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The hate that dare not speak its name Black Racism
The American Enterprise ^ | Ying Ma

Posted on 09/18/2002 11:50:34 AM PDT by robowombat

The hate that dare not speak its name

Black Racism By Ying Ma

In what passes for discussions on race these days, small problems are often blown up large, while real traumas are completely ignored. For instance, despite what President Clinton’s "Race Initiative" panel has said, the very rawest racial conflicts in present-day America don’t even fit into the tidy mold of white-majority-oppressing-colored-minority that activists constantly promote. Though civil rights groups and most of the media studiously ignore this fact, the nation’s most fractious racial battles are now conflicts between minority populations. Particularly horrific is the animosity directed at Asian Americans by blacks in low-income areas of urban America.

At age ten, I immigrated from China to Oakland, California, a city filled with crime, poverty, and racial tension. In elementary school, I didn’t wear name-brand clothing or speak English. My name soon became "Ching Chong," "Chinagirl," and "Chow Mein." Other children laughed at my language, my culture, my ethnicity, and my race. I said nothing.

After a few years, I began to speak English, but not well enough to trade racial insults. On rides home from school I avoided the back of the bus so as not to be beaten up. But even when I sat in the front, fire crackers, paper balls, small rocks, and profanity were thrown at me and the other "stupid Chinamen." The label "Chinamen" was dished out indiscriminately to Vietnamese, Koreans, and other Asians. When I looked around, I saw that the other "Chinamen" tuned out the insults by eagerly discussing movies, friends, and school.

During my secondary school years, racism, and then the combination of outrage and bitterness that it fosters, accompanied me home on the bus every day. My English was by now more fluent than that of those who insulted me, but most of the time I still said nothing to avoid being beaten up. In addition to everything else thrown at me, a few times a week I was the target of sexual remarks vulgar enough to make Howard Stern blush. When I did respond to the insults, I immediately faced physical threats or attacks, along with the embarrassing fact that the other "Chinamen" around me simply continued their quiet personal conversations without intervening. The reality was that those who cursed my race and ethnicity were far bigger in size than most of the Asian children who sat silently.

The racial harassment wasn’t limited to bus rides. It surfaced in my high school cafeteria, where a middle-aged Chinese vendor who spoke broken English was told by rowdy students each day at lunch time to "Hurry up, you dumb Ching!" On the sidewalks, black teenagers and adults would creep up behind 80-year-old Asians and frighten them with sing-song nonsense: "Yee-ya, Ching-chong, ah-ee, un-yahhh!" At markets and in the streets of poor black neighborhoods, Asians would be told, "Why the hell don’t you just go back to where you came from!"

When it came time for college, I left this ugly world for a beautiful school far away. Finally, it was possible to pursue a life without racial harassment backed by the threat of violence. I chose not to return to my old neighborhood after college, but I am often reminded of the racial discrimination I endured there. On a bus not too long ago I saw a black woman curse at a Korean man, "You f---ing Chinese person! Didn’t you hear that I asked you to move yo’ ass? You too stupid to understand English or something?"

In poor neighborhoods across this country Asians endure daily racial hatred just as I did. Because of their language deficiencies, their small size, their fear of violent confrontations, they endure in silence. Unlike me, many of them will never depart for a new life in a beautiful place far, far away. So each day they grow more bitter against a group that much of America refuses to acknowledge to be capable of racism: African Americans.

In a fair and peaceful world, racial harassment will be decried without regard to its source. The problem today is that prominent black leaders rule out even the possibility of black racism. Activists like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson intone that racism equals "prejudice plus power," and that since blacks in America lack power, they are simply not capable of practicing racism against anyone. John Hope Franklin, chair of President Clinton’s race panel, angrily insists that racism is something suffered, not dished out, by blacks. Many black professors, writers, polemicists, and politicians repeat the same mantra. What might appear to be black racism, writes syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, actually boils down not to racism but to acts of crime and rudeness from the perpetrators, and tough luck for the recipients.

Rationalizers of black racism ignore the fact that identical actions inflicted by whites would be universally decried as intolerable. Ultimately, their arguments simply grease the skids for further traumatizing of "unlucky" victims. And to real-life casualties of racial animosity, motivation is not especially relevant. Loss is loss. Pain is pain.

