Morgan Freeman Solves the Race Problem

Christa - posted on 05/06/2010 ( 180 moms have responded )

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Here is a quick piece of an interview with Morgan Freeman a few years ago. I would like to see the whole thing myself, but I love what he has to say in this clip.



I agree with him completely and I've tried to make this point before to no avail. I think having "special" months or award shows or tv stations etc only keep us separate and make our divisions bigger. I do not believe they bring us closer together. I think the only way to bridge these gaps is to stop pointing them out and start just seeing people. Maybe if spoken by a black man it will have more weight. Thoughts??

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Iris - posted on 05/13/2010

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Ok, I've been sitting in my corner quiet reading this thread trying not to reply. I've been in a middle of a discussion of a similar thread before and it got me nowhere. But because this is something that is pretty close to my heart I just can't help myself.

I am a mother of two biracial girls married to an African-American (or as my husband likes to consider himself if we have to put a color to it... “dark skinned” American).

I would so love to see the racism go away, but it is here and while some people here don't see why it can't be as simple as just look beyond the color the only thing I can say is; you don't know unless you are the minority. I'm a blond hair blue eyed woman, but I've been married to my husband for 10 years and we've been together for 12 years. Never before I started dating him did I realize the depth of the stupidity and ignorance and the racism out there. And believe me, I don't consider stupid questions racist but I put racism and ignorance and judgment in the same category.

I’ve been asked if he stinks because they’ve heard that all black people stink. My answer: Does your husband stink?

“Does he have a bigger penis than a white guy? “

“How does it feel to be married to a black man?”

“I didn’t expect him to be so inellectual”

We have been stopped by the police while driving the speed limit just for them to tell us we were speeding and they made sure they came over on my side and asked me if I was ok.

We also have had people walk out of a resturant because “they couldn’t bare being close to such filth” yeah, that was in 2001 in Chicago and we had our 2 year old daughter with us. I guess it is more nasty to be a biracial couple..

The thing is that if you are white and you have a white husband you might know this excists, I did. But that is nothing comparing to living it.

Some of you have been saying that you know black people that are doing great. But how well do you know them? Do you know them well enough for them to tell you these humiliating stories when someone rejected them only because of their skin color? I’d think they’d keep that close, between them and someone they could relate to.

Christa - posted on 05/11/2010

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I think many of you are missing a point. I don't believe anybody says to ignore our differences, but why do we let them define us? Maybe I've grown up in a better area, but my history classes always included all things important to our history, including blacks, Hispanics, native Americans and whites. So I've never needed a special month to fill in the blanks. I agree with Morgan, why reduce their history to a month? Here's how I see it as a problem. . . In a few years I'm sure my daughter will ask me why is there no white history month? There's black, and Hispanic but no white? What should my answer be?? Because they are more important? Because they are less important? IF they are equally important then why don't we have both months or no months? You can not teach our youth that all races are equals as human beings until we start treating them that way on a broader scale.

Our long histories are important, BUT they do NOT define us as individuals. IF they did then I would assume that every black person I meet is the same, isn't that what a racist does? No I see people as people regardless of their race or anything else. I feel our backgrounds and individual experiences have more to do with who we are then the fact that our ancestors were slaves or slave owners. Yes some black person from the inner city is going to be very different from me, we probably will have many different opinions and views of the world, but so would me and a white person or a Hispanic person or an Asian person etc from the inner city. I feel that all this racism talk gives people excuses, like the stats Mary posted earlier. So if a black kid ends up in jail he can hide behind "the system is out to get him" or "it's racism" where as a white kid just has to own up that they made poor choices. There's no ACLU or Al Sharpton to come to a poor white kids rescue that's been treated unfairly, but if a black kid is treated unfairly they come swooping in trumpets blaring about the unjustness. It all continues to separate us. The fact that I am not as comfortable talking to a black person I don't know because I am afraid to say something that they will be offended by is wrong. And I am not a racist in the slightest, but unfortunately some people want to see racism where it isn't. I was talking to a friend the other day about this topic and she told me a story of a time when she was working with a black women and she was making a comment about "Million Dollar Baby" and she called it a dark movie. This women bit her head off about how racist it was to use that word. WTH?!?! People need to stop seeing racism where there isn't, people need to stop hiding behind the past so we can move forward.

(I hope any of this makes sense, It's taken me about 1.5 hours to write because I have a 2 year old who is well. . . being 2.)

