Monday, June 2, 2008

hide their feelings about race behind a calm white mask

As Barack Obama's lock on the nomination becomes ever more certain, all sorts of subsumed white feelings about race are emerging. The common white reluctance or refusal to think about "where I'm coming from" means that a lot of what's emerging from seemingly ordinary white folks is ugly, and potentially destructive.


Much of that calm, rational white training that I've written about before is getting revealed as a sort of mask that many white folks wear, a mask that hides deep-set, irrational, and anything-but-calm feelings about race. I don't blame white individuals for having such feelings. I have them too. But I also realize that we've been trained into having these feelings by a society that's still very racist. I think such feelings can be overcome.

How many white folks are going to tear off that mask in their own ways, as Harriet Christian did a couple of days ago? She's a Hillary Clinton supporter angered by Clinton's impending loss; in this video, she's also clearly upset by the race of the person who's risen up and is about to take the nomination, seemingly to take it FROM Clinton.

I also see a threatened white sense of entitlement here. What do you see?




[hat-tip: Jack and Jill Politics]

Update: Over at The Root, Karen DeWitt discusses resurgent white anger in "The Return of the 'Real' White People," where she writes, "in polling, a very small percentage of white people who object to merely sitting next to an African American on a bus translates into millions of real white people with the same attitude. And this election year is proving it. Masks off. Real white people are back."

64 comments:

  1. "a sort of mask that many white folks wear... that hides deep-set, irrational, and anything-but-calm feelings about race"

    How does that square with your claim that Whites don't express (or have a reason/catalyst to express) collective anger?


    I'm thinking "many" comes pretty damn close in approximating a collective.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow-I am speechless...is she off her meds?

    What do you think some of the people who act like this think a "black" man as president is going to do to them?

    Or is it even that? She seems more mad that a woman isn't getting the nod.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This woman is not expressing collective anger, Nquest. Her mask fell off; that's all.
    Wearing a mask is not the same thing as openly expressing collective anger. In fact it's practically the opposite of that.

    Lhunfindel, I often wonder what some white people must have done to black folks in their lifetimes, that would make them so paranoid about a Revenge of the POCs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. *Sighs* Why I am I not surprised.

    "Inadequate Black man?" "I'm tired of being treated like a second class citizen?" Who are the greatest benefactors of the Civil Rights Movement, Affirmative Action, and White Supremacy?

    I am beyond disturbed with the false sense of entitlement by proponents of the status quo who feel disenfranchised.

    There is no hope for progressiveness. None.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Macon, I'm glad you've kept pulling at the white anger thread by posting this video.

    Have you seen this page at The Unapologetic Mexican?

    Wite Magik Attax. A predictable series of non-arguments that attempt to denigrate, negate, or invalidate ideas, feelings, or experience as related by a brown person. These attacks take many forms, and while each person making the attack thinks their (dys)logic to be unerring, they echo timeless and faulty cognitive patterns. These Wite-Magik Attax invariably escalate in intensity, however, the longer the brown person attempts to assert their reality.

    And then he catalogs a whole bunch of irrational tactics that I see white people bringing to internet race discussions all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Macon,

    What do you see?

    I see a very "hard heart."

    Nations often expose that which is the cause for its final indictment, and inevitable downfall.

    This is but one of a myriad of ceaseless veils now being pulled back for all (that have vision) to see re the demise of what shall soon be the late great US of A.

    God doesn't need to damn America. She does a terrific job of damning herself, all by herself.

    ReplyDelete
  7. LMAO at Revenge of the PoC's.

    Sounds like a SciFi movie of the week!

    LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Tom, I hadn't seen that page, it looks really promising.

    nquest, there's a difference between having deepseated feelings and openly expressing them in collective ways.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This woman is not expressing collective anger, Nquest.

    Okay. What does that have to do with what I said?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Okay, Macon. Explain the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The "second class citizen" part? What? Was that an expression of individualized anger?

    The problem here is people keep saying things and not explaining what they mean or making the distinctions they believe are there.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Okay, Macon. Explain the difference.

    I'm not used to taking orders. . . are you really asking me, or rather telling me, to explain the difference between having deepset feelings and openly expressing them?

    I do think, by the way, that whites have a collective sense of anger, and other emotions (patriotism, for instance) and that it gets expressed in various ways. The post you seem to be referring back to was about a certain context for expressions of emotion vs. rationality, that is, within conversations or discussions of serious and/or controversial issues between individuals. There are all sorts of modes of collective white anger that manifest themselves in various ways, but they're almost always unconscious, as opposed to a more conscious sense of collective black anger, which often expresses itself more openly, and in a more consciously collective sense. It's a difficult issue to pin down--for instance, I imagine some people get motivated by anger to set themselves into a hyper-calm and rational mode of expression. For them, and for people who know them well, discussing certain things in a calm, rational way is an expression of anger.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Macon, you write: It's a difficult issue to pin down

    Yes indeed, and most of all, trying to adress this topic with a stereotypical point of view doesn't make it easier for you to become clear.
    But you perhaps don't realize what you are doing just right now.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Macon, I'm referring to what you wrote in the "refuse to listen to black anger" piece where you claimed:

    White people don't have a collective sense of themselves as a group as much as black people do (thanks largely to whites grouping blacks together for several centuries now, in order to treat them accordingly). So while white people get angry at work, or on the road, or in their homes or during a baseball game, they rarely get angry together as a racial group. That's because white solidarity has been atomized into supposedly non-white individuality. And also, after all, what do whites really have to get angry together over, as a racial group?

