I feel myself being TOO PC. I grew up in a largely hispanic area and cultural sensitivity was not followed. (For a time I answered to "Greenga") Yet, here in predominately white SW Portland I'm desperately trying to raise my kids with cultural sensitivity and currently feel as though I'm failing to teach my children the complexities that come with race.
Clearly, my children do not think that other races are beneath them. For example with black men, they think that every black man they see can play sports (Tiger), or is running for president (Obama), or sings (LL Cool J). Somewhere along the line I feel as though they also need to learn that they are no different than us - but with some historic handicaps.
Is this different than other generations? Yes and no.
My adopted children are hispanic and my mother, for the first month that they were with us, fed them only bean, rice and quesadillas. I wonder if my mother's stereotyping of race will be no different than my children's stereotype -- If we see another race as having one predominent characteristic, it does not seem to me that we are really removing racism.
While your children might not see black people as beneath them, they certainly are aware of and to some extent haven't been taught more than the stereotypes surrounding them (black men are either hip hop artists or athletes). Thank goodness Barack Obama has thrown a new image into the mix. Having said that, it is somewhat reminiscent of the first paragraph in W.E.D DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk. Isn't it great how liberal and progressive white people can claim to be since they are voting for a black man? Yet and still our text books continue to be euro-centric and most children's knowlede of black people does not extend past Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, Tupak, Oprah, and Micheal Jordan. I wonder if whites would be as supportive had there been a more worthy white male candidate as opposed to a female. Or if Obama's mother wasn't white?
I spent my "formative" adult years in Washington DC, a city filled with intelligent middle and upper class African Americans, a population that many whites either aren't aware of or haven't been exposed to on a large scale. As a young black woman, despite being well aware of the talent, intelligence and integrity within the black community (I graduated from Howard University) I still did not think I would have a chance to vote for a black man in my lifetime. I am thrilled because he was reared in the post civil rights era and fully understand the mostly subtle direction systematic racism and prejudice as gone. I fear for a more figurative assassination and hope that he can withstand the politcal pressures to change or to stray from his grassroots beginning. I have great faith in him. Obama has the potential to be a catalyst for change.
At 82 years of age I certainly have come from an 'older generation'---the changes that are happening are for the better!!
As for a President---it's really quite simple---the person who sits in the oval office needs to be capable of (a) Listening (b) Have the ability to apply that most uncommon attribute "Common Sense" to problems as they arrise.
It's quite apparant to me that this sitting President lacks that skill.
Ok, I?m a white guy, so I don?t directly qualify for this conversation, at least not what was asked for in the initial post. But I do have a question for any of your quests who are of color; it is influenced by an experience I had back when Jesse Jackson ran for President (remember way back when he visited Salem?). Several folks I worked with got involved in a political discussion... I was asked if I considered voting for Jesse Jackson and I said ?no?.
On the spot I was called a racist, before I could even explain.
It didn?t matter to them that I happen to have a problem with pro-abortion politicians, not to mention politicians who claim to be ministers of the Gospel and still in favor of ending hundreds of thousands of human lives each year.
That really stung, the fact that I remember it so clearly might emphasize the fact. Problem is, even in the current campaign I have heard undertones of this same thinking, and it leaves me concerned about the future.
So the question for any minority guest who hopes to be our leader some day is: have you gotten past the point of judging folks who have non-racial dislikes of candidates who happen to be from an ethnic minority (potentially including you), or do you think future leaders from African-American, Latino, and Asian communities should presume that folks who don?t vote for them are bigots who should be treated like the troglodytes with white hoods?
(Dave, sorry I can't really think of a better way to ask this; however, if the course of the conversation presents one, please feel free to follow that)
Hello - When will we stop asking race related questions? I believe that history will see Obama's rise as the time when we began seeing all people the equally and began asking questions like "What are the experiences shaping young leaders today?". Okay we can now sing Kum Ba Yah. But seriously, please consider the question and how this just continues the same old story. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
I think that the issue that faces African-American leaders in the next generation is how do they respond to challenges that they are a single-issue candidate. In other words, are they running for office to represent only the African-American community. How do they overcome that impression? Barack Obama has been criticized for not being "Black enough". That is a vestige of the old style politics where ethnic candidates were seen as rising to power and prominence based on the support of their ethnic group, with the expectation that they will help improve the conditions of that group. In today's society African-American communities still face challenges ... many similar to those faced by other communities. A voice for that community is still needed. Can an African-American candidate wear both hats?
The prevailing reason Mr. Obama became the Democratic nominee is the color of his skin. This reason alone set him apart and propelled his candidacy more then any other reason. He is talented and intelligent, but his skills by themselves are not enough to account for his nomination.
