July 4, 2013
This should be a post about the birthday of the greatest country that’s ever been. I guess I’ll get around to one like that at some point. It is needed, after all.
However, one of our stable of writers borrowing the “x” pen name has lately been involved in an argument with some bloggers on the subject of race. Here’s some background:
A blogger — a certain “Brotha Wolf” (I’ll call him “BW”) wrote a blog about Paula Deen. Of course, in BW’s eyes, she needed to be stripped of her tens of millions of dollars fortune because she had uttered the n-word more than 26 years ago, and, in his eyes, she has been proven to be a racist. Both conclusions — that Paula Deen needs to be impoverished, and that she is a racist — are obviously ridiculous — the former because it’s wildly disproportionate to the offense, and the latter because it’s unknowable. No one knows what’s in the hearts and minds of others, and the proposed punishment is wildly disproportionate compared to the offense. (Note: not a “crime.”)
The principal blogger on the other side of the argument from our writer, has proven to be such a coward that he has adopted the following tactic: (1) he duked it out with our colleague for a bit, (2) characteristically he immediately accused her of racism, right out of the chute. However, because she was borrowing our “x” pseudonym, he had no idea that she is a petite (tiny, really), middle-aged black woman with more courage, character and integrity in her pinky finger than ten “Brotha Wolves.” (*1) Then (3) he started to block her replies, at the same time as he accused her in his blog of moving along to “hate somewhere else.”(*2) In other words, he didn’t have the character or integrity to try to argue with my colleague — ideas vs. ideas — he had to make the tired, worn-out, old accusation of racism, then cower behind a lie. She had replied several times, but he simply censored those replies and told his supporters she had gone away.(*3)
My colleague often interacts with others anonymously because her life achievements have bestowed upon her a great deal of prestige in the civil rights movement. To paraphrase Joe Biden, she’s a very big deal in the civil rights movement. She also interacts anonymously with others because she has noticed a certain phenomenon. When others understand who she actually is, they get all deferential and treat her (1) as they might treat any other tiny aging woman. All “Yes, Ma’am this and yes, Ma’am that” (as she puts it). And (2) they treat her as the civil rights icon she is. In other words they mask their true thoughts and their true selves behind respect for her past achievements as well as for her status as a woman.
However, if they think she’s a white man? They feel free to let loose. Interestingly, every time she’s had a debate anonymously with someone from the large and thriving grievance industry, and every time she’s simply expressed her true views, her interlocutors have immediately assumed she’s a white man! Every time, without exception. Typically she doesn’t even have to disguise herself; she simply never tells who she really is!
The first really obvious conclusion that could be drawn from the whole lengthy exchange: Both “Brotha Wolf” and my colleague were operating from different definitions of racism.
For my colleague, the definition of racism is simple: A state of mind that allows one to draw conclusions — good or bad — about an individual, based solely on assumptions about his race. The racist refuses to allow any individuality to any single member of a given race.
In my colleague’s mind, therefore, everyone can be a racist. Furthermore, in fact, everyone is a bit racist…let’s face it, all races exhibit certain characteristics in general, that not all individual members of that race display. In this case a certain knowledge of these characteristics is nothing more than, well, knowledge. It’s when a person goes overboard and can’t see past a person’s race, to allow him to be just another person, that “knowledge” becomes racism, and can be pernicious.
To the extent that these things are measurable, one race is always — on the average — more or less anything: mature, tall, smart, wise, generous, lazy, productive, picky, outgoing, educated, literate, articulate, family-oriented, open-minded… racist… you name the attribute! — than another race. By definition! Or, put another way: no race will ever be identical in any of its characteristics to any other race at any time. Obviously.
However, for the “Brotha Wolves” of the world — when they shriek “Racism!” it’s not to pay someone a compliment. It means they think they’ve identified a behavior or state-of-mind that’s bad. The accusation of “racism” is precisely that: an accusation. My colleague agrees…there’s racism, and then there’s bad racism. The bad racism is when someone actually dislikes, or disdains, or thinks less of another person simply because of his race. No other information needed…just a person’s race. The actual result of such racism is: an employer might refuse a job to; a neighborhood might shun; a doctor might refuse to treat; a person might do actual violence to someone of a different race, merely because of his race. That, of course, is bad racism…really bad racism.
