Why Do So Many White People Believe All Racism Is In The Past?
I don't think anyone thinks it's all in the past. Any adult with a brain knows there are still racist people. However I see there is a blind sweeping motion that anyone who doesn't like someone of a different race is a racist. Another misconception is that whites are the only racists, when there are just as many racists of other races. No one is stupid, but some are in denial.
There are racists within every race. Steps to ending it include refusing to stereotype and refusing to believe that speaking/addressing the truth/facts about real-life situations related to races is racist behavior.
I do not get this? White People? Very strange notion. I am black. No not black like an African. Black Irish. I suppose you would call me ruddy. I love being outdoors so I am pretty red. Actually redder than most Native Americans. The whitest woman I know is my wife. She is Southeast Asian. Our Amerasian son is kind of brown. Like me he loves running around in the sun.
Somebody nowadays that does not like someone else because of their race is actually quite laughable. What race are they? I seriously doubt they are "white". If some "creepy ass cracka" in Alabama thinks he is white ---- we can fly to Tokyo and I will show him white.
Any racism needs to be turned into good. Out here on the weird left coast of California. We need more racism. We need to celebrate more diversity and stop trying to make everybody the same.
People know who I am. And I am a mutt, adopted guy. I live next to Mexico and I live in a Philipino community kind of and I preach to 2nd gen Vietnamese. I think my middle daughter is falling in love with a Muslim.
Race is a Great thing. It gives you guys that have it an identity. It is beautiful. Racism is the distinction of people. I like that. I like to go into a Taco Shop and speak Spanglish. I like going into a Pho' house and speaking Vietnamese. I love the gentle roll of Philippine. (or Tagalog) I really like Cockney. But growing up I had to learn some, Hopi and Navajo and we traded words in German and were required to take French in school and Latin.
So let me close by saying I hope "white" people are racists. I hope they love other cultures. I hope they travel to South Africa and India and enjoy what is offered by people that are different than them. Never ever ever be color blind --- be color love.
I don't know anyone who believes ALL racism is in the past. But I know far too many people who thinks everything is about racism. Most of them are just in search of a cause to rally around. And when they can't find one, they'll dream one up.
"...so many white people..." Oh my goodness! Weasey is racial profiling! This is horrible! Racist! Racist!.......Ahhhhh!!!......
I don't know of anyone that thinks this way. Racism goes in many directions it's not just black and white.
Society on a whole operates with a certain level of willful amnesia because internal conflict is too hard to manage. We put away deep feelings of prejudice, some of which border on racism, because we don’t want them to interfere with our happiness (until) we are in a group of like-minded peers or behind the mask of a computer, and then we let loose. On the surface racism becomes satire. We don’t take it seriously so it becomes harder to understand why someone would be offended.
We are in an era where the average person doesn't have much control over his or her life. Changes are occurring at exponentially increasing speed. We have been hypnotized by the popular concept that we have the power within us to control our own fate, to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps (a physical impossibility, by the way). Therefore, if someone is poor or struggling, we place the blame on THEM rather than to look to systemic causes because if systemic causes affect THEM, it means that they affect me, and that makes me terrified. If the way society is now structured puts others at a disadvantage, that means I might be at a disadvantage, and I don't want to believe that it's structured that way. That thought makes me feel as if I no control over my life. Therefore, if I reason that there are no systemic causes to ANYONE'S plight, if I say no one is affected by injustice, then I'M not affected by injustice. So I let myself become duped by those in power who intentionally or unintentionally like to keep me exactly where I am by telling me that if I just worked harder, longer, more diligently, if I accepted less pay and more hours and understood the plight of the wealthy, then I might have the American dream too. And even if that is no longer in my reach, at least I'm a righteous, patriotic, noble, and good little boy who can stick in his thumb and pull out a plum and gee, what a good boy am I. God bless America. It's as if the whole nation, even minorities at times, are under the Stockholm syndrome. God forbid we should call ourselves a victim. I'm not a victim, you're not a victim, none of God's children are victims, Amen. So we don't organize; heaven forbid we should form a union to protect our rights. We play by the rules and everything will work out fine. Why? because it has always worked out fine for ME! No policeman pulls ME over in the OC for no reason. I can wear a hooded sweatshirt and no one is afraid of ME. So no one experiences discrimination because, gosh darn, I don't. If the middle class, upper middle class, the lower middle class could see our own marginalization, we'd be able to see the deeper, historical marginalization of others. It's really a question of fear; it's a question of power and a question of privilege. What's depressing is that we've been Criss-Angeled by the Limbaughs of the world, and we're fascinated by the trick rather than outraged by it.
yours is the most psychologically astute, sincere comments posted
You see the real world. I always enjoy your take on a subject.
v and j,Thank you - means a great deal to me! I had just finished listening to a '09 video of Moyers interviewing Zinn w/ actors portraying amazing activists then read the question.
http://billmoyers.com/content/howard-zi … of-people/
Or perhaps the police don't pull you over in the OC because middle aged white women are not committing a disproportionate amount of the criminal activity in the area. Police being suspicious of a demographic that produces more crime is common sense.
