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Racism – Alive and Well in the 21st Century

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Let me give you a little history before I dive into this subject with both feet. I was raised in the ‘burbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1968 until about 1983. I had limited exposure to other cultures during that time. There were other nationalities in Minneapolis, but generally not where I lived. I never gave the subject much thought. When I was 17 I moved to Mississippi briefly and then to Alabama with my then husband, where his family’s from. Can you say culture shock? We lived in the boondocks for nearly 18 years, where I raised my kids during part of that time. When he and I split, in 2000, the kids and I moved to the town I live in now. The population here is about 25,000. You’ve heard the phrase “You can take the girl out of the country (or city), but you can’t take the country (or city) out of the girl”?

OK. So what exactly is racism? It is simply the approval or disapproval of someone based on the color of their skin (my own definition). I’ve never adopted the mindset of the general population. Racism bothers me. It’s a cancer that spreads because of intolerance, indifference, lack of respect, and ignorance. Unfortunately, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Racism is perpetuated by the attitude of certain groups of people towards others, and the “others” that happen to be of a different race reciprocate, and so it goes. What it boils down to is the actions of a few, tainting the reputation of a whole race in the racist’s eyes. I have a problem with that. I agree wholeheartedly that there are a lot of dingbats out there, but I wouldn’t rub elbows with, say, David Duke, even though our skin color is similar. I’ve heard, “most of the people of that race are like that.” “Really?” I say, because I don’t know most of the people in that race. Is it even possible to know most of the people of a specific race? Doubtful. So why use the generality? Because it’s convenient to make generalizations about people because of their appearance. It enables you to “fit in” with friends. It provides a commonality allowing you to bond together, and besides, it’s tradition. It’s uncomfortable defending people from false allegations (unless you’re a lawyer and getting paid for it, I suppose). So why not just blend?

I denounce it because it’s illogical. You can’t make me believe that all males, all short people, or all brunettes are alike. It’s the same thing. I reverse the roles and imagine that it’s my family’s name or race being slandered because of something I had nothing to do with. So what if they continue to do it even when you stop? When you keep going back and forth it’s just like five-year-olds hollering “poo poo face” at each other and neither side will hush! Someone has to step up and be the bigger person.

Does my point of view reflect the fact that I’m a Christian? Yes. In other people’s cases? Well, I can’t speak for everyone else. I do know that it’s not my job to judge someone else’s life, how they live it, or what season they might be in. There’s a very good saying that goes, “What other people think about me is none of my business.” The only one I can change is myself. Diversity can be a beautiful thing. Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all poured from the same molds?

I have a pretty simple philosophy about what we should be doing while we’re here on earth. Making it a better place. Helping each other. Positively contributing. In the U.S., preserving America’s integrity. There’s actually a selfish motivation behind my philosophy that could have a ripple effect if enough people applied it. When I am a positive influence on the people I touch, it makes my little world a better place for me, my kids, my friends, my family and acquaintances. If we all did it, the ripples would overlap each other and love, peace, and brotherhood would have a chance to spread in place of hate. It worked for a while back in the ’60s. Have we learned nothing more since then? We need each other now more than ever, because as we’ve seen, Big Brother isn’t able to take care of us. We’re going to have to start taking care of each other. United we’ll stand, divided we’ll fall.

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About Groovybird

  • Heloise

    It is simply the approval or disapproval of someone based on the color of their skin (my own definition).

    Groovybird you are getting twisted up in knots using your own definition. You are talking about prejudice or bigotry. Racism is more akin to a crime. Why? Because when it is institutionalized like Jim Crow it deliberately keeps resources out of the hands of people who are not the majority. In this case black people. Think of all the things blacks could not do in the last century alone that whites could do and buy?

    You (Anglo Saxons) benefit from racism whether or not you are “racist.” That’s the part whites can’t digest. You are suffering from liberal knee-jerkism. Get over it.

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    Yes, I am talking about prejuduce and bigotry. I don’t think I beat around the bush about what I meant. Things NEED to change, begining with attitudes on all fronts. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar”? If we can’t ascend from the past then aren’t we all guilty of wallowing in it and forsaking a better future for America? The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step. If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. Just sayin.

  • Heloise

    No, but you used the word “racism” so I don’t think it is just semantics, more like confusion.

    Platitudes will not change attitudes. Inbred or part of our DNA is that we prefer those most like ourselves. That is human nature and we have to sugarcoat it with PC.

    Your comment did not clarify your position I’m afraid.

