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E.J. Laird

Every day in high school, I encounter constant racism. Whether it be the constant slinging of the word "Nigger" or calling people "cracker", its all over the hallways. Even though its everywhere, it is hard to determine the bounbdaries of racial slurs.

One may call a friend a name that might be particularly offensive to somebody, and it doesn't matter, but once someone "out of the loop" says anything like it, they are chastized for it. I believe that these words that people might find offensive won't die. Ever. They won't die due to the belief that they can be used in a jokingly, or friendly way. As long as they are interpreted in this way, someone will believe that it is a proper way to adress someone and will offend.

We must all collectively stop using these words and slurs in order for them to dissapate. We need to stop utilizing them as terms of bortherhood and/or friendship and stop judging by race, but see everyone as human beings.

We are all the same in God's eyes.
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J.M.Read

Im not quite sure you really thought about what you were saying when you wrote "I think, for example, that hate speech is more hateful the more specific it is."
Because when really thought about, you would realize that the words "racist" and "specific" are commplete opposites. To be racist is to make a generalization about an entire group of people. So if you were to become anymore specific it beomes more about hating one person and not about racisim.

Dr. Gordon

well even though people may be racist you can't change the world it all starts with one person at a time then you work your way up the ladder. In one of the comments a person stated that "hate speech is more hateful the more specific it is."I can seriously relate to that because its seems as though the more people try to break racism down to everybody, it makes the fact of the matter worse and at the time people make it seem like just because we afrfican americans may use the N-WORD we don't use it intentionally but as a fond of joking around.I do believe that no person sound say that word not even the people from african decent either way you use that word wether its in terms of playing or seriousness you still shouldn't say it in a way even though times of slavery is over you feel as though its coming back very slowly because when you turn your head it seems as though many people just start hating because of the color of your skin. One of my favorite saying is " you can't judge a book by its cover" you can't judge anybody by the way they act or the way they dress or the way they are or even by the color of their skin. I also strongly believe that there's no reason why people from different back grounds can't be friends.Alot of people have interracial relationsips and have families of both who don't approve of there relationship but they make it work. Just simply ask yourself are you like that, do you want to be like that, or did you use to be like that? If so then that just makes you you and don't let no one judge youo just by what you say or how you act.

chabot

the section made concerning Mel Gibson apalled me. To respond, yes he was a little "tipsy" but that does not excuse him from being anti-semetic. his comments made were extremly ignorant, on that note being drunk does excuse you of a few consciencetious phrases being said, for most people have a paticular inability to have moral thoughts under the influence. although being a person who has never seen Gibson's movie the passion of the christ makes me wonder, was it a two hour film dipicting the death of some peoples christ or was it an unconscientios anti-semitism trying to once again put the hebrew nomination down.

RDC

AlexanderO

what i do not understand about the left and their view that being anti-racist gives them the moral high ground is that appears that only white, christians can be racist. no one jumps over blacks for the racist actions.

also, on the first poster's view that racism, etc must be viewed in the context of someone being a racist -- given the preponderance of jews in the movie business, wouldn't mel gibson be not a racist?

April

There is a key issue that everyone seems to be missing. The concept of racism is SURELY that you treat a single individual as though he is "an average" instead of on his/her own merits. If you are speaking to a black person, you can't assume he is "average" for his group and therefore low intelligence. Just because a higher proportion of black people commit crimes, doesn't make the black person in the seat next to you a criminal. Just because more jews win the Nobel prize, doesn't make the jewish guy on the bus sitting next to you a nobel prize winner. Just because men do worse on verbal tests than women, doesn't make every male a gibbering idiot, or every woman a litery genius. The real problem with being racist is that you don't give someone - a specific individual - a chance to prove their worth, because you've already made a judgement call on their weaknesses.

larry

Is racism the most important issue in race relations in the united states?

I have come to believe that something new has emerged that holds blacks back more than anything else.

I started a blog to discuss my ideas and to see who agrees with me.

http://holdingusback.wordpress.com/

taneja

I think that Micheal Richards' outburst had nothing to do with comedy. Yeah, he was in a comedy environment and that may have contributed to him feeling slightly less inhibited. However, I think this is simply a case of the hecklers punching all the wrong buttons. Richards felt deeply offended because of his own insecurities about his career, and I think he reacted without thinking. Basically, I think, what the hecklers did to him was to call him the comic equivalent of nigger and he wanted to hurt the hecklers as much as they had hurt him. It's as simple as that.

