Asian in America

Anti Asian American Racism Perpetrated by Other Minority Groups: Black Racism by Ying Ma

Black African American Racism against Asian Americans JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

Black African American Racism against Asian Americans JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

If you are a minority, can you be racist?

This is a thorny topic that Asian American activists don’t want to talk about: racism by African Americans in inner cities across America against Asian Americans. Because I grew up in a suburb of California, I personally am not familiar with this but I have to say that since I have been blogging about how Asian Americans are discriminated against by elite private colleges and universities, the most extreme responses from my alumni group (Harvard Alumni in LinkedIn) have come from the African Americans who find the success of Asian Americans to be very threatening in the college admissions arena.

Ying Ma’s article is very interesting in that it sums up what is most Asian about all of us: we Asian Americans are culturally raised to be  non-confrontational whether this means ignoring vicious bullying to not acknowledging racism from another minority group. Even our activists are intimated into silence, acceptance and/or denial that African Americans harbor resentment of Asian Americans which manifests into bullying, harassment and acts of violence. Could it be that African Americans prejudice stems from our “Model Minority” success that reflects back on them, making them look bad? Or just that a minority group that is successful is to be resented? Will Latino Americans also receive this same treatment as they continue to improve their economic status?

What do you think of this article? Have you been the target of black racism? Do you think this exists? Do you think it should be acknowledged and confronted? Do you find that this is subject that makes Asian American leaders very squirmy and uncomfortable? Is this idea that minorities unite against racism a pipe dream? Please comment!


Nov/Dec/1998 Fresh Thinking About Race in America

Black Racism
by Ying Ma

In what passes for discussions on race these days, small problems are often blown up large, while real traumas are completely ignored. For instance, despite what President Clinton’s “Race Initiative” panel has said, the very rawest racial conflicts in present-day America don’t even fit into the tidy mold of white-majority-oppressing-colored-minority that activists constantly promote. Though civil rights groups and most of the media studiously ignore this fact, the nations most fractious racial battles are now conflicts between minority populations. Particularly horrific is the animosity directed at Asian Americans by blacks in low-income areas of urban America .

At age ten, I immigrated from China to Oakland , California , a city filled with crime, poverty, and racial tension. In elementary school, I didn’t wear name-brand clothing or speak English. My name soon became “Ching Chong,” “Chinagirl,” and “Chow Mein.” Other children laughed at my language, my culture, my ethnicity, and my race. I said nothing.

After a few years, I began to speak English, but not well enough to trade racial insults. On rides home from school I avoided the back of the bus so as not to be beaten up. But even when I sat in the front, fire crackers, paper balls, small rocks, and profanity were thrown at me and the other “stupid Chinamen.” The label “Chinamen” was dished out indiscriminately to Vietnamese, Koreans, and other Asians. When I looked around, I saw that the other “Chinamen” tuned out the insults by eagerly discussing movies, friends, and school.

During my secondary school years, racism, and then the combination of outrage and bitterness that it fosters, accompanied me home on the bus every day. My English was by now more fluent than that of those who insulted me, but most of the time I still said nothing to avoid being beaten up. In addition to everything else thrown at me, a few times a week I was the target of sexual remarks vulgar enough to make Howard Stern blush. When I did respond to the insults, I immediately faced physical threats or attacks, along with the embarrassing fact that the other “Chinamen” around me simply continued their quiet personal conversations without intervening. The reality was that those who cursed my race and ethnicity were far bigger in size than most of the Asian children who sat silently.

The racial harassment wasn’t limited to bus rides. It surfaced in my high school cafeteria, where a middle-aged Chinese vendor who spoke broken English was told by rowdy students each day at lunch time to “Hurry up, you dumb Ching!” On the sidewalks, black teenagers and adults would creep up behind 80-year-old Asians and frighten them with sing-song nonsense: “Yee-ya, Ching-chong, ah-ee, un-yahhh!” At markets and in the streets of poor black neighborhoods, Asians would be told, “Why the hell don’t you just go back to where you came from!”

When it came time for college, I left this ugly world for a beautiful school far away. Finally, it was possible to pursue a life without racial harassment backed by the threat of violence. I chose not to return to my old neighborhood after college, but I am often reminded of the racial discrimination I endured there. On a bus not too long ago I saw a black woman curse at a Korean man, “You f—ing Chinese person! Didn’t you hear that I asked you to move yo ass? You too stupid to understand English or something?”

In poor neighborhoods across this country Asians endure daily racial hatred just as I did. Because of their language deficiencies, their small size, their fear of violent confrontations, they endure in silence. Unlike me, many of them will never depart for a new life in a beautiful place far, far away. So each day they grow more bitter against a group that much of America refuses to acknowledge to be capable of racism: African Americans.

In a fair and peaceful world, racial harassment will be decried without regard to its source. The problem today is that prominent black leaders rule out even the possibility of black racism. Activists like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson intone that racism equals “prejudice plus power,” and that since blacks in America lack power, they are simply not capable of practicing racism against anyone. John Hope Franklin, chair of President Clinton’s race panel, angrily insists that racism is something suffered, not dished out, by blacks. Many black professors, writers, polemicists, and politicians repeat the same mantra. What might appear to be black racism, writes syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, actually boils down not to racism but to acts of crime and rudeness from the perpetrators, and tough luck for the recipients.

Rationalizers of black racism ignore the fact that identical actions inflicted by whites would be universally decried as intolerable. Ultimately, their arguments simply grease the skids for further traumatizing of “unlucky” victims. And to real-life casualties of racial animosity, motivation is not especially relevant. Loss is loss. Pain is pain.

Unfortunately, Asian Americans and especially their leaders have failed to speak out on this matter. Complaints from wounded individuals regularly boil into public view, however. In mid-August, I attended a crowded press conference held in New York’s Chinatown to discuss Indonesia s history of discrimination against ethnic Chinese (which peaked this May in a wave of bloody anti-Chinese riots). One woman at the event began to hysterically scream out her frustrations over black American racism against Asians. The woman, Mee Ying Lin, shouted, “Chinese suffer from racial discrimination by blacks every day. We should help persecuted Chinese overseas, but why is no one dealing with our own troubles in America ?”

Rose Tsai, head of the San Francisco Neighbors Association, and candidate for a seat on the citys Board of Supervisors, suggests that everyday Asians rarely defend themselves against ghetto racism because “Asian culture is just not that confrontational. Asians are unlike blacks who got to where they are in politics by being militant.”

Tsai explains that Asian involvement in politics is at a nascent stage, that it is difficult for her organization even to convince Asian immigrants to vote, let alone make a political stink against racial harassment. “Asians are just not used to standing up for our own rights,” says another Bay Area Chinese activist with frustration.

That might explain the quiescence of recent immigrants who speak imperfect English. But what about the growing cadre of Asian activists? They are far from passive or non-confrontational. In just the past two years, organizations like the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium, the Organization for Chinese Americans, and others have voiced loud condemnations of “racism” in American society. But they have focused on events like the recent investigation of Asian donors of illegal campaign funds, the Republican opposition in Congress to Bill Lann Lees nomination as director of the Office of Civil Rights, a cover drawing for National Review that showed the President, Vice President, and First Lady dressed in Manchurian garb, and even a recent cover photo for this magazine that showed a handsome Asian male scowling angrily at the camera.

If vocal Asian activists are able to work themselves into a frenzy attacking everyday political tussles and editorial cartoons for their alleged racist motivations, they are obviously capable of confrontation. Why then do we never hear these national activists condemning black racism against Asians in our inner cities?

Some Asian-American activists say the reason they have not confronted anti-Asian racism among blacks is because the tension does not exist on the national level, but is merely confined to some local areas. Karen Narasaki of the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium claimed in a recent interview that black animosity is different in each city and ought to be handled differently in each case by local organizations. David Lee, executive director of one such local organization, the San Francisco Voters Education Committee, concurs: “There may be a few communities and a few areas where tensions existso it is better for community groups rather than a national organization like the Organization of Chinese Americans to deal with such problems.”

Representatives of national Asian organizations also cite resource constraints to explain their quiescence. They say black-Asian clashes are not a serious enough national issue to expend scarce time and money on.

There is a difference, however, between not being able to expend effort and not wanting to. Asian activists on the national level also matter-of-factly justify black racism in inner cities as a direct result of competition between Asians and their black neighbors over limited economic resources. Narasaki, while acknowledging she is not an inner city expert, insists that many black and Asian conflicts “have to do with the lack of economic opportunities” in cities. Echoing this refrain, Stanley Mark, program director of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, asserts that “we can’t talk about race without talking about economic disparities.”

