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The Problem With Racial Dialogue

It seems strange to me that we cannot, as a nation, discuss race relations in anything like a civil manner. The recent incident between a white police officer and a black university professor in Massachusetts seems to only highlight that fact - there has been a flood of accusations and assumptions, but very few people have been able or willing to sit down and examine the incident on the evidence and known facts. Even the President of the United States, to use his own words, "acted stupidly" on this issue. The Civil War ended in 1865, Civil Rights were specifically codified in 1964, yet here in the Twenty-First Century there is no consensus on definitions of human rights, much less the proper relationship between people of different races. We have even reached a point where a person can start an argument by their choice of label used to describe a group of people.

To me, the heart of the problem is the tone. Most people mean no harm in how they speak and act, and so they don't much like being lectured to by folks who don't know the first thing about them, how they are guilty of this or that by association, or how they have to speak and act a certain way whenever they encounter someone of another race. In short, people don't like being expected to take orders from someone just because of their race, no matter what race they happen to be. They do not respect the message from someone who delivers that message in a tone of condemnation simply for being a different race from themselves. A Black person who holds Whites in contempt is clearly no better than a White person who holds Blacks in contempt, or a Hispanic who hates Asians, or an Asian who hates Native Americans, or a Muslim who hates Jews, et cetera et cetera ad nauseum. The first requirement for a racial dialogue is mutual respect by and for all parties.


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Comments (50)

The following is false:... (Below threshold)

The following is false:

A Black person who holds Whites in contempt is clearly no better than a White person who holds Blacks in contempt.

The Black Panthers are morally superior to the Klan; QED.

I made the mistake of getting into a dialogue on race with a bartender in South Carolina last fall. I asked him why on Hilton Head Island the groundskeepers were mostly black, and the police, servers, and customer-facing people working in the tourist industry were nearly all white. Rather than answer my question, he said that the problem with black people is as follows: some of them are good and decent folk who want to get ahead like everyone else, but some of them are "just n_gg_rs with chips on their shoulders".

Now, that to me says that that guy--an otherwise well-spoken individual working at an expensive establishment--seems to think that black people either work to achieve a threshold of equal personhood, or they fail, in which case the abuse they suffer from racist white people is warranted.

If I were black, why would I care about earning the approval of people who are totally ignorant of sociological factors--people who think that the signing of the Civil Rights Act effectively leveled the playing field? Why would I want to live in a place where people put Confederate flags on their vehicles or front lawns? In fact, wouldn't it make sense for me to despise someone who would so adorn their personal property?

Being equals in the eyes of the law is nominal equality, but it's hardly substantive equality. This misunderstanding of what it means to be equal is at the root of liberal vs. conservative interpretations of justice in society.

Having said all that, I'm not sure there is any way to undo centuries worth of abuse and exploitation, and to actually put an end to racial resentment. Affirmative action might entrench certain negative racial components, but it without a doubt does give black people more opportunities than they would otherwise have on a playing field that is far from level. Slavery sucked, not just for those who were enslaved but also because it may have caused permanent ruin to the moral fabric of your society.

I read a comment on another... (Below threshold)

I read a comment on another blog, on the subject of the upcoming visit by Gates and Crowley to the White House, that basically stated that Crowley should not go, that he should stay in Boston among people who appreciate him and not participate in any potential dialog with people different from him. That comment, to me, epitomizes much of the problem.

I think Obama is absolutely correct in sitting down with Gates and Crowley to work through problems caused by the actions of all three people.

having watched 700 episodes... (Below threshold)
dave y:

having watched 700 episodes of "COPS" its clear
Gates is just a jerk. It has nothing to do with race, except a white jerk wouldn't have a job at Harvard.

"I'm not sure there is any ... (Below threshold)

"I'm not sure there is any way to undo centuries worth of abuse and exploitation,"

There isn't. Period.

You cannot change the past. Many attempts at making up for it have been flawed (affirmative Action) and have lead to additional injustices and corruption.

Your initial statement above suggests that a black person who holds racist views is "better" in some way than a racist white person. Perhaps you misstated yourself, but that idea is morally repugnant. The notion that bigoted views are acceptable in some people and not in others is simply absurd.

"A Black person who hold... (Below threshold)
The Obvious One:

"A Black person who holds Whites in contempt is clearly no better than a White person who holds Blacks in contempt, or a Hispanic who hates Asians, or an Asian who hates Native Americans, or a Muslim who hates Jews, et cetera et cetera ad nauseum. The first requirement for a racial dialogue is mutual respect by and for all parties."

It takes a certain kind of racial bias to make a simplistic statement like that, one that completely ignores the past and present racial discrimination in America.

Crowley unfairly stripped Gates of his freedom. Crowley's superiors rectified that by dropping the charges. That doesn't change what Crowley did. It doesn't reverse what happened.

Expecting black America to forget that Crowley unfairly stripped Gates of his freedom is asking a lot. Examples of racial discrimination like this happen every single day. Expecting black Americans to ignore that is unrealistic.

