Friday, June 27, 2008

weekend open thread

Last weekend's inaugural open thread went pretty well--lots of comments, and many good ideas for future discussion (for which I say, "thank you!").

What's on your mind this week? And if you're white, what's on your "white" mind? Did you resist your culture's regular modes and methods of discouragement away from white racial self-awareness? Did anything happen that made you feel "white"? Did you see or experience anything as "white" that you might not have seen that way earlier in your life?

If you're not white, did anything noteworthy happen to you this week in relation to white folks, or to whiteness in some other way? Did anything seem "white" to you in a way that white folks might not have seen? Did you encounter any especially white people, or moments, or events?

As always, if you have any general (or even specific) comments about this blog itself, those are very welcome too.

And finally, some more questions (I'm just full of those): Is nerdiness a white thing? Others can of course be nerds (think: Urkel), but is a white nerd more nerdy than say, a Native American nerd or an Asian American one? Does being a WHITE nerd make one that much more of a nerd?

Here's Weird Al's mediation on the topic, "White and Nerdy"--Watch. Listen. Digest. Discuss.

[If you want all the lyrics but couldn't catch them, they're written out here.]


  1. Hey, I found the link for this blog on Racialious. Well, I was just sent a forward by a white female friend with the title "Putting the 'G' In Ghetto"--what follows is many pictures of black people doing stereotypical things.

    My immediate reaction was to react in anger. But I've been thinking about it and maybe I won't. I think I'm either going to "Reply to all" and post pictures of black people who aren't doing stereotypical things, or I'm going to find pic of white people doing the exact same things the black people are doing that's considered "ghetto."

    Maybe that's better than getting angry?

  2. regarding the nerdy thing, i dunno how it is if you're white and nerdy, but – and i think you may have mentioned this on your blog before – in my experience, if you're black and nerdy, that automatically makes you "white". if people don't directly say that, then they will say "intelligent" or "articulate", which are code words you have definitely covered before.

    so i guess that white nerdiness is kind of seen as normal stereotyped behavior. and asian nerdiness is stereotyped to oblivion, as my best friend will tell you. but it seems like nerdiness for anyone else means you're stepping out of your place. and there are all kinds of racial constructs that go along with that.

  3. I hate Weird Al's "White & Nerdy", and here is why.

    My MySpace page is all totally pimped out

    Real nerds would not be on MySpace. They'd be on Usenet.

    I'm fluent in Java Script as well as Klingon

    JavaScript isn't even a programming language; it's a scripting language. JavaScript isn't even in the geek hierarchy of programming languages (as it's not a programming language), where Python would be considered not 'real' programming (as it's easy and high-level and new), and Assembly would be considered 'real' programming (as it's very hard and low-level and ancient).

    I edit Wikipedia

    This hardly makes you a nerd. It's so user-friendly.

    I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL

    Epic fail. Real nerds make fun of chatspeak.

    I got a business doing websites
    When my friends need some code who do they call?
    I do HTML for them all

    HTML isn't even a programming language. It's a markup language. It's not even a scripting language.

    Yeah, it's a terrible song, and he didn't do his homework. The kind of people who wouldn't find anything wrong with it are non-nerds.

    Weird Al's computer illiteracy is depressing.

  4. I'm better versed at gender stuff than race stuff. But I have taken it upon myself to learn. I had this "OF COURSE" moment a little while ago on a dating site and was curious to hear what other people had to say.

    I am a member of OKCupid and have been for a month or so now. I hadn't really analyzed it at all and took it at face value. Then one night I was online, and I noticed a search tool on the site that allows me to search all of the people currently online.

    The numbers that came back surprised me and then I thought about them and was disappointed in myself for not considering it earlier. Of the approximately 12000 people online 7500 of them were straight men. Anyway, this got me thinking about race, class, and gender dynamics on dating sites in general, and am curious about other peoples, stories, thoughts, experiences.

  5. The numbers that came back surprised me and then I thought about them and was disappointed in myself for not considering it earlier. Of the approximately 12000 people online 7500 of them were straight men.

    I don't understand. What's the surprise?

  6. Is nerdiness a white thing? Others can of course be nerds (think: Urkel), but is a white nerd more nerdy than say, a Native American nerd or an Asian American one? Does being a WHITE nerd make one that much more of a nerd?


