Casey Kitchel


This conversation is closed.

Racism in United States: Is it alive and well or is it not?

Is racism alive and well in the United States of America? Is it, or is it not? If racism is still alive within society, then what will it take for society to overcome this social issue? I would like to open up the question to other places around the world seeing as the topic of racism does not solely apply to the US. What do people think about this topic, please share your thoughts.

  • thumb
    May 26 2014: Well back at home(Zimbabwe) I don't face any racism just certain moments when there's preferential treatment of white people by other black people and I'd like to think that that stems from an inferiority complex that we might still have as black people. We've only been an independent state for 34 years so not long ago this was the only way to live for many and I hope it will die down after a few more years.

    Here in the UK some cases are minor like classic rudeness, assuming I can't afford things when I go to certain shops or people preferring to stand instead of taking the free seat next to me. Some cases are bad, my friend was hit by a bicycle and called a slave by a young boy.

    I'd like to think that this will slowly die down if we start including different ethnicities in everything and not in a stereotypical way. That means in our television shows, in adverts and on billboards. Making world cultures a mandatory part of the history syllabus but it should be taught in a tasteful manner. Choosing to show not just the negative but also the positive parts of 3rd world countries. From the time I was a little girl I started to feel inferior because my skin colour was not catered for when it came to toys, Barbie wasn't black :( and we don't even have a Disney princess, we have a lion! Getting to my teens and hearing the good makeup brands don't have my shade for foundation because "they don't do dark shades" was just frustrating. If all major corporations started considering race and catering for everyone then it could help a lot and if we started making racial diversity a common thing for children at a young age then maybe they'd grow up to be more accepting of other people and their cultures.
  • thumb
    May 26 2014: Unfortunately racism still exists within the United States. What we are now seeing are more covert forms of discrimination; racist jokes and remarks made behind closed doors, discrimination in the workplace, law enforcement racial profiling, predatory lending practices, denial of financial services (loans, mortgages, etc), biases in legal proceedings, media bias/sensationalism, etc.

    As for what it will take for our society to overcome this social issue, we need to stop pretending that racism doesn't exist. We need to own up to the fact that "white privilege" exists and stop proselytizing nonsense like "given that we have an African-American president, racism no longer is a prevalent issue." In particular, we need to speak out against discrimination on all fronts; don't tell or condone racist jokes and remarks, notify HR of discrimination in the workplace, get involved and bring up the issue of law enforcement racial profiling to the public and to local politicians, don't conduct services with banks and lenders who have been involved in predatory lending or who have been known to discriminate, be vocal about injustice, stop subscribing to biased media sensationalism, etc.
  • thumb
    Jun 10 2014: Thank you to everyone who took part in this conversation! :-)

    Every person is a human being and we have to love, respect, and appreciate our differences because there is so much that we have to learn from each other!

    And don't forget, being an anti-racist does not solve anything.
    • thumb
      Jun 10 2014: My Dear Casey,
      We do not HAVE to love , respect and appreciate our makes life a whole lot more enjoyable when we do:>)

      Thanks for starting this conversation my friend, which I think/feel is very relevant in our world, if we truly want to contribute to, and create peace and harmony on this earth that we all share with each other:>)
  • thumb
    May 25 2014: Dear Colleen & Casey,

    I like your questions as follows:
    Why do some folks need to feel superior to others?
    What is the root cause of why folks need to feel superior to others?

    We all have the “ blind spot “ or blind spot.
    We cannot see Others’ beauties, strengths….

    Only, the “outstanding education” that can help people to understand the root of prejudice, and can help people to evaluate one's self objectively, also can help people to understand the central heart of "excellence in diversity " in today's world.
    • thumb
      May 26 2014: Hello Lamb Lamb:>)
      I agree....we have a "blind spot".....UNTIL.....we decide to open our eyes, heart and mind to something different:>)

      I also agree.....the evaluation has to start with oneself.

      "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes...."
      (Marcel Proust)
      • thumb
        May 27 2014: Hi Colleen, I agree. And Proust's sentence, that's right. I would remember another phrase -this one from the poet Paul Eluard -XX century-, who said something very similar: 'There are other worlds, but they are in this one".
        It's only a matter of knowing how to look, how to seek, how to think. And, then, it appears new frontiers. Everywhere. Fascinating. No time for boring!
        • thumb
          May 27 2014: I wholeheartedly agree Sean!
          We see what we want to see....hear what we want to hear....act and react as we choose.

          I personally experience the differences in all of us as very interesting, stimulating, educational and very enjoyable, and I cannot even imagine how or why someone might be antagonized by differences WHEN/IF those differences are not adversely impacting other people.

          My father was racist....among other things! He really thought that as a white christian male he was superior. He did not have much respect for women, or anyone of any other ethnic background.

          My unconditionally loving mother recognized his insecurity/fear and guided us (me and 7 siblings) toward opening our hearts and minds to other possibilities.....for which I am very grateful:>)
  • thumb
    May 19 2014: Hi Casey! Nice to connect with you again:>)

    Unfortunately, it seems that racism is alive and well WITH SOME PEOPLE throughout our world. That being said, I also observe that fewer and fewer people are accepting and/or practicing racism.

    What will it take to overcome racism?
    Perhaps recognizing our interconnectedness, and how much we are the same as human beings? Perhaps realizing that there is a lot to learn from those who may be culturally different from us? Perhaps recognizing that we all share this earth, and we might as well make it as good an experience as possible by practicing peace and harmony?

    I believe that with the practices of racism, prejudice, and an attempt to exclude certain people from the mind and heart, one denies him/herself the opportunity to learn something that we may not be able to learn in any way other than exploring something/someone who may, in some respects be different, while actually more the same than different:>)

    Some of my most wonderful experiences, have been while traveling to different places in our world and interacting with people from different cultures. I cannot even imagine how people can feel separated from other people.....we are all interconnected, sharing this earth life. It makes sense to me and is pleasurable, to make it the best possible experience for ourselves and those we interact with. I would not deny myself that opportunity:>)
    • thumb
      May 20 2014: Hi Colleen! Pleasure to connect with you again :-)

      Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom on this conversation!
      • thumb
        May 23 2014: My pleasure Casey, and you brought to light a good topic to explore:>)

        Without racism in our world, we might be able to experience more peace, harmony and contentment. If those who practice racism realized that it says more about them, then it says about the people they feel superior to, it might change quite a few situations in our world.

