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The respectable face of racism in America. [Monday, Mar. 24th, 2008|04:55 pm]
The richest girl in town.
In the inevitable discussions of race that take place in our country one defense routinely brought up by the Right is that America has given up its racist ways, and except for the occasional aberration, such as dragging a black man to death in Texas, or telling blacks in New Orleans that they pretty much deserve to die for being too poor to fly out of the city and check into a hotel, things are pretty good for blacks in America.

Like all conservative viewpoints, this one is completely wrong. While some may argue that the decline in popularity of the Klan and the lack of recent lynchings means White America has mended its race-hating ways, it has really just moved onto different, more socially acceptable tactics. Thus, while police turning fire hoses and German shepherds on blacks is now officially frowned upon, the police now routinely stop black drivers for alleged driving infractions, allowing them to harass, search and if they are lucky, provoke them into some indiscretion that can lead to an arrest, with a tasering and/or beating on the side.

White financial institutions can no longer openly discriminate against black consumers in loans, but they can, and do, build huge numbers of payday loan centers in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods so they can legally rob them blind.

While corporations can no longer run "white only" hospitals, they can, and do, provide substandard medical care for blacks and other minorities.

Blacks are paid 72 cents for each dollar a white man is paid (Hispanics have it worse though, at 58 cents), businesses are more likely to hire a white ex-con, than a black man with a clean record, and it is far harder for blacks to rent an apartment than whites.

Understandably, blacks and other minorities are rather vexed at this treatment, and as such are vocally hostile to those they see as their oppressors. They are very skeptical of claims that racism is a thing of the past, when they live it every day. It is also very hard to view racism as a bygone practice when you read prominent Americans, people whom news programs routinely call upon for comment, writing things like this:

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.

Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Click for the stats: http://bluenc.com/the-respectable-face-of-racism-in-america

[User Picture]From: savia
2008-03-25 12:38 am (UTC)
or telling blacks in New Orleans that they pretty much deserve to die for being too poor to fly out of the city and check into a hotel

I was just in NOLA and I almost lost my mind when my tour guide led us by Congo Square and said "this park is locked up, because if it wasn't, the crowds of people who would be camped out here after Katrina would never be cleared out. A lot of people were made homeless by Katrina, and they didn't own anything. But you know, if you don't own anything, then you don't really hold a stake in anything here. They say they are part of the culture, but they don't own a piece of it, so maybe it's just time for them to, you know, let go and move on somewhere else."

Of course, the "them" was mostly poor, black residents who had been living in NOLA for generations, and whose homes were washed out from under them. I just wanted to scream. And I feel ashamed that I didn't.

But this seems to be a typical attitude of a lot of people I ran into down there in the last week - not only white people, either. It's not just people who lost their homes to Katrina, but also plans to tear down low-income housing and replace it with middle income housing, and displace the poor, etc. There's also a general attitude from a surprising number of people I talked to that people living in poverty in NOLA are lazy welfare recipients who have been on welfare for generations, and it's good that this hurricane made a lot of them leave, and let's keep that momentum going.

It's a big mess, and I think in a lot of this Katrina was just the excuse needed by the powers that be to "clean out" New Orleans. Disgusting.

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[User Picture]From: savia
2008-03-25 12:39 am (UTC)
I should note that the tour guide in question was NOT native to New Orleans, or even Louisiana.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2008-03-25 12:40 am (UTC)
I am not surprised. Angry, but not surprised.
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[User Picture]From: whittles
2008-03-25 01:00 am (UTC)
wow, that gets me all kinds of angry. seething, really.
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[User Picture]From: marrythebed
2008-03-25 12:50 am (UTC)
It's sick. And claiming that racism is over is racist and privileged as hell in itself - if you think that Blacks are still where they're at financially and socially "post-racism", you're attributing that position to some inherent flaw in Blackness. So fuck that and fuck you.
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[User Picture]From: marrythebed
2008-03-25 12:51 am (UTC)
I didn't mean you as in fightingwords, fightingwords. Sorry if it came across that way! I get too aggressive sometimes. But I am definitely with you on this.
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[User Picture]From: djinnaya
2008-03-25 01:15 am (UTC)
We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

You have to be fucking kidding me. I know that I live in a very small box, but I do poke my head out from time to time. I'm usually the one reading things like this and saying, "While it's not valid in any way, I do see why he thinks it is valid." However, this one just floored me.

*eye stabbing*
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[User Picture]From: mysterc
2008-03-25 02:24 am (UTC)
I had a rant. I got pissed off at everybody and deleted it. I guess my issue can be simplified to this.

Yes. Amerikkka (Thank you Ice Cube) is racist.
Yes. Amerikka has a racist legacy.
Yes. Black people in America havebeen and still are mistreated.
Yes. Things have gotten better.
So what?
None of it makes one bit of difference.

All of the Righteous indignation in the world wont change a thing.
The greatest accomplishments of Black people in America have happened when we as a people were being persecuted, told we were not capable, threatened, beaten etc. and we did it anyway, in spite of, etc.

Now, as a "Black" man has a chance of becoming the president, "Race" is an "issue" to discuss.

Where was the discussion before? Hell where were the black voters before? The black candidates?

