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A Conversation on Race: Let’s Not

CB001871 On Sunday Night during the VMAs, one of my favorite singers, Taylor Swift, a pop country singer just a few months older than me who writes and performs her own songs, was giving her acceptance speech after winning the Best Female Video of the Year Award, when Kanye West randomly appeared on the stage, took her award from her, and declared that she didn’t deserve it, explaining, “Beyonce had the best video of the year!” Taylor Swift went back stage and cried, and since then Kanye West has apologized to her, but not before his behavior became a subject of controversy.

Most people deduced reasonably that regardless of whether Kanye thought Taylor deserved the award (It’s called: “You Belong With Me” is the most adorable video ever and Taylor deserved the honor hands down, but whatever), it was not reason enough for him to leap on the stage and make a public idiot of himself. Most people came out in support of Taylor, acknowledging that what Kanye did was despicable and disrespectful.

This is a reasonable, mature conclusion.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much to change the atmosphere in this country. Because Jimmy Carter was right, we are a Racist Nation. But not for the reasons he thinks we are. You see, when Joe Wilson screamed “You Lie!” during the President’s speech on Sunday night, he was not being racist, he was simply being an imbecile. Any person not paying attention to the color of the President’s skin would have seen this. They would have heard representative Wilson’s outburst, logically concluded, “What a tool,” and Representative Wilson would have been ignored, as all blathering idiots should be ignored, thus Representative Wilson would not have gotten a week of free press coverage, thus reporters would have instead covered the president’s Health Care speech (which is kind of, oh… I don’t know… THEIR JOBS) and things would be slightly better with the world.

(In an even better world, cable news talking heads and the MSM would also realize that no one takes boobs like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Joe Wilson seriously and would therefore not pay attention to a word they say, thus taking the public debate away from Health Care Reform, Afghanistan, and the Economy, but you can’t have everything, and unfortunately this is not Walgreens.)

We are not a racist nation because people like Joe Wilson illicitly scream, “YOU LIE!” during presidential speeches. Calling someone a liar is not racist, it is calling someone a liar. I myself have called people of all races and ages liars. For example, when the white woman in the Pantene Pro V Shampoo Commercial says that she is a Professional Cosmo and she uses Pantene all of the time, I scream “YOU LIE!” at her. But I do not call her a liar because of the color of her skin, I call her a liar because most Cosmos are brainwashed in beauty school to believe that they can only use Salon Products to maximize profits for the Parlors that train them. Thus, a Hair Stylist would never tell people to use Pantene Pro V unless she was being paid large sums of money. Whether she is liar or not isn’t irrelevant to the color of her skin because when you are calling someone a liar, you are questioning their honesty and character, not implying that they are inferior because of their skin color. Simple Pimple.

I believe it was Martin Luther King Jr. who dreamed of a world where little white girls and little black girls could hold hands and play together without anyone thinking anything of it. I believe he told us to judge a person not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character. Kanye West demonstrated poor character on Sunday Night. He is Black. George W. Bush demonstrated poor character for eight years. He is white. Margaret Cho IS a character. She is Asian. Taylor Swift Demonstrated Good Character all this week. She is white. Beyonce demonstrated good character on Sunday Night. She is Black. As you can see, these folks do not have good or bad character because of their race, they have good or bad character because they have good or bad character and should be judged as human beings, not members of race or ethnicity.

To be perfectly honest, I do not need to be lectured about race relations by rich white “liberals” *eye roll* descended from slave owners, who have never seen a black person in their lives. By screaming that I am “RACIST” every time I criticize the President on policy grounds, they are diffusing their argument and in fact proving themselves to be racist. If they were truly as blind to his race as they claim to be, they would see him as a human being with flaws, triumphs, failures, hopes, dreams. They would recognize that he is not “America’s First Black President” but a President who has many responsibilities to the American people, and therefore would hold him accountable to those responsibilities at all times.

America is indeed, a racist country, because we continue to have “a conversation on Race.” I don’t care what race a person is, and I do not want to have a conversation about it. I want to have a conversation about last night’s episode of True Blood or Kohl’s big blow out sale at the end of this month. If you see a person as your equal or your better, you talk to them as you would anyone else. Therefore you do not walk up to them and say, “Oh, hey! Let’s have a conversation about your race.” I wouldn’t even say something like that to my cat. That is just plain common sense.

America needs to move forward and leave the bloody stains of slavery and segregation behind us. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. If we can learn to look at each other as people instead of black people, Hispanic people, gay people, and Trannie people, that beautiful dream of his just might come true one of these days.

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133 Responses

  1. I need to tell you you’re brilliant more often, because you are. You manage to be entertaining and informative all at once. You are dead-on, bb.

    I would marry you if it was legal and I wasn’t a commitment-phobe.

    America is indeed, a racist country, because we continue to have “a conversation on Race.” I don’t care what race a person is, and I do not want to have a conversation about it. I want to have a conversation about last night’s episode of True Blood or Kohl’s big blow out sale at the end of this month. If you see a person as your equal or your better, you talk to them as you would anyone else. Therefore you do not walk up to them and say, “Oh, hey! Let’s have a conversation about your race.” I wouldn’t even say something like that to my cat. That is just plain common sense.

