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July 29th, 2010
09:39 AM ET

Conversation on Race

We want to talk about the issues that would shape a discussion on race in America. We are posing that topic to several people. Check out our interviews below. Leave us a comment. What issues do you think should be a part of an overall discussion about race in America?

Donna Brazile, CNN contributor

Tim Wise, Author of "Between Barack and a Hard Place.."

Louis Mendoza, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota

Filed under: Anchors • Clips from CNN Newsroom • Tony Harris
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Im a republican changing to independent im white and I was the first to leave a comment on Kyra's blog in Mrs. Sherrods defence there were three factors here the first was sabotoge to discredit the administration and the N.A.A.C.P. the second was paranoia from the administration on racial issues which caused a hanging without a trial and the third was the victim Mrs Sherrod the plan was well thought out but failed the best thing we can all do is to wait until prooven guilty before we hang people .

    July 29, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  2. Donald J. Glidden JR.

    As a way whose soul intension is only that of fond remembrance Mr. Kings focus was on desegregation. Whatever the words are to this black National anthem I’m more than sure he might welcome a remix, but anything else may fall short. Being a forty something white male, whose mothers father was black at the time it was taboo, in direct association of being a loving grandfather of two half black three year old boys, the thing about racism is every American knows that this country (indeed the world) has been falling prey to self appointed high level positions who’s best defense is to keep each of us at each other’s throats (civil, public as well as global) for as much and long as possible so that which was thought to have been done long ago isn’t, bad experience, absolute vanity, greed, ignorance, continuously taught outlet for expressive hatred or blame . The more that we believe our own faults are the direct result of our allowances the closer to the truth will we become. Slavery point of fact, as horrible as it is throughout history is an offense that every race of man black (Moors etc.), white, whatever have cruelly indulged in, even of their own kind. Having had direct conversation, with a wide range of different origins (etc.) of every imaginable combination of human being (no matter what the case) they themselves have said that they would like nothing better than to tell all the suited lobbyists who are suppose to be representing them that it is the silly moments, those that speak for themselves, and just wanting equal rights, not more that really throws a wrench in things, so slow it down man, cause when you do things like that, you’re just pissing everyone else off. Every American is screaming with clear and utter denial that even though we may not be as great as “we” thought (or have been told) “we” were, despite what anybody may wish us to think, everyone of us knows that “we” are all better than this. At such a time in our history results can only come in addressing every wrong that effects each one of us the same, go from there and remove all the crap. If stuff just happened like some people accept, we’d all be wearing Depends. The best thing we could do for our country, its people, and government is to stay the course on every front that unifies America as well as its people, remove any that truly only speak of its self, put into the light anything that would undermine that goal, remove any influence that would wrongfully affect our countries leaders and what we as well as forefathers have laid claim to intend. Now is time to concentrate on the proper destruction of the phrase “Yes you are right that is the way it should be but this is the real world and that’s just not the way it is”. If certain people could only focus on that (like they all should) most wouldn’t have to worry about the next election, because honestly anything else should not only be considered a complete waste of time but a self destructive fight against the only inevitable outcome. "Most sincerely", DONNIE Salem Mass.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  3. Gerry

    I would like a conversation on race to include the Hispanics. I am living in Arizona.. amongst fear and hatred, and I am asking for compassion to be added to the overall conversation.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  4. Victoria Hess

    I believe that the racial debate needs to come full force to the public. I believe we need to revisit the quota system. I think it was given a bad reputation unjustifiably by the Reagan administration, due to racism. As long as most high paying, good jobs in most communities are held by white males, if all other things are equal or there is gray area, I believe promotions and advancements should be given to minorities. This must happen to correct the sins of our parents and grandparents. I once opened a new prison where over 60% of the custody staff were minorities (blacks, women, ect) yet they accounted for less then 10% of all promotions in that camp over the first 3 year period (90% of promotions went to white males). What years did this happen??? 1998 to 2001?? Kinda makes you think. By the way, our union that was looking into this issue on a state wide level was de-certified the same year.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  5. Norma

    How many times do we have to acknowledge slavery and segragation? Yes, it happened. Yes, the entire country knows about it. Stop talking about slavery and segration and keeping it in the forefront of all race conversations. These topics only help fuel racism and keep it alive. We will never move forward by constantly digging up the past. Everyone needs to change the way we speak in America, starting by not labeling certain cultures, for example referring to black people as African Americans. It is time to referr to an American citizen as an "American" regardless of their color or nationality. Throughout history the black community has always set themselves aside by using special, elite names. How can we, as a nation, come together while we are being allowed to separate ourselves by using special names. Even Donna Brazile referred to "...African Americans and other Americans...". This needs to stop.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  6. Victoria Hess

    Although, I do agree that illegal immigration is a problem and I do believe that the willingness to work for such low wages at such hard jobs does lower the minimum wage and make it harder for the lower level job holders in this country, I do not agree with the law for 2 reasons. One I reject that idea that in this country which prides itself on freedom any citizen would have to carry papers saying they belong here. I am white, but I do not want to carry my and my son's birth certificates around!!!! Secondly, it is like punishing the victims, not the offenders. The businesses that hire these workers are who we should go after. Why try to deport millions of people who will be back tomorrow instead of closing a few thousand businesses down who hire them, or fining them so much that it makes hiring them unprofitable??? But this kind of common sense, that is irrefutable, is completely rejected by the right wing.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  7. Victoria Hess

