Open Thread

So, the comments on the Transformers thread are now off. It was getting ridiculous with the trolling and such. And also the having to teach Racism 101, which is time-consuming. Nora actually has a day job, whereas I spend all day looking at the Internet and waiting for it to amuse me.

In that spirit, I’ve decided we need an open thread. Here’s a place where, if you really want, you can ask people to give a seminar on Racism 101. They might not, but you can ask. You can continue to talk about Transformers. You can bring up that Doctor Who thing (but mark it as a spoiler, please). Or bring up something else. Ask a question. Go nuts.

Don’t go too nuts. Because I’m going to be aggressive about moderating this one since it’s my post. Just so everyone knows, THIS is your one warning. If you get out of hand, you’re gone. Most of you don’t need this warning. Thank Hera for you lot.

This thread will remain open until Wednesday. Then I’m going to start talking about Harry Potter.

ETA: A couple of people I’ve been meme tagged!  I will get right on doing that meme thing later this week.  Promise.

77 Responses

  1. the following was left as a comment on Netscape. The article in question was on the NAACP’s decision to retire the “n word”. Angry Black Woman- this post makes me mad but I don’t know how to respond to this guy who goes by “avatar”- he needs Racism 101:

    “I’m a 21/yr old white male living in an all black community, and I can’t drive to my apartment without getting spit or cussed at by blacks.

    Last week I was driving home and black men shot fireworks at my vehicle, when I slammed on my brakes they ran at me yelling profanity and telling me to get out of my car so they can kick my —. I can tell a hundred stories like this, and its been like this for me for years.

    I have never discriminated in my life agianst these people. But since moving to the “big city”, every day is a challenge for me to stop and say to myself that I can’t judge a race by the actions of its members. Every time I meet a black person it has to be the .01% that I’ve never met before, or I’m a racist. Every time I meet a black person they start out being a unique and beautiful person, then end up just like the rest. I’m starting to get racist myself, but its not from my parents or the news, its from the source.”

    WTF!?!?!?!?

  2. dude you bring up an interesting point. i think blacks need to be angry at themselves as well as injustice.

    all i can tell you is don’t let those experiences ruin you. many of us blacks have had alot of racism thrown at us, and most of us still don’t think everyone white person is evil.

    it’s a human nature problem. my advice get out of that neighborhood, if you can.

    i mean that’s why i don’t like driving through the rural south at night or alone cause i know how bad it can get. i figure living in a place like that would be even worse.

  3. how is he saying that he’s not a racist? “I have never discriminated in my life agianst these people”…….these people? what kind of bulls*t is that? i’m gonna stop now cause i fell some heated words coming and i’m not tryin to get banned.

    Angry Black Woman,

    i hear an “I Hate Black People” lecture coming and its not gonna be pretty.

  4. I don’t think blacks need to be angry at themselves. I think that black people need to acknowledge that sometimes people suck, and it doesn’t matter the color. As Rashad mentioned, this situation could easily be recreated if a black person were living in a rural area of the south. But if a black person were to say that white people are evil, there would be a thousand people to jump down his back for doing so.

    The thing is, I don’t buy that 100% of the black people he’s met are evil and mean to him. i also don’t buy that business about not discriminating. It’s easy to tell when you’re dealing with someone who thinks you’re a monkey, even if they don’t express it outwardly. You get what you put out most o the time.

  5. Spoiler of sorts alert.

    seriously – spoilers below.

    don’t say I didn’t warn you….

    {re Dr. Who from early in the Transformer’s comments)

    What I’ve read is that Freema won’t be part of Dr. Who for the first three episodes – but will be joining the show Torchwood – and will then be returning to Dr. Who for the remainder of the season (i.e. the Doctor apparently will now have two companions – at least, perhaps more)

    Personally I think this is going be good – of course I’m an unapologetic die hard Whovian – but I think the new series just keeps getting better – and that both Dr. Who and Torchwood illustrate just how non-risky and dumbed down (and very much at times racist or at least stereotypical) many American SF shows (and movies) are. Torchwood definitely pushes some buttons.

    In terms of the latest season of Dr. Who, I think it was one of the best ever. And in the last episodes a black women saved the world while continuing to demonstrate intelligence and fortitude. Plus, like great Doctor Who the means by which she saved the world were not the typical “blow things up/kill someone/get or make the magic device”.

    All in All, I’m eager for the next seasons of Dr. Who and Torchwood.

    Shannon

  6. just to follow up on my last comment – take a look at this interview with Freema.

    http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/232861

  7. AMEN, madam/sister/president Angry Black Woman

  8. *spoilerish for WHO S3*

    I felt like a very angry 3 year old at the end of the series 3 finale. I sat and sulked and thought “I want Martha!”

    Have to admit to thinking “oh, they’re just going to get another blonde…”, As long as Martha is back on the radar during the season, I’m happy. Having her leave is a great way to resolve her (kind of stupid IMO) unrequited love issue, which held her back a bit (yes, I am speaking of her as if she is real – I’m in deep).

    I just found out tonight that Freema will be on Torchwood, which mollified me, a bit. As long as they don’t turn her into a sex crazed maudlin/friendless weirdo (I kid because I love), I’m happy.

    Martha Jones really means a lot to me. I guess I finally feel like I fit into the world of Who, and I hated to feel that being taken away. So glad she’ll be back.

  9. So, the comments on the Transformers thread are now off. It was getting ridiculous with the trolling and such. And also the having to teach Racism 101, which is time-consuming.

    Well, at least it provides a handy one-stop shopping place to link to when we need to deal with people going “there isn’t any racism any more” or “I don’t know what you mean by ‘privilege'”…sigh.

  10. I just found out tonight that Freema will be on Torchwood, which mollified me, a bit. As long as they don’t turn her into a sex crazed maudlin/friendless weirdo (I kid because I love), I’m happy.

    I’m having this really disturbing mental image of her and Jack bonding at work over their shared unrequited passion for Someone, and where that could end up, very easily…

    I’m sure someone’s already written ‘shipper fic of it, but still!

  11. Where my geeks at?!

    Tell me: Am I not the only one thrilled that they finally brought back “Eureka”? :-D

  12. Thanks for reminding me, Angel! I have to download it. Though I am looking on this new season with trepidation. After that they did to poor Joe “Magical Negro” Morton at the end of last season, I don’t know if I can forgive the show’s writers.

    Anyway, don’t spoil me! I’ll watch it tonight after Harry Potter.

    yes, Martha will be on Torchwood and I heard rumors that there was supposed to be some kind of something with Jack, which I will welcome. Jack is totally hot and Martha is totally hot and I think it’s going to be a Jack, Ianto, Martha sandwich with jack as the meat.

    Mmmm… jack meat.

    That’s almost as hot as the Jack/Jack kiss in the series finale. Wow, that was so hot.

  13. [...] the eye. The comments on this entry are closed. To continue the discussion, visit the latest Open Thread. Before you do, visit the Required Reading post. If you don’t, we are not responsible for the [...]

  14. I should add that I don’t think that Jack would be bad for Martha, per se – it’s just that it would be very funny in a sick sort of way imo if the reason they ended up together was in maudlin consolation of each other, each other being the only other person they could talk to who understood about the heartbreak of the Doctor always running away…

    Altho’ what would be even funnier is, imagine them (either or both, singly or together) explaining their relationship to him & watching him “deal”…or not!

    (“Well, you weren’t here, and s/he was, and we were talking one night about how much I missed you and how s/he felt the same way, and – one thing just led to another, I guess, you know how it is–”

    “N-nooo, I don’t think s–Wait, you – both of you–But doesn’t that – I mean – If I were to – with [him/her/you], then wouldn’t that–” (vague hand gestures)

    “There’s a perfectly good expression you’re looking for. French, originally.”

    (shouted as the Doctor starts runnning away very fast™)

    “It’s menage a trois!

  15. While I agree the menage a trois is an amusing image, I actually hope they don’t link Jack and Martha (if nothing else unless Jack returns to Who next season – something I haven’t yet heard any rumors about – it implies 9 episodes with Martha separated from Jack back with the Doctor…

    In any case let me pose a related but non-Doctor only question.

    Are there any other SF shows, either currently running or in the past, which address race in a positive, non-stereotypical manner (especially where characters are characters – race is a part of who they are, but not the only thing which defines them or their role in the show)?

    i.e. Martha in Doctor Who is a rich and complex character – her blackness is noted and acknowledged, but her character and role clearly were not defined by race or stereotypes (though in some episodes the stereotypes of the time were acknowledged and shown by other character’s reactions to her). So not a fictional universe that was colorblind but something closer to our own.

    But I’m at a loss to think of other shows where this is the case. As was dealt with very well by discussions at Wiscon, Heroes though a show I enjoy greatly is also not without some serious issues in terms of how it uses race and stereotypes to define – at least initially – many of the characters (i.e. “black male criminal”). Yet it does over time give most of the characters more complexity – and it is fairly unusual for American TV in both having a main character not speaking English (Hiro) and having major characters of many different ethnicities (Suresh from India etc).

    Personally I’m waiting for a new wave of entertainment building on perhaps the writings of people like Charlie Stross, Cory Doctorow etc – stories set in a near future (but really being about today) where very likely the main characters arise from all parts of the globe, many (perhaps all) may not be white (heck in some of the post singularity type stories – may not even be recognizably human) and geeks can be real geeks.

    Shannon

  16. Shannon, I’m afraid it won’t come from Hollywood. Did you see that interview with Neil Gaiman on Aint It Cool News, where he explained why he won’t let anyone option Anansi Boys right now, because so far the studios have all said “Great book! We’d love to make a movie of it! Can we make them all white and ditch the fantasy elements?”

    Which has broken a number of brains in the fannish blogosphere, the universal reaction to it being something like WTF is not sufficient.

  17. ABW,

    Stumbled across the dialogue here about the Transformers movie, and it’s been invigorating. I live in a place so culturally tone-deaf it’s easy to think you’re crazy when you go to a movie for a good time and think you see the only *black* robot (couldn’t tell the ethnicity of the others) get sacrificed. My suspicions have been validated here.

    The troll race debate comments are old and tired. Prejudice and racism are alive and well, and the fact that people of color live it everyday doesn’t mean that all white people are racists, nor that they should feel like they have to talk about their own experiences with black people as some kind of counterexample. The Klan may not chase me down the street, but the dirty looks and poor treatment from people who don’t even know me make it evident to me that America still has a long way to go.

    I’ve also found the feminist comments on this blog and others like it enlightening and helpful to me for what I want to teach my daughter as she grows up. I was plenty pissed off at Jazz’ fate, but the issues with the female characters in the movie completely went over my head until I read comments here. Thank you for expanding my worldview.

    AVJ

  18. this comment was posted over on “The Race Card” but I’m moving it here because it’s a bit about that transformers post. ~ABW

    this may or may not pertain to this particular post, but it was from one of the links on your ‘required reading’ page.

