I was not racist. I had black friends, close black friends. I never used racial slurs. I disagreed with people who used racial stereotypes. I didn’t like the things my parents or other relatives said about race. I called out behaviors that were troubling. I admired black people, particularly writers, and quoted them. I hated the justifications of Southerners for their racism and their lauding of antebellum culture that was built on the backs of enslaved humans. I was proud of the Underground railroad and local figures in my native state who helped further the cause of abolition.
I was a little bit racist. My parents were better on this topic than their parents, and I was better than they were, but I still forgot about race. In my mind, I sometimes justified the actions of companies, police, and governments that held black people back in life, giving them less opportunity. Maybe black people just weren’t hard working enough, smart enough, qualified enough, educated enough, had bad support structures, didn’t “play the game” as well as they should. What I wasn’t thinking out loud was that maybe they should have acted more white.
There’s a song in the puppet-themed musical Avenue Q called Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist:
I hate that I even have to explain this, but I am not talking about so-called “racism against white people” which is NOT A THING. It also isn’t *necessarily* a thing that being in the minority equals racism. Racism is the flip side of power and privilege, period. If people with your skin tone have more access to power and privilege, you benefit from racist policies. If people with your skin tone have less access to power and privilege, you are hurt by racist policies.
“The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
When I lived in Singapore for almost 3 years, as white Americans, we were absolutely a minority. The difference is that we were an “elite” minority in the local cultural hierarchy. Singapore has a lot more racial segregation than the US, and there are local opinions about which of these segregated groups are better, largely tied to how light their skin is. This was explained to me in my culture training when I first moved there. The culture trainers went through a list of all the things that would increase my acceptability to locals, and my race was one of those things. Products are sold that are intended to whiten your skin, and women use umbrellas in the sun to shield their skin so it doesn’t darken. People think a lot about their skin tone there.
One of my good friends in Singapore, a woman I often met up with for lunch, was also an ex-pat, a British woman about the same age as me. We were both among the highest ranking executives in Singapore working for our company. She worked in HR while I was in Business Travel. We compared our experiences. Both of us had children of similar ages at the highly acclaimed Singapore American School. Both of us were immersed in a culture that was not our own. I was a very light-skinned white (so white I was blue, I sometimes joked). She was a dark-skinned black woman married to a white man. Otherwise we were about the same size, dressed similarly (well, she dressed better than I did), lived in a similar place, made similar salaries. Yet her experience was very different than mine, difficult in ways I couldn’t fathom.
People were at ease with my success. It made sense to them. I was supposed to be successful because I was so light-skinned. If I said the wrong thing or did something gauche, they laughed it off and thought how nice I was, how humble and funny; how relatable and approachable like the people on American TV shows. When my friend met someone new, they assumed she was low-ranking until her rank was revealed. Then they didn’t understand how she could be so successful. Because she dressed nicely, this must be evidence of her insecurity–she was striving to fit in, people would think, or she was trying to compensate for her natural inferiority, like they would in her shoes. If she made a mistake, that was evidence that she didn’t deserve her position. Being married to a white man also made her suspect. She must be lucky that he overlooked her skin color and deigned to marry her. She must be really sexual and seductive to attract someone who was so light skinned. Were her kids light-skinned or dark-skinned? If they were dark-skinned like her, then what a shame! She went through all that (marrying a light skinned person) with nothing to show for it! For, of course, it was assumed that her goal was whiter children.
“One of racism’s harms is the way it falls on the unexceptional Black person who is asked to be extraordinary just to survive—and, even worse, the Black screw up who faces the abyss after one error, while the White screw up is handed second chances and empathy.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
People in Singapore talked a lot about skin color, much more than we do here. My assistant even asked me once what race my husband was because he was darker than I am (literally everyone aside from Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran is darker than I am). I had a hard time convincing her that he had English-Scottish parentage for generations, as white as they come. “No, he’s dark! Not white like you!” I once commented that I went to Little India to buy shoes for my daughter, and that it was so crowded we had a hard time walking down the street, like trying to get to the stage in a concert by squeezing through the crowd. Another colleague who was Indian cried, “You went to Little India on a Sunday?! That’s the day all the workers have off! I won’t even go there on a Sunday!” I laughed that he wouldn’t go to Little India since he was Indian, but he was affronted–he wasn’t like those Indians who were dark-skinned laborers. He was from the north and had lighter skin; he was professional class. He didn’t even consider them part of his people. In fairness, they spoke Tamil, and he did not. They were Hindu, and he was Christian. India’s a huge country, much bigger than the US, so it’s not surprising that regional differences matter much more, but it was interesting that skin tone was one basis for his disclaiming a connection to them.
But it has occurred to me, aren’t those observations, those comments, those beliefs, aren’t they under the surface in the US, too? We don’t talk about them, but we all know they exist. We haven’t outlawed racism, just talking about it. Singapore has a segregationist view, local neighborhoods that are predominantly grouped by race, and when people cross racial groups, it is culturally uncomfortable. People don’t want to be lumped in with a group that they view as inferior. In the US, this was definitely our approach for a long time.
When I was 10, we moved from Texas to New Jersey. My parents were house hunting, and they found one they liked quite a bit, but then their realtor pulled them aside and told them it was in a “black neighborhood.” My parents weren’t exactly racist (you can’t quite apply today’s standards to their generation), but they were fully aware that if they bought a house in a “black neighborhood,” their property values wouldn’t hold. Redlining is a practice that kept black people segregated from white people by restricting who could obtain which kinds of mortgages, under the pretense of credit issues, and as upwardly striving Americans, it wasn’t in my parents’ self-interest to move into a neighborhood that wouldn’t be a good investment.
Nowadays, most Americans prefer an assimilationist view of race. This is what they mean when they say “I don’t see color” or “All lives matter.” Rather than recognize the different cultures, we set the default culture to “white,” and we view other races as acceptable when they “act” white, go to white schools or straighten their hair to look like whites. But it’s still just another way to hide our racist culture from us so we don’t have to address it.
“Antiracist ideas are based in the truth that racial groups are equals in all the ways they are different, assimilationist ideas are rooted in the notion that certain racial groups are culturally or behaviorally inferior, and segregationist ideas spring from a belief in genetic racial distinction and fixed hierarchy.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
A classic example of assimilationist thinking was revealed in a Facebook post last week by BYU-I Performing and Visual Arts that was later deleted (but preserved forever via screen shots). The tweet compared the history of the Mormon people as one of persecution, rape, and genocide to the plight of black people, concluding that if black people would only handle their negative circumstances with the intelligence and capability of white Mormons, they too would thrive and prosper. It is an ugly, racist take that erases millenia of global anti-black prejudice and minimizes the white privilege that Mormons have simultaneously benefited from, as well as ignoring both the prejudices furthered by Mormon teachings and the experience of black Latter-day Saints. It was incredibly bad. They also misspelled Asia, but that’s no surprise I guess. But the gist is that “if only black people would do what we white people did, they wouldn’t be getting killed by the police and they wouldn’t suffer systemic racism.” That’s a lie only comfortable to those with white privilege, whose skin gets them the benefit of the doubt and doesn’t mark them for suspicion. We expect the victims of racism to solve racism. How did Mormons solve their own persecution? Not as gracefully as that Facebook post would like to portray! 
“Black people are apparently responsible for calming the fears of violent cops in the way women are supposedly responsible for calming the sexual desires of male rapists.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
In Dr. Kendi’s book Stamped, he explains that anti-black racism dates back to the Romans and Greeks. Societies create policies out of self-interest, and then if those policies harm some people, we create a belief that justifies the harm we do. This is observed in Dr. Kendi’s book, but also in Jonathan Haidt’s books regarding all types of beliefs. We apply post-hoc justifications for the things we do. We don’t act according to our beliefs, but according to our self-interest.
