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wonkwest

(463 posts)
Fri Aug 10, 2018, 11:12 PM Aug 2018

Do you ever just not get racism?

Super disclaimer: I'm a white gay male in his 30s

I got home from work early today. Did some grocery shopping and realized I forgot a lemon. My neighbor's complex has lemon and lime trees (California). So, I thought, "Ok, I'll nab something as required."

I have Muslim immigrant neighbors. Quite a few. And they're guarded as hell. I wave hello, they wave hello back, but our lives intersect not at all. I'm an openly gay male, have a party now and then, but I also listen to their gatherings as well. It's a balance. But I'm always trying to be cognizant of what will or will not make them comfortable. No leather orgies! (I kid).

I leave my front door open because I like fresh air. Their toddler wandered in one day. Must've gotten away from the parents. I entertained him until I could figure out where mom or dad was. They were decidedly panicked. No. Kiddo likes stuffed giraffes.

But, five days ago, their packages arrived at my house. I knocked and handed them over. They were closed, circumspect, suspicious of me. I got the feeling I was invading their space in some way. "Why do you have that?!" I left it alone.

But today, I was standing half in the street staring at the lemon tree, just trying to figure out what to use with brown rice. And my neighbor came out, "No, don't get that one. Get this one." And he told me how to tell what I should use and not. Then we got into cooking, and then we realized, we kind of like each other.

So, I am actually pretty happy. To make that cultural connection, to realize we're just people.

I don't get racism. I just don't. Why? I still struggle with that. We have so much to learn from each other. Why shut it down.

Meh. Musing. Sorry. Just a thought I've been having since.


69 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Do you ever just not get racism? (Original Post) wonkwest Aug 2018 OP
Good story. Thanks for sharing. More interaction then introspection needed. brush Aug 2018 #1
I don't get racism either vlyons Aug 2018 #2
My Irish-American brother married a Mexican wonkwest Aug 2018 #5
Most of it is social cognitioning of entitlement uponit7771 Aug 2018 #15
It very much is wonkwest Aug 2018 #31
Why would you hold hate in your heart for any reason whatsoever? vlyons Aug 2018 #21
Suspicion of those unlike ourselves is hardwired by evolution. In nature, those tblue37 Aug 2018 #22
That's exactly it, or at least it was JackintheGreen Aug 2018 #11
Russia starting to sound like Nazi Germany, that's messed up uponit7771 Aug 2018 #16
People are people. They are not born with prejudice or hate. It is taught., it stems from fear. onecaliberal Aug 2018 #3
Yes I focus on the person and not the color of their skin or religion kimbutgar Aug 2018 #4
You're not alone brother. Glamrock Aug 2018 #6
Gary/South Bend is a thing wonkwest Aug 2018 #27
I looked up Chicago newspapers from 1966 Freddie Aug 2018 #36
I actually just called my mom about this wonkwest Aug 2018 #40
My late FIL was the same way Freddie Aug 2018 #43
It 's a thing wonkwest Aug 2018 #69
What a sweet story. Thank you for that. sandensea Aug 2018 #7
LOL! wonkwest Aug 2018 #28
I am so grateful I grew up in an integrated area nini Aug 2018 #8
I grew up lily white wonkwest Aug 2018 #29
I agree it is completely baffling to me. coeur_de_lion Aug 2018 #9
I have learned so, so much wonkwest Aug 2018 #30
You're lucky coeur_de_lion Aug 2018 #32
It's a self-induced perception wonkwest Aug 2018 #34
So true coeur_de_lion Aug 2018 #37
But how to inculcate that in our children wonkwest Aug 2018 #41
I like the way you think coeur_de_lion Aug 2018 #42
People are people wonkwest Aug 2018 #45
You seem like a good person to know coeur_de_lion Aug 2018 #46
It's a thing wonkwest Aug 2018 #56
I just love this whole thread coeur_de_lion Aug 2018 #47
It baffles me TlalocW Aug 2018 #10
We are All first and foremost Individuals. NoSmoke Aug 2018 #12
I don't get that kind of racism either lunatica Aug 2018 #13
Thank you for sharing! I don't get racism either. CaptainTruth Aug 2018 #14
I do think most racism in the US comes from unacknowledged certainty in the perpetrator that Squinch Aug 2018 #17
Rodgers and Hammerstein got it. Dave Starsky Aug 2018 #18
THIS!!! nikatnyte Aug 2018 #52
Fear. Mostly; deep seated and in several forms... Guilded Lilly Aug 2018 #19
I Don't Get It, Either Leith Aug 2018 #20
Back when Dennis Miller was funny, he once said, CrispyQ Aug 2018 #23
This whole thread is excellent stopwastingmymoney Aug 2018 #48
Dennis was funny before he made a sharp turn to the right. CrispyQ Aug 2018 #54
I have never understood it. I don't get it either. sinkingfeeling Aug 2018 #24
My openness to other skin colors and ethnicities is on a rather primal level. Aristus Aug 2018 #25
Great tiny slice of life story. Thanks for sharing. KPN Aug 2018 #26
being gay makes you more sensitive to racial discrimination AlexSFCA Aug 2018 #33
I think so, too wonkwest Aug 2018 #35
My Dad was Archie Bunker Horse with no Name Aug 2018 #38
Personal experience plays a role. I'm gay too, and frankly nervous around some Muslims. MadDAsHell Aug 2018 #39
It's a thing wonkwest Aug 2018 #44
Tweeted and K&R yuiyoshida Aug 2018 #49
Thanks, miss n/t wonkwest Aug 2018 #65
dou itashimashite! yuiyoshida Aug 2018 #68
My introduction to racial equality Mr.Bill Aug 2018 #50
People most readily fear that of which they have little understanding GeoWilliam750 Aug 2018 #51
That's exactly right. forgotmylogin Aug 2018 #53
Tribalism & evolution CloudWatcher Aug 2018 #55
When I first moved to an apartment in Manhattan, my next door neighbors.... George II Aug 2018 #57
This message was self-deleted by its author Kashkakat v.2.0 Aug 2018 #58
With Muslims, it's not just racism. It's their religion. Honeycombe8 Aug 2018 #59
No, I don't get any of it. Initech Aug 2018 #60
Unfortunately, I do get it. bitterross Aug 2018 #61
I'm now being alert stalked wonkwest Aug 2018 #62
Maybe it would be nice if you didn't hate Democrats? betsuni Aug 2018 #63
Having spent a lot of my life overseas, I have come to the conclusion that as humans we are Nitram Aug 2018 #64
Fear of the other exists in many different forms. kwassa Aug 2018 #66
I need to complain about this thread. kwassa Aug 2018 #67

