Week 2: Color Lines — Growing and Accepting Diversity

Thank you for joining us again for Week 2 of the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club. Your thoughtful and insightful comments last week were extraordinary! (Read all last week’s comments here)

This week’s discussion focuses on Chapter 2 of Uncommon Common Ground, entitled “Color Lines: Growing and Accepting Diversity.” (Read an excerpt here)

Here are some questions to help kick-start the discussion:

1. In the book, we argue the black-white paradigm is the fundamental and defining element in understanding race in America. Do you agree? How does it fit the experience of other people of color — and what does it miss?

2. Given the diversity within Latino and Asian Pacific communities, does it make sense to even use the broad “Latino” and “Asian” categories? What’s gained and what’s lost?

Thank you again for joining.

–Stewart Kwoh

Co-author, Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future

62 Responses to “Week 2: Color Lines — Growing and Accepting Diversity”

  1. avatar

    Stewart, you've always been an inspiration! Looking forward to week two!

  2. avatar

    To answer the second question, I think "Latino" and "Asian" are sometimes easier, especially for people who live in communities without much diversity. But I think if we're heading towards a no-majority society, I think we're going to have to understand that there is great diversity within each of those wide labels. I think everyone will need to learn more about where people are from, their culture and what it means for them – not just their census category.

    I know that was a lesson to me last year when I taught an arts education class at an all Latino school in Chicago. I thought of my students as all the same, until I started talking to them. They didn't identify as "Latino" – they identified as Mexican, Cuban, Argentinian, Puerto Rican, Spanish… But I didn't realize that until I became involved in their lives. I think that's a lot of the problem. At least here in Chicago, communities are still largely segregated. Until we have a reason to get to know one another and live among each other, general labels are all we're going to need because we never get close enough to know the difference!

  3. avatar

    No, I don't agree with "the black-white paradigm is the fundamental and defining element in understanding race in America." The fundamental element is capitalism. It requires an underclass in order to prop up the rich. You mentioned the condition of Native Americans in this country. Their entire culture, economy and land was destroyed and exploited in order for capitalists to prosper. Yet, those who have gained from this exploitation and genocide of an estimated 10 million human beings are shrill to the dissent against the white privilege they enjoy and to this day, possess an inability to relate to or empathize with the other people of color who followed in the footpath of the original natives and who also have also been subjugated to a less than human existence. Money, not race is the issue.

    And as to your question of whether the definition of Latinos and Asians should be broaden, I am of the opinion that the definition of Black Americans should be broaden as well. Blacks are a many cultural and ethnically diverse group as well. Do to slavery, the majority of American blacks are in constant search of our own identity and have yet to reconcile that we are not African. Furthermore, African slaves were scoured from different tribes, spoke different languages and maintained their own cultures within Africa. They were lumped and dumped in to the various slavery pots around the world and forced fed a culture that was not of our own making. Also, the genetic history of Black Americans are as diluted, if not more so, than the Asians or Latinos who now reside here. In short, there is no pure race in the USA but a variety of cultures and ethnicities that make up this melting pot.

    Greg Walton-PBPR

    • avatar

      Greg, I would agree to a certain extent, but when you view where the idea of "capitalism" originated you go back to the basic cultural paradigm of European and African…It's just that the African is on the bottom of the capitalistic scale. From enslavement to today's prison system, black bodies are a commodity but made so by cultural ideology. JMO..

      • avatar


        There is value in that basic commodity. It's the exploitation of the of people or of land that generated trade or commerce. The African was not at the bottom of the scale. Put it this way. What is your car without the engine that drives it? I contend that Black Americans are the straw that stirs the economic drink of the world due to our rapacious consumption and we are exploited because of it, no matter whether it's slavery or disproportionate incarceration rates. Cheap labor is still at its core and that's where the profits lay.

        Greg Walton-PBPR

    • avatar

      Perhaps there are 2 fundamental paradigms, class and race.

      also, I think the demographic data gathering forms are much too simplistic.

