Lillian Bogonko

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Will whites ever see blacks as superior or any aspect of blacks being superior to them

Having lived in the US for a couple of years, i learnt very interesting facts that still bother me, and a conversation on this will shed some light. From my understanding, research and the attitude of many white people is that they are superior to all races but especially black. It`s almost saying the smartest black person can`t compare to the most stupid white. Am not racist, i just want to understand if this is a misconception or if these superiority thoughts do indeed exist.

I ask this because i believe racism is still rampant especially in the US that has camouflaged itself with being liberal. I`d like to read on people`s experiences and what they think about the topic . far fetched or it`s just the way the world works?

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    Aug 12 2012: It's no doubt that every race has its own superior aspect. Blacks are born to be more explosive and athletic. Check out the men's final race for 100 meters at Olympics. Did you see anybody other than Black people? And how about all the NBA Hall of Famers: MJ, Magic Johnson, Malone, Ewing....

    I think everybody can see some advantages of Blacks but few people actually speak up about it. They tend to regard this as an unspeakable fact or take it as a joke. On a high school track meet for example, when a white guy gets defeated by a black, his friend will be likely to say this:" Hey, dude, it's not your fault. They are all blacks!" Confession? Or just another racist joke?

    The problem in America cannot be only characterized by whether people are discriminating against Black people. The government is not actually giving black people a fair chance to achieve an American dream. Yes, they do provide them with education. But lots of black kids just drop out of school because bad incentives render them make bad decisions----drugs, gang fighting, sex abuse and so on. This results in a conception that Black people are less likely to be capable of completing tasks in work place or have a courteous demeanor toward others. Therefore, black society possesses a higher rate of unemployment and higher number of unemployed people. The discrimination only stems from within the society, which only later instills people with a misconception.
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      Aug 12 2012: Hello again Hugo,
      Which comes first? Discrimination? Or the misconception? As you insightfully point out, blacks may be expected to perform well in sports, so maybe they do? Maybe they are not perceived to perform well in work related situations, so they don't? Or maybe are not even given the chance? They did pretty well running plantations for a lot of years.

      The reason I ask the questions is because I've noticed that people will often live up to expectations and perform in any catagory to the level people around us think we can. We all need encouragement and support to believe in ourselves. If there is discrimination and misconception, does it provide people with motivation? Or do you think it might serve to discourage people?
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        Aug 13 2012: Hi Colleen,
        I think most of parts in jobs hiring comes more from a misconception. I cannot say the misconception is never justified(as you say some people just live up others' expectations instead of motivating themselves to actually get better), but some employers tend to pre-judge Black people before they get to know everything about them. What do you think?

        And to me, misconception serves to discourage people more and discrimination probably outrages them... Motivation does exist in them, but I believe lots of them often get frustrated because it's been a issue forever, and every time somebody tried to ameliorate it, he or she was likely to only fix part of the problem, or sometimes even brought about more than solved...
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          Aug 13 2012: Hi Hugo,
          I was asking the question as much of myself, as of you....which comes first...discrimination, or misconception? Actually, I think/feel they feed on each other.

          I agree with you that the situation causes a lot of frustration because it has been an issue for such a long time. Some people have tried to change the situation regarding prejudice and racism, and I believe we are changing to a certain degree. Change takes time, and I also get impatient because it is people we are talking about. People who should have the same rights and respect as other people.

          The reason the creators and signers of the Declaration of Independence (freedom and equality for all) didn't bat an eyelash in signing that document, even though they owned hundreds of slaves, was because they did not consider black people to be people. Talk about beliefs in inferior/superior!!! That is the foundation on which my country was formed.

          Ehis keeps going back to the foundation of our underlying beliefs, and I think that is what we need to do to have a better understanding of how and why we have misconceptions and discrimination. I don't believe we need to keep harping on all the old "stuff", and I do think we need to understand and accept how and why we even experience discrimination in our world. What do you think? I appreciate your insight.
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        Aug 14 2012: Hi Colleen,
        I completely agree with you that it's the foundation beliefs that lay the foundation for discrimination against black people. Maybe that's why it's hard to get rid of racism all in one night.

        I think we do need to understand how and why we experience discrimination. First, why in essence is there discrimination? (e.g. because some people think blacks are not as intelligent and capable?) And second, if that's the case, then is it true? Maybe it is in some extent, and that's because white people have a relatively better chance to be educated and lesser factors to be distracted. And now we have the real reason of the discrimination.

        And BTW, I just meant to ask, do you think affirmative action is justified, for tackling the real problem of discrimination? I appreciate your insights too.
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          Aug 15 2012: Hi Hugo,
          Thanks for the question regarding affirmative action, which caused me to do a little research, and learn a little more about our topic:>)

          "Affirmative action" is a term first used in an executive order sighed by President Kennedy in 1961, which was directed to government employers with intent to promote equal opportunity. It contains policies to benefit an underrepresented group to counter the effects of discrimination.

          We already had the Declaration of Independenc (1776) and Constitution, which said all men are free and equal, but apparently the idea did not sink in with some people.

          The Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1870, "prohibits each government in the United Stated from denying a citizen the right to vote based on the citizen's race, color, or previous condition of servitude (example slavery)"

          The NAACP (National Assoc. for the Advancement of Colored People) formed in 1909. Blacks were still disenfranchised through the early 1960s.

          The Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawed discriminatory voting practices (which were still apparent in some states at that time) that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the US. The VRA basically echoed the language of the 15th amendment. These are only a few examples of our history regarding this topic.

          Your question..."do you think affirmative action is justified?"
          Yes...absolutey, because we, as a country, do not seem to be paying attention to the laws and policies that have been in place for a very long time. Some folks still need to realize what freedom and equality for ALL means!!! Apparently, it takes constant reminders!

          The recent "rift" and court actions by Asian-Americans is fueled by a belief that they are victims of a race-based system that favors blacks and hispanics. The pendulem swings, and apparently it is going to take awhile and lots of reminders to understand what freedom and equality for ALL really means!
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    Aug 12 2012: Hi Lillian I guess humans are tribalistic. Race is one dimension of this. So is religion. Neighbourhood, education, socio economic group are others.

    I note even tribes such as Hutus and tootsies in Rwanda led to horrific outcomes.

    Power and success tends to promote feelings of superiority. The Chinese thought they were superior to other groups in the past. They still do. East Asians may think they are better than south east Asians etc etc. even within a racial group there are feelings of superiority some of my west and east coast colleagues are scathing of people in middle states and south, or uneducated.

    I guess if people with black skins were on top we would be having the same discussion with reverse colours.

    There may actually be slight genetic advantages given the racial variation reflects adaptations to different situations. Whites lose when it comes to skin cancer for example.

    I suggest most of the difference comes from where and when you were born. A white guy born in a trailer park faces more challenges than a guy of any race born into a rich family.

    I'm not sure how good or bad the us fares compared to other countries. I'd like to see some data. Yes it has issues and can improve. But I have travelled a lot and found prejudice embedded in every culture. Liberal whites are some of the least racist of any group. White spremicists the worst.

    The us is militarily and economically the most powerful country at present. There is a meme around exceptionalism that sometimes shifts from reasonable optimism and pride in what is good to counter productive nationalism. Also the mistaken view that the us is gods special place. Maybe this is in the mix in regards to racism. The us is not first for education, health, quality of life and countless other factors. It's not perfect, but I suggest there is a reason many people want to live there. I'd rather live there than 90% of other countries.
  • Aug 11 2012: Even 500 years ago, W Shakespeare knew this.

