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PostPosted: September 27 17, 12:53 pm 
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I've been thinking a lot lately about how to simplify the message to fellow white folx about how pervasive racism is and how detrimental it has been and still is on PoC and especially blacks.

There are many roadblocks to meaningful dialogue, including "But I'm not racist!" and "America is the land of opportunity! People just need to quit making excuses and work harder. It worked for me!" There seems to be a huge mental block for white people that haven't come to grips with the reality of the black person's American Experience. Hell, I even had the same mental block to some degree through my 20s and into my early 30s. Ferguson was the final stage to me becoming "woke" (as they say). So I'm trying to come up with a simple, clear-cut way of getting people past this mental block. Wondering if there are any flaws in this logic:

GeddyWrox wrote:
It is statistical fact that African Americans are 3 Xs (insert actual statistic here -- I didn't look it up) more likely to live at or below the poverty level than whites. Either you believe that:
A) There are factors intrinsic to our society that create this environment
-or-
B) African Americans are inherently lazy or inferior

If you believe in A, what are you willing to do about it? Does this make you angry? If not, why not?
If you believe in B, you are racist. Maybe not cross-burning-and-white-sheet-wearing racist, but racist none-the-less.


Do you think there are flaws in this logic? How are people likely to push back against this?


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 1:20 pm 
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The flaw in the logic is that logic will get you nowhere in this. There's no argument you or anyone else is going to make that will result in any noticeable change in racial attitudes. Or attitudes about the police for that matter. The attitudes are the premise, and the arguments that support them are backfilled as necessary later.

To the extent change is possible, it is through people's life experiences. Most notably, adolescents establish moral frameworks under a variety of influences and may sometimes see justice where their parents did not if social currents offer that vision. Other possibilities include new neighbors or coworkers who allow you to substitute your experience with real people for abstractions, though this is far from guaranteed.

I think any hope of progress lies in changing the material circumstances in lives that produce the attitudes, especially segregation and racialized economic inequality. On those fronts, there are clear productive steps that could be taken.


Last edited by Arthur Dent on September 27 17, 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: September 27 17, 1:28 pm 
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I think that there is more to it than the litmus test of how one feels about the poverty rate and black America.

I'll share an anecdote.

Not surprisingly, I put my foot in my mouth kinda on the internet, inferring Trump voters are in some way racist--either explicitly or by not allowing his demonstrable racism to be a deal-breaker. I mentioned "a couple of my nephews"--guys in their early 30s who texted me a pic of them cheers-ing while wearing MAGA hats on election night. Their mother, my wife's sister Kay, was outraged. She reached out to my wife, how dare he call us racists, etc. My wife was very angry with me for a few days. A couple weeks later we are at a dinner for my mother- and father-in-law's anniversary. The outraged sister and her husband had been to see Hamilton. I know they didn't like it--the way you know anything inherently--but I asked mostly because I wanted my wife to witness the racism. "How did you like it?" I ask and her brother-in-law replies that he didn't, and the second thing he says is "They had a negro play George Washington and that's just not right." Another of my wife's sisters states that this is "obscene" and it's generally agreed upon by everyone at the table except me, my wife, and one of my other sisters-in-law and her husband.

They're racists. Sorry, but they are. Defining not liking a play by "they gave a black guy a job that should go to a white guy" is racist. And there's absolutely no getting through to him because he shrugs it off with "All our neighbors liked it, maybe I'm just a normal guy who doesn't get it." Like his not liking it isn't because he's a racist a-hole it's rather a matter of taste over the art of the show or something. He'll gladly deflect what's really going on between his ears and in his heart to paint himself as "just a normal guy stating my opinion."

Another anecdote. There's an unbearable guy in his 40s who drinks at my bar who is from money and is a hard-core right-wing conservative. We have an anti-Trump poster on the back bar. He wants to argue about it every damn time he comes in. I ask him "Jeff, which Trump policies do you agree with?" and he goes dead silent. It's the racism crap, and he can't say it in public. I've tried that with a few people who come in: hey, what's up with you not liking Trump, then you ask them to say out loud in public which of his stances they like and they clam up. I've done it maybe 8-9 times and have never gotten a response. Racists, who refuse to cop to it.

