18
Mar
09

Black and White and Dread All Over

young-man-in-military-coatAs I mentioned on Monday with my throaway “Separate But Equal” post (I’m always amazed at how many more comments a throaway post can generate than one I consider more substantive, which might get zero comments), I have race on my mind.

Oddly enough, despite having a black wife and two biracial kids, I don’t think about race a whole heaping hell of a lot. I mean, yeah, I visit a lot of African-American blogs and race issues crop up frequently in my life, but I don’t dwell on race relations much. Mostly because my strategy is to try to be as “race blind” as I can (knowing that I’ll probably only achieve race nearsightedness) and also realizing that I’d better not make myself too race blind, as that will interfere with my ability to actually relate to folks who don’t share my melanin-challenged heritage.

So, I see my part in race relations as being an overriding goal to not be part of the problem, and in so doing, I’ll be a small part of the solution. And I don’t talk about race relations much around here because there are so many other people who do it more often and do a better job, and they’re in my blogroll in the sidebar (Raving Black Lunatic, The Field Negro, Ephphatha, Blackgirlinmaine, etc.)

But sometimes, my hackles stand up and I get riled by something. Or, more often, someone. This time, it was a dip named Thordaddy, commenting on a post at Big Man’s Raving Black Lunatic blog (click here to see it; Thordaddy’s commented on some other stuff at the blog, but it’s this post and commentary that will set the stage for my post today here.)

Short version of the story for those who don’t want to jump to another post first (though you really should): Thordaddy is one of those folks who isn’t as violent, crazed, brain addled or uneducated as most of the people who go to Stormfront.org but who still manages to be outraged when black people claim they are victims of societal oppression or racism. I challenged him on a point or two, and mentioned I myself have been responsible for my small but notable part in racism in the past, and suggested that he might want to open his eyes a bit.

He asked me for examples of my “oppression” against blacks. I declined, not out of embarrassment or lack of examples, but because at that point, it was clear he was simply a troll looking for more fresh meat to rant about, and I wasn’t going to accede to his insincere request for clarification. When I said as much, he mentioned that while I may have been in a position to “oppress” black people, he and many like him haven’t, and are sick of being blamed for supposed racism that probably doesn’t exist.

Because I don’t want to engage a numbnut like Thordaddy who already has his mind 100% made up, I will engage the rest of you. And Thordaddy, if you come here, behave your damn self. I haven’t banned a commenter yet, but I suspect you could inspire me. I hope everyone here will read this and give some good commentary, but I especially implore my fellow white folk to read this post.

Here goes.

First off, you might have noticed that I put the word oppress in quotes a couple times above. That’s not to diminish or cast doubt on the idea that blacks still deal with oppression. It’s because Thordaddy missed the point on two counts. First, I don’t think I ever said I oppressed anyone nor was in a position to. What I said was that I have played my part in society’s racist tendencies toward black folks. Secondly, racism doesn’t have to be some bold, overt oppression on the order of calling people nigger or burning crosses on their front lawns.

Look, if people are, in significant-enough-to-notice numbers, treating you differently (and in a negative way) than other people, based on your color, and this happens sometimes over and over in a given day, that shit adds up over the years. Part of the reason I don’t have many notches in my bedpost is because I spent all of junior high and high school and a good chunk of college…and hell, into adulthood…being made to feel that I was not desirable to the opposite gender. Women loved me as a friend; they did not desire me otherwise. That made me painfully shy and fearful of approaching women to ask them out, even though I was very confident and comfortable being their friend.

Sure, you can call me overly sensitive and say that I should have just sucked it up, but I was shaped in a certain way, a little at a time, relentlessly, over years. Same thing happens with black people who have to endure constant little slights from white folks day after day and year after year.

Examples? OK.

  • I have lost count of how many times a white waitperson or cashier has shown my wife where to sign a credit card receipt. No, I don’t mean they tell her which copy to sign (merchant or customer copy…that even happens to me sometimes). They point to the signature line for her and inform here that that’s where her signature goes. I have never, never been treated like that level of moron as a white person. I have yet to witness any other white person treated this way.
  • Go looking for an apartment. It’s still available and you rush right over. When landlord sees you are black, the look in his or her eyes changes and suddenly, the apartment just became unavailable. Or, suddenly, he or she remembers that you not only need to pay first month and security deposit, but last month’s rent as well. I have seen this in person apartment hunting with my wife. Whether they didn’t want her because she was black or us because we were a mixed-race couple, I don’t know, but believe me, you know when you’ve been treated that way. And yes, I once called back in a different voice later. The apartment hadn’t been rented out before we got there. Not that I thought it had; we only lived a few minute’s drive away.
  • Go job hunting. Send out resume. They love you on the phone. Then they see you are black in person, their face falls, and you have a very short interview and never hear back. Has happened to my wife multiple times. Or, send out a resume with a name that “sounds” black (like my wife’s full first name does). Virtually no responses for months. Then, send one out with your nickname (which sounds more “white”) instead of your legal first name and suddenly people all over are calling you back. My wife has dealt with this before, too.
  • Go shopping. Have security guard follow you around, even though the profile for the average shoplifter is middle aged white woman, not young, well-dressed black woman. My wife hasn’t just reported this to me; I’ve seen it first-hand. Often.
  • Oh, have I mentioned the several times that Son of Blue has been harrassed by police officers for such risky and suspicious behaviors as walking home from the store, taking a stroll with a girlfriend, etc.? One time, the cop harangued him on the way back from a local store, while he was carrying a very threatening steak-and-cheese sandwich and fries. When my son refused to give his name or answer any more questions without myself or his mother present (he was a minor) the cop virtually threatened him with a trip to the police station, even though our house was a 30-second drive away. Cop was all bluster up until the moment I answered the door and suddenly he saw that Son of Blue’s father was a white man and not the black man he had apparently expected to be able to walk all over.
  • Hey, how about the time I was pulled over on the highway for a routine DUI check during some party-time weekend, and the state trooper showed no interest in checking my sobriety (which was 100%) but instead asking me who the black woman in my car was. Now, aside from the fact that she was my wife, what fucking business is it of his who my passenger is? Or why she is there? Unless he’s thinking hooker/drugs/etc. It was a DUI checkpoint. Or how about the fact I’ve been pulled over by police far more often (and usually on bullshit) in my 13 years of dating or being married to Mrs. Blue than I ever was in the dozen years previously that I had been driving.

I could go on, but it will raise my blood pressure.

White people don’t deal with this. Yes, we deal with occasional rude people and disrespectful police officers. But those are almost always people grumpy or having a bad day, and we know that. That is not the same as someone serving you in a restaurant with way more attitude than all the white people at the tables around you. Or serving their food on time and yours slowly and ultimately cold as hell. And then giving you attitude when you request hot food.

This is the kind of stuff that black people have to deal with that whites don’t, unless maybe they have some obvious disability that people ridicule, fear or get patronizing about. And then people like Thordaddy say, “Why should we take a black person’s word that some little stuff is racism at work?” And why not?

