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John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

Racism in America: A Nation in Denial


Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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No single issue or subject is more volatile then a discussion of racism in America. I experienced this last month in the backlash to the backlash of clown’s act at a Missouri fair firsthand on Facebook.

The quote above, “If you keep whining about racism it will never go away,” was made along with several comments by people who felt the rodeo clown Tuffy Gessling had every right to wear a mask of President Obama’s face, act “clownish,” and then ask the audience if they would like to see President Obama run over by a bull. Because Mr Gessling was fired after this incident and banned from performing, this has stoked the ire of many who don’t like President Obama for a variety of reasons and feel he should be fair game when it comes to ridicule, the more disparaging the better.

In no uncertain language my call on Facebook that this clown’s act was racist became a lightning rod for those who feel racism is a long-ago page turned in our country’s history. Left, Right, and Center, most agree that a rational and sincere discussion about racism in America is almost impossible, and for those who do not believe there really isn’t racism, unnecessary. Even when faced with issues and events on a daily basis from the killing of Trayvon Martin to voter suppression aimed at minorities, many whites (and some minorities) reject the notion that racism plays any part in what happens today. And they are also unwilling or unable to look back at our history and see that racism today is still an extension of what happened yesterday.

For myself, a “child” of the ’60s who grew up in a time where the swirling winds of civil rights marches by African Americans for voting rights was still occurring a full 100 years after the Civil War, the idea that racism did not have modern-day implications was sublime. Did the people with whom I traded discourse about Tuffy Gessling on Facebook not know (or chose to ignore) the American story that included slavery, Jim Crow laws, and lynchings that affected generations of black men, women, and children?

From a book I was reading at the time (Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, by Brenda Wineapple), another irony came to mind. Tuffy Gessling performed his clown act in the state of Missouri, a state whose very inception was born on the backs of African Americans whose human rights were bartered away. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was a congressional agreement that regulated the extension of slavery in the United States for the next 30 years. Under the agreement the territory of Missouri was admitted as a slave state, the territory of Maine was admitted as a free state, and the boundaries of slavery were limited to the same latitude as the southern boundary of Missouri: 36° 30′ north latitude.

Fewer then 200 years later, despite this nation’s progress in racial equality, portions of states are still used as bargaining chips in gerrymandering districts to help negate minority voting.

Denial of racism in America today by both whites and some black Americans still holds this country back from both realizing its potential as a nation and healing from the wounds of recent history. White commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck use race innuendo to mobilize a basically undereducated white audience to reject President Obama and his policies with unsupported birther hyperbole, and black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and former congressmember Allen West have compared affirmative action to slavery, a false equivalency that borders on denying the Holocaust of WWII.

It leaves the minds of the sensible and compassionate swaying with disbelief and disillusionment when talk of a post-racial America occurred after the first black president was elected in 2008.

We are left with the fact that we cannot kid ourselves anymore about race relations in America. There will always be some measure of anti-black, anti-white, anti-Hispanic feeling in our country. Some might say whining about it will keep it from going away while others will find more solid ground from historic precedent that only through vigilance and finding one’s voice will we be able to advance the cause of equality for all people.

I do not posses X-ray vision (as some supporters of Tuffy Gessling seem to think they have) in looking into a heart of a clown and deciding if he was trying to incite some of our worse instincts or just trying to be funny.

But for the children who witnessed his act and for all Americans to degrade a race of people, even if unintentional, is no laughing matter.

Jeffrey R. Moualim lives in Santa Ynez. He is treasurer of the Committee of Ten Thousand, a national grassroots advocacy organization for people with hemophilia, HIV, and HCV, based n Washington, D.C., and Santa Barbara.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

What a startling, revealing, and innovative essay?
Now we get to watch our black President bomb a brownish middle eastern despot. And so it goes...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 4, 2013 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course racism exists. But not always in the classic sense. Everyone with a fixation on the subject seems to want to look at it as there is white racism against blacks and other minorities as if that's the only type of racism that exists. And without question, that type of racism does exist, but not to the extent the author, Al Sharpton and others would have you believe along with other types of racism that they choose to ignore. Racism is without question much less than it was 50 years ago. But there will always be those with the obsession about it that will keep looking for it under every rock. They will use hot-button and inflammatory language to sensationalize their statements. And many will use it as a crutch to rationalize their failures in life.

You want to talk about race, fine. Let's talk about it. But it won't just be on your terms.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 4, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This clown supposedly had done this same act before when others were president. If true, he may have been only jestering the president who just so happens to be black (and white). My advice is stay away from facebook. People take it way too seriously. Not sure if this is the case here, but sometimes a mountain is a mole hill.

spacey (anonymous profile)
September 4, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We've gone from Martin Luther King to Al Sharpton. Does that enter into the equation?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 4, 2013 at 3:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is the Latino advocacy group "La Raza" (the Race) racist?

Was Trayvon Martin racist when he referred to Zimmerman as a "cracker" and are their black racists (against whites) when the woman who heard this from Trayvon testified that everyone in her and his neighborhood referred to white people as "crackers".