      • avatar

        Sharon: "race" determines class with few exceptions…Look at our current POTUS… is he muslim? a Kenyan? a socialist?, a dictator?, a negro????

  4. avatar

    I believe that the issue of diversity goes beyond racial lines. The best example of this is the Latino community. The Latino community is probably the most diverse community when it comes to culture and race. There are White Latinos, Black Latinos, Oriental Latinos, Native American Latinos, every possible racial mixture of these. The thing that separates Latinos from the rest of the U.S. population is their association with the Spanish language, even though not all Latinos speak Spanish. This is where we might see a difference between the true meaning of being Hispanic versus being Latino. Being Latino or Hispanic is not a racial but an ethnic category. The same can be said about other groups in the U.S. The question is, what is the true value of classifying people based on the color of their skin or their ethnic background except for maybe using this background as a means of identifying disparities and then addressing these through policies and government programs funding. I happen to be Hispanic (ethnic group) and White (race) but never used my Hispanic heritage to demand special treatment versus any other individual of a different ethnic or racial group. What I really want is to be treated the same as the rest of the U.S. population.

  5. avatar

    I would say the "black-white" paradigm is definitely the fundamental element in the U.S. and the World. The black-white paradigm is condensed into an "African-European" CULTURAL paradigm. This is an unpopular view because it tends to eliminate other "races", however historically if there were only so called "Black" humans at the beginning of our history, then all other humans are derived from them. Then we have the phenotypic apposition to the "black" or African, the "White" or European. Therefore you can find traces of either in ALL peoples of the world. (This causes problems because of this, most people want to identify with the white, therefore the "black" is despised because of white cultural supremacy). So I would say the black white paradigm is appropriate.

  6. avatar

    Diversity is an interesting concept when applied to "race" relations in the United States. I always ask the question "diversify" from what or whom? When one "diversifies" the core remains unchanged and I would presume the need for diversity in the first place still remains within that core. Therefore, IMO, "diversity' is an exercise in placation and/or misdirection. So does it make sense to use the term "Latino" or "Asian?" I don't know, I would imagine it depends on if THEY need that exercise.

  7. avatar

    Depending upon how you define the terms "black" and "white" there are two potential answers.

    If you are defining in an all encompassing way, it would include all peoples on different sides of the color spectrum, and the black-white paradigm would be just that–all encompassing. If these terms are being used within an American context, it would be defined as African American and European American, in which case, the black-white paradigm is not the singular foundation of racial issues in this country.

    The black-white paradigm, although it is the most defining element due to the historical relationships between black and white Americans, isn't the fundamental basis of it. Historically, this country's paradigm has shifted between "White" and "Other" since its inception, that other being Native American, African, Asian, Latin American, Caribbean, et al.

    Speaking about race solely through this lens does not allow for the many other concepts or definitions of race (in actuality, race is a sociological construction, but the impacts and affects of its usage are real, but that's another conversation for another day) to be acknowledged and factored into the greater discussion.

    In fact, it limits its understanding and disenfranchise those who do not fall in to either category, despite their historical presence and the oppression they have experienced due to their differences, whether that be skin color, language, religion, etc.

    With regards to the second question about whether the blanket term Latino is sufficient, it's important to understand that "Latino" or "U.S. Latino", which is more accurate for this conversation, is a political term–an identity that people consciously choose to associate with and use. It isn't, for some, a "catch all" for the nearly 30 Latin American and Latin Caribbean nations whose cultures and ancestry are distinctive. In an ideal world, this box wouldn't exist. We would simply all "be" and choose terms that fit our individual experiences and identities. But because we are socialized to "pick a box" it is, in my experience, the most appropriate term that can be utilized and that describes the shared experience of descendants of Latin American peoples in this nation. As far as gains, it creates solidarity amongst Latin American descendants and their unique American experiences, which are often more similar than they are different. But it does lose the nuances of each person's individual Latin American cultural roots and histories.

