Racism and History with Carmen Lau — Adventist Voices

Hey, @TonyR:

Thanks for this link. I’ve been wondering what the fuss is all about, and this looks like a way to learn, and, perhaps, to get an overview.

I have to admit: My first thought is what does a scholar in chemistry have to say about these matters that might not be better said by a specialist…well, in these matters.

However, I intend to give it a listen. Thanks, so much.



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I COULD do a telephone or Zoom session…but I absolutely could not promise that any results would occur that would last that long. :wink:


A bit of an “over-reaction”…but at least you included a different race (to be inclusive you know). :wink:

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Thank-you, Carmen, for sharing your own personal experiences. We can all learn from each other.

I appreciate your link to the article as well.


This is arguable. I guess it really depends on what one means by “distant.”

I think most scholars connect the beginnings of racism to what’s commonly called, “The Age of Exploration”; the conquering of non-white homelands by Europeans.

However, I think that this is something that needs more study, pertaining to its details.

I say this because, even if one identifies the beginning of racist ideas, one can always push the starting point back in time, and ask, “What was the on-ramp for this? Was it racist?”

This was responded to here.

This was responded to here.

I’m sure it must seem that way to a lot of the white population.

From a Black perspective, the way it looks, more, is that white people have been doing a lot of racist things, for a long time, and no one called them out on it.

So, yes, to be sure, there is probably very little that white people say, or do, that someone has not called racist. The news is that, this has been happening for decades, even centuries, and now, it’s getting to white people—many for the first time—and it’s a deluge.

Think of it like being told you have bad breath. If you have bad breath, but weren’t aware, people either didn’t notice, or didn’t tell you. But if someone tells you that you have bad breath, it’s probably not something that you just acquired that morning, even though you’ve just received word. As well, it’s also not something that you’d necessarily notice from self-examination.

Upon being told, you can either thank the messenger for letting you know, or chastise them for letting you know. The choice you make may influence how much news about your constitution or behavior you subsequently get. However, it does nothing about your breath.

Racism is white supremacy. So, not every instance of a larger group taking advantage of a smaller group is racism.

For example, as I’ve previously explained, the Rwandan genocide, of the numerically inferior Tutsi and Twa by the more numerous Hutu was not racism.

Further, as in South Africa, white people are the minority, when “the environment” is global. So, again, this is a break with the maxim you’ve established, @Sirje.

In fact, racism precedes the slave trade in what would become “the U.S.,” and, thus, it precedes the U.S.: The 20 Africans who were dropped of at Jamestown in 1619 were indentured servants who then, subsequently, saw restrictions drawn up to unequally govern them and their descendants.

By the Christian definition, all people are bad people, because, per Romans 3:23, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

This verse, then, actually comes closer to the truth of how one might see racism; i.e., as more widely present than most would admit. The author seems to be one such person, when she says, "That does not make “all white people bad when bad white people take advantage - and vice versa.”

Put another way, who are bad white people, and why are white people fit to make this determination about a social ill from which they collectively benefit? One especially asks this question given the reality of solidarity and cohesion in groups, especially oppressive ones.

I’m not clear what the author means by this.

Does she mean, for example, that one receives this psychologically, or physically, when one psychologically expects it?

I avoid talking about the mental processes of white people, though I am willing to hypothesize about them.

Black people, on the other hand, tend to characterize white people on the basis of our interactions with them. We are often pleasantly surprised when they act outside of what we may expect.

However, the social-material reality of the world—white people dominate non-white people—cannot merely be an outcome of Black characterization of white people.

Details needed: What kind of one-on-one encounter is supposed to eliminate white supremacy?

I fear, @Sirje, that when white people talk about this, they often tend to be discussing “friend-making,” not justice.

There’s this idea that “to break down barriers,” white and non-white people need to have “get-togethers,” join community groups, and be involved in similar activities.

However, no one has yet shown how “breaking down barriers” eliminates white supremacy.

To take one detail, the Brookings Institution published a report in February, Examining the Black-white wealth gap, that begins as follows:

At $171,000, the net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family ($17,150) in 2016. Gaps in wealth between Black and white households reveal the effects of accumulated inequality and discrimination, as well as differences in power and opportunity that can be traced back to this nation’s inception. The Black-white wealth gap reflects a society that has not and does not afford equality of opportunity to all its citizens.

