Racism Still Divides Black and White America
Posted in the African-American Forum
#1 Mar 6, 2013
Mind you, this was printed in 1991. Is it better or worse?
A Discussion with Tom Skinner
PITTSBURGH[The featured speaker at this year's jubilee Conference, February 22-24, sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach, was evangelist Tom Skinner. Late Saturday night in the hotel lounge, Mr. Skinner engaged several conferees in a heated discussion about racism in contemporary America. Our thanks to Association for Public Justice member Wendy Sereda for recording about half of the conversation. We are grateful to Tom Skinner for agreeing to let us publish edited excerpts from it here. The questions and comments come from different participants in the discussion. We welcome further response from readers.Ed.]
Question: Why do so many black Americans experience discrimination today after so much progress in civil rights reform over the last four decades?
Skinner: African Americans made the mistake of buying the message of "the American melting pot under God." African Americans did not realize that America did not intend to include them in that idea. So while the civil rights laws of the 1980s were passed, they never passed in the hearts and intent of white people.
African Americans let the white majority into their political and economic lives without whites letting African Americans into their lives. Until African Americans build their own economic base by doing at least 35 percent of their business with one another, and saving and investing their money in their own community, the discrimination will never end, Until African Americans elect to public office people who are accountable to the African American community, the discrimination will never end.
Question: But what about changes in the lawafter Supreme Court decisions such as Brown vs. Board of Education? Didn't those make it possible for you to begin entering fully into the American mainstream?
Skinner: There were only three major Supreme Court decisions that affected African Americans. The first one was Dred Scott, 1857. It said black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect. The next decision was Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896: separate but equal. Third was Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, saying that there should be integration with all due deliberate speed. The only one of those three decisions that America has ever obeyed is Dred Scottthat black folks have no rights which white people are bound to respect. They never obeyed the others. Rather than empowering themselves, African Americans pursued the illusive dream of integration, and it is destroying us.(So are interracial marriages where blacks marry whites)
Skinner: Under segregation we built and were in charge of our own institutions. We ran our own schools, built our own banks, and started our own colleges. Under segregation we did not have to use words like "role models" because that's what everyone was in the African American community. In my neighborhood, Duke Ellington, James Baldwin, Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson were everyday common occurrences on our streets. When integration came, it meant that that those who could afford it and qualified were integrated into white society, while the rest stayed behind. Thus we needed role models. When integration occurred, the black leaders of the black community integrated into the white community. But they were never allowed to hold the same positions of leadership and power that they held in the black community.
Question: Whose idea was integration?
Skinner: Integration has always been a white liberal idea. Integration has always been on white people's terms. It is black folks integrating into white churches, white schools, and white neighborhoods. It is never whites attending black colleges, joining black churches, and moving into black neighborhoods, except to move blacks out.
#2 Mar 6, 2013
The assumption was that black folks would step up by integrating into white society and the whites would step down by integrating into black society.
Question: But why did white leaders want to integrate blacks into white America?
Skinner: The African Americans who influence and provide leadership for the black community did most of the integrating. Integration allowed white society to pacify and control African American leaders and reap the lion's share of African American dollars through trade.
Question: But didn't we also want to help blacks?
Skinner: The question is, how did you want to help blacks' After 40 years of white help, no African American is qualified to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. After 40 years of integration, no African American is qualified to be the president of a major Christian college in America. After 40 years of white help, African Americans are excluded from the faculty throughout the disciplines of most academic institutions. White people in America still don't know black people. Your Christian periodicals do not tell you of the activity of the Holy Spirit among black people. Your lack of demand for such information helps to create the problem.
Question: But do you know white people?
Skinner: In order to put dinner on my family's table I have to be an expert on white society. I cannot graduate from school without reading white people's literature, studying white people's music and art. I cannot make it without understanding white people's history. Every day that an African American wakes up he has to make judgments about what white people are going to do today simply in order to survive. White people do not have to understand or know what black people are doing in order to survive.