    I disagreed with your point there and didn't understand your basis for that claim and I was not alone.

    The first thing I said there was:
    Right off, I'll beg to differ from you. White collective anger is normalized and deemed automatically justified. That's what Obama contributed (or placated) to that notion in Philadelphia in his race speech.

    I mean, we've had the Angry White Male, a white collective (which isn't exclusive to men), featured as sought after, need-to-be-recognized voting bloc for years. It was White collective anger dressed in red, white and blue that insisted on the Iraq war.



    Now why do you feel I gave you an order? What is that all about?

    Back to this thread's content:
    There are all sorts of modes of collective white anger that manifest themselves in various ways, but they're almost always unconscious, as opposed to a more conscious sense of collective black anger, which often expresses itself more openly, and in a more consciously collective sense.


    What difference does it make whether the expression of collective anger is conscious or not? It's still a collective expression based on a collective conception, whether it's conscious or not.

    Maybe you're not aware of this study:

    http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2006/09/12/68912


    It's a difficult issue to pin down

    Okay.


    Let me just say this, if I haven't already:

    When you attempted to validate your point by asking what Whites had to be angry together over, it simply does not hold true with how history record things and it's also a matter of why does having a legitimate reason to be angry invalidate the idea that Whites do indeed perceive of themselves as a group and express group, collective anger because of it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Perhaps i do and perhaps i don't, jw. It would be a lot easier to say so if you would explain what it is that you see me doing just right now . . .

    What is a "stereotypical point of view," and who is expressing his or her statements through it?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Mention Reparations and not only do the mask come off but the collective anger does too. It's the same kind of group-based, collective anger expressed by the anti-affirmative action sentiment.

    I could accurately say that "many" Whites have deep-set, irrational and anything-but-calm feelings on those issues.

    Again, I'm thinking "many" comes pretty damn close in approximating a collective. So maybe you can explain whether or not your idea of "many" equates to a collective or not.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Now why do you feel I gave you an order? What is that all about?

    Because you wrote, "Okay, Macon. Explain the difference," instead of asking me to do so. (Actually, I was letting my common white tendency to insist on "polite" discussion enact itself there. Sort of in jest. But such nuances don't come across in discussion threads well, do they?)

    What difference does it make whether the expression of collective anger is conscious or not? It's still a collective expression based on a collective conception, whether it's conscious or not.

    It seems to me that a "conception" is something conscious. I'm not sure--does the un/subconscious grasp and utilize concepts? It doesn't seem to me that it does.

    I think it does make a lot of difference whether something white folks do is conscious or not, especially on a blog that's trying to describe and understand common white tendenceies, and "whiteness" more generally. Now that it's clear I have a fair number of white readers, I suspect some of them appreciate this blog because it points out and clarifies common and often unconscious white tendencies. You've helped to do that here.

    Yes, "many" does constitute a collective, but not necessarily a conscious, socially recognized one.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Macon, there was nothing impolite with me asking you to "explain the difference."

    I find it rather odd for you to address JW by saying, "It would be a lot easier to say so if you would explain what it is that you see..." when that very kind of courtesy, being forthright, was something you had a difficult time extending to me.

    Instead of doing that, being forthright and explaining what the difference was, you stalled and stumbled or something and the only reason why seems to have been the difficulty in explaining.

    All this race stuff is difficult to put in words. So it's no sin to say so, upfront.

    I guess the problem we're having here is that, from where I sit (being African-American), I see plenty of White collective anger and emotion (of the irrational variety) expressed. I guess because I'm on the receiving end of it, indirectly or otherwise.

    ReplyDelete

  19. Yes, "many" does constitute a collective, but not necessarily a conscious, socially recognized one.


    Macon, I have no idea what that has to do with your original claim:

    White people don't have a collective sense of themselves as a group as much as black people do (thanks largely to whites grouping blacks together for several centuries now, in order to treat them accordingly). So while white people get angry at work, or on the road, or in their homes or during a baseball game, they rarely get angry together as a racial group. That's because white solidarity has been atomized into supposedly non-white individuality. And also, after all, what do whites really have to get angry together over, as a racial group?

    And I immediately pointed out the socially recognized aspects of collective White anger; hence, the reference to the Angry White Male voting bloc.


    From the article on the study:

    The study found that 74 percent of white people believe their race to be important; 37 percent answered somewhat important and 37 percent answered very important. Although those figures encompass a majority, it is considerably less than the 72 percent of nonwhites who said their race is very important...

    When asked about racial inequality, 62 percent of white people said they believed prejudice and discrimination against nonwhites had put them at an advantage, the study said.


    So that bit of data supports your idea that there is a difference between Whites and Blacks but it also says there is, indeed, a White collective sense of a collective identity.

    And, really, I don't know how you can talk about Whiteness and not understand how Whites have a collective, group consciousness. If they didn't, one would imagine class-based struggle and solidarity across racial lines would be a lot easier to come by.

    I figure this shouldn't be anything new to you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Xe1kX7Wsc

    ReplyDelete
  20. Much of that calm, rational white training

    this what you call a calm and rational white training is this misleading European misconception about emotions. Emotional people are considered by European culture as primitive, without self-controll, childish etc.
    Therefore, because the European culture considers itself as superior, supressing and not showing emotions is superior to openly express them. Because European culture defines themselves by othering, and it defines this 'other' and what Europeans are supposed to be not, this 'Black other' is emotional while the 'white self' is rational. 'Black anger' is supposed to be 'more conscious', emotional and collective, without controll and therefore dangerous, while whites get the privilege from you to have unconscious, calm and individual feelings.
    If you realize it or not but you use stereotypes.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm not sure--does the un/subconscious grasp and utilize concepts? It doesn't seem to me that it does.

