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Author Topic: Have we gone mental?
Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
Retarded (sorry, mentally handicapped or is it mentally challenged, perhaps deficient? Not quite sure what is appropriate anymore.)

We just call him malanthrop, but thanks for asking....
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
I spend my time in the real world

god, i wish that even half the people who say this weren't profound examples of aggressive ignorance.

Yet as usual I see it used essentially and unwittingly to mean "I can't be arsed to know what the hell I'm talking about."

Way to go.

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malanthrop
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Is a woman penis deficient or penile challenged? You can grab portions of a sentence if you like but in the real world a midget is a midget no matter what you call him. Enlighten me as to what his preference is so I can avoid offending him. There is an offended without the offensive. REALITY is that my grandmother still says "NEGRO", but she is not a racist. Perception is reality. Call me a cracker, honkey, red neck, opey, inbread, whatever,...I do not care. I am proud of what I am and so should the "Little People" and "African Americans" (Apologies to readers from the year 2020 - "little people" and "African American" were acceptable terms in 2009)
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Ace of Spades
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How come African Americans get to choose what they're called, but when I tell them I what I want to be called they get all mad?
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malanthrop
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They knew you were mocking them. In 1991 I took a college class called "black culture", (I know insensitive, now it's African American Culture). The students then were offended by being called black despite the class title, now they are the professors and the course title has changed to Afican American. Anyway, when I demanded they refer to me as a "German American" in reciprocity for their "African American" demands, they were offended. They knew I was mocking them since my European ancestry really didn't matter to me. German American pointed out the rediculousnes of their demands. We are all people, all Americans. I look for the day when a blacks consider themselves Americans just as I do. By the way, my black "Black Studies" professor liked me a lot and gave me an A.
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AvidReader
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In order to remind folks that African Americans are not one homogenous group, I'd like to point out that a buddy of mine does prefer the term black. His family is Carribean and Scottish, so African isn't terribly descriptive for him.

People get to be different, regardless of skin color. Just throwing that out there.

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The Rabbit
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Of course you know that Caribbeans came from Africa as slaves just like most other black Americans so I'm not seeing how that makes such a big difference.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
You can grab portions of a sentence if you like but in the real world a midget is a midget no matter what you call him.
You're acting as though there is a list somewhere of actual, factual definitions to words like this upon which all human language is derived.

There isn't. Words like 'midget' and 'negro' aren't etched-in-stone concepts like 'two' and 'seventeen'. They shift with the passage of time. Instead of foolishly complaining about this completely natural slow shift in definitions, you ought to just get over yourself and adapt with the rest of the fellow human beings.

So you have to learn, every so often, not to say certain words. Big deal. You're a smart man, or so you so very often imply to everyone around here. You can handle it, I hope.

quote:
I am proud of what I am and so should the "Little People" and "African Americans" (Apologies to readers from the year 2020 - "little people" and "African American" were acceptable terms in 2009)
Oh, wait, I understand. Black people who get irritated about being called 'negro' get that way because they 'aren't proud' of being black. Heh. Well, that's one way to justify complaining about having to actually take into account the reactions of minorities.

quote:
They knew I was mocking them since my European ancestry really didn't matter to me. German American pointed out the rediculousnes of their demands.
Why would it have mattered to you? It wasn't the foundation of centuries of ongoing oppression. Of course it wouldn't matter to you. Is it possible for you to see why it might matter to them more than you? 'Rediculous' indeed.

I wonder if your grandmother is as much of a not-racist as you are.

