Skip to main content

For its owners, whiteness is constructed as something benign and innocent. Historically, and into the present, whiteness is the stuff of terror, fear, and death for a great many people around the world.

The KKK wore white robes in order to terrify black people by channeling the energy of ghouls and ghosts as they hung, raped, tortured, dismembered, murdered, and killed African-Americans in the post-Emancipation South.

First Nations and other peoples quickly came to realize that "the white man" was a harbinger of death and destruction. In fact, aboriginal and other cultures had to invent language in order to describe these "white men," who if encountered, should be treated with fear and caution.

Olaudah Equiano famously described the slave ships (and white crewmen) that transported him and his fellow Africans across the Atlantic in their hellish bowels as horrible monsters crewed by demons, and controlled by strange, wicked men from another world.

What follows will hurt some white folks to hear. It is nonetheless the truth.

A presumption of an existentially noble and good whiteness is a premise that allows white folks to exist in a space of perpetual innocence where the deeds of killers, murderers, and evil doers "who happen to be white" are a reflection on individual shortcomings, and never, almost by definition, comments on the character of "the white race."

For example, James Holmes can shoot dozens of people during Batman the Dark Knight Rises and he is not a reflection on pathological white masculinity. Instead Holmes is a less than ideal-typical case because he is "crazy" or "insane." Wade Michael Page can kill six Sikh-Americans during their worship service and he is just a "crazy" white supremacist who is automatically an outlier, one that is excluded from any conversation about what his behavior tells us about white racial identity, masculinity, violence, and hostility to the Other in the Age of Obama.

Ultimately, white people who commit wanton acts of murder and violence are individuals who just happen to be white and commit crime; people of color--especially African-Americans--who commit crime are representative of both their whole community, as well as a subculture and community in "crisis." As such, Americans tend to speak naturally and with great ease about "black crime." By comparison, and despite a white monopoly on whole categories of criminality, the language of "white crime" does not even exist in the public discourse or collective consciousness.

A plain statement of this reality is not news to people of color. In the United States, we learn these life lessons as a means of survival, and in order to successfully navigate a society where whiteness is normality, privilege, property, invisibility, and fashions itself as neutral and kind.

A plain statement of these facts may be upsetting to some white folks who have not had a moment of critical self-reflection about the deep relationship between whiteness, power, privilege, and violence. White race traitors and self-aware folk will nod with agreement, because to them, the latter observation is a simple and obvious one. To the uninitiated, this "real talk" as I like to call it, may hurt a bit...such is life.

Brotha Wolf, a frequent commenter on my blog We Are Respectable Negroes, offered up a particularly lucid and sharp observation about the mass shooting of Sikh-Americans by a white supremacist in Wisconsin where he noted that:

There's another thing about whiteness that should be noted. White people see themselves as a monolith of greatness, morality, and decency. Any act of cruelty or insanity is an individual act as written in this post.

On the other hand, black people are seen as a monolith of stupidity, violence, unethical behavior and worthlessness. Plus, any form of achievement or greatness is separated from the narrative of the "typical black person". Those acts are individualized and seen as exceptions to the rule.

This reminds me of Toni Morrison's devastating argument about the relationship between whiteness, violence, and terror--one that many white folks are both blind to and ignorant of--in her book Playing in the Dark:

Bell Hooks signals to Morrison's powerful observations when she writes that:

If the mask of whiteness, the pretense, represents it as always benign, benevolent, then what this representation obscures is the representation of danger, the sense of threat...In contemporary society, white and black people alike believe that racism no longer exists. This erasure, however mythic, diffuses the representation of whiteness as terror in the black imagination. It allows for assimilation and forgetfulness.

The eagerness with which contemporary society does away with racism, replacing this recognition with evocations of pluralism and diversity that further mask reality, is a response to the terror, bit it has also become a way to perpetuate the terror by providing a cover, a hiding place. Black people still feel the terror, still associate it with whiteness, but are rarely able to articulate the varied ways we are terrorized because it is easy to silence by accusations of reverse racism or by suggesting that black folks who talk about how we are terrorized by whites are merely evoking victimization to demand special treatment.

There should be a national intervention about the relationship between white masculinity, gun culture, and mass violence. We know that such a conversation will not occur.

Thus, I ask the following questions.

What will it take for white folks to look in the mirror and have an honest discussion about the killers in their midst, especially given the fact that two white men have now committed mass murder in almost as many weeks? Is whiteness, and those who have not transcended it, even capable of such an honest moment of critical self-reflection?

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Well, for one thing (5+ / 0-)

    It'll take something other than an ignorant racist screed from you.

    I'm more than willing to have an honest discussion about it - are you?  

    Face it, you're guilty of the very same "broad brush" silliness that you claim to oppose.

    Admit that - and maybe then we can get around to that discussion.

  •  Whiteness (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, luckydog, dirkster42, dailykozzer

    is an artificial social construct. That's the first thing you have to get across.
    Noel Ignatiev, with whom you are undoubtedly familiar:

    The white race is a historically constructed social formation. It consists of all those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society. Its most wretched members share a status higher, in certain respects, than that of the most exalted persons excluded from it, in return for which they give their support to a system that degrades them.

    The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race, which means no more and no less than abolishing the privileges of the white skin. Until that task is accomplished, even partial reform will prove elusive, because white influence permeates every issue, domestic and foreign, in US society.

    The existence of the white race depends on the willingness of those assigned to it to place their racial interests above class, gender, or any other interests they hold. The defection of enough of its members to make it unreliable as a predictor of behavior will lead to its collapse.

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:07:39 AM PDT

    •  noel is wonderful, unfortunately (6+ / 0-)

      most white folks do not want to have that moment of critical self-reflection. moreover, brother noel is likely one of the most dishonestly quoted taken out of context anti-racists by white conservatives and white racial reactionaries.

