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Author Topic: White Privilege?
Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 12:13      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey guys, are all white people in the United States inherently privileged and subconsciously racist against other ethnicities, as appears to be current popular opinion, or is this a crock over which I shouldn't bother getting my feathers ruffled?

Discuss. [Big Grin]

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 12:23      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've never met any albinos, so I wouldn't know. I'm sort of off-pink.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 12:24      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
All statements that include the word 'all' are wrong, especially this one.

I presume you're referring to the recent study in which X% of merkins agreed that "all whites dislike blacks" and "all blacks dislike whites".

You get the dills.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 12:37      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
America is divided more so between levels of wealth than race. Being born a minority isn't going to keep you from prosperity as much as being born poor.

I find it hard to believe, that even if an employer is racist, that they would choose a less qualified white person over a more qualifed minority in todays profit driven world.

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Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 13:19      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
All statements that include the word 'all' are wrong, especially this one.

By this I mean the societally-inflicted "white guilt" that I am supposed to feel, and the commonly held opinion that, because of my skin color, I am incapable of understanding multiculturalism or the struggles of oppressed racial groups.*


*Excepting those racial groups who have light skin, as Jews or descendants of Irish immigrants could never understand oppression... [shake head]

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never_ask_why333
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 15:01      Profile for never_ask_why333     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well I'm 'white' and American, and I have no problem whatsoever with any other race, and I know many who are in the same situation and agree.

Steen: lmfao...I know an albino. He's actually really cool, although I haven't talked to him in a while. You know he has to wear sunglasses because he is really sensitive to light?

On that subject: anyone ever seen the movie, Powder?

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 17:48      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Silas was one awesome albino, though the movie itself (and the book, for that matter) sucked a gargantuan amount of ass.
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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 21:36      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Demosthenes: don't get your feathers ruffled. No one has a right to call themselves oppressed because of their race. This is a nation of immigrants who got tossed out of every decent country on the planet. Some groups tried hard to make the best of it - others didn't. Anyone can learn to thrive if that's their objective.
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ASM65816
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Icon 5 posted December 14, 2006 16:47      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by never_ask_why333:
Well I'm 'white' and American

 
Never_ask_why333, do you have several tattoos and body piercings?

quote:
Originally posted by never_ask_why333:
Here in Texas....     I'm a girl....
I just know that for several years, I was a Muslim, and I moved all around the country.



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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted December 17, 2006 09:22      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Demosthenes:
[QUOTE]By this I mean the societally-inflicted "white guilt" that I am supposed to feel, and the commonly held opinion that, because of my skin color, I am incapable of understanding multiculturalism or the struggles of oppressed racial groups.*

The "I'm supposed to feel" part seems like it is pointing in the co-dependant region. Only you can give yourself permission to feel guilt.

No. All Americans are not racist. However I do believe a lot of insidious racist beliefs are held. One person mentioned something about having diffidculty with the notion that racisim exists in hiring because the profit motive is too strong.

It's not that racism is promoted by stockholders; rather by hiring managers. Texaco is on record for racist hiring and promoting policies. Denny's and Cracker Barrell have been in hot water for racist serving policies. There are many others.

I compare political agendas and see racism in a lot of places.

O.J. getting off in his murder trial bug you? As much as the murder of Sean Bell on his wedding day by undercover police. Sure they were police, but Sean was innocent and unarmed, and it's already been shown the officers involved are lying through their teeth. Those guilty cops will never even serve the time OJ did before his trial. Look at the perception here.

How about the parade of pretty murdured white girls the cable networks feed us? A lot of other folks get murdered, particularly black folks, but there is no news about them. Why pick and choose who we care about?

Inheritance tax and slave reparations are another paradox. Rich white kids don't want to pay tax on the money their parents earned once Mom and Dad die. They feel entitled to the money without tax. But ask them about the unpaid wages of the slaves and the money their children shouls have inherited? Why they weren't involved. For profit of white kids -- involved. For paying debts to black folks -- not involved. How convenient.

People, you really think the world is a better place because Paris Hilton, Nichole Richie and George W. Bush inherited their money?

