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Larry Pope (r), CEO of Smithfield Foods
Like most folks in my circle, most of our bunch shrugged our shoulders at Paula Deen saying the n-word. Like most black folks, we just assume most white folks are saying it all the time. Even folks we know and like. But she got caught. God forbid you say that word and find yourself, as she is, being called a racist. She lost the sponsorship of, for example, Smithfield Foods, which anyone in North Carolina will tell you is as close to a modern-day antebellum plantation as it gets. They have no problem with running a racist institution, so long as one doesn't say the N-word.

Which gets to the core of the problem about America and racism. If you call someone by a racial epithet, to their face, in biting, hating anger, you're not a racist. You're prejudiced and a bigot, but that doesn't make you a racist.

You see, racism requires power. Racism = prejudice + power. You have to be in a position to do something about your bigotry, willing to do it, and then do it, knowingly or unknowingly. To be a racist, your bigotry must be paired with your willingness and ability to act.

So you see, SmithField Foods chief executive Larry Pope has never been recorded saying the N-word in his entire career under current reporting. Nor has he, as far as we know, joined the Ku Klux Klan or lynched anyone. But in 2010 he did lay off 4000 people in his industrial pig farms (all black or brown), in order to preserve the compensation of the top executives (all white, except 1). He said at the time he felt terrible about that. I'm sure, as he looked out from his office tower into that sea of black and brown already super poor former employees, I'm sure he thinks to himself how wrong it would be to call those folks a racial epithet in a legal deposition like Paula Deen did. That's why he fired her.  

Final tally:

Minority factory workers: -4000
Old white ladies: -1

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (142+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moviemeister76, skillet, leonard145b, TFinSF, ericlewis0, Mary Mike, triv33, buddabelly, cv lurking gf, zerelda, ferg, raboof, young voter, wasatch, TomP, here4tehbeer, HCKAD, slowbutsure, Vita Brevis, LaFeminista, mygreekamphora, most peculiar mama, bluesheep, Catesby, icebergslim, maryabein, Youffraita, mamamedusa, leftykook, DefendOurConstitution, also mom of 5, Matilda, Hirodog, BYw, radarlady, PapaChach, koosah, DBoon, 2thanks, TealTerror, Dahankster, PLS, Egalitare, middleagedhousewife, rapala, SaintC, howabout, Shotput8, BlueDragon, Dem Beans, Aunt Martha, bnasley, flatford39, Big River Bandido, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, SpecialKinFlag, peregrine kate, congenitalefty, AoT, ratcityreprobate, ridemybike, pat bunny, theKgirls, Kevskos, GAS, raptavio, pixxer, Glinda, Dretutz, implicate order, Chinton, collardgreens, greycat, sturunner, Joes Steven, maggiejean, DBunn, allensl, Lost Left Coaster, TracieLynn, Nulwee, keirdubois, shaharazade, old wobbly, Rick Aucoin, Bryce in Seattle, Pale Jenova, AaronInSanDiego, TrueBlueMajority, Aunt Pat, LamontCranston, svboston, serendipityisabitch, Eric Nelson, Batya the Toon, countwebb, Sun Tzu, SanFernandoValleyMom, edsbrooklyn, squarewheel, anodnhajo, marina, deha, flowerfarmer, p gorden lippy, johanus, gulfgal98, unfangus, tegrat, pitbullgirl65, newpioneer, mookins, democracy inaction, shanikka, Jaime Frontero, IrishGreg, OldSoldier99, CroneWit, retLT, FrY10cK, Joieau, Spirit of Life, Chaddiwicker, Dirtandiron, whoknu, Dave925, Carol in San Antonio, Shockwave, MartyM, jck, madgranny, blueoasis, RUNDOWN, Raggedy Ann, EdSF, Mistral Wind, Meteor Blades, SolarMom, splashy, TexDem, Denise Oliver Velez, TKO333
  •  I think there are good reasons not to use (32+ / 0-)

    language that most people will find offensive and that serves no useful purpose. The N word certainly falls in that category. However, I think that I understand and agree with your point. The really damaging impacts of racism are to be found all over the place in economic conditions, housing patterns, the criminal justice system, etc. The classic liberal outrage over language all too often expends all the energy and allows people to think that if we just don't talk about it will all go away.

  •  Good diary! (32+ / 0-)

    Except for the part that assumes he had the guts to look at the people he fired as they left. That just seems a bit too unbelievable.

    ....no longer in SF.... -9.00, -7.38

    by TFinSF on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:06:27 AM PDT

  •  Agreed, Racism Is Distinguished From Personal (19+ / 0-)

    prejudice, by the systematic use of race to provide society's rewards and punishments, based upon racial distinctions. The United States form of racism is all that more pernicious because of its use to justify Chattel Slavery, to build and maintain wealth and power.

  •  If racism requires power and we are looking (25+ / 0-)

    at the actions of SmithField shouldn't we then look at the actions of Paula Deen in running her business?

    The whole thing started because of Paula Deen's deposition  in a lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment.  

    I think companies like SmithField, Walmart, and Target are looking beyond the N-word and towards the actions by Paula Deen and her brother.

    SmithField is probably a good match for Paula Deen in how they treat their workers and their methods of raising hogs.  But SmithField is looking to sell their business and they don't want the taint of scandal.

    Mandela was mostly in solitary for what, 18 years? It's sad being lonely and all, but torture is not the word for it. by doc2

    by Shotput8 on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:19:06 AM PDT

  •  Disagree. One can be a racist without the (6+ / 0-)

    power.