    I don't see the value of speaking in the abstract but ideas or concepts most certainly don't have to be within someone's conscious grasp for them to be used.

    For example, with this whole Jeremiah Wright thing, I know I asked at least 2 or 3 White commenters on various blogs what they found to be "racist" or "bigoted" (their terms) about Wright's comments and their essential response was much like yours here "hard to pin down."

    Oh, but they didn't say that. They kept making emotional arguments apparently hoping that their sense of outrage over Wright's AIDS claim, etc. would make their argument for them. I asked one person who made the argument when did the government become synonymous with White people? He really couldn't answer but he felt aggrieved as did "many" other Whites who insist that Wright is a racist.

    Certainly other things can explain that but it's clear there was a collective sense of Whiteness involved and Whites responded with anger, not just on the God and country stuff, but on their feelings of being dumped on because of their race.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Macon D,

    I think the issue here is that even if white people think they are hiding their anger behind a mask in discussions about race, this emotional anger is pretty damn transparent to People of Colour. If this white anger is subconscious to white people, which it probably is, People of Colour can still see it clearly and are conscious of it.

    Note that both lower-class and upper-class People of Colour openly talk about race with other People of Colour at the dinner table, etc. I don't know if upper-class white people do this with white people, although lower-class whites probably do.

    If upper-class whites don't talk about race casually in the way that People of Colour do, what happens when a Person of Colour tries to engage in a discussion of race with an upper-class white? The upper-class white feels like he or she is being attacked and that this is World War III. The Person of Colour finds the white person overly defensive and emotional because this doesn't happen when she discusses race with other People of Colour.

    Now maybe I'm wrong and upper-class whites do talk about race casually with other upper-class whites, but it doesn't seem like this is the case.

    ReplyDelete
  23. As for stereotyping black people as emotional, Bill O'Reilly was surprised that in a Harlem restaurant there wasn't any "craziness" and he didn't see any black person screaming, "Motherfucker, I want more iced tea!"

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am a 2nd generation Italian American. I grew up in an interatial family (my step father was black). People like to call me racist all the time just because of the color of my skin. They do not know that I am color blind and have been my entire life.

    There are crazy people supporting McCain and Obama, however we do not base our decisions on those of crazy people. This woman has nothing to do with Hillary or her campaign. Hillary is not a racist. Being white does not make you a racist.

    The media is trying to blind side people with racism when the real problem is misogyny. That is perfectly acceptable in the US as well as many countries.

    Wake up.

    ReplyDelete
  25. R. Murdoch's DaughterJune 2, 2008 at 11:17 PM

    If this were a crazy black man spouting off about his hatred towards women, would there be a problem? I believe the problem would be; that people would say, that is not Obama.

    Why is it acceptable to confuse some crazy old white lady with Senator Clinton, or her agenda?

    I think this whole thing stinks of reverse racism.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The last two posts must be comic relief. Two name: Ferraro & Buchanan.

    Both still get time and space in the media. Ferraro was connected with Clinton's campaign and even a White Catholic Priest has become a reason to question Obama's character via association even when Father Mike is the epitome of "working together" across racial lines.

    But keep the jokes coming...

    Oh and the "Clinton is not a racist" stuff. That's a nice touch too. Get real.

    ReplyDelete
  27. As one example, if Lou Dobbs isn't tapping into (and displaying) very vocal collective white anger at PoC, then what is he doing?

    Or Buchanan, or O Rly. To me, all these dudes look as if they're about to reach out through the screen and smack somebody. If Harriet Christian's wild outburst doesn't express a common feeling, then how can we understand the popularity of the angry talking heads?

    ReplyDelete
  28. For the Clinton is not a racist folks, I ask you: during the times of slavery and the period following it leading up to the modern civil rights movement, which percentage of the politicians, politicians who presided over eras in our nation's history that were unmistakably "racist"... what percentage of those politicians meet the definition of a "racist" that the anonymous Italian American poster appeared to use?

    I'm asking because there's a common tendencies, from my experience, to use a common caricature of what a "racist" is which people use to say, in this case, Clinton is not that. Kind of like saying a who violates the law isn't a criminal because they don't conjure up the picture of a murderer in their heads when there are a slew of other crimes, even violent ones, besides murder.

    ________________________

    Now, for those who want us to "wake up" about sexism/misogyny, the occurrence of which goes without saying, I just want to know how sexism/misogyny has impacted the elections. If anything, Clinton's gender has been a plus factor because of women like the one in video who want to see a woman president. There's nothing wrong with that but all the information I've seen shows how Obama's race hurts him with people who, for whatever reason, aren't ready for a Black president.

    The irony of it all is this:

    Clinton, for someone who is not "racist", she sure wanted to emphasize and capitalize on that voting demographic. And we don't even have to talk about West Virginia or Kentucky. We can take it back to Texas when that signature Clinton hypocrisy reared its ugly head.

    Right after a debate when Clinton took the Farrakhan Card and shoved it in Obama's face, Clinton refused to do what she demanded Obama do by not rejecting and denouncing the support she got from Adelfa Callejo who said Obama has a problem with Hispanic votes simply because is "he happens to be black."

    When asked if she wanted the long-term activist's support:

    Clinton laughed and said, “You know This is a free country. People get to express their opinions. A lot of folks have said really unpleasant things about me over the course of this campaign. You can’ take any of that as anything other than an individual opinion.”