Mr. Obama was not nominated because he was seen as equal, he was nominated exactly because he was not seen as equal. His minority cache, apparently represented change to many Democrats, or was a physical symbol of change---and this set him apart.
What does this mean for Black Americans? Is this a fair trade? Or a sort of novelty act? And, does it have some real substance? Even if his success is for some wrong reasons, will it set in motion some "right" reasons?
P.S. Of course I expect many to attempt to discredit the above and label it racist---for some silly reason.
What do label people who voted for George Bush? Twice? People are voting for Barack Obama for a variety of reasons. Just as I'm not going to label your comments as anything, please don't label the opinions and convictions of others. Just as I'm sure you're an intelligent voter. Believe in the intelligence and the right of others to make their own decisions.
Thanks for that ever so insightful comment! What exactly did I label people? I didn't realizing analyzing why people vote for a presidential candidate wasn't fair play. I am not sure how you cross the street or why you wrote this post if you don't analyze, summarize and label.
Gee I also had no idea there was more then one reason why people voted for Mr. Obama. That's why I clearly said "the prevailing reason," which indicates there are yes, other reasons.
I label people who voted for George Bush twice, idiots! Am I not allowed to do that? I certainly will extend the same scrutiny to the Democratic party to which I belong. I am now, increasingly finding evidence, that in many ways Democrats are not a whole lot better then Republicans, they are clearly as superficial, will do anything to win and can't engage in intelligent conversations.
P.S. You did indeed attempt to "label my comments" as inaccurate---and if that wasn't your goal, don't waste time writing about nothing.
Serena Boston called at my house during her recent campaign for office. I was planning to vote for her opponent but after speaking with her it became a very difficult choice between two worthy candidates.
Her ability to communicate, her poise, and her knowledge of the issues won me over and I did vote for her. I believe she can be a very effective leader and I look forward to seeing her continue in public life.
I am a white male but I will always vote for the best candidate regardless of race or gender. Given candidates of equal quality I will usually vote for the minority person because I want to diversify the voices in our public leadership.
Thank you for another good topic today.
I am white, from Austin Tx, and when I'm talking to white Oregonian friends here, they always look down on being from Tx and say "well we never had slavery here in OR". And there is an attitude of, we don't have to do anything more, for race relationships because we didn't have slavery here. I feel that I had more meaningful relationships with people of color when I lived in Tx. People of every color are everywhere in Tx, it is very diverse there. Not like here, I feel like I'm in white bread country here. Can the guests comment on their experience with this attitude here.
Diversity has nothing to do with attitude and openness. Many white people in Oregon are always yakking about how there isn't enough "flavor" here. As if you just throw in some minorities and all of a sudden everything is peachy-creamy, everyone gets so accepting. These suggestions that because Portland isn't as diverse as NYC or now Texas, means it isn't progressive or is racist are absurd, insulting and frankly way too simple.
Oregon has a huge history with the Ku Klux Klan. And it is only slowly changing from that very blatant rascism. Up until maybe twenty years ago black or brown people just couldn't get a job here in Bend, nothing overt but it was obvious when someone who was very highly qualified and from high up in a top New York bank was rejected for a bank job here.
I like Oregon but we have feet of clay here just like everyone else.
Yes Oregon does have a history of racism as do many states, but how does that speak to the here and now? It seems like many people want to say without directly saying it, that Oregon is a racist place, that it has some big bigotry problem. So then I ask, is Oregon more bigoted then other states, or on a similar level with the national average? I certainly think the majority of Oregonians are not racist. We did after all, have one of the largest Obama rallies in the country. Or does that mean nothing?
One would also assume that the larger cities are less likely to have a high incidence of racism, or would I be discriminating against rural Oregonians now. Considering that the majority of the population in Oregon is in the larger metropolitan areas, it would most likely mean that only a small minority of the population are likely to be bigoted. The end of your comment says it, we certainly have some problems with racism as do ALL the other states. But for people to extrapolate from this, as I am sure they will or want to, that this speaks to some large flaw with Oregonians or the fact that it isn't very diverse seems like a huge lopsided leap.
It would of course be best to eradicate any level of racism.
I've always wondered whether Obama has such a dedicated following simply because he's black, rather than because he has clear, reasonable, and progressive goals for the country. I myself am an Obama supporter, but I often question my reasons.
Barak cited a "Responsibility Deficit" in a recent speech to the NAACP. Has the Democratic Party sustained and exploited a "victim consciousness" in the African American community?