    Merchants of Venice

    Speech of Shyrock:

    "...He hath disgrised me and hindered me half a million.
    Laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation,
    Thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies,
    And what is his reason? I am a Jew.
    Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
    dimensions, senses, affections, passions?
    Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons.
    Subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means.
    Warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is.
    If you prick us, do we not bleed?
    If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
    If you poison us, do we not die?
    And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
    If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
    If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge!
    If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example?
    Why! Revenge! The villainy you teach me I will execute
    and that will go hard but I will better the instruction..."

    Now, Think about it!
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      Aug 12 2012: Edwin, I have and still cannot get a pound of flesh and not a single drop of blood.

      All the best. Bob.
      • Aug 13 2012: Hi Bob

        Thanks for your comment.

        here comes my advice:

        if you don't want to see a single drop of blood, stop getting a pound of flesh.

        Cheers, Ed
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    Aug 10 2012: Would you want "whites" to see "blacks" as superiors?
    Many people are racist, but I think the most important step in removing racism is to not divide others (and ourself) into colours.
    If we see us as a colour, then we have already placed us in a "us and them" position. And then will have to arrange the boxes according to each other. On top of each other or next to each other, and I believe we will always be wrong when doing so.
    When you say "whites" - do you mean: people with light skin? including African or Asian albinos... or do you mean people from the US? Including the part of the population originating from Mexico? Or do you mean people with Northern European ancestors - what about the people with ancestors from both Northern Europe and Africa?
    In which box will you put a person with An African mother and a Swedish father? Black or white?
    Or does that depends on his skin colour?

    My daughter is 4, and was asked by her childminder, who her teacher of the day was. She didn't remember the name. So the childminder asked: "was it the black woman?"
    My daughter gave a perfect answer: "She's not black, she has brown skin with black hair. And she had a red scarf".

    I think there is a lot of racism, and have seen a lot of it in the US. But from al sides, al cultural backgrounds and all skin colours.
    Hopefully knowledge about the human building blocks will remove the negative prejudges with time, so we some day see other people as we "used to", when we were children.

    But it all starts with knowledge and removing the prejudges from ourself.
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      Aug 13 2012: Many things well said Sophia!
      The story about your daugher reminds me of the first time my daughter saw any person other than white.

      We lived out on a country road, and one morning, there was a man digging a hole accross the street in a meadow. My daughter, about age 3 is a blackish....kinda brownish man digging a hole...what's he doing? I said...I don't know....let's go find out! Turns out he was a geologist working for the state, doing some soil testing, and was GREAT about explaining the soil layers to us. It was very hot that day, so my daughter kept bringing him water and lemonade, and he gave her a WONDERFUL education about soils....what a great experience to remember! Thanks Sophia

      I recognized that man's superiority that day, 40 years ago, because of his education, the information he gave to us and his ability and willingness to connect with us in a very friendly way:>)
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    Aug 15 2012: In a job interview a supervisor once asked me what my 'ethnic heritage' was. It was the third illegal question he had asked me and so I said (to this blue eyed white guy with a Germanic heritage) that I was a MUT. By that I meant that I was proudly a mixture of peoples. He could not place me with a generic last name and a white appearance. Now, having said that, I am also tired of the self flaggelation that appears to be required of white folk. These people are often the most aware and the most sensitive to prejudice. Some of their group are as bad and NOT worse than visible minorities. If you really want to see prejudice look beyond North America where it is at least recognized as an evil. In other parts of the world especially where there are huge blocks of identical people and paradoxically where differing groups crash together, PREJUDICE reigns unchallenged. Stop demanding self flaggelation for white people who have never employed these strategies and start demanding of those people who are employing these despicable tactics!
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      Aug 16 2012: Debra, i have to say your comments are a bit surprising, but i can`t blame you. That`s how you feel and you`re entitled to it. But just a note this is a debate, where people get to share various view points and learn form one another. No one is calling for for flagellation. Am not demanding anything just curious to hear what people think on this issue, true or false.
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        Aug 16 2012: Good! Shall we debate prejudice everywhere or is it limited to north America and white people?
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    Aug 13 2012: Well on the other hand, black people are perceived to be much more superior in a lot of sports. I'm looking at Olympics track and field, American Football, basketball. US even has a black president, which I think says a lot about how a lot of people think of black people.

    Of almost all the black people I know, I think a lot of black people are great artists, and to me, it seems that expressing emotions and being true to themselves just comes much easier to them. Their songs, artworks, passions, speech, dances, beatboxing, and the way they socialize seem a lot more genuine to me.
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    Aug 13 2012: I didn't mean to suggest you had said that Lillian, I agree with much of what you say. America still has serious issues with race relations, especially between blacks and whites. There are double standards, and institutional abuses that we absolutely need to work on.

    The racist undertones attacking the president are offensive, and indefensible. I also, have a lot of faith, that they are going to backfire. I truly believe you are seeing the last generation of abusively racist Americans, get old, and die off. The bitter, angry nonsense they spend their money on, I believe, is their last grasp, and it will be a failure... I hope.

    My only frustration was that as I admitted to you that you often encounter some of the most harsh racists overseas, because of economic factors, one of the responses it brought out was Ehis "the most materiallistic society that has ever existed, and the most racist."

    I couldn't help myself, this sort of irrational hyperbole makes it very difficult to be honest in this day and age. It is perfectly acceptable for Ehis to say that we are the most racist nation that has ever existed... I hear things like this all the time in my country.

    When I say what about the German's, Iraq, China, Japan, Russia, Rome, Persia, all empires which believed everyone other than them should die, the response is "name one that is worse". If pure hatred for the world, and nationalism designed to take over by force isn't worse than descrimination... what is?

    I got a bit emotional. America has a long, and difficult path to walk, and I do not suggest that the election of Barack Obama proves we are not racist... but it is objective proof we are not the "single most racist nation to ever exist".

    Most materiallistic, maybe, that's a fairer point. My only question would be, would you rather be in a country that produces more materials or less? We used to be big producers. It's that we produce less than we consume, which is getting a bit racist, and embarassing
    • Aug 13 2012: I agree with you, David.
      It's a complicated issue which cannot be solved in one day.
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    Aug 11 2012: Unfortunately there will always be prejudice, whether it's towards the colour of someone's skin, their gender, nationality, academic background or even the colour of their hair. The list is long and ludicrous.

    You can't control how others feel about you but you can decide how to feel about yourself at all times.

    Morgan Freeman talks straight about racism in this short interview snippet.
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      Aug 11 2012: That's a good one from Morgan Freeman
    • Aug 11 2012: We learn how to talk,
      we learn how to read and write
      we learn how to swim in the water.
      we learn how to fly in the air
      we even gone far beyond that to call as humans.

      but we never learn how to live together as brothers and sisters

      No matter who says what and how it actually says. we born to be as unique as we are equal.

      Merchants of Venice

      Shyrock speech:
      Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
      dimensions, senses, affections, passions?
      Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons.
      Subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means.
      Warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is.
      If you prick us, do we not bleed?
      If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
      If you poison us, do we not die?
      And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
      If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
      If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge!
      If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example?
      Why! Revenge! The villainy you teach me I will execute
      and that will go hard but I will better the instruction...

      when a white mother is giving birth it hurts as much as it hurts a black mother.
      when love hurts and pleases a white person, it hurts and pleases a black person too.
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    Aug 10 2012: Hello Lillian,
    Looks like you're new on TED? Welcome:>)

    Interestingly enough, I am just reading "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" again. I believe there still is a feeling of superiority with some people, and I think/feel that it stems from ignorance. I believe there still is, unfortunately, an element of racism...again stemming from ignorance.

