Is it racist to let experience govern your behavior?

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vito

Hunter
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In the years that I worked in the health care field I was told more than once that medical school students are taught the phrase "when you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras". These future physicians are told that the same symptoms may indicate common problems or rare and exotic problems and generally to consider the common problems first. Its another way of saying that our thinking and behavior should be at least somewhat governed by what is likely and what we have experienced. So when you feel a slight headache coming on, its probably just a headache and not a life threatening brain tumor.

I bring this up because I had an interesting discussion with my youngest son. He is adopted, and is bi-racial but to the rest of the world he appears as just another young black man. He was saying how he knows that he is looked at more carefully when he enters a store than would be a typical white man of his age, and he attributes that to racism. I told him that while I can't speak for the thinking of a particular store clerk, maybe rather than racism this is a case of acting on experience. It is undoubtedly true that a bulk of the crime in our country is committed by young black men, far out of proportion to their percentage of the overall population. I told my son that it is common sense based upon what we know and might have personally experienced to attribute more suspicion to a young black man than say an old white woman. While its possible that the old white woman is a serial thief and shoplifter, it is less likely than assuming that she is not a crime threat at all. And similarly, if not as dramatically, a young white man will not be seen as likely to be a source of trouble as a young black man. I agreed that this is not fair to the law abiding young black man, like my son, but it is the reality that we have to deal with. Just as a physician will possibly one day find that the problem is the rare zebra rather than the common horse, that unusual situation will not change the physician's general view of how he assesses his patients. So, I told my son, it is just experience and knowledge that makes some people more leery of the young black man, not any racist feelings in particular because of the color of his skin.
 
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The word racist has been perverted and no longer means anything because of how it's used today. What your son is talking about is prejudice, if he walked into a clothing store wearing a $1000 suit he would be looked at completely different then if he walked into the same store with droopy pants and his underwear hanging out. I have a 1% friend who's a financial advisor, he laughs about how he gets treated differently by the same people because of the jacket he's wearing at any given moment.
 
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Very good subject. I believe that sometimes 'perception' is what many think of as 'raciest'. I grew up in Southern Maryland where segregation was the norm. I was taught, at an early age that you judge a person by their actions not how they appear. It has carried me through life to this point. Two young men walking down the street, one white and one black, both with their pants hanging off their respective butts will be generally looked at differently while both may be great kids. It is a shame but it is what today's society tends to see. Corn rows may look to the average white as 'dirty' when in fact it is just another hair 'style' ,much like the Beatles style of years ago. Perception. Unfortunately in today's society much of the crime is associated with young black men. Consequently most young black men tend to be 'looked at' differently, deservedly or not. Perception.
 

eveled

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Like it or not people are judged by the way they look.
If the only thing that makes you judge them is their color then that is the very definition of racism or maybe prejudiced.

If they are being judged because they are dressed like a gang banger then that is different. I believe this is profiling. Has nothing to do with their race. It has to do with the image they are broadcasting.

When the store owner sees a man white or black wearing a collared shirt and being respectful, He will react differently than if the same man enters wearing a bandana and hoodie with his boxers sticking out.

What your son needs to understand is in today’s world he is not being judged by his skin color near as much as by the image he broadcasts and the way he carries himself.

You are in a difficult situation. I applaud you because you are in a position to make a difference. You are proving that not all whites hate blacks, and your son is the future. He will be able to see both sides and see the truth that lies in the middle. Men like him are our best hope to put this ugliness behind us
 

Selena

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People like to throw race into an argument when the real deciding factor is culture. For instance, city guys tend to hit on women with cute little catch phrases including "hey baby." I've been taught coming up to a stranger with that kind of familiarity is at best rude and react accordingly. Should the jerk be black I am immediately accused of being racist.
 

Mobuck

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Not really different than any other "profiling". Given the propensity for "a certain type of individual" to cause problems, it doesn't seem abnormal to view that type of individual as suspect.
If blacks want to blame someone for the "profiling" as trouble makers, they need to look in the mirror. Way back in the 60's, having no experience with blacks at all, I remember hearing a black share cropper in Arkansas describe a lazy black man as a "N-word". At the time I didn't understand but I think I do now. Even the working blacks had a different view of the lazy, do nothing, welfare sucking blacks BUT they didn't do anything about the problem.
The same can be said about white people, too. I see the lazy white welfare class and say to myself "There's a white N-word right there". The politicians just keep buying those votes with welfare checks.
 

contender

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vito,, an excellent post,, and the following comments are spot on.

