Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last Paper.

This will be for my English class. Want to know what our topic sentence needs to address?

"The current conversation of race in America."

I asked my brother what he thought that conversation might be and he replied back (we communicate mostly through texting) that that was a bit vague, could I be more specific? I called him and tried to explain it, and once he understood what my teacher meant (which takes a while, just read some of my previous posts on the subject-ALTHOUGH, once I got used to the jargon he speaks, I have not had any more issues and have actually had fun in the class) he was very helpful.

Basically we think the current conversation of race is this: if you're Caucasian, you're too scared to talk about it except, perhaps, to point out that we, as a nation, wanted a black man to be our president. Whippee progress! Otherwise, what with PC and the possibility of being sued in court for defamation (or whatever it would be called), you keep your mouth shut. (As an aside: I think perhaps we are now overly sensitive about racial slurs, but seriously, who could blame the various ethnic groups about being a bit riled up after the hell they had to go through?)

Also I don't think racism is the issue anymore. I think it's culturalism. A young black man wearing "ghetto" or "thuggish" clothing is going to put me on my guard. But then, a young white man wearing the same clothing would get the exact same reaction. An Italian wearing a nice suit traveling in packs: Mafia. Businessman in nice power suit: doesn't really matter what color skin he possesses, it's the message he's sending via body language and clothing. That last actually doesn't fall under culturalism.

And of course, I could be completely off-base. I've never experienced racism. Sexism, yes, and culturalism (I was an American traveling in Europe, near France. Nuff said). But I have never, that I can recall, been looked at funny or slighted because of my skin color. Except perhaps that one summer I got myself a nice red burn and couldn't go outside for a week. So everything I've said comes from what I've observed. But as a dude in Obama's book said, we'll never understand [the mindset/thought process/etc. of the African-American peoples in America].

So at that point I mentally went through my list of friends to see if any of them possessed darker skin than I. And I discovered that all my friends are white. Mostly of the very white, they can't stay out in the sun types. I've not avoided different ethnicities, they just don't show up in the circles I currently move in. Which, now that I've come to think of it, are middle-aged suburban white church-going women. Except for J and I [J is my new friend, a year younger and married, and both Damm and I get along great with J and her husband]. Hmm.

The only place I've lived where I have noticed the ethnic groups mixing is in Virginia Beach, Newport News area. I always attributed it to the fact that as a naval base, you get a lot of people who have traveled quite a lot and therefore understand the futility/imbecility of judging someone by their skin color. I don't know whether that's true or not. Monett was called "little Mexico" because we had a small Hispanic population that lived in the poor side of town. I was warned against going there. There were no black families in Monett that I can recall because it was a KKK area. Houston there was quite a bit of diversity, but where I came from the attitude was definately an "us" vs. "them," at least when referring to the Hispanic population. And in Las Cruces? I haven't seen any racial tension. Although I think churches tend to stay segregated ... not on purpose, you understand, it just happens to work out that way. Granted I have only been to two churches-but both have been overwhelmingly frequented by us lighter-skinned peeps.

Anyway. I am just musing over the "current conversation of race in America," trying to get ideas, coming up with questions, etc. I have no idea whether any of my ideas are correct or if I'm totally off-base. Again, I've never experienced racism so I don't really feel qualified to talk about it, but talk about it we must.

Anyway again. I think I'm done with musing.


Lerxst said...

Interesting. I was in the Army for 11 years (and am from Ohio) so I have a different 'world view' when it comes to race. You spin on Culturism is interesting and provokes further discussion.

I now live in the deep south (the Mississippi Delta) and racism here is blatantly alive. 'White' folks rarely ever interact with 'black' folks. One women was overheard saying (when discussing the black bartender) "He is one of the good ones... Works hard and knows his place". It is sickening. And that isn't the exception, it is common occurrence. The town in which I live has a North Side and a South side (or as the local white folk call it 'Black Town'). The average income of our county is $20,000 per year but the average salary of my (mostly white) company is $112,000 per year. Talk about your 'haves and have-nots'.

I recently went to court to fight a minor traffic violation and I was the only white person in the court. The officers were all white, but the people in the court were all black (aside from me).

Oh - have you ever looked at the Mississippi state flag? It looks like the american flag except it has only 3 stripes (one red, one white, one blue) BUT in the place of the stars in the corner - there is a rebel flag. The confederacy is still alive down here and that is pathetic in my opinion.

Kayeri said...

Being white, also, I've not experienced racism either... but a college professor once related an experience he had that was a bit of an eye=opener... and we are in Nebraska, certainly not anything that could be considered southern.

This professor is originally from Africa, he's very well educated, you take one look at his suit and know its the multi-hundred dollar well=tailored kind, and yet, when he and his wife were house hunting in our area, in spite of their stated preferences for the southwest part of town, the real estate agent directed them to the more black-populated areas... The banks twiddled their thumbs on loan approvals... every little thing.. until finally they got word that this guy worked in the Mayor's office (at that time, he did)... and funny how things cleared up after that...

We do have a huge racial division in living areas where we are.... blacks are mostly north, in the poorer areas, hispanics and less-populous ethnic groups in the southeast poorer areas, and the whites west and south. We happen to live in the southeast area, and I've had no issues with anyone... both blacks and hispanics live on our street, they are all very nice people, and our daughter attends a very diverse school. I think positively that it is a good thing. She will grow up with and around these other groups and they wont be so mysterious and separate to her.

Beowulfa said...

Wow ... thanks guys for that perspective. I had no idea that racism still reared its ugly head so blatantly.

Scott said...

Racism is alive and well here in the Detroit area. I remember a couple of incidents without really thinking about it, the real estate agent that advised me against one neighbourhood because it was dark, and the guy at the gym exclaiming his glee that the Detroit area was the most segregated part of the country.

It is strange to me just walking around here. If I went to a mall in Toronto I would see white people, black people, Asians, and East Indians all shopping and mingling. Here, I see clumps of black people and clumps of white people. Which is not to say that Toronto does not have race issues, it does, but it is so completely dysfunctional where I live now.

I have friends from Canada that will not visit where I live now; they do not feel comfortable here because they know how people will react to them based on the colour of their skin.