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Passions in Poetry

By the mere word race, do we worsen the problem?

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Opeth
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25 posted 03-23-2002 01:02 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Allan stated,

"Instead of making simple observations, why not justify them as well?  You'll sound a lot more credible, and a lot less like a peanut gallery."


- To justify my observation, I would have to expound on a subject matter that may not be suitable for this audience. Therefore, I will stay in the "peanut gallery" and merely observe, not interact, from a distance.
Allan Riverwood
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26 posted 03-23-2002 01:26 PM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

I'm interested in what you have to say.  If it wouldn't be too much trouble, could you send me a brief email?  
Poet deVine
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27 posted 03-23-2002 01:33 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Allan (got it right this time!!)

Why do men need to be strong? To clear the forests? To slay the foes in battle? To build the castles? Nope! They don't need to anymore.

A woman can clear a forest. Slay foes in battle. Build a castle.

The genetic need for man to be strong is gone. The only men who NEED to be strong are the ones who WANT to be...those icky body builder types who oil and shave their bodies.

We have evolved out of the 'strong man' race and into the 'equality' race.

[This message has been edited by Poet deVine (03-23-2002 01:37 PM).]

PoetryIsLife
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28 posted 03-23-2002 01:42 PM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

PoetryIsLife said,

"Between races, it is merely skin.

- That statement is mired in naivity.

You merely take what I said the wrong way. And I too would appreciate it if you didn't attack my opinion without backing it up. I appreciate being told when I am wrong, but not in such a way.

In that statement, I'm saying SKIN has no matter. It's what is in our minds that makes us different. The differences between whites, blacks, mexicans, europeans are merely differences of cultures, not of race. To think them because of race is incomplete. In our mind, we created differences in races. If we merely saw it as differences in cultures, I feel we would be better of. People then would join people for who they are, not merely for their skin. Skin to me, is pointless. Am I white? Am I black? DOES it matter? No.

~ Titus


"My body is merely the canvas of my soul."
         ~ The Night Owl

[This message has been edited by PoetryIsLife (03-23-2002 01:44 PM).]

Allan Riverwood
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29 posted 03-23-2002 01:53 PM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

PDV -

I agree that the NEED for a man to be strong is no longer present culturally.  However, it's just not the case biologically... men are still stronger.

We haven't evolved physically past that point just yet.  
Krawdad
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30 posted 03-23-2002 02:27 PM       View Profile for Krawdad   Email Krawdad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Krawdad

Allan, you said:

"Do you think one race will grow wings, and the others will grow gills, or something?"  

This is an uneducated cheap shot, Allan.  I'm embarrassed for you.  Clearly, you are not equipped to enter into this argument.  When you know something elementary about evolution, we'll talk, ok?
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31 posted 03-23-2002 02:29 PM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

Kraw, I was being half-serious.  Lighten up.
Phaedrus
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32 posted 03-23-2002 03:36 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Ron said:

“Ever seen a turtle, Allan? Can YOU tell the gender of one just by looking?”

The answer if I was asked would be no, but the real question should be can turtles tell the difference, they obviously can otherwise the turtle as a species wouldn’t have been around as long as it has. Do turtles differentiate and place other turtles into pigeonholes (or turtle holes ) categorising each in order of their superiority?  If the answer is yes here’s another question, are turtles racist?

Differences are important, eliminating the words that describe them have no effect on the differences themselves or peoples perceptions of those differences. One way of eliminating the word race from general usage would be, as has already been suggested, to eliminate the differences and render the word redundant. In a world filled with  ‘dark golden tan coloured humans’ segregation based on eye colour might not be that rare, we judge things every second of our lives and make decisions on those judgements. Without big differences to deal with we just get better at picking out the minor ones, after all turtles do it, right?

On another note I don’t think growing gills or wings is out of the question if evolutionary theory is correct, growing both in two separate races is even possible though growing both at the same time probably wouldn’t happen.
Brad
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33 posted 03-23-2002 09:16 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Allan said:

"If we think of them as people before we think of them by their difference, we'd be more likely to treat them as people, instead of as their difference."

But it doesn't seem that you've seen the point that Ron and I have been making. It's not the difference, it's the reaction to difference. The assumption in this statement and others is that if we were all the same, if we ignored the differences, we would get along better.

I think this is mistaken. And given the two homogenous countries I've lived in its not what I've seen. We should see difference as a strength, not an obstacle. Titus privileges the mind over physical traits but under certain conditions that makes no sense. I may have a higher IQ than Kobe Bryant, but that's not gonna help me on the court, is it?

