Discussion of Racism in America?

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Nekogami
 
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Discussion of Racism in America?

Unread postby Nekogami » Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:30 pm

You guys scare me but I'm rather proud of this post that I made on Gaia Online so I'd like to share it.

I decided to come at this from the perspective of an economist and an anthropologist and a historian, meaning I want make sure I'm getting a full picture. I failed miserably because I don't have enough facts in the essay but I tried... ... ... ....

Yeah, so...

*takes a deep breath* I hope what I'm about to say is coherent.

First, I'll rant(?) on the question Why is there a separation between the races in America.

Let's break the issue down into some definite points as some have already begun to do.

What is "white" and "black"? If you want to go by color you are broad brushing so hard you might as well say "who has hair and who doesn't?" Color of the skin is by no means definitive in ANYTHING!!! An interesting note that I'd like to bring up a note about the first real slavers of Africans that I don't think a lot of people know. (I wish I had the textbook but I how wikipedia is sufficient.) It was the Spanish who started the slave trade of Africans in North America due largely to a suggestion of one monk Bartolome De Las Casas (Who by they way, felt like the native Americans were being treated rotten and thought Africans, who were used to European diseases would make better workers). Ultimately, he regretted the decision.

So should black people be more mad at people who are Spanish (not Hispanic, which I tend to relegate to the cultures and people of Latin America) and by auxiliary the Catholic Church because of the suggestion of one monk?! I'm sure there's more to that story but, no, those two key elements alone are not enough since other European countries and descendants continued and promoted the practice. All are guilty of a terrible slaughter and injustice to a people.

But it bring us to the point of what would the Africans ultimately think and transmit to their descendants who would pick up the heavy torch of racial oppression? They would only see color (white and black, free oppressors and fellow slaves) and they would only see the pain of their own people and this moment in history I believe is the beginning of the black/white dichotomy in America. Where people are judged, grouped, and classified only on the color of their skin and not by the cultural heritage that they belong to.

And so I believe that black culture has evolved under the light of this torch and it's not hard to see why as a people they would cling to his light. They find comfort in being together, understood, and not threatened by another culture or race, as ANY previously oppressed OR free people would want. But if we accept that black Americans come from a historically recent poverty trap with little resources to help them escape as a racial or cultural group, then we mush also accept that they are continuing to be oppressed under a legacy that ended not very long ago and is still continuing to be felt today. (If it is requested, I can actually give a brief summary or lecture of the concept of "poverty traps" and economic growth that might detail why there is an social disparity through economy between whites and blacks which fuels racial tension.)

That was just a possible explanation of the current mentality of blacks Americans. But what about asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, or first generation immigrants? Again, there is history of racism from "white" people in power against these races, Exploitation, discrimination, and inequality. So wouldn't it be natural or these groups to want to draw together to discuss things that others would not readily recognize? To be an island of similarity in the sea that is another culture? Is it right? Is it fair? I can't answer those kinds of questions but I DO believe that the sharing of cultures IS necessary and important. No cultural group should exclude a mind and heart willing to learn.

So what can we say about "White" pride groups.... Illusion. Africans from different tribes who came to American no longer could afford their tribal differences. If they were to survive they had to unify. First, they were slaves and eventually the became Americans with a common history that some other Americans did not share. The same goes with other minorities. But as others have mentioned, "white" Americans need not set themselves as one broad brush grouping that means the same thing to every person. There are Appalachian cultures among 'whites', strong Irish culture, German, Italian, Polish, Jewish, and British just to name A FEW and how many among those groups have ALSO felt the painful sting of discrimination maybe not based on color but one culture?

We all have something that we can learn from each other if we can let go of the pain of being different. However, we cannot forget that pain unless we strive not to hurt each other. If you belong to one cultural group LEARN ABOUT ANOTHER ONE! What do you have to lose but an uneducated stigma or stereotype. Will you become LESS of the group you belonged to before? Maybe but you will have become more of another part of the human myriad. Your singular puzzle piece with blend into another and isn't the ultimate goal to eliminate those unimportant differences such as who does what and how? It doesn't matter what side your bread is buttered on, what the bread is, or if it's even butter! Find sustenance in the wonder that is the human animal and it's differences.

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Capntastic
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Unread postby Capntastic » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:58 am

Why do we scare you? :(

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Unread postby Nekogami » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:44 pm

:( Whole 'nother topic that has little to do with anyone but me, sir.

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Ganonfro
 
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Unread postby Ganonfro » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:40 am

Ok. I see your points and have thought similarly about the subject for the past couple of years.

I'm slightly confused how this was brought up in Gaia Online of all places, but more quizzical to why you bring it up here.


Also, in your mentioning of other "white" ethnicities, mentioning that the Romans enslaved practically every other culture in Europe might be interesting to see how people rebuke, due to it being Romans (Italians) enslaving Germans, French (Gaulians? I forget what the specific name is), the British Isles (with exception of several awesome Caber tossing skills), and the Hebrews.I think its important to point out sometimes (specifically in this topic) that people enslaved anyone they felt like pretty much up until the late 1800's, and honestly I wouldn't doubt that people still are in most places. Hell, Serfs in Russia were practically slaves until what... 1917? Christ, look at how worse off the Native Americans have it comparatively. We literally decimated their entire way of life, brought them to the point of almost being wiped off the planet, and some of the poorest areas in the entire country are towns of predominantly Native Americans (I honestly don't know any more than Pine Ridge. Wiki it and see for yourself under economy)

...Alright, that's enough for now. I'm tired, and forgot if I was going anywhere with this. DISCUSS MORE.

