Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ask for suggestions



White reader Liza sent me the following email, asking for suggestions about how to get a dialogue on race started in her small, predominantly white town.

I've offered some suggestions below; do you have others for her? What can an ordinary person do to promote discussions of whiteness, and of race more generally, in her own community?


Hello,

Just found this blog yesterday and am intrigued. I am a white woman in my early 40's who lives in a predominantly white rural town of about 4000 people. I have always tried my best to instill in my children non-racist views, but with only a couple of black kids at our school, I have found few opportunities to really broach the subject in a way that doesn't sound like an after school special.

I know that there is racism in the world, in our community, and I would like them to be more prepared to deal with these things as they head out into the world, not to mention working on my own understanding. I have thought of trying to start a social group or study group of some kind to get a dialogue going, but I fear making a novelty out of the blacks in our town if I suggest such a thing.

Are there any suggestions out there?

Thanks, Liza



Hello Liza,

First of all, I applaud your efforts. America is moving toward the probability of electing its first black* president, yet the ongoing effects and manifestations of American white supremacy continue to cause declining circumstances and fortunes for many non-white people. Serious, productive local dialogues on race are as crucial as ever, and yet, such a conversation is rarely welcome in a residential setting like yours.

It's interesting that your desire to address race is framed in terms of the few black folks in your town. Have you considered addressing instead, somehow, the majority? White folks have a race too, even though in a setting like yours, they probably rarely ever think seriously about what it means to be "white" (and when they do, they tend to think and talk about it in objectionable ways, as I'm sure you know).

Starting a social or reading group on "race" is a great idea. Churches often have the space (and sometimes, some resources) for such a gathering, as do libraries and town halls. Even a restaurant or a coffee shop can be a good meeting place, and moving an established group from home to home can also work well.

A reading group could focus on race in many ways. There are innumerable novels and memoirs that address race, including whiteness (which again, I recommend as your focus, since your group members are likely to be mostly or all white). If you'd eventually like some reading suggestions, write back to me--I have a long list. You could also consider the ones I've reviewed so far on this blog.

Watching films together and then discussing them afterward is also a good way to get a dialogue going. Race and whiteness are depicted in ways that can be discussed in just about any movie, though some are more likely to generate discussion than others. One that has proven its value for this purpose in, I'm sure, thousands of such gatherings is The Color of Fear, a powerful documentary about a multiracial group of men who discuss their racial experiences together.

These sorts of documentaries are often accompanied by discussion guides (as are many novels and memoirs that deal with race). As I noted in yesterday's post, you could begin working with films by asking your local library to purchase them. For instance, Free Indeed is a brief, inexpensive drama about white privilege and service work, put together by the Mennonite Central Committee.

If you can generate enough interest on this topic in your community to get some funds together, you might consider inviting a speaker on whiteness and racial issues. Again, the local library can be a good setting for this. If you're familiar with Tim Wise, for instance, he's not as expensive as you might think. Many scholars from colleges in your state would also be willing to speak for a modest fee on particular aspects of the topic (and Google can help you find them). "Whiteness" has been a topic of intensive interest and study for at least a decade now, and as a result, many speakers are available for such talks.

Particular lecture and discussion-group topics could include race relations in your particular part of the state or country--how, for instance, did it get so white? (It wasn't an accident, nor the mere coincidence that most of your town's current residents probably think it was). Was your town a "sundown town"? (James Loewen is also a traveling speaker, and a damn good one too.) Who were the particular indigenous groups that inhabited your area, and what happened to them? How did the European immigrants to your area become "white," and why did they do so? How does their choice to become "white" continue to affect the lives of their descendants today? How is race addressed in your local schools? What are the area's kids learning about race, and how else are they learning it? How is race played out in your community in relation to other factors, such as social class, or gender, or the larger national and even international economies? Are there, for instance, migrant workers in your area? If so, how long has that been happening, and why did it start? What do local white people think, and perhaps fail to understand, about migrant workers?

Finally, I do not suggest a sort of celebratory, appreciative, buffet-like approach to these matters. White supremacy isn't just a thing of the past, but too many white efforts to address "race" end up merely celebrating other races (and often in limited, simplistic, and patronizing ways), instead of addressing "whiteness" and its significance for ongoing inequities and injustices.

I hope that this blog's readers will add other suggestions for you in this post's "comments" section, and I wish you the best of luck in this important effort. You'll probably meet some resistance, and you'll need to be persistent and brave if you really do want to get people thinking and acting. But that's the only way that the kind of change you're looking for ever happens.

Best of luck, and please let me know sometime what becomes of your efforts,

macon d


*This word originally appeared as "black" (with quotation marks around it), but in response to a discussion about that in the Comments section for this post, I've removed the quotation marks. Thanks to jw, Lori, and Restructure! for addressing this issue.

81 comments:

  1. Macon D wrote:

    First of all, I applaud your efforts. America is moving toward the probability of electing its first "black" president, yet the ongoing effects and manifestations of American white supremacy continue to cause declining circumstances and fortunes for many non-white people. Serious, productive local dialogues on race are as crucial as ever, and yet, such a conversation is rarely welcome in a residential setting like yours.


    I hate to burst your bubble (I am assuming that you think an Obama presidency will be a good thing, yes?): If Obama should become the 44th president of this nation, the only change will be that there will now be a brown face implementing the same racist, imperialist, corporatist (aka as fascist)and militaristic policies. So many progressives are bemoaning the fact that Obama is running his general election campaign with a shift to the center. The truth is, Obama is running his campaign solidly from the right. The only "change" we will see is skin colour of the president, and the only difference--sadly, it seems--between Obama and McCain is 30 years.

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  2. the first question would be: What does she want? 'Anti-racist parenting' for her own children or challenging the entire town?
    If the latter is the case a serious exploration why this town is still predominantly white is not unimportant.

    As a start I would connect with the parents of my children's friends to find out their opinion etc.

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  3. rcb, I can see how, given the way that's written, you would assume that I have an Obama bubble in need of bursting--I don't. I agree with the rest of your comment. I should have written it more carefully, as I only think an Obama presidency could be a good thing in racial terms in the most superficial sense--and even that sense would probably be outweighed by many downsides, including the confirmation many white Americans would feel for their view that "racism is a thing of the past." What I meant was something more like, "Although enough white Americans may well be willing to overlook their ongoing racist policies and practices to make a black president possible, . . . " (etc.) I'm not sure that would be any better, nor just what the best way to word that would be. . .

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  4. America is moving toward the probability of electing its first "black" president,

    why do you use quotation marks? "black" ?

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  5. Why q marks? It's a suggestion that there is a perception of Obama in racial terms that obscures the reality of his other side, as it were, his white side. That there's more to his "amazing," "inspiring," etc. story of racial success than people usually think. (Not that Obama himself doesn't self-identify as "black.")

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  6. Well, if Obama self-identifies as black, then shouldn't that be how is he referred to as far as being the first black president? Is there evidence to show he would be not want to be seen as the first black president?

    Macon, I get what you were saying to jw mostly, but the way you phrased it was weird. I think you're saying that people in general tend to ignore the fact that his mother is white? But you also seem to be saying that his story of "racial success" isn't all it claims to be because part of that success may be because he is has european ancestry in a country that values that? I don't know if I would agree, but maybe that's what you're saying?

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  7. I only think an Obama presidency could be a good thing in racial terms in the most superficial sense

    Yet you wanted to talk up that "good", superficial thing and once asked me:

    do you as an African American feel anything at all positive about the historic firsts he's achieved so far?

    That was after you credited Obama with expressing insights on race with his race speech that were "far beyond" any other politician, as if that's hard to do, and voicing your "hope" which you figured may be "too optimistic" that Obama "will do less pandering to white sensibilities if and when he achieves the presidency."