    Yeah, just like Rev. Wright's and Father Pfleger's statements were taken as an "individual opinion" that had nothing to do with Obama and Obama could have not only accepted their support but gone out and campaigned, appealing for their vote.

    Yeah, right. At no time did Obama say Clinton has a problem with Black voters or any of the demographics Obama has gotten consistent support from.

    But thanks for showing this collective anger thing...

    ReplyDelete
  29. >The last two posts must be comic relief. Two name: Ferraro & Buchanan

    ah, but they just express their individual opinion in a sophisticated, rational and calm way like the million other white people, who express their individual opinion...
    The silent or not so silent agreement is just purely accidental and has nothing to do with their white race.
    But when eg Al Sharpton says something than this is expressing the collective mind-set of about 40 million emotional Black people and btw. it's Al Sharpton's fault that there is still racism in America because he mentions it. [sarcasm off]

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm not sure who you're talking to, Tom, or about. Seems to me that there is a widespread white anger and resentment, but it's not organized in a collective, overtly white way--there's no Million White Man March, for instance. TV and the media themselves are an organized collective, in a way, but not directly and overtly in the name of whiteness. Even though white people do comprise most of Lou Dobbs' audience, he doesn't openly claim he's speaking for and "defending" white Americans.

    Restructure, who's stereotyping black people as emotional? If you meant me, let me clarify. I think both black and white people are emotional. Things may be different in Canada, but in America, white folks are generally more encouraged to control their emotions than black folks are. Many exceptions occur on both sides of that color line, of course, but generally, this is true. This is why, for one thing, Hollywood knows that white people get emotional over blackness, or an "Africanist presence," as Toni Morrison calls it in Playing in the Dark. There's nothing like a Magical Black Friend to set a confused white character straight, and they often do so by serving as an emotional or spiritual guide.

    All of this is not to say that I think black people are, or "naturally" are, more emotional than white people. "Emotional" means, to me, having emotions, not "acting emotional." The word says nothing about whether one displays those emotions to others.

    I agree with your point that the presence of white anger is often more visible to minorities than white folks think it is.

    ReplyDelete
  31. (Does anyone know where on the web to find a functioning "recent comments" widget? The one on my front page seems burnt out or something.)

    ReplyDelete
  32. and a question to you Macon, when you talk about "hiding feelings behind a calm white mask": What about the death threats Obama, Wright and also Al Sharpton have to live with.

    ReplyDelete
  33. >Seems to me that there is a widespread white anger and resentment, but it's not organized in a collective, overtly white way--there's no Million White Man March, for instance.

    It's not organized???
    What do you call the war on Iraq. The (German) Holocaust etc.
    Not organized? NOT WHITE?
    The entire white history is an organized white construct, think about it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. jw, I didn't say it's not organized. I said it's not organized in the name of whiteness. Its overwhelming whiteness is covert.

    Those death threats you're asking about are also hidden behind a mask--the people calling them in do so anonymously, right? It's another way that overtly, named "white" anger wears a mask, pretending to be something else. I'm not saying white anger doesn't exist.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Macon, you said:
    Seems to me that there is a widespread white anger and resentment, but it's not organized in a collective, overtly white way.


    jw, I didn't say it's not organized. I said it's not organized in the name of whiteness. Its overwhelming whiteness is covert.


    Stuff white people do: Making claims they can't support but insisting that the first claim is true nonetheless. Making contradictions which are obvious for everbody else besides the one making false claims.

    ReplyDelete
  36. jw, what's the contradiction? Those two statements of mine you're quoting say the same thing--there is an organized anger that is largely white, but it's whiteness is covert rather than overt.

    What claim am I making that I can't support?

    ReplyDelete
  37. >there is an organized anger that is largely white, but it's whiteness is covert rather than overt.

    explain, please, why you believe the whiteness is covert rather than overt.

    and please elaborate, when you say: "I said it's not organized in the name of whiteness."

    it is organized in the name of ???

    ReplyDelete
  38. jw, whiteness is often covert when it passes instead as the norm--when white people and their views pass as "normal" people and views, and non-white ones are marked instead AS non-white, or rather, as African American, Latino/a American, and so on.

    In The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, George Lipsitz describes whiteness as "the unmarked category against which difference is constructed." This is why "whiteness never has to speak its name, never has to acknowledge its role as an organizing principle in social and cultural relations."

    So, what we're talking about here is organized in the name of (supposed) rationality, of (supposed) fairness, of (supposed) safety and security, and so on. And not overtly in the name of what it largely is, "whiteness." That whiteness, though, as Restructure pointed out, is usually easier to see AS whiteness from the perspectives of non-white than from those of white people.

    Does that help?

    This recent post of mine might help to further clarify how whiteness is often covert, at least from a white perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I believe that perhaps some of the general conflict that comes with the "is Hillary racist?" controversy is the lack of recognition that one can be oppressed while being an oppressor.
    People on one side are saying "Hillary's not racist. That's just an accusation resulting from sexism against her," while others seem to be saying "playing the sexism card is just a cover for her racism."
    I think that both these things are happening at the same time. While Clinton is definitely being discriminated against because of her gender, she is simultaneously using her whiteness as a weapon.
    The real question is how these two ideas can be understood and reconciled.

    Also, in the dialogue between Macon and jw, (as I think someone has already may have addressed) there seems to be conflict in whether collective white anger is covert or overt. If a large group of people can see an action or collective feeling perpetrated by another group, yet the latter group does not see it in themselves, does that mean it's covert? Or just covert to those who cannot see and overt to those who can? Can it be both?

