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Matthew Li


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Can racism truly be eliminated?

In Australia we live in one of the most multicultural nations, however every once in a while there are those people who publicly and abusively insult people from other races. I know there will always be those ignorant individuals or people who are scarred from people of other races (e.g wars, personal events or negative child rearing ), but can we truly eliminate racism in our world?

Possibly include jokes or stereotyping into this debate, are light jokes about other races or stereotyping racist?

Also take into consideration the media in movies or simply news. Are they doing a good enough job to tackle racism?

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      Jul 25 2013: Thank you Carolyn for sharing your story to us, i cannot imagine what you are going through. I do hope he will have a change of heart someday and see the people for who they really are instead of as you said false models of history.
    • Jul 25 2013: you are going through a tough situation but still you can find solution to change your dad's mind is prity stupid but may work -just go to him ask him for his pardon first(?) then try to give him some ral life examples those would be proving your point in right way...........
      now its up to you how do you make your mind coz i believe you have done "harder "studies than him so best of luck Carolyn!
    • Jul 29 2013: Wow....Carolyn you are brave to admit that your father is a racist. Continue what you are doing and do pray for him to change. He's miserable! Anyone can change.
  • Jul 29 2013: In my Humble Opinion, in this day and age, we cant speak about racism the way our great grand parents were talking about it.
    200 Years ago, Racism was: some people, White of skin, using other people with brown / black skin as slaves, and telling that they did it because, those brown skinned people were "untermenschen" (animals, sub-peoples ... )

    Nowadays, except for retards, we all know that we all are made of the same fabric even if our skins aretn the same color.

    What i do see, around me, as racism, expressed by white, brown, yellow, red skinned people, is akin to educationnal racism (more Xenophoby thant racism):

    - they dont act in community the way WE (the peoples born in this community) do.

    We are racists with those people coming from that far away land, because, they eat like this, or talk in public like that, or move around ths way , and al lthe people coming from that land do act the same way (The intelligent part of our brain knows its not true, but , the animal part is more prompt to act)

    And WE ( the community) dont like them, we want hem moved far from us...
    but take a look at us
    WE, the community, we are people from different background, but we were all raised in the same land, with the same educatonal grounds.

    So in my really humble opinion, the more people mixes, the more we interact with the others, the more mixes there will be in school, the less we will grow fearing the other, and the less we will act as retards, and Xenophony / Racisml will become something of the past.
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    Jul 24 2013: Yes, it' can be "eliminated." For it to happen, though, we need a new paradigm. The old one is passé. The old one insisted that we're separate, apart, and different. Actually, genetically, and metaphysically, we are one. When we accept that reality, and start living that reality, "racism," the belief that one race is superior to another, will be seen for what it is--a lie.

    The lie has allowed humans to oppress, suppress, and exploit other humans--to do them bodily or psychological harm to satisfy a perversion, or to exercise power over designated others, using whatever criterion they choose: color, tribe, race, ethnicity, place of origin, language, class, caste, or what have you.

    The New Paradigm says: We Are All One.
    • Jul 24 2013: You miss a fundamental survival perspective, whom ever says that first (country for example) with the current mindset, will be perceived as the weaker. It's why we've had terrorism for so long, and I'm talking as far back as if not further than the dark ages, to fly under a flag, to unite, aids in survival, and stops one being oppressed. I'ts the same logic that says countries with nukes, the US does not mess with.

      Or as I posted below, when will the Olympics not have nations but rather celebrate human achievement, who's going to be first in lowering the flag? The US? China? Britain? France?

      It's all very well saying the new paradigm says... but history teaches us different, and until we understand ourselves, that paradigm has a much chance of happening as every house in the US burning the flag.
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        Jul 24 2013: "that paradigm has a much chance of happening as every house in the US burning the flag."

        I understand your pessimism, but the only thing we need "understand" about ourselves is that we are one, not in theory but in fact, and act accordingly. It's not how we group ourselves--nation-states, neighborhoods or families--but that we don't use these designations to say that we're "different" and therefore better than, and treat those who are deemed less than, differently.

        Unless we bring this New Paradigm to the fore, our survival as a species becomes more doubtful.
        • Jul 25 2013: I not pessimistic, more realistic, as defined in the psychology mentioned in the post further below.
      • Jul 26 2013: I do not believe that insisting we are "one" will ever fix racism. People have already been babbling such platitudes for decades and it hasn't helped much.

