« COVID and social pressure | Main | St Johns Church timeline »

June 08, 2020

Comments

I guess I cracked the whip a little too hard?

It's a long video, folks may needcsome time to absorb it.

Will be able to get to this in about five hours!

Thanks, Hope people will watch the whole thing with an open mind.

I intend to (downloaded it) but I am not sure that I'll manage to-day.

I guess I cracked the whip a little too hard?

I'd guess that you lost track of which hours (in Japan) most of us are sleeping. ;-)

Personally, I hope to get to the video in another 3-4 hours. God willing and the creeks don't rise....

I listened to every word. Ms. DiAngelo is very sure of herself. Very. Her only fault is that she, too, is a white person and therefore a racist. Most, maybe all, of her constructs and examples seemed strained, overly-simplified if not outright cliched and, highly selective.

She can't understand why others would object to being compelled to listen to her "truth" in mandatory diversity workshops. She can only see White People (WP) in denial; whereas, in a truly complex and subtle world, one possible thing she is likely seeing is WP who don't much care for mandatory political indoctrination and particularly not from someone as self-certain as Ms. DiAngelo explicitly says she is.

Very early in her presentation, she asserts that white people do not know their own history—that was news to me. She also casts the issue of white supremacy/racism/etc/etc/etc as being "complex and subtle", yet there is nothing either complex or subtle about her endless repetition of the same talking points, rephrased and restated to sound as if she was saying something different.

Hers is the certainty of the true believer and those who do not agree are beyond the pale--they are unrepentant racists and always will be because they are white and white people are just that way.

That her logic is circular and her evidence, if you can call it that, is superficial and selective at best is lost on her and on her audience, which is a common feature when preaching the "truth" to the choir.

Hers is a secular religion. It is self-contained set of self-evident, self-proving dogmas that cannot be questioned, that control and define the universe and that, if rejected, lead to sin. She uses that word, "sin". In a different time and in a different milieu, she'd be a fundamentalist preacher if not a willing participant in a religious pogrom. Here and now, she's seen a different light, a light that gives her the authority to speak for and about all white people. Through her powerful insight, she knows what all white people think and how POC perceive and react to WP (and yet, she seems oblivious to the arrogance of treating every non-white as belonging to a single group with common set of goals and interests).

And, she will not tolerate whites who think of themselves as individuals, raising the question of whether she would afford non-whites the option of seeing themselves as individuals. She rails against white privilege, while completely blind to the privilege she confers on herself to judge an entire race based explicitly on that race's imputed characteristics (imputed by her, no less).

She is nonplussed that white individuals do not wish to be categorized as a group of white supremacists. Then, to soften the blow, she trots out the "but we are all racists" ("we are all sinners"), again oblivious to her own condescension. The analogues with religious fundamentalism are just keep piling up.

Does her world view admit the possibility that a POC might call out a WP for racism and be wrong about it? That WP's can and often do endeavor (successfully) to treat POC's just as they would treat another WP and that there is nothing wrong with that either? That it is not unheard of for a POC to use race as a tool to deflect legitimate criticism or to gain advantage? Because all of these things happen, just like some WP's are overtly or covertly destructively racist to one degree or another and let that racism influence, to one degree or another, how they deal with others. Others, out of ignorance, commit gaffes in attempting to reach out. Would Ms. DiAngelo prefer WP isolation or outreach, knowing that outreach involves human imperfection and therefore risk of unintended error? It’s really hard to tell and I’m pretty sure that, no matter what, anything that she doesn’t personally approve of is probably in the ‘sin’ category. Single-minded True Believers tend to think that way.

Race, ethnicity, culture, religion, education level, personal appearance, personal hygiene, grammar (or lack thereof) and a hundred other cues inform pretty much what every person assumes and infers about others, at least on a presumptive basis.

It's called being human. The more invested people are in a particular outlook or religion, the more they tend to evaluate others in light of their outlook or religion. Most of us--at least most of the people I've known over the course of living in a lot of places, traveling a lot, having married someone who was not born and raised in the US and having tried a lot of jury trials, meaning I've spent months communicating to and trying to persuade diverse juries throughout a very diverse state--try to work with, accommodate, get along, etc.

My education and experience tells me that Ms. DiAngelo has nothing useful to offer. Hers is a viewpoint that does not tolerate dissent, that (whether out of ignorance or design) denies the complex history of the western world (on balance, the best of places for people to live) and that implicitly calls for the destruction (misleadingly labeled as "deconstruction") of a civilization that has done more for more people than any other in the course of human history.

Racism exists everywhere, to one degree or another. Dealing with it is not easy. In the US, certainly the most diverse country in the West, we've spent centuries trying to align our ideals with our human limitations. Fanatics who believe themselves favored with some new, revealed truth make the unification process more difficult, not less. Fanatics need villains. No villainy, nothing to get worked up over, nothing to work others up over. Therefore, hers is the tool of a bully: fall into line or be labeled the worst of all things, a racist.

So, make of my viewpoint what you will. In Ms. DiAngelo's world, you have only one option: hers.

Then, to soften the blow, she trots out the "but we are all racists" ("we are all sinners")

If we are all racists, clearly it is impossible for anyone to be otherwise -- else at least a few would have managed it.** In which case, it's a waste of time to worry about something which cannot be changed. (Unless, I suppose, one revels in feeling guilty.)

** A common problem with a black and white world view.

Just to be absolutely clear, I am not opposing structural changes. On the contrary, I think they are needed. I'm just opposing the world view that says any variation in world views on race does not exist.

I have now watched it.

Sigh.

those who do not agree are beyond the pale--they are unrepentant racists and always will be because they are white and white people are just that way.

This is the opposite of what she is saying. FWIW, she is not saying they are unrepentant, she is saying they are so scared of being seen as racist that they will perform extreme mental gymnastics to justify why they aren’t.

she seems oblivious to the arrogance of treating every non-white as belonging to a single group with common set of goals and interests

She specifically says at the beginning that this is not so, and if I understood her correctly, for the purpose of her talk she speaks about “black” as opposed to “white”, as two “bookends” of a continuum of experience that she deals with for something like simplicity's sake.

I found this interesting, and uncomfortable viewing and thinking. I was brought up by overtly anti-racist parents, who left South Africa because of apartheid. I have been through many of the stages Ms DiAngelo anatomises, and recognise them and some of my own hitherto unconscious racism in myself and other "non-racists" I have known - this process has been going on for me for years, and in fact we have touched on this subject here in the past, in a thread that I think russell initiated. It seems to me that what she says is largely true, and valuable, even if one finds her dogmatic or annoying. And it seems to me that this issue needs to be addressed, by everyone, to avert the schism that is building, and has been building for centuries, in our (white-dominated, white-defining and defined) societies.

In the US, certainly the most diverse country in the West...

not counting Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, and Colombia.

(and, most of Africa, SE Asia and the ME.)

not counting Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, and Colombia.

(and, most of Africa, SE Asia and the ME.)

Did you read the article? I did. It is useless in determining 'diversity' in any meaningful sense. By any rational metric, the US is the single most diverse country in the West.

I watched the whole video.

To me, if you interact with people in different ways based on the color of their skin, that is racism. More or less by definition. I can't think of what that would be, other than racism.

I think people flinch at that because they associate racism with being a bad person, with being someone who has some animus toward people with a different color skin. There is no shortage of that, but I also think that seeing racism purely as an expression of ill intent prevents us from seeing exactly how pervasive it is.

I'm sure that there are people who are truly color blind, and whose interactions with other people are in no way influenced by skin color. I am not one of those people, and I feel comfortable saying that there are not all that many of those people.

I feel much more than comfortable saying that those people are rare among the kinds of "woke" liberal white people that DiAngelo specifically calls out in this lecture. Those folks are my cohort, I know them very very well. The phenomena DiAngelo talks about seem pretty damned real, to me.

Maybe I need to get out more.

If I take one thing away from DiAngelo's talk, it's that we need to stop thinking and talking about racism as if it was a purely personal flaw, a willfully chosen habit of bigotry, and start thinking and talking about it as a social, historical, and cultural phenomenon.

We need to stop flinching whenever the word comes up, and start owning whatever piece of it belongs to us.

