On-Air : Is racism more acceptable if it’s aimed at white people ?

lula“It is a crisis caused and encouraged by the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes.”

The words of the president of Brazil explaining the global financial crisis.

Racist language, says this blogger, you’re a racist pig, says this one .

Imagine the words of a European leader saying that a particular crisis was the fault of ” black people with dark eyes” ?

We had e-mails from you this morning urging us to look at this story and raising the issue of double standards. We had a look around.

Have a read of this blog from a white man in Jamaica.

And this site which exists to look for examples of anti-white racism. Or this site.

We’ll talk about it later.

217 Responses to “On-Air : Is racism more acceptable if it’s aimed at white people ?”

  1. 1 Tom K in Mpls
    March 27, 2009 at 14:15

    This is pretty sad. First racism is what it is, no matter where it comes from. Where I come from the most intense racism is between Blacks and Jews although the Black/White divide is more visible.

    As for the economic crisis side of it, how can you absolve a government that allowed their economy to develop to solely on one boom industry as in much of Africa? Or anyone that thinks the party will last forever without consequence as here in the US. Face it, it is a global economy and we all play our part.

  2. March 27, 2009 at 14:16

    Just a few test questions for this debate. Is there an NAAWP (National Association Of White People), a United Cracker College Fund, or points added to your government application for being white of European decent? Is there a White history month? Are there “all white colleges”?

    It doesn’t matter what the reasoning. I haven’t ever met a racist that didn’t have a reason for his racism. The question posed is, “racism more acceptable if it’s aimed at white people?” The excuses are endless on either side. Some are very valid.

    Great topic today guys. Something that does have world concern.

  3. 3 Monica in DC
    March 27, 2009 at 14:18

    No, racism is racism. White is still a race… Well caucasian anyway. It really irks me when people call it “reverse racism” because to me that means, not being racist at all.

  4. 4 Andrew in Australia
    March 27, 2009 at 14:25

    Racism is racism regardless of who it is aimed at and who is making the comment – it is ugly and reprehensible.

    But it is worse if you consider that those who are variously described as minorities in western countries who have been victims of racism (though they themselves often have biases against others in their original homelands) and feel the need to denigrate white people in general should know how it affects others as they have experienced it and should know better.

    I heard this one day from someone in passing – “I am not racist, I hate everybody (equally).” Hate is everywhere it is bioligical and is something very very hard to eliminate if it ever will be.

  5. 5 Roy, Washington DC
    March 27, 2009 at 14:32

    On one hand, there are the many years of discrimination against people of color, through things like slavery and outright racism. This does not make it “right” to aim racism at Caucasians, but perhaps it makes it “more wrong” to aim it at people of color, as it invokes dark historical memories with them. It is understandably a sensitive subject with many people.

    On the other hand, though, racism is racism. In an ideal world, people would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (to quote Martin Luther King, Jr). Sadly, though, we do not live in an ideal world. People will always be trading insults, including racial and ethnic ones, and the best we can hope for is to improve cultural understanding in hopes of bringing everyone together.

  6. 6 Rachel in California, USA
    March 27, 2009 at 14:32

    I agree with President Lula da Silva that many of the world’s problems are caused by the irresponsible behavior of rich and powerful people.

    Many rich people are white. Many rich countries are inhabited mainly by white-skinned people.

    But there are plenty of poor white folks, even in the rich countries. In my city, most of the beggars on the streets have white skins and many have blue eyes.

    And there are plenty of rich people who do not have blue eyes: the rulers of Saudi Arabia (where most of the nonwhite natives are rich), of Burma (where most of the people are poor), etc.

    Most blue eyed folks are as bewildered as everybody else. We don’t have our hands on the levers of power and we are losing our jobs, our medical care and our houses in the bad times.

    The problem is not skin color or eye color. The problem is a system that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a privileged few. Let us not get distracted by appearance into stereotyping people on the basis of the behavior of a few people with blue eyes.

    That kind of stereotyping is racism.

  7. 7 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 14:33

    Yes, and the media enables this. I have an example here, of a black family vowing to buy only from black businesses. The media wrote up a glowing article describing it. Had a white person said they were vowing to buy from whites only, the article would not have been glowing. But it’s praiseworth if blacks conduct racist activities, but is horrible if whites. So yes, there’s a double standard.


  8. March 27, 2009 at 14:34


    First, just wondering aloud: are white people really the wealthiest in the world? What about the Saudi oil barons?


    Seems to be a number of non-white, non-blue eyed people on that list.

    It’s simply stupid to blame “white people with blue eyes” for the mess we’re in. A whole lot of people of all colors got us into this predicament. Lula proves what I say about blame. Blame’s a lot like margarine — it’s easy to spread, not very satisfying, and certainly not healthy, but people like the taste enough to keep using it.

  9. March 27, 2009 at 14:36

    Racism of whatever kind is unacceptable. It doesn’t mean that racism which was historically practised by the whites; mainly in the USA and South Africa, should be practised against them. White people shouldn’t be made a scapegoat to deal with a crisis. There should be reforms based on tangible policies without fuelling racism by targeting a particular race.

    The statement by Brazil’s President attributing Brazil’s crisis to the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes shows that Latin America as a whole is still dominated by white people while the indigenous and black people are still seen as second class citizens. He should have been more diplomatic by attacking a set of ideas rather than a race. After all, isn’t he a white person probably lacking just blue eyes?

    As far as I know many outstanding personalities, particularly in UK, had to resign because of their racist remarks. Shouldn’t Lula resign over his apparently racist remark or make a public apology?

  10. 10 VictorK
    March 27, 2009 at 14:38

    Racism is racism. What more is there to say?

  11. 11 M N
    March 27, 2009 at 14:47

    Although I have no empirical proof to back it up, I’d say it wouldn’t have as a shock to anyone that insensitive and intolerant behavior toward the majority is largely accepted in societies. In The West it’s seldom seen as sexism if a a female author makes comments demeaning the male population or if a person of colour makes an untoward remark about ‘white’ people.

    A perfect example is that it’s totally seen as OK here to say “I’m black and I’m proud” with little repercussion, but if I were to say “I’m white and I’m proud” I would immediately be branded a racist.

    As a ‘white’ person living in The West, does this bother me? Of course it does, double standards are bad no matter who they are used against. But, on balance, I’m inclined to sit back and try to ignore this because I think that people of “those” groups have oft been oppressed by people of “my” group in recent history.

    I don’t like it, and I think it’s wrong for anyone to judge someone based on that which they largely have no control over — colour, age, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity and faith — but I will give more tolerance to those who do those things when they themselves were recently also the targets of that behaviour.

    (Also, as an aside, the blogs listed seem to be rather radically on the opposite side and almost appear to be _militantly_ pro-white… I would assure anyone that I feel they overly harsh opinions they espouse are likely not the feeling of the ‘white’ population at large.)

  12. 12 Rob (UK)
    March 27, 2009 at 14:49

    I definitely think that racism is a combination of derogation and power. If a person says something derogatory about another group over which he or she has power, it’s bound to be more offensive.

  13. 13 Bryan
    March 27, 2009 at 14:49

    Obviously racism against white people is not “more acceptable,” but it has long been the norm. Look at the New South Africa, which was meant to be a model of inter-racial harmony. In fact, white South Africans are now the new oppressed.

  14. 14 Erin
    March 27, 2009 at 14:50

    Racism is never okay. A double standard is supposed to exist for hatred? It’s supposed to be alright to blindly hate an entire group of people merely for the color of their skin because that skin is different than your own and that color is white? Oh, and wait, don’t let’s forgot it might be alright because white people have never been oppressed to the point of people of color, so THAT must be why it’s okay. I’ve spent more than half my life in two of the southern states of the USA. I know all about racism and the harm it can do. I was not raised to believe any form of discrimination or hatred against a group of people, whether for their skin color, their religion, or any other beliefs was acceptable. The financial crisis we find ourselves in is certainly no exception to legitimize racism, as the Brazilian president coated his words. He also said “as I do not know any black or indigenous bankers, I can only say it is not possible for this part of mankind, which is victimised more than any other, to pay for the crisis.” He seems to like to make sweeping statements about many groups of people. I’ve always liked to judge people as individuals and take care when I lump a large group together with generalizations. When you are a world leader, I would think if you had these feelings, you could at the very least rise above them to serve your peoples best interests. Because I don’t see how comments like these serve Brazilians or the world in any positive way.

  15. 15 Keith Moore
    March 27, 2009 at 14:52

    Is it racist if what he said is true? Racim is not good in any form or aimed at any one. but lets face the facts who caused this mess? Who are the leaders of the banks? Who hold most of the wolds top jobs in the west? Not people of color! Some times the truth hurts!

  16. 16 Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    March 27, 2009 at 14:52

    I think the world is too obsessed with racism and political correctness. Racism is latent in all people, black, blue, green or whatever colour. I still do not know what colour President Lula is classified as, and I don’t really care. Why should he be taken to task for expressing an opionion, the best way he knows how? I am a black man (well not black as soot, but society classies me as such) and I would not be bothered if some fellow referred to me as such. Most Caucasians are white – well, they look pink to me but they are referred to as white. So be ity. Some are blue eyed others are not – maybe that is where Lula erred, some of those responsible may actually have been green eyed. And it does not matter. When I see a brown dog, I say it “now that is a brown dog”. So if I see a black man mugging someone I will say it was a black man mugging some fellow, if it is a white skin-head, that is the way I will report it. So were those guys on Wall Street blue-eyed white fellows? Probably most of them. And that should cause no offence if it is fact.

  17. 17 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    March 27, 2009 at 14:56

    Racism aimed at ANYone is unacceptable. It does not matter what race they are, or their status in the world. A country’s leader should be far more careful with their choice of words with regards to global issues and who is to blame or is at fault. Did the president of Brazil not realize his words would anger the bees in the nest?

  18. 18 Jessica in NYC
    March 27, 2009 at 14:59

    This blog post was written to cause completely inflammatory remarks thrown at both sides of topic. The examples that were given were a waste of my time. You’re the BBC not a news cooperation own by Ruppert Murdock. I expect more from you.

  19. 19 VictorK
    March 27, 2009 at 15:22

    To answer the question: it shouldn’t be, but yes, it is.

    Racism defined: treating another person more/less favourably, or just differently, on grounds of race, where race is an irrelevant consideration. Race has nothing to do with the banking crisis; whites are singled out for criticism: that’s racism.

    Various groups (some of them white) are ideologically committed to anti-white racism, directly or indirectly. The left claim racism is about power, that only whites (!) have power, and so only whites can be racist. This fairy-tale shores up their general anti-colonial and anti-Western posture, and insulates them from the harsh reality that the worst racism in the world today is to be found amongst Arabs (Darfur), Africans (numerous ethnic genocides) and Asians (especially towards blacks, but also e.g. Japanese to Koreans). Many Latin Americans, Africans and Caribbeans are anti-white, finding it easier to blame whites for their socio-economic failures than assume responsibility for themselves. Muslim hostility to Westerners is often indistinguishable from hostility to whites (how else are ‘Westerners’ targeted by suicide-bombers in Muslim tourist spots?).

  20. 20 Anthony
    March 27, 2009 at 15:30

    Heck yes!!! Watch BET (Black Entertainment Television in the U.S.) for a day and see all the negative things said about whites. You show a dumb white guy on a sitcom, and its funny, but show a dumb black guy on a sitcom and the NCAAP is sueing. I hear people on T.V. saying “Honkey”, “Redneck”, and “Cracker” all the time, but if I were to even post any of the black, hispanic, or asian racist names on WHYS, this post wouldn’t have been approved. It’s a double standard, I mean, even the FCC allows plenty of anti-white name calling, and none of the others. (BTW, I’m hispanic and can see this).

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  21. 21 jesse
    March 27, 2009 at 15:30

    ‘two wrongs can never make one right’ mr lula,you cannot use wrong to correct wrong,it is like an eye for an eye and the whole world end up with one eye,racist comment on any group of people is unacceptable and condemmable.

  22. 22 James Loudermilk
    March 27, 2009 at 15:32

    I’m white and have blue eyes and I’m not rich and I had nothing to do with this crisis. I work, pay my bills on time and in full and pay my taxes. I have no more debt then I can afford how is this my falt just because I have ble eyes, blond hair and am white. What a dumb thing to say!

  23. March 27, 2009 at 15:34

    “First, just wondering aloud: are white people really the wealthiest in the world? What about the Saudi oil barons?”

    I would like to let you know that Saudi oil barons are in majority white people. They just lack blue eyes.

    Race isn’t the real problem when it comes to a crisis. The current economic crisis is affecting almost every country in the world, mainly the Asians and the Europeans. Should the Japanese blame Europeans for their current economic downturn?
    What about countries that are mono-racial and yet they are facing many problems?

    It’s better to say that there are types of people that are behind a particular crisis than to pinpoint a race. Singling out a race is more likely to cause more crises than solve them.

  24. 24 Anthony
    March 27, 2009 at 15:37

    @ Jessica

    What’s wrong with this topic? They are addressing something wrong in the world that seems to be accepted. Just like when WHYS talked about biases against Muslims, against religions, and against women. How is this any different? Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  25. 25 VictorK
    March 27, 2009 at 15:47

    The political benefits to Lula of his anti-white statements are that his standing amongst the non-white majority of the world is immediately raised, and attention continues to be diverted from the realities of Brazilian society. Lula is the descendant of colonialists who have seized Brazil from its Indian inhabitants; he leads a country that has never properly come to terms with its history of racism and slavery, in the way that ‘white’ America has tried to, instead maintaining the fiction that Brazil is a land of Carnival and racial harmony; he is the white leader of a society that has a black and mixed race majority but has never had a leader from that majority; he is a member of a white elite in whom almost all wealth and power is concentrated, in contrast to the poor and powerless majority of colour; and he is a leader who has done nothing to stop the routine slaughter (hundreds each year) of mainly poor people of colour by death squads drawn from the Brazilian police force (i.e. an arm of the state).

