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  1. #121
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  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    I think that what makes racial politics so difficult is that there's a fundamental lack of trust between either side. The criticisms and concerns that were leveled by a lot of the white people interviewed in your article
    were probably not so different from their black counterparts. What we lack in our society is some sort of a racial equivalent for what Putnam termed civil society, the kind of neutral spaces where people can interact informally such that theyre able to have those voluntary, social interactions that permit trust. Our churches and our schools are still largely segregated, for instance. Personally, it wasnt until I was in an interracial relationship that I understood how much I took for granted about my worldview, and my SO about his.

    To that end, I understand that minorities are not the only ones who suffer because of the sorry state of race relations in this country. In an earlier post I said that while I dont feel whites can be credible arbiters of of what is offensive, they can help to facilitate understanding and point out where maliciousness wasnt intended. As minorities, we can appreciate the gravity of an accusation of racism and do more to only point to it after all other possibilities have been exhausted.

    Anyways. Thats my opinion. You're from the South, too, so it'd be interesting to hear how you feel trust between races could be built in practice, and whether the starting point Ive mentioned is a reasonable one.
    This article from The American Conservative gives some info about the fall out from Phillymag publishing that article:

    Michael Nutter Vs. Free Speech

    Oh, good freaking grief:

    At Mayor Nutter’s request, the city Human Relations Commission will conduct an “inquiry” into race relations in the city, following Philadelphia magazine’s widely criticized cover story, “Being White in Philly.”

    In a letter, Nutter tore into the magazine and the story, which quoted anonymous white Philadelphians about their view on race and has been attacked for promoting negative stereotypes and not including the views of minorities.

    “This month Philadelphia Magazine has sunk to a new low even for a publication that has long pretended that its suburban readers were the only citizens civically engaged and socially active in the Philadelphia area,” Nutter wrote. He called the piece “pathetic” and said it didn’t rise “to the level of journalism.”

    He also called for a “rebuke” of the magazine and writer, Bob Huber, saying that while he recognizes the 1st Amendement protects “the media from censorship by the government,” free speech is “not an unfettered right.”

    “I ask the Commission to evaluate whether the ‘speech’ employed in this essay is not the reckless equivalent of ‘shouting, “fire!” in a crowded theater,’ its prejudiced, fact-challenged generalizations an incitement to extreme reaction,” Nutter wrote.
    Last I checked, Philadelphia was a city in the United States of America. It is not in Canada. We do not use these bulls*it “human rights commissions” to punish speech we find objectionable. Whatever the problems with this story, they are nothing compared to the threat of the top politician in the city inciting a government body to do whatever is within its power to punish a magazine and a writer for a story he didn’t like.

    What if there were a white mayor who didn’t like a magazine article by a black writer in which black Philadelphians said unpleasant things about white Philadelphians, and then the mayor urged the Human Rights Commission to investigate the magazine and the writer for offending against racial sensitivity? It would be so outrageous that it’s actually unthinkable. But here we are with Mayor Nutter.

    Of course nothing substantive will come of this inquiry. They will find the writer, Bob Huber, and the magazine guilty of thoughtcrime, but that will be as far as it goes. It will be a long time before anybody is stupid enough to write a story about race in Philly that does not come to conclusions that the left agrees with. Which I suppose is Nutter’s ultimate goal. But really, who wants to live in a city in which to publish a magazine article that violates the mayor’s standard of racial correctness brings down the Human Rights Commission on one? Are we to understand that Philadelphia is a place in which the “dialogue” on race that progressives are always clamoring for only goes one way? Who, oh who, would have imagined that?
    This is a perfect example of why we don't feel comfortable ever saying anything about race, and why we feel like we don't have a seat at the table.

  3. #123
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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  4. #124
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Whites can be the arbiters of whats offensive to us.

    The same goes for pretty much any group.
    Naturally. My issue is when one group feels entitled to tell another what ought or ought not be offensive to them, as was the case here. This isn't to say that being of the same group as someone who perpetrates racism makes you guilty or responsible by affiliation, but you're not in a position to excuse the perpetrator either. I acknowledge that there's definitely a fine line between explaining the mentality and excusing the mentality, though. As minorities, we have as much responsiblity not to lump all white folks with David Duke as y'all have to not lump all of us with the friendly, neighborhood crack addict. Unexamined prejudices can contribute as much to alienating potentially well-intentioned mediators on both sides, which is what leads to either frustrating confrontations or avoidance of the subject altogether. Both constituting suboptimal outcomes.


