American Love Stories . Featured Posts | PBS

American Love Stories

Featured Posts
DialoguesStoriesTV SeriesDig Deeper

Visit the Dialogue Archives at Web Lab

The following Featured Post comes from Relationship Group 5, Thread 1.

22. Comment of Postings thus far
Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - 11:51 AM/EST

I have been paying attention so far, and it seems that there have been many experiences. To capsulize what I have learned is that those who come from a non-American heritage found it shocking (for the most part), at the issues of racism. Those with an American have had there lives touched or influenced in some way. It seems that the subject is pretty big to grasp, and has been for years. Most just accept it, giving up trying to understand it. Some through education, or class structure, are able to insulate themselves somewhat but never fully from it's effects.

I thank everyone for putting there experiences in such a way as to give me more insight, instead of blaming. A few other things I find intersting is: 1) Where did we learn it as children. 2) Why do those that identify themselves other than American have a different experience? 3) What day to day factors continue to perpetuate this disease of the mind?

23. to maxwell
Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - 12:54 PM/EST

Maxwell, in my travels I've also found foreign countries are far less focused on black/white racial attitudes than America is. I think the main reason is they aren't isolated from the rest of the world like we are. Differences in language, culture, appearance, etc., are an everyday part of European consciousness for instance, perhaps because their countries are the size of our states. They are more used to the idea that difference doesn't automatically translate to inferiority or superiority. Most European countries do have racist attitudes towards members of their former colonies, though -- if usually less severe ones.

Still, I personally found Paris or Frankfurt more accepting than the American city where I was born. But I've noted changes in recent years. Through news, TV and movies, I believe America is exporting its racist attitudes to countries which didn't have them before in those terms.

Need others' attitudes rain on your parade? I say no. I believe intolerance is always based on fear. In person-to-person contact we can dispense that fear. And in adulthood, we don't have to deal with fearful people unless we choose to. The world is full of more love than hate, I've found. There is ample room to choose happiness.

24. To: Antonia
Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - 1:29 PM/EST

Thank you for your insignts Antonia. Although I do not adhere to the "grass being greener on the other side", I have heard stories aobut how the problem of racism is different in Europe. As much as I would like to visit other countries (and will), I think that you point out the fact on how negative it has become in the United States. I agree with you about Fear and Isolation from others playing a part.

To pinpoint an actual cause though, is that I think that the United States being a very young country, with a well recorded history of painful exclusion of human rights to many people has much to do with racism in America. I am not stating this to place blame, but to give one cause into how people react to one another.

In general, I don't believe that a person can exist fully into they know some truths about their own cultural history. People from Russia, Japan, Africa, and Brazil seem to more readily acknowledge the good and bad points in their history. This gives them a point of Culture to show where they have digressed, or grown as a people. The U.S. does not do this. Our history is temporary pop culture to blind us from what I believe is the pain of recognizing where we as a poeple come from. And since we deny more than recognize, we haven't shown that we are ready to accept and understand our place as a country.

25. Racism in other countries
Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - 1:36 PM/EST

Maxwell & Antonia,

I have also traveled throughout the world & I work for a British Company. I find that the Brits harbor even more racism than do Americans. The big difference in most European countries is that, until recently, the balance between the native born and the darker skinned immigrant was definitely tipped in the direction of the European. Just look at France - once thought by Black Americans as a haven against racism - now that it faces massive immigration from Northern Africa, fascism and racism are becoming part of the national dialogue (and national politics).

I met several West Indians in London, and their complaints were similar to those of African-Americans, it is not the overt racism that gets you - its the priviledge of skin color that is perpetuated in all of these societies.

I just don't want to let the world off the hook - in many ways Americans are MORE tolerant of differences (what other country in the world has as many ethnic, racial, religious, political groups living in relative peace as we have here?). The rest of the world appears tolerant because they are, for the most part, living in very homogeneous countries.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 1 from Relationship Group 5.

Partners   Produced by Web Lab

Copyright © 1999 by Zohe Film Productions and Web Lab