Posts Tagged white people have no race
Please read this excellent column in NYT by Ta-Nehisi Coates:
In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist. In 1957, neighbors in Levittown, Pa., uniting under the flag of segregation, wrote: “As moral, religious and law-abiding citizens, we feel that we are unprejudiced and undiscriminating in our wish to keep our community a closed community.”
The idea that all racists are bad people has given way to the conclusion that only bad people can be racists. This reduction has created an environment in which everyone agrees that racism is a bad thing, but it’s nearly impossible to call a spade a spade.
The focus should not be on racist individuals. The focus should be on ideas, actions and policies that give rise to inequities and unfair treatment. Good people can do harmful, hurtful things and defend a status quo that hurts some people more than others. If everyone who participated in an unbalanced system was a terrible person, the world would contain nothing but terrible people. Let’s not mistake social criticism for character assassination.
Okay, the WordPress video insert doesn’t seem to be working today, so here’s the link to the video on YouTube:
I’ve pasted a lot of relevant passages from the transcript below the jump, but the Golden Heap of Nonsense is bolded.
I’m sorry to be doing this over the phone, your father has forbidden me from seeing you in person. I’m sorry, he just cannot support your lifestyle anymore, he will not be speaking to you again, he asked me to tell you.
Ashley Miller’s father disowned her, just after Thanksgiving, because she’s dating a black guy. Her stepmother called to tell her the situation.
Your lifestyle is just not OK with him, he has bent as much as he will bend. He has bent so much and you haven’t bent at all.
I insist on clarification, “My lifestyle?”
Yes. Your father is an old Southern man, he was raised like that, he was raised to believe that races just don’t mix. It was the final straw. He loves you, he just doesn’t like you.
“So, this is entirely because he’s black?”
I told him it didn’t matter to you, that all you cared about was that someone didn’t believe in God and nothing else. But he just can’t bend anymore. You knew this would be his reaction.
I was admittedly worried he’d disapprove, but then he’d meet the boyfriend and like him and it would be fine. Also, my boyfriend isn’t even atheist.
We’ve gotten to the point in race relations in this country where we assume that acceptance of interracial relationships is a low bar to clear. We still argue about institutional issues like college admissions policies, mass incarceration, and racial profiling, but we don’t often hear about opposition to interracial romance.
However, Ms. Miller’s father is not alone in his belief that “races just don’t mix,” and he probably insists that this does not make him racist.
Take a closer look at this:
Your father is an old Southern man, he was raised like that, he was raised to believe that races just don’t mix.
That “belief” is not an evidence-based one, but it has resulted in copious, utterly unproductive misery for centuries. Races do mix, and there are a lot of people who wouldn’t exist otherwise. The entire racial group we call “Hispanic,” for example, is a result of “The gang’s all here!” reproductive interaction.
The explanation is that Ashley’s father was raised with a belief that interactions such as his daughter’s current relationship are not acceptable, and that he is addressing the conflict by cutting ties with his daughter rather than by challenging his beliefs. This belief, that racial boundaries are set in stone and some lines must not be crossed because “old Southern men” say so, is more important to him than his relationship with his only child.
This is why, whenever I hear someone support some nonsensical practice with “It’s tradition!” I am unimpressed. One might even say I’m skeptical of the idea of tradition itself. Some traditions are innocuous and fun. Some traditions are oppressive, nonsensical and break up families. The stepmother’s defense of her husband as “he was raised like that” is an appeal to tradition, and a strong example of why any idea whose main defense is that we’ve always done it that way, deserves our scrutiny, not our deference.
Alyson Miers is the author of Charlinder’s Walk.
The Arkansas Times shows us some choice snippets from a book authored by state Rep. Jon Michael Hubbard, who has very ugly taste in cover design:
“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)
Yeah. He elaborates that life in sub-Saharan Africa is so awful that even in slavery, blacks were better off in America. So…the Europeans that forcibly rounded up Africans and imported them to the Americas to become human livestock were actually doing them a favor, because it would’ve been worse to leave them to get on with their lives in Africa. Get it?
Ark Times goes on to share with us more of Hubbard’s pontifications about the fact that there are black people living in America, such as: African-Americans have difficult lives because they do not appreciate the value of a good education, school integration has basically ruined the educational system, African-Americans have not “firmly establish[ed] themselves as inclusive and contributing members of society” (I’m sort of scratching my head over what exactly he means by “inclusive”), and his thoughts on immigration are even more exciting.
He says slavery was a blessing because it gave Africans a chance to become Americans, but now that slavery is over, his view is that black folks ruin everything.
Does the book ever say, in so many words, that “I hate black people”? Because it should. That’s the basic thread that runs through all these ideas.
Kristin Booker would like everyone to stop asking her where her ancestors came from. It gets old when you get the same question every day:
“Where are you from?”