    It's my opinion that until white folks feel like they have a seat at the table in the "race" discussion there won't be much in the way real progress as in cultural change.

    Unfortunately that won't happen as long as we are afraid to voice our opinions on the subject....
    I understand this, and it's what was so interesting to me about the article that you posted. My gut reaction is that most minorities don't feel that white people have any interest in that seat. This is despite the fact that even looking from the situation from a perspective of pure, rational, self-interest that can't be true. I felt the article pointed this out very effectively. I think a couple of things about that.

    First, my mind keeps going back to the show The Wire (which if you haven't seen already, I'm telling you to watch it cause I feel like you'd fucking love it). What that show does really effectively (and what I didn't really get a sense of in the article you posted) is highlighting how the factors that have caused such degredation in certain black communities are complex, interconnected, and are rooted systemically although their impacts are most visible particularly. Nobody is a drug dealer or a welfare queen or unemployed, smoking dope on their front porch because that's where they want to be. Sure, everyone has agency, and there are without question opportunities out there. But if you're someone who lacks the rudimentary education to understand how to engage with the system--which means knowing what the formal and informal rules are--then you'll always live outside of it. And when I talk about education,btw, I'm not just talking about the shit you learn at school, I'm talking about what can be learned at home as well as within one's community. If for generations the people in these Philidelphia neighborhoods have been outside of the system, then what they're gonna pass on to their kids is how to survive not just outside of but in spite of that system. There's a sense of defiance as well as well as hostility that comes with that. Not just towards the establishment, but towards those that represent it to them.

    That gets me back to the point I made in my previous post about how it's not until you're engaged in a real way with someone of a different ethnicity that you understand how different some of the fundamental assumptions that person can hold may be. If you and I weren't friends, it wouldn't be worth my time for me to either examine my cultural worldview, or take the time to break it down for you nor you for me. While I stated that, rationally, there is more than sufficient material impetus for whites not just to want to have that seat at the table (Hello, welfare spending! What's good with you growth crushing, astronomical national debt?) but be genuine allies for equality, it would require a lot of things that are outside the comfort zones of most people of any ethnicity. For one, acknowledging that white people's ability to see their worldview as "reality" or default is not objective, it's priviledge. Every other group in this country, including women, has to be able to understand and deal in the reality constructed by white men, because y'all have the preponderance of money and power in our country. I could whip out metrics to prove that, but I'm not going to insult your intelligence that way. There is no necessity for y'all to either adopt or understand how or why anyone else does things, so when you make assessments you do it from your vantage point. For instance, the notion that someone can just hike themselves up out of poverty by their bootstraps is one that y'all were raised with, because--in contrast to virtually every other group on the planet--there really isn't anything stopping a white, American, middle-class male from succeeding but his own laziness or want of drive. Y'all's entire lives are one, unending American dream, and it's yours to fuck up. That is simply not the case for anyone else. I can appreciate that accepting that on a real and visceral level could be a hard pill to swallow, (and I'm not being facetious here--I personally would feel guilty as hell for that.) but being able to do so really do so would flip the typical white man's world on its head.

    Now, while I'm pointing out that acknowledging and accepting that priviledge is an initial and crucial step, it doesn't mean that what comes after that step ought to be done as some sorta penance or atonement. Fuck your penance. No one is asking for a handout here. What is crucial and what earns you the trust of others such that you hold that seat at the table without gainsay is that you start to shrink the massive blindspot that priviledge permits someone. If the poor aren't in my unique position, then what else besides lack of initiative might be keeping them where they are. If you don't know the answer to that, then you can go the person and say, "So, what do you think is holding you back?" And you might be surprised by how simple or unimaginably insurmountable what they might have to say is. Whatever the response is you're receiving it with an open mind. A white man in particular who should have a better grasp of the system than most has the wherewithal to do tremendous good if he is able to hold simultaneously onto his understanding of how things get accomplished and the messiness of how things are for most people subject to forces he'll never experience personally. In other words, you're only as useful as you are empathetic.

