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The study sounds rather ridiculous to me. While I would agree that most white people don't think about the hardships of being a minority, a study that asks how much would you want to be paid for being black or giving up tv is hardly scientific. Even though the article doesn't have too much information about this 'study' I'm pretty skeptical.
being a woman is being a minority. we all experience hardship and struggle unless we are in an advantaged position that we are sheltered from it. and i guess the article is saying that simply being white puts one in that category. but i disagree. what about the minorities within the caucasian race? i know plenty of white people who have "significantly lower income and wealth, higher levels of poverty and even shorter life spans, among many other disparities". i would agree that the odds are higher among african americans, and i completely sympathize -and on some level can empathize- with these conditions.. but i think by approaching it in a 'you just dont understand' manner, it is doing more harm than good. people automatically put up a wall and become defensive when you try to minimalize their individual fight in life. when you tell people what they know or understand (or do not as the case may be).. i think causes them to, on some level, discredit what you have to tell them. i guess i think the way to effectively communicate the differences between blacks and whites, one needs to take a descriptive and eloquent approach. if i dont understand, then tell me what its like, dont just tell me i dont understand and take away the opportunity for us to learn. (us being both parties)
QUOTE(knorl05 @ Aug 3 2007, 02:48 AM) *
being a woman is being a minority. we all experience hardship and struggle unless we are in an advantaged position that we are sheltered from it.

Very well said I don't know if I could say this better. You're so right.....They say that man and woman are equal but there are some mans that discredited womens and prefer a man in a higher position and this is not good. So what if we are womens?....we are good in what we do so we have to get some merit for that.
a mule cannot create offspring because it is the offspring of two different creatures. that's why that terminology came about and why it is so horridly offensive.
i believe that quadroon and octoroon refer to the degree to which the black or whiteness of a person is diluted, is that right?

my mom and i saw a swastika and the letters KKK spray painted on a wall in town yesterday. while i'm pretty sure it was just bored kids out being hooligans i still think it's an opportunity to address latent racism in our (small) community, especially considering what's happening in the south right now. i called the paper in the hope that they would do a story and cast some light on this ugly darkness and now they are coming to interview me. what to even say, the whole issue just infuriates me and makes me so sad. the pure ignorance of people.
Thank you for posting the link about the Jena situation, pepper. I had just scanned a short piece about it from a national media source that didn't have any of the background info about it.
What can we do to help?
there are links at the bottom of the article i posted.
what a f-ing tragedy. beyond the pale man, unfreaking believable. that district attorney is the one who should be put away.
(X-posted in Sufferin' Suffragettes)

One of the objections my conservative friend "Fred" made to Obama's speech on race is that he refers to his grandma as a “typical white” (Obama doesn't actually use that phrase, but I can see how someone might misremember Obama's words that way). My friend objected, “If I referred to someone as 'typical black', or to you as "typical Chinese," you'd ream me a new one and be right to do it. Why give Obama a free pass for the same thing, but about whites?”

I explained: Fred, you think the meanings of “typical white” and “typical black/Chinese/whatever” are equivalent. They're not. You don't understand that they're not, because you're deep in white privilege.

My detailed explanation is below, if anyone's interested. But I thought I'd ask you brilliant Busties: Fred replied that he agrees he's uninformed about perspectives on race from marginalized groups, or theories of white privilege. He asked what two books or articles I'd recommend to get him started. First things that jump to my mind are Peggy McIntosh's list, Whiteness history scholars David Roediger and Matthew Frye Jacobson, maybe Said's Orientalism, maybe Gayatri Spivak? Lawrence Hill's Black Berry, Sweet Juice, that some of you recommended to me in the past (I haven't actually read it yet, just the intro).

But ideally, I want to recommend something that specifically rebuts the idea that “typical white” is in any way equivalent to the historically charged and “put 'em back in their place” meaning of “typical black”. (Or alternatively, something that expresses what I've tried to, below, but better.) Roediger and Jacobson may have what I need and I'll go the library this afternoon to reread their books, but I thought some of you might be able to suggest something off the top of your heads. Help?

I said to Fred (pardon the generalizations, I'm sorry, I was pissed off and up late - but please constructively point out egregious errors):
it's A-OK by me for Obama to refer to "typical whites": there ARE "typical white" attitudes. One, that I understand you get completely and don't do it yourself, is treating non-whites as members of their race first, and human later (if ever). The key one, though, is this: it's "typically white" to have never made a priority of educating oneself in non-whites' views of race relations, or its history, or anything. Or if they are curious about the topic, they investigate it bythe first method (expecting a member of the racial grouping to spend time and energy explaining things to them).

Why is this lack of making it a priority, key? Because it's evidence of your privilege. The privileged are never in a position to *need* learn about their subordinates' views, so typically, they never do. Subordinates, on the other hand, know all about privilegeds' views because 1. those views structure our society, and 2. contravening them inadvertently can get you ostracized, stuck in a dead-end job, lynched etc. It's analogous to what Desmond Morris wrote about in one of his
books on body language: high-status people stay where they are and let lower-status people come to them. Think monarchs on thrones, whose supplicants have to walk up to them. Or bosses in their corner offices with gorgeous views of the city, whose peons wait in the waiting room before being called in.

One way for the privileged to renounce that privilege, is to reverse that order. Instead of making the peasant come to the throne room, the monarch shifts him/herself out of the castle and goes to the peasant's hut. What a stir that would cause. The very act of taking the trouble to shift out of the castle = coming down to the peasant's level, temporarily at least.

How would this work regarding white perspectives/experiences, and perspectives/experiences of other races? "Typical whites" rarely think about their own racial identity, because in N. American society it's "normal", the default. Non-whties are forced to think about their own racial identities all the time, because of parrying typical whites' inappropriate labels / attempts to pigeonhole.

At a deeper more subtle level, non-whites (generally speaking) not only know the various perspectives, histories, injustices done to their own racial groups (because they live it and want to know the historical reasons for it); many of them (not all of course) make it a priority to learn about other racial groupings' perspectives etc, because it's interesting to find parallels and differences within the same broad experience of mainstream society forever telling you you'll never belong ("Canadian" = "white") or you're inferior. By contrast, "typical whites" don't make it a priority to learn about the perspectives or histories of, or injustices visited upon, non-white groups. There's no need to make it a priority, nor any desire. It doesn't cross the mind of "typical whites" that such a thing could be desirable for any reason, much less making it a priority.

As a result of the privilege of never being forced to think about such issues, and the additional "privilege" (though really, it's a loss) of living so insulated from such issues that any motivation to educate oneself about such issues simply doesn't exist, "typical whites" have no clue about the crushing historical and cultural weight that gives "typically black" or "typically Chinese" the force it has to remind each one of us who's labelled thus that 1. this society has historically designated places for us ("carnally asking for it" for non-white women, eg, "slave/ shoe shine boy / dead drug addict /
castrated and lynched" for black men), and 2. the (usually white IME) people using such phrases would prefer that we return to them quietly so they (the people using such phrases) can get back to living their happy insulated lives untouched by having to think about non-white perspectives that challenge those layers of insulation.

Since "typical whites" have no clue about 1. the historical/cultural weight behind our society's collective understanding of "typical black/Chinese man/woman (which I spelled out in last night's email), or 2. the comparatively flash-in-a-pan geneaology of our society's understanding of "typical white" (btw, I just checked the text of Obama's speech, and while the only part I read carefully was the paragraph where he talks about his grandmother's fear of black men, I didn't see the phrase "typical white" anywhere) - and what is that understanding anyway - "typical white" means someone who's afraid of
black male passersby, or who thinks Chinese and Japanese are the same - "typical white" is not used to categorize white people passing by in the street. It IS used to describe behaviour or attitudes that an individual white person has already
demonstrated. If Obama had actually used it in his speech, this is the sense hewould have meant, that he witnessed his grandma's fear of of black male passersby and heard her utter racial/ethnic stereotypes, and that that fear was typical of many whites. There is no way in which I can call that anything but accurate and justified.

