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Thread: Double standard or not?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Double standard or not?

    Over the weekend I got into a discussion regarding race in America. It was a very informed discussion where I was very surprised to hear what a friend who lives in Detroit had to say. He agreed completely that there is a double standard in the US regarding race, but that is because the standards are different. He went on to say they are different because of the continuation of discrimination in this country.

    He felt that people of color in this county should be permitted to use terms, however the same term used by anyone else would be racist. He felt that the reason that minorities are arrested more often is because they are targeted and because they don’t get the same opportunities as white people.

    I see people as people regardless of their color and judge people based on their actions, not the color of their skin. He felt that if everyone was like me, then it could be an even playing field, but until that happens, there needs to be a double standard to even out the playing filed.

    Do you think that there is a racial double standard in the US?
    If so, do you think that it is justifiable and should be in existence?
    What percentage of the US do you think is racist?
    What can we as American’s do ‘level the playing field’?


    This is a sensitive topic, but I think that it is one that we are mature enough to have on this website.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I think that you are correct in saying that a person's actions should be the basis upon which we judge someone but that is also the problem. Different cultures/races/etc have different expectations and norms so there is really no "one" standard on which to judge people. I would say that the most common standard is the one government and lawmakers use and is geared towards whites and therefore it gives whites an advantage in "the system". I don't think that means anyone should get a free pass, though. For example, if you see someone driving a brand new car while they are on rent assistance you will look down upon that but in some cultures that may be okay.

    The question is how to we get everyone on the same level in terms of societal expectations?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Well, since people are avoiding this thread like the plague, I will get it started.

    I think that the biggest thing that we as Americans can do to eliminate any perception of a double standard or racism (both of which I believe exist), is Education. Too much of society thinks that minorities don’t get particular opportunities because of their skin. In most cases (not all) but most, I think that they just don’t realize that they have the same opportunities as anyone and everyone else. Educating minorities (and everyone else) about those opportunities is just one step.

    I also think that as a society, we need to start holding people accountable for their actions and not the color of their skin. I hear ‘oh that is their culture’ when they talk about some minorities who live in poverty with gangs running in the streets. A HS friend works in gang enforcement in San Diego, and he tells me stories about how people can get shot with 200 people watching, but no one say anything. We need to start seeing what is going on around us and stop the chaos.

    Finally, I think that we all need to raise our children to recognize people for their actions and not the color of their skin, and that no one is ‘entitled’ to anything because of their color, religion, or ethnic heritage.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post

    I think that the biggest thing that we as Americans can do to eliminate any perception of a double standard or racism (both of which I believe exist), is Education. Too much of society thinks that minorities don’t get particular opportunities because of their skin. In most cases (not all) but most, I think that they just don’t realize that they have the same opportunities as anyone and everyone else. Educating minorities (and everyone else) about those opportunities is just one step.
    Speaking of education, why don't you educate yourself on the topic of institutional racism. "They" (your term, not mine) often don't have the same opportunities as anyone and everyone else.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I think that's what he was partially asking? Why not - what are some examples? Again, our system is set up to traditional European standards so other than completely changing our system how do we rid ourselves of this?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Let's see...

    Do you think that there is a racial double standard in the US?

    Not sure exactly what you are getting at here, but if you mean the use of derogatory terms, yes, I would say that "in-group" use is different from "external" use. I don't think that is unique to a particular race or ethnicity. I think it applies to a lot of groups - I am sure there are police jokes that one cop can say to another that me, as a non-officer, would be taken to task for. Maybe not the best example, but you get the point (maybe).

    If you are talking about ethnic stereotyping or criticism being different if, say, black folk are giving white folk a hard time over something versus the other way around, then I would say that the two situations, generally speaking, are not the same. The reason is based on both history and power. Again, I don't think this is unique to racial division. I think it would be apply equally to gender relations, for example, for the same reasons of history and power. For example, I had to recently explain to my son why there was an International Women's Day but no International Men's Day. In the end, all I could say was "well, pretty much every other day is Men's Day because we rule the roost." Not fair and that may be changing, but it is, globally speaking, the reality today.

    To speak specifically to black-white relations in this country, the bottom line for me is that this population came as slaves, got freedom and yet still, statistically speaking, continues to occupy the lower (if not the lowest) socio-economic positions. Given that, one can come to believe that "there is something wrong with these people" which I categorically reject (I mean, seriously, how many brilliant people come in all stripes? - racial determinism is a red herring of the greatest degree especially when one considers that the African gene pool is the most diverse on earth: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8027269.stm).

    Alternatively, one can come to feel that social, political, economic and other forces have conspired (consciously or not) to provide African Americans with the least variety of potential for advancement, integration and mobility in society. This then gets at issues like profiling - external forces that negatively impact one's position in society.