    One of my personal heroes happens to be Bill Gates. There's a guy who has absolutely mastered the thought process I've just described. On the more conservative end of the spectrum, I have a great deal of respect for a man like Jeb Bush. He's another person who I feel appreciates not only his position, but works actively to build bridges for others to cross. The fact that he's married to a Latina probably has helped him to evolve along that path. Otoh, who knows what motivates Bill Gates at this point.
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  5. #125
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    Before responding substantively to your post, I would like to direct you towards the article I posted above from The American Conservative.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wind-Up Rex View Post
    I understand this, and it's what was so interesting to me about the article that you posted. My gut reaction is that most minorities don't feel that white people have any interest in that seat. This is despite the fact that even looking from the situation from a perspective of pure, rational, self-interest that can't be true. I felt the article pointed this out very effectively. I think a couple of things about that.

    First, my mind keeps going back to the show The Wire (which if you haven't seen already, I'm telling you to watch it cause I feel like you'd fucking love it). What that show does really effectively (and what I didn't really get a sense of in the article you posted) is highlighting how the factors that have caused such degredation in certain black communities are complex, interconnected, and are rooted systemically although their impacts are most visible particularly. Nobody is a drug dealer or a welfare queen or unemployed, smoking dope on their front porch because that's where they want to be. Sure, everyone has agency, and there are without question opportunities out there. But if you're someone who lacks the rudimentary education to understand how to engage with the system--which means knowing what the formal and informal rules are--then you'll always live outside of it. And when I talk about education,btw, I'm not just talking about the shit you learn at school, I'm talking about what can be learned at home as well as within one's community. If for generations the people in these Philidelphia neighborhoods have been outside of the system, then what they're gonna pass on to their kids is how to survive not just outside of but in spite of that system. There's a sense of defiance as well as well as hostility that comes with that. Not just towards the establishment, but towards those that represent it to them.
    I love the wire, and accept that there are barriers to entry for non whites.

    What would really move the conversation forward would be a discussion about how some of those barriers to entry are maintained in part by (non white) cultural acceptance of them.

    That gets me back to the point I made in my previous post about how it's not until you're engaged in a real way with someone of a different ethnicity that you understand how different some of the fundamental assumptions that person can hold may be. If you and I weren't friends, it wouldn't be worth my time for me to either examine my cultural worldview, or take the time to break it down for you nor you for me. While I stated that, rationally, there is more than sufficient material impetus for whites not just to want to have that seat at the table (Hello, welfare spending! What's good with you growth crushing, astronomical national debt?) but be genuine allies for equality, it would require a lot of things that are outside the comfort zones of most people of any ethnicity.
    That material impetus is overwhelmingly subsumed by a desire to not be called racist.

    When any change to our welfare system that isn't more funding for the current programs is colored as both Greedy and Racist, there's no incentive to voice one's opinion (which won't be listened to anyway by the vast majority of the chattering class).

    For one, acknowledging that white people's ability to see their worldview as "reality" or default is not objective, it's priviledge. Every other group in this country, including women, has to be able to understand and deal in the reality constructed by white men, because y'all have the preponderance of money and power in our country.
    You'll hear no argument from me on the bolded.

    However, I would posit that we all treat our own personal worldview as "reality".

    While there is a substantive argument to be made that the views of white males have in this country (historically across the globe) figured much too prominently in the shaping of public opinion, in today's national narrative we are lampooned as rich, greedy plutocrats, or racist idiots, or gun loving sociopaths, or worthless wife beaters, or creepy pedophiles, or as most likely to be serial killers.

    When the news one reads doesn't have much positive to say about white guys, it's hard to buy into the claim that our point of view is the unrelenting dominant paradigm you claim it to be.

    Certainly, when moving beyond the media narrative (and specifically within industries dominated by older white guys) there are still considerable obstacles to be overcome.

    But those barriers to entry are continuing to erode with the deaths of those that perpetuate them.

    We have a long way to come top to bottom as far as equality is concerned, but within the cultural conversation and national narrative, you guys have already won.

    I could whip out metrics to prove that, but I'm not going to insult your intelligence that way.
    I appreciate the fact that you didn't.