    "Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do..... Go back to your command, and try to think what are we going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do." Grant

    by shigeru on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:20:54 AM PDT

  •  Point taken but am so tired of (30+ / 0-)

    the Paula Deen thing being isolated to her having said a word a couple of decades ago. Since her deposition came to light, the issue has been all the other stuff that's come out which I think fits your definition :

    You see, racism requires power. Racism = prejudice + power. You have to be in a position to do something about your bigotry, willing to do it, and then do it, knowingly or unknowingly. To be a racist, your bigotry must be paired with your willingness and ability to act.
    The work conditions the plaintiff describes; the fantasy Southern plantation style wedding replete with symbolic if not actual slaves; her lamentation about all that her ancestors lost by not being able to own people any more; the story that was always there but I didn't know about how she was responsible as a child for the incarceration of a black woman after she, Paula Deen, brutalized the woman's daughter....all of these things illustrate her racism. Not the word she uttered.

    That said, I completely agree with you that one doesn't have to utter the word to be the real racist. It's all those other actions attributable to Deen that make her one. Smithfield too. Both can be true.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:24:50 AM PDT

  •  You're conflating racism with privilege. (5+ / 0-)

    Pope may be racist but laying off 4000 people is no proof of that (unless he laid off only black or brown people and left the the white factory floor workers to stay).

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:26:02 AM PDT

  •  You have to laugh [or cry] at this Rasmussen Poll (12+ / 0-)

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:28:16 AM PDT

  •  One more reason to boycott factory farms. (11+ / 0-)

    They are torture factories for all involved. Hire all those folks on small farms/ranches where everyone, including the owner, make a similar amount. We have many of those in my region.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:32:17 AM PDT

  •  that's really not how we use the term. (5+ / 0-)

    it is more or less synonymous with prejudice.  you can be as prescriptivist as you want, of course, but merely stipulating a definition, or say it ought to be that way, but that doesn't make it the case.

  •  Link to where the laid off workers were choosen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical, Sparhawk, koseighty

    because they were black or brown please.  In the event, and it's usually the case, that there is no "smoking gun" memo or something that shows this is the case what is the indirect evidence?  

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:34:30 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for moving the conversation forward (4+ / 0-)

    You raise some excellent points on some complicated issues.

    There was a Ramussen survey that came out recently about how many people think blacks are more racist than whites, and there's been a lot of noise around the word "cracker."

    The power/privilege point is a critical one, and they are sadly often conflated with race in our country.

    So while I may be pre-judged based on the color of my skin, my age or my weight, it is still a fundamentally different experience, because I am white.

    If an African American teenager at my daughter's high school makes a rude comment based on those prejudgements/prejudices it is wrong, but not in the same way.

  •  Just to be clear.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, SoCalSal

    Racism=prejudice, or unchecked ignorance of systemic privilege/advantage, plus institutionalized power.

    I clarify the bit about the power because obviously in individual instances, the power imbalance can be a matter of who has the most physical strength, or who has a weapon. I've been jumped, beaten, broken into and robbed-at-gunpoint, all and only by people of color (all separate instances, all out of the blue). I may or may not have been targeted because of my skin color (kind of doubt it), but even if I were, it would not mean I was a victim of "racism." Yes, in those moments, I had less power, but I still generally hold more institutionalized power (except in cases where heterosexism may have complicated the issue).

    In other words, I have never had reason to fear that systems of government or institutions treat me less well because of the color of my skin. That is privilege.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:43:51 AM PDT

  •  A small comment: (16+ / 0-)

    In your first paragraph, you said, "Like most black folks, we just assume most white folks are saying it all the time. Even folks we know and like."

    For whatever it is worth to you, I think that is a false assumption. I don't say it, and don't even know anyone who does.

    •  I struggled with that statement also. (7+ / 0-)

      I haven't heard a white person use that word since I was a kid and I heard adults use it.  

      But, then again, he can assume they're saying it.

      •  I would imagine it's mostly regional. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpecialKinFlag, Kevskos, koseighty

        I haven't heard it for decades (apart from Paula Dean and rap music) - the last person I knew who used it was one of my grandmothers, back in the 80s and before.  Even then, of course, it was cringeworthy.

      •  I've heard white folks use it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi

        And then quickly justify its usage by saying "It didn't use to be a bad word." (Well, technically in Europe, true, but the n-word in the states has always held more power behind it, so false.)

        Maybe it comes down to the difference between a Northern racist and a Southern racist. A Northern racist will go to great lengths to call you "politically correct" if you call them on their racism. A Southern racist will just say "Yeah, you're right. I don't like n---."

        At least with the latter you know what you are getting.

        And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

        by Pale Jenova on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:23:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Up here in Michigan, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pale Jenova

          it's, sadly, fairly common to hear that word amongst white people.  They usually justify it similarly to how you mentioned, by saying "Well, it doesn't mean black people, it just means ignorant people.  There are white ones too."  Nevermind that, last I checked, that word is taken from the word "negro", which means black.

      •  When I was a child in the 1950s... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty

        I heard it. My family lived in a blue-collar suburb in the industrial north. There were no black people around us. The children I played with would have little reason to use it because why would they be talking about people they didn't really know existed?

        Where did I hear it? In a rhyme we used to pick teams or who was going to be "it" first in a game of tag.

        Eenie, meeny, miney, mo,
        Catch a ...... by the toe.
        If he hollers, let him go.
        Eenie, meeny, miney, mo.

        My mother heard us chanting that and let me know in no uncertain terms that we didn't use that word. She went to the other parents on the block and before long, all the children in my neighborhood substituted "catch a tiger by the toe."