What do one-on-one encounters do about this, and of what nature should they be?

You go on to say:

If you, or others, know that this will not change racism, but “only make it worse,” it strongly suggests that you also know what will change racism, and only make it better; i.e., eliminate it.

If this is the case, it strongly makes white people look like you’ve been “holding out on us.” To my thinking, if believed, distasteful as this may sound, non-white people could reasonably shift from the destruction of property to taking extreme measures in order to derive information.

It’s not new to me, and it may not be new to you.

But as one of my mentors said, when theorizing on pop music’s over-reliance on love songs, “Someone turns 14 every day.”

That it’s not new to us only means that our generation did not solve the problem. It’s new to those for whom it’s new.

More specificity needed. What do you mean by “this hysteria”?

Do you mean that people are taking to the streets to protest the killing of unarmed Black men because they are being “manipulated”?

This reminds me of a response Min. Louis Farrakhan once gave, when he was accused of teaching Black people to hate white people. He said, in so many words, meaning more eloquently than I can recall, “I wouldn’t waste my time. White people do a good enough job at that by themselves.”

In 1967, a year before he died, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was delivering the commencement address at Stanford University, where he said this:

“In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

And what is it that America has failed to hear?

It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.

It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met.

And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”

People who make statements like, “No valuable or lasting change comes from throwing Molotov cocktails and looting your neighbourhood stores” are talking like property owners. They are seeking to motivate people, who lack much, not to destroy property, when, to those people, no valuable or lasting change comes.

More specificity needed: Education of whom, of what information, for what action?

Comedian Chris Rock has been quoted as saying, “There’s a one-legged, WHITE busboy that won’t trade places with me, right now…and I’m RICH!”

If so, about what more does anyone need to be educated? In other words, what do white people need to learn, or about what do they need to be educated, in order to know, “Don’t treat them in the way I don’t want to be treated”?

With that I would agree, except I would hold that these are white factions. They include a busboy that hops, apparently.


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It wasn’t an overreaction at all, and I didn’t pick the GIFs racially. :wink:


Of course you didn’t “overact”. :wink:

Since clearly psychology isn’t your background…EVERYTHING you do or don’t do sends a message. :grinning:


@Timo, maybe what you should do is contact Spectrum’s editor-in-chief about writing a series of essays on sexism.

Do you have writing samples?

I’m just trying to stay on-topic.

I’ve never said anyone here—if by “here,” you mean on the Spectrum comment boards—was bad, racist or fragile.

I have said certain comments were examples of fragility. But that’s different from saying someone is fragile.

I mean, perhaps I’m wrong. What examples do you have of me saying these things? I’ll certainly apologize if I did.

Well, because you’re smart and generous, you’ll admit you can’t talk about my “knowledge,” because it’s in my brain, and you have no access to my thoughts.

That is…unlesssssssssss…

What do you mean? Who have I stereotyped? What did I say?

Also, what “other tactics”?

Thanks for your encouragement! I intend to keep doing just that; i.e., words to that effect, at least.

Well, it’s a meager living, but a satisfying one.

Rockstar Games 4eva, B….

Also, “adolescent”? Grand Theft Auto is, literally, a work of art….

I’ll have to take your word for it: I don’t tend to Google myself.

It’s just meta-commentary.


I believe in the Lord. Everything else is just details.

Not any more: Now, people call me that! :crazy_face:

I think racism is very similar, in that regard.

That is, I suspect most white people—who are racist—don’t even know it.



Thanks. And, your poetry is wack.

I mean, the stuff you publish here is wack.

More, it’s just inappropriate.

I mean, look at this stuff, above, Are you talking to me, or writing an incantation? I keep waiting for you to say, “eye of newt…”!

@Timo, I didn’t have any specific expectations of you.

But like I said in last night’s memo to George Tichy and the Jets, I’ve done this enough to expect white people to act a certain way, and to do so in stages; e.g., just like “the stages of grief.”

So, the “Massive Outrage” stage is always followed by the “This Is Not Fun Anymore…I’m Leaving” stage. Like clockwork.