Unfortunately, Asian Americans—and especially their leaders—have failed to speak out on this matter. Complaints from wounded individuals regularly boil into public view, however. In mid-August, I attended a crowded press conference held in New York’s Chinatown to discuss Indonesia’s history of discrimination against ethnic Chinese (which peaked this May in a wave of bloody anti-Chinese riots). One woman at the event began to hysterically scream out her frustrations over black American racism against Asians. The woman, Mee Ying Lin, shouted, "Chinese suffer from racial discrimination by blacks every day. We should help persecuted Chinese overseas, but why is no one dealing with our own troubles in America?"

Rose Tsai, head of the San Francisco Neighbors Association, and candidate for a seat on the city’s Board of Supervisors, suggests that everyday Asians rarely defend themselves against ghetto racism because "Asian culture is just not that confrontational…. Asians are unlike blacks who got to where they are in politics by being militant."

Tsai explains that Asian involvement in politics is at a nascent stage, that it is difficult for her organization even to convince Asian immigrants to vote, let alone make a political stink against racial harassment. "Asians are just not used to standing up for our own rights," says another Bay Area Chinese activist with frustration.

That might explain the quiescence of recent immigrants who speak imperfect English. But what about the growing cadre of Asian activists? They are far from passive or non-confrontational. In just the past two years, organizations like the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium, the Organization for Chinese Americans, and others have voiced loud condemnations of "racism" in American society. But they have focused on events like the recent investigation of Asian donors of illegal campaign funds, the Republican opposition in Congress to Bill Lann Lee’s nomination as director of the Office of Civil Rights, a cover drawing for National Review that showed the President, Vice President, and First Lady dressed in Manchurian garb, and even a recent cover photo for this magazine that showed a handsome Asian male scowling angrily at the camera.

If vocal Asian activists are able to work themselves into a frenzy attacking everyday political tussles and editorial cartoons for their alleged racist motivations, they are obviously capable of confrontation. Why then do we never hear these national activists condemning black racism against Asians in our inner cities?

Some Asian-American activists say the reason they have not confronted anti-Asian racism among blacks is because the tension does not exist on the national level, but is merely confined to some local areas. Karen Narasaki of the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium claimed in a recent interview that black animosity is different in each city and ought to be handled differently in each case by local organizations. David Lee, executive director of one such local organization, the San Francisco Voters Education Committee, concurs: "There may be a few communities and a few areas where tensions exist—so it is better for community groups rather than a national organization like the Organization of Chinese Americans to deal with such problems."

Representatives of national Asian organizations also cite resource constraints to explain their quiescence. They say black-Asian clashes are not a serious enough national issue to expend scarce time and money on.

There is a difference, however, between not being able to expend effort and not wanting to. Asian activists on the national level also matter-of-factly justify black racism in inner cities as a direct result of competition between Asians and their black neighbors over limited economic resources. Narasaki, while acknowledging she is not an inner city expert, insists that many black and Asian conflicts "have to do with the lack of economic opportunities" in cities. Echoing this refrain, Stanley Mark, program director of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, asserts that "we can’t talk about race without talking about economic disparities."

In this vein, Asian activists consistently mention that racial problems occur when Asian merchants move into predominantly black neighborhoods and flourish. The vicious year-long black boycott of a Korean store in Brooklyn in 1990, and the looting and burning of Korean stores in south-central Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots serve as shining examples of conflicts linked to economic disparities.

The excuse of economic disparities fails miserably to justify violence and harassment, however. For some observers, it also brings up memories of Nazi persecution of Jews, African attacks on Indian merchants, and recent murders, rapes, and robberies of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. All of these atrocities were committed against people deemed economically well off by larger masses facing difficult times.

In any case, the economic disparities rationale falls apart in the many instances where racism flourishes in the absence of class differences. At San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point public housing complex, for instance, low-income Southeast Asian residents, who are in the minority, have consistently encountered racial harassment from their black neighbors. Racial slurs, physical threats, violence, and destruction of property have festered for years. Philip Nguyen of the Southeast Asian Community Center, who has worked on the case for years, notes that there are no economic differences between the Asian and black families in the complex. The Asians, he says, are very quiet and have made every effort to befriend the black residents, yet serious friction has persisted for ten years.

Joe Hicks, executive director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, painstakingly tried to bring blacks and Asians together after the Rodney King riots. He believes that "much of the hostilities are due to blacks’ jealousy of Asian economic success, a sense of alienation, and the self-perpetuating belief that blacks will always lose out in the racial equation in America." He adds that "certainly economics gives a basis to many of the problems," but asserts that "even if tomorrow we can have a level playing field for both racial groups, we would still have animosity and racial strife" because prejudices would still remain.

