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There are people who believe that racism is as American as apple pie.

I'm one of them.

There are others who live in the delusion that we are approaching, or living in a "post-racial" society.

I beg to differ.

It should be patently clear to anyone who just went through the trauma of one of the most racially vituperative presidential elections in recent history that racism hasn't magically dissolved into the ether. Doubtful it will get better in the next four years if the millions of racists in this country have anything to say about it.  

It really isn't about racist politicians. They are only a symptom of the disease. They got elected by the racists who voted for them. Those same racists will be voting in the next election.

We have a black president for the second time. That has done little to diminish the outpouring of racial hatred here, and in some ways it has only inflamed it.  

This is no time to do a victory dance where racism is concerned. It is however, time to ask a serious question.

What are you doing to stop racism?

Since a majority of people in the U.S. think of themselves as "white," I'll address this question to those who are part of that socially constructed group.

According to the 2010 census there are 196,817,552 (63.7%) of people in the U.S. who are classified as "white people." They are not Latinos or African American, Asian or Native American.

But let me narrow it down quite a bit more.  

When I look at a headline like this: "Eighty-Eight Percent of Romney Voters Were White," I'm not talking to those whites. This is addressed to the 56 percent of whites who voted for President Obama.

To narrow it even further, this is really a plea to those white people who consider themselves to be progressive. I have no idea what percentage of that 56 percent think of themselves in those terms.

But if you are one of them, this is written to you. You have to become part of an anti-racism vanguard.

Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans didn't make this a racist country. Not one of these groups has the power to maintain systemic racial inequality. Before you can overturn 400 years of racism built into the foundations of this nation, you have to first change those who keep the system in place.  

None of us—meaning people of color—can fix you. The only person who can begin to right these wrongs is you. Most of us don't live in your neighborhoods, nor do we work with you, or even go to school with you. Most of us aren't married to you. Most of you have white children, parents, in-laws, cousins and co-workers.

Few of you get up each morning and say as you look in the mirror while you brush your teeth, "Today, I'm going out to do battle against racism." You aren't driven by that, your whole life is not shaped by being the wrong color, and though you may get outraged from time to time, when reminded by the more heinous offenses against us, it isn't your rallying cry. You expect us to lead the various poc civil rights movements from our own segregated spaces and you'll join in from time to time, or perhaps make a donation to "our" worthy causes. You don't wake up in the morning each day and say to yourselves—I have white privilege, and that's not alright.  

You still go to family celebrations with racists. When at gatherings with none of us present rarely do you confront others there with you about their racism. What makes it harder is that you rarely look at your own unconscious acceptance of a world that allows racism and privilege to fester, boil and erupt.

I really don't care what you have decided your main cause is—the environment, climate change, Occupy Wall Street, feminism, gay rights, health care, education, the war ... all worthy.  

This is not about causes. This is about ending racism.

It starts and ends with you.  

Before you get all bent out of shape and respond with "but but but ... I am not a racist," that isn't my point. My point is you are probably not an anti-racism warrior.  

Until all of you are, racism will go along its merry way destroying us all.  

If the most progressive among you aren't part of the solution, the problem of racism stays with us.  

This isn't an impossible task. I wish you could try being black like me. I manage to live work, eat, sleep, play, laugh and make love every damn day being black, feeling racism, reading racism, hearing racism. But you can't. You are white like you, and virtually immune to what you see as my problem.  

Not every person of color is a part of the battle either. But every single person of color knows they are "not white." Even if they try to delude themselves or are crippled by self-hate. And before you say, "But, but, but 'X' group is racist too ..." stop. Not one person in "X" group has the power to change white America. Not one person in "X" group maintains the systems of racism.  

There is no such thing as being racially "colorblind." Try taking the Project Implicit social cognition test on race, which is online.

(Continue reading below the fold.))

Ask yourself how often do you read anything written by people of color.

Do you own any artwork by people of color?

How often do you go to films or plays produced and/or directed by people of color?

How integrated are social gatherings you attend?

How integrated is your neighborhood or school?

Who are the people of color who are part of your social networks?

How often do you discuss race or racism with them?

How frequently have you openly confronted someone you know making racist remarks and explained to the person why their remarks are unacceptable to you?

How much do you know about Black, Latino, Native American or Asian American/Pacific Islander history?

Right here at Daily Kos there are several communities that post articles and stories written from the POV of people of color.

They get very minimal support. There are very few of us here percentage-wise, and it is often disheartening to see that for the most part, we will rarely graze the rec list, or if we do we don't stay there very long.

Make an effort to seek out places and spaces where you can learn from and interact with people of color. Learn to listen. In those interactions, become more self-aware of almost automatic suppression tactics you might employ, some of which are linked below.  

The following documentary is not new. Yet not enough people have seen it. If you've seen it already pass it on to some people you know. Watch it with friends. The website also has a useful downloadable conversation guide.

It certainly isn't going to end racism or white privilege. But it can help some white people begin to take a look at themselves.

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible is a brilliant documentary and a must-see for all people who are interested in justice, spiritual growth and community making. It features the experiences of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge notions of racism and white supremacy in the United States.

It is painful to be a part of a progressive online community and to often realize that racism is not just something on Fox News. This week I felt slapped in the face reading some of the discussion that took place around 17-year-old Jordan Davis, murdered in Florida, and realized that a few people couldn't "get it" or see how racism was involved in what had occurred. They wanted to spend time pointing fingers at youth who play their music too loud. It was like the "blame Trayvon for having worn a hoodie" deal.

I had to step away from the keyboard. I took a deep breath, and reminded myself that we still have a lot of work to do within our own ranks.

Those few of us who are people of color here are not a monolith. We are a very small minority within the larger space. The combined total of "followers" or regular readers of groups like Native American Netroots, or Black Kos, Barriers and Bridges or LatinoKos is still only a drop in the bucket.

Part of making a commitment to be an anti-racist warrior is to take some time out of your schedule and attend a workshop or training session on white privilege. Take a look at this cartoon. What is your response?

book cover
Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
There are many good places to start on this journey if you haven't already done so.

Many of my students have read Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see black youth seated together in the cafeteria. Of course, it's not just the black kids sitting together-the white, Latino, Asian Pacific, and, in some regions, American Indian youth are clustered in their own groups, too. The same phenomenon can be observed in college dining halls, faculty lounges, and corporate cafeterias. What is going on here? Is this self-segregation a problem we should try to fix, or a coping strategy we should support? How can we get past our reluctance to talk about racial issues to even discuss it? And what about all the other questions we and our children have about race? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, asserts that we do not know how to talk about our racial differences: Whites are afraid of using the wrong words and being perceived as "racist" while parents of color are afraid of exposing their children to painful racial realities too soon. Using real-life examples and the latest research, Tatum presents strong evidence that straight talk about our racial identities-whatever they may be-is essential if we are serious about facilitating communication across racial and ethnic divides. We have waited far too long to begin our conversations about race.  
In my women's studies classes we read White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh, who is one of the discussants in the Mirrors of Privilege video above.

Before you respond in comments, I'd like to request that you refrain from derailing the discussion.

One of the things that happens here fairly frequently, and on other blogs and in comment spaces around the internet, is suppressing discussions of racism.

I'm going to cite some of them. The author(s) have given permission to cite the whole shebang.

How to Suppress Discussions of Racism

4. Deflect attention away from the specific criticism.
Remember, your goal is to avoid having to focus on what your opponent has actually said. We've compiled a list of helpful phrases that deflect attention away from specific discussion of racism. You can use them to respond to almost any discussion of racism, regardless of the content.

We recommend you mix and match responses; arguing is more fun when there's some variety involved. Be careful not to use all the responses at once, or else your opponent may notice that you are contradicting yourself.

    "Why are you complaining about racism instead of sexism/homophobia/ageism/classism/genocide/world hunger?"
    "I'm [a member of an oppressed group] and I'm not offended."
    "My friend is [a member of an oppressed group] and he/she is not offended."
    "Why aren't you talking about the white people in the book/film/comic book/TV show?"
    "It's just a book/film/comic book/TV show!"

5. Racism, however ugly, is better than the alternative.

Sometimes, even when you do your best, your opponent is so persistent that you are forced to discuss racism. Don't worry: it's not your fault and soon it won't be your problem.

In most of these cases, you can rely on a few handy responses that define racism in a way that benefits you, prove that racism is better than the measures that would have to be taken against it, or otherwise misdirect your opponent's attention.

    "Pointing out racism just makes it harder for us to achieve a colorblind society. You shouldn't judge people based on their race."
    "Focusing so much on race just shows that you're racist yourself."
    "Minorities can be racist too, you know!"
    "Even if it's not the best representation of minority characters, it's better than having no minority characters at all, isn't it?"
    "You'd rather have boringly flawless and politically correct minority characters?"
    "Everyone knows it's bad to be racist now, so why make people feel defensive and ashamed by pointing incidents out?"
    "Maybe it's racist, but what about reverse racism?"

Obviously I'd prefer that you don't resort to any of these tactics, but I have never written anything here where it hasn't happened. It's part of the process of unraveling racism.  

We are moving into a future America which will have major demographic shifts in population. Yet as long as those expanding groups are unequal at the table, mere shifts in population will not eliminate individual racism, nor will it address the deeper systemic aspects of the problem.  

It's your choice to be a part of the problem, or part of the solution.    


Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community, White Privilege Working Group, Barriers and Bridges, and LatinoKos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for taking a stand against racism (297+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kishik, JanF, Lefty Coaster, Chitown Kev, marykk, twigg, Wildthumb, Hammerhand, Pinto Pony, librarisingnsf, DavidW, fou, RebeccaG, Tim DeLaney, RemainCalm, i love san fran, JoanMar, jennyp, LeftArmed, Pat K California, jessical, carolanne, CocoaLove, howabout, Anti Em, Panbanisha, WFBMM, commonmass, Dave in Northridge, tytalus, Paradox13, TrueBlueMajority, SpamNunn, pyegar, Navy Vet Terp, hester, justintime, DvCM, regis, vtjim, tardis10, The grouch, jadt65, ratcityreprobate, Ian Reifowitz, glendaw271, Happy Days, DeadHead, GenXangster, USHomeopath, cactusgal, sofia, Free Jazz at High Noon, swampyankee, Chi, Al Fondy, TechBob, chrississippi, pcl07, matrix, Caneel, 2thanks, fiddler crabby, LOrion, uciguy30, BlueJessamine, Joy of Fishes, TarheelDem, slowbutsure, scribe, Portlaw, arizonablue, AaronInSanDiego, ivy redneck, Mary Mike, HappyinNM, pateTX, Lorikeet, offred, kirbybruno, 6ZONite, moodyinsavannah, sparkysgal, sebastianguy99, stellaluna, Wordsinthewind, WarrenS, alrdouglas, annieli, 6412093, slatsg, createpeace, javan, OleHippieChick, enhydra lutris, grannyboots, asterkitty, sow hat, IndieGuy, Black Knight, sayitaintso, citizen dan, betson08, Kysen, Ojibwa, karmsy, leonard145b, Anak, Lost and Found, david78209, BamaMama4Obama, amsterdam, SkylarkingTomFoolery, ModerateJosh, scarlet slipper, LucyGoose, dtruth, poco, Nowhere Man, Miggles, mahakali overdrive, jnhobbs, Bud Fields, Brit, elginblt, myboo, Mother Mags, bkamr, thatpj, paintitblue, shaharazade, Aji, bumbi, Deejay Lyn, left rev, MillieNeon, jck, tb92, Clytemnestra, navajo, Kitsap River, Meteor Blades, thomask, CitizenJoe, Batya the Toon, mdmslle, Fabienne, countwebb, MBNYC, GwenM, gizmo59, Madrig, dkw, smileycreek, renzo capetti, ramara, mksutherland, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Chacounne, blue jersey mom, WXRock, corvaire, MikePhoenix, nomandates, remembrance, VTelder, 714day, mtnlvr1946, Daulphin, DSPS owl, mapamp, Wee Mama, blueoregon, Dema Broad, justiceputnam, FreeWoman19, no way lack of brain, kaliope, Maine Islander, CherryTheTart, James Kresnik, Take a Hard Left, Sapere aude, oysterface, surfbird007, mali muso, Satya1, Skennet Boch, condorcet, CA ridebalanced, dwayne, I love OCD, vcmvo2, FG, bythesea, rosabw, Neon Mama, alnep, TFinSF, kck, AJ in Camden, tofumagoo, tonyahky, glitterlust, shanikka, PapaChach, Tenant508, Debby, earicicle, SeaTurtle, Hedwig, Smoh, BitterEnvy, casperr, alpaca farmer, gramofsam1, foresterbob, spooks51, scarletraven, raina, One Pissed Off Liberal, mamamorgaine, mgoodm, Steveningen, Loonesta, burana, TealTerror, royce, meralda, the1sage, Diogenes2008, pamelabrown, Ebby, bnasley, jeannew, NoisyGong, Onomastic, Liberal Granny, starfu, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, mellowinman, etherealfire, greenbird, maryru, urnumbersix, koNko, mrsgoo, grover, jennybravo, Actbriniel, splashy, madhaus, Jennifer Clare, roseeriter, aravir, Over the Edge, reddbierd, Ozzie, mallyroyal, JayBat, megisi, Sylv, Pithy Cherub, bartcopfan, The Voice from the Cave, gulfgal98, lirtydies, essjay, JekyllnHyde, just another vet, OIL GUY, Lorinda Pike, bubbanomics, anodnhajo, Statusquomustgo, rubyr, Marjmar, dsb, smoothnmellow, LilithGardener, davidincleveland, Avilyn, NYWheeler, geejay, Yasuragi, Larsstephens, joedemocrat, khughes1963, proudmomoftwo, EdSF, implicate order, StepLeftStepForward, Kay Observer2, Marianne Benz, Avila, Lealia, MichaelNY

    bigotry and prejudices

    If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:50:38 AM PST

    •  By the end of the video (20+ / 0-)

      my tears were not quite falling, but they sure are making me blink a lot.  Many thanks.

      We all want to be one of the good guys, but the defenses here always surprise me, as do the bits of racism I still find in myself.  

      Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

      by ramara on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:44:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just read the book "Skin" by A.P. Brooks. (5+ / 0-)

      I know very little about her, except she is a nice lady, and she came to the National Archives in Atlanta where my husband works for research on the black troops in the Civil War,and sent him info when she finished the book.  I believe my husbands name is in the dedication or somewhere. (kinda makes you sit up and take notice), but she does give him credit.

      She has some very interesting theories about how racism, as it is today in America, came about.  I don't know if she is a scholar in the historical field, but I know she did a lot of research; it is a self-published book. The last I knew, she had sold a total of 90 copies.  I told her (via email, the only way we've "met") I would do what I could to get it out there.  So, here you go.

      She is a beautiful, sensitive woman. It might be a good place for a person like me to start, you know, by reading a book like this that makes you go, "hmm".  I'm going to post my initial writeup on her book that I put on the Amazon reviews.  I think it is a spiritual friendship, based on something deeper than race, and I say that because of some strange coincidences.  I'd appreciate it if some would take this post seriously.  She loved my review, and is using it for publicity.  Like I said, I had no idea how this all came together that day, and I wrote pretty well

      5.0 out of 5 stars A P Brooks is a wise, wise woman... October 27, 2012
      By Rosemary B. Walker
      My husband, a historian, says history is written from the victors point of view, somewhat cynically. That is not what Peggy Brooks has done. She has written a historical, research based study from the point of view of an anthropologist, a gifted writer, a fact-checking reporter, a teacher, a preacher, and anything BUT that romanticized nationalist who gives us heroes to worship, rather than expose the misguided notions of one's own people. She sets up a curious idea of how we have gotten to where we are without romanticizing. I've always had it in my mind that we Europeans (okay, my people were Normans) are only a few centuries removed from barbarians, where as African tradition is much, much older. I was able to read about power under the guise of religion, the near decimation of a people by a virus carried by fleas, about a rabid racist who under the guise of science was instrumental in bringing out the notion of only allowing the fit to survive. (Hitler took the thought a step farther, to deed.) She exposes the southern mentality among the privileged class that allowed them to deny their hypocrisy, while becoming the richest part of the new country absolutely dependent for their lifestyle on the free labor of slaves. Most interestingly, she delves into the notion that the British people rose up like a Phoenix from barbarians to world conquerors in the space of four centuries and through 2 world wars, have bankrupted themselves back into relative obscurity in comparison.

      The history of African Americans and other "conquered people" is covered extensively in the last part of the book, from selective capture of slaves based on their occupations in their homelands, to the help of slaves in turning the tide of the Civil War, to an ignorant man's "science" of race, and to the ultimate expression of false superiority based on lies in the Holocaust. After all that ugliness, it ends in the hope that we can leave behind our violent past, and truly evolve to a people who live up to the ideals we were founded upon, and that our faith will guide us to evolve."

      I am giving it as a gift to the young daughters of a woman I met and came to love who is an African American.  It just "changes the conversation".  Joel said for a long time African Americans didn't study history, they wanted no part of glorified slaveholders, and there was a shame.  That is all changing now, and President Obama helped. We homeschooled our son, and I met plenty of African American Homeschoolers, many wanted to give their kids  hand up.  The schools in the south still suck, black or white.  Honest to God, some districts let their students OPT OUT of watching the inauguration the first time, and also THIS TIME...what the hell is up with that but pure badass racism???

      Her book:

      What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

      by rosabw on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:33:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am an Anti-Racism Warrior (4+ / 0-)

      I feel it is my duty to stand against racism, and that includes when I am around only white faces.

      I am also a racist.

      I was born into a racist society, raised by racist parents, and taught at racist schools.

      When I was a teen, I got into trouble, and went to jail, and I met a society that was predominantly black.  Some of those people stole from me, and I suddenly understood the use of the N Word, and hating people who looked that way.

      I found I had no trouble being every bit as racist as any cracker or KKK guy, once I was up against the wall.

      I despise racism, in myself, or in anyone.  I have struggled hard against what I was taught.  I understand in my heart that we are all just people, and that skin color, or type of hair are only physical characteristics, and that we are all brothers and sisters.

      I have disavowed my racism.  I shocked my parents by telling them they were racists.  They did not know.  They denied it, but I think they understood.  They didn't realize it, of course.  Most of us don't.  When you call someone out on racism, they don't like it.

      I didn't.

      But the best person to call ME out is myself.  As much as I believe I have progressed, I always know what kind of ugliness was waiting deep down inside of me, just looking for a chance to rear its head.  Many will never be pushed far enough to see it.  Had I not had the specific experiences I had all those years ago, I would have INSISTED I was above racism, since I always knew it was wrong.

      In that I feel lucky.

      We are the change we have been waiting for.

      by mellowinman on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:50:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for this. I am a white guy who has always (5+ / 0-)

        considered himself strongly anti-racist. I grew up reading MLK, Dick Gregory, and Ralph Ellison. Most of my favorite musicians are black.  I am always interested in hearing how I can do more to combat racism.

        I have been reading Black Kos off and on. I have just set myself to follow it and the other groups you suggested.

        I do disagree with you on one point, I think that people of color do have the power to help end racism one person at a time. I know of more than one white person who told me they used to racist until they met people of color that they really liked. Also, I am very sad to say, that I have run into people of color who I had never met before, but were very happy to let me know how much they hated me for being white. I really despise racism no matter where it comes from. Historically whites bear the lion's share of the responsibility for racism, but there are non-whites whose ignorance helps to keep it alive. That also needs to be addressed.  

        Sorry if any of that offends you, but you wanted a conversation.....

        If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

        by MikePhoenix on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:25:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No offense taken n/t (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MikePhoenix, mamamorgaine, bnasley

          If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

          by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:14:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Uh, I'm a bit offended (5+ / 0-)

            Since pointing out poc bigotry is an example of deflection. Poc don't have the institutional power to be truly racist. That doesn't mean poc don't have prejudices -- but we don't have the power to oppress. LET ME KNOW the day when young white men are shot for NO JUSTIFIABLE REASON, and I'll tell you when white racism and privilege has ceased to be a problem.

            The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

            by LiberalLady on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:26:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I must strongly disagree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mokurai, filthyLiberalDOTcom

              You are over-politicizing and narrowing the definition of racism in a way that is ultimately very counter-productive to combating it.

              Suggesting one needs political power or control of a system to exercise racism is so factually wrong I almost don't know where to start, but perhaps my own experience getting my ass kicked by poor, uneducated racist thugs exactly because they felt (and were) politically and economically powerless is one point.

              In fact, minority on minority racism is one of the ways we become victims of the system when we fight each other instead of the institutions. My personal experience with Black on Brown on Yellow racism in every combination  (welcome to Oakland, CA) is what persuaded me you have to master yourself before you master others and any "system". As Obama correctly stated in his "Jeremiah White Speech", we have issues and need to talk. We.

              And changing that means changing the minds of individuals one by one and I think that is very much what the diarist is suggesting.

              You do it in your daily life and it means dealing with what comes when it comes and wherever/whomever it comes from.

              Including, I would add,  the sometimes self-imposed limits based on our own perceptions and assumptions about what a so-called white majority thinks, does or would accept.

              Got to say, after this election, it becomes more and more important to drop our stereotypical attitudes (we all got 'em) and look at how we can strengthen coalitions based on issues and goals less than groups, because the Big Tent is pretty rainbow colored these days.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:46:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Another person who is blind to the difference (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                between the words "racism" and "bigotry".

                The  thinking is that no poc can be a bigot. That is clearly a falsehood.

                And "liberal on liberal" attacks are one way we set ourselves up for defeat.

                Send conservatives to for re-education.

                by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:20:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Which is why it's good (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  To have a place like Daily Kos so we can debate these issues amongst ourselves.

                  Sometimes it's actually easier to discuss racism with unapologetic racists than with Liberals who have difficulty imagining it's a pretty universal problem and comes in many flavors.

                  Humans are tribal fauna at a very basic level.

                  What about my Daughter's future?

                  by koNko on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:12:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Love it ... (61+ / 0-)

    and love you for writing it!

    It is true, one cannot be "racially colorblind" .... but what you can do is recognise your privilege and seek to mitigate it.

    You can recognise your prejudice, a very different thing to racism, and seek to mitigate it.

    You can ask folk about their experiences, and listen to the answers, and recognise truth when you hear it.

    You can kick the racists into the weeds simply by upholding American Values!

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:35:52 PM PST

  •  Tipped and recced, Miss Denise (37+ / 0-)

    I know that this comment thread really isn't for me and while I do have quite a bit to say, I won't say and will do my best not to respond.

    But I am reading the comments.

  •  thank you... (46+ / 0-)

    at my office when I was moved into a new section, one of the first comments made to me was about the "clique-mentality" that existed in the section and it was causing problems.  I asked what was meant by this... and was given the names of people in the "clique".  Well... they all happened to be African American women.  This astounded me.  I said - ok.  so what's the problem?  What problems are they causing?  

    You know what I was told?  That they ONLY socialized with each other and did not allow others to be included.

    I asked if they did their job, were respectful to their supervisors, worked ok with their other non-clique peers?  And I was told yes - but that wasn't the issue.  The issue was that they all congregated in one another's offices, but no one else seemed invited.

    I finally said, exasperated - So they are friends!!  Who is anyone to tell them who they can be friends with??!

    But it was only a small part of this truly warped perception of the manager of this section.

    I seem to be fighting alone most of the time at my job.  But so be it.  Slowly, others are realizing that it's time to stand up and speak out.  

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:39:22 PM PST

    •  Have (15+ / 0-)

      those lovely ladies been included???? Has anybody gone out their way to   include them? Have anyone  tried to be included in the 'clique'? Too many people don't think that they can be the ones to extend the hand of friendship.

      •  And the sad misunderstanding that black (15+ / 0-)

        people don't want diversity. Why can't people just not be afraid and try to hang out? It's up to the people who are afraid to overcome their fears.

        I've been to the poorest black neighborhoods and felt completely safe and at home. It's because I'm not afraid of other poor black folks. I went on a trip to Jamaica with some white people and one Asian and they were all afraid, not of shady-looking dark alleys necessarily but of wide open spaces with black Jamaicans gathered in large groups, showing off motorcycles and hanging out. This was the least likely place to be violated but it wasn't the place, it was the people. My companions looked at these people as savages, yet they dig vacationing on their turf for street cred.

        These people aren't my friends anymore because I don't like racists. They give themselves away when they squirm at us gathering in groups.

        "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

        by GenXangster on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:34:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  naw... (4+ / 0-)

        it wound up that really?  They just enjoyed one another's company and really did not like anyone else.  They are close in age, came up through their careers together, just have known each other for over a decade.  But you're right, most likely it's also worked out this way because the BIGGER clique didn't bother to include them.

        They were very nice women, indeed.  

        My office has become a pretty horrible place to work.  And honestly, it has remained an "us" vs "them" place.  That's because leadership from the top down encourages this environment.

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:01:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I once got a reprimand at a job (13+ / 0-)

      because I was "socializing exclusively" with the only other black female in the place, one of the admin assts. It made the other employees (all white) feel uncomfortable. I guess the fact that all the white employees "socialized exclusively" with each other went unnoticed. You see, colored people in groups are some kind of a threat, while white people in groups are just individuals.

      Non-profit single payer health care. Next question?

      by terran on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:21:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've Written Before (8+ / 0-)

      About the law firm I began my career at, the most diverse law firm I have ever worked for, and how this very issue (all of us POC hanging out with each other in each other's offices) ended up causing all sorts of grief, even though (a) we were all lawyers and all from elite schools and all good at our work and (b) 95% of the time, we were discussing stuff of no more import than who happened to check out the basketball game that weekend. Had any of the white attorneys who we later learned were so upset about it had merely invited themselves in, we'd have welcomed them!

      Thanks for adding your anecdote to the mix. The behavior and racial paranoia (white fear of "exclusion") is the type of stuff its important for those committed to eliminating racism to think about.

      •  My first meeting (6+ / 0-)

        In that section with the supervisors I immediately saw the problem.  All the Blacks were sitting NOT at the table (even though there was room). I was told by the manager to join him at the table (my position coming into this section was as an equal to him)  and I said, no thanks and sat at the chairs lined up along the wall with the four blacks supervisors. After the meeting, they quickly got up and left, and the manager asked me what I thought of my first meeting.

        I laid out exactly what I saw and said it was clearly wrong.  Let me point out that who was still left in the room were the caucasian supervisors.  I told them that I counted myself as a person of color, and if no one else recognized that the meeting was clearly segregated by colour as far as seating and physical positioning, then I wasn't certain how anyone could expect all supervisors work together (at goals and other work matters).

