This is so true and it is the root to all prejudice…everywhere. Here in Japan racism runs very deep and for the same reasons.
Your observations and views are both wise and timely. There are so many who do not understand and by willful ignorance refuse to learn the lessons of history.
Your comments are very much appreciated in spite of some who like Pharaoh of old that have hardened their hearts against the Holy Spirit and shut out compassion and empathy.
Do not be discouraged but continue to speak out as many hearts will be moved as a result and become closer to God.
Just imagine for a moment if you, or I, or Allen, I mean, anyone among “the rest of us” had dared to tell someone to “stop writing!” Cataclysmic, grave consequences! But I guess the 1st amendment is only for the chosen, the remnant! Maybe, just maybe…, “the rest of us” do not matter…
Yes, Good Luck Allen Shepherd!
It should not take a genius to see the raging anger underneath his posts. Imagine the tension and pressure placed upon his coping skills. It is just about to rip and burst. Cataclysmic…
There are some who do not understand, through wilful ignorance the tragic results of their level of thinking and words.
I have been thinking a lot about Kyle Rittenhouse. I know this boy, no, not personally but after mentoring kids over the past 3 decades, I know him still.
High school can be a cruel place for boys - (girls too but this is not about them). Looking at this boy, I am going to guess that he isn’t an athlete - no crowds cheered for him on the court or the field. I am also going to guess that he felt passed over by girls. Looking like you are 12 when you are 17 doesn’t exactly fan the flames of high school girls’ desire. He was probably called fat, maybe stupid at least occasionally maybe regularly because kids are cruel. And I know that this boy very much wanted to be a hero because that is what all boys desire. He wants to save the people, and get the girl. None of that is bad or particularly original. Most of us who weren’t the heroes we yearned to be in high school grow out of those resentments. We learn to define ourselves outside of the unforgiving world of teenage judgement In short, we grow up. This boy did not. He got a gun and it gave him the power and a place in the world he previously lacked. Fueled by Trump’s rhetoric and social media, he took his gun and shot “the bad guys” - innocent Americans. And it worked - at least for now. Right-wing media is lauding him as a “hero.” I suspect five years from now, he may have very different perspective on what he did but right now, he is exactly where he yearned to be.
There are many, many boys like Kyle and they are watching taking their cues from adults in their lives (politicians, pastors, coaches, family) who are calling him a hero and voicing thinly veiled racist rhetoric and threaten violent actions. This will not be the end. Right now, a boy somewhere in America is dreaming of shooting “the bad guys” and getting the girl, the respect from adults that he was never given before. He was dreaming of this before Kyle shot the protesters but now he knows - it can be a reality. Unless the adults in this nation stand up in unison and say “enough,” this will not be the last time where a child shoots American citizens. The next child may be willing to throw a bomb into a crowd, maybe strap on explosives. Politicians, media, and even religious leaders (including our church) are cultivating an American Taliban and we are watching it happen.
Thanks for your kind words, @Kate. I seek to understand and to be understood.
I appreciate you saying this.
This is how I currently see it. I’d be interested in your further thoughts, especially should they ultimately oppose mine.
I do not feel accused. Also, you may share some of my values, since you recognize them.
Particularly, it’s my objective to respond in a way so that, were someone to pick up these documents in a hundred years, they could recreate the conversations and their vectors.
So, when writing, I try to be as explicit and detailed as possible, and to not merely toss off answers.
Also: I respond to every question, and, typically, respond to every piece of text.
This is such an excellent question.
I have to admit that I do not know the answer, nor have I given this as much thought as I, perhaps, should.
If I had to give a guess, I think the so-called “black-on-black crime” narrative gets raised by white people during police brutality cases, for a number of reasons.
I think that:
a) Generally, white people view Black people through the framework of crime; this is, overwhelmingly, their dominant index field for us.
b) Until, perhaps, very recently, the general idea that police were wanton, pertaining to Black people, was completely untenable. That’s because, 1) a), above, 2) to a great extent, white people and Black people are mutually segregated, and 3) the interactions that white people have with police are of a wholly different character than the interactions Black people have with them.
This last idea, 3), has probably been most dramatically conveyed to white people via the notion of “the talk”; i.e., a conversation that Black parents have with their male offspring after puberty, not about sex, but how to interact with police, so as to keep from being killed by them, when out in the wider, whiter world; a discussion that white parents never have, or have need to have.