    “1) Breathe. Stay calm. Stay civil. Don’t burn bridges. If someone has just said “I think that sounds a bit racist,” don’t mistake it for them saying “you’re Klu Klux Klan racist scum” (which is a mistake an amazing number of white people make).”

    seems like you may need to take a note here. let’s go at it from the opposite side, say someone says something about you; it seems that you make the mistake of assuming the ‘instigator’ (in this case, i just read what you wrote re: the transformers) has purely racial intentions as the motivator for the elements that you perceive as racist. perhaps it’s time to take a step back… and realize that this is a movie. not a ‘documentary,’ but a simple summer movie. i am indian, and there’s a nice little bit about the indian call center when the air force soldier is trying to get through to the pentagon. i looked at my brother, and we kinda shrugged our soldiers.

    perhaps there was a reason for this kind of use of an indian actor. was it racist? probably not. there are tons of these indian call centers going up all over the place. did it ever cross your mind that they wanted bernie mac simply because he’s talented? because he could play the role well? and would it makes sense for him to have a non african-american mami? calling one person ricky ricardo? so?

    it seems that the issue these days with this fringe racism, is that issues are made where there are none. people are called out for the wrong reasons. what if there was a movie where all of the statistics concerning every race were represented. is THAT racist? realist? wrong? right?

    and concerning the race card, i’m sick of reading your take on it. just because it’s called the race card doesn’t mean people are ‘belittling’ your ideas. there are many references to hitting home runs concerning everything, does that mean we’re belittling EVERYTHING to a game? obviously not. it’s just called that because someone said it once, and it stuck. and it happens. plenty of times. people DO play the race card, or the race bullet, if that helps you stomach the whole thing easier. anyhow, i’m pretty sure that your blog is likely a step backward in race relations/racism, but i’m sure you’ll see it as a fight to the finish. good luck.

  19. slackercow,

    Birth of a Nation was a just a movie, too.

    I see the point of discussions like this as to raise awareness about ethnic portrayals in media that could be insensitive, could be racist, but are SURELY wrong.

    I don’t like my people being portrayed as jive-talking, breakdancing robots that have to be sacrificed for the greater good. It may entertain some to see people like me that way, and it may agree comfortably with their worldview, but it’s an offensive stereotype that many black people loathe.

  20. Re: the person cited in blue oak’s post…

    I can’t help but wonder what a white guy is doing living in an all-black ‘hood. Not that he doesn’t have a right to live there… but here in NYC, white kids moving into predominantly PoC neighborhoods are usually the advance guard for a gentrification assault. Again, not that the hostility the kid is experiencing (if not exaggerated/hyperbole) is OK by any stretch, but maybe the reason the people there are reacting badly isn’t so much because he’s white, as because he represents a large-scale threat of displacement/homelessness.

  21. slackercrow,

    it seems that you make the mistake of assuming the ‘instigator’ (in this case, i just read what you wrote re: the transformers) has purely racial intentions as the motivator for the elements that you perceive as racist.

    Not really. The instigator’s intentions are completely irrelevant, IMO.

    I’ve encountered many people, usually well-meaning white liberals but also some people of color, who want to put racism on some kind of continuum of minor to major (with “minor racism” being, say, stuff like the Transformers’ token black robot, and “major racism” being stuff like Jim Crow). These same people seem to feel it’s a waste of time to go after stuff at the minor end of the scale; shouldn’t the energy needed to combat racism be reserved for stuff at the higher end?

    I don’t see racism as a continuum. I can’t help but give all racist incidents equal weight — because the impact is all the same. If the American public has a negative perception of black people due to constant media depictions of us as stupid, lazy, cowardly, violent, walking targets, etc., that *will* affect how the American public treats us in everything from education to employment to housing. The same goes for depictions of Indians as greedy job-stealers, or Latinos as incomprehensible morons, or women as walking blow-up dolls, or whatever. In the end, it all does the same harm.

    So I see it as an absolute: either something is racist or it isn’t. Saying “fringe racism” is kind of like saying “a teensy bit of bubonic plague”; WTF? There’s no such thing as “a little bit racist”, despite what Avenue Q would have us believe, because all those little bits add up.

    That isn’t to say that the response to racism must always be the same. Some racist incidents demand major legal action, a protest, grabbing a gun to defend yourself, whatever. Some incidents only demand an annoyed blog post. But IMO, all racism should be pointed out when it appears, because so many people in this country have been carefully trained in avoiding/deflecting/denying racism. The only way to get past that kind of denial is to shove the deny-er’s nose in it, over and over and over again, until they get it.

    So back to intentions. I don’t believe the producers of Transformers intended to be offensive. I believe the producers of Transformers didn’t give a damn. They didn’t consider potentially alienating a large part of their audience to be important. So this is a case of neglect rather than abuse… but aren’t abuse and neglect *both bad*?? The end result is the same: the lone black character in a set died; a bunch of stereotypes were perpetuated; what should’ve been an enjoyable summer movie was (for me) ruined because of stupid and needless racism.

    What kills me is how many people are angry with me for saying that the racism ruined my enjoyment of the film. Fine, OK, I accept that you were able to completely overlook the elements of the film that I perceived as racist. Yay for you. Wish I could’ve done the same, then I wouldn’t’ve felt like I’d wasted my $12. But how does my saying this harm you? Why are *you* so angry? If you don’t agree, ignore me. Isn’t that what people usually do when they have differing opinions about a simple summer movie? Why do you feel the need to tell me that I’m wrong, wrong, so wrong that it’s an offense to nature, so wrong that you don’t understand why I think I’m right, so wrong that I should just shut up and say nothing from now on? If the film’s racism is “minor” enough that I should ignore it, then why isn’t my opinion “minor” enough for you to ignore?

    Here’s what I think: I think my opinion struck a nerve. I think I made you and all those other angry people notice something you didn’t want to notice, something you were trying very hard *not* to notice, and my post made you feel guilty. And that guilt made you angry. It’s hard, ignoring racism — even for white people. We call it privilege, but really, it takes a lot of energy to maintain. Forces you to erect all kinds of elaborate psychological defense mechanisms to cope. I think that my post poked at your defenses a little, maybe chipped or cracked something somewhere. Did it hurt? I bet it did. But you ought to remember that I’m not the person who made you put up those walls in the first place. Somebody else did that to you. Maybe if you didn’t have those defenses in place, a simple summer movie review wouldn’t have bothered you so much.

  22. perhaps there was a reason for this kind of use of an indian actor. was it racist? probably not.

    It absolutely was! That segment deliberately capitalized on very virulent anti-immigration sentiments in the USA right now.

    If people deny something this simple, the problem is far worse than I thought.

    Racism 101? More like racism pre-school.

    GO ANGRY BLACK WOMAN! ROCK ON! :)

  23. It’s hard, ignoring racism — even for white people. We call it privilege, but really, it takes a lot of energy to maintain. Why do you feel the need to tell me that I’m wrong, wrong, so wrong that it’s an offense to nature, so wrong that you don’t understand why I think I’m right, so wrong that I should just shut up and say nothing from now on? If the film’s racism is “minor” enough that I should ignore it, then why isn’t my opinion “minor” enough for you to ignore?

    This is also very evident in the angry reactions to feminists pointing out the constant background radiation of misogyny in our culture – the screaming, gibbering rage of the MRA trolls in comments just shows how much their consciences are bothering them, as my grandma used to say.

    I think that my post poked at your defenses a little, maybe chipped or cracked something somewhere.

    Reading black film criticism years ago, OTOH, for me made me go “Hey, this also goes for how we women are/aren’t depicted in the media! How come I have only been *kind of* angry and uncomfortable about it, instead of pitchforks-and-torches-furious about being made always the dummy, the projected-fear-of-sex-object, the one-who-gets-killed to “motivate” the only real characters, the Heroic White Guy? Because I haven’t had the ability to articulate it, until now! It’s all part of the same damn problem! And you know what? I’m not going to wear the ‘mask that grins and lies’ anymore either, dammit!”

    And of course once you let yourself notice it and give yourself permission to be angry about it, you can’t *not* notice any more. Because you weren’t really “not noticing” it, all along – you were just averting your eyes from the scorn and the abuse, like looking away from dead animals in the road. But pretending bad things aren’t real never works very well…

  24. well my eyes were’nt opened because of nora’s comments but i think this way of going at the problem won’t fix anything. i mean look at the comments being posted. no-one, at least no-one commenting, is switching sides. in other word’s we’re all just kinda yammering at each other with no results.

    my problem, and i don’t know how many movie/tv reviews u guys do, is that there are for worse examples of racism and bad stereotypes. alot of them created by blacks. the arguments here seem to forgive blacks when they perpetuate racial stereotypes. or or not put some blame on them. if tyrese and anthony anderson were ok with these roles, then shouldn’t you be mad at them for not turning it down. i mean i look at bet and i think 90% promotes bad things. but no-one in the black community gets outraged about that.

    the reason why i think people are more protective and lenient on transformers is because it was a good interpretation of an old childhood cartoon. it reminds you of the fun and innocence of youth, back when jazz being a stereotype didn’t matter and all that did was that a cool car would turn into a robot and blast stuff.

    your review made it seem like that this movie was overflowing with negative portrayals, when to be honest it just wasn’t that bad.

  25. if tyrese and anthony anderson were ok with these roles, then shouldn’t you be mad at them for not turning it down.

    Perhaps some would be, but I’m not. After all, some of us have to eat. Some of us have enough artistic freedom to turn down bullshit roles, some aren’t. heck, maybe the original script wasn’t full of racist bullshit. Blaming actors for taking roles in movies I don’t like is dumb. they have to eat. Now, when you get a pretty powerful actor–say, Eddie Murphy–who can be in what he wants, can even write, direct, and star in what he wants, yet still chooses racist, sexist craziness… then yeah, I’ll get mad at that.

    i mean i look at bet and i think 90% promotes bad things. but no-one in the black community gets outraged about that.

    Um. What rock have you been under? Plenty of black people are totally annoyed with and embarrassed by BET. Ever heard of Aaron McGruder? Sheesh.

    your review made it seem like that this movie was overflowing with negative portrayals, when to be honest it just wasn’t that bad.

    i think we’re getting to the crux of the problem here. Just because you enjoyed the movie doesn’t mean it wasn’t bad or didn’t have negative portrayals. Your OPINION is not the ultimate arbiter of fact or of what is good or bad in absolutes. You opinion may call you out as having bad taste or even a lazy mind, and that’s what’s bothering you. You’re feeling that if you enjoyed the movie but their was something horribly wrong with the movie, that means there’s something horribly wrong with you. By default, that is not true. I’ve enjoyed plenty a movie with stereotypes, racism, and sexism. When those things were pointed out to me (or I realized later after becoming a more sophisticated viewer), i didn’t berate myself for it, I just took note and moved on. However, it DOES mean there’s something wrong with you when you childishly stomp your foot and insist that there’s nothing at all bad in the movie and everyone who says there is is a poopyhead, which is a fairly accurate summation of everything you’ve posted or emailed to me thus far.

  26. lol. wow. “poopyhead” ok if i’m so childish, its no worse than anything you’ve written to me which is laced with more anger and spite. and i still think it’s funny to call someone childish just cause they don’t agree with you. did i call you are nora names? nope u assumed that, but the essence of my replies is that i think you guys are making this particular movie worse than what it was.

    and no i don’t feel bad that i liked the movie. i’ve been aware of transformers and its shortcomings since i was kid. and to be honest this is step up considering there were no black human characters or women (with the execption of ar-cee but she wayyy later and she still was the only one and a robot.) no i keep posting cause i enjoy debates. i think it’s one of the best ways for humans to discuss issues and problems.

    and ugh yeah i’ve heard of aaron macgruder, the boondox is by far one of the best things to hit tv in a longtime and the comic has always been great. but one or a few guys does not make up for the fact that more of us should just be as outraged at that as we are at paris hilton (like being upset with her with set things right)

    and i don’t care if u disagree with me. i’m just trying to get u guys to see why some people aren’t as upset with this movie. it’s not that the wool has been pulled over my eyes but because just maybe it’s not as bad as u guys are making it. that’s it. yes it’s flawed but is it uber-racial. i don’t know.

    chill. you don’t have to be defensive or think i’m insulting you cause we don’t agree. it’s all good.

