Monday, November 30, 2009

Racial Fatigue and why some want to say bitch and moan about the facts of society inequities for people of color

In nation where racial inequities are still prevalent even more with the high unemployment rates amongst people of color, but since the election of the current president Barack Obama, there seems to be more white Americans want to deny the existence of these inequities.

Now, I live in Birmingham, which is in Alabama and the heart of the Deep South, a region where race and ethnicity has always played a major role in the social landscape.  However, I know that the root of a number of our nation's issues lays with the generational views and level of cultural understanding of American whites on their understanding socioeconomic disparities between people of color and themselves.

I regularly read newspapers like the Birmingham News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Washington Post where I've seen comments from people who are clearly white degrading blacks who are attempting to better themselves by saying how sick of hearing about the economic disparities that exist.  I've seen many want to denote who if southern states weren't home to so many blacks the issues such education rankings would be higher along with lower rates of poverty, single-parent households, median income, etc.  These comments alone give one a little incite on the mindset of some white Americans and how they feel about particularly black Americans as well as Latin Americans.  Both groups have been subject to social inequities and faced racism of the overt kind in the past, but the institutionalize and covert kind of modern times.

One thing that baffles me is how some whites will say "I have a black friend", "my son/daughter is married to a black...", or "my grandchild/nephew/niece is half black...", "I've had dated/married to a black..." as if having a black person in your life will via osmosis give you an profound incite of the issues, inequities, mindset, problems, and the culture of black Americans.  It doesn't because one has to either witness and have a direct and profound understanding to empathize issues that black people involving socioeconomic inequities.  Most whites still doesn't understand them because they either brush over the concepts assuming they understand it, just pretend like it doesn't exist, or become full of guilt commonly known as 'white guilt' over these issues.  None of the reactions are rational to understanding the issues facing people of color. Also many white assume that since we have a black president along with highly successful people like Oprah Winfrey and Bob Johnson that suddenly blacks have overcame these issues.  Here are the facts, most blacks are still more likely to face unemployment, i.e., 'last to be hired and first to be fired', grow up in a lower income to borderline impoverish households, lack the access to adequate education resources, face racial profiling, incarceration, and lack access to indignant health care.  These things are true regardless if they grow up in a single-parent household or grew up in the core of an urban area, suburbs, or rural areas.

The solution to this should be that the government still need programs in available for people of color and lower income residents to obtain their basic necessities such as educational grants for collegiate education and health care facilities.  I know there are a number of issues that can be discussed about about things such as nutritional habits, discussion of sexual behaviors, and rearing of children.  However, most of these things can be traced to the economic and education disparities because most parents have to work more than one job to support their household, thus taking away precious time from instilling values while rearing their children.  If we can fix these basic issues then people of color would likely have more resolutions to the social issues.




  2. I'm a white person living in Birmingham with an opinion--so I'm going to go ahead and put it out there. No offense intended.

    (1) There are disparities and it's not fair. For you and for your children's sake I hate that they exist. But, they do.

    (2) I can't fix them. Unfortunately these disparities are something that black people as a group will have to decide to overcome for themselves.

    I tried teaching mathematics at the high school level in Birmingham City Schools because I believed that education disparities were the result of teachers who didn't know enough or weren't working hard enough. While I have found that it's true that many of the teachers are inadequately prepared and don't work as hard as I would like them to, this is not the primary deciding factor of what is holding back our children. What is holding the children of Birmingham back is the way that they view education. Students in magnet schools like ASFA and JCIB, and in suburban schools, are more focused on their school work while at school and spend much more time completing homework when outside of school. These students may very well be spending 10 hours a day focused on learning more. Students in Birmingham may be spending as little as an hour or two actually focusing on their school work, depending on how entertaining their teachers are. Cheating is rampant because while students may value the "diploma," they do not value the information that is being taught. In reality the information is much more valuable than any piece of paper.

