Otaking wrote:Where's the action to take in Scalzi's article? Just feel bad, I got it.
Forgive me if I've missed something else in one of your posts, but the suggestions on courses of action you seem to be offering are very...material (e.g. hopefully tongue-in-cheek jab at giving land back to the natives). However, I'd like to think that Scalzi's article, while not offering any magical one-step-fix-all solutions to such a complex issue, would get people to think about their own behavior and their attitudes towards people of different races.
If guilt or bad feelings or general-negative-insight-regarding-oneself is what you* feel, I would hope that you use those feelings to be productive in trying to change your attitude and behavior. I would hope that you can acknowledge any time that you might have had a racist thought or uttered a racially-stereotypical comment, and simply do what you can to prevent yourself from doing so in the future. Now, personally, I don't think that guilt-tripping is the best method of achieving this result (though that's really only because I react terribly to anyone that tries to guilt-trip me), but it is what it is.
*and by "you", I just mean the reader of the article. And not even Scalzi's article specifically, just anything that might get people to think on any time they've displayed racial prejudice.
You seem to be pretty dismissive towards the social sciences, but I felt it important to note my background in the following anecdote. I studied anthropology in college, and took some classes and my graduation requirement seminar on race and ethnicity. My school is enamored with Latin American/Chicano studies in particular, so lower- and upper-division courses in the field were also unavoidable. Fast forward to about a month ago, and I was in-line at the register at a local grocery store behind a woman, with a toddler, who was using some foodstamp-type coupons to buy food, while toting a designer purse and wallet.
My first thought when I noticed this: "Sigh
. Another Mexican abusing the system. Use the money you spent on a friekin' $400 purse towards food."
After a momentary pause, a blaring alarm went off in my head: "What the fucking hell
was that? I SHOULD KNOW BETTER."
I didn't have the slightest clue on this Hispanic woman's circumstances. The purse could have been a gift. Perhaps she bought it a some years ago, when she and her family had extra money to spend on luxury items (perhaps pre-child, cause babies be expensive).
I'm pretty sure something akin to my first thought was shared by the older white woman behind me in line. She started audibly commenting with snips like, "Oh my God" and "You're kidding me...who uses food stamps? Here, of all places!" I must be good at keeping my face neutral in the midst of mental self-flagellation (plus the wtfery at her comments), as the white woman didn't take notice of how uncomfortable I was feeling, right then; white lady was like some spectre, embodying the attitude I'd just berated myself over, coming to make me feel even more guilty for my ignorance.
I don't know that simple acknowledgement of moments of racism/racial prejudice, and trying to adjust one's attitude in the aftermath, can really "fix" the major issues, but I think I'm a better person for it. I'd like to see the day when I don't have to get the passing feeling that the white males (likely also to be straight, hurr hurr hurr) at stores aren't as cordial with me as they are with the white family in front of me because I'm Asian and probably can't speak English well**. I'd like to eventually stop getting comments like, "But Asians are supposed to be smart at math and science and stuff!" (I happen to be terrible at math). And I'll keep trying to get my mother to see that she doesn't need to be clutching her purse closer to her body just because we happen to pass a black man on the street (this mortifies me, because she sometimes gets all hunchy and eyes them suspiciously and I just...><).
**On that note, the words "I'm impressed, you don't have any accent!" have actually been said to me when I told a white classmate that I didn't grow up with English as my first language. I still...don't even know what to think about that. O.o