Tuesday, July 7, 2009

think that black people are "loud"

I had lunch the other day with John, a long-time friend. We've known each other since the days when we both attended a large suburban high school that was almost 100% white.

John wasn't quite himself because he hadn't slept much the night before.

"I was woken up at about 3:30," he complained, "by two noisy guys walking down the street."

"Ah. So I guess your window was open. Still, were they THAT loud?"

"Yes! And then I couldn't get back to sleep for a couple of hours. I hate it when that happens."

"Yeah, well, me too. Have some extra iced tea or something."

He smiled a bit, but then frowned.

"And you know, they were clearly drunk, or high on something. But, also, I don't think they would've been THAT loud if they hadn't been black guys."

I stopped stabbing my salad.

"Oh. Really?"

"Well, sure. I mean, these guys were LOUD. They were literally shouting at each other. And of course it was 'mf'ing this' and 'mf'ing that.'"

John had lowered his voice by this point; he was now "whispering 'black,'" that hunkered-down mode that white people often fall into when they discuss "black people." Also, I knew that if we were in some places other than a restaurant, John wouldn't be using those "mf'ing" abbreviations.

"So," I said carefully, lowering my voice as well, "you think black people are loud."

"Well of course they are. And I'm sure you've noticed that too."

"Um, I have heard a lot of loud black people. But I've heard a lot of loud white people too. And a lot of quiet black people, for that matter."

"Yeah yeah," John said, waving away what I'd said. "I expect that from you. I, however, prefer to just see and say things like they are. And black people are louder than white people. Generally."

"Generally. Hmm."

Where to begin?

"Okay, look. I have a lot of white relatives living out in the boonies, right? You know that, you've met some of them."

"Right. Your cousins and such."

"Yes. Remember how loud they can be?"

"Yeah, okay, I do, there's some loud white people all right. But that's people living out in the boonies. Lower class, like I guess you'd say."

"Well, maybe working class, or lower middle class. I'm not sure what I'd say, and I don't really like saying 'out in the boonies' either. But the point is, they're loud too."

"So, you're saying these guys who woke me up were lower-class black guys? How can we know that?"

John was frowning again.

"All right, maybe they were lower-class or whatever guys," he said. "But I dunno. I really think it's more of a race difference than an income difference. I mean, I have NEVER heard two white people shout at each other like that. It's like they were shouting at someone a couple of blocks away!"

"Maybe so. But I've heard white guys who looked like frat guys doing that too. Not to do my own generalizing. But look, aside from these ridiculous, broad generalizations, what about this -- why are you saying that black people are loud? Why didn't you say instead that white people are quiet?"

John just looked at me.

"I mean, I really don't want to say whites in general are any quieter than blacks in general. I have no idea. But what I'm wondering now is, why did you say that blacks are loud, instead of that whites are quiet?"

"Because . . . whites are the norm. They're normal. Anything that deviates from that gets labeled with that deviation. That difference from a SUPPOSED norm. And that norm doesn't get labeled because it's THOUGHT OF AS the norm, not as things like 'quiet.' Even though it's just like, another difference, that in this case, would be 'quiet.'"

I held up my hands and slowly, but quietly, clapped.

"Sounds like you've been reading my blog!"

"You know I have. Thanks for writing it."

"You're welcome. Thanks for reading it."

"But," John said, pointing a spoon at me for emphasis, "I still say that blacks in general are louder than whites in general. Or wait, okay, whites in general are QUIETER than blacks in general. Same difference, really."

"No, no. Nope, I can't allow that. Pay attention, please. Neither statement is more worthwhile or valid than the other. Saying that whites are more quiet than blacks is still, to be honest, stupid and unfounded. However, it does at least takes away that, um, mantle of normalcy, from white people."

"Hmm," John said, as he picked up his hamburger. "'Mantle of normalcy.' I'm not QUITE sure what that means. But I think I got it. And, I do expect to see it on your blog."

"Oh you will, John. You will."

84 comments:

  1. This is another provocative and insightful post, as always.

    It does make me wonder, though, and not for the first time, why is it that you rarely label the attitudes that you're exposing?

    Why not, for instance, call this a racist encounter? Why not say that you were shocked, as I trust you were, that a long-time friend turned out to harbor such blatantly racist attitudes?

    By not saying anything explicit about what you're describing, I wonder whether it might seem to the casual or skeptical reader as though you're labeling these as attitudes typical among white people in general? After all, the title of the blog suggests as much (notwithstanding the wonderful quote from Langston Hughes), and you do say, from time to time, that it's "white people" in general who do things like "often" whispering the word "black."

    In my experience, such obvious racism is increasingly rare these days (although of course it can be found easily, and is probably quite common in some circles). I find, more and more often, that the challenge is awakening new attitudes in the majority of white people who would never say or do anything overtly racist, but are often blind to the invisible ways in which prejudice and white privilege operate.

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  2. Nice bs story. But to be fair...this story does make people think...

    About how boring your life must be that you can think up such stories. And if this story is true, that it really happened, then it's even worse. It makes your life seem even more dull.

    Otherwise, you'd be blogging more interesting and worthwhile things. There are a lot of blogs about racism in America. Sorry, but white guilt isn't that popular of a niche. Except to those who see you as a cowering little white man with no sense of identity. I'd even laugh at you if i were African-American.

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  3. It almost doesn't sound real! The way it went over so well..

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  4. I heard the "black people are louder than white people" stereotype when I was a kid, and that's the thing about stereotypes—they're pernicious and persistent. They dig in and refuse to let go.

    And when you have a stereotype lurking in your head, it's triggered by data points that back it up. It's not triggered by data points that conflict with it.

    You can be irked by loud white or Asian or Latino people and not think of the stereotype.

    You can encounter a great many black folks using a normal volume and not think of the stereotype.

    But if 1 in 100 encounters = "loud + black," your lizard brain takes note.

    To counteract the stereotype, listen for loud people who aren't black. Listen for quiet people who are. Maybe the lizard brain will eventually see reality. (I'm still trying to teach my lizard brain.)

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  5. Well, believe it or not, it is a real conversation, as best I can remember it. Maybe it went over fairly well because John reads this blog and we talk about such things.

    I don't much care if it sounds boring or not, Jon, and I'm not looking for a "popular niche" by writing this blog.

    So, you think that this "story" does make people think, but also that it wasn't worth posting because it's, what, boring? Whatever, dude.

    James wrote,

    It does make me wonder, though, and not for the first time, why is it that you rarely label the attitudes that you're exposing?

    Why not, for instance, call this a racist encounter? Why not say that you were shocked, as I trust you were, that a long-time friend turned out to harbor such blatantly racist attitudes?


    Because I'm not shocked -- I know John well enough to know that he does harbor such attitudes, like so many other white people that I grew up with.

    Why, in that conversation, did I not call him and/or his attitudes "racist"? Because I know that that word makes most white people shut down in discussions of race. Almost no one these days wants to admit to having done or said or thought anything "racist," and most whites sure as HELL don't think that they "are racists."

