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The "lets Talk Honest About Race" Thread.


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I may be giving many here WAY too much benifit of the doubt, but Im posting this anyway. I had a GREAT conversation with KOG via PM about race and how we were both raised concerning it. Its nice to know two people can talk about such a sensitive subject with honesty and not have it turn into a derp fest.

So what has your background taught you about race?

Do you now, or have you ever felt racist toward anyone?

Where do you think the truth really lies in the vast field between reality and what is portrayed in the media on television and movies?

Have YOU ever been discriminated against due to race<

I am glad to share my story. I grew up in a small town in NC in the early 60s and by the early 70's we lived in an even smaller town in North Ga.

The differences in the towns were vast. From the 1st to the 3rd grade,I knew plenty of black people, kids and adults. My dad, who was a pretty dark skinned guy himself being Cherokee, had a lot of black people in his circle of friends and coworkers at the sawmill and in carpentry.I knew even at that very youg age that people were separated by income more than race. Still believe that today.

You see rich people hanging with rich people and poor people hanging with poor people. They may be mixing with other races, but rarely different incomes.Not on a basis where one isn't in a superior position to the other at any rate.

When I moved to Ga, there were ZERO black people in my school except Mr Kelly, the Janitor. No black teachers, no students. But I heard the word N****r more than I ever had in my life. I found that odd, that people who were never even around black people had no trouble at all calling them N*****s. I figured then that nurture may have a huge impact in peoples lives. I was thinking this stuff in the 5th grade, so I am pretty tuned in to people from a ways back.

And this is the part where I got honest with KOG. I lived my life pretty racism free up to the point I was in my late 30's early 40'S. It was then I hit a pretty rough patch in life and it showed up and was aimed at others around me. I lived in some pretty nice apartments, was living off savings. They turned the far end of my apartments into sectiion 8 housing and the WORST examples of black people moved right in. They trashed the grounds, threw garbage into the ponds behin the building and sat on the steps at all hours dealing drugs. The other black people hated them and for the first time in my life, I did too, and I started to hate them BECAUSE they were black.

Then I started noticing how I was changing and I started fighting it. As I told KOG, I realized they didn't represent anyone but themselves, they didn't represent any race. I prayed for my attitude to right itself and it was a fight, but I got it back to right thinking.

But I wanna say, even when I was hating, I walked around saying I wasn't. Its easy to do but you can't fool people. Thats why I have a good detector on me, because I have seen it from every side. Even lost a promotion to Affirmative Action.Still not gonna **** the whole issue because I felt its sting tho.

KOG has been through a lt too, and I appreciate his honesty, but I will let him choose whether or not to tell his story. I just wanted to tell mine.

I know how easy it is to just start hating and I know if you are not aware, you won't fight it. I fought it and I kicked it out of my system by seeing how wrong I was.

This is already longer than many of you will read so I will close it here. HOPEFULLY this can lead to some honesty here.

And Eplay,I probably said some pretty vile stuff to you back in those days and you were always the bigger man about it.I thank you for that, and I am truly sorry.

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Great post PP--thanks for sharing. I'll take a shot with my own story about race and poverty.

I'm a baby-boomer, and I grew up in the late 50's through the 60's. Seven of us lived in a three bedroom, one bathroom unit in a municipal housing project in New York that was probably 60% white and 40% black. Most people referred to this complex as 'The Village'. There were 8 buildings in this complex and 40 units in each building, and I think that everyone knew their neighbors in the building they lived in, as well as most of those who lived nearby. In the projects, we didn't care about skin color or what country your family came from or what church you went to...we all knew we lived there because we were on or near the bottom of the economic food chain..we were simply poor and had no place else to turn.

We took the same buses around town, shopped in the same stores, became friends and went to school together without racial or ethnic tension. We heard the 'N' word on occasion, and heard 'honky' on occasion--usually from someone new in the projects. We occasionally had disagreements and some fist fights, but they were never based upon someone being black or white. This certainly impacted how I think today--I don't make judgments (good or bad) about a person because of color or heritage, choosing to reserve judgment until I get to know a persons character and values, as well as their honesty. Although I've never felt discriminated against because of race (I'm a white guy), I have felt the sting of being discriminated against because I was poor and lived in 'the village'.

When I got older and attended high school, I came to know people who lived in real houses (some even had their own rooms!), they had lots of food in the 'fridge, and nicer clothes that didn't come from the Salvation Army store. I noticed that the kids from the nicer parts of town usually hung out and ate lunch together, so it was economic and not racial segregation that divided us. This was a huge contrast from how we lived, and it became a prime motivator for me to do everything I could to escape the projects and poverty.

