Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekly Poll - How are race Relations in America?

With a nod towards Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose birthday is celebrated as a holiday today I figured that this week's poll would be about race relations in America. How are we doing as a country? I know we have come a long way from the days of segregated bathrooms and denial of voters rights but where are we today?
I don't think that the election of an African-American as President means we have reached the end of the racism tension in America. I think maybe it has just galvanized the extreme edges of the debate. Within the past 3 months I have still heard someone in casual conversation using the 'n-word' in reference to our President. I have always been puzzled and disturbed by people's reaction to race and what I perceive as an emphasis on the things that divide us instead of the things we have in common. Anyone who has read here for years knows that. You can read previous posts on this here.
Tell me what you think of the state of race relations in our country. The poll question answers are this: We are moving on the right track and We have a long way to go but I would like to hear what you think about this topic as well. Let me know what you think.



Micky-T said...

I think we are moving in the right direction outwardly as a whole, and that's benefiting a lot of ambitious people, but a huge core of this nation still has deep racist issues that do not make it to the surface.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I'm not sure how to say this, but I think it's the older generations still clinging to the racist ideals and our generation and our children who think race is unimportant (i.e. nothing to make a big deal about, accepting everyone, in the melting pot of America). So, I think as we go forward, the more tolerance we will see in many issues (racial, same sex unions, etc.)

Dana said...

Like you, I have some personal experience with this. Although I do think things have improved over the last 50 years, I would argue that what has happened isn't that racism has gotten that much better, but that as a society we've gotten much better at hiding it.

Doc said...

I tend to agree a lot with ETW. People my age and younger have grown up in an age of political correctness that while it has its draw backs certainly has taught us to be more sensitive to people who are different than us for a variety of reasons.
That being said, Mic and Dana have points too. I think we still have a ways to go...

Jay said...

The poll is tough one cause I believe both to be true. We've made progress, but there is still a long ways to go.

I also agree with ETW. And it's true for virtually all social issues from race to gay marriage. Each generation is more accepting and tolerant than the last.

Jay said...

Also, I think that the reason our generation is more tolerant than our parents is because we were the first generation to attend integrated schools and enter an already integrated workplace. Yeah, political correctness has a lot to do with it too, but if the schools and workplaces hadn't been integrated we wouldn't have been forced to work on being politically correct.

3 Men and a Lady said...

I agree with Evil Twin's Wife. It's more the old people that are still hanging on to racist ideas. And I don't mean to say ALL old people are racist, but that a majority of racists are older, clinging to racist ideas that were embedded in their minds from birth on up. Most (not all, but the non-ignorant ones) younger people are okay with biracial marriages, children, presidents.... stuff that would make the average white American in the 1940s flip out. I think it'll just take more time and as generations pass hopefully old ways of thinking will, too.

And I do think that having a biracial president is a turning point, but I also think it's brought long held under the surface feelings from people who just can't handle it. Sad.

Doc said...

I hadn't thought about the integration of the schools Jay because I never knew anything other than integrated schools.. I guess perspective is a funny thing.

3 Men - It is sad. Thats why I voted still a long way to go. maybe 4-5 years ago I woudl have said moving in the right direction.

Micky-T said...

it's brought long held under the surface feelings from people who just can't handle it.

3 Men and a Lady said it well. I think this is the cause of the new Tea Party. (Baggers, flows easier from my lips)

Bina said...

There is a LONG way to go in the South. I was born and raised in Ohio, and 1/2 my school was black, and I never thought anything of it. I came to the South about 20 years ago and some of these people make me sick with their thoughts of different races. I hate the N word with a passion and never say it and teach my kids it's a bad word, just like the F word.

Southern Belle said...

It is not just the old people hanging on. I live in a town where children my daughters age (16) are still saying things like White Power, The N word, driving around with Rebel flags and just being very disrespectful of other races and people. Their parents are teaching them this, a lot of them are my age and they were taught by the OLDER generations that are stilling hanging to this very close minded way of thinking. Another problem I believe is that there are African American families still embedding hate into their children for what the White Americans have done or may still be doing to them as a race. My daughter has talked to me numerous times about being treated horribly by other students because of the color of her skin. I believe we still have a ways to go in this Country because we still have HATE being taught by all races.

Its is not what the crust looks like, but how sweet the filling is!

Chandra said...

I think we are headed down the right track....but it's a looooong track indeed.

Loni's World said...

We have a long way to go. unfortunately the problem is bigger than electing a black president. The racial tensions still remain and they remain within the groups themselves. If the groups can accept the fact that racism is attempting to be put in the background then it will change. Until then people will continue to believe that racism boils under the skin of every other race they have a past with.

Prime example here in California if anything racially motivated hits the news I am automatically put on the "White side", I dont judge people by the color of their skin so I get highly offended to be associated with any of that. But people who "assume" I believe this way are actually being the racist themselves... Until that seperation is no longer made, racism will live on.

(The problem these days is not the same as before, now it's about people letting go of what happened in the past and moving forward to a new tomorrow. If they can't let go, then the future will hold the past.)

Saul calls me a hippie, I laugh... but you know I think I am lol.

Doc said...

Bina - Preach it Sister. That word has no place in society.

Belle - True. Racism works both ways.

Chandra - Well put.

Loni - I can agree with you that the problems are different than before...

The AbsolutGator said...

Doc, you and I spoke about this before a long time ago.

I've felt for a long time that race relations were better back in the '70s than they are now. Part of that can be because I was still a kid, but I think the biggest reason why is that back then people weren't always pointing out differences. They instead were trying to get to equality. Today, we segregate ourselves in 3 ways: how we speak to/about other races, classify institutions and the way decisions are made.