Several different versions of justification theory have been used over time to help white people feel OK about their racism:
- Climate Theory. This one goes all the way back to Aristotle, but the explanation is that only people who live in a temperate climate like Greece or Rome are fully human and deserving of all rights. Those who live too far north are Barbarians and those who live too far south are savages, and therefore, it’s fine for them to be enslaved. The theory is that human life can’t develop properly in these extremes of temperature. I recognized that I have heard this theory repeated more recently with a slight twist. After Hurricane Katrina that adversely affected so many people of color, someone I know who is “not a racist” (which really means neutral on racism) said that 90% of the world’s problems came from the 10% of people living closest to the equator, or something like that.
- Curse Theory. This explanation has a religious bent and will sound familiar to most Mormons as it’s been regurgitated like the vomit it is as recently as the 1970s. I heard it from missionaries in the 1980s as they explained to some investigators why black people had been prevented from full participation until 1978. One theory goes that Ham was black and cursed for his bad behavior, and therefore, all black people were under that same curse (also used in The Poisonwood Bible). The Mormon twist adds lack of valiance in the pre-existence, but it’s the same theory. A group of people are under a curse, so it’s OK to mistreat them and prevent them from full participation or personhood (see also women). This makes even less sense in light of the second article of faith. We are apparently only punished for our own sins unless someone needs to pretend we are under a curse to justify their treatment and privileges.
- Salvation Theory. This explanation emerged with the colonization of the Americas and then other countries by Christian nations (Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Netherlands, chiefly). When an enslaved man asked to be baptized as a Christian, there was a big debate whether you could enslave a Christian, so the debate was reframed that you could make a Christian of a slave (vs. making a slave of a Christian). The new belief formed because colonizers believed Christianity was so superior to African and other native religions, that it was OK to enslave people as a means to converting them to the Christian faith. That’s a particularly ironic view, but one that became prevalent in the agricultural American south whose economy relied on the labor of enslaved people. This is another one that has some parallels in early Mormonism as well. Other takes on this belief were that the societies black people came from were so inferior that they voluntarily offered themselves as slaves to the white race to escape their own cultures.
The President is on record denying that systemic racism exists. Instead, he prefers to claim that there are just a few “bad apples” out there who are racists. This is not how racism happens, though. We live in a racist world. We can’t solve racism by punishing racists. We solve it when we quit justifying racist policies, face them for what they are, and actively change to policies that will create equality of outcome.
“Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy”
― How to Be an Antiracist
Claiming someone is a racist (or isn’t a racist) is a ruse to avoid dealing with racism. If we have no racist systems, racists don’t need to manufacture racist beliefs. When someone objects to being called a racist, they aren’t objecting to the unequal treatment that benefits them. They object to being blamed for it or they object to the idea that they don’t deserve their privilege.
“What’s the problem with being “not racist”? It is a claim that signifies neutrality: “I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.” But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” It is “antiracist.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
Even being called “racist” isn’t the worst thing you can be called. In the words of comedian John Mulaney, we’re not even saying what the ‘n-word’ is! “If you’re comparing the badness of two words, and you won’t even say one of them? That’s the worse word.”
“Racist” is not—as Richard Spencer argues—a pejorative. It is not the worst word in the English language; it is not the equivalent of a slur. It is descriptive, and the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it. The attempt to turn this usefully descriptive term into an almost unusable slur is, of course, designed to do the opposite: to freeze us into inaction.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
Most of the Church members I know are content to be “not a racist,” but also aren’t really interested in doing much about racism. It’s enough if they don’t personally insult other races or treat them poorly. That’s not only a low bar, but it sidesteps how we eliminate racism. We don’t eliminate racist policies by eliminating racists, one by one or by holding individual racists accountable for their beliefs.
“One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.” The claim of “not racist” neutrality is a mask for racism.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
We eliminate racist beliefs (which are justifications for racist policies) when we eliminate and fully disavow racist policies and replace those with antiracist policies, even if that means favoring people of color to even the playing field or paying reparations collectively as a country until all have equal opportunity and advantages. The Church eliminated our racist policy, sort of, but didn’t address why it happened (apparently it was God’s fault is the current party line) and also didn’t address the remaining racist teachings that were baked into our manuals and scriptures. As recently as 2012, youth were being taught that marrying outside one’s own race was bad, and in 2020, we still had a printed Church manual with racist quotes from long dead Church leaders justifying the problematic race-curse ideas in the Book of Mormon.
“Racist ideas love believers, not thinkers.”
― How to Be an Antiracist
The Church has partnered with the NAACP to improve our race relations and understanding, but we are still infants in understanding what needs to be done to create equality and stem the tide of injustice. It’s clear that the Church wants to be seen as “not racist,” but it’s not at all clear that the Church is willing to be “anti-racist.”
For example, there was a thread going around Twitter asking how old you were when you had your first black teacher. Having been raised mostly in rural PA, then going to college at BYU, I was chagrined to discover that I never had a black teacher. I never had any teacher of color in school, all through college. My only black teacher was my Sunday School teacher when I was 13. He was a professor at the local college, where I had my first job. That very small college was founded by the Church of the Brethren, not a very racially integrated Church, but they had at least one black professor in the 1980s. Did I notice that lack of diversity growing up? Not really. Certainly not to the extent that I should have.
And that is one reason I say I think I was a little bit racist. I didn’t examine the idea that “people are white” was the default. The area I grew up in was actually part of the Underground railroad, and there were many black people, but they lived in the city, not in the country. Their lives were essentially invisible to me. We didn’t interact. I had no animosity toward them, I had some black friends, I danced with black boys who asked me at the local dance club, I didn’t use racial slurs, but I didn’t watch “black TV” or see “black movies,” and if someone had said a black person was killed by the police, I’d quickly look for reasons why the police had been justified. When I was confronted with racist teachings at Church, I told myself “That’s just a few bad apples. Those are the words of people raised in another time who didn’t understand their cultural biases.” That’s what it means to be “not racist.” It’s not trying to dismantle the racist systems. Being neutral about those systems is how they continue to exist.
- How old were you when you had your first black teacher?
- What do you think the Church could do to be anti-racist? Do you think the Church will do it?
- Do you see yourself as “racist,” “not racist,” or “anti-racist”? Have you shifted over time?
- Have you read any anti-racism books? Have they helped you become more informed?
 If you’ve never heard the term “black neighborhood,” you may have heard the term “bad neighborhood,” usually applied to neighborhoods where more people of color live.
 Through acts of violence, anti-government actions, essentially seceding from the US, and persecuting groups we considered inferior. Brigham Young’s power was unchecked, essentially that of a king.
I grew up in a town in the northeast in the 90’s and early 2000s. I played sports with black and hispanic kids, we all went to the same schools, probably half of my neighbors growing up were black. But when I look back at my public school experience, I only recall ever having one black teacher. I did have two black basketball coaches. We didn’t have many active black members of my ward, but my dad and I were home teachers for several less active black members. In college and grad school, I don’t think I had any black professors. I live in Mexico now, another deeply racist society, and the experience has brought to life the experiences of black Americans that I’ve read about. The systemic racism in Mexico is obvious to see as an outsider, and I benefit from that same system. I’m ashamed that the systemic racism in my country and my own biases were less obvious for me to see; I just didn’t want to see them.
I’m reading “White Fragility” now, and it has been an enlightening and sobering experience. Thanks to your post, I’m moving “How to Be an Antiracist” up on my list. I also recently listened to an episode of the Hidden Brain podcast called “The Air We Breath” that dealt with racism and unconscious bias, which I also recommend.
