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Author Topic: Is this equivalent?
Storm Saxon
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But it could mean that, Kate.

When I have to guess from one sentence what people are saying, errors can occur. It's one reason why I didn't bother responding to you to begin with and why I normally ignore people who just respond with little quips to topics. I should have kept doing it, rather than trying to guess. Pardon. For future reference, that's what's going to happen.

quote:

No, actually, I don't. And I haven't. You asked if they were they same. I said that they weren't - or more precisely that they would be if the context was the same for both groups. I think that the context is important. Understanding that we are not starting with a blank slate in understanding motivation is important. I think that, taking that into account doesn't make the church's statement a necessarily positive thing, but it does make it not equivalent.

So, what is the context that you think should be taken into account that makes what Wright said not equivalent? Is it really safe, to go back to a point brought up when speaking of Muslims, to assume that tens of millions of people have the same cultural experience just because they're white or black? What about Chinese? Would a Chinese church be racist like, presumably, a white church would if it said those things? Is it only a white church that we can say would be racist if it said those things, and bad? What about all the other things that I wrote in the post from which you quote?

What's your argument? What facts do you have to support it?

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Dagonee
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quote:
When I have to guess from one sentence what people are saying, errors can occur. It's one reason why I didn't bother responding to you to begin with and why I normally ignore people who just respond with little quips to topics. I should have kept doing it, rather than trying to guess. Pardon. For future reference, that's what's going to happen.
Perhaps you ought to make your questions a little more than a little quip, then.

You leaped from "they're not equivalent" to "the black version is something positive." At best, anyone answering your first post would have to guess that you would do that.

And, seriously, where do you get off making a comment like that when you said, "O, my god. Just stop" in this very thread?

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The Pixiest
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I read that as "the black version OF something positive"

That'd be a cool webcomic to read.

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Rakeesh
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I'm sorry, Bok, my post came off snarkier than I intended. I agree with what you're saying, and I think the point of dispute when you view the question concerning how the two races have related becomes smaller than just viewing one or the other out of context.
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

The point is, the historical context of relationships between these two cultures were defined by color solely, regardless of the particulars.

Not always, and not always negatively, and it doesn't necessarily speak to the present. Is the son automatically a copy of the father? His grandfather? His great-grandfather?

quote:

So you trying to blow up the argument by saying a certain culture doesn't really exist, when taking a more comprehensive, perhaps anthropological, view is missing the point. Geoff and I can see the point quite well, I think. Though neither of us may concede it personally.

I don't see that your argument that just because some people did things one way in the past means that that is the way it exists, or must be, in the present is true.

I don't your argument speaks to what it means to be white, or black, either generally or individually in the present.

I don't think it speaks to the need, or goodness or badness, for white pride or black pride, what it means to be racist.

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Storm Saxon
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I don't have time to respond to you, Dagonee.
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Dagonee
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I'm all heartbroken, Storm.
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Storm Saxon
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No doubt.
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kmbboots
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Forgive me for trying to be concise. The question you asked was concise. I felt I was answering in kind.

In this country black people have been enslaved and discriminated against for centuries. This was imposed on them. Being a discriminated minority has become, sadly, part of the cultural identity for most (perhaps not all) black people in this country.

They have been defined by the majority as "less than" and "other". Celebrating African American or black pride has historically been a way to combat the feelings of inferiority that being defined that way can produce. It is a reaction.

I wish that the circumstance that cause such a reaction never happened; but they did. Ignoring them in a "why aren't we all just the same" kind of way is naive and unproductive. It hinders working toward a world where it truly is unnecessary.

Many white people have also been discriminated against. Not, though, for being white. Generally, touting one's whiteness is understood to mean, "thank God I'm not black!"

This is different from a church that, for example, is proud of its Mexican culture or its Polish culture.

There is a historical and cultural difference in a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button and a "proud to be White" button. One is celebrating an ethnic heritage; one is celebrating being superior to non-white people. Rather than combatting an imposed sense of inferiority, it is trying to hang on to a sense that others are inferior.

Does this make more sense to you now?

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Storm Saxon
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quote:

Forgive me for trying to be concise. The question you asked was concise. I felt I was answering in kind.

The question I asked was concise because it could be, because it was, I hope, clear what I was asking. At least, it seems to me that it was.

Answering a simple question often means using more words than the original question. Kind of the nature of the beast, I think.

I'm not just trying to get you and others to respond a little more clearly to be mean. As you experienced with Porter, it's irritating to have someone respond kind of vaguely and not be clear on what they are saying.

