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 9, Thread 16.

12. Education/Economics - Enough?
Fri, Sep 24, 1999 - 11:07 PM/EST

I concentrate on education (myself, family, and community), and financial stability, because these are at least essential, although not sufficient, aspects of life needed to survive and thrive in the society we live in. I can't really comment on other "minority" groups and how they will be and are now affected by racism; in fact, how this all plays out for the future of the country is well beyond my precognitive powers.

But in my estimate (and it is my hope against belief), that for this country to eventually see something like a racism-free society, it will be through the efforts mainly of the minority groups together working on the problem. I don't see whites substantially contributing to the effort; a small cadre of liberal thinkers, maybe, but not the great mass; racism benefits them far too much. Of course, I hope I'm wrong.

13. To ben:
Sat, Sep 25, 1999 - 9:47 PM/EST

You seem to be saying that whites can't have a
voice in helping change racism in this country.
Unless whites do become a positive voice and join
in the effort, how will a solution that benefits
all groups be reached? It doesn't have to be an us
against them mentality. In my view, shifting from
"us against them" to "us together" is essential to
the solution. There may be benefits to whites to
allowing racism to continue, but there are
far greater human benefits for whites by reaching
out, dealing with racism and becoming part of the
solution. It benefits all races to work together
and learn from one another.

14. to bbc
Sun, Sep 26, 1999 - 1:52 AM/EST

No. Not can't have, but don't have. It won't be the initiative of whites which ultimately pushes this nation toward some sort of equitable "solution," if such a thing is ever resolved (remember, IMHO). Rather it will be a choice of crises: Either there is capitulation under pressure (as in the 60's under threat of complete social unrest in the cities and a police action abroad, not to mention the eyes of trading partners beaded on the trouble), or some truly radical and reckless response ala Nazi Germany (never say it can't happen here).

The human benefits you allude to are not often shared unless as a response to some threat. If you can find a historical case in this country where this is not true, I'd be grateful, and might then begin to feel some hope for the Great Eventual Conciliation.

And it's always been a them against an us in this country; whites vs. Native Americans, whites vs. African slaves (and their freedom), whites vs. the Chinese (esp. on issues of employment re:displacing the white male worker), white men vs. the suffrage movement, white robber barons (and for some time, the courts) against the worker and unions, whites against returning Black servicemen (lynching), whites against school desegregation, whites with Jim Crow, whites dismantling the gains of the Civil Rights Movement with alarming alacrity, esp. almost all aspects of Affirmative Action (an ongoing process), etc.

There was indeed a small, committed group of whites who fought alongside the group(s) in question in this nation after identifying their cause(s) as a righteous cause (the cadre I mentioned), but only after significant suffering on the part of the oppressed group, and without the same (by far) at stake. I'm often puzzled at what seems to be ahistorical considerations of the future when speaking of the future of racism in this country. There are patterns in history that of course bear on the present and the future.

I ask you this: If the idea, self-evident, that all races working together benefits all, why has this notion never flowered here, in the US, this liberal democracy we call great? When, then, will there come the grand epiphany, when we all conclude that yes, finally, it's time to join hands and nation build in a truly egalitarian fashion? I mean, the idea has to come from somewhere to begin this change, and logically, should it not originate with those for whom there is the most to gain and the least to lose, relatively speaking?

So, I reiterate, the critical mass will be of POC. Whites may join in some action in a small number, as in the past, but only after the situation has reached (or passed) the crisis stage. Every mass movement in this nation concerning POC points to this eventuality. Whence the hope for some alternative mass enlightenment? Sorry for the diatribe, but I get agitated when I'm confronted with this pie-in-the-sky societal forecasting. Where does it come from? And again, I hope I'm wrong. (BTW, those are real questions. Please enlighten this doubter).

16. To Ben
Sun, Sep 26, 1999 - 6:06 AM/EST

I agree with what you said Ben. I, in my opinion, believe that the only way racism is going to endis through higher levels of business ownership by African-Americans. Not just in music & sports etc.But in areas such as the technologies and health care market. Already there is a national shortage of those needed for the technology fields. There has to be some massive effort to come up with a solution to eradicate low self esteem,which becomes a perpetual and generational albatross around the necks of entire families.

I think one solution that I have seen work is teaching a poor child and their parent how to navigate in the computer world. Even after saying all of that,I still fear that deep down in the psyche of our country,there is the need to have a group of people that everyone can say,at least I am doing better than them. This is also the reason why I think a lot of police misconduct has been tolerated for so long. Have you noticed that the people that they damage the most is never the most dangerous. Any way all of this may be a moot point, because by the year 2020 half of america will be non-white and for our own survival as an american family we will be forced to raise everyones educational standards to help maintain our brave new world of technology. The corporations are too smart to continue to import educated people from other countries,who may turn out to be spies gathering info to take back to their home countries. I See the future of America being bright. We'll get it together.