vlyons

(10,252 posts)
2. I don't get racism either
Fri Aug 10, 2018, 11:20 PM
Aug 2018

I think a lot of it is fear that one's children and grandchildren will have sex and make multiracial children.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
5. My Irish-American brother married a Mexican
Fri Aug 10, 2018, 11:34 PM
Aug 2018

My immediate family is over it. My niece and nephew look entirely Latino.

My parents, who are crazy assed racist, adore those children. Those are their grandchildren, and they are as fiercely defensive of them as all hell.

It's funny. My brother is blonde/blue. I'm pale Irish with auburn/brown. (We're both adopted). In public, everyone assumes they're my kids. They actually kind of look at me and repeat my expressions. But, I fear. They just look Latino. They're Mexican. The mom's genes dominated.

If anyone discriminates against them, wait til you see a bunch of irate white people throw down.

But, the point is, I like my neighbors. I like everyone. I don't get it. I know about racial oppression in the Big Picture. That's not what I'm addressing. I'm addressing, how can you hold hate in your heart for the nice people that are your people?

I just don't get the hate. It's so anathema to me. Why does anyone care.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
31. It very much is
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 11:58 AM
Aug 2018

I don't like categorizing too much, but I can say from experience, white males are raised with the expectation that the country works for them. When it does not, when they're frustrated and feel like they're not getting what was promised them, we get a lot of expressions of ugly.

I think my being gay tempered that. I didn't think my life would be easy. I expected a lot of difficulty. So maybe I was primed for reality, so to speak.

A lot of white males were not primed for reality. And there's a shit side to that.

vlyons

(10,252 posts)
21. Why would you hold hate in your heart for any reason whatsoever?
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 09:46 AM
Aug 2018

As a Buddhist, I am taught to develop loving kindness towards all sentient beings. Yes, even animals. Even the Trumps of this world. Hatred is poison. When I lived in Calif, there were multi-racial people of every mixture. I thought that they were physically very attractive. Beautiful. Sexy. And when I got to know them as people, they were just like me. They wanted to be happy. They loved and were loved by their families. They wanted rewarding and interesting work. They wanted to live in a decent place in a safe neighborhood. And they wanted their children to be safe and go to a good school.

Hatred is an extreme for of anger. It is an unmindful lazy unexamined mental habit of people, who have never been taught to train and control their own minds. Hatred is not the result of some quality inherent in the object of hatred. It is manufactured in one's own mind and then projected onto someone "out there." It is also one of the causes that keeps us trapped in our own suffering. Hatred is poison.

tblue37

(65,765 posts)
22. Suspicion of those unlike ourselves is hardwired by evolution. In nature, those
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 10:08 AM
Aug 2018

in our family or tribe looked more like us than did strangers, and the more unlike us the stranger looked, the more certain he was not one of ours and was therefore a potential danger.

Now, of course, we have family, neighbors, and co-workers who look very different from ourselves, so those old hardwired inclinations are counterproductive and need to be shed, but to do that, we need to educate each new generation against the tendency to fear and hate those who do not look like themselves. Interaction from a young age with different people is important, but so is overt education against bigotry and racism.

Unfortunately, since racists teach their racism to their kids, efforts to counter that racism must be active, not passive. Simply forcing racists to (superficially) interact with the targets of their racism won't usually do much good; it just provides opportunities to act on one's racism and thus exacerbate the tension. Each new generation must be actively taught to accept people as people, no matter how different they might look.

Unfortunately, though, a lot of what people are exposed to, even as kids, functions to reinforce that instinctive fear and hate of the "Other." Sure, some cultural influences work the other way, like TV shows, movies, and cartoons, but a lot of our cultural milieu encourages bigotry. And now it is just too easy for people to isolate themselves on the internet and in media bubbles from everything that makes them uncomfortable and challenges their biases, so the influences that work to counteract bigotry are all too often overwhelmed by those that encourage it.