    Unfortunately, change takes a lot of time, and although we are trying to make that change, old habits and prejudices still hang on. My perception, is that we are more the same than different, and it is our differences that we can share with each other, thereby learning something that we would not have known. Those who choose to be racist and prejudice are depriving themselves of a great my humble perceptin.
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      Aug 16 2012: Yes, colleen am new and happy to be part of the TED family. I have my own blogs just wanted a bigger platform to discuss issues with like minded people. I know change takes time, but in the process one has to be aware of the changing patterns lest they be left behind with the same old mentality. But we know that people hate change. Am hopeful that one day our differences will have less impact in defining our outcomes at all social levels.
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        Aug 16 2012: Glad to have you as part of the TED family Lillian, and I appreciate your perspectives. When I say change takes time, it is with a feeling of frustration, as much as acceptance.

        It appears that rules, regulations, policies and laws have changed in the US, but underlying prejudices sometimes have not. I believe that is the "old mentality" you speak of? People unfortunately, will try to minimize your concern with justifications of one kind or another, and that is not how we might resolve some of those underlying factors.

        It is difficult for people to change sometimes, and they will hold onto every little scrap of justification to avoid change. That is from ignorance and fear.....fear of the unknown. Not at all a justification....simply, unfortunately the way it is for some folks.

        I appreciate this discussion, which has been, and continues to be educational for me. I knew about the history to a certain extent, and I'm aware of continuing racism. I have lots of friends with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and we've had many in-depth conversations about this topic.

        I didn't know the time-lines for certain things happening regarding the "freedom" of blacks in the US, so this discussion prompted some research. We have had the documents, policies and laws giving blacks freedom for a very long time. Unfortunately, as you say, the "old mentality" continues to exist with some people. It boggles my mind that a mentality of this kind, can continue for so long, and it must be very frustrating for you.

        I have never experienced discrimination as a woman, or as a white person. In fact, the times I've been in a crowd of a different ethnic group, I have felt very accepted. The only way I can connect a little bit is because of a violent, abusive father. My question, even from the time I was a child, is how can a person, treat another person that way? How can a human being abuse and violate the rights of another human being?
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    Aug 10 2012: Lillian,

    I'll have to say I popped in and out of this discussion board several times before committing to making a comment. This is such a sensitive topic that many of us in the white community in the United States have been pre-programmed to allow minorities to make any statement they wish, but we have no right to make any comment other than the most benign and politically correct for fear of leaving an impression of support for the evils of our ancestors.

    That being said, my short answer to your question is - No

    I don't see a racial swing the likes of which you are describing. What I hope I see, after 250+ years of slavery and another 100+ years of institutionalized oppression, is something much more healthy. Juan is smarter than Bob. Lillian is more of a leader than Eric. Mary is faster than Naftali. Although there is a balance to be struck between individualism and cultural identity, I see people more and more being judged based on their individual characteristics and not stereotypical racial traits.

    It's hard for a culture and a race to not feel inferior or to be seen by others as anything but inferior, when they have been told for over 350 years that they are and to have been put in environments, where potential is never realized and the prophecy fulfills itself. This is a centuries-old evil that will not be cleansed overnight, but I see progress. I think many who are older also see progress even if painfully slow.
  • Aug 14 2012: Discrimination came first. Well, right after fear.
    Misconception doesn't necessarily lead to discrimination but discrimination naturally leads to misconceptions. They are food for it. They have to be made or the discrimination dies.
    When people of different races first met, were they naturally enemies?
    I don't think so, depending upon how they treated each other. Namely, did they trust themselves enough to not attack or hurt the other until they got to know them?
    Yes, this is what happened, at least in most of the Americas. Then, someone destroyed the trust between them and used it for power.
    Building misconception (lies) after misconception to improve their position and power. This also increased their fear, exponentially and fear became solution and problem.
    However, from my studies, blacks in Africa practiced slavery against their own for 1500 years before any whites stepped foot in Africa. Cuba imported something like 1129 slaves every single day for 29 years, more than all of North America combined. And the leaders of African tribes didn't sell royal blood into slavery. Not their own bloodline.

    I'm white Lillian and I agree with you. Much of the surface racism has been washed away by truth, understanding, real love and other things but that fools many into wishfully thinking racism has gone. It hasn't and what remains in America is the very deep rooted stuff that is beginning to die out. What may replace it is true love for one another and ones own race after we humans have adamantly claimed we are not fighting those old, false wars of our fathers and mothers.

    It is also true that racism is deeply entrenched in many other countries too. Korea, Japan, Thailand, China and other parts of Asia, and in Mexico. I cannot speak for any others. Thank you religion is what I think. My father didn't teach me this because he was racist. He was racist because he was a Catholic. That's a fact. One might be able to substitute another religion and it would still be true.
  • Aug 11 2012: Remember what Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr wanted from us for?

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      Aug 11 2012: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”

      - “I Have a Dream”, Martin Luther King Jr. - August 28, 1963

      When will we ever learn?
      When will we ever learn?
      • Aug 13 2012: Hi Colleen

        Exactly, Martin Luther King Jr went out and made "I have a dream" speech and not "I have a plan"
        people went not to hear what MLK was saying, they went there for themselves.

        When will we ever learn? - It's up to us

        Can we create war? If we can, then we can stop it too. and it is up to us too!

        I see humanity as a big family!
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          Aug 13 2012: You're right's up to us! I also see humanity as a big family...all the same more than different. The differences are the gifts we offer to the "family". One thing we all have in common, is that we share this earth with each other. We can keep ripping each other and our environment apart with war and discontent, and/or, we have the ability as thinking, feeling people to do something different. I vote and work toward the latter!!!
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    Aug 11 2012: The US was once a place of misery for black people; in the days of slavery it was like a curse to be born black.
    Now that laws have changed, some people(on both sides of the past division) still cling to memories.
    The US society needs attitudinal change. Some people clamoured for the change and embraced it when it came. Some people resisted change, and today the resistant attitude persist.

    Its like in South Eastern Nigeria where women are mutilated(female genital circumcision) so that they will not love sex too much; and South Africa where people are raped to death in the townships (it is called 'corrective rape' ) for being homosexuals. In South Africa some white people still long for the days when black people called the 'baas'
    In these 2 countries laws have changed; but laws can not change bad attitude.

    I think the US, like most societies
    make superficial changes to look good before the rest of the world; and make laws with the thinking that making laws will end any evil. Like someone who takes one step towards the departure lounge and thinks she is in the airplane already.

    In the end it still depends on individual choices and attitude. Not all whites are racist; and there are a few black people who take the criticism or rejection of their laziness, incompetence and mediocrity as racist attitude or comments.
  • Gu E

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    Aug 11 2012: Reading through the comments I felt as though I didn't have much to add! Everything seems to have been addressed pretty intelligently. But, I can't help myself :)

    My main concern is over the phrasing of the question, which was what brought me here in the first place.

    I felt as though the question presupposes that POC view Whites or aspects of whites as superior....and that it is not returned. Although I don't think you meant to suggest that, it was how it read to me.

    No race is superior and no one should WANT to be seen as superior just because of their race...Instead we should hope that people are viewed as successful and worthy of admiration- for individual achievements, which are not based on superiority/inferiority.

    Judging the successes or problems of a whole race and attributing the reasons to color is a false conclusion. And amounts to poor thinking and a mix of ignorance/racism.

    However, generalizing and making assessments based on a group, and their performance, does occur. We just have to be careful and avoid making grand sweeping generalizations and judgments about groups.

    Making statements like: "White people can't dance" or "Blacks are just better at this or that sport" etc. can come from some experience/observation, but to make such statements suggest our race has something to do with it.....which is plainly absurd. Now statements like: "10% of Blacks are more blah blah" derived from surveying and statistics can serve some purpose and holds a bit more currency.

