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White Supremacy

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  • EliabEliab Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    Leaf wrote: »
    The more I read this thread, the less I know what it's about.
    That's because it's about @lilbuddha playing ugly games and making offensive assumptions about other people's lives.

    As an outsider to the discussion (and one who is generally closer in outlook to you or LC than lb) I think you are failing to understand the point lb is making.

    She's simply saying that someone's apparent racial group (largely, but probably not entirely, determined by colour) strongly influences how that person is treated by others, and therefore how they experience race. She's not dismissing anyone's experience - she's saying that actual lived experience matters, and is not superseded by claimed identity.

    And she's advising (not dictating) that anyone with a particular ethnic identity or heritage but not the lived experience that is generally common to that ethnicity should be sensitive about how they express their identity, lest they appear to be claiming to have direct experience of things that in fact they know only at second hand, or to be speaking from a perspective that properly belongs to other people.

    I can't see that there's anything offensive or ugly about what she's arguing here. Nor do I think its a point that's particularly difficult to understand.


    (FWIW, I don't 100% agree with it - because my racial identity (white British) is not based on an assumption that I have a meaningful set of shared experiences with other people who are white and British. I might do - but I don't think or care about it, and so my claim to identity is not a claim about experience. I'm quite prepared to accept that a minority ethnic group is more likely to have, and care about, common experience associated with race, but because I don't say "I'm white" as a way of summarising my experience, I don't hear "I'm black" that way either. But I don't have to entirely adopt lb's viewpoint to think that her warning about sensitivity is sensible and well-intentioned).
  • Twilight wrote: »
    So denominations from the north, like the ELCA, don't have as many black members because they didn't have as many slaves. That makes it racist?
    OK, stepping outside of the demographic reality that Crœsos points out, the answer to your scenario is; probably yes.
    One of the things that drives the subtler aspects of racism* is lack of familiarity. Take homosexuality. One reason it is seeing generally more rapid acceptance is familiarity. It is difficult to find anyone who does not have a homosexual family member, friend or co-worker. People one can see just be normal people, with all the same strengths and weakness.

    *And the stronger ones as well, of course.
  • Eliab wrote: »
    I can't see that there's anything offensive or ugly about what she's arguing here. Nor do I think its a point that's particularly difficult to understand.
    Thank you for taking the time, especially given the disagreement in some of our views on race.
    Speaking of which;
    Eliab wrote: »
    (FWIW, I don't 100% agree with it - because my racial identity (white British) is not based on an assumption that I have a meaningful set of shared experiences with other people who are white and British. I might do - but I don't think or care about it, and so my claim to identity is not a claim about experience. I'm quite prepared to accept that a minority ethnic group is more likely to have, and care about, common experience associated with race, but because I don't say "I'm white" as a way of summarising my experience, I don't hear "I'm black" that way either.
    Part of what you describe is white privilege. My identity is based on many things, but colour is something society does not allow me to ignore. White people can generally ignore theirs. UK culture is white. Even in cosmopolitan London this is true. You can choose your identity, this is not true for black and brown people.
    Part of why you might not hear someone say "I'm black" as identification is that because, in the UK most black people have a culture they were raised in as well as well as being British. Jamaican, Nigerian, etc.
    However, BLACK is the primary way white Britain sees people with black skin.
    Eliab wrote: »
    But I don't have to entirely adopt lb's viewpoint to think that her warning about sensitivity is sensible and well-intentioned).
    Which means we can move a discussion forwards.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    So denominations from the north, like the ELCA, don't have as many black members because they didn't have as many slaves. That makes it racist?
    OK, stepping outside of the demographic reality that Crœsos points out, the answer to your scenario is; probably yes.
    One of the things that drives the subtler aspects of racism* is lack of familiarity. Take homosexuality. One reason it is seeing generally more rapid acceptance is familiarity. It is difficult to find anyone who does not have a homosexual family member, friend or co-worker. People one can see just be normal people, with all the same strengths and weakness.

    *And the stronger ones as well, of course.

    I grew up in West Virginia which is one of the whitest states. According to your logic, I'm surprised we fought with the union during the civil war. Plus there should be far less racism in the south than in the north, migration or not.

    I'll bet you can find a lot of little churches in Sweden and Norway that are all white and churches in Africa that are all black. Racists all?

    The AMC church must be extremely racist, too. It rarely has much diversity in its congregation.


    I realize some people hate and fear anything unfamiliar, but I would never think that's the majority of humanity. Small local churches (my ELCA had only 50 members ) usually reflect the color of the neighborhood. It probably has more to do with people wanting to walk to church than any sort of racism. When I lived in Georgia I joined an independent church that was about 95% black. I didn't think they were racists for having so few whites.

    More and more you just sound like white equals bad so a church that has an entirely white congregation must be a bad church.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    The AMC church must be extremely racist, too. It rarely has much diversity in its congregation.

    Yep, it is the second least diverse denomination in the US; however, it does open its does to all races and ethnic groups. Witness what happened in Charlottesville.'

    Twilight, you wrote
    This writer with his ideas like no white robes in church because they remind him of KKK sheets and his premise that the church with the most whites is the most racist church just infuriates me

    Frankly, I think you are proving Lenny's point. You want to deny how he feels about white robes. Duncan is Lutheran. He is not concerned about the Southern Baptist Convention or the LDS, he is concerned about his church. His book is to his church.

    He goes on with objections to the advent imagery of moving from darkness (as if it were evil) to light (as if it were good). He says there is better advent imagery to work with such as the approach of a King. I like that image better.

    I can understand how Northern Europeans can glum on to the darkness-light motif, but it does not work as well in the Southern Hemisphere since Christmas happens at the time of the summer solstice and it begins to get darker.

  • Um..."AMC church"? Do you mean "AME"--African Methodist Episcopal? I know of AME, but not AMC. I looked up "AMC church". I found mostly AME, plus some churches that meet at AMC movie theaters.

    Thx.
  • Twilight wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    So denominations from the north, like the ELCA, don't have as many black members because they didn't have as many slaves. That makes it racist?
    OK, stepping outside of the demographic reality that Crœsos points out, the answer to your scenario is; probably yes.
    One of the things that drives the subtler aspects of racism* is lack of familiarity. Take homosexuality. One reason it is seeing generally more rapid acceptance is familiarity. It is difficult to find anyone who does not have a homosexual family member, friend or co-worker. People one can see just be normal people, with all the same strengths and weakness.

    *And the stronger ones as well, of course.