JackintheGreen

(2,036 posts)
11. That's exactly it, or at least it was
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:56 AM
Aug 2018

We visited the National Civil Right Museum in Memphis last month and they displayed a print anti-integration ad from the 1950s that was exactly this. The message was to the effect: oh sure, your young kids are cute now just playing ball/tag/whatever together, but with integration they'll go to the same schools and take the same classes and start having the same pubescent feelings and WHAMMO, now you've got biracial children! Is *that* the kind of world you want to live in?

If you paid attention to the World Cup this summer you saw the same thing: Russia telling its citizens not to have sex with visitors for fear of diluting Russian purity.

onecaliberal

(33,375 posts)
3. People are people. They are not born with prejudice or hate. It is taught., it stems from fear.
Fri Aug 10, 2018, 11:28 PM
Aug 2018

Republicans are owned and operated by fear.

kimbutgar

(21,470 posts)
4. Yes I focus on the person and not the color of their skin or religion
Fri Aug 10, 2018, 11:30 PM
Aug 2018

If they have good in their heart that’s all that matters.

But sometimes I don’t like Russians at face value.

Glamrock

(11,808 posts)
6. You're not alone brother.
Fri Aug 10, 2018, 11:38 PM
Aug 2018

When I worked as a cable guy, I was on the west side of South Bend everyday for at least a year. All black. And I'm a skinny long haired white dude who hates pulling his hair back. Never had an issue. Never felt threatened. Positive experiences every day. Day after day after fucking day. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't surprised. I grew up next to Gary, IN. Although, I was sorta raised semi-segregated what with private schools and white neighborhoods, I grew up seeing and interacting with blacks, Latins, Italians, Polish, Irish, Jews, etc, etc, etc. People are fucking people man. We all want the same shit. Safe neighborhood, good schools, and opportunity. I will never, for the life of me understand what the fuck skin color has to do with anything.

P. S. Appreciate your story

P. P. S. No leather orgies

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
27. Gary/South Bend is a thing
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 11:32 AM
Aug 2018

You know, I was juuuuuust about to say, "Ooh, that's rough." But that's coming from my white, suburban Chicagoan upbringing (I grew up in the SW burbs). I have family in Indiana there, and my best friend from childhood lives in Highland now.

It's funny, I was just reading an article about Palos township. The population there is now 30% Muslim. When I grew up, the SW burbs were just plain white. You had to go a bit east to start running into the black middle class. Country Club Hills and the like. But, Bridgeview was "the Muslim place." With immigration, that expanded into Palos. Oh boy, do plenty of people not like that one. A local politician got into a lot of trouble recently by making her very bigoted white thoughts known.

Chicago is an interesting case, because the suburbs are populated by the original White Flighters. My parents both lived in the city growing up. They were in their ethnic enclaves. But after WWII, when black migration north became a thing, they all fled. Now, the suburbs are very much changing. Not just Muslims. Latino and black middle class professionals are moving in, and there is massive grumbling.

I don't get it. I live in S.F. And part of the reason I love S.F. is because it's so diverse. I'm literally the only white guy in my social circle. I just hate the idea of fearing. I don't fear anyone. (Ok, mentally ill homeless person tried to pick a fight with me the other day). But we really are just people at the end of the day.

Freddie

(9,325 posts)
36. I looked up Chicago newspapers from 1966
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 01:10 PM
Aug 2018

Read a true-crime book about the Richard Speck case and wanted to read about it in “real time”. The papers, especially Sunday editions, were page after page of ads for brand-new houses in the suburbs. “You can afford to live here! Great schools!” A new single home for $15000. Was kind of eerie to see exactly what white flight looked like as it happened.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
40. I actually just called my mom about this
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 02:11 PM
Aug 2018

Because I wanted my memory to be straight. (Mom is 82, dad is 72).

My dad grew up in Roseland and attended an ethnic, Catholic church and school. My mom lived at 51st and Hermitage and grew up and attended a Catholic church and school. These were all European immigrant ethnic enclaves. Her aunt had a beauty shop just down the street for 50 years. 50 years.

A few years ago while I was visiting, my mom had to go see some specialist doctor around there, so she asked me to drive her by her old home where she grew up.

The depression was real. The place reeked of poverty, of hopelessness. She started crying in the car. I quickly drove away.

Gang warfare on the South Side is very much a thing. When you hear of Chicago's murder rate, just assume it's the South Side.

But it crushed me a bit. My parents' childhood is all gone. Now there's poverty, desperation, and violence where they had relatively happy childhoods. It inculcates in them resentment. My parents are super racist. They see a black person, and it's like 'Nam flashbacks. "Everything was ok until they came in." They're not sophisticated people. They don't get the forces that worked against the black community for centuries. They just know, "Black people showed up. It all went to shit." A lot of white people, especially older, feel this way. To this day, I'll go home to visit, and if my dad sees black kids in the public basketball court, he'll say, "What the fuck are they doing here?" It's instinctual, embedded, unshakeable.

I always make a pool with a new boyfriend when he meets my father. "I will bet you five bucks he drops the n-word within five minutes." They don't believe me. I always win.