Racism is everywhere and from everyone.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 10:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No. The Latino advocacy group La Raza is an anti racist group. The term La Raza comes from the concept of La Raza Cosmica first proposed by Vasconcelos in the 1920's. It means the cosmic people and refers to the fact that Latino people are a mixture of may racial backgrounds. The concept was a attack on the un scientific racial ideas of the twentieth century. We are all members of La Raza, the human race.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 11:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Your time would be better spent looking for a job. Everyone I know is just so tired of it.

edukder (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 12:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Jeffery has a job and so do I. Thank you Mike for your concern

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 12:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, La Raza is racist.
Yes, it is apparently OK to refer to some groups as crackers as long as you are from a group decrying racism.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 1:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A "useful idiot" with a sociology degree told me most pulpitly that Blacks can never be racist against Whites, "because of the polarity of the power relationship." But even most Laputians are biased against non-Laputians and, less ostentatiosly, against fellow Laputians. Racismo Cosmico? Hypocricy annoys. Sometimes it sounds like whining.

And with diminishing returns from the victimhood paradigm, its exponents are desperate to make more noise & thereby milk the last trickle. Hence Al Sharpton & the Badly Picked Battles. TV, inc. finds common cause with White-on-non-White victims, and the spectacle gets old.

Reverse Jim Crow is local news only unless the victims are foreigners. White people are not interviewed to claim racism. (And most wouldn't dare anyway.)

Some (as in not all) frustrated Black adolescents act out with crime and public profanity, annoying a lot of people, and adding grease to the climbing-poles of Black strivers. How about that rythmic hostility boomed out by so many adolescent White males? Not helpful.

And so, the pendulum changes direction, having gone too far as always. Radical parenting is what's needed. Social paradigm changes haven't had any effect on average Black income relative to at-large averages:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_...

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 1:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We are all members of La Raza, the human race.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 11:35 a.m.

Oh no we're not, some of us would rather swim around in the ocean while y'all make wars and cogitate. When the sea level rise, we will take over.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would be amazed by the smug comments, if these types of comments weren't all too common. I used to think that people that made these types of comments just didn't realize how pervasive and insidious racism is and how racists wield their inherent power (due to a centuries old system created to favor them in all areas of people activity) to promote the interest of white people at the expense of non-white people.

However, at this point in my life, I have obtained sufficient education in the form of an advanced degree and prestigious certifications relevant to my occupation to realize this: The people that claim that racism no longer exists, know that it does.

These deniers use racism/white-supremacy to advance their careers, feather their nests and eliminate competition at the expense of others. Many less experienced, less talented and less hardworking people than me have gotten a lot further in their careers based on that "good ole boy" network association.

The American Dream is an American Myth, particularly for Black Americans. Stay out of trouble, get an education and progress in your career ... until you hit a gatekeeper. The gatekeepers keep Black Americans from progressing past a certain point (unless of course they're willing to prove their allegiance to white supremacy by doing something to damage the image and/or standing of other Black people). I might also add that gatekeepers are willing to do anything within their power to make the corporate environment a soul-crushing, humiliating living hell.

These gatekeepers are clever, deceptive and ruthless when it comes to maintaining white privilege at the expense of on non-white people. They've honed their machiavellian tactics for generations. And I'd be willing to bet that you all know one (if you aren't one). In fact, it may be the uncle that got you that job, or the loan officer that let you slide with less than perfect credit.

And as far as Al Sharpton goes ... you guys don't get to pick who speaks for me, unless and until you acknowledge that I have the power to designate Honey Boo Boo as the official representative for ALL white Americans.

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 5:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Mustcomment great post.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 5, 2013 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

MustComment-Pathetic and irrelevant post.

Of course racism exists; blacks have the highest rate of bigotry towards gays and Latino's of any racial group. I won't even mention the lovely, black community bias against Jews.

As a non-white I am beyond tired of the self imposed inferiority complex by folks like you. Much like the editorial itself your cliches are as tired as those that you rant about.

Here is a hint to all professional victims like yourself, get up tomorrow and put on your big boy/girl pants and try not blaming ANYONE else for anything. The following day, try and get up and actually TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your own success and lack-thereof. Repeat until you no longer suck oxygen on our shared planet.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 6:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

italiansurg obviously was playing off the well-known "sucks all the oxygen out of the room" expression, rather than wishing that a certain self-gratifying mustcommenter might literally suffocate. Bankrupt polemicists will pounce on any verbal inexactitude as evidence of intent, so I comment pro-actively, in case I don't revisit this thread. Any comment?

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sure. Is 'self-gratifying' a euphemism for 'uppity'? See what happens when you allow them to learn to read and write? LOL

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 11:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Italiansurg,please let the readers of the Indy know why you consider La Raza. To be a racist group? Please be specific otherwise you will look like the typical comment section bloviator.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yep ol' Must, everything is a codeword. Thanks for making my point about your tired, boring and increasingly irrelevant rant. As one minority to another, I'm gonna' look under my bed right now for monsters...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 11:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You seem so upset. Life must be difficult these days for racist, imposter comment section trolls. LOL Minority ... LOL

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 11:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Case closed italiansurg.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 11:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with spacey--it seems more of a politically-based rip, than a racial one.

As to racism, Italiansurg has (probably unknowingly) brought up a point that often goes unnoticed: There is a difference in bigotry and racism. BIGOTRY is an intolerance of others for pretty much any reason (and often the cause of prejudice). RACISM is actually meant to be specifically applicable to support of bigoted practices (such as forcing black people to the back of a bus) *by the government*, however, it's commonly taken to be any kind of practice that appears to be degrading to someone, due to their race. [Aside, I think that is due to the term "racist" being applied liberally, which connotates to the original definition.]