        The root of racism is scapegoatism: the desire to blame others for your problems. Addressing this psychological failing would put an end to racism. We need to teach kids to be strong enough to accept blame when they deserve it, or to accept that sometimes there is no one to blame.
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          Jul 27 2013: I find it interesting that you link racism with scapegoatism........and that you state "We need to teach kids to be strong enough to accept blame when they deserve it, or to accept that sometimes there is no one to blame."

          Many years ago I heard a white teacher tell an African American student, "when you are older, make sure that you do not blame the way people treat you on your being African American. Today you are in trouble because of your actions. If you continue to follow this pattern of behavior, you will continue to get into trouble. It has nothing to do with the color of your skin. It has to do with what you are doing. Change your attitude, and change your behavior, or face the consequences."

          I thought back then that it took real grit for that teacher to speak that way to his student.

          Your comment reminded me of his words.
    • Jul 24 2013: You miss a fundamental survival perspective, whom ever says that first (country for example) with the current mindset, will be perceived as the weaker. It's why we've had terrorism for so long, and I'm talking as far back as if not further than the dark ages, to fly under a flag, to unite, aids in survival, and stops one being oppressed. I'ts the same logic that says countries with nukes, the US does not mess with.

      Or as I posted below, when will the Olympics not have nations but rather celebrate human achievement, who's going to be first in lowering the flag? The US? China? Britain? France?

      It's all very well saying the new paradigm says... but history teaches us different, and until we understand ourselves, that paradigm has a much chance of happening as every house in the US burning the flag.
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    Jul 23 2013: Racism is eliminated the moment I understand and accept the truth that we all belong to one race: human.

    I found wonderful inspiration at:
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    Jul 23 2013: part of our brain uses stereotypes to think fast.
    We cannot change or override that aspect.
    So as long as there are groups of people that show difference (which will also not change), we will make those fast judgement calls based on stereotypes.

    Applied to cultural and racial differences: will always remain.
    Unless culture is independent from race. Then there might be no reason to be racist, as it is uninformative for group-division and such.

    The problem is that groups and people need to avoid aggression towards other groups... not racial stereotypes as such.
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      Jul 25 2013: Thanks Chris i didnt know that about stereotyping i thought that stereotyping could be like prejudice, making it possible to voluntary rid our mind of common stereotypes. If we began recognizing that everyone is an individual and that no two people are alike will we then be able to get rid of these fast judgement?
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        Jul 26 2013: no, fast judgement overrides reason when you need to think fast... Besides, seeing things as belonging to the same class (like birds, chairs, trees, violence,...) is needed.

        I can't imagine (I really can't) a way of thinking that can't group or stereotype and still able to operate functionally (as we do, or better). I think We would be off far worse without this function.

        As for individuals: the moment you talk to a person: realizing it is an individual (when talking, while you have time to switch to your slower rational thinking), is essential, and probably a lot of the stereotype will be false for that individual...

        I think we can't get rid of them, and we shouldn't wish for it either. But thinking about it and when in contact with someone: please handle him as an individual.
        • Jul 29 2013: There is a diffrence between the stereotyping you describe and racism. We need to split and group our world in understandable units e.g. we will always think of an asian person when we see someone with asian features. Racism starts when we associate information with this group that are based on specifc experience with one member of that group.
          So Racism starts when we use induction on groups of humans. Especially when there are negative characteristics. So we need to stereotype, but we decide to which extend or which stereotpyes we have.
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    Jul 29 2013: I can't say for others but I don't believe in Racism neither in Religions nor in casts, I am with Humanity, Mankind and Peace.
    But in my opinion this discrimination will never be eliminated because we all know that our ancestors are responsible for this and this behavior is still passing through generations because our parents teach us to make an image of other peoples who are different either on the basis of your skin(Black or White) or by your birth cast.

    But there are some things like Business, Education and others that can work as a bridge between these two far ends and can convince peoples to get closer and this is why we are seeing decrements in racism, but it is like a social disease that will never be eradicated, because some of us don't want to...
  • Jul 29 2013: The elimination of racism in the US is already underway, thank God. It just takes education and understanding of other races. And it will take time. Each generation produces fewer racists. I think my grandchildren....who hopefully won't arrive for about 10-15 years...will live in an evolved United States where racism is effectively eliminated.

  • Jul 27 2013: Education, whether through traditional classroom instruction, reading and studying on your own, experiences with family and friends, among many other avenues, all directly contribute to the solution of this and every other world issue that plagues us.

    I had an encyclopedia set growing up and while it gave me access to information I needed to research for school, it does not compare to the internet capabilities of today. This thread of ending racism was non-existent in 1990. There is so much 'learning' going on in this very thread. Others are learning by the minute as they see a Facebook post or YouTube video. (Mind you there are some who gain nothing from Facebook posts or YouTube videos). Still, the fact is we are learning. (Others who are calloused and 'set in their ways' are dying which helps some, however unfortunate). The internet allows learning to take place in more unconventional and maybe more efficient ways. (Classroom instruction still highly valued).