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AchillesHeel
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Are there people out there who get uppity about how you refer to thier ethinicity? DUH and are there people who still want to refer to those people as negroes and coloreds? DUH

Someday these people will die, I really dont care about something so insignificant as "african-american" vs "black" in fact I dont think much about anyone who does not have a direct effect on how I live. There are alot Africans in the area around my store, I say African because they (themselves individually) are from Africa, when someone with melatonin enriched skin comes into my store, someone who watched the same cartoons as a kid and went to same schools as I did I call him American.

quote:
Of course you know that Caribbeans came from Africa as slaves just like most other black Americans so I'm not seeing how that makes such a big difference.
Of course you know that the people of the African continent had been enslaving each other long before Europeans began paying those on the coast to deliver slaves to them. In fact there are still people in Africa who hate the English for making slavery illegal, thus taking away the only export they had at the time and impoverishing the rich slave owner families that had always been paid in supplys such. Africa was not the only continent with a lengthy history of slavery, nor were black slaves in America the worst treated in history, albeit they were treated as slaves. I have never owned another human being, I have never knowingly met a person who was entirely owned by another, and if I ever do it will apperantly be a young white girl living in shed or one of the many enduntured Mexican slaves in the south west. So unless you just spent twenty years farming in rags and no shoes, had your family threatened if you do not smuggle cocaine and God knows what else up your bum, or given birth to the child of your long time rapist in a dirt floored room shut up.
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fugu13
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It does rather say something that we consider a lengthy and indirect descent from a large, extremely heterogeneous continent more relevant for ethnic identity than more recent, more direct descent from two fairly well-specified regions (Scotland and the Caribbean). I would say it makes quite a bit of difference. Especially as, while people with black skin in the Caribbean almost certainly have some ancestors from Africa (within the last dozen generations or so), ethnicity developed in many places there in a very complicated way. It is entirely possible (especially if from, say, Trinidad and Tobago) that he only has a small minority of his genetics that came from Africa within recent history. To paint someone with African-American because of ten percent or less of his genetics (note: I am speaking of abstract individuals, not this specific individual as I don't know his ancestry, though I have known such people) when he doesn't want to be identified as such reflects a disturbing focus on skin color.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Of course you know that the people of the African continent had been enslaving each other long before Europeans began paying those on the coast to deliver slaves to them.
This always comes up and my answer has never changed, because I've never heard anything approaching a good response to it: So?

quote:
So unless you just spent twenty years farming in rags and no shoes, had your family threatened if you do not smuggle cocaine and God knows what else up your bum, or given birth to the child of your long time rapist in a dirt floored room shut up.
Yeah, because that's the only way someone can be impacted by slavery. So until you can get that idea in your head, perhaps you ought to take your own advice?
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Africa was not the only continent with a lengthy history of slavery, nor were black slaves in America the worst treated in history, albeit they were treated as slaves.
I think its possible to make a strong argument to the contrary.

quote:
Especially as, while people with black skin in the Caribbean almost certainly have some ancestors from Africa (within the last dozen generations or so), ethnicity developed in many places there in a very complicated way. It is entirely possible (especially if from, say, Trinidad and Tobago) that he only has a small minority of his genetics that came from Africa within recent history.
I've been living in Trinidad and Tobago for the past two years and I have a better grasp of the racial subtleties of the region than you think. Although there is much racial mixing, most people here identify themselves either as "Afro-Trini's" or "Indo-Trini's" (Indo referring to India not the Carib, there are a few people who identify themselves as Carib, but they are very few).

I'm a bit surprised that someone would think of themselves as "Caribbean" as that isn't something I've heard down here. People identify themselves with a particular island, they are "Jamaican", "Dominican", "Trini" or "Tobagonian".

Most people who call them selves "African-American" are also racially mixed although that is rarely recognized. Part of the legacy of the "one drop" rule in the US, is a continuing tendency to see every anyone with any African ancestry as "black". America still doesn't really accept mixed race as something distinct.

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fugu13
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I didn't think he would have called himself Caribbean, I was referring to how he might identify in one of the ways a Caribbean might (as opposed to identifying as African-American).

quote:
Most people who call them selves "African-American" are also racially mixed although that is rarely recognized.
Certainly. I have no problem with people self-identifying as almost anything they like. My posts have been in specific reference to this one person who asked not to be identified as African-American despite tendencies to do so, and the general class of people meeting that characteristic.
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The Rabbit
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I have no problem with how people self identify and have no doubt that many Americans with some ancestry from Africa don't prefer the term "African-American".

