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Forums > Social Discussion > Racism - a potentially good thing???

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:yepp that's for a title, hey? rolleyes



After last years EJC in Ptui I was headed "home" to Munich in my camper and there was this bloke standing aside the road (a juggler from Netherlands apparently)... Usually I have no prob in taking a hitchhiker, but with this one I sort of had some strange feelig upfront... shrug



He was in his early 20s, studying music in Amsterdam and basically a sympathic one, with Kaukasian/ western european background, juggling clubs and balls. After a few hours ride our conversation drifted to racism and I was very confused hearing his statement (In the following I post it not literally, as it was about 5 months ago):



Written by: The nameless Hitchhiker
"Well I consider it a good thing. In the Netherlands most crimes are committed by Blacks and therefore it's a good thing that the cops would predominantly stop a Black, or ethnic looking person - for say when riding a big expensive car. I mean hey, what's the point? How could he afford this car, except for three reasons: Stealing it, being a pimp or dealing in drugs?



Shoplifting and many other minor crimes are also very common to Blacks. To get awareness about the likelyhood that someone does or does not do something gives me an opportunity to tell something about the very human being that is standing right in front of me. Our government is not doing enough to protect the citizens from these people."





I had a hard time not to pull over and kick his a55 out of my camper - just to show him what I personally think about "judgement" by race, faith, nationality or opinion. But this is not in my programming rolleyes yet... devil



Instead I tried to argue about a variety of viewpoints to the subject, which was totally pointless and got even worse... eek



I was just so amazed that someone about the age of 20 - a JUGGLER - studying MUSIC... a traveller/ hitchhiker could ever state something like that!!!!!! eek



What do you think? Is "racism" something good, bad, or are you ambivalent to the subject?



Do you look at someone with a certain background and all the stereotypes to the heritage of that person spool down like in a matrix, hence you are able to look beyond those and treat this person "neutral", as a neutral human being, a blank sheet... ???



Maybe you go past your "political correctness" and just express the feeling you have in your gut, without re-reading and filing around so it suits Santa... wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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JayKitty
GOLD Member since Nov 2004

JayKitty

Mission: Ignition
Location: Central New Jersey

Total posts: 534
Posted:Racism is based on stereotypes, and sadly stereotypes at least partially based in truth. I don't however agree that blatent racism like your nameless hitchhiker is right, but a predisposition isn't so horrible. The sad truth is that sometimes that stereotype is true.

My neighbor is black, the guy has a really good job, vice president of some company, drives a really really nice car, there's no reason he should be stereotyped. Nicest guy ever too. ^_^ Has the best cook outs ever.


Don't mind me, just passing through.

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:lol, view the ' whats happening in sydney' threadto hear some views on racism.

judgement of a human on their physical appearance is unjustifiable. while i understand the limited logic in his argument the problem is that if police and authority are more inclined to police 'black' people, then because they are policing them more relentlessly they will of course catch more of them committing illegal activities, despite the fact they they are committing just as many illegal ativities as non-blacks.

if in fact the black population IS committing more criminal acts than other members of society, then that is saying something about the society as a whole, possibly that due to racism in numerous ways they are forced to commit crimes to get by.


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:Written by: FireTom

just to show him what I personally think about "judgement" by race, faith, nationality or opinion.




Written by: FireTom

I was just so amazed that someone about the age of 20 - a JUGGLER - studying MUSIC... a traveller/ hitchhiker could ever state something like that!!!!!!




Surely you then are revealing the fact that you have assumptions about the person, based on his age, occupation and hobbies? Really, you're just as guilty of stereotyping as he is, except yours is somewhat more politically correct. smile


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands

Total posts: 7263
Posted:Written by:
Surely you then are revealing the fact that you have assumptions about the person, based on his age, occupation and hobbies? Really, you're just as guilty of stereotyping as he is, except yours is somewhat more politically correct.



Yes he is but inoffensive ones, sterotyping is mostly only a problem when used negatively


Let's relight this forum ubblove

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MiG
GOLD Member since Apr 2004

MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG

Total posts: 3415
Posted:i'm sure i said what sethis did...

"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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The Misguided Oracle
GOLD Member since Aug 2005

The Misguided Oracle

the floor is a sea of tigers...
Location: Brisvegas

Total posts: 404
Posted:racism might sound like a potentially good thing until you're the victim of it...

"My body is a well tuned machine... It just needs a competent driver." - ?

