Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blind to Racism

**language warning...I'm quoting some offensive terms here. I won't sugar-coat the offensiveness of the terms, because people should be shocked when they hear it, and shouldn't try to make things nicer than they really are.**

It's hard to tell if people contemplate the irony of the things they say or realize, after they have said them, how ridiculous they sound.

A Boston police officer who sent a mass e-mail referring to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. as a "banana-eating jungle monkey" has apologized, saying he's not a racist.
and
"I regret that I used such words," Barrett told CNN affiliate WCVB-TV. "I have so many friends of every type of culture and race you can name. I am not a racist."
later in the article:
Barrett used the "jungle monkey" phrase four times, three times referring to Gates and once referring to Abraham's writing as "jungle monkey gibberish."
from Barrett's attorney
"Officer Barrett did not call professor Gates a jungle monkey or malign him racially," Marano said. "He said his behavior was like that of one. It was a characterization of the actions of that man."
Where to start?

How can a person use a term like "jungle monkey" and seriously believe it has no racial implications? I would venture to say that it is highly doubtful that Barrett has ever used that term in describing white people whom he has arrested, or considered arresting. It's a racially charged term.

Officer Barrett is not alone in his I'm-not-racist-because-I-have-black/ethnic-friends attitude. Many people seem to think that merely knowing someone of a different ethnicity, and being friendly and civil to them, constitutes an impervious shield against accusations of racism. Perhaps, they equate being racist with lynchings and segregation, things they would never be involved in, so having contempt in the way they speak about people seems like no big deal compared to the severity of what has occurred in America's past.

My father was a terribly racist person. It was difficult to have any conversation with him that touched on race in any way. It usually resulted in him saying outrageous things and me futilely trying to make him be reasonable. After a while, he would revert to the "two kinds of black people" argument, which consisted of saying that there were Niggers and there were black people. Some black people were hunky-dory, normal, upstanding people, all the others were animals or Niggers. (I only use those terms to relate what really is said by some people, not because I endorse using those terms. I recognize how offensive they are and cringe to even relate them.)

Of course, my dad only ever seemed to encounter Niggers, and never seemed to know any of these normal black people which he insisted existed. They must have lived in some mythical land far away from him.

I'm not proud of my dad's attitudes. I found it disgusting and always hated any time the conversation veered into the realm of race. With his "two kinds of black people" defense, my dad assured himself that he wasn't really racist.

When I read Barrett's comments, I hear my father's drivel and justifications for being an offensive jerk.

My dad is an extreme example of the prejudice lurking just under the surface of some people. He possessed no filter between what he thought and what he said. For many other people, the same sort of contempt and negative attitude toward minorities isn't expressed so bluntly and strongly. I remember my mother telling me when I was a young girl that black people were dirty and didn't keep their houses clean. My mother was a neat-freak, so this was a damning statement in her eyes.

What's funny is that I had a black friend in college who would say the same things about white people; that they were dirty and didn't keep their houses clean. I think it's fair to say that either race has equal numbers of messy and clean people. I'll remain silent about which one of those categories I fall into....though I prefer the term "lived-in" to messy.

My mother would also say that she wasn't racist. She did have black friends and was, by far, more tolerant than my father could ever think of being but her family was mostly Southern and harbored definite prejudices towards minorities, some of which rubbed off on her.

It is interesting to note that the "I have black friends" defense, which is supposed to convince us that Crowley or Barrett are innately free from prejudice, can go both ways. Gates is genetically bi-racial, was married to a white woman for 25 years, has children who are bi-racial, and is currently married to another white woman. However, many people who claim that Gates was racist in his statements wouldn't accept his relationships as proof that he wasn't.

Our attitudes go deeper and can be subtle, or blunt, while we simultaneously engage in relationships with other people. My father was my father. He was a racist jerk sometimes...many times, but he was still my father. Officer Barrett may be "friends" with people from many different ethnicities, but it doesn't discount his words and attitudes. A person can concurrently be friendly with a group of people while also looking down upon them or having a certain contempt for their background.

I do wonder how many "friends" Barrett will have after they discover what he's written. I predict a sudden shrinking of his circle of diverse "friendships".

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your dad was right. There are two types of black folks as Chris Rock points out: Their are black people and there are niggers and the niggers got to go! You love these people so much move to Africa or the ghetto.

terri said...

I always like how spineless people with disgusting things to say never use their real name or profile to say them.

mslaura said...

For anonymous
Why do we have to go to Africa? Do you not realize that white people live in Africa as well! And people that are born in Africa and become American citizens are actually African American. You are an idiot.

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely appalled, but, unfortunately, not surprised by the remarks of that Boston police officer. I think he did all of us a favor by stating his true feelings. He should be severely reprehended for his email and immediately ordered to racial sensitvity training, put on probation and monitored for 24 or so months in his job related duties.
It is obvious he harbors deeply-rooted racial animus and is a ticking time bomb to commit a similar or worse offense as Crowley.