Brian Martin

I may be a bit to simplistic with my view on this, "problem with human inter-personal relationships" BUT.
Seems to me, if EVERYONE would have done some LSD... maybe a 6 month regime, I'd bet we wouldn't be in this rut. Yes, I know all the problems with this idea. Belive me so don't bother. How about this then, SOMEDAY WE WILL ALL BE THE SAME COLOR! Then what?
Anyway. Thanks for the chance to express an idea in such a forum. Qxtrs

Rich V

Free pass for everyone?
All I have to do if I say something racist is follow up with:
-I'm not a racist, I respect (Insert Ethnic group)
-I didn't intend to offend anyone

Letting a racist off of the hook for a lack of intention is simply insane. We originated as a racist society. The avg population was raised in cultures over generations that had racist views. They adopted those views through culture. They might not have intended to be offensive or degrading, but many people hold racist views or use racist phrases casually and they are racist. They might not mean to be, but intent doesn't define someone until it manifests a change.

Elaine Burnett

I am glad you are trying to be rational. I just love the intelligent comments to your ideas. I will have to take the time to read each one. I have little to add, except a simple idea. It is based on what's good for the goose, is good for the gander. It is not brilliant like the other incisive responses, but it works out to treat everyone in the manner that you would like them to treat you. Of course this is based on a crazy idea that all human beings are intelligent Homo Sapiens, who enjoy using their brains and hearts.

Adriene

Interesting post. A few thoughts: What made Michael Richards' rant especially horrific was the violent imagery he used. The reference to violence, I think, is a tactic used to silence. His imagery had the power to intimidate in part because it referred to actual historical violence that was used to subordinate and silence black people.

Another complex layer of the exchange is that the hecklers were the ones who started using racial slurs against Michael Richards. At least that is my impression, based on the video that was shown when the incident was first exposed. They were yelling "cracker" and "cracker box" at him before he exploded back at them. But no one has discussed this in the media, and the media's subsequent showing of the video began with Richard's rant, not the hecklers' words, so I am doubting my perceptions. If the hecklers were shouting racist words at Richards, that explains to some extent why he "lost it", and grabbed for an available weapon to fight back. And his weapon was more powerful than theirs, because he had historical violence to grab onto and throw in the hecklers' faces. On the other hand, the hecklers were able to use an "invisible" weapon - in that racism against whites is not generally recognized as racism, and is often seen as acceptable. (hence the media's silence about the heckler's racism before Richards' rant)

Another thought: the broad conclusion of psychologists Bruce Rind, Robert Bauserman, and Philip Tromovitch that all sexual abuse is wrong but not all is equally harmful - is true and, it seems to me, obvious. But the supporting arguments they/you present aren't necessarily true, and could do further harm to people by trivializing what they went through.

Feminists who have written on the subject (Liz Kelly for instance) have made clear that factors that determine the extent to which a victim is harmed include: a victim's previous experience of violence, the support (or lack of support) the victim received afterward, how society treats the perpetrator, how society "explains" the violence (was it the partly victim's fault, etc).

It is important to make distinctions, but at the same time, it's important to know the issue well before offering them. This kind of argument could be used to provide excuses for perpetrators who are no doubt eager to trivialize their crimes.

www.majorityrights.com

http://majorityrights.com/index.php/weblog/comments/really/

Why are sober comments worse than drunken or angry ones? Because they reflect true belief? They need not. Because they are likely to be the cause of belief in others? Certainly yes. By Gladwell’s criterions, statements made in the course of a scientific debate about heredity, race and IQ qualify as hate speech, and as worse and more offensive hate speech than drunken threats.


Niggers are stupid and violent.

African-Americans are stupid and violent.

Negroes are more likely to be stupid and violent than whites.

A century of research backs up the claim that the mean IQ of blacks is more than 1 SD lower than that of whites.

AmeriKwa is Jewed to the gills.


Is the fourth of these five statements really the most offensive?

Bahar Mirhosseini

Mr. Gladwell,
I am a third year public interest law student in New York City and, I am in the midst of Blink. Page 161 to be exact. You are a fantastic writer. From the freetime for Christmas break, I travelled around on the information highway. One of the questions that online social community sites, like myspace and friendster, ask account holders like myself, is who we (I) would like to meet. Thrilled by the prospect of being better connected to credible conclusions from behind the locked door, it occured to me how great it would be to meet you. Can we meet up for tea or lunch one day in New York City? Either way, I look forward to hearing from you. My myspace website is, in part, inspired by Blink.

tim jones

I must say that alot of these thoughts and opionins are disturbing to me as a black male i here stories of different natures how ever to know that there where falling soldiers whom have augued and had to fight for freedom of speech,for unity,justice,love, peace. we as americans are not doing them proud at all. It's sad to know that only on the hollidays we want to play like we love thy neighbor,and thats very much brings out the worst in all of us, so i say get a grip on life and respect your self befor you can respect your fellow man. peace...

