Dec 4 - Are most white Americans racist?

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 12-04-2006, 02:28 PM         #1
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GoferMcGee 
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Dec 4 - Are most white Americans racist?
 

 

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 http://www.sun-sentinel.c .. home-headlines
Are most white Americans racist?


A sociology professor says biases are 'drilled into our heads' almost from birth



By Linda Shrieves
Orlando Sentinel

December 4, 2006, 9:17 AM EST



When comedian Michael Richards unleashed a verbal rant at two African-American hecklers in a comedy club recently, he unwittingly sparked a national discussion.

Was Richards, known to many Americans as Seinfeld's quirky Cosmo Kramer, a racist? Did he explode in a fit of stage rage? Or was he telling the truth when he apologized and said he couldn't believe what had come out of his own mouth?

In a country that has shied away from examining racism, Richards' rant and Mel Gibson's drunken, anti-Semitic tirade have led many to wonder: Could there be an inner racist in all of us?

For white Americans, the answer might be "yes." At least that's the theory of Joe Feagin, a Texas A&M sociology professor who has spent decades studying race and racism.

Nearly all white Americans have what Feagin calls "the white racial frame," an extensive set of stereotypes, images and emotions that white people have used since the 1600s to justify holding black people as slaves and later treating black citizens unequally.

And even in an era of political correctness, Feagin says, white Americans cannot escape the socialization. "It's drilled into our heads from the time we're 1-year-olds, by friends, relatives, and, often by the media, by schoolteachers," says Feagin.

Typical of the "white racial frame," says Feagin, is the image of the dangerous black man. "A black corporate executive can be walking down the street at dusk and white people will lock their car doors almost without thinking about it," says Feagin.

Feagin says Americans have learned it's unacceptable to make racist comments in public -- in what he calls a "frontstage" arena. Yet "backstage," in small groups of friends or family members, white people regularly use racist language and tell racist jokes.

"That white racist frame did not die the way public-opinion pollsters have suggested," Feagin says. "It went backstage."

"What happens -- and I suspect this is something like the Richards case -- is frequently whites let the backstage crash into the front stage," Feagin says. That slip, he says, might be caused by alcohol or when a person feels relaxed and loose, even in a mixed crowd.

But not everyone buys that argument.

In Richards' case, says one social psychologist, rage could have fueled a racist spiel -- even from someone who doesn't normally act or feel racist.

"When we're angry, we often say things designed to hurt the person we're angry at," says Clark McCauley of Bryn Mawr College. "We pick the most hurtful thing we can lay our hands on. People have been known to say hurtful things to their spouses. Does that mean that, deep down inside, we hate our spouses?"

Besides, McCauley says that Americans' attitudes toward race have changed dramatically since the 1950s. At that time, more than half of Americans told pollsters that interracial marriage was bad or immoral; today more than 90 percent of Americans do not object to interracial marriage. "Something very important has happened," he says. "The perceived norms have changed in a way that makes this kind of behavior unacceptable in public."

Measuring racism

Kurt Young has heard Americans say that we've moved beyond racism.

But as a black man and a political-science professor, he doesn't buy it.

Just last year, he was driving through a Tampa neighborhood with his father when police pulled him over, allegedly for running a stop sign. Young says he stopped at the sign, yet officers searched his vehicle and delayed him for 20 minutes.

"This is so common, it sounds trivial," says Young, a professor at the University of Central Florida. "It's what everyone calls the 'driving-while-black' phenomenon. It's part of institutional racism."

When Young heard about Richards' comedy-club rant, he wasn't surprised. "His comments fall right in line with the fact that we're still in a society that has, at its very root, matters of race and racism. People say we've moved beyond racism, and I say, 'Tell me the point when racism stopped.' "

Indeed, it has been hard for social scientists to measure racism -- because, until recently, they could rely only on polls and questionnaires. As Americans have moved more toward politically correct speech, it has become harder to know if they're racist or if they're hiding their real views because their opinions aren't publicly acceptable.

That led social psychologists Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji to develop a computer test that allows anyone to find out if they're unconsciously prejudiced.

