Why Is the Conversation Always About Black and White People?

posted by Laurie Mulvey

Any thoughts on this? Seems to me to be a question that comes up in just about every race dialogue group that I have ever facilitated–especially if the group has some “brown” participants.

This website uses IntenseDebate comments, but they are not currently loaded because either your browser doesn't support JavaScript, or they didn't load fast enough.

354 Responses to Why Is the Conversation Always About Black and White People?

  1. Ada5043 says:

    I think the reason for which black and white people are always at the heart of a racial discussion, is in part like was stated, a result of the efforts of African Americans in making themselves a noticeable presence in the U.S. But I also believe that a part of the reason is even simpler than movements and such. I believe a part of it is simply the drastic difference in our complexion. I believe that people often go back to the topic not only because it was the most vocal struggle, but it was the struggle which included people most dramatically different in appearance.
    The issue of slavery itself was a result of difference in race. Individuals went so far as to determine a biological inferiority in blacks as a result of their complexion. African Americans were seen as subhuman because of the color of their skin. The struggle in and of itself was because of the color of African American skin. In many cultures, not just that of North Americans, the darker your skin is, the more unattractive you are. People strive to lighten their complexions in many cultures so as to appear more attractive by the standards of their society. As such, the issue of race and discrimination is more so concentrated on black and white because black people have the darkest complexions and is therefore the most present in the minds of individuals discussing inequality resulting from difference.
    I think It is easy for people to refer to because the difference is physical and requires little thought.. Arabs are discriminated against because of their religion. It is a discrimination based not only on appearance, but on the deeper issue of religion, which requires more thought. As such, it often eludes individuals who want to discuss discrimination without having to think deeply about anything other than the blatant physical difference between black and white.
    Often, I think about why the people seem to forget that the racial issue is not just between black and white people. Over time, I’ve concluded that people keep coming back to it because it was the longest struggle. Native Americans struggled for their land, but they are no longer as numerous as they were and no longer a strong presence due to their diminished numbers. But the blacks are constantly increasing in number and as such, continue to remain present in the minds of individuals having the racial discussion. Asians, to my way of thinking, are seen as less threatening because of their lighter complexions. Granted their facial features are different, but it is easier for people to overlook that difference because the color of their skin is not so different. Also, slavery was one of the most violent periods in American history. The violence began because of the skin color of individuals, and is still an ongoing battle for the same reasons.

    [Reply]

  2. mlp5180 says:

    It’s absolutely true to say that people from the North American tend to focus more on the differences between black and whites and often neglect to include other cultures in conversation. Unfortunately a lot of people from North America seem to think that everything just boils down to black and white. The images that Americans see everyday have constant subliminal messages that white has to be the good while black must be evil. I believe that the media has made a profound effect on which cultural groups Americans focus their attention on. Slavery of African Americans and their journey towards individual rights was highly publicized during the Civil Rights movements. But what about the slavery of Native Americans and how Europeans took over their land by force? Why were journalists so disinterested in this group of people? Of course the media could not provide coverage of the subject matter using technology during the time. Depressingly, written accounts of Native Americans are often found in small paragraphs in American history books and do not provide extensive information on Native Americans struggle. This leads me to believe that the media just wasn’t interested enough in hearing Native Americans side of the story. I’m sure some journalists thought that what Europeans were doing was wrong while others didn’t see Native Americans as an dramatic enough topic to cover(probably due to Native Americans not having the fire power and disease resistance to fight back and also because coverage would remind Europeans that killing off innocent people was wrong). On the other hand, there was extensive media coverage of African Americans and what this group of people had to say during the civil rights movement. Did white people start to see their legal control over African Americans start to fade and in a panic decided to make other whites aware of what was going on through the media in hopes of white supremacy support? Could be. During the times of old slavery, African Americans were important enough to slave owners to protect because slaves were so expensive. Due to greedy reasons to keep blacks alive, this may have allowed for the African American population to grow. In contrast, Europeans either could not hold onto large amounts of Native American slaves while conquering the land or did not have enough transportation to ship slaves back to Europe. I believe that Native Americans worth, in the eyes of Europeans, was not as highly regarded as white Americans had for their African American slaves. Thus Native Americans were not seen as a threat to whites and did not make dramatic enough stories for the media to cover. On the flip side, African Americans grew in population, wanted the rights that they deserve, and were eventually seen as a threat to white supremacy. Due to this fact alone, the media had a field day with covering the dramatic stories of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and other Civil Rights activists. People are influenced by the media more than they think. The media tells us how to dress, what to buy, what to discuss, and how to think. I believe that the media coverage during the Civil Rights movement has a direct affect on why North Americans seems to think that everything ultimately comes down to blacks and whites. But does it really come down to just black and whites? How narrow minded are we if people think this fallacy is true.

    [Reply]

  3. ask5089 says:

    When I think about growing up and spending time with my family and bringing up racial issues, it always came down strictly to black and white people. Never did anyone bring up issues about Chinese, Asians, Indians, Europeans, etc. It was all about black and white people, and I wondered why no one ever brought up topics of race besides black and white people. But after watching this short youtube video I completely understand. All of the past history that has to do with the white and black race is much more dramatic and meaningful than any past history that has happened with the white race and any other race.
    It's strange to think that not even in conversation do these two races seem to come up. But I feel like these two races are portrayed everywhere. In the media it always comes down to the black or white person. In music, its always black or white people. I can't even think of any actors or singers that are not black or white. We have had issues and such with so called 'brown' people, but nothing that has ever left an impression like issues involving black and white people.
    Maybe, its that we can't move pass this black and white thing because a good amount of citizens residing in the US are not educated and do not know of other issues revolving around white people and other races. Or maybe some citizens can't look pas of what has happened with the white and black race.

    [Reply]

  4. lss5052 says:

    I suppose it will always come back to the "Black and White" conversation when it comes to our country. Maybe that is comparable to how it will always come down to Democrats and Republicans, we very well may never have two other majority parties in our country… it is just the way it is and just the way it has always been. I am not saying this is a good thing, but it is the default backdrop on our minds. Black vs. White – Democrats vs. Republicans – both in constant change and strife. There will always be other people like Hispanics or Asians and other political movements like the Tea and Green Parties, but they just seem like ripples in the lake. I think the woman in the video clip was right in saying there has been such a long history of ever changing hardships and tribulations between Blacks and Whites that there is almost a sibling-like rivalry bond between the two?? Maybe that isn't the best way to describe it, but its the only way I know how to say what I mean. From a central Pennsylvanian small non-diverse town upbringing experience point of view, I feel like tensions between our two races have become increasingly better over the last fifty years, and they continue to get better, however this will not erase the past and what we have put each other through. When it comes to the "Black and White" conversation, I feel it is important to expand on our topics and bring new races and peoples to the table, it is time. And if it does indeed still come back to our time told conversation, we should meet each other with humility and acceptance, we should never forget the past, because we are still living through its repercussions, but we should learn and grow together to create better memories and futures for the generations who come to cooperate together when we are gone. Let's set the example.

    [Reply]

  5. mam5474 says:

    Wow. That is a new perspective I have never really thought about. I can see her point completely. Every time we discus race, the only think that comes to find is the civil rights movement and black v. white. It isn’t just the northeast. I am from the Midwest and I can honestly say that is the biggest race discussion there too. I completely agree with her that the civil rights movement probably has the biggest influence of our view. We saw African Americans stand up for their rights but you never really saw Asian Americans or Native Americans, even though the civil rights movement completely affected them too. Now that blacks have done it and paved the way it, I don’t believe there is a need for Asians or Native Americans to stand up, but it is probably one of the biggest reasons why it is always black and white in every race discussion.

    [Reply]

  6. mdonof5 says:

    This debate and topic of conversation will rage on for eternity. With that being said, I don’t how to judge how far we’ve ( referring to whites and blacks) have come on this issue as I have only been alive 19 years, all of which I spent in a predominantly white town. However, one thing I do know is that the debate and topic of conversation will rage on for as long as I’m alive and I don’t see a reason to stop talking about it. I know personally, I either hear, make, or discuss a stereotype about whites, blacks, Indians and other minorities day in and day out, it’s just the world we live in and to try to stop talking about it might make the racial divide thicker.