        Racism: " A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race".

        A good question to ask may be.....why do some folks need to feel superior to others? To me, it feels like a weakness rather than a inability to be open minded/open hearted, rather than closed up in a little box.......what do you think Casey?
        • thumb
          May 24 2014: Hi Colleen,

          I was just an observer in this conversation, but then your comment grabbed my attention. Specifically your words.....why do some folks need to feel superior to others? Colleen, there is a behavior called leveling. It is when a person either brings another person down, or inflates their own sense of self worth in order to level the playing field of life.

          People that practice racism are rather proficient in this behavior. From the rich looking down on the poor, and the powerful looking down on the weak, and the pretty people looking down on the average joe, and of course one color feeling superior or better than will hear them make very generalized comments which blanket the entire group that "offends" them, and then go on to explain why they are so great.

          I honestly believe that we are all guilty at least for a moment here and there feeling something towards another without knowing anything about the person. For example, my car was in the shop and my mechanic gave me a lift home yesterday. At an intersection he said "Why do those idiots get into the turn lane, and then go straight?" What idiots would those be?, I asked. No answer.

          So let me give you my answer to who those idiots are..."They are those folks you asked about that believe everyone should drive, speak, behave, style their hair, eat their sandwich and tie their shoes, exactly the way they do. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely a difference between good behavior and bad behavior, but there are some that believe only their behavior is right and everyone else is wrong. And the longer they think this way, the more they genuinely believe it. Everyone starts to "bother" them, and just like you said, they end up closed up in a little box. That box is their world, and nobody else fits into it. The same goes for racists, they just do not believe that anyone else fits in their world, and the longer they feel that way, they too genuinely believe it. Be well.
        • thumb
          May 24 2014: Thank you Colleen :-)

          I too think the world would be a better place if racism didn't exist. Something that I hadn't thought about much, but am glad you mention, is how racism says more about those who practice it than it does about the people they feel the need to feel superior to. If people's perception of that would change, then things would probably be quite different.

          I also really like what Carlos Marquez says. "There is only one race, the human race, Homo sapiens sapiens." I imagine that kind of thinking might change quite a few situations in the world too!

          "A good question to ask may be.....why do some folks need to feel superior to others?" I would ask what is the root cause/causes of why folks need to feel superior to others.
      • thumb
        May 24 2014: Hi Amy,
        I am aware of the practice called "leveling", which is a relatively new psychological term, although the practice has been used for a very long time.

        I agree Amy, there are some folks who believe everything THEY do and say is "right", and everyone else is wrong. I don't like to call people "idiots" however, because I truly believe that they have simply not questioned and evaluated their own perception of themselves....AND... It feels like labeling other people "idiots" is a form of leveling.
        • thumb
          May 26 2014: Hi Colleen,

          I did not see your response until today. It must have come through to Casey, as a response to his original comment. I figured you would know all about leveling. You are so in tune with human nature and all kinds of behavior.

          The guy driving me home called the driver in front of us one of "those idiots", and when I asked him "What idiots would those be?" He did not have an answer.Which means that he did not question his own perception, just like you said, or else he would have either given me an answer or never said that terrible comment.

          I am with you Colleen, calling people names is very much a form of leveling. Casey questioned why folks need to feel superior to others. I think part of the answer is because they feel so negative about themselves. When a person is in a bad place, they say negative things to others. I'm sure you've also heard the saying "Misery loves company". and that is another factor in racism. These people are not good and kind and warm and loving. They are angry and cold and hateful and if they spread that hate, they may gather a group of the same, which is how we end up with hate groups.

          One factor that may come into play with someone feeling superior to others is that they are a little out of touch with reality. This may come from a variety of things. One of them is power. A powerful position in a job, sports or politics can inflate someones head so much that you have to grease their ears to get them though a doorway. Another factor is parental enabling. When parents tell a child that they are perfect, and never call them on their bad behavior, they are not preparing that child for the real world, where others don't see them quite the same as their parents do. And lastly,I imagine that those who genuinely believe that they are better than others may be suffering from one of many personality or delusional disorders. In that case, there is professional help, but if they believe that they are perfect, they won't go.
      • thumb
        May 25 2014: Casey,
        We ask..."why do some folks need to feel superior to others? What is the root cause/causes of why folks need to feel superior to others?"

        I suggest the root cause is insecurity/fear. By believing that one is superior to another person....better in some way....smarter....more advanced....etc., it provides a superficial feeling of security and confidence in oneself.

        Amy brought up the term "leveling", which is a very old practice that is now recognized in the field of psychology. One who practices racism, probably uses this method to try to build his/her self esteem....knowingly/unknowingly.....consciously/unconsciously.

        You may have heard of "the pecking order"? Same putting someone down in some way, some folks may feel that they are building themselves up. I think the term "pecking order" actually came from watching chickens in a pen! Some dominate others to get the food first....get the best nesting places....etc. Some just dominate because they like to may feel good to some people on a very superficial level.

        As multi-dimensional, multi-sensory, multi-faceted, intelligent(?) human beings, we could be moving beyond "leveling" and the "pecking order". I agree with Carlos too.....there is only one race....the human race......although the accepted definition of "race" is a little contradictory with that.

        The definition says...."a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock"

        It also says...."a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type".

        So, while the definition identifies humans as all from the same "breeding stock", it also says there is a division because of certain characteristics.
        • May 26 2014: Colleen: I think the discrepancy you describe comes from a lot of people who, living in the past , have not realized that the scientific consensus is definitely that the is only ONE race. So we really should drop the term, since it only serves as an insult, without any real meaning. If you want to talk about cutural differences, fine, but that doesn't have the emotional clout of calling someone a racist. If you notice, even talking about "Racism" muddies up any conversation it apppears in, and only serves to make people angry, whatever "side" they are on.
        • thumb
          May 26 2014: Colleen,
          "I agree with Carlos too.....there is only one race....the human race......although the accepted definition of "race" is a little contradictory with that.

