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Aug./Sept '20 Antiracism > Chapter 1: Is it All About Race?

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message 1: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
In the first chapter, Oluo discusses how we cannot remove race from the conversation around "larger" topics like classicism or feminism or other issues.

This taps into the intersectionality of people of color. They cannot separate their skin color from their class, gender, etc. But instead have all of these aspects to contend with.

To paraphrase Oluo: Black people live in a world where having a black sounding name means they are less likely to receive a job interview, will they equally benefit from raising minimum wages if they cannot get a job? Or how black neighborhoods are considered riskier investments by banks. Will black people receive equal treatment when they receive higher mortgage rates from the bank for the neighborhood they live in?

Discussion Topics:
How have you seen race effect class or gender?

What ways have you seen institutional systems work against people of color negatively or white people positively?

One of the complaints against the current issues facing the US is that it's not all about race. Oluo argues the opposite. What issues aroud race are effecting your countries and are they tied with other issues too (class, gender, religion)


message 2: by Florian (new)

Florian (laughingflow) | 220 comments Hello Pam,

Sadly I haven't read the book. However I talked a bit about that with black friends.

The first one did not really experienced discrimination and he told that he tried to be a bit away from Black Lives Matter because it was exhausting him. (He is based in France).

Another friend, from Rwanda, also discussed that with me (I should say, I started the discussion then I listened). He knows discriminations happened but not to him. One point is belongs to a church and he has found a lecturer job in a college related to that church. Also, what he experienced in his country as a really young boy made him extremely nice and kind and he tends to speak so kindly even when the topic would rises passion in most people. (he is based in US).

Finally, the last friend I recently discussed with definitely told me that there was a huge impact of race culture on many things. She talked about hair, and said that a substantial amount of black women make them hair straight to meet western standards. She said to me that, sadly, afro hair were seen as no professional. It's not really the colour of skin but it's part of someone's physical appearance. There is also an important thing to acknowledge, the French people tend to minize the significance of racism in our country. It's like a denial and when a black person is subjected to racism it's not rare to hear others say she/he is exaggerating and that there is no racism in France. In my opinion they are wrong. There is racism in my country, it's maybe less raw and more comparable to a vicious poison.

From my own point of view, I have mainly seen structural racism in my country. There are more black people in poor area (regarding France standards), and usually infrastructures do not have the same attention than in other area. It' s not a general landscape. Some black people are in better district but based on proportion I would say that they are more black left behind than white in the big cities of France. (black people in the countryside are really rare).

I guess that based on my discussions black women are more subject to discriminations than black men but once again it's based on the information I got so I might be wrong.

I'll probably have other discussions next week so I can add a few points here.


message 3: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 264 comments i saw the race differences in my hometown of Milwaukee, starting when i was a young white girl in the 50's. black people lived on the north side of town, known as the 'core' (it wasn't called the 'hood' back then), and white people lived on the south side.

there was a definite difference in what the houses looked like, lawns, streets, etc., many of which weren't maintained as well. i remember asking my dad one day if we could drive through the 'core' cuz i'd never seen it, didn't know what everyone was talking about.

when people of color tried to rent on the south side of town, they were turned down - later experiments showed this was based entirely on skin color.

during the 60's, before the equal housing act was passed, a white priest, father groppi, whose congregation was black and on the north side, led a march across town in protest of this practice. white people were waiting for them on the other side of the bridge, some of them holding shotguns.

we endured riots and curfews back then, same as today. the equal rights amendment was finally passed in '64, and i think it was 2 years later that the equal housing act was passed. these demonstrations took place in wisconsin, and is occurring there, again, as we speak.

what a shame that this continues nearly 60 years later - that's 3 generations! i've worked hard to get thru my racist upbringing, and sent my daughters to spanish immersion schools for 9 years in order that they would have the opportunity of mixing with children of many races.


message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
Races cannot be good or evil as "race" is a made up term used to categorize people. And it's made up of individuals. I.e. white people are not one singular mind and therefore cannot be a singular good or bad. White people can be seen as bad, but an entire race cannot be.


message 5: by Frances (new)

Frances (francesab) | 38 comments As an older white woman who has been involved in feminism for many years, I do agree with the author that dealing with issues of race is necessary within feminism (and other social movements), and there have been struggles within the movement to address race and its impact on women. A number of feminist organizations have been called out and/or found wanting for their own track records on accepting and promoting women of colour within their organizations. While the second wave feminist movement did bring attention to issues of race, sexual orientation, and class in their work (I was introduce to authors such as bell hooks and Audre Lourde through feminism groups) they were not always particularly successful in practicing what they preached.

Certainly the BLM movement has been very successful in getting this conversation going, and promoting self-education among those of us who hope to change and to build an inclusive society. I was pointed to this book through discussions at work and had ordered a copy so was excited to see that this is being discussed in this group.


message 6: by Florian (new)

Florian (laughingflow) | 220 comments Hello, feel free to create a thread if you wish to approach another chapter ;)


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