20
   

Why Race?

 
 
snood
 
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:41 am
There is resistance mounted to even raising racial issues for discussion. On a recent thread of mine I got comments like “some people are always whining about some perceived racial injustice or slight”, and even further, that there is an “epidemic” of racially-based complaining going on in our dear country that must be resisted by the clear thinking amongst us.

So, why discuss race? I checked, and by my calculation about 16% of the 163 threads I’ve started in my time on A2K have been about race issues (26 of the 163).

To be sure I was fair in my counting, I included threads that are only tangentially about race (Examples of those I consider tangentially about race were Romney’s Lie About Dad Marching with MLK, which was a thread taking a shot at Milt Romney during the last presidential election because he was making a false claim his father had civil rights credibility based on the false claim that he marched with Dr King, and Have I Missed the Limbaugh Mea Culpa?, about how Rush Limbaugh slammed Donovan McNabb as some sort of affirmative action quarterback, and never spoke about him again after McNabb continued racking up kudos and stats.).

Is that an excessive amount of talk about race? Well, that’s for the eye of the beholder. When I have an opinion about something race related, I feel obligated to talk about it. I do it in my real life, and I do it in the cyberspace of A2K, among other places. I think these things need to be regularly surfaced and aired out. I don’t think that addressing them bespeaks anything obsessive or unhealthy. (Just for the record, the people complaining that I obsess too much about race on A2K strangely almost never even show up on the other 84% of my threads, which are not race based. Go figgur.)


On the contrary. I think that there is something to be lost by turning a blind eye and deaf ear to matters of race. I think there is, for instance, danger of giving ground to revisionists and “post-racialists”, who not only would have us believe that our racial past was more hunky-dory than it was, but that discussions of race and especially racial injustice are counterproductive and unnecessary in the present day.

I mean, look at it. It is not always clear by the news and by heeding public discourse that history is moving forwards or back. Just a couple weeks ago, there was a news story about the Texas State Board of Education proposing to change the word “slavery” in history texts to “the Mid-Atlantic Triangular Trade”, to sideline Thomas Jefferson in favor of highlighting “significant contributions” of confederate slave owners.

A couple of years ago I became aware of a pamphlet titled “Southern Slavery, As It Was” that was being used as part of the instruction in a private school in Cary, N.C. A representative passage from the 43 page pamphlet, describing the slave state, reads “There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.” This was being used to teach young people in the last couple of years. I think there has been a recurring attempt by some to provide the United States in general, but the South in particular with a kind of human rights alibi – 145 years post slavery.

If children can be taught that slaves were a bunch of “Happy darkies”, and that American slavery was simply some market-driven enterprise run by a bunch of otherwise ethical Lee Iacocca-types, then I think we are in danger of beginning to think backward out of our refusal to look – honestly – backward…

…and honestly at race in the present day. With talking-head powerhouses like Limbaugh and Beck making racially tinged proclamations, with legal, fiscal and educational inequities still extant, with political leaders and those who covet political leadership in disagreement about racial issues, why wouldn’t clear thinking individuals want to include matters of race into the regular fare?

As a biracial (Black/Filipino) man who grew up constantly aware of ethnic and racial stigma and dogma ; as a partner in an interracial marriage who has to negotiate situations that may or may not be nurturing to diversity, as a career military person who made treating soldiers with respect and justice regardless of demographics a priority, as a counseling grad student with a heart for teachers and teaching who has to be aware of the influence of multicultural backgrounds – I happen to think race needs to be talked about.

So I wanted to write this post - mostly to assure my friends at A2K that I care deeply about a lot of things - not just race. I guess I wanted to tell them not to believe the hype that ole Snood is just another whiner looking for a handout, sympathy or anything else because I'm Black.

And to tell those who don’t bother to post on the majority of my threads that have nothing to do with race, and only show up on the ones that do to whine “here we go again” – you are truly irrelevant, in the purest sense of the word, to me.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 20 • Views: 8,918 • Replies: 133

 
Letty
 
  4  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 08:05 am
@snood,
Wow! I thought you were talking about NASCAR. Smile

Well, snood, as you know by now, there is no such thing in the world of jazz.

Just got through looking at the photo of a bunch of us in New York with Art Blakey.
snood
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 08:45 am
@Letty,
Ok then. Thanks Letty.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 09:21 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
Is that an excessive amount of talk about race? Well, that’s for the eye of the beholder. When I have an opinion about something race related, I feel obligated to talk about it. I do it in my real life, and I do it in the cyberspace of A2K, among other places. I think these things need to be regularly surfaced and aired out. I don’t think that addressing them bespeaks anything obsessive or unhealthy. (Just for the record, the people complaining that I obsess too much about race on A2K strangely almost never even show up on the other 84% of my threads, which are not race based. Go figgur.)