Laura - posted on 05/06/2010

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I agree with Aimee, Christa and Jo and others. It's not that Black History Month is the problem it's the reasoning behind it. The original purpose was good for awhile but let's move on. Why settle there. We insisted on integrating schools why not integrate our history. Black history did not happen in a vacuum so why study it in a vacuum. The same should be said about Native Americans. The point is that maybe if we get rid of some of the things that divide us then maybe eventually we can get rid of all the things that divide. Or should we just keep going along with things as they are because they're working out so great? No one said that we are declaring racism over and gone but maybe if we try a more positive route as Christa and Jo said I think it would create alot more success than anything we are doing now. Constantly reminding blacks that there are racist people and constantly reminding people that they're racists only gets you exactly what you're looking for....racism. Celebrate the differences definately. Celebrate the equality, most definately.

Iris - posted on 05/13/2010

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;) Thank you Tah.

Honestly, I think we should embrace the different cultures.

I come from Iceland and I can trace my ancestors back to the vikings that first came to Iceland back in 850.

My husband can trace his ancestors back to 1900. His last name probably came from a slave owner, one who considered my husbands ancestors no more valuable than a table chair. So yes, I believe we have to keep the black history month and embrace the strong people that survived the slavery AND we should not forget the white people that helped it happen.

Krista - posted on 05/12/2010

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"Where as a conservative says you can do or be anything you want, you just might have to work a little harder. "

In some cases it's more than a "little" harder, Christa. Some people are born into unfortunate situations, and their opportunities are very limited right from the get-go.

I'm not saying that they can't achieve their dreams, but the ones that do have had to overcome overwhelming obstacles and work at an almost superhuman level to be able to obtain opportunities that you or I might take for granted, or might have to only expend a little bit of effort to reach.

If you and I are in a footrace, and you have to start off 100 yards behind me, then sure...theoretically you could still win the race. But why should you have to be so much better than I am just to achieve the same goal? I guess that's why I'm a liberal -- I believe that as much as possible, we should level the playing field (not by bringing the advantaged down, but by bringing the disadvantaged UP), and then let everybody succeed (or fail) from there on their own merits.

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Brooke - posted on 05/14/2010

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He's right on the money. I have always felt this way. Black history is American history and should always be celebrated. A month just isn't enough.

ME - posted on 05/14/2010

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Thanks Esther...I wish I could believe this would put an end to this insanity, but I won't hold my breath!

Christa - posted on 05/14/2010

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I agree Kati. If we all could keep our "child eyes" the world would be a much happier place.:-)

Rosie - posted on 05/14/2010

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ok, krista just made the point that i've been trying to make this whole time. she didn't know, didn't care about her indian friends color. sure she noticed she was darker, but to equivilate it to a race didn't cross her mind. it seems her mother didn't spend the time to explain differences and krista didn't see any.

Tah - posted on 05/14/2010

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i thought about that..maybe the people doing the fist pump and the my black brother don't come into contact with alot of black people, but being as though i do, nad everyone i know does, i have never seen that. it's not something we feel we need to say, hi will do ya...so it's interesting that you said he was raised around alot of white culture, so he may have thought that was the way to greet other blacks.

Krista - posted on 05/14/2010

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I've never seen elderly Chinese women spitting. I've seen young Chinese men doing it a lot though. And when my friend taught in Korea, she said that the guys spit everywhere. I suppose if it's a norm in your culture you wouldn't even notice it. I find it pretty gross though. Then again, I'm sure there's stuff that we Canadians do that other cultures find odd or gross.

Just thinking on this race thing reminds me of something kind of funny. When I was a little girl, my best friend was Indian-Canadian. Her parents were born in India, moved here, and she was born in Canada. So at their home, there were some very different cultural habits than at our home. I loved it. Their house always smelled of wonderful food and interesting spices. Her mother wore the most beautiful saris and had a ruby nose piercing (which fascinated the heck out of me). I loved their food, their clothes, their music. But at the same time, Bhavani was a lot like me. We liked earrings, and Barbies, and talking about boys, and riding our bikes.

And I remember many years later, someone asked me if my parents had a problem with me being best friends with someone of a different race. And I stopped in my tracks. I had never actually THOUGHT of her that way -- as being of a different race. I knew her family was from India and that they had different ways of doing things, and I obviously knew that she had dark brown skin and beautiful long black hair. But the word "race" never even entered the picture.

And I think that this is what I mean when I talk about enjoying our differences, while realizing how much we all have in common. We don't need to erase our differences in order to be equal.

Suzette - posted on 05/14/2010

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LOL Carol, my husband spits too. He does it off to the side, where no one walks though. It's habit for him and he does it because of allergies. It annoys the living hell out of me, seriously. I always tell him to knock it off. He doesn't wear wifebeaters or caps backwards, he's military and is in uniform 90 percent of the time. (He does his best not to do it then.) I keep reminding him that it's rude to do it, but he doesn't seem to remember. I just haven't seen an elderly chinese woman do it, not that I've ever recalled. I really haven't seen a woman do it ever unless she dips and I haven't seen a woman who dips in a long, long time. I found it a little humorous when you mentioned a woman spitting. (Not humorous about the stereotype though.)