  8. avatar

    I think there are two stereotypes that continue to affect Asian Americans. One is that all Asian Americans are the same. Many people are either unable or unwilling to distinguish between different Asian ethnicities — Korean American from a Japanese American, Filipino American from an Indonesian American, etc. This becomes a problem when people generalize cultural characteristics or stereotypes about one or a few Asian Americans. The result is that important differences between Asian ethnic groups are minimized or ignored altogether.

    The second stereotype is that all Asian Americans are foreigners. Although more than half of all Asians in the U.S. were born outside the U.S., many non-Asians simply assume that every Asian they see, meet, or hear about is a foreigner. As a result, all Asian Americans are perceived as foreigners, it becomes easier to think of us as not fully American. Yes, that means prejudice and discrimination in its many forms.

    • avatar

      You make an excellent point, Ana (and Brenda as well). The classification of Asian Americans into one synonymous category and viewing this group as ‘foreign’ are stereotypes that continue to linger within our community.

      While the finger is generally pointed at non-Asians, members of the Asian American community are indeed guilty of this oversight, as well. For example, I live in an apartment complex nearby Koreatown, Los Angeles (aka Ktown) and my building has roughly 90-95% tenants of Korean descent. Although my background is Laotian/Thai, I constantly get mistaken as Korean by other tenants and even the apt manager. When notices of building maintenance are posted on my door, they are almost always written in Korean.

      This corresponds with Brenda’s point in that we must first educate ourselves in recognizing the differences and similarities in others, no matter how ‘different’ or ‘similar’ they may seem. If a certain community group is reluctant to learn about the members within its own subgroups, people of other groups will continue to stereotype in this manner.

  9. avatar

    As America moves closer towards people of color being the majority, I think this black-white paradigm becomes more and more obsolete. Like Jessica says, we cannot for the sake of categorization and convenience ignore the (often vast) differences that exist among Latino-Americans, Asian/Pacific Americans, etc.

    Similarly, we cannot ignore that the Black community also struggles with this incessant need for strict categorization. While many are born here in America, others of us are Jamaican, Haitian, Guyanese, Nigerian, Ugandan, etc. And yet rarely are we identified by those very distinct origins, but solely by the color of our skin. There's something wrong with that.

    • avatar

      Janet is it the skin "COLOR" that makes policy? Is it the skin "COLOR" that determines laws or economic policy? If not, then what is and is that being addressed?

      • avatar

        In my opinion, absolutely. Especially when taking into the account the invisible curtain (otherwise known as institutional racism) that exists behind many economic policies that have been the status quo.

        • avatar

          So it's not the implementation of an idea of how the world should be? That's why I asked Schiffon about what are politics. Skin color is only an indication of phenotype. We live in a world of ideas and the realization of those ideas as well as whose ideas are recognized as valid and invalid. Ideas of Politics, Democracy, Individualism, Private Property, Techno-order, Control and Power over Nature, etc. are the ideas that we accept as valid by Black, White, Asian, Latino, Purple People Eaters. In fact, they aren't even questioned. So it's not skin color, it's the cultural idea. We can have 1 million "Latinos" or "Blacks," but if they all espouse the European cultural idea, so what?

          Don't get me wrong. There are a few European cultural ideas that are OK, but most need tweaking to keep us from going over the deep end.

          • avatar

            I agree that we need to challenge these social constructs and consider how we might move beyond these entrenched frameworks.

          • avatar
            Stewart Hyland 09. Oct, 2010 at 12:38 am

            The posts so far have shown me that we agree the lessons of the black-white paradigm do offer a foundation. To get to your question, which Schiffon covered somewhat in another exchange, we have to create new model of understanding our connectedness through American oppression and not innocculate the new legacy as much as we can from divisive beliefs.
            This dialogue is a good start by as Manual as noted, creating space to discuss fiery problems like these. The more truth that we know about our shared histories the less we get bs'ed by those who profit from our division.

  10. avatar

    By the most commonly accepted standards, simply having a Spanish-surname identifies a person as being Hispanic or Latino. But the impact that identity has on an individual varies greatly by their skin color.

