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Content Of One’s Character; Major Fail

Posted by on Jan 17, 2011

One of the beauties of writing most of one’s blog posts ahead of schedule is that when something really strikes you all you have to do is change the posting dates around so you can tackle something new. This one’s going to be kind of a rant post, so if you’re not up for that then wait until tomorrow.

Last week there was a post on the Problogger blog that kind of irked me a little bit. I don’t even remember the person’s name who wrote it, as it was a guest post, and frankly I’m not going to go back and look it up. However, the topic was 40 blogs to watch in 2011 or something like that.

The first comment the post got was wondering where all the people of color were. That comment didn’t get a lot of positive responses; actually it got none. Someone else alerted me to the post, and me being me, as someone who talks about diversity issues, I popped over to check things out. The list was nice enough, but from what I could see, there was one Asian lady and that was pretty much it. Someone wrote that one of the other people on the list was Indian; I couldn’t tell based on what I saw.

Frankly, I didn’t have a problem with the list itself. After all, everyone has the right to list whomever they want to list and follow whomever they want to follow. But some of the comments irked me greatly. So I decided to pop my own voice into the mix in support of the first person who commented, saying that there weren’t any black people on the list from the United States, and thus it wasn’t an overly inclusive list.

That didn’t go over well, which I still didn’t care about. One lady actually wrote that if she had tried to be inclusive that it would have been a racist post; what the heck? Inclusion is now racist? That comment didn’t sit well with me either, so I pretty much said that, along with some other stuff. Then some kid, and it had to be a kid, wrote a response to me that ended with “bitter old man”.

Well, there it was. I had a lot of responses that I thought about writing back, but I decided not to. After all, it was already proven that there wasn’t going to be any kind of discourse on the subject. It was going to be accusations back and forth; frankly, I don’t have to go somewhere else for that; I can get it right here, or on my business blog.

I really don’t talk about race all that often on this blog. According to my categories, I’ve only talked about it specifically 6 times in more than 900 (almost 950) posts. I didn’t even consider it as a category when a month ago I wrote a post on 8 Top Black Individual Blogs because in my mind it wasn’t as much about race as about acknowledging some folks that many others might not know all that well.

The truth is that there are a lot of black bloggers out there, a lot of Asian bloggers, a lot of… well, you get my drift, minority bloggers. The other truth is that when it comes to mainstream mentions of bloggers, black bloggers are almost never mentioned. Asian bloggers are; well, it’s nice to see that one group has broken through anyway.

Most people will usually find themselves gravitating towards others who share something with them. In general I’m a lot like everyone else; in general, that is. I don’t find myself hanging with a beer drinking, cussing, smoking dart throwing crowd that listens to country music. Actually, I don’t have a crowd. I have individual friends with whom I share some things with. Most of the time they don’t interact with each other; that’s somewhat strange in principle, but that’s how my life has always gone outside of sports when I was younger.

Overall, I’m about inclusion. I follow a lot of people with a lot of different background. I have lots of interests so I’m all over the place. Except for that one list of black bloggers, most of the time when I’ve listed folks there’s been a mix of some kind, not conscious, just because it is. Not always, but then again, if I’m writing about 5 people it’s probably a more finite list than writing about 40.

Goodness, even Chris Brogan, someone I’ve enjoyed reading over the past couple of months, had a post near the end of 2008 where he highlighted 17 bloggers to follow in a post of his (titled 8, but he mentioned 9 others) and not one of them was a person of color. Like I said, people can highlight who they want to highlight, but really, there’s not a place for anyone of color on any top lists? Do we really go back to what Al Campanis said about the dearth of black executives in baseball, back in 1987, which began with “It’s just that they may not have some of the necessities…”

Why am I talking about all of this stuff today? In the United States it’s the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, and back in 1963, at a march on Washington D.C., in his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, he stated these words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Overall, we still haven’t reached this point. Sure, we have Barack Obama, we have athletes and musicians, and of course I thank y’all for checking me out from time to time. But we’re the anomalies; we’re not the norm. What’s the norm? I’m not really sure. I will say this, though. When I see more Mitch Allen’s, more Kissie’s, more Vernessa’s, more Evelyn’s, more Beverly’s, more Johanna’s, more Rummuser’s, more Marelisa’s, and more Ching Ya’s, I’ll really think we’ve achieved at least a semblance of balance and inclusion.

