Friday, August 24, 2007

Suburban, white hypocrisy

Continuing with the theme of racism from over at Q.E., have a look at this article from the BBC website about the sub-prime lending fiasco over in the states that's mucking up the world's finacial markets:

Shrewd Lenders Spark US Mortgage Chaos

Scroll down a bit and you'll find a quote from a journalist at the Milwaukee Sentinal Journal, the city's major newspaper, explaining just how serious the problem has become:

"This is not a poor, black, or Hispanic thing," explains Michelle Derus from the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, who has been following the growth of sub-prime loans for more than two years. "This is a suburban white problem."

You can almost hear her add "so we know it's gotten really serious."

The thing is, I bet you a million bucks that if you asked this woman she would swear she's not racist. Yet here she is explicitly stating that because a problem has spread from the black and Hispanic communities into the white middle-classes, it is a serious problem. She is using the concept of white people suffering synonymously with significant suffering. Clearly if the problem had remained a black and Hispanic problem she wouldn't be bothered.

Do not make excuses for this woman. This is a racist statement born of a racist mind, and anyone who fails to observe the blatant racism contained therein is equally racist. The fact that so few Americans will observe this is proof of how far we have to go to overcome racism.

Don't ever let anyone tell you the battle is won.


Geosomin said...

Too true.
You know it's funny - I'm always in awe of how people will sign a huge legally binding document that involves whether they have a place to live in without reading it through or not, or taking a few days to think about it. I just did the mortgage thing, and it *was* a rather scary and grown up thing to have to do, but I read up on it and asked lots of questions and got a fair deal.
There really needs to be free advise available for people. It's sad you just can't trust people anymore to help you out and give you a fair deal. And it's pathetic that it seems OK to the average Amaerican that the poor and elderly people get shafted in things like this, but it is officially a problem when the average white person suddenly gets the shaft too.
I like to think we're doing better than that, but there seems to be so much further to go...

Chaucer's Bitch said...

free help would be good.

a decent education that includes basic financial skills such as creating and following budgets, balancing cheque books, and understanding credit, debt, and mortgages would be better.

and maybe while we're at it we can teach people that being Hispanic doesn't mean you're stupid/lazy and being black doesn't mean you're a criminal.

Or is that too much to ask?

ZB said...

We're all racist. If we weren't, we'd all have the same colour skin.

Rimshot said...

I thought there was only the Human Race?

I've written to both the BBC and the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal (actually Milwaukee Journal Sentinal) voicing my displeasure and disappointment. I encourage you all to do so as well.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to be physically ill.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

ZB: we all have different colors of skin. this is a fact that on one's denying. racism is making value judgements based on that observation. you fucking well knowt he difference, so quit bating me.

rimshot: thanks for doing that. i've written to the MJS, but not to the BBC yet. Good idea.

Rimshot said...

See CB, not so fundamentally different after all! :)

Random Thinker said...

It is good to see you and I agree on something:)

violetforthemoment said...

Really well said CB.

ZB said...

I thought there was only the Human Race?

Yeah. That kind of attitude is the reason why the tiger will be extinct in the wild in less than 20 years. We're the human race, planet earth's cancer.

Rimshot said...

ZB: Perhaps if you read my post in relation to the content of the topic at hand, you would be less apt to spit your vitriol.

As relates to racism, I was of the understanding that there is but the HUMAN race. What this has to do with tigers is quite beyond me. But feel free to expouse your opinions freely. Far be it for me to deny even the 'iggernant' their say. Bowling ball, pencil, auger bit and square root to you as well!

homo escapeons said...

The sub-prime fiasco exposes the limitless greed of the moneylenders who will justify doing anything in order to make a buck.
The other day I watched a documentary called America at a Crossroads. They asked Europeans what they thought of America and to the person everyone from Britain,Poland, and France, all said that Americans were obssessed with MONEY!
Having 'In God We Trust' on the almighty dollar should be updated. Certainly I don't believe that all Yankees are this crazy but Culturally this is the message that America exports.
The fact that the politicians swent along with it and said hey look a lot of folks who couldn't normally own a home are getting a chance and that is good for Anerica. The whole thing exposes the dark side of the bastards at the top who will extract every last penny from poor widows.

Rimshot said...

[soapbox] H.E., while I agree with the greedy moneylender portion of your comment (bastards all!), I can't help but notice that nobody is placing any of the blame at the feet of those who spend/buy beyond their means. The smallest bit of common-sense on their part would be all that is required. A simple reading of the contract, a basic understanding of the mathematics of compounding interest and adjustable rates would go a long way. As I understand it (at least in Illinois), they are working on a law (once again legislating my morality) that would require any first time home buyers to take a class in such matters. There's a great deal of opposition to it, but oh my goodness what heartaches it would solve.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

rimshot: so it would seem.

rt: there's a first time for everything!

VfortheM: ta

zb: yes we're the earth's cancer, but that wasn't the point i was making with this post. we're also each other's cancer at times.

rimshot: far be it from me to quash lively debate on my blog, or to attempt to moderate abrasive or abusive language (hell, i do it often enough myself), but in this particular instance i would just like to mention that ZB is not only one of the most intelligent people i know, he's also one of my dearest friends, though we vehemently disagree on nearly everything.

Homo: i think the Europeans (we need a more derrogatory slang term for Europeans in general. any suggestions?) are right: Americans are obsessed with money. The country was founded on financial principles (refusal to pay taxation to the British parliament), and free enterprise, capitalism, and entepreneurship are our most prized virtues. is it any wonder that we most admire (and vote for) those who display the best money-grubbing talents?

rimshot: compounding interest is far beyond the mathmatical ability of 95% of Americans. rather than forcing future homebuyers into stupid evening classes they don't have time for and will only resent, we need to improve the education system at a much earlier level. no one should graduate high school without a basic understanding of
-credit cards/debt
-balancing a cheque book
-creating and keepting to budgets

why wait until people are buying property? this is stuff EVERYONE needs to know, ESPECIALLY those who will never be affluent enough to afford property.

Sarah said...

It seems much more likely to me that the woman is commenting on the ubiquitous racist undertones of society and how this problem will get more attention because it affects the majority and not only the minorities whose suffering society is somehow numb to. (yes, ended that one with a preposition) Just because she authored that sentence, it doesn't necessarily mean she endorses the idea that minority suffering is okay and white suffering is actual suffering. it's hard to discuss race problems when people are ready to jump down each other's throats at the slightest misunderstanding. I am white and most of my white friends look at me in horror when I talk about race as if mentioning race is itself racist. is that healthy? no way.