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doctor_fandango
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

doctor_fandango

co-director of A.C.B.I.S.H.A.
Location: in the corner beside the filin...

Total posts: 761
Posted:*pops in to make a little point of language*

well , technically , racism doesnt exist. there is only one race of humanoids on the planet. the human being (homo sapien , call it what you want) if there were still neanderthols on the planet , they would be a different race. thats when racism would come into play.
so called racism against blacks/jews/irish etc. is nothing more than a mental conditioning. it would be the same as a company refusing to hire a blonde , because blondes are stupid. its insane when you sit down and actually think about 'racist' opinions.
*i think thats it from me , im going for a smoke.*


There's no place like 127.0.0.1, There's no place like 127.0.0.1, There's no place like 127.0.0.1,

"in most of our friends we're the hippies. but we have hippie friends of our own.. its like a dog having its own pet" - H. Sinoquet 19-03-2005

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Str8Jakit


Str8Jakit

Dealing in Perception & Probability
Location: On the edge of sunrise and sun...

Total posts: 135
Posted:It's never a good thing to classify someone by what you can see with your eyes. like you said Tom, this guy studied music, and juggled. you assumed by what your eyes precived that he was a good guy, and by all means might be (outside of the race problems he has).

i have experianced race issues first hand all my life. no i am not classifyed as a minority. i am in fact a white male. you see my mom remarried into a cuban family when i was a kid. now growing up in florida, you'd think there wouldn't be a problem, considering the strong cuban heratige in my state. well you'd be wrong. the looks my dad use to get just for walking down the sidewalk holding my. or when we went into a resturant. and if we went up north to visit my mom's family, it was worse. then there's my roommate. african americna male. we have been pulled over more times than i can count, when we ride together to the clubs, or were ever.

racism is never good. remember balck and white is the color of our politics, not the color of our skin.


Legal and illegal are a point of view. All that matters is morality.

If there's a shadow in your life, then there is also sunshine. Perception is everything.

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jo_rhymes
SILVER Member since Apr 2005

jo_rhymes

Momma Bear
Location: Telford, Shrops

Total posts: 4525
Posted:unfortunately, I am a stereotypical white person. I can't dance!
I think racism, and most isms, are stupid. I've got depression and I'm part of a mental health centre. The other day someone called us "retards" because we've got mental illnesses!! This to me, is similar to racism. It's all based on ignorance.
And ignorance breeds prejudice.


Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted:Ignorance leads to prejudice.
Prejudice leads to fear.
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to Suffering. (thereby giving the politicians a job) smile


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:Stereotyping is useful in the medical field. It helps us know, by looking at someone, to be cautious of certain things or expect certain problems.

Outside of there, no. And harmless stereotypes arn't always harmless either. So whilst firetom is not a polie officer, or public official, I'd say, still, he's contributing to the problem on some level. BUt as MLK Jr said, "we're all prejudice"

Such is life. Just best to keep it in mind.

Whats fun is trying to convince some brits that being a redhead is no different than being black, rather than, as someone tried to convince me, no different than being a fat slob. People are silly....


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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Str8Jakit


Str8Jakit

Dealing in Perception & Probability
Location: On the edge of sunrise and sun...

Total posts: 135
Posted:hold on a tic. how is tom contributing to the problem? kyrian you may want to re-read his post.....i did and i don't see were he is contributing. if any one is you are by stating in the medical feild styrotypes help. i understand your stament, but in contrast to what tom posted, you sound like the contributor......not saying you are, just puting your post, and toms in contrast

Legal and illegal are a point of view. All that matters is morality.

If there's a shadow in your life, then there is also sunshine. Perception is everything.

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
In the Netherlands most crimes are committed by Blacks and therefore it's a good thing that the cops would predominantly stop a Black, or ethnic looking person - for say when riding a big expensive car. I mean hey, what's the point? How could he afford this car except for three reasons: Stealing it, being a pimp or dealing in drugs?




Is this a race thing - Black people are genetically somehow more likely to commit crime- or a cultural thing - Black people are more likely to be impoverished due to their cultural heritige, and due to this impoverishment are they more likely to have a disregard for the social laws which bind them to a system that has failed them, and largely oppressed their people for several centuries?

In which case

Written by:
Our government is not doing enough to protect the citizens from these people."





should be replaced by; our government is not doing enough to allow these people a reasonable chance to lead the kind of life us whiteys take for granted.