    Yes and yes.

    Bb, where’s the rest of your post? It stops suddenly mid-sentence.

    • I fixed it. I copied this from Age of Aquarius so sometimes I have to fix glitches.
      And what do you mean, legal? You and I are legally eligable for marriage in a few states! You’re just avoiding marrying me because you run away from commitment! YOU DON’T LOVE ME!
      Tee hee! I jest, darlin’
      I thin that our love can move mountains. There will be books about or love affair one day, bb.

      • Lol, don’t tell your husband, bb.

        I’ll have to give you a pseudonym in my books. The dazzling liberal scholar from Ohio named…Li’l Aphrodite.

        • Subtle. 🙂 How about L’il Osiris?

        • My hubby says he is turned on by my love affair with you, so you don’t need to worry about that. he says as long as he gets in on the action sometimes. His theme song is, “my girl’s got a girlfriend.”

          And I get a pseudonym? What will my pseudonym for you be, then? After all, our love will be sung about in many songs, and it will be chorused on mountaintops with trumpets and dancing naked men with bow ties.

          So I think my pseudonym for you will be “my illicit lover from Houston.”

          It fits.

  2. We all know Jimma gets his political analysis from his newborn grandson, I’m assuming he said rattle and in a big misunderstanding that could have been avoided with help from MiracleEar, Grampy thought he heard “racist.” Regardless, the Dems need to wake up and realize they’ve ridden this train about as far as it will go. examples of Obama being subject to Racialized criticism or double standards, the way criticism of Hillary and Palin was so often sexualized and they were subjected to double standards, by all means bring it forward. But they’re acting like everyone was born yesterday. Garden variety generic hysteria tends to ensue from the right wing when Democrats get elected. They get called socialists, it happens to everybody. Obama having to put up with the same lack of worship as other politicians isn’t some amazing unprescedented sinister thing just because he’s Jimmy Carter’s Pied Piper Messiah. I mean, okay, if Naziism is breaking out across America and we’re living in some reign of terror comperable to Mississippi in ’68 and San Francisco in, uh, WTF Pelosi is talking about, with chaos on the horizon, then we are, but some specific examples would be nice to get around this news blackout.

    • I couldn’t even believe Nancy did that. Do you think she is stupid or do you think she does this stuff on purpose? It might occur to a normal person that by tearing up and saying you fear political and racial violence you may in fact, be stoking political and racial violence, but as I often say, you can’t reason with the stupid.
      Nancy, unfortunately, is not stupid. She knows exactly what she is doing and frankly I think it is reprehensible.

      • She knows if we had a real press corps, they’d actually think to press her on, oh, you know, WTF are you talking about, can you get specific on the rhetoric you find so scary and the historical parallels to violence, but since we don’t, she can slide by with fearmongering.

      • I’ve been wanting to say this all day long, so I will say it now. Nancy Pelosi is as fake as her botox face. There, I said it!

  3. Great post, LI. Well-stated common sense. We need all of that we can get these days.

  4. A French woman I knew boarded a train in South Africa back in the day when there were separate trains for whites and “colored.” She was unaware of that fact. Turns out that she boarded a colored train, but didn’t know the difference. Later a conductor came by and asked to see her ID papers. He said she was not allowed on this train unless she could prove that she was colored. She didn’t look right. Her hair color was dark but her complexion was lighter (she is half-French and half-Italian). She showed her French passport. The conductor demanded to know where her race was indicated. She said that she is French, and of no race that she knew of other than being a French citizen.

    She was thrown off at the next stop.

    • What a great story! The simple truth is that race does not even exist. Groups that are divided up by cultures by skin color are not genetically distinct from each other.

  5. Most perspicuously written. Brava. (stands up in chair applauding like the little movie review guy)

  6. We have not being having a conversation on race, we have been having a corporate sponsored food fight pitting people against each other and artificially creating divisions so that the tentacles of the banking industry can keep on suffocating people while the health industrial complex screws them over.

  7. Great post. Wish I was that wise at your age.

  8. I’ve had many “conversations on race” when I was in college. The people in the room were all students (white, black, Arab, sometimes other races) plus the professor (sometimes black, sometimes white). The students tended to be older than traditional college-age kids. Almost no one came from anything above a lower-middle class socioeconomic background. These dialogues actually went well. I remember one discussion about DWB (driving while black) where the white students learned just how often black motorists are pulled over for no reason, but the black students learned that in certain wealthy suburbs white people driving old cars get pulled over for no reason, too.

    I think the reason why we were able to have these discussions is because there weren’t any elites in the room. If you had thrown in some reverend from one of the black nationalist churches or some far-left big-name white loon professor like Bill Ayers or anybody who works for ACORN, they would have deliberately pitted the black and white (and Arab) students against each other. These elites WANT us all to fight with each other. Divide and conquer, I guess.

  9. Good stuff littleisis !!

  10. Wow. “Racism doesn’t exist because I don’t see it, and I am a white person so therefore I know!”

    Good argument.

    You positively reek of white privilege.

    • Yeah, white skin means privilege. Just tell that to my 39 year old brother who took his own life buttwipe.