    You also tried to sell the idea that Obama merely holding the office, not doing anything but just "standing up there" holding the office and "being perceived as a successful, leader-like black man" would be a something worth mentioning when I made arguments (mostly on my blog) that didn't even go as far as RedCatBiker.

    And, funny... I was the one who made the point that your views on Obama and particularly what you said to me were the product of you taking a very superficial view, apparently because of yet another assumption you made about what PoC are supposed to think.

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  8. Lori, you asked a lot of questions there, I'm not sure you want me to answer all of them, but here goes (and also to answer in the process, I hope, jw's "What?"):


    Obama clearly embraces the identity of "black," and if wants to be identified that way, then yes, we should do so. But his doing so, and anyone else's doing so, does obscure his half-white/biracial status--the white side of him (not that he actively denies that side otherwise).

    I think you're saying that people in general tend to ignore the fact that his mother is white? But you also seem to be saying that his story of "racial success" isn't all it claims to be because part of that success may be because he is has european ancestry in a country that values that? I don't know if I would agree, but maybe that's what you're saying?

    Yes, well put (even though you wouldn't necessarily agree with it). People generally see him as black, and yet partly because of his European ancestry, he's not seen as too black by many white Americans. His largely unacknowledged, or maybe "usually unacknowledged," whiteness helps him be received as "acceptably black" by many whites (to paraphrase Shark-fu at Angry Black Bitch). Thanks for helping me clarify that Lori, and my apologies to all for the confusion.

    Nquest, my views on Obama are indeed far less optimistic than they were back then. I admit that I got caught up to some degree in the anticipatory and then celebratory fervor of Obama's nomination. Kudos to you for keeping a clear-eyed perspective throughout it all, and thanks for being one of many sources that have since made me much more skeptical about him, and much more willing to place him and his game within the broader context of how political power apparently operates behind the scenes. (And by the way, I'm not trying to "sell" anything on this blog--does something here make you think that it's directing money into my pockets?)

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  9. Obama clearly embraces the identity of "black," and if wants to be identified that way, then yes, we should do so. But his doing so, and anyone else's doing so, does obscure his half-white/biracial status--the white side of him (not that he actively denies that side otherwise).

    and your point is?

    That you have the right to question his Blackness by writing "black" instead of black?

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  10. jw, read the rest of my comment--it explains how what I'm questioning, or pointing out, is not his Blackness, but rather how his blackness is received, and how his whiteness affects how its received.

    What, by the way, is YOUR point?

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  11. That is some good advice. I've noticed even with myself that well meaning anti-racist efforts get confused about how to proceed and end up with "novelty" activities with minorities (as the women mentioned) instead of actually dealing with the problem, whiteness and racism by tackling these issues with the white community that exhibits and perpetuates them.

    It seems all too easy to get the ends confused with the means with this matter. I think it is probably a product inexperience floundering for something to orientate itself and unfortunately seizing upon implicit white privilege for its footing (e.g., the white man's burden)

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  12. my point is that you write "black" instead of black.

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  13. my point is that you write "black" instead of black.

    That looks more to me like an "observation," or maybe just a "description," than a "point."

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  14. no, it looks like you avoid your personal issues.
    Again.

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  15. It's a suggestion that there is a perception of Obama in racial terms that obscures the reality of his other side, as it were, his white side.

    so you write "black" instead of black to make his white side visible?

    That there's more to his "amazing," "inspiring," etc. story of racial success than people usually think.

    and what is this?

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  16. (And by the way, I'm not trying to "sell" anything on this blog--does something here make you think that it's directing money into my pockets?)

    and this comment, Macon, is also very revealing.

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  17. "revealing"? of what? no, wait, of something about me, I suppose you'd say, so don't answer my question. I have no idea what "personal issues" of mine you're getting at, or perhaps, "darkly hinting" at is a better way to put it (and let's not go any further in that direction--I don't express suppositions here about you as a person, and any you might express about me are unwarranted, since you don't know me, and you don't know why I as an individual write what I write).

    so you write "black" instead of black to make his white side visible?

    No, it was more to say that there are other terms that could apply--other ways of labeling him. I wrote "black" to recognize that using that term for Obama is problematic in some ways, one of them being the way it obscures another side of him--as I explained in comments above this one. I do think black is accurate for him in some ways (and also that he is, obviously, free to embrace the term for his identity--and I see nothing wrong with him personally doing so), but inaccurate in other ways--it obscures his white side, his biracial status. It can be both an appropriate and an inappropriate term at the same time. I'm not saying, though, that the term (black) should not be used for him. I'm just pointing out some things about how it's commonly used--what it often means, and what it often obscures.

    I think I'm getting into your second question here too. As I said above, the "more" I'm referring to in terms of his apparent racial status and his quick success is that for many whites, he is both "black" and, thanks to his largely unacknowledged whiteness, "not too black." It seems to me that a person who comes across as more "black" to white voters than he does might not have gotten as far as he did, as fast as he did, because of that. So the common, relieved white references to him as an example of how far America has supposedly come in moving "beyond race" are exposed, by such attention to how his blackness signifies, as nothing more than common white fantasies.

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  18. [Restructure: as I wrote to jw, no more comments on this blog about people as this or that kind of individual. If you're willing to limit your comments to the words anyone writes here, and if you're willing to also explain what you mean when you criticize those words by way of working toward a more accurate discussion of the topic at hand, then go for it.]

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  19. [Nquest: in most cases, I'm no longer going to publish comments that refer to the comments of others made long ago in other threads. It rarely serves a useful/productive point, though if it seems that any cross-thread comments do serve such a point, then I'll publish those.]

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  20. As I said above, the "more" I'm referring to in terms of his apparent racial status and his quick success is that for many whites, he is both "black" and, thanks to his largely unacknowledged whiteness, "not too black."

    So basically, you choose to perpetuate the white supremacist framework by calling him "black" in scare quotes, instead of calling him by what he self-identifies as (and therefore is)?

    Challenging Obama's blackness does not make your comments insightful or "something that nobody has thought of before". Are you really unaware of the controversies surrounding evaluations about whether or not Obama is black or how black he is?

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  21. Restructure, I'm aware of some of those controversies, as I've explained above, but I didn't know that white supremacists use scare quotes around the word black when they use that word to describe Obama. I don't frequent ws blogs or websites. Could you say more about why they do so? Do they say he's "playing the race card" by pretending to be more black than his biracial self really is?

    Thanks or the comments, Restructure and jw. You've made it clear to me that the quotation marks around that word in the context of this post are too open to interpretation--they don't come across to enough readers the way I meant them to, and indeed, they come across really badly to some readers. As a consequence of their ambiguity, I'm going to remove them from the post.

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  22. I do think black is accurate for him in some ways (and also that he is, obviously, free to embrace the term for his identity--and I see nothing wrong with him personally doing so), but inaccurate in other ways--it obscures his white side, his biracial status.

    So you're basically saying that being black and biracial are mutually exclusive, or that being both black and biracial is a contradiction?

    It is comments like this that make you appear to be very naive about race. (I am mentioning this because I want to show you that my impression of you comes from the words that you type. I don't know anything about your personality or your personal life other than from what you type. It does not make sense for you to be offended that my impression of you contradicts what you know/think about yourself in "real life" that I didn't know about.) The comment quoted above is what I call "racially ignorant". "Ignorant" means lacking knowledge or being uneducated.

    I suggested that you probably didn't read Racialicious in the banned comment because Racialicious used to be Mixed Media Watch, and they often discuss biracial issues. Your statement seems uneducated because it's very simplistic and dichotomist, compared to discussions about biraciality by biracial people, which are much more complex, insightful, and intelligent.

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  23. So you're basically saying that being black and biracial are mutually exclusive, or that being both black and biracial is a contradiction?