Raising these people's quality of life so they don't feel that theft, prostitution etc is their only way to get by deals with the source of the problem. Discriminating against them merely reinforces a sense of cultural alienation - that they are not part of the community as a whole - and only sustains the propensity for members of ethnic minorities (especially young men) to rebel against what they understandably feel to be an unjust system; be it through crime, religious fundamentalism or other activities which harm the community as a whole.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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Str8Jakit


Str8Jakit

Dealing in Perception & Probability
Location: On the edge of sunrise and sun...

Total posts: 135
Posted:Dream: IMO it's a social issue, society has deemed this group or that group more likely to do ______. and with our society set up the way it is, people have a hard time "climbing the social ladder" as it were. so they get stuck into believing that this is the only way for them to be.

black, white, asain, it doesn't matter. we all have pre-conseptions of others. granted they might not as extreme as the man the tom picked up, but we all have them. IMO the issue at the heart of race, is societies faliure to stand up and say "this is a problem, and it will stop." now i am all for freedom of speach, and the right to express ones self, but if it's harmfull to others or to society as whole, shouldn't it be stoped?


Legal and illegal are a point of view. All that matters is morality.

If there's a shadow in your life, then there is also sunshine. Perception is everything.

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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

addict
Location: Ohio, USA

Total posts: 674
Posted:I'd like to think Im not discriminatory, but I know its not true. The act of general discrimination is an important part of our mental processing. Its how we make decisions. It has its uses. Sometimes we make poor decisions because we don't see what is there. Sometimes we make poor decisions because we see whats there but are afraid to act because we've been told its "wrong" to see that.

We're told that discriminating on the basis of skin color is wrong. Which seems like a good basic principle. Given no other information the correct one, I'd say. But you're actually making the decision based on racial stereotypes, and as someone already pointed out, stereotypes are usually based on some truth. So I don't think an absolutist position on this is realistic.

But instead of looking at the general issue, I wonder where the particular perceived stereotype that blacks (as an example) commit more crime comes from?

1. There is a real, genetic predisposition toward personality types that commit crime.
- POSSIBLE but I won't subscribe to it on principle. However, as has been pointed out, there ARE genetic traits that may be involved. For instance, in one community / tribe of Jews (someone can explain this better) there is a much higher rate of OCD, and personality types that are very common to them, etc. So it is possible there is a genetic component.

2. There is a common environmental issue that predisposes them to crime.
- The current standard PC / liberal way of looking at it I think. That is, most blacks who commit crime come from a common background: poor and urban. So perhaps these environments are what cause them to commit more crime. This means lifting up these areas to reform would be the best method to reduce crime, again a very popular view now a days.

3. There is not a higher incidence of crime: only a higher incidence of policing BASED on stereotypes that results in more of them getting caught. Probably likely.

4. Other factors, etc.

The PROBLEM is that there isn't a real good way to distinguish whether stereotypes cause the policing, or policing (catching them) causes the stereotype. ie is the stereotype true (to the point that it gives police a useful tool in profiling to lower crime, after all, what their jobs are) or is it only reflective of the way the police function (profiling).

Now I will relate this small story simply as that: warning that the kid who told me this is a punk (not the stereotype, just a... not nice person by nature), so take it with a grain of salt. He came out of prison prejudiced against black people. His reasoning was that in prison, all the white people were ok to him, but every black person in there was an @$$-****. I think he's being a fool, but then I wasnt there so I don't know. But if he is right, it makes me wonder. What if there is a higher rate of being a prick in african americans due to environment, genetics, whatever that really DOES predispose them to crime.

Now Im not making any claims about where that might come from, nor that this view is right. Frankly I wouldnt trust the kid for an unbiased view on anything... but it makes me wonder.

Because the up-shot of this is profiling, which is what, strictly speaking, this is about. The small piece of the conversation above is about profiling and not about prejudice in relation to other areas, only in police forces. And GIVEN that a police officers job is to make choices about who to investigate to lower crime, AND that there MAY be some element to a certain community that predisposes them to crime... what's wrong with profiling?

We face this a lot now with terrorism. 20 people walk through a metal detector and the Arabic individual gets yanked. People like to say thats wrong because we've been told all our life it is... but the fact of the matter is that given what has happened in terms of terrorism of late, that person is perceived as being the biggest threat. Is that wrong? Is it still wrong if he really WAS a terrorist and had a bomb with him?

