Continued from GQ thread “Minorities.”

Which was, incidentally, at: http://www.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/001567.html .

Which so obviously is no longer anywhere.

Minorities. Do they exist? Or don’t they? What do we really think of them? How do you spell “Minorities”? Why are there 3 different threads entitled “Minorities” on the SDMB right now, and one that was deleted? The Great Debate wages on.

Your Quadell

Continuing my point from the General Questions thread, I will ask here: Did the 1980 and 1990 censuses continue the lack of an ethnic “majority” (or even much of any ethnic plurality!) in the U. S. Population? Is it likely the 2000 Census will?

There’s never been a lack of an ethnic majority in America. 83.4% of Americans are white. (12.4% are black.) 56% are Protestant. (28% are Roman Catholic, 10% are “none”.)

This info comes direct to you from the CIA, http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/us.html#people.

Where did you get the idea whites weren’t a majority?

Your Quadell

I exlained this in the General Questions thread. The 1970 U. S. Census showed that there were two ethnic minorities in the United States with the greatest numbers: Anglo-Saxon Whites (19 million) and black (19 million. Since the 1970 Census showed a total of 203,235,298–a number later corrected only slightly–this means 165 million Americans in minorities even smaller than 19 million. (The Information Please Almanac for 1971 subdivided “whites” into Anglo-Saxon, Hispanic, Slavic, Arab, Scandinavian, Celtic, etc.)
THAT’s what I mean by ‘no majority.’

I’m fairly certain there is no longer an ethnic majority in California, even if you do lump all the “White” Europeans together. In fact, Hispanics (European-Native American mix, I guess) are predicted to out number Whites (mostly European, I guess…again!) within a very short number of years.

I suspect that as soon as Whites technically become a minority there will still be those that will insist that we label them something stupid like “dominant culture ethnicity”

Many of those who proclaim that their ultimate goal is a color blind society are the same that insist that the means to this goal are to focus on color. I find this as silly as Marx’s “Dictatorship of the Prolotariate” as a prerequesite for an egalitarian society.

Chew on this:

If you really think color shouldn’t matter, stop saying that since it still does, it should.

[[Did you query each of them about their political beliefs? This is just the sort of generalization based on skin color (i.e. they’re not “white,” nor are they “liberals” but rather “white liberals” using the skin color as an adjective modifying the noun, thus establishing a link between the two) that doesn’t sit well with me.]]

Let me clarify, if I can. The two people who were offended that I finked on the thief happened to be White, and were upset that anyone could accuse a Black person of stealing, even if I witnessed it, which they heard that I had. I called them “liberals,” but maybe that isn’t accurate. Anyone got a better term there? There probably is one.
I was assuming that they felt uncomfortable that any White person could accuse any Black person of wrong-doing. (I also consider myself to be a liberal on most issues.)

[[Later on you refer to “white racists and black thieves” – the parallel structure making it seem that you’re referring to the “white liberals” and the “scumbag” from your story…]]

No. I wasn’t describing the people in the store when I said “white racists.” I meant that my child will suffer, probably, because of white racism against blacks (some may argue that this doesn’t occur anymore?) AND also because of black criminals like the shoplifter who, by their actions, reinforce the stereotypes that all Black folks steal.

[[So how is it that they’re white racists? Are you sure of this? Are you making the link that liberal=racist? Are you claiming that they are racist for making the generalization that you as a white were being racist by pointing out the kid’s thievery? ]]

Hope I clarified that that is not what I meant. I meant to describe a personal incident and my personal reaction to it. But I’m gonna get out now, while the gettin is good. I don’t seem to articulate my positions very well on this topic.

I took a course in literature at El Camino College in California. The instructor, who is black, assigned us to read “The Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison. It was an impressive novel, but one point taken up early in the story (and hammered on by the instructor), was that “responsibility” must be overridden by the objective of equality (‘there will be no peace without justice’). The problem here is that this can be easily seized on by white supremacists and other bigots: “See, they won’t act responsibly! We are justified in our treatment of them!” Which is no better a notion.

Dougie_Monty, if I’m understanding you correctly, I believe you have to be wrong about this. I can’t find any on-line info on the 1970 census, but the 1960 census revealed roughly 19 million back people, and roughly 158 million white people. Not 19 million.

Your Quadell

I have (what I consider) an interesting question that may or may not have relevance to this board:

Am I Japanese?

Now, here’s the thing: I live in Japan, I work in Japan. I have many Japanese freinds. Many of my interests are related to Japan in some way. I speak Japanese (fairly well, of course not perfectly). I feel personally (although I may be wrong) that I understand the Japanese way of doing things and the like as well, if not better, than the way of my native country. I may not live here forever, and I may not feel this way forever; I’m not currently a citizen of Japan, but rather a landed foreigner.
My skin is white, and my features are caucasoid. I was not born here.

The most surprising reaction I get when I tell some people this is anger; some people consider me a “traitor,” although how prevalent that is, I don’t know. I would assume that someone who chose their culture would have even more claim to being of that culture than someone who was randomly born into a culture. What do you think?

I do not believe that racism exists. That is not to say that people do not have prejudices towards easily identifiable groups. Rather, I mean that people are prejudiced against those that they percieve to be significantly different than the group with which they identify.

For example, a tall, stout, educated, middle class white woman may be prejudiced against males, aaaavery thin women, poor people, those of another race, short people, uneducated people, etc.

But it is about difference, not race. Race is often simply an easy identifier.

“Do that which consists in taking no action and order will prevail” --Lao Tzu

And I have a question to follow up on Alex’s. I have two friends who were born and raised in Africa and who are now citizens of the U.S. They are both white, yet under any definition, they are “African-American.” Which is why I hate the term (not the PEOPLE, the term!). I have black friends who are neither African nor American, and they get understandably ticked off when they are referred to as such. Who the hell’s stupid idea was the term African-American, anyway?

