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I procrastinated in writing this piece. Then I delayed the process by not making it public. Perhaps because the first part of this story got attacked by a bunch of rightwing idealogues.

Few articles spark the level of interest of those written about race. So the last piece I wrote on the lack of diversity at Netroots Nation in San Jose last month  –didn't disappoint. It even attracted the attention of a right wing blogger. The result? A slew of conservative comments posted on my site laprogressive.com giving our regular progressive readers a window into a world they don't frequent.

Here's a sample of what the right has to offer:

"I think most people know the truth about identity politics, even if they aren’t willing to discuss it openly. It is basically a trade-off where the chosen group of “victims” trade their votes to get favors, recognition, bread and circuses in exchange for keeping a bunch of white guilt-ridden liberals, progressives and socialists (I know, I repeat myself) in power. The people in the chosen groups know that they will never be allowed into the leadership of the club, but that’s OK. They get their perks. Besides, a few house negros, Uncle Toms, or kept women get put in positions of cosmetic prominence once in a while to make things look good. But like all libs, any success they have is also cosmetic or stolen. That’s why the guilt is always there. NOTHING is earned. You didn’t build that."
While most of the comments were ugly, some, like the one above, provided fodder for deeper discussions  – discussions progressives should be taking on but rarely do - at least not in the public sphere.

A small contingent of progressives are concerned about the lack of organizing across racial and ethnic lines and work as anti-racist activists. But not enough put this issue high on the list of causes.  Right-wing idealogues weren't the only ones who had something to say about the lack of diversity at Netroots. I also got several messages directly through email. These messages had the bigger impact on me because they were from fellow progressives.

Because these friends shared their views privately I won't make their identity or their comments public, but I will provide a couple of snippets so that you can get a feel for the messages:
   

"The paramount struggle in this country right now IMO is against totalitarianism and fascism which affects everyone. The paramount struggle is not against racism."

    "If you fail to see the bigger picture and don't focus on it and divert people with a hodgepodge of lessor issues, you are not going to be effective yourselves and will become as ineffective as Netroots IMO."

These are people I know  – people I believe to be rational, unlike some of the right-wing ravers. And based on what I've observed over my years of activism, I'd say it's fair to assume that their sentiments are not one-offs  – what I've observed suggests that these sentiments are shared by a fair number of white progressives. They offer comments that lay the foundation for the kind of discussion that won't be had at most progressive meetings, but that I think it is sorely needed. We, as progressives, need to develop ways to talk about the difficult topic of race. We need to develop racial literacy and cultural awareness if we intend to develop coalitions across racial and ethnic lines.

This past week was filled with stories that highlight our lack of cross-cultural awareness and racial literacy. Here are a few:

■ George Zimmerman's Trial Could Become a Racial Flashpoint ■ Paula Deen Wants to Have Black Slaves at Her Southern Dinner Party ■ Chief Justice Roberts' Long War Against the Voting Rights Act ■ Immigration Bill Would Create Radically Militarized Border ■ The End of Affirmative Action as We Know It ■ Texas Executes 500th Inmate ■ Nelson Mandela on Life Support ■

The characterization  – by a progressive  – that racism belongs to a "hodgepodge of lesser issues" coupled with the slew of sh*t in the news this week  – compels me to ask why progressives don't seem to understand the importance of being actively engaged in some form of anti-racist work. It seems to me that without uniting all of the components of this movement, you can't really have a "people's" movement and the overall progressive agenda will be compromised.

As the publisher of the LA Progressive, I attend quite a few events month in and month out. I can predict with a high degree of accuracy the racial demographic of the attendees, depending on the issue addressed at the event. Issues like fracking, immigration reform, reproductive rights, campaign financing, prison realignment, drones, domestic spying, a living wage and many others are currently being debated within the progressive community. But each of these issues draws support from a distinctly different racial demographic.

This begs the question: How can we mount an effective overall progressive campaign with a movement that is so racially and ethnically fractured?  In his seminal work, Democracy in America, famed historian and political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville asserted that democracy in America is dependent upon our ability to form associations or coalitions. He claims that democracy depends on our ability to organize. Harvard lecturer and well-known political organizer, Marshall Ganz, makes a similar claim. In an essay Ganz published entitled, "Left Behind" Social Movements, Parties, and the Politics of Reform," he discusses how the movement on the Left has atrophied since the 60s but the movement on the Right has been able to mobilize its base and leverage that mobilization to direct public policy and engage in effective partisan politics.

It's been widely reported that America  – as a nation  – is significantly more progressive than it is conservative. According to Media Matters, Americans are progressive across a wide range of controversial issues, and they're growing more progressive all the time. Yet, you wouldn't guess that by looking at our legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government at the state or federal level.

Marshall Ganz argues that the success of conservatives in moving public policy sharply to the right is rooted in the fact they have sustained a highly motivated grassroots movement base since the 1960s and the counterpart on the left has been absent. I'd add that both the success and failure of the right and left respectively is driven, in part, by racial and ethnic divisions. Those divisions have strengthened and energized the grassroots of the Right. But what often goes unsaid is that those same divisions exist on the Left -- but instead of energizing our movement has caused it to atrophy.

Another driver for social movement and mobilization, according to Ganz, is a moral imperative. We certainly don't lack one – just take a look at America's growing security industrial complex.

In a piece written for Salon.com, writer Natasha Lennard claims that if the Obama administration continues its deportation rate it will deport as many people as were deported from 1892 to 1997 combined. According to Lennard, Obama is on track to deport a record 2 million people by 2014.

In the same report, she notes, "the U.S. spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other federal law enforcement combined." The assault on the immigration community and the crisis this presents in the lives of untold families and particularly children of parents who are deported is nothing short of monumental.

Immigration is but one of the issues exploited by America's security industrial complex with its private detention centers and militarized border. Another issue being exploited and wreaking havoc in the lives of people of color is our drug policy.  The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the national rate of incarceration for males as follows:

Ages 25-29 by race as of June 30, 2006:
For White males ages 25-29: 1,685 per 100,000
For Latino males ages 25-29: 3,912 per 100,000
For Black males ages 25-29: 11,695 per 100,000

The U.S. prison population has quintupled over the last 30 years. Farid Zakaria of CNN recently wrote, "The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97."

Why is the progressive community, as a whole, not up in arms about this? The United States is incarcerating more people than were incarcerated in Stalin's Gulag and there isn't a major outcry by progressives everywhere?

In her landmark book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, author Michelle Alexander, makes the claim that the criminal justice system functions as a comprehensive mechanism for social control that is analogous to Jim Crow.  She asserts that because it is no longer socially acceptable to use race as a justification for discrimination, exclusion and social contempt – we don't.  We now use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminal” then we discriminate against them in almost all of the old Jim Crow ways.

Jim Crow spawned the civil rights movement which coincided with a period of progressive activism that lead to major victories for progressives on many fronts including employment, education, healthcare. During that era, serious chasms emerged between northern and southern Democrats that resulted in many southern Democrats joining the Republican party. This marked the beginning of the period Marshal Ganz refers to in his discussion of successful rightwing mobilization. But what happened to progressives after this period and after the birth of the "Southern Strategy"?

Looking for answers to this question, I discovered the writings of Jean Hardisty, a senior scholar at Wellesley and founder of Political Research Associates an independent, nonprofit research center that exposes and challenges the Right.  Hardesty urges progressives to look at the collaborations being forged in the South as a model for progressive movement building across the nation.

In an essay written in 2006 entitled, "Why the South", Hardisty lauds the power of coalitions of marginalized people. Speaking of her observations of the progressive work done in the south she says, "It is a goldmine of ideas, wisdom, strategies and tactics of resistance. The progressive movement neglects this resource at its own peril. As a northern progressive, I am acutely aware of how much I have to learn from Southern activists."

I began this essay by announcing my reluctance to post it. Obviously I moved beyond that but I'm still not completely satisfied with this piece. It bothers me that I see so much segregation within the progressive movement yet I don't have any quick fixes. A good friend pointed out that the geography of southern California (where I live) and the lack of a good public transportation system contribute to the problem. I see her point.

For now, I can offer links to reading material and organizations that support anti-racist activism. More than 50 years have passed since Brown v. Board of Education yet our public schools are more segregated today than they were in 1954. Progressives have to do better and we can.

Here are links to more information about anti-racism:  TimWise.org, The Center for Social Inclusion, Project Implicit, Cracking the Code

Sharon Kyle

Originally posted to LA Progressive on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 05:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by White Privilege Working Group, Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, and LatinoKos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Because white people need their privilege (23+ / 21-)

    That includes liberals. They need their privilege so that they can protect the white race.

    Self & identity trump politics & created the continuing problems of this nation. We are no melting pot. We are a salad where some of the parts don't want to touch or get along.

    No we all can't get along because white people think they're better when they aren't. They are the ones who raped, robbed and pillaged. They are the violent ones. This violent culture is 100% theirs.

    They created this evil & benefit from it.

    Race is everywhere especially for white people.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 05:43:38 AM PDT

  •  I am reminded of (14+ / 0-)

    2006 when millions protested the proposed changes to immigration policy in HR 4437.  Millions! The tradmed was caught completely by surprise.  How, they wondered, did all these people gather to protest without our oversight or input?  Basically there are whole networks of people out there that have their own ways of communicating (and I do not mean language) that is separate from the tradmed in this country - and that, my fellow Kossacks, is where our outreach needs to begin.  

  •  I hope you find more readers onsite for pieces (24+ / 0-)

    like this.

    There is an ongoing need to reach out to folks on the left in a non-antagonistic way to bring them up to speed on how pervasive racism is institutionally in the country.  Far too many confuse racism and bigotry, and once they decide they personally aren't bigots, they fail to see the need to keep fighting to reduce and remove the racist tilt that underlies almost every social, political, and economic institution in the country.

    The problem, though, is that because of that aforementioned tendency to confuse racism and bigotry, diaries that deal with privilege and racism result in defensiveness rather than breakthroughs in understanding.  And many of our past diarists have met such defensiveness not with patience in trying to break down such walls, but with returned hostility, escalating tensions, rather than defusing them.

  •  Also, you might look into joining the (15+ / 0-)

    White Privilege Working Group, I think it is, a group that frequently publishes diaries on aspects of racial privilege.

    I hope one of them sees this to republish it, or that a rescue ranger put it up in the community diaries.

  •  The notion of social privilege (29+ / 0-)

    produces circular debates. The confusion comes when those on the defensive take it to mean that people exercise by choice. It actually exist much more in the negative as things that you just don't have to think about because of a status that you didn't choose. It starts with straight white middle class males and works it way down from there. Race is most certainly a significant part of it, but in practice you can't separate race out from gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. The most insidious aspect of it is the assumption that everybody really sees the world the same way that you don't and that those who claim not to are not telling the truth.