As a result of our expertise on white folks we know them better than they know themselves. In addition, the sad fact is that we know white people better than we know ourselves. We have a far greater capacity as African Americans to love and forgive white people than we do to love and forgive ourselves. We have not made white people the enemy in spite of all that they have inflicted on us. But you keep locking us out.
Comment: I agree with you that the idea of integration behind Brown vs. Board of Education implied that black people couldn't make it on their ownthat they couldn't really be human until they were integrated into white America.
Skinner: African Americans once believed the integrationist idea. We traded our independence because we thought the American integrationist dream was a reality. It turned out to be a lie. Now African Americans will have to empower themselves. African Americans will have to take charge of the 300(r) billion dollars that they spend within America on a current annual basis.
#5 Mar 6, 2013
They will have to take charge of the political process of their own communities. African Americans must take charge of their destiny and sojourn in this country.
Question: But I don't understand how you are locked out?
Skinner: That is absolutely amazing. I find it hard to believe that you live in 1991 and don't understand how African Americans are locked out.
In 1964, African Americans' income was 58 percent of white people's income. In 1991, African Americans' income is 57 percent of white people's income. Nothing has changed in 26 years. Now that's either because white folks have created it or because black folk have brought it on themselves.
African Americans are not sitting around denying themselves an income. It is the system that has locked us out of full participation in the economy. You and your children can still go to Stanford or Harvard, get an MBA, enter corporate America, and have a shot at one day running the company. My children have no such opportunity. They have all the qualifications, but you won't let them in.
Question: But why should success be defined as "entering corporate America?"
Skinner: I use corporate American as an example of being locked out of all the institutions of America. Particularly the economic institutions that have so wide an impact on the quality of life in America.
I define success as the sharing of power in every sector that affects America, and the ability of a people to contribute to what the country they are living in is going to be like. African Americans are not allowed to do this. Simply pointing to individual African American superstars in sports, the military, entertainment, or politics will not do.
Question: What proportion is due to black people?
Skinner: If you remove all the barriers that obstruct us; allow us to show power in the local communities, cities, states, and the country as a whole, equal to our numbers; allow the tax dollars of our communities to produce the best in education and training for our young people, the best in services for our poor and disadvantagedallow this, and we will do well. We have always done well when the rules of the game are the same for everybody. If we fail in these circumstances, then the failure is ours. Give us that right.
Question: But you're a success, aren't you? You haven't been personally locked out.
Skinner: I am amazed that you think I am successful. Whatever success I have is due to my understanding of white people and my desire to serve black people. Imagine what I could accomplish if the barriers that obstruct me because of my color were removed. In order to succeed, I have to be twice as good as a white person who is doing similar work. When I am allowed to be as mediocre as white people and reap all their benefits, that will be success. I have to be twice as good to reap the same rewards.
#7 Mar 6, 2013
Question: So you think all whites are mediocre?
Skinner: How can you be anything but, when you have eliminated all the competition except for other white folks. You've eliminated 30 million black people from the competition. There is not one white person who wants to be president of a major corporation or president of a major university who has to worry about competition from an African American. White people are not operating on a level playing field. By virtue of being white, doors open to you. It's not because you are qualified but because you are white. White people are allowed to bankrupt their financial institutions and get the taxpayers to foot the bill to the tune of one trillion dollars. That is mediocre.
There is a fear that if African Americans are allowed into the system on an equal basis, allowed to learn the rules of the game and everyone plays fair, that we would win. Whenever African Americans are allowed in and to play by the same rules, we succeed. But, those who own the system are allowed to change the rules of the game at will. They operate informally through their "ole boy" network that African Americans are not allowed to be part of.
Question: Can you talk about justice here? What is justice for black people?
Skinner: We have been talking about justice. African Americans have been talking about justice for 370 years in this country. Having been denied justice for so long, we have become experts on the subject.
