Discussing subconscious racism

Mrs.Anteater

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Trudeau’s blackface brings up discussion about what are things you can’t do today due to cultural sensitivities that were acctable in everyday life in the past. And what determines the limit?
An example:
:
These marshmallow sweets used to be called “ negro kisses” when I was a kid and were very popular on kids birthday parties ( i.e. for eating contests). There are also other bakery items in Germany that were called “negro heads” , “ snails” (look like cinnamon rolls),
“ pig ears” - the latter do not have anything to do with racism. Of course, today, negro kisses and heads are renamed foam kisses.
Was the fact that something made out of chocolate was named racially already racism?
There were also are sweet treats called “Americans” and “ Berliners”. There is “ Chinese cabbage”. Is this per se degrading or is this only degrading if you think racially?
As a child, I read Karl May and played cowboys and indians until I was 12 years old. It didn’t make me a racist. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I don’t have biasses, buy those are more based on the lack of regular experience with people of other races.

Kids play and people like to dress up. What is the harm of dressing up as a fictional figure? In a world without racism, black people dressing up as white, white people as black, or green - nobody would think twice about it
. So, it comes down to
1. The intention ( in the history of black face it was apparently intended to degrade) - does that now mean it always will?
2. The interpretation- in the experience of living with racism, the dress up is experienced as ridiculing.

To actually live in a world without racism, people of all races have to free themselves from both. Dancing around the fear of being misinterpreted as well as interpreting everything as racially motivated is both not a sign of a healthy state of racial relations.
 

Luce NDs

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Does darkness of soul-hart cause some naivete and not knowing (sometimes called ignorance ... but that word is made unpopular because it bothers 3 kinds of elites) ... being what they know about the truth and polity of being unconsciously deprived ...

We didn't even the thought going ... due to emotional overrides! Resides on the fringe of neuroticism and psychotic nature ... and I'm told that psyche is an imaginary thing ... and thus is unreal in numbers ... (n-1) to whatever power ... it may be binary or demiurgent! The Deus you say?

Others say De Oz ... adios ... additional words for the integration process as the mire piles up ... MyRa .... is that eu? Eeyoreit that shadowy understanding ... when fully robed: "what's hidden there?"

Allows noodling and spaghetti monsters ... wall hangings? I hear a scream as someone breaks through the fringe ... that 3rd person imagination that someone hears yah ... a dream? To support naivete ... someone has to abide by don;t hear don;t speak ... an unseen roue/ruse?

Will we learn to rue the Dei ...
 

Carolla

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I think this 'Trudeau situation' gives us an opportunity for reflection (should we choose to use it that way) at a deeper level - an opportunity for learning about 'white privilege' and how racism is an issue today. I think there is somewhat more awareness of this than 15-20 years ago - at least there is for me - and we have a long way still to go on the recognition of our own possible unconscious biases and how that influences life & policy today.

We got a powerful wake-up call at the GC43 gathering a year ago, regarding the fact that racism is experienced in our churches TODAY. Many listened soberly, thoughtfully, reflectively. Others (who were white) wanted to dispute its influence, or saw it as diminishment of their own efforts to promote diversity. I think we all have a LOT to learn - at least I know I do.
 

ChemGal

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Not so subtle racism, if this is what he was doing. I didn't think ape with the video, but the video did bring up the overtly racist type of blackface immediately to me. (read another article which had made the ape connection, on an app on my phone, forget the source and searching didn't bring it up in the top results).

Subconscious racism is much more subtle than many of the examples given. It does come from, at least partially, the conscious racism that we are exposed to.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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I think this 'Trudeau situation' gives us an opportunity for reflection (should we choose to use it that way) at a deeper level - an opportunity for learning about 'white privilege' and how racism is an issue today. I think there is somewhat more awareness of this than 15-20 years ago - at least there is for me - and we have a long way still to go on the recognition of our own possible unconscious biases and how that influences life & policy today.