There is also no reason that the dark history (pardon the pun) of the U.S. should be forgotten, but to paraphrase Italiansurg--sans the name-calling ("professional victims")--*persons* SHOULD look more toward the future than the past, and consider that they have greater opportunities in the modern world than their ancestors had. And, while it may make me appear bigoted/racist, I DO direct that last comment towards black Americans in particular--the ones that actually fit the stereotype(s)!

Lastly, I am going to stop before I start agreeing too much with 'surg. :)

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

MustComment sounds as though he/she is a white supremacist troll posing as a black person trying to stir up hatred toward black people.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

MustComment sounds like someone making a comment on the Indy's site just like you Bill. Take the comments as they are and assume that they are his/ her real feelings. That is the same respect you would want, Bill.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 3:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Of course racism exists; blacks have the highest rate of bigotry towards gays and Latino's of any racial group. I won't even mention the lovely, black community bias against Jews."

BALDERDASH!!!!! Where are you getting your information "Italiansurg"? Never mind; you are an idiot. Latino isn't even a race :THERE ARE BLACK LATINOS—DUMBASS!!!

spookyelectrik (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 4:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And after the Florida trial we found out there are white Hispanics, who knew?
I'm just a poor brown immigrant that came here with no money or social support and became successful because of the opportunity this country gave me to work hard and do well.

One of my favorite snippets about the great Jose Guitierrez, surpassed only by the nuttiness of Farrakan:
La Raza Founder - Kill the Gringos (José Angel Gutiérrez / Chicano ...
► 1:06► 1:06
www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5_u62dhkjQ
Mar 31, 2013 - Uploaded by SoNSanDiego
Jose Angel Gutierrez, founder of La Raza Unida, says "The Gringo must go

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 5:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A BET poll from April of this year:

WASHINGTON — A new survey of black Americans shows that most disagree with the claim that the effort to promote homosexual rights is comparable to the historic movement for racial equality.

About 55% of respondents to a Zogby Analytics survey said that equal rights for "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered" persons are not the same as equal rights for African-Americans. Only 28% agreed, while 17% said they are not sure.

The online survey of 1,002 adults used respondents recruited through partners or random telephone samples. It was commissioned by Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, and was conducted Feb. 14-20.

The analysis — which claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 5:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Racism exists, so how best to deal with it?

Self-empowerment is a start. Back in the slave days, it was illegal to teach a black person to read and write. Why was this, because the racists knew that literacy meant power.

Jews suffered terrible racism in the U.S. but nevertheless have succeeded in numbers dispropotionate to their population, why is this?...because hardwired into their culture is learning, and literacy, and this is how they overcame the obstacles placed in their way. Using this same argument, a handful of brave white folks risked their necks and taught blacks to read and write. I remember when I was about 8 years old reading a biography on Fredrick Douglass and how his masters' wife secretly taught him to read, and the rest is history,

Fast forward to today: Racism still exists but those formerly denied the right to literacy and education now have that right, and the only way to take on the racists is to become literate and educated to the best of your ability. Just ask the Jews, the Asians, or my dark-skinned Assyrian ancestors.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 6:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nice work surg. The person you referenced has nothing to do with the the National La Raza organization. He is the founder of the La Raza Unida Party. They are different groups. Try harder next time.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 7:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I, luckily, have learned to read and write. Please see my previous comment regarding gatekeepers.

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 7:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill, that's one of the most rational comments posted on this article. There will always be racists in the world and people will have to deal with it. I actually feel sorry for someone that actually believes this statement:

"These gatekeepers are clever, deceptive and ruthless when it comes to maintaining white privilege at the expense of on non-white people. They've honed their machiavellian tactics for generations. And I'd be willing to bet that you all know one (if you aren't one)"

Does he actually believe that all the members of the white race do is sit around all day and figure out ways to keep the other races down? Does he actually believe whites pass our tactics to oppress minorities down from one generation to the next like a legacy? It's difficult to believe such paranoia actually exists in the world. I'm sure this attitude filters through to his attitudes in everyday life and holds him back like a chain around his neck. His attitude likely affects his life adversely 100 times more than any actual racism that he has ever experienced.

If someone cuts you off on the freeway on your way to work, do you get over it or sit around at work all day and obsess about it? There will always be racists just as there will always be rude drivers. I'm not trying to minimize the effects of racism in all it's forms, but just like any rude or antisocial behavior, one needs to get over in and move on with their life. And if racism holds you back once, twice or three times, keep on striving toward your goals rather than obsessing about the reason for your failures.

One minority group that has shown it's willingness to succeed in our country are Asians. Many come here with nothing, barely speak the language, but work hard and study hard to achieve eventual success. Asians have succeeded so well in our university system that admission strategies that used to favor minorities have been altered to favor only "disadvantaged" minorities. Asians have succeeded so well in our universities that it's easier to get into some universities if you're white than if you're Asian. But how often do you see Asians sitting around obsessing about how the white man is trying to keep them down? You don't, because they're too busy either trying to make money or getting an education.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 7:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I'm sure this attitude filters through to his attitudes in everyday life and holds him back like a chain around his neck. His attitude likely affects his life adversely 100 times more than any actual racism that he has ever experienced."

