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Recognizing the notion of "other"

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Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Mad Howler » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:47 pm

I see my own approach to civicism as clumsy, so when I read the following link I am in awe of the essayist and the exercise of Sister Jane Elliot in the embedded link.

http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot ... asure.html


This is certainly and old, and relevant, struggle.

"Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt."
William Shakespeare, "Measure for Measure", Act 1 scene 4
Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)  
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Detritus » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:09 am

Howler, you really need to learn to summarize.
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Mad Howler » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:54 pm

Hey, I am barking along here. It is of no use for me to tell you or "summarize" what to think. What do you think? I find what I pointed to compelling, but I am still getting my head around how it all fits in much more broadly.
Any thoughts anyone?
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Detritus » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:42 pm

Mad Howler wrote:Hey, I am barking along here. It is of no use for me to tell you or "summarize" what to think. What do you think? I find what I pointed to compelling, but I am still getting my head around how it all fits in much more broadly.
Any thoughts anyone?

You don't summarize to tell us what to think. You summarize to give us a clue why you are pointing at something. If all you do is point, even if we go look we have no idea why you pointed. I could respond by pointing at Lives of Black Folk and saying "huh, I never thought that way."

What would you make of that?
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby pjbogart » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:52 pm

I thought the notion of inserting the five steps of grief into a conversation about race relations was an interesting twist. Unfortunately, most people who have difficulties grappling with race are going to find Jane Elliot's tendency to diminish the issues that they deal with as simply efforts to impose a sense of white guilt. Essentially, she seemed to suggest that the young woman who perhaps suffered discrimination based upon gender or sexual orientation should feel guilty about resenting that discrimination. At least she's not black, right?

It's a reasonable point that some of us suffer discrimination based upon our choices. If I died my hair purple and started dressing as a woman I would probably anticipate that people would treat me differently. People of color do not have that choice, as the instructor points out. But it seems perfectly natural that you would place more emphasis on the injustice that you personally experience over the injustice that others around you experience.

Ok, so here's the touchy part. African Americans suffer a great deal of institutionalized racism. They are often discriminated against for the color of their skin, something which they have no control over. But would you actually argue that African Americans never do things that cause them to be discriminated against completely independent of their skin color? Do you pull your pants up? Do you tip your waiter? Did you stick around after you got your girlfriend pregnant? Do you hold up the line at PDQ paying for a four pack of Colt 45 and a grape blunt with the nickles you found in your couch cushions? Have you figured out where your turn signal is located? Do you scream at your kids at the top of your lungs in the middle of a grocery store? Did you train your Pitbull by kicking it in the head every time you felt like it? Do you park your car in the middle of the street to talk to friends even though there are four cars behind you?

As the author of the article points out, Barack Obama was able to win an election because white people saw him more as Cliff Huxtable than Coolio. And I guess I did too, because not only did I vote for him twice, I helped on his campaign. But skin color aside, the average African American is nothing like Barack Obama and they have a long way to go to fit into polite society.
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Meade » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:43 am

pjbogart wrote:As the author of the article points out, Barack Obama was able to win an election because white people saw him more as Cliff Huxtable than Coolio. And I guess I did too, because not only did I vote for him twice, I helped on his campaign. But skin color aside, the average African American is nothing like Barack Obama and they have a long way to go to fit into polite society.
You voted for Obama twice? But aren't you a conservative Republican?
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Detritus » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:51 am

Lemme see if I can summarize your comment:
pjbogart wrote:I'm not a racist but I voted for Obama because I think he "acts white."

Did I get that right?
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby pjbogart » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:45 pm

Detritus wrote:Lemme see if I can summarize your comment:
pjbogart wrote:I'm not a racist but I voted for Obama because I think he "acts white."

Did I get that right?


Essentially, yes. But instead of "acts white", insert "respects societal norms". The point of the screed, which was somewhat angry and frustrated, but not drunken, was that while African Americans experience a great deal of discrimination over traits which they have no control, they seem intent to bash themselves over the head with other traits over which they have perfect control. I'm not giving a job to a kid who can't figure out how to pull up his fucking pants. I don't care if he's white, hispanic, black or purple with green polka dots. Pulling up your pants is not "acting white", it's "respecting societal norms".

