How does racism in the US work? *Understand the images first please*
Picture 1: Racial minorities are disadvantaged because 'the system' is 'occupied' by the racial majority
26.1% (6)
26.1% (6)
Picture 2: The system' is inherently racist
17.4% (4)
17.4% (4)
There is no racism in the US
8.7% (2)
8.7% (2)
Racism is caused by completely different factors
30.4% (7)
30.4% (7)
*Something else*
13% (3)
13% (3)
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Poll: Is the American system *inherently* racist?

In the 'White-unfair'-thread I hear two things about racism in the US. The problem is either...

1. Whites are a majority, and therefore the 'default'.

2. Society is 'made' for white people

I've made two pictures to illustrate my interpretation of the difference. They are probably horribly racist but I thought I had to explain my idea a little better... The left circle is 'the system': the government, police, employers, etcetera. The right circles are the 'normal people', divided in thee different races: whites, browns and yellows. *Yes I said it was horribly racist!*

Picture 1. Whites are the majority in important systems. The system isn't inherently racist.

image

Picture 2. Whites are the majority in an inherently racist system. Racial minorities are disadvantaged, not because they merely aren't the majority in the system, but because the system is inherently stacked against them.

image

So, is the US (or any other country you want to talk about) '1' or '2'?

im not quite sure what your getting at but perhaps you should note http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/us/whites-account-for-under-half-of-births-in-us.html?_r=1 if only for future reference in relation to the subject.

Sleekit:
im not quite sure what your getting at but perhaps you should note http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/us/whites-account-for-under-half-of-births-in-us.html?_r=1 if only for future reference in relation to the subject.

I know that, I've linked to a similar article less than 7 days ago. I'm quite sure that the majority of the employers/important people in government/police offers are still white.

Perhaps you should have picked a different title for this thread. At first glance I thought it was going to question why racism is perceived as a bad thing in society.

Aside from that I would choose picture one, but perhaps I'm not the best person to judge. It's often said that white people can't see racism as much as minorities. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that my general obliviousness may be clouding me somewhat.

TKretts3:
Aside from that I would choose picture one, but perhaps I'm not the best person to judge. It's often said that white people can't see racism as much as minorities. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that my general obliviousness may be clouding me somewhat.

There is truth in that, but before the usual derailers come in, it is better said that people find it difficult to recognise prejudice they don't experience.

Therefore, in a white dominated system, white people are going to find it harder to see the problems of being in a white dominated system.

Supposedly, being on the sharp end of similar prejudice is supposed to help you recognise it, but this often totally fails to work in the real world.

Why 1 or 2? Surely 1 tends to lead to 2. It doesn't mean there is bad intent as much as people might claim, but the outcome is pretty similar regardless of whether people are straight up racist or not.

Oirish_Martin:
Why 1 or 2? Surely 1 tends to lead to 2. It doesn't mean there is bad intent as much as people might claim, but the outcome is pretty similar regardless of whether people are straight up racist or not.

As far as I know, slavery in the US was inherently racist. White people could not be enslaved. The system treated blacks worse than whites. It was not merely 'most slaveholders and politicians were white, thus blacks were disadvantaged' - the system was really stacked against black people.

So the question is....
Are racial minorities disadvantaged because the system is occupied by racial majorities, or is the system (the laws, the rules, the policies, the way it's set up) inherently racist too?

Being a black person I can tell you that from where I'm standing racism is a horribly overblown issue. That's not to say that racism has been eradicated but it isn't some mitigating factor that's holding black people back from succeeding either. Are there still horrible poor black neighborhoods? Yes indeed there are but that doesn't mean that black kids in those neighborhood don't have the opportunity to study hard and better their standing in life. There are multiple things holding back the black community but racism isn't one of them.

I think first and foremost you have a failure in the black culture it's self. There is a large part of the lower income black community that puts a criminal and degenerate lifestyle on a pedestal. As I said in a previous thread when I go back to where I grew up it sickens me to see a lot of these young black men dressing, speaking, and all around acting like a bunch of criminals. If you idolize that sort of lifestyle and then seek to emulate it it's not racism when people treat you accordingly. If you don't have any respect for yourself don't expect others to.

Beyond that there are serious failings in black leadership. The sooner the black community stops letting people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton speak on their behalf the better off they will be. Race baiters like Jackson and Sharpton only look to place blame for community's problems rather than looking for solutions. They are quick to point the finger at racism even when the problems are self inflicted. This attitude of theirs sadly is entirely too common in the black community. I think it would do us a quite a bit of good to stop blaming "The Man" for all our problems and start owning up to what we've brought on ourselves and then get to fixing it.

