Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Talking About the Bogeyman

Deacon Blue raised a good point in the comments section of one of my posts last week.

He described a situation where his wife explained to him a problem she had with a store clerk, and told him her difficulties were because of racism, pure and simple. Deacon, while acknowledging that race might have been an issue, said it could have just as easily been several other things that led to her bad experience.

Deacon Blue got his ass handed to him.

Now, I know I don't have many white readers, but some of y'all do like to lurk. Anyway, I can understand that it is tough establishing interracial relationships, platonic or romantic, given the racial baggage that black and white people carry with them. For white people, I imagine it seems like you're learning a whole new way to view the world.

While trying to gain this new perspective, you may feel like there is little room for error on your part. It may seem like if you challenge your black friends when they complain about racism, or if you say something that might be a little insensitive, you instantly lose all of your racial brownie points and start over again as just another white person. That has to hurt, and it probably seems a little unfair.

I feel your pain.

That's why I wanted to talk to you about the proper way to confront black people when you think that their claims of racism may not be the strongest, or when you just want some clarification on why something is racist. I'm going to give you three simple rules that should be easy to follow. I can't guarantee these rules will prevent you from losing your "cool white person" status, but they won't hurt.

1. Don't become a lawyer.

Sometimes when people of color relate a story about racism to white people our pale brethren turn into little Perry Masons. They want to quiz us on every little detail of the encounter, usually with the express purpose of debunking our claims of racism. I understand this urge, hell, I get this urge during regular conversations, just ask my wife. But, if you're typically a laid back, go with the flow type of person, but you suddenly turn into Robert Shapiro when racism comes up, well black people aren't going to be too happy. This is especially true if the black person talking to you considers you a friend or good associate. After all, why are you so invested in proving your black friends wrong about racism?

2. It's not about you.

Look, my white friends, I'm sure you've been wronged at the hands of black people. Maybe it was those insensitive teenagers on the bus who complained about the smell of wet dog, when you got caught in the rain. Or, it could have been that black co-worker, who liked to refer to you as "Mr. Charlie" when y'all met at the water cooler. Whatever happened, I'm sure you are quite convinced that black people are perfectly capable of being bigots, and it's important to you that the world understand this. Cool, I understand, and I agree.

However, if a black person is talking to you about a racist incident involving a white person, it is not the time to discuss your past experiences with evil black people. Honestly, why would you think that's the proper response? Possibly you think recounting your own pain will help your friend, but it probably won't. Most likely, your black friend will feel like you're trying to tell them to get over their pain, and move on because black people are guilty of it too. Why would somebody want to hear that?

3. Really listen.

This is connected to number two. When your black friend is telling their racist story, don't pretend to listen while thinking that this is a perfect opportunity to get some good information on why certain things are racist and others aren't. This will piss black people off.

If we're telling you about a painful experience, we probably don't want to have an extended conversation outlining the criteria of racism. We just want to vent, maybe get some sympathy and then move on with our lives. This is not the time to gather notes for your racism primer. If you do this, you will seem insensitive and you will quickly be put on the list of white people to avoid that all black people carry around in their heads. (It's true, we all have this list. We don't tell white people this, but every moment of everyday you're being graded. We're compiling your mistakes and successes and deciding exactly what type of white person are. We don't tell you this because we know it would freak you out. I made the mistake of telling a white dude about it one day, and he was never comfortable around me again.)

Anyway, those are my top three rules. I hope you readers will provide your own rules and maybe I'll make them into a primer that I put somewhere on the blog for easy reference. So, hit me with your best shot.




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31 comments:

Deacon Blue said...

Good post. But before I respond, I need to ask a few things...but first, you know, there was this one guy who really pissed me off...well, anyway...hold on, I'm not finished yet.

Oh, crap, three strikes.
;-)

Seriously though, nice post. Mrs. Blue's done an admirable job of drilling them into me over the years I think. Gently, of course, and with small drill bits.

the uppity negro said...

Actually, I think this is just general common sense that friends should have with one another.

This is kinda stuff they teach us in pastoral care.

I mean, if my friend mama died, why would she or he want to hear about the time my cousin or my uncle died--per numbers two and three. And that would NOT be the appropriate time me asking them a whole bunch of probing questions.

Clearly the person is trying to vent.

But what happens is basic psychological projection. The listener hears a story and it triggers something else that has NOTHING to do with the person in front of them, but that person in turn really becomes the object of the listeners frustration from a past event: the listener projects their own problems onto the other person.