    People like Lula give a bad name to ‘hypocrisy’.

  26. 26 Savane
    March 27, 2009 at 15:49

    I can’t help but feel that the reason this topic is uo for discussing today is because it’s ‘news-worthy’.

    When a dog bites a man, that’s not news, but when a man bites a dog……..that’s a Page One headline!

    Racism is unacceptable, but let’s face it, even WHYS has let some unsavoury comments about non-white people pass through this site. There’s constant Chinese-, Muslim-, African-bashing on WHY’S.

    Welcome to ‘our world’. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out!

  27. 27 allan
    March 27, 2009 at 15:52

    i dont think its a question of racism.

    just a question of switching on your brain before you open your mouth.

    look at that pope: says condoms cause aids. that is just a stoopid thing to say. from a man in that position it is hugely stoopid.

    and that is what lula has done. makes it difficult to respect him next time he says something.

    we all know what he was getting at. just that he chose a wierd way of saying it.

  28. 28 Eric in Central Point Oregon
    March 27, 2009 at 16:06

    The countermeasures to fight against racism so often tend to be racist policies of compensating victims, who are identified based on their race. Policies such as this do more to encourage race divisions than they do to erase them.
    As for what the President of Brazil has said, yes, he’s probably right in that most of these bankers where (are) white. So what? Ask the Brazilian Football team how afraid they are of a white American soccer team. Race is not a weakness. It’s all about practice, and knowing how to compete. I feel sorry for the people of Brazil that their leadership is essentially downplaying their ability to financially compete against white blue-eyed people. To me, that shows a lack of creativity and a lack of strong leadership. White, blue-eyed people should only feel flattered.

  29. 29 Luci Smith
    March 27, 2009 at 16:06

    Being a brown-eyed formerly blond person, I must agree with Lula, who would have to say somethng more outrageous than “Stupid White Men”, the title of Michael Moore’s book, to upset me.
    Considering everybody’s outbursts of rage a week ago about bankers, I cannot really get excited about this remark by Lula, whose country and people will probably have to shoulder the brunt of the crisis moe than many others.
    Considering that lots of Latin people try to imitate the blond, blue-eyed models instead of being themselves, I see this as an attempt to build some confidence in those of us who are born with brown eyes and will be affected by the descisions taken by people who we will never see. They could have green skin, for all I know but I am certain that they try to be invisible right now. When things get really messsy, who gets called in to clean it up? The black men! And that is just the (non-racist) truth!

  30. March 27, 2009 at 16:08

    As a white skinned person with blue eyes I would like to add to the Brazilian president’s comments “It is a crisis caused and encouraged by the irrational GREEDY behavior of white MALE people with blue eyes.” ; ) I think that MN has a valid and interesting point, in his post “insensitive and intolerant behavior toward the majority is largely accepted in societies.” I believe it is an important form of protest. My position would be that it IS racist, but at the same time it IS necessary. In order to change the present dynamic we need to understand it. Saying inflammatory comments makes people look at the issues more closely and then work toward changing them. I hope that people realize by now that behavior is not defined by race, and race is an artificial construct.

    Obviously the real problem here is the greed. A trait that was a necessary as we evolved as hunter gatherers. Unfortunately many of us haven’t realized that on a planet with so many people, it no longer serves us. We fail to use our brains to over rule our greedy instincts. Since many of us can’t do that on our own, white, black, yellow, whatever, we need to establish government systems that will. Greed is the problem and it sucks.

  31. 31 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 27, 2009 at 16:16

    I am a white, blue-eyed Swiss-American who doesn’t owe anyone a cent. I have black, Asian, Latino and American Indian relatives. Does “Lula” really hold ME responsible for the financial crisis, but not my mixed-race relatives, simply on the basis of their mixed blood?

    I am appalled by the Brazilian president’s outrageous racist remarks. If President da Silva wishes to retain any international credibility, he should apologize for them at once.

  32. 32 gary
    March 27, 2009 at 16:18

    Several bits of this question interest me. Firstly, race is concept without biological standing. Secondly, discrimination is the essence of selection, otherwise selection would be non-selection (random). Thirdly, describing President Lula de Silva’s comments about “blue eyed, white folks” as racist seems a bit simplistic, as his audience certainly understood his meaning to be, “those inconsiderate jerks in the US.” Lastly, linking a physical, cultural, ethnic, or religious characteristic to an obvious failing might be poor form; but if true, it’s better than a politically correct lie.

  33. March 27, 2009 at 16:24

    Racism is Racism.

    this subject matter too has been bothering me. i wondered why it was OK for people in the media to celebrate stuffs like Black History Month, and Black only Colleges. i mean its just not fair! what i believe is that non-white races, especially we Africans (yeah, i am black), like playing the race card! we like being the victims, the ones who got wronged back then in the plantations or in the seas or in a faraway land or something. i mean, we adore this card so much, we use it against ourselves…look at the rate of ethnic – related violence in many African countries.

    again, Racism IS Rascism…its not Rascism when a white person insults a non-white.

  34. 34 Tracy
    March 27, 2009 at 16:32

    It maybe true that the majority of nauseatingly rich people in the world are white. However the comments by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are akin to saying the terrorism crisis in the world is caused by, as Mr. Brown stated the “cloth headed and henna bearded”. You can’t use a blanket statement of blame for the state of our world in any aspect. One of the kindest most honorable men I know is of Arab heritage. People are individual. The President should have instead blamed the harbourers of greed. There are many, many poor white people in this world. There are only a few who horde their precious riches and would sell your children body and soul for more. Everyone of every race grow tired of these selfish, rich few. That’s why AIG executives cower in their homes, and are hiring private security and have local police cruising their neighborhoods. People are struggling everywhere of every color, and we are growing angry.


  35. March 27, 2009 at 16:33

    Hi there. Kindly sorry that we couldn’t understand each other on the phone. Due to poor network. You could try again, calling me as am now in a better location. Just a mile outside Nairobi, Central Business District.

    Racism is an evil that the world must discourage at all cost. It really doesn’t matter to whom it is directed at. Whether white or black or any other community. It is a vice.

    I believe the current financial crisis that the world is in. Cannot be blamed on the whites. I disagree with the Brazilian leader. Racism is not right even when directed to the white. Being an African who have heard stories and seen racist behavior, toward us. Most of my African Brothers may disagree with me. Maybe, think am out to seek popularity with the white.

    We must ask ourselves, how we gain if we do. By being racist to one community or people. We did not choose to be born where we are. It was a coincidence for us to be what colour we are.

    Call for more elaborations.


  36. 36 adam in portland oregon usa
    March 27, 2009 at 16:40

    I just think it is funny. A commentnloike this from a guy who lives in a country where people with lighter skIn have more social status as per the culture.

  37. 37 Bhupendraop
    March 27, 2009 at 16:41

    Racism is in the genes of the human race, I think. There is racism in every part of the world. Forget about racism between white and black. In India, Nepal there is racism between tribes and race. Although everybody is of the same colour and of the same country there is such discrimination. I believe the only solution is in a better upbringing as these ideas are instilled in the young minds while growing up and that’s what sticks.

  38. 38 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 27, 2009 at 16:42

    During the Rwanda genocide, I sheltered a moderate Hutu former Deputy Science Minister, his Tutsi wife, and their “mixed race” daughters at my home here in Switzerland. All of them were as black as obsidian and my unpracticed eye could discern no obvious racial differences at all. But their countrymen were being killed in their hundreds of thousands over racial differences I myself was unable to detect.

    Before we let ourselves be consumed by black versus white skin, or blue versus dark eyes, we would do well to remember that most so-called racial discrimination isn’t really about race per se; it’s about Us Versus Them.

    We are all Homo sapiens sapiens, though I’m sure we deserve the name.

  39. 39 Sue in Chicago
    March 27, 2009 at 16:43

    Wasn’t there a recent controversy in Brazil about racism? The lighter skin people get the jobs and money while the darker skinned people make up a large part of the lower class. This only proves the many levels of prejudice in the world. While he is considered powerful and “white”, he judges others with his words. I’m sure it was said in this manner to illicit an emotional response.

    I like to consider the common humanity between people first. But is there a point where a cultural critique becomes racism or prejudice. Can a cultural critique be healthy and not racism? With so much history between so many different cultures how do we retract the emotional involvement in order to have a dialogue?

  40. 40 Patti in Florida
    March 27, 2009 at 16:49

    You guys had a show on racism before where I told you about the situation at my daughter’s school. We are a mixed race family, mostly from Colombia, but my children’s father is Irish/polish. Consequently, in my family there are black-skinned, brown skinned, white, blue eyes, green eyes, dark eyes, etc.

    My daughter was the victim of a lot of racial harrassment at her school, apparently because the black kids thought she was racist for some reason. She is blonde and blue-eyed. It only stopped when our family went to the school for an assembly and these kids saw the rest of her family, which truly looks like the UN. Racism is ignorance, plain and simple. It is easier to forgive in a group of dumb school kids than it is in world leaders, however.

    P.S. My son often gets mistaken for being from the middle east, sometimes getting dirty looks or snide comments. He is autistic, however, and doesn’t understand, so he couldn’t care less.

  41. 41 Chernor
    March 27, 2009 at 16:51

    My answer to this blog’s question is an emphatic NO. Racism is racism and should not be encouraged in any shape or form.
    The reason I think people don’t take such comments so serious is because it is uncommon for a white man to complaint about racial abuse.

    I am a black but I want to painfully state here that some blacks are also racist. Whether it is as a result of what we think we have under gone from white people or it stems from something else I don’t know. But the brutal fact is that, Racism is just what it is and it is BAD.

    I had a conversation with a black friend some time ago whilst watching a football game. He questioned my support for manchester united over Arseenal. His reasons for not wanting me to support Man. U was that they don’t have black players like Arsenal do. I then told him look, I am not a racist by any means. It does not matter to me how many black or African Players united have, my heart tells me to support them period.

    My view on this is that; racist comments should be treated with equal importance no matter who made them or to who it was directed.

  42. 42 David
    March 27, 2009 at 16:52

    Let us start dismandling race based on skin colour by correcting and respecting the English language.

    I have many a times said in this forum that there is no white person nor is there a black person. We are all people of shade. If you do not agree with me, get a piece of charcoal and a glass of milk and tell me whether you belong to one of those two colours. If you are then you must be dreaming. Please wake up.

    Secondly, the united Nations must be forced to stop categorising nations as “First World and Third World” Where is Second World? If this discriminatory act comes from the UN, how do you expect individuals to act?

    Let us face, it most discrimination is aimed at the so called “black or coloured people”

    In my view discrimination of any type should be a criminal offence.

  43. 43 CarlosK
    March 27, 2009 at 16:52

    Hi WHYSayers,

    Ros why are you spoking racist fires? You have, apparently, deliberately, taken the comments out of context in order to promote your racist anti- black skin agenda. Have you noticed that the person making the statement has socalled white skin? Have you deliberatley overlooked that fact?

    The truth hurts. But I have been taught to speak the truth and speak it ever cause it what it will, (because) he who hides the wrong he does, does the wrong thing still.

    For once a person with socalled “white skin” has spoken the truth and because it is offensive to the ruling race you over there are hollering racism! at the top of your voice.

    Well now you know how it feels to be disrespected based on your skin colour which you played no part in inheriting.

    PS. I take great offensive with your promoting the comments of a nebulous blogger resident in Jamaica who refuses to sustantiate his claim of being racially abused. In Jamaica we treat our guest well, maybe he is obnoxiously and that is why he’s being disrespected.

    Carlos- Kingston, Jamaica.

  44. March 27, 2009 at 16:58

    Racism of any kind is not acceptable. It is easy to speak about this topic freely as you think, but for those who have tasted or lived racism, they know how heavy it weighs. As per the remarks of the Brazilian President, I think it is because of the heat of the economy downturn that is pushing everyone around the world to get at each other. There is a wise saying/wise words in my local language, “LORMA” which says: “when the river gets dry up fish eats fish.” With this economy downturn, let us stop getting at each other or lay blame at the next man’s door, instead let’s find a common stepping stone from which we can derive a long-term solution.

  45. 45 viola
    March 27, 2009 at 16:59

    Racism is unacceptable no matter who it is directed against. There has long been a belief that being the victim of racism confers some kind of saintly status. It does not. Victims of racist attitudes and remarks, and that includes whites with blue eyes, are likely to respond with a similar racist attitude to that from which they have suffered. Treat people properly and you will likely be similarly treated.

    Remember that “do unto others” thing?

    Brazilians deserve better from their president. Leaders have the responsibility of rejecting stupid arguments like this man just made. Anger and fear do not justify such words.

  46. 46 DOLAPO AINA
    March 27, 2009 at 17:04

    Racism in any form isn’t acceptable. But I wonder if this global economic crisis has anything to do with race. People weren’t prudent in their spending.

    This wasn’t due to a particular race. Are we saying, because Africans are dark that is why we aren’t economically progressing. Or that a black man or Asian can’t become a pope due to his skin?

    When racism is branded around by the seeming affected people, people shouldn’t keep quiet.

    Dolapo Aina,

  47. March 27, 2009 at 17:10

    I think racism against whites is not as big a problem as racism against other races because predominately whites have power and influence. Consider how you feel if your employee is a racist vs how you feel if your boss is a racist.

    In America white people are usually the boss so very little racism can be tolerated from them. As a group black people have been disenfranchised in America so any racism they feel has less impact on the targets of racism because they have less opportunity to act on their racism.

  48. March 27, 2009 at 17:12

    What is REMARKABLE to me is the elected leader of one of the BRIC nations hates his peers in the “white, blue-eyed” nations. Hmm… if I were the brown-eyed, black leader of the US, I would be glad to know that negative stereotypes still run so deep.