These people have a job to do, and profiling is a big part of that job whether anyone wants to be PC about it or not. As soon as anyone says whats really going on, you know, talks about the giant pink elephant in the corner, they are instantly a racist or prejudiced and get fired. But as long as everyones all PC about it then its ok?

There was an issue with gender in regards the female CEO of an Australian air line buying a plane here. The security guy didnt think a woman could really be the CEO of a company that big. Is that REALLY surprising? The only female CEO I can think of off the top of my head is the Hewlett Packard lady. Im not surprised at all it raised an eyebrow. Something out of the ordinary, and unfortunatly a female CEO is out of the ordinary still, is going to peak interest.

When it comes to police forces, I agree to a point with this guy. Not all the way, because profiling is very easily abused as well, so there needs to be some check and balance. But I understand police doing it. You have some people screaming at you from one side saying they aren't doing enough to stop crime, and others screaming at them from the other saying they are just being prejudiced.

==

Coming full circle, I dont think it will ever not be a problem, or stop. People have lapses of judgement, and so there will be abuses and wrong decisions and such based on perceived stereotypes for ever. I actually have many friends of differing ethnicity and never think twice about it. I dont prejudge people, or at least not consciously. But if I do, I know I at least take into account much more than skin color.

Now I've said a lot of controversial things here, and Im sure Im about to get flamed for them. Thats fine. I just want to point out that Im saying nothing about the SOURCE of these possible elements. Just that as elements, stereotypes are useful in making choices (the act of discriminating between doing one thing or another).

For the record, I don't think that these stereotypes are true. I think that any statistical difference is due to a combination of policing methods catching more of one group, AND social issues leading to higher necessity to break the law, plus a handful of other factors Im sure in individual cases. IF there is a real situation where one community has a higher chance of committing crime, I understand profiling focusing a bit more manpower there. IF... could just be an illusion of prejudice too. I really don't know enough about the situation to say whether there really is a higher rate of crime or not. But IF there is, then profiling just makes logical sense. You CAN profile without being racist or prejudiced.

Now when you start applying this to hiring practices, admittance practices, etc. I would disagree with its usage of course. But the factors involved in policing I think justify profiling to a point. So I think racism is bad. But profiling, which may seem like racism, I am more prone to say makes sense, and I wouldn't call it racist. It CAN be, but in general it isnt.


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Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:Str8tjacket....

Firstly some kind of punctuation and structured sentences would be cool because I had a really hard time understanding your posts... from what I did get:

Yes, I'm contributing, we all are, we're all prejudice. Someone else already said Firetom was, a bit, and argued for it being harmless, which I argued against- he's saying because someone juggles/studies music that he expects them to be a certain way. Surprising? No. But still being done....


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:I put a sticker on my car once from the local aboriginal radio station, 4AAA. It amazed me how much I started being stopped by the police all of a sudden. I was sitting in my car chatting to a friend one night when were pounced on by two cops with flashlights. They looked quite stunned when it was Mrs Whitey and pal inside.

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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loki.c1687
SILVER Member since Jul 2004

loki.c1687

addict
Location: Leeds

Total posts: 546
Posted:i have been haveing mixed feeling about an issue that i guess falls into this thread,i dont belive myself to be racist,but this is really starting to get to me. Why is it most placers in engaland can no longer fly a british flag? How on earth is me putting up my own country flag a form of racism to the asain's?A Pub near me had to paint over a rlly nice picture which involed are flag and i mean had to because the countsel made them,but as soon as we do something anything to protect our tradisions we get told were not understanding to there cuture.Does anyone think this is taking it a little to far?

Rules and responsibities:
These are the ties that bind us.
We do what we do,because of who we are.
If we did otherwise,we would not be ourselves.
I will do what i have to do
And i will do what i must..

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
now i am all for freedom of speach, and the right to express ones self, but if it's harmfull to others or to society as whole, shouldn't it be stoped?





If you believe in freedom of speech then no it shouldn't be stopped.

The problem is how and who decides what constitues a statement that is harmful to society. Stalin undoubtedly would have argued that any criticism of his leadership or the regime constituted harm to the USSR. Hence the purges were socially just. On the other hand if you spoke favorably about him then you were free to say whatever you want.

If you believe in freedom of speech then by definition you believe that anyone should have the right to say the things you find absolutely horrific. Racist, Sexist, Fundamentalist whatever. The logic of the argument is that only when things are openly discussed can they be logically refuted.