It sucks, but it's basic human nature as far as I'm concerned.

Darth Whitey said...

I walk on eggshells when I'm around black people. Even though I'm not particularly friendly or anything, I become an absolute sweetheart around "you people" (haha) and it gets to the point where I start to think I'm going too far with the smile and the courtesy and the friendly banter such that they may think I'm coming on to them or something.

The worst is when they respond with escalating courtesy, probably on purpose to make me squirm :-)

blackgirlinmaine said...

I like all 3 points especially number one, as a Black woman married to a white guy who has had his lapses in stupidity at times. I think #1 is the biggest one, if I tell you something and think its a racial issue, please do not grill me trying to play devil's advocate. I have been Black almost 40 years, and trust I know racism when I see it.

I have the same issues with white associates at time, recent work situation came up and a manager I supervise (note: I supervise) asked was I sure it was a racial issue we were dealing with. Um...yes.

I also agree with #2m too many times white folks try to make it about them...this is another way to piss me off to no end.

Anyway great post!

Lolo said...

You rock. This is a primer on just being real and it applies to everyone. Accept and validate another person's feelings. Doesn't have to mean that you agree with their interpretation but it does mean that you hear them, you affirm their right to feel how they do and you accept that their feelings are real. Not so hard but it when race is the topic, people get squirrely.

Just because it's never happened to them doesn't mean it's not real.

Darth, I hear you too. I've done that, had that feeling where I am not sure if I've put myself too far out there and am being perceived as trying too hard and ultimately written off as foolish. For me, I think it comes from being the perpetual chameleon and not growing up with my own "group". Always the other, never enough of one identity and yet able to slip through to whichever group is in charge. Maybe (I'm just guessing so forgive) for you it's a case of wanting your inherent good intentions to be recognised but not having the credentials to carry it off. We all want to be validated, really.

Okay, side note ~ I have a fluffy white purse dog and his name is Mister Charlie. Ha!

Lorraine said...

@Darth Whitey: I do that too. It's like "Hey, I'm friendly, I like you! I'm not like the other white people!!" We have to stop doing that, man. It's so condescending. Every person of color ever does not have to like us. It'll be fine.

This post is made of win though. It is alright if I link to this on my blog?

Big Man said...

Lorraine

Link away, I always appreciate links.

Everybody

Thanks for the compliments. I appreciate the positive feedback. But, I want y'all to write some of the things that you think would be good reactions to this situation as well. I could have made my list quite a bit longer, but I wanted to see what y'all would come up with because I think the variety of mindsets on this blog would produce some good advice..

Macon D said...

Thanks for the great advice. I try to keep in mind these common white tendencies that have been installed in me, but sometimes I still let them get activated.

Having learned that these are common white things, I'd like to add to something that the uppity negro wrote:

what happens is basic psychological projection. The listener hears a story and it triggers something else that has NOTHING to do with the person in front of them, but that person in turn really becomes the object of the listeners frustration from a past event: the listener projects their own problems onto the other person.

It sucks, but it's basic human nature as far as I'm concerned.


Clearly it's true that this can happen with most people in a lot of situations. But, when it happens with a white person listening to a non-white person talking about racism, I think something more is usually happening. It's white denial. Most white people don't want to face up to racism. They also don't like to acknowledge how fundamentally different life can be for non-white people, because of racism. And, they're often trying to connect with the person they're listening to, but again, in a way that demonstrates their oblivion, their almost willed oblivion, to something fundamentally different about the other person's life. Acknowledging that would mean acknowledging racism, and their own status as "white," and thus as a potential perpetrator of racism, and thus as a person who's fundamentally different from, and even in a way opposed to, the person they're trying to connect with.

Deacon Blue said...

OK, I'm going to be foolhardy and suggest something for the black person in a situation like this.

Don't overgeneralize the potentially racism-tinged situation too broadly.

OK, that needs context. In the example between my wife and I, the situation wasn't so much that I was questioning the racism (at least not initially) but that she had declared that WE (not just her) would never shop at that store again.

Mind you, it was a big-box store. One salesperson. And my wife didn't ask to speak to a manager. So my initial reaction of dumbfoundedness was why we were going to shun a whole store for what one flunkie did.

So, what set things off was actually my assertion that we can't hold the entire store responsible for one person.