From Portland, OR
My father has been part of the Black community in Portland since 1949 when he graduated from Jefferson High School (one of maybe ten identifiable Black graduates in the '49 yearbook). It is my opinion that more than "open the field" to Black and other minority candidates, Barack's candidacy has reminded Americans of the fragile yet pervasive nature of race in our country. When viable candidates for public office who are non-white male take the stage, our social schizophrenia with regard to race come to the forefront. The 'dark side' of our nation's history is viewed by most people (especially in our utopian northwest) as muted, or taken-care-of, or so far behind us as to be inapplicable. Unconventional candidates like Obama and several of his predecessors make the public revisit the reality of racial/racist socio-historic effect on the now.
Hey OPB. Great show and guests. These are two very smart and articulate young leaders. Please include in the show notes their names and web sites so we can learn more.
I felt shut out of this discussion because I am white and believe that racism can be eliminated. Yet it seemed to me that the speakers were strong believers that this is a racist society and their perception is not open to challenge or change. It was almost as if they needed the construct of a racist society to define themselves against - racism actually defined them.
Yes, and if Mr. Obama does not win the presidency it will immediately be called racism. Yet when he was nominated it couldn't be said that his skin color had something to do with it. It's so smart and so modern and just the kind of change we need---more stupid.
How can we ever fix this mess of dumb objectivity? You do have to wonder if talking about it actually helps? But, we certainly can't stop talking about it---it isn't possible. Perhaps we have to grin and bear it, and hope there is some "declarations of racism" or "lopsided victimization" fatigue in the American future.
I would like to address the subject of generations... as this conversation has veered off topic. I am a young woman and I have supported Barack Obama since I first heard him speak at the beginning of his Senate term.
I noticed in the primaries, not a racial split (here in Oregon at least) but a generational split between female voters. The older generation of women more often supported Hillary's bid, believing that this may be the last opportunity they have to see a woman head the White House. As a member of a younger generation, I did not think about opportunity for a minority group, be it on lines with race or gender or religion etc...nor did any of my friends. We debated policy, voting records and political history.
In my opinion, the future of politics should not and can not be about overcoming minority perceptions; that will only lead to an uneducated voting base that works off of social identification worthy of nothing better than more GW?s.
What you seem to be asserting is that younger women are objective in their decision to support Mr. Obama and older women were subjective in their decision to support Mrs. Clinton. I ask then, why did and do Black Americans overwhelmingly support Mr. Obama? Why are white blue-collar Democrats more likely to have supported Mrs. Clinton? Are they all racists and subjective---or simply concerned about promoting feminism?
I find it hard to believe that young people, or even a large percentage of young people, voted for Mr. Obama only because of substantive reasons. Obama clearly seems like the hipper candidate that younger liberal people would like for largely superficial reasons. Many often make the claim, that "I and all my friends" didn't do this or that? I wonder then who are the people that do?
I'm sorry I couldn't address you earlier...I was out of town on business.
First, please do not assume that was speaking about racism ("Are they all racists"). It was not my intention to convey the message that groups not supportive of Barack Obama are racist and find it insulting that you would jump to such an egregious conclusion.
I believe the ?blue collar? phenomena happened after Obama made comments about guns and religion and turned off a segment of that community. Humans naturally gravitate towards that which they can identify with which keeps communities segmented.
?Are they concerned about promoting feminism??
It is a key issue in new feminist theory that every person is equal thus free to choose a male leader over a female leader if that person feels he is the better option. New Feminism is not about supporting women for the sake of supporting women, which only hinders overall growth. The 60?s and 70?s feminist movement concentrated on promoting women, which is great and lead to a level of confidence in my generation that there will no doubt be female leaders in the future, so why push this one, right now, if she?s not the right candidate?
I do believe that as each generation passes the torch to the next they hand over the accomplishments such as civil rights advances. My generation is lucky in that we have not experienced the diversions between race or gender nearly as much as our predecessors and thus have the luxury of being more objective in politics?we are not perfect and we still have a long way to go in bridging gaps but I feel that with social advances come more opportunities to reach across barriers that dwindle with time.
And finally to address your ?Obama is hip? ideology?yes he is and that gets people interested, but, as we have seen through the misinterpretations of cool when branding GW the ?guy I can drink a beer with? We are increasingly wary of falling for spectacle over substance.
That's interesting, censoring comments on a show regarding (essentially) racism, especially when the comments weren't racist. Is stupidity okay on Think Out Loud, but just not sarcasm or pointed remarks. Notice: "Think" in your name and "Loud"---apparently not. Or am I just taking the bait? If so, it's tasty---but, it leaves an acrid after-taste of disappointment.