          The definition says...."a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock"

          It also says...."a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type".

          So, while the definition identifies humans as all from the same "breeding stock", it also says there is a division because of certain characteristics."

          There certainly is contradiction, Colleen. About the contradictory meanings of "race", could that change? If people use one meaning and stop using the other, would the contradiction cease to be relevant?

          For example: Say people only used "race" to mean of "a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock" and stopped using "race" to also mean "a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type". Since the latter definition would fall out of use and would become obsolete, would that contradiction then no longer exist?
        • thumb
          May 26 2014: And, it could it be Colleen, that an important part of why racism exists is because of the very meanings of the word "race" which are widely accepted? A particular meaning of "race" (a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type) is accepted by the general public and therefore racism is able to persist.
      • thumb
        May 26 2014: Shawn,
        The statements I provided are from the dictionary and are accepted definitions for "race". Going to the dictionary, sometimes helps me clarify exactly what we are talking about, and where different perceptions come from, so I can understand other people's arguments to the best of my ability. It might help for you to visit the dictionary as well?

        "Race" is an accepted term, even if you decide to drop the use of it. A word is only an "insult" if it is intended to be an insult. There is nothing insulting about using the term "race". I do not perceive this conversation to be "muddied" Shawn, except perhaps for you?

        If one truly believes that there is only one race, as you insightfully reinforce in your comment above, there is no "side" to be on....make any sense?
      • thumb
        May 26 2014: Good question write..."There certainly is contradiction, Colleen. About the contradictory meanings of "race", could that change? If people use one meaning and stop using the other, would the contradiction cease to be relevant?"

        You say....if "people only used "race" to mean of "a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock" and stopped using "race" to also mean "a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type". Since the latter definition would fall out of use and would become obsolete, would that contradiction then no longer exist?"

        That could maybe work, and it might take a very long time for a definition to "fall out of use".

        How about if more people realized that we ARE from the same stock (human), and also realized, accepted and appreciated the differences?
        • thumb
          May 27 2014: I think this kind of thinking is on the right track, but I can't be sure.

          "How about if more people realized that we ARE from the same stock (human), and also realized, accepted and appreciated the differences?" What do you mean by that?
      • thumb
        May 26 2014: Amy,
        The notice for this comment is going to go to Casey again because there is no reply option for your last comment...just as there was no reply option for your previous comment!

        Yes, I have indeed heard the phrase "misery loves company", and I agree with what you write:>)

        There are many underlying elements for racism....mostly stemming from fear and insecurity. With our words and actions, we project into our world what is in our heart and mind, so as I said in a previous comment, racism tells us more about the person using the practice. It really says nothing about the person toward whom the racism is directed.
      • thumb
        May 26 2014: Casey,
        Regarding your comment....
        "And, could it be... that an important part of why racism exists is because of the very meanings of the word "race" which are widely accepted? A particular meaning of "race" (a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type) is accepted by the general public and therefore racism is able to persist."

        I think/feel there are many elements underlying racism, so to simply say it is a matter of a definition, I don't think totally addresses the challenge. As Amy mentions, people who practice racism are generally not very kind, content people. Their underlying anger is projected toward may be a gender, people with a particular sexual orientation, a particular race, particular religion, etc. It is called "racism" when the anger and hatred is directed toward people of different ethnic groups.....yes?
        • thumb
          May 27 2014: "I think/feel there are many elements underlying racism." I wholeheartedly agree.
          I never said it was "simply a matter of a definition." Besides, when a definition is being discussed, never is it just a discussion about the definition. But by discussing the definitions it helps us to define the issue.

          "As Amy mentions, people who practice racism are generally not very kind, content people. Their underlying anger is projected toward may be a gender, people with a particular sexual orientation, a particular [ethnicity], particular religion, etc." Yes.
      • thumb
        Jun 4 2014: Casey,
        Regarding your comment..."May 27 2014: I think this kind of thinking is on the right track, but I can't be sure."

        "How about if more people realized that we ARE from the same stock (human), and also realized, accepted and appreciated the differences?" What do you mean by that?"

        What I mean Casey, is what I have been doing joyfully throughout the life adventure. I appreciate the differences in all of us, because that is, in my perception, a gift....something that we may not have known in any other way than opening our heart and mind to possibilities.

        We are all human....I believe that is scientifically substantiated. We all share this earth....that is a fact. We can recognize many of the same qualities in all of us....I believe most people want to love and be loved....most people want to be respected....appreciated....and feel like a valuable part of the global community. We all share the very same emotions....we all experience joy and pain in various ways....etc.etc.etc.......

        Our differences provide a learning opportunity for all of us....when we connect with each other. ....seems simple, joyful, and a huge opportunity to me:>)
        • thumb
          Jun 4 2014: I agree entirely with this statement, as I, like you, am drawn to environments of diversity and close, even caretaking, connections within them. I will miss you during the hiatus.

          Request: Could you quickly post once more the link to Colleen's Gardens? I don't have a way of asking you through email. I know it is off topic.
        • thumb
          Jun 7 2014: Colleen,



          AMAZING! :-)
      • thumb
        Jun 7 2014: Well you are pretty AMAZING too Casey.....for a youngster!!! LOL:>) ...I am ageist!!!

        I am kidding....I love all people....young and old....all colors....ethnicities...etc.
        That is a gift I give myself, and I would not miss the opportunity to learn and grow with all the people who share the earth together....connected....interdependent......thanks for being you, and sharing the gift with me Casey:>)
        • thumb
          Jun 7 2014: You're welcome Colleen, and Thank You for being YOU! :-)

          I like diversity! And I like learning new things because there is so much we have to learn from each other! What could be better than 'learning' and 'growing' with all the different people that we share the earth and our lives with? I can't think of many (especially when I am having fun!)

    • thumb
      May 23 2014: Unfortunately and I think for the first time, I have to disagree with you.
      More and more Americans are becoming racist and hardcore racist to boot.

      You have to take into account that there are several types of racism, with by far the most common today being “your X-skin color and therefore I know your racist and will treat you according!”.
      And that only fuels the target of that type to become racist.
      The fact that we cannot say anything bad about another person’s actions of a different ancestry with being scorned for racism has only fueled fear and loathing.