    To answer to the question... yes. I am certain racism can truly be eliminated and we're all well on our way.
  • Jul 25 2013: Yes, I do. Perhaps, I am racially optimistic, but I definitely believe it is possible. I believe it is a multidimensional approach. One dimension is to acknowledge, accept , account, and reconcile any past or current offense from one race to another. This is vital. Another dimension is teaching, learning, and practicing core values consistently and soulfully. Some values are: kindness, compassion, humility, generosity, honesty and love. If we truly master core values, we will live as a single unit. The fact is, no matter how physically beautiful, accomplished, successful the human is, we are always interacting with the character of the said person, their essence. The goal is to fine tune the character, and race becomes irrelevant.
    • Jul 29 2013: Good comment. The magic word or remedy is Accountability! For example people in the workforce should stand up for anyone that is treated unfairly.
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    Jul 23 2013: WORTH WATCHING
    Here's what the most important Americans say about it today:
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      Jul 24 2013: I am wondering why you don't have at least 100 thumbs up by now Juliette.

      The best line from the video....."If you are a racist, just DROP IT!!"

      We humans belong to one race, the human race. :)

      Thank you for sharing this lovely video.
      I will pass it on to others.

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        Jul 24 2013: The old world is over. Its a new Earth now.
        This is the era of wholeness in human history.
        We are at the dawn.
        Have a good day:)
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          Jul 24 2013: I'm afraid the old world is still here Juliette.

          There are many enlightened humans, but this old world has not changed.

          Perhaps it will soon............the question is, will we live to see it?

          Schwartzberg's talk is one of my favorites.
          I have seen it many times.
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      Jul 25 2013: It seems, children are taught racism. They don't have this concept on their own.


      With this in mind, don't you think that the very video that you quoted, despite its seemingly anti-racist intent, introduces children to racism? The children did not see anything wrong with the commercial. Period. Why even ask them the question: "Hey, do you know that there are people who are angry at interracial marriages?" Why plant the idea in their innocent minds that this is even a possibility? The more we repeat that there is an issue, the more we seem to perpetuate the issue.
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        Jul 26 2013: Mandy Patinkin - what a beautiful tenor voice - what an amazing song!! Because of him, I always remember “ the Cliffs of Insanity “and the “ RUSes “ (in the same movie: Princess Bride)..like which, racism is a “Rodent of Unusual Size”.

        It is true “ Children are taught racism. They don't have this concept on their own.”

        Not knowing about the pitfalls (on the path to civilization) wont remove the pitfalls. History proves disconnection wasn't the cure. We produce doctors by teaching them everything we know about every disease, if they can’t recognize disease how could they cure it!
        -Similarly- not introducing the IDEA of disease (racism) into children’s minds would be supporting ignorance (opposite of education) and perpetuating ignorance.

        The cure comes from knowledge and education and freedom to become who we are.
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          Jul 26 2013: Juliette,
          Interesting... I did not realize that Mandy Patinkin played Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Birde". Inconceivable! I don't recall him sing in the movie. Now that I look through the cast, there is Billy Crystal as well playing the Miracle Max. "You rush the miracle man - you get rotten miracles" And the soundtrack is written by Mark Knopfler - also hard to recognize. This movie is full of surprises.
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      Jul 25 2013: Just a sidenote i love the FineBrothers, and yes their experiment with this was really cool to see. Good to see children dont have that prejudice.

      Thanks for sharing this Juliette, and thanks for the other guys that contributed to this discussion
  • Jul 22 2013: I do not think we will ever completely eliminate racism from people. We can eliminate racism from our institutions.

    People are just people, and much of our behavior is based on experiences and emotions that have little or nothing to do with our thoughts, and particularly our thoughts about ethics and morality. Just by chance, there will always be a number of people who have a series of bad experiences with people some particular race. Even if such a person knows and understands that this race is composed of people just like every other race, those experiences will shape his/her behavior.

    People who have bad experiences with dogs at an early age are sometimes afraid of all dogs for the rest of their lives, in spite of first hand evidence that specific dogs love all people. I have had people admit that their fear makes no sense, even to themselves, but they could not stop being afraid. If it can happen with dogs, it could very well happen with people of a specific race.
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      Jul 23 2013: What do you think about us having racism if there came a time when there were no easily distinguishable races? I'm asking not so much theoretically, just with an eye to the very far future.