And trust me, those aren’t the words of a bitter old man, just someone who’s asking to see more of what Dr. King was asking for, which he ended up giving his life for. Is it really too much to hope for?

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45 Comments »

I confess.

I never consider the racial makeup of bloggers I read.

I *do* consider whether the writings of said bloggers intrigue or interest me.

And I’ll also confess that if I find a blogger shares a similar hobby of mine (Macgyver, moose-wrangling, etc.), I’ll be more inclined to visit.

And if said blogger is male and gorgeous and poses in g-strings to better display his rippling muscles (ideally adorned with strategically placed red ribbons), that would also cause a positive reaction from me too.

Then again, I’m old and jaded and right now…simply live my life as I want to. After sooo many years, it just feels right to me.

January 17th, 2011 | 10:45 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

You’re funny, Barb! Actually I do pay attention to a lot of that stuff; I would, though. I check out About pages to try to learn more about the people whose blogs I visit; that’s why I’ve always recommended that people make sure to take care of their About pages. And the way I see it, that’s part of the reason for a King holiday and a Black History month, because otherwise it’s a group that gets overlooked.

January 17th, 2011 | 12:10 PM

You bring up excellent points indeed and I really enjoyed reading your point of view.

But what part of my post was funny? Doesn’t everyone like gorgeous males? 🙂

January 17th, 2011 | 1:02 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’d have to admit that I couldn’t tell you what a gorgeous male was supposed to look like, and if I see any walking around in G-strings I’m taking the high road! lol

January 17th, 2011 | 2:00 PM

Not I. I like gorgeous females.

January 18th, 2011 | 10:01 AM

Mitch, I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. The human race seems to be wired to see the world in terms of Us and Them. And if we someday get past this tendency to identify and discriminate by complexion, then it’ll just be replaced by something else that is equally superficial. (It has to be superficial. Getting to know people deeply and as individuals is too much work!) The only way we’ll ever all be together is if we get attacked by aliens. Having said that, I firmly believe that if we’re going to keep paying attention to the jerks in our society, we should do it as a way to promote constructive change. That video of people talking about how terrible it would be if Obama won — I think it was on your blog — was a perfect example. Clearly, that attitude does not represent the majority of Americans, yet we hear much more from the racists than their numbers would seem to warrant. We can leverage that for the greater good if we’re smart. Since Al Campanis made his dumb comments, things have improved considerably in baseball, at least in terms of the manager and GM jobs. Racism, in that sense, can be used constructively, because it shows us where more work needs to be done.

January 17th, 2011 | 4:12 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I hate agreeing with you on this one, Charles, but I must. I’ve said the same thing, if one thing is eliminated something else will pop in there to take over. Humans just need someone to dump on, unfortunately. And yes, there have been some strides, but so many years later with only baby steps really doesn’t start defining that something has equalized in any fashion.

January 17th, 2011 | 8:19 PM
Althea Garner:

Mitch, Charles is absolutely correct. Even though I am Caucasian (but consider myself ‘African American’, for reasons you know too well), when they can’t throw race at me, it’s gender, or I’m ‘old’ and their very most favorite: I’m an immigrant!

I can’t count the times that I have been told to go back to my own country, by people who draw unemployment or are lacking in education (and I mean that they never graduated high school and some of them can’t even read!)

It’s called the Achilles Heel. They find out how you are different to them and then they focus in on that to make themselves feel better.

Rise above it, my friend! We are of differing complexions (but didn’t I spend every moment in the sun trying to tan mine darker?)! Your hair is curlier than mine (but don’t I use hair products and tools to curl my straight hair?)! Your hair is darker than mine (but I spend a fortune dyeing my hair from blonde to brown!)