The law should be distributed equally to all people. Not blacks getting a sentence that is twice as stiff as a white person committing the same crime. We should all be disciplined and judged by the same set of standards. Justice means that all of us should have the same access to all the resources that God created in the earth, that no one should go lacking because of his or her sex or skin color or religion. That's what justice means.
Justice means that the rich and the poor should be judged alike, that no person would be poor because of conditions created by the larger society. If people are poor, it should be that they choose to be poor. Most poor people in our society do not choose poverty. More than 75 percent of all poor people work every single day. We must eliminate conditions in the society that create poverty. The same quality of health services, education, housing, nutrition, and clothing available to white children should be available to black children. Right now it is just not so!
Question: Why? How so?
Skinner: When America builds school systems in middle and upper middle class white communities, they are equipped differently then those made available to children in the black community.
Comment: But that's not the case just with blacks. There are poor white people too.
Skinner: Don't confuse racism with classism. Many whites may be poor because of classism. I would like a situation in America where black people are poor for the same reasons that white people are poor. African Americans are poor predominantly because of racism. Poor black people get hit for both race reasons and class reasons. The only tools that African Americans have for establishing justice is to affect the bottom line of the white majority. If you affect white folks where it touches their pocket books, they will make some changes. White America does not make changes for moral and justice reasons.
Comment: I agree that this is still true in some respects today, but I'm an attorney and I don't think the law and legal system are biased any longer against black people. Everyoneblack, white, rich, poorgets the same treatment in my office.
Skinner: But the legal system is prejudiced against poor people and black people.
#8 Mar 6, 2013
If, for example, you look at each step along the way in the criminal justice process, from picking up a suspect to the final step of sentencing and incarceration, the American Bar Association has proven that a black person is far more likely than a white person to be picked up and then moved along through all the steps toward incarceration. If you have money, you are more likely to get adequate legal representation and to beat the system.
A poor person is given a public defender who has a case load of 25 other clients and meager resources who goes up against a district attorney who has a staff of 25 people assisting him or her on the case and the full resources of the taxpayers. It is very difficult to beat that kind of system.
#9 Mar 6, 2013
Just because the law says something, it does not mean it is reality. The law said "separate but equal." We know it was separate be never equal. The law said "universal suffrage." It was not until the 1964 voting rights act that we were able to get the federal laws to make the local officials allow this. Complete voting rights are still not the reality in every part of this nation. The law is not reality.
Question: Is there a parallel here to what America is doing in the Persian Gulf? Are we there only because of our bottom line?
Skinner: Yes there is. We're in the Persian Gulf for economic reasons. For almost 150 days the price of oil was out of whack. This brought relief to the five states in America that are oil states and that have the worst Savings and Loan problems--California, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
American companies will receive contracts of over 80 billion dollars to rebuild Kuwait. Bechtel and Company, the same company that former Secretary of State George Shultz came from, won the contracts to rebuild the bridges in Kuwait and Iraq the day the cease-fire was announced.
Saddam Hussein used to be on our payroll. Most of his weapons we sold to him for economic reasons.
The defense contractors in America must replace all of those weapons and equipment used doing the war. Fighter planes at 30 million dollars per. Tomahawk missiles at one million dollars per. Patriot missiles at $800,000 per. The bottom line is the name of the game.
When some of us said, "Let's build low income housing for the homeless," the country said there is no money. But we have found $500 billion to bail out the Savings and Loans. When we said, "Let's provide basic health service for every poor person in America and feed the hungry," the country said there is no money. But somehow we found $80 billion to fight the Persian Gulf War.
Question: But don't you think there is a difference between Christians and non-Christians in all of this? You talk about all whites and blacks as if they're the same?
Skinner: For African Americans there is no difference between white Christians and white non-believers on matters of race, bigotry, and prejudice. In fact, the more a white person claims to be a Bible-believing Christian, the more likely he or she is to be distant from African Americansmore distant than a white non-believing liberal. That is the reason African Americans don't buy the line that "Jesus is the answer.' African Americans don't believe that white Christians who love Jesus act any differently towards them than do white people who don't love Jesus. The most segregated institution in America is the church. The most segregated hour in America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning. Less than one percent of the students at white Christian colleges is African American.
#10 Mar 6, 2013
For over 300 years in this country, white Christians were committed to a theology that said black people were cursed by God and relegated to their condition of servitude. It is the same theology that prevails in South Africa today.
White American Christians are more committed to America and the American dream than they are to the Kingdom of God. So when it comes to racism, Jesus does not seem to make a difference.
Question: So what happens now? Where do we go from here?
Skinner: White America always follows the money. If African Americans want justice, they must spend the majority of their 300 billion dollars with themselves. African Americans eat 52 percent of the peanuts eaten in America, but they own no peanut farms or factories. African Americans eat 55 percent of all potato chips eaten in America, but they have no potato chip factories. African Americans eat six hundred million dollars worth of candy, but they own no candy factories. This must change, and white people who love Christ and are of good will must help.
African Americans must pool their resources, take control of their own educational institutions, take responsibility for their children, and do business with one another. The impact of this effort will be so positive and so great that it will attract the majority just so they can do business with such a prosperous community.
White society only understands power. When you have power, the system will always talk to you.
In white America things are decided informallyin the country clubs, in conversations that take place behind the scenes. That's the way America is, and we are locked out of it, so we have to figure out how to take care of ourselves and not depend on the myth of integration into a white American dream.
Stop trying to "integrate." White is not right. Never was or will be.
#11 Mar 6, 2013
Do you understand now what is meant by "delusional?" Some have the balls to say we, African Americans are this and that. But seldom will these critics look in the mirror that reflects the truth about racism and whites. Not only on the white front are there idiots, but some blacks who run up behind white men and women as though they truely believe to date a white man or woman is a prize. These fools are the most blind. LAWD a Mercy!
Since: Aug 11
#12 Mar 6, 2013
IF you dont have a PRE-SLAVERY MIND then your still a slave with some ideas is it! your not free till you find out whom yo peoples was, before slavery an what type mind set they had,if not your the by product of slavery the plantation, an it was handed down, like christmas 4th July all that was before you was born, an you do them unless you found out something, ok your a slave till you go back to a Pre slavery state of Mind.
Since: Aug 11
#13 Mar 6, 2013
white rule is over they owe 16 trillion most of you dont know what that mean, that mean show over, this nation is owned, bought, an the whites whom took it has lost it, they slaves to another nation, everytime they clock in to work it makes China rich,they living off INTREST, this nation cant ever get out hole, so whites owe this money they fixing to get CHIPPED, to make sure they cant get away,we can go to africa start over any time, whites not wanted there, because of slavery, nobody truth a group of whites i they land! they enslave peoples, all walls around world was build because of them,
Since: Feb 13
#14 Mar 6, 2013
#16 Mar 6, 2013
Black Belt Power: African-Americans come back South, change political landscape
Much of the media buzz about the 2010 Census has focused on the role of Latinos and new immigrants in changing the face of the country.
It makes sense: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about half of the nation's growth over the last decade was driven by growth in the Latino community, much of it in Southern states.
But equally influential in the South's rapidly-changing demographics is another story with a longer historical arc: The return of many African-Americans to Southern states after a decades-long exodus during the Jim Crow era.
The Great Migration of some 6 million African-Americans from the South from between World War I and 1970 is one of the most significant demographic upheavals in U.S. history. According to author Isabel Wilkerson, at the turn of the century 90 percent of all African-Americans were living in the South. By the end of the Great Migration, nearly half were living outside the South, mostly in the cities of the North and West.
The civil rights movement didn't end racism, of course, but it did change the South enough to entice many African-Americans to come back, igniting a reverse migration movement that continues to gain steam.