Stop racism at its core -- don't ask those discriminated against to pretend it isn't happening.

Affirmative action does not... (Below threshold)
Not Always Right:

Affirmative action does not undo centuries of abuse and exploitation. It merely starts another type of abuse and exploitation that is just as pernicious to this country as anything that has gone before. It represses one race at the expense of another and is a sure recipe for continuing racial discord.

Yes slavery was an intolerable condition that should never have taken root in this country. To say that it may have caused permanent ruin to the moral fabric of "your society" is to overlook that slavery has been present in all socities....are they all ruined? If not then which ones managed not to be ruined by slavery?

"It takes a certain kind of... (Below threshold)

"It takes a certain kind of racial bias to make a simplistic statement like that, one that completely ignores the past and present racial discrimination in America."

Excuse me?

I fail to see how past discrimination against any group gives its members an automatic pass and grants them some kind of immunity from being racist themselves.

It is this attitude that preempts any real racial dialogue. This notion that any minority cannot be racist by virtue of their being in he minority is wrong.

Frankly it is defining individuals as members of a group first (be it white, black, asian or whatever) that is the problem. If you want to catalog other people based on race you're being racist regardless of what your skin color happens to be.

I expect Black america, to the extent that such a thing exists, to realize that Gates was being a jerk and that while it certainly isn't something that is prosecutable that anyone behaving in that manner is going to get dragged down to the precinct headquarters regardless. From everything that I have seen so far Gates' default position in life is that white people are bent on oppressing him and violating his rights. He responded to the police based on that wrongheaded belief.

I hold no love for the police. I think they all too often abuse their position and power and make many mistakes and cover them up. The policeman regardless of his race has the power to handcuff you and take you away. Only a fool reacts in a belligerent manner. Gates was a fool and apparently remains so.

"The first requirement for ... (Below threshold)

"The first requirement for a racial dialogue is mutual respect by and for all parties."

Well there's your problem DJ. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who DEMAND respect immediately. What they give in return is another matter.

Jim had an interesting comment: "I hold no love for the police. I think they all too often abuse their position and power and make many mistakes and cover them up."


Hey Jim, would you apply for a job if it was worded as: "Applicants wanted. 24/7 work shifts. You'll start on the morning shift with Tuesday and Wednesday off, if your lucky. Scheduled vacations and days off interrupted or suddenly canceled. We can guarantee that NO ONE will call you when they are in a good mood. We can guarantee that they will want instant gratification and/or solutions to their problem(s) which may or may not have been self-inflicted. Please be assured that none of the situation you are called to will be of their making/their fault.
Plan on being, at the most, tolerated, not respected. Plan on being painted as an oppressor. Plan on being expected to kiss the ass of everyone present who is not a cop." Sound like a great job opportunity?

Jim, I retired after 30 years on Dec 30, 2005. There was a young cop at briefing that night. First night on the job. 3 months later his was dead, lying in a gutter. Shot by a gang member from 100 yards away with a rifle with a telescopic sight while the officer was on a "simple traffic stop". The 17 year old wanted to make his bones with his gang. The cop left behind a wife and 2 month old son.

"He had an attitude". While working two different stints in Internal Affairs I heard that so often I had a plaque made that I hung in my office. Should have had another "Cops cover for each other". In the course of a year, I'd investigate more complaints against officers that were generated by other officers than by the general public. On two occasions the accused officers went to prison. Go figure.

More than once I bumped suggestions upstairs that there appeared to be one class not taught at the police academy; "When is it time to stop being a cop". For some reason the brass didn't buy it. Pity.

Are there cops who are assholes? Yeah. Priests? Yeah. Lawyers? Yeah. Carpenters? Yeah. See where this is going?

There's an old joke amongst cops. "You want to be loved by everyone? Be a fireman."

You don't like how you're treated. Ask for a supervisor. Don't like the result. File a complaint. Don't like the result. File a lawsuit. Who knows, you could be the next Rodney King, worth millions.

By the way Jim, I think Cro... (Below threshold)

By the way Jim, I think Crowley should have just walked away and chalked Gates actions up as "typical asshole", and left it at that.

Could Crowley have LEGALLY arrested Gates, yep, sounds like he could. Does that mean Gates would have been prosecuted? Nope. Cops make arrests all the time. The DA is the one who decides "if it's worth it" or not. Hate to bust a bubble, but justice does have a price tag. DA's normally file when they think they have a sure case. When they run for re-election, they like to boast 90-95% win rates. You don't get there without culling your case load.

Not Always Right:S... (Below threshold)

Not Always Right:

Slavery was present in all societies? Really? Your nickname is apt, dude. Some societies that were not ruined by slavery: Sweden; Norway; Finland; Korea (despite having been enslaved themselves); Canada; Poland; and many nations (different from countries) of aboriginal peoples who never held slaves but were enslaved by others. If you think that by definition a culture or nation has to have a history of slavery, then you're mistaken.

