Herman Cain's attitudes on racism

bandit0013 wrote:

The problem with views like Cain's, and the reason they catch on is because they are seeded with truths.

Yes, undeniably the black community has a problem with poor education, children out of wedlock, drug abuse, and crime. This is statistically born out. It really doesn't matter what race you are, if you have a child before you finish school, you're pretty much doomed to be poor/lower class. That is what we like to call a personal choice in the conservative crowd.

Institutional racism also certainly does exist, though nowhere near the levels it did in the civil rights movement times. I think what Cain is noticing though is that each generation of whites seems to care less and less about not only race, but other social issues like gay marriage, etc. The reason Cain thinks that black liberals are more racist (and he may be right) is because you have an entrenched power structure in the likes of jesse jackson, al sharpton, etc who are struggling to be relevant. The only way for them to remain relevant is to convince black people that the man is holding them down, so regardless of how much it is happening, there is a group within the black community that has a vested interest in maintaining the white boogeyman. So I think Cain is half right in that individualism can overcome the racism that is leftover today, but he's wrong that it doesn't exist. Whether blacks on average are more racist than whites, can't say, not much data, but I'd wager given human nature that they're just as likely.

Very good points. I think the hard thing for a lot of white conservatives to deal with is they see many people still rise above their horrible starting situation and wonder why everyone can't do it. They also look at certain groups such as the Korean/Southeast Asian population who came to America with almost nothing and on average are now quite successful. So then the question becomes,? if the Asian American community can do it, why not the African American community?

I'm not saying I feel this way. I also think it's much harder to get out of poverty if you're surrounded by gang violence and live in a dysfunctional family (as compared to say someone who lives in poverty but grows up with a loving family in a peaceful small town).

jdzappa wrote:

They also look at certain groups such as the Korean/Southeast Asian population who came to America with almost nothing and on average are now quite successful. So then the question becomes,? if the Asian American community can do it, why not the African American community?

Because the Asian community has Chinese Mothers.

Well, the other issue is that there are roadblocks. African American slums have the worst schools. They have been blackballed by bankers, abused by merchants and landlords, exploited by employers. That's a sea anchor as well.

The problems of poor black people arent really that much different from poor whites (or latinos or whatever..) except they have the added fact that they are black in a society largely controlled by rich white guys. Chances are a good chunk of these white guys arent racist in the slightest and couldnt give a crap about what color you are but rather are you a trust worthy person who will work hard and be counted on.

But then there is a decent chunk that for whatever reason still want to surround themselves with people of like color and mind and thus institutional racism is still very apparent.

I think part of the issue is what we, as a nation, percieve as racism. Which is to say, we've made it into a Disney Villain. Racism frequently has to be so bold, brash and over-the-top these days to be called as such, ignoring that there's a ton of greyscale and subtle intricacies to it which makes fighting against it so difficult.

Racism isn't just beating someone to death purely for the color of their skin (and i'm defining racism here as a kind of bigotry, leaving out the social power dynamic that some cite when making a delineation between racism and prejudice), racism can be as harmlessly simple-seeming as telling a black person their hair is like a sheep or immediately assuming the Hispanic kid speaks Spanish.

Moreover, with a due nod to the always wonderful Jay Smooth, most arguments about racism do not note that one can say something racist without being a racist. And that's something someone everyone faces. Lord knows i've done it.

Racism is frustrating, infuriating even, because it's insidious. Because it's been a part of our culture for so long that many of us don't even recognize aspects of it when we see it anymore.

What's always struck me as funny is that, speaking as a child of an aging black man, and as someone who has spent no small amount of time around older black men, if the GOP opened up and really attempted to confront racism, they could've locked up the black vote by now, because a lot of the black community is actually quite conservative socially (albeit in that repressed, "Keep it on the down low" kind of way) and pretty conservative economically. They don't vote Republican not because they've been brainwashed (although the black community's relationship with the Democrats is clearly up for serious critique and should be) but because when Cain himself so much as hinted towards the spectre of racism during n*ggerhead-gate, he got jumped on as if he's just morphed into Al Sharpton.

It is undeniably better today to be black than it ever has been before in America. I'm willing to say, from my own experience, and my family's experience, that there are doors open to me now that were never open to my grandparents, or even parents in some circumstances. Moreover, the black community is not beyond reproach when it comes to matters of race (I know, on the whole, a large part of me still agrees with parts Bill Cosby's infamous Pound Cake Speech (something that many blacks agreed with, which makes it even more stunning at the GOP's inability to engage with the community).

But there are still many areas where blacks and minorities are unfortunately over-represented as compared to the remainder of society. Institutionalized racism isn't a "No Coloreds" sign on the bus anymore, but it's not totally gone yet. I don't think, at least from the people I've met, that any blacks are blaming the "white man" for keeping them down. Most opinion i've heard seems to say that there is immense potential for them, however it is in a game that is still tilted in favor of one side.

*-This got long and rambly, apologies.

I think your (very good) post touches on something I've always thought but when I try to describe it, it generally gets twisted, and that is the idea that everyone, everywhere, is racist about someone or something. I will adjust my word choice to.more accurately reflect the nuance between having racist thoughts and being a racist. It's a fine line that makes me uncomfortable even typing out, but I can see where in some cases a distinction should be made.