    Also, we generally prefer the term 'geek'; 'nerd' may be offensive.

    Being a geek is a very fundamental part of my identity. It feels like something that I'm born with.

  7. I was with a group of black teens and one girl said to one of the boys, "white boy" because of his clothes. This may be a socioeconomic thing.

    I realized I didn't see anything white about the way he was dressed and I was very surprised by the comment about khaki pants and a nice shirt.

    In preparing for a stay at a clinic for environmental illness I find myself wondering if it will be mainly white or if any Katrina survivors will be there for their exposures and wondering how to broach the subject if they're not
    , to encourage the clinic to give of their services and thinking how it could be a win win if I could convince them it could give them publicity.

    I feel I have to give that spin of setting up an incentive for them rather than appeal to altruism to offer help to people who need their services so much more than I do. I don't know if this is white of me or is anticipation of whiteness of them.

  8. I can't go in much detail typing from my phone. Just thought should add that the teens were from very poor neighborhood and I don't know if that was a major favor in perception of clothes that would not be seen as 'white' by middle class teens.

    I felt ignorant when I heard the comment, ignorant of their perceptions. And ashamed of my lack of understanding of a dynamic they felt and lived with.

  9. Yes. "We".

    Stuff Geeks Do: Dispute/undermine others' geek membership.

  10. I saw a white couple let a black guy cut in line in front of them today. They seemed kind of afraid to say anything to him about it.

  11. Last week I was talking with a white female acquaintence about the R-Kelly verdict. I am angry, hurt, disgusted and disillusioned that a 14 year-old black girl was featured in a home-made porn film where she was sexually exploited and urinated on by a grown man who has a known history of pedophilia -- and the man goes scott free.

    I said to the woman, "if he had urinated on a little white girl, R Kelly would have been in jail a long time ago."

    The woman got upset and said I sound like a racist. (???) She said the verdict was about how rich R Kelly is, not how black the little girl was.

    To me, it's like the missing children issue -- Everyone knows who Elizabeth Smart is, but few remember Erica Pratt's name (she was the 7-year-old black girl who chewed through duct tape to free herself after being kidnapped and held prisoner in a basement in South Philly.) It's about who is and is not considered valuable.

    I didn't see the R Kelly video, but I've heard the little girl had obviously been violated many times before, as she seemed to be a willing participant. I don't get how folks aren't outraged at what constitutes the onscreen rape of a child.

    I have to ask what Matthew McConaughey's character asked the jury to do at the end of the movie "A Time to Kill" (from Grisham's book and based on a true story) He said three words that spoke volumes:

    "Imagine she's white"

    Paste the link in your browser to view the closing argument from "A Time to Kill" referred to above.

  12. In light of Knowgoodwhitepeople's post about R Kelly, has a growing list of mostly white women who teach in middle and high schools across America that have been caught in sexual relationships with children. Many of these women who are married and have children of their own are having sex with their students and other children, some even as young as eleven years old. Often the students they're having illicit affairs with are non-white.

    One white teacher, Allenna Ward, 24, of Laurens County SC, pleaded guilty to raping five African-American boys, 14 & 15 years old. If this script was flipped, meaning if a black male teacher had confessed to raping 5 white girls, there would have likely been another different type of justice prevailing.

    Tim Wise made mention of this phenomenon in a video recorded lecture, suggesting that today's white women' growing inability to cope with the stresses of modern life causes them to behave very abnormally.
    Apparently the United States is a country much full of biases and contradictions and glaring inconsistencies when it comes to the handling, treatment and incarceration of those found guilty of sex crimes.

    Worldnetdaily has an extensive list of these women at this URL:

  13. I like the confluence of the points of KGWP and anonymous.

    We need to imagine the pedophiles as white and speak about the growing number of white female teachers, who are pedophiles, as well as speak about R-Kelly else we'll be missing the mission of this blog.

    As with drug addiction, treatment seems more correct than jail if we're dealing with illness or mental illness on pedophilia.

    A man in a housing 'project' told me there are a lot of men who prey on the young girls. I wish I had thought to bring up the white female teachers issue to bring balance into the conversation -

    -- and also should have thought to bring a focus also on what white supremacy has done as causal to the problems in the lives of the men he was referring to. I'm remiss often in conversations and am changing that most importantly when talking to white people.


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