    I grew up in West Virginia which is one of the whitest states. According to your logic, I'm surprised we fought with the union during the civil war. Plus there should be far less racism in the south than in the north, migration or not.
    It is incorrect to think that northerners were not racist. Most of the union states did not have a significant portion of slaves, but this doesn't make them egalitarian. West Virginia was talking succession before the war and was not as invested in slavery. Kentucky had slavery and went from neutral to Union.
    For the south, racism became part of their identity. It didn't end with the war.
    You notice In said, 'One of the things" as there are different factors in different places.
    Twilight wrote: »
    I'll bet you can find a lot of little churches in Sweden and Norway that are all white and churches in Africa that are all black. Racists all?
    Sweden and Norway.
    There is loads of racism in Africa. In the predominantly black areas it is often against other black African identities as they do not see themselves as an homogeneous group.
    Twilight wrote: »
    The AMC church must be extremely racist, too. It rarely has much diversity in its congregation.
    Here is the thing, black people in America (and the UK) are forced to interact with white society. The reverse is not true.
    Every group has racism. But not every group is affected by the racism of the other groups.
    Twilight wrote: »
    I realize some people hate and fear anything unfamiliar, but I would never think that's the majority of humanity.
    Of course it is the majority of humanity. That is why we have racism and sexism and homophobia. That is why, when everyone is the same colour, they kill each other over other differences.
    Twilight wrote: »
    More and more you just sound like white equals bad so a church that has an entirely white congregation must be a bad church.
    Then you are not reading what I am writing. It is easy to dismiss racism as belonging to those in white hoods or wearing red-laced Dr Martens. But racism is a spectrum, not merely on or off.
    And, no, white does not equal bad. But white people are in the dominant position and that means their racism, big and small, affects other groups more than the reverse.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    The white robes = KKK thing just sounds weird, though. I've sat in I don't know how many church services with priests and lay eucharistic ministers wearing white robes and never once has the KKK come to mind.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Russ wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    There is dispute as to the extent of bloodshed that occurred but no dispute that Aboriginals were excluded from their traditional land and herded into proscribed places, where they were required to stay unless they sought permission.

    Not disputing that Aboriginals were the traditional occupiers or that they were wrongfully treated.

    But unless you take the view that they are the rightful owners only because they were wrongfully treated - that suffering maketh right - then it seems as if you're saying that they were and still are the rightful owners because they are/were the traditional occupiers.

    Is that your belief ? Would you say with the same conviction that the white race are the rightful owners of the countries of northern Europe ?

    I'm not just tweaking your tail here, Simon.

    I'm not a white nationalist. Because such a "wogs go home" belief seems to me unjust to the individual descendants of nonwhite immigrants who have grown up here and have known no other home and have individually done no wrong. It forces on them a nonwhite racial identity (making a thing of it even if their nonwhiteness is indisputably factually true).

    So I cannot agree with you, to the extent that you wish to force on your neighbours a racial "white Australian" rather than Australian identity. And discount their individual rights to their personal homeland. And hold them responsible for something done by others with the same skin colour.

    Does that make any sense to you ?




    I'm finally having a look at this - sorry for the delay. They are challenging questions that deserve a response.

    One of the difficulties in addressing the first issue of who owns the land and why is that I don't really know the intricacies of Aboriginal land ownership, whether it was the same throughout the continent, or whether the picture I have of it in my head is some liberal ideal or a fair summary of the systems.

    As I understand things, the Aborigines didn't own land so much as the land owned them, or at least they belonged to the land. The land was and they were, from a time beyond memory. That obviously isn't the case with European systems, where people didn't own land so much as being tied to it and owing duties to someone else. My head is generally in a Medieval space, and obviously it developed into something else. I think that in the mid-nineteenth century, when the area I lived began to see Europeans, the land was owned by the Government, and settlers either got grants of land or just squatted on it and worked it, and got permission later.

    So, I think in the mid-nineteenth century, European and Aboriginal approaches to land were utterly alien to each other. In the 1990's after a High Court case which recognised the continuing ownership of their land by people in the Torres Strait that survived colonisation, the concept of Native Title developed. I am very scared of trying to dip my toe in that water, but there are a large number of ongoing claims to Native Title, and quite a few claims have been granted. I really do not know the detail, and I am scared of the complexity involved in these claims, and indeed the nature of the title to land given. The title itself might well depend on each particular situation, which would be both cool and really hard. I just don't feel equipped to explain it, but it is highly relevant as it goes to the question of reconciling these two ways of looking at the land.

    So, in short, Europeans don't have the same way of looking at the land because they are, at heart, smelly peasants who never owned nothing, the descendants of greedy robber barons who happened to be sitting down when the music stopped, or pirates who preyed on other people's stuff.

    As to questions of identity, it is indisputable that a great many Australians were born overseas or have a parent born overseas. We are an immigrant society. I don't want to force anyone to adopt a particular identity, but I do want people to know the truth about how we came to be here, the cost of us being here, and who had to pay that cost. I think that answers the question.

    Thanks for making me think Ross.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »

    I'm finally having a look at this - sorry for the delay. They are challenging questions that deserve a response.

    One of the difficulties in addressing the first issue of who owns the land and why is that I don't really know the intricacies of Aboriginal land ownership, whether it was the same throughout the continent, or whether the picture I have of it in my head is some liberal ideal or a fair summary of the systems.

    As I understand things, the Aborigines didn't own land so much as the land owned them, or at least they belonged to the land. The land was and they were, from a time beyond memory. That obviously isn't the case with European systems, where people didn't own land so much as being tied to it and owing duties to someone else. I really do not know the detail, and I am scared of the complexity involved in these claims, and indeed the nature of the title to land given. The title itself might well depend on each particular situation, which would be both cool and really hard. I just don't feel equipped to explain it, but it is highly relevant as it goes to the question of reconciling these two ways of looking at the land.

    You're certainly right in your description of the relationship between the first people and the land. The people owe duties to care for the land as they were taught to.

    The current position post-Mabo and -Wik is that native title claims can be made in respect of any land which has not been alienated by the Crown by either freehold or leasehold. So very large slabs of the country are unable to be claimed. This puts the lie to Hanson's comments that people have lost their houses and land to native title claims. A successful native title claim puts the claimants with their ancient obligations to the land and the corresponding rights to use it.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    So denominations from the north, like the ELCA, don't have as many black members because they didn't have as many slaves. That makes it racist?
    OK, stepping outside of the demographic reality that Crœsos points out, the answer to your scenario is; probably yes.
    One of the things that drives the subtler aspects of racism* is lack of familiarity. Take homosexuality. One reason it is seeing generally more rapid acceptance is familiarity. It is difficult to find anyone who does not have a homosexual family member, friend or co-worker. People one can see just be normal people, with all the same strengths and weakness.

    *And the stronger ones as well, of course.

    I grew up in West Virginia which is one of the whitest states. According to your logic, I'm surprised we fought with the union during the civil war. Plus there should be far less racism in the south than in the north, migration or not.
    It is incorrect to think that northerners were not racist. Most of the union states did not have a significant portion of slaves, but this doesn't make them egalitarian. West Virginia was talking succession before the war and was not as invested in slavery. Kentucky had slavery and went from neutral to Union.
    For the south, racism became part of their identity. It didn't end with the war.
    You notice In said, 'One of the things" as there are different factors in different places.
    Twilight wrote: »
    I'll bet you can find a lot of little churches in Sweden and Norway that are all white and churches in Africa that are all black. Racists all?
    Sweden and Norway.
    There is loads of racism in Africa. In the predominantly black areas it is often against other black African identities as they do not see themselves as an homogeneous group.
    Twilight wrote: »
    The AMC church must be extremely racist, too. It rarely has much diversity in its congregation.
    Here is the thing, black people in America (and the UK) are forced to interact with white society. The reverse is not true.
    Every group has racism. But not every group is affected by the racism of the other groups.
    Twilight wrote: »
    I realize some people hate and fear anything unfamiliar, but I would never think that's the majority of humanity.
    Of course it is the majority of humanity. That is why we have racism and sexism and homophobia. That is why, when everyone is the same colour, they kill each other over other differences.
    Twilight wrote: »
    More and more you just sound like white equals bad so a church that has an entirely white congregation must be a bad church.
    Then you are not reading what I am writing. It is easy to dismiss racism as belonging to those in white hoods or wearing red-laced Dr Martens. But racism is a spectrum, not merely on or off.
    And, no, white does not equal bad. But white people are in the dominant position and that means their racism, big and small, affects other groups more than the reverse.
    [Yes I meant AME.]