As I started saying, since "typical whites" have no clue about 1. the historical/cultural weight behind our society's collective
understanding of "typical black/Chinese man/woman, or 2. the comparatively flash-in-a-pan geneaology of our society's understanding of "typical white", it's possible for them to assume calling someone "typical black/Chinese"
would carry equivalent impact on that person as calling someone "typical white". Call someone "typical white" and they'll feel hurt that they've been accused of being racist or redneck. Call someone "typical black [man]" and he'll feel all the stereotypes of 3 centuries trying to crush him back into them (and as often as not, that will have been exactly the intent, to put him back in his place - but there's no equivalent for "typical white" - how do you imply that the "typical white" needs putting back into place, when there's no [subordinate] place to put him "back" into?)

Thus resulting in questions like yours.

Your attempt to deconstruct the flaw you perceive in Obama's language and logic fails, due to the void in your understanding of the deeply rooted, complex, bloody meanings of institutionalized and one-on-one dehumanization underlying our society's ideas of "typical black", and the comparatively superficial meanings of "typical white" that have developed since the 1960s.

I hope to God before you try to debate race any further with me, you'll be proactive and look up these issues in any of several hundred books, instead of making me encapsulate all that information for you.
anarch - wow! Just wow. What an excellent email and post. I wish that I could recommend the best book but my own reading is sadly lacking. I know that at my job we teach a lot from Killing Rage.
Thank you for resurrecting this thread. How did your friend react to your email?

Here are two thought that have helped me in my studies of racism and privilege. Both of these ideas were shared with me from women of color. The first is: "In the abscence of privilege is knowledge (basically, you don't know what you've got unless you don't have it.) The second was more about rape culture but white privilege plays a big part in that. I was talking with my boss about something that had made me uncomfortable even though I was sure if the gender roles in the situation were different it wouldn't have. She replied, "Because the consequences are different." Meaning, when women are mocked, the end result is more extrem then when men are mocked. So, to put that in terms of racism, it is more dangerous for me me to accept the idea of a "typical black/Chinese/etc" than it would be to have a concept of "typical white" because there are more positive and diverse ideas of whitness and whites have more power to refute any negative stereotypes.

I hope this post make sense. It's early.

Another thing that my boss has taught me is that when given a chance to not talk about race, whites will almost always take it. Which is just one of the reasons that I try to force myself to have conversations that make me uncomfortable.
Mr Pugs
I find myself as a white man, often trying to avoid the discussion of race not because it's an unconfortable subject, but because of the double standards and the pulling of the "you're racist" card. I recently read an article that said that the race issue is not the problem, it's the midset. Here's the article-

That's what I got from anarch's post. Saying typical black hurts more because of the black midset and taught values. Typical white shouldn't hurt because of the way whites are priviledged. While I do see this point, it seems like putting a band aid on a severed head. Instead of focusing on the past struggles of your ancestors, why not actively go out and change things? Make being a typical black something to be proud of instead of dwelling in your anger.
Instead of focusing on the past struggles of your ancestors, why not actively go out and change things? Make being a typical black something to be proud of instead of dwelling in your anger.

But see, here you are putting the responsibility for change onto the less powerful person in the conversation. That is not different than telling women that we are the ones who must end sexism even when we are not the ones who cause it.

It is my responsibility as a white person who wants change to make that change happen. I cannot expect all of the people of color to do my work for me. And if that means that I have to face up to other peoples anger so be it. That may just be balancing the scales.

Just because I didn't cause the problem of white privilge doesn't mean I don't benefit from it. I have to be willing to sacrifice without complaint if I really want racial justice.
Mr Pugs
I don't see how as a PWM, if I were to do the work for the "less powerful" they wouldn't appreciate it as much or be as proud of it. I'm a simple man, if I'm unhappy about something, I work to change it. To say that white people should do the work to change things seems silly to me. I'm not the one who's complaining about the typical white being a bad thing. I just think that generalizing a group of people is the first step to racism. Everything needs to be equal for there to be true equality. Equal standards, equal treatment, and equal work.
But everything is not equal. The playing field is not level.

As a white middle class American woman, I am in a privileged position. I am therefore in a better position to effect change because I have, as a result of that privilege, greater access to education, therefore to work, travel or research opportunities as well as more opportunities to make a good living. I am, in theory, better equipped to fight for change because I am not distracted by struggling to survive. To put it simplistically.

[quote name='kittenb' date='Mar 24 2008, 04:04 PM' post='192882']
But see, here you are putting the responsibility for change onto the less powerful person in the conversation. That is not different than telling women that we are the ones who must end sexism even when we are not the ones who cause it.


White privilege, by its nature, is invisible, because it's the default. I think anarch described concrete ways to render that privilege visible and attempts to deconstruct it in her post, along with a comprehensive look at how identities are reinforced on the basis of race. Race is highlighted as the first defining characteristic only when the person being described is non-white.
sybarite beat me to it but yes to what she said.

White people should be the ones who do the work and we must be the ones willing to do the work if we actually want change. We must agree to sacrifice our privlige (and remember, by definition, privlige is nothing that we have earned) if we honeslty want things to ever be equal.

Mr Pugs
Maybe I'm just a non-priviledged white male. I went to the same public schools as other races, had the same teachers. When I graduated, I went on to a community college, applied for and was denied scolarships (which a black student with a lower gpa recieved) and am now in the work force. I fail to see how I was priviliged. Was it because I didn't grow up on the streets? My parents worked very hard (I barely knew my father growing up, he had 2-3 jobs at any given time) just to put food on the table. We barely lived above the poverty line in my state. They way you make it sound, it seems like there is a watchdog out there and if anyone who isn't white goes to school or achieves anything, they put them down. I don't believe this to be the case. Take Barack Obama, Condolezza Rice, and Bill Cosby among others for examples. They have worked hard, and achieved great things. I think the breakdown of the solid family structure is more to blame than race. I was taught my work ethic by my father. I think that for the white priviliged to hand over the "privilige" is a bigger insult than asking those who want it to work for it. I think rewarding hard work is better than hand outs.
I am not saying that privilege needs to be handed over. What I am saying is that it needs to be abolished. In an equal world no one would have what they did not earn.

Your childhood sounds pretty equal to mine. It does not change the fact that as we are both white people the world looks at us a little, or a lot, different than it would two black people from the same background.

It took me a long time to accept that the economic disadvantages of my childhood and adult life do not change the fact that as a white person I have White Privilege. A long damn time.

You are failing to see your privilige because you are not looking hard enough. Remember what I wrote a few posts down, "In the absence of privilige is knowledge." Ask a few people who do not have white privilige and they will tell you what you have.

When considering these issues it is also important to look past the person and towards the global. You cannot just consider your experience or my experience. You have to consider the bigger picture.
Mr Pugs
I guess we just don't see eye to eye on the privilige issue. You say that somehow I was treated differently because I was white. Maybe, but that doesn't discount the hard work it took to give me my current life. What I'm saying is that the privilige to me is a big snowball. My parents worked hard to keep a roof over my head. I take that head start and work harder to ensure that my children will be better than me. As the generations progress, things get better and better through hard work and effort. I'm saying I don't see that with some other cultures. If you are closed minded and your role model who you base your life after is a drug dealer or musician, you have little chance of success even with hard work, you have zero chance without it. My step-cousin is half black, his inner city friends would berate him and call him a sellout when they found out he was on the honor roll. If there is a white privilege, then I believe the opposite also exists.
As the generations progress, things get better and better through hard work and effort. I'm saying I don't see that with some other cultures.

In what cultures would that be?

If there is a white privilege, then I believe the opposite also exists.

And what would that be?

