?

Log in

Second-person, omniscient. - Piano wire. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The richest girl in town.

[ website | www.laurenwheeler.com ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Second-person, omniscient. [Monday, Jan. 12th, 2009|01:25 pm]
The richest girl in town.
[current mental state |Angry. Happy now?]

You know what happens whenever people keep accusing you of being angry when, in fact, you aren't?

You start to get a little pissed off. You also start to question their perception of you, since you spent your younger years questioning yourself all the time, lacking any confidence in the validity of your feelings, and now, at the age of 32, are happy to be pretty damn aware and in control of your emotional process. In fact, you're pretty slow to anger these days, because that's just how you roll: you tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and therefore end up needlessly suffering fools--because it's not until 48 or 72 hours later that you're more than a little pissed that you even sat through those stupid, insulting, jacked-up conversations in the first place.

Yes, at this point you're finally angry--irate, even--after dealing with people who operate from fundamentally wrong assumptions about you; after dealing with people who, without even asking you what you think, assume themselves to be rationally superior to you and throw their academic background in your face, Cornellian; after dealing with people who automatically believe your feelings not only out of proportion but invalid and regardless don't believe you can possibly be thinking and feeling at the same time because they are emotionally shut down and/or incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time; after dealing with people who accuse you of playing "the race card"....

Well, you've decided to post this again not only because some people didn't read it the first time, but because Tim Wise gets paid to explain to white people why even the idea of a "race card" is inherently racist, and you don't.
What Kind of Card is Race?

By TIM WISE


...[W]hite folks have been quick to accuse blacks...of playing the race card, as if their conclusions have been reached not because of careful consideration of the facts as they see them, but rather, because of some irrational (even borderline paranoid) tendency to see racism everywhere. So too, discussions over immigration, "terrorist" profiling, and Katrina and its aftermath often turn on issues of race, and so give rise to the charge that as regards these subjects, people of color are "overreacting" when they allege racism in one or another circumstance.

Asked about the tendency for people of color to play the "race card," I responded as I always do: First, by noting that the regularity with which whites respond to charges of racism by calling said charges a ploy, suggests that the race card is, at best, equivalent to the two of diamonds. In other words, it's not much of a card to play, calling into question why anyone would play it (as if it were really going to get them somewhere). Secondly, I pointed out that white reluctance to acknowledge racism isn't new, and it isn't something that manifests only in situations where the racial aspect of an incident is arguable. Fact is, whites have always doubted claims of racism at the time they were being made, no matter how strong the evidence, as will be seen below. Finally, I concluded by suggesting that whatever "card" claims of racism may prove to be for the black and brown, the denial card is far and away the trump, and whites play it regularly....
http://www.counterpunch.org/wise04242006.html
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: gordonzola
2009-01-12 10:13 pm (UTC)
you know, when you use that tone I can't really hear you.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-12 10:15 pm (UTC)
*shakes tire iron menacingly*
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: botattack
2009-01-12 10:21 pm (UTC)
great article...
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 03:12 am (UTC)
I posted it a while ago when I first ran across it. It never stops being true, unfortunately.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nerak_g
2009-01-12 10:21 pm (UTC)
MMmmmmmm-HMMMMMM!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bucky_sinister
2009-01-12 10:30 pm (UTC)

Denial Card

I like that. Nice work, Mr. Wise.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: sealwhiskers
2009-01-12 10:35 pm (UTC)
I saw that dude babbling in your journ last week, before you banned him, and I'm constantly amazed at all these white guys coming at it from their superior "unemotional" attitude - while in fact it's all an orgy in reversed white guilt, covert racism/sexism and taking their benefits for granted.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 03:14 am (UTC)
In the last few days, it's been several people, both online and off. And when I don't appreciate their tone (which is at turns condescending, adversarial, callous, flippant, and disrespectful), their fee-fees get hurt and they tell me I'm not being "nice" or "polite".