Jealousy, my friend! That’s their problem!

You are in so many ways better than I am and you have no idea how many people admire and respect you. When I look at you, I don’t see color – I see the person you are… the wonderful, jovial gentleman who is well educated and well seasoned with experience – a self-made man who is courteous and well-bred.

Walk tall, my friend and leave others to their obvious inadequacies!

🙂

January 17th, 2011 | 9:00 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Wow, that’s stunningly nice Althea. I thank you for that. But you know, sometimes I feel like part of my legacy in life is to speak about some of the things that lack for other people, and sometimes myself. I think that’s what Dr. King did, and I certainly don’t see me as him. But I see myself as part of the last group of people, the fading baby boomers, who will talk about the subject in remembering what Dr. King was really about. It’s still kind of strange having a holiday for someone who was alive when I was alive; has that ever hit your mind?

As to the rest of it, no, things aren’t really going to change all that much while we’re still alive, and probably never. That’s too bad, but that’s just how it is.

January 18th, 2011 | 12:05 AM

I have to say that this doesn’t surprise me much at all. People seem to think that because we’ve had like 40 years or so of affirmative action that things are all right when it comes to racism. In all honesty, we won’t have “arrived” until people stop looking at color and just look at people based on their skills.

January 17th, 2011 | 9:06 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

DeAnna, then we’re never going to arrive, unfortunately. I think most people look for the easiest thing to insult or hate about someone else, and that’s too bad. When I was a kid doing the dozens, I went after everyone’s head; everyone was a “pumpkin head” mainly because I couldn’t think of any other kinds of insults to throw out. I never insulted based on how anyone looked; it never even entered my mind. Sometimes I think if others began at that point and then got on with it that even that would be a major step forward in our overall discourse with each other.

January 18th, 2011 | 12:10 AM

For sure, character is more important than colour, Mitch. But, not many people know that. They want to believe they are superior just because of their white skin when there are so many people out there who can excel above them even if they are coloured or Asian or Indian. As an Aussie, I want to tell you, Mitch, that I will teach my children to know better. That would be my small step to at least make a difference. Who knows I can spread the word to more?

January 17th, 2011 | 11:31 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Wes, any step forward you can make helps the entire world later on. All of us can only do what we can do, and I thank everyone for that.

January 18th, 2011 | 12:11 AM

You are always welcome, Mitch. 🙂

January 18th, 2011 | 1:55 AM

Thank you Mitch.

January 18th, 2011 | 10:03 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

You’re more than welcome, my friend. 🙂

January 18th, 2011 | 11:39 AM
Jessica Sieghart:

I don’t read Problogger because I really am not that interested in SEO, keywords and the hidden mysteries of Google Analytics, nor do I need 6,000 ideas on how to write a “list” type blog post. That being said, we all have our preferences as to who should be considered “up and coming” (obviously, there’s a ton of people who do like to read about those things). I don’t care for “how to” blogs, in general, regardless of who writes them. I much prefer opinion/life/personal bloggers and that opens one up to a much larger blogging community, in my opinion. I know you’ve sworn off Blogger blogs, but my friend Malcolm of Diversity Ink at http://diversityink.blogspot.com writes some really interesting stuff!

Charles is right. Unless we are attacked as “Americans” or “Earthlings”, there is always going to be something or someone looking for separators. Racism and discrimination are like germs. With antibiotics, education and research, we eradicate one germ only to have another come immediately take it’s place. It’ll never go away.

I was fortunate to be raised in an extremely diverse community. Our high school a few years back was actually named the most diverse in the nation with the students attending having birth places in over 70 different countries and there are 50+ languages other than English being spoken in the homes just in our school district. My early childhood “on the block” playmates were children of all races and religions and it’s been that way my entire life. As a result (which is a good thing), I’m not one who really even thinks of race or religion. In real life, I either like you or I don’t and the same holds true with bloggers.

All of which leads me to my question…I know that had I looked at that list prior to this conversation, it never would have occurred to me that the list was 99% Caucasian. Maybe it’s because I am a caucasian, but I really believe it’s because I just don’t think that way. While I’m certain that a person’s way of thinking is based on life experiences, I’m just not sure exactly why the racial makeup of anyone’s list would upset people to the extent that it did on that blog post? It was a list of bloggers that the writer met at BlogWorld, (whatever that is and where ever that was held, I have no idea). While I think the comments directed at you were inexcusable and you were right not to respond, I’m not sure that bringing to light the racial makeup of the people she met at BlogWorld was entirely fair to the writer in the first place. What if the thought of the races of the people she listed never even occurred to her? I only ask because if I were to make lists for anything, purposeful exclusion and inclusion based solely on race would not be something I would ever consider doing.

January 18th, 2011 | 11:45 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for your statements and questions Jessica. Overall it’s a matter of perspective. Look at it this way. Had you walked into Blog World (if it was you) and you were the only white person in the room, would you overlook that as if it wasn’t anything different? Overall it’s a matter of perspective and where your mind is at the time. For my main profession I can’t go to just black hospitals because there aren’t any. For social media I can’t go to just black outlets because there are few and far between. But a white person could. They could select anything they wanted to, and if they saw a black face and they didn’t like it, they can go elsewhere. That’s how it is in America.

So now there’s this list. It has 40 people on it, almost none of color, and certainly no Americans of color. If it’s me I ask why not. Were there none at this particular conference you referenced (I missed that part)? Was it intentional that you didn’t meet any or did you not have the opportunity? I ask that as someone who’s gone to networking events and noticed people moving away from me as the only minority in the room. There’s a history, you see. It’s not always like that, but when it is, man it’s cold! There are things one just can’t hide. So I notice these things.

Overall, I wouldn’t have been the first to make such a comment in public. I’d have taken it for what it was, asked those questions in my mind, but kept them to myself. Once someone else started it, then kind of got ganged up on for saying it, I then jumped in. No one would have probably done it for me but that’s how I am sometimes. If we as a people don’t talk about it, our feelings and such, our realities, and bring it into the open, it can’t ever change or get better.

Probably more than you expected to see, eh? lol

January 18th, 2011 | 1:46 PM
Jessica Sieghart:

Nope! I was hoping for a clear and well-thought out answer to my question complete with personal experiences and that’s exactly what I got 😉

Honestly, other than to neighbor’s houses at times who are mostly Middle Eastern or Asian and my former office where everyone was black except for me, I can’t say that I’ve walked in anywhere and been the only white person. That has to have an impact on one’s perceptions, no doubt. I would probably indeed find it odd if I had walked into BlogWorld and found myself to be the only Caucasian in attendance, that is true.

I also will not deny that racism exists. My grandparents are both just short of their 100th birthdays and I love them to death, but they are two of the most racist individuals I’ve ever encountered in my life. They were raised in a time of ignorance and not only complete segregation, but “whites” were even broken down farther into specific nationalities. If you aren’t of a certain nationality (i.e., German or Irish or whatever is acceptable on their ‘list”) then that’s no good, either. It’s ridiculous and to me, incredibly embarrassing.

That being said, I’m glad not to know any white people that are that racist as to avoid a black man at a networking conference. Other than my grandparents, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve heard anyone of my white friends even make a slightly racist comment (then again I do choose friends on content of character) and I guess this is the point I was trying to get across in my first response. I suppose you are right, that I could seek out a white blogging community (I don’t know about a “white” hospital-at least not in this area), but I’ve never once thought about doing that and I really don’t know any other white person (other than my grandparents) who would, but I am willing to admit that just may be my life this diverse bubble I live in. A racist of any kind would have a hard time living here and that has to also affect my thinking on these things.

January 18th, 2011 | 5:08 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for the extra stuff, Jessica. As I said, perspective, but I guess I could have added environment to the mix. I’m certainly not calling out everyone on this topic; after all, civil rights protesters came in all flavors. But every once in awhile I think of the movie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, where the liberal father really had to think about his own positions because he’d taught his daughter one thing yet wasn’t sure about it when it came into his house. It’s just my way to notice things; I hope that as time goes by it’s not something that the younger generation notices because things are closer to equal, and not because they stopped caring.