        All four jaws dropped open.

        The manager actually tried to tell me that oh, but that's their choice where they sit.

        It was all bs.

         The next meeting I made everyone sit at the table, made people squish up and make room.  I also made it a point to speak to all these isolated supervisors.

        Later on years later, I was reprimanded for speaking about race at work and especially when I saw it involving work matters.

        The Caucasian leadership told me that it was inappropriate and could lead to eeo issues.  I told them I was trying to prevent eeo matters.

        Ugh. It's an entirely toxic place.

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:20:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Polite suggestion (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kishik, Denise Oliver Velez

      Prove them wrong by inviting other people to lunch with the "clique".

      In fact, all sorts of "cliques" exist in organizations (ever watch the lunchroom politics of middle managers play out?) and so there very well may be the perception these friendly ladies are one to friendless people outside their circle.

      And the best way to open the circle is to invite outsiders in.

      For example, the guy who was complaining and one of his buddies. Invite them to lunch and make them the stars.

      Charm offensive.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:57:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They moved me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, Denise Oliver Velez

        Out of that section.  I do believe I was able to get many changes while there... Which since my departure I have been told by many that the office reverted to what it was before, but probably worst. Not just based on race, but that there is clear favoritism exhibited, so all seem to feel segregated for various reasons.

        The union has been working full time with stuff coming out of that section now so I hear...and winning many grievances.

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:39:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  One can also take the initative (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and ask to join in.  Two way street.

        •  absolutely true! (0+ / 0-)

          I never had any problems joining in for a chat.  

          the truth of the matter is, they were just all close friends.  So to me, it seemed pretty natural that during breaks or lunch, they would hang out together.

          I think it was just immediately perceived that this was exclusive, and thus needed to be "broken up".  coming into that section was just plain bizarre at the beginning.  Truly like bizarro world where down was up and up was down?

          Ultimately, I was replaced with a head nodder, so the other manager could put things back the way they were.  Really scary.

          All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

          by kishik on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:08:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I've been there before. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kishik, Yasuragi

      Brought back memories.  Painful ones.  I think the word used was any congregation of 2 or more black people in any place in the office was called having a 'party'....

  •  I do post on right wing blogs often to call out (31+ / 0-)

    really ugly racist comments. I know that most my call-outs get hidden and the offensive comment will get a bunch of likes, but I don't want to let ugly slurs go unchallenged even in those havens for racism.  

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:40:20 PM PST

  •  There's a catch-22 here that's difficult to fix. (19+ / 0-)

    So long as people aren't exposed to people of different ethnic backgrounds, experience tells me they will be racist, not in the overt, easy-to-combat way, but in the much more insidious, under-the-radar, code-words-and-"I'm-not-a-racist-at-all-but..." way.

    But so long as they're racist, they also carefully self-segregate, including away from people of their same ethnic background (caucasian or otherwise) that are actually and truly not racist. Because they have "standards" and are uncomfortable around people who "don't have standards," even if those people are from the same race. This self-segregation is not only physical; it is intellectual. The fight-against-racism, even from people of the same background, sends walls up, irrespective of what's being said.

    This is why solving racism is a long-term problem with a long-term solution. There's no way to "fight" our way out of it. Instead, the best way to combat racism is to not be a racist and to do it visibly and unashamedly.

    Over generations, change will happen.

    I have yet to be convinced that there's a faster way. (Fair disclosure: I'm not white, and was ruthlessly persecuted for being non-white as a young person, but as I aged, I began to look more and more white, until now people tend to assume that I am white—and I've lived everywhere in the country from melting pots like NYC to middle ground like LA to white-bread-central like suburban Utah).

    -9.63, 0.00
    I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

    by nobody at all on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:40:23 PM PST

    •  How long should we wait? (15+ / 0-)

      Sod "generations", how many black and brown people will suffer while we wait for white people to see the light?

      Everyone in this country has been exposed to people of color since the day they were born, and their refusal to treat others equally is not a cause for patience.

      Some of the whitest racists in Alabama will cheer the black footballers of the Crimson Tide, then treat them like dirt on Monday.

      It has got to stop!

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:46:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, as can be clearly seen, (7+ / 0-)

        we have waited for a long time, and we are still waiting.

        But things have, slowly and surely, gotten better.

        And there have been times when there was room for a fight.

        Fights at the policy level are a big deal, because they force people to be exposed to others even if they don't want to—and then racism falls away because those other people are, as a result, soon no longer so other. That's the civil rights movement and other integrationist impulses.

        But they were top-down, not bottom-up, in their implementation. There was a grass roots, but they didn't target their neighbors; they targeted the law and society, big picture.

        At the interpersonal level, face-to-face, I've seen precious little evidence that racism can be "fought."

        My money is on policy, the growing non-racist majority, and long-term cultural shifts that result from these, not on individual persuasion.

        -9.63, 0.00
        I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

        by nobody at all on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:50:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  A slightly different point of view (14+ / 0-)

        I was not exposed to people of color since the day I was born.  In the 1950's it was possible to make it to middle school without much exposure to people of color.  There were no black actors on TV and I grew up in a lily-white suburb of San Francisco.  My first exposure was when a "creole" (their term, not mine) family moved in two doors down from us.  They were really nice and my sister was the same age as their daughter.  We never really thought of them as being any different from us.  But, I was lucky that my Dad, who grew up in Texas, knew that his learned racism wasn't OK and kept his views to himself.  I never knew, until my mother told me as an adult, that my Dad had racist attitudes.  I don't recall him ever making a racist statement in front of us.

        We live in a very diverse area now and I often feel like the minority in the stores and on the street.  There are lots more people of color here than people who look like me.  And I think that's a good thing.  I do call people out on their inappropriate attitudes.  But I could certainly do more.

      •  Not so sure of that twigg. My first roommate in (10+ / 0-)

        College never saw a real black person before me. This was 1985.

        And seeing black folks ain't the same as interacting. In my small central Florida town it is entirely possible to never interact with black folks since most live on the other side of the tracks and don't really venture into town much. Sure you might see black folks at the cashier or elsewhere but that's not interaction.

        For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

        by mdmslle on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:35:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sure there is merit in this (6+ / 0-)

          Probably more so for the older generation.

          My wife's grandmother can remember the small Oklahoma town when it was still segregated.

          Her mother was graduating High School just as the schools were desegregated and when Jodie graduated the same high school, the student body was 30% black.

          The 1st Baptist Church in the same town is a frequent haunt of many of my inlaws ... It is still virtually 100% white ..

          The black people in that town are regular churchgoers, but I am told that "they prefer their own churches".

          Don't get me started on what I think of that!

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          by twigg on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:56:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I never really (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rosarugosa, urnumbersix, CocoaLove, Avilyn

          interacted with African Americans until I went to college. I lived in a small town that was nearly all white. If we went to the city to shop, we'd see POC but like you say, that's different. I think there are a lot of small towns that are still the same.

          One thing it taught me, though: when I did move out into a more diverse world and I met people who would say, "We have all these problems because of ~pick your minority~," I knew that we had those same issues in my small town with no one of color around. It put a lie to one of the big claims of racism right there.

          Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

          by Debby on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:47:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It is a fight-Sometimes the battle is internal n/t (11+ / 0-)

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:49:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see always such a bright line between (21+ / 0-)

      those who are racists, and those who are not. I find that most of us have internalized racist attitudes to varying degrees. It's harder to combat those attitudes in others if we don't honestly examine our own attitudes as well.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:25:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's merit here (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Denise Oliver Velez, geejay, Yasuragi

        I know I have racial attitudes, resentments, frustrations, etc., that stem from poor treatment and witnessing poor treatment by white people toward us growing up in Mississippi in the 1960s and 1970s. Those experiences taught me that white people are evil. To an extent, perception shapes reality. Is that racist thought? Maybe. At least I acknowledge where I stand.

        Course, I realize that this is not true of every white person. But it limits my interaction with people in that group outside of work or collaborative projects. My spiritual studies remind me that we're all the same. Some days I struggle with this. When I read about Jordan Davis' senseless murder -- a black teenager fatally shot by white man -- I shut down and return to those thoughts about evil.

        It is a daily struggle, but I'm working on me and my attitudes.

        •  This is, imo, key: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Those experiences taught me that white people are evil. To an extent, perception shapes reality.
          Your attitudes are based on experiences, not mere "perceptions." There is hardly a person of color in this country who can "get by" without having some on-the-ground real world experience with people who don't look like them. Sadly, many of those experiences have de facto been lousy--so can you really compare negative perceptions based on experience and negative perceptions based on .... well, based on perceptions, images, myths, hearsay?

          As many of comments here attest, it is entirely possible for white people in this country to spend their whole lives without having any interaction whatsoever with p.o.c.--and certainly to spend their whole lives without having any interaction whatsoever with people who don't at least share a common economic/social/religious status.

          So what their perceptions of people of color are based on is what they see in the media, in popular culture, wherever, but not on any real-world, lived experience in which they actually have to INTERACT with poc.

          This is a problem.

          And it's a problem that's not going to be solved through online interaction, reading/studying people of color, enjoying/appreciating various forms of art by people of color.

          It's only going to be solved by actual real-live, in-the-flesh, eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, hand-in-hand communication and interaction.

  •  We're Wired To Be Tribal Animals (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpamNunn, rosarugosa, Derfel

    As such, what you're asking is fundamentally difficult if not impossible, given the way people react to each other--the idea isn't a color-blind or completely non racist society (not possible), but completely enforced and totally implemented color blind laws--that is doable.

    Yes, people learn racism from their parents or peers, we aren't born that way--completely. But as someone that is in a distinct minority in his neighborhood, I know and understand this. But my kids are acutely aware of how different we are--they can feel it.

    Human nature evolves very, very slowly. making sure that human rights are paramount is the only answer.

    Dig the new single from Papa Knuckerhole himself:

    by Johnny Wendell on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:40:41 PM PST

    •  I don't believe that racism is biological n/t (38+ / 0-)

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:46:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are tribal. (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that it is part of our natural development to form groups and to sometimes react with hostility to those who we identify as being different. It's not necessarily biological, but there will always be a certain number of individuals who behave in this way, just as there will be certain individuals who will be murderers, rapists and other harmful behaviors that fall within the continuum of human behavior. You can no more have a society free of racists than one that is free of murderers. It would actually be easier if it were entirely biological, since then you could breed the trait out of the population. But if it is a learned behavior, then you cannot entirely control all the factors in a person's life that might cause them to turn out that way.

        We've come a pretty long way, on the whole. Within living memory, it was acceptable for people to have black jockey statues on their lawns. Other societies have thousands of years of festering hatreds (the conflict over Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia has its roots in something that happened in the middle ages). I'd say we're moving in the right direction.

        •  It's not natural (27+ / 0-)

          culture is LEARNED.  White people learn racism from the time we are babies, so it might feel like it is a natural affliction or something but it really isn't.

          The first day of my first political science class in college, my political science professor said (this is back in the day when there were many fewer African American and other kids of color in the classroom at this particular University), addressing the class, which was all white, "If you grew up in this culture you are is racist. The culture is racist, so you racist." He told it was something to be overcome, and that we all had it in us. I thought he was right then and I do now. If you're white in this country you always have to be on the lookout for racist attitudes within yourself that you're not even aware of, and then self correct.

          It's Culture, not nature.

          Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." ><"

          by betson08 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:48:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  thus spake anthropology :) yay! n/t (20+ / 0-)

            If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

            by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:50:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Tribalism isn't the same thing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MillieNeon, James Kresnik

            We slice things into in-groups and out-groups based on everything from football rivalries to Morse Code proficiency (the vitriol of the arguments about that in the ham radio world would boggle your mind). We've been doing that kind of division for millions of years.

            It is, on the other hand, a curable learned cultural problem when someone tries to prevent others from voting. That we can and must change.

          •  I think that's a false distinction (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Steve Canella

            Learning is natural. Some people are, sooner or later, going to learn to hate due to factors that are beyond anyone's control. I'm only arguing about this because I think that a completely "racism-free" society is as unrealistic as a "murder-free" society and setting that as a goal is to only inviting frustration and disappointment.

            Also, what culture is not (to a lesser or greater extent) racist? If we take racism to be hatred of other ethnicities and not just people with lighter or darker skin. I can still remember the deep disappointment I felt at about six years of age when I found out I was Jewish and not Russian.

            •  If racism were "natural" then (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Happy Days

              why didn't the First Nations people just shoot Columbus and his cohorts on sight?

              Or when the colonialists first arrived in Africa, why weren't they shot on sight?

              Because maybe racism is not the first response of all people encountering people from another culture?

              Racism is not natural.

              Hate is not natural.

              Destroying the planet is also not natural.

              These are learned behaviors. And no one has learned them better than US-Americans. Yep, we're still number one in a thing or two, aren't we? :(

          •  Wow. Coulda been one of my (0+ / 0-)

            classes, backintheday. ;-)

            But really....the idea that we are all just "naturally" racist/tribalist is, imo, poppy-cock, and most often used as a defense mechanism to justify our failure to deal with the pathological state of American "culture".

            It is culture. Specifically, US-American culture.

            Contrary to popular misconception and to the hyping of every single racist incident in Europe as an index of how much more "tolerant" Americans are, how much more "racially, culturally and ethnically"-diverse "we" are, I have found the opposite to be true. There is actually LESS racism in most parts of Europe than there is here.

            Wo, waitadoggone minute! Am I saying the "caucasians" are less "caucasian" in "Caucasia"? Yeah, sorta. It's a CULTURAL thing.

            The kind of flagrant, just plain stoopid racism that flourishes here is socially unacceptable in most parts of Europe--in many parts of Europe, it is legally OUTLAWED. (As, for example, in Germany--where Hitler's works are banned, and where the government of NRW just passed a law banning the NPD/Neonazis). Yeah, those are white people over there.

            Am I saying there's NO racism in Europe? No. But white racism is NOT socially acceptable over there.

            Here--in far too many circles-- it is.

            'Course that couldn't have anything to do with the fact that in 1945, Europe (Germany in particular) was forced by the international community to confront its own most recent chapter of racist, genocidal history.

            Naw. That can't be it, can it?

        •  We are tribal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          however, ever since The Enlightenment and Capitalism (for the West at least), we have been improving social mobility, and are no longer confined to being situated in society purely by birth.

          In my small southern hometown, I realized quite early that people who never have the opportunity to explore their "inner selves" tend to identify by religion, race, nationality. Oddly enough, the poorer among them don't tend to identify by class, even though the upper class certainly does.

          Those who do take the opportunity to explore their inner selves, tend to re-group with people who share their values, interests, etc.

          This is a broad brush, but I hope you see what I'm talking about. Social mobility has made it easier to choose and construct the tribe we wish to belong to. Me, I hang out with a lot of poets.

      •  I don't think it's biological either but I do (6+ / 0-)

        think nature and the way we are brought up has a place in it.  I also feel it goes both ways and can come from all angles.

         I will readily admit that I am often "more comfortable" with my black friends and feel more at ease....but it's just a culture least IMO.

         My very best friend is white but no matter how many years I have known her and no matter how much we have shared...I still feel just the slightest bit more comfortable being me, with a black friend...even if I don't spend at much time with that particular friend or if they are not as connected to me as Kimberly.  Is that racism on my part?  Maybe, not sure...but maybe.

        I grew up in a Podunk rural Texas town and we were only 1 of 2 black families for miles and miles and yet I was always treated with respect and dignity, and never once experienced "in my face" racism until I was a freshmen in college and was called a n&^^*# by a black roommate.  First time in my life.  Is that racism?  To me it was.  She was black, so how could it be racism...but to me  it sure felt like it, regardless of who shouted it at me.

        Have I been turned down jobs, promotions or other ventures because of the color of my skin.  Sure, I'm certain of it.  Is that racism?  Of course.

        Have I been given opportunities because of the color of my skin and/or gender.  Yes, I know I have.  Is that racism to the other parties denied the same?  No, not IMO.  

        I have black conservative, southern parents who both voted for Romney...and I am as progressive as they come.  They think Mia Love, Herman Cain, Allen West, Michael Steele and Condoleezza Rice are the greatest and I shake my head in disbelief that my father listened to Hannity like he is Jesus coming down from the mountain to give a sermon to the masses.  Are they being racist for listening to a guy some consider to be racist and actually voting in an election for a guy who some consider racist?  Maybe.  

        So you see, it can hit from all angles, from all colors of people and in all ways... racism and the product it can manifest itself.  Some people see it, some people don't.  Some people feel it daily eating at them in their lives, some people could care less. Sometimes it exists in certain ways for certain people...but the same incident could be viewed differently by someone else.

        It exists always will.  I really believe it is part of human nature.... whether we are born with it, grow to have it or whatever is kinda a moot point.

        It exists, we just have to try to deal with it.  Will it ever be eliminated?  Nope, not IMO

      •  I absolutely agree! My children are (8+ / 0-)

        biracial and when they were in grade school there were children whose parents told them to stay away from my kids but as soon as those children's parents weren't around they would come and ask my children to play. Much of our behavior is learned and this is why teaching tolerance and critical thinking is so important, and also why the right wing hates it!

        I think busing was one of the greatest things that ever happened in this country to change a lot of people's attitudes. Once you get to know people of different races and backgrounds you realize that we are not really that different. It's very sad that we are re-segregating many of our schools. I scored no preference on the Project Implicit race test, probably because I've spent a lot of my adult life around people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. I believe exposure to diversity and confronting racism works much of the time but, sadly, you can't get through to some people no matter what.

        Love your diaries. Thanks for the link to the test. Very interesting and insightful. Everyone should take it!

        •  I did take the test, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Steve Canella

          the results amaze me.  I'm an elderly white woman.  According to that test I see favorably:
          1. hispanic people
          2. white people
          3. black people
          Those are all scrunched together at the top.  Then way down the page toward unfavorable:
          4. asian people.

          Why?  I've known more asian people than hispanics.  They were always the best in school.  There were a minority of blacks in my schools, too, but virtually no hispanics.  When I visited my retired parents in Arizona, I saw hispanics in all the menial jobs.  Does that make me favor them?  Strange test!

          The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

          by DSPS owl on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:24:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The rankings in my test were (3+ / 0-)

            1. Asian

            2. Black people

            3. White people

            4. Hispanic people

            WTF? I'm white, and my brother's wife's family is Hispanic.  I love hanging out with them.

            My question is:  what role does economics, does poverty, play into racist attitudes?  Yeah, when I think about my dad working two jobs, I sometimes think:  he was able to work hard and build a house and pay it off.  Why can't anyone else in this country do that?

            But I remind myself that someone gave him the opportunity to work, while perhaps a black person was turned away from the same job because of racism.  Hard to build a life when you haven't got the opportunity to work to be able to pursue your happiness.  To me, that's what affirmative action is all about.

            I was spellbound by the documentary (yes, I watched it all, thanks for including it, Denise).  

            A couple of months ago I saw a local black comedian, whose material seemed to be eliciting only polite laughter in a primarily white audience until the topic turned to black/white differences.  It seemed as if the audience got more into it.  It felt as though people were hungry for a recognition of, and an explanation of cultural differences.  Somehow it made me feel more hopeful about the future, and I expressed this to him after the show.

            And then I run into something at work, like a white co-worker (younger than me) who tells me not to trust the two black employees we work with, saying, "You know they stick together."  I pointed out that it was no different than the two of us hanging out at work, and  sharing gossip, and there were plenty of others (white), who were not to be trusted.  Not sure she got it.

            Sorry for such random thoughts in this comment, but thanks for this diary.  Co-incidentally, I happened to catch "To Kill a Mockingbird" on the tee-vee this morning.

            I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio. -- Gerald R. Ford

            by mideedah on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:13:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was surprised by my results (0+ / 0-)

              Hispanic near the top, then in the middle right near eachother, Black, Asian, White.

              I'm a white 30-something female.

              Based on what I know to be my own comfort levels, I was thinking Asian & White would be close for my 1&2, with Black & Hispancic at 3&4.  Who'd have thought?

              The Girl Who Loved Stories
              I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape"

              by Avilyn on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:20:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  racial distinction is an artificial construct (15+ / 0-)

        There is nothing biologically dividing us into distinct "races." The pseudoscience of race and racism is a product of the Victorian age. And racism looks different in different places. For example, we spend some time in Fiji this summer. Outside of the resort, in the villages and towns, we were the only pale people who had to use gobs of sunscreen. Although the Fijian people are struggling with racial issues such as voting rights based on ethnic origin, they are very open about discussing the problems. I spent many hours sitting on boats while my kids and their Fijian buddies dived, discussing race and politics, both Fiji and America, with our various Fijian hosts. Americans just do not realize what a taboo subject racism is in this country. It is worst today, in fact, than it was in the 1960s in my experience.

        Thanks for hitting the subject head on, Dee!

    •  Ostracism has a biological component ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and that's proven in every living animal community. However, the fundamental difference in the human experience is conscious social construction. As social animals, we can make decisions about how we relate to one another, decisions about what constitutes difference and similarity, decisions about how we either manifest or deny our impulses to be more attentive to our families, kin, and social groups.

      To me, the question of race in America is a constant demand on being better than we otherwise would be to our fellow human beings ... that every day, I have to make "decisions" that work toward that end. And that includes everything Denise is talking about in this post, IMHO.

    •  That's bullshit. We are not wired to be (8+ / 0-)

      tribal animals. Don't take how we view race in the US as the automatic norm for all of society and all of history.

      •  Look at every continent and all of history (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Jesus himself was reluctant to heal the demon-posessed daughter of a non-Jewish woman.

        He figured out that it was the right thing to do. So should we.

        "It's just nature!"
        "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put on this earth to rise above!"

        •  I posted this down below but quote it here: (5+ / 0-)
          To even begin talking about or comparing the US with other societies now or in history, you first need to fully understand how that other society views "race." I have had several, useless discussions here about other societies. They were useless because my interlocuters didn't understand what the heck I was talking about because they didn't first try to understand that how that other society views "race" is different from how we do.
          I don't want to get into it, but I'll mention this: Way more Africans were sent to Mexico than the US. What happened to all of them? How come only in tiny pockets of the country can you see Afro-Mexicans? It is because they didn't get the pseudo-scientific memo that we are hard-wired to be tribal. They just married and had children with whomever, ignoring their "tribal" status until, today, no one can tell if someone might have African blood, and they don't care.
          •  Wow (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anak, Denise Oliver Velez, Yasuragi

            Never knew about the Africans in Mexico! Wonder why?  In my high school, we didn't study U.S. slavery -- and this is in Mississippi. ::eye roll::

            I guess that's possible of a large influx into Mexico. Africans definitely landed in South America. Brazil is one of my favorite countries. I'd love to get a condo and live there part-time.

            Please provide some books where I can learn more. I could search the subject, but first-hand recommendations are better.

            Thanks so much!

            •  Mexico also had a black president in 1829 (5+ / 0-)

              with Vicente Guerrero.

              It also had a full-blooded Indian, Benito Juarez, as president, starting in 1858 (numerous terms and still one of the most respecterd heros in Mexican history). His first language was Zapotec, not Spanish.

              And the president (dictator) who ruled for 30 years until 1911, Porfirio Díaz, was half Indian.

              But, again, since they don't view race like we do, Mexicans today may not even know that Guerrero was part black (which for us whould mean all black). Still, something to consider next time you see that Chris Matthews commercial saying "only in America could you elect a black president..." No, Mexico had one long before us. Also, Peru recently had a full-blooded Asian as president, befoere Obama.

              A great place to start to learn more is the PBS series Henry Gates made last year, I believe, called Black in Latin America. I think there are 6 episodes, all fully available at the link below. Very well done. Only critique is that sometimes his gringo thinking gets in the way (which is what I was talking about in my earlier comment). But, again, well done and very enjoyable! I'll think about books, but the only ones I've read are history books for historians, not really the general reader. But if I think of something I'll get back to you.


            •  A couple books (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grumpelstillchen, Yasuragi, CocoaLove

              Ok, if you don't want something too dry/academic, this book is good. It is 11 chapters by different authors about different regions and events in colonial Latin America. Again, not so great for the general reader--though appropriate for undergrads in college--but most of the stories told are interesting and even entertaining. Here's a bit of the description from the publishers:

              Almost eleven of the twelve million Africans who survived the trauma of enslavement in Africa and the horrors of the Middle Passage, remade their lives in territories claimed by Spain or Portugal. Drawing on a wealth of previously unused sources, the authors show that although plantation slavery was a horrible reality for many Africans and their descendants in Latin America, blacks experienced many other realities in Iberian colonies.
              More description and title, etc, here:

              Btw, note in the description: 11 of the 12 million slaves sent to the New World were not sent to the USA.

              The next book is dry and written for historians, but I'm not a historian and I really enjoyed it. From the publishers description (castas, btw, refers to mixed race people):

              In this distinguished contribution to Latin American colonial history, Douglas Cope draws upon a wide variety of sources—including Inquisition and court cases, notarial records and parish registers—to challenge the traditional view of castas (members of the caste system created by Spanish overlords) as rootless, alienated, and dominated by a desire to improve their racial status.  On the contrary, the castas, Cope shows, were neither passive nor ruled by feelings of racial inferiority; indeed, they often modified or even rejected elite racial ideology.  Castas also sought ways to manipulate their social "superiors" through astute use of the legal system.  Cope shows that social control by the Spaniards rested less on institutions than on patron-client networks linking individual patricians and plebeians, which enabled the elite class to co-opt the more successful castas.
              So, you may be familiar with the famous  casta paintings that show all the different racial categories that came from racial mixing and you might think: "Wow, those Spanish were hyper-racial or racist." But, on the ground, it didn't really work! People were asked, so what race are you, and they would answer: "How the fuck should I know? I think they said my Dad was mulato." Stuff like that.  So, in Mexico at least, most people were negro or mulato, not some of the weird designations like lobo (wolf) or coyote.


              The next book, again, super dry and academic, but I include it cause it just came out last year and also because it deals with the past but also the present. Essays by different authors.

              Also, not much about blacks; mostly about Indians. But it deals more with the concept of racism than the other books, the topic of this diary:

              Ninety percent of the indigenous population in the Americas lives in the Andean and Mesoamerican nations of Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Guatemala. Recently indigenous social movements in these countries have intensified debate about racism and drawn attention to the connections between present-day discrimination and centuries of colonialism and violence. In Histories of Race and Racism, anthropologists, historians, and sociologists consider the experiences and representations of Andean and Mesoamerican indigenous peoples from the early colonial era to the present.
      •  Tribal? Not tribal? I'm not sure if I understand (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak, FreeWoman19

        what is meant by this ...

