Sample WebTalk Discussion

The reason that I chose this discussion as the sample is because it incorporates opinions from almost every student in our class and it lasted 5 days.  The goal of WebTalk is to have out-of-class discussions so it is successful when everyone gets involved and it is very in-depth.

Racial prejudice: a thing of the past?

From: Renee 
Date: 02/18/2003

Comments

Jen wrote in her first mini-project:

"My Aunt married an African-American man, and I have two cousins who are bi-racial. At first they couldnít even find an apartment because people were not excepting of them."

Jen, a lot of people say that racial prejudice is a thing of the past, but it seems from your comment that your biracial cousins experienced something like it. I have heard African-American people tell me stories, like being followed by security in K-Mart, for example, that make me think that maybe it still exists but is invisible to me, since I am white.

What do you think? Renee

Racial prejudice and religion

From: Courtney 
Date: 02/18/2003

Comments

One of the things that infuriate me most about our culture(s) today is the hypocritical viewpoint some religions have about people who are different. My dad and step-mom, for example, are Protestant, and they are always talking about how good Christians are supposed to be generous to everyone and accept everyone, despite their lifestyle, race, etc.

That's fine, but then, my dad and many people in the church are always whispering about "mixed marriages" and how it's a shame for the kids.

Why do they talk so condescendingly about it? I think that kids from bi-racial backgrounds have a rich opportunity to learn about and be part of both races. The only challenges they have to face are people that say one thing about being accepting and then talk about them condescendingly.

It seems that for the most part, people in my generation aren't so closed minded. It also seems that some people (not all, I don't mean offend anyone) who are strongly affiliated with a particular religion are more likely to pass judgment.

Do you all see the same patterns I do?

-Courtney

Re: racial prejudice and religion

From: Renee 
Date: 02/20/2003

Comments

Courtney, I completely agree with you about this pattern. I think you explained really well something I have been thinking for a while and never really put into words. But your example makes it clear. I think it's like a weird cycle. People who don't approve of mixed marriages often say they are concerned about the children, who will have to face challenges in being accepted. But then who are the people these kids have to worry about; the people who are concerned about them...etc.

I think people who say they are concerned about the children of mixed marriages are just saying that to hide something deeper, even if they themselves are not fully aware of it.

That's my opinion, and I don't mean to put down your dad, because I also have family members who say things like that and I love them.

What do you think? Renee

Re: racial prejudice: a thing of the past?

From: Megan 
Date: 02/18/2003

Comments

Although I think racial prejudice definitely isn't as common as it used to be, it still exists. I know when my family looked into buying our house our next-door neighbors were tentative to meet us because they thought we might not want to live next to black people. We live in a conservative part of PA, and although I consider myself and my family very open minded, there are a lot of people that don't think like that where I am from. I think the more sheltered a life someone leads the more prejudice they often are because of a fear of the unknown. When you are not exposed to different people and backgrounds you may end up believing false ideas about others. That's why I think this class is so important because everyone can gain so much from learning about different cultures and ways of life. If everyone could have ways of getting together more, then I think racial prejudice could be ended because people could know each other for who they really are and not the superficial aspects that breed stereotypes and racism.

Re: racial prejudice: a thing of the past?

From: Christine 
Date: 02/19/2003

Comments

Itís sad to say this, but I really do not think racial prejudice and segregation will ever completely fade away. There will always be certain individuals, whatever race they may be, that will have hatred towards others. I completely disagree with racism, but ignorance is something that will forever be present in our world. I can recall a similar experience to the one Jen gave. At the time, I lived in a completely Caucasian neighborhood, and there was a Puerto Rican family considering moving in. Certain families and neighbors went out of their way to be down-right mean to this family and tried to scare them out of the neighborhood. Behavior like this is just simply inexcusable, but I feel in parts of our world, it will be forever occurring.

Re: racial prejudice: a thing of the past?

From: Alicia 
Date: 02/20/2003

Comments

I personally believe racial prejudice is still a factor in our society and sadly, will probably always be. I especially see this when there are bi-racial couples. I remember one time I was over at my aunt's house and my little cousin had mentioned to her that she liked an African-American boy in her class. My aunt flipped out on her and told her she was never allowed to date a person from a different race. But if you were to ask my aunt if she was prejudice, she would be quick to say no. I'm sorry, but in my opinion, that is being very prejudice. However, now prejudice doesn't seem to be focused on different ethnic backgrounds as much as it is based on religion, financial situations, and even personal preferences. Many people are quick to say they aren't prejudice but then you see them treat others differently because they aren't like them. The only way I see prejudice coming to an end is if people would miraculously stop being so judgmental and just accept people for who they are and like them for their personalities, not what they look like or what they believe in.

Re: racial prejudice: a thing of the past?

From: Nikki 
Date: 02/21/2003

Comments

Sorry it took me so long to reply but I am still in Boston. Anyways, I would definitely agree with Jen. Even though I attended a very diverse school I saw racial prejudice everyday. One prejudice was in the cliques. I was one of a few white people who were accepted into a black clique, but I got looks from a lot of people that very plainly said "why are you hanging out with them?" My father will not allow me to date black men because he feels that it will inhibit my career plans. I saw it in the classroom also. I was mostly in honors and AP classes and there was no diversity in those classrooms. However, when I took a regular history class I found myself in a classroom with mostly African-American and Latino students, some of whom would have done well in an honors or AP class. I think that our counselors were not willing to put them in higher level classes because their race, stereotypically, did not do well in higher level classes. I saw a lot of that in the college acceptance process as well. We had a lot of students, of many different races, apply to top Virginia schools early decision. When the results came back we saw that a lot of the African American girls got into the schools that they applied to and they had the same or slightly lesser scores than the white girls. I know that I sound prejudice in some of this but I can assure you that racism is one thing that I cannot tolerate. Whether itís whites on blacks or blacks on whites, its racism all the same and it is definitely not over. I don't think that prejudice will end until we are all one race, whenever scientists predict that we will all interbreed to create a universal race.

Re: racial prejudice: a thing of the past?

From: Megan 
Date: 02/23/2003

Comments

I saw in Nikki's response that she said prejudice wouldn't end until we are all one race. I think we would face a major loss if differences faded out. I know that I have not had to face much prejudice due to my race, but I think the different variations of race and culture is what makes everyone individual and beautiful. I think the barrier to equality is superficial and unfounded ideas. I think it would be very sad to think racism can only end with a universal race. Things have improved a lot in a short period of time, so I hope we can just keep going on that path toward complete acceptance (even if it does seem a little naÔve).

Re: racial prejudice: a thing of the past?

From: Leanne 
Date: 02/21/2003

Comments

I agree with Renee when she implies that there is a certain standard for blacks and whites. I worked at a department store for about a year and made friends with many of the younger security guards. They would point out what a stereotypical "suspicious" person looks like, and I'd say that about 3 out of 5 times it was a black man. I don't think they realized, but thatís what they were trained to see. They didn't once point out a white woman, although the majority of people they picked up were white women.

I think that prejudice, whether it's racial or not, is something that will always be around. For years, people have been hated for no reason. Jews, African Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and most recently Middle Easterners have only been a few of the victims. Most people are prejudice without even realizing. Once you tell a 'black' joke or a 'Polish' joke you are being biased, although it may be completely innocent. Even though in recent years it has been more "hush hush," as long as there is someone who is different, their will be prejudice

Racial Prejudice

From: Jen 
Date: 02/19/2003

Comments

I agree with Courtney that kids from bi-racial backgrounds have a rich opportunity to learn about and be part of both races. One of my cousins who I talked about in my mini-projects is a second grader. On Martin Luther King Jr. day he told me Aunt that he was thankful for him. Because of course, "If MLK was not around to stop racism, then you would never have married Dad and then there would be no me...oh, and also Oprah definitely would not have her own show!" I thought that was cute.  But it is interesting to see at seven years old he already can understand the progress our country has made with issues such as racism.

Re: Racial Prejudice

From: Margaux 
Date: 02/20/2003

Comments

I strongly believe that our society is still not ready to confront racism. In my Racial Inequality class last spring I became very aware of the fact that racism is so prevalent, particularly in our government, because although racism may not be a blatant action we see everyday, it is systemic- meaning that it is embedded in our institutions, which trickles in to everything. I know this sounds confusing but has so much to do with our nationís history and how it has shaped the lives of minorities. I could explain it more if anyone wants. I think it is really unfortunate because I think that growing up in a diverse community, allows you to be a more open-minded person on a whole and can enrich a childís education greatly.

Re: Racial Prejudice

From: Renee 
Date: 02/22/2003

Comments

Margaux wrote:

"Although racism may not be a blatant action we see everyday, it is systemic- meaning that it is embedded in our institutions, which trickles in to everything."

First, I must admit that I didn't know that there was such a thing as a racial inequality class here at the U of D. But maybe that's what happens when you leave the country for three years, you tend to lose touch. Anyway, sounds interesting!

Second, I am interested in hearing more about what you learned in this class. Is this related to the notion of institutional racism?

Renee

Racial prejudice and religion

From: Matt 
Date: 02/19/2003

Comments

I would have to agree with you that I too see the patterns you are taking about. My whole family is Catholic and always says that they arenít prejudice, but when they see two people dating who are of different ethnic backgrounds they always make comments about it, but play it off like they are joking. I donít understand why they made the comment in the first place if they say they arenít prejudice.

Re: Racial prejudice and religion

From: Megan 
Date: 02/20/2003

Comments

Things are a lot different today then when our parents were growing up. It is acceptable in society for people of different races to be together. That wasn't so when our parents were young. When our grandparents were young, it wasn't even acceptable to marry someone that was from a different religion or ethnic background. Our society is getting a lot more tolerant of different things and our elders need to become accustomed to that.

Re: Racial prejudice and religion

From: Lindsay 
Date: 02/23/2003

Comments

Megan said in her comment, "It is acceptable in society for people of different races to be together." However, if it was acceptable would we really be discussing this topic? I'm not even sure if it is acceptable of two people from two different religious backgrounds to be married. I think that it is more common, but acceptable, I'm not sure. My mom works at a very diverse college. She always says how she isn't prejudice, but if I ever married an African American man, that would be it. We are also Jewish and I think if I don't marry someone who is Jewish they would disown me. I definitely agree that ways are changing and societyís views and opinions need to keep up with our changing ways.