“Charleston, West Virginia.”
“No, I mean where are you FROM? What’s your racial background?”
“No, I mean which one of your parents is white/Asian/other? Because you can’t be ALL black.”
This is where the compulsive pedant in me rears its head and says something about how probably a sizable majority of African-Americans have some proportion of European ancestry, so “you can’t be ALL black” is a brainless thing to say. There’s a difference between genetics and cultural identification, and when Booker answers with, “I’m black,” she’s making a cultural identification based on the fact that all of her parents and grandparents make the same identification. I could go on talking about the one-drop rule and what I like to call the “walking down the street test,” which is an important factor in race relations. (For example: when people see me walking down the street, they see a white person without ambiguity. This is simple enough for someone who looks like me, but a person of multiracial heritage could get a more varied reaction, which is where the annoying conversation comes in.)
Someone thought this was a joke to tell in a public venue:
During a rootin’, tootin’ jamboree this weekend, the announcer made a joke about the First Lady being offered $50 to appear in National Geographic magazine. GET IT?!?!
But wait, there’s context. You see, jokester
Ed Kutzwas making a comparison between attractiveness of Mrs. Obama and potential future First Lady Ann Romney. Romney, he said, was offered $250,000 to appear in Playboy magazine (yeah, Playboy loves the 63-year-olds) whereas Obama, who possesses inferior attractiveness to Romney, was only offered a tiny, pathetic sum to appear in a magazine that often features pictures of animals.
As the commenters on Jezebel point out, the connection to National Geographic is more about naked pygmies than gorillas and chimps, but still. If you’re going to work a crowd into a froth by telling lame-ass jokes that amount to, “BECAUSE THEY’RE BLACK, GET IT?!”, there are subtler, more dog-whistle-ish ways to do it than by saying Michelle Obama is ugly. I guess you don’t have a problem with contributing to a culture that makes black girls feel like shit by telling them pretty=white, but your audience didn’t think it was quite so funny, now did they?
Now I’m gonna crawl back into my hole of allowing rumors of my death to germinate. I’m not quite dead yet; just no longer trying to hide my insanity.
The data has come in, and it shows that only 49.6% of last year’s new babies were non-Hispanic white. If you’re like me, you look at those numbers, say “Oh. Okay,” and then go in for another workday in your office in which you are the only native Anglophone in your department. If you are a racist asshat, however, then you look at those numbers and start spraying turds all over the Internet which make me embarrassed to be counted as white.
If you want to see how bankrupt an idea white supremacy is, look no further than the spewings of white supremacists.
According to Colorlines, CeCe McDonald has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter. While this charge is far less appalling than murder, and a 41-month prison sentence is less damaging than 80 years, it is, nonetheless, wrong. They attacked first, and she acted in self-defense. She has been prosecuted for having refused to take their abuse sitting down. This is a great way to send a message to trans people, especially black trans women: “We do not want you here.” It is an act of erasure, far less gradual and subtle than most.
News sources in Britain (I use the term “news source” very loosely for the Mail) would like to show us divergent twins born to biracial parents. First, we see these cute little girls who just turned seven:
The kids are perfectly huggable, but I find it rather distracting how the Mail is so set on making sure we know they don’t face any racism! No, not at all, their differing colors are never an issue, thank you much!, but hey, maybe this really is their experience so far. They’re only seven and are still several years away from secondary school.
It hasn’t been quite so easy for these young men:
It’s interesting how their all-white school was so much easier for James (the darker one) than for Daniel (the pale one). Sometimes, it isn’t really difference so much as ambiguity that attracts hostility. Small-minded people want to be able to store others securely in neat little boxes, and a guy like Daniel upsets their sense of order.
And then there’s this shit:
I haven’t read the books, but fortunately we have Dodai Stewart to show us the parts where Rue’s and Thresh’s physical descriptions were given in the text. One is left to wonder why it is such a goddamn surprise to these “fans” to see the characters portrayed by black actors.
Let’s be clear about what we’re dealing with: these are horrible people, and their reading comprehension is pathetic. Two separate issues, both disturbing in their own ways.
Between Joel “Adults should not enjoy books which I have not deigned to try” Stein and these asshats, I kind of want to read the series just to spite these ridiculous bigots.
Furthermore, as the author of a novel with a multiracial-black protagonist, this knee-jerk reaction bugs the shit out of me. Yes, it’s very nice to know that blond children can be seen as “innocent” whereas little black girls who look like this are not so hard to see killed. It’s very nice to know that characters who are portrayed on screen as African-Americans are not “good.” So I made it easy for everyone and put my highly intelligent, thoughtful, more-a-lover-than-a-fighter guy on the cover so no one runs the risk of reading a novel about a black dude without realizing it.
ETA: I’m sorry to say that I’m no longer using this cover for my novel. It’s still on the inside, however.