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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Am I / Are You / Are We Racist?


As an anti-racist, I'm often active in the blogging community to discuss those issues. Recently, I found myself embroiled in a long debate occurring at a blog I used to frequent, Abagond's. The topic is, "The Hearts of White People". Naturally, as a White person, I thought I'd comment.

But as I read the post, two things stuck out to me. 1) the author, Abagond states that White people have hearts of stone, and 2) guesses that we suffer from a psychological disorder. And that this explains why White people are racist.

At that point I decided to do more than comment.

***Author's note: the thread, and subsequently this post have been updated as events have continued. Please take that into consideration.*** 

But little did I know how quickly my comments would inflame the situation! Faster than you can say, "tit for tat," I was assailed on all sides for putting people on blast for comments like: White people are "demonic", "suffering from psychosis", "suffering from a spiritual malady", or that solely based on the fact that they're White, have something "wrong with them", and that White people need to accept that being born White is "something bad that's happened to them". 

Because I had the temerity to question these arguments, Abagond along with some of his commenters began projecting all of the unfortunate racist garbage they've dealt with onto me.

Seriously! These are people who constantly fight against racism -- as I've done on my blog -- and yet there they, making racist arguments, defending them, and blaming me for not accepting them wholesale! They attempted to obfuscate with links to derailment topics, Racism 101 essays, and all manner of opportunities to point out that I just "don't get it". Not because I don't already know this stuff. (I do.) But because I'm White.

More to the point, when their arguments were revealed as being prejudiced, ignorant, bigoted -- and when even the author, Abagond admitted to this still they defend them and asked why I was making such a big deal about a little thing like this!

Why? Because it's Wrong. Isn't that the whole point of anti-racism? Because shit like this is Wrong.

So why defend the indefensible? Why defend your own internalized racism? Why not admit to it and deal with it like you've asked others to do?

However I don't believe that they really believe the things they wrote, at least not Abagond, based on my personal experience with racism, racists, his blog, etc. Honestly though, this whole situation could've been avoided if they'd just admitted, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. Let me clarify my position." Then we could've moved on with our lives.

But noooooooooope!

Eventually it got to the point where they actively began lying, not just about what they'd said, but also about what I'd said. Abagond, and a vocal minority of the commenters attempted to put words in my mouth, beat down Straw man arguments, ad hominem, ignore my questions, refuse to answer them, or pretend to answer them by talking about something else entirely.

White people were compared to rapists, wife-beaters, and even Hitler! (Godwin's Law anybody?) Scientific studies were twisted and warped to justify the dehumanization of White people as deformed, Born Racists. Yet the hilariously dramatic, and horribly prejudiced truth of those comments were beaten down, time and again, because how dare I, or any other White person in the conversation question their hypocrisy and ignorance. Why, then I'm acting just like all those other White racists!

(Huh?)

Yet a Black commenter, Kwamla, and eventually another named King, who both made extremely similar arguments to my own, were treated completely different to the point that there was nary a peep! (However, now they've started calling them "house negroes" and other offensive terms as their comments have continued to question their ignorance.)

And the really bizarre thing is, when legitimate arguments were made to explain White racism -- y'know, like being raised in a racist society -- those arguments were ignored and dismissed in favor of prejudiced guesses and ignorant assumptions! Yep. They'd rather that White people were psychotic demons, than admit that we're flawed humans just like they are.

I suggest you check out the entire thread for yourself. Though it's quite long, there are a few choice comments by me that I'd recommend looking at first: here, here, here, and here. I also highly recommend reading the arguments posted by commenters: King, Kwamla, Jas0n, and The Cynic, as they support (and at different times disagree with) my own position, while often building off my observations in different directions. Their thoughts are invaluable and I have appreciated their opinions throughout the conversation.

(Kinda makes you think of video games differently, right?)


The whole exchange has reminded me about Paul Kivel's guidelines for being a strong White ally in anti-racism. It's often difficult because so often my comments are ignored, dismissed, held with suspicion, constantly vetted, and often attacked. But I've accepted that as part of the struggle. I understand why that is, and I'm fine with it.

It'll never be as bad as the anti-Semitism I've faced. It'll never be as hard as the racism within me that I've had to confront.

However, I can't help but worry that these people hurt the movement. They bog it down. They scare away my fellow pale faces because its become so prejudiced and offensive that they write off everything. And ultimately, we need to get White people to listen if you're going to change racism in America.

I remember a scene from a movie, entitled Spinning Into Butter. In the film, the character Simon (a young Black college student) is seemingly the victim of hate-crimes, but eventually it is revealed that he is the one leaving slurs and epithets around campus. This happens in a very interesting way: as he's outside a Black frat/sorority house, tagging the walls with racial slurs he gets caught by one of the Black male residents. But when they see who he really is, they call in a Black reporter who's been around covering the story. After a long discussion they decide they have to turn him in, even though it turns their stomachs.

Why? Because now White people will have an easier time dismissing racism, saying, "oh, it's something they just do to themselves, something they've made up in their heads -- see we're not racist!"

Ultimately, it hurts the cause.

Maybe that's my privilege as a White person to see it that way, but that's how I feel. Sick to my stomach. Not just because Abagond and his groupies are saying offensive things about me, my family, and my friends who happen to be White and just because we're White, but because their comments are only fueling the flame of racism in America -- just like all the White racist trolls that spam this blog on a regular basis -- even as they claim to be fighting against it! Their lies convince none but themselves.
 
Just check the following links to all the posts Abagond's been making lately, here, here, and here. Each one is filled with vitriol, spin, twisting of words, false memories, Straw man arguments, ad hominem, and a veritable host of non sequiturs.

Their lies attempt to drown out the truth.

But that's life. I take this whole thing in stride, with perspective. This'll be one of the few times in my life where someone will give me crap for being White (as opposed to giving me crap for being Jewish, or whatever). And when I look at the real world, I know the sad truth is that White racism is still very much a problem in America. So instead of focusing on a microcosm of a universe that doesn't exist, instead of wasting time with trolls and demagogues, I'll just have faith that my comments will be testament enough, and keep it moving. I've already managed to make myself heard, and to me that's the most important thing. What do you think?

***Author's note: the thread, and subsequently this post have been updated as events have continued. Please take that into consideration.***



Cheers

116 footnotes:

jas0nburns said...

"However, I can't help but worry that these people hurt the movement. They bog it down. They scare away my fellow pale faces because it's so prejudiced and offensive that they write off everything. And ultimately, you need to get the White people to listen if you're going to change racism in America."

cosign, of course they would say that's just "trying to take center stage" or some nonsense

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

Yes! I know, right? But I don't care about being center-stage, or whatever other shit they're saying. I just want to *do something* about racism, because I fucking care.

Thanks for commenting, by the way. My blog does get kinda empty-seeming sometimes.

jas0nburns said...

Well, I was thinking about it today and in reference to this post

http://abagond.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/i-do-not-write-this-blog-for-white-people/

I mean it's fair enough, maybe we should be the ones trying to get other pale faces to listen and not rely on POC to do that, or police how they get their message across.

I think WP have our own reasons to support anti-racism. For example I think racism is mainly what separates the Tea Party from all those people protesting on wall street right now.

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

I agree that White people should be actively engaged in educating other White people about racism, but I shy away from taking a "leadership" role in anti-racism because I feel that's a right & privilege of PoC who've been involved in this looooong before I came around.

And I don't really want to police the message, because again that's not my job, nor is it really something White people involved in anti-racism should be doing.

That said though... I feel conflicted, and uncomfortable that anti-racist messages are often twisted and devolve into merely a regurgitation of bigotry by other means. I think famously of early Amiri Baraka, Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Moor, the Black Israelites, and other such groups who's legitimate criticisms of racism are dismissed because they're contained within such bigotry.

I do agree that the Tea Party is pretty damn racist, and anyone can easily see that just from their protest signs. Did you see how John Stewart juxtaposed converage of Occupy Wall Street with the Tea Party? I thought it was really well done.

Mira said...

WTF is going on?!? I don't frequent Abagond that often anymore, and I had no idea about the newest drama.

Look: we all know Abagond is highly subjective, just like the rest of us. Sometimes he admits it, sometimes he doesn't (and my experience says he is more ready to admit his racism than his sexism), but I always respected him for admitting this. Maybe he's changed.

And maybe I should read the whole thread and see what's going on before commenting on the situation.

PS- "and, solely based on the fact that their White, have something "wrong with them"

Did you mean: "the fact that THEY'RE white..." ? Sorry for being a prick here; I just don't understand the sentence.

Zek J Evets said...

Mira,

Trust me, I had Kwamla, Jason, The Cynic, and even King (at times) backing me up and STILL Abagond refused to take responsibility for what he said, and defended the many prejudiced statements of his commenters. (One of whom attempted to present "scientific evidence" as to how White people in general suffer from psychosis.)

Oh, and thanks for catching that grammar mistake! Fixed it.

Mira said...

I'll take my time to read the whole post. I don't have a clue why this post ended up being that popular.

As for Abagond, or anybody else for that matter, it's difficult to admit your own racism (or other forms of prejudice). It's nothing new.

lifeexplorerdiscovery said...

Honestly, I can't really sympathize here.

1. I agree with 90% of what Abagond says

2. Why are you surprised that you got attacked? That tends to happen when you comment on a blog where you know the majority of commentors can be classified as either supporters or trolls.

Heck that is why I stopped going to the blog a year or two ago, I got tired of all the trolls who always misread Abagond's post.

But I do have a problem with what you said about how a few can ruin the cause. This is the reason people like Abagond are so anti-white, they are tired of the fact that blacks are not seen as individuals.

If a few black separatists deter white people from supporting anti-racism then chances are they were never truly supporters in the first place and were using the movement in an altruistic way til it no longer benefited them.

Zek J Evets said...

lifeexplorediscovery,

You don't have to sympathize if you don't want to, but...

1. Do you agree with the comments about White people that were made in this particular instance?

2. I'm surprised I got attacked by Abagond. The other commenters were shocking, but not necessarily surprising. Abagond, however, always portrayed himself as above that kind of ignorance.

Contrary to you, me and most people I know who read Abagond's blog stopped going because of his inconsistency in his comments policy, his stance on different forms of prejudice, and how ban-happy he can get if you make a serious challenge to him.

they are tired of the fact that blacks are not seen as individuals.

Fair enough. I apologize if that's what you got from my comments, because I'm not trying to see Black people, or any people as representative. That's why I held so strongly to judging Abagond, and some of his commenters based on THEIR standards instead of my own, including putting them on blast when they espoused that kind of hypocrisy.

Essentially, judging White people by the lowest common denominator is unacceptable. Just like it's unacceptable when racists judge Black people by the lowest common denominator.

But my main point in saying how they hurt the cause is that for White people who aren't anti-racists are going to be deterred when they see prominent individuals in anti-racism engaging in bigotry themselves.

That's all I was saying. And it's a valid point. But I digress.

In the end, all a person can do is shake their head and keep it moving.

jas0nburns said...

lifeexplorerdiscovery

agreed about the fair-weather anti-racist thing. Not saying that was what Zek was trying to say but it's a valid point either way.

Zek

Don't ask me why but I have a strong suspicion that Aspergum is actually a white concern troll. Could be wrong but she hasn't yet answered my direct inquiry.

lifeexplorerdiscovery said...

1. I've had one too many experiences with racism so yeah, I agree with Abagond. Secondly, I can't take black "racism" as serious as white considering blacks have little power in the US to really ever do anything to white people like what white people have done and still do to blacks.

2. If a black separatist is enough to dissuade a racist from changing their view, then they probably never were going to in the first place. A racist cannot change, at the end of the day, they will still have racists views in some shape or form.

And maybe people like Abagond realize that the "cause" is going nowhere, things have only gotten worse in the last 20 years and a lot of racial progress has been upended with little to no objection from whites. Abagond is just quicker than most blacks about seeing this reality.

Student of the World said...

I don't have time to read all of it yet. I will don't worry. But you mentioned :" Contrary to you, me and most people I know who read Abagond's blog stopped going because of his inconsistency in his comments policy, his stance on different forms of prejudice, and how ban-happy he can get if you make a serious challenge to him."

Yes that pisses me off. When someone presents a valid counter view to the OP, the OP just shut them out of the conversation rather than respond/concede the point to the other person, if they are right.

A similiar thing happened to me at Ankhensen Mie that I am working on a similiar post about, nice to see we are of like minds :p

I noticed that at Abagond's too. I guess everyone has a blind spot.