    I never, ever said there's no racism in the north. You implied there should be more racism in the north because they were less likely to know black people and that's what I disputed.

    I know there are racists in all countries. I just don't agree with you that where you find an area that is all one color they are going to be more racist than in mixed areas because of the lack of familiarity. Look at the race riots in Harlem and other big highly mixed cities.

    I think you excuse a lot of anti-white racism with this "they're in the dominant group so it doesn't matter." I don't agree. Just as there is a spectrum of racism and those who are looking really hard for it will find it even in the wearing of white choir robes, there is also a spectrum of effects of racism and while anti-black racism in America means discrimination in jobs and housing (for examples) while anti-white racism which is currently spoken loud and proud even by people like Supreme Court Judge Sotomayor is not harmless. Being openly hated for their skin color and taught in grade school that their ancestors were all horrible people is not a happy way for white children to grow up.

  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    The AMC church must be extremely racist, too. It rarely has much diversity in its congregation.

    Yep, it is the second least diverse denomination in the US; however, it does open its does to all races and ethnic groups. Witness what happened in Charlottesville.'

    Twilight, you wrote
    This writer with his ideas like no white robes in church because they remind him of KKK sheets and his premise that the church with the most whites is the most racist church just infuriates me

    Frankly, I think you are proving Lenny's point. You want to deny how he feels about white robes. Duncan is Lutheran. He is not concerned about the Southern Baptist Convention or the LDS, he is concerned about his church. His book is to his church.

    He goes on with objections to the advent imagery of moving from darkness (as if it were evil) to light (as if it were good). He says there is better advent imagery to work with such as the approach of a King. I like that image better.

    I can understand how Northern Europeans can glum on to the darkness-light motif, but it does not work as well in the Southern Hemisphere since Christmas happens at the time of the summer solstice and it begins to get darker.
    I don't want to deny how he feels about white robes. I want to say that I feel he is being ridiculous.

    There are already lots of advent images of the coming king. I personally don't like the idea of thinking of Jesus as a king. Kings have had thousands of years to build images in our minds as ruthless dictators.

    Darkness has long been used as a metaphor for confusion and fear because everyone has felt that at night and felt relief in the morning. It has nothing to do with the change of seasons. It still gets dark at night in the summer. It's about freedom from the darkness of sin. It's about how we were blind and now we can see.

    We can't take every metaphor of darkness and light out of the Bible or the language. Your writer is looking too hard for these things, and being too literal. Should the churches be decorated in black? Should they serve only chocolate donuts at coffee hour? I think the problem is in him, not the Lutheran church.
  • Twilight wrote: »

    I never, ever said there's no racism in the north. You implied there should be more racism in the north because they were less likely to know black people and that's what I disputed.
    I most certainly did not imply that. i am saying that there will likely be racism in homogenous groups because it is a natural human reaction to fear/mistrust the unknown.
    Racism, like any other behaviour, is multi-faceted.

    Twilight wrote: »
    I know there are racists in all countries. I just don't agree with you that where you find an area that is all one color they are going to be more racist than in mixed areas because of the lack of familiarity.
    Good, because I didn’t say that.
    Twilight wrote: »
    Look at the race riots in Harlem and other big highly mixed cities.
    Dumping ingredients into a bowl together doesn’t make them mixed. That takes work.
    Twilight wrote: »
    I think you excuse a lot of anti-white racism with this "they're in the dominant group so it doesn't matter." I don't agree.
    You don’t agree with something I didn’t say...Good, because I also don’t agree with that something I didn’t say.
    What I said was they don’t have the same effect.
    Twilight wrote: »
    Just as there is a spectrum of racism and those who are looking really hard for it will find it even in the wearing of white choir robes, there is also a spectrum of effects of racism and while anti-black racism in America means discrimination in jobs and housing (for examples) while anti-white racism which is currently spoken loud and proud even by people like Supreme Court Judge Sotomayor is not harmless. Being openly hated for their skin color and taught in grade school that their ancestors were all horrible people is not a happy way for white children to grow up.
    People should be taught about what their people did and are doing. And doing that honestly means that a lot of nasty things will be revealed. Without teaching those issues, they will be continued. Teaching them, there is hope that they may be lessened.
    There is a difference between being open about what happened, and what is still happening, and telling children to hate themselves because of it.
    Honestly, ISTM people see the latter when it isn’t there because the former is uncomfortable and difficult to deal with.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Twilight wrote: »
    Small local churches (my ELCA had only 50 members ) usually reflect the color of the neighborhood. It probably has more to do with people wanting to walk to church than any sort of racism.

    This is one of the ways white supremacy gets erased from public consciousness. The blithe confidence that the whole neighborhood just coincidentally happens to completely white, rather than had its whiteness enforced or created through sundowning, redlining, and countless other racist practices. Yeah, the church itself may not be directly responsible for this (though some of its older parishioners might be) but pretending this is just the natural order thing makes it complicit after the fact.
    Twilight wrote: »
    I never, ever said there's no racism in the north. You implied there should be more racism in the north because they were less likely to know black people and that's what I disputed.

    A possibly relevant quote:
    For those of us who came to Chicago from Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, it was a year of vital education. Our organization, carried out in conjunction with the very capable local leadership, experienced fits and starts, setbacks and positive progress. We found ourselves confronted by the hard realities of a social system in many ways more resistant to change than the rural South.

    While we were under no illusions about Chicago, in all frankness we found the job greater than even we imagined.

    - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Dr. King was considered something of an expert on American racism, I believe.
    Twilight wrote: »
    Just as there is a spectrum of racism and those who are looking really hard for it will find it even in the wearing of white choir robes, there is also a spectrum of effects of racism and while anti-black racism in America means discrimination in jobs and housing (for examples) while anti-white racism which is currently spoken loud and proud even by people like Supreme Court Judge Sotomayor is not harmless.

    Not sure what exactly you're referring to here. Her dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action [PDF] where she draws attention to racist implications of legacy college admissions? Her claim that a Latina woman might have a different perspective on Constitutional questions than (for example) voter harassment specialist William Rehnquist?
    Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

    Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

    However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

    I'm not sure that counts as "loud and proud" "anti-white racism". Citation please?
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Twilight: I think some of this has to do with differing ideas of what constitutes racism. An extremely narrow concept would be something like, "Racism means I personally murder someone with my own two hands because of their skin colour" and anything short of that is somehow "not racism."

