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View Diary: Why there's no such thing as "Reverse Racism" (169 comments)

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  •  I'm pretty updated (0+ / 0-)

    and you're bringing up Republican talking points. You're also simply making up things, like Oakland's economic health. Check out poverty statistics in Oakland, relative to white communities in the surrounding areas. Thriving? I don't think so. Unless you mean that unemployment in Oakland was always so high that, on a percentage basis, it fell less than in surrounding communities. King would not be thrilled at your appropriation of his words -- no more than he'd be thrilled at Glen Beck speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of his "I Have a Dream Speech."

    At a moment in which racist rhetoric is being trumpeted by tea party shills, and is becoming more fashionable in mainstream culture all the time -- at a point when the Republicans are demonstrating their propaganda and hatred machine is frighteningly effective in rousing the racial antipathy of their base -- is that really a moment when a progressive wants to be standing up there claiming -- along with the right wingers -- that somehow blacks have transcended racial prejudice to the point where they can be as guilty of racism as white people?  Seriously, what's your investment in pushing the term "Reverse Racism"?

    •  I have not used that term (0+ / 0-)

      You started this diary by using that term. I don't call anything reverse racism. Either something is racist or it is not.

      I lived in Oakland for eight years, and I did work in some of the most poverty-stricken areas of town. I know that there is poverty in Oakland. But Oakland has also had incredible forces of gentrification, across North Oakland, West Oakland, downtown, by the lake, and at Jack London Square. Even in areas where there's not a gentrification issue, there is a lot of overcrowding. Oakland is far from "gutted and abandoned by white people and white capital". That is just not the case anywhere in the city.

      You failed to address the substance of my quotation of King: that the purpose of nonviolence is to convert an enemy to your side, which goes directly against your rejection of any attempt to make white people "feel better". If MLK can seek to convert Bull Conner to his side, surely you can look to convert the Tea Party.

      The reason that I reject the "blacks can't be racist" argument is because it's not true. Only truth can light a path to freedom; lies can only lead to more pain and suffering. On a practical level, I don't personally think that we're not doing ourselves any favors by alienating white poeple from being sympathetic to the plight of black people -- not critical race theory academics who have jobs and houses and food on the table, but the rest of our community who may not.

      •  I never made (0+ / 0-)

        "a blacks can't be racist" argument.  I said that there's no such thing as "Reverse Racism."  I've said repeatedly, in the original diary and throughout the comments that black can and (rarely) do discriminate against whites, and that black people can (though rarely do) embrace a racist ideology.  So you're arguing with something I never said.

        As for King, white people love to freeze him in time, but by the end of his life King was painfully aware that racist white people were not about to be "converted".  (And if you think Bull Connor was "converted" you've got a strange idea of what the term means.) If you read King's speeches and writings during the Poor People's Campaign, you'll see that your idea of his positions are outdated, and that he was far more cynical.  White folks freeze King at his "I Have A Dream" speech, and Malcolm at his "Autobiography" period, and rarely have any idea that the two were a lot closer in ideology by the end of their lives. In addition, the "purpose of nonviolence" is specifically to achieve the goal one seeks. Conversion is only one tactic. Shaming people (as King and Ghandi did, expecially in the eyes of the world) doesn't rely on conversion at all.

        As for the slam at "critical race theory academics," it's just part of a dangerous trend towards anti-intellectualism (something the right loves).  Most critical race theory academics are in part time, non-tenure positions, or unemployed.  It's only a very few who have cushy academic jobs. The rest of us do scholarly work because we feel that thinking is important. Intellectuals have their role in progressive change, too. We're not just some troop of professional-class folks skating on the surface -- most of us repeatedly put our jobs and livelihoods at risk by standing up for what we believe in.

        It's sanctimonious to reprimand with "only truth can light a path to freedom," and let your "logic" imply that I'm "lying" when I say that "Reverse Racism" is a term invented by the right to diminish the importance of racism, which, in America, is virtually always anti-black (or other minority) racism. You don't have a lock on the truth, and if you weren't so wedded to disproving the (never stated) claim that "blacks can't be racist" maybe you could see the actual argument in the diary and comments in front of you.

        •  Oh, I see (0+ / 0-)

          Your whole argument depends on me buying that racial discrimination is not "racism" -- it's just prejudice. Which is where we started the whole discussion, back to the dictionary definition of racism, which includes racial discrimination and prejudice. But of course, the dictionary is . . .

          King never backed down from nonviolent philosophy. In his later years he applied it to other contexts outside of civil rights, namely war and poverty, and for that he was pilloried by whites, blacks and everyone else. But his commitment to converting his enemies to his side through nonviolent direct action never wavered.

          Your statement that the purpose of nonviolence is to achieve "the goal that one seeks" -- that "conversion is just a tactic" -- could not possibly be more wrong. And since you think I'm stuck in 1963, here's King less than a year before his death:

          One of the great philosophical debates of history has been over the whole question of means and ends. And there have always been those who argued that the end justifies the means, that the means really aren't important. The important thing is to get to the end, you see.

