Racism In Our Language

racist-talk.jpg

I was extremely tired last night after putting the baby to bed and had a bunch of trouble getting started writing something for the Blog. I finally resorted to just surfing the web and letting my day drain from my mind when I came across a study called “Racism exists in our language”, you can read it in its entirety on Black Rising. The professor was talking about how rhetoric in how we speak changes perceptions. The professor named Victor Villanueva, said “Racism still exists, and “we have to look at [it] as a large systematic force that is still at work, It does us no good to deny its existence.” Now this is exactly what people need to start listening to.

Racism exists in our everyday life, people just have an acceptance which has been allowed to take place because we have individual people saying “I’m not racist” and so there really isn’t a problem. But there is a problem people, there is. Villanueva says “The new racism embeds racism within a set of other categories – language, religion, culture, and people have seen this new racism with Hurricane Katrina, yet they dismiss it and quickly forget about it. America resides in short-term memory.” The black community’s collective memory might be even shorter than that of the nation as a whole. We spend too much of our time worrying about what the black person did to get the malicious treatment delivered by the white community. We totally forget the actual act there for concentrating completely on the internal community feud thus never getting around to actually doing anything to combat such nasty treatment.

While we blacks are spending time playing the blame game, the white community is spending time figuring ways in which to render us invisible. Using such talk as “let’s all just be color blind”, which is one of my serious pet peeves see my article “Color Blind Racism” Villanueva says that “while being color-blind “would be the right thing” if it were actually possible, is not realistic. “No one wants to be rendered invisible, have a blind eye turned on her or him,”, so to be color-blind is to be “color-dumb, in all the senses of the word ‘dumb’.” There isn’t any possibility of the whole color blind argument ever coming into a society that is so obviously hung up on race but trying so hard to act oblivious to the inequities we live with day to day.

With such inequities in our society one can not simply blame the folks sitting at the bottom, there comes a time when you MUST look at the bigger picture to see that the blame needs to sit at the feet of not only our community but also the white community since they are the ones holding all the cards. Villanueva also talks of equity stating that it is impossible because capitalism works through exploitation. Since we in the black community have been exploited since our violent entrance into this society it (should but) doesn’t amaze me that we don’t do more to stick together and create equity within our own communities, but we are just too busy trying to get ours and forget everyone else. Which, you see plain as day with our celebrities such as Bill Cosby, and Oprah who are constantly saying things such as “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, “I made it, why can’t you”, and “our community is so irresponsible, that is why we don’t do better”.

The fallacy of such statements sends a bogus message to our children that the reason they are not more successful in this society designed for them to fail is somehow totally through their own deficiencies. This will inevitably breed such thoughts as “if I were more like the white kids, I would be better” or “if I align myself with the white community, I’ll make it”. Bang, we have just produced another Uncle Tom who will begin their journey through life hating, leaving and inevitably doing serious harm to the black community along with those who seek to protect it. These new Toms will infect many more blacks causing eyes to shut to the truth of racism faster than those of us out there fighting the good fight to open those eyes to it. Since it is so much easier to live in the dark oblivious to the reality of racism, than to feel the pain of looking right at the racist light shining like the sun, people will tend to choose the easier. All of this will contribute in helping the internal feuding, inequity and racism to persist within the black community.

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8 responses to “Racism In Our Language

  1. I have really found it preposterous and absurd to categorize people just on the basis of skin colour.
    I mean…it’s almost humorous because it shows the absence of logic in those people who initiated this concept in the first place.

    They might as well have started to classify people on the basis of trouser-wearers and short-wearers. or on the material of cloth they use for their shirts!

  2. theblacksentinel

    I agree with you Narziss, but unfortunately we are in the minority. People just don’t know how to see that race isn’t what makes a person good or bad.

    Thanks for the reply

  3. Christine

    so now you are doing some of the same racist stuff that you are “coming against” you group the WHOLE black community into one group and the WHOLE white community into a separate group. “While we blacks are spending time playing the blame game, the white community is spending time figuring ways in which to render us invisible.” i am white, i have a black husband, and a mixed daughter. i am not “trying to render way to make blacks invisible”. yet because i am white you are grouping me with the rest of the people my color. i agreed with some of what you said about there is no such thing as “colorblind” but for the most part i didn’t really like what you had to say.

