A Crash Course on the Reality of Racism or, No, Racism Wasn’t Over 50 Years Ago…

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racismBy Diane Carlson

It’s only been a little over a week now since the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case and folks are already moving on.  Some other new shiny object in the media has our attention – oooh, look, royal baby!  Our heads turn so fast we almost get whiplash. But our heads turn because we will do everything we can to not talk about the history and legacy of racism in this country.

No matter how many Trayvons or Oscar Grants or Marissa Alexanders, no matter how many times folks of color are profiled, no matter how many times an almost all white jury gets to “decide” if racism exists or not, we will wiggle out of it with a quick, “Zimmerman was Hispanic” or “racism was over 50 years ago” and look away as swiftly as possible.

As a white woman who gets to teach two or three courses on racism every semester, I see this happen with my students.  I teach at a community college in an area that is more segregated and more economically well off than many communities served by other colleges.  For so many of my students, my course is the first time they have ever explored the reality of racism.

I take this opportunity and my role as a teacher in this setting quite seriously. Teaching has helped me understand that not everyone has been exposed to the same information and the same experiences.

Most of us grew up in segregated communities and may not even know that we don’t know. Much of the knowledge white people in particular have about anyone else comes from the limited stereotypes of what is shown in the media. Many of us then take our limited experience and information from media and attempt to generalize that to the rest of the world.

So, it’s not really a great shocker that many white people are clueless when it comes time to determine the role racism plays in any event or institution.  We don’t choose our parents or where we are born. We can’t be blamed for the contexts in which we grew up. But, and it’s a big but, it doesn’t absolve us of responsibility to figure all this out.

Our privilege has kept us from having to know anything about the history and experiences of everyone else.  Our privilege allows us to perpetuate segregation. Our privilege lets us ignore that we have inherited this legacy of racism and benefited from it. Our privilege means that while we don’t know much of anything at all about racism we will still jump up to claim we are experts on it and expect to be taken seriously.

And that has been a difficult part this past week or so: hearing folks talk about how Trayvon’s murder is not about racism when they clearly have *no idea* the role that racism plays in today’s world. Many of these people are decent people, people we may know and love, but they speak from a place that is incomprehensible because their arguments are based on little that is real.

When any of that is challenged they get defensive and trot out those “using the sidewalk as a weapon” or “thug” arguments.  Nothing real. I see in my students the reality of racial identity development – that it can be a difficult process to come to grips with the certainty and horribleness of racism.

Many of them do feel defensive at first and then discover that while defensiveness is a normal part of racial identity development, they do not have to stay there.  They can choose to continue to develop their identity and understanding of these issues far beyond where they are.

They discover that remaining defensive is not very helpful to anyone and that using privilege to transform the status quo and challenge others is possible.
So challenge yourself.  Because we all do not begin with the same information and understanding, you must start where you are. As a white person, I remind myself all the time that part of privilege is not having to think about racism on a regular basis.  Part of privilege is that when I get tired of talking or thinking about it, I could choose to just not.

So I make myself think about it, talk about it, work on it – even when I’m tired. I have been actively involved and studying these issues for years and years and I still don’t have it all dialed in.

I mess up sometimes. Making a mistake is going to happen, but I don’t have to let my fears get in the way of standing up and I can accept and even appreciate being corrected. I am rarely eloquent when I speak out, but I’ll say what I need to anyway.  I remind my students that saying something imperfectly is much better than saying nothing at all.

Challenge others.  As a teacher, I see that students want to develop tools and skills for having the difficult conversations that must be had. The hardest conversations are likely to be those with your family and friends, those you love.  With that, I pass on to my students (and you) two gifts that were given to me to help in this process.

The first was given by Dr. Winnie LaNier from Cosumnes River College.  I heard her ask someone (after the person repeatedly used the word, “guys” to mean everyone), “may I challenge you on something?”

The other person accepted and they had an amazing conversation about the word and its use. I was utterly impressed how her simple question led to that discussion. It opened a lovely door I had never considered before.

Rather than either extreme of being silently mad or eating them alive, I could ask someone if we could talk about a particular issue that was relevant in the moment.  Wow.  The second gift came from a class I took from Dr. Francisco Rodriguez (former president of Cosumnes River College, hmmm, CRC again, interesting) who shared his response when something comes up that challenges his social justice core:  “help me understand…”

Help me understand what you mean.  Help me understand your perspective.  Help me understand your evidence.  Help me understand why you feel the way you do.  Help me understand your experience.  Again, floored.  Bridges to conversation and understanding I had never considered.  I set both of these phrases as alarms on my phone to remind me every day that there are additional ways to begin a conversation about these desperately essential issues.

While it’s not easy to start a conversation or work to keep it going, what choice really do we have?  If we don’t take responsibility, who will?  It is far past time for us to educate ourselves about our history and legacy of racism, our privileges and how we can stand up with others.

These are good lessons no matter what the inequality issue is.  Whatever privileges we have, we can learn to recognize them and use them to challenge the structures of inequality that allow for them to exist.

Below are some excellent foundational resources relating to racism to get you going if you have had less exposure to these issues.  Start here and work them around in your mind.  Talk about them.  Question them.

While they represent only a tiny part of what is out there in the research and conversations on racism, they do cover some seminal work and some highly respected sources.

This material is a small beginning, not an end.  Let it get you started and then let’s talk.  We can begin with why a young African American man engaging in nothing at all suspicious should nevertheless still be profiled as “suspicious.”  It’s a good place to start.

Read and/or watch (both meticulously researched)

Additional helpful sites to explore linked to substantial research and evidential support:

An excellent and essential conversation:

Always good:

Wow, just wow (at 48:37):

Diane Carlson teaches sociology at Folsom Lake College and is a former member of the Davis Human Relations Commission.

 

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67 thoughts on “A Crash Course on the Reality of Racism or, No, Racism Wasn’t Over 50 Years Ago…”

  1. Frankly

    Sigh…

    I hate being the first one to comment especially when I disagree with so much of this article.

    I think it represents evidence that we are wasting good teacher resources (I assume Diane Carlson is a good teacher) on useless curriculum.

    And I absolutely mean that.

    And if you disagree that teaching whole classes on racism, and injecting lessons on racism in almost every social, political and historical topic, is useless; then I ask you to show me where it has benefited society or benefited minorities in any way. Where is the proof that it is helping improve society?

    There is none. In fact, the only evidence is that outcomes are worsening for blacks. So then, why do we keep doing it.

    Driving home from a mini vacation with my son and his best friend (a black boy) both 14, we got in a discussion and I asked the boy if he ever felt any racism in Davis.

