In 1959, a white journalist traveled the Deep South posing as a black man. The conditions horrified him

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Funny how white folks found a white person’s account of what things were like for black people so much more credible than those offered by black people themselves. I’m sure that NEVER happens today.


Sympathy vs empathy. The battle continues!


I read Black Like Me a long while ago, but… the guy has a few insights about how racist 'merkkkah really is then spends most of the novel shivering in his hotel room (iirc) Waiting for the dark skin tone to fade. I thought he’d have real insights, encounters, revelations. Mostly he was just scared (iirc) A big fat nothing-burger.


It’s built into human nature. Even babies are racist.

Newsflash: Adults ain’t babies.


Well… ahem…some could certainly qualify…


Babies also shit and piss themselves on a regular basis–that’s built into human nature, too, so don’t feel bad when you let a squeaker out at the bar.




I get the impression that few white people would have stopped to listen to a black person’s account, or if they did, wouldn’t have heard what the black person was saying, filtering it through their own experience and rejecting anything that didn’t fit. Sometimes bypassing that kind of filtering requires someone who has had those perceptual filters themself and has had the direct experience to understand what those filters blocked.


You talk as if this were a thing of the past…
@milliefink’s point is that this is still happening, today, now.


This is a nice partner to Eddie Murphy’s groundbreaking research in the field of white people in America…


Yes, I think I mistook what milliefink meant by “that”.


Sad how many people see the satire in that bit of genius as “evidence that white privilege doesn’t exist.” Ugh!


In my experience, I’ve found that adults change their basic social reactions very little from the time that they are children. I grew up in a small town, so watched my peers grow from age 5 to 18 and onward. 17 out of my graduating class of 32 had an uninterrupted 13 year stint together. I didn’t know anyone nor interact with anyone who wasn’t white or mostly white (and part Native American) until I was 17, when my school got its first black teacher ever. Nor did my peers. So unless there’s some interventionist that pounds into you the idea that everyone is in fact equal, and that most people are subconsciously racist, and you follow by reacting to, rather than fighting against that notion, then adults will maintain their baby-like racism. College was an embarrassing string of one racist notion getting crushed after another for me, as I interacted with multiple cultures for the first time in my life. That’s still unfortunately happening as I travel to new foreign places. Going back to Smallville, many of my peers who I grew up with didn’t break the mold, and it shows. Mock that as much as you like, but realize that you’re favoring nurture over nature in this argument, assuming that there is some nurturing that in fact does not exist for many or even most people outside of television.


Because right or wrong, some people are skeptical to claims of abuse by others if they don’t witness it. Stories of false claims reinforce this bias. Others simply aren’t exposed to something and find it hard to believe it exists because they don’t have any reference for it in their life.

An outside third party with no apparent motive to deceive can start to finally put cracks in their bias.


I think you’re missing something here, something spelled r-a-c-i-s-m. Sure, what you say is true, but racism as a compounding factor.

I disagree. Occasional and inevitable false claims are inflated into a big, supposedly representative deal BECAUSE of (racist) bias.

Just because other people are black and they’re white? Why do they focus so much on that one difference, instead of the many, MANY other similarities? (Hint: racism)

John Howard Griffin was not an outside third party – he was a white person. One of the insiders to other white people. Who saw him as having “no apparent motive to deceive” BECAUSE he was white. As opposed to, you know, though shifty negroes, always sneaking around trying to steal stuff and rape our women, etc. ad nauseam, common white skepticism and suspicion that continue all the way through to today.


Alternative, equally likely explanation for the UW experimental results: babies like toys, and don’t care about fairness, and don’t care about race other than as a means of getting more toys. When there’s no way of predicting who gets the most toys, they want the toys evenly distributed. But when they see a clearly demonstrated likelihood of getting the lion’s share, they want the toys unevenly distributed in their favor.

Having only read the article you linked, and not any of the original research paper, maybe there’s more to this, but… wow. The article sure reads like some really bad fake science set up to drive a pre-existing conclusion. It’s like the one that claimed that all babies are racist because the test subjects reacted more positively to faces that looked like their parents’ faces (that experiment used exactly zero infants who were of different race from their parents).


This idea that we’re inherently mean/cruel to persons we’ve never encountered before is untrue.

In 1943 an African American sailor washed ashore, in a small fishing port in Newfoundland, and he was so struck by the genuine kindness expressed to him by the (white) locals it affected his entire life.

Racism is taught, its not inherent.


I’m not disagreeing with you. Racism is the driving force behind those biases.


Thank you for the further explanation, and it’s great to hear that you allowed yourself to be open to the other people you experienced outside of the Smallville bubble.

I was mocking what I read as an assertion that racism is a natural thing, and thus a further implication that it’s something we’re stuck with, so suck it up, black folks! Apologies for the misreading and resultant snark.

I do think what’s still missing in your further biographical sketch is acknowledgment of the broader context of white supremacy. While homongenously white surroundings exacerbate it, and positive contact with actual non-white people can counter it, Smallvilles aren’t the only place in the US where racism is still encouraged. We’re all still "nurtured’ into its favoring of white folks and its disfavoring of others.