The Tea Party Movement and the "Race Card"

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, May 12, 2010.

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  1. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Of course, martyrdom is much more attractive.
  2. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    1) Of course race would have nothing to do with it for you because your children would undoubtedly be white, so they would have the luxury of dismissing race as an issue.

    2) I'm glad we have it on the record that racial inequality is not a compelling reason for you, while your [white] child's desire to go to a magnet school is.
  3. Master_SweetPea Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2002
    star 4
  4. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    I have TWICE outlined reasons to dispense with bussing kids across a county or even to schools five miles away in favor of having them go to their neighborhood school. In it I outlined how it would be a more efficient use of the money paid by the taxpayers of said county - including freeing up resources for the schools that needed it most, and to fix problems that kept 46% of poor students from graduating high school. I never mentioned race in either post, except to point out that there were ample reasons that the assumption race was involved was completely unwarranted.

    I do not know how to make it more clear that race is not a consideration at all.

    Are you that desperate to score points in your favor that you have to concoct racism out of thin air?
  5. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    I think the only thing I could possibly say is to essentially repeat myself:

    You are white, which is the only reason you have the luxury of dismissing race as an issue.
  6. Master_SweetPea Jedi Master

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    Nov 18, 2002
    star 4
    Really?
  7. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

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    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Yeah, I disagree with that being his only reason. The other is that (from his posts) he cares not one bit about any issue that liberals or social progressives care about.
  8. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    I don't want to speak for people of color, but I'd be willing to wager that it's pretty hard to find a non-white person in America who doesn't see race as an important issue in their life, regardless of class, socio-economic status, wealth, religion, or whatever else you had in mind..
  9. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    *chuckles at two observations still holding true...*
  10. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Then answer me this: how do we change that? How do we truly make race irrelevant to society as a whole?

    It's easy to dismiss concerns by saying "you're white, so you don't really understand racism", or some similar dismissive remark. What's not so easy is actually fixing the problem.

    I might be white, but that doesn't mean that I haven't experienced bigotry, or watched friends experience bigotry. (For example, have you ever had someone pull a shotgun on you because of your religious beliefs? I have.) I treat race as irrelevant, not because I'm white and don't understand racism, but because I try very hard to treat everyone equally. To me, race is irrelevant because a person's race doesn't matter to me. That's it.

    The more people focus on race, and especially the more people treat others differently because of their race (including dismissing people's views or arguments on race because they are white), the more it works against making race irrelevant. You can't make something irrelevant by treating it as though it is relevant. To make it irrelevant, you need to stop focusing on it, not draw more attention to it.

    Earlier in this thread, you said "every issue has a racial component". How do you expect to fix that? You can only get so much mileage from blaming whites for slavery, Jim Crow, and so forth. At some point, you need to stop looking at everything through the lens of race, and decide to treat everyone, and by that I mean everyone the same. That means no more comments like "You are white, which is the only reason you have the luxury of dismissing race as an issue." Such comments treat someone different because of their race. That means no more racial preferences, one way or the other (including programs like Affirmative Action, in all its varieties). That means that you finally implement what Martin Luther King, Jr said was his dream:
    And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

    ...

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    I have a dream today!
    King's dream wasn't for just black Americans, but for all Americans. That dream cannot be achieved if you insist on blacks being judged "by the content of their character", and yet continue to judge whites "by the color of their skin". And yes, when you preface comments with identifying a person's race, that is exactly what you are doing.

    I might be white, but I have never in my life expected or demanded better services or favors from someone because of the color of my skin, neither have I ever varied the services or favors I give to others because of the color of their skin. I work very hard to see people as individuals and to treat each person on an individual basis, not as part of some stereotyped group. Can you honestly say the same about yourself?

    I highly recommend rereading all of King's speech. Many people focus on the later parts of it (where he describes his dream and talks about "let freedom ring"), but the real meat of the speech is in the beginning. King repeatedly emphasized that the goal should be equality and brotherhood, not recriminations:
    But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to sati
  11. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    I trimmed this post down from my original draft to keep from making this discussion longer and harder to follow, but I think your post revolves around a few central ideas, so I tried to address those:

    We have to get rid of institutionalized racism, which isn't easily done, if done at all, considering how entrenched it is in our society. Your solutions all focus on individuals ignoring race, which isn't going to fix institutional problems. Individuals ignoring race means the groups that are already marginalized and oppressed will continue to be marginalized and oppressed, because we are ignoring the very root of their oppression.

