Thursday, November 6, 2008

Talk Thursday // Politics, Racism & Stephen Colbert

I know I said I wasn't going to blog about the election and politics, but in keeping with the spirit of the season: Let's talk Obama.

Stephen Colbert (love of my life) said last night that "Since we now have a black president, racism is over." Exaggeration? Probably. But it's a thought.

So let's talk. How do you feel?


Cary said...

I love talk Thursdays.

In a time where we have proposed ballots that try to "equalize" everyone by making sure all employers provide the same opportunities by requiring percentages of certain demographics to be hired (wow, that was long), I feel racism is only advocated.

I think racism is something we won't be able to get rid of until everyone is able to let go (but not forget) what has happened in the past and concentrate on what can be done today, other than pass laws that "force" people to be equal.

We've come very far in this area, but I think there's further to go still.

Deliveredjude said...

I must concur that I too love talk Thursdays. I think I am going to start Social Work Wednesdays. We'll see.

In response to Cary's comment, I do not feel that racism is advocated. I believe that equity is encouraged. The term equality is being traded in for the new term equity. Equality means everyone gets the same treatment, obviously. Equity means that everyone is brought to the same level.

Affirmative Action (AA) serves to allow minorities opportunities to achieve and receive opportunities generally reserved for those with more power and resources. AA is often frowned upon because those in the dominant group usually feel that those receiving services due to AA did not have to work equally hard as those not receiving it. It would be beneficial for those of the dominant group to evaluate the challenges in life that those of subordinate groups must face in regards to racism and discrimination to even gain the qualifications that make them possible for hire or acceptance (into higher education).

A key thought that is discussed in many of my social work classes is that there is so much net power. If someone is going to be gaining power, it means someone must be giving up or losing some power.

Affirmative Action generally falls under this premise. Those of the dominant group talk about wanting equality for those in the minority and hate social injustices, but when something is done that causes the dominant group (White, heterosexual, Protestant, males) to lose some power: outrage.

it's fine to talk about social justice, but for us to lose power so that someone else could gain power, oh no. That is too much now.

I think it would be interesting to think about how the ideas of Affirmative Action relate to salvation. Just sayin'. Thanks for spurring convo, Sarah Lew.

Cary said...

If i may clarify something I said earlier...

When I said racism is advocated, I did not mean it is literally encouraged. Rather, I meant that undertones are communicated that are negative.

The ones Nic mentioned below are examples. White folks having to "give up power" is one of the negative reactions to AA, but also, if I were a minority, I would sometimes wonder if I were hired simply because of my minority status.

Nic, I'm also curious what you meant by "I think it would be interesting to think about how the ideas of Affirmative Action relate to salvation." I honestly just am curious what you mean by that.

Last, I hope no animosity is showing through these words. I'm enjoying the dialogue thorougly. I hate how emotions can't be expressed very well through text.


Sarah Lewie said...


I echoed your sentiment with your first post: do minorities who are hired feel as though they are hired simply because they are needed to fill a "minority quota" or because they are an asset to the position? I think that does create racial undertones and it still is a serious problem.

I also Nic's perspective that AA does create more opportunities for people that may not get it simply because racism still exists in the world.

Therefore, I choose to sit on the fence and listen to those who are more intellegent than I. =)

As far as the topic of AA & salvation... people probably think of salvation in terms of AA - that is, that how one is viewed, in what category they belong, is how salvation will be given. Granted, AA desires to bring equality to all groups of people, but it still separates them into sub-categories (at least, from my uneducated perspective).
God, mercifully, doesn't think like that. He chooses those who choose Jesus. And that's salvation, baby.

I don't know how much of that made sense, but it worked in my head. I'm curious as to ya'll's thoughts.

Jamie said...

I will hang out on the fence, listen & learn as well. Interesting perspectives. Thinking on a Friday night....ahhh :)

JD & Jen said...

is this a trick topic? i don't think anyone wants to know my opinion.

TenaciousT said...

Man, I had this great thought-provoking comment and I wrote it all out and included statistics and weblinks and the whole bit.
I thought I posted it Thursday night, but when I just now checked to see what others had put, I saw my comment didn't make it.
Unless it did, and you thought it was horrible and you deleted it... but I don't think you're that into censorship ;)

But I suppose to make up for it, I'll simply mention that I found the Exit Polls very interesting in regards to how certain races voted (and other demographic factors, like income, gender, etc) and what kind of statement that makes in regards to this conversation.

Sarah Lewie said...

No Teresa, I wouldn't censor your comment. Unless it said you hated me. Then I would cry. And then delete it. =)

I am, however, interested to read what you thought you posted. =) Would you be willing to write it out again?

TenaciousT said...

Basically: While I'm not always thrilled with Affirmative Action, I support it as long as all candidates are otherwise equally qualified.

Additionally, I feel that while Obama was more than qualified to be president, many people may have voted for him simply BECAUSE he was black. And I don't say that lightly. The exit polls indicate that 95% of black voters voted for Obama (according to while the white voters were much more diverse (43/55).

Looking at those statistics, it seems that the main qualification was skin color, and I think that's racism. I completely understand the cultural significance of having a black president. I'm actually teaching my students about the Civil Rights Movement right now, and it's amazing to tell my kids how much things have changed. I'm just glad Obama was qualified. Perhaps if he wasn't, the black voters wouldn't have voted for him (I'd like to think).

Anyway, I'm sure I put it differently the first time, but this was the overall theme.

Deliveredjude said...

Cary, I did not hear animosity in your comment. I concur that our black text does not communicate all the nuances that lie in our verbal and nonverbal communication when face to face. I agree that negative undertones can be seen with AA. I believe positive ones can be seen as well. It is my hope, and I think the "man's" idea, that AA does not simply allow for a token minority spot, but rather provides opportunities and safeguards for QUALIFIED people of color who might not otherwise have been considered for the position because of overt or latent prejudice/bias on the part of the one doing the hiring.

In terms of AA and salvation. :), I didn't really think the thought out too far and realize that the analogy does not hold much water for very long. My idea was that in the way AA provides opportunities for growth and advancement to those that might not have been seen as qualified, salvation through Christ allows the opportunity particularly for those (technically everyone though) often viewed as not being qualified for Heaven the chance to be a co-heir with Christ. It was a stretch I know, but I found the initial thought intriguing. I hope my mind ramblings are understandable. :)

Deliveredjude said...

Teresa, while we must look at voters who voted for Obama only because he is half African American, we must similarly look at voters that may have not voted for him simply because he is half African American - despite qualifications they may have supported.

TenaciousT said...

I agree Nic, completely. Basing your vote on anything other than the qualifications is an ignorant vote.
But the interesting thing is that white voters were much more diverse in their votes than black voters. Do you see what I mean?

Although, before I assume anything, I should research the exit polls on previous elections and see how race voted when both candidates were white. It may very well be the same.

Also, I liked your thoughts on AA and salvation. Very interesting.