Would have responded earlier, but had a power outage and wasn't so into typing out what I knew would be a long post on my phone.
Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit
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.
I think you have mistaken resignation for acceptance. Again, if you are outside of the system, you cannot even begin to fathom how to begin to change it.
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).
Well, there's a reason for that when, starting with the originally two-tiered Social Security schema finagled by southern Democrats with the [i]explicit[/i[ purpose of keeping out African Americans, there is a long history of the relationship between racism and manipulating the access minorities have to welfare. There's also scads of statistical evidence that points to the correlation between racial prejudice and the feeling that welfare should either be more tightly monitored or done away with altogether. If there's an intuitive skepticism of Republicans or Conservatives when you begin to discuss these programs it is both well-founded and rooted in a more profound distrust of the basic motives of the kinds of people that would espouse such a worldview. Your party wants to start dicking around with the social safety net, then you'll need to up your credibility when it comes to race.
However, I would posit that we all treat our own personal worldview as "reality".
And I would counter that the ability to understand one's supposedly "personal" worldview as reality is the very definition of privilege. Most minorities and women have to contend with what DuBois coined a "double consciousness": understanding their world not just from the vantage of their own experience and culture, but through the internalized experience of living in a society where the rules, values and norms are set by whites. Blacks that only understand their own culture are doomed to fail. Period. Just as surely as a perfectly intelligent young woman whose name is Shenaynay, speaks nothing but ebonics, and grew up in the inner city of Detroit doesn't stand much of a chance of ever leaving that inner city community. Unless she manages to change Shenaynay to Sharon, get some speech lessons, and otherwise assimilate herself to "mainstream" culture even if she does leave, she's not going very far.
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.
I don't really buy the whole line of the War on White Men argumentation, because, you know what? For every 1 purely negative portrayal of white men, there are at least 10 positive ones. You don't have to work that hard to find examples of white male political leaders, white male CEOs, white male humanitarians, white male religious leaders, white male film directors, white male visual artist or poets. White men don't have to wait for one month a year to expect their history or their contributions to the world to be acknowledged. So, forgive me, but I just don't care that the occasional black comedian does a stupid "Black people drive like this, but white people drive like this" joke, because at the end of the day we know who's paying his paycheck and who owns the network his special is airing on.
The fact of the matter is that even in the case of negative portrayals, the portrayal is complex and focuses on the humanity of the subject rather than some overlaid stereotype. Just think of the character portrayed in your avatar. I haven't watched Mad Men, but nothing I've heard about Don Draper makes him sound like an out and out good guy to me. That makes him no less intricately depicted and in fact only more human.
The bolded is simply not true. Middle class white guys have lost a lot in the recession.
Only if we're talking in absolute terms. Relatively speaking they were the least impacted by the recession, and have done the best in the recovery.
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).
I was not trying to be offensive, and am the first to acknowledge that the world is a difficult place for everyone. For my own understanding, however, I'm hoping you could describe to me what systemic obstacles white men face in addition to the basic assumed difficulty of just living life? And having described those additional difficulties I'm curious as to whether you'd be willing to trade places with me and assume mine? And if not (assuming no more objection than an innate amour de soi) why?
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.
I will acknowledge that there have been tremendous gains in the past 100 years. But there are a couple of things that come to mind.
The first is that things aren't so equal that we can just wrap things up and go home now. For either minorities or women. I'm not satisfied with the way things are, and don't think that the progressive policies that have brought us to this point should be moderated until both groups hold a stake in society proportionate to their presence. That's what a democracy is, isn't it?
The second point is that you can't in one breath lament the "cultural acceptance" of minorities towards the obstacles that block their path into the system while at the same time advocate the dismantling of the programs and policies that allow them to overcome those obstacles. I mean, you must see the contradiction in those viewpoints.
What about an Asian man?
How does an Asian man face greater barriers to entry than does a white man?
I didn't understand what you were saying here.
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.
I don't understand this either. As I've pointed out, the entirety of American society revolves around the culture and experience of white men. We talk like you. Dress in a way you would find appropriate. We do ridiculous things to our hair and faces and skin and bodies so that you'll find us more more beautiful. We name our children so that their names are evocative of the great men and women of your past rather than our own. We even contort our own psyches to make schizophrenic accommodation to your way of looking at the world however incompatible it may be with our own. We do this our entire lives, accepting it as just the way things are, because if we complain about it then we're "militant" or "angry" and it "makes you uncomfortable". The fact that you could move your hands to type such a thing just leaves me utterly flabbergasted. How do you not feel anything but at home in a world that revolves around white American men and their preferences? Of course you are envied for that, and of course you are hated for that.
No one's going to pity you for your collective circumstances. Individually? Maybe. Of course there are some white men who are having a rough time of it, and it would be awful to turn around and rub privilege in their face. But for the rest? To me, it would honestly be like if the two athletes that were just convicted in Stubenville asked the victim for an apology for ruining their futures as aspiring, young scholar-athletes.
My point is that minorities shouldn't have to "owe" you anything at this point, and you shouldn't feel entitled to anymore than the great deal you already have in order to want to work for progress. I mean, I can't even conceive of what more we could give without unburdening ourselves totally of our dignity, which some of us admittedly have. I mean, just think of how ridiculous it would sound for Bill Gates or Andrew Carnegie to have held press conferences before opening their foundations to make general statements about how the minorities and the poor really needed to be nicer to them before they started helping them out. It'd be like...what?
If you feel entitled to more respect at this point as a white man, then you'll have to earn it, I'm afraid. You'll have to give respect in order to get respect. And as far as these things go, at least in the black community, we're tremendously generous with our acceptance of white folks who show an even basic understanding of our experience and where we're coming from. Bill Clinton is a great example. Clinton was obviously someone who was comfortable with African- Americans and appreciated our culture, and we called him the first black president for it. It genuinely takes so little, which is why it's so confusing and hurtful as to why that understanding can't be shown.