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Being part of the solution...

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by leanne, Dec 15, 2002.

  1. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    I've been thinking a lot about racism and other types of hatred and discrimination lately. It keeps coming up in what I see on TV, read, hear in person, etc. And I'm increasingly disturbed and sickened by it. I used to think that most of that bull**** was long in the past. But I was so wrong.

    You know the saying, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." I agree. And I definitely don't want to be part of the problem any longer. But I don't really do anything. I mean, I don't treat anyone any differently based on any racial or physical or sexual things or anything like that, but I'm not doing anything to try to help, either. I don't know what to do. One thing I'm doing is trying to weed out all words from my slang vocabulary that are based on stereotypes and that kind of thing (i.e. "ghetto mart," "that's gay," etc), but that's about all I am actively doing, I guess.

    I will usually say something to people who make racist or homophobic comments in front of me, but sometimes I just feel uncomfortable and don't say anything. I'm afraid to make people angry, or something, which is what tends to happen while they explain to me how tolerant they really are. Yeah right. But then I start to wonder about the character of people that say such things. Do I maintain a friendship with someone who thinks this way? Is that condoning it? And where would I draw the line? I'm never really sure, and it is increasingly becoming an issue.

    So, what kinds of things do you do to combat this kind of ignorance and evil? Or what do you think you could do? Or what could I do? How far are you willing to go? I'm curious what kinds of ideas people have.

    edit: I wanted to include these links...
    http://www.tolerance.org/hidden_bias/index.html - you can test yourself for hidden biases. Really interesting, and there's some other good stuff on the site, too, but a lot of it is geared towards kids, I guess.
    "godhatesfags" .com. I can't bring myself to actually link to it because I am so sickened by it. But it is the Westboro Baptist Church homepage, led by Fred Phelps, that evil reverend from Kansas who does things like picket funerals with outrageously horrible signs and says the most hateful stuff I have ever heard in my life. Seeing it upset me enough to post this message, so maybe it will rouse other people to action as well. It is so awful though.. :( Sorry

  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    of course you do - everyone does. if someone of your same gender approaches you and asks you out on a date, do you consider it in the same light as if it was someone of a different gender? how about if they are handicapped, or of a different race than you? can you honestly say that these criteria make no difference? what if they're ugly, or clumsy?

    the point isn't to treat everyone the same - that's not possible. the point is to _not_ treat someone differently just because of a certain unrelated, generic characteristic, but rather treat everyone differently and individually based on their own individuality and personality.

    there is no form-letter solution to any kind of bigotry - that's what bigotry itself is, a form-letter solution to an individual problem of interpersonal relations. the cure to racism/sexism/whatever-ism is not going to be able to be applied with a roller-brush - attempting to force people to act or feel a certain way because it's "right" is just another form of "ism". facism.

    so what does one do? for myself, i advocate tolerance of all, even the intolerant, and i attempt to fight my own hypocrisy. those two together keep me pretty busy. in short, i try to take care of my own business before i try to dictate to others how they should act.
  3. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Once again proving that the number of strings is directly proportional to the level of intelligence. I'm getting a Groove Tools 7 before I go to college.:D I couldn't agree more John. We should all look within ourselves before we judge others; changing our own bad habits is a task in itself! The elimination of bigotry and racism will be a long one, if it is even possible. In any case, all great journeys begin with a single step.
  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    All you can do is to do right by others. Don't look for approval from the masses, you are not going to get it.

    If you can say: "I have friends, Good Friends", that's most of the test. The other part being that these "friends" are able to rely on you.

    If people around you say things that are contrary to what you believe, you have to decide to remove yourself from those types of people.

    We can all help old ladies with thier groceries, and look people in the eye and say hello. As a human being though, don't feel guilty being selective about who and how you help.

    But if you have a compelling need to be part of a solution, find something where your efforts are going to make a difference, where your TIME is worth the cause. Saying you "care" isn't the same as giving your time to help feed folks at a homeless shelter, or combating racism in an effective noticeable way.

    Take this for what it's worth, this is based on 40+ years on the planet. I help where I think I can be most effective. I wish I could do more for myriad causes, but help yourself first, to be consistently the best you can be.
  5. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    but....we should treat people differently. i know, i know, its so incorrect, but....

    peopel differ according to culture, not race/ sexuality/ethnicity/other. we all have different notions of social behavior, and we should cater to these notions to some extent.

    for ex., i work as a social worker/mental health counselor. being aware of differing cultural traditions and beliefs facilitates my ability to help people in need. approaching a south american latino family with some dysfunction in terms of male/female familial roles requires a different approach than dealing w/ a white middle class family. there are entirely different paradigms regarding gender roles, and what is acceptable w/in that culture.

    i try to recognize culture and difference, and address it from a perspective of interest and accomodation, and i expect the same in return. to refuse to treat a person according to their cultural dispositions is to objectify that person.
  6. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    "Be a winner, hate a sinner."


    I didn't even visit the site. I can only imagine what's on it.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    As a member of a racial minority, I can assure you that it's not a thing of the past.

    Bravo. I think that the subliminal weight of words is very heavy. Even things like gender neutral terms are important. While many will make light of political correctness and are frustrated by it, I'm personally in full support of it. I hate hearing words like "gay" or "jew" used as verbs. It's extremely condescending and prejudiced. We need to alleviate these terms from our vocabulary, and I'm glad to hear that you're helping.

    Upset them. Anger them. I got in the face of my new boss because he used a poor term. I won't tolerate anyone using offensive terms in front of me. They will stop, or they will no longer be in my company. People need to understand that its not acceptable. Do you think MLK, Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Frederick Douglass, WEB DuBois, Stokely Carmichael, or so many others were worried about angering people???

    Stay educated, stay focused, and stay true to your cause. I'll go as far as it needs to go. Anything less is an injustice to humankind, to myself, to my friends, and to my family.
  8. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    You can't control what others do or think or say, only your reaction to them. You are doing the best thing you can do to help......working on yourself. That is the only thing that will reduce the "isms" of society.

    As far as "getting in their face" is concerned, it won't help. It may make you feel like you did something good and brave, but in the end you only end up annoying the person and not doing a thing to change their outlook. I choose to let them wallow in their own ignorance. If they persist in their ignorance, I will choose not to be around them.

    Its not my lot in life to change others. I have too much work to do on myself.:)
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I like to ask questions. Questions can get people thinking. When you really think about it, it doesn't make sense.

    One thing that cross all boundaries, sexual, political, racial, modal, whatever, is stupidity. No one group has a lock on it. A well placed question can sometimes jar the rocks loose... sometimes.

    And like jt said, look inward first. The names I call people are neither religious, racial nor gender specific;)
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, actually, that's how i get some of my best names to call people (by looking inward, that is).

    the ole' body parts lexicon, you know. :D
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    jt, you realize we are two of the most powerful people on TB.

    Of course that and $.50 still won't get you a Big Gulp;)
  12. Ahh to be a big fish in a tiny pond.;)

    Smaller ponds have a higher percentage of scum.
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga

    ebony...and ivorEEEEEE! :D ;)

  14. I can't speak for everyone, but I really don't come across many people who I would call racist, or homophobic, or sexist. Of course, no matter how "enlightened" or "civilized" we become, there are always going to be some jerks out there, but I don't think these people are even worth getting upset about. Like Ineal, I don't think "getting in their face" is much of a solution either. I'm sure it is hard to ignore them, but if you let yourself get upset by these people then you are just making yourself a victim. You can't convince an ignorant person that they are ignorant.

    Some people think the key to getting rid of prejudices is to convince everyone that we are all the same, I think the key is to accept our differences.
  15. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    I don't believe this. About six months ago I was one of the many people using slang words like gay, and fag when they were completely out of place. One day my cousin and I got into an argument over these slang words, and I realized I had been using them inappropriately, So I stopped using them. When I do hear people using them I ask them why they think the word gay should be used as a derogatory term, most people can't come up with a good answer. I find those people correcting themselves in my presence.
  16. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    My point, as well as that of others, is that you have to change yourself. No matter what you say or do you can't force people to change. You can plant the seed in their mind if they are receptive, but you can't and indeed shouldn't try to force them to think like you. Its an exercise in futility.

    That said, lil_bass_kid, your idea about monitoring your own usage of the language is one that I have been working on for a number of years now. I have tried to eliminate most slang from my everyday speech. Old habits die hard and I'm still working on it.

    And its not just derogatory and/or vulgar terms that should be eliminated either. Example: I can't stand it when people use the word "like" constantly. It makes me think that they are not very adept with the language and are using the word as a crutch.

    Anyway, back to the subject. I still maintain that the only place you can make a real difference is in yourself.:)
  17. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Try moving to Raleigh, North Carolina.
  18. Or Cincinnati, home of the infamous Xmas KKK Cross on Fountain Square several years ago. They tried again this year, but somehow the city managed to keep them from putting it up this time.

    This is an interesting topic. When my wife moved down here to the Great Midwest from Long Island several years ago, she experienced some serious culture shock. She's Jewish on her mother's side, and was appalled by the things she would hear people say right out loud in casual conversations, especially at her last job. And she's not the kind of person that will sit there quietly and not confront the person who said it. It led to a lot of friction with some of her co-workers.

    It really forced me to look at myself too. I've never considered myself a racist, but I hadn't realized how many ignorant things had creeped into my vocabulary over the years. I've had to make an effort to clean up my act.

    Ineal brought up one thing that I encounter quite often. I'm out somewhere with "the guys" (not necessarily my friends a lot of the time), and someone will bust out with the latest "funny". What can you do? Ignore them? Get back in their face? Leave? Just stand there stupidly smiling and looking uncomfortable? You're not going to change anyone's attitude right there on the spot by arguing with them, ignorance runs too deep around here.

    Come to think of it, I run into this a lot with the guitarist in my band. He's a total racist bastard. I've thought about quitting a few times over it. Usually I just shake my head at him and tell him he's an a**hole or make some other sarcastic remark, and then go on with it and try to ignore it. The weird part is our keyboard player is of Indian descent, and he puts up with it too. Maybe he's just afraid to say anything. Our guitar player could use a good a**-kicking.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Didn't realize you had a fro before the mohawk,jt;)
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I didn't realize the power I had until recently. I will make a concerted effort to wield it with magnanimity and weigh my words carefully in the future. I will make mistakes only of the head, not the heart.

    I'm getting a reading of .000037 oz. on this one.