  27. excuse my typos in the last reply.

  28. If you enjoyed Transformers, good for you. While there was a lot to like about the movie, it was spoiled for me and other people by an archaic and offensive stereotype. For those of us who are offended, it’s disappointing that we still have to put up with this s#!+ from a movie that should have been just a couple hours of fun.

  29. …but the essence of my replies is that i think you guys are making this particular movie worse than what it was.

    Translation: Because I’m right and you are wrong. Deal with it.

    …and to be honest this is step up considering there were no black human characters or women…

    Translation: You should be happy you people get any airtime at all!

    and ugh yeah i’ve heard of aaron macgruder, the boondox is by far one of the best things to hit tv in a longtime and the comic has always been great. but one or a few guys does not make up for the fact…

    A “few” guys…? Try thousands There’s the movement organized by Essence magazine, the protest by hundreds of students at Spelman College that got national news coverage, many online petitions and discussions and community rallies. Where have you been?

    chill. you don’t have to be defensive or think i’m insulting you cause we don’t agree. it’s all good.

    Translation: By offering a magnanimous, gracious closing, I will show all that I am the bigger person and you are just a hateful shrew. Kisses!

  30. ok. well my bad about the bet thing. and my bad for offending anyone. i was trying to find some middle ground. but it seems like on this subject to not see it as racist is to be slightly, evil, ignorant, etc.

    man i’m sorry that my niceness is being scene as some attack. i really don’t know what i could say outside of just reversing my opinion that wouldn’t seem like an insult. this is how i talk, debate. i say those things to mean, just cause we have a slight difference of opinion doesn’t mean i think any less of you. so please stop taking it that way.

  31. Rashad, what you’re going through is somewhat like what you’re denying others are going through. You have made a claim– that you are being unfairly treated by the commenters here. Other commenters have said, “No, everything is perfectly fair and it’s your own fault anyway.” You are understandably pissed because you don’t see why other people are allowed to decide if you’re allowed to be angry.
    Compare that to the Transformers thing. Original claim: movie is racist. You reply that it’s not, and even if it was it’d be okay. Commenters are understandably pissed because you’ve denied there is a problem.

    Not exactly the same, but what you are feeling now– slapped down, told you can’t have an opinion, unable to find a way to express yourself that won’t get you in trouble– is somewhat what you caused others to feel by denying that racism in Transformers matters.

    (hi, Angry Black Woman! We met at Wiscon.)

  32. Rashad,

    You’re right, debate with you is pretty much useless. I think the problem is that you say you’re reaching for the middle ground.

    Middle ground. On racism.

    Needless to say, that’s pretty much a non-starter right there.

    And I’m sorry if you feel like people are picking on you, but you really shouldn’t expect anything else. You’ve come to a website dedicated to dragging racism out into the open and giving it a beat-down, and you’re trying to protect it. You’re making excuses for it. You’re pointing at corners and going, “Hey, what’s that over there?” to distract us. So are you surprised that others think you’re childish and ignorant? Your arguments, which we’ve heard a million times before, are those of a child. “It’s not that bad! You overlooked it back in the 80s! Look, what’s that over there, gasp, it’s BET!!”

    You sound like you’re trying to protect your naughty little friend from a spanking. And really, I can kind of understand that. You’ve got fond memories of this friend from back in the days when stereotypes like Jazz “didn’t matter”. Back then you didn’t notice how insidious those stereotypes were, so it was a happy time. You want to hold onto that happy feeling, and here I come harshing your squee. Why would I do that, when your naughty little friend has given you such pleasure for so many years? *I* must be the evil one!

    The problem is that your naughty little friend was never “naughty” or “little”. Or your friend, for that matter. It’s a big evil thug — the leader of an international cartel of thugs who’ve terrorized the world for centuries — and it’s just using you. You’re its cannon-fodder, its zombie. You are racism’s bitch. And you can’t honestly expect people to respect you for that.

    So if you want to be taken seriously here, I suggest you first go and educate yourself. Educating yourself can mean staying here to listen, though only if you actually *do* listen. At the very least, if you’re going to keep acting as racism’s cannon fodder, come with some better arguments than the ones we’ve heard before. “It’s not that bad” really just won’t cut it.

  33. ok. i said “transformers was not that bad” not a billion other things. i agree RACISM EXISTs SO THE CALM DOWN. just cause i’m not pissed at transformers does not mean i’m blind to racism. no i used to be just like you until i figured racism is EVERYBODY’S PROBLEM. ME, YOU, WE’RE ALL RACISTS. of course there are degrees. but none the less we all are. that’s why i think we should fine ways to work together. i have this same argument with a conservative friend of mine. you’re like the opposite end of the same coin. he’s just as quick to judge and dismiss. so yeah I’M TIRED OF PEOPLE POINTING FINGERS. it leads to endless debates and circles. i heard cornel west talk once and he said the next movement needs to be universal not one just black or white, or any other race. but a united front against these problems. now he wasn’t dismissing the current trials or tribulations of blacks but still said IT’S TIME WE WORK TOGETHER. and i agree. i mean if u bumped into the white version of this blog, wouldn’t u unleash a world of attacks against them? you’re literally talking and acting the same way, it’s just that you’re coming from the “black side”

    when will we people see that this bickering leads nowhere. WE’RE ALL WRONG. humanity has to start admitting that we’re all PART OF THE PROBLEM. and then maybe we can move forward. but as long as we pick sides and create scapegoats. nothing will change.

    OUR TRUE ENEMY is out-of control capitalism. that doesn’t care about black or white but green. They’re exploiting everyone. look at reality t.v. mostly white kids are preyed on their desires for fame, fortune. their youth exploited to sell phones, and ipods. the corporate elite don;t care about these petty black vs. white debates. they care only about dollars. they make money of our squabbling because as long as we do that but continue to live the same kind of life nothing changes. the only PEOPLE THAT MATTER ARE THESE ELITE BASTARDS. i swear to u if you found a way to make money off of your blog, you’re white vs black thing they’d support all the way. for example micheal moore constantly says things that challenges the authority and they hate it but they let him talk cause his documentaries make alot of money. they’ll support anything that brings in capital.

    But does anyone care about this? no we’re too busy pointing out flaws on the ground floor and patting ourselves on the back when we see it. instead looking at the rooting of the problem on the first. “look this movie was racist.” look this article gets to the heart of the problem, no this book does….blah, blas , blah. and the cycle continues. sure you’ll get some people on your side and “whitey” will get people on his/hers. and we’ll yell and bicker. as the ELITE gets rich.

    so no i don’t give a damn that u guys “picked” on me (believe i’ve been through far worse) What upsets me is that N0-ONE. REALLY WANTS CHANGE

    My fault is that i always think i can find people who truly want to make a difference. but all i find is the same, either you’re with me or not attitude. I DON’T WON’T YOU TO SAY YES RASHAD, YOU’RE RIGHT. I WANT YOU TO JUST REALIZE THIS THING IS BIGGER THAN JUST BLACK AND OTHER MINORITIES VS WHITE PEOPLE. go about getting there however you want, BE PISSED AT TRANSFORMERS BUT BE JUST AS PISSED WHEN ANOTHER YOUNG BLOND IS FIRST BUILT UP, EXLPOITED THEN THROWN OUT THE WAY WHEN THE PUBLIC IS TIRED OF HER. BE MAD WHEN PUFF DADDY USES A ANOTHER GROUP OF KIDS TO MAKE HIMSELF RICHER. BE MAD AT INJUSTICE EVERYWHERE, AND NOT JUST IN SOME KIDS MOVIE.

    BUT, there’s no way things we’ll go very far if we keep standing on opposite sides. HUMANITY IS IN TROUBLE. NOT JUST BLACKS.

    so call me whatever the hell you please. and think you’re putting me in my place. but please, on some minuscule level try to be more balanced.

    but i’m sure you’re just going to reply and tell me my desire for balance is not enough. the exact same thing my “evil” conservative buddy told me.

    but isn’t balance and equality damn near the same thing.

  34. and you guys keep telling me that i’m the one saying shut-up. but not once have i said that. you’re the ones who keep telling me that my opinion needs to be silenced.

    i keep replying. hoping on the very least that we can agree to disagree. hell i’d even actually shut-up and disagree silently if we were all fighting for fair treatment for all.

  35. rashad, you said…
    “My fault is that i always think i can find people who truly want to make a difference.”

    The noblest acts might still be executed in an ineffective or disrespectful manner. I believe replying to someone’s individual obeservations/experiences of racism with something to the tune of “there are bigger or worse issues” is exceptionally ineffective. So you might be searching for quite some time yet for what you believe are your comrades in your cause, given your choice of tools.

    “but all i find is the same, either you’re with me or not attitude. I DON’T WON’T YOU TO SAY YES RASHAD, YOU’RE RIGHT. I WANT YOU TO JUST REALIZE THIS THING IS BIGGER THAN JUST BLACK AND OTHER MINORITIES VS WHITE PEOPLE.”

    In essence, the foundation of many of your replies, be it in this thread or the Transformers thread, has been “Yes, but…” I am hard pressed to understand why anyone would be moved to respond to you with Attentive Listening when you have not exercised the same for the observations being shared with you.

    in struggle with you, truly….

  36. ok. so what would i have to say other, than i was wrong, transformers was way more racist than i thought. would that work? i’d be lying but would it work? i said it had faults. i agree racism is bad and that things are getting worse. i said it before in one of my replies.

    i’m sorry if my way speaking trivialized anyone’s opinion. but it’s a habit that i do to myself. the moment i find myself focusing on a tiny problem or the results instead of the source. i remind myself of that it’s way bigger than just some movie or cartoon. and even myself. so i then try to look at the problem with wide scale lens.

    do i fault, hell yeah. and when i see it. i admit and apologize for my improper or unfair assessment.

    and maybe you’re right. i should wait until the broadscale argument appears. but my problem is that all the little ones do is lead to the big ones.

    so in essence i apologize if i trivialized anyone’s view. be mad all you want but at some point realize it;s bigger than us vs. them.

  37. ABW and Nora;

    I read through the comments on the Transformers thread, but not on this one, so if someone has already addressed this, I apologize.

    But I really want to register disappointment and anger at the way you two handled “JB” and “mike” on the transformers thread.

    I’m going to paste the comments of the two of them here.

    JB wrote:

    Hahahahahaaaaa! Come on! Wow, do you have a chip, or what? Your thesis is ridiculous, as is all the evidence you laid out. You need to relax and enjoy a stupid movie for what it is–a stupid movie.

    Next up, an examination of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Third Folio, for any possible offenses to black people.

    And then, in defense of Mike, s/he wrote:

    Wow. Talk about piling on. Mike opens up here, says his experiences, and you deny him them because they don’t fit in with your own perceptions of black people. Is is THAT HARD to believe that black people harass him and his friend? OF COURSE NOT. Who the hell hasn’t been harassed by some ignorant blacks when taking the New York City Subway? NO ONE. Does that mean every black person, like the one that wrote this blog, is an ignorant, jive talking, idiot? OF COURSE NOT AGAIN. But how can you deny that dude his experiences, man, that’s messed up.