That racism, the racism that causes actual damage to others is particularly newsworthy in America, because it’s practically non-existent in the majority population of White Americans.
Someone — I thought it was Einstein, but google didn’t turn up a reference — once said, “to abandon generalization is to abandon knowledge.” Makes sense. When you examine a star through a telescope and you identify that it’s an ordinary main spectrum yellow star with the mass of ten suns, then because of generalization, you now know a whole host of other things about that star. If you couldn’t generalize, you’d have to research every time all the other tens of thousands of characteristics every main spectrum yellow star with the mass of ten suns exhibits. Thanks to generalization, we don’t have to do that, and are able to realize that as soon as you’ve seen one main spectrum yellow star with the mass of ten suns, then, to some extent at least, you’ve seen ’em all.
This is true, to a much greater extent than most would be comfortable with, for humans and for races too. Obviously, as soon as you see another human being approaching you on the street, you recognize “it” as another human being and immediately ascribe a whole host of other characteristics to “it.” Him or her. Tall or short. White, brown or dark brown (generally). Depending on our eyesight, the distance and other factors, as the person approaches, these initial assessments turn out to be true — or not — and as he or she approaches, we obtain more and more information about him or her. As the person passes, we have a whole catalog of data about him: Man, roughly 5’10”, brown coat, no facial hair, wire-rim glasses, briefcase, work clothes, slight limp, aquiline nose, slightly jowly, older shoes, approaching middle age.
Let’s say I add some intangibles. Now, the man passing us seems educated, intelligent, thoughtful, with a penetrating stare as we make brief eye contact; he looks pensive, preoccupied, as though mulling over a perplexing dilemma; his face shows laugh lines and crows’ feet in abundance; his demeanor is that of an over-worked, mid-level manager, hurrying to get to his job.
You’re forming a picture of him now, aren’t you? Yep. You are, because that’s what we humans do. Ok, what color is his skin?
And do you know why the color of his skin is as it is in your mind? Generalization. Nothing more. If you ascribe the characteristics I gave to the man — without revealing his skin color — predominantly to one race or another, then the man gets the skin color of that particular race in your mind. Can you name the one characteristic that I did give you that might tilt your assessment in one direction or another? Sure you can: aquiline nose. I’m guessing you might assign that man to the white race based on that. However, what about John Amos? How about this guy?
Why all the background? Because I think my colleague’s definition of racism is a pretty good one.
Now for another definition of racism: If you have white skin, you’re a racist…or a recovering racist.
That’s the message we get from this post.
Here’s the opening passage:
In America there are only racists and recovering racists. It is like alcoholism. There is no point at which you are rid of it completely – racist thinking is too much a part of American culture. No one completely escapes it, not even people of colour. (*4)
I gather in what I’ve read of this person’s output that he’s a black man — his full name, so he says, is “Julian Abagond” — and that he’s from somewhere in the British Commonwealth (“colour” vs. “color” throughout). It’s probably a pseudonym…the name’s just too cool, like, for example: xPraetorius. 🙂
It’s a thoughtful post, but ends up saying nothing. According to his post, if you can agree to all the following things, then you’re a “recovering racist.” And, in theory, that’s as good thing,
- Admits to racism
- Takes what people of colour say seriously
- Sees both whites and people of colour as equally imperfectly human
- Assumes that the lives, feelings and concerns people of colour are important
- Accepts people as they are
- Respects people of colour
Why is this saying nothing? Because it’s mostly either nonsensical, or contradictory, or both.
Let’s look at his points, one-by one:
#1: Point one gives up the whole thing entirely. I’m not a racist, in any way shape or form, yet this Abagond guy would say that the very assertion proves my racism. End of the ability to discuss it with him! More to the point, why would anyone even bother discussing anything else after this? I forget what the logic class calls this, but it’s the worst form of logical fallacy there is.