      I could go on and on, but I see no point in it.
      Racism is like the weather, talking about it will not change it.
      • thumb
        May 24 2014: I agree that racism manifests in various ways Don, and I also agree that an underlying factor is fear. When we talk about, recognize and evaluate fear, it sometimes helps us understand where the fear is coming from....why we feel afraid....etc. So, in my perception, it helps to talk about our fears.

        When the founding fathers were drafting the constitution and declaration of independence, they discussed and evaluated the information at length. Most of them owned hundreds of slaves, at the time they were discussing the idea that all men should be free and equal, which they wrote into the documents. After that experience, some of the founding fathers freed their slaves, so I suspect that talking about men being free might have caused them to really think about the contradiction between what they were saying and what they were doing. I think/feel it always helps to talk about things:>)
      • May 26 2014: Don : If I understand you rightly, I agree with you. But wouldn't it be a lot better to just drop the term"Race " altogether, if it has no scientific meaning at all. which it doesn't? Yes to call someone a Racist has real emotional clout. Too bad it has no real meaning.
  • thumb
    May 14 2014: Casey,
    Racism is a farce of the -ism kind, an ideology and incredibly successful one despite having no basis at all in fact. There is only one race, the human race, Homo sapiens sapiens.
    Yet, in the cause of discussing racism or measuring its influence"race" is accepted as some sort of meaningful system of categorising humans.One is often compelled to state one's "race" in forms so interested parties can keep track...All this monitoring of "race" is predicated not on some essential and basic genetic division between humans, but on the existence of racism, which tries to promulgate the idea that essential and basic genetic differences between humans exist, when they don't. And racists succeed very well in promoting this empty agenda. Data on "race" is collected in order to try to understand the effects of racism.

    Sadly, so-called anti-racists often also have a perverse investment in promoting ethnic difference as if it is racial difference. Anti-racists can end up as passionately attached to the idea of race as the people they stand against.

    The most insidious thing about racism is that it is creepily self-sustaining. The more that race rather than cultural background is monitored, the more opportunity there is to pass off cultural disadvantages as racial disadvantages. In the USA, for example, prison culture has been incorporated into street culture. Consequently, a background in violent criminality is viewed in some quarters as conferring a perversely glamorous sense of identity, and thanks to the racist prism it has been viewed through, consequently celebrated as an integral part of the "black" experience, rather than simply of the economically and educationally deprived experience.
    The concept of "race" was introduced by governments, backed by the Church, to validate slavery and colonialism, to justify treating some people as less equal than others.
    Our race is human there is not a single person on the planet of a different race to ourselves.
    • thumb
      May 18 2014: Carlos,
      That is an excellent response. Thank you for contributing to the conversation.
    • thumb
      May 28 2014: Carlos,
      I want to make sure I got this straight.

      "Race" refers to our species, Homo sapiens sapiens, human beings.

      "Race" when attempted to be used to refer to "a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type" is bogus because science has proven otherwise. When discussing differences between members of the same race, human beings, that is ethnicity.

      What is known as "racism" is in fact discrimination against a particular ethnic group or ethnic groups.

      Proclaiming oneself as an "anti-racist" is not helpful at all to the issue for the reasons you mentioned.
  • May 13 2014: Racism is alive and well in the US. I have seen it between all races,
    • thumb
      May 14 2014: You make a good point Wayne. Racism isn't something that just happens between African Americans and White people. Anyone of any heritage or culture is prone to racism.
  • May 12 2014: I'm far to the right of most people on TED, and I'm quite convinced that the vile infection of racism is still alive and well in the USA.
    • thumb
      May 14 2014: From what I perceive, I believe you are right Bryan.
    • May 15 2014: Talking about "Racism" as a "vile infection" is very poor tactics. because since there is only one "Race", you are actually saying that any group that doesn't love EVERYBODY properly is Evil , or something. If you like drama, great. But there are more interesing things to do in the world than fight all tlhe time.
      • May 23 2014: Are you trying to sound obtuse? The term "racism", as it is used by anyone with a shred of sanity, refers to a doctrine that requires one also believe that there are MULTIPLE races. Do you just make up random meanings for words and insist everyone else use them?
  • thumb
    May 27 2014: IMO, today’s concept of racism has exceeded far beyond its original context. I think this is very bad because this exceeding blurs the sensitive issue of racism and prevents proper discussion and handling of the issue.

    I have given hereby Thumbs Up to several comments because they all say true things, eventhough they might be contradictory to each other.

    IMO, NOT every comment about any certain ethnic group of people is automatically Racism. There’s a confusion between Racism and Stereotyping. The fact of reality is that there ARE real distinct differences between the various ethnic groups beyond just the physical and facial differences. There ARE distinct average typical features belonging to the psychology or mentality or behavior of a certain ethnic or racial group. We as humans, tend to attach such typical average ethnic features to a certain individual belonging to any ethnic group, many times even unconsciously. This is what I call STEREOTYPING. Too many times this stereotyping is done for negative intentions. But it does not necessarily have to be so.

    IMO, RACISM starts when these distinctions are misused for depriving entire people only on the basis of their ethnicity. Or worse, when these distinctions are misused as a support for dehumanizing entire ethnic groups like it was done to Afro-Americans at the slavery era and to Jews by Germans at Holocaust.

    But for example, I don’t see the atrocities and persecutions of the Jews in the medieval Europe by the Christian fanatics as a matter of racism, eventhough they were most horrible.

    I think today, the Western world has complexes regarding racism because of the West’s history. These complexes have created a cultural shock which is followed now by the too extreme Political Correctness in the West. This extreme Political Correctness blocks any rational discussion about the true cultural, mental, behavioral differences found among the various ethnicities.
    • thumb
      Jun 4 2014: I agree with your comment Yubal, and I am curious about one statement....

      You say..."But for example, I don’t see the atrocities and persecutions of the Jews in the medieval Europe by the Christian fanatics as a matter of racism, eventhough they were most horrible."