    Here is what happened. The boy was silent, and then he struggled… finally saying “I didn’t really even consider it until just now.”

    So, I was the one that effed up here. In that one instance I injected into this boy’s fresh and happy mind that he might be a target of racism in Davis. I told him that he might be different. Up to that point I’m sure the boy saw himself as just being a normal boy with darker skin, and his conflicts being just human conflicts. I thought bravo Frankly, you idiot. The conversation died and he slept the rest of the way home.

    Here is the deal. It is the adults that are all screwed up. Children tend to see each other as simply children. And eventually they would see themselves as simply adults if not for the adults in charge of them while they are children making a political war out of race and corrupting their minds that race makes a difference in who they are.

    Here is how we would do much better using our education system to help better integrate society. Stop teaching race-based social justice topics, and replace them with life skill topics. Teach children so they can go out and become economically self-sufficient. People that work with each other will socialize with each other and will live in the same neighborhoods with each other. Work cures the ills of group bias. Just look at the US military for proof.

    By the way, my son is still best friends with this boy. He is an awesome young man. He comes from a broken family, but with a strong mother. His grandfather and grandmother and his brothers and sisters all lived together growing up. He still has a relationship with his father even though his father lives in Southern CA. I asked my son at one point if he thought his friend had any stronger opinions about racism, and the answer was about the same… “Dad, why do you keep asking that question?… the topic never comes up.”

  2. SouthofDavis

    Frankly wrote:

    > I think it represents evidence that we are wasting
    > good teacher resources (I assume Diane Carlson is
    > a good teacher) on useless curriculum.

    It is only “useless” if you are not a “white woman who gets to teach two or three courses” on the subject every semester (making more per hour than most firefighters) at a “school” that has a graduation rate lower than the worst inner city High Schools in America (and a student loan default rate slowly approaching the “graduation” rate)…

  3. psyclone

    [quote]“I ask you to show me where it has benefited society or benefited minorities in any way. Where is the proof that it is helping improve society? There is none. In fact, the only evidence is that outcomes are worsening for blacks.”[/quote]

    It would be funny that Frankly is essentially blaming modern-era college courses on social justice and racism as the reason that ‘outcomes are worsening for blacks’ if it weren’t actually so sad. Maybe instead of assuming his conclusion, he should ask for help in understanding how such courses are benefiting society.

    And I don’t quite follow the logic that says there can only be courses on practical ‘life-skill’ topics OR social justice classes, but not both. Um, looked at a college catalog lately? Amazingly, many schools offer both. Yes, we CAN walk and chew gum at the same time.

  4. Frankly

    Compare a course catalog for both grades 8-12 of public school, and higher learning and you will see fewer life-skills courses and an increase in social justice courses. Apparently we cannot walk and chew gum at the same time.

    [i]Maybe instead of assuming his conclusion, he should ask for help in understanding how such courses are benefiting society[/I]

    I did. I am. Please explain. Do you have evidence that it is improving the situation for minorities that you believe are impacted by racism?

  5. K.Smith

    I don’t know too many community college faculty who are making anywhere close to what a firefighter pulls down.

    http://wserver.losrios.edu/hr/downloads/Salary Schedules/164_Interim_13-14.pdf

    And if she’s an adjunct, she’s making even less than what’s indicated on the above link.

    Yeah, those community college instructors are just the picture of the high life and livin’ large!

  6. Don Shor

    Interesting reading list, so thanks for posting it. It might be of interest for some of the conservatives on this blog to provide links to the research and articles they’ve found useful on this topic.
    Frankly: I think the next generation (ie, your kids and mine, the ones in their 20’s) are much less affected by these issues than we are. That’s the good news.

  7. biddlin

    I don’t know what the graduation rate is over at CRC these days, but I personally know graduates who have gone on to careers in law enforcement, veterinary medicine and teaching . And if teaching at a CC pays that well, my missus better dust off her credentials .
    Biddlin ;>)/

  8. B. Nice

    [quote]Many of us then take our limited experience and information from media and attempt to generalize that to the rest of the world.[/quote]

    Hmm….

  9. B. Nice

    [quote]Help me understand what you mean. Help me understand your perspective. Help me understand your evidence. Help me understand why you feel the way you do. Help me understand your experience[/quote]

    Regardless of the topic this good advice. Speaking from personal experience it’s hard to follow when my personal ideology is being challenged, which is why I choose the handle B. Nice, it’s a reminder to myself, because I struggle not to personally attack people with opposing views instead of trying to understand what they are saying and why.

    Wether you agree with the author following this advice, instead of blanketly labeling, attacking, or disregarding those who share a different opinion, will lead to more productive dialog.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    “Do you have evidence that it is improving the situation for minorities that you believe are impacted by racism?”

    That doesn’t seem like the right question here.

  11. Eric Gelber

    I’d like to thank Frankly for actually, albeit unwittingly, supporting the point the author of the article was making—the importance of educating youth and young adults on the history and legacy of racism and social injustice, and its continuing impact on today’s society. Frankly’s anecdote of the 14-year-old black youth who had not even thought about whether he had ever been the victim of racism is a sad commentary on our education system. Good for him that he has led such an apparently shielded life. But perhaps his answer would have been different if he lived somewhere other than a relatively sheltered community, like Davis. Perhaps he, and his generation, might benefit from a secondary and post-secondary educational system that did not “stop teaching race-based social justice topics,” as Frankly recommends.

    As a wise man once said—“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Race-based and class-based social injustice exists, even if some would deny or ignore it. Remedying social injustice means understanding the role played by intentional and institutional racism. Understanding begins with education.

  12. Frankly

    Well, if your are doing something in the name of a problem, and you don’t see any evidence that it is helping to solve the problem, I say you are at a minimum wasting the time and effort in what you are doing… and you are possibly doing more harm than good.

    So, if I am not asking the right question, what is the right question?

  13. David M. Greenwald

    “So, if I am not asking the right question, what is the right question?”

    Will the course teach the students anything that is valuable to them?

  14. Frankly

    [i]Will the course teach the students anything that is valuable to them?[/i]

    That is a very low bar. We could do a course on how to yodel and make a case that it provides something of value.

    Time is a valuable commodity. I would say it is our most valuable commodity. Add to that the dollar cost to the student and taxpayers for funding each and every class, and the fact that there has been no improvement in black socio-economic circumstances since the education establishment injected so much racial social justice junk into the curriculum, I see you are on very shaky ground.

    What we really have with classes like this is evidence of the ideological brainwashing of students who would otherwise do just fine thinking for themselves.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    Yeah, you probably can find a course on yodeling, this is a college, they have all sorts of course. It should be a low bar.