    No, I'm not. I'm interested in how white people see Obama. When they see him as "black," they're not seeing him as "biracial." They're ignoring, or downplaying, the very whiteness in him that helps to make him "acceptably black" to them.

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  24. From the thread you linked to:

    Obama is perceived as African American, despite his biracial status, because by the magic of America's racial double standards, his white mother and black father had a black baby. If the parental situation were reversed, with a black mother and a white father, they still would've had a black baby.


    When did your perception of Obama as African-American change, Macon?

    It's not useful or productive for you to say so many conflicting things at one time or over time.

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  25. Hmmm--looking back at that paragraph now, that seems like a place where the word black SHOULD be in quotation marks! (That paragraph is not about MY perception of Obama--it says "Obama is perceived as African American . . ")

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  26. No, I'm not. I'm interested in how white people see Obama. When they see him as "black," they're not seeing him as "biracial." They're ignoring, or downplaying, the very whiteness in him that helps to make him "acceptably black" to them.

    Define "whiteness" in this context.

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  27. In this context, I mean, actually, the supposed biological whiteness of his mother's side--that which makes him appear less black. And by supposed, I just mean that whiteness is a socially constructed term/concept for whatever actual European mix his mother embodied.

    Why do you ask?

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  28. Do you mean his lightness and his European facial features?

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  29. Why do you ask, Restructure? You seem to have something on your mind--out with it, please. What are your constructive, dialogue-advancing thoughts on this issue?

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  30. That paragraph is not about MY perception of Obama

    Macon, what I quoted from you in my July 15, 2008 5:19 PM post has you using the term African American and using it to refer to Obama by way of me and me being an African American.

    It is not useful or productive to try to act like the thoughts you've published here are not your own.

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  31. Why are you asking me why I ask? You seem to have something on your mind--out with it.

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  32. Nquest, I don't know what you're getting at. Like many people, sometimes I refer to Obama as biracial, sometimes as African American. It depends on the context, and whatever it is about him that's being discussed. Both terms fit him, no? Sometimes one gets emphasized and/or used, sometimes the other.

    As I've said before, though, I'm most interested on this blog in how a lot of white people regard him. As for my effort to suss out what you felt about him, I now see that as a bad move on my part--I will no longer ask you anything about yourself or your feelings, and as I've said, I hope others will avoid the personal here as well. Also, as I've already said above, I was swept away to some extent back then by a general happiness about Obama's victory. Thanks to you and to many other sources, I now have a clearer, much less optimistic perspective on him.

    It seems like you're trying to pin something on me--that I contradict myself? So I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. Consistency, I'm quite tempted to say, is the hobgoblin of little minds.

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  33. you know i can see why macon is catching heat for the comments about obama, and maybe simply putting "black" in quotes wasn't the best way to address the subtleties in how his race is seen/not seen by mainstream america.

    but i think the point is valid: because of obama's family's history, white people are not threatened by his blackness. i don't think there's any question about that. being the son of a white mother and a father who is not descended from american slaves makes white america more comfortable with the idea of him.

    and i realize some of the language i'm using is could be seen as derogatory, but i think that's what white people really think.

    i think "black in quotation marks" is how white america wants to see him. because if he was simply Black, he wouldn't have got the nomination.

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  34. "revealing"? of what? no, wait, of something about me, I suppose you'd say, so don't answer my question. I have no idea what "personal issues" of mine you're getting at, or perhaps, "darkly hinting" at is a better way to put it (and let's not go any further in that direction--I don't express suppositions here about you as a person, and any you might express about me are unwarranted, since you don't know me, and you don't know why I as an individual write what I write).

    I don't have to know you personally, but language is revealing and the subtle and sometimes not so subtle language of your subtle racism comes through. You try to be the enlightend "anti-racist".
    But your whiteness comes out, again and again.

    There is a term: self-determination. Black is a term Black people choose for themselves. Period.

    So, there is NO reason to answer to a nice lady, who wants to combat racism in her community, to write "America is moving toward the probability of electing its first "black" president."

    It's also no reason to become sarcastic. (And by the way, I'm not trying to "sell" anything on this blog..)

    And when it comes to your censorship: If you continue with that I will think about to publish a counter-blog to your writings where people you censor here can publish what YOU don't want to hear, when you write problematically about POC
    What happend to your desire of "unmaking Macon"? Empty lip-service? Have at least the backbone to mature and to face the criticism you get.

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  35. It seems like you're trying to pin something on me--that I contradict myself? So I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. Consistency, I'm quite tempted to say, is the hobgoblin of little minds.

    So you're basically saying that you should not be bound by logical consistency or accountability for your words. You can contradict yourself, but nobody can fault you for that, because you see it as a positive trait?

    So is antiracism for you a merely a mode of self-expression, and what you write is valid to you just because you feel it?

    Note: This is not ad hominem, because you are the one who started talking about yourself and offered a philosophy of how you conduct things.

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  36. No Restructure, I'm not saying that. It was late at night, and memories of Emerson and Whitman rose up in me. What I basically meant, in response to Nquest's pointing out that something I said awhile back contradicts something I said yesterday, is that people's opinions and ideas change over time, mine included. This is especially true, or should be, of someone who is trying to undo or "unmake" his white training, which is partly why I'm writing this blog (and I also hope in the process to encourage other white folks to wake up to and undo their own racial training).

    From what I can gather, Nquest sees me as inconsistent and as a faulty spokesperson for black people; jw sees me as a racist; and you see me as naive. Okay, got it, and I've heard it all before, and I'm working on those things. But what does all that do for Liza, the woman who asked for help with getting her rural town to think about and discuss racism?

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  37. Macon D,

    I also see you as racist, but if I say that, you would probably think I'm putting you in the same category as the KKK. When I mentioned "white supremacist framework" in this comment thread, you also thought I was talking about white supremacists.

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  38. a faulty spokesperson for black people

    you are no spokesperson for Black people. You are white. And even if whites are addicted to control Black people and Black voices (and non-white voices in general), you ARE NOT in the position to talk for Black people.

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  39. But what does all that do for Liza, the woman who asked for help with getting her rural town to think about and discuss racism?

    Liza, if she reads here and also reads all the comments, will get the first impression and also the first caution: Be careful in chosing your "white allies" and don't automatically trust white people just because they call themselves anti-racist. Racism comes in many different faces.

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  40. right jw, bad phrasing. What I meant was more like, "bad summarizer of black observation and opinion and black reportage of personal experience."

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  41. right jw, bad phrasing. What I meant was more like, "bad summarizer of black observation and opinion and black reportage of personal experience."

    what's not on your mind won't come out.
    As I told you already, language is revealing. Greets from Freud.

    And also only as an information, on Restructure's blog I mentioned different realities. I watch my white folks and their society since I have been a very young child. So I am very aware of all or at least most codes etc whites use. Different reality leads to a different point of view and a different way of live.

    I am curious when you finally start to truly explore whiteness

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  42. From what I can gather, Nquest sees me as inconsistent and as a faulty spokesperson for black people...

    There is no reason for me to see you as a "spokesperson" for Black people. PERIOD. One of your White dissenters questioned you about trying to be the spokesperson for 'minorities' and I specifically told him that was not the case at the same time you denied ever trying to be such a spokesperson. So you don't gather any of that from me.

    My question to you goes beyond whether you're being consistent. Indeed, you never answered my question for wanting to repeat your thank you.

    When did your perception of Obama as African-American change, Macon?

    Obviously for you to have asked me about what I feel, as an African-American, you had to perceive Obama as African-American. And, so, when you say it's because of different a context, then the question becomes why to you have these different contexts?

