November 29, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
I don't spend a lot of time thinking about racism, as I don't often find myself on the receiving end of it. I've been fortunate. Being of mixed blood, and having lived on both sides of my personal cultural divide, my life could easily have gone differently.

Deek, fellow cowriter at The White Papers, periodically writes on race and racism from the perspective of a black man who has experienced and studied racism. To some degree, I get it. I've never experienced it, but intellectually, I understand the concept of institutionalized marginalization and the cripling impact it has on blacks in America today. The relationships between class, education, and opportunity play a huge role in determining a person's life, and an individually rarely chooses their class and education.

Does this mean that American tax payers are responsible for providing additional opportunities for blacks and other ethnic minorities who have been born into less fortunate situations? More specifically, do white people owe black people for the years of slavery blacks had to endure, which has led them into their current socio-economic status?

In response to this question I posed on The White Papers, Deek replied:

The reason why I think we need "special rules" for minorities is that most have not been fairly compenstated for their contribution to society. The western world was built on the backs of African men and women, yet their ancestors in so many ways have been shut out from fully competing in the societies they built. The immigrants who came to this country for a better life, received that option from the hundreds of years of free labor.

With this, I cannot relate.

I can't feel guilty that some of my white ancestors may have been racist against blacks in America, any more than I can be angry at the Japanese for invading and occupying Korea (the homeland of my mother) where 200,000 girls and women were forced into work as sex slaves, and where over five million Koreans were forced into labor. The idea that an entire race of people should be held responsible for the actions of past generations just makes no sense to me. As for compensation for contribution, I don't feel that the Japanese owe me anything for the labor my ancestors were forced to work, nor should they compensate me for any of my female ancestors that were forced in to sex slavery. I didn't do the work. I wasn't forced into sex. Those are yesterday's horrors. The only problems to solve are the problems of today.

That said, there is a problem today. Marginalization isn't a myth, and systems that provides privilege to the current powers (in America: middle-age white male) are self-perpetuating. This problem is also built into human behavior - people are inclined to help those most similar to themselves, as it is perceived to be mutually beneficial. For the unfortunate minority, this further alienates those who's voices are muffled under the blanket of democracy, and widens the privilege gap. In America (provided we're talking about citizens), the socially responsible thing to do is to level the playing field, such that every citizen can both provide to and receive from the community around them equally.

... but I don't think that programs such as Affirmative Action are the solution. I'm not convinced that any government program can provide a functional solution -- the government is faceless and cold, and the solution to racism/discrimination likely requires a beating heart. What does the solution look like? I'm not sure yet. I'm working on it.
np category: politics


Luke said:
I think Affirmative Action is reverse discrimination in an "ends justify the means" fashion. Making whites suffer to further along minorities accomplishes nothing.

I believe in a society where the most competent and able succeed, not the 'fairness doctrine' which so many (particularly) blacks glum onto. I say if they're from humble means, get to work and make something of yourself instead of expecting government to pave your way.

Black culture, unfortunately, has very few positives today. The role models are thug-life basketball players and gangsta rap 'stars'. They call themselves 'Niggas' and perpetuate their own problems. I'm sorry if I don't feel particularly inclined to help them out of their own stupidity.

Then you have respectible people like Bill Cosby, Barak Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, and many others who have come from very humble means and managed to make something of themselves. I love that because it exemplifies the American dream that everyone has an opportunity.

Not everyone has the same opportunities because some come from rich families (not me), and some are middle-class (shrinking), and some are poor. But all have opportunity to become educated, join a bustling work force, and enjoy freedoms a-plenty. If they're still complaining about rights and fairness, they can kiss my proverbial ass (pardon the language).

Josh you know I'm not racist at all! I love all people because they were created by God in His image. But at the moment I very much dislike this culture of 'I deserve' and 'The gub'ment owes me' that comes predominantly out of black Americans.

Racism may exist but it will always exist and we've curbed it significantly!!! since the 1950s. So I say quit whining and get to work!

November 30, 2006

Deena said:
Talking of racism, I'm constantly amazed at how Western societies brand Islamic women as being subjugated and supressed because of the "veil", "chador" or even the scarf [Hijab. I wondered about this and asked a bunch of educated, professional Muslim women what they thought of it. Only 4 of those present [of a total of 37] wore a scarf... there were no chadors etc to be seen and we had a few men, unrelated to the women, also part of the forum.
The women were all professionals and included medical practitioners, a speech therapist, 2 engineers, a scientist or two, teachers, businesswomen, lawyers, a psychologist and others. Many were married. The age group was about 25-45 years.
The consensus was that western men enjoy seeing women unclothed or immodest [as they put it] and women pander to this voyeuristic need by exhibiting themselves; and that apart from porn magazines,rock stars etc, even the ordinary woman who went to work wanted to be seen as being attractive to males for as long as age would permit them. Low necklines, push up bras, visible underwear or lack thereof, revealing swimwear etc has become synonymous with women feeling good about themselves because it serves the purpose... that of looking attractive to a male. It gave a woman a sense of power to know that she could attract a man to her body or face. This, coupled with the situation of women having to compete in a man's world made women spend millions on clothes, cosmetics and figure watching, enhancing anf nip-tuck surgeries. Many women felt that they could chose to take a veil or scarf and be as attractive as they wished without compromising on their dignity or using their bodies as a means or tools.
They agreed that covering themselves may act as a barrier to communication. They were aware that covering themselves did not protect them from rape or molestation, should they be unfortunate enough to be in such a situation. But they insisted that this was as much about freedom of choice as chosing to take off one's clothes.
They all agreed that a woman could dress modestly and be very attractive in her own way but the West was branding them as being subjugated using the veil as the excuse.
They felt that their subjugation was that of all womankind... lower salaries for women, fewer women in top jobs, living in male dominated societies, being prey to sexual predators etc. That from time immemorial women have paid the price for the follies of men. One woman gave the example of the mothers in Afghanistan and Iraq who have lost children and families. Most felt that it was this selective cruelty by the west in its pursuit of power and oil that was destroying the fabric of their societies and the souls of their communities that was so much more important than the West using the veil to mock Islamic values, again thereby using women and their lifestyles as an intangible weapon to humiliate a religion and whole communities.

December 26, 2006

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