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Race

As promised after our discussion of race and Kramer last night, here are a couple of links. The first is from Stuart Hall lecturing on the topic of "Race: The Floating Signifier." The popping bass music and intro from Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing dates it as sometime around the early 1990s. Hall is from Jamaica (a British possession since the era of Cromwell with a slave-labor regime until the 1850s), and we will talk more about him (and read something from him) when we get back from the holiday.

Here is a much longer version of the Stuart Hall video than the one I originally posted. It has most of the lecture as well as an interview with Hall.


The second video is Michael Richards (better known as Seinfeld's Kramer) apologizing on the David Letterman show for his racist tirade at the Laugh Factory comedy club in LA. If you want to see his tirade, it's easy enough to find. In this clip, after the really uncomfortable moments at the beginning, Richards tries to explain racism from his personal vantage point.

We'll be talking a lot more about race, racism, and multiculturalism over the next few weeks, so any comments here are appreciated. What is Race and racism for Hall? What about Richards?

Comments

Stuart Hall has an interesting idea concerning race and racism. He argued in the video that race is fluid in its nature. We may use race to label and divide ourselves, but it is something that can never be fixed; rather it is subject to redefinition and cannot be secured in its meaning. Meanwhile, Michael Richards, seemingly lacking the articulation of Stuart Hall, was unable to sufficiently describe his ideas about race. Minus when he is onstage throwing around racial epithets like candy. It was clear, however, that Richards sees a clear and fixed boundary between races. For him, there is a black and white conflict and he supports the solidarity among the black community, in reference to his performance. To Richards, race is something that is a concrete thing, black vs. white. I believe the danger that lies in racism is when all members of a community are subject to the same sweeping generalizations, as demonstrated in the initial portion of the Hall video. It is when there is a mentality of "us vs. them" that agitates situations, which Richards displayed onstage and on camera.

I looked up the actual film of what happened and then I watched the interview with Matt Lauer of two of the kids Richards was yelling at. The tape of the actual incident was just insane. The things he was saying were not just out of anger. His comments clearly were a manifestation of some deep rooted racism. When I get made at my friends who are a different race than me I do not go off on a tangent yelling racial slurs. To say what he said has to have come from some racism inside that people did not know existed in him. I also do not think that it was the best idea to go on the Letterman and apologize. He would not even meet with the kids personally to apologize to their faces.

Wow. What 2 powerful videos you chose to display. All my emotions got riled up while watching both videos. Race and racism by the definition of Hall is a good way to define it. It is not merely the way a person's biological construct is, but it is the way people associate the way a person looks to other racial slurrs that people in society are so used to saying. As for the second video, i felt so bad for Richards as i was watchign that video. I dont know exactly what happened while he was performing that he was apoligizing for, but when he was stuttering and he said, "but im not a racist, i dont know why i said those things." it made me realize that people subconsciously hold within them racist ideals and they subconsciously act using those ideals no matter how much they claim that they are not racist.

Race and racism are cultural constructs to Hall, and it is true that it is like a language in terms of the way people identify one another. The injustices of the past will not allow race and all the issues that accompany it simply go away.

For the first video, Hall says that racism is not genetic but a social factor. It changes with context, such as the Jews during Hitler's time since he said that they had the money and that they were responsible for the defeat of Germany in the First World War. Over six million Jews were killed and many almost dead from the concentration camps. This was an example of economic and putting the blame on types of racism, skin color doesn't even factor in.

In the second video, it seems that Richards was under a lot of duress before and during that night. From the comments given from the hecklers, who happened to be African American, something snapped and he went on his tirade. No one really knows how one will act in certain circumstances. Richards says he is not a racist yet something fired out of him and it came through loud and clear. This does not condone his actions but sometimes there is something inside of people that comes out hostile.

