Monday, November 30, 2009

slip past security more easily

Last week, two of these people did the seemingly impossible. They apparently walked into an exclusive party at the White House, without having been invited.

That's Tareq and Michaele Salahi, posing at the party with Vice President Biden. That same night, they also got just as close to President Obama.

I like to think that I've become more aware than the average white American of all things racially "white." And yet, it wasn't until I read some observations of these two gate-crashers by non-white writers that I even thought about the significance of the whiteness of the Salahis. Now it seems obvious -- if entering a White House event without being invited was a crime, then that crime was simply easier for the Salahis to commit because they're white.

American media outlets are now giving voice to a lot of concern about how this "security breach" could have possibly happened -- how could two people just waltz right into the White House and right up to the president like that? Again, here's one answer that I'm not hearing much at all: one way they did it was by wearing "white" skin.

At, a black writer named Rose Conley asks a series of interesting questions about the Salahi debacle. She then ties it to "Balloon Boy," another recent, publicity-seeking event/crime, involving a boy whose parents pretended he was trapped in a runaway balloon. Conley asks, "Some say only 'white people' would have the audacity to pull off either one of these stunts. Would you agree?"

I have no idea how to answer that question. Conley did get me thinking, though, about the whiteness of the Salahis. (Update: as some readers of this post note in the comments, the whiteness of Tareq Salahi, a Palestinian American, is complicated.)

"Oh," I suddenly thought. "Of course. Surely what the Salahis did was easier to do, just because they're white."

I think that because I too am white, it took me awhile to realize that. In fact, it took someone non-white to point out their whiteness for me to even realize that at all.

And then, a few Google-minutes later, I happened across Comedian Margaret Cho's brief blog entry on the Salahis, and on her own, non-white experience with White House security:

I am convinced those people got into that white house state dinner because they are white. I attended a state dinner during the Clinton administration and they did such a thorough background check before I was even allowed to RSVP that I was coming I thought they were going to ask me for a stool sample -- we are talking DEEP BACKGROUND -- and I am fucking famous. And I was fucking famous then. White people always look more INVITED than non white people.

Yes, white people look "more invited" to such an event. What a great way to put it.

By the way, for anyone who might somehow be unacquainted with the famous Margaret Cho, she's a Korean American. I think it's fair to say that that racial status, and the lifetime of race-related moments it causes, gives her more insight into how race works in America than most white Americans have.

At any rate, I also think that Cho must be right about this White House security breach. We may never know for certain, but surely the Salahis would have had more trouble slipping past security if they didn't looked the part of "invited White House guest." Looking that part means dressing and acting properly, of course, but it also means looking "white," no matter how many non-white people also visit the White House. No matter how black the current residents of the White House themselves are.

Simply put, it seems self-evident that security personnel often perceive non-white skin as a security threat, and that they probably never perceive white skin that way.

It's also worth pointing out that ordinary white people perceive differently colored skin that way too, and furthermore, that they often respond by functioning as de facto security personnel. For any doubters of the presence, and the destructive power, of the incredible disparities between common white surveillance of white versus non-white criminality, here's some convincing evidence.

The following two videos, from ABC's program "20/20," take about thirteen minutes to watch, but they're well worth it. This "20/20" segment demonstrate so much about the unconscious associations deeply embedded within most white Americans, associations and messages about the supposed threat of black skin, and the supposed non-threat of white skin.

Here's the basic set-up: in a suburban New Jersey park, three young white male actors openly vandalize a car. Few white people passing by bother to intervene, and only one of them calls the police. Later, three black male actors do the same thing -- you can probably imagine how different the response is from the white users of this park. Even black teenagers merely sleeping in a car provoke more 911 calls than the three white teenagers beating the crap out of someone else's car.

Watching this contrast, and thinking about what it says about common American perceptions of a "criminal" profile, should be instructive for most white people. On the other hand, I don't imagine it reveals much of anything new at all for most black people.

As a person who's classified as "white" in America, I sometimes forget how much easier that makes my life. For one thing, I never have to worry that my race alone marks me as a potential criminal; that makes moving throughout my daily life a lot less stressful, and a lot less dangerous.