    As for such "obvious" racism being increasingly rare these days, well, I don't know where you live and what sorts of white folks you know and mingle with, but John's ideas here about "black loudness" -- which he felt comfortable about expressing more openly than otherwise to me because I'm a friend (and which he knows are now on this blog, albeit under the pseudonym of "John") -- are quite common among the white people I know. In fact, I'm guessing that a very large percentage of the white people I know think it's a "given" that black people are "loud."

    James also wrote,

    I find, more and more often, that the challenge is awakening new attitudes in the majority of white people who would never say or do anything overtly racist, but are often blind to the invisible ways in which prejudice and white privilege operate.

    Yes, me too. And in my experience, overtly labeling what they do or say as "racist" rarely helps them remove their blinders, and instead clamps those blinders more firmly in place.

    Orange, thank you for spelling that out -- it's something that I was thinking about after my conversation with John, something I wish I'd thought to say to him. He has an idea of "black loudness" in his head, and so he notices race when some black people are loud, and doesn't notice it when some black people are quiet, nor when some white people are loud.

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  6. If a white person is loud, then they are just a loud person. If a black person is loud, then they are a loud black person. This is the way white people think. White individuals act in individual ways, black individuals act in black ways. I also think it has to do with the fact that white people have the "right" to make their presence known; black people are "supposed to" be quiet and let white people be in the foreground, so any instance of a black person raising his/her voice shows how black people try to overstep the line that white people have drawn in the sand for them. These were my thoughts on reading the post.

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  7. >I had lunch the other day with John, a long-time friend.

    another invisible racist friend of you, I can't remember that anybody of them or alleged readers asking you 'for advise' ever posted on your blog.

    The other (rhethorical) question for you: How do you define 'friendship' when racists can be your friends.

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  8. Whuh? So jwbe, Macon should only post about things people ask him to post about? That is nonsense.

    As for dumping friends because they say something racist, uh, you must not have any friends (if you are white). My high school friends and i go back a long ways, sometimes way before high school. I for one would not dump them just because they say something racist. Like Macon I know people like that, and I too try to wake them up to their racism. And yes, saying "I do not want to see you anymore, you are a racist!" would definitely not help with that. That seems obvious to me.

    Thank for what I agree with James is another provocative and insightful post.

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  9. I suppose my question after reading your blog and the comments is how do you define racism. As a white person I identify as racist, now if you are defining a racist as someone who is benefiting from the systematic oppression of racism that is all white people and those individuals who may be perceived as white, though that would be more circumstantial. Mostly it is white people are racist. And I know many people will take offense to this, but I try to actively work to change my internalized stereotypes that come to mind via socialization and being white. It is the bigotry and prejudice that needs to end. And my question to you as well is not questioning the story, but I am wondering if this story was posted to get a good job white guy feedback. It seems like the stories I used to tell when I was trying to gain points for not being a bad white person. Now I see that those stories are benefiting no one but the individuals telling it. Typically they are used to counteract one's white guilt. And I wonder how many conversations were had when nothing was done. As a white person when it comes to racism its "easy" to say something and easy to not say something. I put easy in quotes because confronting someone is challenging but for a white person to challenge another white person it is easy.

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  10. @Linda

    >Whuh? So jwbe, Macon should only post about things people ask him to post about? That is nonsense.

    the nonsense is that you seem to be so eager to defend Macon, that you can't read what I wrote

    >As for dumping friends because they say something racist, uh, you must not have any friends (if you are white).

    Who says that whites can only have white friends?

    >My high school friends and i go back a long ways, sometimes way before high school. I for one would not dump them just because they say something racist.

    Racism goes much deeper and affects every aspect in a white persons life. It is not just saying 'something racist'. Friendship is based on sharing common values and mutual understanding and respect, not on educating somebody.

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  11. Racism goes much deeper and affects every aspect in a white persons life. It is not just saying 'something racist'.

    Which is why you don't dump a friend for being racist, but rather confront the attitudes that the friend presents.

    Friendship is based on sharing common values and mutual understanding and respect, not on educating somebody.

    First off: I've had many friendships that were very educational, on both sides. If you're not learning from your friendships, then they're not productive.

    And sharing common values doesn't mean sharing ALL values. Not everyone that I am friends with is anti-racist/feminist. My partner isn't. But we share other interests and values - common tastes, ideas about family and commitment, trust.

    You're also leaving out history in a relationship.
    Which is why

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  12. calden says:
    Now I see that those stories are benefiting no one but the individuals telling it.

    i don't think this is true. i think these stories absolutely benefit readers who might find themselves falling into certain behavioral patterns when it comes to race. this story in itself may not apply to you or me personally, but it raises a very good point (that orange articulated so well) of how our stereotypes are reinforced by positive data points and unaffected by negative ones. so even though i may not subscribe to this particular stereotype, what racial stereotypes DO i have? and how can i try to counteract them?

    of course it paints macon in a positive light, and who knows? maybe it IS edited in a self-serving manner. but even if it is, that doesn't mean it doesn't benefit other people as well.

    jwbe says:
    Friendship is based on sharing common values and mutual understanding and respect, not on educating somebody.

    i would think that in the best friendships, you educate each other in some way or another. this is not mutually exclusive with common values, understanding, or respect.

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  13. I wrote:
    >Racism goes much deeper and affects every aspect in a white persons life. It is not just saying 'something racist'.

    you answered:
    >Which is why you don't dump a friend for being racist, but rather confront the attitudes that the friend presents.

    Indicates that you don't understand what I am talking about.

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  14. jwbe has been misunderstood.

    They mean that (I think):

    macon has "invisible friends" who seem to show up at convenient times and only in well structured blogs, while never in the comments section or wherever else. They are questioning the validity of the post. (jwbe did not say that macon should 'take requests'.)

    And jwbe is saying that that if someone has a racist friend, however much they may be trying to "educate them", they must, at the same time, be accepting of racism, while only arguing it when it is expressed obscurely and not personally or subjectively. jwbe is saying that racism is not something one should ignore when it is convenient to, and not only considered serious when it is somebody you do not "know".

    @ jwbe: instead of asserting that your responders are wrong, actually explain what you mean -- that is how one debates.

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  15. In my long and varied experience, a lot of white people don't see blacks as individuals and don't identify different classes of blacks like we do them. If they see something negative on the news, they assume it represents ALL blacks.

    For instance, during the Rodney King riots here in LA, I had whites at work asking me WHY black people were out there looting and rioting. How the hell did I know? First off, just because I'm black doesn't mean I can speak for or know what's in the minds of ALL black people, esp. criminal types which I am not nor have ever been! Secondly, not just blacks were rioting and looting. WHY ask me to explain some stranger's behavior? That's just ignorant!

    What was interesting was that these people were asking black women, not men, these stupid questions. I told one, "I don't ask you why the typical profile of a serial killer is a white male, so why ask me this ish?"

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  16. "Which is why you don't dump a friend for being racist, but rather confront the attitudes that the friend presents."

    Um, I don't have friends who are racist. I also don't try to prove my humanity to anyone. People will think what they want regardless. Friendships are based, most times, on common interests and I don't have any common interests with someone who's racist and hateful.

    I'm not in the "heart changing" business. That's God's job.

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  17. Macon, I highly suggest you don't let any comments with the "stuff black people don't like" url through.