Freddie

(9,325 posts)
43. My late FIL was the same way
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 02:37 PM
Aug 2018

He did the “white flight” thing twice. When he was a kid his family moved from West Philly to a nearby suburb, and when that town had “coloreds” (as he called them) moving in his dad (his mom died pretty young) bought a new house in more remote suburb for my in-laws (then newlyweds) and himself. FIL used to make racist comments about the staff at the retirement home. Used to tell the kids just don’t listen to Grandpa when he says those things.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
69. It 's a thing
Sun Aug 12, 2018, 09:17 PM
Aug 2018

My brother and his Latino family now live two hours away from the city.

There is actually a town chock full of illegal immigrants about 45 minutes away. I'm fluent in Spanish and could not possibly care less. But it's interesting.

sandensea

(22,050 posts)
7. What a sweet story. Thank you for that.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:14 AM
Aug 2018

It's got everything. A bit of suspense. A twist. A little cuisine. A leather orgy.

What more could one want.

nini

(16,672 posts)
8. I am so grateful I grew up in an integrated area
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:24 AM
Aug 2018

I went to a high school that couldn't have had a better mix of a lot of different races and cultures.

My family is pretty integrated too. I don't get why anyone would judge a person by anything other than their character. I never will understand it.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
29. I grew up lily white
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 11:51 AM
Aug 2018

In high school, the (seriously) one black student had the locker next to me because our names were similar. And his family was pretty much the only black family in a town of 25,000. It was not easy for him or them. One of the threats people made to express displeasure with the town was, "Well, maybe I'll sell my house to some n----s."

Like that was the ultimate threat. That's what would stick it to neighbors you disliked.

I go back once or twice a year - parents still live there - and the demographics inevitably changed. The Catholic church I grew up in is now largely Latino. I went to a service with my mom just to entertain her musings I'm still Catholic, and the service had a strong Latino bend. "Uhm, they're holding hands in a circle during this . . ." "I know, that's what those people do."

It's kind of amusing. My parents are Old Guard Catholics. And Latino Catholicism, at least in my experience, is more inwardly, family based. I envision my parents as stuffy upper crust types in comparison, lol. They're not. Working class. But how they react to it is hilarious.

But my brother married a Mexican. She became a citizen last year. Their kids appear Latino all the way. And my parents are ferocious in protecting them.

It just takes exposure, I guess. If you're isolated in a bubble, ideas last. But when you're in the rest of the world, ideas adjust. My parents, god bless them, have adjusted in their 70's and 80's. Hey, it's something.

coeur_de_lion

(3,703 posts)
9. I agree it is completely baffling to me.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:27 AM
Aug 2018

You miss out on so much in life if you take a dislike to an entire group of people.

And what for?

Maybe people who feel really bad about themselves need to look down on other people.

Could be as simple as that.

If it isn't, I have no fucking idea.

I'm so glad you're getting to know youe neighbors now.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
30. I have learned so, so much
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 11:56 AM
Aug 2018

Just in general. I apparently like chicken adobo. But not just food, that's shallow. Just the different cultures and how they see things. Ever get into it with a Chinese immigrant about their government? Their view is soooooo far different from American perceptions. Or a Filipino funeral. I just sat and stared for two days. Or a black Oakland friend telling me what it was like to grow up gay in that black culture.

I like learning. I like listening. S.F. is a treasure trove if that's your inclination. I love it here.

coeur_de_lion

(3,703 posts)
32. You're lucky
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:16 PM
Aug 2018

When I lived in NYC and later near Washington DC I learned a lot about other cultures and I loved it.

Now I live in FL and I have loads of friends here but they are all just like me. Boring in a way I suppose.

I miss diversity.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
34. It's a self-induced perception
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:45 PM
Aug 2018

I know me. I like me. But I don't want everyone around me to be like me. I'd be bored to death. It's how I get half of my movie watching done.

coeur_de_lion

(3,703 posts)
37. So true
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 01:36 PM
Aug 2018

I love to learn about other cultures. Life is a huge bore when everyone is the same.

Imagine what it must be like to be a racist. To be threatened by anyone who is different from you. Just sad. My theory is that they all have the self esteem of a gnat. They can't feel good about themselves unless they have someone to look down on.

When I worked near DC we had every nationality imaginable in my office. Russian, Iranian, Thai, Indian, Chinese, Tanzanian. We would have parties where everyone brought food from their native country. It was a blast. Of course I was stuck for food because I'm Irish and our food is boring. I had to bring a potato dish LOL.

When I was little my Dad was in the Airforce and we were priviliged to be stationed in Hawaii for 4 years. Our first 3 years we lived in off base housing. Our neighbors were Japanese, Chinese, Philipino, and ONE American family. My parents brought us up to respect and cherish our differences.

I guess I am just lucky that I had parents who embraced diversity.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
41. But how to inculcate that in our children
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 02:23 PM
Aug 2018

That's the trick.

I'm excited when I meet someone new. I may ask stereotypical questions initially that I will cringe hard at later, but I like to know. "What was your life like? How does your culture see this? How are you adjusting?"

I live for those conversations. I just find other people who are not me so interesting.

But, Republicans, and the reason I could never be one, feed on fear. "They're not like us. They're different." Ok, but I personally love different. So I guess I'm a Democrat (I am for many reasons, but this is a big one).

