American Love Stories

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The following Featured Post comes from Relationship Group 9, Thread 4.

1. I HAD a dream
Mon, Sep 20, 1999 - 1:39 AM/EST

When I hear the famous speech by Martin Luther
King I hear a message full of love and acceptance
and respect to ALL people. I hear a man invoke
love as an ointment for our racial wounds. In
this philosophy there was no room for the KKK,
White Citizens Council, Nazis or anyone which
chose to denigrate others based on
racial,religious or gender differences. The
message was loud and clear: all people standing
tall in the beam of equality. Not one group
getting to center stage only to knock the other

Today I feel that many who fought so hard for
equality have trampled Dr. King's message in the
melee. Instead of having the free expression among
all colors we have an increasingly polarized
society where Americans who are black,red or
yellow require solidarity to their own groups. You
are seen as a defector or worse-a "sell out" if
you are caught fraternizing with the "enemy".
There are many pockets remaining in this country
where the slur "niggerlover" can be the lowest of
all insults. It seems to me that this epithet
along with "sell out", "oreo", "uncle tom",
"banana" etc. all sprout from the same seed-"If
you are not with us to the exclusion of all others
than you are against us."

In the program American Love Story there is an
interesting exchange between Cicely and another
black student at Colgate. They have both recently
returned from study abroad in Nigeria. This black
student is the only one willing to speak to her
any more. The others could not tolerate Cicely's
friendships with whites. This woman is suggesting
Cicely give up some of her individuality and
freedom of choice for the solidarity of blacks. I
think several groups which we label hate groups
have the same philosophy for their ilk.

So tell me your thoughts on this. How did Martin
Luther King's message of solidarity among all
humankind get buried under the tonnage of reverse
discrimination, preferences and racial polarization?
Did anyone listen?

3. I continue to dream
Mon, Sep 20, 1999 - 4:54 AM/EST

Colorblindness is an ideal, not a reality. I have the same dream that Martin Luther King had, but it is a dream for my grandchildren. In my lifetime, I have seen things improve. It's not enough, but sometimes things seem worse before they get better. Don't give up on the dream, Alicia. It's progressing along slowly and maybe that's the only way for it to eventually come true.

4. I had a dream?
Mon, Sep 20, 1999 - 9:05 AM/EST

What is the American DREAM? Do we dream of love that crosses racial barriers or something else?

I was troubled by the seeming helplessness the family showed towards Bill's drinking/lifestyle. He HAD to play the blues and drink and on and on or he would die. Isn't this a cop out? I wonder what his dream is. A creative person like Bill can't create a better solution? What does his wife/family secretly dream for him?

Some people used to argue that black people should get trained for skilled labor and develop a financial foundation, because money is what really changes life in America. Another side argued that black people needed to get advanced educations in order to advance (and prove that blacks were intellectually competitive with everyone else). I wonder what the children in this film think. One child has a "great" education from a "great" university, but she has a hard time getting a job and moving on with her life. Another child has street skills that get him into trouble with the law. What is the dream? Are we talking about MLK's? Dubois'? What are people really dreaming about?

5. I Had A Dream
Mon, Sep 20, 1999 - 3:23 PM/EST

There's nothing mutually exclusive about making money, building a foundation, and receiving a solid higher education. That's my interpretation of the "Dream," at any rate. As for eventual colorblindness in this nation... I see no reason to believe it's an inevitability. I can hope that, incredibly, our offspring will solve all the race problems, and be wiser and more tolerant than we are, but I see trends today in the opposite direction, so, as far as that goes, it remains merely a wish.

However, I am pragmatic, and my hope can be realized by investing for my children's future in an educational trust fund and savings for their (hopeful) eventual purchase of a home. Community-wise, I do invest currently in several minority scholarship funds. As for the present, outside of behavior mandated changed by law, I cannot cite many instances of institutional change in racial attitudes. How do you measure such change?

6. The dream
Mon, Sep 20, 1999 - 4:18 PM/EST

Should the goal really be color blindness? A
person's culture, whether its race, gender
preference, religion... is an important part of
who they are. I don't want to be blind to this. I
want to know how that person is the same as me and
how they are different - what I can learn from
them and what I can share.