        It feels "wrong," and my first reaction is to reject it, since it can so easily be used to re-label racism with a less loaded term -- making it easier to spin it into something natural ... and therefore more acceptable -- or at least, to make it more excusable not to do anything about.  

        And, it also occurs to me that there does seem to be something rather elemental to us, as human beings, that seems to involve how "far away" from ourselves we are capable of extending our empathy.  

        This is difficult to express, but I'm going to try.  It's like when you pick up a series of paper clips with a magnet.  Those farthest away are the ones that are easiest to pull off, and the ones closest are held most forcefully.

        I often wonder (and worry) at my inability to get really upset when there is a tragedy somewhere far away.  Of course, I am "sad," and I send money to help blah blah blah, but I am decidedly and definitely removed from being intimately, emotionally involved.  Now, if the disasters happen to people in America ... and it seems to be related to even how geographically close either I live to the disaster or how close some else I am close to lives to the disaster -- I am more emotionally involved.  If it's someone I know ... someone in my family ... then, I feel deeply affected.

        Do we have a natural tendency to have some, almost quantum-like levels regarding our capacity for empathy ... with there being a continuuim across people regarding the range?  Like a sociopath on one extreme and a "holy" loving person on the other?

        I've never lived near a border with another country, but I think if I did, this would almost definitely apply across political borders ... I can't say that I'm more or less upset about disasters in foreign countries being related to race ... geographic distance, somehow, seems to be a part of it.

        Regarding groups of people within America, I often feel FAR more aligned within my gender than I do with white men -- even my husband, at times.  I sometimes experience a deep, shared outrage and sense of sisterhood regarding the war against women issues.  Reading about Jordan, I connected with that story through my love and concern for my own 17 yo and my teenage students ... but I took no action like I would have if he had lived in our area.  

        I don't feel more comfortable with the wingnuts in our predominantly white suburban neighborhood, and I felt A LOT more comfortable in the black surburban neighborhoods we were canvassing in Hamilton County, Ohio ... but the houses and streets looked pretty much exactly like my own neighborhood does.  (LOL I made a note to self to look into moving when we retire.)  

        However, would I have felt the same flip comfort level in poor, inner city segregated neighborhoods?  In all honesty, probably not.  Though, I don't really know, since I never choose to venture there -- which says something.  

        I think about this whenever something bad happens to others -- and I wonder about this connectiveness-detachedness within myself.  The majority of my racist, bigoted thoughts, feelings, attitudes ... are and were learned, AND should be able to be unlearned.  I just don't know how to do so, or if my reflections along these lines are helpful or pointless toward that end.

        Still thinking about this ... looking forward to reading more comments in this important discussion, this evening.

        Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

        by bkamr on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:08:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, they ARE learned. (0+ / 0-)

          That is the important point. It reminds me of how people breezily say, "Oh, those two countries or groups of people have hated each other since the dawn of time, there can never be peace."

          No. It is because those two countries keep teaching the hatred, even inventing or distorting historical events that supposedly started the hatred. After all, look at France and Germany today. There are countless historical events, some quite recent, that could be used as a cause for a huge hatred between them. But they aren't used; it's not taught anymore.

        •  bkamr (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bkamr, grumpelstillchen, Anak, Yasuragi

          At least you realize you have work to do. That is a great first step. Now that you know better, it's time to do better.

          However, would I have felt the same flip comfort level in poor, inner city segregated neighborhoods?  In all honesty, probably not.  Though, I don't really know, since I never choose to venture there -- which says something.
          The little you know about those neighborhoods is probably what you saw/heard in television shows or network news or in newspapers. I can assure you that the same types of people in your neighborhood are in those places. There may be more miscreants in your neighborhood, but you won't know because they don't fit the stereotype that has long been shown in this country.

          You can take baby steps. Visit the neighborhood after morning rush-hour with a black or Hispanic friend. Get to know the civic or church leaders. They can give you a wealth of information. If you kosmail me, let me know where you live. I may be able to give you some information.

          Yes, the inner-cities have problems. Drug lords set up dealers in those areas, but do you know that white folks come there at night just to buy? LOTS of 'em. I know this because I wrote stories about life on the streets in the 'hood for a number of years. A running joke is that if you see a white man over here at night, you know he's up to no good. The police know this, but they don't broadcast it to the world. It's past time they did this. Maybe that news would open a lot of eyes.

          Again, I applaud your honesty. Now it's time to move forward. You owe that to yourself.

      •  We are... (0+ / 0-)

        ... it doesn't explain all behaviour, but it's true.

    •  "Difficult if not impossible" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Batya the Toon


    •  I think I agree that we are wired to be tribal (0+ / 0-)

      but we can decide for ourselves who we consider part of our tribe, and our tribal identification doesn't have to be genetic.

      There are so many different categories, overlapping and non-, that I mean when I say my people.  And that human impulse toward tribalism is at the root of all of them.

  •  This is a tough subject (35+ / 0-)

    and every time I think about it, I'm embarrassed to find that I still don't measure up.  I'm getting better, but I still don't measure up.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:40:48 PM PST

  •  "There are others who live in the delusion that we (11+ / 0-)
    are approaching, or living in a "post-racial" society.
    It's not a delusion, it's a defense.  The first and last refuge of the guilty.

    Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

    by CarolinNJ on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:42:20 PM PST

  •  Step One for many of us progressives at least (49+ / 0-)

    is stop our defensiveness about possibly being racist and look at the possibility that we were infected by racism growing up by absorbing it from our families, our schools, our classmates, our friends, the media, our leaders, and on and on. Much of our racist material is below awareness. It's not all blatant and overt.

    Don't start by saying or assuming, "I'm not one of them,
    I have black friends, I support civil rights, I even have an
    Asian girlfriend, etc., etc.," but relax your assumptions and simply look at your childhood and what impinged upon it.

    I'm passed my defensiveness. I know I was bombarded by racism when I was a kid and when I was growing up and I absorbed much of it. I've explored all this.

    And I as a child didn't ask for this. It wasn't my fault. But now it's my job as an adult to explore it. But not with guilt. With the attitude that we're all in this together and we're all potential allies in human progress. It was never us vs. them. It's all us.

    Try dropping the defensiveness and look at it.

    "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan." --Joel McCrea as "Sully," in "Sullivan's Travels."

    by Wildthumb on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:45:19 PM PST

  •  Racism is as human as opposable thumbs. (7+ / 0-)

    Hardly the exclusive province of Americans.

    Probably even served a useful purpose at some point in our evolution in terms of rapid friend/foe decisions.

    Does that mean that we're stuck with it?

    I hope not.  

    We are endowed with more than our hard-wired reactions.  We also have brains that can learn and can analyze the facts independent of any hard-wired reactions we may have.

    Every child that learns that friendship has more to do with being there for you instead of looking like you is a step in the right direction.

    Even if we don't reach every child.
    Even if we can't eliminate that primitive wiring.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:48:02 PM PST

    •  Well, we tend to think of racism in terms (11+ / 0-)

      of black/white/brown, etc, but use the term "ethnicity" when it comes to groups of white people discriminating against one another. However, if you go back and look at the "ethnic" tensions in the late Austro-Hungarian empire which were still being played out in the Balkan Wars of the 90's (and are still not finished playing out) and if you look at how people were thinking and writing at the time, they were thinking in terms of race, in the sense of an Hungarian and a Croat were different races, the "Slavic race", the "German race", etc.  

      In that way, racism is everywhere.

    •  "We are endowed with more than our hard-wired... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steve Canella

      ...reactions.  We also have brains that can learn and can analyze the facts independent of any hard-wired reactions we may have.
      But how does everyone learn?
      Some, possibly based on their brains hard wiring may learn by "manipulated rationality".  Hardly an alteration
      method for a change in what has been hard wired.

      •  Ain't that the big dilemma? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bkamr, ChurchofBruce, Steve Canella

        I've seen huge changes from my childhood days, so learning must be possible.

        The single most powerful teacher I can think of is personal experience --- if you encounter people you like, respect, love (or hate) it will affect you.

        In adults, it may be nothing more satisfying than "he/she's not like the other (fill in the blank)", but if it gets the kids together with a chance to know and like each other, maybe a little bit of progress is made.

        I wish I knew something better to say than that, other than the obvious vigilant efforts to stamp any legally recognized vestiges of segregation and inequality.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:43:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This partly depends on what (0+ / 0-)

      you mean by racism.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:37:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's an interesting comment (0+ / 0-)

        And a point well-taken, because there is the sort of built-in instinctive "not like me" racism that we're all born with, but there is also intentional kind of racism a la Nazis and the Klan.

        I wonder, though, if the former fades away, how the latter can continue outside the realm of misfits and malcontents.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:46:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Despite Being Caucasian... (11+ / 0-)

    ... I have pretty much always opposed racism because I've always enjoyed ethnic and cultural differences, and because I learned early on 'Do not do those things to others those things that you would not have done to you.'

    I have opposed racism (as well as other "-isms") with family, friends, and as a participatory citizen. It's simply the correct thing to do.

    But given that, I always find attempts to guilt me into being a "warrior" annoying. Yes, I understand that my skin colour gives me advantages, but you know, none of us chooses our ethnotype.

    I will do my part in opposing racism, but I don't accept it as my duty because I'm a white man; I do it because of my human values.

    Only fools do battle in a burning house

    by Uthaclena on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:48:23 PM PST

    •  note:you are only Caucasian if your ancestors (15+ / 0-)

      came from the Caucasus region  in Eurasia.

      The use of Caucasian, Mongolian and Negroid as outmoded classification systems should be avoided.

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:02:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I prefer (3+ / 0-)

        referring to myself as a:

        white boy


        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:21:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Poland and Hungary (0+ / 0-)

        ... are within a migration of the Caucasus, no?

        Only fools do battle in a burning house

        by Uthaclena on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:28:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  the sooner "color" gets delimited the better (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosarugosa, AaronInSanDiego

        since only white/black are the hues used as opposed to all other ethnic/geographic referents, with all due respect to the important history of Black resistance to White hegemony regardless of continent. Get rid of all hue references so we can discuss lived histories rather than color spectrum generalities. Asians aren't Yellow any more than American Indians are Red.  The discourse on this among other matters is interesting:

        yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

        by annieli on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:34:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My cousin-in-law is Armenian (4+ / 0-)

        which is about as "Caucasian" as one can get, but he still gets pulled out of airport lines by security because he has "darker skin" and a big nose.

        The irony is not lost on him (or anyone else in the family)

        The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

        by raboof on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:19:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's true. But caucasion is the accepted (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        term. What term would you prefer?

        "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

        by tb92 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:26:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Accepted by whom? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm either white or caucasion (sometimes "other") depending on the form I have to fill out.  Most important is how we choose to self-identify.  Whether I call myself white or caucasion or something else is not for anyone else to challenge.

          Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

          by winsock on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:30:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree. I'm black...that's what I call myself, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            so that's what I am.  Don't care if I am politically correct or whatever...but that's my name for me.  I identify with black.

          •  Ever fill in the "race" blank with "human." (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It is my own personal response to the dumb question being asked.   But be ready to duck some overly angry reactions at such consciousness raising.

            Perhaps it is because I grew up while attitudes hadn't quite finished changing everywhere  --- job applications still asked "religion"   despite being post holocaust.

            And personell guys still said out loud that they had to pay women less because company investment in job training was lost when women got pregnant & quit.

            Decades later they stopped specifying race in job ads -- but job applications suddenly asked for a photo.  It didn't occur to me that it was to determine race until a co-worker pointed it out.

            The reason I sobbed happily the night Obama was first elected our President -----------------> besides the best man winning -------------->  was because my fellow US humans proved the hard core bigots were very wrong about their numbers.    They are the loudest and scariest ---- but they are not the majority.

            De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

            by Neon Mama on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:10:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The result is the most important thing (5+ / 0-)

      The motivation behind it is your own.

      I don't see it as others "guilting" me into action—I feel enough of that on my own for the way whites have treated everyone other than themselves throughout history, for me to perceive any calls to action from others as guilt-trips.

      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:11:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe I agree with you to a certain extent... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uthaclena, Neon Mama, winsock

      Generally I find arguments of "guilt by color" tiresome and unproductive.

      My views and growth are determined by my personal ethics and willingness to evolve, to understand the distinct possibility and wonder that each individual presents.

      The idea of "collective guilt" is convenient, simplistic and removes individuality. I'll pass.

      Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

      by Morgan Sandlin on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:21:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You knocked it out the park with this one! (14+ / 0-)

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

    by WFBMM on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:48:52 PM PST

  •  Absolutely with you, Sis (22+ / 0-)

    In the spring of 1968, I got special permission (I was a freshman) to take what was billed as the first course on Black politics at Cornell, Andrew Hacker and Allen Sindler presiding. We did a lot of reading (the best of the books was Stokely Carmichael [at last reprinting, Kwame Ture] and Charles V. Hamilton's Black Power: The Politics of Liberation) and we had an interesting and cathartic final exam with 8 or 9 questions. I don't remember the other 7 or 8, but I do remember #5:

    Are you a white racist? Explain.
    The answer was of course yes, because I had grown up in a very white suburb and I really didn't have any Black close friends.

    It has to start with us as individuals. Yes, we have had to go out of the way to shed our racist skin and we cannot stop being aware of all the covert and unconscious and dog-whistled racism we see and hear around us. We also have to challenge it when we can.

    I'm so with you on this.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:49:14 PM PST

  •  There isn't a person in the world who does not (12+ / 0-)

    feel some fear of the "other".  When those fears become institutionalized, it's easy for them to perpetuate themselves.   The old institutions of racism are starting to break down, slowly.  I see my kids and their friends as being a lot more evolved than my generation.  It will take time, but we will get there.

    I have a different perspective.  I am a white guy who grew up in a solidly black neighborhood.   My first major awareness of racial differences was when I went to a very white college and spoke to students of color there who did not know me as I would to my friends and neighbors at home.  Suffice it to say, I experienced quite a racial awakening - and I am lucky I did not get my ass kicked!  I should really write diary on this some day.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:50:32 PM PST

  •  Tremendous resources within this diary (29+ / 0-)

    to help us learn more about our white privilege and about how to discuss and not derail conversations about race.  I will be spending more time with the links and videos a bit later, but want to register my thanks and support for this diary now.  It's a gift to the community.


  •  I took the test a couple months ago (25+ / 0-)

    And it said I was neutral to race, that I didn't show one preference over another. What I found curious, though, was that it focused solely on black and white.

    I have prejudices. I'm not going to lie. I do. I recognize them and I really try to work on them, and I get pissed off when I catch myself thinking something that would enrage me if said my another person. For the record, I don't think anyone is less than or "other." What I, personally, have a knee-jerk (emphasis on the jerk)reaction to are aspects of certain cultures. I know that about myself and I do work to change it about me.

    I was beaten up pretty badly once on this site because I said that many "isms" will ALWAYS be among us. I know that. I am under no illusion that we'll one day end prejudice or bigotry in any of its forms. What we can do is minimize the effects of those things, and that is something that I feel very strongly about.

    As far as your other question go, I have a few Latino/a friends, but have only had a few AA friends throughout my life. I live in Idaho. We're as diverse as a matchbook. Most of the social gatherings I attend reflect that, unfortunately.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:51:05 PM PST

  •  You are my shero! (30+ / 0-)

    Yes! You make numerous excellent point. I must comment on this right here:

    It is painful to be a part of a progressive online community and to often realize that racism is not just something on Fox News.
    I've cringed for years while reading comment in diaries. The snark where  used to criticize the tea bagger depictions of President Obama is just as offensive or worse. When I point this out, the offender is offended by my concern. They don't get it. I take l-o-n-g breaks from this place sometimes.

    See, I expect the ridicule at Red State or Free Republic or Limbaugh blog. This should be a safe space. It ain't.

    Oh, well. As in the 3-D world, I take the parts I can use and keep it moving.

    Great diary!

  •  Just because you see racism everywhere... (0+ / 0-)

    ...doesn't mean it is everywhere.  Your views of life are distinctly biases toward racism.  

    I just see people with everybody having there own preferences about who they want to associate with that is not necessarily based on the color of their skin.

    I wonder how long it will take you to remove this post?  Can't have any moderate viewpoints in your world.  You've made the decision not to like me.  Is that racist?????

  •  To be honest with you (7+ / 0-)

    A lot of those questions would have the same answers regardless of whether you asked a white, black or hispanic person. People congregate with people that are similar. The difference of course, being that white racism is institutionalized in a way that's not explicit but invisible.

    This question right here
    "How much do you know about Black, Latino, Native American or Asian American/Pacific Islander history?"

    I wonder how many black people read those posts, or latinos. How many of them take interest in other people's histories. Do my Indian friends know the history of Native Americans? I'm almost going to guarantee you not. Just yesterday I had a Chinese and black girl talking blatantly stereotypically about Native American history (I am a researcher in native history).

    I just find it a problem to take a look at white people and say "This is on you". Even when we discuss the benefits of white privilege, how far does that extend to the the poor white? How much of this is a race issue and how much of this is a class issue?

    I just find the diary to be incredibly simplistic and addresses none of the underlying issues that are troubling everyone, not just whites.

    It's also unfair of the author to dictate favorable terms to contour toward her argument. I'm concerned about individuals. A portion of those individuals exist in a society that bestows privilege. But a large portion also does not. And the responsibilities we're leveling at a portion of the population aren't being adhered to by others. How can I specify for whites to be active anti racists each day when others are not?

    People of color are a problem as whites are because all people are. while I understand the issues being pointed at, the author opens with a solution that assumes benefits of a majority that doesn't exist. because white majority and its inherent privilege slants toward only a percentage. What am I supposed to say to this post when an acquaintance of mine of Thai heritage called a black ex of mine a "n****r"?

    by DAISHI on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:53:57 PM PST

    •  Can you explain (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, doroma

      What you mean by this?

      People of color are a problem as whites are because all people are. while I understand the issues being pointed at, the author opens with a solution that assumes benefits of a majority that doesn't exist. because white majority and its inherent privilege slants toward only a percentage

      "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

      by Maine Islander on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:58:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  White privilege exists (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Strain Of Thought

        But to a large extent a large part of the white population does not realistically benefit from it in a tangible way due to class issues.

        by DAISHI on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:06:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  All whites benefit from white privilege... (26+ / 0-)

          ...Class privilege is a different matter. I grew up in the South. The fact that the poorest white person could, by custom, force my grandfather off the sidewalk in our small town because he was Indian had everything to do with their being white and nothing to do with the fact of their class. Today, poor, uneducated, unemployed white ex-convicts have less of a chance of being pulled over while driving by the cops than does an educated, affluent black man. That's not class privilege at work.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:30:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  isn't the term "class privelege" (0+ / 0-)

            a bit redundant?

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:00:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  not quite (8+ / 0-)

              it happens over and over again that well-educated well-off black people, whom you might think would have some class privilege, run afoul of white middle class and lower class folk who want to show that skin color trumps all.

              first example that comes to mind is Henry Louis Gates being arrested on his own front porch because a townie cop didn't like the way Gates spoke to him.

              This NEVER happens in reverse.

              Also, back in the 1990s, one of the Celtics was forced at gunpoint to get out of his car and lie face down on the ground because a bank secretary, antsy from the previous day's robbery, could not tell the difference between a 6' 1" dark skinned black man and a 6' 6" light skinned black man.

              In both these cases, and countless others that do not make the news, what you might call "class privilege" definitely does not apply.

              "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
              Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

              by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:06:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But that sounds like the flip side of the argument (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                that poor whites don't benefit from white privilege. Are you saying that people of a higher social class don't have privilege if they don't also have race privilege, but that people can have race privilege without having class privilege? Also, how is class defined, if privilege doesn't enter into it?

                "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:20:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  poor whites do benefit from white privilege (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bkamr, a2nite, mamamorgaine
                  Are you saying that people of a higher social class don't have privilege if they don't also have race privilege, but that people can have race privilege without having class privilege?
                  short answer:  Yes.

                  longer answer: there are areas where you can have class privilege cancelled out by lack of race privilege, and there are plenty of areas in this country where you can have race privilege without class privilege.

                  how is class defined, if privilege doesn't enter into it?
                  THAT is an exciting question.  I am starting with the assumption that social class in the US is a product of wealth, family heritage, and education.

                  A black person who has all three of those things can still face bigotry and race discrimination from a white person who lacks all three of those things.

                  unless I have misunderstood your point...?

                  "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
                  Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

                  by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:55:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not disagreeing that (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rosarugosa, TrueBlueMajority

                    poor whites benefit from white privilege, or that rich blacks are subject to racism. I think it's clear that poor white people are not privileged by their class. I'm questioning the position that rich blacks don't benefit from class privilege, while acknowledging that it's clear that they are not privileged by their race. Can say that poor white people are better off than rich black people? I'm not sure that's a simple question to answer.

                    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:08:01 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  can we say that (4+ / 0-)
                      poor white people are better off than rich black people
                      it depends on the context.  in some respects, yes, they are.

                      running out of gas in small town in ye olde confederacy, hell yes.

                      trying to get a job in some parts of the country, of course.

                      trying to catch a taxi in Manhattan, sometimes.  

                      Apparently Michael Moore's famous "comedy" piece about taxi drivers passing by acclaimed actor Yaphet Kotto to pick up a white convicted felon is no longer available on the net.   Drivers said they didn't see Kotto, so Moore put him next to a flashing illuminated sign that read I NEED A CAB.  They still passed him by.  Drivers said he looked threatening, so Kotto held a baby in one hand and flowers in the other and they still passed him by.  The taxi thing seems like a small thing but it is just an easily testable version of something that happens all over the place.

                      an interesting study asked whites how much money you would have to pay them to agree to be black, or to live with the day to day disadvantages of being black.  Respondents had a tendency to guess low figures like $10,000 until they were shown a list of real discriminatory situations blacks often face, and in some cases their asking price went up to $1 million.

                      and of course we don't have a lot of cases of poor white folk being shot by police while carrying wallets, candy bars, house keys, or spatulas that were mistaken for guns.  (In fact, do we have any?)

                      as Chris Rock famously said in one of his many classic riffs on racism, "there's not a white man in this room that would change places with me... and I'm RICH!"

                      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
                      Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

                      by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:52:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I think I realize all this. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I feel I'm not expressing myself well. My comparison of a poor white person to a rich black person was a bit off the mark.

                        Another way of asking my question would be, are there no privileges that a wealthy or "upper-class" person of color has, because of racism and the disadvantages it incurs? Even acknowledging your points, I don't think we would say that wealth or class is irrelevant to a black person in this country, would we?

                        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

                        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 09:55:34 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  you are right (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          i am not saying wealth or class are irrelevant.

                          of course we agree that there are some privileges that come from wealth alone.  LOTS of privileges!

                          it's just that the privileges of wealth can be erased in an instant for a rich black person, and we have far fewer (FAR fewer) instances of that happening for rich white people.

                          one reason Rmoney's loss is so amazing is that we do not often see a person of his wealth denied something that he and his wealthy friends want as bad as they all wanted that election.

                          and they were denied it by a black man.

                          that's why they (and we) are reeling in astonishment.

                          "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
                          Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

                          by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 06:37:36 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

          •  In fact.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ....I'd say white privilege was one of the primary motivating factors to get poor, non-slaveholding whites to fight and die for the Confederacy. They knew very well, implicitly, if not explicitly, that if slavery was abolished, they'd be at the very bottom of the totem pole with blacks. Even the poorest, most ignorant white person knew that while slavery existed, at least they weren't black. The Civil War threatened their (very precarious) place in society.

        •  Privilege that is invisible (14+ / 0-)

          Is still privilege.

          I think I understand what youre saying, and I've certainly had this conversation, the question of whether it can be called privilege when class disadvantages people so in other ways. Class oppression is real.

          But so is the privilege of having your race be the default one, in every circumstance (see Peggy McIntosh list). And the reality of class oppression doesn't take away race privilege, even if it doesn't seem to ameliorate the oppression.

          As a black friend who was raised poor in the South points out, poor white neighbors considered themselves superior to him. And the reality was - and still is - that there were many, many places and situations that were open to those white people and not to him or his community.

          I'm puzzled by your accusation that the diary is "incredibly simplistic." It feels as if you're trying to deflect the points made by saying, "But what about all these other issues?"

          "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

          by Maine Islander on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:43:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Wealth and power are no insulation (11+ / 0-)

      against racism. The President could tell you about that, except that he can't. Nor does the lack of wealth make privilege irrelevant. 'Driving while black' comes to mind as an easy example.

      There is nothing so ridiculous that some philosopher has not said it. -- Cicero

      by tytalus on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:06:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, geejay

        My experience in high school bears this out. I went to a well off, but racially diverse private school. A goodly number of people at the school were black and upper middle class. From prominent, well-educated families, well connected families. Hell, some of my black friends even had live-in housekeepers. But when we'd hang out at the mall, it wasn't me, white, and not as well off, who got followed around like I was a criminal. It was my well-off black friends. They "looked suspicious."

  •  I'm curious. . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Anak

    . . . what do you see as the least racist country or society?

    Any lessons to learn from these?

    the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

    by Egg on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:54:58 PM PST

    •  There are several comments here (8+ / 0-)

      that talk about stupid things like "it is hard-wired." Aside from the dubious "scientific" underpinnings of such a belief, it assumes that how race is viewed in the US is the norm for all societies and through all of history.

      Thus, to even begin talking about or comparing the US with other societies now or in history, you first need to fully understand how that other society views "race." I have had several, useless discussions here about other societies. They were useless because my interlocuters didn't understand what the heck I was talking about because they didn't first try to understand that how that other society views "race" is different from how we do.

      •  I always look askance.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak anyone asserting biological determinism for a wide variety of -isms and behaviors. "Men are hardwired to rape!" is another one of them that drives me up the wall.

        •  Exactly. And just like Freudianism, people (0+ / 0-)

          everywhere are talking about "hard-wired" behavior, without even having read any of the scientific literature.

          And such "scientific" literature, just like Freud who claimed he was doing science, might just be totally, totally wrong!

    •  The least racist societies are the ones that face (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rosarugosa, geejay

      their racist past. In that respect, Japan, which tries to pretend has no racial problems (and won't even collect data on discrimination against the Korean minority) is one of the most racist. Even though there is no equivalent to the KKK in peaceful Japan and no lynchings or pass laws in recent history. If you face racism in Japan, you don't even have the language to articulate it.

      On the other hand, South Africa, which had some of the most egregious racial policies of the 20th century, is now one of the least racist. They were courageous enough to face their demons and talk about what happened openly. They have spent the past 20 years documenting and examining their racist history.