      Although did you know, that apples if planted by seed will not inherit their 'parents' DNA and in a couple decades will start producing fruit that is totally different than the fruit from which the seed originally came? Thinking about how quickly our races might blend made me think of extreme heterozygotes like apples.
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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks Barry, I totally agree with your concept about bad experiences. Horrible events will always happen and theres not much we can do about it, but sadly some people will see others that are of the race resembling the incidents and ........... You get where I'm heading with this.

      And responding to Daniels comment, I think life will be boring if we lived in a world where there were no distinguishing races, because you have to taking to account the lovely culture that each race brings along with it.
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      Jul 23 2013: Barry, you express something that is very true........

      "People are just people, and much of our behavior is based on experiences and emotions."

      Racism and prejudice are not even mutually exclusive to being from different countries, or different skin color.
      There are groups of people from the same country, and with the same skin color, and "still", they are always putting down those from another part of town, or another part of the country.

      To eliminate racism, you have to change the human.
      We must change the way we see each other.

      And is this possible?
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    Jul 29 2013: Depends. Stereotypes will never be eliminated, and there is such as thing as "Unconscious Stereotyping". Where even if you are consciously not racist, you can be unconsciously racist in your decisions. Also the theory of "Cognitive Dissonance" shows that it is very hard to get rid of people's prejudices. A funny experiment is "Why don't you eat Snails?". Most people can't come up with a logically valid reason as to why they won't. They just find reasons to serve their Intuition. This is the same effect which happen with Racism.
    However Conscious Racism I think can probably be got rid of, via increasing empathy or changing the image of certain groups.
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      Jul 29 2013: If Love thy brother as thyself ever comes to fully exist in this world then yes we will not be racist.
      • Jul 29 2013: Well said, Helen. When we learn to put into practice what Jesus taught then racism would be eliminated.
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    Jul 28 2013: I wanted to thank everyone that has contributed this this debate or discussion so far, i know that this debate does continue for a few more hours. I have read everyone's comments and i think i have a better perspective on the issue of racism, then before i started this debate. I did my best to respond to most of the Tedsters who have commented, if i have missed you i am sorry, but thats mainly because this is my first TED conversation i have started and i didnt think that so many people would have commented.
    Overall with the comments so far i think that most people believe racism can be eliminated, but with a lot of changes and adjustments into the factors that influence racism, as well as giving it time.
    So i hope you guys keep on debating this topic and really learn from and understand other people's perceptions on this issue.
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      Jul 29 2013: Matthew, a lot of us have enjoyed reading each other's perspectives.
      Thank you for starting the conversation.
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    Jul 27 2013: When we first meet someone or even see them near by, naturally the first thing we notice is a difference in appearance. The obvious is difference in skin color, then differences in facial features, maybe what they are garbed in, a different accent, language, etc., etc. We do this every day and how we interpret and emotionally react to these differences is the key to ending racism. If one is truly honest with one's immediate thought and/or emotional reaction, it will probably be influenced the news media, a movie or tv show, family, community etc. racism will end when these conjured up thoughts / emotional reactions are met for only a nano-second. and one day eradicated. Hopefully, The realization that we truly are one in the same will take president. racism, a ridiculous and ego feeding emotion will be a puzzling conversation of the future as to what the heck we were thinking !
  • Jul 27 2013: It would help the project along if we all stopped talking about "Racism", since scientifically there is only one Race. What is really meant is "Culture" or "Ethnicity", i.e. shared group characteristics, habits, and attitudes. Which of course are what makes the differences that are at issue. So do you really want to eliminate cultural differences? Better not be too quick to do so (Of course, we can all fake it, but there may be a social cost, just like trying to eliminate other differences, such as right or left handedness) Of course, especially in cities, there is no excuse for making people feel bad. Politeness, or even hypocrisy can help. Forced "Social Engineering", such as everyone pretending that cultural differences don't exist ,is probably fatally counter productive. Politeness, or the oriental idea of "Face" would be helpful. A lot of what you are complaining about is the result of forced "togetherness" on people who don't want it. Especially in stressful times when it may be even hard to identify one's own "group". It would help to stop trying to demonize people for noticing that everyone is not "the same".
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    Jul 27 2013: In my humble opinion, Racism is result of ignorance/insecurity and jealousy of a racist person. Maybe if next generations are educated it can end. Racist media (e.g.: Fox News etc.) should also be held responsible for spreading it.
    • Jul 29 2013: You are so right. Fox news is fueling the fire and should be taken off the air. They're all very insecure and have nothing better to do. Seems the more ignorant they become the more people they get to sign-on. Shame on Fox news!
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        Jul 29 2013: Every country got its own version of 'Fox News' with a twisted agendas, and it won't surprise me if major share-holder of all these channels is same.
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    Jul 26 2013: yes
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    Jul 26 2013: Mr. Li,
    I have visited your country and found your diversity as exciting as we have in the US...
    I am sorry to say that in my evaluation of this question, the answer is NO.
    It is probably true there as here and lets not considered the ignorance, or other irrational outbursts for racism... There is too much money to be made in promoting it. Again here, you have to see what happens there.
    We have people who go from city to city with good speaker's fees talking about racism in America. People write best selling books touting the racialism in America. Journalist insure racism by using appropriate phasing in news articles to inflame racism and improve their bylines. Even if incidents are only vaguely implied that race was a factor, you can wager any amount and know that race will be placed to the forefront.
    Yes sir, a lot of money to be made selling racism and it doesn't even mean you have to be a minority to sell racism... majority members even do well lamenting racism. It's not racism... it's money...
    • Jul 27 2013: Man, I agree with you. And I wonder, when we are going to free ourselves from being slaves of the money. Every single issue in the world like this one, has something to do with money. money is important to make a organized world, but when we become slaves, everything messes up.
    • Jul 29 2013: I don't think racism is solely driven by money but it's certainly a factor especially in the workforce. If you plot to prohibit one from gaining employment or manipulate the process you can surely damage a person's ability to be independent. This is what is done all across America. There are ways around Civil Rights laws and once the racist find them they act and move persistantly and collectively. I believe this has a profound effect on the high unemployment numbers for people of color. We should keep the discussion going in hopes of finding a solution.
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        Jul 29 2013: There are some people with such low self esteem that they can only be comforted by thinking they are better then someone else...

