Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Because Some Of My Friends Really Are

Ben, over at Hammerswing has a good response to the latest act in Jeremiah Wright's minstrel show.

He sums up Jeremiah Wright's views rather succinctly:

"From what I can gather, Wright believes that whites and blacks are genetically different, musically different, educationally different and just plain everything different. And I want to note that he was saying that blacks are different, not deficient."

This is part of the problem, maybe the problem, of racial issues in America.
The message whites are getting from Negroes Blacks African Americans People of Color... oh hell, whatever it is these people want to be called these days is one of confusion.
First: Treat us the same.
No: Treat us different.
First: We're no different.
No: We are different.
First: You need to try to understand us.
No: You can't understand us.
First: Be nice to us.
No: We won't let you be nice to us.
First: We are just like you.
No: No we aren't.
First: Don't patronize us.
No: Treat us special.

It's not a double standard. It's a case of ever changing (non)standards to meet the needs of the latest demagogic blowhard du jour, and the crowd of ethnic sycophants who rally around their own.
A veritable circus of absurdity:

It's absurd to get all upset over a "nigger" remark, and then give awards and praises to 'artists' who can't say the word often enough.

It's absurd that a minister can blame whites for all of his people's ills, but whites are racist if they point out it's not white men fathering all those ghetto bastards.

It's absurd to blame white racism when black African immigrants are overwhelmingly successful and enter the economic mainstream. Of a 'white' America.

Something went wrong somewhere, and it wasn't with the white folk, when thousands of ((whatever these people want to call themselves now days)) marched for civil rights, dressed well, and put their best selves forward in advance of their cause to be accepted into mainstream society and now, the goal today, after achieving the goal of legal parity yesterday, is to be as belligerently in-yer-face as possible and shout down any criticism with the accusation of racism.
Sadly, too many whites bought into the bully tactics, and run and hide, and act all apologetic for fear of being remotely thought of as racist.

I stopped buying into that 'white guilt' crap a generation ago.
You see, I never held anybody down, never owned a slave, never sat in the front of a southern bus. And my family is from the North. Land of Lincoln, as a matter of fact. And what more, hail from, and founded, the most militantly pro-Union/anti-Confederacy city during the War of Northern Aggression.
My people gave their people Lincoln, and a war to free them.
You wanna talk reparations, and what not? Who owes what to whom for what reason?
They should be kissing my ass instead of attempting to shame me into kissing theirs.

That is, if I wanted to play their same shame game.
But I don't.
And I won't.
Niether of us was there.
I can no more take credit for abolition than they can demand my apology for slavery.

I will do as I've always done.
Treat everybody the same, according to their own behavior and attitudes toward me.
I reserve the right to pass my own judgements as evidence presents itself, as I expect you to do as well.
I reserve the right to make humor of any differences, as I expect you to do as well.

My word to most everybody, regardless of where your relatives came from: I treat you as you will treat me. Plain and simple. Don't lump me in with those who whipped your great-great-great-great grandfather, and I won't lump you in with those who beat Reginald Denny. Fair?

And my personal word to Jeremiah Wright, and those who think like him: you can find it in the illustration at the top of this post. You've earned it.


Jade said...

There is something to cultural differences, I think... but to state that the color of your skin automatically places you within a whole culture is presumptuous.

He is defining people by the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character.

whall said...

I agree about the ever-changing non standards. good way to put it.

The Law Fairy said...

The answer to one kind of extremism isn't to cling to the other extreme. Can you say with absolute certainty that your position in life is no different from the average black man's? That your perspectives about justice and society should reasonably be exactly the same? That your life experiences should have been equivalent up to this point?

Making this issue into blacks vs. whites is pointless and divisive. This is why Jeremiah Wright's comments are off-base and offensive, and it's also why yours are as well. Framing the argument as being "white people did this to me so they owe me back" is clumsy, at best. Sure, there are black people who do that. Does that mean, therefore, that every black person and every critical race theorist in the country is necessarily wrong? You're using a straw man here. If you want to really take issue with the black community's concerns with racism, you should address those who represent the best of that community, not the worst of it. What you're doing here is no fairer than for an atheist to use the Spanish Inquisition as a justification for anti-Catholic bias.

Also, to disclaim, on behalf of all white people, any and all responsibility for how society has gone wrong since the Civil Rights Movement is beyond absurd. You can't honestly pretend that you actually believe that, in the 40+ years since the Civil Rights Movement, white people, the entire race, have acted beyond reproach in every conceivable way. I mean, come on. You only need a single example to refute this, and I'm sure I don't need to offer one.

The Law Fairy said...

Oh, also -- your word to Jeremiah Wright is "eggplant"?

Brian said...

The message whites are getting from [black people]... is one of confusion...


Don't lump me in with those who whipped your great-great-great-great grandfather, and I won't lump you in with those who beat Reginald Denny.

Gino, I find it interesting that you start off by framing the issue as "the message whites are getting from blacks" and end up demanding to be treated as an individual with regard to racial issues.

You've identified (correctly, in my view) that the underlying problem is a tendency to view large groups of people (especially those that are the "other") as having homogeneous attitudes and collective responsibility for their actions. But you don't seem to have applied this standard to your own argument.

Gino said...

Law Fairy: i have the same right to say outrageous things as some of the others, that includes the blame game.
or, we can all just chill and be cool with each other and stop bringing up greivences.
the ball is in their court, individually speaking. and any person's approach to me will determine my approach to them.

brian: my point is that i'm not going to tip toe around somebody elses sensitivities, or bear guilts for something i have no part in..
and i extend the same privilages to others.

whall: thanks, and thanks for stopping in.

jade: yup.

RW said...

Another instance of great minds thinking somewhat alike. But you are far too tame with this.

The Law Fairy said...