It is a typical response for people to get defensive when someone points out privilge. And remember, a privilge like this (can also be male privilige or heteroprivilige) isn't something that you earn, it is what mainstream society gives you based on the things that you have little or no control over such as skin color. So I have never asked anyone to give up what they have actually worked for. I just want people to start realizing that there is not a level playing field in this country and that make it easier on some of us. Myself included. I ask nothing of other that I do not expect from myself.
Mr Pugs
As the generations progress, things get better and better through hard work and effort. I'm saying I don't see that with some other cultures.

I guess instead of cultures, I should have said races.
If there is a white privilege, then I believe the opposite also exists.
And what would that be?

Black privilege. Examples would be: Black history month, affirmative action, equal opportunity, The United Negro College Fund. These mechinisms are veiled as "equal" but are in essence black privilege. To say you need this many of this race employed here means that you have to hire based on race as a factor. There are special grants in my state that are given exclusively to minorities to start their own business. These are things that are not available to me based only on my race.
Whoa whoa whoa. I've just been watching from the sidelines here but to say there's black privilege is pretty laughable, and the examples that you give are akin to saying that women must be privileged because there no international men's day? (Not to say that certain women aren't privileged as well, but in this case they aren't). I don't have time to contribute much more but mr pugs, I am begging you to at least read and consider this article, which has already been mentioned a few times below.
Mr Pugs
I read the article and I think you could make a list like that for all races. There are pros and cons to being born white, black, asian, alien or green. There are two ways of looking at this: knocking down the privileged, or working to make yourself priviliged. I am all for working to make yourself priviliged.

I don't see how black privilige is laughable, given the argument of white privilige. If you could explain your thoughts on this erin, I'm open for discussion.
Black History Month and other celebrations of black culture such as Juneteenth Day (a festival in the town I grew up in) are attempts to rectify the ongoing lack of equal opportunties for blacks, asians, latino/a and other races that aren't white. As is affirmative action.

The lack of a level playing field means that economically disadvantaged people can have less opportunities and do have to rely solely on hard work (sometimes only initially) to survive or to find fulfilling work, support themselves and/or their families. But there are degrees of inequality. White working class people still have that privilege of being white. People are certainly discriminated against on the basis of class, e.g where they went to school, but if you're black and poor you're fighting discrimination on two fronts. If you're black and female and poor, make it three.

In reference to the point made about a lack of progression amongst other races in terms of achieving success, a black middle class has certainly emerged (like the family shown on The Cosby Show, for instance), which has more access to education, job opportunities etc. There are many other examples of class mobility in various cultures in the US and elsewhere.

As I said, I speak from a position of relative privilege partly because I had access to resources through being middle class. I don't intend to speak for anyone else, and apologise if I'm being overly simplistic. I'm just trying to outline the different degrees of privilege which exist in what is still an unequal society.
i hate to post without reading -- but there is a fuck of a lot to read. woof! y'all are burning shit up!
i hope i don't repost points that have already been made, but if i do i will do my level best to edit them out.
to start:
Instead of focusing on the past struggles of your ancestors, why not actively go out and change things? Make being a typical black something to be proud of instead of dwelling in your anger.

this is a neat little trick, and in my rebuttal of it, please do not think i am trying to slight or insult you, m.pugs, i have a great deal of respect for you. more, i applaud your courage in asking these questions from a place of honesty. it's just sometimes we hear these things, and at first blush they seem to make sense, on further examination, the logic is faulty, the assumptions made are wrong.

that is the case with this little bon mott, usually heard in republican circles, also known as the "bootstrap defense" based on reagan's comment that the poor and blacks ought to "pull themselves up by their boostraps." many comedians have retorted, "yes, but what if you have no bootstraps?". the assumption is that the playing field is now level, and that the only offense is slavery, that the only injustice is long past, some 2 generations ago. and while i do agree with bunnys, wonderful comments, about putting the onus on those that are less able, i would rather point out that while slavery, as obama and others have called it, america's original sin, is long past, the children of that sin-- it's monsterous offspring, continues, in the generation before mine, that of my mother and father, there was jim crow, systematic psychologial abusive regime that denied blacks of not just their right to vote, but also seeped its way into every corner not just of black life, but how others view black folk, but the economic, physical , emotional, and employment spheres.

in the voting thread i was talking about the tuskegee experements, a government sponsored experement where blacks diagnosed with syphilis were not told of their disease, in order to study it's long term effects it started in the 40's was not ended until 1973. thirty years that the government treated black folk no better than dogs, many died from it, even though it was easily treatable, some went blind, and others spread it to their wives. this event, while many whites are unaware of it, is a deep, very deep scar in the black soul. even today, blacks are 1/3 less likely to get common cancer treatments that whites, and usually their cancer is diagnosed much later.

much of our history things that blacks have done to better this country-- amazing inventions, and political thought-- are erased in favor of a-- for lack of a better term-- whitewashing. some have said that is a small thing, but when you can only see yourself or people like you as less than human in the pages of history, where do you get the courage to say that you can do better? when you see those like yourself only as criminals on tv and movies, where do you get the inspiration to be anything else?

but lets get out of the touchy feely end of things, i think we all know about the most obvious racial disparity-- jobs, income, etc. but there is also cocane and crack drug laws that dole out harsher penalties for blacks for smaller quantities of drugs, the death penalty is much more adverse on blacks than on whites. there are the numerous stories of DWB-- driving while black-- being pulled over for nothing other than the color of their skin makes them "suspicious." but these are the er.... usual suspects.

there have been studies where things that you usually don't think of as storefronts for racism like housing and house appraisal, have shown that houses that display photos of black people are valued significantly less than when the same house has photos of whites. a study in 2003 said that the FHA-- the FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION-- our government-- was not only complicit but active in pushing blacks to live in certain areas of cities-- essentually ghettoizing, segregating them them. this system is not one of the past. it is on going. it is still with us, and while you are white, you ARE privlilaged. you may not see or feel it, but you also don't have to fight it.

that said, pugs, the idea of a black privilege, i'd have to agree with erin jane, is absurd. if black history month is your idea of privilege, then what are the other 11 months? i think that is the kind of slilly idea you are talking about. i tried to explain this to a friend of mine. they said there was no such thing as white culture, but i said to the contrary-- white culture is the sea the rest of us have to swim in until we make space for ourselves.

you seem to think that blacks have all these things going for them that we have it so easy. i was a black male when i applied for college. do you know how much the united negro college fund paid for my schooling? exactly $0. like any scholarship, only a small group gets the money. it's no more privilege than some money for daughters of the revolution. the equal opportunity laws really do little to ensure that i would get a job over anyone else when i was a black male, or now as a black female transexual. the fact of the matter is employers hire who they feel comfortable with, and more often than not that is someone that looks and talks like them. back when i was a boy i'd go into jobs, and they would say to my face that i was "very well spoken" and had the resume, but they were looking for something else. whites think that just cos it's on the books it gets enforced. nothing could be futher from the truth. you have cultural advantage, you look like them, you still have advantages that i will never have.

[size="3"][/size]There are things that white people don't have to worry about because they are white. Simple things, like not worrying about driving home late at night and being pulled over by the cops and possibly shot for no reason ( I think Gt referred to it as driving while black) or having someone not rent to you because you are not white.

As a white jewish woman married to a black man these are things that I worry about all the time. When we were first looking for an apartment together it hit me that people may not want to rent to us because we are an interracial couple. When I mentioned this to hubby he told me he had a hard enough time renting a place alone and that it would be more difficult together.If there was an ad, and he called expressing interest in the place, those call were not returned. If we were a white couple we would not even thing twice about it. But we are not.

I could go on and on about examples of how we are treated differently, like when we went to buy a car, when one of us has surgery and when the nurses come out neither of us are the person they are looking for but I wont bore you.

Saying that black history month is a "black privilege" is laughable considering the legacy of racism in this country.

