Is it possible to have a productive discussion on race relations
Is it possible for articulate and intelligent members of the White, Black, and Hispanic race to discuss the racists feelings felt by many without verbally attacking someone.
It's not likely. It's like saying, is it possible to discuss the "faults" of others? Automatically the door to negativity is open. We live in a competitive world where many people want the edge or to be out front. Almost everything is a contest from school to business to money. Who has the most? Who has the best? Who owns the most, is constantly conditioned. A moral person would say, help everybody. A competitive person would say, why should I help others and lose my edge? You have probabaly heard the cliche, "self preservation is the first law of nature." Many people have that mind set. The main way of changing that was by changing laws. But in changing laws, one group gains ground and the other loses ground or is forced to give up some of the edge that they have fought to win for centuries. Example, new immigration laws. Who wants to give up their goods or what they think is theirs, to others for no reason? Once again, the subject is closely related to self preservation and materialism. In the earthly life, comfort is a major issue. Its what people are working to get or maintain. It is what the political parties are fighting over. It's what the races are battling over. Some may see it differently.
Sri T, Unfortunately I must agree with you. It drives me nuts to read an article then see comments that have nothing whatsoever to do with the article. They add absolutely nothing to a productive discussion. Thank you for your comments Sri T!
It would only be possible if all involved were actually open to hearing what the other had to say AND capable of admitting faults in their own views. As someone of mixed race, but looks like just one race I have often gotten into conversations where race was discussed. Then it would turn into people's views on Hispanics. When I suddenly say my father was Hispanic they panic and the conversation ends. They don't want to hear another view or admit their possible wrongs.
I just don't think the majority of people are capable of admitting their own wrongs publicly even if they are intelligent. Basic human instinct tells us to defend what we think even if it is wrong.
I believe that anything is possible. However, human nature often shows that we don't want to admit our faults or shortcomings and for this reason I would think that it would not actually happen on a large scale basis. Many people who try and are rebuked for even attempting to have an honest discussion no matter what their race is. All it takes is one bad apple to devolve the discussion and we still have a lot of bad apples of all skin colors in the world.
I live in a mixed marriage household. Differences of all sorts are discussed nearly daily and we find great joy in it. We like to say "your people" do it this way or that way and we often laugh at subtle differences from cooking to word usage to child rearing. When it all comes to it are differences are what add the spice to our relationship. It keeps it new and fresh. So yes if there is a huge portion of love mixed in we can discuss even our biases and prejudices and come away better for it.
We see the notion of racism as an ism that sees differences. And we think there is great celebration in those differences. I am not saying we are normal but only that it is possible to discuss these things without rancor.
It all depends upon the person's consciousness & maturity level. People with very high consciousness & maturity levels can easily discuss & have numerous discourses regarding race, racial relations, & racial parity in America without resorting to outright verbal altercations. They realize that they have to go beyond perspective races to realize that there is only one race-HUMAN.
Sadly, many people are not at the consciousness & maturity level which would permit an enlightened, intelligent, even reasonable discussion &/or discourse on race. One person may say something which may be misinterpreted or he/she may make an unthinking remark which would result in verbal altercations or worse. Many people are not at the level to have such an enlightened discourse or in fact any discourse about race without making it highly contentious. It is still the us vs. them mentality in terms of race.
Some in mixed-race marriages call their spouses racial epithets when angry. I can't figure that one out. I don't think people should apologize for what others have done. When you care about someone you should care about how they feel.
Neither can I but the commentator/author/producer Tariq Nasheed mentioned this on several of his news shows,giving Halle Berry & ex-boyfriend Aubry as 1 example of this. Mr. Nasheed indicated that many in the dominant society retain their privile
I think that the point is; that it is possible.
It depends on how one defines a "productive" discussion.
If there is a belief or expectation that afterwards everyone is going to join hands and sing "We are the world" that's unrealistic in my opinion. Most people walk away continuing live the same way.
Race relations like so many things in our lives where we feel one way or another is based upon our own (personal experiences) or those close to us, how we were raised/taught, images we've seen, and how comfortable we are with the concept of (sharing resources) and (accepting) differences.
It's also human nature to want to put people in "groups or boxes" rather than to (invest time) getting to know a "specific individual".
As long as someone expects the other person to act, talk, or behave like them there is likely to continue be frustration and resentment.
Good point! I think discussion is productive when you don't have the expectation of having someone agree with you. Maybe the first thing to do is state an objective. Maybe, I just want to share my perspective? It has to be with someone who cares.
Interesting question! I have tried and it does not work out with me. Born in a racist country as South Africa has been and still is makes me frustrated to think of how the many were treated. Such discussion don't go well with me. I won't attack any one just not something I could get into.
I wish I lived near you. I would love to ask all kinds of questions about South Africa. Marvin Jenkins, musician who has passed away, said he had to lie on the floor when riding in South Africa because Blacks were not supposed to ride with whites.
Truthfully, it really depends on the person you talk to. Someone not interested or with strong views may not be a great candidate for such a touchy topic. A lot of people in this world don't agree with other people's views on race and tend to stay away from those discussions.
If you every feel the need to just fully express your views and thoughts, you can always ask an anthropology to have an intelligent, open viewed conversation with you. We are basically trained in our research to understand the emic and etic importance, without trying to imply bias over fact.
I agree Tori. It is a discussion a person should want to have and not be made to discuss. The sad thing is that avoidance does not promote better relations. Aw! It sounds like you are open.
Sorry for the typos. Thats what I get for using a phone to comment on topics. Haha. I am very open to discussion. As an anthropology major, I am very interested in all perspectives.
Tori, I usually don't pay attention to typos because I understand the intent. I cannot use my smartphone to dial numbers correctly. I certainly have trouble typing comments.
I think it just depends on the crow you're with/the people you're talking to, really. There are lots of people out there who want to use the dreadded race card, or get on a soapbox to spread whatever counterproductive feelings they have about whomever.
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