Tell me, if you’re white and go out with your friends and complain that your supervisor is undermining you and setting you up to be fired, don’t you expect them to take your word for it? They probably won’t be trying to tell you, “It’s just your imagination.” So why do black people, who spend a lifetime in a nation that is run mostly by white people who complain that affirmative action is unfair (when it really doesn’t impact them) or that blacks are on the dole (when most people on public assistance are white), have to offer a higher standard of proof when they are treated badly?

White people don’t want to be blamed for the sins of their ancestors. I get that. They don’t want to feel like they are paying the price for injustices that no longer occur. But the fact is that racial injustices occur regularly, and we blind ourselves to their existence (which allows them to continue to flourish and contribute to cycles of poverty and oppression in the black community), and we also participate in them, albeit usually in small ways. By ignoring both the problem and our own culpability, we allow racism to go into a more undercover but still very damaging mode.

And here, I will do for you what I didn’t do for Thordaddy. I will share what I look back on with varying levels of shame in terms of my own behavior. They may seem like small things, but remember that small shit piles up. My small slights, committed by most of the people around me, too, add up to quite a bit for the average black person. And no slight against someone else is small. We should be on guard that we treat all people right.

So, what have I done?

  • Prior to working at the job where I met Mrs. Blue (where I was surrounded by a higher percentage of black people than ever before), I had very little contact with black people. This was not entirely my fault. I grew up in Silicon Valley in California. Non-whites there were almost uniformly Latino or Asian. Going to college in the Midwest, I attended a Big Ten school that was, not surprisingly, mostly white, located in a town that was, well, mostly white. I didn’t venture into the city much. But still, why did I not befriend the few black students around me (not that I was mean to them, either) while having little or no hesitation about white ones, Asian ones, Indian ones, Middle Eastern ones? Same at my various jobs after college, in which I could easily treat the black employees, who were mostly low-level clerks, with disregard and consider them background scenery. Yet be friendly with the white receptionists who had equally little impact on my daily work.
  • By choosing not to associate really with black co-workers, but gravitating readily to white ones (even white folks I found personally objectionable), what message do I send? Not a good one. Also, when those black workers are in positions lateral to my own, how much did I exclude them from important information, job leads, etc. that my white co-workers were readily privy to?
  • If I cross the street upon seeing a black person, but don’t cross the street to avoid a more dangerous-looking white person, what message have I sent? Do you think this aids in making a black person feel warm and fuzzy toward white people?
  • If I ask a black person what other black people think about an issue, how ignorant is that? Do we ask white people, even in subgroups like Irish, Polish, etc. to comment on how all people of their subgroup feel? Even when we do, it isn’t nearly as often. How stupid is it to act like all black people feel the same way? By doing so, don’t we show how little we pay attention to them and how little we regard them?

Those are examples that leap easily to mind, but I’m sure there are others I could recall if I wanted to pick at the scabs of my past behaviors and preconceptions and tacit approval of other white people’s actions around me that were less than racially fair.

The point is that until we all start treating each other like equals, we won’t be equal. Until we treat all races with dignity, there will be racial oppression, whether on a minor or major scale. We are all part of the problem. If we are a member of the race that is the largest in the nation, and the members of that race hold the vast majority of wealth, and the members of that race are given more breaks by the justice system, banks, etc.—isn’t it our responsbility to stop acting like we are being fair?

We don’t have to give everything away to blacks or any other non-white group. What we need to do is stop acting like they are a bunch of whiners and stop acting like we give them a fair chance, when the truth is far from that. Seeing a few more blacks in positions of power and influence doesn’t change the fact that most blacks are treated worse. A black man with more education than a white man is still at a disadvanatage, generally speaking, in the job search. Black people are treated more harshly than whites in terms of jail sentences for comparable crimes, and they are targeted by police more often.

Every little slight we commit as white people. Every time we turn our backs on injustice. Every time we choose to act like it’s not our problem…

…we fuel the machine. We give racism legitimacy. We make it harder for black people and white people to find common ground. What was done to blacks in times of slavery and Jim Crow and in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement were awful. And those crimes were all only several generations ago. Black people alive today have seen members of their race lynched for no good reason.

There is a huge hole of injustice that needs to be filled in. Not covered up; filled in. With something positive.

White people who insist they don’t do anything racist are, mostly, deluding themselves. Small or large, we should do nothing to demean or belittle a person simply because they are a different color. It makes no sense logically, it makes no sense socially, and it makes no sense spiritually.

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51 Responses to “Black and White and Dread All Over”


  1. 1 32B
    March 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    This was a long post so hopefully I remember everything I wanted to comment on!

    I am African-American and I have, since graduating from college, changed my full name to something more “general” or “white”. My name ends in -sha which soooooo screams BLACK so I simply drop the -sha off and I have no real issues with employers responding to my resume now and since then. My current employer (who happens to be White) wondered why I had changed my name but, assuming they’d never understand, I just shrugged my shoulders.

    I attended a Midwest Big Ten university nestled in a small White town for a few years as well as you. It was horrible for my peers because, most of the students there, never lived with much less interacted with a Black person before. There was some drama in the dorms, roommate changes, and other issues around campus. Knowing they hve never spent time around Blacks was something many of us took into consideration but there should be some desire to change those initial stereotypical thoughts that will occur.

    Honestly, I never knew race relations was so bad until I left my city for college. I have been a victim of some of the same things as Mrs. Blue but, compared to more serious crimes, I kinda give it little thought. That might not be good, I know. It is frustrating but, being apart of a multi-cultural and diverse city, I am just glad I no longer live in the city I spent my college years in! After reading your list of things you have done, do you know why you behaved those ways? Was it instinctively?

    Thanks

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    March 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Yeah, sorry about the length of this post. Aside from occasionally long installments of my novel here, I try not to go much past 1,000 to 1,500 words if I can help it. Probably should have split it into two parts. 😉

    In answer to your question, I suspect I behaved the way I did because I was comfortable interacting with whites, Asians and Latinos (especially Mexicans) but not so much with anyone else. Of course, that doesn’t really explain why I would still be more comfortable with Indians or Middle Eastern folks than with blacks, since I did at least see more blacks in Oakland or East Palo Alto in California than I did the other two groups in general.

    I can’t really say for certain. My aunt in Arizona had married a black man (her second marriage, so I was already pretty intellectually/emotionally developed [i.e. “grown up”]by the time I knew him), and I had no problems with him or any of his extended family at all.

    At the same time, I had no particular cultural awareness of blackness or what it entailed and being a product of white culture, most of the history and such in school had equipped me to pretty much not have the black experience register much on my radar.

    In college, I do recall at one point some members of a black fraternity had taken to wearing “It’s a Black Thing. You Wouldn’t Understand” T-shirts. I think that put me off a bit, because I had no appreciation for the context of that at the time. So perhaps I saw them in college a group apart. Perhaps it was the pervasive imagery in media that was negative toward blacks. I just couldn’t say.

