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Archive for Friday, January 9, 2009

Study shows gap in what we say versus what we do about racism

January 9, 2009

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— Think you wouldn’t tolerate a racist act? Think again, says a surprising experiment that exposed some college students to one and found indifference at best.

Here’s the scene: Researchers in Toronto recruited 120 non-black York University students for what purported to be a psychology study.

A participant was directed to a room where two actors posing as fellow participants — one black, one white — waited. The black person said he needed to retrieve a cell phone and left, gently bumping the white person’s leg on the way out. The white actor then did one of three things: Nothing. Said, “I hate when black people do that.” Or used the N-word.

Then a researcher entered and said the “psychology study” was starting and that the student should pick one of the two others as a partner for the testing.

Half the participants just read about that scene, and half actually experienced it.

Those asked to predict their reaction to either comment said they’d be highly upset and wouldn’t choose the white actor as their partner.

Yet students who actually experienced the event didn’t seem bothered by it — and nearly two-thirds chose the white actor as a partner, the researchers report Friday in the journal Science.

“It’s like these nasty racist comments aren’t having an effect,” said York University psychology professor Kerry Kawakami, the lead author.

“It’s important to remind people that just because a black man has been elected as president doesn’t mean racism is no longer a problem or issue in the States,” she added.

The study can’t say why people reacted that way, although the researchers speculate that unconscious bias is at work. They have new experiments under way to see if maybe these witnesses suppress that they’re upset to avoid confrontation.

“The failure of people to confront or do anything about racist comments is pretty widespread in the real world,” said Indiana University psychologist Eliot R. Smith, who co-wrote a review of the experiment. “People may feel uncomfortable if someone makes a remark like this, but it’s rare they will actually confront them.”

Comments

max1 5 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Chief Justice Vinson: General Wilson, may I state to you that we were informed that the Board of Education would not be represented here in argument and would not file a brief, and it being a very important question, and this case having facets that other cases did not, we wanted to hear from the State of Kansas.Mr. Wilson: Now, the views of the State of Kansas can be stated very simply and very briefly: We believe that our statute is constitutional. We do not believe it violates the Fourteenth Amendment. We believe so because our supreme court, the Supreme Court of Kansas, has specifically said so. . . It is our position that the principle announced in the Plessy case and the specific rule announced in the Gong Lum case are absolutely controlling here.

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 3 months ago

My point exactly. Meanwhile, we are witnessing genocide in Gaza and people here worry about the riff between Kansas and Missouri. Such troubles we have!

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max1 5 years, 3 months ago

"How are black and non-black defined these days? If 50% African heritage = black, does 49% African heritage = non-black? Where do they draw the line?" snap_pop_crackerWell, here in Kansas, if you're at least one-eighth black, you're black.Oliver Brown, Mrs. Richard Lawton, Mrs. Sadie Emmanuel, et al. -- vs. -- Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, et alMr. Carter: It is our position that Plessy v. Ferguson is not in point here; that it had nothing to do with educational opportunities whatsoever.Mr. Wilson: May it please the Court: I represent the State of Kansas, who was an intervening defendant in this proceeding. . . My theory of the justification of the statute is this: blah, blah, blahPlessy v. Fergusonhttp://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/post-civilwar/plessy.htmlOn June 7, 1892, a 30-year-old colored shoemaker named Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in the "White" car of the East Louisiana Railroad. Plessy was only one-eighths black and seven-eighths white, but under Louisiana law, he was considered black and therefore required to sit in the "Colored" car. Plessy went to court and argued, in Homer Adolph Plessy v. The State of Louisiana, that the Separate Car Act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

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max1 5 years, 3 months ago

"Funny how Tom was drawn to this article." -BuffyloGal“Barack Hussein Obama, closet Muslim (denies), black man-ain't happenin' : I'm afraid you're out of touch if you think America will elect a black man to the highest office.“ -right_thinker (July 22, 2007)http://mobile.ljworld.com/weblogs/right_thinker/right_thinkerA blog by Tom Shewmon

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beatrice 5 years, 3 months ago

Considering the number of racist comments that are made around here without others saying something about it, the results of this study do not surprise me.

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toe 5 years, 3 months ago

The eternal fight for supremacy.

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fuel_for_the_fire 5 years, 3 months ago

None2 - I have only been to St. Louis once so I have no basis to form an opinion but my perception of Kansas City, MO is that it is VERY different from nothern US cities. This is the whole crux of my comment.Thank you for the brief history lesson; I appreciate the information. I did not know that Kentucky, Missouri, and what is now known as West Virginia did not join the confederacy. I am not a US citizen and therefore feel no shame in admitting my ignorance about this part of this country's history.

