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  •  I have some of my own notions about why racism (2+ / 0-)
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    DeadHead, Rich N Mdriems

    seems to have become more prevalent lately and I ran them by my sister and she didn't think they were too crazy, so maybe I'll offer them up here. It's just my own sepculation without a whole lot to back it up.

    First, I should probably say that I've read that conservatives see people as being inherently bad and liberals see people as being inherently good. I don't know how true that is, but I would modify that by saying that I see people as wanting to be good but also being weak, in a sense. You describe how you learned to be racist as a child. I think you describe that well. There are literally tons of things that we don't learn in school and you name a few of them. This is natural. None of us could learn in a single lifetime everything we need to know to function. We rely on second hand experience in a myriad of forms, some good and some not so good. And some are good for some things and not others. Perhaps my grandmother's view of a healthy diet was good despite the fact that she was hardly a nutritionist (it was healthy, btw) but her views on Jews were not so good. (My best friend from before kindergarten was Jewish, so I pretty much ignored my grandmother on that subject and my grandfather disagreed with my grandmother anyway.)

    One thing we don't learn in school is the social norms in our society. Casual racist comments became something that people didn't say even if they believed them. Does this actually reduce racism in reality? My own hunch is that is slowly does because children are less likely to encounter it.

    So for a time, we entered a sort of virtuous circle. People who were tempted to say racist things knew that they would have a conflict with the "pc police." Consequently, they spoke up less frequently. This lead to casual racist comments becoming less common and consequently less normal. This led to even more uncomfortable conflits when someone did say something racist.

    What happened, as far as I can see, is that when Obama became president, the racists suddenly had a motivation to speak up whether or not they got pushback. The more they spoke up, the more "normal" it became and the more comfortable other people feel saying racist things. In effect, the virtuous circle has been reversed.

    Will this lead to more actual racism, or only racism that is less closeted? I don't know.

    •  ? (0+ / 0-)

      Is this neighborhood call Austin?  

    •  This is interesting (1+ / 0-)
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      because as a conservative I've always heard/read that conservatives believe that people are inherently good and able to fend for themselves while liberals see people as inherently bad and unable to fend for themselves and need government to tell them how to live and to provide them with an existence.

    •  Agree. Have to disagree with diarist... (2+ / 0-)
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      FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, cacamp

      ...although it was a very thoughtful and introspective diary, I would not agree at all that 9/11 did something to change the racial climate that existed within the country.  The same vitriol was always present but it had become increasingly unacceptable for it to raise its head in modern society.  The election of President Obama brought the realization that a majority of Americans were willing to elect a black president.  So what we've seen since 2008 was the expected backlash of racism as it sees itself further and further marginalized in this country.  You act out when you're desperate.  

      If you want the pulse of what people really think when they feel free to express themselves, take a stroll over to ANY yahoo comment section for ANY story involving someone of color.  Then go wash up.

      It will be here for decades, maybe longer, but we can continue to lock it back in its cage and slowly starve it off.  It's all we can do.  You can't change certain minds, you can only try to wall them off from greater society.

      Mitt's foreign policy: Double Guantanamo, with cheese.

      by Rich N Mdriems on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:09:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have you noticed that the racism in recent years (0+ / 0-)

        seems to be less casual and crazier, or is that just my perception?

        •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
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          When they didn't feel threatened, they could afford to keep quiet because things were generally going their way.  The election of Obama forced their hands.

          2008 didn't improve much for the average, everyday person (white or black) regarding race.  There was no less racial discrimination, no less racial profiling, no less hatred.  In short, nobody should've been under any illusions that we were suddenly evolved like some post-racial sci-fi movie.  There was only the marker that the majority of the country could envision a day we got past all this crap.

          Mitt's foreign policy: Double Guantanamo, with cheese.

          by Rich N Mdriems on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:48:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        that racism never disappeared, but based on my experience, it subsided a great deal in the intervening years. The previously loudmouthed bigots, for whatever reasons, seemed to tone down their opinions when out in public.
        But after 9/11, it seemed acceptable to once again be as vocal as you wanted, and there were few very repercussions. It started with announcing your hatred toward Muslims, then Middle Easterners in general, and after a while, moved back to all brown skinned people.

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