I don't think it has anything at all to do with how much of your participation on a2k is about race-related subjects but rather how often out of those times people think you see a racial issue that they think is a project of your bias.

I happen to agree with those who say you very often see racial issues when they are not there, but if you'd asked me to guess the percentage of your threads on race I would have put it a lot lower than 16%.
ebrown p
 
  3  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 09:33 am
@Letty,
Letty, that is a priceless response!

0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 09:56 am
@snood,
Snood,

I think you are being a bit overly sensitive.

Race and ethnicity obviously remain important issues in our society. They need to be discussed. I don't accept the idea that people shouldn't raise racial issues because some people don't want to discuss them (this is especially problematic in an open discussion forum).

There is an ongoing struggle in America about what it means to be American. This used to be a blatantly racial struggle. We excluded segregated Blacks, we excluded Asians, and we kept the Irish from applying. The term "racism" has fallen out of favor, but the struggle hasn't stopped. You see this in the fight to stop Mosques from being built. You see this in the battle against speaking Spanish in businesses and schools, in "ethnic studies" and even in our President's birth certificate.

America has changed on a surface level, but the struggle for who is included in the American story goes on. As always, this is going to be be a contentious fight-- if you have an opinion on the matter, there will be someone who vehemently disagrees with you.

There is always an urge in the United States for the comfortable majority to brush uncomfortable topics under the carpet. I plan to keep bringing them up. They need to be discussed.

0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 10:00 am
@Robert Gentel,
Okay, Robert, I hear ya...

Care to give me a few of those "very often" times I see race when its not there?
Intrepid
 
  3  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 10:03 am
@snood,
I think that, perhaps, those of us who are not objects of race too easily overlook those who are.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 12:05 pm
@Intrepid,
Quote:
I think that, perhaps, those of us who are not objects of race too easily overlook those who are.

I think this is true- that if someone is not affected by a circumstance on a daily basis, they think that those who are affected by that circumstance, no matter what it is, might be overplaying it or overly sensitive to it because that person who is affected by it seems to see it happening more than the person who is not so affected by it sees it happening...well, of course....they would. That's only logical.

I don't see you as being overly concerned or sensitive about race Snood. I think you display a very level head about it.

I did have to think a moment about your view of Serena and Venus Williams and the commentary during Wimbledon. I guess I came to the conclusion in my mind that maybe the commentators were constantly on about their strength and athleticism because of their size moreso than their race. They are bigger than most other women. I don't think this has anything to do with their race - I know some very petite black women- but maybe that's as deep as the strength aspect went- they are stronger due to their size as opposed to innately strong and athletic because of their race.
I didn't comment at all because I don't watch tennis, haven't heard any of the commentary and don't know anything at all about the subject other than I think that even I, as a white person in a mixed family who has nothing but positive thoughts and hopes about black people and white people living together - would tend to focus on the strength and athleticism of those two girls - because it is extraodinary - but I'd attribute it to their size - not their race- so I can't automatically jump to the conclusion that other people would attribute their strength and athleticism to their race and not their size.

I tend to post on anyone's threads about race because I think it's a very interesting and multi-faceted subject, especially in America, and I'm always interested to hear what people are thinking at this point in time about it.

I don't post on your cat threads because I'm a dog person.

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 12:40 pm
Those of us who recall when Jim Crow was the norm possibly have a bit more sensitivity to the issue than others do. I have begun a number of race related threads, such as the recent Ship Ahoy, because I cannot allow the topic to slip under the rug. It is too easy to say that it is all in the past and should be forgotten. The only problem with that is, that it is not in the past. Things have gotten better in a lot of ways, but the ingrained cultural patterns of about three or four hundred years do not just vanish. A new coat of paint does not transform the issues. If we are not vigilant, the gains could be lost.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 12:45 pm
@snood,
I never mind your bringing the subject up. I agree with you sometimes, and not, or not entirely, some other times, but I'm always interested.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  3  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 01:47 pm
I think all posters/people bring into their ideas elements of their experience. Snood's experience is as a black man. Most of the posters here have experienced life through a white lens. I don't think that snood is race obsessed, as much as his posts represent a different kind of experience.