So far, more than 4 million people have taken the online test, known as the Implicit a.ssociation Test. Of the 1 million people who've taken a test on racism, about 80 percent show a preference for whites over blacks. (The test is at implicit.harvard.edu.)

Still, Greenwald resists the idea that we are a nation of inner racists -- people who know it's impolite to say racist things but still hold those beliefs.

"The theory that I favor is that most people -- those 80-plus percent who say on surveys they are not prejudiced -- honestly regard themselves as nonprejudiced and that's the way they want to perceive themselves," Greenwald says.

"I'm careful using the word racist," he adds. "All of us have some hidden biases that we may not be aware of."

Besides, says Robert Boyers, a cultural critic and professor at Skidmore College, if you believe that everyone is inherently racist, then no one can be held responsible.

"It's the kind of tempting conclusion that, in a way, lets everyone off the hook," says Boyers. "If everyone is deep inside inherently a racist, if no matter what we learn in school or learn by reading or learn by experience, we continue to think of ourselves as in some way racist, then I have to suppose that we can no longer blame ourselves for anything we say or do. It becomes the way things are, the way we are."

And that, he says, is no prescription for change.

Linda Shrieves can be reached at 407-420-5433 or lshrieves@orlandosentinel.com
Copyright © 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

164 comments for "Dec 4 - Are most white Americans racist?"

 12-04-2006, 02:32 PM         #2
The Mighty Joe  OP
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like white people dont know they some racist bastards already
 11 years ago '05        #3
.Hafestos. 5 heat pts
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whoa, so black ppl arent racists? asians arent racist?, come on motherfu*kers, everybody has some type of racism...whites arent any more racist than any other race...
 12-04-2006, 02:43 PM         #4
ElMarroAfamado  OP
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yeah, everyone is racist, they just need something to let it all out....Kramer was a great example, he resorted to racist name calling ....sadly almost everyone will probably do the same thing if they know no other way of defending themselves.....i guess it also depends what you consider racism, hatred towards another race ??? right here mexicans dont like blacks, blacks dont like mexicans, NO ONE likes white people, asians are ridiculed....ignorant yeah but eh what can i do, it is the society we live in ...
 11 years ago '04        #5
selfishpimpin 5 heat pts
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 .Hafestos. said:
whoa, so black ppl arent racists? asians arent racist?, come on motherfu*kers, everybody has some type of racism...whites arent any more racist than any other race...

the big difference is we didn't take slaughter whole societies nativa americans are almost a extinct race we didnt k!ll hundreds of thousands probably millions of Africans during the slave trade we didnt practice slavery on eastern europeans nor do we extort people in ethiopia for coffee or iraq for oil when some black corporations starts doing things like walmart does and let muthafu*kas in mexico work for $3.15 a week then we can start comparing racism
 12-04-2006, 02:55 PM         #6
been_grimm  OP
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 .Hafestos. said:
whoa, so black ppl arent racists? asians arent racist?, come on motherfu*kers, everybody has some type of racism...whites arent any more racist than any other race...

Races other than white in America can be bigoted but not racist. Racism, at its heart, is the action of discrimination or inequality based on skin color. Since only white people have been in the position of power to truely discriminate or deal unfairly in this country, they can be the only racist.

This is what we deal with in Ohio, white people smiling in your face but behind closed doors its zzzzzz this and zzzzzz that.
 12-04-2006, 02:58 PM         #7
Apostrophe  OP
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 selfishpimpin said:
the big difference is we didn't take slaughter whole societies nativa americans are almost a extinct race we didnt k!ll hundreds of thousands probably millions of Africans during the slave trade we didnt practice slavery on eastern europeans nor do we extort people in ethiopia for coffee or iraq for oil when some black corporations starts doing things like walmart does and let muthafu*kas in mexico work for $3.15 a week then we can start comparing racism
Umm. Are you even aware of the horrors taking place in Africa at this very moment? Funny how stupid alot of you are. No race is more racist then another. Most people are racist because most people are pieces of sh*t. Some of you act so sheltered, its like your not even aware of whats going on around you in the rest of the world. And racism and hatred only exist becuase there the most effective tool to keep the poor and uneducated from rising up against there rich oppressors. If people stopped hating each other over race and religion they'd see how bad they were being fu*ked over by the rich, but instead they fall victim and play there part and f!ght over nothing and die over nothing while the rich business heads and drug lords sit back laughing.
 11 years ago '04        #8
smiles 9 heat pts
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 selfishpimpin said:
the big difference is we didn't take slaughter whole societies nativa americans are almost a extinct race we didnt k!ll hundreds of thousands probably millions of Africans during the slave trade we didnt practice slavery on eastern europeans nor do we extort people in ethiopia for coffee or iraq for oil when some black corporations starts doing things like walmart does and let muthafu*kas in mexico work for $3.15 a week then we can start comparing racism
you're confusing "ameircans" with "white people... dont let political history of YOUR nation distorted with histories of the world.... there are plenty of examples where coloured people, or asian people, black people decimated their own polulations as well as those of other races..... e.g. the ottoman empire, persian empire, the hun's....
 11 years ago '04        #9
JJH35 9 heat pts
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every race is racist because they all feel diff races are racist towards them, so they develop that mindset
 11 years ago '05        #10
P DRILLA 103 heat pts103
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to answer thread staters question, yes...white people are socialized to be racist...oh yeah, having black friends doesn't exclude you from being racist
 11 years ago '04        #11
selfishpimpin 5 heat pts
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 Apostrophe said:
Umm. Are you even aware of the horrors taking place in Africa at this very moment? Funny how stupid alot of you are. No race is more racist then another. Most people are racist because most people are pieces of sh*t. Some of you act so sheltered, its like your not even aware of whats going on around you in the rest of the world. And racism and hatred only exist becuase there the most effective tool to keep the poor and uneducated from rising up against there rich oppressors. If people stopped hating each other over race and religion they'd see how bad they were being fu*ked over by the rich, but instead they fall victim and play there part and f!ght over nothing and die over nothing while the rich business heads and drug lords sit back laughing.

who the fu*k colonized those nations the british,french,portugese, and other europeans basically white people they are f!ghting because they are getting fu*ked by europeans who come in take the gold,silver and diamonds and leave them poor and then have the audasity to rename our sh*t the gold coast or the ivory coast do u know why the fu*k they have those names because when white people came to our land they saw all the natural resources and gave it that name AFRICA is the richest continent as far as natural resources but it has the most poverty u know why because white imperialism thanks 4 the example
 11 years ago '05        #12
g0tt1 211 heat pts211
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I think so... They dont like black people... They dont like Arabs but they keep it inside.
 11 years ago '05        #13
Mrniceguy 
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 been_grimm said:
Races other than white in America can be bigoted but not racist. Racism, at its heart, is the action of discrimination or inequality based on skin color. Since only white people have been in the position of power to truely discriminate or deal unfairly in this country, they can be the only racist.

This is what we deal with in Ohio, white people smiling in your face but behind closed doors its zzzzzz this and zzzzzz that.
I'm a Black Man in Ohio...i deal with it everyday!
 11 years ago '06        #14
Swishadude 5 heat pts
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Its about economics, not race. People need to stop with the race stuff because its getting out of hand. I have friends of ALL colors and nobody cares about race.

Yall need to get off the race tip.
 12-04-2006, 03:15 PM         #15
CrackMp3z  OP
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Man i dont care, im racists like a muthfu*ker, i hate my own people lol...

I say if your color doesnt have hot women in it, i will be racists to them.

Brown/Latino's - Of Course Im Down With Them, Mad Hot Chicks
Blacks - Im Down With Them, Hot Chicks
Whites - DAMN RIGHT Chicks mad hot
Asians - They have hot chicks

In the end as a guy aint just about a hot chick with nice good pus*y ?
 11 years ago '05        #16
Mrniceguy 
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 Swishadude said:
Its about economics, not race. People need to stop with the race stuff because its getting out of hand. I have friends of ALL colors and nobody cares about race.