Asian activists who are not otherwise inclined to ignore prejudice are often strangely anxious to apologize for black racism. In interviews, they note that Asians harbor many prejudices against blacks too. This explanation, however, has no power to explain the kind of harassment I and many others like me experienced as young immigrant children beginning life with no animus toward anyone.

Asian prejudice toward blacks surely exists. But whatever biases might be harbored in the minds of Asian immigrants, many of whom had never seen a black person before arriving in the U.S., they certainly don’t rate at the level of destroying black people’s property, scaring their elderly folk, or threatening and assaulting their children—the kinds of pressures Asians in many urban areas now endure routinely. Asian youths in particular typically start out with little or no inclination to distrust or dislike African Americans. Young Asians are usually far more willing than their parents to accept a new country and new friends, including black ones. In many cases, it was only after innumerable frightening chases, assaults, and humiliations that Asian attitudes toward blacks turned defensive. Those of us whose open minds were confronted with hostility and hatred will never accept the insulting assertion that our suffering resulted from our own prejudices.

It seems that leaders of the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, and related groups are disconnected from the real concerns of many of the Asians they claim to represent. David Lee, whose Bay Area organization is attempting to promote local dialogue among minority journalists, believes that a fundamental disconnection exists between the national Asian spokesmen and the new majority of Asians who are recent immigrants. The prominent Asian civil rights leaders, he notes, tend to be American born, to speak little of their ethnic languages, and to be unable to read the local ethnic newspapers. Many of them do not know or understand the problems in low income areas, because they live comfortable middle-class lives. And so "it is not surprising that they are silent about black-on-Asian discrimination," Lee summarizes.

Bong Hwan Kim, executive director of the Korean Youth and Community Center in Los Angeles and an active member of the Black-Korean Alliance that attempted to bring African- and Korean-Americans together in the eight years before the south-central riots, describes a disconnection in the Korean community between first-generation immigrants and acculturated second generation residents with less familiarity with inner-city life. After the shops of Koreatown were looted or burned, he reports, the more suburbanized Koreans pushed inter-ethnic bridge-building efforts, while the first-generation immigrants who toiled in menial jobs, bridled at having to sit across the table from those who looted and burned their property. Meanwhile, few of the prominent national Asian organizations even condemned the violence perpetrated against Koreans in L.A.

Stanley Mark of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund argues in defense of the national Asian organizations that people hear less from the Asian leaders about black-on-Asian racism than white-on-Asian racism simply because there is less of the former than the latter. Mark insists he knows of no case where an Asian was seriously hurt or killed by a racist black American.

Underlining the disconnect between national and local perceptions, Liu Yu-xi, an organizer of the New York coalition of Chinese Americans that mobilized hundreds of thousands of normally politically apathetic Chinese to protest Indonesian violence against Chinese residents, chuckled at Stanley Mark’s ignorance of cases of black racism. Liu, who has known of many racially motivated physical attacks against Chinese in New York, observes, "Such crimes are reported often in the local Chinese papers, but the national Asian activists obviously do not know how to read Chinese."

When asked why prominent Asians have said little about racial harassment by African Americans, Bill Tam of San Francisco’s Chinese Family Alliance flatly stated, "I think they are afraid to say anything." To him, it appears that Asian leaders are often fearful of the national black leadership. National Asian organizations generally follow the lead of black civil rights groups like the naacp so slavishly, another Bay Area activist told me, that even when the latter’s stances (for instance, on quotas and preferences) are opposed to the interests and beliefs of many Asian citizens, the Asian activists don’t challenge their allies.

Rose Tsai of the San Francisco Neighbors Association was a little more blunt: "Most Asian leaders do not wish to acknowledge that there exists a problem because they do not want the minorities to fight amongst themselves." As a result, national Asian spokesmen speaking for their brethren are without any inkling of the real problems they face, or what kind of racism is dragging them down. Recognizing the complex issues between blacks and Asians, Philip Nguyen of the Southeast Asian Community Center has a simple proposal: "Fight, not against or for any group, but against racial discrimination."

Ying Ma, who immigrated to the United States in 1985, is a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Philosophy; US: California
KEYWORDS: pc; racism
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Ms Ying Ma addresses a topic verbotten by the tenets of pc.
1 posted on 09/18/2002 11:50:34 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat
A great amount of the 1992 "Rodney King" riots was a race riot: Blacks attacking Koreans. Though reported at the time, this fact has been largely forgotten (or ignored) by later accounts.