Everything I’ve been reading and listening to lately has brought to mind my favorite quote from Shusako Endo’s novel “Silence”: “Sin. . . is not what it is usually thought to be; it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious to the wounds he has left behind.” Every white person in America has participated in and benefited from a system that has left behind deep wounds, and many of us are completely oblivious to it. We have sinned, and we need to repent.
As for the Church, well, repentance starts with a formal apology for the priesthood ban and its associated justifications.
I have never had an African American teacher. Wow. This is such an interesting perspective…and necessary. Thank you.
I have never had a Black teacher. This included 8 years of post-grad education in two different fields. Never. Thank you for this perspective. Thank you.
1) I’ve never had a black teacher in my life.
2) Formally apologizing for past racism would be a good first step toward anti-racism.
3) I believe I have racist impulses. All humans experience impulses towards stereotypes and generalizations of people the more different that person looks from them. I’m white. I tend not to attribute the behavior of another white person to being white and recognize distinct personality differences among whites. However, I feel more of an impulse to attribute behavior of an individual black to being black or of a Latino to being Latino. I feel the impulse to think of people who look and speak like me as having a superior way of doing things. I try to be conscious of this impulse and control it where I can. I try my best to appreciate different approaches to life as informed by different cultures than mine.
4) I’ve read pieces of a number of anti-racism books, including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ibram X. Kendi and Michelle Williams. They make a lot of good points and make arguments that are backed with lots of useful data and evidence, but aren’t without their weaknesses. Having been a student of ethnic and cultural differences in the Middle East and Eurasia for many years, I think discourse on racism in the US is actually short-sighted and focuses too much on the US experience without consideration of experiences outside the US. Additionally, there is a strong focus on how whites think of and are supposed to think of non-whites. I would be interested to read more literature about how Asians, Latinos, and Jews view people who are not like them (i.e., blacks and Native Americans) and if there is any effort to try to correct whatever negative stereotypes that may be predominant among their respective communities about people who don’t look like them. The US is actually a lot better in terms of dominant groups attempting to recognize biases and working to ameliorate those than other places in the world. Just look at how many non-blacks turned out to protest George Floyd’s murder. In fact it seems to be one of the few areas of the world where there is a strong sensitivity among whites (the dominant group, and not all obviously) about the feelings and experiences of different minority groups. A big part of the reason for this is individuals from minority groups advocating for better treatment of their group by the dominant group. Without these figures, the minority group tends to suffer. Look at the Roma (aka Gypsies) in Europe. Few Roma advocates for better treatment of Roma by Europeans and they continue to suffer harsh racism against their community.
I acknowledge that my comment will not be “popular” here; but it represents my perspective and life experience – particularly over the last two weeks. I think the so-called “Social Justice” , Black Lives Matter and Antifa movements are rapidly merging and morphing into the newest cult-like religion upon the American (and perhaps World) landscape. I’m watching other opinions and perspectives being denied, other races being shamed and condemned, history being erased and cancelled (both good and bad) and open thought and dialogue – outside of the agreed upon narrative – being shut down. I know that y’all are well versed with the BITE Model of Cults; and if I were to copy and paste a copy of the graphic here….many of the dynamics playing out (under the glorified banner of “Social Justice”) would line up rather nicely within the BITE model.
I’m certain that several (if not most of you) will declare me to be a racist; and I suppose I could simply throw that right back in your faces as well. I don’t think I’m racist. I was raised in a poor family and have had to work my ass off to raise my family and to survive; just like a hell of a lot of other people – of all races. No one has ever given me anything; and I’ve never asked.
So….here’s your Social Justice “raw meat”…..Let the feeding begin.
Wayfarer 25: No thanks. As to the BITE model, personally, I think it can apply to many, many things, including American Express and the Mormon Church, to varying degrees. But until it starts handing out clothing, asking for my bank account info, and telling me whom to have sex with, color me skeptical. https://wheatandtares.org/2020/03/04/the-hyperbole-of-cults/
I think the only black teacher I ever had was my sophomore English teacher in high school. On written assignments she was the hardest grader I ever had including college and graduate school. I randomly heard her on Morning Edition a year or two ago. She told Rachel Martin about how she always brought up race in her class. I remember her talking to our class about how she experienced racism in the manner of people assuming that she didn’t belong. For example, at a dinner honoring the best teachers, that people would assume she was in the wrong place.
I did have other teacher of color; I don’t actually know if some of them were “black” or not. Sometimes it’s a bit nebulous and you don’t just go in and ask, you know?
I considered myself “not a racist” for most of my life, but I know I have said and done racist things. I’m working on becoming anti-racist. Perhaps I can claim it, but I don’t feel I have earned it yet.
Wayfarer, I think the BITE model is usually misused, but I’ll think about it for a bit and try to see how one can apply it to social justice. I don’t think I’ll get anywhere, though. It was created by finding similarities to religions that the guy didn’t like.
“but it represents my perspective and life experience”
Don’t all comments represent one’s own perspective? Why should I give it any more respect than I would other comments simply because you say it’s your perspective?
Actually from the data available on arrests made during the protests, there is no evidence that any of the vandals and arsonists were connected with Antifa, which actually appears to be a highly unorganized and disunified group, but were motivated by an angry group psychology that got caught up in the moment. Protests happened in all 50 states even in small towns in the very conservative areas. George Floyd’s murder simply struck a nerve in the country and led to a sort of widespread organic catharsis.
“I’m watching other opinions and perspectives being denied, other races being shamed and condemned”
Really? I haven’t seen anyone’s freedom of speech impinged on in the wake of the protests. Although I have heard people complain that their freedom of speech has been violated because someone disagrees with them or ridicules their point of view.
If the Social Justice movement, as you call it, is a cult, who is the leader? Let’s name names. I think there is simply a culture rising is more sensitive about the disparity between whites and minorities. And that is a good thing is it not?
As I wrote in my comment before yours, we’re all as human beings a bit racist and exhibit tendencies to stereotype and generalize and overly focus on negatives about groups of people who don’t look like us. Some of us are simply more willing to admit it and do something about it than others.
No one is denying that there are poor people of all races and that poverty is difficult to be in and rise out of. Yet the statistics are clear that poor minorities collectively have it worse than poor whites. At least poor whites can look like the dominant group in the US and have a better chance of rising out of poverty because of not having a different looking skin color, hair texture, and facial features.
Your comment is really defensive. Maybe take the time to understand various arguments coming out of this so-called “Social Justice” side before making a strawman out of it.
For John W.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
― C. S. Lewis
I had my first Black professor for undergrad English Lit. He was dynamic and engaging. That was back in the 70s in the Midwest.
My kids had Black teachers in elementary school in the 90s at the lab school at UCLA. They also had classes that were balanced for the ethnic composition of California. It was a great experience for them and for me who was a classroom volunteer throughout their time there. One of the teachers was one of the best I’ve ever encountered. And that was within a culture of outstanding teachers! She was creative, empathetic, inspirational and she could think of half a dozen ways to teach the same lesson if there was someone in her class not getting it yet. She was also a woman who had — at least in my experience — transcended race to be perfectly comfortable in any company I ever shared with her. Another Black teacher, however, was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. She came from LAUSD and thought a worksheet was all the effort required to keep the kids occupied and that boys should be perfectly free to relax while the girls in the room did the clean up. I’m not sure how long she survived there or if she eventually learned to adapt to the challenge of a more demanding school environment.
Diversity, individuality, critical thinking and strong self-esteem were the hallmarks of the lab school. It was such a FANTASTIC start for each of my kids and, frankly, I think I undid a lot of the damage of a more authoritarian education from my own early years.
