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September 29, 2005


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I am glad that Jack is going to talk about this issue today.

Here are my comments.

When the students come to campus they come for the UOM's well-tauted unique diverse experience. However when we enter in the class what we learn is negatives and negative stereotypes about other cultures. Let me give you an example. a friend of mine was taking a class in some eastern culture a few years ago. In one of the papers she was supposed to give her understanding of the preachings of a particular scripture. Based on her readings and observance of some practices she wrote the paper. She got an F on it. When she asked the renowned professor, the response in front of the class was: 'What you have said may be right, but this is a Judo-Christian environement, and you have to reflect those point-of-views in your paper!!' (If you want name of the Professor, etc. let me know).

You yourself may want to check out some of the books being used for studying Asian cultures. They contain twisted information. If we want to learn about any cultures, we should focus on the positives, first, and then look at the reasons for its downfall. Instead, we hardly get a few classes to learn about other cultures (though many are offered, you can only accomodate a few in the course of the program). These books are filled with negative and wrong information. For example, rather than focusing on, say Hindu culture's sacrifice practices, if we learn about the reasons for their survival for thousands of years, it would be more meaningful and life-enhancing to all of us and to the society.

The mind that goes in the class to learn and experience a different culture comes out biased and filled with stereotype thinking. It is so bad that many of the Asian students coming from the rich culture and growing up in that kind of a family environment are totally ashamed of belonging to their cultures. They also want to disassociate themselves from such wrotten culture and civilization.

So until we review our teaching practices and the reference material and make significant changes to it, all this dialogue and discussions are just that - we will not be able to bring proper understanding for and about each other.

Sorry for the long comment, but I wanted to let you know what I have observed. I am an ardent MIRADIO listener. I hope you talk about my comments on air. Thanks.

I am glad you are covering the topic of racism and prejudice-an emotionally involved and charged topic. Therefore, I was dissappointed with your response to the Arab man whose wife (who speaks no English) had her scarf pulled off. Likening this to being bothered by a bunch of kids on skateboards shows a real lack of sensitivity on your part. Being a white man, it may be difficult to imagine just how truly afraid this woman must have been. I am also white, but i have felt the kind of fear that apparently only women understand. Thanks, love the show.

I am sometimes ambivalent regarding stereotyping. Perhaps I shouldn't feel this way, but sometimes I feel the people who feel like they're being discriminated against have some responsibility for the situation. While stereotypes are generalities, many times they're rooted in some amount of truth. Some cultures are loud in social situations, for example.

I'm a student at WSU and in some very large classes, this cultural volume is evident. While some people of every race are present and being loud, some groups seems to be consistently louder (and hence disruptive everyone else' learning expoerience.) Perhaps this is just the disrespectfulness of youth, but part of me feels that their loud culture provides a predisposition or suceptibility for rudeness, especially if parents don't teach a respect for others. It's as if they feel they're entitled to make so much noise. I am just appalled sometimes.

I feel guilty about stereotyping. I don't want to have my stereotypes consistently reinforced. Sometimes I think if the people of these cultures just made an effort to assimilate in social situations, this wouldn't happen. But I also think the differences should be valued and do have a place. I don't want the differences to disappear. Here in Detroit, the cultural enclaves are so large I think there isn't a lot of interaction between groups to even extend an understanding of one another.

Don't some cultures have a responsibility to acquire our most basic social niceties? I don't think total assimilation is necessary, but maybe there should be a compromise.... Is it insensitive to expect any amount of assimilation?

We live in a small community in the southwestern part of the state. I am caucasian and my husband is Filipino. We have three children. When we first moved to our community we realized we were a real oddity. There were few other asian americans living in our community and my husband and children were often stared at. As a couple we were not and are still not included in most social activities. People in our community (99% white) seem not to feel comfortable with our differences. Our children (teenagers) have worked hard to fit into their environment. They say it is a ongoing task to teach their peers to embrace both their sameness and their differences. We emphasize that it is our community's lack of experience and ignorance of other cultures that fuels their discomfort with our mixed race family, rather than ethnic hatred. Education is the key to overcoming racial differences.

Anne is correct in her observations about the lady whose scarf was pulled off. It was not in fact me, but one of my guests who indicated that it wasn't a big deal. In retrospect I ought to have noted that the woman was possibly terrified, and it was no doubt a serious incident to her.
I should have mentioned that on he air.

I'm a 58 year old African-American male and went to public school in Detroit in the 50s and early 60s. My classmates were Korean, Japanese, German, Poles, Hispanic and others whose ethnicity I wasn't aware of but frankly it didn't matter. We all lived in the same neighborhood without conflict. I'm a veteran and have two masters degrees in addition to being a CPA. In the military you meet people from all over the country and learn to work as a team. As a graduate student at Harvard, I had classmates from all over the world including Asia, Australia, and Europe. I'd often go out to dinner with ten of my classmates and be the only American in the group. The point is segregation is harmful in that it perpetuates sterotypes. In order to overcome sterotypes, we must confront our beliefs and behaviors unafraid and reach out to others who are different in their outward appearances and linguistic accents but who are in fact more like us then they are different. Change can occur with as simple a gesture as a smile and hello. Being civil helps a lot.

I hate white people.

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