Friday, September 23, 2011


My wife brings her problems to me.

Sometimes they are big problems, often they are small, but most of them come to me. We discuss them, we argue about them, and eventually, we figure out what we're going to do. Sometimes a real solution is developed, other times we walk away disgusted, but we only get to that point after hashing things out. The same process gets repeated with my problems.

See, you don't solve problems by pretending they don't exist. Sweeping them under rug, where they are allowed to fester and grow, solves nothing. If you're poor, you solve it by either reducing expenses or finding more money. If you're sick, you solve it by getting healthy. When you're hungry, the solution is eating, when you're tired, the solution is rest.

It's only with racism that the solution is doing nothing.

Don't agree? Then why do so many people of so many different hues consistently argue that discussions, debates and studies about racial problems in America and across the world are what's really causing racism to continue? Every single time a racial matter is discussed a determined minority of those involved will insist that if everyone would just shut up about race, things would be all better.

It's a puzzling belief, and one I obviously don't subscribe to since I have an entire blog dedicated to examining the way race affects black folks. I clearly see the the need for honest and frank discussions. But, sadly, I'm not mainstream. I'm the opposite of mainstream, and that is confusing. Why does it make sense to believe that solving problems is best done by ignoring them?

Honestly, it doesn't make sense. There is no reason to believe that is a viable solution, which leads me to believe that people who argue that we should ignore race actually aren't interested in solving racial problems. They either believe they are all solved, which is ludicrous, or they are comfortable with the status quo. The latter appears to be more likely since humans are typically happy with the status quo as long as the status quo benefits them.

And there are definite benefits to ignoring race. There is the ability to pretend that America is a meritocracy. The ability to celebrate success without questioning how it was obtained. They ability to believe in an overall just world. Don't forget complete absolution for any wrongdoing or injustice in this country. Basically, ignoring race and promoting the status quo is easier and more enjoyable than the alternative.

And you know how Americans love easy fun.



CNu said...

One of my colleagues popped into my office yesterday morning and asked me if I wanted to see what had joined her in the shower? Being that it's that time of year, I knew I was about to see a big old ugly wolf spider. Sure enough, she had it alive and kicking in a little screw top tupperware type container.


Late yesterday afternoon, I asked various and sundry wimmin in the IT department what they thought about old girl's show-n-tell. The responses ran the predictable gamut of total disgust to the mild amusement of the departmental office manager, a filipina who explained the differences between nice spiders and mean spiders and how that was a nice spider that just happened to look mean.

She said she would have killed it, because it wasn't like the red spiders she enjoyed playing with as a little girl.

Of course, I was obliged to then ask her about other creepy crawly things in a tropical environ that kids might be wont to play with, and she immediately insisted right up front with a genuine shudder that we not even talk about snakes as snakes are horrible and scary beyond belief - no matter what their size. So also, her ease around spiders which is clearly a learned proclivity which has no common American analogs - cause shower girl was playing on the fact that she could overcome her fear and knew that others would not be so progressive, but by no means was she prepared to literally handle and play with the spider like our office manager.

I think you see where I'm headed with this anecdote Big Man. Office manager's affection for spiders is a learned tendency while her fear of snakes is an instinctual and irrational tendency fully and completely beyond the reach of reason, discussion, or cultural modification.

I'll bet you any amount of money that somewhere between 15-25% of the people in question are natural and instinctual xenophobes whose tendencies are as hardwired into them as my friend at work's instinctual revulsion to serpents is. Which realization takes us directly to the bottom line.

Once you accept the fact that some beliefs and behaviors are beyond the reach of conversation, what exactly do you propose to do about this fact other than to accept it, prepare for its possible expression, and move on accordingly?

Anonymous said...

Some species of spiders, e.g., recluse and *black* widow, are far more dangerous than others...

CNu said...

who explained the differences between nice spiders and mean spiders and how that was a nice spider that just happened to look mean.


where exactly within the majority demographic do you suggest we look for the "mean spiders".

More importantly, since we know they're only expressing their genotypic and phenotypic nature, shouldn't we do everything in our power to bring about the systematic extermination of these intractable subspecies?

Anonymous said...

Well, at the very least, we certainly should not be promoting a system that assists the dangerous types to go forth and breed more of their dangerous selves. (That would make a good Farside cartoon, "Spider EBT's..." )

Big Man said...

Man, I was watching "Boardwalk Empire" last night.

Michael K. Williams plays a character called "Chalky White" a Negro crime boss during Prohibition.

Some clan members had just shot up the still he ran for the white crime boss in the area, and Chalky had managed to kill one white dude. Of course white folks are outraged, and the white crime boss comes to Chalky. Chalky tells him he doesn't care about their outrage, and that they need to get the clan in line before all 10,000 of his people get upset. Talking about the local Negroes and a potential race riot.

The white crime boss says calmly, "If it comes to that, your people lose."

That's where I am. I agree that the ideas of exterminating or avoidance are appealing. But, they don't seem practical in the long run where we are losing the resource game so handily. Then again convincing people to act against their self interest doesn't seem practical either. I'm honestly stuck.

CNu said...

Then again convincing people to act against their self interest doesn't seem practical either. I'm honestly stuck.

Only stuck like the Frog and the Scorpion - which is to say not stuck at all.

Once you know the nature of a thing, you needn't waste any more effort or suffer any further delusion about changing that thing.

That said, all your energies can be invested in making you and yours better, stronger, faster in anticipation of what's around that signpost ahead for frogs and scorpions alike...,

Imhotep said...

"I'm honestly stuck."

I think you’re stuck because your expectations are too high given the intransigent nature of the nemesis. When have white folks en mass ever initiated a correction to some of their morally reprehensible shit? So, to expect any understanding of our perspective is not realistic, the percentages are not in your favor.

I probably see the same thing you see, but I set the bar pretty low in terms of the fairness that I can realistic expect from white people. My challenge is not to become as bitter and hate filled as some of them are, to this point I’m winning that battle, and will probably continue to do so.

Raving Black Lunatic