        Thing is, the kids who were using that rhyme, (at least me) didn't even know what the "n-word" meant. It was just a sound that fit into the rhyme.

        By the time I was in second or third grade, I knew what it meant and why we didn't say it.

        But I can honestly say that beyond that preschool, childhood experience, I have never spoken that word unless it was in the context of discussing that word.

        I think that the majority of Northern whites could say the same.

        That doesn't mean that nobody in that group is racist. There are plenty of racists who have never used the "n-word."

        It's not the words that make the difference. It's what you're meaning by them.

        Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

        by elsaf on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 11:27:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's a prejudice, actually. (11+ / 0-)

      My general assumption is most white people are bigots. Especially if they are old, male, and rural. Some aren't but most are. That prejudice was built from experience. My prejudices give me a clue about that reason.

      The difference is, I'm in no position to do anything about that. And wouldn't try to, because I knew the deck is not stacked in my favor even if I wanted to. This is America and I'm not ignorant of its history or who has the advantages in this society.

      That's life. I can live with it without much trouble.

      Its the power and the money and laws that concern me much more.

      •  It's a defense mechanism (4+ / 0-)

        I tried to not use the same assumption, and it took me many years to learn I'm better off initially not "unilaterally disarming."

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 08:35:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And it's going to flavour your interactions with (6+ / 0-)

        them.  I certainly can't blame you for that assumption, as I'm sure your life circumstances contributed to it.  But I would suggest that it's changing, year after year, towards a point where there is ever less bigotry, especially among younger people.  That doesn't mean racism is disappearing, or even lessening, since racism is built into society, even in areas where there is no animus or bigotry. It has to be recognized and deliberately dismantled, piece by piece.

      •  You are Correct it is Prejudice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit

        I think the use of n word is regional. I grow up in Detroit and was raced by my White Grandparents who were born in the early 20th Century, so I knew a whole lot of Middle Class old White people. Absolutely no-one every used that word. It simply is not used by Middle Class White people. There may be a few exceptions here and there but I guarantee you it is not be casually and routinely used when Black people aren't around.

        Now I'm not saying there isn't prejudice, but it it more subtle based upon stereotypical expectations, not outright animosity or contempt. For example my Grandmother would say "She's Black, but she's nice," as if that was a big surprise. My Grandfather, on the other hand was pretty Progressive for his time. He grew up dirt poor and put himself through Pharmacy School. In the 40's and 50's he owned a drugstore in Downtown Detroit and  broke with convention by welcoming Black customers, which was not done back then. He got into arguments with friends and White shop owners in the area who said that he would hurt business, but he said he didn't care because it wasn't right to turn someone away because of the color of their skin.

      •  How (0+ / 0-)

        is your prejudice based on skin color different from racism?

        And don't you think that when you always automatically assume that someone hates you that it will be easy to justify hating them?

        “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

        by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 01:11:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't say it either (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dfe

      except when directly quoting, and I have a hard time saying it then.  I've never heard any of my friends say it.

      I am not going to take issue with the diarist's statement, (a) because it comes from a perspective that I don't and can't share, and thus I have no basis for contradicting it, and (b) the subset "me and my friends" is not necessarily representative of "most white folks."

  •  "racism requires power" (8+ / 0-)

    More than enough to T & R.
     

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 08:18:39 AM PDT

  •  We've had a huge outbreak of crime in Oakland. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, anime1973, koseighty, dfe, gjohnsit

    Some of the black perpetrators say that they purse
    snatch, rob, and home invade Asians mostly, because they are small and don't fight back, and are known to keep large amounts of money/gold jewelry at home or in their purses.  

    Our local police have told people not to line up shoes outside the front door, because homes have been selected for invasion and robbery based on this Asian custom.  

    Is this racist?  It involves physical power, and not political or economic power.    It definitely is sad.

  •  I know almost nothing about Smithfield (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal

    and the details regarding its products and business, labor and environmental practices (all the more so because, being from a semi-observant Jewish family, I didn't exactly grow up eating pork products). So excuse me for asking a naive question. But were these layoffs of almost exclusively black and Latino workers motivated by racism, or by greed? Put another way, were most if not all of the laid off workers white, would Smithfield likely have done the same thing? Could what companies like Smithfield do be viewed as heartless capitalism run amok that just happens to have effectively racist outcomes?

    I had an argument with a really smart friend recently in which he contended that America's original and biggest sin is racism, and I contended that it's classism (i.e. exploitative capitalism). I think we're both right and both wrong.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 08:49:04 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for distinguishing racism from bigotry (9+ / 0-)

    For some reason, this is a difficult concept for people.

    As I've said before the 3 faces of the oppression of people of color are: racism, bigotry, and privilege. Three distinct aspects of an overwhelming system.

  •  It's a caste thing, dontcha know? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    These honchos really believe in the notion of caste.  They thing that people are just born inferior.  

    It's the only way that they can make these choices.

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 08:56:01 AM PDT

  •  With all due respect (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ridemybike, newdem1960, chaboard, gjohnsit
    Like most black folks, we just assume most white folks are saying it all the time.
    I can't speak for most white folks, but in my circle and the circle I travel in, the "N" word is not an acceptable term.  If the truth be told, it hasn't been for a good number of years.  

    Neither has kike, polack, chink, spic, wop, dago, kraut, slant eye or any of the other terms that were once commonplace.  

    Yes, part of America has evolved.  Part of it is still in the mud.  