Johnny - posted on 05/13/2010

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I don't know. To be honest, I've seen it quite often. Like at least once a week. But why, I'm guessing because they have phlegm and where/when they were raised spitting is not a taboo. I really hate it when I see it, I mean, ugh! But then I know that it isn't just white people that don't like it, it is anyone familiar with Canadian cultural norms not including spitting in public. I also see 20-something white guys wearing wife-beaters and backwards baseball caps doing it too. Personally, I think they should all be sent to etiquette school.

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

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Carol,

I've never heard that elderly Chinese ladies spit on the ground. Where does that come from? I only ask because I'm curious if there's some type of reason behind them doing that, if any of them even do that. lol. (I'm always curious about other cultures and their reasonings behind doing things, so I ask when I see something about cultures or races doing things I haven't heard of before.) Just curious!

Johnny - posted on 05/13/2010

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The "black brother thing" lol. My ex-boyfriend (total dork) used to do this until one of his "brothers" threatened to beat him senseless over it. I think he finally clued in that their color didn't automatically bond him to others. He did have an excuse, his dad went back to Africa when he was 2, he was raised by a white mother, and white grandparents in an all-white neighborhood and didn't meet another black person (aside from his sister) until he was 14 and his dad came to visit.

I actually think that he had more stereotypes about being black (as a black man) than many white people do. Race doesn't tell the story of who you are (his favorite movie was Emma for heaven's sake), but it is the starting point for the assumptions that people make about you.

My grandmother's best friend is Chinese (which is odd given that my grandmother is totally racist against Chinese people) and when she went into the old folks home she made sure to tell everyone that she didn't spit on the ground, because that is what so many people here think about old Chinese ladies. We ALL make stupid assumptions about each other a thousand times a day (and they aren't all fed by the media). Race is an easy starting point. We see one person do something, we instantly start to categorize others who appear similar.

Tah - posted on 05/13/2010

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and christa you are correct about the media thing, my husband and I were discussing that on the media for the most part we are portrayed a certain way. I mean if there is a fire, was the lady with the scarf and missing 2 front teeth who can barely put a sentence together the only person out there..lol...crimes reports etc etc. They could make someone think that most of us are that way. I just know enough of us that aren't, to know better. ...i just can't get over this

"my black brother thng with the black power fist...do people really do that...still lmbo..." I call 6 people sister, my sisters..lol...and i have never seen the black power fist in action unless watching t.v...o and the laides at church of course, but they aren't just black...too funny...

Tah - posted on 05/13/2010

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whats up my black brother..and a salute..lmbo...ok...now if you had been treated that way then you have every right to be apprehensive and to have your guard up....i mean i have had bad relationships and now i have a wonderful husband, he has not broken my nose or done other things that i have experienced and not shared with anyone but my husband and to be honest when i met him i was sure he must be crazy because he had to be to good to true. i definitely had my guard up..but let me just say that I never once thought all men were abusive or cheaters or deadbeats..my father is a good man and so is my husband, now the fact i know every man isn't bad didn't stop me from approaching our relationship with caution.

As i stated, i know all white people don't feel this way, and i don't treat them as if they do, everybody gets a fresh start from me and if i don't care for what i am seeing or we can't get along, or you say somethings that make me feel uncomfortable or belittled then that is another story. so i guess my answer is yes, if you had bad experiences with black people all your life, you have every right as a human being to want to protect yourself and to be cautious, i would just hope you wouldn't judge every black person by the behavior of those, i don't.

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

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Mary Elizabeth,

I never thought about it, but after my experience with my biological father growing up, I haven't trusted men very much either. It's taken me years to do so and, like Kati, I have a wonderful relationship with my Dad (step father), and I trust him. But, like you, I feel uncomfortable around strange men until I take the time to get to know them, which can literally take months. I knew my husband for five years before we began to date, I didn't fully trust him until a year after I'd known him though. On the same hand, I don't trust women very much either because of bad experiences with female friends. It takes me months to trust someone (anyone really) completely. I suppose that's not fair to anyone who knows me. There's exceptions to every rule though, especially if a person can show that they're trustworthy.

Talking about strange men, my neighbor and I were talking about how we react when we see a man we don't know walking around, when we're without our husbands, and how we react. We both said that our guards immediately go up.

I laugh at people when they talk about my dad that way... he's over 6 ft tall and weighs about 250 lbs, but he's so quiet around people that they think he's mad all the time. And he easily sneaks up on people because of how quiet he is, without meaning to do so. My husband actually thought my dad didn't like him, he found him intimidating. To me, my dad is just a huge teddy bear, but I wonder how many others find him intimidating.