While I whole-heartedly support police officers in the difficult and often under appreciated work they do, they have no right to assume a holier than thou attitude about citizens they encounter in their work. Police officers are public servants, for Christ's sake, whose salaries are paid by those of us they look down upon under the guise of law enforcement. This is another national discussion that needs to take place.

Odai said...

Wow, poster #1, it takes guts to leave anonymous racial slurs [/sarcasm]

Ignoring the troll, it's interesting that Gates was married to two white women, and yet it's the officers employing the relationship argument (which is faulty anyway). Why did I never hear about his white wives in the MSM? I'm wondering if outlets like CNN, and of course Fox, aren't skewing the story to look better for Crowley? I've decided to remain neutral on the subject until more info arises, but maybe I should get that info from less mainstream sources.

CARICE said...

No wonder he decided to post anonymously. Hiding behind the computer are we? However, it doesn't hide your ignorance. And what do you call a neighborhood full of lower incomed white people just out of curiousity? Where should they go? Back to ... feel free to fill in the blank Mr. Anonymous.

CARICE said...

P.S: I find it amazing how AFTER someone gets busted for racial slurs, no matter what color the person is that said it; they always like to throw in that they have friends of all races or they work with them or are neighbors ... Like that makes a difference after the fact. If that is true, good luck keeping those friends and/or trying to find a way to justify using the slurs at all.

sophia said...

Glad to see your parents having rubbed off on you. I think both parties in this issue should have stepped back a minute. Police officers(many)have nasty attitudes.
If that officer came there with an attitude I'm sure Gates got defensive. As any one would! Seems like someone there would have stepped in and calmed things down.
Just because you have black/white friends doesn't mean you can't be racist. One has nothing to do with the other. Maybe this meeting today will calm things down some. But there still need to ba a coversation regarding racism in America. We can't be role models to other countries acting like this. To officer Barrett. I'm not sure if he needs to be fired but some time,off like 2 months without pay will make him think the next time he writes an email in angry. And to that idiot blogger
"Anonymous said" Go play in traffic during New Yorks rush hour. That should take care of you!

Andrew said...

There are definitely two types of black people. My friends in my college classes and other upstanding hardworking individuals all over the country, those are black people.

The guy in corn rows, riding a BMX bike in overly baggy shorts, a Tall T with a chain around his neck, "hollering" cat calls at my girlfriend while I'm standing right next to her... That is a nigger. Try living in a shit hole city if you have never experienced the difference.

terri said...

Andrew

Right. And there aren't any white/hispanic/asian people who act in both of those ways.

The problem with the "two kinds of black people" argument is that most people who use it never seem to know any of those "good" black people.

It's a way to say "I'm not racist, so the vile things I'm saying can't be used against me...after all I did say "some" black people are OK."

Maurice said...

It amazes me people are still using "I have black friends" line... What is still being over looked is the police officer falsified the police report to include black men with back packs.. the lady who made the 911 call verified that.. He is still a crooked cop to me

Andrew said...

Oh there are definitely white people that act like complete low lifes. I'm sure Chris Rock would refer to them as white trash or rednecks though.

Its like that with every race though. When you judge people by the content of their character that seperation will always happen. Problem is a comedian hasn't coined the joke about that seperation for every race yet.

ajazzlover said...

The Boston Police Officer that used the so-called "non" racial terms obviously is a racist and as others have said having friends of all persuasions does not make one in itself clean and free of that cancer. There should be a national debate on racism that involves asking all kinds peoples of America their true beliefs in race and why they feel as they do. This should include people from the everyday man and woman to the President. Until all sides understand what actually occurred in the past, its inherent repercussions, and the realization that we must heal as a nation, we are only fooling ourselves that racism either does not exist or is minimal in its scope today.

Bryan said...

Why are police officers allowed to arrest people on false charges? Regardless of race, Crowley said it happened in a public space. It was on private property, and in someone's home. Similarly they lied in the report and said it happened in a public space. I'd like to see these officers charged with violating some sort of ethics code, or even faslifying public documents. They should all be canned.

terri said...

Andrew

You're contradicting yourself. If something is true for every race, then it isn't racial behavior.

You'd be better off saying "some people are jerks"....An obvious statement to most people in the world.

The very fact that you reference how someone looked with how they behaved, and specifically with what race they were, is evidence that you do think there is an inherent racial element to their bad/tacky behavior.

Otherwise...why mention any of those things?

Why not think, that person acted like a jerk instead of that black person acted like a jerk?

Andrew said...

Oh I was just giving it in refernce to the Chris Rock joke. Of course it happens in all races and you don't have to be a certain race to be a douche bag. The joke wouldn't have been funny if there wasn't truth to it.

Betsy Young said...

