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May 22, 2014

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What I'm hearing from Marty and sapient is that public efforts to help poor people, in general, are fine with them. Things that address blacks, specifically, not so much.

From Marty I'm hearing that poor whites have it tough, too.

Do you guys have any sense that there is anything unique about the history and experience - past and present experience - of blacks in this country? Nothing that would merit public efforts directed toward them, specifically?

Or is it that we've already done that, it got as far as it got, time to move on?

Russell,

there are unique aspects to the black experience, then and now. There are also unique aspects to the poor white experience, the recent immigrant experience, the poor Mexican experience, the Chinese American experience, Japanese American experience.

So yes we have done a lot, to the point where the things we have done like subprime mortgages are now counted as racist policy. The war on drugs was an attempt to stem the tide of drugs to the inner city, now a racist jail program. I could go on but my point is that we should stop trying to fix things for "those" people. Lets fix them for poor people.

Lets fix them for poor people.

poor people problems are not what Coates illustrates. the institutionalized racism that he describes in great detail is not a poor people problem, and it can't be fixed by helping poor people.

Things that address blacks, specifically, not so much.

Well, I was actually quoting Professor Ogletree, who is the only proponent of a specific solution cited in Coates's piece. So I'm not sure that his solution doesn't address blacks. I actually thought that I was agreeing with Coates, who doesn't really have a program, other than to hold hearings on Conyers, and maybe consider proposals like Ogletree's.

I think that helping the urban poor, putting efforts towards urban poor rather than rural poor, would disproportionately help the African-American poor. I think handing over money to black people, just because they're black, is extremely wrongheaded. Again, who will collect the cash, and who will pay it? What's your practical solution, russell?

Also, russell, not sure what your smoking lumping my opinions and Marty's together. Marty thinks that Conyers's bill is "a nonstarter", and I'm in favor of hearings on it. That's just the beginning of where Marty and I aren't on the same page.

Oh, and just to be clear, I said this: "I think that helping the urban poor, putting efforts towards urban poor rather than rural poor, would disproportionately help the African-American poor."

I think that Ogletree's proposal would help the urban poor, giving more focussed help to African-Americans who have suffered from the kind of housing discrimination that Coates described. I'm in favor of that.

On the other hand, if your program helps all of the poor (both the mostly black urban poor and the mostly white rural poor) you at least have an outside chance of getting it passed. If you only aim to help one or the other, no way it happens.

What's your practical solution, russell?

for the record, this is where I tune you out.

also for the record, i've already offered my practical solution. for reference, please see upthread.

Discriminate against someone in a mortgage, you buy them the house.
Discriminate against someone in rental housing, you pay for their apartment.
Discriminate against someone in hiring, they get the job and you lose yours.

Ditto for college, criminal sentencing, police activity, etc. It's kind of an eye for an eye thing, which may seem harsh, but it would make the point.

Ideally, we would all recognize the humanity in each other, and treat each other as we would like to be treated. No law against that, and no law needed to make it so.

I guess this is what you meant by your "solution". Sounds good in theory.

Maybe you don't understand the way the legal system works, but this would require individual lawsuits. For example:

"Discriminate against someone in a mortgage, you buy them the house."

Party X would bring a civil suit alleging that Party Y discriminated against them in a mortgage. Litigation would ensue. Party X would win (maybe lose though). Party X would be awarded damages against Party Y. Party Y would need to pay the judgment.

It's already against the law, by the way, to discriminate against people, so this whole thing is already available to people. Trouble is, going to court and proving stuff is a serious endeavor, likely to fail.

Not going forward with the rest of your rant, but your practical solution, russell, isn't practical. You're welcome to "tune me out" but, in fact, your solution would fail.

This is the problem. We live in a world governed by a legal system. (Everybody loves "the law" when it favors their approach. Not so much, when it doesn't.)

And, hey, if I'm wrong about my critique of your answer to things, please let me know in what way I'm wrong! I actually want to get there from here as much as you do, but simplistic "let's do the right thing" isn't how it works, unfortunately.

"...federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals to low-income children when school is not in session and they don’t have access to free or reduced school lunch"

so we spend hundreds of millions on the summer food service program for urban poor, plus the lunch programs while school is in session, but 27m to rural poor is white privilege. It is unfathomable that this is said with a straight face.

It is unfathomable that this is said with a straight face.

Why we're distinguishing is even more interesting. I'm assuming that rural poor children also go to school? So they're getting part of the lunch program money, why do they get special rural money too, Marty?

Look, I know some white rural poor (confederate flag bumper sticker/hating on immigrants). My hope for their children's future is limited, given the ignorant attitudes of their parents. But they need food, just like everybody else. They don't need it more than urban poor do.

U didn't distinguish lj's link did.

*I* didn't....

didn't distinguish lj's link did.

And the bill didn't...

let's be clear, slavery provided wealth to more than just the south. the wealth of the textiles industry in the north did not vanish in the civil war, the wealth of the shipping companies based in the north did not disappear during the civil war. the wealth created from the labor of slaves in the slave states that stayed in the union did not disappear during the civil war, the wealth created from the labor of slaves in all states before slavery began to be eliminated in the north did not disappear during the civil war. the wealth gouged from african-americans by legal chicanery after the war was unaffected by the civil war. the constant humiliations and indignities to which african-americans have been treated both during the centuries of slavery and the century and a half since slavery's end have in no way been assuaged.

some of you in this discussion seem to be hurt by the suggestion that as white americans you have been the beneficiaries of a system with the thumb of white privilege heavily weighted in your favor. no one here, least of all me, doubt your sincere belief that all of your accomplishments have been earned by dint of your hard work but simply believing a thing to be true does not make it so. i was born white and because i was born white i have not been subject to all the obstacles our racist society has put in the way of those who are not so born. your terror of the proposition that a commission be organized to study what reparative justice for african-americans would look like tells me that some deep part of your psyches understand that all is not as you would like to believe.

i agree that other groups who are not white have suffered under discrimination and humiliation themselves but none of these groups suffered under centuries of slavery and we must begin by casting out the beam in our eye before we begin dealing with the motes.