Is it accepted by all that racism is bad? Is it accepted by all that increasing inequality which = increasing poverty is bad (many more racial minorities in poverty)? Is this a social or a moral question?
I think “racism is bad” is an eternal moral principle, but I also believe all discrimination is , and extreme financial inequality is also immoral. There should be no poor, and no billionaires.
I believe racism would reduce if poverty were eliminated. Not sure you can solve one problem without the other?
1) It isn’t clear what CS Lewis is talking about. Unions and organizers vs. monopolists? You simply posted a nebulous quote without showing how it supports your points and refutes mine.
2) Let’s assume that you’re referring to this so-called “Social Justice” movement as a form of tyranny. How, exactly? The people in power (Trump and Republicans) are mostly anti-political correctness and make constant jabs at this boogeyman that they call SJWs. In fact, their movement has long thrived on anti-liberalism and constant attacks on portal strawmen. Do you think that the SJWs are tyrannical simply because a select few individuals have lost their jobs because of making racist comments (who mostly retain their wealth and go on to find other jobs within a couple of months)? Is that your evidence of tyranny? Please. You’re cries of victimhood are disingenuous and fake. In the end, it appears that you don’t want to have a real conversation but are in love with propping up a strawman and hacking it to death.
I’ll bite Wayfarer 25, though John W has already successfully dismantled your ‘argument.’ We like reason and logic here. First of all, however, your combative tone and ending with grandstanding about your own greatness reflects neither firmness nor rightness, but instead arrogance and insecurity–which are not compelling in regards to your ethos. Instead, it reflects the attitude of the very threat that you are deriding. Second, the rest of your comment reflects little related to facts, only misinformation and paranoia. Also not compelling. I’m sure some comments sections would praise you for repeating their talking points, but you’ll have to try a little harder with a crowd more interested in discussion than regurgitated talking points brokering in fear and emotional responses above all else.
Second, congratulations–you’ve had life experiences. Well done. Life experiences do not an expert make. The world is big.
“As I wrote in my comment before yours, we’re all as human beings a bit racist…”
“I hate that I even have to explain this, but I am not talking about so-called “racism against white people” which is NOT A THING. ”
These two quotes are by different people, but can anyone attempt to reconcile them?
John, I’ll try to reconcile the two.
1) “Racism” is a useful term to some extent, but gets thrown around a lot in a way that doesn’t necessarily meet a strict definition. I would favor the development of a larger array of terminology to better describe a range of phenomena that pertain to racism and racists.
2) Blacks and non-whites can and do hold prejudiced views against others based on their skin color. There are actually some instances in which whites are discriminated against because of the color of their skin. For instance in American Samoa, which is a US territory, people can’t inherit land unless they are over 50% Samoan. This disadvantages people who are “too white” or too “non-Samoan.” It is a real thing. There are cases of sons and daughters of people from American Samoa who can’t inherit land and property because one of they are only 1/4 Samoan. It is structural racism as far as I’m concerned.
3) The exceptions of racism against whites are extremely few. Collective prejudicial views of blacks against whites simply don’t seem to have a negative impact on whites’ well-being, opportunity, wealth, living conditions, and freedom. The few exceptions that we might find where this it’s the case I wouldn’t hesitate to call structural racism. But it is hard to find examples. Collective discriminatory views of whites against blacks have had a profound collective effect on the black community from which it continues to struggle to recover. Millions of blacks live in poor circumstances becauseof lots of reasons, but a huge reason being a compounding of white prejudices against them. Millions of whites also live in poor circumstances, and for a variety of reasons, but the situation of poor whites cannot be attributed to black prejudicial views against them. I really can’t see how that is an issue. A good definition of racism would make that distinction and take into consideration societal power dynamics. Racism isn’t equivalent to personal prejudice. It is much more.
I grew up in a diverse middle-class California suburb in the 80s and 90s, with classmates that represented all walks of life. When I was in my early teens, a young Black African missionary was assigned to my ward. He was a nice guy and very well liked by the ward members, but his presence also brought to my attention the fact that the resident membership of my ward was almost exclusively white, which did not reflect the community. I remember wondering why that was. A few years later, I would learn about the pre-1978 racial restrictions, then it started to make sense, but that knowledge also opened up a host of more complex questions for which no trusted adult in my life had a good answer.
I had several black teachers, but not until college (at west coast public universities, not BYU). One of my favorites was a dynamic choir director who introduced me to the Gospel music traditions of southern black churches, as well as spirituals that had roots in slave songs.
I don’t consider myself a racist, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect at it. Like the OP mentioned, I’m just trying to be better than my parents, who were trying to be better than theirs. My grandfather, for example, though nothing of using the label “colored” in polite conversation to describe African Americans, despite being educated and otherwise well-mannered. But in the 1960s, he spoke up publicly to defend a black family who was trying to move into his all-white neighborhood in upstate New York–other neighbors opposed their arrival, with such claims as “I’m not prejudiced, I’m just worried about our property values!” People are complicated.
Spending 7 years living in the South really opened my eyes to the problems of systemic racism in ways that I hadn’t understood before. There was still de facto segregation going on (such as in public school districts), but it wasn’t really talked about out loud, just understood by those who lived there a long time. During that time, I also had two black bishops and two black stake presidents, which my baby boomer parents could barely wrap their heads around when they visited. Now that I’m back on the west coast in a very white ward, I really miss the diversity I used to have in church there. It seemed like we focused on a more purely distilled version of the Gospel rather than getting hung up on ridiculous cultural norms (we had a black RS president who often came to church in a professional-looking pantsuit, and no one seemed to bat an eye).
As for books about racism in the context of the Church, I really enjoyed the Spencer W. Kimball biography “Lengthen Your Stride”. I learned that the process of overturning the racial restrictions began with Pres Kimball closely examining, confronting and deconstructing the racial prejudices he grew up with. Only then could he earnestly begin the challenging (and often political) process of convincing the rest of the Q15 to get on board.
Things an anti-racist version of our church would do: sure, as others have said, a full and detailed apology for racism in church and among leadership… which refuses to be misinterpreted as disavowing “racism against whites”…but that’s still puny. By my measure, apology and disavowal is not even enough to move up to ‘not racist’. Here’s more ideas:
–Remove all racist statements and depictions from canonized texts, hymns, pedagogical materials, and favored art
–Flag all racist statements in historical documents with a rebuttal and disavowal. (such as in old conference talks available online and in Library app)
–Hire many non-white inclusion + equity consultants to review all church processes, and do everything they recommend. This to include handbook, process by which new GC statements are approved, leadership committee memberships and communication structures, local leader training, admissions and hiring practices at the BYUs, dress codes, curriculum, youth activities, statues and monuments, missionary program, etc
–Communicate loudly to general membership the changes being made and our institutional commitment to active anti-racism. No legalese messaging designed to placate racist members.
–Fix Jane Manning James’ sealing. Maybe a major focus on priesthood ordinations by proxy for all black members before the proclamation? Perhaps many are already done, and this group is likely small-ish, but an emphasis here would help underscore that withholding priesthood was always wrong, and it makes sense in our liturgy.
–Take anti-racist political stances with as much vigor, $$, and member mobilization as was deployed against marriage equality and ERA. This to include paying lawyers and activists to devise strategies and objectives. This to include building coalitions with other churches and orgs. To include filing amicus curiae, press releases, and exerting influence on UT politics. The objectives will be to undo the structural racism that has been carefully built over centuries into policing, prisons, housing, lending, public education, voting rights, and health care access. Also to include deplatforming and surveilling terrorist white supremacy groups, which currently is not being done.