If that doesn't include you, personally, well done, you are miles and miles ahead of most of the rest of us. I'm not there, I have work to do.

Racism exists everywhere

I'm going to tweak this. "Racism" is too narrow a term, at least in the broader context of how different people react to one another. Religion, culture, ethnicity, etc all can drive decision making that discriminates, whether invidiously or as a means of rectification. Race is one subset of the reasons why people draw lines.

We need to stop flinching whenever the word comes up, and start owning whatever piece of it belongs to us.

Which would be easier if the term wasn't routinely being used as a personal attack. Should I expect to be denounced as an obvious racist because the vast majority of the women I dated over the years (including my wife) were of East Asian ancestry? Under your "if you interact with people in different ways based on the color of their skin, that is racism" that would be justified.

I think the most telling part, beyond some obvious redefinition of racism, was the story about the lady that objected to her dismissing the questionnaire near the end.

Diangelo had no idea who made the list, there was literally nothing racial in her dismissal. The woman had every right to be insulted that her work was dismissed, but not to assign that insult to racism, of any sort.

Which is really my primary observation of this, and much of what I hear these days, no, as a black person you do not get to unilaterally define racism. No, I should not sit quietly while I am told how to act appropriately. There are many times that black people misconstrue things as racially based that simply are not. I should not be required to stop doing those things, they should be required to not interpret them as racism.

All to say that the solution requires a dialog with two groups with open minds, not a monologue.

Which would be easier if the term wasn't routinely being used as a personal attack.

I'm sure that is so. I guess what I'm advocating, or asking for, is for people to stop using it as a personal attack. Not least because, it seems to me, we all partake of it.

I also think it's fine to condemn, in the judgemental sense, deliberate acts that mean to harm black people, or people of whatever color, because of their color.

But I do think that racism is a much, much broader phenomenon.

The question of "how is that different than any other way we draw lines" is a reasonable one, and worthy of discussion. But it doesn't take the race question off the table. IMO.

I'm sure that there are people who are truly color blind, and whose interactions with other people are in no way influenced by skin color.

I would say there are people who try, in many cases, try very hard, to not "see" color and to not let someone else's color play a role in negative or adverse thoughts or actions.

I can't be color blind because I have African American, Hispanic and Asian employees and colleagues (and clients, for that matter). My practice area is not one that African Americans and Asians seem drawn to, although this appears to be less the case for Hispanics. This strikes me as either a mild cultural affect or possibly a situational, i.e. lack of exposure, result. I don't spend much time worrying about it. For my employees, it's a big plus if they stay the course since it allows them to carve out their own niche.

I don't find working with different people, regardless of what makes them different, particularly difficult, since in my very small corner of the world, we have more in common that we have not in common--we are all lawyers or work in support of lawyers, all in the same practice area, and we work in teams that have to depend on each other. Two of my most promising attorneys are African American and Asian, both women.

I'm not alone in my experience. Pretty much every firm I work with, particularly those with north of 10 attorneys, run the same way. The reason why isn't all that surprising either: look at who graduates from law school these days. If your hiring universe is diverse, you're going to get a diverse work force.

I feel much more than comfortable saying that those people are rare among the kinds of "woke" liberal white people that DiAngelo specifically calls out in this lecture. Those folks are my cohort, I know them very very well. The phenomena DiAngelo talks about seem pretty damned real, to me.

Maybe I need to get out more.

If that's how woke WP's talk--and more importantly, if that's how they think--about race, then maybe she does have a point. Some of the lefties I hang with may be woke, but I've never heard them talk as Ms. DiAngelo indicates they do.

It is useless in determining 'diversity' in any meaningful sense. By any rational metric

feel free to cite meaningful and rational sources.

Diangelo had no idea who made the list, there was literally nothing racial in her dismissal. The woman had every right to be insulted that her work was dismissed, but not to assign that insult to racism, of any sort.

Good point. I missed that one completely. I have to make hard points all the time to younger lawyers. If I had to worry about being called out for racism simply because I'm making the same point to a non-white attorney as I would make to a white attorney, I'd be out of business.

I guess what I'm advocating, or asking for, is for people to stop using it as a personal attack. Not least because, it seems to me, we all partake of it.

Not going to happen. It is used routinely, particularly by lefty bullies, not only as a personal attack, but also as a club to avoid difficult or even non-difficult conversations. Marty's point above is a case in point.

Moreover, it should be a term of opprobrium, even if on a sliding scale. Racism--invidious racism, if that is not a redundancy--is bad and it is something to be identified and addressed. There would still remain a host of subsidiary questions that make 'racism' a matter of degree or create a continuum of neutral-to-bad faith. For example, if someone is raised in an isolated and racist environment, that person will not know better until he/she gets a chance to see and understand the wider world. People like that deserve a chance. People like that come in all colors too.

The word is terribly over-used, so much that its constant usage sounds stupid and anti-intellectual to those outside the bubble. It ought to mean something that is bad. Instead it means, more often than not, that the accuser is intellectually lazy and has a mean streak.

feel free to cite meaningful and rational sources.

At the current time, there are at least 11 million or more recent arrivals from Central America and Mexico. If either place is diverse, it is because of tribal affiliation. That diversity will transfer to the US. Plus, if you haven't noticed, we have Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Taiwanese, a whole range of Indian and Middle Eastern plus a whole range of African and Caribbean immigrants. If you can't see this, I can't see it for you.

To Marty's example - I think there is no question that black people may see some things as evidence of racial bias, when no such thing was intended.

The fact that black people might be overly sensitive to being treated differently because they are black should really not surprise anyone. It doesn't surprise me.

Because it is not, remotely, uncommon for black people to be treated differently because they are black. It simply is not. I'm not sure it's possible to have a conversation about any of this without at least acknowledging that basic point of fact.

And, the woman in DiAngelo's example might have simply been wrong. She may have been overly defensive or sensitive, and have been seeing harm where none was intended, or even existed.

Maybe it was just a crap survey. Marty's point is apt, DiAngelo dismissed the survey before she knew who wrote it, or knew the color of the author's skin. Sometimes black people are wrong. Black people can also be guilty of pre-judging.

Why wouldn't they be, they're just people, like everybody else.

Which kind of gets at what I'm struggling to point out here. Racism, as a phenomenon, isn't just a matter of any one person's intent, ill or otherwise. It's in the air. It's part of our context, and it can be most corrosive when it's not explicitly acknowledged.

If you can't see this, I can't see it for you.

no sources cited.

noted.

"Its in the air"

I dont think so. I think white people are taught to not discriminate against black people. I think black people are taught that they will be discriminated against.

This sets up a practically irreconcilable set of expectations.

Blacks consider almost every act they object to by a white person to be racially demeaning, because they have been taught that's how white people act. White people are insulted that the default assumption that any action is racially motivated.

The current progressive mantra is that all whites are responsible for the actions of any white person, current or historical. White people are also responsible for understanding the black experience, while being told they never can.

There is no reason to expect that the majority of white people will accept that they are racists.

@russell at 1:43

Makes sense to me.

The current progressive mantra is that all whites are responsible for the actions of any white person, current or historical.

guess i need to update my learning.

There is no reason to expect that the majority of white people will accept that they are racists.

i'm not sure telling black people they're just being overly sensitive is going to solve anything.

Blacks consider almost every act they object to by a white person to be racially demeaning, because they have been taught that's how white people act.

You wrote this to demonstrate how little actual racism exists?

Some of the lefties I hang with may be woke, but I've never heard them talk as Ms. DiAngelo indicates they do.

What I would say about this is that some - many? - of the "woke" folks I know are prone to assume animus where it doesn't need to be assumed.

Everybody's got issues to work through.

Maybe it would be easier to talk about this if we think of race as being a stumbling block to us all seeing each other simply as people.

We notice it. It informs how we relate to other people. Absent other information, we are prone to making assumptions based on skin color.

There are people who are, straight up, haters. I think we all agree that they exist, and that that is wrong. Just like there is (hopefully) little argument that, frex, Nazism is wrong.

But simply not being among the haters doesn't always free you from having people's skin color affect how you interact with them.

