Thursday, August 27, 2009

Can You Understand The Words That Are Coming Out Of My Mouth?

Sometimes I wonder if I speak a foreign language.

Apparently I slip into this language when I'm explaining something to my wife she really doesn't want to here. Or when I'm telling my little boy why he can't have candy and must eat his vegetables. Or, when I'm trying to explain a point about racism to certain white folks.

That's when I start speaking my special language.

I figure I must be speaking some random language because no matter how slowly my words come out, no matter how much care I take to speak simply, I can't seem to get folks to listen. They hear me, but apparently the listening thing is beyond their grasp.

Y'all ever feel like that?

I hate being ignored, or feeling like I can't make myself understood. When I was a kid, I was the brat who used to raise his hand to answer every question and then shout "Ooh, ooh, me, me" to get the teacher's attention.

I still have a rule that if somebody hangs up on me during a conversation, I will not call them back first. I feel totally uncomfortable and self-conscious when I'm around people who speak a language I can't understand.

Yet, everyday, in small ways and big ones, I find myself trapped in situations where there is a communication gap.

Maybe it's my arrogance. I rarely believe I'm wrong about anything, particularly things related to my opinions. I might not be right, but I ain't wrong either. So, it could be that I'm expecting too much from people when I want them to immediately appreciate that I know more than them. I guess I could blame it on arrogance.

Nope, don't think so.

I'd rather point to other people's stubbornness and stupidity. Seriously, what I've found is that most folks abhor being wrong just as much as I do. Unfortunately, they are willing to feign ignorance to avoid admitting that they are wrong. Or, in some cases, they are truly too stupid to realize they don't know what they are talking about.

Anyway, I'm feeling some frustration on this point. I'm tired of going around and around with folks about the same crap. Tired of trying to reasonable with folks who just don't get it. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what I do now.




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50 comments:

Deacon Blue said...

Klaatu barada nikto...

...oh, wait, that WAS another language. And a space language at that.

I do understand where you're coming from, as I sometimes see the same thing around my blog when it comes to talking with folks about Christianity who find belief in a God...or belief in a specific version of Him...to be absurd.

Or when I'm talking to serious fundies online who can't seem to grasp things like:

- Liberal ideology doesn't equal "doctrine of Satan"
- Christians are allowed to be Democrats and, shockingly, even Socialists and Communists and lot of other things...not just Republicans

I see it as something I need to stop doing occasionally, but with the knowledge that I will eventually have to do it again. Much like Little Girl Blue and my many lectures and arguments with her, I just hope that at some point, something slips through the armor of obtuseness of the other person.

Big Man said...

Good point.

But you actually can't be a Christian and communist. I'm pretty sure one of the goals of communism is the abolition of religion. I think that's a founding principle. Opiate of the masses and all that jazz.

Deacon Blue said...

Well, many Communist leaders and major players tend to hold to that philosophy, true, but not necessarily all who belong to the general club. I'm pretty sure there's gotta be a few Communist Christians somewhere.

Darth Whitey said...

Geesh were you referring to me? Sorry man.

Black Diaspora said...

"I rarely believe I'm wrong about anything, particularly things related to my opinions."

Here's what is: People are never wrong. It's true. Given their unique view of the world (whatever that may be), people are never wrong.

And frankly, it's a waste of time to make the attempt to change either their opinion or their worldview.

Occasionally, I try anyway, but, for all my efforts, my cleverness, my command of the facts, or my argument skills, people refuse to budge from their tightly held position, and invariably consider me the nitwit for failing to be persuaded by the logic of their position.

And to expand the topic a bit: Given their worldview, people don't do anything wrong. Even the most indefensible behavior and actions are defended.

And to expand the topic all the way to the stratosphere, a person consistently sees himself or herself as the sane one, and everyone else as insane.

I'm not speaking here of antisocial, or psychotic types, but the average Joe, and Jane, although these aberrational types, more likely than not, believe others to be more insane and antisocial than they are.

The question is this: How in hell do we manage at all in interpersonal relationships given these very bizarre, human inclinations?

Here's what you might consider: Be the boss (possess most, if not all the power), surround yourself with yes men and yes women, befriend tractable people, and marry a docile mate.

To sum it up. Years ago a female coworker shared this bit of distaff wisdom with me:

"Change a woman's mind against her will, and she'll be of the same opinion still."

That caveat would seem to apply both to men as well as women.

MODI said...

"it's a waste of time to make the attempt to change either their opinion or their worldview."


black diaspora, that seems a little defeatist. I mean, sure there are some people who will always be a brick wall, but there are also a small minority legitimately seeking truth who are misguided.