For me, it was kind of irritating that it seemed like you were calling me out for trying to interpret your response wrongly. In general, it sometimes seems like people on this forum often do the whole brusque response thing to be passive-aggressive and make people chase after them for answers.


quote:

In this country black people have been enslaved and discriminated against for centuries. This was imposed on them. Being a discriminated minority has become, sadly, part of the cultural identity for most (perhaps not all) black people in this country.

They have been defined by the majority as "less than" and "other". Celebrating African American or black pride has historically been a way to combat the feelings of inferiority that being defined that way can produce. It is a reaction.

I wish that the circumstance that cause such a reaction never happened; but they did. Ignoring them in a "why aren't we all just the same" kind of way is naive and unproductive. It hinders working toward a world where it truly is unnecessary.

Many white people have also been discriminated against. Not, though, for being white. Generally, touting one's whiteness is understood to mean, "thank God I'm not black!"

This is different from a church that, for example, is proud of its Mexican culture or its Polish culture.

There is a historical and cultural difference in a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button and a "proud to be White" button. One is celebrating an ethnic heritage; one is celebrating being superior to non-white people. Rather than combatting an imposed sense of inferiority, it is trying to hang on to a sense that others are inferior.

Does this make more sense to you now?

Yes! Thanks so much for an awesome response!

I can't respond in depth right now, but sincerely, I do appreciate your considered response.

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Rakeesh
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Why does a 'proud to be White' button have to be celebrating racial superiority, if a 'proud to be Black' button does not?
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Bokonon
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Rakeesh, I get it (and am obviously sympathetic to your point), but despite boisterous claims of colorblindness (and I've noticed especially those of a conservative bent like to shout this lately, when arguing against things like Affirmative Action) we actually AREN'T at a point yet where we can just say they are equivalent, and be done with it.

I wish we could get there sooner than later though. I also do think there can be a time where it is the case... I can see where from some segments of society that the goalposts appear to keep moving where the nature of fair and equitable race relations are concerned.

-Bok

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kmbboots
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Rakeesh, in theory it doesn't; in practice it does. When white people celebrate a cultural heritage it tends to be more specific. Hence the "Proud to be Irish" or "Proud to be Italian". "Proud to be White" would be similar to a "Proud to Not be Italian" if Italians had a history of being considered inferior and less than human.

Storm, I am sorry I got irritated.

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Storm Saxon
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I"m very irritating. It's understandable.

Please accept my apologies for being less than polite. I should have phrased things better.

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Bokonon
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Storm, it isn't a matter of how it was is how it is, and how it must be henceforth. I was taking issue with your argument stating that because there is no "majority culture", when looking at the culture in and of itself, that therefore the other culture is wrong because it can't get inside (historically, and even by and large, currently) the majority culture to see that they are constructing a strawman of sorts.

Because the trust isn't built (and some people will never accept it regardless) and historically it didn't matter, if you were black, whether another person was Irish or Italian or Polish or WASP, the treatment you could expect was the same when dealing with any of them, why should they believe you? That was the way they related to whites, and the nuances and differences weren't relevant to their experiences.

Therefore they created their own culture as a bulwark against the other culture. It's a siege mentality that is ingrained, and will take a while to dilute (though this dilution isn't entirely the majority culture's responsibility). It's only been a couple generations since any semblance of equal treatment existed, lest anyone forget, and I think it only makes sense to expect that it will take time for these habits to lessen generally.

Or maybe to put it another way, is that your whole argument ignores the fact that perception, especially when reinforced out of a sense survival over generations of a society/culture, is often reality for those people that are vested in the situation. It's nice to say that their perception is wrong, but only time and little concrete examples of change will convince most of them.

-Bok

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
I"m very irritating. It's understandable.

Please accept my apologies for being less than polite. I should have phrased things better.

My irritation is less at you than at the situation. I, too, wish it were different and I'm frustrated that it isn't. Realizing that I have to acknowledge the roots of the problem in order to help fix it (when it seems that focusing on the problem is part of the problem)does not make me happy. So I reacted badly to what seemed to be a simplistic question.
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Seatarsprayan
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Since I was raised in a colour-blind environment, I view "proud to be black" and "proud to be white" as both being racist. That doesn't necessarily mean they are equivalent in morality (though they might be, depends on the individual).
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vonk
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If I hear someone yell out "The stars at night!", no matter where I am, or who said it (within reason, of course), I will automatically respond with "are big and bright! Deep in the heart of Texas!" and so will most of the people that I know.

I have the same lack of control over myself if I hear someone, anyone, anywhere, yell out "Say it loud!" I can not not yell back, or at least say to myself, "I'm black and I'm proud!" Does this make me racist? (I'm not black) Should I mentally edit it to "I'm white and I'm proud"?

