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Sun Aug 20, 2017, 11:22 AM

To respond to the question, what organizations would be resistant to minorities or their views?

(This opinion piece is a rework from a response I made to a fellow DUer.)

I have lived in Central Florida since the late seventies, so I'm just shy of forty years of observations. The last 23 years have been inside a red county, in a community that is 90% white. You would think that Democratic strategists would want to know what goes on in red counties, in order to improve their outreach, so I hope this gives them something to work with.

If I had to pick one word to describe the social structure that influences everything in the county, including the way the criminal justice agencies decide where they focus their resources, that word would be "protectionist." Makes sense, doesn't it? Conservatives want to protect a culture where they are always dominant. So, shouldn't we examine their social structure to see how they manage to get away with some of the most outrageous maneuvers that would land most people in jail. If nothing else, my reflections reinforce the view that white, entitled communities exist and thrive.

Let's start with the private organizations that have direct access to elected officials. It isn't uncommon to find more than one elected official showing up at meetings for these private clubs because many become members of the same organizations. This is where private and public agendas can merge, and not always in the best way.

Especially for those clubs that require sponsorship prior to membership, a minority member would already be vetted before they join. However, once they get in, if they express progressive ideas, or show a low tolerance for good buddy decision-making, they can discover the incredible shrinking effect that small towns have. What may happen is that a select core of individuals will be pulled into private side meetings for further lobbying. In my town, breakfast meetings are a popular choice. These people are indoctrinated to become "ambassadors." "Ambassadors" is a popular term around here, and, at least for me, it sends up a red flag because my community was stung by this system.

Essentially, by the time the formal meetings begin, the ambassadors will push whatever meme is desired. Even if you understand that they are following an illegal, or foolhardy objective, you are going to be shouted down. Worse, you'll become that one person that gets ostracized and serve as an example for others of what happens to anyone who tries to provide another view. In this case, minorities of conscience have the unhappy choices of turning into a minority prop, or a megaphone for bad ideas.

In my community, an example of what could go wrong occurred in the nineties. The City reached into the local Rotary Club to try to appease a core group of people who were behind the resistance to the city's objectives and programs. Not that the City, didn't deserve criticism, but the merging of these two factions resulted in a new power structure that was predictable. Think "Animal Farm."

The ambassadors spread misinformation that spread into the various HOAs. To this day, they were able to use the chaos they created to their advantage. Which is my my community is still deep in the rabbit hole. Today, the HOA board doesn't even properly notice board meetings anymore. Complete shut-down.

Now, if you do manage to be a particular thorn at their side, it's an easy matter in small towns to defame and box out the particularly bothersome person, where it really is hard to go anywhere, including local restaurants without getting a dirty look.

No problem, though, I just go to the franchises located in the next town over. But, I still can't figure out how the local business community can maintain the mutually exclusive objectives of keeping their insular clientele happy AND grow new business. It mystifies me. I sometimes wonder if they keep track of the money lost to the community when children grow up and settle down in other states. If an average wedding costs $45,000, I wonder how much money is lost to the community when brides prefer to set roots in more agreeable climates?

The other problem that minorities have is that we get targeted when we walk into businesses as customers. This happened to me when I tried to sell old gold jewelry to a jewelry store. The jewelry person made a racial assumption about me that undercut me as a customer. I never had sold jewelry before, so I was totally unprepared for what happened. I had a hunch that something had gone wrong and that I didn't get a fair value for the necklaces and bracelets I had brought in, but I couldn't prove it. Just had a feeling. As I left wondering what just happened, the girl followed me to the parking lot and asked, "Is this what you and your friends do?" I'm guessing she thought I was a cleaning lady and that I could get her more gold for her. I was stunned. Most of the jewelry was collected over a lifetime, and other pieces where inherited from recent family losses. I blubbered something about being a graduate from a local college, as if that would somehow serve to remedy her racist views. But I walked away feeling dead inside.

I called her on it the next day and told her that she had racially profiled me and I questioned how she weighed the jewelry and whether it was a fair trade. She offered more money to smooth things over. It wasn't much, but I had very little options. I kept her card and documented it, but never turned it in. Where would I go? If Orlando had an active department that tracked down acts of racism, they would advertise. But I've seen nothing but protectionism from the authorities since I began to look.

And that's the problem. I don't think that red counties are going to be racially sensitive. And if they're not racially sensitive, they won't set up departments within criminal justice agencies that can help minorities clear the way for a fair and equal society.

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Reply To respond to the question, what organizations would be resistant to minorities or their views? (Original post)
Baitball Blogger Aug 2017 OP
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #1
Baitball Blogger Aug 2017 #2
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #3
Baitball Blogger Aug 2017 #4

Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sun Aug 20, 2017, 11:32 AM

1. Gated communities without the gates?

If there is a color wall , that can be just as effective as a physical wall.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 20, 2017, 11:36 AM

2. Absolutely.

Racist assumptions are a huge problem. You can walk in with countless degrees and the minute you open your mouth and try to bring clarity to an issue, none of those degrees matter. It's like your skin color sets off their chain reaction of resistance.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 20, 2017, 11:41 AM

3. Plus, you are causing confusion by not behaving as they expect you to behave.

I live in a suburb of Chicago that was all white as recently as the 1970s. In the past ten years or so, many Muslim families have moved here as well as non-white families. The suburb is now about 15% non-white/non-Christian. Some of the neighbors have talked about this as a problem, and it is likely that more hold similar views.

But as people actually meet and interact with their neighbors, one can hope that the perception of a problem will fade. And the area did support Clinton in 2016.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 20, 2017, 11:50 AM

4. Yes, they do not have the tools to understand differing views;

and until the authorities move in, they have no incentive to change.

Their response is predictable. One Community developer who stood up in a meeting to essentially pass on information that spread a false story meant to throw us off the trail was surprised when I showed up at the city to ask questions. He looked at me in disbelief and said, "Nobody has ever asked us that."

The other strange and inappropriate response is for government officials to hunt down relatives or friends to get information on you. Either they want to try to embarrass you into silence, or they want to find out what makes you different. As in, "Who do you think you are?"

Of course, the next tool in their belt is to try to intimidate or bully you.

I don't know what it will take for this county to support a national Democratic leader, but I do know that Florida Dems tend to go along with these networks. So, help will have to come from outside.

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