Your assumption is incorrect. I treat everyone well. Even those who work to undermine my career and accomplishments. I don't have the luxury of speaking truth to power without anonymity.

I do keep moving forward when I experience injustice, obviously. I don't need to teach white people about white-supremacy. That's all you've ever known. Since the inception of this country, Black people have been abused and socially engineered to be a subclass. Black people, not Asians or whomever else you'd like to offer as an example, have been enslaved (How many centuries were those other groups enslaved? Was it less than 400?), Jim Crowed, lynched and miseducated. While many of you enjoy your generational wealth, you refuse to acknowledge that my ancestor's forced labor created that wealth and in the process made this country a world power.

As a result, you feel pretty superior, huh? Or should I say supreme?

Yeah, I bet you do. LOL

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 9:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Jews, the Asians,the Assryians,the Irish,the Italians ect.all came here because they wanted to. The majority of the Black ancestors of African American were brought here as slaves. They had essentially the same legal status as cattle. Societies have very long memories. We are getting better as a society, but we have a very long way to go. Need proof? Take a look at some of the posts on another story on the Indy about the Syrian conflict. Here some poster are running wild with the usual bat scat crazy stuff about our first black president's qualifications to lead.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 9:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I know this may come as a surprise to some, but most of us are aware of the history of this country.

Besides recycling guilt and trying to make people feel bad about others' sins, do you have any answers or are you still going to keep up the balkanization/"multiculturalism"?

Dialectics may go a long way (and admittedly can be fun as well as a good brain exercise) but the truth ultimately what matters.

As the saying goes "It's not important where we came from, but where we're going" and "white privilege" is simply a way of scapegoating.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 9:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Since Asians and Jews tend to be more successful than WASPS (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) I'm wondering if their success is due to "white privilege"?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 10:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

MustComment - That's right! The ancestors of many of today's black citizens were enslaved and treated very poorly. So what should they do about it? Should they stew in the sins of the past? Their ancestors fought for the opportunities that blacks in today's society now have. Will today's blacks take advantage of those opportunities their ancestors fought for? Or will they put themselves back in the chains their ancestors sought so desperately to get out of? There will ALWAYS be some people that will judge others by the color of their skin. I would think that the best revenge against those people would be by overcoming discrimination to achieve success, not by making excuses for their failures and asking the government and others to make special rules to favor some based on the color of their skin.

Obama achieved the pinnacle of success in government service. I know that there are those that dislike him just based on the color of his skin. His revenge was to get elected and now serve his second term. That feeling has to be much sweeter than any special benefit given to someone based just on the color of his/her skin.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 6:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent point Botany. A lot of people put their lives on the line during the heyday of the civil rights movement and they did not do that with the idea of creating a society where those who benefit from their spilled blood choose not to avail themselves to the rights that were won at such a price.

One person who comes to mind is Bill Cosby. Cosby "walked the walk" when it counted, and isn't some--and I know this may not be a politically correct term but I can't think of any other way of saying it--"Uncle Tom", he's not a political conservative by any means, (I remember after Obama won he was very happy) but Cosby has been very critical of the Hip Hop/Rap culture (with all of its attendant disrespect toward women and its celebration of violence) and again I think of how he put himself literally on the firing line to help pave the way for others.

Self-respect is not "acting White", the idea of raising children in an intact family is not "Eurocentric", and success isn't about "selling out" or "white privilege", and again, the best way to fight racism is to empower oneself.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 6:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Where to start with you guys this morning? LOL I'm starting to believe that you really have been brainwashed by the Hegelian Dialectic created by you war-like forefathers ...

Let me enlighten you on a few salient issues before I get my day started.

"Since Asians and Jews tend to be more successful than WASPS (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) I'm wondering if their success is due to "white privilege"?"

The blond haired, blue eyed Jews that work with me consider themselves to be white and it doesn't take a genius to see that they are treated as such in this country.

As to Asians ... "In Jim Crow era Mississippi, however, Chinese American children were allowed to attend white-only schools and universities, rather than attend black-only schools, and some of their parents became members of the infamous Mississippi "White Citizens' Council" who enforced policies of racial segregation."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definiti...

These American success stories were allowed to form an economic base. Get a business loan, purchase property. We historically have not. In fact, the government created programs to kill our leaders, see "Cointelpro" and keep us afraid, undereducated and poor.

White supremacy is institutional ... Ever wonder why school funding is tied to property taxes? Ever wonder why our former governor, Ronald Reagan, instituted tuition at the University of California? (See Angela Davis)

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 7:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Will today's blacks take advantage of those opportunities their ancestors fought for? Or will they put themselves back in the chains their ancestors sought so desperately to get out of? There will ALWAYS be some people that will judge others by the color of their skin. I would think that the best revenge against those people would be by overcoming discrimination to achieve success, not by making excuses for their failures and asking the government and others to make special rules to favor some based on the color of their skin."

I don't know if you realize it, but you are conversing with one very educated Black person. That has made every effort to "take advantage of those opportunities their ancestors fought for". The fact remains that White Supremacy is a system, which creates laws and policies that purposely disenfranchise Black people whether they have an education, a pleasant disposition or a work ethic,

Native Americans were given recompense for the land your ancestors tricked them out of ("White man speak with forked tongue"), but black people have been systematically destroyed to justify the barbarism upon which this country was built.

