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My Perspective

First of all, kudos to you Roaring20's for creating this group!

I must say that with much embarrassment, that racism is very much alive and well here in the south. I currently live in the mountains and I can't begin to tell you the extent to which this vile poison that is called racism exists. The "n" word is used liberally and the small community of Latino folks are viewed as only cheap (illegal) labor for the local chicken processing plant. One never sees a person of color here unless there is a festival or celebration. The "stars and bars" of the confederate flag seen all over this small town are not welcoming to change.

So I moved here for love. A feminist,gay,vegetarian who abhors prejudice in any form. I stick out like a sore thumb here but I think real change is often implemented from within the community. I don't put up with slurs and the local newspaper editor is all too familiar with my liberal idealism. It wasn't always this way in my life.

I was adopted and raised by a mother with Italian roots and her husband was Cajun-Creole. Despite my mom having her Italian blood, she had no problem joining in discussions with her husband and others; spouting ugly racial rhetoric about anyone that wasn't "white." I remember squirming in my seat and feeling so "tainted" when I was around this.

Mama's best friend Fran was a liberal democrat(How did THAT happen?!?) with a gay daughter. My mother told me she was "sweet but misguided" but I thank my lucky stars that Fran was in my life. It was she who encouraged me to read and educate myself; to see beyond the hatred that surrounded me. By the time I was 12, I was telling my parents to "please not use that hateful language around me" when they said something that was wrought with prejudice.

Based on my experience, I believe it starts with our young people. We need to educate kids and let them know that we are ALL equal regardless of race or any other category by which others try to define us. Once we instill humanity in our youth, we can change the world.

choctawgrrrl choctawgrrrl 41-45, F 21 Responses Jan 21, 2009

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Good for your Roaring!!! When I go to see my friends later on in the year, maybe we can have a drink? What clubs do you like? There's that Starbucks in Oak Lawn too :)<br />
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Thanks Ivoted..Your words are most kind.:)

Agreed...I now live in DFW and these close minded idiots can kiss my *** with their stupidity.

You go Roaring! I lived in DFW and had some slack, but I don't care...That is their problem and not mine. :)

Yes, I had problems with it in the beginning when I was in my late teens. After I moved way from that area to Detroit, Chicago and New York it no longer mattered. Now I live in TX and it matters again bu they can kiss my ***.

Amen Law!!!

Roaring..Glad I made it come out to where it made some sense..haha.<br />
I too have dated interracially and was SHOCKED to see some people within our own gay community to have racist views! Have you experenced that as well and if so, how have you dealt with that?<br />
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Once when my girlfriend and I were walking into a grocery store holding hands, this young guy yells, "F*cking Faggots!" I spun around and said,"Nah, we're actually dykes. If you're gonna slur us, at least have the sense to call us the right name!" Silence.<br />
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When you call people "to the mat," they tend to shut up.

Excellent explanation Choc. Yes, we as a community have taken those "hate words" and we now own them. It is not okay for just anyone to say these words to us now.<br />
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I can call my friends all sorts of gay names but no straight person can call me that without a fight happening.<br />
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Even then, there are words that are off limits...I date interracially. Still...I cannot use racial slurs and will not use them. It is never okay for anyone to say anything that degrades another.<br />
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Personally, I think that we all need to stop taking ownership of these words and using them. We need to ban them from our collective vocabulary all together.

Nude, I don't think it's not so much about the "n" word itself as the connotation in which it is used. Let me give you an example from my life...<br />
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I am an out gay woman and among my friends, we can call each other "dykes" as we laugh and joke. But, say a straight individual says "You dyke!" as I have experienced before...This is considered a slur. I suppose it has to do with a community taking "ownership" of a word that has been used as a weapon against them. I hope I explained that correctly..Did that make any sense to you guys?<br />
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I don't think lobbing words to hurt anybody is acceptable. There are racists of all stripes just as there are goofy wingnut fundamentalists(I call 'em "fundies") in each religion. Absolutism is a scary thing.<br />
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All of us have things from our heritage that can be considered not ideal. We all bear scars of injustice yet we need to get over ourselves. Nobody can throw a pity party or be a victim...I can't ***** about being a "downtrodden minority" yet proclaim to be equal...<br />
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I think that may be part of the problem we as a society has..We must quit talking out of both sides of our mouth, pull up our "Big Girl Panties" and move forward as a collective nation.<br />
Not so "politically correct" but just as I see it. :)

Just tell me one thing....If it is OK for a black person to call another black person N, why can a white person not call a black person N without being called racist? Never understood why the double standard.<br />
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Now that we have a new Prez, White Guilt should be gone. The next time I am told I (because I must represent all whites) keep the man down, all I need to do is say "I voted for him"

Wow....*putting down my popcorn*<br />
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THIS is what we need...dialog!!!! woooohooo!!<br />
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"You may call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."<br />
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Perhaps it is my diehard liberal heart bleeding upon my sleeve (damn..there it goes again!) or maybe it's my contrarian aquarian mind that tells me this is DOABLE! <br />
There will be many hurt feelings because the truth hurts anyone that forms an attachment to their belief system.<br />
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Dare I say it, I hoped but never thought I would see a rainbow of humanity come together in our nation's captial that I witnessed yesterday. I never thought I would see such hope and love in the eyes of my fellow citizens and I certainly never thought I'd see an exception to the "Good Ol' Boys" club that has permeated our government for so many years.<br />
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This is what gives me hope that we as a society are ready to go toe-to-toe and face injustice head on...<br />
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What I did yesterday was not about me. It was about pointing out small-minded thinking and letting them know that there is another world outside their own. I don't think you have to be as vocal as I am to make a difference, BUT...I do believe that if you stand by and laugh at an ethic or gay joke, you are part of the problem.<br />
A simple, "I don't agree" or "Please don't talk that way around me" can work wonders. I can be a bit--ahem--direct for my own good but I've had years of practice..lol<br />
Start small.. The ob<x>ject is to start a dialog.<br />
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If you don't think one being can make a difference, consider the mosquito in a sleeping bag...He may be small but he MATTERS.