The only time it pisses me off is because, people really need to leave their egos behind when they debate and just try to think and absorb ideas. They can shut down an interesting thought progression by being too proud/angry/stubborn to listen to someone or just ignoring what they say entirely.

The funny thing is with regard to the Ankhensen Mie, post she looked really stupid for deleting my comments because in the earlier part of the comments she was agreeing with me.

It was like : "Oh you're right. See? She gets it."
Then later: "Bitch you're wrong, get the fuck out of here!"(figuratively)

I know that enough people probably agreed with me that chose to lurk because they didn't want the same thing to happen to them. Even if they didn't vocalize it in the comments.

She did a subsequent post where she said that my basic point was correct and that the more she thought about it( I guess people had been emailing her.) she understood.

So I'm not mad, at least I got myself understood. Because that was all I wanted. But Damn! Why all the hostility all of the sudden?

And blocking comments is a bitch move, especially when you know that you're wrong, or made a totally non-sequitar bullshit point and found that they couldn't defend it so you just end the argument rather than concede that the other person does have a point. Why is it so hard to admit you're wrong or made a mistake?

Never the less I won't be commenting there anymore for that reason and I got the message that unless I'm singing her praises, all up on her dick(figuratively speaking)my input is not wanted.

And again, not mad. When I disagree I try my best not to insult people
(unnecessary bitch move), but I hate it when people get emotional just to provoke an insult/fight. Grow up.

And I understand your perspective about why this puts people off the anti-racism bandwagon, although I still disagree for reasons you've probably already heard. I get how you feel. You're upset and tired, with good reason.

Ultimately, it hurts the cause.

And that's how I feel. Sick to my stomach. Not just because Abagond and his groupies are saying offensive things about me, my family, and my friends who happen to be White and just because we're White, but because their comments are only fueling the flame of racism in America -- just like all the White racist trolls that spam this blog on a regular basis -- even as they claim to be fighting against it! Their lies convince none but themselves.

But that's life. I'll just have faith that my comments will be testament enough, and keep it moving. I've already managed to make myself heard, and to me that's the most important thing. What do you think?


I feel you. And my response is essentially the same.

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

Aspergum and Matari are both suspicious to me. Aspergum because he/she refuses to identity themselves, whether by race, gender, etc., and while that's their right... it does make it harder to take them seriously when they could just be anyone.

Matari is suspicious because he/she is trying to be funny like Herneith, but failing. Miserably.

Lifeexplorediscovery,

1. I agree, and I said as much in the post that this'll probably be one of the only times that anyone will ever give me crap for being White -- as opposed to when people give me crap for being Jewish.

I don't think Black racism is that big of a deal. In fact, I think it's pretty low on the scale of Isms, but I'm still not going to give it a pass when I see it, and I'm definitely going to call it out when it's thrown at me.

2. Hmm... I'm not sure if I agree or disagree with you, but I'd like to ask then: how do you feel when Abagond himself admits that he's racist? Do you think that discredits him in your eyes like it would for a White racist?

I do disagree that things have gotten worse. I think things have changed, but not better or worse overall. Just different. Maybe that's the privilege of my race, but I can't help juxtaposing Obama as a catalyst, along with Herman Cain, alongside the growing vocal minority of conservatives (reactionary, Tea Party, or otherwise) who've begun utilizing racist-speech into their protests. I see the links that you're making to say that things have gotten worse, but I see it as a change instead of a rolling-back.

Again, this might just be my privilege talking, but I see it that way because I notice things getting harder on everyone, and because I continually see a shifting of racism in America to denial as opposed to just plain not talking about it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm disgusted at some of what's been said, but I'm glad people are at least talking about it. I consider that a start, because I remember there was a time when race was NEVER mentioned, even among Whites (when they forgot I wasn't quite White and just spoke freely around me).

Anyhoo, that's just my guess. But I could be horribly wrong too. Maybe you've got some thoughts?

Student of the World,

Thanks, and I'm sorry to hear something similar happened to you. But the way it turned out seems like a positive ending, and maybe mine will be too.

Franklin said...

I've been away for a while and haven't visited Abagond's (or any blog really) in a while. I haven't finished reading the thread, but so far, it seems like all this stemmed from the lack of a (necessary) qualifying term before saying "white people". Like "racist" or "some". Which would have prevented some hurt feelings.

Zek J Evets said...

Franklin,

Hmm, I'm not sure if that'd be enough to really have completely avoided the problem, although it would have made it easier I suppose...

"Some White people" should think of being born White as "something bad that's happened to them"... See, it still sounds pretty messed-up to me.

Zek J Evets said...

Anonymous,

I appreciate your comment, but unfortunately I do not accept anonymous comments on my blog. Please choose a name, repost your comment and I'll be happy to respond.

Mira said...

Ok, here's what happened: for some reason my (ancient) computer crashes when I try to open that thread. It's not the first time something like this happens; the same scenario happens each time I try to view a Wordpress page with many comments.

Fortunatelly (?) Abagond has posted a new thread, dedicated to Zek, so I might jump into the conversion until it's hundreds of replies long.

That being said, as far as I can tell there were some personal attacks, right? (Judging by Abagonds tone and that Bambi and Jews comment), so I can only assume it wasn't pretty (the argument, I mean), and for some reason I didn't contribute to the overall discussion.

I know subjects such as racism, prejudice, discrimination, genocide, anti-semitism, etc. are always personal for those who experience it, but I don't think they should be taken to the personal level (am I making sense here?) to the point of ad hominem. (Or getting too personal to start intimate internet drama).

I mean, who needs this shit?

PS- And I'm still intrigued about this, since I still don't know what was the main argument in that thread I can't open.

proudchocolategirl said...

"But as I read the post, two things stuck out to me. 1) the author, Abagond states that White people have hearts of stone, and 2) guesses that we suffer from a psychological disorder. And that this explains why White people are racist."

i didnt' see anywhere in the post where abagond said white people had hearts of stone, I did see that he said:

"My best guess is that it is a psychological disorder caused by the way they bring up their children. What White Americans would quickly call a pathology if it were found in black people."

what i gathered from that was that abagond was stating that some white people pass their racist pathologies onto the their children, some pass their paranoia of those who aren't white and it becomes a psychological disorder. I did not take that to mean whites as people were inherently pathological. that is not what i took from it and that is not what is written...maybe I'm wrong.

i can't speak to the other commenters on the blog, but I don't think abagond's post says any of those things.

im sorry i haven't been following every comment, but judging from abagond's post, I fail to see where he said white people were psychotic.

but i agree with you that white people are people just like anyone else and are flawed, it's not that white people are inherently more evil or worse than other people it's THE SYSTEM of white supremacy and brainwashing that has become a part of the white identity and culture that is the culprit and the problem and too many white people are passing that down both consciously and unconsciously to their children by the way they raise them.

but I really failed to see where u got all the other stuff about abagond's blog, it seems like ur putting words in his mouth the same way u say he puts words in yours.

proudchocolategirl said...

and I'm sorry if you felt attacked or whatever for your opinion, but I really think both you and Abagond probably overreacted a bit to that post...I agree with Mira that I don't understand just why it became so popular either...I don't always agree with everything abagond says, Lord Knows I give him a mouthful in my emails to him.

but he never said a lot of the stuff u said he did in his original post, I can't speak to the comments because I haven't read them and I don't plan to...but I think you should both just let it go...

Zek J Evets said...

Proudchocolategirl,

He says we have hearts of stone in the first paragraph of the post. Has he deleted/edited his post?

He also cosigns the commenters that made the other assertions about White people being demonic, etc. You need to read the comments, or of course you won't understand, or see, what I'm talking about.

If you feel that all those comments are too much to read, then your own comments will be missing crucial information.

But I digress. No doubt we over-reacted at certain points, yet I kept my calm... whereas he did not. Despite the taunts and lies and constant ignorance hurrled at me, I did not lose my cool and say more dumb shit and then try to defend it.

And Abagond was not alone in this behavior. Aspergum and Matari were both party to this as well, and far worse to boot!

That said, I'm going to let it go. Probably by not commenting or going back to Abagond's again. It's a damn shame, but like so many others have felt, I feel that his blog has lost what little respect I had for it through a slow decline of hypocrisy and a vocal minority of bad commenters.

Zek J Evets said...

Mira,

I'm sorry your computer keeps crashing!

I've relayed most of the crucial information from my side of the situation, and accurately so, including my own comments and feelings. So feel free to make a judgement based on that and what you read from Abagond.

However, don't look for me at his thread. I know better than to comment on a post attacking me -- whether they be HBDer or otherwise.

Besides, Abagond unfortunately has decided he'd rather lie about quite a few things than engage in honest discourse, even heated, even in disagreement.

People like that I can't trust, so I'd rather just leave that noise behind.

So to answer your question, "who needs this shit?", the answer is: not me. I'm moving on up. (To the east side!)

Student of the World said...

Okay I just read through everything.

Are you worried that instead of being anti-racist Abagond is becoming anti-white?

I didnt get that impression from what he wrote although some of the comments seemed like they were definitely leaning towards anti-white.

What Abagond himself wrote wasn't in my opinion anti-white. He was generalizing, like he normally does.

The thing I don't understand is why you're defending "white" people. I dont think its anything to be proud of. Be proud of being jewish(in your case) be proud of being Irish, Italian, German, Hungarian whatever.

But as soon as you own "white" as an identity.....I dont know its problematic to me.

I have no other identity to claim than Black, I wish I could be a human being first, and an American second and that race didnt enter into it at all but that choice was denied me, I dont know what language my ancestors spoke originally or where they were born or anything like that.

Im assuming that in your case you do, correct?

I feel like if you identify as "white" especially in your case, you are making a deliberate choice to be associated with all the negative things associated with that "term". The main one unfortunately, being racism.

I guess I dont understand why you would want to do that?

I have the same problem with Pan-Africanism too, if that makes any sense. Being united because you happen to be a certain race is...impractical in my opinion, it causes more harm than good.

And I agree with Abagond. I understand that racism can go both ways. But in reality most of the time it goes one way. And Im not being "anti-white" but really... other than you're feelings being hurt how does this affect you and your family?

White racism has threatened my livelihood. Ive gotten fired from jobs, Ive gotten kicked out of school twice and not because of bad grades or behavior problems, but because "good white people" were threatened by my intelligence. The ones who were not directly involved in the racial harrassment did nothing to help me even though they knew I was being harassed.

In one case I was even physically attacked, by a coworker and even though I followed procedure and walked away nothing was done to the aggressor and I was eventually fired when I refused to work with that person for fear of my own personal safety.

And in all of those cases the aggressor always had someone defending them. They always had someone willing to give them another chance.

Im not projecting my bad experinces or those any other PoC onto you. But no snowflake thinks its responsible for an avalanche.

But coming from where I'm coming from I can't really sympathize.

To be quite honest I dont care if white people as a whole fight against racism, I've seen too many things in my life to hope for that. But if they want to help they can't expect us to accomadate their whiteness not after everything that they have done to us.

*shrug* My two cents.

proudchocolategirl said...

okay let it go, that's probably a good idea for both of you.

Zek J Evets said...

Student of the World,

The thing I don't understand is why you're defending "white" people. I dont think its anything to be proud of.

That right there is my bone of contention. Abagond merely took it further, but from that start I think we have the core problem.

See, one commenter said that being white should be seen as "something bad that's happened to you."

Do you agree? Do you think I shouldn't be happy to be who I am? Should I be neutral about being White? Should I be unhappy about being White? How *should* I feel about being White?

And why is it that my feelings towards what race I was born into have to be regulated by others? Why should I have to feel a certain way about being White, and accept others telling me that my race makes me demonic, or suffering from psychosis/a psychological disorder/whatever???

I would NEVER ask a Black person to do that. I would NEVER tell someone Latino to take down their Mexicans flags from their houses. I would never tell my Chinese classmates to speak English because "this is America".

I don't think anti-racists should be regulating our (White people's) race to the point that we begin to become apologetic for being born White. Why? Because *that* is unhealthy. And it won't solve anything either, not now and not in the future. It'll only make things worse.

And ultimately that comes back to the dichotomy of White versus Whiteness. Matari made Whiteness = White people, and so to him/her White people are demonic, and suffering from psychosis. Abagond too, makes this mistake.

But White people ARE NOT these things inherently. White people are not inherently the concept of Whiteness, and all that it implies for White supremacy, racism, etc. These things are *taught* and it's important to remember that when we talk about White racism, or else we're going to ultimately miss the real problem, and merely engage in bigotry ourselves.