I assure you terror is not the overwhelming emotion here. The subject can be studied and restudied and discussed for another century and no poor black person will be any better off. But the bible references are appropriately emotional.

And the idea that what I might have accomplished in life was due to "privilege" ignores the black presidents and ceo's and etc. Who Coates "proclaims" got there by working twice as hard, not 1.5, twice as hard. So all the other black people need to do us work twice as hard as me, right?

No matter how fancy the dance, every successful black person who grew up in the poor art of Chicago belies Coates most basic premise. They didn't overcome white privilege so much as black culture although some of both. And the only way he can try to substantiate any claim today is to denigrate every hard working nonblack person who has bettered themself.

ignores the black presidents and ceo's and etc

Name 2. Bill Cosby and sports figures don't count...

The bobbyp 12-step program, such as it is:

1. Conduct full hearings on the Conyor's Bill and have the discussion. What, pray tell, could be the harm? You have to admit to having a problem before you can solve the problem, right?
2. A jobs guarantee at a livable wage for anybody willing and able to sign up.
3. An end to any and/or all public subsidies that promote suburbanization, because such subsidies are effectively promoting housing segregation.
4. A fully funded public "sting" program that sends black agents posing as job seekers or home buyers out into the marketplace to nail those who discriminate on the basis of race. The penalties for being caught out and convicted should be punitive (economic confiscation, lengthy jail time).
5. A public policy that funds individual and class-action anti-discrimination lawsuits on the basis that such lawsuits are, in the whole, serving the public interest.
6. 10 year tax holiday (state, local, federal) for zip codes of disproportionately poor (yeah, white trash, too) or minority population.
7. Public education shall be a public right funded by the federal government. If rich white people want to leave such a system, impose a heavy fee. They can afford it. No whining. I am tired or rich people whining. They disgrace themselves.
8. Any and all rich white legacy enrollments to a publicly funded institution of higher learning shall be balanced equally by one aggressive affirmative action enrollment. The white person who couldn't get in and raises the aggrieved cry of "reverse discrimination" can sue the family who got the legacy slot. Punitive damages would be allowed.
9. Conviction of an officer of the law caught red handed stopping somebody for "driving while black" shall be a capital offence.
10. Public policy should promote this general principle as regards all minorities: STOP FUCKING WITH ME. I admit this is a bit nebulous, but hey, if we can have a policy to "unleash the winds of freedom in the Middle East" and spend hundreds of billions of dollars invading countries on a whim, why can't we have this one? If you are going to have a god damned fanciful public policy, I vote for mine.
11. End the war on drugs.
12. Declare "voter ID" and "stand your ground" laws unconstitutional due to their obvious disparate impact.

The white race is in the grip of a higher power, and it's far past time to admit it.

Showing up at an AA (Affirmative Action) meeting might do you some good.

With the exception of step #11, a twelve step program to create a libertarian majority. Or something.

And the idea that what I might have accomplished in life was due to "privilege" ignores the black presidents and ceo's and etc.

The disparities of wealth and income as between blacks and whites are observed at all wealth and income levels, Marty. How do you explain that? Why aren't the richest blacks as rich as the richest whites? Why are "middle class" blacks less wealthy than middle class whites? Please do point out to us the "cultural" markers that condemn a rich black guy to be less wealthy than a rich white guy?

Do you condemn poor whites for their "culture" also? I have seen no evidence that you do. If "culture" can explain the poverty of large swaths of the black population, then it must follow that "culture" explains the large (and growing larger) poverty of poor whites.

Or is it that poor people are simply moral imbeciles, lacking in motivation and burdened by laziness. If that is the case, why are poor whites, on the whole, better off than poor blacks?

And please, single mothers? Russell demolished that silly assertion on a previous thread. Try something different, because that one just doesn't fly.

Actually bobby I believe that the culture of being poor is not black or white. But we aren't discussing paying reparations to white people. As far as the disparities, there are fewer blacks in all those categories. Even if I just concede the richest black person has less money than the richest white person, in America, then the sheer law of numbers may account for that. It certainly does for the averages at the lower levels, at which those numbers have gotten progressively closer.

@marty

you may deny the privilege with which you and i were born but simply to deny a thing is not to render it nonexistent. although the smell of fear seems to permeate every excuse, rationalization, and projection you give i'll try and take you at your word and assume you are unafraid which leads me to wonder why your opposition to the idea of a commission to study the subject of reparations is so intense if you have so little to fear.

As far as the disparities, there are fewer blacks in all those categories.

The sample size is sufficient...we are talking millions of people. The results are statistically significant. There is "something" that explains why the upper and middle distribution of black incomes and/or wealth are way lower than their white cohorts. If there is no significant discrimination or "brake" due to previous and ongoing discrimination and the lingering effects of white accumulation (theft) of capital (and the compounding of wealth effect over time) then it must be something else, right?