    A wider concept of racism includes not only personally committing murder, but supporting genocide, supporting racially oppressive laws and policies, supporting racist social attitudes, turning a convenient blind eye toward racist effects, and incuriosity and ignorance about the absence of racialized people in one's daily life.

    It may seem like small-town Lutheran whiteness is just an accident of history, but to paraphrase Croesos, some of the accidents of history are not accidental.

    Two specifics from your post:

    (1) the white robes in worship. Wearing white robes in worship goes back to the New Testament (I'm thinking of Revelation) so I would not support the idea of doing away with them because of associations with KKK. However I would take seriously the writer's view of them. I'd ask: Given that history, how could we make white robes acceptable? Could we add African printed banding to them as a sign of hope of reconciliation? Wear a pectoral cross with some similar significance? I hope there would be a way to reconcile those histories. (Then of course we could judge the churches that do not have those reconciliation symbols present as being insufficiently woke, but that's another thread.)

    (2) darkness and light. Yeah the gospel of John really took that idea and ran with it. But that ignores much of Scripture, and the presence of God in darkness. I think we can do a much better job with redeeming the meaning of darkness, because mistaken ideas have absolutely played into the hands of racists. "In him there is no darkness at all" etc. God's presence in and with and under darkness should be better understood and proclaimed. One starting point is the Hebrew concept of a whole day, which begins with sundown, darkness, a meal, stories, and rest. The "day" begins with these gifts of grace in darkness. Very Lutheran IMHO.
  • I feel like every time we have this conversation, people have to explain over and over again that structural racism is a thing. Some posters feel that if individual Americans don't consciously feel hate in their hearts then they're not racist.

    The default setting of American society is white supremacy. In order for your actions NOT to support racism you have to make a conscious effort - if that's even possible on an individual level - and many of us don't take the time and energy (I include myself in that statement). If you just go with the flow in terms of things like housing, schooling and church attendance you're supporting white supremacy by default, even if you don't intend to.

    Bringing it back to the ELCA... I work for an ELCA congregation. Most of the members are lovely people, although we do have two or three unreconstructed racists and several others who are more the dog-whistle kind.

    The metro area where I work is divided into a bunch of teensy little municipalites, like one or two miles square, because of a legacy of redlining and de facto school segregation. My ELCA congregation is in a municipality that was a sundown town up until the late 60s. (An older member told me we once had to get special permission for a local black family to attend youth programs at the church after dark.) The residential area surrounding us is almost completely white. Less than two blocks away from the church you reach the boundary line of another tiny municipality, almost completely black. Each of these two tiny cities (legally they are separate cities, even though they're both part of Cincinnati-at-large) maintains a separate K-12 school system.

    It isn't a coincidence that my congregation is almost entirely white.
  • Leaf wrote: »
    (2) darkness and light. Yeah the gospel of John really took that idea and ran with it. But that ignores much of Scripture, and the presence of God in darkness. I think we can do a much better job with redeeming the meaning of darkness, because mistaken ideas have absolutely played into the hands of racists. "In him there is no darkness at all" etc. God's presence in and with and under darkness should be better understood and proclaimed.
    The default setting of American society is white supremacy. In order for your actions NOT to support racism you have to make a conscious effort - if that's even possible on an individual level - and many of us don't take the time and energy (I include myself in that statement).

    Bringing these two things together here's a Christian educational website teaching small children that God hates blackness and loves whiteness. Now I doubt that they consciously thought through the implications of such teachings in a modern-day American cultural context (the website seems to be American), but it's easy to see how teaching "black = bad/sinful, white = good/pure" can go really wrong.
  • I'm not sure that counts as "loud and proud" "anti-white racism". Citation please?

    The group this woman joined is the clearest example I’ve ever come across - but I don’t think it is common.

    It is certainly the case that many people post things on twitter that start “white people” “white women” “white men” followed by a sarcastic remark - in a way I never would never consider doing about another race/skin colour. I believe that comes under the rubric of “punching up”.

    That said, perhaps a thread on white supremacy could valuably focus on the centering the experience of racism of people who are not white ?
  • Crœsos wrote: »
    I'm not sure that counts as "loud and proud" "anti-white racism". Citation please?
    The group this woman joined is the clearest example I’ve ever come across - but I don’t think it is common.

    The linked article doesn't seem to indicate that Sonia Sotomayor is a member of the cited organization, which was my actual question.
    That said, perhaps a thread on white supremacy could valuably focus on the centering the experience of racism of people who are not white ?

    That's a little vaguely phrased. Do you mean the discussion of non-white people's experience of racism? Because we've discussed that. If you mean the discussion of racist views held by non-white people, it seems a bit contrary to suggest that a thread on white supremacy should shift its focus away from discussing white supremacy.
  • Crœsos wrote: »
    That's a little vaguely phrased. Do you mean the discussion of non-white people's experience of racism? Because we've discussed that. If you mean the discussion of racist views held by non-white people, it seems a bit contrary to suggest that a thread on white supremacy should shift its focus away from discussing white supremacy.
    That's actually quite funny -- usually white people are trying to make the conversation all about themselves. Unless it's racism, then they try to make the conversation all about somebody of another race.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I was suggesting, we *do not* focus on white people’s experience of racism directed at them. We’ve acknowledged it exists, frankly I think that is probably the limit of its useful inclusion on this thread.

    (I used Croesus’ comment as a jumping off point, perhaps that was a mistake, because I thought an unambiguous acknowledgement of the basic fact would then allow us to move on without us getting diverted into does it / doesn’t it happen to white people discussion.)
  • I feel like every time we have this conversation, people have to explain over and over again that structural racism is a thing. Some posters feel that if individual Americans don't consciously feel hate in their hearts then they're not racist.

    The default setting of American society is white supremacy. In order for your actions NOT to support racism you have to make a conscious effort - if that's even possible on an individual level - and many of us don't take the time and energy (I include myself in that statement). If you just go with the flow in terms of things like housing, schooling and church attendance you're supporting white supremacy by default, even if you don't intend to.

    Yes, the bolded expresses what I believe. Is it good to work for change in all the areas you mentioned? Of course, but calling someone a racist because they don't do that just doesn't fit the definition I'm familiar with of a racist as someone who thinks their race is superior to others.* That doesn't mean structural racism isn't "a thing" as you put it.

    The patriarchy is a thing but every man who doesn't belong to NOW is not a misogynist.

    Since you think any members of the ELCA who aren't actively working to do something about the number of people of northern European descent in their pews are racist what do you think they should do about it?

    The churches I've attended that are largely African American are on the opposite spectrum of the Lutheran church as to music, formality, and frequency of communion. My white friends who visit from other denominations are put off by the long mass and the shuffling from missal to hymnal, I think the people from the local African American church, which service is dominated by about an hour of contemporary music every Sunday, would be even more bored with the ELCA service.

    Why on earth should they give up a service they enjoy to meet some arbitrary quota to make certain people feel less racist?