I also sometimes forget, as I did with the gate-crashing Salahis, that being white can make it much easier for white criminals to commit their crimes. Not only do white people overestimate the criminal threat from black and other non-white people; they also underestimate, to their potential detriment, injury, and even death, the criminal threat from white people.

h/t: Jessie Daniels @ Racism Review


  1. Very definitely this couple "looked more invited" (love that line) in part because of their race. This is one of the reasons why class-based approaches to such things as college access will ultimately fail: it is easier for lower income Whites to "pass" as middle income but still largely not possible for middle income POC to pass for "White."

    I have used the concept of looking the part to my advantage, however. When my husband and I lived in Europe and attended jazz concerts we frequently got mistaken for musicians or musicians' family members and as such, received the "right of way." Made our trip to the Montreux Jazz Festival especially enjoyable!

  2. by the way, the white chick wore the dupatta (scarf) the wrong way. It's supposed to be draped over the left shoulder, not the right one!!!!

  3. If those guests were MUSLIM or brown-skinned and slipped into the event dinner easily, the media would tune a different whistle and we all fucking know it.

    This is absolutely infuriating.

  4. I was waiting patiently and I knew you'd post!!

    I hate jumping to conclusions, because this was mis-reported and over sensationalized. They should absolutely be charged.

  5. The name "Tareq Salahi" does not strike me as white. Maybe his wife, Michaele, but not him.

    YOur a white person Macon, is Salahi considered white in America? He looks borderline middle eastern or maybe Mediterranean ?

  6. This situation can't possible surprise you.

  7. Tariq Salahi's parents are Palestinian citizens of Israel and he comes from a Christian family.

  8. Looking at the photo above, if I knew nothing else about him, I'd say he looked Polish, actually.

    -- a lifelong white person trying not to be a privileged asshole

  9. ha! I wondered if this would end up on SWPD. I was watching the news of this with my cousin and I turned to her and said, "Their invitation was white skin," or something along those lines. The 20/20 thing is so telling - not the least bit surprising, but telling.

  10. If those guests were MUSLIM or brown-skinned and slipped into the event dinner easily, the media would tune a different whistle and we all fucking know it.

    Both you and I know that wouldn't be news.

    "Hi, my name is - "


    *later on the news*

    "A potential terrorist threat was averted last night when White House secret service gunned down a Muslim who attempted to infiltrate a White House dinner as a guest. Details at 8. And for our main story, a heartwarming tale about citizens who make a difference. Mrs. Abigail Thompson raised $130 at a bake sale for this year's yuletide celebrations. More after the break."

    . . . is Salahi considered white in America? He looks borderline middle eastern or maybe Mediterranean?


    Maybe he's just part Cherokee. He's White enough.

  11. in addition, the balloon boy and his mother are not white. I think this goes to show what we consider to be "of color" in our culture and how we make invisible mixed race and Asian folks, speficially women.

  12. Black people have had a long long time to observe whites when their guard is down. We've been doing it since whites ate and talked at the dinner table while their slaves stood by said table waiting on them hand and foot. The whites would share intimate details not privy outside the gates of the plantations. When there are no cameras whites are simply being themselves and its very telling when they are interviewed after the experiment. To watch as they allege what they would have done if it were white teens vandalizing a car and not the black ones they were so up in arms about. The fear of black/brown skin is passed on through the genes I think.

    I told someone we see whites every day in movies and television braving the elements and charging headlong in the face of danger. The white action hero shows no fear in bringing evil to justice. We watch as whites chase and hunt demons- ghosts and hobgoblins all over the world in decrepit mansions and abandoned hospitals. They brazenly fight the monster with their wits and save the world over and over again. Again, we watch as Bounty hunters and angry white police officers show no fear in hunting down the bad white guy. But let too many black folk move into a neighborhood and whites are gone faster than you can say Boo! Equity be damned. In some cases even when the evil shows itself, with blood dripping from the ceiling and things going bump in the night; whites have to be forced to leave the house. The perceptions don’t match up with the reality of white behavior. Whites seem to fear black skin more than they do demons from hell or the trolls and orcs from middle earth. The reason Timothy McVeigh was able to do what he did was partly due to his white skin. Who is going to question a white male who parks a U-haul outside of a federal building or any of the building? Really who?