On affirmative action: "...another type of abuse and exploitation that is just as pernicious to this country as anything that has gone before. "

So you're saying that making it slightly harder for white kids to get into good schools, so that disadvantaged black, American Indian, and Latino kids can get in, is as bad as slavery, school segregation, and lethally enforced anti-miscegenation? I really hope that that is not what you are saying.

And jim: I did not say that it's alright for a black person to be racist, but only that it's worse for a white person to hold those views. Malcolm X is no hero of mine, and was certainly a racist, but was a better human being than, say, a Grand Wizard of the KKK. One had contempt for another race as a reaction to centuries of injustice; and the other had (or has--they're still around!) contempt for another race because of perceived inherent superiority of his own kind. Don't tell me that those two justifications--both flawed--are actually equivalent.

As someone who has watched ... (Below threshold)

As someone who has watched The Wire, GarandFan, I consider myself well-versed on stereotypes of American gang members, so I'm genuinely curious: what sort of gangs arm themselves with scoped rifles?

hyper:I think it all... (Below threshold)

I think it all depends on how far back you go. The vikings did take 'prisoners' (aka slaves).

Affirmative action: So it's now legally okay to discriminate, based on past discrimination. Also known as 'lowering standards' so others can apply. Pardon me, but 'lowering standards' seems rather condescending. It may make you feel good about yourself, but what about the esteem of the person who got in on 'lowered standards'?

As for the equivalency. Racism is wrong, no matter who does it. Or are you saying that a poor man who kills another for food is a BETTER person than a man who kills for money?

"what sort of gangs arm the... (Below threshold)

"what sort of gangs arm themselves with scoped rifles"

17 year old who stole it (a .22 at that) from someone in the neighborhood. Hey, sometimes the victims don't cooperate and have a Glock 17 handy that you can steal. You take what you can get.

On another occasion one banger shot up the house of a rival banger with a Springfield M1A (.308) that he had stolen while visiting his auntie in Oregon.

Hyper, as usual is way off ... (Below threshold)

Hyper, as usual is way off the mark. His alleged conversation with a "racist" in Hilton Head is his thesis or foundation of the garbage he is spewing. Of course, Hyper wasn't trying to bait this guy. No way.

If you think our government by policy should descriminate against one kind of people, then it is still bad and unacceptable. Slavery was and is unacceptable but not at the time. The world view (which the lefties like to preach) did not really mind the practice.

To me, the heart of the ... (Below threshold)

To me, the heart of the problem is the tone.

To me, the heart of the problem are race baiters and race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Jeremiah Wright.

White people have by and large been working pretty hard to discredit and banish to the fringes of society the White counterparts of the Black "leaders" above.

"Reverend" Wright's Trinity Community Church of Hate Whitey came as a real shock and eyeopener to White America because White America has been trying very hard to accept Black America as part of America, period end stop.

Why have we got all these "Black" only this and "Black" only that, special entitlements, venues, courses, and even an alternate world view coming from the Black people who do everything they can to raise the profile and observance of their "blackness"?

I say they don't want to let grievances go.
I say they like the special treatment and entitlements they get for not fitting in, for not being just another American.

What happened when we discovered the shock of Obama's 20 year commitment to Wright's racist church?
He lied about hearing what we knew he heard.
He distanced himself, after trying to defend Wright and finding it wouldn't go away as an issue, finally cut Wright loose to make the issue recede where it wasn't going to affect his candidacy.

But Wright's ideas are not only still in Obama's mind, he acts out on those thoroughly racist ideas.

We aren't going to be able to move forward until Blacks in America act like they are equal, rather than acting out as though they are entitled.

"I say they don't want to l... (Below threshold)

"I say they don't want to let grievances go."

Please don't use THEY. I know blacks who are just as disgusted with the Rev's Al, Jessie, and Louie the Mouth.

The one's who 'won't let go' are the one's who derive power and money from it. They get that from the simpletons who swallow their particular brand of legalized hate and discontent. They are supported by liberals who buy into 'white guilt'.

Jessie should be in prison for extortion, but organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center or the NAACP aren't interested in black racism. Hell you can't even get 'em prosecuted in New York for inciting a riot which let to the death of a white Jewish kid who was just minding his own business. I can only surmise that particular death did not fall under a 'hate crime statute'. Guess it didn't meet 'the standards'.

Hey DJ! Nice thread.... (Below threshold)

Hey DJ! Nice thread.

Garandfan, I will use the "... (Below threshold)

Garandfan, I will use the "they".

After the shock of Jeremiah Wright's church I talked to many Black conservatives on blogs and they said that Wright's Church wasn't an anomaly.

Knowing this, something like 90% of American Blacks voted for Obama.

I'm a Canadian.
Having Obama as U.S. President is bad for Canada and the world.
His economic and foreign policies are hurting us all.