I actually had the crap scared out of me by a guy on post when I was sitting at my computer doing homework one day and my husband was at work. I heard talking all around my house, I look outside and there's a guy walking around on his cell phone outside my window. I freaked out because it looked like he was casing my house. He was in uniform too. He didn't bother coming to the door until he saw me looking out the window. It turns out one of his soldiers was moving into the neighborhood and he didn't know what house, he didn't bother going to housing to ask them, he was doing this to all the houses in the neighborhood too. A few of the houses around here have women who stay at home with their children during the day. I couldn't imagine how many of them were freaked out that day. I should've taken his name and reported his sorry butt.

ME - posted on 05/13/2010

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I think that is an interesting analogy Kati. I have also had many bad experiences with men, and for a long time, I was very sensitive around men, nervous, scared, confused, etc. I don't know that I've gotten over it though. Yes, my husband is wonderful, but strange men still make me uncomfortable, and I have not forgotten or forgiven what happened to me, I just took my anger and put it into something positive. I don't know that that is something EVERY person should be expected to do. It took me thirty years to get there...maybe it takes other people longer (or shorter). We are all very different afterall...

Rosie - posted on 05/13/2010

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ok, so i want to address 2 things, and then maybe i'm done, lol! i'm curious how you would feel tah with this situation. lets say i have had bad experiences with black people all of my life. i'd been constantly beaten down, made to feel like shit, maybe even attacked physically. now, according to your logic, i would have every right to be apprehensive towards black people, and freak out if someone says or inadvertantly does something that reminds me of my pain. does that sound right at all to you? i can certainly see being a little apprehensive in any situation where, you've been beaten down (physically or mentally), my biological father did that to me. he beat me, threatened me, killed my brother in the womb, and pretty much made me think all men are huge pieces of shit who will treat women that way. i had "issues" with trust, and i admit i still have a little bit of a problem with men. but i have also learned that not every man is like my father. my step-dad proved to me that men can treat women with respect, that men can be respected for their actions, not their threats. my husband taught me that not every man is going to leave their children behind (and i've had a double whammy with that one, as my oldest sons father left him, as well as my bio-dad leaving me). what i'm trying to say is that we grow, we learn, we are still weary yes, but to make it so that every white person is on your (in general) radar because a white person has hurt you (general), is no better than me doing the same thing with a black person. it's not right.



my second thing i wanted to say was that i just talked to anthony (my neighbor) and he actually agrees with me. i think that is probably why i felt like i could just be myself around him from the minute i met him. he doesn't try to seperate himself, actually he told me that when a black person comes up to him and tries to make a point to point out that they're both black, like doing a little black power salute, or saying "what's up my black brother" (like that should somehow magically bond them) it annoys him, and makes him uncomfortable. if people would just be who they are instead of worrying about color he would be alot happier. he doesn't think affirmative action is necessary anymore, in fact he called it bullshit. he thinks more emphasis should be put on black people throughout our history lessons in school, and not just the really well known ones like martin luther king. of course i agree 100% with him. :)

Esther - posted on 05/13/2010

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I just want to say YAY for us!! We've managed to have a 100+ post thread on a topic as sensitive as race and it has been insightful and respectful all around. We rock. Just sayin'

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

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Christa,

In my opinion, discrimination (racism) toward any difference in a person is the same thing as hate. It can be minimized, I agree. It won't go away though. There will be a person who is ignorant, doesn't understand, or doesn't want to. But the fact that we're separating things with different channels, different programs, etc. isn't going to help minimize anything. It just makes the divide even greater.



We need to put people of different culture, race, etc. on the mainstream channels, if this is a big issue, not create different channels for them. (This includes BET and the Hispanic channels too. The actual channels escape my mind right now.) And not just late at night, but in prime time spots too. If we need to create more channels, not specifically geared toward them, then create another prime channel for everyone.

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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"I don't think it'll solve racism, that's going to take years and there will always be ignorance out there."



Suzette, it's more like there will always be hate out there. Racism will never go away, because hate will never go away. There will always be people out there who are mean to people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, color of hair, wrong clothes, looked at me funny, too many kids, not enough kids, stuck up, white trash, etc etc etc. Hate will never go away all we can do in minimize it in our lives.

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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I totally hear what you are saying Tah. I do think it's probably different for different parts of the country. I've lived in CO most of my life and my experience is people here aren't racist, that may be why it didn't occur to me, I imagine if I grew up in the south I probably should know better. I think the media actually does minorities a disservice in most cases. Usually for something to make the news it has to be an extreme situation, either an extreme racist or a "troubled" minority. In either case it gives someone who doesn't have a lot of interaction with the opposite race the wrong ideas. I also think some of these TV shows, movies and music also give the wrong ideas or impressions on how to deal with someone of the opposite race.