      White skin didn’t stop him from watching his father beat his mother, it didn’t save him from a sexual predator, it didn’t stop us from living off a food pantry after my father went to jail, it didn’t cure the alcoholism or mental illness that afflicted him. That white skin of his sure was quite the blessing.

      Racism exists and your assinine comments are a perfect example of it. Assuming the color of someone’s skin means they live a life of “privilege” is a perfect example of racism at its friggin’ finest.

      • “buttwipe”? Nice.

        I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. I lost a friend to suicide last summer. He too was 39.

    • Tin foil hattie, I am too busy polishing my rolls royce, feeding my chinchillas, and throwing tomatoes at poor colored people to listen to you, so just leave me ALONE!

      You’re going to make me throw a temper tantrum and my Daddy’s going to have to give me money for another shopping spree! Pfffft!

      • Paris! You were supposed to keep your identity on the dl. Daddy said so! Now you’ve ruined everything! Love, Nikki Damnit! I mean, cordially, The Jackal

      • Seriously, there are only two places where I ever experienced “white privilege” on an obvious level.

        The first was at this Arab-owned convenience store near my aforementioned college campus. I could go in there with my backpack and the store owners never treated me like a potential shoplifter, whereas they acted as if every black person who walked into their store was going to steal something. However, I must point out that the neighborhood where this store was located (it’s closed now) has a lot of white prostitutes and street people. I never happened to be in that store at the same time as any of them, so I don’t know how the store owners treated them.

        My second experience with white privilege was at the airport in Russia. The workers did check my passport and visa, but they didn’t search my bags, either going into the country or coming out. They just waved me through, whereas people with an Arab/Middle Eastern appearance were searched thoroughly. My mom even set off the metal detector, but the lady smiled and said, “It’s just your jewelry. Go on ahead.” The US and French airports, by contrast, treated everybody like a potential terrorist.

      • The fact that you equate white privilege with wealth shows that you don’t even know what “privilege” is, and clearly you don’t care to learn. After all, why should you care? You don’t see race because you don’t have to, right?

    • And you’re assuming LI is white because–? Is it because only 11 year old white girls like Taylor?

      • I do happen to be white, but stating that I was white was irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. TF clearly read tow sentences of it and does not understand the argument I am trying to make… kool aide does that the brain sometimes
        *nods wisely*
        Actually, my mom’s side of the family is lower middle class English, German, and Checkoslovakian people from Washington DC and Atlantic City. My Grandma went to Nursing School at Georgetown, but that was because she was third in her class in Catholic School. She met my grandpa in the Navy. Mental Illness and alchoholism runs in that side of the family.

        My dad’s side of my family is just pure, unadultured white trash. They come from a remote town near Akron, Ohio called Uhrichsville, which is basically a cornfeild, a train station and some houses.

        My dad was the first person in his family to go to College. He is actually fairly wealthy- he is a CPA, but we aren’t close. He left my mother when I was very young, and it rendered us at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, like myiq says. I have gone to school and worked with blacks and other minorities my whole life, and I don’t think much of it. In fact, I’m going to a school with mostly black kids right now. I’m one of the few white people there but they don’t treat me any different because I’m white. We just chill, have a smoke, listen to some music. It’s not a big deal.

        As an aside, I did live with my father during my formative “teenage” years, but he wasn’t around much and I was mostly left to be tormented by my step mother. I was a Cinderella, but I left him and now I’m dirt poor again. Don’t have health insurance. Whoopie! But my father always was very, yes, racist, he used racist language and slurs a lot. He’s a pretty bigoted guy, but I didn’t pick my parents.

        I still remember my very first music teacher… I have difficulty recalling big chunks of my childhood sometimes, for certain reasons, but she was this beautiful pregnant korean woman. She was the first person who ever encouraged me to get into music and singing a little bit.

        I also remember my first school friend was a girl named Stephanie, and we liked each other because she had furry cats on her blouse and we both liked cats. I remember her favorite color was orange. She was black, and I don’t recall my father’s attitudes ever having an effect on our friendship. But it was a long time ago.

        Wow, I’m rambling…I only say all of this so everyone is aware of my background. I don’t have chinchillas, but I wish I did! :p

        • I’ll forgive you for being white–it’s the Taylor thing that troubles me deeply. (I kid! Because I love! And I don’t have a problem with Taylor! 😉

          • You gave forgiven me of much, bb… I am also going to a Taylor Swift Concert next month… to see her LIVE! And I am so excited! Right now I am learning how to play the guitar, and Taylor is an inspiration.

          • I hope you have a miraculous time. II feel you on those big childhood memory gaps. I was kind of wishing today I could remember more, I know it’s better not to, but–I wish I could remember the good.

          • meh… it is hard to remember the good. I do remember a few good things, but mostly it is just gaps and it hurts my head when I try to recall them.

          • Just remember my motto:

            “You’re never too old to have a happy childhood.”

          • HAHAHAHA! A sage matto, Green Man of the forest who is myiq.

        • Um, okay, I have a serious problem with expressing emotion, but I just wanted to say that the way you express yourself and put it all out there is amazing, and just–thanks for sharing that, it’s awesome *slinks away feeling very dorky*

    • “White privilege” is a neat theory, but you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone who has lived their life at or near the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder that they benefit from it. They live, work and go to school with blacks and other minorities.

