Monday, June 29, 2009

get upset when whiteness is momentarily bumped off center-stage


This guest post (which also appears here) is by Renee, who blogs at the excellent, prolific, and always powerful Womanist Musings. Renee lives in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada with her two "darling little boys" and her "unhusband." She writes about herself, "I am a committed humanist. I believe in the value of people over commodities. I believe in the human right to food, clothing, shelter, and education. I am pacifist, anti-racist, WOC. My truth may not be your truth, but I intend to speak it nonetheless."



"OOOPS The Blacks Are Chatting On Twitter"

Last night was the BET tribute to Michal Jackson. I am the first to admit that there are plenty of issues with BET in terms of plain old fashioned coonery and sexism, however their attempt to honour Michael came from a good place. I did not watch the show, as I refuse to pay for that kind of nonsense to be beamed into my home furthermore I am raising two young boys that do not need their heads filled with that kind of nonsense. A network that can produce hot ghetto mess is not worth five seconds of attention.

As one would expect many people watched the tribute and were tweeting their experiences. I tweeted my thoughts of the red carpet which was hosted by Don Lemmon on CNN. (Yeah I know, did you think you would see the day when BET was featured on CNN?) At any rate, with the number of people watching and tweeting, it quickly became a trending topic.



Twitter became a bridge for people to come together to share their impressions on the ever controversial BET. This interactive format gave many people of color an outlet for our frustrations, rather than the usual snarky commentary from a couch that goes nowhere. Twitter provided a platform for the voices of people of color.

There are those that found the trending topics disturbing. How dare black people have the nerve to communicate with each other in such large numbers. Did we actually forget that the internet was created for whiteness?









The above are just a sampling of the tweets posted last night. The rest can be found here. Dear God who let Black people on Twitter? Seriously, allowing these topics to trend is a legitimate threat to white hegemony….Whiteness must be the center of any and all conversations at all times, otherwise uppity people of color might come to believe that their issues are worth serious consideration.

We have moved to such a post racial state that it is not necessary to talk about issues that concern Blackness, Whiteness can function as the default for all. There certainly isn’t any racism or privilege involved in this at all. WHEEE… My, how things have changed since, slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement and the election of a Black president.



Update: Another one, via Nezua's Imaginando:




Nezua: "sez dickboy as he throws up a 'gang' sign. people are so confused its embarrassing."

28 comments:

  1. I feel ya. I've been irritated by people who keep complaining about too much time being spent on MJ, when from my vague memories of being around 6 or 7, the big 3 made a pretty big deal when John Lennon died. They also say, "oh there are so many more important things to report about" like the media, especially the McNews on cable and the networks, do such a great job covering issues in a substantive or comprehensive way. Plus, I haven't heard nearly as much flak being given to J&K and other such silly stories, but since it is about someone black. I've been having a hard time not using "the race card" (which I don't believe in by the way, and to the extent I do, I think it something white folks created and if blacks ever do use it, it happens a heck of a less than white folks do though never with that perjorative term attached-sorry long diversion) and questioning the racial motives behind folks continually making that point, or dismissing MJ as a pedophile without mentioning that he has never been found guilty of anything and there is no tangible proof. I don't think he did it myself, but at least use the word alleged instead of saying it as an automatic truth. I think I may be getting mad with a lot of folks again, just like I did during the election. I don't want to be insensitive and use the term racism, especially to "friends" but then again, lots of questions go up in my mind.

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  2. I am grateful for Twitter because it gives them the opportunity to put their foot in their mouth under their REAL NAME.

    One of the very first Twitter pages I ever looked at I found by browsing blogs based in a city/neighborhood I was interested in relocating to. The city is about 40% black and the neighborhood was predominately black. The header was some personal quote involving the page owner and her friends listening to "Gin and Juice" at their Connecticut college and not knowing what some drug name meant. She then comments that it is ironic that she know lives in this neighborhood. Because Rap/Drugs = Black people. She posted a picture she'd taken of a black woman's photo that was on a local hair salon. Then her and her twitter friends proceeded to mock the woman's hair style as ugly/unnatural and referred to her lip color as gray.

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  3. And from what I can tell, most of the twittering about the BET awards was expressing disgust at the opportunism of several performers, the network and Joe Jackson (MJ's dad) in trying to self-promote off MJ's death. Funny, if the white twitterati had actually bothered to engage, they may have witnessed some interesting discussions about blackness.

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  4. MaconD, I know this is off topic, but it's very important. Would you do story about the Issues of Tibet? You could write something like: "white people don't care about peopl of color harming other people of color." Tibet has lost it's human rights and is treated like animals by the Chinese government, I just really think it's good to inform others here in America about this horrible government.

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  5. Wow - thanks for bringing this to my attention. It's this kind of close mindedness that social media is helping to disintegrate - thank you for this post. The internet is GLOBAL, as is the human race - regardless of color.

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  6. I find I keep coming back to the green woman in the middle. I don't know her, but she seems to be upset because of the (temporary, it's back up in the top 10) demotion of #iranelection in the trends. Her being upset on its own isn't bad, I don't think, but it gets into a discussion about what is worth critiquing in culture, and how more than one issue can be timely at once.

    I have nothing to say about the others, except something along the lines of "...Wow. Really? Just...wow. Thanks for sharing your racism/ selective hatred of pop culture belonging to another race."

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  7. Yikes! but ach, unsurprising. The ish does come out on line, doesn't it? But more to the point, it's another of many examples i have encountered where white people just don't feel comfortable without their people, their concerns, their faces, their issues, being front and center in such "normal" spaces. Of course, most of us white Americans don't think of it that way. Most of the time it's "normal," not "white." To us, that is.

    And Chrissy, I agree that most white Americans don't care enough about Tibet. But do other Americans, like African Americans, or even most other Asian Americans? I don't sea how that's an example of Stuff White People Do...

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  8. That is true, but I just really think is should be addressed to attention. Considering that companies like Walmart and others use products made in China which supports China and the CCP. Walmart is run by white people.

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  9. Thank you for the suggestion, Chrissy, I'll think about what common white tendencies are at work in those forms of neglect.

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  10. At times I can't believe the stuff that passes ppl's fingertips..

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  11. I don't think the Tibet issue is as cut and dry as Chrissy does. I would venture to say it's more white to be anti-China because of Tibet, than it is to not have an opinion on it.

    Anyway, the Twitter feed is shocking and gross and really really white. I think sli is right that some of it could be more an indictment of the fact iran fell out of the top 10, but the vast majority of it is good ol' fashioned American racism.

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  12. Hey, the tumblr link is not working. I'm not sure what that's about..?

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  13. Commenter Anthony at Renee's blog writes about that broken link, "It was taken down by Tumblr for 'hate speech.' @omgblackpeople on Twitter has more."

    Here

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  14. Another update on that link -- Renee wrote that because of the Tumblr deletion, she found another site to link to, so that link in the post now goes there.

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  15. This is a BBC show that I sometimes listen to. Quite a bit of the June 29, 2009 episode touches on the topic of this post. I do not endorse this show, because often the stupidity of some of the callers makes me want to puke.

    29 June 09: Does it matter if Michael Jackson was black or white?

    Mon, 29 Jun 09

    Duration:
    50 mins

    Does it matter whether Michael Jackson was black or white? Those couple of sentences from Jamie Foxx have brought a simmering issue to the boil? Michael Jackson famously sang that it doesn't matter what colour you are, but the way some of you are reacting to his death suggests differently.


    Click on this link to go to the download page

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  16. I shut down some co-workers midstream yesterday when one person known for making racist, sexist, and homophobic comments began on the "MJ thought he was white" meme. (We work together on a group conference call from all over the country.) Now, naturally, I'm open to this kind of discussion, even a good debate, but I KNEW nothing good would come from this besides ample, arrogant blustering by a person with all the sensitivity of a guillotine handler.