      •  You mean, like this? (0+ / 0-)
        The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race...Until that task is accomplished, even partial reform will prove elusive.

        "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

        by kestrel9000 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:11:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chauncy what do you think Noel (0+ / 0-)

        means when he says to abolish the white race?

        It's easy to take people out of context on short quotes.  I'm guessing "abolish(ing) the white race" isn't about killing off the whites as the last paragraph talks about defections and not violence but it too is an odd way to phrase the issue.

        And to answer your larger question about self-reflection.  People are hard-wired for viewing the world in an us/them fashion.  I wish that more people would have a more inclusive view of what "us" is and keep shrinking the amount of people that are in the "them" category.

        With that said, white supremacists are in my  "them" category and so what one of "them" does doesn't require too much introspection.

        And yes, there is too much hatred and prejudice in whites but there is too much hatred and prejudice in every "race".

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:35:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  interesting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luckydog

          "And yes, there is too much hatred and prejudice in whites but there is too much hatred and prejudice in every "race"."

          be careful of false equivalencies. white supremacy and the global systems of white supremacy that came with empire and colonial expansion from the 17th century forward was a world defining moment.

          also be careful as your observations can lead to the casual use of the term "racism." racism is prejudice plus power. in this society only white people can be properly "racist." any group can contain bigots or prejudiced individuals.

          white supremacy and white racism are among the greatest social evils ever conceived or invented.

          there are no white people. there are irish, italian, russians, brits, scots, and others. whiteness and the idea of white people came about in order to justify the natural enslavement and exploitation of tens if not hundreds of millions of people in the service of white empire.

          ignatiev was calling for what we now term "political race" where alliances of common class concern and shared humanity are used for the common good.  to facilitate this move, whiteness--a social formation predicated on power and domination--must be disavowed and destroyed.

          •  I've read enough to know that definition (0+ / 0-)

            of racism and I've heard enough times that in this society that there can't be a thing called reverse racism.

            But I would like to see if I got this straight.

            A white person says blacks are inferior is a racist statement.
            A black person says that whites are inferior isn't, by definition, a racist statement?  That seems to be what is to be inferred by the definition of racist.  If we are not to use the term "racist" when applied to the second statement what term are we to use?  Are we merely to use bigot, prejudiced, etc?

            In a similar vein, if a white person hires another white person largely based on their race that would seem to clearly be a display of racism  And if a black person hires another black person largely based on their race does that not exhibit both prejudice and power, and is therefore racism?

            Finally, if an asian hires an asian largely based on their race (yes, tricky given the intra-asian prejudices) is that racist in, say, someplace in asia but not here in the US?

            Sincere but somewhat skeptical questions.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:45:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Both statements (0+ / 0-)

              are biased/bigoted/prejudiced. Racist would  up setting up various forms of exclusion and/or oppression based on the perceived inferiority... whether we are talking refusing admission to schools or redlining to prevent people from moving into certain neighborhoods or creating policing policies that cause certain people of certain ethnicities to be viewed as inherently suspicious to such a degree that their existence is viewed as "probable cause".

              In this society racism is unidirectional. There are no institutional or societal structures that allow persons of color to force whites to be excluded or limit the ability to achieve for whites or limit the benefit whites can derive from their achievement...and before you suggest affirmative action, AA is something devised by whites  placing bounds on whites to create a limited area where non-whites can participate... but even that is a misnomer since white women are deemed, for the purposes of AA, as minorities...

              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 Aug 08, 2012 at 02:32:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  He tells you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luckydog, sayitaintso

          exactly what it means:

          no more and no less than abolishing the privileges of the white skin.

          "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

          by kestrel9000 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:18:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I'm not sure what THAT means (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kestrel9000

            I would like a more equal society and there is a thing called white privilege.  I view white privilege as a negative thing but I'm not certain we are all talking about the same thing when we say white privilege.

            If it means I can't help my kids through college because I and they were born into white bodies, well, that is not my idea of white privilege.  IOW, I'm against removing barriers for the historical oppressed but not creating new barriers for other people.

            What do you take "abolishing the privileges of the white skin" to mean?

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:20:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I predict that this diary will not go over well (0+ / 0-)

    And you phrase your question very strangely.

    "Is whiteness, and those who have not transcended it, even capable of such an honest moment of critical self-reflection?"

    What is the origin of the term whiteness?  I haven't heard it before.  I've heard of whites, caucasians, european americans, (other hyphenated americans), etc. but I haven't heard "whiteness" used to describe a whole "race" of people.

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:08:26 AM PDT

    •  if you have followed me here or elsewhere (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, kestrel9000, dirkster42, a2nite

      i am not interested in "going over well." could care less. real talk is real talk, i also do not hand hold.

      there is a whole literature on both the historical origins of whiteness as a social construct and on white privilege.

      nell painter's new book on the history of white people is a great accessible read. you can also youtube or google her and find some quick interviews and videos.

      also just check out white privilege and some basic works by feagin, mcintosh, wise, and others to get yourself started.

      brother ignatiev as well as theo allen, du bois, dyer, yancy, mills and others may be more appropriate later on.

      •  If You Don't Hold an Audience It Doesn't Matter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        voracious

        if you talk. It's the opposite of real.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:49:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we have chatted before, you know my position (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luckydog

          i am not going to compromise my work, choice of words, or critical intervention to "win" an audience.

          miles had the right idea when he turned his back to the audience. i sure as hell ain't miles--who can be?--but his point was well taken.

          reflecting openly and honestly, my audience is always growing here and elsewhere. i will not compromise. what happens happens.

          you my friend can choose to proceed differently.

      •  Sati is real terror if you were a Sikh widow. (0+ / 0-)

        I think it was the whites who put an end to this practice.

         the practice of sati was encouraged, sometimes even forced. In Sati system, if the husband of any women dies then the women was to cremate alive with his husband’s body.