I also know that, out of all that cockle-doodle-dooing, some white people will step up with honest critiques, insightful questions, and, wow, even genuine compliments. And they have.

Most of all, though, I get honest feedback that I can share with non-white people, as part of showing them how racism works.

George Tichy’s passive-aggressiveness is feedback. @2humBaby’s timidity is feedback. @elmer_cupino’s throwing-stones-and-ducking is feedback. Your fearfulness and subject-changing is feedback.

All of this is useful, because all of it is real.

Such as what?

It’s a deal, but I don’t drink coffee.

I’ve responded to everything you’ve said. What do you think?


Of course not.

Wellllll, that’s not a very profound psychological conclusion, @cincerity. :grinning:

But, since we’re chatting: What did I do, and what message did it send? :thinking:


When people come here as “Teachers” instead of “Students”…the “conversations” end.

No need for a reply. :slight_smile:

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OK, here we go…

Yes, racism was a large part of the “Age of Exploration”. That dragged with it, the European churches. I want to say, “Christianity” but there was little Christian about it. Robert Conrad’s Heart of Darkness paints a pretty horrifying picture of the melding of church and the very avarice it preaches against. In the big picture, where you had slaves, you had racism. In fact the Africans that sold their own to the white rum traders were as much “racist” as the whites. The slave trade was booming way before the North Americans went to Africa. The Africans were trading with the Muslims and everybody else way before that.

I guess it depends how you DO define racism. American Blacks seem to think that racism exists only in the US and is practiced only by American whites. “Racism” has a larger definition. Whenever actions and attitudes make distinctions based on RACE, there is racism. Right now there is a lot pandering going on. The “entertainment” industry" is going in, whole hog, setting up black participation norms by percentages. That, too is RACIST. Whenever norms are downgraded and minimals are lowered to accommodate black participation, there is RACISM, as if Black people can’t quite measure up without help. That’s degrading to Blacks, in my opinion.

When I said, “Psychologically, we receive the behaviour from others, we expect to receive.” I meant, whatever you focus on, you transmit to the other person, and they respond accordingly - so you get what you thought you’d get. If you telegraph a “chip on your shoulder,” you get back negativity; or if you, exhibit condescension, you get push back as well. And that goes both ways.

How can destroying your own house (community) help you? This is only acting out and has nothing to do with fixing anything. In this present situation, they do it because they can.

But now for the final and most important part…

I said, “I would submit there are factions in this country that don’t want to solve the problem - it’s too lucrative.” And you responded, “I would hold that these are white factions . They include a busboy that hops, apparently.”

And you would be wrong. BLM has hauled in a LOT of money, They have done NOTHING to better black lives. All that money is going into somebody’s pocket. The most they have done is pay off their buddies to cause chaos. The rest is pure gravy.

OK, Harry, Sirje is now exiting the room. Have a good day.


Great. Blessings on you and your house! :grinning:


…and yet…you could not resist a reply. :laughing:

Good luck with your attempts at “conversations” because I can see it has been a smashing success on this site. :smile:


Its time for BLM to die. If HA thinks things are better because of BLM he is not salvageable. BLM is despicable, immoral, and reprehensible. Period. THE END!

I knew a guy on the net once who would troll specific sites with an opinion designed to get critique.
The following week his youtubes and blogs were full of all the new evidences that his notions were right, and how he knew it all along. Made fair bit of fame and fortune from his followers.

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Well…I think that you are definitely on the same track as I am. Besides, one can say that they are here to discuss “racism” and then engage in a whole lot of tete a tete that has absolutely nothing to do with that topic but ego.

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Will be interesting to see what happens with, and to, the BLM “movement” when the election is over. Depending upon who is elected next it could wax or wane…


Chattel slavery was a racist system.

I don’t know what you mean by “‘racist,’” in quotes.

If you’re saying that Africans who traded other Africans to white people were also racist,

a) that doesn’t make any sense because the Africans didn’t have a notion of race, and the Dutch/Spanish/British/Portugese/etc. did;

b) Africans didn’t take prisoners “racially,” for the above reason.

One can’t even make the claim that Africans were equal participants in the transatlantic slave trade. As I told @Timo a week ago,

The Europeans took advantage of those internecine wars in order to profit by them, and consign captive Africans to a fate those who traded them could have never imagined.