Do we agree so far?

If you assert it is "black culture" then you will reasonably be asked to produce some evidence of how black middle class/upper class "culture" is holding them back.

What is it?

IMO, the unique stuff about the history of blacks in the US was quite a while ago, the real problem they have today is that it positioned them to be particularly hurt by some things which later came along, which were not racial, but economic and location based. Like somebody who's living in a trailer park because racism made them poor, and just as they're struggling out of it a tornado hits.

The tornado wasn't racist, it hit everybody in the trailer park.

But I can understand that Democrats wouldn't want to blame the cultural disintegration of the urban poor, who are merely disproportionately black, on their own war on poverty...

Actually bobby I believe that the culture of being poor is not black or white.

But you point a finger explicitly at "black culture" in previous comments.

Why is that?

The tornado wasn't racist, it hit everybody in the trailer park.

So if we had public policies in the past that herded everybody named "Bellmore" into a trailer park in tornado alley and impoverished them so that very few of them could get out, and they get hit by a tornado shortly after we declared them "free at last", then no harm no foul?

Just trying to get the ground rules straight here.....

I suppose the whole privilege thing could be treated by moving everyone at birth to state ran homes where they would be treated equally well, or badly, until they were adults.

Not going forward with the rest of your rant, but your practical solution, russell, isn't practical.

OK, fair enough.

Here is my alternative practical proposal:

You discriminate against anyone, on the basis of race, for any of the things I named, and your ass lands in jail.

A straight up criminal penalty, no lawsuit required.

Put some teeth in it, 10 years no parole. That seems reasonable to me for a denial of basic civil rights.

If the remedial approach doesn't suit, then let's just kick some ass.

And the only way he can try to substantiate any claim today is to denigrate every hard working nonblack person who has bettered themself.

I'm trying, without success, to make sense of this statement.

The other thing I note is that Coates' argument is based less on the fact that blacks are poor, and more on the fact that they've been f**ked over.

Poverty per se is not the issue.

"Do we agree so far?

If you assert it is "black culture" then you will reasonably be asked to produce some evidence of how black middle class/upper class "culture" is holding them back.

What is it?"

in order, and I'm answering these because I think the answers ate important,

1.No we don't necessarily agree, ever.

2. One of my first points was that Coates tells a nice story but provides no support for his assertion that white supremacy is still the driving force in those disparities. The rest of the discussion has been interesting. So no, I don't have to prove black culture is the problem, in fact, Coates does an interesting job of talking about kids selling drugs on a street corner while no one does anything about it. Their corner. Coates complete refusal to allow for any other cultural or personal responsibility is plenty to support my point.

3. You don't really seem to know what you are asking. Do you want to know about white poverty? At 13%? Do you want to talk about statistically significant differences? Then you should start with the numbers and percentages for middle and upper income disparities. Do you want to understand cultural differences beyond cheap histrionics, I never said anyone was lazy, I did say there is an obvious statistical correlation between single mother led households and poverty, whether that's causal or a symptom, it is still culturally significant.

I don't have some of these answers. But, Coates didn't have any, and his conclusions about the most recent ones were dubious.

You discriminate against anyone, on the basis of race, for any of the things I named, and your ass lands in jail.

Sounds good to me.

I also think that bobbyp's 12-step plan is brilliant.

I'm skipping over some comments, because I'm noticing a common thread - most commenters haven't actually read the article.

Please read TNC's article, and his previous writing. He's possibly the best writer on race of this generation.

"so we spend hundreds of millions on the summer food service program for urban poor, plus the lunch programs while school is in session, but 27m to rural poor is white privilege. It is unfathomable that this is said with a straight face."

Posted by: Marty | May 24, 2014 at 07:14 PM

Last I heard, the point was that this program is only offered to rural areas.

most commenters haven't actually read the article.

or read, and somehow missed important points.

I also think that bobbyp's 12-step plan is brilliant.

agreed. i like it better than my crappy ideas, it's far more comprehensive.

And here you are, demanding reparations for slavery from the decendents of Union soldiers, the decendents of people who ran the underground railroad?

I'm not demanding anything. I've only written it explicitly more than once that I'm not sure reparations are a good idea. You seem to have such strong biases that you can't comprehend written words that contradict what you've already come to believe - based on what, I don't know.

In any case, reparations wouldn't come from particular people descended from other particular people anymore than any number of government programs I strongly object to are funded particularly by me.

You figure everybody who's white benefited after the fact from slavery, and you figure you've got no obligation to prove this in any particular case, because you don't feel any obligation to treat people as individuals, rather than mere instances of the group you've assigned them to. You've rejected the idea that people are entitled to be treated according to the content of their character, their own character, rather than the color of their skin.

You're the one who keeps making this about white people. There wouldn't be a fund paid into exclusively by white people for reparations. And it's not only white people who've benefited. How many effing times do I have to write this sh1t only to have you ignore it?

In my book, this makes you a racist.

In my book, the fact that you wrote that makes you an a$$hole.

And you, of course, figure I'm a racist, because I demand that people be treated as individuals, without regard to their race. Funny how things have gotten stood on their head.

Funny how things don't exist except inside your head, even after it's been pointed out explicitly that what you figure isn't true.

@russell
Here is my alternative practical proposal:

You discriminate against anyone, on the basis of race, for any of the things I named, and your ass lands in jail.