–Spend $ on welfare projects targeting black communities. Maybe get Flint clean water? Maybe fund some majority-black public schools? Maybe build some affordable housing and transit in gentrifying urban areas? Maybe pay for covid-19 testing, treatment, and sick leave for some black neighborhoods and the Navajo nation? Get homeless and those just released from prison onto the church’s same health care insurance for its employees?
And now the real question: what are members doing to make the church do it? I know they want us to believe the church is run top-down, but we also know many recent changes were not at all. Write letters to leadership at many levels? Write op-eds? Circulate petitions? Fasting and prayer? Let’s not pretend this is a matter of helplessly waiting for the Q15 to act.
Instead of Black Lives Matter it should be Black FATHERS Matter! The Family is the answer to most all of our social problems. Unfortunately, LBJ and his agenda to build a Great Society resulted in the destruction of the Black family unit. Democrats are worried sick because the black population is starting to question their loyalty to the democrat party. Trump caused a tremor among the black community when he said “What do you have to lose?” Although this won’t cause blacks to vote for Trump, it my cause some to rethink their automatic support for democrats. Remember LBJ was a racist, but he was smart enough to pass the Civil Rights act, and by so doing promised that the N****** will vote for democrats for 100 years.
Mark L, were those LBJ’s words, or are you being a racist ass?
Actually, even if he said it, you’re still being a racist ass.
Thank you…very helpful and informative.
“We eliminate racist beliefs (which are justifications for racist policies) when we eliminate and fully disavow racist policies and replace those with antiracist policies, even if that means favoring people of color to even the playing field or paying reparations collectively as a country until all have equal opportunity and advantages”
I may be wrong, but I’m not convinced this will eliminate racist beliefs.
Jack Hughes brings up a good point. I was raised in a SLC suburb and decided it wasn’t where I wanted to raise my kids. SLC is great, I just wanted something different. We live in Orange County CA. Very diverse. My kids friends, teachers, neighbors, swim coaches, represent diverse races and cultures. The community at large is extremely diverse, and my community celebrates those differences. But come Sunday, we might as well be back in that SLC suburb. Our local stake is NOT diverse. And that’s really sad. I guess the one positive note is we do have a Chinese branch. I wish I knew what we could do to make the church more diverse.
I’m willing to admit I’m a racist. I don’t want to be, and I think I’m doing better each day. And most of my racism is in my own head (meaning that my actions and words are hopefully not racist, but sometimes my thoughts are). But I still have a long ways to go to be better. By just listening these last few weeks, I’ve learned a lot.
I mentioned this story earlier about my high school English teacher, and I went back and listened to it. I thought I’d share it here. This is a great example of how having diverse teachers can benefit children and youth in their formative years.
Geoff-Aus: “I believe racism would reduce if poverty were eliminated. Not sure you can solve one problem without the other?” Well, both the Bible and Book of Mormon would agree that we need to eliminate poverty. Poverty seems to be the new slavery. People who have been impoverished (which includes anyone who survived the Great Depression) are eager to avoid it again, even if that means holding tight to their unearned privileges, leaving less hope for those who don’t have them. I imagine many white veterans of WW2 who used the GI Bill to improve their lives are unaware that those same benefits were denied to 1.2 million black veterans who had been promised the same thing: https://www.history.com/news/gi-bill-black-wwii-veterans-benefits
Mark L, the alleged comment by LBJ, which he certainly could have made given that he used the epithet often enough, sets the time frame at 200 years, not 100. Still, there is little evidence to support that he actually said this. BTW, when you want to attribute objectionable speech to someone else, it’s a good idea to use quotes in addition to asterisks. It makes you look a bit less racist. Not much, but a bit.
“Systemic racism is when your college application is openly treated differently depending on which racial box you check…”.
BTW – Who’s marching, campaigning, looting and rioting for these minority groups:
Chinese who were enslaved by the Japanese….
Koreans who were enslaved by the Japanese…..
American’s of Asian descent who are discriminated against….
Latino and Spanish Americans who are discriminated against….
How about the Jews who are being discriminated against in NYC: and elsewhere? Hasidic Jews anyone?
Why must BLM be the all consuming, hip, social justice group….to whom everyone must kneel and upon which we have to self-flaggelate……
As I watch people (of all stripes) throw around the word “RACISM” as weapon; used to tear down, degrade, gain advantage over, self-aggrandize oneself over another, virtue signal or to simply cause hurt and to wound….I think it’s rapidly losing it’s meaning….and it’s influence – other than being used as fuel to outrage and to inflame.
Wayfarer 25: Don’t conflate the protesters with the looters. In most cases, these were not the same people. There has been some pro-Asian work done in the US to combat racism after the Japanese internment camps were ended which is how we got the “smart Asian” stereotype. There was a campaign to recast them as model immigrants, that also besmirched (as a byproduct) other immigrant groups. Most people who are anti-racism are concerned with the plight of all people of color; however, the BLM movement came about specifically because of how many black people are killed by police brutality. That’s a specific problem in the racist category.
There are some who are invested in “naming and shaming” when it comes to calling out racism. I intentionally wrote this post to make it clear that we are all guilty of some forms of racism, particularly those who claim they are “not racist” but act in a way that is neutral toward racism. I can’t fathom why you are more concerned with the hurt feelings of white people being called racist than you are with the real harms done to the lives of black people. It’s great that you think that racism was taken seriously enough that now the over-the-top virtue-signallers are going to be the one thing that will hold us all back from achieving equality when you say that “racism” is applied so liberally that it’s losing its meaning and influence.
If you read any of the scholarly books on racism, you have much to learn (as do we all) from those who have really done the research. But reading books is not enough. Committing to anti-racism is needed as individuals, as a Church, and as a country. So far, the causes of anti-racism have not made headway because systemic racism advances simultaneously, and more or less cancels it out.
None of which detracts from the fact that black lives continue to matter…
Wait … are wayfarer and Wayfarer 25 different people? You’re making this harder than it needs to be. 🙂
The solution that will bring about equality and a freer society is the restoration of the family. I am privileged because my parents stayed married and raised me to live by common sense, moral standards. These principles are time tested to always work. The family will solve most all our social problems. Hence, I still believe Black FATHERS Matter.
Mark L You are privileged for many reasons beyond the fact that your parents stayed married and raised you to live by common sense moral standards.
That helps. But so many additional factors help those of us who are white. We still have to work hard. But we more often have something to show for our labors.
Mark L As you believe that black fathers matter, I hope you will advocate for policies that help prevent excessive incarceration of so many black men (and black women, as black mothers also matter). Watch 13th. Netflix has uploaded it to YouTube so we can all watch it for free. It’s time well spent. I think you will be glad you watched it.
Wayfarer: My apologies. I didn’t know there was another. I will create a different name; so as to not cause confusion between the two of us. Angela: you write very well and are extraordinarily articulate. But, you too – have your biases and your “hobby topics”. I don’t believe you’re as altruistic as you may believe you are. I believe that black lives matter; but they are not exclusive to the human race. Admittedly, many have suffered horrible abuse – but bluntly – so have many, many others. And yet, it’s Black Lives Matter which has become the darling of the media, a magnet for those who might be ashamed of who they are or to whom (or which culture) wherein they were born, a “whipping post” for all perceived historical sins of the United States; and of humankind. It’s thinking and ideas like this which make the tensions between cultures, races and peoples even worse that it’s been; and fosters even more conflict and hate. You have the every right to offer up public displays of penance…..perhaps in some way it brings you peace. For me…I will not do it. For my own life, I’ve simply found that treating everyone you meet with as much kindness as you can, being as helpful as you can ….and in smoothing the way for others (as much as you can) is a more peaceful way to live; but of course doing this does not fit neatly into a slogan or militant sound-bite.
