Saturday, October 25, 2008


I was listening to "All things considered" on NPR (10/24 - York Voters Express Post-Election Hopes, Fears: go to the npr website and find it there if my attachment doesn't work) and they were discussing how the country would be different if it was lead by a black man. One lady (Moreland) said: ""
I was shocked at what she said and how she prefaced what appeared to me to be a racist comment with "I'm not racist." It also raised the questions to me about racism and the election and how many people are voting based on race - despite years of civil rights work. What is your reaction to this woman's quote? Do you think she is racist? How do you think she justifies her ideas? 


Danya said...

Zoe-I thought this article was very interesting, and so were the questions you posed. The qestion I liked in particular was "Do you think she is a racist?" My answer is: yes, I think that Moreland is a racist. The Merriam-Webster definition of racism is, "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." Moreland has a very prejudiced/descriminatory point of view, as proved by her comments about the nature of black people as violent, chaotic people who break windows when they don't have their way. She says nothing about white people doing the same... while she does indeed state that she is not a racist, sh continues to make discriminatory comments, suggesting her true prejudiced feelings.
Honestly, though, I think Moreland may just be confused and poorly educated. The way her sentences are formed makes it difficult to understand what point she is trying to convey, and whether she is a racist or not.Even the man who spoke after her seemed confused about what she was trying to say, and I can see how it can be argued that Moreland is NOT a racist as well...she does not discriminate against the race as a whole, but only certain, more violent individuals, who are 'out on the street looking for trouble.' This brings me to Shellie's questions about discrimination... is it still discrimination if it is only directed towards certain individuals in a race? If so, does that make it racism?

Shellie said...

Zoe, I also thought this was a very interesting article. I completely disagree with what Moreland suggests, because I believe people have a little more common sense than that. People will vote for Obama hopefully based on what he stands for and what he wants to achieve. I don't think I can justify that though through analysis, because to be honest, a lot of people are registered as independent, and I just don't know their views. It would be most wise to vote based on the issues that the candidates are presenting, rather that their race or whatever. Let me get back to the subject.
I think Moreland is somewhat of a racist, but that could be due to a number of things. One, she might have been raised that way so she may not know any other view. Two, I think it has a lot do do with where she lives as well. The attitudes towards blacks here are rather different from the attitudes towards blacks in the deep south or similar places. I agree with danya; she does make the egregious generalizations about how blacks are these naturally violent people and having how having Obama would create disarray and chaos. Stating you are not a racist doesn't make you not a racist.
I can sort of understand where she is coming from though. As a nation, the people of the United States have had 232 years of white, male presidents, and a lot of people might still believe that things need to be this way, because this is what has been the norm for such a long time, and people are afraid of change, which is part of human nature. But human nature cannot be confused with morality. There is a definite line between what is right, and what is comfortable. Suppose I kill people because it makes me comfortable; this doesn't make the action of murder right and moral. I think Moreland needs a bit of a reality check. Racism is honestly not cool, and she may not think she is being racist, but maybe someone needs to open her eyes to it.

To respond to Danya, racism and discrimination can be synonymous I suppose, but I don't think they always are. I think racism is predicated more on the fact that you have animosity towards an entire race and discrimination is acting upon that animosity, aka, actively doing things to separate these people. One is a sentiment, and the other is an action. Maybe? Does anyone else have opinions on the matter?

griffin said...

This woman is obviously either a. racist, b. suffering from delusional paranoia or c. both. Probably both. Her argument that our overall mistreatment of the blacks in our communities would come back to bite us is a throwback to the southerners during Reconstruction.

As for voting based on race, it is a stupid idea. The office of president is undoubtedly the most stressful, important job in this country. The president should be the most intelligent candidate running: in this case, the man who graduated Harvard; Obama. To vote on base issues such as skin color makes no sense. What change do you expect to happen due to a candidates skin color? Even if Obama did establish legislature based on ethnicity, it would probably be vetoed as unconstitutional even before becoming law.

blckpanda said...

hm... well, i do agree with everyone that she does sound like a racist. The language she uses, the words, the phrases she used made her sound like a racist. But then, it could also be that she meant to say what she said. Also, to me it seemed like she was more discriminated against several groups of black people, not the whole race. and that might be because she had some kind of experience that made her be more discriminated against those that "makes trouble" - maybe she had an experience with the wrong people. It's something we may never know. And I also agree with Michelle, about how Moreland's environment could have affected her view and about how with the long years of having just white presidents, having a first black president changes a traditional routine - that it makes people uncomfortable with the new.