    The problem with a discussion among progressives about race is that most of them define racism as something out of the days of Jim Crow and that anything less nasty than that is not racism. What might be best described as institutional racism is still very much with us. It exist in things like housing patterns adn a racially biased criminal justice system. It has an impact on how all of us look at the world whether we want it to or not.

  •  Excellent post. (17+ / 0-)

    The remark that racism is a lesser issue exemplifies white privilege.  If that is progressivism, I want no part of it.

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

    by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:15:16 AM PDT

  •  Remember We've Not Yet Gotten Acquainted (7+ / 0-)

    Legal segregation only ended part of a lifetime ago. There's still considerable segregation in neighborhoods and work places; the private sector has not yet accepted Black employees which is why government is the #1 employer of Black men and #2 for Black women. Religion remains profoundly segregated.

    Also Blacks are very tiny minorities in many parts of the country. So we're still very early in becoming familiar and comfortable among each other and we should expect to be still working through a lot of issues.

    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 Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:27:11 AM PDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    •  Excellent comment. (10+ / 0-)

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

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

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a black woman (15+ / 0-)

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

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

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

      [ Parent ]

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

      especially this:

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

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

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

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

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

      [ Parent ]

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

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

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

      [ Parent ]

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

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

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

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

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

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent comment (5+ / 0-)

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

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

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

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

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

        [ Parent ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [ Parent ]

  •  is it possible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    secret38b, ManhattanMan

    that, like one of the conservatives said on the laprogressive site, that people of color are just not interested in the same slew of issues as most of the netroots? Perhaps there is not enough of an intersect between liberal whites and non-whites on where the focus is.

  •  I think it's one of those subtle problems. (9+ / 0-)

    It manifests itself in "Big Picture" things.  Let me give an example, as that sounded confusing.

    We as progressives will fight like hell against those who would gut the VRA or the Civil Rights Act.  We will fight discrimination in all its forms, we fight for voting rights, against things like stop-and-frisk and the overincarceration of minorities, and we fight the overt old-style KKK racism which can manifest itself on some websites.

    BUT--so many aspects of our society are segregated. Many of us are engaged in this fight because we CAN.  Because we are financially able to take this time to do so.  A lot of us are fighting "up high" in the upper levels. But a lot of people cannot.  They are  not engaged because they are too busy living day to day, or no one has engaged them.  

    And the real fight is in the trenches.  Look to North Carolina.  If you look at Moral Monday, NO ONE can say that race is a problem for progressives there.  In North Carolina, everyone is working TOGETHER.  As it should be.

    Another couple of examples are in Chicago.  We know of the violence, we know of what's happening with the schools.  And we here, from what I read, are taking on the violence with Big Picture things--taking on the NRA, working on legislation, that sort of thing.  Same with the schools.

    But from what I see on TV, the residents of Chicago that are organizing and fighting on the ground and in the trenches are racially different than the demographic makeup of Daily Kos, if I recall what the Kos Demo was.  And I think it's important for all levels of the fight to be able to interchange and to work together.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:01:29 AM PDT

    •  I'm not so sure that I agree (0+ / 0-)

      that the problem is subtle.  A lot of things can happen on the local level, but if it's not translated to the national level so that it can reach 'critical mass', then it's lost as a big picture item.  I think the MSM has a LOT to do with this in the way they report or simply do not report on certain things.

      Like the BART strike.  It's hardly mentioned on a national level, but of course everyone in SF/Oakland is aware of it for obvious reasons.

  •  Mazlow's hierarchy is relevant here (16+ / 0-)

    The US, as a society, is at the top of Mazlow's Hierarchy. And most whites (especially the young white college males who make up most of the left-progressive movement) are also at the top of the Hierarchy. And the things they fight for --- freedom and personal fulfillment--are appropriate to that level of the Hierarchy.

    Alas, many segments of the US are NOT at the top of the Hierarchy--they are still stuck in the lower levels struggling for basic Physical and Safety needs. They cannot ever reach the upper levels of the Hierarchy until those needs have been met--and THAT is what they struggle for.

    The reason why those high up in Mazlow's Hierarchy cannot cooperate easily with those in the lower levels is simple--they are, quite literally, not fighting for the same things.  The lofty ideological goals of the left progressives are, literally, meaningless to those who cannot meet their physical needs or who have no safety within the social structure.

    As I often say, any successful advocate for social change MUST deal with the people he is talking to from where THEY are, not from where HE is.

    The progressive left does not do that.

    •  Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs, for those who don't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, SoCaliana, just another vet

      know what it is:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/...

    •  Nit (8+ / 0-)

      It's Maslow, not Mazlow.

      I agree that the hierarchy presents real food for thought/explanation on this larger issue.

    •  Are you suggesting (0+ / 0-)

      that minority advocates for social change must address 'white' concerns in order to be successful?

      My feeling is that this is basically an unfortunate inevitability. (That is, yes, race is a problem for the Left. Race is a problem for everyone, why would the Left be immune?)

      I'm privileged as fuck, and my privilege utterly informs my concerns. And yet, they remain my genuine concerns. If I'm a wealthy Jew with mental health issues, I'm gonna focus on issue of importance to wealthy Jews with mental health issues. If I'm a poor Latina with housing issues, I'll focus on those. The imbalance--the 'problem' of the title--is that one of those positions is much more powerful than the other.

      But people address their own concerns first. Expecting otherwise is strange. And I don't think that a successful movement has to encompass some sort of fractal unity, or perfect equity. Neither of things is remotely possible. Discussions like this one are very important, because they raise vital questions--but the solution is always 'muddle onward, and try not to be too much of an ass.'

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:56:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, I am suggesting the opposite (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GussieFN, Catte Nappe, PapaChach
        Are you suggesting that minority advocates for social change must address 'white' concerns in order to be successful?
        White activists for social change (in the sense of idealistic goals such as "freedom" and "democracy") cannot be successful unless they FIRST address the more basic problems of physical and safety needs faced by those who are still at the lower levels of the hierarchy. Marx was basically right---social structure is based on economics (not in the narrow "monetary system" sense of the word, but in the larger and more inclusive sense of "providing basic needs of life for all its members"). So the first task of white well-off activists is to make sure that every other member of society has the same physical and social security that they do. Until then, all their idealistic goals are just empty--they mean nothing to people who can't eat or be physically safe every day.

        As I have often put it before, "freedom of press" doesn't mean anything to someone who can't get an education and can't read; "democratic elections" don't inspire people for change when they don't have enough to eat every day. When the Soviet Union collapsed, it was not because of lofty goals like "democracy" or "freedom"--it was because their society simply could not provide the basic needs for its own population and was no longer tolerable.  

        Maslow's Hierarchy is over-arching---no social progress can be made until everyone is pulled at least through the most basic layers at the bottom.

        •  Yeah, the minute I posted (0+ / 0-)

          that I thought, 'D'oh!'.

          I haven't read Maslow in forever, but I think you're reducing it to two positions: 'white and well-off' and 'the lower levels.'

          Here we go. I just checked.

          1) Physiological needs: Food, water, sex, sleep.
          2) Safety of health, property, family, employment.
          3) Love/belonging with friends, family, intimacy.
          4) Self-esteem, respect from others, self-respect.
          5) Self-actualization, including morality, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts.

          I daresay that most of us white, well-off people aren't at 5. Most of us are much lower. And many black, well-off people--as well as many white, not-so-well-off people, and non-white not-so-well-of people--are undoubtedly higher on the scale.

          What's interesting, too, is that you can kinda see where Republicans are on that scale: obsessed with safety, with an edge of belonging with the in-group.

          Yeah, I know I'm totally drifting from your point! Which is a good one. I find this interesting, though:  like the political spectrum doesn't go from left to right but 5 to 1. Hard to express that theory without feeling just incredibly superior and elitist, though.

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:38:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is a great diary to open up a much needed (10+ / 0-)

    discussion.

    Reading the Recommended List on this site, one gets a sense of why many white liberals aren't interensted in African American issues. White liberals can't even agree on their pet issues - the Snowden flamewar diaries are a great example of this. We are a group of factions that agree on a few things but our pet causes are what we primarily fight for.

    Kos understands that the silo-ing of causes is bad for the collective movement. I think he really needs to be the leader in bringing us all together.

    •  I wonder whether that is possible. (8+ / 0-)

      Like it or not, and many here do not, the old, ossified, neo-liberal, whatever Democratic Party is the real coalition.   The blogs held promiose at one time, but I think it was more of an illusion.   Kos can's bring people together.  Even Barack Obama could not.  

      The vicious attacks read here daily on President Obama suggest that many here won't be part of that coalition and instead will proclaim their moral superiority as the world passes them by.

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

      by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:55:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tom (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vita Brevis, TomP, smoothnmellow

        I think if framing the rights of African Americans the freedom to vote as equal to one's sense of privacy, we might be able to get people to come together.

        It has to be about a universal right that encompasses everything we fight for. Republicans, as much as I hate them, are pretty simple and consistent when it comes to policy - it is all about "economic freedom". That simple idea is used for all of their lousy positions.

        •  I am pessimistic about that. (5+ / 0-)

          The Obama issue.  Some see him as evil and the enemy.  They seem to see Snowden as an avatar of the righteous rage.  I do not agree with that view.

          Sometimes silos may be ok.  Better to organize those who will fit a coalition.   Many have left Dkos, miostly ZI think because the elections are over.    

          Remember, dkos does not reflect the facts on the ground.  A cerrain kind of anarchistic libertarianism, along with marxist-influenced "revolutionairies" is over represented here.  It's ok.  They have a point of view and there are times I agree and times I disagree.  But coalition is probabboly not optimal for either group.  So why bother?

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

          by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:49:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Off topic, but... (0+ / 0-)
            A cerrain kind of anarchistic libertarianism, [...]  is over represented here.
            Do you even accurately know what these terms mean?

            Anarchists are the original libertarians, and have had an important historical role in labor movement in the United States.

            The word libertarian, dating back to the mid 1800s and still used widely outside of the U.S. and within the anarchist movement, is used to refer to anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian socialism. It has nothing to do with American self-styled "libertarians" who are anything but anarchists.

            Please don't associate these terms with your negative concepts of Obama critics here in this diary. You may not like Chomsky, Graeber, Gandhi, Thoreau, Emma Goldman, various historical labor movement activists, Orwell (who often expressed certain anarchist leanings), Tolstoy, Durruti, Bakunin, and other important thinkers who are part of anarchist history, but there is no need to smear them.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:02:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, and let's not forget (0+ / 0-)

              anarchist Emiliano Zapata of the Mexican Revolution. I suppose if he were still alive he wouldn't be welcome here.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:13:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually he wouldn't be (0+ / 0-)

                very welcome here. :)

                His position on guns/armed struggle would create a big problem for a lot of folks.