    The real problem is that you believe that this is “ideological brainwashing” and the problem is that you have an under-appreciation for the resilience of nascent political ideology. One of the first things I learned doing this site is that you can’t change people’s minds and tell them what to think. All you can do is give them information and they will reach their own conclusions.

    Fact is most people’s political ideology is set from a young age and isn’t that susceptible to influence and change. We had great political debates in college classes despite the fact that most of the profs were more liberal – at least in the liberal arts field.

    I don’t think this information is brainwashing at all, it’s simply exposing students to different ideas that they will get watching Fox News.

  16. B. Nice

    “What we really have with classes like this is evidence of the ideological brainwashing of students who would otherwise do just fine thinking for themselves.”

    Are you saying students are not capable of taking a class without be “brainwashed”. Can’t they take a class that offers a different perspective on an issue and still think for themselves?

  17. Frankly

    Eric – all that these classes are doing are…

    – Perpetuating a state of race-based victim-ology that is yearning to be done
    – Teaching minorities how to be a victim
    – Teaching other kids to see minorities as victims
    – Putting useless “awareness” in their heads

    You don’t need to “open their eyes” to your screwed up adult-way of thinking about the subject. Each subsequent generation for the last 60 years has demonstrated less and less racism, homophobia, gender discrimination, etc. The kids get it. They are integrated and happy. Leave them alone.

    Instead we have these unhappy adults flapping their gums and polluting the minds of these kids.

    Just shut up about it please. You are just being agitators to keep racism all wee weed up so you have meaning to support your political identity. Give it up. Find a new cause.

    Teach these kids how to go make a good living, and demand that your politicians implement job-producing economic policy, and the world will be a fine place after more of the screwed up adults pass on.

    I have had this debate with people that work in and/or support the status quo education establishment as to what the ultimate goal of education is. The answer from those status quo supporters is “to make good citizens”. In other words to mold and brainwash the students to think and talk and act a certain way considered acceptable to those controlling the curriculum.

    The goal of education should be to “produce economic self-sufficient adults”. The “good citizen” goal is first immeasurable. It is also completely subjective. Lastly, it is worthless in terms of an individual’s well-being unless they are going to make a career in politics or social activism.

    Now if your goal is to solve some social problem through education, I am able to support that. However, with respect to race-based outcomes in this country, you and your folk argue out of both sides of your mouth without accomplishing a thing. First you decry that race relations are a mess and continue to degrade, while you also argue that we need to protect the all the standard social justice crap curriculum in the schools.

    The bottom line is that the curriculum is a failure for improving the social problems, and also contributing to the failure in a growing number of students unable to find meaningful work to create a good life for themselves.

  18. Don Shor

    Interesting. There is almost nothing in Diane Carlson’s article here that leads to your conclusions about ‘brainwashing’ and agitators and so on. These are college courses, I presume in sociology. Unless that’s your major (and I don’t think Folsom City has a major in sociology) they would presumably be electives to any major program. So college students there can choose to take them, or not, with the guidance of their counselors — or their parents, if they are still micro-managing their kids’ schedules. They might prove useful to a career in journalism or something else, and I think college kids have pretty good BS detectors. So all of your high dudgeon and indignation is pretty misplaced here.
    How and where did you learn your attitudes about race, gender, and equality?

  19. B. Nice

    “Will the course teach the students anything that is valuable to them?”

    I would argue that this type of class teaches things that are valuable to not just the student, but society. It teaches people to seek out their assumptions and challenge them, and to view the world and the people in from a different perspective, to see something from someone else’s point of view . These are valuable skills (in and out of the work force). If more people possessed these abilities I have no doubt the world would be a more peaceful and productive place.

  20. Frankly

    [i]Fact is most people’s political ideology is set from a young age and isn’t that susceptible to influence and change[/i]

    Well if that were the case we would not see the left tilt of youth these days.

    I am interested if you have any evidence of this claim. My experience is that kids come back from their public school experience, are terrified of meat, are sure that the earth is about ready to go up in flames and melt, think religion is stupid and dangerous, think black people are still persecuted by whites, think women are still discriminated against, think gays are still picked on, think illegal immigrants have just as much right to be here as legal immigrants, think guns should be outlawed, think the world should run on sunlight and batteries, think they are entitled to free education, free healthcare, and should not have to struggle in life, think there are a long list of words that should not be used, think hyper-sensitivity is normal, think social justice is the single most important policy pursuit in the entire world, think big businesses and CEOs are all evil and crooks. etc., etc., etc…

    And these are the kids that grew up in conservative households. The kids growing up in liberal households believe that we should not allow private property and that the collective should take over all industry and net out the same pay to everyone.

    Meanwhile, they cannot balance a checkbook, cook, clean, shop, build anything, fix anything, operate anything.

    But then we sure have done a good job creating those good citizens.

  21. Ginger

    [b]Our privilege has kept us from having to know anything about the history and experiences of everyone else. Our privilege allows us to perpetuate segregation. Our privilege lets us ignore that we have inherited this legacy of racism and benefited from it. Our privilege means that while we don’t know much of anything at all about racism we will still jump up to claim we are experts on it and expect to be taken seriously.[/b]

    You pretty much lost me right there. That’s a whole lot of assumptions and accusations and sweeping generalizations about “white people” that I’d bet you’d (rightly) balk at if someone made similarly overarching and negative statements about “all” black people.

    Maybe you should have started out this article with the kinder, gentler phrases you suggest WE use such as, “may I challenge you on something?” and/or “help me understand…” If you genuinely wanted to open a door for some lovely discussions, that most certainly would have been a better way to start.

    I’ll spare you my history and background, as I’m pretty sure I’ll just be told that since the bottom line is I’m a white girl without any academic credentials regarding race relations, I’m part of the problem. I will say this…I’ve had black friends admit that the “white privilege” talk feels subtly racist in an of itself…an act of clinging to the vestiges of superiority. Kind of like that shiny royal baby will be told it’s privileged, so it will be taught to extend a hand out to the commoners..they weren’t born as lucky.

    [quote]And that has been a difficult part this past week or so: hearing folks talk about how Trayvon’s murder is not about racism when they clearly have *no idea* the role that racism plays in today’s world. [/quote]

    I’ll stick with what Trayvon’s parents and the defense attorney have said…that this particular case wasn’t about racism. Or does their opinion not count as much as the experts who make a living teaching about white privilege ?

  22. AdRemmer

    Stories like this remind me of the non Christian telling the Christian what is so wrong with their religion…

    Is it any wonder that people who see the world
    through rose colored glasses see the world the way they do?