    ReplyDelete
  40. If our elections were not run on wealth, we might have a chance at having the country run for and by the people. Until there is a Revolution and the current government is brought to its knees (very messy), I don't see how any one person elected can change all of this. In the mean time with our Huge government that is getting personal into eveybody's lives, can I just expect that I will have at least my second class status back. Please?

    There are a lot of Hillary Haters and they are evil. Just look at the kinds of crap they are spilling. We don't know anything about Obama, maybe less is more, but the shit will hit the fan once things progress and heat up. I heard that he asked one woman what he had to do for her vote, He offered her a little kiss.

    I don't know if it is true, but I know that the press hates Hillary. Now just suppose that Obama is about to become our president and all the shit that the media has been holding back on Obama was released?

    Democrats would definately have to throw up their arms and admit defeat. Why can't we over look some of the small shit (such as selling out to corporate interest) we should know that all politicians are dirty and if this is the dirtiest that our republican media can dredge up then, how bad is that really.

    I was forwarded this site about the same time you sent me out the video of the crazy woman who happens to support Hillary and is now dominating the internet.

    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=528074983146803930&postID=1122643627184727144&page=1

    This site makes me sick. It is predominately 2 men who see racism in everything and ignore sexism because they are most likely sexist.

    PS. I know for a fact that none of my ancestors were slave owners. It might possibly be that in antiquity at some time that they might have enslaved another some other race. If I did find out that some ansestor of mine had slaves of any color or religion, that does not reflect on me as a person. In other words I would still be myself an angry 2nd generation Italian woman who is sick to death of sexism and is intollerant of racism.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Macon's "covert vs. overt" argument (which is not the issue, the issue was whether there was a collective) is like the WET vs. BET arguments.

    But maybe Macon would make the argument that the absence of a TV channel that explicitly calls itself "White Entertainment TV" is needed for there to be such a thing. I don't know. I have no idea what Macon's point is and why he wants to deny the obvious even in the face of a number of examples. None of which he has denied.

    ReplyDelete
  42. nquest, what's the obvious that you think I'm denying? That there is a white collective? Of course there is--I'm not denying that.

    It's important to recognize that it's covert (from the white perspective, especially) in order to explain why and how it works--by passing in the minds of the majority as the norm, as the way things just oughta be, rather than for what it is, a white supremacist collective (that doesn't announce itself as such). Is that what you think isn't important? That's really important! And so is waking white people up to white supremacy, which can be done by "denaturalizing" it.

    ReplyDelete
  43. To Mr. Know It All...

    Who was talking about slavery?

    If it's one thing this blog would seem to epitomize is the fact that discussions about race, Whiteness and meaning have to do with a lot of things which necessitates a lot of different discussions. I'm always amazed by people who raise the same kind of textbook non-issue, no matter what the actual topic is.

    One thing folks get wrong when they say Whites have "race fatigue" and don't want to talk race/racism: Whites never get tired of rattling off the same old, tired "I'm not responsible for the past" (nobody said you were) talking points.

    For the longest, since a number of net-people have made sure to make those statements to me, net-personally, I've had this impression that White people must have a list of "Things I Always Wanted To Say But Just Didn't Have A [Black] Person Available To Say It."

    I mean, seriously. This "common tendency" is just too much for me to take. I need more variety! Please feed my selfishness here. lol

    ______________________

    Anyway, Mr. Know It All, can you tell us how sexism has impacted the Clinton campaign's bottom line via costing her votes? Again, all the data available seem to suggest that her gender was an undisputed plus factor for her while Obama's race per voters in WV and KY, e.g., was a net negative for him with voters coming and saying they won't vote for him because he's Black.

    Please supply evidence of comparable or significant of voters who said they would not vote for Clinton because of her gender.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Macon, the point of contention, again, is in your claim about Whites not expressing collective anger. This is not about how Whiteness is invisible. This is about you saying:

    White people don't have a collective sense of themselves as a group as much as black people do... they [Whites] rarely get angry together as a racial group... after all, what do whites really have to get angry together over, as a racial group?

    That's not about the invisibility of Whiteness. That's about your curious claim that Whites don't express collective anger. Specific examples questioning your notion included the very invisible but present racism in the "fight THEM over there" Iraq war policy and homeland defensiveness over affirmative action, "illegal" immigration (Lou Dobbs factor), etc., etc., etc.

    So what's clearly in dispute is NOT whether White collective anger is "covert" but the fact that you claimed Whites "rarely get angry together as a racial group."

    ReplyDelete
  45. Restructure, who's stereotyping black people as emotional?

    The white media/the mainstream media stereotypes black people as emotional.

    If you meant me, let me clarify. I think both black and white people are emotional. Things may be different in Canada, but in America, white folks are generally more encouraged to control their emotions than black folks are.

    First of all, Canadians know a lot more about Americans than Americans know about Canadians, because Canadians need to know about the United States to survive, while Americans can survive without knowing anything about Canada.

    Here in Toronto, I do not see such a trend, that white Canadians are generally more encouraged to control their emotions than black Canadians. It does not seem like this is true for black versus white people in American media, either. People like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle act flamboyant, but these are actors playing stereotypes. I don't find black non-actors particularly emotionally expressive. Black preachers and black churches are probably much more flamboyant than white preachers and white churches on average, but I don't think this applies to how people act in their day-to-day lives, especially in interracial interactions.