          So, if you're seeking to develop a just society, they say, the important thing is to get there, and the means are really unimportant; any means will do so long as they get you there? they may be violent, they may be untruthful means; they may even be unjust means to a just end. There have been those who have argued this throughout history. But we will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can't reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.

          And I never argued that Bull Conner was converted; only that the movement tried to.

          I'm not "anti-intellectual". I just intellectually disagree with what critical race theory academics are trying to do, which is to find 1001 ways to prove that white people in America are racist. If you all took 10% of that intellectual firepower and directed it toward figuring out how to solve black poverty, we might start getting somewhere (hint: we already know that it's origins are in racism, next question).

          I do appreciate the retreat to a semantic, political argument about the term "Reverse Racism" as opposed to elaborate proof that blacks can't be racist that was the import of the diary. We both know what we're talking about here, but if you want to pretend this is all just about the political usage of a term, as opposed to the underlying dynamic, great. I see that as a step forward.

          I mean it's rather ridiculous:

          White guy: That's reverse racism!

          Critical Race Theory Academic: No, it's not. There's no such thing as Reverse Racism.

          White guy: What are you talking about? I was just denied a job by a black guy because of my race!

          CRTA: That's racial discrimination, not racism. Reverse Racism is just a term made up by the right-wing to diminish the importance of true racism -- which is institutional discrimination against black people and other people of color.

          You don't see the ridiculousness of that? Your focus on the label is just a distraction from the substance of the discussion, which is racial discrimination, which is racial prejudice, which is racism, and which has to be called something in order for it to be addressed.

          •  Your intense focus on the incredibly rare (1+ / 0-)
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            moments in which black people might be able to exercise discrimination tells me all I need to know about your agenda, as does your weird summary of the work of critical race scholars. I mean, we wouldn't want to deprive all those poor, oppressed white people of the right to express their rage at the system that oppressed them.  Owait... what system?

            You can quote King all you want, but that doesn't make him your guy.  (It amazes me how many people want to appropriate King. Even Glenn Beck wants to steal his thunder.)

            BTW, you wrote your fictional conversation to make your own point.  Fiction's nice that way.  Here's mine:

            White guy: This totally sucks! I think I didn't get hired for that job just because I was white!

            Me: Wow, I'm sorry you didn't get the job. What do you think happened?

            White guy: I think it was Reverse Racism!

            Me: Really? Do you think you're oppressed because you're white?

            White guy: Well, I think he didn't pick me because I was white, so yeah.

            Me: Does that happen to you a lot?  Not getting picked for jobs because you're white? Does that happen to your other white friends too?

            White guy: Well it happened to me this time! And I've heard it happens to some other people! But not usually, no. In fact, it never happened to me before. Usually the people who interview me are white.

            Me: I think you ran into one black guy who doesn't like white guys, and he didn't hire you. He discriminated against you because you're white.  And that definitely sucks. But I wouldn't call it "Reverse Racism." This jerk isn't supported by a whole system that oppresses white people.  Do you know when a black person applies to a job, and the person doing the hiring is white, the black person is six times less likely to get the job than the white person, even if they both have the same resume? Seriously, six times! Based on the statistics, you've got a much higher chance of getting a job than a black guy exactly like you.  Bad luck that you got screwed this time, but with odds like that, you'll find something else.

            White guy: But it's not fair!

            Me: I totally agree. And I'm sorry it happened to you. But there's no conspiracy to blame -- no "Reverse Racism." What there is is a guy in an office with some power and he exercised it badly.  He might not have hired you because you're short.  Or because he didn't like the sound of your voice. He had the power to make the decision, and you think he made a bad one. But you can pick yourself up and apply to the next job because there's no system like racism oppressing you. So go get 'em, tiger.

            I've actually had variations of this conversation with white men, and you'd be surprised how well they go. Most people can actually understand the difference between social structure that's set up to oppress a specific group of people, and a few instances in which the roles have briefly been reversed.

            Blurring the meaning of words never helped us sort out a single thing.  Racial prejudice, racial discrimination and racism are three  different, though related, terms and no matter how many times you insist they're the same thing, they simply are not. The incident you refer to can be called "racial discrimination", it isn't, and doesn't need to be called "racism."

            •  King is absolutely "my guy" (0+ / 0-)

              I've been studying him since I was a little kid. Rather than dispute the validity of my point, you just pull a Glenn Back out of your bag-o-tricks. Wow, that's a great contribution to the conversation.

              You're fixation of the term "Reverse Racism" shows that it's you that has the "agenda". I never used the term. My original comment just noted that your definition of racism was at odds with the one found in the dictionary, and common usage.

              •  Why is it so hard (0+ / 0-)

                for you to get it through your head that my definition is the standard definition in sociology and other social sciences? Of course, that would kill your argument. Love your Truth Reversal, too -- comparing me to Glenn Beck.  Keep up with the King studies -- maybe one day it'll take.

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