  4. Christine,

    What exactly are you doing to stop the disparity between the races? Being married to a black man, is that your contribution? As long as your husband and daughter can still face ridiculously blatant racist acts, then you are complacent in this act. Until white people (yes, all white people who aren’t already) stand up and start to say no to white privilege, then how in the hell is it going to end.

    Being married to a black person does not in any way make you somehow immune to being acquiescent in the racism and blatant disparity that goes on. Now with that said, if you are NOT one of the people who are participating fully in a racist society where things are skewed to a white perspective then I guess this post is NOT pertaining to YOU. And since I don’t know YOU, I can’t say either way.

    But, people assume that since they aren’t participating in racism they are not involved. We are ALL involved. If any of us sit by and allow this disparity to continue without so much as a word or an action, then we ARE part of the problem. Now if this upsets you then I can’t help that. But if you sit in a room and their are women beating children and you do nothing to stop it or call authorities; doesn’t this mean that you would be held as an accomplice in the disgusting acts of these women. I think you would be.

    And this is exactly what is happening day in and day out in this country. People not only see the atrocities but they look the other way or come up with all sorts of excuses for the acts. How many times has your husband not been waited on or been followed around the store with someone saying that the clerk was having a bad day or the security just thought he looked suspicious. When we give excuses to these things we are perpetuating them. So until everyone stands up and says NO we will continue to suffer under disparity.

    Thanks

  5. TN

    Is Christine going to respond?

  6. Eric

    Dear Black Sentinel;
    I have read your blog and although I cannot FULLY disagree with your opinions, I do have some conflicts. Background on me, I am a “White man” and I am married to a byracial woman who comes from a family that is all Interacial couples whom all have byracial children. I own and operate my own business that employes ex cons, “Black”, “White” and what ever race applies for the job. I pay everybody the same.

    The problems that I am having with your opinions (whitch you are intitled to) is that nowhere in your blog did you even mention the disdain that (some, not all) “Black” folks have for “White” folks.

    The fact that the EOE laws are a joke in this country. For example. A “White” contractor and a “Black” contractor bid on the same Government job. Both have the EXACT price. The “Black” contractor will get the job because of the “Minority”. If you work in a prison, a “Woman”, a “White” man and a “Black” man all apply for the same job. If the minority census is low, REGUARDLESS of test scores, the order in whitch they will hire is “Black” man then the Woman then the “White”man. Granted 20 years or more ago, YES there was an issue on race and gender, but now its getting to the point that test scores and experience means nothing. Its all about the color of your skin or the gender you are.

    Can you tell me how many “White” only college scholarships there are? How many “White” only organizations there are? How many “White” only colleges there are? If someone was to start a scholarship, organization, college for “Whites” only, or anything for “Whites”only for that matter there would be riots. (and you know it!)

    If you think “Raceism” in this country is bad, have you traveled abroad? If you call an Itialian a Sicilian, or vice versa, thats concidered an insult. Palistinians and Islamic, Kurds and Shiites, Bosnians and Serbs, Chinese, Japanese, and Korens. the same thing applies. I can go on ALL day.

    Not once did you mention the fact that centurys ago in Africa, that tribes who concured other tribes sold them as slaves to the spaniards who then sold them to the american settlers as slaves. White people didn’t go to Africa to kidnap people out of thier beds in the middle of the night, American slaves were sold by Africans. Its been over a century since America has had slaves. I was not a slave owner, nor was I alive when there were slaves, Neither were you for that matter, So why must we (“White” people) be punished or harassed for something we (“White” people) did not personally do?

    Here is a quote from Erica Badu that is really racist. “I would rather see 100 white babies die than see one black baby die.” If a white person said this they would be lynched!

    I always here the saying “the white man is holding us down”. I would like to know how? “Black” people and “White” people ALL have the same rights, laws, and oppertunities. Its who CHOOSES to use the same rights, obey the same laws, and use the same oppertunities who can pull themselves up from poverty and succeed in this world. You can’t EXPECT anything from anyone but youself.

