the race card
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15-02-2012, 10:13 AM
the race card
A couple of days ago, i was accused of "playing the race card" because i referred to old white guys wanting their slaves back. In that case, i meant the subjugation of any segment of society, rather than African-Americans specifically. It's an understandable and common association of ideas, which i have no cause o resent.
However, i've since watched a documentary on PBS about the quasi-legal continuation of Black slavery in the southern states, far into the 20th century, with little or no interference from the federal government. I knew, back in the sixties, several people who were involved in desegregation efforts and their stories made an impression. I've known a number of differently-pigmented persons from a great many parts of the world and their experiences and attitudes differ widely.
So, this being February, the subject has been much on my mind.

What, as precisely as possible, does the phrase "playing the race card" mean?
In what circumstances is that phrase valid? When is it invalid or unfair? Who generally uses it? Who is generally accused of it, and in what circumstances?

My untested hypothesis is that this phrase is employed similarly to "conspiracy theory" - a means of dismissing and silencing the person who broaches an uncomfortable subject.
It seems to me a symptom of what i call the D-complex (denial, disconnection, denunciation); a systemic avoidance of any attempt to deal with systemic problems.
I do not believe racism is a moot issue in North America. I believe it's very much alive and probably escalating - not of itself, but simply because American social discourse is increasingly virulent on all topics, and because the growing disparity and frustration affects some segments of the population more than others.

Has anyone direct experience and/or observation of racism in the US or Canada?
Has anyone been unfairly accused of "playing the race card?"
Has anyone actually played the race card or had it played on them unfairly?
Is there a situation in which playing the race card is appropriate?

Is there any other way to discuss this issue without acrimony?

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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15-02-2012, 10:18 AM
RE: the race card
I live in Louisiana. In 30+ other countries and a dozen states I've never seen so much racism against a minority group in my life. I'd bet that 50% of the people that I know are 'devout' racists. Meaning they don't hide it. If a black man runs a red light they say things like "Damn niggers always braking the law. Wish they would go back to Africa".

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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15-02-2012, 10:39 AM
RE: the race card
(15-02-2012 10:18 AM)germanyt Wrote:  I live in Louisiana. In 30+ other countries and a dozen states I've never seen so much racism against a minority group in my life. I'd bet that 50% of the people that I know are 'devout' racists. Meaning they don't hide it. If a black man runs a red light they say things like "Damn niggers always braking the law. Wish they would go back to Africa".

I'm not advocating racism; however, these people are only reacting to stereotypes. And, stereotypes exist on either solid facts or loose facts.

Yes, the ignorance and racism here is astounding, but I just did a fact checker... and, the results are rather astounding as well.

Blacks make up 12.6% of the US population.

Lifetime prevalence of incarceration
[Image: Lifetime_prevalence_of_incarceration.png]

Homicides by race
[Image: Homicide_offending_by_race.jpg]

Louisiana has one of the highest populations of prisoners
[Image: 800px-US_States_by_Incarceration_Rate.svg.png]

Given these statistics, it is a reasonable conclusion that there are many black criminals in our state.

Crime in the US

[Image: dog-shaking.gif]
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15-02-2012, 11:22 AM
RE: the race card
PK,
I didn't mean to offend you with my wine drunk fly off the handle race card post. I've been in relationship with a black man for the last 8 months. I have never dated outside of my culture/color/race whatever you want to call it before, and we have obviously grown up viewing the world with different glasses. I am saddened at how much color he sees in the world. I call this the race card when we argue about it. He is a very educated and successful and I still think that he sees his color as holding him back. I don't think that others look at him any differently than they would look at a white male with the same credentials-- maybe I am naive. He certainly thinks so. Anyways, I am just sensitive and defensive to the race issue because of our relationship - I appologize if you felt I was throwing that on you.

Life is short and hard like a body building elf-- Blood Hound Gang
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15-02-2012, 11:24 AM
RE: the race card
But have those statistics been skewed by the inherent racism through that society?
E.g. If you have a deeper pigmented skin you are more likely to be found guilty so the chances of having a good legal representative goes down as they don’t want a “lost” score on their books which is justified as you then lose the case against you?
And are the judges (predominately white I would assume) also part of the problem?

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. Friedrich Nietzsche
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15-02-2012, 11:45 AM
RE: the race card
I'm as against racism as anyone but I have to admit, I did find it rather ironic that in Bruno, when he was on the talk show, the African-American audience seemed to be offended by his attitude towards race yet they had already booed him when he claimed to be gay.

I kinda don't feel as sorry for someone who feels they are being discriminated against when they are openly discriminating against another group of people.

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Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
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Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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15-02-2012, 11:54 AM (This post was last modified: 15-02-2012 12:03 PM by Starcrash.)
RE: the race card
(15-02-2012 10:13 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  What, as precisely as possible, does the phrase "playing the race card" mean?
In what circumstances is that phrase valid? When is it invalid or unfair? Who generally uses it? Who is generally accused of it, and in what circumstances?

It may not be valid in the case that you bring up. Playing the race card means to bring race and racism into a debate in order to score a point. Sometimes it's a fallacy and sometimes it isn't, but it depends on the situation, and I don't feel you gave us enough information about this discussion to know for certain.
(15-02-2012 11:22 AM)k37713 Wrote:  I've been in relationship with a black man for the last 8 months...

I am saddened at how much color he sees in the world. I call this the race card when we argue about it. He is a very educated and successful and I still think that he sees his color as holding him back.