17. to ben
Sun, Sep 26, 1999 - 6:11 AM/EST

ben, I am black and would like to see affirmitive
actions policies dismantled. We fought hard for a
Civil Rights Amendment which denounced
preferential treatment. I hate to be a stickler
for rules but that should include EVERYONE.
Affirmative action is the only thing hate groups
can whine about with any credence.

You feel that a racism-free society can only be
obtained through the efforts of minority groups.
I'm afraid racism is a pinball bouncing off of
everyone scoring points. No one is immune to it
and no one holds a monopoly in it. So who are
these POC? Are we talking about blacks, hispanics,
asians, native americans? Have these groups formed
some coalition to fight racism? Did someone forget
to tell the black gangbangers who harrass the
korean merchant in Venice Beach or the group of
hispanic highschool students spewing out racial
epithets at blacks. What about the native
americans in their soveriegn nations: have they
been invited to join this American POC movement?

Are we talking about America or maybe globally.
Can we convince the Tutsi and the Hutu to stop
lobbing of limbs long enough to work towards a
racism-free world? There's some messy stuff going
on in Chiapas, Mexico. I'm sure they can halt
their activities to join the POC movement against
racism. You couldn't even get a Guamese and a
Japanese in the same room. I'd personally like to
join a more stable coalition.

I honestly believe that when the scales are
balanced out there is a lot of hatred in humanity,
alot of biases and a lot of discrimination and we
are all carrying the weight. Sometimes color
doesn't even play a part. We ALL, bar none, should
be a part of the solution.

18. Amen, Alicia and Thanks Ben and Johnizen
Sun, Sep 26, 1999 - 11:54 AM/EST

Thanks to Ben for bringing up some of the
frustration and anger that historically is
completely understandable. I agree, the white man
as a group has a long laundry list of atrocities
in this country. Even though the whites may have
a heavy load, as Alicia points out hatred, bias
and discrimination are a HUMAN problem.
Unfortunately fear and greed and more common than
courage and love, but I remain hopeful that the
power of love will prevail.

Johnizen has some great points about economic
solutions. Maybe schools as institutions can
create grants/programs to increase the
opportunities for poor students and their

I believe that solutions come first through
individual and local efforts and they can grow to
movements. Examples? Just last week in USA
Weekend, the feature article was about two
churches, one black, one white in St. Paul,
Minnesota whose congregations chose to become one
church in order to build better racial relations.
It started with the two ministers meeting and
wondering about solutions.

But let's keep it simple. On a given day - What
can I do? What can you do? For me - I can be open
to friendship with those of color and show
understanding. I can confront my father when he
makes racist remarks. I can be senstive to and
support students I work with who are feeling
harrassed. I've strayed into political solutions
from time to time, but these individual actions
are real for me.

Ben and others - what have you done either as an
individual or politically that helps you feel you
are making progress on this issue?

19. to alicia: Affirmative Action
Sun, Sep 26, 1999 - 1:30 PM/EST

Hi Alicia. Actually, affirmative action policies were put into place to reflect the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as was reaffirmed in the 1991 amendments. It was a legal attempt at recognizing the disparity between certain groups and the mainstream yet to be bridged which would give them the equal footing so that yes, eventually, all people could be treated as having come from a level playing field. It recognized that the fact remains, the gap has not been closed.

What exactly is your specific argument against affirmative action? Have we arrived? Is there now a level playing field we can all agree (with a sigh) has us fairly involved in the national dialogue? The hate groups I've monitored mainly point to the seeming tokenism of affirmative action, when in fact to read the act reveals the aim (as yet not reached) is to give unrepresented groups the right to compete on levels where they have historically not been allowed. If this is preferential treatment, allowing historically misrepresented groups to engage in society in an equal manner, I would ask that you please reassess your definition of preferential.

26. To Alicia: affirmitave action
Sun, Sep 26, 1999 - 3:50 PM/EST

Alicia,I too being of African descent was against affirmative action until I had a personally painful experience.I was taking a test for a corporation in the electronics field and got 100%on the test. One of the test overseers was a Bi-racial female and in conversation she told me that I was a virtual shoe-in for the job. She said that she was proud of me,but I had to pass a face to face interview with one of the bosses before getting hired.

Alicia,not only do I speak well I carry myself even better.I was in a room during the interview with a white corporate type and his black seceretary.The next day the Bi-racial female called me almost in tears telling me that I didn't get the job. She told me that they hired the hot looking hispanic girl that got a 78% on the test. Alicia,I was one of those conservative pull yourself up by the bootstraps African Americans. But,that situation showed me that choices of employment etc.are made everyday without true checks and balances. If I was in a position of power to choose who I could have around me everyday in a work enviorment, I must admit,I would have picked the girl too. But that has nothing to do with merit.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 16 from Relationship Group 9.

Partners   Produced by Web Lab

Copyright © 1999 by Zohe Film Productions and Web Lab