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View Diary: Barriers and Bridges: On Getting a Clue. (284 comments)

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  •  So I've been pondering your diary and the (7+ / 0-)

    conversation we've all been engaged in since before the boycott.

    Going to throw out a few things for consideration. Not too sure how clear I'll be as this cold has me feeling like I'm moving through "thicka fog", as we say up here in Maine. But here goes anyway.

    The term "racism" is a tough one for folks to get up front and close too.

    I know for me it always conjures up those awful news reports of what was happening in Selma and Birmingham. It conjures up white sheeted KKK members standing around their obscene burning cross.  It conjures up the signs carried around by Tea Partiers, the willingness of Republicans to do anything and everything, including destroying the economy, to get the Black Man out of the White House.  

    I've always appreciated the diaries on white privilege because of how they've unwrapped the word "racism", enlarged it, and exposed its systemic reach and breadth.

    And all that leads to this -

    Perhaps it would help take some of the defensiveness and fear out of discussing racism and white privilege if we realized that like pollution in the air or water, far too often we in the dominant culture can't "see" what's infecting our assumptions.  Just like with pollution, far too often we're not aware it's there, until someone who studies it, or lives with the effects of it, sounds the warning.

    We may not have been the ones who dumped toxic chemicals into the ground or water. But that doesn't mean that we haven't been drinking that polluted water. That doesn't mean that we haven't been eating food grown in toxic ground.

    Just like pollution is in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and far too often our foods, so does the racism built into our country affect each and every one of us.

    None of us is unaffected. That does not mean that we are all a Bull Connor racist.

    It does mean that through unawareness, through societal norms, through unexamined assumptions and fear, we have breathed in the polluting fumes of prejudice.

    We didn't ask for that. But it is our job to be aware of it in order to change it. Not just for ourselves but for our children's children.  

    And that's what I see this series helping us do. I hope more people join in. You all give me hope.

    "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it." President Obama

    by Onomastic on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 11:07:47 AM PDT

    •  You just did it again. (6+ / 0-)

      You wrote a gorgeous comment in FR's diary, that should be its own diary.

      And here you are, writing another gorgeous comment that should be a diary.

      Wait until your head clears up (because you should be sleeping. and hydrating. Not blogging. [or hide-rating]) and then get crackin', woman. You've got a couple of diaries to write.

      The relationships we've made here give me hope. Thank you.

      Be kind. It matters.

      by dakinishir on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 11:16:45 AM PDT

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    •  Great comment, Onomastic. (5+ / 0-)

      And the comment I just came in to make illustrates your point, I think.

      I just read an article in the New Yorker about Katori Hall, a young woman from Memphis who is a playwright. She says:

      I fucking hated "The Blind Side"... How dare this story be about the white woman who goes in to save the little black boy - and not about the black boy? How dare that story not center around him?

      I have not seen nor read "The Blind Side" but I am aware that the story was  centered on the woman Leigh Anne Tuohy and only incidentally about the young man, Michael Oher. Not to disparage the Tuohy family's goodness and generosity toward Mr. Oher, but it was Michael who got himself admitted to Briarcrest HS, lettered in football, basketball and track, was an award winning football player at the University of Mississippi  and a first round draft pick in the NFL for the Ravens where he has been an outstanding player.

      It really never dawned on me until I read Ms. Hall's statement that making the white woman the heroine of the movie was a slight to the accomplishments of Mr. Oher. White privilege. Yes, the Tuohys did something extraordinary in adopting and helping Michael. However, he did something even more extraordinary in overcoming a world of barriers himself.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 01:04:02 PM PDT

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      •  The latest entry in this category (5+ / 0-)

        is The Help. I read it and saw the movie, and admit to enjoying both. But even as I was reading/watching I was aware of a certain discomfort that eventually became a question about how it was being experienced by PoC.  That led me to a great book review by ? (wish I remembered!) that inspired me to pick up Jubilee, by Margaret Walker. About a third of the way through. Totally enthralled.

        Be kind. It matters.

        by dakinishir on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 01:49:44 PM PDT

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      •  I'm still wrapping my mind around the (5+ / 0-)

        insidiousness of the way this story was told. Telling the story from the perspective of the Tuohys makes us white people feel good. "Look what a nice family; they took a poor homeless black child off the streets; aren't we a generous people? They saved him from a life of God knows what."

        I used to live in Memphis, so I have some idea (though obviously one that is limited by my race and experience) of what Mr. Oher was up against. Both while he was in the foster child system and after he was admitted to Briarcrest, which is a private Baptist HS, started as a white Christian academy as a reaction to integration and located in lily white eastern Shelby County. I do not know how many other black students there were at Briarcrest, but I do know that it was no more than a handful. So this young man, who had gone to 11 different schools in his first 9 years of schooling, lived in Memphis's inner city, been in numerous foster homes, is suddenly in a practically all white environment and definitely an all upper middle to wealthy class environment, and he not only adjusts to all that, but apparently excelled.

        I plan to read his autobiography, I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 02:21:11 PM PDT

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      •  The opening monologue of that film (4+ / 0-)

        is a work of brilliance.  The LT/Theisman speech.  (Although I had spent the last ...how long has it been?  avoiding looking at that exact moment of footage -- and the damn movie went and showed it when I was too busy listening to that speech to duck.)

        After that?  Just what you said.  A bunch of sainted white people raising up a po' black boy who seemed to have nothing to do with his own innate intelligence or athletic skill -- in spite of a very sweet performance.

        And the scenes when he goes back home?  Might as well have been the parodies in Hollywood Shuffle.  

        In this country, white people feeling solid in playing around with the lives of black people is a FEATURE, not a bug. -- mallyroyal

        by Yasuragi on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 03:48:07 PM PDT

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