First, putting additional adjectives in front of titles seperates us everyday. Tony Dungy, one of the best coaches to walk the sideline in the NFL and a great person (check out Uncommon) is black. So what. Do I really have to be reminded every time he is introduced that he was the first black coach to win the Superbowl? It was a great accomplishment and I'm glad it finally happened. But its done; lets move on.

Having institutions or events that only recognize one race is also a barrier. You know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. I just happen to believe that any mind, regardless of color, is a terrible thing to waste.

Lastly, just as I don't believe that people should not be hired for the color of their skin, I also believe that they should not be hired or promoted because of it. A senior manager at a former employer of mine was the deciding vote in promoting one of two candidates. This person cast their vote for a black woman because we didn't have enough of that demographic in management positions. Forget the fact that she was not as tenured nor as qualified as the black man that I and others wanted in that position. Even worse are our institutions of higher learning.

For those that have made comments about the elderly, I can agree to a point. People have and probably always be more comfortable to what is common to them or their surroundings. Bina, I whole-heartedly disagree with you. I've lived up north and seen just as much (if not more) racism than in the South. Just remember that there are ignorant people everywhere.

Before any of you jump to any conclusions about me (I know, probably too late), know this. I've lived in more places across this land and had friends from more diverse groups of people than probably any of you. Just ask Doc.

The AbsolutGator said...

Belle, you poked my badger. Don't equate the Battle Flag of the Confederacy (or 'Rebel' flag) to racism. Those dots don't always connect. But then again, most people still mistakenly think the Civil War was fought over slavery and not state rights.

Dianne said...

I'm not sure that generational differences matter when it comes to overall intolerance - I do think racism is less among younger people but then I find a lot of younger people, especially in the burbs, to be incredibly gay bashing

faggot is the new nigger here in my town - hope that doesn't offend but saying the F word and the N word just gives those insults mystery - they should be out in the open until they're gone

as a nation we travel very little outside our country or even across our own nation and that breeds ignorance

and then there are the fear causes - the economy in my town is suffering and hate acts against Mexicans increased - I believe there is a link
those who feel they are losing something need to find someone to blame
they feel they can't attack large corporations so they attack those who have even less

it's so complicated

wonderful post Doc, thanks for being so open and thoughtful

3 Men and a Lady said...

I agree about the using of unneccessary adjectives thing.

We don't call people "black", "white", or whatever color in our house. I think it puts unnneccessary emphasis on race. Not that it's wrong to be of any certain race, we all are, but I don't want it to be focused on. My son (7) does not know that most people would say that Shaquille O'Neal is "black". He's the "tall bald guy with the ball" first. We might add "with brown skin" if it's neccessary. We say brown skin, dark skin or tan or pale. Pretentious maybe, but it's more accurate than saying black or white, which none of us truly are. Black and white seem more like labels. My son thinks he and I have "tan" skin, my husband is "brown" (caucasian technically, but has a really sunworn face and arms), and his friend at Sunday school has "brown" skin. I think using individual skin tones to describe what someone looks like makes us seem more like just people and less like a "color".

I'm not trying to put him in a bubble, b/c I know eventually he'll realize that most people are classified into white, black, etc, but I just want him to not see it as black and white but as all the shades OF black and white.

Doc said...

Absolut - We have talked about this topic before and I agree with a your points including the using of labels for people, but I whole heartedly disagree with your characterization of the confederate battle flag - Yes some people use that flag as a symbol of southern heritage however as in so many other things the idiots spoil things for the rest. That flag has been used for so long by hate groups as a symbol that to say that the flag is not offensive to a large majority of Americans is just naive. People do use that flag for it's secondary purpose as a symbol of hate.

Dianne - It is complicated. I have often said that maybe Rodney King (even though he is misquoted) had it simple and correct. "Can't we all just get along?"

3 Men - Yes, if there is one thing we can pass on to our kids it's not labeling people as black or white but just people!

Southern Belle said...

Mr. Gator… I am speaking about teenagers who are using this flag as a sign of racism. These are teens that live in my area. I should have been a little more clear!

Doc said...

BTW Absolut... can I interest you in buying some of the new Carbon offsets that ERAC is selling?


(for those of you who don't know Absolut's head just exploded at the mention of this!)

Southern Belle said... could have not said that any better about the Rebel flag!

Southern Belle said...

Can you post pictures of that!!!

The AbsolutGator said...

Doc, I didn't say it has never been used for a sign of most definitely has. It just doesn't always mean that a person wearing/liking it is racist. So we are in agreement on this.

Did Belle just wish me dead?

Doc said...

Absolut - I don't think she did... She jsut has a cutting sense of humor. Kind of like yourself.
As far as your point about the flag, sure when you use a term like "always" then certainly not everyone uses it racially. however the punks running around with that flag these days generally don't have "heritage" on their minds. I seriously doubt that many of them even know that the battle flag they are displaying was not even the "official flag" of the confederacy. It was a battle flag. For those who have no idea what the real confederate flag looks like
to see what both flags look like.

Southern Belle said...

Gator….Actually when Doc said your head just exploded…I pictured one of those Extreme Airhead Candy commercials where the head blows up like a balloon and then burst!

The Mountain Cat said...

There is better race relations today but you'll never rule out racism all together.

Mandy said...

I have thought about this a lot today after reading your post this morning. I think the question of how race relations are depends on where you live and how you are brought up. It's hard to say things are better or worse than they have ever been as I didn't live in any other time so it's really hard to get a true comparison. Sure, things seem better. There are radicals on both ends of the spectrum, however and I don't know how or if that will ever change.

I was brought up to believe we are all equal and that skin color does not make a difference. You judge a person on who they are not what they look like. I can only hope that my children learn the same from me, that is my responsibility.