Treaties with Native Americans in the Great Lakes. The treaties gave the natives complete fising rights, to run and exploit as they see fit. At least until white, commerical fisherman, ans sport fisherman think they want more. This isn't 17th, 18th or 19th Century "Indian Giving", but 20th and 21st legalized racism.

Iraq/Darfur? C'mon now.

How about this Geeks. What Geed trilogy has an evil "Black Father?' One who wasn't around when the kids where growing up, and who didn't pay any child support? Hmmm?

And in T-2, what color was the Geek who analyzed the T-1s electronics, adapted them, and eventually caused the end of the world? You know the guy who had to die in order to save the world? The Black Guy.

Are perceptions two way? You bet. Take a look at a white coal miner's life. It's virtual indentured servitude.

So what about profit and racism? It's post-plantation politics. If the rich guy can keep the poor white and black folks fighting between themselves, they'll never target the rich white guy.

CP

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boo
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Icon 1 posted December 17, 2006 11:09      Profile for boo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I do believe there is a lot of subconscious racism, but I also believe the race card is pulled on many occasions when it shouldn't be. Both sides play their games.

I've already seen things right here at this board that lead me to believe that many of the so called 'intelligent, open minded, tolerant' geeks here are anything but. I'm not surprised in the least.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 17, 2006 12:17      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by boo:
I do believe there is a lot of subconscious racism

The classic case was after Hurricane Katrina, photo of 2 white guys wading out of a flooded supermarket carrying groceries was labeled "survivors gathering supplies". An almost identical picture of 2 black guys described them as "looters".

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted December 17, 2006 14:24      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmmm. I don't think every member of any given race is racist, but I think that racism is nasty human tendency.

That's right- just as much as a white feels inclined to be racist, provided they grew up in a non-racist environment, so would a black.

We could dive into how it's natural for one group to feel uneasy towards a member of another, how skin color is a glaringly obvious sign of difference, and how people are united by a common 'enemy'. But that's been hashed and rehashed, so I don't think I'll go in to that.

Instead I will say that I think it's pretty obvious what Demos is talking about; it's kind of a racism in and of itself: being white automatically makes us the majority, automatically makes us oppressors, evil, etc etc. While I hate to sound like a whiner, because there are more important things to worry about, this is true. While there is no doubt that racism still exists from whites to blacks (and I'm going to use blacks as my example from here on out. Don't worry, I'm not forgetting about the other races), there is plenty of the less harmful kind going in the opposite direction; it's been stated a thousand times, but the way blacks are allowed to make fun of whites on television- and how it's accepted- is perfect evidence of this.

You've heard it all before: white guys can't dance, white people are too stuck up, white people don't live in the real world because they live in the 'burbs, blah blah blah. But what if a white guy started saying things like 'black people are lazy', 'blacks are stupid', etc etc? There would, of course, be plenty of public outrage.

Hell, I've been called racist because for the most part I don't find black women attractive. Apparently I am a racist because I do not like big butts, and am in fact quite capable of lying.

But like I said, there are more important things to worry about. I'm more concerned with getting an education and making loads of money than I am about the fact that I can be called a honkey/cracker/mic by a member of a racial minority and not being able to say anything back.

To answer Demos' question directly, no, not all whites are racist. I think you will find that they judge people more on their abilities/personalities than on their skin color. The problem arises when they meet so many members of a minority (say blacks) that have a personality they disagree with (not hard to imagine, when you consider how popular 'gangsta' culture is), and they automatically start to associate that behavior/personality type with that race. I've met few blacks in my day, but the one I know fairly well is a consultant for Siemen's medical systems, one of the most brilliant guys I've ever known.

I have been fortunate to have been raised in a place where racism is not prevalent, partially because nineyt-some-odd percent of the population here is white, and because my family is above that kind of stupidity.

If you have made it this far through my post, you get a cookie.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 17, 2006 21:27      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My brother's ex called him a racist once because he said he would not vote for Rice if she ran for president. He couldn't get it through this girl's head that his feelings towards Rice had nothing to do with her race - it's her neo-conservatism that drives him batty. I think there's a lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not sure how to articulate it. For the record, both my bro and his ex are white.