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Corey Williams 5 years, 3 months ago

invictus (Anonymous) says…"The only government sanction racism is affirmative action and it is white people who are “slapped down”. "Really invictus? I'm white, but yet I've never been turned down for anything I've applied for. When have you been "slapped down"?

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

How are black and non-black defined these days? If 50% African heritage = black, does 49% African heritage = non-black? Where do they draw the line?

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 3 months ago

Personally, I've decided extreme racism is the way to go, in the 21st Century. I'm discriminating against anyone who doesn't look exactly like me... height, skin tone, hair color, eye color... So, for the time being, it's just me and my twin brother... that is, until my garage cloning endeavor bears fruit.( Hmm... he does have that mole where I don't.... )

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

The only government sanction racism is affirmative action and it is white people who are "slapped down". If your daughter is a failure she has no one to blame but herself. Maybe she should take a look back at the choices she has made and how they have affected her life.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

It's not funny, none of it is funny, people are being hurt, families are grieving for their own who are being slapped down because of their color, and all people can do is get on the Journal World and laugh.Well, if you feel good laughing while the rest of the world is crying see where it gets you. See where it get the US.

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 3 months ago

They would have laughed too hard to pull it off in that case snap. Funny!

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Did either of the actors pretend to be an architect with asperger's syndrome? That would make a huge difference.

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none2 5 years, 3 months ago

fuel_for_the_fire (Anonymous) says…"...Perhaps I should have also capitalized South to indicate the cultural difference as opposed to mere geography. I have lived in both KS and MO; I find people in KS much more tolerant of individual differences..."=================================There is an important history lesson to realize. Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia (formerly 12 counties that belonged to Virginia) did not join with the confederacy during the Civil War. Having talked to people from the SOUTH, they do not see these three states as SOUTH because of that fact. While they may have some things in common, there obviously were things that separated them too. Perhaps such areas as these need a new term -- how about mid-SOUTH? Keep in mind that the whole south/north thing isn't a straight line. In this area, Atchison and St Joe were strongly on the side of the South even though Atchison is in Kansas. In modern times, I really don't see Kansas City, Missouri as a SOUTHern city. On the other hand, I am tempted to call St. Louise a SOUTHern city. For all its appearances of being cosmopolitan, it seems very SOUTHern to me.

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bennyoates 5 years, 3 months ago

At this point, my concern about the study (I'll withhold judgment until I read the actual study, because it's foolish to evaluate it on the basis of a newspaper piece) is that it confuses individual prejudice with racism. Racism is institutional, it is systematic, and it persists in the US and elsewhere, regardless of the individual breakthroughs of Barack Obama. Or Colin Powell. Or Flavor Flav. This is not to say that the US hasn't made great progress. We have, and we should be proud of that progress. In fact, it's clear that the US has set an example for the rest of the world. That doesn't mean we should be satisfied or complacent. This country is about working together to form a more perfect (not perfect) union. It's not about whining, i.e. "Slavery is history. Get over it."To hear some whites tell it, you'd think that they were ready to trade places with the average black person, since they seem to think they've got it so bad as whites and black people have it so good. Yeah, right.

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bennyoates 5 years, 3 months ago

invictus (Anonymous) says…This study is a joke, I wonder if I did a study in harlem with a white guy bumping into people on the street, what reactions I would get?When you set out to prove something you usually do+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++No, you and your comment are jokes. People like you have made up your minds about topics such as this, and if you do base your opinions on evidence (doubtful if you do), that evidence is anecdotal and hence invalid.No study is perfect. But studies carried out under the auspices of research universities are superior to the opinions of the irresponsible. Some people's conclusions are smarter and better than other people's because they have studied and worked hard in academia. They've earned credibility. Their research is reviewed by peers and subjected to public critique. These researchers are accountable for their conclusions. Unlike you. If that makes me an elitist, so be it. We've tried anti-intellectualism in the form of W. Bush and thank goodness the American people have recognized the folly of that approach. Yeah, I found a way to work in a political reference and I'm glad I did.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

Can someone answer this question? Or will they? Is everyone posting here a white?I am asking because I have a child that is half-black and I have to deal with racism every day of my life. There are people who will not or can not understand that she is my child and that I love her with all my heart and soul. I have had a women try her best to assure my child that she was adopted and litterly go into hysterics rather than accept an interracial relationship. I am blue eyed and have been asked if my brown eyed child gets her eyes from me. When she was younger people thew things at us from cars as we were walking down Mass street.The people that see racism as theory and a fun discussion are not the ones who have to live with it and deal with it. If you did you would take it far more seriously.