That's what I mean when I say it's pervasive. It's always, or nearly always, there, as a thing.

And that's not just because SWJ's are looking for a club to beat conservatives over the head with.

It's there. It gets in the way. It makes some people's lives very hard.

I think white people are taught to not discriminate against black people. I think black people are taught that they will be discriminated against.

I think we are all taught not to discriminate. I think there is a wider belief among African Americans that their individual situations are racially driven than there should be. I think a sense of black victim-hood is promoted by some with larger platforms than is useful and I think the impact--which varies widely--is generally negative.

This sets up a practically irreconcilable set of expectations.

I think race is given more credit and more blame for outcomes than is merited, and this heavy emphasis impedes useful conversation and advancement.

Blacks consider almost every act they object to by a white person to be racially demeaning, because they have been taught that's how white people act.

This is not my experience. This brush is too broad. I've seen black race grievance advocates on TV and in the media who fit this mold. Folks I run into at the courthouse (a large percentage being black or Hispanic), and elsewhere, not really.

White people are insulted that the default assumption that any action is racially motivated.

No one likes being told they are racist/white supremacists/etc simply because they are white and with perfectly good reason. However, too many whites--given the overly-racialized atmosphere these days have their race-radar tuned up pretty high as well.

The current progressive mantra is that all whites are responsible for the actions of any white person, current or historical. White people are also responsible for understanding the black experience, while being told they never can.

I would say this differently. Yes, the intellectual horsepower behind the progressive left sees race and sex as the driving force behind the free market, democratic West. This is demonstrably wrong for too many reasons to enumerate. It's their religion and they are hyper evangelistic.

There is no reason to expect that the majority of white people will accept that they are racists.

Correct. But if you're black, young and poor, it's easy to conclude that all the well off white folks you see have some kind of advantage grounded in skin color. They don't see the poor white people and don't see the common elements of poverty that transcend race. The conclusion is understandable even if mostly incorrect. Where young, poor blacks are getting screwed is by being told the reason they can't get ahead is their skin color. If you are young and black and believe that to be true, then why even make the effort?

But simply not being among the haters doesn't always free you from having people's skin color affect how you interact with them.

That's what I mean when I say it's pervasive. It's always, or nearly always, there, as a thing.

I'm going to give this some thought. My initial thought is: I think the extent to which race is a thing is mostly a function of not knowing and working with people who are different. Do enough of that and you move past it.

"This is not my experience. This brush is too broad. I've seen black race grievance advocates on TV and in the media who fit this mold. Folks I run into at the courthouse (a large percentage being black or Hispanic), and elsewhere, not really."

I agree, it was way too broad.

Yes, the intellectual horsepower behind the progressive left sees race and sex as the driving force behind the free market, democratic West. This is demonstrably wrong for too many reasons to enumerate. It's their religion and they are hyper evangelistic.

pour one out for that strawman. he never stood a chance.

"White fragility" began back when "one drop of Negro blood" destroyed your whiteness. Since it was never true AFAIK that "one drop of white blood" destroyed your blackness, I suppose we could speak of "black resilience". But of course DiAngelo is NOT talking about "white fragility" in THAT sense.

Her message seems aimed more at "woke" libruls like me than at anyone else. And I must say I take her analysis seriously. Don't know whether that means I'm so "fragile" as to be duped by bullshit or so "resilient" that I'm not afraid to face it. All I know is that, man and boy, I have never been treated like a black person. Like everyone else, I have been dissed, bullied, patronized, subtly or overtly made to feel unwelcome -- but never because of the color of skin I was born in.

There's a South Park episode in which Stan's dad, a "woke" liberal white suburbanite, is a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. He loses his shit when the clue is "People who annoy me" and the board reads "N_GGERS". Fictional character, contrived situation, sure; but I confess I fell for it myself. So I can't tell myself that I'm free of the sort of under-the-pier racism DiAngelo is talking about. Anyone who can tell themselves that must feel pretty good.

--TP

It's a privilege to learn about
racism instead of experiencing
it your whole life

It seems to me that despite various criticisms of diAngelo, there was enough there to give some people serious pause for thought. It's a start...

Certainly, some of our reactions seem to corroborate some of her points.

I think the extent to which race is a thing is mostly a function of not knowing and working with people who are different. Do enough of that and you move past it.

When I was a kid, some of the guys would try to get me to hate white people for what they've been doing to Negroes, and for a while I tried real hard. But every time I got to hating them, some white guy would come along and mess the whole thing up." -- Thelonious Monk

Which is to say, more than a grain of truth to your comment here, McK.

I'll also say, FWIW, that it's highly likely that you, as a resident of The Terrible South, have more contact with black people than I do. Just one reason, probably among several, that I'm not interested in challenging your claim to being personally relatively color-blind.

Liberal New England is a pretty segregated place.

liberal Raleigh suburbs are, too.

OK, I've listened to the whole thing now. Two lines, in particular, stood out to me.

About 23 minutes in, she says: "One of the aspects of institutional power is the ability to disseminate your world view to everyone. To position it as objective and universal." Which, although I suspect she was unconscious of it, exactly reflects her. Her position is not objective (which she occasionally recognizes by saying in passing "I believe..."). And her position is definitely not universal.

And, about 1:07, she makes a caustic remark about white people who claim they are not racist. She has them saying: "As a white person, I will be the judge of whether racism has occurred." She says this in the course of telling everyone what racism is and that it has occurred. And doesn't even realize that she is doing exactly what she accuses others of.

Overall, she appears to assume her conclusions, and then offer a few examples that she feel support them. But it's a long way from actually demonstrating that they are correct. As it happens, some of the things she says are correct. But they are a minority.

It is no doubt a prejudice from my years studying anthropology, but she acts like one would expect of a sociologist. Sociologists, you see, look only at their own culture, and assume that all mankind is the same. She is looking in particular at her own sub-culture, but the pattern is manifest.

Sociologists, you see, look only at their own culture, and assume that all mankind is the same.

That's a very interesting point, not something of which I was aware, and also something about which I'm happy to defer to you, given your educational background.

And, if we stipulate all of that, what I take away is this:

DiAngelo, speaking as a would-be "woke" liberal white person, finds that would-be "woke" liberal white people seem to express racist attitudes and behaviors, and are often unaware of doing so.

This shows up in where they live, why they choose where they live, who they work with, etc. Now and then the more or less sub-rosa attitudes bubble up in statements and actions that are sufficiently racist to put real, live black people's teeth on edge.

It's interesting to me that the people here who identify more or less with the would-be "woke" white liberals among us find all of this credible.

Those who don't, less so, perhaps very much less so.

I'd be curious to know what a random sampling of black folks thought about it all. My guess, FWIW, is that they'd have a variety of points of view. But I don't know that, and I can't speak for them.

Mostly, for whatever reason, not a lot of black people here on ObWi.

My exposure to the "black experience" is primarily via my interest in music that grew out of that experience. Jazz, blues. That's a real window into black culture, but also a very narrow one. And a second-hand one.

I don't have a very clear idea of what it's like to be black in America.

What seems pretty clear to me is that black people are treated differently than white people, and in ways, taken as a whole, that are to their detriment. Historically, certainly and more than obviously. And, also, now.

I could be wrong about that. I'm not black. I doubt I am wrong about it.

I'd be happy to be corrected by a reasonably representative random sampling of black people. I'm not really that open to taking the word of white people on the topic, because they're not black, either.

Black people aren't treated the same as white people. Because they're black. And the ways they are treated differently are overwhelmingly not to their advantage.

And we pretty much all own some piece of that.

That's where the conversation begins, IMVHO.

I think the extent to which race is a thing is mostly a function of not knowing and working with people who are different. Do enough of that and you move past it.

I disagree with that. Outright bigotry aside, racism is not about how you interact with colleagues and neighbours. It's about how you perceive people you don't know.

...if you're black, young and poor, it's easy to conclude that all the well off white folks you see have some kind of advantage grounded in skin color...

It's easy to conclude that many of them do, because it's true. It comes from family wealth and connections, and there's a reason why those things accrued much more to white people.