It's in human nature to fear or mistrust what is different. It also seems to be in human nature to lick old wounds. Racial and ethnic clashes are neither new nor American, and I think that in a lot of cases they happen simply because it suits those in power to wake up resentments best left sleeping. And sometimes it also suits those in power to let the old resentments sleep.

As far as hiring practices and insidious prejudices go, there have been studies done on this phenomenon. Basically, whenever an applicant shows up who is not the norm for the job, either in terms of race or gender, they are judged more harshly than someone from the majority group. In science, this means that women and members of some minority groups have to be outstanding to even be seen as mediocre. This carries over into other areas as well...try being a white female martial artist, for example. I don't have a lot of ambition in the martial arts, so it's not such a big deal for me, but some of my peers have really suffered for prejudices that most don't even realize are there, until or unless they've felt it themselves. The good news for science, at least, is things are changing. It'll take a while - boy's club hasn't completely died off/retired yet - but it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be, and hopefully progress will continue.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 18, 2006 00:20      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
As far as hiring practices and insidious prejudices go, there have been studies done on this phenomenon. Basically, whenever an applicant shows up who is not the norm for the job, either in terms of race or gender, they are judged more harshly than someone from the majority group.

This link has an example of what you describe. Identical CVs are sent out, with different names. Emily O'Brien and Neil McCarthy got far more calls than Tamika Williams and Jamal Jackson.

There was a similar study in the UK a few years ago, the Smiths and Joneses got far more responses than the Hassans and Ramavishnus.

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ASM65816
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Icon 5 posted December 18, 2006 07:43      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Consider an external observer of a civil war:
quote:
Observer: They all look the same to me, so why are they killing each other?
 
Appearance isn't everything. For example, someone from New Jersey could have the same skin, hair, and facial characteristics as myself, but after hearing him talk for a couple of minutes I would recognize him as an inferior species (as opposed to myself and others who are not from New Jersey). [/evil]

Point: Isn't language commonly used as bias among people when appearance isn't enough to distinguish between groups?

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Icon 1 posted December 18, 2006 07:45      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Somewhere on the slope labelled, "Racism, Bigotry, Political Correctness and Miscellaneous Discrimination", it seems that humankind has slid into a mire of total self-absorption, confusion and fear.

The fear leads us to hate that which we do not understand. The confusion keeps us from thinking positively and clearly about our common problems in dealing with each other. And the self-absorption allows us to limit how much we are willing to give up to help others, humankind, over our own needs.

Perhaps if our consciences were not so poisoned, pre-occupied with the glittering attractions of this world, the task of changing would be a bit easier - I don't know for sure.

Of the so-called scientific studies I've ever read on the subject of racially or ethnically based differences, very few are comprehensive enough to consider the circumstances of the population(s) being studied very thoroughly. Heck. It doesn't take an advanced Math degree to figure out that humans are all products of their environment.

The racism, reverse racism, elitism, negative discrimination, bigotry, etc. that I've witnessed in this country comes down to primarily two essential problems: Ignorance and Pride (or self-centeredness). Whether we talk about individual or institutional racism matters not. Those wishing to 'fix' the problem often want to throw money at it in the form of welfare and social programs but not get involved personally and directly. Those who deny the problem exists or that there is any help for it are happy to ignore it until violence or impoverishment lands on their own doorstep.

Enlightened leaders of minority groups in the USA pretty much agree that welfare programs as they exist are ruining those populations by eliminating any incentive to seek or reach their potential as human beings. It ultimately dehumanizes them.

Programs do not change nor help people.

People change or help people.

Or, people don't change, don't help others and things continue the way they are.

Think about it.

<End sermonizing>

gg

And Merry Christmas to all!

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 12 posted December 18, 2006 07:54      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What if I hate everyone and just generally want to kill the entire human race on most days, regardless of race or religion?

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 18, 2006 08:25      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Steen, that's called misanthropy.

quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:
Point: Isn't language commonly used as bias among people when appearance isn't enough to distinguish between groups?

So is religion.