      Is it because you perceive it as more of a religious motivation rather than motivated by feelings toward a particular ethnicity?
      • thumb
        Jun 4 2014: Correct. When some Jews accepted Christianity, the fanatics stopped persecuting them. Compare to the Nazis who persecuted and murdered even Christians whose grand-grandfathers back were Jews. Because individually religion can be changed just like that while race lasts far longer.
  • May 26 2014: Jacob: The reason I'm saying that is, that I was brought up in blue collar to middle class areas, and ,before the 1950s, the only things I heard people say about "race" was that there was no reason to be prejudiced, because people were all more or less the same.
    However, as the Civil Rights era started up in earnest, I still heard the rhetoric, but I also heard about more and more people who got mugged, to the point where they were seriously saying that it's too dangerous to walk around at night. And then came the reports about actual contact with Blacks, as in Integrated Schools, etc. From that day to this, the "racial" antagonism has grown to the point of destroying the old Democratic Party of FDR, and invigorating the moribund Republican party, by way of blue collar "dropouts". Yes, I'd say its across the board. And particularly damaging has been the use of Federal troops, and various well meaning but coercive measures to "promote Racial Integration".. It has certainly done that, but at the cost of paralyzing our politics.
  • May 26 2014: The reason the people I am talking about who are afraid to walk out at night in recent generations, is generally because they, or at least one of their friends and relations has been mugged when they did so. The stats are something like a lifetime 50% , for women . The muggers , etc. are mostly Black, which is generally considered as a "Race " thing , although we probably both agree that there is no such thing as "Race", scientifically. Remember Jesse Jackson's honest, and honorable, confession that he felt the same way?
    I don't know your age, but my memory goes back to the Depression, and I must tell you that bad as things were back then, nobody I knew ever expressed any fear whatever about walking out at night, anywhere. Sorry if that distresses anyone.
  • May 25 2014: Wayne : you're quite right. It is very common to feel that one's own
    "Team " is the Best. My criticism about using the term "racist" is that it has such a powerful emotional content, with not corresponding rational content, that it greatly distorts any useful conversations about how we might make the whole problem become less of a problem "Racist" has become a synonym for "Bad", and nothing more
    If we say instead "Culture" , or "Ethnicity", then the discussion gets into just what kind of shared values, habits, attitudes, etc. we like or don't like. It's as if you were talking about what kind of woman you would like to marry. And, since that obviously is not really conducive to manipulation for Social Purposes, it comes down to voluntary choices, and Tolerance as a general policy. In other words, we have to act "civilised", but you can't do that with Laws, Police, etc. Except for violent default situaitions.
  • thumb
    May 25 2014: I do believe that we all do very much still live in a world in which can be very racist against a certain gender or color. For instance if a white person were to shoot a African- American person and it ended up on the new and to other people of color the white male or female didn't have a good enough excuse then yes they would pull what we call "the race card or factor".
  • May 22 2014: Casey
    As the universe exists distrust of 'others' exists.
    The last bigoted comment that I heard on race came from Eric Holder and Barack Obama who seem to believe and promote the falsehood that problems of race only stem from those of European descent. Is the government of the United States now on a equal footing with the race baiters and profiteers like Sharpton and Jackson?
    I am of the thinking of Theodore Roosevelt when in speaking to those of German and Irish descent he said, essentially, you cannot be an American and identify yourself with a hyphen, unless it is the intent to divide the country or to place barriers to assimilation into the American culture.
    It would seem that our government now is quite versed in the art of division, as almost everyone is hyphenated with benefits and protections. If what Roosevelt said was true, do we ask the question of government and those who refuse to identify as American, with exceptions to hyphens; is the intent to deny America?
    That I am an American transcends skin color. That one feels the need to qualify that with a hyphen diminishes the inclusiveness of the Constitution with stipulations of division and non-participation.
    As we now see on college campuses a rampant discrimination toward those of differing political views. Is this any less vile then bias due to ones color. That one would identify himself or others based on skin tone diminishes the value of human life. When the phrase, ‘people of color’ is used to identify everyone except European descent, this is not only idiocy, as I have yet to find an invisible person, but blatantly bias and inflammatory. Is this the intent?
    • thumb
      May 23 2014: Hi Charles:>)
      You make a good point with the idea of how we identify ourselves. That being said, I also think it is important for people to recognize and appreciate their/our culture of origin. We originate from many different places, and that to me is part of being American. I think we can recognize and appreciate this and it does not have to be a separating factor....what do you think?
      • May 23 2014: Colleen

        Excellent point. Being of proud German/Irish descent I would be the last person to disavow my roots. And yes being an American is part and parcel to that amalgamation of cultural diversity and blood lines.

        It is my firm belief that all that America stands for, the greatness of Her principles of individual freedom, the recognition of the individual as a sovereign entity is simply a tracing of the history of the failings and successes of humanity.
        That history of human effort, over thousands of years, through kingdoms and theocracies, the seeds of democracy, the wisdom of the ancient worlds of India and Assyria all played a role in the formulation of the American Constitution. And to the genius of the Founding Fathers it is all on one sheet of paper. Simplicity is genius and the best barometer of truth, as is noted in E=mc2
        To say that I am an American is to acknowledge the best the world has to offer.
        • thumb
          May 24 2014: Another good point Charles....who and what we are and how we live is a tracing of the history of the failings and successes of humanity, and hopefully we are learning along the way. I agree that history played a role in the formulation of the USA Constitution. I also agree that the founding fathers, put a lot of information in documents.

          The documents (constitution and declaration of independence) state that all men shall be free and equal. Let us not forget that the founding fathers, at the time of the writing of those documents, owned hundreds of slaves, and were herding native American people into reservations as a way of controlling them. Were they walking their talk? Also, at the same time, women were legally the property of men.....daughters were the property of their fathers....wives were the property of husbands.....

          Thankfully, after discussing, writing, formulating, and rewriting the documents, some of the founding fathers freed their slaves, so perhaps the exploration helped them realize that they were not, in fact, walking their talk.