    Nquest, I don't know what you're getting at. Like many people, sometimes I refer to Obama as biracial, sometimes as African American. It depends on the context, and whatever it is about him that's being discussed. Both terms fit him, no? Sometimes one gets emphasized and/or used, sometimes the other.

    Dismissive. What you've said here is that "black" or African-American doesn't fit him. That's the whole reason why JW and Restructure has taken you and what you think/say (not what "white people" think/say about Obama's race) to task.

    And somehow, even when asked for clarity you were not clear that you were talking about the way WHITE 'people' see Obama:

    Why q marks? It's a suggestion that there is a perception of Obama in racial terms that obscures the reality of his other side, as it were, his white side. That there's more to his "amazing," "inspiring," etc. story of racial success than people usually think.

    But maybe White is synonymous with people for you or something. You said it ("People generally see him as black") more than once. Maybe your mind it too "little" to understand how you insisted that Obama being "black" or African American didn't fit because they "obscures the reality of his other side." Exactly how, no one knows.

    There is no way you can answer Restructure's question:

    So you're basically saying that being black and biracial are mutually exclusive, or that being both black and biracial is a contradiction?

    ... while insisting that Obama's "other side" is obscured. You are, indeed, saying that "black" doesn't fit and quite a few Whites view him as "acceptably black" because whatever you (and they) perceive Black to be doesn't quite fit Obama.

    You wanted to say Obama is "more than Black" revealing a very ahistorical view on race.

    So, really, it would be more productive if you would answer questions directly without trying to figure out or get ahead of what people are trying to "get at." By doing that you never answer questions directly or honestly:

    When did your perception of Obama as African-American change, Macon?

    Notice how you framed the idea of Obama being "black" as a "racial double-standard." You obviously was voicing your disagreement with it:

    Obama is perceived as African American, despite his biracial status, because by the magic of America's racial double standards, his white mother and black father had a black baby. If the parental situation were reversed, with a black mother and a white father, they still would've had a black baby.

    Yet, if we take what you said, you can conveniently decide which contexts in which you yourself can use the "racial double-standard."

    So, again, because you say so many contradictory things, it becomes counterproductive to ask you what you're trying to say because you're too concerned with what certain people are "getting at" to even pay attention to what you've said right here in this thread that still raises questions about what it is you really think because you don't care whether you're being coherent because consistency (and actually dealing with what you actually said vs. what you want to say to avoid critique/criticism) is not important to you.

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  43. "bad summarizer of black observation and opinion and black reportage of personal experience."

    You say that like you can actually dispute it. As if you are a "good" summarizer of black observation and opinion and black reportage of personal experience... As if your curious fixation with trying to see what people are "getting at" -- which is not to be confused with trying to understand people on their own terms; quite to the contrary, it's a function of trying to understand them on your own -- gives you an ability to summarize and even come close to honestly and accurately detailing what it is they think as opposed to what you think or what you think they think.

    The example(s) here on your blog show how you had a motive to "summarize" somebody else's experiences, observations, etc. and you tried to rationalize your "summarizing" -- which included you adding your on ideas and projecting them onto the Black writers you quoted -- with an ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS kind of argument.

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  44. When did your perception of Obama as African-American change, Macon?

    I don't know when. Why is that important? It didn't happen on a particular date, but I'll repeat myself by saying it happened sometime after the glow of his victory wore off for me.

    As for my perception of him as African American, as opposed to biracial, I never did shift from seeing him as only one or the other to seeing him as the other one, or as both. I've always seen him as both, since I read his first book back when it first came out.

    Obviously for you to have asked me about what I feel, as an African-American, you had to perceive Obama as African-American. And, so, when you say it's because of different a context, then the question becomes why to you have these different contexts?

    Again, I perceived him, even back then, as both African American/black, and as biracial. I used Af Am in my question to you as a self-identified Af Am because in that context, many were seeing him as a successful black politician, and I wondered how you as a black person thought about that. That doesn't mean I didn't also see him as biracial--there was just no point in using the term in that context.

    Why do I have or refer to different contexts in this regard? Because in different contexts, his biraciality is important or under discussion, and in other contexts, the use of the term of African American is appropriate, or under discussion.

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  45. As for my perception of him as African American...

    Macon, given how the question you called yourself responding to only asked you about your perception of Obama as African American, I have no idea why your first response was to say you didn't know when your perception of Obama (as a political candidate?) changed.

    I didn't ask you about that so asking why something you want to read into a question that literally ask what I intented to ask and nothing else is "revealing"...

    It's evidence of how you're too concerned with what you think people are "trying to get at" to just answer the question they asked instead of trying to read other stuff into even when your "I don't know [when my perception of Obama as a political candidate changed]" clearly doesn't match the question I asked you... the question you quoted.

    I used Af Am in my question to you as a self-identified Af Am because in that context, many were seeing him as a successful black politician, and I wondered how you as a black person thought about that.

    Me being a self-identified African American has nothing to do with how I see Obama and the way "many" people see him is also irrelevant. It's clear YOU were seeing him "as a successful black politician" and that's why you played "ask the black man" with me.

    You just assumed I would have to see Obama "as a successful black politician" because I am Black and you acted as if you... as if YOU were confused by a Black person who didn't respond in the way you assumed they/I should have. You figured "as an African American" I should feel "positive about the historic firsts he's achieved" based on what (besides my race) I don't know.

    That was yet another attempt by you to be the "summarizer" of African-American thought/feeling. You just knew Obama's historic firsts, no matter how superficial, would have to mean something not to people who are biracial but to African-American, me in particular, and not because the context of the thread had anything to do with it.


    That doesn't mean I didn't also see him as biracial--there was just no point in using the term in that context.

    No. There was no point in you asking me a question about what I feel about Obama other than you discounting his "biracialness" and you assuming that I should feel a certain way about Obama's historic firsts because, for all intents and purposes, he's Black and I'm Black so there must be something I would feel, you know, because all Black people, apparently, are supposed to in the mind of Macon. And, so, you wondered why the response you expected from African-Americans regarding Obama's historic firsts wasn't what you were hearing from me.

    So, to get me to stop or take a break from saying I don't "like" Obama, you wanted me to say something "positive" about Obama's historic firsts as if I wouldn't account for Obama's biracial status as being a part of his racial success and not view that positively... that that wouldn't put a damper on any race pride you assumed I would have. You know, with me (and Obama) being African American and all...


    in different contexts, his biraciality is important or under discussion, and in other contexts, the use of the term of African American is appropriate, or under discussion.

    The question is why is Obama being African-American "appropriate" when you talk to me as if I don't or can't see him as both African American and biracial. That's the problem, Macon. You want(ed) to decide for me what I'm supposed to feel about Obama's historic firsts which was all based on how you figured I had to see Obama, and particularly his political success, as only due to him being African American as opposed being, in some ways, related to how he's perceived as "not too Black" by White Americans.

    The idea doesn't make sense because of the very argument we had about Obama pathologizing Blackness. You insisted he had to do that: that he had/has to show White America that he's not "too black" not by avoiding "black" things like the fist bump but by pathologizing Blackness.

    So it's rather odd that you want to talk about people discounting his white side when it comes to his "racial" success when, for whatever reason, you didn't think his white side was relevant to me or the issue of him pathologizing Blackness.





    How is it that you just assume Obama's "blackness" is the only thing "appropriate" to discuss with me? You don't limit your discussion with Whites to Obama's Whiteness.

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  46. http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2008/06/get-used-to-blackness.html

    ReplyDelete
  47. Macon,
    I am an avid reader of this blog. I find it to be well written, informative, unbiased, and current. It makes me introspective and I hope your readership continues to grow and people continue to reflect upon what you are saying. I appreciate the academic aspect of your supporting documentation as well as your inclusion of great YouTube videos.