  • Alexandria Jackson

    I agree with Heloise on the definition. I’m white and benefit from racism by virtue of my skin color. I do not WANT to benefit, but it just happens that I do. I’d like to be able to say I’m not racist, but I am because that is the standard definition. If I went into a courtroom where the judge, both lawyers and the entire jury were black and I (allegedly) committed a crime against a black person, I sure don’t think I would get a fair trial. I might, but I wouldn’t think that I was going to. I think that is the premise behind the definition. That the majority of people in power are white. But I also agree with Groovybird that the whole concept of bigotry is illogical. Unfortunately, we keep perpetuating it. I applaud you writing this article. It’s a tough issue and we have not yet found an adequate way to deal with all the prejudice and discrimination in this country.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    It’s not only in America that whites benefit. In all the countries I’ve visited with the exception of Japan, whites are looked upon with less suspicion and more trust than are those of any other color.

    In my experience, only in Japan are whites seen as something less…and I can’t really blame them.

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    White people having an advantage really wasn’t the intended topic of this article, but not surprisingly anything mentioning skin color seems to gravitate to that. Is there a concensus I’m not aware of that state’s that brotherhood of man is absolutely not possible in this nation, ever? I guess not in the near future if no one wants it to be. Far be it from me to try to force feed love and peace on anyone. Well, America has always been a melting pot and as the generations progress and nationalities continue to blend,one day the past will dim (if we’re around long enough) and people will likely be defined by their wealth or lack of it instead of their appearance. Maybe THEN people will look back and understand where I, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and others were looking when WE saw “the big picture” on the horizon.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Groovy –

    As long as there are differences between people – be it color or ethnicity or nationality or hair style or gender or even age – there will be isms. That doesn’t make it good or right, but that’s the way it will always be. All we can do is to fight it, to minimize it as best we can…and avoid it when we feel it in ourselves.

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    That’s true Glenn. Sad, but true. I’m just glad we still have the freedom to dream:)

  • zingzing

    “All we can do is to fight it, to minimize it as best we can…and avoid it when we feel it in ourselves.”

    or we can just fuck those most different from us and eventually meld into one super-race. it’s strange that racists are the ones most scared of that idea. you notice our conceptions of alien races only rarely have races within those races? maybe our mind is telling us something. all things may be destroyed by the super-race… including racism.

  • Doug Hunter

    #9

    I disagree. I have racist leanings (incidentally, I also think men and women are different so count me as sexist too) and I think that is exactly the answer. I don’t think this problem is going to completely disappear until the qualities used to determine race are blended beyond any meaningful measure. I don’t just talk the talk, I’ve done my part for the melding (how else am I to know I’m not marrying a distant cousin but to go outside the race!)

  • zingzing

    heh, well… good for you. spicy, ain’t it?

  • Doug Hunter

    I’m hoping for ‘hybrid vigor’, that did come out a bit wrong though. The point was, whether you believe racial differences exist or not, blurring the lines between races should lead to a positive outcome where people can be treated as individuals… Nah, we’ll probably just find some other BS reason to dislike each other.

  • zingzing

    sure we will: politics! racism is for inbred dummies. politics is for masochists. at least everyone gets something out of political hatred.

    and yeah, “hybrid vigor”… mixing does lead to some very beautiful people. and they come out of childhood with a different cultural perspective than most of us. two out of the last three women i’ve seriously dated have been mixed (the third was purely not of my race, and one of the mixed ones had no caucasian in her). cultural cocktails are fun. lots to be appreciated.

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    Alexandria, I came back and read the comments more thouroughly and wanted to say thanks for your encouragement! Thanks to all of you for commenting. Heloise, I’m afraid that you’re so hung up on the word “racist” that you’ve missed the point of the article. You might want to look up the definitions of prejudice,bigotry and racism. They go hand in hand.

  • Heloise

    Groovybird, I don’t think so. I am a hardliner when it comes to the word “racism” it has a definite meaning. The other words are social cultural in nature, and by definition everyone can be can be prejudiced etc. But not everyone has the priviledge associated with the “majority” in this country (Anglo Saxon)to be racist.

    WASPs treated Jack Kennedy like crap at Harvard and he and his dad got back at them by taking the WH. They kept Irish out of the clubs and publically called them “muckers.” That is racism 101. It was much worse for black folks.

    You are wrong, not I. I notice that you did not mention the words “majority” or “minority” in your article, therefore it is faulty by nature. I don’t have to look up anything.