    If so, do you think that it is justifiable and should be in existence?

    Well, I don't think its something you can regulate. If its there, its there. These kinds of behaviors are not easily "allowed" or "not allowed" as you are talking about personal opinion. But yes, I think it is its justifiable (again, because of the factors of history and power). Yes, it is at times uncomfortable (speaking as a White Male with a graduate degree - a big fat target). No, each individual case of ire or antagonism that gets thrown my way is not justified or valid. But it doesn't bother me too much when I consider the Big Picture.

    When things like that happen, its usually because people have a real and valid frustration they are dealing with. I may not be the appropriate person to put it on, but I recognize the need. And then, sometimes I am being unconsciously inappropriate, rude or assumptive about something I shouldn't be and its perfectly reasonable to be called out on it. We all carry baggage and I am no exception. Usually, I am just myself, which may involve a little pushback, but being a genuine and earnest person, people are generally appreciative of my position and it all evens out in the end.

    What percentage of the US do you think is racist?

    No idea, but I would put it over 50 percent. We also need to define "racist" to know we are talking about the same kinds of things.

    What can we as American’s do ‘level the playing field’?

    Well, that's the big question isn't it? And one people have been working on for a while now. I think a lot of the differences in opinion you mention or get at in the above questions come down to a classic and long-standing difference of opinion on the role of racism and discrimination in social advancement. The two positions look something like this:

    A) Everyone starts with the same opportunities and abilities and those that work hard and are smart enough succeed. Failure or success is directly related to an individual's ability. People are just people.

    B) People do NOT start with the same opportunities. Power, history, socio-economics, social trends (like, black people can't be bankers or doctors or similar) all provide different people with different opportunities/obstacles and these opportunities/obstacles are what help determine success. This position does not deny the role of hard work and ability, but says that other factors are also at play (and may even trump hard work and ability).

    I tend to subscribe to the second point. I don't think all people are treated equally out on the street or from birth. The goal of programs like affirmative action are to help level the field and provide opportunity to qualified candidates in situations where these other factors get in the way. Equal Opportunity Employment, for example, is supposed to force employers to consider the reasons they may or may not eliminate a particular candidate for a job. Are you sure you aren't eliminating them because of the way they speak or walk? Because you are uncomfortable around a particular ethnicity? And so on.

    I'm not sure these tools are always applied in the most appropriate manner (I was involved in a university hiring process and the hoops were many and I'm not sure they achieved what they were supposed to - and the committee was very committed to and comprised of diversity) but its what we have in place at the moment.

    Race relations in our country are so complex and I'm not sure we as a collective body have come to grips with a lot of the darker underlying elements that play into it all. At times I have felt that almost all inter-racial relationships (romance and friendship) are colored by this history. Even when people are friends, there is this sense that they are overcoming something - that their relationship is somehow symbolic of something bigger. I think this is pretty different from other types of relationships where ethnicity is not a factor. Racism sits like a dark cloud over or country. IMHO.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  7. #7
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    Speaking of education, why don't you educate yourself on the topic of institutional racism. "They" (your term, not mine) often don't have the same opportunities as anyone and everyone else.
    Your characterization of mskis' use of the word "they" is misleading, as "they" refers to minorities, yes, but is used in context with a previous phrase in his sentence and clearly does not indicate closet racist terminology as you insinuate. Instead of trying to fallaciously discredit your argumentative opponent, perhaps you should explain the intriciacies of the institutional racism and how the system is allegedly biased for those who are unable to see such connections, if they exist. I, for one, don't really have enough knowledge to form an opinion on this matter. Inquiring minds...

  8. #8
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    At the risk of injecting a little humor into this thread... The "Now You Know" series:

    WARNING: The language is NOT safe for work!





    There are a few more in the series if you like them.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Mastiff those are hysterical

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I think that the biggest thing that we as Americans can do to eliminate any perception of a double standard or racism (both of which I believe exist), is Education. Too much of society thinks that minorities don’t get particular opportunities because of their skin. In most cases (not all) but most, I think that they just don’t realize that they have the same opportunities as anyone and everyone else. Educating minorities (and everyone else) about those opportunities is just one step.
    Education doesn't necessarily help in the face of racism. My recollection is that the black guy who figured out something really important that made blood transfusions workable died because he was taken to a black hospital after some accident, where it wasn't available. He would have lived if he had been taken to the white hospital. Frederick Douglass had skills and learned to read even though that was forbidden to slaves. (He learned to read because the white wife of his owner read at a second grade level and was trying to improve her reading ability, so imposed upon him to help her since he was the right age -- about 7 years old or so.) He worked as a jack of all trades for many years after he acquired his freedom because no one would hire him for the skill he had since he was black. Minimum wage laws exist because in the 1930's (-ish), there was a huge difference between what a black person got paid in The Deep South and what a white person got paid. Unfortunately, this high-minded attempt to level the playing field resulted in lots of black people simply being fired because many Southerners refused to pay a black man "a white man's wages". World War II started just in time to force the situation and make minimum wage a successfully implemented law.