I also understand the older generation being more overtly racist and not even really thinking about it. I don't excuse them but they grew up in a different time and they are likely not going to change. When I talk, I'm really talking about the younger generation, I like to think that we are better then our parents and I KNOW better then our grandparents. Since we are raising the next generation, I'd like us to work to make them even better then us. I think that is going to happen with changes made by all races. I do think there are some minorities who are over sensitive and have a "chip on their shoulder". I also think there are some whites who still don't get it. As minorities people need to work on "lightening up" and as whites we need to work on educating those who are ignorant and myself I need to stop being afraid to be myself. I need to give myself the opportunity to have more pleasant interactions to erase my bad ones.

Suzette - posted on 05/13/2010

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Before I read all other posts, I'm sure I've posted this elsewhere, at least I believe I have... but with pregnancy brain going on I can't be sure so here goes.

@Iris,

"I’ve been asked if he stinks because they’ve heard that all black people stink. My answer: Does your husband stink?
“Does he have a bigger penis than a white guy? “
“How does it feel to be married to a black man?”
“I didn’t expect him to be so inellectual”
We have been stopped by the police while driving the speed limit just for them to tell us we were speeding and they made sure they came over on my side and asked me if I was ok.
We also have had people walk out of a resturant because “they couldn’t bare being close to such filth” yeah, that was in 2001 in Chicago and we had our 2 year old daughter with us. I guess it is more nasty to be a biracial couple.. "

I can relate to what you say. I'm married to a white man and I'm white myself, but my dad is hispanic. Growing up with a hispanic father isn't easy in a predominantly hispanic area. Not when the hispanics (other than family) refuse to accept your mother and the white people refuse to accept your father. And there's Native Americans who believe that your father is Native American because of the way he tans in the summer. (I will never understand that one, but he's been told a thousand times.)

We get dirty looks, to this day, when we're out and I say, "Hey Dad" and people realize who I'm talking to when he answers.
We've been called white trash from the time I was 8 years old, by hispanics, African Americans (blacks, dark skin Americans, however they prefer to be referred to), and by white people.
(I actually got in a fight when I was about 14 yrs old because one of the kids my brother went to school with told him that he was going to have a group of his 'friends' gang rape me across the rail road tracks from where we lived because we were white trash and I deserved it. I went to the kids house and was kicking his door to try to get him to come out. Yeah, I was kind of irked - to say the least.)

My mom has been confronted, at the court house where she used to work, by coworkers telling her that she needed to wise up and stop mixing with other races because it wasn't good for her children.

We've overheard people at restaurants making snide comments. The same with at parties too.

I guess it's my family, they don't see the point in making a big deal out of their own culture, regardless of how far they've come with history. They have their culture, they hold it close to their hearts. But, in their opinion, they are Americans. They believe it should all be taught together, they don't need separate programs on television or anywhere else. They don't want to be separate anymore, they want everything to be equal and they don't feel like it is. In fact, it irks the hell out of my Nana. (It did out of my grandfather too... he passed away last year.) It's a conversation I stopped having with them a few years ago because they got so worked up over it.

Everyone is different in their opinions, some people see the need to keep the different months, the different teachings, etc. Others just want everything blended, equalized. I can understand, to a degree, why some want to keep things separate, but on the same hand I believe that putting everything together can solve a lot of problems. I don't think it'll solve racism, that's going to take years and there will always be ignorance out there.

Tah - posted on 05/13/2010

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depending on his experience with it sure...and he could have just said it was offensive, he could have handled it better, and i dont want to make excuses but i dont what has happened in his life that upset him so much...im pretty sure that now as a adult he may handle it differently..but who knows...also christa..you spoke of the words that were once used. They are still used. I still hear from people who live in TN and Alabama and so on who are called 'boy". If you are a grown man, sometimes older than the person using it, would you want to be called boy and disrespected, No, sometimes it is not as easy as you think to discern if someone truly doesn't know, or if they are being a smartass etc. I mean some things seem obvious, but i have learned you can't assume.



before i heard you ladies say that you didn't know the words used to belittle black people, i would have thought that everybody had heard them, maybe in school during a lesson or in the media. So that's why i approach everyone with a clean slate until you do or say something that puts me on edge, I don't even really talk to my neighbor anymore because she is going to have me on a blood pressure med before im 30 if I do, i wave and keep it moving, because if she says one more thing to me about "black people" i might be typing this from the library in the county lock-up....(joking ladies)...should i assume that just because she smiles as she tells me her daughter can't play with black boys, or that her dog doesn't like black and mexicans that she doesn't know that's offensive, i mean yes, my granddother was mixed black and sioux, but i am so sure she knows i'm black.