But thank you for your comments, because I don't think I'm completely right here. I just get very frustrated to see anti-racism devolving into racism, and I want to do my best to help. I don't think making White people hate themselves for being White -- which is a consequence I can see from some of the comments being made -- is a good idea.

Theages said...

I was the anonymous poster from earlier. Any chance you could copy/paste what I tried to post earlier?

If not, basically my point was that you shouldn't feel threatened by generalizations unless you feel that they apply to you. And if they do apply to you, you should change accordingly. The same goes for all the white people you know.

Zek J Evets said...

Theages,

Sorry, I hadn't saved your comment! But thanks for reposting.

I don't agree with your reasoning. Because if I did, it would mean that I would think Black people shouldn't feel threatened by generalizations made about them. Even those that are extremely racist. Or racialist. And then I would tell them that if they're offended, maybe it's because they apply to them, and maybe they should change their behavior...

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Generalizations ALWAYS do more harm than good when applied to make judgements of others. I understand the temptation, but I hold myself (and other anti-racists) to higher standards. We should know better than to stereotype, no matter the color. Especially no matter the color.

Student of the World said...

Well I wasnt trying to say all that, but I got your point.

Maybe Im thinking about this the wrong way too though. I can definitely see the slippery slope that line of thinking entails.

The distinction being while I agree that what you are saying is valid I feel like its beside the point in terms of practicality.

But um...my feelings are actually mixed and after I sent you that last message I thought...I should clarify that.

Even in mind when I think about my own experiences with prejudice, I know that people are individuals first. And certain individuals made choices that were wrong and that they could have been any race.

Cause honestly if I had a choice, I wouldn't be black. I'd just be myself above all else.

I think thats the only way anyone can be free.

Temple said...

Like Mira (somewhat), the reason that I stopped reading regularly at abagond's was due to the gendered racism that's sooo prevalent & accepted there. But as far as race & racism in general, I find abagond to be much more balanced than Chuck or In Mala Fide & the like.

Some have a problem with blacks coming together to discuss their experiences & issues around being surrounded by whiteness & white-racism. The only thing that I'll say is that I wouldn't bother to go over to Chuck's to say that he has no right to set-up a corner of the internet where he & like minded people can discuss their disdain for "NAMs." Although, I do understand that someone else might feel it their obligation to do such.

Can I ask what other blog you can think of where race is discussed in a more balanced way than abagond's (I mean where commenters of the OTHER race aren't shouted down with racial slurs)?

Brotha Wolf said...

I'm still speechless over this whole fiasco, but I will try to be honest with my view over this whole thing.

I honestly and truly agree with much of what Abagond said in that post because it seems to make sense to me as a POC with experiences in racism discussions. However, do I believe white people are demonic? No. But I do think they are heavily conditioned by their own ways of thinking. In other words whites in history has done evil deeds, but that doesn't mean they are evil. If anything, they seem trapped in their own programming.

Some whites have made it an effort to release themselves from that state of mind and have joined in the fight. But I believe some of them did so even if it meant dealing with harsh truths and raw emotions from POC especially if what they said sounds or is racist against whites. In the end it should be a learning trial to know that racism begets racism.

Topics about racism are never easy because like I said truths and emotions come into play like that famous scene from the video "The Color of Fear". It's on youtube if you want to check it out. Abagond's views and rage came from the reality of being black in a white society and the history behind it. I think recent events like the recent legal lynching of Troy Davis helped reaffirmed that reality. As such along with other POC they are angry not just at the system, but the people who run it and(or) benefit from it which are whites. Not only that, he also knows that his views let alone feelings about racism are often brushed off while the feelings of whites are often taken into account first and foremost.

I guess what I'm saying Zek, Jason, and anyone else is that discussions on race and racism are not simple nor meant to be PC friendly if you want to call it that. In order to be an ally you have to be prepared for certain things that will not be comfortable for you because it's all about the struggle. And struggling includes pain for whoever's in the fight.

Zek J Evets said...

Student of the World,

Oh, it's definitely besides the point in the real world. I think I've mentioned in the post, and in my comments that this situation that happened is so rare that I'll probably only experience it in the small microcosm of online anti-racism blogs that I've seen so far.

Meanwhile, we -- including me! -- still need to keep engaging White people to open up about the very real racism they're party to, just by virtue of their privilege in America. However, I think (which is something you touched on) that coming back to the individual is the best thing. Why? Because Americans are so trained to think of themselves as individuals, to act as individuals, and so giving them problems & solutions in the form that taps into that independent-ness will be a very effective way in communicating anti-racism.

Anyhoo, thanks for clarifying!

P.S. I took a look at your... beef with Ankhesen, and definitely it seems like she over-reacted to your comments, since eventually you both ended-up saying the same thing essentially.

Zek J Evets said...

Temple,

Indeed, and I've noticed that Abagond (as a Catholic) gives The Church way more leniency with regards to race than he does for other institutions. Little things like this actually make a big difference to me, and apparently to others as well.

But definitely Abagond is LIGHT-YEARS ahead of IMF, Chuck, or even The Obsidian Files. However, I don't think I want to follow blogs just because they're NOT as bad as others. I prefer to follow blogs for more positive reasons.

And like you, I don't see a problem with people having their own corner of cyberspace to set up whatever place they want to talk about whatever they want to discuss. The interwebs are a free space for everyone, even the people we disagree with/hate.

Anyhoo, as for blogs about racism etc., that are more balanced than Abagond's... Hmm. I would definitely recommend Racialicious (my girlfriend loves that one), and then there's Love Isn't Enough (their latest post about Are Jews a Race? is awesome!), as well as Tim Wise's personal blog.

Those are some resources that are more balanced -- probably because they are run by experts, and in most cases have multiple staffers to help contribute.

Zek J Evets said...

Brotha Wolf,

I agree. I think a lot of the recent events have had an impact on Abagond's content, and certainly it can't be easy for him as evidenced by the slow change in his writing.

I guess what I'm saying Zek, Jason, and anyone else is that discussions on race and racism are not simple nor meant to be PC friendly if you want to call it that. In order to be an ally you have to be prepared for certain things that will not be comfortable for you because it's all about the struggle. And struggling includes pain for whoever's in the fight.

Fair enough. And I agree! (As I mentioned in my post.) I felt I've prepared myself for this. I believed I was ready to throw down for the cause, because I truly care.

But that Abagond refused to just make a quickie apology, and rephrase what he meant? It wasn't a big deal -- to me, at least -- until he started defending it. Then my discomfort over some of what he said turned into being upset and offended.

I guess it does reveal I'm not as much of an Awesome Anti-racist Ally as I thought, but nonetheless Abagond's comments reveal a lot about how he views White people, consciously and subconsciously. Which is why I originally said I was sad for him for feeling that way.

But now it's gone beyond that point, and I'll probably refrain from commenting there again. Because I'll take some lumps, but when I begin to feel like I'm constantly apologizing merely for being White, or having to justify my White-ness, or ignoring things I don't agree with just because, that's when I know it's a bad situation.

I do want to highlight something you said: know that racism begets racism.

This was ultimately my beef, and my argument. It is what I wanted to communicate to Abagond, Matari, Aspergum, everyone, and even myself.

Racism begets racism, and we need to challenge it at ALL levels, including within ourselves. And this is a lesson that I think White allies are uniquely capable of bringing to the movement, because we HAVE to do this before we even become allies! We're used to introspection, and constantly investigating our own beliefs, emotions, etc., to the point that we can comfortably exist being against racism while knowing we ourselves are still susceptible to racism.

Anyhoo, thanks for your two cents man. They were well spent.

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

If you're still reading, send me your email address! King would like to write to you in private.

Brotha Wolf said...

"Fair enough. And I agree! (As I mentioned in my post.) I felt I've prepared myself for this. I believed I was ready to throw down for the cause, because I truly care.

But that Abagond refused to just make a quickie apology, and rephrase what he meant? It wasn't a big deal -- to me, at least -- until he started defending it. Then my discomfort over some of what he said turned into being upset and offended."

I know you care Zek. The thing is whites who join the cause care, but they, like their POC comrades, should know that it's not easy not to fall into traps that can quickly divide what you both have in common.

I don't think Abagond was trying to come off as bring cruel just like I don't think you came off as derailing the issue. I think what he said wasn't projected at all whites but certain ones with that mindset. It may sound like it, and he did try to explain what he meant. But like I said, this and other sensitive topics are no cake walk. Feelings will be hurt and some things may get taken out of context on all sides. The thing is the cause should be a top priority.

You shouldn't have to apologize for being white. I agree. So, don't apologize. However, you, I, and Abagond have been made to think like most whites do. I call it the white mind. Some people, including whites, try to break loose from it, and some, like you-know-who, revel in it.

When it comes to engaging in work to fight racism, you have to expect to take some lumps not only from other whites, but other POC. It may not happen immediately, and it may not happen at all. But, you have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for what may come even if it sounds offensive.

If you haven't already, maybe you and Abagond should talk about this in private away from anyone who may end up doing more harm than good. It's just a suggestion though.

Student of the World said...

********************************************************************
See, one commenter said that being white should be seen as "something bad that's happened to you."

Do you agree? Do you think I shouldn't be happy to be who I am? Should I be neutral about being White? Should I be unhappy about being White? How *should* I feel about being White?


I guess you mean Aspergum:
I think white people should own up to their whiteness. Take responsibility for it, as something bad that’s happened to themselves. That can be done without hating yourself.

Just because you happen to have been born into an empowered majority category doesn’t mean that you have to hate yourself for that. Unless you refuse to do anything about it, in which case some self-hatred is indeed appropriate.


Lets remove white and black and replace them with rich and poor, in a society where classism is just as bad as racism.

Does this assertion still offend/hurt you in that case Zek?

Student of the World said...

I think rich people should own up to their richness. Take responsibility for it, as something bad that’s happened to themselves. That can be done without hating yourself.

Just because you happen to have been born into an empowered majority category doesn’t mean that you have to hate yourself for that. Unless you refuse to do anything about it, in which case some self-hatred is indeed appropriate.


Although I would add that being born white, like being born rich isn't, "something bad that's happened to you"(that was poor phrasing and not mine but Aspergum's) in and of itself, it's just something "beyond the your control".

In and of itself being wealthy isn't bad but if you being wealthy is dependent upon someone else starving at night THEN it is a bad thing and very much something you should be ashamed of, do something about.

You can't help what class you are born into but in a society with great income disparity, those at the top can do something to change the situation, simply by letting go or giving back the wealth.

But if they want to still hold on to the privileges of being in that position because hey they were born rich it's not like they can help it, while at the same time acknowledging that things should be more equal, then they do look like hypocrites and usually it seems like they are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

In regards to this discussion I think that is where many people stand. I think if you really want equality both extremes need to be done away with.

But back to your bone of contention about the usage of the word white and how in the context that people used it, it can be construed as antiwhite and all the problems that come with this.

I still agree that PoC don't need to accommodate white people in order to obtain their freedom and humanity. Just as poor people don't need to accommodate the rich in order to free themselves from being oppressed. If they really need to fight it, they will with tooth and nail and win.

The wealthy are a minority they have to be in order to be wealthy. They want it that way, they keep it that way. They hold a vast amount of power but that can be overcome.

Likewise relative to the world, white people are the minority. PoC outnumber them. The only reason PoC don't take their power is, except in rare instances, no one takes satisfaction in brutalizing someone the way they've been brutalized. Even if they are justified and in a position to do so. They would rather obtain absolution and justice through other means that don't make them the same or equal to the person that hurt them/made them suffer.

I doubt many victims of sexual assault would rape their attackers in retaliation and consider that fair and even you end up with a bunch of pain, that's all that happens.

In the case of oppressed/oppressor. I think you do have a valid concern. One of the reasons communism disintegrated into tyranny/genocide( French Revolution comes to mind here) of the upper/middle/professional classes is that once the people who had been oppressed finally regained power/agency they abused it and took it to sickening excess.

But just because this happened in some cases, that doesn't mean it will or has to happen in all cases and that in the fight for equality people that are in a position of privilege should be indifferent or against it.

Student of the World said...

And even on Abagond's thread someone else explained it a little better:
To me it seems like you are getting caught up in defending yourself as a white person and not really paying attention to what has been carefully explained over and over. Anything I’m about to say has already BEEN said and I really don’t understand what is going on here.

