Sunday, November 04, 2007

Racism and the Left

I just read an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel entitled "Minority professors rare in sciences."

The article sites a study that stated "Minorities are less likely to enter and remain in science and engineering when they lack mentors and role models."

Now I have not read the study and as such I may be fairly accused of being intellectually lazy. That aside, I have a problem with the above quote.

The quote assumes that people of one race or gender are incapable of mentoring or role modeling for someone of another race or gender.

I know that there are some for whom anything said or done in the name of diversity must be good. Do any of my readers wish to take a crack at defending the notion that a member of one race can't mentor someone of another race? Or do we all agree with me that this notion, emanating from the left, is quite obviously racist?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was a great essay in Saturday's Milwaukee Journal entitled "Race, structures, and the fate of U.S. blacks", written by 2 black professors. In essence, they shed scholarly light on just how shallow the arguements of Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint are regarding the plight of the black person in the U.S., where they were bought and sold here like animals...

Anonymous said...

...when your race has a standing group of bigots, where they were lynching people for the color of their skin 50 years ago, it is tough to look to whitey as any model...

Denis Navratil said...

Please try to stay on task anon 8:48 and 8:51. My point is not to prove that Republicans/the right/conservatives are as pure as the driven snow (pre capitalist industrialism and the polution, of course) when it comes to race. I am just trying to get your read on whether people of one race can effectively mentor or serve as role models for people of another race. Why not answer that question. I think we might actually agree on something unless your positions are derived merely by opposing mine.

Anonymous said...

I find your opinions very lite on depth. I suggest reading Mortimer Adler and others who have tall shoulders...

Denis Navratil said...

That was a deep contribution anon 6:00 pm. Why not take a stab at the question so we can marvel at your intellect?

Anonymous said...

...I thought I did...a race that has been enslaved by another cannot learn unless the other race repents.

THAT has never happened...

Denis Navratil said...

anon, slavery has been around throughout the history of the world. It was not an institution limited to whites enslaving blacks in the US. Every race of people have enslaved others, yet no race of people has repented en masse. If we buy your theory, there has been no learning in the last 10,000 years because of slavery.

I think you should reconsider your absurd theory, but then, being unlearned, how could you?

Anonymous said...

Unlearned? Ever read the Chicago Defender? It is a wonder that blacks even put up with the history white folk put upon them in the US.

Mike said...

Denis,

I am white and I volunteer as a mentor to a minority child. It is possible, and I believe effective.

The anonymous posters are also making a valid point, it is a shame they are relaying it in such a hostile manner.

There is a painful racial history in the U.S. that African-Americans have to deal with every day, and I can never fully understand it. I can be sympathetic, but ultimatley the child I mentor would benefit from someone who has the shared experience of growing up as an African-American man in the U.S.

I actually think this sort of mentoring can help to ease racial tensions. The more everyone knows each other and realizes we are all Americans with common goals and aspirations, the closer we can get to coming to terms with our difficult racial past.

Denis Navratil said...

Thank you Mike for your thoughtful contribution. I think you help prove my point, that people of one race, ethnicity, or gender can effectively mentor someone of a different race, ethnicity, etc...

Just to set the record straight, I am not in denial about the painful racial history that you mention, nor am I saying that we have conquered racism, not that you have suggested that I am. And I agree that having a mixed mentoring pairing could be helpful in easing racial tensions.

I am curious anon about your mentoring relationship. Is it tutoring on a specific subject or is it like Big Brothers where you take a kid under your wing for a few years?

And what would you say was anon's valid point?

Mike said...

Denis,

It is a little bit of both, I primarily help with homework, but do some outings and such as well, very enjoyable.

And correct, I don't think you suggested that we have conquered racism or denied the U.S.'s racial history.

Anon said "...when your race has a standing group of bigots, where they were lynching people for the color of their skin 50 years ago, it is tough to look to whitey as any model..." While the tone is not productive, I think it is valid to acknowledge that our shared history is still a factor in race relations.

Denis Navratil said...

Thanks again Mike. I can't tell you how nice it is to have moderate discourse.

Indeed our shared history is still a factor in our race relations, but we do need to move beyond that for the sake of everyone. We can't change our history of course and people alive today bear no responsibility in my view for the sins of their ancestors, so what to do now? Some it seems want to keep the divide going for, I would argue, their own selfish reasons. I think it is best to move on without seeking to exploit or compensate for the sins of the past. And it seems to me that by freely choosing to mentor a minority, you are seeking to build bridges rather than burn them. Good for you, good for the child, good for all of us. Thank you.

Mike said...

Denis,

Thanks for the nice words. I don't get some of the anger in the blogosphere, your blog tends to bring out the worst of them, which is unfortunate as your posts are often provocative but never malicious or thoughtless. Too many people use blogs to vent as opposed to actually having a reasonable discussion. Anyways...

We are going to have to move past race or it will eventually be the downfall of the U.S. Unfortunately there are still racists, and still race-baiters. I am convinced the solution is small steps, the more personal relationships between different races the better. People generally don't hate people they know, it is that simple.

Denis Navratil said...

Mike, I used to write a monthly commentary for the Racine Journal Times. I weighed in on any number of controversial issues. What I found is that if you express a bold opinion that is not liberal, even if you do so using moderate language, you will really tick people off. The more reasoned the arguement, the more vitriolic the reaction in many cases. Add anonymity to the equation and it only gets worse. But aside from one or two people, I think we are getting some reasonable discussion going here now and again. That is my goal anyway.

Your approach to dealing with the racial divide I think will be helpful. I try to challenge the more divisive folks, some of them whom we find here on this blog. I think if we allow the extreme elements or behaviors go unchallenged, whether left or right, we will suffer from the inability to have reasoned discourse with those with whom we may disagree. I actually think both approaches can be helpful.