#2: A racist “takes what people of colour say seriously.” A non-racist takes what people say seriously. Duh! A racist grants automatic nobility or seriousness to people because of their skin color. A non-racist grants to each person the possibility to be noble — or not — by himself.
No, I’ll take seriously that which is serious, put forth by anyone, regardless of their skin color or any other irrelevant characteristic, who has proven he is worthy of being taken seriously. And, guess what: I do do that. Oh, I grant more leeway to black people just because if society observed me treating black people exactly as I treat white people — with an odd admixture of affection, respect, irreverent humour, jocularity, familiarity and joviality — then, I’d have the PC police on me in a heartbeat. There are, after all, realities that need to be observed. A simple truth: as Abagond’s list above shows dramatically…so very many black people don’t want white people to treat them as people, they want white people to treat them as black people.
Want to take “People of Colour” seriously? Then take all people seriously. That way, you’ll never get it wrong. This would include, by the way, looking certain black people in the eye and saying, “straighten the heck up.” A simple truth that my colleague forced out of “Brotha Wolf ” in her debate with him: “if a black person gets an education, speaks well, works hard and gets along with others, then he can prosper in America.” It took some doing, but BW conceded the obvious truth of this assertion. Just out of curiosity, what more does any group of people want from any society? How ’bout Jews in pre-WWII Nazi Germany? Think they might have been pretty happy with that as a description for society at that time? How ’bout anyone in Soviet Russia? Or in Red China?
#3: Ok…that’s a Christian. Christians are taught to see all people as equally imperfectly human. And we do. All real Christians do.
#4: No. A racist assumes that the lives, feelings and concerns [of] people of colour are important. A non-racist sees the lives, feelings and concerns of all people as important. This need to segregate people by race is racism itself — of the worst kind.
#5: A throwaway…this guy who has just listed all the reasons we are to treat black people in a certain way automatically now says we are to “accept people as they are.” Can’t have it both ways. Furthermore, after we’ve done all the automatic respecting (see Abagond’s #6) and taking seriously, and assuming of importance, simply because they are “people of colour,” now we’re supposed to accept them as they are? Good, bad and indifferent? I thought the colour of their skin was supposed to engender automatic respect, etc. Two quick things: (1) My definition of “accept” includes “deal realistically with.” For example, I accept Charlie Manson as he is, but if it were up to me, he’d stay incarcerated for the rest of his natural life. I “accept” Al Sharpton for who he is: a racist charlatan whose self-aggrandizing dishonesty has ruined numerous lives. I accept serial killers for what they are: people who need to be incarcerated for the rest of their natural lives.
So, which is it? Are we supposed to deal with “people of colour”(*5) as actual people? Or are we supposed to treat them according to Abagond’s vastly complex formula, checking each thing we do or say to be sure that it complies with all the things we’re supposed to do automatically because of the colour of their skin? I know, I know…I hear Abagond already — you wouldn’t have to watch what you do or say if you weren’t a racist, or, if, as he says, you were a “recovering racist.”
Here’s a simple truth: the racist sees other racists around every corner. Why? Simple — if he’s a racist, then, obviously, others can be racists too! Here’s another truth that Abagond will not accept: much of what he and others obsessed with racism do simply perpetuates racism, long after it would have died a well-deserved natural death, and long after the vast majority of civilization has moved on.
Abagond and “Brotha Wolf” maunder on and on and on and on and on about “white privilege,” but that’s just the intellectual framework to try to obtain legislation that will dispossess white people, allegedly still profiting from the racist structures of the past, in favor of black people. Cornel West, prominent black, leftist philosopher, admitted as much just a couple of days ago, when he insisted that President Obama is forcing blacks to the back of the bus — in favor of gays. Translation: the free money and jobs and education and hiring favoritism spigot –long pointed toward blacks — is changing direction and Cornel West doesn’t like it one bit.