I would also say that there is value in "softening" one's previous opinion even if it has not been changed. You may be one link in many links that caused an ultimate change.

Take political public opinion polls... They are not static, but usually involve a fickle 10-20% of folks whose minds can go either way on a host of topics.

Even if you bring it back home to the relationship level, there are some areas that my lady and I will NEVER understand each other, but I can also point to growth in understanding from hers and my perspective. The latter has got to be worth something.

As for you Big Man, you are not arrogant -- you are right and they are wrong!!!

Darth Whitey said...

But see, all these lamentations make the unwavering assumption that you are in fact correct and that the other party is wrong. How do you know that it is not you who is wrong? Have you ever heard a firm belief for years only to one day have an epiphany and realize you have been wrong all this time? And if you could then go back in time and convince yourself how wrong you were, the past you would never agree.

Look, I have admitted many times that I am wrong. To date I cannot recall anyone here ever saying the same. That's a pretty impressive accuracy rate.

For most topics here neither party can prove that they're right. It's all open to interpretation. And if you think you have a sure-fire formula for an argument, well of course you think you're right because the argument rests upon certain basic assumptions that may be suspect.

You say that runner being asked to prove she's a woman is racist, I say prove it, and you cannot. I'm not saying it's not true, but that it's not a beyond doubt.

Look, calling someone a racist is devastating because it cannot be disproved no matter what. So do it only when you're 100% sure, or at least 99%. It's like getting arrested and accused of a crime. Even if you're acquitted, people will always have doubts about you. Employers ask not if you've ever been convicted, but if you've ever been arrested. You can ruin someone's life that way.

For instance I was really distraught by the suggestion of some people here that BM get that nurse who made that comment about him "not looking like a journalist" fired. Come on, you don't know. She could have just meant that he's young, or he doesn't have that scruffy look that journalists always have in the movies. Yes it might have been racist, but you don't know, and getting her fired would be outrageous. What if a woman who didn't like you accused you of rape? How would you disprove it? And even if you could disprove it, your life is still ruined. Or if some kid says you touched him. You're fucked, you might as well commit suicide.

MODI said...

"Look, calling someone a racist is devastating because it cannot be disproved no matter what. So do it only when you're 100% sure, or at least 99%. It's like getting arrested and accused of a crime. Even if you're acquitted, people will always have doubts about you. Employers ask not if you've ever been convicted, but if you've ever been arrested. You can ruin someone's life that way."

Darth, I very respectfully disagree. Let's start with people we KNOW are "racist". Don Imus got his show back and kept it many years despite a 25 year track record while the Rutgers WOMEN were the one's receiving hate mail! Dog the Bounty Hunter got his show back despite saying the N-word 500 times on tape. The Mark Fuhrman tapes are the most despicable thing that one can ever hear from an officer and he got a radio show, is a guest analyst at Fox, and wrote two BEST SELLERS.

The point: the scarlett letter myth around being labeled a "racist" -- EVEN WHEN TRUE -- is just that -- a complete myth. There is really no harm done except some TEMPORARY loss of SOCIAL standing until you are soon embraced and even possibly receive a career boost. If one wants to shake off the label, perhaps they should engage in a future lifestyle of anti-racist behavior that will put more of their deeds in the plus column before they die. Hell, if George Wallace can march with civil rights workers in the 1990s, then everyone else under the sun can redeem themselves.

Now let's look at the consequences of FAILING to diagnose racism because we have applied a legal 100% proof standard that is applied to virtually no other area besides inmates on death row.

I would argue that the draconian crack-cocaine laws and its devastating effects are a direct result of good people failing to call out racism and looking for any other reason. Police brutality continues because we can only call it out when we have 100% proof like videotape, but never before. I can't PROVE 100% that black kids get tracked into special ed courses at an early age where white kids won't, but I know it to be true through years of evidence through research and practical knowledge. The search for PROOF by good people to cite racial bias actually becomes the greatest impediment in not curing racism in our society.

All misdiagnoses are bad -- even when being called a "racist", but non-diagnosis is 1000 times worse. requesting 100% proof is essentially requesting a non-diagnosis. If cancer were treated like racism in our society, scores would die instead of receiving chemotherapy because the doctor might have made a misdiagnosis and would not be allowed to move forward.

Like everything else, diagnosing racial bias must have a "preponderance of evidence", not a burden of PROOF. If millions can be awarded in civil trials according to this standard, it seems good enough to cure our society's greatest ill.

MODI said...

"What if a woman who didn't like you accused you of rape? How would you disprove it? And even if you could disprove it, your life is still ruined"

Darth, feel free to throw a penalty flag on me for beating a dead horse, but last month Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger had a civil suit filed against him for rape. Soon after he appeared in non-stop commercials for Dick's sporting goods. Unless convicted, he will be more than fine.

Tit for Tat said...

Modi

The examples you give is of people who have power. The average joe, if accused of something dont have anywhere near a chance of walking away scott free.

Tit for Tat said...

Big Man

By the way, when I made the assumption about your name over at Deacons site, it was based on your verbiage and the descriptions you have on your own site. Raving Black Lunatic, me say war and the numerous times you have alluded to the fact that you would use violence against certain individuals. Im sure you could understand my confusion.

Black Diaspora said...

@MODI: "I mean, sure there are some people who will always be a brick wall, but there are also a small minority legitimately seeking truth who are misguided."

Seeking, and having found, are two different things, right?

One who has formed an opinion, has found. It's easier to stop a speeding bullet and to leap tall buildings in a single bound than it is to change a mind made up.

"Even if you bring it back home to the relationship level, there are some areas that my lady and I will NEVER understand each other, but I can also point to growth in understanding from hers and my perspective. The latter has got to be worth something."

You agree to get along. You don't get along to agree.

Hmm, I've been reading over the posts here, and I want to thank you all for contributing to my earlier assertion, and supporting it in meaningful and visible ways:

"Here's what is: People are never wrong. It's true. Given their unique view of the world (whatever that may be), people are never wrong.

"And frankly, it's a waste of time to make the attempt to change either their opinion or their worldview."

Darth Whitey said...

MODI, your arguments are sound when applied to celebrities and high profile personalities. But what about for an average Joe? They don't get to go on TV shows for a mea culpa or just bribe Jesse Jackson to get him to leave him alone. I believe that it is better to let ten racists slide than to wrongly label one non-racist.

Getting people fired for what _might_ be a racist remark is reminiscent of what happened during the "red scare." Will anybody step up and say that having that nurse fired would be outrageous? Anybody? And the person who said that, will you reconsider and say "I was wrong" or do you stick to it?

You want to make a difference, start a big movement to petition congress to change the drug and incarceration laws. I'll help.

Black Diaspora said...

@Darth Whitey: "I believe that it is better to let ten racists slide than to wrongly label one non-racist."

My God, man, this is the United States of America we're talking about!

You know, the country that made black people a commodity, and killing Indians a sport.

And you ask blacks to exercise a level of humanity that is rarely shown them, so that one non-racist white may not be stigmatize as a racist.

Why place that burden on our shoulders? Why make us responsible for getting at the truth of who is, or who is not, a racist?

I say take the lead in destroying this cancer upon our country to make the issue moot.

After all, it's a white American problem, more than it's a black American problem, and don't ask those who're the victims of racism to sort through the mess to separate the good American from the ugly American.

When in doubt, when whites and blacks clash, I cry racism, and have the perpetrators prove otherwise.

Don't ask me to be more just than my offender, to be more caring than my hater, or to "let ten racists slide than to wrongly label one non-racist."

Let the ten racists think about the hapless one non-racist that may be caught up in the dragnet of justice.

Sorry. Our common history hasn't made me that magnanimous.

Big Man said...

Well, this was an outstanding discussion.
You all articulated your arguments quite well.
I think Tit for Tat and Darth made the common argument that I see among most white folks about the word racist. And MODI gave what I think is the standard rebuttal.
And all of the conversations proved Black Diaspora's point. However, on the topic of the word "racist" I will direct y'all to an earlier post.

http://ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com/2008/05/dreaded-r-word.html#comments

Big Man said...

Tit for Tat

The line under my header is from a Bob Marley song. The song is called War.

Wouldn't want to take credit for something a master wrote.

Tit for Tat said...

Big black and Angry. Who's song is that?

Darth Whitey said...

Black Diaspora,

I have to say that is difficult to argue against. I say "touché" even.

However, can someone not at least agree that getting someone fired for what may have been an innocent comment be going way too far??

Tit for Tat said...

I think Tit for Tat and Darth made the common argument that I see among most white folks about the word racist(Big Man)

By the way I wasnt making any argument about the word racist. I was pointing out the fact that a poor racist doesnt get treated quite the same way a rich one would.

Big Man said...

Tit for Tat

The basis of your argument was that calling someone a racist is a horrible thing and it typically screws up their life unless they are rich.

This is a common argument. That the word "racist" should only be reserved for when folks are absolutely sure.

As far big, black and angry, what does that have to do with arrogance?

You brought up my name because you assumed my choice tagged me as "arrogant."

You were wrong. The examples you've cited have to do with your assumptions about my racial animus, they have nothing to do with my arrogance.

Now, there are examples you could cite to call me arrogant. You wouldn't be the first person to see me as arrogant. But your comments about my name, the lyrics of a song, or my "threats" of violence have nothing to do with arrogance.

Big Man said...

Darth

Define innocent? What is an innocent comment in your opinion?

Darth Whitey said...

Innocent is "you don't look like a journalist." You don't know what that means, you cannot know what that means. There are too many possibilities. Like I said she might have meant you're young, or you don't have the demeanor of journalists portrayed in the movies. Yes there exists a decent chance of it meaning what you think it means, i.e. because you're black, and I am not discounting the possibility at all, in fact I'd say there's a good 40% chance of it if not more, but you can hardly be sure. Getting someone fired over that would be outrageous don't you think?

Like if a medium build non-scruffy Asian guy with spectacles told you he's a construction worker, and you said "wow you don't look like a construction worker", would that be racist? Even if you mean the worst of it (which of course would be more of a "positive" racism which nevertheless hurts the Asian community in setting expectations for all Asians,) the circumstantial evidence does not warrant a racial grand jury investigation heh. You have very plausible deniability. You cannot be prosecuted for a thought crime.

One more thing.

Black Diaspora said "When in doubt, when whites and blacks clash, I cry racism, and have the perpetrators prove otherwise."

Well that's what my organization (white people heh j/k) has sent me here to do, to raise the doubts that may exist.

The formula for this site, as cool as it is, does come down to post after post of cries of racism in this or that incident. There are varying degrees, the evidence isn't always clear, but yet the majority of your readers simply say "yup, that was racist" (albeit in a much more thoughtful and sophisticated manner, I learn a lot.) But nobody challenges it. And you call me obtuse for not going "yup"? And for that my whole world view is skewed?

Big Man said...

I'm not looking for yes men. I appreciate thoughtful dissent.

I'd like to think that most of the people here agree with me because my points make sense. Maybe I'm wrong, it happens.

I think its funny that you see the blog as post after post of cries of racism. Sure, the blog talks about racism most of the time, but crying? Nah, I don't think my tone brings to mind crying.

Darth Whitey said...

"Crying" was a poor choice of words, I apologize. Your posts are very well written and thought provoking. That's why I read them.

Darth Whitey said...

So.... nobody is willing to say that getting the nurse fired would be outrageous? huh. And I'm the one being accused of never being able to acknowledge I'm wrong? feh.

LisaMJ said...

I wrote a long comment earlier today, that seems to have disappeared. Anyway, Darth, I vaguely recall the receptionist at the Doc's office scenario and maybe I'm getting forgetful but I don't recall anyone saying that Big Man should get her fired, I recall people saying he should have complained. I could be wrong though. Given what I've seen in my life of reactions of whites to accusations of racism, which this may not have been, or even of odd racially charged behavior against other whites, is usually outright dismisal or lots of "are you sure?" "what did you say?" what were you wearing?" "what is the big deal?" line of reasoning. I also find it hard to believe that the Doc would fire his receptionist based on one vauge complaint by a patient, especially since even though I feel the sting Big Man felt (I've been there) but that was really a small thing.

Anyway, to the argument that calling an average, presumably white, Joe or Jane racist or of acting in a racist manner, is somehow devastating, or career destroying etc, I totally disagree on that. If anything, a famous person carries a heavier burden b/c although they may not get much, if any punishment, EVERYBODY KNOWS and will remember it. Whereas with the receptionist, even if Big Man complained to the Doctor, it isn't like everyone who comes across that woman at all times will know that she is a could be racist. Even if the Doctor gave the lady a warning or wrote it up in her employee file, other than the Doctor, the receptionist and maybe an HR person if he has one, would ever know? Unless she tells it, how does this carry around as a stigma on her? Also, in the unlikely event that say the Doctor was so outraged by her behavior, or say Big Man's complaint was the straw that broke the camel's back and she was fired or asked to leave, again, who would know the exact reason other than the Doctor and the receptionist? Most employers have to be careful when stating reasons for a dismisal for fear of lawsuits so unless he or she took that risk and told the receptionist's potential employers, who would know if she got hired by an employer who knew about it? It would be illegal and highly unethical to release personnel info like that. Basically the only way this is a permanent stigma for her is if she tells people in the future about it. I have yet to see any white person famous or regular permantely destroyed for accusations of racism, beyond the most egregious blatant acts (like burning a cross, hanging a noose, etc) and the average person has a much higher degree of anonymity and won't carry this around with them everywhere.

Big Man, I assumed you were being a bit tounge in cheek about always being right, but I know that feeling myself. I think you are doing a good job in general with the big task you are tackling here by dealing with racism, especially when you are dealing with folks who haven't dealt with these issues themselves personally on a regular basis.

Big Man said...

Darth

I didn't get the nurse fired. So, you're upset about hypotheticals.

If she was being racist, would she have deserved to be fired.

Darth Whitey said...

No, but someone in the comments adamantly demanded that you do so.

Might stubborn aren't ya. I think your original post applies to you as well.

MODI said...

Lot of ground to cover here, so I'll try: Firstly, based on the info, I would not champion the firing of the nurse. Now let's move on to examples that happen in the real world.

just how many "average Joe's" have lost jobs for being mislabeled a racist or even ACCURATELY labeled a racist. I bring up celebrities because this is a common platform that we all know about for discussion purposes. After Imus made his racist remarks for the nth time, polls showed that HALF of all average Joes and Janes believed that his firing was "too harsh". This is a man with a 25 year track record and a gateway for politicians and PRESIDENTS. So what does that say for less pronounced circumstances.

The real story about Imus was not really about him, but the white public's REACTION to him. He was a thermometer for viewing race and whites collectively failed this test. Now if 50% of white denounce the firing of Imus when a) he has tremendous power; and b) his racist track record is undeniable, then what exactly does that say about how white can collectively react where the evidence is not so crystal clear, and the person has less power.

To LisaMJ's point, the truth is that there are very little consequences for any "average Joe" who is either accurately or falsely accused of racist behavior. I mean not TANGIBLE consequences beyond hurt feelings or temporary loss of social standing. The employment opportunities of an accurately white accused racist are still far greater than an African American or Hispanic man of equal skill who has never demonstrated racist behavior. A known racist white kid is still less likely to be falsely or harshly imprisoned for drug use as a non-racist kid who is not white. There is simply no objective basis, data, and even lots of anecdotal info to support the position that rampant misdiagnoses around being labeled a "racist" is some major problem -- let alone worth mentioning alongside the "red scare' where masses were imprisoned for their political beliefs.

There is as much solid evidence for this position as there is for the new health care legislation having death panels. The foundation for the reactions are based on fear over fact -- albeit in different ways. The myth of the racist Scarlet letter is simply a reactive emotional response not intellectual. I have personally been accused of racial bias before and no, it is not a comfortable feeling, but guess what. Sometimes the accuser was incorrect, sometimes it was left unresolved, and sometimes the accuser was correct! In the case of the latter, I may have not been aware of my subconscious biases, and once a double-standard was pointed out to me I consciously self-corrected the matter, and became a better person for it (and stronger in pursuing anti-racism.) Personally, I'm of the belief that no white person can grow up in THIS country with our history books, "news" channels, and thousands of brainwashing media images, and not subconsciously be 100% free of racial bias. Impossible.

MODI said...

"I believe that it is better to let ten racists slide than to wrongly label one non-racist."

Darth, I do truly hope with every fiber of my being that you reconsider this statement down the line. Racial bias comes from regular Joes like police officers, judges, politicians, and various positions that hold tangible sway and public policies over non-white lives with the most devastating of consequences.

And even for white Joe the plumber or construction worker who seemingly lacks power -- they still vote!!! And as long as they vote -- more enlightened types like even say, Hillary Clinton will play to their worst sentiments for pure political gain. Racial bias needs to be called out when there is a "preponderance of evidence", so we can treat the disease. Like any other disease, the exceptional misdiagnosis should never stop the medicine.

MODI said...

Blackdiaspora, the day that I conclude that reason and logic can no longer have influence on other people (including myself) is the day that i put a bullet in my brain. Cheerio!

Darth Whitey said...

MODI,

You're right, people in positions of power--especially the cops, cannot be let off the hook. And by "slide" I meant for minor ambiguous things, like the nurse incident, that's all.

Black Diaspora said...

MODI said...
"Blackdiaspora, the day that I conclude that reason and logic can no longer have influence on other people (including myself) is the day that i put a bullet in my brain. Cheerio!"

Hide the bullets, and lock the guns.

Your statement lacks specificity. Let me see if I can corner you a bit.

When you say, "the day that I conclude that reason and logic can no longer have influence on other people," Do you mean 10% of the time, 50% of the time or a 100% of the time.