But we don't have a race problem in Canada like you have in the U.S.

We freed what slaves we had 100 years earlier, and without a war.
We transitioned them into Canadian society, we didn't just set millions of illiterate largely unskilled slaves free with nothing but the clothes on their backs like Lincoln did.

I sit back in horror watching the race industry in the U.S. operate at full tilt and you know what?
White guilt should be OVER.

Only a fraction of Americans ever owned any slaves, and my ancestors sure didn't.

There shouldn't BE a race industry in the U.S. any more and the reluctance of American Blacks, (and their insistence that they form an interest group is wrong), to let it go is what is holding American back.

Where are the efforts on the part of the "Black Community" to marginalize and discredit these race hustlers and race baiters that they call "leaders" the way the rest of America has dealt with it's racists?

The "my wrong actions are e... (Below threshold)

The "my wrong actions are excusable since my ancestors or I have been wrong in the past" is laughable at best. A black stole my granddads car so I'm allowed to steal a black man's car, after all my granddad couldn't afford to go to college after being rob which hurt me. What type of asinine logic is that? Wrong is wrong. Prejudging someone because the of their skin color black, brown or white is wrong period. Those who are only willing to condemn one group but not the other for the same actions are hypocrites.

I'd still use "some". "The... (Below threshold)

I'd still use "some". "They" tends to be interpreted as ALL inclusive. I also envy the fact that Canadians consider themselves Canadians, rather than devolving into sub-tribes.

I am somewhat...bemused shall we say, about how Lincoln is revered by blacks. Lincoln said if he could preserve the union without freeing slaves he would. If he could preserve it by freeing slaves he would. (Talk about an opportunist!) Lincoln spoke on one occasion (late 1864 - early 1865) to Fredrick Douglas, a prominent black leader in the north. The thrust of the meeting was Lincoln seeking suggestions about how to go about sending the freed slaves "back home". (Some did go back, if you're interested in how the nation of Liberia came about). Douglas reportedly looked at Lincoln and stated something to the effect 'Mr. President, WE are home!'.

Imagine if it was a white p... (Below threshold)

Imagine if it was a white professor screaming obscene and racial remarks to a black officer. Even if he wasn't foolish enough to follow the Officer outside and refuse to let up, the MSM would crucify the Professor. The MSM has crucified many for far less demanding them to be fired and harassing them but a black man or liberal gets a pass.

GarandFan,I do kno... (Below threshold)


I do know the history of Liberia.

I say "they" because "most" (=over 50%) is inadequate to express reality here.

Shortly before I got married in '83 I lived with a "black" Canadian here in Alberta named Johnny.

I was down on my luck and he took me into his home.
We were roomies for about 2 years.
The guys was a prince, and I don't mean that in a Professor Gates genealogical sort of way.

hyperbolist, concerning you... (Below threshold)

hyperbolist, concerning your original statement.

You first asked about employment... why groundskeepers were (mostly) black and those in service jobs were mostly not.

Now, aside from the fact that the man's answer was pretty much exactly the distinction that someone like Chris Rock makes, he didn't answer a question about dignity or equal person-hood. He answered a question about why weren't there more black SERVANTS in a tourism dominated town.

In other words... I think that this anecdote may not mean what you think it means.

Did you expect to be told by the bartender that black people didn't get hired for those jobs they wanted so badly because fat white tourists don't like to be waited on by black people?

"Slavery was present in ... (Below threshold)

"Slavery was present in all societies? Really? Your nickname is apt, dude. Some societies that were not ruined by slavery: Sweden; Norway; Finland;"

As already mentioned... all societies owned slaves in some form at some time. Certainly my own ancestors did so, but never *here*.

The issue isn't slavery at all, actually. It's race. Those people captured and taken to Scandinavia didn't look all that different from the vikings themselves since they were mostly European. But even so... if you really wanted to upset my great-grandmother you suggested that her dark hair was due to viking raiders hauling French captives to Norway. It *is* possible to tell (roughly) between European people groups.

But only roughly and in the end assimilation of those captive and enslaved populations was that much easier.

Slaves in America were not *only* from Africa, but the African slaves couldn't just blend in to communities if they were freed. Which means assimilation was that much harder.

And harder still and harder still *today* because of the insistence on sorting and categorizing and identifying people according to race.

We need to *stop* doing that. And the newest theories of racism now where it has nothing to do with individuals or their beliefs or behavior but is defined only by oppressor and subject *classes* is and can *only* perpetuate the separation we might have been getting over.

It's not just wrong, but insidious and outright evil.

Nobody thinks discriminatio... (Below threshold)

Nobody thinks discrimination is a bad thing full stop, GarandFan. For instance, we discriminate against sick people all the time: we want them to stay away from us so that we don't get sick too. Affirmative action is discrimination, but you'd be hard pressed to explain to me how black kids can be expected to compete against white ones at an aggregate level (meaning statistically, any anecdotes notwithstanding) following two hundred years of seriously evil, soul-crushing segregation. The playing field was not, and is not level, so to simply say "We're all equal now, so let's play ball" is to sweep an awful lot of important sociological variables under the carpet. Feminists raise the same complaint as black people, albeit to a lesser extent, and they are right to do so in that women still do not have the same opportunities as men (though much greater strides have been made in the area of gender than among the black population).

