I'm going to be purposefully vague about these details to avoid casting aversion on those who don't deserve it.
I auditioned for a new country artist and got the gig. It was going to be a fairly steady paycheck with decent music. After 3 days of charting, there were 3 days of rehearsals. Everything was fine and professional. The first gigs were this weekend.
I spent 3 days having to listen to 2 people in the organization go back and forth about "n!gg@r this, n!gg@r that" and telling "n!gg@r" joke after joke.
I expressed to the manger, that kind of atmosphere was unacceptable and I would not work in it. I honestly don't know if they will make changes.
I'm hoping these 2 guys are just bad apples in country music and the vast majority people involved aren't filled with this kind of hate.
So I'm just letting you know, if you think I over-reacted or you don't see the harm in a little playful racism, then don't ever call me for a gig. I am not the guy for you.
If you got a sick feeling in your stomach or were angered by just reading the veiled words I put in quotes, then you got just a taste of what I had to feel all this weekend. And that's not even a drop in the bucket of what a lot of people had to grow up in and what many still live with.
I don't know if there is more black racism than white these days but I will say there are some huge double standards. For instance, the systemic racist institutions that Obama and his party claim are holding black people back did not at all hold him back. Now how was that possible?
Institutions are one thing, environment is the key. You change the persons environment and you will change the persons behavior. That's how Obama wasn't held back, he was either in a different environment than the people he talks about, or he had a strong family around him that all got out of a bad situation.
Does anyone else find it funny that Snoop Dog came in to the rap scene as this hardened thug like character from the streets but once he's made his money you don't hear a peep out of him anymore in a negative light? If he was from the street he realized where he went to sure is a lot better than where he came from and didn't want to go back. Because of his success, he is now in a different environment and his behavior has sure changed, hasn't it. I was just using this as an example. It's not always the case as plenty of people have had success and blown it all or their behaviors have never changed but if you put people in a place to succeed their chances are certainly better.
I constantly hear that people are keeping other people down. Well, that only goes so far. Get up and be proactive about it. Do guys like Sharpton and Jackson go back and help these same people they feel are oppressed or do they only show their face when some racial injustice is done? If I saw these two helping out in neighborhoods when things are just bad and not racially tense I would respect both of them more and their words would carry more weight. However, they only show up to get themselves on TV and it's a shame because they are not good spokesmen for the black community and that is coming from that community. I really wish it was about right and wrong as opposed to the color of ones skin. That's the way it should work but it's been skewed for years and we as people need to figure out how to get that basic idea back.
"institutions are one thing, environment is the key."
"if you put people in a place to succeed their chances are certainly better."
"i really wish it was about right and wrong as opposed to the color of one's skin."
this is essentially the issue. we all know the importance of environment, of economic stability, of a morality that transcends profiling. but all things being equal, we know that not all things are equal. we're making progress. but we have a long way to go before the playing field is a level one.
and you're right, it is hard to undo years of racism and discrimination. but that shouldn't stop us from trying. thanks for the reminder that this isn't just an issue of the color of our skin. it's something that touches us all.
I agree that environment plays a huge part in how people form their values and ethics. However, why is that many can rise above their environment? Are they just lucky or did they catch a break? I didn't have that great of an environment growing up. It wasn't bad, but it certainly was not one of privilege. I was taught the value of hard work and right and wrong.There's got to be more than just artificially changing people's environment.
You say you didn't have that great an environment growing up but then you say you were taught the value of hard work and right and wrong. Which is it? By being taught those values you did have a good environment. A life of privilege or lack thereof doesn't always breed success either.
When you say many can rise above their environment, what statistics are you using? I think there are probably fewer than you think that make it out of bad situations. How many people in big business today got there from bad situations compared to the ones that had a good neighborhood and even the ability to finish either high school and more likely college?
Take two families, both living in lower income areas, one is on welfare/food stamps, the other refuses to be on it. The one abuses the system while the other is out busting their butts trying to make ends meat. Now tell me which kids have a better chance of making it out? Logic dictates our answer probably and I've simplified this situation quite a bit but all things being equal, who has a better chance. We learn from the examples our parents set forth upon us. If they were bad parents, we probably will repeat the cycle unless we become aware of their short comings and try to change the cycle.