    * Sonia Sotomayor in a lecture at the University of California at Berkeley. In referring to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s statement that “a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,” she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
  • Twilight wrote: »
    I feel like every time we have this conversation, people have to explain over and over again that structural racism is a thing. Some posters feel that if individual Americans don't consciously feel hate in their hearts then they're not racist.

    Yes, the bolded expresses what I believe. Is it good to work for change in all the areas you mentioned? Of course, but calling someone a racist because they don't do that just doesn't fit the definition I'm familiar with of a racist as someone who thinks their race is superior to others.*

    Yeah, that's the position of self-described "racial realists". They claim that they don't hate anyone, they just have a "realistic" view of the inferiority and superiority of various races and therefore their beliefs aren't racist, because of the absence of (blatant) hatred in their advocacy of a racial caste system.
    Twilight wrote: »
    That doesn't mean structural racism isn't "a thing" as you put it.

    The patriarchy is a thing but every man who doesn't belong to NOW is not a misogynist.

    Well, it does mean that structural racism isn't really "racism" since doesn't (necessarily) involve anyone "consciously feel[ ing ] hate in their hearts".

    Just like it's apparently not "misogynist" to believe women shouldn't worry their pretty little heads with educations or careers. As long as you sincerely believe (without hatred!) that women are just naturally the intellectual inferiors of men it's not misogyny.
    Twilight wrote: »
    * Sonia Sotomayor in a lecture at the University of California at Berkeley. In referring to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s statement that “a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,” she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

    The context of this quote, from the link I provided above was a discussion of sex discrimination cases and a specific mention of a Minnesota case where three female justices granted a protective order against an abusive father's visitation rights over the dissent of two male colleagues. I don't agree with you that gender perspective is irrelevant in jurisprudence or that there is "a universal definition of wise", to borrow a quote from the same Sotomayor speech you find so troubling.
  • Crœsos wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    I feel like every time we have this conversation, people have to explain over and over again that structural racism is a thing. Some posters feel that if individual Americans don't consciously feel hate in their hearts then they're not racist.

    Yes, the bolded expresses what I believe. Is it good to work for change in all the areas you mentioned? Of course, but calling someone a racist because they don't do that just doesn't fit the definition I'm familiar with of a racist as someone who thinks their race is superior to others.*

    Yeah, that's the position of self-described "racial realists". They claim that they don't hate anyone, they just have a "realistic" view of the inferiority and superiority of various races and therefore their beliefs aren't racist, because of the absence of (blatant) hatred in their advocacy of a racial caste system.
    Twilight wrote: »
    That doesn't mean structural racism isn't "a thing" as you put it.

    The patriarchy is a thing but every man who doesn't belong to NOW is not a misogynist.

    Well, it does mean that structural racism isn't really "racism" since doesn't (necessarily) involve anyone "consciously feel[ ing ] hate in their hearts".

    Just like it's apparently not "misogynist" to believe women shouldn't worry their pretty little heads with educations or careers. As long as you sincerely believe (without hatred!) that women are just naturally the intellectual inferiors of men it's not misogyny.
    Twilight wrote: »
    * Sonia Sotomayor in a lecture at the University of California at Berkeley. In referring to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s statement that “a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,” she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

    The context of this quote, from the link I provided above was a discussion of sex discrimination cases and a specific mention of a Minnesota case where three female justices granted a protective order against an abusive father's visitation rights over the dissent of two male colleagues. I don't agree with you that gender perspective is irrelevant in jurisprudence or that there is "a universal definition of wise", to borrow a quote from the same Sotomayor speech you find so troubling.

    You left out my definition of racism as a belief that one race is inferior to another, the definition of not having hate in their hearts was something someone else said but I agreed that I thought that was a good point too. It's perfectly possible to not have hate for another race and not also have all those weird beliefs you just mentioned . It's not possible to believe another race is inferior and not be a racist.

    Every time we have one of these arguments you try your best to make me a racist but this is the first time you thought my saying I didn't have hate in my heart for another race made me a racist.

    Your examples of beliefs about pretty little heads etc, have nothing to do with Antisocial Alto's idea that if you aren't actively working for a cause like ending structural racism or sexism then you must be a racist or a male chauvinist .

    If you think women are inferior then you are a misogynist.
    If you think a certain race is inferior then you are a racist, no matter what you feel in your heart. However, a lack of hate doesn't make you a racist .
  • Twilight wrote: »
    Yes, the bolded expresses what I believe. Is it good to work for change in all the areas you mentioned? Of course, but calling someone a racist because they don't do that just doesn't fit the definition I'm familiar with of a racist as someone who thinks their race is superior to others.* That doesn't mean structural racism isn't "a thing" as you put it.

    The patriarchy is a thing but every man who doesn't belong to NOW is not a misogynist.
    If one watches another drown, but makes no effort to help, one mightn't be guilty of causing the drowning, but they are guilty of not preventing it. I didn't push them in the water is not an excuse, especially since it is obvious that others are doing so.
    Doing nothing equates to support to those who are doing harm. You mightn't think it fair, but it is how life works.
    Twilight wrote: »
    Since you think any members of the ELCA who aren't actively working to do something about the number of people of northern European descent in their pews are racist what do you think they should do about it?
    I believe that people who claim a moral code should be working towards fixing problems, not merely abstaining from causing them.
    Twilight wrote: »
    * Sonia Sotomayor in a lecture at the University of California at Berkeley. In referring to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s statement that “a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,” she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
    If you read that quote in the context of the whole article, she is saying that people without a particular experience will not as easily understand situations in cases involving those experiences.
    That is simple, common sense.
    Twilight wrote: »
    However, a lack of hate doesn't make you a racist .
    A lack of hate doesn't mean one is free from racism.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    I believe that people who claim a moral code should be working towards fixing problems, not merely abstaining from causing them.

    Quotes file.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I believe that people who claim a moral code should be working towards fixing problems, not merely abstaining from causing them.

    Quotes file.

    Quite, but belonging to a majority white church does not necessarily equate to not doing anything to combat structural racism - one does not exist solely in one hour on a Sunday.

    Likewise, living in a majority white area - which may have become majority white owing to racist policies and actions before you were born - does not mean you don’t think racism is a problem.

    ISTM that the argument that needs to be won, is that structural / institutional racism may lead you to participate in racist practices that you may not perceive until they are explicitly discussed with you. For example, apparently neutral dress codes whose rules on hairstyles are assuming Caucasian hair.

    I think it is useful to have a linguistic distinction between people who are trying to discriminate against those of races other their own, and those who choices/actions do so unintentionally. The distinction is important because those who are trying are likely to be more immediately dangerous, and those who are not are more likely to modify their behaviour in response to constructive feedback.

    From a psychological perspective, we know if people feel rejected they are less likely to act in a pro social way. The more defensive people become they less likely they are to listen. If you talk to someone like Twilight in such a way that she hears what you are saying as basically framing her as in the same mental space as Dylan Roof - then she is unlikely to give much credence to anything else you say, understandably so.
  • TwilightTwilight Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    From a psychological perspective, we know if people feel rejected they are less likely to act in a pro social way. The more defensive people become they less likely they are to listen. If you talk to someone like Twilight in such a way that she hears what you are saying as basically framing her as in the same mental space as Dylan Roof - then she is unlikely to give much credence to anything else you say, understandably so.

