Race in America

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Seattle, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I read a recent article in Slate called "Why I Am Optimistic About The Future of Race Relations In America". Here is the link:


    The conclusion was basically that racial relations between white and black society has improved but that institutional factors have caused actual economic benefits to not have shown much improvement (for blacks) over the years.

    That was my interpretation of the article anyway.

    I would agree with much of the article but it seems to me that something was missing. Institutional reasons may still be a lingering factor that will take several more generations to result in large improvements but it seems to me that personal responsibility is what would result in the fastest and greatest improvements over the short-term.

    Some of the problems in the black communitie currently aren't even things that have been around since segregation. Babies without a father present is a relatively "new" thing that can't really be attributed to institutional disadvantages resulting from segregation.

    All white police departments and city government in mostly black communities isn't caused by anything other than black people not voting.

    Violence in black lower class communities is largely black on black crime.

    Burning, looting, violence in ones own community isn't caused by outside factors.

    Black owned businesses (or rather a lack of them) isn't due to outside influences.

    There are many black professionals but they are rarely portrayed in the media and rap or athletics is portrayed as the only way to get out of the "hood". Education, speaking correctly is referred to as "acting white".

    Leadership in black communities seems to be largely done by "Reverends" and not by black professionals.

    There is a trend (greater than for other groups) for even black middle class successful people to move back to the ghetto rather than leaving and taking their extended families with them. The result is that even when someone has made it into upper middle class you still have their children (at rates greater than for other groups) with police records because of the people they are hanging out with.

    This problem seems to be the elephant in the room that is rarely talked about. The lower class black community seems to have much in common with the Palestinians in that they are their own worst enemy.

    Speaking correctly, dressing appropriately for a job interview, and moving out of violent areas (not always a more expensive choice) are the choices that most other people would intuitively make I would think.

    Does anyone have any comments as to why this goes on and why more isn't done about it? Or point out where my comments are just not well informed?
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    Not really, single parent households have always been around.

    Also, I find this distinction to be interesting. And it is interesting because it is a common stereotype about black people, especially in the US. Are you talking about white single parent households or "babies without a father present" or those that pertain to African American households?

    Are you aware that there are more white "babies without a father present" households than black? For example, in 2013, there were 9,289,000 single parent white families and 6,427,000 single parent black families.

    While African Americans over-represent in low income single parent households, whites actually outnumber blacks over all for single parent households in the US.

    Or bad hiring practices.

    And in some cases, the racism is so entrenched, that even organisations that are supposed to represent police officers are segregated.

    That would be because there are more black people living below the poverty line than white people. Then of course you have issues of over-policing and over representation in the criminal justice system, lack of educational facilities and educational avenues, poorer medical facilities or options.. The list goes on and on. And the cycle continues.

    This is not solely or predominantly tied to blacks though. Burning, looting and violence happens everywhere.. Sports riots spring to mind.

    How do you figure that?



    Tell that to Obama.

    In all seriousness, the "acting white" accusation is also known as the 'educational elite' among conservative (you only have to look at the last Presidential campaign where if you went to an ivy-league school, you were referred to as an elitist)..

    There was an interesting article in Slate about this. It covers the issues behind such accusations really well on page two: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_...roper_english_and_academic_achievement.2.html

    The reverends are often black professionals, most with university degrees.

    Why would this be a problem?

    Please refer to above for over-policing of black people...

    Such as driving while black.. Especially if you have a nice car and you are black.

    Or shoveling snow in your yard while black.

    Looking for cigarettes in car while black.

    Breaking into and being inside of your own home in an affluent suburb while black..

    See the trend?

    *Raises eyebrows*

    You haven't really done a lot of research about this subject, have you?

    And the stereotypes continue..

    Frankly, I would not know where to even begin..
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Sounds about human. The poor white community is its own worst enemy in a way that blacks, hispanics, or even the Hollywood-Banker-UN-Zionist-world-domination-conspiracy can't be blamed. But being a poor white usually means that the question is about being poor, not about being white.

    Your summary of the issue makes perfect sense according to an historical outlook maintained by right-wing talk radio, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in a properly historical context other than to say that it reflects what a lot of people believe even if they can't explain what is so special about black people that we must focus on their blackness as a separation.

    These sorts of arguments, that blacks would be just fine if they would just behave the way you say they should, are hardly new. I'll tell you, too, the fun thing about them, well, as long as one isn't black, is that these arguments don't even need to be true. You get to say them and pretend they have merit and pretend to feel better about yourself, but in the end, you're not helping. Well, you're not helping any just outcome.

