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View Diary: Is Race a Problem for the Left? (338 comments)

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  •  I'm so glad you posted this (36+ / 0-)

    You got to the heart of the problems I have with DKos and the progressive movement as a whole. I agree with a2nite that a lot of white people are very much interested in keeping their privilege.

    But I also feel like a lot of white people are genuinely ignorant of what white privilege actually means. Especially white people who grew up poor. I've actually seen white people argue that the VRA is no longer just a major issue for folks of color since it effects "all of us" now. As if not allowing black people to vote before didn't have a massive effect on white people before the 1960s.

    A lot of white people are so used to being at the center of the universe due to how our country is structured that they get anxiety at the idea that they may have to share equal space with points of view that seem so foreign to them. I feel it myself sometimes. It has taken a lot of practice to learn when it's time to keep my mouth shut and let others talk. A part of me actually feels like maybe I shouldn't even be posting this comment since I am framing it from the white perspective. But I am so frustrated with the way things have been going lately, I wanted to get this off my chest.

    And on that same note, since we white people are used to being the center of attention, we are used to being able to dismiss things that don't mesh with our life experiences. THAT has been the hardest habit for me to break. It is so difficult to say, "This person knows about this more than I do, so I am going to bow to his/her better judgment." This is especially true when it comes to giving up a behavior or a phrase. Since no one thinks they are evil, it is so incredibly easy to justify behavior by saying that since the intent is not racist or bigoted, then there is nothing wrong with it, so anyone asking me to stop is just making a big deal out of nothing. And as someone posted in another diary yesterday, white people are (perhaps not coincidentally) much more intent-based rather than effect-based.

    Overall, I feel like there is a massive literature gap between most white people and folks of color. I wonder how many white people have even read The New Jim Crow. I have talked with several white professors at my university who had all heard about it, but only one was even interested in reading it. The others said they weren't interested in "cultural history" but "real history." And these were all very liberal professors. Until we can find a way to actually get more white liberals to read this stuff, we will be fighting an uphill battle.

    I personally think that race is the elephant in the room for the progressive movement, and if it is not addressed, there will be massive repercussions.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:29:28 AM PDT

    •  Excellent comment. (10+ / 0-)

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:36:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a black woman (15+ / 0-)

      and I've literally just learned something new.... Brilliant comment!

      May today be greater than yesterday, and tomorrow be greater than both! Go Ravens!

      by secret38b on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:52:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This comment really resonates (19+ / 0-)

      especially this:

      And on that same note, since we white people are used to being the center of attention, we are used to being able to dismiss things that don't mesh with our life experiences. THAT has been the hardest habit for me to break. It is so difficult to say, "This person knows about this more than I do, so I am going to bow to his/her better judgment." This is especially true when it comes to giving up a behavior or a phrase. Since no one thinks they are evil, it is so incredibly easy to justify behavior by saying that since the intent is not racist or bigoted, then there is nothing wrong with it, so anyone asking me to stop is just making a big deal out of nothing.
      and relates directly to a lot of conversations I've had with my husband. I'm black, he's white, we've been married almost 22 years and together longer. Clearly, I don't think my husband is racist or has a problem with race but we have had a number of discussions over the course of our relationship about realities of his privilege, both as a male and a white male.

      I think it didn't really sink in and become a part of his cultural DNA as it has always been a part of mine until our son approached his late teens and adulthood and he saw that his own biological flesh and blood would not be accorded the same privileges society automatically confers on him, even when he's unaware they're being conferred.

      I think sometimes what manifests itself when discussing race on the left is that people are generally coming from a good place and in no other way are there similarities with people they shun. And while some of the actions aren't overt or malevolent, there is benign and benevolent racism that is just as ( if not sometimes more) hurtful.

      We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

      by Vita Brevis on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:11:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  completely agreed. well said. (7+ / 0-)

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:16:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keeping or Sharing Privilege (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smkyle1, DrFaustus, Darwinian Detrius

      One critique I would have of your comment is the statement "a lot of white people are very much interested in keeping their privilege." While this is undoubtedly true in the larger society, among white liberals I wonder whether its more about sharing privilege than keeping it exclusive. That is, I believe that all people should have the "privilege" of not being pulled over by the police because of stereotyping, the there are no differences between the chances a black, a latino or a Caucasian of getting a job. A color-blind society is the goal.

      The problem is in figuring out how to get from here to there. I am afraid most white liberals (and I've been guilty of this) assume that if we act in an allegedly color-blind way in our own lives, that is sufficient.

      A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a facist state - Margaret Cho

      by CPT Doom on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:41:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent comment (5+ / 0-)

      I'm a transport to Texas and have been perplexed as to why the progressive movement is fragmented along racial and ethnic lines.  There is a huge communication gap between Hispanics and African American. The divide has been furthered along by a very savvy establishment that pits one group against the other and the progressive leadership, made up almost entirely of upper middle class whites, never adjusts for such a diversion for just the reason you pointed out:

      white people are used to being the center of attention, we are used to being able to dismiss things that don't mesh with our life experiences.
      That leads to a lack of cohesion. No effort is put into showing how every issues impacts every group.
      •  I agree with this (0+ / 0-)

        People don't think in terms of how an issue that seems to effect just one group actually has a massive impact on us all in the end.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:13:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The reprecussions are already here. (2+ / 0-)

      The reddening of State governments in states that vote blue on a national level.

      The reddening of the US House of Representatives (a lot thru gerrymandering of congressional districts) and the heavy pressure to redden the Senate.  The gutting of the VRA by a conservative activist Supreme Court who owes favors to certain forces than to the Constitution.  The corporation mainstream media who profits off of racially charged stories (such at the Trayvon Martin murder trial and Chef Paula Deen's racist remarks).  These are all matters led in part by forces who most certainly have a vested interest in keeping white privilege in tact.

      As I see it, there is active and passive participation in such privilege:  those who aggressively work to maintain their status quo and those who take advantage of their status quo to the point of not being conscious of it.

      It's the passive activism of white privilege that is the most damaging to progressive coalition building.

    •  This (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Diogenes2008
      A lot of white people are so used to being at the center of the universe due to how our country is structured that they get anxiety at the idea that they may have to share equal space with points of view that seem so foreign to them. I feel it myself sometimes. It has taken a lot of practice to learn when it's time to keep my mouth shut and let others talk. A part of me actually feels like maybe I shouldn't even be posting this comment since I am framing it from the white perspective. But I am so frustrated with the way things have been going lately, I wanted to get this off my chest.

      And on that same note, since we white people are used to being the center of attention, we are used to being able to dismiss things that don't mesh with our life experiences. THAT has been the hardest habit for me to break. It is so difficult to say, "This person knows about this more than I do, so I am going to bow to his/her better judgment." This is especially true when it comes to giving up a behavior or a phrase. Since no one thinks they are evil, it is so incredibly easy to justify behavior by saying that since the intent is not racist or bigoted, then there is nothing wrong with it, so anyone asking me to stop is just making a big deal out of nothing. And as someone posted in another diary yesterday, white people are (perhaps not coincidentally) much more intent-based rather than effect-based.

      is white privilege in it's most basic form... it is what this society conditions everyone to accept...that everything revolves around one's possession of whiteness...or lack of same...and while it's not, in many respects, overt, it is ubiquitous.

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:15:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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