    Few would argue that many Hispanics suffer the effects of discrimination. But the misconception of Hispanics as a single race hits the most disadvantaged Latinos hardest. Painting a racially-homogenous portrait of Hispanics often obscures the depth of prejudice against darker-skinned Latinos behind the success stories of Hispanics whose Caucasian phenotypes have granted them easier entry into the racially-sensitive citadels of privilege in U.S. society. Take a look at the Hispanic CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and you’ll find few swarthy faces.

    Moreover, being part of a minority in the U.S. has both positive and negative implications. Affirmative action programs in both business and higher education give a compensatory edge to disadvantaged minorities. But are all Hispanics part of a disadvantaged minority?

    In truth, many Hispanics are direct descendants of Spanish slave holders. The incongruity of giving white Hispanics protected status as a “disadvantaged minority” is made clear by Harry C. Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce: “Imagine heirs to slave traders and slave owners being automatically allowed to participate in affirmative action programs like they suffered from slavery and Jim Crow effects. The fact is they prospered from it.”

    Any discussion of race in America should acknowledge the incongruity of defining all Hispanics as “people of color.”

  11. avatar

    Very thoughtful comments from Jose Rodriguez and others. Language is very important in understanding the challenges of Latinos in the US, as is the stereotyping around many things, including immigration. For many Latinos the challenges also center around race. When the issue is not race, however, as when one can chose to identify as white is one prefers that status, the conversation about what binds black and Latinos together becomes more difficult, but should not be.

    While it may sometimes happen that a black person will use race to seek special treatment (everything happens sometimes) the usual situation is one in which people of color seek redress for exclusions, mistreatment, or disadvantages that have resulted from discriminatory practices or disparate results that flow from historical discrimination—such as going to inferior schools which are the only ones that serve a black community; or not having access to fresh fruits and vegetables because of disinvestment in poor communities of color.

    Everybody, without regard to their race or ethnicity, should be concerned and outraged that these conditions exist. One should not have to be of color to be part of the solution to the problems that people of color face. So the ultimate question is how to use data and information about disparate treatment and outcomes for people of color to delve deeper into understanding what is happening (and this often requires a nuanced examination of how discrimination has impacted Latino, Black, Asian, and Native Americans differently) and then joining with others committed to positive change, which I would hope would include people of all races

    • avatar

      "Everything happens sometimes" is definitely true. There are people of all races, ages, backgrounds and economic statuses that will try to use any situation to their advantage, but they are not the majority. I think one barrier we face in talking about race is seeing the exception as the rule. In educational inequality, I think white people are used to getting special treatment – better schools, the majority of funding, political power – etc. and sometimes fail to see how communities of color are not asking for special treatment. They're merely asking for equity.

    • avatar


      Why do "Latinos" speak a European language? Why do Black Americans? Isn't the U.S. a "European" country? How are the Spanish from Spain treated here? It's deeper than language.

      I don't understand your comment, "When the issue is NOT race, however, as when one can chose to identify as "white"…doesn't the choice make it racial?

  12. avatar

    First I have to give props to the authors. By your emotions, thoughts, and actions you exemplify a way to move justice forward in a way that brings the peace of abundance, where no one needs to suffer from lack.

    The black-white paradigm offers important lessons to draw from and although we are certainly NOT post-racial, are not the end of all that we need to understand about how our race, nationality, class, and gender orientation defines us. Certainly, a powerful lesson for us that stands against some of the most heinous Tea Party or terrorist rhetoric, is the lesson of a peaceful victory by passing more just laws to began the trasition to a more equitable America.

  13. avatar

    I said peaceful but too many died. And we must always honor the courage of those before us to stand up for justice and against oppression. Another essential lesson is one of individual and group commitment to a broadly sweeping movement that builds a growing wave of change. Where do we begin if we are so sure of our uniqueness without understanding what we have in common to lose? Currently I am a PICO leader and we are looking for that common thread to bring the different congregations in San Mateo and northern Santa Clara counties together for a federated action. Ten years ago, it was about affordable housing and creating county housing trust funds to build more affordable homes. What would a national movement focus on in 2010?

