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View Diary: Maybe if we take “White Guilt” out of the equation it will be easier to understand? (172 comments)

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  •  Same thing, different semantics. In one sense (2+ / 0-)
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    sidnora, badscience

    you're right, that stress is sometimes just what Richard Lyon felt in the unfamiliar doctor's office situation: Feeling weird in an unaccustomed environment.

    The most important thing is where a white person goes with that stress, which will say a lot about them. Do they recognize it and deal with it in an enlightened fashion (as Richard did), or do they just run away from discomfort (in which case, several such decisions in a lifetime will lead to alienation from the otherness that Black America feels like to them).

    Kim's experiment does not tell us what that stress meant. It's surprising to me that so many USC students, here in the melting pot of LA, felt more stress than they acknowledged in a not very strange situation.

    In another sense, semantically, I feel like White Privilege is a very useful term here. People may be less defensive about it than White Guilt, and it points accurately to a moral responsibility white people have to be aware and considerate of these issues.

    I just like the term Racism as an umbrella term. There are so many different levels and ways that our culture privileges whites, burdens blacks, and separates people into different world views. In the experiment in JoanMar's diary, the young black girls were clearly being racist, whatever more sympathetic terms we might also apply. I think there are few Americans who are entirely free of racism, at every level of their being. But I use the term here, where we're having a very self-aware conversation about these issues. If I were talking to my aunt's 80 year old friends in Texas, I'd be gingerly explaining to them what white privilege means.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:40:34 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Stress is an interesting thing. (1+ / 0-)
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      I don't know what sort of controls were in the experiment, but I would imagine there was some way of filtering out the simple stress of being hooked up to machinery, or having been previously prompted by the information about the future lab partner. And a lot of people would publicly say "no problem" even if their preference was "don't want."

      That being said, I don't think that it is surprising at all, even in Los Angeles, or especially in Los Angeles. I grew up there. While it is a very diverse city, there are a lot of racial tensions in the culture-at-large (not just black/white tensions). There is no color-blindness anywhere in meatspace ;-) Awareness of racial tensions or even stress about racial tensions doesn't necessarily equate to racism or even prejudice or cultural stereotyping.

      But I'm not arguing with the larger premise that the experiment suggests is the case, which is that issues around race cause stress! And that we have a very stratified and racist cultural structure.

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