    Most people experience bigotry, but to be perfectly honest I think it's extremely misguided to try to equate bigotry against Mormons (which, if the person who threatened you was either black or gay, I'd have a hard time seeing as "bigotry" rather than misguided reactionary self-defense) with the systematic oppression of black people in our country.

    Whether or not you have expected or demanded better services or favors, you have received them anyway because you are white. The fact that you didn't want to be treated better because of the color of your skin is irrelevant. We are white, therefore we benefit from racism whether or not we want to.

    You're oversimplifying, in my opinion. King's goals haven't yet been fully reached, we haven't achieved equality. Acknowledging that white people benefit from privilege isn't "blaming" or "recrimination." Continuing to focus on race when institutional oppression still exists isn't marching in circles, it's marching forward, only on a different level because the ways in which racism affects people of color have changed in the last 50 years.
  12. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Again, this is a guerilla post as I work my way through University responsibilities, but don't think for a second that King didn't want Affirmative Action programs. He explicitly states his support for them, and if you read his writings (more than Letter from a Birmingham Jail or the text of his most famous speech), it is blatantly obvious. I don't have the books in front of me (it's at home and I'm at work), but he explicitly states he favors programs to help oppressed people get the same opportunities as the dominant population (in King's time, white people).

    This was a personal and significant gripe of mine about recent efforts to whitewash history - conservative pundits tried to twist MLK's words to suggest he wouldn't favor AA programs, which is historically ignorant.

    Just a few quick links:

    University of Dayton Professor
    ACLU
    African American Policy Forum
    Tim Wise
  13. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

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    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Is it time for a seperate thread on affirative action/bigotry/race relations?
  14. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    This still doesn't answer my question, though. How do you expect us to get rid of "institutionalized racism", and how are you planning to measure the level of "institutionalized racism" to determine whether or not we've done that?

    How are you differentiating between "racism" and "institutionalized racism"? How are you measuring both? How much of that is racial correlation and how much is racial causation? (For example, how much of the racial divide in education is because of racism, and how much is caused more by poverty?) Most importantly, how will you know when you have met your goals for equality, and how do you plan to phase out the "temporary" measures meant to get us there?

    These are really the critical questions that need to be answered, because they are what would define any plan of action that we would try to follow.

    Wow. Just wow. You would consider pulling a shotgun on someone who merely knocked on your door to be "reactionary self-defense" merely because of the person's religious beliefs? Wow.

    But, you cannot hold that against the individual. In effect, you would hold me responsible for other people's choices, even if I did nothing to encourage them to make those choices.

    Then tell me this, how is your approach (including dismissing people's comments on racism because of the color of their skin) helping anything? Is it decreasing institutionalized racism? Is it encouraging us to move towards King's dream any more?

    You can criticize someone with "You're white, so you don't understand", but that doesn't actually fix anythi
  15. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Could it be that it seems permanent because true equality hasn't been achieved yet? That could be it. I'd set benchmarks for it to be repealed, though. Otherwise you're just wizzing into the wind.
  16. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    That leaves a few critical questions:

    1) Is "true equality" actually possible? I would say no, it's not 100% possible, if for no other reason than you cannot force individuals to change, and individuals come in all stripes.
    2) If 100% isn't possible, how close is "close enough"? 99%? 95%? At what point do you say "this is as close as we can reasonably get" and live with it? Using gender as an example, ideally you would get a 50/50 split. Would 51/49 be close enough? 55/45? There will always be variation on some level. Just because you have a 50/50 chance of getting tails doesn't mean that getting heads 3 times in a row is impossible.
    3) How do you measure equality? Especially, how do you measure it separate from the programs you implement to change it? To use a simplified example, if you insist on 50/50 gender equality, and set a quota that you will hire 1 woman for each man you hire, how do you know when you would reach that same level without the quota? The implementation corrupts the measurement.
    4) How do you dismantle programs that are no longer needed? It's a simple truth that when it comes to politics, the loudest voices often get what they want. If a program is no longer needed, it is still difficult to dismantle it, because those that receive benefit from it will be quite vocal.

    I've asked these sort of questions in this forum every time a discussion on racism or Affirmative Action has come up, and I've yet to really get any straight answers from anyone on them. Often, they either get ignored, or dismissed without any answers. Sometimes, they've been enough by themselves to kill a thread for lack of answers.

    Kimball Kinnison
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    1) Is "true equality" actually possible? I would say no, it's not 100% possible, if for no other reason than you cannot force individuals to change, and individuals come in all stripes.