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jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

I hate people that bring carp to a psych study!

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fuel_for_the_fire 5 years, 3 months ago

logicsound04 - I will agree that Kansas is firmly in the Midwest. When I said Kansas City, MO is the south I meant Missouri, hence the MO. Perhaps I should have also capitalized South to indicate the cultural difference as opposed to mere geography. I have lived in both KS and MO; I find people in KS much more tolerant of individual differences.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Was the researcher holding a carp? That would make a difference.

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ese 5 years, 3 months ago

I don't like anyone that doesn't eat mayonaise or eat a banana in public.

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logicsound04 5 years, 3 months ago

ksarmychick,Why don't you reign it in a bit?The article did not declare that "all whites are racist" as you are implying with you comment about a study that would declare all children sexist.The only conclusion drawn is that racism seems to still be alive and well in this country. I really am baffled as to how one could get so indignant about this fact that most people wouldn't need a study to confirm.Are you denying that racism is still prevalent in our society.

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Eybea Opiner 5 years, 3 months ago

I had a black acquaintance tell me one time that the difference between the north and the south was that in the south they liked black people as individuals, but not as a race. In the north they like blacks as a race, but not as individuals.I grew up in Kansas and lived a number of years in a large southern city, and moved from there to a bastion of liberalism (Minneapolis/St. Paul), where I found much less social intercourse and much more in the way of racist comments than I did in the south.Obviously generalities and non-scientific, but I think there may be valid reasons that might be true. In the southern city the black population was probably 25% of the total and I had many more black co-workers, and many more after work get-togethers--a lot more social intercourse. That might be a reason that people in the south would get to know and like black people as individuals while perhaps still harboring negative feelings about blacks in general.Conversely, in Minnesota there were relatively fewer blacks in the work force. White people seemed to me to have an almost paternal affection for blacks in general, but had very little interaction on a one-to-one basis.Finally, back in the mid-50s when Jim Crow was alive and well in the south, I was in the army which was integrated. One acquaintance, from the deep south, freely used the "N" word (not in the presence of blacks, I hasten to add), but interacted with the blacks (mostly from New York and New Jersey) in the platoon more easily than nearly anyone else in the unit.The theory isn't mine. I'm not black. After this was told to me, though, I recognized at least some truth to it from my own experiences.Lastly, until race can be discussed freely and openly without fear the racial divide is not likely to be bridged anytime soon.

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none2 5 years, 3 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says…Did the black actor have his pants pulled half-way down to his knees? That would make a difference.=============================I wonder if the black actor had been dressed like a member of the opposite sex, would the white actor have used the n-word, the f-word, or just asked for a phone number?

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ksarmychick 5 years, 3 months ago

I would also like this study done with 2nd graders....but with gender being the "difference", then we can have some ignorant person write an article about how all of america's children are sexist. Because most likely the girls will pair up with the girls and the boys will pick the boys.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Did the black actor have his pants pulled half-way down to his knees? That would make a difference.

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Bowhunter99 5 years, 3 months ago

I would like to see the results for the same exact study with the white person gently bumping the black person’s leg on the way out...Anyone else would like to as well? I'm sure the results will not be very far from the ones found on this study...

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logicsound04 5 years, 3 months ago

"So now I just call this area “the south” to irritate the natives (especially my husband!) & see who speaks up. ;-)"-----------I guess you snagged me--ha ha!:-)

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 3 months ago

Madmike, libs feel they have 'license' to call conservatives racists. They're party, the Democratic Socialist Party, has been selling this idea to blacks and minorities for 40 plus years now that they are "their" party and Republicans are racists and will do nothing for them. They tell them this in an attempt to keep them dependent on the government for all of their needs and continuing to vote for them. Hopefully, with a black president, this myth can be put to rest.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

This is Kansas, we don't like Yankees or southerners. It’s a mean culture but we know who we are and we are not north or south. We are stubborn and unreasonable, and proud of it.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Did the white actor look like Jessica Alba? That would make a difference.