Yes, wrs, and what Pro Bono said. And let's not forget the dense page diAngelo put up, showing terrible legal and other openly institutionally racist practises, well into (as she kept saying) her lifetime. You'd have to be wilfully blind to ignore the impact and hangover, both conscious and unconscious, that those practises have had on both black and white people. If anybody knows (without too much trouble) how to screenshot that page, from the talk or from her book, and can post it here, I for one would find that useful.

The company I work for is majority-owned by a private equity company owned by a black man. A very astute and wealthy black man.

He's normally a very private person, but after the Floyd killing he's made some public statements and appearances. Also, some internal to companies in his portfolio.

One story he shared: when he was young, his uncle was killed. The uncle had just been hired by the state of Utah as some kind of inspector, and the job involved traveling around the state.

He stopped to buy gas. The gas station attendant assumed that a black man with a state-issued gas credit card must have stolen it.

So he shot him.

I don't really know any white people with a story like that. Maybe you do, I don't.

Black people are treated differently than white people. Seems to me.

Black people aren't treated the same as white people. Because they're black. And the ways they are treated differently are overwhelmingly not to their advantage.

Quite true. And the number and variety of people protesting these past couple of weeks suggest that much of the country is aware of it. And, at long last, wants that (or, to be precise, significant parts of it, at least) to change.

I just find the jump from "there is racist behavior in our society" to "all white people are necessary racist, and always will be" to be a bit much.

As for the narrow focus of sociologists, we might ask lj to talk about racial attitudes in Japan. Not because the Japanese are especially bad on race, but just because that's where we have someone who can make first hand observations.

As an aside, there was a phenomena I encountered in college. The parents of Japanese/Chinese American kids routinely sat them down before they left for college. And said something close to "We know you will meet all kind of different people at college. And that's OK. Just don't being home any Chinese/Japanese; they're inferior."

Watched it all the way through.

As far as here just making assumptions and broad claims, let me just say that I had, by the end of that talk, about a dozen keywords and names that could be followed up on if I wanted to find out what scholarship she was building on in her framing. Likewise, her book contains both notes and further reading.

So there is that.

I'll take a brief break from lurking because I very much appreciated watching di Angelo's video. She was born the same year as I was, and I'd like to recount some of my memories.

When I was a small child (kindergarten), I lived in a southern state, in a college town. I was playing in my front yard, by myself, when a car drove by with a bunch of young men in it, who yelled a racial slur at me. Although my heritage is European, I get very brown skin when I go in the sun unprotected, as I did in those days, and I had dark curly hair. I don't remember what slur was used, but either they mistook me for black or for Mexican, or just called me the slur for one of those ethnicities to be hateful. It was very scary, although I had no idea what it meant. I went inside and told the adults. They were upset, and discussed the fact that it was a racial slur. The flip side of racism at that age is that I said something horribly insulting and racis to an African-American woman who worked as a housekeeper for my family. She told my parents, telling them that she didn't think that they were that kind of people, and my parents gave me holy hell. I have no idea where I got the thing that I said - I know it wasn't from my parents (who, although raised racist, were trying hard not to be racist).

I also remember, at an early age, seeing segregated water fountains and bathrooms. The white bathrooms were cleaned regularly; the "colored" bathrooms were not. The white water fountains were functional; the "colored" water fountains were not.

The African-Americans I knew before the Civil Rights movement worked as laborers, either housekeepers or yard helpers.

I went to elementary and high school in Northern Virginia, in a DC suburb. My school wasn't integrated until the 6th grade when I changed schools to allow for the change. I liked my new school, but the black children in my class were loners (or that's how I perceived it). There was a black neighborhood very close to my house, but it was in the woods, with no paved roads leading to the houses there.

My parents were supportive of civil rights. I was lucky that they taught me to try. In school, even after integration, kids mostly self-segregated, and interactions were awkward. In high school, (the early '70's) there were attempted therapeutic racial confrontation sessions facilitated by the teachers. (Maybe they were called something else? Don't remember.)

My first normal peer interaction with African-Americans, where I made genuine friends, was my first job out of college when I worked in DC. Truly revelatory, and the only really deep interracial friendships I've ever had. Fortunately, they were close and real.

After that, some casual friendships with people at work or in civil life.

I'm not sure how helpful it is for whites to feel guilty about our obvious privilege, as compared to our African-American peers who grew up in neighborhoods with unpaved roads. But we do need to recognize that it happened, that it had an effect, and that the phenomenon of unequal treatment still exists. African-Americans are murdered by police over and over, and aren't held to account for it. We have to demand justice for African-American lives. This is the very least we can do.

An edit: "African-Americans are murdered by police over and over, without the police being held to account for it."

I just find the jump from "there is racist behavior in our society" to "all white people are necessary racist, and always will be" to be a bit much.

i don't. though it's taken me a while to figure it out.

it's been said here today by several people that all people are racist - in that they see race and, try and deny as they might, make assumptions based on it. and maybe that's just humans doing their tribalism thing. c'est la vie? oui.

mais, non...

racist black people have no power. they aren't setting the rules. even egalitarian black people have no power.

what makes white racism a problem in the US is that white people are firmly, solidly and unrelentingly in charge. they have ALL the power. they make the rules. they say what's fair. [it's lots of fun to have you there]. it's created a system where white people don't have to be explicitly racist to benefit; they merely have to accept the way things are, while ignoring or outright denying that "the way things are" is actually a system set up by white people to benefit white people - at the expense of everyone else. that is "structural" / "societal" racism.

it's the collection of unspoken benefits white people gain by birth. i didn't have to work for it, i was born into the club. it's this great invisible ether of Things That Work Better If You Are White that we're all walking around in.

you don't have to harbor ill will towards people who aren't white. you simply have to ignore how society in general (therefore government, institutions, the economy, etc) is set up to benefit you and not 'them'. pretend it's all good, that racial discrepancies are entirely the fault of people who didn't get the same advantages you didn't know you were getting. get mad when people point them out, because it can't be your fault if you got something you didn't notice and didn't ask for, right?

that is also precisely the "privilege" in "white privilege".

wcs

sapient, I have nothing like your background. But I find myself mostly in agreement with your conclusions. (How often does that happen??)

How often does that happen??

Honestly, pretty often. But, with that said, I will relurk!

you don't have to harbor ill will towards people who aren't white. you simply have to ignore how society in general (therefore government, institutions, the economy, etc) is set up to benefit you and not 'them'. pretend it's all good, that racial discrepancies are entirely the fault of people who didn't get the same advantages you didn't know you were getting. get mad when people point them out, because it can't be your fault if you got something you didn't notice and didn't ask for, right?

Sure. But suppose you don't "pretend it's all good"? Suppose you don't maintain that the disparities are "entirely the fault of people who didn't get the same advantages"? Suppose you don't get mad when someone points out the disparities? In Dr DiAngelo's view (as I understood her), you are just as racist as those who do.

I really wonder at those who demand different behavior (which is definitely needed). But who simultaneously tell those who they want to change that they will remain racists (and be denounced for it) regardless. What incentive do they imagine they are providing for the changes that they say they desire?

The problem I see is this is not true

what makes white racism a problem in the US is that white people are firmly, solidly and unrelentinglyin charge. they have ALL the power

This and the paragraph around it assumes ALL white people have that power, and benefit from it. Which is not remotely true.

OK, unfortunately, RL dealt some work and I was able to keep track, possibly because I was sleeping.

First off, I should have posted this with it, here is the transcript
https://www.spl.org/Seattle-Public-Library/documents/transcriptions/2018/18-06-28_Robin-DiAngelo.pdf

Also, I see an article being mentioned and I cannot find it. COuld someone point me to the link. Lastly, I hope everyone who hasn't could confirm that they have watched the whole video? Thanks

wj - try thinking of it not as "being racist" but as "being more or less shaped by racism." Being less racist, or sexist, is a worthy goal. Dismantling the apparatus of racism or sexism, even at the cost of personal privilege (often understood as "freedom") even moreso. Mostly, though, it begins simply with listening and with empathy.