(This is probably not relevant to the discussion, but the question just popped into my head.)

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Being a discriminated minority has become, sadly, part of the cultural identity for most (perhaps not all) black people in this country.
For good reason.

Being black in America has made me deeply wary of majority rule and utilitarianism. Majority rule and utilitarianism. Those aren't small little habits America has picked up. Those two principles pervade, in a mighty way, how quite a few white Americans go about thinking about public issues, even if they don't realize it. Those two principles put me on the other side of quite a few institutions, and that barely broaches the complicated and different ways black and white people understand the morality of the legal system.

This world is really something, and I'm not saying that black culture uniformily better than white culture, but yes there is a difference, and that difference is rooted in the fact that all of the great American virtues that made this country successful, were used to forcibly put down black people, so maybe, just maybe those virtues white people have been uttering and acting on from the nations founding aren't as profound as they think they are, so when I see that special brand conservative white person, self-satisfied in their traditions and political priorities, I see a hurtful jackass-- a blissfully unaware bull in the china shop-- and that's tied to race and the history of race in America.

[ February 13, 2007, 04:50 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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Avin
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Am I the only one who didn't see anything inherently wrong with the hypothetical white church in the original post?

Before anyone immediately flames me for being racist, please note that I am NOT white - I am a native born Sri Lankan, now an American citizen. And I also married a white American woman.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a white organization that aims to support white people. Or a white group that requires members be white. Nor do I think there is anything inherently wrong with the equivalent black organizations. What would be wrong is if they did so at the expense of those outside their own race; for instance white organizations that viewed other races as inferior and encouraged members to treat other races as such, or a black organization that was unwelcoming to a white visitor.

Basically, I think it's perfectly fair for a person or organization to support their own race without being racist. Or to desire same-race fellowship. Or it's also fine to support an arbitrary race even if it's not your own - for instance, I generally prefer the company of white people to members of my own race that I have met in America. What makes it racism is putting down other races. So despite my preference, I do not immediately negatively judge someone because they are Sri Lankan.

Nowhere in the description of these two hypothetical churches did I see any evidence of real racism. To claim that they have those faults is to pass a judgment based on an implied correspondence with what you are familiar with, not with what the church is actually saying about itself.

Now I would make one criticism which is that the churches in question, being a church, seems to have their priorities a bit skewed, in that by the description race issues are as important or more so than their Christian faith. But that's a different issue.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Seatarsprayan:
Since I was raised in a colour-blind environment, I view "proud to be black" and "proud to be white" as both being racist. That doesn't necessarily mean they are equivalent in morality (though they might be, depends on the individual).

And here perhaps because I was raised in a colorblind environment I am of the opinion if Asians want to celebrate their culture or if Africans wish to do the same thing that I should encourage it.

Alot of people's response to, "proud to be white" comments sounds VERY akin to how China reacts when Japanese people express their national pride,

"You prideful Japanese have not apologized enough for your WW2 atrocities!"

I always found it ironic that there are yearly "Asian Games" but if there were yearly "European Games" people would probably complain.

I think all minority groups in the US are married to each other and as such it is perfectly ethical to allow any group to celebrate their culture with others of similar culture as long as mutual respect is shown to those of other races.

The snag is its VERY hard to get people to love others cultures as much as they love their own and thus people become elitist about their own culture and look down on others.

As I said before as long as people of all colors are held in equal esteem, that church can celebrate its blackness as much as they want. I should be welcomed if I visit their church.

If that is the case I am fine with it. The KKK was evil because it sought to harm other people based on religion and ethnicity not because it was proud of its white anglo saxon protestant heritage.

Kirk: Thanks for clarifying.

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Tara
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Avin, I think everyone would generally be happier if races didn't exist at all. It creates differences between people that don't neecessarily have to be differences, and that always leads to trouble.

Even though that church isn't really racist, I feel (in spite of my earlier post) that it's headed in a bad direction. We should be working toward coming together, and in stead this black church is pushing themselves farther away.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
quote:
I don't like to see them being descriminated against, although I see the emphasis on family (including "kinfolk" family, "church family", and family in the sense that I believe we are all Children of God) as a good thing.
I don't know if you can have both ways in theory, much less so in practice.
I don't understand how you can think that. A family is a family.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Tara:
Avin, I think everyone would generally be happier if races didn't exist at all. It creates differences between people that don't neecessarily have to be differences, and that always leads to trouble.

Possibly, except maybe blacks with heart problems [Wink]
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

In this country black people have been enslaved and discriminated against for centuries. This was imposed on them. Being a discriminated minority has become, sadly, part of the cultural identity for most (perhaps not all) black people in this country.