    True. That's exactly why I said I didn't like teaching grade school kids lessons about historic racism and slavery. I know of three separate cases of little boys coming home crying and saying, "White people are bad," after those lessons. That's bound to effect how comfortable they are with themselves and around little African American playmates, and vice versa.

    Teach history, of course, but wait until they're high school age and do it with care, because there is no reason children should carry either the guilt, or the anger, of people they never met based on having similar skin color.



    mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I believe that people who claim a moral code should be working towards fixing problems, not merely abstaining from causing them.

    Quotes file.
    Nice, but that in no way addressed the question it appeared to "answer." Lilbuddha not only seems to have selected a moral code for my church that puts "Thou shall not be racist" at the top of the commandments, but has chosen exactly what we should be spending our time on. According to her we should close our food pantry and devote all our hours toward getting the (very few) African Americans in our town to leave their charming historic church and come to us on Sunday.

    My town is 1.93% black. My husband volunteers three to five days a week working for one of those few black people in a non-profit that helps people recently released from jail needing a new start and victims of domestic violence. He also does anyone's tax returns for free. I think he has probably done far more for the black people of this community this way, than if he had been trying to get them to attend his all white Methodist church.

    I frankly think Lilbuddha has a lot of nerve assuming moral leadership for others based on her own self-centered priorities. You can put that in your quotes file thirteen.

  • That said, I don’t see a problem with teaching about slavery in primary school. It’s how it is done that is the issue.
  • Twilight wrote: »
    Every time we have one of these arguments you try your best to make me a racist but this is the first time you thought my saying I didn't have hate in my heart for another race made me a racist.

    Hey, this is an internet discussion board. I can't "make" you do or be anything.

    What I'm more interested in is your assessment of what seems to me to be a rather anodyne statement by Sotomayor that there isn't a uniform system of wisdom and that life experiences can affect that wisdom. For example (my example, not hers) I would argue that attorneys like Thurgood Marshall or Charles Hamilton Houston had more wisdom about America's segregation laws that James McReynolds and that this wisdom was largely due to the fact that Marshall and Houston were black. This isn't an assessment of black superiority, merely an observation that being on the sharp end of American Apartheid focuses the attention in a way that being the son of Southern privilege does not.
    Twilight wrote: »
    That's exactly why I said I didn't like teaching grade school kids lessons about historic racism and slavery.
    That said, I don’t see a problem with teaching about slavery in primary school. It’s how it is done that is the issue.

    Treating those aspects of American history as something too horrible to mention to children seems like it might make those things seem even more stigmatizing in the long run. Plus I'm not sure erasing slavery or racism from the American past can really be called teaching history.
  • but belonging to a majority white church does not necessarily equate to not doing anything to combat structural racism - one does not exist solely in one hour on a Sunday.

    Likewise, living in a majority white area - which may have become majority white owing to racist policies and actions before you were born - does not mean you don’t think racism is a problem.
    Absolutely true. It does mean it is more likely to be the case, however.
    Again, LGBT+ aceptance is progressing more because people are very likely to know and interact with Lesbian and gay people. The trans part of it lags because they are fewer in number.
    It is human nature to have a lesser understanding of problems we do not ourselves face.
    Why is that even controversial?
    ISTM that the argument that needs to be won, is that structural / institutional racism may lead you to participate in racist practices that you may not perceive until they are explicitly discussed with you. For example, apparently neutral dress codes whose rules on hairstyles are assuming Caucasian hair.
    How does it need to be won? It should be obvious. Unless one thinks all white people are racist, the proliferation of hair and dress codes makes this obvious. It is either malice or ignorance, one would think preferring to assume that it is ignorance would be the more accepting choice.
    I think it is useful to have a linguistic distinction between people who are trying to discriminate against those of races other their own, and those who choices/actions do so unintentionally. The distinction is important because those who are trying are likely to be more immediately dangerous, and those who are not are more likely to modify their behaviour in response to constructive feedback.
    There isn't one for any of the isms and phobias. I doubt the ability to coin a word that is self-explanatory. And if one can parse and accept the explanation, there is no need for the word.
    From a psychological perspective, we know if people feel rejected they are less likely to act in a pro social way. The more defensive people become they less likely they are to listen. If you talk to someone like Twilight in such a way that she hears what you are saying as basically framing her as in the same mental space as Dylan Roof - then she is unlikely to give much credence to anything else you say, understandably so.
    In such a way?
    No matter the nuance or qualification in what I say, she appears to hear "White people are the Devil!"
    Nearly every point I make is twisted or ramped to 11.
    Tell me how I am supposed to frame this conversation?
    Whilst noting the irony of doing so...
  • Twilight wrote: »
    Nice, but that in no way addressed the question it appeared to "answer." Lilbuddha not only seems to have selected a moral code for my church that puts "Thou shall not be racist" at the top of the commandments, but has chosen exactly what we should be spending our time on. According to her we should close our food pantry and devote all our hours toward getting the (very few) African Americans in our town to leave their charming historic church and come to us on Sunday.
    Point to where I said this. Because I did not.
    Twilight wrote: »
    My town is 1.93% black. My husband volunteers three to five days a week working for one of those few black people in a non-profit that helps people recently released from jail needing a new start and victims of domestic violence. He also does anyone's tax returns for free. I think he has probably done far more for the black people of this community this way, than if he had been trying to get them to attend his all white Methodist church.
    What you husband is doing is commendable.
    Where did I say anything about getting black people to attend your church?
    All I am saying is that lack of exposure can help foster racism.
    Not sure why this is controversial, it is exactly how humans work in everything. We see our own experiences and those things that affect us first, those of the people around us second and those not around us third, if at all.
    Twilight wrote: »
    I frankly think Lilbuddha has a lot of nerve assuming moral leadership for others based on her own self-centered priorities. You can put that in your quotes file thirteen.
    This is a thread about white supremacy, what am I supposed to talk about?

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Host hat on
    Please can I ask everyone to take a few moments to reflect on Commandments 3, 4, and 5, and on Purgatory guidelines 1 and 3. The temperature on this thread is rising significantly towards Hellish levels.

    Thank you
    Host hat off
    BroJames Purgatory Host
  • Styx, if you please.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Thank you for the reminder, @BroJames. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to stay Purgatorial in tone when others don't.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    @lilbuddha I don’t have a definitive answer. From an lgbt perspective we do talk about homophobia and heteronormative assumptions. From which I understand, someone who is homophobic holds what I consider to be prejudiced ideas about gay people, whereas many people operate on heteronormative assumptions that impact gay people in a discriminatory way.

    In general people are more responsive to being told that such and such a practice is based on heteronormative assumptions, than they are being told such and such is homophobic. And I do feel there is a qualitative difference between practices that exist because your default assumption is that everyone is like you, and practices that exist because you assume people who are not like you are somehow a bit shit (be that perverse, stupid or criminal).
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    In general people are more responsive to being told that such and such a practice is based on heteronormative assumptions, than they are being told such and such is homophobic. And I do feel there is a qualitative difference between practices that exist because your default assumption is that everyone is like you, and practices that exist because you assume people who are not like you are somehow a bit shit (be that perverse, stupid or criminal).