I think one of the
dangers of being truly "colorblind", especially as
a white person, is that it's easy to assume the
other person is just like me - when their
experience may be miles apart, for instance,
having to deal with discrimination. My goal would
be understanding, tolerance and an invitation for
friendship across any barriers.

7. The Dream is still alive
Mon, Sep 20, 1999 - 5:28 PM/EST

I think it's important for different cultures to explore and express their differences so that other people can learn to tolerate and appreciate these differences. For so long only one culture was seen as important, and in many ways still is.

All it takes is a majority of people to step out from the "norm" and make changes, and stop being afraid. This is how civil rights progressed. The majority are becoming the minority.

8. colorblind defined
Tue, Sep 21, 1999 - 10:54 PM/EST

When I speak of colorblind I'm talking about not
allowing the color of one's skin to shape your
opinion of them. I know that when some people see
me they already have me figured out simply because
I am black.They are usually in for a rude
awakening. Frankly, it gets tiresome trying to
disarm someone else's preconceived notion of me.I
agree with you,bbc, that distinct cultures,
religions etc. are important aspects of society.

I'm not all together with you on the whites not
having to deal with discrimination. We can see
from some messages already posted that whites
considered "obese" suffer discrimination. They are
less likely to get hired or promoted. And we all
know what school life for a chunky kid is like.
I know a Swiss-French woman who was not helped in
a store by French carribean locals.They heard her
speak French and assumed she was from France.A lot
of Jews are white and I don't think I have to
eloborate on their history of discrimination.

9. re: color blindness.
Thu, Sep 23, 1999 - 4:26 PM/EST

I think that the best we can achieve is civility and tolerance for those different from us. Besides, without insecurities, biases, cultural/racial/sexual/religeous identities we become less human. How many of us are comfortable in a group of one, or are satisfied only with membership in humanity. I like the fact that large cities have ethnic enclaves, as long as these communities do not become social traps for its inhabitants. These commnunities will not exist without people who staunchly adhere to old traditions and customs. In some cases this loyalty, identity manifests in uggly bigotry. I will be stafisfied if as a society those outburst are kept to a minimum.

I don't think that I diminish Dr. Kings greatness when I say that his "I have a dream" speech is somewhat outdated. The speach helped move the country in the right direction, but I don't think that Dr. King addressed the issue of interracial romances, of sexual identity. The enlightened view has changed. I remeber texbooks full of melting pot reference 15 years ago. Now more and more minority community leaders are talking about the importance of racial community and identity. Which way will the pendulum swing twenty years from now. I wonder those back sisters (for lack of a better term) who are do not like white male/black female pairings have mothers, grandmothers that felt the same twenty, thirty, fourty years ago.

10. To alicia
Fri, Sep 24, 1999 - 2:14 PM/EST

I agree, discrimination can happen with those who
are white and have other issues (weight, gender
preference, religion, being female in a male
dominated workplace), but for many of us who are
white, it is easy to go around unaware of
prejudice simply because the doors are already
open to us because of our color. I personally
haven't had to deal with much in the way of
discrimination, but is there a single person of
color in our discussion group who can say the

Fri, Sep 24, 1999 - 9:29 PM/EST

Where else in the world can a black woman denounce
the discrimination of WHITES to a white woman who
is insightful to the burden of BLACK
discrimination. This group is wonderful!LOL!

To answer your last question. Of course I've been
a victim of discrimination: Black and a woman
and... I have dreadlocks! But if you put yourself
in the appropriate setting you will get a dose of it too. So far you have been very lucky. For whatever
reason that one is discriminated against the
internal gut wrenching feeling is the same for all
of us. The feeling of disempowerment, even if
momentary, feels the same whichever color or
gender. The only thing that changes are the

12. To Alicia:
Sat, Sep 25, 1999 - 10:08 PM/EST

Yeah, I love the group too. This is fun.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 4 from Relationship Group 9.

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