    Anecdotal evidence can be unreliable, but it does exist.  

    racism requires power. Racism = prejudice + power.
    I have to think on this one.  To separate the 2 in some way makes one less odious than the other.  That just doesn't seem right.  
    •  Not necessarily less odious in principle (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pitbullgirl65

      but less capable of having far-reaching odious consequences, and thus less odious in a consequentialist sense.

      I don't see why that wouldn't seem right.  It's exactly right.

      •  I see your point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit

        But power comes in all different degrees.  Not everyone has the capability of the "big gesture" like the president of Smithfield.  

        One's prejudice can also move into racism even with the simple act of not holding a door for a black person behind  you.   Inconsequential to the individual's life.  Nevertheless, power was exerted and someone was deprived of respect.  I guess my point is we all have some power to a degree.  Racism isn't exclusive only to the powerful.  

        •  Umm no. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BroadwayBaby1

          See, right there is one of those "we're all guilty" sort of things that doesn't pass the smell test. See, housing or banking or employment discrimination isn't the same thing as not holding the door for somebody. No. No. No. No. No its not.

        •  If you are of a class that holds power (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BroadwayBaby1

          your actions and words carry greater emotional weight than they would if you weren't.  This is true across the board, whether or not you personally hold (or perceive yourself as holding) any power of your own.

          It's made more complicated by the fact that there are several different axes of power and lack thereof; there's race but there's also gender, wealth, class, and a host of other things before one ever gets to the individual.

          Me not holding a door for a black man has a very different weight from him not holding a door for me.  This would be doubly true if I were male.

  •  power is relative (5+ / 0-)

    my initial reaction was to question whether or not racism requires power.

    the white lady on the bus who looks at the black woman with her child on the bus and thinks "must be a welfare queen...why do these people keep having children?" is a stone cold racist...but where is the power, i did think to myself.

    could the white lady say things to the black lady (or more importantly, her child) that would hurt the black lady more than the black lady could say something to hurt white lady? yes. and thats power.

    but then i began to think further..."white privilege" in itself is power. its not the power of a Koch or Romney or Kennedy. but its more power than most black folks have.

    as always, right on the money Mr BBB.

    also, for those trying to give the smithfield dude the benefit of the doubt, what he did could be called "Structural racism." His motivation was more likely greed than an intention to take away 4000 jobs from people of color...but the result took 4000 jobs from people of color. The action may not have had a racial intent, but it sure as hell had a racial outcome

    I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

    by Evolution on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:13:47 AM PDT

  •  To suggest that minorities or powerless... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anime1973, gjohnsit

    cannot engage in racism is evidence of the theoretical postmodern version of things that flies in the face of reality.

    If anyone discriminates based on race, then there is racism. It is not limited in scope, but applicable to all.

    Article 1 of United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1963) states:

    Discrimination between human beings on the ground of race, colour or ethnic origin is an offence to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and as a fact capable of disturbing peace and security among peoples.

    http://www.un-documents.net/...

    In other words, power is not indispensable.

    •  The wonder of the English language (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dretutz, Kevskos, Chinton, Batya the Toon, Chi

      is that there are multiple meanings to words.

      The diarist had done us the courtesy of detailing the definition of "Racism" he was using.

      A pity you chose to take exception to that rather than pay attention to the rest of the diary.

      We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

      by raptavio on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:29:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think that text supports your point (0+ / 0-)

      If discrimination as a violation of human rights doesn't require power, what is it?

      Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

      by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:42:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It does not require take power to offend human... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit

        dignity, even if power may make it easier to do so.

        Or are you saying that every instance of human agency is an act of power?

        Racism is alleged against people simply for holding an opinion or belief without ever exercising power.

        Rassmussen just did a poll that found:

        Among black Americans, 31% think most blacks are racist, while 24% consider most whites racist and 15% view most Hispanics that way.
        http://www.rasmussenreports.com/...

        The average black person seems to understand that it does not necessarily require power for racism to exist or be practiced.
         

        •  in turn (0+ / 0-)
          It does not require take power to offend human... dignity, even if power may make it easier to do so.
          Actually, that's irrelevant. If we're trying to understand what the declaration meant by "discrimination," debating what does or doesn't offend human dignity is simply off point, all the more since the term originally at issue was "racism." ("All X is Y" does not imply "All Y is X.")
          Or are you saying that every instance of human agency is an act of power?
          No, I'm not saying that. Maybe if you had replied directly to what I actually did say?
          Racism is alleged against people simply for holding an opinion or belief without ever exercising power.
          "Racism is alleged" seems tortuous, but I would say (agree?) that a common definition of racism doesn't entail any exercise of power.
          The average black person seems to understand that it does not necessarily require power for racism to exist or be practiced.
          I would not use the word "understand," but I think it probably is true that most black Americans do not narrowly adhere to bbb's preferred definition. Although the Rasmussen citation doesn't quite prove that, to me it seems far more on point than your previous quotation.

          Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

          by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:22:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Racism in the real world... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gjohnsit

            is largely manifested by discrimination, but it is not exclusive to it. It is another way to look at the matter. It does not require debate in my opinion.

            It seems you essentially agree with my original point anyway, as you say:

            I would say (agree?) that a common definition of racism doesn't entail any exercise of power.
            •  what specifically was your "original point"? (0+ / 0-)
              To suggest that minorities or powerless... cannot engage in racism is evidence of the theoretical postmodern version of things that flies in the face of reality.
              I think that's silly. These definitions of racism focus on different phenomena, all of which exist in reality, none of which claims to describe every important aspect of reality. I don't agree with commenters on any side who construe it as a fatal error to adopt the wrong one. (And like Batya, I don't think that has anything to do with relativism or postmodernism.)

              Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

              by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 11:43:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Think what you like. (0+ / 0-)

                I do not need to convince you of anything.

                What you say seems convoluted to me.

                However, seems you are doing the very opposite of what you just said, that there are numerous interpretations that exist in reality yet are not all encompassing, then dismissing one interpretation (mine) as fatal error.

                I don't think I said anything about fatal error, just that the view of racism requiring power is, to me, postmodern and relativistic.

                •  I don't know what you're saying (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm happy to stipulate that you didn't say anything about "fatal error."

                  Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

                  by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 11:56:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It runs both ways... (0+ / 0-)

                    and my comments come from how I understand the implications of what is said.

                    You said:

                    commenters on any side who construe it as a fatal error to adopt the wrong one.
                    I have no idea then who you were referring to, but this is in the context of your disagreement with my position as a commenter that offered a critical view of its definition of racism.
  •  Very, very well argued, my good man! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dretutz, shaharazade

    Succinct and to the point and deeply thought-provoking.  This diary takes my breath away.  

    Too few like this these days.

    "In America white privilege is what this country is built on and if you don't think so its because fish are the last ones to realize that the ocean exists." -commenter on a HONY photo

    by Glinda on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:35:17 AM PDT

  •  felt her slavery renactment wait staff was worse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    timewarp

    the whole wanting to use an all African American staff dressed up in pre civil war attire waiting on white folks at a wedding was the MORTAL SIN / Most Grievous thing out if it all

    though am caucasian (with questionable on "only" caucasians in the family tree) so judging what was worse about all her issues might not be accurate since unable to view it from the African American perspecti9ve/ experience

  •  Great diary but I disagree a bit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    Racism requires that the subjected party be a member of a historically oppressed racial group. The person or group committing the racism may or may not have some sort of power, but they must be a member of privileged race, i.e., one that has never been systemically or socially oppressed in that society.

    The most powerful man in the world is a member of a historically oppressed race. By your definition no one can be racist toward him...and we all know that the racists came out of the closets in droves after his election. A toothless hillbilly without a dollar or a pair shoes can be a racist toward the POTUS. Obama can be prejudiced against such a person but he cannot be racist against same.

  •  Thanks for this reminder that racism is about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    power. I will bring that to the front of the brain. I have incorporated that distinction in the past, and revised my worldview because of it, but it has not been reinforced recently.

    Regarding this: "we just assume most white folks are saying it all the time."

    On the chance that was not entirely tongue-in-cheek: from where I sit (I'm the vanilla sort) I don't believe I've heard "the n-word" uttered by any human being in my presence for decades. (Youtube videos of standup comics are another matter.)

    We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
    Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

    by pixxer on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:43:08 AM PDT

  •  Yo. (0+ / 0-)

    "The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it.". Abbie Hoffman

    by Joes Steven on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:43:58 AM PDT

  •  that's offensive (0+ / 0-)
    Like most black folks, we just assume most white folks are saying it all the time.
    I don't think that is true. I think you are projecting, not just on white people, but on other black people too.

    “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

    by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:44:40 AM PDT

  •  And it's not racism (0+ / 0-)
    But in 2010 he did lay off 4000 people in his industrial pig farms (all black or brown), in order to preserve the compensation of the top executives (all white, except 1).
    It's called "class war". He didn't care if they were all black, brown, or white. The only color he cares about is green.

    “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

    by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:47:28 AM PDT

    •  It can be and was both. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pale Jenova, shaharazade
      •  If so (0+ / 0-)

        then when this happens to white people for the same reasons, does that make it not racist by definition?

        “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

        by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:57:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then I would say that it is only about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Batya the Toon

          class. However, when you have a situation where there is a clear racial imbalance in the people occupying the lowest paying jobs, you can't disregard the racial element.

          The Jim Crow south worked because the white elite were able to use racism to play off the white and black working classes against each other. That is still in operation.

          •  Then racism is defined (0+ / 0-)

            not by words, deeds, or intentions, but simply by census.

            That is what you are saying.

            “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

            by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:10:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No it is not what I am saying. (0+ / 0-)

              If you look at a particular industry, of which food processing is a prime example, and find a consistent racial distribution in specific types jobs, then it becomes reasonable to infer that it does not follow the distribution of the population in the surrounding community.

              •  It follows immigration flows, not racism (0+ / 0-)

                In the mid-1800's the Irish were treated as bad as any brown-skinned immigrant is today. They often became the dominant population in areas like railroad building and textile mills.
                  Why? Because they were brown-skinned? No. Because they were poor and without political allies, and thus easy to exploit.

                  The same thing happened in the late 1800's and early 1900's with Italian, Polish and other eastern European immigrants.
                    It wasn't because they were brown or black. It was because they were poor and often didn't speak the language, thus making them easy to exploit.

                  Now the majority of immigrants are latinos. They are usually poor and don't speak english. Often they are illegal. All these things make them easy to exploit, and none of it has to do with their skin color.

                “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

                by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:46:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Bad Boy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HCKAD

    I argued for years that people were using the words incorrectly.

    When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion. - Abraham Lincoln

    by EntrWriter on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:59:06 AM PDT

  •  Automation = racism? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not too sure how slaughtering pigs could be automated.    Maybe it can?

    My employer bought some new equipment so we don't have to hire as many temps.  Fortunately, we didn't have to lay off any full time employees.