  • Heloise

    Fat is code for black. There are so many ways that minorities are made to feel inferior and one of them is the white gold standard of “thin.” White skin is another one. It is easier for whites to be thin (genetic predisposition–with exceptions of course) and they worship it for more than one reason.

    Black women get called fat but it is also code for “black.” I get an incoming link to my blog “Right wingers call Michelle Obama fat,” that is just one more reminder of how the majority in this country represses the minority, through language, linguistic trickery and not facing up to their RACISM!

    It is a different beast from just not liking someone or prejudice. It means a concerted effort to keep that minority DOWN, in prison, in jail, behind bars and behind the cultural curve.

    But I am glad at least white people are trying to face their short comings by writing, albeit faulty, articles like this one.

    Heloise

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    Yeah, I’m sorry for your pain, but if that’s where you want to stay then you’re certainly free to do it. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. I’ll be moving on now.

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    For anyone who cares to watch, here’s an excerpt from The Larry King Show with Oprah taking about “The Secret” and how what you obsess over is what manifests in your life. It’s only a few minutes long and pretty interesting. Good day everyone:)

  • Dan

    “Is there a concensus I’m not aware of that state’s that brotherhood of man is absolutely not possible in this nation, ever? I guess not in the near future if no one wants it to be. Far be it from me to try to force feed love and peace on anyone.”—Groovybird

    Force feeding multicultural transformation and dispossesion on whites who do not desire it has been the obsession of progressive elites for nearly five decades now.

    As the comments here about how true racial strife will only be cured by eliminating the white race and “melding” into some sort of “super race” illustrate, even the looniest of progressives recognize that diversity as a “strength” is a failed concept.

  • zingzing

    dan, you have to get better at reading. it was quite clearly tongue in cheek. and why do you take it (however far too seriously) that it’s just the white race that needs to be “eliminated?” that’s a rather curious thing. you think the world is against white people, don’t you…

    and, yes, diversity is a strength. did your mother make your oatmeal the way you like it this morning? she did! well, all is well in dan’s world today!

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    Yes, that was tounge in cheek. If people aren’t willing to take the initiative to put this issue behind us, then perhaps with the inevitable blending of the races it will cause it to become a moot point in the future regardless. I don’t give a rats behind what color you are. That’s the whole point. It’s an attitude. Have you ever heard, “You are what you do”? If you don’t have power over yourself than you’re a leaf blowing in the wind-a victim. If you don’t like the way you’re being treated, buy a one way ticket to somewhere you’ll be happy. Resolving this topic isn’t imperative for my happiness. I choose to be happy. And for the record, my great grand parents on my moms side came on a boat from Sweden and settled in Minneapolis, and my great grandparents on my dads side lived on a reservation in Wisconsin.

  • Dan

    That’s OK Groovybird. If it weren’t tounge in cheek, it would have been fine as well. I didn’t intend to express disapproval or any kind of judgement about your hope for a more racially homogeneous and less racist future.

    I was only making the point that this prescription is nearly the opposite of the multicultural diversity we whites are supposed to recieve so much joy from.

    Do you ever get the feeling that after fifty years of experimentation, implementation, and expansion, our racial dilemma now is more complicated than we first thought it was going to be?

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    Yeah. Sometimes I wish I could visit America today if the Indians had kicked the original Europeans butts back to Europe too, just to see what would have happened up to this point. Of course, I might not be alive if that was the case, so everything happens for a reason.:)

  • Dan

    Yes, that would be an interesting visit.

    A third alternative might be to see what things would be like today if the North American Indians, instead of attempting to exterminate the Europeans like at Jamestown, would’ve valued the diversity the newcomers represented.

    Perhaps most of the hostility could have been avoided and a peaceful assimilation with the established Indians, and the immigrating Europeans in search of a better life, could have been established.

  • http://livinintheusa.wordpress.com Groovybird

    That’s true. There are a lot of scenarios that we could speculate about. You’ve managed to hit the proverbial “nail” right on the head with your comment though. You summed up the essence of what I was getting at with this article-valuing our diversity. It’s all relative. I imagine if I was a tsunami victim in Japan, a Katrina or 911 victim who came to and there was nothing but havoc as far as the eye could see. The physical make up of anyone else I ran across would be in dead last on my “things I give a rats behind about” list. I’d just be delighted to see another human being, be they green, purple or fuschia. Much of humanity must be stripped materialistically, socially, financially, etc. in order to truly value each other. It fascinates me.