Racism = power + predjudice When people are denied access to housing, education, work etc. because of their color that is racism. When a black person says they dislike white people that is predjudice and usually they are not in a position of power to deny that white people access to benefits and privleges.

several people have mentioned that the PLAYING FIELD IS NOT LEVEL. that is why things like affirmative action and the United Negro College Fund are necessary and not privileges
You know, sometimes I swear I only join a conversation to hear myself speak b/c other people are saying it so much better. Thanks for joining the conversation GT! BTW, that was me that said that, not bunnyb. I know it is confusing esp. since I currently have an icon w/a bunny, but it was so cute! And it has my real name in the picture!

Anyway, back to the real conversation...

Black privilege. Examples would be: Black history month, affirmative action, equal opportunity, The United Negro College Fund. These mechinisms are veiled as "equal" but are in essence black privilege. To say you need this many of this race employed here means that you have to hire based on race as a factor. There are special grants in my state that are given exclusively to minorities to start their own business. These are things that are not available to me based only on my race.

You are kind of making it sound like all of these things are just handed to every black child at birth. "Great, another black child! Here is all of your college tutition."

I have to second what GT says. Slavery was only the first step that needs to be made up for/undone/whatever.

In this country, most of the money for public education is raised by property taxes. Areas that were redlined with realtors were mostly inhabited by people of color. Statistically, people of color were closer to the poverty line than white people. Yes, this is begining to change but the established history still keep many of these areas poor. This leads to less money for education in poorer neighborhoods of color.

So, even though I grew up dirt poor I was still able to benefit from the fact that my white neighbors had a little more cash. This is not a great example but I think that the list given in that article does not apply to all races. And remember that the definition of privilege that we are working for does not include stuff that is earned. It is what is given to you without working for it. I don't have to do anything to stay white and there is little I can do to change it if I wanted to. However I can work to make sure that my privlige does not make anyone else's life harder.
kittenb, thank you so much for your points. They're terrific & I'll send them to Fred tonight. He reacted as I hoped (but wasn't sure, so I was worried before I opened his email) - he listened. He said, "If this were a normal debate I'd debate some of your remarks, but it isn't, so I won't. Even though some of it's pure rant" (I actually toned those down for posting here...excised one of them entirely) "so trust me when I say holding back my pen has taken a certain measure of self-restraint. You assumed correctly that I've read nothing of these issues." ("Not an assumption," I emailed back, "It was bleedin' obvious. No one who'd read anything about these issues would have made that "criticism" of "typical white" and expected to be taken seriously.") "I want to start informing myself. Would you recommend a couple of books to get me started?"

At the library, I found exactly what I needed: Witnessing Whiteness

It's fantastic. Says stuff like, [this is a paraphrase because I couldn't actually take the book out of the library it's on reserve] "Many whites think claiming to be colorblind is helping. It isn't. It just makes them blind to the racism and discrimination that still exists." And, "Being in a white world means not thinking about race. This translates into white people not doing any work to explore lingering racism when people of color [POC] are not present."

It talks about the tendency of many whites to play devil's advocate ("Maybe you should interpret that white person's comment in this innocent way, not in the mildly racist way you think it was") after hearing POC tell about experiencing racism, and how that tendency = never listening. (Thank you Fred for not doing this!) It talks about witnessing other whites make casually racist remarks and suggests concrete ways to get yourself in the mindset to speak up in a non-confrontational way (because those situations are always going to happen).

Also, "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" looks good & probably easier to get ahold of (because Witnessing Whiteness is new - 2008) - chapters subheaded "I'm not ethnic, I'm just normal," and "I'm in favor of affirmative action except when it comes to my jobs".

And The Possessive Investment in Whiteness gives a good summary of ways in which Afr-Am (and others) have historically been and are still discriminated against, not through any policies that explicitly say "Whites get this, but blacks get that," but (eg) some of the New Deal legislation in the 1930s applied to most workers except domestic servants and agricultural workers - guess what color most domestic servants and agricultural workers were?, and (eg) current mortgage interest and property tax write-offs which (on top of the redlining you bring up, kittenb) benefit homeowners financially, the majority of whom in the US are white, which gives them a big advantage in being able to preserve enough wealth to pass on to their kids.

May I just say how much I love you admire you guys & am grateful for the privilege of learning from your thoughts & how you express yourselves? Damn. So glad I found this place.
Sorry for the double post.

QUOTE(Mr Pugs @ Mar 24 2008, 11:41 AM) *
That's what I got from anarch's post. Saying typical black hurts more because of the black midset and taught values. Typical white shouldn't hurt because of the way whites are priviledged. While I do see this point, it seems like putting a band aid on a severed head. Instead of focusing on the past struggles of your ancestors, why not actively go out and change things? Make being a typical black something to be proud of instead of dwelling in your anger.

Mr Pugs, sorry I didn't write that more clearly. I didn't mean "because of the black mindset and taught values." I meant "because of all the big and small ways blacks still have to deal with 1. being told, effectively, "you're inferior," by individual whites (often whites are unconscious of the ways they do this, because they're used to thinking of their behaviour as "normal") and, 2. institutional and governmental policies that are phrased in "colourblind" language but that in practice, benefit whites disproportionately - like the New Deal legislation and mortgage/property tax writeoffs I mentioned in my last post. These policies are a huge part of the big wealth gap between most Afr-Americans and most whites in the US - discriminatory policies have contributed to keeping Afr-Americans poorly educated and lacking in capital, since the abolition of slavery, generation after generation. Not saying there aren't problems within black communities themselves. Just that these policies are responsible for stacking the deck against them to begin with, in the late 1800s, and keeping the deck stacked against them through all the decades since. (Yes, things have improved, and ideally they'll continue to improve through thoughtful discussions between people of all colours who are willing to inform themselves and talk about race in non-defensive, non-accusatory ways.)
So what exactly can I do to help my fellow oppressed blacks? Can you give me a list of actions to take so I can help them? Just a list of specific actions to take. Since I have it so great and I was given so many more opportunities what EXACTLY can I do to help them? I'm completely serious...Is it monitary? Do I donate? Do I mentor? What can I do?
Okay, since you asked sincerely, one thing that can be done is for white people to accept the idea of white privilege and challange it when they see it.

Here are a few more suggestions:

- don't look to people of color to tell you what to do and how to fix this problem.
- analyze your own racism. Really question yourself and your beliefs.
- read the books that are out there to learn more about oppression and America's real history.
- check out websites like, learn how, even in feminism, racism has been strong.
- donate to charities that help level the playing field.
- mentor.

Since I have it so great and I was given so many more opportunities what EXACTLY can I do to help them?

This line makes me doubt that you are entirely sincere here as it comes off as a little defensive. This conversation is hard and painful but please realize that no one is accusing you of being a bad person. We all have to address this within ourselves.
am i reading that post correctly pugs?

you know i love you, but i can't help but read the sentence "Since I have it so great and I was given so many more opportunities what EXACTLY can I do to help them?" as dripping with sarcasm.


i do find it hard to believe that you would take that tact in a conversation that has been so free of vitriol. i hate thinking that someone i like so much, and, although we have never met, i would consider a friend would say that. so i will give you the benefit of the doubt.

all the same--- i cannot help but feel a sting from those words. my first reply to what i would ordinarily take as a hurtful retorical comment, is that you can take someone's observations of racism as their honest experience and not dismiss them out of hand, think of them as liars, crazy, using the race card or trying to attack you. they are merely telling you how the world looks from their view. in short: please, don't be afraid to listen.

no one is saying that when a white child is born there is a brass band and they are handed the key to the city. no one is saying that if your skin is white you get the red carpet when you walk into the grocery store. we need to get away from this sort of reactionary idea that if someone says that black folk don't have it so easy, that that automatically means all whites live on easy street.

