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  • Kilaha

    Thanks for the article Katz. It's GOOD to know that somebody outside of the main "minority" circle can see that much has changed but much has not. There are some events, actions and proclamations in this country that imply we are post-racial, but there are also colossal events and actions that prove we are far from being post-racial. Trayvon Martin was one of a number of key indicators of this. The Romney campain/circus was another. Perhaps that term is some sort of psychological trick to get people to believe it before it's actually happening so that it would happen? I don't know, but that "post-racial" term needs to be laid to rest until the hearts of people are truly void of a supremacist perspective. Many (not just in the U.S. but globally) truly believe in their hearts that "white is right", and that there is a racial ranking or protocol. There IS a racial ranking - but only because much of the world has believed that lie for so long and cooperated with it. It's a mind-set that needs to be demolished...by any means necessary.

    • persuasive

      A bigot is not necessarily a racist though it increases that likelihood. Your last four words "...by any means necessary." may indicate an inclination to partake in a similar mindset of determining peoples hearts based on a differing opinion to that of your own. I strongly discourage the practice. www.couragetolaugh.com

      • Kilaha

        What I mean by "...by any means necessary." is to use all channels of outreach to make truth known. The truth i'm referring to is that we are all created equal and should think as such. That basic truth is not received or realized by all and is part of the cause of destruction and oppression.

        • persuasive

          Truth is to one person what it may not be to another. Freewill leads each to their own truth which may in effect be far from the universal truth of equality in the eyes of a loving creator. My truth tends in one such direction while others may and often will tend toward an entirely other direction. Life circumstances can and will get in the way as to the circumstances for poverty for instance or an environmental channel that funnels one toward criminality perhaps. The causes of racism are manipulated by many compelling issues. Even our current president here in the USA, through words and actions as well as instances of inaction has failed to bridge the divide for so many when given the opportunity to lead from the front rather than allowing himself to be dragged to the rear by the politics of party loyalty. Your last statement is one I can get behind, however it also goes to individual, or self-oppression, and the heightened probability of the destruction of their soul.

          • Kilaha

            Truth is truth regardless of who recognizes or agrees with it. That's the nature of truth - it is what it is regardless of any person's perception or attempts at it's manipulation. I agree the causes of manipulation are many, but I believe the root of those causes is the belief that some humans are inferior to others and should be treated as such. I don't believe our President can bridge the great divide of races by himself while tending to other vital issues that this country is facing. We the people must make it happen with whatever tools or opportunities we have. His time in office might be the most opportunistic time for the people to make an impact. Perhaps we should capitalize on his time in office to make real progress in the area of racial equality.

            • persuasive

              To believe in ones own truth will lead to an uncertain future somewhere along the path for one who is searching out and verifying that truth. Only outright ignorance can mask one from such uncertainty; that and succumbing to the path of un-righteousness. Faith in other than ourselves alone can/will bridge the divide that separates each one of us from the other and more importantly, oneself from the Truth. There is no better time than the present moment and who is or isn't in office does not matter; though one more president has relinquished an opportunity to set a collegial tone. My work in this area is riddled with defects that reveal my sincere assessment of our common difficulties and potential strengths. www.couragetolaugh.com. An old work by C. S. Lewis, which a dear friend of mine put into my hands recently, gets to a clearly comprehendible deduction for this dodging of the truth you tend to speak of. The Screwtape Letters is the book which is most excellent itself, but the back of the book has an added essay by C. S. Lewis: Screwtape Proposes a Toast. It can be read in short order by a quick internet search and for free. What a bargain these days. I hope it will give you something to ponder.

    • William L. Katz

      Trayvon Martin's murder proved even pro-violence bigotry still has its adherents, and rewards. The income gap between people of color and whites, the gap in a decent education, the incarceration rate, stop and frisk and a host of other "normal" parts of US society prove we are far from a level playing ground. The claim we are post-racial is meant to stop or slow the demand for justice and equality promised by our Declaration of Independence. This inspiring statement was drawn up when enslaved people of color could only find liberty by fleeing the posses sent out to recapture them by the Patrick Henrys, Thomas Jeffersons and Gerorge Washingtons.

  • Tim Fromla

    I enjoy the fact that people say: I AM COLORBLIND. Uh, when I work with my DRUUMM (Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries) within my Unitarian Universalist denomination, I see: blacks, Asians, Hispanic, native Americans, Hispanic and yes white folks. How in the Hell am I colorblind? Post racial? Lets see,:

    Hate crimes against Muslims only escalating 10 years after 9/11
    http://www.arabamericannews.com/news/index.php?mod=article&cat=Community&article=6246

    And

    Pasadena Police: Most juvenile arrests initiated by residents, not officers
    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20131215/pasadena-police-most-juvenile-arrests-initiated-by-residents-not-officers

    And

    More Disclosures About Stop-and-Frisk
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/opinion/more-disclosures-about-stop-and-frisk.html?_r=0

    Are we TRULY colorblind? Are we truly post racial when both civilians and law enforcement are oppressing minorities because...well, because they are minorities? Many may say: well I'm not a racist. But what are you doing to prevent this? Nothing? It's not your problem?

    To quote Fr Niemoller: and change it a bit

    First they came for the blacks, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not black

    Then they came for the Hispanic, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not Hispanic.

    Then they came for the people of color, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a person of color.

    Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Then another sore point is the title: minority. In California, the white are the minority, because the Hispanics are the majority. Well, the terminology "minority" is NOT about population but political representation and speaking about population:

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

    Black: Black or African American alone, percent, 2012 (a) 13.1%
    Hispanic: Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2012 (b) 16.9%
    White folks: White alone, percent, 2012 (a) 77.9%

    Like I said, the terminology minority is not population, but according to the census, we are a "minority" population wise and both population and politically, whites are the majority...so much for being post-racial.

    • Rhianna O'Reilly

      THANK YOU. Saying "I'm colorblind" is not only willful ignorance, it's perpetuating racism by not acknowledging/celebrating important differences.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Great insight. Wondering how you're starting the conversation with your community of DRUUMM?

      • Tim Fromla

        By networking with fellow DRUUMM members nationwide...worldwide too. We have members in Canada too

        • Alessandra Rizzotti

          That's a fantastic member base. What do your networking events look like? Are they structured around themes?

      • Tim Fromla

        Too bad there is no edit function and thank you

        • William L. Katz

          Thank you again for your perceptions. Isn't this kind of an exchange a form of editing?

  • Karen Sullivan

    Should I insist all men living before women were allowed to vote (or have any independent thought) are sexists? Should I continue to hold the entire country of Great Britain accountable for starving my Irish grandmother and family? Should I refuse to recognize the culture of ancient Egypt because they had slaves? People are tired of the blame game, tired of talking about rejection of interracial couples when I don't know one intelligent person who would speak out against interracial relationships in principal. This article is quite irrelevant to the situation in USA ghettos - where leaders are indeed still blaming men like President Taft et al for the chaos there that has produced too many children with absent fathers, gangsta values, and junk food for dinner. What more can one do? A new discussion, including also the great strides made by yes - the vast majority of European Americans, to reject the racism our parents inherited, but did not pass on to us.

    • AnneLikesRed

      Karen: If one benefits from institutional racism or sexism, centuries in the making, but does nothing to effect change in the system, then one is indeed culpable. Ask not who is to blame, ask what you can do to make right in the world. We can all do something. If everyone who "isn't a racist or sexist" did SOMETHING, think how much actual progress we could make!

      Mr Katz: Thank you for the article. Awareness is the first step.

    • William L. Katz

      Perhaps we can agree to change things so all can be treated fairly? I would also hope that the government of Great Britain has already made an apology to the Irish people who undoubtedly suffered for many decades after their being relegated to less than human status and treatment. It is not a matter of the blame game, but recognizing that oppression has lasting consequences, depending on the type and duration, and the descendants of oppressors, though innocent have a chance level the playing field rather than scoffing at the complaints of those who saw generations held down a worse.

      • Kilaha

        Agreed -- it's not about blaming but about recognizing the long lasting consequences of racism/prejudice (even current perpetuation of it) and leveling the playing field via every channel of inclusion possible (media, employment, etc.)

  • Richard Starr

    It's not whether or not individuals are racist, there will always be those
    that choose to believe the world is flat, but whether or not society as whole
    has rejected the concept that an individual should be judged by their character
    as opposed to some physical characteristic.

    The problem is, what do we do with the lingering effects upon racial groups?
    There are segments of various groups that have had their culture altered to
    such an extent by government policies that it will take quite some time to undo
    them. Ironically, many of the policies were created with the stated intention
    of "fixing" the problem. I say stated because often policies are put in place for
    other reasons.

    Consider the welfare state. It was intended to lift people out of poverty, but it
    actually ended up destroying the family unit by giving a monetary incentive to
    NOT be married to the father of one's children. Affirmative action raised the
    suspicions that individuals were getting jobs or access to certain scare public
    services not by merit of need or ability, but primarily due to the color of their
    skin. Etc.

    We are close to being there. Ironically, if white voters had voted based on skin
    color in the same way black voters had (based on surveys of their motives)
    Obama would never had become President. So even if you eliminate racism
    from one segment of the populace it does guarantee it won't linger in other parts.

    • William L. Katz

      White voters did largely vote against Obama but not as solidly as they had against Democrats in the past, and it was the outpouring of young voters of all colors, and voters of color generally that carried him to
      victory.

      • Richard Starr

        What, there are no young white people?
        My point was simply that if 93% of white people had voted
        for McCain/Romney the way Black people voted then he would
        not have won.

        Based on the nearest 2 elections prior to Obama, where race was identical for both main parties, the change in white voting based on race is small.
        41% Kerry in 2004
        43 % Obama in 2008
        39% Obama in 2012
        I'm guessing the drop in white votes might have to do with
        the state of the country and the job he was doing.

        Not much difference really.
        Black voters however went
        from 88% Kerry to 95% Obama
        And actually rose to 96% in 2012 despite the worsening
        situation for most Black voters. A rally around the flag
        situation.

  • redbull

    I do think the concept of "race" itself has fallen greatly in stature, thanks to specific individuals such as Ashley Montague and to anthropologists in general. The concept was formed prior to modern genetics and it's pseudo-scientific fractions (1/8th black) and talk about "blood" do not map easily to our contemporary understanding of DNA. The "five races of man" (or was it seven) was a convenient snap shot of geographical correlations of attributes evolved over geological time, but essentially the same shared genome does it all in the sense that we're a single species, highly adaptable. However, despite this deterioration in meaning, "race" and its accompanying concepts are still a tool of oppression (their primary purpose, never actual science) and a source of confusion. On the most recent US census, Hispanics found they were no longer a race, whereas many thought they had been. Given there's no strong scientific underpinning for the idea, it's not surprising that the concept continues to mislead and delay (retard) our collective genius.

    • William L. Katz

      Yes, race has been a destructive, non-scientific concept that has always been used to lock in some people and lock out others. But one of the ways out is to level the playing field, so not just the children of wealthy Alumni, an example of affirmative action, are easily admitted to college, is to open the doors wide to those who want to go, have the stuff, and can't afford it.

  • Raphael Sperry

    Thanks for sharing that Washington Post quote. It's amazing to see someone defend the right of people to reject interracial couples, biracial children, and lesbians as "not part of their country at all," and then claim not to be racist. Understanding our history more accurately is essential to challenging this kind of narrow-mindedness and building a future of tolerance.

    • William L. Katz

      Our history is full of examples -- that did not make it into our textbooks and curricula -- that show how white special privilege for whites was built in everyday life and success, and carried forth for generations after slavery ended.

  • marvinlzinn

    This is all ridiculous! Why can't we just erase all race reference on all documents? If I filled out the census form I would certainly refuse mark it. And Black/white are NOT races, but colors! I never in my life and work in 20 countries ever saw one person either of those colors.

    (Anyway, since President Obama was only 50% negro and 50% caucasian, I voted for 100% negro Herman Cain. But that had nothing to do with his race, just his proven business success and false accusations.)

    • William L. Katz

      It is not about erasing race references from documents at this point, though this is the way to proceed once racism has been reversed in schools, prisons, professions and so on. We have to deal with the living legacies, the harm it has inflicted on people who were never held in chains, but denied a decent education, job training and well paying work.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Thanks for the information on Taft- I had no idea. Interesting to see the history juxtaposed with current issues. How can we effectively start the conversation with people like Cohen who see us as a post-racial America? Or here's an even harder ask- how can we change mindsets of racist groups by starting the conversation effectively?

    • William L. Katz

      Yes, the past is with us, or as William Falukner said, it isn't even past!

    • Fera Schoen

      Racist groups have as good a chance changing your mind about this issue as you do changing theirs. They shouldn't be the target for any honest attempt at an open discussion they have no interest in confronting psychologically. It's the people in the middle who haven't formed a solid opinion on the matter either way who need to be persuaded/informed. Trying to change the minds of racist groups is as futile as trying to convert a die-hard athiest or scientist to a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible--it has little to no chance of success without mental instability being involved.
      The most effective way to persuade someone is persistence coupled with respect. Don't try to change their worldview--that mostly just makes people defensive and then recoil back into themselves--just try to have a conversation with them, no goals attached. People on the fence will be open to that conversation. Those who have already committed themselves to intolerance won't be--they'll be too busy trying to persuade you to their point of view to even listen to what you're saying, if they're willing to speak with you at all.

      • William L. Katz

        Respect is a thoughtful way to proceed. I find of among many of whom I have spoken to in schools, including teachers, are proceeding from what they have learned in our education system -- which is that people of color did not make history so white people had to do it. Misinformation is rampant and has to be dealt with carefully for it forms the backbone of many entrenched bigots who merely think they are being American.

      • Sharon Kelly

        Very compelling points regarding attempts at changing one's view regarding race - especially if they have have been taught such ideologies at an early age.
        Another way to counteract such ingrained views is through education; also to be coupled with respect as you have stated. Information coupled with evidence is the best way to enlighten those whose world views are assumptions that are mainly created from an apparent lack of facts.

      • zaji

        Brilliant assessment.