Marty - you seem to be discounting the discussion of intersectionality, which is referenced in the talk. Just because the system's default design protects white supremacy that does not mean that all whites have equal access to that position of privilege, nor that some minority individuals do not have positions of relative privilege compared to some whites. All that it means is that, all other things being equal, things are still not equal for non-whites.

wj wrote
Which would be easier if the term wasn't routinely being used as a personal attack.

So how do we do that? It seems to me we have to do that by everyone acknowledging, as Russell notes, that it is baked into the system. Do we need to 'feel guilty about it' as sapient says? Well I think being aware of it doesn't mean 'feel guilty'. I don't think acknowledging it means 'feel guilty'. But believing that you don't have it or claiming it is because of 'bigger' differences means that you haven't acknowledged it.

wj asked about the situation in Japan (and Korea). It's... complicated. I'll try to put up a post, but let me think on it for a bit.

And I've just added a screenshot of the list per GftNC's request.

I think it is necessary to make a distinction between 'instinctively reacting differently to persons of different phenotype', 'reflecting on the former' and 'putting different values (apart from personal taste*) on a person due to different phenotype**'.
What we usually mean by 'racism' is the last but strictly it starts with the first. And (apart from actually blind people) I do not believe there is anyone not fitting the first.
Personally, I put myself in the second category. I am aware that my behaviour is influenced by both the phenotype and me being aware of it and this in turn influencing my behaviour. I take more care in what I say and do, if I deal with persons of color (or certain religions) because I know it is a minefield (one laid primarily by people of my general phenotype)***.

I will again add that local German example of kids knowing that calling someone a Jew is a grave insult without knowing what a Jew actually is.

And there are actual anti-semitism and claims of anti-semitism used as a club at the same time. Same with racism (as traditionally understood). The latter is extremly counterproductive when dealing with the former because it can be used to deflect justified charges.

*to be very crude: do I feel more desire to have a carnal encounter with a person of this phenotype than another?
**or learned perceptions of value of phenotype without any actual experience (see example below).
***'Don't mention the war!' describes a similar phenomenon.

I hope this is OK despite not specifically referring to a part of the video.

Thanks for the screenshot, lj.

Hartmut, consider that those kids knowing that calling someone a Jew is a grave insult would, in a racial context be taken as evidence of racism. Because it equate "Jew" and "insult". Rather than as the kids just knowing not to do it.

If I understand you correctly, that is my point. The kids got somehow 'taught' to despise a group without having to know the underlying 'theory' of racism. And they simply 'knew' and probably could not even tell who taught them that. So, prejudices are carried on in society without an official (let alone legal) framework or blessing.

This got a satirist treatment already in 1931 btw (Sorry, no English version).
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_allem_sind_die_Juden_schuld
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhKtQASpbY0
(even a premonition of the 'gay agenda' here).

nous,
I dont know that I'm discounting it, but white supremacy is both an emotionally charged description and a very inaccurate characterization.

The supremacy is economic class supremacy. While primarily occupied by whites, very few whites actually participate.

While some of the economic impact is specifically against blacks(redlining) there is considerable impact on the poor community in general(paycheck cashing, aggressive policing, poor schools, limited housing, subprime mortgages).

The term engenders what I feel like is a false narrative that many of the things on the slide, obviously the more recent ones, are not applicable to poor whites.

Hartmut, on the other hand, it could have been a sign that anti-Semitism was being reined in. One generation learns not to say it. The next, thetefore, never hears it.

We saw something similar here in California with "yellow petil". When my mother was growing up, adults said it and meant it seriously. Her generation learned not to say it. My generation never heard it (except maybe in history class). Now, we only hear that view from people like Trump, and even the vast majority of the right wing here thinks it's ridiculous.

the poor community in general

this feels like "all poor people matter".

seems to me, the point of all this is: all other things being equal, many situations are likely to be harder for a black person than for a white person.

none of this is meant to say white people are all doing great, or that white lives don't matter, or that all white people are living their dreams. it's that black people face an additional headwind that white people don't.

The slide (from above) as a list:

01)KIDNAPPING & 300 YEARS OF ENSLAVEMENT, TORTURE, RAPE & BRUTALITY
02)MEDICAL experimentation
03)BLACK CODES
04)Sharecropping
05)BANS ON TESTIFYING AGAINST WHITES
06)MANDATORY SEGREGATION
07)BANS ON BLACK JURY SERVICE & VOTING
08)LYNCHINGS & MOB VIOLENCE
09)IMPRISONING people FOR unpaid WORK
10)BANS ON INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE
11)REDLINING TO PROFIT REALTORS & BANKERS
12)EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
13)EDUCATIONAL DISCRIMINATION
14)BIASED LAWS & POLICING PRACTICES
15)WHITE FLIGHT
16)Subprime mortgages
17)MASS incarceration
18)SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE
19)DISPROPORTIONATE SPECIAL ED REFERRALS & PUNISHMENTS
20)TESTING/TRACKING/school funding
21)BIASED MEDIA REPRESENTATION
22)HISTORICAL OMISSIONS

In my humble opinion and to the best of my knowledge:
ALL UPPERCASE means "applies to blacks as blacks".
All lowercase means "applies to poor whites and blacks.
Mixed CASE means "arguably applies to class, not race".

Not sure there's much proof of a "false narrative" there.

--TP

Again, that's intersectionality. White supremacy acts in parallel with classism and patriarchy and ableism, etc. and individuals may be more or less affected by any and all of those.

I'm intimately familiar with the economic class supremacy of which you speak, and of the panic that it causes when that comes up against white supremacy and pits minorities against poor whites for limited resources.

TO, I think the mixed case list is longer. Biased policing practices are mixed, educational discrimination is mixed, disproportionate special ed referrals(from personal expeqrience) is mixed. All among poor white and black.

And I am not saying there is no discrimination, there are biases certainly. The white supremacy label is a misleading characterization of reality.

Lastly, I hope everyone who hasn't could confirm that they have watched the whole video?

I have, but I didn't finish it until today. So I violated the letter of your post by commenting a couple of times before finishing it, but I tried to stay in the spirit of it by commenting minimally.

Maybe I'm some kind of SJW, but it made complete sense to me. Sometimes it was uncomfortable, but it was so because it rang true. I see much of the criticism of it on this thread as defensive misreading (unconscious straw-manning, maybe?).

Thanks, lj.

I'm happy to stipulate that poor white people are subject to many of the same things that black people in general are subject to.

That can be true, and it can also be true that black people are subject to those things because their skin is black. Whether they are poor, or not.

Also, to the degree that folks of whatever color skin are subject to those things specifically because they are poor, we need to address the fact that a disproportionate number of the poor are black. What the reasons - cultural, historical, legal, social - for that?

I have watched the whole thing. Some parts a few times.

One thing that these conversations about government and power, etc. have made me realize is how much of my own reception of DiAngelo's talk hinges on what I expect must be overlap in our disciplinary backgrounds (which is an ironic description, given that the readings in question are largely about "discipline"). I'm talking about the work of Michel Foucault.

For Foucault, and much of the American academy after the 1980s, power is not something that individuals have or do not have. Power is the networks of interconnected social relations that shape all of those involved in a particular social context and which none of those involved are entirely able to escape.

You don't have power - nor does your boss, king, religious leader have power. Power has us all.

https://aeon.co/essays/why-foucaults-work-on-power-is-more-important-than-ever

Which is why I never hear DiAngelo making any of the claims that wj hears her making, or implying. Because none of us is free from that sort of power structure.

All of which is well beyond the scope of a casual blog conversation, since it is, on balance, the work of two or three years of upper division undergrad/graduate reading and seminar discussion.

But I'd venture a guess that well over half of that Seattle Library audience had at least the upper division undergrad intro readings for Foucault working in the background.

Do fish think they’re flying, because they don’t know they’re in water? (Deep thought...)

why I never hear DiAngelo making any of the claims that wj hears her making, or implying

You may well be correct. (Sounds like something that came along in the social sciences after my college days.)

I would note that the vast majority of the population shares my ignorance of the field. Which means they are going to hear what I heard. However far that might be from what she intended to communicate. Not sure how you go about convincing the wider world of the validity of this new (to them) view of what power is.

I also watched the whole thing.

First, I found DiAngelo incredibly annoying, for many of the reasons given by McK and WJ.