"Black victim" and "white entitlement" are viewpoints we are typically seen as when examined from a different experience. I don't think snood is doing anything that anyone else doesn't do in their posts. I think it's more likely that fewer people can identify with his experience so the racial element stands out the most.

What stands out to snood about others (myself included) is probably the kinds of things in their experience that is different from his own.

A
R
T
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 02:09 pm
@snood,
snood wrote:
Care to give me a few of those "very often" times I see race when its not there?


Ok, with the caveat and all that I think reasonable people can disagree on these things I'll give it a try. These can be sensitive subjects but I really dislike the dilution of racism, I see it as reducing the meaning of the word to next to nothing and making real racism harder to fight.

I can't remember any of the times where I did agree with you on an example of racism that you raised (I'm sure it's happened, I'm just saying that the overwhelming majority are examples where I see bias in you instead).

I'm sure there have been ones we agree on but the stuff like Wimbledon thread or saying that Barry Bonds' race may be to blame for why he's treated the way he is are examples of where I saw the bias in you more so than the people you were calling biased.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 02:12 pm
@snood,
Not getting into the a2k thread thing....I think that Americans are burned out on talking about Race. We have been at this for half a century hard core, we have developed certain groups of people who can't or barely can ever look past race, and now these people just annoy the **** out of us. There are a lot of things that separate people that are more important that dont get talked about much because "race" has for a long time sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. And also we are fed up with all of this focus on what separates us, a point we got to with the help of Democratic identity politics which constantly throws racial separations into the national discourse. As we saw with the rise of Obama a lot of us now want to talk about what brings us together instead, we want unity and family and working towards a common cause. For us talking about race is now an annoying distraction, we are fed up, and we have begun to shout down you guys who keep wanting to yak about race.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 02:14 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I see your point about dilution.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 02:54 pm
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
And also we are fed up with all of this focus on what separates us, a point we got to with the help of Democratic identity politics which constantly throws racial separations into the national discourse.


That's funny (in a ridiculous kind of way).

Quote:
. For us talking about race is now an annoying distraction, we are fed up, and we have begun to shout down you guys who keep wanting to yak about race.


By "we" here, you mean white people.


Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 02:57 pm
@ebrown p,
I think it's more than just being a white person ebrown, I think it's also a generational thing, I think race is becoming less of an issue for newer generations of Americans who grew up with less racism.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 03:00 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:
By "we" here, you mean white people.
your memory must be REALLLLY short. Go back and look at who was GaGa over Obama during the last election cycle.....The support for moving beyond race is broad in America, to include both the Reds and the Blues. Racial pressure groups have every interest in fighting the trend, in denying that the trend is real, but they will lose.

Dont you ever get out in real life? Most people I talk to are ready to move on.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 03:02 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
think it's more than just being a white person ebrown, I think it's also a generational thing, I think race is becoming less of an issue for newer generations of Americans who grew up with less racism.
the generational reasons for being sick of talking about race are slightly different, but all ages groups are there.
Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 03:10 pm
@snood,
snood wrote:

I guess I wanted to tell them not to believe the hype that ole Snood is just another whiner looking for a handout, sympathy or anything else because I'm Black.

And to tell those who don’t bother to post on the majority of my threads that have nothing to do with race, and only show up on the ones that do to whine “here we go again” – you are truly irrelevant, in the purest sense of the word, to me.



Hey Snood

I wouldn't believe the hype, if I saw any. I've always seen you as just you - but then I haven't read all of your topics. However, from what I have seen - you are a proud man - and rightly so!

So, I just wished to say - when you started the Wimbledon thread, I didn't even realise you were talking about race (just shows what I know, a?) so when I posted, I was simply talking about "tennis" - naive as that is, I saw "tennis players" not "black tennis players" (right or wrong, I don't think there is a right or wrong) so.... as the thread progressed I continued reading along, I read it, and you, and others, in an entirely different way - so I stepped back on things I don't have a clear enough voice about. Not that I don't have an opinion - simply, I don't wish to be loud at times and deal with knuckleheads.

I agree too that racial issues ought to be discussed - however, silence from some does not mean that the issues raised aren't understood - just to me it means not getting into heated debates with "others" who will bait and get nasty - that bothers my equilibrium!

Quote:
Snood is just another whiner looking for a handout, sympathy or anything else because I'm Black
.

You are as much that as I am lily-livered and pasty white - which is BS (well, I am pasty white) - but thing is, it doesn't matter if folk perceive you that way, or me that way - say what you feel Snood, as much as you feel what you say - you're a good bloke - not that you need telling that, but you are!



0 Replies
 
 

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