    "Worker X" later asked by e-mail what I found offensive, and I said the conversation wasn't appropriate for our work environment, and that as a black person and MJ fan, I felt nothing good could come from it. I didn't intend to stop him from talking with others near him, I said, but I'd prefer he'd mute on our *GROUP CALL* because I didn't want to hear it. He responded that his opening statements weren't meant to disparage black people in any way. I thanked him for clarifying, then moved on. It's not about PC y'all; it's about thinking before you start b.s. sessions that could lead to something stupid.

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  17. Hey, Macon, check out this link from ABC News. Homegirl just called his entire legacy "seedy." Just... wow:

    Jackson's Own Black History Ambiguous
    http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=7960106&page=1

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  18. Can someone please tell me what the first twitter means? Nero Fiddled? I don't get it--what am I missing?

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  19. Moviegirl, I think the reference is to the emperor Nero fiddling while Rome was burning. It seems that the Twitterer is saying that others are obsessed with trivia, when they should be Twittering about much more important topics. (At least this person admits that America is an empire! Wait, no, probably not.)

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  20. The first, fourth, and last comments don't seem to have anything to do with black people. They sound to me more like they're bemoaning America's obsession with celebrity culture, while real issues are going on. Or maybe I'm being naive.

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  21. Yes, I have noticed indignation and annoyance in those I know when our white concepts of beauty, conduct, or culture are not supremely dominant.

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  22. I also think some of those were not (at least consciously) targetting race.

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  23. I also think some of those were not (at least consciously) targetting race.

    That's the point of white privilege though, isn't it?

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  24. Looking at the trending topics today (during the MJ memorial) I am interested to see if certain people will have the same issues...

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  25. Stuff self-hating white people do: Make everything other white people do or say into an example of racism, no matter how big a stretch it is.

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  26. Yes, well, I can relate to this. It reminds me of the time when I started in my new position working in IT support (I no longer work there) and this Black girl added the new staff to the phone list that we had in the office and added my name to the top of the list. This White guy in our office who always wants to be the "Mr know it all" and centre stage sucking up to our Manager all the time, comes along and said "Oh, why is your name at the top of the list". Of course I just pretended as though I hadn't heard that comment. Of course, had I been a White person, I am quite sure that this comment would not have materialised.

    Why, oh, why do we as Black people always have to play second place, bend over backwards and put up with all this rubbish?

    It just goes to show what Black people have to deal with all the time.

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  27. Perhaps you should add another riff to the George Carlin line in your "Declare yourself the real Americans" line - "If there's a media outlet, we'll unthinkingly take it over, but loudly complain when we no longer have total control."

    My only beef with Twitter's "top feeds" is the lack of real statistics to monitor the depth and lifespan of the items on the list. They should add four categories - Percent of Tweeters using the term, number of days in Top 100, number of days in top 10, and a demographic breakdown of Tweeters that are referencing the subject. It will make it easy to dismiss the intellectual laziness of the crap-harvesters that fashion such completely imbecilic claptrap. It is very likely that most of the discussion of Michael Jackson (and his misspelled doppelganger "Micheal" Jackson) emanated from white Tweeters (he has more records sold than the total number of voters in the US electorate, so we can bet that this is true).

    I was once one of those kids that were criticized for listening to R&B, Freestyle or that "racket" hip-hop. How DARE I enjoy a style of music made by someone of another culture than my own! Well, with 66% of the voters under 30 rejecting the fearmongers Palin and McCain, we can look forward to more enlightened leadership for the next few generations - as long as we keep being politically active (The right wing and the punditocracy is betting that we won't - I can't wait to show them what is real!)

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  28. Is It Miss Or Mr. Thing?September 8, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    I took a glance at the Twitter comments images posted here. They were pretty funny. Apparently logic is not to be found around here; didn't you know that the obvious blackness of the trendy topics was done to make it look "diverse"? Hello...

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