One thing that is killing any hopes of having a conversation about important matters in this country is extreme generalization. It is a subtle technique. It is the primary tools used nowadays to keep us separated as people. In my book on propaganda it is in my number 2 most used technique. Let me give you an example of how it is used:
Abortion is the killing of babies. Killing babies is wrong, and people who object to the fact that abortion is baby killing are themselves crazy. Life is sacred esp that of a defenceless baby
No one can argue well that abortion isn’t taking a life away, especially after you’ve seen the pictures of the dead foetuses the anti abortionist shove in your face. The tactic employed here is that when one reduces a complex situation down to it’s simplistic roots one can formulate arguments which are hard not only to publically argue well against, serve well to divide people into opposing camps. Let me give you another example:
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
― George Orwell, 1984
Slavery and segregation were products of racism. If slavery and segregation are legally banned then racism doesn’t exist.
Ultimately as has been said Tyranny is the deliberate removal of of Nuance. We cannot rendered a centuries old problem into a simplified one dimensional issue. What this means in discussion race or any social issue that has the potential to grip a nation and force a frenzy of response, is that every one has to educate themselves on nuance. everyone has to education themselves on the complexity of the issue.
How to talk about Race Specifically
The first thing to realize is that we all do not stand on a level playing field. If I assume that what I go through is what you go through that completely fiction-making, it is elitist and close-minded at its best. When you say the word “America” you are describing your experience of America or America as seen through your family, friends, community, religious linguistic, lenses.
The second thing to realize is that because you have not experienced something doesn’t make it imagined. If I say that there has been a history of medical experimentation on Blacks and Hispanics in the USA from our early history to present and you (whatever your race) reply well no one experimented on my aunty, mother, cousins then what you are doing is you are closing yourself off to an opportunity to research and learn something. If after you have researched you are still not convinced saying: After doing some research I am still unconvinced is infinitely better than dismissal because no one you know told you it happened to them.
The third and most important thing is to realize that you too despite your race have something to add. You do not have to experience internment camps like the Japanese or police brutality to still say something important and add something to the discussion. Many abolitionist during slavery times were Caucasian, many people walking in protest of the Trayvon Martin case are Caucasian. Many whites walked with Dr King. The important thing here and I cannot stress this enough is how you articulate what you mean to say.
Empathy is paramount! Someone’s experience is just that a personal experience, it is not fodder to reinforce your political agenda.
A Recent Happening in the News
I think this will illustrate well what I am saying. There are more things to consider when talking about race but I do not want to go on forever.
While debating racial relations with Ben Ferguson, CNN host Don Lemon was attempting to get across to Ferguson how impossible it is to have any perspective on the continued culture of racism in this country unless you live life as a black man. It seems so nakedly obvious to me, just as a black man wouldn’t know what going through life as a Mexican woman would be like, so too is the case for white conservatives and African-Americans.
Lemon does the best job of explaining the disconnect between what conservatives think race relations are like in this country and what the actual experiences of actual black people really are. It’s so simply stated when in the clip Lemon tells Ferguson,
“Your privilege does not allow you to see certain biases and certain circumstances in society.”
That’s it. That’s really and truly it. I know it may not seem like to a lot of white people, but there is a baseline tolerance and acceptance of us that African-Americans do not enjoy. I’ve seen it and heard it myself. Racism isn’t dead in this country; it’s just culturally unacceptable in the mainstream. That isn’t preventing conservatives from pushing policies that still directly impact the black community in a negative way. Voter ID laws, to just hammer at the tip of the iceberg, are the most glaring examples of the Right’s attempts to subjugate and disenfranchise a bloc of voters that they’ve had written off for decades.
Taken from here
- Don Lemon Blasts Ben Ferguson Over Racial Profiling: ‘Who Are You To Tell Us We’re Not Having That Experience?’ (mediaite.com)
- CNN’s Don Lemon Blasts Conservative Talker Ben Ferguson Over Racial Profiling: ‘Who Are You To Tell Us We’re Not Having That Experience?’ (themoderatevoice.com)
- CNN’s Lemon To Guest: You’re White, You Can’t Understand (breitbart.com)
- What I Learned From the Death of a Young Black Man (newafricanmen.wordpress.com)
- President Obama: ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago’ (kdvr.com)
- An Immigrant’s View of Racism in America (americanthinker.com)