My question was why you thought coming from the Caribbean would be an important factor in that preference. Much of what you said seems to imply that people in the Caribbean are more distantly related to people who came from Africa than are the typical blacks in the US. That just isn't true.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
... Anyway, when I demanded they refer to me as a "German American" in reciprocity for their "African American" demands, they were offended.

Odd.

For me, it is usually the other way around.

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AvidReader
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
My question was why you thought coming from the Caribbean would be an important factor in that preference.

Maybe it's more interesting to say, "My family came from some really cool island" than, "My family came from Georgia"?
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Darth_Mauve
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Just a reminder.

People of African descent originally claimed the word African American not to emphasis their African roots, but to emphasis their American status. At the times people in the US were divided between Blacks, Mexicans, Immigrants, Irish, and Americans--Americans being White and mostly Protestant.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
I look for the day when a blacks consider themselves Americans just as I do.

Hah. it will probably be the day *you* start considering them Americans, and possibly acknowledging them as entities separate from yourself with their own unique identities.

But like all real racists, you don't even really get what racism is all about.

ETA: I suppose it might never have occurred to you that someone's urge to self identify in a different way from you could be easily fueled by your urge for them to suppress their identity and submerge it in the majority identity with which you have aligned yourself. So mocking someone's minor vanity at being a self styled "African American" doesn't seem so bad to you- since you can easily say "European American" and have that be as meaningless in our culture as it really is. Of course, you have never had to, nor will you ever have to, experience life as anything other than an obvious member of America's ethnic majority and economically dominant race. So the fact that you experience less racial strife is not surprising- a member of an ethnic majority is not even encouraged to notice racism directed at himself, even when it exists. There is an advantage in simple ignorance of race. But your total lack of sensitivity, your absolutely willful ignorance of the very real cultural heritage of black Americans, and the effect that has on how a person chooses to self-identify, tells me you haven't really given this much thought at all. And so I suppose we should excuse you for your rudeness and your total lack of decorum. It's not that I think you are uneducated, but that I do think you have been poorly led.

[ November 26, 2009, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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malanthrop
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I have two Jamaican immigrant neighbors...if you listened to how they talked about American blacks (minus the accent and with your eyes closed), you would think they were skinheads. They drop the N word more than any white person I know. They do not consider themselves African American or Jamaican American. They came from poverty and now work hard in America and have a good life. They see how pathetic the victim mindset is. The racist sees them as black, I see them as contributing members of society....American. The same way they see themselves..proudly.
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Rakeesh
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You're not a racist...but you view two obvious racists (from your description) approvingly and with respect. Yeah, people get bad ideas about your politics because they're eager to judge.

Here's the thing you apparently cannot understand: viewing one's self as 'something-American' and being a productive, contributing member of society are not by any means mutually exclusive concepts.

The 'victim mindset' is crap, yes. Recognizing ways in which one's society habitually victimizes people who look a certain way, on the other hand, is only crap if it's not true.

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SoaPiNuReYe
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
The racist sees them as black, I see them as contributing members of society....American. The same way they see themselves..proudly.

No, human beings see them as black. The racist sees them as reflections of his own stereotypes toward that race, whether those stereotypes are positive or negative.
In my opinion, everybody is at least a little bit racist. That's just how society has trained us. Pretty much every society in the world is at least a little xenophobic, so to characterize one person or another as a racist individual is just as ignorant as the 'racist' himself. Where the line needs to be drawn is whether or not this affects a person's thought or decision making process. I'm not really arguing with anyone here, I guess I just don't like the term racist. Maybe another word.