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:04:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  where'd you get the idea that white = benign? (5+ / 0-)

    most of what you write is, no doubt, appropriate for a certain sub-section of white people: the idea that white is "normal and good" and anything else is "scary and bad".

    But of course you know that the majority of white people are ashamed of how others act. I think of what Frank Zappa said...

    Hey, you know something people?
    I'm not black
    But there's a whole lots a times
    I wish I could say I'm not white
    •  are they ashamed generally or reflecting (0+ / 0-)

      about how whiteness and white racial identity are often decoupled from ill deeds and done so in a way that is not done for others?

      •  then rather than creating another (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zqxj

        coupling (and thereby extending racialist thinking) shouldn't the focus be on decoupling for 'others', as you describe them?

        Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

        by nickrud on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:19:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "white" is the default, the norm, the neutral (7+ / 0-)

      Generally, everything else is defined in relation to whiteness.  I am a "man", but the guy standing next to me is a "black man".  

      as a gay man, I can relate to this quite well since in our society "straight" is similarly the default/normal/neutral.

      For example, when an adult male molests a boy, it is proof that "gays are sick".  When a grown man molests a girl, it is proof that he, individually, is sick.

      •  yup, there are whole matrices of power (4+ / 0-)

        domination and resistance. intersectionality is a useful framework here.  the books contracts of domination by mills and mackinnon (I believe) talks about this.

        these systems also exist within marginalized communities too--see racism in the gay community.

      •  not just neutral, but positive (0+ / 0-)

        white privilege includes a big heap of superiority complex.

        and most homophobes see heterosexuality, not just as default and normal, but as "right" and "natural", with anything else as perverted, degenerate, unnatural, etc.

        It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

        by sayitaintso on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:02:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And if I go into a predominantly black area... (0+ / 0-)

        ...The guy I'm standing next to is a man, but I'm a white man.

        I think these are apples and oranges.  Descriptors are not necessarily motivated by some sort of institutional bigotry.  If a $SKIN_COLOR_A person is in a crowd of $SKIN_COLOR_B people, and you're trying to point them out to someone, it's normal to go "Oh, Bob?  He's the $SKIN_COLOR_A guy over there."

  •  I remember a scene in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (5+ / 0-)

    Malcolm has a life changing transformation, when a fellow black prisoner opens up the dictionary and shows him the negative symbolism behind the word, black.

    In contrast for the most part in via the symbolism of language, white describes positive qualities and attributes.

    It was a powerful scene for me:

    It highlighted the fact that we cannot escape the phenomenon of whiteness it exists not just in deeds, but within our consciousness and the very system of language

    We have divided the world between white and black, one the embodiment of light, goodness, chastity, the other the embodiment of death, negativity, impurity.

    We take part in whiteness with or without knowing it, when we merely speak and think in abstracts.

    •  dyer's book White does a great job of (5+ / 0-)

      working through how the very language, representation, unstated assumptions, and cultural work done by the language of "white" and its relationship to "whiteness" works in the West.

      Powerful stuff.

    •  I got that lesson in junior high - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shawn Russell

      when our English teacher asked us for common associations with the word black, and I piped up "evil."  And then an African-American kid said, "So, when you see a black person you think they're evil."

      I didn't understand that he had a valid point at the time, but the seed was planted and I remembered the incident later when the lesson finally took.

      If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

      by dirkster42 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:10:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They answer is not to find (11+ / 0-)

    something patholgical among white people but to stop defining black as patholgical.  In other owrds, to treat people as individuals.  When a black person murders, it is the person that murders, not the culture or skin color.   In other words, the same privilege of being an indivudal should be open to all.

    Brotha Wolf may be right about a white supremacist, but both aspects do not reflect the views of many white folks:

    There's another thing about whiteness that should be noted. White people see themselves as a monolith of greatness, morality, and decency. Any act of cruelty or insanity is an individual act as written in this post.

    On the other hand, black people are seen as a monolith of stupidity, violence, unethical behavior and worthlessness. Plus, any form of achievement or greatness is separated from the narrative of the "typical black person". Those acts are individualized and seen as exceptions to the rule.

    Few white folks see this: White people see themselves as a monolith of greatness, morality, and decency.  A person may, but only the extreme racists attribute those characteristics to skin color.  

    Samer with this:

    black people are seen as a monolith of stupidity, violence, unethical behavior and worthlessness
    There are some that do both, but I don't think they are the majority.  Yes, racism still exists, but I think those are exagerrated views.  Reality is far more complex, and perhaps because of that, softer racism is harder to erradicate.  People of good hearts still create structures that discriminate.   People of good (or mediocre) hearts still can be blinded by their own experiences and not be able to see the other.  

    Notwithstanding my comments, I think your post is very important because there is a different way in which a black killer would have been treated in media, etc.   For far too many whites, black people as a group are held repsonsible for the actions of one bad actor, and most white people never blame whiteness.  

    This, the mindset neeeds to be shattered and your posts appear to aim to do so by making some whites think and self examine.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:14:40 AM PDT

    •  I agree very much with this Tom (5+ / 0-)

      We should not construct whites as pathological or abnormal, but seek to construct the harmony and racial-equality amongst all human beings.

      Genetically speaking race does not exist. It is a social-construct, used by the powerful to elevate their own positions and demote the positions of their subjects.

      When we reclaim the inherent equality of all human beings, we do not marginalize one group at the expense of another, but see all groups for the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

      •  I think you and Tom are missing the point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckydog, TomP, Larsstephens

        You have to examine and expose the privileged position that "white" (or "straight" or "Christian" or "male") holds in society.  

        You then also have to look at how that privilege informs and empowers people like James Holmes and Wade Page to commit the crimes they did and also how it enables people like the "birthers" to so fervently claim Obama is "alien" is way no white president has ever been so attacked.