                And he wasn't an anarchist in the European sense - though he did adopt some of Magón's ideology.

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

                by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:07:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He read Kropotkin (0+ / 0-)

                  so it wasn't just Magon's influence.

                  As to his position on armed struggle, please elaborate. He was in the middle of a revolution, after all.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:10:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  So... as to armed struggle... (0+ / 0-)

                  you oppose the American Revolution?

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:11:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  did I mention what I oppose or don't? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TomP

                    I was speaking of Emiliano.

                    I support armed self-defense.  Have on here.

                    The American Revolution? Has little meaning for me.  It didn't free slaves and "the father of our country" was a dastardly slave-holder.

                    Of the first five presidents, four owned slaves.  All four of these owned slaves while they were president.

                    Of the next five presidents (#6-10), four owned slaves.  Only two of them owned slaves while they were president.

                    Of the next five presidents (#11-15), two owned slaves. Both of these two owned slaves while they were president.

                    Of the next three presidents (#16-18) two owned slaves. neither of them owned slaves while serving as president.

                    The last president to own slaves while in office was the twelfth president, Zachary Taylor (1849-1850).

                    The last president to own slaves at all was the eighteenth president, Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877).

                    So twelve of our presidents owned slaves and eight of them owned slaves while serving as president.

                    I take it personally too - since James Madison ownd some of my family.

                    At least the damned British abolished the slave trade in 1807, and slavery in its colonies in 1833.

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

                    by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:26:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, on all of this (0+ / 0-)

                      We agree. I've sometimes wondered if we wouldn't have been better off if the English had won. After all, look at Canada. But as to self defense, how is what
                      Zapata supported not self defense?

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:30:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I do. (0+ / 0-)

                    What do you think the motivation was for the American Revolution?  I think it was pride and greed.

                •  Define anarchism (0+ / 0-)

                  in the European sense, please.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:19:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TomP

                    I'd rather discuss racism and white privilege.

                     

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

                    by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:30:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Then don't reply (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Be Skeptical

                      if you don't want to explain yourself. The fact is, if you're like so many around here (see comment I originally replied to), I doubt that you have much of a clue about anarchism, whether "European" or otherwise.

                      The fact is, Spain has a long tradition of anarchism, including peasant anarchist influences, and this tradition would have been acutely known by Mexican anarchists.

                      Unlike Marxism, peasants have had a place in anarchist uprisings. Spain has a history of medieval peasant villages that were traditionally based on anarchist concepts.

                      Spain, in fact, is the source of one of the most often discussed examples of anarchist successes, during the Spanish Civil War.

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:41:15 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Let me add to my final point (3+ / 0-)

          (and fix the typos)

          But coalition is probably not optimal for either group.  So why bother?

          On the other hand, people can work together on specific issues.  

          So those who want to work on privacy issues who are concerned about NSA overreach, as they see it, can work together on that issue, but don't expect their allies on one issue to be tehre on another.  Same with those who are less critical of the NSA.  They can work with NSA critics on VRA issues, but understand they differ on the NSA.

          It works in the real world better than on Dkos.  On Dkos, many people are in it to prove their superiority over another commenter, so alliances are less often.

          The broad coalition already exists regardless of Daily Kos.    

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

          by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:56:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I totally agree with this. Dead on point. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Sometimes it's poverty (10+ / 0-)

    I often ask my minority students why they don't go to progressive protests or get involved in the political process. They often give me the same reasons. They don't have time off and dare not miss a minute of work. Some say they don't have the time after working 2 jobs and going to school to take part. Maybe they tell me they don't have money for gas. They don't have a baby sitter and don't want to take the kids (I know, they should take the kids).  Others tell me they don't see how one person can make a difference and I tell them about women's suffrage. movement taking nearly a century. I often suggest that they can't afford to not get involved because they are often the targets of regressive law making.

    The left does have a problem with race, but I wonder sometimes if poverty and lower incomes have something to do with it.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:32:54 AM PDT

    •  It is likely both. (7+ / 0-)

      You also don't see many if any poor whites participating in such gatherings. The union movement was one of the few institutions in American life that was successful at political mobilization of working class people. That is one of the major reasons that it is now on life support.  

    •  It's Not Just Poverty (24+ / 0-)

      For example, there was significant debate here about the "whiteness" of Occupy. Many Black folks and other people of color were supportive--from passionately to more generally. Folks were screaming about the lack of diversity with good reason: the entire movement was premised on the idea that nonviolent protest/sit-ins were a riskless enterprise (at least, until folks' heads started getting beaten in.) Yet for those of us who are Black, the risk of arrest/abuse from the police (with the resultant disproportionate destruction of our lives following a conviction) is an every day reality without regard to financial standing. Thus, few of us are going to put ourselves at risk that way and many of us expressly advised our young folks not to either. It became clear that few folks in Occupy had even thought about those issues, when it was discussed here.

      True coalition politics requires building movement activities that take into account the different reality that people of color in this country face. At a practical, not just theoretical, level.

      •  There also is the issue that man African (12+ / 0-)

        Americans choose not to be the cannon fodder for a revolution desired by a few radical whites.  The "oppressed" have lives and loves and choose not to sacrifice them needlessly.

        Their are echoes here by left wing whites angry at AA supporrt for Barack Obama.  There is a gulf between the world views of many.  Few here see the importance of Barack Obama to people of color around the world.  I don't think they don;t see out of a bad heart; most are decentr and caring people who seek a better world.  It is a differenc ein day-to-day life.  In a racist society and a world in which Africans and other people of color can been exploited and demeanded for centuries, it can never be much more than abstract to whites.  Some have more empathy than others.  People like Tim Wise have goen a long way.  

        The arrogance of having the true religion, i.e, the correct left political line, prevents true communciation across that gulf.

        In the end, it will not be a coalition of white radical and AAs that makes change, it will be a rainbow coalition of unionized working people, AAs, Latinos and others (The Obama rainbow we say in 2008 and 2012) that makes change.

        Leftist intellectuals, and I may fit that also, hold back change I think more than they engender it.

        People in barber shops, bars, baseball games with their kids, regular folks, are where the gulf will break down, little by little.        

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

        by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:04:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I was going to make a similar comment about (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kishik, mallyroyal, JDWolverton, shanikka

        the fear of reprecussions but I thought it might have been off base.  Thank you for framing it properly.

      •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka

        Don't want to argue, but in the Portland, Oregon Occupy movement, several notable African Americans were at the front lines of our movement, were often the most fearless of the police, and one AA woman told me she couldn't figure out why other Occupiers (mostly white) were so unwilling to go head to head with the cops. She felt as if we were too timid and complacent, that we wouldn't accomplish anything by failing to sit-in, and face deliberate arrest.  

        She was singled out right before my eyes, just three feet away from me, by Portland police, dragged away in handcuffs, dropped several yards away from the crowd face down on the hard, cold, wet concrete, and left there. Her cell phone and money was lost in the kerfuffle. She told the police on the way to the station that she "loved them" even if they didn't like her. I can only guess that the reason she was arrested first is because she is black... but she was one of the most courageous among us, and an inspiration, as were several other notable AA Occupy participants who were very visible and a very welcome and essential part of our movement here.

        And the last Occupy-related march I attended was led by a large group of Latinos, who led our entire massive group (mostly white) through the streets, chanting various slogans all in Spanish, which the whites in the crowd dutifully, if inexpertly, repeated in Spanish. It was wonderful, and I stood there with my Latino brothers and sisters.

        Here's a photo I took of a prominent AA Occupy participant whom everyone loves and knows, who is present at almost every event, at the front lines, and of course often targeted by cops, as the photo reveals, since he's getting treated for a very direct hit of pepper spray from the cops.

        PB031400

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:35:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice story, but an antedotal one. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shanikka
          •  I assume you mean (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shanikka

            "anecdotal".

            I don't think it is so easily entirely dismissed as a completely insignificant anecdote, since Portland, Oregon (according to people who had visited Occupy camps across the country) had probably the largest Occupy camp in the United States.

            New York had larger demonstrations, but in Oregon the camp (specifically)  was massive.

            So we were very representative of Occupy. And considering how white Oregon is (although that is changing, for example, with the recent influx of Latino farm-workers who have been very vocal at our events) I think my anecdotes have significance.

            I suppose the significance is that Blacks are not a monolithic bloc, and thus what Shanika states may not speak for all AA's. It doesn't mean she is wrong, only that she doesn't speak for everyone of color.

            Obviously, she doesn't speak for the African Americans I've talked with at Portland Occupy.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:37:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  you really didn't listen to Shanikka. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP

          you jump immediately to show pictures of some poc's in occupy.

          Black and Latino organizing efforts were not focused on occupy - though in a few areas occupy adopted poc issues - Oakland/Oscar Grant.

          I was asked to do training of an occupy group.  They had no clue how to reach out to communities of color in their area - black and latino.

          It really hadn't occurred to most of them.  And several actions they proposed would have negatively impacted blacks, latinos and poor whites in the area.

          Efforts were made to link Occupy the Hood - in cities like Boston with the white college student age occupiers.

          Here's one brothers take on it. Suggest you listen to the whole rap. He discusses the racism he encountered at occupy.

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

          by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:24:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay... listening... (0+ / 0-)

            Finished listening to the whole 45 minute thing. Wow...

            It would take pages to offer another view, which I would like to do, but I'll pass. If you want to post the video as a separate diary, I'll gladly weight in with a view, but not here in this diary. I don't want to be accused of thread-jacking, and this is a nice diary, and I get the feeling if I offer a long comment, this won't go well.

            So, instead, I'll tell you my personal experience with a diary I wrote when I was first involved in Occupy. I've gone a long way since then. My views have since been through profound changes, but I stand by this earlier impression:

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

            The man in your video offered a lot of what I consider to be mainstream criticism of Occupy, regarding Occupy's methods (which if one carefully listens, was one of his principle criticisms, but he had other criticisms as well). Here is David Graeber's view presented in another post I made recently (He's one of the original founders):

             

            This involves a discussion that will take (1+ / 0-)

            much more of a paradigm shift and requires a more nuanced explanation than I can spend time on at the moment. There are alternative approaches to what you suggest. The typical linear approach of tackling single issues that need reform often fails. We need to start thinking differently, because what we've tried in the past has not worked. Avoiding getting bogged down in the electoral approach has paradoxically much more efficacy than people realize. We need to change the entire national discussion, in ways that sweep aside the typical beltway framing. As long as we let the status quo media talking heads and DC politicians set the terms of dialogue, we will fail.