    But some temps have lost some hours.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:00:11 AM PDT

  •  the idea that racism requires power to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koseighty, ladasue, gjohnsit

    exist is bullshit. This is a definition to combat the idea of "reverse racism" which should just be called "racism". Racism from any group towards any group regardless of power or power structures shouldn't be tolerated. Giving a pass to minorities for racist behaviors, actions, and words is pure bullshit. All that does is create resentment that gives other groups a feeling of justification for their racism.

    •  This comment right here. Read it over and over. (7+ / 0-)

      So for those of you reading this thread, here is an honest comment from someone who clearly does not understand what racism is. I'll bet you this person also believes in a "colorblind society" for example. Where everyone just magically stops noticing race. This comment is eerily honest about how a good chunk of white folks who probably are good hearted people think about racism.

      For this person, racism is intensely personal thing. You know, somebody calls you a nigger. Or somebody calls you a honkey. Or spic or whatever. You're offended! My God! How rude. If only every one in America was intensely polite, why, we wouldn't have any race issues, now would we?

      You see, to explain the example I used in this piece, racism isn't about being offensive. Nor is about being rude or being a jackass. We get caught up in these things because those are the trigger words that set off what's going on in the first place. The point is there is a reason why at Smithfield there are a bunch of black and brown people, expendable and poorly paid are at the bottom, and its executives, well paid and pampered are at the top.

      If it was just about greed and class, then you'd see people of various colors at both ends. But that isn't the case. Why?

      This commenter would come to the defense of the folks at the top: "It doesn't mean they are racist people!!!" for example. Right...because nobody was shouting "get out niggers and wetbacks!" while delivering the pink slips.

      The reason is that there is a systemic problem in America that keeps people of color at one end and white people at the other. This has been here since the founding and it didn't disappear when some white folks had a change of heart and decided to be nice people.

      This CEO would tell us he'd gladly employ a bunch of poor white people if he could. But there aren't any to employ. Never occurs to him to think to himself...why is that? Why are all my factory workers of color and everyone up here with me is white? What's going on? And when people start to think about THAT and why that is, then they are truly, honestly, tackling the issue of race.

      Good behavior and friendless are, of course, nice things to have. Don't want to dismiss that.

      •  It is the basis for Justice Roberts glib statement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brooklynbadboy

        ..about affirmative action: "If you want to end dicrimination according to race; end disrcmination according to race" - (paraphrased)

        Completley ignoring that the first few rungs on the "ladder to success" (as it's been described), are and have been missing.

      •  Combined with the myth of a colorblind society (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Vita Brevis

        is the lie that here in America, everyone is equal, with an equal opportunity for success, if one is  only willing to work hard, play by the rules, etc, etc.   The unspoken idea behind that is that the reason that _ people are poor or can't speak proper english or in jail etc is because they will not work hard enough, go to school, play by the rules etc.  Which is why, so many white people who would never say spic or nigger or kike out loud who subscribe to the America is a colorblind equal classless society myth are in fact racists at heart.  

        •  at heart (0+ / 0-)
          Which is why, so many white people who would never say spic or nigger or kike out loud who subscribe to the America is a colorblind equal classless society myth are in fact racists at heart.
           It's attitudes like this is why America will never have that great discussion about race: whites are guilty until proven innocent.
             So what more needs to be said?

          “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

          by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 01:34:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you assume? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vita Brevis

            From my comment that I am not white?  If you did, you would be wrong.  

            And it is my belief, that until white people are able to talk about their own inner often unconscious racist attitudes (which often lead to oppressive actions) with ourselves, we can never really have that great discussion about race, whatever it is.  

            •  It makes no difference (0+ / 0-)

              whether you are white or not.
                If you automatically put people on the defensive with the assumed accusation that they are a racist, then the discussion will go nowhere.
                 I know that I have no intention of discussing my attitude towards race with you or anyone else who demands that I prove myself worthy beforehand. I'm sure that 90% of the people out there feel the same.

               Unfortunately a lot of the people commenting in this diary automatically assume that all white people are racists. No discussion of value will ever happen when that is the opening platform. All debates from that starting point will merely be "preaching to the choir". They get to reinforce their own beliefs, but never include the segments of the public that they need to reach out to.

                 Fortunately, I honestly believe that most minorities are far less prejudiced than that. Thus I hold onto hope, hope that I do not find in this diary.

              “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

              by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 02:24:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have a story (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Chi, Vita Brevis

                about my own inner unconscious bigotry.  

                About 30 years ago, I was eating some pizza with some friends.  I was telling a story about trying to sell a car to someone who just would not accept my bottom line price.  And I said "He kept trying to jew me down."  It was the first and last time I ever used that term or anything like it and I was instantly horrified by the look of shock which went over my friends' faces (neither of whom were jewish).  Time just stood still. They didn't say anything and they didn't have to -- it was one of those moments when it was not necessary.  They obviously judged me harshly and were not wrong to do so--I would've reacted the same way if the situation had been reversed. I really had no explanation or justification to offer.

                At that time, I considered myself--and was thought to be by everyone who knew to be a progressive, liberal forward thinking person.  I had worked on Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign and had protested in front of the apartheid era South African embassy.  I ran in social circles which included people of all ethnicities and races.  I cared passionately about social justice.  I didn't grow up in a family where people used ethnic or racial slurs -- but obviously, I had imbibed something, somewhere along the way and it was time to take a hard look at myself.  