Edited at 2009-01-13 06:49 am (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: erg
2009-01-12 11:02 pm (UTC)
All my basic public health classes are showing this:

http://www.pbs.org/unnaturalcauses/

Racism clearly plays a big part in how long/well someone will live.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 03:09 am (UTC)
Indeed. I've been watching this happen in real-time with my grandmother. I luckily have enough time on my hands and am "angry" enough to make sure that my poor, black, 97-year-old grandmother gets better care than she would otherwise. Hell, better care than she got just a few months ago before I took over.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: i_dread
2009-01-12 11:08 pm (UTC)

Nice post

I've been called bitter, instead of angry. I usually toss back how strong of a drug denial is, and how one shouldn't be injecting it intervenously. It really clouds the eyes over, and turns the soul into a bland fatty soup.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 06:50 am (UTC)

Re: Nice post

I haven't gotten bitter in a while, but I used to.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: whypnk
2009-01-12 11:08 pm (UTC)
don't know if i've ever said this to you, but you are one of the most brilliant people i know and you are constantly inspiring me to become a better person.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 06:50 am (UTC)
Thanks, ladybug.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: aquenigmatic
2009-01-12 11:17 pm (UTC)

Cards

**pinches nose**

What? You don't feel like you've benefited from racism? It's supposed to work to our advantage after all, because of course it's a fucking *game*. I know I sit around at night and think about how I can thwart everyone's logic by playing "The Race Card", "The Gender Card", "The Lesbian Card" (sic), "The Sexual Assault Card" and all the other things that have benefited me fantastically. I'm thinking of opening a Roth IRA. Hell, Aetna is giving me shares.

On a serious note, I'm sorry that was said to you. Grody. Now *I'm* angry.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 03:17 am (UTC)

Re: Cards

I think it's busted_english who actually HAS a Race Card now. It's true. She posted an image of it a while ago.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: yeloson
2009-01-12 11:34 pm (UTC)
We don't get to have feelings, points, or facts. Because obviously we don't fit the mold, we must be angry or trying to "get over". After all, in the magical land of whitehistoria, racism was perpetrated by 5 families and everyone else danced in rainbow happiness! Kumbayah for everyone!

http://yeloson.livejournal.com/528532.html
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 03:07 am (UTC)
That's been in my memories since you posted it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: sammka
2009-01-12 11:55 pm (UTC)
I think that people play the "you're angry" card because they think they would be angry at someone who had actually said something racist, and therefore can't imagine why you'd say something was racist if you weren't angry. Which, of course, itself relies on denial of the of racism: if something is racist, it must be angering; you can't get angry at something that was inadvertent or unintentional. The commenter didn't mean to be racist, therefore they must not be racist, and anyone calling them racist must be (inappropriately) angry.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jetspeaks
2009-01-13 02:38 am (UTC)
Possibly also: If you're angry, you're being irrational, therefore these things you are saying are also irrational and not true?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: unwoman
2009-01-13 12:16 am (UTC)
Sometimes you can't win because to insist that you're not angry reinforces in some minds that you must be, otherwise why would you feel the need to say it?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 06:52 am (UTC)
It's completely a lose-lose situation. But I'm supposed to play along anyway, even though there's no opportunity to win. And by "win" I mean feel at all respected or validated.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: icedaemoness
2009-01-13 01:06 am (UTC)
I totally can see some white jerk locked up in his fancy university doing this.

I just don't see how people we are friends with would do this.

Isn't their space for questioning of the place/direction of tone without it being for the above reasons?

How do we have neutral brainstorms if the emotions are lashing out at one another, rather than lashing out in other directions?

Do all white folks have to experience the emotional response to what other white folks do?
How can I even ask that question without being attacked?

I don't even know how to frame it without it sounding like I'm blindly denying that I could have done anything racist in my life, (which I am not ignorant enough to do; I'm sure I've made ignorant mistakes).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: icedaemoness
2009-01-13 12:58 am (UTC)

How does this work with friends, though?

Here's my honest and humble question:

How is someone supposed to ask for a gentler form of communication without being boxed into "whitey in denial" status?

(Assuming that the subject matter is not an instance that occurred between the conversants, of course. If I have done something to you, I would expect to experience your emotional response.)