    Again I will say what Mr Gidden said, much progress was made in the late 60's and early 70's, then in the 80's it just stopped. As long as there are people walking the earth who's grandparents were slaves or whose father or other family member where hung from a tree because of the color of their skin, this issue is not in the past. I am white, however, if I had a father who had been hung, and had someone like you telling me that I needed to get over it and move on I would be very angry. Every time I hear this argument (the first time was on an Oprah show in the early 80's) I always want to ask the people have you "walked a mile in their shows?" I hear many progressive black people say this, and I respect it, they are better people then I am. However, to ignor the reality that these things are very recent history, things that happened in many of our lifetimes, is like going through life ignoring the fact your were molested. It is just not healthy!

    July 29, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  8. Adale Smith

    The problem with race is everyone is designing tv shows to talk about the problems with racial descrimination but not programs to talk about why minorities are less employed than white. How is the system doing this undercover and what can we do to fix the problem. I am tired of seeing the same old pundants on TV to the left and right of an issue in front of the camera arguing (debating) an issue. That may make for good ratings but arguing back and forth don,t solve any problems. What I think is as long as there is a face to face interview the system will always make it possible to descriminate. Right now almost all employers are using the internet to advertise and fill out job applications. What is the purpose of the interview and why can't that be done online via chat. If you assigned all applicants a pin number and not ask for any personal information like name, address, race, sex (unless the job specifically requires a particular sex), no telephone calls during the hiring process it would make it impossible to descrimate against anyone during the hiring process. They would be forced to hire you based on your qualifications. Then AFTER THE PERSON is hired have them bring in their supporting documentation. Now if they lied on their application they can be disqualified. The fact is discrimination is still here it's just institutionlized.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  9. Joseph

    Thank you for allowing me, a 61 year-old African American educator, to participate in this important discussion. "As long as we refer to people as black and white, we will continue to have major race issues. I'm appalled by newscasters that continue to refer to us as 'black' rather than African American. They fan the flames of racism (and they know it).

    With regards to 'us' continuing to spend 'valuable resources' fighting against racism, we're approaching the point of diminishing returns – we'll never eliminate racism totally. I'd like to see the day when two people can call each other a bunch of dirty names and go home without charging each other in court with racism."

    July 29, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  10. Tom Myers

    Sen. Pierce should look up the meaning of anarchy(and anarchist)
    these protestors are NOT anarchists!

    July 29, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  11. David

    Tony, I believe an open discussions about race such as a town hall meeting needs to be made very public, possibly all major networks at one time, I have heard this issue over and over in all of my 45 Years in this country, where people can discuss there fears without making things personal or racist. I think people need to be made aware that we the blacks, Latinos and other races are not going anywhere. I think t the biggest issue is the political scare tactics that are brain washed into people. One of the biggest fears is the changing demographics in this country. We can't go on ignoring half a continent to the south of us with a population of almost 400 Million people and treat it like its mit there and does not exist, and part of our own country that once belonged to Mexico and think it's not going to affect us, and where never going to have an illegal imigration problem, this issue will never be resolved until we start helping the south resolve it's issues of corruption and drugs.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  12. Linda MacMillan

    I have watched the debate over ILLEGAL immigration for years now as our borders became more and more open and unsafe. People along our southern borders have complained for years. We see ILLEGAL Immigrants defy our laws and our Government ignores the problem by turning their backs. I am now watching migrant workers in a field no whites work there it's a job that migrant workers have always done. Even Vermont has migrant workers to pick apples it's not easy work but it is temporary work these people go home when the season ends. Illegal is just that, illegal, we have laws so why aren't they being enforced? We are a country of Immigrants, we have over a million that legally come here each year, so why should we be expected to tolerate Illegal? Is it because we should feel sorry for them, give me a break there is a reason why the construction industry has so many illegals working for them, they will work for less money. Perhaps that is the point, a company will take in more money for itself and Americans will have to work two three jobs to be able to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. It isn't a surprise to me that now the rise in home foreclosures is attributed to unemployment. Our economy relies on jobs that pay a living wage. How many homeless do we have, how many Americans are out of work, how many children go hungry. I am tired of hearing about how difficult it is for the migrant worker or the ILLEGAL immigrant.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  13. Tonya

    Honestly Tony, I believe the discussion is necessary but I am unsure how it will benefit the deeply rooted racism that is taught in the home. I am concerned and would love to hear discussions around the deeply rooted fear of diversity and the unwillingness to recognize the differences in our cultures. I am disheartened by the anger and negativity I hear from a majority of white Americans that respond to comments online that are so disrespectful to any HUMAN let alone a person of color. I didn't grow up that way and I am not that old (36) so I am wondering what has changed and why has it gotten WORSE.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  14. Rachael

    isnt it discrimination if the hiring practices of Essence Magazine are not to hire whites? if the situation was reversed and it would be considered discrimination and there would be lawsuits and the NAACP involved ... it seems to me if we want to talk about race we need to make sure that we are fair all around there is reverse discrimination and that doesnt seem to count, why is that?

    July 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  15. Victoria Hess

    Yes it is wrong to be an illegal immigrant, but there are millions of them. Why are we going after people instead of the businesses hiring them? Why are we creating laws and putting pressure on the federal government to spend more money to increase enforcement. Why are local people not demanding that their local governments go after the businesses hiring illegal immigrants? Why are people making laws to go after the little people who are a result of the problem and leaving the business alone that are creating the problem?????? Because everyone wants to pick on the little guy not the guy. Hate is so much easier to voice then to accept that greed is bad and making things better for everyone. It is so much easier to think of yourself and focus on individuals then to really fix any issues, especially if you have to accept your own wrong doing!

    July 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  16. Cameron McCleery

    It's time for change. Magazines like Essence certainly had a place at their inception. Black men and women were almost totally ignored for decades. That is not the case any more. Without change the publisher runs the risk of, at worst, racism or at best, hypocrisy. Either way all races in America deserve better. It's time.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  17. RL

    The equal education or lack of in our public schools.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  18. Lee

    I'm a nurse and I have worked for many home care agencies that are ran by people from other countries. Most of these agencies hire their own without any second thoughts. Essence magazine needs to know it is okay to hire qualified Blacks to fill their open positions. I have yet to see where other companies who hire peolple that look like them called racists.
    Lee from Texas

    July 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  19. Bernard DeFlora

    Please pass this along. We need to really take a look at the state to states At Will Policy. This is simply a different way white Managers and Supewrvisors can simply descriminate against who ever they feel they deem not fit to be apart of the corporate culture. 13 years in the United States Marines and 10 jobs since I was Honorably Discharged really is a concern. HR Professionals dont help the employee they look out for the company. As induvidual employees that is what we should be looking out for as well. It is called Loyalty and Honor

    July 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  20. Tom Strongs

    Please tell how many WET title entertainment shows are on TV? There is a BET entertainment TV show title exactly that Black Entertainment Television. Just imagine a show called White Entertainment on television today? There is a race problem and it is not on equal terms of all colors.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  21. Latoya

    I believe that Essence Magazines choice to hire a white fashion director should be applauded and not booed. The black community have spent most of their time around people who look, behave, and speak like ourselves that when we are around others who are different we feel threatened, afraid and intimidated and this needs to change. Segregation may have ended but we are still very much polarized. We are at a point in time where depolarization of the races needs to happen or we will remain stagnant as a nation. We may have need to be around people who look and behave as we do, but its time we leave our comfort zones.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  22. Elaine

    When are we as Americans going to figure out that we have to create the culture of acceptance and tolerance that we talk about-at every level of society – interracial families, neighbors, work, etc....

    There are plenty of us in America who are taking responsibility to challenge our own prejudices and who are making a conscious effort to develop better race relations.

    I hope this conversation wont be full of a lot of contention. It is exhausting listening to raging pundits, as a matter of fact I just turn it off when your guests cant control their raging. Please make it a civil dialogue.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  23. Len Zayas

    Tony, one important issue in the race discussion (and any kind of discrimination) should be economic. In a mercantile society the income is the predominant representative of social status and the advance of any group, gender, race, religion and the likes is only noticed by economic display of such group.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  24. Sean B.

    I believe an issue that should be a part of this discussion is that racism and discrimination go all ways. All races get discriminated against. It's not just white vs. black. I'm a white male that has Spanish heritage and family members that are black as well as latino. Some of my closest friends live in a predominately black neighbor hood. I not only get discriminated against by the residents but also get harassed by police officers. How dare them! They don't know my background and my beliefs. Just because my skin pigmentation is lighter than theirs doesn't mean I have less of a right to be there.

    It's time to stop bickering and start taking responsibility for ourselves. We are the only ones that have control of our actions and our future. It's time for a racial, political and ethical revolution in this country. It's time we pull together and become one nation!

    July 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  25. Robinson Nwosu

    You are asking us to comment on race yet after commenting racism continues in this land everyday. Is there any other method with which to fight racism? Those who instituted racism are dead but their fragrances are still with us and not untill they are all dead, no meaningful solution to racism may be acheived. No matter what you do those with the blood of racism are still very much around us and they help to preach against racism yet practices it. What is an alternative solution?

    July 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  26. Mick E

    If, say, Obama had NOT won the White House, would there be any conversation at all about illegal aliens, la Raza, Essence magazine, or the NAACP being involved in so-called reverse racism? Any political party which unites its members in a "common enemy" needs to look at itself & who it is attacking before accusing an opponent of the very thing that lives in its own heart. I, for one, do not want to go back to the 1950's, where everybody "knew their place".

    July 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  27. Sue Chehrenegar

    In my opinion any conversation about race should reflect the views of Abdu'l-Baha, a man who spoke at the fourth annual meeting of the NAACP. He called on members of the audience to muster up their courage and genuine love, to demonstrate indiscriminating fellowship with others, to disavow any inclination to be critical of others, to demonstrate a keen respect for justice, to display a sympathy for the downtrodden and to exemplify a realization that all men are truly of one race–the human race.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  28. stephen nackley

    A topic I would like to see involved in the conversation is language, how we address ourselves and others. I am a white African American.
    Thats right we all are African something. Africa is the mother of all humans. Science is smarter than the mumbo jumbo blacks, whites,
    ellows, browns, reds use to define themselves. Science is also smarter than the hocus pocus "God" used to defend those views and other war mongering behavior. If we can grow up as a nation and let go of childish views we can begin to end racism by the only way possible....breed it out. Then we can rely on the old way of hate, classism.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  29. nicholas banks

    Tony, I think we need to start with educating people about the history of the word "race", in the 17th/18th century anthropologist proposed various systems of race classifications based on physical characteristics, codifying perceived differences for a broad range of the population. This has worked very well for special interest for many centuries, however, fast fowarding to 21st century, the biologoy of race is decribed today by genetic characteristics rather than physical characteristics alone. Therefore our thinking should be centered around the biology of race. If we take this approach and really educate our selves, this word could be eliminated from our vocab. We can only improve racial problems via education, tolerance but never fully extinquish racial relations. As long as one "group feels" that another "group is making more gains than the other, and not accept the truth about the history of the word race, this country will always have problems.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  30. Jenefer Ford

    I think that Donna Brazile has a good perspective of where we are in this country on race. Most Black celebrities, especially news commentators or variety show hosts, seem afraid to acknowledge that Blacks are still being discriminated against: our schools are still underfunded and separate – white kids are not bussed to all Blacks neighborhood schools; our communities are still red-lined for car insurance, mortgage and home equity loans; our communities are the last to have intrastructure upgrades for streets, sidewalks, train tracks and viaducts; our tax dollars are spent outside our communities for clothing, food, and household appliances. Hence, billions of our dollars help other communities. We are afraid to say that "yes" we deserve and want reparations for what was done to us for over 400 years. We need them now to secure our families and our future. No one asks the Jewish community to stop speaking openly about the halocaust, so must we be allowed and feel free to do so. We can not heal as a people (Race) until we address these issues openly, everyday, and every chance we get. This is our therapy, but we are still AFRAID. FEAR says it all. I love watching your show, and feel that you and others must sometimes look for opportunities to assure that the commentary is equitable in voicing concerns for all Races and Ethnicities. Keep up the good work.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  31. Victoria Hess

    I am seeing a pattern in my research on the internet of this debate. The upper class seems to believe, all races overall, that they have conquered racism. I have never been upper class, but if that is the case I am thrilled. I can assure you that the lower class is a long way away from conquering racism. I can assure you that is a fact of life in the lower class. But again this points to what Ms Sherrod said. The issue of the have and the have nots is a more pressing issue in today's economy. But wait, these issues are irrevocably tied due to the sins of our parents. When will people see this??

    July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  32. Frankie D - Tennesee

    I think we can begin to tackle racism by not referring to ourselves as hyphenated Americans – simply "Americans." If we focus on the things we share in common instead of our physical differences, I believe that we would all be surprised at how much we really are alike.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  33. Jenefer Ford

    I and many others understand the need for American citizens to have the first opportunity to apply for jobs. However, statistics show that no Americans are applying for thousands of jobs on farms. Also, we are overlooking the fact that millions of illegals came from Europe during the 18th thru 20th centuries, and Asia. It is said that there are 10 million illegal Chinese immigrants living in California, right now! Is this true. What about the thousands of Polish immigrants who came in and took over the janitorial and cleaning industry, the Chinese who took over the laundry, dry-cleaning and carry-out industries; the Italians, Irish and Sicilians who for decades fought over controlling one or more industries. They weren't all born here. How long did it take them to become legal? Were there talks of limiting their immigration due to gangs in New York, mob and gangster control of liquor and gambling in New York, Chicago, Nevada, Florida, etc. It seems that these issues come up only when White persons need jobs, and not others. Prove me wrong?

    July 29, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  34. Pamela Elizondo

    I'm a White American Citizen who STRONGLY DIS-agrees with the SB1070 law. A point i'd like to make is once alot of immigrants are deported and businesses suffer and it starts to effect peoples wallets then and only then will people wake up and think oops we made a MISTAKE!!! Ask yourselves this what american is going to go out and pick in the fields for crops, or clean hotel rooms? They won't get done by themselves nor are AMERICANS going to line up for those jobs like people who are Unemployed who complain there are no jobs due to immigrants taking them. The SB1070 law is going to effect EVERYONE in the U.S. even if you are not brown skinned and have an accent. If crops die and and there become less farmers due to no one wanting to pick crops etc..It will be a trickle down effect. People please wake up and get educated. Being a diverse country is what makes the U.S so great. Deportation is NOT the answer. There are good and bad in every race. There needs to be an AMNESTY!!! Everyone needs to work it out together not against each other. This economy is bad enough for all. An illegal immigrant is still a human. We as humans need to be just as humane to them as we would like to be treated. Love thy neighbor as it says in the bible. WithOUT Immigrants the economy will be worse than it already is.. Please wake up people..

    July 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  35. Gary

    As a older white American male I saw discrimination first hand and it was very wrong. We have made great strides in equality but we still have work to do.
    The current climate I find very troubling. Now anything black is a allowed and encouraged by both society and the media. And any politician who utters anything negative about the black community might as well resign. But talk negativity about the white community and you just swell!
    Why can’t we celebrate American diversity without black or any other race being mentioned?
    We have Miss America…why Miss black America? Start a Miss White America and might as well shoot yourself!
    There are lots of college funds…and United Negro College fund…White college fund? Oh that’s racist can’t have that!
    You mentioned Essence magazine….fine magazine that celebrates black culture…Where is the magazine celebrating white culture? Oh no that’s not allowed that’s racist!
    Go try to get a job why do they ask race? Take the test…show your qualifications…equality isn’t equality if you’re a minority and have a lower score you get extra points.
    Do you really want a EMT to show up to help you that is not as qualified someone else that was not hired due to race? Holds true for any job police..firefighter…doctor…what have you? What on earth does race have to do with it? Hire the best person for the job period.
    The big buzz was President Obama being the first black president. He’s half white but that doesn’t count.
    How about he’s a great American elected president trying to do a good job? Race is not a factor or is it?

    Just my opinion but I’m white I must be racist!
    If I was a minority I could lead the parade!

    July 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  36. Shawn Radcliff

    I think it would be a fair question to ask why it is considered acceptable for black people to segregate themselves in media and businesses through self proclaimed Black Channels, Schools, magazines, and associations, if it is condemned and protested when white people do it? Is that honestly fair?

    Some of these, for lack of a better general word, “assemblies,” have actually used that separation to throw stones which would be considered, again, racist if anyone else did it. For example: BET ran an advertising campaign for the movies they play, starting famous black people. The title of the ad was, "Black Star Power," but during the commercial it would rapidly flash the words on the screen in an alternating fashion, but out of the original sequence. It would flash "Star" then "Black Power" rapidly as if to hide the statement. Why is this acceptable or even attempted for that matter?

    Is there a conscious effort to create a double standard out of spite? If so why shouldn't everyone else or particularly white people ignore the condemnation of our own equal right to segregation. I don't think it would be productive, but it would be fair, since it seems like it is intentional. An organization to protect the rights of white people would be considered extremely racist, but with these practices acted against us, it seems extremely necessary. There is discrimination across the board, but when whites are the victim, we have to stand alone, and try not to cause problems. Inevitably, this would have to end. With the high status the black community has risen to, shouldn't black leaders consider themselves victorious and equal, as I see them, or continue with what seems to be a suppression strategy which only increases tension.

    July 29, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  37. Tamara Pugh-Neal

    Theres not a living person in America that has ever owned a slave. Maybe there grate-grandparents did but you can't controll them. STOP BLAMING US! Any was African pepole took there own kind and sold them to us to bring back on the ships. Plus in Africa they still have cocation people as slaves. So please let it go it's no use complaning about it it's NOT like going to turn back the clock and undo it.

    July 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  38. Mr. Larry Duncan

    Everyone is entitled to the manifestations of their own discrestion pertaining to illegal immigrants. I strongly support the Federal Judge ruling of placing a injunction on the Arizona law until our Government can administratively address the reformation changes needed for this outrage. Race is the single largest barrier in our society depicting how we should treat others or one another. America is under a world microscope and the dark secrets of the heart are being dictumed through the lens of justice. The message being sent isn't new and is one that has kept every immigrant in their place since their arrival to the American Dream...It's time to take a stand and remove the stereo-dogmatic-mentality concerning one another and we can all take a closer look in the mirror. We're all the same – wanting the same for ourselves and family basic needs.Most of the complainers either do not have to work or either not going to work the low wage labor paying jobs anyway!When we take a closer look at this couple with the end results, business owners want the cheap laborers and big profits!Because we are the "great melting pot" everyone should be afforded the opportunity to citizenship legally or through the legal process..."Then we should all be called Americans"...Right now America needs healing and a song called "Breakdown Segregation" by L.Duncan&Sam Hicks. Thanks!

    July 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  39. Shawn Radcliff

    How come not all TV broadcasts are required to offer translation into Spanish and other common languages in America? Wouldn't it seem beneficial to everyone if there was an expansion of access to people who can't speak the language? Wouldn't it also help people learn how to speak English if they had translation available on a daily basis? I think it would create jobs, and help reduce the language barrier. In turn I also believe that programs in other languages be sub-titled into English, which would also help English speaking Americans learn another language. I think it would be a good example of an attempt to break down the barriers that separate us, and create multi-cultural jobs in the process. It would be a great American venture worthy of government regulation, because it would benefit us all, unlike the transition to digital.