I came to learn that the families of my new friends had a couple of things in common that separated them from those of us living in "the village": Most all of them had two parents in the home, both parents worked (even if mom only worked part-time), the parents had some level of education beyond high school, and none of them had babies before they got married. Long story short: I became the first person in my family to graduate from high school, earn a bachelor's degree and a masters degree and work in a white collar job. It took a lot of part-time jobs during college and lots of college loans that took me 10 years to repay, but it was the Golden Ticket out of poverty. Over the years, I made a pretty good living as a Corporate analyst, supervisor, manager, director and then VP, saved money along the way, had some luck with investments, and retired at 55.

I continue to believe that ML King was right when he talked about 'the content of your character' being important and not the color of your skin. I continue to believe it's stupid and counter-productive to made a decision based upon race/religion/heritage, and over the years I've come to believe that we all need to start thinking of ourselves as simply Americans, and NOT make distinctions that continue to tend to divide us into separate buckets (African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American, etc.)

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Okay, since we're being honest...

I was born in a very small GA town outside of Augusta, so small in fact, that we only had one stop light and the only fast food joint we had was the local Dairy Queen. As a kid, I thought we were lucky that our town had two public pools, but as I would later learn, I could only go to one of them. We had a "white pool" and a "black pool". Yes, the stench of Jim Crow segregation still lingered in our little town and this was early 1980's, mind you.

People rave on about how much they love the movie The Help, well, after watching my godmother for twenty or so years, I can tell you that movie was based on her life and many other women like her. She kept house for this white family and helped raise their kids well into adulthood. I remember my godfather and I going to pick her up from work and me watching her as she rushed to finish her last chore before she left for home. I remember the young woman (way younger than she) giving her orders about what she wanted done before she left. Even as a kid, I resented anyone ordering my godmother around that way. But she put up with it because she needed the money in order to raise us. I will say that the children of the young woman didn't disrespect her. That she would never have from any child. I remember the day we buried her in our small country Baptist church. I was surprised to see those children attend her service. I had mixed emotions, but by them showing up showed they really loved her.

I never had any troubles with race during any phase of my schooling. The only time I ever heard the word "n****r" out loud and in public was when the KKK marched through our town one summer. I had heard of these dudes on the news and in our school's history books, but I'd never thought I'd see them out in real life. I can recall them putting up a recruitment tent and greeting everyone who was Caucasian as "brother". Everyone crowded around (black and white) with stoic faces at these guys in white sheets. We all got a good laugh when the town character said loudly that he wanted to sign up and waltzed up to proudly fill out and sign one of their forms. Everyone was surprised and had a good laugh when he pulled the form out of the wizard's fingers and tore it in half right in his face. Even then I knew that all white people weren't like the ones with the hoods over their heads.

When we moved into our new house after my mother got married, our next door neighbor's were white. They were the nicest folks and we talked every day. Even looked out for each other's houses when we had to be away for more than a day. Their oldest son even friended me on Facebook last month. I haven't seen him in years.

When I left my little town to join the Navy, I always has a positive viewpoint of white people due to the aforementioned experiences. Sure you had some bad ones, but there were more good ones than bad. That kept true during each year of my military enlistment.

I remember the entire ship getting into a barfight on a liberty stay while in Scotland. Evidently, some of the locals didn't like the fact that all the women wanted to dance with the black guys and wanted to start a fight. Well, I guess they thought they had good odds since there were only 9 of us and about 50 of them. They got a dose of reality when the white guys from our ship jumped in to help us whip the tar outta them. That's when I learned that, even though we may have our differences from time to time, in the military, we were all Americans. And you don't **** with fellow Americans.

So, since I hoped I have framed my viewpoint enough to answer your questions:

NO, I have never felt racist against anyone, although I will say that I had to fight a few prejudices. (I knew what prejudice was since my mother taught me the word when she felt I was old enough to know in order to recognize it when it was used against me.)

NO, I don't think I've ever been discriminated against due to my race, not blatantly anyway. (not that I know of) Since my mother and godfather taught me to never cotton to enforce any stereotypes leads me to finish your last question:

Where do you think the truth really lies in the vast field between reality and what is portrayed in the media on television and movies?

I believe the media should help point out racial inequality (as they should) when it actually raises its head, but I also believe that the media inadvertently dwells on race and helps to amplify negative stereotypes to young people, whether it be music, movies, music videos and popular magazines. Since there are some people in this country whose only interaction with black people comes from what they see on TV and in the news, the media can hurt as much as it helps.