Julianna

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MICHAEL RICHARDS?!?!?!?! He is sooooooooo disgusting!! I'm having trouble holding my food in!! And now while I"m watching his "apology" on Letterman, it's really coming out!! He's saying he's "not a racist", a blind deaf caveman would be convinced of the fact that he IS a racist!! He's even trying to make excuses 'I improvise on stage, I go into character' there are NO excuses!! He makes me sick!! I'd heard about the one particular word he keeps using over and over AND OVER again, but then when I saw it on YouTube, I must say the "that's what happens when you interupt a whiteman" comment, made me want to stick a fork up his ass! I will NEVER be able to watch a Seinfeld episode without a nauseous feeling everytime Kramer stumbles in. HE SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED ON STAGE TO PERFORM IN PUBLIC.......... EVER!! In cases like this, where you are a public figure (and have been for a long time) I feel we should stand by ZERO TOLERANCE!!

Maria

Was Richards's outburst a manic episode? A psychologist friend of mine suggested this and I was suddenly like, wow. Because his remarks didn't resemble jokes in the slightest; it way more sounded like the guy had totally snapped.

fight videos

I think that that guy may have snapped for some good reasons besides the general consensus...

charlottesville virginia real estate

I dont think richard was that dynamic of a character I dont know what do you guys think...

World wrestling Entertainment

Whats your problem with Seinfeld was kramer that bad, really well thats your progative.

zenbuddha

I agree with the previous post.There is the possibility that Michael Irwin did not make the comment maliciously, however it is still no excuse for making that sort of joke on a discriminatory and unfounded stereotype. Racist and insensitive things can be said even in the absence of malice. He is a perfect example of “le racisme normale” making racist statements based on erroneous stereotypes of entire groups of people. I disagree with your point on intention, some people don’t “intend” to be racist…they just ARE sometimes. They are entirely unaware that what they’re saying has so many connotations and meanings because they don’t know any better, and it’s normal to them. From their point of view what they’re saying isn’t hurtful or untrue, but simply a “well-known fact”, you know like “all black people are good athletes” or “all Native Americans are alcoholics”, or “the average black person in America is poorer than a white American.” These are all prejudiced and untrue generalizations. His stupidity, attempt at a joke or whatever you want to call it, is not an excuse for his racism.

zenbuddha

I agree with the previous post.There is the possibility that Michael Irwin did not make the comment maliciously, however it is still no excuse for making that sort of joke on a discriminatory and unfounded stereotype. Racist and insensitive things can be said even in the absence of malice. He is a perfect example of “le racisme normale” making racist statements based on erroneous stereotypes of entire groups of people. I disagree with your point on intention, some people don’t “intend” to be racist…they just ARE sometimes. They are entirely unaware that what they’re saying has so many connotations and meanings because they don’t know any better, and it’s normal to them. From their point of view what they’re saying isn’t hurtful or untrue, but simply a “well-known fact”, you know like “all black people are good athletes” or “all Native Americans are alcoholics”, or “the average black person in America is poorer than a white American.” These are all prejudiced and untrue generalizations. His stupidity, attempt at a joke or whatever you want to call it, is not an excuse for his racism.

ForeclosureFish

I agree with your guidelines for detecting racism, as well as the analysis of the three examples you gave. And now we've been given another example with the Imus Rutgers bastketball team comments of the past week and half. I think your initial post goes well to explain this latest instances.

B

What are people's thoughts on what some might deem "positive" racism or exoticism? what of the Madonna's wearing religious script on her hands or a white person wearing a rice paddy hat or someone with Maori tattoos? is that post modern or cultural colonialism?

And is it racist?

Scott Buchanan

I have no problem with the definitions, etc., of racist, but, I wonder why it is so sparingly applied to blacks and so liberally applied to whites. Hate crime stats, for example. White people do not attack blacks in the numbers blacks attack whites, yet the hate crime stats show much lower numbers for blacks compared to whites. According to my local newspaper, blacks are 39X more likely to victimize a white person in a violent crime that vice versa. The numbers of hate crimes reported just don't add up.

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