Could other entities, like the government, be doing more to help? Possibly, but it's really not their place. If you are black and want a high paying job then go work and study hard and earn it. Don't look to the government to hold your hand and make it easier for you just because you happen to be black. Again, I fully admit rasism still exists but it isn't an institutional problem.

Its a mixture of factors, surely. Society reflects the cultures that make it up, and cultures create society. It's surely a given that a white (Judeo-Christian, straight)-majority society will best cater for the needs of white (Judeo-Christian, straight) people without requiring any conscious bias.

That's not to say that conscious cultural/racist bias doesn't exist, too.

Xanthious:
-snip-

Pipe down, you; the straight white males are busy playing pass-the-buck and frankly, you're not helping.

That was a joke, of course. I heartily agree with you. But when I, as a white guy, express pretty much the same sentiments, I get called insensitive and a privilege-denier. :/

Batou667:
Its a mixture of factors, surely. Society reflects the cultures that make it up, and cultures create society. It's surely a given that a white (Judeo-Christian, straight)-majority society will best cater for the needs of white (Judeo-Christian, straight) people without requiring any conscious bias.

How are 'black' and 'white' different cultures? I think that American blacks are culturally way more like American whites than like blacks from Kenya or Sudan. And American whites are culturally way more like American blacks than like whites from Siberia.

Black American
image

White American
image

Blacks in Sudan
image

Whites in Siberia
image

'Race' and 'culture' seem quite independent.

Batou667:
That's not to say that conscious cultural/racist bias doesn't exist, too.

But is there conscious racist bias in the system? Inherent? Not 'most police officers are white and they discriminate against blacks' but 'this policy actively harms black people - not because of race-independent factors like poverty and social class, but purely because they are black'?

Not 'it's a non-racist system filled with racist people', but 'it's a racist system'.

Neither 1 nor 2. You would have to be simple minded to believe either.

Skin colour has pretty much nothing to do with your success in life, its other factors that matter.

>All races have racists
>More whites in US
>More whites in "the system"
>More white racists in "the system"
>System only "racist" because of math.

WE MUST BAN STATISTICS

Danyal:
-snip-

Thank you for the lovely pictures, without which I would have been unable to visualise the point you were trying to make :P

Yes, culture is often defined along with nationality. But it can also be defined along racial lines too (or even completely invisible lines like religion or language).

Are black and white different cultures? Not necessarily, but there are black and white "voices". I think it's kind of been accepted that the mainstream can't possibly cater for every last minority (at least not without obvious and incongruous shoe-horning) and therefore minorities tend to stake out their own rather than patiently wait to be noticed. That's why we have recognised genres of music that are of "black origin" and black entertainment channels (and correspondingly, Asian channels, etc).

Is the system racist? No, I don't think so. I don't see how a system could be racist unless it has some kind of explicit racial ideology enshrined in it, which generally Western societies don't.

If your point is something along the lines of "If black people are typically poorer than whites, then we should increase welfare provision for all poor people, not just provide affirmative action for black people" then I'd agree.

Xanthious:
-snip-

I agree with pretty much everything you say. I live near St. Louis, and my dad sometimes talks about all the "black people who won't stop having babies and get themselves out of there," and it just irks me because as you said it's not really an issue of race. It's an issue of the inner-city culture in general. And treating it like an issue of race is only addressing a symptom, not the cause. My dad isn't racist, or so I've been able to gather from 21 years of knowing him, but he does get very "frank" about things like socio-economic problems and has a habit of mistaking the most obvious part of the problem for the real root of the issue. He just isn't very good at separating the people from the problem, and I think that's the main thing that's going on with people like him and Jackson and Sharpton.

Batou667:

Are black and white different cultures? Not necessarily, but there are black and white "voices".

Funny that you mention voices. When I watch American made films/TV-series the blacks ALWAYS talk in a different accent. As someone who doesn't live in the US I have no idea whether blacks really talk like that, or it's a false stereotype.

Sorry for digression.

FHG:

Batou667:

Are black and white different cultures? Not necessarily, but there are black and white "voices".

Funny that you mention voices. When I watch American made films/TV-series the blacks ALWAYS talk in a different accent. As someone who doesn't live in the US I have no idea whether blacks really talk like that, or it's a false stereotype.