January 18th, 2011 | 9:09 PM

You’re right of course; too many people too set in their way to be able to change the whole world.

OK, I’ve sat here for over 3 minutes trying to figure out how to say this without sounding like a total suck-up and can’t; so, I’ll just forge ahead. For whatever it’s worth, I have on several occasions listed my favorite bloggers either in posts or in sidebar widgets. You have made that list consistently. But not because I’m going for some racial balance but because I enjoy reading your work. I learn new stuff from you and even when you take on a subject with which you take issue you can write it without becoming offensive. This post is a prime example. That makes you a winner in my book.

January 18th, 2011 | 12:10 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Allan; I appreciate that. Heck, I’m the guy who taught you about spammers! lol And it’s not because of balance, but because we’ve connected in some way and it’s been a positive experience. We all have the possibility of making all sorts of connections; one can only hope that when people are doing it that they’re truthfully being open to everyone and anything… well, almost anything. 😉

January 18th, 2011 | 1:48 PM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch

Martin Luther King was a type of hero in my book. I loved his stance and his moving speeches. When I look across at the US and see on the television what goes on racially it is abhorrent to me. Then I turn around and face our indigenous peoples and realise that happens here too.

I have friends from different ethnic backgrounds and my sister in law is not Caucasian. I have watched as people have spoken to me and ignored her. I have reacted on her behalf. She acquiesces and I find that sad.

I have always spoken up when I see injustice. Can’t understand it and will never accept it. Just my 2 cents. And I’ve met some great bloggers who are not white like me 🙂

Patricia Perth Australia

January 19th, 2011 | 11:43 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for your stance, Pat. You’re right in the acquiescence part, because I see that sort of thing all the time myself. I ask some folks why they didn’t speak up for themselves and they said they didn’t think it would change anything. That sense of apathy bothers someone like me, but I can’t always fight someone else’s battles, right?

January 19th, 2011 | 11:56 AM

I kinda get annoyed when people bring up the issue of race in a discussion – it usually means they are very conscious about racism, and it’s on their mind.. it’s like they’re waiting for the perfect moment to step in and say A-HA – you didn’t include any blacks – how racist!

January 19th, 2011 | 8:37 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Are you saying there is no race problem, Henway? Are you saying that if people don’t talk about it that it will just go away? Or are you saying it makes you uncomfortable because it doesn’t affect your life in any way as it does mine?

January 19th, 2011 | 9:01 PM

Unfortunately Mitch, this is the real world, my wife is Asian and to be honest, I am afraid to take her with me to live in my home country. Even we are living in 21st century, many people do not understand globalization. About 6 months ago, I was insulted by my ex-boss, based on racial difference and that not all nations are equal. I even didn’t wanted to start discussion on this topic, as I am sure that the carpenter will not gonna understand that and gave him 2 weeks notice. Being pissed so many years because of that and especially during the time I was in the army. Actually I was friend with soldiers from all nations and took all of them in my unit and guess at the end of the day, my “international” team was the best in the division.

January 19th, 2011 | 9:26 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s terrible, Carl. I’m glad you stood up for your principles. The world is a strange place when it comes to race; some people want to run away from it, some people want to act like there are no problems, and some people embrace their intolerance without shame. You’re right, this is the real world, but we don’t have to genuflect when we see things that need changing.

January 19th, 2011 | 10:30 PM

Hi Mitch,

I don’t discriminate, so I can perfectly categorize myself as someone who believes in equality – whether they may be of different races.

In the Philippines, even if we are categorized mainly as “Filipinos”, we are still further subdivided into different ethnic backgrounds (like Cebuanos, Tagalogs, Kapampangans, Igorots, etc) and so each have their own dialect. These differences usually are enough grounds for misunderstandings that often lead to group wars. When I was in Baguio City, I was told that there is a long-forgotten war between Kapampangans and Igorots. One old but popular story I heard was that there was a student of Igorot descent who severely injured (bow and arrow) another student simply because he was a Kapampangan. What? It’s sad, yet I confirmed it to be true.

For me, I am friends with anyone who wants to be friends with me. I do not see race or ethnic background to be something I can hold against anyone. Attitude is what matters most to me.

Thank you for this very nice post! I definitely liked what you discussed here.
Oh, and thanks for including my link as well. 🙂

January 20th, 2011 | 11:56 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Johanna, I was glad to do it, and we do have this issue everywhere in the world. It’s not always as pronounced as skin color, but the bonds of racism run deep, and we just have to be willing to talk about it, get it out into the open, and find our common bonds.

January 20th, 2011 | 1:07 PM

Hi Mitch,

I’m playng catch up since I’ve been laid up with some type of nasty virus for more than a week. I’m starting with a response to this post since it caught my eye first. I also wanted to read the other comments to make sure I wasn’t duplicating what has already been said or maybe to dispute what someone has written.

First and foremost, the MAJORITY of people in the world are people of color. I’m not sure why no one seems to get that fact but it’s TRUTH (and that’s no lie). And you’re absolutely right, there are PLENTY of black bloggers out here but let me, if I may, offer some reasons why we aren’t noticed:

1) We write about black-oriented issues and white america is not interested.

2) We write about the black entertainment industry and white america is not interested.

3) We couldn’t possibly represent the interests of the so-called “majority” of bloggers.

Barb Ling made a comment about being inclined to read from other bloggers who share a common interest and I do agree with that. I am not into building log cabins nor do I care to learn so anyone blogging about that would not caputre my attention.

But I also know that, as a courtesy, I have gone to other blogger sites from your site, knowing they were white, but wanting to learn more about them. How many of them can say they’ve done the same and became a steady follower? As a matter of fact, I have fallen in love with Jessica Siegart’s blog after finding her right here. That’s because I discovered we share something in common.

But even when we write about generic issues, it seems to be OK until someone discovers our race. That’s why some black bloggers fail to post photos so they will be considered more mainstream.

And Henway is a perfect example, in my opinion, of the kind of blogger that irks me because of his attitude of being “annoyed” when people bring up race. If we don’t bring it up, it’ll always get swept under the rug as if nothing’s wrong. Obviously, there is nothing wrong is his world.

Thanks for the post Mitch and sorry to ramble on. That’s the journalist in my, I guess 🙂

I KEEP HOPE ALIVE AND AM STILL LIVIN’ THE DREAM….

January 23rd, 2011 | 2:48 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Beverly, this was an awesome response, and I absolutely thank you for it. You make a good point; if I were writing only about race 24/7 I certainly wouldn’t have the readership I do. Of course, that wouldn’t be me either, so my writing probably would start reflecting that eventually. But there are these courtesy visits we make, especially with CommentLuv, and it’s always a pleasure when we discover someone else. And it’s never only about race, of course, but it’s always kind of a pleasure to me when I see that the person whose blog I’m visiting and enjoying is a person of color. Kind of like back in the 60’s with TV, as you and I have talked about before.

Yes, keep hope alive; I do that every day.

January 23rd, 2011 | 3:27 PM

Hey Mitch,

One thing I love about your blogs is the way you face issues head-on, even if reluctantly. Some stuff just flies in your face and there is nothing left to do but deal with it.

I dropped by today after noticing your link to me (thanks!) and the comely title of your post: “content of one’s character.” Without a doubt, that content, that substance is what enables each one of us to climb above racist B.S., ignore it with blinders on, or run headlong into the mix as willing participants.

Like you and many others, I tend to read a wide variety of blogs and keep up with numerous bloggers based on coinciding interests. Also like you, I come from a background of leading and participating in discussions about diversity; I notice all sorts of things, including race, inclusion, exclusion, innuendos, etc.

There is nothing wrong with having our eyes open and being deliberate in our actions. I live in a college town where 85% of the student population is Caucasian (and probably 95% of the non-student population is Caucasian). On occasion, I have the opportunity to speak to groups of these young adults who overwhelmingly are focused on leadership, global concerns, and healthy personal outlooks — including diversity. They always ask me questions about race and are often concerned about unmasking their own stereotypes!

And just this week, I had a two conversations about race: One with an African American who called me from NY to discuss racist antics in a real estate purchase, the other with several Caucasian young adults who wanted to talk about their own (and familial) stereotypes around race.

Unfortunately, race and difference is still a matter for deliberate action.

I’m happy that thoughtful individuals like the young man above recognize the need to proactively teach his young, which gives a youth a headstart on how to be in this world.

January 23rd, 2011 | 3:48 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Great stuff, Vernessa. At least you have people willing to have the discussion. It doesn’t come up all that often, and when it does, I’m usually the only one seeing things as I do. That’s okay, as I don’t mind being that guy, but I always wonder why it has to be me unless it’s the stupid question that pops up from time to time. I know a lot of people were hoping that this would be an easier topic of conversation to bring up with the election of Barack Obama but I had a feeling it would become more of a distraction than anything else, and it seems I’ve been correct on that one to this point.

January 23rd, 2011 | 4:06 PM

No, this one is never easy. The wonderful thing is the thoughtful responses you’ve gotten from a wide variety of respected bloggers from around the world.

Racism is alive, but so is hope. Keep being “that guy” because as long as someone is, in their respective places, the scales continue to tilt.

January 23rd, 2011 | 4:51 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Exactly Vernessa. There have always been friends in the struggle for equality and fairness and others who just “get it”. Love that about humanity.

January 23rd, 2011 | 5:34 PM

I am not sure how I escaped being tainted with the gene of racism. My mother, who I loved dearly, could trot out every cliche in the book. This whole topic drives me batty and I’m a pretty calm person.

I can understand the ignorance back in the mist of time when survival was a much more uncertain thing…but these days!

However, I am not devoid of hope.

At my day job, I work in a very multi-cultural milieu, and for the most part we all get a long splendidly and we do love one another like family. It does my heart wonders every time I stop and observe it, or have reason to notice it.

Perhaps its compassion that can move us beyond silly issues of black and white and yellow and brown and alien green blood.

I know that any human being can bleed real red blood when cut, cry when hurt, face fear in the night when the baddies come out…that any human being can die from a bullet and the color of their skin will not protect them or make them immune.

I do think we are moving forward but obviously not fast enough.

There are no magical solutions except world wide literacy so that people can read all the views available and not just the one pushed down their throat by those who claim to be their teachers.

Opps…sounds like I’m ranting…sorry.

The sooner we start looking deeper than labels into the heart of each individual…the sooner we can start doing some serious things to change the world.

Nick

January 24th, 2011 | 1:26 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Beautiful response here, Nick; I thank you for it. You’re right, there are so many similarities across the board, almost everything, that it’s just so superficial concentrating on one obvious thing like that.

January 24th, 2011 | 8:43 AM

Hi Mitch,

I haven’t had much experience with racism. You would think that I have, because I am a black woman, but I haven’t. I’m a little too young, but the stories I’ve been told by my parents make me thankful that I wasn’t growing up during the time of segregation. I don’t think I could have taken it. But the little I have experienced has left me speechless, because I didn’t know how to respond or what to think at the time.

I attended a high school that was diverse. College was diverse, but graduate school wasn’t very diverse. I recall taking notice that I was the only black person in the laboratory setting and I happen to be the teacher of the class. I noticed it and went on..yes it was a little uncomfortable, but I soon got over it.

Fast forward to today. Today, I blog about something that I am passionate about, health. And guess what, no matter the race, everyone wants to be in good health. I don’t focus on appealing to one race, never have and never will.

The writer of Top 40 list, shared those she met at Blog World. I was curious to know if there were any other people of color in attendance. I know for a fact there were some in attendance, but I guess the author of that post, gravitated toward those she felt most comfortable with. Who knows?

I recall attending conferences and training and for the most part, I was always sitting alone and avoided. Why? I’ll never know. I do believe that people notice skin color and gravitate toward those they feel most comfortable with. But we must move past that because we have so much more in common than we will ever know.

Until the content of a person’s character is really taken seriously, racial division and ignorant beliefs will always exist. This topic is a touchy subject, but one that must be addressed head on and discussed. How can we expect to move forward, if we sweep topics/discussions like this under the rug.

Thanks the acknowledgement and I appreciate you writing about this topic.

Take care,

Evelyn

January 27th, 2011 | 10:12 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for opting in on this conversation, Evelyn. It’s amazing isn’t it, that “sitting alone” thing. Happens to me often unless, suddenly, there are no other tables left. At least I then have someone to talk to, reluctantly or not. lol Like you, I can’t say I’ve dealt with it overwhelmingly often, mainly because we don’t know. But when we do know for sure, we certainly don’t like it.

January 27th, 2011 | 10:31 AM
Val:

A very old post of yours at this stage, Mitch, and actually I surfed into it ‘by mistake’ trying to find a link for Kissie (whose blog seems to have vanished, I hope she’s okay).

One thing often strikes me about your own other black Americans’ posts about black issues and that is how different your experience is from black people in the UK. I would love, absolutely love, to read a discussion of the differences of experience between a black Englishman and a black American. I’m sure there are just as many issues, but black people here don’t tend to have slavery as their history.

Black American history is very similar as Native American history… another nation I’ve friends in.

The American/non-American differences aside, I do wish you had a different reality there in the USA. I really do. I hope things improve. I’d hoped that Barack Obama would bring in some changes, but of course it will take more than one or two terms of being President to achieve the sort of equality that you and Beverly and Vernessa and the other people you mention, want. I wish you well. Really do.

July 31st, 2011 | 4:56 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Wow, looking back Val; I like it. Kissie’s doing okay; decided to take a break, long break, from blogging, but I see she’s on Facebook and has said a word or two on the new Google+.

I knew better than to think things would change with Obama’s election. All one had to do was look at the fact that he won with only 53% of the vote to realize that there were going to be major battles. The thing is that people do and say things without realizing where their minds are at times. Cutting programs that help people not making money or who are homeless or disabled makes no sense, but unless these folks know someone that they actually like it means nothing to them. If all we care about across the board are people “like us”, then it just says bad things about us as a people in general.

I think everyone in the world just wants to be treated fairly, if not necessarily equally (I know people say they want to be treated equally, but they don’t because the playing fields aren’t equal) and I don’t think a bit of balance hurts anyone. Thanks for your comment, and I doubt anyone would have beaten you up for the “Englishman” comment, if they see this post because of its age in the first place. 🙂

July 31st, 2011 | 5:06 PM
Val:

Whoops, in case there are shrieks from any women, I meant to type ‘black English people’ not just men! Oh and ignore other typos and brainlessnessos.

July 31st, 2011 | 4:57 PM
Val:

I’m glad Kissie’s all right, it’s always worrying when a blogger one likes vanishes. (I’d be worried about you too, if you suddenly vanished from the blogosphere, by the way!)

I hadn’t realised (or remembered) that Obama only got in on 53% of the vote… yes, with that low a percentage he was bound to have problems.

Have you read his books at all? I read his autobiography and loved it but have tried and given up on ‘The Audacity of Hope’ twice now, just can’t get to grips with his brainpower and thinking! (And trying to understand the American system of government/politics is way too difficult for my brain!) I did hope he’d do better than he seems to be doing. I sometimes wonder if people can be too intelligent, y’know? I think he might be.

August 7th, 2011 | 5:53 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

No, I didn’t read any of his books. Truthfully I think what’s gone on with him is that he really didn’t have much of a political background, and that’s against him. The thing about Bill Clinton is that he’d been governor of Arkansas a very long time before becoming president, and thus he’d learned the true art of negotiation. Obama was basically a 3rd year senator when he ran; not a lot of political background there.

August 7th, 2011 | 10:51 AM