Gino, I never suggested you don't have the right to be outrageous. Obviously I wasn't saying that, any more than you were suggesting we should forcibly restrict what Wright has to say (although maybe I'm operating under a misapprehension here... were you calling for a suspension of his First Amendment rights?). Saying I think you're wrong is hardly the same as saying I think you don't have the right to say the wrong things you're saying :)

But try to be objective about this. (That's not a command, it's a suggestion that you are free to disregard, this being America and all). How are people supposed to "chill" when you're stoking the flames of racial intolerance? I don't care who "started it." Certainly, at least, you can't mean that ALL black people owe you some kind of apology for not kowtowing to white sensibilities? I mean, do you honestly not see how an average, totally non-activist black person could wander onto your blog, read what you wrote, and think "dude, why's he so pissed at black people"?

As for whose "court" any ball is in, really what you're doing here is you're pouting. If you want to sulk in the corner and point at the black people and say "they have to change first," um, okay, fine. I don't really see how that's remotely productive, but I guess that's your choice. Or you could *ACTUALLY* chill out, which would mean getting off your high white horse and realizing that, no matter whose fault anything is (because at this point, hell, let's just blame it on Hitler. It'd make just as much sense as anything else), we have a problem. So we can decide to be part of the solution, or we can decide to sit there and say "I don't want to fix this problem, so I'm going to pretend the people who notice it are making it up." Your choice, of course.

Gino said...

LW: i'm not stoking any flames of hatred, but a few of another color make a good living do just that.

--Certainly, at least, you can't mean that ALL black people owe you some kind of apology for not kowtowing to white sensibilities?

no, what i'm saying is i wont kow tow to theirs, and they have no reason to kow tow to me.

--I mean, do you honestly not see how an average, totally non-activist black person could wander onto your blog, read what you wrote, and think "dude, why's he so pissed at black people"?

sure, i can see how the perpetualy sensitive can be offended. i'm saying its not my issue, but theirs. i will not live for another's sensibilities. thats my rule. and i extend the same privilage to them.

basically, i'm laissez faire.
do as you will.
as i will do, as well.
nobody is going to solve this problem until we stop treating each other different. being 'nice' to the colored guy requires me to first acknowledge he's a colored guy,(that alone is racist) and odds are, depending on what tribal mind of coloreds he belongs to, my odds of offending are 50-50, at best. considering I am ME, its probably more like 95-5 odds.

so, like i said, as you do to me, i will do to you. just leave me out of your historical grievences, and i will do the same for you.
hate me.
love me.
or ignore me.

its all the same.

either way, my life will go on.

Gino said...

RW: i think was typing mine as you were typing yours. LOL

job well done, btw.

Mark Heuring said...

Good post, Gino. As always, you give me things to think about.

And you've hit upon the real problem. You are free to believe what you want. I am, too. Too many people tell themselves that they have to believe things because of the color of their skin or their background. That's what folks mean when they talk about "white privilege." You and I don't face any repercussions from holding whatever views we please. Unfortunately, too many people think they have to subscribe to groupthink.

Gino said...

--Too many people tell themselves that they have to believe things because of the color of their skin or their background.

seems like their issue, not mine.
i been white all my life, where are my privilages? all the privilage goes to the rich, or the colored.
my whole life, its been legal to descriminate aginst me. and SCOTUS says its OK. no black man under 50 can say that.

like i tell my kids: play the hand your dealt and stop whining.

Uncle Ben said...

As my dad might say, we're in a sticky wicket on this one. When it comes right down to it, I don't think that we can move to a "post-racial" society on purpose. It's up to individuals to act like they should. For my part, I'll try to treat people well no matter what their race is.

The Law Fairy said...

as you do to me, i will do to you

Ah yes. The Reverse Golden Rule. Jesus would be proud.

Gino said...

yer right.
maybe i should just offer planned parenthood a donation?

Guitarman said...

I love your "I will treat everyone the same according to their own behaviors".... I can tell you there were some jerks in my USMC supply school class back in 1982. Though I despised their behavior and racist attitude toward me, I havn't and can't let that affect how I treat others who are a different race from me. However, when people behave badly, I will hold them responsible for THEIR behavior and attitudes. God bless Tori Hunter by the way. Wish he was still a Minnesota Twin!

kr said...

I agree that the only way to move through and past racism (and just about everything else) is for every person to choose to take personal responsibility for their actions.

I agree that in order to gain a foothold in the American power structure, the descendants of enslaved Africans chose to (I think HAD to) work in visible unison. And that the visible union is necessarily not reflective of individual realities, and therefore is NECESSARILY ridiculous and malleable when some group attempts to maintain it beyond any specific purpose.

Group suffer from within their "group" and from exterior perceptions, when people falsely assign "waffling" to what are essentially different eras of development in the understanding (and usefulness) of the group. 'Feminists' have started to self-analyse and divide "their" history into conceptual eras that clearly lead into one another but have very very different focii. I think within 'the black community' this is taking place, but not much of it is seen outside of the concerned parties in either case.

It is even happening on a smaller scale with the midwifery community: historical periods of antagonistic relationship with the "medical" community cycle with periods of cooperative relationship. It's not that the overall goals have changed (healthy motherbabies), it's that the societal situation has changed.

An interesting thing to know, would be: what is the "goal" of the amorphous group that self-identifies as African Americans(/politically correct term of the day)?

Also interesting, the degree to which as former goals are met, clinging to the intial group identity begins to look silly. Where to draw the line between "we still need to do work" and "we make the work ridiculous by suggesting a degree of damage that is now only historical"--feminists and blacks currently face this, I think. They can't scream and be taken seriously anymore, because the problems just aren't screamably huge anymore--but if you don't scream noone hears you. Homosexuals might be headed into this grey zone soon.

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