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Strider
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I'd add in that it's not just society that has trained us, but evolution that has instilled in us a natural tendency to fear outsiders. To separate ourselves into in-group and out-group. Though obviously society and culture help to define exactly what we consider in and out group. Which isn't a defense of this mode of being, more so an indication that we as individuals and as a society need to overcome some inherent biases to treat everyone we meet fairly.
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Rakeesh
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Something always strange to me about folks who talk like malanthrop does about race relations: they have such an incredibly optimistic view of how quickly an entire continent-spanning hundreds-of-millions society and culture can radically change itself.

Not two generations ago, nobody - not even malanthrop, I think - could argue that racial minorities in this country were very badly discriminated against, politically, economically, and socially. It was wide and deep, that discrimination, penetrating not just into our laws but into the hearts and minds of our people-not just the majority but the minorities themselves.

And yet he'd have us believe, less than half a century after the Civil Rights Act was passed into law...we've pretty much gotten over those problems, and those complaining they still exist are harboring a pathetic victim mindset.

'Optimistic' is actually a very charitable word I'm using to describe that sort of thinking.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
I have two Jamaican immigrant neighbors...if you listened to how they talked about American blacks (minus the accent and with your eyes closed), you would think they were skinheads. They drop the N word more than any white person I know. They do not consider themselves African American or Jamaican American. They came from poverty and now work hard in America and have a good life. They see how pathetic the victim mindset is. The racist sees them as black, I see them as contributing members of society....American. The same way they see themselves..proudly.

Appeal to authority, persuasion by anecdote, and favoring sentiment over content. Those are your sins here, among others.

I don't know, Mal, I don't want to go down the road of another poster who recently decided that an excellent response to *anything* I say is total and utter refusal to acknowledge even my ability to communicate. I think you *could* get why what you are saying betrays ignorance. I think you could get that if you weren't as interested as you are in winning an argument with me, which you have found to be impossible- a fact which I have not made so easy for you to overcome. I should have given you a few more outs there, if I expected a reasoned response. So, let's try this.

Look, the reason your Jamaican neighbors feel that way is that they are not African Americans in the sense implied in the culture of the United States. Like you, they have nothing invested in being black American (and again, forgive me the clumsy lexical device of "American" to mean " estadunidense ," which I think we should be using by now in English anyway). And you can work out why that is. Blacks are the majority in Jamaica, and it's a small country that was spared some if not all of the racial strife of the mainland colonies, especially after the British ended slavery, a good while earlier than America managed to. In short, your Jamaican neighbors are black, but they did not grow up as black Americans. One wonders why indeed they *would* have any sympathy for American racial tension, since they come from a country with such a heavy tourist economy, and such a cleaner history of racial relations.

I would really love to know why you find those particular people's opinions on anything regarding race in America more valid than an actual American- even yourself. Why do you countenance their racial slurs when you yourself are too timid to use them. If you were so righteous, and your anti-pc cause was so just, you would use the "n-word" as much as you like, rather than bowing to the PC culture. But you don't. And you know why you don't? Because you're fully aware that you're also full of shit.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by SoaPiNuReYe:
Pretty much every society in the world is at least a little xenophobic, so to characterize one person or another as a racist individual is just as ignorant as the 'racist' himself.

Not by a long shot. Calling anyone a "racist" in general terms is simplistic. But there are legitimate reasons why people resort to simplistic terminology- it can be and often is effective, if used with the understanding that it does not in itself stand in for reasoning. That's why me calling Mal a racist was one sentence, and me explaining *why* Mal is a racist in particular took several paragraphs.
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AvidReader
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estadunidense

That's got too many syllables to catch on. [Wink]

Just to clarify that I understand the word, you're saying they have no wish to self identify as natives of the US while not commenting on their feelings as natives of the American continent?

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Orincoro
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Essentially yes- I'm citing the very significant difference in histories between Jamaica and the US.

For instance, while Black/white relations in Jamaica have long been smoother than in the US, Jamaica is still known as the most homophobic country on Earth. So Jamaicans are no strangers to bigotry, just perhaps strangers to the American experience of it.