In this vein, Asian activists consistently mention that racial problems occur when Asian merchants move into predominantly black neighborhoods and flourish. The vicious year-long black boycott of a Korean store in Brooklyn in 1990, and the looting and burning of Korean stores in south-central Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots serve as shining examples of conflicts linked to economic disparities.

The excuse of economic disparities fails miserably to justify violence and harassment, however. For some observers, it also brings up memories of Nazi persecution of Jews, African attacks on Indian merchants, and recent murders, rapes, and robberies of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia . All of these atrocities were committed against people deemed economically well off by larger masses facing difficult times.

In any case, the economic disparities rationale falls apart in the many instances where racism flourishes in the absence of class differences. At San Francisco’s Hunters Point public housing complex, for instance, low-income Southeast Asian residents, who are in the minority, have consistently encountered racial harassment from their black neighbors. Racial slurs, physical threats, violence, and destruction of property have festered for years. Philip Nguyen of the Southeast Asian Community Center, who has worked on the case for years, notes that there are no economic differences between the Asian and black families in the complex. The Asians, he says, are very quiet and have made every effort to befriend the black residents, yet serious friction has persisted for ten years.

Joe Hicks, executive director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, painstakingly tried to bring blacks and Asians together after the Rodney King riots. He believes that “much of the hostilities are due to blacks jealousy of Asian economic success, a sense of alienation, and the self-perpetuating belief that blacks will always lose out in the racial equation in America .” He adds that “certainly economics gives a basis to many of the problems,” but asserts that “even if tomorrow we can have a level playing field for both racial groups, we would still have animosity and racial strife” because prejudices would still remain.

Asian activists who are not otherwise inclined to ignore prejudice are often strangely anxious to apologize for black racism. In interviews, they note that Asians harbor many prejudices against blacks too. This explanation, however, has no power to explain the kind of harassment I and many others like me experienced as young immigrant children beginning life with no animus toward anyone.

Asian prejudice toward blacks surely exists. But whatever biases might be harbored in the minds of Asian immigrants, many of whom had never seen a black person before arriving in the U.S., they certainly don’t rate at the level of destroying black people’s property, scaring their elderly folk, or threatening and assaulting their children the kinds of pressures Asians in many urban areas now endure routinely. Asian youths in particular typically start out with little or no inclination to distrust or dislike African Americans. Young Asians are usually far more willing than their parents to accept a new country and new friends, including black ones. In many cases, it was only after innumerable frightening chases, assaults, and humiliations that Asian attitudes toward blacks turned defensive. Those of us whose open minds were confronted with hostility and hatred will never accept the insulting assertion that our suffering resulted from our own prejudices.

It seems that leaders of the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, and related groups are disconnected from the real concerns of many of the Asians they claim to represent. David Lee, whose Bay Area organization is attempting to promote local dialogue among minority journalists, believes that a fundamental disconnection exists between the national Asian spokesmen and the new majority of Asians who are recent immigrants. The prominent Asian civil rights leaders, he notes, tend to be American born, to speak little of their ethnic languages, and to be unable to read the local ethnic newspapers. Many of them do not know or understand the problems in low income areas, because they live comfortable middle-class lives. And so “it is not surprising that they are silent about black-on-Asian discrimination,” Lee summarizes.

Bong Hwan Kim, executive director of the Korean Youth and Community Center in Los Angeles and an active member of the Black-Korean Alliance that attempted to bring African- and Korean-Americans together in the eight years before the south-central riots, describes a disconnection in the Korean community between first-generation immigrants and acculturated second generation residents with less familiarity with inner-city life. After the shops of Koreatown were looted or burned, he reports, the more suburbanized Koreans pushed inter-ethnic bridge-building efforts, while the first-generation immigrants who toiled in menial jobs, bridled at having to sit across the table from those who looted and burned their property. Meanwhile, few of the prominent national Asian organizations even condemned the violence perpetrated against Koreans in L.A.

Stanley Mark of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund argues in defense of the national Asian organizations that people hear less from the Asian leaders about black-on-Asian racism than white-on-Asian racism simply because there is less of the former than the latter. Mark insists he knows of no case where an Asian was seriously hurt or killed by a racist black American.

Underlining the disconnect between national and local perceptions, Liu Yu-xi, an organizer of the New York coalition of Chinese Americans that mobilized hundreds of thousands of normally politically apathetic Chinese to protest Indonesian violence against Chinese residents, chuckled at Stanley Marks ignorance of cases of black racism. Liu, who has known of many racially motivated physical attacks against Chinese in New York , observes, “Such crimes are reported often in the local Chinese papers, but the national Asian activists obviously do not know how to read Chinese.”

When asked why prominent Asians have said little about racial harassment by African Americans, Bill Tam of San Francisco s Chinese Family Alliance flatly stated, “I think they are afraid to say anything.” To him, it appears that Asian leaders are often fearful of the national black leadership. National Asian organizations generally follow the lead of black civil rights groups like the naacp so slavishly, another Bay Area activist told me, that even when the latters stances (for instance, on quotas and preferences) are opposed to the interests and beliefs of many Asian citizens, the Asian activists don’t challenge their allies.

Rose Tsai of the San Francisco Neighbors Association was a little more blunt: “Most Asian leaders do not wish to acknowledge that there exists a problem because they do not want the minorities to fight amongst themselves.” As a result, national Asian spokesmen speaking for their brethren are without any inkling of the real problems they face, or what kind of racism is dragging them down. Recognizing the complex issues between blacks and Asians, Philip Nguyen of the Southeast Asian Community Center has a simple proposal: “Fight, not against or for any group, but against racial discrimination.”

Ying Ma, who immigrated to the United States in 1985, is a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York .

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Tags: Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, angrily insists that racism is something suffered, animosity directed at Asian Americans by blacks in low-income areas of urban America, Asian American Legal Defense Fund, Asian culture, Asian politics, Asians, Bill Lann Lees nomination as director of the Office of Civil Rights, black racism, black racism against Asians in our inner cities, Black Racism by Ying Ma, black racism in inner cities as a direct result of competition between Asians and their black neighbors over limited economic resources, but against racial discrimination, by blacks, chair of President Clinton's race panel, conflicts between minority populations, Fight, Fresh Thinking About Race, John Hope Franklin, Leonard Pitts, Most Asian leaders do not wish to acknowledge that there exists a problem because they do not want the minorities to fight amongst themselves, not against or for any group, not dished out, Organization for Chinese Americans, racism, racism African Americans, the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium, tough luck

84 Responses to “Anti Asian American Racism Perpetrated by Other Minority Groups: Black Racism by Ying Ma”

  1. On November 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm admin responded with... #

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni:

    It all starts with a dialogue, being able to identify a problem. We’ll never get to working on a solution is we are afraid to call out the issue so I salute your blog about this issue. The verbal abuse, taunts, etc. directed at you as an Asian immigrant would have been directed at any perceived “other” in the low income black neighborhood.

    Posted by Linda

  2. On November 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm admin responded with... #

    I agree with you that the underlying driver for the racism lies in the perception of competing for limited resources. Poverty is the problem here. It’s just too bad that this energy can’t be directed in a more positive way; rather than pulling someone else down, why not use the energy to pull yourself up? The solution is the same for everyone in this boat; education, hard work, and drive.

  3. On November 28, 2011 at 7:23 am admin responded with... #

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni:

    Visited the new MLK memorial today in DC and was reminded of the promise we all have to excel and the gap in reality. Our country had endured so many prejudices. One of the things I tought of today as I walked around the memorial was how the country let black men vote, but it took another 50 years before women were allowed to vote (white or black). Odd isn’t it?

    I think the Asian performance issue in school is relatively new. I recall being tagged as an underperforming demographic in early elementary school. That’s not good on a young kid’s psyche.

    Posted by Luke

  4. On November 28, 2011 at 7:24 am admin responded with... #

    From My LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni:

    What complicates relations today — some 20 to 30 years later — is education. Only African Americans were slaves in THIS country and in many ways we really have not escaped our chains. One root cause — however subtle — is our oral tradition, rather than a written one. One tragedy is our inability to ensure that our children are receiving the highest quality education — and the full home support for education that we need to succeed. Our children are the majority in many urban school districts — and rural ones as well — but is taking us too many generations to provide a truly equal opportunity for EVERY Black child.