look:the best analogy is that in your life, with your experiences you-- and all people-- carry certain weights. think of this literally. like little weights hanging on you, on your clothes-- the more weights you have, the harder it is to reach for the goals above you. each weight has some sort of value, some are heaver than others, having more "social" or "economical" stigma. some of these things are things we can help, say like dropping out of high school, or drug addict or criminal record, but other things we can't say, alcoholic or abusive parents, or mentally retarded, or dyslexic, or paraplegic or, being black or being born out of wedlock. some are in between, where it could be something you may or may not be able to help, like drug addiction, or homelessness.

now obviously these weights are not all created equal. some are certainly "heavier" than others. certainly being a drug addict is not the same as being mentally disabled. and some of the values change, certainly being born out of wedlock is certainly "weighs" less than it did in say, the 50's.

but i think you get the idea. the more of these things you have, the more difficult your life is. now, i would also submit that some of these weights, not only have a social/cultural or economic weight, but they end up being a multiplier as well. like being black or paraplegic. these sort of things end up adding a slight weight on several fronts.

does that make sense? it's like some people have no weights, like say paris hilton, but others have lots.
QUOTE(LoveMyPugs @ Mar 24 2008, 08:26 PM) *
So what exactly can I do to help my fellow oppressed blacks? Can you give me a list of actions to take so I can help them? Just a list of specific actions to take. Since I have it so great and I was given so many more opportunities what EXACTLY can I do to help them? I'm completely serious...Is it monitary? Do I donate? Do I mentor? What can I do?

I wouldn't say that anybody but trust fund kids "have it so great", but here's something that might put a different light on this: one of the books I read today mentioned how there was one study where whites were asked how much money they'd want to be paid to be a black person living in the US (never mind that it's hypothetical. Just imagine). The average amount they said they'd want was $50 million. What about you? Maybe not that high, but probably not low either?

The author of Witnessing Whiteness tells a story about how to help effectively: "I spent several years trying to find solace in teaching students of color in an urban school district and doing community work with people of color until one day, while attending a meeting at the Community Self-Determination Institute in Watts, one of the staff members turned to me and said something like this: “You know, we’re really glad you’re here, and we like you and all. But we are working with our own people. We can do this. What we really need is for you to go and work with the white people.” (This Witnessing Whiteness book has a website, if anybody's interested. The Book Group link has a downloadable file of Discussion Questions and things to keep in mind for moderating potentially antagonistic discussion.)

What she means is, the most effective way of helping goes through a few stages. First is being conscious of being white (and thinking about what that means as you move through the world), and reading about how Afr-Americans etc view race relations, and listening to people talking about these issues as you and Mr Pugs are now (thank you Mr Pugs for posting your reaction to what I wrote, btw - an open dialogue is the only way our society can move forward) - and especially, just listening people of colour (POC) talk about how they see whiteness.
Then, after becoming more familiar with the ideas (this would take a while, i would think), talking about them with other white people, to introduce them to the ideas. Because then, see, no one's depending on POC to be the ones to bring up issues of racism, which means another source of friction is eliminated.

Here's something that should be relatively easy that I think would be tremendously helpful: ask your local public library to buy a copy of Witnessing Whiteness. The more accessible this book is, to people of all colours and income levels, the better.
This kind of topic is one that is actually going on around me IRL at the moment. Thiss program was recently broadcast about the town i live in. Lot's of white people seem to have turned racism because they feel that non-white immigrants (of various nationalities) and coming here and taking privilages that are rightfully theirs. I think to a certain extent it is possible to empathise with such views- the local government its visibly wary of appearing racist etc and so go out of their way to make regulations/provisions for ethnic minorities. It can be hard when youre struggling and feel that youre recieving less help than others. However, whilst I can empathise with this view I sympathise with the immigrants too. It's easy to get swept up with the 'white' view here but I always try to put myself in other peoples shoes. If I was born in a war-torn country with no opportunity or quality of life then I too would want to emigrate somewhere better and take full advantage of any opportunity given to me. White people complain that jobs/school places/houses etc are taken up by ethnic minorities. There is a definate element of political correctness (employers make sure employees represent each ethnicity-sometimes resulting in an applicant being rejected due to skin colour) but they fail to acknowledge that perhaps these people just work harder and take the opportunities they are given. They, or generations before them, often have experience of true suffering and so appreciate what this country has to offer so much more than many native white people. I think it's a problem that will dilute with time. Children now are far more tolerant of racial differences than perhaps my grandparents who (although not racist) had little exposure to a multicultural society. My boyfriend comes from a small predominantly white village and so the only experience he had a black person was the racial stereotypes he saw on tv. Boy did he have a cultureshock when he came to my hometown. I have close black relatives and so was quite hurt at a few comments he made. I didn't take it to mean he's a bad person though- it was just pure ignorance. It can be frustrating if you feel you have to tiptoe around sometimes in fear of being branded racist but until the rest of the white population do actually stop harbouring racist views then i feel it's just a price we have to pay.
Im white working class but im trying hard to get somewhere and achieve something better with my life. Perhaps ethnic minorities in the same position have been given extra help but, well, who cares. It doesnt mean Ive had any less opportunity or been denied something which they have. There are always going to be people who have it easier or harder than you but this cant be blamed for anything negative in your life. I dont see the problem with inequality in a positive sense (like the 'Negro college fund' that was mentioned earlier). Ive recieved certain 'benefits' myself to help with my education since my parents have a low income and even then people have complained because 'they dont get anything'. (Thats because youre bloody lucky enough to have parents who can give it to you anyway!!). It isnt inequality at all- it's an attempt to balance out the playing field. People should worry less about what other people are getting and do their own thing. Everyone deserves the same opportunities in life and what they do with them is their choice.People who resent steps being taken to give everyone an equal chance are usually just bitter at their own failure or blind and ungrateful towards what chances they have been given
Ive ranted too long and not really in-topic either :/
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Mar 24 2008, 09:28 PM) *
i cannot help but feel a sting from those words.

funny...everytime i come into this thread i feel the same sting...the sting of being white...i feel hated by you. i don't feel your friendship when every other word in your posts is WHITE PEOPLE this and WHITE PEOPLE that. I'm white and a conservative and so is mr. pug. do you feel that way about us? do you hate us? i'm sure deep down you consider us racists. maybe we are, i don't know. deep down i think you are racist. whites don't like to be generalized any more then blacks.

this is mr. pug's fight and it is a fight as civil as you try to make it. i don't have the patience or way with words that all of you have so i don't think i should participate in this dicussion. you were all doing such a lovely job of keeping it civil and i come around and ruin it so i'll just stay out of it. i'm really sorry. continue your discussion please


does that make sense? it's like some people have no weights, like say paris hilton, but others have lots.

it just sounds to me like everyone is saying that blacks ALWAYS have more weights then whites. that there aren't blacks who have had it easy and there aren't whites who have had it hard. i know you aren't talking about ME personally but it feels like an attack when everything is WHITE PEOPLE this and WHITE PEOPLE that when I just happen to be...white!

As far as paris hilton goes...she needs to be weighted to the bottom of the ocean IMO...

GT - I'm sensitive. Please just ignore me. I'm sorry. I'm an asshole. Send me a cyber bitch slap or something okay. I can take it. *nervously goes in for a hug*
I don't think anyone in here hates white people. It is disturbing that you feel so attacked. You also refer to this as "Mr. Pugs fight." Were we fighting? I thought that a conversation was going on here not a fight.

Why are you taking this as an attack? Many of the people in today's conversation are white, I think. I know I am. I don't hate white people. I am just tired of white people who refuse to address this conversation in a non-defensive way. Consider this, you as a white person can choose whether or not to consider white privilege. For a person of color, there is no choice.

