Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Acting White: Gallup Poll Says Americans Believe Racism is Widespread

This country has intelligent people, ignorant people, and everyone in between. So should we really be surprised that racism is widespread? Gallup should also add that racism seems not to be going anywhere anytime soon, as the grip of ignorance is strong. So now what?

We need to examine racism under a modified light, and this won’t be easy. Racism always has an agenda, but is it always evil? Sure, it can seek to unfairly promote some while demoting others. But it can also be a defense. What? If I fear I might get stomped by someone, I might avoid them. The only agenda here is self defense. Should I risk life and limb to prove to Mr. Gallup that I am not a racist? I think not.

The real problem is that it is easy to see problems through the lens of race. So it looks like race is the cause, while it is not. The state of a person’s ignorance is influenced by a myriad of background factors, including economics, education, employment, and culture. But what we see on the tube is behavior and race. Viola, race must be driving it. Wrong.

Before we ever get past race issues we must get to the whole of them. To do this we must quell our knee jerk reaction that racism is always malicious. This is simply not true. Sometimes it is just a natural short-cut defense that is philosophically wrong, but practically prudent. It’s like choosing sides in pick-up basketball. All things being equal, the wise choice is the black guy in the Air Jordan’s. The NBA is >80% black (if you haven’t noticed) – philosophically wrong, maybe, but practically the best bet, if winning is the goal.

So when we hear about widespread racism, it would be great if we could recognize and begin to talk about the behaviors, on all sides, that aren’t about being malicious, but which are concerned with avoiding difficulty, as well as getting ahead. This is the elephant in the living room that we do not see, or hear of in national polls, or television network specials on race.

James C. Collier


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

The most difficult thing IS to AVOID comfort.
We are creatures of comfort!

We kill and SAVE lives for comfort,

Racism IS very human!
When it is not Fear is Ignorance mixed with SELF importance.

I will us thee Jew experience again, In Europe it looks like Hitler was the only one who actually went after them [which is not TRUE], but only State sponsored racism brings to the WILD the COWARD in us.
I avoid to use racism as an INSULT, mostly IT's a Weakness.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, and a very difficult issue.

I'm an old hippie. I hated disco, and I don't like rap or hip/hop. For this, I have been called racist.

But I also don't like heavy metal -- what pejorative applies?

I think you are correct in pointing out the 'survival trait' aspect of this. Our brains seek patterns and too quickly seek commonality. Race is the most obvious identifier, so our brains make the connection in spite of ourselves.

This is so complicated though, that I don't have any idea of how to deal with it in society.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of people saying Racism is somehow related to Ignorance. It's no where close to that. People don't like certain people for certain reasons. If you drill down it's very intelligent reasons like competition, fighting over resources, schooling for their kids, keeping their neighborhood culture the same, discouraging the commingling of their race. Now we may not like the reasons but no ignorant person can come up with all that. It's a battle over resources that leads everyone to stick to their own. If it wasn't our color it would be something else because you have it with classes in other areas like India. So it's resources.

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...


What is Ignorance?

For me IS not NOT Knowing, but rejecting common sense.
What commom sense?

How can YOU BE safe, while yr neighbor STRUGGLES?

@big steve

You are implying that these two musical genres are RACE related?

Heavy metal OWES 100% to blues [listen to Black Sabbath], How can IT be related only to a particular RACE?

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@freemanpress :

I forget, the BRIGHT mind of the 3rd REICH actually build NASA and revitalized the USA army to catch with URSS.
Do not FORGET that!

Racism is nothing MORE than COWARDICE!
WE only have THOSE attitude TOWARD the LESS powerful.

Anonymous said...


You missed my point, I must not have been clear. I was trying to say that when I don't like disco, rap, or hip/hop, I am called racist, but when I say I don't like heavy metal, which is _not_ seen as race-specific, then people just say that I have different taste in music.

My point is that anytime race can be used to explain differences, it is, and this causes all sorts of challenges...

Race is second only to gender as the easiest and most obvious differentiator - that which draws the line between us and them. If I were to rank differentiating characteristics, I would probably say gender, race, and age, followed by dress, use of language, and physique. So we would describe one person as an old white guy and someone else as a young black girl...

The problem is when we call old white guys racist because they don't like the same things that the young black woman likes...

Anonymous said...

Man, racism is a very tough question. What is it? What isn't it? When is it, you know, "justified".

I have no answers.

But I would like to look at these poll results another way:

There is a disparity in the perception of racism. Whites don't think it's as widespread as blacks and hispanics do.

Where does this disparity come from? Are whites blind to the racism swirling all around them? Are blacks overreacting? Is the Hispanic community dead on?

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@mehugtree said

Where does this disparity come from? Are whites blind to the racism swirling all around them? Are blacks overreacting?

Why should you understand without DIGGING What you DO not suffer?
We of African descent DO overreact, the reason IS, we [MOST of US - Look at the majority of ART from afro-americans for ex., all it says IS - look at US we are HUMANS too!, Black is beautiful and other SHITs, ( Black is just a COLOR, you are a fucking HUMAN being!)] BELIEVE that WE are INFERIOR, and if you was raised in any ''BLACK'' community would certainly head the old folks saying: ''Whites'' are superior, have superior hair for ex..

That is the problem!
We are all equipped to survive at any cost, so why RACISM looks like a BIG wall to climb by most of us?

Because it is inside our MIND!

I do not understand WHAT this discussion about race is all about!

Is it political, about biology?

Is it to prove a THING?
WHAT thing?

Why DARK skinned people lies BEHIND?


uglyblackjohn said...

IMO - Most people probably don't view themselves as racist. Many view others as racist. But with all of these self-assured non-racists, from where do all of the racists come?