Being born white in America IS something bad since it means you will be indoctrinated into a sick and twisted system that advocates genocide and race-hatred. I wouldn’t find it offensive or odd if someone said that being born black in America is “something bad that happens to you”, so I don’t understand why you find it racist or offensive to say it’s bad to be born white in an environment such as this.

That’s why this conversation has been so frustrating to read (can’t imagine how hard it was to participate in): by now you ought to know that it simply isn’t about having white skin, so you’re being defensive on behalf of…who? Other, less aware white people? And if so, WHY? Why are you so much more concerned with their feelings than the feelings of those who just want to speak out, strongly, forthrightly, and honestly, about how terrible things are here?


^^^^I have to say I agree with this. That's what I was trying to say earlier and I think that's why so many people including Abagond accused you/thought you were derailing

Back to you're original questions here:
Do you agree? Well...yes

Do you think I shouldn't be happy to be who I am? As an individual yes, as a "white" person...no.

Should I be neutral about being White? Sure if you want although, I think, taken in historical/social context that is morally irresponsible. If you were neutral about being rich(assuming you were) I would think the same thing.

Should I be unhappy about being White? No...you should be happy about being a human being who happens to be white.

How *should* I feel about being White?
I don't know...I'm sure your empathy has already told you that, you just don't want to accept it. Just as my dignity as a human being won't allow me to accept the position that society has forced me into and all the things I have to ignore/accept to get along with life. Although in my case...acceptance of my situation isn't really my choice. In your case it is, and I think you just have to let it go.

RR said...

Zek,

I'm sorry to hear that you had trouble over at Abagond's. At least he didn't ban you. I was banned simply for responding to a poster on his blog who was dead wrong in her assertions.

You took an unreasonable beating over there but such is the nature of anti-racism. It was inevitable that you would be hoisted by your own petard. Anti-racists have a habit of eating their young.

You really don't have the right to complain too loudly though. Think about what you did to Misty.

Zek J Evets said...

RR,

Misty?

Student of the World said...

Sorry that was so long by the way. I had to break it up.

@ RR
Zek wasn't banned. He left voluntarily, although hopefully not ....for good?

Zek J Evets said...

Student of the World,

I'm uncomfortable equating classism to racism. They share many similar characteristics, but it sets up a place for us to start comparing poor Whites to rich Blacks, and I'm not sure if that'll work.

But let me answer your example anyways...

I would still be offended, yes. I, as an individual, should not feel bad for being born rich, poor, White, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Black, Hispanic, or whatever. The sociological realities attached to rich White straight male people (or other identities) are things which are *taught*. And thus you should feel bad for what you've learned and taken for granted, and then use as your standard for holding others to. (Like in the case of White supremacy.) But not for who you are. Never for who you are based on class or race, or gender or sexual orientation.

Even if they are justified and in a position to do so.

I don't agree that PoC are justified in brutalizing White people. Violence begets violence. Gandhi and MLK both knew this, and it is to them that I credit my belief in this. I also don't think they are in a position to do so, just based on the continuing endurance of White supremacy/White hegemony.

However, I call false on the commenter who made the assertion that, "I wouldn’t find it offensive or odd if someone said that being born black in America is 'something bad that happens to you'".

That above is some BULLSHIT.

Why? Because I've SEEN people saying such things, and I've seen the subsequent reaction. Why? Because it's horribly fucking racist to say being born Black -- whether in America or anywhere -- is something bad that's happened to you.

It's morally reprehensible to me to judge others like that based on race -- mine or another's.

To further answer the commenter you quoted and agree with: I'm not being defensive. I'm being assertive. I'm saying I disagree, and that White people are not inherently demonic, or suffering from psychosis, or should treat being born White as something bad that's happened to them.

But if that's being defensive. Then what do they/you think of all the arguments made debunking racism against Black people, whether based on HBD or whatever? How is that not defensive when Black people say it, but when I say the same thing about White people, suddenly I'm being defensive? I'm genuinely confused, and genuinely bothered by that line of reasoning and seemingly double-standard.

And it's a false comparison to say that I am more concerned with less aware White people than the feelings of PoC trying to speak out about racism. Can one not care about BOTH? Can't I stand up against anti-White racism as well as anti-Black racism? Why is it one or the other? (Especially since anti-White racism is so rare, it's hardly out of my way to deal with it at the same time.)

Your answers to my final questions about how I should feel about being White are a little frightening to me. You agree that I should view my being White negatively. That is something I cannot do. I would never ask you to view your race negatively. Why do I have to?

Go back to Brotha Wolf's last comment, because I think in his statements I find a lot of the common-ground that I was looking for when I attempted to have an honest discussion with Abagond about this.

Zek J Evets said...

Brotha Wolf,

I think it's kinda too late for private talk. All the dirty laundry has been aired. At this point I think it'd be better to just walk away and move with our lives.

At least for now.

RR said...

Zek,

I meant Kristy. You beat her up because she disagreed with you.

Zek J Evets said...

Sotw,

No worries. Long comments are fine, but I'm getting blister are my fingers! Haha.

And no, I wasn't banned. I left, voluntarily, and I'm not planning on going back. It's time to move on.

I won't be the first commenter, and definitely not the last judging from the emails I've gotten, and what others have said.

Zek J Evets said...

RR,

You're right. I did. I'm not perfect.

She said some really offensive things. For instance that men can't be raped. She continued defending this while making other really offensive statements after I asked her repeatedly to stop. She did not, so I banned her.

I have NEVER tried to promote my blog as a forum. Abagond has a VERY different comment policy from my own, and I hold him to HIS standards... to which I, and others, have found him lacking.

RR said...

Student of the World,

But I was banned! How do you think that makes me feel. If you cut me do I not bleed....The point here is that if one hasn't broken an established comment policy, then one shouldn't be banned because of content. I was banned because I disagreed with a poster. That is ridiculous on its face.

Zek has done his share of brutalizing in the name of "righteousness". He now knows how it feels to be on the receiving end of the anti-racist lash.

Zek J Evets said...

Leroy Brown,

You need to choose a name, because it keeps listing you as anonymous. However, I will not approve your comment because it is not on-topic.

This post is not about how Abagond hates Black people, or how horrible or pathetic he is. Or whatever else you may believe.

More importantly, I don't believe any of those things about him are true. Abagond is certainly a flawed individual, but the level of vitriol in your comment is unwarranted.

However, you may attempt reposting if you wish. Just find a handle to use, and maybe read my comment policy? You can look it up on my blog in the search box provided.

Jas0nburns said...

This to me, says it all.

http://www.nathanielturner.com/whiteantiracistsopenletter.htm

"Rather, white people need to be willing to have their very social position, their very relationship of domination, their very authority, their very being...let go, perhaps even destroyed. I know this might sound scary, but that is really not my concern."

I was even with her up until "destroy my being". If you're going to tell WP to acquiesce to "having our being's destroyed" you better be really clear about exactly what that entails!

Anyway, the whole article basically reads like Ank mie's blog or a lot of what was on SWPD. Seems to be where Abagond is headed. I can't be a part of something that advocates for my destruction and i won't be. Luckily, I can still fight racism on my own and hopefully we won't get to a point where this garbage becomes mainstream. That's why it's so important to stop all this shit like Troy Davis. It just makes hate more seductive.

Student of the World said...

Well in regards to the race class thing I was trying to use it as an example but no I don't think they are comparable either. I was looking at it as a separate but related issue.


I don't agree that PoC are justified in brutalizing White people. Violence begets violence. Gandhi and MLK both knew this, and it is to them that I credit my belief in this. I also don't think they are in a position to do so, just based on the continuing endurance of White supremacy/White hegemony.

Um neither did I, what I said was:
The only reason PoC don't take their power is, except in rare instances, no one takes satisfaction in brutalizing someone the way they've been brutalized. Even if they are justified and in a position to do so. They would rather obtain absolution and justice through other means that don't make them the same or equal to the person that hurt them/made them suffer.

What I meant by that was even if PoC were in a position comparable to white people I don't think they would take pleasure in brutalizing them. And I can name numerous instances in history. South Africa I don't think, executed any of the white people who committed crimes during apartheid. Many confessed, and were given immunity or were just told to leave in many cases.

I think many South Africans just wanted the situation over with.

The same thing with the French defeat in Vietnam. The French were viciously defeated and could have been completely obliterated. But the leader of Vietnam decided to just accept their surrender and to let the French leave.He did this because he thought that too much life had been lost already and that his people were tired. Because of this he accepted concessions that would eventually lead Americans to take the place of the French...with results that we all know very well.

In both those cases PoC were in a position to be brutal and they chose not to. And in any case I wouldn't advocate brutality anyway by PoC or anyone else. Violence does beget violence. I don't think most PoC will either though.

As far as PoC not being in a position to take back their power... I disagree. I think that the reason there are so many dialogues like this is because PoC have demonstrated that they DON'T wish to resort to violent means to rectify our situation. PoC have the power to unseat white hegemony but they don't want to use it at least not to the extent that they become what previously oppressed them.

Wanting autonomy isn't the same as wanting to take it from other people.

Zek J Evets said...

SotW,

As a separate but related issue is where I began assuming you were going to. I think they can work like that, and in that context is how I replied to your comments.

I'm sorry if it seemed I was accusing you of advocating for violence. I was merely confused by your use of that phrase in your comment, "justified and in a position to do so". It seemed out of place with the rest of your comment.

I think we agree that PoC prefer to have a dialogue -- and I mean that in a semi-sarcastic "yeah duh!" way, haha -- because history has shown that that way creates long-lasting unity.

But I still disagree -- at least in a practical sense -- that PoC could take autonomy by force. Maybe I'm over-estimating the power of White supremacy? I'm speaking only for America. Certainly if it was the world versus White people it'd be OVER.

But I digress. In the end it won't happen because rational people do not engage in that kind of BS.

Which brings us back to... anti-racism! Yay! =)

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

Wow. Just wow.

I read that letter and after seeing her say, "There is NO SUCH THING AS A WHITE ANTI-RACIST", I stopped reading and thought:

Well, sorry to burst your bubble but... I'm a White anti-racist. Get used to it!

I can't believe someone would link that as evidence to back up their argument.. I agree with so much, but it's all contaminated with shit like asking for White people to destroy ourselves and our identity. And that White people cannot be anti-racists.

Oy vey.

Let me just quote you though, "Seems to be where Abagond is headed. I can't be a part of something that advocates for my destruction and i won't be. Luckily, I can still fight racism on my own and hopefully we won't get to a point where this garbage becomes mainstream. That's why it's so important to stop all this shit like Troy Davis. It just makes hate more seductive."

Co-sign like a mothafucka!

Zek J Evets said...

Anonymous,

Please read my comment policy.

It's hard to take your very much appreciated comment seriously when you can't, or don't follow even the little instructions I made in the comment box.

Also, judging from some of the things you're saying you need to read my post again. (Not the thread, but my actual post here at my blog.)

It'll answer you questions about whether the comments meant some White people or all White people, as well as why I don't think anyone owes me anything for being an anti-racist.

I look forward to you reposting.

Student of the World said...

However, I call false on the commenter who made the assertion that, "I wouldn’t find it offensive or odd if someone said that being born black in America is 'something bad that happens to you'".

That above is some BULLSHIT.


I don't think you get my meaning.

All you are is NOT a socially constructed label right?

You're Zek. I'm pretty sure there is more to that than being white.

Its fine to have a label, if it is necessary, but it shouldn't define you at least not completely. When you become too invested being a label you lose some of your humanity. Your humanity, your character should define you.

Honestly anti-black racism only bothers me when it stops me from doing what I need to. I'm not naive, I know people are prejudiced. As long as they stay the fuck away from me and don't threaten my financial/spiritual/or emotional well being or lively hood I could give a fuck less what you
think about me.


I guess what I'm saying is that my humanity necessitates me feeling as though the label of "white" is indefensible, and in my case that has nothing to do with the people but the term and the history associated with it.

My humanity also necessitates understanding and empathizing why you as an individual who happens to be white doesn't. Although I really disagree.

jas0nburns said...

I mean just so you understand I don't care about being "white" I mean, it doesn't mean anything to me personally I would much rather have race not exist, so when people talk about giving up white privilege or renouncing whiteness as a social position or identity in the racial hierarchy...sign me up right now!