      Of course that’s the best part – their failure to see it is proof that they “reek of white privilege.”

      • Yeah, anyone who believes whites are automatically privileged has never been to the trailer park where they filmed “8 Mile.”

        • Much of what is called “white privilege” is really “class privilege.”

          If you are rich and black you have privileges that poor whites don’t get.

          What makes the news is when rich blacks get treated like poor people of any color (see: Gates, Skip)

          • Many children of all different races are treated like second class citizens when they are in the foster care system. They are never expected to succeed , many can not form a relationship due to being moved around from place to place. They learn early not to expect and not to depend on anyone. Many times both wealthy and poor kids will look down on a foster child because they do not belong. They are belittled by some teachers because sometimes they can not keep up with the class.
            But then again some grow up so much stronger with the belief ” what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

            Race is not always the divide. As myiq says the biggest color dividing people is green.



        • I agree myiq. It’s about class. I’ll bet Tin Foil Hattie has Health Insurance.

        • The color of privilege is green.

      • “White privilege” doesn’t mean that all white people are showered with chocolates and roses from birth anymore than “male privilege” means that there are no poor men. Obviously most people will focus on their problems rather than the ways they’re relatively advantaged vis a vis other groups, but that doesn’t mean privilege doesn’t exist.

        • Yes, privilege exists. White people as a group are better advantaged than blacks and other minorities as a group.

          But the theory breaks down when you start applying it to all the individuals in the group.

          • No, it really doesn’t.

            The term refers to whether or not a black person and a white person in identical circumstances would be treated the same.

            If both are in miserable circumstances, and the black person is, for example, treated more judgmentally by the cops, the white person is still experiencing white privilege even in their miserable circumstances.

            When people mention white privilege, they’re not saying that if you’re white, you’re fine, or if you’re white, stop complaining. They’re just saying that if you were black, you’d be even worse off than you are now.

          • Can you quantify and identify clear cases of disparate treatment?

            Or are you just assuming they exist?

        • If it doesn’t mean that ALL white people enjoy it then I fail to see why it should be called white privillege. It’s an affront to the people who ARE white and struggle just as hard as their minority counterparts. It’s downright offensive to be told your skin color has somehow given you benefits when there is no evidence to support that position. Do I believe racism exists? Absolutely. Do I believe that people discriminate? Positively. Do I believe skin color is the only basis for discrimination? Nope.

          • You said it sister!

          • It’s the same as male privilege. There are plenty of disadvantaged men and rich women, does that mean that men aren’t advantaged over women overall in America? You can be a poor man whose life sucks, but overall in some ways you’ll tend, overall, to have advantages over a randomly selected equivalently poor woman, though you won’t agree and your life still sucks. Same with white privilege.

          • I try not to hold people’s gender against them either.

            As I stated, I believe discrimination exists. I fail to see how prejudging further by putting people in boxes “you’re a male so therefore you enjoy privilege”, “you are white so therefore you enjoy privilege”, you are thin so therefore you enjoy privilege” does anthing other than perpetuate more discrimination. Particularly when those boxes are not one size fits all. It really isn’t that much harder, from where I am sitting to keep my mind open and judge people on their merits rather than something as superficial as appearance.

          • That’s the right idea, Cwaltz. Tin Foil Hattie knew nothing about me…. they just assumed I was white.
            And while I do happen to be a skinny white girl, I won’t say I’ve lived a life of previledge, as I explained upthread.

            I just hope Tin Foil Hatty can stop being such a wet blanket.

          • It’s not really about individual interaction, just about the overall fact that there are ways in which, in the aggregate, white people have certain advantages over POC in America, men have certain advantages over women, straights over gays, etc. I don’t see how that perpetuates discrimination, but *shrugs*

          • Again explain it to me real slow….

            How did my brother’s skin color benefit him? He was born into a dysfunctional household with a violent alcoholic at its head for 12 years. When my father was imprisoned for shooting a police officer and we became poor my brother acted out in school. What did his white skin get him? Nothing. He got shoved into a “special ed” classroom where he couldn’t disrupt other children. He was 20 when he graduated. His skin color didn’t protect him from alcoholism or paranoia. He worked a series of minimum wage jobs and cut lawns. He didn’t get the help he needed(despite the fact he tried to kill himself at least 5 times, the time before this landing him in an intensive care unit) to ever experience a real relationship or even experience peace. How in the world can anyone call pain that causes someone to repeatedly try to destroy himself “privilege” simply because of his skin color? No, my brother never experienced privilege what he experienced was a system that was mainly apathetic and his skin color did not do him a single bit of good or protect him one whit.

          • Cwaltz, I don’t know if you feel like I’m attacking you personally or something. If you do, I’m very sorry. You started taliking to me and I’m just trying to answer you. I’m very very sorry for your brother’s pain and can’t imagine what you’re going to.

