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View Diary: Mich Township Clerk calls Township Supervisor an "arrogant n!gger" (and, yeah, she's a Dem) (181 comments)

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  •  Can we finally just be real & admit that racism (88+ / 0-)

    exists WIDELY across the North, too? My sis lives in W. Michigan, and the racism there is appalling. I confront it here as well in 'progressive' Vermont, as I did living in Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland.

    America: You have a racism problem. A BIG one. The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one.

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:23:08 AM PDT

    •  You can tell she's not from the south. (19+ / 0-)

      She didn't use "uppity" as her adjective.

      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:32:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What if it's too (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, Patate, Smoh, Matt Z, Black Max

      depressing to admit that it is widespread?  

      In my circles, It doesn't rear it's ugly head.  Could I believe that racism is alive and well amongst the people I include in my circle?  Statistically, I'd say yes but I just can't think of one who I would suspect.  Of course, perhaps that has as much to do with selective friendships as anything else.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:56:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it exists in most (of us) Whites (9+ / 0-)

        it's subconcious in many of us. If you are right that you have no racism in you, you are unusual so don't make the mistake of thinking deep down others aren't effected.

        I am White and grew up in the North and used to think I was not at all racist. Here's that sterotypical statement "I had Black friends". Most of my friends in HS were on the track team and many were Black.

        I had to dig really really deep to find it. And it's a constant battle to root out.

        I grew up in the USA and am over forty. So I absorbed some racial steryotypes from society. IT's hard to believe that most people did not. Especially when I dig deep in conversation and find it in most people.

        I have a friend (White) from Tx who interestingly, I think, has no racism. It's her temperment...she's an extremely loving and accepting individual. And she rejected some of what she learned from an early age.

        •  by people, I mean the people I am talking to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          newfie, etherealfire

          I understand that could already be selected for...if they
          hated our city due to bad experiences they'd have left.

        •  Depends on your definition. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Whenever I interact with another person I start with the assumption that they are good people.  Am I aware of the billion and one possibilities that could actually be that person - absolutely (not all at once, I don't have the brain the size of a planet)  but I stick with my assumption of goodness until proven otherwise.  I don't think that is all that different from what you are saying  - I just don't see that as racism. But I think if my view was the flip of what I wrote - that I am aware of possibilities and assume the worst possibilities because of skin tone then I'd say that was racism - even if I don't overtly react that way.

          Not sure if that makes sense but I tried.

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 02:44:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you may not have a racist bone in your body (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            etherealfire, newfie

            but if so my thought is that you were thinking many or most White people (especially over 40 or so) are also as nonracist as you are, and that is not the case. Sometimes when people are exceptional they think others are the same as them but they aren't.

            •  I don't think I am exceptional. (0+ / 0-)

              I do think that of the people who I count as friends they think similarly to me.  I could be wrong but then again I try to assume the best of others until proven wrong.  

               I think being aware of what your potential assumptions about others might be based on whatever factors in your life have created them is the exact opposite of racism/prejudice.  You are taking an active role to bypass unacceptable assumptions - which pretty much covers all assumptions that are based on unrelated factors - religion, skin tone, etc.

              "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

              by newfie on Wed May 01, 2013 at 04:56:51 AM PDT

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    •  The men on my father's side of the family, (23+ / 0-)

      Italians from Pittsburgh, PA all, were about as racist as they come. I come from that, and I've been trying to shed it all my life. I've spent time with others at workshops working on combatting the racism that was visited upon us as children.

      Yesterday, in line at a 99 cent store, a guy right in front of me, without any prompting, launched into "I don't like a lot of crap going in the country right now." Then out of his mouth came "too many illegals," "Chinamen," people livin' off of the government, etc.

      When I'm in my right mind I stay calm and try to actually give them some information. Look, I said, there was a time when my people, the Italians, came as immigrants and were called "wops," "greaseballs," "dagos," etc. (He had said he was Italian, from South Dakota, of all things.) I also said that look, the country is changing, there's lots of people of color, and he'd better live with it if he didn't want to just live on some mountaintop somewhere. I also pointed out the "Chinaman" (an Asian lady working behind the counter) who was working hard in the store. When he left, he actually said, "good to talk to you," and he had softened.

      I've had ugly words with racists, but I've learned to tell them politely but firmly that I'm not with them at all on their crap, but I also still treat them as human beings (which they are) who need a rational voice with decent information about what others are up against. We should
      "interrupt" racism where we see it, but then model some good behavior ourselves.

      "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

      by Wildthumb on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:03:03 AM PDT

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      •  good for you that's my experience also (4+ / 0-)

        it's like there is a Part of a  person that spues that crap so adamantly sometimes, and often there is a humane part that is open to listening

      •  Remembering a summer in my late teens when (15+ / 0-)

        a young man from Texas who was working in MI for the summer joined our group of friends.
        He was loud, funny, charismatic and he was a bigot. He'd present his racist insults in amusing ways and my friends would laugh along
        The town we lived in was pretty much all white so the issue or discussions rarely arose but I was shocked by my friends casual acceptance of it. I assumed all good/cool people would recoil at racist talk however it is presented. I thought maybe their vague awe at this cool older guy hanging with us might be making them not want to fight him at all. Whatever.
        When I'd object he'd say I didn't know those people like he did....