But it really doesn't matter because I will be privileged no matter what, That's always going to piss people off and rightfully so, but i'm not going to be mad at me too just cause some POC are. You need to be mad at me fine go ahead, do you.

i'm convinced (especially now) that white anti-racism isn't about gaining approval. it sounds weird but really in my mind all I need to know is that racism is unfair and i need to work against it. Fuck the rest of it. I don't think John Brown went around trying to get black people to like him. He saw a system that was unfair and he fought it based on his own principles of right and wrong. In real life i'm not going to have a black anti-racist advisor sitting next to me to tell me how to react when my co-worker tells a racist joke, i'm on my own. And in that moment it doesn't matter what Abagond or anyone else thinks about me or white people or any of it. It's about what I think and how I react and behave in my life. Same with any other WP and that's what we as a group need to understand. WP built this wall and we are responsible for breaking it down every bit as much as POC are. We are invested in it and it hurts us. We need to free ourselves from racism for our own damn selves because it's a gaping wound in our collective reality.

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

Damn fucking straight.

Nkosazana said...

hmm. I don't see any need for anyone to start whipping themselves just because they are 'anti-racist'...

I should do a hearts of black men post from the point of a black woman. I'm sure people wouldn't like that one bit but just as true.

Student of the World said...

RR,

OMG, you did notjust invoke Shylock to describe how you felt when you banned from someone's blog?

And honestly you dared Abagond to do it. If you are a guest in somone's house and you disagree with another guest and that guest tells you they no longer wish to speak to you.

And then after that you keep running your mouth guess what? The owner of that house has the right to kick you the fuck out.

Because you are just perpetuating a conflict at that point and you need to leave so that it can be ended.

I don't know why people get on the internet and think the rules don't apply to them just because they have a little annonymity.

You would not dare do some BS like that in real life and if you would...you seriously need to reevaluate your priorities.

Girl...Good Day

@Zek
Sorry. I know this is OT.

Mira said...

Ok, to be honest, I must say I don't mind "whiteness" being seen as demonic or destroyed. If by "whiteness" or "white" you don't mean the actual people labeled as such, but the system of oppression/privilege. I'm fine with it. The whole idea of race never gave anything good, so I think it's ok to be destroyed.

For white people, it means they have to be ready to give their privilege away. Many are completely blind to their privilege, which is not surprising: when you have privilege, you're usually blind about it. Only when you're not being treated like you're used to, you begin to see it.

And it can take many forms, from trivial ones to serious ones. A trivial one: many white anti-racists are not happy with being "white allies". I mean, they aren't happy with being "just an ally" and not the main, the most important actors in the anti-racism fight. This stance alone demonstrates white privilege.


So no, I wouldn't mind whiteness, as a concept, being destroyed.

However. You can't go both ways: you either destroy race as a concept altogether, or you keep the status quo. You can't destroy whiteness without destroying blackness and other race-ness. To end racism, you must destroy race as a concept, or at least make it trivial.

This means that blackness, black identity (or other racial identities) will be destroyed in the process. The only reason race is so important is because of the power stugle and the system of oppression; once it's down, there will be no more reason for building your identity around it. It will be a part of you, but the way your eye colour is, not in today's sense of the world. And yes, that will affect blackness too, because it won't exist anymore.

This is something I mentioned back at Abagond's a while ago, and he didn't seem particularly interested in it (though he seemed curious about it). I'm not sure why he never gave it much thought. Oh, wait, he's more interested in understanding racism than fighting against it, right?

PS- I sure don't want this to seem like talking behind his back, but Abagond knows what I dislike about him: he tries to be rational and fair, but he gives a pass to many things simply because he supports them/ is part of them. For example, Catholicism. Or his sexist views on women or homophobia.

Student of the World said...

@ Mira

Girl - *hands Mira a glass of champagne*- there is not enough co-sign in the world to EVERYTHING you just said.

You basically stated much more eloquently what I was trying to say. And this goes doubly so for all forms of oppression.

I feel like once white people let go of being white and just try to be human beings, then they will be able to see the humanity in me and vice versa. And everyone will be better for it.

I would like to see "black" and "white" destroyed. Especially in American man, there are no two groups of people so fucking alike in the most pointless conflict ever determined to see one another as different.

At this point I feel like the conflict is definitely being perpetuated by white people so my "fighting" racism is just perpetuating it. It gives them power over me.

Hence my absconding the country. When America gets it's shit together I might be back but I don't expect that to happen any time soon, so it goes *shrug*.

And as far as Abagond goes you hit the nail on the head. But I don't think it's that bad, I mean even though Zek and him argued and both got upset the conversation did't stop. It got pretty ridiculous but at least it continued.

Student of the World said...

Maybe I'm over-estimating the power of White supremacy? I'm speaking only for America.

Yes, I definitely think so but I think we collectively lack the motivation to do so. We just want to live our lives. Even the black panthers, as anti-white as they were or seemed to white people or Malcom X stressed creation rather than destruction. The wanted to us to be independent

And in that regard I agree with Malcolm X, I don't need white people or any people for that matters permission to live my life.

However, I can't help but worry that these people hurt the movement. They bog it down. They scare away my fellow pale faces because its become so prejudiced and offensive that they write off everything. And ultimately, we need to get White people to listen if you're going to change racism in America.

Furthermore I don't need any white allies help, which seems paternalistic. I've been fighting racism all my life with no help from any damn body, colored or otherwise, but Me, Myself, and I. And if I must say so myself, I'm doing pretty damn well.

If you really want to help, just stay out of our way.

We survived in slavery and segregation without white people's assistance and we'll continue to do so just fine.

I think you're worries in that respect Zek, are unfounded and a little bit naive.

I could even outline all of the ways black people could realistically unseat white hegemony in America within 10 years but I don't want to be assassinated or put on an FBI watch list( I probably am already on one though.)



Okay end rant. You and Jason seemed to have found your solution to your problem so... kudos, I guess?

jas0nburns said...

"Furthermore I don't need any white allies help, which seems paternalistic."

I agree. totally 100% agree.

I hold myself to counter racism when i encounter it but I don't do it as a favor to non-whites. I do it because racism is immoral and degrading to humanity in general. it's just wrong period. I'm not doing it for altruistic reasons any more than I go to the gym for altruistic reasons. it's not a favor to anyone. I don't need anyone's approval or gratitude. Anyone who does needs to be set straight. For white people fighting racism is about getting our affairs in order and outside of that it should be about mutual support and nothing else. We need to grow a spine in this shit or give up forreal.

But i'm not supporting anti-white racism masquerading as anti-racsim. all that shit aimed at me and ZEK was just to make us seem like we are faking it. I can't speak for anyone else but i'm not faking none of those fools know what I do because I don't go bragging about it.

ok no more ranting haha.

RVCBard said...

I don't regularly visit Abagond's site because it's too much of a free-for-all for my tastes, and there is quite a bit of sexism and homophobia in some of what he posts that makes me deeply uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, after reading that whole exchange and this follow-up discussion, I can understand why Black people just say, "Fuck it" and don't bother with White "allies" anymore.

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

Haha, nah rant on man! Again, I agree with ya.

I do anti-racism because it is Wrong. Full stop. Period. The End. As I said in my post.

SotW,

If you really want to help, just stay out of our way.

I disagree.

I really want to help. So I'll see you on the front-lines. Make sure you don't come late or I may have already slayed all the racist dragons =P

Mira,

I agree with destroying Whiteness as a concept that serves to oppress people.

But I don't believe Matari was making that argument. Matari was equating Whiteness with White people such that White people = Whiteness, and so White people = demonic, and everything else said later on in the argument.

However, your point that you cannot destroy Whiteness without destroying Blackness is interesting. Can you do a post about it? Even a guest-post would be great.

RVCBard,

I can understand why Black people just say, "Fuck it" and don't bother with White "allies" anymore

I can understand, because with allies like This or That, who needs enemies? But ultimately I still disagree with it.

I think true White allies can be just as helpful as anyone else involved in anti-racism. Case in point: Tim Wise.

Jasmin said...

Tim Wise is a bad name-drop, because in many ways he's doing it wrong. RVCBard has a great post on it (hopefully she'll come back with a link!).

Zek J Evets said...

Fair enough. I'll keep an eye out for it.

jas0nburns said...

" can understand why Black people just say, "Fuck it" and don't bother with White "allies" anymore"

Did black people say that? You got the memo then?

bingregory said...

You can't destroy whiteness without destroying blackness and other race-ness. To end racism, you must destroy race as a concept, or at least make it trivial.

And yes, that will affect blackness too, because it won't exist anymore.


I don’t agree. Having a specific ethnicity is not the issue here. The issue is a false universal ethnicity that only exists to perpetuate privilege. Blackamericans are a specific ethnicity. White People are not. Being Blackamerican is about more than just resistance to white supremacy [or,if it isn’t, it’s still nobody else’s business]. Being Mexican-American is definitely about more than just resistance to white supremacy. Would there be no such thing as a Mexican-American in a racially just America? But being White American does not mean anything other than White Privilege and its negative repercussions. Anything beyond that that you think is White culture is either universally accessible to any American or specific to subcultural aspects of different groups of white people. From whence this desire to strip Black people of a meaningful positive identity as part of the deal for you giving up a false, destructive one?

RVCBard said...

Here's the link Jasmin told you about.

And here's another one you might want to think about.

And this.

And maybe this too.

To make this really simple, the minute a White person starts telling a person of color what to say, what to think, or how to act when it comes to racism, they are not an ally, but an agent of white supremacy.

Franklin said...

@ Zek

Being one of my favorite anti-racism posters Zek, it would be a shame to see you leave Abagond, one of the blogs I frequent. And despite his "Woe-is-me-I-was-royally-screwed!" speech, RR was banned for puffing his chest out and saying "bring it on" when he was told not to. Nothing more.

Oh yeah. Leroy was a brainless derailing troll on Abagond, who originally went be the name "Myself". He engages in masking his hurt feelings about white racism by derailing threads in the same ego-soothing as G.L. Piggy:

"Well...well...Blacks do X! So let's talk about THAT instead!"

He was also recently banned and is feeling a little upset now. Tread lightly when conversing with this fool.

RVCBard said...

To be perfectly transparent, I am posting this against my better judgment because, from what I've witnessed, rather than actually listening and trying to understand, what will happen is that the White people reading these will do what they always do and launch into "why this person is wrong" mode.

Instead of using what I share (not just in this comment, but in any place where I talk about racism) as a tool for self-examination with an eye for improving their ability to be anti-racist allies, the reaction I expect is White people getting real defensive and completely ignoring the pain and hurt they themselves have contributed to in their quest to win an argument, not even noticing how they have damaged the relationships of solidarity they say they wish to foster.

Because of this, I am growing increasingly convinced that White people by and large are incapable of acting in solidarity with people of color unless they get to be the arbiters of what is true, just, and good. My experience shows me that White people have a real problem with being in spaces where they are not invited to set the agenda and/or decide upon the terms of engagement. They like to pretend that's not what they're doing, but I notice that non-experts don't insist upon engaging with doctors, lawyers, accountants, veterinarians, or dentists the way that White people insist upon engaging with people of color about racism. Know why? Because people who are not doctors, lawyers, accountants, veterinarians, dentists, etc. know that chances are very slim that whatever knowledge they've gained is of limited value to those who have studied and lived with their areas of expertise. Yet, somehow, White people insist that their understanding of racism is on par with (or even beyond!) that of people of color who have been living with, thinking about, writing about, and organizing against racism their entire lives. So much so that they honestly believe that approaching POCs and telling us what to think, how to feel, what to say (and how to say it!), what to do, and how to act - all unsolicited, mind you - is somehow not the same thing White people do to POCs everywhere else. Somehow, because anti-racism is the topic, this is supposed to be less fucked up.

Nevermind. You're right. I'm wrong.

Zek J Evets said...

RVCBard,

I read your post, and I was really moved by it. Some of the reactions you posted about how you felt regarding racism reminded me of many of the same emotions I felt growing up when something anti-Semitic happened to me, whether with a teacher, bully, etc. I felt pity, guilt, and sadness about the more emotional things you stated that had happened to you, but I also admired your strength in writing about it.

Thank you for writing it, and thank you for sharing it. Seriously.

Most importantly, I feel like your point regarding "false accusations" is well-thought out, and something I can apply to this situation.

I see how my actions, despite being honest, well-intentioned, or even "right", can undermine PoC fighting racism. If only because they are an example of White people attempting to dominating the conversation, dismissing PoC, and destroying unity that is sorely needed.