Yeah, I know it was long, but that's my viewpoint. Thanks for reading.

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Some very good honest stuff. thanks guys. I also remember finding an OLD newspaper clipping of my dad getting busted for moonshining. It identified him as "Indian H. Merrit Saunders" And others as "negro" whatever their name was. I assume the ones just called by name were white folk.

IM not proud of the couple of years where I felt the way I did, but I am proud I recognized it and refused to let it become me. I certainly feel more sure of myself as a person since that happened.

I also find that many racists think everyone else is that way, Its alarming how total strangers will come up to you and say just completely redneck stuff and assume because you are their race, you naturally agree. I have made some very stupid enemies when people have done that.

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When I was a young boy in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, my dad owned a small contracting company. Back then, blacks got paid about half what a white man in the same job got paid.

Unless they worked for my dad.

My dad paid everyone white man wages. He believed that if he was going to expect the same work, he owed it to pay them the same. On one hand, only one white man would work for my dad in the entire Shenandoah Valley. On the other hand, he had the absolute pick of the best black workers. He also could walk down any street any time day or night.

I share my dad's feelings. I've never used the "N" word. I have had plenty of fights sticking up for black friends against white kids trying to gang up on them.

I am, however, a racist. I hate the frikking French. I loathe Canadians, but I really hatethe French. Of course, even many French people hate the French. Many Parisians feel contemptuous of their provincial brethren, and many of the French Provincials feel as if the Parisians are snooty and arrogant and soft.

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I was born in 1962 and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I always felt blessed that I was too young to truly comprehend the civil rights struggle when they were at their worst, even though I remember watching television and knowing about the riots on Main Street after Dr. King was shot. Almost all of my friends in elementary school were black; we had no more than 20 white children attend Fairwood in the six years that I was there, but I didn't think anything of it.

I met my best friend in junior high school; his dad was black and his mom was Phillipino, but to me, he was "black". What did it matter? I had several white friends in junior high and I can't remember any problems between the black or white children that went to my school. High school was cool because everybody just mingled. We had cliques - jocks, cheerleaders, genius-types, stoners, and the kids who hung out in the art room (my clique). Although black kids and white kids gravitated toward their own races, all of the circles overlapped and everybody had friends in other cliques and of different races.

My experiences with racism? Well, when I was about twelve, I went with my family to stay with my aunt and uncle in Norfolk, Virginia. Left by myself as my brother napped and the adults went to get something to eat, I played in the back yard by tossing a frisbee and trying to catch it before it landed. Ultimately, it landed in the yard of the next door neighbor. I climbed the fence to get it and was cussed out and called every type of n***** in the book. He cursed my family and made me feel as if he'd just as soon shoot me as waste his breath on me. When the adults came back, they wondered why I was a basket case, crying and barely able to explain. My uncle, who had previous experience with him had a conversation with him, although I don't know what was said.

I had a friend in Columbus who would get cheers and laughter at our high school pep rallies by yelling "go for it!" for no really good reason. Well, my cousin and I went to see "The Road Warrior" one Friday night and as the opening graphic sped up and seemed to jump off the screen, I shouted "go for it!" and mostly got a good laugh. When the laughter died down, I heard someone shout from the back of the theater "Shut up, n*****!" I heard him and his friends laugh, but few others did.

Question: what do two black teenagers do in an audience of 500 white folks, some drunk, at least a few with chips on their shoulders, when called out in such a way? Self-preservation ruled and although I couldn't enjoy the movie after that, I did nothing. To this day I still feel like I should have taken the ***-kicking as opposed to doing or saying nothing.

Well, anyway. Being a warehouse manager, I have all colors, creeds, nationalities, beliefs, and attitudes imaginable reporting to me. I honestly think that I have few (if any) biases against anyone who is "different" for any reason. Why would I? Society is mostly white and only a fool would base his identity on the differences of others as opposed to his own uniqueness.

With that said, I spent time managing facilities in Mathews, North Carolina and West Memphis, Arkansas and it blew my mind when I was exposed to black people who were participating fully in all aspects of the operations. In the great and liberal North, I had (at that time) never worked anywhere where more than 10% of the employees were black. But the sight of black forklift operators, managers, and team leaders working along side white counterparts actually blew my mind.