This is a practical proposal??? It would be fascinating to know how you identify discrimination with any reliability. The verdict of 12 randomly(?) chosen citizens? (Good luck with that in some places.) The decision of a council of experts? A more than full time job for russell -- just so we have a single coherent standard?

And are we limiting this to discrimination on the basis of race? Or does religion come into it? How about body type (size, eye color**, etc.)? Or gender, etc.? We have enough difficulty already with the current legally defined categories . . . and there is constant pressure to expand them to yet more groups.

** FYI, there are a fairly broad swath of cultures which a) worry about the "evil eye", and b) define said evil eye, consistently, as blue. Which means that anyone with blue eyes will be avoided as much as possible. (Amazing what you can stumble across in Anthropology.) If someone with blue eyes complains of discrimination by someone from one of those cultures, does that warrant jail time?

I came late to this discussion, which is fine, because most of what I had to say has been said by someone else already. But these are some of my conclusions:

1) Blacks have been disproportionately screwed throughout US history, up to the present.

2) TNC discusses "reparations," but what he really wants is a serious national discussion about #1, with an eye to "what can we do about it."

3) "Reparations" as normally conceived are not workable, on a variety of technical & social grounds (as TNC knows, I'm sure). The case of Germany and Israel, though fascinating, isn't really germane, because Germany had, in its defeat, received a far greater shock than any the US has so far (thank goodness) AND because in Israel it had a target donee that could accept such reparations. (Not that there weren't problems - but can you imagine if the proposal here was to give US money for blacks to Liberia?)

4) That leaves the "serious national discussion" that is TNC's actual aim (IMHO). Not a bad thought except:

5) Congress, as it is currently constituted, and has been for at least the last two decades, since Nuclear Newt reaped the benefits of going permanently negative, is incapable of a serious discussion about anything, much less the consequences of slavery and segregation. We all know that.

6) In the broader public sphere, the contributions on this very thread of Brett Bellmore and Marty - though civil enough, to be fair - prove, I fear, how hopeless it is to expect a serious discussion of the issue. Reactive reactionaries, ready to go into rebellion if anyone points out anything obvious about race, like the fact that they've benefited - as I certainly have - from being white in a country built on racism.

Alas.

By "benefited" I mean a good deal less than the kind of privilege George W. Bush had, where he was born on third base, believing he had hit a triple. I didn't have anything like that, and I doubt Brett & Marty and most of the other protesters against "privilege" did, either.

I mean something much more mundane. Let us suppose there are 100 candidates for some opportunity. It could be college admission, or a scholarship or loan, or the chance to buy a house, or get a job, or a promotion - life is full of such competitions. We've all competed; sometimes we've won. Yay, us!

Arbitrarily, however, 10-20% of the pool of potential candidates was disqualified, so we actually competed against only 80-90 others. This is an advantage, a benefit, even if it's still an accomplishment to beat out all the rest of the other (white?) candidates. No one should deny that accomplishment - but by the same token no one should deny the advantage, either.

(And if this thread were about sexism, how much greater the advantage we once had. Half of all the potential candidates gone at a single blow! I'm pleased, and not a little proud, that sometimes I prevailed over the other 50 men - 40 white men - but I'm not so arrogant as to assume that the broader disqualification wasn't a help.)

There's a lot more to "white [male] privilege" than this - the fact that I'm more likely to be believed or trusted in most situations (people don't fear me, police don't shadow me), etc. - but the effective elimination of some of the competition, as described above, will do for a base-level account of "benefit."

That's actually one of the most concise, comprehensible explanations I've ever heard of how privilege works.

(Even conceding, as you do, that there's more to it than just that.)

dr ngo:

Thank you for such a calm and reasoned post. IMHO, your list is mostly dead on. I think, however, your accounting of benefits is only half the story.

Beyond lacking the "benefit" you've described, there are also substantial problems (among them are increased targeting by police and harsher sentences) associated with being a minority in this country, especially african american. You alluded to this, but I think its an important factor in enforcing the racial divide.

It is incredibly difficult to build strong communities which result in positive outcomes for their children if the communities are gutted of economic capital (something TNC discussed well in his article) and human capital.

And if this thread were about sexism, how much greater the advantage we once had. Half of all the potential candidates gone at a single blow!

This is an excellent point. Clearly we should be talking about reparations for all females in the country. That should be a fun calculation.

WJ: Here we must all give thanks to the institution of heterosexual (i.e. "Biblical" or "normal") marriage, which has over the generations ensured that a sizable proportion of the disadvantaged female population has at least nominal access to some of the benefits that have accrued to the males. How these benefits (within marriage) have been allocated in practice is left as an exercise for the reader.

Thompson: You're quite right about the problems associated with being a "person of color" in America, but I'm assuming these would not be seen as germane by those intent on denying any "white privilege" they may enjoy, which is why I emphasized the "benefits" argument.

If we ever have that "serious national discussion" on race, however, you should certainly bring them up. ;}

wj,

This is an excellent point. Clearly we should be talking about reparations for all females in the country. That should be a fun calculation.

Take all wealth in the country. Divide by two. Nothing to it. Of course this goes beyond "reparations" and well into "confiscation" territory. However, we have a well established history of consfiscation, so nobody should whine about it being "novel".

My 12 step program for sexist male privilidge can be mailed to you for a nominal fee.

What is you address?

Thanks.

Please forgive my incontinent spelling.

Well said, dr ngo above. My thanks.

All of you: READ THIS.

Then try to tell us that structural racism is "not proven".