You'll see on my blog, and in what I write that:

1. I do not think I have the right to be, nor do I want to be a leader in anti-racism. I just want to contribute, nothing more.

2. I do not want, or need a thank-you. I do this because I believe it is right, and no matter how awkward, or how much I fuck-up personally, I will continue to BE anti-racist and continue to grow as an individual human being, even as I come to grips with finding my own positive White identity, whatever that means.

3. While I accept that many will view my argument with Abagond as self-serving, and even counter-productive, I am steadfast in my belief that I raised a valid point, and one to which I am deeply concerned with. That is, the use of bigotry to advance an anti-racist agenda. Specifically, saying White people are demonic, suffering from psychosis, spiritual maladies, and other things based solely on the fact that they are White.

4. Yet I recognize that this concern, outside of the blogosphere, is almost nonexistent. There is no "anti-White" movement gaining momentum, threatening to derail anti-racism. In fact, outside of this incident, I doubt I will ever encounter this kind of situation again.

Why? Because that's my privilege, and because most people don't demonize Whites in order to combat racism. Instead, they tell the truth and let that speak for itself.

5. I don't believe I'm right and you're wrong. I don't believe you're right and I'm wrong. I don't see this as that simple, and obviously you don't either I'm guessing.

If it were that simple, it'd be over already.

I believe that we can be wrong even when we're right, and vice versa. And it is in that space that many of us have fallen into, especially as White allies.

But I refuse to let my own mistakes stop me from learning, or growing, or dragging me down. I refuse to let negativity ruin my commitment or let petty arguments dissuade me from my beliefs.

Thank you for re-inspiring me =)

Zek J Evets said...

Franklin,

Thanks man =)

But it's not like I'm riding off into the sunset on a horse! I'm just going to leave Abagond's space because I can see that nothing more that's positive can come of it. Besides, it's his house and if I'm not welcome I shouldn't stay over. More importantly, if I don't like it over there, then I shouldn't keep coming around.

There are other blogs to frequent, and I'll still be posting per usual.

Also, thanks for the heads up about the other stuff going on.

Zek J Evets said...

bingregory,

Blackamericans are a specific ethnicity. White People are not.

You believe White Americans are not a specific ethnicity? I think many would say they are. Certainly they are distinct from other White people. What about as a nationality?

But being White American does not mean anything other than White Privilege and its negative repercussions.

I find this interesting because two sentences ago you say that there is more to being Mexican-American than resistance to White Supremacy. Do you believe there is no more to being White American other than racism, White privilege, and oppression? And if so, do you feel there is no inherent contradiction present there?

I think Mira's point is well-taken, and perhaps it would be prudent to mention that she's not American. She's European, and so her perspective on race is quite different than our own here in the States.

bingregory said...

Do you believe there is no more to being White American other than racism, White privilege, and oppression?
I'm saying that's the White part. Everything else is just American. There are people from all different backgrounds, national origins, cultures etc who have contributed to American culture. Some of them have held on to aspects of their pre-American origins that are important to them, like their diets, religions, languages etc. They distinguish themselves from the commonality of Americans by those things and that's great. Wonderful in fact. Those who no longer feel their pre-American histories are significant aspects of their identity are just plain Americans. Saying that you are White American does not speak to any of those significant aspects of your identity except those predicated on the system of White Supremacy.

I'm not saying don't admit you're white. I'm saying recognizing you are white only identifies your place in the racial hierarchy of America (and everything that goes with that, which is certainly a lot), it does not describe anything else about you that is not already perfectly well described by American. I'm also not saying your particular cultural background is quintessentially or normatively American. I'm saying it's one of a very many ways to be American that is not further clarified by adding White to the front.

That's how I see it anyway.

Mira said...

RVCBard,

I can't post a comment back at your site, so I'm writing it here.

(About Tim Wise):

I had no idea he receives money for his anti-racism efforts. I thought, maybe, he earns something from the book sales (if you buy his book), but I didn't know Tim Wise (or any activists) are paid for their activist work.

jas0nburns said...

"Because of this, I am growing increasingly convinced that White people by and large are incapable of acting in solidarity with people of color unless they get to be the arbiters of what is true, just, and good"

Everything I learned about racism, I learned from POC either directly or indirectly. As far as working in solidarity, it's pretty hard to find a reason to be in solidarity with someone who's agenda is to destroy me,( not just the concept of whiteness, surprise! I know the dif) to do so would be insanity. and if doing so is a prerequisite of being
a "good ally" to that specific sub-set of crazy people,
who apparently you have decided to side with,I guess I'll
pass on being YOUR ally. With no regrets or guilt whatsoever.

If POC want to create "kill whitey" spaces for themselves they can do that I suppose. Certainly I don't belong in those spaces.

If you think I'm overreacting. Feel free to illustrate the difference between a white person and a white persons "very being".

Mira said...

bingregory,,

I meant "blackness", "whiteness", etc. as an identity. You can't have one without the other, because both were constructed in the same process.

Nobody's born with an identity; identities are constructed and learned. Race is a construct that was built in specific historical time and place and it is still very important today, because of various geo-political, historical, social, etc. conditions. Any racial identity is part of this system. If you destroy the system (and it's the goal), you destroy the identities that go with them.

You can't identify with something that doesn't exist. Now, I am not familiar with the situation in America, so I don't know how various whites feel about this. Is there such a thing as German-American? Swedish-American? I don't know about this, but many people of said descend know they're of German, Swedish, etc. descend. They might know a bit about the culture, etc.

But this doesn't (negatively) affect their experience as Americans. Hence, there's no need for a strong identification on a collective level. This is what I think will happen with African-American identity if racism is ever defeated. You will know you're black and not white, but it will not mean anything more than you being of Scandinavian and not German descend.

And it's not like I'm just making a guess here. I know how these things go, because I was there. The history of my region and the country I was born in (Yugoslavia) is a great example of this. (Albeit for ethnicity and not race).

jas0nburns said...

@ RVC.

Just so you know I don't think you're wrong. you're basically right. It's just that realistically, there are going to be POC who are wrong/crazy/as*holes sometimes. Every group has that element. What would be your recommendation in dealing with THOSE people, when you're white.

RVCBard said...

@jas0nburns:

Which do you think is the more pertinent issue: undoing racism which harms people of color, or getting a couple of assholes to stop talking shit about White people on the internet?

RVCBard said...

If you think I'm overreacting. Feel free to illustrate the difference between a white person and a white persons "very being".

Why? You've already decided that you know what I think and believe and pretty much telling me that if I don't follow your parameters for an argument I never made that you're not going to sing "Kumbaya" with me.

You're talking about feel free, but I don't feel free at all.

First of all, I did not write "An Open Letter to White Anti-Racists," but I do think it hits the mark on quite a few things. I have never said anything about destroying anyone's "very being." And, frankly, asking me to defend a statement that I never made is asking me to represent this Negro I don't know.

Secondly, and I'm sure I said this upthread, I don't visit or comment at Abagond's site that often, so talking about me taking anybody's side but my own and that of people who actually support me is ridiculous.

Thirdly, feel free to point out exactly where I said anything about White people being collectively demonic or psychotic.

Fourthly, you seem to be a bit confused about the difference between being tentatively and reluctantly sharing thoughts and feelings based on a frequent experience and aggressively endorsing a fixed, belief.

To lift a line from Tulpa, or Anne&Me, "Why can't you just listen and think? Why are you always trying to win?" Why are you so wrapped up in what POCs ought to be doing? If racism is the problem, why are you fighting me so damn hard? Why are you so invested in deciding for me if you are my ally? Why was it so important for you to say what you said to me?

Bad White person! No cookies!

RVCBard said...

Something I wrote about this before.

And something else.

Zek J Evets said...

RVCBard,

Nooooo! Gimme cookie!

ME WANT COOKIE. COOKIECOOKIECOOKIE NOMNOMNOM!

RVCBard said...

And for White people who want to Get It, this is something it would be helpful for you to grasp before participating in discussions with Black folks. The comments are very interesting too, insofar as they seem to reflect a shared experience.

bingregory said...

Mira,

There are any number of possible outcomes for how America would look in some post-racism utopia. I'm saying not all collective differences among groups of Americans are wrong or a result of racism. An immigrant population of let us say Pakistanis could in theory retain distinctive diet, language, religion, dress over the course of generations in the absence of any racism or coercive pressure from the outside society. Black people in such a future may well also. I'm saying White People is not one group of Americans with distinctive customs shared among the group that are (1) not predicated on the legacy of racism or (2) able to assert a possessive relationship to those customs without excluding other Americans from what they understand to be simply American-ness.

Macon D spent years trying to find exactly that: a distinctive white group custom. The only ones you will find in his blog that are not immediately challenged are - those predicated on the legacy of racism. Anything else that is not predicated on that, comes from any number of cultural/national/ethnic original sources and has long ago passed over into what is seen as American by most Americans irrespective of race or ethnicity, and so it becomes exclusionary and counterproductive to label it as White.

bingregory said...

...German-American? Swedish-American?...
But this doesn't (negatively) affect their experience as Americans. Hence, there's no need for a strong identification on a collective level.


The point here is that these various and sundry white people can and do identify as White-capital-W Americans, as though they are one people. They are making a strong identification on a collective level because it helps them maintain their (unjust) position in society. I'm saying the only basis on which they are both one people and exclusive of Americans of color is in their WP.

Eurasian Sensation said...

Zek, it's a shame if you're no longer going to comment at Abagond's, but at the same time, I pretty much checked out of there myself a while ago, so I don't blame you.

IT's hard to pin down exactly what has made me increasingly "meh" about Abagond's blog, but perhaps its this: like quite a few other anti-racist blogs, seems too intent on setting up a white/POC dichotomy rather than exploring what it is in human nature and human society that allows racism to flourish.

It's hard for me to escape the idea that the only way you can truly be an (approved) "white ally" or "white anti-racist" is to agree and acquiesce to whatever a black anti-racist says, regardless of whether it is correct or not.

Oh, and you'll be pleased to know that xxxphantomxxx feels vindicated that you've been "outed" as just another white racist.

Zek J Evets said...

Eurasian,

Hah, nah, I'm sure it'll be fine. It's not like I was a regular commenter anyways. I've always been a lurker. It's in my nature.

I agree with your take on what's changed about Abagond's blog that makes it kinda suck now. I've said as much myself, and have heard it from all sides.

But whatever. Can't please everyone.

As for xxxphantomxxx... HAH! That guy, oy vey. He's a real-life caricature. Have you visited his blog? He's got serious problems -- posts calling for the war & genocide against White people. He even has pictures of bombs, and weapons, and plans to make it happen, asking people to contact him for more information!

That dude has more issues than a magazine-stand.

Anyhoo, thanks for the comment and support. I'll still be lurking 'round your blog too, so don't stop writing!

jas0nburns said...

"It's hard for me to escape the idea that the only way you can truly be an (approved) "white ally" or "white anti-racist" is to agree and acquiesce to whatever a black anti-racist says, regardless of whether it is correct or not."

indeed. This is a problem, but only if you give a f*ck about approval. IMO this should be taken as a sign that WP shouldn't be concerned with approval in the first place. The black take on white anti-racism is skeptical at best and hostile at worst. An to be honest, if they see us as approval seekers I don't blame them. What's the point of actually trying to convince non-whites that you're a good ally? There is no point. What we should be doing instead is focusing on actually fighting racism in our day to day lives in concrete ways. And yes maybe on-line possibly by educating other white people. Approval and validation should be of little or no importance. however, in my experience most POC when aware of concrete anti-racism work actually being done by WP they tend to approve with genuine enthusiasm.

Eurasian Sensation said...

@ jas0n:

Your point about approval is interesting. Perhaps it's because, like any radical movement, there is that wing of the black anti-racist movement that seems hell-bent on purging the anti-racist movement of all but the "true believers". I used to guest post and comment quite a bit at Macon D's blog "Stuff White People Do" until it seemed to descend into a shit-storm of radical anti-racists blasting the slightly less radical anti-racists with the charge of being racist. In that sort of environment, you either decide to continually justify yourself as deserving of approved anti-racist status, or you decide to just step off.

Perhaps the moral of the story is that it doesn't really matter what anonymous and semi-anonymous people on the internet say, and you don't need their approval. We should all probably get the f*ck off the net and do something in the real world.

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

Apparently you are as incapable of reading on my blog as you are at Abagond's. Perhaps this is evidence of a reading disorder? Because randomly diagnosing total strangers with mental health issues is something you seem to be okay with, judging from prior conversations.