Why is the subject of "tone" being absolutely equated with invalidation of the speaker's subject matter in these cases?
(Yes, I read the whole article, and yes I understand that plenty of folks use it as a tool of denial. But when that equation doesn't fit the personality of your friend, why jump to the conclusion that your friend is a racist? Where is the room for a not racist/non-racist answer? And when the options are narrowed down to white/black, isn't that inherently a bad outcome?)

I was raised to train myself to argue my point in a respectful tone, and it gets me extremely far with all sorts of people. So if I were told to "lower my voice" or "not use that tone," I understand that I can still argue my point, and in fact be more easily understood. I believe this to be extremely valuable.
I admit that I am stumped as to why this is considered a "white" skill (and therefore insulting to request of someone who has been wronged because of their race), rather than a "skill."

Don't tell me that people of all races and nations haven't always responded best to folks who can speak clearly and passionately, and engage their audience's minds without engaging their defensiveness. Maya Angelou? ML King? Frederick Douglass? Gandhi? No one expects that much of a friendly conversation, of course, but I don't see why we jump to a negative connotation about "tone" when there are such inspiring examples.

I would ask for a calm tone with any friend, regardless of race or color or subject manner.

A POC's emotional response to racism is valid, but I don't want it pointed a *me,* particularly not in a conversation with a friend.

In conversations where I am already aware that I have to be responsible about my sensitivity and statements, I am particularly aware that I should maintain a thoughtful, peaceful approach. I think that is valid; two people helping one another to express themselves gracefully.

What is the format for a conversation between a POC and a white person where *both* feel safe and not under attack /from the person they are speaking with/?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 04:12 am (UTC)

First-person, omniscient.

How is someone supposed to ask for a gentler form of communication without being boxed into "whitey in denial" status?

HAHAHAHA.

Sorry. I will admit you may not like my "tone" here, but I'll try to be both honest and respectful, as much as I can be considering you are one of the people with whom I am currently angry, but here goes....

Picture it:

You and your best friend, who happens to be my roommate, are sharing your massive irritation not only with the riots happening at this very minute in the city in which you live, but with both the targets of the property destruction (largely cars and businesses owned by folks of color; squad cars belonging not to the transit police involved in the recent shooting but the city's police department--for which you have no love, but whatever) and the instigators of the property destruction (largely white "communists" who do not actually live in your city but who came to a peaceful demonstration against the institutional racism of law enforcement with the intent of wrecking shit). As we walk to a neighborhood bar to have a pint and shoot some darts, you make a comment--sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek--that the least they can do is pick better targets: BART cop cars and wealthy, white neighborhoods in their own cities that happen to also be serviced by BART.

I make some assumptions about you, but do not say what they are.

What I do say, over the course of the evening, makes it clear that on some fundamental level, I do not trust your feelings or your thought process on the shooting itself, though I've asked you neither what you feel nor what you think about that. My tone is one of condescension, and you notice that and do not respond to it well. You do, however, tell me you don't like my tone, that you are offended by what I am saying and how I am saying it, and that you feel hurt and disrespected. I keep going, ignoring all of that. After close to an hour of this quite obviously unproductive conversation, you blow up at me, in tears.

Two days later when we speak again, I tell you that my feelings are hurt; I don't like how you spoke to me. You ask me some very simple and straightforward questions, and eventually, angrily, I disclose the following:

- The "working hypotheses" (my words) with which I entered this conversation two days prior hinged upon two things: you being "overly angry" (my words) and having not "thought about" these things in an acceptable (to me) manner.

- I believe you need to "show your work" (my words) to prove your position--a position which I am assuming you to hold, since I haven't done that simple thing that is to ask you what it is.

- I acknowledge that I did not disclose my working assumptions to you, which you say is dishonest and I do not disagree.

- I describe the position I took in this conversation to be one of "holding the pitcher's mound" (my words), which you say is a method of maintaining an imbalance of power in the conversation--having the upper hand--and I do not disagree.

