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Old 05-29-2009, 11:28 PM   #61
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We should ALL want to "rush it"--to hasten the day that racial discrimination ends. And by "discrimination" I mean it in the original sense--to "discriminate" (which means "to choose or decide") based on race.

What kind of "fair airing of dirty laundry" do you have in mind? Is there anything more to be said? Does anyone not know of the past? How long will we languish in this? How long must we replay the role of "victim" and "victimizer" despite the evidence before our eyes? Who is really helped by this?

Most people in America recently chose a black man to lead them. There are very few countries in the world that have achieved the degree of racial equality we enjoy in America. Despite an undeniable history of slavery and racism, we are not that country anymore. It is a good sign that Americans can look beyond racial identities in choosing their leaders. An even more positive sign is that race played a relatively minor role in the election (except among African American voters--which is understandable, but regrettable).

In the ghetto, in the barrio, in the slums, there are poor people that need assistance. It's not because they are black, or latino, or white. It is because they are poor, or because they have rotten homes, or other causes. But, race, thankfully, is no longer an issue in America unless we choose to make it one.
Well, sure the discrimination should end immediately, however, I'm just doubtful that can happen if people refuse to take the time to understand things from a variety of experiences.

By airing dirty laundry, I don't just mean the past. I mean - the fact that we all don't truly understand each other - the fact that we may hold assumptions about the other that may not be accurate or based on some bias, or even some aggravation or resentment. Sure we can talk about slavery, but what's more is the lack of discussion around what it really means to be descendents of slaves, it was just 4 generations ago - not that long, and in fact, Obama isn't a descendent from slaves, his father was an immigrant and a well educated one, he also had well educated mother and supportive grandparents.

I didn't say anything about victims or victimizers. I sense a lot of anger behind your response. Why would you say african americans were the only ones who considered race as a factor when voting Obama? That seems to be a huge assumption on your part. In fact, most of the people I know were exceptionally enthusiastic in part because he is African American - because that has meaning in our country. Even still, I doubt people would have been as enthusiastic if he was merely a black candidate either - so it wasn't the sole factor for anyone.

Nobody is denying the importance of looking at poverty. But when the discussion is about race then it's about race.

Some people can't choose to make race not a factor...it is chosen. Sure we can chose how we deal with that fact, but let's not fool ourselves.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:58 PM   #62
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Why would you say african americans were the only ones who didn't consider race as a factor when voting Obama? That seems to be a huge assumption on your part.
Not a huge assumption. 53% of all voters voted for Obama. Among blacks, 95% voted for Obama. But, did they choose him based on his stand on the issues or his race? (black voters, in general, are more liberal than white voters, so we should not be surprised that they overwhelmingly selected Obama over McCain). The best indicator is the primary vote. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had nearly identical positions on the issues, except for the war in Iraq. White voters chose them in almost even numbers. But black voters chose Obama by overwhelming numbers over Clinton. I haven't heard any plausible explanation other than the fact that black voters preferred the black candidate. Sad.
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:03 AM   #63
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Not a huge assumption. 53% of all voters voted for Obama. Among blacks,
95% voted for Obama. But, did they choose him based on his stand ont he issues or his race (black voters, in general, are more liberal than white voters, so we should not be surprised that they overwhelmingly selected Obama over McCain). The best indicator is the primary vote. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had nearly identical positions on the issues, except for the war in Iraq. White voters chose them in almost even numbers. But black voters chose Obama by overwhelming numbers over Clinton. I haven't heard any plausible explanation other than the fact that black voters preferred the black candidate. Sad.
Well we can split hairs on this one - but African Am's also vote overwhelmingly democrat too.

But in terms of saying that they were the only ones who voted with race as a major or important consideration seems unreasonable.
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:33 AM   #64
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By airing dirty laundry, I don't just mean the past. I mean - the fact that we all don't truly understand each other - the fact that we may hold assumptions about the other that may not be accurate or based on some bias, or even some aggravation or resentment. Sure we can talk about slavery, but what's more is the lack of discussion around what it really means to be descendents of slaves, it was just 4 generations ago - not that long, and in fact, Obama isn't a descendent from slaves, his father was an immigrant and a well educated one, he also had well educated mother and supportive grandparents.
I try to look at this from the intersection of idealism and reality. From the standpoint of idealism, I'd like to say that race doesn't matter, and consistent with Dr. King's message, what matters is the intersection of character and competence.

These things do matter today, even after factoring in the imperfections of reality. But I don't think they account for as much as they should. We have two competing factors: one is the "old boy network" more likely to hire and promote the "old money," predominantly white and (to a decreasing degree) predominantly male, credentials be damned. The other factor is governmental pressure to hire and promote more minorities and women, sometimes arguably to the point that someone who is white and male can be rejected even if he seems to be the most qualified and competent for the position being sought.