The point about people feeling "less than", because their grades were weighted upwards to reflect their racial background, is a legitimate one. Still, my argument for affirmative action is valid (I think) independent of whether or not the benefactors of such a program feel good about it. Once circumstances are such that a black baby has about the same life expectancy and economic opportunity as a white baby, then I think it would be fair to do away with talk of affirmative action. If you disagree, then are you tacitly admitting that you don't mind living in a society where a baby born to a black family has less chance for success than a baby born to a white family? Seems like you would prefer that state of affairs than one where black kids are given certain advantages to compensate for societal disadvantage. I guess either way we would be biting a bullet. Consider this, though: as someone who has benefited from the fact that I was born white, tall, healthy, to parents who value education and hard work, I cannot possibly claim that I "earned" my opportunities. I was born into them, and the circumstances into which I was born are due in part to historical racial inequality, even here in Canada. (If I were born to a First Nations family, the likelihood of me being a non-functioning alcoholic, or victim of suicide, would be about a thousand percent higher.) So if affirmative action places me at a disadvantage (and it does!), who am I to complain? My genes (or "God", if you swing that way) already stacked the deck for me, so to speak.

Speaking to the last part of #12, if a poor man kills for food, he has committed murder and deserves to be punished; but if a rich man kills for fun, or out of lust, then he is certainly worse than the poor man who was motivated by hunger. Surely you accept that a person's motives play an important factor in weighing the rightness or wrongness of their actions, GarandFan.

As for the Vikings taking slaves, that was before the modern era. Americans owned slaves during the modern era, after their national identity was already in part determined. I think people from Minnesota identify more with Vikings than people in Stockholm.

And now Willie, he of the shimmering intellect: "Slavery was and is unacceptable but not at the time." Did you read that in a book by Frederick Douglass? Just because white people thought it was okay, does not mean that it was. If an economic practice such as slavery was embraced as just and fair within the context of a horribly racist colonial world where human rights existed in theory but rarely in practice, there is no reason to accept that such a practice was just and fair. That's called moral relativism, WiddleWillie, and conservatives are supposed to hate that shit.

Speller, where was that nurse's strike that lasted two months? You live in Alberta--has there ever been a strike there by nurses since healthcare was socialized? And if so, was it legal? And regardless of whether it was legal, why didn't you go to a private clinic in the province to get your crushed foot looked after?

Synova: I really like #24. I wonder, though, what you think we ought to be doing to work our way towards the ideal of a post-racial society? Simply pretending that everyone is "American" and not black or white or Asian or whatever is to ignore the fact that because of their skin colour, certain children will never enjoy the same opportunities as others who were lucky enough to be born a different shade. Kwame Anthony Appiah, I believe, shares your ideal of a post-racial society. I can't remember what his thoughts are on how we should work to get there, but it wasn't as simple as acknowledging that black and white people are equal under the law, and to pretend that therefore they have equal social opportunity.

DJ wrote:"The firs... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ wrote:

"The first requirement for a racial dialogue is mutual respect by and for all parties."

I agree. The whole Crowley/Gates/Obama ordeal really illustrated how volatile the entire subject of race is...still. And it also showed how quickly mutual respect can be lost in a sea of overreactions.

For anyone interested, here is the American Anthropological Association's Statement on Race


The left has their own code... (Below threshold)

The left has their own code language for white
slackards. Carville had his "trailer park
trash" moments ad-infinitum about Paula Jones
and Gennifer Flowers. "Red-neck" and "cracker"
are frequently heard. "White interlopers"was
a real beaut from Revvy Al. After Tawana Braw-
ley, Revvy Al is still the go-to guy on race
on FNC! "Hymietown" hasn't destroyed Jackson.
Trent Lott was gelded with his remarks at
Thurmond's birthday party, when no "bad"
words were even uttered. Idlers of all races
are noticed and commented upon. If they are
black, the comments may not be made "aloud".
Therein lies the rub.

Jesus... try to respond to ... (Below threshold)

Jesus... try to respond to a bunch of points, and by the time I paste the response in, it's a novella. Sorry about that...

"I wonder, though, what ... (Below threshold)

"I wonder, though, what you think we ought to be doing to work our way towards the ideal of a post-racial society? Simply pretending that everyone is "American" and not black or white or Asian or whatever is to ignore the fact that because of their skin colour, certain children will never enjoy the same opportunities as others who were lucky enough to be born a different shade."


Yes, pretend.

First... we all agree to *pretend* and then we all agree *act* as if our pretend world is the real world and already post-racial.