From there, it somehow devolved into a belief that I was not taking her claims seriously and that I should have rushed into the store to defend her honor (even though I had no idea whom she had been interacting with).

Mind you, that's an extreme situation, which means Mrs. Blue was either having a really bad day, the clerk hit just the right buttons, or both.

And certainly, I have been guilty of making idiotic statements at times and missing cues, so I don't let myself off the hook.

There are times when racism or racial rudeness or whatever can be endemic to a place. I mean, the seemingly isolated Denny's shit some years back seemed isolated until it seemed to pop up at every other frickin' Denny's restaurant until the execs up at the top clamped down on things.

But when expressing a potential racist sitaution to a white person, it is probably best to keep the situation within context and compared only to comparable situation instead of mushrooming it instantly into something much more massive. Don't make it about EVERYONE else.

So, I guess in some ways, this is a corrolary to the white person not making it about himself or herself.

And now, because my wife reads this blog regularly, I will now hope I haven't stepped on some tripwire that will make Mrs. Blue rap me in the back of my head with a knuckle...;-)

Big Man said...

Deac

Thanks. You too Macon.

Deac, I think that's good advice. I try to be careful about getting all my facts straight before I complain about large scale conspiracies and demand massive retaliation against The Man.

But, in your wife's case, I can see her saying exactly what she said in a fit of anger.

I don't know if all white people know this, but being a victim of discrimination or racism, a direct victim, really, REALLY sucks. It hurts, it makes you angry, but, most importantly, it makes you frustrated. You want to do something to strike back at that person for how they hurt you, but often your options are limited. So, I can see your wife latching on to the financial option immediately, and then feeling like you weren't backing her up when you expressed reserve about that.

In her mind, she felt like you were siding with the store over her. It might not be totally logical, but I can see how it happened.

Thordaddy said...

blackgirlinmaine says,

I have been Black almost 40 years, and trust I know racism when I see it.

This goes to the heart of the matter... Why...? Why should we trust your perception of reality?

In fact, we are ten posts in on this blog entry and not one mention of the most important idea being discussed.

Was Mrs. Deacon actually the victim of racism? The assumption and the demand is that we not even question whether she perceived the truth of the matter. In fact, she may have created multiple confrontations for no reason at all.

Big Man wants to tell us that we can't be trusted to question a black person's perception of reality, but black girl in maine tells us we must trust her. Why?

Why can blacks seemingly demand trust while having no obligation to trust others, expecially white people?

Imhotep said...

Big Man giving sound advice to those members of the white community who sincerely want to improve race relations, can a book be far behind?

What's insulting is that some of these white "friends" will set themselves up as the final arbiter as to whether a racist act took place or not, and unless they give validation to the claim, then nothing happened, it was purely a figment of your imagination or your obvious obsession with racism.
Obviously white privilege at work, they allow themselves to evaluate that which they know very little, the subtile, subconscious, and overt acts of racism. The irony here is that the victim has the burden of proof, and the white person will set the standard of proof, and unless they see a white sheet and a burning cross, no racist act occurred.

Deacon Blue said...

Imhotep makes a good point about the subtle and subconscious stuff. I would advise Thordaddy and folks like him to read something like "It's the Little Things" by Lena Williams, but I can't imagine he'd bother.

Thordaddy said...

Deacon Blue,

You seemed to have missed the point. We already know that Big Man suffers way less racism than his ancestors. Yet, Big man doesn't seem willing to concede that this fact means there are less racists in society.

Instead, this generation of blacks seems intent on proving they suffer just as much racism as their ancestors, but this kind of racism is far more invisible, subtle and hence open to incredible swings of interpretation.

Now, you and Big Man come along and tell us we can't question black people's interpretations.

Why, exactly?

That's the 64,000 dollar question.

Deacon Blue said...

Is there anybody here who reads Big Man's blog (including Big Man himself) who would actually argue that blacks suffer just as much as their ancestors who were enslaved or who endured Jim Crow? Or who got gunned down or ripped into by dog during Civil Rights protests?

I'd be surprised to see too many hands get raised.

And "less racists" doesn't mean "no racism" and it doesn't mean "equal opportunity" and it isn't an excuse to claim that we've arrived in a fair world where color doesn't matter.

People like you, Thordaddy, want to claim there's no work left to do, and that's plain ignorant. And when blacks say there is still racism, you turn that into a time to say that they don't think there has been progress. Of course there has been progress.

We've made progress in the fight against cancer, too, but we haven't licked it yet, have we?

Big Man said...

Deac

Thor said that he already knows I suffer less racism than my ancestors.

How does he know this? Because I told him that.

Yet, in the next graphs, Thor then says that black people claim that racism is the same now as it has been in the past.

Here's the question...

Who exactly is Thor talking too?

Think about it. All the black people on this blog said that racism is not as severe. Black people in national polls, which have been conducted on many occassions, have said the same thing.

So, black people have consistently said that racism is not the same, but Thor is consistently arguing that we believe it is.

See how illogical that is?

He as no proof of his assertion, he just has an assertion.

He doesn't need facts, which makes it much easier for him defend his assertions. Whatever he says in his mind is in fact true. Sometimes he'll justifify those created truths with a few skewed snippets out of context, but often he relies on ignoring observable truth to keep his lies alive.

To recap, Thor has yet to prove his assertion that black people today think racism is the same. I have disproved his assertion by pointing out that I don't think that way, and none of the black people I have encountered in my three decades on this Earth think that way.

Yet, Thor keeps repeating the same lie because without that lie his whole system of reality collapses.

And yet he thinks everybody else is a "radical autonomist."

Finally, Deac, you can't argue nuances with someone who is hellbent on ignoring reality. You're trying to argue nuances, and Thor is creating reality right in front of your eyes. That's a fight that you can't win.

Deacon Blue said...

Actually, in this case, it was less to engage Thordaddy (or convince him...or argue with him) than to make clear, in case any hapless folks stop by, that he's way off-base in that assertion that blacks claim they suffer just as much now as their ancestors did.

I think it's something that SOUNDS really good to folks who don't know any better, and sometimes sways them toward the notion that blacks are never satisfied, and it's one of those things I personally feel needs to be stamped down right quick.

To be honest, I'm pretty much done with Thordaddy. I don't need the headaches of beating my head against a brick wall. ;-)

Thordaddy said...

Big Man and Deacon Blue,

What can I say to two fellas unable to comprehend an argument more complex than "black man be trusted" and "white man not be trusted?"

Actually, I said Affirmative Action originated with the premise that blacks of today were suffering equal to blacks of yesteryear.

I'm glad to see that both of you think this premise is entirely false AND always was. What do YOU believe AA was originally premised on, if NOT what I assert?

If we all agree that there is less racism then why is AA more entrenched and vital to black people's success given the above fact???

Secondly, the implication by Deacon and Big Man is NOT that there is less racism, but that the "racism" is more invisible and subtle. But neither one of you seems to gather that this "belief" is merely a consequence of your liberalism.

The more you liberalize the meaning and contextual elements of "racism," the greater ability you have to assert covert "racism." The obviously side effect though is that YOUR interpretation is up for serious scrutiny as you've already conceded that you suffer less racism than your ancestors.

So the question is whether we can trust black people's and guilty white liberal's perception of reality with so many countervailing thoughts and ideas running about in your heads?

Deacon Blue said...

You show remarkable ability to never admit to logical faults in your own arguments nor acknowledge them when pointed out to you. I'm not enabling you on Big Man's blog anymore. If you want to talk to me, I have a blog of my own and I even posted about race (and even mentioned your name) recently.

Depending on how you approach me, I might even interact with you there. But not here. Not anymore.

Deacon Blue said...

You show remarkable ability to never admit to logical faults in your own arguments nor acknowledge them when pointed out to you. I'm not enabling you on Big Man's blog anymore. If you want to talk to me, I have a blog of my own and I even posted about race (and even mentioned your name) recently.

Depending on how you approach me, I might even interact with you there. But not here. Not anymore.

Thordaddy said...

Deacon Blue,

You can do whatever you want.

But, if you expect other white people to adopt the same alien belief system that you've adopted then you must be able to rigorously defend a personal ideology that runs so contrary to normal human understanding.

For example, you concede that you were a nasty racist in the past and this is in part why you've adopted an alien belief system that "sees" subtle and invisible racism and the "white privilege" it springs from.

Yet, you think that your experience is shared by others and with this understanding you can spread the culpability for your racist sins amongst the larger society. This makes you feel good and all-inclusive to assuage your guilt and claim other white people like you share the guilt.

But I don't share your guilt or the idea that you can't question the false perception of black people for no other reason than they're black.

Bring some noise and tell me why I should adopt your alien belief system that necessitates the idea that we are all as culpable as your former racist arse...?

And then tell me why you can pin your former racist attitude on me and other white people?

And remember what blackgirlinmaine says,

I have been Black almost 40 years, and trust I know racism when I see it.

And then recognize that your alien ideology doesn't allow you to ask WHY? Why should I trust her or any black person on issues of race or racism...? Because she is black...?

And we're suppose to think you are progressed and enlightened?

Macon D said...

I don't share your guilt or the idea that you can't question the false perception of black people for no other reason than they're black.

Are you saying that black people have a false perception? And that there's only one "black perception"? Are you also denying the fact that black Americans in general understand a hell of a lot more about racism than white Americans in general do?

Why should I trust her or any black person on issues of race or racism...? Because she is black...?

Why NOT extend her more trust on issues of race or racism than you would any random, ordinary white American? Again, are you actually, sincerely denying the fact that black Americans in general understand a hell of a lot more about racism than white Americans in general do?

Thordaddy said...

Macon D,

Of course black people misinterpret events as "racism" ALL the time. Do you disagree?

And if whites have a "known" history of racist action then it would seem to me that whites would know a heck of a lot about it, no?

Again, the question is straight forward.

Why should I trust the average black person's perception of reality when that same black person has no obligation to trust my perception?

It all boils down to nothing but black and white.

Black skin is to be unquestionably trusted and white skin is to be unquestionably distrusted.

I know this is a scenario you are fine with, but don't expect others to so easily adopt a truly racist position.

Macon D said...

Of course black people misinterpret events as "racism" ALL the time. Do you disagree?

You bet I disagree. Who better to say what racism is than those who suffer it? And don't you know that black people know that whites are just waiting to whip out that white race card? You know, the one that accuses blacks of "playing the race card," i.e., "crying racism in incidents where there's no such thing"? My understanding is that since blacks know whites are ever-ready to see black notice of racism that way, they're usually careful to make SURE that something IS racist before they say so. Given that, I'm much more likely than not to think that when a black person identifies something as racist, they're right, and further, if I can't see it yet, it's probably because I'm white. So, if I encounter divergent black and white opinion of any such situation, I think it's the black one that's much more likely to be the correct perspective.

So, who the hell are you as a white person to claim that you know black people misinterpret racism "ALL the time"? How would you even know that?

And if whites have a "known" history of racist action then it would seem to me that whites would know a heck of a lot about it, no?

No. Because most racism today occurs without a white person even realizing it's going on. Any given "racist" phenomenon doesn't have to be an intentional act of white racism for it to be "racist." (And if you don't know how much more significant "effect" is than "intent" in these discussions, you REALLY need to find a Racism 101 course.)

Why should I trust the average black person's perception of reality when that same black person has no obligation to trust my perception?

Because black people have a much more realistic understanding of what racism is, how it works, how it affects their lives, how it benefits white lives, AND how clueless white people usually are about such things. The oppressed understand much about the oppressors that they don't understand about themselves, especially when the oppressors don't even think of themselves as oppressors.

Black skin is to be unquestionably trusted and white skin is to be unquestionably distrusted.

Not unquestionably. I'm talking general likelihoods, which take the form of a much more acute understanding of racism today among black people than among white people.

Thordaddy said...

Macon D,

I can't really stop you from finding the next jelly-headed white person that willingly swallows the hustle that says whitey is puppet-master and black man is victim and so black man is entitled to whitey's elevated status.

You can't take "racism" and liberalize it in such a way as to perpetually encompass a greater extent of human interaction and then claim that such "racism" is obvious to see unless one is just an ignorant racist. This is irrational and nonsensical.

You can't claim subjective perception as objective fact.

You can't claim that the practitioners of real racism are less knowledgeable about such a thing than the average black that merely perceives a "racist" event while EVEN acknowledging that the "racist" might not even know he did anything at all.

This is silly talk.

Macon D said...

I can't really stop you from finding the next jelly-headed white person that willingly swallows the hustle that says whitey is puppet-master and black man is victim and so black man is entitled to whitey's elevated status.

Right, you can't stop me from doing that, and you can't make me do it either, both of which are good things, because I wouldn't want to do such a thing. It's a ridiculous caricature of anything I've even remotely suggested I'd ever want to do. Except the equality part at the end there--yeah, I do think that black people deserve a fairer chance than they've had so far of achieving general parity with white people.