Personally, I'd love it if neither of these existed. One seems to entrench the existence of the other counterbalance.

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I didn't say anything about victims or victimizers. I sense a lot of anger behind your response. Why would you say african americans were the only ones who considered race as a factor when voting Obama? That seems to be a huge assumption on your part. In fact, most of the people I know were exceptionally enthusiastic in part because he is African American - because that has meaning in our country. Even still, I doubt people would have been as enthusiastic if he was merely a black candidate either - so it wasn't the sole factor for anyone.
In all honesty, I don't think race was a huge factor in the November election, unusually huge black support for Obama notwithstanding. The bottom line is that the electorate perceived that things sucked, and that usually favors the opposition party.

On one hand I recognize the symbolic importance of electing a black president. No question about it. Someone watching the civil rights movement 50 years ago would be stunned if they fast-forwarded a half-century. There's clearly a "feel good" factor I won't deny. But on the other hand I also think it points to our own human shortcomings if that was a significant factor in how we voted -- whether for him OR against him. Regardless of whether you voted for or against Obama, if race played a role in the decision, Dr. King's dream is not being fulfilled because you're looking at the color of their skin.

In other words, if people elected a black president because of his race, I think it cheapens the accomplishment. If they elected him because they thought he was the best person for the job and race was a non-issue, THEN we have made even more progress!

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Nobody is denying the importance of looking at poverty. But when the discussion is about race then it's about race.
I believe it's more about economic status than race, personally. I think the child of a poor white family will likely fall behind a child of a reasonably well-off black family, for example. Race may be an influencing factor depending on one's age and where they grew up. I think many people fall into the trap of thinking it's about race when it's more about socioeconomic status. Having said that, it can be about race; see below.

If I may go on a tangent, this whole thing about race makes me sad sometimes. When I was young, like first and second grade, where I went to school in California we had a fairly diverse student population -- whites, blacks, Latinos and Asians were all well represented. And you know what? We were all friends without regard to race. We looked different, but none of us cared. We played together, socialized together, and it seemed like there was no problem.

But a few years later -- by about 4th or 5th grade -- you started seeing kids of different races "self-segregating" and hanging out with people who looked like themselves. And by junior high, you might have forgotten that the different race kid who was one of your best friends playing kickball with you in the second grade was suddenly shutting you out because you didn't look like them.

How sad is that? And how much more proof do we need that racism (from ALL races) is nurture and not nature? Once a young color-blind kid absorbs enough racism from the world, in a few years, they perpetuate it.

I really wish we were better than that. ALL of us, all races and cultures.
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:45 AM   #65
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Ziggy, I get what you are saying and feel you on it.

I think we should embrace our experiences, differences and commonalities - explore them, not think they are insignificant - just a different way of seeing it.

As for the race vs class thing - i was just trying to say that sometimes the discussion becomes an either or thing - where folks try to say one is more important than the other. In our era, perhaps we are seeing a shift, but if the discussion is to get rid of the discussion about race, then i'd prefer to stay on topic if you know what i mean!

i understand the incredibly complicated nature of addressing problems in our society. i also can see how trying to simplify it thru a racial lens is also dangerous, as sometimes then, other communities who may be suffering may be overlooked. It's a balance game. but denial doesn't help us look at the problems in an honest way and that is where i have an issue with it and believe it slows us down from finding solutions that will work...
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:02 PM   #66
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And, here we have Judge Sotomayor, in her own words (Thanks, Eddy Amps):



Given a chance to tell an audience "who she is" -- she chose to highlight not her accomplishments but her ethnicity.

So, to answer your question: Mr Armor probably "persists in thinking that people view their ethnicity as the single most important characteristic that defines who they are" because these very people keep saying it is.
Forgive my absence over the last few days.... been really busy. Thanks Samclem for explaining the point I was trying to make with great care and elloquence.

Simply put... there is not... nor should their be a "-" (hyphen) in the word "American". To be an american pre-supposes that you should identify yourself as an "american" first, and other things later.

Should we not strive to be one nation, and one people? In my opinion, to identifiy yourself as different and apart are inherantly destructive to a culture.... any culture
.
When people speak of the need for "diversity", we need to be very careful what that actually means, and if that is really what we want. I believe in diversity of thought. Different points of view are excellent, and in any group should always be strived for.

However, where most seem to go of the rails of reality is that diversity of "thought" is not (and never will be equivalent) to, diversity of "skin color, religion, gender, eye color, and the list goes on. If you want to be truly fair about diversity of thought, then a supreme court justice should have to take a personality profile test. Those tests cut across race, religion, gender, etc... etc... etc.