I think, a bit, that intellectual curiosity is not cultivated in our education system. I'm very intellectually curious. Always have been. I'll read and look and investigate all kinds of pointless things. But also with people. "What's your experience, how did you manage it?" I just want to know. (I am also not a bad Cate Blanchett character in an Indiana Jones movie that doesn't exist).

I spend very little time with my niece and nephew. They're biracial. But I like how they're being raised. Mexican-American. It will never cross their minds to buy into Trumpian bullshit about a wall. They'll be empathetic. Good. I was assigned an Indian partner at work recently, and he's adorable. Struggling with English, but he's trying so very hard to make his way. So, I correct him gently, and just get to work. He's kind of awesome.

I just do not understand racism at all. I intellectually understand it. But, emotion-wise. Nope. How could anyone.

coeur_de_lion

(3,703 posts)
42. I like the way you think
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 02:35 PM
Aug 2018

We're simpatico ~ intellectual curioisity is dead in the land of republicans.

I live for those conversations. I just find other people who are not me so interesting.


That sentence describes me perfectly.

Repubs just want to be sad sacks. Joyless. Humorless. Incurious. Fearful.

The way you raise kids to be intellectually curious is to be that way yourself.

Anyway that is what my parents did.

Although that does not explain why half of the 6 kids in my family are republican. What the hell happened there?

Maybe I kept to my upbringing because I lived in NYC, the melting pot. I didn't feel weird or uncomfortable around people who were different from me. Because my parents raised me to be *interested* in their lives and what makes them tick.
 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
45. People are people
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 03:12 PM
Aug 2018

Doesn't matter how our parents raised us, to a degree. A stark degree. I mean, sometimes kids just go wrong. But, my parents worked on my core. I have a strong work ethic, and I have a strong sense of responsibility towards others. That is what my parents managed. Not so bad, right?

But then there is the awful. Racism, classism, the idea you should go along with horrible shit because it's your family. No, not so much. Sometimes I say, "My parents raised me too well." I go against them all the time. I'm more, ugh hate this word, woke. That's a part of being gay. Just more aware of how others are being oppressed.

Then I moved to S.F. And all the dating apps I used were Asian, asian, asian. Then black friends from Oakland. And I realized in talking, "I do not actually know what they succeeded against." So I asked. And they told.

I'm glad to know rather than be ignorant. Life rule.

coeur_de_lion

(3,703 posts)
46. You seem like a good person to know
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 03:35 PM
Aug 2018

Some day, I'd like to understand what it's like to be gay in this country.

I have gay friends but they are semi-closeted and they don't care to discuss what their life was like before they came out.

I'm proud of myself for this -- I am on good terms with two of my siblings who are republican. We've agreed not to remark on each others facebook posts and we can still talk about other things besides politics.

I guess if I was really woke I would be asking them what it's like to be republican in this country.

Because I just don't get it.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
56. It's a thing
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 09:24 PM
Aug 2018

I am very out. But, for some reason, I'm circumspect at work.They know I'm gay. They don't care. But I kind of self-edit mostly. The pronoun game is fun. They and them instead of he and him

Its a fear. To not be different. To not be recognized as different. We meld.

Not proud of that,, but it's what we do.

TlalocW

(15,417 posts)
10. It baffles me
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:28 AM
Aug 2018

Just thinking of the friends I've had over the years from different cultures and the different FOOD. I've always been interested in Hispanic/Latino culture, and one of my undergrad degrees was Spanish because of it, and I've never shied away from other cultures and have never had a problem being the only white guy in the room. I remember several times when I was younger and was out, like at a sports field, with my older sister (I have two that are 14 and 16 years older than I am), and I would tell her I was going to the bathroom, and she would tell me, "Be careful - there are a lot of Blacks here," and I would stop and honestly ask her what that meant, and she would hem and haw and eventually just send me to the bathroom confused. She's softened over the years, but there's still some underlying racism in her, which is funny because the only three girls I've ever brought home were India-American, Colombian, and Mexican-American. I think she and her husband were happy to put aside their racism because I had presented them with evidence that I'm not gay.

I'm a children's entertainer and do parties for all races. I try not to eat at parties because it's unprofessional, but every now and then I give in as I can tell it would be an insult not to try a few things. One of the more memorable one was for a family from India. They insisted I stay and eat, but some of the teens at the party went and chose the food for me instead of the adults (and I knew why). A lot of the party surrounded me to watch me try the food, and they were all surprised when I didn't bat an eye at the spiciness of the food - especially the teenagers. We all got a good laugh at that.

I like to tell people that I got my morality from Sesame Street and comic books. I often wondered, growing up in Kansas, why I didn't live someplace like Sesame Street where any day of the week you might wonder outside, and Gordon and Bob might be playing chess, and they would teach you, or maybe Maria had gotten a care package from Puerto Rico and would offer you a piece of Puerto Rican candy. And then if Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man didn't have a problem with other races and were friends with both non-white superheroes and ordinary people then goddammit, that was good enough for me!

TlalocW

 

NoSmoke

(69 posts)
12. We are All first and foremost Individuals.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 01:04 AM
Aug 2018

Attributes such as race, ethnicity, gender, are a distant second if important at all except for perhaps medical considerations.

IOWs, racism is irrational, and obscene.

lunatica

(53,410 posts)
13. I don't get that kind of racism either
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 01:06 AM
Aug 2018

I’m a white person who grew up in Mexico and still think of it as my first home. I totally get what you’re saying.

