"We need a national discussion about race"...or do we?

I'm beginning to feel that many of the interracial tensions between whites and blacks are not due to a lack of talking about it but rather, perhaps, by the public's face being rubbed in "racism" on a regular if not daily basis.

We have black leaders who almost always show up to say something about race whenever there's an incident with racial overtones. The two most familiar faces are Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, both of whom move from incident to incident to inject their commentary.

It's not like a discussion about race can be avoided unless you live out in the mountains without access to media. Any media.

I'm not intending to dismiss or even minimize the very real problems blacks face in America, but does this having our noses rubbed in racism all the time really promote understanding, or does it keep the focus in the black community on their litany of complaints while having the white community thinking "Stop talking about me like I'm a racist. You don't even know me!"

I often wonder, speaking as a white guy, do most blacks understand that slavery was run by very very few white people? Do they understand that it only benefited those few, and actually took what could have been good paying work away from the white people of the day and created a poor white underclass? This may also explain where the attitudes of southern poor whites came from.

Anyway, would 20 years of blacks and whites just getting along on a day-by-day basis leave things better or worse than a constant demand for a national dialog that's probably not practical anyway? Why ask, that respite is even more unlikely to happen than the dialog!

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Useless and irrelevant to the discussion

Useless. Irrelevant.

Awesome. :)

Wasn't Morgan Freeman Month last month?

It's Bill Cosby Month this month.

I'm guessing there's a well-obscured point in there.

The creme de la creme of opinions:  the Celebrity Opinion.

He's a black man and a very smart one. Also, he's probably a lot more familiar with the black experience than you are, unless you, too, are black It's not like those celebrities who jump in where they don't know what they're talking about. Read his bio, which includes poverty, being raised by his grandmother, going to an underfunded school, and many of the other conditions under which black men grow up.

Not hitting on any particular points in a particular order, I'll say this.

1. Sharpton and Jackson aren't helping. They may be very nice people with very good intentions. Frankly, I've never taken the time to analyze them as individuals. I only hear their rhetoric and see it's effect. And they aren't helping. I don't think they are really making anything worse, but they aren't using their influential positions in American culture or the black community to progress the situation.

2.We DO need a national discussion. And we need to be blunt and frank and if that means someone is offended, they just need to suck it up. This goes for blacks and whites. We can't afford to be politically correct when people are needlessly being killed. Americans need a dose of cold water (multiple actually) more than any other people. Now yes racism is being shoved in our faces. But it isn't a national discussion. It's a media discussion. A scripted, frivolous, for-rating dialogue is being had, not one that will fix the problem

3. The problem is white people being racist and black people committing crimes. Now obviously not all whites are racist and not all blacks commit crimes. And racism is no more exclusive to whites than crime is to blacks. But "the problem" isn't black racists or white criminals (although those are problems in their own right). Now it's hard for the most Americans to face this problem and they don't like talking about it. They especially don't like talking about how THEY can help solve it (admittedly this is mostly white people). But white people don't like being stereotyped as racist and they feel like they are being accused (it hurts their feelings) And respectively, black people don't like being stereotyped as criminals (it hurts their feelings, and also they get shot) And while it's easy to look at crime statistics, racism refuses quantifying and hides itself well. But I'd refer you to Avenue Q's "Everyone's a little bit racist"

So the black community can continue with outreach programs for misguided youths (a field annoyingly dominated by church organizations) But ultimately crime and poverty are historical bedfellows and improving the African American economic position is the best way to solve this on their end. 

As for white people, we really need to just talk. Like we are right now. But in public. I was on the cable car a couple weeks explaining racial tensions in the US to my Japanese fiancee when a person told me that I was being racist and politically incorrect. I swear I wasn't being racist. I used no derogatory language, made no generalizations, and made no implication that one race was fundamentally superior to another. Neither did I act out or imply a mistreatment of someone based on their race. So I asked the woman who accused me, she happened to be white, what I said that was racist. She said that my referencing statistics and citing blame on whites and blacks failing in separate regards to prevent race-based crimes might be offensive to some people. "So what?" I replied. This notion that we live in a world where you can't ever be offended is ludicrous. So maybe I was politically incorrect, but I wasn't racist. And while this tangent problem isn't really the one we're discussing I think it's important. That encounter made me realize that we have such a construed and PC notion of what racism is. Just talking about race isn't racism and but that's what it's become to the sheltered, hear-no-evil Americans who have swept the problem under the media rug. Saying that Mexicans are good at baseball or calling a black friend "nigga" isn't racism. The first is a generalization and the second is deragatory outside a certain context. But before we can talk about racism we need to actually know what it is or else we'll see it where it isn't and miss it when it's their

Black people have the wrong leaders. The leaders they seem to listen to tell them, basically, that they need white people to change and to effect change. Their rhetoric mostly seems to guilt-trip white people, who quite naturally (according to the laws of human psychology) dig in and resist.

Rather, they need leaders telling them that they will have a long wait if they will wait for someone else to fix things. Rather, obey the rules, get an education, get a job, save money and invest (which would include investing in starting up a business, perhaps).*

Traditional liberalism seems to have had the deleterious effect of telling blacks "Stand back and let us fix things for you. Oh, and don't forget to vote for our candidates on election day." Even if this approach succeeded, it wouldn't have the effect of letting blacks own the improvements. Instead, the improvements would be a gift from white liberals.

I'm afraid black people need to fix things on their own, especially if they want to take pride in their improved lot. There's little pride involved in receiving help.

* But if we whites need to do anything, it's to fix the cops vs. blacks situation. Body cameras will help a lot.

Well said. Ever since the endless scandals of the 90s, I purposely avoid the media because it is primarily irrelevant horse shit. And I say that in a very loving and supportive way. I am a Tumblr addict, and that site has been consumed with the latest racial uproar. Sadly my sense is that people of various colors obsessed with race issues, with a few exceptions here and there, have no interest in being understood. Most of them, including many white people, seem only to want white people to hate ourselves and perhaps ideally for us all to vanish from the face of the Earth when in reality all I have done in my life is to survive and try to do my best and to be a good person. I was once the biggest card carrying liberal you would ever meet but have long since seen my sympathy for most politically correct causes eroded. I pretty much care about animal rights and the planet, and anymore I accept or reject people regardless of their sex, age, orientation, and race, solely based on whether or not they are an asshole. My 2 cents worth anyway.

While in college, I worked in a county school system "afterschool" program. I remember how the younger kids, the first graders were totally "color blind". They would all interact so well together. As they got older you could see some signs of racism. Kids separating into groups, and even some race based name calling. They are learning to see skin color.

Maybe if we stopped focusing so much on it so much as a society it would actually help to raise a race-blind generation. THAT should be our goal, instead of race based initiatives, no matter how well-meaning they teach us to SEE COLOR.

That is the essence of my original post viewed from a slightly different direction.

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