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The Rabbit
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Orincoro, Your grasp of the significance of racism in the colonial and post colonial caribbean is really bad.
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Orincoro
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I'm sorry, did I overreach my authority? Because I said something extremely general, because I'm not an expert in the field. The British proscribed slavery and the slave trade decades before the United States did. Right? The histories of the two nations are, in fact *different* right? That's all I care to point out- that is the only statement that matters to me.

ETA: When the hell did I ever say there wasn't racism in the Caribean? I just don't think things are THE SAME there as in the states. Clearly there *is* racism, because his neighbors are pretty racist. But please, don't let me stop you from swooping in with a one-liner to inform me of my ignorance- because that's something I do *all the time* to you.

[ November 27, 2009, 02:22 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by AvidReader:
estadunidense

That's got too many syllables to catch on. [Wink]

One might reasonably shorten it to 'dense.
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The Rabbit
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I'm sorry Orincoro, I didn't mean any offense. Yes, the history of the Caribbean is quite different from that of the states and the issues of race and ethnicity are quite different in the Caribbean than they are in the US. My objection (and I should have been more specific) was to your claim that "Black/White relations in Jamaica have long been smoother than in the US." Different? Yes, Smoother? No, that isn't an accurate assessment.

One of the most notable racial differences between the US and the Caribbean is in how people with mixed racial background are viewed. Lots of people who are considered "black" in the US would be considered "white" in the Caribbean. Neither Obama nor Collin Powell would be considered black in the Caribbean.

Its also true that racial issues vary pretty dramatically in different regions of the US. The experience of a black person who grew up in the Seattle suburbs will be very very different from the experience of someone who grew up in inner city Miami.

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Lyrhawn
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So far as terminology goes, I generally say black, though there are circumstances when African-American strikes me as more appropriate, and I say it. Black and white are descriptive terms as far as I'm concerned. Negro, the N-word, etc, are all either inappropriate or downright offensive, I think.

quote:
One of the most notable racial differences between the US and the Caribbean is in how people with mixed racial background are viewed. Lots of people who are considered "black" in the US would be considered "white" in the Caribbean. Neither Obama nor Collin Powell would be considered black in the Caribbean.
From what I've read of post-colonial Africa, this is true in many areas there as well. Sort of an inverse from the "one drop rule" in America. Here, a drop of black blood makes you black, regardless of your heritage. There, a little white blood makes you white, regardless of your heritage.
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The Rabbit
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Well in the Caribbean, after several centuries of depraved white slave owners, I doubt there is anyone that doesn't have at least a little white blood.
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odouls268
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A good friend of mine in college had a leg that was severely broken and he was still in a full leg cast the day he got a boot on his car. Unable to walk, he took the wheel off the car, put his spare tire on, and drove across campus to the police station to pay the ticket and have the boot removed from his tire. Upon arrival, he too was arrested for posession of stolen property and (I believe) obstruction of justice.

That was almost 10 years ago. This "mental" issue is not a new thing.

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odouls268
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Carribean slave owners? How did the conversation get to where it is from where it started?
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by odouls268:
A good friend of mine in college had a leg that was severely broken and he was still in a full leg cast the day he got a boot on his car. Unable to walk, he took the wheel off the car, put his spare tire on, and drove across campus to the police station to pay the ticket and have the boot removed from his tire. Upon arrival, he too was arrested for posession of stolen property and (I believe) obstruction of justice.

That was almost 10 years ago. This "mental" issue is not a new thing.

I think that's a case of the letter of the law violating the spirit of the law.
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Kwea
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we took an absurd conversation and turned it into a decent one.

Happens all the time here. [Big Grin]

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
... Clearly there *is* racism, because his neighbors are pretty racist.

Alleged neighbours, anyways.