What both of you are still assuming is that you can separate the physical from the mental instead of seeing this dichotomy as an abstraction of what is one person. Would Kobe Bryant be a poorer basketball player if he were white? The question makes no sense because his skin color did shape his being, his identity. He was forced into certain paths and not others and skin color was a factor. The mistake is then to assume that all black men can then play basketball like Kobe Bryant. The mistake is that Kobe Bryant can only play basketball -- that he's not good for anything else. Those are stupid connections. As has already been shown, this works with gender differences as well.

Skin color is not trivial. Is it the sole determining factor in the complexity of personality and ability? No, but it is a factor because people will react to you differently forcing you to react to them differently and so on and so forth.

The mistake is not the physical versus the mental but to assume that there's one factor that is or should be the determining factor in how we deal with other people.

It's like saying something even more abstract like physical beauty (not all that abstract actually, it seems intricately intertwined with symmetry) shouldn't be a determining factor in certain businesses. Of course it should. If you don't, somebody else will because beauty is an effective tool to get what you want. It works.

In other businesses, activities, hobbies, it may not be relevant. Does that mean beauty should be devalued? No, it means it's a factor in certain situations, not in others, and that's how we should see it.

Sharon brought up the idea of superiority, but somebody is always superior to someone else at a certain time and in a certain place.

We don't, couldn't, shouldn't drop this idea of superiority. It's not in our personal self-interest -- if you haven't noticed, I like basketball and I'm a Lakers fan. I don't want to see those amazing things done on the court devalued because it's merely physical.

---------------------------

Promised myself I wouldn't write a book today but I've got a lot more to say here. Let me try the bullet point approach:

--all traits will be privileged under certain conditions at certain times and that includes skin color.

--That's not a bad thing.

--The mistake is to drop 'at certain times and at certain places' from the idea of superiority.

--When making the assessment of superiority we have two options, neither of which involves dropping the idea of superiority:

1. We judge using our assumptions.

2. We change our assumptions and try to look at things from a different perspective.

--When we attempt to limit thought, you don't create a better society, you limit the ability to see diversity. This is not enlightening, it is impovershing.

--Embrace difference: skin color, beauty, the physical, the mental, sexual difference, cultural difference, religious difference.

--To go in the other direction, to believe that seeing difference is somehow wrong, that we should make the attempt to abolish it, will only turn us into a Vonnegut short story.

Brad
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34 posted 03-23-2002 10:36 PM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

Brad, I agree with most of what you're saying.  Let me clarify something:

When I said that you should think of the person before the difference, I didn't mean you should disregard the difference at all.  People are different, and we'll always know that.  But the idea behind anti-racism is that everyone should be treated equally until they prove that they should be treated with more or less privelege than others.

Think of the person before the difference, sure.  I mean see them equally at first (free of prejudice), and after you have done that, regard their differences.  Clearer now?

And I know the point that you have been making, it's the response to differences, not the differences themselves.  Well, what I've been discussing is the response to differences.  

I agree that one's life is affected by race, and therefore it shapes many aspects.  However, any trait that was rooted to the person's skin colour can be observed without actually observing the race itself.  Perhaps he's a good basketball player because he's black, and played basketball with his friends who were also black, because it is a game that is linked to his particular race socially.  

But you could see just how good he is at basketball before seeing that he is black.  

There might be distinct differences in people because of their races.  I admit that much.  But all of these differences, if they are at all important, can be seen independent of a person's race.

Of course I don't mean we should ignore race.  Someone mentioned sickle cell anemia and its connection to racial difference.  Race is therefore a significant factor in diagnosing someone with sickle cell anemia, isn't it?  

Race can be (and sometimes, should be) observed.  But it should be primarily observed for precisely what it is - the colour of the skin.  Other traits, as they vary in individuals, deserve to be found out and not simply assumed by skin colour.

Don't say Kobe Bryant is a good basketball player because he's black -- say that because you've seen him play, and he's a good basketball player.

Simple as that.
Brad
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35 posted 03-24-2002 12:34 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Now I think we're getting somewhere. Don't deny that Kobe's black (one factor), don't deny that he's a good basketball player (one factor), but there's more to Kobe Bryant than either of these things.