So sometimes we may be defensive and sometimes, more than anybody knows, we let some things go. If i called the little old lady that asked me if i did windows cause she was looking for a maid out, or the patients that request white nurses etc out everytime they say these things, i would have little time for anything else..i mean do i do windows...lady you don't see me here doing your IV...meaning no, windows isn't what "i do"...No i don't go around looking for it, but it sure can find me. So as i said you have to really know where a person has been or what they have been through and then you may better understand their reactions to things that you think are harmless....

Isobel - posted on 05/13/2010

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I had a boyfriend once who had been to prison (ahhhh the good ole days ;P) anyhoo, one time we were joking around and I called him a goof.

I don't know if it's the same in the States or even outside my area, but apparently here, it's a pretty big FREAKING insult...my boyfriend freaked out LOST IT! and then went to another guy we knew who had been to explain why I was crying.

The other guy said this...If some asshole at the bar said it to me to start a fight, I would lose it...if this cute little 18-year-old said it to me as a joke, I would probably recognize the fact that she didn't know what it meant...JACK ASS!

I think the guy that you were dealing with might have been a little over-sensitive Christa...but then...if half of the dogs that you passed on the street bit you, would you walk up to any dogs with your hand out?

Rosie - posted on 05/13/2010

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ok, i see the point tah, i really do actually. but at the same time, i've never, ever, ever, ever, heard that calling a black man "boy" was and is still used in a derogatory way. can't the black person just chalk it up to being raised in different areas, in different ways, and not ASSUME something when clearly there was no malice behind it at all?

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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Tah, I do understand that (on the boy thing). My problem is I didn't mean it, was smiling and happy towards him when I said it and he got VERY angry. A simple, "please don't call me that" would have been fine and I would have remembered not to use that when addressing him again. The thing I didn't like is he freaked out and then wouldn't even talk to me. Everyone has words that cause triggers in them, causes them to go back to a hurtful place. But that doesn't give a person the right to unleash on someone who didn't know.



Now while I’m sure some of you are thinking “how could she not have known?”. I knew about slavery and was actually very interested in that whole history and the civil war. (it’s still my favorite period to study) I was young and my parents didn’t raise me by listing all the hurtful things that had been said to people. They raised me teaching me that people are people, I was raised colorblind. My mom has many stories where I honestly didn’t see color, like when my best friend was going to be on TV and I started pointing to a little black girl and thought it was her. No matter how many times my mom told me that wasn’t her, I was convinced, I didn’t see the obvious difference. Just the other day Michelle Obama was on TV and my daughter pointed at her and said “Nana” (my mother). I laughed because they do look similar except for their skin color. That is how I will continue to raise my children.

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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Iris, I was not offended, but would have been if you meant it the other way. I appreciate you clarifying. :-)

Tah - posted on 05/13/2010

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@kati don't think that all white people are racist, i think that some just don't understand and sometimes what they say can be offensive and sometimes they don't even know, or they think it's okay to feel that way because they always have. like the ditzy blonde mentioned earlier who asked if the black person gets hotter because the sun is attracted to dark surfaces?...she may not have intened it as being hurtful, or offensive, but someone could have taken it that way. That is what i mean. i talk about the same things other people talk about, weather, kids, work, sex, my dog...but if in the middle of that conversation you come with some off the wall comment, like the one about the dog..then i am going to know that you probably, even if you don't realize it, have some pre-conceived notions about blacks. and like i said it's alright to ask questions, i don't mind them. i am not talking about the people who genuinely want to know. I am talking about those who don't want to admit that this racism that still exist, those who teach it and carry it on and don't realize that may have a advantage just because and i like the way she put it "the accident of their skin" , those who do say those things out of the malice in their hearts, they know it will be hurtful and don't care.



The calling him a boy thing. Some people may call that offensive because to this day their are people who use it the same way they did in 1940, 50, 60 etc. to belittle and disrespect, you may not have meant it, but who knows what his experience had been with the word. you just never know.

Rosie - posted on 05/13/2010

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i was mostly using the example that you and cathy used jo, but i was putting it out there for anybody i guess. cathy said :"Maybe the other way of thinking is defensive, skeptical and self-conscious. I think for anyone exposed to disgusting levels of racism then it will tar the way you view each situation. It would be very wrong to suggest that feeling that way could be considered ignorant, arrogant and self centered"

i guess i just don't see how that because black people are discriminated against by some people that it's ok for them to assume the worst about me, or some other person, just because i happen to be white. especially when i havn't done a thing to harm anyone, ever. i'm being made to be something i'm not by having to walk on eggshells around a black person in fear that something i say or do would be construed as racist when its not meant to be. in turn, i'm "paying" for my ancestors mistakes, or most likely other peoples ancestors mistakes. that's what i meant by the whole paying for my ancestors mistakes remarks.

?? - posted on 05/13/2010

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I agree Laura. I think that remembering everyone involved is important.