    Exactly. There's a difference between white nationalists and the white woman I recently heard extolling the greatness of the U.S. constitution, whose writers, she said, "didn't care what color you were." Then there are the white people who tell my black co-worker to smile and are offended when she says she's not going to play Aunt Jemima for them.
  • @lilbuddha I don’t have a definitive answer. From an lgbt perspective we do talk about homophobia and heteronormative assumptions. From which I understand, someone who is homophobic holds what I consider to be prejudiced ideas about gay people, whereas many people operate on heteronormative assumptions that impact gay people in a discriminatory way.

    In general people are more responsive to being told that such and such a practice is based on heteronormative assumptions, than they are being told such and such is homophobic.
    More responsive. IME, that more is tiny.
    Though not having a word (palenormative?paleonormative?), I began the conversation with LC and Twilight discussing the race equivalent of heteronormative.
    Eliab, despite disagreeing with me, had no problem parsing the conversation. Apparently not true of LC, Rossweisse or Twilight.
    So, perhaps it would work sometimes, but I am not convinced it would work often. It certainly didn't here.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Content is just one aspect of these conversations. Context matters, as do the relationships between the people involved. I could say exactly the same things that Christian Picciolini says to white nationalists, but it wouldn't work.

    In the late 90s we had an interim priest at our Episcopal parish who got nearly everyone in the old guard to come around on the subject of same-sex marriage. It was astonishing. The previous rector had been a gay man who had officiated at the first same-sex union (because marriage wasn't yet legal) at that church on the grounds that it was the right thing to do, and of course pissed people off who were against it or on the fence about it or wanted to be consulted before he did something that was still against the rules. So I asked the 60-something-year-old interim priest what she said to these folks, who were in her age cohort. She said she talked to them about sex, about how she knew they didn't have sex the way they had sex when they were young, that they had the sex they were able to have now, and then said that gay men and lesbians have the sex they are able to have. I wasn't crazy about the comparison and would never have made it, but it worked -- she moved the needle in our parish in a way the previous priest couldn't, because he gave them chapter and verse about what was right, and she met them where they were. And the parish as a whole changed because the old guard was on board.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    Content is just one aspect of these conversations. Context matters, as do the relationships between the people involved. I could say exactly the same things that Christian Picciolini says to white nationalists, but it wouldn't work.
    Like talking to like, not the same situation, exactly. Like talking to receptive like.
    Ruth wrote: »
    In the late 90s we had an interim priest at our Episcopal parish who got nearly everyone in the old guard to come around on the subject of same-sex marriage. It was astonishing. The previous rector had been a gay man who had officiated at the first same-sex union (because marriage wasn't yet legal) at that church on the grounds that it was the right thing to do, and of course pissed people off who were against it or on the fence about it or wanted to be consulted before he did something that was still against the rules. So I asked the 60-something-year-old interim priest what she said to these folks, who were in her age cohort. She said she talked to them about sex, about how she knew they didn't have sex the way they had sex when they were young, that they had the sex they were able to have now, and then said that gay men and lesbians have the sex they are able to have. I wasn't crazy about the comparison and would never have made it, but it worked -- she moved the needle in our parish in a way the previous priest couldn't, because he gave them chapter and verse about what was right, and she met them where they were. And the parish as a whole changed because the old guard was on board.
    There are always exceptions and the whole thing can be complex.
    On this thread, we had 4 people* of like mind and only one heard what was being actually said. Only one of them read the words without projection. He still doesn't agree, but he was the only one who even heard.

    *Would need to go through the whole thing to get a more accurate number, but in the last several days as I recall it.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    "What was being actually said" is not the only thing that matters. You focus on the defects of how other people read what you write ("Only one of them read the words without projection"). But if you want to get through to people and persuade them of something, you assume the burden of finding a way to say things to them that helps them to hear it. If a lot of people aren't understanding you, the problem is as likely to be with what you're writing as with how they're reading it. When I was teaching, I tried to take that to heart; if a lot of people in the class didn't get something, it didn't help for me to conclude they weren't really listening. Even if that were true, it was on me to find a way to help them listen.

    There's a whole school of thought that says "what was actually being said" is not even a thing. Reader-response criticism says each reader creates a meaning in the very act of reading. In its absolute form the position is a little nuts, IMO, but very useful to consider, as it reflects an important reality of human communication.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    "What was being actually said" is not the only thing that matters. You focus on the defects of how other people read what you write ("Only one of them read the words without projection"). But if you want to get through to people and persuade them of something, you assume the burden of finding a way to say things to them that helps them to hear it.
    First, do you understand how fucked up that concept is? That the people the system disadvantages must prove they should not be disadvantaged. Though yes, life is a bitch and that is typically the way it happens. I'm not going to pretend that it is reasonable.
    Second, this is a discussion forum where unrest is supposed to be a key. No, we cannot force people to either discuss with thought or be unrestful, but it is not unreasonable to expect a bit of that.
    Ruth wrote: »
    If a lot of people aren't understanding you, the problem is as likely to be with what you're writing as with how they're reading it. When I was teaching, I tried to take that to heart; if a lot of people in the class didn't get something, it didn't help for me to conclude they weren't really listening. Even if that were true, it was on me to find a way to help them listen.
    It was not everyone, it was 3.
    That conversation started OK, but quickly went off the rails. If you will note, I am not the one applying a lever to the tracks.
    The problem with your teaching analogy is that not everyone is failing to understand, the few that are are being vocal. But, I do not think I am the perfect communicator, so I am willing to learn.
    How would you have answered LC? How would you respond if you were quickly being accused of operating with bad intent?
    Ruth wrote: »
    There's a whole school of thought that says "what was actually being said" is not even a thing. Reader-response criticism says each reader creates a meaning in the very act of reading. In its absolute form the position is a little nuts, IMO, but very useful to consider, as it reflects an important reality of human communication.
    That only goes so far.
    If I say 'I am not tall', it is reasonable to assume I am short, it is reasonable to assume I might be of average height. It is much less reasonable to assume I am actually tall. It the context is that I could not get something off the top shelf and not being tall is the reason, then assuming I am tall is completely unreasonable. And that is pretty close to what was happening in those conversations.
    Yes, what one says, what one means and what another hears can be different things.
    In this case, what was heard needs to assume dishonest intent on my part because the words I wrote were easily rereadable.

  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    What some may say was being was not, in this case, what was actually said. What was actually said made unfounded assumptions and was utterly unfair to the primary target. But I fear we'd have to finally journey to Hell to honestly explore that.

  • Rubbish. Rational discussion is what I want, and that can be had here.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Take it to Hell.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ruth wrote: »
    "What was being actually said" is not the only thing that matters. You focus on the defects of how other people read what you write ("Only one of them read the words without projection"). But if you want to get through to people and persuade them of something, you assume the burden of finding a way to say things to them that helps them to hear it.
    First, do you understand how fucked up that concept is? That the people the system disadvantages must prove they should not be disadvantaged. Though yes, life is a bitch and that is typically the way it happens. I'm not going to pretend that it is reasonable.
    First: proving something isn't the point. Being right is not the point. Convincing people of something is the point.