  14. avatar

    I am African American and my wife immigrated from Mexico when she was ten years old. Today, our bi-racial sons claim all of their heritages. Obviously society is evolving and more folks get-together. However, for many the issues around poor school performance, inaccessibility to quality food, disproportiante minority confinement of youth, and gentrification continue plague many lower income people of color. Definitely, we need to meet the individual, acknowlede and share what's up with them, as individuals, and act on common issues affecting our class.

  15. avatar

    One of the dilemmas not often expressed is not only how we identify ourselves, but also how others see us. Dr. Camara Jones has presented research recently that demonstrates two measures of race: self-identified ethnicity and socially-assigned race. These perceptions can have a powerful impact on our lives.

  16. avatar

    I do believe the book gets it right, as it says on p. 84 “When Americans reduce each other to a skin color, everyone gets diminished in each other’s eyes.” If we can start to see each other as human beings, part of the same race, we might start getting somewhere.

    I agree these broad labels miss the richness in many of our communities. At the same time, I am fine with being mistaken for African American. I was born and raised in Jamaica and moved to this country over 30 years ago, when I was 16. Our pasts may be different but because of the racial dynamic in this country our futures are linked. So I think what is gained is a greater awareness of unity in the quest for change.

  17. avatar

    Twenty years ago, I started a weekly racial healing circle in Oakland, California. Ten years later I wrote, Beyond Fear: Twelve Spiritual Keys to Racial Healing which shares a series of stories depicting a variety of experiences from different ethnic groups in America sharing their journey toward healing or just their struggle with race and racism. I define racism as a life threatening disease. Most of us know intellectually that race doesn't exist amongst the human species that it is a human construction, but we suffer economically, socially, psychologically and physically from race issues and racism.

    I read all the comments from last weeks dialogue, "Are we post racial?" Thank you all for weighing in on this very important dialogue. My hope is that we continue the work and not wait for another dialogued to be called. President Clinton called for a dialogue and President Obama hinted at one. Let us, the people who live on this land make a commitment to correct the mistakes that the founders created and generations have continued.

    In the United States of America the ancestral wounding is catastrophic and as a result every ethnic group that comes to this country seeking the American dream will also inherit the American nightmare of racial injustice, greed, fear and murder. The Native American people lived here and when we talk about race, we focus on black/white issues. From coast to coast our Native American brothers and sisters were wiped out. Just drive to Shellmound Street in Emeryville to the Bay Street Mall and walk from shop to shop. You are walking on the Ohloni people burial ground. The only thing left is a small shellmound to acknowledge that this was an Ohloni people burial ground. Yes, we have much healing and forgiveness work to do.

    How could we be post racial when we have yet to heal from this very serious disease. We have much work to do in this Country and as I read all the comments I am baffled with how much work the generations to come will have to do just to get to the common belief that we are all human beings struggling to be more humane and kind to each other and learn the art of appreciating the beauty that nature has given us. What level of consciousness will be have to acquire in order to learn to share the wealth of this very abundant planet. There is enough on this planet for all beings to be loved, cared for, nurtured, educated and valued.

    Nature is diversity, look at a tree, every leaf is different, yet we do not minimize or reduce the value and beauty of the tree. It is a tree. We are human beings. We have done much to harm each other and we still do. The wounding that human beings have done to each other is unparalleled to other species on this blue planet. Yes, race is still an issue and it will continue to be until we learn to say, I am sorry for the harm that I have done and the harm that my ancestors have done. We must all learn the art of forgiveness and then we must make corrections and practiced justice, truth telling and right doing.

    Until then, we will continue to hold our racial healing circles and do the work of healing our minds, hearts and practicing right doing for the sake of future generations.
    Aeeshah Clottey- http://www.ahc-oakland.org

  18. avatar

    Sorry to wander into Rick Sanchez territory but here goes. To many of us, Rick Sanchez looked like a white American but he still felt discriminated against because of his Hispanic heritage. He still felt he was a “disadvantaged minority” because of his name. So it seems to me that even white-looking Hispanics face, or believe they face, discrimination. I’d appreciate any thoughts on this.