As soon as we *act* post-racial, our world will *be* post-racial.

And that is the ONLY way to get there. It really is. Otherwise we wait forever, refusing to agree to act in a post-racial way until after post-racialism is a done deal, which it will never be because we're all waiting for that to happen first before we start acting like it has. It's a vicious circle we have to step out of on faith and without precondition.

Frankly though, the bit you said about some children not having the same opportunities because of their *race* is rather quaint, don't you think? Certainly skin color is almost the least important element of birth circumstances that any individual child is given.

Which is why discussion of race, at least the sort of discussion that the professionals are up to these days, no longer deals with individuals on *either* side of the question.

Once we have race beat, how... (Below threshold)

Once we have race beat, how do we deal with Nationalism?

We deal with nationalism by... (Below threshold)

We deal with nationalism by recognizing that cosmopolitanism is a vile aberration to be shunned at all costs and telling people who try to present nationalism as a negative to go jump in the lake. ;-)

Quite seriously... people are social and our responsibility and interest begins naturally in the closest sphere of humans to ourselves and then moves outward. My self, my family, my community, my tribe, my town, my city, my state, my country, my world, my universe.

Those loyalties to other human beings, IN THAT ORDER, are vital.


Not bad.

Aside from Hyperbolist's ex... (Below threshold)

Aside from Hyperbolist's experience with an incredibly insensitive idiot, I can tell you why in my tiny neck of the woods, there were predominantly black people working in the kitchen and mostly white people waiting on tables - and it was so painfully simple and completely non-racist.

It was the job they applied for.

If they applied for any position AND they demonstrated that they could actually perform the duties, they were hired for that job.

Aside from that too, while Hyperbolist seizes upon anecdotal evidence of racism as, I don't know, more "proof" that some racism is better than others, I can tell of a few experiences of my own in which the reverse occurred. For one, ever walk through a black neighborhood and have rocks thrown at you? Ever had the rock-thrower tell you, "You don't belong here." ?

Let's not even get into the subtle racism I've seen at work. You know, the kind of racism white people are accused of all the time - "unconscious racism" and sometimes even overt racism. When I complained once to a black woman I work with about how I was treated in an email by a woman whose color I didn't even know, she quickly replied, "I don't mean to sound racist, but she's one of these white women who ..."

I cautiously, but firmly, told her that yes, she did sound racist. And did she realize that apparently this "white woman" treated everyone poorly regardless of color? That she was really just a bitch - and not a "white bitch"?

As long as ANY excuses are made for racism, against ANYone it will never end.

There was no excuse for the language the bartender Hyperbolist encountered used. And there was no excuse for what I've described either. So tell me, which of the two cases is more excusable, Hyper? Since you're so keen on educating us on who's better. Because we're not talking about groups like the Klan and the Black Panthers. We're talking about people. I'm sure there are members of the Black Panthers who are just as repugnant as some members of the Klan.

A Black person who... (Below threshold)
A Black person who holds Whites in contempt is clearly no better than a White person who holds Blacks in contempt, or a Hispanic who hates Asians, or an Asian who hates Native Americans, or a Muslim who hates Jews, et cetera et cetera ad nauseum.
Reminds me of a work by another Harvard product, Tom Lehrer: "National Brotherhood Week"... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIlJ8ZCs4jY

As for the issue of talking about race relations, the biggest problem is that all too often people don't want to deviate from the script.

Hyper seems to think the ad... (Below threshold)

Hyper seems to think the advantages aren't here for black people. Or people of color. Hm! Obama, raised poor and from a broken home is the president. The left touts his academic achievements. Sotomayor, same thing. But still hyper thinks they cannot achieve. Hyper, I think you are demeaning to blacks.

Oh yeah! The moral relativism is the point I was making that the left lives by. Read for crying out loud. ww

Racial DIALOGUE?? Are you k... (Below threshold)

Racial DIALOGUE?? Are you kidding! The left has spent fifty years+, race-baiting, providing free money, free food, free housing--all to purchase the votes of blacks. Yet in spite of all of the incentives to do so, blacks are not able to breed quickly enough to provide democrats with guaranteed margins of victory on election day. (this is where Mexicans come in, but that's another story.) Do you honestly believe the left wants to actually DISCUSS race when it's misuse has been so effective in putting dems in office??

Speller, where was that ... (Below threshold)

Speller, where was that nurse's strike that lasted two months? You live in Alberta--has there ever been a strike there by nurses since healthcare was socialized? And if so, was it legal? And regardless of whether it was legal, why didn't you go to a private clinic in the province to get your crushed foot looked after?~25 hyperbolist

Yes, there have been a number of nurse's strikes since socialized healthcare was instituted.
At least 4 to my reckoning.

They are legal.
If they last for an extended period, Albertans start to demand that the provincial government legislate nurses as an essential service and take away their right to strike, but this never happens.


Because the government is afraid that the nurses will move to another province, causing a shortage in ours.