Assuming that just because a group of people share the same skin color, or any other trait, makes them have similiar thoughts, is the very height of a racist notion. it is the idea that something in the "blood" of two people with blue eyes for example, means they will have superior or inferior ideas to brown eyed people. Sound familiar.... it should... and with good reason.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #67
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Simply put... there is not... nor should their be a "-" (hyphen) in the word "American". To be an american pre-supposes that you should identify yourself as an "american" first, and other things later.

Should we not strive to be one nation, and one people? In my opinion, to identifiy yourself as different and apart are inherantly destructive to a culture.... any culture.
Ah, we're all part of the giant American monolith, irrespective of regional differences, regional dialects, regional pride, or for that matter, any differences in neighborhood, schools, or cuisine -- that combined with a rich mosaic of differences, makes us, ummmmmm, American!

So much for E Pluribus Unum or our concept of a melting pot!


And then we get this:

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Assuming that just because a group of people share the same skin color, or any other trait, makes them have similiar thoughts, is the very height of a racist notion. it is the idea that something in the "blood" of two people with blue eyes for example, means they will have superior or inferior ideas to brown eyed people. Sound familiar.... it should... and with good reason.
How forked can one's tongue be?
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:12 AM   #68
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Simply put... there is not... nor should their be a "-" (hyphen) in the word "American". To be an american pre-supposes that you should identify yourself as an "american" first, and other things later.

Should we not strive to be one nation, and one people? In my opinion, to identifiy yourself as different and apart are inherantly destructive to a culture.... any culture
Wonder how the Native American population thinks about this. maybe we need the following:

1)Original American (native American)
2)Settler American (Pilgrims)
3)Immigrant American (Most of us)
4)Birthright American (Folks born here)

Interestingly, Mexicans do NOT like us saying we are from "America". They feel they are American too, NORTH AMERICAN. They prefer us to say we are from the United States......interesting........
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:34 AM   #69
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Wonder how the Native American population thinks about this. maybe we need the following:

1)Original American (native American)
2)Settler American (Pilgrims)
3)Immigrant American (Most of us)
4)Birthright American (Folks born here)
I'm all four.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:46 AM   #70
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Oh Brother, Where are thou?



Ah, we're all part of the giant American monolith, irrespective of regional differences, regional dialects, regional pride, or for that matter, any differences in neighborhood, schools, or cuisine -- that combined with a rich mosaic of differences, makes us, ummmmmm, American!

So much for E Pluribus Unum or our concept of a melting pot!


And then we get this:



How forked can one's tongue be?
Yup.... pretty much the response I expected. Not going to engage in the personal attack (just too tired this morning).... but at least I will try to set a small part of the record straight.

E Pluribus Unum means.... "Out of many.... one". Which IS the exact point I was trying to make actually. That whatever our race, religion, etc, the idea was... and still is... we should be one people. Hence my "-" hyphen comment.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:52 AM   #71
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E Pluribus Unum means.... "Out of many.... one". Which IS the exact point I was trying to make actually. That whatever our race, religion, etc, the idea was... and still is... we should be one people. Hence my "-" hyphen comment.
Well, I'm not a huge fan of hyphenated-Americanism, at least when people consider themselves X first and American second.

Having said that, it would be awfully boring if we didn't all bring our own customs, our own cuisines, our own art and music, our own traditions into the American mosaic. So while I appreciate the "spice" that diversity provides, unless it comes with the understanding that we are ultimately one nation united first and foremost, it certainly comes with the capacity for divisiveness and self-segregation and mutual mistrust.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:56 AM   #72
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Oh Brother, Where are thou?



Ah, we're all part of the giant American monolith, irrespective of regional differences, regional dialects, regional pride, or for that matter, any differences in neighborhood, schools, or cuisine -- that combined with a rich mosaic of differences, makes us, ummmmmm, American!

So much for E Pluribus Unum or our concept of a melting pot!


And then we get this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by armor99
Assuming that just because a group of people share the same skin color, or any other trait, makes them have similiar thoughts, is the very height of a racist notion. it is the idea that something in the "blood" of two people with blue eyes for example, means they will have superior or inferior ideas to brown eyed people. Sound familiar.... it should... and with good reason.


How forked can one's tongue be?
ChrisC, I don't understand why you refer to that comment as "fork-tongued"?

Being a US Citizen does not mean we need to be monolithic. I am fascinated by the different cultural backgrounds of the people I meet, their foods, customs, holidays, relationships, etc. I think it is great if some of us choose to honor and share those traditions. I don't think that makes us any less of a US Citizen. I don't see any reason at all to abandon that.

But I get upset at the idea that a person can only be represented in government by someone with an identical ethnic background. I guess we should burn the voting booths and just replace them with a census report.

Reflecting on the King quote that samclem included (color of skin versus content of character), I can't help but think that anything that was so true yesterday, and still rings so true today, will also ring true in the future. I dont think that Doctor King would consider those words from Sotomayor to be progress at all. Two steps forward, three steps back?