      And they have implemented blatantly anti-racist policies that try to fix the damage that Apartheid caused. (There are some white people in South Africa who object to the anti-racist programs, and call it "reverse racism" since they are no longer guaranteed the number one position. Sounds familiar.)

      South Africans could have ended Apartheid and then immediately said, okay, that's all done now, everyone is equal, let's pretend we are colorblind and never mention race again.

      And the problems created by the years of Apartheid would continue, but there would be no way to realistically address them. Yeah, the black majority is still poor and the whites still have the money. But, you see, we are all colorblind now.  Why do you keep on bringing up race?

      We in the US have not been nearly as courageous. My daughter's generation gives me hope-- they talk very openly about race and racism. Maybe someday we will be willing to peel back the bandaids and clean out the festering sores.

      Non-profit single payer health care. Next question?

      by terran on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:58:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Live in the utopia (8+ / 0-)

    I've found the best way to create a better world is to live in it.  Not the only way, alas, but one must be the change.  Discussion of differences is important, but so is the way you live your life.

    I'm annoyed that I have to prove that I'm a mensch.  For five years my housemate was a transsexual.  This gained me a certain respect in the LGBT community.  While I was pleased that people I liked also liked me, I was a bit disturbed by the suddenness of some of the changes. I hadn't changed, they had.

    My girlfriend is a Native American; I'm Jewish.  This gives me more cred with people of color.  Again, I'm pleased to be accepted where I might not otherwise have been, but I'm not the one who changed.

    I understand that you want to talk to white folks who voted for Obama, since the chances are that anyone who voted for Romney is a lost cause.  But please be aware that there's a spectrum of tolerance within all communities, and not just mine and not just yours.  You (plural) are not a monolith, and neither are we.

    Sometimes, everyone needs to look in a mirror.

    "What doesn't have credibility today is the truth." -- Bill Moyers, The Daily Show 6/22/05

    by Baron Dave on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:56:04 PM PST

  •  I've struggled with this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoiseBlue, stevej, tb92, bkamr

    for a while -- on the one hand, it's human nature to gather with people that you feel a certain commonality with it, be it race, social class, religion (or absence of), education, or other common interests. I'm probably as guilty of that as others, though the social circle I hang in is relatively racially neutral (railfandom is more of an upper-middle class activity especially if you're into traveling for new trackage or to photograph unusual train consists). But at the same time, I don't feel like I have to go out drinking with someone after work to respect them as a human being and to honor their accomplishments.

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:56:53 PM PST

  •  It has to be called out (33+ / 0-)

    One of the hardest, most defining moments of my life was a few years ago, when I confronted my father at my dinner table about comments he was making about "illegals." He asserted he had the right to believe what he wanted, and say what he believed.

    And I yelled at my dad, at my own table. It was hard. I told him that he may feel like he has the right to say those things, but he did not have the right to say those things in my house. Because my kids were not going to grow up hearing those things tolerated by their dad.

    I don't do as much as I should to combat racism, but I draw the line on allowing it from anyone, in any form, in my house or in front of me. I decided when I became a dad myself that I was going to create a "no racist language" sphere around myself, and not allow any ignorance to go unchallenged in conversations I am participating in.

    It's led to some discomfort and awkwardness with people I care about. But it's led me to sleep a bit better about being a dad. And it's worth it.

    Progress is a continuum, not a light switch.

    by Paradox13 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:57:47 PM PST

    •  I know that feeling. (2+ / 0-)

      I have called out my dad's racist ideas from time to time -- they tend to be of the relatively subtle/benign sort that are harder to pin down and explain why they're not okay -- and on one occasion I heard myself saying the words "Dad, not at my table."

      I was horrified that I'd said it and I expected a fight to start, and I'm still a little stunned that it didn't.

  •  We cannot end racism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, asterkitty, royce

    Racism is evil, and evil will always be with us. But what we can do is make it socially unacceptable (and thus there will generally be less of it).

    "None of us—meaning people of color—can fix you. The only person who can begin to right these wrongs is you. Most of us don't live in your neighborhoods, nor do we work with you, or even go to school with you. Most of us aren't married to you. Most of you have white children, parents, in-laws, cousins and co-workers. "

    Also, I (being a person of color) don't expect anyone to stop another person from being racist. That's probably impossible. You can't make someone believe something different from what they want to believe. You have to make them want to believe in what you believe in. White people who grow up interacting with colored people are alot less likely to be racist because they will have grown up with friends that they consider just as equal as they are. This is why integration was and is so important. This is why forced busing was important, and why the Lee Atwaters of the world fought it so hard.

    •  white people are getting more skin in the game (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb92, bkamr, rosarugosa, gramofsam1, SoCalSal

      all the time. Who your friends are, who you hang out with at work or school, these all count, but they don't have the impact that having a close relative of another race has.

      For me, it's having a black adopted son. For my cousin, it's being married to a latino and having her children identified as such. For my sisters, it's having a black nephew. It creates another level of caring.

      As a nation, this mixing is accerlerating. And will continue to do so.

      If I attend a party with my son's birth family or a gathering of my cousin's latino in-laws, I'm integrating their family event as well. We see ourselves as extended family.

      I'm not claiming to be satisfied with the pace of this, and it won't completely solve the problem. It will make a difference over time.

      That said, I don't expect my husband to care as much about feminism as I do, even though he has a wife, 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters. I don't expect my gay stepson to have as visceral a reaction to a slur on women as he does to a slur on gays.

      working for a world that works for everyone ...

      by USHomeopath on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:05:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't really do much to fight racism in my fam. (4+ / 0-)

    because there is nobody in my family whom I consider racist. Even my aunt who is a staunch libertarian has never said anything I consider racist. At least, not that seems racist to me. Maybe you would feel differently.

    I am proud to come from a progressive family, and especially proud that my grandmother was a civil rights activist. I wrote a diaryabout her last week, if you are interested.

    The downside to coming from such a progressive family is that I probably grew up sheltered from the reality of how harsh racism still is in some communities. It wasn't until I campaigned for Obama that I ever really met people who were overtly racist, who were not even ashamed to admit that they couldn't vote for a black person.

    As disturbing as the racism in the campaign was, though, the fact that the president was elected and re-elected in spite of it shows that we have at least made some progress, I think. My grandmother said that such a feat was unimaginable for most of her life. But at the same time, the amount of racism that is implicit in the irrational hatred toward him shows how much further we have to go.

  •  Race is cultural, so how to change culture? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egg, DvCM

    I agree that this shit needs to end, but I think I am a lot more hopeful than you are. For one thing, there are clear shifts in the demographics, including age. Young people seem much better about diversity, perhaps from being so much more global in their outlook.

    What I would like to know: what actually works to change people from racism to tolerance?

    Calling people out is fun, and I do it, but even the times I think I did it well, I don't think it was effective. At best, the racist stopped saying those things around me.

    Any suggestions?

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:58:43 PM PST

    •  Giving folks a hand (9+ / 0-)

      I highly recommend the work of the National Coalition Building Institute, which trains people in diversity leadership, prejudice reduction and conflict resolution.

      One of the core pieces of the model is the skills for interrupting prejudicial comments. The key question is, as you note, do you want people to stop saying it around you, or do you want to actually shift their atttitudes?

      If the latter, NCBI teaches a 3-point process:
      1. Affirm the person. (This is NOT the same as affirming the content of the comment!)
      2. Ask questions & listen. Get the other person to talk and see if you can get some clue as to where this is actually coming from. Be curious about where the stuff came from.
      3. Inform, if necessary. If you do #s 2 &3 really, really well, you sometimes don't even need this step.

      My favorite analogy, by NCBI founder Asherah Cinnamon, is that interrupting prejudice is like going to see a dear friend who's in the hospital after a terrible accident. You see the mess of their wounds, but you're reaching for the beloved beneath all that.

      As I learn over and over, if I really want to get rid of racism, I have to get off the pedestal of self-righteousness on which I'm standing.

      "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

      by Maine Islander on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:50:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Denise Oliver Velez

        I'll go check that out.

        I work as a community planner, so have some practice in active listening, etc., but can always learn more and better methods.

        We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

        by Urban Owl on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:55:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Racism is indeed a tough nut, but for me, (13+ / 0-)

    overcoming white privilege is what I focus on. I grew up in a progressive, middle to upper middle class white family. I also grew up in an environment where until I was a teenager, I never met a person of color. Literally. Even though my sister in law is black and I have had long-term relationships with Latinos and I was raised never to be a bigot (in any way, but especially not a racist) and by the time I got to high school I developed meaningful friendships with people of color (including my HS boyfriend) I still catch myself at times thinking in ways that I must chalk up to "white privilege". It is all-pervasive in our society. Add to that economic privilege and a person can have a very warped worldview and not even realize it! My other half who has Franco-American and First Nations heritage is merciless with me, and I'm grateful for it: he lets me know when I "sound like a WASP".

    While I like to think I am pretty evolved when it comes to race and gender and sexuality issues, I remind myself that, especially living as I do in the "whitest" state in the Nation (or at least it recently was, and the state is Maine) stepping outside of my WASPy box is something not only necessary, but something I want to do.

  •  Great work, here, Dee! (19+ / 0-)

    Daniel-Tatum's book is really educational, for one thing. Your whole post is a terrific call to action, so thank you.

  •  I am looking forward to reading the (22+ / 0-)

    comments here, Sis Denise.
    I hope to see some honest responses.

    In the meantime, the fact that President Obama was reelected gives me hope.
    And this just breaks my heart with what it says about the possibilities.

    (Hope your dog is doing better, sis.)

    866-OUR-VOTE!!(866-687-8683) Lyndon Johnson: The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

    by JoanMar on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:00:16 PM PST

  •  Well...let me say this (24+ / 0-)

    (as soon as I said that I wouldn't talk, Ihat happens)

    It's simply not racism (or homophobia or sexism) without an exercise of power by a dominant group upon a perceived inferior one.

    Self-segregating isn't racist (self-segregating isn't even a necessary component to racism).

    Prejudice isn't racism (although, in that case, the lines of correlation-causation are easy to see)

    Racism (or whatever -ism) involves the exercise of power on The Other in order to subjugate an individual or a group.

    •  interesting (11+ / 0-)

       I have made this point before to family members that get defensive when the topic of race comes up, that just because they do not see themselves as racist does not mean they are not prejudiced.  We all have biases and prejudices and at times fall victim to believing stereotypes (and sometimes people live up to their stereotypes which is why they persist).  The problem becomes twofold.  Not having the self awareness to realize it and overcome the prejudice before it turns into racism.  And not feeling a responsibility to help others overcome their prejudices when you have the chance.

    •  I think a mistake people sometimes make (2+ / 0-)

      is to judge this base on individual power. They look at President Obama as the most powerful individual in the country, and think that if racism is about power, than how can there still be racism with a Black man in that position? But by its nature of classifying people by the group they belong to, people still can be part of a subjugated group, even if they individually hold power. So, if a white male employee has racial or gender-based prejudice toward his African-American female boss, that still can be racism or sexism.

      At least, that's how I see it.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:13:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is an excellent point. (0+ / 0-)

      Which makes me wonder if we need some extra terminology in the language -- because really, there should be a way to describe types of prejudice between different non-dominant groups, or from a non-dominant group to a dominant one.  Possibly with modifiers depending on whether being a member of said group is automatically visible or not.

      Because really it is about power and privilege.

      •  in a sense we already have defined those terms (3+ / 0-)

        peer-to-peer discrimination between non-dominant groups, or down-up discrimination from a non-dominant group to a dominant one, are "prejudice" and "bigotry".

        discrimination from a dominant group to a non-dominant one is where the "isms" come in, including racism.

        at least that's the way progressives in my circle talk about it.

        "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
        Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

        by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:16:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Useful! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm not sure it's the best labeling convention -- the -ism suffix really shouldn't have anything to do with power balance as it relates to the subject, linguistically speaking -- but it's good to have that distinction.

          •  it doesn't work perfectly, but (3+ / 0-)

            yes it is a useful convention in the academic circles I run in

            "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
            Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

            by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:11:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The ISM isn't Correct Analysis (0+ / 0-)

              Hatred is hatred however you dress up. The distinction between racism and bigotry means nothing when you fall victim to either.

              Arguments about how Racism can only be institutional work well in academic circles. You get to lump in groups of people you don't like (poor whites from the South or wherever) with rich groups of people who hurt us all (the Mitt Romney's of the world). You find both enemies and excuses for everything. At the same time, though, you never have to take responsibility for your bigoted actions because you will always lack "institutional power." (News for you, anyone outside the 1% lacks institutional power.)

              Much like racist/bigoted whites who see all young men of color as gang bangers, it seems many here view all working class whites as card carrying Klukkers. Only by walking around engaged in endless acts either of self-flagellation or attacking [often-elderly] relatives can we pass muster.

              Yet looking around shows the following. In the workplace, you find discrimination by different ethnics, races, and religions (including against white employees by POC supervisors). The same divisions exist in crime.

              We have a long history in the Americas, derived from colonialism, of dividing folks up by race. Yet if we lived in Ireland or India we would do it by religion. Who does it benefit? The folks on top. As we grow into a more racially diverse society, we will see more groups exercise racism as a weapon (again for the ultimate benefit of those on top despite what seems a short term gain).

              It will only stop when we teach everyone to value human beings in all their diversity (color, gender, orientation, and yes even sports allegiances -- though that may be the last).

              Does this mean attacking on their racism? Yes. But it also means not staying silent when groups use their color or religion as a code for attacking the LGBT  or women's rights. There are no hierarchies of oppression unless you want to play the master's game.

              Finally, attacking only gets you so far. Many here say people have to listen. Make them want to hear you. The working class of all colors is hurting badly. Right or wrong -- if they give any thought at all -- they see legal barriers have been lifted (for women, gays, and people of color). Tell and show them by working together it lifts everyone. Don't tell them how much their skin color benefits them when they are losing their house, job, and finding their kids falling off social ladder.

              Finally police actually beat and falsely arrest poor white kids all the time. As my mother always taught me the rich are different from you and me.

  •  I take your point. (15+ / 0-)

    I will work on doing better.

    I'm hotlisting this, so I will remember to read it again.  Repeatedly.  Over the next several years.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:03:11 PM PST

  •  this liberal jew (30+ / 0-)

    sometimes gets vile racist anti-arab emails forwarded from extended family members. and i confront them, every time.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:07:47 PM PST

  •  In a way, we are anti-racism warriors (8+ / 0-)

    My wife and I (both white) are college professors. She is now a professor at an HBCU, the main, state-controlled one in this state. I am a part-time professor in a university known for white privilege, but my classes (biochemistry and neuroscience) are highly diverse. While most students consider me to be a "hard" professor, they also consider me to be fair.

    In addition, when I first finished my post-doctoral years, and two years of my first faculty job, I decided to move to New Mexico, specifically because it was, at that time, one of only two states (the other was Hawaii) that did not have a majority ethnic group. This is now called 'majority-minority.' Personally, I prefer to live in such an environment, and look forward to the entire nation's being that way. It forces people to accomodate, even if they continue to harbor prejudices. (These prejudices will last, I'm sorry to say, for a very long time.)

    For various reasons, we no longer live in NM, and I miss the general diversity, although our classes are fine.  

  •  We are all recovering racists (15+ / 0-)

    Even now, 64 years after my first interactions with African-Americans, I will still notice a racist thought now and then.  Rather than try to erase racism, I think each of us should come out of the denial and try to recognize it in ourselves.  Then, little by little we can take actions to reduce the impact on others.  

  •  One way to experience a teeny tiny fraction... (12+ / 0-)

    ...of what a person of color goes through if you're white--and I mean a teeny tiny teeny fraction--is to play an online game as a non-white character. I'm not talking about WoW, where half the population is green. Something like Second Life.

    In SL, you can "skin" your character many different ways. I have an African-American skin I bought because it was really pretty--and i'll admit, as an experiment--but discovered when I wore it people treated me completely differently. I can't even out my finger on it. It was an experiment, and as I said, not in the least comparable to actually being a POC in real life, but it amazed me how much racial attitudes spilled over into virtual life.

    And a PS: the "porch" at Black Kos is incredibly welcoming and informative.

  •  I'm vastly proud of this "racist" country (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, Strain Of Thought

    We're the first country in western civilization to elect a person of obviously of African descent, to be our ultimate leader.

    Some elements in this country are still racist.  And always will be.  Others are becoming far less.  On a daily basis.

    Great progress has been made.  Incredible, historical progress that should never be shortchanged.

    Shortchange this and you dishonor all the struggles fought, both big and small, to get to our current point as a nation.

    What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

    by gila on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:13:58 PM PST

  •  I'm sure I'll get pounded for this but... (16+ / 0-)

    you said:

    "I really don't care what you have decided your main cause is—the environment, climate change, Occupy Wall Street, feminism, gay rights, health care, education, the war ... all worthy.  This is not about causes. This is about ending racism."

    and then you told me that I MUST be a warrior because YOU want me to be.

    My husband and I DID drop a group of friends over their racist views that were exposed by this election and they are well aware of why we did so.

    But there are other prejudices in this world - against gays, against women and - MOST IMPORTANTLY TO ME - against disabled people BECAUSE I am disabled.  

    I have limited time, energy, money and abilities and it is MY right to decide how I will spend them and on what causes.  If you want to ask for my help for something, ask but don't TELL me what I HAVE to do because it is what is most important to you.

    I will point another thing out.  LGBT people who can't marry are denied rights that YOU enjoy.  Do you wake up every day and consider how privileged you are by comparison?  If LGBT folks have fewer rights than you, why can't they demand that you be their warrior?  

    •  I rec'd because I understand what you're saying (6+ / 0-)

      But I don't see this as an either/or proposition. When I call on straight people to end homophobia, I'm not asking them to do that at the expense of ending racism, or ableism, or sexism.

      I'm just asking them to stand up and be counted.

      Here is the thing. Only the majority can end any given "ism." If only LGBT people were fighting for equal rights, we would nowhere because we are such a small part of the population. So we HAVE to have straight people fighting with us. We have to have our straight allies.

      At the same time, black people alone can't end racism. If they could, racism would be over. But they can't.

      I don't feel offended when Denise asks me to help fight racism, and I don't see it as a call to ignore my own struggles in order to that.

      In fact, I think this is exactly the sort of thing that helps bigotry foster. "Why should I help you? You're so focused on your own plight that you don't see mine!"

      And that's not what equality is about. I don't doubt for one minute that Denise stands at my side for marriage equality, but I don't expect her to make it her life mission. She has a battle to fight, and I have a battle to fight, and if we all stand together we will win.

      It doesn't hurt for us to examine our own prejudices. It helps, a lot. And that's all that she's asking.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:00:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  She went too far with this (3+ / 0-)

        "I really don't care what you have decided your main cause is—the environment, climate change, Occupy Wall Street, feminism, gay rights, health care, education, the war ... all worthy.  This is not about causes. This is about ending racism."

        Discrimination on the basis of race is abhorrent but so is discrimination on any other basis.   In her statement above, she says that fighting other forms of discrimination are causes and something less than racism.  She strongly implies that suffering due to any other cause is less important than suffering due to racism.

        She does not ask nor even call for us to educate ourselves (although she provided great info), reflect, etc but DEMANDED that we do so AND THAT WE MAKE IT OUR FIRST PRIORITY.   She took it too far.  That is my objection.

        •  Well, we clearly disagree (4+ / 0-)

          I'll let Denise speak for herself. I know that she doesn't view any of the other things she listed as just "causes" that don't matter as much as her cause. She's one hell of a feminist, too. I didn't hear her asking me to drop that.

          Almost everyone here has their Biggest Cause. This is hers. I don't believe that it's her Biggest Cause to the detriment of all the others.

          You disagree. That's fine. That happens a lot on this site.

          P.S. I am not a crackpot.

          by BoiseBlue on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:26:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Don't agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      royce, geejay

      Is your humanity so small that you can't stand up for others? If you want full equality for people with disabilities, then you expect the non-disabled to stand up for you. You, in turn, need to stand up for others who are oppressed. The diarist expressed raw emotion in the face of another painful racist tragedy. Are disabled people shot on a regular basis? I don't think so. Our humanity should be BIG enough to fight for everyone who is oppressed.

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:07:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you even read my post? (0+ / 0-)

        My objection was to the specific section which I quoted saying that racism is not a "cause" like other forms of discrimination such as that against gays, females and the disabled.  The quote strongly implied that racism should be MY top priority over and above any of those other things listed or anything else for that matter.  

        I also posted that my husband and I dropped a set of friends because of their racism.  

        Read my post before you personality insult me and my humanity!  

        And NO, I don't EXPECT the non-disabled to stand up (ironic word, that one) for me.  Nor do I INSIST that they begin doing so.  I would ASK or perhaps CALL for them to do so and attempt to educate them, but I would not DEMAND that they do so and present the discrimination that I experience as more important and more painful and the suffering more significant than that experienced by other groups.  THAT WAS MY POINT.  

    •  EXACTLY! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The demand to be a "warrior" sure hurts when you are a member of another group being denied rights.

  •  In this respect I am lucky (6+ / 0-)

    To be a member of an active duty family.  The military really is a melting pot.  Eleven years of war and deploying together and needing each other has knocked down walls.  I know we closet racists, and they are safe in their closets :)  As peace finds us more readily and the old blood retires and the new blood takes our places I know that we will lose some of this ground, but nobody will ever be able to undo all of it.  We all really did do this together and we all really did need each other.

    I am unlucky that it looks like Southern AL is where we are retiring.  I like to think they need my big fat mouth here, it makes it bearable when I swear I can't do this.

  •  Thank you for this diary. (7+ / 0-)

    As others have said, I'm with you, even though I'm afraid I sometimes stumble along. As a child of white privilege, I wish I could say I do my best, but I know I don't. Have to try harder.

    Thanks again.

  •  Only a minority of the majority voted Obama, sadly (4+ / 0-)

    While 56% of Obama voters were white, more whites voted Romney than voted Obama, sadly -- 59% of all whites voted Romney.

    Even with the much-talked-about gender gap, white women voters also netted more votes for Romney than Obama -- 56% of white women voted for Romney.

    I am personally disappointed in my demographic in this regard. But I think they are among the perennial persuadables in most elections. (And not coincidentally, all phonebanking I've participated in has seemed to target suburban, swing, middle-aged women.)

    And many of them, as you note, also probably very unconscious of their race privilege, racially-correlated propensities, and race biases -- as well as all our universal commonalities.

    •  Here (9+ / 0-)

      The assumption is being made that white voters voted for Romney because his white...that may or may not be the case in all situations.

      In this case it applies, given the racist air raid sirens put out by the Romney campaign and that's how I would jump to racism in that sense.

      •  it would be wonderful if anyone in the MSM would (4+ / 0-)

        say the reverse:

        The assumption is being made that black voters voted for Obama because he is black...that may or may not be the case in all situations.

        "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
        Four More Years! How sweet it is!!!

        by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:30:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Surprised Obama blended background downplayed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peregrine kate, rosarugosa

        In a sense it is a bit odd to me that more is not made of Obama's mixed race, particularly since it arose not from many generations of mixing and matching, like so many Americans, but directly from one white Euro-American and one black African parent. I remember even finding it a little bit jarring when McCain said on election night '08 that it was a historic event in that we had elected our first black president, which seemed to oversimplify things.

        It seemed like what had been remarkable biographically about '08 was America electing a relatively young Senator originally from Hawaii, with an unusual international upbringing, raised by a single intellectual mom and grandparents, who were not aristocrats or plutocrats -- and that someone particularly with such a "foreign-sounding" name (i.e., non-Anglo, and even non-Hispanic and non-European), and having been a community organizer before a short career as an elected official -- could get the backing and votes to win the Presidency. And sure, he is black and/or mixed race, but also distinct in that he is not "nth generation American on both sides" where n is a big number, like so many other African-Americans and Anglo-Americans.

        •  He is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          still socially categorized as black. I am sure my very very pale daughter and son are categorised similarly if they cross the border. Awhile back, a spanish friend of a friend got stopped at the border because it stated white on her passport and the guy checking it did not agree. She was surprised to find out she is colored.

    •  There's a lot of geographic variation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rosarugosa, commonmass, Egg, SoCalSal

      Obama carried the white vote throughout the Northeast and Pacific Coast and most of the uppermidwest.  He came close in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey.

      The national average really comes from averaging those states with other states where Obama got between 10% and 30% of the vote. (No prizes for guessing which those were. )

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:37:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Inspiring as always. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, commonmass, peregrine kate

    I was born and raised in a racist family.  My experience was with family members--there were exceptions, of course--who were simply indifferent to hardship and suffering among any group outside "the clan." Fortunately, for me, my mother was one of those exceptions, and a powerful one at that.  A book I recommend for aspiring anti-racist warriors is Parting the Waters, America in the King Years 1954-63, by Taylor Branch.  Every page is riveting.

    Thanks Denise, for your eloquence and passion.

  •  Thank you for the call to action, here. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, commonmass, DSPS owl

    And for the reminder for those of us who are privileged in this way to stay vigilant about our own awareness (and lack of awareness), and the need to help make others' aware of their own privilege.

    All of us interested in social justice must be warriors on many fronts: race warriors, and on questions of class,  sexual orientation, gender equality, equality for people with disabilities--and on issues like understanding, forgiveness, and love (which are, finally, at the heart of social justice).  

    For me, the goal is to be a warrior for full social justice.  Ending racism is a huge and central piece of it, but it is part of a larger framework, one that includes those social inequities that structure my life, both in terms of my privilege and in terms of my detriment.

    You write, "This is not about causes. This is about ending racism."  I don't understand what that sentence means, but it makes me a little uncomfortable (and not in that good, awareness-expanding way. . .).

  •  I have never figured out how to discuss these (8+ / 0-)

    issues with people who are uninterested without sounding accusatory, I have always disliked racism, so I try to point things out. Like I have a family member who thinks that city people don't have "good farm values". I always tell her how one of the biggest minority groups in the city are immigrants from rural areas of some other countries. They actually do have "good farm values". That is why they are having problems adjusting to city life, in part.

    I know many public school systems try to work on this. One district I worked for had listening sessions where people from different backgrounds spoke about race and since they were in small groups, it was very useful.

    I think this will only really change when people marry and mix so much. It is hard to be prejudiced against your own family.  A friend of mine was one of these "I'm not a racist but..." people. Her son is marrying a girl from Ecuador and suddenly she is thinking very differently about things.