          It took another couple hundred years and several more documents and laws to implement the basic belief that all people should be allowed to be free and equal. So, I think we are learning, and change takes a very long time in the hearts and minds of some humans.
      • May 24 2014: Colleen

        Your points are valid and at first glance one might point to the hypocrisy of the early days of this country as a contradiction in terms to the grand words of the Constitution. Old ways and accepted truths are hard to let go, especially that they are rooted in hundreds of years of practice, but the words and the principles held true, until now.
        Perfection is not a human trait. It is a striving for perfection that gives quality to our endeavors. The Constitution is not the perfect document, but it is the best foundation of freedom ever to grace this planet.
        To your point of --free and equal. Equal in meaning what? That all are equal in terms of talent, strength, character, ability, appearance, achievement? Or that all are equal under the law, in a court of law and with the freedom to achieve what our talents will prescribe? It has been held to mean the later, which carries a significant difference in definition, individual freedom as opposed to a collective or Marxist definition of humanity.
        The Constitution is simply a recipe for a balance of political power (three equal branches of government) with a tenuous foundation of doubtful democracy in that democracy is not freedom.
        The essence of the Constitution and freedom is the Bill of Rights, which does not grant rights, but prohibits government from 'infringing' on the Rights of the people. This is ultimately important and as it becomes increasingly obvious that we are losing that balance of power and that imbalance is now quantifying and re-defining those Rights to a collective agenda.
        • thumb
          May 24 2014: I agree Charles, that there was some contradiction between the words of the founding fathers and their actions. Sometimes, genuinely evaluating and saying the words over and over again helps make changes that are needed. As I said in the previous comment, discussing and creating the documents apparently helped the founding fathers to be aware of their contradictions, because some of them freed their slaves during that time, or soon after.

          I do not believe all humans will ever be equal regarding talent, strength, character, ability, appearance, achievement, etc., because I believe we are all different, with different thoughts, feelings, ideas, passions, interests, motivations, etc.

          For me, equal means all people having the same freedom to choose what path to pursue in this life adventure, equal under the law, and freedom to achieve.
      • May 24 2014: Colleen

        Rarely am I met with agreement and an understanding of what America stands for, thank you.
      • thumb
        May 25 2014: Wow.

        "I do not believe all humans will ever be equal regarding talent, strength, character, ability, appearance, achievement, etc., because I believe we are all different, with different thoughts, feelings, ideas, passions, interests, motivations, etc.
        For me, Equal Means All People having the same Freedom To Choose what path to pursue in this life adventure, equal under the law, and freedom to achieve."

        I think your words shall be engraved on the walls of every school and especially on the walls of that White House in Washington.

        I always say Freedom to Choose Must be Equal, but could not discribe what it means so beautifully as you did, Colleen..
    • May 25 2014: Charles,

      I have always told freedom and equality in the US is the freedom to try, succeed, and fail depending upon your ability and work ethic. Unfortunately, racism makes this sometimes a falsehood.

      My uncle fought in WWI, was wounded, and decorated. After the war and during the depression, he created the largest watercress farm on the west coast. As he boarded the bus to an internment camp, he wore his uniform and gave his medals to the military person in charge of the bus. He sent his highest medal back the Black Jack Pershing who presented it to him. His farm was sold for a penny an acre.
      • May 25 2014: Wayne

        Your story is one shared by many and I take your account as accurate. There were many reasons why the Japanese were interred and sadly none of them make any sense now. As a combat veteran myself I would certainly feel as your Uncle did. That you feel as you do is too, understandable.
        When I left Vietnam, I looked down over the Danang airbase, as we circled to head out over the ocean.It was quite a moment in my life, I was alive and going home to my young wife and 18 month old son and at the same time a very empty feeling over took me. I realized that my government the United States of America had lied to me and to the American people..
        It took some time to sort that out, but when I did I understood the difference between the words of the Constitution and political greed, power and arrogance. When I speak of America, I speak of and to the Constitution. No greater document has ever been written. and none will ever take its place.
        The Constitution is a bunch of words, superb words, but just words that become lost when confronted by the greed of politicians and citizens alike. The Constitution is not perfection, as its administration is by humans.
        America, I believe, has died. We are left with the greed for power. I still have my medals. They, like me, collect dust.
        • thumb
          May 25 2014: Goodness - it's so sad!! I hope some day the Memorial Day will be a good lesson for all of us but in a very different sense..we are all victims after all.

          The only true freedom is when one makes one's own choice and takes a full responsibility for that very choice (not the government, or anyone else).

          Politics work just like any Cult - which mentality is very primitive: You must think as you're told, and be with us no matter what we practice (even hurt your family), but if you're not with us - you're our enemy and must be punished, just like all those outsiders.

          Unfortunately the majority of people, themselves, want their governments to Think for them and Make Choices for them, even be responsible for them. Everyone pays for this "free ride". ( Including the government itself)

          P.S. The first thing our young generation needs to learn is to think for themselves and act based upon their real sound and realistic abilities, good knowledge and, most importantly, personal persponsibitilies. Every member of the government is included.
  • thumb
    May 19 2014: To end the racism? Every One shall learn how to be a person responsible for ONESELF, with respect to others but as unique individuals - not as some members of those biased groups.

    We do make Generalizations based on repetitive experience (bad or good). But when we mindlessly through away the bad with all the good in it, we make ourselves losers.

    Racism is Cult - everyone who is trapped within its chained mentality is "ok" - everyone who is an outsider is "bad".
    • May 26 2014: One good way to combat "Racism" would be to stop talking about it, since it is a meaningless term in science, but very useful for mindless insults.
      I am afraid that we are stuck with generalizations; they are necessary for day to day survival. But since we should all know some basic Statistics, there remains only the necessity to avoid throwing away the Good, as you say. Like the Bell curve says.
  • May 17 2014: Racism, ethnicism, hatred of another for being different is alive and well. Not just the "old school" racism of history but dislike or hate of others, even from the same race.

    It will always exist in some form and will not go away. Even in other countries there are examples of racism. Some countries only have on word of foreigner rather than the politically correct terms that exist in the US. Think of it this way, if the US had one word, say american, for those born here and one word for "not an american".

    Part of the issue I see is that people continue to fuel the fire of racism. They demand to be called something else than American. African - American, Filipino - American, Chinese - American etc. rather than just American. They emphasize the differences rather than the similarities. They say "I am different and you have to recognize that" rather than talking about similarities first.

    I respect pride of history and origin, but get frustrated by the demand to be recognized for differences but treated equally in all respects.
  • thumb
    May 13 2014: Might be batter to ask where would you see it most and why.

