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How to make things better. - Piano wire. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The richest girl in town.

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How to make things better. [Friday, Sep. 28th, 2007|12:31 pm]
The richest girl in town.
You can acknowledge when you have privilege -- benefits, credit, choices -- and try to mediate it. Or -- use that privilege in a way that benefits others.

(You'll still get lots of things you don't deserve just by walking through the world.)

But when you know that choosing one path can have a devastating effect on others, and you have the opportunity to choose a different one, you should know, deep down, what to do. If you decide to exploit that privilege anyway, when you know better?

Well, don't come crying to me.

Because karma is a bitch.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-29 03:29 am (UTC)
This particular loft wouldn't be a good place to raise kids because it only has one staircase and it is a spiral staircase--pretty dangerous for toddlers.

If the conversation fightingwords and I had today is any indication, I wouldn't get much support from fellow parents, what with being one of the only white middle-class families there.
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-29 03:42 am (UTC)
Is it really still like that? Color me surprised. In places other than the bay area, ok, but houses burned because of race here in the bay area? I've never heard of such a thing.

I dunno, maybe my experience is based on a wierd sample set. I spend a lot of time around UC Berkeley, which is primarily a student area (not necessarily white students, please note that whites are in the minority at Cal). The majority of students being somewhat better-off, there are a lot of theft-based violent crimes by poorer people who bus in from lower-class neighborhoods in Oakland. And yes, in almost every one of the crimes, the suspect is a young black male and the victim is non-black.
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[User Picture]From: hyperaesthetika
2007-09-29 01:57 am (UTC)
No I'm not FROM Oakland, but I would like to be, and I would like my kids to be. Or maybe not necessarily Oakland, but the Bay Area, for sure. Berkeley or Oakland ideally.

holy colonialist mentality.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-29 02:21 am (UTC)
I kinda wish she were in the study group. It would be so damn eye-opening. I feel like currently, it's just preaching to the choir.
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-29 03:35 am (UTC)
Hahaha, what?! That's the most absurd thing I've read all day. People of color don't *own* the city of Oakland. Poor people don't *have dibs* on living here. This city is shared by a ton of different races--black, white, latino, korean, chinese, not to mention tons of interracial people... the idea that my wanting to 'be from' Oakland is 'colonialist' is preposterous.
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[User Picture]From: jette
2007-09-29 03:23 am (UTC)
I couldn't slog through the whole thread - too busy marveling at her asking you permission like that. o_0
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-29 03:42 am (UTC)
Guess who's not feeling particularly *magical* today?
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-30 02:50 am (UTC)
Oh, there are plenty but they all have four letters.
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[User Picture]From: shadowfae
2007-09-29 05:22 am (UTC)
That whole exchange, as well as her comments here, are a good example of many of the reasons why I do not interact with or engage any white people over the age of 18.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-30 02:50 am (UTC)
And I don't blame you one bit. It's wise, I'd say. Wise.
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[User Picture]From: tuckova
2007-09-29 06:08 am (UTC)
The whole thread is interesting to me because I don't really know that much about housing in the US. Here it's a totally different set of conflicts--people who didn't support the Communists had property taken from their families after the war, and poor people were moved in to live in these houses formerly occupied by the "bourgeoisie" and these glorious Art Nouveau buildings are now with crumbling facades, and now the people who had been squeezed into housing projects get their old property back but don't always have the ability to fix them up, and... you know, an interesting and different situation, and it's interesting to see the parallels, too.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-30 02:49 am (UTC)
It's interesting to me to see where the lines get drawn outside of the States, and particularly in places that are more ethnically homogenous. There's no way in hell gentrification in this country isn't as linked to race as it is to class, but I know that's not necessarily the case elsewhere.
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[User Picture]From: slutbunwalla
2007-09-29 08:58 am (UTC)
the basic problem I see is that moving in to a neighborhood is not becoming part of a neighborhood so the idea of integration is MOOT if you DON'T FUCKING INTEGRATE.

Just by moving in doesn't mean it's de-segregation....
The idea of edgy-ness that fightingwords put forward is reiterated in the second response that this person wants to live in someplace that's culturally, ethnically, class--ly...diverse...etc.
Which the stagnant sprawl of tract housing suburbia doesn't seem to promise however they don't want any kind of danger that might come along that kind of mix...
Danger is danger and you can have a safe home in the suburbs with a gang of proto-fratboys looking for trouble just as much as anywhere else except that they won't get in as much trouble because of their race and class.
If you're going to have your loft with your gourmet frikken dinners and a swingset but you can't afford to do that in some place you'd like to be a part of community wise then MAYBE YOU CAN'T HAVE IT.
Suck it up. Walk down the street. Learn the names of the store owners, give the nod to the corner lurkers (it's up, not down) say hello and give your lovely privileged change to the homeless folks, watch out for shit going on down the block in front of you but just as much as you watch for a cat crossing the street when you're driving.
Assess, Tabulate, Re-order intentions if necessary....