Moyers interviews TNC about this article:

http://billmoyers.com/?gclid=CJC0uKb3w74CFaVxOgodtH0Abg

Powerful story on school segregation via housing, bobbyp.

There was a similar story recently on Atlanta's suburbs (which concentrated more on the problems of transport & job opportunity)... housing affects everything, and the effects of housing discrimination last for decades, maybe generations.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/sprawled-out-in-atlanta-106500.html
And this is no mere bureaucratic problem. It’s by design, a political decision that came out of a time when Cobb County was trying to keep the city out—not make sure it stayed connected to it. Back in 1971, residents of Cobb and Gwinnett counties, both heavily white at the time, voted against joining the MARTA system and rejected it again in subsequent votes, choosing to form their own internal transit systems. Only relatively recently was an agreement hashed out to allow a few buses to cross county lines, which is how the Cobb County buses are even allowed to stop now at stations in downtown and midtown Atlanta.
“Our transportation system as a whole is terrible,” complains Beavor, of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. In part, says Charlie Harper, a Republican political strategist and transit advocate, that’s because it has been seen and sold historically as a giveaway to the lower socioeconomic classes. For transit to sell in suburbia, he says, “We need to look at this as fundamental to help all of us as a region.”

The tieing of education funding to local property taxes is particularly pernicious, though.
Equally pernicious is that the segregation of the suburbs is virtually invisible compared to that of urban areas.

"In the broader public sphere, the contributions on this very thread of Brett Bellmore and Marty - though civil enough, to be fair - prove, I fear, how hopeless it is to expect a serious discussion of the issue."

Well, hopeless if you define "serious discussion" as "a discussion which goes my way, accepting all my assumptions as givens." Which way too many people do.

I read the linked to article. I found it disappointing, seriously so. Just lame.

I found it disappointing, seriously so. Just lame.

Given that you dropped your first comment before actually reading it, I'm not particularly surprised. And I'm sorry, I'm not going to believe you if you said you did read it, as this comment evinces no evidence that you had.

It would be fascinating to know how you identify discrimination with any reliability.

What do we do now? Are we incapable of determining if people act differently toward people of one skin color, vs towards people of other skin colors?

There's no proposal that's perfect, or simple, or without complications. That includes the proposal called "doing nothing".

I am, personally, in favor of direct solutions to things rather than remedial, after the fact actions. If the problem is discrimination, address discrimination.

Even Brett and Marty should be on board with that. Punish the one who does the harm.

And if it really doesn't exist - if so-called "discrimination" is just a bunch of lazy black people whining rather than getting up off of their @sses - then there's no problem, right?

"i found it disappointing, seriously so. just lame."

given that statement i'm going to guess that you must find the entire history of slavery, jim crow, and the 20th century exploitation of african-americans a fairly disappointing thing as well. after all, it offers america at its sustained worst over the course of centuries up to the present day. it's not the kind of thing you can flippantly dismiss as irrelevant to the modern black experience which, paradoxically, is why you are probably so quick to dismiss it..

of course it was obvious to anyone who had read the essay and engaged with the various sidebars that you had not read anything past the title when you began posting comments.

since you claim to have read it now, are there any of your previous posts in this thread which you might wish to change given the elimination of your previous ignorance? or would you rather stand on the posts despite the clarity with which they demonstrate you didn't know what you were talking about when you posted them?

IMO, the unique stuff about the history of blacks in the US was quite a while ago

read TNC's piece and then see if you still feel that way.

Yes, I think it was lame. He started out reasonably observing the Asian-Americans having done well in the exams because they actually worked at it. and then just went off the rails. And then, when he got around to attributing the entirety of black problems to white supremacy? No issues of culture At All? That's verging on insanity.

About all that reading the essay did was convince me that he was seriously over-rated.

Perhaps Brett can do a guest post on black culture.

One post by TNC on black "pathology"--

link

To me this makes sense. There are behaviors people acquire when living in violent neighborhoods that serve them well in those conditions, but which are not appropriate outside them. And given that blacks have often been forced to live in such neighborhoods, the "pathology" and the policies produced by white racism form a sort of feedback loop.

The idea that Brett and Marty have, which is that TNC dismisses the notion of personal responsibility and culture as irrelevant, is false. TNC is trying to shift the Overton Window, so that we don't speak of the problems that blacks have in America as something that is entirely their own damn fault. He wants us to see white supremacy at the root. I think he's right. I seriously doubt that TNC, for instance, tells his son not to work hard and not to bother getting an education. I suspect he does tell his son some things about America that would make Brett and Marty very upset.

And here is TNC talking about his own inappropriate response to a situation.

link

I should just put this all in one post. Anyway, I've read TNC off and on for years. I'm not a regular. But I've read enough to get some sense of what the guy thinks. And reading Brett and Marty comment about TNC will tell you something about Brett and Marty, but nothing about TNC.


dr ngo: "In the broader public sphere, the contributions on this very thread of Brett Bellmore and Marty - though civil enough, to be fair - prove, I fear, how hopeless it is to expect a serious discussion of the issue."

Brett: Well, hopeless if you define "serious discussion" as "a discussion which goes my way, accepting all my assumptions as givens."

No, Brett, that's not it. You just don't get it. Just as you don't get the distinction - even after it has been pointed out to you - between "benefiting" from something and being "guilty" for it. E.g.

hairshirthedonist: "Not to mention that, whether or not you did the stabbing, you still benefited from it."

Brett: Yeah, because I'm white. Never mind any actual facts of my life history, where my ancestors came from, where I grew up. I'm white, so I get assigned this guilt. Straight up racism: My color tells you everything you need to know about me.