Either way, if you want evidence of "White culture" then please, by all means go read a history of Europe for your "White culture" needs. You can start with England, France, etc. They have quite a wide selection of music, art, literature, and fashion.

Or, you could re-read the instructions provided in my comment form and discontinue trolling or flaming. (If you want to have a real conversation that is.)

Either way, have a nice life =)

aspergum said...

But that's not white American culture, nor white culture in general. Those are European nationalist cultures.

I still await your answer to that question in this "real conversation" (which it could be, if you'd just try harder to answer the question)--what are some examples of good things that you can identify as examples of white culture?

Also, I'll put my deleted shoutout to RVCBard here--thanks so much for writing what you wrote, RVC, co-sign X 1000!

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

Thanks for making a real comment ; )

But that's not white American culture, nor white culture in general. Those are European nationalist cultures.

I disagree. Those are White cultures, and they share general traits (particularly language, which is Germanic and Latin based). They are also cultures from which the White population of America are descended from -- that is, European.

However, if you want something distinctly American (and White, as opposed to generally America that all races share) then perhaps you should consider Santa Claus, The Wizard of Oz, and the tuxedo.

Perhaps the problem isn't that you can't see anything positive in the label "White" -- although, honestly, you do seem more comfortable assuming there's nothing good about White, again judging from your comment -- but rather that you do not know the meaning of culture, or what constitutes it?

Perhaps you need to educate yourself on the matter and then come back to me with my Anthropologist's hat on! =)

bingregory said...

The tuxedo: an English garment popularized in America and worn by Americans of all sorts for hyper-formal occasions.

What you need to demonstrate is how White Americans have some especial relationship to this garment that other Americans do not. It is a catch-22 I'm afraid, because saying that it is a particularly White American thing to do is saying that it is somehow not culturally accessible in the same way for other Americans, and that this difference in cultural accessibility for other Americans is not derived from racism/privilege.

Those are White cultures, and they share general traits (particularly language, which is Germanic and Latin based).
Again, what special relationship do white Americans have to the English language that Americans of color do not? What happens if you go down this path is you start drawing a tighter and tighter net around who these Europeans are that you exclude whole volumes of white people from your definition of White Culture. Turks? Russians? Bosniaks? Ask any European where Europe really ends and they'll tell you it is at their eastern border.

Sure, Germanic and Romance language speaking colonists have contributed a great deal to American culture, I'll give you that much. But white Americans are not Europeans, they are not an amalgam of Europe, they are a privileged caste of a much much wider fusion American national culture in which they have contributed significantly (but not exclusively) and from a relative position of power. Remove those caste privileges (and their wide and subtle cultural reverberations) and you just have Americans.

Zek J Evets said...

The tuxedo as we know it was invented in New York, commissioned by Pierre Lorillard, but first debuted when his sons and their friends wore it. It is an American invention, specifically a White American invention. Sorry!

What you need to demonstrate is how White Americans have some especial relationship to this garment that other Americans do not. It is a catch-22 I'm afraid, because saying that it is a particularly White American thing to do is saying that it is somehow not culturally accessible in the same way for other Americans, and that this difference in cultural accessibility for other Americans is not derived from racism/privilege.

Actually, I don't *have* to demonstrate anything. But thanks for inferring that I do...

That said, I also don't need to, because I'm merely pointing out that White American culture is responsible for a lot of good in the world, even as it is responsible for a lot of bad. (And by bad, I mean horrific.) And this doesn't need depend on other racial groups having/not having access to these things. (Jazz is not suddenly no longer a Black American invention just because White people also play it.)

But honestly bingregory, I'm not sure if the entire premise of this conversation is even possible since, as you stated above: But being White American does not mean anything other than White Privilege and its negative repercussions. Anything beyond that that you think is White culture is either universally accessible to any American or specific to subcultural aspects of different groups of white people.

By attempting to divide White people into groups when it suits your purpose -- such as in this conversation -- but lump them together ONLY in the context of racism, you reveal a hypocrisy that completely undermines the very real fact that White Americans are just as much an amalgamation of cultures and influences as any other racial group in America. Yet they are still responsible for many innovations in our country that came from this place of privilege, power, racism, and all the things you & I hate.

Now, while I won't say you ever need reconcile yourself with this reality (that something good can come from a group of people you only identify with negative things) I will say that perhaps taking yourself out of a simplistic duality you will find a far more realistic, and far more useful truth than the kind you are currently being guided by.

But that's just my two cents. Spend 'em how you will!

jas0nburns said...

I take your point about white culture Bingregory, but I think your position is more hypothetical than real world.

When I was a teenager in the 90's there were very few non-whites who were into punk-rock music/style. under your definition of culture, it would be incorrect to call punk rock white culture even though when it came to participation the demographic was probably 99% white. I did know a few black guys who were into it but they took tons of crap from their black peers for "acting white" So clearly there is/was some sort of cultural thing that tells people in American society that "punk rock is basically a white thing".

Those are the kinds of things that come to mind along with racism and privilege when someone talks about 'whiteness'. Things that while not exclusively white, are mostly done by/associated with WP.

CULTURE IS NOT ABOUT EXCLUSIVITY! Hip-hop is an element of black culture beloved by many a white soul, but it's still part of black culture. You could probably find a few black men who drive a Prius, but i'm betting that the vast majority would be white, even when you adjust for the difference in white/black population numbers. Many a black comedian has mined the cultural differences between white and black Americans for material.

IMO it's not about trying to claim things as being white. I am way in favor of cultural integration going both ways. I'm just saying it's unrealistic to act like there is no such thing as white culture when everyone knows their is, it's just not PC to acknowledge it because of the racism and inequality that exists.

aspergum said...

Thanks for your reply, Zek. You wrote to me,

Perhaps the problem isn't that you can't see anything positive in the label "White" -- although, honestly, you do seem more comfortable assuming there's nothing good about White, again judging from your comment -- but rather that you do not know the meaning of culture, or what constitutes it?

Zek, what happens when you consider the concept of "white people" itself, separate from the actual people who happen to fit that artificial category? It seems to me that you keep conflating the two, and then you interpret discerning disparagement of the former as attacks on the latter.

You're absolutely right--I can't see anything positive (in the sense of hanging onto, and validating) in the mere racial label "white," nor in the racial concept itself of whiteness. People who "became" white a mere few centuries or so ago did so primarily in order to distinguish themselves from others whom they labeled with other racial labels, and whom they also assumed were inferior to "white" people. As you probably know, white elites have also used the concept of "white people" to encourage lower-class whites to band with them in terms of race, instead of with their darker brothers and sisters in terms of social class.

Basically, as the leading historian of whiteness David Roediger puts it in describing the concept itself, "It is not merely that whiteness is oppressive and false; it is that whiteness is nothing but oppressive and false. Whiteness describes, from Little Big Horn to Simi Valley, not a culture but precisely the absence of culture. It is the empty and therefore terrifying attempt to build an identity based on what one isn't and on whom one can hold back."

None of which is to say that no people categorized as white never did anything good--many did, obviously. Nor is it to say that white people themselves are evil. But as for the racial concept of "white" itself, that "label" as you put it, I ask you, what is good about it?

And further--what, then, is good about delineating and celebrating such a thing as "white culture"?

jas0nburns said...

@ Eurasian

right. I mean there really is no reason for everyone to reach ultimate consensus on this stuff anyway. I think one thing i've learned recently is that it might be prudent to just ignore the more radical extremists because
a. they are very,very fringe irl.
b. fighting only fuels their self -righteous anger and empowers their message. (see the current state of Abagond)
c. if you're white, making any argument against a POC is seen by them as an act of white supremacy, (thanks for the reminder RVC) so it's utterly pointless to openly disagree even about non-race related topics like who has the best chili recipe or football team.

jas0nburns said...

"if you're white, making any argument against a POC is seen by them as an act of white supremacy,"

Just to clarify by "them" I meant "the extremests", not POC in general.

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

Zek, what happens when you consider the concept of "white people" itself, separate from the actual people who happen to fit that artificial category? It seems to me that you keep conflating the two, and then you interpret discerning disparagement of the former as attacks on the latter.

Actually, I have felt that it is the other way around. That you (and Matari, at Abagond's) have conflated Whiteness -- as a concept used to promote White racism, White supremacy, hegemony, etc. -- with White people to the point that the only way for White people to exist as a group is in one of two capacities: 1) as racists, or 2) as some other identity besides White.

The problem for me (and others, apparently) is that while "Whiteness" itself is problematic insofar as it promotes structural oppression, one cannot suddenly stop being one's race. I can no less change my race than even Michael Jackson.

And since I am still White, I take umbrage at any negative generalizations about White people that I feel are generally untrue, or utilize prejudice reasoning in order to make carte blanche statements about how White people suck (which isn't to say that sometimes we don't... suck).

More importantly, as an anti-racist I see value in a positive White identity (NOT White Power) because it will help Whites to understand racism historically, as well as presently, without the knee-jerk reaction of feeling attacked merely for being White.

This problem is so universal that PoC have dedicated literally millions of hours of their lives attempting to circumvent this tendency for White people to get defensive when we feel we're being attacked based on our race.

Why is that? I believe a lot of it is ignorance, especially of racism, but I also believe that it takes two to tango, and that there is some truth that criticism of "Whiteness" can spill over into "I hate Whitey" as I saw in Abagond's post and the subsequent comments.

Ultimately, it helps the cause, and it serves to make a better world where White people aren't afraid to be White -- a kind of White that doesn't automatically connote racism. But that's also just a small part of a greater whole in anti-racism, to be true.

aspergum said...

Actually, I have felt that it is the other way around. That you (and Matari, at Abagond's) have conflated Whiteness -- as a concept used to promote White racism, White supremacy, hegemony, etc. -- with White people to the point that the only way for White people to exist as a group is in one of two capacities: 1) as racists, or 2) as some other identity besides White.

Then let me clarify (and if you're willing to point to a particular place where you think I did that at Abagond's, I'd be glad to address it). I don't think #2, because I think white people should acknowledge that they are classified as white--deal with it, own up to it, take responsibility for it--rather than try to exist in some other "capacity." Doing that would be irresponsible, because the rest of their world is still going to take them as white, and treat them accordingly.

I'm more ambivalent about your #1, because I think being raised as white does encourage white people to have racist thoughts and feelings, and to commit racist acts, often without realizing that they're doing so, and to benefit from a racist system without ever challenging that system. I'd rather examine racist things white people do, and get them to see that, then run around calling people "racists."

All of which is to say, I certainly do think that white people can do effective anti-racist work, but those people are few and far between, because even when they try, their instilled proclivities get in the way. (And one of those proclivities, actually, is obstinate denial when those proclivities are pointed out!)

As for the rest of your reply, you are once again avoiding the question, for some reason: As I wrote before, as for the racial concept of "white" itself, that "label" as you put it, I ask you, what is good about it?

And further--what, then, is good about delineating and celebrating such a thing as "white culture"?


I doubt you're a fan of Glenn Beck, but you sure are sounding like him here!

>_0

jas0nburns said...

here is a quote copied from Wikipedia that should lay this to rest

As whites are the dominant racial and cultural group, according to sociologist Steven Seidman, writing from a critical theory perspective, "White culture constitutes the general cultural mainstream, causing non-White culture to be seen as deviant, in either a positive or negative manner. Moreover, Whites tend to be disproportionately represented in powerful positions, controlling almost all political, economic, and cultural institutions."

Yet, according to Seidman, Whites are most commonly unaware of their "privilege" and the manner in which their culture has always been dominant in the US, as they do not identify as members of a specific racial group but rather incorrectly perceive their views and culture as "raceless", when in fact it is ethno-national (ethnic/cultural) specific, with a racial base component.[28]

jas0nburns said...

Aspergum

why don't you go back to Abagond and tell him he sounds like Glen Beck?

http://abagond.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/white-american-culture/

Racism is a big part of White American culture and may even be at the heart of it, but that's not ALL there is to it. Your question has been answered numerous times just not in the way that you want to hear it. Your view of whiteness is a specific one which does have literary precedent but it's hardly the only or most prevalent view even in anti-racism circles.

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

Since we're carrying on two conversations in different areas of my blog, I'll attempt to make sure they don't end up bleeding into one another.

My #1 doesn't preclude the very real fact that White people are racist. *gasp!* I have readily admitted to this, and my own racism so many times that it shouldn't bear repeating. But maybe it does...

