How should we deal with racism?

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How should we deal with racism?

Postby k1ln1k » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:42 pm

As the subject states, I'm wondering how we as atheists are to overcome racist tendencies, or if we should.
I'm defining racism as: "hatred or intolerance of another race or other races." (found at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/racism)
I'm asking on honest question, which obviously requires some honesty from myself, so here goes:
I generally do not like black people. (African-American, Black, Brown, I'm not sure what people actually call them, so bare with me) I live in the Atlanta area and generally my experiences with African Americans are not pleasant.
And I will be brutally honest. I did not wake up one day and decide I don't like people who differ from me. The first thing I realize about black people that drives me nuts is the "thug" additude. I absolutely cannot stand it. Caucasian, Latino or Asian people with this additude are absolutley not better. But it seems to originate (at least in my area) from African Americans.
I am also aware that not every single African American out there acts this way, and I've actually only had a single black friend my entire life, and that was because he didn't have this ebonic way of talking, and absolutely no "thug" additude. We've gone our seperate ways now (more like he moved away) and I cherished our friend ship.

As well as whenever I see a homeless shelter or soup kitchen on television, it's always full of black people. And it seems like no matter the source I go too, either one person is being brutally racist about the state of African Americans, or throwing them a pity party. To the point I can honestly say...I would never donate my time to specifically feed a bunch of homeless black people. I mean, cannot tell you the last time I saw a homeless shelter on television about latino, asian or caucasian predominate homeless shelter. I can tell you that I haven't seen one. As a kid however, I did go to several homeless shelters (dragged there by church) in Boston, New York, Chicago & New Orleans..which guess what it was full of...?

Even when I see commercials about "feeding the hungry" or hell, even a episode of Restaurant Impossible involving all-black soup kitchens or homeless shelter - I cannot bring myself to really give a crap.
It's just like for some reason it's percieved that they're the only race in this country struggling. (Which may or may not be true.)

Do black people *really* commit a higher ratio of crimes in the United States compared to other races? Or is this all just made up?
And if this IS true, it would most certainly explain the high homeless and hungry numbers.

Now please do not make assumptions about me, I have been brutally honest. I don't look up cases in which African-Americans have been found innocent and say quietly to myself "Oh...he's guilty..." Or think that every single one is a robbing, raping sack of crap. Nor would be in favor of revoking the rights of ones that have proven to be upstanding citizens, and can obey the law.

So to wrap this up in a question: If the information portrayed to us by the media and other sources are incorrect, how do I set the record strait?
But if my skepticism in African-Americans nation wide are well founded...what do we do about it?

Again, I do not on a daily basis - alienate or wish to alienate the rights of african americans. Living in the Atlanta area my experiences in this are not usually pleasant.

I do feel like something is wrong with this outlook, but I'm not sure if it's really racism or if it's just a lot of bad experiences finally coming together. And my reasoning on posting this is I believe there is already enough division on this planet, and don't think there should be more when it's not warranted.

Thanks for reading,
k1ln1k/Alexander
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby DjVortex » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:00 am

k1ln1k wrote:I generally do not like black people. (African-American, Black, Brown, I'm not sure what people actually call them, so bare with me) I live in the Atlanta area and generally my experiences with African Americans are not pleasant.


Not being an American myself, I do not have any first-hand knowledge about this subject, but I have the impression that there's some kind of "counter-culture" within many black communities where the attitude is "the white man oppresses us, hence we have to fight back", which in turn causes the kinds of attitudes (on both sides) that you describe.

This kind of cultural phenomenon is, of course, quite detrimental. In other words, it doesn't help solve the deep ideological problems related to racism that exist in the US. Basically, many black people are raised in an environment where they learn to hate white people, and white people learn to hate black people both because of that "counter-culture" and also because of their own upbringing. This only deepens the chasm between the two cultures and doesn't help solve the problems.

However, this is not a question of ethnicity. It's a question of cultural upbringing. I do not think that having the attitude of "I generally do not like black people" helps the problem either, but only does the opposite. You are only perpetuating the animosity between both sides. In other words, having that kind of mentality is only detrimental and doesn't help anything.

The proper solution to this problem is to change the culture and upbringing (on both sides). However, that's most certainly not an easy thing to do.

Do black people *really* commit a higher ratio of crimes in the United States compared to other races? Or is this all just made up?