These days, race is less on my mind than the degradation of our country and culture, as witnessed on these very boards and in this very forum. Sometimes. I see some black people that scare me and I know some white people that I love. Contrary to popular belief, I have seen descrimination at its ugliest, even recently. I don't think it's as bad as it once was, but there is still a divide. There are still a lot of people who don't want their white daughters to bring some n***** home, even if he comes from a better background than she does. Maybe I sympathize with them, but I don't understand it. In the end, it's not as big a deal as it is made out to be.

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I had a friend in Columbus who would get cheers and laughter at our high school pep rallies by yelling "go for it!" for no really good reason. Well, my cousin and I went to see "The Road Warrior" one Friday night and as the opening graphic sped up and seemed to jump off the screen, I shouted "go for it!" and mostly got a good laugh. When the laughter died down, I heard someone shout from the back of the theater "Shut up, n*****!" I heard him and his friends laugh, but few others did.

Question: what do two black teenagers do in an audience of 500 white folks, some drunk, at least a few with chips on their shoulders, when called out in such a way? Self-preservation ruled and although I couldn't enjoy the movie after that, I did nothing. To this day I still feel like I should have taken the ***-kicking as opposed to doing or saying nothing.

This is why I always made a point to stand up before targeted blacks did in many cases, whether I knew them or not. I don't tolerate that behavior. I never shy away from a confrontation.

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This is why I always made a point to stand up before targeted blacks did in many cases, whether I knew them or not. I don't tolerate that behavior. I never shy away from a confrontation.

It was just a few yahoos. Most people seemed to tense up when it was said. However, I still feel my blood pressure rise 30 years later when I recount it.

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My story is pretty plain TBH.

Grew up, late 80s/early 90s. Lower middle class, white. Both parents worked 2 jobs to put me through private school for the first half of my life. I also got to see how people can be 'segregated' by income.

I come from VERY humble roots, yet growing up I went to school with a whole bunch of rich kids. So, naturally, I got picked on quite a bit. First, because I was an absolute nerd second, because my family was extremely broke and third, I was a quite chubby little kid. I really got the worst of it on ALL levels. I wore a lot of sweatsuits *shudders* as a kid. They were cheap and they had elastic waste bands. I can't remember one single black person in my entire school.

Fast forward, third grade. I transfer to a catholic school and meet my first black friend. Kid's name was Timothy Castille. We were inseparable. Tim was a great friend and we had a lot of fun together. I think it was really at that point where I kind of formulated my personal thoughts on racism. Before then I hadn't had much, if any, direct interactions with people of any other kinds of race. So I really didn't know what my particular feelings were. After meeting and befriending Tim, I really learned through that experience that skin color really doesn't define a person at all. He and I had so much in common and I never really looked at him as my black friend. He was always just Tim.

The catholic school actually closed down that year and I never got to see Tim again. I ended up going back to that private school until about 8th grade. I then started to see racism in full force. We had like 2 MAYBE three black kids throughout those years. I can't really recall, in all honesty. Either way, they really just got tormented on a daily basis. I recall none of them making it for the entire school year before transferring.

I transferred to public school in 8th grade due to a myriad of reasons. Honestly, not a lot better. I remember we would literally have racially themed fights. It'd be like a group of rednecks all hanging out before school and they ALWAYS seemed to be the ones who would initiate it. They'd go yelling slurs, the black guys weren't having any of it and chaos would ensue. We're talking 30-40 people involved with these things. Police were always involved and it was a disaster.

These were my direct experiences with racism and segregation based on income.

I think the one thing that I took away from those particular experiences is that ignorance really knows no color. I personally despise ignorance to the core of my existence. I don't care what color you are if you are ignorant, I will hate you.

I will initially show everyone a certain level of respect, but there comes a time where you have to gain the rest or you will lose all of it. This just all depends on how you act in a given situation.

I know that was kind of all over the place, and I apologize for that. I will elaborate, if needed.

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I'll weigh in............................

So what has your background taught you about race?