My foot wasn't crushed.
Several bones were fractured.
I didn't go to a clinic because they don't have the ability to do anything at clinics much beyond checkups and minor surgery like a biopsy.

The emergency wards of hospitals have people sitting in them for long hours when there isn't a strike and those who are obviously injured, ie bleeding all over the floor, get first care, as it should be, when there isn't a strike.

My wife and I are now wealthier so we keep a selection of hospital scrubs in our closet in case we do have an emergency.
We figure if we are wearing the scrubs when we arrive at the emergency the hospital staff will empathize more with us because we look like them in their uniform, thereby getting prompter attention.

Speller, I think you meant ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Speller, I think you meant to post that in the 'This time it's personal' thread. Copy and paste it.

Thank you Les.I gues... (Below threshold)

Thank you Les.
I guess I had too many windows open.

Two idiotic "Race Relation... (Below threshold)

Two idiotic "Race Relations" experts who were unaware of their common bond got into an ego contest. ("You have no idea how important and connected a person you are dissing!"). I have no doubt that the national and international attention devoted to the incident will only inflate these clowns to greater heights of self delusion.

No, I did mention that in t... (Below threshold)

No, I did mention that in this thread too, Speller wasn't wrong to put it here. I went off topic, not him.

Wild Widdle One, liberals joked that once Obama got elected, a bunch of stupid people would use that as proof positive that now blacks and whites are equal in America, and enormous socio-economic disparities between the two groups can be chocked up to laziness on the part of people who just happen to be disproportionately black; and industriousness on the part of those who just happen to have European ancestry. People like you make satirists look like soothsayers.

Ah, now my little canadian ... (Below threshold)

Ah, now my little canadian friend is calling me stupid. You snooty liberals are really enjoyable. So "in touch" with the common man. If there are opportunities right in front of you, you are made aware of them, but yet do not take advantage of them, am I still the stupid one? Hm! I wonder.

As long as we have Blank-american there will be seperation. As long as we have "respresentative leaders" like LULAC, NAACP, there will be seperation. As long as we have pageants, holidays, caucuses, etc. there will be seperation. And finally, as long as we have snooty liberals leftists that look down on the black american as unequal and unable, and as long as you liberals view minorities as being unable to decide for themselves how to improve their life, we will have seperation. The liberal democratic party has through government policy and white guilt enslaved many black people all over again.

Hyper, please do not pity minorities. It is offensive and unhelpful. Now, make fun of my name and come back with your mighty retort. Keep it to a thousand words. ww

I actually don't think this... (Below threshold)

I actually don't think this whole thing is about race as much as it is about a couple of elitist "ivy league" men feeling -- and being trained to feel -- vastly superior to a beat cop. The "do you know who I am" statement tells it all. Am I wrong?

I actually don't think t... (Below threshold)

I actually don't think this whole thing is about race...
#42 Pat

Well, Pat, the whole "The Problem With Racial Dialogue" thread topic is supposed to be about race.

Do you know where else in the world they have a racial dialogue?

Isn't the U.S. special?

As to Gates' "Do you know who I am?", I think Gates meant, "I'm a guy who makes his whole living from racial tension."

Gates, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan et al, have a vested interest in the "racial dialogue" going on forever with zero positive results for America as a whole, because the day "Black"-Americans or African-Americans or Hispanic-Americans become just plain old unhyphenated Americans is the day these scoundrels are out of fame and fortune.

I say, "If Black-Americans want to live lives like all Americans are equal, then they have to put these race hustlers out of a job now and the day of real equality, the day of an unhyphenated America, will come sooner."

We have a racial dialogue i... (Below threshold)

We have a racial dialogue in Canada, Speller. And they're starting to have one in Australia and New Zealand.

Willie, when someone like Synova says that he (she?) wishes there was an end to racialism in America, I don't question his sincerity and appreciate his thoughtfulness. However, when you make similar noises, you come off as someone that wants those silly negroes to stop acting so black and start homogenizing already. You think that you are the one who is past the issue of race. You aren't willing to meet anyone halfway; you think you're already there, and it's time for everyone else to play catch up.

Think that's unfair? Well, aren't you the one who thinks homosexuals are "deviants" simply because they aren't wired the same way as you?

"liberals joked that onc... (Below threshold)

"liberals joked that once Obama got elected, a bunch of stupid people would use that as proof positive that now blacks and whites are equal in America, and enormous socio-economic disparities between the two groups can be chocked up to laziness on the part of people who just happen to be disproportionately black; and industriousness on the part of those who just happen to have European ancestry. People like you make satirists look like soothsayers."

Not at all.

But you've described just exactly why racism is never ever addressed on an individual level any longer; why it is not dependent on attitudes or treatment of people but defined by and attributed to entire races on the basis of race. People are not individually advantaged or disadvantaged nor are they individually discriminated against, it seems. Rather they belong to racial groups, to oppressor classes and to oppressed classes.