I blame this on the education system where schoolbooks don't teach our country's (racist and sexist) history, teachers aren't allowed to talk about race or racism or anything where anybody can share their experiences or an opinion, and critical thinking and compassion is ignored and discouraged. Our children are trained to become robots and so of course they absorb any crap that comes their way without a 2nd thought. Even parents who do know are kept too busy with sometimes 2 jobs each, just to survive, to spend time with their children teaching them these things. So how could this officer not know that "jungle monkey" was a historically racist term? Because he did not LEARN about it!!!

Bill said...

It is a shame that this police officer chose to express his frustration in an ignorant manner. I grew up during the civil rights moment and remember what names were used to describe Americans of color. History has shown us that hurtful names are not limited to race. I am speaking of African Americans, Latin Americans, Jewish, Irish Polish, Oriental... Maybe we should take the ethnic names out of the mix. We are all Americans. That should be what we are first.
As long as we have things like separate colleges, college funds, TV stations, beauty contests, etcetera we perpetuate the separation of all races.
With that said, there is a point of constitutional law in this story that in my uneducated opinion is being over looked. Whatever happened to the first amendment. If the latest rapper can call whites honkies and crackers, and his female friends bitch and ho's, and worst of all his boys niggers, then this Cop can express his ignorance as well. He did write an editorial email to a paper and those he had on his mailing list. Does he not have the same rights as other American's. I do not agree with his message, in fact it sickens me. I do think even he has the right to voice such ignorance. Think of it as ensuring the same freedom for us all.

terri said...

Bill

I agree with your statement about freedom of speech.

I'm not sure about firing Barrett over this...especially if he did it on his own time and dime. I think that his records should be scrutinized and that if he stays employed with the police dept., they need to keep a close eye on him.

He has damaged his own career. Trying to make his fellow police officers, and the public he deals with, trust him again in racially charged situations will take quite some time.

That's in some ways better than firing him. Keeping him employed but on a short leash may at least give him an opportunity to think about his attitude.

johnrj08 said...

I think there is growing concern right now about a wave of reverse racism and racial intimidation. People want racial harmony, but what they’re seeing is a new kind of racial bias emerging. I was reminded of this fact as I watched news reports of this incident wedged in between CNN’s multiple airings of “Black in America”. This, on the heels of the media’s canonization of Michael Jackson. In Los Angeles, white parents can’t even get their children into charter schools because African-American applicants are being awarded extra “points” just for being black. We need to be honest enough with each other that these kinds of inequalities don’t resurface in new forms as a de facto comeuppance or retributive mindset which will create even more racial tension in our society.

James said...

This cop should be fired. There is no way to defend his language — it is racism.

Many, including myself, believe that Sgt. Crowley is not racist. Instead, he was simply doing his job. If we let this obviously racist cop off the hook, though, it simply adds fuel to the fire for those who believe that all cops are racist and nobody holds them accountable for it.

Accountability is the key issue here. It is sad to see that Prof. Gates has never taken any personal accountability for his role in the now much bally-hooed incident. It’s also sad to see that more people within the black community haven’t called for Gates to be accountable for his actions. We need more self-policing within our respective communities to make the other community feel as though we are working together. We white people know that we’re not as racist as many black people think we are. Yet wouldn’t we just be feeding into that misconsception if we don’t fire this clown of a cop who obviously is racist?

James said...

And for those arguing freedom of speech -- you are right that we have freedom of speech. You are free to say what you want, but you must understand that there can be reprecussions for it. I can call my boss a fat slob, but I'll likely get fired for it.

Nobody is arguing that we should lock up this cop for what he said (thus he's free to say it), but this cop should be fired for it.

terri said...

James

Should people be fired for things they say when not working?
I'm not sure. In some ways Barret brought the police dept. into it by identifying himself as an officer...so perhaps that could be grounds for firing him. But, what if he hadn't?

What if he posted anonymously and someone outed who he was?

In that case, I'm not so sure about what the right action is.

The same part of me that is uncomfortable with firing someone because they hold repugnant views is the same part of me that is uncomfortable with Gates being arrested in his own home, after having proven his identity, just because he might have been obnoxious to Crowley.

Betsy Young said...

"I think there is growing concern right now about a wave of reverse racism and racial intimidation. People want racial harmony, but what they’re seeing is a new kind of racial bias emerging. I was reminded of this fact as I watched news reports of this incident wedged in between CNN’s multiple airings of “Black in America”. This, on the heels of the media’s canonization of Michael Jackson. In Los Angeles, white parents can’t even get their children into charter schools because African-American applicants are being awarded extra “points” just for being black. We need to be honest enough with each other that these kinds of inequalities don’t resurface in new forms as a de facto comeuppance or retributive mindset which will create even more racial tension in our society."

This is the perfect example of how our education system has failed us. That this poster is ignorant of our racist history and how it still continues and actually believes there is a "new bias" brewing. What the news media is saying about all this is absolutely tame compared to what the reality actually is! Absolutely ridiculous (I say as a white person who is lucky enough to have gotten some decent education in history).