    But, you know, your priorities are your priorities.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    If the desirable outcome is for someone to be able to get a job, make money, and have a better life then it doesn't seem to me that it is helpful to that end to go on an interview not speaking correctly, not dressing appropriately, etc.

    That's not to say that there aren't factors for why these things occur but how is actually doing them helpful?

    It's got nothing to do with my priorities. I'd like to see more people do well rather than less.

    As far as talking about poor blacks as opposed to poor people in general of course they are many things common to all poor people.

    There seem to be many things more common to poor black people however. Most other poor communities seem to aspire to be middle class with all that entails (some conforming to middle class standards).

    Most other communities seem to place more value on education for example and I can't see how not doing that is helpful to them.

    I understand all the other points mentioned..such as being hassled by police, etc. That is a problem but the behavior I mentioned does help their situation.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I agree that they have.

    Certainly not as much as people would have hoped.

    Expressing that view in politically-correct places will get you flamed. Nevertheless, I agree with you.

    I agree. The majority of black children in the United States are born to single mothers. I believe that fact is a major contributor to a host of other social problems, from poverty rates, through poor school performance, to astronomical black male crime rates.

    Mostly white police departments (I don't think that they are typically all-white) in mostly-black communities are often the result of demographic changes. Many of these modest suburbs were once mostly lower-middle-class white, and many of their police officers were hired years ago. As many blacks in the inner cities became more successful, with good jobs and incomes, they started moving out of their tough urban neighborhoods for precisely the same reasons whites had before them. They wanted better schools, less crime, nicer houses and a more pleasant environment. Unfortunately, many of those new black suburbanites brought the same social problems with them that they were trying to escape, particularly an out-of-control and largely disfunctional black youth sub-culture. So crime rates started rising and school scores declining. And as white residents started moving out, these suburbs start to have black majorities.


    I'm less sure about that. The looters and arsonists who trashed Ferguson's little downtown, destroying many black-owned small businesses, don't seem to have been Ferguson locals in many cases. Many of them were opportunists looking for some action. Others were militants of various sorts.

    Excelling in class isn't likely to win kids much respect from their youthful peers. In too many cases, it won't win much respect at home either.

    Compare that to Asian immigrant families. Not only are they poor, sometimes poorer than many blacks, not only do they look different racially, they have big-time language problems just learning English. But these families typically have two parents, parents who are often pushing their kids mercilessly to study, study, study. When these kids get together, it's to do homework. It isn't unlike Jewish immigrants a couple of generations ago.

    And the result is that these families are the model of upward mobility. When Asians move into a white community, school scores will often go up, not down. Crime remains low. Kids are well-behaved. Around here there's far less tension between whites and Asians than there is between both communities and blacks. Whites and Asians live next door to each other, socialize easily together and there are more and more mixed-marriages.

    I think that people of African descent would do just as well, if a disproportionately large number of them weren't shooting themselves in the foot.

    The bottom line might be socialization. Children need to be taught, not only school subjects but ethical values, self-discipline and concern for what other people think. If kids aren't learning these kind of lessons in their home environment, they are going to end up teaching each other how to be men and women, and what they learn might not turn out to be very functional in the rest of life.

    I don't think that's going to change for at least another generation.

    Just like Europe is still reverberating from World War II, with that experience shaping how Europeans think and act even today, today's America exists in the shadow of the civil rights movement. It's a big part of today's school curriculum and part of the indoctrination that every American child receives. Racism in America is correctly condemned. That's a good thing. But unfortunately the idea has become established in the broader culture that since blacks were (and sometimes still are) the victims of racism, any criticism of or attribution of responsibility to them can only be another example of that same evil. It's something that just isn't done. So perhaps more than any other American ethnic group, blacks have become separated from responsibility for the negative consequences of their own actions, which are often interpreted as being somebody else's fault. It's all well-intentioned certainly, but it isn't helping black America.

    I don't expect any of this to change in my lifetime.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
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  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Regard my comments on violence being self-inflicted and not the results of outside forces...I was primarily thinking of shooting each other. I agree that there are at least some outside instigators for things relating to "protest".

    Yes, I agree that what I've written isn't politically correct which I think is unfortunate.
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Race in america.
    Richmond to Channel Lake---distance 16 miles---goal - do it in 8 minutes in a 57 ford with the 312 police interceptor engine.
    She almost did it, but died trying. We coasted in in neutral for the last mile.
    I avoided having relations with the fuzz. Not so much so with the parts suppliers. The learning curve was a bear.
  11. Bells Staff Member

    Why do you believe they do not?

    How is institutionalised racism helpful? How are stereotypes that blacks are stupid or violent helpful?

    Is that why you made a post with factual inaccuracies and silly stereotypes? Like the one that there are more children born to black single parent households when the reality is that there are more white children born to single parent households?