    This said, WILL YOU PLEASE DO SOMETHING WITH THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS BLOG? Recently I have been very disappointed in the comments posted by less than a handful of your readers. They focus on trivial stuff that is detracting from the main point of your blog. Can you somehow limit these comments and questions and your subsequent responses? It is tedious for those of us who are really interested in what you are saying to have to read through your defense of why you used quotation marks! I know if you don't respond you will be accused of being dismissive but there must be others like me who don't want to slog through the irrelevant comments and questions of a few contentious people. Would you please ask those who are bogging down your blog with niggling details to contact you directly via your email?

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  48. This is funny... when people don't find something Macon has posted or a particular aspect, main ideas and the primary assumptions he make to be "well written, informative, unbiased, and current" and particularly lacking when it comes to "supporting documentation" their comments are reduced to being "petty" and trivial because of your level of awareness or knowledge.

    And, really, nothing that you perceive as "bogging" down Macon's blog could even begin to happen if "avid readers" like you were active participants driving the conversation in the way you feel it should be. But, apparently, you're just a reader.

    That explains it all...

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  49. telling, that critical voices on an "anti-racist" website aren't welcome.

    The issues of a troubled white, framed as "anti-racist" work, with a lot of problematic and also racist content.

    Perhaps "anonymous" is Macon's second ego, who knows :-D

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  50. nquest-i feel fairly certain that us "avid readers" activly participating on this blog would not keep you from bogging it down.

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  51. NQ: You just assumed I would have to see Obama "as a successful black politician" because I am Black and you acted as if you... as if YOU were confused by a Black person who didn't respond in the way you assumed they/I should have. You figured "as an African American" I should feel "positive about the historic firsts he's achieved" based on what (besides my race) I don't know.

    I certainly have a white POV (which I'm still trying to wake up to--I'm wondering now if jw feels she's already fully woken up to hers?), but in this case, you're again presuming too much about who I am, about what I think as I write here. In that thread, I wasn't all like, "Hey, a black guy won! and you're black guy too! aren't you like, happy he won?! Why the long face, huh??"

    Instead, here's what I wrote:

    do you as an African American feel anything at all positive about the historic firsts he's achieved so far? If so, how would express that feeling?

    The question says nothing about what you "should" feel (or think), and I expressed no surprise afterward at your answer. I just wanted to know what you thought, from your own black POV, since you'd identified yourself as black, and especially since you always seemed to write about my handlings of "blackness." I was asking whether anything black about Obama's victory resonated with you, and if so, how--without presuming or implying that you "should" feel anything in particular about it.

    OTOH, yeah, aside from whether I was assuming anything about what you should've thought of the historical moment, for a white person to "ask the black guy about this other black guy" in itself appears to be a rather stupid move. I try to avoid that common white tendency (of assuming that there must be correspondences between these two people because hey, they're both black), and I concede that I didn't avoid it there. Still, I think that your persona as a guardian of sorts of whatever gets said here about black folks also led me to that question.

    How is it that you just assume Obama's "blackness" is the only thing "appropriate" to discuss with me? You don't limit your discussion with Whites to Obama's Whiteness.

    I don't assume that. I discuss a lot of things here with you other than "Obama's 'blackness.'" But, again, it does seem true that I discuss little else besides "blackness" in one form or another with you, and I think that happens because I take my cue from you on that. From what I remember (without going back through your 1001 or so comments here), you only address my handlings of blackness. I first interact with you when you initially respond to a post; again, you almost always seem to respond to posts that in some way directly mention black folks, and if a post doesn't do that, then you don't seem to have anything to say about it.

    Thanks for the input, Anonymous (who is not, jw, my "alter ego," if by that you mean I wrote his or her comments). As this comment of mine right here demonstrates, I do consider these exchanges valuable, but OTOH, yeah, they do seem to take over threads. Perhaps it's the case that anyone looking for a discussion of the post's original topic will be disappointed, especially in this one, where so little gets said, amidst so many comments, in direct response to a direct request for help. I don't know yet what to do about that--asking that questions for me be emailed to me, instead of asked here, might help, so thanks for the suggestion.

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  52. It seems to me that there are a lot of hidden land mines being stepped on here. I do not know Macon personally, nor do I know any of the other commenters beyond the fact that they sometimes comment on Too Sense. But my intuition, based upon what I've read here and in his comments on Too Sense, is that Macon is not setting out to offend or disrespect anyone. He also does not strike me as presuming to speak for non-white people, other than relaying quotes from certain writers to illustrate points he's making.

    It looks to me like a fairly involved game of "gotcha" is being played here, not too dismilar from what the political campaigns do to one another. Candidate "a" says something inartfully, or out of genuine lack of knowledge, and candidate "b" immediately pounces on that statement to yield maximum "points" from the mistake.

    I am not taking sides vis a vis any of the substantive issues under discussion. I wouldn't presume to judge who is "right" and who is "wrong" in these debates. I am merely observing the overall tenor of the discussion.

    As for Obama being black or not, speaking as the spouse of a Creole woman of color (hence biracial or multi-racial), and the father of biracial children, I would say that Obama is both black and white and is free to identify himself as either, or both. That's what I tell my kids. I also tell them that being black isn't a matter of skin tone, it just means you have African ancestors. The fundamental problem we are dealing with is that biracial/multiracial people do not fit the "race" paradigm in the first place. Under the "race" paradigm (and I put it in quotes because I reject the validity of the epistemological framework itself), one is either "black" or "white", but not both. Being both, in itself, disproves the validity of race. Thus we are trying to discuss Obama by applying an invalid, inaccurate framework, one that he does not fit. I could also go into the fact that a great many black people in this country have significant degrees of European ancestry, and thus also poke holes in the "race" idea, but I'll leave that for another day.

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  53. One Drop, this 'land mines' are some of his posts and which are a product of his strange way of thinking. Read for example this:

    http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2008/06/get-used-to-blackness.html

    Yes, he also makes some good posts, the poem he posted for example. But this isn't a product of him;-)

    ReplyDelete
  54. you're again presuming too much about who I am, about what I think as I write here

    That doesn't make sense Macon up to and including your line about you not presuming anything. You presumed that I didn't "like" Obama and your very question was built on the assumption that there must be something positive in Obama's achievement of "historic first(s)" otherwise you would not have asked the question PREFACED the way you did:

    "...I hope also that Americans will see in Obama's example a shining example of brilliant (if compromised) intellectual prowess, and I've said so before.

    I know you don't like Obama, but do you as an African American feel anything at all positive about the historic firsts he's achieved so far? If so, how would express that feeling?"


    So, it's even more odd that you would post "here's what I wrote" (when I not only posted that portion) and had no regard for the actual context of your statement at that time and tried to apply a LABEL ("guardian") you feel applies to me today to what you articulated or thought back then.

    You included the "IF COMPROMISED" part because of the previous discussions we had about Obama and certainly your impression that I didn't or don't "like" Obama -- both things that prefaced and set the context of your question -- came from what I said in that thread, in previous threads and on my blog.

    So this "guardian" idea of yours is a function of your judging the historical setting of your June 5th question by what you think about "who I am" in July.

    Your "guardian" rationalization (and that's what it is) doesn't make sense given how I've debated your idea that Whites don't express collective anger in more than one thread (even when one of the threads was about "black" anger), commented on the Tim Wise thread with my thoughts on the importance of examining Whiteness and posted on a variety of threads prior to June 5 with little if any statements you could have construed as those coming from someone with a "guardian" mentality.

    Your "guardian" idea also doesn't make sense considering how there's not a single post of mine in your believe others consider them trustworthy thread and, no doubt, a host of others where you made some assumptive statement about what Black/PoC think.


    The question says nothing about what you "should" feel (or think), and I expressed no surprise afterward at your answer.

    You didn't have to. When you set the question up by saying "I know you don't like Obama", there is no reason to. And, with that ASSUMPTION of yours and your "IF COMPROMISED" parenthetical statement, it's clear how your question, how do you say, "came across" as "Hey, a black guy won! and you're black guy too! aren't you like, happy he won?!

    Clearly you wanted to ask me, "the Black guy", if I there was "anything at all positive" I had to say about Obama as opposed to all the "negative" things I said in the criticisms you alluded to -- by saying you knew I didn't "like" Obama and you saying "IF COMPROMISED", a direct reference to a previous discussion -- because being "African-American" you wanted to know if "anything black about Obama's victory resonated" with me under the obvious assumption that there must be something; something besides all the "negative" things I've said about Obama.

    I just wanted to know what you thought, from your own black POV, since you'd identified yourself as black, and especially since you always seemed to write about my handlings of "blackness." I was asking whether anything black about Obama's victory resonated with you, and if so, how--without presuming or implying that you "should" feel anything in particular about it.

    I try to avoid that common white tendency (of assuming that there must be correspondences between these two people because hey, they're both black), and I concede that I didn't avoid it there.

    See, this is what I'm talking about. It's not clear whether you're admitting you the presume/assume something or not. On one hand, you say you didn't presume or imply anything... On the other, you "concede" that you engaged in the "common white tendency" of ASSUMING...

    Whether consistency is an issue or not, it's hard to get a COHERENT thought from you because you're so busy trying to claim you didn't say something you essentially have to admit you did.

    Note: You didn't just ask me what I thought about Obama's victory. No, you loaded the question with your own thoughts and asked me if I thought there was "anything at all positive" about Obama's victory.

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  55. I don't assume that. I discuss a lot of things here with you other than "Obama's 'blackness.'"

    What????

    Macon, the whole context is about Obama as opposed any and everything we've discussed on your blog. IN CONTEXT, I noted how you didn't think Obama's white side was relevant to me even after we talked about him "pathologizing Blackness", so quite naturally the question was:

    How is it that you just assume Obama's "blackness" is the only thing "appropriate" to discuss with me?

    Which is to say: how come Obama being biracial and all that entails isn't?

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  56. One Drop - "It looks to me like a fairly involved game of "gotcha" is being played here, not too dismilar from what the political campaigns do to one another."

    Absolutely.

    I think there are a lot of people reading here that would like to comment more, but the atmosphere has gotten a bit nasty and discourages people from joining in the conversation.

    Nquest, restructure, jw and macon - it seems that you are sniping at one another, nit-picking every aspect of what is written, taking thins out of context and generally being passive-aggressive to one another. It's really bringing down what was once a positive atmosphere...

    Criticism is cool. But this isn't constructive anymore...

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  57. Sorry, it's just too hard to take the comments of someone who chooses to be anonymous on a blog, on the internet where you're already anonymous, seriously.

    No, there is absolutely NOT the kind of "gotcha game" going on here. Things I've said have been principled and substantive and not about "inartful" statements.

    And I'm laughing at how I can be called a "bully", compared to an "abuser" and somehow, at the same time, have some anonymous person lump me in with 3 other people including Macon and dub us all "passive aggressive." Clear Mr./Mrs. No Name doesn't know what the term means and who it applies to.

    Also, it's hard to take an anon poster seriously when, instead of making a positive contribution s/he says is lacking, s/he uses his/her post to talk about other posters.

    This after indentifying as an "avid reader" as opposed to someone who actually has ever posted here. So, for my dear Anon, the ignorance inherent in One Drop's driveby...

    roflmao!!!

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  58. I think there are a lot of people reading here that would like to comment more, but the atmosphere has gotten a bit nasty and discourages people from joining in the conversation.

    That's pure, unmitigated nonsense. There are whole threads, the vast majority that I never even comment on. And worse, the are a number of people who post here, Karen e.g., who obviously don't feel "discouraged" or have this need to concoct some idea that other people who post here are making it hard for them to post.

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  59. "So, for my dear Anon, the ignorance inherent in One Drop's driveby..."

    Ah, I see. You don't agree with my point, therefore I am ignorant. A classic case of ipse dixit (look it up).

    I wouldn't call my comment a drive-by. I've commented here before. Macon comments at Too Sense, as do you, JW, and Lori. We've all been part of a collective conversation, so let's dispense with the notion that I am just passing by at random, taking pot-shots.

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  60. Gotta say I agree with One Drop and what I read as two different Anonymouses. The atmosphere has become pretty toxic, and Nquest in particular really dominates things. That sure has kept me from commenting at times, when it's clear that my comment about the original post would be lost amidst a sea of, especially, Nquest's nasty, turgid verbiage. And, right, like Macon D said, what about the poor woman who asked for help in this post in the first place?

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  61. One Drop, you're assuming that your point applies. It does not. I specified why it did not but far be it for you to actually have more than a canned response.

    Really, you use that lame response so much you ought to be tired of it. And just like your "gotcha" idea didn't make sense (again, for reasons I specified), your remark about dispensing with the idea that your comments equate to drive-by "pot shots" really, simply does not make sense.

    The fact that you've commented here before is irrelevant. Same for Macon et al commenting on your blog.

    Simply, unless you actually know the issues relevant to the actual things discussed and alluded to here then, your comments reflect your ignorance.

    You simply don't know what you're talking about and your "intuition" -- meaning you acknowledge having no specific knowledge -- doesn't help you here. Vouching for Macon's character, talking about your impression of Macon, etc. is irrelevant here and, again, reflects your ignorance.

    That's a statement of fact.

    _____________________________

    For runawayfred and everyone else that says/thinks this:

    Nquest in particular really dominates things.

    Explain this nonsense. What do you mean I "dominate"...?

    1. I have no power to make anyone respond to me.
    2. Especially now, Macon can choose not to publish what I post.
    3. If I can dominate? Why can't you?

    Explain what you're really trying to say.


    it's clear that my comment about the original post would be lost amidst a sea of, especially, Nquest's nasty, turgid verbiage.

    roflmao!!!


    Whatever makes you feel good. lol

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  62. And, right, like Macon D said, what about the poor woman who asked for help in this post in the first place?

    yes, say something productive.
    I already did;-)

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  63. Nquest, restructure, jw and macon - it seems that you are sniping at one another, nit-picking every aspect of what is written, taking thins out of context and generally being passive-aggressive to one another. It's really bringing down what was once a positive atmosphere...

    when you think a positive atmosphere is that we all sing along "oh thank you Macon for what you are doing", then live your illusion.
    Racism is a very serious topic, too serious to be abused by a self-declared 'anti-racist' with weird "credentials", more than 12 years experience, as he wants to tell us.
    If you followed comments you would also realize that it is only problematic statements by Macon which are being challenged.
    You also have to think about the other side, so people like me, who just can vomit sometimes about what Macon is writing.
    Every white anti-racist is responsible for his actions.
    And when white commenters post racist garbage nobody of other white people here truly challenge this. Nobody of those "oh what a insightful blog" truly stops the racism on this blog, also not Macon.
    White anti-racism is more than just being "hurt", it is a commitment. Just reading a blog doesn't make people anti-racist and silencing exactly those people who challenge the anti anti-racist issues here is no surprise.
    White people want to feel comfortable, regardless how disrespectful some topics/comments are on this blog in regard to race. And if some challenge this, they "destroy the atmosphere" of the blog.
    This is no barbecue for confused whites. This blog is supposed to be anti-racist. He is an insult to all who take this serious.

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  64. Thanks for your comments, One Drop. I recognize that there's nothing random about your presence here.

    jw, you should take more English lessons so you can do a better job of reading it. Note that the comment you quote includes me in the sniping. Regarding the supposed productiveness of the suggestion you left for Liza, I think I'll turn to Nquest's eloquent, original stylings--lol! roflmfao! lol! etc. As for the rest of your comment--overstate much? :-)

    Nquest--overstate much? :-)

    It's becoming clear indeed that--remember when teachers used to say this?--a few here are spoiling it for the rest.

    Now that I'm moderating comments here, I'll do what I can toward getting things more welcoming here again for more than a few commenters. I still invite constructive criticism, but not extended, toxic diatribes that chase most other potential commenters (and perhaps even readers) away.

    Thanks also to runawayfred, the one or two Anonymouses, and all others here for your comments.

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  65. I recognize that there's nothing random about your presence here.

    English.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Nquest -

    This is the second anonymous, not the first.

    I am commenting anonymously because I do not have a blog! My name is Jennifer.
    Secondly, I never called you a bully or an abuser. Maybe you do not feel you are passive-aggressive, but that is the way you come across - you and jw and macon.
    You say if you are dominating the conversation, then other people could come and comment and do just the same. But I don't anyone else wants to dominate the conversation...and I know I certainly couldn't post as many comments as you!

    JW, you say:
    "when you think a positive atmosphere is that we all sing along "oh thank you Macon for what you are doing", then live your illusion"
    - which, well, isn't what I said at all. It said criticism is good. A passive-aggresive atmosphere is not. By all means, criticise Macon. But at least be direct about it. It's hard to understand what you are getting at a lot of the time.
    At least in this comment you were direct in what you thought about Macon and stopped dancing around the subject.

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  67. Liza,

    Just off the top of my head, I was thinking that even though your community is practically all white, what if you talk globally and internationally to the kids?

    Like about how there is genocide in Sudan, and how have white people indirectly contributed to or caused that, or the previous European colonialization of Africa and now the Chinese moving in to Africa economically... the kids could get curious about those questions.

    Maybe if you bring more global perspectives into your children's awareness, to complement (or contradict) what they're learning in world affairs classes, they'll learn not to accept their teachers' information unquestioningly.

    Maybe get an XM radio and listen to channel 169 (I don't mean to keep promoting this, I don't own stock in XM radio!, but it means so much to free media), it's a channel that discusses the world from a black perspective and an intellectual and historical perspective you don't find on mainstream media, and the kids will have their eyes opened to different perspectives.

    Your giving your opinions and advice and your perspectives here is something I would like as another poster, as another white person intrigued with learning about what 'whiteness' is and means, and you'd have a lot of info to share here about a white rural perspective of whiteness.

    Or maybe have the older kids read and post here? I know what a small rural town is like, I lived in Dallas, Georgia for a year, and there was pressure to be Baptist and to be conformist, so I admire you for reaching out. I think I underestimated my neighbors then, wish I'd brought up topics like this. You're unusual and intriguing, to do so.

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  68. But at least be direct about it. It's hard to understand what you are getting at a lot of the time.
    At least in this comment you were direct in what you thought about Macon and stopped dancing around the subject.


    Jennifer, this what you call 'dancing around the subject' is trying to make the subtle racism of Macon obvious. Racism comes in many forms. People who don't want or can't see subtle racism will also have problems to understand Nquest, Restructure or me, and what is my point, I guess

    "Like a virus that has mutated, racism has evolved into different forms that are not only more difficult to recognize but also to combat. The subtle processes underlying discrimination can be identified and isolated under the controlled conditions of the laboratory. However, in organizational decision-making, in which the controlled conditions of an experiment are rarely possible, this process presents a substantial challenge to the equitable treatment of members of disadvantaged groups.

    Because of its pervasiveness, subtlety, and complexity, the traditional techniques for eliminating bias that have emphasized the immorality of prejudice and illegality of discrimination are not effective for combating aversive racism.

    Aversive racists recognize prejudice is bad, but they do not recognize that they are prejudiced.

    Thus, aversive racism must be addressed at multiple levels—at the personal level, the organizational level, and the societal level.
    http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/racism10.htm"


    Macon is quite typical for the average "progressive, liberal" white of today. Somewhat informed and 'well-meaning', but still not able to challenge the hidden racism and prejudices within himself but these prejudices become visible in some of his writings like "get used to blackness" or "whites express amazement" etc and most of all such racism becomes visible also in responses and reactions towards non-white criticism and in particular Black criticism. And this is not just my observation on this blog, but an observation over a period of now about 6 years, white *liberal* reactions toward Black people. The very similar mechanics to confine Black speech, to supress Black thought, to disvalue Black opinion etc.

    So yes, this blog could be a chance for every serious white reader to understand what subtle racism is and how difficult it can be to detect subtle racism and to combat it.
    And this what he is doing is not just dumb, but dangerous. Continuing racism without realizing it in the name of "anti-racism" is one wide spread form of racism of today which is very difficult to challenge. It needs people who are aware of this form of racism, who are aware of detecting it and most white people just don't want to go there because the superficial attitude of Eurocentrism values "good intentions" more than true being and also values superficial "goodness" more than honesty.
    Non-white people don't live superficial goodness when it comes to combatting racism. They are honest and this is the problem for many whites, including Macon. This is what produces a "toxic" atmosphere, the honesty and directness most white people are not used to and also don't want to hear.
    Macon is not in the position to educate other whites about racism and if he were honest to himself he would stop doing what he is doing on this blog and could do it with respect and humbleness and less egocentrism, just quoting for example true anti-racists like Tim Wise and others who know what it means to be honest and accountable to People of Color.

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  69. Nquest, simply because you say that your points are substantive, and not instances of playing "gotcha" does not make it so. If you feel that your points are substantive, and others do not, that's life. It's called a difference of opinion.

    Quite frankly, after reading a good number of your posts here, and dealing with the ones you make at Too Sense, whatever substantive merits underly your comments get obscured by your approach. You give the appearance of one who resents white people initiating discussions of racial issues. I cannot claim to know that you actually have that resentment, but that is the impression being created by your posts.

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  70. JW,

    Intimidate people...

    Make people afraid to express themselves, else they'll be labeled hidden racists...

    Shame people to follow one person's mindset, make them feel wrong if they don't follow JW...

    You've found the best way to create tyranny.

    JW's writings = absolute fact...NOT!

    Disagreeing with JW = hidden racism

    NOT!

    JW,

    Disagreeing here doesn't mean that the minute Macon approaches anti-racism with different views from you, he has hidden racism.

    I disagree with Macon sometimes, but I'm open to being wrong and I don't diss him for seeing through his eyes and not mine.

    Nor do I want to get into a contest of whose anti-racism is the correct one. Isn't there room for all to be sincere?

    Does everyone who expresses anything differently from you, have to be showing hidden racism?

    That's a tyranny.

    That will scare people from honesty if they buy into that.

    You should know about tyrrany of thought, JW.

    Are you ever wrong about something or someone, JW? Why do you fear being wrong, or fear Macon or any of us having our own minds and selves in complexity of individual sincerity?

    Why do you bash instead of love and help?

    There's no humility of your opinion.

    I'm sure you will label my opinion here as not as worthy as yours. And THAT is supremacy of a personal level.

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  71. @Karen,

    Why do you bash instead of love and help?

    Make suggestions, how does this help you talk about look like. What could I do to help Macon?

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  72. Anonymous,

    I probably bashed JW, more than loved and helped.

    You asked what helping Macon looks like. I haven't thought about it, but I'll try to think through an "I" example of what I will do:

    If I see something in Macon's writing that seems like hidden racism, I will assume it's hidden from Macon, as well.

    So I won't label him with harsh words opposite to the thinking, sincere mission of his blog. I will sincerely dialogue my concerns to him, as equals.

    I will help him by writing with the assumption that Macon or any of us here WANTS to know about his/our hidden racism.