I reviewed the website www.snaithprimary.eril.net/wcontent.htm and had a difficult time finding similarities in Orwell's England Your England. However, there were two things that caught my attention and that was the link dedicated to British war propaganda. Orwell in England Your England writes that the British people hate war and an equal distaste for the military but the propaganda appears to show the opposite. Orwell, though writes whats in the British papers is not indicative of the British people and this could be true of the propaganda. The other link I found interesting was the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which is established to honor the soldiers and citizens of World War II. I thought this was contradictory of Orwell's England Your England in that it glorifys war. In England Your England Orwell remarks that the only war literature that is glorified is that of past retreats and loses. However, once again this can just be seen as the British Patriotism Orwell writes of. The other website www.ppu.org.uk/learn/infodocs/cos/index.html fits Orwell's England Your England more appropriately than the other site. On this site the British hatred of war and the army are demonstrated here. This website all shows the class struggle between the common people who were common soldiers and the Commanding Officers CO's who usually came from the upper class. Here Orwell's statement that there are two types of law one for the rich and one for the poor are seen in how the officers were treated from the common soldier.

Michael Richards argues that he's "A performer" and that part of what he does is to "push the envelope". I didn't see his whole routine but the clip I did see didn't seem very funny. The racist tirade wasn't the least bit amusing. He knew what he was doing, to backpedal and apologize may be the politically correct thing to do. I doubt it is sincere. On the subject of race and racism. No one can condone the use of the "N" word by Michael Richards (a white man), however, a double standard seems to exist when watching black comedians. When Richard Pryor, Chris Rock,Martin Lawrence or any other black comedian/performer uses the "N" word it's accepted without batting an eye. Just listen to rap music. No one calls that racist. Just a thought.

Hall's definition of race as a floating signifier and a language, excludes bioligical foundations of race that were established in the 19th century. However, I argue that the reality of race that we see with our eyes has been engrained biologically in our society. Although the genetic concept of race is nonexistant in modern science, the biology of race is very much so a fact of our modern society.

An article I read in a public health course "Relationship between Premature Mortality and Socioeconomic Factors in Black and White Populations of US Metropolitan Areas" (you can find via google scholar) concludes:

"Social scientists, in this view, proceed from a theoretical framework, make observations about historical events, and attempt to give these events meaning. In biology, on the other hand, the scientist uses empirical methods to gather facts, in order to discover truths about the natural world. On further reflection, however, it is clear that the distinction is illusory, created not by inherent properties of these disciplines but by their socially defined function. Biological facts and associated generalizations do not exist independent of our ability to observe them, the questions behind the experiments that create them, or their utility as tools or explanations. The interpretation of social forces is likewise contingent on our descriptive resources and prior assumptions and hypotheses. In both cases, the observed "truth" or the imputed "meaning" do not belong to some external reality but signify relationships in a socially determined context.

Discrimination and racial segregation are the hallmarks of institutionalized racism in this country, which has been one of the most important historical determinants of the distribution of resources, power, and privilege. [n1,n3,n38-n40] We found that the percentage of the population that is black and income inequality were significant predictors of premature mortality in both blacks and whites, and segregation was strongly associated with premature mortality for blacks. These relationships conform to the view that racism is a noxious influence on the health of all members of society. Unfortunately, the US debate about the causes of racial differentials in health is all too often focused on individual-level attributes; this overly restrictive focus often suggests that change must occur primarily at the individual level. Clarifying the theoretical assumptions and hypotheses that shape this discourse will help distinguish between inquiry that justifies existing conditions and inquiry that broadens our understanding of these observations to promote change and improve population health."

Although genetically race-linked disorders are quite rare, race has become a vital indicator of infant mortality (the hallmark of development across the world). Therefore race, or being an African-American in the socio historical cultural context of the United States, predicts drastic difference in biological health.

Another example that pertains to our course would be the colonialization of Africa. by nations like Britain. This history has created within Africa a predisposition to very biological phenomenom- namely AIDS.

Although I agree entirely with Hall's arguement, the biological concept of race has not been sunk without a trace. Its presence in our modern society alludes to a more important question.

I actually went and say part of the stand up act that KKKramer did and saw how this incident is what exactly Stuart Hall is talking about. We see racsism all the time, wether its spoken out loud or its something we just say to ourselves. Stuart Hall states that racism is obvious where ever we go, just because people don't say anything outloud doesnt mean that they are not a racist, everyone is a racist in some way.

Per Nedim's comment above, a really interesting discussion of the socio-cultural foundation of scientific questions can be found in Donna Haraway's book "Simians, Cyborgs and Women: the re-invention of nature."

In Hall's analysis, it is true that people divide themselves based on characteristics that are usually superficial. Still, by comparing mortality rates and other data, people learn what kind of impact these social constructs have. Race is now biologically ingrained, as Nedim stated. Racial and ethnic profiling are acceptable if an imminent threat, such as terrorism, surfaces. The biggest gap in life expectancy in the United States is based on gender, not race. More and more evidence suggests that men, and not just minorities, are being short-changed by the healthcare system.

Michael Richards does not seem to be taking an appropriate path in apologizing for what he has done. By going on the Late Show, he seems to be trivializing it, whether he intended to make light of the situation or not. It's not easy, but the best course of action is to suck it up and apologize as directly and as soon as possible. Though I don't want to dissect Richards' words, he could have worked on his word choice, since "Afro-American" is a somewhat dated term. Use of the N-word by black people may make a point, as some comedians have done, but it seems to become not only tedious but also self-derogatory.

I finally saw the video of what actually happened, and I admit what he did was wrong. However, a question came to me, why is it ok for two black people to call each other the "N" word but its not ok for another person of another race to call them that, even if the person of another race did not have any mean intentions behind it.

I think Hall's reasons for race separation are proved further after watching Richard's video. Hall says that race isn't biological, but racism occurs because of society. Race is unchangeable, but if societies ideas and views change then racial separation could dissappear. Richard's display on stage was a perfect example of how our society produces racism.

Considering Richard's video, I agree that his excuses of "pushing the envelope" and "being a performer" are pretty lame considering the extent of the racist remarks he is yelling from the stage. While he claims on the Late Show that he isn't racist, he obviously still has issues with race in his life. I think he made the situation worse by coming onto the Late Show obviously unprepared for what he was going to say. While I think I public apology was necessary, I think that the audience wasn't taking him seriously, and it made the apology into a light situation, which it shouldn't have been.

Wow, First I watched the apology and then I went a searched the actual incident and while I was watching the apology I kind of felt bad for Richards but in watching his racial tirade I definitly do not feel sorry for him anymore. It was not just a slip of the mouth or a joke gone bad, it was very intentional and repeated several time. It makes you wonder where that comes from in a person. Did some incident take place earlier in Richards life that this hatred has spawned from, or is this just a result of society's white patriarchal views being deeply embedded in a person and surfacing in the worst way possible. He claims he is not a racist yet he was saying racist remarks....so what is his definition of a racist? Racism, thank the lord, does not take the forms it used i.e. hanging, beating, segregation etc.... it is more internal now, it has to be. It is the side thoughts that any one of us could have about any social situation in which minorities are a part of and we may not even realize that these thoughts are in fact racist. I think this horrible event should create a good space to re-examine our own thoughts about racism. It is obviously easy, as Richards displayed, to claim that a person is not racist but what happens when we privately pick apart how we feel towards minorities. I think that this really create some good dialog in this nation and really let people asses what forms racism takes now. Is racism simply just internalized now and with that repression comes random tirades of hatred? Hopefully not everyone feels as Richards does but regardless maybe this will provoke some national thought in regards to racism today.

I think the Michael Richards video is very offensive. I don't believe his apology is completely heart felt, I think he is sorry that he got caught and it may possibly ruin the rest of his career. I think Richards has some anger issues that he needs to work on. But here is what I don't get how come society accepts black people being racist towards white people, but white people are not suppose to be racist towards anyone? I don't think anyone should be racist, but I don't understand the double standards in our society.

I agree with Hall that racism is based on the social context. I saw a video in high school that kind of demonstrated this theory because they took elementary kids and divided them by their eye color. Then when they were all together again, they stayed with other children who had the same eye color and were mean to those that did not have the same color of eyes.

Also, with Richard's apology I don't believe his excuse that he said those things just because he is an entertainer. There was nothing funny about it. Even if he was just "pushing the envelope" there is a line to whats funny and whats not. And he should have known better.

Personally I think the Late show was a bad forum to apologize. It also looked really uncomfortable for Jerry.

I think the real issue here comes back down to the discussion we had last tuesday on identity and how individuals identify with each other. The beginning of the hall video started with the presentation of different factors, age, race, gender, social status, and sexuality. The issue here I feel is that they are all serious problems. when any one of them gets addressed in a revolutionary way it is usually bad consequences, genocide, problems with gay marriage, womens suffering, communism. These are or have been very serious and have had a profound effect on the world we live in.

I was not able to watch completely the first video, but I remember the scene from Do the Right Thing. What that (great) scene suggested is two thinks; first, racism is not exclusive of one race, but of all the people. That is, everybody is racist or biased. The other think that the scene suggested is that racism is created by stereotypes, not scientific or empiric proof. This is important for our discussion abut World War II, where Hitler and the Nazis tried to demonstrate through scientific research the supremacy of the Arian race. Curiously, these studies tried to probe racist theories to the educated classes, while the lower class was already pretty racist, and need little to push them toward violence. That is one of the points that Richards said in his apology “I’m not a racist... but it came out of rage, of anger?. I think both Hall and Richard said something true: everybody has biased, and we could repress them, but they could come out when we are angry.

Stuart Hall made some very good points about how since race cannot be defined biologically, meaning there are no significant differences between the races on the genetic level, society creates these differences. Skin color is a difference of one or two genes however societies across the world have linked skin color of one race being inferior to another. Hall also makes the point that because these differences are largely made up by society, there is no chance of them to be dissolved.

Richard's apology seemed un prepared, and the way he made his reasoning behind his rant sound was like when two friends get into an argument over something trivial, or a brother and sister argue over who took the last candy bar, and once there are not any arguments left, each side just uses their passions to unleash their anger. A sister might tell a brother that he is dumber than her because she got better grades even though they may be equally intelligent, and the fact that it has nothing to do with the original argument. It seems as if Richards allowed his passions to get the best of him which especially in his business is absolutly uncalled for. It doesn't seem as if he even has an idea of race or of racism just that he has ways to "promote" them.

I grew up in Russia, Moscow. There were a few students of color living and studying in Moscow. Somehow I never noticed the color or that they were different, they were always just people to me. Nobody ever talked to me about racism and that people have to be treated. I grew up just looking at people. So the thought about difference in race never entered my mind. When I came to US, racism and how people should be treated equally were the only conversations that I remember. That is when I started to focuses on people’s color and how they are different. I suppose the background history is different for Russia and US, but at the same time the more controversy is build up the worse racism issue becomes. I hope that I will not be misunderstood. I do not want to say that racist behavior should not be dealt with, but I just wanted to shear my personal history on racism.

Stuart Hall speaks about racism as being an effect of society rather than merely due to biology, and therefore is subject to change. From a negative standpoint, this could prove to be dangerous. As society changes it can adapt to new forms of racism, even if it is a repressed form. The Michael Richards apology demonstrated one way that racist acts are conducted in our society today. I think that a large number of people in modern society recognize it is dangerous to stereotype or discriminate any category of people, especially when it comes to race. Unfortunately, there are some who still are openly racist and still some who may not even be fully aware they are, or willing to admit that they are knowing that the popular opinion would not be in favor of their position. They might then attempt to bury their true feelings and hide them from those around them. In the Michael Richards video, it seemed to me that he does not want to admit that his outburst was due racism to the general public, and perhaps not even to himself. I think some people would like to believe that they truly view all races solely as the human race, yet do not recognize their own prejudices, in race or other categories. This repressed form of racism can result in outbursts of anger as seen in the comedy club by Michael Richards, where it is possible he may have even surprised himself that night.

I have a final question, if anyone is interested. Have any of you been accused of being prejudiced, or had someone insinuate that you were, when that was the last thing you intended?

Dan M... Yes.

I worked at a gas station for awhile, right down the road on 27th and University -- Citgo. You've probably been there.

I was a cashier and had to keep a close eye on the kids (sometimes adults) and their use of the ol' 5 finger discount.

This was a normal part of the job. Most of the time the kids would be shocked, caught with their pants down so to speak, and after the initial realization of failure they would place the stolen object back and leave the store. However, there was a group of, and here is where race comes into the picture, black girls that I would always catch stealing (gum, candy, pop, frozen burritos what have you) and they would never leave without a fight. On one occasion the most outspoken girl started telling me "you don't know what it's like" and the usual BS jargon (meanwhile I'm thinking, "yea I'm only working in a crappy gas station, but you're right I don't know anything...you stupid blank"). Well, I told her to leave or else I'd have to ban her and on the way out she was muttering "damn white boy's a motherf****in' racist."

A few minutes pass by and then the whole entourage of girls returns to the store, this time aided with a small posse of boys. As they walk in the door I tell them, with all the force I can muster, "Leave now or you'll never be allowed back here." As most of the kids lived in the housing in the neighborhood (the gas station was used as a neighborhood grocery store basically), I was able to fizzle out the situation before it stumbled into the territory of idiotic nonsense.

A few months down the road I quit the job. Other then this one instance, which is really quite minor and petty, I've never been called a racist.

Halls argument is interesting. I agree that race changes its meaning over time. If one were to take a group of kids from birth and put them together without any outside influence, there would be no racism unless it was introduced by the outside. It is a social construct. Iguess I never really thought about it before.
I went to a school that was very diverse. When I was growing up my best friend was black. We both had an interest in cars which is what brought us together. I never really thought about how he was different from me, only how I was jealous that he had more matchbox cars than I did.
We did not care about race, only when we could hang out agian. When we stopped hanging out it was not because we suddenly realized that we were different than eachother, its just that we started to find interests in different things.
About the Kramer vid. I was also able to see the video from the comedy club. He flipped out. Sometimes people disrespect you but I doubt that they were disrespecting him because he was white. They probably just didn't like his comedy. The appology was odd. I think people in the audiance thought it was a joke at first, until Jerry told them to stop laughing. It is a totally different site to see on a show like David Letterman. He is never really serious. All these people that are always funny were serious. I am pretty sure Michael Richards career will take a long time to recover, not that it has been anywhere in the last several years. Better it happen now than when Seinfeld was on the air.

Although I agree with Duyen about there being a double standard when it comes to using the "N" word, I also think there is significant difference when the person using it has experienced the oppression versus a person who has a multitude of privileges that a person of color never has the chance to experience. In reference, specifically, to the "N" word I think its interesting to think about the historical context of the word and how it is used today. Does the fact that certain groups choose to embrace it somehow take away from how degrading and oppressive the word was originally used? To me, the word connotates the idea of white superiority and the frequency of its use in rap music or what have you is offensive to any person of color because it seems to legitimize that idea. I'm curious to know whether the artists who use the word fully understand its origins and what it means to people who lived through that history. I think the way the word is used in our culture today is a way to mask how prevalent racism still is. By using the word more, people can fool themselves into thinking that racism ended with the Civil Rights Movement and it was a thing of the past because even the marginalized groups use the word amongst themselves; so they must be over it. The Michael Richards thing blew up so much partly because he was a celebrity, but also because it was in-your-face racism that most people don't have to experience. I definitely agree with Halls' statement that race changes its meaning over time and I think along with that the definition of racism should change as well, but it seems like now that it is not simply about segregation and equal rights people have a hard time pin-pointing what it means to be racist since it has become so subversive. The Late Show interview demonstrates just this. Richards has such a hard time trying to define what racism is until he just blurts out, "I'm not a racist." I don't understand how people can say such obviously racist things and then believe that they still aren't racist.

I enjoyed Hall's comments on race. His use of classification as a large downfall of racial issues. His point about how when one begins to ask questions based off of racial classifications I think is very true. In our society and age group, regardless of your opinion on the subject, affirmative action is a system of classification. This strikes me as some what of a problem and he urges the utmost care in the relm of politics, which i think is very sound.

In regards to Michael Richards, i was disturbed to read above that he was not willing to meet with the young men he went off on. And there is a difference between pushing the envolope and just being stupid. I haven't decided yet what clip is more uncomfortable, the aplogy or the actual video.

In Hall's interview, he mentions something that, I think really relates to Richard's situation as well as British history. Hall descirbes how dirt belongs in the garden, and when you see it there, you're fine with it. However when you find dirt in the bedroom, then you are aware, on at least a subconcious level, that it isn't supposed to be there. Hall beings this analogy to his discussion be relating it to race--more specifically different races coexisting (or clashing).
In Richards' case, he clashed with the other race when they were heckling him and in an attempt to 'get them out of the bedroom,' he yelled at them in a wildly inappropiate manner.
In terms of British History, Hall's analogyis best seen when britain granted citizenship to all of the people in all of it's pervious empire (most of these people were non-whites). This was seen initially as a good move. Later, when these people started moving to England, they started to get worried about 'changing the face' of Britain, they thought about many ways to stem the flow of these people coming into Britain.
In truth, Hall creats a very good analogy about different races will act towards each other, and evidence of this can be seen in the real world.

reading

Racial slurs and epithets are such "trigger words" in our society today. They are similar to calling a gay man a fag or a woman a slut. They instantly ignite a passion of fury and hurt to the person they are directed at. Even if Richards isn't a racist, he said those things to quickly hurt and enrage the two men. As a comic, he knew perfectly well how get a crowd upset and push peoples' buttons, and he used racism to accomplish just that. Whether or not he's a racist, he's definitely an asshole.

On a side note, I read a quote from Mel Gibson on the topic...

"I feel really bad for the guy. He was obviously in a state of stress. You don't need to be inebriated to be bent out of shape. But my heart went out to the guy."

Wow, that's real sincere of you Mel.. also pretty handy that someone else can take over the place of most hated man in America for the time being!

It seems to me that no matter what verbage is used to make racism sound "better", it is still a disgusting and fundamentally illogical viewpoint. I found the "dirt" comparison especially cruel and hateful. Even people like Orwell were guilty of thinking in a racist mindset. In Marrakech, he admits to caring more for the maltreatment of donkeys than the cruel fate of his fellow human beings. It took him *weeks* to notice the burden of the women lugging wood on the road in front of his home.
It is clear from these videos that the racist mindset has not gone away or lessened much over the years, despite the Civil Rights movement and societal acceptance that racism is wrong.

In referance to the Mel Gibson comment, I just saw a magazine article in Entertainment about Mel Gibson and his recent comments about Jewish people. The article tried to show his "sensitive side" and also showed pictures of him in attractive poses. It seems that the more known figure you are in society it's a much bigger deal if you say offensive things to a community of people. I believe this article had about as much effect as Richards did apologizing on the late night show.

Also, in reference to some of the earlier comments about white people and black people using the N word, I had a professor in an African American literature class address this issue. In order to address this issue he brought up slavery and rap. The n word came about in times of slavery and was very derogatory towards black people. But meaning of words can change over time and he thought it helps people forget the hardships they had to endure. It is inappropriate for a white person to refer to a black person using the same term unless they are really close to the person and even then it may be a bad idea.