            The concept of the "1%" vs the "99%" is a good example. It wasn't about reforming a specific policy, or electing a specific personality, but as a concept it changed the national dialogue. And it wasn't Rachel Maddow, or Chris Hays, or some famous personality or political celebrity who sparked off this powerful theme, but the Occupy movement in parks all across the country.

            I'll let David Graeber, one of the core founders of Occupy, explain it, with an excerpt from his book, The Democracy Project, A History, A Crisis, A Movement:

                 

            Almost every time I'm interviewed by a mainstream journalist about Occupy Wall Street I get some variation of the same lecture:

                 

             "How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership structure or make a practical list of demands? And what's with all this anarchist nonsense - the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don't you realize all this radical language is going to alienate people? You're never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this sort of thing!"
                  Asking why OWS refuses to create a leadership structure, and asking why we don't come up with concrete policy statements, is of course two ways of asking the same thing: Why don't we engage with the existing political structure so as to ultimately become a part of it?

                    If one were compiling a scrapbook of worst advice ever given, this sort of thing might well merit an honorable place. Since the financial crash of 2008, there have been endless attempts to kick-off a national movement against the depredations of America’s financial elites taking the approach such journalists recommended. All failed. Most failed miserably. It was only when a movement appeared that resolutely refused to take a traditional path, that rejected the existing political order entirely as inherently corrupt, that called for the complete reinvention of American democracy, that occupations immediately began to blossom across the country. "

                    The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement

                    by David Graeber

                    http://www.akpress.org/....

            The fact that Occupy is now an international household name, that nearly everyone on the planet is familiar with the phrase "the 1%" vs "the 99%", the fact that for the first time in ages the media actually reported protests, rather than ignore them, the fact that Romney began to lose ground when he began to appear just like one of those one per-centers, indicates success.

            I'm interested in exploring and developing more of these mold-breaking, game-changing approaches.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:59:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I listened to your offered video (0+ / 0-)

            I hope you, in turn, will read my diary I linked to. Quid pro quo.

            I was shouting like a wild-eyed radical - The man with the green Mohawk hairstyle approved

            But let's keep this out of this thread. If you want to respond, kosmail me.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:12:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  There is truth in what you say however (7+ / 0-)

      I'll use my own son as an example of how it's not just a poverty issue. He attends a prestigious school ( on our dime since they only offer need based vs merit scholarships) and doesn't invest his energies in the same protests etc. that many of the white students ( same economic status) do.

      Despite his not having experienced poverty or economic struggle, he focuses on racial and economic issues because despite his economic privilege, he's experienced things as a bi-racial person that his white peers haven't.

      Understand, I'm not saying that the white students can't or don't do these things. In an online discussion like this, generalizations are unavoidable and I'm speaking of the general majority.

      To use his words, some of his peer students need to get out of their "liberal bubble" and remember that after their protest they're going off to Europe on vacation.

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

      by Vita Brevis on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:00:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post. (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you, and thanks for the references/links. Much to digest.

  •  OK, wanna talk about our Race Problem? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whatithink, DrFaustus, claude, young voter

    Let's talk about IMMIGRATION.

    The immigration issue is a great example of where Progressives conveniently overlook race.

    We have millions of unemployed Black people in America, yet the "Progressive" movement seems hell-bent on importing millions of foreigners to compete with them for jobs.

    Yes, I know that immigration benefits, "GDP" and "The Economy" and "Productivity". But those benefits tend to flow to the top 1%, where Blacks are underrepresented. What is 100% certain is that immigration lowers wages -- and is is through wages (not capital gains or entrepreneurship) that Blacks make most of their money.

    I know Black families where:

    1) The unskilled members face competition from illegal construction workers and legal "guest workers",

    2) The college-bound members face competition from "DREAMers" and foreign students, and

    3) The members with degrees face low wages due to H1-B Visas.

    Of course Blacks have seen this before. Just when Slavery was defeated, Irish and Italians were brought in. Now that many Blacks are finally becoming the first in their family to get a degree -- let's bring in foreign tech workers to slap them down.

    Where do Progressives stand on this? From what I read on this site, Progressives stand with the Corporations that want low wages and the Rich People who want cheaper gardeners and nannies.

    So, yeah...we can talk about race.

    If you really want to go there...

    •  Immigration will create jobs. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darwinian Detrius, smoothnmellow

      The real driver of the economy for most of us is the economic activity generated by the needs of lower-income people (ie, most of us).  More people means more grocery stores, more food, more gas, more car repairs, more clothing, etc, etc.

      Our economic issues are not a matter of 'how many people' we have in the country, but in how most of the wealth generated by workers is sucked away to feed the true leeches on society - people like the Koch Brothers, and the mega-millionaries around the country who only got wealthy by systematically underpaying workers, to take that money to hand over to shareholders who do no work, but are given money for doing nothing more than holding onto stock certificates.

      •  One is curious as to how shareholders paid for (0+ / 0-)

        their stock certificates without doing work.

        •  One is? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ManhattanMan

          I don't know who one is, but back when I actually owned stock, I did nothing, and raked in dividends.  Later, when I'd gone long enough, I sold the stock (for an added profit).  I added nothing to the company, produced nothing, and yet money that otherwise could have gone to the people actually working for the company went into my pocket.

          •  Actually you DID do work. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            You risked your money and you spent time analyzing which investment to make.

            The scandal is that you only paid 15% tax on your work while the guys who worked for the company had to pay 35%.

            But the capital gains tax loophole is a subject for a whole 'nother Diary...

            •  I still disagree. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe

              I 'risked my money' in the same way that you 'risk your money' when you go to a casino.  But even if I'd lost it all, it did nothing for the company, it didn't produce anything.  It helped keep a stockbroker employed, I guess.  Second, analyzing investments?  Not really.  I bought stocks in companies I simply thought were doing things that would become more popular.

              The only shareholders who do anything for the company are those who buy stock in IPOs or secondary offerings.  The company gets their money.  The people who trade it thereafter are merely parasites on the system.

      •  Do you have any evidence... (0+ / 0-)

        ...that immigration will help low-to-middle wage workers?

        I have not seen any studies projecting/proving this.

        The best studies all say immigration is good for "GDP" and "The Economy" and "Productivity".  But jobs and wages? Nothing but crickets.

        •  Low end workers spend every dime they have just (0+ / 0-)

          to stay alive - they put 100% of what they make into economic activity about as fast as they make it.  They keep money in motion in the local economy, which goes to bring in the goods and services they need, and results in extra employment to keep up with the extra demand.

          People on the upper end of things are the ones who only spend some tiny fraction of what they make, and end up hoarding wealth, thus keeping it out of circulation.

          So if you want an economy to hum along, and create jobs, do you want a thousand people who will instantly put back everything they earn into that economy, or 1 person who spends 1/10000th of what he earns?

          Businesses don't hire people if they don't have to - the only way they add on employees is to meet additional demand.  So you need to create as much demand as possible.  And the same amount of money handed over to poor folks generates far more demand than it does if given to rich folks.  Even studies from RW thinktanks have to begrudgingly admit that.

          •  That argument explains... (0+ / 0-)

            ...why giving benefits and tax cuts to the poor stimulates the economy.

            It does not mean that we need more poor people!  That is what immigration does -- it brings in more unemployed people!

            How does that help us? It only helps those who are hiring -- they can now cut their wages.

    •  I've seen this argument made before... (0+ / 0-)

      and I don't think it's related to the larger point of this diary.  However I will speak on this.

      TomP is right.  The real equalizing, diversifying power is within the union structure.  A great majority of the undocumented immigrant workforce are in the AG business where they are paid pitiful wages and are exposed to environmental toxins from the use of pesticides such as Monsanto's Roundup and other products.  Furthermore, there aren't a lot of black folk into being a migrant worker.  Let's be real about this if you going to bring it up.  Now there are black farmers who have been horribly discriminated against by the Dept. of AG and when Pres. Obama moved to correct that wrong, the right went nuts.  But beyond that, immigrants are the ones who work the fields.

      The unions should be jumping all over this to unionize this group, while Progressives can assist the Health Freedom Movement in educating the public to 'critical mass' about the problems with our food supply, specifically GMO foods.  This will put AG corps in a double squeeze and it will benefit the wage structure and working conditions of all migrant workers.  And since we need to grow our own food, the AG corps will not find it profitable to import a large amount of  food to get around this -- especially if the growing conditions cannot be sourced or regulated.

      In conclusion my friend, this is not a matter or us vs. them.  It's us AND them for the most part.  

  •  Thanks for keeping the conversation going (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vita Brevis, TomP, PapaChach

    I'm unable to stick around this morning - gotta go to work - but I'm glad that you (and others) continue to make us all talk and think about this topic.

    “Parties do not lead revolutions. They follow them. And then only when forced to.” Joe Bageant

    by tgypsy on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:46:19 AM PDT

  •  the road runs both ways . . . (0+ / 0-)

    You decry "disproportionate" incarceration under the drug laws, and imply that it's "white people's" responsibility to do something about it . . . but when I see people trying to repeal marijuana laws they're disproportionately . . . white . . . (and presumptively "racist" because of that).

    The "pro-choice" movement is (or at least seems to me to be) as "race neutral" as any cause can be . . . but participation in it, and the ongoing defense of women's reproductive rights, is disproportionately . . . white . . . (and presumptively "racist" because of that).

    Climate change knows no color . . . if anything the poorer (and typically non-white) countries will suffer most.  But here in the US organizing and protest about "global warming" is disproportionately . . . white . . . (and presumptively "racist" because of that).

    I see no reason to believe that "sexual orientation" is racially linked . . . and yet the "gay rights" and "marriage equality" movements are disproportionately . . . white . . . (and presumptively "racist" because of that).

    Maybe there is some sort of "disconnect" between "black" causes and universal progressive causes . . . but perhaps you are looking in the wrong place for the "cause" of that disconnect, and preaching to the wrong audience if you want to cure it.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:49:27 AM PDT

    •  facepalm. (9+ / 0-)

      Why are so many of these fights disproportionately white?  Because it's disproportionately white people who have the means and the time to spend on protests, rather than spending all of their time working merely to keep themselves and their families alive.

      Find a way to boost the average wealth of minorities 20 fold, give them equal pay and equal job security, and you'll see more of them able to afford to take their focus away from day to day survival enough to show up more at protests.

      (Well, and as someone else pointed up above, find a way to make them in no more danger of assault and arrest by police for the exact same actions while you're at it.)

      •  precisely, Doc, which is why (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, smoothnmellow

        (imho) economic inequality and the struggle against the "Oligarch", that
        "99% vs 1%" issue,  is THE root issue that should be uniting all of us.  The largest constituency is all the people who have to get up in the morning and go to work.  Most of them are getting a raw deal, whatever their race.

        The "Left" (such as it is) is fragmented all over the spectrum of "progressive" issues, and thus our effect is diminished, while we fight each other over which issue is most important.

        The Oligarch chuckles.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:21:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed it does run both ways. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moviemeister76

      However from the white vantage point, white progressives are in the privilege seat to decide the 'critical mass' issues as I have stated in other posts.

      1.  There is a difference between wanting the right to smoke marijuana legally and being disportionately affected by laws governing the illegal sale of cocaine products.  Also, legalizing marijuana will not necessarily affect laws governing how it would sold.  The point here is that you are speaking on consumption and not distribution.  If you want to understand part of the reason why legalizing marijuana consumption is something not resonating with African Americans, then maybe you should research who consumes the drug more.

      2.  Regarding abortions:  According to the US Census (linked here), the number of abortions among white women were at times nearly double that of black woman, ages 15 to 44 from 1990 to 2007.  Yet the fertility rate by race and Hispanic origin in 2008 shows that all other races had a higher fertility rate than white women with the exception of American Indians and Eskimos (Asians and Pacific Islanders' rates were nearly equal to whites).  Link Here.  While right to life is certainly an important matter to woman on the whole, the facts are that more non-whites are having babies while more whites are opting for abortion (which is their right to do so under the law).  The fertility rate among Hispanics is the highest of all.  This is why the rightwing is fighting to  close down abortions clinics (to even the statistical playing field ) as well as disinfranchise all people of color in many ways and not because fighting for the right to life is racist.

      3.  Progressives fighting climate change would do well in highlighting environmental justice issues.  People who are poor and disportionately non white are living in environmental waste dumps.  Many poor whites as well.  By speaking on EJ issues, it will only help poor whites who are also affected by this matter as well and not because fighting for the climate is racist.

      4.  Fighting for gay rights is not racist, but it certainly can be homophobic based on religious values.  This is where the discussion really lies between blacks, hispanics and white gays because the segment of black and hispanic LGBTs are hurt the most.

      Perhaps you were being snarky or maybe you really don't understand, but your dismissive commentary is exactly the problem with progressive coalition building as I see it.

  •  I Saw You at NN13 (16+ / 0-)

    And a couple of times said "I really need to go introduce myself"--and I didn't. For that I am sorry.  And I didn't attend on Friday so missed the Black Caucus, too =(

    This is an important, very well-written inquiry and I hope you get the discussion in good faith that you are seeking. But the short answer to your question "Is Race a Problem for the Left" is "Yes."  That reality is no different than for the Right.  

  •  Very well written. Well done. (7+ / 0-)

    I cannot T&R this enough.  This --

    It seems to me that without uniting all of the components of this movement, you can't really have a "people's" movement and the overall progressive agenda will be compromised.
    Or atrophied, as other authors have pointed to.  For your progressive friends who find this subject matter unimportant or not as important as their hot progressive cause of the month, you can ask them whether they are sufficiently frustrated enough at this time that what matters to them isn't gaining the traction towards 'critical mass'.

    Point them to this blog.  Thank you.

  •  The "divisions" aren't the same (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    on the left and right.  On the Right, their division is them against everyone else.  They are united in their belief that they are the victims, even though, as we all know, the only thing they are a losing is their God given privilege as whites.

    For the left, the divisions are internal, and a lot of it has to do with the scale and number of the issues:  Race, abortion, the poor, LGBT issues, etc.  As good as we are, and as busy as we are, we tend to only have one issue we can really focus on.  I don't think the people in Austin are against improving race relations in Texas, but the bill in the legislature had a very big impact on them right then.

    The Right also has a big advantage:  The status quo favors them.  Keeping white Christian men in power doesn't take any effort.  We're trying to change so many things all at once.

    That's why I think you get the statements as above, trying to find a single thing we can fix:  "It's not race, it's class" or something like that.  Because while their may be more progressives than conservatives, there are more people who don't think large enough to understand how keeping blacks poor affects them.  Many more.  And how do you get them to change, especially when it's to their advantage?  Paraphrasing a quote:  It's hard to change the mind of a person who gets paid to be ignorant.

    "Harass us, because we really do pay attention. Look at who's on the ballot, and vote for the candidate you agree with the most. The next time, you get better choices." - Barney Frank

    by anonevent on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:00:27 AM PDT

  •  we need a politics of class (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude

    I truly believe that class - bread-and-butter, kitchen table, homo economicus politics - is the way to unite whites and everyone else in the liberal big tent to the exclusion of rich people of all colors.

    •  I don't think you can do class without (8+ / 0-)

      dealing with race in this nation.

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

      by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:05:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  dealing with class will deal with race (5+ / 0-)

        "Race" exists to divide the working class.  Marx knew it and MLK knew it.  By framing fundamentally economic issues - jobs, mobility, [lack of] access to vital services, cheap labor, etc. - as white vs. black, black vs. brown, and so on IMO only distracts from the real problem and turns people who ought to be on the same side against each other.

        You end up with a fruitless debate over who's more oppressed, who should get their problems fixed first, who has to give something up to make it happen, and finally over the nature of the nation's original sin: racism or classism ... or sexism, homophobia, etc.?  That debate is easily manipulated by the right wing in order to make people afraid of each other: whites losing their privileges, Latinos "cutting in line" in front of blacks, Asians just plain taking over, etc.

        •  I agree (3+ / 0-)

          Race exists because of class. However, race has been established as a divider since the 1680's and it is impossible to dismiss THE greatest source of oppression in this country by simply saying it shouldn't be.

        •  I thought that way years ago, but I was wrong. (3+ / 0-)

          Class and race intertwine, but racism and eqaulity should not be secondary to class issues, im my view.  In any event, you never will have working class solidarity so long as white separates from worker of color.

          It is not a debate over who is more opprressed.  It is an anti-capitilist strategy based on objective conditions of the society rather than treating Marx as a prpphet and his writings as religion.  

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

          by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:41:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No issue should be secondary (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TomP, Catte Nappe, smkyle1

            to another. At least, I have no standing to say, 'your issue should be secondary to mine' or 'his issue should be secondary to hers.'

            If someone's issue is environment degradation, or police brutality, or marital rape, or electoral reform, or sizeism, or unhealthy school lunches, or the abuse of transfolk ... those issues will attract certain demographics. People do self-segregate (and society reinforces that behavior, often horribly). So it's wise and important to try to limit our self-centeredness, especially in the light of privilege and inequality. But some sort of monolithic unity across various 'causes' is a pipe dream. As the diarist says,

             

            Issues like fracking, immigration reform, reproductive rights, campaign financing, prison realignment, drones, domestic spying, a living wage and many others are currently being debated within the progressive community. But each of these issues draws support from a distinctly different racial demographic.

            ...How can we mount an effective overall progressive campaign with a movement that is so racially and ethnically fractured?

            I suppose the answer is, 'with many fits and starts, and much confusion and upset, but perhaps also with a slow and uneven, yet increasing, focus on issues where we overlap.' Which is why diaries like this one are so vital.

            "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

            by GussieFN on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:13:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That's all very well and good (2+ / 0-)

          But economics don't fix a Jim Crow criminal justice system, for instance.

  •  Well, proscratinate no more! Very good diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vita Brevis, TomP

    Thanks for writing it so well and thanks for publishing.  

  •  Whoops, diarist - (4+ / 0-)

    it's site etiquette that a diarist does not hiderate anyone in the comments under their own diary.  So although you might feel that the comment in contention at the top of the comments is derailing the discussion you wanted to have (or whatever reason you chose to HR it), it's considered 'good form' to leave the HR'ing to other commenters.

    I have mixed feelings on that comment myself - I think there are valid points to be had in it, but I think it was phrased poorly, and in terms lacking in nuance.  Thus my own reply, but no HR.

  •  This person is so wrong it actually kind of hurts. (7+ / 0-)
    "The paramount struggle in this country right now IMO is against totalitarianism and fascism which affects everyone. The paramount struggle is not against racism."
    That totalitarianism is based on racism.

    The tea party, the woman who wants her country back from the evil black man in DC, none of that exists without racial motivation.

    If we can help get rid of racism, we tick away at the percentage points of support for republicans. Racism is one of the main reason why white men vote against their own economic interests.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:27:09 AM PDT

  •  I think many like to say it's not a problem... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vita Brevis, TomP

    but then never want to talk about those who think there are still problems that concern those who are in the minority.

    And I don't think that those of us who do believe it's still a concern all have chips on our shoulders.  And I don't like being told that because they believe it's not a problem why should I believe this.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:29:06 AM PDT

    •  ps - I am not... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vita Brevis, TomP, Darwinian Detrius

      just talking about here on dkos!  I am talking about real people that I encounter in my daily life....

      All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

      by kishik on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:30:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The left doesn't have a political apparatus (14+ / 0-)

    that really tries to unite the different trains of liberal/progressive organizations outside of election time. There are a number of groups on the right who do this (The Wednesday group is the largest). Think about it, a rich Wall St. CEO, a rural working class Southern Evangelical, and a pot-smoking Montana Libertarian, have less in common than two middle class black and white liberals who both live in San Fran. Yet the first group of conservatives have built a more cohesive language of cooperation than the black and white liberals have.

    This has been an ongoing problem for the left since the parties began their great ideological sorting in the 80's. We're not more different than the right, just less organized to work together.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:44:06 AM PDT

  •  At the time of writing this, (8+ / 0-)

    60 comments have been devoted to discussing A2nite's comment at the top of the diary.

    60.

    We've let the discussion of the issues be completely derailed.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:50:02 AM PDT

    •  In a weird way, maybe (6+ / 0-)

      it shows the diarist's point.  Then again, hide-rate flame wars draw people here.  

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

      by TomP on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:59:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some here do not understand what privilege means (8+ / 0-)

      Which isn't uncommon. Part of the privilege of possessing a privilege is being able to walk through life oblivious to the doors you are able to stroll through due to that particular advantage.

      Many white liberals ( I am one) are (naturally) horrified at the very notion that they might have benefitted from being white or (worse) that they might themselves be anything less than colorblind. Thus, they react to such assertions by calling them "racist." This is a particularly difficult hurdle for white progressives to get past, and as you can see by the comments above, many just can't get their heads around it.

      •  there's more to it than that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Woodrow Stool, OllieGarkey

        For instance, saying that "white people" are "the ones who raped, robbed and pillaged" seems to assert not white privilege but race guilt.

        That said, I've seen plenty of evidence that many white progressives can't get their heads around white privilege.

        Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

        by HudsonValleyMark on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:45:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, historically speaking (7+ / 0-)

          "Raped, robbed, and pillaged" is a pretty concise and accurate description of how European caucasians came to be the ruling class of North America.