The result: According to the U.S. Census, the South's share of the black population -- 57 percent -- is now the highest it's been since 1960.* That's still less than the 90 percent mark before the Great Migration, but as the New York Times reported earlier this year, it's a dramatic change:
During the turbulent 1960s, black population growth ground to a halt in the South, and Southern states claimed less than 10 percent of the national increase then. The South has increasingly claimed a greater share of black population growth since -- about half the country's total in the 1970s, two-thirds in the 1990s and three-quarters in the decade that just ended.
The shift could significantly strengthen the political power of African-Americans in the South, especially in the historic Black Belt stretching from the mid-Atlantic to east Texas. Here's a map showing where the South's growing African-American communities are concentrated, according to the latest Census data:
A glimpse of the political force this represents was seen in 2008, when record-breaking African-American turnout helped push Florida, North Carolina and Virginia into blue territory.
It's also seen in Georgia, the epicenter of the Black Belt, where the African-American community grew by more than 579,000 since 2000 -- the leading ingredient in making it the seventh-fastest growing state in the country.
The 2010 Census also offers a glimpse of how Southern African-American communities are changing. Atlanta echoes a trend found across the South and country, where suburban black neighborhoods are growing at the expense of the urban core. The New York Times notes that "just 2 percent of the black population growth in the last decade occurred in counties that have traditionally been black population centers."
African-Americans moving South also tend to be young: 40 percent of those moving to Southern states in the 2010 Census count were ages 21 to 40. Meaning that the political force of the latest phase of African-American reverse-migration South will be felt for years to come.
#17 Mar 6, 2013
I'm glad to see so many wonderful brothers and sisters return to the south. I think we can once again own our own cities, businesses and more.
Segregation is the way to go if we are to achieve our greatness.
#18 Mar 6, 2013
It would be a good idea to share this article with your children and their friends. They need to be equipped with the truth so they can win this war.
#19 Mar 6, 2013
Since the nations birth, Americans have discussed race and avoided it, organized neighborhoods and political movements around it, and used it to divide and hurt people even as relations have improved dramatically since the days of slavery, Reconstruction and legal segregation.
Now, in what could be a historic year for a black presidential candidate, a new Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll, conducted with Stanford University, shows just how wide a gap remains between whites and blacks.
It shows that a substantial portion of white Americans still harbor negative feelings toward blacks. It shows that blacks and whites disagree tremendously on how much racial prejudice exists, whose fault it is and how much influence blacks have in politics.
One result is that Barack Obamas path to the presidency is steeper than it would be if he were white.
Until now, social scientists have not closely examined racial sentiments on a nationwide scale at a moment when race is central to choosing the next president. The poll, which featured a large sample of Americans more than 2,200 and sophisticated survey techniques rarely used in media surveys, reflected the complexity, change and occasional contradictions of race relations.
More whites apply positive attributes to blacks than negative ones, and blacks are even more generous in their descriptions of whites.
#20 Mar 6, 2013
Racial prejudice is lower among college-educated whites living outside the South. And many whites who think most blacks are somewhat lazy, violent or boastful are willing or even eager to vote for Obama over Republican John McCain, who is white.
The poll, however, shows that blacks and whites see racial discrimination in starkly different terms. When asked how much discrimination against blacks exists, 10 percent of whites said a lot and 45 percent said some.
Among blacks, 57 percent said a lot and all but a fraction of the rest said some.
Asked how much of Americas existing racial tension is created by blacks, more than one-third of white respondents said most or all, and 9 percent said not much. Only 3 percent of blacks said most or all, while half said not much at all.
Nearly three-fourths of blacks said white people have too much influence in American politics. Only 12 percent of whites agreed. Almost three times as many blacks as whites said blacks have too little influence.
Far more blacks than whites say government officials usually pay less attention to a request or complaint from a black person than a white person.
One in five whites have felt admiration for blacks very or extremely often. Seventy percent of blacks have felt the same about whites.
The poll may surprise those who thought Obamas appeal to young voters proves Americans in their 20s and 30s are clearly less racially biased than their parents. The survey found no meaningful differences among age groups in whites perceptions of blacks, although older whites appear more likely to discuss their views.