    Yes and no.

    Actually, what they aspire to is for a good education for their children. Good food on the table and that their children remain healthy. However if you cared to look, schools in predominantly black neighbourhoods are poorly funded, so are their hospitals and you should look up the term food deserts.

    Why do you think that is?

    Educated and wealthy black males are stopped by the police as much as those living in poor areas without a college education.

    You know, it would help if you weren't just interested in right wing talking points and had actually done some research on this subject before embarking on your version of 'the problem with the negro' thread..
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  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You do realize that entire paragraph is fanciful and unrealistic silliness, right?

    Just to throw in the obvious: Wilson, the cop whose incompetence and poor decisionmaking launched this thread, was hired long after Ferguson was mostly a black community. The recently publicized guy who was choked to death by a cop using a long-banned submission hold with well-practiced expertise was in a community that has been mostly black and policed by mostly white cops for generations.

    Black people in many US cities had to go to court to get hired by their local police forces - demographics be damned. These police forces didn't just end up white by unnoticed societal changes - they rigidly and violently and with malice enforced their whites-only status for decades.

    Or try this: when Obama moved to Chicago as a young man, a young black man from his new community had just been beaten to death by a gang of white thugs for walking through a white neighborhood to get to a job interview. Obama is 53.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You seem to be reading what you want to see rather than what I'm writing.

    I'm not talking about those who speak correctly, dress appropriately, etc. on a job interview. I'm talking about those who do not. What makes me think this happens? I've interviewed some people as I've described (for a job) and I've also worked where some were not advancing as they would have liked and it wasn't become of skin color (and they felt it was).

    How is institutionalized racism helpful? What a silly question. I've implied that it is a problem. That's just not the problem I was addressing here. There is conversation on that problem. I'm talking about a problem that seems to be avoided.

    I'm not using "right-wing talking points". I'm not right-wing. You are attempting to deride a legitimate conversation with this language. I'm not talking about stereotypes. I'm not attempting to say how many people have these issues. You are attempting to ignore those that do.

    I never said anything about how many white single parent households there were. There are many more white households obviously. My father died when I was 3 and I grew up in a single parent house hold.

    The issue isn't that one can't do well in a single parent house hold. It's that it seems to be a major factor in poor black house holds. If you don't agree, that's fine.

    I also agreed that racial profiling is a problem regarding the police and black men (rich or poor).

    I haven't said anything about black man or women who go to college. I'm talking about the sub-culture that doesn't seem to value it. I went to a high-school that was 51% black (education didn't seem to be highly valued). You are the one who seems to have an agenda. I posted this for the reasons that I said. Why imply that I must actually not want everyone to have a better life?

    You seem to be very defensive regarding this issue. You are bringing up all the issues I already noted were problems. Those are commonly discussed however.

    I'm just bringing up the one area that seems to not be able to be discussed. You don't seem to want to discuss it either.
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That is true for both blacks and whites. For both blacks and whites, a large amount of personal responsibility and drive can make them successful. For both, a lack of personal responsibility will lead to their failure.

    The problem is that for someone with a moderate amount of personal responsibility, being white is what will tip the balance towards success. That is a problem we have to fix. (And it's not "their" problem.)

    Police aren't elected.

    So the Watts race riots were not caused by outside factors, like police abuse of blacks?

    ?? The black president of the future was a mainstay of media since about 1980. Hollywood has made an effort to portray blacks as successful from around the same time. As far back as the original Star Trek blacks have been portrayed as successful and powerful people - but of course people see what they want to see.

    Agreed. But dress a black man and a white man identically, take then from the same area and you will STILL see more white men hired than black men.
  16. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    My point from above, is that if you want a person's race not to matter, it starts with you.
    I know many liberal racist, who think more of a persons skin color than of the person as an individual, and a few rednecks with the same problem.
    One of my sons, Cedric, is named after a friend who is a retired fireman and an actor at the Goodman theater in Chicago. Cedric the senior also happens to be black. I didn't like him because of his race, but because he is a good person with talent.

    When I registered my sons at the local grade school, one of the questions was "Race?"... so I wrote "human".

    If you do not want race to matter: Then do not make it matter. And, do not let others make it matter to you.
  17. Bells Staff Member

    Yes but why don't they value it?

    I linked you a study as to how the stereotypes and institutionalised racism ensures they do not value it. Perhaps you should read it. There were also other reports and studies in my first post in this thread.

    Pointing out the problem and saying this is a problem is nothing. You need to dig deeper and look at causation and see the evidence that this has been going on for generations and generations, so much so that it is embedded and expected. Just as you are commenting in this thread about what you perceive to be the issues with black people..