    True. In one sense, it's something humanity as a species can wait out. Globalization is new, and the removal of legal barriers to keep people with different physical and ethnic characteristics from interbreeding is fairly recent. If civilization doesn't end and people don't return to a more rudimentary, localized lifestyle, eventually regional characteristics will be so interbred with each other that people will no longer be able to make personal racial classifications based on appearance. At that point, prejudice will persist but will have to limit itself to religious and cultural differences.

    2) If 100% isn't possible, how close is "close enough"? 99%? 95%? At what point do you say "this is as close as we can reasonably get" and live with it? Using gender as an example, ideally you would get a 50/50 split. Would 51/49 be close enough? 55/45? There will always be variation on some level. Just because you have a 50/50 chance of getting tails doesn't mean that getting heads 3 times in a row is impossible.

    From the time of Johnson's executive order to the point at which the tide seemed to begin to turn against affirmative action and diversity efforts in schools, desegregation, etc., was a mere dozen or so years. American political forces were unable to maintain a sustained affirmative action experiment for a mere generation, not even half a generation, measured against several centuries of slavery and more than half a 20th century worth of Jim Crow laws in the south and near total segregation outside the south. It would have been beneficial to have seen affirmative action slowly scaled back only after a full generation of work, and even then scaled back slowly over the course of another generation as positive trends became clear.

    Instead, affirmative action was dismantled within a generation of it having begun.

    3) How do you measure equality? Especially, how do you measure it separate from the programs you implement to change it? To use a simplified example, if you insist on 50/50 gender equality, and set a quota that you will hire 1 woman for each man you hire, how do you know when you would reach that same level without the quota? The implementation corrupts the measurement.

    I'd start by looking at the statistics of African American participation and success in all aspects and levels of socioeconomic life in this country. I'm more interested in sustained trends and positive movement than absolute, perfect success.

    4) How do you dismantle programs that are no longer needed? It's a simple truth that when it comes to politics, the loudest voices often get what they want. If a program is no longer needed, it is still difficult to dismantle it, because those that receive benefit from it will be quite vocal.

    It was easily done in this country by the Supreme Court, which provided the momentum for killing the national affirmative action experiment. If your question was "had affirmative action been given an opportunity to succeed as a project at the national and state levels, when would we have known when to end it and how would we have been able to do it?" I think benchmarks could have been set that could have triggered a reasonable end date for various successful affirmative action programs. An issue isn't just success, but sustainable success. If affirmative action was the only way to enforce equality of opportunity, then it should have been more or less permanent.
  18. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    It IS possible. All you have to do is remove that pesky individuality thing.

    [image=http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/8/2009/12/stormtroopers.jpg]

  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    This was the deal African-Americans got in return for three centuries of slavery and another century of Apartheid: 15 years of commitment to affirmative action programs.

  20. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    In the law, yes. In enforcing the law, too.
    In minds, no. But neither is eradication of greed, or violence, or any negative emotion. Does that mean we'd have to tolerate it?
    This is a no-brainer. Why do you even ask it? It implies that you think the law should reflect what's in the mind; it implies that you support and promote inequality.

    This is not about gender, and it's a completely unfitting comparison. If the difference between skin colors was as big as the difference between genders, you'd have a point... but it isn't, so you don't.

    See 2.

    This is too vague to answer. What programs? Which voices? What benefit?
    Is there a reason you ask this question except to obfuscate the issue?
  21. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
  22. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    AaylaSecurOWNED, I'm not sure if replacing institutional racism with institutional racialism does much to bring about more equality. I would suggest that part of the reason racism persists is that people view those of other racial groups as 'the other', and by pushing the argument that people of other races really ARE 'the other', it seems to create a self-fulfilling prophecy that people focus on that.

    Which is not to say that we shouldn't work to do something about decisions based on race, but if there is a group that is disproportionately represented in, say, lower incomes, then focusing a policy on helping those with lower incomes would also disproportionately benefit that group and focus help on where it's needed most, and with increased integration without applying separate levels to people, increase the chances that the significance of racial categories for disparaging people would be broken down in future generations. I'd suggest that, on a related thing, the reason that younger age groups have more tolerate attitudes towards homosexuality isn't thanks to government agendas legislating treatment, but that as more people have come out, and particularly, younger people, it means that 'homosexuals' aren't some other group, but increasingly represent friends and family, and that removes the idea of them being 'the other'. It doesn't flip a switch, but it does erode over time. I'd think that's part of why college can be a transformational period for people... because they come into contact with members of various groups they otherwise might not have met, and those stereotypes can decay because of that, and the more that happens without instilling more reasons to treat people as 'the other', the better, personally.
  23. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    As long as you can't force 100% true equality in the minds of individuals, you can never have it in the law, because it winds up being those same individuals who both write and enforce the laws. That's not saying that it should be that way, simply describing the facts of reality.

