Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chain chain chain...

I've signed on to do the AW blog chain for this month, and everyone's posts have been interesting so far. Razib Ahmed posted about life during the economic recession. Then it was Benjamin Solah with the view that nationalism is racism. Then Fresh Hell chimed in from Virginia with a post about racial relations. Everyone had a clear point of view and something unique to say.

Oy, the pressure. My blog is light and fluffy, people! If you don't believe me, just check out my last post about Cashew Chicken.

I was inspired by a comment in Fresh Hell's blog about racism Virginia being a scary state. I do have to say, it's everywhere, even here in left-liberal Manhattan. But in places like this it's more covert. Lee-Jackson-King Day would never fly here, and if you say the n-word you won't be invitied to the next dinner party. But I have heard the following remarks, for sure:

When looking for a babysitter
"Whatever you do, don't hire a Caribbean nanny."

When applying to private school kindergarten
"Of course the Smith family will have no trouble getting junior in. They're considered 'diversity.'"

At a fundraiser
"I like supporting the scholarship fund so families like the Smiths can afford to send their kids here."

Such assumptions about those poor Smiths! Which, by the way, are untrue.

So our own negative prejudices are unlikely to go away anytime soon. But I do hope that electing the first black president is a huge step in the right direction on that front.

There, I was at least semi-serious in a post. And it didn't hurt a bit.

Next up: madderblue


Janna Leadbetter said...

I think even when people consider themselves untouched by racism (or any number of prejudices), it still seeps in through the smallest of cracks.

Anonymous said...

The assumptions about the Smiths not being able to afford the private school is probably stastically correct, no?

WendyCinNYC said...

Janna--Very true.

AC--When my daughter was in preschool, I saw a document I wasn't supposed to see when I was working on something in the office. It was a list of FA families who were supposed to get a special mailing. The vast majority were white.

The "Smiths," my friend soon learned, were fabulously wealthy!

FreshHell said...

Yes, there are all kinds of prejudices and they won't ever go away, I'm afraid, they'll just be about something else. If not skin color or religion, then...something.

Anonymous said...

Still to this day, It is interesting how strongly valued structure and social order is in society, and how much emphasis is placed on the association of physical empowerment through racism and prejudice experiences.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Even though most people don't think so, we've got an awesome cultural melting pot here in Baton Rouge. We are the gumbo of the US and love it!

Spy Scribbler said...

Oooh, cringe! My husband is sometimes just a bit prejudiced. *sigh* I really don't know where it comes from. I try to change it, but... it is sllloooooow-going.

(He's really 99% a good guy, I swear!)

Jewel Allen said...

Sometimes I hear remarks similar to those said by people around me. And then I feel somehow invisible.

I have to say though, that sometimes racism can come from minorities who think they are entitled to slam whites.

So racism can cut both ways. Either way, it ain't pretty.

As a society, we have come a long way.

colbymarshall said...

I keep forgetting to look for the blog chain for some reason. Must do next time!

Kappa no He said...

Thanks Wendy! Really something to think about. Even in New York!

WendyCinNYC said...

FreshHell--True. Or whether or not one has a star on one's belly.

Ana--I agree, but I do think things are a hell of a lot better than they used to be. Change is sloooow, and I'm not sure it will ever be complete, but it's something.

Leon--How YOU doin'?

Angie--I like Baton Rouge a lot--I even considered going to LSU back in the day. But I would have been chasing a boyfriend, so that might not have been wise.

Spy--I think we all are, to one extent or the other. The trick is catching yourself with those feelings and recognizing the problem.

Pink--I'm sure that's true.

Colby--This one isn't a very long chain and it just started. You can probably add on if you like.

Kappa--Thanks for visiting!

Anonymous said...

From my childhood, I had a lot of attractions about people of other races, religions and countries. In my childhood, there was no cable TV (CNN or BBC) but I was a fan of newspapers and radio. I even tried to learn English language seriously. What is fascinating to note is that people of all races have some kind of prejudices about others. For example, here in my city, many people think that American people don’t get married and they just live together. Or American people have no idea about using spice in food and just eat boiled meat or fish. The list can continue. Well, sometimes, I try to protest that American life is indeed beyond Hollywood movies and MTV. I thought that the spread of satellite television and Internet would help to dispel these kinds of prejudice ideas. Well, many people are lazy and are reluctant to give some time and energy to look beyond their prejudices.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post (and all these great comments!). One thing that sprang to my mind is that prejudice isn't just about race or ethnicity. There is still an amazing amount of prejudice toward obese people, or disabled people, or poor people. I wish for the day when every person can be judged by their actions... instead of these "labels" we force them to wear.

WendyCinNYC said...

Razib--American television probably reinforces all those negative stereotypes. Thanks, Baywatch!

Kat--Yep, so true.

Thanks for visiting!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Please pick up some blog bling I'm posting tomorrow. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice point. So often those hidden forms of racism are the worst because they're harder to challenge.

If I had a dollar for everytime someone said, "I'm not a racist, but..." and then said something racist, I'd actually be able to afford to hire a nanny.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I was watching Obama talk the other day and realized I'm still amazed he's actually our president. It doesn't seem real to me, and that in itself feels wrong. But - I think it has more to do with my hatred of our last president & how I thought it would never end, and less to do with his skin color.

SarahMarian said...

Oh my god, I totally hear you about New York City society. Ain't it brutal? But all the more reason for people to read your novel, right?

Rafael said...

Interesting what people say in unguarded moments. But ultimately it is not so much about the words but the attitudes behind them.

Rafael said...

BTW, I'm starting another blogroll, just so you know.