Thursday, June 28, 2007

just don't take away my TV!

Hey, that's not me talking. My TV is packed up in the basement and hasn't been used in more than a year. That's the white American participants in a 2006 Ohio State University study entitled "The Cost of Being Black: White Americans' Perceptions and the Question of Reparations" speaking.

As Margaret Kamara reports:

Whites of different ages and geographic regions were asked how much they deserved to be paid for living the rest of their lives as an African American.

Respondents generally requested less than $10,000 to become black. However, they said they'd have to be paid $1 million to give up television for the rest of their lives.

The article continues:

In another scenario, the references "white" and "America" were omitted, and participants were asked to select between being born a minority or majority in a fictional country called, "Atria." They were warned of the disadvantages that the minority group faced -- the same disparities faced by black Americans -- and they said they should be paid an average of $1 million to be born a minority.

"When you take it out of the black-white context, white Americans seem to fully appreciate the costs associated with the kinds of disparities that African Americans actually face in the United States," (study co-author Philip) Mazzocco says. [. . .]"White Americans suffer from a glaring ignorance about what it means to live as a black American."

And here is more. This time, the article discusses the attitude of whites about reparations for slavery:

The study also found that nearly all whites opposed reparations for slavery, saying it was "too long ago" and that the descendants of slavery don't need to be compensated.

However, when researchers ask participants to imagine a situation in which they could be part of a reparation lawsuit that would compensate them $5,000 for an event that occurred 150 years ago to a wealthy ancestor of theirs, 61 percent agreed to be part of the lawsuit.

This is the same percentage of blacks today that support reparations for slave descendants.

Wow! These are my fellow white people in America talking. Surprising? I guess not, but still deeply saddening that so many white people just don't get racism.

And, by the way, most the reader comments under the quoted article are pretty depressing. Denial, whining and just plain racism on the part of many of the white readers. A dialog on race issues is much needed across color lines, but I am of the opinion that sometimes it's a good idea for white people to just to shut up and listen. Why the need to defend white privilege? I wish white people would just read, think, and take the results of the study as an opportunity to examine their own beliefs.

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