The commenters here must live a sheltered life. I started first grade in 1967. Fully integrated and in the gulf south. No glorious antebellum culture where I lived. My first black teacher was in the third grade. And I had at least one or two teachers per grade from that point until I finished high school. My children have had about the same number. You might try listening to some Larry Elder, Candace Owens or Officer Brandon Tatum before you prostate yourselves on the alter of white privilege. Maybe even some Hodges Twins and Anthony Brian Logan.
IDIAT, you mention one specific, personal example, list a bunch of conservative thinkers and then claim other people are sheltered, completely dismissing their experience? Good for you. Like Wayfarer 25, you’ve had life experiences! Congratulations!
I mean, did you read the post? Have you read any of the authors mentioned in it?
Please, what is with all these spurious comments on race. I’ve never seen W&T devolve on any any issue as much as race. Clearly, we, as a culture have a very long way to go.
Actually, the sheltered part came first, then the rest followed. I grew up 6o/40 white to black. My adult life has been 50/50. I read the post. As usual, when someone offers a different perspective, it’s brushed off as unique and not applicable. You want to know what middle class blacks think about the issues of today? Talk to them. You are not hearing their voices on mainstream media sources. You are hearing the shouting and emotional rants of a small number of blacks. And progressive woke whites are not helping one bit.
IDIAT, I got it. Meaning, I get that you feel like you got it and your narrative is correct, more important, more germane. Look, I’m all for different views. But dismissing other people’s experiences because it differs from yours is obtuse. You seem to think your ‘background’ grants you some insight. Perhaps it does. Perhaps it doesn’t. Perhaps it simply inures you to the racism all around you. Or perhaps they might not share something with you because, you know, you feel the way you do. It happens to all of us. And that’s the point. Also, spoiler, I live in the south.
You seem to think that whatever small percentage of black people (middle class, it seems, in your specific locale) you talk to somehow get to speak for all black people. That the majority of black people don’t think there’s a problem. Well, there’s plenty suggest otherwise.
Also, it’s almost like you feel that nothing positive is happening. No much needed reforms, no new sympathy being developed. No progress, just damage. Is that it? Because we are clearly looking at different things then, because the number of people I see now engaging for change who hadn’t before is drastic. Things are happening in the world my friend in regards to class and action for more more equality (though I know you probably don’t like that word!).
Anyway, I know it’s all the rage on the right to rail against progressive woke people, but, frankly, that’s just a lazy conservative argument and . . .get ready for it . . . is not helping one bit.
“LBJ and his agenda to build a Great Society resulted in the destruction of the Black family unit.”
No it didn’t
“It’s thinking and ideas like this which make the tensions between cultures, races and peoples even worse that it’s been; and fosters even more conflict and hate.”
You’re getting incoherent here and I’m actually not entirely sure what you mean. But we have to talk about racism to address problems related to it. Racism doesn’t magically disappear because we avoid taking about it.
“You are hearing the shouting and emotional rants of a small number of blacks. And progressive woke whites are not helping one bit.”
Who inspired the largest protest in the history of the US that extended even to small towns in Wyoming and Oklahoma, the reddest states in the US? Black Lives Matter has majority support in the US according to recent polls. I hear lots of shouting of a small number of angry denialists who get bent out of shape about someone pointing out white privilege.
The best word to describe Wayfarer 25, IDIAT, and Mark L is fragile.
Brian, what’s your deal with IDIAT’s comment? You say you’re all for different views but your reaction to his comments speaks very contrary to that. And why are you attributing thoughts and words to him (her?) that he never said. IDIAT never implied that his narrative is more correct than everyone else or that the majority of black people don’t think there’s a problem. Maybe when someone does have a different opinion, even if you think it’s blatantly wrong, try to first understand where their opinion and perspective are coming from rather than throwing accusations at them and twisting their words. The best thing IDIAT said (in my opinion) is “You want to know what middle class blacks think about the issues of today? Talk to them.” Seriously, that’s good advice for everyone. If you’ve done that and have come away with a different perspective, then by all means, share your different perspective but there is no reason to suggest that IDIAT’s experience and perspective aren’t genuine unless you’re just trying to denigrate his opinion because you don’t like it. He isn’t dismissing anyone’s experience like you’re accusing, but you are clearly dismissing his. And I’m sorry that I only mentioned Brian because there are plenty of others here doing the same thing – instead of trying to understand opinions and perspectives that are different, you just bash them around with accusations and name calling.
I also grew up in the south and had similar experiences to IDIAT and Jack Hughes. I grew up with black friends, black teachers, black school administrators, black government officials, black church leaders, etc. The society I grew up in was still largely segregated in many ways but I was in no way isolated from or ignorant of black people or their experiences. Does my experience make my opinions or my “insight” better or more informed than the experience of someone who’s had little personal experience with black people? No, but it makes it different and that’s its value. We’ll all learn much more from others with different opinions and different experiences than we ever will from others with the same or similar opinions and experiences. I also share IDIAT’s opinion of others with sheltered lives, especially those living in Utah. My perspective after having lived in Utah for a while but mostly in other, less mormony places, is that Utah is extremely sheltered and the people living there genuinely have no idea how sheltered they are.
If anyone doesn’t like or agree with what I or others have written, what are you going to do? Are you going to respond with false accusations and name calling or attempt to engage in civilized discussion to try and understand a different perspective? I’m going to be a pessimist and suggest that most will probably choose the former.
DB, in short, my complaint with IDIAT’s comments are that they are not, well, your comment–which indeed, presents a different view without all the baggage of implying everyone else doesn’t know what they are talking about, that they haven’t talked to black people, that they are all blinded by some liberal agenda, etc.
So thank you for your comment. I stand, however, by my criticism of theirs.
I mention my lived experience and I immediately get criticized. HG mentions hers, and she gets nothing. I see how the game is played. I’ll say it again. Go listen to some Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell. Maybe some YoungRippa59. I do find it funny when western church transplants come down south to “save” us from our ignorant racism. There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t carry some degree of discrimination, prejudice and bias. I just don’t agree with the current wave of progressive approaches to encourage equality.
IDIAT, you keep proving my point about fragility. You come on here and right off the bat start swinging at progressivism and the white privilege narrative. You then share a personal experience that appears to be nothing more than memory motivated by a political axe to grind, and you mention a few black people, who don’t represent the norm, and who also have political axes to grind sms are profiting from intellectually dishonest contrarianism. If you want people to take your personal experiences seriously, show some respect to other people sitting their personal experiences, and don’t deny the reality of white privilege. You’re like a basketball player who is constantly fouling people behind the refs’ backs and pushing the boundaries of sportsmanlike playing and then flopping right and left and claiming you were fouled when you weren’t. Fake crying.
I had at least one HS teacher who was black, along with a coach and the vice principal of the school. I had a polysci prof who was black before I transferred to BYU. For 7 years of my schooling I lived in areas where there were very few black people, and other minority groups were larger. There were no black teachers and few if any black students at those schools. I have also worked in the inner city and the rural south in predominantly black areas.
For my perspective on anti-racism I look to the words of the Savior in Matthew chapter 7 “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Is any organization created by men perfect? No. But, I do expect the key goals of an organization to be where they are focused, and if they are good, they will bear good fruits in their areas of focus. I think that Black Lives Matter is not showing the good fruit. Riots and higher rates of crime have followed some of their protests. (NYC has seen violent crime jump 25+% in the last month, Chicago had the most murders in modern history on May 31st during the peak of the protests, other examples abound). This comes after nationwide violent crime rates falling for years, and specifically police violence towards black suspects, and all suspects, falling dramatically.