That's what's at the heart of a lot of this nonsense. Don't blame me, I'm just a good person who is 100% NOT racist who voted for the guy whose only mission is a racist culture war that divides our country. But, hey, totally not my fault, again. Me: good. Racism: yeah, bad, but that's not me. It's a lie. How do you get through to people who will lie about their very nature? I can't do it with my own in-laws, the people who up to a couple years ago were some of the closest people in my life. It's a tough one, man.


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 1:41 pm 
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Even if it doesn't immediately produce results, maybe it plants a seed in one or more people's minds that allows them to wake up at some point down the road.

I have a friend who a long time ago introduced me to the concept of white privilege. I didn't get it at the time, and we didn't dwell on it for long. But her conversation with me about it stuck with me, and slowly I came to understand what she meant. Maybe my point in the original post would help lead others to a similar epiphany.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Let me rephrase my ultimate question:
What type of pushback/argument can I expect if I post that to my wall on Facebook?


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 1:46 pm 
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I think what Popovich said really nailed it. We need to have a conversation about race in this country. It makes people uncomfortable, but it's necessary and has to happen.


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 2:16 pm 
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Arthur Dent wrote:
The flaw in the logic is that logic will get you nowhere in this. There's no argument you or anyone else is going to make that will result in any noticeable change in racial attitudes. Or attitudes about the police for that matter. The attitudes are the premise, and the arguments that support them are backfilled as necessary later.

To the extent change is possible, it is through people's life experiences. Most notably, adolescents establish moral frameworks under a variety of influences and may sometimes see justice where their parents did not if social currents offer that vision. Other possibilities include new neighbors or coworkers who allow you to substitute your experience with real people for abstractions, though this is far from guaranteed.

I think any hope of progress lies in changing the material circumstances in lives that produce the attitudes, especially segregation and racialized economic inequality. On those fronts, there are clear productive steps that could be taken.


This. White people don't interact that much with different groups, especially rural white people. Our society is still heavily segregated. Whites and blacks mostly just interact in neutral public spaces like work, public transportation, retail stores, etc., then return to their separate worlds.


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 2:20 pm 
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Right. I get all that. I am hoping to make people set aside all that and answer my question honestly. I realize that might be too tall of an order for some/most people. But I think there may be a few people on my feed that are still reachable. I'm hoping that I've presented a question that is irrefutable to someone who is honestly open to growth but just doesn't realize they have blinders on.


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 2:33 pm 
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I guarantee you will get the closet racist argument that they don't believe blacks are inferior to whites, but the black culture in America does not value hard work and education, so they keep themselves down.

I am an old fart, so I don't think any of you young punks appreciate hard work and just want everything handed to you. (hell, I would love it if I could quit working and just have everything handed to me...never mind, sign me up for that!)

We have to get past all this us and them rhetoric and truly come together to see the beauty and power diversity gives us.


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 3:17 pm 
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GeddyWrox wrote:
Right. I get all that. I am hoping to make people set aside all that and answer my question honestly. I realize that might be too tall of an order for some/most people. But I think there may be a few people on my feed that are still reachable. I'm hoping that I've presented a question that is irrefutable to someone who is honestly open to growth but just doesn't realize they have blinders on.


I get what you are wanting to do and fully approve of it but at the same time, I have no advice. I've thought of doing something similar but I just keep my mouth shut now. No matter what is asked/stated/whatever and how it is done... it's going to end up a complete mess as people only actually pay attention to the parts they want to and take your post the entirely wrong way. They will either only notice the parts they agree with or more likely, they will only notice the parts that they feel like are attacking them and there will be no reasoning with them. At least that's how any attempt at a constructive conversation with my father and others like him go.

If you do make a similar post, good luck. Just remember to put your helmet on and duck for cover as soon as you hit enter because I would bet you'll have all kinds of ignorance launched your way in no time.


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PostPosted: September 27 17, 3:31 pm 
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Some of it I feel like is stupid semantics. The biggest example for me is the word "privilege." Use that word, and all of a sudden it's the end of the conversation. I think it's because some automatically think privilege is synonymous with spoiled, and to me, those are different things.

I'm a white dude from St. Charles, and I'm very much in that privileged group (I was also spoiled as an only child, admittedly.) Had everything I needed, had most of what I wanted. That's not a criticism-- it's an admission of fact. I'm not a bad person for being privileged. But I realize my circumstances did make my life easier. It doesn't mean I didn't deserve the good grades I got and the good job I have, but I didn't have the same impediments either.

Some people are lost causes, but those that aren't need the issue re-framed.


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