I don't think "white people" should be or are made to "PAY FOR" what their ancestors did... unless they are continuing the hatred, mindframe and attitude, then they have to be held responsible for THEIR actions and behavior.



I don't think remembering the people who helped abolish slavery, whatever color their skin or their heritage was, in any way, shape or form removes or replaces the importance of any other event in history either.

Isobel - posted on 05/13/2010

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and I, for one don't feel that being respectful, and leveling the playing field is "paying" for anything...if somebody turned around and told me I had to be a slave to make it up to then...that would be paying for my ancestors sins.

?? - posted on 05/13/2010

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Kati, who are you talking too? I haven't seen ANYONE imply anything like that :-\

Isobel - posted on 05/13/2010

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well...I for one can see how it could be interpreted both ways...and I actually can kind of agree with it both ways. It's like the holocaust (an over used example I know), but we SHOULD remember not only the victims, but also those like Schindler who worked to try to save them AND those like Hitler and the SS who allowed it to happen. Because those who do not learn from History are doomed to repeat it.

Rosie - posted on 05/13/2010

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so basically what you're saying is that both "sides" of this debate are both choosing to be hurt by words or actions when there is no harm meant from either side right? but it's only acceptable for black people to feel that way (hurt) because of the way they've been treated throughout the years, even though i personally, and MANY other white people have never done anything to a black person. i'm paying for the sins of my ancestors (which are amish so i'm pretty sure they had nothing to do with slavery), and i don't feel that is right either. 2 wrongs don't make a right.

Iris - posted on 05/13/2010

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Christa. I'm sorry that my comment offended you. To clarify, I was talking about the people that helped free the slaves.

?? - posted on 05/13/2010

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I'm not bickering with you. I'm pointing something out that you do, that you're saying other people should stop doing. You can ignore it all you like but it's still there. I also said maybe you're not aware that you do it.

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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Jo, I'm not going to get into a bickering session with you, we've been doing so well. I interpreted it how I did and I wanted clarification. That's why when I originally asked I didn't mention which way I had interpreted it. In a conversation like this everyone can be a little hypersensitive, I was trying to avoid a heated situation. You may think it was plain as day obvious but you know Iris, this is maybe the third time I’ve ever talked to her. So I wanted clarification, I don’t think that was too much to ask.

?? - posted on 05/13/2010

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I know far too well how words can be misinterpreted, but I also know far too well that assuming the worse and implying that someone meant something worse when everything else indicates otherwise, doesn't help any situation.

From what I can see in Iris' reply post it's almost an annoyance at someone implying that she thinks white people should pay for it when she already obviously stated the opposite...

I understand asking for clarification. You've done it a couple times now, where you ask for clarification of something that is pretty obvious... you imply the worst rather than the better of the situations... asking Iris if she meant white people should pay, rather than asking if she meant remembering the white people that abolished slavery... you're still CHOOSING to assume she meant the worse rather than the better.

So you're doing the same thing you're saying that black people do with "boy." Choosing the assume the negative rather than the positive...

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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Ladies, that's why I asked her to clarify, instead of just going off on her. Cathy I see how you interpret it too, that’s why I wanted to see which way she meant it. Jo you know better then most how sometimes our words don't come across the same way as we meant them. :-) So instead of following previous patterns, I chose to ask for clarification and I didn't get it, instead I got a smart ass remark that I really didn't appreciate. So I decided to ask again in a different way to see if I got a better answer. I don't know Iris very well as I've had very little interaction with her, so I didn't want to assume. So I wasn't getting hurt, I was clarifying intent which goes along with my previous post.

?? - posted on 05/13/2010

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Christa, I find it confusing that you're asking for clarification of something that is pretty simple to decipher just by reading all of Iris' posts and taking the context of what she's saying into consideration.

"embrace the strong people that survived the slavery AND we should not forget the white people that helped it happen."

To *ME* "it" = surviving the slavery... helped surviving slavery...

Why would you WANT too or choose too interpret it another way or assume that she would mean it another way? If she had said "helped MAKE slavery happen" then I could understand, but she didn't, you added the negative implication of something that she obviously is against.

Like you said, people "choose" to be hurt by words, this kind of falls into the same category doesn't it? You're choosing to put a 'blame the white people' spin on it... Iris said she wants to get rid of racism, why would you want to assume that she means she wants white people to pay? She is a white person.

Maybe you're not aware of what you're doing but you're doing the exact same thing that you're saying other people do. You say that people are CHOOSING to be hurt by "innocent" words, statements or phrases but then people (like you just did) they add negative context to things that are innocent all the time without even 'realizing it' and there are people who do it on purpose too.

I'm really unsure why you would choose to take what she said that way, after reading everything she had said, AND after talking about how people CHOOSE to be hurt by words...