(I don't have doubt that there are racist Jamacians, but I do often have doubts with mal's depiction/claims about his neighbours and co-workers. I'm not particularly inclined to judge them as racists in absentia based on just mal's viewpoint)

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Orincoro
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Consider them as discussed her to be the notional figures that Mal has presented, and treat them as such. I think of them only as figments of Mal's imagination or the image of himself that he chooses to represent here, and their actual convergence with real people I don't place much importance on. Since they were conjured very conveniently into a conversation into which Mal has in the past conjured many convenient facts and experiences to reinforce his own views, I don't think they need to be treated like "real" people for the purposes of talking about them as examples here- especially when in the end Mal controls what contribution they get to make to the debate, since he speaks in their voice. Notice, he does this consistently and unabashedly despite the fact that most of the other people here do it sparingly or not at all, because we are all mostly aware that anecdotes such as those are a) less valuable than they appear, and b) often suspect.
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Dan_raven
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A racist sees two black men and assumes that they are greedy, lazy welfare bums until he talks to them to find out that they are productive members of society.

When you first saw your neighbors what did you see--two trash talking Jamacian black men, or two people who had yet to show you their true colors?

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Rakeesh
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Why even ask him that question? The answer won't be anything but good. How do I know? Because I can't recall the last time I heard malanthrop say anything that wasn't really great about himself-self-made man, works a whole lot of hours, makes lots of money honestly, has good, acceptable beliefs, etc.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Consider them as discussed her to be the notional figures that Mal has presented, and treat them as such.

Good and fair enough, just as long as this is understood.

I only add the slightly less provocative scenario that if Mal is as um, pleasant, company for visible minorities (and potentially the non-religious) as he seems to be on Hatrack, there is always the possibility that people in question might just be messing with him.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by odouls268:
A good friend of mine in college had a leg that was severely broken and he was still in a full leg cast the day he got a boot on his car. Unable to walk, he took the wheel off the car, put his spare tire on, and drove across campus to the police station to pay the ticket and have the boot removed from his tire. Upon arrival, he too was arrested for posession of stolen property and (I believe) obstruction of justice.

I think that's a case of the letter of the law violating the spirit of the law.
I don't. Keep in mind that to get booted, you generally have to have a minimum of 5 unpaid tickets. The idea IS to inconvenience you while you have to wait for the boot to be removed.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
I don't. Keep in mind that to get booted, you generally have to have a minimum of 5 unpaid tickets. The idea IS to inconvenience you while you have to wait for the boot to be removed.

Meh, even 5 unpaid parking tickets is not a criminal offense is it? And even if it is, we don't live in a justice system that is meant to punish people before they have been convicted of a crime. Considering that the guy was headed straight over to the police to pay the ticket, I'd call that mission accomplished on the part of the cops. The boot got the ticket paid faster than even waiting to come back for it would have, so how exactly is arresting him following the spirit of the law? When you consider that nothing the man did could in itself be characterized as having criminal intent, why should he be treated as a criminal?
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malanthrop
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
You're not a racist...but you view two obvious racists (from your description) approvingly and with respect. Yeah, people get bad ideas about your politics because they're eager to judge.

Here's the thing you apparently cannot understand: viewing one's self as 'something-American' and being a productive, contributing member of society are not by any means mutually exclusive concepts.

The 'victim mindset' is crap, yes. Recognizing ways in which one's society habitually victimizes people who look a certain way, on the other hand, is only crap if it's not true.

I do not believe that racism exists. One group of people dislikes another, not for their skin color (they may share the same skin color) but their culture. Race is not the issue when one of a given race dislikes others of the same race. It is about culture and mindset. African immigrants in America might have the same distaste for the ghetto mentality as a fifth generation German immigrant. No one would call a first generation African immigrant a racist for their views against African Americans when the bulk of their friends are African American. Racism should be replaced with culturism. I dislike the culture of illegitimate birth, fathers who do not take responsibility for their children and money is everything....watch a rap video, that is what I do not like. When I drive by the projects, I see fatherless families and hate the fathers who would abandon their children. It isn't about race, it's about responsibility. The so called protectors of minorities who created the welfare state created this problem. Race is a non issue. Most of my Jamaican neighbors friends are productive African Americans, although they hate niggers. Nigger does not mean an American of African decent. A nigger is equivalent to white trash. A nigger is a thug who impregnates without responsibility. My Jamaican neighbors make clear to me, it's not about color but mentality. Even Chris Rock hates "Niggers".