But what you’re talking about isn’t the only kind of racism this country is steeped in. There’s institutionalized racism which we white people haven’t been noticing because we don’t suffer from it. Actually we benefit from it. There’s economic racism which is all tied up in it. There’s judicial racism and educational racism, a the racism is pretty pervasive and entrenched when people of color are shut out of jobs, schools, promotions, and being able to live wherever they want. Being ignorant of it doesn’t solve anything, no matter that we don’t hate or shun other races. Trump has galvanized them to start talking about it openly. We need to listen and finally acknowledge these wrongs.

That’s what I hear when I hear Black people talk about racism today.

CaptainTruth

(6,692 posts)
14. Thank you for sharing! I don't get racism either.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 01:07 AM
Aug 2018

I guess racists must 1) be ignorant & 2) have very little (or no) self confidence, or belief in themselves, because they apparently feel threatened by anyone who is not like them.

I've never felt threatened by people who aren't like me. I've traveled extensively across America, to Canada, Mexico, & all across the Far East & Europe. I have a wonderful array of friends from a wide variety of cultures around the world & I have learned something valuable from each & every one of them. They have all enriched my life.

I have noticed this: People who fear "others" (folks not like them) don't know any "others," personally, in their life. They fear the unknown. If we have any hope of reaching any of them, that is it. To show them that the unknown should not be feared, it is not a threat, it can enrich their life.

Squinch

(51,215 posts)
17. I do think most racism in the US comes from unacknowledged certainty in the perpetrator that
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 07:46 AM
Aug 2018

he or she is inferior to the object of their racism.

nikatnyte

(249 posts)
52. THIS!!!
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 07:36 PM
Aug 2018

A lot of racism is learned behavior and attitudes. It happens early in life. Kids are like sponges, drinking in everything and not making any value judgments about what is right or wrong. If they're taught that a group of people is dangerous/inferior/flawed in some way, they'll accept that just as they do stories about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. Once learned, racism and bigotry are very hard to unlearn. That requires an open mind and discussion. In the absence of these, racism can turn to anger and hatred surprisingly easily, particularly if there are complex social problems (unemployment, poor economy, crime) for which people like easy answers (such as scapegoats to blame). No, it isn't logical at all, but unfortunately it is very much a part of the human condition.

Guilded Lilly

(5,591 posts)
19. Fear. Mostly; deep seated and in several forms...
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 08:58 AM
Aug 2018

Fear from insecurity, ignorance, distrust, envy, persecution, self-worth, the Un-known.

From day one of human existence, fear is the most destructive emotion. It’s the easiest to infect a brain and spirit. And the most difficult to overcome. An eternal battle with extreme external consequence.

Thank-you for sharing your life

Leith

(7,830 posts)
20. I Don't Get It, Either
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 09:24 AM
Aug 2018

I was born and raised in Flint, MI. More than half my classmates were Black so it was obvious that skin color played no role in academic achievement, intelligence, and social skills. My sister's best friend had come from Honduras and spoke no English at all until age 13. There were many students with Arabic names and varying levels of language proficiency.

I have often wanted to ask racists what made whites "better" when I had so many examples of better abilities, looks, intelligence, goodness, and general personhood from people of color all around me. Disclaimer: my family all have blue eyes and my father and 2 sisters were natural blonds until age 10 or so.

CrispyQ

(36,778 posts)
23. Back when Dennis Miller was funny, he once said,
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 10:44 AM
Aug 2018

"It's stupid to hate someone for the color of their skin, when if you spend just five minutes talking to them, you'll discover plenty of valid reasons to hate them."

My misanthropic self LOL'd.

CrispyQ

(36,778 posts)
54. Dennis was funny before he made a sharp turn to the right.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 08:35 PM
Aug 2018

Interesting how going right wing changes a person's sense of humor. I saw it in my Mom, too. A solid dem until she started listening to hate radio in the back room of the shop where she worked back in the 90's.

Anyway, being a misanthrope, this is one of my favorite comments on racism.

Aristus

(66,819 posts)
25. My openness to other skin colors and ethnicities is on a rather primal level.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 11:26 AM
Aug 2018

I was a pretty precocious kid whose appreciation for the opposite sex (I'm straight) started early. I loved women when the other guys were still in their "Girls? - EEW!" stage.

I discovered early on how many different types of beautiful women there are in the world. I found myself with no barriers to appreciation of that beauty; not skin color, not hair texture, not body morphology, not language, not accent. That appreciation, helped along by the fact that I grew up with open-minded parents in multi-ethnic neighborhoods, has enriched my life immeasurably.

AlexSFCA

(6,139 posts)
33. being gay makes you more sensitive to racial discrimination
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:42 PM
Aug 2018

than average straight white male. Certainly growing up gay is not easy for most regardless of race. You may not get assaulted ‘swimming while black’ if you are blended in but you may get assaulted if you are explicitly with your bf and or two daddies with kids.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
35. I think so, too
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 12:54 PM
Aug 2018

I sometimes wonder what I'd be like if I were white and straight. If I'd be an asshole. But being gay lends itself to empathy. You know what it's like to have a hard time, to strive for acceptance. So I have a soft spot for anyone trying to make it in this world. I want to encourage. "I managed this. You can, too. Let me help."