This idea of white difference has probably been most conveyed to Black people, however, by expletive-laden videos of white people dealing with police in ways that Black people find both visceral and utterly incomprehensible.
This is the classic:
But this is a new classic:
c) Many, if not most, white people view Black racial objections as complaining and whining. They see Black people as a “coddled” class who obtain much of what they have through the largesse of “hard-working” white people. Further, they think, despite this, Black people are ungrateful and hostile.
There are, certainly other factors I, or others, would, or could, identify. But, off the dome, I’d suggest that these three form the core basis.
In other words, given these realities, the white mindset is, “I don’t see you complaining about you killing each other! If you did, maybe the cops wouldn’t have to deal with you!”
I would say that this is the biggest weakness of my general approach, and it’s very visible here on Spectrum.
That is, the way I generally interact with white people, here, is not designed to change their minds, or make them empathetic.
More, it’s a way to look at white behavior objectively. That is, more, it’s a way to get non-white people to look at white racial behavior, without becoming either defensive or sentimental. Both responses are, in my opinion, consistent dangers under the current race system.
For example, one of the questions that has come up, here, frequently, is are all white people racist?
Now, there are all kinds of ways to respond, and counter-respond, to this question. Black people tend to answer it one of two ways:
a) They say, “Hell, YEAH!!”, because an overwhelming number of their interactions with white people have been hostile, or they say
b) “No, not all of them,” because they have a significant number of friendly, white acquaintances.
My response, however, is, “I don’t know.” To me, this is the most objective answer that one can possibly give.
Now, there are all kinds of follow-up statements one can back up to this one, like a trailer to a pickup truck. However, the one that I’ve most shared, here, is this:
"But the existence of racism shows that the white people who are against racism (white supremacy) do not overrule the ones who are for racism (white supremacy)."
If true, which I hold it to be, the first thing this statement does is kill the notion that racism is something only practiced by “a small number” of ignorant or stupid people, which is what white people usually say.
“Ignorant” or “stupid” people could not keep smart people from doing anything that they wanted to do, especially if there was only “a small number” of ignorant, stupid people.
The 2nd thing my response does, though, and the more explosive thing, is that it equates racism with white supremacy, urging that this is the only functional form of racism.
These conclusions, I believe, form a more objective way of looking at the race problem. However, as I’ve found, they are not likely to win white supporters.
Indeed, my contention, made repeatedly, here on Spectrum, that racism is white supremacy and nothing else, is the proposition that has received, by far, the most blowback. To me, however, it is objectively true.
• I do discuss other topics here. Most recently, for example, I was part of a debate about Ellen G. White’s views on masturbation. This is not a specific interest of mine, but I joined in, and found it engaging.
In short, I jump in whenever and wherever I feel I have something to say. That place happens, mostly, thus far, to be about race.
• In terms of my theological perspective, I’m not sure how I’d describe it. This is something I wrote to one of our late members, that I think may express some of it.
This is another post that speaks to my interests in science, but, as well, says a fair amount about me, theologically.
If you have specific questions, I’ll answer them.
• I’ve never really thought of my writing about race as an expression of spirituality, though it certainly is connected to it, and circumscribed by it.
More and more, though, I’m trying to think about how to discuss race in church, particularly given the views I possess, and the variety of perspectives one typically finds in a contemporary Seventh-day Adventist church.
For example, this is the opening page for this week’s lesson, in the SDA Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide:
I suspect many SDAs, white or non-white, have rarely considered that angels are not only depicted as white, but that they are never depicted as anything else but white.
As these alternate covers for Ellen G. White’s text, Steps to Christ, reveals, this preference is not even accorded to Jesus, himself.
How to speak about race, to mixed Christian audiences? I recently found this statement by Bishop Joe Aldred compelling. As well, one of my own recent posts enabled me to touch on some ideas that I’m developing. Perhaps they will be the beginning of a model.
No Allen, Calling anything Marxist is a way of dismissing anything being further discussed. You are the principal reason I have stayed away from Spectrum. I don’t know why I came back, I guess out of curiosity, maybe out of stupidity. I should have learned my lesson but I didn’t.
Racism is very fundamental. On it’s surface, it is simply being suspicious of an individual because of the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes or facial features, or any physical characteristic, or their place of origin.