While I agree that institutionalized racism is a terribly unfair thing and a great number of otherwise respectable African Americans suffer discrimination for no reason other than the color of their skin, anyone who claims that the black community has no problems other than the way they're treated by whites is obviously not paying attention. I've spent too many years living and working in poor neighborhoods to ignore the obvious.

I didn't vote for Barack Obama because he's black, I voted for him because he was the better candidate.
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Meade » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:21 pm

This is eye-opening. I had begun to think, 50 years after desgregation and the Voting Rights Act, that white racism in America was largely an historical artifact. But seeing the obvious racism in pjbogart's comments above makes me realize just how insidiously and perniciously it still infects some minds.

Racism was codified into public policy in the early centuries of America in order to legitimate the enslaving of Africans. The remnants of that racism live on in the hearts and minds of people like pj who use voting for Obama or hiring "societally normal" blacks as a way of covering up their fear and revulsion for "others".

What I find perplexing is: where did pjbogart get the notion that expressing such racism here would be viewed favorably by his fellow liberal forons such as Henry V and snoqueen?
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby doppel » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:33 pm

pjbogart wrote: I'm not giving a job to a kid who can't figure out how to pull up his fucking pants. I don't care if he's white, hispanic, black or purple with green polka dots. Pulling up your pants is not "acting white", it's "respecting societal norms".

PJ agrees with Mr. Blaska? There is hope yet. Starting to get a tad more curmudgeonly as the years advance? Congratulations, you are moving well on your journey to full codgerdum. Quick check test: How many top ten songs can you name? How many years has it been since you liked a new song. Can you scratch yourself in public where it itches? Have you fallen recently and had trouble getting up? Welcome, my friend, it's all downhill from here. Hell, you might even find yourself voting (R) by as early as 2020 or 2024. Stranger shit has happened. You could look it up.
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby rabble » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:48 pm

Well, I'll be hornswoggled. Meade and Doppel agree that we still need the Voting Rights Act. Who'da thunk?
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby HawkHead » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:17 pm

Interesting thread.

You should try living in the deep South for a while to see that racism is alive and well today.

I don't agree with PJ but I salute him for telling his "truth".
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Meade » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:31 pm

That's just it - pj is not "telling his truth". He's fecklessly trying to cover it up.
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby pjbogart » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:42 pm

HawkHead wrote:I don't agree with PJ but I salute him for telling his "truth".


I suspect a whole hell of a lot of Democrats and Republicans agree that the term "racism" is lobbed around too much. If I complained about the Korean woman at the office who brought terrible smelling kimchi to work every single day, you'd be a lot less likely to label me a racist that if I were complaining about a black lady and her stinky collard greens. If I complained about my Hispanic neighbor blasting salsa music at all hours, you'd be less likely to label me a racist than if I were complaining about my black neighbor playing rap too loud.

I think racism against African Americans is so pervasive that we're overly sensitive to any criticism leveled at them. You don't think black folks recognize that drug use and absentee fathers are serious problems within their communities? But that's not really racism because you aren't making a judgement about them based solely on their race. It may very well lead to discrimination based upon cultural norms, but it's not really racism.

I don't think African Americans naturally perform poorly in algebra any more than I believe that Chinese people naturally perform well. It's social, cultural, a matter of upbringing and emphasis. What I do have a problem with is when we stick our heads in the sand and pretend somehow that if black students are lagging behind white students it's because we're teaching them wrong, or there's something inherently racist about the education system. My older sister taught elementary school in inner city Milwaukee for about 10 years and complained that the only parents she ever saw were the parents of the children who were doing just fine in school. That's your problem.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was right, it isn't about the color of your skin... it's about the content of your character. You can start by pulling up your pants.
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Re: Recognizing the notion of "other"

Postby Detritus » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:30 pm

pjbogart wrote:
Detritus wrote:Lemme see if I can summarize your comment:
pjbogart wrote:I'm not a racist but I voted for Obama because I think he "acts white."

Did I get that right?


Essentially, yes. But instead of "acts white", insert "respects societal norms".

I think my summary was closer to the mark. And I was going to try to go through your screed point-by-point but then I decided fuck it. You're an idiot, and that's all there is to it. You claim to have spent years living and working in poor neighborhoods, and your older sister taught in inner-city schools in Milwaukee, and yet all you can say is "pull your pants up, dammit?" That's not liberal, nor is it conservative. It's full-on stupid and nothing more.
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