I, like many others was raised to judge a person by their actions, not color. And perception is also a huge factor to many. Many good examples above of that.

As the old saying goes; "You only get one chance at a first impression!"

A person's appearance often belies their true personality. I do it often myself. I prefer to be barefoot, dress casually, (shorts & t-shirts, or such) and have had people judge me by that. But,, if they actually talk to me,, some have said; "You fooled me. I figured you to be a dumb hillbilly." Or something similar.

I was raised to give everyone respect & such,,, UNTIL I learned that they didn't deserve it. My brother once owned a motorcycle shop,, and an older black gentleman wandered in,, bib overalls, work boots, etc,, looking kinda poor. My brother's 2 salesmen ignored him. My brother got up, went out, and asked him if he needed any help. End result, a huge sale of 2 small dirt bikes, all safety equipment etc for his 2 grandkids. Paid for in cash. My brother had a SERIOUS meeting with the salesmen.

Appearances matter in jobs too. If a person is going to be representing a company, and meeting customers,, then the company will most likely want someone who's appearance is acceptable to their standards.

So, what many are pushing as racism,, is often confused with judging by appearance & actions.
 
Joined
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We are heavily influenced by the media. Essentially every day the local newspaper runs front-page articles regarding the crimes and killings that took place overnight, everywhere in the nation, and invariably they took place in "that part of town" and those involved and identified have "black" names. Internet news coverage is essentially the same.

On a daily basis, we rarely interact with blacks because of where we live and shop. There are few blacks in our immediate area and we stay away from "those places". I don't see this as being racist, just cautious.

In my entire life I have only dealt directly with perhaps a half-dozen blacks, always on a professional level, and have had absolutely no bad memories from those interactions. In college, there was little, if any, bi-racial interaction other than the occasional "Hey, how ya doing?" upon passing in the hall. I don't recall that being a problem, but of course I only saw it from my own perspective.

The current "demonstrations" are not helping the image of blacks in general, and that's unfortunate. The media will continue to put it in our faces, even if it takes place a thousand miles from our personal space. Wish it were not so, but it is.
 
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Very , good, valid points and comments above, and yes the "racist" word is out of whack now, and as noted above it IS what our "perceptions" may be, and then can become "prejudices", yes we all too often "pre judge" and our fears ,and ignorances may take over........me, it is the "golden rule"........
Like the weather this is something we can all talk about and really do NOTHING about it, to change, except change ourselves, and live the "golden rule" ......
all thugs are thugs whether black ,white or brown, so treat them as such, I feel sorry for the cops today, they are really put in a tough spot, sadly our cities are burning and the people who live there are trapped, and the solution is NOT apparent, yessir in the old days , shoot the bad one or the leader, and the others all in line, BUT cannot do that today........hhhhmmmmmm 8) :roll: :wink:
 

blackhawknj

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It seems it's the Left that waves the racism banner now.
I have hazy memories of my Logic class from college, one of the traps that students were taught to avoid sort of goes something like this:
Epimandas is a Cretan
Epimandas is a liar
Epimandas is the only Cretan I know
Therefore, all Cretans are liars.
If you do as Ayn Rand recommends and try to see people as individuals, then as members of a group-the Left does it the other way around then you can see them more clearly (shades of Godspell) and judge them by more objective standards.
I recall a scene from an episode of the original Mission Impossible when the black villainess tells Barney "I suppose you'd rather see Whitey get it all!" he says
"If a man picks your pocket it doesn't matter what colors his fingers are!"
 

Bull Barrel

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This is a perfect example of the experiments done by Pavlov in which every time they were fed a bell rang. They were conditioned to that and then the bell would ring but no food. The dogs reacted as if they would be fed. They were only reacting to their experiences.
I was going to say Pavlog's dogs but figured I'd get a response about a 70s band.