            I think you’re taking the word “privilege” in a way it’s not meant. We’re just talking about *relative* privilege. Again, it’s not like if you’re
            white then you’re guarateed wealth and happiness and success and a functional family
            and puppies and rainbows every second of
            every day. You don’t like the gender privilege analogy, but what about class privilege? Two men, one extremely wealthy, one dirt poor. The poor man has opportunities the poor man doesn’t in terms of travel, education, health care. That doesn’t necessarily mean his life will turn out better, because in that case, the rich man might have a horrible dysfunctional abusive family and live a miserable life of neglect, abuse, substance abuse. So in some ways, the poor guy may be better off in that instance, but he’s still economically advantaged over the poor guy, though his life is full of problems, and most people would probably choose economic security over poverty despite the fact that that’s not a guarantee of a perfect life. Likewise, two kids grow up in a poor neighborhood, one black, one white, identical backgrounds, aptitudes, everything. Their lives are hard and few opportunities come along, but if one did, more often than not, maybe 6 times out of 7, under normal circumstances, it would go to the white kid. That’s all it means, not that the white kid is protected from harm, but that he will tend to have a slightly better shot at certain things than a black kid.

          • I meant 6 or 7 out of 10

          • My life experiences have taught me that the boxes people insist on placing each other in are unhelpful. My first 12 years were spent in a middle class household which indeed looked like privilege. We had a pretty house, cars, a swimming pool in a nice neighborhood. I also had a father who thought nothing of putting his fist through a hamster cage and threatened to kill my siblings pet or take a baseball bat to a car. We got to play pretend daddy is dead and come kneel by his coffin. He routinely threatened to kill us and himself(and he actually did commit suicide). He valued the bottle over himself and his family. His actions, to this day impact who I am and they impacted who my brother was. I feel sorrow for the man my brother could have been had his life been different. I feel anger that he suffered for YEARS trying so hard to be “normal” and always seemed to be on the outside looking in. His image of himself was always distorted. He never truly saw himself as the good, if flawed, person he was.

            My mother despite her white skin married a man who didn’t cherish and value her( He couldn’t even value himself enough to stop the behavior that ultimately destroyed him). My stepfather despite his white skin was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17 and was deceased by the time he was in his forties. He left 3 children who despite their white skin grew up without a father in a trailer park(and the trailer has a lien on it thanks to the medical bills since no one insures a person who has cancer). My sister, fifteen years my junior, has struggled. Her two white skinned children don’t have a father who is active in their lives. She made some poor choices and they will live with the consequences. It IS nice to know though that her third childs difficulties though will not be diminished(even though he actually has a daddy and grandparents actively engaged in his life)because he is AA, and therefore, will not be viewed as experiencing white privilege.

            If being white doesn’t ensure puppies and rainbows, nor would being black preclude them then why in the world is it helpful at all to call something privilege?

            The biggest difference I have found between economic stratas is that being a rung up makes the difference between surviving the inevitable mistakes humans make and being stuck in a pit because you made a bad decision. I have often rejected the position that poor people are poor because they make inferior decisions. I need only look at someone like Robert Downey or Noelle Bush, to know that bad decsion making is not something unique to the impoverished. The difference is how those decisions impact them due to their economic circumstances.

          • If I had a choice between dealing with abuse and mental illness from poverty or wealth, I’d choose wealth. A lot of people might saY it makes no difference because your life would suck anyway, but most people who have been there know that it’s just that much worse and that much harder to have to worry about where your next meal is coming from and all the other problems that come with being poor on top of it. Which is not to say that rich people who deal with Abuse have swell lives, just not lives that are as hard.

            Being poor is hard. Dealing with abuse is hard. Dealing with substance abuse is hard. Dealing with Mental illness is hard. Dealing with racism is hard. Dealing with sexism is hard. Dealing with homophobia is hard. Dealing with more than one? Harder. Dealing with more than two? Harder still. The more you add, the harder it is. All 7 and you’re in pretty bad shape. If I had the choice to leave off racism, sexism, and homophobia, I would. My life would still suck, but compared to someone with 3 more huge life challenges, my life would be just that little bit easier. Not good, But not as bad.

            What we’re talking about is intersectionality, how people are relatively privileged vis a vis each other. Yeah, sometimes things intersect and the first kid has white privilege over his black brother, but the black kid has class privilege over his white brother. It’s not about the Oppression Olympics and which form of privilege is better or worse. In fact, it changes. Sometimes the black kid with class privilege has it harder, sometimes the white kid with white privilege. It depends on the circumstances. But all things being equal, the more huge life challenges you have, the harder.

          • That damn tinfoil hattie and her wet blanket ways! Always mucking up people’s comfort zone with facts, ‘n’ stuff.

          • TFH

            You didn’t state facts. You gave an opinion. At that, you appeared to jump to conclusions about someone without all the evidence.

            I stand by my position that color means not one whit. It doesn’t insulate you from pain, suffering, disease or the human condition any more than hair color or eye color could.

    • Who let the troll out of the cage? Back, back, back. (closes door) Whew.

    • you would be right if that is what she said…. but it is not.

  11. Ozero is someone who grew up with “white privilege” — living with is white grandparents and attending snob/elite schools.

    I guess LI hit another home run — 0bots are coming out of the wood work — or from under da bridge.