Racism is still prevalent, and his point-of-view is not necessarily false. The main reason that blacks are disadvantaged is because, when freed from slavery, they started with no money. Poor people start at a disadvantage, and it's hard for them to become middle-class or wealthy (while it's also ironically difficult for a wealthy person to become middle-class or poor). Everything is more expensive for poor people, they have a hard time building savings, and they have weaker networks which lead to lesser job opportunities. Even though it was over 150 years ago, blacks in general are still poorer than the white population (at least in the US), and it's because they started so far behind.

This becomes less and less true over time, of course, but there are stereotypes about blacks that still make their journey difficult. These same stereotypes are true of poor communities in general, but because blacks make up such a large part of the poor communities... you know. Even though he's "educated and successful", stereotyping can make people look at him as your average poor person and all the baggage that entails.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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15-02-2012, 12:23 PM
RE: the race card
(15-02-2012 11:22 AM)k37713 Wrote:  PK,
I didn't mean to offend you with my wine drunk fly off the handle race card post.

As i said in the op, it was a natural association of ideas, of which i had been careless in my remarks. I tend to see the structure of political and economic oppression from a longer perspective (not being immersed in it) and generalize the powerful as well as the powerless groups.

I wasn't at all offended. I was intrigued.

Quote:.... I am saddened at how much color he sees in the world. I call this the race card when we argue about it. He is a very educated and successful and I still think that he sees his color as holding him back. I don't think that others look at him any differently than they would look at a white male with the same credentials-- maybe I am naive. He certainly thinks so.

I'm inclined to agree with your friend on this one. In all the minority people i have known, their treatment, the words they've been hearing all their lives, the obstacles they and their community have encountered, the media presentation (and recently, non-presentation) of their circumstances; the attitudes, assumptions, looks, books, pictures.... the very statistics to which Kingschosen referes - all these things make up a life experience and world-view that is very different from your own, or mine.

Quote: Anyways, I am just sensitive and defensive to the race issue because of our relationship - I appologize if you felt I was throwing that on you.

That's honest. Honesty is a good start. Don't apologize; you've done nothing wrong. You are one of the few who actually seem willing to deal with the issue on the personal level. Most forum participants prefer to pretend it doesn't exist - or is ancient history - or is irrelevant to current events in a society that began with the extirpation of a native population and the systemic abuse of a kidnapped work-force.*

(*In light of which, "Whyn't they go back to Affuca?" is especially ironic. Encountering that, day after day, has to mark a person's outlook.)



Quote: Starcrash:
It may not be valid in the case that you bring up. Playing the race card means to bring race and racism into a debate in order to score a point. Sometimes it's a fallacy and sometimes it isn't, but it depends on the situation, and I don't feel you gave us enough information about this discussion to know for certain.

The case is entirely beside the point. It was merely the trigger of interest.
Thanks for the definition - that, too, is a good starting point.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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15-02-2012, 01:13 PM
RE: the race card
(15-02-2012 11:22 AM)k37713 Wrote:  I have never dated outside of my culture/color/race whatever you want to call it before, and we have obviously grown up viewing the world with different glasses. I am saddened at how much color he sees in the world. I call this the race card when we argue about it. He is a very educated and successful and I still think that he sees his color as holding him back. I don't think that others look at him any differently than they would look at a white male with the same credentials-- maybe I am naive. He certainly thinks so.

I think it is wrong to discount entirely his outlook. His color does impact many people he encounters, regardless of how educated he is many people fail to trust people of different color. White people (including myself) enjoy a privilege unlike any other race in America, and that's terrible and wrong.

White people don't have to worry about being pulled over because of the color of their skin automatically adds a certain amount of baseline suspicion. White people don't have to worry at a job interview if there's a black person just as qualified who will get the job just because he's black; white people don't have to worry about getting stopped while walking on the street because they automatically look suspicious and could be dealing drugs or planning a robbery. White people don't have an automatic amount of suspicion when they move into a new neighborhood just because of the color of their skin. White people don't have strangers automatically assume they don't know what they're talking about just because of the color of their skin, or because they "sound black". Those are just a few situations too. All of the stereotypes and jokes you hear black stand-up comics tell come from real world experiences. To not have to worry about all of those things and more is a great privilege that all people should enjoy, regardless of color. It should not be a privilege, it should be a right for all people. But that is not how minorities are treated in reality, not enough of the time. Not all of the time.

It's like as a male, I don't have to consider when I go to a bar that someone will spike my drink with roofies or get me so drunk that I pass out so someone can take advantage. That is not easily recognized as a privilege, but it is. That is one less worry I have to consider in my life than a woman would need to consider. And it's wrong that a woman has to worry about that too. And it's a societal problem. The same is true for racism. It exists, and it may not be as overt and deadly as it once was (at least it isn't any longer in many places), but it still exists.
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15-02-2012, 04:54 PM
RE: the race card
Is this only about people whose skin colors are different or may I throw in something else?

Just gonna throw:
I moved to Romania, and I have never experienced any case of racism against me. But I have been told that Romanians like Germans. For what reason I don't know. But didn't find myself treated badly by anyone.
I moved to Ireland and I have experienced something interesting here. Let me call it positive racism. I applied like crazy in the beginning. And when I got invited for an interview I heard things like this "Look professional when you come for the interview... Ah well, who am I telling that, you are German!" So in my case my "race" makes people set higher expectations on me. But also I have not seen negative racism around here.

Back in Germany I saw a lot of racism happening around me. Especially against Turkish people. Though in that case it is earned dislike. Not going into detail here. But there is lots of racism going on in Germany, and the fun fact in this is that those ethnic groups hate each other. And are hated on different levels by the racist population. Just for example, if you come from Japan you are liked better than if you come from Italy. But if you come from Romania you are liked less than people from Ethiopia. I find it interesting how people split their level of hate against other people just based on where everyone comes from.

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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