On reflection, it seems to me that the whole thing hinges on what means by the specific term "racist." And by my definition she's full of it.

I went to Jr high school and high school in the middle of the Jim Crow South. My classmates, mostly, were racists. So were their parents. So was almost everybody, including especially the state and local politicians.

Sorry, Ms.DiAngelo, I decline to put myself in the same category as Bull Connor and George Wallace. And if you think I belong there you're badly mistaken, as, I should add, you are badly mistaken wrt any of the OW commentariat and no doubt many others.

This is not to say that I don't understand, and agree with, the idea that racism has deep roots in the country, including many of the issues around housing, education, and so on that she mentions. But the accusations of "fragility" are nonsense.

Take an example. DiAngelo talks about the narrative surrounding Jackie Robinson. Her claim seems to be that whites regarded him as the first black good enough to "break the color line," and wishes that the narrative was more about how he was the first black allowed to play.

Well, guess what. That is the story that is commonly told.

I'm a baseball fan, and a reader of writing about baseball. I've never read anything that suggested there weren't plenty of black players good enough to play in the major leagues. Instead the universally told tale is that Branch Rickey, operating in the liberal enclave of Brooklyn, decided to take the risk of signing Robinson over the opposition of others including some of his own players.

But hey. Per DiAngelo, Rickey was a racist.

Sorry, but I'm seriously unimpressed by her ideas.

russell, The simplest way to address black people disproportionately being poor is to effectively provide opportunity to poor people. If done successfully this will disproportionately help black people.

Sorry, Ms.DiAngelo, I decline to put myself in the same category as Bull Connor and George Wallace.

Dr. DiAngelo has the luxury of not having lived thru George Wallace and Bull Conner. For those who only know them, and Jim Crow, as history, it frequently appears all too easy to ignore how much different things are today.

We still need lots of changes, of course. And we appear to be moving towards getting some of them. But equating most whites today to serious and proud racists like Wallace and Conner (which she does)? Amazing how someone who lifved thru the 50s and 60s might decline to accept her views.

Similarly on Jackie Robinson. Anyone who knows baseball has heard, routinely, how a flood of black players arrived to the majors in his wake. Because, as anyone who knows baseball history knows, there were some truly awesome players in the Negro Leagues. My personal favorite example is Satchel Paige, who was 42 (yes, 42!) when he started his first major league game. Only imagine how good he was in his prime.

The simplest way to address black people disproportionately being poor is to effectively provide opportunity to poor people. If done successfully this will disproportionately help black people.

Can't argue with this on it's face, but it seems like begging the question to me.

And being disproportionately poor is not the only hindrance black people experience.

it seems to me that the whole thing hinges on what means by the specific term "racist."

I think this is exactly right.

To me, it's sufficient to note that black people are generally not treated the same as people who aren't black, and that that is generally to their disadvantage.

I don't really care what label anybody puts on it.

And what I think is being asked of white people, by black people, and perhaps even by Dr. DiAngelo although she seems to be rubbing people the wrong way, is to treat black people the same way they treat white people.

I'm sure most folks reading this will say, yeah, I already do that. That may well be true, if so you're probably not the problem. I congratulate you.

A lot of people aren't like you.

Black people aren't treated the same way as white people are. It's a problem, for them, and actually it's a problem for everyone, for the same reasons that all forms of ingrained and habitual inequity are a problem.

If the label is getting in the way, forget about the label. Look at the situation on the ground.

If the label is getting in the way, forget about the label. Look at the situation on the ground.

Definitely the right approach. And one which puts the priority in the right place.

Unfortunately, presentations like Dr DiAngelo's put the label center stage. Which is why I consider it an unforced error: doing so gets in the way of addressing a very real problem.

But equating most whites today to serious and proud racists like Wallace and Conner (which she does)?

I didn’t remotely get that out of what she said.

And what I think is being asked of white people, by black people, and perhaps even by Dr. DiAngelo although she seems to be rubbing people the wrong way, is to treat black people the same way they treat white people.

I think this is the crux of it, I dont think that's what she is asking. She is asking white people to treat black people the way black people define they should be treated. That is fundamentally different.

In some cases that is to be treated like white people. In other cases it is not at all that. And in some cases it is specifically to not be treated the way white people treat white people.

In some cases those things are perfectly reasonable, but they arent just wanting to be treated like white people.

She is asking white people to treat black people the way black people define they should be treated. That is fundamentally different.

I didn't get that, listening to her. I think it's closer to say that she wants white people to treat black people the way white progressives think black people ought (in their view) to want to be treated. Not quite the same thing.

Take an example. DiAngelo talks about the narrative surrounding Jackie Robinson. Her claim seems to be that whites regarded him as the first black good enough to "break the color line," and wishes that the narrative was more about how he was the first black allowed to play.

Well, guess what. That is the story that is commonly told.

I'm a baseball fan, and a reader of writing about baseball. I've never read anything that suggested there weren't plenty of black players good enough to play in the major leagues. Instead the universally told tale is that Branch Rickey, operating in the liberal enclave of Brooklyn, decided to take the risk of signing Robinson over the opposition of others including some of his own players.

I hear something different here when she tells this. She is pointing out that the way we tell the Jackie Robinson story is a way we ignore the systemic aspect of it. She actually agrees that this is the commonly told story. In fact, she says

And I want to do it through the Jackie Robinson story. You all know Jackie Robinson right. So Jackie Robinson has been quite celebrated
for doing something.

You note that no one ever says 'Branch Rickey broke the color line', though from one perspective that is true. But when we use 'broke the color line' we grant Jackie Robinson a sense of agency that he really didn't have. This is not to deny his courage, his will, his stubborness. But by acknowledging that the story is commonly told as Jackie Robinson broke the color line, we fail to understand that nuance that he was _allowed_ to break the color line. Having it as Robinson, doing it thru his will and determination, suggests that it was just a question of, as Al Campanis said 40 years later, African Americans having the 'necessities'

blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager" for these positions. Elsewhere in the interview, he said that blacks are often poor swimmers "because they don't have the buoyancy." Koppel says he gave Campanis several opportunities to clarify, ("Do you really believe that?") or back down from his remarks, but Campanis confirmed his views with his replies. Koppel also pointed out that much of what Campanis was saying "sounds a lot like the garbage we heard 40 years ago." Campanis was fired less than 48 hours later.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Campanis

Yay! Al Campanis was fired! But what was done to remediate the lack of managers in MLB
https://theshadowleague.com/mlbs-black-manager-crisis-what-about-bo-porter/
https://sports.yahoo.com/dusty-baker-lack-of-african-american-mlb-managers-is-very-dangerous-trend-184238335.html
https://theundefeated.com/features/the-state-of-the-black-manager-in-major-league-baseball-would-disgust-jackie-robinson/

I don't think Campanis is in the same catagory as Bull Connor or George Wallace (though Wallace is an interesting person and I may comment on that later)Al Campanis was basically a scapegoat for a system that refuses to change. And he was able to hold on to those views because, just as DiAngelo pointed out at 15:31.

So after civil rights racism got reduced to the following formula a racist is an individual who consciously does not like people based on race and is intentionally mean to them always an individual must be conscious must be intentional. And that definition exempts virtually all white people from the system of racism this definition I believe is the root of virtually all white defensiveness on racism. ... It makes it virtually impossible to talk to the average white person about the inevitable absorption of a racist worldview that we get from being socialized in a racist culture in which white supremacy is the bedrock because you suggest anything I have done is racially problematic in any way and I'm going to hear a question to my moral character and I'm going to need to defend my moral character.

If you want, as Russell suggests, to call it something else, that's fine. But the word needs to be as strong as 'racist' and make people stop doing it when it is pointed out that this is what they are doing.

I take the position that we are all racist and I've said it here. It's baked into the system, in the way we have social relations with African Americans, in the way our society reinforces barriers and lines. This is how we are socialized into it.

wj, I can hear what what you're saying too.

though Wallace is an interesting person and I may comment on that later.

One fascinating thing about Wallace is that there is some reason to suspect that he was, for lack of a better term, a racist of convenience, rather than a true believer. That is, he postured like a racist for what he took to be electoral advantage. Little known fact: in his first run for office, Wallace ran as a (relative) progressive on race. His opponent hammered him for it. Wallace lost, and vowed never to make that mistake again.

Actually, what she explicitly says is that white people mostly have no idea what black people want because black people don't trust white people enough to have that conversation.

Which is something I have heard from combat veterans about civilians as well. Those people - those other people - don't want to have a conversation. They want reassurances that they are not bad people and aren't willing to hear anything that might make them uncomfortable.

I've heard lots of uncomfortable things from combat veterans. I haven't heard them from blacks because I haven't done the work to build the trust, though I do get the start of that in some of the things that are written for me.

DiAngelo is also not saying these things for herself. She's saying them for the black people she works with because those black people are tired of carrying white people's emotional baggage around for them. At least that is what my black colleagues say. They are tired of doing that work. She tells that story at the end as part of her bit about her joke about her co-worker's hair.

I do agree with wj, though, that most people will not hear what is being said. That's not because of how she says it, though, it's because they only want small talk and reassurance for themselves, and not the burden of the real shit.

We live on the surface of a Southern Gothic story in the US and pretend that the ghosts aren't real. But the strange fruit is still growing on the trees.

most people will not hear what is being said. That's not because of how she says it, though, it's because they only want small talk and reassurance for themselves, and not the burden of the real shit.

What you appear to be saying here is that there is simply no way to get the message across. And yet, we are currently seeing protests across the country which have (if you believe the polls) better than 2/3 of the population behind them. Something got thru to them. Is watching someone murdered on video the only way to reach people?

Or might there also be a way to accomplish it with words? The right words.

Looking at our history I'd say that making people watch it happen *and seeing people they identify with doing it* is about the only way to accomplish it. Otherwise it is, with a nod to Douglas Adams, Somebody Else's Problem.

Something got thru to them. Is watching someone murdered on video the only way to reach people?

Helluva way to get change. If I wanted to be sarcastic, I'd say well, at least white folks don't have to worry that they are going to get sacrificed for it.

And I think Russell is saying it shouldn't be this hard. The harder it is, the more it reinforces DiAngelo's thesis.

I also have to say that I'm closest to Nous' views on this. The question is how do I as an individual, do the work to bridge that gap? Some could argue that I ran away from it, I moved to Japan so I could preserve my sense of liberality as a neo-minority on the other side of the world. Someone could say I chickened out, I wasn't prepared to fight. Probably true. But if I think I should have stayed home, exactly what should I have done?

they arent just wanting to be treated like white people.

white people mostly have no idea what black people want because black people don't trust white people enough to have that conversation.

I'm generally on board with nous.

Here's my super-secret plan: let's all of us white people start treating black people like we treat other white people, and see how far that gets us.

If there are still issues to sort out after that, we can sort them out. From that baseline.

Until we get to that baseline, I don't think we get to tell black people what they should and should not expect from us.

Just my opinion.

What I, personally, take away from DiAngelo is that I, as a white person, probably think about and interact with black people differently than I do with white people. Because their skin is black.

And, that's true of a lot of white people.

And, due to our history and culture, that ends up being harmful to black people.

And, a lot of white people have a hard time hearing all of that, because the tendency to think about and interact with black people differently than we do other white people can justifiably be called 'racism', and nobody wants to think of themselves as being racist.

Least of all people who see themselves as, for lack of a better word, 'woke'.

That's what I hear her saying. It seems pretty much accurate, to me.

What I see in this thread and in the other thread where this is being discussed is that a lot of people are reacting to the idea that they may think and behave in ways that could be characterized as 'racist'.

So, my suggestion is don't worry about the label. Just see if you can be candid with yourself. See if there are ways that you think about and interact with black people differently than you do with white people. Think about how a black person might receive that.

Maybe even try to develop relationships with black people that are sufficiently candid and trusting, that they can tell you how they receive it.

Or at least extend the benefit of the doubt when black people publicly talk about how they receive it.

Right?

And I'm sure that black people are prone to some of the same bullshit. I'm sure that a lot of black people make assumptions about white people, and interact with us in ways that are different than how they interact with other black people.

And all of that is harmful, too.

But in general, all of that ends up working to the disadvantage of black people, and to the advantage of white people. Because, our history and culture is what it is.

So the way I see it, we - white people - need to go first.

We need to achieve the baseline of thinking about and treating black people the way we think about and treat each other.

If we get that far, then we can start telling them what we need them to do. If anything, maybe just getting that far will be sufficient.

That's my point of view.

But none of this conversation is going to amount to much if we can't at least recognize and candidly acknowledge that, as a generalization but an accurate one, white people think about and treat black people differently than they do other white people, and that generally ends up to the disadvantage of black people.

A generalization. It might not apply to you, there are always exceptions to every rule. But a pretty accurate generalization. In my opinion and experience.

If we can't at least get that on the table, the whole conversation is an exercise in denial.

In my opinion.

Is watching someone murdered on video the only way to reach people?

The sad truth of social progress in this country is that, yes, it generally takes something on the order of watching somebody getting murdered to get people's asses in gear.

Pick a civil rights topic - any civil rights topic - and look at the history. And then tell me I'm wrong. We need to be shamed into it before substantive change happens.

Maybe that's true of all people. Maybe it's just a human trait. But it is certainly true of us - of Americans.

Inertia is a powerful force.

what everyone said

Here's my super-secret plan: let's all of us white people start treating black people like we treat other white people, and see how far that gets us.

Absolutely the right way to go. The only thing we really seem to be having any disagreement about is how to get the population in general to behave that way.

lj,

Here is what she says about Jackie Robinson;

And I want to do it through the Jackie
Robinson story. You all know Jackie Robinson right. So Jackie Robinson has been quite celebrated
for doing something. What's the tag line that goes with Jackie Robinson. He he broke the color line
right. Now so let's do a little discourse analysis.
[00:13:40] Because every year on the anniversary we celebrate him breaking the color line so think about what that invokes. He was exceptional. He was special. He did it. Finally one of them had what
it took to break through and play with us up until him. Nobody had what it took. So subtext inferior
group. But he did it. And of course the day he did it the day he broke the color line racism in sports ended so imagine if we told a story like this Jackie Robinson the first black man that whites allowed to
play Major League Baseball. And I want you to notice the difference in that story one that's the truth.

This reads to me pretty clearly as if she is saying the standard story is that finally a black player came along who was good enough to play in the major leagues. And then she says the true story is that he was the first allowed to play, and that there were other exceptional black players who weren't allowed to do so, and that's the one that should be told.

And my point is that that what she accurately calls the true story is also the standard story. Never have I heard or read anything that says Robinson was the first sufficiently talented black player. Quite the contrary. The opposite is universally acknowledged.

Nor have I ever heard or read a claim that the signing of Robinson ended racism in sports. That's absurd beyond belief.

Now, I don't feel like this is nitpicking. I put it with the point Marty raised about her criticism of the survey to say that DiAngelo seems to want to fit everything into her frame, whether it goes there or not. What else has she misinterpreted?

Russell says, referring to the definition of racism:

I don't really care what label anybody puts on it.

I do care. First, if DiAngelo wants to convince me of some point about race, starting off by insulting me is not a good plan. Second, if everybody is racist the word loses its meaning. We need to be able to condemn the Bull Connors and Orval Faubus's of the world, and distinguish them from the mass of white people.

Here's my super-secret plan: let's all of us white people start treating black people like we treat other white people, and see how far that gets us.

Most people think this is the way to go, so I'll be the outlier. For a lot of reasons, I think this is problematic. Reason One--just as African Americans can use certainly racially charged words in conversation with one another, WP's are--or should be--very conscious of not using those words. Far too often, we see WP's who use a particularly problematic word in the context of quoting another person yet being called out and t-mobbed for having done so. So, no, do not treat AA's the same as WP's if you are a WP. Instead, keep in mind that there is a limited but very real number of topics that require careful word choice, avoiding making assumptions and trying to be aware of how your words land. Whether you actually create an issue or create the pretext for a faux issue is beside the point.

