Sunday, April 13, 2008

Recognizing Cultural Differences Versus Racism

"Facts is facts" ~ Larry the Cable Guy

Probably the only thing I agree with Barack Hussein Obama about is the fact that his skin color shouldn't have any influence on his worthiness to be President. I personally have never considered his race to be a factor for making a decision on whether to vote for him. It is the content of his character, not his color, that concerns me.

And, in my humble opinion, his positions on the variety of vitally important issues disqualifies him from being a capable leader of my country.

I don't dislike him because he is black. I dislike him because he is completely wrong for this country.

My personal opinion notwithstanding, B. Hussein's campaign has made it crystal clear that his skin color has absolutely nothing to do with his ability to lead.

Or does it?

Over at Obama's official web site, the words color, race, minority, etc, pepper all of his media offerings. See for yourself. It would appear Obama intends to ride the wave of racism and white guilt all the way into the oval office. (for a laughable definition of "white Guilt" see Wikipedia's Liberally biased offering, here )

For someone who continually insists that his skin color doesn't make a difference he certainly expends a lot of energy attempting to point his ethnicity out to potential voters.

I have avoided discussing race in general because to do so would automatically bring accusations of racism and bigotry against me and anyone who might appear to agree with me, but since Obama's campaign has brought the subject up, I might as well toss in my two cents worth.

A couple of days ago, I heard a talk radio host ask a caller if he was black or white, and it occurred to me that we as a society have become politically correct to the point of absurdity.

Here's the impetus for the previous statement:

The caller had an unmistakable "black" accent. Even the best white impressionists cannot "fake" a black accent that well. The caller was black. That fact was obvious to even the most passive listener. The host didn't need to ask. And yet, he did.

No matter how a black man tries to hide a black accent, anyone who listens closely can detect the inflections of a black accent in his voice. With the exceptions of non-American blacks, such as British blacks, one only has to listen to know that whomever is talking is black.

I will never refer to any black person as "articulate". That is a term many racist white people use to avoid being called racist. It is a subtle racial epithet. It implies that most black people are not "articulate".

Listen to Alan Keyes, or Colin Powell, or Condaleeza Rice, or Bill Cosby sometime. Really listen. The accent is there.

That's not a bad thing. It is what it is.

As much as we wish to deny it, there are differences in black and white cultures. There are differences in all cultures, and it extends well beyond the obvious differences of skin color and accents in speech. There is no shame or honor in being different in any way.

All men, as God and the Declaration of Independence have so ably pointed out, are created equal.

But, as much as we would like to, inherent differences in racial cultures cannot be denied or even ignored.

And it's not racist to point it out. It is simply fact. It isn't an insult or a compliment.

In my estimation, pretending not to notice the obvious differences between race and culture is racist in and of itself. A couple of years ago, a black lawyer published an article in several newspapers in commemoration of Martin Luther King's birthday entitled, "America Should Honor The Teaching Of King", in which he equates poverty with being black. This is, of course, an opinion based on a racist viewpoint. Obviously, blacks are not the only people in America who are poor, but if one reads the essay, one gets that impression from the author.

On the other hand, whites, as a society, have become so race conscious that the pendulum has swung from blatant, mindless racism to oversensitivity about offensiveness well past the point of absurdity.

Differences in cultures create stereotypes. Stereotypes have basis in fact, or at least in our perception of the things we observe. For example:

In my dealings with the public throughout my life, I have observed certain behaviors that appear to be inherent in the black culture. They are not bad things. They are just inherent differences. Many black people stay up late at night and sleep late in the mornings, often into the afternoon if they don't have to work the next day.

That is not a negative or a positive. It is simply fact based on my personal observations over the years. And it's not exclusive to the black race. It is just more prevalent in the black race than in the white race from what I've observed.

There are more cultural differences between blacks and whites I've observed. Blacks seem to use the telephone more than whites. I don't know why, but they do. Again, it isn't a bad thing. Maybe they just have more friends than white people. That would be a good thing, wouldn't it?

Blacks appear to be more emotionally demonstrative and passionate than whites in general. This is not true of all blacks and it isn't true of all whites, either, but it appears to be more prevalent in the black culture. Again, these things are based upon my own personal observance.

Blacks, for the most part, dress up for church more (and better) than whites. And, in my opinion, they are generally more respectful of God in the way they dress. It is a positive cultural aspect of growing up in an environment that teaches their children to dress up out of respect for God.

That is definitely not a bad thing.

My bride says she prefers white hairdressers over black hairdressers because black hair is different and requires different styling and cutting techniques. White hairdressers are usually better at styling white people's hair and blacks are usually better with black people's hair. That isn't racist. It is just fact.