In referance to the Mel Gibson comment, I just saw a magazine article in Entertainment about Mel Gibson and his recent comments about Jewish people. The article tried to show his "sensitive side" and also showed pictures of him in attractive poses. It seems that the more known figure you are in society it's a much bigger deal if you say offensive things to a community of people. I believe this article had about as much effect as Richards did apologizing on the late night show.

Also, in reference to some of the earlier comments about white people and black people using the N word, I had a professor in an African American literature class address this issue. In order to address this issue he brought up slavery and rap. The n word came about in times of slavery and was very derogatory towards black people. But meaning of words can change over time and he thought it helps people forget the hardships they had to endure. It is inappropriate for a white person to refer to a black person using the same term unless they are really close to the person and even then it may be a bad idea.

Hall believes that race is fluid, not secure in its meanings, and therefore can never be fixed. I personally tend to agree with this notion for I believe ethnic and racial identities are culturally constructed. Therefore, ethnic identities (exemplified through culture, religion, attitudes, beliefs etc...) change as culture changes, this allows racism to change and evolve as culture changes.
Richards believes racism is a personal struggle. A struggle he must face in order to overcome the strong amount of hate and rage he has in his body. This is a more psychological view of racism and there is a problem with this. If racism is an individual problem then how can it be solved at an institutional level. The answer= it can't be. There is institutional racism and discrimination and if we pass racism off as the plight of individuals then we are ignoring the solutions to multiple institutional problems that occur.

Stuart Hall argues that race and our concepts of it are fluid. I believe the reception of each different immigrant population as they came into the United States is very good evidence in support of Hall's argument. If you look at the various ethnic groups that have immigrated to the United States over the years, you should begin to see a pattern. As each group came over, be it the Italians, the Swedish, the Germans, the Irish, etc., each one has started off on the bottom rung of society. Each was looked at as if they were going to take away jobs and income. Each group has it's own ethnic slurs that became attached to it. When you add race into the picture, something that is all that much more easily identified, it just makes it worse.

Most humans have a tendency to try to classify things. We want to have a place in our minds to put things or people into. We like to pigeon hole things. Most of us feel better, more in control of our world, less threatened by chaos, when we do this. I think this is probably where racism started.

There is also the tendency that most of us have to gravitate towards things that are familiar. More often than not that seems to turn out to be someone similar to ourselves. Oftentimes its based on appearance rather than the shared interests someone mentioned above.

Fortunately, Richards' rant at the the comedy club serves to wake a lot of people up to just how large of a problem racism still is today.

Clearly Michael Richards needs to catch up with the times! His ideas on race are preposterous, and trying to take them back on the Dave Letterman show is even more so! He shows similar views to those of the first British imperialists of the Africans in that they are inferior. Obviously those views brought about the same demise to Richards as to the British empire!

I think for Hall, race is just the result of one's genetic makeup in the amount of color your skin has and nothing more. He is tired of people trying to link race to everything else. For Richards, it is most likely w way he distinguishes between people. He seems to have fallen for the common stereotypes that are applied to races, at least on a subconscious level, and chose to display them (again, intentionally or not) when he got angry. For both race is nothing but color, but Hall essentially ignores it, and tells others too as well, while Richards does not look past it.

Hall seems to point that race is something that evolves over time. Someone above made an excellent point that over US history, there have been many changes as new immigrants have come to the U.S. They usually start out on the bottom of society and eventually become a part of life and are not noticed. I think specifically of the Irish immigrants. They were treated like the low of the low and now, is there anything unusual about having Irish people in the U.S.?
I think that Richard's apology is absolutely insane. Is that even an apology? It was just a way of justifying his actions....which can never be an apology.

I am a terrible opinion on the topic because I am biased by my undying love for Seinfeld, but I think it was a pretty legit apology. He literally said "I am truly, deeply sorry for what I've said", that's about as much an apology as they come. I also enjoy how Jerry has the power to make people stop laughing, too. Always strange to see comedians out of their element...