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Do you have to be white to be racist?

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rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

I don't know if you saw a couple of open forum articles in the Source in the last few days.

http://www.onepaper.com/stcroixvi/?v=d&s=Commentary:Open+Forum&p=1212902059

http://www.onepaper.com/stcroixvi/?v=d&i=&s=Commentary:Open+Forum&p=1212902145

The second writer seems to think that only whites can be racist.

From the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary.
rac·ism
Function: noun
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
— rac·ist -sist also -shist noun or adjective

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Topic starter Posted : September 13, 2008 4:23 am
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

In the second article, Latty correctly defines racism as, "a system in which a racial group [are] systematically oppressed by another race." His error follows when he states, "There can be no black-on-white racism in the Virgin Islands - one look at the socioeconomic classes on the island will show that whites do not have any disadvantage at all from the so-called racism..." His mistake is in thinking that economic status is the only legitimate measure of oppression. One can, however, be a wealthy female and experience gender oppression from a poor male, just as one can be a wealthy white or black male and experience racial oppression by a poor peasant in a small town in Japan.

Whites are systematically oppressed in the USVI. For example, we lack a substantive political voice, not because we are unqualified for political office, but because the black majority elects candidates that promise to pass along to relatives and friends some of the "benefits" their political office affords them. This political corruption benefits most black locals in at least some small way, in that they generally have a relative, or a friend, or a relative of a friend, who can help them resolve whatever problems they encounter without all of the hoop jumping the rest of us endure. Because we're such a small place, most black locals are far fewer than six-degrees-of-separation from the most poltically powerful people on island. The blatantly racist elements of the Constitution being drafted make it clear that the USVI government is a private club whose sole purpose is to benefit its members, and white people lack the pedigree to join and enjoy the government's benefits. If that isn't racism, then nothing is.

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Posted : September 13, 2008 5:24 am
Marty on STT
(@Marty_on_STT)
Trusted Member

Well put, Dntw8up. In almost 11 years of living here as a white male, I have just accepted the racism as part of the whole here....yeah, being white, I get waited on last, the bank clerk goes on break when I'm next in line, the cashier closes right when I get up there at the grocery store, plenty of teeth sucking and eye rolling, but, whatcha gonna go? I just take it one day at a time, smile politely and let others worry about such things. I can't change it, so I accept it. As long as I am polite and treat everyone I meet with respect, I figure I'm doing my part...my job is not to monitor others to make sure they do their part...I just keep my side of the street clean and treat everyone the way I want to be treated...if someone is treating me differently due to my skin color, so be it...that's their problem, not mine.

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Posted : September 13, 2008 10:58 am
islandtyme
(@islandtyme)
Trusted Member

man o man I would love to join in on this one, but will refrain. Like Marty says, you can't do anything but just smile. Gets harder & harder everyday when some lil punk calls ya a white n****..........and all you were doing is cleaning up the trash his lil butt threw on the ground!!!

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Posted : September 13, 2008 1:23 pm
SapphireBeach08
(@SapphireBeach08)
Advanced Member

Well said Marty. That's all we can do--be respectful and friendly. People will respond in their own way, there's no changing someone else's attitude.

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Posted : September 13, 2008 1:26 pm
rkurpiers
(@rkurpiers)
Advanced Member

dntw8up,

I don't know that I agree with you - with the operative words being "I don't know".

Off the top of my head I can think of some long -resident white families in the V.I. that have enjoyed a significant political voice. If their numbers are dwindling, does the reason include the perception, real or imagined, that they are feeling an increasing burden of exclusion due to racism? Like I said, "I don't know".

Paiewonsky, deLugo, Berry, van Beverhoudt; are just some of the names that immediately come to mind. What I wonder, and what could be an interesting topic of conversation, is what are the true underlying reasons for the seeming lack of white involvement in V.I. politics?

Is it racism? Is it lack of political ambition? Is it the perception by the majority of the electorate that someone isn't "local", regardless of their race? Is it lack of white voter participation?

Barshinger is a relative new-comer to the islands by most standards. 20 years of living in the V.I., in most eyes, doesn't qualify someone as being a "true" local Virgin Islander. Yet, through persistence and involvement he became a senator. I suspect his success was due in large part to white voter turnout; and his unsuccessful bid for reelection due to a small white voter turnout. Nevertheless, he would not have been elected if it weren't for a significant number of local black voters who also chose him on the ballot.