        It isn't about pathologizing white people, it is about recognizing how the privileged position that whiteness holds is our society affects people's actions and societal reaction to them.

        •  Thanks for the filter (0+ / 0-)

          The verbiage (including, but not limited to the snobby 'white race traitor' throwaway) obscured the point. Rereading through your filter exposed some useful stuff here.

          Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

          by nickrud on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:35:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "white race traitor" is a powerful concept (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            luckydog, a2nite, Larsstephens

            go back to ignatiev and let it marinate and settle in. nothing snobby about it. matter of fact and challenging for many to accept that treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.

            please share, what is problematic about the "verbiage" as you call it. any suggestions?

            •  Chauncey (0+ / 0-)

              the fact that you find "white race traitor" to be a powerful concept tells you nothing about its objective effectiveness  as tool for de-constructing the concept of whiteness among those so classified.

              Ignatiev has some useful things to say but based on my personal experience, I doubt that his "race traitor" theoretical construct is one of these.

              The problem isn't that those classed as white don't think enough about "whiteness", it's that they think too little about perspectives and experiences outside of "whiteness."

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:48:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  in my experience (0+ / 0-)

                they do neither. Like I said, just about everything that Chauncey wrote about is fundamentally true but, if his audience is potential 'white race traitors', his presentation is counterproductive.

                If it's intended for an echo chamber it's perfectly fine.

                Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

                by nickrud on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:06:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Depends on who your intended (0+ / 0-)

              audience is. For example your offhand usage of 'white race traitor' without any context isn't going to enlighten anyone. 'Traitor' is by definition a libelous appellation. It's not libelous in that actual context but who's to know except the already clued in?

              There are others, but if you re-read your diary as best you can without your knowledge (like someone who'd never been exposed to these concepts would) that might help with the 'verbiage'.

              Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

              by nickrud on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:13:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  i hear you, but we have lots of data from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, a2nite, Larsstephens

      public opinion research, cultural philosophers and analysts, historians, social scientists, and the like which does support that black personhood (and people of color in general) are seen as being systematically different from and less than whites in this society.

    •  What percentage of white people have to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345, Mindful Nature

      have a certain view in order for it to be a "white" view?

      For example,  Chauncey quotes Brotha Wolf as saying that "white people" think they are a monolith of good.  I was born into a white body and I don't know anybody that thinks that.  Doesn't mean that they don't exist.  I have seen documentaries on the Klan and they obviously have this "white is right" world outlook but obviously the Klan is not exactly representative of whites.  Chauncey, on the other hand, thinks it's a lucid and sharp observation to ascribe the Klan view to "white people".

      Which goes back to my question?  What percentage of people in a group have to have the same view on an issue in order to ascribe that view to the larger group?

      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

      by theotherside on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:53:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know. (0+ / 0-)

        I doubt there are real rules for this.  I think the more accurate way to put it is some white people have such views.  I do not know how it can be quantified accurately.  As my comment indicated, I had some disagreement with Brotha Wolf's comment, but I also think this is an important issue and am glad Chauncey writes about it.

        I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

        by TomP on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:48:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Somewhere, hidden in this piece (0+ / 0-)

    is a "Diary of the Year" struggling to get out.

    It doesn't quite make it not because the ideas are wrong, but because they are phrased poorly.

    When you broach this subject you simply MUST recognise the sensibilities of the potential audience, which is white.

    The white people here represent the most enlightened section of white America, and even if that is "not enlightened enough", you really have to give your natural allies credit for the advances they have made, with extra points going to those who realise just how much further we need to travel down this road.

    I applaud this effort, and I hope that the commenters can see past some clumsy wording, and embrace the essential ideas.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:20:22 AM PDT

    •  I "Must" not do anything (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScottinSF, luckydog, a2nite, Larsstephens

      "The white people here represent the most enlightened section of white America, and even if that is "not enlightened enough", you really have to give your natural allies credit for the advances they have made, with extra points going to those who realise just how much further we need to travel down this road."

      I think that there are many people of color here on Daily Kos and some white folks who would fundamentally disagree with your self-congratulatory pat on the back wink to good white folks here. There is plenty of racism here on the Daily Kos, much of it just as virulent as what you would see on a conservative website--if not more so.

      Check out my piece on Liberal Racism here on the Daily Kos and some of the reactions to it.

      I am not interested in winning white allies. Folks do the right thing because it is right, not because they get goodies, pats on the back, or a person of color bent over backwards to accommodate white sensibilities.

      One of the challenges in fighting contemporary colorblind white racism and white supremacy is that whiteness (and many white folks) still want to be central and privileged in the conversation. Not gonna happen on my watch.

      •  So ... let me try again (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devis1, Praxical

        Before you throw out baseless accusations about my motivations, you may like to read this:

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        You can continue to post, and comment in anger. You can carry on lashing out because of all the injustice in the world, and you can do that in any direction you want.

        But ask yourself why you posted the Diary, what was the aim?

        If you feel that folk are not responding appropriately (and some of them are not), then you lead them to a solution. You may beat them over the head with one, but they will reject you.

        It's your call.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:41:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good luck (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, jeff in nyc

          I'll be interested to see how far you get here.

          Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:52:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  funny, more examples (4+ / 0-)

          you wrote:

          "You can continue to post, and comment in anger. You can carry on lashing out because of all the injustice in the world, and you can do that in any direction you want."

          we black folks are so "angry" and always "lash out." it is in our melanin and genes. we can't help it.

          Why is that your immediate referent for a critical intervention offered by a person of color, especially an observation that may challenge or unsettle you?

          I am not angry. I write in a very matter of fact way. The stakes here are not high enough for me to be the angry black guy.

          "If you feel that folk are not responding appropriately (and some of them are not), then you lead them to a solution. You may beat them over the head with one, but they will reject you."