  12. OT: From a Merky news tweet: Giants defeat Dodgers 8-4: Pablo Sandoval emerged from his cold hibernation to hit a vital three-run home run as.. http://bit.ly/tkh5S

  13. LI – your wise post has generated the most intelligent, honest thread I have read yet regarding that “ism”. You are truly amazing and it is a pleasure to read your posts. Look forward to more good reads from you in the future. You and Regency give me hope for the future of our country FWIW.

  14. Racism exists. Injustice exists.

    “I know you’re racist but what am I”

    that is, in essence, the MSM/Dem “conversation on race” right now. It too exists.

    Real great argument they have going on. It reeks of a pattern. Race-baiting to shut down dissent–it too exists.

    You know what doesn’t exist?

    The fourth estate.

    • The part that bothers me is the way the conversation is being framed is very one sided. If you are insisting that a person’s skin color somehow insulates them from experiencing discrimination that IS in essence a racist comment. It is based on race, even if that race doesn’t have to be hispanic or african american. You can accept that in the past african americans have experienced hurdles that have made their experience and integration more difficult without dissing the experiences of whites who struggle in America. Furthermore the whole point ought to be to end problems like childhood hunger or making sure each and every child gets to reach their potential and what color their skin is ought to be incidental to the discussion .

      • The most needed outreach is definitely at the level of increasing opportunities for ALL children to reach their God given potential.

        When I hear the term white/male privilege, I personally don’t hear it as a privilege of all members of the white/male subset. I think it’s about white men having been the cultural norm at various levels of society and white men OF PRIVILEGE being in a position of power and status. By contrast, people who do not fit that baseline description of white male have a heritage of being disenfranchised as a group and of having to work twice as hard (understatement) to make strides and be represented in “American life.” This process of breaking barriers is a work-in-progress not done by any one person but lots of people paving the way forward for the next person. Again, it’s a group thing. It works at the group level of giving kids role models to look to who can be another thing that could help them realize their own potential.

        But disparity that stems from class and poverty cut across issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. So you can be a poor white man and not be a white male of privilege. Does that make sense?

  15. You all should come out of the closet and call Obama a (deleted by moderator). You’d feel better.

    Moderator Note: For some one who hangs around in a gated blog community that calls women all kinds of horrible names then considers themselves some kind of progressive new mind mold, you sure seem to have a bad case of potty mouth. Go back to your gated community where you and your ilk can convince yourselves that your form of anger and hatred is acceptable because it’s aimed at women and the economically disadvantaged. You mislabel others frustration with a system gone horribly wrong to something more akin to what goes on in your little brain which appears to reside in the smallest part of your body and not in your head. Stop the transference of your ugly emotions on others and deal with your own demons.

    • Born in white 1955, growing up in the 60’s, young adult in the 70’s, I recall sitting in front of a black and white TV watching the water-hoses and attack dogs unleashed on Black protesters. One of my early political heros was Barbara Jordan. Pre-Obama, I always admired and respected the congressional black coalition. I’ve never posted, but daily read “the confluence”. I always look forward to posts by LI (I love your mind). Here I am in my fifties and now I am a racist because I disagree with the policies and politics of our first Black President. So disturbing to have lived to see this day.

  16. I think you’re taking the word “privilege” in a way it’s not meant.

    Meant by you or meant by Tinfoil Hattie?

    Yes, if all other things are equal a white person has an advantage over a POC.

    But far too often that’s not how the term/theory of white privilege gets used.

    • I’ve seen “white privilege” used to mean “you’re a racist and don’t know it.”

      It also gets used the way TH used it – to completely dismiss someone’s point of view.

      • I’m not in tinfoil Hattie’s head, I can only speak for myself. 🙂 She clearly misconstrued and misinterpreted LI’s point and was rude. I think her underlying point is that it’s condescending and inappropriate for white people to tell POC what racism is, which is a valid argument, but certainly not what LI did at all. Carter and Pelosi are white, correct? TFH also failed to explain the racism after telling LI she’s supposedly minimizing it because her whiteness keeps her from seeing/caring, so overall totally unproductive.

        • What TH did was basically say that LI’s opinions on racism are invalid because she is white.

          • I want to make it real clear I’m not defending TFH, but I read her more as saying that it’s easy to minimize racism when you don’t experience it and aren’t as attuned to it. Let’s stipulate from the jump that’s not what LI did at all and TFH is a bit of a jerk, but as an argument, that’s not a bad one. You know how if I went to a blogstalker and told them about some sexism I experienced and they’d laugh and say I’m imagining things and I should count my blessings because things are much worse in Pakistan?

          • She even seemed to go a bit farther by suggesting that because a person was white that they couldn’t possibly grasp discrimination. Discrimination doesn’t just come in the form of racism. TFH has no way whatsoever to know whether LI has experienced classism or sexism or any one of the other isms which shouldn’t be diminished simply because they aren’t racism.

          • She was talking specifically about racism. She didn’t say if a person’s white they can’t grasp discrimination. For the purposes of her pov, it’s irrelevant whether they have experienced discrimination or not. For example, Obama has experienced racism, but that doesn’t mean he gives a damn about sexism. Likewise, just because someone’s experienced homophobia doesn’t mean they won’t minimize sexism because they don’t experience it and so on with all forms of discrimination.

          • When did Obama experience racism?