    They're trying to piggyback off of your google hits and also, it's a racist blog.

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  18. I Punched A Werewolf in the Face, I agree. I think I deleted that comment as you were typing yours.

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  19. Blanche DevereauxJuly 7, 2009 at 6:32 PM

    I wasn't aware of the scientifically proven link between melanin and voice volume. Hm, you learn something new everyday. But I guess if I'm going to go around saying that white people love to stick their heads in sharks' mouths, then I can't be too upset when someone says black people are loud. Generalizations, two-way streets and all that.

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  20. Blanche Devereaux, I insist you stop sullying the Golden Girl's good name with your willful ignorance & lack of analysis.

    Are people who hang out with dangerous animals/do dangerous things with animals overwhelmingly white? Yes

    Are people that are loud overwhelmingly black? No

    But do some white people think so? Yes. I don't think it would be risky to say that the majority do.

    Also, I'm very highly doubtful that white people monitor their dangerous interactions with dangerous animals to make sure the minorities around them don't get a bad impression about white people.

    Unlike many black people who feel the desperate need nearly everyday to make sure they aren't "too loud" around white people. Because they know that white person will roll their eyes and reinforce that stereotype in their head.

    Must not talk too loud. Must not laugh to loud otherwise I might selfishly disrupt someone else's thoughts. I might make someone cringe. I will make them think ill about black people. It doesn't matter if I am mad, excited, nor sad. It doesn't matter what might've happened.

    I'm just a loud black person and that's all they care about.

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  21. While I was reading this post I couldn't help but think how Socrates, the teacher, must've felt when Plato, the student, "got" his teachings. It must've been quite the Eureka moment for you.

    Congratulations.

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  22. Well, no JW, I didn't feel that way, and I think that would be be pretty condescending if I had. John has a lot to teach me too. I'm no Socrates to him as a trusting, guidable student.

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  23. I could be a total mean snark and mention that stereotype of Americans (both black and white) being not so quiet... anyway, the reality is, people come in loud and quiet forms everywhere... my dad used to have loud conversations with his friends and them back at him, across the streets and they're Asian. And people change their vocal volumes depending on the situation eg. library vs. nightclub. So "such and such people are loud" is a silly statement to make in any situation.

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  24. Macon,

    What if they are loud?

    So we have a statement: "Black people are loud."

    And a hypothesis -- it is made due to 1) in-group/out-group bias, something we are thrifty, they are stingy or 2) it refects reality or 3) some admixture of both

    This is interesting because my brother was just complaining about 'their loud music' and when you pulled up to a the park we were visiting there was a redneckish party going on and he didn't seem to notice, the music drifting though the park. But then I hear this from a lot of Asians also.

    On the otherhand when I worked in the inner city for a while, teaching, black teacher would always mention this, but often phrase it as -- 'these kids are so enegetic; or you have to use their energy..'

    So my take is this: there are sub-cultural differences. I mean don't you ever hear blacks say whites are 'boring' or don't 'have game.' Is there no truth to this?
    I didn't I read references to boring middle class whites before -- I guess I am one of those bigots who notices that Asians often are more quiet, whites in the bland middle and blacks more vital -- I mean rap and hip hop is not a concerto --

    So lets distingiush between having differences and the spin these are given. As I said -- 'just loud' could be 'energetic.'

    So are you saying it is 1) a spin thing (thrify versus cheap)? or 2)
    something just not true -- then why 'loud' instead of 'quiet'?

    Didn't you ever watch 'The Fresh Prince'? -- I think they went into this dynamic.

    As for being the norm -- ya I can see what you are pointing at -- but I haven't lived in an a pacific Asian country that where the people have not mentioned this -- so we might want to disentange these things:

    Assuming we chop people into Asian, caucasian, and African:

    1) Are there -- cultural, sub-cultural differences? If so is an ordinal ranking (quiet, 'normal', loud) appropriate -- I mean we don't say white to Black and plop yellowish in the middle.

    2) In so far as whites fall in the middle of any of these rankings
    -- one common one was -- that is rapidly falling apart -- is athleticism -- "The white man can't jump" thing, does middle need to imply 'normal.' Of is we through out 'normal' need we though out -- I tried to explain the historical context for this.

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  25. Chuck, you should write shorter comments. I don't even know where to start with a reply. I can say, though, that I reject what seems to be your major working premise: "They" (black people) are loud.

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  26. Now that you indicate you know that white people think black people are loud, I wonder if you see anything problematic about your stuff white people do: sit quietly in movie theaters post.

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  27. R, I like to think I've evolved since then, and that writing this blog has helped, and that I'd no longer conduct the kind of experiment that I did then with that post and part two of it. The explaining I did in part two didn't make up for the implications of part one.

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  28. On Racism,

    James said:
    "Why not, for instance, call this a racist encounter?"

    I don't find labeling this example as 'racist' is meaningful. It might be culturally biased -- in the sense that someone says 'oh those whites don't know how to move there hips,' or 'those asians are just bookish' -- or I think the popular term is 'ignorant' -- but its important to use words correctly.

    Maybe you disagree, James.
    Today, racism, like antisemeticism is used for almost everything people find distasteful. If I sneeze on a bagel I am an antisemite and if I mention I don't like illegal immigartion, I am a racist (when the proper word is xenophobe! or at worst ethnocentric)

    I mean let's go with the definition of racism as thinking your race is better (and ethnocenticism as thinking your ethny --is better). Now usually, it is understood there are some degrees to this and 'better' is taken in the ontological sense, ie better per se.' So while saying, say, blacks are better olympic runners and whites better swimmer maybe silly or biased or ignorant or statisitcally true -- it makes no ontological claim about the status of one group.

    There are a lot of areas where this gets tricky -- because somethings, at least in current social-think can be taken to imply a betterness per se.' So while saying Indians make more tasty food then Brittish -- can anyone seriously disagree here? -- does not usually imply an ethnocentricism (or racism if you consider Indians as Asian and not Caucasian as most technically are). However saying Europeans suck at making civilizations -- say, based on mostly being barbarians untill recently -- ie no 4k + history -- might smack of 'racism' to some, though I clearly wouldn't classify it as such.

    Another factor is how the claim is taken. So when in china I was annoyed at chinese for constantly harping on how their civilization was so ancient and so great and how they invented this and that .. or alternatively how jewish friends of mine talk about their chosen-ness ect, and that christianity is just a recent break-away novelty -- and not the 'real deal.'

    But is that racism on their part of over-sensetiveness on my part -- or does calculating racism imply taking the claim into context of of peoples feelings. So a fad today is to say only majorities can be racist -- but this seems to confuse racism proper with politeness or meanness.

    For example, in a related sense, is saying 'marriage is 'really' between a guy and a girl' homophobic -- or is homophobia more like 'gay people are social deviants.' (though its not clear why this is so incorrect from a darwinian - reproductive sense.)

    The import is, since our current society deems it important to limit speech 'ie Hate Crimes,' what counts as what is important. Its not a trivial difference. For example, the ADL routinely claims any criticism of Isreal is 'antisemetic,' and LaRaza rountinely claims an criticism of illegals is 'racist.' Further, generally -- in daily life -- we tend to distingiush between comments that people find hurtfull and ones that are malicious --

    Part of this ties into the 'normal' 'natural' 'real' thing, since one underlying theme seems to be that such claims undermine 'others' legitimacy.

    But now I am thinking we should consider why -- or if -- racism per se is wrong. And how it became thought to be considered so. What are the advantages and disadvantages -- ect. This could shed some light on these issues and expand our conceptions.


    what do you think?

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  29. Blanche (1) I Am miss (2)

    1.
    "I wasn't aware of the scientifically proven link between melanin and voice volume."

    No the general assertion is that there is a relation between race and testosterone. The question is -- is this do to diet or genetics, or other factors -- ie, a stressful life.

    "Mean testosterone levels in blacks were 19% higher than in whites, and free testosterone levels were 21% higher. Both these differences were statistically significant."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3455741

    2.
    "I don't ask you why the typical profile of a serial killer is a white male, so why ask me this ish?"

    Why, isn't that a interesting question? And if you said to a friend, god, what the f@@@@ is with these creepy white serial killers -- would you consider that 1) racist 2) biased 3) a curious observation 4) ignorant 5) or inappropriate to mention --?

    But maybe the difference is questioning/considering vrs. holding a unquestioned stereotype --

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  30. @jwbe: it seems a little simplistic to say that one must automatically share all of the values of those they care about, or that friendship is an endorsement of the views of ones friends. While I understand the point you are trying to make, I think its easy to make sweeping statements like that in the abstract, and almost impossible to apply such principles in real life. There is something humbling and interesting in getting to observe a human in all their flaws (as well as strenghts) over time. To flip this around a little, if I were to apply the "agreement" test in my own life I'd be friendless because of the level and type of atheist I am. Not one person I am close to shares my utter lack of capacity for faith.

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  31. Macon,

    Point taken about length -- it's obviously hurting my grammar and diction.

    "I can say, though, that I reject what seems to be your major working premise”

    Lets limit blacks to ‘traditional’ US African-American. Ie not recent Nigerians Americans -- since I don’t know too many and again (due to number and influence) they are what most people think of as black. (Maybe this is another version of your mentioned bias -- but without this bias we can not generalize about groups, and group influences happens)

    --- Well, do you see any cultural style difference that might be interpreted as such?

    I mean drop the loud. Drop the pejorative. Call it something else. Or for you are all dishes the same, when it comes to sub-cultures?

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  32. Chuck, I see cultural differences, of course, but I'm not going to use the simple, monolithic labels of "black culture" and "white culture." I do however see subcultures among each race of people, each commonly labeled with a more specific label. And each engaged in by only a subset of each race, as well as by members of other races/ ethnicities.

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  33. Chuck - you said Asians are quiet. But you also lived in China...That's hilarious. Almost sounds like you had mufflers on throughout your stay in China.

    Anyway, you seem to be missing the point on most (if not all) of the arguments that others have made. Disagreeing is fine. But in your case it not so much as disagreeing as you seem to be talking on a different plane altogether. It's like trying to describe what pear tastes like to someone who has never tasted it. Or sort of like when someone who doesn't speak English well tell an English speaker to speak in simpler vocabulary, and all the other person does is speak louder and louder as though we're deaf. Most probably because he's never experienced what it's like to not be fluent in the dominant language. (You're the English speaker in this analogy.)

    Have you read Peggy McIntosh's work? It's short. Have a read. Might help understand what I'm talking about. http://www.case.edu/president/aaction/UnpackingTheKnapsack.pdf

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  34. I think the conversations in the comments need to more careful and avoid the tendency to deteriorate from discussing whiteness & it's privilege & what that means to white people discussing minorities as if they had no internet access.

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  35. Macon,

    "I'm not going to use the simple, monolithic labels of "black culture" and "white culture."

    As opposed to, say, 'white people'?

    I accept your point that caution is needed and generalization's are generalizations. But, like we do in science, we can talk about statistical averages or tendencies. So, phrasing aside, its a fair question to ask -- are US-European biased/racist? Or -- ditto with Blacks and loudness?

    Moreover, I don't see this as purely statisitical in some abstract sense. By my reading, people are not mere individuals but are groups-beings, at least to some extent. This is why calls for say, salvery reparations are not meaningless tautologies to be dismissed with 'well, my parents never..'

    Instead it is reasonable to at least disguss groups and interactions and collective behavior, guilt, responsibility ect -- and those things we discuss about individuals.

    What do you think?

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  36. I roll my eyes when ANY person from ANY race is shrieking nearby...In a perfect world, people wouldn't feel the need to scream out their phone conversations in public or shriek at each other in confined spaces...but it has nothing to do with race--many different people do that--excessive volume is annoying no matter who does it..why is this a racial issue?

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  37. Why, in that conversation, did I not call him and/or his attitudes "racist"? Because I know that that word makes most white people shut down in discussions of race.

    I agree completely, Macon, that most white people shut down when accused of being racist.

    I think the difference between us here is that the audience you're picturing would associate themselves with John's overt racism, and recoil if you labeled it as such.

    Most audiences I interact with about race, however, strongly reject such openly racist attitudes. They often harbor racial prejudices, of course, but they would recoil if they were told that "white people" in general, and by extension they themselves, exhibit such racism, whether you labeled it as such or not.

    In my experience, and I suspect you would agree if you believed you were dealing with such people, these people are more receptive if overt racism is labeled as such, so that they can dissociate from that and be free to explore their own, more subtle prejudices.

    I don't know where you live and what sorts of white folks you know and mingle with, but John's ideas here about "black loudness" ... are quite common among the white people I know.

    Based on this, I think you're quite right, Macon, to suggest that we operate in very different circles.

    The interesting question, in my mind, is: which type of white person is more common in the U.S. today? The survey research I've seen, for instance, suggests to me that the vast majority of white Americans now reject such overtly racist attitudes. Their racial prejudices are simply more subtle or, at a minimum, more deeply buried, and they do not see themselves as sharing anything in common with those who openly say negative things about other races.

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  38. Maybe you disagree, James.

    I agree, Chuck, that it's important not to label any disagreeable attitudes as "racist."

    I will, for instance, often distinguish between "racist" and "racialized" views. By the latter, I mean attitudes which take race into account in indefensible ways, but which don't reflect the view that one race is better than another.

    However, in this case, I do believe that holding the stereotype in question is overtly racist. What else to call a false belief that people of a particular race behave badly in a particular way?

    if I mention I don't like illegal immigartion, I am a racist (when the proper word is xenophobe! or at worst ethnocentric)

    The proper word is xenophobic, Chuck, if your opposition to illegal immigration is based on a dislike of foreigners.

    However, racism is the appropriate term for those who oppose immigration out of a dislike of brown-skinned people. (I think an anti-immigrant stance based on ethnicity would deserve a stronger word than "ethno-centric.")

    saying, say, blacks are better olympic runners and whites better swimmer maybe silly or biased or ignorant or statisitcally true -- it makes no ontological claim about the status of one group.