    When I first heard this quote last night, I was shocked, and then concerned that Mr. Lula would fuel blame and hatred during a time when the entire world needs to pull together to climb out of our mess. Now, however, I’m glad he spoke his heart. Perhaps it’s time to lay out our accumulated human stupidity of hatred and stereotypes which so many still use to absolve themselves of responsibility for their present circumstances. Perhaps political correctness is dead and instead of pretending all of us are equal, we as humans are now strong enough to confront the only real truth: some of us are thoughtful, intelligent, people who, no matter our color or nation of background) want to solve the problems inherited from yesterday, while others are emotional children who point fingers at those their parents taught them to hate, taking comfort that nothing has changed… least of all their possibility to affect that change.

  49. 49 Dennis
    March 27, 2009 at 17:14

    Hi there.

    you know i just don’t seem to get it.
    let me first make it abbandantly clear that am not racist. infact most of my besiness associates are white.
    am not sure the furry that i can see in the western media would still be if we had a reversed roll here.
    say, the world eco.cranch emanated from south African, Ghana, Tunisia or my Kenya, and a western president made the same comments, am not sure we would be discussing this issue by now.

    to me i think,
    the problem of racism is at times faulsly generated.
    we mistake ones anger and frastration and disappointment especially expressed towards a person of a different skin color for racism.
    i mean, lets face it
    if you are white and, you make some stupid mistakes, am gonna scof at you. just like i would scof at my blood bro. that doesnt mean am a raciam, does it?
    so please,
    the brasillian president only used very strong words to condem those he thinks were responsible. that doesn’t mean he’s a racist.

    but, again.
    if whites are still willing to be a part of this planet earth, let them be prepared to face racism just like the blacks and asians have over a period am not sure history can adequetly presserve.


  50. 50 Joe in Salem, OR
    March 27, 2009 at 17:17

    I don’t mind white people celebrating their ethnicity. The problem is that they’re so grumpy and superior about it. Who wants to celebrate anything with a bunch of scowling skinheads in brown shirts? Think Cynco de Mayo or the Fourth of July: more celebration and less finger pointing and no one will mind.

  51. 51 jacob
    March 27, 2009 at 17:17


    I find the presidents racist statements irresponsible and hypocritical. How can spit such venom at whites and expect them to treat him politically correct. Furthermore, the western first world invented the economic system which he aspires to enrich his country with; it’s not as if they have a better system and we took advantage of it. He is playing our game by our rules and wants our lifestyle; ‘1st World’ would not exist without the west (or what he calls ‘the whites’) and he would have nothing to complain about otherwise.

    -Jacob San Francisco

  52. 52 Dave in Florida
    March 27, 2009 at 17:18

    It’s time we realize that racism is a one-way-street. Non-whites may say whatever they want and whites may not. When a non-white is proud of their culture or heritage, all is well; however, when whites say they are proud, they are racist.

    By the way, Jemal, you are a racist — just accept the fact.

  53. 53 Nwerem Africa
    March 27, 2009 at 17:19

    Is obvious that the economic crisis was caused by greedy rich White people. Blacks can be racist but Whites started it first.

    Portland Oregon USA

  54. 54 Ryan
    March 27, 2009 at 17:20

    Your guest Reginald D. Hunter couldn’t be more right. The comment made by the Brazilian president was A truth, not the whole truth. Just because most of the people who are involved in the financial system are mostly white doesn’t mean you can blame all white people. I have to say though…….those white people in the financial industry really made some stupid desisions.

    P.S. Peter is a little excited and delusional.

  55. 55 Jake
    March 27, 2009 at 17:22

    What about all the racist things that are said every day on Republican Right blogs and radio shows and by politicians? Why aren’t they having a show about that? What about the CNBS rants about Black and poor people being responsible for the mortgage crisis?

  56. 56 Fred in Portland OR
    March 27, 2009 at 17:23

    There’s a lot of evil, greed included going on in the world and nobody, black, white, red, yellow, olive or brown has a monopoly on it. If someone thinks that one ethnic group is any better or worse, they should start reading more history books.

  57. 57 Deli
    March 27, 2009 at 17:24

    While it was offensively put, I believe De Silva was trying to make a point that the tipping points for this crisis – namely financial turmoil due to greedy pursuit of financial bonuses which led to irresponsible mortage products and toxic CDS trades – were the result of financial speculation by people in positions of privelege (financiers at the worlds top institutions – the modern top of the pyramid if it were) who are, over representative of white, middle-class and upper middle class people. It’s a valid accusation, and one that should be awknowledge as reflecting the stereotypes of who hold the reins of world power – and we should consider, why is this still a rather accurate stereotype?

    Then again, since De Silva was relying on a stereotype of course he brushed over the fact that wall street today (and maybe the city too ??) attracts ambitious talent of all colors from all over the world. In doing so he missed some ironic contradictions to his racial profiling: how about the former head of Citibank, who was happy for his traders to make huge speculative bets and structure risky mortgage products to get the profits in and build the company – a black man. The current head of Citibank left to clean it up? Indian. And the blue eye thing – phu-leeze. Simply statistically imposible.

    Maybe, instead of focusing on race, he should have stuck to privelege. Greed is greed, and cares not for race….

  58. 58 marie
    March 27, 2009 at 17:25

    as a white woman, i’m offended that i’m being lumped in with the people who caused this crisis. white men. white men were responsible for all kinds of terrible things like slavery, too.
    this is something men did to us.

  59. 59 Ibrahim in UK
    March 27, 2009 at 17:26

    Racism should not be acceptable in any form.
    Most only recognise racism as applying against minorities, especially if there is or was genuine racial persecution against those minorities. For example, the majority in the West (who are white) recognise the suffering their ancestors inflicted on Blacks and Jews. The suffering itself has become part of their culture and identity. Any racial abuse today, however minor, is a reminder of the horrific abuse of the past and is still seen in a similar light.
    Since there is no comparative event whereby people were persecuted for being white on such a massive scale , the stigma associated with anti-white verbal abuse is not as powerful, and therefore less recognised. Thankfully, that looks like changing.

    To Victork re: suicide bomber targets. terrorists don’t generally target individuals on skin colour, they target destinations/locations e.g. a location popular with X/Y/Z nationality/religion/sect. But it also raises point to show how ridiculous the presidents statement was. Many Muslims and Socialists are “white with blue eyes”, and oppose the capital system of debt-based wealth, but they get thrown in the pile responsible for the economic crisis, while Madoff, who doesn’t have blue eyes, gets off scott free.

  60. 60 CarlosK
    March 27, 2009 at 17:28

    @Jessica in New York

    Hi Jessica I agree with you. This topic is a racist smoke screen and is a complete waste of time. I expect more of Ros Atkins and the BBC. What a complete waste and abuse of air time!

  61. 61 lin
    March 27, 2009 at 17:28

    it will depend on which society the white people live in. if white people already enjoy most of the advantages and resources because of legacy of racism, then yes, it is ok to be “racist” towards some white people. because they have to sleep in the bed they or their ancesters made. in this situation the “racism” against certain white people is actually the anti-racism.

  62. 62 Luz Ma from Mexico
    March 27, 2009 at 17:29

    First and foremost, I condemn President Lula´s comment. That was racist and do not serve to any purpose. On the contrary, it divides more.

    However, I think he did it for a reason. It is the response of people that have been subject to racism and discrimination towards those that have been perpetrating the practice for centuries, so it is like “payback time”… because at this time, that group is being held responsible of the economic crisis (Wall Street is mostly white).

    As I say before, I don´t applaud this response.

  63. 63 Maccus Germanis
    March 27, 2009 at 17:30

    Simply, No.

    As has been noted, there is often a double standard. But I do not think exclusionary, while creative, racist organizations such as United Negro College Fund, as problematic as the racist scapegoating evidenced by the president of Brazil. There is a difference between self limitations on associations, and active denigration of others. You want a “Cracker College Fund,” I think you should be free to do such, though I would give to neither exclusionary fund.

    PS. Dwight, Which are the “all” black colleges? Not Miles. Not Stillman. Not Alabama A&M. Which?

  64. 64 jacob san francisco
    March 27, 2009 at 17:30

    I think peters stance on ‘gratitude’ and freeing from slavery is ridiculous; whites enslaved blacks and they should thank us for freeing them?!

  65. 65 R galloway
    March 27, 2009 at 17:31

    I keep hearing that “white” people have the power to affect how a black or other race of person is treated. I for one do Not have that power. On the issue of a white person getting a loan easier than a black person, if we do not list race on a loan application and since loans are based on a credit score, is it not just the fact that one person has a better record of repaying the loan and it is not based on color? I have been involved in hiring people for several jobs and I do not know the race of the person I can only base my decision on which person best fits the job. If more of this is done, racism will not be an issue. We have to all get away from throwing blame around change the process to be racial invisible. If all jobs, loans, etc are based on what a person has done it is that persons skills and drive are all that matter, not the color of their skin, their hair style or anything other then how hard they are willing to work.

  66. 66 jacob san francisco
    March 27, 2009 at 17:33

    its not as if the brazilian political system could do much better steeped in corruption; god forbid brazil was in power… i am very thankful that the west is in power

  67. 67 Ryan
    March 27, 2009 at 17:33

    I’m a white man in America, living in Portland, Oregon.

    Oh my god! Did Peter just say that people of color should thank white folks??? I’d like to repeat that I think Peter is delusional and I think Peter is a closet racist. Freeing slaves was just the right thing to do! African Americans don’t need to thank us for freeing them. If someone robs you, takes your wallet, then a week later gives it back you probably wouldn’t thank them! You’d be a little upset! Peter is crazy, I’m sure he doesn’t have any black friends.

  68. 68 Josiah Soap
    March 27, 2009 at 17:34

    I am white, and yes the President speaks the truth, the economic down turn is primarily the fault of whites. Its a fair statement because its the truth, there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong however is that you cannot speak the TRUTH about other races. For example, the majority of violent crime in the US is carried out by black and brown people, its the truth. The states with a low percentage of black and brown people have low crime rates. But it is unacceptable to tell this sort of truth. The problem is called political correctness. PC is where you can officially tell lies or bend the truth if it concerns a “victim” group, but you can say whatever you want and broadcast it from every steeple if it is about an “oppressor” group. I think it is time we got over finding things offensive, if they are based fact then we should be allowed to state them regardless of who they are about. I think we are in a flux, the pendulum was way over to one side where we didn’t respect blacks, no its gone too far to the other side, its time for it to come to rest in the middle.

  69. 69 Scott [M]
    March 27, 2009 at 17:34


    Every race is racist. And, every individual is racist to some degree. Whites have lead economically so their racism is in focus because they are in power. Perhaps they have had the opportunity to cause more damage through racism because of this power.

    Racism in general is overplayed and quite frankly exaggerated. By this I don’t mean that it isn’t a problem. But, rather that all people are racist to some degree—it is human nature to relate to people who are more like you. Racism has become such a pariah because of egregious acts committed by racists that the normal racism of being a human, can’t even be discussed or admitted too, without being guillotined. So now we have a culture where everyone is afraid to be human. I don’t suggest that some racism is acceptable, but there are degrees. And our discussion about racism is never rational and the degrees are never taken into consideration.

  70. 70 Sean, USA
    March 27, 2009 at 17:35

    It was clearly a racist and stupid statement and so should be condemned. However, as a white American and given our history of blatant racism, I really don’t think we shouldn’t be particularly outraged or up in arms over these kind of sentiments. Condemn it but let’s move on to real issues.

  71. 71 Leon in Berkeley, California, USA
    March 27, 2009 at 17:38

    The reason why there is less outrage about the comment of Brazil’s leader than there would be if a European world leader made a similar comment about Black people, to say it clearly, is that there has been a long and terrible history of Europe and Europeans (and their mostly White political descendants in the US, Canada, Autstrailia, South Africa, etc.) oppressing and steeling from non-whites around the world. This has included a long history of comments (and laws) depicting non-whites as less than full humans. Such a comment from a European leader would add insult to injury, as this injustice still goes on: Why do Brazilians speak Portuguese, Most other Latin Americans speak Spanish, Togalese people speak French, and so on and so on? Because these peoples have been colonized by Europeans (when they haven’t been simply massacred). There are no Whites anywhere in the world who have been colonized by non-whites to the point where they have even been forced to adopt the non-white language.

    The other reason is that the comment of the Brazilian leader is probably true (not the part about hair and eye color). A minute percentage of the world’s population controls a huge portion of the world’s wealth, and it appears that the controlling percentage is mostly white.

  72. 72 Dan, DC
    March 27, 2009 at 17:38

    This is childish. I find it ironic that a discussion about racism is becoming very much a platform to espouse inarguably racist viewpoints. What the Brazilian president said is racist as the financial crisis partly is insomuch as racism has purchase in the gap between rich and poor. I thought the phrase “reverse racism” went out when I was in highschool in the 90’s.

  73. 73 bob - portland, or, opb
    March 27, 2009 at 17:38

    White’s have little capacity for understanding and acknowledging the suffering they have created. Whites attempt to sweep racism and oppression under the rug instead of repairing their souls.

  74. 74 Katie
    March 27, 2009 at 17:38

    I would like to comment on Peter’s recent comment that African Americans should be “thankful” – this is a very ignorant, and rather inaccurate statement. When he says he leaves people alone, and wants to be left alone himself, this points to at least part of the reason that racism is still such a problem in the US. If people are not willing to cooperate and work together, change will not occur. It is irresponsible to simply say “leave me alone” and insist there are no problems. Also, I think that use of the term “reverse racism” should be discontinued, because it implies that all prior racism has been directed in a singular way, when in reality, racism applies to all people of any race.

  75. 75 Stanley Muhammad
    March 27, 2009 at 17:39

    If my sister was raped, am I supposed to show love to the rapist? No! Infact it is natural to hate that rapist. He did nothing to me. I dont know him personally. Why should I hold anything against him? But it is also natural to hate any rapist or rape in general. This is what whites need to understand when blacks and non-whites respond as if all whites are the problem.

