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There have been a notable amount of heavy-hitting diaries on Race in the past week or so on DKos, and this is my attempt to focus that energy toward what we're seeking: Progress.

(and frankly, I'm feeling a little beaten-up as a white guy myself).

Below is a story, where the community decides what the ending should be. I'll edit to analyze the results when they come in. I hope you're willing to participate, and truly hope the desired ending is the one I hopeful for. The optional answers are not exclusive in the sense that only the words written are what would happen; they mean everything that could reasonably be included in that option.

A Green man is walking through the forest. The Forest is the colored people's world; it includes all the colors of people and their livelihoods and society. The Forest has a unique feature; there is thick layer of Mist, mostly impenatrable by the eye, that lays about waist-height from the forest floor. Also, the people that inhabit the forest have an EXTREMELY difficult time crouching under the mist, because of their evolved anatomies; they experience the same difficult standing back up once they are crouched.

The Green is walking to his place of work one day, when a Blue man and a Green woman approach. The two say to the 1st Green: "You know, you're stepping all over Blues while you walk in the forest!"
The 1st Green was taken aback by this; he had heard similar rumor years ago, but his father "set him straight". His first question to the two that approached him: "How do you know? I can't see that."

The Green woman answers: "Several reasons. First, I've managed to stoop crouch down to see. There are Blues everywhere below the mist, crawling on their hands and knees, not going much of anywhere; that's why your walk is so comfortable, for if they weren't there, the ground would be harder and more difficult to navigate while going on your way."

The Green man pondered what the Green woman said. He then stated: "Well, I see Blue people here and there, walking around. I work with a few of them, although I don't see many where I live. Some of them seem to do very well for themselves though."

The Blue man piped in: "Some of us have been individually blessed with unique physical ability that allows us to stand up, above the mist. Others of us are uniquely intelligent enough to figure out how to use some of the things in the forest to help ourselves stand up, or to convince people of another color to give us a hand. Others are simply the children of those special, but few, Blues. Most of us, however, still crawl the ground, being stepped on every day, feeding off the scraps of food of those who are walking upright, suffering, not making it much of anywhere."

The Green man considered that what the Blue man said was a real possibility, but then he remembered what his father had told him, which he repeated to the Green woman and Blue man:
"My father told me this forest is free for anyone to stand up in, to work, to live, to make something of themselves; those that haven't, haven't tried hard enough. My father wasn't rich or gifted, and I don't really think I am either. Greens, Blues, Reds, Yellows, it doesn't matter, anyone can make it here, and people of all those colors have! Why aren't the Blue people standing up and making something of themselves?"

The Blue man, very patiently and kindly, said to the Green man:
"Is it a realistic expectation, to expect the Blue people, as a group in general, to be able to rise up, and make something of themselves and of their lives, when they are constantly walked on, eating unhealthy food (or not enough food), and under the Mist?"

The Green man immediately knew that his father's line of reasoning was flawed, and began to feel guilty, and motivated to help. The Blue man and Green woman saw these emotions on the Green man's face, and asked him to join their group. The Green man agreed enthusiastically, and asked: "So, what's the goal?" The Green woman answered: "Ultimately, it's to:

Originally posted to Liberaltarianish on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 08:49 AM PDT.


How did the Green woman answer?

15%2 votes
53%7 votes
7%1 votes
0%0 votes
23%3 votes

| 13 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Are you working to reduce pain, or just distribute it?

    by Liberaltarianish on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 08:49:25 AM PDT

  •  If there is a flaw in the storytelling (0+ / 0-)

    (not a flaw in what I'm getting at, but a logical flaw, for example), I'm open to correcting.

    Are you working to reduce pain, or just distribute it?

    by Liberaltarianish on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 08:50:07 AM PDT

  •  Also, another question to ponder: (0+ / 0-)

    If we disconnect racial privilege from class privilege (which is probably practically impossible), is "white privilege" such a stunning advantage that, if understood by all, whites will feel their lives will change for the worse, forever? Or is it more like an easier, more comfortable walk to work and entertainment?

    Are you working to reduce pain, or just distribute it?

    by Liberaltarianish on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 08:51:27 AM PDT

    •  first (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, awesumtenor, mallyroyal, aoeu

      white privilege is certainly substantial even when not joined by much class privilege, for reasons I detail in my books and essays, and which I know from my own life (white but not class privileged growing up)

      secondly, i like your story

      the only problem is that the choices you offer are somewhat false it seems. The ones you seem (I think ) to wish to sneer at (the "walking around" telling people of their role in oppression, or the crying at the meting one, are extreme examples of what some do, but what most of us in antiracism work try and avoid: scolding or making this a cry-fest.

      I think obviously the second choice is best of the ones you offer, but I think there is another which captures several important points, and which you did not offer


      the goal is to end the oppression of the blues, by a) spreading awareness that they are being stepped on, b) getting the greens to understand their role in the oppression, c) getting the greens to understand that the oppression of blues ultimately weakens the well being of the whole society, d) pushing for the resources needed to provide opportunity to the blues, including reparative compensation for the damage done, and e) instituting laws/rules/procedures that will minimize the likelihood of ongoing oppression. So there are some steps before your second option that I think are important.

      And the way you have phrased the second option sounds somewhat paternalistic, though I am sure that wasn't your attempt...the blues don't need the rest to "teach them" how to succeed, so much as they need them to take responsibility for their own advantages/privileges and head starts and work to eradicate those

      Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

      by tim wise on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the kind words. (0+ / 0-)

        I didn't mean to be paternalistic at all on the 2nd choice, which is the one I hoped others choose.

        The key word in my story was when the Green woman began her answer with "Ultimately..". I felt I had to put that so choosing the option I was looking for didn't seem to discount the steps that you put forth in your post.

        Are you working to reduce pain, or just distribute it?

        by Liberaltarianish on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 09:48:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

        as a "blue" my inclination was "F: None of the above" since, to me, it seemed that even the proposed remedies were all about the greens.

        Thanks for voicing what I felt when I did not yet have the words to do so succinctly...

    •  In this country (0+ / 0-)

      such a disconnect cannot be made, IMO. In more ethnically homogeneous countries class is often the only real means of delineation; in this country, ethnicity has been made the evidence of class or lack of same; that is why non-white persons who have the ability to be perceived as white sometimes choose to "pass"; and why whites tend to feel most offended when such an effort is discovered...

  •  I appreciate the attempt. (0+ / 0-)

    tim wise's answer is better than the ones you put forth but I enjoyed the allegory.

    President Obama isn't my boyfriend. He's also not the guy who f*cked you and never called back.

    by mallyroyal on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 10:38:12 AM PDT

  •  Fatal flaw. There are a bunch of Greens who (0+ / 0-)

    are also crouching and getting stepped on.  The problem isn't with Blue or Green, the problem is the crouching, and with those who keep the crouchers (Blue and Green) in "their place."

    The solution is for the crouching Blues and Greens to realize that the problem is more of class than of race.

    They must become Reds (sorry, America, but left is red)

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