    I can’t see a time when the white male will be demonized as the black male has been throughout this country’s history. Even if five white males crashed five planes into five buildings, they would just be seen as five individuals. Who may or may not have had an agenda. And this should not reflect negatively on the white race or militias as a whole. When whites do wrong the media entreats us to understand what the perpetrator was going through that made him snap. No matter how criminal and no matter how perverted or horrific the crime, there is always an excuse or an explanation. We are supposed to sympathize with his plight because it could happen to any one of you. Course a black man is just rotten to the core- there is no need to explain what is apparent to all of us. He is a thug and a reprobate- why should I feel sorry for him? Law enforcement would not be so slow and nonchalant in bringing charges if this couple would have had features whites associate with terrorism.

    And on an unrelated note:
    I’m still waiting for Lorne Michaels to hire a black woman to play Michelle Obama.
    It’s a symptom of white think to hire 3-4 more white cast members and leave the one black guy to fend for himself.

  13. I really like this post. First thing I thought to myself when I heard the news was "this would have ended a lot differently if it was a brown couple." More so if they were from the middle east, of course.

    It's a shame, but I'm always astounded when whiteness recognizes itself. A huge thank you to Macon and all white contributers on this and all anti-racism blogs. You make my day shiny!

  14. I don't get the comments about how this never would have happened if they were brown or Muslim. Hello, has anyone bothered to look at the name TAREQ SALAHI? He is Palestinian, and while Salahi is not necessarily a Muslim name, it is definitely Arabic and is commonly used by Muslims. Surprise surprise, not all Middle Easterners look like the stereotype.

  15. Tareq Salahi is Arab. Granted, he's Christian, but his Arabness is what - to me - is so remarkable about this. Though given the fact that his wife - obviously white Michaele Salahi - seems to be the real attention whore and the ringleader in this scenario, I suppose Tareq's ethnicity doesn't matter so much.

    But still, I'm surprised you would flat-out call him white.

  16. Jillian,

    I agree that I should have been more clear in the post about Tareq Salahi's ethnicity. Although Arab Americans are classified as white in such official ways as the U.S. Census, they, and Palestinian Americans as well/more specifically, are not thought of as "white" by many ordinary Americans.

    Like his partner, Salahi looks white, and I imagine his white appearance, rather than his name, is what Margaret Cho is referring to when saying that both he and his wife are white people, like the other white people at such functions who "look invited."

    The rest of my post is also about the differences in the general white gaze on white and apparently, by appearances, non-white people. I think in that sense, white people should think about Tareq Salahi as someone who appears "white," even though he's actually part of a group classified in common thinking (if not, again, in official terms, such as the census), as non-white.

    That said, I don't think it's clear yet just how Saladi's appearance, and/or his name and ethnicity, factored into the White House security breach. If the couple basically just walked in, then he may have been taken as "white" because of his appearance; he may have gotten in more easily because of that, and fit in more easily because of that, as he mingled around with his very white looking wife, despite actually being part of a group commonly thought of as, and often demonized as, non-white.

  17. Meh. Another article that's about the benefits of being in a majority rather than being specifically white. Do you think a white couple would be more likely to just waltz in to a Chinese politburo meeting?

    And regarding the vandals, I watched the videos but don't have sound at the moment, so I may have missed an answer to a burning question of mine - did they do the same thing in a strongly black neighbourhood? Is the racism letting the whites off easier because they're specifically white, or merely because they're the same as the people surrounding them?

    It seems to me an important distinction to make between something that is human nature and something that is a systemic social problem, as this will help direct where action should be taken.

  18. I totally agree that these people slipped through partly based on the perception they are white. There is still a great deal to be said about their confidence. If you appear to belong, it's more likely to evoke a perception that you belong. The images I've seen show them totally comfortable in their surroundings. They are also dressed appropriately so their socio-economic status appears in order too. There are no visual cues.