Rosie - posted on 05/13/2010

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maybe it's the other way of thinking that's ignorant, arrogant and self centered.....

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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Iris, Yes I would like you to clarify, because I interperet that to mean that the whites still need to pay for what they did and I'd like to know if that's how you meant it?

Christa - posted on 05/13/2010

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Esther, I see that now, obviously. But I don't think it should be. I think that's part of the problem. Obviously words like the N word where there really is no other meaning then the hurtful one will never be acceptable, but boy? It's a noun, it's a description, it SHOULD be a harmless greeting. I have never said it in the manner that it was once used, so IF I say this it should be taken the same way any other male would take it. I feel that by holding on to words or phrase that were once used to hurt people we continue to give those words/phrases meaning. Then since they still have those meanings people CAN use them to hurt others. I know that racists out there will call a black male “boy” when they are trying to “put them in their place”, if the black community worked to take the insult out of those words then racists wouldn’t be able to hurt them anymore. We each control how we react to any stimulus, WE do, not the other way around. If someone says something hurtful, WE choose to BE hurt. If we choose not to be hurt by those words, then they loose their power. Now there will always be words that civilized people don’t say, that’s just common decency.

Esther - posted on 05/13/2010

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BTW - Christa. Although I don't doubt for a second that you made the "boy" comment completely innocently and without meaning anything by it, I do think calling a black man/boy "boy" falls under the BIG no-no category.

Esther - posted on 05/13/2010

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Thanks Iris for your posts. Fortunately I have no first hand experience of the kind of racism you describe but there isn't a doubt in my mind that racism is alive and well and that we are far from resolving the issue. Until we do, nobody is going to just "get over it" and "move forward".



I just wanted to respond to the question about racism being a US thing though (or at least that seemed to me to be the implication of the question). Racism may be more obvious in terms of white vs black in the US vs the rest of the world simply because of the fact that most of the slaves in the world ended up over here and their offspring now forms a large section of the population. However, racism is alive and well in other parts of the world too in my experience. Holland, which has always prided itself on being a very tolerant country (and rightfully so) and was for example the first to embrace gay marriage, most definitely has a problem with racism against people from Turkey and Morocco (Morocco more so than Turkey) as well as people from the Antilles and Suriname. The larger the group of Turks and Moroccons becomes, the bigger the racism issue too. I'm quite sure the same is true for France. What about the racism against Palestinians in Israel? Or Suni vs Shia in Iraq and Iran? Hutu / Tutsi? I don't think any particular country or ethnicity is any better than any other country or ethnicity on this issue frankly. The target group just differs. The more homogenous the society, the less racism you'll see in my view.

ME - posted on 05/13/2010

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Laura...I always cringe when one of my students says that...it's sure to be followed by something quite racist, ignorant, thoughtless, or at best, entirely self-centered!

Isobel - posted on 05/13/2010

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I think that when the world gets to a state where these programs and such are no longer necessary, the world will indeed be a beautiful place...we're not there yet though.

I still know people whose selfishness, ignorance, arrogance, and racism are entirely out of control, and no offense but the first words out of their mouths are always "I'm not racist but..."

Leveling the playing field is still entirely necessary in a day and age where employers are still favoring anglo saxon names on resumes and Universities, I'm sure are likely doing the same.

I agree...the goal is to get to a point where Morgan Freeman is right...and maybe he is in his neighbourhood. The rest of the world isn't there yet though.

Rosie - posted on 05/13/2010

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i am truly sorry for what you all have experienced in regards to your race or your childrens race or husbands race, but i really don't think that having seperate programs for black people helps anything at all. welfare is great, it's a program to help everyone, because everyone out there can use help. a program solely out there to help a black person does nothing but make resentment happen cause people of other races don't have that help. i truly cannot comprehend how a group of people who have been treated as less than human for decades, can sit back and segregate themselves further, and then wonder why things aren't getting better. black people want equality, lets have equality instead of having everything seperate.

of course we should be highlighting the wonderful accomplishments of black people throughout our history, just not seperately than the rest of our history. if it's not incorporated enough in our history lesson (which i agree it's not) then lets incorporate it in there more, not have a seperate time of the year for it.



and i would really like to know how i can go about just striking up a converssation with a black person, and not be afraid that when my opinion differs from theirs that i'll be labeled a racist. tah has done it continually throughout this discussion, so have others on here. i don't feel i'm racist. i would have no problem if my sons married a black woman, i would have no problem if my grandchildren were mixed (there, again afraid to say a word cause it might be miscontrued as offensive) i would love them to pieces. i've never said anything hurtful to any black person. i've dated black men, i've slept with a black man, my dog loves all races equally (lol).

i agree that nobody should be made to feel anything less than who they are, and i think that goes both ways.

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