    Now im not saying that raceism doesn’t exist, but its not only “White” people who can be racist. It goes both ways. It goes ALL ways, ALL OVER THE WORLD! You seem like an educated person, and right now you are standing on the inside of the “raceist” circle, by that I mean you see everything that happens to you and other people of your color, try stepping outside of that circle and looking in. Look at how the “raceist” people were brought up, how they are treated by the people in the circle, or then again, they could just be Idiots. Or I could just be blind.

    Thanks

  7. Eric,

    Number one right off the bat let me say that my blog isn’t about black people having disdain for white people. If it were, then those are the type of posts you would see on my blog. So, if you want to read about the disdain of blacks for whites Google that and you probably will find the blog you are looking for. It isn’t here.

    Now let’s get on to your “points”. You claim that if a black and white contractor all things being equal bid on a government contract, somehow the black will always get it based on the “minority” status. Now IF, and that is a big whopping IF, that were true, wouldn’t the majority of all government contracts go to minority contractors? Why is it then that according to government numbers Latinos and blacks own 6.8 and 5.2 percent of all businesses, respectively, yet according to census figures those minority businesses have received only 1.7 percent of $46 billion in federal stimulus contracts recorded in U.S. government data, and black-owned businesses have received just 1.1 percent. And that is just census money. According to the U.S. Department of Justice there is substantial disparity in government contracting for each minority population group. African American-, Latino-, Asian-, Native American-, and women-owned businesses all receive a substantially lower proportion of government contracting dollars than would be expected, given their availability. African American-owned businesses receive only 49 percent of the dollars that would be expected. Latino-, Asian-, and Native American-owned businesses receive 44 percent, 39 percent, and 18 percent, respectively. Women-owned businesses fare especially poorly, receiving only 29 percent of the expected dollars.

    Yep, those black contractors are just snatching money in the form of contract left and right, NOT! See this is the problem with most people. They fail to do even the tiniest bit of research that took all of about 10 minutes. It is quite easy to form these baseless opinions based on hearsay without any thought to back up the claims. The least you could have done was come with some numbers to show where all these black business owners are snatching all the government contracts, so that it doesn’t look like some useless drivel pulled from ones ass.

    Then we go on to my favorite of black man, white man and white woman go for a job and regardless of test scores the black man gets it. OK, how about these questions: How do you know what their test scores were? What makes you ASSume that the black man had the lowest test scores? And why don’t you think the job would go to the white man based on what we see in the job market that is a safe bet? Not to mention, did you check out the affirmative action website, because according to the government, white women NOT black men are the lead beneficiaries of affirmative action.

    But, let’s go with your “crazy” scenario of black men getting hired before every other person who applies for any job. OK, if this is true, wouldn’t the unemployment rate for black men be the lowest in the nation? Since they should be able to walk into any company offering a job and get the job handed to them regardless of any other factors except their skin color, shouldn’t unemployment for blacks be near zero? See, you don’t even seem to think about your own statements. It doesn’t take a leap to say that black men are unemployed at over twice the rate of white men or women, so I guess they aren’t just walking into businesses and scooping up all the jobs with failing scores. Sheesh!

    Can you tell me how many “White” only college scholarships there are? How many “White” only organizations there are? How many “White” only colleges there are? If someone was to start a scholarship, organization, college for “Whites” only, or anything for “Whites”only for that matter there would be riots. (and you know it!)

    Wow, what a softball question!!! Before I answer that first part, how many ALL black scholarships can you name? The United Negro College fund will unduly be you answer and you would be WRONG again! According to the UNCF they were founded to address inequities in the educational opportunities afforded to African Americans. UNCF believes in higher education opportunities for all Americans. UNCF-member schools do not discriminate and UNCF-administered scholarships are open to ALL. You do understand that ALL means whites too.

    Now on to your white only scholarships, how much time do I want to spend on this? Anyway it is obvious that you didn’t read any of the other posts or comments, because this has been addressed too many times before. Since you don’t believe in research, I’ll help you out. There are about 109,000 for Italian born Americans, 102,000 or so for Scottish Americans, 84,000 or so for Irish… Do I need to go further? And can you tell me how many black, Asian, Native American, Hispanic or other minority is going to qualify for any of those or the hundreds of thousands of others? I guess that was a bad question, huh?

    And other things that are white only, are you kidding? I can pick up hundreds of magazines, books, toys etc. which are completely filled with pictures, stories and advertisement geared to white people. It may not say white only but that is implied when they don’t have any other race of people represented. I HAD a subscription to better homes and garden and that magazine had NO minorities in it as a main feature. Now it may be just that they “happened” to not have any for the time I was getting the magazine. Now, where are those riots? I don’t see any and neither do you, AND YOU KNOW IT!

    And because you can go on all day on how bad others have it overseas I guess that means that should be happy with the amount of racism I and other blacks face here? Is that your position? I have to tell you that this is really funky logic at best. I don’t think that anyone ever told a person whose relative was murdered that they should look at the murder rates in some other country where murder is out of control in order to quell their complaints. How rude would that be?

    Again you don’t bother to read any of my other posts as I already went into the whole Africans were snatching other Africans thing. Go read it if you want to go into that. Thanks. You want to know why white people are being harassed for things they didn’t personally do. Well why the hell are black folks being harassed for things they didn’t personally do? I never stole anything, why am I being followed around the store? I never did anything to you personally, so why are you harassing me now?

    Here is a quote from Erica Badu that is really racist. “I would rather see 100 white babies die than see one black baby die.” If a white person said this they would be lynched!” I never heard that comment so can’t make a full statement about it, except that I don’t like that period. The last time I checked Bill Bennett was white when he said “But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.” And I guess you know full well he wasn’t lynched, injured or fired. He did resign from the board of a company but he got a syndicated radio show and a commentator job at CNN after the fact. That doesn’t sound like a lynching to me. So get real. We can go on and on with statements by white’s that didn’t get them lynched, but got them even more money. So, do your research, this is getting pathetic.

    You claim that you want to know how the white man is holding people back and then proclaim not to think that racism is over is just a big oxymoron. If racism exists and black people are the victims of such racism and white’s are on the giving end. Then it stands to reason that you KNOW how the white man is holding blacks down. Even though, that whole statement is something I hear from white people proclaiming they hear it from blacks. I have yet to hear a black person say that me. But, I’m sure you have an inside connection with a lot of blacks who tell you this, right?

    Well, I hope that you get to the optometrist soon. Because if you see that there is racism then you can see how black people are not being allowed to prosper as they should. And it doesn’t matter how racist are being raised, they are raised as a racist that is the problem. What matters is that they are out in this country owning businesses, being supervisors, store managers, police officers, doctors, lawyers, judges and law making legislators. That affects the lives of all black people.

  8. Yes ,this article is right about racism still existing, but i have also seen racism occur within are own races as well.A mast number of blacks and Hispanics are not given the same opportunities in education ,they are usually given up on because they live in a predominantly minority communities.I am a African american teenager in the south and live in a predominantly black/Hispanic/Asian community .The education (schooling) in that community was horrible but I had the idea that race issues in america were getting better and minorities had no excuses for not succeeding in america.Sadly after I got out of my community and into the east part of Memphis I learned that my community was given the lower hand ,and usually I was made fun of and stereotyped because I was from a certain community.I think more minorities like me need to be given the same chance in education as any one else so that we can succeed as well and not be treated like a animal,saying you have to be a athlete to make it out of community .Also I think that music is racist and accepted in minority communities.Most minority rappers/rock stars (not all) put down their community ,instead of building it up and helping other people get out of tough environment,taking a stand.I think it is so accepted in society that saying the n work in a rap /rock song is so called”OK”.I used to listen to rap a lot until I got out of my community and found out other higher class races (some were also black)were laughing at the lyrics saying that “see they really are ,no good n words ,they are so dumb they say it themselves”.These problems are mainly why I try to talk out about racism on any topic because its right in front of you faces but some minorities believe since a civil right bill was passed everything is dandy,jolly.You can’t tell me if Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today he would stop fighting for equal right for minorities and be satisfied.The problem is we are too satisfied and brainwashed ,we need more leaders to take a stand that can see.

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