    Asian culture, like Jewish culture, places a premium on education — particularly readin gand writing — and always has. As a result, Asian American students have surged ahead in a public education system designed to elevate those who excel in these areas. In New York City, the populations of our “specialized high schools” have seen a tremendous growth in the number of Asian students (and members of first-generation immigrant groups), at the expense of Black and Latino children of urban generations. There are some disturbing prejudices that are now emerging against Asian students that result from this change. To be frank, however, the negative aspects of competition when one’s future is at stake have been laid at the feet of many groups, including Jews.

    At the college level, the competition is ridiculous, and I won’t go into that at this time. There is no question that Ying Ma and others are right to challenge prejudice and racism and hate wherever we see it. Our leaders must be as vigilant about inter-minority group misunderstandings as we are about denouncing anti-Semitism when our Jewish brothers and sisters are victimized by swastikas on walls. But we must also challenge the framework within which we operate — a framework of competition where the most powerful people who don’t look like any of us determine who goes to the best schools and who gets the best jobs. In the end, it is all a battle for resources.

    Posted by Chris

  5. On November 28, 2011 at 7:28 am admin responded with... #

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni:

    Though both are rooted in hate, racism is not prejudice. Racism, created by white Europeans to “explain” their economic and social superiority, does indeed involve power — the power to subject others due to their perceived difference from the powerful “in” group. Prejudice is the collection of negative and unjustified assumptions regarding an individual or a group.

    In the grand scheme of things, racism is found in many societies and it is almost always linked to the powerful attempting to stay there. But there are also ethnic divisions that involve power and not “race” as we have defined it in Western terms. Thus the genocidal levels of violence in Rwanda between Tutsis and Huttus — or the view of 18th-Century Han Chinese that China was the center of the universe and the West was populated by barbarians. The pendulum swings that far.

    People of African heritage, Hispanic heritage, and Asian heritage have all experienced racism in America. That is clear. What is described in painful detail by Ying Ma is the prejudice that even the most oppressed Americans can manifest. I put to you that being an immigrant from another culture was much more of a factor in many of these childhood incidents than the Asian heritage — although the degradation and trivialization of Asians in our movies and television shows have fed into the prejudices of African Americans, like everyone else.

    My father is African American; my mother is whte (Jewish). I was raised in New York City (Brooklyn, primarily). I see these conflicts through a different lens and all of them pain me. I really had no Asian friends until high school. And then I got the feeling that the parents of my friends would not exactly approve of a Black friend. I might have been wrong in some cases, but as a high school student I didn’t try too hard to test my hypothesis. Unfortunately, some African Americans have reacted to their closest neighbors — the Jews and the Asians — with outrageous hate … seeking someone “lower” to make themselves feel better about their lives. Terrible incidents have taken place based upon the misbehavior of the few, and New York has suffered accordingly. But those people are not the majority.

    Posted by Chris

  6. On November 28, 2011 at 7:28 am admin responded with... #

    I agree that it’s a battle for resources but that the resources need to be provided at home. Public education is not going to provide the personal support that every child needs to truly succeed academically. These resources don’t have to be costly: after school tutoring can be obtained through library programs or from schools themselves but it has to be sought out and utilized. Another resource is to have older kids help younger kids. This is the model that Asian American immigrants use. Older kids help younger siblings with school work acting as tutors.

  7. On November 28, 2011 at 7:32 am admin responded with... #

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni:

    I also salute your intelligence and courage getting this discussion, sadly an old one, but still to be done, out there, as well as the people replying here. It’s a truism that perhaps the worst effect of the projection of one’s own fears about oneself that becomes racism is that the original direct victims of it become caught in the racist vision itself, and then project onto others in the same community or another, repeating the cycle, in their own self-image. That is the worst fallout of all abuse in whatever form, of which racism is one. Which combines with the shutting oneself off — because the steroetypes of being untouchable have been absorbed, even if outwardly denied –from others who could open and dissolve those stereotypes, from help and stepping out of the trap.
    Also see the Stockholm Syndrome, where people under torture begin to identify with their torturers in order to feel in control in a siutation in which they aren’t; another form is self mutiliation..another word for what we are talking about here also..
    Look at these beautiful faces that are the people writing could one do anything but love what one sees, and want to exchange the intelligence between you all to learn..
    C’est èvident, n’est-ce pas?
    Ya, of course it is. So we begin the education again and again until vision in our world has that education of species already incorporated in it. The indiscriminate discrimination spoken of here is one of the –sadly I think, hoped for–results also of the cuts in education, specific and general, resources, sexist, violence and warmongering, and racist advertising and policies that have been perpetuated in the USA and, sadly also in other places who should have known better, since the Reagan-Bush years there began it again. The cutting awareness is taking the toll that those ill people hoped it would, to conform their world to their illness, instead of participate in its health and abundance..All commonplace knowledge.
    Again, hats off to the dialogue here, your own part in teaching again what got lost in those years’ mis-translations of experience and political responsability in our lives and world.
    most respectfully,

    Posted by gabrielle

  8. On November 28, 2011 at 7:33 am admin responded with... #

    From my Linkedin Group Harvard University Alumni:

    It doesn’t help when poular culture disseminates and supports racial stereotypes — the “model” Asian, the welfare-addicted A-As and the illegal Hispanics — pitting us all against one another instead of supporting an environment in which we could find commonalities with which we can engage in collective political action.

    Posted by Linda

  9. On November 28, 2011 at 7:34 am admin responded with... #


    I could not help but feel the pain…because what you have postedt is true. Asian Americans have not only been discriminated against by African Americans, which my mother personally experience from her trip to visit me this October, but also vilified by other minorities such as Latino Americans, and worst of all, Asians ourselves. Your comment on the perception of poverty is one, the other, in my opinion, is the lack of clout and influence as a culture. They say that Asians are not a cohesive group, which in turn further weaken our influence in the world.

    Posted by Lei

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  10. On November 28, 2011 at 9:00 am admin responded with... #

    Interesting. As the oldest child in an Asian immigrant family, I don’t recall every being asked or expected to help my siblings’ school work. Didn’t see that in other relatives or families I knew either. Maybe I didn’t ask. I don’t think I would have been a good tutor to them anyway.

    I have kids now and as parents, really don’t teach them either. I focus on conveying values and am fortunate my kids’ have higher academic standards than their parents’ expectations. Same thing when dealing with my employees. They have to care more about their careers than me.

    Posted by Luke

    From My LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  11. On November 28, 2011 at 9:01 am admin responded with... #

    I guess the sibling tutoring depends on the aptitude of the kids but I knew a bunch of kids whose parents didn’t speak English and therefore had trouble helping them with some types of homework.

  12. On November 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Interesting. I never thought of homework as anything parents should be involved with, nor do I think my parents felt that way. Maybe it was the way my Dad tried to teach me math. Decided quickly I didn’t want any of that. Part of learning is making mistakes. I always thought kids should get things wrong on their homework and get it corrected at school.

    When my oldest daughter started middle school, some of her friends’ parents called us asking if we saw a huge increase in homework. Our daughter assured us everything was fine, yet the calls persisted. We finally realized that it was because their kids never did the hardest homework questions through elementary school. They did it, so their kids never learned the material. The increased homework load was actually on the parents who were doing it, and they were complaining. The material had reached sufficient difficulty that they had to study to do the homework. English wasn’t an issue. Some parents are crazy.
    Posted by Luke

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  13. On November 29, 2011 at 6:49 am admin responded with... #

    Dear Chris, in answer to the racism prejudice, I don’t compare them ,really but see them as two separate words..racism (and all the other ça change, plus c’est la même chose..) is the active use of prejudice, to exclude, as you say..

    Posted by gabrielle sido

    From My LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  14. On December 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm admin responded with... #

    Technically speaking, affirmative action policies are racist.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  15. On December 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm admin responded with... #

    I have worked in the area of women issues and race for years. Everyone can be the target of racism and everyone can be the perpetrator. There can be and is racism within a race. There is colorism, where the color or skin tone is a factor, etc. So the problem of racism does not skip people of color. I want to add a point and advocate that we stop referring to people of color as minority groups. Collectively, we are the rising majority and we can and should not accept status as minority groups. We need to own our power. I also think that if we unite behind the concept of people of color, it becomes more inclusive as “white” people are people of a color also. White is a color in the rainbow as is Black, Brown, etc. I am not saying let’s all lose our racial identity as that is not how to end racism, but we can lose the segmentation of “us vs. them.”