                I was also in therapy at that time.  So, at my next appointment, I took the story to my therapist along with my humiliation and shame and befuddlement at myself.  We talked about inappropriate behavior stemming unacknowledged unconscious misplaced anger, shadow-issues (I was feeling pretty powerless most of the time).  It was not easy -- but she pushed me to not wallow in my guilt and shame, but rather to own my own capacity for "evil" (this was a very Jungian process) and to use it as an opportunity to deepen and grow.  Near the end of the session, she asked me if I knew she was jewish!  I was astounded. -- She married and her last name was MacNair and I had absolutely no clue.  

                Anyway, the bottom line is that until that happened, I would never in a million years entertained that idea that I could be a bigot or racist.  But after that -- what turned out to be a cathartic experience -- I had plenty of opportunities to really observe the unconscious assumptions that we who come from places of relative privilege have.  And the ways in which those assumptions can "leak" out and at times do real damage to ourselves and to others.

                And now I am grateful that it happened.  I learned for one thing not to take my ideas or ideals about myself for granted.  

                And I know that as a white person, particularly one who can "present" in a middle class manner, there are doors and opportunities and privileges open to me that are not available to others.  For example, I can drive a car and not really worry about being pulled over on some cops whim.  Just not going to happen.  I can assume that certain doors are open to me at all times.  Etc.  

                I guess my only question for you is why you are so defensive about this issue?  

                •  Why is this such a hard concept? (0+ / 0-)
                  I guess my only question for you is why you are so defensive about this issue?
                  Because you are calling me a racist! That's why. Do I really need another reason?
                     You and lots of people in this diary put me on the defensive. Intentionally.

                   Oh, and BTW. I'm considered jewish. My friends have sometimes used terms like "jew me down" and I haven't gotten offended much less shocked.
                   You see, I don't carry around the guilt or the victimhood with me.

                  “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

                  by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:57:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  this is an explaination of their bullshit. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gjohnsit

                "Unfortunately a lot of the people commenting in this diary automatically assume that all white people are racists."

                when you claim that racism involves power and power structures... every white person in America and Europe is automatically racist regardless of their personal attitudes or behaviors.  if you accept a job that a minority might have been discriminated against because of sub-conscience  racism from the hiring manager... then you're taking advantage of white privilege which is racist... and clearly bullshit.

                This is how they are taring all white people as racists in this thread and out batting an eye.

      •  definitions (0+ / 0-)

        rac·ism
        [rey-siz-uhm]
        noun
        1.
        a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
        2.
        a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
        3.
        hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

        big·ot·ry
        [big-uh-tree]
        noun, plural big·ot·ries.
        1.
        stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
        2.
        the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

    •  Saying "your bigotry is not racism" (0+ / 0-)

      is not giving anyone a pass for bigotry.

  •  Thanks BBB (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Chi

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:27:36 AM PDT

  •  Is my employer racist? (0+ / 0-)

    I've never seen a job posting for a monolingual customer service job where I work.

    Applicants have to speak English and Spanish, sometimes Chinese; and I just saw a posting for Russian.

    Needless to say, I am constantly on the lookout for excuses to go to the customer service department when they have potlucks.

    Most Americans are monolingual.  Lots of Phosphorescent residents of my state spent 18 months or 2 years in Spanish speaking countries; or Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong.

    But if you grew up speaking Spanish or Chinese; you have an advantage.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:34:17 AM PDT

    •  WTF? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      Are you serious?  I think the key words in your job description are "customer" and "service".  It seems like your company has discovered a niche market for its services and has a business plan to capitalize on it.  

  •  Many years ago when my wife was... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    ... working 60 hours a week for a big consulting firm (pre-kids) and telling me what a great company it was, I told her, "Don't kid yourself. The senior partners would fire everyone else in the company before they'd cut their own pay a nickel."

    And when the consulting fee squeeze came in the mid 1980s, that's what they did. Good, solid worker bees like my wife got the ax.

    Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

    by Bob Johnson on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:35:26 AM PDT

    •  So, sure, some of this stuff is about race... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      ... (in your example), but a lot more of it is about economic class. The C-Suite will never cut back on their own power or money. The workers bear the brunt of their excesses.

      Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

      by Bob Johnson on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:37:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No question class is a factor. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pitbullgirl65, timewarp

        But if it was the major factor, one could expect to see a mix of people at both ends. Like you'd see a mix of executives of varying colors and groups getting fat, and a similar mix of people at the bottom getting the screw.

        However that isn't the case. One color group gets the lion share of the shit sandwich, while the other doesn't. I make the safe assumption that there are greedy bastards of all races. So if we are just talking about class greed, should be  mix of greedy bastards at the top. But there isn't.

        There is a reason for THAT that isn't explained by economic class.

        •  You do realize (0+ / 0-)

          that there are more poor white people in American than poor black people, right?

          “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

          by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 01:36:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why's that relevant? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chi, timewarp

            There are more rich white people and than rich black people too. There are more middle class white people than middle class black people too. There are more white people than black people.

            That's uhh...kinda the source of the problem.

            •  I can honestly say I don't get your point (0+ / 0-)
              There are more white people than black people.
              That's uhh...kinda the source of the problem.
              I don't understand what you are getting at.
                 Are you saying that if there were more black people than white people then we wouldn't be having a problem?

              “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

              by gjohnsit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 11:05:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Class? Race? Pretty much the same thing in America (3+ / 0-)

        From the moment we are born white guys like me are granted inherent advantages that allow us to waltz through doors that routinely slam in other non-white and non-male people's faces. Society gave me some huge advantages from the moment the doctor slapped my ass. I didn't have to do a thing to get them, didn't even have to ask for them. And as such, it's easy at times to be oblivious to them.