Many Asians had invested their life savings into small businesses (mostly liqour stores) in the "minority areas", and were making a profit. The rioters burned them out and killed a few. Others defended themselves and their property with firearms.

(Also "forgotten" is how the liberal West side Angelnos barricaded their neighborhoods and took up guns in self-defense.)

2 posted on 09/18/2002 12:00:13 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: robowombat
Amen. The racism issue in America will never be completely eliminated until black people, like Jesse Jackson, take their fair share of the blame for its existence. They can be and are every bit as biased as any other ethnic group. Racial harmony is a two way street.
3 posted on 09/18/2002 12:01:29 PM PDT by MoGalahad
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To: robowombat
Why then do we never hear these national activists condemning black racism against Asians in our inner cities?

For the same reason you never hear condemnations of black racism against any other group. Everybody knows it exists, but some are afraid to say it, and the rest don't care. Actually, worse than not caring, they applaud it.

Look, we all know that the leftists in this country have been promoting black racism for years. It has been institutionalized by this point.

4 posted on 09/18/2002 12:03:50 PM PDT by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: robowombat
She, or this topic, would make a great segment for 60 Minutes or some other television news magazine. (Hey, I can dream, can't I?)
5 posted on 09/18/2002 12:05:40 PM PDT by Stultis
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To: robowombat
research associate @ the CFR, isn't that nice
I read the article but now feel it a waste of time
the CFR can kiss my a$$
6 posted on 09/18/2002 12:12:37 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: MoGalahad
They can be and are every bit as biased as any other ethnic group. I think it is worse: black people's hatred against slave-owners is justified and need not be diminished. Instead, black "leadership" formulates everything in terms of color rather than behavior --- and that IS teaching racism.
7 posted on 09/18/2002 12:17:30 PM PDT by TopQuark
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To: robowombat
Rose Tsai of the San Francisco Neighbors Association was a little more blunt: "Most Asian leaders do not wish to acknowledge that there exists a problem because they do not want the minorities to fight amongst themselves."

This one passage is all the reader needs to understand what the author is so bewildered about!

I feel the pain of abuse that Asians endure from blacks, I really do. But all of these national organizations claiming to speak for Asians got in on the grievance-mongering, "blame Whitey" game a long time ago.

It is a struggle for political power in which race was, and always will be destiny. Simply put, they may loathe one another on a personal level, but they know better than to squabble with another member of the anti-white coalition.

Stanley Mark of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund argues in defense of the national Asian organizations that people hear less from the Asian leaders about black-on-Asian racism than white-on-Asian racism simply because there is less of the former than the latter. Mark insists he knows of no case where an Asian was seriously hurt or killed by a racist black American.

And this is unadulterated malarkey. The black rate of interracial violence is multiple times the white rate and there's no reason to think it's vastly different for black-on-Asian crime as opposed to black-on-white crime.

8 posted on 09/18/2002 12:19:33 PM PDT by winin2000
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To: robowombat
Bump! A point should be made that the definition of racism as "prejudice plus power" fits black racism to a T: clearly blacks are prejudiced against Asians and they have the physical power to intimidate the smaller, less martial Asians.

Thugs are thugs, regardless of race.

Someone should inform Asians about the honorable American tradition of self-defense, and that there are ways other than the martial arts to deal with attacking thugs. As the old saying goes God created man, but Sam Colt made them equal. There is nothing like a nice, reliable, single action Army revolver to put paid to thuggish young men who assault the elderly.

9 posted on 09/18/2002 12:20:07 PM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: TopQuark
black people's
What's with this idiotic notion that skin colour = identity? Really. The whole idea of "race" is a fiction conjured up by con-men to divide people from each other (and their money).

hatred against slave-owners
Who happen to be conveniently DEAD. Or are you talking about the slave owners in East Africa?


10 posted on 09/18/2002 12:24:53 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: Texas_Jarhead
research associate @ the CFR, isn't that nice I read the article but now feel it a waste of time the CFR can kiss my a$$

Really? I would think it would make sense to judge the argument on the merits.

11 posted on 09/18/2002 12:36:37 PM PDT by Rensselaer
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To: robowombat
When it came time for college, I left this ugly world for a beautiful school far away.

And undoubtably most of the name callers remained behind - because it was "cool" to be stupid and ignorant.

Ever notice how the kids who are thugs usually end up as adults who have lives that suck? What goes around, comes around.