Thank you for pointing out that not all black people in this country are from slavery. This points out the problems with assuming something from skin color.

The question that I would ask is, is it necessary that slavery and prejudice be a part of the cultural identity of black people?

This is a lot of what troubles me about Wright's church. I don't really care about black pride. My problem comes with black pride being intertwined with what seems to me a very negative view of all white people.

For that matter, I think 'white pride' is perfectly fine, as long as you don't hate someone else for not being white.

quote:

They have been defined by the majority as "less than" and "other". Celebrating African American or black pride has historically been a way to combat the feelings of inferiority that being defined that way can produce. It is a reaction.

Fine.

quote:

I wish that the circumstance that cause such a reaction never happened; but they did. Ignoring them in a "why aren't we all just the same" kind of way is naive and unproductive. It hinders working toward a world where it truly is unnecessary.

I don't agree at all that the circumstances of the distant past necessitate the present, or that people must blindly be slaves to their past. At some point, people should stop and ask themselves if what they are doing is really necessary or healthy. We can create our own realities as individuals. We don't have to be products of the past.

quote:


Many white people have also been discriminated against. Not, though, for being white.

You should talk to Irami some time.

Really, I find this statement very suprising. If you have never been discriminated against because you are white, or seen it to know that it happens, then I don't know what to say.

quote:


Generally, touting one's whiteness is understood to mean, "thank God I'm not black!"

Inasmuch as many white people are ethnic mutts, and constantly defnined by many other ethnicities strictly on the basis of their skin color as being descendants of slave owners, bourgeoisie, privileged, lazy, what have you, I would think that it can have the same meaning as it does for black people, or hispanic people, or whatever.

Of course, I don't think white people should do so, but I understand the attraction when white people get so much hate dumped their way from other cultures. I don't look at it as any different than black pride, personally.

quote:


This is different from a church that, for example, is proud of its Mexican culture or its Polish culture.

See above. I would add that, these days, many people don't see you as Polish, or French, or what have you. Again, look to Irami. He doesn't qualify his statements according to nationality. They see you as white, black, brown....

quote:


There is a historical and cultural difference in a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button and a "proud to be White" button. One is celebrating an ethnic heritage; one is celebrating being superior to non-white people. Rather than combatting an imposed sense of inferiority, it is trying to hang on to a sense that others are inferior.

I agree that many white people have and do do this with white pride.

I would argue that many black people do this with black pride, too, and that the past doesn't matter or excuse the racism, if in the present you see others not as individuals but as a skin color.

quote:

Does this make more sense to you now?

Yes. Thanks so much for your reply. [Smile]

Bokonon,

quote:

Or maybe to put it another way, is that your whole argument ignores the fact that perception, especially when reinforced out of a sense survival over generations of a society/culture, is often reality for those people that are vested in the situation. It's nice to say that their perception is wrong, but only time and little concrete examples of change will convince most of them.

I think I answered your post with my post to Kate. Please let me know if you think I haven't.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't like to see them being descriminated against, although I see the emphasis on family (including "kinfolk" family, "church family", and family in the sense that I believe we are all Children of God) as a good thing.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't know if you can have both ways in theory, much less so in practice.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't understand how you can think that. A family is a family.

A while ago, Jeb Bush's youngest son was taken in for public drunkeness and resisting arrest. The governor replied by saying"

quote:
My sons doing fine. Its a private matter. We will support him. Were sad for him."
Is that family values? Some people would say yes. I think it's a bit disrespectful to every sober person who doesn't resist arrest. I also think that such a sentiment undermines public trust. What about if the Governor called in a favor to get his son's record expunged? Is that still family values? Even though it's a mark against everyone with a record who does not have access to the judge's ear. Family values in a public sphere where people are supposed to be treated equally is a complicated mess.

If you want special favors for family or friends of family in public or private enterprise, you are undermining the tenet that we live in an equal society. There isn't a simple solution, and I do believe family values slides into corruption depending on your position in the world.

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ketchupqueen
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[quote]If you want special favors for family or friends of family in public or private enterprise, you are undermining the tenet that we live in an equal society. There isn't a simple solution, and I do believe family values slides into corruption depending on your position in the world. [/auote]

Where, exactly, did I say I "want special favors for family or friends of family in public or private enterprise"? I said I'm in favor of CHURCHES focusing on STRENGTHENING THE FAMILY. If I didn't or was somehow unclear, I'm sorry. But that's what I believe in. Spending time with your family, marrying the parent of your children, participating in religious and community activities together and helping eachother become better people. That's what I'm in favor of. Emphasis on the family meaning helping people have stronger families and healthier relationships within them.

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