    My recollection is that studies show that the best means to overcome racism is for people of different colors to work together as peers. Unfortunately, in most cases, you can't get there from here because blacks are so bad off that they are defacto a lower class than whites. So most of the time, you wind up with the black secretary and the white boss type of situation, which tends to reinforce the stereotypes that help hold people back. Some years back I saw a study that determined that America as a whole ranked something like 5th or 6th for standard of living of all countries in the world. White Americans only ranked first. Black Americans only ranked something like 36th, with Hispanic Americans lagging a couple of notches lower still.

    I also think that as a society, we need to start holding people accountable for their actions and not the color of their skin.
    I would love to see that but the reality is that a black man who kills a white man does more time than a white man who kills a black man. The reality is that an abusive husband who finally beats his wife to death after many years of tormenting her does less time on average than an abused wife who fights back and kills him in self defense.

    Finally, I think that we all need to raise our children to recognize people for their actions and not the color of their skin, and that no one is ‘entitled’ to anything because of their color, religion, or ethnic heritage.
    Be careful what you wish for. White males are the ones who get the jackpot in this lottery of being "entitled" to something.

    --------
    My ex husband was wonderfully colorblind about people's skin. We moved to Kansas and all I heard about was his new best friend Charlie. Charlie and Mr. Zone arranged for our two families to have dinner together. We arrived at the restaurant where we were supposed to meet and it turned out Charlie and his family were all black. I was stunned -- not that they were black, but that my husband had never once mentioned this detail. My shock clearly showed on my face and this made for a very uncomfortable evening. That experience has been excellent food for thought ever since and has made me more aware of the many subtle ways in which racism rears its ugly head. Studies show that even idealistic people who are actively against racism often still agree with forms ideas that are basically secondary and tertiary expressions of racism -- and you can't erase racism until these subtler forms of it are rooted out. My uncomfortable revelation that night at dinner was that since my then husband had not mentioned their race, I had assumed they must be white. Growing up in The Deep South, I had an expectation that if they were not white, then that was worthy of mention. That's racism. And it's those little details that, cumulatively, add up to such a huge burden on some segments of the American population.

    Whites often seem to think that really bad aspects of racism are some thing in the distant past that happened long ago and blacks should just quit crying over it. But it's not. Studies have determined that in very poor neighborhoods where blacks are the last hired and first fired, very high rates of unemployment among young black males contribute to out-of-wedlock births (because they can't afford to support their girlfriend and baby), higher rates of crime, and other serious consequences. Poor minorities are also the folks who get stuck with land uses that the rich white folks don't want to live next to, and this has serious consequences for the health and lifespan of a large numbers of non-white Americans. Racism is still literally killing people, it's just doing it in a way that's easier to sweep under the rug and feel smug about than lynchings.

  11. #11
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    Mastiff those are hysterical
    And... it kind of answers the question, too!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    And... it kind of answers the question, too!
    BOO !

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    He felt that people of color in this county should be permitted to use terms, however the same term used by anyone else would be racist. He felt that the reason that minorities are arrested more often is because they are targeted and because they don’t get the same opportunities as white people.
    I think your friend is spot on. It's not very polite to tell someone they're a fatso. But it's perfectly fine if that person refers to themselves in that manner. It's no different with racial terms.

    It's well known that racial profiling exists, although I would like to think it's getting better out there.
    Last edited by Mastiff; 19 May 2009 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Fixed quote
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  14. #14
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone View post
    Education doesn't necessarily help in the face of racism. My recollection is that the black guy who figured out something really important that made blood transfusions workable died because he was taken to a black hospital after some accident, where it wasn't available. He would have lived if he had been taken to the white hospital. Frederick Douglass had skills and learned to read even though that was forbidden to slaves. (He learned to read because the white wife of his owner read at a second grade level and was trying to improve her reading ability, so imposed upon him to help her since he was the right age -- about 7 years old or so.) He worked as a jack of all trades for many years after he acquired his freedom because no one would hire him for the skill he had since he was black. Minimum wage laws exist because in the 1930's (-ish), there was a huge difference between what a black person got paid in The Deep South and what a white person got paid. Unfortunately, this high-minded attempt to level the playing field resulted in lots of black people simply being fired because many Southerners refused to pay a black man "a white man's wages". World War II started just in time to force the situation and make minimum wage a successfully implemented law.