Louise Schmidt said...

The difference between Barrett and "rappers" and whomever else people want to point out for saying racist or sexist things: Barrett is a public servant who is DIRECTLY accountable for his actions - including when he identifies himself as a public servant on his free time - to us taxpayers! Unlike rappers and other people in the spotlight. We can AND SHOULD demand that this officer be fired!

Andrew said...

So you don't see denying firefighters who passed an advancement test their earned promotions racism? The only reason that happened is because not enough "minorities" passed the same test. Props to the one that did but had the misfortune of getting grouped in with whitey when they decided to throw the tests out. The city feared that they would get sued due to civil rights violations.

Andrew said...

P.S. too bad they forgot racism goes both ways.

Louise Schmidt said...

I agree Betsy. "Reverse racism" is a complete myth. Blacks can't be "racist" against whites because they don't hold the power in this society (just because Obama is president doesn't change who holds the pursestrings - stockholders still do that). "Reverse racism" is just pure propoganda from the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, who are afraid that they and other rich white people will have to give up their 3rd and 4th homes so that we have a little equality in this "democratic" nation of ours.

Louise Schmidt said...

"So you don't see denying firefighters who passed an advancement test their earned promotions racism? The only reason that happened is because not enough "minorities" passed the same test...The city feared that they would get sued due to civil rights violations."

No - the test was racist! I'm white and if I took a test that was determined to be unfair then I would have no problem with my results being thrown out in the interest of fairness. I wouldn't want to get a job that way. Are you saying you would?!?! And people say that racism doesn't exist anymore.....wow....

Andrew said...

Oh really? Care to tell us how the test was racist. Just because minorities don't pass it in equal numbers to white does not make a test racist. Unless you can tell me exactly what questions are racist and why then you are just spouting off like an idiot.

James said...

Louise, you can use semantics regarding racism and say that only those that have power are racist. Most of us with common sense, however, prefer a more straight foward definition -- if you hate another group based on their race or if you think another group is in some way inferior based on their race, then you are a racist. It's really that simple.

With that being said, it's ridiculous to presume that black people can't be racist. And spare me the history lesson. I'm keenly aware of the atrocities that the white man has propagated on the black man. I also understand how many black people might think ill of white people based on that history, and may even want revenge as a result. That, however, does not make black people's racist feelings toward white people acceptable. To view them that way would simply create a double standard, cause white resentment, and would create an endless cycle of racism.

Louise Schmidt said...

"And spare me the history lesson. I'm keenly aware of the atrocities that the white man has propagated on the black man. I also understand how many black people might think ill of white people based on that history, and may even want revenge as a result."

But see, obviously you aren't aware. Because the most widespread and powerful (in statistics, not necessarily emotion) examples of racism are not attrocities, but simple and systematic laws like Jim Crow and voting registration discrimination from the past as well as policies like school segregation, the destroying of families through the racist child welfare system, and other policies that were DESIGNED to seperate and benefit one group over another, in the interest of maintaining money and power. THAT is the education and the truth you have not had. I feel sorry for all of us.

Louise Schmidt said...

"Last week, a Federal District Court ruled that Blacks and Hispanics were discriminated against in two entrance exams for the New York City Fire Department. The judge ruled that the tests, administered in 1999 and 2002, not only disproportionately failed non-white applicants, but did so by asking questions that had little or nothing to do with fighting fires....According to one constitutional law professor, the New York test was similar to others in big cities around the country, dealing with arcane firefighting details that only the children and grandchildren of firefighters would be familiar with – in other words, a kind of trivia for the families of firemen. Which is just the kind of test a bunch of white guys who want to put their relatives on the public payroll, would put together.
“The New York tests were designed to favor members of firefighting families.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is still in effect....The legal reasoning goes like this: if a test results in a disproportionate number of failures among Blacks or Hispanics, then it must be shown that the skills and knowledge being tested are necessary for doing the job. If not, then the test amounts to illegal discrimination....
The New York test was written and multiple-choice. The judge in the case found that multiple-choice tests could measure only about half the skills necessary to fight fires. The city’s own firefighting experts believe that oral comprehension and oral expression are the most important skills for firefighters on the scene, but the tests did not measure these oral skills..."

I agree with what one commentator said:

"Police and fire departments have remained disproportionately white, not because whites are inherently better at fighting fires and crime, but because the hiring and promotion systems have been rigged in their favor. The Civil Rights Act was designed to un-rig the system. That’s not reverse discrimination, that’s justice."

Louise Schmidt said...

By the way, obviously as a white person myself, I do not believe the ultimate answer is Black hatred and resentment for whites, but that we work together to overcome ALL the divisions that so many of us endure...racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, discrimination against people with disabilities, etc...against a corrupt history and governement that is only interesting in consolidating and maintaining resources in the hands of a few (whether they be white men or include a few token Blacks or women or other minorites that sell the rest of us out).