  •  So much effort on a battle that clouds the issue.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, DvCM, The BigotBasher

    Just raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour - like France and Australia - and racism will end as folks can afford to go to the same places, live in the same places, and buy the same things.

    The biggest racist weapon is the very low minimum wage, which forces folks to choose between government help or working for peanuts.

    You can't force love, but you can achieve economic parity - and help a lot of poor white folks at the same time.

  •  At 19, I had a heated argument with my dad (6+ / 0-)

    about racism. Somehow, growing up in the heart of redneck land, I didn't become racist. I don't know how to this day I escaped learning that hatred and bigotry.  I suspect it was because of Television. Despite my father's racist tendencies, he enjoyed watching television shows like The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, and  many others that I'm forgetting. I think television helped me overcome or insulated me from the worst of my region's racism.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:20:18 PM PST

    •  TV in the 70's: (8+ / 0-)

      I was so naive that I thought the barriers George Jefferson was trying to overcome was being a short loudmouth asshole. I was also very young.

      •  That was part of the beauty of 70's television (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass showed African-Americans as normal people combating the negative stereotypes of the time. We'd just had a tumultuous fight over Civil Rights...negative stereotyping and the 'scary black man' were rampant memes of the day. Television was a balm against that, at least for me I think. It was the only source of outside influence available to me as a young interwebs then.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

        by JWK on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:00:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it was important in a lot of ways (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Denise Oliver Velez, JWK, tardis10

          and for me, as a kid, in a lily-white community it was a window on that world. My grandparents, which my family lived with, were both hard-core liberals (my grandmother was a feminist before it was a movement) and they enjoyed stuff like "All In The Family" and "Maude" and I can remember, the whole family watched that stuff together and then there would be a discussion about it. So, I suppose, I grew up in a family that used television not so much as an escape but as an opportunity to talk about racism, classism, feminism and a whole host of issues. (Plus, we didn't watch much TV). People don't believe me when I say this, but watching TV with my extended family when I was a kid was very much like watching a film in class and then discussing it. As a result, EVERYTHING I see on TV or at the movies is seen with an analytical eye.

  •  Thank you for the diary. I think we need to... (4+ / 0-)

    ...understand that this cannot be a one-off kind of thing.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:20:20 PM PST

  •  Gandhi said it best (10+ / 0-)
    Be the change you wish to see in the world.
    If you live like that every day, with every person it will work.

    Read here about

    Cantor Michael and Julie Weisser who responded to the hatred of a local Ku Klux Klan leader with loving kindness. The Klansman ultimately converted to Judaism and died in the care of the Weissers.

    "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

    by hester on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:22:08 PM PST

  •  This is more than an interpersonal issue (7+ / 0-)

    ...of niceness.

    Ending racism is a political struggle to make sure that folks like Rush Limbaugh can never again make $300 million by telling a racist audience what they want to here.

    It means that unlike in the compromise of 1876 or in the Nixon Southern Strategy or Ronald Reagan's attack on desegregation,  unlike those we white folks are not going back to a racist society.

    It means that the nation will not be Southernized with pickup trucks in Michigan or Idaho or any of those formerly "free states" sporting a Confederate flag.

    Nice people have tolerated all of these institutions for promoting racism for far too long in order not to be thought of as rude or "ugly" or not nice.

    It's time for this to change.  Now.  No more nice guy.  Push back.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:22:10 PM PST

  •  I don't care about skin color. (7+ / 0-)

    Nobody on this planet looks exactly like me. I'm used to it.

    The problem I see is when a person attributes a universal trait to white people, black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, gay people. And the traits are usually negative for groups in which the person is not a member.

    It's ridiculous.

    My best friend for 30 years looks nothing like me. One of us is very dark complected, the other is very light complected. One of us is a really good dancer and the other is extremely good at time management. Am I to extrapolate from that that all black people are very organized and all white people are great dancers?

  •  Real-estate still runs on racism. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Real-estate still runs on racism--If it was in fact running… maybe, running from creditors- LOL

  •  Answers to your questions (9+ / 0-)

    Ask yourself how often do you read anything written by people of color.

    I don't really have much time to read anything but my law school casebooks, and I couldn't tell you the race of the authors. Last summer I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I believe was written by a person of Afghani descent. I also read The Help, which dealt a lot with racism, but I think that was written by a white person?

    Do you own any artwork by people of color?

    I don't really own any original artwork. The decorations in my apartment are either quilts my grandma made (she was white) or paintings/prints that I found in my parents' attic. I don't know who painted them.

    How often do you go to films or plays produced and/or directed by people of color?

    I honestly couldn't tell you who directs/produces most of the (few) movies or plays I see. But I have seen several movies and plays that dealt with race relations.

    How integrated are social gatherings you attend?

    Here at law school, pretty integrated. I have several friends in law school who are black. My roommate is half Hispanic, although she looks white. Among my circle of close friends back in DC, one of my best friends is Bangladeshi, a few are Indian, and the rest are white.

    How integrated is your neighborhood or school?

    Very. I live in New York, so there are probably people from almost every country in the world within a mile of my apartment.

    Who are the people of color who are part of your social networks?

    Mostly law school friends. Also some former coworkers and political contacts.

    How often do you discuss race or racism with them?

    I did a fair amount during the 2008 campaign. During the primaries, we would have a daily "5 PM fight" where a bunch of us would gather in the middle of the floor and debate Clinton/Obama ad nauseum, including frequent discussions of whether racism or sexism was more prevalent. Oddly, one of the biggest Clinton supporters was a young black man in the department who frequently denied that anything the Clinton campaign did or said was racist (my two black coworkers who supported Obama disagreed). At one point, during the South Carolina primary, the Clinton supporter said "well, it's not like the stuff they've said about Obama is untrue," and I responded "you're's true that he's black!" During the general election, he obviously supported Obama (nobody who worked where I worked supported Republicans), but I still found that I was more likely to get worked up and find things the Republicans did to be racist than he was.

    I generally try to avoid bringing up race with people of color unless it comes up. I just feel like it's rude to focus on it, plus I have inadvertently offended people in the past with my nuanced view of affirmative action (which ironically, I discovered last week was in line with the views of a lot of students of color in my con law class).

    How frequently have you openly confronted someone you know making racist remarks and explained to the person why their remarks are unacceptable to you?

    Only during the 2008 campaign...that was the only time I really encountered overt racism. I also expressed my shock one time in high school, when some of my classmates said it would be weird to have blacks live in their neighborhood. Having grown up with a black family next door, I was shocked that there were people in my class who lived in all-white neighborhoods (my school was all-white because it was a religious school).

    How much do you know about Black, Latino, Native American or Asian American/Pacific Islander history?

    I know a decent amount (but certainly not all there is to know) about black and Cuban history. Less about other Latino, Native American, or Asian American/Pacific Islander history.

    I feel strongly about the need to combat racism, and I think you make a lot of good points. But it felt like parts of your diary were designed to make us feel guilty, and that makes me a little uncomfortable. I can't pretend to know what it's like to be a person of color in this country, but I also don't think I should be made to feel guilty because I happen to have been born white. I understand that most people of color are statistically more disadvantaged economically, but there are plenty of people in my law school who grew up as comfortable as I did, and most of them are going to work at corporate firms and will thus be a lot richer than I am as of next year. I really hate the term "white privilege", because not all whites are privileged and not all minorities are not.

    On the other hand, you make a lot of good points, and I agree with you about the need to be more active in opposing racism. I feel fortunate (or "privileged", if you prefer :)), that I rarely have the opportunity to confront racism because in my family and circle of friends, I rarely encounter it.

  •  I never bought into the post-racial society meme (5+ / 0-)

    If anyone did, the last four years should have dissuaded them of that notion.

    Based on the national dialog it seems as if it has actually become worse, or perhaps it's just more open. It started with Bennett on election night 2008, claiming that, in essence, America could no longer be considered racist because an African-American man had been elected President. By that standard sexism isn't a problem in Pakistan because they elected Benizar Bhutto as Prime Minister.

    A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

    by slatsg on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:23:38 PM PST

  •  The more talking, the better; (5+ / 0-)

    people seem to be afraid to talk about this in their daily lives - only in the "safety" of academic or politically homogeneous environments. I think the more it's discussed in an open way, the less power it has - but I combine that with zero tolerance of even implied racist comments when "among (white) friends". Overt racism is a "banning" offense for me - there are some relatives I haven't spoken to in years.  Harsh, I guess - but I don't know how to "un-ring" that bell - especially when the person is completely unrepentant.

    I was raised in a liberal household, among fairly racially integrated military families (Army brat), but I still hear family members make racial comments about some groups (...well that's just how "they" are ...) and they get mad when called out on it. ("You're just too sensitive on these things!").

    Being gay and "straight acting" has made me privy to how hurtful these offhand remarks can be - even if they are attributable to current culture. I still remember the shame I felt when I saw the expression on a Jewish friend's face after I thoughtlessly made an off-hand remark about someone trying to "Jew me down" on something.  This was many years ago and I was so embarrassed (we both were), that I didn't say anything - but I think I would now.  I like to think I would try to own my stupidity - how else can you change?  All we can do is try ...

    "Curiouser and curiouser!"

    by TechBob on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:25:04 PM PST

  •  I grew up in a lily white world where religion (4+ / 0-)

    was the dividing line and I was the 'odd religion out'

    Maybe that made me more sensitive to bigotry in general...I dont know but I have always called out bigots no matter who or what they were hatin on.  I just dont have time for bigots of any persuasion

    tried to take that test but keep getting a 'your test timed out' message...  but in answer to your questions

    I read stuff by people of color as often as anyone else I read ...  as long as its in the genre I like to read it doesnt matter who writes it.

    may own more art by people of color then anyone else because my Dad loved and collected the work of a certain Painter who was Haitian...and I fell in love with african wood carving when I was in art school

    go to see plays, dance and Music stuff by people of color ALL the time due to the nature of Hubby's work

    neighborhood...pretty integrated

    social network pretty integrated

    barely ever discuss race (or religion) with anyone

    I probably know the least about Pacific Islander heritage and history  (hmmm)

    and I, personally, can't stop bigotry (hard and soft) but I can refuse to participate in it  and call people out on it when I see or hear it  :)

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:25:57 PM PST

  •  Loved this (of course) (3+ / 0-)

    meta is it's own form of derailment, but it does seem to me that people quickly go into a mode found at many centers of community spiritual life...a glance up toward god and a promise to do better next week.  And it is hard to fault this as such, though it is not near the same as calling out Uncle Bob (or your boss) when he tells that joke.

    What I started wondering, as I read through the comments and considered the analogues to racism which are most accessible to me, is how people want to be, above all, heroic.  And how racism in America really is hero-sized, it requires that kind of commitment.  Like, take the next step and advocate for the enfranchisement of those who have been through the justice system, advocate for the poor, advocate for the guy or gal looking for a chance at your otherwise white workplace...all of it, tough to do, and yet...way more interesting to people than mumbling to god about their faults.  And harder.  

    I don't know where I can go with this, but the dichotomy between the semi-sheepish confession (looking inward at the prejudices one retains or executes that are within one's reasonable scope) and heroic action (looking outward, and doing great things while often retaining profound unexamined prejudices) is interesting to me, and seemed worth touching on.  They aren't exclusive but the former seems a common default, and doesn't require, um, revolutionary praxis :}

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:27:01 PM PST

  •  A Fantastic Post: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    racism is on its way out but not on its last legs either.  We are still so segregated as a society, this is still the main element of racism, we are not yet able to live with each other freely so we live separate and take on those consequences every day.  Post-racial society:  in word-hope only; not in deed.  We have dealt a blow with Barack being elected, but we must keep up the fight for several generations now.  A post-racial society would mean you would never see a post like this or a comment like mine.  dig in brothers and sisters for the long haul for change and growth.

  •  "What are you doing to stop racism? " (7+ / 0-)


    What are you doing to stop global warming? What are you doing to promote same-sex marriage? What are you doing to elect more Democrats? What are you doing to help the poor? What are you doing to cure cancer? What are you doing to stamp out hunger? What are you doing to deal with HIV in Africa? What are you doing to increase employment? What are you doing to increase students' math abilities? Do I get to harangue you to drop everything and focus on those issues?

    I'm a progressive, but you don't get to pick my battles for me. There are only so many hours in the day. I will choose how to focus my efforts without your direction, thanks.

  •  Those of us who call ourselves white and (8+ / 0-)

    progressive have been given the dubious gift of seeing that racism is very much a part of our society. For me at least it had gone underground to some extent and I had a tendency to ignore it thinking things were constantly improving. But the treatment of the President has opened my eyes to what was there all along. I've been making a conscious effort to identify my own race problems because I have to assume they affect me more than I know. There are many people I know that I would not have considered racist. But by becoming more aware I see things such as race being a default position for anger or frustration.  The only thing worse than the racism brought out in the last four years would have been for it to still be smoldering there and for people like me to assume it isn't as bad as it was. It is. And I will join in your effort Denise.

    "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

    by stellaluna on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:29:54 PM PST

  •  Happens with sexism all the time. (5+ / 0-)

    It amazes me that with the War on Women more obvious than ever, most of the feminism groups I've joined on here haven't published doodly-squat.

    Blessings and peace from the bird-allergy-woman!

  •  I don't think of Latinos as non-white, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, DSPS owl

    except for those immigrants from Latin America who are Native South Americans (or Indians).  I think of those you call Latinos as whites who happen speak spanish.   Many  Latinos are people whose ancestors immigrated from Spain to South and Latin America. If someone immigrated from Spain today, we wouldn't call them non-white.  So I'm confused about Latinos being classified as non-white.

    •  Spanish immigrants are not Latino/a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rosarugosa, Denise Oliver Velez

      I've never met any who identified that way, unless they had come to the USA via Latin america.
      and in New Jersey, there are significant Orensano/Gallego colonies, so I"ve met more than a few.

      It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

      by sayitaintso on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:04:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, you're right, I should have said non-European (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Spanish speaking countries.

         My point was also that the lumping together of Latinos into one group is kind of an American idea to begin with.

        •  well, it is the Bolivarian dream of Gran Colombia (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rosarugosa, Denise Oliver Velez

          and even Fidel's "Nuestra America"
          and the America Ruben Blades was looking for

          Envueltos entre sombras,
          negamos lo que es cierto,
          mientras no haya justicia,
          jamas tendremos paz.
          Viviendo dictaduras,
          te busco y no te encuentro,

          But of course it's also true that the shift from "them"  to "us"   is part of the formation of new identities and the age-old challenge of how to sing the Lord's song in a strange land.

          The saddest part of all is the fact that as white Americans, we are almost unable to stop thinking of  black Americans as "them".

          It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

          by sayitaintso on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:40:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think it is because the term Latino just means (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox, commonmass, James Kresnik

      anybody with a link to a Spanish speaking country, basically.  That includes people who have African heritage and Native American Indian heritage.

      You are right I think that it is a sign of the US attitudes about race to lump a very diverse group together and say they are "non-white". But it is also true that some people from say, Chile and Argentina, look down on Mexicans, mainly because of race. (non-European)

      A friend of mine from Ethiopia once told me she was shocked at how here in the US she lost her status as a white person that she had in her own country. In her country she was white. When she immigrated, she was suddenly considered black. She said it took years to come to grips with that.

  •  When I lived (3+ / 0-)

    in Oakland, I had black friends, black fellow workers, black lovers, black Congressional representatives, black mayors, and black neighbors.

    In Portland, none of the above, except 1 black friend.

    When I grew up in Omaha, not even a friend.

  •  Cheering here in Maine! (12+ / 0-)

    So excited to see this very thorough, very useful post, full of resource and challenge! Thank you for the time and energy it took to gather it, for the investment you're willing to make in the community, and for the hope it expresses that people can change.

    I'm white American, but my upbringing in South Korea as the daughter of medical missionaries was a racializing experience (though a highly privileged one) that made race one of the defining pieces of my identity and my life. The only thing that made sense to me from the time I returned to the States to college was to become an "anti-racist warrior." And the best way I came to understand that role was to work in the white community to raise awareness.

    It's been 41 years since my first anti-racism workshop and I'm thrilled with what I've discovered, about white supremacy, white privilege, and unconscious bias, and about what we can actually do about it!! There are tremendous resources out there - including the ones you've shared. One other I'd like to add is the very accessible book ARE WE BORN RACIST?, a collection of essays about the latest findings from social psychology and neuroscience. Fascinating stuff, and ultimately quite hopeful.

    I've been a long-time reader at DKos, though just commented for the first time last week for the purpose of joining the conversation on race.

    One pattern I've noticed that I don't think serves any of us well is the tendency to point fingers at Those people we identify as racists, without being willing to look at the ways in which all of us who are white carry Whiteness, even when we can't see it's there. I think we'd be much better served by continuing to take a look at our own stuff. When we do that, we also gain humility, knowledge and skills for reaching out to give a hand to other white folks.

    "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

    by Maine Islander on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:35:04 PM PST

    •  Thanks for sharing about your own experiences (6+ / 0-)

      with taking workshops and doing the work!

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:39:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should add (0+ / 0-)

        That my "thrilled at what I've discovered" comment refers not to the white supremacy, etc, which is often quite painful to face, but to the growing body of resources, methods, skills and information that helps us figure it out and design ways to free ourselves of it.

        Although I began with the sense that I was doing the work for people color (ah, privilege!), one of the things I've discovered along the way is that this is primarily a journey to liberate myself.

        So I understand your challenge here not to be an order but an invitation, along the lines of,"Hey, folks, what are you doing to reclaim your own humanity? These things might help."

        I continue to find the entire journey to be one of the best gifts I've ever given myself. We can free ourselves, bit by bit, not of Whiteness itself, but of the unconscious hold it has over our lives and the ways it keeps us separated from our sisters and brothers.

        "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

        by Maine Islander on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:57:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As you know, rank racism reared its head (4+ / 0-)

      here in Maine after the election. It was disgusting.

      •  Amen (3+ / 0-)

        It's been quite a circus since LePage & crew came in, hasn't it? - beginning with his very first act being anti-immigrant, followed by the attack on the NAACP.

        Though embarrassing to our image, I think it's more useful to have it out in the open where people can see it more clearly and respond.

        "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

        by Maine Islander on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:02:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gawd. (0+ / 0-)

    Let’s not read too much into an elected and reelected African-American US president. What’s it going to take to knock a dent in all of this racial hatred? Could there be factors other than race (i.e. cultural etc.) keeping AAs from climbing the proverbial ladder?
    It's obviously more than just skin-color.
    Skin-color alone would have disqualified Obama.

  •  This article really incenses me. (7+ / 0-)

    I went to a high school where all the black kids sat together in the cafeteria. What's more, the classes themselves were sharply segregated- stick your head in a random classroom, and they'd almost always be overwhelmingly one color or the other- and this was in the late nineties. But hey, that's Georgia. The school obfuscated this shocking separation through a confusing system of tiered "educational tracks", with names like "Tech Prep", "College Prep", "International Baccalaureate", "Advanced Placement", and so on. At the bottom of the scale the classes were virtually all colored, and at the top they were completely whitewashed.

    But here's the thing: I am, to anyone who looks at me, a white male, despite my father being a Sephardic darker than many people who call themselves black. I have a weird name, yes, but people treat me like I'm white bread as far as I can tell. And you know where they put me in High School? They put me in with all the black, latino, asian, and too. I was the token white kid in lots of classes in a school where many classrooms were solid white. Because, in the end, the system's keepers don't really care what the color of your skin is. That's just a shorthand. I was undesirable because I was poor and a little weird, and the rich parents from the northwest part of town didn't want that getting on their kids. So I went in with the blacks. And while I was there, they lived up to every stereotype they could in order to intimidate me, because they preferred being scary over being educated. Yes, my best friend is black. You know why he and I are friends? Because he was initially raised in a white neighborhood in California, and when his parents moved to Georgia looking for work he had to be immersed in African American culture for the first time and they ate him alive! "Talks like a white boy!" They made him cry for that.

    Don't you dare try and put the responsibility for the racism of conservative whites on progressive whites. When you make that argument you reveal your blindness to the real socio-economic class struggle. I don't know how many white progressives are progressive because they've been right there on the bottom with you, but your article is pretty clear that you don't even think we exist. Stop trying to divide us. Racism is terrible, but it is and always has been just a convenience, a quick way to determine who will be taken advantage of and who will be privileged so that those on top can get more than their share. To condone racism is to condone someone being on the bottom, and I will never do that because I know that can easily be me, whether I look white or not. But I have no more influence over the opinions of conservative whites than you do.

    You are like a fish yelling at a rabbit for not having defeated the eagle circling over them both.

    •  Did the white kids not sit together (12+ / 0-)

      in the cafeteria?
      What made you start your comment with the observation that black kids sat together?

      866-OUR-VOTE!!(866-687-8683) Lyndon Johnson: The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

      by JoanMar on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:41:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ouch. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Denise Oliver Velez, JoanMar

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:25:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, I think my first reply got lost. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egg, hmi, renbear

        I tried to reply to this already, but the reply seems not to have appeared, so I will try again.

        I was referring to this book brought up in the article above:

        Many of my students have read Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
        I was stating that I had witnessed that particular dynamic firsthand, that I had lived it for four years, and in particular I meant to refute the implication I felt Denise Oliver Velez had made that there was a clear-cut white side and black side to that dynamic, and that those of us on the white side weren't doing our part to end it. I think that argument is bullshit. Sure, there were lots of white tables and lots of black tables, but there were a couple Hispanic tables and an Asian table too. Maybe we should criticize the blacks for excluding the Hispanics from the black part of the cafeteria? But of course I'm not serious; that would be idiotic. The problem is not people choosing to associate with those with whom they feel the safest and the most welcome, and with which they have the most in common. The problem is an overall system that is one giant game of king-of-the-hill, in which the combatants are thrown in together and forced to fend for themselves, and in which everyone naturally struggles to get any advantage over others because the alternative is often being pushed to the bottom. The problem is that this system allows a homogenous coalition to hold the top of the hill against all comers, while simultaneously telling those struggling up the hill that the system is protecting everyone's freedom as they are kicked back down it.
        •  I hardly think that you and Dr. Daniel Tatum (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, Denise Oliver Velez

          are coming from the same historical perspective.
          And that is the problem with your post.
          It ignores history.

          866-OUR-VOTE!!(866-687-8683) Lyndon Johnson: The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

          by JoanMar on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:54:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  "like a fish yelling at a rabbit" - nice. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I find myself in agreement with much in your post. I've seen my share of posts that move like "white is white you do what white does so no matter what you are your white, so...." and naturally that means white is racist, no matter what you've done in your life or how you behave and what you think (as if that matters). You can throw a lot of other words into a post and change it into an article, but in the end you're left with "white is white you do what white does so no matter what you are your white, so...." I believe it is a form of bigotry in itself.

      Send conservatives to for re-education.

      by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:57:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The article doesn't piss me off at all. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Strain Of Thought, renbear

      That's probably because I don't have any personal history that clashes with its claims.  I agree with your critique of it, though.  That some people are impervious to reason and humanity doesn't believe those people who are, um, pervious to them should have to do their work.  

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:21:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If I could rec this comment twice I would. (4+ / 0-)

      DOV: I respect your work and value your viewpoint but it is diaries like this that tend to rub me the wrong way.  It sounds like you are saying this:

      Dear Progressive White People,
      You have fought to end slavery, marched alongside us for civil rights, struggled alongside us to spread equality of opportunity and worked incredibly hard with us to see the first African American President elected to two consecutive terms - but, you know, that is not enough.  We also need you to lecture your racist white friends and family.
      I share your goal of eliminating racism from all of its sources.  But I do not think that this is the most effective tactic towards achieving that goal.

      Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

      by Terrapin on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:28:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for the encouragement. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosarugosa, Terrapin, renbear

        I think your little summation highlights one of the things that bothers me about DOV's position. In that sequence of events, shouldn't the writer expect that there had already been plenty of conflict with racist friends and family already? In DOV's article there's an assumption that white progressives don't already find themselves in such positions regularly. My father, despite being a clearly non-white Jew, is quite racist, especially towards Arabs. It was my experiences during adolescence in certain distasteful parts of the Orthodox Jewish community that first made it clear to me that the claim that non-whites cannot be racist is nonsense- I once had to sit through a sermon by our Rabbi in which he claimed that Gentiles do not have souls.

        Thankfully eventually my father ceased to tolerate the extreme positions of that Rabbi, but he has remained highly bigoted overall. Really, it was in observing my father that I learned how ugly racism could be. But nothing I or anyone else can say has ever been able to influence my father. If anything, it only encourages him. In the end the only thing I can do is refuse to talk to him- which I do.

    •  don't you DARE??? (6+ / 0-)

      Ok I could start with that but I think I'll leave it at this....there are WAY too many people at THIS site who are unaware of their own prejudices and racism and make completely ignorant comments all the time.

      And the TONE and WORD choice is often an indicator.

      DON"T YOU DARE???


      Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." ><"

      by betson08 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:33:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, if this post incenses you and makes you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus, poco, Denise Oliver Velez

      squeal with indignation, then good.  That's an all too common reaction when people (even progressives!) are given their first gaze in the white privilege mirror.

      •  You missed the point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Strain Of Thought

        Try actually READING Strain of Thought's posts.

        Look, I agree with the thought behind this diary, but the tone went way over the top. It crossed into being dismissive of every white progressive.

        Every. WHITE. Progressive.

        We were all painted with the same broad brush.

        No. Not on Daily Kos. You don't get to paint everyone of one class, race, gender, orientation, culture, religion-- pick a category, really-- with one broad brush.


        ... there is always an easy solution to every problem -- neat, plausible and wrong. - H. L. Mencken

        by renbear on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:46:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hmm. Sorry - this did not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          dismiss "every" white progressive. In fact many white anti-racist warriors can be found in Native American Netroots, or Black Kos - on a regular basis.

          An entire diary series here in the past Criminal Injustice Kos was headed by white anti-racists.  

          So is Barriers and Bridges.

          So is the White Privilege Working Group.  

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:39:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Racism will be an issue (10+ / 0-)

    as long as it can be used as a tool to be used not just to suppress the ethnic minorities but also the poor whites. The right uses it so that the poor will have someone to blame for their plight. It is why racist parties do well.

    Where a situation of a  shortage of jobs, low pay and lack of  decent affordable housing exists, the right will be there fanning the flames of racism. The right will use racism to escape the blame for their policies having caused those very problems. They will happily either stand back or encourage the belief that those social ills are the fault of the immigrant and not their policies coming to fruition.

    Now we must ask, how do we remove that tool?