  76. 76 A.J.
    March 27, 2009 at 17:39

    In a few hundred years the blood of the world will be so mixed-up that no one willl be able to tell what someone’s color or background are. Only then will we cease to lay blame on any particular race of people for our ills or those of others. But, right now, unfortunately, there are racists of all colors all over the world. Sorry Jamal, there are indeed racist blacks and sorry Peter, there are definitely also racist whites. Only until we see all races on equal footing and having equal responsibility for creating the world’s woes will we stop blaming “those other people”. Perhaps if more minorities were able to become equal members of the financial community, for instance, we could spread the blame more evenly.

  77. 77 Steve in Boston
    March 27, 2009 at 17:41

    Technically Lula’s remark is racist, but in reality, we white people are so superior to everyone else that it really doesn’t mean anything or hurt anyone. If it makes him feel better, sure, let him go ahead. No (white) skin off my nose.

  78. 78 prae
    March 27, 2009 at 17:42

    First off, its not correct to say that most of the people that run the banks in the world are white. It is easy to find people of ever race working in the banking industry.

  79. 79 Scott [M]
    March 27, 2009 at 17:43

    Blacks are clearly racist, as are all races. This is not up for dispute, despite what your guest says. I have personally been the victim of black racism when I attended a 90% black school for three years. You could even make the argument that statistically blacks in many countries are perhaps more racist or at least more bigoted then other races. Just look at gay marriage in the USA.

    What about Rwanda, Darfur, etc? These conflicts are examples of racism. Yes, they are!

  80. March 27, 2009 at 17:44

    Blacks in fact do have the structure of racism. Look at Africa and it’s many wars of extermination. What would the world be like if the racist slaver tribes of Africa didn’t sell there neighbors to europeans for transport to mainly Brazil.

  81. 81 Dan, DC
    March 27, 2009 at 17:45

    For everyone saying that the racial make-up of Wall Street is fundemental for the global financial collapse, this smacks of what the Nazis were saying about Jewish bankers being at the heart of economic crisis in Germany after WWI.

  82. 82 Lisa
    March 27, 2009 at 17:45

    Let’s ignore the fact that some of the top CEO’s in the affected financial businesses are black, Hispanic, and Asian (non-white). Lula’s comments are still harmful and ignorant. Prejudice is prejudice, no matter the source or the target.

  83. 83 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 17:46

    @ Bob

    Not every white has the liberal guilt you have nor are they responsible for the things other whites did way before they were born. What exactly would a person whose family is from eastern europe who came to the US in the late 19th century be responsible for? You need to get over your liberal guilt.

  84. 84 Dave in Florida
    March 27, 2009 at 17:47

    Good grief… We can talk about slavery in the U.S. from now until the end of time and never come to a conclussion. White Americans today were not here back then and how can you ask us to explain what our past relatives were thinking. The fact is — we don’t know. Yes, they were wrong. What the hell dose the world want from us. You can keep going back in time and blame it on the British occupation of the colonies. OK Ros, now it’s your turn to explain your country’s past actions.

    See, that is my point — it’s stupid!

  85. 85 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 17:48

    @ Stanley

    That’s a poor analogy, because you would hate the actual rapist who raped your sister, not everyone of the same race as him, or even of the same family. You’re going to hate the rapist’s grandmother as well?

  86. 86 Jake
    March 27, 2009 at 17:50

    They are no comparing the racism of children to the structural racism that pervades our societies. They are also not addressing the white supremacy that was endured for the past 500 years., as if that has nothing to do with the present situation.

    The political power of financial titans in the United States is the cause of the world’s suffering– this includes the world’s poor who had not voice in the deregulation of markets and rampant greed.

    The racist comments of white lobbyists like Abramoff (you should read what he called his American Indian casino clients!) is endemic in the system. What about that? Why not a show on that? These people actually have power.

  87. 87 Ginger (Portland, OR)
    March 27, 2009 at 17:51

    It is damaging for any person to make comments scapegoating any racial group. I agree with your guest that minority groups have little power to exercise racism. However, promoting antagonism between the races creates an environment were all races may feel that it is more acceptable to speak and behave more hatefully toward others.

  88. 88 Katie
    March 27, 2009 at 17:52

    On the one hand, there is a sytematical prejeduce against black people. When I consider slavery and colonialism and thier legacy, it seems ridiculous to be complaining about comments like this, especially when most of those bankers on wall street were white.
    On the other hand, I am white and have blue eyes, and I am not racist, and part of me resents being blamed for things that people who look like me have done.
    I really don’t know where I stand on this.

  89. 89 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 17:55

    That’s rediculous to say that you have to be in power to be racist. You have countries in africa were blacks are in power and there is horrible racism and tribalism there. There have been horrific genocides in Africa in the past 30 years.

  90. 90 Jake
    March 27, 2009 at 17:56

    This is why Obama and other mixed-race people are the greatest promise, because of the familial ties they create between communities that may be more likely to take sides. We also have to solve the problems of poverty. Martin Luther King had it right to address the problem regardless of race. He marched for the removal of poverty in all communities, white and black.

    My generation, the first post-Civil Rights generation will definitely change the conversation on race. See how Obama succeeded where Jesse Jackson could not? As Zadie Smith wrote a mixed-race person unites many more people.

  91. 91 CarlosK
    March 27, 2009 at 17:57

    Hi Ros and the BBC.

    I hope you’re all happy with the outcome. The races have now been further divided. Congratulations. Keep up the good work!

  92. March 27, 2009 at 17:57

    Mrs. Patel should be reminded of our new president who is the product of a mixed marriage.

    Ros perhaps one day you can do a show on “what is racism” and where did it come from.

    As I understand it racism as we know it was a concept developed to justify slavery. Before that race was a very loose term.


  93. 93 Venessa
    March 27, 2009 at 17:58

    I wonder if yellow labs hate chocolate labs. Their fur is a different color so it must be an issue…..

    Anyone else think that’s absurd?

  94. 94 Adam From Memphis, TN
    March 27, 2009 at 17:58

    Around these parts the Lula would be considered a white person. Being from Memphis I have come to realize that there ARE two kinds of people: those who buy into differences in race and those who do not. Most of what we perceive as differences in race are actually differences in culture and economics. Greed is not specific to a race and neither is stupidity.

  95. 95 Kalai, San Francisco
    March 27, 2009 at 17:58

    I am disgusted by Namala Patel’s comments (airing right now) on inter-racial marraige. It can be drawn similar to several unexposed Indians’ attitude towards ‘caste’ in Indian society. Who says the inter-racial couple cannot attend social events in their surroundings? May be they will choose to socialize with more liberal and broadminded individuals.

  96. 96 Jn0el
    March 27, 2009 at 17:59

    I’m a white woman living in Portland, OR, USA

    Racism = Prejudice + Power. Currently we live in a world where white folks are privileged and have the power, but power is shifting. Case in point, I have a president with a black, Kenyan father and a white, American mother.

    Calling Lula’s comments racist and spending all this energy on it only feeds the problem. Let’s start ignoring negative behavior. Did greedy folks who happen to be white cause this economic crisis? Yes. But let’s focus on the greed and and not the color of skin.

  97. 97 Dan, DC
    March 27, 2009 at 18:00

    As to Jamal’s point that black people can’t be racist because they have no system to discriminate against other races: if I go into a black owned business and they won’t help me because I’m white, then that’s racism. They are enacting their prejudice as willful discrimination, which is what Jamal defined racism as.

    The big problem with discussing racism, well evident on this program, is that people split hairs over what can or can’t be racist.

  98. 98 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 18:01

    If Lula is right, a lot of the aid that goes to non white people comes from those same blue eyed white people. Perhaps you don’t want that food aid anymore? Next time you have a natural disaster, will you beg those blue eyed white people for aid?

  99. 99 Mike
    March 27, 2009 at 18:02

    If only those with power to effect systemic discrimination towards another group are capable of being racist, then does that mean that a poor white person with little education, ignorant views, and no power over policy or economics is incapable of being racist as well?

  100. 100 Dan, DC
    March 27, 2009 at 18:02

    Well done today, guys. Keep stoking the fires of populist rage. This is approaching yellow journalism hiding under the stentorian cloak of the BBC.

  101. 101 lin
    March 27, 2009 at 18:04

    all white people should understand when this type of topic are discussed, it’s not them personally being discussed but legacy of prejudice / discrimination collectively accumulated for centuries. people need not to have white guilt nor feel the need to defend themselves or others. they do need to be conscience the privileges and resources they ripped from other races and contients and undserstand they are living the consequences (either good or bad) of historical events.

  102. 102 Stanley Muhammad
    March 27, 2009 at 18:06

    Steve ,
    Are you going to say that you would hold any blame for the racists parents for raising the rapist that hurt your sister? Don’t lie? It would ne very natural to do that. It may not be right but it is understandable. The same way it understandable that in the end you could have the whole family of the victim hating the whole family of the rapist. Now imagine a whole family of rapists who believed it was their RIGHT to rape any member of that other family as they pleased. What do you think the relationship between those two families would eventually deteriorate to? This may be a simplistic microcosm of the relationships between Whites and non-whites but it is representative.

  103. 103 Corinne from Boston, MA
    March 27, 2009 at 18:07

    This is step backwards, nothing positive comes from promoting this kind of thinking. As a public figure, one takes an unspoken oath to promote the common good. This does nothing by beget hate of those who are different which is already why so many are in conflict around the world at the moment. Moreover, the percentage of whites that actually have a say is pittance compared to the amount of whites whose voices go unheard. Maybe he should read “The Redneck Manifesto”…

  104. 104 Scott [M]
    March 27, 2009 at 18:08

    Do we not realize that making the claim that whites are the only racist race—is itself a racist statement? Anyone who has made this statement is a racist! Certainly by the standards voiced by many on this show. If we don’t even have the insight to realize this, then, can there be hope?

  105. 105 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 18:08

    Also the President of the US is not white, so blacks have power. So are blacks now capable of being racist given they have the most powerful position in the US? OR again, will will continue the double standard that only whites can be racist? This is absolutely pathetic that we tolerate racism against whites, and you cannot keep on basing this in something that happened to someone’s ancestors a long time ago. If that’s a case, then as a jew, how long can I blame Germany for all of my problems?

  106. 106 Jake
    March 27, 2009 at 18:11

    @ Venessa

    I think we aspire to be like labs! LOL we can learn so much from them.

  107. 107 Bryan
    March 27, 2009 at 18:13

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if one of these “white people with blue eyes” so insulted by Brazil’s president could trace his ancestry back to a white man among hundreds of thousands of whites enslaved by the Barbary Pirates?


    Would he be entitled to claim sympathy and respect as a descendant of a white enslaved by north African Muslims?

    Or would the fact that other whites have enslaved blacks sort of retroactively cancel out any claims he might have?

    Ridiculous, isn’t it.

  108. 108 Nkem
    March 27, 2009 at 18:13

    I don’t agree with what he said, but I also think it’s irresponsible for people to react by saying that people who react to acts of racism are immature and those that don’t are mature.

    I think the president just wanted attention and he is getting it.

  109. 109 Micheal O'Riain
    March 27, 2009 at 18:14

    The Brazillian president should identify the specific individuals causing the global financial crises. What are their names ? Which organizations do they represent ? Not all white, blue-eyed people are rich.

  110. 110 Nate, Portland OR
    March 27, 2009 at 18:14

    I’d like to briefly address the last lady on the show talking about the problems with mixed marriages. First, here in the USA we’ve got LOTS of children from mixed marriages and by and large they’re doing great. Her comments hit home, however, since I’m married to a lovely Indian woman who’s about 6 months preggers with our first child.

    While I don’t yet know how he’ll get along at school, I expect in the long-run he’ll benefit from his mixed background. From me they’ll have a familiarity with, and sense of belonging to, the dominant culture. From my wife he’ll have a wider perspective on the world and an ability to fit in with a growing segment of the US upper-middle class (Asian Indian Americans). Given the apparent acceptability of anti-white sentiment in much of the world, it’ll probably be to his advantage to be non-white. He’ll be my little covert cracker.

    I have the sense that a lot of the “structural racism” mentioned earlier in the show is increasingly due not so much to educated minorities not getting opportunities, but rather to the destruction of the cultural infrastructure that leads to people being well-adjusted and getting an education. My son, given two well-educated parents, hopefully will not have that problem.

  111. 111 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 18:22

    Your guest brought up the police example, I presume Amadou Diallo. Whites are mistakenly shot by the police all the time. It just doesn’t make the news. Some girl (white) was shot and killed by the police for holding a bag of potato chips as she excited her car after they ordered her to get out of the car. It just doesn’t make the news unless the victim is a minority.

  112. 112 Hera
    March 27, 2009 at 18:25

    I think this is a silly question, which should not even be asked!! Of course it is not okay to actually be racist and hateful towards anybody at all. Perhaps what Lula da Silva said was politically incorrect in the sense that he was referring to western people through “stereotyped” physical characteristics they may have. That in itself is not racist, it is just unthinkable for any westerner to refer to any non-western person by their skin-type or nose size for example. This is unacceptable nowadays, because it has been associated with racial discrimination and hatred in the past. However, we should take care not to quickly label a comment as racist and look at the intention behind it. We are too hypersensitive nowadays. We should stop being obsessed with physical differences and whether mentioning them may or may not be construed as racism. Physical difference is something we all share. Nobody would get offended for being referred to as somebody who has two eyes and a mouth, yet there is so much controversy in talking about hair colour or skin colour to refer to somebody. So I think:

    a) People should actually stop focussing on physical difference. Ok it’s there to a certain extent, and so what? It doesn’t say anything about who we are inside!

    b)Before accusing someone of being racist, we should look at what his intention is. If he says, “those white people, I hate them and they should die”- then okay that is racism and out of order. Misusing the word “racism” is just unhelpful in actually understanding and ‘identifying’ ‘real’ cases of racism

  113. 113 Sudha
    March 27, 2009 at 18:26

    I’m from India and I do observe that there is a certain license for me (that I make full use of) to make caustic remarks about the ‘white westerner.’ It’s my small way of correcting the power imbalances in this world that have existed since the colonial period and continue to permeate our discourses.