Landmark, and maybe "middle aged" (thanks for that compliment - I'm way past the middle mark) white women don't commit crimes because they've been privileged to not be profiled, discriminated against, and assumed to be "on welfare". Chicken/egg ?
Yeah...and people only speed because they have been pulled over before. Funny that Chinese immigrants who come from poverty don't have this problem when they get here. And as per your picture you don't look way past middle aged, if that helps.
Landmark, that picture was taken about 3 years ago when I was 65, but gee, that doesn't fit your stereotype of a 65 year old white woman nor that someone who lives in the OC actually lives in an RV and has few shekels to rub together. Hmmm...
I don't have a stereotype of middle aged white women. Only FBI stats that demonstrate they aren't committing most of the violent crimes nationwide. Law enforcement profiling crime happens after a demographic demonstrates they're committing them.
I think there are two things that contribute to that.
One is that there are a lot of times when some people believe they're seeing racism when they're really seeing something else.
BUT, I think there's an even bigger reason/problem, and it's the same kind of thing that I, as White Woman, face - or that a whole lot of other women face - when I try to point out that sexism isn't only alive and well but so much a part of everyday life and so many individual dealings between people; and someone else will think I'm exaggerating or making up how bad the problem is.
If I say that to a man a man may just raise the point that women have high positions and hold elected office now. If I say it to a woman who hasn't experienced it in the same way that I have, that woman will think that her experience represents the "real" experience of all other women; and that someone like me isn't being accurate. Then, too, there are women who think some of the "treatment" I may describe is fine, either because they don't think they deserve better or else because they, for one reason or another, think I've done something to bring it on or deserve it.
Because I know what I've faced, and continue to face, as a woman; I have no doubt that there are people who face racism in the same way and face the same kind of stuff that I do when it comes to sexism and oppression/attempted oppression of women.
In other words, unless someone lives with/sees/deals with something like racism and/or sexism, there's a really good chance he'll have trouble believing that it really exists. So many people are not racist, and things have gotten so much better in so many ways - just as they have with women - people so often can only see/know what is obvious and form their own beliefs based only on that. In other words, it's the old "believing only what they see" thing and apparently, being arrogant enough to think that if they don't see it can't possibly exist.
I do think, though, that while this second thing I describe is the main and real reason the problem is as bad as it is, that the first thing I mentioned hasn't helped matters very much. Someone who doesn't have a shred of racism in him and is counted among those who are considered the targets of someone else who "screams 'racism'" feels like someone has "cried wolf", even if the ones who have done the screaming didn't at all mean to "cry wolf" or see it as that. But, to the person who doesn't face racism regularly, who doesn't see/experience the least obvious or least publicized of it; and who knows he isn't racist, himself; assuming SOME things are racism when they're not can look like "crying wolf".
Wow Lisa very sincere, astute psychological and interesting take on the question. It's nice to see you and others making sincere efforts to address the underlying reasons of this question rather then just leaving angry or satirical comments
I think that people's beliefs are base on what they see and witness on a daily basis. As a child I grew up in a relatively homogenous town, and racism wasn't really evident in my everyday life. I had one older relative who made quite a few racist comments, and I also remember some of my relatives who lived in another city making comments in regards to Puerto Ricans specifically, but the issue was never at the forefront. I was honestly and genuinely SHOCKED when I went to college and heard one of my roommates making the racist statements which she did. It wasn't so much that I thought racism didn't exist anymore, but I thought it was reserved for old people or uneducated people. Certainly not an 18 year old who grew up in the diverse Greater boston area.
Racism isn't something that can be turned off like a light switch. This is something that has to fade out and it takes a lot of time. People want immediate results and change and when that doesn't happen, they yell Racism.
Also, races are constantly changing. With the mixing of races, ( not just black and white), after a few generations, new races emerge. Now, we have another minority to deal with.
There are also those that confuse opportunity and equality with superiority and reparation. If compensation of some sort is not allotted to certain groups, they think they are still victims of racism.
And I've said it before, the person that feels that every undertaking, decision and action are motivated by THEIR race, is truly the racist themselves. They are the ones that holler "racism" even when race wasn't a factor.