    All it amounts to is fear... and you will see the most of it in prisons.

    Take away all and any fear and the issue is null and void.

    Just because race might be involved doesn't mean that's all there is to it.
    • thumb
      May 14 2014: "Just because race might be involved doesn't mean that's all there is to it."

      Very little is ever as simple as it appears to be.
      • thumb
        May 16 2014: In tying to understand this better... is there any instance of racism where if you remove race from the equation... will you have anything other than the injustice of a pecking order, and fear of retribution for that injustice..?

        Thinking you have the right to keep humans as pets is more than just racism.
        • thumb
          May 26 2014: I agree Ben, that there are several underlying factors, including the pecking order, leveling, etc., which all stem from fear and insecurity.

          In my perception, when a person directs their practices of leveling, or using the pecking order against a particular "type" of human (meaning one with specific ethnic/cultural background), then it becomes racism?
    • May 26 2014: Ben: Don't quite understand you comments . In my lifetime, I have witnessed the growth of a vast amount of fear, to the point where many people in many places are afraid to walk out at night. It formerly was not so.
      • thumb
        May 26 2014: Shawn,
        What does the idea of people being afraid to walk out at night have to do with racism?
  • May 12 2014: From the Talks page: "You don't wake up one day no longer a racist. It takes generations to tear that intuition, that DNA, out of the soul of a people." Lawrence Lessig

    Institutional racism is in our recent past and something like 19-20% of our population spent part of their childhoods in a society that at least in part embraced segregation and racism. I think the next few generations will see a change towards a society with more understanding and appreciation of all cultures.
    • May 13 2014: unfortunately, the young learn it from their elders.
    • thumb
      May 14 2014: Thanks for the recommendation Jacob. Will definitely check that out.

      "I think the next few generations will see a change towards a society with more understanding and appreciation of all cultures." I sure hope so!
    • May 15 2014: Jacob W. that tallk about "tearing that intuition, that DNA", out of the soul of a people is scary indeed. Just consider the societies that have tried it, like the English vs. the Irish, or the Russians vs. the Poles. Unformly counterproductive and disastrous.
      The Quaker way is very much better. If you can't get a consensus , put off the question until the fanatics have died of old age, and bring it up again. Using force or being in a hurry is not going to work.
      • May 15 2014: I'm not sure if that's from his talk or if he is just being quoted. I saw it on the talks page but you can also find it on the Ted quotes page (link below)

        I cant speak for Mr. Lessig, but it seems like he is saying that Time is what does the tearing of racism from the soul of a people. Time and experience. I think racism festered as long as it has because races had been seperated and segregated, preventing people from seeing through the misconceptions and/or fears they were holding on to. I think the shrinking world we are living in will put an end to things like racism and nationalism as we come to see how interdependent we all are.

        I'm afraid I would have to disagree though about putting off questions like what causes and perpetuates racism. I think communication is a necessary step in solving problems like these.
        • May 26 2014: I don't think that "time" is necessarily on your side. In my lifetime, I have seen the growth of "racism" in people who formerly (before they were mugged) didn't have it. Of course, I admit as a Northerner ,before WW2, we hardly ever even saw any Black people.
      • May 26 2014: Well you have been around quite a bit longer than me. Over the course of your life would you say that you've seen an increase in racism across the board in our society? I wasn't around for the civil rights movement, and though I don't see the civil rights movement as a cure for racism, I always assumed it was an indication of a shift in public opinion. You may know individuals that adopted some hatred after a negative experience but its hard for me to see an increase of rascist belief in our society as a whole.
  • thumb
    Jun 4 2014: I think racism is alive, but it's a natural thing to have. I think people will always be preferential towards people that are similar to themselves and their family. Coming from a biracial family, I have an innate preference toward people from my two ethnicities. That doesn't mean I hate all others, but it means there is a basic lack of chemistry (for lack of a better word) between me and a black person for instance. Or me and a woman. There a basic differences that make it harder for me to relate and empathize with certain types of people.
  • May 23 2014: Bryan: There are, without a doubt, multiple "cultures" just as there are multiple "Individuals". But my use of the term Race is in line with the commonly accepted biological one. That there is only one "Race". Why is that so bad? Go Koombaya. However, if you have noticed, most talk of "racism" is mainly used to reference US slavery, with the intent of dismissing whatever the user wants to get rid of emotionally. In other words, it's not on the level. And when you say there is a requirement that one believe in multiple races, are you bragging or complaining? I mean, aren't you really saying that it is OK to pretend that the differences we are all aware of, are "racial"? But they cannot be, if there is only one Race. So what's left? Ethnicity, or "Culture"? That just doesn't have the emotional Clout that "Racism" has, which is why people improperly use it that way. It's all about honesty in communication.
    • May 25 2014: Shawn,

      If you look below you will see my comment. In today's society, I have seen blacks making major racist comments against asian and I believe it has no relationship to slavery.
  • thumb
    May 21 2014: As Colleen and others have suggested on this post, racism and its manifestation are alive and well not only the US but throughout the world. It's human nature, Casey.

    The challenge is: How can we overcome our prejudices and let our good nature dominate our thinking and actions?
    • thumb
      May 23 2014: Is it really "human nature" Rodrigo? As you insightfully say, we have a "good" loving nature as well:>)

      Perhaps competitive racism was part of human nature when we were/are trying to survive? I feel that we have advanced beyond the need to simply survive, and perhaps we are in an evolutionary stage when we can now recognize the interconnectedness of all people and realize we are all in this together? That might lead to less racism?
      • thumb
        May 23 2014: Colleen,

        We, humans are (arguably) the most complex among the creatures on Earth. Due to our superior critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, we have dominated every living thing on Earth, including our closest relatives, the other primates who are still living in the forests. We have evolved to the point where we are today - on top of the food chain.

        While some of us seem to realize our "interconnectedness" and our common humanity, to borrow a phrase from some of our wiser fellow human beings, many of us still carry the scourge of the darker side of our nature - greed, pride, prejudice, and racism. This is quite obvious. Newspapers, TV, the Internet, and our personal experiences are proofs that we still have a long way to go, from where we are now to when "the better angels of our nature" dominate.