    Had these people been of color, dressed wrong, or twitchy about their whereabouts things would have been different. I've seen it work both ways. A friend of mine was once told to leave her church because she was dressed shabbily and looked a bit homeless even. She was a member, and no one even considered it a possibility based on appearance. I rely less on what I see and more about what I know. If I don't know, I ask.

  19. They got in because they looked like they belonged.

    It's that simple, and that complicated.

    Though the husband is Palestinian, he's wearing the right close, his skin is the right shade, and I'm sure he conducted himself in the right manner.

    This means, he passes.

    That's what this is all about, they looked the part. And that has all kinds of implications, not just racial, but (I would say primarily even) about CLASS too.

    Sure, even with his lighter skin tone, with that name if you put him in something not a tux and he didn't know the secret handshake (I swear rich people must have one because they just KNOW when you aren't one of them even if you're dressed nice), he would never have gotten in.

    And ever since I've been reading about this, I keep wondering what would have happened if two people who WERE on the guest list showed up with all the WRONG class/racial/gender signifiers.

  20. RVCBard said...

    "A potential terrorist threat was averted last night when White House secret service gunned down a Muslim who attempted to infiltrate a White House dinner as a guest. Details at 8...."

    This comment had me rolling, LOL, especially because that is what I thought when I first saw this in the papers.

    If this couple wanted to blow up the White House, they could have easily done it.

    Isn't discrimination just great?

    While they are busy discriminating against certain folks and keeping their watchful beady eyes on certain people, those who would wreak havoc and potential criminals are slipping through the net, unnoticed.

    Also, with all their big brother security in the USA, I am so surprised that they can't predict this kind of scenario with all the so called threats Obama has had.

    However, the way they think over there, it's probably a chance and a good excuse to step up and justify their 'big brother tactics', keeping their beady eyes on everyone with their biometrics etc. *sarcasm*

  21. Those types of hidden camera things never cease to amaze me. At first watching the first video I noticed that it was men who were confronting the white teens and not the women. And I felt like that lady who was waiting for her husband, I would be scared to shit of confronting a group of destructive male teens as a woman. No telling what could happen.

    I'm glad I finished watching the second one, lol. I was AMAZED that so many women walked up to the group of black males when none walked up to the group of white males to confront them. I wouldn't walk up to ANY group of guys doing that kinda shit no matter who the hell they were and what color their skin.

    It's shocking to see that kind of racism. Absolutely shocking. And it's scary that people can seemingly just waltz into the white house and get right up to the President like that. Especially when I'm fairly certain it would be mostly white people who would want to see him dead. The fact that this isn't seeming to get that much outrage shows how little people seem to care about the President's safety. I'm more than willing to bet that if this had happened during the last presidency those people would have been called "terrorists" and throw into jail. But these people walk in and nothing.

  22. That 20/20 special reminds me of the time I was in a parking lot with an insurance claims adjuster who was examining my bumper because I'd been rear ended. So the white insurance guy is half under my car and I'm standing near the vehicle. Apparently I looked suspicious standing near my own car in broad daylight because I made a white male that was walking by jump in fear and give me a look like he'd just witnessed a crime.

  23. Not much for me to add here, I think their whiteness or appearance of whiteness went a long way, even taking into account the last name and the husband's first name. Interestingly, I just saw on the Daily Beast that his mother is Belgian, which probably adds to his "white" appearance (I know Arabs are considered white technically and many appear to be just as white as Europeans, I'm just pointing out that he is of European white descent as well).

  24. @EPT, who wrote: "Do you think a white couple would be more likely to just waltz in to a Chinese politburo meeting?"

    No. But this was a state dinner, not a government meeting. In China, maybe a white couple could in fact waltz into a state dinner.

    and: "I may have missed an answer to a burning question of mine - did they do the same thing in a strongly black neighbourhood? Is the racism letting the whites off easier because they're specifically white, or merely because they're the same as the people surrounding them?"