If you believe certain things are so harmful they should not be said. Thats fine. Its not freedom of speech, it's not what I believe in (I'm opposed to all forms of censorship), but I do believe you should have the right to express whatever opinion you want. Especially if you disagree with me.

wink


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:WOW - right now I have no idea how "reedom of speech" pops into "racism", but hey shrug one made a comment some time back that if you'd be white and run around capitol hill with a banner "I hate capitalism", you'd get treated different than being a coloured person doing the same.... maybe that's it...

Yes - true, I was contributing to the initial problem by profiling this guy into being somehow liberal (which he really wasn't - at least not in a number of political issues)... thanks for pointing that out smile I might have contributed even more if I would then have kicked him out of the car... devil

As to differenciate between racism and general profiling: there is a thin - very thin line between the two. One is to recognise the person's overall predespositions (where "being genetically proned to criminality" to me is BS) and therefore get an idea - a very superficial one - about where this person comes from, or to what s/he might respond more likely.

Another is to put someone into a drawer and not give them any chance to prove differently.

Right now, here in Mumbai, I am facing all facets of "profiling"... for example as a white westerner I am expected to be rich and throw around my money, I am not expected to walk or carry my own (heavy) bags for more than 2 yards/ metres... I am expected to dress in a certain fashion, I am expected to be polite and behave as a gentleman. I am constantly stared at (but in a very different way an african would get stared at in the west) and constantly harrassed.

The line between "racism" and "profiling" is very thin.

For say: as a German I am considered to be absolutely NON-funny (who would understand such technical, i.e. sophisticated humor, BUT another German anyways... rolleyes wink tongue ) - well maybe it's because as a German, you don't have much to laugh about? But many who make fun of you smile - this I don't consider "bad" biggrin As a German I am not really enjoying my own language (its complicated, no-one but native do speak it [/exaggeration] and in "our" very own country it was not really accepted - intellectuals, royalties and clerics spoke french or latin)... etc. pp. I don't want to make this post extra-long... rolleyes

My point is: if you REALLY want to profile someone, you need to gather a lot more than just the superficial stereotypes. Much more rock-hard facts that is: history of the country, socio-cultural environment, climatic conditions... a.s.o. - then you may walk a little further by rendering the individual profile: family background, social status, education, profession, hobbies... the pure appearance can tell a lot about a person (*scrolls back* Kyrian stated this very correctly) It can not only tell you about a medical status quo, but also on a characteristical one... but that's another story...

And as much some might oppose it: The cultural/ historical background DOES influence the (genetical) predespositions BUT there is always some dripling to it on top...

IMO there is a core-characteristical "being" some may call it soul, spirit, whatsoever, embedded in a socio-cultural background... but to get into this the post will just extend until... rolleyes

Basically IMO "racism" - as much as all of us are more or less affected by it - is a hinderance and should tell someone about her/himself (in this very moment)... Q: "What makes me (in this instant) want to judge upon someone else....? Why like this?"

ubblove and ubbidea to all of you out there... ubbangel smile


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
if you REALLY want to profile someone, you need to gather a lot more than just the superficial stereotypes. Much more rock-hard facts that is: history of the country, socio-cultural environment, climatic conditions... a.s.o. - then you may walk a little further by rendering the individual profile: family background, social status, education, profession, hobbies...



yep, but you continue with

Written by:
the pure appearance can tell a lot about a person



How does pure appearance convey all the cultural and individual factors you suggest? I thought your point was that you need to go much much deeper than appearance to really profile someone.

offtopic

Freedom of speech came up because everyone (I think) agrees that racism isn't a good thing, and someone said

Written by:
now i am all for freedom of speach, and the right to express ones self, but if it's harmfull to others or to society as whole, shouldn't it be stoped?




as a potential method of dealing with racism, and I wanted to address that comment as it seemed to be a misinterpretation of freedom of speech - one which is commonly made. Which means diverging from the initial question - much as doing now by addressing your comment about how it came up.

Sorry

hug


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:@ dream :no worries: hug

of course the pure appearance cannot tell you everything about a person... just a lot -> selective reading? umm wink smile

I also kind of like the attitude that raceism is just another -ism amongst the others... biggrin


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Str8Jakit


Str8Jakit

Dealing in Perception & Probability
Location: On the edge of sunrise and sun...