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Old 06-02-2009, 10:09 AM   #73
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I'm all four.
So, you're related to Pocohontas? That's cool.........
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:10 AM   #74
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So, you're related to Pocohontas? That's cool.........
Probably much more closely related to Tecumseh, actually.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:18 AM   #75
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Back to finances...

OK, let's get back to the financial aspects of this nomination and her statements:

Let's say I was born to into a poor family that happened to be a minority here in the USA. And let's say I overcame those obstacles to achieve a respected and financially secure place in society. Then, I was asked to address a group of people with my same minority background - what should I tell them?

It seems to me that most of the advice would be common to anyone in a lower economic position, regardless of ethnicity. Work hard, get an education or develop a marketable skill, save your money, observe the world around you and learn from your mistakes. Within that general message, there might be some advice specific to the customs and traditions of that group to help them better navigate the business world, that's fine. But to identify yourself first and foremost with your ethnicity just doesn't seem to help in any way that I can see. It has little to do with finances, and it should have little to do with your ability or inability to serve on the bench.

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Old 06-02-2009, 10:36 AM   #76
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:41 AM   #77
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It seems to me that most of the advice would be common to anyone in a lower economic position, regardless of ethnicity. Work hard, get an education or develop a marketable skill, save your money, observe the world around you and learn from your mistakes. Within that general message, there might be some advice specific to the customs and traditions of that group to help them better navigate the business world, that's fine. But to identify yourself first and foremost with your ethnicity just doesn't seem to help in any way that I can see. It has little to do with finances, and it should have little to do with your ability or inability to serve on the bench.
Assuming they are qualified minorities (or females), I would not neglect to mention how to take advantage of government quotas, ooops, er I mean set asides, ooops, er I mean "aspirational target goals for minority/women participation". That seems to be a fairly easy ticket to at least moderate success from what I have observed. Especially in fields where minorities and females are traditionally underrepresented. It is not a free lunch, but it is like buy one get two free.

There's some serious financially related advice.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:53 AM   #78
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Yup.... pretty much the response I expected. Not going to engage in the personal attack (just too tired this morning).... but at least I will try to set a small part of the record straight.

E Pluribus Unum means.... "Out of many.... one". Which IS the exact point I was trying to make actually. That whatever our race, religion, etc, the idea was... and still is... we should be one people. Hence my "-" hyphen comment.
The record is plainly set straight, already! There just appears to be a failure to understand a view that is diverse from yours. We get to the "One" but taking into account the many "hypens"! We simply don't get to "One" by negating the "many" hyphens.

I'm an American (and a very proud one too), but I'm also a hyphenated-American -- I don't know of many people who have this flipped the nomenclature. You seem to think many have -- I don't know anyone who has. We dwell on the "hypen" because, quite frankly, it is implied by almost all of us, that we're, well, Americans when we're in the States here. But you take any hyphenated-American, put him abroad, in a foreign country, and the "hypen" drops, immediately.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:37 PM   #79
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Well, I'm not a huge fan of hyphenated-Americanism, at least when people consider themselves X first and American second.

Having said that, it would be awfully boring if we didn't all bring our own customs, our own cuisines, our own art and music, our own traditions into the American mosaic. So while I appreciate the "spice" that diversity provides, unless it comes with the understanding that we are ultimately one nation united first and foremost, it certainly comes with the capacity for divisiveness and self-segregation and mutual mistrust.
Well said Ziggy... and I completely agree....
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:19 PM   #80
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Assuming they are qualified minorities (or females), I would not neglect to mention how to take advantage of government quotas, ooops, er I mean set asides, ooops, er I mean "aspirational target goals for minority/women participation". That seems to be a fairly easy ticket to at least moderate success from what I have observed. Especially in fields where minorities and females are traditionally underrepresented. It is not a free lunch, but it is like buy one get two free.

There's some serious financially related advice.
Interesting point of view.... But what exactly does that say about you as a person (not you personally... but the hypothetical person doing this), if you knowingly took a position, a govt program, or a freebie of one form or another, that you know you received only because of the color of your skin, religion, gender, etc? We are assuming here you are of able mind and body, and have suffered no external hardship.

I cannot speak for others... but I have quite a bit of pride (which I have never considered a bad thing), and for me, my taking of that benefit, implys that I could not get it legitimately, and needed this boost from someone else. The taking of such a benefit somehow imply's that I really AM inferior in some way or another to others, and needed this. For me, that would be unacceptable! For others... might not have a problem with it at all. I suppose it depends on your outlook on life.

Interestingly enough... I have friends of many races, religions, and genders. We all actually had a conversation about this recently. Each and every one of them to the man/woman, said they would be VERY offended in this situation. Each of them feels the need to prove themselves legitimately and do not want a handout from anyone. Probably why they are all good friends of mine.
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