Unintentionally, or intentionally, you’re equivocating with your use of the term "the slave trade."

Today, that term commonly refers to the Mid-Atlantic chattel infrastructural system of the 15th-19th centuries that formed the largest forced migration of people in human history.

Africans traded slaves with others. What Africans did was not “the slave trade.”

The way you are using the term is, literally, half a millennium out-of-date.

To a degree.

That is, things are what they are. How one defines them, though, perhaps is part of the process of how one understands them.

For example, racism = white supremacy. Many white people here do not define racism this way, so they understand it a different way; e.g., as a “belief,” or as something the Hutu did to the Tutsi.

I say such a definition is insufficient, and doesn’t explain trenchant phenomena; e.g., that no non-white person has the last word on anything, anywhere, in any area of activity, and that anything they actually do can be overruled by one or more white people.

White arguments usually break up, like frigates, on these rocky shores.

Many do.

I do not, as should be evident by now, above.

Agreed. Though, I do not put racism in quotation marks, and my understanding is that the larger definition is the system of white supremacy.

Well, no, that’s not true.

First, one has to define race. Race is white supremacy.

Then, one has to define “actions,” “attitudes,” and “distinctions.”

In other words, meaning what? Of what kind?

This seems to be an argument about so-called “quotas,” but one that doesn’t seem to note that white supremacy is, itself, a quota system; indeed, one might say white supremacy is the greatest quota system ever conceived.

My position is that, without white supremacy (racism), there’d be no need to pick X percentages of Black people, for anything.

I’m not sure, but, arguably, one could say a counter-quota system is one way to to fight a universal one; i.e., racism (white supremacy).

The latter part of what you’ve written seems reasonable. The former part seems to add nuances that you don’t explicate.

I’d also add that, by this model, if you “telegraph” “positivity,” and someone reads it as “chip on shoulder,” one will get back the same responses as if they “telegraphed” “chip on shoulder.”

Suppose acting out helps you?

If it does—if any person says, “Acting out helped me”—your question is answered and, thus, nullified.

Since you’re saying this, I should consider everything you wrote, which prompted me to write on South Africa, forfeited, correct?

I don’t define “the problem” the way you do. I consider white supremacy the problem.

So, for example, I consider “white neighborhoods” “the problem,” and white women who use trickery to get their white children into Harvard “the problem.”

I consider white people who cluck their tongues when unarmed Black males are killed by cops “the problem,” especially when their responses are well-rehearsed lies about “black-on-black crime.”

I consider any white benefit derived from the Mid-Atlantic slave trade, and its outgrowths, at any point between the years 1400 and 5400, “the problem.”

I consider white Seventh-day Adventists who sat in the GC cafeteria and looked the other way while Black SDAs had to eat in other rooms “the problem.”

I consider white people on Spectrum who claim they’re against racism, but who have no idea how to interact with Black people “the problem.”

I could go on doing this all day; all year; all decade; 'til the Milky Way and Andromeda kiss.

For someone who won’t let the words “Black Lives Matter” pass your lips, you sure know a lot about their internal finances and admin process. :smiley: I’m not sure if that makes you credible, @Sirje, or incredible.

If you’re saying that the money they’re making is mostly going to white people, I would say that’s par for the course in racial situations.

If you’re saying it’s mostly going to Black people, as long as it’s not doing so illegally, I say, Bravo: I hope you all get to buy cottages in Zihuatenejo.

You say

Respectfully, you don’t strike me as credible on this topic.

The rest…

…seems vague.

Further, it has little to do with racism. Racism is bigger than any organization protesting it. I wish it wasn’t.


I could have, but chose not to do so. :wink:

It has been! I’ve built hundreds of pages of excellent, useful text and examples.

Oh, wait a minute: You’re being sarcastic….

You mean all these people, leaving, right?

Now, tell me: Why do you think I care? :rofl:


"Now, tell me: Why do you think I care? :rofl:"

I don’t think you care anymore than you are here to discuss “racism”. It’s all about that topic, right? :wink:

" I’ve built hundreds of pages of excellent, useful text and examples."

Yes…“useful”. :grin: I just have yet to determine to whom. :wink:

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