  114. 114 iris baiocchi
    March 27, 2009 at 18:29

    I was born and raised in Brazil, of german parents, and I grew up in the south of the country among people of all kinds of color and ethnic backgounds. I never thought about the color of the skin of my neighbors or friends. Until I came to the US that is . Where I grew up discrimination had something to do with money ( and education ) and since we were sort of poor I certainly noticed it. I guess Lula was speaking to a brazilian audience, we don’t mince words, but we use images to soften the blow. After all most of the money manipulators who precipitated the crisis are certainly part of a white group of people. Talk about their blue eyes and you are saying that the culprits are Americans and their partners in Germany, England, France, etc..
    It was a way of pointing the finger of blame in a brazilian way of speaking.

  115. 115 Micheal O'Riain
    March 27, 2009 at 18:30

    The Brazillian president forgot to mention “white” taxpayers are forced to subsidize the Third World instead of using their resources for their own people. White people invented radio, cars, aircraft, computers, mobiles, space-craft. What did the non-whites invent? The rest of the world should express gratitude for our initiatives.

  116. 116 Lamii Kpargoi
    March 27, 2009 at 18:33

    It is not acceptable to be racist to anyone. But I think we can understand when people of the same race make racist remarks about each other. If a white man says something about white people I don’t think it is racist. Isn’t the Brazilian president white? If it were Jacob Zuma or Robert Mugabe that had said it then we would be in our rights to discuss it.

    Lamii Kpargoi
    From Liberia but writing from Paris

  117. 117 Brad Cook - Bloomington, Indiana.
    March 27, 2009 at 18:34

    The last caller that said that people of color have no mechanism to then repress whites doesn’t understand anything. With us who are white, we feel we have to be extra careful around people of color so to not offend them. Even if we do or do not offend them all the people of race have to do is to label any white person a racist and we are automatically labelled (especially if the story makes its way into the press.)

    If you don’t believe there was a story here in the U.S. many years ago where a man is a budget meeting at some company used the term “niggardly”. The definition for this word is “to be stingy”. The word has nothing to do with a person of color, yet the man at this budget meeting was immediately labelled a racist. This story is known as the David Howard incident and actually can be found on Wikipedia at:


    Other incidents can be found at that same site.

    However, those of us that are white are tired of constantly being under the threat of being labeled. It is not our fault that a small percentage of our white ancestors were slave holders, but people of color have also been slave holders and I believe there are still countries out there today that continue to practice slavery.

    Give the rest of us a break – especially those of us that are not racist.

  118. 118 Adam
    March 27, 2009 at 18:34

    It seems to me that, nowadays, the word “RACISM” became a “trade mark” associated with the “inappropriate” behavior of white people towards mainly black people.

  119. 119 Mohammud
    March 27, 2009 at 18:35

    There is unfortunately a clear racism in the speech of the Brazil’s leader, and totally unacceptable. He should not forget that there are many with brown eyes who has nothing to do with the crisis as there are also a lot of people in other part the human community who should be blamed including he himself. Racist words happened several times against every human community. But why BBC pick only this one to be discussed. In others, BBC usually say little in its news only.

  120. 120 Bryan
    March 27, 2009 at 18:38

    Actually, it’s good to see a debate like this, given that the BBC has been force-feeding the public leftie PC propaganda for so long. Perhaps the BBC is finally emerging from its rigid thought control and its obsession with its favoured (non-white) victim groups.

    Yes, whites are victims of racism as well, BBC. I am glad that you are finally coming to realise this.

  121. 121 Liz
    March 27, 2009 at 18:40

    Racism stems from ignorant generalizations that attempt to fit people into neat categories that have little to no bearing on reality. In reference to the Brazilian president’s statement: Not all blonde-haired, blue-eyed people are wealthy or guilty of contributing to the global financial crisis. Comments like that seek to scapegoat an entire group of people, most of whom are victims as well. Behind all scape-goating is a form of mob mentality which seeks to place blame on any easily identifiable target, regardless of culpability. Perhaps we should move beyond infantile blame games and towards constructive solutions.

  122. 122 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    March 27, 2009 at 18:41

    Unprovoked racism is a NO! NO!, whatever be the context.

    I’ve made a distinction between provoked and unprovoked since provoking anyone is most likely to get a negative response which may at times be a rascist response.

    The problem is that racism is thousands of years old: included in and supported by religions! Isn’t calling someone a Pagan, Kaffir, Infidel or Unbeliever racist?

    Every race or tribe has something negative (racist) to say about every other race or tribe. They may have respect and admiration for one another too.

    As per my understanding of human development we’ve ALL developed from or evolved from competing tribes. So fighting with one another, competing with one another is almost genetic. As kids most of us are told stories, fables and tales which alert us to the lying, cheating or whatever nature of another group of people. So we have almost genetic racism reinforced by cultural and religious racism.

    Ross Atkins asked: Is President Lula being realistic or racist?

    The answer is he is being realistic and racist!

    Why realistic?
    Because the world’s financial system is predominantly controlled and run by ‘Whites’. And this particular crisis was caused by or originated from America.

    Should he (President Lula) have said such things or is racism against whites acceptable?
    My answer to both is a BIG NO!

  123. 123 David
    March 27, 2009 at 18:41

    I grew up in Santiago, Chile and now live in the US. This is a complete disrespect and embarrassment to himself as the country’s leader and the people he represent.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was old Joe from down the street saying it, but a nation’s president, President from ***Brazil***?

    Bottom line, this was uncalled for and wrong. He needs to apologize.

  124. 124 Karen
    March 27, 2009 at 18:42

    Is it the people in Brazil’s white skin and blue eyes that make them act a certain way or is it something else, like their financial situation? If a discussion doesn’t truthfully apply to *all* people who look a certain way, then the discussion should instead focus on what those people really have in common that makes them do what they do. Anything else will only muddy the waters and complicate both understanding and solutions to problems.

  125. 125 crossandra
    March 27, 2009 at 18:44

    No form of racism is acceptable, but it’s reprehensible that this notion of racism against whites is being put forward. Study the statistics. Who controls the world’s economy? Who uses the lion’s share of the world’s resources? Who wages war? If things are being said against the people who perpetrate suffering on the world, then is that racism? Racism is when you can’t get jobs, housing, decent wages, etc. because your race is perceived as being inferior. The human anatomy is the same the world over and a doctor in one country should be a doctor in any country. But how many doctors do you know who are taxi drivers in Europe and Canada? Do you know any white doctors who are working as taxi drivers in India or Bangladesh. If anyone in this forum knows of one, please post your reply and I’ll change my view that racism against whites even exists. Please don’t whip up imaginary things because you’re jealous of the progress other communities are making in spite of all that they’ve suffered from concrete racism. Rosa Parkes wasn’t even allowed a seat on a bus, which she defied. One of my relatives, who is an ophthalmologist, used to say that people wouldn’t sit next him on the bus in London when he was a student because he was coloured. Yes, blacks created blacks-only businesses to help their community come up because nobody else was giving them a chance. Blacks don’t control the resources of the world. The non-white population is the majority of the world, yet it’s the white population that lords over everything. Something happens to one white person in some remote corner of the world, and it’s in all the media. Bomb Afghanistan every day and kill its children, but all the media talk about are the NATO troops who are killed.

  126. 126 Tom K in Mpls
    March 27, 2009 at 18:46

    Listening to the grandmother on the air, it is easy to sum her up. Like most people, she is unwilling to admit that some of her views are what most people call bad. She is a racist. She means well… Also she knows well the cost of fighting for freedom. She is unwilling to pay the price and would prefer that her family would not fight either.

  127. 127 Patti in Florida
    March 27, 2009 at 18:47

    To the lady who opposes interracial marriages, is there a respectul way to say what a load of manure! There are people who are racist, and people who are not racist, but what do you call people who are racist and don’t know it? (or admit it).

    There might be more difficulties in an interracial relationship, but there might not be, that isn’t something you can always predict.

  128. 128 Steve
    March 27, 2009 at 18:47

    @ Brad

    That “niggardly” story took place right here in Washington, DC. He was forced to apologize, and had to resign, though later the city realized it was so wrong in its actions it offered him his job back, which he refused. All this because someone didn’t know what a word meant.

  129. 129 Erin in Portland OR
    March 27, 2009 at 18:48

    And at some point history needs to be just that–in the past. We need to learn from it so we don’t repeat it, we don’t need to look back at it so we can live in it and constantly be saying “I’m sorry” for the mistakes made. What does that accomplish? How does that move us forward to anything better? I don’t believe racism is inevitable or inescapable because of what dead people perpetrated against others for hundreds of years, and ignorant racist alive today continue to do. Take responsibility for your own actions. If you want to focus your life on the past, waste your life that way. If you want to learn from history to live a better life, then maybe you have something to contribute to others and the world.

  130. 130 CJ McAuley
    March 27, 2009 at 18:48

    Lula must be a wing nut. Brazil will be part of the G20 meeting. Does he honestly believe that such comments will further his cause? I just Googled him, and he looks pretty “white” to me; but maybe he was only talking about “blue-eyed” whites. I have no prejudice against wing nuts as my country”s PM (Harper,Canada) is also a wing nut! Of course, I don’t much like him either!!!

  131. 131 Margaret
    March 27, 2009 at 18:50

    Hello from Multi-Language Switzerland, where we are black-haired, browneyed, Blond, brown, red, you name it, we have it.
    Racism is an end to a means. Lula and Mugabe scream “Whites make us poor” while they steal and stuff away millions.
    And even when their people is starving, when the economy is destroyed, their black neighbours will still nod their heads (while buying assets very cheap for help): “White people did this.”
    Congratulations Lula! While most whites laugh, you can stuff your pockets, be the useless, greedy loudmouth and still your people will meekly repeat: “White people make us poor”

    The richest people are middle-eastern by the way…

  132. 132 Genesis, Tanzania
    March 27, 2009 at 18:50

    Talking of racism, I have always wondered why a person of mixed race i.e white and black is considered black? Why not white? For example how can we say president Barack Obama is black?

  133. 133 Vijay
    March 27, 2009 at 18:57

    Is racism more acceptable if it’s aimed at white people?

    Well no, of course not.

    At the moment I am in India, suffering racism because of my mothers European origin and Christian heritage,it is difficult to get justice here especially if you are mixed race or from the UK
    .Whether it is in the court of the Deputy Commissioner Patiala or on the street.

  134. 134 Sudha
    March 27, 2009 at 18:58

    Nirmala’s story is irrelevant. we can do nothing about personal choices and prejudices. the point is can you make public statements about the same, such as Lula did.

  135. 135 Micheal O'Riain
    March 27, 2009 at 18:59

    Perhaps the Brazillian president expects foreign aid charity to originate from non-whites. Then he will wait forever.

  136. 136 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    March 27, 2009 at 19:00

    Re: Genesis, Tanzania, March 27, 2009 at 18:50
    Talking of racism, I have always wondered why a person of mixed race i.e white and black is considered black? Why not white? For example how can we say president Barack Obama is black?

    The reason why President Obama is called black is because we live in a predominantly patriarchal system. President Obama’s father was a Kenyan/African/Black and his mother was White but he is called Black because of his paternity!

  137. 137 Michael
    March 27, 2009 at 19:03

    As someone who comes from a very multi-ethnic family I have to say that the difficulties of such a family (and there are some) are far outweighed by the benefits and the children – far from being twisted freaks – can grow up to be extremely proud of their heritage and much more considerate and thoughtful about others. Of Burmese, Chinese-Malay, Indian, Irish, Italian and German heritages and familial connections the only one I am ashamed to mention in polite company is English – but, then, I am Australian born and raised and there are limits!

  138. 138 Margaret
    March 27, 2009 at 19:05

    Yes, Genesis, I thought the same… a lilywhite mother.
    And “Blacks can’t be racist” but if you are only half black (like Obama, the heroe) in South Africa you will not get any help under the Black Empowerment Act , you will be “not black enough”…. even if you live in the slums together with “Blacker” ones who have “whiter” skin..
    We should never forget, those who point a finger and make up differences just need a scapegoat to hide behind to do their crimes!

    And here we are talking about “Marriages” — again not realised what that smokeshield is about: stealing from the people he is elected by!

  139. March 27, 2009 at 19:06

    As far as I see it , it is all about race and economics. Around the world, including in Brazil, there is a direct correlation between skin tone and economic power. This is a sad reality. It is the same thing in the US, South Africa, Jamaica etc. I think President Lula was echoing this economic reality in his speech. However, I do not think President Lula’s comments were appropriate. Sure black people can be “racist” according to the definition of the word….in fact, I cringe whenever I watch a socalled black movie and derogatory comments are made about the token white person in the film…
    However, having lived in the US I can say there is something to the idea of racism = prejudice + power.
    Oh….glad to hear what people REALLY think about AIDS in Africa!!

  140. 140 Mike
    March 27, 2009 at 19:12

    That also goes back to American policies that went away over a hundred years ago. Officially, one was considered “black” if his ancestry was at least 1/16 of African descent. Under that definition, I’ll bet that there are a lot of white, blue eyed people who are officially black.

  141. 141 Jake
    March 27, 2009 at 19:14

    Obama is black because that is how people read him when they meet him in this country. I’m part French, but when people see they don’t see that. I’m mostly American Indian and that is what shows (although, most people don’t “read” that either because there are so few American Indians, they don’t expect to ever meet one and ask me what foreign country I come from).

    Alot of African American passed over to being white over the years. I heard one estimate that 150,000 “passed over’ during the 1930’s-1950’s. Most white Americans whose families have been in the country for more than 200 years are part black. They just don’t know it because the ancestor “passed” as white and married into white families. Some covered by claiming to be Indian. There is some conjecture that Winston Churchill’s American maternal relatives were part black, and claimed to be Indian instead, because that was more acceptable (athough, it still meant they couldn’t marry into New York society, so they went to England with their money and found a poor nobleman).

  142. March 27, 2009 at 19:17

    Judging by the comments on this page I think I will like to propose a new definition for racism:

    RACISM = Prejudice + Extreme Ignorance!