Civil Rights was a diversion. I could care less if you "allow" me to sit next to you on the bus. Or get a job in your factory. A people can only succeed with an economic base. Their own factories and other businesses. The fact is that an immigrant can come here and get a business loan to open a convenience store in a Black neighborhood, but Black people can't. I know, I tried.

"Obama achieved the pinnacle of success in government service. I know that there are those that dislike him just based on the color of his skin. His revenge was to get elected and now serve his second term. That feeling has to be much sweeter than any special benefit given to someone based just on the color of his/her skin."

I'm going to have to ask you to read my original comment about why certain Blacks are allowed to succeed. Obama is not Black in the classical sense of the word. His father was African and his mother was white. He has no ancestral memory of the brutality perpetrated against Black people in this country and he has done nothing to bring about justice for Black people (nor will he). And he is willing to order that bombs be dropped on non-white people around the world (Ever notice that American NEVER bombs Europe). He is a safe choice for the white elites who actually choose presidents.

"One person who comes to mind is Bill Cosby."

The same goes for Bill Cosby. He proved his allegiance by constantly getting in the media and saying things to assuage the conscience (if one truly exists) of the white people who have persecuted his people for centuries. You never see him or any other Black entertainer put their money where their mouth is and bring it back to the Black community. You know why? Because they know they would lose it all and likely be killed.

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 7:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Self-respect is not "acting White", the idea of raising children in an intact family is not "Eurocentric", and success isn't about "selling out" or "white privilege", and again, the best way to fight racism is to empower oneself."

Let me give you a brief history lesson. I think I'll call it "Social Engineering in the Stolen Land of Native Tribes". Kind of catchy, huh? LOL

Slavery ended, Black people were still enslaved by a system called sharecropping. In this system, Black people worked the land in exchange for provisions. Funny thing, the provisions were purchased from the company store. And every season, the Black people owed more to the company store than they were paid for working in the fields. But I'm sure it was designed that way, right? Black people were just too lazy to pick enough cotton, right? Wrong, my grandparents were sharecroppers and their calloused hands and permanently bent backs tell a different story. By the way, how much were your grandparents able to help you economically?

Flash forward to the realization that if Blacks weren't moved out of the south, they would become a dominant force, due to their numbers and the strength of their family bonds.

The white man created opportunities in the urban areas. My grandparents moved to Los Angeles and got factory jobs. Life seemed to be getting better for a time. Then phase two of this white supremist program kicked in. All the jobs in urban areas went away. Many sent overseas to the 'honorary white' Chinese. This created devastating poverty in predominantly Black urban areas. But alas, good ole white-supremacy came to the rescue!

They created a program called 'welfare'. Poor people, who had lost their jobs could apply to receive just enough money to feed there children. But there was a catch. No adult male could live in the home. This rule was enforced by 'social workers' who would make surprise visits to the home and check the closets for male clothing, enlist neighbors as spies, etc. ... to make sure there would be no adult male in the home. This is called social engineering, ever heard of it?

White-supremacy has perfected and tweaked this system over the last several decades. Now, the white establishment rewards young Black people who have been indoctrinated by the system to go on television, radio and the internet and present degrading images of Blacks and further brainwash Black youth.

You see, that way you can sit back in your comfy chair and make these 'self-gratifying', "they did this to themselves" statements. What if this had been done to your people instead of by your people. Would you still be so smug?

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 8 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And as to your statement "the best way to fight racism is to empower oneself.", have you ever fought racism?

How would you define empowerment? Am I empowered as an educated full time employee with a side business?

If you've never fought racism, or dealt with the legacy of the wrongs that have been and continue to be perpetrated against my people, how could you possibly know how to fight it?

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 8:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The point is to look towards the future. The past can never be changed. Learn from history but don't dwell or obsess over it. The future is in your hands, not some crackpot racist's.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sure. I'll just keep looking to the future and disregard the past. If I had realized that the past has no bearing on the present or future, I wouldn't have bothered to enter into a debt that will take twenty years to pay off just to get an education (I did that in the past). You live and you learn. LOL

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 9:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Did I say to disregard the past? I said learn from history but don't obsess or dwell on it. Lose your bitterness while your at it. I know it's easier said than done. But you will be the one that benefits from it.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 9:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I take the middle road ... yes, education, self-reliance, a positive attitude, yada, yada will increase the odds you'll go far (let's try not to be too pedantic, eh?).

But when you're (in the aggregate) swimming against hundreds of years of institutionalized and systematic resistance (socially, culturally, legally), well, that can't be ignored either.

Does racism exist in America today? If it didn't, I suspect my tech employer wouldn't have recently sponsored a week-long series of lunch-time seminars on diversity. Fortunately, there's now talk of subtle "micro inequities" and less on overt "macro inequities".

And is talking about it "dwelling in the past" or somehow not productive?

Only a clown would think so.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 9:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you, EastBeach.

And Botany, truth telling is not the same as bitterness. Though, I can understand how uncomfortable the truth may make you feel.

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 9:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Again, EB and MC are changing what I said to fit their own stereotypes. Talking about current and future racism in all it's forms may very well be productive. Learning from the past but not dwelling on it can also be productive. Anger and obsession over the past is not productive. And I'm very comfortable with the facts (or as you put it, "the truth")

But I'm sure you'll put different words in my mouth again to view my statements as you want to view them.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So... Did you learn anything today, Botany? LOL

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 1:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, that people are stubborn in their beliefs and their attitudes, which aren't easily changed. I hope for your own sake that you get over your bitterness and on with your life. Knowing that, the greater your success in life, the more that will upset and frustrated the racists will get.