If you ever meet him, look for that 'more' or if that seems too strong, at least be open to that 'more'.
Opeth
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36 posted 03-24-2002 09:22 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Mankind originated in Africa.
PoetryIsLife
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37 posted 03-24-2002 03:47 PM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

I remember it being more in the middle east.... *ponders*

~ Titus

"My body is merely the canvas of my soul."
         ~ The Night Owl

Brad
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38 posted 03-24-2002 04:44 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

No, it was Africa.

But what does that have to do with this thread?
Brad
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39 posted 03-24-2002 07:18 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I read the rant in the Teen version and Allan's and Titus' 'preach it' comments.

Two points strike me as interesting:

She might have a point if the quality of education were brought up, but it wasn't. It's her ability to be a cheerleader, her inability to choose whatever school for whatever reason that infuriates her.

But she further undermines that position by arguing, not that she should have the same rights as a black person, but that they shouldn't be allowed to do things she isn't?

This didn't strike you as odd?

There are a number of issues that could have been brought up but I think that rant shows more that minority status and the attempt to give minority rights in a majority rules society is always controversial.

Oh, one more point, the most qualified person for any particular position rarely has to worry about a quota system. They'll get the job, it's those that are only slightly more 'qualified' that have to worry.

Brad
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40 posted 03-24-2002 11:13 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Okay, people keep saying that if we put emphasis on cultural differences rather than skin color, all would be fine.

This really isn't a valid idea. I really don't think it's color so much that seperates us- it's the culture. however, most races of people have culutural ideosyncracies particular to their race, certain stereotypes and mannerisms. Accents/speech patterns are a big one. I can clearly remember a time my mother and I went to eat at the mall and I practically had to translate for her what the black girls serving us were saying. It's not that she's racist- it's simply that she isn't exposed to African-American speech patterns that much. There are also certain religious and idealogical patterns- a great deal of the mexican people I know have been Catholics. (More likely than not related to the religious issue, most Mexicans I have met are comepletely homophobic.) Speaking of homosexuals, they have a certain notoriety for promiscuity. (does homosexuality count as a physical difference? It certainly is a cultural one.)

What I have noticed is people lumping together in cultural cliques as opposed to those based purely on race. Why does Eminem work with so many black people? Because rap is a primarily African-American cultural trend. On the same token, why are all of Hootie's Blowfish white? Because rock and roll tends to be rooted more in white culture. Anybody can be a part of any social group as long as the social qualifications exist.

"Love is a piano
dropped from a four story window
and you were in the wrong place
at the wrong time." -Ani DiFranco

Tim
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41 posted 03-24-2002 11:22 PM       View Profile for Tim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tim

most mexicans I have met are completely homophobic???
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42 posted 03-25-2002 01:53 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Allan,

It seems like to me that what you are proposing is to somehow do away with the terminology of racism ... and assuming that such terminology includes the word "race" or any terms identifying people by their biological traits.  First of all I don't necessarily think that any of these terms foster racism, any more than the differences themselves foster racism.  I agree with Brad on this one, that it is the attitudes, the way of thinking, the deep-rooted problems of humanity (like pride, fear, selfishness, jealousy, envy, suspicion, etc...) which are the causes of racism.


Eliminating words for one would be impossible.  Practically, I ask, how would you, or anyone accomplish this?  By not using them yourself I suppose, and hoping it would "catch".  But what is the guarantee that it would catch, especially seeing there is so much racism?  It would not work for me, because I think there is a legitimate usage for the word "race".  And I, like Brad, think differences are a thing to be celebrated.  Yes this is a problem if we only celebrate our differences, but what if we learned to celebrate the differences of others?  What if we learned to admire things we don't possess.  God created the human race and all of it's branches to have much diversity, all needed!


And if you say it is the governments who are to do this, can or should government squelch the use of certain words?  To do so would be a "Big Brother" scenario.  The only other way is to make the word, by political means, "politically incorrect".  And can we change racism with mere politics?  I have serious doubts.  


Take a look at the uneducated to see that racism doesn't have to have a terminology.  If it doesn't, then words are created.  "Nigger, Chink, Honkey, Wetback, etc...".  See what I mean?  You are wanting to treat the disease of racism, by eliminating a symptom manifest in our linguistics.  I just don't think that will work.  Apart from that, not everyone (even those who are not racist), believes that words like race, ethnic group, culture, are symptomatic at all.  The words above that I quoted certainly are, but there is a difference in my opinion.  


To want racism gone, is a noble desire.  And I am with you there.  I just don't think that solution will do anything.  But give it a try!

