Friday, September 08, 2006

race the nation

i have hestitated to go here- because quite frankly- i am not a person of color. i am a white female in america with that perspective. not only am i white- i am square. no hipness to me. i like to think that i am a compassionate person- who doesn't see race or ethnicity as a negative- and i like to think that i am openminded. however, having said that, i will say this: i cannot ever know what it is like to be a person of color in america. therefore, i cannot presume to know what a person of color's life is like. i have been reading some fantastic blogs on racism, feminism, gayness, etc- from the blog owner's perspectives being one or more of the above mentioned- or not. i am going to post the links here to those blogs- and they are in my sidebar.

what got me thinking about race - really thinking about it- was the aftermath of katrina. not that i didn't think about racial disparity before- because as any of the faithful here knows- i watch quite a bit of court tv- and let's face it- cops is all about racial profiling and the like. i also watched the "movie" 'step up' which i talked a bit about on another blog. now, the movie was a typical teen flick but what struck me at the time was that they used a white lead character instead a person of color- when what the movie promoted was street dancing developed by folks of color. why did the movie company feel that they couldn't use kids of color instead of a white lead? what was there target audiece and why?

coming on the heels of the recent immigration bruhaha and how the right wing is circling the wagons around the issue- and also sappho's recent brush with bigotry- oh and let's not forget senator allen's 'macaca' caca, tony snow's 'tar baby' moment, barbara bush and her 'step up' from poverty to absolute nothing remarks following katrina, and schwarzenegger's recent 'hot and tempermental' assessment of cuban and other latin american folks-- i began to sense a theme. racism and bigotry are alive and well in america. they have been bubbling under the surface of political correctness- but when you have "leaders" in this country make racist comments on a semi regular basis, i think that that sends a clear message to the regular folks.

so that has sent me on a journey to learn more. i began to wonder- what are the real lives of people of color like in america? i have my own perspective- and even though i grew up a poor white female in the land of privelege for rich, white males- i have had it better than many "minorities" in this country. my mother always told me that i could do whatever i set my mind to and indeed encouraged me to do so. i was the first in my mom's family to graduate with a bachelor's degree. can folks of color encourage their children to do so? the stock, politically correct answer would be "yes, of course they can- this is america. with hard work and perseverance- anyone can make it." is this in fact true? i am beginning to doubt so. as i push forward in my quest for knowledge- america is looking different to me. i am not saying that folks of color can't make it- they can- but the odds are favoring the house as usual- and the odds are stacked way against them.

i am far from an expert- but here are some folks who have much more knowledge- and from whom i am learning a great deal:

changeseeker- why am i not surprised?

nubian- blac(k)ademic

balckamazon- having read the fine print

each-1-teach-1- my own revolution

professor zero- professor zero

guyana-gyal- guyana


Peacechick Mary said...

I think you and I are both signed up for Changeseeker's class. So we will probably have a lot of things to share . Stay cool, even if you aren't a hippy dippy doodad.

betmo said...

well, i used to be cooler than i am now. my husband married me because i could start my car with a screwdriver and buy beer (he is a couple years younger than me.) where i worked with the teenaged girls- not so much. so i morphed from cool with adults to 'so square she's kinda cool' with the girls :) now- i am just anti social :)

No said...

Being anti-social is sooooooo under-rated, don't you agree?

karena said...

Betmo, This is a very good piece, and I often wonder myself what it must be like to be a person of color in this country, knowing what so many really think of you deep down, and knowing that our leaders are now so open about it. When did the pendelum swing back? Racisim never died, but political correctness made it very detrimental for a person's reputation, career, etc., if they went about spouting out racist comments. Now John Gibson and Pat Buchanan go on TV saying if we don't go out and propogate we are going to be taken over by people of color. It is okay for Pat Buchanan to go on TV and say he liked it when Washington DC was 89% white, and he is not vilified. Ann Coulter goes on TV and wants to kill all Arabs and convert the survivors to Christianity. Where is the outrage? I think when Arabs were blamed for 9/11, it became perfectly okay for Americans to openly hate people of color.
to the patrons that it goes over the line of being a courteous and good waitress or bellman or whatever and really gets into the "master" act. Sure, some will argue that white people in the south are just as polite, and manners are very important in the south, but this situation is palpable. When you go to establishments that serve a white only audience, and all of the employees are black, it raises my suspicion. Some white people still like to spend tons of money pretending they are genteel slave owners.