"we cant make it to the polls to choose leadership but We can make it to Jacobs and to the dealership,"

Look at that... a rant.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2008-03-25 03:25 am (UTC)
Except some of us have always been vocal, but that hasn't mattered. The fact that most white people think racism ended in the 60s and act accordingly (which, is to say, racist) is one of the reasons a lot of black folks have grown too cynical to vote. Hell, most WHITE people don't vote because they don't think it makes a difference.
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[User Picture]From: mysterc
2008-03-25 05:11 am (UTC)
I think thats my issue(among others, lol) We as a people spend so much energy on what White America's attitude is, that we don't do what we can to improve our own attitude. And(I am about to get in trouble)particularly black men. Black women support the entire family (financially and emotionally)and black men complain that they can't get a job because the "man" is holding him down. Yes- It is hard as a Black man in America. We must take two steps for every one step our white counterparts make. Again I say, "So What?" Actually, I make some smarmy comment about how we are genetically bred to run faster anyway... but I digress.

I took my son to the ACT-SO finals Sat. night. In Eugene OR. There was a film from an 18 year old black male voting for the first time. The basis of the film was contrasting the experience of his grandfateher trying to vote in Mississippi in the 40's and 50's vs his first time voting today. This is in Oregon. We haven't had our primaries yet and generally, our votes dont count. But for anyone born in the last 60 years to say they are jaded with voting is disingenuous at best, and an insult to the memory of our ancestors who died for the right. We have no right to be cynical. We haven't suffered enough to be cynical.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2008-03-25 08:07 am (UTC)
I'm not entirely convinced we haven't suffered enough, but then we clearly have different notions of what "enough" is from white people.

I don't think voting changes a lot, especially when the party that has pretty much been able to depend on the black vote for decades is ready to throw us under the bus when it feels like it.

But I still vote, and this is the first year I'm considering not doing so (or at least ignoring the presidential election while still voting for other offices and ballot measures).

As for what black men do and don't do--I think this is a very complicated issues I'm not inclined to discuss here. But I'm willing to have that conversation elsewhere.
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[User Picture]From: mysterc
2008-03-25 05:57 pm (UTC)
I guess what I am trying to say is nothing will ever be "enough" from white people until we do "enough" for ourselves as a people. We got where we are today from working harder,fighting harder,loving harder and standing up together as a people. I think we lost that somewhere. Racism is not Black America's problem. We know about racism. We can identify it. WHite America hasn't gotten there yet. We as a people have our own issues to deal with before we can help White America with racism.

I will take you up on the black men conversation at some point.

I miss you.
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[User Picture]From: haddayr
2008-03-25 02:49 am (UTC)
I've written a bit about this fucker in the Angry Black Woman blog, and I've read this a bit today. But I just had to say that what struck me the most this time through was his instructing a Black man to "get down on his knees."

It makes me feel as if I might vomit.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2008-03-25 03:26 am (UTC)
Hey, Roseanne Barr said the same thing! Who knew she and Pat Buchanan had so much in common?
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[User Picture]From: haddayr
2008-03-25 02:59 am (UTC)
I also feel considerable personal pain when I notice how many of these smug, entitled, smarmy rabble-rousing blowhards are named "Buchanan" or "O-Something." It hurts me and infuriates me that in such a short time we have turned around and used the language of our own oppressors to prove ourselves worthy of whiteness and its attendant privileges.
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From: oblomova
2008-03-25 04:14 am (UTC)
This is by far NOT the most offensive thing in that Buchanan heap o' steaming Bullshit, but I wonder what "White America" he means. I'm sure he got his panties in a twist over Obama describing his grandmother as a "typical white person," yet here he himself indulges in the notion of a monolithic (and of course, indubitably superior) white culture.
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[User Picture]From: whypnk
2008-03-25 05:11 am (UTC)

racism is alive and well and living in the bay area

fitting that this comes up - today at work i almost came unglued when i heard a guy on his cell phone (cubicle across from mine) say "i don't think those people know how to commit identity theft" referring to oakland residents.

i'm still debating going to HR and reporting him. seriously. wtf is wrong with people?!?!
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[User Picture]From: rag_and_bone
2008-03-25 03:22 pm (UTC)
oh my god.
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[User Picture]From: estivalfiend
2008-03-25 05:30 pm (UTC)
uh....what??? i can't believe what i just read.
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[User Picture]From: josienutter
2008-03-25 08:02 pm (UTC)
A lot of my ENG102 class was devoted to reading and discussing "Affirmative Action" by this writer ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Wise ); it really opened my eyes to a lot of stuff.
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[User Picture]From: m4dh4tt3r
2008-03-26 05:15 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: heresiarch
2008-03-26 09:46 pm (UTC)
well, i was treated to watching the news the other day in a hotel in chicago. and i discovered that in fact, white people are SO over racism -- they just want to move past it! but it's those pesky minorities who just want to be victims who are perpetuating racism. really!

i was honestly convinced i was listening to faux fox news, and i was a little taken aback that it was actually CNN (admittedly, Lou Dobb's show). according to one of the talking heads, Obama is a "black man from the South Side of Chicago," nevermind the actual complexity of his background. the commentator was expressing his shock at the things black people appear to say in their churches, away from white ears, shocked! as far as i could tell, he was doing his best to paint Obama in a way that plays into American racism, reducing the intricacy of his political viewpoints and background to "African-American from Chicago's South Side." he partly did this by comparing Obama to other prominent black political figures like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, suggesting that Obama presents himself as "post-race," but is really part of the same sphere. i think by post-race he really meant that Obama talks like an educated white man, because he's, you know, so articulate!

anyhow, the commentators were just going on about how the Rev. Wright's comments prove that it's black people who are unwilling to "move past" race. the public debate still can't seem to come to grips with the concept that racism is a problem as long as white people continue to deny it.

then again, maybe this is the kind of discourse i need to illustrate to my students what we mean when we teach them that race is a cultural construct that enacts and reproduces cultural differences in uneven ways.
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