Just what are the reasons (in detail) why you removed my post? Do I have a chance to defend this? My day in court? Which part was offensive? Or needed censoring? How can I ever change my terrible ways unless I know?
Is this some case of your credo being "that intelligent conversation is about making nice?" If so, you should ask yourselves whether that makes for intelligent conversation... and will this conversation be representative of all the "public" in O(P)B.
Someone who thought they were just flagging your comment for me to look at inadvertently moved it into the moderation queue. It's back now.
As for the reasons the comment was flagged, it's not about the content, but the tone. Our first commenting guideline is "Write with civility and respect." Your comment was neither civil nor respectful.
I suppose you could read this as "making nice," but that seems to me to be a paltry and stunted version of what we're hoping to foster. On the air and here, we welcome dissent and disagreement. Often it's only through that kind of friction that an honest conversation about tough issues can take place. But civility and disagreement shouldn't be mutually exclusive.
I've wondered why you guys moderate/censor at all. Usually the places I've posted on have self moderated, ignoring trolls, flamers and the like and they usually just give up. And I think the very nasty types ought to be seen as they really are so people can counter them or at least learn what their opposition is like.
I think that we too often assume that other people are normally "civil and respectful" just like us when their true self shows them to otherwise. The military does something called "probing fire", shooting off a few rounds just to see if they get a response. I've done that in posts at times to try and get people to show their true selves and so sometimes exposed them to the public eye with very interesting results.
White supremacists in particular can come off as very civil, intelligent, and respectful but with some probing will show their true selves and agenda.
I'd rather shine the light of day on people like Dick Cheney and show him as he really is than edit his life and just allow his "civil and respectful" public persona to be seen.
IMNSOHO, in my not so humble opinion, of course, henh.
Now you are saying my comment is disrespectful and uncivil, although you didn't remove it. You can't have it both ways. The right thing to do would be to remove my comment if you believe this is true! Or is it not uncivil and disrespectful enough? After reading my post several times I certainly don't think it falls in either category. Perhaps I have warped or bitchy views on style of conversation.
I don't know what kind of world you revolve in, but it appears to be a world where we can slight or bash all kinds of things with broad strokes, but we can't do so on a personal level or one-on-one, which is the very arena where it actually means something to be forceful, harsh or sarcastic in tone. Environmentalists can generalize about the public in harsh ways, black Americans can label all white Americans racists or large portions of them, the religious can say all atheists have no morals, young people can call all older people subjective---this stupidity is seen as civil and respectful as long as it has a nice tone?
I think if you comment on my tone (quite a superficial gripe) then you should provide something substantive about the content of my "offensive" post. Or at least a more detailed explanation of which parts were offensive, especially being I can't find them. Did you also disagree with the content? Because that might also call into question objectivity.
You must have a difficult job, handling different points of view and incorporating these different comments from your blog, when you've probably come to dislike or even hate certain posters. I can't imagine I would read a comment from someone I think is disrespectful and uncivil. Perhaps this would be good reason to stay out of it, letting posters self-censor the blog with arguments and discussion, but then the same would probably happen behind the scenes without the public knowing it.
This is not a science but a subjective, ongoing exercise, and yes: I didn't think the comment rose to the level of being removed.
Two parts in particular veered into the territory of personal attacks, not topical arguments:
"I am not sure how you cross the street..."
"...and if that wasn't your goal, don't waste time writing about nothing."
Finally, yes, I'm moderating a blog where broad, dismissive (or angry, or whatever) comments about groups are going to be more tolerated than individual attacks on fellow commenters. Those are the rules.
Let's change the rules.
Back to the subject at hand. Thank you for having Charles and Cyreena on your show. I've heard them both speak and even had a house party for Cyreena when she ran last spring. I admire both Charles and Cyreena--Cyreena is super-smart, extremely poised, thoughtful and warm--she's got the ability to connect with people that is nothing short of extraordinary and, if she wants it, she'll be Governor Boston someday. I was thrilled when she said her loss in the spring had not dampened her enthusiasm for public office.
Cyreena talked about how people are multi-dimensional--that she can be an African American candidate, but she's also a female candidate, and a younger candidate as well. Cyreena, in her candidacy, inspires people like my
college-aged (white) daughter, who is interested in public service, and Cyreena's race is just a part of why she's an inspiring candidate. She and Charles, by their commitment to their community--and by that I mean Portland--should and do inspire people of all races, ages, sexual orientations, religious backgrounds, social status, etc. Race is part of the story, and an important part, but there's so much more going on with these talented young people.
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