    Still, there are a host of factors at play that would need to be taken into account to even make a general statement about a group of people, based on any characteristic. Anyway, I'm now rambling...just wanted to say that placing judgment on a group is risky and will never hold any real truth since everyone is different and the same due to many reasons.
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    Aug 10 2012: I could be naive, but I don't think most people in America think in terms of superiority or inferiority in the way you express it.
    I do think that in America, and in many other places as well, people tend to think that neither they, nor anyone else, is "good enough.". People are not content with themselves, expecting to get better or thinner or stronger. People tend also to see room for improvement everywhere they look. This is disconnected from race or ethnicity.
    In terms of whether any individual may be better at one thing or another than someone else, I would say this is absolutely recognized.
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    Aug 10 2012: Guys thank you all for your comments. However my question was not specific to the Olympics (though i should have guesses - it is the season) rather a general observation. This question came out of sharing our experiences abroad. Many felt that no matter how much you try (including African American and other races) you can never be good enough for - in this particular case- Americans.

    I agree that no one should be superior to the other ....then the question becomes can they see blacks as equals? Am not racist but these concerns are all around and someone has to raise issue.
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      Aug 10 2012: We were all trying to delicately answer your question and address your experience and we have all been consumately sincere, I think. Lillian, psychological literature can answer your questions and there are several really great social science experiments that suggest a negative outcome last time I read them. That does not mean that I will ever, ever, ever give up in helping to create a more just world.
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      Aug 10 2012: I wasn't just talking about the Olympics, I just meant we're equal of mind, and yes, you're actually kind of superior at one thing... For sure, lol.

      I'll actually give you one answer you probably don't hear often enough. The wrong white Americans go to Kenya. The wrong white Americans start businesses overseas. And, as I mentioned in a conversation awhile back, Americans are not good at vacationing, they tend to just drink, do drugs, and have sex in luxury hotel rooms, and for those of you thinking "woo hoo"... It's not a compliment.

      The problem is... It's easy enough to start a profitable business in America... So the first people to go overseas are people trying to do something horrible, that America won't let them do over here. The second group, are people who can't do what they do with enough skill to compete with cheap labor overseas in the same field, so they just start a business taking advantage of that cheap labor.

      Following them, with distantly smaller numbers are people who actually want to do some good in Kenya, or whatever country they are going to. They are often met with distrust, for darn good reason, but react by giving up. Often time is volunteered because it is of little market value.

      Ultimately though, no, I think very few white people still think they are somehow superior to people of other skin colors. For the most part, I think we get a bad rap, but for the same reason Europe did during colonial days, the wrong people are going out "representing" us. I am biased though, I want to believe most people don't think in terms of inferior/superior anymore.

      I would say language plays a large role in that impression in Africa too, but that's an international problem. If someone speaks your primary language poorly, you can undervalue their intelligence, and I think that goes both ways. You just think "Oh, I can't really communicate anything important to you, I'm just going to smile".
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        Aug 10 2012: I don't have the information to comment on much of what you say here, David, but I was struck by your last statement, which I think has broad implications. The thought "Oh, I can't really communicate anything important to you [him, her, them], so I am just going to smile" is a reality of how people think very often in any setting in which people of diverse cultures, levels of education, or background of one kind or another come in contact.

        Testing out the validity of this assumption (which is often not true, I think) is essential when we encounter people new to us if we are ever going to get the social and economic advantages all around that crossroads can provide.

        I know you make your observation specifically in the case of differences in language but this perceived barrier exists beyond diversity in language.
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          Aug 11 2012: While I agree with your sentiment... It's just going to continue to be natural... because, it's so much easier to make a new friend with someone who speaks the language fluently. I think the other issues, on culture, and background are evaporating. Education level though... fluency... They're always going to define most human beings close knit groups.

          This isn't a good thing, but it seems an inevitable consequence of diverse vocabularies.
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        Aug 11 2012: I am not yet willing to accept that inevitability. It may be easier to speak with people of ones same background, but easy isn't the only way people make choices. Sometimes experiencing something different, even if it takes more effort, will have more value to an individual than the easier more-of-the-same. This particular issue is extremely important to me and I have a few more decades to keep working on it in my community.
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      Aug 10 2012: "can they see blacks as equals?" I'd like to see the question posed the other way round.

      I think the answer to your question is in the negative AND this is not only due to skin color.

      Come to think of it, Americans actually believe they are superior to people of other nationals - they don't say this but we can infer from their actions. In this case we can settle that it is due to better technology, scientific knowledge, and military power. It is only recently that a new kind of respect is been accorded to the Chinese. If you understand it this way then it is really a case of power not entirely one of color.

      If blacks were to advance materially and intellectually to a degree not yet experienced by man - the image will adjust itself. The United States is by far the most materialistic society that has ever existed - and the most racist too.
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        Aug 10 2012: The most racist in history? Maybe you should make a little better study of both history and of our present world. There are, and have always been, cultures on every continent that prevent people from actively participating on an equal level with others in society based solely on their skin color, nationality, religion, and even family history. Some societies have (and still do) even actively persecuted those that were not of the correct demographic.

        Although it may appear that racism is more rampant in the United States than some other places, I believe this is a function of something positive. The U.S. is one of the most self-critical countries on earth and, as such, airs its dirty laundry for all to see. In the end, I think it allows the country to reinvent itself more rapidly even if not fast enough to create the utopia we desire.

        Most materialistic in history? Possibly. We are indeed a country that is a victim of its own success. Having build likely the largest middle class in history (which of course creates a larger number of super-wealthy as a by-product), we are like kids with new toys and can't ever seem to get enough. Guilty as charged and something I hope we mature beyond at some point.
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          Aug 11 2012: Thanks Eric but do you know Jim Crow laws lasted to 1965?

          I am a student of history so i understand the statement can be considered radical but not until you stop to think. The United States is one unique society that is partly shaped by race relations from her inception. You have to talk about natives Americans all through slave trade to the civil war and Jim Crow. It has always been the case of the powerful oppressing the less powerful.

          In a full debate i wouldn't use the term 'race' at all, I think it is more complex than that. It is, to me, a case of the powerful oppressing the weak.
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        Aug 10 2012: P.S. Up until the last paragraph, I actually admired your comment very much! Great thoughts!
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        Aug 10 2012: I agree Ehis, and I am not proud of that.
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          Aug 12 2012: I just wanted to point out how racist, almost everyone was, pretty darn recently... because it's so easy to forget sometimes. I forget. I was born in 1982, and only lived in LA, NY and Vegas, so I realize I am totally biased on the other side of this issue.

          In LA I think white people are 45% of the population, and no one cares. Every once in awhile you'll hear some racist talking about "they're stealing our country", but everyone just laughs at that guy, or puts him on morning AM radio.

          We can be a horribly racist nation at times, but honestly, I think Barack Hussein Obama, just brought out the death throws of it. These people with the racist jokes aren't winning competent arguments. Obama will win the cities again, in a landslide.

          He'll also win young people in a landslide.
      • Aug 11 2012: I am a proud American and I must say that this comment is absolutely ridiculous. First off, "the most racist society in history?" Have we forgotten that whole Nazi thing back in the 30's and 40's? Have we forgotten the intolerance that is prominent among radical groups around the world (yes, there are groups like this in the US, but they are often stigmatized by society and followed closely by law enforcement).

        Have we forgot that after a massive tsunami in Sri Lanka, the United States mobilized its military and economic powers to help those affected by that tragedy? Have we already forgotten that when Haiti was decimated by an earthquake, we mobilized search and rescue teams, military and civilian alike, to dig those trapped from the rubble? Have we closed our eyes to the fact the American society and the American government donates more food, money, and other forms of aid to those around the world in need than any other country on earth, now or in the past?