Another simple truth that Abagond and others will be unable to assimilate without some serious intellectual gymnastics: America has paid — many times over — for the sins of her past. Transfer payments have given trillions (with a “tr”) of dollars to minorities.(*6), mostly blacks.
#6: Sigh. Nope. I’ll respect you if you’re worthy of respect. Here’s my default state-of-mind: When I meet you, I accord you immediate respect and the presumption that you are a person of worth, dignity, intelligence and decency — regardless of the color of your skin, or your sex or your height, weight or appearance(*7). If you start to erode those automatic perceptions, I lose respect, affection or trust for you. Again, regardless of the color of your skin, or your sex or your height, weight or appearance. I don’t know what more you could possibly want of me…or of anyone on earth.
Anyway, back to the basic premise of this particular post. It’s actually hidden above, and it stems from something that I’ve noticed many, many times. Black people, in the majority, are obsessed with race. Find a blog — or a column, or book, or radio show, or tv show, or whatever by a black person that’s not largely about being black.
White people aren’t like this at all. Part of that is because PC America would jump down their throats, all while cheering the race-obsessed black persons. Then, Abagond would insist, this race-indifference is the result of “white privilege.” It’s not…for whatever reason, white people have simply moved on to a better state-of-mind. I know this well. I’m a white person. “Whiteness” has never been a major part of my identity.
In the meantime, the black race hucksters are trying desperately to drag white people back to their racist past so the hucksters can continue to belabor them for it. No one was more elated when Paula Deen said she had use the n-word once 26 years ago than the “Brotha Wolf’s” and “Abagond’s” of the world.
The black racialists love white racism, and crave those instances where they can say, “See! See! That proves it! White people are racists!” As if “Brotha Wolf’s” blatant racism proves that all black people are racists. Or morons.(*8) The greatest calamity there ever could be for the black racialists is if, as happened long ago, white racism were simply to fade away as a meaningful American problem, leaving the black racialists bereft of safe targets to berate. Because, let’s face it, nothing is safer in PC America than to shout “White Racism!” or “White Privilege!” … repeatedly … constantly … at the top of one’s lungs. The disappearance of white racism as a meaningful problem(*9), for the black racialist, simply cannot happen…even though it is the condition of the white man today. Has been for more than two generations.
What the gigantic, stupendous, frothing, wall-to-wall, breathless, hyper-focused coverage of the Paula Deen affair proves — beyond the shadow of a doubt — is that white racism is newsworthy precisely because it’s so rare. Even the merest hint of it — and someone’s assertion that she said the n-word 26 years ago is the merest hint of it — is newsworthy because of its extreme rarity.
If you were to read the writing of Thomas Sowell, you would be unable to tell he is a black man. He writes extremely insightfully and clearly about economics, baseball, other cultures, politics, current events, family life, and numerous other topics. When you read Sowell, you understand that you are reading the product of a great mind that is able to distill the complex down to make it understandable and clear. You experience numerous “Ah hah!” moments. You have numerous “I wish I’d said that!” moments. You recognize you are reading a great writer and a great mind. And, oh, yeah…he happens to be a black man. That particular black man is a man in full…not a blinkered, blinded, tunnel-vision, whining, pathetic huckster.
It’s worth repeating: so very many black people — Brotha Wolf and Abagond among them — simply don’t want white people to treat them as people, they want white people to treat them as black people.
(*1) – Now, I don’t know this for sure — I don’t know “Brotha Wolf” except from his splenetic and rather pathetic exchange with my colleague — but if the evidence of that debate is any indication, then I’m confident of my conclusion. Observe BW’s immediate recourse to the racism! accusation, his coarse language, his immediately demeaning, dehumanizing assumption that he knows my colleague’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, etc.
(*2) – Here’s “Brotha Wolf’s” very last entry from that very lengthy exchange:
I think this fool gave in and looked for something else to hate.