    I’d also like to know how white Americans feel about being labeled “white.” Do you feel that being lumped into a broad category misses the diversity and richness of your Irish, or Italian, or Jewish, or Polish, or Scandinavian, or what have you, roots?

    • avatar


      How or when was Rick discriminated against on CNN? IMHO, he was a mediocre talent and grated in his contrived and silly commentary. At times he was so over the top that he was caricatured on Saturday Night live and The Daily Show for his approach to reporting. I don't see where his ethnic heritage played apart in his dismissal. Is playing the race card camouflage for lack of talent? Just a thought.

    • avatar

      Heathertamir: Diversity is in place BECAUSE of "whiteness"…therefore they are the object of "diversity."…

    • avatar

      I do I do I no more deserve the epthet "white" than African-AMericans should be called black. What I find rather irritating is that (as I have mentioned in earlier posts here) my forefathers arrived here in 1913 to escape the Jewish pogroms in Russia. This was a different ethnic oppresion. Yet the Jews get lumped in withthe european "slave masters" historically this is far from the truth. But it's how I am seen by African-Americans. There is a big difference between Serbs and Croats but to African-Americans they are all the same…there is a big disconnect there. Not every 'whiteman' supported slavery…not every white in America supports racism. Things aren't just about color..if you still think they are then you are missing alot. Alot of the very same things that you wnat for yourself you deny "white" people because they aren't "black"… so no one knows our troubles like 'we' do.
      This is exactly the rhetoric that keeps us apart.

  19. avatar

    Great explanation, now what did you say? lol.. I do have a serious question. What is the purpose of politics?

    • avatar

      Hi Shabaka, your sense of humor made me smile! I think politics is comprised of all the activities we engage in that relate to decision making and the allocation of resources. We are all political agents in our respective spheres of influence. So, I guess the aim of politics would be to master those activities that will yield the results consistent with your individual aims. For example, say whatever you want about their governing abilities, Karl Rove style Republicans are effective at politics, they know how to:
      Determine a strategy and execute it as a unit
      Stay on message, regardless of the facts or opposition
      Use whatever tactics are required (e.g., disenfranchise voters, distortion, manipulation, obstruction, divisiveness)
      Frame the discourse

    • avatar

      Hi Shabaka, your sense of humor made me smile! I think politics is comprised of all the activities we engage in that relate to decision making and the allocation of resources. We are all political agents in our respective spheres of influence. So, I guess the aim of politics would be to master those activities that will yield the results consistent with your individual aims. For example, say whatever you want about their governing abilities, Karl Rove style Republicans are effective at politics, they know how to:

      Determine a strategy and execute it as a unit
      Stay on message, regardless of the facts or opposition
      Use whatever tactics are required (e.g., disenfranchise voters, distortion, manipulation, obstruction, divisiveness)
      Frame the discourse

      • avatar

        Hi Schiffon.. sorry but i"m not too polite. IMO, Politics, like ideas of Democracy and Nationalism are unique cultural tools devised for power and control.

  20. avatar

    I respect the concept identified in the previous two postings about recognizing differences within groups, while still claiming solidarity in the larger group. But to be honest, I have always had great difficulty with it.
    Especially within my own particular community.

    If we all have such differences within our own groups about who is what, in addition to the larger racism from outside our groups, perhaps we should just acknowledge that we are all human beings, bound together by the struggle between compassion and hatred which everyone deals with, every time we get up to face a new day. At least then we will have a better chance to strive, as the writer Thomas Friedman once said at the beginning of the Iraq War, "…to be the Americans that we like to think we are, rather than the Americans that we really are."