    I didn’t dislike blacks or purposely avoid them, but I didn’t make any particular effort to be around them, either, compared to other groups.

    It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago that I started to get a clue, really, about black culture and black experience. And then, only slowly.

    Interestingly enough, I did a cartoon strip in college for a couple of years for the university paper, and introduced a character who was black. Of course, he wasn’t one of the main, regular characters…LOL…so that’s pretty predictable, right?

    Fortunately, I had taken to talking a lot to black co-workers before I met my future wife at work, and I think that simply being “normal” with them as people talking about stuff really was what put me on a track of not thinking much about blacks being “separate” but also, at the same time, opening me up to pick up on some of the things they complained about or dealt with.

    I was by no means a person who “got it” then, and I still fall short every so often now as well. But at my job, since I actually tended to think of the people I talked to regularly as friends, I could say that I did have black friends. I was happy enough to hang out with them after work and such, though admittedly, I still trended toward hanging out with white folks.

    I think the problem is that too many people talk to black people (and I’m speaking about whites now) and they think that because they see this black person at work, that is one of their “black friends.” But they don’t really ever talk about anything substantive or deep, and they don’t ever go out and have lunch or a drink with any of these folks, so they never get to know anything.

    Therefore, they never open themselves up to getting a clue what goes on every day that they don’t notice.

  3. 3 Aro
    March 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Check the Psychology section here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heuristics

    It’s easy to say “Don’t make assumptions about people” but unfortunately this is just the way the human brain works. The best any of us can do is to simply take some time to evaluate given information in any situation before we jump to conclusions.

  4. March 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    This was a beast Deac.

    You don’t have to give way to me on matters of race, you do just fine by yourself. Well-written and heartfelt.

    I hope you don’t worry too much about blending in and not giving offense. I would hate to see white folks like you, and this guy MODI, over at Sports On My Mind get burned out trying to do the right thing. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t take no stuff from anybody no matter what color they are. Just keep on loving your neighbor the way you love yourself. Follow that Golden Rule and you’ll be fine.

  5. March 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Deacon

    Powerful words. I wonder though, could some of your experiences be different than mine, I am a white Canadian man and I dont find much of what you say that relatible. One area I do cringe at though, was as a youth I said some jokes that in retrospect were beyond not funny(they were down right horrible). I chalk that one up to ignorance. Your post has definately made me think. Thanks.

  6. March 18, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    @ Aro,

    I realize that it’s hard to unload deeply ingrained baggage, and thanks for the link.

    @ Big Man,

    Don’t worry, I’m not simply deferring racial topics to you and the rest. Like so many other things, I’ll cover just about anything here these days even if it isn’t religion oriented, if it strikes my mind to do so.

    Also, I don’t fret too much about fitting in or giving offense. One thing I’ve learned about fitting in is that you can only be yourself and be the best yourself you can be; you can’t force your way into any group. As for giving offense, I don’t worry about that too much anymore either. I did a lot more in earlier days, but part of being around black culture more is that I do less sticking of my foot into my mouth. 😉

    @ TitforTat,

    I think that much of what I talk about is very specific to the USA. Not saying that Canada doesn’t have racism, but there isn’t the ingrained history of slavery and sharecropping and Jim Crow and all that. The USA hung on to slavery a lot longer than it should have, and still hangs on to bad attitudes about blacks, and that makes for a lot of tension under the surface, on the surface and just means a really big uphill climb for everyone.

  7. 7 32B
    March 18, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for the in-depth answer to my question! Really appreciate that.

  8. March 19, 2009 at 2:16 am

    you know something, deacon…
    i’m as white as they come. i think. i can only trace back 3 or 4 generations, all the rest of my family history was lost in the holocaust.
    BUT
    being shown the signature line?
    not shown an apartment?
    glazed eye after meeting when the resume is sterling?
    that happens to me all the time.
    because i’m a woman.
    and i’m jewish, living in the bible belt.

    it ain’t all about race.

    yeah there is prejudice in this country. lots of it. it makes me ill. i see things here, in florida, that i NEVER saw in new york. it’s like living ‘quality’ [by Cid Ricketts Sumner], makes me forget what century i’m in.

    but i maintain, it ain’t all about race.

    the assholes will find SOMETHING wrong with you.

    and if i hear one more person say that electing obama was a great step forward for BLACK people, i’m going to hit them.

  9. 10 Deacon Blue
    March 19, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Well, Robyn, a lot of it is about context and location, and while being a woman isn’t as big a problem as it used to be, it still can be, and there are people and places where being Jewish can be a huge problem.

    I will say, though, that one of the defining things about being black (or being Mexican in a region where Mexicans are reviled, etc.) is that you are instantly recognizable as being such. Being Jewish, being homosexual and things like that are also sources of major discrimination, but there aren’t as visually and immediately obvious as race.

    That’s not to minimize your experience, by the way, only to point out that some folks have even less room to get some relief or breathing room from stupid-ass attitudes.

  10. 11 societyvs
    March 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    First impression type ideology may also be part of the problem – something in my culture (First Nations – or Indian in Canada) that we do not neccesarily use. But I notice it is quite common in the White mainstream mentality – from work to home to leisure.

    Part of the first impression for anyone – unless their blind or what have you – is race. Now it depends what some think about that race and their already pre-conceived notions on that race are – those generic ideals come into play in that first handshake and conversation – and if your a first impression type thinker – they also will stick like glue (both the reality mixed with the stereotypes or ideas on that race – and racism continues to breed itself)…thank God I am not a fan of this first impression bullsh*t…or I wouldn’t like white rappers (lol)

    Fact of the matter is – many White people are scared of some races due to the ‘stories’ they have heard – whether that be from family, to newspapres, to the local news…scares some of you sh*tless and develops a projection of that race in your mind – which if fed with little stories here and there – can keep one from tearing down a wall like that.

    And it works both ways – from my side I can see how we put up walls also – and develop our own click’s and brand anything ‘white’ as ‘outside’. It’s not a fear thing mind you – but it can be a self-esteem thing (comparison and favor in the society at large). It’s really a hate developed out of envy in some ways – or out of reaction to treatment from the ‘man’ (yes – whitey is the man always in sentences like this – lol).

    It’s all kind of psychology really – how do we develop this attitude towards another race? Knowing it is unfounded in generalizations of things we have never witnessed or may have never perpetrated.

    I know for me my dislike of ‘white’ people grew from my environment and that attitude of years of racism on my family/community – and I was taught it firsthand. I grew up and realized – with more interaction with more white people that I was lied to – not all white people are ‘racist’ – and I started devloping friends outside my community – white ones – my best friend growing up was white for some reason. I challenged the stereotypes I was taught – and eventually even married a white woman. Why? Because racism dies with me – that’s my personal choice.