    Second: The disadvantaged don't have to do all this convincing on their own. Some of the non-disadvantaged are already convinced and can speak these things. Depending on what they're talking about and who they're talking to, they are sometimes better messengers. In the case of white supremacy, I think it's actually key for white people to do a lot of the talking to other white people, for both practical and ethical reasons.

    Third: You're casting yourself as the only disadvantaged person in this conversation, when if you've read much of what Lamb Chopped has posted here over the years, you know that's just not the case. Navigating how Americans treat interracial marriage is not for the faint of heart.
    Second, this is a discussion forum where unrest is supposed to be a key. No, we cannot force people to either discuss with thought or be unrestful, but it is not unreasonable to expect a bit of that.

    The implied accusation is that your interlocutors aren't thinking. Yet you expect them to keep listening to you!
    Ruth wrote: »
    If a lot of people aren't understanding you, the problem is as likely to be with what you're writing as with how they're reading it. When I was teaching, I tried to take that to heart; if a lot of people in the class didn't get something, it didn't help for me to conclude they weren't really listening. Even if that were true, it was on me to find a way to help them listen.
    It was not everyone, it was 3.
    That conversation started OK, but quickly went off the rails. If you will note, I am not the one applying a lever to the tracks.

    You said only one person heard what you were saying, so I took that to mean that you thought no one else understood you. I thought it went off the rails when you said "Fuck me for being polite."
    The problem with your teaching analogy is that not everyone is failing to understand, the few that are are being vocal. But, I do not think I am the perfect communicator, so I am willing to learn.
    How would you have answered LC? How would you respond if you were quickly being accused of operating with bad intent?

    Depends on how much I care about the conversation and whether I care about preserving some kind of relationship with the other person. Sometimes I just don't care at all and I don't say anything. Sometimes I just point out that they've accused me of bad intent and leave it at that. Sometimes I point out what they've accused me of and get up on my high horse and lecture them about it because goddamnit they can just fuck off. If it's someone I want to keep talking to, I re-phrase what they said and try to get them to see how it sounds to me.
    Ruth wrote: »
    There's a whole school of thought that says "what was actually being said" is not even a thing. Reader-response criticism says each reader creates a meaning in the very act of reading. In its absolute form the position is a little nuts, IMO, but very useful to consider, as it reflects an important reality of human communication.
    That only goes so far.
    If I say 'I am not tall', it is reasonable to assume I am short, it is reasonable to assume I might be of average height. It is much less reasonable to assume I am actually tall. It the context is that I could not get something off the top shelf and not being tall is the reason, then assuming I am tall is completely unreasonable. And that is pretty close to what was happening in those conversations.
    Yes, what one says, what one means and what another hears can be different things.
    In this case, what was heard needs to assume dishonest intent on my part because the words I wrote were easily rereadable.

    Of course it only goes so far, but it's still useful. Height is a knowable fact: I am 5'5", so of medium height. Tallness, though, is somewhat relative to context. If I said I was short, someone might think, Huh? But I am! I'm over it (mostly), but when I stopped growing at age 14, it was awful -- I was short. If I talked about those feelings and someone scoffed because a girl at 5'5" is not short, 14-year-old me could get hurt and/or pissed off, or I could explain: in my tall family, I am the shortest one -- siblings, parents, parents' siblings, cousins ... everyone is taller than me, some of them a lot taller than me. So at family events, I feel short. I am short in that context. And the subject in that conversation wasn't nearly as simple as height or tallness.

    And again, you've put it onto others to understand you -- you think they should have gone back and re-read your words. But there were things you could have done. You could have given them the benefit of the doubt yourself, set aside the possibility that they assumed dishonest intent on your part and thought about whether there was some other reason they arrived at their apparent misunderstanding of what you said. You could have decided that if they didn't understand your words, you could try different words. You could have backed off for a while and sat back to see if someone else would take up your line of argument.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    @Eliab
    she's advising (not dictating) that anyone with a particular ethnic identity or heritage but not the lived experience that is generally common to that ethnicity should be sensitive about how they express their identity...

    ...my racial identity (white British) is not based on an assumption that I have a meaningful set of shared experiences with other people who are white and British.

    Seems to me we're talking here about the relationship between the concepts of race, heritage and identity.

    A person's race (if that term is meaningful) is part of their genetic inheritance, and is an objective fact. Given a sample of your DNA, it would in principle be possible to identify you as white and as of British descent.

    Identity in a slightly different sense seems to mean a person's conception of themselves, a subjective feeling. And whilst we don't choose the feelings we experience, it seems that people have a choice as to how much emotional energy they invest in different aspects of who they are, in the same way that an expat can choose to identify more or less strongly with their adopted country and their country of birth.

    Alongside the genetic inheritance you were born with, your parents also passed on to you a cultural heritage. Language, art, history and religion. Which is tied up with shared experience.

    And in general we do have a choice about how much of that culture we express in our lives and pass onto our children.

    I guess the majority of people in the world live in a society comprised mainly of people of their own race and culture. But some don't - for various reasons - and for them the questions of racial and cultural identity are less clear-cut.

    Lamb Chopped has talked of how she has inherited Cherokee blood but not Cherokee culture - an example that makes it clear that the two are separate things.

    The people that lilbuddha is suggesting that LC should be sensitive to the feelings of are presumably those who identify with Cherokee culture.

    Which makes sense if equating race with culture is a reasonable thing to do. But maybe doesn't if it isn't ?

    Is it ?

    Isn't that part of what lilbuddha condemns as racist ? Making assumptions about someone's culture on the basis of their race ?




  • White folks seem like the most emotionally fragile creatures on earth, to hear some folks here. One of the problems with being overly solicitous of the feelings of white supremacists, white nationalists, or those who are just racism-adjacent is that it lends the impression that there's nothing wrong with such behavior. It can even be taken for tacit approval. One of the more popular myths among white supremacists is that all white people secretly agree with them but have been too intimidated by [ political correctness / black people / ZOG / whatever ] to speak up.
    Russ wrote: »
    Seems to me we're talking here about the relationship between the concepts of race, heritage and identity.

    A person's race (if that term is meaningful) is part of their genetic inheritance, and is an objective fact.

    Which is why everyone thinks of Barack O'Bama as Irish, right? (Obligatory song) I'm not sure your premise reflects actual reality.
  • I'm supposing that the reason why white people are upset at being called racists is that there's the widespread realisation and acceptance that racism is plain wrong. A few decades ago in the UK, there were mainstream comedians and TV comedies who traded in racist jokes, and being openly racist didn't attract any particular social stigma.

    White supremacy (actual fascists marching down the street for the masses, and conferences on 'eugenics' for the intellectuals) feeds racism (I think it should be considered a more organised sub-set of your common-or-garden 'folk' racism) by giving it a pseudo-scientific and/or mythological basis, as it did in the 18th/19th C. I've met plenty of racists, but only a couple of full-on white supremacists. They were the genuinely scary ones.
  • those who are just racism-adjacent

    :smiley: :lol:

    Brilliant!
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