Both deLugo and Berry enjoyed long political careers. Why? Had the Paiewonsky family chosen to stay in the V.I., and had political ambitions, I suspect that they too would have enjoyed a political voice that extended beyond Michael Paiewonsky's two terms in the Senate (since Ralph was appointed governor I will exclude him in this discussion).

No doubt there is black-on-white prejudice that is alive and well in the V.I., but I don't know that it is accurate to blame the lack of white representation in V.I. politics on racism.

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Posted : September 13, 2008 2:16 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

The reason that I ask this question is because I could not find a definition for racism which included "a system in which a racial group [are] systematically oppressed by another race." I could find no definition which required systematic oppression to qualify as racism yet I have heard multiple people use this as an excuse as to why black people cannot be racist. I believe that we all have a little bit of it in us some more than others, we are all products of our environment.

I grew up in the south (Tennessee) in the 50's and 60's during segregation. I never even knew a black person until college. Blacks and whites had separate school systems, separate athletic programs, etc. Was that racism? You betcha! There were even still businesses around which had four restrooms since men and women and coloreds and whites had to be separated. I still can't believe some of the things that I hear my father say today. I especially worry about what he might say when he comes down to visit STX. But things change, hopefully for the better. When I went away to college I ended up with a black roommate one quarter during my freshman year in the dorm. College changed my thinking about quite a few things as it should. My views about race, religion and politics all underwent an overhaul.

One of the things that happened in the VI that I thought was racist happened three years ago this month. A lady shop owner on St John was having racial problems with one of her neighbors. The lady was black and the neighbor was white male. The white male had made racial remarks to the black female. During this time the black lady claimed that she had been raped by three white men. Not the white male shop owner. This caused so much community outrage that a boatload of Crucians and St Thomians had to organize a rally on St John and stage a sit in to shut down white owned businesses on St John. There was so much outrage that this rape was declared a hate crime and three federal agencies had to be brought in to investigate. After a six month investigation by by the FBI, ATF, the Justice Department and VIPD they could not confirm that a rape had actually taken place. There was no evidence that there had been a rape. But this aside, the white shop owners who had their businesses shut down for a few days didn't have anything to do with the rape, their only "crime" was being white. This was a case of organized racism by a large group. Were the white businesses compensated for this racist act? No. Was anyone held accountable for the expense of a six month investigation? No.

Now to contrast this. I have lived on St Croix for ten years. During that time I am aware of at least 5 rapes of white women by black men. Were these hate crimes? No one thought so. Was the community outraged? You couldn't tell that they were by the reporting in the papers. This is business as usual, but let one local lady allege that she was raped by white men and all hell breaks loose. Is this racism? I think so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism#Definitions

I found this article interesting.
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=77B692D7-EA0C-47F4-BE56-4A6EFB81A594

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Topic starter Posted : September 13, 2008 9:10 pm
EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
Advanced Member

Racism in any form is inhumane...

But, the bottom line to me on this issue is:
- "we" whites were racist (by virtue of slavery) for many, many years. Eventually, as a group we came to the realization that it was just wrong, and finally had the conviction to change it. Maybe some of the past-oppressed feel they have to "try on racism" for a while... eventually I think they'll come to the same conclusion... it's just wrong.

- Marty, I totally relate to your reaction. I have great faith in people in general. But, when people seem to disrespect me, I figure that either I've done something I didn't realize, hit them on a bad day, reminded them of someone else, or they just haven't grasped the concept of "global respect" yet. If I thought I could say something that would help, I would... but not knowing the person or situation, I'd probably just make matters worse... Instead I hope that I add to the "forces of good" effectively through my own actions.

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Posted : September 14, 2008 2:44 am
newarrival
(@newarrival)
Advanced Member

I really haven't noticed the teeth-sucking and eye-rolling... maybe I am oblivious. One of my reasons for choosing St. Croix as a place to raise my kids was the racial diversity and relative harmony. Plenty of urban areas in the mainland seem much more dangerous and hateful. I have been really happy here for the past 6 months.

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Posted : September 14, 2008 1:45 pm
A Davis
(@A_Davis)
Trusted Member

In a word, no.