    There is no necessity for y'all to either adopt or understand how or why anyone else does things, so when you make assessments you do it from your vantage point. For instance, the notion that someone can just hike themselves up out of poverty by their bootstraps is one that y'all were raised with, because--in contrast to virtually every other group on the planet--there really isn't anything stopping a white, American, middle-class male from succeeding but his own laziness or want of drive. Y'all's entire lives are one, unending American dream, and it's yours to fuck up.
    Now we're getting to the heart of the matter.

    The bolded is simply not true. Middle class white guys have lost a lot in the recession.

    And I find the statement itself a little offensive. To claim that white men live in one giant candy land bubble, unable to understand pain or the plight of anyone else, totally personally at fault for any lack of success they may face, while everyone else gets to have a global pity party for their plight is flabbergasting (although I'm sure no offense was intended on your part).

    Surely, the ingrained acceptance of whiteness in the business community has, and to a diminishing extent continues to, allowed a disproportionate number of white people to rise beyond their class. But the cultural winds are blowing hard in the other direction, and the ground gained by minorities/women has been SUBSTANTIAL.

    Any conversation would require a realistic assessment of how far we've already come, and more importantly a candid assessment of the extent to which the policies of the equal opportunity crowd need to be moderated to reflect the fact that things are substantially better.

    We should all have equal opportunity, but if the debate continues to be framed in ways that make one think the Watts riots are going on now, you will continue to not have engagement on the subject with whites.

    That is simply not the case for anyone else. I can appreciate that accepting that on a real and visceral level could be a hard pill to swallow, (and I'm not being facetious here--I personally would feel guilty as hell for that.) but being able to do so really do so would flip the typical white man's world on its head.
    What about an Asian man?

    How does an Asian man face greater barriers to entry than does a white man?

    Now, while I'm pointing out that acknowledging and accepting that priviledge is an initial and crucial step, it doesn't mean that what comes after that step ought to be done as some sorta penance or atonement.
    Good because you are going to get neither from me.

    No one is asking for a handout here.
    You guys could do a better job of establishing this.

    What is crucial and what earns you the trust of others such that you hold that seat at the table without gainsay is that you start to shrink the massive blindspot that priviledge permits someone. If the poor aren't in my unique position, then what else besides lack of initiative might be keeping them where they are. If you don't know the answer to that, then you can go the person and say, "So, what do you think is holding you back?" And you might be surprised by how simple or unimaginably insurmountable what they might have to say is. Whatever the response is you're receiving it with an open mind. A white man in particular who should have a better grasp of the system than most has the wherewithal to do tremendous good if he is able to hold simultaneously onto his understanding of how things get accomplished and the messiness of how things are for most people subject to forces he'll never experience personally. In other words, you're only as useful as you are empathetic.
    You can have my understanding, but I wouldn't expect empathy from those not sharing your world view or personal circumstance.

    Unless you were to offer us empathy that is. We might feel a little more generous if we didn't feel like we are constantly being lampooned, laughed at, envied, and hated at every turn.

    Empathy is a two way street. Without both lanes working, the whole thing falls apart.

    On the more conservative end of the spectrum, I have a great deal of respect for a man like Jeb Bush. He's another person who I feel appreciates not only his position, but works actively to build bridges for others to cross. The fact that he's married to a Latina probably has helped him to evolve along that path.
    I'm a massive fan of Jeb, he should have been pres, but if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas.

    The main point of this post is that, we understand that we've had (and to a rapidly diminishing extent still are having) a pretty good run relative to everyone else.

    What's keeping us from even wanting to try to come to terms is the vitriol with which we are frequently treated.

    I'm willing to come to the table, but everyone at it needs to stop pointing their swords at me first.

  6. #126
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    It will be telling to see what kind of fallout (or lack thereof) I face for my post above.

  7. #127
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    It will be telling to see what kind of fallout (or lack thereof) I face for my post above.
    People who can't tolerate frankness in a frank discussion don't get to sit at the grown up table anyway. Fuck 'em.

    Ill get back to you re: your longer post shortly.
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  8. #128
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    More water.

  9. #129
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    The waiting is the hardest part.

  10. #130
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    I flippin love that song.

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