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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » What is "White?" (Page 2)

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Author Topic: What is "White?"
Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
quote:
Originally posted by odouls268:
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
The generally employed answer is that if you're ancestors spent a few thousand years in Europe, you're probably white. The actual answer is that race is made up construct so the question is mostly meaningless.

One of the best answers I've heard in a while.
Ironically, I do not remember writing that. In fact, reading it without looking at the name, I assumed it was posted by Orincoro.
So it's *working!*
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
This is a separate story that happens to share characteristics with Pocahontas, or this is a re-imagining of the Pocahontas story for Brazilians?

It's a separate story. Her name is Iracema, and for some reason is called "The Virgin with the Lips of Honey".

Wikipedia has a small article about an 1865 novel of the story. (It appears that the story might have originated with the novel, but I can't confirm that.)

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The Rabbit
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quote:
In Germany people tend to not see the British as really being European, and they don't see Russians as being Europeans ( go figure ).
The British generally don't think of themselves as being European.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm 1/8: Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Swedish and 1/2: Russian Jew. My wife is Italian, Jewish, Irish and German. My family looks like a pail of milk. And yet I associate myself mostly with the Swede, as that is where my sir name comes from and I can track my great great grandfather back to Sweden. That and Scott/Irish/Welsh/Russian all are heavily influenced by the Vikings genetically.

All that being said, when on forms it asks for my race I pick "None of your business, piss off wanker" whenever it is available.

Seriously, who cares?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Seriously, who cares?
A very large number of people, unfortunately.
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Mucus
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I think it depends.
If we're talking about things like the census, it's actually a good thing that people track things like institutionalized discrimination, labour mobility, social mobility, and so forth by race.

(Of course, it would be better if people didn't care AND there weren't racial social problems as well, but I'm being literal here)

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Stone_Wolf_
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We are one race, the race of human being (homo sapiens sapiens). Of course there sub cultures, (and anthropologically speaking other differences, but those only matter to anthropologists) but defining your identity by that of your tribe goes back as far as we do. It is abandoning this view of our very slightly different neighbor as "different" which will make it impossible to feel okay about raiding them for their resources, and will help move us forward so we can establish the Federation and wear colorful uniforms and put up our shields and set our phasors to stun.
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odouls268
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quote:
Ironically, I do not remember writing that. In fact, reading it without looking at the name, I assumed it was posted by Orincoro.
This makes me laugh, but doesn't fade my agreement with the statement. [Smile]
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Dobbie
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
... And yet I associate myself mostly with the Swede, as that is where my sir name comes from and I can track my great great grandfather back to Sweden. That and Scott/Irish/Welsh/Russian all are heavily influenced by the Vikings genetically.

All that being said, when on forms it asks for my race I pick "None of your business, piss off wanker" whenever it is available.

That's not a very Swedish thing to say.
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AchillesHeel
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Untrue, announcing oneself to be one or the other would be un-Swedish. While blatantly declaring that whatever he may be, he will not be sharing that information with anyone is very Swedish.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
We are one race, the race of human being (homo sapiens sapiens) ...*snip*

Being all colour-blind may work out long term, as in generations from now when institutionalized discrimination works itself out of the system, but right now it probably contributes to the problem if you're unable to see why (or even which) groups are disadvantaged or how you unknowingly benefit from being white.
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Stone_Wolf_
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From age 13-18 I grew up in northern rural Minnesota, where there was two "races", white and native American. The vast majority of people were white, like 99%.

It had nothing to do with anything.

I'm sure it's not always like that, but again, I say it's about subculture and family income level, and not about skin tone or where your great grandfather came from.

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T:man
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I'm half Irish, quarter Scottish and quarter Filipino, am I white?
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Stone_Wolf_
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Do you feel white?
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Raymond Arnold
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I feel pretty white. (Not even joking)
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Dobbie
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
Untrue, announcing oneself to be one or the other would be un-Swedish. While blatantly declaring that whatever he may be, he will not be sharing that information with anyone is very Swedish.

Yeah but "piss off, wanker," is more of a Norwegian thing.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
From age 13-18 I grew up in northern rural Minnesota, where there was two "races", white and native American. The vast majority of people were white, like 99%.

It had nothing to do with anything.

I'm sure it's not always like that, but again, I say it's about subculture and family income level, and not about skin tone or where your great grandfather came from.

Now your attitude makes more sense.