White people ARE enculturated to be racist. But this does not mean they are inherently racist. That is White does not = racist. It just makes it more likely. And while that may seem like a small line in a shit-storm to worry about, frankly it is an important one to me because I'm White and I'm still a person damnit.

Meanwhile, as for what is "good" about being White? I think I answered that one on the other thread... But suffice to say, apparently being White carries with it a lot of privilege, as many anti-racists (including me) have pointed out, so certainly that's a plus! (Albeit, a really really fucked-up plus.) Other cool things about being White... colored tattoos look better on us. (Just my opinion.)

As for what is good about delineating or "celebrating" about White culture? Well, I sure do love me some penicillin! But that aside, I think a positive White identity is necessary to not be defensive when White racism/supremacy is pointed out to White people.

Comparing me to Glenn Beck though... bleh. Lame. Especially since you and Matari and Abagond were flirting with HBD so hard you sounded like Unamusement Park. Why do you think it was so upsetting to see you engaging in such naked bigotry?

Anyhoo, apparently we're having two conversations essentially discussing the same thing so I'll ask you to pick which thread you'd rather discuss these issues in, instead of hopping all over the place.

Zek J Evets said...

Jason,

Exactly! I call foul on a lot of the hypocrisy going on in that White culture and White people can only exist as a group when we talk about racism, but when asked to point out how they're a group outside of this suddenly all of our answers are wrong. Even though we all know there is such a thing as White culture already!

To me this speaks volumes about how for many it's better to never admit they had it wrong, and look foolish, than admit they were wrong for a moment, and become far wiser than before.

And this is something White anti-racists can bring to the table here, because we're so used to being pointed out for having been foolish =P

aspergum said...

So just because penicillin was discovered by a Scottish person, you attribute that to "white culture"? What is white culture, such that it is responsible for penicillin? Rather than, say, European medical and scientific traditions?

Did you watch the Beck video-link I provided? I'm not comparing you to him; I'm comparing your deferrals when asked what white culture is to his deferrals when asked the same thing.

White people ARE enculturated to be racist. But this does not mean they are inherently racist. That is White does not = racist. It just makes it more likely. And while that may seem like a small line in a shit-storm to worry about, frankly it is an important one to me because I'm White and I'm still a person damnit.

You and your strawmen. Whoever said that whites are inherently racist? Not me. And where do you think I "engaged in naked bigotry" against white people?

So, do you think that even though you're a self-anointed anti-racist, you still do racist stuff sometimes? Can you also admit that you probably do so without even realizing it?

If so, we're actually on the same track on that point, more or less, even if we're at different places on that track.

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

So just because penicillin was discovered by a Scottish person, you attribute that to "white culture"? What is white culture, such that it is responsible for penicillin? Rather than, say, European medical and scientific traditions?

Why not? Don't we attribute Black achievements to all Black people? We don't say that just because the first Black man in space was American, that his Blackness suddenly doesn't count and so there as yet hasn't been a Black man in space.

Again, you can't have it both ways -- no matter how hard you have been trying to -- if someone's race counts, then it counts always.

You and your strawmen. Whoever said that whites are inherently racist? Not me. And where do you think I "engaged in naked bigotry" against white people?

Oh, I'm sorry. Do you mean to say that telling White people to feel bad about being born White isn't bigotry??? Maybe we need to go back and redefine the term...

Bigotry. Noun. Stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own. The actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot. (See above for definition of a bigot.)

Now, doesn't that about sum up your comments? Both here, and at Abagond's?

That said, yes even though I am an anti-racist, I am still capable of racism, and have been racist. Why? Because I'm still racist too. We all are. Me, Abagond, even you. It's part of being American; it is our national disease.

But the problem is: you seem to believe that you were not/are not being racist. You don't even realize it because you refuse to self-reflect. I find this humorous because I've been self-reflecting since the beginning of this conversation with Abagond, judging if I was right or wrong, or if I was just making it all up, or if I really had a point there...

But after my post on being (an anti-racist), I realize that what I was wrong about wasn't what I said about Abagond's, Matari's, and your comments. It was about how important I made them, when in reality they are quite silly, ignorant, and a waste of my time when there is far more destructive forms of racism than your own occurring RIGHT NOW in this country.

But nonetheless, when I see bullshit, I feel compelled to point it out. It's just my nature, I suppose.

Jas0nburns said...

So just because penicillin was discovered by a Scottish person, you attribute that to "white culture"? What is white culture, such that it is responsible for penicillin? Rather than, say, European medical and scientific traditions?

What the fuck so now european traditions aren't white culture? Lol

Jas0nburns said...

Unless the tradition happens to be colonialism or slavery. THEN it's white culture. Double lol.

aspergum said...

Oh, I'm sorry. Do you mean to say that telling White people to feel bad about being born White isn't bigotry??? Maybe we need to go back and redefine the term...

Where did I write that white people should feel bad about anything? I already told you, I'm not writing about white people's feelings! Also, I do think being born AND RAISED (which of course went along with what I meant in the context of that "born" comment) to be taken as white, and to act as white, is itself "bad," yes, because of the tendencies it instills in white people. For crap's sake, man, how many times do I have to say this before you finally acknowledge it? Why are you such a willfully bad reader?

Now, doesn't that about sum up your comments? Both here, and at Abagond's?

No, as I just explained, again, that definition of bigotry doesn't sum up anything I've written.

But the problem is: you seem to believe that you were not/are not being racist. You don't even realize it because you refuse to self-reflect.

I know that I have racist tendencies too, obviously. I know I'm not "being racist" here or at Abagond's, though, in the way you're claiming I was, and your false interpretation of one phrase I wrote doesn't convince me that I am.

But nonetheless, when I see bullshit, I feel compelled to point it out. It's just my nature, I suppose.

Too bad your aim when you point is so inaccurate. At least in this case.

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

You wrote that you think White people should feel bad about being White... we've been through this already. I mean, seriously! And you call ME a bad reader, sheesh.

Also, I do think being born AND RAISED (which of course went along with what I meant in the context of that "born" comment) to be taken as white, and to act as white, is itself "bad," yes, because of the tendencies it instills in white people.

Taken as White? Well color me confused. Are you saying being seen as White by other people is a bad thing? Zoinks Shaggy! Let me hide my pale skin, lest others see my Whiteness. OH THE SHAME.

But now apparently you're changing what you wrote before at Abagond's... I've already said White people are enculturated to be racist. Apparently now you agree, whereas before it was just enough to be born White.

However I'm curious as to your comment about "acting" White. You also never mentioned this in your comment, and is something new you've added to qualify yourself (presumably so as to avoid anymore bigotry, I hope!). But, what is "acting White"? Is it what PoC accuse other PoC of doing? Or is acting White ONLY being racist, ignorant, prejudiced, etc.? Or can "acting" White be more than merely an insult to PoC or White people?

Honestly, your frustration here is mounting, and I think it's because you're writing things that don't mean what you think they mean. Ever see the Princess Bride? Remember the character Vizzini and how constantly used the word "inconceivable!"?

That'd be you. In a nutshell.

aspergum said...

jason, you've clearly proven that you're not worth my time, but this is so blockheaded I can't resist--

What the fuck so now european traditions aren't white culture? Lol

No, European traditions are not "white culture" in America. Think about--you know, I'm sure, that the Irish became white by working their way into whiteness. And that the Italians did so by "assimilating," that is, by dropping whatever marked them as Italian. And so on with other cultures. So in America, those are now "ethnicities," a word that marks them as DIFFERENT FROM "white." In the 1800s, the self-declared "true" Americans were "white Anglo-Saxon Protestants," with the middle term an English (and thus, not other European countries) connection, and the latter a mark of discrimination against Catholics.

So this is why it's hard to define "white culture" in America, because it never declares itself as such. White people in the U.S. have continually marked others and their supposed ways as "this" or "that," and then implicitly identified themselves relationally in the process--instead of overtly marking any of their own ways as "white" --especially in the last century or so. That's mostly why we have "American history" classes that end up being mostly white-framed, but aren't marked that way, while African American history classes are marked that way.

And so, that's why I've been asking you white guys--what really is "white culture" in the U.S.? Because most white people stumble and mumble a lot (like Glenn Beck did) when someone asks them that.

aspergum said...

Taken as White? Well color me confused. Are you saying being seen as White by other people is a bad thing? Zoinks Shaggy! Let me hide my pale skin, lest others see my Whiteness. OH THE SHAME.

You're cherry-picking again. I'm saying being raised into white ways is a bad thing. It's right there, where I said, "because of the tendencies it instills in white people." You know, the part of the very same sentence that you ignored, again. Context, m'boy, context!

But now apparently you're changing what you wrote before at Abagond's... I've already said White people are enculturated to be racist. Apparently now you agree, whereas before it was just enough to be born White.

One more time--I never said that it's "just enough to be born white"!

Ugh, what a waste of time this is. You just don't listen.

Or can "acting" White be more than merely an insult to PoC or White people?

Now you're basically asking me what I asked you before, when I asked you to come up with something that's "white" that's not also bad.

Ai yi yi.

No, this is not "inconceivable." It's just becoming very predictable. I think it's possible that you're just dicking around in bad faith here, maybe practicing diversionary argumentative strategies on the Internetz. It's hard to imagine someone being sincere, and still missing or ignoring as much of what I'm saying as you're missing.

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

Okay, so now in addition we're going to have a semantics lesson... very well.

Instead of saying something and then saying I read it wrong when I point out that what you wrote is effed-up, why not just write what you mean? Or have you been doing that already? And if so, then why is it effed-up?

Let's get *real* concrete here. Your sentence went: "I do think being born [this is what you first said back at Abagond's] AND RAISED (which of course went along with what I meant in the context of that "born" comment) [this is what you added just now, but never said before this conversation after earlier giving you multiple attempts to explain yourself] to be taken as white, [this part you don't define what it means, unless I take it at face value -- which would be to be treated as White by others -- and so you make being treated as White by OTHER PEOPLE something that a person should feel bad about even though they don't have any real control over other people] and to act as white, [again an undefined phrase which, taken at face value means that the person would have to be acting in a way that would cause a PoC to be insulted in this way, which typically involvesbeing articulate, educated, and other bullshit] is itself "bad," [so now we have being born White -- something you can't control -- being raised White -- something you can't control, but that you can correct later on in life -- being treated as White by others -- something again that you can't control -- and acting White -- something that apparently you don't like but don't explain or define but seems to mean you don't like people who dance differently, dress in muted colors, and listen to Mannheim Steamroller] yes, because of the tendencies it instills in white people." [and finally all this combines to create racist White people, even though the only thing that actually does is being raised in a racist society]

Voila! So, now that we've deconstructed an entire sentence of yours, unpacked the assumptions, the problems, and the bigotry, do you have any questions?

aspergum said...

Voila! So, now that we've deconstructed an entire sentence of yours, unpacked the assumptions, the problems, and the bigotry, do you have any questions?

LOL! No, I've learned what a waste of time asking you questions is.

I would take the time to deconstruct your deconstruction just for the hell of it (and for anyone else who might be reading this), but it starts immediately with a continued and decontextualized misrepresentation of my comment at Abagond's, which you just can't see as such, and most of the rest is either misrepresentation or misunderstanding as well and no matter what I say, you won't see that, so, screw it.

You may not even realize it, but you're simply determined not to listen to me. You've dug in your heels again, which clearly makes conversing with you about this a waste of time, because when you're like that, you just don't listen.

Thanks for allowing me to converse on your blog, once I got "polite" enough for you. I do realize how strongly white people insist that discussions about race occur on their terms, in their own ways, according to their definitions of decorum. I know that all too well.

Zek J Evets said...

Aspergum,

I do realize how strongly white people insist that discussions about race occur on their terms, in their own ways, according to their definitions of decorum. I know that all too well.

Hey, my house my rules.

If you find that unfair, feel free to leave? Sorry reasonable requests and accurate representations of your arguments are bothersome to you.

Take care.

jas0nburns said...

"I do realize how strongly white people insist that discussions about race occur on their terms, in their own ways"

Good for you. We don't need a refresher course on critical race theory, at least I don't.

This is a great example of why you are a waste of time. This comment from a person who WON'T EVEN DISCLOSE THEIR RACE!!!

It was comments like this that initially led me to assume you were a POC, because only the most insane and dishonest white person would make such a comment. yet when I did that you suggested that it was an undue assumption.

Yet now you seem to feel that we aren't showing you the proper deference and humility that a WP should when discussing race with a POC. So which is it?