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Posted : September 15, 2008 4:16 am
Bombi
(@Bombi)
Trusted Member

I didn't read the attached articles, but I have an opinion. Where there are different races there is racism,

I 've felt it Puerto Rico while working there.
I've definitely felt it in the Dominican republic while working there.
Tennessee and Kentucky as well.

I'm white and grew up with a dark family as neighbors in rural Massachusetts. There was a boy about my age and we hung out and played as children do. So many times our differences were singled out by friends, family, teachers and even our priest, it confused me. My grandfather, was an overt racist and embarraseed me many times with his comments. My only thought back then was why?

We are on their island and sure we all live under the same flag but the bottom line is that we are different in appearance and culture but we are all the same under our skin and in our souls.

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Posted : September 15, 2008 12:00 pm
Cory
 Cory
(@Cory)
Advanced Member

Yes...we are different in appearance and culture...but we all bleed red!

Best you can do is live by the golden rule...Treat others the way you want to be treated and this world we live in would be a much better place.

I have been living here for a month and yes racism exists. I rather turn my other cheek than cause a situation. To me everyone starts with an "A", i believe good exists in all people. Its the times that you are shocked by someones blatent disrespect because of the color of your skin, the way you talk, or the way you dress thats hurts the most.

If you let the anger get into your own soul, racism hurts you more than the one who wronged you.

Dont let it bring you down!

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Posted : September 15, 2008 12:34 pm
meowruff
(@meowruff)
Advanced Member

You'll love this one! Today, my students received a small issue of Time Magazine (for Social Studies purposes). On the front cover was McCain. Some of the students started coloring his hair blue and making bad faces out of his picture. When I questioned one of the students regarding his behavior, he stated it was because he didn't like white people. Now, I had fun with his one (because I'm white) and asked him why he didn't like me then. He said his mom told him that he wasn't supposed to like white people, but I wasn't a "real white person" and he really liked me because I wasn't really white.

This sparked a beautiful conversation amongst the students today regarding "racism" and treating people differently because of personal prejudices. It was very eye-opening for me and for the students, as they realized that there are all sorts of prejudices (fat vs skinny, rich vs poor, tall vs short, etc.) and the only thing that comes from them is negative vibes. It was a fascinating moment to sit back and say "I think they got it!" Now, if I could just bring everyone on the island into my classroom, my students could help them understand.

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Posted : September 15, 2008 8:04 pm
goalusvi
(@goalusvi)
Advanced Member

Meowruff - Thank you for taking the time to turn that into such a positive learning experience. Sometimes it's so easy to avoid such an awkward situation but you did an amazing job giving those children a chance to learn a real life lesson 🙂

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Posted : September 15, 2008 8:21 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

"...He said his mom told him that he wasn't supposed to like white people..."

Unfortunately I think this is pretty common. And when your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all of your peers and their families share the same perspective, why then it has to be correct, because they can't all be wrong.

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Posted : September 15, 2008 9:44 pm
stephaniev
(@stephaniev)
Advanced Member

I don't know what the hell the "black" people think we "whites" owe them,but okay already,slavery is over!! you know,this island is not "theirs",we are founded from every culture,white,indian,asian,black-we all have the pride of saying this island was founded by many. So whom ever has the uneducated,underappreciative,ignorant upbringing needs to take thier negativity to thier own neiborbhood and lock themselves in &/or as I do,treat them as they "expect" and treat them like the dirt they are. Not because they are black or white,or other,but because they are rude ignorant s.o.b's who don't deserve my time or kindness. I will gladly give a friendly nod,good morning,good afternoon to deserving individuals who show me the same respect.

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Posted : September 15, 2008 11:04 pm
EngRMP
(@EngRMP)
Advanced Member

Ahhhh Meowruff,

I love to hear about those magical moments.... when children drop those wonderful learning opportunities in your lap. Many people don't see the opportunity to teach/show at those times... they just yell or scold. Well done!

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Posted : September 15, 2008 11:59 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Did you know that Rastas are racist?