Note: my colleague has sent several replies to this entry, each proving BW’s parting shot to be incorrect, and each of which has been censored by “Brotha Wolf.” He’s a coward, who lacks the courage of his convictions, and has proven both his ignorance and his own racism. “Brotha Wolf” wrote a later post in which he referred to this exchange. It’s here. In that post, BW said:
I’ve been observing both the Paula Deen fiasco and the George Zimmerman trial. I’ve also checked out the reactions given as comments in news and social networking sites. I’ve taken into account the little argument with a blogger about my last post about Paula Deen. As a side note, I guess that blogger got bored and found something else to focus on. [emphasis added]
Not only did my colleague not get bored with the debate, but she responded to this post as well…which BW then censored as well. This “Brotha Wolf” character is actively lying to his readership. I guess you now have an idea of how powerful or accurate of strong or true this spineless coward’s ideas are. He talks all tough, but he can’t take any heat…not even from a little old black lady with a different viewpoint. He lies outright to his readership and actively prevents opposing viewpoints from appearing on his site.
(*3) – “Brotha Wolf” even resorted to that increasingly common leftist fraud: the intentionally, rude, or vile, or inflammatory post made to seem like one from the other side. Here’s the post that Brotha Wolf wrote and inserted as a response to his own blog post:
F**k n*****s and there (sic) feelings….WHITE IS RIGHT
BW even put in the grammar mistake to make the post seem even less literate. When my colleague pointed out that the post was a transparent plant, BW and she had a bit of a back and forth. At that point, my colleague pointed out that the apparently racist poster — who called him- or herself “hillybilly” and used one of those temporary WordPress ID’s one can generate in about five seconds — was likely “Brotha Wolf” himself! BW censored that particular post. Pretty solid proof of my colleague’s assertion.
(*4) – One sees quickly in reading “Abagond’s” and “Brotha Wolf’s” blogs that there is a simple truth in their minds: “If you are white you are a racist.” Period. Further, white people and black people are locked in an implacable embrace that neither can escape, due to their long ago and more recent past. BW makes the third-grade error of telling us what others not at all like themselves think, feel, believe, act and will act. If that kind of presumption were to come in their direction, they would howl, “Racism! How dare you presume to tell us what we’re thinking?!? You’re not black!” Then, they immediately go blithely forward presuming to do the very same thing they just condemned. Their vision of people — of themselves and of others — is so pinched, stifled and limited, that they make of themselves worse even than the racists they pillory. As a result of the set-in-stone conclusions in their heads, they believe they must interact with all people based solely on racial considerations. Even the Nazis’ vision, as nonsensical, moronic and twisted as it was, wasn’t as limited and constrained as this one.
By the way, I don’t say it’s wrong to divine what others are thinking, in a group sense. Only that if you do, then you have no right to whine when others do it to your group. I do it from time-to-time — on other groups or populations, not on individuals — but I refuse to countenance it if someone else tries to tell me what I’m thinking.
(*5) – What a stupid term…can we please dispense with it.
(*6) – Yes, the majority of welfare and food stamps and SNAP and WIC and this and that payments are white, but not nearly as much as their proportion in society. Per capita, blacks are by far the largest recipients of free money, food, housing and education.
(*7) – Not your entire appearance. If you are covered in tattoos, or your hair is extravagantly elaborate, or your have obviously spent a lot of time trying to communicate something based solely on your appearance, then I automatically deduct some respect. However, I allow you to earn it back, but I have to admit that I can’t help but look with disdain on the tattoos and the outlandish appearance.
(*8) – For example: cancer is a much more serious problem. As is poverty. Drugs too, and fatherlessness, and the ongoing moral breakdown of society itself. Black on black crime is a much more serious problem than white racism. The horrible economy is a much greater problem than white racism. So’s the coming Chinese cataclysm. So’s the birthrate in Russia, in Western Europe and the islamic world. Steroids in baseball are a more serious problem than white racism, or the fictional white privilege over which Brotha wolf obsesses.
(*9) – Hint: it doesn’t.