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View Diary: Rick Perry's Newest Problem: His Fond Memories of "Niggerhead" and Growing Up in a Sundown Town (229 comments)

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  •  I'm sorry, but No. A false conclusion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayBat, mrblifil, kpbuick

    I am not so far from Perry in age. I was born and brought up in Georgia. The idea that it's normal, that it's in the water, that it's just how things are is utter bunk.

    You draw the blinds of equivalency by saying that we all have racism in us, and we must ever be watchful. I disagree with that. We may have assumptions, and we may have unconscious actions that give offense, but the idea that we are guilty of racism as an original sin is both a misdirection and a false analogy.

    Rick Perry belongs to a group of people who chose, in the face of the rest of their state and the rest of the region moving forward, to shout "Hell no!" (I also disagree that "Gone with the Wind" is a redemptionist fantasy. It functions that way for some viewers, but it was a far less conscious document than all that at its construction.)

    It's time for us to stop giving a pass to people like Perry. There is a blithe regionalism and prejudice in assuming that people from the south are/were naturally bad. In fact, the record shows bad everywhere, but the more the rest of the nation says, "You're a bigot because you're Texan," the more the regionalists react and become racists, glory in racism, and use the sneering at their region as a recruitment tool.

    Let's remember that Boston had shootings over busing, that Klan membership is highest in Ohio and Michigan, that no one is an unconscious racist.

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 07:50:45 AM PDT

    •  And the white man who litigated Brown v. Board (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre, JayBat, TrueBlueMajority

      right next to Thurgood Marshall was a white Texan of an even earlier generation who realized that the situation was wrong and devoted his life to fixing it -- Charles ("Charley") Black.

    •  Are you familiar with (0+ / 0-)

      the concept of white privilege and how it can blind even people of good will and heart to the fact that their mental frames were shaped by a racist society?

      "We all have racism in us" doesn't mean we're all going to burn crosses on black folks' lawns. It means it's all too easy to slip into unquestioned patterns of thinking.

      I don't think Perry should get a pass. I also don't think that well-intentioned liberals, or self-proclaimed liberals — and there are a lot of them in New England, where I live — should get a pass, either, when they use "bad neighborhoods" as a synonym for "black neighborhoods," or, to use a different example, they ask an American of South Asian extraction who's just told them she's from California, "No, I mean, where are you really from?"

      And that includes me, btw. I'm still learning.

      •  White privilege <-- institutional racism (0+ / 0-)

        My disagreement may sound semantic, but it's an important splitting of a word. If we define racism as prejudice + power, then we can see that there is racism that is and has been built into institutions of education, rearing, media, etc. This institutional racism is fairly national, and it empowers white privilege because it privileges the white as normative and then carries forward a number of assumptions that depend upon "white" (which is itself meaningless only because it is a privileged assumption) being the center.

        On the other hand, when we speak of racism in a person, we need to know that it cannot be accidental. The use of power is involved.

        As the South continued its isolation from the rest of the nation and its status as Other for the northeast, in particular ("We may have urban poverty, but thank goodness we're not inbred morons like the south!"), the whites there adopted regionalism as a form of sovereignty and cultural power. The more they were sneered at and given insults, the more likely they were to conform to type to fight back. This is especially true when the stereotype outlived the reality, which stereotypes do when they serve power dynamics rather than reality.

        Rick Perry is part of that generation that came about in the reaction to busing. As the whole country said, "Oh, the South is awful!" the power group found itself either needing to reform or to double down. We should realize that it's not unconscious. It's a political gesture. He rose to power by playing the "rednecks" card (see the song by Randy Newman).

        Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

        by The Geogre on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 02:51:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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