We got a powerful wake-up call at the GC43 gathering a year ago, regarding the fact that racism is experienced in our churches TODAY. Many listened soberly, thoughtfully, reflectively. Others (who were white) wanted to dispute its influence, or saw it as diminishment of their own efforts to promote diversity. I think we all have a LOT to learn - at least I know I do.
The GC43 gathering was impressive. Other than a follow up article in the Observer, was there any follow up in the UCC?
What bothers me is that this is just blown out of proportion to damage his reputation. Instead of using really important facts like unkept promises. I am sure there are lots.
I am sure one could find stuff on any of the other candidates as well, something like Andrew Scheer shoplifting when he was ten or smoking pot before it was legal. This is just a distraction from real issues, and real issues would also be racism, but racism that has little to do with kids playing pretend black person.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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What if all this anti racism education and the black history month education had actually worked and the kids today would love to dress up as one of the famous black persons they learned about. Do we tell the kid,- no, you can’t be Martin Luther King for Halloween, because you would possibly hurt somebodies feelings? Do parents of black kids tell their children- no, you can’t make you face white and be Albert Einstein for Halloween, can’t you be a famous person of your own race? How racist would that be?
People who have been hurt, tend to misinterpret. You experience that in every personal argument that escalates instead of settles. And it can only settle on an even ground, when both people explain themselves and both realize where they have been misinterpreting the other because of their own history/ hurt.
 

Mendalla

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It's a tough line to walk, really. I mean, a lot of witches object to how they are portrayed by Hallowe'en, movies, etc. (evil women in pointy hats) but I just heard an interview with a witch (a sex witch, no less) who's interest in witchcraft was actually sparked as a kid by those portrayals. She was an evangelical at the time so it didn't go over well with her family (needless to say) but she's now left the church (which is what a lot of the interview was about) and embraced that interest in both her life and her work.
 
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And if you look at the original being white as defined now didn't have the privilege across for all of Europe either. I think that applied mostly to the British and French.
He was talking about white privelege "now" which was early 1990's at the time. I think it's true there has been subconscious racism and white privelege - even if not always overt, but still damaging, lasting through the 20th century until now, even with human rights laws. The laws don't cover subtle mindsets that can be hurtful. Only education and attitude change can do that. It can take a couple of generations or longer, especially if avoided. It doesn't go away without learning and changing the lens through which we view society.

This was all revisited when I took the social service worker courses over a decade later, and we got into deeper study of the civil rights, lgbt rights and disability rights movements and feminist theory. Again, most of us have some prejudices we may not be consciously aware of and may need to continuously confront within ourselves - even in white people thinking of ourselves as the "host" society, that can lead to xenophobia and prejudice. We got right into examining those and I learned a lot. Intersectionality was part of that.

**cross posted from the election thread because it applies here.
 
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I just found an old textbook of mine - still from the early 2000s. I'm going to go through it tonight to see what's relevant.

Woohoo! Saturday night. I must be getting old.
 
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I looked through a chapter on racism. I remember it just the same. The stats are a bit outdated. Of course, the chapter opens talking about how great we are in promoting and following through with multiculturalism and diversity compared to other countries - a bit of horn tooting that seems kind of foolish at the moment. It does also go into historical racism in Canada and its lasting impacts though - and describes different types of racism - I paraphrased some examples:

Overt hate: conscious intent to harm, persecution (ie white supremacists, nazis) hate speech, and yes, I think blackface falls under this but not so sure about theme costumes not intended to mock.

Institutional racism: denying minorities jobs, housing, etc.

Polite racism: pretending a job or rental vacancy has been filled, veiled objection to employment equity (calling it "reverse discrimination"), complimenting somebody who doesn't "act like" the stereotype they had in mind

Subliminal racism: approving of equality initiatives in principle, but reluctant to practice (every single level of government does this, workplaces do this)

Systemic racism: built into the system. Treating everybody exactly the same sometimes can be discriminatory not taking into account that the opportunities and advantages are not the same for everybody.
 
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Carolla

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The GC43 gathering was impressive. Other than a follow up article in the Observer, was there any follow up in the UCC?
I think the GC43 Executive is the most diverse I have seen - so that is at least a positive step on a very long journey.

Search of the UCCan website reveals a number of resources/initiatives related to racism & white privilege (thanks for prompting me to look!) - Search United-church.ca

It's a long long journey ... not everyone will come along.
 