    To these two comments ABW responded:

    JB, just so you know, this is your first warning. Continue to be an asshole on my blog to my guest blogger and to other commenters, and I will ban you.

    You only get one warning, BTW.

    Also, I have a feeling that any black people harassing you on the subway weren’t ignorant at all, just incredibly perceptive.

    I don’t agree with his first comment, or with “who the hell hasn’t been harassed by some ignorant blacks when taking the New York City Subway?” but in what way was this him being an asshole specifically to Nora and the other commenters? He was expressing the same level of anger and disagreement that the other commenters were.

    And you really, really, really, really, really missed his incredibly important point about invalidating Mike’s experience.

    As to Mike, this is what he wrote:

    i’m not black – so when i saw the black fellas in the movie – i thought they were there cuz no one else in comedy could’ve pulled it off like them. like the hacker fella… i can’t think of any white actor who would’ve been funnier or anyone as funny but as abrasive as bernie mac. HOWEVER, your email puts things in another perspective. i do think you might be reading into things too much but you also bring up interesting points.

    mmm, but don’t you think some stereotypes are maintained by the black community (and this is not a flame or hate email) but out of all the races in america, i’ve had the hardest time with blacks. for example – my friend had brain surgery recently and he now has to wear an eye patch cuz he lost vision in his left eye and he only gets ridiculed by blacks – “look at that motherfucker thinking he’s a pirate.” or when i ride the train – blacks are the only individuals who are loud and disturbing. and sometimes they’ll point to me and say “mr. chinaman, can i holla at you?” *followed by mocking laughter* maybe bernie and the fat hacker fella were hired cuz they needed someone loud/not afraid to speak their minds and blacks fall into the category to pull it off realistically?

    The language he uses is sometimes clueless, but what is so bad about what he’s saying here? Let me translate:

    1. he thinks that the black actors are funnier in those roles than any white actors he can think of would be (yes, this is clueless about race, agreed.)

    2. but he recognizes that Nora brought up a point here that deserves more thought and he commits to thinking about it in the future (how on EARTH can you argue with that? Isn’t that what you WANT?)

    3. He wonders if the black community doesn’t contribute to its own stereotyping with its behavior in public. Then he gives examples out of his own experience, including: blacks making fun of his friend’s eyepatch, blacks making racist comments to him (and here it becomes clear that Mike is Asian), and blacks being loud and obnoxious in public.

    4. He wonders if blacks weren’t chosen for the loud obnoxious roles because blacks are commonly loud and obnoxious/outspoken and unafraid.

    Okay, so there’s a lot here that needs to be corrected. But I gotta wonder, ladies, why you are so patient with correcting whites who come here and say, “Aren’t you being a little sensitive?” and are so smack-down with an Asian who comes here and talks–politely and inquiringly and clearly open to discussion–about his own, clearly valid, experience of racism at the hands of blacks in public.

    Could it be that when it comes to racism towards Asians, blacks are vulnerable and know it? Could it be that when blacks’ own racial righteousness is questioned by Asians, blacks employ the same tactics in shutting down discussion that whites do when questioned by blacks? Let’s see:

    Nora’s response was:

    mike,

    …Wow. Just… wow. Your comment contains so many kinds of wrong that I’m not even sure it’s worth my time to address them. How can anyone reason with you, if you’ve already decided that Black People Are Best for Comic Relief, and It’s Black People’s Fault That Stereotypes Exist, and Black People Are Inherently Loud and Obnoxious So Maybe We Should Put That To Good Use.

    Yeesh. The objectification, misappropriation of blame, and blanket labeling you’re doing here is probably a bigger argument against racist stereotypes than anything I could ever say. Your kind of thinking? That’s what stereotypes *do.*

    I’m sorry, but between the two, it was Nora who was reacting emotionally rather than rationally, Nora who was responding to a threat to her privilege–in this case, her privilege to occupy the high ground because she was talking about black oppression, which is threatened whenever anyone talks about how some blacks treat Asians– Nora who was just shutting down the discussion with Mike, who was, after all, just asking questions and trying to start a dialogue.

    Mike’s response;

    you’re slanted too much to one side – you think cuz i said that i couldn’t think of anyone who could’ve done a better job that automatically blacks are only for comedic relief – when i’m not sayng of the sort. i think blacks could make great positive lead roles if given the opportunity – morgan in shawshank comes to mind… so does samuel in star wars iv, denzel and et cetera.

    as for me being wrong/stereotyping… i’m just telling you my experiences – just mine and no one else’s. i don’t want to stereotype or judge or anything of the sorts – all i’m saying is that of all races blacks have caused me the most grief. everyday i want to judge a man/woman on their own merits not as a whole but sadly it gets harder and harder as i deal/interact with blacks more and more. anyway, fortunantly, still – when i meet a black person my intent is to be their friend and hopefully that won’t change.

    i hope i’m proven wrong about my experiences in dealing with the black community. i sincerely hope most my experiences are the exceptions and not the norm.

    i won’t bother your site anymore.

    I see absolutely nothing here to argue with, although I DO think he’s glossing over some of the ignorance of his original comment. By the way, that ignorance was never properly dealt with and that’s a sad comment on you two, Nora and ABW. I don’t think it’s your responsibility to educate everyone. But if you’re going to respond rationally to one person on this thread, you have to do it with Mike, too.

    So Nora goes in and gives an excellent analysis of why Mike would stereotype blacks as loud and obnoxious — too long to quote here. What you utterly failed to do, Nora, is twofold and extremely telling.

    1. You didn’t ADDRESS MIKE DIRECTLY, although your responses to EVERYONE ELSE were addressed directly to them. For Mike, though, you held him up as an example for others, addressing the unnamed reader and talking about Mike in the third person. This is horrible and obnoxious and if you need me to tell you why, you need to go to remedial How To Not Invalidate Others class.

    2. You didn’t address his comment about black treatment of Asians specifically, or the touchy subject of black/asian relations AT ALL. Could this be because you would lose the absolute high ground in such a discussion?

    I challenge both of you to tackle this subject in a post. And I challenge you both to apologize to Mike for your treatment of him. Your treatment of him was different from your treatment of other commenters who disagreed with you. I’d like you to examine that.

  38. ABW,

    I stumbled across your blog while researching a paper I am writing on the racial stereotypes in “Transformers.” I went to see that movie because my husband was a big fan of the original, but walked out with the same disgust Nora felt. The stereotypes were so blatant and offensive, I was disappointed to see so many of my fellow Seattlites walk out with such big smiles. But, then again, it’s only white privilege that allows me to forget just how oblivious the average (white) American is to the pervasiveness of racism in our culture.

    Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for your excellent writing, and depth of engagement with issues of race & stereotypes. This is important work you’re doing, and I plan to check this blog out regularly. :)

  39. Please ladies, allow me…

    Claire:

    Who the hell do you think you are?

    You actually came onto someone else’s blog and had the damn nerve to “challenge” (read: demanding) them to apologize to a fucking troll! If that isn’t the most blatant example of privilege, then I dont’ know what is!

    Let’s example your little tirade, shall we?

    I don’t agree with his first comment, or with “who the hell hasn’t been harassed by some ignorant blacks when taking the New York City Subway?” but in what way was this him being an asshole specifically to Nora and the other commenters? He was expressing the same level of anger and disagreement that the other commenters were.

    And you really, really, really, really, really missed his incredibly important point about invalidating Mike’s experience.

    Let me get this straight: First you say that you don’t even agree with what Mike says, and yet you want ABW and Nora not to “invalidate his experience”. Not only that you see absolutely nothing wrong with JB’s assholery?

    WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!!!!!

    Do you have some brain fluid leaking, because your dumbass-ery just kept getting worse from there:

    The language he uses is sometimes clueless, but what is so bad about what he’s saying here?

    WHAT THE HELL, MAN?!! WHAT THE HELL?!

    You’re talking out of different side of your mouth, Claire. First you call him “clueless”, and then you’re defending him…

    And now this:

    …Let me translate:

    ::speachless::

    1. he thinks that the black actors are funnier in those roles than any white actors he can think of would be (yes, this is clueless about race, agreed.)

    DUMBASS!!!!!!!!!

    2. but he recognizes that Nora brought up a point here that deserves more thought and he commits to thinking about it in the future (how on EARTH can you argue with that? Isn’t that what you WANT?)

    What I want is someone with a little reading comprehension. Where the hell does he say that? And I want quotes, dammit.

    3. He wonders if the black community doesn’t contribute to its own stereotyping with its behavior in public. Then he gives examples out of his own experience, including: blacks making fun of his friend’s eyepatch, blacks making racist comments to him (and here it becomes clear that Mike is Asian), and blacks being loud and obnoxious in public.

    4. He wonders if blacks weren’t chosen for the loud obnoxious roles because blacks are commonly loud and obnoxious/outspoken and unafraid.

    Okay, so there’s a lot here that needs to be corrected…

    FUCKING DUMBASS!!!!!!!

    But I gotta wonder, ladies, why you are so patient with correcting whites who come here and say, “Aren’t you being a little sensitive?” and are so smack-down with an Asian who comes here and talks–politely and inquiringly and clearly open to discussion–about his own, clearly valid, experience of racism at the hands of blacks in public.

    Could it be that when it comes to racism towards Asians, blacks are vulnerable and know it? Could it be that when blacks’ own racial righteousness is questioned by Asians, blacks employ the same tactics in shutting down discussion that whites do when questioned by blacks?

    Could it be that you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about? Could it be that you’ve never read anything on this blog past the “Transformers” page? Could it be that you’re long overdue for a virtual ass-whoopin’?

    I see absolutely nothing here to argue with, although I DO think he’s glossing over some of the ignorance of his original comment. By the way, that ignorance was never properly dealt with and that’s a sad comment on you two, Nora and ABW. I don’t think it’s your responsibility to educate everyone. But if you’re going to respond rationally to one person on this thread, you have to do it with Mike, too.

    DAMN FUCKING MONKEY-SHIT DUMBASS!!!!

    YOU LOSE ALL INTERNETS!

    I would like to make a motion: That all dumbasses shall from this day forward be known not as “BlueGirl” or “Rabid Dog”, but as “Claire”.

    Who seconds this motion?

  40. umm….please delete first post =P

  41. wow. unnecessarily harsh. if someone disagrees, yell and curse them out. that will solve the problem. that will really get people to listen.

  42. wow, T, is this what you meant by aggressively moderating this thread? leaving that ad hominem attack up?

  43. claire, my reply was sarcastic. i thought u made good points

  44. wow. unnecessarily harsh.

    What’s unnecessary is the the amount of space her comment is taking on this page.

    wow, T, is this what you meant by aggressively moderating this thread? leaving that ad hominem attack up?

    First you tell her what you want her to do on her own damn blog and now you go giving her nicknames that no one has ever even used for her, especially since you obviously don’t know now her?

    Blatant. Privilege. Bullshit.

  45. HOLD UP.

    I haven’t been online most of the day because I’ve been getting ready for my trip tomorrow. So I’m very sorry if something is going down that I haven’t been able to handle. But let me please just say EVERYONE CALM THE HELL DOWN. I mean.. damn. there’s no need.

  46. ah crap, WP ate my comment. Evil.

    let me try this again.

    First: Angel, while I appreciate the fact that you have my back in an argument, I think you’ve fallen into knee-jerk-reactionland. Squishing trolls is one thing, but nothing in Claire’s comment signaled troll. Though she disagreed with myself and Nora, she did so in a calm and intelligent way. Now, my view may be clouded because Claire is a frequent commenter and personal friend, but I think we should save that level of invective for people who repeatedly come in, say crazyness, and in general derail the whole thread. By that time, they’ll be on moderation, anyway, unless I am away, so it usually won’t come up. Claire’s comment, though critical of myself and Nora, did not display any such trollishness.

    In the future, it would be best to tone down the ad hominemness and take a deep breath before jumping all over someone for being an evil troll. I’ll attempt to do the same. It would also be good not to assume that someone doesn’t know me. I, fortunately, have enough friends to fill a small country. Sometimes they drop by.

    It would also be nice if some apologies happened. Okay? okay.

    Now, as to Claire’s comment about what went down on the Transformers thread. I’ll say first of all that I was not following that thread heabvily from the beginning because, at first, I was avoiding spoilers in case I wanted to see the movie. Later on i decided not to see it, and thus skimmed some of the commentary. I came across JB’s comment and responded. Claire asks:

    “in what way was this him being an asshole specifically to Nora and the other commenters? He was expressing the same level of anger and disagreement that the other commenters were.”

    I disagree. I based my comment on his opening:

    “Hahahahahaaaaa! Come on! Wow, do you have a chip, or what? Your thesis is ridiculous, as is all the evidence you laid out. You need to relax and enjoy a stupid movie for what it is–a stupid movie.”

    I felt he was being a bigger asshole than others I’d seen thus far because he was just rolling in to say “hahaha U R stupid!” and also defending mike, which made me think that maybe he was mike or a friend of mike. This has happened more than once, recently. I must admit, I didn’t read much farther than that because rarely is it that anything intelligent and useful comes after such statements.

    Now, as to actually responding to Mike, I cannot speak to that because I never did. I do get annoyed when people bring their friends in to defend them and said friend pretends not to know the person in question (as I suspected JB was about).

    As to being patient with whites vs. asians. I actually didn’t know mike was asian. (In fact, it took me a few reads of your comment to catch the ‘chinaman’ reference.) Lately, I haven’t been cutting anyone any slack for what i percieve as ignorance, but that’s because I’m getting rug burn from having to explain the same concepts over and over again. I cannot speak for Nora on this issue. But I definitly don’t feel like lately anyone’s been hand-held through anything, white, black, or asian.

    However, it’s also the point of this site to not just write off people for being ignorant, and I think I have to do a better job of dealing with people in a different way. And fostering that in the folks who hang around here. I have allowed myself to fall into the habit of just pointing and laughing. Though I don’t intend to hand hold every ignorant person who comes through here, you may be right that mike was attempting to gain understanding.

    BUT, I don’t feel I can blame Nora for reacting the way she did, given the level of discourse in general coming from the drive-bys. This sometimes happens when we get linked from a popular blog. She may even have missed the referrence to him being asian and that is why she didn’t touch on the subject of black/asian relations. (Though she’ll have to answer that herself.)

    A post on the issues blacks and asians have with each other would be a good one, but I don’t know if I’m the one to write it. mainly because I don’t have a lot of experience with the tension you’ve told me about. However, i would be willing to host a discussion about this here, if you’re willing to guest blog about it.

    I’m off to the Launchpad workshop for a week, so it probably shouldn’t happen until i get back so we can manage the comments. If you’re willing, just let me know in email.

    While it is unfortunate that Mike wasn’t treated with kid gloves, I will say again i can’t fault Nora’s reaction to his post. This being the internet, how people interpret words can vary. I think Nora made an assumption in interpretation, one that you did not make, Claire. maybe because you realized he was asian. If she would like to reexamine that, it’s up to her.

  47. Actually, I need to add something more. As I said, Angel, I am glad you have my back. You’re a regular commenter and usually add a lot to a discussion, but this time you went way over the top. I don’t understand why Claire’s post made you so angry, but I must really say that your response is very disturbing. I’m not saying I want you to go away and never darken our virtual doorstep, but I am giving you a warning. You’re an intelligent, insightful person. So is Claire. You should respect that and her, particularly if you want her to respect you.

  48. okay, just a few things:

    1. yesterday i didn’t think my comment was written in a spirit of anger, but today i guess it was. i stand by my comment, but taken down a notch.

    2. you’re right about JB, especially his first comment. i still feel he was right to defend mike, but he DID drop by to drop bombs and that’s annoying.

    3. i’ve gotten in trouble on my own blog for this: when i write about racial stuff, i do it with the understanding that i already have the basics down, the people i’m addressing already have the basics down, and we don’t need to talk about fundamentals ad nauseum. racism 101 is behind us.

    but i forget that not everyone knows me. and some of the comments i make, if taken out of this context, might look like racist apologia. it’s because i was commenting on your blog, ABW, that i felt my comment would be understood properly, but i realize that i should probably always preface and intersperse with my, uh, credentials? so as to avoid time wastage? or something?

    i just don’t really know how to do this.

    4. yes, let’s talk about a post on this topic by email when you get back. i’ll admit i’m still really touchy and sensitive on this after the whole kenneth eng/asianweek fiasco. i think it would be salutary to start a discussion on this topic that ISN’T based on crazy-asian-says-racist-thing, although that is arguably what happened in the transformers thread.

  49. FYI again: turns out one of the screenwriters on Transformers is a midleague liberal-ish blogger, Kung Fu Monkey, so maybe some answers can be gotten from the horse’s…mouth.

  50. I think u guys are lookin way to much into it. Im all up for proper rights for the ppl. But Its Transformers. Period. Take it for what it is.

    Now if it wasnt a character that seemed like he had a lil flava/swagger to him then ppl wouldve been complaining about that.

    Please dont kill something from my childhood. I thought the film was suppose make ppl forget about how sh!tty reality is.

    Jus my 2 cents.

    -Numbaz

  51. **Doctor Who spoilers***
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    It has been suggested on various boards that Martha was written out because the producers of DOCTOR WHO were unhappy with her acting and that her only being in the second half of the next season and three episodes of TORCHWOOD represents a demotion. This is obviously nonsense, since of they were unhappy with Freema’s acting (and their comments in various episode commentaries suggest the opposite) they would have dropped her entirely rather than include her in another show, too. What I suspect happened is that she was contracted for a single season – Martha’s character arc suggests as much – but proved so popular (kids in the UK love her) that her contract was extended. Next year’s main companion, Catherine Tate aka Donna has her own show over here and will be putting it on hiatus to appear in DOCTOR WHO. I can’t imagine she wants it on hiatus for more than a year so she’s probably a single season campanion. If so, and if the rumours about David Tennant leaving at the end of the next season are correct, then Martha being brought back mid-season may be to provide a bridge across the next regeneration, which suggests she could also be around for some or all of season 5.

    In re TORCHWOOD, the speculation is that Jack offers her an internship studying xenobiology under Owen (not literally, one hopes – I’d prefer to see her with any of the team other thasn him). After all, Jack knows she’s capable, that she’s saved the world, and that she has experience with extraterrestrials that few other people in the world have. Offering her this would be a no-brainer, really.

  52. ABW and Claire:

    You’re right.

    I spent all yesterday trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me that night, and I’ve been drawing blanks. The only thing I can do is offer my sincerest apologies to the both of you and hope that you accept.

    Again, I am very, very sorry.

  53. Claire,

    Sorry for not seeing this sooner; I don’t have a lot of free time these days. Anyhow,

    re: Mike. I’ll be honest; I was tired at that point, after being bombarded with comments doing everything from denying the existence of racism to telling me I was the racist for pointing it out. Mike, quite frankly, came across as more of the same. Regardless of any “I just want to be educated” attitude that you say he showed — I didn’t see it, but YMMV — he started off by voicing some horrifically racist assumptions. There’s no way to talk someone out of that kind of racism, Claire, and you know it. If Mike has decided already that black people are responsible for racist stereotyping in the media, there’s nothing I can say. If Mike has decided already that the stereotypes are appropriate and accurate, there’s nothing I can say. It really doesn’t matter whether these decisions are rooted in his personal experience of being harassed by black people; what matters is that Mike has internalized some of the most racist assumptions about black people that exist. It’s possible those black kids showed terrible prejudice to Mike, yes. It may also be that Mike noticed their behavior more because he’d internalized these assumptions. You know as wll as I do that racism is bigger than one-on-one interactions. It’s not just what happens to you, it’s what conclusions you draw from it, and the conclusions Mike drew were very, very disturbing.

    So I didn’t perceive his post as friendly or as that of someone seeking a dialogue. I saw it as someone who was seeking validation of his racist assumptions and conclusions. That’s not polite, no matter how nicely he phrases it; it’s an insult, a backhanded assault, and I reacted to Mike the way I reacted to everybody else who used that thread as a platform to spew out racist garbage.

    And you think I should apologize to him for *that*? Come on, now.

    I’ll apologize for using him as an example in my reply to Chuck. You’re right; that was mean and unnecessary. There were plenty of people trying to justify stereotypes in that thread; I didn’t need to get specific. But in no way do I think my reaction to Mike was motivated by some kind of anti-Asian bias. It was motivated by anti-racist bias, which I will admit and accept and hug close to my breast and grok and cherish. I don’t like racists, and I’m not nice to them, no matter what race they come from.

    As for whether I knew he was Asian? I did catch the “chinaman” reference, yes. I can’t say I took it at face value, because frankly once a person has shown themselves to be ignorant, I find it hard to trust anything they say. Mike might’ve been Asian. Or he might’ve been a white guy throwing out hypothetical black-on-Asian prejudice as a distraction from the topic. Either way, what caught my attention more were his repeated attempts to defend and justify racist stereotypes.

    As for whether I should’ve addressed his personal experiences with black people, or black/Asian relations on the whole — Claire, are you serious? You know as well as I do that “hey! what’s that over there?” is a common tactic in derailing discussions of this nature. I had already ignored or dismissed similar comments — what about the Jews? What about the Irish Bostonians? None of that was on-topic. A discussion of the lone Asian who was depicted in the film? Sure, that would’ve been appropriate. A discussion of Asian stereotypes? Sure, that would’ve fit. A discussion of race relations between blacks and Asians 1800s to present — based on one kid’s statement that black people harass him on the train??? Respectfully as I can say this, because I’ve seen your takes on various racial issues and I know you’re a fighter for the cause — but are you smoking crack, Claire?

    I have a more important question for you. Are you letting this person’s vague self-identification as Asian blind you to the fact that he was spewing racist crap all over the place? You accuse me of mistreating him in order to claim the moral high ground. You *do* realize you’re making excuses for him? I don’t know where that puts you morally, but I sure hope you aren’t comfortable there.

    Look. I’m fully aware that there’s some shit floating between my people and yours. AFAIC, that shit is floating toward both of us from somewhere upstream. We can either waste time accusing each other of pooping in the water, or we can try to help each other out before it sticks. (That is quite possibly the nastiest analogy I’ve ever used… sorry. -_- ) I’m not going to pretend that I’m issue-free when it comes to other races or oppressed groups. I usually try to check myself, and I mean well, but I may not be aware of my own ignorance in some matters. If you want to have a discussion about Asian/African-American relations, post something about it and I’ll be there with bells on. And if you see me saying something stupid, call me on it. I’ll listen.

    But do *not* defend racism in front of me. That’s unworthy of you, and a waste of my time.

  54. nora,

    there WILL be a post about it, buleeve me :) it’ll take a couple of weeks, though, because i’m about to go on vacation.

    i wasn’t defending mike’s racism. it was there, it was disgusting, and i saw it.

    however, i do have the advantage of you in having heard the various nuances of asian americans discussing their issues with african americans, and–as far as one can tell in a comments thread–mike was definitely one of the “good kinds of racist”, you know, like the “good kind of cancer’, i.e. the kind that has a high cure rate.

    i’ve had the pleasure of seeing many, many asian americans walk themselves into the storm, pull their heads out of their assholes, and get smacked in the face with a clue. it always starts with, “but what about how blacks treat US?” asked as a genuine, not a rhetorical, question. it continues with someone breaking down for them exactly what you broke down after mike’s second comment. the entire asshole-de-heading process is shortened, however, if that breakdown doesn’t come after the as am has already left the room, feeling both insulted and like he said something wrong, but isn’t quite sure what it is, because someone yelled at him, rather than explaining.

    you see, it’s not hard to explain racism to asian americans. for reasons that should be obvious. as ams understand the nuances of racism very sophisticatedly … as it refers to themselves. they usually need to have the dots connected for them at least a little when it comes to anybody else.

    and the same can be said for most african americans.

    the above will be the subject of a post that will probably be lengthy, so i’ll leave it for now. let me just address what you wrote in your comment above:

    I had already ignored or dismissed similar comments — what about the Jews? What about the Irish Bostonians? None of that was on-topic. A discussion of the lone Asian who was depicted in the film? Sure, that would’ve been appropriate. A discussion of Asian stereotypes? Sure, that would’ve fit. A discussion of race relations between blacks and Asians 1800s to present — based on one kid’s statement that black people harass him on the train??? Respectfully as I can say this, because I’ve seen your takes on various racial issues and I know you’re a fighter for the cause — but are you smoking crack, Claire?

    no. i’m not smoking crack. i’m not talking about the jews, fifty years ago. i’m not talking about the irish, a hundred years ago. i’m not talking about something that mike’s ancestors had experience with, but mike didn’t.

    i’m talking about something that has a direct bearing on why mike finds it so easy to carry around such racist ideas about blacks … and something you don’t seem to know very much about: the near-constant public harrassment of many asian americans by african americans that happens today. not fifty years ago. today. right now.

    it’s glossed over by progressive as ams–partly because they consider it bad form to complain, even about the sometimes daily abuse, when it comes from people so much less privileged. partly because asian liberals are just as knee-jerk as any other kind and smack down anyone who says anything against the saintly black race. and partly, too, because no progressive as ams want to break poc ranks and make intra-poc laundry vulnerable to the mainstream.

    but partly, also, because they fear that it would be no use to talk about it. because, as much as they are put upon, ridiculed, and silenced, af ams have a public voice, and as ams do not. to try to raise this issue is to be simultaneously furiously verbally assaulted, and ignored. this is why it is left to the psychos, like kenneth eng, to talk about. because the rational people very rationally don’t want to tilt at chainsaws.

    this is a contemporary, and often dangerous, interracial (mostly) urban tension between a variously petted and oppressed outsider class and a long-oppressed under-class. every few months there’s another anti-asian joke or stereotype coming from black comedians, filmmakers, radio personalities, and even sometimes spokesmen. on the street level, the “jokes”, namecalling and other verbal abuse is daily. the physical incidents happen every few months somewhere (read the blogs).

    to compare someone experiencing this to contemporary whites bringing up historical tensions between different white ethnicities, is ignorant at best, and at worst, disingenous.

    it is, in fact a very similar tactic to that of an irish american comparing his ancestors’ experience to yours. in the same way that the irish american essentially tells you, “look at us, we’re just like the blacks!”, you told me about mike, “look at him, he’s just like the whites!”

    this tension is real, and it affects most asian americans to some degree. it doesn’t affect most, or even a majority, of african americans, though. most intelligent, educated, aware af ams I know are mostly ignorant about this issue (the awareness goes back to kenneth eng and then, before that, a long blank stretch back to the rodney king riots). they see the occasional racist depictions of asians in black arts and media, deplore it, and then never bother to wonder what it’s like to be ridiculed and demonized by the majority, and then also by the dominant minority.

    asian americans are a buffer zone between whites and blacks, but also a mutual whipping boy.

    on the asian american side, the discussions come up over and over again. asian blogs’ comment threads are full of arguments over whether or not it’s racist to hate blacks for the way they treat us. but none of the af ams i know read any asian american blogs.

    in fact, after the kenneth eng/asianweek incident–after i and every as am blogger i know of had been posting about and discussing it for a week–i finally started seeing posts about it from black bloggers, who had heard about the incident from other black bloggers … who had read it in the paper. after a lively discussion–in which some people even wondered out loud what, if anything, the asians were thinking–the discussion died down again without most of the bloggers or commenters having read, mentioned, or linked to a single asian american blog or news source.

    and they’re really not that hard to find.

    i’m clearly coming from a different place than you. so, as someone who is daily racially catcalled by black men–yes, poor black men with a legitimate beef with society, who take it out on me–i say that when a “chinaman” walks into a black woman’s blog, says he originally thought one thing but her post made him think again (“HOWEVER, your email puts things in another perspective. i do think you might be reading into things too much but you also bring up interesting points”), says he’s constantly harrassed by black people in public and that’s why he thinks they’re all obnoxious, but asks–ASKS–if that isn’t part of the problem, he deserves some frickin’ acknowledgement with the bitter medicine he’s got coming to him.

    and yes, that was a long-ass comment.

  55. why is disagreeing with you seen as defense of racism? you threw my argument out cause i made it too broad scale in your eyes. but any discussion of racism in a movie, tv show, etc. will most likely lead to discussing it in broader terms.

    claire brought out interesting points and it did not seem like she was defending him but was questioning how he was treated. i mean what’s the purpose of this blog, to just point out racism, to end it or to teach people to treat each other fairly? but how can things change if u guys don’t have the patience to deal with those deemed less “educated” on racism.

    you talk as if you’re almost devoid of
    racism(prejudice) yourself.

    “It was motivated by anti-racist bias, which I will admit and accept and hug close to my breast and grok and cherish.”

    this statement comes off as, if you decide someone is racist or defending racism that you won’t deal with it/them even if they make a good point. it will get ignored cause obviously they’re already “lost”

    i’m uber-new here but right now it seems like a place to rant more than a place for open discussion. if this thread and the transformers one is any example of how opposition is handled then there’s no point to disagree with what’s being posted.

    both “ignorant” (almost everyone who was ok with transformers) and respected posters (claire) who posed decent points were still called lame or rejected.(forgive me for not using a better, possibly more effective adjective, i’ve been up for a while)

    the difference being how opposition was handled. most were thrown out in anger, claire got the intelligent or better worded, rejection but rejection none the less.

    i’m posting this to get a better grip on what’s going on here? cause if it’s just about agreeing with what’s being said, then i’ll only comment when i agree with what is posted.

    and please try to respond (if anyone chooses) to me with some level of respect. in other words don’t call me “stupid” because i have questions. it’s kind of distasteful.

  56. claire-you make extremely good points. just when will blacks start owning up to their shortcomings in regards to asians and any other race. we’re no better and i think it needs to be discussed.

    thanks for putting up these comments they’re very insightful.

  57. Claire,

    You first accuse me of treating Mike differently because he’s Asian, then of treating him with the same harshness as white racists. Which is it?

    Then you say I shouldn’t take on the responsibility of educating every ignorant person who comes to this site, but you want me to try harder to educate the Asians. I’m a little confused.

    I think I treated Mike the same as I would anyone who greets me with racist assumptions. How is Mike’s “but don’t the blacks do it to themselves?” any different from a white person’s “but don’t the blacks do it to themselves?” How is his “but black people are racist too! here’s what they did to me!” any different from that of a white person’s? (Or a black person’s, since I hear stuff like that from my own sometimes too.) You think there’s some unique African-on-Asian hatred going on? From what I can see, it goes both ways. I went to a Chinese friend’s wedding and some of her relatives wouldn’t shake my hand. I take shit from Latinos *and* Asians, especially if I go into the wrong neighborhood (had my eyes opened the last time I visited ABW’s Dominican neighborhood; she’s never had any trouble there but I’m darker-skinned than her) or the wrong Asian-owned shop. Hell, I take even more shit from African and West Indian immigrants here in my own neighborhood, once I open my mouth and they realize I’m one of “those” black people — the ones descended from slaves. We’re the lowest of the low to everybody.

    Yet I don’t jump to conclusions about all these groups, no matter how they treat me. I don’t tolerate that kind of generalizing in others, either, and I confront it when I can. Why should I give Asians a pass that I don’t give to anyone else?? Because seriously, that’s what you seem to be saying. Be nicer to the ignorant Asian guy than I was to the other ignorant people? If anything, given what you’ve raised, I should expect more from the Asians.

    You raise a good point about Asians being on the receiving end from whites and other minorities (because I doubt it’s just whites and blacks). Believe me, I know how that feels. But I can honestly say from my own perspective? If Asians act like whites, espousing the same racist ideologies about me, I’m going to react to them the same way I do to racist whites. Why wouldn’t I? I would, and do, react the same way to racist people of *any* background.

    And you seem to forget that I suggested to Mike that he go and educate himself. That was an honest, straightforward suggestion — the same suggestion I make to anyone else who makes statements like his. Rather than follow it, Mike returned with yet more rhetoric and insisting that his racist conclusions were valid because they were based on personal experience. I’m sorry — I don’t know how to talk to that. What am I going to say? “Yeah, they treated you bad, but just because you met some assholes doesn’t mean assholism is endemic in the race.” Well, duh. If I have to point out something that obvious, that means it’s not obvious to Mike, and that means he’s not yet ready to listen to logic and reason. AFAIC, a person needs to make the first few steps away from racism on their own. No one can drag them there. It’s like alcoholism: the first step is admitting the problem. Until they do, all anyone else can do is express disgust and warn them they need to do something about that problem.

  58. Rashad,

    i.e. trying to teach people about racism, etc. I do have that Required Reading post up there. I cannot and will not spend every post and every comment thread on this blog educating people about the basics. There have been some discussions where we do that. I link them in the Required Reading. Perhaps we would not dismiss you so easily if you’d shown some initiative in reading the posts and articles linked there.

  59. ok. so i read through most of the req. reading but i was well aware of all of these things before.

    you assume that since i’ve posted the way i did that i wasn’t knowledgeable about race issues. my only fault was using racism in relation to how blacks treat others instead of just using prejudice. sure we’re not in power but we still can be very unfair to other ethnicities.

    my opinions however stay the same. and according to the how to suppress racism link. some of you have used bad tactics in order to not address people’s points.

    7. “You think anyone who disagrees with you is a racist.” (or at the very least a defender of racism)

    you guys have accused me and others of defending racism, any time a point is brought out that differs from yours.

    and if you’re about educating then why dismiss so many people and posts. i was junior/high school teacher for a very short time but i while i was there i didn’t ignore or just write-up the kids who i think needed help but actually worked more with them, even when they were unruly and sometimes obviously wrong.

    educating people involves more than just educating those on the same wavelength as you. it’s about everybody.

    and no i don’t think you should re-post previous comments on the definitions of racism, white privilege, etc. but on some level you have to be a little more understanding. even if that person is blatantly wrong. you don’t change people by acting the same way they do. that’s not what any of our great leaders did.

    being so quick to dismiss the “uneducated” is just what the people you’re trying to inform about racism do. they dismiss racism just as fast you dismiss their biased beliefs.

    and this is a little off topic, but if the black community wants to tackle racism, we need to be united like we were in the past. right now we’re too fractured to have a voice. and for every one person trying to make a difference there are about ten others just looking for a handout.

    but personally i’d prefer the next big movement be one made of all races and even class. sure that’s a very, very, very, idealistic view. but alot of things were impossible until people made it work.

  60. Rashad, and others who feel as he does,

    Apologies for taking awhile to get back to you. Rough week at work.

    You’ve raised too many points for me to address in detail and still have time to eat dinner tonight. But I’ll address two points here quickly — your assertion that anyone who disagrees with ABW (or me, you imply) gets accused of racism, and your insistence that we should try harder to educate the ignorant.

    To the first assertion, that we’re all “agree or you’re teh racist!!!1!” — it’s simply not true. But if you want to see it that way, there’s really not much I can say to change your mind. For my own part, I accuse people of racism only when they espouse racist viewpoints. This line from your last comment, for example: (re the black community) “for every one person trying to make a difference there are about ten others just looking for a handout.”

    I’m going to try and master my first reaction to this, which is to get annoyed and either tell you off or ignore you. Because this is all kinds of ignorant. It’s wild, completely illogical hyperbole. On what are you basing this assertion? The vast majority of African-Americans are middle-class. We’re *disproportionately* affected by poverty, and *disproportionately* on welfare, but people on welfare are still a minority of our population. (And of the welfare population as a whole, since most of the people on welfare are rural whites.) So it’s clear that not all or even most blacks are “looking for a handout”. Or are you referring to Affirmative Action? The greatest beneficiaries of AfAc were, and still are, white women. Many AfAc programs were modeled after similar programs that gave “handouts” to whites for decades, if not centuries — the GI Bill. The legacy system in colleges and universities. Racial preferencing in banks’ granting of credit (and low rates) and capital to white-owned businesses. Farm subsidies, etc.

    So even if the majority of black people were “looking for a handout” as you suggest, we sure as hell aren’t the ones *receiving* the handouts.

    The thing is, your statement wasn’t just hyperbole. It’s hyperbole of the same type that racists have used for centuries to justify the unfair treatment of people of color. It’s the same hyperbole that feeds stereotypes and anti-diversity movements and civil rights backlash that may take us right back to Jim Crow. *This* is why I call you ignorant, Rashad, because statements like these make you sound like you don’t know jack shit beyond the rhetoric you’ve heard on TV or YouTube or wherever. *This* is why I call your statements racist — because *you sound just like one.*

    And as for your assertion that I should spend more effort educating people? You are a perfect example of why I should *not*. You stated that you consider yourself educated, and yet you just popped off some of the most ignorant bullshit I’ve ever heard. (Wait. OK, that’s hyperbole on my part. You’ve just popped off some of the *exact same* ignorant bullshit I’ve heard, far too many times.) To try and educate you, I’ve just spent two hours of my life writing this comment and doing what you should’ve done yourself — Googling the 2000 Census; consulting some reputable books on race, class, and economics; and using my common sense. This is the problem with educating the ignorant — *you end up spending all your time doing it.* And for what? For people too damned lazy to go check some facts before they blurt out dumb shit.

    And it’s not the educators’ responsibility to do this. Unless you’re a child, you’re responsible for your own education. Besides, no one can teach you what you don’t want to learn. $5 says somebody shows up later here to dispute the facts I’ve cited in this comment***, or to dispute my interpretation, or to snark about “lies damned lies and statistics” to quote Twain, or just to tell me I’m stupid. It really doesn’t matter if I’m right or not; if people don’t *want* to believe me, they’ll find some way to say I’m wrong. So it’s a waste of my time to try and educate them when they show, by their initial ignorant statements, that they’re not ready to listen.

    ***Another $5 says that person will have looked up the same information I have not to educate themselves, but for the sole purpose of finding ammunition to prove me wrong.

    There’s also this: one of the reasons I come to ABW to share my thoughts on race, rather than doing it in debunkingwhite or some other community dedicated to “educating”, is because the ABW site isn’t Racism 101. From what I can see, it’s more like Racism 401 — or even Racism 601: the Capstone. For the benefit of anyone reading who hasn’t gone to an American university — in a 101 class, an expert/authority figure is expected to disseminate information on basic concepts. Maybe a little self-study is required, but for the most part the students aren’t expected to be active participants in the learning process. They don’t know enough for that yet. Their job is simply to listen and absorb the vocabulary and concepts that will later allow them to enter a useful level of discussion. But in a Capstone class, the students become the educators themselves through discussions, actively gathering, demonstrating, and/or sharing information, etc. The professor just guides and facilitates the learning process, mostly by staying out of the way and letting the students hash out things themselves. Maybe she quashes things when discussion stops being educational; depends on her style. The stuff covered in the 101 class is taken as a given; that way no one has to waste their time covering old material.

    So when ignorant people come here, it’s a bit like when a freshman who hasn’t even taken 101 yet wanders into a Capstone class. Some professors would close the class altogether to prevent this — and many race discussion communities do exactly that in order to provide a safe space where folks can have those Capstone-level discussions. ABW seems to have taken the approach of a more open-minded professor — she lets anyone who wants to try, come here and join in the discussion. If they show themselves to be capable of higher-level discussion, they’re welcomed. If they don’t, she suggests (usually gently from what I’ve seen) that they go read the 101 textbooks and lecture notes, maybe do some independent study, and then come back. If they don’t — or won’t — bother to do that much, then she’s understandably less gentle. Because really, their 101 questions are disrupting the 201+ students’ learning.

    This may feel like cruel exclusion to you. It may even feel like the 201+ people are closing ranks against you, even conspiring to hurt you by unjustly accusing you of racism when all you want to do is ask your innocent 101 questions.

    But that’s not the case at all. They’re accusing you of racism because you sound like a racist. And they’re closing ranks against you because, like that gatecrashing freshman who can’t be bothered to go do the 101 work, you’re wasting their time, distracting them, and probably getting on their last fucking nerve.

    So to reiterate, Rashad: it is not the job of anyone here to educate you. That’s your job — and AFAICT, you haven’t done it. It is not the job of anyone here to be respectful to you. Respect must be earned, and you’re not likely to earn it if you keep spouting racist statements. (For that matter, you’re not likely to stay here long; I’ve overlooked some of your statements because you post fast. But if you keep spouting racist crap, then I’ll do what’s best for the community and ban you. Not because you disagree with me, but because you’re disrupting the discussion and don’t belong here.***) It *is* the community’s duty to be nice, or at least civil, and from what I’ve seen most people here do that. But that ends when you “show your ass”, as my grandmother used to say — i.e., when you show by your words or actions that you’re not ready for next-level discussion. At that point you need to just shut up and listen — or go someplace else.

    ***(Probably not, because I think you’re trying, vaguely, to be polite. But please remember that racist statements are verbal assaults, so no matter how nicely you say them, you’re being rude. So keep your racist sentiments to yourself, or find a way to voice them that isn’t a slap in the face to everyone reading, and you’ll be fine.)

    Off to eat.

  61. first off thanks for taking the time to reply.

    my bad for such a general last statement because you used it to refute everything else i said. i shouldn’t have used it or at least explained it better. i tend to generalize. by handouts, i was including rich,poor, etc. in my eyes the black community, which i am apart of, does not work together anymore. we’re all in groups. smart, poor, middle class, etc. and no-one wants to mix in with the the others. i’m not saying that every other race on the planet doesn’t do that, but i believe part of the reason the civil rights movement worked was ’cause, for the most part, we were united. something we lack these days.

    and ugh the education wasn’t for me but for those you guys claim you want to educate. it was in response to what abw said in her last post to me. i’ve already figured you guys had a certain approach about how you deal with things, but i wanted to make sure. obviously, this is more of a place to vent and have some buddies agree with you.

    and you’re right about me not having facts and figures to back up my arguments. mostly because i’m rather busy with my own goals and don’t have the time to engage in essay like debates on the net. that, and i’m not really big on proving my intelligence. i like sounding and talking simple. i think it keeps me humble and less judgmental. of course i’m sure you’re response to this will be something in the veins of “well that’s why i can’t talk to your stupid ass.”

    the thing is you’re coming off as very insulted because of the things i’m saying. which is sad cause that truly isn’t my attention. your anti-racist bias still quickly dismisses anything anyone says the moment you find a slightly racist flaw in their argument.

    in order to reach someone like you in a debate one must explain every aspect of their thought. no general statements, which unfortunately, i do alot. which is easier to do in a conversation than on the web. so my bad for that.

    and you’re right i have some racist tendencies maybe not in how i phrased that response that peeved you off earlier but in other aspects in my life. something i’m working on. i used to sound alot like you and abw, and all my friends thought i was pretty militant but after hanging out with a really mellow friend of mine, i discovered that that was eating me up. i had gotten so caught up that all i could see was racist elements everywhere, often enhancing situations/judgments to unnecessary levels. and worst of all not realizing my own racial biases.

    my point is, you come off as if you’re devoid of racist thought, which i find hard to believe.

    once again, you’re taking my comments very personally hence the constant attacks on my intelligence and you proving yours (and on some level i’m insulted as well. i strive to be a better, more well rounded,human everyday so for someone to call me stupid because i don’t agree with them or don’t have the exact specified knowledge(numbers and figures) that they have kinda gets to me).

    i implore you to not to completely dismiss everything i or anyone else says just cause you find a fracture in our racial beliefs or understanding. anyone no matter their background, beliefs, intelligence, social status, etc. may say something very profound.

    lastly my sincerest apologies for any comment you’ve deemed racist. i was not trying to attack or harm you in anyway, just trying to communicate.

  62. You first accuse me of treating Mike differently because he’s Asian, then of treating him with the same harshness as white racists. Which is it?

    no, i only and consistently accused you of treating Mike MORE harshly than the others because he’s an Asian excusing his racism by referencing the very knotty topic of black/Asian relations. i never said you treated him with the SAME harshness as white racists. I said you treated him with GREATER harshness. anyone who doubts this should go back and read my posts.

    but i don’t believe that you actually saw me writing any of this, i think you were just busy building straw men in your head, Nora. you’ll notice you hardly dealt with most of what i was saying in my last comment.

    How is Mike’s “but don’t the blacks do it to themselves?” any different from a white person’s “but don’t the blacks do it to themselves?”

    i believe i told you at great length (above) how it’s different, but i’ll summarize: it’s different because some blacks really DO treat most as ams badly, because most as ams have had frequent experiences of harrassment/humiliation at the hands of af ams, because as am privilege is a very unstable thing, and as am power is almost nonexistent. you can’t say any of that about most whites (because, as you pointed out, most whites are middle class)

    YOU, on the other hand, can’t say that you recognize what it’s like to be shoved from pillar to post, and then imply that an as am’s racism based on his experience is the same thing as a white’s racism based on his experience. YOU have to decide “which is it?”

    there is a kind of mutual racism for which both parties have to take SOME responsibility. and while a lot of as ams are going to be racist no matter what, a lot of them who would otherwise be more open-minded are pushed into hatred by daily harrassment. as i’m sure you know, it’s hard to combat your own racism when some of the objects of your own racism are making several hours of your every day a living hell.