    Pardon me, but it's so white of you to go into that mode. We (I'm white, too) pretend at being analytical or "objective" when we stare into the face of the obvious and deny what's staring back. The point is that if we really judged based on behavior, then the race of the perps here wouldn't matter, nor would the neighborhood's racial demographics. Our racist society trains us to suspect people of color and withhold judgment against white people. Why is that so hard to see?

  25. Meh. Another article that's about the benefits of being in a majority rather than being specifically white.

    In this instance, I do believe it's about being white, because being white would place one in the majority at this function. If it were, say, a chinese majority function and the same thing happened, then we'd probably be having the same discussion, just with chinese replacing white.

  26. I love Margaret Cho but would add that Asians tend to have "model minority" privilege in some instances. Take a half-white/half-Korean aquaintance of mine who regularly broke the law by chronically smoking pot (no pun intended). He could show up to work and anywhere else stoned and bet (correctly) that no one would expect this of him because he's Korean. To boot, he'd often wear a suit and tie, what he referred to as his "monkey suit," to look that much more like a choir boy/goody two-shoes. Also, the recent case of the Hipster Grifter comes to mind--the Korean-American chick who defrauded a string of people, got a job at a cool, hip magazine and got her victims to believe she had cancer. More about her here:

    As for the Balloon Boy, in the beginning, all we heard about was the father, who is white. I don't think anyone was trying to sweep his Japanese wife and hapa child under the rug. But the initial news coverage exclusively showed a white father in distress. Only after the boy was "rescued" did the public see the mom and learn the Heenes were a mixed family.

  27. I can't believe the racism that still exists! Those white people just walked right into the White House. If they were black they would have been apprehended right away!
    And then the news segment. Those white people were horrible to treat those african-american kids like that...News programs should expose the horrible racism that still exists in the world today...

  28. Perhaps you could provide a list of names of all the black or brown people who have been turned away from this event.

    Certainly there must be thousands.

  29. Another thing white people do in instances like this: appropriate the traditional clothing of other ethnic groups. Michaele Salahi was wearing some sort of pseudo-sari outfit, though as Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! points out, she had the scarf draped over the wrong shoulder.

    This was especially significant as Michelle Obama explicitly chose a Western-style gown by an Indian designer for this dinner with the Indian representatives, rather than attempting to wear a sari herself. Fashion can be an important part of signifying on occasions like these, and I bet there were other non-Indian women on the guest list who also attempted an Indian look in their dress.

  30. amelia-eve: In the first few days after the incident, Michaele Salahi's Facebook photos were public and showed her with several other (non-Indian, but not all white) women wearing saris and the like, including (if I remember correctly) both Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts.

  31. It can't be said enough anyway so I just want to take a moment to say: Michelle Obama is a class act.

    Like really. Getting an Indian designer to do a Western style dress, instead of just appropriating Indian dress, like what most people think to do. Class act. The end.


    The same couple crashed a Congressional Black Caucus dinner recently as well, but got the heave-ho when they sat down at a table not reserved for them....

  33. That said, I don't think it's clear yet just how Saladi's appearance,


    It can't be said enough anyway so I just want to take a moment to say: Michelle Obama is a class act.

    Like really. Getting an Indian designer to do a Western style dress, instead of just appropriating Indian dress, like what most people think to do. Class act. The end.

    Hell yes.

  34. @blogblogger -

    You missed both my points.

    First, it's irrelevant whether it's a political meeting or a state party - if you don't look similar to those around, you get questions. I used to work in a hospital and could quite easily get around those wards I never went simply by looking like I belonged there. Never took my ID card. If you look confident and you appear to be meant to be there, it's harder to get caught out. A white couple at a state dinner in China are going to stick out like dogs balls.

    The other point was something of a matter of science - there was no reference point. Note that I did not say that they vandals weren't judged on race. I said that it's entirely possible they were judged on being different from the local demographic.

    Yes, this thing happened. But did it happen because the offenders group B were different, or because they were specifically not white? Assuming it's only because of white privelege is prejudice itself. The posted videos are merely 'exploratory studies' and should not be considered remotely definitive. Anyone with a basic grounding in critical thinking should be able to come up with a dozen reasons why it's a bad study to hang your hat on.