        I am not saying America is perfect. Our past and our present is littered with issues which scar our society. What I am saying is that America is continually unfairly labeled in negative terms. While we are materialistic and we do disagree with each other in many areas, we constantly help those in need and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

        Lastly, Colleen, I am going to assume that you are an American. If that is the case, and you are not proud of what we as Americans stand for, please pick where you want to go. I will help you research the immigration laws of that country and begin funding for your relocation. You should be ashamed of yourself for such a comment.
        • Gu E

          • +1
          Aug 11 2012: Ok,

          The "most racist society in history" can be debated, of course, and it is a radical statement. I think it stems from the observations of how race is such a big issue in teh US and therefore reported on extensively...not to mention lots of people are engaged/read about teh US. Lots of accounts indicate a highly volatile race issue.

          Being an American, and having lived abroad as well as in the US, I have to say that the US has (based on my limited experience) been the most racially segregated and race seems to always be a major problem...does that mean it is the most racist society? meh.

          However, what I really wanted to respond to was some of the statements you made about the generosity of the US.

          - The United States DOES NOT provide the most aid in the world...this is an inaccurate statement. In fact, the US is quite often an obstructionist when it comes to aid assistance and provides aid much more strategically than out of goodwill. See Denmark.

          -Haiti: Now this was an unfortunate choice for an example, especially considering the amount of damage the US has done to Haiti (there is a dearth of information on how the US has repeatedly initiated policies that have hurt Haiti). If anything, the US needs to do more and has a responsibility to Haiti....not lambasting the NGOs and charities working there.

          -If a country continually makes claims that they represent LIBERTY, FREEDOM, EQUALITY, GENEROSITY etc. (not to mention statements like "we are the best")
          as if no other country does as well, you will be the target of critique and you will be held up to those claims......As a result, people have and have found that we fail across a number of those. We need some humble pie.

          -Lastly, attacking Colleen was not cool. It takes much more intellect and patriotism for a person to exercise critical thinking- and when faced with a dirty truth- own up to it.
          You need more tact.
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          Aug 11 2012: Corey, No one is trying to take away your American pride here and it is debatable that the United States is the most racist society on record. I am ready to have that debate anytime. We have to start from the treatment of Native American all through slavery and Jim Crow laws. It is worth pointing out that segregation was the law of the land all through Second World War to 1965.

          1965? You've gotta be kidding me if you think there is a country out there that practiced institutional racism longer than the States. You name very brief instances like Germany during Second World – yes but segregation was part of your law throughout that period. Twenty years after Nazi you were still practicing segregation as the law of the land.

          You should put forward an argument not your "good deed" in Sri Lanka and Haiti.
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          Aug 11 2012: Corey,
          In his previous comment, the only statements Ehis makes regarding the US are..."Americans actually believe they are superior to people of other nationals" and "The United States is by far the most materialistic society that has ever existed - and the most racist too".

          I agree with these statements, and my response is..."I agree Ehis, and I am not proud of that". I am not at all ashamed of my comment Corey, because I believe it to be true, as people around the world believe it to be true based on our behavior as Americans.

          You are going to fund my relocation because I made a statement you do not agree with? It is bullies like you who give us a bad reputation throughout the world.

          There are a lot of things I am proud of my country for, otherwise, I would relocate myself, and those are not the topics of this discussion.
      • Aug 11 2012: Gu E, I also believe in the importance of critical thinking, which is why I started to do some research on the points you made. Let me admit right away, that my current research is very limited, as I am about to get ready for work and have limited time available.

        In response to looking at the humanitarian aid, according to "Global Humanitarian Assistance," the United States is, in fact, the leading provider of aid in the world. The entire EU, which would include Denmark, was second.

        Regarding Haiti, let me begin by saying the United States has no obligation whatsoever to initiate policies benefiting any country other than the United States. This is the same the other way around, I wouldn't expect Haiti to implement policies beneficial primarily to the United States. My argument is regarding aid and assistance during tragedy, not generosity of policy. Furthermore, according to the Immigration Policy Center, there are over half a million refugees from Haiti in the United States, as well as another 100,000 to 200,000 currently under temporary protected status. Let's ask them if the US is good or bad, as they have seen both.

        Lastly, regarding Colleen, I am not trying to be "cool." I believe that in takes much more patriotism to defend your nation against attacks like those in the initial comment, rather than just saying "I agree, and I'm not proud of this." I already mentioned that the United States has it's problems, but it is inappropriate to blast the United States by stating that we are the most racist society ever.
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          Aug 11 2012: Corey, your last paragraph, I'm afraid, displayed a disturbing trait from the right wing which conflate patriotism and something that looks a little more like fanatical patriotism. Again this is an academic platform. If it can be proven that the US has been the most racist society on record do you then consider it unpatriotic for an American to put forward this proven fact? I think your answer would be NO. In that case it has nothing to do with patriotism. All you need to do is put forward an argument against my case. The best way to do that is name other societies in history that can be considered more racist and we can have a debate.

          I don't know how you made the jump from 'the most racist society' to 'humanitarian work'' – it doesn’t fit. United states were busy fighting “humanitarian wars” in Vietnam and other places when there was a humanitarian crisis at home – in the 50s and 60s. So, to invite humanitarian missions into this debate is red herring.
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          Aug 11 2012: Corey,
          I agree with Ehis display a disturbing trait, which conflates patriotism and something that looks more like fanatical patriotism.

          The only one "blasting" and "attacking" in this conversation, is you.
        • Gu E

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          Aug 11 2012: @Corey

          Let me make myself a bit clearer....According to the World Bank, OECD, Development Assistance Committee: Countries that give the most aid by Percent of GDP committed to aid.
          3. Denmark
          6. UK
          7. Ireland
          8. Finlnd
          9. Spain
          10. Switzerland
          11. Austria
          12. Germany
          13. France
          14. Canada
          15. Australia
          16. New Zealand......ok lets just jump to 21. USA

          In addition, do you remember how the US decided to cut funding to UNESCO after a near unanimous vote for recognition of Palestine as a state and inclusion? Also, we are very strategic in how we provide bilateral aid.

          Now on Haiti:
          - Yes, the US has done alot for Haiti since the quake, but the extent of damage was not so much the quake as it was the generations of underdevelopment that made the crisis as bad as it was.
          The US has repeatedly interfered in Haiti's politics, forced Haiti to keep prices extremely low, placed Papa Doc Duvalier in power to become the longest running dictator, and then supported his succession by his son Baby Doc. The US has fixed elections causing violence, supported coups, the interventions and forced economic cooperation in favor of US interests goes on and on.
          I'm not making this stuff up.

          So, although I recognize the aid assistance the US does give out, I am also aware of the politics behind alot of that aid, as well as the numerous policies that have often hurt rather than helped other nations.

          Regarding whether the US is the most racist society in the world....I really disagree, I don't see any other country electing a Mixed Race President.
          There may be more gentrification and race baiting by the right wing, but then again to focus on them would ignore the rest of the people who are not racist.

          The US is not the most racist country.
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          Aug 11 2012: Corey,
          I agree with you regarding the importance of critical thinking. Have you thought of practicing what you preach?

          I am proud that the founders of the USA had the foresight in 1776 to write the Declaration of Independence, which states..."We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

          I am not at all proud of the fact that many of those who signed the Declaration of Independence, owned hundreds of slaves when they signed the document.

          I am proud that at least a couple of those who signed the document released their slaves after signing the declaration of independence.

          Freedom and equality for all, was the basis on which the USA was formed. I am proud of that fact.

          I am not proud that some of the founding fathers could not see the hypocracy in their actions.

          I am proud that the state I live in (Vermont) had what is called the "underground railroad", which was an interconnecting series of houses, barns, and underground tunnels, which provided safe passage for former slaves to get to Canada.

          I am proud that Vermont was the first state with results overwhelmingly in favor of Obama for president.

          I am proud that when freedom has been in question (Civil War, WWII, etc.) Vermont has had the most per capita to fight and die for their beliefs in freedom and equal rights.