    I did not say you were right wing. I am saying that you are posting talking points, like right wing pundits do. You are coming across like a 'the problem with the negro' type, like those right wing nutbags do. Perhaps that was not your intention, but that is how you are coming across.

    Can blacks help themselves? Certainly and it is a struggle to fight against the institutionalised racism and stereotypes about what they are meant to be like. And when they do, they become the uppity negro and the elitist. Just look at the reaction to Obama's education as a prime example. Not from blacks, but from whites. This is not what black people are meant to be like.
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I lived in L.A. for 37 years, starting in 1960. Police misconduct was certainly one factor in the Watts riots, but it's generally asserted that the major issue was discrimination in housing. Afro-Americans began moving to the West Coast in large numbers in the 1940s, because of the bounty of relatively high-paying job opportunities that opened up due to WWII. This continued during the Korean War. When the war ended, these folks had spent a decade becoming very good at their work, and were earning good incomes.

    But most of the nicer neighborhoods were off-limits to "negroes," and local ordinances enforced this, despite federal laws outlawing it. They were driving Cadillacs, Imperials and Lincolns (as one black comedian said, "If I walk into a car dealership with five thousand dollars, General Motors will sell me anything I want, but that doesn't work with a realtor"), but after work they drove to homes that simply were not of a size and quality comparable to their cars, and the neighborhoods were often crime-ridden.
    There are a few places where that isn't as true as it was 30 years ago. Actually, Los Angeles is one of them; we had a black mayor 20 years ago, and there are a lot of well-integrated neighborhoods, both working-class and upscale.

    Maryland, where I live now, is another. Most of the state is integrated so well that you'd almost think you weren't in the USA anymore. The secret, of course, is that Maryland is one giant bedroom community for the U.S. government in Washington, DC. The federal government has been happily integrated for about 30 years, so African-Americans come here to get jobs. As a result, I think a larger percentage of our population is black than in most other states. We white people are accustomed to seeing them everywhere and even living next door to them, and as a friend of mine put it, "familiarity breeds contentment."

    The owner and CEO of the software house I worked for recently is an African-American. He runs a very good company.
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    What I find interesting is where that principle no longer applies.

    Consider cable news.

    Now, the reality is that black or white, the same problem persists.

    Watch a cable news show, even one I like, say, TRMS.

    When the transcript posts (a couple days later in msnbc's case), go back and read the words you listened to.

    These people don't make sense. Gramatically, syntactically, they are train wrecks in motion.

    But because they're not using, say, a centuries-old colloquialism of the English language (saying "axe" instead of "ask"), nobody cares. It's not something you can blame on skin color, like people who lecture blacks about how "it starts with you".

    Indeed, the indifference is so great that these people can say really, really stupid things, even promote grotesque cruelty, and they still get to be respectable.

    But nobody holds the parade of incoherent white people against white people.

    Even the president, who happens to be one of the better-spoken characters in our news cycle, relies almost entirely on literary interpretation. And in transcribing spoken discourse, it is hard enough to punctuate; to wit, does one use an ellipsis or emdash here, or would a semicolon work? But even still, if you try to follow the basic sentences, or, worse yet, the basic logic, most of these people are train wrecks.

    And the "axe" example works well; nobody complained until it became culturally identified with black people, and despite its long station as an English colloquialism.

    The people who don't speak properly, but do so in "our" way? Well, how many of them are white? And who the hell actually holds "white people" responsible for how a white person speaks? Seriously, should "white people" be judged according to the Ducks and Boo Boos of society?

    Indeed, these sorts of generalizations offer us a metaphor of juxtaposition; inasmuch as some might suggest the problem with blacks is wanting to be gangsta thugs, we might also point out tough-talk cowboy heroism in country music and the ratings of crime dramas in order to assert that the problem with whites is wanting to be corrupt cops. The thing is that we already allegedly know better than to type and fear white people like that.

    But, you know, blacks are black, so humanity requires a whole different logic, apparently.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Black people don't have that option, in the US.

    Just for starters, a black man who tries to pretend, even, (much less "not let") that race doesn't matter runs a fair risk of getting himself shot by the police at a traffic stop, in many US regions.

    Or as the grandmother put it to the author, not very long ago in America: "If you ever forget you are a Jew, some goy will remind you".
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    60 years ago, to the day, a meek but couragous lady, changed the US, especially the south just by keeping her seat on a bus when told by driver and then the police to give it up to a white man. Few have done as much to advance "color -blindness."

    Perhaps Rosa Parks should be the woman on the 20 dollar bill.
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    There's quite a campaign behind her. It might very well happen.

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