General Question

ibstubro's avatar

How can it be, in America, that a middle aged black man in Ferguson Missouri can state: "They've [young people of the community] been harassed more than we have," and make it ring true?

Asked by ibstubro (11756 points ) 1 month ago

Exact quote, “Adrian Ellis, 54, adds that young people in the community face harassment on a daily basis. “They’ve been harassed more than we have,” and source

Where did the Civil Rights Movement fall down?

When I was a kid, I assumed that my father was the last openly prejudiced man to walk the face of the Earth. That whites would hide any prejudice against blacks for a generation or two until the kids knew no prejudice. I guess, as a white kid, I assumed that racism was a white thing, that the Civil Rights movement would apply ‘the law of diminishing returns’ and create racial harmony.

Is there a way to get over the ‘blacks in America are pissed off’ and the ‘whites in America are scared of young blacks’ hump?

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30 Answers

Patton's avatar

It was exactly attitudes like yours that helped the movement fall down. Racial reconciliation cannot be achieved by one side alone, and we can’t get rid of white racism just by not talking about it. There are old wounds to be healed and bridges to be built. White people like to think that not being racist anymore solves everything, but it doesn’t. And it’s not like white people have all stopped being racist anyways. So as racism becomes less publicly acceptable, the people who are still racist will find ways of doing it that are hard to expose or counteract. And those who don’t care about being branded a racist will be louder and more harassing than back when all people had to do was occasionally remind blacks of “their place.” So given all that, it’s really not a surprise that we have more harassment now than in the past.

ibstubro's avatar

Mine was not an attitude, but a perception as a child, @Patton, as stated.

I had a crush on Chantay, a black girl, in about 4th grade. I remember the names of all my black classmates as they were excitingly different from the crowd. My dad’s racial jokes and comments were akin to ‘A parrot walks into a bar..” stuff.

So, how did my generation end up oppressing the following generation of blacks more than my father?

KNOWITALL's avatar

When we look at an individual, notProfile by race. When you tell uncle Billy he’s an ass for making black jokes?

Patton's avatar

@ibstubro I wasn’t calling you racist, and it wasn’t supposed to be an insult. I was just saying that the problem got worse because your generation thought the previous generation had solved it. Racism is like a cancer. You can’t just ignore it and hope it goes away. You have to be aggressive in removing it, and then actively prevent it from returning. The US didn’t do that. Neither did any of the Western European countries, though, and in many ways we’re worse because we pretend our leftism somehow cleanses us of the past.

kritiper's avatar

It never fails to amaze me that people everywhere, no matter what color their skin is, or what differences they have compared to anyone else, can lie, exaggerate, spin yarns, stretch the facts and/or the rumors/truths and yet absolutely everything they say is taken as absolute truth with no facts, vouchers, or evidence to back up what they say. This just might have been true about Mr. Ellis. I think we could ALL get over this thing if we all really TRIED to get over this thing. Everybody blames the other person for all of the problems and wants that same other guy to do all of the work to fix it. Well, it ain’t gonna get fixed until we ALL get on board the fixin’ train!

rojo's avatar

@ibstubro because the same TYPE of individual goes into politics regardless of the generation.
@kritiper But before we can do that, we all need to agree as to exactly what the problem is that we are trying to fix and I don’t think we are able to do that yet.

rojo's avatar

I have an old and highly respected friend who is a very educated, intelligent, thoughtful person who says that (and I am sorry if I offend) “Nigger is not a color it is an attitude and there are more white niggers than black ones, we just don’t call them that”.

Before you condemn this gentleman please note that he contributes multiple thousands of dollars each year to the United Negro College Fund to help those who, as he says, want to be successful, useful, contributing members of American society. He does not have to do this, he chooses to do this because he wants to live in a world where anyone and everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. He is not asking that everyone be white, he asks only that you be a productive member of the society he lives in and he is happy to lend a hand if it will make that happen.

And yet he would not give a penny to help someone who says “You owe me for something that your ancestors did to my ancestors”.

Is this person racist? You tell me.

Patton's avatar

@rojo It’s possible to be racist without being super-racist. The KKK is super racist. Almost everyone is a little bit racist. So the fact that there are worse ways to be racist doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a little racism in him. But I don’t think there are many people who think that he personally owes them anything. It’s more of “your society did this, so your society must make amends.” If he really wants everyone to be a productive member of society, then he needs to acknowledge that there are societal barriers to that which have nothing to do with personal effort. And if he doesn’t acknowledge that, then I’d say he’s a least a little bit racist.

rojo's avatar

@Patton I don’t, and I am certain he would not, disagree with you on that point. We all contain something within us that keeps us from looking upon all others as our equals and, as I said in an earlier post, it is just that skin color and gender are the most visible targets.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ibstubro “So, how did my generation end up oppressing the following generation of blacks more than my father?”

By pretending that just because blacks no longer have to drink from separate fountains that everything’s peachy keen, and that blacks don’t face deeply ingrained societal barriers that whites do not face.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@DArth Go to Swope Park at night, if you aren’t scared you’re stupid. That’s reality not racism, in Mo.

shadowboxer's avatar

This is one man’s opinion. I take it that he is basing it on his own life experience. Of course he is in error if he is comparing today with the pre-civil rights era.