          I am proud that Vermont had the first female legislative representative in the country...the first female senator...first female judge and governor.

          Those are some of the things I am very proud of, and not so proud of, and your bullying will not cause me to be ashamed, because another thing I am proud of, is that we have the right of free speech, and I will be comfortable participating in dialogue whenever I choose. No need to tell me ever again that I "should be ashamed". Save your words, and make them really count for something.
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          Aug 12 2012: "I really disagree, I don't see any other country electing a Mixed Race President."

          Gu E, are you being serious? This is just laughable. You think USA is not the most racist nation that ever existed because she elected a black president. You are saying, in essence, that we should abandon the entire history because of the election of a black man.

          How can i get to you?

          It is almost like Corey who thinks America have never been a racist society because she does humanitarian work abroad.

          Perhaps you are dealing with a different question. My statement is that the United States is the most racist that ever existed.
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        Aug 11 2012: Americans have the hubris to believe that we are the greatest country in the world, not because there is something special about America itself. America is amazing, because there is something special about everyone else in the world, and we have all of you working together under this roof.

        You hear about racism in America so much, because it is bar none the most diverse nation of immigrants from all around the world that has ever existed... And we yell at each other. It's like a giant family reunion with all interacial couples here, all the time, lol. And, that aspect of it, is awesome by the way.

        Before America, there was French, German, British... and they all went to war constantly, calling them white would have made no sense. Canada has a similar history, as does Australia, but a million people from all over the world, have become citizens in the United States, almost every year, for nearly 50 years. There is no place on earth like America, so we have lots of internal conflict, but it makes us a creative, and tolerant people. We are not the most racist country in the world.
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          Aug 12 2012: David,
          Can't get this close to your comment I am responding to, which begins with:
          "I just wanted to point out how racist, almost everyone was, pretty darn recently... because it's so easy to forget sometimes. I forget. I was born in 1982, and only lived in LA, NY and Vegas, so I realize I am totally biased on the other side of this issue".

          I agree that there was and is racism very recently, which I think is exactly what Lillian is asking.

          You write..."Every once in awhile you'll hear some racist talking about "they're stealing our country".

          Interestingly, we hear that on occasion. Vermont has always been predominately white until a few years ago when the resettlment program brought many different ethnic groups to this area. It's becoming a wonderfully diverse community now, and most people seem to be accepting and encouraging, even though once in awhile we'll hear..."they", meaning everyone who is not white, are taking over our country, state, city whatever!!!

          You say..."people with the racist jokes aren't winning competent arguments. Obama will win the cities again, in a landslide".

          I agree that people who are racist aren't winning competent arguments, but they DO still exist. Hopefully the numbers are decreasing.

          Hope you're right about Obama. I think that one reason his popularity went down, was because people had very high expectations of him and believed that he would "fix" everything right away. He inherited a mess, which was not caused overnight, and will not be "fixed" overnight. I would love to see him continue to bring this country together. The alternative is frightening!
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        Aug 11 2012: I'm really sorry Ehis, but if you believe that America is the most racist society that has ever existed... You are not a student of history. There has never been a society, in which so many tribes have coexisted peacefully.

        There is no such thing as a society without a history of nationalism and racism. As recently as 1994 there was a race based genocide in Rwanda... That is a much more recent, and violent example of racism than Jim Crowe laws being abolished 50 years ago.

        China, Russia, France, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, every one of them has a period in their history, in which they believed they had the absolute divine right, to take over the world by force, and that all in their way should die. America is one of very few nations who have not tried to take over the world by force.

        Also... I never pull this card... but, the most racist nation on Earth elected Barack Hussein Obama in a landslide? You live in a fantasy world.
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          Aug 11 2012: David,
          You make some valid points, as usual. Perhaps we can all agree that racism exists throughout our world?

          The topic question is..."Will whites ever see blacks as superior or any aspect of blacks being superior to them". Although Lillian mentions the US specifically, in her introduction, it seems like she may be looking at more of a world view? You're welcome to pop in here Lillian:>)

          It is true that the US elected Barack Obama, and to me, that demonstrates that we are moving forward, and hopefully leaving a racist attitude least for the majority of us.

          That being said, however....
          David, did you happen to see any of the racist jokes and e-mails that were going around during the Obama Campaign, and sometimes continue even now? I don't get many of them because people know I do not tolerate it. Even so, they come through every once in awhile. And during the campaign, I have friends living in the south USA, who sent me examples of the racism and prejudice that still exists. There was a lot of "stuff" being passed around that definitely demonstrates racism and the idea of white superiority.
        • Gu E

          • +1
          Aug 11 2012: You don't need to hesitate, or say "pulling a card" it is a totally viable thing to point out. I don't see a European country electing a Barack Obama.
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          Aug 12 2012: David, I think you are denying your history to think there is any society out there that has been more racist that the US of A. There is only one way to write the history of the United States; through “race” relations. There is no other way to write it – you have to start from Pre-Columbian era all through European colonization and settlement/ treatment of Native Americans. Apart from American Revolution the other part of your history can be outlined along issues of race (even part of the revolution). Once there was slavery the history can only be written along those lines – then a civil war caused, among other things, by issues that could be understood within race . Then the Jim Crow laws and what have you.

          One thing you failed to do David, and Gu E (nice name) is point out is a single country that could be considered more racist than the US of A - then we can disassemble the history of both countries. Don't tell me all countries have a history of racism - give me a more racist society. And it is low to deny the entire history because of the election of Obama.

          Its deeper than saying Americans are more racist - YES it’s deeper than that. My initial comment was that “The United States is by far the most materialistic society that has ever existed - and the most racist too”. I stand by it – this is not because Americans are more racist and materialistic individually –come on guys. To repeat myself, I wouldn't invite race into a full debate. It’s more complex - it’s a case of the powerful and the weak AND that is the history of America.

          To waive this by saying “I don't see a European country electing a Barack Obama” is denying the very meaning of America.

          Race relation is at the core of the American Identity from the beginning of the social experiment (about 1492) up to about 50 years ago. How do you beat that?
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          Aug 13 2012: I don`t think that the US is the most racist country their is , i was only giving an example that stems from my observation and experience. Perhaps my emphasis should have been on whites seeing the blacks to ever be good enough. Not that they don`t acknowledge the blacks who`ve done well in society but rather even then, the reality is whites will never see them as good enough.
          Take an example of Barack Obama. The racial undertones that are accepted on the airwaves in the streets are just ludicrous. I know not all whites are like that. I have very good friends who can`t tolerate this but the reality is the majority do. How do we reconcile an America that helps blacks outside of it`s boundaries but can`t stand (to some degree)their own?
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          Aug 13 2012: Its a little deeper than that Lillian.
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          Aug 13 2012: Lillian,
          Perhaps it might be helpful to not generalize? When we say things like "whites seeing the blacks to ever be good enough"...."whites will never see them as good enough"...and things like that, it feels awful to me because I am one of the "whites", and what you are saying is not my reality, although I understand where your statements are coming from

          You also say...."I know not all whites are like that", and by the time you made that statement, I already felt like I was being judged.

          I understand the topic, and I think I understand your point. Can we start talking about people as people? We know there are generalizations which have hurt people, and kept people in certain catagories for a very long time. Can we move forward from that place? I'd like to do that.
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        Aug 12 2012: Ehis,
        Again I agree with you that race relations are at the core of the American identity. The fact that the Declaration of Independence (all men are created liberty and the pursuit of happiness) was created and signed by many people who owned slaves, tells us a lot about how they viewed people who were different.
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        Aug 13 2012: I already pointed out several societies who within the last 100 years, have believed that every single human being, not from their country deserved to die or be enslaved. America, has never done that.

        What we did to the native Americans was horrible, but they were also nomadic tribes, who lost the war, because they were ill equipped. The history of human kind is full of meaningless wars, death, and horror.