Racism is ignorance and there are ignorant people in every race. It's just that simple. I think to lump all Whites as believing racism is in the past is also racism.
We need to stop lumping all people together. Example: Not all people on Welfare are lazy. Not all White people hate so and so. Not all Blacks hate so and so.
We are a human race, all created by the one True God. I am Cherokee and Blackfeet. Some thought it would be funny to call me Half-breed. I refused to be bullied so it didn't really affect me the way it affects others. But then Cher came out with a hit and made Half-breed cool - so thank you Cher.
16 generations back, I also have Black. My ggg grandmother was a Cherokee slave purchased by a very loving Irish person (to save her). He paid 60 horses for her. My children are part Jewish, Polish, Irish, Cherokee and Blackfeet and some other mix in the middle.
I say all of this only to say that people who think they are "pure" are not. There is a little of this and that, some sugar and spice, in all of us.
The Cherokee Trail of Tears makes me weep like a baby and that is in the past, but I don't have to forget those who suffered. On the other hand, Leonard Peltier is not a free man, a reminder that racism is not in the past only. Regarding some of the atrocities that have happened to my Native people, I sometimes cringe at those who did certain things in the name of "God". Not my God. He isn't like that. But I don't lump all Christians in that category either. I am Christian.
We have become a "show" society. Competitive in the wrong places. We need to think less about materialism and think more on how to better society as a whole. Ending racism would be a start, but will it ever end? I don't know.
The human race is so diverse. History usually repeats itself.
Be strong. Encourage an end to racism. That's all we can do. It seems so simple to bury racism but yet it seems unreachable.
The problem, in my mind, stems from the fact that white people can 'forget' about racism. They're not getting frisked on the street or passed up for opportunities, therefore they don't think of racism on a daily basis. The only way they can judge it is through things like voting rights and people of color in prominent positions. So, to the white man who lacks perspective, it really looks as if racism is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and in some areas we're actually moving backwards.
In many cases these days, white people are now being passed up in order to not be "discriminatory" toward non-whites.
True, but it's kind of a drop in the bucket compared to what non-whites go through on a daily basis.
There will always be racism, sexism and ethnic related issues...But, they are not the norm, nor are they pervasive in the fabric of our society as a whole. They are definitely not systemic in the public sector as they were when the attempt was made to block the schoolhouse doors from integration. I believe those who profit from the race baiting are keeping it more in the limelight than the actual amount that is prevalent.
I don't think that many white people think racism is in the past, but instead many people believe that collective racism or social acceptable racism is in the past Racism still exists, but is not treated as acceptable by the majority of people (as it was in the past). I am sure there are still some small towns or groups, where it is acceptable to be racist, but they are far and few between.
I have never met a single white person who thinks that all racism is in the past. Certainly none of those white people suggested to me such an idea. I have met thousands of people of every gender, religion, culture and race who are scared, selfish, kind, stupid, greedy, wise, obnoxious, thoughtful, noisy, energetic and that list goes on.
It is profoundly difficult to define what "racism" is. And nowadays it is most likely a term only to be used as a way of shutting down discussion with anyone who disagrees. If you accuse someone of racism, you win the argument. The same principle works if you call someone a "hater." Facts don't matter, just the accusation.
I am sure that racism exists, it has always existed in every race, every nation, every town and even between families and individuals. In the ancient world, the Greeks called everyone else a barbarian. (And they fought endlessly amongst themselves) The Chinese have always considered everyone else as inferior on the basis of how ancient their culture is. Indians and Pakistanis have hated each other for as long as the hatred that has been endless in the Middle east, and in Yugoslavia, and throughout Africa. The problem and the solution have been unchanged since the beginning of civilization.
As a white person, I would also suggest that people stop suggesting that "so many" white people are so ignorant of racism. I grew up and went to a public school in a town that was about one third Italian descent and one third African descent. The rest of us were a bunch of WASPs. We got along just fine in a post civil rights environment where we didn't study history, but rather "Social Studies" so that we learned about racism year after year after year. I haven't exploited anyone of another race, although I have been passed over for small business loans because I was not a minority.
Very well said. Many forget the ultimate betrayal and discrimination. The American Indians. Those who immigrated here, stole land from Native Americans that had lived on and cared for hundreds of years. We are siblings fighting among ourselves.
There are many reasons. A large one is that in public schools, racism is taught in history classes as a thing in the past. People who have been and still are discriminated against can still feel the effects of it, but perhaps not white people who haven't been.
Another reason is that many white people don't see it. A non-racist person usually hang out with other non-racist people. They most likely don't see it throughout the day.
