Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Racism

Racism “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”


In an interview with sports radio 610 WIP in Philly early this morning, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said "the point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, well there's a reaction that's in our experiences that won't go away and can sometimes come out in the wrong way. And that's just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it."

We have to break through it.

Break through what? The obvious subject of “it” is the noun “reaction” in the previous sentence.

Let me take you through a few scenarios.

A woman is at a stoplight late at night. She sees a group of black teens wearing vests with no shirts, chains around their necks, hands in pockets, and walking with a strut of defiance she’s seen many times before from both Hollywood movies and real life news stories. They are staring at her and mouthing out loud words that are indistinguishable.

Reaction: push the automatic lock on her car doors and prepare to run through the red light if necessary.

***
In a local discount store, a manager watches a trio of women hovering near the jewelry rack, frequently looking around hurredly , blocking anyone else's view of the rack of jewelry and whispering to each other, all of whom are carrying large knapsacks and wearing clothing with lots of pockets. They do this for 5 minutes or so and then leave the store without purchasing anything.

Reaction: The manager sends security out the door to follow and question the women, suspecting shoplifting.

***
A young man walks into a classroom at a new school and discovers that he is in the minority. As he finds a place to sit, he notices others staring at him, and even whispering to each other as they do so. No one speaks to him, or smiles.

Reaction: He considers dropping the class since he doesn’t need it anyway – he feels very uncomfortable and decides to try another class where the environment will be “friendlier”.

***

As a follow up on the above examples.

In the first example, the woman at the light was black just as the teens were black.

In the second example, the women were white and the manager was black.

In the third example, the young man was black and the class was all white.

******************************************
There is a difference between the word “racism” and, say, extrapolation, inference, prognostication or intuition.

We all react to situations based on many different variables. These can include past experience, knowledge, intuition, emotion, probability, the instinct to survive, and other variables as well.

When put in a situation with a stranger, we react to body language, dress, tone of voice, eye contact, posture, and yes – in some situations, ethnicity. Doing so does not automatically make us racist. The word racist is thrown around too frequently and used as a weapon of coercion by those who seek to force their objectives on others. Being called something does not make it so.

I’ve met many people in my life who would be called racist because of language they use or attitudes they have. But if you sit down and talk with them, you find that the language they use, though possible offensive and inflammatory to some, does not reflect a belief in them that they are better than someone else of another race, but rather reflects an ignorance on their part of the implication of its usage and the effect that the language has on others. You’ll also find that the attitudes they have are based on past experience, fear, and lack of knowledge. They will often have friends of other ethnic groups for whom they would do anything for, call them friends, and would defend them against any who would offend them.

What Racism IS

Racism is spitting in the face of someone for no other reason other than their skin color.

Racism is refusing to associate with anyone who does not have your skin color.

Racism is telling your children they can't be friends with someone simply because of their skin color.

Racism is attributing negative traits to a whole race of people instead of to individuals.

What Racism IS NOT

Racism is not locking your car door when you see a group of people coming toward you that seem menacing.

Racism is not being suspicious.

Racism is not feeling uncomfortable around others who are different.

Racism is not commenting that someone’s race in a particular situation is either an advantage or disadvantage.

The only racist statement in this whole post was in the quote made by Obama.

But she is a typical white person

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10 Comments:

At 10:09 AM, OpenID homerj said...

Excellent summary. Can you imagine what would happen if anyone uttered the words, "typical black person?"

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

"typical black person".

Oh yeah, that would draw some real heat. THAT would be racist.

Thanks for dropping by.

 
At 6:06 PM, Anonymous matthew said...

Excellent summary and explanation.

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

Thanks matthew. I've been called a racist myself on this very blog. It's funny too. If the people that accused me of that knew my inner circle of friends and the people I associate with, they would have a hard time justifying that accusation. But as I mentioned already, it is a favorite tactic of liberals to scream racist/homophobe/misogynist/hater etc. to try to silence others who disagree with their viewpoint.

 
At 9:21 PM, Blogger ELAshley said...

I concur. Excellent post.

I'm tired of being called a racist simply because I don't appreciate being called "whitey"

 
At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the your own logic (past experience, history), it's not racism for a black person to use the phrase 'a typical white person'. Because, whites have done so many bad things (slavery, colonies, world wars, seggragation), the stigma continues....just like one of those inner city kids known for their violent behavior!

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is the same anonymous or not, but I'm left wondering what his/her own real thoughts are on anything. I like reading different views, but this one leaves me feeling like I have looked at a blank page. Mom2

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

"I don't know if this is the same anonymous or not, but I'm left wondering what his/her own real thoughts are on anything."

*grin*

As long as there are no attacks or foul language, or blasphemy, I post'em as I get'em.

I suspect often that anonymous posts or posts with multiple names but no blog of their own are from the same individuals, but never know for sure.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

"Because, whites have done so many bad things (slavery, colonies, world wars, seggragation..."

I'm white. I've not participated in any of these things. I know hundreds, maybe thousands of white people, and none of them have caused any of these things. Not sure what your point is.

Rome persecuted Jesus along with the Jews. Should I be racist and hate Italians or Jews? Nope.

 
At 9:28 PM, Anonymous American said...

There are probably millions of "black teens wearing vests with no shirts, chains around their necks...". They are not all thugs. But, you are right when you gave the example of the woman locking her car doors when she sees them. Because, it fits the 'stereotype' she would have seen/heard.

Same way, there are millions of whites who are nor racists and not involved in slavery. But, a black is right when he uses the phrase 'a typical white' because it fits the stereotype that he would have seen/heard.

One should be realistic and honest enough to admit the 'stereotype' behaviors from their own communities. The racism among white, crime among blacks - I know it's hard to admit in this PC world!

Tip for Mom2: Read slowly. ;-)

 

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