It's that absolute refusal - or inability - to understand the simple proposition that you, like every other white person in the USA, have benefited in some ways from the oppression of blacks that make it pointless to expect a meaningful discussion with you.

Sigh.

Donald Johnson:

I think your 2nd link (@5:08) includes some good discussion (although brief) on the concept of "culture" and how it fits into the overall picture.

Worth reading.

I also like the D&D references, but I'm a nerd.

It's that absolute refusal - or inability - to understand the simple proposition that you, like every other white person in the USA, have benefited in some ways from the oppression of blacks that make it pointless to expect a meaningful discussion with you.

I started this comment trying to make sense of Brett's and Marty's view, but it's the refusal, not the inability, that gets in their way. Not sure any blog discussion in the world will cure that. The hope is that demographics will prevail over white supremacy. Unfortunately, I recently met a young one.

Donald,

I believe you mean well, but don't assume too much. In lots of ways, as I said earlier, the pathologies of being poor span race. It is the assumption by TNC that the impediments that create that culture are unique to blacks that is wrong. And, wishing now I had more time, it is where you might learn something about TNC from having a discussion with me.

I would also note that in the Moyers piece he interestingly says, "through at least the early sixties".

Met a young one

Young what?

Young white supremacist.

So should I interpret the flow of that comment personally? Because up until now we have discussed white supremacy, its relative impact on the status of blacks in society today and whether a study or reparations would be warranted, all without the stated or implied personal insult.(brett's rants the obvious exception, sorry hsh)

...the pathologies of being poor span race.

Well sure. This may be necessary, but it not sufficient to explain the economic gap as between the races. See here for example.

To deny that this disparity is not due, in significant part, to unique "impediments" is simply wrong on its face and flies in the face of the evidence, only a small part of which was cited by Coates. There is a great deal more.

As for the 60's, one of the central characters in the essay is still alive. He was robbed by a racist policy. Generally when people are robbed we try to make things right. I guess in his case, and thousands of others like him, not so much.

I was alive during that time. It was not that long ago (as I recall).

The past is still with us. Racism is alive and well in America as the articles cited above about Staten Island and Cobb County attest.

And then, when he got around to attributing the entirety of black problems to white supremacy? No issues of culture At All? That's verging on insanity.

Au contraire, Brett.
In this case you are virtually (in the modern sense of the word) blind.

"This may be necessary, but it not sufficient to explain the economic gap as between the races. See here for example."

Not one of the things in that list could not be explained by the simple fact that blacks are disproportionately poor. And so, today, suffer disproportionately from the pathologies of the poor.

I said it earlier, I'll say it again: Because of the effects of slavery and Jim Crow, blacks were disproportionately poor. But, of course, other minorities have been disproportionately poor for similar reasons, and recovered from it by hard work once the racism was lifted. The Irish, the Chinese. Blacks, too, were climbing out of that pit, in the same way: Hard work and self-reliance. They were on the mend from the damage done them by racism.

It was the misfortune of blacks to have been disproportionately poor, when policies which did cultural damage to the poor, especially the urban poor, were put in place. But the same damage was done to the non-black poor. The war on poverty didn't discriminate in screwing up poor communities.

And so, today, to attribute the poverty and cultural pathologies of the black community as being due to nothing but white supremacy, is to ignore why blacks, unlike other minorities, did not raise themselves back up once the boot heel was lifted.

It's because that boot heel was replaced by a different boot heel, one that did not discriminate, but held all the poor down.

But, of course, Democrats can not acknowledge the damage done by the war on poverty, must attribute even today the problems of the black community to racism, instead, because that was YOUR boot heel.

And then, when he got around to attributing the entirety of black problems to white supremacy? No issues of culture At All?

are you sure you read it?

...is to ignore why blacks, unlike other minorities, did not raise themselves back up once the boot heel was lifted.

is something that could only be said either by someone who didn't actually read the article, or someone who did read it but who didn't think what it had to say was important because it didn't agree with his own preconceptions.

Not one of the things in that list could not be explained by the simple fact that blacks are disproportionately poor.

Why are blacks disproportionately poor?

is to ignore why blacks, unlike other minorities, did not raise themselves back up once the boot heel was lifted.

When was that, exactly ?

Which particular boot heel are you referring to ?

Slavery ?
Jim Crow ?
Housing segregation parts 1,2 or 3 ...?

And which 'other minorities' felt the weight of all those boot heels ?

Did you read the link boobyp posted, and do you still believe society to be colourblind ?
http://www.longislandpress.com/2014/05/17/long-island-segregation-drives-educational-inequality-60-years-after-brown-v-boe/

It's because that boot heel was replaced by a different boot heel, one that did not discriminate, but held all the poor down.

Not replaced; added to.

Maybe I am misreading Brett's words. But what he seems to be saying is that the War on Poverty is the what is holding the poor (including blacks) down. So the solution for the situation that we see today is to get rid of the War on Poverty.

Unfortunately, not unlike Obamacare, "War on Poverty" makes a nice overall label. But it might help to get specific as to exactly which parts of the War on Poverty are the problem. For example, the part that provides free lunches to poor children while they are at school, so that they have at least one good meal for the day? It being well established that someone who is seriously underfed does not absorb lessons well. (And how does that hold their families down?) One or more of the other programs?

Because, rather like Obamacare, I'm thinking that there are at least some parts of the War on Poverty which, other than their being part of it, Brett would actually be fine with. Although I may be wrong about that....