    @Micheal O’Riain who said: “White people invented radio, cars, aircraft, computers, mobiles, space-craft. What did the non-whites invent? The rest of the world should express gratitude for our initiatives.”

    On behalf of all non-white people everywhere; I will like to express my deepest gratitude for “white people” inventing the atom bomb and nuclear weapons. We are so grateful,

  143. March 27, 2009 at 19:19

    First, a matter of semantics: We are all one race. There are no separate species of humans, no scientific differentiation with regard to skin color or gender. Perhaps if we began to fix our language, our attitudes would follow.

    On this specific question, any person who offers an opinion based solely on skin color, gender, sexual orientation or identification, religion, age, culture, nation or tribe of origin, or geography simply is exhibiting ignorance and prejudice.

    As long as we tolerate an us-and-them mentality, genocide, injustice, intifada, and inequality will continue unabated.

    As long as we do not challenge such ignorance it will have free reign, continuing to hurt the victims (and this question demonstrates that really all of us are victims) and allow the perpetrators to avoid truly seeing the shifiting ground on which their opinions are based.

    So challenge some prejudice today!

  144. 144 Mike
    March 27, 2009 at 19:25

    Very well put, Cindi Huss.

  145. 145 Jake
    March 27, 2009 at 19:29

    Sociological studies are very useful in understanding racism. I’m surprised none were quoted on air. Or what the term racism means versus prejudice.

    Simply feeling bad because you might hurt someone’s feelings is not the same as being turned down for a housing loan or given higher interest rates due to race. Studies (not simply anecdotal stories) show that race plays a big role in this. Also, police violence is statistically greater for African Americans in this country. These are measurable differences between groups. Our society favors certain groups. Even black people in this country in sociological studies favor white people over people of their own race. Height plays a factor. It was found that for every inch a man earns several thousand more dollars over his lifetime. Hence, a 6-foot tall, handsome, white man will do very well on Wall Street. Obviously, things are changing, perhaps more so in this country than in other places.

  146. 146 Philip
    March 27, 2009 at 19:55

    I wish I could have been near my computer and a phone, rather than in my car while listening to this piece today.
    I don’t understand racism, nor those who continue to embattle those that are different from themselves, I think that the diversity in the world is what makes it interesting, rich and worth living in.
    As a white male living in the USA, I have heard way more about racism than I have experience, but living in the south pacific for 20 years certainly made me a minority and aware for the first time what others experience everyday, in all corners of this planet.
    I views are probably pretty pollianish, but I have strong feelings about peoples need to be accepting of others diversities and difference and look for the common ground. You don’t have to love everything about another nor embrace their ideals to not find something interest and of value about them, irregardless of race, creed or color.
    Geographic, social and politcal difference should be expected, applauded and accepted as the norm.

  147. 147 Tyler Frost
    March 27, 2009 at 19:57

    Here in America racism against whites is tolerated and overlooked, even by many whites themselves. It’s absolutely hypocritical and unacceptable. Many blacks in this country have become so accustomed to blaming racism for all their problems that they take no personal responsibility for their own actions. I live in very mixed neighborhood in the city of Denver, Colorado. Every day I see black youths comitting crimes and playing the gangster role even though they are in financially stable homes, not underprivilaged like portrayed. Whites are more sucessful here not because of some “white privilage”. It’s because they work for it and don’t expect handouts. Like many white Americans that were once open minded about race, I have become more cynical and guarded and have no sympathy at all for blacks, even in cases where they are discriminated against. Is that racist? It’s surely racial and based on my dealings with blacks in reality, not some idealistic fantasy. That said, however, there are plenty of blacks who are good, hard working, respectable people that choose to do the best they can, just like many of us. The media would do well to expose the racial double standard and put an end to it by exposure. Then we will all be accountable for our own actions instead of blaming someone else for our personal shortcomings.

  148. 148 Bryan
    March 27, 2009 at 19:58

    136 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I

    “The reason why President Obama is called black is because we live in a predominantly patriarchal system. President Obama’s father was a Kenyan/African/Black and his mother was White but he is called Black because of his paternity!”

    Dunno about that. He is regarded as black because black trumps white in PC America.

  149. 149 Martin
    March 27, 2009 at 20:06

    The short answer is: Yes it is. But only to those caught up in Group Dominance Orientation and/or Right-Wing Authoritarianism. And, not for those exercising the ethical use of power, nor those devoted to the ethical focus on tradition(s), nor those devoted to neither position.

    By associating the problem with the words “white people” and “blue-eyed,” the speaker has mobalized group dominance orientation — the enhanced expression of Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) that is associated with increased ethical violations as well as it’s specific manefestations of bigotry and discrimination. This, in turn, mobalizes Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) — the tendancy to be loyal followers of authorities (i.e. dominant individuals and groups).

    As demonstrated experimentally by (Son Hing, et. al.) people high on SDO tend to commit more ethical violations than others. Those high in RWA tend to cooperate in committing ethical violations — but _only_ when acting in combination with a leader high in SDO.

    As Son Hing et. al. suggest, organizations should be cautious about hiring/appointing/selecting high SDO individuals for positions involving “high-stakes decision making” when “contextual factors (e.g. reward systems) encourage unethical decision-making.” Furthermore, high SDO mentors should not be pared with high proteges high on either factor. Son Hing et. al. further suggest that organizations emphasize a culture of “ethics and judicious questioning of authority” over profiteering or exploitation.


    Altemeyer, B. (1996) The authoritarian spectre, Harvard University Press
    Altemeyer, B. (1998) The “other authoritarian personality.” In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol 30 pp. 47-92). Academic Press
    Son Hing, L. S. et. al. (2007) Authoritarian Dynamics and Unethical Decision Making: High social dominance orientation leaders and high right-wing authoritarianism followers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2007) Vol. 92 No. 1 pp 67-81

  150. 150 Tony Pistilli
    March 27, 2009 at 20:07

    Good and gentle people of the BBC can we please stop seeing the world through the prism of race? This financial debacle was caused by greedy people on Wall Street {and around the world} ,and I bet if you investigate those Financial Firms that caused this catastrophe a good percentage of them will prove to have people (men and women) of color, as well as white; Muslim as well as Christian, Atheist as well as Budhist.
    For don’t you see, that greed is a nondenominational, non-discriminatory vice? It goes beyond race, beyond culture, but not beyond human nature; it is part of human nature itself. Greed, in short, is human, and we are all human. The DNA difference between a black in AFrica and a Swede in Europe is like one or two letters; hardly any difference at all, and metaphorically, it is a certainty that all of us have the greed gene, but some of us may have been fortunate enough to that this greed gene is recessive. But make no mistake, greed is there, it is part of that nasty, sordid beast that is in us all.
    All this President of Brazil should have said was, “there, but for the Grace of God, go I.” Let’s see how long his own administration stays free from corruption.
    And so, we are all victims! Victims of our own human foibles and failures, which failures are unique to no specific race or culture.
    And by the way, we are all successes, too. For, the human spirit prevails in spite of these shortcomings; and all of us, black and white, somehow learn to love, and learn to give, and learn to help, and learn to be good human beings, not because of our color but because of our unique capacity to be just what we are: human beings!
    To paraphrase Shakespeare: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our race, but in ourselves.”

  151. March 27, 2009 at 20:08

    As I see it, President Lula’s comment was aimed at white and blue eyes. He also said that they think that they know everything, in fact they know nothing.
    This is clearly a man full of anger and indignation. Who can blame him? The white with blue eyes were/are the superior ones in the past 500 years or so. They were the ones who went around the world to colonize. conquer, fix and run the shows the ways they saw fit. When they were at the height of their power, were there such a things called racism, human right, democracy? Now that, they can not always get their ways, they develop double standard to new level.
    IMF, World Bank and lots of other international organisations, financial and otherwise are western-orientated, western-centred.
    President Lula wanted to take them down a peg or two. I could not help to smile when I heard his not very stateman-like outburst.

  152. March 27, 2009 at 20:25

    RACISM….sounds more whitish.

    It`s origin is white, hence it would be less of hate if it is only against white.

    Though it does not really pay to hate

  153. 153 Erin in Portland OR
    March 27, 2009 at 20:46

    Re: Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    March 27, 2009 at 19:00

    Re: Genesis, Tanzania, March 27, 2009 at 18:50
    Talking of racism, I have always wondered why a person of mixed race i.e white and black is considered black? Why not white? For example how can we say president Barack Obama is black?

    The reason why President Obama is called black is because we live in a predominantly patriarchal system. President Obama’s father was a Kenyan/African/Black and his mother was White but he is called Black because of his paternity!

    Sorry, I don’t know where you are from, but in America, where Barack Obama is from, a mixed race man or woman, regardless of which side they received their black heritage, is referred to as black. It’s not logical. To answer the original question, it goes back to slavery days in this country. Any mixed race person was not allowed to consider themselves equal to a full blooded white. It was a “social placement” for mixed raced individuals, while at the same time allowing them to be considered slaves when that practice was still legal. Their black heritage was considered “more” important, but obviously not in a better way. Today and in my opinion since the 1960’s race movement in this country, there has been a shift to be more proud of that side of your heritage. But as it can still effect a person’s life significantly in this country, it’s understandable that an individual would chose to identify more with one side of their heritage than the other. Another double standard? Sure, but that’s my take on why a person who has one white parent and one black parent is still considered by most others and referred to by themselves as simply black.

  154. 154 Geraldo Lima
    March 27, 2009 at 21:59

    That was the must ridiculous comment that I have ever heard from a leader of a big country:
    1) Most of the Brazilian population is white, with European roots.
    2) Brazil has the 8th biggest GDP in the world and one of the most diversified economies in the industrialized world.
    So that in some way he has blamed his own country!
    However… however, everybody knows who is to be blamed for this sorry situation and it is not a matter of skin color.

  155. 155 Gringo Jon
    March 27, 2009 at 22:31

    “Ha ha!” is my response to President Lula who now lives in opulence compared to his compatriots. Are they poor because they are inferior or because of the inhumane way the leaders of Latin America have treated the people of their regions? Maybe his feeling come from the observation that the leaders from Tierra Del Fuego to the Rio Grande are usually in possession of less melanin.
    Well then where are the great uprisings against tyranny that could have ended these oppressions?
    Are these blue eyed devils that caused this economic crisis in other countries or are they the Brazilians that have made their country a country of murdered orphans and people so poor that hope is not part of their vocabulary?
    Why not just chase them out and make it on their own or will the group next in line with slightly more tint become the new devils.
    Lula must have been reading Farrakhan.

  156. 156 Iyasele Isioma
    March 28, 2009 at 00:54

    President Lula’s comments were just unfortunate and of a bad taste. I guess the man just got carried away while thinking of the economic catastrophe caused by the “blue-eyed Wall Street devils”!

  157. 157 Listener
    March 28, 2009 at 02:26

    There is an old say: Octopus hates each other just because the other one who can expel darker ink.

  158. 158 alex
    March 28, 2009 at 02:40

    Lula is little better than Mussolini. He is trying to divide Brazillians between whites and rights since his first term. My country lives well with diversity, but this man is ruining the delicate balance we enjoy here. The worst thing is that freedom and democracy dies under great aplause. People in Brazil would rather receive a fishtail than to learn how to fish. And they are willing to sacrifice justice and fairness for this fishtail. Social programs and low unemployment justify corruption, stupidity and irresponsability.

    In universities, Lula’s government has charted applicants and called them black or wihte, to receive different rules of appliance. Two twins, both (obvioulsy) with caucasian and african origins, were called black one and white the other!!! This “mishap” enraged many people, but the failed system remains.

    There’s nothing in Brazilian politics that indicate this wll change. The next president will be judged by employment and social programs, no matter how corrupt, racist or idiot he is.

    I hope that the rest of the world finally recognizes Lula’s true face. He has received too much benevolence so far. Don’t be fooled by his poor origins and sometimes pretty speach. This man is about power by all means.

  159. 159 Lynda Finn
    March 28, 2009 at 05:40

    Racism is not only unacceptable but where it is a social norm, results in the insidious twisting of a child’s mind.

    In some schools we have Zero Tolerance to drugs, bullying and violence. But more than that we need to have zero tolerance built into our curriculum so that children learn about diversity and tolerance and the joys of other cultures.

    Unless children learn from a young age, that racism (and religious bias) is an invidious evil, they will grow up to hate, despise and blame other cultures – as we see happening all over the world.

    No point in saving our world form global warming if the people in it are all bent on hating and killing one another.

  160. 160 Jean-Michel
    March 28, 2009 at 05:49

    The colour of your skin does not excuse or make acceptable any racist comment. The just accept the concept of race among the human species is a fallacy and a demonstration of insecurity that must be challenged.

  161. 161 Des Currie
    March 28, 2009 at 06:00

    Don’t be so prissy. The president made his point. Quite well, I would think.
    Des Currie

  162. 162 surafel
    March 28, 2009 at 07:20

    no it’s not acceptable, whether it is aimed at white people or the black or any other. of course we can not deny history, there was time when white people were engulfed by extreme selfishness, arrogance and beliefs and deny the natural rights of humans beings from justice, equal rights to live, to pursue happiness and so on. But science, technology have shown to us every human can achieve without any preconditions of pedigree,race and depending only his knowledge, skills, persistence and passion. by large the world has come to accept these.
    i think it is very sad to hear a president speak narrowly about the global financial downturn relating it to the faults of the white people and to turn it in to another round of anger and hatred. Racism should not be the way either for a leader or to the normal crowd to understand and deal with the common daily challenges. the global financial downturn is a result of only a failed system of unregulated credit practice, excess greed and corruption, wherever it is.
    i have been a believer that we have passed the age where people are discriminated on the color of their screen, but once again i started to doubt if our world really make any changes to consider people anywhere for what actions they take, the content of their characters, what are their beliefs and value systems. the people of brazil should clearly get the meaning when their president speaks about racism, they should have a big doubt in his leadership. a leader should unite not discriminate, should have vision for a better future and solutions to improve the daily challenges instead of blaming other parts of the world for the economic crisis his people are facing. he should lead his people to ask the right questions: whether they were taken up by the tide, whether the economic boom the country enjoys before the start of the crisis was the result of broad based economic development, whether the quality of life in the country was improved, or the economic glory was only enjoyed by the few who were favored by his government.
    when the president was speaking about white people surely he was referring to the Americans and the British.But these nations are not only failures, rather they are the hosts of much of the modern civilization, freedom of expression, democracy, equal opportunity, technology and science and of course the wealth.In history the people of these nations thrived with the rest of the world to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, disease, and tyranny. They have promoted and shared democracy, freedom of speech, technology, innovation, and the way of life which is now enjoyed in most parts of the world.