In school it is taught that systematic, government sanctioned racism is in the past...and IT IS. There will always be racism by individuals...and not just white to black...
there is less than NOTHING about Racism that is in the past .... its ONLY become much worse
Still have segregated water fountains? Segregated schools? Still not allowed to sit anywhere on a bus? Still not allowed to vote? How is it much worse? I'm not saying there aren't INDIVIDUALS that are racist. There are, and in ALL tones of skin.
I hate to answer a question with another question, but here goes... Why is it that so many supposedly 'Religious' leaders of color feel the need to whip everyone into a frenzy to the point of 'mob mentality'? I know things have NEVER been perfect, but there were improvements being made. Racism is not something people are born with, it is taught!
But, racism runs BOTH WAYS! Working retail for over 38 years, I was accused of being a racist, simply because I wouldn't give Cash back on an item they had no receipt for. Never mind that the man I was married to at that time, and was the father of my three children, was from India, and was darker than my accuser! She looked at my white face and decided, with no legitimate reason, that I was racist. Now THAT my friend, is racist in itself. When someone says an initial 'No' in retail, it is because they have no authorization to give something to that person without a manager's feed-back. It is NOT a racist act. What IS racist is taking a look at someone and Assuming, on the basis of their skin color, that they are racist.
The problem, in my experience, is that some children are TAUGHT that white people will discriminate against them. That is not true. Every person is an individual with different backgrounds, and their upbringing may or may not have included racist remarks among family members, or racial slurs being whispered under their breath at the sight of someone of another race.
Please realize that African Americans are not the only race of people who are discriminated against. How many remember how the Irish were treated like dirt back in the 'old west'? What about the Chinese immigrants who were living in squalor on the 'other side of the tracks?
The Mexicans, Jews, and several others that could be added to that list, also faced racial discrimination. So, why do African Americans think they have a monopoly on racial discrimination? Is it not "Racist" to make a blanket statement about 'white people' in general? If you don't know someone, do not judge them. Some of my best friends are black. I have respect for them, and they respect me in return. Racism is tossed up a lot as an answer to 'perceived' mistreatment. We all make excuses as to why we didn't get a job or promotion. It is easier to place the blame on racism than to ask why.
Life is too short for racism. We all need to start by not teaching it to the next generation. Racism will die when our children are not taught it at home.
J, life IS too short to fear loss of power. That's exactly what racism is and why it has been increasing especially among older white males in US after election of a black President. "Frenzy" is justified when righteous gains won can easily be lost
There are undoubtedly many racists around, and there are undoubtedly many Whites folks who wrongly think there is no more racism - but the 'wrong thinking' that I think is far more prevalent and needing of our attention is the 'wrong thinking' of liberals (Black & White) who so easily and instantly assume racism when Whites are dissatisfied in some manner with enterprise or circumstance produced by a Black person. There are still racists around, but we've come to a point in this country where honest and thoughtful White folks can enthusiastically disagree strongly with Black folks on some point and it have nothing whatsoever to do with race.
One of my many daughters has started a small business (a little bakery) this last year and she earnestly stands in opposition to President Obama's policies - but she voted for him his 1st term . . . she is observably not against Obama because he's Black, he was just as Black when she voted for him as he is now - she's against him because of his ideas, his economic strategy, his policies.
There are racists, but there are far more people who are simply legitimate and thoughtful conservatives, and they do not at all deserve to be suspected or accused of being something so ugly as a racist just because they see things differently than liberals.
This is a bit of a generalization but I think that white people tend to think that most things (events, controversies, politics, crime . . . general human activity) are not primarily about or the result of race or racism and black people tend to think that most of these same things are primarily about or the result of race or racism. It may be that both groups are a little wrong and a little right on this issue. A more accurate picture of the state of racism, as it exists today, is probably somewhere in the middle of these two views.
I guess one could ask a similar question. "Why do so many black people believe that racism only pertains to white people?"
I think we are at a time in our history when race relations, for whatever reason, have really gone sour. But it is not just whites who are racists, and it is not just whites who commit race based crimes. Take the recent attacks on a white guy by a group of black kids who used Trayvon Martin's name during the attack. Take the recent case of an elderly white man beaten to death by two black teens. Take the account of a white woman at Summerfest playing blues on the street who was accosted by two black women who proclaimed that she was not allowed to play the blues because she was white, and then beat her. And what of the Australian man?
AND, where are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson when it comes to crimes like this which are almost nearly all completely related to hate and racism.
While I do not believe that all racism is in the past, what I do believe is that there are a large number of people, including and perhaps especially in the black community, who wish to keep it alive and well. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson just so happen to be individuals largely in the limelight, but they are certainly culprits in this.