    [Reply]

  7. ralsoc119 says:

    This is a very true statement. In my sociology section we always come around to talking about black and white people, and how they interact and do not interact. Even if there are brown participants in the room, the conversation leads to dark skin versus light skin. I think the idea of why this happens could be really complex, but history really put this idea into motion. I think that both the history of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement has a lot to do with this whole black versus white conversation topic. With the history of slavery, white people made very clear cuts between white people and black people. Since they needed justification to enslave human beings, a lot of people were taught that there was a difference between black people and white people. They used strategies in order to separate black from white, so I think that from the past we have a tendency to see black people and white people as separate people. Also, the Civil Rights Movement distinguished the need for equal treatment of black people, so once again it was, in a way, black versus white. Black people had limited rights that very few white people experienced, so that separates us. The fact that there was a Civil Rights movement shows the tension between black and white people since the white man began this, so there comes about this black versus white idea. Also, the idea that the color of people is what is most readily available to our minds through vision probably has a lot to do with it as well. What two other colors are so different than black and white? The fact that the first thing we see about people is their color probably sets off our minds that that person is different from me or that person is the same as me. Hence, when we discuss race, a lot of the topics lead to black versus white because there is a natural tendency to notice that difference of skin color. Another possible reason could be the environment we all live in. Penn State is only twenty percent black students, so the topic for us students seems more appropriate to address because we see this white versus black topic everyday, just by walking around campus. Overall, all these reasons could be why this happens, but I think that we learn about the historical difference and fight between white and black people, so that give us a conversation topic. Also, the fact that historical discrimination has still not been completely eliminated makes the topic still appropriate and logical to want to discuss, especially in the United States with all the historical events.

    [Reply]

  8. dancinqueen says:

    You’re right Laurie. Every race relations discussion I have been a part of thus far, including these discussions for other classes, has at some point discussed black and white people. I’ve never thought of this in light of not discussing other races because we have not seen their movements and it did make me think about it. Many of us have not witnessed the struggles of some peoples like we have for black people, which is why we probably can actually discuss white and black people.

    To be honest, this topic seems inevitable to be discussed because unfortunately it is like the big pink elephant in the middle of the room. I’m not saying that it’s a cop out to have a discussion on the differences between white people and black people but I can’t help but wonder why it’s still uncomfortable to do. I wonder if it’s because prejudices that have been passed down within families are still present or if there is still inequality between the groups. There are obvious differences between being black and white, but sometimes there are obvious similarities which are never acknowledged. Why is it that we barely address simple laws of attraction when discussing intermixed or same race couples? If it is acceptable to call a white person racist, is it ok for white people to call black people racist? Why is it that we constantly discuss how white families would feel about a non white person dating into the family? What about a white person dating a non white? How does their family react? Why is it that white people don’t ever ask these questions in a race relations discussion group? Do we feel that it’s not politically correct to address the opposites of what is usually asked to whites? I feel white people are constantly asked whether or not they feel guilty for what has happened in regards to slavery and inequality decades ago, but why aren’t black people asked whether or not they feel guilty?

    Clearly being in a discussion group allows us to further explore these questions and I hope we do further discuss them in the duration of this semester. I’m most certainly not trying to continue building a barrier between black people and white people but rather help each race possibly understand where the other is coming from. I feel too often in these discussion groups we question and assume answers based on stereotypes we may have been exposed to. If we had the opportunity to discuss the same question in light of all races it may help tear down the stereotypes. Understanding our differences from multiple angles may help all people to see that we are more the same than we are different.

    [Reply]

  9. rms5328 says:

    I agree with Mrs. Richards about everything going back to "black and white" and why it is so. African americans were the fore-front for minorities in general. If it wasn't for them going through what they were going through, and fighting for equalites for others there wouldn't be chances of equality. And in my personal opinion, its not just america. Around the world I have heard stories of blacks still being miss treated because of the color of their skin and america is not good either. They still have to compete with the "majority" and statistics show it. There are still poor schooling in the urban neighborhoods and there are still job opportunities that are being token away because of them being african american. But, nobody wants to talk about it because it doesn't effect them as much. That's why it always goes back to black and white because it's still going on and nobody still wants to accept it. And it's worse in other countries. As a matter of fact, being an african american is frowned upon in in Africa; calling them words like "akatas" because we are not from Africa. Most people around the world feel as though African Americans are lazy and they never amount to anything and they are always compared to whites, which is another good reason why every discussion leads back to the whole "black vs white" conversations.

    There are many other minorities who was being treated wrongly fully but there is none worst than the way African Americans were treated. Yes, the native Americans were being killed off with a so called "hidden genocide," however, afterwards they were still reaping the benefits america had to offer to them. Gave them proper schooling, sure they robbed them for their culture and told them they belonged in the civilized world, but that's what happened to the Africans and the West Indians who was brought here as well. They were stolen from their land and brought to another and forced to change their ways without help or schooling. They had to adapt on their own, if not they were killed. Blacks are still at the bottom of the human race totem pole and nobody wants to understand how true that is because it's the worst thing ever because it's ignored. More people try to ignore it than do anything about it. Yes, we do have a black president but he is the only black president that we'll ever have, in my opinion. And the fact that he is doing more than the last 43 white presidents and already people are complaining because they never thought he would actually get this country out of turmoil. "Oh yea sure, give it to the black man to clean up the US crap," too late they've been doing that since slavery.

    So the reason why it's always "black and white" is because there is still some that are not addressed problems at hand. African Americans still have to compete for whats theirs and also fight those stereotypes that are aimed at them. They still are trying to find a place in this world and the fact that everyday they are being compared to whites all the time just makes it worse.

    [Reply]

  10. acp_10 says:

    I really like the point you’ve presented. The idea that race conversations are always returning to black and white is a reality, and I’ve definitely noticed it in class as well as in our small groups. I feel like the discussion group I attend has just started to scratch the surface of race and what it means in the context of our group and for our culture as a whole. In terms of black and white on a larger scale, I think there is an un-discussed notion that it is a responsibility as a part of the white American culture to recognize the brutality of slavery but then to not talk about it because it brings up too many complicated and difficult issues. That being said, when in a discussion of race, I can understand why white people tend to take a back seat in the conversation as not to provoke or push buttons. We’ve talked about this in class before and I’ve definitely been more attentive to it in terms of the discussions outside of class and around campus. I also liked the point you brought up regarding the difference in discrimination with black compared to brown races. Segregation within the United States had a front row seat within the media, depicted across newspapers, radios and televisions. As a result of so much exposure during this tense time, whites and blacks were very familiar with the issues at hand and either confronted them head –on or just left them alone. In comparison, discrimination towards Native Americans, Mexicans, Indians or other races within the United States has been treated very hush-hush, not acknowledging its existence but not denying it has happened or continues to happen. Because of this stark difference in treatment of these discriminatory behaviors, it creates different stigmas attached to them. These stigmas then create altered perceptions and pre-conceived notions about race and place restrictions and fencing around what’s appropriate to talk about. That is one area where I think this class has begun to help me grow a lot in terms of challenging these “pre-conceived” notions I’ve developed. Being able to define what I think about different races, why I think them and if it is just a stereotype or truth based on my experiences and interactions is huge in terms of breaking through the race barrier. It also creates more comfort and vulnerability in tackling these sometimes awkward issues. Personally I’ve noticed myself being more comfortable in bringing up race within conversations and not being as timid in talking about the different issues race inevitably brings up. I’m interested in seeing as this class progresses, how my discussion group changes in terms of discussing race and as well as our class lectures becoming more direct and up front about current race issues.

    [Reply]

  11. paulh1124 says:

    You know, I do not think it is just white and black. When speaking about certain groups, people use the term Black, White, Chinese, Indian, and even use racial slurs like the N word to refer to them. I have heard people do and it is everywhere. People even if not racist just do this all the time because i has become so natural. When talking a specific conversation it always ends up being Black or White for some reason. It seems to be the easiest way to tell the story you are about to say or whatever someone is telling you. I guess things like this will not change.

