The Silence of Our Friends

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bewildered Part III

I hope you will all be around for Bewildered Part 12,582... LOL

When I got online (last night) I intended to check comments and answer/engage any readers. Wow! Thank you everyone for stopping by with words of support, words of wisdom, and your perspective.

Then I got caught up for hours reading Nezua's links, and the links within those posts and by the time I finished, it was way past my bedtime. I do have one minor disagreement with this: "I won't take you any further down this side street. Different story." No, it's all one and the same! One of the reasons I keep quoting R.Mildred is because she is NOT specifically talking about racism. When anyone is viewed as inferior for any reason they will at times experience what I experienced with my "friend". There is always connections and relationships, and I love pointing it out and when other people point it out for me too. It makes it easier to see our shared humanity.

I also think that I should have stated that I mean anyone who is friendly towards POC or should be, like the WHITEPROGRESSIVE in Nezua's style book definition. On a personal level, of course I never want to feel gut punched and that moment of vertigo when I question my humanity again, but she's an indication of something much larger that needs to be addressed for more than just lil ol' me.

It's important to me that people read those posts that Nezua linked to, but I also know that people do not have the hours I spent reading them (and all the comments). I definitely want to post about the parts that spoke, no SHOUTED, to me.

Speech Rules or Beliefs and Attitudes?: Glenn Greenwald wrote a post/column that, in a nutshell, says don't hold whites responsible for absorbing racist language/ideas/imagery. It's the POC's fault for pointing it out with all their PC rules, dammit! Nezua deconstructs the words and phrasing. Sort of a reverse diamond in the rough, he discovers the lump of coal encased in the glittering language. When you live with racism long enough you become aware of certain things, like coded language, which is what Nezua and Glenn are talking about. Biden called Obama "clean and articulate". If you aren't aware of the coded language it sounds like praise, but can you imagine Biden saying that about any white candidate? Whites default to clean and articulate, it would be noteworthy if they were not. What Biden is really saying about blacks - that they default to dirty and incomprehensible. Obama is a credit to his race. Glenn is concerned that POC are hypersensitive and pointing out these "little slips" makes white folks feel bad and then they don't want to talk to those mean people of color who hurt their feelings. Oh woe! How can we discuss racism when those POC keep bringing up (our) racism!

Let me get off on a little tangent here. A battered person becomes very sensitive to the things spoken and unspoken that will set the batterer off. Let's say this couple is in a public place and the batterer says to his girlfriend, not shouting, in a conversational tone, "Shut up." and she cringes, visibly starts shaking, and runs from the room. I wonder if Glenn would say she is hypersensitive? It makes you wonder if the ones accusing people of hypersensitivity aren't instead simply insensitive and unaware, maybe even ignorant to the lives of others different than themselves. Things to ponder...

Nezua explains it more kindly than I just did, you really need to go read the thread and comments at his place, really. Nezua distills it down to: when anyone, even a nice person, absorbs racist ideas and spits it out into the discourse, they must be called on it.

Dammit! This is so fundamental and it makes me want to scream when those friendly to us don't get it! You can't give someone a pass to hold racist ideas because you like them (Glenn, FDL, Amanda, Maha, the "friend" in my last post, on and on), you can't give them a pass because they are nominally liberal and on your side (Biden), you can't give them a pass because they're unaware celebrities (Paris Hilton). You can't give anyone a pass even if they do not INTEND to be racist. You are asking too much of us; you are asking us to spot clean when this blight is ingrained in the entire fabric of our existence. To be honest, I could more easily live with the spots, which are the declared haters like the Klan, if I could get you and all the nice people like you to let go of your grain of racist ignorance. For every visible spot there is a ton of invisible dirt, crumbs, dust, mold, and mildew.

That's why you hurt us more than the declared haters. You don't intend it but you do it anyway and when you are called on it, you minimize the damage you do. It doesn't affect you negatively, so what's the big deal?

Shhh POC, don't point out the piece of racist tripe I'm holding. That negatively affects me. You're UNGRATEFUL. I do you the FAVOR of talking about racial theory and those bad conservative bigots and this is the THANKS I get? I don't think I want to be your friend anymore if you talk about your reality. Are you too stupid to know that this is only an intellectual game? Stop that! The spotlight hurts my eyes!

I have alot more to say on this and hope I have time later tonight, yes, Bewildered IV, coming soon!

1 comment(s):

hey, thanks for taking the time. i'm glad you got what i meant...because it seemed of the same cloth to me, too. you nailed it exactly.

lookin forward to your next post on thangs.

By Anonymous nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez, at 3/06/2007 4:04 PM  

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