    • avatar

      Excellent points all-around. However, when we're talking about race and the economy (as we will next week), education, and access to opportunity in general, the ways in which we identify ourselves (and are identified by others) is very important. I don't think that we can get to the point of acknowledging each other as human beings without first acknowledging and accepting the differences between us, and recognize that process as a central part of the journey towards true racial equity.

  21. avatar

    ' I agree with some of what was posted about it – but one of our central points is that racism is now dysfunctional even for a market-based system'
    This statement is KEY!! Just like Jim Crow had to die because you can't be a world superpower touting "Freedom and Democracy" and having segregation and racial discrimination in your own backyard. Ergo the dawn of the "Civil Rights Movement." Well timed don't you think?

    Today, with the Techno-order, there's less need for physical angry undereducated bodies and more need for "innovation"..therefore the bodies that we all used up, must be dealt with, so why not put them in a system that creates jobs, prison industrial complexes and use the "underground" economy to get them there. Why not import a new crop of bodies who's second generation will join the Techno-order and push ideas of capitalism, and all the cultural ideas that made America (and Europe great), forward?

    • avatar

      This evening I was tweeting with @ArriannaMarie about the recent finding that there are 1.5 million more poor in suburbs than central cities (http://bit.ly/chyXaC). This lead into a dialogue about racial and economic segregation and how suburbia is the new face of poverty- given the lifetime of debt homeowners take on…We ended up talking about the irrationality of capitalism and how it is cannibalizing this country.

      Now, I haven't read the next chapter yet and my familiarity with economics is so-so. I fundamentally agree that these structural deficiencies in equity and the disparities that they generate is a clear and present danger to the future of our country. However, the assumption, is that equity is a desirable outcomes. Equity is not a value of this country. Some might even assert that America is a plutocracy and has pretty much always been and that democracy is more an illusion than anything else. There are many content to leave the majority of the population behind. Hasn't the Western world gotten its wealth off of pimping the entire Southern Hemisphere? Exploitation and dysfunction can make a select few very rich.

  22. avatar

    So "diversity," like democracy, nationalism, patriotism, racism, etc. is an illusion, the hole instead of the donut maintained by a few (?) to promote their agenda of "equity" disparity? Do they all have universal appeal because they all cater to our "base" intelligence? One that is not promoted by education today?

  23. avatar

    The unique history that African-Americans share with their counter-part, white Americans has been one that has not been shared by any other group in America. African-Americans did not choose to come to this country willingly like most other groups. Our ancestors were stripped of all of their identity. Their names , language, customs, beliefs were taken away and they were denied any opportunity to be educated to the language (English), opportunity to learn how to read or learn math, etc. We were seen as chattel, and for the most part that was what we were, a people in a strange land with little or no understanding of what would be our destiny. As slaves many times our children were taken away from us and never seen again. So, I can only imagine that for the most part many slaves did not form too close of a bond when it came to their children. The breaking up of family through a system called slavery was cruel and took centuries to almost completely destroy the black family and how African-Americans relate to one another. By reading 'The Autobiography of Fredrick Douglass', a clear picture is given to us as to how we were thought of and how we were treated. America had the harshes and cruelest slave system in the world and no other people on earth treated slaves as cruel as the slaves were treated here in America.
    Although, slavery was abolished in 1865, slavery continued for many years after that. It was perpetrated by the klu klux klan, and psychologically, and physically kept many blacks terrorized. When I think about these autrocities that my ancestors went through I can only be thankful that they survived the ordeal and that I am very proud to be an African American. I don't think any other race could have ever survived what African-Americans went through for that length of time. (you're talking at least four centuries). What could we have accomplished if we had been seen as human?
    Latinos and Asians were allowed to keep their language, their customs, and their beliefs, they were never looked upon as non-human. They didn't have a law that was written about them declaring them three-fourths of a man. They may have had to work for little money in this country, but not to have any money and expect to survive and flourish was outrageous. Latinos and Asians were allowed to keep their own foods and allowed to eat and cook what they had grown accustom to eating, while blacks were given scraps from the 'masters' table and had to make do the best they could, which, today many African-Americans eat the same way our ancestors ate, because this is what they were give to survive on. Many of us know no better. Many of us don't know what languages our ancestors spoke so many centuries ago. Many of us don't know what country in Africa we came from. Our dress is the dress of what America has chosen for us. The holidays and celebrations are celebrations that we grew to understand and become accustomed.
    Latinos celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and the Day of the Dead , for example, which has been celebrated by them for many years. Asians have their own New Year celebration in February, they have countries that they identify with and families that are still located in their homeland. But, I believe that the respect for one another can only grow out of knowing the history of our cultures and educating ourselves about our different cultures and our experiences that are prevalent here in America.