    "Emotional" means, to me, having emotions, not "acting emotional." The word says nothing about whether one displays those emotions to others.

    I see what you mean, but this is just white people's perception of themselves as being emotionless. White emotion is so justified by the culture that they whites don't recognize it as emotion. As an analogy, males perceive themselves as rational and women as emotional, but here 'emotion' refers to women crying. Typical male emotion is anger, but men don't see anger as emotional because male anger is seen as justified, a sign of strength and power.

    For most white people who are dragged into discussions about race, the logical fallacies they use time and time again are not seen by them as emotional and irrational insecurity, because they think that it is justified and reasonable. "My ancestors never owned any slaves!" seems to them like a 'rational' and 'obvious' (and 'creative') refutation of white privilege.

    Back to the main content of your post, it is ironic that you invoked the imagery of a "mask" of calmness. Read up on the 'cool' aesthetic. There's a lot about the African-American origins of our contemporary concept of 'cool', when this 'mask' of calmness is worn (all the time, not only in times of stress), and how it is associated with African American culture in particular, over 'standard' cultural movement styles.

    White people hide their feelings about race behind a calm white mask? Not at all. Acting calm doesn't seem like something a typical white person does.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Did anyone catch how she called Barak a black "male" and Hillary a white woman? It was as if she just couldn't bring herself to put the words "black" and "man" together in a sentence.

    I think the reason we're even seeing the video is because the media has been quite eager to capitalize on the drama and disunity in this Democratic contest. It makes for great "train wreck" type reading/listening/viewing.

    As far as all that "anger" is concerned, I agree with Sarahmc, it's not as much about anger as it is about fear.

    Ms. Christian knows all too well what a "second class citizen" is. She watched from the safety of her home while thousands of them were being sprayed with water hoses, attacked by police dogs and beaten down -- then she conveniently forgot how she and her white sisters (Hillary included) benefitted from that suffering.

    ReplyDelete
  47. "Anyway, Mr. Know It All, can you tell us how sexism has impacted the Clinton campaign's bottom line via costing her votes?"

    Whether or not it cost her X amount of votes is irrelevant. Sexism is wrong, period, and sexism/misogyny towards Clinton not only affects her; it affects all women.

    I was thinking some more about the collective anger thing, and wonder whether it must necessarily refer to white people as a whole, or can it be applied to small groups of whites? Like the Minutemen?

    ReplyDelete
  48. No, SarahMC, when people (Anon - The Italian American - AND MrKnowItAll) make claims that there was/is more sexism than racism going on in this primary season or sexism is being ignored while :

    "The media is trying to blind side people with racism when the real problem is misogyny." - Anon

    "This site (*stuff white people do*) makes me sick. It is predominately 2 men who see racism in everything and ignore sexism because they are most likely sexist." - MrKnowItAll

    You, Sarah, ignored the this outrageous accusation just to make another non-point directed at me. Come on out with it. Tell me what your problem is.

    Twice in this thread you've directed your comments to me when you had absolutely no reason to. Your first post, attempting to clarify what "this woman" was expressing should have been directed to Macon who admitted "many" constitutes a "collective" in his view.

    So, in both cases, my statements were justified while yours were half-cocked and unfounded.

    Funny how you didn't direct a single post, let alone a single line, to either Anon or MrKnowItAll to declare how "racism is wrong, period" as the two obvious Clinton partisans not only completely ignored the race-baiting the Clintons engaged in but the kind of racism inherent in the media's coverage of Obama, his pastor problems and his campaign in general. As noted, all of that had a tangible impact on the election.

    Back to the crime analogy (I used on this blog somewhere, if not here), your remarks are akin to making an issue that a petty assault is "wrong, period" like that's an important point to make when the two posters noted here, like you by virtue of your remark, have tried to the assault is greater than murder or, oddly, that too much attention is being paid to the murder vs. the assault.

    And then the irony of ironies is "this woman" in the video lashes out at Barack Obama and calls him "AN INADEQUATE BLACK MALE." Of course, Clinton insisted on making that "inadequate" point herself and exploited every opportunity to remind those "hard working Americans = White Americans" that he was/is Black.

    Clinton cast herself as "that president" while never acknowledging how Obama, in her tortured analogy (re: MLK/LBJ/JFK), could be "that president." The idea was apparently unthinkable. He (Obama) was apparently "inadequate" even as she insisted that she and her Republican rival were Ready To Be President on Day One while Barack, a fellow Democrat, was not.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I meant to say:

    No, SarahMC, when people (Anon - The Italian American - AND MrKnowItAll) make claims that there was/is more sexism than racism going on in this primary season or sexism is being ignored while racism is not, etc., etc. then my question is not only relevant but my point carries (the truth that people are trying to deny the reality)."

    ReplyDelete
  50. Nquest, your attacks are completely unfounded. You already addressed MrKnowItAll's comments. Now I can't reply to your question without first replying to everyone else you'd prefer I address?
    I didn't even see Anon's comment but I just returned to read it. It's full of cliches. What do you want me to do?

    Your question is *not* relevant. Is racism towards Obama OK as long as it doesn't cost him votes?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Your question is *not* relevant. Is racism towards Obama OK as long as it doesn't cost him votes?

    This is where you are wrong. Nobody ever said sexism was okay. The idea is absurd on its face and it shows how your "attacks" are baseless. Also, my post, the one you responded to, not only referred to the original post with Anon (via "AGAIN" - a signifier that says a statement that appeared before is about to be repeated) but to the bogus comparative claims made by both Anon/MrKnowItAll.

