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Is this racism?
Posted: 08 March 2014 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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CuthbertJ - 07 March 2014 04:45 PM

Where I work there are several hundred employees in the building. I’ve noticed that the Asians all stick together, eat nothing but Asian food, eat together, etc. The folks from India do the same. All of them are US citizens or here on work visas, etc.  To me there’s something racist about this but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe I’m just comparing to myself. If I were to move to a foreign country I would do my best to assimilate to my new home country. I wouldn’t constantly eat hot dogs and McD’s and so on. And I’d want to become a part of the local culture, not surround myself with a “little America”.  Thoughts?

You can’t possibly know what you would do if you moved to another country. 

People stick together, eat the same foods, speak their original language for many reasons. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of trusting your own people and finding comfort in familiar things, especially if you find yourself surrounded by people who might do you harm and people who seem too different and hostile. This habit usually dissapates in succeeding generations.  It has been the case for nearly all immigrants to any country.  You ask if it’s racism.  Who are you supposing the racists are—the immigrants or the people who have lived here for generations? I don’t blame immigrants for sticking to people they feel they can trust and avoiding the ones they feel uncomfortable with.  It is a very difficult thing to assimilate from one culture to another and it’s doubly hard if the culture you are assimilating into appears hostile, untrustworthy and dangerous—and there are always some people who exhibit those characteristics toward any group. Sometimes it’s a result of being called racist.  When you can’t trust people you find safety where you can. Why not try to understand your coworkers and put yourself in their place instead of judging them. I doubt you have a clue as to what it’s like being in a strange land with different customs, surrounded by hostile people, and often having a hard time just surviving. You have no idea whther you would find it easy to assimilate into another culture. It takes a lot more than eating the local food. It’s completely different from visiting another country as a tourist. Don’t judge unless you have actually tried to assimilate into another culture and tried to make a living among hostile people who might do you and your family harm.

Lois

[ Edited: 08 March 2014 11:51 PM by Lois ]
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Posted: 09 March 2014 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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TimB - 08 March 2014 08:22 PM

I wonder why there are not more women on the forum.  Surely there are as many women who think and write well.  Maybe it’s the confrontational orientation, that ususally pervades the discussions, that keeps them away.  Or maybe they have better things to do.

It’s not just this forum. Are you more likely to discuss topics on science and skepticism in your everyday life with men or women? Women simply don’t care for this kind of stuff as much as men do. Why is that? Well, evolution (i.e., biology), of course. What else would it be? I don’t think women are less rational than men, but they certainly are more emotional (again, for evolutionary reasons) and their way of figuring things out simply functions on a different level from ours.

[ Edited: 09 March 2014 08:16 AM by George ]
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Posted: 09 March 2014 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’ve always gotten the impression that the women in the groups smile indulgently and wait for the men to get past all the drivel they are spouting.  smile 

A different case was my wife.  She had an excellent sense of humor and intellectual insights, however, she was quiet and would whisper them to me.  I tried to get her to speak up, but she wouldn’t so I’d make the statement, thus getting an undeserved reputation for wit and intelligence.  LOL

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Posted: 09 March 2014 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Sure, once you get a woman going she usually makes more sense than a man. But you first need to feed her the necessary information, since women simply don’t care enough to read about that stuff. Men are often more bias about these things because they have already had a chance to form their opinion.

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Posted: 09 March 2014 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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George - 09 March 2014 03:44 PM

Sure, once you get a woman going she usually makes more sense than a man. But you first need to feed her the necessary information, since women simply don’t care enough to read about that stuff. Men are often more bias about these things because they have already had a chance to form their opinion.

That’s ridiculous.  I find it unusual for ANYONE to easily speak about certain subjects. Very few of my friends and acquaintances will freely engage in a conversation about religion. It’s Atheists, Humanists and other freethinkers who will do it, not many others. I find about the same percentage of men and women who are uninformed about such things. But most men couldn’t care care less if they look stupid.

Lois

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Posted: 09 March 2014 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I was talking about science and skepticism, not religion. Neither men nor women seem too interested about that topic.

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Posted: 10 March 2014 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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George - 09 March 2014 04:51 PM

I was talking about science and skepticism, not religion. Neither men nor women seem too interested about that topic.

Yes, I shouldn’t have limited my remarks to religion.  I agree, few people want to talk about those broader issues, either.

Lois

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Posted: 10 March 2014 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Well, you just have to pick your groups.  I quickly walk away from groups that eschew discussion on politics, religion, science, skepticism, etc.  Fortunately, all of the groups I presently connect with spend most of their time discussing interesting aspects of these.

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Posted: 11 March 2014 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Lois - 08 March 2014 11:48 PM
CuthbertJ - 07 March 2014 04:45 PM

Where I work there are several hundred employees in the building. I’ve noticed that the Asians all stick together, eat nothing but Asian food, eat together, etc. The folks from India do the same. All of them are US citizens or here on work visas, etc.  To me there’s something racist about this but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe I’m just comparing to myself. If I were to move to a foreign country I would do my best to assimilate to my new home country. I wouldn’t constantly eat hot dogs and McD’s and so on. And I’d want to become a part of the local culture, not surround myself with a “little America”.  Thoughts?