    Posted by Raye

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  16. On December 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm admin responded with... #

    Yes, Tom, racism CAN infect anyone but it has to be cultivated. Prejudice, on the other hand, is instinctive and can be released at any time. Racism, in the end, is fear compounded with a “social investment.” Prejudice, however, has no such compound; we always prejudge the “other” based upon things we know and things we know less about. Much of what is being discussed between groups is prejudice with race as a trigger — but that’s not the same as racism.

    Overall, however, I like your approach Tom: Racism AND prejudice are infections of the heart and mind.

    Posted by Chris

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  17. On December 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm admin responded with... #

    Interesting, after reviewing the blog, I find it interesting that no one postulates to say that racism is an infection of the heart and mind, and can exist in anyone…and towards anyone. Can a “non-minority” be subjected to anger and hatred of their color based on ignorance and pride? People have used majority and minority racial power to feud anger towards others. If a minority kills and majority..based on some ignorant prejudice, is that not the same? We are all minority, so let’s take off the mask.

    Posted by Tom

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  18. On December 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm admin responded with... #

    All Americans have stories of persecution against their “group,” whether it be a racial group, a religious group, or a political group. Jews went through the holocaust. African Americans went through slavery. On my mother’s side, German Lutherans who migrated here in the 1600’s, suffered great persecution back in Germany before they left. On my wife’s side, the Mormons were horribly persecuted in the East, in part for their support of the abolition movement, before they fled to the West. On my father’s side, the Austro-Hungarian freedom fighters, who fought for a free republic against King Wilhelm of Germany, were mostly murdered in that war, before my great grandfather came to America. Everyone has stories of persecution in their past. But, only African Americans have special affirmative action policies that help them with their careers. Should I be given special treatment, because my mother’s ancestors suffered anti-Lutheran persecutions in the 1500’s? Should my children be given special treatment, because Mormons suffered incredible persecutions in the 1800’s?

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  19. On December 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm admin responded with... #

    Just stating the facts. If facts cause “deterioration” of a discussion, as you put it, then the goal of Ve-Ri-Tas has been lost.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  20. On December 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm admin responded with... #

    Mr. Gal. I assume you make the above post to prompt some sort of response. I will not further the conversation on that remark. This was becoming an intelligent discussion about race. Sorry to see it deteriorate to such a low level as represented by your comment. Access to opportunity is not racist.

    Posted by Raye

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  21. On December 3, 2011 at 8:07 am admin responded with... #

    You probably know more about it than I do, but my understanding is that affirmative action is primarily designed for women and African Americans. I know, for a fact, that minority owned businesses have certain advantages when it comes to getting government contracts.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  22. On December 3, 2011 at 8:08 am admin responded with... #

    The public ridicule dished out by the recent play, “The Book of Mormon,” is reminiscent of the Anti African American theatre of the Jim Crowe South; but I don’t hear liberals jumping up and down about discrimination on that. Instead, I hear them laughing with glee at the humiliating portrayal of Mormons.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  23. On December 3, 2011 at 8:09 am admin responded with... #

    This is not about “joining the global community”. Rather, it is about “Equal Justice Under the Law.” If I can be charged with hate crimes for making derogatory remarks about African Americans, then why can’t Mormons charge “The Book of Mormon” for hate crimes?

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  24. On December 3, 2011 at 8:10 am admin responded with... #

    “The Book of Mormon” (the play) is the “The Jungle Book” of the Northeast Liberals.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  25. On December 3, 2011 at 8:10 am admin responded with... #

    Raye, all points right on, that was a pleasure to read in your clarity on all fronts. Especially the “minority”, yes of course. You reminded me of a wonderful poster that you no doubt know, although this was en français, about the white and colours question. Basically to the tune of: you turn red when you’re angry, pink when you blush, grey when you’re tired (and several other more witty ones) and you call ME a person of colour? I stay the same in all lights..

    Also hats off to your dignified reply to JLGal’s immaturity..I remember guys like him at H-R and how boring they were trying to show off, with nothing interesting to really say..Hope he learns from you…
    I, a sabre fighter, am less patient..

    Posted by gabrielle

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  26. On December 3, 2011 at 8:12 am admin responded with... #

    Thousands of years ago, white people were enslaved to black Pharoahs in ancient Egypt. Don’t be fooled by the “do-gooder rhetoric” of affirmative action. Its real goal is to reinstate black supremacy.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  27. On December 3, 2011 at 8:13 am admin responded with... #

    I am not trying to show off. I am merely trying to point out the obvious hypocrisy and bias of affirmative action, a body of law from which Ms. Mitchell apparently makes a great living as a high priced lawyer. Ms. Mitchell’s personal bias in favor of African Americans is quite clear and obvious. She describes “forward progress” as anything that favors African Americans; and she labels my efforts to stand up for Mormons as “taking us backwards.” Affirmative action, and other liberal social engineering programs, are just as heinous and discriminatory as the social engineering programs that they claim to counteract! And, this “global community” of which she speaks is, a euphemism for black supremacy. Some thanks we get for fighting to free the slaves.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  28. On December 3, 2011 at 8:13 am admin responded with... #

    Speaking of history, thousands of years ago, white people were enslaved to black Pharoahs in ancient Egypt. Don’t be fooled by the “do-gooder rhetoric” of affirmative action. Its real goal is to reinstate black supremacy.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  29. On December 3, 2011 at 8:14 am admin responded with... #

    Come on my interesting people….I’m beginning to feel race baited. BTW – the Jonathan comment is as “intelligent” as any other…and a more practical real perspective. Wake up please. Whatever happened to the “content of our character”? I refuse to look at your color, so, am I now a racist eh?

    Posted by Tom

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  30. On December 3, 2011 at 8:25 am admin responded with... #

    I find that these discussions start to spiral out of control when the issue of racism comes up. What really concerns me is that this group is the Best and Brightest in America. If we can’t have a rationale discussion that actually result in constructive suggestions, what does that say for our country?

    And Jonathan, do you really believe this: “Don’t be fooled by the “do-gooder rhetoric” of affirmative action. Its real goal is to reinstate black supremacy.”

    Affirmative Action’s goal is not to reinstate black supremacy. And did you know that the percentage of African American men in college remains the same after all these decades of Affirmative Action?

    And also, your comment to me here:

    You are guilty of “Falsitas”, the overhyping of racial issues for political purposes and personal gain. I can think of three Asian Harvard classmates of mine who have all reached the top echelons of the investment banking world. These claims of racism are misleading … “Falsitas”.
    Posted by Jonathan L.

    makes me think that you are not willing to see any point of view but your own.

  31. On December 3, 2011 at 8:30 am admin responded with... #

    There is nothing in this article that states this is a matter of government interference nor that Harvard and other private schools can’t do what they want. The article merely pointed out the stats of what races needed to score in order to be admitted and how these deviations affect the whole.

  32. On December 3, 2011 at 8:42 am JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    To Jonathan,
    I am trying to understand your point of view (though it’s difficult). Is that fact that you are Mormon and feel discriminated against as a minority group based on your religion but without any reparations since your group is classified as Caucasian the root cause of your inability to see other races as deserving of policies to assist them?

    Help me understand your positions here. I noticed that you have been very active in leaving comments for the posts on this LinkedIn group and I appreciate your participation.

  33. On December 4, 2011 at 10:35 am admin responded with... #

    No, don’t want special protections. I was merely pointing out the hypocricy of the favoritism given to “protected classes”. Trying to show that everyone has faced persecution in the past. Therefore, noone deserves special treatment based on past wrongs against their group, whether it be their religious group or ethnic group or racial group or whatever. I believe in individual performance, and I find that the litigation and threat of litigation from these kinds of laws hurt economic growth and reduce prosperity for everyone.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

    • On December 7, 2011 at 7:34 am admin responded with... #

      To Jonathan L,
      Affirmative Action also is about redressing wrongs against their group that persist currently. I understand that Mormons face prejudice. Mitt Romney is a good example. In terms of media stereotyping, Big House and Sister Wives don’t do any favors for Mormons and help to perpetuate stereotyping that is inaccurate and damaging.

      However, the fact that there is a Mormon candidate who potentially will win a major party nomination for the presidency suggests that that Mormon hurdle isn’t that high. Also, being Mormon isn’t an obvious casual observation in terms of job seeking or college applications. There are also no quotas that seek to limit Mormon participation in terms of job hiring or college acceptances. These are huge differences.

  34. On December 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm admin responded with... #

    Readers might be interested in Jay Smooth’s recent TEDx talk “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race.” One key point; prejudice isn’t a binary on/off quality, where you either have it or you don’t, and our conversations about race will go better if we remember that.