        However, Business want capable employees with skills that can be used to make them a profit. Most business people I know are not interested in race creed or national origin... all they want are responsible employees that will do the work and make them a profit so the business can among other things make payroll. Civil rights laws did clarify legal standards, but in hindsight I am beginning to believe it caused more [problems then it was designed to resolve.... The degradation of the American Black Community seemed to have started about the same time... I don't know why it is just a correlation I find disturbing..
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    Jul 26 2013: Matthew, I don’t see the media, or just about any sector in society, “doing a good enough job” when it comes to bigotry of any sort. We are social animals, for sure, so we hang in groups, but this grouping often leads to discriminatory, if not downright exclusionary behavior, which cuts both ways. The challenge for all societies, it seems to me, is to recognize, even welcome, diversity, while at the same time, being “blind” to it, at least when it comes to the values of justice and equality. This is somewhat difficult to do, as there are so many attributes beyond race that divide us—but that shouldn’t prevent us from striving to build a more broad-minded civilization.
  • Jul 26 2013: Of course it can. Babies are not born racially prejudiced, they must learn it. Watch some toddlers playing together, none of them actually "see" say skin colour in the racist way at all, again they must be taught this by their parents. They trust their parents and want to be like them, and so racism is perpetuated. This is also true of ethic hatred. One thing, for example, I've noticed here in the UK is that whether you are black or white, no one cares as long as you are British. Its very different when a group of people artificially separate themselves from the society surrounding them, this builds mistrust.
    • Jul 29 2013: Frank, You're right. Racism is taught. People are not born racist or prejudice. It is learned from family, friends, co-workers, the media, movies, and society.
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    Jul 25 2013: I speculate that yes, racism will be a non-factor at some point in the future. How far? That's difficult to say, but at some point, if we make it that long, there are theories that human beings will begin to resemble each other quite closely as far as race is concerned. Even if not, the vast diversity of people living, loving, and socially interacting is erasing the old lines of them and us. Now, don't get me wrong- although I believe racism will disappear, prejudice will always remain among human beings. Upper class, lower class, nationalism and pride- I mean for god's sake, look at a typical football game! What a perfect example of a prejudice that is overlooked. Feelings of hate, competition, and anger toward another based solely on a pereference for teams? Indeed, even if one prejudice is eliminated, we clever humans will find something to separate us. Just remember Dr. Seuss and his book " The Sneetches" , although he had a more optimistic outlook then I.
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    Jul 25 2013: Harvard has a test so you can see how prejudice you are. Race is probably the deepest..well second to gender I guess. I think prejudices go psychologically deeper in order of most obvious when at looking at another person naked.

    Well I'd have to flip disability and sexual preference there at the end of the line.

    Here's the link for your eyes only

    I read a study where they found out the only way to switch prejudice mindsets is by spending time around people you are prejudice against. Petty tall order for a people who are "free" to do what they want.