  163. 163 Archibald in Oregon
    March 28, 2009 at 07:26

    Small minds say small things. The truth hurts. What does it matter. Move on, or remain stagnant.

  164. 164 Joanne
    March 28, 2009 at 07:33

    First off, what do we mean by “white”? These ideas of race, and people fitting into a particular colour category are not as airtight as they might have once been, or as globally accepted.

    Over here, we (friends and I) are incredulous that people of mixed descent call themselves “black”; but we grew up across the border from Apartheid South Africa – we have the concept of “coloureds”. Does someone of mixed descent who, on the surface, appears white, still qualify as being white? – I don’t think the criteria for colour coding is quite what it used to be.

    But its still ridiculous that some want to make blanket statements based solely on skin colour.

  165. 165 Marge
    March 28, 2009 at 08:03

    So Lula De Silva’s anti white statements raises his political appeal to his non-white society.

    Me, I’m white and proud of it Lula. We have invented almost everything including many medical and scientific benefits for all mankind, and most of us are not racist like Lula.

  166. 166 Femi Adesanya
    March 28, 2009 at 08:31

    Racism is ugly. Were all white people racist, it would be wrong to hate them for their colour. Hate them for their racist ideas and whatever denigration of other races they perpetrate but never for their colour.

    Whatever his motives were, Lula’s comments are especially crass and irresponsible for the president of a multi-racial country.

    I am sure he does not speak for the good people of Brazil.

  167. 167 Mark Crossman
    March 28, 2009 at 08:33

    A very controversial comment, indeed and worth discussion.

  168. March 28, 2009 at 08:59

    I find that the whole world has gone “politically correct bananas”, the Brazilian president was expressing a thought probably thought by many people, perhaps his terminology was slightly skewwiff.
    At this present time most countries are being protectionist e.g.France, is this not a form of racism as seemed to be defined by the earlier comments . I am ENGLISH, living in Spain and I am blue eyed, I am suffering due to the rate of exchange as I am retired but as I cannot speak Spanish fluently, I have no chance of getting a job on the Spanish circuit, so my blame goes to all the “bankers” irrespective of so called colour, creed, sexual orientation, disability, ageist,sex or any of the other ‘isms that I may have forgot.
    Treat people as you would like to be treated irespective of any of the above ‘isms and do be so petty minded

  169. 169 hiward scitt
    March 28, 2009 at 09:24

    Racism aimed at Europeans

    Unfortunately there is a lot of racism aimed at Europeans and even more unfortunately it is generally acceptable amongst many people.

    I am European.

    So how do I react to the racism that I encounted?

    Well, my shoulders are broad enough and I don’t let it upset me too much. But it does give me greater insight into human nature. Human nature is not perfect and most likely never will be. So racism of all kinds will continue.

    Best, we just get on with living and enjoy all the wonderful aspects of life and not let bad experiences hold us up.


  170. 170 Bryan
    March 28, 2009 at 11:18

    I guess those two very white blondes flanking the president in the photo have blue eyes.

  171. 171 George UK
    March 28, 2009 at 13:11

    Although i have encountered incidents of racist behaviour myself i am not going to post any here like many of the people above have. I will only say that racism is a universal phenomenon; a law of nature well inherent and rooted in us. Discrimination against black people is only an individual manifestation of it. In that sense, avesrion against overweight people or this particular subtle respectful behaviour we are taught to display to the elderly people or to the disable ones, i think, falls in the same category of racism. People need to understand that anything deviating from the average “human model” attracts our attention, which in a social scale mounts up to become a massive phenomenon. This average ”human model” is a cultural and social construction. That means, in its turn, that racism is being re-produced by means of being underplayed in our daily life. Even this particular forum over here contributes a great deal to the reproduction and perpetuation of racist feelings. My arguement is that racism does not necessarilly have to be aversion against but also a special positive treatment towards.

  172. 172 Luise
    March 28, 2009 at 14:26

    What does it matter which people the racism is aimed at? Racism is racism and people that don’t accept others can’t be accepted.

  173. 173 Nicholas Union
    March 28, 2009 at 15:07

    Racism is the greatest malaise that the whole of humanity MUST face.

    There is ONE race, ONE genus…..the HUMAN race……certainly there are various differences be they ethnic, gender religious, language and so on…..so what?

    Bob Marley knew it, ONE LOVE [pardon my hippie idealism] and WAR.

    ‘Until the philosophy which hold
    one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently
    discredited and abandoned
    Everywhere is war…’

    Invariably wars are manipulations by vested interests……minerals, land, oil, etc etc etc.

    As long as fertility is not an issue, any consenting man can get it together with any consenting woman and create another human being……racism is one of a number of fallacies used by cruel and ignorant people who invariably have a vested interest in the status quo, which is destroying OUR planet.

    Such as; Who really gives a toss how one kneels and prays? [For those that pray at all]

    If we as a genus do not sort our s**t out now, as James Lovelock puts it, the human race shall be reduced to a few breeding pairs…….

    Despite his unsavoury references, Lula da Silva has done us all a favour by putting this issue on the public table…..as it should be…because it is always there as a point of division……..as Bob said ONE LOVE.

  174. 174 Pierre Kazoni
    March 28, 2009 at 16:25

    My comment is on the recent remarks from the Pope about condom when he visited Africa. I think what the Holy Father wants to say is that whatever is made by man is imperfect. There is no way you can compare the efficaciousness of the condom with abstenance. If you abstain from sex you can never contract the aids virus unless you decide to share needles or have a cut with an object which is contaminated. So Pope Benedict XVI and the Orleans Bishop are 100% right. We must encourage our youth to abstain from sex until they are married and be faithful to their partners.

  175. March 28, 2009 at 16:39

    Normally, we give people more leeway when they blame their own race. He looks pretty white to me. Yes, I know what “white” means in the US. It probably did not have that meaning in Brazil. Anyway, he did not used the word “white”. He was not speaking in English.

    He lead off with “poor people didn’t cause this problem”, which to me looks like he says it’s caused by rich people in rich countries (US and in Europe). Few people are going to dispute him on this. The “blue eyed” reference seems odd to me. Was it a translation problem, or did they phrase have some meaning in Brazil? Like when we say “blue blood”, we don’t mean it literally.

  176. 176 Luci Smith
    March 28, 2009 at 19:09

    Thank you, Jake! You said it!
    I had to come back today to say what I forgot yesterday in my first comment: that blacks and latinos have been given worse sub-prime loans in California than whites.
    Lula could have said that the whole thing was due to English speakers who were not fluent in Portugese, too!
    Being a renter, I have no fear of losing my house because somebody sold me a bad mortgage, but my pity is not going to help somebody who gets put out of their house.
    I am happy that people are protesting in London this weekend before the G 20 meeting. This is our world and not the bankers’s or the warmongerer’s or AIG’s. It is ours and if our leaders do not understand that, then it is our duty to remind them in countries where there is democracy.
    Peace and remember to turn off your lights at 20:30 Saturday night – Copenhagen in Dec. 2009 – new energy goals for our planet!

  177. 177 A
    March 28, 2009 at 19:49

    I think the world service always put forward a white agenda, as if the west is always the most advanced society on earth. I was appalled to hear the report of an Middle Eastern woman given asylum in the USA because of her abusive father, as if these social behaviours do not take place in the west, just look at Fritzl in Switzerland, and I am sure plenty of other cases occur here in the UK, if you care to look for such shady distorted reporting start in your own country first and compare like for like, in human conditioning. Religion, culture, systems, society values are only superficial parameters that operate outside what it means to be human, without race or colour. Our obsession with dominating each other is routed in our love of materialism without morality.

  178. March 28, 2009 at 21:32

    Reverse discrimination, racism against people of white color, is a sign of the times. Regardless, greed is green.

  179. 179 John Hoyt
    March 28, 2009 at 21:47

    Yes, racism is OK if it’s directed at relatively well-off white, middle class people (like me). If that makes me a “cracker” . . . well, I guess that’s OK LOL.

  180. 180 Thiago Lia Fook Meira Braga
    March 28, 2009 at 22:19

    I am deeply ashamed of the statement made by President Lula, wich does not corresponds to what we, brazilian people, really think. Unfortunately, when Mr. Lula decides to make an adress without reading a text previously prepeared he always makes embarrassing declarations.

  181. 181 Dennis Junior
    March 29, 2009 at 01:49

    I am going to keep my comments on this VERY SENSITIVE issue…Simple, Racism is not acceptable on any one or towards each other….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  182. 182 Renato
    March 29, 2009 at 03:08

    It is surprising that there are some who still use words like “people of color”. I agree it is a matter of semantics as well. Brazil’s president may have been unwise about his choice of words. But at the same time, we very often express ourselves using inadequate words without even realizing they may be prejudicial or racist.

  183. March 29, 2009 at 07:50

    I applaud Lula’s honesty, in a way. Racism is at its ugliest when it is justified in the name of ‘equality’.

    My South African boyfriend is a white Afrikaner whose ancestors have lived in South Africa since the 17th century. He is at the bottom of every employment list, his culture and language are increasingly excluded from mainstream culture, his relatives have suffered farm attacks and live in constant fear of more.

    All in the name of ‘positive discrimination’ and ‘equality’. Payback for an apartheid system he had nothing to do with.

    And who now mentions the xenophobic attacks in May 2008 by South African blacks on black foreigners? 60 people were burnt to death and worse.

    Yet the belief persists that only white people can be racist in South Africa.

  184. 184 Dinesh
    March 29, 2009 at 10:01

    Dear All, I feel the Brazilian President is missing the point here. It’s no individual who has created this problem. It’s basically a result of LACT OF REGULATIONS AND TRANSPERANCY that has created this economic crisis. This could happen also in China, India or even in Brazil – if you have an economy as big as US / Europe and it’s unregulated. Greed increases and one bad act leads to another – exactly like one lie leads to another.

    So let us not blame any individual or community or skin color. Its Greed and ONLY Greed.

    The best way forward is to regulate the banking system – the corporate and investment banking systems – asset management systems and let us build-in 100% transparency into the mechanism.

    We all learnt about basic – DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN – It never existed.

    Let us have the best practices in Risk management – as an early warning system and to blow the whistle on time.

    Its a wake-up call to work harder to safe guard the future of our next generations.

  185. 185 SIMON EVANS
    March 29, 2009 at 13:43

    This is the same president Lula who, upon seeing the skyscrapers of Nairobi for the first time was famously heard to comment “It doesn´t even look like Africa”. the fact is the Brazilian political class is sorely lacking in intellectuals with the baggage for such a difficult job. In the final analysis, however, he will be judged by what he does for Brazil, rather than for his many gaffes.

  186. 186 globalcomedy
    March 29, 2009 at 15:36

    What he said was racist. But also, there’s an element of truth in it that nobody wants to admit.

    I think he was talking about the people at the top who are responsible for this meltdown. Think of all of the powerful people named by the MSM. Name one person that’s a person of color? I haven’t seen one.

    So in that sense, he’s exposing another inequality in the system. How many people of color are Fortune 500 CEO’s? Still, an extremely small number. Also, the MSM in the States sadly uses race as a tool for ratings/profit. Instead of actually having a real debate that could lead eventually to positive change.

    I say look at the whole picture.

  187. March 29, 2009 at 15:47

    Racism is prejudice plus power, and frankly only white people have had the power to determine the destinies of entire people. I know that it sounds harsh because on an interpersonal level it is hard for a lot of white people to understand the more macro implications, but slavery and imperial projects pretty much settle that debate. Certainly, anyone can be prejudiced and bigoted, but racism is wholly something else, as is genocide, its ugly cousin.

  188. 188 Nicholas Union
    March 29, 2009 at 16:20

    Two Australian jokes that are relevant to this conversation;

    “How do you know that Adam and Eve weren’t Blackfellas?
    They would have eaten the snake.”

    ……..a gag from Australian actor Ningali Lawson

    “Australians are wonderful people
    Lend you their last dollar
    Give you the shirt off their backs
    Give you a meal

    It’s only white Australians I can’t stand”

    …….the late great Irish performer Dave Allen, who wryly commented, “I bet the edit that one out when it gets to Sydney”……it wasn’t.

  189. March 29, 2009 at 16:22

    Hello ~

    Apropos the the President of Brazil’s comment:

    First of all I do hope the BBc is not playing that old Divide & Rule game. That would not be cool.
    In fact, that would be dishonest and dangerous for all of us. This sort of attitude of divide and rule would also not allow proper discussion of Race and its myrid problems, seen and unseen. Avowed and disavowed.

    Second: Race is a highly sensitive issue and there is a link between Exclusion and Race, or any other prejudice, bias – when it comes to money. Who owns it, who makes the rules, etc., etc. There is a tremendous imbalance in the world right now in the area of Capital-ism and all conflict, personal or pubic, seems to occur when we begin to wonder who is really shaping and controlling our ability to take care of our own individual lives….

    Third: Capital-ism and the World Economy is not sustainable, for all our futures – as it has been run and it is run, currently. We are all in agreement here, right….??

    Therefore, we ought to perhaps consider that Mr. Lula da Silva, was only trying to address the elephant/s in the room and since Banking & Finance, like most things on this planet are run and ruled by the Europeans of a predominantly
    Fair-er skin…. well, it’s possible to put one’s foot in one’s mouth and hurt feelings…. while attempting to state the facts, yes….??