    Posted by Meg

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  35. On December 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm admin responded with... #

    Mr. Gal has presented a one-sentence opinion stated with no supporting reasoning or details. That’s not a fact; that’s trolling. Too bad.

    Posted by Meg

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  36. On December 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm Blair Ebony Smith responded with... #

    I agree somewhat on a personal level but because of the systemic problems with racism a Black person can never be racist. Unfortunately, the systemic issues with racism are more complicated then what you express on a personal level

    • On December 6, 2011 at 7:56 pm admin responded with... #

      To Blair,
      I’m afraid that I don’t follow your reasoning. Why can’t a Black person be capable of racism?

  37. On December 6, 2011 at 12:04 am Brenda J responded with... #

    If we are to be completely honest, we have to acknowledge that the racism runs both ways between Asians and Blacks in the USA. There is actually racism between all races but it is rarely acknowledged.

    As a person of mixed race who is part Asian and part African, I have been treated very disrespectfully and in many cases with great suspicion by Asians in public, in their stores and in their restaurants which I find really offensive. That is not to say every Asian has treated me this way because many one on one encounters have been positive interactions. What I’ve experienced though has been experienced by other Blacks I know.

    Having lived in Africa, England and the USA I will say that the response varied by country. In Africa, Blacks were and are still treated as less than dirt by Asians (look up Chinese interactions with Africans as an example) in too many instances. Where I lived in Africa there was absolute hatred and complete distrust between the Asians and indigenous Blacks. Idi Amin was not correct in his actions but that hatred and distrust between the two groups drove the popular support for expulsion of Asians from Uganda.

    In England because the Asians often lived among Blacks and Whites and attended the same schools the interactions across the board tended to be much more friendly and open. In the USA Blacks and Asians rarely live in the same neighborhoods or go to the same schools. There is close to zero understanding between the two groups of their unique cultural differences, and there is a great deal of suspicion and entirely too much anger.

    The issues in the USA I feel stem almost entirely from the almost complete segregation between the two groups. When you live in the same neighborhoods, go to the same schools and hang out together, you start to understand the culture of the other and feel much less threatened. So it’s very simplistic to say that Blacks feel threatened by Asians. Invite Blacks into the discussion and promote real understanding because we have more in common than we may appear to.

    • On December 6, 2011 at 7:54 pm admin responded with... #

      To Brenda,
      I really appreciate your point of view. Being of mixed ancestry and living in different countries gives you such a great basis for comparison. I agree with you that there is a general lack of understanding between African Americans and Asian Ameticans that stems from being largely segregated. I think there is the most tolerance between these groups in a middle setting.

  38. On December 6, 2011 at 8:05 am admin responded with... #

    Wrt the affirmative action debate, white males have been receiving affirmative action for most of history. Now the tables are turned, and they don’t like it.

    Posted by Emily

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

    • On December 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm Vinnie responded with... #

      I’ve been holding off but the tone of Emily’s comment makes me reply. I am a white man, and I would like to inform you all that while I don’t know about the other white men who are reading this, I for one have not been “receiving” anything for “most of history.” Nor am I the current beneficiary of any particular privileged class’s accumulated wealth or power from this lucrative history Emily speaks of, since my Italian and Portuguese ancestors came to the U.S. with nothing some 100 years ago, my grandfathers on both sides (a plumber and a janitor) climbed from poverty to lower middle class with no one’s help and despite prejudice leveled against them, my parents (a public school teacher and a town chemist) were the first generation in my family to attend any college, and I (a prosecutor) was the first in my family to attend Harvard and to become a lawyer. There is no family wealth or powerful friend or relative getting me anything — I applied for colleges and jobs with no legacy or connections to help me, and I got what I got, all the while checking off the “Caucasian” and “male” boxes and thus making sure that there would be NO special consideration to compensate for any discrimination that any of my poor immigrant ancestors may or may not have faced. Still, I have throughout my life generally supported affirmative action because I am aware of the fact that various forms of discrimination, even where technically illegal, may still influence society enough that something ought to be done to offset them — and also that even regardless of discrimination, there can be value in a social goal that members of all races, ethnicities, and cultures have access to all parts of society (education, commerce, government, etc.). I also have always felt that the wrong of slavery is so offensive and so impossible to quanitfy that it may be appropriate to do something in the present to try to lift an entire class of people that may have been artificially suppressed by slavery’s legacy in ways impossible to determine. Something similar might be said of the past suppression of women as well, and probably, to varying degrees, of any unfair hindrances placed on people for the wrong reasons (including people with my own background). Unfortunately, it will never be possible to account fully and fairly for all the past wrongs and injustices, and to accord due compensation to all the people alive today who are currently suffering the results of all past wrongs and present prejudices. So we use affirmative action as an approximation, trying to make some societal adjustments in broad strokes in response to broad past wrongs or current manifestations of them, and basing such decisions on membership in very definable groups because that’s the best we can do. But Emily — to suggest that all “white males” alive today enjoyed the benefits of (or would even agree with) the transgressions of the remote past is unfair. In addition, your comment that the “tables are turned” suggests that you actually find the principles of affirmative action just as unfair, but simply believe it is gleeful payback for unfairness of the past. That would not be fair, because in that case I would be paying back wrongs that I clearly did not commit, and frankly, I can find very little evidence that my ancestors were the ones responsible for those wrongs either, living in the tenements of little Italy and working for pennies in factories while the privileged people of the time discriminated against my ancestors as well as against members of currently protected groups. I don’t know what group you call your own, and you may well have some cause to be angry, but you don’t know all white men. If you want to be angry, you should probably direct it at the dead people who are most responsible for what irks you, or at the living people who are perpetuating it if you can identify them. But while I sit by and willingly support a policy that affirmatively discriminates against me, essentially charging me with paying back benefits that even my ancestors never enjoyed in the first place and no one would give me now anyway because I am not particularly welcome in the majority with which you lump me, how should I respond to what seems to be a taunt that I deserve it? While I can’t quite align myself with Jonathan L’s comments either, your comment seems to be about the equal and opposite of some of his, and you lose the force of your credible arguments in your hostility. The truth is that both of you actually have points that can be better supported without resort to bating anyone — hence the fact that there is debate among intelligent people about affirmative action in the first place, and more generally, about egalitarianism versus libertarianism, equality versus freedom, oen right against another. As with most debates, not everyone agrees on these lofty questions, and that is usually because everyone has a point and most of us mean well. Understanding that the people who disagree with us have valid concerns is the first step toward making constructive compromises that are better for everyone than doing nothing.

  39. On December 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm admin responded with... #

    I don’t understand how someone who has not seen a musical can substantively criticize it. If I wrote, “Well, I haven’t read ‘The Book of Mormon,’ [the one written by Joseph Smith], but I understand it’s all about golden underwear and polygamy! So what’s going on when Catholic priests are criticized for their sexual perversions but this kind of stuff gets a pass?”, would any intellectually scrupulous person take me seriously?

    Posted by William

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  40. On December 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Mr. Gal, what is your personal authority for understanding what affirmative action is? Have you actively participated in any group trying to apply “affirmative action” policies? Or just hearsay, as it seems?

    Affirmative action programs can certainly be applied in a racist way, with “racial quotas” and the like. My memory has this being fought over [in the discussion sense] extensively in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, with the conclusion that the ideal is encouragement of under-represented racial and other groups to apply, to even out the applicant pool, with colour-blind admissions policies. Racial quotas were banned from AA written policies. Of course, as the actual people in the jobs vary over time and space, and as the applicant pool varies from the general population, the actual implementation has certainly varied from the ideal. And, obviously, discussion of how to do this “right” continues.

    Designing supremacy of any group based on skin colour is idiocy as long as the ozone filters out the ultraviolet in our skies. [Even if not, we the melanin-disadvantaged would be able to rely on chemical supplements and long sleeves.]

    Posted by Joseph

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  41. On December 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm admin responded with... #

    Something for you, Mr. Gal:

    Would that your time at our alma mater, before or since, equipped you with more perspective from history, sociology, psychology and political science; such that you might better know the difference between fact and opinion, between episodic malevolence and systemic and enduring oppression and the related consequences of those different phenomena.

    While these streams of comment are often interesting, one fears that for persons such as yourself they are woefully inadequate to address the lack of understanding and knowledge, and the close-mindedness evidenced in your remarks here and in the related streams Ms. Wenjen has stimulated.

    The goal of veritas is predicated on on a search for understanding and a broad consideration of the many “mothers” of “truth”; not, IMHO, a ratification of one’s own biases or beliefs.

    Considerations of race are not ipso facto racist. The Book of Mormon is an allegory about religion, not a denigration of Mormonism. Nor is one play, however denigrating it may be if taken literally, the equivalent of an entire era of cultural denigration. The oppression of Mormons in 19th century America is not equivalent to 400 years of slavery,oppression, disenfranchisement and continuing social inequities suffered by blacks, browns and reds in America.

    The Civil War was fought to end slavery. The Constitution was amended to remedy malingering inequities. Legislation was passed after other social movements occurred to remedy still malingering racial inequities, in our lifetimes.
    soldiers were sent to enforce the law. Policies are still being refined to effect the intent of the law, Constitution, social movements and war. All the product of our great democracy.

    “Just an industry for lawyers”? No. The affirmation of the will of the people to help ensure that the long arm of history does in fact bend toward justice.

    Go read a book or two. Go see the play. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    Posted by John Anthony

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

    • On December 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm admin responded with... #

      …suffered by blacks, browns and reds in America.

      Yellows too!

  42. On December 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm admin responded with... #

    Correct. On the way home realized I somehow left that out. Figured you’d call me on it. Glad you did.

    Also, I meant “the long arc of history”, not “arm”. Lol.

    Posted by John Anthony

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  43. On December 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm admin responded with... #

    Well, if you really want discuss the “long arm of history”, then you should include the hundreds of years of slavery that white-skinned Hebrews suffered under the dark skinned Pharoahs of Egypt and the many injustices perpetrated by dark skinned Muslims against poor white Christians during THAT period in history. When the true, “long arm of history” is really considered, the tables of justice don’t appear quite as slanted as you suggest.

    I oppose, firmly and resolutely, the institution of slavery as well as the many injustices instigated against African Americans in the South. The crimes were many and heinous, indeed. Murder, acts of terror, arson, and various other crimes were clearly criminal and unjust.

    But, is affirmative action the appropriate response? Or, is an “over-correction” of the problem, one that actually exacerbates the problem, rather than making it worse. Affirmative action, and the various other forms of litigation of this type, create an incentive for self-identification as a member of a particular group. The impact of such policies, on a societal basis, is to incentivize, foster and institutionalize racist identity, the very phycho-social phenomenon that we are trying de-emphasize.

    Wouldn’t it be better to eliminate all incentives for self-identification with a particular racial group? Wouldn’t it be better if the job market was so strong that everyone was able to get a job in the first place? Someone in this discussion noted that the root of the problem is really poverty, not so much racism. I agree with that. These problems would be reduced by a strong job market; and to the extent that excessive litigation harms economic growth and fosters conflicts between groups of all kinds (not just racial), these litigation prone policies exacerbate the problem, economically, as well as physcho-socially.

    I am awake. I smell the coffee. But, I challenge the wisdom of affirmative action, and other litigious bodies of law in this sphere, as a means to address these problems. They exacerbate the problem, in my view.

    Everyone can site examples of past injustice against their “group”; and that includes many different groups of whites. Mormons were persecuted. Jews were persecuted. Irish were persecuted. Scottish were persecuted. Poles were persecuted. Even the seemingly most established white, colonial Episcopalian founding fathers were persecuted by the King of England. They were persecuted, by taxation, to the point of warfare, and don’t forget the measure of their suffering. Fully 25% of their population was killed in the American Revolution. As awful as slavery and persecution of African Americans has been, I believe that I am correct in saying that the population of African Americans in this country has never been diminished by 25% in a single generation … not even in entire scope of their history on this continent.

    But, the most important point is … the economy does not grow – in the aggregate – under these policies of affirmative action. Sure, there may be some well reasoned court cases, which interest intellectual lawyers, but has the global food supply for the world been increased by litigation? Has the supply of oil increased? These are wealth transfer policies, rather than wealth creation policies; and they foster the kind of self-identification with a racial group that is really the root cause of the problem.

    Martin Luther King had it right, when he said that people should be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I don’t disagree with that at all. What I question is the specific nature of the policies, laws, and regulations implemented to try to address the problem.

    Any policy that takes race into account is, to my mind, a racist policy.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  44. On December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm admin responded with... #

    For example, wouldn’t it be more productive for the African American community to spend $10 Million building a new building on the campus of Howard University, rather than litigating about the legislative boundaries in Texas?

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  45. On December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm admin responded with... #

    Having now read the New York Times piece that you shared, my opinion on these matters is still pretty much the same. Slavery was a horrible injustice, but it ended in the 1800’s.

    Today, Barack Obama is President. I plan to judge him, in November 2012, not by the color of his skin, or even the content of his Presidency. Rather, I plan to judge him on his economic track record as President; and the level of satisfaction of the People of the United States of America.

    It is not enough for him to say, “I represent the African American Community, who suffered great injustice in this country; and therefore, you should vote for me, because a vote for me will right the wrongs of the past.”

    I will judge him primarily on his economic track record. He’s still got another year to go, and I will keep an open mind until then. But, so far, the economy ain’t lookin’ so hot!

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

    • On December 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm admin responded with... #

      As far as the current economy and Obama’s track record, he is just trying to fix the major problems created by his predecessor. three or four years is not enough time to turn around eight years of damage.

  46. On December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm admin responded with... #

    My Great Grandfather, Louis Gal, crossed the Atlantic alone in 1886. He came from a small town that was part of the budding Austro-Hungarian Empire, which – as you probably know – was an attempt at carving out a free republic out of the feudal Kingdoms of 19th Century Europe.

    The evidence that I have been able to gather, to date, suggests that Louis’ father was an active duty freedom fighter, who lost his life trying to defend that nascent republic from attack by King Wilhelm V of Prussia. And, the fact that Louis arrived alone suggests that his mother also may have met her fate at the hands of the conquering armies of King Wilhelm. Conquering armies have a way of mistreating women, as you know, even more so during the 19th Century compared to today.

    History suggests that, prior to inhabiting Austro-Hungary, my ancestry goes back to the Roman Province of Galatia, which is now a part of Turkey. The Galatians of that era were Pagan mountain people, not Jews as many suppose. In fact, the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians addresses that very issue. In it, St. Paul clarifies, to the Galatians, that it is not necessary to become a Jew before becoming a Christian. Most, if not all Galatians, converted straight to Christianity.

    What transpired in the centuries after that makes for an interesting study, which I have not yet done in detail. Suffice to say, for now, that the Roman Empire collapsed, at least in part because of the encroachment of the vicious and brutal Muslim armies of that era, as they advanced northwards from the area now known as Iraq. The security umbrella of the Roman Empire was non-existent (too much liberalism and too little military spending, perhaps?).

    Poor white Christians in that area had three choices. (1) Convert to Islam and become slaves to the “Islamic Establishment.” (2) Flee northwards. (3) Fight and be killed by the superior Muslim army. My ancestors fled north and settled in the Austro-Hungary area, near the Carpathian mountains. After arriving in the States, Louis became a bartender and fathered three children, before succumbing to Typhoid Fever around the turn of the century. Like many of the freed slaves around the turn of the 19th Century, Louis family was very poor.

    My ancestors were not black. That is true. But, our last name is widely perceived to be Jewish, although that is actually incorrect in our case; and the good Lord knows that there was all kinds of Anti-Semitism in America in those days. Louis was a Catholic, as were his forebears all the way back to the Pagan days; and Catholics have complained of mistreatment in this country, as well.

    Between being mistaken for a Jew and actually being a Catholic, I could probably make a case that my paternal forebears suffered great discrimination and prejudice here in America, as well. And, certainly, their epic journey in Europe and the Middle East was full of challenges from other groups, including dark skinned Muslims and Monarchists, both of whom almost killed them altogether.

    I don’t say this to elicit your sympathies, or to make case that I deserve affirmative action. I say it only to point out that we have all had our stuggles in getting to where we are today.

    At the end of the day, there will be much less fighting and controversy here in America is we all kind of “move on” from the past persecutions and focus on growing the modern American economy so that everyone can get jobs, without litigating over them.

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

    • On December 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm admin responded with... #

      My kids study immigration in fourth grade and, yes, it’s true that every single ethnic group that came to America suffered from prejudice. The difference is that they — perhaps in the 2nd generation or later — could assimilate to the majority. For people of color, for obvious reasons, they can’t blend in.

      But here’s a radical idea, don’t make Asian Americans a separate group. Let us join the majority even though we don’t blend in. Affirmative Action programs at colleges don’t help us; in fact, by forcing us to be part of this, it hurts us. In fact, Asians, East Asians, and Pacific Islanders are not that similar. I don’t know exactly how many languages this “grouping” is comprised of, but the number is so high that it illustrates how different each Asian ethnicity is. This grouping doesn’t address the different circumstances of each ethnicity with some — Hmongs, Cambodians, Laotians — needing and deserving an assist but being overshadowed by, say 5th generation Japanese/Chinese/Korean upper middle class Americans.

      By even putting us in this Asian American bucket, it assumes we are one voice with the same needs. This just not true.

  47. On December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm admin responded with... #

    So many points, or attempts thereto. President Obama has neve said, I represent the black community, so vote for me. Not even to the black community. It’s never been either pursue race informed politics and public policies or pursue economic progress without regard to race. It has always Ben, at least since the end of American slavery, do both. You may have heard of Booker T. Washington and another Havard man, W.E.B. DuBois. They settled that debate 100 years ago.

    Martin Luther King fought to take down the social, economic and political barriers so that one day we might judge each other by character and not race. Because many of those barriers were dismantled or lowered, the country finally produced a black
    President. But even he (the President) acknowledges that race remains a potent issue and impediment to full equality of opportunity even until today.

    Blacks and other groups need to raise money for the Howard Universities of the country and also continue to fight to maintain and advance political rights as represented in the fight for fair legislative districts in Texas and elsewhere.

    That’s part of the challenge. We have to do both. One thrust does not and cannot preclude the other.

    Chattel slavery in America ended in 1861 or 1862. Jim Crow ended in the 1960’s. Battles for school desegregation were still going on when I got to Havard in 1976. Poverty, poor education and poor health outcomes and negative income and economic disparities still correlate with race to a great extent even today.

    Yes, attention must be paid and effort expended for all groups to engage in productive and wealth producing activities. But it would be short-sighted and counter productive to pursue economic activity while ignoring or denying that race remains as part of the structural impediments for all to benefit fully from the potential bounty of the American ideal of democratically controlled free market capitalism

    Posted by John Anthony

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  48. On December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm admin responded with... #

    So, my friendly litigators … whom do I sue to get Galatia back?

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  49. On December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm admin responded with... #

    RE: Legislative Districts … If the goal is to eliminate race as a consideration, then why is it so important to have districts that are defined by race? Do you see my point?

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  50. On December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm admin responded with... #

    Mr. Butler, I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, but I am beat. And, I’ve got a federal grant application due next week. So, I’m going to have bow out of this discussion for now. But, one last question? If I don’t get the grant, can I sue Barack for racial discrimination?

    Posted by Jonathan L.

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  51. On December 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Mr. Gal _ Hope your grant goes well. On legislative redistricting, perhaps you’ve seen this news and discussion: .

    Political enfranchisement, participation, influence and power have racial, ethnic and partisan dimensions. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 addresses minority voting rights and among other things says voting districts can’t be changed in a way that may diminish the voting power of minority groups.

    Let’s follow this Supreme Court case, that I gather is close to home for you. Perhaps it will become clearer to you why race and ethnicity are important factors in defining voting districts; and why it may be some time before we can truly eliminate race as a consideration in economics, business, politics, education, etc.

    Posted by John Anthony

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  52. On December 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Hey, Tony!

    It’s not worth it, dude …


    Posted by Chris

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  53. On December 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    I think the question is no longer one of “racism”, as stated above, but as a perhaps segregationist networking consideration. In politics, economics, business, law, personal relationships, even constitutionally we address such issues daily. This choice comes in many different forms, for example- from semitic to anti-semitic, (Jonathan) from gender-based, (Tom) from elitist selectivity, (Chris) even from ethnic qualifications (Raye) and most often from just simple economic priorities (all of us).

    Sociological decisions have formed our civilization from the beginning of time. As broad-based, interconnected people we all seek to belong to certain ‘tribes’, even right here on LinkedIn, where we talk TOGETHER. We are storytellers -from the time of cavemen/women around the campfire- to engage more in people ‘like us’, whom we can relate to. In this process we decide on a form of favoritism- not for collusion or detrimental ‘selectivity’ but for purely convenient reasoning, toward those from whom we have the expectation of greatest response.

    Just as Gabrielle stated above, we are naturally prejudiced from birth. As our intellectual capacities broaden, we learn to segregate decisions based upon acquired behavioral conditions. Raye is right in her assumption that all of us must evaluate preconceived notions first, then find solutions on the best opportunity to choose.

    When we look at heritage, at origin of species, we all have evolved from a competitive, selective process, one which should be awarded based upon the simple evaluation of best perceived opportunity. Sadly, we regress to certain considerations which have nothing to do with performance or ability when we choose. we all are tribal, and this single consequence is what formed our entire past and will continue to obstruct us in the near future as we evolve…

    If I simply ask you, as a stranger to “jump” you will evaluate this, based on your preconceived notions of who I may be. Every selective group you may quickly synaptically parallel process (thx, Ray Kurzweil) to reach YOUR determination. This is consequential evolution as defined by stereotyping. Without the ability to relate, we cannot understand, so as to what degree we all understand depends upon that person telling the story, right?

    The devil asked this question: If heaven can be any place, why not here, why not now?

    Posted by Quentin

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  54. On December 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    To Quentin,

    I really like your comment in that you validate each commentator but help us see the forest for the trees. And your question helps to frame up a new discussion

  55. On December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Mr. Gal. I assume you make the above post to prompt some sort of response. I will not further the conversation on that remark. This was becoming an intelligent discussion about race. Sorry to see it deteriorate to such a low level as represented by your comment. Access to opportunity is not racist.


    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  56. On December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Just stating the facts. If facts cause “deterioration” of a discussion, as you put it, then the goal of Ve-Ri-Tas has been lost.

    Posted by Jonathan Gal

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  57. On December 16, 2011 at 10:38 am JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    @John B, you are a graceful one you are. Hats off to you!

    Posted by gabrielle s

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  58. On December 16, 2011 at 10:39 am JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    @Linda D…re your experience with a Jewish friend..Yes, and my black women friends quietly and gracefully taught me to see clearer as well, for which at the time and now, am grateful, because, as for most I think, it was important to me to walk straight and true, and I was glad to see where I was unconciously tripping myself up and, worse, hurting others as well.

    Living in profoundly sexist countries, I often use that example when dealing with sexism and the (sigh) “I’m not ….(fill in the blank..-as “blank” is a good word for the brain state behind it also!)-ist BUT..etc” that we have all known..
    Awareness is such a beautiful thing. Maybe that is especially clear for any performing artist particularly because all that we do, and the success in it, is firmly based on scrupulous awareness of our choices, whether in sound, or a movement if dance, and the full responsability for those choices, whether they truly resonate or not..and to adjust if not immediately, to be true ourselves.

    Posted by gabrielle s

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  59. On December 16, 2011 at 10:41 am JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Well said re: John A Butler! And for your gorgeous sentiment as well! And hats off to your black women friends who guide so widely and with such dignity. May we all be so lucky to have friends like that!

    • On December 19, 2011 at 8:17 am admin responded with... #

      So I woke up this morning in the cold crisp air of these beautiful hills, with something I wanted to bring up and clarify here..the effect of the grapevine, perhaps.. No, I do NOT think that we are born in any way with racism, nor prejudice in the sense of “against”, and this is very important. The various …isms, which all look and sound alike after 5 minutes anyway, are all, no exceptions, projections of one’s own inner fears and violence that hasn’t been dealt with and healed. Period. Prejudice is also a cultural teaching, that “other” is dangerous, as well as being, again, a more generalized reaction with the same cause as the ..isms. They’re not so interesting nor in any way as original in their ways to even be connected to the subject they are projected upon. Violence is always banal, always the same because it is not, exactly that, from a creative process, it is the shutting down of all creative processes. Why the limping Jonathan is so boring. He’s not taking care of his internal limp, which is his real work which IS interesting to him and I would say needs to be attended to with much more interest in his part,and so he sees what he’s projecting as interesting , which of course it isn’t. It is the same banal and boring un-seeing. The process of really handling his creative process with himself–as an example Jonathan, as you decided to get attention this way for your hurt, hopefully to eventually do the real work and pay attention to what needs to be handled and isn’t yet, why you yelll all around you for attention, instead of having something to say and truly contribute to others. Most of your comments are only looking for other violence to resonate with so that on the superficial level you can ignore your own hurt and on a deeper level, you get forced to look at it by the violence you are unleashing. And, we are hoping, do your work and heal it.
      We are born reaching out, because we are born to play and interact with our world. Racism and prejudice are based on the false idea that we are born imbued with fear which is not the case. Fear is a reaction we learn, from the reactions of mother when we are inside her if that is the case, or the next series of contact we have and on whom we become dependant, then the cultural context which is already working of course in the family group itself. For every prejudice that I know of in the world there is another culture that doesn’t have it, because not in their vocabulary of what to project fear out onto. And of course, the famous one of hearing the exact same words of fear spoken with conviction that it is “them” spoken about one and then the other cultures. I hear the same from the Italians (and the French, and the Americans, and the Finnish, and the Senegalese, and the Roms and and and) that I have heard said of them, both speakers convinced that they are speaking the “real truth”, if only the world would see. The problem being that it has nothing to do with The world, but with Their inner world.

      As I have spent a lifetime of travelling in various cultures, I have come to think that the greatest gift of touching other ways of speaking\seeing\moving is to bring clear our Inner choices, as each difference sends us back in to see what our Human choices are. And, if we’re awake, to adjust them if they’re out of whack with happiness which comes from loving. And that, of course, is The Point of it all.

      Posted by gabrielle

      From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

      • On December 19, 2011 at 8:34 am admin responded with... #

        I find your comment to be really insightful. As I look to my own young children who go to an elementary school that buses in children of color so that my kids are exposed to kids of all races, I realized — they don’t realize or care about a person’s race. It’s truly an amazing thing. Yes, they will dislike a kid and/or have a beef with them, but it’s based on their individual actions, not on how they look.

        In their innocence, they may be confused as to why a child has two moms, or why we aren’t Jewish, but with a simple explanation, they will think: “I wish I had two moms or Why can’t we be Jewish?!”

        The question of race is SO not an issue that the new diversity at school is actually special needs children. Here, they have to stretch their limits for tolerance when dealing with a child who doesn’t understand how people want to be treated, for example. Or a child who is constantly disruptive, costing their table points in order to earn an extra recess for the class.

        I guess this is why children are our hope for the future.

  60. On December 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm admin responded with... #

    I am amazed at these discussions about the claimed general racism against Asians by everyone. Is this organized? What is the purpose? This is all over several social media outlets. It sounds as though it is really an attempt to stir up racism against other minority groups using this alleged racism against Asians. That kind of strategy usually, if not always backfires. The funniest I’ve read is how discriminated against are Asians and how they really make up over 90% of the intellectual institutions in this country and are at the top – the conclusions was it was jealousy of other minorities. The flaw in that reasoning went unnoticed – jealousy and racism are quite different things. In fact the reasoning in all of these comments are amazingly infantile.

    Posted by Marceline

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

  61. On December 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm admin responded with... #

    To Marceline,
    The data that I have does not show any college or university with 90% Asian enrollment? Can you send me your source on that? Do you have a link for that? The highest percentages of Asians (which are now decreasing after a change in the law) is about 52% at U.C. Irvine.

    I’d be interested to get your reaction after reading some of these articles in which admissions officers readily admit to a bias against Asians. Here’s the articles:

    There are a bunch. Many are from academics and researchers. Most have data to back up their findings.

  62. On December 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm admin responded with... #

    Great discussion. yes, minorities can clearly be prejudiced against other minorities. It is the immigrant way in the Americas.

    Posted by Beth

    From my LinkedIn Group Harvard University Alumni

    • On January 3, 2012 at 12:12 am admin responded with... #

      To Beth,
      I am in complete agreement with you.

  63. On December 30, 2011 at 8:55 pm tom and. responded with... #

    Asians exhibit far more racist behavior towards african-americans than vice-versa. I am neither, but I see it regularly, both socially and at work.

    • On January 3, 2012 at 12:16 am admin responded with... #

      To Tom,
      Thank you for your comment. I am quite sure the discrimination goes both ways too. Isn’t that the nature of fear and hate? I think the first step is to acknowledge, figure out the root causes, and then address. To say that prejudice in both directions doesn’t exist is both untrue and a head-in-the-sand mentality. Thank you for your honest assessment of what you observe.

  64. On March 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Racism is an environmentally-acquired thought process, often hereditary in nature (or nurture really). Nobody is born racist, but all can acquire if if taught overtly and tacitly… to ascribe racism to a single race is racism.

    Posted by David Hancock, D.M.

    From my LinkedIn Group Beyond the Box Thinkers

  65. On March 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    Racism is an environmentally-acquired thought process, often hereditary in nature (or nurture really). Nobody is born racist, but all can acquire if if taught overtly and tacitly… to ascribe racism to a single race is racism.

    Posted by David Hancock, D.M.

    From my LinkdIn Group Beyond the Box Thinkers

  66. On March 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to reply simply because I belong to the group most associated with bigotry and racism. You see I’m male, white, and Southern. But I was fortunate to have been raised by parents who never really expressed racial demagogue to me. I went to school with white and black friends, and graduated from what was once a majority black high school.

    That said, I did not see any racial division until I got older into the real world. Sometimes seeing racism expressed around me still catches me by surprise. And sometimes, it comes from both groups I deal with daily black and white.

    I guess my point is, why is color and culture still such a point of division? When our forefathers and mothers came here (US) didn’t we put being American first? I really love celebrating my southern heritage. Loving nature, being true to family and friends, and living life at a different pace. Those are things I love about being southern. And I don’t have a problem with others celebrating who they are and their heritage.

    We just need to remember we are part of a bigger community then being white or black, asian or middle eastern, man or woman. We are Americans and we are human beings.

    Posted by Ferman D. Thornton, Jr

    From my LinkdIn Group Beyond the Box Thinkers

  67. On March 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm JadeLuckClub responded with... #

    To Ferman,

    It’s too bad more people weren’t raised like you! Kudos to your parents. They should write a book!

  68. On March 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm admin responded with... #

    I appreciate the compliment for them, they were by no means perfect people. But I do believe they loved each other and us kids.

    I know some may find it odd to be raised this way, especially through the 60’s & 70’s. But I had a black friend I worked with in the 90’s who commented then, it seems the kids of that time (90’s)(we were older than) were more racally divided then we were. We thought at the time it was because the culture was dividing up. Meaning, one radio station carried rock, another rap, another country.

    In the 60’s & 70’s, where we grew up you had two stations one played pop and the other classical. In other words we all listened to the same music, went to the same concerts. There wasn’t such a “divide” like there is even today.

    But I do feel that while we see cultural division, technology has given us some unity through social media. I only hope that the “haters” who are also out there, don’t win the fight first.

    Posted by Ferman D. Thornton, Jr

    From my LinkedIn Group Beyond the Box Thinkers

  69. On March 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm admin responded with... #

    I’d like to think that we can educate our kids like you were raised. Seriously, would your parents consider writing a post for me?

  70. On March 20, 2012 at 11:54 am admin responded with... #

    I totally agree anyone can be racist – a child does not know to be racist – they learn from their adults in their lives. God loves all people – why is it so hard for everyone to at least like each other no matter what race we are? I always say we all bleed the same, we all have a heart, we all eat, walk and drink pretty much the same. As far as outside appearance – our color of skin, body, eye and hair color is what makes us unique in our own way. And we shouldn’t be hated for that.

    Posted by Sandy Salazar

    From my LinkedIn group Beyond the Box Thinkers

  71. On March 22, 2012 at 10:30 am admin responded with... #

    I share Lessina’s appreciation for this conversation. I challenge all of us to sit back and give some thought to questioning our early environmental conditioning. We’ve all been blessed with good minds… with which we can think and reason… let’s, shall we?

    Posted by David Hancock, D.M.

    From my LinkedIn group Beyond the Box Thinkers

  72. On March 22, 2012 at 10:31 am admin responded with... #

    I’m with you!

  73. On March 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm admin responded with... #

    As a labor relations practitioner for many years I have seen many forms of racism—Brown against Black, Brown against Brown (according to nationality,) White against all, White against Asian and on rare occasion Asian against White. Prejudice is learned and it can be unlearned, often with great difficulty. At 79, I’m surprised and taken aghast at still finding bits of prejudice remaining in myself. Although learned by and large in a group, prejudice mostly has to be unlearned individually. Thankfully, more of the younger generation seem less prejudiced against those who could be seen as different.

    Posted by David W. Delker

    From my Linkedin Group Beyond the Box Thinkers

Add your response