But this is useless, because the point for the person in question is to be "around" the aura of ethnic diversity without actually being a part of it.

Imagine trapeze for the neighborhood kids to try out....



I suggest going to live in the Small World exhibit at Disney Land.

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[User Picture]From: heresiarch
2007-09-29 09:31 am (UTC)
you know, every now and then, when i'm deep in the middle of the [largely white, middle-class] academic deconstruction of institutional and cultural privilege, i think to myself, waitaminnut -- i'm white and bourgeois, why the hell am i arguing against my own damn privilege? i mean seriously. i should working as hard as i can to maintain my position while i have it! for that matter, i suppose marx was pretty bougie himself. so why was he so invested in getting the workers to rise up? see, i wonder about this sort of thing. shouldn't good marxists dismiss marx for being too privileged himself?

on a serious note, though, i think the debate in question actually gets at the thorny heart of some of these issues. i agree with your arguments concerning race, imperialism, class position, and so forth, but i think mooflyfoof has actually raised an important question -- how can an individual (even one well positioned in a white capitalist society) effectively bring about real structural change? obviously, i think she also stepped into a lot of minefields, but that's precisely the problem. capitalism is obviously very good at reproducing its own class divisions, and ignorance is no more an individual flaw than any other set of structural edifices that sustain the system. i think a lot of the things she said which really trigger your (understandable) anger tie into larger stories white people tell themselves about the current social order. black neighborhoods are poor neighborhoods, and they stay poor because black people just don't work hard enough or don't care enough. white people are a prime target of violence committed by people of color. minority equals poor. racism can be easily identified by openly derogatory sentiments, such as slurs. capitalism may not be ideal, but what would be better? &c.

still, i think it's often difficult for many people to learn to step back and recognize all of these deep-rooted assumptions, to say nothing of then trying to challenge them. of course, i'm not suggesting that people who have been subordinated by power have the responsibility for making this process easier for those with more power -- but i do think that all of us who are committed to challenging the dominant social order have to consider what would be required in order to bring about any kind of change. i think one piece involves rendering privilege visible and explicit and getting people to realize what kind of world a capitalist order perpetuates. but i have some sympathy for both the cognitive dissonance this process can engender, and the very tangible problems these issues then pose for people in privileged positions trying to tackle structural problems.

and sadly, karma so far hasn't done much but make the rich richer and more powerful, and the poor more alienated and further marginalized.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-29 08:26 pm (UTC)

go look up the catalyst project

You know what I want, Jordan? More white people to do the work. I'm tired, and I'm NOT gonna sit here and pity well-off white folks for their ignorance anymore. I'm not giving merit badges to white people who've noticed racism. I won't insult them by doing do, or sicken myself.

At some point, it becomes your responsibility to make positive change. If you decide not to do anything, that's between you and your god.

But I am officially done.
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[User Picture]From: marrythebed
2007-09-29 11:54 am (UTC)
I can't believe how much patience you have. And how respectful you're being when someone's not being respectful to you. You deserve some kind of medal just for the ABILITY to do that. Not saying you should necessarily use the ability too much, because when I was reading it I WAS like ugh fightingwords shouldn't fucking have to do this. But still, your skillz are mindblowing. You = amazing.
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[User Picture]From: marrythebed
2007-09-29 11:55 am (UTC)
Oh and white people should never use "thugs" to refer to anyone who isn't white, imo. It's grossly racist.
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[User Picture]From: rivetpepsquad
2007-09-30 01:57 am (UTC)
Do I ever second this comment.

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[User Picture]From: elusis
2007-10-02 07:56 am (UTC)
Jeebus. I had no clue this was going on as it apparently blew up after I read the original post. RPS mentioned it Sunday and I was like ".... the FUCK???"

At this point all I can do is echo the above. This sucks, that this shit follows you around and worms its way into your life, and it's way too much work and it's not fair. And I feel kind of crappy that I missed being able to try to take a little piece of the burden by adding my voice. Next time, and there will be a next time, I hope I'm timelier.
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From: delux_vivens
2007-09-30 04:20 pm (UTC)

i dont know how you stand it.

really, i dont.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-10-01 02:10 am (UTC)

Re: i dont know how you stand it.

i don't. wagons being circled even at this moment.
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