    You think there’s some unique African-on-Asian hatred going on? From what I can see, it goes both ways. I went to a Chinese friend’s wedding and some of her relatives wouldn’t shake my hand. I take shit from Latinos *and* Asians, especially if I go into the wrong neighborhood (had my eyes opened the last time I visited ABW’s Dominican neighborhood; she’s never had any trouble there but I’m darker-skinned than her) or the wrong Asian-owned shop. Hell, I take even more shit from African and West Indian immigrants here in my own neighborhood, once I open my mouth and they realize I’m one of “those” black people — the ones descended from slaves. We’re the lowest of the low to everybody.

    aaaahhhhh. at last. i was wondering what it would take to get you to open up about inter-poc bullshit.

    here’s the thing: it’s an open secret that we all beat on each other (I don’t mean we individuals specifically. i mean our groups.) and we all avoid talking about it because it IS so damn knotty. it’s really, really tough complaining about racist treatment from a group that you know also suffers from racism, especially if it’s a different kind of racism from that of your own group, and you don’t entirely understand it … or sometimes even agree with it in your bad moments.

    and because those of us who really wrestle with these things go out of our way not to talk about it, we leave the field entirely open to the hardened racists like kenneth eng, or the clueless but curable racists like Mike. and THEN, we end up only “admitting” that we’re aware of inter-poc tensions–much less having experienced them personally–only as a defensive tactic when someone else brings it up.

    fie on all of us, i say.

    let’s talk about it openly, and among “enlightened” ppl with the vocabulary, smarts, and chops to really deal with it.

    i accused you, Nora, at the beginning of all of this, of coming down harder on Mike than you did on the other cracists (typo intended), because he was an Asian raising a legitimately knotty point to defend his clueless racism. i accused you of getting more angry with him than with white racists because mike’s point couldn’t be so easily dismissed, and you couldn’t take the absolute high road there.

    i’m not now, nor was i really then, sure that this was true about YOU. but i AM sure that this is true about many af ams who get really outta hand hysterical when an as am defends her anti-black racism with a legitimate beef.

    let’s deal with this. let’s start another thread soon.

  63. rashad:

    i implore you to not to completely dismiss everything i or anyone else says just cause you find a fracture in our racial beliefs or understanding. anyone no matter their background, beliefs, intelligence, social status, etc. may say something very profound

    hear, hear. that’s what i was saying about mike. he said some racist things, and he said some true things. sometimes, the only person saying the true things is the one also saying the racist things. it’s really hard not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  64. Claire,

    I don’t generally talk about “inter-PoC bullshit” because there’s no point. We could very easily get into a match of “my oppression trumps your oppression”, but what good would that do? I could talk to the cows come home about why some of that AfAm/AsAm hostility exists — the fact that we get beaten over the head with the “model minority” crap (“They’re succeeding, why can’t you?”), and that AsAms are often cited as a reason for getting rid of Affirmative Action programs, and that Asian immigrants have a habit of opening businesses in black neighborhoods and inadvertently contributing to gentrification, and that objectification/idealization of Asian women contributes to the perception that African women are undesirable. But as you say — Asians don’t have any more power here than African-diaspora folks do. So where are these negative messages, these “there can be only one (successful minority)!!” pressures, coming from? Shouldn’t *that* be where we focus our energy, rather than on each other?

    A core tactic of racism is divide-and-conquer. If every minority group in this country can be turned against each other, they’re less likely to work together. If some groups are praised where others are maligned, that contributes to it. If we start pointing fingers at each other and *buying into* the d-and-c tactic, that also contributes to it. So I honestly don’t see much value in each of us showing our scars and saying “you did this!!” Because I believe the biggest scars, and the real pain, comes from somewhere else.

    I believe that focusing on black-on-Asian harassment, or Asian-on-black hostility, or model-minority vs. stupid-minority messages, or *all of that*, is a diversion from what we should truly be focusing on. It’s reacting to the symptom rather than the disease. The way to solve the problem, IMO, is to confront the racist messages that contribute to inter-group hostility, and recognize that this is how the system works.

    And I will reiterate — you cannot fight racism by defending racism. I don’t believe any racist statements are defensible, even inter-PoC statements. I think that any “true statements” that a racist utters should be regarded with extreme suspicion, at least until they show they’re willing to confront their own racism. But clearly we believe in different tactics here.

  65. no-one said you should dismiss racial comments but you shouldn’t ignore anything else someone says just cause they failed your racism test.

    your all or nothing attitude on this is a little disturbing.

    if you’re judging racists on their unwillingness to face it. (and i wonder what someone would have to do to prove this to you) then maybe you should question your own unwillingness to tolerate anyone you’ve deemed racist.

    there seems to be a part of you that denies certain aspects of this debate. you want to talk about racism but you’re throwing out claire’s very decent points. what would it hurt to discuss this issue.

    secondly u also seem to forgive blacks who do treat people unfairly (even yourself) because they’re only reacting to a system that failed them.

    and i think that’s wrong. people should be responsible for themselves no matter their upbringing. anyone could let outside influences cause them to treat others that bad. in a way you’re “defending racism” by literally ignoring that sometimes blacks do treat others unfairly and not just because it’s society’s bad treatment of them but because that sometimes they’re actually just being hateful.

    you’re saying you want to combat racism but you don’t want to deal with inter-minority racism?

    what???

    how can we unite and fight the source if we ignore the problems within ourselves?

  66. Rashad,

    I question everything a racist says because racist beliefs reveal a fundamental flaw in reasoning and/or information gathering. Racism requires a tremendous amount of self-delusion to support. You have to accept as truth things that can’t be supported by fact; you have to actively ignore or reject facts that don’t agree with your belief. There’s an emotional component to it that increases the chance of wrong decision-making — and it’s not that I don’t believe emotion shouldn’t be involved in decision-making, but when your emotions cause you to make the *wrong* decision then I think all your decisions should be suspect. If you decide that people of some other race are bad because you fear them, or if you refuse to recant a racist belief because your pride won’t allow you to, then that’s just plain wrong. And therefore everything else you believe may be equally tainted.

    Crap — gotta go catch a train. Will finish later.

  67. OK, back.

    So that’s why I dismiss racists. Besides that, it’s human nature — rightly or wrongly — to judge others by first impression, and if the first words out of someone’s mouth are racist? They shouldn’t be surprised if others dismiss them from there on. *Especially* if they roll up on an anti-racism site and say stupid shit. That’s like walking into a corporate job interview wearing clown shoes. You might be brilliant and competent, but if you don’t understand that workplace’s culture enough to fit in, nobody’s going to take you seriously.

    Now. As for the rest of your last comment — you clearly haven’t been paying much attention to what I’ve said. I haven’t “thrown out” any of Claire’s arguments; I just don’t agree with some of her conclusions. But that’s between me and her. And at no point have I “forgiven” blacks for their bigotry. (Hell, I’m still disgusted by yours.) I acknowledged that black people harassing Asians is a bad thing. But as I explained to Claire, I think it’s infinitely more useful to talk about the causes of that kind of harassment — the stereotypes and misinformation and divisive tactics employed by those in power — than to recite the laundry list of wrongs on both sides.

    And that’s as much as I’m willing to repeat myself.

  68. don’t generally talk about “inter-PoC bullshit” because there’s no point. We could very easily get into a match of “my oppression trumps your oppression”, but what good would that do?

    there you are again with the straw men. or is it a fatal failure of imagination? is the only discussion of inter-poc tension that you can imagine a duel of oppressions?

    But as I explained to Claire, I think it’s infinitely more useful to talk about the causes of that kind of harassment — the stereotypes and misinformation and divisive tactics employed by those in power — than to recite the laundry list of wrongs on both sides.

    it’s the straw men, then. where the FUCK did i suggest that we throw a laundry list of wrongs on both sides at each other? damn, nora, if you’re afraid to discuss this issue then just admit it. but stop putting words in my mouth.

  69. oh, and not to get into the “yes it is” “no it isn’t” argument you and rashad seem to be developing, but somebody famous once said something like (that vague enough for you?): the cry of the oppressed is not always just, but there can be no justice if it is not heard.

    racism is the automatic, almost autonomic response of the ignorant–the undereducated. just because someone hasn’t had the opportunity to be enlightened from the outside, doesn’t mean they don’t have any insight at all.

    dismissing everyone who says anything racist or prejudiced will cut out 99% of the people you encounter, and limit your debate partners only to people careful and risk-averse enough to avoid saying anything controversial.

  70. lol. claire you’re totally right.

  71. “dismissing everyone who says anything racist or prejudiced will cut out 99% of the people you encounter, and limit your debate partners only to people careful and risk-averse enough to avoid saying anything controversial.”

    I think saying something racist or prejudiced is, more often than not, a conscious decision. You’re at the age where you should know what’s acceptable to say and what is not acceptable to say, you know? You control what comes out of your mouth, unless you have some sort of disability that prevents you from doing so. There’s a such thing as “proper etiquette”, and using racial slurs in casual conversation is not it.

    Also, I *don’t* think “99%” of people will say something racist or prejudiced upon first meeting or talking to Nora. If he, she, or they does/do, that says a lot about him, her, or them, and quite frankly I would dismiss him, her, or them from then-on as well. So I can understand her logic behind doing that…

  72. OK, Claire. I give up. You’ve dismissed every argument I’ve made as straw men. We’re standing in the middle of a whole field of them now. So please explain again whatever your point is, since obviously I’m too stupid to understand. What, exactly, do you want?

  73. nora,

    i want a discussion, not an argument about why we shouldn’t have a discussion.

    i’m on vacation now, so i’m not going to engage further on this thread. but in a few weeks i’m going to post on this, either here or on my own blog. i hope you’ll participate in the discussion then.

  74. At this point I really have idea what you want to discuss (specific incidents of African-diaspora people hating on Asian-diaspora people? Something vaguely to do with African-Asian intergroup politics overall? Mike and my reaction to his racism? My reaction to racists in general? Why or whether I should be nicer to racists of color? My inability to figure out what the hell you’re talking about?). It doesn’t seem like you want a discussion of anything in particular; you’re coming across like you’ve got a load of unresolved resentment/hostility towards various entities about various things and you want someone to vent it all on. I don’t have either the time for or the interest in that.

    So at this point I’ll give a very cautious yes to participating in your discussion, though it frankly depends on what you say and how you say it. If it’s in your blog you’ll have to invite me to look at it, since I don’t follow your blog regularly.

  75. *spoilers, etc.* [if that still matters]

    please forgive me if this has been covered, but i felt in the name of fairness i should at least throw this in.

    anderson’s character in the movie, while absolutely perpetuating a handful of stereotypes, wasn’t 100% idiotic. he did actually help the process along rigging the computer to the radio system to help the military communicate by morse code [sort of a crude wording, i'm sure; forgive me]

    BUT, thanks, ABW for being perceptive, not only to this movie, but to subtle forms of racism. it reassures me that when i do the same i’m not being hypersensitive or searching for things to complain about [as folks might think].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 144 other followers

%d bloggers like this: