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Response to bravenak (Reply #454)

Tue Aug 4, 2015, 05:46 AM

455. I really appreciate your post. I can't change anything by myself, but

I think you should post it as an OP and send me a PM so that I can recommend it.

Don't expect many answers because it is very difficult to respond to your post since it is, every word of it, true. I like this very much:

No matter if we are not poor, people still think black=poor
.

I wish I knew the answer. But I think it is good for white people like me to be aware of this fundamental problem.

Have you lived in California?n

We do not or at least very soon will not have a racial majority. I am wondering how that will affect things a few years from now. I think that Black people still suffer more difficulty with racism even in our relatively less racist state. And there are areas in which racism is as bad as ever.

Do you live in an area in which Black people live in Black neighborhoods? Or do you live in an area in which people just live in racially mixed neighborhoods? Do you think that the racial integration of schools or neighborhoods increases or decreases racism? Is perhaps ignorance of another race a cause for racism?

One of the results of the California views on race is that we have a lot of children of mixed race here. I met a man who was born in Germany of a Jewish father and a German mother. He had many psychological conflicts and problems due to his mixed ancestry and the fact that his ethnicity and parentage had to be kept secret for his own protection, secret even from him for much of his life. A psychologist told him that when you have a mixture of that sort in your parentage, you identify with and are mostly a member of the minority or outcast group. That makes me wonder what in the world the basis is for the racist reaction in a racist group. Now the hatred of Jews by the Germans was not based on skin color. In fact, there wasn't much difference if any at all in the appearance of Jewish people as opposed to other Europeans. Yet the contempt and hatred was so strong. And in fact, the view that Germans held of Jewish people was that Jews were rich. Just as the view that Blacks are poor is false, so was the view that Jews were rich.

So I wonder what racism is really about, whether it is really about what we think it is about or whether it is just hate that is in people and expresses itself about race.

In one sense it makes very little difference where the racism comes from. But in another sense, perhaps we try to fight racism from a point of view and with a strategy that cannot work. If race is an excuse for the expression of hatred and not really about the color of the skin but about making the hater feel powerful, then it is much more difficult to deal with it by talking about race. Maybe we need a different approach. Maybe we should be talking about hate and anger and how race is just an excuse for expressing them.

In my experience, it is black men who get the worst end of the racism. They get ignored and stereotyped. How often does a white woman choose a seat next to a black man on a train or in a plane? Not very often. And why is that? I often wonder about that.

Of course, women of my older generation will always sit beside a woman rather than by a man I think. But I believe that the hesitancy to sit by a black man is especially great, and I think that black men are very aware of this. That reluctance betrays a basic racist fact of our society, unimportant as it is.

I also think that children of color get picked on in school more than white children. This is again especially acute with boys. I notice that with my grandson. He is an exceptionally beautiful child, but one of his pre-school teachers just picked on him. When anyone did anything, he got blamed even if it took more than one child to do whatever it was. He is really good at math and other topics, so it was not his performance in his work that was the cause of the problem. A friend of my daughter brought this to our attention. It wasn't just the fulfillment of an expectation or any preconception on her part that he was being picked on. It really happened.

A new Montessori pre-school worked a miracle for him. We need to emphasize that discipline problems in school are often if not always the result of a child feeling excluded. That gem of wisdom I picked up from a page of concepts about the Montessori system. So it seems to me that we have to deal with inclusion/exclusion based on race at a very early age. Because race is often the excuse for excluding a child. And Black children get the worst end of that from a very early age.

I think it is helpful to move from trying to bring the problem of racism to the point of viewing it more as the challenge of racism in our society and the price we ALL pay for it and then seeking to look for ways to meet that challenge and to end racism in our society.

I wonder whether there are other societies in which racism is not a problem or less of a problem. Do you know anything about that? Is there any society we could look to as a model for ending the stereotyping and discrimination of racism?

I appreciate your willingness to write so honestly and openly about this topic. Thanks.

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