[ November 29, 2009, 12:16 AM: Message edited by: malanthrop ]

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Dobbie
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
I dislike the culture of illegitimate birth, fathers who do not take responsibility for their children and money is everything....watch a rap video, that is what I do not like.


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malanthrop
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quote:
Originally posted by Dobbie:
quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
I dislike the culture of illegitimate birth, fathers who do not take responsibility for their children and money is everything....watch a rap video, that is what I do not like.


You are correct. There is good rap. I stereotyped Will Smith with Lil John. My apologies for insinuating that all rap was bad...only 80% is about the worship of the dollar and victimization of women. There are white rappers as well. Not all rap is the mentality I speak of, but most is. Is stating the fact that all the attackers of 911 were followers of Islam make one a hater of Islam?
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Meh, even 5 unpaid parking tickets is not a criminal offense is it?

Removing the boot is. So would damaging a parking meter, which is also city property.
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Orincoro
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Yeah, I understand that it is- I just don't think doing it that particular way is particularly criminalistic. Are you really arguing with that view?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
I do not believe that racism exists. ... It is about culture and mindset.

I don't believe that cars exist. To me they're just trucks, sedans, SUVs, and other motor vehicles.

Unfortunately for you, Mal, not to mention every other conservative positive minded solipsist in the world, it's really not enough that *you* don't understand a concept well enough to believe that such a thing actually exists. It does exist. It, in itself, is a description of long known and observed behaviors among human beings, in regards to how a person's culture is conflated with their appearance, and in what ways other human beings make assumptions about culture, or even about a person's most basic humanity, based on appearance.

Again, this phenomenon does not require your understanding to be real. It is real. The reason I say "your understanding" rather than "your belief" is because you do not understand what racism actually is, well enough to understand whether you yourself believe it exists or not. The statements, "I don't believe racism exists" and "it's all about culture and mindset," are at odds with each other. Racism is deeply cultural- it is the rejection of other cultures and the people associated with them, allowing one culture to define another as inferior, and so draw similar conclusions about the people of other cultures themselves.

Ask yourself if this doesn't exist in what you lovingly refer to as "the real world:" a middle class Asian American guy walks up to a gas station window to ask directions. The guy behind the counter is from Pakistan or Afghanistan, and his English is very poor. He doesn't understand the American, and anyway he has suffered quite a bit in the past few years from personal hardships, so he yells at the guy to get lost, or he'll call the cops. The American guy walks away, and in his mind he processes the events. He knows nothing about the foreigner's situation, so perhaps he assumes the foreigner is lazy, or on drugs, or a criminal. He sees this all the time- the city is full of people like that from these middle eastern countries. Maybe there is something genetic about these middle easterners that makes them do all these terrible things to each other. That, Mal, is racism. Most racism is directed at no one in particular, is unorganized, unspoken, unacted upon. The Asian American will, from now on, make sure to stop at the gas station where the white guy runs the counter- and when he sees an Arab, he goes somewhere else. *He knows better than to deal with those people.* And in such a confined scenario, he is not even wrong insofar as he thinks about it at all.

I live in a city where practically the only time you would ever expect to see a black face at all will be on the street, in a tourist area, selling drugs. Otherwise blacks are British tourists, Americans, or too rarely locals with honest jobs. But it takes a person who has been educated, not just by his own experiences, and not just "in the real world," but yes, dammit, in books and studies, to see that the world's population of black people is not in itself defined by drug dealing in a small European country. The thing is, if you never went to school, and you lived in Central Europe, you would be *totally* justified in assuming that all black people, everywhere, are drug dealers. Practically speaking you'd be right most of the time in your limited world.

But there's the rub my friend, you'd still be wrong. You'd be ignorant, and you'd be wrong.

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