12 posted on 09/18/2002 12:38:13 PM PDT by dark_lord
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To: dark_lord
kids who are thugs usually end up as adults who have lives that suck

And their preferred targets are those who end up succeeding through perserverence and hard work.

13 posted on 09/18/2002 12:40:47 PM PDT by MrB
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Black conservative ping

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)

Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.

14 posted on 09/18/2002 12:41:48 PM PDT by mhking
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To: robowombat
A fantastic article. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I can say she is spot on here. Some blacks there (but not all) could say just as much racist garbage as a Klansman, but would hide behind a Malcolm X hat to make themselves feel justified about it.
15 posted on 09/18/2002 12:44:49 PM PDT by Nate505
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To: BenLurkin
Black racism does exist and it is more open. However, there's another side to the story of Asian storeowners in black neighborhoods. Some storeowners don't live in the neighborhood, and they don't care about it. Example: We lived in a largely quote-unquote "minority" (mostly black) neighborhood, and there were Asian storeowners on our block. One was a hardworking couple who were robbed at gunpoint and eventually had to sell their family business. They DID care about the neighborhood. The other ran a sandwich and beer shop around the corner, and he DIDN'T care about it. In addition to attracting drunkards and people hanging around begging for money for liquor, the guy had a burglar alarm that was nothing more than a very loud bell. One night it went off, and, even after we called 911 several times, the owner refused to come out and turn it off. He didn't live in the neighborhood, so he took his time and came out to turn it off around 8 a.m. Imagine a loud alarm ringing nonstop from 1 a.m. to early morning through your back window when you have work and school the next morning. We got no sleep. About 4 a.m. we tried to stop it by throwing a brick at the bell. By the morning, we were ready to wring the guy's neck. But his only response was that he doesn't speak English very well. Same went for other storeowners there from outside the neighborhood. One family (I think they were Jewish) were caught trading drugs for food stamps over the counter. It was well-known in the neighborhood, but you never heard that one in the news.
16 posted on 09/18/2002 12:48:03 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes
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To: robowombat
The Asian leaders who ignore black violence against Asians are no more hypocritical than the white "leaders" (now there's a concept - a white leader??!!) who ignore black violence against white Americans.
17 posted on 09/18/2002 12:49:56 PM PDT by white trash redneck
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To: CatoRenasci
Your comments are right on target. However, in the politically correct land of left wing university scribblers it is not seen that way. Surprise-surprise. This is proff of Orwell's dictum that only an intellectual could be so stupid.

White Racism: The Basics, Joe R. Feagin and Hernan Vera, Routledge, 1995, 230 pages, £12.99 paperback.

White Racism is a bold and provocative book, that argues against those contemporary social critics, who claim that the significance of 'race' is declining in American society. Feagin and Vera's theoretical starting point is the belief that black racism does not exist. For them, arguments pertaining to black racism or 'reverse discrimination' are meaningless, as whites have not been subject to the same historical and political forces that blacks have, i.e. blacks lack institutional and social power in being able to reinforce their personal prejudices:

`Racism is more than a matter of individual prejudice and scattered episodes of discrimination. There is no black racism because there is no centuries-old system of racialized subordination and discrimination designed by African Americans to exclude white Americans from full participation in the rights, privileges, and benefits of this society' (p.ix)
Feagin and Vera argue that the 'declining significance of race' theorists are at odds with the empirical evidence, which underscores their argument that racism is alive and well in America. Compelling evidence is presented, showing the racial inequalities in education, health, employment and income, which result in the fact that blacks are three times as likely as whites to be living in poverty. For Feagin and Vera the primary factor lying behind the social condition of blacks in America is white racism, defined as the 'socially organized set of attitudes, ideas, and practices that deny African Americans and other people of color the dignity, opportunities, freedoms, and rewards that this nation offers white Americans' (p.7, emphasis in original).

Feagin and Vera use a number of diverse case studies to illustrate how embedded racist ideologies still are within mainstream American society. These range from detailed examinations of incidents of racial discrimination against blacks in educational settings and employment practices, to an analysis of police racism, via a sophisticated and persuasive reading of the police beating of Rodney King and the subsequent media coverage of the 'Los Angeles riots', or what Feagin and Vera prefer to describe as 'the largest urban rebellion by black and Latino Americans in the twentieth century' (p.97). There is also a comprehensive analysis of how 'racial icons' have been used in Presidential campaigns, in seeking to appeal to racist sentiments within white America. Here the 'Willie Horton' advertisement used by George Bush in his 1988 campaign, and Bill Clinton's denouncement of the supposedly racist remarks made by the rapper and activist Sister Soulijah, are perceptively examined.