The racists may actually find consolation in the sour grapes you express here.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 1:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are truly speaking of yourself. With all the facts I presented to counter you absurd assertions, you only learned about your own recalcitrant obstinence?

On with my life? With a statement like that, I can only assume you imagine me to be some low-paid, underachieving stereotype that you've dreamed up. If that is the case, you are incorrect.

I actually earn what would be considered an above average salary for any American. Not to mention the profits from my business. It is very likely that I earn more money than you. So in the American sense of the concept, one could say that I am "on with my life". I am not bitter, just delighted to have the opportunity to infringe on your lie-filled, echo chamber of white supremacy. :)

And about those facts you claim to be comfortable with. You're going to need all the relevant facts to surmise the truth. If, for instance, I were only exposed to Honey Boo Boo, I might take my factual observations and draw some pretty unflattering conclusions about white people as a whole.

And lastly, racist actually find solace in the system of white supremacy. I don't think that I can do much to add to that comfort. I can only assume that world domination and preferential treatment must be extremely intoxicating to people who are not interested in justice.

As for ending racism, I can't do that. I didn't create the system. Your people did. You fix it.

Are we done here? LOL

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

MustComment, you said one thing that made sense when you spoke of property taxes as it relates to public schools. I've been complaining about that one for years. As far as what I'm doing to fight racism, I'm bringing up points to make people think, and approaching people not on the color of their skin--and not making assumptions about them.

Also, since you take so much pride in your level of education, and let us all know of it, I would point out that when you have disdain for a certain thing, the proper expression is "*couldn't* care less, not "could" care less.

By the way, to the best of my knowledge, "my people", did not create the system you hate so much, they were people driven out of their countries who were busy trying to survive in this country, unless you think Jews, Mexican, and Asians are part of that which you claim is keeping "your people" (my emphasis) down.

Again, lose the racist assumptions you promote, stop judging people, and focus more on issues such as property taxes but I must admit, you're the only person who has raised this point, and it's a very good one. By the way, doesn't it bother you that a lot of white folks laugh at other white folks who speak in double negatives yet expect it out of black folks? Low expectatations/double standards. THAT bothers me. I talk about that a lot.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 4:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"MustComment, you said one thing that made sense when you spoke of property taxes as it relates to public schools. I've been complaining about that one for years. As far as what I'm doing to fight racism, I'm bringing up points to make people think, and approaching people not on the color of their skin--and not making assumptions about them."

Outstanding! Common ground. Thanks for bringing up those important points. Keep up the good work!

"Also, since you take so much pride in your level of education, and let us all know of it, I would point out that when you have disdain for a certain thing, the proper expression is "*couldn't* care less, not "could" care less."

I told you all of my education because more than one of your comments seemed to suggest that academic success could overcome racism:

" Racism still exists but those formerly denied the right to literacy and education now have that right, and the only way to take on the racists is to become literate and educated to the best of your ability."

Thus, my initial response:

"I, luckily, have learned to read and write. Please see my previous comment regarding gatekeepers."

As for the grammar correction, thanks for that. I'll admit I regretted that mistake after re-reading that comment. But, unfortunately for me, and my credibility as a scholar, I had already clicked on the 'Post comment' button. You can only imagine the agony that I experienced while waiting for the inevitable grammar correction.

Alas, I am not quite as meticulous in my proofreading of article comments as I am in my scholarly work. Thank you for your advice. I will proofread my comments more carefully in the future and aspire to a standard of English usage you can respect.

"By the way, to the best of my knowledge, "my people", did not create the system you hate so much, they were people driven out of their countries who were busy trying to survive in this country, unless you think Jews, Mexican, and Asians are part of that which you claim is keeping "your people" (my emphasis) down."

My apologies. I did not know that you were a self-identified Jewish, Mexican Asian. I stand corrected.

"By the way, doesn't it bother you that a lot of white folks laugh at other white folks who speak in double negatives yet expect it out of black folks? Low expectatations/double standards. THAT bothers me. I talk about that a lot."

No, I am not bothered by what white people find amusing or the constructs and standards which inform their expectations. I only care about equity and justice.

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 5:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And since we're apparently not done here, let me go back to the comment you made that prompted my initial post.

"We've gone from Martin Luther King to Al Sharpton. Does that enter into the equation?"

And my response, "And as far as Al Sharpton goes ... you guys don't get to pick who speaks for me, unless and until you acknowledge that I have the power to designate Honey Boo Boo as the official representative for ALL white Americans."

I hate to belabor a point, but what'll be? Oops, I forgot. You're not white. You're a Jewish Mexican Asian (American?). Never mind. :)

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 5:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Many of the comments on this article are proof positive that America is in denial about racism. One poster has a problem with La Raza and posted troll scat that confused a fringe political party with a award winning national group that has as its only agenda to promote the welfare of Latino Americans. Latinos like African Americans deserve A seat at the table of power just like everyone else. When an articulate African American made his / her opinion known billclaussen made the foolish assumption that the poster was some Stormfront fan trolling the Indy. No apology nothing.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 7:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

MustComment - You keep putting words into my mouth and thoughts into my mind that I have neither said, thought or expressed. If you refuse to read what I wrote and insist on reading between the lines that don't exist, the point of this conversation has ended. I would appreciate your response to what I wrote rather than what you imagined is in my mind. But that's not going to happen, is it?

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 7:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, I've been tag-teamed by Must and Herschel.

Here's the deal, I'm not playing the role of the Useful Idiot and you (both of you) don't like it. Apart from Must's comment about property taxes, all I see is someone with a sense of moral superiority--or possibly, a white person posing as a black person in order to stir up anti-black resentment, but if you say you're black, I'll accept that.

Regardless of your race, you keep pushing the lie that America is in denial about racism. The truth is, most of us don't sit around all day and beat up on ourselves when incidents of racism do happen.

Must: Your ancestors would have given anything to have the freedoms you now have. Herschel: If your not black, Must is laughing at you. Do you really think he/she is impressed by your progressive politics?

I can sit here and whine about how I had a bad childhood because my mother was an alcoholic and I had to deal with a lot of emotional abuse. I can hate my mother and make excuses for my shortcomings OR I can thank God my mother quit drinking and that we were able to have a great relationship the last 11 years of her life. Guess what?, I've chosen to focus on how lucky I am that things changed. You can sit here and keep picking at the scabs of the past, point fingers at people you don't know, and complain, or pick yourself up, move forward, and do the best you can.

Mr. Moulim is typical of the faux-liberal mentality that like gossip reporters looking to dig up dirt on celebrities, looks for any example of racism (of course the only racism that is allowed to be talked about is when whites are racist; trying being a white kid in a predominantly Mexican or Black school and believe me, you can find plenty of examples) and picks the scab wide open.

No, I'd say given the progress of the last 50 years America has done a lot to confront racism, but some people don't want progress, they simply want revenge.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 12:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know what any of you , (Must, Herschel, Moulim) think you're going to achieve, but if you're looking for an apology from me, you're not going to get one because I've committed no offense other than applying to you the same standards I've applied to anyone else: A desire for truth.

Let's not forget however that race-baiting and labeling entire groups of people as "privileged" ignorant, or whatever, is racist in and of itself, but at least in the academic world, it justifies well-paid positions in ethnic studies departments. Speaking of lies, let's also not forget that Al Sharpton's claim to fame was lying about the Tawana Brawley hoax, but again, truth and personal responsibility have no place in your world. Moreover, the whole point of the civil rights movement was to make people self-sufficient by breaking the glass barrier and giving equal access to education, but apparently now that is not good enough.

So keep feeling everyone is racist simply because they don't fall over apologizing, and to Moualim and Herschel, keep deluding yourselves that people such as Much are in awe of your P.C. politics, and lets remember the words of the good man M.L. King who gave his life for his beliefs when he said "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 12:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

For those who are in denial about the race divide in America, I suggest they watch and listen to this video. It runs for about 5 and a half minutes.
http://www.snotr.com/video/422/Eddie_...

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 1:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You guys are starting to bore me. Bill Clausen, contrary to what you apparently believe, Black people can articulate complex thoughts. I know you hate to believe that a Black person can run intellectual circles around you, but it's true.

Maybe you'll rest a little easier tonight if you convince yourself that I'm just an undercover white supremacist. That perspective would certainly help you maintain the world view that education is the key to ending racism. I'm just tired of responding to your inane innuendo and blantant racism. It has become redundant.

And now you're recycling Al Sharpton? Do I need to reiterate the Honey Boo Boo analogy for you? Geez, are you running out of words?

As to stirring up hate, what is the intention behind this statement?:
"So keep feeling everyone is racist simply because they don't fall over apologizing, and to Moualim and Herschel, keep deluding yourselves that people such as Much are in awe of your P.C. politics"

Did I ever elicit an apology from you? No, I did not. Nor would it make one difference to me if you did feel inclined to offer an apology. The only apology I will accept is an end to the system of white supremacy.

Hershel didn't ask for an apology, either. He simply pointed up your refusal to offer one, even after this thread had gone way past the point of anyone believing me to be some racist imposter.

I know I can't overcome the indoctrination you been subjected to by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and American media in general. So, I'm going to leave you to stew in your own psychological excrement. Good luck keeping that skewed world view intact with the burden of what you now know.

Botany, I would go into detail about how you seem to be projecting your own emotions onto me by stating that I am bitter, angry and obsessive, despite my repeated assertions to the contrary. But I understand that your world view must be crumbling from coming into contact with a Black individual of obviously far superior intellect.

Not a racial judgement. I know that there are white people far more intelligent than me, hence the ability to dominate the world while comprising only 10% of the earth's population. But, Botany, let's face it... you're not one of them. Maybe you and Bill Clausen can lean on one another for support during this trying time.

Anyway, I've gone on far longer than i intended to in this, my farewell post. You guys take care. Bill Clausen, you keep making those points! It's been fun. Good bye.

I don't know guys, I'm starting to miss you already. Maybe after a good nights sleep, I'll change my mind and post again. :)

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 2:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You will most likely post again. You have become addicted to the Indy blog, it's more fun than blogging on Ed Hat, and there is no cure. Many of us have tried to break the habit, but without success. You're hooked, don't fight it.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 3:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Black people can articulate complex thoughts."

Wait... Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Jan Matzlinger, Rita Dove, and Wole Solinka aren't white? W.E.B. DuBois, Jupiter Hammond, Ben Carson?...no, I can't process this.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 3:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I know BillClausen ... it will take time to let those Google Search Engine results overtake your notion that Al Sharpton is a singular representation of Black intelligence. Sit with it for while ... search for some other notables. I'm sure that in time, you will be fine. LOL

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 1:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry I got you sussed but I was already familiar with those names, many of which for decades. Reginald Drew and Benjamin Banneker just popped into my head. (After all these years)

Your stereotyping is showing itself.

Remember the part about how I was reading about Fredrick Douglass at 8 years old?

Yep, one doesn't have to be from the academic world to know some history. Get out in the real world and you might find it's not as bad as you think.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I work in corporate America, Mr. Clausen. Intelligent Black people are sometimes employed outside of academia (I noticed your earlier suggestion that i must be an ethnic studies professor. How downright racist of you.). And some of those positions require advanced degrees. I am a scientist. Imagine that?

But good on you for learning your state sanctioned Black history. Dig a little deeper and you might really learn something. :)

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 6:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wrong again, apart from my first six years of education being in Catholic school, I'm mainly self-educated.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 7:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Interesting commentary MustComment. As a White, I understand exactly what you are saying.

I found that some of billclausens comments were of the vein, I have had it rough yet I have gotten over it. Classic narrow-minded view which continues to imply that Blacks have not and hence are inferior. Racism. The only way people who have been discriminated against can stop that discrimination, is to not to stand for it. Otherwise, they will become a cross-section of society with "Stockholm Syndrome".

I also find the comment from 'MLK to Al Sharpton" superficial and insulting. There are many others who could have been used as examples - those who have achieved a great deal more. And I like Al Sharpton - he has far better things to say than Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck and others - and I listen to his show frequently.

In comparison it could be said that Whites have gone from "??? to Limbaugh" which is far more of a regression than "MLK to Al Sharpton".

tabatha (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 8 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So Tabatha, do you have any actual solutions (since Must clearly doesn't) or do you simply call anyone who disagrees with you racist?

I'll give you a helpful hint: I'm not some brainwashed college freshman who's going to wilt under the oppressive gaze of a militant Left-wing professor.

Again, besides calling people names, what answers do you actually suggest, or would doing so conflict with the paradigm of so-called "progressive" politics.

I'd love to stay and chat with you both all night, but I have to go shopping. Should I pick up anything for you while I'm out?

P.S. I think Rush Limbaugh is a divisive egotist, just like Al Sharpton.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 8:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No Rush is a sexist bigot, who has on moral compass except his bank account. Sharpton is an activist who has devoted his life to improving the lives of his people and all Americans. He has made some huge errors of judgement and he would be the first to admit that. He has his head and heart in the right place. I am a white Jewish guy, Al can be my spokesman anytime.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 9:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That would be NO moral compass

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 9:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

tabitha and Herschel_Greenspan your comments are truly food for thought.

I believe that your "Stockholm Syndrome" analysis seems pretty accurate. I would add that from my experience, the condition that victims of white supremacy in non-ghettoized environments suffer from seems to be a distinct variant of Stockholm Syndrome.

Once an individual, like myself for example, has stepped significantly away from humble beginnings, into some previously homogenous environment, the fall can be steep.

You can imagine yourself, homeless, ashamed that you have a PhD. You even met the governor once ... etc. But what difference does that make if you can't provide for yourself because you are blackballed in the only field to which your knowledge is applicable.

The nature of our "Stockholm Syndrome" differs from the traditional definition in that it is like being awake and unable to move during a painful operation. You are fully aware of what is being done to you, but you can't move. We are not lost in fantasy and are very aware of the reality of the situation. It does take time recognize the players and tactics in a given situation. Quite a Gordian knot.

A giant step toward ending racism would be legislation forbidding an employer from terminating an employee as the result of a claim of racial discrimination.

A further, necessary, enhancement would be to require monitoring of the claimant's ongoing employment in a legally codified manner. Retaliation is a great concern for victims of racism.

In my experience, Black people at the top of their fields are typically the most qualified, hardworking and experienced. That is the price of admission for Black Americans. These people would likely welcome the vigilance. I know I would. This could have a deterrent affect on gatekeepers' behavior. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

MustComment (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 11:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sUjll... (Racist, homophobic rant)

http://blackamericaweb.com/153660/com...

Draw your own conclusions.

By the way, the "as a white" or "as a Jewish guy" is part of the problem. How about "as a member of the human race"?

By the way, doesn't it seem as though the war on drugs is putting a lot of black people behind bars? I think ending the war on drugs might be a good start.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 2:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Warning: Some of Sharpton's racist terminology might offend some, and might even be so offensive as to have the above post deleted. If the latter is the case, I will repost the second link which does not contain anything offensive.

http://blackamericaweb.com/153660/com...

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 2:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Herschel: Since you mention that you're Jewish, and that you have no problem with Sharpton, I would bring up the mob killing of Yankel Rosenbaum--the mob incited by Sharpton. The following article is by Rosenbaum's brother and how he sees Sharpton as being unrepentant for what happened.

Again, draw your own conclusions.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/al...

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 8:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures, Former U.S. Poet Laureate ... Read More