And of course there are some black people who have had it easier than others. Does that change the fact that they are black? Is there a certain level of money/success/fame/whatever that transcends race? Maybe, but it is only in the most extreme levels. I belive that in today's society almost every person of color is viewed by race first and then by levels of money/success/fame/whatever.
hee hee. as i said chickie, i consider you a friend. i've pmed you. and if you need a cyber hug here you go:

as for you and mr pugs, being racist, i think i've said i think everyone is a racist. i am, you are my mom is, your mom is. this is one of those areas where we all have to work out our bullshit, none of us can "cast the first stone"-- we all suffer the same malady. but my point is, that's O.K. race is one of those things where we all have to look our prejudices in the eye and try to eliminate them as much as possible. we may never be free of them, but that is part of the fight, the journey we all take in this life....

i know that y'all are simply speaking from the heart-- please trust that we are all doing the same, k? a lot of us heard that defensiveness in that post. we know you love mr pugs, and you want to defend him. that's ok. doesn't mean we hate you, we just think differently than you do, but we can make space here for that, and try to thrash out our misunderstandings, can't we? can't we see if there is some way of talking to each other so you get our meaning and we get yours, and not arrive at hate and anger? i think we can.

please do try and read my analogy again, i am not saying simply that all blacks have it bad, as i was trying to point out it's just one of several factors, and in this affair we all have some "weights" some of us are lucky and have few, others have many, it's the luck of the draw, but as i tried to point out, just because i shine a light on the difficulties of being black does not mean that all whites' lives are charmed. i was not talking about you specifically about you, but rather whites as a race in this culutre, in the same way i talk about blacks. not as stereotypes, but as a cultural situation. you know me better than that. wink.gif
I have to add one more thing before I click off tonight. There should be a little sting when we read this. White folks should be uncomfortable when we talk about this stuff. We have to be brave enough to have conversations that make us uncomfortable. Otherwise, how can we expect to have change?
QUOTE(kittenb @ Mar 25 2008, 12:02 AM) *
I have to add one more thing before I click off tonight. There should be a little sting when we read this. White folks should be uncomfortable when we talk about this stuff. We have to be brave enough to have conversations that make us uncomfortable. Otherwise, how can we expect to have change?

honestly kittenb,

the only thing that makes me uncomfortable about race conversations is my inability to express my points without getting hyphie.

*walks out of room with head down*

must work on that...
I love these discussions. I am of the hope that Barack's speech last week helps us be able to speak openly and adultly (is that a word? I don't think so) about race and the way it impacts ALL of us.

How much would I want to be a black person here in America? Can I choose which city I live in? I really don't have a clue. Enough to pay off my condo, I suppose, because I don't know if I could depend on being offered steady work.

There are VERY few black people in my line of work, here. I have personally seen four TOTAL and two of them were from Milwaukee, not Madison. I dunno why. I do know that many of the guys I work with are fairly openly racist...their eyes have been opened somewhat by Barack's running for Prez. Many of these formerly "N-word" spouting white boys are turning around and voting for him, which is very encouraging for me to see.

I'm just rambling and throwing out a lot of loose jumbled thoughts here.

I saw an interview on Bill Maher where they went to a largely Hispanic neighborhood in, I think it may have been ask people why they weren't voting for Barack, but Hillary. There was one woman who said something about that her father "didn't like those people"...Bill asked her what he'd do if she married one, she said something to the effect that it would be a bad thing. Then he said, "what if it was Barack?". She then said her father MIGHT think that was okay.

My b/f, Bear, struggles with racism. I do think his eyes are opening a little bit since being involved with me, but he claims that being in the military, as a white person, tends to bring it out. He says he grew up being open minded, he had no reason to dislike black people, until he got to the military and discovered that, to quote him, "they didn't like ME."

My initial thought was, why do you expect to be immediately liked? Is that in itself white privilege? He used to go out drinking with a black fellow soldier...but when they got home at the end of the night they went their separate ways...and each never reported their friendship to their respective communities.

I was raped by a black man when I was sixteen. I'm quite upfront about that fact with the guys I hang out with from work, EXCEPT the race of my attacker. I feel like it'd just be another excuse for them to say "see, now I'm right. THEY are a bunch of criminals". So, what do I do THERE? Or the time when I was reading in the paper about a bunch of young thugs had mugged and beaten a blind guy...I was talking about it to Bear...and he said, "I hate to say this, but I bet they are BLACK thugs."

I said back, "Perhaps. I bet they are MALE too, like YOU." Trying to get him to see personally the ramifications of a knee jerk prejudice.

Yeah, it's early in the morning, eh?

I'd like to see the day when it changes from Us and Them, to just plain old "Us".
Mr Pugs
That's exactly my take on this...We are all talking from the heart and our own personal experiences. The line "you don't know what it's like because you aren't black" also flows the other way, "You don't understand because you aren't white." I post my honest views and say that I don't think excluding a race for anything is fair be it Black history month or the Negro College fund, and my views are called "laughable". These things all shape my views as a white male. When questions like why is there only a month for Black history, what about Italian history month? How come there can't be a White Entertainment Television channel? How about the white equivilent of the NAACP? The responses come, because that would be racist. I believe racism is a two way street. The thing that breeds contempt is the lack of acknowledgment that it swings both ways.

GT, you posted about a black potential employee getting passed over at a white business. Given the fact that both potentials were identical and one was white, you stated that they would hire the white person because they are like the employer. My point is that what if it was a black business? If the response is "there aren't that many black businesses" You begin to see my view....create some! Work hard, use the resorces available to you, and create privilige.

My problem with the Negro College Fund isn't that it helps black people or that it doesn't help white people, it's that it excludes people based on race.

I still think the major hurdle that no one wants to talk about is personal responsibility. Not for white privilidge, but for our own actions. I think that the weight of white privilidge is nothing compared to your parents saying you can't do something because you're black and the white man won't let you. The white man will lock you in jail for longer than white people. Saying it is unfair. I think it would be more constructive to say the white man will lock you in jail for longer than white people, but add "so try to stay in line and don't do anything illegal". Use the weights as momentum and a chip on your shoulder to say "I'm being oppressed, I'm going to show them that they can't keep me down. They can't stop me." Work harder to prove them that being a typical black is not a bad thing. If I can convince and change the views of two white people, and my friends follow suit, being a typical black will become a compliment soon.

I saw a press conference where Allen Iverson was talking, and couldn't help myself from thinking "what exactly did he learn at Georgetown, because I know it wasn't how to speak clearly." I know young people of all races look up to sports stars as role models, but just seeing him on tv, all tattooed up, using broken english, the message is that basketball is the most important thing, you don't need to be educated, you don't need school, just play ball. I understand that a response would be that he was speaking ebonics, and that's part of the black culture, but what if someone who models their life after him as a kid, were to apply for a job as a customer service representitive at a call center? Would they not get hired because of their skin color? Or the way they talk and just happen to be black? Where would the focus be?

Also, while I believe slavery was a horrendous thing, I also don't believe it was Americas Original Sin. I think slavery pales in comparison to what happened to the Native Americans. If anyone should get a month to celebrate and learn about their history, they should, but that wouldn't be fair too.

I'm not saying all the things that help people should be abolished, just that when you exclude people based solely on race, that's racist. These are the things that helped shape my views growing up, these are the "laughable" weights that are hanging on me. That's when I feel the sting, when I speak honestly and truthfully from the heart and get called laughable.

Sorry about the long post, and I'm not trying to be defensive, just state my views...

Mr Pugs

hi -
not sure if this adds to your discussion or not....i'm east indian, and my white boyfriend and i went to the grocery store near my house (where i don't normally go because the staff is awful and unprofessional)...well, the check out clerk was really rude to us....because we are not black. (we were in the express line, because at this store, that's the only line they have open, no matter how many items you have to buy, and the clerk was trying to give me a hard time, and i made a comment like, the people in front of us had the same amount of stuff and you said nothing to them....[the people in front of us in line were black].

that's funny because i went into a store the other day. it was a beauty supply store. when i went in there were rows and rows of hair. okay, not exactly what i need. so went up and down aisles just seeing what they had. then i found the clips and scrunchies, combs, brushes and mirrors. i'm looking and looking. nothing i really liked or needed. on my way out i saw the opi nail polish stand. stopped to look at that too. didn't have the color i like so i walked out. on my way out the black woman at the counter is on the phone and says something along the lines of "that white bitch just left the store" as i walk out the door. WTF? i guess that was a black store and i shouldn't have gone in there. i won't ever again let me tell you.