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Elizabeth May says she's "deeply shocked". A white female politician from Victoria area - deeply shocked? She knows full well what privelege looks like. Somehow I doubt anybody's deeply shocked. Lots of people may feel quite hurt by their PM having behaved that way, lots of people are deeply embarrassed, some slightly surprised, some just want to use the hypocrisy to score election points and could care less about the actual offensive behaviour, but "deeply shocked"? Really? ...Nah. Not likely. Everybody knows there's racism here, certainly white privilege is still pretty obvious - but Canada puts on a good show, makes a good effort for our image. We messed it up this time - the lead actor fell down - and I think the country is embarrassed.
 
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Mendalla

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Of course, there's the question of whether she is REALLY deeply shocked or just saying what she thinks people expect. Or maybe I am just being cynical. It just seems to me that anyone still "deeply shocked" by something like this is a bit naive or out-of-touch.
 
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Not much deeply shocks me anymore...I was deeply shocked by the hockey riots in Vancouver. I lived blocks away. That was an egregious display of white privilege...though not intended to target minorities, (and just because there were some minorities who got swept up in the “excitement” doesn’t mean it wasn’t overall white privilege - it’s a game generally favoured and attended by white people. And the tickets are not accessibly priced for a lot of people). It was a bunch of white suburban teens and young adults smashing windows and flipping and burning cars over losing a hockey game. First it shocked me, then it pissed me off, and it was embarrassing. When you think of something like the Rodney King riots in LA, where oppressed minorities rioted over a racial injustice - it was, no doubt, upsetting that it happened. There are minority communities who feel helpless and behaved that way because they were fed up with being mistreated by the police. But something like the hockey riots was a bunch of spoiled poor sports, oblivious to their privilege, whose priorities were askew. That’s actually a good example of subconscious white privilege at its worst.
 

revjohn

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Mrs.Anteater said:
Trudeau’s blackface brings up discussion about what are things you can’t do today due to cultural sensitivities that were acctable in everyday life in the past.
Acceptable to whom?

The phrase suggests that there was a time when blackface was acceptable and that only today, because of cultural sensitivity, is it prohibited.

So, there was a time when white people were okay mocking black people and their appearance (while denying them basic standing as human beings) but now culture is handicapped by the awareness that black people are first people who happen to be black and mocking them on account of their pigment is ignorant?

As if now that we actually seek to include black people as a part of the culture, our culture has changed for the worse.

How conscious is the racism in this?

Mrs. Anteater said:
And what determines the limit?
The whole of culture determines the limit. Which means that as culture changes to allow different voices equal volume and space culture needs to be changed. Once upon a time women were expected to be quiet, pregnant and barefoot. As soon as women were given a voice and freedom to exercise it they decided we needed to change our expectations around how loud they were going to be, how often they got pregnant and what shoes they would wear. As soon as we gave black that same respect culture should have shifted again. Give that kind of agency to LGBTQ2S and culture should shift again.

When culture doesn't shift it is due to a privileged party refusing to give up what they believe is theirs by right. A natural advantage rooted in noting meritorious but rather an accident of birth.

Which is why this week past has been such an interesting week to simply sit and observe.

It has been interesting to watch bewildered white folk lament that once upon a time they had freedoms to mock others considered inferior and now those others act as if they are, at the very least equal too. And, if that equality wasn't offensive enough they have the gall to suggest that they were always equal too and our good clean "white" fun was always racist. It has been just as interesting watching "white" allies scream louder and more shrill than those they are allied with. Making up for lost time not being woke I suppose.

Mrs. Anteater said:
Was the fact that something made out of chocolate was named racially already racism?
Yes. It was. That the dominant "white" culture wasn't offended by it doesn't mean it wasn't a snide reference.

Mrs. Anteaters said:
There were also are sweet treats called “Americans” and “ Berliners”. There is “ Chinese cabbage”. Is this per se degrading or is this only degrading if you think racially?
Americans are not a race they are a nation. I do note though that there are some "Americans" who, while travelling abroad have apparently put a maple leaf on their luggage because they perceive that Canadians get better treatment. Not racist but definitely political "Berliners" is more of the same thing. Once politically acceptable then politically unacceptable. Hence the change in name of the community of Berlin, ON to Kitchener, ON. I will note that nearby neighbouring communities of New Hamburg, ON and Baden, ON did not feel inclined to change their names to something less German.