It's how I am as an adult.

 

MadDAsHell

(2,067 posts)
39. Personal experience plays a role. I'm gay too, and frankly nervous around some Muslims.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 01:45 PM
Aug 2018

Not immigrants generally, but some Muslims, yes. In college I had some super orthodox classmates threaten to kill me, exclusively because of my sexuality. They didn’t even really know me. Police got involved and nothing further ever came of it, but that shit is SCARY.

I don’t think they’re even in the country anymore, and I’ve tried not to let it color my interactions with others, but yeah when a religion is telling its followers they’ll get 100 virgin wives for beheading you, that’s a problem.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
44. It's a thing
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 02:46 PM
Aug 2018

I do worry and try to tamp down my life. How to say this delicately. My partner is, uh, vocal during certain things. And in the back of my mind, I'm like, "Muslim neighbors probably hear this." I try to adjust around that, as much as one can.

There was one incident of domestic assault. I woke up bleary-eyed to a cop at my front door. "What did you hear, when did you hear it?" I answered honestly. I felt bad, like I was getting them into trouble, but also, if there's abuse, I should say so. I don't actually know. But I did hear the argument at the time. My floor is mostly soundproof, so if I hear them, shit's going down.

They're nice people. They also ignore my boyfriend pointedly. It's weird. We can be standing in the parking lot together, and they just sort of pretend he's not there. My white, asian, and black neighbors all say hello to my boyfriend. Muslim neighbors do not. But I've been gay for quite awhile, so I don't particularly care.

But, it is a thing.

Mr.Bill

(24,438 posts)
50. My introduction to racial equality
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 07:16 PM
Aug 2018

actually began before I was born. In WWII my dad flew over Europe in heavy bombers. On a number of occasions his bomber group was escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen. 'Nuff said.

GeoWilliam750

(2,525 posts)
51. People most readily fear that of which they have little understanding
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 07:24 PM
Aug 2018

Fear and lack of understanding seem to be two major drivers of racism.

When one works and lives day in and day out with a wide variety of people, one understands that almost everyone in life is looking for mostly the same things, even if they are trying to get it in a slightly different way. One also understands that most people are - for the most part - kind.











forgotmylogin

(7,565 posts)
53. That's exactly right.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 08:35 PM
Aug 2018

I have lived in Miami and it took a period of adjustment to understand Latin culture - they partied late at night outside with loud music. Multiple families with all generations...tiny children to old uncles aunts and grandparents would gather and salsa the night away. In my experience, white people tend to hang out and party most exclusively with their own age group. I was eating at Pollo Tropicale (fast food grilled chicken, beans and rice, and fried plantains amazing) one evening by myself and was a bit perturbed at a packed fast-food place full of whole families with kids running around when it struck me - they do everything as a family unit. That's a good thing. Suddenly a lot of the behavior that normally got on my nerves made more sense and I could appreciate it. Once you get in good with the Latinos around you they view you as family and will support you like nobody else.

And they know it's their own cultural thing - on one of their comedy shows I'd see on the Spanish station in the laundromat, there was a sketch about (as far as I could interpret) the father needing to replace a light bulb and not having one and how even though the hardware store was two blocks away it took a half hour to get the wife, the uncles, all four aunts, all six children, and the baby ready out the door and into the car, and then the wife stops them and makes them turn around because she needs to call and see if some of her cousins also want to go. It's a good thing.

I think it's fear of the unknown, and like the OP said...when they're in their groups and family units it's much more intimidating to understand. I think it really does take one-on-one interaction with a person as opposed to "one of them" to foster understanding and that first step can be intimidating and scary.

CloudWatcher

(1,862 posts)
55. Tribalism & evolution
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 08:39 PM
Aug 2018

I suspect tribalism had an evolutionary advantage. I think we're all hardwired to be distrustful of those that are outside our tribe. The tribe could can be anything from race to religion to nationality to sports teams, but I think our instinct to belong is very strong ... and it fosters a "we're better than them" perspective.

We're probably screwed until the evil aliens show up and we can bond together as Earthlings vs. the green monsters. If I had the budget I'd fake an alien invasion to trigger it (only 1/2 kidding).

George II

(67,782 posts)
57. When I first moved to an apartment in Manhattan, my next door neighbors....
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 09:49 PM
Aug 2018

..were two very self-conscious, standoffish gay men. We were at the end of a long hallway and invariably crossed paths a few of times a week in the hallway. They usually looked down and acted like I wasn't there as we passed each other. But I still said "hi" each time I saw either of them.

This went on for a few months, then they started returning my "hi". A few months after that, THEY initiated the "hi"!!

Battle won!

Response to wonkwest (Original post)

Honeycombe8

(37,648 posts)
59. With Muslims, it's not just racism. It's their religion.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 10:11 PM
Aug 2018

Not sure there is the same racism against, say, Indians from India..is there? If they have converted to Christianity? Bobby Jindal, whose parents came from India, converted to Christianity as an adult and was elected governor of Louisiana. He's Republican.

Initech

(100,381 posts)
60. No, I don't get any of it.
Sat Aug 11, 2018, 10:25 PM
Aug 2018

I don't get the racism, I don't get the sexism, the misogyny, the homophobia, the transphobia, the xenophobia. I don't get the bigotry, harassment, death threats, and the other nasty shit that goes on in the darker corners of the human mind.

