of ignorance and self-interested biased bigotry. As a result, this is why a dialogue with gplm2000 breaks down...

QUOTES from #4 #29 #67,#72 & #85 :
1) "Refusal to discuss black shortcomings & reverse racism"

2) "It is that black-run cities and schools are a disaster".

3) "It is a self-defeating culture".

4) "No improvement has been shown for decades".

5) Banking crises theory - government helping poor black people

6) "Asking you to get up off the street, heal your wounds (over 45yrs. to do so), change a self-defeating African culture, then become Americans and fully participate. No one but yourselves is stopping you."

7) "The American Negro (the correct societal name) needs to realize that success comes from earning respect in a society, not having the govt. impose it. They need to join the societal mainstream and fully participate. Currently, they listen to no one else but the "poverty pimps" and college faculty."

8) "Never will there be a national dialogue or accomodation of the American Negro."

------------------------------------------------------------------

So here a few responses of my own to these 8 statements. Please feel free to add your own.

1) How one enters or begins a conversation is important! The words you use suggest that you hold a superior-inferior racial beliefs without context just outcomes. You seem unwilling to grasp how dominance works in a society to discipline multiple groups of difference (privileging dominance overtly and coverty). I have already addressed reverse racism in an earlier post...

2) The cities and schools comment "racializes" a phenomenon that is directly related to Neoliberal economics or (de-regulate industry, privatize resources and cut social supports to everyone). What is most incidious are those people who blame the victims of this global economic turn as the white-collar crime, corrupt cronyism and the exploitation of labor is carefully hidden by media outlets, divesting politicians and a masterfully crafted consumer based propaganda designed to create debt. Public schools are being gutted and there are many non-white races that cannot afford private school... So, my suggestion here is before you go blaming others, look at yourself and your group membership first...

3) I see a resisting and resilient culture (not one that is self-defeating)... However, it is really not my place to comment about a culture, a community, a group of people that I have little interaction of.... This type of colonization (where a privileged white male gets to shape discussion of others) is abhorrent to me... Let's leave this up to the experts to define themselves without passing judgments that are often misinformed

4) This is not at all true..... so many examples

5) As someone from the financial services industry (formerly), it is without question that you have been blind to the processes of power and money with respect to the banking crisis... Your conclusions are absurd and I recommend mandatory viewing of Bill Moyers' show on the banking crisis (8 1-hour shows)that will clear up so many of your fallacious understandings.... Again you seem more willing to drift into social darwinistic blame of others versus examining critically your own group affiliation

6) Ignorance and Selective Listening is no way to go through life - Dean Wormer

7) Intersectionality of race, SES, gender, religiosity, and sexuality in this culture where to begin; not with perpetrating all sorts of outsider judgments about groups of people we do not know... It is important to call out bigotry that is disguised as an tell-it-like-it-is urgency or a denial of current racist policies that presently exist.... Lastly, it is also important to realize that just because you want to have a conversation about race does not mean that others do with you... We are not here to educate you; this is a lifelong process and starts with an awareness that we do not take care of one another very well...

gplm2000, you had the whole english language at your disposal and this is what you come up with 5 posts? We all now know that you think their should be some institutional analysis of black cultural outcomes and it seems you feel comfortable doing this yourself. However, most learned people would agree that this is 1) no way to begin a conversation, 2) lacks credibility coming from you and 3) misses so many of the important contexts and complexities of racism... You might trying to repair first and see what happens

Peace

89. trendisnotdestiny - August 26, 2010 at 08:10 am

Oh! I forgot a comment or two in the hurry to post a long comment that had potential to be erased if not submitted in a timely fashion.

In response to #8 from the last post:

Gplm2000, you started out this dialogue saying never and ended it by asking for one... Have you ever thought about reversing these? And I find it disturbing that the many of vested parties we are discussing are absent in this discussion; reinforcing a colonized or superiority of thought here as if we really know....

One last thought here is that you often refer to assimilation to America as if there is just one America that everyone plugs into and accepts... This is reductionistic thinking... I would challenge you to consider that just because you do not see it happening, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Why should any minority deal with you in any way when you hold such views of superiority are quick to blame first and defend second? I wonder if your vision of America is blurred?

90. soc_sci_anon - August 26, 2010 at 10:32 am

To the people who think that EEOC laws have created minority privilege or reverse discrimination, or are simply no longer relevant in today's "enlightened" labor market... Please read Devah Pager's "Marked" (Chicago 2007) or the journal articles off the same project. In an audit study of employers in Milwaukie, and later in NYC, she found that white males with a criminal record for drug dealing had a better chance of getting a callback for an entry level position than blacks who didn't have a criminal record.

Or, read "Stories Employers Tell," (Moss & Tilly, 2000-ish) which contains inumerable quotes from real live employers about why they won't hire blacks pointing to "the way they talk," or "their upbringing," or "their work values". Then come back and say that there's no discrimination in the US, and the blacks / hispanics should just get over it.

For an academic board, there is woefully little cognizance of the *empirical* academic research on the topic of race.

91. princeton67 - August 26, 2010 at 05:44 pm

Hi. #87 again. Yesterday (8/25),I noted that "Race" often becomes "Black." Today (8/26),as a good scientist needing data to verify/disprove his hypothesis, I downloaded the first 90 comments and ran "find" for
White: 91 times. (also: European for 3 times)
Black: 92 times (also: African for 28 mentions, and African-American:9)
Native American: 3 (also: Amerind for 1)
Hispanic: 5 (also Mexican for 2, Latino, 4) No Spanish or Chicano.
Inuit: 2. (No Eskimo)
Pacific Islander: 0
Jew: 2
Arab: 1. Islam: 5.
(I invite others to search other categories.)
So, now my hypothesis is a little more a theory: "race = black"?

92. gplm2000 - August 30, 2010 at 09:52 am

Trend#88, enjoyed your esoteric comments. Unfortunately they do not relate to American society. Maybe it would help if you clarified, then enlighten the reader as to what is it you are talking about. Do you think that capitalist pigs, along with Bush, are the cause of a black underclass? Are they creating the violence, drug use, out-of-wedlock babies, muggings, robberies, murders, etc. of the inner cities? Film at 11.

93. 11250382 - August 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

Perhaps we could start by referring to Americans as Americans. Not "African-Americans", not "Latino-Americans" just Americans. At the root of it all is what we thing we are. If we are all Americans, we can then have other discussions about issues. Simplistic? Perhaps, but worthy of consideration after all.

94. trendisnotdestiny - August 31, 2010 at 09:24 am

@ gplm2000,

Interesting that my comments are esoteric to you.... Its as if you have one foot in the conversation when it suits your interest, but you have one out of the conversation as you fallback to uncertainty and asking my specific thoughts without addressing the ones provided.

It is almost that you bare no responsibility for the words you chose nor any in responding with tinges of bemusement... My suggestion is that you might re-engage this dialogue and think critically before starting anew. You might stop watching film or news at eleven and read a book! Try Edward Bernays book on Propaganda, it suits you!

95. debdessaso - August 31, 2010 at 09:54 am

If these posts and counterposts indicate anything, I fear that this nation will NEVER have a real dialogue on race--not on line, anyway!

Add Your Comment

Commenting is closed.

subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.