          I am not interested in "appropriate" responses. I am also not anyone's savior. People can choose to do the right thing or they can live in ignorance. Their choice. Black people and others have spent too much of our collective energy being the conscience of a nation and trying to "educate" white people. Unless I am getting a paycheck for a seminar or a lecture I am not educating anyone except when I choose to.

          At this point white folks need to do some serious work on their own.

          •  Well now you are putting words (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mindful Nature

            in my mouth, and I simply reject that.

            You may feel calm, and rational, and I take you at your word, but your comments come across as angry.

            I do not ascribe that to "angry blacks" ... you did that.

            I am discussing this with you, a single person, not a race of people, and to me you sound angry. That said, I don't have a problem with it. Indeed, I think you have a right to be angry but I also think that you are not directing it in a manner that helps you make your points.

            It's a matter for you.

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            by twigg on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:58:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you said i was angry (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              luckydog, sayitaintso, Larsstephens

              that is a common response when people of color offer direct interventions. It is also typical for those immersed and who are part of the white racial frame. You may not even be conscious of this habit. The pathologies of white supremacy and white racism are very deep.

              If you haven't taken any of the IAT tests online it could be revealing.

              •  Forgive me for simply being (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mindful Nature

                a white guy, who is firmly on the side of equality in all of its aspects.

                Now I need to take a test?

                This is not an approach that will help you make your points, many of which I agree with, so why don't we start there ... with the bits we agree on, and build on that?

                I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                by twigg on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 12:03:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  dude--your methods of discussing race, racism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                twigg

                and race relations are some of the most ineffective I've ever seen.  You chastise people supporting you, anyone who questions you is a default racist, and you use the tried and true method of

                a. lay out an obnoxiously phrased point
                b. issue a false disclaimer with 'Now, some of you may find this truth uncomfortable'
                c. brand every single person who tries to defend himself according to your pre-defined frame.

                Useless, dude.  Why haven't you realized this?

                You're not stimulating discussion, you're just making noise.

                •  says who and by what criteria? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  luckydog, Larsstephens

                  please provide some examples please. i am an empiricist, i know this material and literature and am always open to learning more. i do however not deal patiently with those in denial about white racism or who want black and brown folks to teach them. and finally, and this may be the source of some of your dislike of my directness, racism is not an opinion. it is a fact.

                  in this post-racial moment of conservative colorblindness the experiences of people of color with white supremacy is reduced to our "opinion." nevermind that few want to talk about institutional racism.

                  it could be that i do not tell white people what they want to hear, nor do i offer up a kumbaya you are all good white liberals theme. that can be challenging.

                  would you like the conversation to validate you? is that your definition of "dialogue?"

                  •  your diaries--not all of them--but a lot of them-- (0+ / 0-)

                    provide all the evidence you need.

                    Your amusing budget psychoanalysis (used on lots of people in this diary) doesn't help your case.

                    Anyway, few (if any) an DKos deny racism.  I haven't seen anyone do it.  Of course by your standards, we're all racism deniers simply because we think your diaries are strange.

                    •  define strange? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      luckydog, Larsstephens

                      How is "strange" different from successful, widely read, and with many rec'ds and front pages here on Kos and elsewhere. Is it a conspiracy?  

                      I think I upset you and challenge your assumptions. That vexes your neat framework. The white racial frame is very powerful and compelling for those immersed in it.

                      You can be helped though. Just enter the light.

              •  IAT Test (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Larsstephens

                I was unaware of these tests, so my curiosity naturally impelled me to take one. It was very interesting. Thank you for suggesting it. I'm looking forward to the follow-up test that seems likely to be sent to me as the campaign progresses.

                You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

                by IamGumby on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:27:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Results (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                twigg

                I suppose I should share my results: I am a white, middle-aged female, and my results suggested little or no preferential distinctions between black and white people in general; and a slight preference for white people when the subjects were famous.

                You cannot hate people for their own good. -- Unknown

                by IamGumby on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:29:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I took it too (0+ / 0-)

                  and I wasn't impressed.

                  As I said above ... I am a white male who has been brought up in a society that is full of prejudice.

                  The test might be able to demonstrate that, but to what end? It doesn't, and can't say anything about how I handle my upbringing, nor what I say and do in the present.

                  I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                  but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                  by twigg on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 08:58:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Not so much. (0+ / 0-)

            The tone of your writing is actively hostile.  You belittle every white person (I would add, 'who isn't a racist', but I think that'd be a contradiction in terms to your lexicon,)  and who tries to 'transcend whiteness,' an idea you credit in your article yet never seem to credit in your readers, as can be seen by your interactions with them.

            I am not interested in "appropriate" responses. I am also not anyone's savior. People can choose to do the right thing or they can live in ignorance. Their choice. Black people and others have spent too much of our collective energy being the conscience of a nation and trying to "educate" white people. Unless I am getting a paycheck for a seminar or a lecture I am not educating anyone except when I choose to.
            So, then, what is your purpose here?  Do you just like 'hearing' yourself 'speak?'  Are you a troll who just likes saying imflammatory stuff to stir up the silly white folks?  Or are you educating -just- nonwhite people that white folks suck and think they're superior? (In other news: Fire hot!)

            Maybe you need to do a little bit of that introspection that you're urging on others so that you can figure out why you're hear and who you're speaking to with these articles.

      •  Ha ha ha (0+ / 0-)

        ...and it's that attitude, not your "blackness" and not my "whiteness", which makes it so easy to dismiss your ranting as nothing more than run of the mill ignorance and racist drivel, with a dash of entitled arrogance thown in for good measure..

  •  Just wondering... (0+ / 0-)

    I see there is a Black Kos community.  Is there a White one as well?

  •  Could you clarify? (0+ / 0-)
    Ultimately, white people who commit wanton acts of murder and violence are individuals who just happen to be white and commit crime; people of color--especially African-Americans--who commit crime are representative of both their whole community, as well as a subculture and community in "crisis."
    Do you think that the recent shooting incidents should be viewed as representative of the whole white community?

    Or, by making the above observation, are you trying to illustrate the weakness in thought of characterizing crimes by some blacks as representative of the whole black community?

    •  i am signalling to how black people and the Other (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      are not afforded the luxury of being individuals. the acts of the Other are taken as a frame and narrative that applies to all members of that group.

      basic power dynamic in a society organized in various hierarchies of advantage and disadvantage or in-group/out-group.

      •  Thanks for response. Next questions ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        denise b

        You wrote:

        i am signalling to how black people and the Other are not afforded the luxury of being individuals. the acts of the Other are taken as a frame and narrative that applies to all members of that group.
        If blacks and the Other are not afforded the luxury, should whites also not be afforded the luxury?

        Is your preferred solution that all "be afforded the luxury" of not having the crimes of the some ascribed to the whole?

        •  i play for keeps (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luckydog, a2nite, Larsstephens

          the answer would be that white folks through their privilege should not have any defenses, protections, or other supporting structures not allowed to the Other.

          whites should also be made to experience and feel the stings of marginalization and Otherization to the degree it is possible. the scales will never match up, but those momentary experiences can be eye opening.

          anticipating the common move here, two "wrongs" do not make a right, but they can sure as hell make things a little bit more equal, and robust interventions that address inequalities of power and historical inequalities are not the equivalent of the disease we are trying to cure--using reparations and the minimal type of affirmative action we had in the U.S. for only a short period of time relative to chattel slavery as an example.

          •  Ah, the old reparations shell game (0+ / 0-)

            ...because my ancestors were enslaved and my immediate relatives treated poorly, I am entitled to something for free and I must have my revenge!

            Forget about "enlightened whites", let's please find some damn "enlightened minorities".

          •  Aah, I think I have it. (0+ / 0-)

            You say "the answer would be that white folks through their privilege should not have any defenses, protections, or other supporting structures not allowed to the Other."  

            That's normal, and that would be, I think, the opinion of the majority on Kos.

            Then you say: "whites should also be made to experience and feel the stings of marginalization and Otherization to the degree it is possible. the scales will never match up, but those momentary experiences can be eye opening."

            ...Now that, that reveals your real thinking, which is that you don't just want white people cut down to size, you want to cut them down to be worse off than everyone else.  Which makes you different from your oppressors only by the fact that you do not have the power to oppress them.

            •  um. no. those exercises be it the privilege walk (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens

              the brown eyes blue eyes exercise, and others for example can be an eye opening moment. nothing can replicate what it means to be the Other, it can help those who are most privileged have a reflective moment.

              "...Now that, that reveals your real thinking, which is that you don't just want white people cut down to size, you want to cut them down to be worse off than everyone else.  Which makes you different from your oppressors only by the fact that you do not have the power to oppress them."

              many folks always want to find a moral equivalent between black americans and white americans. incongruent and not compatible.

              what are you afraid of? why construct straw man black bogeyman types?

              •  I am more afraid of white people (0+ / 0-)

                than I am of black people, frankly.  

                many folks always want to find a moral equivalent between black americans and white americans. incongruent and not compatible.
                ...I am unsure of your meaning in this context.
                what are you afraid of? why construct straw man black bogeyman types?
                I dunno.  Why would I do ... something I didn't do?  Unlike you, who's got a whole bunch of straw men to beat, all whitewashed.
                •  as i wrote here one of the deepest (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Larsstephens

                  fears of white historically has been of black oppressors who want to "cut down" white people, a great projection of a fear of the chickens coming home to roost. this is an old play that still has traction for conservatives and those mired in the white racial frame.

                  i wrote about it here:

                  http://www.alternet.org/...

                  •  So? (0+ / 0-)

                    As the paranoiacs say: Just because you think that someone's out to get you doesn't mean that they aren't.  

                    Just 'cause us eeeeeeevil white folks are afraid the darkies are gonna rise up and enslave us doesn't mean that you don't want to.

                    ...Of course, I don't think that black people in general think this way.  I'm just pointing out that you, in particular, seem to want a bit more than a level playing field from the way that you worded what you said, and I reject the appalling logical fail you attempted to employ above.

    •  read the "comments" in your local newspaper (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      to see the depressing, repetitive  repetition of racist thought on crime.

      "of course, in that neighborhood"
      "they don't care for their children"
      "animals, every one of them"

      these are said about Newark, NJ every day.

      Black violence and crime are treated as typical, inherent features of Black people.

      White violence and crime -- except perhaps for sexual crimes against boys, and sometimes little girls-- are far mor likely to elicit reactions about the perpetrator .  Rape by white men does not generate dozens of "well that's just how they are" comments.  Nor are  wife beating, drug dealing, or arson seen as sad proof that caucasians are really subhuman.

      (OK, there's the old "Jewish lightning" for arson, but I bet you can see that that's antisemitic and you would call it out if you saw it.)

      so yes white people,  whoever we are,  take every black criminal  as typical and every white criminal as an exception.  It happens every day.

      It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

      by sayitaintso on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:15:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this really a culture phenomenon whereas (0+ / 0-)

    the race of the majority and or power base determines the preferences of that race?  It doesn't seem to occur in only white dominated societies.

    Romney is George W. Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 11:56:16 AM PDT

  •  Let's try this another way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikeNH

    You argue that it's "whiteness" which leads to the seeking of power and the sowing of terror, destruction, injustice, the oppression of blacks, the conquering of aboriginals/natives, etc etc.   That's the gist of your argument, right, that it's "whiteness" which causes these horrific events?

    So, extending your argument to its logical conclusion - can we argue that it's "whiteness" which has allowed us (yes, I'm "white") to be successful at these horrible activities?   It's our "whiteness" which gives us the superior intelligence, cunning, reasoning, strength, whatever, which enabled us to conquer native peoples and enslave/oppress blacks?  Your red skin makes you inferior and weak?  Your black skin renders you incapable of defending yourself?

    Of course not - and I'm not making that argument.  
    But you - you're well on your way down that road even if you're blissfully unaware of it.

    And what of the fact that human beings, even those with red skin, brown skin, and omigod - BLACK skin - have been conquering and enslaving one another for thousands of years?  Do they get a pass?   What of the fact that slavery still exists in parts of Africa and the Middle East even today?  Another free pass?

    Now, I'll sit back and watch the wailing and gnashing of teeth.  

    •  So... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MikeNH

      If you want to argue about perception, or media coverage of violence, or the uncomfortable and unfair (but very real) notion that history is written by the victors, I'd probably agree with most of what you had to say.

      But the idea that it's "whiteness" which is the problem, as opposed to say, very human traits of greed, fear, envy, paranoia, etc - well, as I said, you're as racist as those you accuse.

      •  whiteness is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirkster42, Larsstephens

        a social construct created to legitimate global domination. whiteness does not cause anything per se, it does however legitimate and naturalize it.

        there is a whole literature out there from a wide range of folks on this.

        i would start with basic works racism: a history or even go more old school back to the debates between eric williams and winthrop jordan. roediger, ignatiev, and olson could help as well. du bois too. dyer, goldberg, theo allen, gilroy, mills, painter, and singh will help you. there is a very accessible collection called White on Black that will give you a nice perspective.

        the BBC series on Racism is also great for a nice overview of how whiteness and white racism came to be in the service of European empire and expansion. It is online and very thorough.

        Finally, always separate Whiteness from people who happen to be white. The former is beyond redemption because it was created to legitimate domination, hierarchy, and violence. When white people free themselves from Whiteness they will become free and more ethically evolved.

        Good luck.

    •  I didn't read that in the diary at all. (3+ / 0-)
      You argue that it's "whiteness" which leads to the seeking of power and the sowing of terror, destruction, injustice, the oppression of blacks, the conquering of aboriginals/natives, etc etc.   That's the gist of your argument, right, that it's "whiteness" which causes these horrific events?
      I don't read that at all in this diary.  If I did, I'd agree with your 1st-in-line reply to the diary at the top of the comment thread.

      To paraphrase very liberally, I understand the diary to say that there is a societal view of "us" which is a default straight, male, white, Christian "us," and any of "us" who act as individuals, act as individuals.

      People who fall outside of "us" perform actions that are seen by "us" as broadly representative of their group.  For example, you hear, "Asian driver, typical" but never "white driver, typical." It's simply "that guy (an individual, not a group) cut me off!"

      The diarist knows he's not part of this colloquial "us" and further wants "us" to examine the fact that the colloquial "us" is not always the benevolent force "we" think "we" are. "We" frequently sit in judgment of other groups but never "us" in the same way.  If we did so objectively, we would find that we are no better than other "groups" that we judge.

      •  Excellent summary. Bravo. (0+ / 0-)

        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

        by translatorpro on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:56:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is the fallacy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WB Reeves
        there is a societal view

        There is?  That's an artificial construct and given the dramatic diversity of views and narratives in society, that seems an extraordinarily tenuous position.  It may serve rhetorical purposes to build that kind of straw man, but it is just that

        Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:10:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

          There may be a dominant view or an official view but both of these require enforcement mechanisms precisely because the notion of a "societal view" is an "artificial construct."

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:28:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am not sure that's even true (0+ / 0-)

            I mean look at the wide gulf between us and Redstate on many issues.  What can be really identified as "OFficial" or even dominant in our society?  And why erase the rather significant other views in doing so?  I mean, all this business about being "American" is all about that effort, but it rings incredibly untrue.  Are we post racial?  No. Are we a conservative Christian country, as some believe?  No!  Are we a bastion of liberal progressive narratives?  No way.  Is American society an amalgam of competing and conflicting narratives?  Maybe

            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:34:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry for being unclear (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mindful Nature

              I was born during Jim Crow in an society in which Apartheid was both official and therefore dominant. The fact that it required De Jure enforcement indicated that it wasn't a "societal view" in the sense of being universally accepted through out society as a whole.

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:47:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WB Reeves

                and not having lived though it, I'd hav made the mistake of Jim Crow having been more dominant a view than any we have now in our post modern era.  That's an interesting point, for sure.  

                Thanks!

                Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

                by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:01:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  but there are social compacts, unstated (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          bargains about "truth" and most certainly national mythologies that are internalized. societies do have a collective subconscious and political elites and others both play on these signs, symbols, and tropes, while contributing to them.

          as an empirical matter there is a remarkable level of consensus on a range of political issues, truths, and worldviews.

          every society has to reproduce itself; democracies rely on propaganda to manufacture this consent and reproduce it much more so than totalitarian or authoritarian states.

          the little man who is inside of our head self-regulating us is real. this little man gets very upset when presented with information which he cannot reconcile with empirical reality.

          the documentary The Century of Self would be a good and helpful experience for you--assuming that you have not already watched it.

          •  as far as it goes (0+ / 0-)

            As a mechanism that's all true, but my objection comes from this presentation of "america" as having a single national mythology, a single set of signs, symbols and tropes, or a single unified culture, particularly at a time when there is such sharp division about political issues, truths and worldviews.  There is some overlaps amogn some or al subcultures, but there is also a tremndous range of meanings made out of plain events and a host of worldviews out there.  A great many events are taken as "self-evident" reinforcement of a pretty wide range of preconceived worldview manufactured by different communities.  There are very few events that are uniformly interpreted in our society now. Typically, the way things are interpreted frequently tell you a LOT more about the people doing the interpreting than the event itself.  As Paul Simon wrote, people see what they want to see and disregard the rest.

