Author Topic: Does a person need to be black to know racism?  (Read 1158 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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Does a person need to be black to know racism?
« on: December 19, 2014, 09:16:19 pm »
Although this thread isn't specific to Buddhism, all the same it's an issue that Buddhists around the world deal with, sometimes in a good way, other times in a way that entirely inappropriate, so there might be something we can all learn from this sorry event.

Does a person need to be black to know racism? According to Whoopi Goldberg you have to be, but at the same time the co-host of The View doesn’t think it’s racist that President Barack Obama has been mistaken for a waiter and a valet, or that his wife, Michelle, has been solicited for help by a Target customer.

It’s not racism that causes these assumptions but ignorance, she insists: “You guys need to know what real racism is. ... Racism is when someone comes up and says [expletive] and die. That’s racist.”



I don't make a practice of watching this type of television programming for the obvious reason, having only been made aware of it on the evening news, but I've actually watched the above video several times and still can't believe what was being said, particularly because of the amount of ignorance that was coming out of Whoopi's mouth.

I wonder if she would say the same thing if she were standing in front of a Jewish person --- if there had been a Jewish person among the hosts, she certainly would have received a tongue lashing.

You don't have to be black to know what racism is, all it requires is someone treating you different because of your race or skin color, sometimes it's simply related the culture and society you come from --- for example, Italian vs. Polish, Caucasian vs. Hispanic, Mexican vs. Cuban, the French (simply because they're French), and everything else in between.

Needless to say, I've seen it all over the years ---  for example, as a teenager my stepfather didn't object to my interest in Buddhism on religious grounds, but because he faught in Vietnam and was biased toward anything Asian, including Nissan Cup-o-Noodles.

With that said, I would have to agree with Whoopi that homophobia isn't racism, as there is a difference be discrimiation and oppression, but what bothered me most was Whoopi's behavior, where she tries to shut down everybody else's voice on the matter, shouting over other hosts time and time again --- racism is not only an important issue, but it's also one which requires dialogue.



« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 09:20:38 pm by Dharmakara, Reason: spelling »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Does a person need to be black to know racism?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2014, 11:09:56 pm »
Ironically from a genetics perspective the whole idea of race is false.  Humans are all essentially the same.  Some are more genetically diverse than others.  Some exhibit genetic traits that others don't.  But we are all essentially the same.

Race is Fiction:  http://aaronhood.net/wp-content/SocialConstructionRace.pdf
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Does a person need to be black to know racism?
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 11:43:37 pm »
It's kind of funny, but the city where I was raised as a child (from 4-18 years) the race card was never something I saw, where the minority were Native Americans and their children played along with other children, peacefully co-existing with one another --- for example, as bad as it might sound to say this today, as a kid I only became aware of racism because of shows like "All in the Family" and "Different Strokes".

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Does a person need to be black to know racism?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 03:02:45 am »
I have Irish roots and it was quite uncomfortable living in England during the period of the IRA bombing campaign on the mainland.  Maybe not dissimilar to being a Muslim in England these days, following events like the London 7/7 bombings in 2005.  It's like everyone is suspicious of you.

I missed one of the 7/7 tube bombings by 24 hours.  I travelled on the underground again about a week later, and the fear in the carriages was tangible, everyone on edge.  I always travel with a rucksack and was poking around inside it to get something out, then realised the whole carriage was staring at me - the bombers had use rucksack bombs. 
« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 03:29:27 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Does a person need to be black to know racism?
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2014, 04:03:49 am »
Very true. I've encountered this in a somewhat different format, where by one's skin color alone the person is considered to be the "oppressor" for something they or their family never played a part it in.

Sadly, racism is a learned trait, one that comes in all shapes and sizes, but it's films like this one that gives me hope:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/promises/

Offline moonbeam

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Re: Does a person need to be black to know racism?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2014, 06:02:06 pm »
I kind of agree with Whoopi. Sometimes it is just a misunderstanding and the person isn't really racist. But no, you don't have to be black to know what it is. It's foolish to think that way.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Does a person need to be black to know racism?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2014, 04:13:58 am »
Quote
Spiny:  "I have Irish roots and it was quite uncomfortable living in England during the period of the IRA bombing campaign on the mainland.  Maybe not dissimilar to being a Muslim in England these days, following events like the London 7/7 bombings in 2005.  It's like everyone is suspicious of you."


Hi, Spiny.  Good to see your post.  Just wanted to say that some of my favorite uncles were Irish.  Also lived next to a wonderful Irish-Catholic woman in my previous home.  Never had to worry about her bombing anyone, but her rhubarb pies were deadly to the cardiovascular system.   :curtain:

But, seriously, you raise a great point.  Much of racism arises from fear of harmful actions committed by others in the same feared cultural group due to past harmful actions.  The whole cultural group in question gets stigmatized due to actions of minorities within the group.  Jesse Jackson and Juan Willams both famous African-American personalities admitted that when walking alone on a  street at night and hearing someone approaching from behind, they feared attack, but when they turned to check, they were relieved to find white males, instead of young black males.  Had they then become victims of a white serial killer, or an IRA bomber, then fear of attack by white, tall, drunken, ginger males on Saint Patricks Day would then have ensued if they were lucky enough to have survived the first attack. :D

In my Italian-American community we get worried when old Italian men give us a kiss on both cheeks and then smile at us.

The Mafia Kiss of Death: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_of_death_%28mafia%29
« Last Edit: December 21, 2014, 04:21:16 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


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