What has got to stop is the continual generalization. Every time I hear the phrase “the blacks” I begin to cringed because I know there will follow negative undertones mixed in with race bating stereotypes.

The phrase “the blacks” never talks about the many families who are working hard to send their children to college or the many contributions this undying race has contributed.
Realistically there has always been street thugs of all shapes, colors and sizes in this country and all around the world and of course they still exist today.

If anyone believes that all black people are out to kill white folks or that all white cops want to murder young black men then they too are in error.

Here is an article about the African American Little League pitcher Mone Davis and the relationship she has with her white baseball coach. All it takes for race relations to get better is for us to see all people as human beings. Of course there are some we want to walk away from but we shouldn’t live in fear of all.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/opinion/sunday/frank-bruni-black-white-and-baseball.html?_r=0

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Certain groups of people live in small bubbles and have a skewed perception of reality. They usually are of a certain demographic. Race outside of this bubble is almost a non-issue these days. Racism from whites will mostly die as the older generations die. As a thirty something white male I have no racial prejudice at all. I am however, prejudiced against certain demographics and their skewed perception of reality. (White or black) What that means is I’m “on guard” when I see certain cues that signal danger until I know better. If I get to know the individual that guard is usually let down. This is not so much a racial issue as it is a socio-economic one. Some of that was caused by racism in the past but it’s the distorted reality people have that keep tensions elevated. Police follow these cues also and for good reason. This unfortunately feeds the skewed perception about racism and police. It’s understandable that police will also have a very skewed perception of reality.

gorillapaws's avatar

A lot of us have implicit preferences for race, even if we don’t want to admit it to ourselves (or even realize it). You can take this online test by a Harvard professor to see your own biases. Just choose the race test. Are you surprised by the result?

kritiper's avatar

@rojo THAT is a very good point! We can’t be afraid to talk about it, but some seem to think talking about it is a bad or racist thing. It might help to at least let it go (if everyone could) since it is such an old overly hashed subject.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL

Please explain how that bit of nonsense had a single thing whatsoever to do with what I said.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@DARTH you don’t live here. It’s hard to buy the oppressed black pov when you face gangs & ant-white hatred.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL

If you have something relevant to my point to add then please add it already.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@DARTH okay, when blacks loot like in Ferguson, they destroy progress & their own community. Even Mike’s mom said so.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL

Again, if you have something relevant to my point add it. Or do you, by some logic, believe that because there are gangs and because some opportunistic folks take advantage of disorder to loot, that means that blacks don’t face deeply ingrained societal barriers?

eno's avatar

They cannot make it ring true because black crime rates and the black correctional population are ridiculously disproportionate (in comparison with other ethnicities) for an ethnic group that is only 13% of the U.S population. What blacks see as “harassment” is just cops doing their job by utilizing the standard crime prevention/exposure routine. This is also a poor area from what I gathered and 35% of the poor in the U.S are black. Poverty is one of several causes of crime. So “harassment” my ass.

You wrote, Is there a way to get over the ‘blacks in America are pissed off’ and the ‘whites in America are scared of young blacks’ hump?

No. Blacks don’t have a legitimate reason to be pissed off, while whites have a legitimate reason to be scared, i.e, crime/correctional population. However, statistically, there are far more important things to be scared of than blacks, such as cars.

ibstubro's avatar

Ferguson is not an extremely poor area. 20 years ago, the majority of the population was white working class. I shop in the neighboring community, Florissant, every time I’m in St. Louis [or several times a year], and there used to be a shop in Ferguson that I was fond of.

While the majority of the residents are now black, it’s been my experience that most of the small business owners and employees are still white, much like the mayor and police force. It hasn’t occurred to me before, but it seems to me that blacks have populated the area, but never taken ownership of it. Perhaps the current uprising will change that, for the better?

eno's avatar

Ferguson has a 25% poverty rate which continue to increase rapidly every year. What do you call extremely poor? African style?

kritiper's avatar

@eno Can you propose a solution?

eno's avatar

Before a solution is offered, the main cause needs to be pinpointed for that particular ethnic group by weeding out those that are not applicable to the group and in order to accomplish this, one would need to research and conduct a large amount of studies.

If you take a look here, the causes are numerous (generally speaking).

Causes of poverty

Correlates of crime

So to answer your question, yes, I can, but it would take me a long time to propose you a valid, practical solution.

kritiper's avatar

@eno In the US, it seems both sides have been trying to weed out those (particular ethnic groups) that are not applicable since 1865. I’ll guess your answer to a solution will take more than 149 years. Meanwhile, everybody will continue to play the much beloved blame game.

eno's avatar

When I said weeding out “those”, I was referring to the list of causes that don’t apply to this ethnic groups poverty/crime rates. Meaning, that some causes will not explain the poverty/crime for this ethnic group. Read my sentences within context.

ibstubro's avatar

Something is skewed when a quarter of the people that have re-populated a middle class neighborhood over the course of 20 years are living in poverty.

kritiper's avatar

@eno Sorry, your context was blurred. Take a couple extra years out of petty cash.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The fact is society (white too) & black cultue glamourize thug life. We all have to choose to be law-abiding.

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