From www.religionfacts.com

"Leonard Howell emerged as an early leader of the movement. He taught six fundamental Rastafarian principles: (1) hatred for the White race; (2) the complete superiority of the Black race; (3) revenge on Whites for their wickedness; (4) the negation, persecution, and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica; (5) preparation to go back to Africa; and (6) acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as the Supreme Being and only ruler of Black people. Many of these principles were subsequently abandoned as the Rastafarian movement developed. "

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Topic starter Posted : September 16, 2008 12:25 am
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

stephaniev,

I think your remarks are insensitive and they make you sound like you come from an, "uneducated,underappreciative,ignorant upbringing."

While it is indeed true that white Americans no longer own black slaves, historically blacks have systematically had equality withheld. For example, in some places in America, public schools were still racially segregated (separate and inherently unequal) as late as the 1970s. Slavery was a morally corrupt part of America's history and its effects are still evident in, for example, the disproportionate numbers of blacks in our penal system. That said, I don't think equality can ever really exist among people. Gender, race, ethnicity and other visible differences among people will always be means people use to discriminate against one another. We may not like this aspect of ourselves, but I think it's human and perhaps part of our wiring, to band together with others who are like us and reject those who differ from us. Perhaps one of the the most amazing and unique features of America is that so many different people live together relatively peacefully.

As to what a group of oppressors owes a group they have oppressed, I think reparations is a moral matter. Slavery tore families and communities apart and an apology is morally required, as are efforts, like laws, that prevent future slavery. When reparations are cast in monetary terms, then the damage must likewise be evaluated monetarily. Enslaved ancestors paid a high price, but those wronged individuals no longer exist. Today, virtually all black Americans have a higher standard of living, and greater opportunities, than blacks in African nations. Because even poor American slave off-spring are more affluent than their African counterparts, in monetary terms slavery has improved the lot of descendants of enslaved blacks. Therefore, monetary reparations don't make any sense.

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Posted : September 16, 2008 12:49 am
Bombi
(@Bombi)
Trusted Member

Did you know that Rastas are racist?

From www.religionfacts.com

"Leonard Howell emerged as an early leader of the movement. He taught six fundamental Rastafarian principles: (1) hatred for the White race; (2) the complete superiority of the Black race; (3) revenge on Whites for their wickedness; (4) the negation, persecution, and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica; (5) preparation to go back to Africa; and (6) acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as the Supreme Being and only ruler of Black people. Many of these principles were subsequently abandoned as the Rastafarian movement developed. "

Roto, Your quote and information is likely historically correct however most religions, if you look to the past had some racial overtones. Maybe some Rastas still adhere to the old verbage but in my experience they generally are not racists. Sure they believe that a large proportion of the white race lives in Babylon. but if you look closer you will see that their faith has one of the most compassionate belief sets..

If your post began----Did you know that Rastas were racists--that it would be more accurate. One Love

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Posted : September 16, 2008 12:53 am
no0ne
(@no0ne)
Advanced Member

Not all Rasta are racists. My father was an atheist, and I was raised as such. My first real exposure to religion was through two kind Rasta who helped me learn about the Rastafari way when I was about 12, for a school paper on religion. They worked for my father, their names are (sp?) Ocinto and Cashew, and they are genuinely good people. According to them, most "Rasta" on the island are not true believers...

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Posted : September 16, 2008 12:54 am
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Sorry you guys are most likely correct. From the BBC website on religion.

"Rastafarian beliefs
There is no formal Rastafari creed and there are slight differences in the views of different groups.

The most definitive list is found in the 1977 book The Rastafarians, The Dreadlocks of Jamaica by scholar Leonard Barrett who lists what he regards as the six basic principles of Rastafari. He developed the list by attending public meetings and through anthropological research into the movement.

Haile Selassie I is the Living God
The Black person is the reincarnation of ancient Israel, who, at the hand of the White person, has been in exile in Jamaica
The White person is inferior to the Black person
Jamaica is hell; Ethiopia is heaven
The Invincible Emperor of Ethiopia is now arranging for expatriated persons of African origin to return to Ethiopia
In the near future Blacks shall rule the world
But Leonard Barrett's list is itself about thirty years old and so many of the beliefs above may no longer have the same significance to modern Rastafarians. This is especially true since the spread of the movement to the West which has led to the emergence of White Rastafarians.