    I will point out my perception of hidden racism in something he wrote as a revelation, the way I would to my own self in a self-revelation.

    And so importantly, I'll respect it if he then disagrees with me.

    If he responds to me, and explains why he disagrees with me (especially if he responds like Macon does in infinite patience and detail, which is in itself a demonstration of how to treat people), I will in turn respect him back and simply disagree with his difference of opinion.

    I will allow him to see things differently than I do, and not fault him for seeing himself differently than I do.

    I will not use labels like aversive racist or hidden racist to shame him.

    I can constructively label ideas but not people.

    I'll look inside myself before labeling Macon or anyone else, and write one self-aware critique of my self first before writing about someone else!

    I will look for my own hidden racism as fervently as I pursue his, I won't jail him in the 'prison of hidden racism' forever in my mind and I will forgive him for stealing a loaf of bread!

    Anonymous, your question and suggestion are constructive. I'll think about what you wrote, more.

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  73. Karen, the last Anonymous was me, jw.

    So I won't label him with harsh words opposite to the thinking, sincere mission of his blog. I will sincerely dialogue my concerns to him, as equals.

    I didn't call Macon (hidden) racist out of the blue. Nquest, Restructure and I tried to make points clear to him, but he refuses to truly think about. Therefore I posted about hidden racism.
    I do not believe that one can change somebody else's mind/thinking whatever, but I do know, that there are always silent readers on message boards or blogs, who are influenced by what is written there. Quite often you have young readers who are 'not knowing' which way they want to go and it is those people I want to reach. And if it is only one reader who will start thinking on his/her own.
    This is the reason why I post here and why I try to make Macons hidden racism visible. It's not my intend to change his mind.
    Nobody can help him to go his own journey.

    And so importantly, I'll respect it if he then disagrees with me.

    disagreement is something different than accepting the perpetuation of racism. Racism is no opinion, it is a crime.

    Anonymous, your question and suggestion are constructive. I'll think about what you wrote, more.

    I guess that this doesn't refer to me;-)

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  74. One Drop, I'm considered taking a different "approach" with you but f-ck it.

    First, what you report about your observations regarding my posts on Too Sense is bs. There is no difference in the character of my responses to you and dNA who also "initiates discussion of race issues." Second, as I've pointed out for Caspie, the first person to openly make the bogus "you go after Macon just because he's White" claim... the people at AfricanAmerica.org will quickly help you dispense with this nonsense "impression" of yours which really says more about you than it ever could about me.

    Also, it's kind of hard to stick that "resent Whites who initiate discussions of racial issues" stuff on me when (1) Macon believes I "admire" Tim Wise; (2) I have referenced Wise and Robert Jensen both of whom initiate discussions on racial issues; (3) by Macon's own statements, I don't seem to have anything to say when he initiates discussions about Whiteness which, as Macon's new thread suggest, is, in and of itself a discussion about race...

    I could go on. But since you are so genuinely concerned about my approach, I'll give you and opportunity to reconcile not only your curious statement about whatever substance things I say have being obscured by my style/approach and your original idea of "gotcha" which suggested that there was no substance... No, I'll give you the opportunity to reconcile this "difference of opinion" idea you injected into this discussion and with what you have to say about people voicing their difference of opinion with Macon.

    I'd like to know why you've chose (to be less than honest about choosing sides and why you chose) to characterize the my statements and those of Restructure and JW not as "difference of opinion" but as something lesser than your own drive-by remarks.

    Drive-by because...

    "white quotation of the week (tim wise)"

    sit quietly in movie theaters (part two)

    sit quietly in movie theaters, and shush those who don't (part one)

    express amazement when non-white people see them as "white"



    You were not a part of any of those threads. The mere fact that you've posted here on this blog before and Macon et al vice versa is irrelevant.

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  75. Hey, ya' know, Macon D, you were correct to put the word black in quotes in reference to Barack Obama. Yes, he is black, by the standards of the good ole U S of A with its "one drop rule". (It used to be, during times of slavery, that the rule was you were black, and thus would be a slave for life!, if you were born to a black woman, which worked out just fine for the slaveholders because there were pretty much zero to none of white women who were giving birth to black babies. But now we've got the "one drop rule", especially since there are a helluva lot of white women giving birth to black babies, thus that "one drop rule" comes in handy for identifying this new group of black-biracial people. Gosh, this is all so confusing, huh?) But I've got two reasons for why I think the quotes were okay for you to use:

    1. Barack Obama is culturally white American. He was born to a white American mother and a black Kenyan father. (Making him a true African American, by the way. Although, to describe oneself as one half a continent--which country, exactly?--and the other half a nation is silly, in my opinion, that is why I don't refer to myself as such. And if the politically correct police keep getting on my nerves with this crazy-ass term, I'm going to start, go back to, using "Coloured", a term my 95 year old grandmother used until her death about four years ago. Again, I have digressed, so I'll get back on point.) As per his auto-bio, his daddy left him and his momma, to be raised by his white American mother and her white American parents. And, as far as I can tell (please, someone correct me if I am wrong, for I have not studied the man) he had no black folks, be they American or African or Caribbean, in his life, during his formative years, to influence him. So, his beliefs, his perspective is a white American one, regardless of his skin colour.

    2. If, and when, he should be elected to be the 44th President of the U.S., he will be serving his master, which is this country's ruling elite. The last time I checked, there aren't any blacks in that club, for they are all white, and mostly men.

    So, yeah, black in quotes ain't inaccurate, in my opinion.

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  76. Redcatbiker,

    Barack Obama himself begs to differ from you and a person's "formative" years extend beyond their immediate family.

    This is basic sociology. Parents and relatives aren't the only influence on children.

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  77. Nquest wrote: Barack Obama himself begs to differ from you and a person's "formative" years extend beyond their immediate family.

    This is basic sociology. Parents and relatives aren't the only influence on children.


    How does he "beg to differ from me"?

    You obviously did not comprehend what I wrote: And, as far as I can tell (please, someone correct me if I am wrong, for I have not studied the man) he had no black folks, be they American or African or Caribbean, in his life, during his formative years, to influence him.

    I did not state specifically relatives, immediate family, or parents. "Folks" can be a whole host of people outside of the blood relatives that you have stated in your reply to my comment.

    Unlike a very few of the readers (whom I shall not name) who comment on this blog, my mind is not closed, it isn't "my way, or the highway". I am willing to learn and be persuaded, so if I am wrong about his upbringing, and you feel the need to correct my 32nd-hand impression of him, please do so. For I have not read his auto-bio, except for that which has been excerpted in other documents I have read.

    Also, I do not appreciate your condescending tone: This is basic sociology. Parents and relatives aren't the only influence on children. Just because you have seemingly endless amounts of time to post comments that are the length of a tome, that doesn't equate to you being smarter and/or more knowledgeable than any one else who posts here--it could just mean that you like to type a lot.

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  78. [Nquest, I'm rejecting the comment you submitted for publication approval--I see no reason to let you try to pick a fight again.]

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  79. I don't have time to read all these comments right now, but if nobody's mentioned it yet, the Southern Poverty Law Center has a wonderful assortment of anti-racist materials and ideas on the Teaching Tolerance page of their website. A lot of it is for the classroom or the campus, but they have some extremely well produced and free videos you could show a group and then discuss. This is their page of things you can download, such as "10 Ways You Can Fight Hate in Your Community" and "101 Ways to Incorporate Tolerance in Your Life."

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  80. RedCatBiker,

    I answered your question, provided some information about what Obama has said about his identity here.


    (Note: The 60 Minutes link directs you to page 4 of the transcript from the interview. The particular part I wanted to point out to you starts at the bottom of page 4 and continues on to page 5 where Obama addresses questions about being raised "white" during the first half of the page.)

    ReplyDelete

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