Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Gary Strand (
12 Apr 1995 22:22:47 GMT

ls> Lane Singer
gs> Gary Strand

ls> The bottom line is this: Having a caste system, where people with dark
skin are relegated to the bottom rung, wherever, whenever and however,
only hurts this nation - all people, of all colors and genders. Why?
Because it creates a killing hopelessness among its victims that threatens
us all in every aspect of our lives, not to mention the heinous injustice
of it, and the cruelty.

gs> I agree, up to a point. Painting people with "dark skin" as "wherever,
whenever and however" "victims" doesn't help things either. Is it possible
for an entire culture to fall into endless self-pity, as individuals can?

ls> It's not at all a matter of self-pity to describe the cold facts.

Not all whites feel that way about all blacks, nor are all blacks, at all
times and at all places, victims of white racism. The "cold facts" are that
*too many* (but not all) whites are racist towards blacks, and *too many*
blacks (but not all, and not all the time) are victims of white racism. (I
won't discuss other various injustices individuals perpetrate upon each oth-
er except to note that white racism is not the only example, nor is it nec-
essarily the most virulent right now).

ls> Would you prefer they not be spoken of, just in case some person who hap-
pens to be in denial over the situation might think it's self-pity?

No, but I don't think it should be used as a club on the heads of whites
either, every time a black person is offended, or doesn't get what they
want, or the idea of abandoning AA is discussed, or whatever. There are a
lot more reasons for the relative status of blacks to whites in the US than
simply white racism. As I pointed out to John Otteson, some elements of the
sad state of some blacks are self-inflicted. Blacks who deny that and use
white racism as the foundation of everything aren't helping, they're making
the situation worse.

gs> How does one keep a tally of how many are X and how many are Y (to make
sure there aren't too many Xs to Ys) but *not* put individuals into lit-
tle boxes called "X" and "Y"?

ls> I acknowledge that this is a conundrum, but ignoring it and sweeping it
under the rug - or denying it - or accepting it as normal - none of these
things work either. Face it, when it's a mess to begin with, there's no
neat way to clean it up.

True. But I believe AA is a minor bandaid on this big problem.

ls> Racism is immoral. To expect our neighbors not to indulge in it is to ex-
pect no more than what is required in order to live, together, in a so-

Murder is immoral too, but to believe it can be totally eliminated forever
is highly unrealistic. The best we can do is ameliorate it as best we can
at a reasonable cost, and leave it at that. I feel the same way about ra-
cism, and sexism, and bigotry, and crime, and so forth - we can make things
better, but going beyond a certain point isn't really possible.

Gary Strand WWW: PO Box 3000 Boulder CO 80307-3000 (303) 497-1336
Opinions stated here are mine alone and are not those of NCAR, UCAR, or the NSF