Beyond Diversity: Making Race Real - Part 10

Uploaded by facdevEIU on 09.12.2010

The problem being that as we get older, we begin
to pick up messages.
And you know, I'll tell you, with those two little kids,
it's amazing how much that they're picking up that
I notice every day.
Messages about race, messages about gender, messages about
class, because they're watching "Snow White" and "Cinderella"
and all that crap.
I'm going to have to deconstruct Disney for decades to fix that.
Because there is racial and gender messages that are being
pumped in there and economic messages.
And the other day, my daughter, you know, this is somebody who
is in my household, and we've had some early conversations
about race, just real basic, what you can do with
a five year old.
But she was looking at some, she was looking at some magic
markers or something that she had for this color wonder book
which are these pens that are great because you can only write
on the paper that it's meant to write on.
It's magical, wonderful, they can't write on the walls
or anything.
They've got all these different colors, and she's counting off
the colors to let everybody know that she knows her colors,
and she comes to one that happens to be peach and she
calls it flesh color.
Now, that's not even on the pen and I haven't told her that,
most assuredly, and her mother hasn't told her, and no one in
her preschool has said, that's what flesh color looks like.
But she just, this is something that she is picking up because
this is the flesh that she has.
I mean, obviously, she doesn't mean anything by it, but I had
to sort of correct her and then she was totally cool with
the correction, like, she got what I was saying,
even at five years old.
But what does that tell you?
It tells you there is all kinds of stuff that people pick up
that we don't even realize they're picking up.
So that means after 18 years of that, trying to deprogram that
and move outside of our comfort zones can be very difficult,
I do think it's important to try and do it though.
And, we're certainly going to have to increasingly learn how
to do it, if we're going to get very far in this society
or any other.
One more question, you had one, yes?
(male speaker). [unclear audio].
(Tim). Yep.
(male speaker). [unclear audio].
(Tim). I don't remember saying
that it was.
I don't remember talking about out of wedlock birth or crime
or dropout rates.
I think I was talking about housing discrimination,
job discrimination, racial profiling in the justice system,
not of criminals, but of innocent people who are actually
less likely to be breaking that particular law regarding drugs
than white folks.
Because whites actually do use drugs more often than any other
person, people of color, any group of color, every illegal
narcotic category in fact.
So no one is saying that anything is, of the things
you mentioned, is your fault.
It also has nothing to do with the issue of racism
and discrimination, the fact that there are issues that exist
and problems that exist in communities of color is a total
non sequiter to the issue of whether or not institutional
racism exists and continues to affect the life chances
and choices of real human beings.
So whether or not people of color need to deal with those
issues in their community, I think what most white folks
don't realize is that people of color are trying to address
those things.
Most of the white folks who talk about the things you just
mentioned have spent zip amount of time in communities of color.
But I worked in public housing in New Orleans for 15 months in
the mid 1990s, I was around some of the most hard working people
I ever met, but if you listen to commentators on talk radio who
don't have to have fact checkers to do their work, because they
don't believe in research, talk about them, you would believe
that they were all a bunch of gang bangers and criminals
who don't work, when indeed they are some of the hardest working
people you'll ever meet, but they still remain poor because
they are linked to a low wage economy that exploits them,
does not pay them for the work that they actually do,
it allows them to remain in poverty.
And we're talking about folks who, in the case of public
housing in New Orleans, a good example of the stereotypes not
comporting with reality.
After Katrina, there was this widespread perception that the
reason folks got left behind in New Orleans was because they
were lazy, because they didn't want to work.
The reason they didn't want to work and have a car was because
they were too busy getting welfare, when in fact,
there were only 4,600 households in the city of New Orleans
at the time of the storm, out of 183,000 black households alone,
that actually received any cash welfare.
Forty-six hundred households, that's less than 2.5%
of the total.
Only 15,000 people lived in public housing, only 11%
received any form of nutrition assistance or food stamps.
So the vast majority of people that we saw didn't receive any
welfare, but that was the stereotype, and that was
the impression.
And the media talked about, oh the mass violence, and there's
rapes in the Superdome and mass murder in the convention center.
And come to find out, three weeks later none of it was true.
It was all false, they found six bodies in the Superdome,
all died of natural causes except for one who jumped from
the top balcony of the Superdome.
So a lot of what we hear about black pathology is actually what
the media talks about, only to correct itself later, and only
what they talk about not having done the research.
So, for example, the issue of out of wedlock childbirth, yes,
it is true, 67% of all children born today in the black
community are born out of wedlock.
Now, some hear that statistic and they say that that
is evidence of black sexual irresponsibility.
The other day when I was on 20/20, that's what Shelby Steele
said when he got the closing word in the segment
that I was on.
I had done 15 minutes of rebuttal to Steele,
during my interview, they didn't show any of it, naturally,
because you know, that liberal media, they're so fair.
Anyways, so, what I said, and what I'll say here, is that that
data has nothing to do with black sexual irresponsibility.
Just so we'll be clear, the fertility rate among teenage
black folks, black women, is at the lowest rate now that
it's been since the 1920s.
So, actually, black teenage women are having fewer children
per capita than they were having 70 and 80 years ago.
The fertility rate for all black women has dropped every year
for the last 40 years.
Now, you might say, well, how is that possible?
How is it possible that if black women out of single women
are having fewer children, and teenagers are having fewer
children, how can the out of wedlock childbirth rate
be increasing so much?
Very simply, it is a statistical anamoly that is caused by one
factor almost exclusively.
Eighty percent of that number, actually, is explained by one
thing, that black families, two parent intact couples,
are having fewer kids.
So think about it logically, if black married couples are having
fewer kids, then the kids who are born are increasingly going
to be out of wedlock.
But it's not because out of wedlock moms are having more
children, or that men and women are having more irresponsible
out of wedlock sex, or anything of that nature.
It's just that if you have a community of 200 couples
and 200 singles, and in a given year, none of the married
couples had any kids, and three of the single women did,
100% of the children born in the community would be out
of wedlock, and it would mean nothing.
Eighty percent of the increase in out of wedlock childbirth
in the last 35 years explained by that one factor.
And the other 20% is explained by another factor that
has nothing to do with behavioral characteristics.
In 1981, the U.S. Census Bureau changed the way
that it counts families.
Prior to 1981, if you were a single mom living with your mom
or living with your grandmother, or living with your aunt and
uncle, or living with extended family, you were not counted
as a seperate family unit.
You were counted as one household and not
as a family unit.
But after 1981 the Census Bureau changes its accounting method
and says that if you're a single mom with a kid living with your
parents, you are now going to be broken out as a separate family.
So all of a sudden we see this huge increase in the number
of out of wedlock families, but they'd actually been there
the whole time.
So, indeed, it's not that it's necessarily a good or a bad
thing to be a child with only one parent on the scene,
but the idea that somehow this is evidence
of sexual irresponsibility that's anybody's fault.
I mean, that's not even about sexual responsibility at all,
it's not your fault, it's also not black folks fault.