    Now, let's deal with your issues:

    Nquest, your attacks are completely unfounded.

    What attacks are you talking about?
    List them all here and show how they are/were "unfounded."

    Don't just make claims. Back that stuff up. We see exactly how you initial comment to me was COMPLETELY UNFOUNDED, again, because I addressed Macon and what I understood Macon to be saying and Macon affirmed my statement: that "many" = "collective" (in his mind).

    So your comment (which you're now having to think about) was baseless. Come on out with it: what is your problem.

    Go ahead, list my attacks and we'll see if they were "unfounded" or not.

    ReplyDelete
  52. And my point was indeed very relevant. Oh but you didn't read Anon's post (where my point re: the impact on voting originated) so you didn't know what the hell you were talking about and launched, headlong, into an unnecessary and unfounded attack for this revelation?

    "Sexism is wrong."

    WOW. What a revelation... and what unfounded, unmitigated bs to act like I was saying "sexism is okay." The clear point is that whatever sexism Clinton faced it didn't impact her campaign via what we know about the reasons why people did/didn't vote for candidates.

    No, Sarah, the obvious point was for Anon and MrKnowItAll to acknowledge the reality they wanted to ignore.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Another observation: there's been plenty of sexism directed at Michelle Obama but neither you, SarahMC, or the posters bringing up sexism ever said a mumbling word about it.

    I suppose, from your type of logic, I should assert that you mean to say by not mentioning sexism directed towards Michelle Obama (since the issue of sexism raised by Anon and MrKnowItAll was Clinton-centric) was/is "OKAY."

    ReplyDelete
  54. You are being completely unhinged Nquest.
    Your attacks:

    1.) Acting like I have no right to add my $0.02 re: one of your comments.
    I do not need an invitation from you to comment on a post.

    2.) Asking me "what is your problem?" as though I've been rude, dismissive, or ugly towards anyone, when I have not. In fact, I tried to add more to the discussion about collective white anger but nobody followed up. You'd rather berate me for not talking about exactly what you WANT me to talk about.

    And now, you are on my case about Michelle Obama? I've been commenting on this blog for less about a week. WTF do you want me to do? It's not my g-d blog, and there has not been a forum in which to bring it up. If sexism/racism towards Michelle bothers you, why don't YOU say something about it?
    I never said anything similar to the things Anon and MrKnowItAll have said, to please do refrain from taking your anger at them out on me.

    ReplyDelete
  55. SarahMC, no distractions granted. You claimed my "attacks" are unfounded.

    List the "attacks" (that's plural, Sarah) you're talking about and I hope you do a better job of demonstrating how your assertion(s) are true vs. the one's you've tried to make here which have been demonstrably unsuccessful.

    But I guess it's "UNHINGED" to point out how utterly bankrupt your indefensible claims are. It's an
    "attack" for me to ask you what the comments you directed to me had to do with what I said.

    Me? UNHINGED??

    No, SarahMC, you have lost it. You've lost (the honesty/reality test) on every point you've tried to make concerning what I've posted. Me bringing up Michelle Obama shows how the posts from MrKnowItAll and Anon and the sexism thing were partisan bs.

    You trying to act like you can't see how your own tortured logic comes back to bite you in the hinny... PRICELESS!!


    And now, you are on my case about Michelle Obama?

    PRICELESS and hilarious. This didn't have to be your gottdamn blog for you to say:

    Sexism is wrong, period, and sexism/misogyny towards Clinton not only affects her; it affects all women.

    Note how you said SEXISM TOWARDS CLINTON even here where this is not your gottdamn blog. lmao!!!

    I can't help it if you got caught in the matrix of your own bs. SEXISM IS WRONG PERIOD, Sarah. I can't be "getting on your case" when SEXISM is the issue you wanted to focus on. So now we see just how limited your focus is and how UNHINGED you become when your limits are exposed.

    lmao!!

    WTF do I want you to do? Simple: don't be so phony and so easily exposed. Now all of a sudden, SEXISM isn't the issue you want to talk about. Instead, you want to change the subject (with more bogus charges) to me.

    Let's talk SEXISM, Sarah, or maybe you'd prefer to use all these emotive terms of distraction to focus conversation NOT on any issue-oriented disagreement but on whatever personal problems you have with me because of my "attacks" (plural).

    I'm laughing because you're trying to play the role of the besieged. Like I "attacked" you. Like you off-the-wall (original) comment wasn't supposed to be responded.

    It's simple. Your initial post to me didn't make any sense for the reasons I've already stated. And the most amazing irony of it all is how you, Ms. 2-Cents, want to act all taken aback from me asking you the RELEVANCE of your initial comment to me when with complete hypocrisy in hand you intone not once but twice, despite info. to the contrary, that my comments were, how did you say?? IRRELEVANT.

    I guess I'm the one who can't add my 2 cents while you insist on "adding" yours even when you respond out of ignorance IN BOTH CASES mentioned.

    And, no, Sarah, my "anger" (more emotive terms, I wonder why) or, truth be told, my response should be directed to you. You faked like you wanted to talk SEXISM. Let's talk SEXISM. SEXISM IS WRONG, right?

    Well, I find it odd that when the subject turns away from SEXISM DIRECTED TOWARDS CLINTON you get all tongue-tied and ask "WTF do you want me to do?"

    I'll answer that a different way this time and just say I want you to be consistent and stop making excuses for why you're inclined not to be.

    As it is, the post record shows how passionate and just how ready you were to talk about SEXISM when that sexism was directed towards Clinton. When the subject of sexism towards Michelle Obama came up. Oh, well, not so much.