Yall need to get off the race tip.
people love to judge the world from the fact that they have friends of all colors.
Yeah keep thinking its not about race, until your sitting at the LAUGH FACTORY AND A COMEDIAN CALLS YOU A RACIAL SLUR...then you'll have that i can't believe it look on your face.
 12-04-2006, 03:26 PM         #17
Apostrophe  OP
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 selfishpimpin said:
who the fu*k colonized those nations the british,french,portugese, and other europeans basically white people they are f!ghting because they are getting fu*ked by europeans who come in take the gold,silver and diamonds and leave them poor and then have the audasity to rename our sh*t the gold coast or the ivory coast do u know why the fu*k they have those names because when white people came to our land they saw all the natural resources and gave it that name AFRICA is the richest continent as far as natural resources but it has the most poverty u know why because white imperialism thanks 4 the example

So that excuses there behavior? That excuses the fact that they r*pe women and chop off there brea$ts so they cant feed there young? The excuses the fact that they r*pe women and shove rags with gasoline down there throats and light them on fire? Every country over time was conquered by England, Spain or France. They conqured Ireland, used the Irish as slaves. Rome conqured France and used the french as slaves. You seem to forget that every race and country at one period of time practiced slavery. Its a dispicable historical fact. Human beings are pieces of sh*t. Doesnt matter what race. The only thing thats universal is greed. But what I find troublesom is this attitude I keep seeing pop up from black people on these boards. The idea that becuase your ancersotrs had terriable things happen to them that now your somehow not responsiable for your actions or betterment. I find this disturbing becuase if all you ever do is blame others your never going to grow and advance as a person. Not to mention that type of thinking leads to dumb sh*t like the bloods and crips. See I dont get that whole thinking. I'm half Native Americian and no offense but compared to us, you guys got off easy. And you know what. I dont blame europeans. I blame my ancestors. We let it happen to us. We let the europeans into this land and helped them survive. Just like if I was black, I'd place the majority of the blame on the african slave traders who shipped your ancersotrs here in the first place. No ones hands are clean. Theres blame to be levied every where. Doesnt make much sense to ignore one groups guilt and not another. I know typing this was a waste of time tho. Cuz your not going to listen. Your goning to continue to hate white people, most of whom didnt even come to america until well after the slave days, and you'll continue to handicap your sucess in life becuase of your prejudice.


Last edited by Apostrophe; 12-04-2006 at 03:31 PM..
 11 years ago '05        #18
.Hafestos. 5 heat pts
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 CrackMp3z said:
Man i dont care, im racists like a muthfu*ker, i hate my own people lol...

I say if your color doesnt have hot women in it, i will be racists to them.

Brown/Latino's - Of Course Im Down With Them, Mad Hot Chicks
Blacks - Im Down With Them, Hot Chicks
Whites - DAMN RIGHT Chicks mad hot
Asians - They have hot chicks

In the end as a guy aint just about a hot chick with nice good pus*y ?
word, end of thread...
 11 years ago '06        #19
Swishadude 5 heat pts
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 Mrniceguy said:
people love to judge the world from the fact that they have friends of all colors.
Yeah keep thinking its not about race, until your sitting at the LAUGH FACTORY AND A COMEDIAN CALLS YOU A RACIAL SLUR...then you'll have that i can't believe it look on your face.
people love to judge the world form the fact that they have friends of all colors.........

if you read what i was saying, i meant that nobody in my group of friends give a fu*k about race. people need to stop worrying about it.

and if one racist dude calling you a racial slur affects you that bad you have other problems. you should be intelligent enough to realize that guy is a scumbag and what comes out of his mouth is nothing but venom. pay it no mind and live your life. dont let what somebody says affect you that much.

im just sayin that one racist dude shouldnt make people think every white person is racist because they are not.
 11 years ago '04        #20
jillas31 
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This is the most ignorant article ever....fu*k dumb a.ss people if yall think all white people are racist then fu*k u too
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