    Not impossible-especially for a race of people who made it it to the moon and back and created life altering technologies which changed the natural course of existence. We'll have to turn a lot of that energy to create and solve internally in order to accomplish it tho.

    Well yeah..that's going to be close to impossible.
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      Jul 25 2013: Yes there are ways to reduce prejudice, as you said the only way to do it is to surround ourselves with people of that specific background or with just more multicultural people to see them as individuals instead of grouping them into a category.
      I think in psychological terms its inter-group contact and sustained contain, etc
  • Jul 24 2013: When falsely accusing someone of racism has consequence, we might be on the way. When all races abandon self pity and replace it with an unwavering sense of pride and tireless commitment to pursuing happiness, perhaps we will be close. I look like a racist, guess my race.
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      Jul 24 2013: "I look like a racist, guess my race."

      The HUMAN Race?
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    Jul 23 2013: Look at all the conversations that have been held on the topic of racism on TED.........


    This conversation we are having now seems to have a lot more participation than others.........well, with the exception of the conversation on the second page of my link, that connected the idea of nationalism with racism.

    And, have you seen this?


    I think racism can be eliminated.
    But, first, we must change the individual human.
    And who has the power to change a human?
    • Jul 24 2013: And Mary when the oil starts to run out, and you for the very first time start to freeze, and cant drive to work, and you see those 'others' have it, who look different, who follow another flag, believe in a different religion, have completely different values and a different morality - what will you do, what do you think others will do - when you ask your government to do what?
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        Jul 25 2013: I think racism can be eliminated.
        But, first, we must change the individual human.

        And, who has the power to change a human?

        I've changed, so have many others that I know.

        Now it's your turn...........will you change.........

        I do not follow a flag...........my allegiance is to a superior being, his ways are loftier.

        Perhaps you haven't perceived who I am and what I stand for from reading my comments Tify.
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    Jul 23 2013: Can racism be eliminated .... no. It can however be drastically reduced and maybe even minimalized. The problem that I see ... thus my opinion ... is that the media and leaders at many levels continue to stir the pot.

    When we achieve good parenting .... responsible leadership ... and reporting the event instead of directing emotions and thought ... then the opportunity to reduce racism to the few.

    I have stated before that we as a nation in the USA are more openly divided than ever before. We have lost the ability to think for our selves .... news should report the event .... leaders should be capable of influencing without the resort to violence. Leaders must stop using the term US and THEM and start using terms of WE. When a leader at any level refers to a event as racist ... he is giving permission to radicals to promote violence.

    IMO media and leadership must change in order for racism to be reduced or eliminated.

    Thanks. Bob.
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        Jul 24 2013: Perhaps .... The part I was against was that he placed a US versus THEM value on the conversation. As a leader I thought he should have addressed the WE. That NO ONE should be placed in that position ... not just blacks. As a leader he should care about ALL the people.

        Riots in the streets are not the way to bring it to the front.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
    • Jul 24 2013: I'd agree with that Bob.

      Only as I saw so many parallels between the film/book "Bonfire of the Vanities" and the Zimmerman trial.

      And consider that film/book was 30 years old... people just haven't changed.
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      Jul 25 2013: Thanks for your contribution to this discussion Robert, i see from your comment there are a lot of factors that influence racism and even though you think racism cannot be eliminated, if we continue to mitigate some factors that contribute to racism then hopefully in the future we can say that racism has been eliminated.
  • Jul 23 2013: Racism is somewhat like the Catheter Religion.
    What is the Catheter Religion?
    It's another word for Catholic.
    Once it's been embedded in your psyche it's almost impossible to eradicate and defecate it completely
    out of your system. Some of the poison remains, although protected in a kind of sac within the body of the
    psyche. When pricked however, it sometimes spills out.
    Racism is like that and everyone can learn to not react to it, especially when they think it.
    What we think is one thing. How we react or respond is another. It would be wonderful if we could and we
    should continue to think we can in order to shoot for the stars and fall short, but into a much more inclusive and loving world. Eventually that kind of behavior will bring about change in the psyche. It starts there first.

    I worked for many years with African-American men who were trying to put their lives together while coming out of prison. They had serious doubts, some that centered around being black in a white (racist) society.
    While racism is in us all (a horrible evil perpetrated by those who did so), sometimes the way arises to not react. For instance, if these guys have a hammer and think that every time racism rears its head, they must slam it back down, then it still owns them because they are still reacting to it. Eventually, unless it is very serious and life-threatening, they learned that if they too wish to be free of it, then ignoring it in most cases takes away its power over them. Having, feeling and owning your own personal power is more important than almost anything else. We must keep that for all and eliminate evils that threaten it.