Even Obama's remarks regarding the Martin case to my mind are somewhat racist in nature. AND where was he to speak out against these other black on white crimes that were racist in nature (even though by all accounts the Martin case had NOTHING to do with race at all)?
It depends where you are in the world. Here in Africa its still there. White people here still think they are superior. Most isolate themselves and do not mix with other races unless its necessary. But the thing its a two way street, Racism goes both ways
When I made my comment I was thinking about the United States, and not looking at a world view.
The answer is ! so, many Caucasian people do not want to deal with racism. It is an ugly subject and If you have never study the origins of it or the impact it has on some people daily lives it is better to use the old excuse that it is in the past. The impact of Cristobal Colon is not in the past. George Washington is not in the past. He was a slave owner, and when you say this people automatically think black people. Not knowing the White people were enslaved in this country before Blacks.
I think you're thinking of indentured servants. Blacks we're indentured servant too. A person would sign a contract with a creditor as a servant for seven years.Then they were no longer bound by the contract Indentured Servants aren't slaves
Your comment indicates you are allowing the colonizer to define what and who were slaves. Whites were slave in Europe for over a thousand years, the root of slave is slav where the term slave originates.
You say "Your comment indicates you are allowing the colonizer to define what and who were slaves." You have to explain that one to me. Show me how my comments do that?
Why do so many people of color call themselves "black," when they are mixed genetic background? Obama is not "black." He's mocha colored. So's my wife.
I loved Obama's rhetoric in 2008. I placed banners on all of my websites. Then, in 2009, I felt stabbed in the heart. Obama betrayed everything he had promised and then started doing more of what Bush had done to destroy America -- shred the Constitution and increase the Evil Empire that America had become.
After living 6 years outside America, I now realize that Obama and Bush were not the leaders. The real leaders are the owners of the Corporate Party.
Follow the money.
I agree with BuffaloGal that racism is ignorance. I'm part Cherokee, Caucasian and Atlantean. But that's only this body. I'm not a body. I am a child of God -- an immortal who is waking up. I have remembered many of my past lives. Some of them were as Africans, some as Asians.
Racism is division. But so is the rhetoric you find in the Corporate Party media. Us versus them. Stop it!
We are all human. We are all inherently children of God.
Divisiveness is ego. Ego is the blindfold that plunged us into darkness. Ego is selfishness.
The antidote is humility and love, responsibility and forgiveness.
I think this is a valid question. People tend to compare things in their recent memories or within only their own experience, and many will perceive racism as a thing of the past because it isn't as apparent in general society ( no more Jim Crow laws, for example).
Some will define racism in only specific terms and not realize they are harboring racist attitudes because it doesn't fit the way they have grown to believe it shows up in speech or actions.
The greatest reason that racism survives and grows is because we tend to have short memories, and consciousness about issues is raised through conversation and education which explores these problems. Our goals of accepting each other and supporting true equality become cloudy over time without those discussions.
And finally... I'd say it is the old problem of forgetting history and the tendency to repeat it, as old ways of gaining a sense of superiority by making someone else appear inferior start to re-emerge.
I find your question racist. I see racism in the accusations of racism, when there is none. It would seem that what is lacking, as in strength of character, integrity and the capacity to stand on ones own merit is hidden behind a generic flag of racism and hate, I refer to myself, as an American, nothing else. Is it not racist to promote and connect a skin tone to American? Is the purpose here to promote a racist mindset? Is the purpose to divide and separate. It would seem so.
The cry is for equality, but yet race is the intensifier, as in Black American, African American. This is a contradiction in terms. I am beginning to think that equality is not the objective, but supremacy through the false accusations of racism, used to intimidate and blanket the country to achieve that supremacy is.
I don't think there are a lot of them; I think the ones who exist are extremely loud and extremely obnoxious.
In my opinion, they are ashamed of their own racist leanings so they are, in effect, trying to "shout" over the racism they are exposed to so all they hear is their own voices. It's like sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "lalalalalalala" to avoid hearing something that makes you uncomfortable.
When you find one of them online, look carefully at their body of work and comments and you'll see some connections. You'll also notice the same people usually don't believe there's discrimination against women, gays, poor people, or non-Christians either. Then they go off on rants about black people, gays, poor people, women, and non-Christians.
Because they never experienced it, they probably experienced prejudice, but not racism! Remember they rule the world!
They're all ignorant! We ALL came from NOAH who came from Adam and Eve - so what? Ignorant! I am Black, Indian and Irish - so what? If ALL would trace their roots, I bet the majority would be surprised to discover that they have Black ancestors in their blood line! Ignorant - plain ignorant!
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