Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Race Matters

Interesting article from Time.

"...a groundbreaking new study on whiteness and race relations by University of Minnesota sociologists shows that whites in the U.S. are far more conscious of being white--and the privileges it brings--than was believed."

Other highlights:
-- a stunning proportion of whites--77%--say their race has a distinct culture that should be preserved

-- Blacks do see more racism in society than whites but, contrary to stereotype, seem disinclined to blame the system for their disadvantage.

-- "Whites have invented subtle ways to convince themselves that race isn't a problem in America."

***
I'll tell you something, I do believe we live in a racist institution. And that's never going to change. It's part of the human condition.

While whites may certainly want to shrug off any notion that they may harbor racist feelings, I'll call my brothers and sisters of color to task by saying that they propagate racism too. By refusing to join the mainstream, by not making the system work for them, many Blacks and Hispanics have become a spectacle of ethnic pride. Here's what I mean: the young Puerto Rican guy (shut it, I'm half Puerto Rican, I can make this observation) with an oversized jersey and a beaded necklace of the Puerto Rican flag who can barely speak Spanish and gets by on hood-speak is as much of an embarassment to my culture as he is an eyesore to some white American as he is a future headache for everyone. Because that kid probably doesn't value education and self improvement as much as broadcasting his ethnicity and snubbing his nose at "the system."

Ethnic pride, it seems, is a cause championed by mediocre people. White culture isn't going anywhere. Latino culture isn't going anywhere. But culture is definitely taking a nosedive.

People refuse to open themselves up to change, growth and improvement. Instead they cling to the very little they know, to the small world they live in, to form an identity.

And that's very sad. That kind of thinking foments hate, foments crime, and it sets back the good work of decent Americans who do the right thing daily by themselves, their families and their country.

5 comments:

ThatGayConservative said...

(shut it, I'm half Puerto Rican, I can make this observation)

You should read White Guilt by Shelby Steele.

Adam said...

I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but not everything. I feel a lot of "ethnic pride" so far as someone of such mixed ethnicity can feel it. I feel it precisely because I feel that losing my heritage (which is the basis of ethnicity) to current "culture" would be a far worse nose-dive than clinging to those things which made my parents and grandparents what they were. I think what you may be referencing is not actual culture or heritage, however, but a parody thereof. When people don't really know where it is they come from or what it is that made them who they are, there is a tendency to invent it.

Anonymous said...

"whites in the U.S. are far more conscious of being white--and the privileges it brings--than was believed."

I don't even know how to respond.

When every day of your life, in books, magazines, TV, and art, you are told that whites only have privledges because they're white, they might eventually think it too. You're never allowed to forget you're white, so you should have nothing to complain about.

Let's face it, its has been a constant drum beat for about 40 years. What else are whites supposed to think after all this time? That's the only explanation we've been allowed to accept.

Brytta said...

Sorry, that wasn't Anonymous, that was me, Brytta

GayConservativeLiberal said...

Adam, thanks for the comment. I, too, have ethnic pride and you're right, my point is that pride has become a joke, an excuse even, for people to not achieve their full potential. "I'm Puerto Rican and proud and the man can't handle that."

Make sense?

Brytta, your argument is a chicken/egg quandry. Whatever came first, white entitlement or a system of "remorse" that blames and exults whites at the same time, the issue is that the U.S. is very much a black/white society. I grew up hearing "if you ain't white you ain't right" more than I care to remember.