Hello and welcome readers! There was some interest from folks commenting on Memory Hole Blog to have a discussion of racial issues. So here I am setting up a thread. Since I know this a touchy issue and discussions could get intense, allow me to set up some GUIDELINES!
First and foremost, be civil at all times and post respectfully. No personal attacks, etc.. As of right now, comments are not moderated - that could change and I still can remove any abusive comments (and no, I WON'T censor ideas,!). I don't think this will be a problem - everyone at MHB seems fine - but you don't know who else is reading, may want to participate, so I'd rather say it and have no need for doing so than not. And please, as a favor to your hostess, no cursing or profanity.
Second - and this is really more of a hint - although our language is certainly imperfect and imprecise, do try to write as clearly as possible. If your meaning is clear, there's less chance of fuss over misreading and simple misunderstanding.
I would like this discussion to be thoughtful so here are some questions to get us started. You may answer all or any in comments and go from there...
1) Do you perceive race/ethnicity has impacted your life? How so? (be as specific or as general as you feel comfortable with sharing.)
2) Why do we seem to separate ourselves into "us" and "them"? (I ask this because this has happened in many cultures over the centuries, but it seems in the U. S. it was often done along racial lines.)
3) What changes in race relations have you noticed in your lifetime?
4) Can we eliminate racism by ignoring the existence of race?
5) What book(s) would you suggest for a reading list on race/racial issues?
1) Full disclosure for those who don't personally know me: I'm multi-ethnic/multi-racial - that is (in alphabetical order): African-European-Native American. It's hard to say how race has specifically impacted me. Of course my experience I don't believe is typical. I've not encountered very much, if any, OVERT racism, and covert? Well that's harder to pin down, but of course there have been some things here and there. I've had supporters and mentors of most races and both genders. My parents were great, supportive as well as my extended family (which especially on Mom's side looks now like a mini-U.N.). I also grew up in an integrated neighborhood and attended an integrated Church. So I'd better try to relate to everyone.
2) This is not original, but I think it comes from a place of fear. "We" somehow feel threatened (about something - maybe economic?) and think it is "they" who are to blame. Along with that, maybe if "we" look down on "them" it somehow makes us feel better about ourselves.
3) Hmmm - I think there was a "coming together" during the sixties - people were talking to each other even through the turmoil. I remember going to a discussion group ( I was in maybe in 9th grade) with my parents. Then things sort of fizzled out; groups sort of diverged, especially economically. Now I feel the differences are probably as much socioeconomic as racial. Maybe that's why groups have such a hard time relating to each other. Socially, though - I think interaction of races is a bit lagging, I'll say.
4) Tough one. Can we really ignore race, should we? My own take is that we have to work on accepting each other, differences included. My great Psych prof., Dr, Keller (shout out!) once said, it would be so boring if there were no differences in people. The only question left would be 'Why are we all the same?'
5) The one I'll suggest is old, but I believe to be classic and more than likely still relevant. It is The Nature of Prejudice by Gordon W. Allport. I will confess I have not read it, but do have a copy here somewhere!
Ok, folks, now to it!