          • If she’s a white person maintaining that talking about racism is tedious, and black people are always going around saying how everything is racist, then yeah. Those particular opinions are invalid.

            Can men decide what is sexist?

          • Are women the sole arbiters of sexism?

          • When did Obama experience racism?

            Oh, for fucks sake, seriously? Look, I freaking despise Obama, as a politician, but to deny he ever ever faced racism once in his entire life is ridiculous. For example, every single woman can point to at least one time she was the victim of misogyny, whether it was street harassment or random groping or sexual assault. These simple interactions do not get reported in the news, especially when one is not (yet) President of the United States, but it is a virtual certainty that every woman in the world will personally experience misogyny at least once, more likely multiple times, and some women will experience it in far more dire extremes than others.

            Obama may not have faced most of the systemic barriers that many persons of colour have, but it is a virtual certainty that he has experienced racism at least once, and more likely more than once, far before 2008. Please, let’s have a reality check here.

          • Are women the sole arbiters of sexism?

            Sole? Not really. There are a few men, like Stephen Lewis, who’ve moved past their male privilege enough to stop excusing and start honestly recognizing misogyny when its staring them in the face.

            But as women are those who are most frequently and far more severely affected by the biases of patriarchy than men are, they are far more conscious and have a greater understanding of how patriarchy works than those who benefit from denying its existence.

          • Oh, for fucks sake, seriously?

            IOW – Obama has observed racism. We have all observed racism.

            When did he get denied a job, or a promotion because of his race? When was he harassed for “driving while black?” When was he attacked and beaten by racists?

            The only example he has ever given was hearing a HS coach use racial epithets.

          • Sole? Not really.

            But you get to decide which men’s opinions count and which one’s don’t.

        • I disagree that I misconstrued LI’s point; so please do get out of my head.

          I didn’t call anyone names, but I’ve been called names throughout the thread.

          Additionally, I did not say LI is racist. I said her white privilege is showing.

          And myiq, I am not using “privilege” wrong. You just don’t want to face yours.

          • Now it’s your turn to get out of my head.

          • look TFH, I don’t think you read my post because you clearly did not get the point of it.
            You have not tried to argue with me based on facts, because you have not used a single example from what I said in my post to prove I’m apparently white priveleged.
            And honestly I find your characterization of me and my experiences to be insulting, because as I explained, you know nothing about me or my life.

      • I got told by Elise on Dkos that everyone was racist. That it’s inherent. I found that position absurd.

        My nephew is AA. I wonder how my sister ever overcame her “inherant” racism(rolling eyes).

        It’s as simple as making a choice to look at someone from the inside out, instead of from the outside in. It’s about keeping an open mind and being respectful of people’s experiences and opinions.

    • By the way, that’s a hypothetical. We know in actuality that isn’t what occurred for those gentleman at the Fire Department. The fact that they weren’t a minority actually hurt them. So the reality isn’t as easy as the theoretical.

  17. Let’s not forget who fueled all this racist garbage all over again. Barack Obama during his campaign. If you remember…they called Bill Clinton a racist. Things were far from perfect before that…but I said during the campaign..obama will set racism back by many years. That’s all we heard. A design by the democratic party. Now no matter what we do…we are racists. I don’t think this is the change anyone was looking for. What a way to win an election. What a way to run a country.

    • This is the reason why any accusation of racism at this point, by Dem party leaders, falls on deaf ears here. If they consider the Clintons racist then… the discussion is over. Everyone is racist. So why even try to understand?

      They have totally rendered meaningless the word “racist.” And, if that was the goal …. OK then.

    • Out of this whole thread, this is what puts it altogether for me! Good point Betty!!! Obama comes out and says none of this has a thing to do with racism; yet, he called Bill Clinton a racist! wow – shaking my head while looking back at the campaign. Yup – he’ll set it way, way, way back.

  18. What we’re talking about is intersectionality, how people are relatively privileged vis a vis each other.

    Why focus on the fact that poor whites may have it slightly better than poor blacks when rich people have it way better than poor people?

    Focusing on race pits poor whites against poor POC.

  19. Oops! Pawlenty gives out phone sex number – LOL


  20. I think a conversation on race can be a good thing as long as its a conversation and not a lecture.
    A conversation about race can and should be a two way conversation and both sides must be prepared to talk and listen.
    Conversations about race can and should be civil and free of name calling.
    Most people of any race feel that Kenye was being a “jack ass” for doing what he did and black people have to call him out on his racism. Its time to have a two way conversation where both races talk and both races listen that has never happened before and its damn time it does.

  21. I keep screaming my head off because I don’t see the racial discimination as much as I see a socioeconomic discrimination. Obama was elected right? Did I miss that? I remember Donna Brazille used Nancy’s line about “there will be blood in the streets” when there was a chance Obama might not get the nomination.
    Its the poor that are getting screwed. You can be white, black, yellow or brown. If you don’t have any money, you’re at the bottom of the heap. Its those people Hillary spoke of when she said we’d no longer be invisible. As of now, we are transparent and don’t even exist in DC. They can’t relate. Obama was on food stamps? Remember that line? He doesn’t.

    • Well, now that we’ve had one president who’s half black, there’s no racial discrimination anymore, right? Whew! Thank goodness.

