Wednesday, July 12, 2006


discussions over sandwiches

We skimmed the surface of a very interesting conversation in the work lunchroom today...and I regret that it stopped when it did.

It touched upon the issues of crime, and what constitutes racial profiling, and violence being largely ignored until someone white is hurt.

Hopefully more on this later.

This has been a heart-breaking week for the world.

Man Slain In Attack on Couple in Georgetown
, Crime Emergency Declared, Investigators Seek Clues in Bombay Bombings, Concrete Falls, and a Couple's Joy is Destroyed

Sorry I missed that.

WTF is up with that "Crime Emergency" article, anyway? Is that what started the conversation? What does he mean, "It's not a racial thing to say that black people are unusual in Georgetown" ????? The only thing it IS is racial. :(
Since someone needs to play Devil's Advocate...

Is it a "racial thing" to say that white people in SE DC are an unusual thing?

Or is it a mostly true statement with some abberations?
I just read the link on your blog to the article about the woman who died in the tunnel in Boston. Now, I had read several articles similar to it from this area, but they were mostly factual, about tax dollars, the blame, etc. This one focused on the woman who was killed, her loving husband, and her children. What a sad, unfortunate event. I literally had tears in my eyes.

On another note, I agree with Mel that it is very racial to say that it's unusual to see black people in Georgetown. But JC brings up a good point come racial profiling only seems to apply to black people, and not whites? This was also mentioned today at lunch, when someone said they would cross the street if they saw 4 drunk, black guys, but maybe not if they saw 4 white, pretty white guys with popped collars. Interesting.
If a white guy is driving his car through a predominantly black neighborhood and the cops pull him over that's not racial profiling, it's good polic work. He's got no reason to be there...and if he does he lets them know and he's on his way.
I think I said I would cross the street if I saw four drunk white guys in the middle of the night too. Is that profiling? Or just practical considering I'm a woman walking alone and don't want to get hassled by a group of men, regardless of color? I feel that most women have that intuition. You know in your gut when you come across a sketchy character of any race.
It's a racial thing to say that it's weird to see x is weird in a certain place because x is black/white/asian/hispanic/etc. It's not necessarily an untrue thing or a bad thing, but it's a "racial" thing.

I was in Door County, Wisconsin, once, for a vacation, and I saw this Asian guy there, and it was weird because he was the only person of color in the entire vacation town (besides me). And I said, "Hey, check it out...that Asian guy and I are the only people of color around." And that was a racial statement. It bothers me that we're at a point in our history where people feel a need to deny that we live in a racialized society for fear of being perceived as racist.
Racial profiling only seems to happen to non-whites because whites are still the perceived majority. Perceived, I say, because analysts have projected that there won't be a numerical white majority in America in the next 50 years.

But in this country, we are still left (as vestiges of a troubled past) with white privilege. We know there's an underclass in this country, but it's hard to talk about: white people benefit from it (consciously or not) and non-whites can't complain because hey, affirmative action! Reparations! Diversity training!

I'm exaggerating a little, but the very idea that a white person "doesn't belong" in SE or that a black person "doesn't belong" in Georgetown...and having people say that these are not "racial" statements...just shows that we still have a long way to go.
nowak: I think it's good police work if there had been a white criminal...otherwise, it's sketchy. Why stop someone when there's no real need? Why don't white people belong in "black neighborhoods"?

jamie: I agree. It's important to never let down our guards. As Mel just said in the office, "I was brought up to fear in general." PS - thanks for reading!!

Mel: So you're saying that as long as we see "racial" as a bad thing, we're living in a...racist society, right? I agree 100 percent. "Black" is not a dirty word.
post from last August - "am I a racist?"
okay. here's the link. copy and paste away.
And, because I'm on a roll and I like to open kettles of fish...think about why we even have "black neighborhoods" and "white neighborhoods" in the first place. Yeah, in a lot of cases, people feel more comfortable living near people who are like them. But an even bigger issue (which Meg somewhat addresses in her next post) is the socioeconomic one. Particularly in coastal urban centers (like, not Appalachia, for example), the poor (nonwhite) live in the older, more run-down sections of the city, and the rich (white) people live in the 'burbs. Then there's gentrification...someone desirable (trendy, interesting) moves into a poor area (artist colonies? gay communities, possibly?) because it's more affordable, and suddenly, the rich people want to come in. They raise property values/rents and all the poor people have to go.

So, yeah...there's so much more to it than just race, but as long as race is an obstacle, we're not going to fix anything.

That may be an issue for another post, on some other blog.

Man...racial politics.
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