Finally, in a chapter entitled 'The Souls of White Folk', Feagin and Vera examine the extent to which racist attitudes and views are held by white Americans and how this affects their beliefs about African Americans, by conducting ninety exploratory interviews with female and male whites across America. A vivid picture is portrayed of widespread racial stereotyping and even outright hostility towards blacks by white Americans, despite often denouncing racism as being morally wrong and not considering themselves to be racist. Feagin and Vera argue that the costs of white racism are not born solely by blacks but that whites too pay a moral, psychological, and sometimes financial, cost for their anti-humanist beliefs, regardless of whether they actively participate in racist actions or not:

`At an individual level white racism indicates a massive breakdown in empathy across the color line. Whites who discriminate against blacks, or who stand by while other whites discriminate, reveal they have given up the ability to take the black person's place, to imagine what it would be like to be in his or her situation. The lack of empathy on the part of whites entails a denial of others' humanity - and thus of their own' (p.174)
In a welcome contrast to most sociological analyses of racism, which are often happy to just describe racism and its effects, without offering any remedial solutions to the problem, the authors prescribe a number of steps for overcoming racism. These range from the more 'liberal' solutions of arguing for increased multicultural training and education and the inclusion of 'new courses on the oneness of all humankind' (p.184) in all the U.S. educational programs, to the more radical proposals calling for major reparations to be paid to African Americans, which would `mark a collective recognition by white Americans of the severity and consequences of racial oppression' (p.187). Feagin and Vera also argue for a new constitution, and thus a new constitutional convention, which would include:
`...representatives, in proportional numbers, of all racial, ethnic, religious, class, and gender groups. Such a broadbased assembly would ensure for the first time in history that the white majority encounters a discussion of and pressure for the constitutional interests and rights of all minorities' (p.191)
White Racism has a number of failings that are related, in part, to its strengths. The book provides illuminating and unequivocal evidence of the continuing racism in American society. However, the force of the argument, and the evidence presented, is at times so overwhelming, that you are left wondering at the end if any measures could ever eliminate such deep seated racial sentiments. The proposals that are suggested also highlight some of the deficiencies of the book. For example in calling for reparations to African Americans, no attempt is made to acknowledge that that other social relations, such as class, need to be considered. Simply giving money to the African American population may have the desired symbolic effect, but in terms of challenging the underlying economic and social structures that produce and reproduce black America's current position, such measures would do nothing. How, for example, could one argue for the likes of Michael Jordan or Oprah Wimphrey being given money simply on the basis of being black? And what of the effect on those white working class, who are committed to an anti-racist society, who would see money going to their next door neighbours on the basis of her or his skin colour? As well as unintentionally reinforcing the common-sense racist assumption that blacks are a problem, such measures would not address any of the structural constraints affecting the working class, black or white. Thus because Feagin and Vera fail to show how racism interrelates with questions of class and gender, they are then left to make recommendations that treat 'race' as if it were an independent variable unrelated to these other social structures, which it clearly is not.

Despite these drawbacks the book does put such debates more clearly onto the agenda and forces the reader to confront the pervasiveness of racism in America, which is sometimes underplayed in more liberal and conservative accounts. The book's relevance to the British context could not be more obvious. The avoidable deaths of Stephen Lawrence, Joy Gardner, and Brian Douglas, to name just three, and the continuing high rates of black unemployment and low educational attainment, make Feagin and Vera's arguments all the more compelling for the British reader, especially if we are to avoid their almost apocalyptic analysis of future 'racial relations': `In our view U.S. society cannot afford white racism in the long run, for it may well destroy this society as we know it sometime in the next century' (p.xiii).

Ben Carrington
Leeds Metropolitan University

Copyright Ben Carrington 1997
18 posted on 09/18/2002 12:59:04 PM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat
But what about the growing cadre of Asian activists? ... organizations like the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium, the Organization for Chinese Americans

I'll hazard a guess that all of these organizations are Democratic Party front groups. They will not seriously engage in confrontation with groups seen as necessary to the success of the Democratic political coalition. Their mission is to attack to "white right," and leave the left - especially minorities - alone.

19 posted on 09/18/2002 1:01:41 PM PDT by Snuffington
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To: Rensselaer
you are correct. but I'm no fan of the CFR and typically would not waste my time reading their bunk
20 posted on 09/18/2002 1:06:19 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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