    The post record also shows that you were passionate and all so ready to talk about "attacks" when you could paint me as the "attacker" but when your comments, made in a middle of an exchange between me and other posters here who raised the SEXISM TOWARD CLINTON issue (your issue), failed to acknowledge the "attack" against two unnamed male posters here, one of which had to be Macon, who were accused of being sexists. But maybe that's OKAY with you too.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Some days it is especially clear that racism and sexism are tools to distract everybody from the real sources of oppression. So much to compete and argue about.

    I feel really sad when I see things like Ms. Christian in that video, being upset about women's rights and blaming a black man for the oppression of her sex and gender. Even if Obama benefited from people's sexist attitudes about Hillary, whose fault is that? The same white patriarchal media and political systems that made it possible for Hillary to benefit from racist attitudes about Obama.

    I guess that's what I see, Macon. The effects of oppression in action: somebody being distracted from the real problem using a constructed scapegoat.

    I don't totally follow the debate here about white anger (covert, overt, collective, etc), but I think Ms. Christian would definitely benefit from some race consciousness to help her direct her anger in a useful direction.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Clintons leading the "INADEQUATE BLACK MALE" charge.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2DECDKOFnw

    ReplyDelete
  58. Macon, I do think it would be good to do a post on gender-based racism (or race-based sexism) against Michelle Obama. I'm sure there will be many opportunities in the coming months.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Seems to me that there is a widespread white anger and resentment, but it's not organized in a collective, overtly white way--there's no Million White Man March, for instance.

    Macon, why do you associate the Million Man March with Black anger and resentment (towards???). Of course, that's inherent in your argument.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thanks Sarah, I'll think about that. It does sound like something a lot more white folks are going to be doing in the coming months.

    nquest said:

    "Seems to me that there is a widespread white anger and resentment, but it's not organized in a collective, overtly white way--there's no Million White Man March, for instance."

    Macon, why do you associate the Million Man March with Black anger and resentment (towards???). Of course, that's inherent in your argument.


    I don't. I can see how the sentence could be read as if it implies I associate the Million Man March with Black anger and resentment, but it could also be read as if I'm saying that that was an organized, overtly race-based gathering of the sort that white people don't engage in. What I meant was the latter. For me, the MMM was the first and most obvious mass, overtly race-based gathering that came to mind, and it came to mind irrespective of why it happened.

    ReplyDelete
  61. For me, the MMM was the first and most obvious mass, overtly race-based gathering that came to mind

    Yet, mass, overtly race-based gatherings wasn't the point. You used the idea of the MMM to support your idea that while WHITE ANGER/RESENTMENT was/is widespread, it is not organized -- meaning WHITE ANGER/RESENTMENT hasn't taken the form of mass, collective action or organization around such ANGER/RESENTMENT.

    To merely point to a "race-based" mass event/organization misses the point you endeavored to make entirely. The ANGER/RESENTMENT is central to the whole idea, the whole debate here.

    You keep losing sight of that for some reason and your case gets weaker and weaker...

    ReplyDelete
  62. nquest, I'm not sure what you think "the battle" here is, or why you're interested in "battling" with me (or indeed, why you're even trying to communicate with me, since you've labeled me in another comment a desperate liar), but let me summarize as I see our discussion here, and why I don't consider it an ongoing "battle":

    when I said in the original post that whites don't express anger in a collective way, you and others wrote here that whites certainly do express collective anger.

    I agreed, and responded that what's important to me, "the point" as you like to call it, is that white collective anger is not openly labeled "white." And that point is important, I think, because if it were labeled as such, more whites would see if for what it is and be less likely to participate.

    Now you're saying that "overtly race-based gatherings wasn't the point." Well, as I've just explained again, yes it is the point. If you see some other point, please be more explicit about what it is.

    You used the idea of the MMM to support your idea that while WHITE ANGER/RESENTMENT was/is widespread, it is not organized -- meaning WHITE ANGER/RESENTMENT hasn't taken the form of mass, collective action or organization around such ANGER/RESENTMENT.

    I almost agree with this, except that what I'm trying to say, again, is that it while it has taken the form of mass, collective action or organization around anger/resentment, it hasn't done so in an open, overt way in terms of whiteness--it's been covert. The MMM was a mass collective action overtly organized in terms of blackness, which is why I referenced it. You don't find that distinction between overt and covert significant, but again, I do.

    So I don't think I'm losing sight of how anger/resentment is central to the whole idea here. If you think it's central in some way I still seem to be missing, then please explain how its central and why that's so important to you. Also, please explain why this "battle" is so important to you--what are you really getting at here?

    ReplyDelete
  63. Defiantly can feel the “entitlement” in her words ----almost a desperate plea against the inadequate…… black ….male that has somehow “stolen her “entitlement”. So at the beginning she says she is not a second class, and at the end she says she IS a second class citizen and now she is nothing---because a black man may become president? She seems guilty and scared by saying this….. like she feels the same treatment will be bestowed on her with a black president like blacks have been subjected to second class citizenship for many years of white dominated presidencies OR maybe she feels that simply having someone black running this country will make her less of a “white” person automatically.

    ReplyDelete
  64. after hundreds or maybe millions of years of human existence, people still have issues with one another based only on the color of one's skin or cultural heritage. this is sad. the older i get, the more this attitude about race seems to be a kind of paranoia. people are people. live and let live.

    ReplyDelete

Please see the "commenting guidelines" before submitting a comment.

hit counter code