    [Reply]

  12. mzd5055 says:

    Why does it come down to black and white? I really think these are the two major groups in the world and yeah there is some history between these groups but there are other factors involved. When I think about these two groups, I think many people in both races have feelings about one another. White and Black people consider themselves the most different and I think that’s why it always comes up. In my discussion group class, we do not have many different cultures and sometimes I believe that our discussions would be influenced in certain ways if there were more different people in our group. For example more black people could either cause a better discussion or actually tone down our thoughts. There could be intense conversations about the differences of color and culture where as because we do not have too much diversity we do not have many of these controversial conversations. When we think about the ghettos or lower poverty areas most people automatically go to the one group that is of vast majority in those areas, the black people. I know this is because of our culture but then the reason it’s always black and white is because of our culture. Today we separate these groups with certain qualities and if one discussion comes up about a quality that separates race we automatically go to black verses white. I think a lot of it has to do with our stereotypes and how most people think blacks and whites are very very different. This is why the conversation is never whites or blacks and Asians or Italians.
    Another part that makes a big impact on how we talk about race topics is what we have learned since grade school: the Civil Rights Movement. We have been taught about this fight for black equality many times throughout history classes and so on. It is only in our nature to think about the differences that caused blacks to become slaves and why they weren’t equal back then. Whenever topics of inequality are brought up in discussion, we think about the biggest fight of inequality ever in the United States. I am a follower of this trend too. I do not consider the differences between other cultures. When a race related discussion comes up between friends or family members I think I just consider the black people. Unfortunately it should not be this way because if we think only black people are only affected by inequality and judgment we are narrow minded. There are many different cultures that should be considered in our conversations. I think in our discussion groups we should divert away from the black and white conversations and try to involve different social problems that include different cultures.

    [Reply]

  13. I think that a lot of these comments are falling prey to exactly what Laura was discussing in her video. Its always coming back to the "black and white issue" and people tend to forget about that fact that there are many races besides back and white and they all have very real and pertinent issues. I believe one of the reasons we keep coming back to the "black white issue" is because, like many people have said before, there has been a long and not so pretty history between the two races including BOTH slavery and the civil rights movement.
    In regards to the comments about "African Americans" never really getting to know what is to truly be American, that's just ridiculous. How can any one person say they know what its like to be an American. (People need to keep in mind that Americans range all the way from the tip of Argentina to the top of Canada). The definition of begin American is different for every person… there is no set ideals. "How to be American… step one: be over weight, step two: shop at Wal-Mart" and so forth. Everyone defines being American in there own way. For me, its being a person of mixed race who doesn’t support big business like Wal-Mart and prides themselves on not thinking “America is the best country in the world”.
    We need to realize that besides black and white many races have issues that could use some taking about at the "race table". For example the general derogatory and negative attitude by BOTH blacks and whites towards Latin immigrants. Its too many times a day I hear expressions like "dirty Mexican" or "damn illegal". Not all Latin American immigrants are illegal by the way.
    I think that we all need to stop being so scared of offending each other. People are always going to be offended no matter what. Like Sam said in lecture, in the census the option to classify yourself, as a negro is quite offensive to many but the removal of it would be infuriating to others. The battle of no offense is always going to be a lose lose situations. Someone will always be offended.
    So despite that fact that we will probably never get away from the “back white” argument at the race table, we need to try. If we don’t, we will always be stuck in this cycle of never ending misunderstanding.

    [Reply]

  14. ubuntu19 says:

    The struggle between black and whites is the biggest issue in America and parts of Europe, the places that enslaved black people. If you look at other parts of the world the racial tension and discussion would be focused elsewhere. In America, the history of the country is what drives the racial lines between black and whites so deep that you cannot help but to bring it up when ever you are talking about race. Although I think that as more and more people migrate to the US, I can see more and more people become racist against other groups more frequently and perhaps this will begin to start and come up more in conversations about race.
    this topic dominates over others because white people actually enslaved black people and took them from their homeland and created it, and then lumped them all together as "blacks". With other races whites can say they don't like you or want you out of "their" country, but they didn't keep them as slaves.

    [Reply]

  15. eat5077 says:

    This post is kind of interesting and made me think a little bit because I'm neither black nor white, I'm Hispanic, or should I say brown? I don't think every discussion goes back to blacks and whites, but Laurie is right the majority of them do. I agree with the reasoning behind it as well. Since we had a history of black slavery followed by the civil rights movement, it has always been seen as the bigger issue in the United States and it always will be. If there was a history of Hispanics in slavery and whites being their masters then the title of Laurie's post would have been, Why Is the Conversation Always about While and Brown People?

    Let's face it, all our race relations discussions are going to trace back to blacks and whites because slavery is still going on in our world today, even in our country. There will always be inequality between races/cultures/ethnicities which is why it will always come back to the biggest of all inequalities…whites and blacks. Hopefully, one day that will all change but I don't see that happening unless everyone puts their differences aside and starts treating people of other skin colors the same as they would treat someone of their own skin color.

    Today in class I was shocked when Sam asked if any blacks could change their skin color to white, would they do it? Two girls immediately raised their hands and said of course they would do it in a heartbeat because (quote) "equal opportunity…bullshit!" This completely stunned me! I never thought a minority would ever want to change their skin color to white. Maybe it’s just me being naïve with the inequality between blacks and whites now a day-to me it’s not as prevalent as back in the 1950s. If anyone ever asked me if I would change my brown skin to white I would laugh and say no way. The fact that those two girls still feel at a disadvantage with their black skin color is huge. It says a lot about our country in the twenty first century.

    I personally can’t wait until interracial relationships are considered the norm, and the word minority doesn’t exist. Could you imagine? Then we could finally say that everyone has an equal opportunity. And another thing I find kind of ironic is that you always see whites trying to keep a tan year long. This proves that even whites don’t want to be white, yet they still point fingers at the people who have dark skin. Can you say hypocrites?

    [Reply]

  16. crm5184 says:

    I think it's pretty predictable that here in America we tend to focus on the "black and white" race issues more than any other race relationship. When you look at our nation's history, slavery and the Civil Rights Movement were two of the most defining aspects of race relations and so we automatically look to that black/white dynamic as an example and a model of race issues. However, we have a bigger immigrant population today than we ever have in the past, and I think it's really important that we move beyond our typical black and white way of thinking. From the slides Sam showed us in class, there are more Native Americans living in poverty than Black people, and almost as many Hispanics living in poverty as the Black population. And more black people graduate from both high school and college than do Native Americans and Latinos. So obviously the problem today expands further than black and white. That obviously was the central race issue in this country for many, many years but we have to look to the future and it definitely can't be our only focus anymore.

    [Reply]

  17. cmaverick says:

    I never really thought about this until I finished watching the video. I still believe that slavery took a big part in this whole discussion between whites and blacks, since slavery in the United States was mostly the cause of these cultural uprisings and revolutions initiated by African-Americans. There have been other forms of slavery and imprisonment done on other racial groups in America; for example, concentration camps held Asian-Americans from fully gaining citizenship and entering the mainland of the country. However, the harshness of this type of control over a group of people was not as severe and extensive as whites using blacks as slaves for so many years. Because of the extreme of such an infliction on blacks, as compared to the hurt Asian-Americans felt, blacks are plausibly more outspoken about it, aggressively want justice to be served to the whites and seek a reward for the pain and suffering they went through, solely because they were judged by the color of their skin.

    I also think this has to do with the stereotypes of certain groups. There is this stereotype of Blacks that they are very loud, outspoken and speak much of what they think. But to be honest, is it because of their originating cultures from Africa or from the oppression they went through as slaves? It could be one or the other, or maybe both; I wouldn’t know unless if I asked Blacks myself. As an Asian-American, I am very well aware of the stereotype of our culture that is talked about amongst people: passivity. To be frank, it’s very true; as a leader of a Christian organization’s vision to minister and reach Asian-American non-Christians, I’ve come across enough Asian Americans on campus in the past three and a half years to say that the stereotype resonates in almost every Asian American’s family history. That could be a possibility as to why Asians, especially Japanese, don’t talk about or make their oppression in concentration camps a huge deal. Or it could be because it was so short-lived to a smaller number of people compared to African Americans that didn’t require such a revolution to be brought out.

    It’s very true that our discussions in class always come back to what the “White Team” feels and perceives compared to what the “Black Team” goes through. Despite the outcry that Blacks put forth to the majority and continue to do to this day, there will always be a tension between Whites and Blacks, which is why the conversation will always return to those two groups of people. As an Asian, I’m totally cool with not talking too much about our “Asian-ness,” and the constant conversation of Whites and Blacks doesn’t make me feel more inferior or offensive in the race discussions.

    [Reply]

  18. jas5561 says:

    I think this is a very interesting topic for discussion. This was brought up in my discussion group last Thursday as well. To start off I will say what I said in my group. I think the main reason why we always say black and white is because black people or African American people have the darkest skin of all. Sure there is Italians, Latinos, Hispanics, etc. But have you ever seen an individual of one of those races with darker skin then a black person. I was looking around the room in my discussion group and there is some white people, one back person, one Turkish person, and one Asian. When you take a quick glance who stands out the most, in my opinion the black individual. Why? Simply because she has the darkest skin so her skin comes to my attention first.

    [Reply]

  19. jas5561 says:

    Then after really looking at everyone else you realize that not every single person is white. Hispanics and Asians can have really light skin and I think they can easily be mistaken for a white person. That brings up the question of what does it mean to be white? What does it mean to be Caucasian. If some Hispanic and Latino and Asian people like white then what is the definition of a white person. Laurie’s point on slavery brings up a very good point. From all the years of learning about history in school it was always about the north vs south the black versus white. It was all about slavery. That was what was focused on and that is what was pounded into our heads. I think that contributes greatly to why people see the world as black and white. Not just people but everything. Everything is either black or white, well no it actually isn’t. There is some brown in there.

    [Reply]

  20. jas5561 says:

    People just forget to recognize it. I guess this topic brings up the idea that although slavery has been banished there is still racism and segregation existing in the world today. I don’t know why and I don’t understand why but I know many black people feel this way. I also think that this and many other racial issues are difficult to discuss that is why we are still experience so many racial segregations as in why is everything either black or white. Why don’t we talk about these issues. Why would people not want to live in a more diverse country. Why are we holding back. I think many individuals are afraid to speak what they really think. I no personally I’m afraid to something speak cause what if something slips out as a joke or by accident will I offend someone. I would never want to hurt someone’s feelings. It a touchy and uncomfortable subject the topic of black and white but until we can talk about it face to face we will continue to make little progress.

    [Reply]

  21. cef5100 says:

    I find this question very interesting. The main reason I find this interesting is because I never noticed that things always come back to the white versus black until my sociology 119 class this semester. It seems like whenever Sam talks everything always comes back to this debate. Picking up on this in class, however, has now made me realize that it is not just in Sociology 119 it is everywhere. I think the main reason it always comes back to this though is because we simply do not understand each other. If we take more time to understand each other and get to know one another I feel that maybe in the future this attitude/debacle will vanish.

    [Reply]

  22. kem5136 says:

    Last week, our recitation group discussed the same issue about why it is always black versus white, and the reason that most of us agreed upon is the tense history between the two groups. In her video, Laurie addresses that slavery is not the main issue between us and that is the civil rights movement and while I see her point, I think that it is both and extends well beyond both of these issues.
    The fact of the relationship between black and white people is it is always changing and always current. Slavery happened hundreds of years ago, but how many history classes have we had in our lives dedicated to it and the Civil War? Countless. We have African American History month and know the famous activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. There are hundreds of movies dedicated to the topic, and for most of us, we all have one that stands out. For me, it was seeing Remember the Titans for the first time and how mind boggling it was for me as a twelve year old to think that such racism still existed in 1971. Now, we have a black president and the hip-hop/rap culture has brought so much black culture into our society.
    Now, think back to the last movie you saw about the relationship between white people and Asians, Indians, Native Americans, Latinos, or Middle Eastern people. I can’t think of one. To be honest, the only thing that comes to the top of my mind is Pocohontas and that movie was made probably over a decade ago and wasn’t even historically correct. The only other relationship that I think our generation has become semi-familiar with is the one between white people and Middle Eastern people, and this has not even had much positive change. After 9/11, our country went from people of the Middle East being just another race to one that has become targeted. Other than that, though, it always comes back to black and white. Blacks have also been really the only race to struggle in America to gain freedom. That being said, they are not the only race to face racism or treated differently. However, slavery and segregation predominantly pertained to blacks and whites were the one caused this. If one single thing like this had happened to another race, I feel like things would have been different. Although some may argue that white people taking in part of a genocide against Native Americans hundreds of years ago is just as bad or worse (which I agree with), the fact of the matter is that it was so long ago. Our grandparents couldn’t tell us about it, as they could about the civil rights movements, and our history books barely tell of this genocide at all. Growing up, you learn that the white people came over and were pilgrims, ate Thanksgiving dinner with the Native Americans after they taught the white people how to grow corn, and then that’s where it ends. So maybe it is the lack of a true history of other races in our country, but I truly always believe it will be black and white because of the deep tension in our roots from so many years of struggle in the past.

    [Reply]

  23. I think that there is a very simple explanation as to why the conversation always turns into black vs. white. For what I have been exposed to, it seems that the two major groups of skin color are black and white. There don’t seem to be as many yellow or brown people. The biggest reason however is that the group that suffers most from racism in our country is black people. We have the most exposure and experience with it. Yes other skin color groups are discriminated against but not to the degree of black people. We experienced that first hand with slavery. One hundred years ago they had no rights and fifty years ago they were still being treated extremely poorly. We have just heard so much about it that when talking about race, our conversations always boil down to black vs. white.

    [Reply]

  24. JJR11 says:

    I think that it would be very hard to ignore the fact that most arguments on race come down to the conversation about differences between black and white. I believe it is just in our nature to divide things up this way cause just like Laurie said we have seen evidence of the black Civil RIghts Movement in America. How many other races or ethnicities can we say that about? One thing I do think though is that some younger students do get the idea in their head that blacks are different than whites because of the whole slavery issue that happened in the Americas. Almost every kid growing up has heard about how the whites had slaves when they first came to settle America. I think this may start to create that image in a young persons head that blacks and whites are very different, when we all know that this is not true, but to a young kid who has not been taught this kind of thing yet they do not really understand all there is to know about America and the past with racism. I believe that through more awareness we can help to stop all this dividing of talk among the white and black line. Only once people become comfortable with people who may not look like them will they ultimately be able to understand that were not that much different and we should all be talked about as one people. While I feel we should still all be proud of our heritage and our color; I do not feel that it should create tension among people. I know this is not some thing that can be done anytime soon or at any extreme rate, but even helping one person to see this can be crucial to helping many more see that very thing. Like I said before being comfortable around other people will help us to forget about skin color and just worry about what type of person someone is by how they act. I think having things like a black history month is not helping the cause. While I think it is important to celebrate everything blacks have done in history, I feel by having this month we are making it seem like they are different and need their own month. We should incorporate the things we learn during black history month into everyday curriculum and not just learn about it during on designated month. If we really want to get rid of this color barrier we need to do away with things that point out differences. This is how I feel it can be done. I think we should respect and honor all people as individuals and not judge them by what skin color they have. The whole idea of changing everyone to see this is not going to be an easy process but I definately feel it is worth the try. Even if only a small portion of people change it will be a big win. All we can hope is that someday everyone will see that were all just people in the end.

    [Reply]

  25. mdp5094 says:

    I agree with her in that yes the images we see from only 50-60 years ago ring out within our minds. Those images leave marks not only black people but white people as well. I’ve seen them and they give me just an unsatisfying feeling in my stomach. Seeing the images of the integration of the schools as well as the marches brings and unsettling feeling to me. However should we, those of us living today as “white” people be persecuted for what our elderly family members did? No and it’s not fair. We as a people get! We understand that yes you (black people) had it rough ! But should we be blamed for these issues today no! but we are like laurie stated it always comes down to black and white but it seems that its always black vs. white. Which is sad and just goes to show you that its still a problem. In my opinion the topics of white and black won’t go away for awhile for at least a hundred or so years. From what I have seen most Black people still aren’t over the fact of slavery which as we have all seen in class as sam as said wasn’t all that bad. I mean slavery is bad yes but its been very over emphasized and dramatized.
    Sam showed us that map of the slave trade, most went to south America not North! As well as the price paid for slave was apparently around 40,000 dollars? Hmmm now if I spent 40 grand on something would I go and be horrible to it and beat and destroy it? I AM NOT SAYING SLAVERY IS GOOD IN ANY WAY! WHAT I AM STATING IS THAT THE IMAGES WE HAVE SEEN OF SLAVERY HAVE BEEN OVER DRAMTIZED. Anyways Black people still haven’t gotten over that era of persecution. Should they No I wouldn’t but I would try to get my facts straight instead of jumping on the other race today and blaming another people for what they did! The tables have turned if anything because of what others have done we are disliked and hated and not respected. Should we be possibly not. But we are in the 21st century now we should all be trying to get along and ahead in life not blaming others for their rough pasts.
    It sad that it always come back to black and white but in my opinion that’s why, its from both our races turbulent pasts. They get thought about and then because we live in a supposed “open” AND “equal” era things are said about one race and from my observations and in my opinion black people seem to have an unseen dislike for white people. Is it fair? No was slavery fair? No its just the world we live in today.

    [Reply]

  26. cbd5023 says:

    I am not surprised that conversation usually centers on Black and White. The African American and White populations compose the largest segment of American society. Although the Hispanic and Latino population is similar in size to the Black population it is more diverse in its ethnicity and does not share the same history that was endured by African American ancestors. The primary differences between the relationships between Whites and Hispanics, as opposed the African Americans is that the former group was not openly dominated and marginalized by White society. As poorly as Whites may have treated the Hispanic population the behavior pales compared to that experienced by Blacks in this country. It was only fifty years ago that Blacks were still being openly discriminated against. Signs in the South designated “Negro” bathrooms, water fountains and let’s not forget the direction of Blacks to the “back of the bus.” With the possible exception of the internship of the Japanese during World War II, no other group has felt the prejudice and wrath of White Americans as much as the African American population.
    But I do not think that the horrible treatment that the African American community received is the main reason that we feel compelled to direct the dialogue concerning race to Blacks and Whites. Rather, I think it is because the Black community finally had enough of the treatment it was receiving and decided to do something about it. The early Black leaders had the charisma and character to initiate a movement which continues to this very day. Marches, sit ins and demonstration after demonstration finally had the impact of changing the mind set of white America and changing its racial viewpoints. While embarrassment about the past has to be a motivation for Whites to automatically refer to Blacks in racial discussions I think another and similarly important factor is that Whites are still reeling from the effects of what was a revolution in this country, when a sizable minority of Americans said, “We have had enough!”
    There can be no doubt that the influences of American politics, social life and emotion has all changed in the last half of the 20th century. Laurie uses the word “profound” in referring to the effect of the Black community on Whites in this country. It is an apt word and most appropriate. The change in relations and viewpoints of the races towards each other, as well as the reflection of the races about themselves was and is intense. Because these events are so recent the feelings of White America are still being voiced in what I would consider confusion about the past. How could it have happened? Why did it happen? We refer to Black and White because most Americans continue trying to find the answer as to how Americans could have been so wrong for so long.

    [Reply]

  27. beg5027 says:

    I feel the reason that its only black and white compared to white and Asian, or Asian and Native American; is because throughout our early education we were taught this idea. Ever since I can remember I learned about black slavery. Maybe one year we learned about the Asian slavery work they did for the railroads. We also learned a few times about the Japanese concentration camps in the USA for being "communist." Until college, was the idea of this concept brought to my attention? I often now wonder what the other races feel about this; do they feel less important or significant? Do they feel they deserve more appreciation? Considering there is no Asian American month or Native American month, one must think they feel left out. The African American population, which I group with everyone who can trace their ancestry to the African continent, did a lot for our country. They built our country from the ground up, giving up their lives in the process. This may be why we make it black and white. I don’t think you can argue it being another race but white and something else. Since our country was founded by anglo Saxon Europeans this cannot be changed to substitute.

    I think that the problem that it is black and not another race is because as a country we feel bad and in debt to the people who we wronged more than any other race. As a nation we are in the greatest debt to the black race, and those who teach/write books feel they owe an apology to those individuals by teaching mostly about the wrongs. I would have liked to get a more open and broad history lesson growing up but this did not occur. I think do to the lack of education the media has turned black into a race that engulfs those who are not white. Black is a color not a race, so I feel the media use the word black to explain colored people.

    I definitely think the media, educators, and government are to blame for the ignorance that is put on color. Grouping minorities to one color that associated with African Americans is ignorant and other minorities have the right to be upset. It is still a continuing battle for rights and this is a perfect example.

    [Reply]

  28. nicoleponzio says:

    This video brings up a great point. I have never realized that the battle of race and racism is usually between whites and blacks. We never take a step back and ask why this is. There is a racial history between blacks and whites, but we are slowly building up a racial relationship between Middle Easterners as well.

    However, the prejudices between the two are shrinking. Now, the images and memories of slavery will never diminish, for good reason too, but the horrible boundaries these events put between blacks and whites is shrinking. There is a fine line between racism, bias, and prejudice. Many people learn these things from family members as they grow up, but as generations pass, these learned behaviors are fading.

    We need to take a look at the media when we discuss the division of blacks and whites. First of all, we are censoring ourselves on national broadcasting, but every now and then events slip up. Take or example, Don Imus who referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which is comprised of eight African-American and two white players, as "nappy-headed hos." This event sparked a lot of controversy in the area. Imus was forced to formally apologize for his actions.

    Now, I do want to make a point of emphasizing other races as well. Asians used to be enslaved to build the transcontinental railroad and were seen and inferior beings. After the bombing on Pearl Harbor, anyone that looked like they were Asian were scrutinized for the events. The Japanese were sent to ghettos for a while and treated poorly. Both of these events did not last as long as slavery, so I can understand why the race debate is usually between blacks and whites.

    No one faced a greater persecution than the Native Americans though. They were forced off of their land and nearly all tribes were killed off by the Trail of Tears. They were constantly looked at by whites as being savages and uncivil because white people refused to try to understand them. All of their land was taken and they were moved to areas they did not know and did not want to be in.

    After the attacks on the World Trade Center, anyone who looked to be Middle Eastern were treated like they were terrorists. Many people were spit on and denied their rights as humans, that is, happiness. We still today call them names and are cautious in their presence.

    I feel the reason that blacks and whites are the only ones mentioned is because they are the ones who push the envelope the most. There is a clear difference between black and white skin, but not so much between black and brown or white and brown. The United States is a melting pot of cultures and beliefs and races, but the ones that stand out the most and have had the most problems with laws and segregations and such are blacks and whites. There will always be a subtle battle between the two.

    [Reply]

  29. erc5036 says:

    I agree that talk of race relations usually does end up becoming a black and white issue. I feel that I could definitely understand why this occurs, however, I do not understand why it still occurs. I feel that we, as a country, have done a great job of promoting equality. There are always going to be the groups of ignorant people that are going to be racists for one reason or another. I feel though that when you look at the younger generation, my generation, that we are almost ready to move past the entire issue. I feel that the future looks bright, especially in America, and I think that there will be a time when this is not an issue at all.