    My recollection is that studies show that the best means to overcome racism is for people of different colors to work together as peers. Unfortunately, in most cases, you can't get there from here because blacks are so bad off that they are defacto a lower class than whites. So most of the time, you wind up with the black secretary and the white boss type of situation, which tends to reinforce the stereotypes that help hold people back. Some years back I saw a study that determined that America as a whole ranked something like 5th or 6th for standard of living of all countries in the world. White Americans only ranked first. Black Americans only ranked something like 36th, with Hispanic Americans lagging a couple of notches lower still.


    I would love to see that but the reality is that a black man who kills a white man does more time than a white man who kills a black man. The reality is that an abusive husband who finally beats his wife to death after many years of tormenting her does less time on average than an abused wife who fights back and kills him in self defense.

    Be careful what you wish for. White males are the ones who get the jackpot in this lottery of being "entitled" to something.

    --------
    My ex husband was wonderfully colorblind about people's skin. We moved to Kansas and all I heard about was his new best friend Charlie. Charlie and Mr. Zone arranged for our two families to have dinner together. We arrived at the restaurant where we were supposed to meet and it turned out Charlie and his family were all black. I was stunned -- not that they were black, but that my husband had never once mentioned this detail. My shock clearly showed on my face and this made for a very uncomfortable evening. That experience has been excellent food for thought ever since and has made me more aware of the many subtle ways in which racism rears its ugly head. Studies show that even idealistic people who are actively against racism often still agree with forms ideas that are basically secondary and tertiary expressions of racism -- and you can't erase racism until these subtler forms of it are rooted out. My uncomfortable revelation that night at dinner was that since my then husband had not mentioned their race, I had assumed they must be white. Growing up in The Deep South, I had an expectation that if they were not white, then that was worthy of mention. That's racism. And it's those little details that, cumulatively, add up to such a huge burden on some segments of the American population.

    Whites often seem to think that really bad aspects of racism are some thing in the distant past that happened long ago and blacks should just quit crying over it. But it's not. Studies have determined that in very poor neighborhoods where blacks are the last hired and first fired, very high rates of unemployment among young black males contribute to out-of-wedlock births (because they can't afford to support their girlfriend and baby), higher rates of crime, and other serious consequences. Poor minorities are also the folks who get stuck with land uses that the rich white folks don't want to live next to, and this has serious consequences for the health and lifespan of a large numbers of non-white Americans. Racism is still literally killing people, it's just doing it in a way that's easier to sweep under the rug and feel smug about than lynchings.
    Excellent observations, Michele!

    BTW, that was Dr Charles Drew who died because he wasn't allowed to be treated at a white hospital after a car wreck. He literally saved the lives of millions of Allied soldiers in WW II not only with his innovations with blood transfusions but also with establishing of blood banks to stockpile plasma.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    First of all, I want to thank people for the willingness to have an open and honest discussion regarding this topic.

    Yesterday, I spoke with a neighbor of mine who was ranting and raving about recent car break-ins within the neighborhood. The reports have it as 5 or 6 black males in their early to mid teens. He, (who is African-American… from Africa) said that when he was growing up, his parents would have beaten him if he was caught doing something like this, actual beating, not just figuratively.

    He came here as an exchange student and went on to become a US Citizen and is now a pediatrician at a local hospital. He explained that there are many minority children who he sees in the ER because they come from single family households where the streets are the only male role model that they have. The mothers care, but they feel that there is little they can do. He would love to see more people involved in mentorship programs.

    One thing that I was fascinated with is he has had discussions with some of these kids, and they said that he does not understand because he was not raised in a racist nation where he was a minority. His response was, “So, does doing stupid things like being in gang make that better for you and help solve the problem?”

    I also think that people like Rev. Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson only make the race problems in this country worse. People are people… that is where it should stop.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    What percentage of the US do you think is racist?
    100%

    Racism is viewing people differently due to their race.

    The real question is: "How many people use racism to discriminate?"

    Your racial naivete is quite apparent my friend. This issue is more complex than you portend and your friend was humoring you.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    100%

    Racism is viewing people differently due to their race.

    The real question is: "How many people use racism to discriminate?"

    Your racial naivete is quite apparent my friend. This issue is more complex than you portend and your friend was humoring you.
    I think that you make a good point regarding discrimination, but do you actually think that everyone views people differently due to their race?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  18. #18
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I think that you make a good point regarding discrimination, but do you actually think that everyone views people differently due to their race?
    On a subconscious level, yes.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  19. #19
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I think that you make a good point regarding discrimination, but do you actually think that everyone views people differently due to their race?

    Yes I do. Whether or not they use those views to make decisions is another story. Keep in mind that those "views" can be both positive and negative.

    Anyone who claims to be completely "color-blind" is only fooling themselves.

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