QUOTE(Mr Pugs @ Mar 25 2008, 07:58 AM) *
When questions like why is there only a month for Black history, what about Italian history month? How come there can't be a White Entertainment Television channel? How about the white equivilent of the NAACP? The responses come, because that would be racist. I believe racism is a two way street. The thing that breeds contempt is the lack of acknowledgment that it swings both ways.

But again, "minority" history months were created for a reason, and as someone stated before, they're tiny tiny steps toward trying to create an awareness that the national historical narrative of this country isn't just the white narrative. And as a Chicana, let me tell you, even having Hispanic Heritage Month is a joke, because we don't even get a proper "month," we get the last half of September and the first half of October or some bullshit like that.

What about Italian history month? Italian history is found in a typical history book. Black history? How much do people know about black history outside slavery and the civil rights movement? That's all black people amount to in a history book. Women's history? Women's history was created over 25 years ago, and still, how much does the average person know about women's history outside Marie Curie and women's suffrage? And then MY history? HA! I grew up in a border area where Mexicans are the majority and whites are the minority. And still I had no clue until I got to college and my Nigerian profession mentioned in passing that there had even been a Chicano rights movement. No clue whatsoever, and that was a major movement! How sad is that, that my generation doesn't even know our own history? Because is it in the average U.S. history textbook? Hell no!

Our national narrative is that the whites and Injuns were friends and shared a Thanksgiving feast. So if there's a minority history month where schools at least make a half-assed attempt to go beyond "I have a dream" in order to fill up their curriculum? Fantastic, I say. Because even that's not enough.

As for White Entertainment Television? Um, it's called the rest of cable tv.
A disproportionate (when compared to the actual US population) number of actors on TV are white. There is your White Entertainment Channel.

November with the celebration of the Pilgrims coming to squeeze out the Native Americans from their own home and December with it's celebration of an almost universally portrayed as white Baby Jesus, are just two contenders for White History Months. Just two.

I really want to stress that to address this problem it is important to look beyond the personal. Being a person of color does not make you a saint or a sinner and the expectation that every sales person will like you or that all products sold will be useful to you is a priviliged perspective.
Just a few comments, if I may,

White privilege stems from white supremacy. From my perspective white supremacy, which has spread all over the world through colonialism, is a psychopathology. Like an inferiority complex, a superiority complex is a psychopathology, and I got this idea from the dean of the psychology department of a small liberal college. It made sense to. So, through the effects of White Supremacy, which is now largely invisible - in the daily fabric of our mass conscious, mass media, and our public and private institutions - then so white privilege is invisible, hard to point out, and hard to talk about.

p_176 and LMP, EVERYONE is prejudice. I have my own prejudices, but the important thing here is awareness and reality checking them.

Mr. Pugs, somehow I understand where your coming from...I hear you speaking a lot about class as does seem like a double standard. But it is necessary to have these special minority programs to make a dent in the wrongs that have been caused by white supremacy.

Now I am late for work and my bf is chewing me out...
pugs, the problem that you pose is still one that seems rather myopic to me. and this is another case of this idea of "all things being equal" is false. the rate of black business ownership is, according to my figures about 3.8% of the black population, considering blacks are only about 15% of the american population, that means that [u]at best, if we were to be super generous, that would be 5% of all us jobs.[/b] that give you an advantage of better than 9 in 10 jobs. and that is being generous.

but further, you can make a case that the road to black business ownership is more difficult. there is the well documented propensity of banks to give blacks higher loan rates than whites for the same credit rating, and a reluctance for them to give business loans to blacks in general, and when they do get loans, they are required to jump thru more hoops, needing more collateral. and more:

But startup capital, prior work experience in a family-owned business, and education emerged as the biggest differences in the success and survival of black- and white-owned businesses, accounting for 43 percent, 11 percent, and about 6 percent of the disparity in business outcomes, respectively.

Businesses launched with $100,000 or more of startup capital were twice as likely to prosper, but only 1.7 percent of black-owned businesses start out with more than $100,000, compared with 4.9 percent of white-owned firms, said Fairlie. Similarly, 6.5 percent of black-owned businesses have more than $25,000, compared with 11.1 percent of white-owned firms.

Vast differences in the net worth of blacks and whites accounts for the disparity in startup capital, said Fairlie. Defined as total assets, including home equity, automobiles, and savings, net worth among blacks is about $6,000; Latino net worth averages $7,000; and white and Asian American net worth is about $70,000.

"Wealth inequality leads to these low levels of capital, which is a huge factor in determining the outcome of a business," said Fairlie, adding that, "Economists tend to focus on wage and income inequality, but there really needs to be more attention paid to wealth inequality in this country."

the thing i think you are over looking is that there are numerous factors that have kept blacks from gaining meaningful equality. as i said in a previous post, there are RECENT and, yes, CONTEMPORARY, means that this country has used to disadvantage blacks. to build wealth, even the most successful business needs more money, and if that avenue is consistantly and constantly blocked, that disadvantage becomes pervasive.

if your issue with the united negro college fund is that it excludes some people, then, in all honesty, you don't understand scholarships --- the idea of a schollarship is that there is one person, or a group of people who want to give money to people of a specific experience. there are scholarships for people who went to a specific school, ones for people who's parents are from a certain city, or worked at a certain company. one of my ex-girlfriend could trace her family back to the mayflower-- there is an organization called the DAR-- the daughters of the revolution-- who had a scholarship for her. there are scholarships for irish children, for latinos, for asians and for every other group. you just know about the UNCF, because they advertise. but they are hardly the largest, and as i said, when i was heading off to school they had no money for me, inspite of my blackness.

i don't think anybody has a problem with personal responsiblity-- but we also think that you have to be balanced-- if there are still mechanisms that disadvantage blacks or other groups, then those must be remedied, so eventually we can reach that "level playing field" where we can do away with all of it and all compete on a equal footing.

the point is that like it or not, race is still a factor in this country--- if you and i go to the bank for a loan, having the same credit history and i have to pay a higher interest rate and have to have more collateral because of the color of my skin-- and this and so may other things that disadvantage blacks are well documented-- then you get an advantage. there is no personal responsiblity that is at play here. that is privilage. that is not slavery, that is not jim crow, that is not history, and that is not just some personal incident* , THIS IS SYSTEMIC. THIS IS NOW.

it's like your neighbor slashing your tire compared to the gov't sending cops to haul every car you buy 24 hour after you buy it. one has to do with a person who quite seriously needs help, and the other is a whole machinery focused on keeping you at a certain place. and that is the point i am trying to make.

i'll get to some of your other points later, i have to deal with a personal issue.

(*while i deplore that those things were said to you both, it is very different)
*(and while i deplore that those things were said to you both, it is very different)
Mr Pugs
I think to look beyond the personal and look at the collective takes all personal responsibility away from the problem. I need to come to grips with as a Straight White Male, I'm the Master Oppressor. I oppress Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Women, Homosexuals, Transexuals, pretty much anybody but Straight White Males. That is the image that I deal with even though through no actions of my own, or my ancestors, (who immigrated here after slavery was abolished and all lived above the mason-dixon line) that I somehow personally oppress people. The name that it is given is white privilige. My stance hasn't changed at all---I believe that equal standards be just that, equal. When you give someone a benefit based on what happened in the past to their ancestors, I believe that person recieves a privilige. Why should I apologize for slavery? I didn't have any slaves, and my ancestors didn't either.

Kitten, the problem I have is not with the disproportionate numbers, it's the outcry about it. There are statistics out about the number of white actors vs. black/latino/gay. I don't see the same statistics about basketball players. There is no outcry. By your rationale, basketball is an exclusive black sport, as is football.

Another thing that kinda bothers me, I'm Italian. I'm grouped with all white people. There are different people out there. Germans, Irish, English, Russian, Polish, Canadian. I'm included with all their sins. Since Southern White People had slaves, I had slaves. I understand it also goes the same way, I'm also included with their successes, but that's the real problem isn't it?

I run a youth bowling league, a couple of weeks ago, I had a black kid calling the other kids "honkey". I told him that was racist, and don't say it. He looked at me and said "I can't be racist, I'm black"

so nobody who immigrated after slavery and lives above the mason-dixon line is racist? ummmmm, have you been to boston?

racism is a pan-human trait. it is UNIVERSAL. the fear of the other is built into us, it is engrained, it has its roots in our evolutionary past. the fantastic thing about being a human is the ability to rise above what is hard-wired, to say no to instinct, to use our bountiful hearts and logical minds to change the detrimental pattern. that is the challenge of everyone on this planet.

Mr Pugs
DJ, the statement of where and when my ancestors immigrated wasn't intended to say they weren't racist, but to point out they weren't slave owners.

GT, and what are your thoughts based on the statistics you gave? I generally don't take statistics at face value, they can be manipulated and usually the person doing the statistics has some form of agenda. I look at the statistics and say why? Why is there so much of a wealth disparity? Why do latinos have a higher average net worth? If it was just a white racial oppression, why do the asians have the same net worth as the whites? Why do the banks charge higher interest rates to blacks than whites? I hope you don't think all banks in all states are racist towards blacks...

I guess you're right about me not knowing about scholarships...I didn't know there were scholorships for latinos, irish, etc...I'll have to do some more research on that.
ok, got it mr. pugs. i suppose i'm fairly defensive of the south in general because i feel like because there is an open tradition of racism here, some people assume that it isn't happening other places. i would also point out, however, that plenty of people who weren't slave owners contributed to the oppression of people of color. i don't think having that kind of lineage exculpates anyone. BUT i also think you can only take responsibility for your own actions, in this lifetime and not atone for the past. but i really don't want to get involved anymore than i already have.

*scurries out*
***sorry about the super long posts. i'll try to be more terse, less verbose.

pugs i'd have to disagree with one of your statements, lol, not much of a suprize, i'm sure, but when i say thing maybe you will be suprized.

you are not automatically an "oppressor" by mere virtue of you being male and white.

i think that there are a couple of labels flying around and they are being used interchangibly. being a word nerd, (but obviously not a spelling nazi), i'd like to get a couple of definitions out there so the misunderstandings are minimized, if that's ok, and probably make some corrections in things i've said, in the process.

Oppression is the act of using power to empower and/or privilege a group at the expense of disempowering, marginalizing, silencing, and subordinating another.(wikipedia) interestingly enough in looking up the definition, it seems that it comes from the idea of being "weighted down"....hmmm sounds familiar.... note, however, this is about the use of power. it is a verb. it is about doing.

The belief that some races are inherently superior (physically, intellectually, or culturally) to others and therefore have a right to dominate them. (am. heritage new dict.) note again, this is about beliefs.

1. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.
2. A preconceived preference or idea.
2. The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions.
3. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.

(am, heritage dict) and this is about judgment, opinion, and suspicion.

so when judgment and opinion (prejudice) become solid beliefs, it is racism. when racism becomes institutional, or systemic, then it's action is oppression.

that said, i think everybody is prejudiced (not racist as i said before), having an over all preconceived idea about certain groups, but often open to individuals as "exceptions."

but and this is my long way of making a short point, you can only be an oppressor, pugs, if you 1)have power over a group, and 2) use it to disadvantage one group over another, although i think opression tends to be on a more grand scale. city wide, county wide, state wide, etc, with the mechanisms of power brought down to bear on the disadvantaged group.

the reason i want to define these is because i don't think most people white black or other, are racist. i think we all, as i have said have our prejudices, that is, we have an idea of how we see those in our lives, even temporarily. this is the area that we can have the most control over, we could and should work to make these... dislikes... minimal, and to confront them in ourselves.

the next level is racism, to see the ways that certain people my operate on the belief that one group is most certainly inferior, we should work to see that even with our prejudices, they are not a belief, that they are not that fixed. but also to look at the ways that that belief may become systemic, or ingrained in systems of power(oppression), and to acknowledge them.

when dealing with oppression, the last part is the most important, if we see how certain groups are disadvantaged, but say nothing, then nothing changes. it is important-- no, crucial-- that we speak out against that inequality if we really want to get to that "level playing field." otherwise it lives on another day.


my take pugs, on those stats is to take them at face value. to dismiss stats out of hand is to give way to a sort of idea that nothing is provable. which, to mind is very dangerous. without some idea off what is true, we have only empirical or our own experiences to guide us. and while that may be good in some instances (stove burners can be hot), when dealing with something that is so subjective as race, i think statistics are a real guide post, a solid spot in shifting sand. the place that i got those stats from seems to have no real agenda, like a far right or left think tank might. my rule is, know who is putting out the stats, know how they lean, and look to see if the result was slanted. those numbers seem to come from an honest place of questioning.

as for why the numbers are skewed, i think this gets back to the idea of prejudice. if you were to have one word to describe what you think of when you think of say asians, most would say "smart." our prejudices work in their favor. in this country i would have to say the most maligned races have been the black and latino communities. and the most sustained group would have to be blacks, both culturally and systemically. latinos who have been here for several generations didn't face many of the cultural barriers that blacks did.

while i am on this point i should make this point that i've been wanting to for some time: oppression is not always applied equally. i know this may sound obvious, but it is an important point. often groups are pitted against each other. in the 1750s thru the 1800's often the irish were the most hated group next to blacks. they were often thought about and talked about in the same way, using the same stereotypes that most people now days have heard about black folk: lazy, criminal, filthy, untrustworthy, animalistic. one thing i always find curious is the way that the irish were viewed positively. in sports they were thought to be superior, having been bred for it. if you go look at old sports reporting of irish boxers, and irish basketball players, you start to see how, at one time the irish were not thought of as "white." this started to change when blacks were aloud to make small in roads. most groups, before assimilation (or cultural acceptance) have some sort of visable public figure where the country at large can start to see this new group as equal. i call it exceptionalism. this particular person, isn't like the rest of his race. you first see it in comedy and sports and entertainment. the same was true of the irish and jewish people. it was only when blacks started to gain entry that these groups started to be seen as "white" in a need to pit one group against another. slowly those systemic barriers of jewish and irish racism began to fall. concurrently, the ones for blacks rose. and while now we have numerous cases of black exceptionalism (oprah, tiger woods, bill cosby, and most recently barack obama), what we have in the black community is a sort of long retardation of the assimilation process. there are lots of exceptions, but since there is no other race to transfer that race hostility to, it simply persists. the exceptions are accepted, and the rest remain locked out. making little progress, a system still aimed at disadvantaging them. but even that is slowly changing.

i have been meaning to post more on obama+ race. some interesting comments this last week but later i think....

but since i am talking (briefly) about politics, i should point out that there is quite a bit of talk of personal responsiblity and race. that was one of the things i found most interesting about obama. in his talking about race, he often takes pages out of the reagan/republican play book retorically. he seems not at all shy about talking about the subject, and taking blacks to task. that is one of the reasons why many blacks were reluctant to take obama seriously when he first arrived. much like harrold ford jr, he is open enough to take some of what repbulicans have to say and incorperate it. at first i thought this was a bit worrying, but his speech on race was so balanced and in my view nuanced, that i think he sees both sides of the argument.

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