    [Reply]

  30. Howard16841 says:

    I agree that conversations about race relations end up with black and white. I come from a small town that is basically all white. It seems that the older generations are more racist than the younger generations. I think this happens because the older people are set in their ways and do not want to change. The morals that they have were taught to them 60 or 70 years ago. So in order to understand the older generation’s point of view, one must go back in time to see what the social conditions were when this generation was being educated.
    I can see a change in my community is just in just the past 10 years. Today there are a few black families that live in my small town. For the most part they are accepted, but there are still a few people that do not accept them as equals. This is unfair and unjust treatment. I do not share these beliefs. I truly believe that everyone is equal. Black people did not choose to be black, and white people did not choose to be white. So why punish someone or a collective group of people for something beyond their control?
    I think that some people in my community have never experienced any type of cultural diversity, but they are still racist. These people are ignorant. They have hatred towards any that is different. It is kind of like the way some people think about the breed of dog “pitbulls”. The media perceives pitbulls as being a very aggressive dog that is dangerous and may attack people, a threat to the community. They think all of them are fighting dogs breed to kill other dogs. But has any of these people been around a pitbull that was raised properly? I think not. Pitbulls in general are very good pets. They are very intelligent dogs. They are good with children and are easy to train.
    People act the same way about race and the color of skin. They show prejudice for no apparent reason. Why can’t we all just get along?
    The thought of black and white is even worse in the southern states than it is in the Northeast. The Civil War is called the War of Northern Aggression. A friend of mine lived in Virginia for a few years, and I would travel to visit a few times each year. There were still places that were segregated. In a small town in Virginia, there was a bar where the black people went and a bar where the white people would go. I was shocked to hear about this. How could places like this still exist? It kinda blows my mind.
    I hope that in the future it will not be black and white anymore. I think that education will play a vital role in the end of racism as we know it today in the United States.

    [Reply]

  31. jdh5097 says:

    I would wholeheartedly agree with the fact that the conversation always comes back to black and white because that was the major struggle that occurred here in the United States 50 years ago. Had there been a struggle between whites and Asians then I believe the conversation would come back to those two races. For example, I bet any discussion on race in northeastern Africa isn't about white and black people, because that does not have as much cultural relevance to the people that live there. It is all relative to the environment that you are looking at. The discussion will always come back to the groups of people that have had the most recent history together. It is only natural for us Americans to talk about the white and black racial issues because those, in my opinion, are the most pressing. Those scars are still fresh; it has only been 50 years since we've started to move forward wholeheartedly with our racial tolerance. There is the most conflict between white and black people so it makes sense that the conversation always comes back to those two races when someone discusses race in America. The American racial conflict was between white people and black people, so it is only proper that that is "the" racial discussion. That being said, it is somewhat disappointing that there is still something to talk about 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement. One would hope that two generations would be enough to get over the problems, and for the most part I believe we are. Electing Obama was definitely a huuuge step in getting to where we need to be in race relations. But we aren't completely there, and unfortunately it takes more than 50 years to overturn, in some places, deep-seeded hatred and racism that won't go away for a long time. It would be very interesting to see when racism completely goes away. Being racist is so not politically correct that it wouldn't be hard to see the pressure turned up on the remaining racists. However, regardless of everything I've just said, there will always be racism. The KKK will always exist, and there will probably always be a KKK equivalent that hates white people. Conflict is natural and, unfortunately, it won't stop anytime soon. I guess the goal for race relations in America is to eliminate it as much as humanly possible, and to bring the upcoming generations up with the understanding that racism is completely out of line, not cool, and not the way to live your life. That, going forward, will definitely be one of the more important jobs for parents. To instill in their children a sense of racial equality, acceptance, and understanding. And also I hope they teach their kids that there will be haters out there that will harbor negative views of other races, and that those views are not acceptable in today's world.

    [Reply]

  32. mrpennstate says:

    Blacks and whites always have tension because.. I believe the average white person doesn't like black people. In other words whites don't want blacks around. Most blacks are able to sense this dislikement towards them and then they in return get angry or call whites racist. Even though most of the time white people aren't racist its just a systematic exclusion of blacks they all want. Also besides Native Americans, whites and blacks built America. There is so much negative history between the two racists. This history is founded by struggle, pain, suffering, inequality, and injustice. I feel like a lot of the time the reason we say its always about whites and blacks is also because we, as individuals, have personal stories or negative anecdotes about a time in our life, or a friends or a family member or someone we know that had a bad experience with the other race. If u ask a black person who lives somewhere in the inner city has a pretty good life is lower middle class and lives in an all black community and ask them.. What do you think about racism? their response will be less aggressive and less angry at whites they probably wont have any negative white experiences due to them not being around white people. They'll probably talk more about black on black crime and racism within the black community..ie light skin dark skin issues. They really wont have much to say about whites. Likewise if you ask a white person who is upper class and lives in the sub suburbs and never sees or encounters a black person in person and ask them..What do you think about racism? they wont really say too much about white vs black; they'll probably give some broad over view of all the races equally. Also if a large reason to why the conversation always goes back to white and blacks is because we are asking white and blacks to comment about racism. If you put some middle eastern people, Hispanics, and Asians in a room and asked them to talk about racism I guarantee they will not end up talking about white vs black. They'll end up talking about racism they've encountered from their point of view. America is about 75 percent white, whites (lets be honest) don't really like blacks… So if you ask the average white person about racism their gonna talk about their personal experiences and their feelings towards blacks. Because that's where their "heart lies" so to speak; and same thing for blacks. There's almost…no, there is, an unspoken animosity between the two races. This is horrible and I wish it was not like this… but unfortunately it is. Maybe it'll change with time…

    [Reply]

  33. arieakm says:

    I definitely understand what she is talking about in regards to race talks. The conversation can go on and on for hours and hours but in the end it always returns to Black vs. White. It is interesting to me because I have read about the history of many nations and many different cultures and in every single one, give or take a few, there has always been discrimination against those who were darker. In the Middle East and Central Asia, visitors to those lands would describe those who were “fair of skin” and those who were “dark of skin”. The dark ones would be portrayed in a negative light because of the differences in features and maybe in language. So a discrimination against darker (black and brown) people has been going on for thousands of years. We see it in works such as Shakespeare’s Othello (the full title being Othello: the Moor of Venice) and also in more recent film and television.
    In America, because of the history that White Americans have with African-Americans, from slavery to the civil rights movement and beyond, a race talk, I think, will always fall back to the differences and problems between blacks and whites. It is in the forefront of our culture yet no one speaks openly about it. If I am black and you are white we are going to talk about the problems that we face each day as individuals, regardless of whether or not there is a Chinese, Korean, Afghan, or Hawaiian person in the room. We don’t know about their struggles, we only know about eh history of the struggle between black and white and therefore that is all that will be talked about. If it comes down to talking about the problems and differences between us as Americans against another country, then that is maybe a time when we put on a united front. The same way that black and white is always on the race table here is America is much the same way that problems and differences between other races are on the race table in the rest of the world.
    Stereotypical Media portrayals have a lot to with things too. It was only after 9/11 that we saw an influx of Middle Eastern stereotypical portrayals in newspapers and magazines (and I could be wrong about that). If you look back in history, for black people there were portrayals of the inferior “jungle person” being carried on the backs of white “saviors” in Kipling’s White Man’s Burden. And the “shuckin’ and jivin’ big lipped black dancer” in the 20’s and 30’s and finally the hip hop thug stereotype of today. If those are things that you are faced with everyday, then if you get a chance to talk to a black person, or a white person, or nowadays a Middle Eastern/ Central Asian person then those are the only things that you want to talk about and confront and get answers to. We face these things everyday; therefore they are the only things we want to talk about.

    [Reply]

  34. ftd5000 says:

    Laurie discusses in her video that the race talk always boils down to a conversation about black and white. As Sam discussed in class, many people say that slavery happened so long ago and talk about the fact that slaves were “liberated” in the late 1800s, as if that was the end of all discrimination. However, I think that a large part of the fact that it comes down to black vs. white in these conversations is that that “liberation” was not the end of it. We discussed in class how loans were given to almost only white people, there was segregation, discrimination on the job front, laws about being able to leave a job and get a new one- these were all examples of how white people got on top and did everything they could to keep black people from being able to “compete” fairly for these things. So all of these things bring us to where we stand today- that talking about race comes down to an issue of black and white. Sometimes this is difficult for me because I feel as though the feeling in the room when race is discussed is white people today are the racist ones- and there are many who, of course, are. However, I think that feelings of racism goes both ways. For example, in a race conversation I’ve been told things such as “I would never even bring a white friend to my house.” Racism today goes both ways, despite the fact that white people are the ones that are often called racist.
    Also, many people say that white people today feel guilty for what our ancestors have done in the past. However, I agree with Laurie that it is more of the fact that there was the Civil Rights movement- she said that African Americans brought their plight to the center of our culture- there were marches and uprisings. So today, we associate discrimination with African Americans because they brought it to attention. With that being said, I don’t think it is a big mystery as to why the conversation always goes back to black and white. I think it is important to talk about black/white issues, and discuss them so that we uncover and understand the feelings that people have. However, I don’t think just because it is more talked about, that it is any less important to talk about the way other groups, such as Native Americans, are treated, considering many of our ancestors came and took the land that was theirs. There are many other groups whose stories and conflict needs to be discussed in these race discussions- not just blacks and whites. We have to remember that other groups have issues to talk about even though it has not been brought to the center of attention.

    [Reply]

  35. raa5073 says:

    When it comes down to black and white people, I don’t think anyone is ever going to see eye to eye on this topic. It’s kind of a forgive but don’t forget kind of thing because when you really debate the topic it mainly goes back to slavery and how blacks used to be treated in the past. It’s something that as a person of the black community, I can’t really ever let it go even though it didn’t happen to me specifically but it did still happen to my people. So, growing up with a history that our ancestors were slaves to white people kind of leaves a pit in your stomach a little bit like “I can’t believe that happened and went on for so long”. People act as if just because it’s been over for a while that it didn’t take place for hundreds of years. They say we were free from slavery in the 1800’s but in actually we may have gotten our rights but still the aftershocks and the discrimination still goes on to this day. Maybe not as intense or as brutal is it used to be, but people over look the fact that it still exists in today’s age.
    So it’s still kind of hard to swallow and have complete equality between black and white people when not all white people are still open to the fact of blacks. Today’s date it’s not so much of discrimination and negative acts but more of guilt and sorrow for blacks because of what we went through which if you as me is just as bad. Sometimes I feel that we as black people aren’t looked at as equal, but just as black as if we are of some kind of other species or dogs or something. When black and white isn’t black and white anymore and it is simply just people as a whole, then the debate and the discussions will stop but I honestly still believe that even though we have come a long way as a nation dealing with this topic, we have even further to go to make it a reality. Obama.

    [Reply]

  36. fnb5006 says:

    The fact that everything that people talk about it always ends up being a black/white issue it shows how people still have not overcome the things that went on in the civil rights movement. Some African Americans think that they are treated unfairly, so they feel some type of hatred toward white Americans. With the lecture on Thursday about how racism exists in the judicial system is it shows that white people will never have some of the same experiences African Americans have. When talking about race the African American will always feel that white people cannot really understand what is going on in the world because they have a white privilege. With all the differences in African American and white culture, some black people feel as if the civil rights movement is still going on.
    In some places, the movement is still going on so black and white feel separated. When most people think, of the civil rights movement, they think of the 60s and Martin Luther King and they assume by the 70s everybody got along and everything was fine. That is far from the truth some places in the south didn’t stop segregation until the 90s. One school in particular had about equally amount of blacks and whites and still had a segregated prom in the 90s. Even in state college, things are not segregated, but there is huge tension between blacks and whites in schools. People are witness these racist acts going on in their life, so its only natural that they would have some type of feeling to people of the other race.
    I think that it is time for it to stop we should be looked at as people and not white people and black people. I remember when Obama was running for president the biggest thing people talked about constantly was that if he won he would be the first black president. That really irritated me because I felt whether he was black or white should not even be an issue it should have been about what he stood for not the color of his skin. In our society, everyone is guilty of referring to somebody as that black person or that white person instead of people. In some black families to try to eliminate the use of color they are corrected when they saw oh that white person and told to use another description of that person. For some strange reason I do not feel like in white families kids are corrected when they refer to somebody by their race.
    I don’t think this black and white issue will ever stop. Since now you have a new generation of people who are black and white I think it will make the issue die down so our kids wont be living in a world where everything is a black white issue.

    [Reply]

  37. janstepp says:

    This is certainly not an easy question, most people would assume that it all goes back to slavery and I think that is a big part of it. But they are other factors as to why it always comes back to black and white. I grew up in a predominately white town and people there typically had the same stereotypical misconceptions of black and brown people that black or brown people probably have about white people. When in most cases, people are people. With every generation things get better, I'm not saying that people will stop seeing each other as black or white, but they will eventually stop seeing the stereotypes. I think haves and have-nots is the bigger issue.

    [Reply]

  38. BreezyGal says:

    I agree with Mrs. Mulvey that the conversation is seldom focused on other races of people who have also had to struggle for equality. The blood of our fathers and grandfathers was poured into the foundation of America, and there came a time when we refused to put up with it anymore. I say 'we' meaning black people, African-American, Coloreds, Negros…whatever! I rarely include myself along with my people before me who have struggled to afford me the opportunities I so grandiosely take for granted. The story ALWAYS changes to black and white because that is what people are accustomed to seeing and dealing with. I know other racial minorities have struggled to belong in this society. But none have struggled so vividly in the spotlight of America. YES, THEY HAVE STRUGGLED, MAYBE EVEN MORE SO THAN BLACKS. But these racial groups struggled at a time when little could be done. They struggled when no one cared to look. They struggled individually. Black people came together as a unit, a single overwhelming force against racism and bias and hate. Think back forty fifty or even sixty years. There were so many injustices in the plight of black people. Then they decided not to take the bullshit anymore. It was 1940, 1950, 1960…each of these begins with nineteen. It truly was not that long ago. I feel that black and white will always be an issue among those who can't live in the now. It is an issue worthy of discussion, but has become overdone. The meat of the issue has been overcooked and that never leaves a pleasant taste in anyone's mouth. We can discuss black and white as the day is long but we will not find answers because there are none. For the record, I love white people. I love the 'brightness' they can bring to a room. I love the white people in my life that make me enjoy being alive. I am not color blind. I simply live and love as I should-without bitterness or hatred towards anyone. I live with the incredible belief that the past was the past for the reason. My future rests upon the souls who fought for me to be here and those who fought to keep me away. Which future will I fulfill? Because in the end, it is not what you are called but what you answer to. Also in the end, it doesn't even matter. We all die. Black and white and gray and purple and red and yellow. WE DIE. Death is not the focal point of this submission. It should serve as a reminder to live in the now, Not to be caught up in the rehashing of things past. White people feel guilty. Black people need someone to blame. WOW! We all fall down. Nobody is perfect. In my quest to reach four hundred and fifty words that no one will read I have become enlightened. I miss my boyfriend. He is, by the way, white. And awesome! <3

    [Reply]

  39. sql5113 says:

    This is really true that the discussion about race is always about the tension between black and white. Even when there are several other races and other colors, people tend to pay more attention on discrimination against black people. Actually, I have never contemplated why it is so before until I read this blog post. I guess I was just so used to see discussions only about whites and blacks.
    To give the conclusion, I agree with Laurie’s opinion. I think we are concentrating only on blacks because we always have been facing their problems for a long time. Since the starting point of the U.S., whites had inglorious history against blacks. With slavery system, white people showed their animal sides; they did not care about blacks’ rights as human beings. Just because of their facial colors, blacks had to be discriminated, treated like animals or life stocks. They were not human beings, but part of whites’ possessions.
    Not only slavery, but blacks’ campaigns and marches against racial discrimination are also engraved in our minds so strongly. Especially in southern parts of the U.S., many black people had to shed their blood for their equal rights. Innocent black people had to be sent to prisons just because they participated in demonstrations for keeping their freedom.
    After many years, blacks finally got their firm positions in today’s society. In entertainment market, without black singers, actors, and comedians, nothing can be done. Even in politics, a black guy became a president of white America. These phenomena are pretty different from the scenes that we have been watching since we were young. In schools, we watched documentaries or movies about how black people were treated unequally and how white people were harsh to them. In them, blacks were always the weak ones who did not have enough power to stand strong against the whites. But see what is going on now; without blacks, whites cannot do anything. I guess this is why the discussion is putting all the focuses on blacks; because their images from the past and the present got so much different.
    Also, blacks always have been the center of the issue in terms of racial discrimination. It is true that other races or people with other facial colors such as brown or yellow have never been majority of the discriminated groups. More brown and yellow people just became part of the U.S. comparing to blacks. From the slavery years, blacks have suffered; however, in case of Asians, they did not take that much of influence in American society when blacks were used as slaves because there were only a few of them. This is applied to brown people too.
    I think as long as blacks are the majority of minorities, racial discussions will still focus on the tension between black and white.