Total posts: 135
Posted:Dream: you are right. freedom of speach does give anyone the right to say anything. so i shall reassess my point of view. thank you for pointing out something i did not see. meditate

Kryian: SeNtaNCE STructuRE, PunCtUaTION? what are those wink but at least you see my point. as we both have said now; we all have cerrtin prejudices about others that we can not avoid.

well it seems that we all can agree on prejudices being a problem, but what can we do about it? insted of typing back and forth about this or that, right or wrong, puncuation or no punctuation, let's discus waht to do about it.

i plan on working on my issue that dream was kind enough to point out, and the assumptions i make about people. like the old saying goes: stop complaining. start a movment.


Legal and illegal are a point of view. All that matters is morality.

If there's a shadow in your life, then there is also sunshine. Perception is everything.

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TheEtherbunny


newbie


Total posts: 11
Posted:I live in a multicultural area and find that there are few real differences among people. I don't use race as a factor in determining who someone is because I'd be wrong most of the time if I used that method. It's not a matter of racism, it's a matter of common sense.

As far as freedom of speech goes, I am all for freedom even if it's offensive. I'm not afraid to be offended but I'd sure like the opportunity to offend if I felt like I needed it.


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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:Now, I would definatly not consider myself a racist, the color of someones skin doesn't matter to me at all. But to be fair there are a couple things that should be pointed out here..

This guy, although he is obviously a bigot, misinformed, and an idiot. "Racial profiling" (at least in the states) is essentially a myth. People are so politically correct paranoid that many flat out refused to even conduct a study on the issue, or they'd be heavily biased in the past to prove that it *was* rampent throughout the police because no statistician wanted to be labelled racist for saying otherwise. Until recently anyways.

For example, there was a study in 2001 I believe. On the New Jersey Turnpike they were able to show that among black drivers, statistically there was a much higher percentage of speeders (black speeders vs black non-speeders) than white drivers. That doesn't mean that they are evil, or the cops are racist, but it shows that there is a perfectly viable and reasonable explination for tickets/traffic stops/ searches to be a higher number among a certain ethnic group, even though they are a minority numbers wise.





My other beef with 'racism.' Is that in the last couple decades, the whole situation has reversed. This politically correct atmosphere is predominatly only stuck to the "whites" only. I'm really at a loss as to why it is socially acceptable to have things like Black Entertainment Television and not vice versa? I realize that history has not always been kind to them, and there is still blatent racism all over the place, but come on. If you keep claiming you need special treatment because you're a minority, how will you ever expect to be treated as an equal? Social 'racism' rules and standards of etiquette should apply the same to everyone. Double standards never flew right in my book.


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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
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Posted:Written by:
My other beef with 'racism.' Is that in the last couple decades, the whole situation has reversed



Yep, if you look at the statistics now, Black people in the US/UK/France are on average richer, better educated, have a higher rate of literacy, have health insurance...

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I'm really at a loss as to why it is socially acceptable to have things like Black Entertainment Television and not vice versa?



When Friends and Sex in the City revealed their new all-ethnic casts, and suddenly Whitey disappeared of our TV screens altogether I had a feeling that something like this was going on.

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If you keep claiming you need special treatment because you're a minority, how will you ever expect to be treated as an equal?



On a more serious note, when a minority has (on average) less money, a shorter life expectancy, no health insurance (in the states), less chance of participating in higher education, or even being able to read at all, I would argue that they are not equal.

Bourgeois Capitalism (going back to classical Liberals, JS Mill and co, about the time of the French and American revolutions) however argues that because there are no legal constraints preventing minorities (or the poor in general) from ascending the social ladder (Colin Powell etc), then as everyone is equal. Not because they are in practice, but because they aspire to same idealised standard of living (which can only ever be attained by a elite minority).

Essentially this was the argument brought forth by the middle classes whereby they (as educated gentlemen who owned property) acheived a higher degree of social mobility (in comparison to a strictly hierarchial nobility), whereas the peasants and workers, who were mainly illiterate and landless stayed where they were in society, as without an education and money, mercantile capitalism gives you no real room for social manouvre.

Thus the the argument for positive discrimination is that if you start of life with less of a chance than most people, you should recieve extra help to allow you to compete on equal footing with those around you.

However there really isn't much evidence to suggest that this has been the case over the last twenty years... While certain minority groups (Jews, Indians) are financially more successful than the average Joe, most (Blacks, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis) are continuing to do worse, and showing no real signs of improvement.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

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Str8Jakit


Str8Jakit

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Posted:Written by: Lurch

That doesn't mean that they are evil, or the cops are racist, but it shows that there is a perfectly viable and reasonable explination for tickets/traffic stops/ searches to be a higher number among a certain ethnic group, even though they are a minority numbers wise.



so what you're saying is: as long as there is a study conducted, and numbers to justify it, then racial profiling is ok? confused


Legal and illegal are a point of view. All that matters is morality.