        "Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith has written a number of books on the subject of the human condition including Free: The End of the Human Condition (1988); Beyond the Human Condition (1991); A Species In Denial (2003); and Freedom (2011); and defines the human condition as "the agonising, underlying, core, real question in all of human life, of are humans good or are we possibly the terrible mistake that all the evidence seems to unequivocally indicate we might be?", arguing that science has now provided an answer to the human condition that defends and liberates humans..."
        • thumb
          May 24 2014: I agree Rodrigo that humans can be complex, which to me, is a reason to recognize the underlying elements of racism.....fear and a feeling of superiority. It is as you say....we have evolved, and as we evolve, the "human condition" changes.

          Yes, I agree that some people still use practices that are not beneficial to themselves or to humanity, and that is a choice they make for themselves.

          If humans are a "mistake" according to someone, let's make the best of it! We are let us face the opportunity with goodness and love:>)
  • May 16 2014: Jacob: I quite agree that communication is necessary. But I seriously doubt that accusing people of festering or suggesting tearing up their DNA ,qualifies as communication.
    Also, it is far from clear that the shrinking world puts an end to nationallism , etc. Seems to do quite the contrary. A hundred years ago there were NO "Arab Terrorists". And the Serbs were not unusually troublesome, etc. In fact, if you want to put an end to violence, separation and segregation are often healthy. It is all a matter of civilized behavior. But , just as an example, in my lifetime, we have experienced the "Civil Rights" movement in the US. I participated in a Sit-in years ago, I see that we have experienced more "Justice", but at the cost of far more racial antagonism, at least among the people I come in contact with.Just because it is not respectable to talk about it , doesn't mean it isn't happening.
    Also, it is time we dropped the term "Racism" . It is a dandy word for getting people upset, but it has NO scientific meaning, since there is only one race. Perhaps Ethnicity or Culture would be better. But "Racism" is a HOT BUTTON, only, it doesn't reallly mean anything useful.
    • May 16 2014: If using the word "racism" strikes you as counterproductive, you could try using an obsolete word for the obsolete ideology of "racism". Below is a definition from the web.

      ethnicism- (uncountable)(obsolete) heathenism; pagansuperstition
      An emphasis upon ethnic identity
      Prejudice based on ethnic origin

      As to communication, I don't know that any person was accused of festering. I said that racism (ethnicism) has festered because it seemed a fitting word to describe the effect and state of racism (ethnicism) in our society. Another definition from the web below. By the way the tearing up of dna was a metaphor I believe.

      Festered -1:to generate pus
      2:putrefy, rot
      3a :to cause increasing poisoning, irritation, or bitterness :rankle b :to undergo or exist in a state of progressive deterioration

      Maybe there were no terrorists 100 years ago ( though there were surely people being terrorized), but this could be a matter of perspective and could be tied to technological advancements and the nature of modern warfare.

      Re: shrinking world. Time will tell and I may well be wrong. Separation and segregation may be a short term solution for violence but I wouldn't call it healthy, nor practical in the long run.
      • May 16 2014: Your suggestion of Ethnicism seems good, it is more or less neutral, and only irritates people who seriously believe that "cultures are all the same". It is certainly not a scientfic term, but that's OK since it merely describes a vague sense of Togetherness, based on whatever stereotypes the adherents believe in. And that is powerful, of course, It is like a person deciding what kind of person he will be. A sort of creative process, based on Free Will.
        However, the reason I believe this is not happening is just what I said about "Racism" . It has so much powerful emotional baggage, and enables the most powerful insults, etc. You see this all the time. How tame and uninteresting to say that Blacks and Whites are merely like mismatched social partners who do not get along, like many couples just before a Divorce. But personally I do not see how tallking about "Racism" does more than just irritate the body politic. Unless you are a believer that "vigorous action" can force people to change their likes and dislikes.
        About Arab Terrorists a hundred years ago, no it was not a matter of perspective, or technology. It was about Imperialism, which I am sad to say was undertaken not just by the French and British, but the US as well. Does "Divide and Conquer " ring a bell?.That is an very intentional form of "diversity" , both counterproductive and disastrous.
  • May 15 2014: A good starting point would be that scientifically speaking, there is only ONE race, therefore, "Racism" is a useless term. If you notice , it is mainly used for insults, creating more heat than light.
    However, it is certainly true that human groups are not all culturally the same, just as individuals are not. And since humans are so sociable, habits, attitudes, stereotypes (true and false) are inevitable. And these frequently get so intense that people kill each other over it. Since all this seems so intrinsic to how people create their "Identity", we should learn to deal with it.
    I would suggest that the model should be City Life. The very foundation of "Civilisation". Way more fun that being a Peasant, or even a Landlord. It requires a rule of law, rather than force. Also, minimal standards of Equality before the Law. But it does NOT require enforced Social Integration. History is littered with the wreckage of doomed efforts to eliminate "Minorities," right up to the present minute. Since cities are so large, and pyschologists have determined that about a hundred people to "know" is about the average limit, it means that the vast majority of people are going to be surrounded by strangers a lot of the time. So politeness ought to be valued over insults. And friendships should not be artificallly forced on anyone. Blowback is inevitable. Is that not what destroyed the monolithic Democratic Party of FDR's time? But cities everywhere seem to cope pretty well.
  • May 12 2014: The root of racism is simply a context (or perceived context) of insufficient resources, that’s all. If the context remains inhospitable, then racism/prejudice will always be there. Society chooses to ignore the 'pretty' side of prejudice that endeavors to promote or preserve one's group. This is when people from your race, religion, region, and family tell you that 'you are one of us' 'we have to stick together' 'be loyal to your heritage.' That brainwashing is for when one is in the proverbial lifeboat with no land in sight. When the lifeboat is too full, we segregate, we throw that other race, religion, or region overboard. If everyone is the same r,r,r, we throw whomever is not family. The one criterion that sometimes trumps those prejudices is moneyism or loyalty to the wealthy.
    • thumb
      May 14 2014: That's an interesting response Danny. You make a good point about when society chooses to make exceptions about racism, and when it is okay to include others and when to exclude others. Sometimes other factors come into play socially or economically to make those exceptions.