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Louise, you wrote: "THAT is the education and the truth you have not had."

Thanks for the condescending lesson, but I have a Master's in History. I was including all that under atrocities. Not just actual physcal atrocities.

You note that the policies you outlined were "DESIGNED to seperate and benefit one group over another." I agree. As I mentioned in my previous post, I understand why many black people carry resentment based on those policies. I probably would too.

There's a reason why we're discussing history, though. It's because those activities happened in the past. The greater white society has made an earnest effort to remedy those issues. All state sponsored policies that favor that white man are now unconstitutional, and affirmative action has been implemented as a means for previously discriminated minority candidates to have a fair chance. Open acts of racism by a white person are now scorned by a greater white scociety. As a result of these two seismic shifts we've now had a black President, black Supreme Court Justices, a black head of the RNC, a black Secretary of State, and a black head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The most famous person in sports is black (Tiger Woods), and the most famous person on TV is black (Oprah Winfrey). Progress has clearly been made and you're burying your head in the sand if you can't see it. More progress can be made but the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of white people are making that progress and are trying to ensure that other white people are doing the same.

Now if we step into the present day and examine your crtique of "policies designed to seperate", you're also kidding yourself if you do not believe that some are coming from the black community. It may not be policies per se, but there is a widespread mindset in the black community that white america is conspiring against them. We saw this in Rev. Wright's speeches. We saw this in Prof. Gates unfounded assertions of racism. And we even saw it in President Obama's choosing sides in the Gates matter while simultaneously admitting that he didn't know the facts. There is less attempt, at this point in history, to quell that mindset in the black community than there in the white community. If anything, this mindset is even endorsed and fostered in such institutions as the black church.

White people are trying to make an effort to do the right thing. They really are. That's difficult to do, though, when you see that your attempts are not being equally reciprocated. Afterall, we're all in this together.

Andrew said...

http://www.fireprep.com/new_york_firefighter_examinati1.html

A fire fighting exam that has to do with fire fighting? My god the horror of how discriminatory that is. There are books and web resources devoted to prepping people for these entrance tests and yet the judge sites statistics as his main argument for why the tests are discriminatory.

Try actually reading the court decision. His first line of reasoning is that because minorities are not equally represented, then there is discrimination in the hiring practice. I'm no statistics whiz but I know the first rule of statistics is that they do not prove a fact, but only offer a means to discover trends.

He then goes on to a round about reasoning of why the testing practices are discriminatory because of "arcane" fire fighting knowledge. Take a look at the practice test yourself and see if it is all useless knowledge. I found most of it to be very important including questions about such things as what hazard labels mean.

If people cannot be bothered to use the resources at their disposal to prepare for these tests that does not mean the tests are discriminatory.

Again the complaint was that a firefighting test had too many questions about fire fighting in it... absolutely ludicrous. I'm not going to go take the MCATs and complain because there are too many science questions in it.

Louise S said...

Andrew - you did not read my post very carefully if you're going to come back with this comment:

"Again the complaint was that a firefighting test had too many questions about fire fighting in it..."

Anonymous said...

WOW, this is just incredible!
First, Barrett should be fired. Period. Police departments have a stipulation in their hiring procedure that states that the officer must not have a negative impact on the department, while on-duty or off-duty. End of story. I would be very surprised if Officer Barrett does not get terminated.
Secondly, Professor Gates could have and should have handled the situation with the wisdom his schooling has afforded him, but chose not to. Instead, he chose to have a confrontation based on his perception of racism. Sgt. Crowley has PD defined procedures to follow when confronted with a belligerent person during an investigation, whether they are on private property or on public property, it doesn't matter.
I don't see yet where Sgt. Crowley "lied" about talking to a woman at the scene before continuing his investigation into a break-in... how does Sgt. Crowley KNOW if the woman he talked to was the caller? Perhaps he THOUGHT the woman he talked to was the caller, and simply made an error in identification? I am not saying he DID, I'm just suggesting what might have happened with the "woman in the written report". I'd like to hear more about his side of the story on that before I state emphatically that he is a "LIAR".
Louise Schmidt - and just HOW do you know that the test was racially biased? Did you take it or are you just spouting the minority rant, "It MUST be racist if minorities can't pass it". Where's your facts to back up what you are saying? You, ma'am, are a racist by stating that "only those in power can be racist". Since when does that (power) have anything at all to do with harboring racism in our thoughts and beliefs?
Terri - how do you know Professor Gates was married to 2 white women? Haven't heard that before...
Anonymous - stop posting on any website!
johnrj08 - I am unemployed right now and have run smack dab into reverse racism. Even the EEOC statement is rife with racism, "University Medical Center is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer". The term "Affirmative Action" means race IS a beneficiary factor in this hiring, therefore, the second half of the statement Equal Opportunity Employer is null and void based on the first statement (also known as reverse discrimination, because of the racial benefit of being of a certain race).
James - you are right on in your assessment of the situation.
Betsy Young - gosh, you must have been brought up in a segregated private school or something. If you go to any public high school today that is non-segregated you will find the black kids hanging with black kids and white kids hanging with white kids. Why? Because that's the way they want it.
Bill - free speech always has its price, don't kid yourself. Officer Barrett crossed the line and he knew it, hiding behind "free speech" on a blog is still not acceptable in his profession (see above reason).
Bryan - if Professor Gates was arrested on "false charges", why isn't he moving ahead with a "false arrest" lawsuit right this very moment? Fact is, the professor was being deliberately disorderly in order to make himself appear to the public around him that he was the "innocent bystander" in the situation. The fact of the matter is he was interfering in an investigation and could have very easily NOT have interfered if he had kept his dignity about him.
Sophia - you state "If that officer came there with an attitude", based on what information? What if Professor Gates was the one "with the attitude", is that different and OK?
Look, I have two sons that are police officers and I worry everyday that they will let down their guard and get killed because of that. We had an officer killed recently that "let his guard down" one time and he died because of it. So to all of you who think the police officer "could have handled it better", put yourself in their shoes for a minute and realize they have their very lives on the line each and every "call" they go out on.