You can't take "racism" and liberalize it in such a way as to perpetually encompass a greater extent of human interaction [Wuuuhhh???] and then claim that such "racism" is obvious to see unless one is just an ignorant racist. This is irrational and nonsensical.

It certainly is! That's why I'm glad you said it, and not me.

You can't claim that the practitioners of real racism are less knowledgeable about such a thing than the average black that merely perceives a "racist" event while EVEN acknowledging that the "racist" might not even know he did anything at all.

This is silly talk.


Agreed, again, and thus glad that you said it and not me. Again.

What I said was that much racism now happens without white people realizing it's happening, while the people who bear the brunt of that racism do know it's happening, cuz, you know, it's happening to them.

Btw, do you know what institutional racism is? And generationally transferred results of historical circumstance? I gather not--you should look into them.

Thordaddy said...

Macon D says,

I do think that black people deserve a fairer chance than they've had so far of achieving general parity with white people.

And yet as a progressive, it is only your blackness that can justify your stance. This is, by your own liberalized standard, an act of racism in which you will deny, but I can easily perceive.

Then you say,

What I said was that much racism now happens without white people realizing it's happening...

IOW, your perception is whitey's actual unknown truth? Meaning, if you perceive an act of "racism" even when the "racist" doesn't perceive any racist intent then YOUR perception is automatically his truth...?

This is the silly talk and it is an example of the effect of liberalizing the notion of racism. You are drawn to this tactic because it gives you the power to "see" the truth through another man's eyes. This is God complex gone haywire.

Next you say,

...while the people who bear the brunt of that racism do know it's happening, cuz, you know, it's happening to them.

But they also know that "racism" is happening less and less, no...? Apparently not, because according to you the racism is of the odiously invisible sort.

But again, you won't concede that this makes ALL charges of racism that aren't overt and explicit highly disputable. You won't concede that blacks have any less suspicion or animosity towards whites even though racism is far more subjective and open to interpretation.

Heck, you won't even concede that it is your own liberalizing tendencies that make all further racist assertions subject to wild interpretation.

PS When I say your "liberalizing" tendencies, what I mean is your willful attempt in coming to NO conclusion about the actual truth of the matter.

For instance, by defining "racism" in the manner you do (invisible, subtle, matter of perception) you thereby SHOULD agree to the consequences of such beliefs.

Meaning, you accept that ALL assertions of racism in a world that treats objective racism equal to subjective perception are open to necessary and rational dispute.

But you deny this and instead claim that subjective perception is more truthful than objective fact. This is your maddening liberalized way.

Thordaddy said...

Macon D,

It appears you're not black and so the first retort should read...

--And yet as a progressive, it is only blackness that can justify your stance.

Macon D said...

they also know that "racism" is happening less and less, no...?

So what? Why introduce that topic into the discussion?

And what's with all this "liberalizing" crap? I'm not a political "liberal," if that's what you mean. And yes, I am white, but again, so what? There's no need for you to try to characterize where I'm coming from in order to account for what I say. Just stick to what I say. And to the topic at hand, which is the relative validity of white versus black perceptions of racism.

Do you know what institutional or systemic racism means? Do you know that the results of it are "objective facts," as you like to put it, as proven in study after study after study after study? If so, can you concede that blacks generally see the results of institutional racism and understand them far better than whites generally do, because they see and feel their effects, on themselves, on others around them, and on their communities?

And do you know of the "objective fact" that whites are generally far less aware of the significance that race has for their lives than non-whites are of the significance that it has for theirs? There are dozens, scores of studies that prove this is so, that it's an objective fact. You should face it--non-white people generally understand race in America better than whites generally do. You should face that objective fact, because then you'd start to listen, and learn, and thereby advance a notch or two up the scale toward fully actualized humanity.

Thordaddy said...

Macon D,

If there is less and less racism and that racism is of a more subtle and invisible kind then you must accept the wild swings of interpretations that will inevitably occur in all further assertions of racism that aren't overt and explicit.

But just like Big Man and Deacon, you take these understandings and do the inexplicable. You imply that questioning the perceptions of blacks and white liberals in matters of race and racism to be verboten.

You claim that subjective perception (someone's perception of a racist event) is more true than objective fact (a racist's racist action). You claim the former can only see the truth while the latter can't even perceive what he does. You label this systemic or institutional racism. But does it really exist if the people who perpetuate it aren't even aware of its existence? Does it only exist because some black people claim it exists?

You need to elaborate on this jedi-mind trick.

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