    An overlap may exist for some time but those who overlap will eventually die and with them their racism.
    We must not allow leaders to keep it alive, which they do.
    Facing fear, ending fear by changing our world will help immensely.
    Racism is like most other strong and unhealthy emotions and beliefs.
    It is based on and founded in fear.
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      Jul 23 2013: Ha, I think there is only a random chance you might be right! Get it? Or have you heard that already. I'm just kidding, anyways.
      • Jul 24 2013: Daniel.
        No, I haven't heard that one yet, but today I did.
        Took me 3/4 of my life to get it that there is no 's' on the word anyway.
        Been waiting to tell someone that for almost as long. :)
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    Jul 23 2013: This being a debate I would normally mull the topic over for a minute or two and then give it a go. It's a good topic, but reading your proposal, Matthew, I was reminded of a spot-on article that appeared in WSJ in the not so distant past. It's by Alison Gopnik. It's as short as it is awesome. And it's all about the latest studies in how children exhibit racism at an incredibly young age. The following quotes are the juiciest bits. The article, it's a column really, explains the experiments some, but would be a good jumping-off point if you wanted to do a more in-depth internet search.

    "A raft of new studies shows that even 5-year-olds discriminate between what psychologists call in-groups and out-groups. Moreover, children actually seem to learn subtle aspects of discrimination in early childhood."

    "In a recent paper, Yarrow Dunham at Princeton and colleagues explored when children begin to have negative thoughts about other racial groups. White kids aged 3 to 12 and adults saw computer-generated, racially ambiguous faces...Even people who would hotly deny any racial prejudice unconsciously associate other racial groups with anger."

    "But what about the innocent kids? Even 3- and 4-year-olds were more likely to say that angry faces were black. In fact, younger children were just as prejudiced as older children and adults."

    "Was this discrimination the result of some universal, innate tendency or were preschoolers subtly learning about discrimination? "

    "These findings show the deep roots of group conflict. But the last study also suggests that somehow children also quickly learn about how groups are related to each other."

    "The studies of early altruism show that the natural state of man is not a war of all against all, as Thomas Hobbes said. But it may quickly become a war of us against them."

    Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324715704578483484282397490.html
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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks for commenting Daniel. About discrimination at a young age, coming from a teenager and not long ago being a child myself. Discrimination and racism to a child was simply the fact that he or she was different. You see all those cartoons (e.g ugly duckling) where there's always the odd one out. But talking about children and discrimination specifically, it could account for many things like weight, lack of intelligence and etc, to children, it's as long as you were different.
      In my case, my school we were very multicultural and had people from many races. Because there was such diversity, at a young age, there werent many negative comments about other peoples skin colour or race. If I was think about the behaviour changes, I could say that once we were old enough to understand the concept of racism and the usual "I want to fit in attitude", that's when people started using it to attack others. Before that it was never used as a weapon.
      But very interesting article you found there, I never would have guessed that there would actually be discrimination from such a young age.
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      Jul 23 2013: I saw a video of a different study, or perhaps one to which this article refers, in which children of such young ages were shown pictures of faces that were identical except for skin color. They were all children of parents who were adamant at having expressed no racial messages at home.

      When the researcher asked the kids "Which is the good child?" or "Which is the bad child?" or "Who would you most like to look like?" children regardless of their own race answered as if the darker one was worst and the lightest best.

      This was less true for older children.

      The parents were appalled.
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        Jul 23 2013: The parents were appalled, but they're probably ashamed some, as well. After all, to whatever degree these racial prejudices are a product of nature or of nurture, the parents would seem to take up a large space in the latter.

        (And speaking of shame... I referred to you as 'Fritzie my man' in comment two days ago and it has sense been brought to my attention that you are a lady, a professor, and very intelligent. I am none of these things, least of all intelligent. I wanted to apologize if I offended you in any way.
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          Jul 23 2013: I don't think gender or credentials matter at all in conversations here. Because of my name, people often assume I am male. I have taught at a variety of levels, kids through grad students, over a long career but no longer do classroom teaching.

          Of course I take no offense.
  • Jul 23 2013: I grew up in Hawaii. Since no race had a majority, everyone was in a minority. At first the races worked together and key was can you do the job? Race was secondary. The races did not socialize except during large "required" social events, wedding, funerals, birthday parties, etc. and business type socialization. Being invited into the home of another race was done very rarely. I guess people respected the others space and did not violate it. If someone did, they were ostracized.