I have not heard Ibram Kendi, the BLM founders, or other prominent anti-racists decrying the wave of violence. I have not seen them acknowledge the dramatic reduction in police violence that has been seen over the past few years. This would put the lie to the radical “defund the police” rhetoric that some are promoting. If, as national statistics show, police violence against black people can be rapidly improved, then continuing the reforms is a potential avenue to achieve their stated goals of protecting black lives. It is also much less controversial and goes against some of their political agenda. Defunding the police is likely to lead to more violent crime against black people, some areas have already seen this. The fruits of their movement will likely be opposite of their stated goal. Why is that?
Several of the other grievances of anti-racists are to use unequal outcomes in selected metrics in society and show that there is structural racism. Does the racial make-up of the NBA players show that there is structural anti-white racism in the financially lucrative NBA? Using anti-racist logic, the answer is yes, but common sense says that there is probably another explanation. It is likely that there are alternate explanations for many of the anti-racists’ favorite metrics. One explanation, Black Fathers Matter, has been mentioned a few times above. BLM is clearly opposed to that explanation and possible solution.
On balance, regarding the BLM and anti-racist leaders, a quote from a great black man comes to mind. As a former slave and a resident of Alabama in the post reconstruction era, he knew a lot about oppression of black people.
“There is another class of … people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
― Booker T. Washington
el oso, I’m not sure your aware of the fact that the B.T. Washington quote, (as well as MLJ’s “I have a dream” speech) has been used as cover for our society to do nothing. Washington was very much a product of his time, but during his lifetime other members of the African American community argued for different approaches, i.e. W.E.B. Dubois, the NAACP, and others. The idea of uplift has not had much success. You need only look at the statements and derision of the right for President Obama. He did all the”correct: things that were supposed to be the signpost that racism had been subdued. One only has to listen to the constant insults from the right to know that even reaching the highest elected office in the land isn’t enough. Birtherism? Brownsuit-gate? Teleprompters? Islam? Michelle Obama’s short sleeves? I could go on…
“The worst enemy the Negro has is this white man professing to love Negros and calling himself a liberal. The history of the white liberal has been nothing but a series of tricks designed to make Negros think that the white liberal was going to solve our problems.”
Oh, yay, a quotes-out-of-context contest. Let’s all play.
“The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.”
Well, doing nothing would be much better than burning down cities, large increases in violent crime, and other ill effects that have been seen in the past month. You may have missed the serious point that I was making with the quote. The BLM leaders and many others Do Not Want to Solve these Problems. National crime statistics show an improving situation, yet many protesters will say that the problems have increased. So, society as a whole has been improving, not doing nothing, yet the BLM “solutions” will exacerbate the problems, at least they have in the short term. BT Washington’s quote does not say to do nothing, it says to watch out for scammers who will scream about a problem, but not propose a real solution.
I am well aware of the BT Washington vs. WEB DuBois arguments and realize that the effective changes in the 50s and 60s were led by civil rights leaders that leaned more to the DuBois side. ML King’s Street Sweeper speech might be a good shout out to the BT Washington side, but most of the rhetoric came from the DuBois camp. Unlike today, there was institutional government segregation and denial of basic rights to black people. That era is now 50 years in the past.
Are you mad that conservatives did not like the very progressive President Obama? They did not like Dan Rostenkowski either, a previous nationally powerful democrat from the Chicago machine. Most of that was not about race. GW Bush got equivalent grief from political opponents, and President Trump has had it worse. The most effective movement against Obama was probably the TEA party. Taxes Enough Already. That had nothing to do with race, and a lot to do with policy. Conservatives seem to be fine with Justice Thomas, Senator Scott, Mia Love, and others.
“Several of the other grievances of anti-racists are to use unequal outcomes in selected metrics in society and show that there is structural racism. The NBA….”
It isn’t just the self-identified anti-racist movement, such as Ibram Kendi and BLM, using “selected” metrics to establish structural racism. This is widely established by all sorts of studies coming out of all sorts of university departments and presses. One Harvard study that showed that blacks were on average given 20% longer sentences for the same crimes really blew my mind. The NBA is a pretty big exception to the rule, and those in the anti-racist movement recognize that. They aren’t stupid as you’re suggesting.
Here is the problem. We have to be in agreement that white privilege is a real phenomenon as is racism at systemic, structural, and institutional levels. Too many folks like el oso getting bent out of shape over these concepts. These aren’t and should not be controversial issues.
It should also be recognized that there is a healthy debate among liberals about the question of police reform and “defunding” the police, the reasons behind looting and arson at the protests, anti-racism, and a whole host of other issues. A small few reasonable-minded conservatives have joined the conversation as well. But a lot of conservative folks, instead of trying to understand the protests and the issues at hand and how to move forward on an important issue together, are opportunists engaging in an endless game of oneupmanship by trying to expose all liberals as radicals who will not properly condemn violence at the protests, insist that recognize a non-existent racism, and are the real cause of racial division (and they’re hope is to reelect Trump). This is absurd and a non-starter for having a real conversation. The country is bursting at the seams right the seems. Conservative trolling and opportunism are only adding to these tensions. A lot of you need to take the time to think more deeply about how to move towards healing.
I am happy to engage in conversation about racism, societal problems of all types, etc. with liberals. I am also going to point out the clear results of BLM and some of their allies as being contrary to their publicly stated goals. They and many others will also not acknowledge the stats I give about reduction in police violence etc. I have never said that there exists no structural racism or that racism does not still remain an issue in this country. I have pushed back against some of the preferred narratives of BLM and their allies using real data from nationally recognized researchers. The Harvard study you cite is a possible indicator of a problem that should certainly be debated and addressed in a serious manner. A couple of questions: what political affiliation do the judges, DAs, etc. have that are involved in the criminal sentencing of black people? Are not many of them democrats across the board? Yes. White and black liberals are leading the justice system that the majority of black people face in this country. See the BT Washington quote above about one hypothesis that would explain this. There are other possible explanations as well.
Since you recognize the NBA situation can you at least try to apply the same logic to the allegations that you hear (and even peer reviewed studies that you read)? Many of the studies can be countered by looking at additional data, controlling for other relevant factors, etc. You say that: “We have to be in agreement that white privilege is a real phenomenon as is racism at systemic, structural, and institutional levels.” When I point out that some of the allegations used by BLM and their allies are flawed, many seem to be unable to continue the conversation. When I point out that violent crime against black people is increasing in many areas at the same time that BLM protests are going on, is that not a serious issue that should be addressed? Just because it points to possible hypocrisy from BLM and their allies does not mean that it is not true or a valid issue. Could you conceive an experiment that would test the hypothesis that some of the differences in societal statistics are not due to racism?
One additional point that I will raise has come up recently. When rioters defaced and destroyed statues of notorious confederates and racists like Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, many could believe that it was primarily a protest against racism and oppression. When the statues being defaced and destroyed are of President Lincoln and President Grant, like has happened this week, it is clear that wanton destruction is more the goal. Those presidents have done more for black lives than almost any other individual Americans throughout history. Toppling a statue of Grant on Juneteenth is like knocking down Joseph from a creche on Christmas. Black lives do not matter to the idiots who did that. I am not accusing anyone who frequents W & T of being so ignorant, but BLM and their allies were involved in the protests that were precursor to those incidents. The fruit of the BLM protests is going far from their stated goals. Perhaps they have a different agenda?
Wait! Cities were burnt down?