Stephen.
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43 posted 03-25-2002 09:08 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Tim- maybe that sounded bad. I never said all Mexicans were homophobic- but because many Mexican people are Catholics, I can only infer that the two go hand-in-hand. A lot of strongly religious people are very homophobic, but I haven't personally noticed as strong an inclination towards one particular religion in other races- maybe statistically there is, but it isn't one that I've noticed.

My point was that people make judgement calls based on culture, rather than skin color. I mean, if many Mexicans are Catholics and many Catholics are revolted by homosexuals, that's an observation made on culture that happens to coincide with the skin color of the people in question. And because of my experience that many Mexicans are Catholic and many Catholics hate/fear/whatever gays, that leads to my mind automatically jumping to conculsions about both Catholics and Mexicans. We all do this sort of thing, whether we mean to or not; if our minds observe a pattern long enough, we begin to expect the stereotype from the people who fit it. If it's a behavior we don't like or find ourselves uncomfortable with, we become apprehensive, and perhaps judgemental.

Eliminating the word race will do nothing to change this- there will still be cultural stereotpyes about religion, lifestyle, speech patterns, etc., many of which are common to a particular race. I really think that in order to overcome the problem of racism, we need to at the very least respect different cultures; ideally, we should celebrate them. So really, it's not color that seperates us- it's culture.

"Love is a piano
dropped from a four story window
and you were in the wrong place
at the wrong time." -Ani DiFranco

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44 posted 03-25-2002 04:17 PM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

It would seem that it comes down to one thing:

If you have race and culture, which go hand in hand, you leave yourself open to racism. It's a matter of people being bigots and mentally regressed. If you eliminate the word race, or not merely the word, but the seeing of race and anything more then hair color, or the size of a nose, you eliminate what many people find their identity in. In different races, tehre are different culutre. As the world becomes more and more of a melting pot, there is less of that.... but as was pointed out, rap is usually black, and rock usually white, etc etc. Is this a form of racism? Or merely attributes of certain races/cultures?

We were all created differently. We need to celebrate differences. But putting a level of worth on race is perhaps what is wrong. It is merely a part of a person as much as musical preferences or food likings are. No?

"But she further undermines that position by arguing, not that she should have the same rights as a black person, but that they shouldn't be allowed to do things she isn't?"

I think she was getting at the fact people shouldn't be given more of a chance at anything merely because of their color of skin. Better chance at a job because they are minority, or more of a chance at succeding at rap merely because they are black. It should be on talent alone. You could add in the sexual type, sexual preferences, dress, et all. People should be accepted for who they are, nothing more.

Sorry if I rambled. I'm not as talented at organizing my ramblines as you all.

~ Titus

"My body is merely the canvas of my soul."
         ~ The Night Owl

Brad
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45 posted 03-25-2002 05:36 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Titus,

There are Koreans living in America today who don't eat kimchi because it makes them smell. Food preferences, like everything else you've said, do matter.

More to say but no time,

Brad
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46 posted 03-25-2002 11:16 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ha, I knew Stephan and I would find something to agree on someday.

But he also makes a point that I tried to make earlier much clearer. When we make decisions, we make judgements -- no way around them. When we make judgements, we either use the assumptions we already have or we change those assumptions.

What assumptions are present in a color blind society?

1. Quality, objectively defined, is the single factor that matters.

2. Quality is easily recognizable by all people regardless of color. If they don't, they have an agenda (Isn't that funny, don't we all have an agenda?).

Attempting to put either of these assumptions in most every day scenarios and I think they both fall apart.

So, instead why don't we change our assumptions, and think about living and learning from each other, why not start judging ourselves, asking ourselves what is really wrong with someone living a different life than I do? How does it effect me? Is that okay?

These aren't rhetorical questions, they need to be asked and answered.

In other words, make it personal.

Brad
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47 posted 03-26-2002 02:02 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hey Brad, I don't always disagree with you.... I just don't always tell you I don't.  



Stephen.
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48 posted 03-26-2002 04:36 PM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

Brad, I belive mankind originated in Africa, near the Tigris and Euphrates (sp?). I was curious what sources you have for your opinion. For mine, I use the Bible, which, for most, even if you don't agree with it on some things, is seen as an accurate historical text.

Off the subject. Carry on. Brad, just curious if you could email me.

~ Titus

"My body is merely the canvas of my soul."
         ~ The Night Owl

Opeth
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49 posted 03-27-2002 10:32 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

As mankind evolved, he began to journey to the colder and other types of climates other than Africa's.

At that point in time the physical differences between races began.
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