Early beliefs
The basic tenets of early Rastafari, according to preacher Leonard Howell, included some very strong statements about racial issues, as might be expected in the religion of an oppressed people living in exile:

Hatred of Whites
Superiority of Blacks
Blacks are God's chosen people
Blacks will soon rule the world
Revenge on Whites for their wickedness
Whites will become the servants of Blacks
The negation, persecution and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica
Repatriation: Haile Selassie will lead Blacks back to Africa
Acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as God, and the ruler of Black people

Modern Rastafarian beliefs
From the 1930s until the mid 1970s most Rastafarians accepted the traditional Rastafari beliefs.

But in 1973 Joseph Owens published a more modern approach to Rastafari beliefs. In 1991 Michael N. Jagessar revised Owens's ideas, devising his own systematic approach to Rastafari theology and providing an insight into the changes in the group's beliefs.

The key ideas in contemporary Rastafari are:

The humanity of God and the divinity of man
This refers to the importance of Haile Selassie who is perceived by Rastafarians as a living God. Likewise it emphasises the concept of God revealing himself to his followers through his humanity.
God is found within every man
Rastafarians believe that God makes himself known through humanity. According to Jagessar "there must be one man in whom he exists most eminently and completely, and that is the supreme man, Rastafari, Selassie I."
God in history
It is very important to see all historical facts in the context of God's judgement and workings.
Salvation on earth
Salvation for Rastafarians is an earthly idea, rather than heavenly.
The supremacy of life
Human nature is very important to Rastafarians and they should preserve and protect it.
Respect for nature
This idea refers to the importance and respect Rastafarians have for animals and the environment, as mirrored in their food laws.
The power of speech
Speech is very important to Rastafarians, as it enables the presence and power of God to be felt.
Evil is corporate
Sin is both personal and corporate. This means organisations such as the International Monetary Fund are responsible for Jamaica's fiscal situation, and that oppression is in part influenced by them.
Judgement is near
This corresponds to the nearness of judgement for Rastafarians when they will be given greater recognition.
The priesthood of Rastafarians
Rastafarians are the chosen people of God and are on earth to promote his power and peacefulness.
(Joseph Owens The Rastafarians of Jamaica, 1973 pp. 167-70 and Jagessar, JPIC and Rastafarians, 1991 pp. 15-17.)

To modern Rastafari the most important doctrine is belief in the divinity of Haile Selassie I. Although some Rastafarians still regard Haile Selassie as the black messiah, many modern adherents do not see this as central to their faith.

Haile Selassie's death in 1975 was described by his followers as his 'disappearance', since they refused to believe he has passed away. Following his death and the increased acceptance of Jamaican culture in society many Rastafarian beliefs have been modified."

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Topic starter Posted : September 16, 2008 1:16 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

just a quick comment. isn't it true that blacks in Africa sold their own people to the whites for the purpose of slavery. if that's the case why dont black people sue the African government for repartations and not just the whites.
unfortunately, i think the majority of people are racist in some way and until people of all races can look beyond the color, religion etc. of people and look at who they are as a human being we will never get beyond the racism issue. i judge people on an individual basis and dont judge as a whole.
one more quick comment, slavery unfortunately has been prevalent throughout the history of the world, all races and all cultures of people. slavery is still going on today.

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Posted : September 16, 2008 12:40 pm
stephaniev
(@stephaniev)
Advanced Member

dntw8up,?? who the hell are YOU to tell me I sound blah,blah,blah, and then turn right around and "try" to make yourself sound like you know what you're talking about. Try actually reading books not just the pictures. Also,an education and etiquette.

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Posted : September 16, 2008 6:53 pm
SistaIrijah
(@SistaIrijah)
Advanced Member

I don't know what the hell the "black" people think we "whites" owe them,but okay already,slavery is over!! you know,this island is not "theirs",we are founded from every culture,white,indian,asian,black-we all have the pride of saying this island was founded by many. So whom ever has the uneducated,underappreciative,ignorant upbringing needs to take thier negativity to thier own neiborbhood and lock themselves in &/or as I do,treat them as they "expect" and treat them like the dirt they are. Not because they are black or white,or other,but because they are rude ignorant s.o.b's who don't deserve my time or kindness. I will gladly give a friendly nod,good morning,good afternoon to deserving individuals who show me the same respect.

good afternoon...

i feel as if the above comment was racist and privileged in nature.

aside from that stephniev, before i give my take on some of this....were you born on the island of cruzian heritage?

Sis Irijah

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Posted : September 16, 2008 7:49 pm
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