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Pywacket 5 years, 3 months ago

logicsound04~ I figured I would get called out on the "south" comment! I know--KC and its environs are not generally considered "the south," but everything is relative... For me, having no experience with Alabama, Mississippi, etc., some of the attitudes around here seemed very much like what I would have expected from "the south."But a good friend from Tennessee assured me that things are, indeed, much worse the farther south you go. So now I just call this area "the south" to irritate the natives (especially my husband!) & see who speaks up. ;-)

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madmike 5 years, 3 months ago

I always find it amusing when our retarded leftist friend "confrontation, calls others racist. He himself is a bigot that calls names when anyone disagrees with his slanted view of the world. The all inclusive "diversity" liberal for you!

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Mixolydian 5 years, 3 months ago

I think Abraham Lincoln (via Michael Scott) summed it up best:If you are racist, we will attack you from the north.

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logicsound04 5 years, 3 months ago

"And to logicsound04 - I also come from the north and for me, as well as everyone who has visited me from my home, Kansas City, MO is the south. Attitudes on a plethora of topics are very different down here."-------------Hey, I can accept that it is different down here than it is up North (I lived in Chicago for a time). However, I would submit that Kansas City is as different from the TRUE South (Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, etc..) as your home region is from Kansas City.Racism is perhaps more pronounced here than in the north, but I guarantee you that it's more pronounced in the South (take Atlanta, for example) than it is here.While we are directionally south from the northern states, we are not the South with a big 'S'. This seems to be a common misconception I have run into with many people from the north. Kansas is firmly part of the Midwest.

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ese 5 years, 3 months ago

Canada? Toronto? York University?Leave to liberals to find themselves as racists.At least they are honest.

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demonfury 5 years, 3 months ago

I can't understand why we still have all of these discussions, we should just hate them all equally. That wouldn't be discriminating if you treated them all alike, would it? Seriously, get over it, black, white, male , female, tall, short, etc. Can you change any of these things with your attitude, or your opinion? No....Then just accept it, and leave it alone.

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appleaday 5 years, 3 months ago

As long as people continue to see others in terms of differences and use terms like "those types of people" or refer to people according to what "side" they're on we'll continue to have racism coming from all directions. Any chance that folks can start looking for common interests instead of the things that divide us?

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fuel_for_the_fire 5 years, 3 months ago

ksarmychick - You absolutely cannot "guarantee" your prediction. How incredibly ignorant of you to even think this way. Your comment demonstrates your complete lack of scientific knowledge as well as your implicit racism. Anyone who claims to know how a person will act based on their skin color is engaging in a form of racism.And to logicsound04 - I also come from the north and for me, as well as everyone who has visited me from my home, Kansas City, MO is the south. Attitudes on a plethora of topics are very different down here.

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ese 5 years, 3 months ago

No where is racism more pronounced than in prisons.It ain't whites that are the problem either.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

I just conducted a study. I ran up and punched this black guy in the face, and the he called me a "cracker" what a racist jerk! Conclusion: there is a lot of anti-white racism out there.

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 3 months ago

Wrongo Confrontation. For example, I would love to see Michael Steele be the RNC Chairman. Now that would bring a whole lotta racists outta the woodwork---from the left that is---your side.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

This study is a joke, I wonder if I did a study in harlem with a white guy bumping into people on the street, what reactions I would get? When you set out to prove something you usually do.

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BestSylvia 5 years, 3 months ago

Even if your life feels predictable or you feel lonely or empty, just remember that you have the power to change things... that in a year (or a month or day) from now you could be somewhere new, with smile the size of Alaska on your face. As the banner on Granny Gets a Vibrator reads: It’s never too late!

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ksarmychick 5 years, 3 months ago

This study is so one sided...why don't they fiip the situation around and make it with two black people one non-black person? I guarantee they would get the same results I guarantee the black would choose the black to be his/her partner at least 2/3 of the time. This study is crap until they can post real results with different races and not just report what they want to say to make white people look bad and say they are racists.

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Confrontation 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm betting that Tommy Boy, Invictus, and Mademike would pick the white guy. Hey, at least they're open about their racism. No hiding it for them.