  •  Discrimination of one kind and another (7+ / 0-)

    is absolutely rampant online. We get garden-variety petty bigots every day swearing that "Black people tend to live in more run-down, crime-ridden areas than white people. That's good evidence they're less smart."

    There are big, shadowy forces in the culture very interested in keeping racism alive, because it suits their purposes. You know, "divide and conquer."

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:42:13 PM PST

  •  I'm a white guy... (8+ / 0-)

    ...married to a South Indian woman.  She teaches English in a lily-white suburban school system, and hoo boy is there a lot of embedded unconscious racism there.  Our daughter is perforce a "mixed-race" person.

    My professional and artistic life puts me in the society of Indians every day.  When it's not Indians, it's jazz musicians, and when it's not jazz musicians, it's West African drumming.

    Once a week I teach a college course on multicultural issues in music education.  It's very interesting indeed.  The students' attitudes toward cultural expectations and race are extremely complex.

    Thanks for this article.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:45:33 PM PST

    •  As a professional musician myself, (5+ / 0-)

      I would love to see your syllabus. I think that's an important course and while I only taught for a short time in public school, I would have greatly benefited from such a course when I was an undergraduate.

      I'm glad you're teaching it.

      •  My syllabus... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Denise Oliver Velez organically derived from my activities with the students:

        We build instruments together; we learn songs by various oral traditional methods; we examine the phenomena of the overtone series; we discuss cultural default settings and their impact on the teaching and learning experience.

        The students and I document the activities over the length of the semester, then compile the documentation into an "emergent syllabus" which tracks the course from beginning to end.

        It's fascinating and rewarding.  One day I'll do a diary on the process.

        Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

        by WarrenS on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:17:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Racism or Bigotry? Often people do not (4+ / 0-)

    realize there is a difference.

    Send conservatives to for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:46:57 PM PST

  •  Words That Are Hard To Hear (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your words that remind us we are all responsible for cultivating justice. It is so much easier to write on a blog or to a newspaper or march in a demonstration than it is to confront a loved one, friend or associate who metes out racism.  If you have ever felt the utter awkward quiet that occurs when you tell your niece's husband that we do not tolerate racism in our home or the look on someones face when you do not laugh at their racist joke and you tell them why it is not funny you know what I mean.  Has it changed the person confronted, I don't know but I do know it has changed me.   It may be a small thing, it may be a difficult thing to do but there really is no reasonable alternative.

  •  Does it help? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, commonmass

    That I, a white man, am married to a black woman?

    •  No more, I think, than it helps me (0+ / 0-)

      that I'm a gay man with an interracial family. It's a starting place, but it doesn't buy any brownie points as far as the conversation Denise is inviting is concerned, IMO.

    •  HAH (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was going to ask the reverse, as a whitish female married to a brownish mixed color guy. I refuse to say mixed race, I have learned to let the expression go by but I do have an issue about any implication that we are many races. One race a human race, and I got in a couple of heated arguments about it.

      PS-I think I am white, my skin is pretty pale, very white persian mom and semitic wheat colored persian dad. So I say whitish.

  •  Well I was just thinking AMEN throughout (11+ / 0-)

    this diary.

    Thanks so much for this. We badly needed this discussion here.

    Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." ><"

    by betson08 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:00:07 PM PST

  •  Yikes. My ass is *racist.* (10+ / 0-)

    Took that test, and got the result of a “strong” preference for whites over blacks. I could tell during the test, too — my brain felt like there were wires being crossed in the black/good vs. white/bad tasks.

    I'm not going to argue with the science. I may have been somewhat unlucky in the task ordering (I got both “easy” sections before both “hard” sections), but I believe them that the effect isn't that big. (And would I really feel that much better about only being “moderately” racist?) Besides, I could feel how much more “natural” it seemed to be putting the good words and white faces in the same column.

    Of course, I realize I'm being somewhat tongue-in-cheek by referring to myself as racist as a result of this test. All it really shows is how my subconscious works, which isn't the last measure of my thoughts, let alone my actions. Still. It's rather startling to see the facts laid bare: For me, as a white person, not being racist requires conscious effort.

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:00:31 PM PST

    •  Thank you for this comment (6+ / 0-)

      If you grow up in this culture as a white person you can't help but be racist, and that test showed how subconscious culture is. We all just have to make an effort and not tolerate it within ourselves and in others as well.

      Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." ><"

      by betson08 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:02:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm white/Jewish but grew up in a pretty much (8+ / 0-)

        multiracial family -- communes, so this was extended family where we called a lot of people "brother" and "sister," "aunt" and "uncle."

        White people scored lowest for me. I was surprised to see Asians score highest. I definitely know some Asians, but not as many as Latinos and Blacks (who still both scored high). Sat and thought about it and then realized, I was raised Hindu, and East Indians from the North probably look more Asian, thus my bias? Or because I grew up in Hawaii?

        I thought it was interesting and am glad to see it here! I plan to have my students take this sometime in the future since it's pretty cool, to be honest.

        "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

        by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:09:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hawaii just elected Tulsi Gabbard to the US House, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive, SoCalSal

          … succeeding Mazie Hirono in the 2nd district.

          Religionwise, she's a Gaudiya Vaishnava — the same branch of Hinduism that the Hare Krishna movement belongs to.

          The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

          by lotlizard on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:37:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would be the first to strongly criticize ISKON (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            period. But I wouldn't even call them Vaisnavites. They are a cult. They are a very troubling cult in my view, and I've had massive dealings with them throughout my life. I feel very sorry for many of the kids who grow up in ISKON. Older Vaisnaivism is really a very standard form of Hinduism, however, without crazy nutters running the show. As a Hindu, I am careful to avoid criticizing many religious groups, but within my own? Not a problem.

            Hirono, is Buddhist.

            You're thinking of Gabbard. I just looked her up, and yikes, yes, she's not ISKON, but she's in an affiliated Hare Krishna group. I thought she was just Hindu. This makes me a bit sad although she was born into this. There is a huge Hare Krishna presence in Hawaii and also, American Samoa where she was born. At least her record looks good. I would prefer the first Hindu Representative to be a bit more Representative of Hindus, but maybe she isn't too wingnutty in her views.

            These forms of Hinduism are Monotheistic and many people consider them dogmatic as well.

            "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:52:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Her dad Mike Gabbard ran as a rightwing Republican (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              … on a strong anti-gay platform in several election cycles. Won a position on the school board, I think.

              I had known years ago that he and his family came from some kind of breakaway Hare Krishna group.

              But until recently I had no idea his daughter Tulsi was also in politics — and as a Democrat, at that. Obviously, somehow she was able to convince voters she was different from her dad. I hope she is a genuine progressive Democrat and not working with "conservadems" and rightwingers undercover.

              The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

              by lotlizard on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:20:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's scary to hear (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I heard he was a pastor but multi-denominational.

                Do you know any Hare Krishna's? If so, it will be redundant to say, but their views on things... oh God, drama, drama, drama, endless drama. I like them for one thing: if I'm traveling and need to crash somewhere, easy. But holy cow, issues. And cults. All the same whackadoodle stuff that many of the really culty Jesus Camp stuff is into. I mean, kids growing up in ISKON are treated insanely. Many are molested. Almost all of the ones I knew had been. Or married off in Goa to old men when they were nine. That kind of thing. Beaten for eating the wrong foods.

                They are dogmatic and rigid. Most don't believe in homosexuality at all. They are anti-war, but she was in the military, which is really odd (and it is more consistent with what you're saying about her dad). They don't believe in Science all that much and are massively prone to Conspiracy Theories of all sorts. They do believe in social programs, but I don't know how they see these in relationship with Government and taxes.

                Keep your eye on that one.

                "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

                by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:34:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Attitudes that come across as Hindu fundamentalism (0+ / 0-)

                  Scripture is true, period. The Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas (in the case of ISKCON, especially the Bhagavat Purana) are to be understood literally.

                  What do you need secular learning for? What do you need secular anything for? It's all just the crapsack material world.

                  And the Indian cultural chauvinism!

                  Everything must be done a set way, the traditional way precisely as in India. Buddhism is heresy. East and Southeast Asian cultures went the Buddhist route. That makes them all at best a messy mass of mayavadis and at worst a deluded den of demons (intentionally led astray by the 9th avatar of Vishnu, Lord Buddha, goes the teaching).

                  Tofu? Bah! No. Vegetarianism must be practiced the Indian way, the Vaishnava way. East Asians are Doing It Wrong.

                  The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

                  by lotlizard on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:33:30 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for taking the time to take (7+ / 0-)

      the test.  We internalize so much from our culture.  The only way to deal with that is with a conscious effort to unlearn what we have absorbed.  

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:06:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Frankly, I'm a little surprised more people (5+ / 0-)

        in this comment thread aren't piping in with their results. It's not like it took much time to go through it. But maybe I shouldn't be surprised; I can't say I wasn't a little scared to be getting measured for something as rightly stigmatized as racism. And if I were more in denial, I might've been more hesitant to talk about the result.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:18:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Possibly because the results are ambiguous? (0+ / 0-)

          I got everything grouped in the middle - Hispanic/Asian/White/Black - and I'm white.  Partly because the groupings were a bit strange.  Frankly, to distinguish between Hispanic and White I had to read the names, rather than look at the faces.  It was close between Asian and White, although each of the Asian faces had a distinctive epicanthal fold on the eyes (much more than I'm used to seeing in most cases), and a couple of times I had, again, to check the name.  

          To my eye, the Black grouping was more obvious than the others - very much accent on heavier lip structure and broader nasal configuration - again, much less variance than I'm accustomed to seeing in the people I know.

          I understand (sort of) that in a test like this facial features that don't correlate to stereotypes might have to be avoided in order to not confuse the test takers.  Which means that test takers who are used to the wide range of features within any given ethnic group might have trouble with fast identification.

          And this is a problem.  To get results that you can separate statistically on this type of test, I suspect you have to facially stereotype the groups you're using.  But once you've done that, your results need to be interpreted as how people respond to stereotypes, rather than whether there is necessarily any real racial bias.  I'm pretty sure the two correlate to some degree, but....

    •  I scored reverse racist, but (0+ / 0-)

      that's because they used Mel Gibson as a white guy and I really don't like him.

      I grew up in a very white town near Scott Air Force Base, where 99% of the non-white kids (who were less than 5% of the total population) were children of Air Force officers, and thus tended to be high achievers.  It made for an unusual dynamic.  I do recall being picked to pair up with a black boy for a dance in the 3rd grade school play, and being proud of that, but I have no idea how the teachers picked me.  I also remember a handsome officer's son (we elected him class president in high school) patiently explaining to us clueless pasties that yes, he did "tan" in the sun and showing us his tan line from his t-shirt sleeve.

      Of course, there were black people living in high percentages not far away, in East St. Louis, but I never went there until I was in high school.  They built big interstates right over East St. Louis so nobody had to think about it as they drove to the Gateway Arch.

      Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

      by DrFood on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:30:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I try so hard and yet feel I could still do (15+ / 0-)

    so much more, so I think in this way, I am deeply dedicated to this cause, and yet I still benefit from so much white privilege that I have to constantly remind myself of this. In my work, I work with about 50% non-white students. I have to constantly realize that my life has been nothing like their lives. Most of what comes up for us has to do with language politics and how white privilege comes into play there, and that is such a real and serious issue.

    If I could do one thing to work on this, because of my personal experience, I would ask other teachers at all levels to PLEASE stop grading students down if they use non-standard dialects or have MLL/ELL issues. Kids can't help it if they didn't learn "standard" (white, upper-class) English. I see papers with "Can't grade due to grammar" from other teachers cross my desk all the time now. Every time, I feel like barging into someone's office and saying, "Did you, Mr or Mrs. Lilywhite-went-to-Yale go to an underfunded, minority-majority public school in California State where you weren't taught to speak the dominant language? Did both of your parents speak with an accent or in vernacular? Did both of them go to college? Did you work through college because you couldn't afford it? Have you had to get through college to get your immigration status secured?" Reality.

    If I could do one thing, it might be to be more assertive with my colleagues who disbenefit students moving up through college based on their total white language privilege and lack of cultural understanding of language politics.

    A very personal response, but a very heartfelt one.

    Fantastic diary!

    "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:05:35 PM PST

    •  excellent points as always Sis MO (9+ / 0-)

      I have a lot of students who "think" in Spanish and speak and write non-standard English.  Agree with you completely.

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:15:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nonstandard English (5+ / 0-)

      I used to teach in inner-city Houston. I came across a lot less of it than you might expect. However, what I did come across were white teachers who thought that their shit didn't stink they, themselves, NEVER spoke or wrote nonstandard English. Perhaps because everyone regardless of raced seemed to say "y'all" and "fixin' ta"?

      I use nonstandard English all the time, because I grew up in New England and have internalized some regionalisms. Now, I might say "do don't I" when I mean "so DO I" but I wouldn't write it. However, I'd understand it if it WERE written by a student. I'd correct it, and I'd correct it gently. I worked with lots of kids helping them to learn how to write in a way that would allow them to get ahead given the expectations of "the system". I was good at identifying those who needed help and helped them. These kids were in middle school. But helping them required understanding where they were coming from and where they were at and not judging them, and validating their thoughts and efforts even if the English was a bit rough around the edges. One of these students invited me to his wedding a few years ago, how he found me, I don't know.

      I wasn't the English teacher though. I was the music teacher. Which tells you a lot about the competence of our English department.

      •  Seriously, this is all too true (3+ / 0-)

        We have jokes about it in our Department because we see teachers who mark down for correct use sometimes too... sigh. And we ALL speak in some sort of vernacular. Absolutely. SAE is a useful sort of lingua franca, but it shouldn't be used as a gauge of academic net worth. It's an artificial idea in itself.

        I have a variety of language tics myself, and I have to laugh at them.

        That's so sweet of your student! Doesn't that just make it all the more real? Good for you. Music teachers are often the most loved besides. Lucky ;)

        "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

        by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:32:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That really moved me. I want to tell you (8+ / 0-)

          a little about this student because I am so very proud of him. He was a tall, handsome Latino boy, and very, very popular. He spoke "perfect" English but had a hard time writing. When I had a hard time getting the class to settle down, all he had to do is stand up and say "Hey, y'all, the teacher is up there!". His mother worked I don't know how many jobs, and his siblings were significantly younger than he was and he often was up all night watching them (I'd let him nap in my classroom sometimes during lunch so that he wouldn't get detention for falling asleep in class). He was making "C"s when the first year he took my class. He was making "A"s and "B"s by the time he finished 8th grade. All it took was a little understanding and some convincing that if he learned to really write well, the world could open for him.

          I've done lots of amazing things in my career as a musician and teacher but students like Josh, I'm most proud of having been a part of touching their lives.

          (As an aside, the chair of the English department approached me when I started doing some writing tutorials in my classes. I was told that it wasn't my job. My response? "Apparently, it's not yours, either". )

          •  Zing! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass, royce, SoCalSal

            You were gutsy to say that to the Chair!

            As the parent of an 8th Grader, I just want to say thanks. The teachers are more pedantic by and large than when we're teaching adults, and I think that's due to RTTP/NCLB stuff, plus all of the evaluations.

            I started teaching ELL students on a volunteer basis too, actually, because our school cut the program, but we still had students struggling. So, I did what I had to do, and then that became a paying job. So win-win. We should teach out of love, you know? If there is a need for education, we educate.

            Josh sounds like such a fine young man. I bet you had a massive impact on him! I like your policies. They're kind.

            "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:20:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Standard English was wielded like a weapon against (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        … people of color in Hawaii. Up through 1950, an "English standard" test was officially used to segregate public school kids.

        It's only less of an issue now because sadly, the Standard English authoritarians have largely succeeded and "pidgin" (Hawaiian Creole English to linguists) is dying out.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:43:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The worst is... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, mahakali overdrive

      teachers who ignorantly say their students' language is wrong, and the students are just speaking standard English incorrectly. No, no. The African American speakers are speaking  African American Vernacular English right. It's a different dialect, with different grammar rules.

      Students need to learn standard English, but one should not teach them by insulting them.

  •  There's another website (12+ / 0-)

    called Understanding Race, which was developed by the American Anthropological Association. There are lots of different aspects of the topic to explore over there, and it's very interactive for people who want to explore more after that video - particularly for if you are rejecting the notion that you might be racist as a white person in this culture.

    Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." ><"

    by betson08 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:07:37 PM PST

  •  I have read... (5+ / 0-)

    Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?  It was part of a class on cultural understanding in my master's degree program.  It was an eye-opening book, to say the least.

    I also took the Race IAT test.  I rated black, white, and hispanic all relatively close, and close to the middle of the scale.  I rated black and hispanic above white.  Asian was actually a bit lower down the scale, which was a bit surprising to me.

  •  I took that Project Implicit cognition test, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, AaronInSanDiego, corvaire

    and had a hard time telling which race the images they used were supposed to be. I suppose that means either it doesn't matter to me, or my vision is even worse than I thought.

  •  The sooner we all realize we came from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    the same African mother, the better off we'll all be.

    To the idiot who posted this on Stormfront last year:

    I always get the argument "we're all from Africa" and it drives me crazy. I'd like a counterargument, ideally one that debunks the whole theory that we're distantly related to blacks. I've read that there are cave drawings in Spain that pre-date the so-called "Out of Africa Theory" but I'm not sure if it's true.

    Do you believe we all came from Africa? Do you believe we're related to blacks?

    Facts.  They're what's for dinner.  Yum yum, eat 'em up.  :-)

    Skulls confirm we're all out of Africa

    As soon as we accept that we all came from the same people, and are therefore ONE race---HUMAN---all this racism silliness will be seen for what it is.

    SILLINESS!  White privilege is real, however, yhe only way to lay it and all the rest of this racial crap to rest is reality-based education.  

    Facts are cure.

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

    by WFBMM on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:12:40 PM PST

  •  THIS, THIS, THIS. (12+ / 0-)

    As always, my beloved Spirit Sister, you've nailed it down so hard it ain't never comin' back up.

    Chi miigwech.  For everything you do.  I am so proud to know you.

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:12:53 PM PST

  •  The problem with the apple pie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, sandbox, GrimReefa

    formulation is that it suggests racism is either uniquely American or takes a special form in America, and the more I learn about the world the more I see this isn't true, either now or historically.

  •  I don't think... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...that racism can be stopped. It can be marginalized and eventually will be if for no other reason than demographics.

    I question that raising white consciousness raising among liberals is that effective of a response to racism. (For the record, IMHO Zadie Smith is arguably at the top of the heap of contemporary writers, Jacob Lawrence is unquestionably one of the 2-3 greatest American artists of the 20th C., I grew up in a part of the country that is <40% white. But so what?)

    I believe in what Lyndon Johnson called "the right without which all others are meaningless" -- i.e. the vote. In a democracy, taking and keeping political power is the surest way to marginalize racism, and Latinos and African-Americans hae it within their grasp to be difference makers themselves.

    The high turnout of Ohio African-Americans (it exceeded their percent of the electorate) pretty much delivered the state to Obama. Same with Latinos in Nevada, where heavily Latino unions have joined with Harry Reid to create a formidable ground game. The Latino demographic tide in Texas will eventually overwhelm the racist Republican right, and it will happen sooner rather than later if liberal community leaders of all races and both genders can form a functional coalition.

    As for the phrase "white privilege," while it may be accurate, it is a loser politically. Most whites don't think of themselves as privileged -- they see themselves as struggling to make ends meet. Trying to convince them that they are privileged will only encourage them to vote for Mitt Romney. Is that really what we want?

    "I want real loyalty. I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy's window, and say it smells like roses." Lyndon Johnson

    by pkgoode on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:15:05 PM PST

  •  Not my picture (0+ / 0-)

    I think you are right, but I live as a white who is in a definite minority.  

    Cliques can, but don't often do, move along racial lines.  Some do.  Often it is cultural, or family.

    We voted more strongly for President Obama than perhaps any other place in the nation--despite the fact 21 precincts ran out of ballots before voting day was over--and yet there is not a very large black population here.

    I think racism exists here, but I am guessing we are making progress.

  •  I'm not really sure how to answer you and your (4+ / 0-)

    challenge.  Because not standing up is tacit approval, yes I do pick my battles, but more often than not I don't let things slide -  I can't, for my kids - for my husband - the very fact that I am not married to a white person or even a Christian is an automatic  challenge to them.

    And it's not just racism we fight against it's bigotry too,  because the biggest racists in my family also seem to be the biggest bigots too.

    This last summer when my daughter got married, the biggest racists and bigots refused to come to the wedding, or even our pre-wedding party - why?  well because they'd have been challenged even more than they normally are.

    I even challenge the "little" thing ... like the new form at our eye doctor that told my son he could only pick one when it came to race ... I challenged it because he is NOT one - who should he deny?

    "Minorities can be racist too, you know!"
    Yup, doesn't make it right when anyone does it.  And it needs to be pointed out - but it matters the way it's pointed out.  . . .  log in your eye - mot in someone elses sort of thing.

    Which is probably why I get so bent out of shape at people of color who are Republican.  It's your own damn party, if you are silent you are giving tacit approval.

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:18:05 PM PST

  •  Thanks, Dee. n/t (13+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:20:40 PM PST

  •  Interesting article, but misdirected (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi, renbear, rigveda

    I must say I agree with your overall premise of racism in america.  It's a problem that is improving but it has a long ways to go.  I can't gauge the depth of it except that I've seen it explicitly and been a part of it.  From both directions.. both giver and taker.  I can't say that I'm proud of it, but I hope I can say I'm a better person for addressing it and identifying it.  

    What I disliked particularly is the whole article "hey white people, go fix yourself because you've screwed over everyone else and still are doing it" The whole of people of color are seemingly innocent of any wrongdoing or bias against each other in any way.   I must tell you that you seem to be a bit deluded.

    I visited Pico Riviera, CA some years ago, and was told by by my fellow Latino rider not to drive down this street, or that street, because quote "The barrio don't like Gringos".  Likewise, when I visited the YMCA in downtown Atlanta GA, years ago near Techwood Drive,  my (black) bus driver directed us not to get off near Pine Street, because they don't like white folks in the neighborhood".  And so it went.  I was frightened in some cases,  and merely annoyed in others.  

    In my small town in south ga where I grew up, the Hispanics who came around seasonally to pick watermelons, cantaloupe and tomatos were warned by black young men to stay away else they'd be set on, and so it happened once in a while.   Were all these people white?  Negative.  It was a mixed group of black, white, and hispanic  both giving and taking.  I don't recall any asians being part of this;  georgia has no major group of asians except in northeast atlanta, although there's lots of eastern asians who run retail shops here in ga.

    Here's my thought:  Suggest ways on combating racism in all groups and situations, and leave the ad hominem attacks to those who don't know any better.   Or in this case, look in the mirror to find the racism.. it might be there even though you don't see it.

  •  I took the Implicit Association Test (0+ / 0-)

    and I'm trying to understand the results.  It shows, from more to less positive:  Asian, Black, Hispanic, White, but does it matter where along the "more positive" to "less positive" bar the images are located?

  •  Here is one of my favorite things to do: (4+ / 0-)

    If I see someone that I am "afraid" of usually young, big and often dark skinned I stop my fear mid stream, put a big smile on my face and say something a little playful, even if it's just hi. To date I've never had a response that didn't let me laugh at my stupid preconceptions and share a little moment with a stranger.

  •  Is it "derailment" to ask you to edit your diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to remove a numerical inconsistency?

    You write,

    This is addressed to the 56 percent of whites who voted for President Obama.
    But 56% of whites did not vote for Obama. The first paragraph of the article you linked states that 59% of whites voted for Romney.

    You meant to address the 41% of "whites who voted for Obama." Or, putting it another way, "the 56% of Obama voters who identify themselves as white." Either way it's the same group.

    It doesn't materially affect your argument--though it makes us sound a good deal smaller in numbers, there are still a lot of us out there to address. But for numbers types like me the disconnect is like fingernails across a chalkboard. Thanks in advance for fixing it.

    It's not a "fiscal cliff," it's a Fiscal Bluff--so why don't we call them on it?

    by Uncle Cosmo on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:25:39 PM PST

    •  from the linked article (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus, poco
      Obama's support was 56 percent white, 24 percent black, 14 percent Latino, 4 percent Asian, and 2 percent

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:07:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, are you going to make the correction? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        renbear, Uncle Cosmo

        The quote you gave doesn't support what you wrote.

        Obama's support was 56% white.

        Of the people who voted for Obama, 56% of them were white.  56+24+14+4+2=100

        41% of white voters voted for Obama.  59% voted for Romney.  (More or less--I'm just taking the numbers from the Slate article, which implies that there were no significant numbers of votes for third party candidates.)

        So, you want to address the 41% of white people who voted for Obama.  (Damn, that's depressing.  Less than half.)

        Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

        by DrFood on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:42:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Answering the questions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Denise Oliver Velez

    Ask yourself how often do you read anything written by people of color.

    Often. It's the only thing I read sometimes.  (I'm a cartoonist, and his work is here:

    Do you own any artwork by people of color?

    Yes, lots.  The above artist is my personal favorite artist/friend I know, actually, and we go back a long way.

    How often do you go to films or plays produced and/or directed by people of color?

    I don't go to films much now.  I've seen three Micheaux films, though, being the faux-cinema historian I am.

    How integrated are social gatherings you attend?

    A Korean-American, oh, and two transgenders.  Oh.. maybe that doesn't count.  (semi-snark)

    Who are the people of color who are part of your social networks?

    Several friends and artists.  Two AA, two Japanese-Americans, one of both Chinese and Jewish ancestry, are the closest ones I know.

    How often do you discuss race or racism with them?

    We talk about art a lot, actually.  The artist mentioned above once talked about growing up in a dangerous part of the Bay Area (where I lived for a while), and mentioned some of the negatives of it.

    How frequently have you openly confronted someone you know making racist remarks and explained to the person why their remarks are unacceptable to you?

    I don't KNOW anyone who's made racist remarks.  The closest I've gotten is some random jerkazoid on the internet who I told I wanted nothing more to do with after his use of the n-word.

    How much do you know about Black, Latino, Native American or Asian American/Pacific Islander history?

    I'd like to know more, and maybe I should study it more.  As indicated above, I spontaneously did a study of AA cinema history... Micheaux to Poitier and so on.  Fascinating stuff.