Even as I acknowledge the ways in which my behavior, my tone, was problematic in this conversation, I refuse to say that I did anything wrong. I get extremely defensive when you ask me simple questions, such as

* "What made you think I was so 'angry'?" (I respond in a sneering manner, "Your body language.")
* "Why do you think you're in a position to determine what is an appropriate level of 'anger' for me to have, particularly considering your assertion in past conversations about your own feelings and behavior, that anger and its wreckless expression, even when there are other more mature and productive ways to express it, is a 'good' thing?" (This one I refuse to answer at all--I shut down completely.)
* "Why do you think that I can't feel strongly about things and think critically about them at the same time?" (This one I refuse to answer at all--I shut down completely.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: _swallow
2009-01-13 01:41 am (UTC)
Hey, I don't say enough how much I really, really appreciate having you on my internet.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: icedaemoness
2009-01-13 01:43 am (UTC)
thanks!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: birds_hum
2009-01-13 02:11 am (UTC)
thanks for posting this, with the second-person omniscience. i dig it all, agree, support.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 07:27 am (UTC)
I'm not exactly sure why, but changing up the narrative voice seemed like a pretty good idea here since respecting or denying POV seems to be at the root of the problem.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: rivetpepsquad
2009-01-13 04:34 am (UTC)
Wise article's 2nd-to-last paragraph: *KAPOW*!



And dude, I have said this before: at times you are not QUICK enough to anger, given the circumstances.

(At least, compared to MY face-punchy self, but I'm hardly the standard.)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: erg
2009-01-13 05:04 am (UTC)
I think the not being quick to anger, given the "structures of violence" which are pervasive but aren't in each moment actual violence, not being constantly angry is a good way to stay healthy much longer. Not non-responsive, but simply well.
If the byway of "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention" was a must, we'd all be too quick to rise to the bait.
(I"m not presuming this was your premise, I'm reframing slightly.)
Anger burns me out, I have to be able to stay calm in the face of whatever it is, to be able to respond well, and not be made ill.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: heliocide
2009-01-13 08:46 am (UTC)
*HEADDESK*

I don't even know what to say to all the fail in this situation. Mostly, though, I miss having you and Java around all the time.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 07:29 pm (UTC)
Tea time! Hot tub! Running around with the Empress of Chicken! Soon!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: shipbuilding
2009-01-13 04:15 pm (UTC)
I am very grateful to you for always making me think more. About tough things, hard things, sad things, tragic things, exciting things, heartwarming things.

You do so much work to help educate the people around you, and I just wanted to say that I really appreciate it. You're amazing and I am often super swoony about you.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-13 07:27 pm (UTC)
That... icon.

That... wow.

I love it so much I peed.

And that you. Really.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: cheesecaketart
2009-01-13 06:53 pm (UTC)
Like when people automatically operate off the "angry black woman" principle stereotype like it's some sort of universal math logic or something... if black and female, then angry. Ugh.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: cheesecaketart
2009-01-13 07:02 pm (UTC)
I also had something to say about how completely cowardly it is of people to label all anger as irrational (wait, feeling AND thinking at the same time? nofuckinwai!) as a way to avoid the real issues, but that was covered by you and others already.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: yeloson
2009-01-14 02:44 am (UTC)
Hey, just saw what a hot mess this post has turned into. After about a year of being really upset? I changed my policy. I started de-friending and banning people.

I consider my LJ like my living room - I come here not to deal with crazy.

And there's definitely something problematic when people roll up into your journal and write more words than you do, either hoping to beat you into submission, show e-dominance by taking space, or demanding education or cookies for taking the time.

Cause really. Fuck all that.

You may or may not take the same policy. Just, is it worth even 5 minutes of reading and typing to deal with some folks? If the answer is no, don't waste the energy.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-14 08:01 am (UTC)
I haven't brought down the ban hammer; just not engaged. In this case, which is a little different than a couple of days ago, and in which white folks are doing the work and I don't have to, the ban hammer may still come. But I've said my piece.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: skywardprodigal
2009-01-16 03:43 am (UTC)
Yikes.

I just stumbled upon this lj and saw it for the immense mess it is.

O.O

*hugs*
(Reply) (Thread)