Some findings fall into the glass half-empty or half-full category. One-fourth of white Democrats ascribed at least two negative attributes to blacks. But two-thirds of those Democrats said they will vote for Obama.
That finding alone could nourish a debate about how much harm is done by racial prejudices that seem to have modest influence on how people behave.
#21 Mar 6, 2013
Kelly Edmondson, 34, of Cincinnati, is a white Democrat enthusiastic about backing Obama. The country needs a new direction, she said, and I feel like he can reach a lot of people.
She cares for her two sets of young twins during the day and teaches college at night; most of her students are black. In the survey, Edmondson said positive words such as hardworking and intelligent describe most blacks very well. She said a few negative traits, such as lazy and irresponsible, apply somewhat well to most blacks.
In a telephone interview, Edmondson said those attributes apply equally to all races. She fretted that some of her fellow Ohioans might be less candid, privately planning to vote for McCain when they publicly say they are on the fence.
I worry about that, she said.
Polls consistently show Obama running about even with McCain, or leading by a notably smaller margin than the one Democrats enjoy over Republicans in most generic surveys about which party is best suited to govern.
The AP-Yahoo News poll suggests that racial prejudice could cost Obama up to 6 percentage points this fall. Thats a big hurdle in a nation whose last two presidential elections were decided by much smaller margins.
Charles Crozier, 73, of Marietta, Ga., said he is a quasi-independent Democrat who is undecided on the presidential contest. He likes McCain on energy issues, including his call for more nuclear energy. But he prefers Obamas stands on economic issues.
Crozier, who is white, said race is not a factor in his thinking. He said hes not sure how much of an issue it is for (other) people in his community. It frustrates him to hear people incorrectly state that Obama (who is Christian) is a Muslim because they read it on the Internet.
Im old enough to know a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth, Crozier said.You cant change their minds.
Racial progress in America is undeniable on many fronts. But millions of white and black Americans still barely interact at all, bringing the very term race relations into question.
Theres still a lot of estrangement out there between the races, said David Bositis, who writes about racial matters at the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.Theres still an enormous amount of segregation.
Even with sophisticated polls, its hard to measure the progress, or lack of progress, in race relations.
The prior forms of racism, with hindsight, were relatively easy to deal with, said Kenneth OReilly, who has written books on racial politics and now teaches history at Milwaukee Area Technical College. He cited slavery, lynchings and legal and de facto segregation.
Now, he said, racial prejudices and grievances are more subtle.If you ask 100 people what is the main color line problem today, he said,you get 100 answers.
The AP-Yahoo News poll of 2,227 adults was conducted Aug. 27-Sept. 5, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. It was designed to plumb peoples racial attitudes, and particularly how those attitudes affect voting.
The survey used the unique methodology of Knowledge Networks, of Menlo Park, Calif., including questions about how well words like friendly or violent describe blacks; having respondents type sensitive answers into computers, which tends to make them more honest; and using brief flashes of faces of people of different races to detect that people may not be aware they have.
Stanford University political scientist Paul Sniderman said that in todays society, racial prejudice is a deep challenge, and its one that Americans in general, and for that matter, political scientists, just havent been ready to acknowledge fully.
For minority candidates such as Obama, he said,theres a penalty for prejudice, and its not trivial. If the presidential contest remains close, he said, racial prejudice might be enough to tip the election.
Since: Jul 12
#22 Mar 6, 2013
This is one of the greatest threads that I've ever read on topix ! hands down! American Negros really need to stop being 21st going on 22nd century blind less slaves. i've always thought this way though.
“Democraps are stupid.”
Since: Feb 13
#23 Mar 6, 2013
You can't write worth a sh!t. finish school.
“Democraps are stupid.”
Since: Feb 13
#24 Mar 6, 2013
The only reason racism survives today is because of blacks wanting to use it as a crutch.
Then blame everyone else for it.
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