        It really bothered me but one day I got an idea. This guy really liked me... as an Italian I tan pretty easily and hanging out at the lake I was pretty tan. My hair was curly (thanks to a permanent). So the next time he said I didn't really know "them" I turned to face him and say "Yes I do, my dad is black. I am one of "those people".
        After weak objections (he'd seen my dad he said, my friends said (rightly) that was my step-dad)
        and then a stunned silence he started apologizing. The next time we met up he not only had a fervent talk with me about how he'd have to rethink everything and where his thoughts had gone but then he talked to the whole group about the asshole he'd been. He said things like he'd let a few bad experiences with a few black people make him judge the whole group but he had to wonder why even worse experiences with white people didn't lead to the same thing...
        He actually showed some insight and a lot of humility. He didn't say any racist or sexist thing the rest of the summer. Who knows, maybe his rethinking lasted longer than that summer. I never did tell him I lied about it...
        but did I completely? Italians generally have that wavy hair, wider noses etc, sort of Negroid features. Maybe some old invasion of the region

        I've confronted such talk many times but that one was pretty fun.

        •  Great story. (8+ / 0-)

          I'm of Irish ancestry, and creamy as milk, but I grew up in Hawaii and have ZERO tolerance for racist BS of any kind. People let their gums flap in front of me b/c of my ghostly pallor, and then are in for a rude shock when I confront them in a variety of creative ways every damn time.

          Kudos to you. Sounds like you may have really made a difference in this man's life.

          Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

          by earicicle on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 02:07:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wonderful. Take a look at some of the Siciliani (5+ / 0-)

          on YouTube or wherever. Many look very dark with wavy hair, sort of a Middle-Eastern appearance, or North African.  Italy had many influences, so from way back it's foolish for Italians to talk about "pure" Italian as my mother's side of the family used to talk about. (There is a divide in Italy between the -traditionally- industrial north and the agrarian, dialect-rich south, and everybody knows it.)

          And I've run into this kind of story too. People being jackasses then telling you later that they've "learned from you" kind of thing. In some fashion, people know that racism is wrong and attempt to shed it. They think telling racist jokes, etc. is what they're supposed to do. (Or homophobic, sexist, etc.)

          "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

          by Wildthumb on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:41:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Top commented n/t (4+ / 0-)

          "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

          by brillig on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 06:29:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not aware that people think it isn't widely (4+ / 0-)

      distributed throgh the entire White population. In the SOuth it was institutionalized and codified by law and more former societal practice.

      Perhaps you mean to break the denial of those who still insist that there is "no" racism in the North. I'm responding only because your post seems to act as if MOST WHites (or White Kossacks) think there is no racism in the North. That is not my experience. Maybe some do, I suppose.

      I've not lived in the South only the North. That said I can't tell you how many stories White and Black people who have lived in the South tell me of things that have happened to them in recent decades that would NEVER happen here in the North. People who live in the North now who lived in the South all say it's better here, still some racism, but it's better.

      Casual use of the N word in casual company (neighborhood barbeque) comes to mind as an example. At least in the places I've lived in in the North no one would do that. It is not socially acceptable at least amongst the people I have ever been around (I've lived in the suburbs and in the city in various kinds of neighborhoods).

      My best friend grew up in Texas then lived there off and on, including in the last decade, so I have a lot of stories. She lives here now and it's different, better she says.

      •  AA's (especially kids) call each other that both (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes

        casually and affectionately.  But a white kid can't call an AA that. It's an odd thing.

        If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

        by livjack on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:41:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  should have said "especially high school kids" (0+ / 0-)

          If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

          by livjack on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:43:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You can trash-talk your OWN folks. Period. (5+ / 0-)

          Poles can tell all the Polish jokes they want. Mel Brooks and Jackie Mason can make fun of Jews. AA people and ONLY AA people can use the N-word. Women can make the words "You bitch" mean everything from "You're a terrible person" to "Congratulations, my dearest friend!"

          Words have power - and some words are weapons, pointed at their targets. But if you yourself use that weaponed-word that was turned against you, you're now holding it by the handle and are able to make it do your bidding.

          Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

          by gardnerhill on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 02:21:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  EXACTLY. This fundamental rule explains so much (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            So many do not get it.

            You are a member of a minority group you can call eachother whatever you want as far as I am concerned. For African Americans the N word is THEIR word to do with
            as they choose.

            In my (white) hands, or rather mouth, it is poison and gravely disrespectful and demeaning and wrong.

            For all my parent's flaws, that they made SURE I knew right from wrong has been a blessing. My mother was super clear on the N word and on judging people by any superficial quality of theirs (such as race) being so deeply Wrong it was almost an abomination.

            THe N word in a white person's mouth seems genocidal to be honest. It is a nod to the worst things Whites in our country did to Black people. It means nothing or not the same thing when Black people use it on eachother and it is their business.

            I hate when people in a power majority (in our country that is Male and/or Heterosexual and/or Christian and/or White.) have a judgement about what members of a power minority choose to discuss or words they use amongst themselves. FOr example, Though as a woman I don't like it, I mind it much less when a woman calls another woman a bitch than when a man does. Women have been and are historically graded and degraded in terms of their sexual availablity and desirability as an object (or animal like a dog) not a person. The word 'bitch" in a man's mouth is a slap harkening toward that denigration.

            It is different when the historically powerful majority who has historically oppressed a minority uses these words.

        •  it isn't odd. You aren't getting the reason (0+ / 0-)

          please read all of the posts below.

          People who are in the historically  power majority (in our country White and/or Christian and/or Male and/or Straight) have had power of minorities and historically have oppressed them. For them to use these words...such as WHite people using the N word against AA's...harkens back to every aweful thing White people did to AA's.

          People in the power minority use these words amongst themselves often to diffuse the pain they cause. In my mind anyway, it is their business how they use these words.

          People in the power majority cause great pain when they use the words because it is linked to history.

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