        Because of these advantages, however, it's pretty solid odds that 99.99999% of those Big Boys in the offices are white guys like me. And the workers they fire? They're more likely to be minorities and/or women.

      •  I would argue that, sadly, (0+ / 0-)

        race and class issues are often related.

        In fact, I sometimes think the reason our society continues to promote racism in the way it does is to keep those worker bees you were talking about fighting with each other enough to not understand who their real enemy is.

  •  Iow's racism = the actions not the words.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..and the more $ power to take actions that wound is the better gauge of discrimination/prejudice.
    Insults can be and minorities have been dealing with and protecting themselves from - the day to day discrimination - from the beginnig

    Like most black folks, we just assume most white folks are saying it all the time.
    But for major stuff; a job, or a loan, or entrance to a school or any institution cannot be just "adjusted to". That kind of favoritism/bias, is built in.
  •  Here's the definition I prefer.. (0+ / 0-)

    Racism is the belief that race has any meaning other than a collection of a few genetic traits, of which some are just predispositions, and others are unimportant aspects of appearance.  

    At least, that's my definition, which holds up pretty nicely regardless of the composition of the groups involved.  You're welcome to your own, of course.  

    When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

    by Wayward Son on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 11:15:51 AM PDT

    •  That's the original definition: (0+ / 0-)

      Racism is the belief that there are fundamental differences between races. It wasn't a far stretch from that to, I believe, the most common definition, that racism is the belief in the superiority of one race, usually one's own.

      I don't see the advantage in redefining the word further to mean 'institutional racism'. You'd just need another word to mean 'racism'.

      •  I'd guess that makes me an originalist.. (0+ / 0-)

        ..but the redefinition of THAT word makes it seem an insult.  Scalia.. Roberts.. blech.

        When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

        by Wayward Son on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 05:13:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This Is Extremely Sad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit
    we just assume most white folks are saying it all the time.
    And more than a bit ignorant.  And coming the day after that awful Rasmussuen poll I guess makes it even sadder to me.  With that kind of cynicism, pessimism and mistrust everywhere is there really any grounds for hope?
  •  I would argue that Deen's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    racism takes form in her romanticizing a culture that believes people should be subservient because of their race, and embracing many of those ideals. Furthermore, she doesn't think that's racist.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 12:38:35 PM PDT

  •  Social status (0+ / 0-)

    Assuming that I agree with everything that you have said, recognizing the problem does not solve the problem. Racism requires prejudice and power. OK. This make me wonder what kind of power. As best as I can tell you are talking about social status and social desirability.

    From the straight white married multimillionaire CEO with 2.5 kids and a dog (ie Mitt Romney) to the multiracial transvestite prostitutes addicted to alcohol and meth who enjoys talking with her comb, there is a lot more to social status than race. People are valued in our society based on things that are outside of their control. That's not fair or just, but it is, none the less.

    We can try to change these things but basically it requires someone to willingly give up the social status that they enjoy. And I do mean enjoy, because social status is how we divide the resources in our society, as implied by this post.

    Do you want me to give up my advantage in social status as a Caucasian? What social status would you be giving up as well? The social status of being straight? And if we give up the social status based on these things, on what will we determine social status for our society? Who is legitimately valued over another?

    These are not easy questions to answer.

    If we abandon our allies and their issues, who will defend us and ours?

    by Bryce in Seattle on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 01:17:03 PM PDT

    •  There are many types of privilege besides race (0+ / 0-)

      Gender
      Sexual preference
      Health/Ability
      Dominant language (In the US, being born in an English dominant household is a huge advantage)
      Age (This one will get us all... the great equalizer)
      And several more I've forgotten.

      And as for giving anything up, with regard to inherent things like race and gender you can't do it. It's yours, whether you want it or not. That's the nature of it, and it's nothing to feel guilty about.

      We must, however, recognize that the flip side of privilege is oppression. We must be empathetic to each other's struggles to overcome oppression and assist as much as possible.

  •  you are steering these good people wrong lmao (0+ / 0-)

    (and there's an implied word between "good" and "people" that I hope you caught)

    I wasn't taught by my Black Arts Movement father and Civil Rights Movement mother that power had anything to do with racial bigotry aka "racism" and so, yes, Black americans can be as racist as anyone, under that rubric, but if we were talking about power structural racism aka "institutional racism" it only went one way in this country... white on black.

    but, to me, the notion that only whites can be racist in our society is laughable.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 07:53:25 AM PDT

  •  "All 4,000 Laid Off Were Black or Brown" (0+ / 0-)

    Links, please.

    When it comes to Smithfield's meat processing plants, the layoffs appear to be more about implementing new technology-- which invariably is about increasing production/profit with fewer and fewer workers.

    Smithfield Foods announced plans in 2011 to close the Virginia plant and shift production to a facility in Kinston, N.C. At the time, the company said it was closing the plant, built in the 1970s, because it cannot support the manufacturing technology changes and product development necessary to meet the company's needs.

    Smithfield's new $80 million state-of-the-art packaging line for hot dogs and lunch meats at the Kinston plant has been online for several months, Gough said. It currently employs about 630 workers.

    Ever watch the show "How Its Made" on the Science Channel? when they cover food production, it's astonishing the number of bags of potato chips, packages of hot dogs, etc.. thousands of them, that go out the door per day with just a handful of workers running the automated machinery.

    Safe to assume similar production improvements are being made at the pig farms as well, so I'm not sure it's all about racism.

    http://www.startribune.com/...

    "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

    by Superpole on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 06:55:48 AM PDT

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