Louise S said...

James - just becuase you have studied history in a university does not mean you KNOW history. In fact I had to unlearn a lot of the "history" I was fed at the university I went to. The grassroots is the best authority on what has actually happened in any society, not academics in their ivory towers. Also, it is a good step in the right direction to have a Black president (or judge or talk show host), but it means NOTHING if his policies still maintain the status quo and racist agenda. I don't care about silly things he may say about an isolated incident to a fellow rich Black scholar. Or what Rev. whoever says. What are the MAJORITY of Blacks, women, poor people, gay people, etc.. experiencing and having to deal with in this country?? For instance, if this new health plan does not address a new plan for ALL of us - specifically those who have fewer opportunities to fair healthcare such as minorities and those with disabilities like myself - rather than continuing to benefit thE healthcare industry, then I could care less who is in office, Black or white. But at least we can HOPE than Obama will listen to us because of his personal and political experiences....unlike Bush and his oil executive cronies.

Louise S said...

"Louise Schmidt - and just HOW do you know that the test was racially biased? Did you take it or are you just spouting the minority rant, "It MUST be racist if minorities can't pass it". Where's your facts to back up what you are saying? You, ma'am, are a racist by stating that "only those in power can be racist". Since when does that (power) have anything at all to do with harboring racism in our thoughts and beliefs?"

Um...did you even bother to read my later posts?? And "harboring racism in our thoughts in beliefs" is DIRECTLY related to the power relations in society and the policies that are imbedded (sometimes changed if there is enough protest) in our government and other institutions. Sometimes we don't even realize when we are being prejudiced because it's so ingrained in our cells. From the media and from our terrible education systems. Like anonymous showed in her post. I'm not perfect by any means in this realm either. But we are not the most to blame - it is those who yield the most power - corporations, their stockholders, and the politicians who are in bed with them - that MUST be held accountable.

Andrew said...

Louise I did read your post, but i actually went beyond that and read the PDF version of the decision passed down on that case. Not happy with only viewing one side of the coin I went to a self prep website and took the practice test. I'm white and I'll tell you that I couldn't pass it. The reason is I don't know the first thing about fire fighting. What I do know is that if I were to seek a job in fire fighting and knew I had to take a test on it I would prepare myself as best I could to do well.

I don't believe the judge when he says the tested knowledge was archaic. I looked at the sample questions and none of it seemed out of the ordinary for someone wishing to enter that field. There were both common knowledge questions as well as reasoning questions pertaining to fire fighting. Can you tell me that you read both the judges decision and also looked at a practice test to really see what was going on? Or did you just quote a couple of your favorite articles that support your view point?

Anonymous said...

Louise - Yes, I did read your statements about the New York Fire Department... so... what does that have to do with the New Haven Fire Department's promotion examination test? Are you saying that "they all look alike" when it comes to city examinations? Again, how do you KNOW that the New Haven Fire Department promotion examination was unfair toward minorities? Did you TAKE the test yourself or have you obtained access to the test? Answer the question, don't just spout a bunch of rhetoric about "other fire department" rulings.

angrymanatl said...

In a time where our country is trying to make it through a considerable amount of racial tension; it is awesome to hear a "stand up" white woman write such a thought provoking, honest, and inspirational blog. You are the first person that I have encounter all week that actually gets it! Keep working to improve this country. You are appreciated!

Lou said...