        The way Europeans treated Africa, was horrible. Slavery was abolished everywhere in America you would want to visit, 50 years after the founding of the nation. Everyone talks about the south, no one talks about the north, because the north knew slavery was wrong right away.

        Where do people live in America btw, the north or the south? Do you want to visit Boston, New York, Chicago? All of them were done with slavery very shortly after the constitution was written. Everywhere you want to visit in America, got rid of slavery, the second they had a vote. You know who didn't? Places no one lives, and no one vacations. Places like Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky.

        Racism in this country is dramatically overstated, and if you think 60% of many other countries would vote for a first generation immigrant... you're nuts. That was a monumental piece of history.
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          Aug 13 2012: History is not limited to 100 years . .

          My position is that America is the most racist nation that ever existed. I support this position by looking into the unique history of US which is a history of race relation. Point to any time in your history and there is one race oppressing another.

          There is only one way to argue against this position; name a single country that you consider more racist and tell me why you think so - maybe dismantle the history and see how it compares to that of USA.

          And the idea that the unique history of America is no longer relevant because she elected a “first generation immigrant” as president is so illogical that I don’t think you, David, can afford the ignorance needed to support that. I may be wrong. It is akin to Corey’s comment; oh we cannot (and should not) speak of racism in America because she does humanitarian work in Hatti and other places. LOL. What a joke.

          This is a one sided argument so far.

          And David, you may have to refrain from abuse even though It says more about you than about me
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        Aug 14 2012: Half the population of The United States of America immediately abolished the slave trade, the second the country was created, and they had a vote. They did this before Canada, Britain, Denmark, Norway, France, Scotland, Haiti, Spain… I could go on.

        China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Siam, Nepal, Iraq, and Afghanistan, all had serious issues with legal slavery until the 1900’s. We have our issues with racism… but we also have the most races, of any nation on the planet, and we have still been nowhere near the worst offender.
    • Gu E

      • +1
      Aug 11 2012: "Can whites view Blacks as equals"

      I believe a great deal of Whites view Blacks as equals, and that some people do not- but this is due to them simply being ignorant/racist.

      There is no need to prove equality, it is inherent. Now, are people equal? No. Sadly, the world is predicated on maintaining inequality- and this applies past the simple White-Black dynamic, to other race relationships, socioeconomic status, nationality, etc. But these are inequalities that are manufactured injustices...they are problems that need to be addressed.

      @Sophia Grace's comment below:
      I completely agree. We are also unfortunately programmed to be always categorizing, labeling, judging and arranging whenever we encounter another person- and much of that process will be based on a mixture of fact (the person in front of me is male) and stereotypes, experiences and other things would organize (the person in front of me is from Kenya...Kenyans are good at long distance running at the Olympics...this person must be faster than me)....haha that might have come out wrong, but you get the idea.
      We just need to accept that its just how we function, and be wear of making any stereotypes or false preemptive judgments.

      I once worked for someone who told me that he preferred having me as an employee because I was an American-African instead of an African-American- He had a bad experience with an African American employee and then had a good experience with an Ethiopian-American (American-African) and thus drew the conclusion that anyone whose family immigrated from Africa to America were better workers than Blacks in America. It was the weirdest logic I've ever come across. So, now when he encounters a Black American his brain jumps into this process of judgment based on his experience....Did I think he was racist? At times, but otherwise he was a good person- because he placed me in some category. I concluded he was just ignorant. Hope I made sense... :(
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        Aug 13 2012: The pre-programmed behaviour/prejudges makes it easier for us to deal with the daily life.
        We don't have to go through every details about a person every time we meet some.
        So in that sense it's good to have prejudges. We can go to the doctor, and assume he/she can help us.

        I think you are correct in your conclusion about being ignorant.
        I think racism is most often a combination of adding too many details to your previous experiences you are basing your prejudges on - as in the American-African / African-American, where 1 experience was applied to all people with a skin colour on 2 continents - and not wanting to learn.
        In a scary world it is nice to have someone to blame, put a face on "the bad guys", to make the daily life easier. Knowing exactly who the bad guy is, and what he looks like, means you can go through life 1: feeling better about your self and 2: not having to use you mind and energy applying lots of details to your prejudges.

        I therefore think, that it is possible to link fanatic views (such as racism) to low intelligence.
        Intelligent people do not chose not-to-know.
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          Aug 13 2012: Hi Sophia, (I have a new(6 month old) grand niece with that it!)

          I think/feel that playing out "pre-programmed behaviours" fills in a gap that might be used to explore our underlying honest thoughts and feelings. I agree that it makes life easier in some respects. Do we want life to be easier? Or do we want it to be honest?

          I used to think that racism, along with some other behaviors was because of lack of education/intelligence. My father was a prejudice, racist, bigot, violent, abusive man, and he was not an educated man. So for a long time, I believed that anyone who was at all intelligent and/or educated could not...would not.... do what he did to people. I believed that an educated person would surely see how s/he impacted him/herself and all those around them. So, for a long time, I believed it was only uneducated people who would abuse and violate the rights of other people.

          When I started volunteering at the women/childrens shelter, I got some education!!! I was amazed to find out that many educated, professional people are abusive and violate the rights of other people. Lawyers, doctors, educators, even judges....all walks of life....all socioeconomic levels....there are people who violate the rights of others. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were leaders of our country....intelligent....and yet they owned slaves.

          It seems logical that intelligent, educated people would see prejudice and racism for what it is....fear....but it seems that they do not always see through their own misguided beliefs.
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    Aug 10 2012: I think I have to start, by agreeing with Stewart that no one is superior to anyone else on the basis of skin color... but, then I'm going to throw a weird curve ball in.

    There is a hilarious Bill Burr rant and rather than mess it up... I'll just link to it

    It basically culminates with him mentioning how akward it is for a white guy to mention that African Americans are way better at almost every major sport than white guys, because it makes people feel like "Are you saying we can't be doctors?"

    "No! I'm saying if there was a race to microscopes, you guys would win"

    I think there are certain strengths associated with being born in certain environments, but they don't make anyone superior or inferior.

    I think most white guys think Jimi Hendrix is the best guitarist who ever lived. Many think Louis Armstrong was the best trumpet player who ever lived, and Coltrane one of the best men ever to play the saxophone. The final barrier, is being broken, and that is science. Institutional descrimination, was, and in some cases still is, rampant in education, and until we can fix that there aren't as many black Tesla's and Diesel's as their should be. I think we're getting there, and it only takes one.

    Now, as to the hidden meat of your question, I think... does it camouflage itself in liberalism... That is probably my single greatest fear as a human being living in America. African American men, are still in a public, liberal, school system that is horribly failing them. Social Security, and medicare, descriminate simply because the life expectancy gap between black and white has not yet caught up. I am beginning to believe that some liberals, do see these issues, and simply don't care, because it benefits them. If these people exist, I think young people are going to get rid of them.

    The vast majority of young white people in America believe black and white people are equals... and black people are a bit better at sports : p
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    Aug 10 2012: Fact sometimes more fictitious than fiction !!!
    I am not sure why one need to calim superiority.......but in reality different groups, colors, races, cultures, religions are claiming superiority all the time........power more specifically military power always gave milage to the superiority claim of any such group.....
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    Aug 10 2012: No whites won't and should never think that. And that's not a racist comment. We are all meant to be equal, no one should be superior based on skin colour, it's such a stupid thing in my opinion that racists actually think they can justify that by someone being able to absorb less UV light than them that they're inferior. It's pathetically stupid.
    As a side note. Generally Jamaicans are better sprinters, it's something like their spines are a little higher up and they've bigger calve muscles I can't remember the exact details but there was a documentary on how just naturally the majority of Jamaicans have a perfect muscle and skeletal structure for sprinting.
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    Aug 10 2012: I think we are working for a better world not necessarily one which is simply inverted but the olympics and awards ceremonies like music awards shows help to demonstrate to the world who is #1. So your question I think in its limited form is answered by this.
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    Aug 17 2012: There are racists; no doubt about that. But there are also people who are so overwhelmed with insecurities that they see racism in every word, attitude and reaction of other people.
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    Aug 15 2012: Where did you stay when you were in the states?