    Hmmm…

  23. B. Nice

    [quote]I am interested if you have any evidence of this claim.[/quote]

    Frankly do you have any evidence on your claim that students are being brainwashed, and not actually forming their own opinions based on information? Or that they are all coming out as you describe above?

  24. AdRemmer

    ‘Justice Thomas was part of a decision that declared America officially NOT RACIST!

    America has a black president, a black man running DOJ (both crooks by the way), and a black man on the Supreme Court–a trifecta. America for the most part has been cleansed.

    Why America–particularly Liberal black America–isn’t CELEBRATING this ruling is beyond me. A ruling that essentially says that black people have risen from the depths of depravity and inhumanity to become among the best, at least in case of Justice Thomas, that America has to offer is a badge of HONOR.

    For black Liberals to allow white Liberals to cajole them into denigrating a black man who has risen to the highest level his career path has to offer is the definition of stupid. To say such things about Justice Thomas should be like using the N-word…unacceptable by ANY standards.’

    http://theblacksphere.net/2013/06/justice-uncle-thomas/

  25. Frankly

    [i]How and where did you learn your attitudes about race, gender, and equality?[/i]

    From life, church, friends, family, relationships, work. Basically from having relationships with people in these groups in these situations. From living life and being a good moral Christian.

    Seriously, in the 1970s when I was attending public school, I had friends of every gender, shade and ethnic background. Then I started working in IT for big companies. We always looked like the UN. I never gave it any thought. Same with my sons. The have a collection of friends that look like the epitome of multiculturalism.

    It wasn’t until I started reading and watching the news and paying attention to politics and activists in the groupism-baiting political arena that I noted there was so much reported agitation related to these topics.

    Note that the one commonality with my friends and coworkers, and my sons’ friends is that they all spoke/speak English very well.

    What breaks down barriers is relationships.

    What fosters the creation of relationships is community.

    What fosters community is common pursuits.

    A fundamental common pursuit is working to make a living.

    Bottom line, these types of classes tell students what they should be thinking, and hence they influence how they think. Just the existence of the class tells a student that this is a topic worth consideration and time… that there is some big social problem that warrants their attention.

    Like I wrote, the US military is fully integrated. The reason… shared activities, shared community, shared goals… they are all working together and creating relationships.

    The template of race relations in this country from the political class and the media and the education establishment (let’s call them the “race alarmists”) is way out of whack with the general population. The race alarmists are frankly out of control and obsessed. They are spinning like tops with no direction, no accomplishments, no goals… only an agenda to keep enflaming the topic so they keep being able to validate their worth and importance.

    Time to move on to civil rights 2.0. Hell, let the kids tell us stupid ass adults how to behave around people with differences. What they will tell you is to chill, don’t be so hyper-sensitive, and don’t spend so much time making something out of nothing.

  26. AdRemmer

    “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

    ― Jesse Jackson

    Hmmm…

  27. Don Shor

    [quote]From life, church, friends, family, relationships, work. Basically from having relationships with people in these groups in these situations. From living life and being a good moral Christian. [/quote]
    Same here (with a couple of exceptions). So why are you so worried about what other peoples’ kids are taking in college?

    [quote]My experience is that kids come back from their public school experience, are terrified of meat, are sure that the earth is about ready to go up in flames and melt, think religion is stupid and dangerous, think black people are still persecuted by whites, think women are still discriminated against, think gays are still picked on, think illegal immigrants have just as much right to be here as legal immigrants, think guns should be outlawed, think the world should run on sunlight and batteries, think they are entitled to free education, free healthcare, and should not have to struggle in life, think there are a long list of words that should not be used, think hyper-sensitivity is normal, think social justice is the single most important policy pursuit in the entire world, think big businesses and CEOs are all evil and crooks. etc., etc., etc…

    And these are the kids that grew up in conservative households. The kids growing up in liberal households believe that we should not allow private property and that the collective should take over all industry and net out the same pay to everyone. [/quote]
    Very entertaining. I did not have that experience, with my own kids or those of others.

  28. Growth Izzue

    Ginger:
    [quote]I’ll stick with what Trayvon’s parents and the defense attorney have said…that this particular case wasn’t about racism. Or does their opinion not count as much as the experts who make a living teaching about white privilege ? [/quote]

    Right on Ginger. Damn, I like this chick, ooops, sorry, I meant to say babe. LOL j/k (:

    Yes, I’ll too stick with Trayvon’s parents and the prosecution/defense attorneys who were all in a better position to weigh the facts than any blogger, teacher or Al Sharpton wannabe.

  29. Frankly

    [i]Same here (with a couple of exceptions). So why are you so worried about what other peoples’ kids are taking in college?[/i]

    These social justice classes did not exist when I was attending public school or college. If they did there were buried in some obscure degree program for hippies.

    Race alarmists brand minorities as being different. They raise the profile of race as being distinguishable and notable. They demand that we create public policy around it. They foment a mindset that there is something worth considering. I would prefer that we stop that and start encouraging a world where race is not a topic worth considering. Instead I would just focus on individual human behavior and working to get everyone working toward happy economic self-sufficiency. That will cure so many more of any race-related social problems than will teaching classes on race sensitivity… that we should not be wasting any time on the latter, and spending all of our time on the former.

  30. Frankly

    [i]“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

    ― Jesse Jackson[/i]

    AdRemmer, does this mean JJ is a black racist of blacks, or does he get a pass because he is black? And, if he gets a pass because he is black, the racism alarmists lose all credibility for having any rational basis for their racism alarms.

    Maybe Mr. Jackson and any others owning this opinion should just be seen as only being skilled in math and risk assessment.

    Personally, if I see a guy that looks like George Zimmerman following me, I will probably run. That might make me biased of short, wide and balding second generation white Latino dudes, but it would also help me ensure my safety.

  31. medwoman

    [quote]if I see a guy that looks like George Zimmerman following me, I will probably run. That might make me biased of short, wide and balding second generation white Latino dudes, but it would also help me ensure my safety.[/quote]

    I would be worried about you Frankly. The strategy of running away did not work out well for the Hispanic man walking home from the DMV when confronted by undercover police. You would probably do better as a white older male to be polite and try to de escalate the tension.

  32. medwoman

    [quote]does this mean JJ is a black racist of blacks, or does he get a pass because he is black?[/quote]

    Being a member of a group does not preclude being biased against that group. In my early days in medicine,
    I encountered both men and women who did not want to see a woman solely on the basis of gender. My own sister said that she would never go to a woman doctor because women “don’t think logically enough”. Bias is not dependent on skin color. We all, whether or not we are willing to admit it, have biases ( some unconscious, some of which we are aware but may not be willing to admit.