Noodling around to work out what is meant by the 'War on Poverty', I noticed possible evidence that welfare spending has been peculiarly ineffective in the US compared with other western nations:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare%27s_effect_on_poverty

(I've no idea how strongly that suggestion holds up, but eyeballing those graphs, the US is a definite outlier.)

to attribute the poverty and cultural pathologies of the black community as being due to nothing but white supremacy, is to ignore why blacks, unlike other minorities, did not raise themselves back up once the boot heel was lifted.

What is it that we are ignoring? Why have blacks, uniquely, not "raised themselves up", now that the boot heel of racism has been lifted?

If you're going to say this, it would be useful for you to explain what it is you're talking about.

You make reference to a fairly important phenomenon, but you don't explain what it is.

Also, not for nothing, but the experience of the Chinese, Irish, Italians, Jews, or pretty much any ethnic demographic is not the same as that of blacks.

That of American Indians is arguably as horrific and damaging, although in other ways.

Every other group you name, not so.

That doesn't argue against your point, it's simply something you appear inclined to ignore.

In any case, I'm interested to know why blacks, apparently uniquely, have failed to raise themselves up, now that the boot heel of racism is a thing of the past.

russell, as you say, Native Americans appear to be a special case. But every other group you mention has seen, over time, their status migrate from discriminated against to what amounts to "not black." In fact (again excepting Native Americans) a case could be made that America today only really differentiates two groups:
black
not black
The census and other government (or government-driven) forms may have lots more categories. But the social structure only seems to have those two.

Someone could do (or perhaps already has done) an interesting study in how various groups moved from "discriminated against" to "not black". But it seems rather obvious that blacks will have a serious problem moving to a category of "not black".

wj:

Well, naturally, the War On Poverty keeps the poor in that state due to perverse incentives....living on food stamps is soooooooooooooooooo.....easy! Why would anybody want to get off them? If these programs were eliminated, poverty would cease.

Of course, this would be offset by other glibertarian policies that would result in the rich cornering the market in financial and economic wealth. Logically this implies the existence of poor people.

In Bret-world, the feckless Democratic Party threads this needle by passing government programs to help BOTH groups, and create loyal voter blocks to perpetuate their reign of error. The New Deal and the War on Poverty programs were enacted consciously and precisely to keep black people "on the plantation".

Plain as the nose on your alleged face.

Maintaining power is the sole reason for their existence as noted in the Democratic Party platform.

The GOP and their glibertarian allies, on the other hand, seek only to implement the highest principles of Liberty and unrestrained capitalism, which would, no doubt, result in a popular uprising. Unlike their Democratic Party foes, they do not seek to curry favor with interest groups, kiss the ass of rich people, or practice politics in any meaningful sense of the word.

Like their communist brethren, they seek to eradicate government, not promote it.

Principles is as principles are......

one of the things i learned from the reality based community before dr. kleiman et al. completely destroyed the commenting ecosystem was that whenever the thread reaches the point of being nothing but responses to mr. bellmore's idiosyncratic world view, the thread is dead. never one to admit to error or see the value in another's point of view, mr. bellmore is colorblind in the worst sense of being incapable of understanding that any out group (whether derived from ethnicity, gender, or sexuality) could possibly experience our society in any way other than the way it is experienced by him. this allows him to work from a basis of perfect certainty and makes of him a singularly frustrating interlocutor.

to attribute the poverty and cultural pathologies of the black community as being due to nothing but white supremacy, is to ignore why blacks, unlike other minorities, did not raise themselves back up once the boot heel was lifted.

Again, why have blacks, unlike other minorities, failed to raise themselves up, now that the "boot heel" is lifted?

What are we all ignoring?

"what are we all ignoring?"

it isn't so much what we might be ignoring as it is what we are assuming. we're assuming that the boot has actually been lifted and i think what might make the average white person uncomfortable. uncomfortable enough to slide over into denial, is the idea that maybe it hasn't been. maybe the chains are gone, maybe we've stopped lynching them (although trayvon martin and jordan davis might disagree), but the boot of our collective attitudes with all the old racist expectations and considerations is still written into our culture to such an extent that the average african-american doesn't have the same opportunities as the average white american.

Because up until now we have discussed white supremacy, its relative impact on the status of blacks in society today and whether a study or reparations would be warranted, all without the stated or implied personal insult

No, and my apologies. I should not have lumped your views with Brett's.

Thanks sapient, no problem. My and Brett's views surely overlap at points, but are not equal.

I was cranky. Thanks for being gracious, Marty.

Someone could do (or perhaps already has done) an interesting study in how various groups moved from "discriminated against" to "not black".

“How the Irish Became White” by Noel Ignatiev"

So great -- always someone here who knows the where the answers are. Who needs Google, when we have ObWi?

But Ignatiev's book does raise one question. The Irish, in his example, became white by being more enthusiastic about segregation than anyone else. So how did the East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, etc.) do it?

By being, for many generations, "model minorities" - obeying the law, largely refusing to protest (except the Filipinos who were active in United Farm Workers), doing well in school, taking up respected professions, and suffering in virtual silence repeated injustices well into the second half of the 20th century. When I was a boy in 1950s California I remember reading about Dr. Sammy Lee, who had already won two (eventually four) Olympic gold medals for the USA in diving, being denied housing nearby because of racial "covenants" of some sort. Racially based (though technically "country of origin" based) discrimination in immigration continued until the reforms of the 1960s. And so far as one could see, the only protest was polite letters to the newspaper or to representatives - no riots, no marches, no "in your face" rhetoric. So by the time things lightened up a bit, Asians were eligible, for all intents and purposes, to be honorary whites.