    I'm not sure what you're getting at here, Chuck. Making these claims does strike me as silly, biased, ignorant, and statistically untrue ... but also racist. What else is it when someone falsely believes that people of one race are inherently better in one regard, and people of another race are better in another?

    saying Indians make more tasty food then Brittish -- can anyone seriously disagree here? -- does not usually imply an ethnocentricism (or racism if you consider Indians as Asian and not Caucasian as most technically are)

    Chuck, if you're suggesting that you prefer Indian to British cuisine, that's fine. It's not racism (or ethnocentrism) because we're talking about the defining traits of cultures, not the characteristics of people of particular racial or ethnic backgrounds.

    If, however, you were saying that people who are genetically Indian or British prepare better or worse food, then that would certainly seem racist to me.

    saying Europeans suck at making civilizations -- say, based on mostly being barbarians untill recently -- ie no 4k + history -- might smack of 'racism' to some, though I clearly wouldn't classify it as such

    If you're saying that people of European ancestry aren't good at forming civilizations, why wouldn't that be racist? If you're saying that a particular culture isn't good at forming civilizations, why would that view seem racist to anyone?

    a fad today is to say only majorities can be racist -- but this seems to confuse racism proper with politeness or meanness

    I agree that it's a fad, but I believe it's the result of confusing racism with how racism operates in various social contexts. In other words, it's about adding the element of power to the traditional definition of racism, not about confusing racism with civility.

    I am thinking we should consider why -- or if -- racism per se is wrong.

    It isn't enough to simply say that racist attitudes are entirely untrue and are powerfully harmful?

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  39. @Jules

    >@jwbe: it seems a little simplistic to say that one must automatically share all of the values of

    and why do you address me with that? I didn't say this.

    @SeasonVelvet:

    >@ jwbe: instead of asserting that your responders are wrong, actually explain what you mean -- that is how one debates.

    First I don't believe that people will change unless they are forced to. Second I also don't believe that racism can be 'untrained' like a bad habit, because racism reflects a Eurocentric point of view. For me an unchallenged Eurocentric point of view is incompatible with anti-racism.

    'Anti-racism' is a way of life and a racist can't be a part of it.

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  40. Fromthetropics (1)

    1. One on one - reserved; quiet in that sense.

    2. I agree I am not looking at it the same way. But not because the experience is alien to me, just my interest at this time is different -- Maybe you’re like someone grieving over a family loss and instead of commiserating, I am explaining general mortality rates --

    So ya, I get what you are saying -- or at least I could allow my self to feel it. But to be honest there isn’t much else I can add. You are realizing the politics of language and discourse, and the imbeddedness of yourself in culture. I remember going through something vaguely similar when I divorced myself from religion -- unfortunately, the religion I inherited did not fit, so I had to learn to build my own. Others had no problem and for them it was like being able to shop and get a size 9 shoe for a size 9 foot, but for me I was always the 91/2 guy that could either uncomfortably wear the 9 or 10 shoes available or take the long road of becoming a cobbler. Psychologically of course I really had no choice -- and finally, after ten years of meditating, studying philosophy, traveling, and getting several degrees in this and that, ect. I have some relative peace.

    So I guess, I don’t see all of this as a ‘white’ thing, but rather a you thing coming to terms with your not fitting in. In my situation, I went liberal and anti-religious and was offended by others belief-assumptions, and I let them know that, but now they don’t bother me and I am happy those people have their identity -- but maybe that doesn’t fit.

    I guess this is why I tried to call attention to the distinctions I make. If someone 1) feels they are better or they have the truth, that is one thing -- if 2) they are actively oppressing you it is another. If 3) their current perceived advantage (be it in confidence or finance) is a result of some historical grievance that is a third thing. A forth things is 4) if they are actively tearing you down -- which you seemed to mention and other’s have --

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  41. Fromthetropics (2)

    I don’t see any evidence for 2). There are clear cases of 3) -- which you can point out but I don’t see what good it does unless you are trying to counteract 2) and 4) -- or you want some kind of cultural revenge. Or you want to educate people about why you are like this or that or why you get offended, so ’they’ aren’t so ‘loud’ in their own self assertion 4) is something that ‘this’ blog seems to address a lot and pointing that out is good -- but not all ‘Chinese are like this’ is pathological behavior.

    As for 1) --
    Would it do you a lot of good if I said you are great, your color is beautiful, you are just as historically representative of American as me? If you want that, read the Nytimes, look up some liberal blogs, or talk to a lot of culturally deed white people. I can’t offer you that -- because I find white people preferable in appearance, white culture preferable in sensibility, white food better in taste, and I am proud that the county was founded by white people. Further, I am honest with myself and consider those things natural -- because I think it is good for people to feel self pride; So while can offer you nothing you are asking for, in this regards, I can suggest an alternative why of thinking about it.

    If you wish to feel proud in who you are, look up your past and find reasons to do so. If you wish the US to be more representative of you -- encourage people like you to do definable things. But be aware that it takes time for things to adjust. It took till the 60’s for a catholic president -- 100 years after the mass influx of Catholics; but in my book, that’s life.

    So ya, I am familiar with Peggy’s work, and I think she is an idiot. She gives a childish analysis to a rather complex subject (say of privilege). Nor am I a fan of sentiments like the following:

    “In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion or sexual orientation.”

    This cultural psychoanalysis seems silly and overly effeminate. I am somewhat of a Nietzschean and I guess when it comes to breaking free of ideas, norms, and concepts that hold you down, I find it much healthier, dignifying, and rewarding to do it yourself -- a path you seem to be taking nonetheless.

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  42. chuck, you've become a threadhijacker. Limit your future comments to under fifty words, or I won't approve them.

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  43. Hi, Long time reader, first or second time commenting.

    It seems ridiculous that some commenters are attempting to decide whether Macon's friends are "real"or not.

    Macon, I appreciate your writing, especially as I try to overcome my racist upbringing.

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  44. In my experience, whites do generalize in such ways, and it is more important to call them out on it and try to get them to see their stereotyping than it is to get the easy shot of calling them racist and refusing to engage further, especially when white people are calling them out on their racism.

    Saying "racist!" is avoiding the responsiblity of dealing with it, and it's incredibly unfair for white people to expect PoC to do all the work of pointing out why the attitude is wrong (because PoC are hurt badly either way, but white people have the privilege of walking away from the problem if they so choose). In fact, I'd say that since the attitude is coming from whites, it behooves whites to deal with it, n'est pas?

    (I'm white, btw.)

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  45. You have an interesting comment section Macon.

    Strangely, I never considered that this encounter was made up. I assumed you weren't using exact quotes, but I never thought this seemed unrealistic. It seemed very realistic given the conversations I've had with people who are bigots.

    Your friend was convinced that his way of thinking was right, no matter what you really said or proved to him. That's pretty typical for most folks. Even though he could see some of the flaws in his logic, he still wanted to keep believing what he had always believed.

    I've seen this in so many conversations, your convo made perfect sense.

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  46. chuck, stop typing so much! and then look at my most recent comment here.

    Thanks for stepping out, bgk, and it's good to know you're out there reading along.

    Thank you too, Big Man. Yeah, it's not an exact transcription, since I wasn't recording the conversation, and anyway, ACTUAL conversation actually doesn't read like actual conversation when it's written down word for word.

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  47. Marcon,

    Got it. Posted before to late. Anyways nice blog. I'll think over your thoughts.

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  48. Blanche DevereauxJuly 8, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    I see sarcasm is lost on some folks. I'll have to remember not to use it from now on.

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  49. Wow, I'd actually be surprised if the guy called John in the post actually shows up in these comments, after several people here have said in effect "You, sir, are a RACIST!" That kind of talk keeps white people out of what could be constructive convos, in my experience, or chases them away. Sheesh.

    And I do think John exists, and who really cares if he doesn't? I'll join the crew saying this recorded convo, however edited it may be, seems very plausible to me. I know a LOT of people who think and sometimes say things like that. And I don't call them "racists," or even think of them as "racists." Tho they do have some racist thoughts or whatever that they haven't maybe thought about or heard about yet.

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  50. I think you misunderstood my comment. I was referring to the way in which John realized something without you directly pointing it out or correcting him (right before your clapping). That is the Socratic method of instruction and to what my comment was in reference.

    I'm sure John has plenty to teach you... If I recall, Plato turned out to be a pretty smart dude in the end, eh. :)

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  51. Got it JW, thank you for the clarification. I didn't think you were knocking my conversational style; I just didn't want to take credit for something I didn't think I'd earned.

    On the other hand, I guess if I do have something about race or whiteness to tell someone white about, I often do seek indirect methods of telling them. Let's see: they're often like horses that can eventually be led to drink, but not if they know ahead of time that there's water up ahead.

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  52. Excellent post. It's interesting how many people judge things that are different from themselves as abnormal not realizing that "normal" is different for everyone.

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  53. Macon,

    I love your blog, but I've never posted - this time I thought I'd contend something. White people are quiet. I'm white... when I was growing up and my voice exceeded a certain decibel level, I'd get smacked in the head and threatened with something. Usually some kind of public humiliation. Sometimes a belt. A belt in public, if I was really too loud.

    Anyhoo... real differences do exist - quietness is a particularity of white America (as any world traveler will tell you). It's very noticeable. My friends (of all "races") visiting from other countries often point out that suburbs (and "white" places in general) are like graveyards. No one in the street, no audible conversations, no music (except emitted from the occasional passing car). Especially for South Americans, I've found - it creeps them out, frankly.

    Thanks for listening!

    J

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  54. 'whites are quiet'...mmmmm, not sure about that. The noisiest, most unruly, and horrible flight I've been on was from Perth(Australia) to Bali(Indonesia). And guess who was noisy and unruly? Whites. Whites. Whites. White men, white women, white adults, white children. And boy have I seen lots of loud drunken whites on the streets too. I've also seen whites who are just loud in the malls even without alcohol.

    At school the Koreans would talk loudly and people would comment, 'Gosh, Koreans are loud.' But then when white kids yell across the hallway louder than the Koreans, nobody says a word because it's considered 'normal'. People just don't notice it as 'white people are loud', it's just seen as one kid trying to communicate with another kid and they happen to be kinda far from each other.

    A friend of mine once said, 'Red cars travel together. If you believe it, you'll see it.' Basically, if we believe the stereotypes, that's what we'll see. What happens is, when we see something that doesn't fit the stereotype, we subconsciously blot it out from memory, and only take note of the ones that do fit the stereotype.

    Perhaps the suburbs are quiet - but probably because everyone has cars and so there aren't as many pedestrians as in inner city areas. Perhaps some white families expect their kids to be quiet, but definitely not the ones I've seen as described above. By the way, I'm currently staying in a suburb in Indonesia - most people living here are Indonesian, and it's quiet. But if you go downtown, people are noisy. If I never went downtown I'd think Indonesians are totally quiet.

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  55. @jrparris - really? WOW... maybe all the Americans I've met are lying about being from America and I'm sure that I've visited the USA a few times, maybe it actually wasn't... maybe I travelled through different dimensions... OMG!

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  56. Macon D,

    R, I like to think I've evolved since then, and that writing this blog has helped, and that I'd no longer conduct the kind of experiment that I did then with that post and part two of it. The explaining I did in part two didn't make up for the implications of part one.

    All right, so you now understand that “It was all a social experiment!” is an affirmation of privilege. However, there is a second component that remains unresolved.

    In part one, you said that white people sit quietly, and in part two, you said, "And as yesterday’s exercise of sorts demonstrates, saying much of anything at all about white people means saying something about non-white people too. Even if you don’t actually, literally claim that something is true about non-white people, if you claim something about white people, you still have, by implication."

    Does that mean you implicitly claimed in honesty that black people are loud in theaters, but that you would no longer insist, "nothing in the first post says anything at all about non-white people"?

    (Also, I never understood why your comment on part two ("nothing in the first post says anything at all about non-white people") contradicted what you were saying in the actual post ("you still have, by implication").)

    I know you probably think that this happened a long time ago and it doesn't matter anymore so you do not have to answer for it, but it was an egregious display of privilege and dismissiveness that remains unaccounted for.

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  57. Does that mean you implicitly claimed in honesty that black people are loud in theaters, but that you would no longer insist, "nothing in the first post says anything at all about non-white people"?

    Since this question doesn't seem, as most of your questions do, rhetorical, I'll answer it. Your question includes the words "in honesty," which implies that you're asking for my thoughts/intentions as I wrote the post. I did not write the post intending to say implicitly that black people are loud in theaters. I meant to say that the behavior of many white people is "quiet" and censorious, and not, as such people tend to think, merely "normal" (while also thinking that such restraint, and such expectations of normal and proper behavior in a theater, as held and practiced by some white people, could be a manifestation of something else [which you've also said ad nauseum is wrong -- a claim that I've repeatedly responded to]: the history of a particularly "white American" mode of bodily restraint).

    Regarding the second part of your question, which asks if I "would no longer insist [that] 'nothing in the first post says anything at all about non-white people'": I could quibble about semantics and say that the post really doesn't literally "say" anything at all about non-white people, but that seems a pointless exercise. Since, given the binary nature of racial implications, the post, as it stands, does imply something about non-white people, and thus in effect "says" something about them, I would no longer insist that nothing in the first post says anything at all about non-white people.

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  58. Oh wow. I love this one. I saw that question on the Why Do White People Smell Like Dogs website,the one asking why black people are so loud in the movies. A friend, black guy, and I were debating it.
    I said so what if black people ARE loud in the movies and talk and shout. Its a participatory event, for many black people all movies are like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the audience interaction with the screen and one another is part of the attraction. Just like at many black churches the old African call and response tradition lives and the churchgoers interact with the preacher and "mmhmm" and "amen" and "preach it" out loud.

    My take?
    So IF black people are loud,so what? Why is loud wrong and quiet good? Maybe different cultures have different values.

    Why are white people so quiet, so meek, so boring, so lifeless, so unenthusiastic?

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  59. Macon D,

    Cool. Those two posts and your current relationship to them are now resolved in my mind.

    I did not realize that you ignored some of my questions because you perceived them to be rhetorical. One could say that the Socratic method used in your anecdote consists of you asking rhetorical questions.

    However, your "Oh. Really?" and ""So you think black people are loud?" were not perceived by John to be hostile, probably because John knows that you are in a higher authority/teacher position when it comes to racial knowledge. If, instead, a student asks her teacher rhetorical questions, her actions may be perceived as hostile, insolent, and uppity.

    I do wonder if this is what is happening. I am generally concerned with logical consistency and I am a fan of Socrates, so what I perceive as a Socratic method may be what you perceive as hostile rhetorical questions.

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  60. Okay Restructure. So, does that mean that you think of me as the student and yourself as the teacher?

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  61. Macon D,

    I would assume that everyone I debate with is my equal. When people ask me "rhetorical" questions to clarify my stance, I do not get offended.

    Although people offline defer to your social authority (being a white man and being in whatever profession you are in), when people online behave differently, it is not disrespectful. You shouldn't confuse your offline social authority with actually being intellectually superior to everyone else.

    If you believe that people are not respecting your "authority" online, and that people are treating you as if you are a stupid person, then the problem is your written communication. Invoking your "credentials" to others or to yourself doesn't help, as it suggests that your credentials are undeserved (which they are, at least partly, if you believe in white privilege and male privilege). Usually, people who are knowledgeable about a field know that they know only a small part of the field, which is why I find it incredible that you suggest that you have reached "the palace of racial wisdom".

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  62. Restructure, I've noticed many times that you make too much of what people, or I at least, say in comment sections on blogs. You're also making too much out of a simple question, and apparently assuming too much about why I asked it. When I write in comment sections, I sometimes write in a hurry, or less carefully than I would otherwise. For that reason, I'd appreciate it if you'd stop repeating, here and in so many other places, various things I've written in comments. The comment about a "palace of wisdom" of racial awareness for whites was written in jest. I've explained that to you before, and you still repeat it, here and elsewhere, as if I was serious.

    You shouldn't confuse your offline social authority with actually being intellectually superior to everyone else.

    Don't worry, I don't. I do not think of you as my student and me as the teacher in any Socratic-like exchanges we might have. I was simply asking if you think of me as your student in such exchanges. My question was not rhetorical.

    In the Socratic method, one is in effect a teacher, and the other in effect a student. You've written that you're a fan of the Socratic method, so I wanted to know if you think of yourself as engaging in that from time to time with me.

    If you believe that people are not respecting your "authority" online . . .

    Where have I written anything that says I believe that? Attend to what I say, not to what you think I'm thinking or feeling as I say it.

    If you believe that people are not respecting your "authority" online. . . . Invoking your "credentials" to others or to yourself doesn't help, as it suggests that your credentials are undeserved (which they are, at least partly, if you believe in white privilege and male privilege).

    I have never invoked my "credentials" (let alone said what they are) in an effort to gain respect. As I recall, I've only mentioned them online once, in a comment-section discussion with you about how people come across to others online. I did so by way of wondering if people would think differently of me if they knew various things about the real me, such as my credentials. Since then, you're the one who has mentioned them, repeatedly, to the point where others have berated me for "bragging" online about my credentials. (Actually, I do have something to thank you for here; I was new to blogging then, and you've since alerted me to the dangers of revealing personal information in the blogosphere.)

    Usually, people who are knowledgeable about a field know that they know only a small part of the field, which is why I find it incredible that you suggest that you have reached "the palace of racial wisdom".

    Again, whatever the comment in which I included that phrase "suggests" to you, I meant no such thing. I have instead said, many times, that in terms of learning about race and whiteness, I'm a continual work in progress. I chose my email address, "unmakingmacon," for that very reason -- writing this blog is part of my attempt to learn about, and then "unmake," a "white" (or whitened) me, a person who's been trained in largely unconscious ways to think, feel, and act "white."

    Finally, regarding your comment that "people who are knowledgeable about a field know that they know only a small part of the field," well hey (do Canadians say this too?), no shit, Sherlock.

    One more thing -- don't reply to this with further references to, links to, or summaries of anything I've written in other comment sections. I find rehashing such things with you, and correcting your various misrepresentations, too tedious and time consuming.

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  63. Do you have a Twitter account? I do not like these comment restrictions that prevent me from addressing your points.

    By the way, you said that you explained to me before that you wrote a certain comment in jest, but I do not recall that, and I have no online record of that. Where was this? (not rhetorical)

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  64. No, I don't.

    I also don't know exactly where, among dozens or even hundreds of comment threads, I explained that to you. At any rate, please do take the above explanation(s) at face value.

    In solidarity,

    macon

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  65. To clarify, the Socratic method does not require a teacher-student relationship. However, it requires that people respond to the questions.

    The comment that you claim was written in jest was not in a joking context, but in a serious context of giving advice to a white person asking for help. (You do not have to further respond to this point, but "it was just a joke" is not an explanation without the how.)

    In general, I see no reason why comments on blogs should be taken less seriously because of their lower visibility relative to blog posts. Written comments require more premeditation than spoken comments, yet people are still accountable for spoken comments like, "I don't think they would've been THAT loud if they hadn't been black guys."

    If John had defended himself by saying, "Well, I was tired because I didn't sleep the night before, and it was just an offhand comment in a casual conversation. I was not writing a paper on race arguing that as a thesis. Stop taking what I say so seriously," it is a cop-out. "I was in a hurry," is also a cop-out. Stereotyping and invocations of privilege come from careless thinking instead of careful thinking, as they are a reflection of our culture and socialization.

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  66. So wait...the guy's friend said he thought black people were louder than white people, and thus he is a racist and the aforementioned author should drop him as a friend? This strikes me as remarkably odd. Just because something is a stereotype, doesn't mean that it SHOULD stand for all that are within the parameters. "White people" do this or that...I read that on here quite frequently. Though, I do not do all of those things...some, sure. As a whole...would the statement that, "White people like cats," mean that all white people liked cats, or that most of the cat owners are white? I dig cats. I am a white dude. However, I think the same thing goes with movie theaters and black people...not all black people are loud in movie theaters, and not all loud people in movie theaters are black. But, as a standard average...yeah, black people are louder than white people. Why is that such a shocker? I see several different discussions in here about this, and why it would be, or why it would be considered. I have even read that white people consider themselves the norm, so anything outside of that is bad. This is ridiculous. Everyone knows that you are quiet not because you are white, but because you are considerate of others. Why is it that nobody is asking whether or not the stereotype should be changed to Black people are less considerate? Is it true? Probably not as a whole, but as for the reasonings as to why black people are louder than white people, which even the author agreed with...what about the reasons why? Are they less considerate?

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  67. EricW, you asked so many questions that I can't figure out where to start.

    I will say, though, that you should look at the subtitle of this blog -- it's not about things that ALL white people do. It's about common white tendencies. If you or other white people don't do something that's described in a particular post, then it's not about you, and there's no reason for you to make it about you.

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  68. I think it's great and all that your so interested in "racism" and dissecting it so deeply. But just after reading your blog I feel like all it does is promote arguments about race. People both black and white make mistakes and every single race for that matter but that is life. It's not about being perfect but being the best human you can.

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  69. Anonymous, are you white? Whether you are or not, that's a very common thing for white people to say -- "If we would just stop talking about racial problems, they'd all just magically go away."

    Does my putting what your saying that way make it any more clear that such wishful white thinking is just that? Mere, unproductive, ineffective wishful thinking?

    This blog isn't about merely pointing out racial "mistakes." It's about understanding something that few white people understand very well -- their own "whiteness." Being socially categorized that way induces tendencies in us, habits and proclivities. These often result in racist actions, many of which we don't even realize are racist. As a person with a moral conscience that remains alive and active (despite the constant encouragements of this society that I smother it), I'm all for learning about what being raised to classify myself as white has done to me.

    Why aren't you?

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  70. I agree that if you abandoned every friend who ever made a racist comment - whether you and or your friends are black or white - most of us would not have many friends left. Unfortunately racism often takes a more subversive form, and not everyone even understands what it is or when they are engaging in it.

    I also think that talking about these issues so that they can be better understood by everyone involved is the only hope of improving things.

    A large part of the problem here is that most people generally only understand the world as they experience it, and there is not enough communication about many things for them to see it from any other perspective.

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  71. Wow, that is a lot of challenge for a fairly routine conversation point. I am white, Irish and Welsh and American all over. My large social circle runs the gambit of many races, sexual preference, class, and age. We all have racial conversation points a lot of the time, because we are all enlightened individuals attempting to better our understanding of self and the cultures around us. We debate, disagree, argue, affirm. We talk, basically. Any of the responses to this post that challenge the validity or intention to learn through conversation are boring and dated. As if learning, or even just proposing an idea, is such a bad thing, or useless, or whatever. Macon, you continue to deflect the haters with deft perception.

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  72. Well, if this blog does one thing, it sure does bring about much debate...LOL

    I've only read three posts and there are over 100 replies...Interesting.

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  73. LOL...Slightly off topic, but still on topic...

    When I was sharing a house in my second year of University with two male flat mates, one of them said to me in conversation one day "When I knew I was going to share the house with you I was happy because I breathed a sigh of relief as I thought that Black people's hair did not fill the drain in the bath and block the hole."

    I replied "Well, sorry you're wrong, a lot of Black people have long hair too, White people are not the only one's who have long hair you know."

    My other flat mate said to me one day, "I thought black people generally have dry skin..."

    ....To which I replied, "What are you talking about? Black people have dry skin and so do White people. Black people have oily skin etc and so do White people."

    The stereotypes just make you want to laugh out loud sometimes.

    The fact is, for everything that one race does, the other does it too. Well, not everything, but I am sure you get the picture.

    By the way, I too was amazed at how clean my flat mates were. Is that a stereotype?...LOL

    To be fair, I guess it was a learning curve for the three of us.

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  74. it takes a big person to stand up to a man who is talking nonsense like that. you really should be proud of yourself most people would have blown it off but you stud up to him props man and if you are wondering yea im black

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  75. It's funny how liberals pick one exception for each side of the stereotype feel they defeated the stereotype. No one has ever stated that a stereotype applies to 100% of a people. If it even applies to 50% of people in a group it would be useful. Cops don't profile because they're racist. It's because it work. FBI profilers use stereotypes to catch killers because it works. I've seen many more loud and obnoxious blacks then whites. Must be a coincidence!

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  76. Watch it there, Pirhana -- who you calling a librul?

    And hey, I can match what you've seen -- I've seen many more loud and obnoxious whites than blacks.

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  77. I hate it that white people think that all black people are loud. In my drama class I was not speaking loud enough so my drama teacher says talk like you are in the hall with you girlfriend ,frist of all I do not call my friends "girlfriend" that is the frist thing that made me mad just because I am black I have to call all my friends girlfriend and homie
    and second I do not get in the practice of screaming at my friends when they are right in front of me and just because I am black she should not assume so

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  78. I work with a LOT of loud, want-to-heard-to-prove-their-working White Folk. In a cubicle environment. And they are engineers. They are WASPS, mainly from the small towns near a certain school in southern Pennsylvania. So yes, it is a class thing - ignorant is ignorant, regardless of color.

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  79. I have noticed that when in a predominately black setting that things do get loud but I don't believe this or any other trait of human behaviour has anything to do with race or genetic programming. My guess is it is a social setting issue as it is with any behaviour trait.The meer fact we are discussing this proves that we are all racists.People of the same color act differently from country to country,from city to city from neighborhood to neighborhood. The fact that some of you are downplaying this truth is proof to me that some of you proud "non-racist" folks out there are more racist than most.There are differences between races,it is my belief these differences are not due to the persons race but to the social setting in which they were raised,to ignore these differences is as "racist" as pointing them out.

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  80. Finger-pointer, I agree with you.

    I assume the purpose of this blog isn't to suggest that people everywhere behave in particular ways because of what Americans today would consider their "race" to be.

    Instead, I took this blog to be about certain attitudes and behavior patterns common to large numbers of white people in the United States. These attitudes and behaviors would not, of course, be due to race itself. They would be the result of our particular society's historical legacy and our cultural beliefs and expectations (in particular, our myths and patterns of race-based dominance).

    There are, of course, certain parallels between how white people often behave in this country and what is true in other societies, especially those in the West or with a history of European dominance. But as you point out, the connection between race and behavior varies from place to place, and it will not always be anything like what it is in the U.S.

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  81. You know what.. I HAVE notice black people are louder, in my experience. I am not racist at all. But guess what.. it has nothing to do with what color their skin is, it has to do with their culture. I'm cuban american and there are plenty of things you could say abotu cubans, and while they are not true about every single cuban, yes on a general basis it makes sense.

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  82. It has nothing to do with race, it's a cultural thing. I've noticed that in general inner city African Americans ARE "louder" then white people, but it has the culture how they were brought up and their surroundings. I'm white and am louder then the average person because i come from a loud family.
    Travel to Italy... people are a lot loader there then they are in Scandinavia... and both are considered Caucasian.

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  83. it's hard to generalize, and a lot depends on the social situation; someone who's normally quiet CAN get loud as hell under certain circumstances. i have a neighbor-total WASP, middle-american, ultra white guy who can be SO LOUD when he's a bit ill-at-ease socially, or if he's had some wine. same w/his wife. i can hear her greet someone from clear across the street w/my door closed.

    but...i have nnoticed that young BP, especially males, especially the more roughneck guys, tend to use their voices to project their 'personal power' in a given area. it's like they're sonically marking ,staking their place in a public domain; a lot of calling to each other back and forth from a distance(more than seems necessary), uproarious laughter, sometimes cursing. and yeah, it's loud.

    but there's more than just volume involved. i've found a kind of tonal quality to this public language style of some young MoC; it's harsh, gutteral, hard. and that's what makes it different from the loudness of, say, drunk W fratboys. this aggressive, challenging bass note in the voices of these guys is unmistakeable...it's like they're saying; 'I M HERE. got a problem w/that?' in fact, there's almost a theatrical quality to it all; the yelling each others names, the posturing.

    they know it bugs white folks.

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  84. Want to make people like that shut up?
    Tell them what some Japanese people feel and opine about loud, boorish gaijin (mostly white) in Japan then wait for their response, or lack of. lol

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