Ostentatious color blindness is typically the domain of people from places where race is a non issue because there is little diversity. I say this as a person who believes race is based on fallacy, but recognizes that racial awareness is beneficial to a truly pluralist society.

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Black Fox
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Hey Stone Wolf, what part of Northern Minnesota did you come from. For the sake of space, you could basically say I come from the Twin Cities.

That and how on earth did this thread come back to life?

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
That and how on earth did this thread come back to life?
odouls268 went on a mad necromancy spree.
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Speed
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I'm not going to get personally involved here, but I did listen to two podcasts over the last month or so that addressed this question.

This one most directly.

And this one a little more tangentially.

I found them both interesting, so I hope they help.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I feel pretty white. (Not even joking)

Then you are white. I mean, white people are pink so, and black people are chocolate brown to toasted marshmallow or whatever, so...who cares, go for it!

quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Ostentatious color blindness is typically the domain of people from places where race is a non issue because there is little diversity.

Well, before and after I've lived SoCal, which is very racially diverse. My attitude is that people are people are people...and Aholes and saints come in every color.

I live in a small pocket town which is basically a Navy town...but the real city (not like LA or NYC) which surrounds us is majority Hispanic.

It's not that I haven't experienced "racial diversity" since I have for the vast majority of life, it's not that I'm color blind, it's not that I don't recognize subcultural differences, it's just that I don't care!

Thinking that the amount of melatonin in your skin makes a person different from another, makes just as much sense as thinking that you are a different person before getting a tan then after.

quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
Hey Stone Wolf, what part of Northern Minnesota did you come from.

I'm a 4th generation Los Angelino (that great great grandfather came from Sweden to LA) but where I lived is called McGregor in Aitkin county, basically up from the Twin cities and directly over from Duluth. Tiny little town...I only recommend being anywhere near it in fall, as all the other season suck, and then only for watching the trees change color because there is nothing else worth seeing there.
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advice for robots
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I grew up in Duluth. Small world, SW.

I haven't lived there since 1992, however.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I feel pretty white. (Not even joking)

Then you are white. I mean, white people are pink so, and black people are chocolate brown to toasted marshmallow or whatever, so...who cares, go for it!

quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Ostentatious color blindness is typically the domain of people from places where race is a non issue because there is little diversity.

Well, before and after I've lived SoCal, which is very racially diverse. My attitude is that people are people are people...and Aholes and saints come in every color.

I live in a small pocket town which is basically a Navy town...but the real city (not like LA or NYC) which surrounds us is majority Hispanic.

It's not that I haven't experienced "racial diversity" since I have for the vast majority of life, it's not that I'm color blind, it's not that I don't recognize subcultural differences, it's just that I don't care!

Thinking that the amount of melatonin in your skin makes a person different from another, makes just as much sense as thinking that you are a different person before getting a tan than after .

This is not me calling you out as a racist or anything, but that is overly simplistic and naive. The thing about it is, I think you talk this way because you see it as a way of saying that you hold no malicious prejudice againt anybody on account of race. But saying that you don't care, I don't think that's likely at all. First off, just to be sensitive to how others wish to be treated and regarded in terms of race, you have to care. And if you are interested in ending institutionalized forms of racism, then you really DO care. What your saying is that matters of race do not trouble you or cause you great doubt. That is fine, but you have to understand that your freedom from race associated feelings of guilt and confusion doesn't make you more enlightened than someone who who has those issues. As I said, you grew up in a place where you felt secure and in control of your identity. That is not the case for many, and ignoring that, as if ignoring it and being free of it is a choice, rather than a privilege, is silly and not a little naive. If you had grown up in your old neighborhood, say, but you had been black, you would likely have different feelings. And that is to highlight for you that your personal experience of race is a function of your place in society, and less a choice than you might now believe.

I think it is important for white people in our society to understand that not caring about race as a concept is a privilege and freedom that few enjoy. And in neglecting that consideration, that the way you live may be unimaginable to others, is in fact the root of racist attitudes. Racism is neglect, first and foremost. Neglect of thought, neglect of empathy, and neglect of perspective. Saying that, I feel very blessed to have black and Hispanic relatives, as a white person. The need to reconcile and understand their feelings and experiences reminds me that I am not, and that no one is, an island to himself.

[ August 08, 2011, 06:57 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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It's not a matter of "no malicious prejudice against anyone on account of race" nor sensitivity to how others a treated by race either. -I- don't care. Both as a good thing and as an insensitive thing. I just don't give a rip. People can be proud of their heritage, heck, I know I am.

quote:
As I said, you grew up in a place where you felt secure and in control of your identity.
You clearly didn't read my landmark. I was as much of an outsider as if I had three heads and no arms, and I really wish you wouldn't make such assumptions.

quote:
And in neglecting that consideration, that the way you live may be unimaginable to others, is in fact the root of racist attitudes.
This is utterly ridiculous. Yes not caring about race can mean you are "insensitive" to an issue that others care about, but the root of racist attitudes? Utter poppy cock! Treating all people as human beings, and letting their character be the determining factor of if you like them or not is the polar opposite of racism.

Don't get me wrong, there were times in this country, and still are places where how much melatonin you sport makes a huge difference in how you are treated, but those days are mostly long gone, and the ones that are still around are mostly a matter of ignorance or excuse.

When I was living in that frozen, bug infested, swampy, ignorant backwater I was told by someone (direct quote), "I've never seen me a ni**er, but if I ever did, I would hate them."

The human experience is fulled with soaring triumphs and crushing hardships, but the more we focus on how we are different, the more we loose a great opportunity to understand we are all the same.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
... there were times in this country, and still are places where how much melatonin you sport makes a huge difference in how you are treated, but those days are mostly long gone ...

quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
This is not me calling you out as a racist or anything, but that is overly simplistic and naive.


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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Treating all people as human beings, and letting their character be the determining factor of if you like them or not is the polar opposite of racism.
There is a difference between treating people with respect, and acknowledging that there are still issues with racism today. (Because there ARE still issues with racism. People just don't admit to them anymore)
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Stone_Wolf_
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I see your point RA, I'm only saying that as an individual, I treat other individuals as fellow human beings without considering their "race", for good or ill. I'm not suggesting that issues of racism should be ignored, but I do think if everyone abandoned the concept of race that the problem would solve itself, although I acknowledge that the likelihood of that actually happening is basically nil.

I still say that culture and social class are much more telling then "race". For instance, if you compared the rate of crimes committed by people in one particular race vs all races in a low income level vs how many people in that race are in that low income level group I bet it would be a very telling comparison.

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Raymond Arnold
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For reference, this is the sort of way in which race (not just economic class) still matters:

http://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/w9873.html

Summary: Identical Resumes were sent out with black sounding names and white sounding names (i.e. Jamal vs Dave). White sounding names got 1 call-back for every 10 resumes sent out, black sounding names got 1 call-back for every 15.

The problem with a lot of modern racism is that it's unconscious, and because racism is considered such a big deal, people don't want to admit it to themselves and either ignore it or come up with justifications for it.

This isn't a problem that can be solved by just telling people "stop thinking about race." People need to actually look to be more aware of their behavior so they can make changes to racist behaviors they may not be aware of.

[ August 08, 2011, 01:31 PM: Message edited by: Raymond Arnold ]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
It's not a matter of "no malicious prejudice against anyone on account of race" nor sensitivity to how others a treated by race either. -I- don't care. Both as a good thing and as an insensitive thing. I just don't give a rip. People can be proud of their heritage, heck, I know I am.

quote:
As I said, you grew up in a place where you felt secure and in control of your identity.
You clearly didn't read my landmark. I was as much of an outsider as if I had three heads and no arms, and I really wish you wouldn't make such assumptions.

quote:
And in neglecting that consideration, that the way you live may be unimaginable to others, is in fact the root of racist attitudes.
This is utterly ridiculous. Yes not caring about race can mean you are "insensitive" to an issue that others care about, but the root of racist attitudes? Utter poppy cock! Treating all people as human beings, and letting their character be the determining factor of if you like them or not is the polar opposite of racism.

Don't get me wrong, there were times in this country, and still are places where how much melatonin you sport makes a huge difference in how you are treated, but those days are mostly long gone, and the ones that are still around are mostly a matter of ignorance or excuse.

When I was living in that frozen, bug infested, swampy, ignorant backwater I was told by someone (direct quote), "I've never seen me a ni**er, but if I ever did, I would hate them."

The human experience is fulled with soaring triumphs and crushing hardships, but the more we focus on how we are different, the more we loose a great opportunity to understand we are all the same.

First of all, you typically confuse me making apt judgments about you with me making blind assumptions. I do not blindly assume, I aptly judge your attitudes basd on what you say. Nothing you've added has changed that judgement. In fact, your typical response is to deny and then immediately and emphatically reinforce my view.