    This changed as I grew older. For example, churches that were only for Chinese now had Japanese, Korean, White, etc. Similarly white churches now had different races. The rate of inter-racial marriage became over 40%.

    Is there still racial prejudice - yes but I guess I would say muted.
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      Jul 23 2013: What if the trend you're experiencing in Hawaii continued? Can we hold out hope that racism might at least become some less virulent strain of prejudice? For instance, interracial marriages breed interracial children who enter into de facto interracial marriages, because at least the bride or the groom is from interracial periods, and so on...is it possible, even if it takes many years, that in an increasingly globalized society, with an increasing number of people living and working in a country that they are not native to (220 million), and with the gene pool starting to resemble more of genetic jacuzzi, won't a homogenous quality arise within the population. We are, after all, but one single species regardless of our race.
      • Jul 23 2013: We can only watch and learn. One thing that we need to be careful is the loss of culture and language - a linguist at Yale is concerned with the loss of human languages with the globalization. Think we need to try to keep the good or are we willing to lose the good to eliminate the bad?
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          Jul 23 2013: Of the 7,000 languages spoken today, half are expected to be gone by the end of the century.


          I can understand preserving the culture and language. But at the same time, it's making room for new cultures, at least, if not languages.

          What concerns me is the homogenous nature of cultures seem to be taking, like a monoculture where all you see is one plant to the horizon in every direction. I don't want to be able to go anywhere in the world and get McDonald's and Starbucks.

          And what I recognize as inevitable, not to be redundant, is that all cultures will go. You ask me if we need to try and keep the good or are we willing to lose the good to eliminate the bad? Even if we keep the good, it won't be the same good, it's not a static thing. And the elimination of the bad doesn't necessitate the introduction of the bad in another form.

          Back in the T'ang Dynasty, Zengetsu, a Chinese Zen master, gave some advice to his pupils, one piece of which was: "Some things, though right, were considered wrong for generations. Since the value of righteousness may be recognized after centuries, there is no need to crave an immediate appreciation." Now, one might hold instead to some Platonic idea of Good as a perfect Form, but I personally would choose a path of acceptance, or as Zengetsu would have put, living in the world but not forming attachments "to the dust of the world." Culture is another kind of dust. Everyone that ever lived felt just as passionate about the immediate and overwhelming experience of being alive as we do. Yet where is there passion, their experience, their culture now? What is it to us? What good did it do them to cling what they liked and reject what they didn't?

          From a different translation of Ecclesiastes than I used earlier: "The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there by an remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them."
      • Jul 23 2013: Have to think about this. 1/2 of me agrees that we must let go but then apply that logic to endangered species - nature has been killing off species since the dawn of this planet - should we be saving endangered species? again 1/2 of me says yes.
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          Jul 24 2013: Of course, we should be saving endangered species. Forget that for a moment.

          Imagine holding a pencil in the following two ways. In the first, you hold your pencil tightly by making a fist. That is attachment; it is like grasping, clinging, It takes effort and will resist any other force that acts upon the pencil. The hand, like the mind, is closed. In the second way you open your hand, palm up to the feeling with the fingers straight and the pencil gently rests there. There is no attachment, but there is acceptance. The pencil is there, but gone is the sense of possession, of having to maintain our hold on the material world. The mind is open.
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    Jul 22 2013: I don't believe racism will be eliminated as long as ignorance and stupidity is present. As this is likely to be true for the rest of our species existence—since there is no 'survival of the fittest' since even stupid people can survive— I would say racism or any other -isms will still be present.

    I think the media is pretty messed up. The people involved mainly want to get more hits and viewers than truly spread the news or be honest. I don't think they should feel compelled to tackle racism, because I think there needs to be a movement throughout a society to adequately tackle racism. A short PSA or quick mention (all I think the media would devote to racism) will not change anything. People need education, and now that I think about it schools could address this issue in places where it's more prevalent—I live in an area where it doesn't happen much (as far as I can tell).

    Thanks for the question and feel free to reply!
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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks for the imput Kai, I think overall there is just too many factors in the world that might influence people to be racist, especially media which is both adding to the fire and putting it out at the same time. (if you know I mean)
  • Jul 22 2013: Eliminating racism is a difficult task. Let's assume that people may not be racist if they are exposed to all kinds of people in their normal environment. Creating such an environment is something that is difficult if not impossible for under-developed / developing countries.
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      Jul 23 2013: I think you and I could agree. Is there a future where exposure and integration reach such a level that being racist doesn't make sense to people and doesn't help them to function in society or justify any of their fears and insecurities and slowly, but surely, racism dissipates into the past? All I'm asking is if you think it's possible.