Sorry for digression.

black people are actually over represented in the modern media.

there's only about 13.1% of black people in the US.

to put that in perspective (maybe) that's the same percentage of red haired Scottish people.

its possible this may convey false impressions to people outside as to the nature of reality in the US.

personally i don't have much experience of real racism. Scotland tends to kinda absorb people and lean towards its egalitarian traditions (at least nowadays). sure ive seen some but a great many of the stories i could tell would probably surprise you. it's quite possible i've seen more and more serious altercations conducted at racist people than incidents in the other direction.

religion on the other hand...is sadly a whole different kettle of fish.

eh..i guess what im trying to say is i don't really feel comfortable discussing the US race situation because frankly i have no real experience of it and the experience i do have of it is anything but real (most of the time). as far as "the system" goes our government/business style is probably what you'd call liberal/PC respectively.

Danyal:
How are 'black' and 'white' different cultures? I think that American blacks are culturally way more like American whites than like blacks from Kenya or Sudan. And American whites are culturally way more like American blacks than like whites from Siberia.

But Obama is an evil Muslim Kenyan out to destroy the US, and this is a belief held by a lot of people. I'd be very surprised if those people weren't predominantly white, and if the belief would still be hold if Obama was (well, except for the destroy the US bit).

Now, sure, black and white US citizens may be culturally closer in certain ways to each other than they are to people from other nations, but that's not to say there aren't differences.

I don't believe that "the system was made for whites", so much as the system was made for "everyone". It just so happens that whites, for various reasons, shed their past culture much more quickly than other races. Other races seem to cling to their past in a way that whites simply don't do. I'm half-Scottish. No one in my family even owns a kilt. I go out to the Highland Games for a day each fall to take in a bit of that culture, but for 364 days a year, the only way you'd know I was of Scottish ancestry is if you asked. Whites, at least in America, assimilate. Within a couple of generations, they stop considering themselves part of wherever they left, and embrace their new home. They flavour their new home with traditions from their past (for example, my maternal grandmother is the daughter of a German immigrant. Christmas and Thanksgiving both feature German dishes, alongside more traditional offerings), but they fully embrace the culture they're in now. Other races don't seem to do that. They cling to as much of their past culture as possible. In a society that is envisioned to be a "melting pot", is it any surprise that certain pieces don't seem to fit in when they refuse to "melt"? It isn't so much that "white is the default" as "American is the default", and whites have the greatest tendency toward adapting to that default.

Well at least at this point in history we can say we're not trying to be racist anymore. It seems like a long time ago now but the country has had segregation and discriminatory laws far longer than it hasn't. There is still plenty of hints of institutionalized racism stemming from those days but as more time passes they should fade away more and more.

So it has been inherently racist for a while but it's at least getting better. Any kind of actual attempted racism written into policies and whatnot can only be achieved very discreetly when using another face or issue or at a very local level.

FHG:

Batou667:

Are black and white different cultures? Not necessarily, but there are black and white "voices".

Funny that you mention voices. When I watch American made films/TV-series the blacks ALWAYS talk in a different accent. As someone who doesn't live in the US I have no idea whether blacks really talk like that, or it's a false stereotype.

Sorry for digression.

I think what you are noticing is people speaking in Ebonics.

OP:I think it is a little of bit of picture one and a little bit of picture two.

The system was originally set up at a time when women and minorities weren't exactly held in high regard, and has been adapted to allow equal rights. For something as complicated as an entire system of government though, I seriously doubt all the laws have been changed to be entirely equal, so that there is going to be some minor inherent racism, although the vast majority of politicians will see it as unintentional.

Waffle aside, I'm not sure that having a bunch of old white men making the laws is necessarily racist, as long as they are acting on behalf of their constituents, rather than their own gender/race. The same thing would apply if a bunch of young black women were in charge instead.

FHG:
Funny that you mention voices. When I watch American made films/TV-series the blacks ALWAYS talk in a different accent. As someone who doesn't live in the US I have no idea whether blacks really talk like that, or it's a false stereotype.

Sorry for digression.

There are people who talk like that, yes, though in many instances in movies and tv it may be exaggerated or specifically taken from rather extreme examples. There are also white people who talk like the ridiculous hick rednecks you see in movies and on tv.

Both will come into play, as will various other factors such as people's personal prejudices (both learnt and instinctive), a history of discrimination which has left people of colour collectively economically disadvantaged and various other factors.

Racism can't be pinned down to just one thing.

 

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