As I've stated before, I'm (what they refer to now) mixed race (1/2 Black, 1/2 Creek Indian). Although I consider myself black (he11, my birth certificate says "Negro," but the dumbass nurse that filled it out clearly was not blind (Race of Father "Negro," Race of Mother, "Indian," Race of Child, "Negro"). My parents raised me in both worlds, so I feel equally connected to both races. I grew up in College Park, Georgia, and then my parents moved to Fairburn (now Chattahoochee Hills). I started out in a segregated elementary school, so I know what it is like to experience "separate but equal" firsthand! My father was initially a military man (served in Korea) (then a policeman, railroader) and later on, a successful businessman. My mother still owns a beauty salon, a laundromat, and a childcare center. To go back further, my father's dad was also successful (this is how my dad got his start after the railroad), my mother's father drove a dumptruck for the state highway department. To be honest, whatever stigma was attached with being "black" or "indian," my parents (for lack of a better way to say it) expected me and my brother and sisters to overcome it through hard work and education. I will not lie, I remember as a kid, my father drove us through downtown Atlanta, and he pointed up at the tall buildings and said, "I want you (speaking to me and my brother and sisters) to work in these buildings with these white people, not for them." I remember telling him "I want to work for you." His reply to me was, "go to college, and get a job work with these white people. They'll have to deal with you on a different level. The world is changing, and you need to be ready. My business will be here for you when you're done!" Guess what, he was right! He also drove us through the projects, the hood, and a few trailer parks too and told us, "you don't want that!" Funny thing, when I got older, I couldn't stay out of Carver Homes and Thomasville chasing women!! Lol! Oh, forgot to add, I went into the military after college because I wanted to be just like my dad, or wanted some of whatever the military gave him! Didn't see any racism there, but I was probably called a "prick" or "azzhole" by more than a few soldiers under their breath! Lol! Racism does exist, but I cannot recall ever being called a "n*gger" because most white people would see me and instantly start scratching their heads trying to figure out what the he11 race I "was." Lol! I will say this much, I've seen white people (you can add diehard, southern rednecks in this group too) handle my grandfather and father differently (from other black people), not because of race, but because of money. I've seen them refer to other blacks by their fist names (or not at all), but they purposely referred to my grandfather and father as "Mr. (Surname)." I'm not in any way saying white people loved us any more (or less) than any other black people, I'm just saying I saw them handle us "differently." From my experience, it was mostly socio-economic status and not racial.

Do you now, or have you ever felt racist toward anyone?

Initially, no (and still no), BUT(and let me explain), on the other hand, I felt like the white guys that were utilizing cheap, mexican labor was undercutting our business (but putting the profits in their pockets and purchasing stupid sh*t with it, basically they weren't in it for the long haul), so for a while I had a "selective" chip on my shoulder for the white guys that were pimping the mexicans, and the mexicans that were being pimped. Had to cuss one of those white boys out over a crass joke that I didn't find funny, but the words that came out my mouth towards him were truly ugly! I felt bad and apologized, but I also realized that I wasn't angry at him because he was white (and employed illegal aliens), but because he (and the mexicans) was taking money out of my pockets! Mind you, I will call racist white people rednecks, but I'm not racist (neither is my family) and don't live my life that way. I'd also like to add, I've had black people refer to me as "Tonto" and "Geronimo" thinking it would hurt my feelings! Lol

Where do you think the truth really lies in the vast field between reality and what is portrayed in the media on television and movies?

The media tends to find the worst offenders of all races and parades them on TV constantly. From watching tv, you'd think only black people were criminals, welfare cheats, lazy as all he11..........and white people were dumb hillbillies,meth addicts, and evil as all phuck! That sh*t sells papers, keeps people glued to the tv, and gets people out to vote, in addition to making a select few rich! People can't handle the truth, and the truth is boring!

Have YOU ever been discriminated against due to race?

Not to my knowledge. Don't think I benefited from my race either!

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Kinda odd this thread had some great open discussion on race yet the usual suspects stayed away from it like it had the plaugue. Not surprising, just odd. But I do thank everyone for their honesty and opening up like this.

Thankfully they're spending their time doing things other than ruining what might be one of the best threads ever on the boards. I don't really have anything to add to the thread, but wanted to give props anyway.

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Great thread here.

It's hard not to stereotype at times....our minds are conditioned to look at patterns and similarities in order to react to situations like any other animal. One of the things that is supposed to separate us from other animals is that we are more capable of rational thought and not let stereotypes rule our lives.

My mom is an Irish Jew and my father is an Sicilian Catholic. They faced a lot of prejudice over religion and nationality and taught me not to take either seriously

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Great thread here.

It's hard not to stereotype at times....our minds are conditioned to look at patterns and similarities in order to react to situations like any other animal. One of the things that is supposed to separate us from other animals is that we are more capable of rational thought and not let stereotypes rule our lives.

My mom is an Irish Jew and my father is an Sicilian Catholic. They faced a lot of prejudice over religion and nationality and taught me not to take either seriously

So you're Sicilian, huh?

True-Romance-Dennis-Hopper.jpg

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