    You yourself have repeatedly expressed a bias in your statements implying that boys have been victimized in the educational system which you feel is now more geared to the “learning style of girls”. You criticize others for
    claiming that groups are victimized for political purposes, yet express the same sentiment with regard to “public schools” failing our boys. Should we tell the boys to “just be more like the girls” and you will do fine ?
    This is the argument that you are using for minorities. Just act more like whites and you will be fine.
    Equally judgmental, biased, rigid and a failure to recognize the spectrum and complexity of human traits in both instances. Only in one case the biological difference is skin color while in the other it is the presence of one or two X chromosomes.

  33. Ginger

    [quote]Just act more like whites and you will be fine. [/quote]

    Have you seen white, middle-aged men fist-bump? Of course you have.

    Have you seen how many white boys in Davis wear their shorts low-slung to make sure their boxers are showing?

    Have you seen white suburban teen girls’ Facebook pages flashing what they think are “cool” gang signs?

    Have you seen this viral video of a girl who COULD NOT BE MORE WHITE, giving a toast at her sister’s wedding by trying to rap (Spoiler: she’s not the real Slim Shady)? http://mashable.com/2013/07/03/maid-of-honor-eminem-wedding-toast/

    Who’s emulating whom?

    But…yeah. If you want to be respected in certain segments of society, you need to adhere to certain behavioral standards, no matter how much melanin your skin contains. Just ask someone from Alabama how their accent is received in Manhattan.

    [quote]
    Should we tell the boys to “just be more like the girls” and you will do fine? [/quote]

    If you understood the concerns that some have regarding this issue, you’d know that is exactly what some (maybe Frankly?) believe [b]is[/b] currently being done in our school system. Read “The Trouble With Boys” by Peg Tyre. http://www.pegtyre.com/trouble.php

    PS- In my early days in medicine, several times I had young black men who didn’t want a white person taking their blood pressure or temperature, despite their parents being mortified by their kids’ bias against a white person. I agree…bias is not dependent on skin color, and it isn’t always learned at home.

  34. SouthofDavis

    Ginger wrote:

    > I’ll spare you my history and background,

    She won’t need any info on your history and background since people that teach classes in racism typically assume that ALL white people grew up in a world of “privilege” where they were either playing polo, out on their yachts or plotting how to keep people of color down. It is “racist” to even hint that a white girl that lives with her high school dropout Mom in a crappy West Sacramento apartment will not have “white privilege” and will need any help to go to college while the Obama girls without “white privilege” will need the help of affirmative action to get in to college…

  35. Ginger

    [b]AdRemmer[/b]
    [quote]Bravo Ginger![/quote]Thank you! 🙂

    [b]Growth Izzue[/b]
    [quote]Right on Ginger. Damn, I like this chick, ooops, sorry, I meant to say babe. LOL j/k (: [/quote]

    Ha! And thanks.

    [b]Eric Gelber[/b]

    [quote]I’d like to thank Frankly for actually, albeit unwittingly, supporting the point the author of the article was making—the importance of educating youth and young adults on the history and legacy of racism and social injustice, and its continuing impact on today’s society. Frankly’s anecdote of the 14-year-old black youth who had not even thought about whether he had ever been the victim of racism is a sad commentary on our education system. Good for him that he has led such an apparently shielded life. But perhaps his answer would have been different if he lived somewhere other than a relatively sheltered community, like Davis.
    [/quote]

    I know I’m new here, but in my short time I’ve seen several articles about the racial divide in Davis. If I’m not mistaken, that was in part why the Davis Vanguard site was established?

    Regardless, I’m reminded of a recent post by Melissa Harris-Perry* about parenting in the wake of the Trayvon case. Her 11 year-old daughter has obviously been taught, “the history and legacy of racism and social injustice, and its continuing impact on today’s society.”

    Melissa Harris-Perry is herself the daughter of two college educators (her father was a dean and her mother also an advocate for the disadvantaged); she has achieved professional success as an author, political commentator, and host at MSNBC. Yet her 11 year-old daughter is acutely aware of how being black means she is different, less, oppressed, disadvantaged, [i]other[/i].

    That little girl also knows that she can’t escape the “systemic and dehumanizing racism [African Americans] experienced in the United States.” Her solution? AT AGE 11…is that they must move to Paris where, it’s implied, no oppression exists (Melissa Harris-Perry must be unaware of the burqa ban and that abortions are pretty much illegal after 12 weeks ButNeverMindThat).

    So tell me. Which child is better served? How is our country better served? How is it we can get to the place where we judge each other by the content of their character, not the color of their skin? How ironic that people often marvel about the innocence of children, and how they don’t care what color skin their friend have….but then they also want to strip those kids of their innocence in the name of, “educating youth and young adults on the history and legacy of racism and social injustice, and its continuing impact on today’s society.”

    The 14 year-old Davis kid who said he hadn’t thought about being a victim of racism is, “a sad commentary on our education system?” REALLY? It’s sad that we aren’t teaching our black kids that they should be constantly and acutely aware of their “otherness?” That they must think about themselves as perpetual victims to the “privileged” whites; as if it is something inescapable that they inherited?

    Better he should be like Melissa Harris-Perry’s daughter Parker, who at 11, already knows her place in society (unlike the 14 year-old Davis kid who was blissfully unaware). Parker has learned she [b]should[/b] [b][i]be mad[/i][/b], that white people (well, except for her white Grandmother and other rarities) don’t understand racism, that a jury of white people can’t be trusted.

    Here’s a little clip from the Melissa Harris-Perry post that I’ve been referencing, where she shares a snippet of text conversation between her daughter Parker and her husband James.

    [quote][b]MHP[/b]: I was in awe of my own daughter’s understanding of the complicated issues surrounding the case.
    [b]Parker[/b]: I can’t believe what happened! If Trayvon was white and George was black there would be a whole different story. It makes me mad.
    [b]James[/b]: You are right to be mad. But now you must turn to the question of what you will do to make things better. We can all do something. What will you do?
    [b]Parker[/b]: I will wear hoodies everywhere. That is what I will do. I will get a shirt with Trayvon’s face on it. I will make Christmas cookies and pancakes in the shape of his face.
    [b]James[/b]: That is a great idea. What will that do to help?
    [b]Parker[/b]: Let people know that I care.
    [b]James[/b]: That is very important. How do you think they ended up making such a bad decision?
    [b]Parker[/b]: There were no black men or black women on the jury.
    [b]James[/b]: Do you think white people can understand racism?
    [b]Parker[/b]: Only a few, like Grammy she understands racism.[/quote]

    *http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/07/15/everything-will-be-ok-i-love-you-parenting-after-trayvon/

  36. Diane Carlson

    Hi, and thank you for the interesting discussion.