Here's an illustration, but not using AA's. I have an Asian, female employee (Taiwanese is her preferred form of ID). I would never ask her for a recommendation for a good Chinese restaurant. Why? She's culturally American, doesn't really like Chinese food (I found this out by happenstance) and prefers Mexican food. So, if someone who didn't know her asked about a good Chinese restaurant, they would be stereotyping. However, asking me about a good Chinese restaurant would be, well, asking me about a good Chinese restaurant.

However, in a different context, my dentist--a friend and someone I've known 20 plus years--is Vietnamese and is very well connected in the Vietnamese community in Houston. I wouldn't hesitate to ask her for a restaurant reference, and she wouldn't think anything of it if I did (and, I have!).

Reason Two: speaking only for myself, I address men in one voice, women in a different voice and mixed crowds in yet another voice, but it is closer to my "female audience" voice. My word choice is softer, my metaphors and language selection less edgy and I pitch my voice differently. Am I condescending, patronizing, etc? I hope not. Rather, I'm trying to not be an assertive, intimidating "male" and just a person. I'm pretty good at it, actually, given that most of my colleagues are female and prefer working with me to working with a lot of other male attorneys.

If I'm speaking to an AA, particularly someone I don't know well, I'm pretty neutral on a lot of topics that I would be less reticent on with a WP recent acquaintance. Why? Because I don't want black people I meet to think I'm putting them on the spot because they are black. I can agree/disagree comfortably with a WP on a variety of topics and not worry that the other person will think I have some unspoken agenda or that they are being tested.

I don't mind, for example, poking fun at friends' politics (right or left), but I would be much less likely to do so with any POC for fear of sending the unintended message that I'm stereotyping their politics and putting them in an uncomfortable position of having to justify their beliefs when in fact, all I'm doing with WP's is making a joke. IOW, what's funny to one person in one context is not funny to another person in a different context.

As I get to know someone who is AA or Hispanic or what-have-you--or better, as they get to know me and have better sense of where I'm coming from--it's a lot easier for both of us to be more open.

My general rules of engagement are: be polite, try to avoid making assumptions, make eye contact, smile or say hello, keep an open mind, maintain situational awareness and signal an interest in engaging, if the situation warrants, e.g. sitting next to someone on a flight.

I could go on and on but I've already spent more time this week here at ObWi than is professionally responsible. I hope we come back to this topic, particularly the subject of 'structural racism' and Foucault. If we do, I promise not to use any scatological terms.

Reason One--just as African Americans can use certainly racially charged words in conversation with one another, WP's are--or should be--very conscious of not using those words.

i've mentioned this here before, but TN Coates's explanation of this is perfect: my wife and her friends all call each other "bitch", freely, happily, with great affection - or sometimes in anger! but i would never expect to be able to call any of them a "bitch", in any situation, without, um, severe negative repercussions.

you can call members of your family names that nobody outside your family would use without expecting severe negative repercussions.

same with your close friends.

so it goes with 'those words'.

I think russell and McKinney are both right. I think what russell says may be more applicable on a societal level, whereas what McKinney says may be more applicable on an interpersonal level.

Also, too, deep down McKinney is one of us, but he can't bring himself to admit it. ;^)

Most people think this is the way to go, so I'll be the outlier.

All of the examples you raise are apt and on point, IMO.

I'll rephrase:

My new, improved, super-secret plan is, let's all of us white people treat black people the way we would like to be treated ourselves, and see how far that takes us.

Feel free to adjust "the way we would like to be treated ourselves" to account for differences in sensibility, social standing, how well you know the other party, and/or whatever other concerns seem relevant, as long as those are motivated by concern for the other party's well-being.

If you're not sure what the right thing to do is, you can always ask. Might be awkward, for a minute. If asking seems inappropriate, just do your best.

OK?

Let's all do that, and see where we end up. If we get that far, I suspect the issue will suddenly be a whole lot more tractable.

Test

I tried to post after Russell's 5:08 (is that just for my time zone or what?) and I haven't read anything after that because I have 3 online classes today. apologies for not taking in anything after Russell's, it's all I can do to get this up.
=====
I'm a huge fan of the wrs tag, but here, I've got to push back a little. I'm sure that everyone here would say (and I'd say the vast majority of us are probably white here?) that they treat black people the same as they do white people. In fact, I'm sure that in everyday living, they probably do. The issue is not 'treating black people like white people', it is 'letting black people tell us what we should do'.

Easy for me to say. I can count the number of African Americans I speak with on one hand. Of course, I treat them just like White people (I say confidently and with no trace of irony)

On a journey, it is always nice if we can point to an epiphany, a moment when we realize, like Paul, that the scales have been removed from our eyes. Yet, in relating them, we can construct them out of raw material and set them up, even though back then, they weren't that evident. For me, when Katrina hit and they had a photo of African Americans getting supplies from a large box store and the photo was captioned as looting and I thought boy things must be bad. And then, not more than a few hours later, whites doing the same thing and that was captioned as 'organizing relief supplies'. I realized, even though I never spoke to an African American about it, I had classified them. Now, I could just try to justify it, say 'oh, they should have contacted the owner, I'm sure if they had told the police what was up, etc etc.' But, (and I get no pleasure out of pointing this out) would they have been treated the same as whites? So despite my individual treatement of AA, my lazy reflexes classified them. I was racist. I have to own that.

So what do I do now? I shut up. I listen. If I meet an African American, I say hi and I spend all my time listening. And asking questions. And not using their experiences as some anecdata to justify my opinions. I treat it as something revealed in strictest confidence and I can't and won't use it to prop up any arguments I make.

Strangely enough, that whole process has made me a better teacher. I listen to my students more. I still fall into talking to much and I enjoy analyzing things.

To me, I see a link between COVID and George Floyd. It's not just one death that is causing this, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Just like DiAngelo's example of Jackie Robinson, if we think that it just was George Floyd's death, or even if we add a roll call after that. Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Samuel DuBose. So when you say is watching someone murdered on video, well, it is if only because it requires an nearly 9 minute demonstration (with 3 other police around him doing nothing) to have people wake up. So maybe you might understand why people call other people racists and get angry.

I'm addressing this to Russell and I know he groks it, so I hope he won't mind if I use him as a stand in for everyone else on the blog. If you just say I'm enlightened, I'm not racist, I treat African Americans the same as I treat whites, you still don't get it. And just because I'm doing the lecturing in this comment, I don't get it, not in my bones and my lived experience.

In the Gary Younge talk that I posted in the other thread and I post here
https://www.doubledown.news/watch/2020/5/june/black-lives-matter-george-floyd-the-question-of-violence-gary-young

He points out that he doesn't think that COVID and George Floyd are not unrelated and I think that is on the money. By placing so much stress on the system and exposing how the system has African Americans suffering much more than Whites, you begin to realize that if it wasn't George Floyd's death that was the straw, it would have been another. It's as if someone says X was the straw that broke the camel's back, and everyone leaps up to analyze the straw, determine what straw properties did this, how can we make better straws when the problem is never going to be that, it's going to be the system that keeps dumping shittons of straw on the backs of camels.

Getting back to COVID, a facebook picture meme said something like 'treat racism like COVID, act as if you and everyone else has it. Take steps not to let it spread. Don't blame anyone if they have it' Which seems exactly right to me.

I'll co-sign that meme, lj.

Pretty much a lurker here, but thought I would make a couple of points.

Russell: "My new, improved, super-secret plan is, let's all of us white people treat black people the way we would like to be treated ourselves, and see how far that takes us."

So in other words, the Golden Rule? You just earned yourself an 'Amen'.

I think a useful distinction regarding white people and racism is the one between *fault* and *responsibility*.

While a white person who does not personally harbor racist attitudes and thoughts and does not outwardly behave in a racist fashion may not be at 'fault' for racism, he or she is still RESPONSIBLE because they are a citizen and/or participant in a society that has been built on a racist basis. They benefit from being in that society. They are an heir to its legacy and continuation. And they owe a duty to try to correct it.

Whereas the outright racist bears BOTH fault and responsibility. Not only do they have responsibility, but also fault, because they are helping to perpetuate the injustice and probably inculcating their kids and others they might influence with the malignancy.

Just my $.02.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad