West Hartford Forums

“A candle is enough to light the world”

Heard on WTIC This Morning

Posted by whforums on November 6, 2008

“I’m very disappointed in the election results. And what I want to know now is … who’s going to stand up for white people?”

Realization: It’s not that the radical right is always trying to scare people, it’s that they’re always afraid.

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17 Responses to “Heard on WTIC This Morning”

  1. pdgoselin said

    The problem that people like that caller have is precisely that they are preoccupied with being protected, or having rights, or having someone stand up for them as “white people.” When laws were passed that gave working people the legal guarantee of a minimum wage and overtime, social security for their old age, their right to join a union, legal protections for their pensions, etc., these were the results of people working together because they had the same class interests, not because they were members of the same racial, ethnic or religious group.

    If these white people look around them they should be able to see that there are millions of dark-skinned people who need the same things that they need. They also should be able to see that there are mostly white people who own billion-dollar banks and corporations who have totally different interests from them and whose pursuit of those interests is actually harmful to the interests of white working people.

    Instead, they see the world as a place where they are in competition with people of color for every little crumb.

    And your formulation of it is good…it’s sad because these people really are, first and foremost, afraid.

  2. iBlog said

    Questions:

    WHO benefits the most from white hatred amd fear of blacks?

    HOW, directly and subtly, are they encouraging this hatred?

    HOW, knowingly an unknowingly, are “liberals” acting as enablers of this hatred?

    WHO has the courage to talk about racism and race, their own and others’, openly and publicly?

    WHEN will they speak up?

    WHEN will they speak up?

  3. pdgoselin said

    Tough questions. And hey, I thought you were the humor blog guy? I expected to see a punchline.

  4. iBlog said

    Two guys walk into a bar (in West Hartford). Bartender says, “What is this, a joke?”

  5. whforums said

    I think what gets me about this is the fear. I mean, each of us has our own set of prejudices, which is ok as long as they’re examined and owned and as long as we’re working to overcome them. We are not, in our nature, equitable creatures. What’s great about being human is the capacity — and, at our better times, the drive — to create equity in spite of ourselves.

    While this caller may not have undertaken any significant examination of her own prejudices, she does freely own them, and that’s a start down the road of overcoming them (even if she’s got a long way to go). If she were dealing with her prejudices alone, maybe you could talk some sense into her. But what really gets me is that she’s been pre-conditioned (by a lot of different things, I’m sure) to fear the fracking president-elect.

    Prejudice alone is much less dangerous than prejudice tied to fear. That’s where dehumanization starts, and we all know where dehumanization ends.

  6. iBlobg said

    Whforums:

    I like your point about “owning your prejudices” as a start to overcoming them. I don’t know if a “town” can have prejudices, but if it can, then has West Hartford owned its prejudices?

    Case in point: West Hartford celebrates its diversity. How do I know this? Because when I Google the phrase “West Hartford celebrates its diversity” I get lots of hits. Our leaders, our spokespeople, say it whenever any question comes up.

    But kids are smart. My kids witness Barak Obama’s exciting election. And they walk through their neighborhood and see all the lawn signs for local elections. So they ask: “Why is everyone running for office from West Hartford WHITE?” I’ve got to tell them that all of their town councilors and all of their school board members and their state representative and their state senator (and their Congressman and their U.S. Senators and their Governor and their Lieutenant Governor . . .) are white. And that everyone running against them is white.

    They get it.

    So just how DO we “celebrate our diversity?”

    Have we “owned our prejudices?”

  7. Kevin Walsh said

    I am willing to and hereby do own my prejudice against voting for people whose names do not appear on the ballot.

  8. iBlog said

    That is a problem.

    SO — Why are West Hartford’s talented and forward-thinking Democratic and Republican parties unwilling, unable – or both – to field candidates who could not pass (with the proper wigs, of course) for our nation’s Founding Fathers??

    OR – where is the third party that could lead us out of the land of electoral apartheid?

  9. Lucy said

    ARE there Afican-Americans and Latinos in West Harford who would be willing to run – and make good candidates? How can we encourage them to do so (says this white person)? What are the obstacles? Have they been asked? When? By whom?

    Does anyone know more about this?

    OK, I’m asking WAY too many questions, aren’t I?

    PPPS. If you have not already, check-out a new West Hartford blog that could only DREAM of being as informative as this one: http://iblogwesthartford.blogspot.com.

    Cheers!

  10. Elliot Check said

    A year and a half ago the GOP went begging for candidates to run for Council and BOE.
    Don’t blame the issue on minority status, no one flat out wanted to run.
    I jumped in at the last minute because they could not fill the vacant slot, and another slot remained vacant – remember Claire ran unopposed.

    In order for prejudice to have been involved people would have to have been turned away. As far as I could tell this did not happen

    I can’t speak for the Democrats.

  11. IBlog said

    Elliot Check,

    Sounds frustrating!

    I’m wondering: In seeking candidates, did you make any targeted efforts to reach out to West Hartford’s African-American, Latino, and other ethnic/racial communities?

    I’m thinking of community organizations (like the Elmwood Neighborhood Association and the West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization); churches; the organization “WIRED” (West Hartford Initiative on Racial and Ethnic Diversity); some of the PTOs, business owners, and professionals? Or other organizations I don’t know of?

  12. pdgoselin said

    I have not been active in West Hartford town politics. While I don’t think I’ve seen any non-white candidate stand for any office in this town in the last seven or eight years, I have no idea whether there are any political organizations in which people of color are active. Sometimes it takes more than just going out there looking for people who would make good candidates for your party . . . there also has to be a conscious effort at inclusion and diversity so that people of color have input in the development of the party’s politics. I’m trying not to stereotype – on either side of this equation – but maybe one of the reasons that the GOP was unable to find black and latino candidates is that much or most of that constituency in West Hartford (as in most places) does not share the GOP’s political perspective.

    I’m also curious if people are aware of community organizations that presently exist that either a) consciously address issues of racism in West Hartford, or b) represent neighborhoods that have the highest levels of diversity, such as Elmwood or Charter Oak.

  13. iBlog said

    Pdgoselin,

    Given their identical record with candidates, would you say the same about West Hartford’s Democrats?

  14. Elliot Check said

    I’m relatively new to the Town’s political scene. But form what I can see you’ve got to be kidding about targeted efforts of recruitment.

    Most of these people are too wrapped up in their families and jobs to do any active recruiting. Most of the candidates last year just showed up, as far as I can tell.

    Frankly, the minorities may be the only intelligent ones out there. When you look at the time and grief the Council and BOE (and I’m being non-partisan here)have to deal with, you have to be out of your mind to want to be in one of these NONpaid positions.

  15. whforums said

    This thread is weird.

    That the West Hartford town council and BOE is completely white and thus not reflective of the town itself is a given (though I think we can also agree that it does reflect the West Hartford certain people live in in their minds).

    The problems of prejudice seem to me to be personal problems, whereas the problems of discrimination are more systemic (though granted the system is composed of persons). This is not to say that the town government actively holds and enforces prejudices, but that, by its existence (by its arbitrary border lines, for example), West Hartford as an almost abstract concept becomes part of a larger, national problem of socio-economic segregation. Does socio-economic segregation have a connection to segregation of peoples by race and ethnicity? Of course.

    It’s not that the town parties need to recruit anyone from any race or ethnicity (the last thing we need is “spokespeople” for a “part of town”) — it’s that West Hartford needs to be more inclusive in how it considers (and portrays) its own identity.

  16. Jim said

    You want the core of the new GOP? Listen to Brad Davis on WDRC…the “parochial” blue collar towns of New Britian, Meriden, Bristol, East Hartford, Manchester, and Waterbury. These are people who think surveillance is great, your privacy should be violated because if you have nothing to hide, you wont be affected. And the folks who dont look like pasty white fireman or cops are terrorist threats. This is the northern core of the “new GOP”. A xenophobic bunch who were traumatized in the parochial schools as kids. Obama represents the fear of the uprising that they worked so hard to keep out of their neighborhoods. Ever wonder why Boston and Buffalo have such bad race relations? Look to the core of the native people who live there.

  17. Kevin Walsh said

    Yeah, Boston has always been loaded with those republicans.

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