    Additionally, there is segregation in our region. (Let's just face it--the Birmingham metro area is still segregated for the most part.) As a result, our kids have absolutely no idea what they are up against when they hit the job market. Most of the seniors that I taught really didn't know as much math as I knew in 7th or 8th grade and really could not write as well as I could write in 7th or 8th grade. But all they see is that they're doing about as well as the person sitting next to them because they are blind to what they will be competing against.

    The truth is that to be successful, black children need to be spending a longer amount of time per day working on academic endeavors than their white counterparts. There are setbacks that they have to overcome and this takes time. (Writing and speaking grammatically correct English is a setback for many of them. They will be judged harshly by a society run primarily by white people if they cannot speak and write they way that we do.) What you do with your time, however, is a decision for you and for your children to make. I can't rescue them. You as a people can teach your children to complain about disparities (that are real--but aren't going anywhere) or you can teach them that those disparities are no excuse, that they are in control of their own destiny, and that they are just going to have to work harder than other people have to work. Neither is something that I would want to have to tell my child. But, I suspect that the outcome from the second approach will get you farther as a people than the outcome from the first.

  3. Uh Naomi, I'm talking about all blacks, regardless of their economic background. Regardless of where you grew up or what was your high school graduating GPA, there still is an issue with race in the US. Nobody is asking you (or other whites) to 'rescue' blacks from their pillage; rather, I'm advocating there needs to better funded programs in majority non-white school districts for all student in those areas to get resources to help them graduate and become productive citizens of society. I'm also advocating that whites need to wake up and stop living in "lala land" about race in this nation because you think racial bias is done, but it more covert, institutionalized. That is all...

  4. There will forever and always be an excuse NOT to move forward, and many, many excuses to stay stagnant. I agree with Naomi. The children are not taught the proper ways to study, the importance of studying, or the future implications of just getting by. I see it in the car line, when some kids come dragging out with absolutely no books with them, then others are loaded down. I have known many of these kids for years, and I know the ones who are barely keeping afloat, the ones who are failing miserably, and the ones who are exceeding all expectations. You can't view school as a social activity with a little learning added.

    You say you are not asking whites to rescue blacks, but to get better funded "programs" to help them. Well, no amount of programs in the world will help those who do not wish to help themselves. I, as an employer would never hire a kid who has no speaking skills, wants to be catered to, or resents authority. And, yes, you can tell their attitudes during a brief interview. And that goes for white and black.

    I am not living in "lala" land where race is concerned; my eyes are wide open. I do not believe in giving preferential treatment to a person of any race,creed or color, if you cannot pull yourself up and take responsibility for yourself, don't expect anyone else to do it for you. If that is what you consider covert, institutional racial bias, then so be it. I believe some people see what they want to see whether it is there or not, and nothing on earth can convince them otherwise. Not taking their own behaviors, attitudes, and racial bias into account, they are only too ready to put the blame on another group, mainly whites.

    So, good luck, I hope you can truly overcome, overcome yourself, that is.
    And, fatigue is with a "g" not a "q". Also, "incite" should have been spelled "insight".
    Birmingham School System?

  5. Nope, I attended school in a district outside of Birmingham, Carole. Oh wow, I didn't spell check the title and used a homonym of the word "insight" (yet you got the point was conveying). Nice try at the shade, but usually the antagonizing of someone's spelling means that you don't have a proverbial leg to stand upon in the debate (for your information).

    Meanwhile, thanks for all that jargon you written just to prove my point about aversive bias amongst whites. No one is asking for preferential treatments for any jobs or employment. Last time I remember public school is suppose to be free since is funded by taxpayers' money. Yet you turn to the argument about the the "bad apples" and try to justify your stance (which it doesn't).

    So you used the "bad apples" as a reason for the those whom are striding for excellence but lack the proper resources due to their circumstances as a reason to deny them.

    That's nice, but your pseudo-libertarian bull will fall flat in a real debate on social issues...



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