    Now I have many friends who are still racist in some degree – and some for good reason and some for no reason (just the thing to do) – and I realize those chains need to be broken…the only one imprisoned is the one who hates.

  11. 12 Deacon Blue
    March 19, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the input, SocietyVs…it really goes to my point that when we stop insisting to ourselves that we must put up walls or run away, and we start dealing with people who are “other” as just people, a lot of the worst crap naturally gets flushed away.

  12. 13 thordaddy
    March 19, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Deacon Blue,

    You’re right… You’re not very good at selling this alien ideology of yours. It would be one thing if you said racist people should be shunned and marginalized. But it is a whole other ball game when you imply that those who don’t completely swallow your “racist” paradigm are in fact ignorant racists. Further, implying that white people can’t question black people’s perception of “racist” events is nonsensical in an ever liberalizing and progressive society. Add to this your threat to ban me before I’ve ever posted and we see all the hallmarks of a tyrannical and oppressive mindset. The question then becomes whether this mindset is the manifestation of the alien ideology you have adopted and are attempting to sell? The second question is why would a freedom lover like myself adopt your already conceded “oppressive” mindset?

  13. 14 Deacon Blue
    March 19, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Yeah, I’m really oppressive, Thordaddy. Just ask anyone who’s disagreed with me in the past. (Not a single one of whom I’ve ever banned or disregarded) I knew that if you came here, you would behave the same way as at Big Man’s blog, which is to completely ignore all other arguments and theories but the ones you refuse to budge from.

    Anyone who’s been around here long enough knows that I can consider other viewpoints and have admitted when my own logic is flawed and when I might be wrong.

    My “alien” ideology is only alien to people like you who think that if racism isn’t outright assault on somebody, it doesn’t exist.

    At first, when I encountered you, you made me angry. Now I simply pity you for the small, sad world that you inhabit.

  14. March 20, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Great post, Deacon. I carry my own shame of ignoring racist events, rather than standing up for the victims, even knowing I should have stood up for them. Hey, I was scared. On the bright side, that gives me compassion for folks who are too scared or embarrassed to stand up for me when people use the wrong pronouns or otherwise show transphobic attitudes.

    I live in a community that is about 94% white, 5% hispanic, and 1% black (f that), and there is no shortage of racism around here, believe me. Yet there is also a lot of support, and a strong effort on many (probably most) whites to reduce racism. It often comes out, unfortunately, in patronizing, ignorant ways. I’m afraid I’m not the ally I’d like to be, but I’m working on it. My own post on the subject was in response to a comment on my blog about Obama. http://silknvoice.blogspot.com/2008/10/power-and-racism.html

    We’ve got a long way to go. I’m just impressed and happy that Obama got elected. Because that shows how far we have come, and it’s a long way from Selma. It was a bit shovel-ful of positive into that hole of which you spoke.

    Thanks for speaking up on this. Keep the love alive.

  15. March 20, 2009 at 12:57 am

    I mean, BIG shovel-ful…

  16. 17 Deacon Blue
    March 20, 2009 at 1:13 am

    Heh, I didn’t even notice the typo.

    Where I live right now, it’s awfully white, too…even more so than where you are I think, but in most ways, the racism and other “ism’s” are a lot lower than I would have expected in my gut, whether its the intentional stuff or the unintentional stuff.

  17. 18 thordaddy
    March 20, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Deacon Blue,

    You’ve already conceded that you are guilty of past racism. This, in part, has driven you to adopt an “alien” ideology. What I mean by “alien” is not irrational, but highly abnormal. Perpetual white privilege and white racism is very rational to a large majority of black Americans.

    But now it seems you are less inclined to accept these facts.

    You say,

    My “alien” ideology is only alien to people like you who think that if racism isn’t outright assault on somebody, it doesn’t exist.

    This is just plain false and someone with apparent knowledge in AI should know it when he sees it. You have already told us that the racism suffered by today’s black Americans has 2 key characteristics. First, it is of a lesser degree/frequency than the racism suffered by their ancestors. Secondly, today’s racism is more invisible and subtle.

    Now, there are two ways to look at this and several conclusions that one could draw about how you think. You can look at these “facts” as apparently contradicting themselves or you could look at it as you saying that blacks today suffer an equal or greater frequency of racism, but at a lesser degree (less violent, more verbal/non-violent) as it is largely subtle and invisible?

    The problem with taking the second approach is that you obviously concede the increasely disputable nature of the racism charge in an ever liberalizing society. If racism is invisible and subtle then you are saying it’s really hard to know it if you see it. Your agreement with Big Man that white people cannot question the perception of black people in matters of racism and race is highly irrational given the incredible amount of conflicting interpretation that can be gleaned from any racial event within a progressive society. Again, your thinking runs contrary to the apparent scientific mindset you display and evidences an ideology at play.

    So I have made several assertions with which you can dispute and then put forth what you really believe. Again, you are attempting to sell me something very abnormal. You are attempting to sell me the idea that because you’ve had racist subjective experiences in your past, it now becomes an objective fact that I am also guilty of your racist past. And further, to even question this “paradigm” is, according to you, further evidence of racism. You would be laughed out of the lab with this type of methodology and circular thinking.

  18. 19 Deacon Blue
    March 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Life isn’t a lab, Thordaddy, and not everything about it is an exact science. If it were, we could prove the existence of God, in whom I know you believe based on past comments at Raving Black Lunatic (as I do as well). But we can’t. Yet you want to subject racism to strict LAB science, when it’s something that falls under SOCIAL science. At the same time, I’m sure you disregard the very good studies that have been done to show unfair treatment to non-whites. Do you have some good studies that show whites have been hurt by affirmative action or anything like that? I haven’t heard of any, while there have been many that illustrate racism in action. If you have something concrete, pass along a link.

    I find it interesting that you so readily adopt the attitude that it’s perfectly normal and acceptable for white folks to have all the advantages already and then ensure that those advantages continue to go to white people even when it’s not “fair.” All of your assertions maintain that it is OK to marginalize people and continue to hold them back from opportunities simply because they are not white.

    And this is the very nature of racism.

    But in your world, because the overt violence and glaring racism has diminished so much, you act like everything is fine. This makes no sense.

    If someone comes to my house every week to beat the shit out of myself and my family, and then, after a time, only comes every week to steal from me, but doesn’t physically harm me or my family, have things gotten better? Sure. But is it right? No!

    You have this relativistic philosophy that allows you to justify racism because it isn’t as bad as it used to be. And because the slights now are more undercover or even unconsciously perpetrated, you say they are too hard to prove and so, by definition, we should act like they don’t exist and call blacks all a bunch of whiners who are imagining things.

    You have said you are a freedom lover. You are not. You only love freedom that benefits you and those you identify with. That is not loving freedom. That is loving the relative privilege that you enjoy.

    At least that’s the read I get from you based on your comments. You have certainly misinterpreted my aims and goals often enough; if I have misunderstood you, then explain where I am wrong in thinking this is the way you think.

  19. 20 thordaddy
    March 20, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Deacon Blue,

    You take incredible leaps of illogic that are rather unbecoming of a person who professes the Truth of the Lord. Do not think it went unnoticed that the “Deacon” stayed conspicuously silent on the issue of whether Barack Obama can be a real Christian who professes the belief in the fundamental “right” of a mother to spill innocent blood.

    What you fail to acknowledge is that your belief system is a coercively impositional one. Whereas, my belief system demands no overt obligation on your part. You willfully deny the irony of having a coercive impositional belief system while discussing the obvious oppressive nature of others.

    You say that “racism” is largely “subtle” and “invisible.”

    But you won’t concede that such a state of affairs makes ALL charges of racism that aren’t overt and explicit to be under an incredible cloud of dispute.

    You say you are guilty of past acts of racism, i.e., oppression of blacks.

    But you won’t concede that ONLY YOU are guilty of these past acts. Instead, you claim that I and others are also culpable to some degree.

    You say that we can’t really question the perception of blacks in matters of race and racism EVEN THOUGH we are the target of the accusations.

    But you won’t concede that such a mentality is irrational and defies fundamental liberal principles.

    You say that anyone who doesn’t assent to your new and enlightened stage of thinking is ignorantly racist.

    But you won’t concede that such an attempt at totalitarian mind control runs contrary to everything that the Lord taught.

    Deacon, you imply that whites impose their will on blacks to the extent that whites can be real obstacles to black American’s attainment of life, liberty and the pursuing of happiness. This is false and has been for a long time. The average white has no more power to hold back the average black than Deacon has of imposing his coercive belief system in a world ordered by God’s Truth.

    Take account of your beliefs and the consequences they have in the real world. Don’t attempt to mask the coercive nature of your beliefs by claiming that what I believe puts a burden and obligation on you. It doesn’t and this is the nature of the real dispute.

  20. 21 Deacon Blue
    March 20, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    How is it “totalitarian” for me to suggest that we should treat people equally and not dole out benefits only to those who are like us? Did Jesus teach us to only help those who look like us and only be just to those who look like us? No. Whites DO have the power to hold blacks back and they do. Or do you think that blacks just LIKE getting less or having to do twice as much to get the same deal?

    I have not once suggested that we need to make some wholesale overwhelming effort to GIVE blacks or anyone else a free ride. But the fact is there are inequities and your refusal to acknowledge them is ridiculous. If blacks with more education and skills are often passed over by whites with less education and skills, is that right? No. If blacks are denied job interviews because people see a “black” name on the resume (and research has shown this tendency) is that fair? No. You are defending a system that has racism built into it because we ACCEPT it. And by accepting it we contribute to it. I know it and you know it too. Difference is that I care and don’t think it should continue.

    Fair treatment. In personal interactions, in housing, in employment, etc. etc.

    Expecting people to throw off their prejudices and look at something beyond skin color is hardly coercive. It is was Jesus would EXPECT of us.

    You keep saying that blacks’ perception of racism is suspect. Well, it’s easy for you, on the outside, not being treated differently because of your skin color, to write off their feelings. Because you aren’t the one getting treated that way. But what makes you qualified to disregard someone else’s experience.

    As for the abortion and Barack Obama issue, I didn’t speak to that for three reasons. One, that was a discussion specifically between you and Big Man over at his blog. Two, it’s a red herring. I’m not going to let you distract me with it. Third, innocent blood has been shed by GOP folks quite a bit. How about innocent women, children, and even unborn children killed as collateral damage when we wage wars for no other reason than to oppress and coerce a foreign nation for our own gain?

    I knew arguing with you would go nowhere. I didn’t expect it to. But it’s nice for folks to see a dissenting view. But as I said before, and I will say again, you will NEVER budge from a single one of your arguments because you have nothing to back them up with and you don’t entertain any thoughts other than your own. You do not WANT to have any other views than those you hold right now. My views do change over time as I am exposed to rational arguments. Yours are not.

    You spit rhetoric. You are the one trying to coerce everyone into believing we live in a fair world where blacks have just as much a chance at success as a white person. Statistics and research have proven that wrong time and time again.

  21. 22 thordaddy
    March 20, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Deacon Blue,

    Sorry if I expect more from somebody like you. Your assertions are unfounded because you continue to engage in subjects that aren’t relevant. I never denied unfairness or said racism didn’t exist. I never said all blacks lie about incidents of racism or subtle acts of racism don’t exist. These should be understood as givens that need not be disputed. Your lame attempt to try and tie me to these ideas are in fact weak rebuttals from someone unwilling to grasp the coercive and impositional nature of his belief system.

    Again…?

    How do MY real beliefs put a burden or obligation on you or any black person?

    After you answer with no answer, do you wish for me to tell you how YOUR belief system puts an obligation and burden on me? Do you wish for me to point out the irony of attempting to control my conscience in a most nefarious fashion by way of asserting that I control the conscienceness of others? Do you wish to explain why your truth is superior to my truth and then how you came to the conclusion that coercively imposing your belief system on others was what God intended for you to do? Remember, you conceded to an oppressive past. Could this be the pendulum swinging to an opposite extreme?

  22. 23 Deacon Blue
    March 20, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Well, you’ve certainly spent enough time implying and suggesting that you think it’s (1) fine and dandy for whites to benefit whites and no one else, and (2) that subtle racism simply doesn’t exist.

    This is, near as I can tell, the FIRST time you have so much as acknowledged that racism and racial unfairness exist in any significant manner.

    You’ll note that my examples of personal racism were “minor” things. So, you still refuse to acknowledge that many, in fact probably most, white people engage in these things all the time without realizing or acknlowedging it.

    I am not trying to coerce anyone into doing anything but examining their own actions, underlying motivations, and to treat people of all colors with the same respect they would anyone of their own color.

    If you can call such things coercive and oppressive, you are very confused.

    I do NOT impose a specific philosophy or set of actions on anyone.

    If we all contribute to the problem, we should all do our part to be better and continue to alleviate the problem, until it is no longer a problem.

    I know plenty of people with viewpoints counter to my own. I know black people who have differing opinions on what is racist enough to warrant notice and concern and what isn’t. I would not deign to make anyone follow a lock-step philosophy.

    What I expect is for people who think they don’t engage in racism to recognize that they sometimes do, and to strive to do better at not doing so.

    How can you argue with that?

  23. 24 Deacon Blue
    March 20, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    TO THE READERS WHO AREN’T NAMED THORDADDY…

    Many of you may wonder why I’m engaging in this discussion at all, seeing at how it didn’t go anywhere at Big Man’s blog (now Macon D is over there beating his head against the brick wall that is Thordaddy). Clearly, it looks likely to go nowhere here as well, though I still hold out hope that Thordaddy can agree with me at least that examining our own racial prejudices, whatever race we are, and rooting them out is a good thing. That self-awareness and striving to love our neighbors is a good thing.