    In theory, 100% equality for everyone is possible, but theory and practice don't always match up perfectly.

    Except that my point does hold up. My choice of gender was as an analogy to illustrate the concept in an area where you can use simpler metrics. (After all, there are only two biological genders, each making up a similar proportion of the population.) It is also an area where similar claims of discrimination have been levelled over the years (particularly in areas such as pay, or promotions within the workforce, or even hiring decisions in general).

    The general idea is that if you would expect a certain result to be indicative of "true equality", then how close to that result is good enough in practice to say that the problem is essentially solved?

    Again, you decided to miss the point I was trying to illustrate. You need to be able to measure equality if you are going to determine how close we are to the goal of full equality. Without measurement, you cannot properly evaluate progress.

    It was vague specifically because the exact form of this question depends greatly on the answers to the previous questions, which you completely avoided answering. If you answer those first, then this one becomes clearer.

    Kimball Kinnison
  24. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The U.S. should have gone all in with affirmative action programs designed to continue through the working lifespan of every African American born up to the second the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law. If we had pursued affirmative action vigorously to 2029 and then gradually phased out those programs over another thirty years, then we would have taken the issue of redress out through the lifespan of everyone who had ever been a victim of Apartheid America.

    At that point, as Americans, I think we could have said: this is the logical endpoint of redressing past wrongs suffered well into the 20th century. From this point forward, we focus exclusively on race-neutral programs to address poverty and socioeconomic barriers to education, etc., as Low mentioned in his post above.

    Too late for that, obviously. White bitterness made that impossible, and the national commitment to affirmative action barely survived a decade and a half from the passage of the civil rights act. I dare say if MLK hadn't been assassinated, the rollback would have started even sooner.
  25. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Justify this view.

    What you've articulated here is quite literally the most superficial of concerns. You give almost no heed to racism itself, nor its actual effects. Instead, you've fixated obsessively on how to avoid the charge of racism. It's form without substance, aesthetic without utility. What, then, is it's real value? It's certainly not preventing racism. After all, you've admitted in this very discussion that a number of quite possibly racist incidents should pass entirely without comment, solely to preserve the status of racism as a devastating charge. Nor does making the charge so explosive really help race relations otherwise, since it's a key component of the status quo that you've also said you dislike. Why, then, should we be at all concerned with keeping it? Dare we not hope that people avoid racism because it is inherently morally repugnant, and not just because the fear the social repercussions of the label?

    More broadly, it really seems to me like a misconception about race to begin with. The same one, in fact, that I suspect led you to flippantly equate white guilt with all the cumulative damage caused by racism from the founding of this country into the present. So let's be clear. From the first stirrings of abolitionism to the recently settled USDA lawsuit this year, none of the sacrifices, law, or perseverance was ever about trying to create an insult that was "second only to child molestation." It was to gain a real, substantive equality. Somehow, your discussion seems to have lost sight of that goal almost entirely. There's understandably a trade-off, but despite repeated requests in this thread, you've as of yet declined to make any suggestions on, for instance, what a speaker's responsibility might be in trying to avoid giving offense, while you've set the standard that listeners should just "try not to be offended" no matter what.

    Finally, I'd like to examine the appropriateness of the comparison you made to child molestation. While I realize you were talking about the impact of the charge on one's social standing, but I think this will let us make an important point. Things like child molestation can have bright red lines around them. It makes sense because (for a moment excepting discussion of statutory rape of sexually mature underage girls) there is a relatively small subset of people to whom it ever appeals. There's also not a huge continuity of acts that would qualify. Racism isn't that way. The tendency to favor those who are like us in one way or another is pretty deeply ingrained in the human psyche, and can occur even (or especially) when we aren't trying. Unlike, say, sexual attraction to a pre-pubertal child, you don't need any conscious cognition to have a problematic response. With these sorts of problems that can potentially exist subconsciously, you defeat it through self-examination and conscious attention to the potential problem.

    What you certainly do not do is try to demand that people ignore reality in hopes of making it go away. You earlier objected to ASO's contention that someone's ethnicity might influence their ability to ignore ethnic discrimination. It's not really clear why. Just statistically, minorities are more likely to interact with people of a different race than are members of the majority. If we assume every interracial incident was equally likely to produce a racist event, minorities would then still have a higher incidence of them, which would therefore make them harder to ignore. And, in fact, those assumptions are overly generous, as, for instance, complaints about discrimination filed with the DoJ demonstrate pretty unambiguously that minorities do seem to encounter this sort of thing more. Why fulmin
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