Nekogami
 
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Unread postby Nekogami » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:38 am

Ah, well, things happen in Gaia that can be worthy of note. I think it's statistically possible. I guess I was happy that I could still write a good article and thought you'd like to read it. Sorry if I was wrong.

To your point, I do think that a lot of people forget that slavery is incredibly common in human history though that's not excuse for it to be forgivable it can provide useful information like "how long does it take for enslaved races to become accepted/equal members of society?" and so on...

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PriamNevhausten
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Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:05 pm

I would also like to support Ganon's statements, though in a different direction: If light-skinned folk shouldn't paint the 'white' grouping as one culture, then how can it be legitimate to paint all dark-skinned folk with the 'black' brush? Australian aborigines, Africans, southern South Americans, some Indians...the list goes on. There are about as many 'black' heritages as there are 'white,' if you look at countries and religions. Just because 'whites' are considered the majority in America/Europe does not mean that they cannot organize under one banner as 'blacks' might, or that it is reprehensible to do so.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that racism is an expression of certain human characteristics that we would be hard-pressed to overcome. And at this point I'm not talking exclusively about the concentration of melanin in one's integumentary system, either--we can step to the issues of wealth, style, preferences, language, sexuality; things which run the gamut from actually having some impact to the most frivolous of descriptors. Try talking sometime to some blue-collary types about the issue of English being the one and only official language of the States. You'll get a lot less objection to the idea of integrating Spanish into civil documentation than you would have eighty years ago, but you might be surprised how much still lingers.

And why? Why would such a thing even be bothersome? It's about pride, and it's about convenience. Why would I bother wasting my precious time helping out some goddamned poor-ass tequila-drinkin' job-stealin' Mexicans when they should just learn English because that's what we talk in this country? Why would I lift a finger to help my fellow man when I can sit here and maintain my comfortable status quo with the people I've already accepted? Why should I let anyone else in from outside to have that kind of respect?

It's not as uncommon an idea as you might think. What if someone off the street approached you and asked about pen and paper roleplaying games? Would you immediately think that they were probably mediocre in roleplaying skill at best, because you've seen so many people out there who just suck at it? We've all seen a million DBZ roleplayers, eighty two billion Cloud and Sephiroth wannabes, and two hundred thousand godmoding combat-centered mindless 'characters' who are just vehicles for stats in the midst of a role-playing context--and it causes our perceptions of unknown roleplayers to shift.

You might even be right in assuming, given a certain population's trends, that a previously unknown member of that population has certain traits, good and bad. But, would it be fair to them? Not really.

People categorize, for better or worse. We generalize because if we treated every experience as a new entity, we would exhaust ourselves from all the attention we would have to pay to every single mundane everyday thing. We jump to conclusions, we make presumptions, we paint with wide strokes. It's not sad or bad that we do so--but in order to show a positive level of respect towards other human beings, we have to learn to allow people to defy our expectations, and to be okay with that. In any collection of a significant number of people, there will be variations and exceptions and deviations to any rules or trends shown in the grouping.

(With that said, there are some things that are absolutely okay to conclude purely based on a person's skin color. But most of these are pragmatic: people with darker skin can stay longer in the sun without getting sunburn. People with lighter skin don't have to get as much sunlight in order to generate a sufficient supply of vitamin D. Self-evident things like that. And as such, those things are okay to discriminate on, because they're fairly provable. The unfortunate consequence is that sometimes people take this genuine information and overextend it to infer things about a person's character. )
"You haven't told me what I'm looking for."
"Anything that might be of interest to Slitscan. Which is to say, anything that might be of interest to Slitscan's audience. Which is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections."
--Colin Laney and Kathy Torrance, William Gibson's Idoru

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Ganonfro
 
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Unread postby Ganonfro » Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:57 pm

Nekogami: Oh, I didn't think it was wrong to bring it up, I just have a poor image of Gaia Online, kind of like how I view NeoPets. I wouldn't go there for almost any form of intelligent discourse, same as back in 98 one wouldn't go to Yahoo chatrooms and not expect people to randomly ask you to cyber.

...Which oddly fits the topic, judging a community purely based on how it looks.

Priam: I've actually found that bringing up D&D amongst nerdly friends always gets a mixed reaction. It seems comic book nerds think the idea of playing D&D is almost below them. I've mentioned that I play it to them and they say (usually jokingly) that their opinion of me is now lowered. D&D has always had an odd stigma attached, mostly because its been bashed by Jack Chick and other radicals that think only the most decrepit and laziest of nerds play D&D. This also is very related, though not Racism, it is discrimination based on prior conceptions of a certain type of person.

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Unread postby Nekogami » Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:25 am

Ganonfro wrote:Nekogami: Oh, I didn't think it was wrong to bring it up, I just have a poor image of Gaia Online, kind of like how I view NeoPets. I wouldn't go there for almost any form of intelligent discourse, same as back in 98 one wouldn't go to Yahoo chatrooms and not expect people to randomly ask you to cyber.

...Which oddly fits the topic, judging a community purely based on how it looks.


It does it have seedy and less that worthy areas but so far it's the only place that I've found that you can discuss things or debate things. I mean there's not enough people or interest to do it here and since people are friends here we're likely not to disagree on too many things or have differing point of views. I'm probably wrong but I do like Gaia for its diversity in thought.


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