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Casey Kitchel

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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.

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    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:>)
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      May 20 2014: Hi Colleen! Pleasure to connect with you again :-)

      Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom on this conversation!
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        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 strength.....an inability to be open minded/open hearted, rather than closed up in a little box.......what do you think Casey?
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          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 another....you 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.
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          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!

          Colleen,
          "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.
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        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.
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          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.
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        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 thing.....by 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 dominate.....it 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.
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          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?
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          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.
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        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?
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        May 26 2014: Good question Casey....you 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?
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          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?
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        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.
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        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 others....it 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?
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          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 others....it may be a gender, people with a particular sexual orientation, a particular [ethnicity], particular religion, etc." Yes.
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        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:>)
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          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.
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          Jun 7 2014: Colleen,

          You

          are

          AMAZING! :-)
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        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:>)
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          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!)

          :-)
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      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.
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        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.

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