It is not a coincidence that manufacturers of menthol cigarettes, malt liquors, and certain clothing designs place advertisements for their products in predominately black neighborhoods and publications. These advertisements are results of market research, which tells the advertisers that targeting the black market will generate more profit for their clients.

This targeting of the black market is based on cultural observation. It is intelligent marketing, not racism.

When someone points out there are differences between black and white cultures, it doesn't make that someone a racist.

It is time we stop pretending that noticing those differences somehow makes one a racist.


Erudite Redneck said...

Ya know, I thought I could recognize a "black dialect" until, after weeks of talking to a guy on the phone in way, way south Mississippi, and thinking he was black because of the way he talked, I met him -- and was floored to find out he was as white as I am.

Dialects have little if anything to do with race, per se; they have to do with patterns of speech perpetuated within communities of similar people, by region, class, etc.

Mark said...

Yes, that's true, ER. I neglected to mention my own experience of talking to a guy from NC for a while on the phone and thinking he was black until I was told he wasn't.

I don't want anyone to infer that there are no exceptions to any generalizations. If I give that impression, I apologize.

The Localmalcontent said...

Your post, as well as your comments elsewhere (Abouna) suggest differently.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Obama has made this a race issu because he himself is a racsist. His writings and his speeches and those he associates with, betray this without him actually coming right out and saying it.

Welcome back Mr and Mrs Mark.....congrats!

Erudite Redneck said...

Eh, some people think I'm a racist because of my interest in the Confederacy and Southern history in general, and because I don't condemn my great-grandpa, who was a Reb from the Ozarks. So, piffle on calling someone a racist based only on what they say and write. It's what they do that matters.

And, of course, when white people in this country have been a minority for a few generations, and "white pride" or European-American pride, or whatever, naturally emerges and loses the negative connotation it has now, we'll ALL be racists by today's narrow-mined standards.

And then maybe we'll all realize what a joke these kinds of differences really are, have a big laugh about how silly our parents and grandparents were, say a prayer together and move on.

In the meantime, though, myself, not ever having been part of a minority, I'm not going to judge the alleged racist speech or writings of those who have been.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I will never refer to any black person as "articulate". That is a term many racist white people use to avoid being called racist. It is a subtle racial epithet. It implies that most black people are not "articulate".

That's a pretty astute observation, mark. You're very articulate. (^_^)

Actually, going even further past, we could come around full circle by not being offended should a person who's black be referred to as "articulate". After all, we may come to a point where "articulate" implies what it implies, and nothing more. And it will be perfectly fine to refer to a man as articulate without any relevance to skin complexion.

Marshall Art said...

I mentioned this before, though I don't know where. It doesn't seem racist to acknowledge the facts. If we were to test each race for a variety of things, say 100,000 of each in areas of academics, physical abilities, or whatever, I can't see how it would be possible that each would always score the same in every area. It doesn't seem likely that it would be so. But so what? It would be nice to know that if we needed someone to, say, knit a pair of socks, we could wager on the nearest [state your preferrred race here] to produce a quality pair because we found out that race outperformed the others for knitting. It's certainly not racist to recognize where one race exceeds or falls short compared to the others in a given area. That's not what being created equal is all about.

Henry said...

Makes me think of Jimmy "The Greek".

Gayle said...

No, Obama's skin color should have absolutely no bearing on anything.

Hi, Mark!

What I think does have some bearing on him, is the fact that he found out very early on that he had the type of charisma that could darn near hypnotize people into believing anything he says and that's what makes him dangerous. I have a movie clip posted that is a great example of that.

There are, as Eridite Redneck points out, many whites, especially men, who sound black, especially in the south. I don't know why that is, but it is. I can not always tell a black accent though. I know several blacks, mainly women, who sound exactly like I do. As a general rule though, what you have written here is true and it's a good post.

Ken is also correct: Obama did make this an issue himself.

fromwembley said...

Interesting post. I believe the blogger spent a lot of time thinking about it and wrote sincerely.

And that bothers me. I don't think blacks deserve such consideration. You won't find blacks on the web blogging such positive things about Whites. You won't hear blacks on radio call-in shows saying such positive things about Whites.

When you are White and you treat blacks as people you set yourself up for a kick in the pants. Why? Because blacks don't see Whites as people. Blacks see Whites as targets. Blacks have nothing but contempt for Whites. And by blacks I mean EACH AND EVERY black. Not just some.

Marshall Art said...

For Fromwembley,

Have you personally polled each and every black person? If you haven't, are you aware of anyone who has?

Mark said...

Fromwembley, half of the problem with race relations in this country is people like you. The other half are black racists.

You are no different than them.

Ms.Green said...

Mark, this is one of the best posts you've ever written. Some great insights and many truths that are widely known but seldom said out loud.

I'm not voting AGAINST Obama because he is Black. But there are a whole lot of people that are going to vote FOR Obama because he IS Black. Who's racist?