    Couple of thoughts, questions:

    I appreciate Don Shor’s comment, “It might be of interest for some of the conservatives on this blog to provide links to the research and articles they’ve found useful on this topic.”

    I would love to know what sources folks are using. I can see that people have some strong opinions and offer up anecdotes here and there about their friends or their kid’s friends to support various points, but I am not seeing much actual evidence yet to support some of the claims. For example, “They are integrated and happy.” What is meant by integrated? Is it residentially or educationally or both? One of these is getting slightly (but only slightly) better (which is also not to say it is actually where most folks think it is), and one is getting worse. By what measurement was this statement made? If it is based on personal experience, certainly helpful to understand where someone is coming from (and thank you, Frankly, for sharing your experience), but it isn’t necessarily generalizable to the rest of the world and doesn’t tell us what the patterns of segregation are. Following the residential segregation links would be helpful here. Also, I didn’t include research on educational segregation for some reason, but here is something to start on: http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/k-12-education/integration-and-diversity/mlk-national/e-pluribus…separation-deepening-double-segregation-for-more-students

    Because racial privilege is systemic, it’s something white people have whether we want it or not or whether we think we do or not. However, not all white people respond the same way to it. Many do acknowledge it and challenge it. The generalizations made are about what privilege allows, not necessarily about what white people think about it, do with it, or how white people are.

    While racial privilege is a major factor, SouthofDavis points out that other privileges can play roles as well, e.g., “a white girl that lives with her high school dropout Mom in a crappy West Sacramento apartment will not have “white privilege” and will need any help to go to college while the Obama girls without “white privilege” will need the help of affirmative action to get in to college.” The white, West Sacramento girl will still have “white privilege” but certainly many, many whites do not experience economic privilege. That’s part of my own history and many of my students, as well. I have had plenty of students who are white single parents, who experience homelessness, are first generation students, etc. to know that whites do not all share the same economic privilege. Tim Wise does a good job with that discussion to show the relationship between the two. The research on mortgage lending in the 90s and in the last 5 years are also good places to look at the relationship between economic privilege and race. Lower income whites still tend to fare better than upper income families of color. The Pager research is striking, too, looking at whites with a criminal record being more likely to get a job than blacks without a criminal record. But of course, as I think SouthofDavis is pointing out, economic privilege can certainly make a difference and that’s true. There is a good bit of room here for people to see themselves as connected. As for the Obama girls, might need a little more explanation about the affirmation action reference.

    I do hope that you get a chance to go through the references and have some time to consider them. Let’s meet and talk some more.

    Thanks, y’all.

  37. Frankly

    Diane: [i]Because racial privilege is systemic[/i]

    Does that explain Barak Obama and Oprah Winfrey?

    I think we have a minority of people activily perpetuating a virtual cloud of racism by “racial scripting”. [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Williams_(psychologist)[/url]

    These people like to tell the rest of us that we are blind to our own racism; but the reality they are blind to the real world around them and living within a template worldview they cannot seemingly escape from.

    I think if you look for black opinions on the subject of white-black racism and you control for those that have been subject to racial scripting and those that have not, you would find a very large difference where those that have been subject to it see racism as more prevalent and a bigger problem than they other control group.

  38. Davis Progressive

    “Does that explain Barak Obama and Oprah Winfrey? “

    the fact that you point out two individuals as exceptions, seems to me proves the point – no?

    “These people like to tell the rest of us that we are blind to our own racism”

    i think everyone is a bit blind to their own prejudices, so that wouldn’t be surprising

    ” the reality they are blind to the real world around them and living within a template worldview they cannot seemingly escape from. “

    who are you talking about and based on what do you say this?

    “I think if you look for black opinions on the subject of white-black racism and you control for those that have been subject to racial scripting and those that have not, you would find a very large difference where those that have been subject to it see racism as more prevalent and a bigger problem than they other control group. “

    what does this even mean? should we subject your views to the same scrutiny?

  39. Ginger

    What we have here is a professor lecturing us, complete with reading assignments. Then when we raise our hands in class, we are told our little opinions are cute and all..but then get our wrists slapped for not doing the homework.

    Bottom line: our teacher NEEDS people and their experiences to be, “generalizable to the rest of the world” so sociologists and the like can determine, “what the patterns of segregation are.” And our teacher NEEDS those patterns to be absolute and live on in perpetuity. For example, the Douglas Massey, American Apartheid article prescribed above was from 1990, and itself cites references from the 70’s and 80’s.

    So from there we can divide everyone up according to the ONE thing that matters most (*gleeful wringing of hands*) their skin color. We can attribute characteristics and roles and GENERALIZATIONS to individuals…and most bestest of all, understand who are guilty and who are victims…and make condemning statements about the bad group like,

    [quote]“Our privilege has kept us from having to know anything about the history and experiences of everyone else. Our privilege allows us to perpetuate segregation. Our privilege lets us ignore that we have inherited this legacy of racism and benefited from it. Our privilege means that while we don’t know much of anything at all about racism we will still jump up to claim we are experts on it and expect to be taken seriously.”[/quote]

    Then we can go on teaching our black kids that they are less, that they are victims, that they will NEVER be equal, that white people will always keep them down, this is systemic and our country was founded on it and IT IS NEVER GOING AWAY. White people so inherently evil that they don’t even know how racist they are. They. Just. Are.

    And the poor black kid in Davis who hasn’t experienced racism nor given a thought to how oppressed he is? That’s just and example of HOW BAD THINGS ARE. We need to tell black kids from the cradle how white people aren’t capable of understanding racism nor

    Do I think that because I was born white that’s made things easier for me sometimes? Sure. I guess that’s white privilege. Do I think being female has been a disadvantage at times? Prolly. Do I think the fact I heard gunshots from my high school means that things were harder for me sometimes? Yeah, my crappy school high school diploma didn’t shine nearly as bright as the much lauded suburban one many miles north when it came to applying for scholarships and college admission.

  40. Ginger

    Whoops. Hit send too soon. That preview button gets me sometimes. 🙂

    *We need to tell black kids from the cradle how white people aren’t capable of understanding racism nor overcoming it. So look twice at any white person around you…they don’t like you, even if they don’t know it.