    July 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  40. Larry B

    Let me start out by first saying, racism will always be present in the world! No matter how much progress we make regarding humanity and how far we get in our understanding of 'mankind', there will always be people who are afraid of anything different from themselves. That being said, what's more important than getting past racism, is understanding what racism actually is. So much of the collective understanding about racism makes one very shortsided assumption...that everyone understands what is racism and what constitutes racism. The problem with trying to tackle the whole racism issue is we need a guage of what is racist. When someone sees of hears something they would consider racist, we say to ourselves "they've crossed the line". However, we, as a nation or the world, all have a very different view of where that line actually exists. Sports and their rules are finely defined because there are boundaries. It's very easy to establish the either did or did not cross that line. Until we all have a clear understanding of where those lines are drawn, there is no way to know what is or isn't racism. I know what racism is, you may know what racism is, but my line and your line may be very different. What constitutes racism in my book, may merely be strong words or actions in yours. Until we understand where those lines are, trying to get past racism and the racist is near impossible. We can and will make progress in understanding race and racism, but until those lines are drawn, we will be in a perpetual argument of whether or not the line has been crossed. There is not instant reply!

    July 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  41. Stephen

    As a country we badly need mature and reasonable discussions about race. I have read many of the comments here and I am discouraged by how far we need to go.

    The story about Mrs. Sherrod highlights the sensitivity of the issue. It also clearly demonstrates that reverse racism is not tolerated! This should be reassuring to white people who fear that they are the new black. The message should be loud and clear. Racism is wrong Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP, uses the same "measuring stick" to determine racism regardless of the race of the people involved. It is abundantly obvious that Mrs. Sherrod was unfairly punished even though she is not racist. Unfortunately in the rush to deal with racial issues she is not the only person to be unfairly accused and punished without due process!

    I have a few comments about Essence magazine hiring a white editor. I think that the discussion about it being a horrible thing for them to hire a white person is obviously reverse racism. The people who are arguing against hiring a white person are afraid that there will not be any opportunities for black people to get a chance to become an editors. Essence magazine has done the right thing to hire the most qualified person for the job. The real discussion needs to be why are the fashion magazine racially imbalanced? Let's put pressure on them. The fashion and beauty industry needs to fair and we must hold the accountable! Imagine if sports were still struggling with this type of dialog. That is black only teams and mostly white only teams with a few token positions! Athletes and sports would not be as good as they are. Thankfully with sports there is a very short time frame to see results. After a 1 or 2 hour game you have your winner. The end result is that you must have the best talent regardless of race. The best talent working together will produce the best results the problem is that in many industries it takes years to make the products and get winners.

    Keep insisting on justice, focus on merit, talent and hard work the results will set us apart!

    July 29, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  42. elizabeth in sacramento

    No one is saying to ignore facts of slavery, segregation & prejudice any more than to ignore the fact that Europeans divested native Americans of their land. But it's like the story of 2 monks walking down the road who saw a hurt woman & one carried her across a large stream. Both were celibate & one said to the other, "You're not supposed to touch a woman. Why did you do that?" The other answered, "I had forgotten about that but you're still carrying her." I agree we should dispense w/labels. We're Americans. The things we have in common are what all people do–birth, living, old age, sickness, then death. THESE should be the focus of concern for anybody. Unfortunately, we have states like Texas deciding what school books should represent & that impedes real education. Education is one of the most important things we are obligated to improve because that is step 1 in resolving these conflicts.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  43. Jason X

    With regard to Essence magazine, They have created a magazine that is racist because it only employs and features black women. The magazine also embraces segregation. The fact that many want a newly hired white women fired simply because of skin color is racist. How is it not? And to stand up and publicly support this is appalling. Martin Luther King would have been ecstatic how white people have embraced his message of equality for all and disappointed that his message was misunderstood by African Americans. If we want to have an honest discussion regarding race, then we must be honest during the discussion, which always seems to be the problem. Essence Magazine should just be honest and say it. We are a racist magazine who employs racist people. If one has trouble understanding, all you need to do is switch people, black for white (a white only magazine)and if your being honest, you will see pure racism.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  44. RM

    Why is the liberal media not down playing the racial issue if not to further the President agenda which is to divide the people by class and race. The feeding frenzy on conservative white people being racist is out of control.

    July 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  45. Sean

    I find it odd how the Obama Administration and even CNN has become obsessed with race. CNN really pushes this issue. Wasn't Obama supposed to mark a new glorious day for race relations in this country, yet it appears that race is being used more and more frequently as a means of pushing a political agenda, be it illegal immigration or slamming an opposition party. Race is being used to change the topic from jobs and a war to a social issue which before the election was doing very well. You have to wonder why? The Obama Administration via other groups are using race to put the opposition on the defense. In doing so Obama is being very divisive as a means of using race as a strategy against the Tea Party and Republicans. I would say that this is making race relations worse in this country rather than better.

    July 29, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  46. Stanley E. Banks

    We should look at how the whole apparatus of institutional racism has caused African Americans to turn systematic racism inward. By this, I mean the whole idea of self-hate among African Americans– I would bet that many White Americans are not familiar with this condition. In my African American University Literature course, I deal with the subjects of intra-racism, passing (as a White person), and real Black people versus trying to be White. Those discussions as you would guess are always intense and never get finished. My prayer is always for clear understanding and mutual respect!!!

    July 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  47. usafirefly

    ALL races and ethnic backgrounds have strengths and weaknesses and judgments, criticisms, and unfair thinking towards each other.


    July 30, 2010 at 4:27 am |
  48. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    I think that this upcoming November is slowly bringing up race. I think the Tea Party movement is slowly trying to drive a wedge between blacks and whites. I was raised in a time when blacks were treated as second class citizens. I was raised in a neighborhood that was full of bigots and It rubbed off on me. Once I joined the Navy my attitude took a 180º turn. I live i a diverse neighborhood and I got to doctors of all races and nationalities. I hope the people wake up and don't fall for what seems to be an anti-black and Hispanic movement.
    There is one thing I would like to see and that is that English becomes our national language. In all industrialized nations English is required to be successful so we should keep up with them so we don't fall behind.

    July 30, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  49. Tims Quinn

    Freedom: 1) absence of any coercion dictating where one must live; 2) absence of same in dictating what vocation one must take up; 3) absence of government's right arbitrarily to arrest a citizen; 4) absence of government's right to decide arbitrarily which citizens are protected by legislation and which are not.; 5) absence of same in depriving any citizen of the right to own and dispose of private property.

    The above set conatins the necessary and sufficient conditions of freedom understood by the writers of The Constitution. These conditions render moot the notion of race with respect to allowing any citizen to exploit his own talents for the benefit of himself and those others he chooses to support.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  50. Tims Quinn

    Addendum: Note that tis notion of freedom in now way depends upon the freedom to vote. No special benefit accrues to 21-yr-olds which 12-yr -olds do not possess.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  51. Rob

    It almost looks like CNN and this administration is hoping for racial problems. As Sean mentioned above, we thought Obama was going to bring people together. In my 55 years on earth I've never sean more division of Americans. Suppose this might be the agenda and I just didn't get the memo.

    July 31, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  52. John West

    In a country that now touts itself as being "multiracial," we I inquire as to the ethnic makeup of those elderly citizens that were swept up in a fire at a retirement home? I'm asking this question, Tony, in light of all the continuing conflicts involving race. "Multiracial," Tony. Are we allowing ourselves to be hoodwinked?

    August 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  53. Lyle Smith

    This mosque is meant to be a slap in the face for America.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  54. Anthony

    NO WAY... I live in Manhattan and will have to walk by that mosque everyday on my way to work. It will offend not just my Jewish sensibilities, but will be a constant reminder of who it was that murdered 3000 of my fellow countrymen. I don't like them and I certainly don't trust them. Wake up America. Lets not go the way of Europe and be Islamicized.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  55. thomas lewis

    I believe all the hatred and frustration aimed at people of different nationality is is a plot by the republicans to divert the nation attention from themselves because they have no logical plan to create jobs or a vision for the future. THE PARTY OF NO wants the middle class to put their faith and trust in them to lead the country, when time and time again they have shown that they are only interested in helping the rich at the expense of the middleclass.

    August 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  56. RM

    Which party has kept the blacks supressed? Entitlements ???

    August 4, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  57. Rachelle

    Why is it when we discuss this issue we talk about race? Last time I checked we all belonged to the human race. We are ethnically diverse, but all of us come from the same planet, and our DNA can be traced back to the original people who left the heartland of africa. Perhaps if we started to see what we have in common the less differences or problems we have.

    August 7, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  58. Janice

    Poverty is mainly single mothers. When 72% of Black (not African Americans)babies are born to single moms the poverty among blacks is going to be extremely high. Is this because of racism? Or are the Black leaders especially in the churches letting young blacks down by not trying to encourage young black men and women to delay parenthood until they can be responsible parents.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  59. Heyward

    To have an honest discussion on race we must address past injustices and grievances done to American Black citizens by the government they paid taxes to , yet the same government created policies and practices that disenfranchise American Blacks and have done so since this government was created. Until those who has historically benefit from those injustices admit they wrong and remedies are enforced to address those issues, we will not be able to move forward. Tell the truth and shame the devil.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  60. Scott Gold

    For all I can say people of different races should not be discriminated against or treated any differently, whether they be white or any minority. Yet minorities should not be able to obtain jobs only because of being a minority either. I have seen, as well as been a victim of, people who were obviously hired only because of their race considering they definitely should been in those positions at all. If anybody is in need of making a living the government should give them money for education first so they will know what they are doing when they get a job.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  61. adale smith

    The problem is every time an issue come up about race we try to pacify minorities by saying lets have a talk about race. We dont need to just talk about it. We need to figure out how to get rid of racism. i say do away with face to face job interviews and do all the hiring online with only a password and qualifications to identify the applicant.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  62. Slim

    So the author you just featured thinks that people of color in poverty are not there of their own fault? Isn't that part of the problem, people not taking responsibility for themselves? Poverty is not a function of race; but rather a product of a lack of education and ethics or character. You can't continue to let them think they can't get out and get an education and better themselves because they are "of color", and "the man" is always trying to keep them down. They have to change this way of thinking into a mentality of getting educated and making it happen for themselves, because no one else is going to do it for them.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  63. Joanna Clark

    As a race we have a long ways to go growing up. I'm white, life-long Republican until George W. Bush came along. I recently participated in the genographic project, and guess what... my ancestors trekked out of the Great Rift Valley 50,000 years ago. Today we come in many shades, tall, short, thin, fat, but we are ALL members of the race homo sapiens. One would think that after 200,000 years we'd grow up and accept ourselves. We are all essentially brothers, sisters, and cousins.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  64. CAMI