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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted December 18, 2006 08:44      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
GG - reading the conclusion to your post brought me memories of one of Quebec's greatest poet: "The best way to kill a man is to pay him to do nothing." I must say, though, that I don't fully agree. I think that welfare is a good thing as it helps the needy; it's when people think "why make efforts if I can have it easy" that it becomes a bad thing. Should we deprive those who need it because others abuse it? My answer is no.

But on your main point, what you describe (ignorance -> fear, and pride|self-absorption) has been since the beginning of time. This "need to belong" we all feel (being part of a great family, of a great city, of a great country, or any other social circle - yes, even GC) leads to a source of pride for being a member of it. And if we are proud to be part of it, there must be some shame to not being one*. See my drift? (Of course, one could argue that we just have to create one big group that includes everyone - like "humanity" - to solve the problem, but where would be the pride in that? How is it an honor to be "in" when nobody is "out"?)

So really, fighting racism and other forms of exclusion is really about fighting one of our most basic instinct, as animals do just the same. Pack of wolves + wolves from another pack = [Mad] . (Unless it's a stranded one looking for a new pack.) So they build their territories, and only those willing to mix in and contribute to the pack are welcome to cross the borders. Sounds familiar? [crazy]

So, what can we do about it? I worry it's never going to disappear entirely, but for one, I try to be curious. Discover other people, other traditions, other ways of doing things. Only after I understand them do I allow myself to judge which way is the best for me.

(But I must admit that many people think that this kind of personnal judgement implies that I disrepect their choice if different. They understand the "I think that...", but as I don't say "but you're free to think otherwise", they assume it's not there at all.)

Aren't we back to the "tolerance" thread?


*And then, there are the groupings meant to be disparaging, like "geeks" or "little St-John-the-Baptists" that are turned as a source of pride for those who are put into them. (I used two example I know closely, I'm sure there are plenty others.)

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted December 18, 2006 15:58      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stereo:
... one of Quebec's greatest poet: "The best way to kill a man is to pay him to do nothing."

This seemed to set up this link. There are some law enforcment officers who appear to disagree. This is the latest from CNN, where the cops apparently used a living human being -- a retarded black man -- as target practice.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/12/18/nopd.shooting/index.html

This follows news of a case in New York City where it is becoming increasing apparent that law enforcment gunned an innocent man on his wedding day, then concocted a story about a gun and the fellow running into them for no reason. Reason tells us that dead people don't drive very well.

And ...

The recent case of a 90-some-old grandmother who was gunned down by law enforcment officers who had bad information on a drug house being there. The informant they cited refused to confirm their account of him identifying the address as a drug house.

None -- zero- zippo, none of these cops is likely to serve as much time as OJ did while awaiting his trial.

I've read a lot of sappy white guy "work hard and you'll get ahead" garbage in this thread. Sad fact is for many people in this nation that is just not true.

As long as some folks live in a world that is no more realistic than the Christmas snow globe I have on my mantle, nothing will change.

CP

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ASM65816
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Icon 5 posted December 18, 2006 23:51      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Unfortunately we can't test this, but ........

1. Take a human being, make a thousand clones of that person.
2. Put them on an island.
3. Wait.

Theory: Eventually they will divide into two or more groups and begin fighting each other.

So far, evidence indicates humans will fight each other regardless of being blood relatives or completely unrelated.
[Geek]

[Roll Eyes]   I suppose someone would insist lab rats be used for the initial experiments, but I don't think there are racist or religious-extremist lab rats, so any results from those experiments would be inconclusive to humans.

Any recommendations for a better experimental conditions? Predicted outcomes?

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Icon 1 posted December 20, 2006 15:21      Profile for The real Stealth   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
On the whole "white majority" issue:

If you are a middle-class, educated (BA, BS, MA, Phd.), Caucasian, male... You are a member of the smallest minority in the nation.


(Looks like I better find some rags so I look like a member of a bigger group when I finish school.) [devil wand] [devil wand]

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted December 20, 2006 15:41      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And yet this small minority holds most of the wealth and power...

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Icon 1 posted December 20, 2006 21:02      Profile for JulioC     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Im a European-blooded brazilian with a Jewish refugee grandfather,Italian grandmother and African-brazilian father.

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