I'm not saying changing one's environment is the sole answer but it certainly helps define the outcome and is a start in the right direction.
Glenn, you are absolutely right. So many grow up thinking that having privilege is almost a guarantee of success, and while on the surface, it is easy to think that, it isn't.
I fully support measures and organizations who's mission is to teach kids, growing up in bad situations, values and ethics.
One of my favorite sayings is, "Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child."
It is my opinion that our government and our society is focused on preparing the path for people and for their children ...
It is also my opinion that keeping tensions between races high adds cause to fuel the systems that are focused on preparing paths instead of preparing people. Many people stand to make huge dollars building paths and not so much when it comes to preparing people.
with all due respect to both you and jim, bret, are we really going to frame racism as a simple question of politics? what is the "white heritage and culture" which are in danger? how is rap "eating away at us?" and do you really believe that the fact that one black man who has finally broken through to make a truly competitive run for the white house is really evidence that systemic racism is a lie? or at best, something we've finally eradicated?
as i've said before, these are complex issues. i'm almost finished reading elder's stupid black men (the book you recommended wasn't available at davis-kidd, and this volume seems to adequately recap his ideology.) what i appreciated is the polarity that he brings to the argument. which is actually the same thing i appreciate about sharpton and jackson. what's unfortunate about polarities is that we often simply align ourselves with the "home team" rather than doing the difficult, time consuming work of actually exploring the issues ourselves. but where polarities exist, there is often a middle ground that is probably a far better representation of the truth.
take, for instance, richard ford's book, the race card. like elder, ford asserts that "racism" has been co-opted and used by many in a self-serving excuse to justify laziness or condemn legitimate bias. but ford's issue with this is less about stupid black men and more with what this "crying wolf" does to distract us from the real racism that exists. it cheapens the progress we've made, while at the same time keeps us from focusing on how far we have to go.
obviously, this is a passionate issue for me. which is why i enjoy the dialogue, difficult as it may be at times. it forces me to suspend my beliefs, to engage in a higher ignorance that keeps me looking for the questions rather than the answers.
hopefully, somewhere in that process, i'm finding ways to dismantle the tapestry of racism and weave the threads into something new. something beyond racism, where we embrace our differences, where we value our diversity, where we become aware of our prejudices and our discrimination on all sides.
Don't know Steve, I agree with most of what you are saying. Not sure I was saying systemic racism doesn't exist. My point is that it hasn't kept Obama from rising to his bid. I wish it were possible to talk about racism free of politics but we are talking about public policies and that is the basis of politics. Ideologies are brought forth and worked out through politics. It is our way of life.
Not totally sure where Jim is coming from but I think it's safe to say he doesn't like Rap music. He's entitled.
I will restate that although I think racism still exists, I don't think systemic racism exists to the extent that the media and certain activist$ would have us believe. I can see their need for it to appear epedimic.
There have been black men in the past that have been urged to make a bid for the presidency but have refused. Colin Powell comes to mind.
I would say Elder not so much gives me a practical rationalization for my thought as he shows an example to how education coupled with values and common sense can look. And so you don't freak out too much, I don't agree with everything he says :)
i do think the media warps our understanding of racism and with it, our beliefs about racism. which is why it's a problem if we're only depending on the media for our information.
unfortunately, a lot of folks do. on both sides of the coin.
i know that some of these issues are political. and while i'm unapologetically an obama supporter (notice i didn't say "unequivocally") my reaction was more to the seeming suggestion that a double standard exists when we have "obama and his party" claiming that systemic racism is real while at the same time we have a black man running for the presidency. they are two different issues, and as such, not really an example of a double standard.
i'd love to talk politics, but that would probably really take us off topic! let's save that discussion for a time when we can do it over a couple drinks. :)
and for the record, i'd never assume you bought into everything larry had to say. i, too, find him educated and erudite, and i know a number of folks in his camp that i would describe the same way (color not withstanding.)
not everybody on the right of the issue is an ann coulter.
anymore than everyone on the left is an al sharpton.
no. what would really freak me out is if you told me you really appreciated jeremiah wright's sermon this morning.
if that happens, rest assured: the drinks are on me.