    What are examples that you first hand experienced of racism of this degree?
    + That made you rationalize the majority of white people feel superior to another race - at least, in America...

    More conservatives in this country than liberal, poor Ron Paul.. he's insane, but he isn't an elephant and donkey show.

    As far as racism.... Just 'old school white' thinking due to what Obey suggested as - tribalism - they keep their thought-traditions passed down in heritage.. Just awful thinking. Sad to believe the color of your skin will determine variable factors of living conditions. It is ignorance, nothing more, that leads people to feel superior over others due to race, religion, heritage, etc.

    - Hope to hear from you.
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    Aug 15 2012: Does that erase the fact that many whites will never see them as good enough.
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      Aug 15 2012: I have been very patient with your categorical assertion about all WHITE people. What is it that we can honestly do for you, Lillian?
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      Aug 15 2012: Hi Lillian,
      Nothing will ever "erase" the past. The only thing we can do, is be aware of our past, and continue to be patient and listen to each other with respect, and intent to create something better for our present and future.....together.
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    Aug 14 2012: The problem with America specifically is that Americans feel uniquely superior to the rest of the world, simply because the virtue of good national resources and a relatively isolated geographical location. Yes, yes, there are other factors, but suffice it to say, America has been uniquely positioned to build over the centuries a dominant economy. Because of the prosperity, the people believe that has something to do with their innate goodness or "betterness." Since the majority of the first settlers where white, we have in our minds, established a relationship between the skin colour and the properity.

    Sociologists can probably further detail this theory in booklength diatribes, but suffice it to say, this is one of the reason why whites feel superior to blacks. Yes, it's true, in many ways we do. I come from a generation where that was sharply debated, in many ways, more so than now. I still remember neighbours openly discussing genetics, eugenics, history, culture, class - as though other races were breeds of dogs with specific characteristics. It may sound chilling now (because it is), but the underlying attitude still exists.

    In answer to your question, though, this is the way the world works. Every single nation on this earth has a problem with race relations. Syria is a most visual example at the present moment: a regime headed by an ethnic minority who have oppressed the rest of the people for decades and now understand that as soon as they are out of power they will be facing genocide - or at best, forced to live on a tiny strip of land.

    But there is hope: when I walked into the grocery store last night, and I looked around and found myself walking in with an Hispanic, two African Americans, a Native American, an Asian, and a Middle Eastern. All of us, just walking into buy some groceries, and for that moment I felt a part of something bigger, that I was just one thread in the American quilt. And frankly, it's a beautiful quilt.
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    Aug 13 2012: Lillian Madam, Racism is deep rooted social evil everywhere.This is still being propagated in new forms using new technology. This can not be eliminated at least in this century. The Indian minority is being targeted in England during riots.Only the white does it that's not true it is the people living in deffrent regions and many social, economic and political leads to people of majority or people with money does it even today to show supremacy.Even he uplifted ones also does the same after being elevated to higher economic, social,political strata.
  • Aug 12 2012: The only person shose thoughts or actions one can control are those of oneself. Reread Gandhi's biography. He tells us the virtues of an eccentric. So when dealing witgh the other deal with the eccentrics. In fact, when dealing with those most like me, I also find eccentrics to be the most enjoyable. Reach out Even to those white fellows. Be happy Be kind
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    Aug 12 2012: We are all human. I prefer to consider some cultures, societies, government and economic systems are superior to others based on different criteria rather than race.

    I don' think we should consider any race or group as inherently unalterably superior or inferior to another in a general sense.

    The phrasing in your opening statement seems awkward. I guess you mean could black person be seen as better than a white person at something based on merit.
  • Aug 10 2012: Well, I have been in your shoes and feel you. SUperiority and inferiority complex we see today in the races is a culmination of years of conditioning. Through slavery and colonialism, one race was made to feel inferior and another superior and so we see the fruits of this today. I have schooled with people of all races and have to say bright or dumb is in all races in equal measure. The major reason why whites show superiority lies in the technological advancements and military might that they have come to conquer. Soon when the Chinese take over you will see this superiority shift. As it is now whites revere the Asians as bright coz they are the ones excelling in the sciences, maths, and engineering in the US. While we have a handful of blacks also excelling, the majority don't and that's where the problem of inferiority starts. But we have to acknowledge that there has been years of conditioning for them that they are not up-to par. Things are slowly changing and we are seeing blacks do amazing things in different sectors. In the future, I can only foresee blacks being on the same pedestal but it won't come easy. There is a great deal of aggressiveness on their part that they need to fill.
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      Aug 10 2012: Naftali,

      I was with you right up until you made the assumption that China will "take over." They are progressing their culture at a phenomenal rate, but there are still many obstacles they must overcome that their current social, economic, and political systems are presently unequipped to address. Oddly enough, Lillian started another very thought-provoking discussion on this very topic. You might take a peek at how that is going.
    • Aug 11 2012: "Soon when the Chinese take over you will see this superiority shift. As it is now whites revere the Asians as bright coz they are the ones excelling in the sciences, maths, and engineering in the US."

      What do chinese people have to deal with american people of chinese origin (or even chinese origin only present in their family tree)?. See your homemade racism that draws you back? Just because they look chinese they do not necessarily have to be-and they show these performances mostly under cultural conditions based on "western" culture. That shows that this is no indicator for the development of other nations, just shows that specially the american educational system seems to work quite good or better than those of other nations.

      " The major reason why whites show superiority lies in the technological advancements and military might that they have come to conquer."

      This was not "conquered", it was invented! You sound like these inventions have been pulled out of nothing during a fight-but if you look close, the milestones in science have been discovered in places of peace, places without inner conflicts and civil wars. And no, it is not the evil imaginary white man who pulls the trigger, its only the one who carries the gun. But thats just about outside US places.

      The problem is never the colour of your skin. Problems raise when you begin to identify with your skin color. You should identify with you heart instead, it looks the same in all "races"...
  • Aug 10 2012: Lillian,
    I suspect you are not alone in your thinking! I doubt if anyone could build a irrefutable case the smartest black person is inferior to the dumbest white person. There is brilliance in all races and there are dumb folks in all races as well. Intellect is not a balanced world endowment. Lack of opportunity is a fact for all races; improved education, social access, financial fairness, and economic balancing would present greater opportunities. Real determination and personal drive can help lift a person to higher levels and advancement. No effort-no gain.

    Racism is still rampant--yes. There always has been racial prejudice and we do not foresee prejudice disappearing for a long time, although people are working for fairness.

    If you run up against superiority, then what do you do? Are you smart enough and have sufficient self respect to question your brother kindly? Look at all the black persons who are respected and loved and who advanced themselves. Did they lie down and beg for mercy and acquiesce? I've got really nice black neighbors and have observed we are not superior to one another. Life is hard for possibly millions here on Earth. We can be strong while listening, but also kindly challenging unfair behavior or relations. This God people talk about has not guaranteed life to be fair, but has promised to go with us through life.

    I've come to realize there are no automatic rights. Rights should be redefined as privileges granted from higher authority. Therefore, let's all do what we can to earn privileges. We automatically qualify for the privilege to drive a car on public ways, but we also know privileges can be withdrawn. We should do our best to justify the privileges given and to fight kindly to retain them. All of this is justified when considering that work for worldwide balance is in the best interest of all people.