    I was also going to add one final thought after I wrote, [quote]“Do I think that because I was born white that’s made things easier for me sometimes? Sure. I guess that’s white privilege. Do I think being female has been a disadvantage at times? Prolly. Do I think the fact I heard gunshots from my high school means that things were harder for me sometimes? Yeah, my crappy school high school diploma didn’t shine nearly as bright as the much lauded suburban one many miles north when it came to applying for scholarships and college admission.”[/quote]

    But none of that matters in the end…all that matters is that I’m white. So that privilege allows me to “perpetuate segregation.” WHICH, ironically, is the notion that I’m rallying against…I don’t want to make GENERALIZATIONS about people, I don’t want to make definitive statements about them based upon their skin color. I won’t.

    ALSO…I was planning on de-snarking some of the earlier paragraphs. I like to riff and then clean up later. So my apologies for the “professor lecturing us” intro and other mean-girl snipes. Those were supposed to be for my eyes only. Really wish there was an edit feature here. 🙂

  41. Davis Progressive

    “And the poor black kid in Davis who hasn’t experienced racism nor given a thought to how oppressed he is?”

    my experience is there is no such thing. i’ve never met an african american in davis without a boatload of stories whether it’s harassment by the police or mistreatment in stores.

    did you attend the city’s breaking the silence of racism? i’m guessing no. if you had, you would have heard the stories of parents of kids who experienced all sort of problems in school, many of whom ended up going elsewhere.

  42. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]What we really have with classes like this is evidence of the ideological brainwashing of students who would otherwise do just fine thinking for themselves.[/i]

    And here’s another framework that makes the case that economics, as conventionally taught, is bullshit (brainwashing?):

    link ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se55CCdfaOA[/url])

  43. Growth Izzue

    [quote]i’ve never met an african american in davis without a boatload of stories whether it’s harassment by the police or mistreatment in stores.
    [/quote]

    Maybe you should get out more and broaden your horizons because I know many blacks in Davis who say what a great community it is where everyone is welcomed with opened arms.

    [quote]did you attend the city’s breaking the silence of racism? i’m guessing no.[/quote]

    No, I tend to stay away from those types of get togethers because they tend to draw the same old tired activists and people who dwell on playing the victim.

  44. Davis Progressive

    “No, I tend to stay away from those types of get togethers because they tend to draw the same old tired activists and people who dwell on playing the victim.”

    in other words, you’re dismissive of people who differ in their ideas and experience than you…….

  45. Ginger

    [quote]in other words, you’re dismissive of people who differ in their ideas and experience than you…….[/quote]

    Like you were dismissive of the 14 year-old’s experience because you went to a meeting and heard stories that were different? I’m guessing yes.

  46. Frankly

    [i]i think everyone is a bit blind to their own prejudices, so that wouldn’t be surprising[/i]

    DP – this is you telling us that you can read minds and know what another person is thinking and feeling about a third person based on that person’s race.

    “blind to prejudices”? I think it is much more probably that those projecting racism and racial bias are blind to their prejudices… and frankly wrong much more than they are right.

  47. Ginger

    I was referring to this:

    [quote]“And the poor black kid in Davis who hasn’t experienced racism nor given a thought to how oppressed he is?”

    my experience is there is no such thing. i’ve never met an african american in davis without a boatload of stories whether it’s harassment by the police or mistreatment in stores. [/quote]

    But my bigger point was just that we’re all expressing opinions here, and there’s a lot of dismissing going around.

  48. Davis Progressive

    but how is that dismissing the 14 year old black kid? i’m saying most have been through a number of racist incidents in davis by the time they are 14 – maybe you have a different definition of dismissive than I do.

  49. Ginger

    I guess so. 🙂

    If I said, “As a woman I’ve haven’t experienced any sexism nor given a thought to how misogynistic our society is.”

    To which you replied, “In my experience there is no such thing. I’ve never met a woman without a boatload of stories whether it’s harassment by a male employer or mistreatment by male family members.” I’d think, “Wow. Dismissive.”

    But we can agree to disagree on the definition of dismissive. It’s kind of a deep-in-the-weeds tangent here anywho.

  50. SouthofDavis

    Davis Progressive:

    > i’ve never met an african american in davis without
    > a boatload of stories whether it’s harassment by
    > the police or mistreatment in stores.

    I think this tells us a lot about the people you hang out with.

    I know quite a few white and black people in Davis and I can’t remember even once hearing that ANY of them have been harassed by the police or mistreated in stores.

    There are reasons that most people are harassed by the police and treated poorly in stores and race is probably the reason less than 1% of the time.

    P.S. To Diane, I was involved with mortgage lending for many years and the reason that “Lower income whites still tend to fare better than upper income families of color” is because a higher percentage of white people know the basics of personal finance than people of color. Banks don’t pick on blacks due to the color of their skin, it is because blacks (more than any other group) agree to make payments and then don’t make them…

    P.P.S. To Diane of the “subprime” loans to people of color that went bad more than 90% were originated by a person of the same race (and speaking the same native language) of the borrower. These “loan originators” are bad people but I don’t think “racism” in involved when a black or Mexican originates a loan for a black or Mexican family and decides not to mention that the payment will change in a year…

  51. Davis Progressive

    “I think this tells us a lot about the people you hang out with.
    I know quite a few white and black people in Davis and I can’t remember even once hearing that ANY of them have been harassed by the police or mistreated in stores.”

    maybe they didn’t feel comfortable sharing it with you? the people i have interacted with are university faculty, their children, and some uc davis students. i’m curious to know what my comment says about them?

  52. Davis Progressive

    that’s not actually what SOD said. he didn’t say that anyone told him there was no problem with racism, he said no one mentioned to him that they were harassed. there is a difference.

    “Do your experinces trump ours?”

    yes. because they demonstrate that there are people in this community who have had problems with racism, as do the public comments in december, the case of eli davis, and others.

  53. Frankly

    Folks, here is the message from these racial scripters…

    Your are a racist. No, no… don’t try to argue. It does not matter that you can’t see it, don’t feel it, don’t have any reference you can grasp that convinces you… none of that matters. You just have to accept it because a minority of self-anointed smart people know you better than you know yourself. You just have to accept what they are telling you. You are just unaware of this ugly truth about yourself, and hence your opinion doesn’t even count. You cannot deny it, because these smart people know better.

    And you young child… don’t go thinking that you are a normal kid. You don’t understand the world yet. These “adults” know much better what other people are thinking and saying about you behind your back. If your skin is dark, you will face bias. You will face oppression. People with lighter skin will see you as less capable and less wanted. They will pick on you more, ignore you more, deny you more. They will give you more of everything negative, and less of everything positive. They will ensure that your life is more difficult and your struggles and failures will always be at least partially the fault of people with lighter skin. You cannot deny these things, because these smart people know better.

    And you should not get logical wondering why all these awareness efforts and accusations repeated over and over never help solve any problems. That is irrelevant. In fact, just challenging them makes you a racist.