Jesse Jackson and a number of his acquaintances had a conference in Chicago several years ago to discuss the general issues of blacks surviving in a white society.

At the end of their conference, they held a press conference to describe their conclusions. Most of their thought has been lost in time (I certainly can’t remember any of it), but the big news that got a lot of air-play was their declaration that they wanted to be referred to as African-Americans.

They actually had good (if flawed) reasons for doing this. One reason was that they wanted to have the opportunity of “selecting” their own term. (Since I remember the black community “selecting” black over Negro, colored, Afro-American and others terms in a three-year debate in the late sixties, I find this argument flawed as it indicates that Jesse and his buddies can’t remember their own history.)

The reason that African-American was selected, specifically, was that it looked most like the ethnic terms that are a large part of the consciousness of urban/metropolitan Chicago. In that environment the terms Polish-American, German-American, and Italian-American, etc., are used by the descendents of immigrants as a point of pride in their heritage. Since the de-culturization that all imported slaves had to go through pretty well destoyed the ability of the grand-children of slaves to call themselves Gambian-American or anything similar, Mr. Jackson’s group settled on African-American.

One significant problem with their attempt, of course, is that outside the strip of cities running through Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburg, and Buffalo, the whole hyphenated-American experience is greatly diminished. So what Mr. Jackson’s group did made sense from a local perspective, but did not play well across the whole country.

Of course, Since Mr. Jackson is a national figure, the news media picked up on his pronouncement and many news groups changed their style books to reflect his suggestion. On the other hand, the last poll I saw among blacks gave a 70%/28%/other split favoring the term black over African-American (actually down from the 58%/40%/other split of about four years ago).

I would generally refer to Mr. Jackson as African-American, since that is his preferred term, but I follow the polls (and the people in that group whom I know personally) and use black in other discussions.


{{{Chew on this:

If you really think color shouldn’t matter, stop saying that since it still does, it should.

I’m interpreting this to mean: “Stop saying that color doesn’t matter, because the statement indicates that it still does–to you.”

Hope I got it right PB, because it’s a bit early and I’m only on my second cup of Joe.

At any rate, in that context, this brings to mind some comments, made by a local merchant, to my “significant other” and myself, as we were walking with our two children.

Her ethnicity is unimportant, but her attitude was obvious in both her body language, word choice and inflection:

<looking at me> “Are you their father?”
<looking at her> “And you’re their mother?”
<looking at our girls> “My, my, aren’t they just precious? And so clean too!”
<looking back at both of us> “No.” (pregnant pause) “…Color just doesn’t matter a bit you know. What matters is that you’re clean. Yup, you’re clean. That’s all that matters–being clean. You’re both very clean and your daughters are simply gorgeous…and…and…clean.”

She moved on very quickly.

We looked at each other and laughed. (No! She didn’t hear us laughing. That would have been rude.)

(The Original EnigmaOne)

One comment that Jill made that nobody (to my recollection) responded to was that she’d never heard a nonwhite person say “race doesn’t matter.” This has been my experience as well. I’ve never heard a nonwhite person say “My race is human” either. Why do y’all think that would be? Is it because nonwhites think race should matter? Or because their experience has been that it does?

Do any actual nonwhite people on this board want to get a word in?

Never regret what seemed like a good idea at the time.


I’m sunburned, does that count?

Just a few thoughts:

Growing up near Detroit I have seen the effects of racism first-hand on a day-to-day basis. Plenty of my coworkers, neighbors and friends will not venture into the city to enjoy restuarants, concerts and other events because they perceive the city as a dangerous place. Some of this attitude can be attributed to racism but a large part of it is simple ignorance. Had I never met an Italian I would have thought them all to be heartless killers based upon jokes, mafia movies, opinions of others, etcetera. That, to me, is not racist, it’s ignorance. Racism is much more noxious.

Racism stems from hatred of a given people based solely upon perceived inferiority. The problem is, racism breeds racism. Too often parents who are racist rear children who hold similar attitudes. This can only be remedied by education, it seems.

I question whether AA has done anything to ease animosity between blacks and whites because, as I see it, one who is already prejudiced is not going to take kindly to government intervention into their beliefs and ideals, however misguided they may be. You simply cannot legislate thoughts and opinions, no matter how evil.

We’ve come a long way since Selma in 1965. Maybe in another 30 years we’ll have licked this altogether and we can move onto something else. Like finding Jimmy Hoffa’s killer or something.

Alex Kennedy: after having spent five straight years on the outskirts of Tokyo, I find it indredibly difficult, nay impossible, to believe that you have not witnessed the discrimination in Japan against foreigners. Even Konishki, who is now a Japanese citizen, still catches some of that although he’s at the top of the national sport there.

What? You’ve never been to a bar and been told “Gaijin kinjite.” I have. It hurts.

Now if I’d been Japanese-American and knew the language (I’m Scots-German American and know Japanese), I’d probably not have the crossed arms greet me when I enter the place.

To those who didn’t get the stats above: Anglo-Saxon White Americans aren’t a majority BUT White Americans are. I’m not Ango and I’m not Saxon and I most strongly detest being lumped in with WASP since I’m not Protestant either. But I have the luxury of being White in a country mostly inhabited by Whites. The Japanese-Americans I postulated above in this post in Japan would thus have the luxury of being of Japanese race in a country mostly populated by those of Japanese race.

That’s the way I see Jill’s point. And it’s not only dishonest to pretend that’s not a valid point. It’s ingorant and mean.

In my last posting above, the last sentence should read: