Monday, March 15, 2010

Flipping It Foul

Man, I've been noticing a disturbing trend, and I'm wondering if y'all have noticed it as well.

It seems some folks have figured out a new way to respond to claims of racism, or even discussions of race. They just call the person bringing up the issue a racist.

That's right, even talking about racism or mentioning race, is now a racist act.

This had kind of been swirling around for a while, but I've had several recent experiences that have confirmed for me that this must be in the new best-selling handbook: "How to divert discussions of racism and piss people off." Clearly, a popular title.

First example happened at my church the other day. A young man approached me and wanted to talk to me about racism. It was a young black cat, and he said his family, also black people, often call him a racist. When I asked why they would say that, he said they complain that he's always talking about what white people do, and how they do it, so that makes him a racist.

Second example happened while I was arguing with someone online. I hadn't mentioned race, instead making my argument based on a less toxic but still strong point. A cat who I had previously identified as a racist through his actions, decides to take a shot at me because he doesn't like my attitude. Despite the fact that I hadn't mentioned race, he tells me that I'm always thinking about race and that makes me a racist.

Third example came in this article in the New Yorker. A fight breaks out over a review, and one of the folks accused of racism says it's racist that an accusation was even leveled. Here is a snippet:

Als appears to be the only major critic who reacted to the play's racial themes so viscerally. Few other reviews paid its use of racist language much attention, instead focusing on Walken's performance, which has been widely praised amid early whispers of Tony awards. But Als's remarks certainly hit home with the play's British producer, Robert Fox. "It was absolutely vindictive. Although Hilton Als's comments are meaningless in the scheme of things, because the show is doing very well, I think his remarks were entirely inappropriate and irresponsible," Fox told the Observer.

Fox said he thought Als's criticism was in itself an injection of racism where none was merited. "It was racist in that it was racially intolerant to write those things. He doesn't identify himself [in the review] as a black writer. I think it is extraordinary. I know people who have written to the New Yorker about it already. It is completely out of order," Fox said.


You know what's funny about that quote? The producer wants the reviewer identified as a black man (I guess so people can know to ignore his argument or something), but didn't suggest that everybody be identified by their race when they make an accusation of racism. I mean, does Mr. Fox think he should be identified as a white man in his public comments? Does that make his opinions less valid?

It's quite interesting how folks are flipping the word "racism." It's not new for people to create their own definitions for common words, but this feels wrong. What does it mean when you're a racist if you just discuss race? Or make an accusation that you back up with facts?

It means that any discussion that deviates from the accepted narrative on race is squelched. And the status quo always benefits from that course of action.

What's even more disturbing is that so many black people are jumping on this new trend. In their rush to embrace the Utopian, post-racial America, certain black folks are setting themselves up for a rude awakening. Because when you make any discussions of race taboo, you have nothing to stand on when you have a serious grievance related to race. I couldn't believe that the young man at church was hearing this kind of talk from parents. Now, my father has chastised me at times for being too caught up in racial matters, but he's never thrown the word "racist" around all willy-nilly. That's problematic.

I'm sure this comes from a belief among some black folks that talking about race doesn't solve anything, and only gets you labeled as a troublemaker. But, what I've learned over the years is that any brownie points you get for being the black person who downplays racial incidents disappear the minute you actually level a complaint about racism yourself. I saw it with Colin Powell, with Condi Rice and with any other black person who stepped outside of the narrative white folks wanted to hear. There was a definite sense of betrayal that these trusted black folks would even discuss race, and that betrayal made it impossible for said black folks to get their message out.

So, this new attempt to re-define racism is devious. It's limiting, and it only supports the existing power structure. What's really scary is that it's quite popular among younger people.

That's flipping me out.







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28 comments:

Tit for Tat said...

Big Man

Im wondering, is there any chance you are a racist?

Leigh C. said...

This has been happening in the Jewish community for a long time. In some circles, if you exhibit even a small amount of sympathy for the Palestinian Arabs, you're automatically a self-hating Jew. Other things that might put you in that category - you question halakhic (Jewish law) in modern Orthodoxy, or even some Conservative Jewish congregations, on the equality of the sexes (or, indeed, on equality for people of different races) or on issues related to marriage, homosexuality, divorce...the list can go on and on.

It's quite the nifty device for deflection of serious discussion that could lead to better understanding. So much easier to throw labels around than it is to actually use your brain. I'm sorry to see it happening in the black community as well. It's like hitting a brick wall over and over again, I know.

LisaMJ said...

Yep. This has been bugging me too. Over at SWPD less than an hour ago I refered to it as the I'm rubber your glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you way of dealing with race. It is ridiculous and disgusting. Between that and all the other "post-racial" stuff going on, I seriously consider up giving up all forms of media except for comedies when anything remotely touching on race, or class or anything else sneaks in just turning off my brain and sticking my fingers in my ears and saying "la-la-la-la-la" really loud. I know I won't but it is tempting. I swear it is open season on POC psyche.

Big Man said...

Tit for Tat

What do you consider a racist?

And, after you give me the definition, tell me if it's ever applied to you?

Tit for Tat said...

Loosely my definition would be "making negative or positive judgements of an individual based solely on their skin colour."

I would imagine yes it has applied to me on occasion.

Big Man said...

Tit for Tat

Yeah, I would be a racist under your definition.

Does that work for you?

Tit for Tat said...

The question is, "does it work for you?"

Big Man said...

As much as anything else.

I try to treat people as individuals, but I've been guilty of making assumptions about folks based on the skin color.

I try not to let my prejudices affect my actions, but I fail at times. It's a weakness, one I try to minimize, but I don't think I'll ever eradicate it completely.

Darth Whitey said...

I think there's a difference between racism and discrimination though. Like say you give me 100 random people of a certain race, I might make an assumption based on stereotypes. However, give me one single person of a certain race and I won't assume anything. Stereotypes exist for a reason and may be true for a large sample so applying them may not be racism when it comes to that.

For instance if you put 100 Asian university students in front of me I would be willing to say that a good percentage of them are probably majoring in engineering or mathematics, or another such area of study. Likewise if you put one hundred women I'll assume that they're mostly liberal arts majors. However if you give me one single Asian kid or one single woman I won't assume anything.

So, discussing a random sample of "what white people do" might not be racist but rather discussing what "that" white person over there probably does is racist.

Redbonegirl97 said...

I think that everyone has become a bit touchy on the race subject and people use it as a way to start ish. It's the easiest thing to point the finger at.

Tiffany
http://liferequiresmorechocolate.blogspot.com

Imhotep said...

I'll steal a question from Bill Maher, Why it that those who claim reverse racism, never call out racism? Which begs the question, can you see reverse racism, if you don't see racism?

When a white person cry reverse racism, that's just their way of letting me know they want to continue to hog the whole pie.

Thordaddy said...

Lil man,

Thing is, in an increasingly liberal society, accusations of "racism" are becoming ubiquitous AND actual examples of racism increasingly hard to find.

What you are actually witnessing is a growing swath of liberal individuals DENYING SUPREMACY with a minority cabal of radical autonomists that throw around accusations of "racism" in order to maximize their autonomy.

When a black person asserts "racism," he is attempting to deny and reject white supremacy.

In your case, you ARE ALSO attempting to assert your supremacy.

Individuals that then call you "racist" would be speaking both truth AND attempting to deny YOUR supremacy.

Tit for Tat said...

I wonder, if there are black kids thinking white police officers are racist because they target them, are they not racist for thinking similar thoughts? Afterall, if the cops stereotype all black kids as gangbangers and the black kids stereotype all white officers as racist isnt it a similar train of thought? In both instances it would be based on negative experiences with individuals of a different race, thereby making generalizations based on skin colour.

Deacon Blue said...

Personally, I always associated racism with discrimination. That is, the person with the attitude toward race is in a position to make life difficult for the person of another race and/or deny them opportunities (e.g. A black person or group of black people giving a white customer evil looks and bad service in a most black establishment, a white patron getting a black employee at a store in trouble for not being deferential enough, a white person hiring a less qualified white person over a more qualified black one, etc.)

All else I tend to lump under bigotry.

Rarely do blacks have the opportunity to be racist with my definition, though they can be bigoted.

Imhotep said...

@T4T, "In both instances it would be based on negative experiences with individuals of a different race, thereby making generalizations based on skin colour."

Your statement is accurate, but also very simple, something I would expect from a third grader. You being a grow person, I was expecting a more insightful analysis.

You've completely ignored the nuances of the situation anyone can harbor thoughts, but having the resources, ability or power to act on those thoughts becomes the difference maker.

A prejudiced police officer sanctioned by the state with the power of life and death at his /her disposal is way, way, way more dangerous than a Black person having hateful feelings toward the police. Look no further that the Sean Bell situation, where the brother on the eve of his wedding was shot in a parking lot 50 times without the police getting any return fire, and the officers were exonerated. Tell me the last time you saw a Black man shot a police once and the shooter walked free?

If your analogy was to hold water, then you would see a lot more police officers being killed by Black people. But what you actually see, is way more Black people being murdered by the police that should tell you who have the power. So prejudice without the power to act on it, don't mean shit. Prejudice with the power to act leads to institutional racism.

Tit for Tat said...

Imhotep

I understand your point, but I was talking more about personal racism rather than institutional racism. I am aware that in the states it is much more prevalent. Power is power in many situations. I think the white driver that got beaten to death during the LA riots would concur. I know, rare example but hey, wouldnt that be considered racist?


You being a grow person, I was expecting a more insightful analysis(Imhotep)

I think you may have wanted to use the word "grown" in that sentence. ;)
Though I do like grow ops.

Imhotep said...

T4T, I sense you're trying to make a point, it's unclear to me what that point is. If your point is that Black people hold prejudicial points of view, that's hardly a revelation. If there is some other point that I'm missing, then bottom line it for me without being cryptic.

I see you had to go back into the archives to get an example of an isolated case of a white guy being on the wrong side of the power equation. On top of that you use an abnormal event (riot) to make your point. Reginald Denny's beat down was a direct result of the not guilty verdict the police officers received in the Rodney King case. You had video of police abusing their authority, and an all white jury in Simi Valley CA eventually exonerating them all. A clear example of a racist system run amuck. I know for a fact that white people drive that intersection (Florence /Normandie) daily without incident.

If you're unable to show me where Black people have the power, institutional power to carry out prejudicial views to the detriment of whites, then don't bother with a response.

Thordaddy said...

Imhotep,

You're reading from a dusty, out-dated script.

RADICAL LIBERALS want you to see and proclaim racism everywhere you look BECAUSE IT MEANS you DENY Supremacy.

YOU RELEGATE YOURSELF TO INFERIORITY.

But not before you buy into the fallacy of "equality."

If white supremacy EXISTS then IT EXISTS and you must accept this.

BUT YOU DON'T REALLY THINK IT EXISTS.

So what is "racism?"

And how does "racism" pertain to the average white person?

Or more importantly, if blacks can spew their deepest convictions and conscious objections across the globe using some of the most advanced communications technology, what is "racism?"

Racism is Imhotep saying to the world, "I am inferior... I do not believe in Supremacy... Other people's thoughts can control me."

Tit for Tat said...

If you're unable to show me where Black people have the power, institutional power to carry out prejudicial views to the detriment of whites, then don't bother with a response(Imhotep)

Ok, you may not like this one either, but in the future you may want to be more specific. Here's an example.


Robert Mugabe and his brood in Zimbabwe.

Imhotep said...

Thor, We have had this dance before, it was fruitless then, and would be even more so now.

Big Man said...

Imhotep pretty much said what I had to say about racism.

I've never denied that black folks can be bigots and can discriminate. We are human and I believe discrimination and bigotry come from humanity, not from the ridiculous social construct that is race. Race was just the vehicle to codify and justify bigotry and discrimination.

The point of my piece was that people today are trying to squelch discussions of race, but calling those who discuss racism "racists."

While not a novel concept, it's growing in popularity, or at least it feels that way to me. People want to ignore or downplay racial issues either in the hope that this will make them go away, or because they really would prefer if the status quo continue. That's the real problem with this new attitude.

Deacon Blue said...

Well, just for the record, my point about bigotry wasn't so much a response to your post, Big Man, as to some of the discussion of definitions here in the comments. I actually agree with the vast majority of what you wrote.

Thordaddy said...

Lil man,

You're still sportin' hand-me-down fashions just like Imhotep.

"Racism" is a tool utilized by those attempting to maximize their autonomy.

But people ARE CATCHING ON to the racket.

They understand that in the ACCUSER'S ATTEMPT to maximize his autonomy HE IS ACTUALLY trying to minimize the autonomy of the accused.

But when one recognizes this scam, IT IS ACTUALLY THE ACCUSER THAT IS IMPLYING HIS INFERIORITY.

The accuser is ADMITTING that he DENIES SUPREMACY (specifically, the incomplete derivative white supremacy) even as he subconsciously strives for supremacy BY DENYING SUPREMACY TO OTHERS.

This is the mind of the radical autonomist.

Thordaddy said...

Lil man,

U sellin' snake oil...
Gotjew a global platform
N a whole buncha liberal foils

U believe in Supremacy
But strive for equality
Culla white boy uh racist
Admit your inferiority
THAT'S ON U DAWG...
Can't blame white supremacy...

Blame it on ACTIN' LIBERALLY
Indiscriminately, is how the label get tossed
So it's largely uh fable

AN ASSAULT BY THE MENTALLY WRETCHED 
AGAINST THE ABLE.

Yur an enabler...
Capable of sumptin' greater...

But first u must admit tuh all yur readers...

YOU BELIEVE IN SUPREMACY
And logic dictate u strive for it
CUZ YOU WANNA B BETTER!!!

cally can said...

Big Man,

It's amazing to me that you let a stone racist like Thordaddy constantly belittle you with that revised moniker. Why do you even put up with that shithead? I'd have banned his ignorant, belligerent, verging-on-violent ass loooooong ago.

Thordaddy said...

Cally can,

Just cuz you strive for nothing doesn't mean lil man isn't striving for Supremacy. In fact, such an endeavor makes one a "Supremacist." Now, imagine bashing white supremacy and then neatly nuzzling the "entity" behind the "racism" moniker and tossing it about most liberally?

You just a chump that can't fight cuz all you believe is liberalism. Which is believing in nothing. And who fights for nothing... But the insane?

Big Man said...

Cally

Thor is a self-proclaimed believer in God. A Christian even.

His actions are his witness, my actions are mine.

Thordaddy said...

"Hot piss for you..." -- lil man.

Indeed.

Raving Black Lunatic