Even if they do, it's a question of upbringing, a result of the culture and society they grow up in, not a question of ethnicity. It would be more accurate to say "do people who have grown up at these places (certain suburbs, ghettos and so on) commit more crimes than others?" Sure, there may be a correlation between ethnicity and the culture in which people are raised, but correlation does not imply causation. It's not the ethnicity that's causing the crimes, it's the upbringing and culture.
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby raymond » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:11 am

i just got done living in tampa florida and i feel the same way, and have the same attitude as you do

it seems like the only response you can get is people that don't want to touch the subject, or bleeding heart people who just repeat "racism is wrong no matter what" and just shut down their thought process

my personal opinion is, if you put your hand on a hot stove, you learn that it burns and hurts, your brain remembers this, so say someone forces your hand on this stove 1000 times, you'd be damn sure that stove when hot is going to burn and hurt

so when i feed my cat in the morning and she jumps up on the stove in excitement, the first thing i instinctively do, is look at the knobs and make sure i didn't forget to turn them off because i don't want her to get burned, i cant help it, i just do it

you've had so many bad experiences with black people, that its natural to harbor distrust, its not racism, its something you've learned through experience with countless black people (its also a natural survival skill for animals)

most, if not all of your good experiences are probably with your family, and they're probably all white, so if we're keeping score, your most meaningful experiences are with white people (family), most of your experiences with black people are bad... you would have to either be insane, or purposely giving a pass to all black people if you give them the same level of initial trust... it would be as though experience meant nothing and you were incapable of learning from past experiences

its funny because i was thinking the exact same thing today when i pulled into work, there was a black guy walking through the parking lot, right in front of my car waiting to pull in, walking like he owned the lot, so i had to sit halfway on the street, halfway in the lot, and wait for him to finish strolling by, so sure i wouldn't just run his a$$ over, instead of briskly walking past, acknowledging that i could have killed him had i not been a responsible, aware driver (i could list 1000 instances just as annoying and I'm sure you could too) btw this has happened over 50 times in my life with black people, and never with anyone from any other race, are black people invincible when it comes to moving cars?

having said that, i have some black friends, i work with some black people, i acknowledge that i don't love or hate them, and i don't care that they're black, they've proven that they are reputable people and have won my trust just like anyone else would have to, for some reason there's an ideal in america that to not be racist you have to fully accept someone as a reputable human being without even knowing them if they're of a different race... sorry that's absurd

also... i hate it when people say "you hate someone just because of their skin color" that's a ridiculous statement black/white/asian/latin/etc are different than just their skin color, they have different heritages, customs, actions, likes, dislikes, histories, origins, ways of thinking etc (if you've ever listened to "any" black comedian, you'd know allllll the differences between black and white people) if an asian man stood next to me, would you really only be able to notice our skin color, not all the differences of how we talk, act, move that is specific and a result of our race???

a good example of this is when a white kid dresses like he just stepped out of a rap video, and tries to put on the whole thug facade, talking, walking, etc, the first thought in everyone's mind is "does this white kid think hes black? why is he acting like this" if black/white/asian/latin/etc people were all the same just a different shade, then this statement could never exist

you're just more likely to side with something that is more like you... if aliens randomly just showed up on earth, spoke a different language, had 4 legs, 3 arms, 2 heads, were green, ate dinner with their feet, you would be more likely to friend a black person over the alien instinctively until that alien proved to you that he wasnt dangerous... you'd still be more likely to friend a white person because you're even more like him

but know there's people out there who feel the same way, i equate people who just say "racism is wrong no matter what" to "god did it"... its null thinking, an easy answer to a difficult question

i don't think you're racist, i think you're normal, and its refreshing to actually hear some honesty when it comes to race relations... my advice would be to not give certain races a pass just because society is pressuring you to love everyone, be skeptical of everyone until they prove worthy of your trust
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby DjVortex » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:23 am

raymond wrote:it seems like the only response you can get is people that don't want to touch the subject, or bleeding heart people who just repeat "racism is wrong no matter what" and just shut down their thought process


The problem with saying things like "I don't like black people" is that it does not convey your reasoning, it's a very ambiguous statement, and it can be very easily be interpreted as being racist in the most negative sense. Also, technically speaking, it is a racist comment even though the speaker might not mean exactly what the literal meaning of the sentence is.

The intended meaning might be something like: "There's a sub-culture in the United States that I greatly dislike because of how they behave, and most people in this sub-culture are black." This isn't, technically speaking, a racist sentiment because it's a dislike of a certain sub-culture in the society where the speaker lives in, and it just happens to be so that the majority of people embracing that culture are black (but it's not necessarily limited to them). However, a sentence like "I don't like black people" does certainly not convey that meaning at all. That's one of the major problems.

Another problem is that a sentiment like "I don't like black people", even if its real intended meaning is understood as above, implies that the speaker assumes that all black people embrace that dislikeable sub-culture. This is technically speaking racism because it's a form of prejudice: It's an assumption that people of a certain race will by default behave in a certain dislikeable manner.

you've had so many bad experiences with black people, that its natural to harbor distrust, its not racism


Actually it is.

"Racism" does not mean that the negative sentiment and prejudice is based solely on unjustified preconceptions and fallacious hearsay. It's any kind of prejudice and/or discriminating attitude against people based on their race. It doesn't matter if it's based on personal experience. It's also detrimental in that this kind of attitude, even if it is based on personal experience, classifies all black people into the same dislikeable category, even though it does most certainly not apply to all of them (even within your own community, not to talk about the world-wide population.)

There are plenty of black people who do not embrace that sub-culture and who are some of the most likeable and charismatic pillars of society that there can be (including many scientists, actors, and so on). I'm pretty sure you wouldn't say "I don't like Neil deGrasse Tyson because he's black". If you wouldn't say that of him, why would you say it of anybody?

(If you would say that of Tyson, then you are sub-human scum and you do not deserve any respect. But I'm pretty sure that's not the case.)
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby raymond » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:51 pm

The problem with saying things like "I don't like black people" is that it does not convey your reasoning,


great point, thats not what he said, its not what i said, and it wasnt the point of this topic, i encourage you to reread post 1 and 3, and instead of jumping to "racism is wrong and here is my reason why" understand that he said "i generally dislike black people" leaving a lot of room for the current black people he does like and future relationships with black people

The intended meaning might be something like: "There's a sub-culture in the United States that I greatly dislike because of how they behave, and most people in this sub-culture are black."


actually saying that in an everyday casual conversation? i dont think so. i've never heard anyone say "i dont like black people" and immediately thought they would shoot them on site, i just assume they have had bad experiences with black people and are a little more reserved when meeting them which *would be justified by their previous experiences*

you've had so many bad experiences with black people, that its natural to harbor distrust, its not racism

Actually it is.

Actually it isn't. If what you say is true, then racism just means skepticism from experience.

(If you would say that of Tyson, then you are sub-human scum and you do not deserve any respect. But I'm pretty sure that's not the case.)


such an intellectual, you threw up your straw man, and now you're trying to cleverly insult me based on it, since your post is nothing more than a straw man, why dont you post it somewhere else, it may be more fitting in another topic
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby DjVortex » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:35 am

raymond wrote:great point, thats not what he said, its not what i said, and it wasnt the point of this topic, i encourage you to reread post 1 and 3, and instead of jumping to "racism is wrong and here is my reason why"


I just love this kind of "meta-prejudice". You assume that I just skimmed over the original post and that I just assumed he was being an overt racist and immediately jumped to conclusions. In other words, your prejudice is that I am being prejudiced.

Perhaps you should take your own advice and read what I wrote, rather than skimming over it and jumping to conclusions. I did understand his point, and I know where he's coming from. That doesn't mean I have to fully agree with his attitudes.

understand that he said "i generally dislike black people"


which is exactly what I was commenting on.

You should not say such things unless you deliberately want to be misunderstood (or, possibly, not even so misunderstood). If what he means is that he doesn't like the sub-culture, then he should say so. Saying that he dislikes black people is a sure way of making people think that you are an overt racist.

you've had so many bad experiences with black people, that its natural to harbor distrust, its not racism


Actually it is.

Actually it isn't. If what you say is true, then racism just means skepticism from experience.


No. Racism is prejudice or discrimination against people based on their race. By definition. It doesn't matter how much personal experience you might have. You are trying to twist this into some kind of attack on skepticism, and I just don't understand where you are pulling that from.

(If you would say that of Tyson, then you are sub-human scum and you do not deserve any respect. But I'm pretty sure that's not the case.)


such an intellectual, you threw up your straw man, and now you're trying to cleverly insult me based on it, since your post is nothing more than a straw man, why dont you post it somewhere else, it may be more fitting in another topic


What straw man? Do you even understand what that means?

Do you have an actual argument against what I said, rather than simply throwing random terminology with no explanation?
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby raymond » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:37 pm

DjVortex wrote:What straw man? Do you even understand what that means?

Do you have an actual argument against what I said, rather than simply throwing random terminology with no explanation?


*terminology with explanation* ... again
he said "i generally dont like black people", you twist into "i dont like black people" and start beating that up = straw man
if you throw up a straw man, the points youre trying to make, regardless how valid they may be, have nothing to do with the original topic

instead of wasting your time with me, why dont you offer some kind of advice for the original post
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby Kefka » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:03 pm

Just because someone does not speak what you consider proper English does not mean they really are a thug, its just a different culture. I have had only a few black friends in my life(mostly whites and Latinos around my area) and they would mostly likely fall into your "thug type" category. But they where not actual thugs or gangbangers or whatever. Its just the environment they grew up in, when most in your community don't have a "proper" education and your very isolated from other community you develop your own style of speech. I grew up poor white trash on welfare and most of my friends where poor white people or poor latinos. There speech patterns would not be considered proper, but it does not mean there moron's. Today I find mostly adapted my how I speak to who I am speaking to. I am use to "poor" English being spoken by the people around me as a kid(friends, friends parents, my mom,etc). I wonder how you where raised and how that affects you in dealing with black people?

And its not black people that commit more crimes its poor people that commit more crimes. And blacks do to a long history of intolerance tend to more often be found in poor community's. Its not genetic, place a black family in a middle class area and they most likely won't grow up to be "ghetto" at least not anymore so than white kids that listen to rape music and thinks its cool(just like other popular music genres throughout the years). Its not about race its about upbringing. For example in my area where there are a lot of Hispanics, the 1st and 2nd generations are very different from the 3rd,4th and so on. When I was in high school for example, the 2nd gen kids would all hang out with each other and speak spanish(even though at that point they all knew English) while many 3rd and almost all 4th and beyond did not even know Spanish and mixed with every one else and acted like everyone else. Even there views on things change, I am an animal lover and I often ask people at work,etc if they like animals. Those Hispanics that still spoke Spanish regulatory(and thus still had a strong attachment to thier parents culture) far more often told me they don't like animals, while those that no longer spoke Spanish(and where basically 100% Americanized) more often said they did.
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby DjVortex » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:31 am

raymond wrote:*terminology with explanation* ... again
he said "i generally dont like black people", you twist into "i dont like black people" and start beating that up = straw man
if you throw up a straw man, the points youre trying to make, regardless how valid they may be, have nothing to do with the original topic


Like the word "generally" would make any relevant difference.

If you say "I don't like black people", or if you say "I generally don't like black people", it doesn't make any difference, people are going to think you are a racist. I know this, you know this, he knows this. That's not a straw man.

If he knows that people are going to think he's a racist when he says that, and he doesn't mean to sound racist, then he's doing it deliberately. Why?
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby raymond » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:41 am

No i don't, and no, everyone doesn't either. That is how you want to interpret it because that is all you want to hear. There is a difference that you refuse to acknowledge. You still haven't given any advice or addressed the original post. All you want to do is find someone to argue with that hasn't already dismissed you from their life.

anyone: The sky is blue.
you: Well... actually, the sky is teal, and clouds are white, so really its a mixture of teal, white, orange, because of the sun too. Sometimes the sky is purple! See how smart I am and how dumb you are!

and btw if a million people believe the same thing, it doesn't make it any more correct
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby DjVortex » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:36 am

raymond wrote:No i don't, and no, everyone doesn't either. That is how you want to interpret it because that is all you want to hear. There is a difference that you refuse to acknowledge.


You see, this is precisely the kind of argumentation that true racists often use out of malice, to try to invoke some kind of victim status while still spouting their nonsense, and try to somehow prove that they are misunderstood and victims of some kind of witch hunt.

It goes like this: They present a comment that they just perfectly well know people will interpret as racist, and when someone complains about it, they will whine "that's not what I meant, you are misinterpreting me, you are not reading what I write but jumping to conclusions". Then, instead of subsequently expressing themselves more clearly, they still do the exact same thing again and again, always with the same result. They know that the same result will ensue, yet they still deliberately do it. Then they can go all "See? See? All these people are just prejudiced witch hunters who do not even want to understand what I'm saying."

This, of course, is completely a dishonest and stupid tactic. If you don't want to be misunderstood, then don't use expressions like "I generally don't like black people" and then try to argue how some word like "generally" means that you are not a racist. If you keep doing it, then you are doing it on purpose and out of malice.
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby Lausten » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:02 pm

Gosh I missed this forum. I have been busy cleaning up my house after the flood in NE MN.