I really hope that you don't mean a 100% of the time, because I wouldn't want to see you do damage to your brain.

I hate to break it to you, but people, I fear, aren't wired the way you'd wish them to be: Voters, for example, vote with their heart and not their head.

"When It’s Head Versus Heart, The Heart Wins". Science shows that when we are deciding which candidate to support, anxiety, enthusiasm and whom we identify with count more than reason or logic."

People make decisions with their heart and not their head.

"You can never reason with emotion, no matter how hard you try. You can logically know something is a bad decision and yet still make it because your emotions are in control. We typically say that women fall victim to this when men do the exact same thing, just in different circumstances. He really didn’t buy that sports car that gets 15 miles per gallon because it was a logical way to spend his money."

What has emotion spawned in recent months?

-Birthers
-Deathers
-A do nothing republican party
-I hope Obama fails mentality
-Secessionist rhetoric
-Obama is a racist, socialist, Nazi, communist
-Town hall meetings sabotaged
-People carrying loaded weapons outside town hall meetings
-And the list goes on

Surely none of the above is evidence of reason and logic at work, but emotions gone wild.

I'm glad that you used the escape clause ("including myself") in your assertion. You spared me endless hours of painful uncertainty--worrying that you'll do something destructive to yourself.

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man,

Can you articulate WHY a person should be fired for believing in their own racial superiority whether that "superiority" be the truth or just an illusion? Can you then explain how the individual person who believes in their racial superiority affects your freedom? And because you think racial superiority is evil does that mean you strive for racial inferiority? Or does that mean you shun the notion of superiority altogether? Meaning, even if you claim you're always right, i.e., superior, you don't really mean it? It's like you're the good lil' liberal.

Thordaddy said...

Black Diaspora,

All you've shown us is that if nothing existed that was greater than reason and logic in defining our humanity then alienated calculating autonomous individuals such as yourself would be all that existed.

In fact, you've actually shown us that the heart is greater in defining our humanity than the brain. Although, I would say a combination of both is even more particular.

Black Diaspora said...

I've never been called an "alienated calculating autonomous individual" before.

But I guess there's a first time for everything.

Let me use a stream of consciousness here as I attempt to breakdown your remark. Frankly, I'm a little slow on the uptake.

"All you've shown us is that if nothing existed that was greater than reason and logic in defining our humanity...."

I guessing that you're referencing God here as that which exists that is "greater than reason and logic in defining our humanity...."

I'll go with that for now. Are you saying, then, that a definition of our humanity can or does exist outside the realm of reason and logic?

Or are you making a provisional statement: If nothing existed that is greater than reason and logic in defining our humanity, we would then live our life as Star Trek's Spock, devoid of human emotion and fully dependent on logic and reason to navigate our day-to-day existence.

I'm thinking that the latter rephrasing comes closest to your meaning.

If so: I would agree with your followup statement: the heart is more pivotal in defining us than the brain.

I'll go a step further and say that the brain is an encumbrance in defining our humanity, and the melding of the brain (thought, not reason and logic [although reason and logic, too, has a downside) with the heart (emotion) can be devastating.

For example:

Thought: (We now have a black man in the white house. We've never had a black man in the white house. This is a severe break with convention, history, and the will of God.)

Emotion: (Anger. Disappointment. Unhappiness.)

Action [words]: (Obama is a racist, has a deep-seated hatred for whites, is a socialist bordering on communist, and a Nazi who will destroy our beloved country, and force his liberal agenda down our throats.)

Action: [behavior] protest outside of town hall meetings, carry loaded weapons, and, inside, disrupt proceedings.

I distrust the combination of (heart and brain), unless a measure of real rationality override baser instincts: pride, jealousy, helplessness, arrogance, fear.

I would prefer that man discard his emotions (excepting love) for feelings. Emotions and feelings are not the same, although often lumped together.

A quick example of the distinction:

Emotion [fear]: Obama will destroy our country.

Feeling [our personal truth expressed]: I like John McCain. In my gut, I feel he'd be better for our country than a President Obama.

What we have in the latter is a "gut check." In the former, we have an emotional reaction based in fear that can distort a "gut check," and lead to irrational behavior, and regrettable actions.

I'll take feeling, a "gut check," any day over reason and logic, and certainly over emotional exuberance.

Big Man said...

Thor

Can you articulate WHY a person should NOT be fired for believing in their own racial superiority whether that "superiority" be the truth or just an illusion?

Can you then explain how the individual person who believes in their racial superiority DOES NOT affect your freedom?

And because you think racial superiority is NOT evil does that mean you strive AGAINST racial inferiority?

Or does that mean you EMBRACE the notion of superiority altogether?

Thanks for being a good little troll.

Big Sis said...

This is in response to the blog can you understand the words coming out of my mouth..I totally understand how you feel. I too am the same type of person that would answer all the questions in school, and hate to be ingored etc.. I think the reality is that old phrase "you can't handle the truth" and Most people dont want to hear the truth. and honestly i've been there too- I've "ignored" others words when i knew deep down they were right- but i wasn't ready to accept and "hear" them.. so keep speaking- dont let the ones that aren't ready stop you because by the contrast there will always be ones that are ready. it's like that phrase i heard "Some Will, Some Wont, So What" at the end of the day that's how it will be...

MODI said...

Black Diaspora, thanks for your response. No no, I don't mean 100% of the time. That is impossible, and if I thought that, I would have pulled that trigger long ago!

Yes, your points about 'emotion" over fact have merit and I agree with much of what you wrote. At the same time, using your own examples, much of that fear is based off of lies and deliberate misinformation. Fear is not operating in a vacuum. In a way these people who parrot Fox news are media victims. They believe what they hear. So it is incumbent to keep fighting to get these people the correct information.

Obama becoming president was in many ways a victory of fact over fear, where correct information prevailed. And that victory goes for anybody who fought to provide truth over the Internet when MSM TV wouldn't. I have little doubt that without the Internet, McCain would be our president today. McCain was exposed through blogs and citizen Internet videos.

Of course, many people are unmovable, however I don't subscribe to the extreme position of "you can't change people's minds so why bother." When I stop bothering in a) seeking truth; and b) trying to help other find truth; and c) being open to changing my own opinions based on logic and reason, then I have nothing to offer this world. let me put it like this:

Why do we vote? Has any election ever been decided by one single solitary vote? Well we vote because we are committed to be part of the solution. The value of any discussion is not whether one is successful in changing someone else's mind (that's a bonus!). It is a conscious decision to live a life that says: "If this world is going to be fucked up, it's not going to be because of me!"

I know that people can change because I have changed as time has gone on. People I have come in contact with have influenced me, and I them (I think!). We are evolving creatures. We rarely change opinions over one, two, or three discussions, but it doesn't mean that each of those discussions don't have value.

Finally, I would also argue that just having someone "see where you are coming from" even without changing their mind still has value in gaining respect for the other position. I'd also argue that it keeps marriages together!

Cheerio!

MODI said...

Big Man, I do love your last post!

Black Diaspora said...

MODI: "At the same time, using your own examples, much of that fear is based off of lies and deliberate misinformation."

I can only hope you're right, but I'm not as sanguine as you are about the power of reason, logic, and fact.

Don't misunderstand me: I think that rationality trumps pure, unadulterated emotionality.

And if you read my followup response to Thordaddy, you know I'm equally suspicious of reason and logic, and believe that ultimately they both fall short in an effort to successfully guide our daily thoughts and actions.

"Of course, many people are unmovable, however I don't subscribe to the extreme position of 'you can't change people's minds so why bother.'"

Permit me to quibble a bit. You can't really change anyone's mind. You can, however, be a catalyst in that endeavor.

Yet, I know where you're coming from.

A mind made up is like a wild animal caught in a bear trap. If you attempt to set it free (offer what may seem to you a better perspective), you run the risk of being attacked yourself, although you perceive your efforts as salutary, and ultimately beneficial.

It's not that people's minds can't be changed, it just that it takes an inordinate amount of time, focus, and patience. Years ago, it was called deprogramming.

"I know that people can change because I have changed as time has gone on. People I have come in contact with have influenced me, and I them (I think!). We are evolving creatures."

Granted, we've evolved, but even that evolution has been slow, and laborious.

Someone has stated: Had Jesus Christ been born today rather than when he was, he would still be crucified. Today, or course, it's more likely that his death would come at the hands of an assassin.

During his life, Jesus was dangerous to the status quo, those who benefited by keeping things as they were. Today, were he alive, he would be equally dangerous.

"Finally, I would also argue that just having someone 'see where you are coming from' even without changing their mind still has value in gaining respect for the other position. I'd also argue that it keeps marriages together!"

I suppose you're on to something here. Perspective is everything. It impacts perception, which in turn impacts actions.

Shifting perspective can even allow us to agree, especially when agreement appears remote.

Thordaddy said...

lil' man,

If someone's superiority affects your freedom in a restrictive way, whether that superiority be racial, intellectual, athletically or otherwise, then your implication that they should be fired is nothing more than your attempt to gain superiority over the superior "offender."

But, you still haven't even answered the first question. Does the person that believes in their racial superiority (racist) ACTUALLY possess it?

And when you predictably assert that racial superiority is nothing but the demented illusion of its possessor then how do you make the case that your freedom can actually be impinged upon in the year 2009 as opposed to say 1889?

MODI said...

BD, we agree, It IS all about perspective. If one goes into the discussion where anything short of a changed mind is a failure then I can understand why one would not engage at all. It is just not worth the time and effort.

But if one views the process as a football field where a positive gain of yards occurs that may lead to a touchdown later on, then there is far less a sense of futility.

My perspective is that life, truth, and social justice are a never ending fight on a football field. Most time the running back gets tackled at the line of scrimmage, but that is the cost of breaking free for a 30 yard gain and maybe even a touchdown every now and then.

My guess is that this is also similar to Big Man's perspective. If it weren't, he wouldn't write in his thoughtful and insightful manner which at its root is an attempt to better communicate age old concepts in a way that might be more clearly understood. I view this very blog as another (successful) attempt to move the ball down the field.

Dark Moon said...

The Average white person can certainly effect the lives of Average Black people more so then celebrities who get knuckle slaps for being racist And thus, they have a tremendous amount of power, from the white teacher telling the Black kid they are slow, stupid or don’t belong in gifted class to stories likes these where the tag of being racist should not be up for debate:


Citrus County home sits empty after owners report racism and threats

It was to be the Boyds' dream house, and Connie Boyd wanted everything just right.

She fretted over every detail during construction of the pink, 5,000-square-foot, $400,000 home in the upscale Pine Ridge section of Citrus County. As the work was wrapping up two years ago, she noticed the wrong marble tile had been installed over the fireplace.

The Boyds wanted the problem fixed, but not by the original subcontractors. The couple, who are African-American, were still upset about what they said occurred one day when they went to see how construction was progressing.

Three white construction workers "asked us what we were doing here, in a very rude way," Mark Boyd said. "They were surprised that a black family could buy a home like this."

When the new tile contractor, Dennis Rosaco, removed the tile several months later, he found a small package. Wrapped in newspaper were 11 M-90 firecrackers, ready to explode if anyone lighted a fire in the fireplace.

"Those things could have done some real big damage," Rosaco said. "Anyone in the living room would have been hurt, at least, and the house could have caught on fire."

The couple immediately contacted the builder, Lexington Homes, but company officials "dismissed the explosives as a joke," Mark Boyd said. "I don't think our house on fire and our safety is a joke."

Seven months later, a fire destroyed their 29-foot motor home, which was parked outside the house. Citrus County Fire Rescue investigated, but could not determine whether it was arson or an accident.

The Boyds believe the two incidents are linked.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/couple-says-racism-is-keeping-them-out-of-their-citrus-county-dream-home/1027979


An average white contractor(s) certainly made an average Black couple afraid to move into a majority white neighborhood. And its incidences like these that Blacks have had to fight with not just rich politicians but angry average white mobs who burn down Black churches, kill black girls, and carry weapons to town hall meetings.

Big Man said...

MODI

That was a good analogy, I had never thought of it in those terms, but that's a good way to put it.

I have seen people change on some issues. Incremental, minute change, but still change. People in my own family who I decided to force to address certain things. So, I know that change is possible if you work at it. But, it's a difficult process.

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man... This post 'bout embracin' the truth and rejectin' the falseness. Dude, you claim you're a Christian... Call Jesus your Bossness. Why you still livin' out the book "Huckleberry Finn" when dudes be wearin' jinga dinga bling, sippin' juice and Tanq 10 gin? If lil' man has'm a global platform to spew his truth then how's this fool goin' say other nigels can't do it too? Lil' man, are you Christian...? I want an answer. Lil' man if this country gave you your freedom then why you think it's a cancer?

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man... You don't shun supremacy in principle. You only find white supremacy reprehensible. Afterall, you attest to believing in the Essence of Supremacy. So logic dictates that whites are the actual enemy. This cognitive dissonance is really anti-intellectual pretense. You play the race card and think whitey should be fired for thinking they supreme, but you fool accuse them of being a regression to the mean. Meaning, the "white supremacy" you say oppresses you is just a delusion of some white wanna be Jews. Cuz you fear that supremacy too... Mimicking the cries of the black collective dutiful to the meme. Still practicing your black supremacy with a rebuttal or not...? You know what I mean???

Big Man said...

Thor

Sigh....

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