    So – Lets take it nice N easy. Park feelings one side. Use Reason, Facts, Truth, Track records and other good stuff, while we try to solve such a huge issue…. of Race & Money.

    Take care.

  190. 190 Greg
    March 29, 2009 at 16:31

    Of course it is acceptable to be racist towards white people. If the PM in the UK had said that the crisis was the fault of brown people he would already have been forced out of office and half the world would be calling for trade sanctions against the UK. The very use of the terms like “white” is racist. There is nothing about the color of our skin that determines who we are as people. We usually use white to refer to an incredibly diverse group of peoples (the same goes for terms like black, Asian, etc.) People don’t want to think about the world as a complex place where all individuals are worthy of respect as individuals. So we use short-hand labels for huge groups that are not all that similar to each other. But in the modern world only one group is fair game for open hatred, contempt, and discrimination: whites. To be fair, hatred, contempt, and discrimination still exist against the other races as well, but we (rightly) condemn open discrimination against these groups. The world needs to get to a point where all racism faces equal condemnation.
    Haile Selassie summed it up nicely:
    “That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained”

  191. 191 Carlos
    March 29, 2009 at 17:28

    Oh, shame on us! I come here as a Brazilian, to assert that I and most of my Countrymen/women are simply horrified at this statement by our unfortunate president.
    We are educated in Brazil with the true (scientifically sound)statement that there is one only human race, “Homo Sapiens’ (sapiens?…). And now this…
    I can only apologize, hopeing that light could illuminate a little better (some of)our polititians and agree with many of the writers in this column, on issues like:
    -Racism is racism, period
    -Racism = Prejudice + Extreme Ignorance
    -The only human race is Humankind

  192. 192 Alan
    March 29, 2009 at 22:13

    Well, your featured comment from Andrew of Australia gives the best summary.
    All racism is bad. For additional examination , we can ask whether the
    Brazilian leader’s comments were per se racist or whether they were
    actually merely using ethnic identity as a signpost pointing to
    Wall Street and The City.

  193. 193 Jeff Minter
    March 29, 2009 at 23:59

    Despite making up only 20% of the world population, whites overwhelmingly have control of the vast majority of the world’s military, political and economic power. This translates to ingrained, almost subconscious prejudice wherever you go – in the Far East whites are looked upon almost as Gods, given preference in jobs with “leader” status, and given the benefit of the doubt on opinions.

    It is why you see a different kind of racism when in non-white majority countries – almost like a kind of envy, the need to be respected by whites, as opposed to being condescending and derogatory towards them, as is the case in white majority countries.

    White history has played a major part in this – obviously in shaping the wealth of the current population across the world, but also in its “prestige” in imperialism, conquering and exploiting countries, in a way making itself the default race of this planet.

    It also means that those in charge – the ones who pull the strings, makes the decisions, changes things (mostly white) – can completely unlevel the playing field right from the start. That is what most whites, and even many non-whites, don’t understand – that there is automatically more bias given towards whites, whether its applying for a job, or listening to a point of view – because it is easier to agree with someone who looks like you, and to turn a blind eye to one’s faults if they are of the same race as you.


  194. 194 dÁlbert
    March 30, 2009 at 03:18

    Reply to Ándrew, Australia’
    NO, Andrew, “”Racism not ugly and reprehensible.”” BUT ODIOUS, OFFENSIVE and TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE whether it is against Blacks, Whites, Browns, Yellows OR EVEN “THE GREENS”of whatever ETHNICITY ! It should be roundly condemned whereever it rears its head, even from “COMRADE LULA” !

  195. 195 Ebony
    March 30, 2009 at 06:01

    This is a touchy subject for me and I am appalled by some people’s comments on this post– but I will say that racism stems from IGNORANCE and FEAR. As a young black American woman I have experienced prejudiced attitudes from both whites and non-whites. Racism also comes from history and stereotypes–which the media doesn’t help in any way. In nyc, a non-white taxi driver pulled up close to the curb and once he saw that I was black, pulled away despite that I had my hand on the handle. My ex, who is white was attacked by two black guys. I have friends from all over the world and yet when I see them, their skin color is the last thing I see although I celebrate their diversity.

    As I get older, I sadly realize that it doesn’t matter if I have a Master’s degree, how I dress, how I present myself to some, they may always carry that stereotype of a black woman in their head. Some white people have told me that I speak “well” and are surprised that I want to travel to different countries in Europe and Asia and that I speak another foreign language other than English, although my parents are from the US. Some blacks have told me that I’m a “sell-out”. I hate on job applications when they ask my race. I usually check “other” and write “human race” in the blank. Although they claim it’s for statistical purposes, a nagging feeling in the back of my mind says otherwise. I think what people should be questioning and condemning which really hasn’t been brought up in this post is “Institutionalized Racism” carried out by ALL RACES. Really, people need to get it in their thick skill that there is one race on this planet–HUMAN.

  196. 196 Ebony
    March 30, 2009 at 06:04

    This is a touchy subject for me, but I will say that racism stems from IGNORANCE and FEAR. As a young black American woman I have experienced prejudiced attitudes from both whites and non-whites. Racism also comes from history and stereotypes–which the media doesn’t help in any way. In nyc, a non-white taxi driver pulled up close to the curb and once he saw that I was black, pulled away despite that I had my hand on the handle. My ex, who is white was attacked by two black guys. I have friends from all over the world and yet when I see them, their skin color is the last thing I see although I celebrate their diversity.

    As I get older, I sadly realize that it doesn’t matter if I have a Master’s degree, how I dress, how I present myself to some, they may always carry that stereotype of a black woman in their head. Some white people have told me that I speak “well” and are surprised that I want to travel to different countries in Europe and Asia and that I speak another foreign language other than English, although my parents are from the US. Some blacks have told me that I’m a “sell-out”. I hate on job applications when they ask my race. I usually check “other” and write “human race” in the blank. Although they claim it’s for statistical purposes, a nagging feeling in the back of my mind says otherwise. I think what people should be questioning and condemning which really hasn’t been brought up in this post is “Institutionalized Racism” carried out by ALL RACES. Really, people need to get it in their thick skull that there is one race on this planet–HUMAN.

  197. March 30, 2009 at 07:48

    if Lula speech was known to have been heard because of him being bugged in his house without knowing,then it could have been understood as the normal domestic talk that could possibly be around even in a billion years to come heard from all races and even from intellectuals…its these types of talks that could create feelings if they were aimed at the public…anyway,with the financial crisis at its peak,protectionism cant be avoided and so such scenes could also be a thing thats done by everybody and therefore not a big deal…like death has become normal since osama started being tracked,not because of him tracking.


  198. 198 robin
    March 30, 2009 at 09:52

    Is racism more acceptable if it’s aimed at white people ?
    if we agree that it’s acceptable,then this idea itself is already a kind of racism
    people,regardless of the races should not be descrimintated under any circumstances

  199. 199 Bill
    March 30, 2009 at 11:34

    Yes racism is more acceptable, but it is the exact same character flaw regardless of the target race. First, I must let many of those who have posted that most white people do not have blue eyes. Blue eyes are a recessive trait, but yes, I have been called blond haired blue eyed devil, even though my hair and eyes are brown and I have hispanic heritage.

    The real problem with allowing racism only against whites, is the people who are perpetrating the racist behavior can just as easily transfer it to another race, or even thier own race. In Mexico the Spanish people are racist against the natives, but thankfully, but the native and Spanish heritage Mexicans can join in their racism against gringo. It seems that media thinks that only white people should not be racist, that somehow white people are of such superior morality, that they are disallowed from acting inappropriately, but those of color are of inferior morality and are incapable of understanding their own misbehavior.

    The cold hard fact is the color of one’s skin and eyes have nothing to do with character and morality. Biologists note that skin and eye color are of the least signifgant differences in species. Those who do practice racism, even against whites, are showing thier lack of intelligence, lack of character and lack of morality. If I am guilty of one thing, its being bigoted towards bigots. Its a shame that human treat their own brothers and sisters so poorly just because of the melanin content of their skin.

    March 30, 2009 at 11:46

    racism is amonster that should never be given the opportunity to grow. those that nutures it may never be around when it will start devouring its victims. brazillians wont be an exception so Mr president should be cautious of his statement, and offer an appology. The crisis is a collaboration of a greedy prvillegded few but we can all support to work it out rather than fuel another problem.

  201. 201 Mel - Boston, USA
    March 30, 2009 at 13:05

    Racism is wrong period! Unfortunately the media is primarily responsible for its continuation by reporting about White or Black or Latino or whatever color people or being Christian or Jewish or Islamic or whatever. Just report the facts and forget the color of the skin or their religion. People are people no matter what the color skin they have or what faith they follow.

  202. March 30, 2009 at 13:30

    The problem is not race. The problem have been the Vestiges of the Cold War such as Republicans and Democtrats regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, and religion. I am a US Latin who is a Libertarian who believes that the Republicans and Democrats [as well as those of the left and right] should accept responsibility for the current crisis and resign.

  203. 203 VictorK
    March 30, 2009 at 15:49

    @Renato: it’s a bit oversensitive to object to the phrase ‘people of colour’. As far as I can tell it was popularised, if not invented, by ‘people of colour’. Isn’t it much better than using ‘non-white’ (being defined negatively & entirely with reference to somebody else!)? But that does seem to be the nature of race: to make people tread very carefully.

    There’s a contradiction between the number of people who have written that race is unimportant, or meaningless, or non-existent – we all being members of the human race – and the day-to-day realities of most people’s lives in a multi-racial setting. Race can be significant, though not always for purely racial reasons, since it’s often allied with differences in religion and culture. I don’t think denying this leaves anyone better-placed to solve social problems.

  204. March 30, 2009 at 19:24

    What does the term racism mean , is it an evasive term used to describe White Supremacy? I would like to hear a discussion within the European American community or the European community throughout the world concerning their opinion of what the White Supremacy ethos has done and is doing to the world community. Let us hear from Whites about their reasons for feeling Superior, and do they think there is a cover-up of the White Supremacy issue by mixing it with Religionism, Ethnocentrism and calling it all “Racism”. There is only one problem and it is not between the races, it is caused by White Supremacy attitudes against all people of color throughout the world. Whites in America can’t accept the fact that they are European Americans whose ancestors came from aboard just like those of the Asian Americans, African Americans, Australian American etc. The victims of White Supremacy in America and throughout the world are continually scrutinized as to how well they have improved themselves. Why don’t the moderate whites come forward and publicly address White Supremacy and stop hiding behind the sanitized term of “Racism“. A good start would be to use the term European American in the media to help Whites in America get more in touch with what being an American means.

  205. 205 Dennis Junior
    March 31, 2009 at 04:01

    The President of Brazil does not realise it that in most persons eyes…That he is/could be classify as a “White Person”..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  206. 206 Roberto
    March 31, 2009 at 09:20

    RE “” irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes.”””

    ———- Now, I like what Lula has done for Brazil. If nothing else he is a patriot of the people, but one needs to remember he’s a politician first and foremost, so he’s playing to a larger audience.

    That only a minority of whites have blue eyes and that no eye pigmentation studies have been done on the big global bankers is irrelevant to the message Lula is disseminating. By pigmentation Lula would be classified as white, so as the “white” leader of one of the world’s largest economies, perhaps he’s just engaging in the time honored practice of foot in the mouth.

    At any rate, the majority of the world’s top 10 richest people are from 3rd world countries, a new development that the unimaginative media seldom addresses when talking about global economics. Carlos Slim in Mexico has a gazillion times more impact on US policy than my scrawny vote does for example.

    G-20, G-10, G-2, it matters little how the press divides up these state moguls for classification as they are almost always insular from 99.9% of the population and act almost always exclusively to manage their power base of control.

    Any scientist worth his salt could establish proof of the existence of evil in these summits as precious good for the people of planet to come out of it if history is any indicator..

  207. 207 VictorK
    March 31, 2009 at 12:00

    @Mr C: you write as if you’ve stepped out of a time machine from 1940s South Carolina to the WHYS blog today.

    A conscious and endemic sense of ‘White supremacy’ has been dead for decades. You’re fighting shadows.

    More interesting issues are the deep sense of racial consciousness that continues to exist amongst Blacks, Latinos, and Asians, whether they need to progress beyond that – as Westerners officially, and by and large actually, have – or whether race-consciousness is a perfectly acceptable way of thinking (and acting), in which case what objections can there be to Whites also thinking in that way, too?

  208. 208 Josephine Bacon
    March 31, 2009 at 16:44

    Yes, racism is considered to be “ok” if it is against white people, for instance “Marxism Today” published some sneering remarks about the names of the products in IKEA because Swedish people are white. If they had laughed at African names, for instance, that would have been considered racism. I wrote a letter of protest, which was not published, of course, because the extreme left does not believe in democracy or the right of reply, unless it is in their favour.
    Anti-Zionism which is a covert form of anti-semitism is also a sort of anti-white racism as it is directed against “honorary whites” who are trying to protect themselves from the attacks of Arabs who have become “honorary blacks” in the eyes of the extreme left.

  209. 209 Jake
    March 31, 2009 at 17:13

    Once again racism is systemic and prejudice is personal.

    It isn’t racism if they can’t deny you access to opportunity and it is statistical measurable not anecdotal. Based on that there is no racism against white people. There is prejudice uttered by people of color who have been historical oppressed by those who call themselves “white” in this country.

    The question should be framed “Is it okay to give voice to prejudicial opinions against white people?”

  210. 210 Bill
    April 9, 2009 at 10:12


  211. 211 celestin kakule kiza
    April 13, 2009 at 13:51

    It’s normal for human beings to be attached and sympathize more his same -race fellow creatures like ” birds of a same feather flock together ” this fact speak by itself how racist every body is ’cause differenciation compares to separation, racists are those who hate other race’s approach around them , or feel disdain. racism aimed to whites is as unacceptable as to blacks.

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