    I am a 40 year white woman and I know that every American has just as many rights that I do. We all have equal rights in this Country and we all should be treated the same no matter what. No one person has a right to judge another, after all no one is perfect and for all of those who believe in God's word everyone is created equally under God. Maybe we will just have to wait for all of my generation and older to die before all Americans can be see has one which is sad because I would like to be around when that time comes and I know it will

    August 11, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  65. Frank Beaty

    The most difficult problem with racism is that it is socially accepted even by those who say it is not. If racist were treated with the same disdain as child molesters there would be change. The problem is that it seems to be human nature to want to feel superior. As a corporate executive, when I pointed out glaring racial and sex based disparities I was accused of being obsessed with race, even though my intent was to warn about issues that I felt could lead to legal problems for the company and were detrimental to maintaining work place morale. I have been in denial about racism all my life but as a 56 year old black male I must finally admit, race is a major issue in the workplace.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  66. Josh Haggans

    I am a 37 year old Human Service student. I am also and white. I am really disappointed in the direction people in this country are going. They seem to be forgetting about important human fundamentals like acceptance, love, and compassion. The right seems to be pushing nothing but fear to push an agenda that is based in hatred and racism.My grandfather was a Republican in the Reagan Era and I respected his views although different from my own. Today the fear that the right is trying to push is definitely something to be concerned about. Walking down the street in America and having to show your papers because of the color of your skin is a real bad direction to go in regardless of the security of our borders.There needs to be more action taken at the borders instead of meddling with the fabric of hat makes our country the home of the free.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  67. Patricia Jeffeerson

    It is just amazing how various races other than "Black" request that the issue of slavery and other demeaning acts of aggressions againist Blacks should not repeatedly be mentioned;and we need to get pass all "that".
    So, my question is why is it ok to continue discussions on how the Jewish race was treated by Hilter and others. Those acts of aggression did not occur in this country, U S of America; Therefore, it's okay to continue to speak on the matter of discrimination againist Jewish persons by race or religion but not the mistreatment of Blacks? Black history should be forgotten I guess butit's okay discuss the history of other races, as long as it doe not infringe upon Whites in America.
    This has always been amazing to me what's good for the Gander is evidently not good for the the Goose.

    It is the same as questioning the birth place of our President Obama. When other races continually state oh, I'm one race and my parent was born in another country! Do we all then need to provide proof of our citizenship, since we are now claiming that another country is our heritage for our parent(s). Isn't this the same situation?

    August 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  68. John Mobray

    I lived on the coast of Washington and attended a junior college there in the late sixties. While there I had the honor of rooming with a black panther from New york City. On many trips during basketball season we had the opportunity to to talk about racial situations, I'll never forget his response as long as I live and I Quote "Don't ever let a black man play the race card on you, if they do they are looking to gain leverage for something they want; you haven't seen prejudice until you are a black man walking down through Harlem with a white woman on your arm."
    That said, I must add as a former substitute teach here in the state of Nevada, until we set the bar for all students at a height they must strive to attain, instead of lowering our standards to make certain individuals feel accomplished, there will always be that separation of color. In many instances one cannot blame the public for feeling that a person of color is less skilled and ignorant when they are held to a lesser educational standard. Set the standard for all students the same and make sure there are avenues for all students to attain those standards now we are talking equality! The real challenge will be to get quality teachers to take jobs in sub par schools, this is truly the challenge is before us!
    John Mobray

    August 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  69. Yakub

    All this back and forth is nonsense, there will always be racism no matter what side of the spectrum it comes from. This country was built using racism and a capitalistic mind set. There is no way the powers that be are going to allow a few do-gooders to derail something that has been ingrained into their souls. The KKK is alive and well in today's society and they are in every place you can imagine from the school system to the police force, right on up to the govornment. So please cut the crap there will always be some one to discrimnate agaisnt some one. We can hope for and talk about equality until we're blue in the face, problem is it will never happen. Racism is a tool used to empower the oppressor, as long as human emotion exsist there will be a groug of people that feel they must oppress another people so that they may stay ahead.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  70. Meg

    I'm asian and I know racial discrimination will never die. It will only be in denial or excusses made for it.

    Something in common we all have but looks pass because of the color of our skin:
    -Share that same hospital bed in the hospital when in accidents, dying or on chemotherapy or surgeries of any sorts and in labor.
    -Yes agreed with Rachel– HUMAN RACE!!! We all get hurt the same have feelings and can speak if not english another language.

    Also agreed with thomas lewis- this is possibly another way of the republicans to divert us towards racism- because they have no jobs for us– they have nothing good for the citizen but to start some $h!t.

    So... when are the caucasian employers going to judge us (asian americans, african americans, hispanic americans) on our work rather than our skin color???

    So-- why does all the *WORK* applications have "what is your race?" question on it. I have proof I am born here in the US- AND check mark the box that I have proof I CAN work in the US. Doesn't that make me American enough to not answer this question???

    August 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm |