How to derail a conversation about race…Step 1

Faced with Pat Buchanan’s recent display of bigoted delusional rhetoric I find myself feeling more than a little overwrought at the idea of discussing race or racism ever again. Frankly I’d much rather nap until America got over itself. But, I can’t resist debunking sentiments like:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

You’ll notice that he’s very careful to avoid talking about the realities of slavery, any historical context for black society in African countries in the past or the present, or things like Jim Crow laws, lynching, and the destruction of black towns that were independent and thriving economically like Rosewood, and the black communities in Springfield and Tulsa. He completely ignores the fact that federal programs like food stamps, TANF, and student loans are all income based with no race specifications., and that affirmative action means that qualified candidates that are not white males get a fair shot. He also ignores the reality that it was black churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals that were funding soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

It’s this deliberate misinformation that bolsters the idea that black people are somehow magically getting ahead without merit, and fosters the resentment you see so often from whites that argue so vociferously against the concept of white privilege and against affirmative action. Never mind that the main beneficiaries of affirmative action have been white women. No, let’s just scream about that one time a POC “stole” a job that you really wanted/needed/preferred and ignore the part where you weren’t entitled to that job above all applicants.

It doesn’t help that even in school the history books skim over what Ida B. Wells, the NAACP, The Black Panthers, the NOI and others were doing in support of the black community. Aside from the actual Civil Rights Movement marches and demonstrations that are discussed, there is very little mention of day to day life in black communities. Nor do those history books discuss life after the Civil Rights Act was signed. There’s no acknowledgement of how slowly things changed or what black people still had to do in the quest for equality. This attitude that black empowerment could only come at the hands of whites is (IMO) a large part of the reason why any honest conversation about racism gets derailed with “Look at what we’ve done for you. Slavery is over. Why are you still so angry?” and other such folderol. As we sit through several more months of campaigning I find myself wondering how much further our country could be right now if the truth was taught in schools, if America was willing to own up to its past, if more people knew that poverty isn’t race specific. Heck, if the same news channel that’s been so focused on twisting snippets of Rev. Wright’s speeches wasn’t also hauling Pat Buchanan out as a political commentator at every turn, then maybe some of America could start having that very important conversation about the realities of racism and its impact on our society. Instead lies, misinformation, myths and a general refusal to look at reality will keep that conversation from going any where further than the same old rut.

Karnythia is a writer, a historian, and occasionally a loud mouth. In between raising hell and raising kids she usually manages to find time to contemplate the meaning of life as a black woman in America. Her posts on any topic can be found at her Livejournal.

83 Responses

  1. well said

  2. Oh, for fuck’s sake. What an idiot. Yeah, and America has done all that in attempt to make up for the COMPLETELY UNFORGIVABLE horrors of slavery. I’m pretty sure the debt will never be paid, and the only way to make any progress — the only way to make as many people happy as possible — is to start more conversations about race and to take action toward curbing racism everywhere.

    At any rate, I think my brain stopped being able to deal with his comments after “Christian salvation.” Trying to paint slavery as positive in ANY way is the absolute end.

    Thanks for debunking this! I hope no one took him seriously in the first place.

  3. Unfortunately, many have and will take him seriously. In fact, he didn’t say anything original at all in that most who agree with him were already thinking this.
    And that makes me sad. Anger will come later when I have to refute the next jackass who starts quoting the article as if it is truth.

  4. *chuckle* Well you know me, the ungrateful Negress.

    Excuse me I need to go apply for another job that I’m totally going to get just because of my skin color, because let’s keep it honest, the hell that there’s a chance that I’m smart enough, capable enough, or hard working enough, heck even blessed by Dear White Jesus enough, to remotely deserve that position over *any white male ever*.

  5. Um.

    “Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.”

    The vast majority of people who use these programs are white. All of these programs keep very clear statistics on this. They were set up to alleviate poverty, not to alleviate _Black_ poverty. Besides being racist bullshit, this is just a lie.

  6. Um…

    *e-crushes on Karnythia*

  7. Oh, for fuck’s sake. What an idiot. Yeah, and America has done all that in attempt to make up for the COMPLETELY UNFORGIVABLE horrors of slavery. I’m pretty sure the debt will never be paid, and the only way to make any progress — the only way to make as many people happy as possible — is to start more conversations about race and to take action toward curbing racism everywhere.

    So which is it? Is it completely unforgivable, or can we make progress? Because I’m getting close to the point where I actually believe that it really is unforgivable — and that is the point where I get pragmatic rather than fair.

    Do you really think it helps to tell White People “it is never enough, you will always have to give me more to make me happy?” When you tell people, “no matter what you give me, you are always going to owe me” the logical path for them to take is to not pay anything.

    Excuse me I need to go apply for another job that I’m totally going to get just because of my skin color, because let’s keep it honest, the hell that there’s a chance that I’m smart enough, capable enough, or hard working enough, heck even blessed by Dear White Jesus enough, to remotely deserve that position over *any white male ever*.

    That’s the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    Buchanan did get one thing right. (And it pains me to admit that.) “[T]his time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.” None of the Black blogs that I am reading tend to want to hear from anyone white who disagrees with anything. If you disagree, then it means you are racist.

    That’s not progress.

  8. Heard from about what exactly? I keep seeing this argument and it’s invariably followed by some racist clap trap that has already been addressed repeatedly. Silly black people, not wanting to hear “Affirmative action denied me that job *I* deserved” or “You black people don’t work hard enough” or “It’s not really racism, it’s just because so many of you people do X that the police stopped you”. I mean really, what exactly is there to say to people who just want to voice more racism under the guise of “discussing” race.

  9. Haha……so you don’t want to hear from white people?
    Well said.

  10. Phelps,

    “it is never enough, you will always have to give me more to make me happy?”

    You need to reread the post because that is NEVER SAID. Though, I’m glad you posted this, because this is what I believe many white people think.

    Basic human respect does not = GIMMEGIMMEGIMME!!

    …Nor does pointing out the backwards, fucked-up thinking, that is informing an entire population of how they should think.

    And that’s aside from the bullshit that actually comes out of his mouth.

  11. I was responding specifically to Nina. If you think that there is any other way to see “COMPLETELY UNFORGIVABLE” and “I’m pretty sure the debt will never be paid,” I would like to hear what that interpretation is. It seems pretty defined to me.

  12. [...] by Jack Stephens on March 24, 2008 Karnythia blogs at The Angry Black Woman on a recent blog post by Pat Buchanan: It’s this deliberate misinformation that bolsters the idea that black people are [...]

  13. Can I link this post for the upcoming Erase Racism Carnival at the blog Double Consciousness?

  14. In my opinion, it’s not that black people don’t want to hear from white people. That’s not the case at all. It’s that progress can only be made when white people can own up to the mistakes that their forbearer’s made and actually listen, are willing to be empathetic instead of spiteful, and have something productive to say, then they should shut the fuck up.

    Because all they’re doing is making negative insinuations as to a black persons character and then going, “Duh..what did I say? Why are you black people so mad and bitter?”

    I am so sick and tired of every white person who can open their mouths twisting the issue of racism against blacks into a cry to sympathy for the poor wretched white folks, who can never do enough for the loud, demanding, undeserving black people. Until the day white people are honestly interested in understanding black people and racism, and not in excusing white people’s reasoning and behaviours then BE QUIET!

  15. The race riot of 1898 in Wilmington, NC is another example of white supremacy on the march. The story was suppressed for so long and the newspapers are talking about it now.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/1370/story/511596.html

  16. Well Phelps, it might make you happy to know that Nina is, in fact, NOT black, and yet still feels this way. So you’re whining at a white person that white people can’t be heard. Good luck with that.

    In other news, I would welcome a two way conversation about race. But the reason why asshats like Pat get lectured to all the time is because thye are not enlightened, not intelligent, not in any way useful on the subject of race. We MUST lecture to them because they need to be taught. Now, if a white person were to come along who disagreed but did so without displaying their vast ignorance and not-so-hidden racism, I’d be glad to have a two way conversation. But, I must say, it’s usually the non-ignorant, non-racist folks who are agreeing with us. Perhaps there is a correlation there.

    Bottom line is, any white person who opens their mouth to say anything like “White people have been SO HELPFUL to blacks, why aren’t they grateful” has obviously never, ever been helpful to anyone, much less any black people. because those white allies that HAVE been helpful? the ones that have worked for social justice, equality, and a better world? They don’t stand around shouting about it and whining that no one is grateful or paying attention. because they know that folks are grateful and they know that folks are paying attention. That’s what happens when you actually do good work. White folks looking for a cookie rarely deserve it.

  17. Phelps:
    You wrote: “Do you really think it helps to tell White People “it is never enough, you will always have to give me more to make me happy?”

    This infers that white people have given Black people something. What have we given them? Please give specific examples, and please do not do what Buchanan did by listing general poverty programs which have helped more whites than blacks. Please do not list the things Black folks have done for themselves such as the civil rights movement.

    What, please, have we in our benevolence and kindness and brilliance and sense of fair play, done for Black people?

  18. I WISH I could have been on The View today. My debating skills would have taken down EH once and for all. There is an award waiting for your pick up on my blog.

  19. No, let’s just scream about that one time a POC “stole” a job that you really wanted/needed/preferred and ignore the part where you weren’t entitled to that job above all applicants.

    I encounter this argument all the time when I’m teaching race issues, but typically it’s an “uncle” who lost the job, and was told “by the boss” afterward that “they had to hire a [POC],” usually a black man/woman specifically.

    Why is it always an uncle? I’m not sure, but I admit that it starts to sound like an urban myth, as a result.

    But, ok, assuming it’s true–i.e., that they really have heard this story from an honest-to-god brother of a parent, what I have said is: “if a boss told them that, then he was almost certainly not being truthful to your uncle. Because that is not how affirmative action actually works, unless in the very rare circumstance that the particular business has been actively cited for deliberately racist hiring practices in the past and is being punished for it. No one ‘forces’ any business to hire an unqualified p.o.c. over a qualified white person.” And then I explain affirmative action more carefully.

    What I want to say is: “If this story is true, then I’m assuming that the boss was white, and so is your uncle. They had a chance to talk afterward, privately–maybe even in an informal, social setting–and the boss likes your uncle as a person, but found he really wasn’t the best/right candidate for the job. He might have even found that your uncle wasn’t the most qualified to do the job. But that’s not a very friendly thing to say. Much easier to bond as two white men by, well, dissing an absent p.o.c.”

    I probably can’t ever say that in a classroom, however. Too speculative, for one thing. If there was a way to say it, that students might actually hear, I’d love to hear it.

  20. how do you have a two-way conversation about race? How much sense does it make when you ignore the 2 tonne multi-ethnic elephant in the room – social class?

  21. p.s., by “students” in my last line, I mean the mainly white, mainly middle class, pretty-defensive-on-race-issues that comprise a majority on my fairly conservative campus. As a white professor, they will hear some of this stuff from me, in ways they might not hear it from a professor o.c., but there’s a lot of incomprehension, too. (why is this woman so obsessed with race? she’s so p.c.!)

  22. Okay, I don’t know about jobs, but I do know that medical schools don’t have affirmative action for “white women” or women in general, but they DO have it for underprivileged minorities (UMs)–blacks, hispanics, native americans but NOT asians.

    UM status does help a lot in medical school, and although I (an asian) am not against affirmative action, I think we can both agree that oversimplifications do not help the cause.

  23. Pat Buchanan wrote: ” As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence…” Buchanan goes on to quote some statistics that imply that black on white violent crime is a far greater problem than white on black crime.

    I honestly do not know what the numbers are, but I strongly suspect that is not correct. I have read just enough to know that if all the people of color were to be removed from the U.S. – leaving only whites – we would still be the most violent country on earth.

    Further, what he lists as grievances of the “white community” really bothers me. There are too many things that are wrong about these.

  24. I would also really like to discuss race with white people- that’s. . . almost the entire point. But I stop wanting to at times, because in my experience these things tend to occur:

    Zero progress- And not in the “I’m not turning them into my thinking” kind, but the “why am I hearing what I just heard?” kind. The problem with being the majority in thought is that, well, it’s common. Most of the time when an angry white man comes barreling at me with Truth raging from his foaming snout, unfortunately I’ve usually heard it all before and already formed counter-arguments. . .*sigh* that likes to never get heard. I think it would benefit everyone if all people, but majority thinkers especially, do their homework about 101 things. This can be applied to all topics where are majority opinions. But let’s keep it honest- if you are a white person whose not entirely off of the planet when it comes to thoughts on race, trust, what you said, has already been said. If you are unsatisfied with the responses given then say so, but a lot of majority opinions will not be ground-shaking to any minorities who discuss race.

    2. Preaching affect- This is what makes me truely think racism is a kind of religion. There are times where the person doesn’t even care what I have to say and I’m just being talked at, mainly about the same stuff I’ve heard before (see 1). I understand if you have some pent up emotions you want to let out, and I tend to let them go first, but afterwards they seem completely uninterested in what I have to say. And a conversation on race that is not.

    3. Racism!- Okay I’m sorry but there is so much I’m willing to listen to a day. Eventually I had to make a small requirement before I condemn your opinion to racism, and I tend to openly ask this to people to make sure, and it basically “Is you argument basically supported on the fact that black people are less hardworking and/or intelligent?” If so, I’m letting that go- if you want to think it, that’s fine, but I’m not going out of my way to hear it.

    and 4. Race is Uncomfortable- To all races outside their own, and I believe to white people especially. I’m a bit less intimidating because I come out ‘safe-ish’ but still, the average white person I know does not want to bring that up, and I feel no need to force them to. *sheepish* Maybe because of all the stuff I said before. In either case it’s not as if I’m forming all these opinions while ignoring all the white people that are begging to talk about this, because most people don’t.

  25. Phelps:
    You wrote: “Do you really think it helps to tell White People “it is never enough, you will always have to give me more to make me happy?”

    This infers that white people have given Black people something. What have we given them? Please give specific examples, and please do not do what Buchanan did by listing general poverty programs which have helped more whites than blacks. Please do not list the things Black folks have done for themselves such as the civil rights movement.

    White people have given Black People nothing. I say that for two reasons — I don’t believe in Black People or White People (as opposed to people who are black or white), believing them both to be mythical creatures used mainly as straw men. The best I could say about the real situation is that blacks were allowed an opportunity, but that is only because they were denied opportunity for centuries.

    Black people have only been free for about 40 years. That means that there are a lot of blacks alive who were not free for part of their life. The problem is that there are a lot of whites who have never lived in a situation where blacks were not free. There is no one under 25 who has seen overt racism from whites that wasn’t immediately condemned. In other 40 years, there would be no one alive who had to live through Jim Crow, and in an ideal world, that would be behind us.

    Unfortunately, we have a subculture that continues to act as if that situation was yesterday, and wants to make it as if anyone who would have had to live under Jim Crow feel like they do live under it. I understand why someone would want to do that (both cynical and noncynical reasons) but either way, it is starting to look to me like there are people who are trying to guarantee that the fight goes on long after the victims and perpetrators of Jim Crow are long dead.

    The other problem is that the same subculture is wrapped up in a completely unrelated political movement (the Marxism of the Black Panthers and Wright’s Marxist Liberation Theology). That argument gets commingled with the race discussion, leading us to situations where people really do disagree with Obama or Wright’s politics, yet the assumption is that it is still racism.

  26. You seem to have no grasp of current racism. The Civil Rights movement improved things to the point that the so called Jim Crows laws are gone from the books, but Jim is not dead. Segregation (both in school and in neighborhoods) still exists, as does discriminatory lending, discrimatory sentencing and redlining is now dressed up as gentrification. One has only to look at the response to Katrina to see that institutionalized racisnm is still alive and well. That doesn’t even touch on things like racial profiling, police brutality, or problems with getting medical treatment for POC that is not tainted by racism.

  27. and other such folderol.

    Ditto to the e-crushes. That was really well written. And I love seeing words like ‘folderol’ used in everyday sentences.

    And, um yeah. Regards the “listen to white people” thing? Well, I’m still busy listening to black people. God knows I haven’t learned enough, but I’m not going to figure out what’s being said unless I shut up and listen, and wait with respect.

    I’m not a part of the group that’s been wronged here. Any competent mediator will tell you that, when a party has been wronged, they get to speak first. And the other people involved need to listen until they actually understand the complaint.

    In no way does the majority of white America (I’ll include myself here if it helps) actually get the full nature of the complaint. In no way if white America the one who gets to decide if we get the complaint.

    I think that’s clear and fair. If you disagree, explain why.

  28. “Unfortunately, we have a subculture that continues to act as if that situation was yesterday, and wants to make it as if anyone who would have had to live under Jim Crow feel like they do live under it. I understand why someone would want to do that (both cynical and noncynical reasons) but either way, it is starting to look to me like there are people who are trying to guarantee that the fight goes on long after the victims and perpetrators of Jim Crow are long dead.”

    Umm…how about those people are still alive. When a lot of those elderly PoC are saying that not much has changed at all other than the abolishing of overt racism, it would do you well to LISTEN. It is those that are under 40 that still live with the residual effects of Jim Crow. Residual effects being redlining, gentrification, lack of loans to PoC, a quite imperfect system that places black men in jail simply because of the difference between crack and cocaine, etc.

    All that past crap? Still has 100% relevance to all this contemporary crap.

  29. Phelps:

    Karnythia stated it with much more razor-sharp precision that I was going to…

    I was going to state that the legacy of of the Jim Crow laws is still imbedded in our society’s governmental, financial, educational structures. Opportunities are still not equal. The fruit from my labor hung lower (and still hangs lower) for me than for many of my counterparts of color who were born in this country in the early 70′s.

    Your comment on the shifting of population demographics is interesting and I think it is worth exploring. The fastest growing segments of our population are immigrants with little to no predisposition toward Jim Crow laws. (Though many our Latin American counterparts have had many painful introductions.)

    I am actually concerned that our now global focus is emerging at the expense of not attending to many matters in our own house. Conversations about the legacy of Jim Crow laws could very well vanish, not because inequalities have vanished, but because the immigration influx and the emerging global economy will shift the focus (and resources) of those in power.

    I wish I could seperate race from politics, Phelps. But these matters are not neatly compartmentalized. If you have the chance, read MLK’s autobiography where he talks about the tension between Marx and Capitalism and how that tension relates to the unique experience of the descendants of Africa.

    Adam

  30. [...] Never, in my observations.  In my internet scurryings just now, I had the good fortune to see this post at Angry Black Woman’s blog.  ABW and Karnythia = two of my favorite [...]

  31. It’s like the dorkdongs who suggested that if Wright didn’t like it here in the U.S. he should go back to where he came from.

    Huh? His ancestors didn’t come here and clear the wilderness and make all those big fortunes because they WANTED TO, and provide all that leisure then, for the white folk who owned them to enjoy the fruits of their labor — meaning the white owners enjoyed the fruits, not those who produced it. As one friend of mine remarked when he toured a ‘museum’ plantation in Louisiana, looking at all those mirrors, the crystal, the satins, the mahogany, etc. — “What a lot the unpaid labor of 300 people can buy!”

    More to the point then, is, what are you, Pat Buchanan, giving the descendants of all these people, other than more reason to want to kick your prominent parts?

    Love, C.

  32. “The other problem is that the same subculture is wrapped up in a completely unrelated political movement (the Marxism of the Black Panthers and Wright’s Marxist Liberation Theology). That argument gets commingled with the race discussion, leading us to situations where people really do disagree with Obama or Wright’s politics, yet the assumption is that it is still racism.”

    Except the perpetuation of Jim Crow lite is a function of the war on the poor. All of the problems that Karnythia outlined above (gentrification, poor healthcare, police brutality/prejudice, poor housing) are functions of class subjugation. If you have a society with low social mobility (like the US), expanding social inequality and a barely disguised contempt for the poor, problems born out of overt racial hatred and legalised discrimination are perpetuated, just as poverty and privilege are perpetuated in society as a whole. Slavery and Jim Crow forced people to the bottom, US capitalism keeps them there, regardless of the formal state of expressed racism. It makes no sense to talk about these problems without talking about class, because they aren’t problems experienced by wealthy people of any race (who knows more about being a poor black woman in modern America, Condi Rice or her white next door neighbour?).

  33. This speech is… wow. Just, wow. O_o Words fail me.

    Glad to see they don’t fail others, though. :D Nice post!

  34. Jack R,

    Ah, I see we have a Will Shetterly devotee in the house. Well, I’ll try not to tune you out immediately.

    One thing I should preface this with is that I hope you realize you’re engaging in step 3 or 5 or 10.2 of How to Derail A Conversation About Race. Classism gets used a lot these days as a bludgeon/handwaving distraction during race discussions, and more insidiously to imply that racism no longer exists. It’s not much different from the Clintonian Horde’s implications that racism no longer exists because sexism is the #1 evil in the world — and no different from any other attempt to play the “my oppression is bigger than yours” game. Since I most often see this tactic employed by white men of a fairly wide social “alternative” subset (geeks, artists, antiestablishment types, libertarians), I suspect that classism is just the common “oppression game” piece they’ve latched onto.

    Most people in the anti-”ism” game know that oppressions intersect. Race, class, gender, and a whole bunch of other factors are all mushed together in ways that can’t be extricated neatly from each other. No one element of the morass subsumes the others, unfortunately. I say “unfortunately” because if class did trump race, or race did trump class and gender, etc., then the whole mess would be a lot easier to fight.

    Which I think is the root cause of this continuing effort to insist that class is THE sole evil in the world, everything else tucks neatly into it, and all those people out there working against bigotry, etc., are just wasting their energy. Oppression is a huge, ridiculously complex, multi-headed monstrosity of a beast. Naturally those who are daunted by the prospect of slaying such a monster would prefer to shrink it down a little — squish all those multiple heads together into one, so they can then at least know which direction to attack. It’s a very logical, probably very comforting approach… to a problem rooted in illogical fear and uncomfortable selfishness. It’s a reductivist and naive oversimplification, the D&D strategy for solving the ills of the world.*

    We can talk about race without talking about class. We can do it easily, because racism is a complex-enough problem that if we don’t narrow down the discussion, we’ll end up wandering over such wide-ranging territory and so many tangents that the discussion becomes useless. Classic derailment. I agree with you that we can and should acknowledge the impact of class on race, but make no mistake — there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to racism, all by its little lonesome.

    So please stop trying to derail this discussion, OK?

    (*Note — I’m not dissing D&D. I used to play it, and I loved the Saturday morning cartoon. Just saying it doesn’t work in real life.)

  35. “We can talk about race without talking about class. We can do it easily, because racism is a complex-enough problem that if we don’t narrow down the discussion, we’ll end up wandering over such wide-ranging territory and so many tangents that the discussion becomes useless.”

    By talking about RACE, we talk about all the many “isms” that are impacted by racism, because many of the isms of this country ARE interrelated to racism/white supremacy and its effects:

    -Racism (white supremacy)
    -Sexism
    -Heterosexism
    -Ablism
    -Classism
    -Lesbian and Homo-sexism (racism against lesbians/homosexuals)
    -Trans-gendered racism (racism against trans-gendered people)

    It was Black Feminists such as Barbara Smith and Audre Lorde who with their magnificent manifesto, “The Combahee River Collective” who FIRST spoke of the interrelatedness of the many isms. Black feminists spoke of the intersection of the many isms in America way before many white feminists spoke of even racism in the feminists movement, and how it impacts many WOC in America. Black feminists stated that you cannot fight ONE ism without fighting ALL isms.

    Black women have been stating such facts since the abolition of slavery.

    Racism covers a multitude of inhumane sins, and black women, as well as many other WOC know full well how racism can impact on every aspect of life for POC.

    (Therefore, if you are a POOR, BLACK, LESBIAN WHO IS DISABLED, you will catch super hell from this white-male dominant society.)

    Rev. Wright spoke the truth. The black church has been a refuge and place of healing for millions of black Americans since the abolition of slavery. Racism still exists in America. America still persists in treating her black citizens as pariahs, as this……thing….Buchanan so aptly shows in his racist rant.

    Face facts America.

    You did wrong against your black citizens. Black people who have done MORE for this country than white-run America wants to acknowledge.

  36. nojojojo: But what discussion is it? What problems are the universal experience of racism? And who answers for them – all white people or just the US ruling class?

    (I’d argue the point on why class is more important, but I’m trying not to derail)

  37. If you’ll pay attention and do the work you’ll already have/find the answers to your questions without anyone having to take you by the hand and show them to you.

    And class can’t be that more important, or not intersectional, seeing as how a PoC will still be treated/looked upon as a PoC regardless of what class they’re in and how much cash they have?

  38. Jack R,

    nojojojo: But what discussion is it? What problems are the universal experience of racism? And who answers for them – all white people or just the US ruling class?

    I’m not interested in having this conversation, for the reasons I’ve stated in my last comment. Try Will Shetterly’s blog — if you haven’t already seen them, he’s got some posts up arguing that race doesn’t really exist and therefore racism will just go away if we all wish hard enough, and class is the real culprit, and blah blah blah. You’ll see lots of arguments for and against that viewpoint in his comments, and going off on the tangent that you’d obviously like to pursue, there.

  39. “It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.”

    Ahahahaha, hahahahahaha, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Somebody needs a history lesson.

  40. 1) Buchanan’s numbers creepily disregard the MILLIONS that died during the middle passage and the fact that the Atlantic slave trade was in many ways a cooperative European venture — the all-told body count of which was probably closer to ten-twelve millions human beings.

    2) @nojojo & Jack R : I’m also sick of white lefties that act like race is small potatoes vs. class. My wife is a research psychologist and she’ll tell you that ALL SORTS of health and quality-of-life indicators are worse for Black people (and even for stereotypically ‘well off’ Asians) than for white people, EVEN when ‘socioeconomic status’ is the same. And right now the mayor of Detroit is being charged with felony perjury, of which he is undoubtedly guilty. But, given all the corrupt shit that ANY mayor of a major city engages in, one has to wonder at the zeal with which Black pols. are often hounded.

    BUT I’m not so sure this means we can talk about race without talking about class — and I especially mean class in a global sense. A debate revolving (as Buchanan’s piece and ‘the racial debate’ in general so often does) around how big everyone’s slice of the American pie ought to be is USELESS if we don’t talk about where all that yummy pie comes from.

    Is it totally true and totally fucked up that a Black man buying a Hummer will almost invariably get poorer treatment (and sometimes poorer financing terms) from the car dealer than a white person of exactly equal socioeconomic status? Yes. But is buying a Hummer something ANYONE should be able to do hassle-free? No — not when it means 100 dead Arabs per gallon. And when I hear someone complain abuot their inability to reap the fruits of world-raping quite as fully as white folks do, I’m not real sympathetic. Don’t even get me started on gays in the military…

    I think sometimes you CAN compare oppressions. One of my grandparents was born in Ireland. If someone calls him a ‘Mick’ it is just not the same as someone calling my Black-looking Egyptian-Lebanese uncle a ‘nigger’ or a ‘sand nigger’ (he got both while he was alive). No matter how much shit (and I don’t doubt there’s been loads of it) she’s had to deal with in getting where she is today, Condoleeza Rice has had an easier life than the average male, semi-white-looking dude in rural Uzbekistan. Period.

  41. Phelps:
    You did not answer my question. You said that whites can give and give and give and nothing will be enough.

    What. Have. We. Given. Blacks.

    Also, although other people have said this, if you think of racism as old Jim Crow laws, you really just don’t get it.

    I realize that not all white people live like I do in an interracial neighborhood, so perhaps you don’t see day-to-day the institutional racism and one-on-one prejudice that is still going on EVERY DAY. But just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and you seem perfectly intelligent enough to read statistics and see what is going on.

    I think you don’t want to see it.

    If you are against Obama for his politics, I don’t care. I don’t think people who are against Obama are racist because they are against Obama. People who say racist things in their attacks on Obama are racist. And a shitload of people have been saying stupid racist garbage, including my beloved Gloria Steinem.

  42. Saladin,

    I think sometimes you CAN compare oppressions.

    Not in an open public forum. Not if you want the conversation to continue on track. I’ve just seen it happen too many times, both in relatively “protected” forums and in public ones — the instant people start comparing oppressions, no matter how civilly it starts, some idiot will jump in with “Yah well my uncle’s sister’s cousin’s friend was .0025% Native American, and we’ve got it worse than you!1!” Or white women have it worse than black men. Or Asians have it worse than Latina/os. Or Orthodox Jews have it worse than Reform. And so on, and so on. I’m convinced that it’s human nature to constantly try to one-up each other, even if the one-upspersonship involves wallowing in martyrdom.

    I agree with you in principle that oppressions can be compared. And in practice we can dialogue about it, but only under very careful circumstances. In a small group, in person, with people who are similarly willing to listen and committed to resolving the bigger picture… maybe then. In academic debate — sometimes (as long as nobody’s bucking for tenure, which is like, never). But here, where anybody with an axe to grind and an Imus poster on their wall can comment? And derail the discussion with a bit of Buchananesque inflammatory rhetoric? No. I just don’t believe it can be done without going off into the wild blue yonder.

  43. @ nojojo –

    You’re probably right. My point was really that I get annoyed when people say things like ‘there are no hierarchies of oppression’ b/c I think that in many ways there effectively ARE such hierarchies (though they shift depending on situation). But you are right that online discussions of ‘oppression vs. oppression’ are very likely going to fail their saving throw* against getting mired in off-topic back-and-forth

    *my turn for a gratuitous D&D reference

  44. nojojo said: “I’m not interested in having this conversation, for the reasons I’ve stated in my last comment. Try Will Shetterly’s blog — if you haven’t already seen them, he’s got some posts up arguing that race doesn’t really exist and therefore racism will just go away if we all wish hard enough, and class is the real culprit, and blah blah blah. You’ll see lots of arguments for and against that viewpoint in his comments, and going off on the tangent that you’d obviously like to pursue, there.”

    Hang on – not only have I not said any of the things you’re attributing to me here, I also didn’t go off on the above tangent. At no point did I mention why I thought class was important, I just asked you to describe what a conversation about race that ignored class consisted off, rather than just asserting that one was possible.

    Saladin: I didn’t argue that race/racism was small potatoes vis-a-vis class, I said that a discussion about the former made little sense without discussing the latter.

    What’s the purpose of discussing contemporary racism anyway? Simply to assert that it exists? Or to come up with strategies to combat it? If the racism is expressed and effected through class subjugation, if it is a systemic effect of discriminatory social relations, then isn’t challenging those relations, the anti-racist project?

  45. Jack R,

    You are going off on that tangent. By demanding, repeatedly, that we stop calling attention to the specific incident of racism noted in the OP, and instead pause to justify the existence and goals of the entire anti-racist movement… how can you possibly expect something like that not to derail the conversation? Seriously? What’s the purpose of discussing racism? (Not just “contemporary racism”, BTW — the system has an historical context that cannot be ignored, though you seem to be implying that it can be.) I mean, come on. Would you go to an environmentalist site and ask, “What’s the purpose of discussing environmental disasters,” and expect to be taken seriously?? As anything but an anti-environmentalist plant there to pull the discussion off-topic?

  46. The history books that my children have in school today are filled with black history–filled. Go to a high school and ask to look at their history books and you will see for yourself.

  47. I have seen them. I wouldn’t call them filled. They provide a slightly more comprehensive look at the role of blacks in American society, but there’s a lot that is not there.

  48. nojojojo: the discussion had moved on from the OP by that point, passing on to discussing race in general. I’m still on exactly the same topic: what exactly this conversation about race is that you want to have?

    To pretend that I’ve somehow derailed a positive discussion about Buchanan’s racism is absurd. So that’s what we were doing? The OP says Buchanan’s a racist. I agree. Back slapping all round.

    (and yeah, I have been on various environmentalist’s sites and had similar conversations. They did not presume I was anti-environmentalist, some people agreed, some disagreed and stated their case…

    Contemporary racism is the sum total of all past racial expressions, it is what the historical context and contemporary society combine to be. It did not imply that the historical context should be ignored, not least because it’s effects are still directly experienced)

  49. To pretend that I’ve somehow derailed a positive discussion about Buchanan’s racism is absurd.

    Ahem…

    How much sense does it make when you ignore the 2 tonne multi-ethnic elephant in the room – social class?

    Except the perpetuation of Jim Crow lite is a function of the war on the poor. All of the problems that Karnythia outlined above (gentrification, poor healthcare, police brutality/prejudice, poor housing) are functions of class subjugation…It makes no sense to talk about these problems without talking about class…

    What problems are the universal experience of racism? And who answers for them – all white people or just the US ruling class?

    (I’d argue the point on why class is more important, but I’m trying not to derail)

    O rly?

  50. as I’d mentioned in the part of the post you didn’t quote. The discussion had moved on from Buchanan’s specific remarks onto ‘conversations about race’. Is discussing race and class no longer a conversation about race?

  51. You were the only person in the entire thread to bring up social class. ergo sum –> derail

  52. Depends how important you think class subjugation is to the practice and perpetuation of racism really…

  53. Phelps:
    You did not answer my question. You said that whites can give and give and give and nothing will be enough.

    What. Have. We. Given. Blacks.

    I will quote myself since you seem to have missed it.

    White people have given Black People nothing. I say that for two reasons — I don’t believe in Black People or White People (as opposed to people who are black or white), believing them both to be mythical creatures used mainly as straw men. The best I could say about the real situation is that blacks were allowed an opportunity, but that is only because they were denied opportunity for centuries.

    (It was the first paragraph of the reply.)

  54. I realize that not all white people live like I do in an interracial neighborhood, so perhaps you don’t see day-to-day the institutional racism and one-on-one prejudice that is still going on EVERY DAY. But just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and you seem perfectly intelligent enough to read statistics and see what is going on.

    I see baseless accusations of racism everyday. I see evidence of class issues, but not racism. Just because I don’t agree that a situation is due to racism doesn’t mean that I didn’t see the situation. And every time I see a knee-jerk “racism” accusation, it makes it that much harder to accept any accusation. What Ferraro said was racist? What about when Obama said it himself? It is OK for Reverend Moss to call the kurflufle over Wright a “lynching?” What about when the Golf Channel reporter said it regarding Tiger Woods?

    There is a lot of class mobility in America. Immigrants shift class rapidly. Blacks are chronically relegated to lower classes for some reason other than institutionalism. The biggest problem I see is black culture ridiculing and shaming class movement (chastising children for “acting white”, “keeping it real”). When that ends, we will see a drastic change in class structure in America.

  55. (And please don’t tell me that I don’t live in an interracial neighborhood,

  56. Just so I’m clear you think you (a white man) gets to decide what is racism rather than the POC experiencing it? Really? As for the “keeping it real” nonsense it’s absolutely clear that your only interest here was to derail the conversation and look for a place to spout your bigoted rhetoric so that you could then claim to be anti-racist but misunderstood. No one cares what you accept as a valid moment of racism, because we all know that in the end it’s people like you that keep the oppressors in power.

  57. phelps:

    “I will quote myself since you seem to have missed it.

    White people have given Black People nothing. I say that for two reasons — I don’t believe in Black People or White People (as opposed to people who are black or white), believing them both to be mythical creatures used mainly as straw men. The best I could say about the real situation is that blacks were allowed an opportunity, but that is only because they were denied opportunity for centuries.”

    Response to your comment:

    “Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.”

    And that is a damned lie.

    What the hell have millions of white people GIVEN black people? What? Hell? Brutish, thuggery and cruelty, yes, but, dignity and respect as human beings? Where? I have not seen where white people, 99.9% of the white population has treated their fellow black citizens as human beings. If white people have been so concerned for the welfare and decent respect of black people’s humanity, why are many white neighborhoods all-white, where if there are POC they are anything but BLACK PEOPLE?

    Where have the majority of white people in America given black people so much goodness, peace, joy, happiness, but, most of all RESPECT AS FELLOW AMERICANS in this country? What have white people in all their time in this country, done for black people, as opposed to all white people have done to and against black people?

    Give me, Pat Buchanan, your irrefutable concrete evidence of all the magnanimous, wonderful, lovely, outstanding things that white people have done for black people in the last 450 years. (And I am not speaking of one or two whites you can count on one hand; I am not speaking of John Brown, Viola Liuzzo, Lysander Spooner, either. I am speaking of the millions of whites who see black people everyday, all week, all year-long. I am speaking of those white people who cross paths with their fellow black citizens on a daily basis.) Whites have never had an equal fair relationship towards black people in America, so, please, Pat Buchanan, tell me who are these millions of white people who have done so much good and right in the lives of millions of black people?

    Convince me.

    PROVE IT TO ME.

    I would love to see you pull that rabbit trick out of your magic hat.

    No country has done so much to destroy black people the way America has. No country has hated a people the way America has, but, then again that hatred is understandable. If you do wrongs for centuries against a people who have done you no wrong, of course you will hate that group of people, Pat Buchanan, not to mention developing contempt and self-hatred of yourself. The self-hatred you will harbor in yourself will eat you up inside because you will know that your people have done countless wrongs and inequities against those people whom you sought to destroy. And in seeing that you could not destroy and tear asunder what God created, you will hate and vilify the very people you could not destroy with all of your lynchings, your slavery, your segregation, your restrictive covenants, your sundown towns, your gerrymandering, your redlining, and your racist stereotypical lies.

    How the hell can kidnapping and enslaving an entire people’s ancestor’s, degrading, defiling, and murdering millions of them be in any way a compliment to those wronged people? Black African people had civilizations in Africa before European contact. Civilizations and nations: Mali, Timbuktu, Zimbabwe, Songhay. Black women cultivated rice in West Africa and brought that knowledge…that gift to America, among many other gifts. Black women and men from Africa brought many herbal remedies with them in treating illnesses, knowledge that no white person had. Black people smelt iron and created metalworks, artwork, fabric and textile procedures that no white person of European ancestry had knowledge of.

    What gifts has white-run America given to black people and the world, besides white supremacy and white racism?”

    SOURCE:

    http://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/pat-buchanan-a-coward-a-liar-and-a-racist-hater/

    phelps:

    I don’t believe in Black People or White People (as opposed to people who are black or white), believing them both to be mythical creatures used mainly as straw men.”

    Spoken like a person who brushes aside all the vicious abominations that white people have done in the name of “race”.

    Race is a depravity created by white Western Europeans to justify sick, sadistic savageries done to black people by white people.

    Straw-man, eh?

    So, when all of those so-caalled white “men” were raping little black girls during slavery, I guess that was a “straw-man”, eh?