The statue of Lincoln includes a portrayal of an African American on his knees, which many would agree demeans both persons portrayed
Your gripes about BLM are duly noted. I think that the organization has some extremeness that cannot be justified in either the short or long term. The idea of abolishing the police is frankly ridiculous. All unauthorized statue topplings and defacings (even those of Confederate soldiers, the ones of Grant, Jefferson, and Washington are especially ridiculous) are criminal vandalism and the perpetrators of these acts should be punished accordingly. A select few members of the protesters are bad folks committing criminal acts. I agree that anti-racists, who are now receiving more attention than they probably ever have, have a responsibility to more forcefully denounce property destruction and violence. That said, let’s not get carried away with denouncing the protesters. Most are peaceful and what they are protesting is relevant. There needs to be a great number of police reforms, and BLM has arguably done more than any other group to draw attention to that, in spite of some of their exaggerated narratives about racism and the police. So in that sense, I support BLM. We also need to recognize that the right has more of a racism problem than the left (although the left isn’t entirely exonerated). Just recently, Facebook accounts of Trump, his campaign, and Mike Pence posted 88 ads (88 being symbolic of Heil Hitler) with the Nazi imagery of an upside-down triangle. That’s messed up.
To answer your questions about the judges, the Harvard study found that Republican-appointed judges gave on average longer sentences to black defendants than Democrat-appointed judges: https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/cyang/files/cohen_yang_march2018.pdf?m=1525793200. I’m unaware of evidence that shows the political affiliation of most judges. Judges, after all, aren’t politicians and often decline to reveal their political leanings.
Much thanks to Wayfarer 25 and El oso for indicating that policy brutality against blacks has fallen to acceptable levels, so we can put all this protesting fuss behind us and move onto more important matters. May I make a suggestion for a new movement? #POTUSgotfeelingstoo. So many people are attacking the president, forcing him to spend way to much time defending himself on Twitter. He doesn’t have enough time to manage the country’s pressing business, or make important decisions, like whether to eat McDonalds or Burger King for dinner.
Can’t we be more charitable and just choose to believe in him? So what if he didn’t know Finland wasn’t part of Russia? Who cares if he thinks drinking bleach is an effective defense against coronavirus? What of his claim to have done more for blacks than any other president in history, with the possible exception of Lincoln? Let’s not get all caught up in that. We need to focus on the positive! For example, I’m sure he’s been molesting far fewer women since entering office. Can we agree he doesn’t get enough credit for that? We can do something truly useful for our country and protest the hurtful, negative attacks on this man, so he can muster the necessary self-esteem to lead us. Who will join me?
One more thing, why is the Bureau of Land Management being blamed for burning down our cities? I don’t get it. Must be another liberal conspiracy.
Eugene, You missed out his efforts to unite the country, and the warmth and respect he shows to those who do not do what he wants, and the way he demands politicians support the constitution first and him second. His belief in a free press which is neccessary for democracy. His tireless efforts to reduce the virus deaths, by reducing testing.
From the outside it looks like the country can no longer agree on basic facts, there are facts, and there are trump facts. It is difficult to know what is real, and what has been manipulated. How much of the stuff about BLM is true? Is there an effort to undermine/divert from the reality, of poverty and racism? Are they organizing all these demonstrations, or are others?
Can you be certain of your truth?
I find your attitude and logic quite disgusting. We see black people being murdered by police, your reaction is police brutality is reducing.
A network is set up to counter racism, and your response is to try to undermine them.
You offer no solution to racism, except to become a professional athlete. You seem to be denying there is a problem.
If this is the conservative response to racism, I hope there is much change in november.
I suspect you would react similarly to climate change, universal healthcare, and any other improvement for the poor and needy.
I suspect you think you are a good person, worthy of respect. NO.
“I have often wondered about why Whites are racists, and no other race is……
Someone finally said it. How many are actually paying attention to this?
There are African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, etc.
And then there are just Americans.. You pass me on the street and sneer in my direction.
You call me ‘White boy,’ ‘Cracker,’ ‘Honkey,’ ‘Whitey,’ ‘Caveman’… And that’s OK..
You say that whites commit a lot of violence against you….
So why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live?
You have the United Negro College Fund. You have Martin Luther King Day.
You have Black History Month.
You have Cesar Chavez Day.
You have Yom Hashoah.
You have Ma’uled Al-Nabi.
You have the NAACP.
You have BET….
If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we’d be racists.
If we had a White Pride Day, you would call us racists.
If we had White History Month, we’d be racists.
If we had any organization for only whites to ‘advance’ OUR lives, we’d be racists.
We have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Black Chamber of Commerce, and then we just have the plain Chamber of Commerce.
Wonder who pays for that??
A white woman could not be in the Miss Black American pageant, but any color can be in the Miss America pageant.
If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships… You know we’d be racists.
There are over 60 openly proclaimed Black Colleges in the US .
Yet if there were ‘White colleges’, that would be a racist college.
In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights.
If we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists.
You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange, and you’re not afraid to announce it.
But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.
You rob us, car jack us, and shoot at us.
But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society, you call him a racist.
I am proud…… But you call me a racist.
Why is it that only whites can be racists??
It’s not a crime to have been born White…..at least not yet.
Wow, Wayfarer 25, I wish I could downvote that 100 times. That’s a stunningly tone deaf and ignorant thing to post. I’m sorry your perspective is this narrow and that history has not rudely announced itself by crashing through your fragile and bigoted–yes, bigoted–views.
A few thoughts:
– So sorry you have to endure being called a cracker, but that pales in comparison to centuries of far worse for racial and ethnic minorities.
– Dangerous communities are those in which desperation reigns because legitimate opportunity is nonexistent. They exist in many countries for white people, also.
– There is exactly one national holiday named after an African American leader, and you still act like black Americans should shut up and be glad they have it.
– You want a white history month? Pick a month. History is largely written by white, powerful people–mostly men.
– If you want to call American society the National Association for the Advancement of White People, have at it.
– White Entertainment Television is also known as television.
– FFS, for how long did the Miss America pageant not permit black participants?
– There are around 5,300 colleges and universities in the U.S., most of which had few if any black students throughout their history, but that 60 seems unfair to you, somehow. The only reason the HBUCs exist is because African Americans were routinely discriminated against in admissions by most educational institutions.
– Why would you march for your rights as a white male? What has ever been denied you, especially when compared with people of color and women?
Even without knowing your name, I’m embarrassed for you. This is ignorant, anti-historical garbage.
Jaredsbrother: Might be time for you to grow up and stop being offended by everything. The world (and the United States) is far from perfect; and both can be quite cruel. Even nature itself is cruel. Either mankind learns to live together and be supportive of each other (of all races) – or we’ll end up destroying each other; probably rather quickly at this stage. Your slogans, chest-beating, lack of educated depth and faux outrage is infantile and pathetic.
“You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange, and you’re not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists. You rob us, car jack us, and shoot at us.”
Crossed the line there. All non-whites are criminals, huh? And you cry like a little girl because you can’t have you’re all white TV (no one is stopping you from doing that but we have the right to ridicule you as a racist piece of garbage for so doing) and someone called you a racist for acting like one? You’re a weak, pathetic snowflake piece of trash who whines about there not being enough white supremacy.
Mods, ban this clown for life.
“Might be time for you to grow up and stop being offended by everything”
What the???? That comment at 9:00am was nothing but a cryfest from a weak offended little pussywillow. Where do you get off calling someone offended. Go back to 8chan, crypto white supremacist!!!!
Just a quick reminder of our commenting policy. I’m seeing violations of at least two of our prohibitions:
– Personal attacks against others, including authors and commenters.
– Trolling (starting fires), especially drive by trolling.
Light moderation (our norm and preference) is a privilege, not a right. Please moderate yourselves accordingly.
Thanks to all others for your comments. This discussion has run its course.
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