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

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Posted:but that racial profiling doesnt work because, using your example, if its found that black people speed more, and the result of that finding is they are stopped and policed more heavily, then it is more likely that more black people will be caught. This also means that because police target black people the are less likely to target non-black people. so, the police will catch less non-white people. this is not because they are still committing more or less crimes, but simply because one group is policed more heavily than the other. in turn this will mean the same findings will occur if the study is repeated and the pattern will just keep repeating.

quite simply, the harder you look in one direction the more you will find there, but you'll miss everything thats happening behind you.

you're totally right dream, while on paper anything is possible, in reality there are many glass walls you just cant get through


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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

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Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:No no no no no

I'm not condoning 'racial profiling' I'm just saying that most peoples notion of what racial profiling is is misguided. Being that most racial profiling arguments are over highway/traffic stops in the search for drugs, I'll keep to that topic in general.

The issue being that minorities are targeted and stopped more often then their white counterparts. I will agree, that if the soul reason they were stopped is because of their race, that is most definatly wrong. But that is not the case, these drivers are pulled over for valid traffic violations, yet scream racial profiling.

The ultimate question in the profiling controversy is whether the disproportionate involvement of blacks and Hispanics with law enforcement reflects police racism or the consequences of disproportionate minority crime.

Majestik you're half right, if hypothetically blacks speed more, as a result they will be stopped more. That does not necessarily mean they will become targeted. Nor does it mean that the police will turn a blind eye towards other races in an effort to target blacks. An example of what is considered 'hard' racial profiling is when the soul reasoning behind a stop and search is based on race, as opposed to 'soft' profiling where race is one factor in many that an officer uses to gauge criminal suspicion.

Hard profiling, pulling over one speeder in many simply because he is black or hispanic, is rare. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. And I will agree that this is a bad and unethical practice. But it is rare. Soft profiling is more common however (I still do not condone it), pulling someone over because the driver, and car, and direction, and number and type of occupants fits the components of a drug courier profile. Regardless the decision to pull someone, anyone, over is almost always based on some traffic violation, not based on race.

When the proportions start to become extremely outweighed then yes, there is something wrong, and something needs to be done to counter this, although immediatly jumping to the conclusion that the police must be racist is extreme in my opinion, and it requires a deeper look at the root of the problem. I'll give you some quotations and statistics that might articulate what I'm trying to say better than I can.

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Do minorities commit more of the kinds of traffic violations that police target? This is a taboo question among the racial profiling crowd; to ask it is to reveal one's racism. No one has studied it. But some evidence suggests that it may be the case. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that blacks were 10 percent of drivers nationally, 13 percent of drivers in fatal accidents, and 16 percent of drivers in injury accidents. (Lower rates of seat-belt use may contribute to these numbers.) Random national surveys of drivers on weekend nights in 1973, 1986, and 1996 found that blacks were more likely to fail breathalyzer tests than whites. In Illinois, blacks have a higher motorist fatality rate than whites. Blacks in one New Jersey study were 23 percent of all drivers arrested at the scene of an accident for driving drunk, though only 13.5 percent of highway users. In San Diego, blacks have more accidents than their population figures would predict. Hispanics get in a disproportionate number of accidents nationally.



None of those statistics are because the minorities are targeted more than white. They are completely independant of comparison to other races in fact, and they don't prove or disprove racial profiling but go towards explaining the disproportionate ratios. The problem with profiling is that there is no benchmark to compare anything against. Someone has just decided somewhere that there are 'too many' minorities being stopped. 'Too many' means nothing, if anything it hinders the policemans ability to do his job for fear of being targeted as a racist.

One of the biggest targets of the 'anti profiling' crowd is not the traffic stops themselves, but the number of searches and arrests after the stop has been made, essentially saying "They wouldn't have stopped me if I wasn't a minority, thus they wouldn't have found the drugs. I shouldn't be held accountable." I call bullsh*t. This came out mainly in 1999 with (then) New Jersey Attorney General Peter Verniero's "Interim Report of the State Police Review Team Regarding Allegations of Racial Profiling."