    • avatar

      "Latinos and Asians were allowed to keep their language, their customs, and their beliefs, they were never looked upon as non-human"
      And the European American must be careful not to openly offend, to any great degree, these people because they also are connected to a country other than the U.S. of A. They have on some level "international" clout. African Americans are at the mercy of the European in America because what African country can we claim? What African country has some SERIOUS international clout?

    • avatar

      I think it is about time to halt the politics of identity and start the politics of action. I still bear the name of the tribe where my forefathers came from. However, it is the future what should really count. After all, the future last longer than the past. Let's move on and work for what -we believe- is rigthfully ours.

  24. avatar

    1. The black-white paradigm persists because skin color, and sometimes other physical features, are the means by which those who discriminate make distinctions, and black & white provide the greatest visual contrast. By contrast a ¾ Latino with a white non-Latino paternal grandfather, non-Latino names, and more Spanish than Mayan/Incan/etc. in their Latino ancestors, may be perceived as white, and not set off the triggers of bigots. R.R. y Sanchez’s remarks were on target.

    2. The use of broad black/Latino/Asian/white categories is understandable, though destructive. People of color who encounter discrimination from a white person doesn’t ask whether they are an English/Irish/Italian/Polish/Etc-American, but see them as white. Similarly, the white bigot categories people of color as black/Latino/Asian, because they see no differences within each category, on which they overlay stereotypes.

    White/European American may also work as shorthand because of extensive intermarriage among European-Americans over 300+ years. It is possible that 80-90% of whites have at least one grandparent (by blood) who came from a different ethnic background than the others, and a substantial majority of white Americans may have 3 or more European ethnicities in their background, in effect white amalgamated Americans? Has any demographic analysis been done on this aspect?
    Extensive intermarriage (a euphemism when applied to what happened during slavery) has apparently also occurred with “black”/African Americans over 300+ years. Even if most memories of region/ethnicity of origin within Africa had not been lost via slavery, centuries of intermarriage has in effect created black amalgamated Americans, who also incorporate white, native American & Latino components.
    On the other hand intermarriage may not have been as extensive within Latino and Asian-Pacific categories, though there has been intermarriage within Central/Latin American & Caribbean nations (Hispanic/native/black), but perhaps not among those nationalities/cultures in the U.S.? Side note: Central/South American/Caribbean natives, were either exterminated, or lost substantial parts of their cultures & languages during the centuries of Spanish/Portuguese colonial rule, and subsequent rule by Hispanic elites.

    However, the problem with categories is that too many continue to primarily perceive people as members of a group, rather than challenging that bad habit, and creating/adopting a new habit of initially & primarily perceiving us as individuals, resisting categorization into groups.
    It is only as we get to perceive and get to know people as individuals, that we have a chance to see what we have in common, as well as our differences, and are better able to see the world, and disparate treatment through the eyes of others.

    • avatar

      1. The black white paradigm exist because its use is effective to maintain a homogeneous white group thereby having a tool for control as well as distraction and destabilization.

      2. But if you have a group that is constructed as "white", which takes on a nationalism in place of ethnicity, does ethnicity really matter as far as control is concerned or treatment of the cultural "other?"

      3. I would argue in Nature, "individualism" doesn't exist, that Nature has modeled itself in groups for survival purposes. Individualism is a social construction which was derived from the same world view that gave us capitalism, nationalism, patritorism, racism, etc.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.