    [Reply]

  40. ecs5086 says:

    I think Dr. Mulvey makes a good point in that the race conversation always comes back to black people because their fight for civil rights was so pronounced in our society. Additionally, until very recently, they were the largest minority. Therefore the only racial clash was between white people and black people. There were no laws preventing Asians or Hispanics from having jobs, getting loans, or eating in certain places. However, there were laws enforced by the government which permitted segregation. Even when the civil rights movement ended in the 1960s, there were still a lot of racist thoughts of whites being superior to blacks. This racist mentality did not go away as easily in the minds of many white people as it did in the courts.

    The white people continued to act as though they were superior to blacks through the sixties, and most likely their children watched their behavior and noticed their thoughts and views and continued to express their parents’ white supremacist behavior.

    Black people, although given the rights by the government to be entitled to everything that white people were, still harbored the idea that white people don’t want them in America. They probably said things to their children along the lines of, “no matter what, a white person will always get opportunities, jobs, admissions to schools before you.” These ideas of the black parents get put into the heads of their children, and here we are today, only a few generations later, with Black people still thinking that white people are putting them down.

    I can understand and empathize why white people couldn’t have changed their mindset about their superiority to black people right after the government outlawed segregation. Their superior white beliefs were merely the beliefs taught to them by their parents, by society, and enforced by their environment.

    On the other hand, I can understand and empathize with the black people in America. After a history of terrible prejudice and discrimination, there is no why psychologically Black people could have believed that white people don’t think they were still superior. If I were black, I would be suspect to white people being racist all of the time. If people were to look at me funny, or not really seem happy to talk to me or be around me, I would assume they want nothing to do with me because of the color of my skin.

    The other reason why it comes back to black and white people and not any other minorities is because for the amount of time the black people have been in America, they as a group have not reached the American Dream to the degree that white people as a group have. They don’t, as a group, live in high areas of wealth or have high areas of wealth. Other minority groups in America aren’t as wealthy as white people, but I don’t think they have been in America as long as black people. It takes a while for immigrant families, so I have noticed, to become aware of the opportunities of a good education and making connections in America. Many black families have been here for much longer than white families, but they have been prevented throughout the years from growing economically because of racism. They are bitter about, and therefore it is always a subject of discussion.

    [Reply]

  41. samj113 says:

    I think it's very possible that the reason we are always drawn to discussions of black and white has a lot to do with our history. The unspoken tension and history between these races goes back to before our nation even started. Learning about this history was actually one of my favorite subjects in high school. The Civil War was one of the most interesting times in our history, in my opinion. Learning about this time in our history is quite possibly the main reason we see the differences in race still today. To add on the way that black people have been oppressed ever since the 19th century (for example: the disproportionate way the mortgages were given out to WWII veterans after the war), it’s no wonder we see divisions between our races. I think it’s so crazy how this country’s society has (whether it’s intentionally or not) kept the white race on top of all others.

    [Reply]

  42. las5545 says:

    It seems to be the obvious topic. It is impossible to ignore. The color differences are right in front of everybody’s face. We associate every other group with the place they came from. Asian Americans came from Asia. Spanish Americans came from Spain. Even though African Americans technically came from Africa we just consider them black Americans because they do not have accents and have such a large history with white Americans. Even though it is sad to say often times Latin Americans are just grouped together with blacks because there skin is darker then white peoples. As well, slavery is constantly brought up. It is photographed, there are many movies and songs written about the civil rights act and slavery. There were social figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who stood up for the “black rights”. There were never any controversial Asian or Hispanic social figures. Clearly the civil rights movement has been over for many decades but in places such as Texas and southern states where there is still “south hospitality” there is still a larger separation of blacks and white then there is in the north east such as in New York. When I walk into a big lecture hall, such as Soc 119 the first thing I do (naturally) is look around the classroom to see how many people are there and what not. As I am looking around it is obvious to who is black and who is white. The color of our skin is not something that can be ignored no matter how hard we try to ignore it. I believe that even though we talk about white people and black people it is not always a negative conversation just a way of generalizing groups. We could not be talking about race butt just start talking about groups of people and it can turn into black people and white people. I feel that the generalizing of groups is due to both the white and black races. Black people group themselves together because they feel a “common bond” due to the different struggles they went through as a group of people. They separate themselves from white people because even when white people try to relate to the “black people”, the black people shut the white people out because they do not know the struggles that they went through and are still going through today. Black people wanted to be viewed as equal and do have equal rights but when we separate ourselves in conversation there will always be a dividing line. Even though it seems impossible the less we talk about the past and the more we talk about the present and the future the closer we can move to generalizing blacks and whites into one category.

    [Reply]

  43. kgh5025 says:

    I completely agree that the issue is always between whites and blacks. It is inevitable considering most people think of whites vs. blacks when it comes to racism. Though I agree that this is usually the case when discussing race, I do not believe that it is right or fair. Now don't get me wrong, I see the hardships and the troubles that black people are going through. But, there is racism against all races.

    Racial profiling in airport security is a HUGE problem and must be addressed. The facts must be presented; a lot of terrorists that would enter a plane are not going to be Arab. Al-Queda and other terrorist groups are recruiting people of different races in order to get through airport security. For example: the failed jet bomb terrorist about a month ago was of African decent. There are terrorists all over the world in multiple races. Targeting one group of people in airport security is both stupid and racist.

    There are also issues with Hispanic people. Due to illegal immigration, there is a lot of discrimination against Hispanics, especially in the northern states. Conservatives don't like the fact that there have been Spanish translations on labels. Some businesses are going as far as to discriminate against Spanish speaking people, refusing to serve them if they don't speak English. There is also a racial slur in sorts right now, calling all Hispanic people “Mexicans” when clearly a lot of them are not of Mexican decent.

    Asian Americans are also experiencing racism on their part. Many people perceive any person with Asian eyes as to be either Chinese or Japanese. More common it is Chinese. This perception is TOTALLY wrong and racist. People are ignorant to the fact that there are many Asian countries, not just China and Japan.

    All of these issues and more are important. Some races I didn't even cover. Such as Native Americans, Asians, Indians, and other racial groups. I know there are a lot of problems for African Americans, and there is racism towards white people. But there are many other issues that are usually not addressed.

    [Reply]

  44. accendere23 says:

    I agree with Laurie that slavery in the United States is not a sufficient explanation for the reason that race issues always come back to white and black people. Our country is not the only one that experienced slavery, in fact, slavery has been around a lot longer than our own history and did not always involve White and Black people. If you take a look into the past and focus on the hoards of other groups that were involved in slavery from many different areas of the world, you will realize that the modern conception of slavery (White versus Black) is inapplicable. It looks like each country had its own form of slavery within its populations, and often times it was based on who did the conquering and who was conquered. In those cultures where slavery once was a prominent issue, it appears that over time those populations successfully integrated. Actually, the integration was so successful that most people today do not even consider anything prior to our country’s history when they think of slave trade.
    Based off of the past, I can confidently say that our culture will not always focus on the White-Black relationship. I also do not think it will always be inevitable in conversation. Our nation is fairly young in comparison to the rest of the world. Moreover, the civil rights movement is still fresh in our history. There has not been enough time to see all the ripples that the civil rights movement may have caused. I definitely think that the fact that our country even had a civil rights movement is reason enough to substantiate a White-Black focus. As long as individuals who experienced the movement firsthand are around, we will continue to hear the stories that changed the nation and brought it to where we are today. Additionally, I do not view the White-Black dialogue as being a negative idea and I do not agree with people who take offense to it. Because the concept is still so new, it will take a while for the focus to shift.
    I do, however, have an optimistic outlook on this situation. I think that in a few decades, the White-Black issue will be less relevant, and a few decades after that virtually no one will refer to it in the sense that we do today. Obviously, the only factor we cannot control is time. Meanwhile, we can make a more conscious effort to focus on inter-cultural relationships between other groups as well.
    With the growing numbers of Hispanic individuals in our population, the White-Hispanic relationship will eventually have to become the forefront sociological issue, as will the Brown-White relationship, and soon enough, every other permutation of race relations.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.