(That's an extremely crude summary of a very complex subject on which entire courses are taught and careers are built, so please pardon any oversimplification.)

So, Asian-Americans essentially took the Gandhian approach: Let the state abuse you, but make it do so under circumstances which would outrage the conscience, so the abuse would become unpopular. Demanded nothing more than to be allowed to succeed on their own efforts, and demonstrate that, if you are so permitted, you will be model citizens.

It seems to have been successful, wildly so. Perhaps it's worth of emulation?

why, it's almost as if there's something working against blacks that's not working against other minorities, and which makes their attempts to emulate the wildly successful Asian model unsuccessful. i wonder what that could be.

if only some reporter would write a big piece detailing a bunch of instances of things that blacks face that other minorities don't...

cleek,

despite your humorous sarcasm, the article that TNC write didn't say anything about the problems other minorities, or even poor white people, faced or didn't. Nothing.

Housing discrimination was certainly not unique to blacks, lecherous real estate lenders and slum lords weren't either. His article would lead you to believe that the only people ever taken advantage of by shysters and crooks were black people. But that simply isn't true.

His article would lead you to believe that the only people ever taken advantage of by shysters and crooks were black people.

This is a total misreading of the article. Coates brings evidence of such discrimination that was or is explicitly race based.

As for the "model minority" that's a stereotype that emerged in popular culture in the 60's to basically shame the civil rights movement. It, too, is a stereotype. Google the wiki entry on the subject. For a brief intro, see also here.

His article would lead you to believe that the only people ever taken advantage of by shysters and crooks were black people.

To echo bobbyp's point, I think you are taking a meaning from TNCs piece that isn't intended.

He's discussing the experience of American blacks. Hence, the experience of other groups doesn't play a large part.

He's also focusing on housing discrimination, in Chicago, in the mid-20th C, as *one* of many - many - examples where blacks, specifically, were singled out for discriminatory practices. And, where the discriminatory practices were supported by the law.

I doubt Coates would claim that no other group has been discriminated against. I think his claim is that discrimination against blacks, specifically, would justify reparations, were those to be considered.

Other folks might well also, it's just not his topic. Coates' piece says nothing about it, pro or con.

I appreciate dr ngo's comment about the Asian experience(s) in the US, but I have to say that the two histories here - those of Asians and those of blacks - are not really commensurate.

And, as always, the floor is open for Brett to explain to us why blacks, uniquely, have failed to rise above their difficulties, now that the boot heel of racism has been lifted off of their necks.

We're ignoring something, he tells us, but he won't tell us what it is.

Actually bobby he did no such thing. The buying of houses from "sellers" was not race specific, the 600 houses the guy owned when he died spanned beyond the neighborhood TNC talked about. While there was NO definition of where the rest were, it is unlikely they were all in black neighborhoods.

But, of course, other minorities have been disproportionately poor for similar reasons, and recovered from it by hard work once the racism was lifted

racism against blacks hasn't been lifted.

"We're ignoring something, he tells us, but he won't tell us what it is."

Perhaps, as in the case of victimized, freedom-loving libertarians, who have multiple boots firmly on their forever trodden necks, blacks don't have enough high-caliber weapons, high-capacity clips, and ammo rounds yet to throw off their oppressors.

Just a guess, on Brett's behalf.

Or maybe, insufficient bootlicking down through the years since the Civil War is holding them back.

Actually bobby he did no such thing. The buying of houses from "sellers" was not race specific...

Simply and unambiguously not an accurate take on what Coates wrote. The reason this predatory practice was overwhelmingly engaged in wrt African Americans is because they were barred from standard issue real estate financing. If you re-read the article you will see Coates provided this rather essential background.

And, as usual, what Russell said.

I don't usually post stuff that comes to me via Facebook, but this article seems apropos.

So what should we make of this? Rodger was a violent misogynist, indeed, but his misogyny was justified and bolstered by his racism. This does not discount the role of either: Such forms of oppression only grow stronger with the addition of others, and in the end, both maintain a similar set of systemic inequalities.

"We're ignoring something, he tells us, but he won't tell us what it is."

It could be the ding-dong (Bell) curve stuff, but I'm just guessing. Brett can read liberals' minds, but we cannot read his. This is an obvious disparity, and I think a burdensome, regulation driven, and corrupt government program is called for.

"We're ignoring something, he tells us, but he won't tell us what it is."

oh he told us. it's 'culture'.

He started out reasonably observing the Asian-Americans having done well in the exams because they actually worked at it. and then just went off the rails. And then, when he got around to attributing the entirety of black problems to white supremacy? No issues of culture At All? That's verging on insanity.

Yeah, culture. Asian-Americans recovered from legal discrimination, and even the Japanese internment, because of culture. Blacks did not, again, because of culture.

There are ways of living that work, and ways of living that don't work, and if you stick with the latter, you don't need somebody's heel on your neck to hold you down. You do a good enough job of it yourself.

Sure, culture. That did make a difference.

But also the East Asians were never the victim of the level of discrimination that blacks were subject to. (And I include the Japanese internment.) Consider, for example, that until Truman ordered differently, blacks in the military served in segregated units. But East Asians did not. They were mixed right in with whites.

In short, their starting point was miles ahead.

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