    The scene on November 6, midnight: Barack Obama holds up newspaper reading "Romney defeats Obama" as he heads to give his second term acceptance speech.

    by alkatt on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:26:01 PM PST

  •  Thank you for writing this diary. I have a split (10+ / 0-)

    mind on race. My father was a racist and sometimes I hear his voice in my head. My mother was very antiracist and taught me to question that voice I hear in my head. I am a middle aged white guy. When I was 18 years old I went to work in a resturant in Chicago where I worked with wonderful middle aged African American women who treated me like a son. I said yes ma'am and no ma'am and they teased me and made me feel welcome. I also worked with young African American males from the inner city who called my white boy and befriended me and treated me very well. They were my friends. But I would sometimes hear my father's voice.

    When we moved down to Florida I did not know many Hispanic people. But my wife works at DisneyWorld and we both have Hispanic friends who are kind and generous and loving. And yet I have to keep my fathers voice pushed down.

    A cousin was visiting from Ireland while he was in college and my father took him down to see Cabrini Green the housing project in Chicago to try and persuade our cousin of his overly liberal views. "See what those n-words did to this place!". So my cousin answers my Dad saying You know that in Dublin and Belfast there are housing projects just like that filled with poor people. But In Ireland these projects are filled with white people. White Irish people. So what is your point about black people? That poor black people are like poor Irish people?

    Hopefully there will be a day when I can stop policing myself. But until then I will examine every negative impluse I feel towards a person of color. Because I would hate to become my Dad.

  •  the test at Project Implicit (0+ / 0-)

    was confusing because it seemed like it was tilting the answers towards racism by pairing words like nasty, awful with the black faces, and beautiful, happy with the white faces.

    •  If you keep going, it will switch (0+ / 0-)

      That's the main thing it is testing--is it "easier" for you to associate the "good" words with the white faces and the "bad" words with the black faces?  Does it take you longer to press the correct key when you are asked to associate the "good" words with the black faces and the "bad" words with the white faces?

      When I took it I ended up scored as reverse racist, but that was just because they used Mel Gibson as a white face and I dislike him.

      Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

      by DrFood on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:46:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so happy that (5+ / 0-)
    Most of us aren't married to you.
    I grew up in a very racist southern town named after General Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the originators of the KKK. I'm white, but I was in a group that wasn't considered really white by the fanatical Christians in the town. So from a young age, I had a sense of various social groupings in society. This inspired me to be somewhat active in Civil Rights and various other struggles in my life.

    In my various traverses of this society, I've always been very vocal about racism and other concerns of mine. Family gatherings, social media, my own performances, any social gathering. I don't tend to be silent about anything that concerns me.

    However, I was raised in a racist town and in a racist country. So I know there are vestiges of racism in me that I'm sometimes aware of and other times not. Like if I'm walking down the street late at night and a hooded black kid(s) is coming towards me, I feel myself tense. I'm aware enough now that I don't react in behavior, but I'm still shocked to have those reactions. I have more work to do.

    I used to be very insulted if a black person told me something I've said or done has some racism in it, but I've learned that culture imprints deeply, and I usually need to examine what they say so I can bring it to awareness. I don't always agree with them, but I don't always disagree.

    One of my first "a-ha" moments was when the term People of Color started being used, and I heard many white people think the term was crazy. When I was growing up, the term "colored people" was often used to refer to blacks, and it had a negative cast.

    But one of my language teachers explained how whites (back then at least) also referred to anyone who wasn't white as "non-white". Which, linguistically, constructed a binary opposition: white/non-white. And "white" was the positive and "non-white" was negative. Also, it made "white" the norm, and "non-white" the not norm. "White" was the center of the universe, "non-white" was the satellites.

    Defining themselves with a positive term, People of Color, who they are, not who they not are (non-whites), imprints the brain positively. I'm very interested in language, so these kinds of things really resonate with me.

    When we look at all the terms, even affectionate ones, whites used to refer to black people, they are usually invalidating, demeaning, or power-depriving. "Boy". "Mammy". Etc.

    I think we've made some progress on racism in the linguistic area. I'm talking about general society, not the rabid racists. That's good. Kids don't have to hear these terms, so their brains don't get imprinted negatively.

    But there are still subtle messages all over the culture. I'm sure you could point out a lot that I still am unaware of, because my antennae are not trained in that direction.

    I do think that the generation growing up now has the opportunity to be less racist than those generations that went before them. And that's good.

  •  I took the test. (9+ / 0-)

    And I've took a version of it some time ago.  Results were consistent:

    Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for European American compared to African American.
    I like to think of think of myself as progressive, accepting, & unbiased.  I sure don't like finding out I am biased & not just a teeny bit biased, but moderately biased.  At the same time, I can't dispute the results.  During the test I could feel how much easier it was to associate white with good and black with bad than vice versa.  

    Thank you for this diary, Denise, and the concrete suggestions for addressing bias. I hot-listed for future reference.  

    •  Thank you for taking the test (7+ / 0-)

      and sharing the results with us.

      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:51:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was extremely... (3+ / 0-)

        ... distressing getting these results the first time I took the test.  I was part of a workgroup on reducing racial bias in the workplace.  Group leader had suggested using the test as part of an awareness effort & suggested we try it ourselves. I don't know whether others took the test or not; I do know I was the only one who shared the results with the rest of the group.  

        So, I'm glad to see that some others here are sharing their results.  I just urge anyone who gets the results like what I got to remember the results reflect the culture & environment you grew up in.  Each of us has choice when it comes to how we treat others.  

        As for the questions ...

        Ask yourself how often do you read anything written by people of color.  Daily.

        Do you own any artwork by people of color?  Yes.

        How often do you go to films or plays produced and/or directed by people of color?  Rarely, I seldomly go to plays or films.

        How integrated are social gatherings you attend? & How integrated is your neighborhood or school?  Community is still predominately white, but minority population is growing quickly.

        Who are the people of color who are part of your social networks?  Friends at work, and several very dear friends outside of work.

        How often do you discuss race or racism with them?  Frequently with the aforementioned group at work, occasionally with friends outside work.

        How frequently have you openly confronted someone you know making racist remarks and explained to the person why their remarks are unacceptable to you?  I do not encounter this often.  The last time I heard something like this, the person was referring to a stereotype, and I gently, but firmly pointed out how the stereotype is wrong.

        How much do you know about Black, Latino, Native American or Asian American/Pacific Islander history?  Not enough.


    •  I just completed the test. Very interesting. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez

      Results were:

      Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between White People and Black People.
      My thought is that I tended to like either extreme symmetry or extreme asymmetry in the symbols.  The people were distracting.  But then, when I was a kid and took the People/Data/Things test (sort of a "which do you prefer" type test), I chose Things, then Data before People.
    •  What I Love (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Yasuragi

      About you being willing to share your results is that you recognize that there is nothing to fear about owning what the culture has taught you and pledging to change it. No need to fear that you're a bad person. So much of the majority's unwilligness to truly fight racism comes from instinct; the instinct we all have to reject any messages that say we're "bad." Since this culture's shift in the last 50 years that has trained the majority that the only real racists are bad people like the Klan and its ilk, it has gotten more difficult to get folks to really see racism and fight it because they no longer are open to the possibility that they too are victims. Victims of the institutionalized racism that trains us all, white, Black and all else, and then trains us to deny the existence of the culture's beliefs within ourselves.

      I wish more people were brave enough to do as you have done.

  •  You weren't kidding on Friday, were you! (4+ / 0-)

    Also, I took the test and this is what I got, giving me some scientific data to suggest that I still have some work to do.

    Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for European American compared to African American.

    There is nothing so ridiculous that some philosopher has not said it. -- Cicero

    by tytalus on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:47:22 PM PST

  •  must witness and always walk this/walk (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, poco, nomandates

    consider these terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout famine, acceptance of nature

    by renzo capetti on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:49:36 PM PST

  •  I still don't really know how or where (6+ / 0-)

    to discuss race with poc. It's kind of hard to do that in my immediate area (South Kitsap County), where there aren't a lot of people of color. One of the few I know here is a guy I'll call Joe. I oppose Joe's bid to be nominated for a political advance, not because he is a poc but because he endorsed and campaigned for a known teabagger in a recent election that came down to five votes. The Democratic candidate really isn't much of a Democrat, but he's a lot more politically reasonable than the teabagger, and Joe's work may well have made the difference in the election. I don't think the fact that he's a poc has anything to do with my stance; if he hadn't supported a teabagger, I would have strongly considered him as one of my top three (we get to select three). But how do I truly know that there isn't some unconscious racism buried there?

    I have a brother in Seattle who is a poc and lives in poverty. I can and have discussed white rivilege, race, and racism with him, but he's my brother and I find I can initiate and participate in these conversations more easily with someone I know and love than with someone I don't. I don't know whether this is due to unconscious defensiveness or not; I think I don't generally defend white privilege (consciously I comment on it fairly often and find it odious) but I might have some defensiveness I'm not consciously aware of.

    I'd like to be a righteous anti-racism warrior, but is it possible to do so before I know for certain that I have cleansed my own soul? If I hear a racist (or homophobic, or classist, etc.) comment from someone I know, I will speak up vigrously, but if I hear it or see it from a stranger, especially a man, I remain silent for fear of being hit. (I think this may be due to having been in an abusive relationship for 15 years; that ended 10 years ago, but I will probably always have PTSD, triggers (including unknown ones - still), and fears of confrontation and especially of male anger, aggressiveness, and disapproval, because that usually resulted in my getting hit.

    Is it still possible to be an anti-racism warrior if, in person, I'm a coward? The above makes me a coward in my own eyes but the fear is awfully strong.

    Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

    Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

    by Kitsap River on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:49:38 PM PST

    •  Sis KR - you come into Black Kos and (6+ / 0-)

      have no problems talking on the porch :)

      And having met you face to face - I know where your heart is.


      If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:26:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, Sis. Much love to you (3+ / 0-)

        and big hugs. I haven't spent much time on the porch recently, because since Samhain I've been caring for and then singing on and mourning our perpetual puppy, Raven. It's been a hard year for us as far as four-leggeds go, but that and local politics have kept me away.

        On the schedule for Tuesday: our local Dems' reorganiziation meeting, for which I'm trying to drum up support for a friend and neighbor whom I talked into running for chair against a long-retired old rich conservaDem lawyer who will make our organuzation into a social club only for people from Pierce County (we in Kitsap County are half the district) and potentially against our current chair, who is a really slick, oily guy whose big interest is in "cultivating" the rich (and, like the other guy, making the organization's focus 100% on Pierce County, despite protests). I have my work cut out for me, but I've enlisted some good help,  so hopefully we can get Don elected. I may not be avle to hang out on the porch Tuesday but should be back on Friday.

        Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

        Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

        by Kitsap River on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:06:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Be that Warrior, Sis (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I'd like to be a righteous anti-racism warrior, but is it possible to do so before I know for certain that I have cleansed my own soul?
      Yes it is. Because part of "cleansing your own soul" is being in the fight. As I have written here and elsewhere, I believe that all of us who truly want to be anti-racist are engaged in a lifelong work, not just to teach others, but to cleanse ourselves. I don't consider myself cleansed, so would never have as a precondition that someone be "pure" particularly since I'm not sure it's possible, not in this country given how long the culture itself has taught generation after generation and how intertwined racism is into virtually everything.  

      So be the warrior. And when you don't know, or are afraid you don't know, do like you did here: ask. (Which, by the way is not cowardice; indeed, the cowards are the ones who don't ask but just assume they know better than people of color.)  We got your back.

  •  Honestly? (9+ / 0-)

    It's been a difficult journey.

    My biological family is quite casually bigoted. My mom threatened to disinherit me once if I married a black woman (today, she'd be thrilled, but that's a different story). One of my aunts is Korean, and my grand-mother shunned her and her kids. I was told as a tot not to play with the Turkish kids down the street, because "people would talk". It was a scandal when a Protestant married into the family, and God help us, a commoner. Back in the States, in Catholic day school, I think there were three black kids in my year, and yes, they were not welcomed into my house.

    And as a kid, I thought this was normal. Oh, and Ronald Reagan was awesome.

    Things changed in high school, when I got exposed to kids from other backgrounds. Still all bourgeois or aristocracy like us, but more varied. We had exchange students from all over the world, and we all traveled a lot. So I figured out that foreigners don't smell funny and communists don't have horns.

    In my twenties, after I moved out of home and away, to Frankfurt, Germany, and came out, a lot of my friends were gay service-members, I'd say about half of them PoC. My best friend was a kick-ass African-American lesbian (hence the threat of being disinherited), and then I fell head over heels for this awesome AA guy, chiseled to the max, smart, sweet, who introduced me to MLK, Rustin, the Harlem Renaissance (one of the reasons I moved to New York), and all that.

    But I never really got what this country is really like until MoveOn sent me to Columbus in 2004, straight into the ghetto. Me. Blond, crew-cut, what-not else. And I stood there on a corner in the middle of all the deprivation and just bawled my eyes out. Could not believe the sheer depravity of all that misery.

    Today, I'm not sure that I'm perfect. But I'm sure as hell working on it. One thing I've learned is that my particular perspective is not the only one that's valid, and that spectacular, valuable people come in all shades, persuasions, and often enough, in entirely unexpected places. So I do start every day with the idea, that, hey, something or someone awesome could happen today.

    Fuck you, I put on pants yesterday.

    by MBNYC on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:53:39 PM PST

  •  This is addressed to the 56 percent of whites who (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justiceputnam, DrFood, shanikka

    "This is addressed to the 56 percent of whites who voted for President Obama."

    Actually, solely 35% of white men and 42% of white women voted for Obama in the 2012 presidential election (see here).

  •  OK (2+ / 0-)

    I remember when Shirley Chisom came to my college in 1969 ...when I asked her about the environment she said it was a distraction and there was still too much to do with civil rights...I thought the Civil Rights Battle was won so was surprised by her answer... Perceptions about what is normal have changed a lot...In my ultra-white part of the world racial jokes a d slurs are considered "low class" but I know that racism played a part in the election and seeing it bubble up from the depths where it's been lurking has been unnerving...but my children's generation assumptions of what is normal I.e. racial and sexual equality is light years ahead of where we were in 1969 when I thought it was all but solved

    "you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"

    by SMucci on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 03:57:25 PM PST

  •  When I worked for NASA, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    I learned a lot from my black office mate and my black boss.  My office mate told me that most blacks didn't like to get suntanned - which to me was a complete surprise!  She taught me a lot about black and local culture.  I watched my boss spend way too much time in a "team lead" position when he was a manager (a higher level).  Finally he was "given" the titel he had already earned.  NASA sent me on Historically Black College and University (HBCU) trips to black colleges.  Again, I learned a LOT about race and racism.  I feel forever indebted to these people and experiences.

  •  Once again, Dee (6+ / 0-)

    outstanding article. Thank you for your bluntness and your challenge.

    "Speaking truth to power," is a very significant and meaningful phrase in my tradition, yet its becoming a tad hackneyed by misunderstandings and casual use. This, what you wrote, is speaking truth to power. Power that I possess, however reluctantly and unconsciously, due to nothing more than the shade of my skin (blindingly white, unfortunately; I burn like a lobster).

    My question for those who are uncomfortable by this article, or feel defensive....

    Is it better to acknowledge power accruing to you and strive to lay it down, or to ignore it or dismiss it and be moved to shock when it is used on your behalf in ways you do not agree with or condone? I find it better to move under my own volition, as much as is possible, by the grace given me, to release it, relinquish it, reject it, and work to see it gone. Your mileage may vary.

    I am racist. I do not wish to be, but the institution of racism benefits me in both tangible and intangible ways everyday. I say no, and then work to make that "no" a reality.

    Almost 10 year old Daughter: "Boys are pretty good, but daughters have sentimental value." Me: "I don't think that phrase means what you think it does." Daughter: "None of them do, Mom. More's the pity. Words have to be flexible in today's world."

    by left rev on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:02:22 PM PST

  •  I read and rec everything you write that I see, (9+ / 0-)

    Denise Oliver Velez. I Follow you and other writers I know to be African American. I have learned a lot from you. I tip & rec your diaries regularly as well as Native American Netroots and Black Kos diaries.

    I am now Following Barriers and Bridges and LatinoKos, groups I did not know about.

    I hotlisted your excellent diary so I can return to the tools you have linked to.

    Thank you very much!

    Dear Kossacks -

    Don't forget to tip & rec this diary!

    (If you do not know what "Following" means, please ask!)


  •  T&R'd, bookmarked for community edu. (3+ / 0-)

    Sending this out to all my lists.

    Thank you. Denise!

  •  Racism, White Privilege & Bigotry are addictions.. (10+ / 0-)

    ... and until one admits they are addicted, addicted they will remain.

    ... there might be an intervention, though...

    A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude -- Pablo Neruda / Netroots Radio podcasts of The After Show with Wink & Justice can be found on Stitcher

    by justiceputnam on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:22:42 PM PST

  •  Perhaps this is the proper forum (7+ / 0-)

    to tell this story.  A colleague of mine printed out this blogpost and left it where everyone in my department could read it.  In a few words, the post essentially says "HEY GOP:  As a middle-class business-owner WASP descended from Mayflower passengers, I'm smack-dab in the middle of your demographic target, but I voted for Obama because YOU SUCK!"  I thought it was a brilliant eviceration of what the GOP has become.  Everybody in my department thought the post was very funny...except for my Ethiopian colleague.  In fact, the post made him quite angry.  (I should mention that he recently became a citizen, and this election was the first one in which he voted.  Needless to say, he voted for Obama.)  After thinking about it for almost a week, I think he perceived the post as dripping with white privilege, and any message the post carried beyond that was utterly lost.

    Stumbling across these differences in perception can be quite painful.  It is next to impossible to try to keep the idea of my white privilege in my consciousness every minute of the day, so when an incident like this happens, I have to back off and try to understand what I missed.  I hope I become more sensitive to these issues, but in my mostly-white environment, it's all too easy to forget about them.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:23:24 PM PST

  •  We took our Chinese-American room mate (6+ / 0-)

    with us to Thanksgiving, to my husband's very Upstate SC redneck family.

    They loved her.  She's from Hawaii, and works at the local vet school as a staff member.  

    When you personalize "the Other" by turning them from nameless, faceless immigrants to actual human beings, you chip away and erode at racism.  Even if it's just a tiny chip, enough chips and eventually someone who has been prejudiced their whole lives may begin to re-think their beliefs.

    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

    by catwho on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:24:54 PM PST

  •  FWIW, my thoughts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, lotlizard

    The knapsack of privilege is actually pretty simple:  whoever is the dominant group gets the benefits of "default rules" which silently benefit them.  

    As a white man, I know that when I get pulled over by a police officer, the cop will probably not assume that I am I physical threat, and may even think that I might be someone important (or connected to someone important).   I do not assume that the cop is stopping me to make a sexual advance (happens to more women than I care to count) or that the cop believes me to be a criminal.   And so, when I drive, I'm not too worried about what a cop may do.   I'm free of that harassment, that fear, that lurking question.

    So yes, I acknowledge the invisible knapsack.  It is difficult for me to stop the invisible knapsack from functioning, but I have called attention to it previously and I try to fight it when I can.

    And now for the "but...." But.....two other points.

    First, not every refutation of racism is an attempt to filibuster a discussion of race.  If we are going to have a free discussion of racism, then white people have the right to speak about their views just as well as everyone else.   Yes, its true, sometimes the arguments don’t make sense … but sometimes, speaking as one middle-aged white male, the accusations of racism don’t make sense, either.   (At the risk of bringing up an unfortunate moment in the past, consider the allegations of racism made against progressives who criticized Obama’s position on indefinite detention; since the progressives made the same critique against Bush, the allegation of racism seemed strained.)

    Second, in most discussions of racism (or sexism, or patriarchy), there is a normal stumbling block when there is a discussion of “rights” or “privileges.”   Often, the dominant group believes that “rights” are the rights to affirmative do a thing – to go a beach, eat at a restaurant, become a professional.   Progressives have joined with people of color to fight for these rights.  A second sort of rights is the right to be “free” of something – free of stereotypes, free from isolation (ie, free from being the only person of a minority status on campus).   These second sort of rights are much more controversial, because the right to be “free from” something often contradicts the right to be “free to do” something else.

    For what it is worth, my personal view is that the rights are nested.   The right to be free official harassment is part and parcel of the right to do something.   After that, the right to do something trumps the right of an individual to be free of something – Fox has the right to put on a TV show which portrays minorities in a negative light; that trumps the right of a minority to be free of a negative stereotype.   The right to be free of something, however, trumps something which no one has a “right” to do.   Otherwise, the right to be free of something is not a right at all – it’s a matter to be decided by the marketplace, or public pressure, or whatnot.  

    But resolving tensions between types of rights is difficult – and that, of course, is why this discussion is so fraught, and so difficult.

  •  Denise, you are right. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    I am part of the problem. I only sometimes confront people who display racist attitudes. I'm far more likely to do it with people I care about; I guess I usually do, in that circumstance. If I care about someone--and therefore care about their heart--I'm going to say something.

    But Some Random Dude with a racist bumper sticker? Virtually never. I'm not likely to change his mind, and I'm sure he doesn't care what I think, anyway. I'm not going to poke a skunk.

    If anybody here has suggestions for what to do, say, about a "Don't Re-Nig in 2012" bumper sticker, I'd love to hear it. (Always recalling that a high percentage of those folks are armed and angry.) A few week ago, my response was to fume, and to note the license plate number. Now, instead of fuming, I gloat.

    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:42:10 PM PST

  •  Really? American as apple pie? (4+ / 0-)

    Somebody better tell the Germans.  Or the South Africans.  Or the English.  Or the Japanese.  Or, hell, Al Queda.

    Ok, we all agree that racism is still a problem in this country, but statements like this make do no one any favors.

    Racism isn't "American" - it's human.  Period.

    If we (human beings) aren't fighting about race, it's religion, or nationality, or any of the other from the litany of ways which our particular species of ape uses to differentiate "us" from "them".  It's depressing as all shit, but it's getting better, believe it or not.  And our country is leading the way.  As usual.

    I can only write from the prospective of a white male.  But from that perspective, it is ridiculous to suggest that America is somehow a particularly racist country.  Racist compared to the ideal?  Sure.  Absolutely, in fact.  Racist compared to the rest of the world?  You're out of your fuckin' mind.

    I'm not saying this isn't a worthy post overall.  I'm not saying we all need to do more to make our own corner of the world a better place for all of us to live.

    But when you take unnecessary (and counter-factual!) swipes at this country like "Racism is as American as apple pie", you alienate a lot of people that you are trying to win over to your side.  And by "your" side, I really mean "our" side, so as a member of our side - please stop and consider what you're writing.

    "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." - Mark Twain

    by GrimReefa on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:45:00 PM PST

    •  closer to home (0+ / 0-)

      There's a place a lot closer than Japan or South Africa where it is completely legal to put up a Help Wanted sign that says "se required hyena presentacion ".  (Dog whistle for "only light skinned applicants need apply.")

  •  Interesting questions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, MBNYC

    >>>Do you own any artwork by people of color?

    I own hardly any art work. What I do own is prints of old masters. All White men. My wife owns more art. I don't know who created it, except she created some. She's White

    >>>How often do you go to films or plays produced >>>and/or directed by people of color?

    I honestly don't know. I don't know who produced ANY of the movies I've seen. I usually don't know who directed (and when I do know, unless he/she is famous, I don't know about race).

    >>>How integrated are social gatherings you attend?

    What's a social gathering??? :-).  I'm not a very social gathering type person. I've gone to a bunch of Daily Kos meetings - mostly White. There was one today. There were at least two Asians (although, unless I had talked to one of them, I wouldn't have known).  

    >>>How integrated is your neighborhood or school?

    Compared to most, pretty integrated. The people across the hall are Latino. There are lots of Blacks and Latinos around my neighborhood.  My younger son's school is quite mixed. Not as mixed as NYC, but far from all White.

    >>>Who are the people of color who are part of your >>>social networks?

    Well, there's you.  :-).

    One thing I love about Daily Kos and the internet in general is I have no clue who's what. Heck, I'm often wrong if I guess a person is male or female. Some folk here post pictures and some are obvious. But most don't. I do know Markos is Latino. BrooklynBadBoy sure looks Black. I'm guessing Navajo is, well.... Navajo.

    >>>How often do you discuss race or racism with >>>them?

    When it comes up.

    >>>How frequently have you openly confronted >>>someone you know making racist remarks and >>>explained to the person why their remarks are >>>unacceptable to you?

    Maybe I'm oblivious (wouldn't surprise me) but I haven't noticed a lot of people I know making racist remarks. My brother did, once, when he was drunk. I confronted him (this was long ago; it was about Jesse Jackson during his first POTUS run; my brother doesn't talk that way now). My grandmother once made a really icky remark about Italians - I let it slide.

    >>>How much do you know about Black, Latino, >>>Native American or Asian American/Pacific
    >>>Islander history?

    Not enough, but a lot more than I did before I knew about daily Kos!

  •  Thank you for this excellent, wise post. (4+ / 0-)

    I came face to face with my inner racism a few years ago after decades of being convinced I'm very open and accepting of everyone.  It was a harsh awakening and made me look harder at my shadow self.  I found homophobia, xenophobia, sexism.  I'm a product of my culture and happy thoughts about my open mindedness block an honest assessment.  

    I have confronted racist comments since that beginning of awareness.  It makes my stomach hurt but I do it.  

    The only other thing I can think to do is talk about racism and all the other isms with friends- just address the reality and hope we all keep uncovering and evolving.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:56:44 PM PST

  •  Interesting that you post this on a website that (0+ / 0-)

    has "chingchongchinaman" as a respected user. White privilege?

    What, chinks don't get a pass?

    I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. -John Wayne (-9.00,-8.86)

    by Jonathan Hoag on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:02:53 PM PST

  •  Toluca v Tijuana (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, Tijuana 's owner makes Jerry Jones look like Ralph Nader.

    On the other hand, Tijuana needs something good to happen more than Toluca does.

    Does the Liga MX final count as Produced By Nonwhites?   The land of Melon Pinguin has its own issues.

  •  Getting Home Late (11+ / 0-)

    So just reading this. Truth on all fronts, as usual. Especially this:

    Before you get all bent out of shape and respond with "but but but ... I am not a racist," that isn't my point. My point is you are probably not an anti-racism warrior.  

    Until all of you are, racism will go along its merry way destroying us all.


    Extraordinary work, as usual Denise.  Simply extraordinary. I have not read through the comments yet, but I do so pray that folks HEAR you (and thus hear us all) this time!

  •  I am reading Jon Meachem's excellent bio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    of Thomas Jefferson (although Meachem is gentler to TJ about slavery than I would be).

    One thing he points out that I did not know is that one act of the English that really got the Americans blood boiling was threatening to free all the slaves.

    For some reason (I can't imagine why .....) that gets less coverage than other acts by the English (Intolerable acts, stamp tax, etc).