As you do here. Your claims about the state of society in terms of race are frankly laughable. And it's not a surprise, because you don't understand your own base assumptions well enough to know why they are contradictory. Consider your idea that people ought to be judged "on character." Fine idea. Do you think you're more likely to find someone of your same religion, child rearing practices, language, and social circle to be of good character than someone of alien customs, religion, and beliefs? Really thnk about this. Don't just react. Here are the underpinnings of racist attitudes. "good character" and righteousness are found in the familiar, and the alien and different is abhored. You deny this? You believenyourself to be above this? That is naive.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
...you typically confuse me making apt judgments about you with me making blind assumptions. I do not blindly assume, I aptly judge your attitudes basd on what you say.
I disagree. Not that you are judgmental, but that your assumptions are apt.

Why should I bother "really thnk" about this as you have assumed my answer, and already told me that it is naive. That's the great thing about talking with you, I don't actually need to say or do anything, you will tell me what I think and then tell me how I'm wrong before I even open my mouth.

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Orincoro
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I am not making *assumptions* I'm judging your views according what you've already said. And if you're going to get persnickety about my spelling, because I'm using an iPad that I'm getting used to, rather than deal with what I'm saying, I'm not likely to put a whole lot of faith in your ability to engage in adult conversation about anything. You are, as is your habit, saying whatever comes into your head, then getting indignant when insight is applied to your contributions in a manner that doesn't flatter you. You haven't opened your mouth? You've been running your yap without heed for how you may be perceived. It's childish to do this, then hope that somehow you'll be given the benefit of the doubt, when to all appearances your a thoughtless reactionary. The great thing about talking to you is that you telegraph the subtext of every point you try to make so very clearly. Your addled musings scream out about where your comng from. That isn't some voodoo that I do- you're obvious. Your painfully obvious.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I love you too! [Smile]
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Orincoro
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Right, you've seen me be glib, and think you can be too. It doesn't work for you. Sorry.
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Stone_Wolf_
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[Wink]
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Stone_Wolf_
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RA, I was just sent an article recently by my mom about how HR people break all kinds of laws when it comes to hiring practices, that basically, they get so many people applying that they can be insanely picky, discriminating against people with children, older people, people who are overweight, race, gender, etc.

I'll see if I can find the article.

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Raymond Arnold
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The point is: we do not live in a time when "the days where how much melatonin you sport makes a huge difference in how you are treated are mostly long gone." It is still the case. Cops still arrest more black people.

You are right that this is not just limited to race - yes, age, gender and disability all have their own forms of prejudice. And in all these cases, the answer is not to say "I see all people equally, and so should you."

Because the default is NOT to see all people equally. The default is to not even NOTICE that you're not seeing all people equally. The default is to subtly prefer people who fit in with your version of normal, and to ignore the needs of people you're not used to thinking about.

I can't speak for you. I haven't been inside your head. But personal experience and numerous studies have led me to a default assumption that most people (myself included) are prejudiced in ways they don't realize. So I assume people are prejudiced until they show me otherwise.

Over an internet forum, you don't really have the power to prove otherwise, and that's okay, because it shouldn't matter to you whether I think you're prejudiced. But it SHOULD matter to you whether or not you ARE prejudiced, and statistically you probably are, even if you think you're not. It's worthwhile for you to think about the places you might be biased (race-related or otherwise), not to prove anything to me or to Orincoro. Just to learn what your biases are and try to counter them.

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Orincoro
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I had this roommate in college who claimed not to dream. I said, "what if you just forget your dreams and never realized it?". No he said, he would have remembered that. There's lack of insight, and then there's just sort of stupid.
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Stone_Wolf_
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It is always a Good Thing™ to seek self enlightenment, and I'm sure there are areas where I'm less even handed then I would think I am, but it's prolly more about subculture then race. For instance I strongly dislike "hiphop culture", with loud music, obnoxious jewelry, aggressive behavior, bad grammar, idolize gangsters, etc. This culture is not limited to one "race" and I don't dislike it irrationally, but I am likely biased against it. Another example would be if a group of people walked toward me at night, would I feel fear and finger my pepper spray? It would be more a question of gender, age, dress, attitude, etc, then the color of their skin.

It's not that I'm saying there isn't any racism in the world, what I'm saying is that the age when it was socially acceptable to hang a black man from a tree outside your house for touching your white daughter is long and thankfully gone. There are residual issues, but they are a mere echo of the problem that were faced in this country only fifty years ago. Yes we should continue to work on these issues, but I think accepting "race" as a division of humanity is hurting the situation and it would be helpful to be phased out.