I grew up in the north east and remember seeing the KKK on the bridge over the tollway leading into Maine, or their marches in a small town twenty minutes from my house. I could not believe these idiots were out there. <br />
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Then I moved to Texas. In the outskirts of town (which is MOST of Texas), you saw clear and abundant racism. In the city, my next door neighbor was an elderly white woman who talked openly infront of her N who was older than she was. She would talk about not being able to find a good N anymore. I thought he was from Driving Miss Daisy because he would shake his head and agree with her. I felt sorry for him. In the city, it was not uncommon to see blacks and whites and hispanics and anyone else for that matter dating. I became even more blind to color. <br />
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I hope our children can remain blind. We are all unique, regarless of our cultural backgrounds. Ignorance is out there, and perpetuated, often by the people who feel discriminated against. <br />
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Oh, and by the way, I understand our new president is, how should I put this... Hawaiian.

Smokeseek...we do need to leave our feelings at the door. If not, yes people will be offended and hurt and then, this much needed discourse will not happen. We cannot afford to just let exist as the 800 lbs gorilla in the room.<BR><BR>We need to all come to the table without raw emotion and have this discussion. That was the entire reason for starting this group.<BR><BR>It needs to start somewhere and that place is here. Just as our President told us..WE are the people that we have been waiting for!<BR><BR>Let us all accept the role that history has for us.

I agree the premise, but in this age of political correctness, this country can ever have a frank discussion about race. For the US to ever have an honest discussion on race; all sides would need to come the table, and be able to speak honestly before any progress could be made. Unfortunately such discussions would be misconstrued and invariably great number of sensitive people would be hurt. But we need get past the collective ignorance before any progress can made. This will be impossible in the adult community; the future lies in our children and the way they are raised.

*lowers brick*<br />
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I wish I had that kind of courage. We cowards tend to have panic attacks when faced with that kind of confrontation. In a perfect world, I would love to be as verbal in real life as I am in my blogs. I just have the added disadvantage of being no good with people.<br />
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But, I loose my point. I think its great that people do find the courage to shout out their mind on this kind of issue. If everyone stayed quiet, we'd still be stuck in the Dark Ages.

You go CGrrl!<br />
As for the rest of us... what the hell do we risk by confronting bigotry when it rears its ugly head? Not much is my answer! So evict me I'll rent another place! So be shocked that I'd be so impolite as to mention that you are using bigoted, racist, sexist language and you're supposed to be a good Christian/Muslim/Buddhist /Mormon (whatever they all preach the same thing) you’ll live. If you dare to speak this kind of crap in my hearing you’ll get an ear full from me! Want to escalate? Bring it on … you won’t enjoy the result!<br />
We all have a duty to stand and be counted in this “democracy”. If you don’t step up you need to seriously look at your principles and compare them to your actions.<br />
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(Carefully stepping down from the soap box he watched the crowd with intensity – those bricks thrown from the periphery where the cowards hide are just as hard!)

It takes a great amount of courage to confront someone like that. Thank you for putting them in their place!!

Good for you, Choctawgrrrl. You're braver than most. I would have just given them a stern glaring. My landlady once told my flatmates and I that we were dirty than her other tennants, and she expected them to be dirty because they were Chinese! We just stood and looked at her in horror. All of us wanted to say something, but we didn't dare in case she evicted us...

how can we fix it if we don't know where it starts? when? why? I think we have the how covered.<br />
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i watched 2 kids: one black, one white - around 2, maybe 3 yrs old. they were hugging and lip-locking like kids do ... they didn't / don't know the difference. totally and completely innocent. <br />
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so, if we are ok at the age of 2-3; when does the change occur? I think we need to dissect this.<br />
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let us also remember it is not only white that are racist and/or prejudice. I have heard black people, white people, latino, asian all bash each other. it is pathetic.

Exactly Ruuzaki! The excuse "It's always been that way" when i ask someone why they view someone else as inferior, is a line of crap!<br />
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Yesterday, I stopped by a small locally-owned store that I frequent because I believe in supporting the local business community. There were three of the "pillars of the community" discussing politics. <br />
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"Well, I just don't see how the hell a "n" could get elected anyway!"<br />
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I was outraged and slammed the cooler door, soda in hand. I walked over to these 3 stooges and said, "I'll tell you why an African-American got elected..It's because this country is moving forward and your antiquated racism is bullsh*t! Not everybody is a bigot and you need to change your thinking. By the way, I happen to be mixed myself so you want to say something about American Indians too?"<br />
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They stood there...dumbfounded.<br />
I paid for my Coke and left and no one said a word.<br />
Boy...that felt good! :)

That's a great story. You truly are an inspiration and good on you for managing to turn out into such a prejudice free individual despite what your parents views were.<br />
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I also feel that children should be educated from an early age to see that all people should be treated with respect and understanding, no matter what their race, sexual orientation or religion is. I know too many people who claim they are racist/homophobic because it's the way that they were brought up.

Thank you for your kudos and many many thanks to you for sharing your story.<br />
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I am from that area as well and know all too well how it is there. I salute your courage to stick out like a sore thumb there!!!