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jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

As to the study, I would contend that some of the reactions are based on the guts, nuts, chutzpah, courage, extrovertedness, even temerity of the person. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate those that are willing to speak their mind. But there are many sheep among us, the meek and shy, or merely those not strong on confrontation.Have had experiences similar to Pywacket, people believing since I look like them it's ok to say this or that. Down here in the ATL, the larger the group of white men the more likely you'll hear a slur. But I do think it's gettin' better and will improve by generation. Racism will never completely go away though 'cuz you can't completely wipe out ignorance. But it's gettin' better.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

We do have words for people who are stupid, idiots, or just plain gits.Yesterday on the bus someone across the aisle from me was giving forth on Catholicism. I set her straight on the facts. Then she, and the other two young ladies with her, retreated into, "well it's not worth discussing."My father fought and died for my rights, and those of my daughter, and my grandchildren, to be able to speak our minds. So, in that regard not to speak up when you hear someone denigrate another because of race, religion, social class, education, is saying that he died in vain.It is not that everyone is going to come around to my way of thinking or believing. I do not want or need that. All I need is the right to be me, and to say what I feel the need to say.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

Prejudice against lower social-economic classes are much moor wide spread than racism. For example: I would treat flavor-flav differently than Colin Powel or Barak Obama. Many have hateful names for those of lower class standing. When the word N@gger is used is usually in contempt of a specific person considered uneducated, reckless, ignorant, ect. The same people tend to call uneducated, reckless, ignorant, white people white-trash, redneck, hillbilly, ect. Is that racism? Perhaps if society had race-neutral, catch-all name for this type of person the race card could no longer be played.

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Mary Darst 5 years, 3 months ago

Funny this comes up today. At my middle school this morning we are taking the kids one class at a time to watch a film on Tolerance and Hate crimes. Apparently there has been a lot of writing on our bathroom walls of racist remarks. There are several kids at this school whom are terribly racist by parental encouragement. Last year we had a student who would throw "white power"signs at a black girl while at lunch. He would also harass her at lunch. He is still doing the same thing this year. It makes my blood boil. I know we will be seeing him on MSNBC Look-up in a few years. Ignorance is rampant in small towns and they are still very racial. And yes, The boy was disciplined as acord to our school handbook. I think he should be somewhere else. We is a leader type to some and we all know how pier pressure is. Just makes me crazy. Also, people that told jokes during the election and chose to use the N word while telling them. They are people I will probably not ever talk to agian.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

"everyone has the same rights under law."

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

What should we do about racism? Everyone should has the same rights under law. It seems that is not enough.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

"I hate it when rednecks do that."

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logicsound04 5 years, 3 months ago

Good story and good comments Pywacket. I think people get caught up in the "I'm not going to change their mind" line of thinking and forget the fact that the real answer to continued racism is the education of our future generations.However, I do have an issue with calling Kansas City "the South". :-)

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malkasmama 5 years, 3 months ago

YES-Speak Out! we are actually holding a Martin Luther King Speak Out! forum at the public library Jan 18th 3-5 and invite everyone in the community to come out and express these ideas and experiences. We want individuals and groups of all ages and backgrounds to come and read a speech, poem, or story that is inspired by MLK and the ideas/messages that he represents. These issues obviously still need to be addressed, so let us hear your VOICE!

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Pywacket 5 years, 3 months ago

This is disheartening but not surprising. I've been disappointed in many, many new white acquaintances who, as soon as they seem to decide they know me well enough to be open, reveal their racism. End of developing friendship. I'm infuriated when racist whites assume that we are all that way and that they can make their comments with impunity just because I share their skin color.I will never forget the time I was out clubbing with friends in Kansas City and a black guy asked me to dance. I said 'no thanks, I don't dance,' which was true, we chatted a minute, and he politely moved on. Then a white guy approached and said, 'I saw that you wouldn't dance with that (n-word), but will you dance with a white man?' I was absolutely stunned. It was the first time I had ever had anyone say something so blatantly racist and hateful to me. I bited him out, up, down, and every which way, before my friend finally walked me to the ladies' room so I could compose myself. She shared my sentiments but probably thought I was going to punch him--which I truly felt like doing. I was shaking and near tears--it was like being shot into the 50s or something. I don't shock easily, but I was shocked.Nothing like that had never happened to me in the north, so I figured it was a regional thing. I still see and hear more racism in this area than I do when I go back north, but I know it's not limited to the south. As long as people (like the students in this study) fail to speak out against racists, racists will continue to feel comfortable saying and doing bigoted things. You can be sure that the a$$h* who made that comment to me so many years ago thought twice before he ever said anything like that to a stranger again! Slamming them won't change their deep-seated beliefs, but it might make them keep those beliefs under wraps, so they won't be influencing younger and/or more malleable people with their hatred and ignorance. Speak out!

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 3 months ago

Thanks to articles like this, readers will perceive the prevelance of racism in our society as high. On the flip side, what does still affect modern attitudes are differences in culture and class.

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 3 months ago

Funny how Tom was drawn to this article.

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