          My read of what the commenter above was saying is that we were a nation born of white-on-brown oppression, and that this violent foundation has shaped us into the mess that we currently are. I have a very hard time arguing with that assertion, and I don't think it has to do with guilt.

        •  I've never understood why white people feel guilty (5+ / 0-)

          I don't. At all.

          I feel the responsibility for my own actions. I do things because I think they're right. I don't do them as a salve for some kind of guilt that I feel.

          I think the emotional reactions that white people have to questions of race and racial discrimination are part of the problem.

          I really think there's some kind of pathology to it. And I don't understand it.

          It's not that I identify myself primarily as a Scottish-American.

          Scots participated in Slavery here just as much as any ethnic group. There were a great many of us who were friendly to native Americans, and there were also a great many of us who were Indian Fighters.

          My ethnic group, specifically the Norse-Gaels of the Hebrides, though themselves victims of genocide, have also at times participated in genocidal activity: Slavery, Jim Crow, the genocide of the first nations. They also fought against those systems. We were on both sides of these fights.

          I don't understand why it exists, but the tendency that white people have to get overly emotional over issues of race really gets in the way of us having conversations.

          It's like they all want forgiveness and acknowledgement that they themselves are different from their ancestors.

          They become absolutely furious when an aggrieved person of color doesn't automatically give them the deference they think they deserve as a supposedly anti-racist white person.

          I don't understand where this emotional backlash comes from.

          I am so white that you can see the blue in my veins, but I'm being completely honest when I say that I do not understand this reaction on the part of white people. I do not know where it comes from. I don't understand why we can't try and focus on the real damage being done by racism.

          I don't understand why we can't just focus on solving the problem, rather than turning every single discussion on race into a therapy session for a white guilt that I do not comprehend.

          An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

          by OllieGarkey on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:36:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Acknowledging privilege exists, and identifying (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OllieGarkey, moviemeister76

            the ways in which each of us as individuals may have benefitted from various forms of it is the first step toward being able to discuss it (and ultimately, the subject of race) honestly and constructively.

            •  Privilege definitely exists, and while I have some (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe, moviemeister76

              mild critiques on the use of terminology when it comes to discussing it, that's just a question of talking points and being effective at convincing people.

              To use a quick analogy, being born with privilege is like being born with big feet. You didn't choose it, and nobody cares if you have it until you use it to step on others.

              Maybe it attacks this American myth that we ultimately get what we deserve, or that we're all self-made pioneers or something. If people feel like they don't deserve the things they have, it attacks their self worth.

              Is that it?

              I don't know. I don't get the reaction. Either to guilt or to privilege.

              An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

              by OllieGarkey on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:20:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah I didn't see this comment before I posted (0+ / 0-)

                Yes, I do think the guilt is tied to our white American mythology and how that influences our self-worth.

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

                by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:36:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  White liberal guilt is real lol (0+ / 0-)

            Speaking as someone who went through the guilt phase myself, I think it has to do with the fact that, in this country perhaps more than any other, there is this ethos that people should only receive what they have earned. And it is a very racially charged ethos. White privilege is the antithesis of that. I think it's intertwined with why more white people than folks of color will not seek government assistance and will even let their children starve rather than try and get food stamps. Because white people, for the past few decades, have been raised to believe that only lazy people of color need government assistance.

            I think there is also the fact that, unlike folks of color, a lot of white people grow up without their parents telling them anything about race other than racism is bad. So we are just not prepared to handle discussions like this very well. As this diary shows so well, it often results in a lot of white people losing their minds over stuff that should be rather benign.

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

            by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:35:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  If you want to get more people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone, Frederick Clarkson

    involved about the prison industrial complex, you have to speak to their issues. Talk about civil rights, the waste of taxpayer money in those prisons, and how it's ruining an entire generation of Americans. Talk about privatization of those prisons, and about the school to prison thing that school administration officials often do. Couch it in those issues and a majority of people will respond. If you approach it solely from a racial perspective, a lot of people aren't going to be receptive to that. They will be much more receptive to the waste of taxpayer money, the privatization of prisons, and how educational school officials are involved in the school-to-prison pipeline.

    •  you're saying what, as response to this diary? (5+ / 0-)

      this?

      If you approach it solely from a racial perspective, a lot of people aren't going to be receptive to that.
      approach "what" solely from a "racial perspective?"

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

      by mallyroyal on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:52:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I don't get that either. (0+ / 0-)

        You cannot 'couch' racial issues in other ways other than race.  At some point, it has to be dealt with straight on or what's the point?  

        Slink, you can't delude racial politics in a country that has been built upon the foundation of institutionalized racism.

      •  I believe she's suggesting (0+ / 0-)

        dismantling or de-powering racist institutions by gaining support from those who don't understand the need to focus on racial issues but would be more open to doing so in the name of other things to which they ascribe.  So if you want to fight against the systematic imprisonment of black males, get the RW (or even LW) budget maniacs on your side by appealing to their unwillingness to pay for imprisoning people, rather than their sense of racial injustice.

        It's a tactical suggestion aimed at a institutional racism, not at altering notions of bigotry and privilege.

        •  Problem with this is... (0+ / 0-)

          ...Those RW budget maniacs are very much into imprisoning people of color. There's a reason most of the privatized prisons are in heavily conservative areas with mostly white people. It's part of the conservative DNA. "Law & Order." You can't dismantle that without talking about race.

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

          by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:39:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually slinker, it has been (2+ / 0-)

      couched with those very points.  Yet it's the very nature of the prison industrial complex that helps to drive down consumer prices.  That makes the matter less attractived to stand up against unless you are directly affected by the criminal justice system.

  •  I don't see the word "economy" or "economic"... (3+ / 0-)

    ...mentioned on this page at all?

    We're living in what is, without question, the greatest level of income inequality in the history of this country since accurate metrics were created to properly measure those stats. Put another way, the economic oppression of minorities and virtually everyone in America that isn't in the top quintile, in terms of income, is an over-arching truth that affects minorities more severely than any other demographic group. And, the overall situation getting worse not better. Throughout the progressive blogosphere, when this is discussed as a topic--and it is a huge issue, of course--it's frequently stated/conflated that this is a topic delivered up by Obama-haters and racists.

    The facts dictate the greater reality that five corporate gangs control our society (Big Pharma, Big Energy, the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex, Big Ag/Big Food/Big Retail, and Big Pharma).

    By definition, the over-arching reality is oppressive to people of color moreso than any other population segment.

    Again, one cannot disassociate the inconvenient fact that economic realities (along with our corporatocratic and draconian Supreme Court) undermine as much of the issues mentioned in this post as virtually any other truths.

    Yet, even here, not one, single mention of the word "economic" and "economy." Why is that?

    IMHO, one simply cannot separate the greater truth that racial oppression and economic oppression are joined at the hip in this  country, and pretty much everywhere. But, even here, in this extremely salient post, it's not even mentioned. Not even once?

    Corporate greed is a universal and massive problem. Failing to acknowledge its adverse economic impact (and then focusing on thatnot in this post, IMHO--works against the best interests of public, too; and, this behavior perhaps most adversely affects minorities more than any other segment of the population, as well.

    BTW, I'm still rec'ing and tipping this, because other than what I note in my comment above, it's still excellent! Thank you!

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:03:13 AM PDT

    •  Put another way, I'd argue that race isn't... (0+ / 0-)

      ...nearly as much of a problem for the LEFT in comparison to the failure, for whatever rationalizations there may be, of some CENTRISTS to support poignant criticism and change with regard to the ongoing economic mismanagement of our country.

      Furthermore, I'd go as far as to say that avoidance of this inconvenient truth (and this aspect of the public conversation about racism, in general) undermines sincere efforts to ameliorate those over-arching problems, too.

      Casting blame upon the one of the two, corrupt major political parties in this country doesn't help, either.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:12:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's mentioned repeatedly (10+ / 0-)

      I have been seeing numerous comments pointing out that people of color are disproportiantely in survival mode, working one or more low paying jobs, and thus often without time or means to support progressive causes. I've seen a number of comments reflecting on past successes of union movements as being effective coalitions of working people.  The fact that the actual words "economic" or "Big Pharma" aren't being used doesn't mean the issue is being ignored. It's just not being discussed using your preferred framework.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:32:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm talking about the post/diary, itself. (0+ / 0-)

        Not one single mention of the words, "economy" or "economic." Racism and the economy are joined at the hip, in America as much--I'd say even moreso--as anywhere else the planet.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:35:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The diary essentially asks a question (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smkyle1, Denise Oliver Velez

          In your view, an answer - even THE answer to that question is economic. For others it might be social issues, class, unconscious racism, whatever. And, of course, a useful answer probably includes elements of several of those things.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:47:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Racism certainly is NOT, exclusively, an... (0+ / 0-)

            ...economic issue, IMHO. Not by any stretch. But racism--and even slavery, itself, looking at U.S. racism, historically--are, and have been, "joined at the hip" with twisted economic issues. Merely stating a fact...just one of many facts about racism, in general. That's why I find it hard to discuss racism--at least if one's going to have a thorough discussion about it, especially in the U.S.; but it's applicable to most countries' histories with the subject--without discussing the distorted economic aspects that affect those discussions, too.

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:35:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I think it's sorta there (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smkyle1, Catte Nappe, TomP
          Jim Crow spawned the civil rights movement which coincided with a period of progressive activism that lead to major victories for progressives on many fronts including employment, education, healthcare. During that era, serious chasms emerged between northern and southern Democrats that resulted in many southern Democrats joining the Republican party. This marked the beginning of the period Marshal Ganz refers to in his discussion of successful rightwing mobilization. But what happened to progressives after this period and after the birth of the "Southern Strategy"?
          That certainly isn't a soup-to-nuts analysis (from any perspective) of how racism and the economy are joined at the hip. It's a start.

          It is interesting that in the diarist's list of eight issues that progressives are currently debating, "living wage" arguably is the only one that is bread-and-butter economics. I think the diarist probably has that more or less right, which isn't to say that progressives do.

          Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

          by HudsonValleyMark on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:58:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Essentially, you're ignoring my comment to make... (0+ / 0-)

        ...a point that ignores/distorts what I'm stating. (Well, that never happens on Daily Kos, does it? LOL!)

        If that's the best you can do, whaddaya' got?

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:48:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Misplaced comment? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          edwardssl, sviscusi

          Because it seems awfully combative and argumentative, besides asserting I've ignored your comment, when I was responding to it.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:12:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think it's the way blog "sorts" these threads... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            ...which is attributing to that impression. So, I apologize for that. I was writing and posting my response around the time you wrote your second comment, if I have my chronology right. (I may not. But, that doubles back to the first sentence of this comment.)

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:02:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  because it's not the WHOLE truth of the matter: (6+ / 0-)
      IMHO, one simply cannot separate the greater truth that racial oppression and economic oppression are joined at the hip in this  country, and pretty much everywhere. But, even here, in this extremely salient post, it's not even mentioned. Not even once?
      'cause if it were, a LOT of the racial strife in this country wouldn't exist.  

      nobody has to be trying to keep someone down economically to be racially bigoted, and you know that.  so this conflation will fall on deaf ears, for the most part, in my community.

      what are YOU going to do to work around that?

      in your follow-up comment you post this drivel:

      Put another way, I'd argue that race isn't... nearly as much of a problem for the LEFT in comparison to the failure, for whatever rationalizations there may be, of some CENTRISTS to support poignant criticism and change with regard to the ongoing economic mismanagement of our country.
      are you fucking kidding me, bob?  pie fight bullshit, in response to this diary?  jesus jumped up christ.

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

      by mallyroyal on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:57:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's no pie fight. Look below. (0+ / 0-)

        As I stated it, already, I was referencing the post, not the comments (as was self-evident from my original comment, which was made in reference to the post, and NOT in responsee another's comment).

        That being said, I'm reminded of this as I respond to someone who's rec'd up countless comments and posts in this community that deliberately or erroneously CONFLATE racism with highly substantive and definitively legitimate criticisms of the truly corrupt, bipartisan, economic mismanagement (which, by definition, is also extremely oppressive to people of color moreso than any other demographic group) of this country, as well.

        Many would legitimately argue--including yours truly--that if you're going to have an over-arching and real discussion about racism in America that does not include strong, substantive and definitively legitimate criticism of the truly corrupt, bipartisan, economic status quo mismanagement this country, then you're kidding yourself and/or you're being disingenuous, as well.

        Of course, it's much easier to just mislabel (or dismiss) many people who share my sentiments when one falsely refers to them as "Obama-haters" (and, in many instances, falsely claim those people are racists). I thought about this a LOT when I voted for President Obama, again, in 2012.

        Unfortunately, I'm reminded of it far too often in this community, even after last year's re-election of the President, too.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:58:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  and your comment is excellent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern

      one of the reasons I fought my desire to keep these thoughts to myself is because of people like you who offer valuable insights that expand the conversation. Thanks

      •  I sincerely appreciate the fact that you... (0+ / 0-)

        ...took the time here to make this extremely thoughtful comment. (Again, for emphasis: sincerely!)

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:15:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know what the diarist has to say about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      this, but I can say why from my prospective Bob:

      Economics do not trump race.  It just doesn't.  Now it doesn't mean that race trumps economics, but if you understand (and I'm sure that you do understand) the history by which this country was built upon -- the engine of the economy was built on the backs of those who were once deemed as 3/5s of a [wo]man.

      More exacting and more to the point, a middle or upper middle class black man is no less likely to be criminally targeted on the basis of his skin color than a poor or working class black man.  Middle income black folk with good credit scores are still discriminated against when it comes to loans (for housing and business).

      That's not about economics.  That's about racism.

      The only real weapon that we ALL have right now is the political process, as flawed as some progressives think it is now.  A better weapon is to have a broad based, diversed and activist progressive community who understands from the onset that in order to get more blacks and hispanics involved, you have to have the intrastructure to allow them to protect their livihoods because activism bears a greater risk to people of color than it does to white folk at any economic level.

      I'm sorry, but this is just the reality of the situation here.

      •  Where do I state that economics "trump"... (0+ / 0-)

        ...race? Please show me where I've written that? They're two very critical issues, frequently "joined at hip," as well.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:22:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I say this because of your insistance (0+ / 0-)

          that the matters that you espouse, particularly the economic and political oligarchy that you often write about seems to me to be at the expense of other matters that appear from my vantage point, to be less important to you.  Your mere insistence that economics was not mentioned in this piece is a driver.

        •  Ummm. (0+ / 0-)

          Your very first comment was a complaint that in a diary about race, economics wasn't mentioned. That is a pretty good indicator of your priorities.

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

          by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:43:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Another good diary (5+ / 0-)

    from you.

    I would say lots of think about here, but I've been accused, in the last 12 hours, of only advocating against racism as an "intellectual exercise." So I guess I will say to you that you've provided me lots to feel about.

    "We forward in this generation, triumphantly."

    by Grizzard on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:26:24 AM PDT

  •  I think it is hard (5+ / 0-)

    to move forward in attacking racism because for most white people living  in fairly typical circumstances for whtie people, there are not blatant racist acts happening in front of them on a daily basis.  No separate lunch counters, no legally segregated schools, no neighborhood meetings to consider if it would be ok for a 'different' kind of neighbor to move in before the real estate agent would even show the house, no public use of the 'n' word, black faces appear regularly in sports and on tv as something other than a servant.

    Black population, as a percentage of total population, hasn't varied that much in my lifetime.  But the visibility and mobility of African Americans in public places, jobs, casual social interactions has grown tremendously, less in my small town where I now reside, but even here.  But it is still incredibly restricted compared to where and what white people do and go and restricted even in comparison to where the more recently arrived hispanic population does and where they go.  Job opportunities are still restricted for both groups, creating their own tensions for two demographic groups competing for the same jobs, housing, etc.  surrounded and circumsribed by the still at this point, larger white population.  And make no mistake, the vast majority of the white population is still latently, and frequently blatantly racist.  But there are prejudices and bigotries between the two minority populations as well.

    Compared to the locals who won't let go of their racial prejudices at all, just change their public behavior, liberals here have wiped out a lot of their prejudices from their daily actions.   But it is still more likely a white child will have a hispanic friend accepted by their familly than a black friend.  Few adults have significant cross ethnic group friendships.

    Since I seem to have a knack of getting people to tell me stuff without asking questions, and I don't shut out opportunities based on a person's skin colors, I hear people's points of view a lot more than many people.

    I think the liberals are working on eliminating their presumptions, at recognizing white privilege in institutional and public settings but still by virtue of being white, they also accept all those privileges.  I never walk in the front door of a restaurant and say, treat me like I am black, don't be more polite, more attentive because I am white.  I never walk in a store and say, follow me around like I was black because you automatically believe I came here to steal.   I do tend to go to places where I know black people will be treated well and there are some where any acts or comments are well disguised.

    But I am not unaware that the people of color get to be the bus boys, the cook or prep cook or dishwasher in the back, and the servers are white almost everywhere.   That there are few black retail workers in the mall (which is mostly empty as larger chains and malls have emptied out the local businesses and trade) or any of the higher end retail soft goods stores.

    Blacks and hispanics, by virtue of lack of educational opportunity tend to have the lowest level jobs even at larger employers who have personnel policies that favor more equitable hiring practices.   Minority kids rarely have the opportunity to delay being employed full time or affording tuition at the larger universities for a four year degree in comparison to white kids.   They suffer from the war on drugs,  having convictions more than the white kids for being caught with marijuana and other drugs.  Its a small town, you get to talk to people and name names of whose kid got off.

    White privilege comes in so many shapes and sizes.  And if you are white, you get it whether you seek it or not.  It really isn't about turning down the privilege, it is far too ubiquitous.   What white liberals have to do, is acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do in eliminating it by pushing for better opportunity, more education, more public awareness, cleaning up the hidden but very real racism of our justice system.

    We can't change anybody's color.  We can, over time and with effort, change whether color means long term economic and social depravation.   We aren't doing enough.

  •  Great diary (7+ / 0-)

    I was at a little fundraising dinner back in 2007 when I decided to take Thom Hartmann's advice(great radio host for those few who may not know who he is) and get involved in politics.  It was a gathering at a large residential house in one of the upscale neighborhoods for a $35 donation(fundraiser for a local politician if I recall correctly).  I think there may have been around 60 people or so.  Anyway, I did not realize it as I was busy meeting people, but everyone there was "whitish" and in the 50-60 year old range.  I was talking to the woman who was hired to help cook about a gumbo I attempted but failed miserably at.  She was a middle aged black woman through a temp agency and I realized in a moment, the only black person.  It was about that time that the hostess decided she needed to bring this lady into the living room and introduce her.  To be quite honest I was a bit embarrassed as a small group assembled around her to shake her hand and I remember one person make a point of their anti-racist campaign.  The look on this woman's face was priceless as it appeared everyone in the group was just so excited to meet a real black person and show how comfortable they were and in the process making this woman look as uncomfortable as a sofa made of rocks.  

    I have some other experiences like that, but I wanted to just share that one to make a point.  Just be yourselves people.  Work on the issues you are most concerned about, work with those people and groups with whom who have a common interest even if you disagree in other areas, and please please please stop trying to prove what anti-racists you are.  It can come off really creepy at times.

    "When people have nothing left to lose, they lose it." - Gerald Celente

    by DrFaustus on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:00:37 AM PDT

  •  "Why is it always about race?" (7+ / 0-)

    ...is a refrain I see far too often here. Not to say that it happens with the frequency it might in other places, but it does happen here more often than I ever expected to see it.

    Usually, it is the answer to every question of race save the most glaring and obvious examples (which is the only thing that separates that refrain from its use on the right, where it's used in every case).

    Of course, the problem becomes, "Why don't you ever think it's about race?"

    Anyway.

    There was a great discussion I watched a while ago; We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda that makes this case compellingly. It's also on YouTube, for anyone who wants to watch it.

    Thanks for this. A great diary that deserved better than some of what followed. Tipped and rec'd.

    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:04:54 AM PDT

  •  "it's always about race..." (12+ / 0-)
    PSA: Yes, it’s always about race; it’s always about gender; it’s always about sexuality; it’s always about class. It’s never NOT about those things.
    ~ @eshusplayground
    I have a pocket theory about race in progressives: namely, that we are embarrassed to admit racism in ourselves.  we are, after all supposed to be in the business of challenging systematic oppression.

    conservatives are happy to embrace inequality.  that's their whole goddamn raison d'être.

    I have observed in myself that when I am embarrassed or ashamed of my own judgments that my instinctive response is not to own them but to hide them.  I do not think that I am the only progressive person on this planet who does that.

    It's easy enough to examine.  Go to a white-space blog, and mention race.  Too often, the response is one of the following:
    - denial
    - criticism of person making the racism claim / 'tone argument'
    - change of topic to 'not race'
    - crickets

    we will never get to a point where race is handled, done, finished.  we 9as in all of us...you, me, everyone) are either tackling it every day in both the actions and words of progressives as well as conservatives - or we are perpetuating it by our silence.

    "not seeing race" is a choice.  as is interrupting it in our individual and group selves.

    thank you for this post.

  •  I bet there was a lot of diversity. (0+ / 0-)

    A good mix of rich, poor, male, female, widely varying careers and cultures and backgrounds and countries of origin and hobbies and families and singles, etc, etc, etc.

    I do like sameness too - I hope everybody there was relatively healthy.

    Warren/3-D Print of Warren in 2016!

    by dov12348 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:12:15 AM PDT

  •  This comment, (7+ / 0-)

    by a "good" progressive, disturbs me:

    The paramount struggle in this country right now IMO is against totalitarianism and fascism which affects everyone. The paramount struggle is not against racism."
    The struggle against racism, and the struggle against fascism, aren't mutually fully compatible, if not actually one and the same?

    Thanks. Tipped and rec'd.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:18:57 AM PDT

    •  Different people look at a problem from different (0+ / 0-)

      angles, and so different facets seem larger or smaller to them depending upon that perspective.  As long as people are willing to acknowledge the various facets of the problems we face, I'm not going to worry about which they see as being 'worse'.  Helping to fix any problems will help with the others, even if only by freeing up our attention to refocus it on the next problem that seems to loom largest from our new vantage point.

      Simply all pulling in roughly the same direction would be a good start.

  •  interesting diary - thanks (0+ / 0-)

    People are all over the map ... most people know best what they deal with.

    this diary reminds me of an excellent 2011 piece by Robert Cruikshank, Why aren't progressives as good at politics as conservatives? It's still one of my dkos faves.

    The basic argument is that the conservative movement has (or had) an overarching coordination that ensured everyone would have their issues addressed. So they all support the entire program. Progressives don't have this. Which leads to people dissing other people's issues, as there is no price for doing so, and no reward for not doing so.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:19:24 AM PDT

  •  Trust (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mallyroyal, Denise Oliver Velez

    I think one of the issues of why people of color are not joining causes on left as much is due a trust issue, especially for Blacks. Their are younger generations of Black people who were taught by some of their elders not to trust "The White Man", not hate, but TRUST.

    This is due to the fact that when an event effects White people, say an economic crisis, it turns into "We are all in the same boat, let's all get together and fight the man for causing x,y,z!", but as soon x,y,z is solved and life returns to normal for Whites, POC are forgotten. Basically it's like thanks for the help, you guys keep fighting the good fight, while we go back to living in our world.

    So when the 10 millonenth crisis comes along and White people ask for help, POC are giving them the side-eye and decide to focus on helping out their own neighborhoods. Some POC just don't trust White people to help change the situatons/issues that are effecting their neighborhoods and cities.

  •  My question is (0+ / 0-)

    (at the moment): What can I do right now about any of this?

    I mean other than just reading more?

    "Let them all suffer in poverty, pollution, and war." - My recommendation for the 2014 Republican campaign slogan.

    by just another vet on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:35:15 AM PDT

  •  I came in here to make the trite comment (6+ / 0-)

    of "Yes, it is a problem"... but more deeply, racism is the original sin of the United States.  Because it still exists, it is used to exploit, fracture and generally divide us and prevent movement toward a more perfect union.  We must address it squarely before we are able to ever move past our first and original sin.  Until then, we are just nibbling around the edges.

    20 innocent children were slaughtered. The gun lobby and NRA bear responsibility and it is time to fight back! http://www.csgv.org/index.php

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:54:46 AM PDT

  •  Sick to my stomach (4+ / 0-)

    This thread makes me sick to my stomach.

    When I read the diary I thought "surely that can't be what most white Americans are like. I like white people, almost all the people I interact with on a daily basis are white. And I assume that self-identifying, activist-minded liberals, the people this site attracts, are going to be that much better than the average person.

    At this moment, I hope that isn't true. The attitudes I've seen there, the utter blindness to white privilege I've seen in this threat, leave me with a sense of despair, of hopelessness. If well-meaning white liberals can be this bad, what's the rest of the country like?

    •  Isn't it awful? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez

      I had no idea so many of my fellow progressives here at DK were this clueless about the concept of white privilege (or even privilege in general). A lot of people here--supposedly educated liberals--have a huge blind spot with regard to this fundamental progressive subject.

      Yuck.

  •  If you want it to not be about race (0+ / 0-)

    then you must also yourself make it not about race. I am willing to walk hand in hand with anyone who doesn't pretend like I have a racial obligation to anything else someone of my same race does.

    I hate the fact that the poor are herded into projects instead of the far better strategy of mixing up elements and business districts into them to prevent ghettoization. I hate the fact that our prison industrial complex is out of control. I hate that people get harassed by corrupt and malignant police officers. I hate profiling. I hate a myriad of things.

    However, that doesn't mean if it gets blamed on white people broadly and that it is pretended like whites don't suffer indignity and that whites have less of a right to stick up for themselves when lumped in with a group  in a prejudicia mannerl by virtue of being white, I'm not going to play that game. I'm not going to join that cause. I'll instead join the people that see the big picture and not engage in prejudicial attitudes against whites.

    I've had a handful of very calm, rational, respectful posts HRed to hell because I posted arguments against the idea that I should just sit back and allow people to create a double standard. I'm not any more privileged than an Asian is automatically good at math. And if a person sits there creating a knowingly fake idea of what I am because of the color of my skin, I will treat that person no better than a tea party member. That's a fact.

    I want all of you to try an experiment. Disagree with Armando. I'm sure you can find something to nitpick. Consider he's one of the top people here when you see how badly he takes any level of criticism. He exemplifies the problem here. It's about ego for a lot of people, not causes. This site is fractured because a great many people on this site are simply not good persons and don't want civility or respect. They don't prioritize constructive things. It's a bit of a running joke
    "you must be new around here"
    "you should know how things run around here"
    "first time on the site, is it?
    "you know how people on this site are"

    and of course, my favorite GBCW

    oh wait...I forgot. That was supplanted by the new greatest thing in the Dkos world: the fact that DKos people are now setting up private groups to gossip about each other.

    •  I'd suggest you rethink this statement (3+ / 0-)

      I'm not any more privileged than an Asian is automatically good at math.

      If you're white in America, you have benefited from white privilege. It's just a fact, and it shouldn't make you upset.

    •  You are back - in this diary - denying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moviemeister76

      white privilege.

      You didn't learn anything from getting donuts here:

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

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

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 03:03:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Denying implies an existence. (0+ / 0-)

        White privilege is a dumb hypothesis that doesn't actually apply to most whites. Privilege does not have to exist for other individuals to experience discrimination. What you are engaging in there is a false dichotomy fallacy.

        I am not afraid of "donuts". I stated nothing wrong and spoke with absolute civility. But your argumentum ad populum fallacy is duly noted.

        So go ahead. Continue to prove my point of why the progressive movement remains fractured. Because you care more about grandstanding your ego and prejudice against whites than you do about furthering progressive goals.

        You get your little friends to "donut" all of my posts if you like. I won't be silenced by bullies and I won't accept racial guilt from prejudiced people who want to create a double standard on who can and can't defend themselves.

        Got it? No. You won't get it. But you'll have heard it, which is enough. You can pretend not to care but you can't pretend not to hear. The only thing for prejudiced people like you to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

        •  Sigh. (4+ / 0-)

          Whether or not you choose to see it, it does exist.  And while it can be seen anecdotally, it's far more visible statistically.

          Privilege does not have to exist for other individuals to experience discrimination.
          Well, actually, the ability to not experience discrimination is privilege.

          Privilege means 'private law', ie, the notion that certain laws, whether legal or social, simply don't apply to some people.

          If you're white, you'll never get pulled over for DWB, never be hunted down by some whackjob neighborhood watch for daring to walk down the street while black.  Because that 'private' social law says white people aren't automatically so suspicious when they dare to walk down the street with a bottle of tea and a bag of candy that they have to be confronted and killed.

          And unless you come from multi-generational poverty, you even inherited economic privilege not available to the vast majority of minorities.  Got a decent education?  Privilege.  Raised in a household where you weren't worried about whether or not you'd be living in the same house the next month?  privilege.

          Hell, I've been below the poverty line for the last 3 or 4 years in income, but thanks to the privilege my parents had, I'm not homeless, not using government programs for the poor, and I still have internet access.

          You might not want to accept the blame for violence committed by people before your birth, but if you just think about it, you can't deny that you benefited from that violence.

  •  Jean Hardisty and Political Research Associates (3+ / 0-)

    Thank you for mentioning the work of Jean Hardisty, the founder and president emerita of PRA, where I am proud to be a fellow.   The PRA web site includes an extensive archive of research on the right as well as all of the back issues of The Public Eye magazine.

  •  smkyle1 - excellent diary! (8+ / 0-)

    tipped, rec'ed, & republished.

    Unfortunately it repeats similar questions raised here from other poc's who have gone through the Netroots Nation experience - each year.

    Tim Wise has also raised them - here.

    We used to have a weekly series on the entire Criminal Injustice system - those posters are no longer here.

    We have a twice weekly series where these topics are also hashed over - Black Kos

    but it only attracts a very small segment of the larger Daily Kos community.

    Solution?

    Keep attempting to get "the left" to pay attention to race and privilege.

    Thank you.

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

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:58:59 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for a thoughtful and timely diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smkyle1, Denise Oliver Velez

    You raise questions of perennial importance, no less pertinent now than they were when I was a baby activist, a long time ago.

    I always have a hard time making historical comparisons; I get lost in the details, believing that it is very difficult to choose the parameters on which comparisons should be made. I do think a fair case could be made, however, that we are not as far along in developing truly anti-racist progressive coalitions now as we might have hoped to be by this point, thirty or forty years down the road. I have to say that I think that white activists bear a large portion of responsibility for this state, primarily for not being willing often or consistently enough to take on causes of central importance to communities of color. (I am not exempting myself from that criticism.)

    For the most part, the responses in this thread have been similarly well-considered. But while dialogue is helpful, dialogue alone is not enough. It will be especially interesting to see the representation of POC, particularly African-Americans, at the next NN in Detroit, a majority Afr-Am city surrounded by suburbs that (for the most part) are majority white. Between now and then, I hope that both dialogue and activism can be brought to bear on this site (and others involved in NN) in such a way to improve anti-racist organizing among progressives. I am hoping that the event can serve as both a goal and a catalyst.

    Certainly writing like yours is an important piece of that effort. Thank you again for taking the risk to speak your mind here.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:05:29 PM PDT

  •  Less fracturing and more "I'm an American" (0+ / 0-)
  •  Personally... (0+ / 0-)

    ....I think it's partially a function of whites as a whole having more time and money to engage in political activism. I'm non-white, and I sometimes feel out of place in these groups because they are so white.

    That said, that original private comment is correct--but I don't get how they can't see that by fighting racism you strike blows for solidarity against authoritarianism. Did they forget that elites have been using race to divide the lower classes since before America was founded?

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