    When all of those white women laid down with a black man, had sex with him, had white daddy walk in on them, and she jumped up and cried, “RAPE!”, and got the black man lynched, I guess that was a “starw-man”, eh?

    When, gutless, balless, white males threw a bomb into the 16TH Street Baptist Church, I guess that was a “straw-man”, eh?

    When in the year 2008, black Americans still live residential, educational and social lives of segregation, I guess those are jall ust “STRAW-MEN”………….eh?

    Yeah, that’s us black people.

    We’ve been living in the land where The Wizard of Oz Strawman has been beating, raping, burning, torturing, raping, starving, Jane Crowing, bastardizing (we used to be pure black, but now we have the filthy garbage blood of white rapists flowing in our veins), and disenfranchising us for CENTURIES.

    And if I read where any white person posts that sorry shithole saying, “I don’t see color, I just see people”, I just might lose my religion.

    For white people to have the audacity to state that trifling comment IS an insult to the millions of black people living in America who still ive under the legacy of white supremacy BECAUSE all that MILLIONS of white people ever saw in black people WAS (AND STILL IS)————–COLOR!

    What have white people given black people?

    A living NIGHTMARE.

    A nightmare that continues even to this day.

  58. karnythia.

    Sorry for the typos :)

  59. Jack R:

    Get it through your thick skull: Even though you obviously want to turn a conversation around, it’s pretty damn apparent no one else thinks the same way. How many fucking times do people have to tell you?

    We can talk about race without talking about class. We can do it easily, because racism is a complex-enough problem that if we don’t narrow down the discussion, we’ll end up wandering over such wide-ranging territory and so many tangents that the discussion becomes useless. Classic derailment. I agree with you that we can and should acknowledge the impact of class on race, but make no mistake — there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to racism, all by its little lonesome.

    So please stop trying to derail this discussion, OK?

    I’m not interested in having this conversation, for the reasons I’ve stated in my last comment.

    You are going off on that tangent. By demanding, repeatedly, that we stop calling attention to the specific incident of racism noted in the OP, and instead pause to justify the existence and goals of the entire anti-racist movement… how can you possibly expect something like that not to derail the conversation?

    We’ve come just short of saying “shut the fuck up”. But if you insist:

    SHUT THE FUCK UP!

  60. ABW, nojojojo, Karnythia:

    I apologize if that last comment out of line. I admit I’m guilty of PWA (Posting While Angry).

  61. ABW, Karnythia, I too apologize for my profanity.

    Oh…one more note.

    I humbly thank the millions of white people of Western European descent for all of the following:

    -Gonorrhea
    -Measles/Rubella
    -Mumps
    -Hypertension (developed in African’s systems while on 3-4 month Middle Passage voyages)
    -Smallpox

    Disease which WERE NOT ENDEMIC to Africa/Black Americans until Africans had the misfortune of coming into contact with the diseased-ridden white Europeans.

  62. I humbly thank the millions of white people of Western European descent for all of the following:

    -Gonorrhea
    -Measles/Rubella
    -Mumps
    -Hypertension (developed in African’s systems while on 3-4 month Middle Passage voyages)
    -Smallpox

    Disease which WERE NOT ENDEMIC to Africa/Black Americans until Africans had the misfortune of coming into contact with the diseased-ridden white Europeans.

    o rly?

    That’s what we are down to? Ok, AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, and Okra.

    I never endorsed Buchanan’s piece. I simply said that he got one part right: “[T]his time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.”

    Thanks for the lecture. Maybe we can try again in a few years.

  63. “I never endorsed Buchanan’s piece. I simply said that he got one part right: “[T]his time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.””

    You’ll get your chance to talk – when you shut up and listen to what minorities have to say first. Because it’s clear that, whenever we try to talk about race, you, or someone else, has to derail it, make a snide comment about blacks/other PoC, and then claim that “I didn’t do anything! Pointing out the comment that I made means that YOU’RE PLAYING THE RACE CARD!”

    Simply put – you need to be quiet and listen before you may speak. But privilege will continue to allow white men (who do not face racism at all), to dictate what racism is and is not, against the daily experiences of those who feel the effects of it daily.

  64. You’ll get your chance to talk – when you shut up and listen to what minorities have to say first.

    I’ve heard what you have to say. Just because I don’t agree doesn’t mean I didn’t understand what you said. I have heard your arguments, and I think they are wrong.

    When the part of Black America that has set itself apart from society wants to actually discuss things with the rest of us instead of having a tantrum, we will be waiting.

  65. And when you and others are done showing your ass, boy. Ready to have an actual discussion without a high horse, condescension and a host of other ills in your psyches–we can talk to you like you’re an actual adult.

  66. Phelps,

    You blame Black America for setting itself apart from society as if they did it just for a lark, as if the door marked “whites only” was never slammed in their faces. As if much of America isn’t still, today, a “whites-only” club, rife with discrimination in everything from housing to jobs to government to entertainment. But somehow it’s not the fault of white society. It’s those stubborn blacks keeping to themselves and not engaging thoughtful, progressive white people like yourself in discussion.

    Gee. And to top it all off you call people’s outrage about racism a “tantrum.”

    From your earlier comments, you seem to be under the impression that by and large the effects of racism are a thing of the past, and that the problem with current black society is that they refuse to get over it.

    Were I you, I’d uh… rethink the initial premise there. Actually I’d throw it out and burn it because it’s complete bullshit. Stop and LISTEN to some of the posters who are telling you that in fact, racism is a very serious problem today. Consider that many of the posters on this blog experience its effects in their daily lives in both significant and insignificant ways, and that you do not, so you really do need to just shut up and LISTEN. And for God’s sake, quit pointing fingers at black society and blaming them for… whatever. Why is it that so many white people come here and instead of reading or comprehending always write about What’s Wrong With Black People? That’s not the point of this blog. All that stuff about “black people do this” is a transparent attempt to derail discussion about racism and avoid any self-examination of white privilege.

    So don’t do it. Don’t say, “This is what’s wrong with you black people.” The power structure in this society is maintained by white men, not PoC.

  67. Stop and LISTEN to some of the posters who are telling you that in fact, racism is a very serious problem today. Consider that many of the posters on this blog experience its effects in their daily lives in both significant and insignificant ways, and that you do not, so you really do need to just shut up and LISTEN.

    Stop and LISTEN to some of the posters who are telling you, in fact, that they have been personally accused of racist intent by PoC where none exists. Consider that many endure these baseless allegations in thier daily lives in both significant and insignificant ways, and you do not, so you really need to just shut up and LISTEN.

  68. If you’re saying something racist? Intent does not matter. Right now you’re too busy demanding people actually dealing with racism in their everyday lives pay attention to your pain to even listen to them talk about theirs in a space meant for just that purpose. Which really says volumes about white privilege as it manifests itself in day to day life.

  69. If you’re saying something racist? Intent does not matter.

    o rly?

    An Atlanta, Georgia, judge who ordered white lawyers out of his courtroom so he could lecture African-American defendants called that decision a “mistake” Tuesday night.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/04/02/judge.whites.out/

    Was that racist? Does intent matter?

    (My answer, BTW, is no. It was silly and disrespectful, but I don’t think he did it because he hates white people.)

  70. And that has what to do with your behavior here? Keep on derailing rather than listening. It is the only reason you’re here.

  71. “Stop and LISTEN to some of the posters who are telling you, in fact, that they have been personally accused of racist intent by PoC where none exists. Consider that many endure these baseless allegations in thier daily lives in both significant and insignificant ways, and you do not, so you really need to just shut up and LISTEN.”

    Wow. You got accused of being a racist. Look what I found in a section YOU obviously didn’t even bother to read –

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/12/02/how-not-to-be-insane-when-accused-of-racism/

    And yet, you wonder why a lot of PoC really don’t give a shit when white people say that they aren’t being heard. You want to talk about someone of color didn’t make it easy for you because they accused you of racism, and you can’t have the privilege of taking that day off from being white? Guess what, welcome to the happy world of minorities who DON’T EVER get that same privilege that you do.

  72. And, strangely, this topic title is so appropriate. This should be put in a list of “What not to do when talking about racism.”

  73. And, strangely, this topic title is so appropriate. This should be put in a list of “What not to do when talking about racism.”

    I smell a new meme! ^_^

  74. This should be put in a list of “What not to do when talking about racism.”

    Done! ^_^

  75. Oh noes! The Black people are silenzincg me!

    How does that work in practice. Say you’re Black and you want to silence Tom. How do you go about it? Because I’d really like to know.

  76. Angel – I lul’d.

  77. Phelps:

    After reading through this entire discourse, I feel compelled to ask you this…

    How does one define racism? (Obviously there are the various dictionary definitions, but are you familiar at all with the Sociological definition?)

    If you carefully unpack the Sociological definition of racism (which is far more than an benign disposition of an individuals mind or harboring bad attitude toward people of a different hue) you will have a better framework for reading/understanding the comments made. All too often the forest is missed for the trees.

    Many of my fellow white cohorts do not know the fine balance of disagreement with a point of view and disregarding the experiences of another. You must see and know this if you and the other parties involved in this discussion want leave in better condition than when you came.

  78. Phelps has said a lot of dumb things here. But, one of the things I’m hearing him say reminds of one of the things I heard Senator Obama say in that wonderful speech in Philadelphia. And, that is that there are 2 sets of grievances here, both of which must be acknowledged if there is to be any progress in the discussion on race. The way I understood it, the Senator said that white people must understand and acknowledge the pain and anger PoC feel as a result of racism. However, in addition to that, he suggests that PoC must also understand and acknowledge the pain and anger that white people feel when asked to bear the burdens of affirmative action, which, in their minds, are unfairly imposed. It’s a basic mediation technique. Each side in a negotiation expresses their understanding of the other side’s position. Once that is done successfully, the negotiation proceeds more smoothly. I don’t want to derail the discussion. If you think I’m off point, feel free to disregard my post. But, I’m very curious to see what the folks on this site think about the Senator’s suggestion, if I understood it correctly.

  79. PoC must also understand and acknowledge the pain and anger that white people feel when asked to bear the burdens of affirmative action, which, in their minds, are unfairly imposed.

    I understand their anger. I acknowledge it. It’s perfectly understandable that they would feel this way.

    Because they’ve been inculcated since birth with misinformation. Which means that, in addition to acknowledging their anger, we need to let them know why their anger is inappropriate. It’s rooted in the false assumption on their part that they don’t benefit from racism. And until they stop being angry about the wrong damn things, they’re not going to stop inflicting the pain and anger of racism on PoC, which means none of us gets anywhere.

    You need to be careful about citing the words of any politician, BTW, when you’re talking about controversial social issues. Their job is to sound even-handed and fair, and not rock the boat. But the plain sad truth is, white people are the primary beneficiaries of racism. PoC are the primary targets of it. The burden of pain and anger is not equal, no matter that Barack tried to make it sound that way. And between whites and PoCs, it’s not the PoCs who haven’t tried to understand.

  80. Also–”the burdens” of affirmative action? White people don’t bear those burdens. White women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action. I don’t feel burdened by the fact that businesses have a real reason to consider my talents and skills instead of dismissing them. I feel pretty damn good about it. And this law means that I get to work with talented nonwhite folk too? Excellent. All affirmative action does is make a start toward undoing the affirmative action that white men have been receiving for hundreds of years.

  81. “o rly?
    That’s what we are down to? Ok, AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, and Okra. ”

    Let me guess. . . .you still believe the old threadbare lie that AIDS originated in Africa?

    Enlighten yourself here:

    http://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/2008/04/01/the-origins-of-aids-part-1/

    http://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/2008/04/01/the-origins-of-aids-part-2/

    Two theories are aimed at the origins of AIDS. The “cut-hunter” theory, which falls flat on its face. OR, the OPV theory. The OPV theory which contends that AIDS more likely originated in the Hilary Koprowski’s polio vaccine experiment that was conducted out of Philadelphia. Those who want more information on this theory should check out the book, “The River: A Journey Back to The Source of HIV and AIDs” by Edward Hooper ( Penguin, 2000). The OPV theory has more weight to it.

    (Oh, and you probably won’t believe what I am stating, but a white man wrote the “River” book. Just so you know :)

    __________________________________________

    MALARIA:

    Okay. Smallpox (Europeans brought it to Africans). Malaria (contracted from Africans by European slave traders.) Tit for tat.

    __________________________________________

    EBOLA VIRUS:

    Outbreaks have occurred in Zaire and Uganda. Chances of your contracting Ebola occur when you visit an infected area during an outbreak. Ebola is not endemic to America. Unless you travel to Central Africa (Zaire, Uganda—DURING AN OUTBREAK), your chances of contracting Ebola are slim to none.

    __________________________________________

    OKRA:

    Well, what can I say about okra, but. . . . . . .

    hmm, hmm!

    Good!.

  82. Phelps:
    1. Pointing out that you had previously dodged my question does not answer the question.
    2. I didn’t say you didn’t live in an interracial neighborhood and you damn well know I didn’t say that. I know nothing about you except that you are in denial about racism. People like you live EVERYWHERE.

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