    You say "Why is that so hard to see?"

    I say "Why is repeating this in a different neighbourhood to strengthen the results so hard to do?"

    After all, if the difference really is 'staring you in the face', then it should be pretty easy to find the results you want to see. If you really want these bits to be useful, there are a number of ways to tighten the experiment. If you leave it just as it stands, it's merely sensationalism.

  35. EPT scrawled,

    Assuming it's only because of white privelege is prejudice itself.

    Who here is assuming it's only because of white privilege? It's more that white privilege is one factor, and one that a lot of white people overlook.OF COURSE they looked and played the part in other ways, but wearing skin that appears "white" is one of them.

    I find your demand for a further experiment in a black neighborhood before you'll be convinced of anything telling. You refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming, but largely hidden (to white people) fact of white power. That is, white hegemony.

    EPT = concern troll

  36. And once more for the cheap seats: I did not say that there was no prejudice involved, I'm asking for a closer look at the cause of it. This is the third time I've said it now. Are you for actually studying human behaviour or merely declaring it?

    AE, you've failed to get my points before and strawmanned my arguments several times. A champion at putting words into my mouth. I wouldn't start throwing out accusations at other people.

  37. I think being "read" as white is not the same as being white. Imagine an Italian American (white) who has olive skin and black hair and lives in a locale that has very few people of Italian ancestry, but there are a lot of Mexican Americans and immigrants from Mexico in that town. People will probably "read" this Italian American person as Latino like at shops and so on. But s/he will have all of the cumulative benefits of being white in his knapsack, the legacy of whiteness behind him, so to speak. In the end, he will have white privilege, whereas a light skinned Latino man who could be his brother in looks does not have white privilege.

    A Palestinian man who passes as white gets the privilege of being light skinned, being "read" as white, and all, but he does not have those cumulative benefits of being a matter of fact, his ancestral nation does not even exist and one of the main reasons for that is that is the indigenous people there are not white and white Europeans with a colonial imperative felt that it was okay to take away that land from the non-white natives , and most white people around the world support this. Salahi waltzed in the placed for being one of those people who gets "read" as white, the visual cues he has show whiteness as well as wealth, surgery barbie white wife to boot. But that does not actually make him white.

    I think because whiteness is socially constructed we can see that the lines are sometimes blurry. No one has failed to bring up his name, mentioning his heritage in every article after the event. It would be a non-issue if his name were John Callahan or you think one paper would have mentioned Callahan was Irish?

  38. I'm sorry but using 20/20's "What Would You Do?" series undermines the point you're trying to make. Their videos are so condescending and so obviously set-up to play into their own biases that no thinking adult can or should take them seriously.

    Other than that, your point about the party crashers was interesting. I hope that couple will be charged, if it hasn't happened already.

  39. Tareq can easily pass for a white person. If i didn't know his surname, i'd assume he was white.

  40. I agree with luckyfatima. Just because Tareq Salahi looks white doesn't make him white. Lots of Arabs look white. I don't like how there's a tendency on this blog to erase ethnic identities to suit an argument (see: Shakira). So, the only time someone actually is Arab or Middle Eastern is if they look or do something stereotypical. So I guess all we are according to you is terrorists and dictators.

  41. FM, are you saying that even though the U.S. Census classifies Arab Americans as "white," they're not white?

    And I'm not following your logic in another way. How could Macon be saying all "Arabs" are terrorists and dictators if he's saying they're white?

  42. Also, Macon (and Margeret Cho) are saying the Salahis "looked more invited" because they look "white." No matter someone's ethnicity (or even race), if they look "white," then they often get taken as white, and they have and can exercise white privilege.

  43. AE, as a Middle Eastern person I know that the US census classifies North Africans and Middle Eastern peoples as white. I know that the definition of whiteness is arbitrary, and I know that some ME/NA people consider themselves white, and some do not. But in this blog (as well as in most circles), they're not considered white. It would be one thing if Salahi's Arabness was acknowledged, and he was still counted as white, but that's not the case. Macon might be including Arabs as white for this particular post, but I know that in the past he has not. It just shows how arbitrary it all is. My terrorists/dictators point was to show that when an Arab looks white or is a pop star or something else non-stereotypical, they're counted as white in this blog. When they do something like shoot up an army base, they're definitely not white.