  54. SouthofDavis

    Davis Progressive wrote:

    > that’s not actually what SOD said. he didn’t say that
    > anyone told him there was no problem with racism, he
    > said no one mentioned to him that they were harassed.
    > there is a difference.

    When I was younger I had a lot more people complain to me about being harassed. Most of my “friends of color” would tell me that they believed that “racism” had something to do with the harassment.

    I believe that I posted this to the Vanguard site before, but years ago I pointed out to a black friend that he was only “harassed” when he had his car stereo on real loud and an Asian friend (with a fancy BMW convertible) that he was only asked “if he was the registered owner of the car” when he had the top down and was wearing his hipster ball cap sideways (making him appear to be an immature 15 year old not a 23 year old Cal grad).

    If you are rude to people disturb the peace or seem out of place (say driver of a Ferrari that looks 15) the police are going to talk with (aka “harass”) you if you are white or a “person of color”…

  55. Ginger

    I think the truth might lie somewhere in between.

    Is there NO racism in Davis? Sadly, I know that to not be true.

    Has every single black person in Davis experienced racism? I’m inclined to say OF COURSE. I’m white and I’ve experienced racism (unless you subscribe to the notion that white people by definition are incapable of being victims of racism).

    Has every single black person in Davis experienced racism IN DAVIS? I think in our little bubble it’s entirely possible that some haven’t. It’s also I’d guess entirely possible all have. I don’t know.

    Is it racism every single time a black person gets bad service at a restaurant? No. Would some say it is? Absolutely- sometimes people see racism where it isn’t, just because they’ve been conditioned to reflexively blame it without looking at individual circumstances. Individual circumstances don’t matter when you’re only dealing with patterns that are “generalizable to the rest of the world.”

    For example, I have been told I was racist because I disagreed with the individual mandate in the ACA. OBVIOUSLY, I only disagree with that because the President is black (so I was told). Except I also disagreed with it when Hillary proposed it in the 90’s.

    Nevermind that I agreed with candidate Obama when he mocked Hillarycare by saying, “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house. The reason they don’t have a house is they don’t have the money.”

    I guess it’s one of those things those of us with white privilege are incapable of understanding. I’m simultaneously a racist for disagreeing with President Obama and also not a racist for agreeing with Candidate Obama. I’m the Schrödinger’s cat of white chicks!

  56. jimt

    Ginger–good to see your input on this forum. I haven’t been contributing to this topic lately because you, Frankly, and SouthofDavis have been expressing viewpoints I share better than I could.

    By the way I do think there is some racism expressed by individuals of all races in our society; but only a very small percentage of individuals of any racial group has strong racial bias/hatred. It seems to me destructive and insane to teach schoolchildren that they belong to either a privileged oppressor group or an abused victim group; both an inaccurate distortion of reality and destructive to their psyche and the social fabric. I look forward to the day when children are not encouraged to identify themselves primarily by race.

  57. medwoman

    jimt

    [quote]t seems to me destructive and insane to teach schoolchildren that they belong to either a privileged oppressor group or an abused victim group; both an inaccurate distortion of reality and destructive to their psyche and the social fabric. I look forward to the day when children are not encouraged to identify themselves primarily by race.[/quote]

    I would agree if this is what were being taught. However, teaching the actual history of the United States as it really occurred rather than as a litany of the accomplishments of notable white males, and exploring what effects the past with all its good and bad points and the ongoing impact on our society today is quite a different matter.

    Frankly

    I believe from previous posts that you are actually younger than I am. So your statement that classes that discussed societal effects of various “isms” did not exist when you were in school is factually incorrect. These classes were definitely in existence and not hidden away in some “hippie” programs. My majors in political science and anthropology included some such classes which I felt was a welcome counterbalance to the definitely racist family in which I had been “brainwashed” ……oops, excuse me…..raised.

  58. Ginger

    [quote]My majors in political science and anthropology included some such classes which I felt was a welcome counterbalance to the definitely racist family in which I had been “brainwashed” ……oops, excuse me…..raised.[/quote]
    You know, I was raised exactly the opposite. My parents [i]were[/i] “hippies” and I grew up around people of a lot of different ethnicities and races and religions and gender orientations and all…it was wonderful. I was lucky in that regard. I remember being in preschool and desperately wishing I were black like my mom’s friends; I thought they were far more gorgeous than I was, with my pasty white skin and stringy blonde hair.

    Because of my upbringing and environment, I’ve had many of those “difficult” conversations about race Holder says we need with my black friends, dating back to my teen years.

    Maybe that’s why I’m not afraid to be politically incorrect (not saying Medwoman is, I’m just sharing a bit about myself) and also why when I read theories about races relations that don’t jive whatsoever with my decades of hanging out with people of all colors, I tend to react with skepticism.

    Which brings me back to the original article; our professor gave us a “Crash Course” on racism, and stated:

    [quote]Below are some excellent foundational resources relating to racism to get you going if you have had less exposure to these issues. Start here and work them around in your mind. Talk about them. Question them.[/quote]

    I’m not one who hasn’t had a lot of exposure to these issues. I’ve had lots for as long as I can remember. Yet I still did what our teacher requested…looked at her resources, worked them around in my mind, talked about them, and questioned them…her response?

    [quote]I would love to know what sources folks are using. I can see that people have some strong opinions and offer up anecdotes here and there about their friends or their kid’s friends to support various points, but I am not seeing much actual evidence yet to support some of the claims. [/quote]

    Sooooo…what I’m supposed to do is come to class not with questions as you said, but with literature to support my “claims?” And I must have misunderstood the caveat, “If you have had less exposure to these issues.” I guess my exposure to these issues really doesn’t matter if that exposure doesn’t have academic citation.

    Also in her original article she says:
    [quote]Help me understand what you mean. Help me understand your perspective. Help me understand your evidence. Help me understand why you feel the way you do. Help me understand your experience. [/quote]

    Which is what I (and I think a lot of us) have been trying to do. Despite being super active on this thread, our professor still hasn’t “called on me,” so I can’t speak to her response to my specific attempts to help her understand what I mean, help her understand my perspective, help her understand my evidence, help me understand why I feel the way I do, help her understand my experience.

    But I’ll postulate that her response would be something like this:

    [quote]By what measurement was this statement made? If it is based on personal experience, certainly helpful to understand where someone is coming from (and thank you, Frankly, for sharing your experience), but it isn’t necessarily generalizable to the rest of the world and doesn’t tell us what the patterns of segregation are. [/quote]

    I’m guessing that would be her response because I’m GENERALIZING based upon her PATTERN.

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