    This back and forth will likely end soon. Perhaps it’s already over, who knows? But soon, either Thordaddy will stop or I will do so. What’s the point of it all?

    Partly, entertainment. Keeping things lively. Whatever.

    Partly to have some dissent in here. TitforTat and The Word of Me will sometimes challenge my religious stances but neither of them has ever been quite so argumentative. Wouldn’t want you all to think only want yea-sayers around here.

    But mostly, because I’m not sure my white readers are all acquainted with what we see here with Thordaddy. Many of us think ourselves open minded and some of us are even right about that. But sometimes, liberal college educated folks can be guilty of worse racism than a conservative redneck with a high-school education because they think they are enlightened but really don’t walk the walk. On the other hand, someone who is more openly racist on many points may be much more accepting of a black person or other minority once they get to know that person. We’re human; we have some screwed up ways of relating to each other.

    But my point is that in the hypothetical discussions of race, we don’t always see people who insist on throwing out notions that aren’t backed up by research studies, while ignoring notions that are backed up by research. People who argue that trying to identify racism is someone trying to enforce an ideology on everyone.

    Thordaddy is the kind of person you may not have met before. You might be surprised to find that there are more people like him around you than you thought. You might be surprised to find out that you agree with some of his more outlandish points.

    There are even kernels of truth is what he says. Not all claims of racism are accurate. Not all whites are in a position to exert open oppression. Now you get to see how easily kernels can become great big popcorn balls of doom.

    Because, you see, Thordaddy isn’t a raving racist loon of the sort you often see someplace like Stormfront.org or the people who are in lock-step with Rush Limbaugh’s fantasy world. Thordaddy is the person who will latch on to a theory and not let anything even sway him for a moment, not even logic or facts. He will use just enough logic to sound like he is making sense and make the half-truths and misconceptions seem more likely to be true.

    A lot of us do this. And it’s scary how easy it is to do.

    That’s how we ended up with 8 years of Dubya and handed over a lot of our civil rights because we allowed ourselves to be made afraid of boogeymen instead of the real villains. It’s how we’ve allowed religion to become a tool of judgment and abuse when it should bring us closer to God. It’s how we let pundits tell us how to think because we’re too lazy to do it ourselves.

    Truth isn’t always pretty. And positive change doesn’t always feel good.

    And that’s why people like Thordaddy resist both things so thoroughly.

  24. March 20, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Thordaddy,
    Y’all should get some pigment and color your skin dark brown, and curl and dye your hair, and go out in the real world and see what y’all think of racism, then.

    Barring that (I know you won’t go for it), y’all should just go out onto the street and observe, without judgment or evaluation, the interactions that blacks and whites have with each other, especially in the myriad of power-over relationships that whites enjoy.

    You never know. Your eyes might open wide. Believe me, it’s better to see than be blind, even when what you see ain’t that pretty.

  25. 26 Deacon Blue
    March 20, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    LOL…Seda, don’t get sucked in. Now you’ll be sparring with him and getting brick-wall headaches.

    😉

  26. March 21, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Nah! I just stirred him up for you. Now I’ll just step back and watch the sparks… 😉

  27. 28 thordaddy
    March 21, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Deacon Blue,

    Next time you offer your unsolicited opinion be prepared to have the intellectual endurance to see things to the end. Also, be prepared to take account of what you believe and show no ambiguity in articulating those beliefs.

    You claim,

    Well, you’ve certainly spent enough time implying and suggesting that you think it’s (1) fine and dandy for whites to benefit whites and no one else, and (2) that subtle racism simply doesn’t exist.

    In reality, I ASKED if it was immoral for a white society to provide advantage to its own. You seemingly refused to answer and it is no secret why.

    Furthermore, I never suggested that subtle racism didn’t exist, but rather, I said that YOUR characterization of “racism” as being “subtle” and “invisible” necessarily opened up ALL assertions of racism that weren’t overt and explicit to wild swings of interpretation.

    Then you say,

    This is, near as I can tell, the FIRST time you have so much as acknowledged that racism and racial unfairness exist in any significant manner.

    I didn’t see that it was necessary to state the obvious. Yet, what you seem to imply is that racism and unfairness are particular to black people. This myopic view of things leads me to believe that your parents never told you about the absolute unfairness of the world. You think you have a big picture view when you are really just prejudiced in favor of a particular point of view.

    Then your all-inclusiveness kicks in,

    So, you still refuse to acknowledge that many, in fact probably most, white people engage in these things all the time without realizing or acknlowedging it.

    This has to be one of the most odious and unsubstantiated accusations I’ve encountered on the internet.

    My first question is WHY? Why would “most” white people engage in racism?

    My second question is HOW could you possibly know this? By any liberal standard you are guilty of gross generalization, but it is unclear how you came to this generalization other than just acceding to the majority black paradigm.

    Lastly you ramble,

    I am not trying to coerce anyone into doing anything but examining their own actions, underlying motivations, and to treat people of all colors with the same respect they would anyone of their own color.

    If this were all you and others with your like mind were trying to do then it wouldn’t be a big deal. But, you are ALSO willing to use to force of government to have your way. In fact, you are a supporter and facilitator of government mandated discrimination in favor of particular groups of people.

    If you can call such things coercive and oppressive, you are very confused.

    If what I’ve shown above isn’t coercive and oppressive then what is it?

    I do NOT impose a specific philosophy or set of actions on anyone.

    Of course you don’t because it would be rejected outright by a wide swath of white Americans. Instead, you attempt to marginalize those that don’t accent to your belief system. You claim that they are guilty of injustices for which they are not even aware. You tell them they can’t even question the veracity of their accuser. And you never ever deny these assertions as I’ve given you multiple opportunitiesto do so.

    If we all contribute to the problem, we should all do our part to be better and continue to alleviate the problem, until it is no longer a problem.

    And yet WE all DON’T contribute to the problem and your insistence that we do evidences your strict adherence to a particular ideology. You cannot claim that I am culpable for your racism and be taken seriously. My children are not racist because they are ignorant of a system that they still somehow unwittingly perpetuate. But according to you, they are! This is crazy and destructive thinking.

    And then the kicker,

    What I expect (my emphasis) is for people who think they don’t engage in racism to recognize that they sometimes do, and to strive to do better at not doing so.

    How can you argue with that?

    Well… We can’t argue with your expectations, can we? Are you serious? Not only do you “expect” people to see YOUR truth, but you are willing to use the force of government to MAKE THEM see it and thereby fulfill your expectations. Chilling, I say.

  28. 29 thordaddy
    March 21, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Seda,

    Let me ask you a hypothetical question.

    If I say with a clear understanding that I am superior to you because of both my white skin and your black skin, thereby committing an overt and explicit act of racism, can you tell me how this racism is an obstacle to your life, liberty or pursuit of happiness?

    I think this would be a good exercise in “knowing” what it’s like to be white in a progessive society.

  29. March 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Thord,
    Sure. It’s an obstacle when it translates into a higher bar for establishing identity at my bank; when it means that someone white is given the job interview regardless of qualifications; etc., etc.

    It helps to have an understanding of the relationship of power to racism. The power structures in our society are white and male. Turn it around. If it is the black person claiming superiority, is that an obstacle to you as a white person?

    Because the power structures that impact our lives are predominantly white, the black person looks like a kook, and can be ignored. He has no power with which to affect the “inferior” white person’s life.

    A good place to start understanding the white privilege you and I enjoy is at this link: http://www.uakron.edu/centers/conflict/docs/whitepriv.pdf.

    That would be a much better exercise in knowing what it’s like to be white than your hypothetical question, which is all too prevelent in our society anyway, and has been since long before blacks where assigned to 3/5-of-a-person status.

  30. 31 Deacon Blue
    March 21, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Thordaddy,

    I have intellectual endurance. The problem is that you keep rolling out the same tired old things over and over and continue to accuse me of trying to force an ideology on people while also refusing to consider that you have ever engaged in a racist action in your life.

    Since you don’t not ever budge and inch, do not accept any thoughts counter to your own (not even for a moment apparently), and do not actually allow for any dissent to your thoughts, there will be no end to this. I don’t lack intellectual endurance. What I lack is the patience to deal with someone who so categorically doesn’t want to talk.

    I have tried to be open to you and allow for some give an take. All you do is continue to lob accusations and unsubstantiated “facts.” Sure, one can argue that subtle racism is more difficult to prove. Sure, one can argue that sometimes, blacks overreact to things that aren’t necessarily racist.

    But you can’t offer a single study or set of statistics to back up that blacks actually get anywhere near a fair shake in this society. On the other hand, there are tons of studies showing just the opposite and illustrating how racism is built into our institutions and our mindsets. How we do things and take them for granted, without considering the harm they do to other races who aren’t white.

    Thordaddy, you are a broken record with no facts to offer. You have only your stubborn insistence that you are above and beyond racism and that we have so much less racism now that every claim of racism by a black person must be scrutinized with a team of scientists.

    You are impervious to logic, fairness, compassion for anyone outside your immediate circle apparently, and a lot of other things.

    It’s not that I couldn’t argue with you over and over.

    It’s just that you aren’t WORTH arguing with, because you have nothing but hot air and arrogance to offer. We’re done now. You can stay or you can leave. It matters not to me. But there’s nothing left to say to someone who isn’t listening.

  31. 32 thordaddy
    March 22, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Deacon Blue,

    If the Lord came to you and said, “Thou shall not spill the blood of innocence.”

    And you responded,

    “Well Lord, we have this really wonderful president that says he believes a mother has a fundamental right to spill the blood of her child.”

    And the Lord retorted,

    “Thou shall not spill the blood of innocence.”

    Would you then tell the Lord that He was giving you “brick-wall headaches?”

    If you hold irrational positions, then my “stubborness” is a virtue.

    True or False

    ALL white people are guilty of racism?

    ALL black people have suffered from racism?

    If one is guilty of white racism, ALL of white society shares part of the blame?

    If Deacon Blue is guilty of racism then Deacon Blue’s half-white children are guilty of racism?

    Racist actors are less cognizant of reality than the victims of their racism?

    If you could kindly answer these straightforward questions so we can figure out what you actually believe. But more importantly, I want to know what a guy like you will do to get his way?

    You can’t go anywhere with me because you ask no real questions and give no real answers. You neither affirm nor deny the assertions I make about what you believe and what you’re willing to do to assert your beliefs.

    For instance, are you in favor of government mandated discrimination? I say you are, but you aren’t clear.

    Are you for curbing white people’s speech at black people’s demand? Are you willing to use the force of government to accomplish that goal?

    Let us know, Deacon Blue???

  32. 33 Deacon Blue
    March 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Thordaddy,

    You have asked quite a number of questions, all of which I will be happy to respond to. However, that will be (at the earliest) this afternoon or evening, and most likely sometime tomorrow. I’ve got a 3-year-old to entertain and wrangle, and the wife is meeting some friends today. So, my day’s pretty packed.

    I will tell you in advance, though, I’m not touching the abortion thing. This post and commentary has nothing to do with abortion. I’m not going to let you bring off-topic crap in here to distract me and divide my resources and clutter up the communication.

    You want to talk abortion? Wait until I post again on something that touches on that area.

    I will get back to you on everything else when I have the time to do so. Thanks in advance for your (I hope) patience.

  33. March 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Well Lord, we have this really wonderful president that says he believes a mother has a fundamental right to spill the blood of her child.”(Thordaddy)

    I guess if she knew the timing she could avoid the blood thingie. No fetal blood before day 14.

  34. 35 thordaddy
    March 22, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Deacon Blue,

    I’m not trying to discuss abortion because what is there to discuss? It’s the spilling of innocent blood and God explicitly condemns it. Now, you can say that makes me “impervious to logic, fairness and compassion,” but all I’ve really done is unconditionally embraced God’s Truth. Do you disagree?

    The point is YOUR willingness to use government force, i.e., state-mandated oppression, against white people with the intent that you are making black people more free?

    What justifies this in your eyes? Does God justify this?

  35. 36 Deacon Blue
    March 22, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Thordaddy, I told you I’d get back to you when I wasn’t on the run and only online intermittently. If you are going to keep repeating questions you’ve already asked before I have a chance to answer them, I WILL ban your ass.

    I have been polite. I expect the same in return. If you can’t handle that, get lost.

  36. 37 thordaddy
    March 22, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Deacon Blue,

    You shouldn’t necessitate a response and then threaten banishment when one responds. You accused me of taking this discussion towards abortion when there is no discussion on abortion. I embrace God’s truth on the matter and you are ambiguous, but still claim belief in the Lord.

    The only real discussion is your willingness to oppress white people using state coercion with the intention of benefitting black people while honestly calling yourself an anti-racist?

    Stay with me Deacon because the Lord wants to see you embrace the Truth.

  37. 38 thewordofme
    March 23, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Hi Deacon,

    Really enjoyed this post. Although I’m white and not married to a black woman I see this quiet racism all the time. I have a mother and father in law that are just barely shy of being outright racist and I do my best to keep the subject from coming up with them.

    Getting a little hard now as I voted for Obama, they know it, and ol’ dad is crazy mad and thinking that the country is lost to “blacks” only he’s not so polite.

    Good luck with Thor and I really mean that 🙂

    twom

  38. 39 thordaddy
    March 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    thewordofme,

    And yet, it is almost certain that the “quiet racism” of your father-in-law and father (it was unclear if the reference to ol’ dad was your father-in-law or your father) has had no real effect on the life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness of a single black person. And so all you are left with is comdemning your family members for not thinking the correct thoughts about blacks as you apparently do. Further, you don’t even consider whether their thoughts have any legitimacy and their distaste for blacks (or Obama) is grounded in reality. Instead, you live blindly to the idea that talking ill of blacks, making generalizations about blacks and refusing to engage blacks is a sign of bad intent and a malevolent disposition. Though, here you are practicing on your family what you preach against in the larger world. You call that normal thinking? I call it the surest way to disenigrate your closest relationships all on the altar of an odious ideology that you probably can’t actually articulate.

  39. 40 thewordofme
    March 24, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Thor,
    I find myself in an existentialist nightmare with the subject of race. I find that I really don’t have a prejudice against anyone, but I don’t know how to express this to others, I don’t know what is the right thing to do. Mostly I find that I just ignore the problem to keep out of trouble.

    I have no strong ill feelings against the inlaws…just an uncomfortable feeling when the subject is brought, up and I definitely don’t have some odious ideology that I would even want to articulate.

    Sooo, I’m going to say to you:”Bite Me” I’ll just drift along in my little bubble and berate myself for a while because I broke one of my rules…Don’t get involved in matters of race because its a lose, lose proposition.

  40. 41 thordaddy
    March 25, 2009 at 12:24 am

    thewordofme,

    The first thing I would say is that in parts like these your words are admission of an inherent racism that is subconsciously suppressed. You are lesser by the mere fact that you deny any inherent racism and the subconscious actions that perpetuate your racism both locally and globally.

    When you offer up your in-laws as progressive sacrifices that evidences the racism of white people, what are you really telling us? Are you telling us that your in-laws actually denied a black person his chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Are you telling us that your in-law’s mere thoughts (maybe racist, maybe not… How do we judge in a progressive society?) had the power to deny a black man his due? Are you telling us there are no rational reasons to suspect blacks at a collective level even as you willfully, but unknowlingly, implicitly adopt the mainstream black paradigm being proferred by white progressives?

  41. 42 Deacon Blue
    March 25, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Thordaddy, this is precisely why I find you so objectionable. The Word of Me gives you a response that is level-headed, shows he isn’t demonizing his in-laws and you try to turn it around to make out like he is force-feeding an ideology (as you have repeatedly and incorrectly accused me) or a victim of social brainwashing. You just can’t seem to respond in any way that doesn’t show that you yourself clearly have issues with race and see no problem with racism as long as it doesn’t clearly, directly and dramatically deny someone the ability to have a baseline survival existence in this nation.

    When I am out of my morass of work, I will answer the several questions you posed to me, both because I told you I would and because I think it is fair enough for people to understand my position on each of those questions (which are clearly too complex for a true-false answer in each case, as you requested).

    After that, I’m done with you. You are the one trying to force-feed an ideology here, not me or anyone else. You are the one preaching that hate is OK, as long as no one gets physically hurt or killed apparently. How very Christian of you. Work so hard to protect the unborn babies, but ignore the needs of the vastly greater number of adults who should receive respect and love.

  42. 43 thordaddy
    March 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Deacon Blue,

    You know why I find you so objectionable and intellectually weak? Because you can’t give 5 minutes to show how odious of an ideology you have adopted by answering those very poignnant questions. I also find you objectionable because you take persons such as thewordofme and say he is racist by the mere fact that he says he’s is not! That’s objectionable!!!

    By the way, and I hate to add a few more minutes of real thinking to your day, but what do you call a belief system that says white people fail to acknowledge their inherent racism other than an odious ideology?

  43. 44 Deacon Blue
    March 25, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Five minutes? You think that answering those five questions you posed, and answering them adequately, is a five minute process? And you alread accuse me of being intellectually weak? Yet you think that if I give a mere five minutes to those questions, I will do them justice?

    I have officially tired of the party line you keep harping on. Begone!

  44. 45 Mrs Blue
    March 25, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Thordaddy,

    Frankly my husband has spent more time engaging with you then I would, you seem rather insincere and like a guy just wishing to stir up trouble. Maybe that is not the case and I am misjudging you. In any event when Mister Blue is able he will respond to you I am sure however real life calls.

    Sorry hon, normally I stay out of your blog but this guy is starting to chap my hide.

  45. 46 thewordofme
    March 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Mr & Mrs Blue,

    Me thinks Thor is a hit and run tweek. Best to dis-acknowledge his butt.

  46. 47 Deacon Blue
    March 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    I’ve simply banned him at this point, to avoid continued spinning of wheels with someone who doesn’t budge an iota even when hit with facts or logic. I’ve given him his last hurrah with my March 25 post answering his questions, which I’m sure he will yet accuse me of dodging or failing to adequately explain. I considered going on at greater length, but didn’t want to torture y’all with another super-massive post so soon. (It’s already big enough, though shorter than this one was, I think).

  47. 48 Ian Davis
    March 31, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I am impressed by you, sir. Perhaps without even a background in sociology you have managed to mount an effective dialogue with present-day racism (and other -isms as well) without mincing words, without using your more privileged position (as a white male) to force the argument. Of course, some might regard your words as stronger because of this position, but that is unfortunately the state of things. Your post does a terrific job at dismantling the “state of things”. And not only that, you’ve set a good example for Christians too. Thordaddy uses religion in many of his comments to trivialize the topic of racism, or to justify acts of racism. He completely blurs the argument of racism by throwing in something anti-abortion, some other things. And you rightly banned him, but not before disputing his claims.

    As a white male student trying to become further aware of his own privileges, I will take this post as an example of how to better articulate my own racist moments.

    Some other things to consider:
    Color is a binomial opposition inherent in our language. White is right, black is bad, dark is wicked, light is pure, etc. How can we subvert/sidestep these language standbys to express a racially conscious language? And this can be hard to think of. Sometimes, with the intent to use whiteness as a marker of badness or blackness as a marker of goodness, other facets come in too, like black not being fully good or being good while still being dangerous or other racist traps like that. Is there truly a way to give the privilege of words to persons of color (which is different than “colored people”)?

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.
    -Ian

  48. 49 Deacon Blue
    March 31, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks for the input, Ian.

    You know, sometimes, it’s hard to separate out the words and concepts in language that play into color/race.

    I personally don’t have much problem with light/white = goodness and darkness/black = evil because I see the black/darkness thing in association with night, hidden things, etc. But at the same time, it would be foolish to think that it doesn’t play into racism on some level, somewhere at times. Because, one the other hand, white can also represent death (bones, shrouds, etc.) and black can be health and fertility (soil)…but those aren’t the concepts that leap to mind for most people in this country.

    Tricky stuff sometimes.

  49. April 2, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Associating black/dark with night, I find it good and positive – earthy, mysterious, feminine; the pale silvery moon, stars’ tiny lights, rest, yin to the yang of sunlight and the day, passivity (in the sense of receptivity, not weakness or non-resistance to evil). Then you are left not with evil and good, but with beauty and life; yin and yang – completeness.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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