Any time you think you're superior to anyone who's not you it will end badly for you. And I am a white male, BTW.

 

bitterross

(4,066 posts)
61. Unfortunately, I do get it.
Sun Aug 12, 2018, 01:39 AM
Aug 2018

I wrote this a couple of times before posting. Deleted and then wrote again.

I was born and raised in the segregated South. I am also a white, gay, male - obviously older than 30s. I could pass for straight and did. But this post isn't about that.

My parents were not overtly racist. My father would not let us use the n-word. He had grown up working along side of black kids in the fields of his family's NC farm. His frequent contact with African Americans humanized them for him. His experience was that they are hard-working, good people. Unfortunately, it didn't teach him that except for the difference in the melanin in our skin that they were every bit the same as him and his family.

He grew up and I grew up in a segregated world. The little town I was born into had the railroad tracks through town which clearly divided the side we lived on and "the wrong side of the tracks" which we called "Colored Town." Colored Town was not meant as a derogatory term. It was just a common descriptor (yes, I know it's racist now). There were obvious differences between the houses, grocery stores, schools and churches on the two sides of the tracks. I don't have to go into the details. Whatever you are assuming about my side of the tracks is correct. We had side walks, manicured neighborhoods, newer schools, bigger churches, and the chain grocery stores.

White boys like me never crossed the tracks after dark unless it was for nefarious reasons. African Americans didn't cross the tracks after dark for fear of what might happen. This was after the time of public lynchings and we never had those in my lifetime in my town but it was still not a good idea to be on the opposite side of the tracks from where you "belonged."

I remember when the schools in my town integrated. It was the 70's, not the 50's. My mother was so worried about my sisters having to go to an integrated school. About them having to be bused across the tracks. She never came out and said she was afraid they'd be raped by the boys on the other side of the tracks but that was, I'm sure, her fear.

Let me say again that my parents were not overt racists. They did not call African Americans the n-word and they never really spoke ill of them in any way. They were certainly racists though. They displayed fear of that which was different from us. When my sister mentioned a white girl dating an African American boy there were not blatant comments by my parents. Their disapproval was not hidden though. It was in the tone of voice they used in discussing the girl's choice of boyfriends and "How do her parents feel about it?" It was in the surprise in their voices when I had a new friend who was black and they learned his father was a doctor. Not a common laborer. I struggle now to remember the exact words said in these conversations. They were never explicit, definite. It's much more Southern to beat around the bush.

I was surrounded by a culture that said to me every day that African Americans are inferior. Not the way we see on TV and movies. There were not altercations and raging white racists running around shouting all the time. Of course, I did grow up around overt racists who made sure everyone was clear on the fact they thought African Americans were a different species and a lower one at that. For the most part, that wasn't something one discussed in polite conversations though.

I moved away from the South many, many years ago. To my own personal shame though, at times, I still feel my heart beat speed up, my stomach clench when I am approaching a stranger on the street who is a minority. I realize it is happening and I berate myself for it. I tell myself I know better. But it happens. It is from something I learned very early on in my development and I continue to work to overcome.

 

wonkwest

(463 posts)
62. I'm now being alert stalked
Sun Aug 12, 2018, 05:22 AM
Aug 2018

So, I guess discuss this.

We can't discuss it here. Or at least I can't.

Yay Democrats!

Or something.

Nitram

(23,390 posts)
64. Having spent a lot of my life overseas, I have come to the conclusion that as humans we are
Sun Aug 12, 2018, 12:45 PM
Aug 2018

hard-wired to default toward racism and xenophobia. Fear of the Other. I saw it in the small African village where I spent two years in the Peace Corps and the kids in my village did not trust those in the next village down the road. I saw it in Japan, where it is actually legal to advertise a room for rent and specify that you won't rent to a foreigner. I saw it in Colombia, where class distinctions are made on the basis of the relative darkness of your skin. We can learn not to be racist or xenophobic, mainly by spending time with and getting to know people of different races and cultures. Unfortunately, our parents and/or the society around us can reinforce within us a deep sense of racism when we are children, and that can be difficult to overcome.

kwassa

(23,340 posts)
66. Fear of the other exists in many different forms.
Sun Aug 12, 2018, 04:20 PM
Aug 2018

For you to belong to the right tribe, something must be wrong with the other tribe. Tribal allegiance calls for it, no matter how the tribe is defined. Race, nationality, religion, whatever.

kwassa

(23,340 posts)
67. I need to complain about this thread.
Sun Aug 12, 2018, 05:01 PM
Aug 2018

I think everyone hear has their heart in the right place here and I appreciate all your input.

There is clearly no logical reason for racism.

But not getting racism is the privilege of white people.

Whether or not we get it individually, racism is real and a huge force in American society every single day. Everyone who is not white gets that racism has an big impact in their daily lives. White people need to actively oppose racism, and believe minorities when they tell you their lived experience of racism. Minorities are often dismissed because even white liberals don't see what they see.

Most whites don't see racism because it doesn't happen to them or around them. Much of it derives from the historical legacy that has created wealth for whites and poverty for blacks, and the segregation between them. It is all still here. It hasn't gone away. And, it would still be here even if Trump and the right wing didn't even exist. Even if there were nothing but liberals all around.

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