            I haven't seen this particualr documentary, but the ideas you express are quite familiar ones, and frequent tools in my analytical tool box.  I'll check it out if I have a chance.

            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 05:27:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  A concrete example in support of this diary (5+ / 0-)

    I'm a gay white man.  My first black boyfriend worked in a "big 5" accounting firm with a number of whites, and one other black employee.

    Though they were only acquaintances, my boyfriend was always hypercritical of the other black employee's dress, presentation, etc.   He felt it would reflect poorly on him if the other employee didn't iron his shirt, for example.

    With so few "black professionals" in that field, at that time and place, they felt they had to well-represent their entire race in this workplace because that was the prism through which they were viewed.

    For white readers:  If you visit a third-world country and go off the tourist-beaten path, you may be aware that the locals tend to view you as representative of all Americans, and you might feel you have an image to uphold.  Imagine feeling like this just for going to work every day.

    I hope this made a little sense.  These are things that don't register with white people... it took having a black boyfriend to understand this, in addition to the feeling of otherness I was already familiar with for being gay.

  •  Unlearning whiteness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Kahlow

    is a daily task for those of us with privilege.  It's not a lesson you can learn once and move on.  Every day, white privilege hands us an offer:  some days we'll accept without noticing, some days we'll accept because it's easier, some days we'll accept because we're prioritizing other things that day, and some days we'll have the grace to say "no thank you" or "fuck off."  But that's a continual effort - and the choice we have is the greatest sign of privilege itself.

    Thanks for laying it out for us.

    If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:05:09 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, Chauncey, for another (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Mike Kahlow

    thought-provoking, mind-bending diary. As an expat with an interest in intercultural issues/awareness (I mentioned this before a few days ago), it's a fascinating exercise to step beyond your own frame of reference, and look from the outside in. It's not something we do naturally, and needs to be learned. Obviously as a white person, I'll never be able to feel  or know - on  any level - what it's really like to be in a minority in America. But a very powerful essay written by Hamden Rice on DK about a year ago got me about as close to that truth as I'll ever be:
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished.  Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.
    He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.
    That diary blew me away, and really brought home what the "black experience" was, or at least to the extent that I could grasp it. That essay should be mandatory reading for every man, woman and child in the USA. I think if more people here read it, they would have a better understanding of where you are coming from and what you are trying to say and do here, albeit in a very different way.

    I, for one, am very grateful for the different perspectives and knowledge I gain from the diversity of this site.  It's far from perfect and could stand a lot of improvement on the "diversity" side, but this is what keeps me coming back, even after the boycott last September: Writers like you who I can learn from AND learn to think from, who show me a new way of looking at something important.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 02:34:24 PM PDT

  •  T&R'd by a white guy. (0+ / 0-)

    I don't necessarily agree with everything you've written. Sure, I could come back and say it's economics, it's this, it's that... But your perspective is important and a worthy read.

    Keep at it.

  •  One day, through intermarriage... (0+ / 0-)

    ...we will all more or less look alike and thus racism will wither away; we'll never have to think or worry about it again.

  •  You could say Christian instead of White. (0+ / 0-)

    All those things done historically by White people were done by Christian White people.  So was it the Whiteness, or the Christian-ness that was the cause?

    That is often a question in science.  Did A cause B, or did B cause A, or did some other factor C cause both A and B?  Or did C cause A which caused B?  Etc.

    For centuries Christians thought it was okay to kill anybody who didn't joing their religion.  It was okay to commite cultural and ethnic genocide because those people weren't Christian.  If a newly discovered land was populated by non-Christians it could be treated as if it were empty and claimed by the "discoverers."  The Christians were doing them a favor by killing them, destroying their culture and replacing their primative religions with Christianity.

    I'm not saying anything against Jesus.  I think he, if he ever really existed, would have been horrified by this.

    Also, the Native Americans tortured each other, the Azteks and the Mayans committed genocide, and slavery was never unique to Europeans.  Humanity was brutal everywhere.

    Can't we just drown Grover Norquist in a bathtub?

    by Rezkalla on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:42:14 PM PDT

  •  Sorry I call BS; shooting is not about whites (0+ / 0-)

    or Christians.

    This is about a building anger in America because it's working and middle class have been screwed over by mostly corrupt politicians and rich banksters and Wall Street thieves and their embedded culture of bottomless greed for own their elite club at the expense of the many.    Yet not one of them has been held accountable.    

    When trillions of dollars of wealth in homes, pensions and nest eggs were STOLEN by the CNBC/ NYC banksters with their culture of "I need more ever more wealth for me" instead of having a culture of helping society and giving opportunities for all Americans it eventually creates anger.    This is about culture,   and it is also about deflecting the discussion from reality.  

    It is the same situation as the 9-11 travesty,  which has cost us trillions,   but yet no politician has the guts to say "we need to discuss why they hate us"  instead of blindly pouring more money into the war on terror and taking our rights.  They told us why they hate us and our support of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is what they said.  We needed to debate that instead of wasting trillions of Americas money and lives and taking our liberties.  

    Every action is based on something and in America we are blindly led to pasture to avoid  the real reasons.   The media and others purposely put the blame on the wrong things.  

    Victims of bigotry are the poorest, least influential members of society.......never the wealthiest, most educated, most overrepresented in high levels, and most influential. Bigotry hurts the least influential. To claim or say otherwise is absurd.

    by dailykozzer on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 05:15:47 PM PDT

    •  I guess that explains (0+ / 0-)

      all the black, hispanic and asian folks just indiscriminately shooting people in movie theaters and at churches...

      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 Aug 08, 2012 at 02:57:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ok, fine. I'm white and pure evil. (0+ / 0-)

    Are you happy now?

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 06:45:44 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site