I hate racism period. But when are we going to realize that the only time the issue makes the news is when a white person does something to a person of color, then all hell breaks loose and the person must have surely been a racist as there can be no other explanation. The other side of the coin; when a person of color does something to white person it is either not racially motivated or it is because the person has an axe to grind against the white man, and its okay because the white man had slaves two hundred years ago. Well let me say this, I was not around two hundred years ago and I did nothing to people of color, but I am forced to watch my tongue, avoid confrontation of any kind with a person or color. If something should happen then I surely will be seen as the bad guy because of the color of my skin. I must be a racist, as all white people are. Colored people do not have a racist bone in their body, they can make jokes, call us names such "white devils", "crackers" and "blood suckers". That is all fine and acceptable because people no longer have a spine. You should call a spade a spade. A racist can be any color and I believe that people should be called out regardless. Take the Hate Crime Laws. Does it make a difference if the person murdering someone screams "I HATE YOU" or "I LOVE YOU". A human life is still taken, and the penalty should be the same. We need to stop grouping people into White, Black, Hispanic, Asian etc. As long as we see each other as groups, racism will never go away. It is the same problem we have with class envy, if you're rich, you must be a crook and a bad person. Anyway i could go on for another hour, all I'm saying is that unless we treat racism equally regardless of where it comes from, things will not get better.

Anonymous said...

Many people of difference races make poor comments about others. It's not limited to whites about blacks. It goes beyond skin color. What gets me is that people harbor on this. It's a free country even though people who say ignorant things shouldn't be praised. I think what we see in this situation is how people are quick to use the "race card". It doesn't matter if your kids are bi-racial, you dated or have a white wife or your mom is a different color - it is about how one uses their minority or diference as a crutch or scapegoat when they are obviously wrong (or even partially to blame). What does it take for a lofty professor to admit he was wrong? Is he too proud to admit he might have been wrong? Is a white cop instantly beneath him? being a blue collar worker? a average white man trying to do his job? This country needs to stop racism from all angles. Shame on you who are mightier than anyone else just because of your color or job status. Stop using the media and "race card". Obama's mother was white and I think Jewish. He should watch his words, support all brothers, black, white any race any creed (not just one snotty professor).

Louise S said...

"I don't know the first thing about fire fighting."

Then of course you shouldn't be making a judgement abou the questions! Of course I trust other experts about law and people who HAVE experience on this topic because like you, I do not know the first thing about fire fighting. Unless you are naive, it really comes down to whose about whose judgement do you trust: a judge basing their decision on civil rights law (as they should) or a supreme court justice picked by Bush to push a right-wing conservative agenda and twisting the law to suit that agenda.

Anonymous said...

I am seeing that someone posted about only blacks have been and can be discriminated against. Weren't there other races/ethnicities/religions that have been persecuted? Being proud of what you are is one thing. Putting yourself above others because of it is racism.

Louise S said...

Louise - Yes, I did read your statements about the New York Fire Department... so... what does that have to do with the New Haven Fire Department's promotion examination test? Are you saying that "they all look alike" when it comes to city examinations? Again, how do you KNOW that the New Haven Fire Department promotion examination was unfair toward minorities? Did you TAKE the test yourself or have you obtained access to the test? Answer the question, don't just spout a bunch of rhetoric about "other fire department" rulings.

When did I say anything about other department rulings? But anyway, the whole tradition and rule of law is based on precedent so unless you are proposing to change all that....as for the rest of what you said, I couldn't make sense of it. YOU sound like the one spewing a lot of rhetoric to me. Listening to Rush or Glenn Beck a little much are you?

Louise S said...

"I am seeing that someone posted about only blacks have been and can be discriminated against."

Who said this? It wasn't me. I said Black can't be racist toward whites. That's all. Rich white men (and more importantly the institutions they created) have been racist toward people of all races, not to mention women, people with disabilities, etc, etc. etc....Don't twist my words. You tell me where in the US are white people systematically (through policy not just calling them names or something superficial) treated like 2nd class citizens by people of color, and I'll rethink what I said.

Anonymous said...

"I said Black can't be racist toward whites"

Wow, now that is really ignorant. You really think it can't happen? That it never has happened? By default, if your black you can't possibly have it in you to be racist toward whites? Want me to list the plethora of instances where it has happened? Come on, you seem like you are somewhat smart. Anything can happen and probably already has. Nobody is perfect because of their race, etc. We should be all equal. I think you are stereotyping rich white people. I have seen rich black people act just as bad. Even rich hispanics, religious minorities etc. Is anyone else listening to this crazy guy on here? Do you think everyone owes something to blacks? What about us jews who were persecuted and enslaved much more in the past. Does that mean automatically, a jew cannot persecute others? Give me a break, your logic is faulty.

Andrew said...

I don't have to know a lot about fire fighting to know that the context of the questions on those exams are appropriate for the field. I don't need to know what specific chemical hazard stickers mean, but i know that identifying those would be important to a fireman. Again you don't have to know the answer to see that it is appropriate. I also don't need to be a judge to realise calling such tests discriminatory kept him from getting crucified by every african american interest group out there.

James said...

Yeah, that is faulty logic. I completely agree with Anonymous, and I think most sensible people would too.