Thus, the President of the United States is still and ever will be a victim of racism because of his racial membership. Nor can he BE racist, nor any other member of an oppressed class BE racist, no matter what behavior or beliefs he or they hold. Similarly, a white person, no matter how disadvantaged, is still and always a member of the oppressor class, no matter he never ever sees any benefit, and he is still and always a racist on account of that class membership no matter how committed to equality and entirely free of any bias he may be.

Judging people by the color of their skin used to be called racism.

And even if it's not called that any longer, it still IS racism. And racism begets more racism.

And it can get popular for the popular kids to accept their moral superiority by making the right noises about how they really ARE racist simply because they are white and they can take quizes that show how they experience advantage every day, most of which answers are essentially "wow, I'm a jerk" and frankly, not everyone IS a jerk... but if the popular kids want to do that and take those race-advantage surveys and pretend that their experiences are comparable to the experiences of all the white people in the nation who aren't taking race or feminism or mandatory race awareness classes in college... well delusion happens.

And again... nevermind or look too closely at the man behind the curtain because judging by race is racism by definition and raising awareness implies that people need to be told that they are oppressed. If they don't already know, how does that help?

Read a screed on how the movie "Up" is oppressive to women sometime... you can go from feeling great about a wonderfully uplifting movie to feeling sick to your stomach and depressed about how crappy the world is... that is EXACTLY the results of this "necessary" awareness raising. It's insidious and evil. It hurts people.

I've seriously had this conversation with someone who finds my arguments out-right hateful because I refuse to accept the new order, and I asked... how does this HELP? And I was told that it didn't, but that it was still utterly important to make sure that every single white person understood that they were a racist by virtue of being white and every black or minority person understood that they were oppressed regardless of the circumstances of their life, by virtue of being black.

People WANT to be over with it. They want to be done and go on. The fact that our President is black does prove that there are no limits anymore based on race. We all face individual limits and challenges and we always and forever will.

And letting ourselves be trapped in a place where racism is actually being perpetuated on account of some people simply can't stand to see it go?

I don't feel particularly inclined to cooperate with that.

Thank you Synova. But if we... (Below threshold)

Thank you Synova. But if we do not approach race with guilt and in a way prescribed by liberals it cannot happen. Only liberals no how to bridge the gap. Ask Hyper. He alluded that I am racist because I did not agree with him. See how they work it? ww

Hyper, #10... Canada did no... (Below threshold)

Hyper, #10... Canada did not become a country until 1867. At that time slavery was illegal throughout the British empire (at least in name) and the United States (that pesky civil war). So you may be technically right.
But when Canada was a holding of the Brits? Under the Imperial Act of 1790, British subjects that chose to leave America were explicitly allowed to bring slaves as property. There were legal slaves in Canada until 1834 when the British outlawed it throughout the empire.
Good to know you know your history as well as you know ours. That is to say, poorly, dishonestly or both.

One big difference between Canada and the US northern states and the US south that made slavery a going concern (it was supposed to become illegal in the US by 1800, along with the 3/5s compromise for determining congressional seats) for so long was the presence of labor intensive cash crops.

Slavery begot racism (much easier to justify institutional slavery, like genocide, if the victims are seen as 'other' and inferior), no doubt about it, but economics was the root of slavery.

SCSI, what the fuck are you... (Below threshold)

SCSI, what the fuck are you talking about? Canadians had indentured aboriginal servants after Confederation in 1867. What I said was that slavery tore a gigantic rift in the fabric of your nation that will likely never be repaired, whereas that was not the case in Canada, or nations where slavery was formerly legal. We treated aboriginals--and African slaves!--poorly, and liberals in my country do feel an appropriate level of guilt and shame about it, but it hasn't prevented us from developing a pretty well-adjusted national consciousness when it comes to race. That has not happened to the same extent in the U.S.

As to the point about economics being at the root of slavery, I don't think I've ever heard anyone assert something to the contrary.

such language canuck, such ... (Below threshold)

such language canuck, such language.

Now take a look at numbers... without the cash crop or industry to support large numbers of slaves, Canada didn't have nearly as many. Easier to move on with a smaller number of ex slaves and their descendants to integrate into society or shuffle off to the homeland.

As usual, though, you've mistaken sitting on your high horse for holding the high ground.

If you've interpreted anyth... (Below threshold)

If you've interpreted anything I've said as "Canada is better than the United States because we didn't have a similar quantity of slaves," then you're projecting or otherwise misinterpreting. Our Prime Minister--the first one! who in hindsight was a huge asshole!--didn't want any "Chinamen" at the ceremonial pounding of the last rail spike in the transnational railway. Yeah, heavens forbid some slant-eyed foreign devil sneak into a photograph after having lost dozens of his/her friends to cave-ins or premature nitroglycerine explosions.

I wouldn't suggest--or even imply--that your typical Anglo-"Canadian" in 1850 was of a better moral character than your typical American in 1850.






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