Anyway, k1ln1k, my simple, working definition of prejudice is judging a class of people based on the actions of a few within that class. The reasoning that you present for the feelings you have pretty well fits that definition. It is a simple logical fallacy. All of us commit logical fallacies all the time, so adding any labeling to that is really not needed. But you do need to acknowledge the fallacy or explain to me why you think I am misinterpreting you.

Barring that, read some history, read some MLK, listen to some Tavis Smiley and Cornell West podcasts. This one is fantastic http://www.c-span.org/Events/C-SPAN-Event/10737427045/

To a couple of your questions, yes, black people do commit crimes in higher numbers for reasons that have been presented here, NOT because of the color of their skin. When you remove the poverty factors and the homelessness factors, they act just like everyone else, that's basic sociological research, easy to find those studies. There are some "poor me" attitudes out there, no doubt. This is something called "internalized oppression" and is a more complicated psychological phenomenom than I can't really explain in a few sentences. It comes from seeing mostly white people getting by seemingly without effort, from actually having people look at you sidewise when you come into a store, and from having an out of work father sitting around all day complaining about the government when you are small and impressionable. Eventually you adopt the attitude. This is not an excuse for any particular behavior. It is learned behavior, just like prejudice is a learned behavior. You can unlearn it, but first you have realize that it is something that you can unlearn. That's the hardest step.
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby Kebab » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:41 pm

In Finland the racists are often against Somalis and other dark skinned people because our racists say they are here only to rape our women and steal our stuff.

I personally think this kind of attitudes lead to that myth coming true. If everyone would distrust every black person and not give them jobs wouldn't that lead them to find their own employment to feed themselves and their family more likely in criminal ways as they are pushed away from society?
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby DjVortex » Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:26 pm

Kebab wrote:In Finland the racists are often against Somalis and other dark skinned people because our racists say they are here only to rape our women and steal our stuff.


I don't think that using straw man arguments is a good idea in either direction. It leads nowhere and only impedes actual discussion.
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Re: How should we deal with racism?

Postby k1ln1k » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:23 am

I appreciate the responses, and apologize for my lack of one, I had forgotten to check this forum for a while.
I definitetly see the conflicts between some posters on this subject.

However one response I feel is out of place:
"my simple, working definition of prejudice is judging a class of people based on the actions of a few within that class." (Lausten)

Few in the scope of percentage? For sure. But I've encountered hundreds of black people through out the years. I do realize that this is a VERY small number compared to how many are in the nation.
And perhaps in my original message I was unclear.
I do not "JUDGE" a class of any people. Judge as in: to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically: (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/judge?s=t).

At the same time, I'm not claiming that my outlook is entirely proper. But that definition doesn't fit my situation, nor does the definition of judge.
On one hand, I see a black man, hat sideways, pants down, holding crotch. I expect the worst. Expect as in: "to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expect?s=t)

"Likely to happen." I draw off my past encounters, encounters which also showed me that some of them are really great people that I enjoy being around.
As well, if I see an asian, white or latino hat sideways, pants down, holding crotch, I develop the same expectations. But I do not form judgements against that person, nor take actions to make sure they either meet my expectations, or avoid metting them at all.

To judge is to respond with a yes or no.
I respond by saying "most likley, due to past encounters - no, but there's always a chance..."

But as raymond stated...how is it unnatural or wrong to have come to expect the behavior - the behavior that I loathe so much - that has been displayed by all but a scarce few of black individuals I've come in contact with?

I've had blacks, whites, latinos and asian all come within distance of me with this kind of work-up. Some, most (sadly) meet my expectations. And few actually suprise me. Some go through all the motions but are acutally interesting, responsible people that I could see myself interacting with.

And also, as mentioned by other posters. Maybe it really is a hate for the culture. As I've stated before, the few white, asian and latino people I've seen acting "black" I've also had distaste before.
The fact may be, the area I live in just isn't diverse enough to see that this is a culture that is actually out there, amongst all races.
But all I have is this angle.

In a nuttshell, perhaps what I refer too as "black" behavior, is just a glimpse of a much larger culture shared by all races. But because all i really have to go off is my encounters with black people, I assume the behavior comes from them, and thus, develop negative expectations (again, not instant, concrete opinions) of them.

Sorry, I feel like I've typed in circles. Forgive me if any of this is confusing.
But I do discuss this with the best intentions.
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