Mrs. Anteater said:
As a child, I read Karl May and played cowboys and indians until I was 12 years old. It didn’t make me a racist.
Perhaps not. It definitely normalized racial language which makes racism easier to express. I mean Cowboys rarely met any Indians what with the fact India was on the other side of the planet.

And now, because of a culture shift which occurred after giving others equal voice and standing, we use the words Indigenous or First Nations.

Mrs. Anteater said:
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I don’t have biasses, buy those are more based on the lack of regular experience with people of other races.
Maybe.

It is also quite possible that those biases exist because of resistence to including those others. And that resistence may not be personal experience of your own so much as it is inherited from the dominant portion of culture we belonged to.

Mrs. Anteater said:
Kids play and people like to dress up. What is the harm of dressing up as a fictional figure?
Does the fictional figure promote or tolerate racial stereotyping? If so then there is the harm.

Mrs. Anteater said:
In a world without racism, black people dressing up as white, white people as black, or green - nobody would think twice about it
We would first need to find a world without racism in order to observe whether or not this would be true.

Mrs. Anteater said:
So, it comes down to
1. The intention ( in the history of black face it was apparently intended to degrade) - does that now mean it always will?
I'm not sure that the intention of blackface was to degrade. So much as it was a vehicle to mock. Al Jolson's singing skill didn't change because he put on blackface. Because he wore blackface he could sing "black" songs before a white audience that would not pay to have a black sing their own songs for them.

Nothing racist about that.

I doubt Jolson would have considered himself a racist.

What did blacks think about his appropriation of their music? Didn't it eventually open the door to blacks singing their own music before white audiences and getting paid for it?

At any rate, one shouldn't have to look too long to see that it was easier for society to accept a white man pretending to be temporarily black while singing black music than it was to tolerate a permanently black man singing black music.

Mrs. Anteater said:
2. The interpretation- in the experience of living with racism, the dress up is experienced as ridiculing.
The flaw in this point is that it allows white people the liberty of self-justification. It cannot be racist because I as a white person am not a racist.

I will accept that because there is still some white ignorance floating about due to our extended privilege there may be some nuance as to why blackface is employed. That nuance doesn't trump the interpretation. The proverb suggests that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I do not see how blackface flatters anyone. I can see how somebody might think it could.

Whiteface, if it exists likely doesn't operate the same way.

Mrs. Anteater said:
To actually live in a world without racism, people of all races have to free themselves from both. Dancing around the fear of being misinterpreted as well as interpreting everything as racially motivated is both not a sign of a healthy state of racial relations.
Not sure that I agree that racism is defeated by abandoning both.

Seeing the other as a person probably goes a long way and if we see the other as a person then our interaction with the other person cannot do anything but change us (it will change them also). Part of that change is deciding what borders come down and which borders remain. Understanding that the larger the society is the more parts exist that may resist change.

Our society agreed that women were equal to men. That equality is, at best, theoretical since we have many examples of different genders paid differently for doing the same work. There is also that glass ceiling in effect.

In all of these discussions I am mindful that as a white male I have an abundance of advantages that others do not get. I could always appeal to the disadvantages I have because I do not belong to the wealthy. So far that is the only real disadvantage I can count and on the spectrum of disadvantages it weighs nothing.

In conversations of racism the subject advances further the quieter white people become.

Provided the quietness is due to listening and not daydreaming about the good old days before conversations on racism were necessary.
 

Luce NDs

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I try and befriend the darker side as I have a sense of equanimity with them. However as I am mostly white on the surface ... they may reject me.

One famous black sportsman's father however thought I was a funny child as blacker than his child that was born in a similar time frame and place.

Even though my dad and that old black gentlemen were friends ... I suspect that some folk don't appreciate our position of respect ... as it may eat into their feelings of elite superiority! Thus I tend to the decline ... and all is downhill after encountering such shadows in the human mid that claims to be enlightened ... whilst it appears a buried item!

I find the whole thing in relationship is dark and mysterious! Contrary to those taking a higher route ... the inevitable still impresses us in the come down --- Sisyphus!

Real people do not accept information unless in the form of an abstract ... i.e. black and white expressions for contrast! The opposition obviously goes on ... creating a hard spot in deep space ... basalt core? Is that hard nut a projectile?

Apparently some parts seem to go round it ... avoi dance? Avoir du pois is weighty when two peas are poded ... X poδ 'das a defunct squiggle!
 
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