You can’t possibly know what you would do if you moved to another country. 

People stick together, eat the same foods, speak their original language for many reasons. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of trusting your own people and finding comfort in familiar things, especially if you find yourself surrounded by people who might do you harm and people who seem too different and hostile. This habit usually dissapates in succeeding generations.  It has been the case for nearly all immigrants to any country.  You ask if it’s racism.  Who are you supposing the racists are—the immigrants or the people who have lived here for generations? I don’t blame immigrants for sticking to people they feel they can trust and avoiding the ones they feel uncomfortable with.  It is a very difficult thing to assimilate from one culture to another and it’s doubly hard if the culture you are assimilating into appears hostile, untrustworthy and dangerous—and there are always some people who exhibit those characteristics toward any group. Sometimes it’s a result of being called racist.  When you can’t trust people you find safety where you can. Why not try to understand your coworkers and put yourself in their place instead of judging them. I doubt you have a clue as to what it’s like being in a strange land with different customs, surrounded by hostile people, and often having a hard time just surviving. You have no idea whther you would find it easy to assimilate into another culture. It takes a lot more than eating the local food. It’s completely different from visiting another country as a tourist. Don’t judge unless you have actually tried to assimilate into another culture and tried to make a living among hostile people who might do you and your family harm.

Lois

Absolutely you can know what you’d do in another country. Not sure where that came from. As far as people having different reasons, sure that makes sense. The scenario I described was in a professional workplace, where discrimination is a fireable offense, and I know for a fact everyone there is a professional making good money (i.e. unless there’s some other unusual circumstance chances are they’re at least middle class or higher.) And my observations have been the same in the numerous companies I’ve worked for, all similarly professional, etc.

It just seems that when any group seems unwilling to fit in with their adopted country either they’re scared, which certainly is a possibility (though in the scenario I described there’s no reason for it for the reasons I stated), or they’re being somewhat racist in that they don’t wish to mingle with the inferiors that surround them.  And the same would be true for an American who moved to wherever and refused to fit in, eat anything other than American food, etc. And I remember now experiencing something similar way way back when I studied German. The instructor was from Germany, living permanently in the US. And every other sentence out of his mouth was how this or that was just so much better in Germany. When someone would suggest he try a hotdog or something we would just shudder. It got so bad someone actually said to him (and this was a college kid saying it) if you love Germany so much why are you in America.  In his case, he definitely refused to assimilate and IMO was racist, very similar to the Asians I described. And in case you think I’m Mr. Amerika uber alles, I’m not. The same exact thing could happen elsewhere, where it might be Americans refusing to assimilate and coming off racist.

Now does this mean we should be racist back? Absolutely not. I hate racism IN ANY FORM! Anyone who knows me, sometimes to their chagrin, knows I’m about as non-racist, multicultural as you can get. And that’s why I brought up this thread.

[ Edited: 11 March 2014 10:31 AM by CuthbertJ ]
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Posted: 11 March 2014 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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It just seems that when any group seems unwilling to fit in with their adopted country either they’re scared, which certainly is a possibility (though in the scenario I described there’s no reason for it for the reasons I stated), or they’re being somewhat racist in that they don’t wish to mingle with the inferiors that surround them.  And the same would be true for an American who moved to wherever and refused to fit in, eat anything other than American food, etc. And I remember now experiencing something similar way way back when I studied German. The instructor was from Germany, living permanently in the US. And every other sentence out of his mouth was how this or that was just so much better in Germany. When someone would suggest he try a hotdog or something we would just shudder. It got so bad someone actually said to him (and this was a college kid saying it) if you love Germany so much why are you in America.  In his case, he definitely refused to assimilate and IMO was racist, very similar to the Asians I described. And in case you think I’m Mr. Amerika uber alles, I’m not. The same exact thing could happen elsewhere, where it might be Americans refusing to assimilate and coming off racist.

I still don’t see this as in any way “racist” as I would define it. To me, and I have known a few in the past, a racist is someone or a group who sees an ethnically or racially different group as inferior in every way, socially, culturally, physically and should be treated as inferior and shunned or in the extreme eliminated. witness the post war South and the policy of open discrimination by segregation and lynching. The Klan even controlled local and state government and sustained this policy for a century. That’s racism, same as in South Africa during apartheid. Simply gathering in groups of like minded people who speak the same language, who have similar dress, or looks isn’t racism in my book. And I’ve experienced situations similar to yours. I once worked with Italians from Southern Italy who were recent immigrants. They would work for extra pay and send it to close relatives to buy their passage over. The new immigrants bought or rented houses near their settled relatives and quickly learned English while the kids my age (18 at the time) taught me Southern Italian. I was often invited to my Italian friend’s home and treated as one of the family. Same with the Chinese, Indian families, and the Mexican immigrants here.  All of them seem to enjoy sharing their culture with us.

As to your German teacher, I had to laugh at his refusal to eat, of all things a hotdog when they came from Germany! Frankfurt just celebrated the five hundredth anniversary of the, you guessed it , frankfurter. You might have reminded him that he and thousands of his former countrymen immigrated here for a purpose other than tourism. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much a Germanophile, love the language and the culture but I don’t view one culture as being superior over another. That’s the “tree huggin’ hippie” in me but I wouldn’t call your teacher a racist, just a culture snob IMO and I’ve known a few of them too, some were French.


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Posted: 11 March 2014 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Exercising cultural preferences and having opinions does not make a person racist. Everybody is free to decide how to run his life, have preferences and to form opinions in this country. Nobody is forced to assimilate, to love the United States or prefer it over another country. The only time assimilation might be expected is when a person’s job depends on it. But each person is still free to not assimilate if that is his or her preference. If it interferes with employment, then the employer should impress upon the employee the reasons for assimilation on the job—and the employer has a right to fire an employee who refuses to do what the job requires. Employees are not required to act in any particular way off the job, no matter how annoying it may be to other people. Watch the behavior of the next generation.

Lois

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Posted: 12 March 2014 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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CuthbertJ - 07 March 2014 04:45 PM

Where I work there are several hundred employees in the building. I’ve noticed that the Asians all stick together, eat nothing but Asian food, eat together, etc. The folks from India do the same. All of them are US citizens or here on work visas, etc.  To me there’s something racist about this but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe I’m just comparing to myself. If I were to move to a foreign country I would do my best to assimilate to my new home country. I wouldn’t constantly eat hot dogs and McD’s and so on. And I’d want to become a part of the local culture, not surround myself with a “little America”.  Thoughts?

Yes, it’s racist to say that people who move here should assimilate. That’s their choice.

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Posted: 12 March 2014 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Lausten - 12 March 2014 04:34 AM
CuthbertJ - 07 March 2014 04:45 PM

Where I work there are several hundred employees in the building. I’ve noticed that the Asians all stick together, eat nothing but Asian food, eat together, etc. The folks from India do the same. All of them are US citizens or here on work visas, etc.  To me there’s something racist about this but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe I’m just comparing to myself. If I were to move to a foreign country I would do my best to assimilate to my new home country. I wouldn’t constantly eat hot dogs and McD’s and so on. And I’d want to become a part of the local culture, not surround myself with a “little America”.  Thoughts?

Yes, it’s racist to say that people who move here should assimilate. That’s their choice.

Then don’t say it. I didn’t. You’d be being dishonest though if you saw a group of people of the same race who apparently wanted nothing to do with the people around them or had no desire to assimilate.  Let’s turn it around. Pretend you’re at a huge diversity event that had thousands of LBGT folks, tons of people from all kinds of cultures, skins colors, etc. Big wonderful event. Then you see a small group of white people holding a bible study, not talking with anyone except themselves, not particpating in any other events, etc. Don’t tell me for a second you wouldn’t think they were acting a little bigoted.

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Posted: 12 March 2014 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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CuthbertJ - 12 March 2014 10:08 AM
Lausten - 12 March 2014 04:34 AM

Yes, it’s racist to say that people who move here should assimilate. That’s their choice.

Then don’t say it. I didn’t. You’d be being dishonest though if you saw a group of people of the same race who apparently wanted nothing to do with the people around them or had no desire to assimilate.  Let’s turn it around. Pretend you’re at a huge diversity event that had thousands of LBGT folks, tons of people from all kinds of cultures, skins colors, etc. Big wonderful event. Then you see a small group of white people holding a bible study, not talking with anyone except themselves, not particpating in any other events, etc. Don’t tell me for a second you wouldn’t think they were acting a little bigoted.

I don’t see the difference, in this case, between you saying what you would do and my interpretation that you were saying that’s what they should do.

In your example, if the bible study was not disruptive, I would not see it as a bigoted action. It’s not a very good analogy to your question. The bible study group would more likely be there for some sort of exploratory purpose, to observe or something, how open their minds were couldn’t be evaluated without more data, although the not interacting part is not a good start. People working in another country have no obligation to do anything except their job.

Why aren’t you asking in the opposite way; If I lived in a country that was mostly immigrants or at least grandchildren of immigrants, I wouldn’t constantly eat hot dogs and watch baseball, I’d want to learn about the cultures of the people who were coming to my home.

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Posted: 12 March 2014 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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It depends on these groups you see at work Cuthbert.
Are they older, first generation immigrants, or are they children of immigrants who came here a generation ago.
Usually the first wave of immigrants that come to any country are usually a little secluded or “clicky”(I don’t know what the word is…)
Their children however completely assimilate, as it were. Completely.
This is a general rule. Obviously there are exceptions.
It’s been that way in this country forever. I’ve seen it that way in other countries too.

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