The numbers in the report are a terrible use of statistics at best. Heavily skewed and easily flawed, the main argument and his finding of "Disparate treatment" of minorities is in the number of consent searches performed after the stop. A 'consent search' being a search in which the motorist agrees to search his car and person without the need of probably cause or a warrant. YOU CAN SAY NO TO A CONSENT SEARCH, that is why it is called a consent search.

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Between 1994 and 1998, claims the report, 53 percent of consent searches on the southern end of the New Jersey Turnpike involved a black person, 21 percent involved whites, and overall, 77 percent involved minorities. But these figures are meaningless, because Verniero does not include racial information about search requests that were denied, and his report mixes stops, searches, and arrests from different time periods.

But most important: Verniero finds culpable racial imbalance in the search figures without suggesting a proper benchmark. He simply assumes that 53 percent black consent searches is too high. Compared with what? If blacks in fact carry drugs at a higher rate than do whites, then this search rate merely reflects good law enforcement. If the police are now to be accused of racism every time that they go where the crime is, that's the end of public safety.



Looking at arrests however, Blacks make up 60% of New Jerseys convictions for drug and weapon possession, even though they only make up 13.5% of the population. Held to those benchmarks the number of consent searches holds up.

But Verniro dismisses that however, claiming something similar to Majestik

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Arrest and conviction data for drugs and weapons are virtually meaningless, said Verniero. They tell you nothing about the world and everything about the false stereotypes that guide the police. If the police find more contraband on blacks and Hispanics, that is merely because they are looking harder for it, driven by prejudiced assumptions. If the police were to target whites with as much enforcement zeal, goes this reasoning, they would find comparable levels of criminality. David Harris, a University of Toledo law school professor and the leading expert for the anti-profiling forces, makes this preposterous argument. An enforcement effort directed at 40-year-old white law professors, he assures a Senate subcommittee, would yield noticeable busts. The disproportionate minority arrests then reinforce the initial, racist stereotypes, and the vicious cycle begins all over againtoo many minorities arrested, too many whites going free.

This circularity argument is an insult to law enforcement and a prime example of the anti-police advocates' willingness to rewrite reality. Though it is hard to prove a negativein this case, that there is not a large cadre of white drug lords operating in the inner citiescircumstantial evidence rebuts the activists' insinuation. Between 1976 and 1994, 64 percent of the homicide victims in drug turf wars were black, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis of FBI data. Sixty-seven percent of known perpetrators were also black. Likewise, some 60 percent of victims and perpetrators in drug-induced fatal brawls are black. These figures match the roughly 60 percent of drug offenders in state prison who are black. Unless you believe that white traffickers are less violent than black traffickers, the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment rate for blacks on drug charges appears consistent with the level of drug activity in the black population.



Don't make me out to be the enemy here guys, I'm just playing devil's advocate. But there is something to this. I know many cops, and I have a hard time believing that they're all the evil racists people make them out to be profiling and degrading minorities. Take everything you hear and read with a grain of salt, statistics can be skewed to show whatever you want them to show. But if the majority of crimes fit to a certain minority, or social status, wouldn't it make sense for the majority of convictions to fall into the same ratios?

A final quotation, then I'll shut up for now...

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The fact that hit rates for contraband tend to be equal across racial groups, even though blacks and Hispanics are searched at higher rates, suggests that the police are successfully targeting dealers, not minorities. Race may play a role in that targeting, or it may not. Most cues of trafficking are race-neutral; it may be that race often correlates with the decision to search rather than causing it.



Correlation does not imply causation.


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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

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Posted:ok, i agree with you that you are not the ememy wink

if in fact certain minorities are committing drug tafficing offences more fequently then simply arresting them is not going to solve the problem, there must be some social problem that is focing them into committing illegal activities.

i dont really know about the black/hispanic minotities in the US but in Australia its well documented that Aboriginals are below non-aboriginals in almost all areas of life. as a result it would make sense that they are more likely to commit crime, but it is not simply because they want to, it is because of things that Dreams has stated, lack of (and funding for) education, prejudice when appling for work. and once caught commiting illegal acts they are also treated with prejudice in the law systems.

unfortunatly i dont have my sociology text book to give statistics, but indigenous persons in australia are more likely to be charged for minor offences than non-indigenous, more likely to recieve harsher penalties once charged, and more likely to be sent to jail than non-indigenous.

while i'm not familiar with the problems in american society i can tell you with some certainty that racial profiling in Australia is not really helping the situation.


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