  44. FM, I'd like to do a better job here of accounting for the variably white/non-white status of Arab/Arab-Americans, so I welcome your critique.

    Could you let me know more specifically what you think of the "Update" on this matter that I added to this post a couple of days ago? (I did so as a way to acknowledge the "more-complicated-than-simply-white" status of Tareq Salahi). It's in the paragraph that begins "I have no idea how to answer that question." If that Update is not enough to address your concerns with this post, please let me know, as well as your suggestions for how to better address them.

  45. [Dear Anonymous person who didn't bother to follow the request on this "Post a Comment" page of using a name,

    Thank you for your submission of a comment to swpd. Unfortunately, we cannot use your comment at this time, due to its racist claim that black people sleeping in a car would be more of a threat to your white self than a gang of white thugs beating the crap out of a parked car. I suggest that you reconsider your claim that in the video embedded in this post, the black people "appear to be preparing to hurt innocent civilians," merely because they're sleeping in a car. If you can learn to counter such societally instilled, automatic, and racist fears of black people, you'll be a better person, as well as a less threatening presence to actual black people. You'd also be more likely to submit comments to this blog that contribute productively, with respect and introspection, to the conversation here. Sincerely, macon]

  46. Wow. This is nothing we don't already know, but it makes me so sad. I'm a white female, and don't always think about how shitty it feels to be treated as a lesser being. I've dealt with sexism, but even I know that it doesn't remotely compare to racism. I feel so fucking sad that people in a supposedly free country have to deal with this on a daily basis. And these kids really help the message come through clearly. This does make me think twice about my assumptions, and the funny thing is, I've been teaching cultural diversity for a couple of years and had never had the issue of racism hit me in the same way this has. It changes your whole future when you're raised in a society that looks at you like this. This isn't to say that I've never been guilty of racism. I know I have. But I'm trying to be more aware of it, and this video helps. Thank you for posting it. I wish it didn't sound so trite to say that I'm sorry for what has happened and what continues to happen to Blacks (and other minorities) in the U.S. I am genuinely sorry, though. I will show this video next semester when I teach.

  47. AE said..."Also, Macon (and Margeret Cho) are saying the Salahis "looked more invited" because they look white."

    Maybe they "looked more invited" because they also dressed the part and carried themselves in such a way as to infer they were Washington insiders and part of the In crowd?

    This could be a white thing. It's more likely a class thing. If they looked like Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, and wore the same clothes and same demeanor, they probably would've still slipped by security.

  48. Pepper wrote,

    Maybe they "looked more invited" because they also dressed the part and carried themselves in such a way as to infer they were Washington insiders and part of the In crowd?

    "Maybe"? How about "obviously"? How about, "so obviously that it's not even worth pointing out"?

    What's not obvious -- to a lot of white people, that is -- is that their looking "white" ALSO means they "look invited."

    As with your comments in other threads tonight, you seem to have a problem with a blog that talks about stuff a lot of white people do. Why is that? In every one of your comments, you're trying to deflect attention from that topic to another one. You should ask yourself, sincerely -- "Why in the world am I doing that, anyway? Surely it's not because I think that white people don't have some common tendencies amongst themselves? Surely I'm smarter than that . . . "

  49. [Dear Peppers, Please read more carefully. I'm not declining publication of some of your comments because I disagree with them -- actually, with some of them, I'm not sure if I disagree or not. I publish a lot of comments that I disagree with, but those are on topic, and they're not deliberate attempts to derail the conversation onto another topic. Your continual efforts at derailment are not only off topic; they also trivialize in the derailing process the seriousness of the topics at hand, i.e., particular manifestations of white privilege/de facto white supremacy.

    So you see, it's not, as you just wrote, that I "have such a problem with people who challenge [my] point of view"; I have a problem with people who won't even address my point of view about stuff white people do, because they'd rather address stuff other people do -- which isn't the topic of this blog. Sincerely, macon]


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