Vito, good on ya!
 

bogus bill

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utah
I hadn't any contact with blacks until 1962 when I went to Louisiana when I was 21. It was a different world then. I couldn't believe the change. First day on the job a very old man walked up out of the woods to watch me work on a power pole. He was bird hunting. He looked like he stepped out of a 1906 Abercombie & fitch catalog.
He was dressed in old expensive tweeds, necktie etc. Carried a fine Parker shotgun. Looked to be pushing 85.
White eyebrows a inch long. Just staring at me. To break the ice I complimented him on his fine shotgun. He smiled and said, "Why yes hit tis! Why, hit`s killed three, fo "Ner`s" that ah know of! I knew I had arrived!
Of course this was a little before Johnson`s great society. That evening a waitress proudly pointed out the window at a tree that the last "N" was hung on years ago for raping a white. About the same time a old crippled man and his wife told me how there son was shot and he was crippled for life when a local "N" they knew robbed them years ago when they ran a store. This was all in my first day down south.
On the other hand my grandpa had told me a story how a black man had saved his life around 1890 from drowning in the Mississippi river. Had he not, I wouldn't be here!
I later worked with a number, both good and not so good. Can say the same for white`s.
It is a fact that can be proven with statistics that crimes are by far out weighed by blacks % wise for population
proportion than whites. Also most black murders are by blacks done by blacks. Is the percentages all to be ignored? Where there`s smoke there is fire. The liberals dont think so. Personally white liberal protesters and rioters pizz me off as much as the black ones, maybe more so.
 
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This morning my wife called AAA to change a tire (she hit a curb and ruined the tire). The gentleman that came to help her was an older black gentleman. When he was finished the wife told him "Thank you. I really appreciate your help." He told her that he appreciated helping the older generation individuals. He said the young are generally not as 'nice' and seem to have a chip on their shoulders. He said that they were rude and complained about everything. No skin color was ever mentioned.
 

blackhawknj

Buckeye
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Apr 22, 2010
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In my Army days I-and many others-noted that the black NCOs were usually in some very hard to define way, a "cut" above their white counterparts, one thing that annoyed me as someone of German ancestry and German surnamed was the officers and NCOs with German surnames were no good.
Those of us who have been around for a while know that Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and Rastus were symbols of quality.
In my Civil War readings I read an account where one Union officer noted that when his unit in the Carolinas was in a fixed camp and black women-"contrabands"-took over the cooking the health of his men improved markedly.
The real racism is when you let others' experience and what they tell you govern your behavior. It's not like when a new reloader asks a question and the more "experienced" ones tell him it's a bad combination.
 

Slyk Willy

Single-Sixer
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Apr 14, 2012
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Mid Michigan
Not a racial issue, but as a motorcyclist, (think black leather, beard, chaps but only when I'm wearing shorts) I have experienced the same type of cautionary looks and avoidance from many folk.
I figure, if it looks like a snake, it's likely a snake, but I sure can see it from the snake's point of view.
 

pawncop

Blackhawk
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Apr 28, 2005
Messages
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Texas USA
If an individual bases their response on a single factor, race, gender, nationality, etc., the more likely the response will be bigoted.

One certainly needs to incorporate their past experiences along with observed behavior. I also agree appearance is an important factor but of the two, behavior is the more relevant.

What we need is a clear dialogue regarding culture and the behavior of that culture. Only then will we be able to address the issues we are faced with.
 

bogus bill

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utah
I think everyone profiles whether they admit it or not. Of course for all of us who have been through a divorce it proves we weren't good at it. Even dogs profile. When I was a foreman running a crew we had a guy that was afraid of dogs. A mean dog could sense it and would run past four of us to get to him!
Obviously a cop is soon going to have to learn to profile even if he is a rare denying liberal. Some people may deny they profile but they only are lying to themselves. Likely many of us would be dead or at least broke if we didn't profile.
My dad would say, "Dont insult my intelligence, who do you think your trying to fool?" The good lord gave most of us some brains and common sense to protect ourselves. Mostly only lying liberals would argue against that.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
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Greenville, SC: USA
Yep, I think it's human nature... if you do it against someone of a different race it is racism.... but it is hard to get around...

Story: I thought I was doing pretty good until, about 3 years ago some folks a few blocks away were having their house fully renovated... they were renting another house... painters showed up one morning to the house and all the tools the different contractors had locked in the house were out on the side walk with a bicycle... they went in and there was a person passed out in the living room.. seems he was stoned and fell asleep .... the key is the owners posted this on the neighborhood social media site because the police went to the guys house to tell his parents he had been arrested and they didn't seem to care... now me being the liberal person I am I felt sorry for the young black man who had been raised by that kind of parents and now he was going into the system and it would probably mess him up worse for life.... two weeks later I talked to the guy who owned the house.. .the guy who they arrested was a 42 year old WHITE guy...

As y'all know .... I'm a chimney sweep... 20 years or so ago between jobs I walked into a computer store to buy a new computer... could not get a sales person to talk to me... I had 3 thousand dollars cash in my pocket I wanted to spend.
 

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