I'd add something in support, but I really don't think it can be stated any better than what he already wrote. If you don't understand that, then I don't know what to tell you.

Andrew said...

Well im of Irish decent and we were persecuted when we first immigrated here. The establishment did keep us down for a long time as well. Guess following some peoples logic I can't possibly be a racist because I'm a member of the down trodden.

Eric said...

All of the comments on here are stupid just like the officer's comment. We are still divided by race there will always be stereotype's against all races, and it will never end. If you look in the dictionary and find the word "NIGGER" it pertains to all of the ignorant people who are races. So when you make such stereotype's against another race than you are a "NIGGER" and this is coming from a African American male. So stop this ignorant race stuff who care's move on as I moved on, allot of you sound as ignorant as the police officer. And just because you are a Jew Hispanic or Irish, you are not the only people that suffered. Last time I checked the Ghetto is classified for poor black people, and blacks was beating for color and often times they still are which is a violation of the civil rights.

I live in Houston Texas, and I still feel the wild wild west attitude. In 2005 they took their sign down which was posted RUN NIGGER RUN DONT LET THE SUN GO DOWN. SO when people use that word it is offensive to the African American Community. None of you owe me any thing I have over came all of the obstacles towards success keep what you have I can get it on my own without any help from any one.

So America wake up the world is changing and has changed, focus on education rather than race.

Anonymous said...

Hehe, ghettos didn't originate in America, they where called that back before WW2 in Poland for certain Jewish areas. Why do the blacks think they were the only oppressed people? jeez!!

Eric said...

Well I am talking about the stereotype here in America the ghetto in AMERICA is classified for poor blacks AMERICA. I never said that blacks are the only oppressed people don't start twisting my words around. You need to reread my post carefully before you respond.

Not taking away from the Jews that died due to some dumb dictator Hitler, they suffered too. But here in America we have people that are under cover like Anonymous who thinks that all blacks are bad and need to move back to Africa. Now that we have Hispanics here in America they are suffering too, all they want is to provide for there families and have a better life. Every one migrated from some where rather it be from Italy, Poland, Canada Mexico, China, Korea , we are all migrants.

Every race have some idiots who dose stupid things, dose that mean that their whole race is like that? Just because a person who is caucasian live in a trailer and marry his cousin dose that mean all caucasian people do that? No because they are a different nationality dose not mean that all people dose the same it is the individual that choose to do bad things.

Like I said I have overcame my obstacles rather it be from whites or blacks, I moved on and so dose the world lets change for the better not for the worse. And anonymous you need to wake up yourself man and stop looking at race your self and look at the individual, it is ignorance on your part and you are a coward hiding behind your computer be a man step up stand up for as a human being not like a witch that stirs the pot and hide.

Anonymous said...

It's that idiot logic that you think everyone who is white automatically wants black back to Africa that upsets me. You are just as bad to prejudge every into categories than the racists you are trying to pick out. Twist your words? I'm not doing that, I'm just trying to make you think before you speak.

James said...

I don't think that Eric is an idiot at all. I actually think that he makes some great points. For instance, the below statements are cut-and-pasted from Eric's two comments. What exactly don't you agree with, Anonymous?

"there will always be stereotype's against all races, and it will never end."

"here in America the ghetto in AMERICA is classified for poor blacks"

"Now that we have Hispanics here in America they are suffering too, all they want is to provide for there families and have a better life."

"So America wake up the world is changing and has changed, focus on education rather than race."

I agree with nearly everything Eric said, and I'm a white male. I took his quotes out of order, though, because I believe that last one is the most prescient.

I don't think that we're ready yet, in our eveolution as peoples, to view the world in the way Eric wants us to -- but that should be the goal. Until that day comes, though, we MUST find the best way for the races to work together. To realize that we are all far more similar than we are different. That much is already apparent to the intelligent among us. The intelligent among us should strive to make it apparent to all.

If everybody thought like Eric this world would be a better place. A much better place. Until that day comes, however, all races, and all peole, must realize that none of us are better than the other, and none of us are above the law. I know I'm optimist, but nothing great in life has ever been achieved without first believing that it's possible.

Eric said...

Anonymous: here we go again, I did not say that all whites wants blacks to go back to Africa or the ghetto I was replying that you said that. And I do not think that you speak for all caucasians neither, for their are alot of caucasians that are color blind.

This is my last time responding to an ignorant person such as your self. Oh by the way I do think before I speak and I am only responding to your idiotic comments that you are posting my friend. I am only judging the comments that you are writing.

If you were to read my comments carefully and with understanding, you would agree that the world need to get over what happen in the past and we need to refocus on education and bettering ourselves, teahcing our children to LOVE one another and stop judging them by their skin color or ethnicity but by their character. But when it come down to you anonymous yes I prejudge you by the words you say and the response that you post.

It is not your fault I can not blame you for the way you think or for simply being blinded by ignorance. If that is your character as a person not because of your race but as a person, God Speed to you.