    • Its the poor that are getting screwed.

      Exactly and why he was installed as the Dem candidate ….. to get in and speed that along. imo

  22. “Isms” of all sorts certainly do exist in the various elements of society. However, the problem lies in when, and how, to apply an “ism” to a situation. Racism is now being constantly misapplied, to the point of rendering it impotent, and irrelevant.

    The first time, in my long life, that I was ever called a racist, or a bigot, was following the SC primary, when I wrote , what I thought to be a very reasoned, and factual, defense of HRC, on a NYT blog. I seconded her remarks regarding the fact that it absolutely took both the actions of MLK/Civil Rights Movement, and LBJ/Legislatively, to bring the Civil Rights Act into being.

    The next three posters did not bother to respond to the facts of my comment. They, in turn, merely wrote that I was a racist, a bigot, or both. Since then, being called a racist has the same effect on me that being called an a**hole, or any other ad-hominem label, does. None!

    The Obama campaign, and their lapdogs, introduced racism into the primaries, based on a long planned script. They used it successfully, to the amazement, and consternation, of all of us that are old enough, or aware enough, to distinguish true racism from a ploy, or a charade.

    Now, that tired, false, illogical, meme is all they have, and they become more desperate each day. Hence, the fact we are now witnessing hollow, psycho-babble, efforts directed toward redefining the meaning of the term.

    Incompetence, perniciousness, divisiveness, and deception, know no color, race, creed, religion, nor ethnicity. First Bush, now Obama, is ample proof of that. You could paint either of them blue, green, whatever, and you would still have the underlying character flaws. Racism plays no part in the over-all scenario.

    Flawed is flawed, failure is failure, and deceit is deceit.. No modifiers are needed.

    • Thank you for your post.

    • The next three posters did not bother to respond to the facts of my comment. They, in turn, merely wrote that I was a racist, a bigot, or both. Since then, being called a racist has the same effect on me that being called an a**hole, or any other ad-hominem label, does. None!

      I feel for you bb. Sounds a like what TFH is doing to me on this thread.

  23. Little Isis. Great post. Great discussion!

    Your generation is our best chance of conquering the bigotries of social dominance.

    ((Luv Ya!))

  24. Well, LI, it seems that we’re having a discussion on r@cism, classism etc. Whatever you intended, I think it’s a good thing. Keep stimulating thought at TC.

    R@ce, class, gender and other factors influence the pecking order. I think class is the least addressed. The minority that is at the top of the class pecking order surely is powerful and frightened. Remember how Bush 2 used to suppress discussion of classism with the accusation of “class wars.” I think the current use of r@ce to deflect criticism of Obama is just another power move. But I don’t believe we need stop discussing r@cism. We just need to call out the deceptive tactics when we see them.

  25. I was waiting for a friend to get ready so we could have a catch up lunch and I was looking though her copy of the New Yorker. It was the issue about their festival.
    They had pages of drawings of the participants,obots all, and it occurred to me with much force ( again ) just how much elitists they are and that Obama is their ticket to unbridaled, unthinking elitism ….no wonder they loved him.

  26. Asians and others must get pissed off that they are so rarely thought of in this conversation. You would think there are only two races on earth…

  27. I’m going to backtrack and address a post I read upthread.

    Helen Huntingdon, wrote:
    “The term refers to whether or not a black person and a white person in identical circumstances would be treated the same.
    If both are in miserable circumstances, and the black person is, for example, treated more judgmentally by the cops, the white person is still experiencing white privilege even in their miserable circumstances.
    When people mention white privilege, they’re not saying that if you’re white, you’re fine, or if you’re white, stop complaining. They’re just saying that if you were black, you’d be even worse off than you are now.”

    I agree with this assessment, but not 100 percent. It leaves out places like Detroit, where African-Americans are in the vast majority and have been in control of all the city’s major institutions since the early 1970s. By no means am I insinuating that all black people in Detroit are privileged. Oh, hell no. The high school graduation rate in the Detroit Public Schools, for example, is around 20 percent for black boys. But for white boys in the Detroit Public Schools, the graduation rate is even lower– 17 percent. Average income for whites in Detroit is lower than the average income for blacks. There are also a number of special programs and scholarships that whites are not eligible for. So who is worse off here?

    I think we’re also not addressing the issue of white guilt. White people– esepcially white liberals– feel BAD about the way black people have been treated historically as well as in the present and many of them will go out of their way to try and correct any real or perceived injustices. But these same white liberals absolutely despise “white trash”. So if one of these guilty white liberals is in a position to hire someone and they have a poor black applicant and a poor white one, which one will get the job? Or the scholarship? Or the home loan? Of course, the argument can be made that this is racism in and of itself– the guilty white believes the poor black person (and sometimes even a not-so-poor black person, a la Barack Obama) can’t get by without that white liberal’s help, whereas the poor white is perceived as someone who is perfectly capable of pulling himself up by his bootstraps if only he would try a little harder.

    • Jen, thanks for the nuance. Detroit is a great teacher. Living there and in New Orleans taught me more about race relations than anything I’ve ever read in the NY Times.

      Thank you ittleisis for a great read for someone who no longer has to see the world through the race prism.

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