Orincoro, perhaps you should consider being less abrasive if you want you voice to carry weight. I personally am discouraged from speaking with you as I find you so casually and flippantly offensive. If you really want to reach someone, a fist rarely helps them open up to new points of view.

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Orincoro
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On the contrary, you've responded best to me being very hard on you. Friendly disagreement, you typically ignore and deliberately distort to diffuse argument, like you did in you last post.
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Stone_Wolf_
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There you go assigning my motives again. Let just make this clear. I have no intention of discussing anything with someone who assumes my intent. If you continue to do so, I will not discuss things with you. You can assume that means anything you like, or you can simply understand that is something I do not accept, and either accept that, or not, and the repercussions of that choice.
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Orincoro
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Reasoned assumptions are not bad. You give plenty of evidence about yourself. You don't like being judged, I understand. If I were wrong, it probably wouldn't sting.

and consider the alternative. You unintentionally distorted the point being made because you didn't have any grasp of it at all? It's one or the other here. Either you don't get it, or you don't wanna get it. And you have complained before when ive concluded that you were just dense. And don't pull some crap about a third option here there's a simple point you're missing, and even if you don't agree with it, you should be able to understand it. Nobody is having trouble understanding your views here, and they don't even make sense.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Good day sir.
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Orincoro
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I accept your apology.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm glad we understand each other.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
It's not that I'm saying there isn't any racism in the world, what I'm saying is that the age when it was socially acceptable to hang a black man from a tree outside your house for touching your white daughter is long and thankfully gone. There are residual issues, but they are a mere echo of the problem that were faced in this country only fifty years ago. Yes we should continue to work on these issues, but I think accepting "race" as a division of humanity is hurting the situation and it would be helpful to be phased out.
There are two things here which are contradictory and/or mistaken. One, racism =/= tacit public acceptance of lynching. By setting the bar for saying our society has a problem with racism that high, you're artificially ensuring it's not a topic that will be addressed, because you've redefined it to the point of overt murder and covert approval.

The contradictory idea is that racism is a problem that's one of 'residual issues' and echoes...but that it would be best if people would no longer acknowledge race as an serious factor in evaluating humans-meaning we still do it.

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Stone_Wolf_
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To the former: I was saying this was the height of racism. The social acceptance of the group as "other" and "lessor" so much that even their lives are not valued. It's not that this is the only legitimate racism. Please note that the echo I referred to was not that of murder, it was of the civil rights struggle of the 50s and 60s where segregation was the law.

As to the latter, I don't actually understand your point. Saying that things are much much better AND that if society abandoned the concept of "race" things would get even better doesn't seem to be contradictory to me. Could you please explain?

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kmbboots
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Stone_Wolf, yes. Things are better than they were. And, yes, it would be great if race truly did not matter. But the way to get to where it truly doesn't matter is not to pretend that it doesn't matter now. That just lets us off the hook for trying to make it better. We need to recognize where it is still a problem in order to address those inequities. Does that make sense?
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Stone_Wolf_
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Yes and no. Yes we should absolutely address where it is a problem. But I don't see how addressing a problem with prejudice is mutually exclusive with abandoning the imaginary category of race. And it is imaginary. Subcultures, nationalities, skin color, language, etc are all real differences which are difficult to overcome, but what can help is if we recognize that underneath it all, we are all human beings, and though we may seek different ways of fulfilling our needs, our needs are all pretty much the same. Unity is hard to accomplish when we are all divided [Wink] .
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
underneath it all, we are all human beings
This is a noble sentiment that everyone agrees with, but noble sentiments don't solve problems.

I say this without any judgement - I know the point you're trying to make and its laudable, but your previous post is the sort of thing you say that comes across as smug and naive. You're acting like this idea is new or non-obvious, and that if we just accepted it the world would improve.

We KNOW people are all human beings and we all deserve the same rights. We don't need you to tell us that, and the wink at the end makes it sound even more condescending.

Again, I don't think you're trying to come across that way at all, but I think it'd be helpful to work on your presentation.

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kmbboots
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Part of addressing the problems of institutional racism require "seeing" race. Making an effort to hire minority professors for example (among equally qualified candidates) is an important step toward recruiting minority students and them being successful. If we didn't look at ethnicity when hiring, the inequalities that are present in higher education would become more entrenched.
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