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Many right-wing commentators insist again and again that there is no more racism in America if we have a black president and black attorney general.

On Friday, Maher said, “He’s just asking conservative to say ‘We admit there is a problem.’ Can we get that?”

Unless people are walking in Klan robes and burning crosses in the middle of the street, he said, conservatives are loath to admit that there is any evidence of racism anywhere.

Here's a further example as CNN host Don Lemon's finds himself having to justify his own experiences to a White Conservative commentator.

It’s not paranoia,” replied Lemon. “Ben, simply just from… a place of, it’s not entitlement, but you’re at a place in society…”

“Oh, I came from poverty, so I don’t think I’m entitled,” interrupted Ferguson.

“Yes, but you’re still have a certain entitlement as a white person that many people of color don’t have.” Lemon replied. “You don’t see that?”

Ferguson countered, again, with his humble beginnings, but Lemon interrupted. “Scratch that, scratch that, I should say a place of privilege,” he said. “I should say a place of privilege, not a place of entitlement. And you’re filtering it through a place of privilege that you don’t understand. Your privilege does not allow you to see certain biases and certain circumstances in society. And what I said on the air yesterday, let me finish, what I said on the air yesterday was that I hoped that you would sleep on it and at least think about it before having a knee-jerk reaction to what the President was saying — the most powerful African-American in the world — telling you that there is an issue and you’re telling him that his circumstances and what he sees and what he lives is not valid. And that is insulting to do that.

“Well, I didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction,” said Ferguson.

This is often how people who haven't walked a mile and shoes of a black man react.  They think there being oversensitive or whining.  

The problem that Don is trying to describe is something that actually goes far behind racial issues.  He's talking about the Social Advantage gained by the Network Effect of a Majority.

In economics and business, a network effect (also called network externality or demand-side economies of scale) is the effect that one user of a good or service has on the value of that product to other people. When network effect is present, the value of a product or service is dependent on the number of others using it.[1]

The classic example is the telephone. The more people who own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner. This creates a positive externality because a user may purchase a telephone without intending to create value for other users, but does so in any case. Online social networks work in the same way, with sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ becoming more useful as more users join.

We can see, outside the realm of race, that as more and more people adopt a similar perspective, point of view or tool, they gradually exert pressure on those who stand apart or outside that particular group.  As time goes on this becomes more pronounced as more and more people begin to cater to the needs of that majority making the access, functionality and facility of those who remain in the minority more and more difficult.

It doesn't require conscious bias for this to occur, it's a completely natural phenomenon, so when you put this in the context that Mr. Lemon was trying to describe - there are Natural Social Advantages that occur as being a Member of a  Majority Faction.  It happens almost invisibly to those within the Majority, but those outside that group - it's very, very obvious and visible.  This can also happen whether the majority faction is black, or whether majority faction is gay - the majority always has greater leverage and the ability to abuse that leverage.

Think of it as being like a Cultural Monopoly whose natural tendency is to strangle and stifle opposing or differing cultural factions.

First of all we need to recognize that the ultimate minority, is the minority of One.

It's incumbent upon us to realize, with this in mind, that the responsibility  does fall onto the Majority not to abuse their social networking advantages in order to protect the freedom of all individuals regardless of their demographic faction.

To put it another way, it's not just on the backs of Black people to make White people comfortable accepting them.  If we are to be a "Free Nation", then that means - within the limits of reasonable social interaction - that we have let each other, be each other.

Unfortunately that's not what I currently see happening in the country when the idea wearing a Hoodie automatically means- you're wearing the "Uniform of a Criminal".

Wither Freedom of Expression art thou?  

When you add Confirmation Bias into this, you have a truly toxic mix.  So as Don Lemon points out and Bill Maher says - You don't have to have people walking down the streets with White Hoods, to have Racism, Preference, Bias and Bigotry at play.

20 Years ago some friends of mine documented this their own way in their Video "Funny Vibe".  I still think they nailed it.


While you're pondering that Join Color of Change Campaign to Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws and get your asses Registered to Vote [Share the QR below], because at certain point - as I said yesterday - we have to start thinking what happens #AfterTrayvon

Originally posted to Vyan on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 12:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Funny thing is...bigots really really don't like (7+ / 0-)

    being called bigots!.They consider it the worst thing to be called. They hate hearing the uncomfortable truth as much as they hate minorities. It's like they know that it's immoral to be a bigot but they just can't help being bigots themselves.

    •  There are some blatantly obvious (5+ / 0-)

      conservative pundits like Ann Coulter who wear their bigotry as a badge of honor. However, I increasingly have difficulty finding a clear line between conscious deliberate bigotry and people who are in various stages of denial.

      I see a lot of people on Daily Kos who call themselves progressives who are making an effort to deny the pervasive presence of racism in American society.

    •  Which actually is something to celebrate (5+ / 0-)

      In the past, people would be proud and open about their bigotry. Nowadays, as you said, people will go berserk and go into denial if you call them on their bigotry. Open bigotry is not tolerated anymore, which must really suck for bigots these days. Hell, they can't even insult gays anymore. What are they to do?

      •  I halfway agree with you. (0+ / 0-)

        It is great to celebrate the ones who realize their bigotry is long as they are trying to overcome it, y'know?

        But the ones who revel in their bigotry...the Rush Limpbows among us...I don't seen anything to celebrate when they have a bunch of Dittoheads going

        "uh, yeah, good, kill dah muthahs."

        God, I miss the Fairness Doctrine.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:07:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Since The KKK Considers Itself, Conservative: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vyan, Eric Nelson, gffish, WakeUpNeo

    Maher is giving Conservatives the benefit of the doubt...

  •  I loathe this trait in some humans: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vyan, tuesdayschilde

    The judging that something does NOT exist, and others are making it up (often for nefarious or manipulative reasons), just because YOU don't have the perceptual skills to see it.

    This is what people who think there is no racism anymore and/or Blacks are more racist than Whites (astoundingly more common than the opposite). They think those who can perceive racism are making it up. It is so frustrating to me-I can only imagine how I'd feel if I were African-American.

    I don't mind if some people cannot perceive things (I believe this is an inborn temperament trait). I feel sorry for them, it is as if they are lacking a sense, such as depth perception or color vision. There are a FEW people I know like that who STILL are open enough to acknowledge that Others may perceive what they cannot. These open non-perceptive people seem very rare.

    I'd like people to try on that ALL of these non-perceivers are not necessarily racist, in the perhaps narrower meaning that they think Black people are of less value than White people.

    ALL of them are ignorant. It is important to know that because ignorance is more persuadable than racism. I believe Obama, in his speech the other day, was trying to reach those ignorant but persuadable White people.

    This sounds maudlin, but my heart does bleed for the Black experience in our country. I am already someone who feels like things are stacked against me (I had an isolated and extremely abusive childhood and as a result carry heavy baggage that leads me to be socially isolated, even though I spend my life trying to chop away at it) in a way most people do not understand or perceive so I just get judged. I cannot imaging how I'd do if I were not White in our oblivious and oftentimes racist society.

    •  theoretically not racist, not thinking that Black (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      people are of less value.

      I know someone from Texas who grew up a child during Jim Crow who thinks racism is gone. I think she thinks that because, compared to what she saw in childhood, it is much better. She lacks the perception and the deeper connections with Black people to be able to tell. Or she defines racism only blatant, legislated racism of the past counts for her. She is wrong.

  •  To be fair, it isn't only conservatives. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    I'll admit that the Martin verdict was an eye-opener for me. Not that I thought racism was over, just that we were further along than this. I've heard some flat out racism from people I'd thought better of.

    I found Questlove's op-ed very poignant.

  •  "Oh, I came from poverty, so I don’t think.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vyan, gffish, WakeUpNeo

    ..I'm entitled,” - interrupted Ferguson

    Follow that with today's latest "black on black crime" meme -> This is the sudden scramble by the party of supremacists to save face. It's a bullshit meme but all they can come up with so far on such short notice since the outcry ignited by Trayvon Martins killing - imo

    The "conservatives" got their world rocked with this latest exposure of racism and the "smile" mask of "tolerance" slipped.

     Looking at Connie Mack smile and carefully worded rhetoric as a good example of that mask of supposed post racial confidence on all too many white faces - Fox eg.

    A mask of congeniality that has been the cover for their "post-racial" anti-affirmative action agenda.

    No it takes more than poverty in common to love and respect as equal, people of a different heritage. It takes needing each other. Working and/or playing with one another for years.

    To share.

    petition signed gladly

    P.S. grew up on the egde of  East Palo Alto near the Veterans hospital on Willow Rd. where I was a minority during the de-segregation days. When I moved it was an eye opener to meet white people who had never really met an AA, at least not up close and personal. Their racism was ingrained from living in a different world apart.

    So while there are way too many out right racists and proud of it, there are probably many who don't recognize their own bias as what it is. These folks can be reached. Not easily but it can happen. I've witnessed it first hand.

    The KKK though. It'll be a matter of time before that crowd dies off and their kids lose the reasons to carry their inheritance of hate

  •  No crosses burning in my neck of the woods (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    but plenty of Zimmerman supporters (and not too many non-white faces.)

    Wrote a comment that relates to this in an earlier diary:

    Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall...

    We have yet a long way to go before all is well in "post-racial" America.

    Thank you for your excellent diary.

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