  •  There are so many aspects (2+ / 0-)

    to racism that have been discussed and we must continue to discuss them.
    One aspect is the view we have of our physical self.
    My daughter in law to be had to work to accept herself as the tall gorgeous person she is and she has the most beautiful very black skin shade ever. She grew up as the fat black nerdy girl with pink eyeglasses (her own description).
    Then there is hair, why must it be blond and straight....sorry a big big big pet peeve.  etc..

    As someone mentioned in one the comments, kindness works. and being loudly opiniated.
    sidenote -I made a black friend laugh hard when I was wondering about blacks being compared to monkeys, monkeys having white skin, red, blond black or brown hair and being very hairy. I know, silly but that's me frustated.

  •  Paint by Numbers. (0+ / 0-)

    No offense, but I think this community is well-versed in saying the right "community" answer.

    Here is a question; something I may need to expound on in a diary, why should white people give up privilege?

    Yeah, I know the freak is trolling again, but maybe not.

    I have or have had uberwhite privilege, which is where the police respect you or your family. I have also been targeted when and where I have been "outed" at least amongst the "you either suck dick or you don't" version of law enforcement. I don't want to make too much of it because it really is relatively minor, but I am saying its damned nice to get the white guy from a good family version of a police stop.


    I am sorry if you don't like my comments. At least I never promised to just put the tip in.

    by Marcellus Shale on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:38:18 PM PST

  •  Congratulations, you're all Sneetches (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, urnumbersix, shanikka

    Whether you're proud of your possession of a star on your belly or resentful of your lack, Mr. McBean is walking away laughing and counting his cash.
    It is underreported but the same voting restrictions that disenfranchised nearly all blacks in the pre civil rights south, also kept the majority of poor whites from voting. Did they complain? Not often, because they had bought into the lie being sold by their rulers.
    One of the key reasons that Socialism never had the same level of success in the US that it did elsewhere is because our class hierarchy was concealed behind a hierarchy of race which was put in place to fragment the working classes. The welfare state ideal as well approximated in the Scandinavian countries was successfully implemented because the poorest in society could not be marginalized as "those people".  When you see a poor child who looks like yours, it's a lot harder to blame the victim. As immigration has increased and the poor increasingly look different, support for government programs there has waned.
    So long as we allow the powerful to categorize us by shades of brown, we miss the true color bar, green!
    Working for a more economically just society benefits all, and given that people of color are disproportionately victimized by the current system, they would benefit particularly.
    (La raza unida si puede ser vencida si no inclulye a toda la raza humana.)

    social democrat (with a small d) the point of politics is policy not power

    by octaviuz on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:40:10 PM PST

  •  What am I doing to end racism? Well, for one (5+ / 0-)

    thing, I speak up if I hear somebody make a racist comment--a lot of the people who know me won't talk a bunch of racist trash around me any more, because they don't want me to bite their head off.

    But the most important thing I believe I am doing is trying to raise my kids to be anti-racist, and pro-equality. Children need to be taught, from an early age, that all people are worthy of being treated with respect.

  •  Anecdote from 50 years ago. (5+ / 0-)

    My mom was school secretary in an elementary school.  A little first grade boy came to the office, bloody and crying, saying that James had hit him.  Mom had immediately 2 Jameses in mind: one white and one black, both bullies.

    What grade does James go in?  6th.  Who is his teacher?  Don't know.  Is his class in the school building or in a portable?  Don't know.  

    Mom had at last no choice but to ask the child if it was the white James or the Negro James who'd hit him.  The little boy knew the answer to that question, but he hadn't thought of it himself.  


    The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

    by DSPS owl on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:54:28 PM PST

  •  I took the Implicit Association Test (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, urnumbersix

    and it came up that it suggests I have a moderate automatic preference for African American compared to European American. I am white.

  •  Thanks Denise (2+ / 0-)

    (R's) take those tired memes and shove 'em, Denise Velez Oliver, 11/7/2012.

    by a2nite on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:10:26 PM PST

  •  OK here's how to fight racism. PROPERTY TAXES. (0+ / 0-)

    If every 5th house in your neighborhood is brown, your taxes go down.

    And the same for the brown neighborhoods, if every 5th house in your neighborhood is white, your taxes go down.

    I also had an idea of a tax break for a mixed race marriage.  Maybe we could do that too.

    PS  I am usually the only white person I see as I go about my day.  Not the only one, but if some one said, 'did you see that old white woman picking her nose?' some one else would probably say 'I know just who you mean'.

    Hey, GOP - Get In, Sit Down, Shut up, & Hang On!

    by 88kathy on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:12:00 PM PST

  •  Very erratic internet here so I can't watch the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    videos, but hotlisted to watch when I return to capable wifi.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:16:25 PM PST

  •  We need to get over (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    urnumbersix, Denise Oliver Velez

    our fears, me included.  Saw a quote attributed to Chief Dan George today:  "What we fear, we must destroy."

    We've done better, but we're sure not there yet.

    I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio. -- Gerald R. Ford

    by mideedah on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:35:01 PM PST

  •  One thing we all share... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, urnumbersix

    Denise, Thank you!

    All of us participating here, we've all watched the varied ways that government officials have worked to make it difficult to vote in this last round of elections, in many states and counties.  And it's been difficult to be still when, for instance, my own brother says that democrats have been suppressing voters as well ( I do my best to counter him, but wind up having to change the subject ).

    We can all keep this issue alive by reminding our friends when it seems appropriate that this struggle is an ongoing one, that there are practical things we can do, like all that Denise suggests ( I've bookmarked this page so I can return and study this in more depth ).  

    Taking action, reaching beyond our (my) comfort zone, these are important to practice.

    I'm writing this mostly here for me.

    But we all have a conscience we can listen to...

  •  Can we discuss "cryptic racism"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    My LEAST racist time is at church.  It's an Episcopal parish in a small city in upstate NY that had an early post-Revolutionary population of free people of color. In the 1860's, oddly, most of their descendants gravitated to the anti-Emancipation parish.  I'm still not clear on why that happened. We have a substantial membership of Sudanese refugees, plus a retired teacher I worked with when I was just out of college, and a surgeon from a local hospital. She is on the Altar Guild and the choir and Altar Guild are both so busy that few of us meet each other.  Sometimes she brings her boyfriend, who looks like Donald Faison, but hotter -- yeah, I'm gay. Get over it.

    Where I work is SO non-racist -- it's in the by-laws -- and yet, as far as diversity goes -- my manager is marginally Latino (he's really more Anglican than I am!) and our Financial officer is Lebanese.

    I work in local theatre. I directed a production of the G&S MIKADO with a WASP Yum-Yum, a Filipino Nanki-Poo, and a Nigerian Mikado. The audience loved it, and yet for the next show, the auditioners were uniformly WASP.

    What do we have to do to get talented non-"whites" to participate?  

    "After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down-stairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!"

    by mapman on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:54:21 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the amazing diary, Dee. (2+ / 0-)

    the test was not really surprising, given the last several years. I rated Black people first and Asian people close behind at the top, Hispanic people in the middle and white people way down at the bottom. It has to do with my family and certain people around me. Can't tip every comment, this many comments always makes my netbook run slow.

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:02:26 PM PST

  •  AFAIK, racism is still alive and well in the U.S., (6+ / 0-)

    and so your diary, Sis Dee, is timely and pertinent. Thank you for it, and for the resources you include. I'm too tired to follow up on them now, but I will.

    It gives me a lot to think about, recollecting the times when I have been more actively anti-racist in my life than I am right now. Different conditions, different workspaces, different opportunities. I must admit also, different priorities sometimes too.

    And yet, what really is more important than the goal of ensuring that all human beings are equally respected, valued, cherished? Especially since we are now so far away from that circumstance. If we could do that, then many other inequities and disregards would be transformed as well

    Unlearning racism is the work of a lifetime, I'm afraid, since it is in the cultural air we breathe and water we drink. Certainly sister shanikka's terrible and poignant diary about the disregard accorded to young black men is sufficient testimony. But I'd like to offer another, a life story that has been on my mind since I read about it a few months back.

    Dr. Otis Brawley is currently the head of research for the American Cancer Society; he's also been on the faculty at Emory University while working as an oncologist at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. Recently he wrote a memoir of sorts about his lifework in combating cancer, How We Do Harm. The encounter with which he opens his book introduces us to a woman who comes to the ER with her breast in a towel. In a towel, because it had fallen off.

    Upon examination and gentle conversation, it becomes clear that this woman had been suffering with breast cancer for several years, but that she had been afraid to seek treatment for it. She was working, but had no insurance, and even worse, she had no backup to rely upon if she needed extensive treatment. She had to work to support herself and her two sons. Finally, the tumor got so large it cut off the blood supply to the exterior portion of her breast, and the tissue died.

    Not surprisingly, given the population likely to seek treatment at the largest public hospital in Atlanta, she was a middle-aged black woman, and she was at this point seeking care at a place of last resort. With aggressive treatment, this woman did manage to survive a few more years, but undoubtedly less than if she'd been able to get help in a more timely way.

    What kind of a country is this, when people cannot get the care they need when they need it? Not only medical care, but the kind of support that enables people to use it. What kind of country is this, where the overall life expectancies and infant mortality rates are significantly different by race, even when controlling for class (to the extent that is possible)?  The survival rates for cancer are also significantly different on the basis of race, for reasons that are likely more sociological (that is, affected by access to resources) than biological.

    I don't mean to go on at excess here; I really need to write a MNCC diary on racial disparities in cancer care and survival. But I did want to weigh in about how serious, deadly serious, racism remains in the U.S. And though some of us may think we're able to set ourselves apart from it and its evil effects, I think they're wrong.


    I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

    by peregrine kate on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:26:03 PM PST

    •  peregrine kate, this is a harrowing story. But I (0+ / 0-)

      thank you for telling it.  There'll be fewer stories like this as ACA takes effect; but they won't all go away.  We need to remember.  In health care as in dealing with racism -- we've made real progress, but there's so much farther to go.

      What kind of country?  Yeah, that's the question.  One on it's way to a more perfect union -- we hope.  So much to do.


      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:22:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for a great diary, Denise. I am having (3+ / 0-)

    computer difficulties and haven't been able to view all the documentary bits yet, or read all the comments. I will try again tomorrow.

    I believe being racist on not racist is a choice. We start defining our characters when we are very young. Hopefully we are able to keep doing that through adulthood. I was raised to be a racist and recognized it was wrong early on. Since childhood I have been working on my character, and continue to do so now because we never stop growing.

    To answer one of your questions:

    How frequently have you openly confronted someone you know making racist remarks and explained to the person why their remarks are unacceptable to you?
    Every chance I get. I hope I may be able to read and view all parts of your wonderful diary tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed my computer will work then.
  •  Tip'd, rec'd and grazed. Just finished shanikka's (2+ / 0-)

    excellent diary. Will be back to read and watch the videos. It really is time we white folk work harder to change our family/friends attitudes.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 10:30:12 PM PST

  •  I took some of those implicit tests a while back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, tytalus

    Found I was biased for blacks, surprisingly, since many in my family are racist. Guess it didn't take.

    I found out later in life that we had what was then called a mammy when I was young, perhaps that's where I went a different way. White people seemed to be meaner, even though I am white myself.

    I have gone round and round with some family members about people of color, to the point they won't mention it in my presence any more.

    My mother was what I used to call an equal opportunity bigot - anyone that was not light or red haired, blue eyed and white skinned was inferior in her eyes. Jews, Native Americans, Indians, Hispanic, Blacks, Asians, etc. were just not as intelligent or competent in her eyes.

    She was very matter of fact about it, as though it was an established fact and they just couldn't help it so "we should be kind to them, the poor dears."

    Funny thing, I remember the first time I heard the dumb blond jokes, and how it seemed strange because of how I had been told for so long that they were smarter. I had to laugh at the contradiction to what I had been taught.

    It's appalling what is being done to young black men these days. I don't know how to stop it.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:01:29 AM PST

  •  Ok, I'll bite. EXACTLY how does one become (0+ / 0-)

    an "anti-racism warrior"?

    Send conservatives to for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:23:25 AM PST

  •  the vids crashed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    this is an old, very cranky netbook; missing teeth, a bit of alzheimers, loses shockwave and shuts down by itself when tired or overwhelmed (ie, when more than 3 tabs are active).

    we've moved from our wonderfully diverse neighborhood, town, job and social life to west stepford, rightwingstate.   i haven't seen a weed or a poc for months, except the guy at the super clean grocery store who smiled when i asked him why they didn't sell ham shanks.  (btw, they sell ham shanks now, ha!)

     i walked away from the fights that happened after the other fights happened after the other fights happened.  but i lived to fight again another day.

    i miss Robinswing's voice.   i miss nlinstpaul's voice.   i miss quite a few others as well.

    great, great diary, dee.

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:33:53 AM PST

  •  A good thoughtful piece that fortunately contains (0+ / 0-)

    some important errors of fact. Yes, I said fortunately. Our situation, difficult as it is, is much better than those of our ancestors, and current trends give much hope for the future.

    Firstly, there is the assertion that White people cannot understand being victims of racism. As a part Polish, part Jewish, part Scottish, part Irish, part Welsh officially White person, I can tell you about hundreds to thousands of years of racism against each of my "parts". Like Blacks, some of my parts weren't even human according to the official Whites of the time. I'll see your Jim Crow and your lynchings and raise you anti-Semitic pogroms going back to the Crusades, including gang rapes at weddings, plus the Nazi holocaust. I'll see your slavery and theft of persons and raise you theft and enslavement of whole countries, with deliberate famines, among other things.

    Even those among the English who understand any history know about the racism their ancestors were subjected to by conquering Romans, Angles, Saxons, Norwegians, and Norman French for more than a thousand years before the final conquering Normans were able to go on their world-wide thousand-year rampage against everybody else, from the Crusades to the British Empire.

    Yeah, my parents got promoted to White, but not my grandparents.

    BTW, I am very proud of my own Black African ancestry, back some tens of thousands of years. Don't you try telling me I'm not. But that's what you can't talk to racists about. They can't even admit that that is their problem with Darwin. They claim that he said they are descended from "monkeys". Yeah, we know about those Dog Whistles.

    Second, the current outbreaks of vicious, screaming Tea Party and Christian Right racism, bigotry, misogyny, and kleptocracy are merely cries of fear and denial among a group that even they sometimes admit is in the process of shrinking to irrelevancy.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-NC, was quoted during the Republican National Convention last summer saying that there are no longer enough angry White men to win elections.

    Frank Page, at one time President of the Southern Baptist Convention, later wrote a book called The Incredible Shrinking Church. SBC was in such dire straits that they started recruiting minorities some time back, and this year elected a Black President. Lo, how the mighty have fallen. Why, someday they might have to elect a woman!

    Racism has been in decline since the Civil War. Not so that you would notice publicly down South during Jim Crow and the Klan, as long as violent racists were in the majority there and the North kept its hands off, but measurably, and at an accelerating pace. You can see it in dozens of ways. I'll give you just a few, starting with some critical individuals who went on to influence millions each.

    • Abraham Lincoln grew up a racist in Kentucky and Indiana. Although he detested slavery, he did not think that Blacks could learn citizenship and live among Whites until after he met Frederick Douglass and got an education. He evolved.
    • Rev. John Newton, the converted slave ship captain who wrote the hymn Amazing Gracepart way through his own evolution, was one of the most important people in the 50-year campaign to end slavery in the British Empire, which culminated in a nationwide, even Empirewide boycott of Caribbean sugar. By White people.
    • Mark Twain grew up a racist in Missouri, and went on to write one of the greatest diatribes against racism ever, Huckleberry Finn. Some people can't get past his accurate portrayals of racists of the time, but Huck finally said to himself, "I will go to Hell, then," to rescue Jim.
    • There were always Whites down South helping as much as they could, from the Quaker Abolitionists who set up schools (until the Redeemer Democrat Klansmen drove them out) to what are called "people of background" in To Kill a Mockingbird.
    • When Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to the White House, there were race riots nationwide. When Harry Truman desegregated the military, there was only a futile Dixiecrat third party of no consequence outside the South.
    • Since Loving v. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional interracial marriage has increased steadily, year by year, setting new records each time. It still is.
    • Fried Green Tomatoes. There is more in the book than the movie.
    • Only a few years ago, you used to hear with depressing frequency some stupid football commentator saying that Blacks couldn't be good quarterbacks, and getting fired. Or that they couldn't handle front office jobs (and getting fired). There are now several Black quarterbacks in the NFL and many on college teams, and increasing numbers in the front offices, and you don't hear of people being fired for that particular kind of public stupidity any more.
    • The Young South is Ours
    • Neil Gaiman on Anti-South Prejudice
    • Demographic and generational trends reported, for example, at Pew Research and Pew Forum, on such matters as acceptance of diversity and the decline of Evangelical Churches.

    America—We built that!

    by Mokurai on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:06:57 AM PST

  •  I have struggled to comment on this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Yasuragi

    because I have been trying to combat racism with some family members for decades and recently realized that all they were doing was keeping it hidden when I was around. Then something slipped out at Thanksgiving and the offender turned to my 14 year old niece and apologized for the remark.  I made a comment that perhaps everyone should be owed an apology and the offender (as well as everyone else there) ignored my comment.  In these situations, I am told that I am supposed to go along to get along, so I let it drop after my initial comment. But that incident ate through me and still bothers me to no end which is why I had such a difficult time commenting on this diary.

    I am old enough to have grown up in the segregated South and to have attended segregated public schools.  It may shock many people here to learn that I never knew a person of color on a personal level until I worked my first job and spent most of my breaks hanging out with two women of color.  I am deeply grateful to one of them in particular who reached out a hand of friendship to me and opened my eyes to see just how much we were alike. She changed my life from being racially ignorant to put me on the road to becoming more enlightened.  That was over forty years ago and I am still a work in progress, but I am trying.

    Integrating our public schools and our workplaces has helped many of the younger generation to view each other as persons without the negative filter of race.  Unfortunately, the parents and older generations continue to thwart that by placing their children in white private schools and isolating them from the greater world.

    But after the incident at Thanksgiving, I am sadly convinced that, for many, racism is so deeply engrained in some of them from growing up in a very segregated and white privileged society that no amount of words can change them.  

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:00:42 AM PST

    •  "Go along to get along"... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez

      ..that resonates with me.  White non-racists are in a different way victims of white racists.  I'm not equating the degree ( comparatively, we suffer no real setback from this), but when the author says "anti-racist warrior".. I read the 'warrior' part more literally.  And, I freely admit, I am not strong enough to enter into a screaming match with 10 steelworkers who immediately associate "anti-racism" with siding with their mortal enemy... those lazy blacks who hide behind the NAACP and make their lives miserable. ( and to be clear...I am paraphrasing THEIR opinion here, not mine).  I wish I was that kind of hero, sure, but usually I make it known that I am not racist, don't share the views, and its left at that.  One-on-one I'll put forth more of a challenge, but even that gets to be very draining. The trade off is that sometimes you do get some seeds planted, and later you start to see those seeds take root.

      •  warrior does not mean one has to scream (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gulfgal98, Yasuragi

        for me it is fighting for what is right - what tools one chooses depend on the situation. Gandhi was a warrior.


        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:00:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was not a real warrior on Thanksgiving (3+ / 0-)

          which is probably why I am still feeling so upset over the incident.  The offender was an older person who already knew exactly how I felt and chose purposely to ignore my comment.  In a tightly packed room full of 10-12 people, perhaps it was not the right time to make my point, but still I wish I had done more and it is still bothering me.  After so long, I honestly felt that perhaps my previous feelings had made some inroads, but Thanksgiving showed me that nothing had really changed.  

          "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

          by gulfgal98 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 02:03:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Holiday gatherings are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            particularly difficult. I've chosen to avoid going to visit with certain relatives who have strong Christian fundamentalist beliefs.  I can't ignore the things they say, they aren't going to change, so frankly i don't want to be around them.  Other family members who don't necessarily have the same politics i do, but who don't spew hate are much more comfortable to be around.

            Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

            by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 02:26:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I am 99% okay with this... (0+ / 0-)

    ... but this part:

    Do you own any artwork by people of color?

    How often do you go to films or plays produced and/or directed by people of color?

    ... got me. I don't particularly care about the colour or background of the artist or the director/producer... and I'm not about to impose a quota system on my collections.
  •  Thanks for This - White Denial Kills (3+ / 0-)

    And it always has.

    What I find it so hard for white folks to understand (and being one em, ya know, I've been around more than a few), including white liberals, is the centrality of race and racism to the lives of people of color; their daily experiences, their realities in the job market, housing market, schools, etc. Where white libs and progressives have the luxury of believing that "class is the real issue" folks of color know that race operates both in an interconnected way to class, but also INDEPENDENT of it. Even folks of color who are relatively stable in class terms face racism, profiling, subprime loans, shittier health outcomes (even when they have access to affordable care), and worse schools. And any white liberal who doesn't already KNOW that, and understand the race-specific, racist reasons for it, is no progressive at all. I don't care how they vote.

    I also want to say something about Making Whiteness Visible, as someone interviewed pretty prominently in it. Shakti Butler, the director, is a genius of pretty much unparalleled ability and insights. I have been interviewed by lots of people and told certain stories many times. But there is something about Shakti, and this project, that got to me. And so in the last segment of my interview, when I was talking about my kids, I began to choke up. You can just barely see it, as I think she cut away right before the tears really came. I thank her for that, and by that, I don't mean cutting away, I mean, for getting to me at that level. Sometimes, we white folks who DO commit our lives to this struggle get very comfortable thinking about racism in abstract terms, academically almost, without connecting to the real wound that white supremacy -- at the societal level -- does, to people of color and to us, as well. And until we can FEEL that impact at a deep and visceral level, there is no hope for this country. I truly believe that, and I thank you Denise for posting this diary. It is much needed.

    Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

    by tim wise on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:16:47 PM PST

    •  thank you tim. You work has been intstrumental (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in my education of my students around issues of privilege.
      It's also been important here at Daily Kos.

      Wish you were posting more frequently :)

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:19:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seconding Denise's wish that you'd (0+ / 0-)

      post here more often.  You -- along with Denise -- are one of my heroes.  Would love to see more of you, and more of your presence in diaries like this.  

      Thank you for all your hard work.

      "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

      by Yasuragi on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:47:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary to see on Daily Kos. (0+ / 0-)

    I've started a few Race diaries on my local message board. (Then hung around to moderate, just as you have, Denise Oliver Velez. It's one thing to participate, it's another to give life to it!)

    One of the nice things about a local message board is that you leave your keyboard and the people you've been interacting with are on the roads you drive, in the line at the bank, and sitting next to at the playground.  

    I think it softens the sense of other, when you've had the anonymous conversation with someone of a different background behind a username and avatar. Afterwards, every face on the street could be that person you made the connection with.

    Getting started on the internet is easier than doing it face to face, so it's good practice. The hard part is following it up IRL, but it can be done.


    "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

    by New Jersey Boy on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:02:24 PM PST

  •  Well, Dee -- I'm here 'way past anything (0+ / 0-)

    like a reasonable hour, and after most comments had timed out.

    Glad you posted this.  Sorry it wasn't more kindly treated in comments.

    Took the IAT for the second time (first time was probably at your urging, too).  First time it was only blacks and whites.  I scored a high preference for blacks.  This time it had the four categories.  I scored all four groups in the middle, with Asians at the top (surprised me, but since I was raised with three Japanese families as core friends it makes some sense), then blacks, "Hispanics" (don't like the term -- am I wrong?), and then whites.

    The answer to all the questions posed in your diary is "yes."  Well, that's cheating.  Here:

    Ask yourself how often do you read anything written by people of color.

    Do you own any artwork by people of color?

    How often do you go to films or plays produced and/or directed by people of color?
         As often as any others.

    How integrated are social gatherings you attend?
         Not so much any more, living in a mostly white area.  But I grew up in a predominantly black and Latino neighborhood, and lived there 'til 2000.  So the answer back then was "very."

    How integrated is your neighborhood or school?
         Again, now: not so much.  Prior to 2000, very.  And the schools I attended were, respectively, 70% black, 99% black and Latino, and about 50% mixed.  (Is that answer clear?  It reads funny to me.  Generally, I was "in the minority," or part of a well-mixed group.  Answers in ascending order of grade.)

    Who are the people of color who are part of your social networks?
         My surrogate family (have known them all my life: they "adopted" me after I my parents passed and I no longer had a sibling living nearby); a couple of friends.  Was different in the city.

    How often do you discuss race or racism with them?
          Moderately often.

    How frequently have you openly confronted someone you know making racist remarks and explained to the person why their remarks are unacceptable to you?

    How much do you know about Black, Latino, Native American or Asian American/Pacific Islander history?
          A fair amount -- inasmuch as I'm not a great student of history.  Though someone once asked me, back when Trivial Pursuit was popular, why I knew all the answers to the Black History questions.  ;)  (I told him it was American history -- Our generation's history, and he ought to get up to speed.)

    You know me well: what can I do better?  What should I do better?  There's always better.   I'm more than willing to be told.

    "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

    by Yasuragi on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:30:08 PM PST

  •  Just looked at my PM Update from (0+ / 0-)

    Campaign for America's Future and this post was listed. Have to say I was happy I'd already read it and was familiar with DOV's writings. I tried to comment yesterday, but I don't think I did it right. Sigh, I'm new to the comment function - mostly a dedicated reader/lurker.

  •  Found this on my tumblr dashboard (0+ / 0-)

    I really hope this continues to go viral because it is perfect. So glad to see you used Peggy McIntosh's Unpacking White Privilege article. This was the only thing that managed to convince my very sweet southern color-blind racist mother that white privilege actually existed. And in a lot of ways it still wasn't enough but the seed was planted. She will come around.

  •  I've recced this (0+ / 0-)

    And I promise I'll come back to this. You're right: Every white person needs to make time for consciousness-raising and do their very best to be part of the solution.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:55:58 AM PST

    •  I watched the documentary (0+ / 0-)

      I will come back and check out the links later.

      Thanks, Denise.

      I'll admit something to you: Those tests you can give yourself to see whether you are unconsciously racist? I have avoided them so far because I don't really want to know to what degree I've absorbed the negativity toward  blackness that is pounded into people in the US. However, I do want to continue to be conscious of the need to oppose racist thinking and also to be conscious as much as possible of the pitfalls my thinking can fall into. I consider myself a fairly enlightened and conscious person, but I know that I also benefit from white privilege. It's unavoidable, but needs to stop being merely an unmarked category - the norm.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 01:23:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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