If you walked into a business establishment and the owner automatically began to watch your behavior because of any of the above characteristics, you are being racially profiled. If you are driving down the road and you are pulled over because the officer suspects that you don’t belong in the neighborhood because of any of the above characteristics, then you have been racially profiled. Racial profiling is simply a form of racism. Acting on the “suspicions” about anyone that is profiled because of what you look like, with no other motivator, is the action of a racist.
It is true that even black police officers profile people of color. This isn’t just a white issue. But it is an engrained issue into the psyche of human beings and it is a learned mechanism.
This mechanism is not experienced in young children who are playing in a diverse community of other children. It is taught, it is engrained, and it is a disgusting reality of where we are as a society. Suspicion of others is the beginning of discrimination. Until you can unlearn to be fearful of a person because of their physical presentation, this problem will continue to exist and it will not go away.
What the past several years have demonstrated throughout this country, and unfortunately throughout our the Adventist church as well is that there is a tremendous amount of racial suspicion and discrimination within our society and passing laws have not and will not make much of a dent in the problem. You can’t legislate away suspicion. You can’t legislate morality. We’ve been at it for well over 100 years and we haven’t made much progress.
Allen, you seem to look for ways to dismiss the behavior of people who marginalize others simply because of what they look like, or where they come from. Your presentation of facts and figures suggest that you, not only want to excuse the repression of people by others, but that you want to maintain a status quo that is unjust.
I truly feel sorry for you. But, Black Lives Should Matter.
Wooooooooo! Scary! Thanks for the free mini-session, @elmer_cupino!
And since I’m on the couch, man… I never shared this with you, but will, now. This is gonna be fun!
In truth, I’m a fairly introspective person, and I think deeply about the criticisms others make of me.
When you consider it, if I wasn’t like this, there is no way that I could respond as completely as I do, here, to the objections others write about what I say.
And ponder this: One doesn’t have to agree with what I say to grant this point. All they have to see is that my responses are fairly thorough.
Anyway, when you first said to me “that you are one angry person,” it seemed an absurd charge, and I told you so:
"If the people who share meatspace with me were to see this, they would all have a good laugh.
“No one who knows me thinks of me as ‘angry,’” I said. “It’s not a temperamental charge that’s ever levied against me.”
I wasn’t merely deflecting. It’s true! Said another way, I’ve talked about racism to a lot of people, in a lot of places, for a long time. As far as I can recall, I’ve never had anyone ask me, “Why are you so angry?” Never.
And I need to be clear: I don’t consider your “A”—angry—a scarlet letter. Not at all. Unlike a lot of Black people, I’m not humiliated by this charge in the least.
In an August 1965 edition of TIME magazine, James Baldwin, the esteemed writer and intellectual, said, “To be [Black] in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”
Believe me (to quote @GeorgeTichy): Being Black, I trust what James Baldwin has to say about the righteousness of anger petahectares more than I do you.
So, if I was angry, I’d have no problem doing what the guy, at the beginning of Public Enemy’s 1988 “Prophets of Rage,” does, when called “hostile”: I’d simply say, “I’ve got a right to be hostile, man: My people been persecuted!!”
But, like I said, it was an odd criticism, so it stuck out. Was I missing something about myself?
So I reached out to someone whose really known me, super-well, for decades, and to whom I speak often.
I asked her. “Am I angry?”
She looked at me, quizzically. “Are you ‘angry’?” (Like right now?)
“Yes: Am I an angry person?” I told her why I was asking.
Her face softened. “No, you’re not an angry person.”
Then she asked, “Is this a white guy?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Oh,” she said, as though waving her hand, dismissively. “That’s their first comeback!”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…
When you say, “You’re angry,” what you’re responding to, Elmer, is the feel of my words.
You might say that my written words do the work that my metabolism avoids.
Hasta la vista, baby!
I have not been interacting with you, and I won’t. I only would ask you the great kindness of, when you are referring to me, please, please do not use the “@” because it triggers a notification. I am not going to read the material anyway, and it’s really annoying getting those notifications. I don’t care if you mention my name at will, but please spare me from the notifications.
I hope you will be sensitive to my request.
Thanks. Be well.
Thank you for your kind words, @David1.
I hope you can see that I think a lot about my responses, and that even when they are very critical, they are done with respect for the ideas of the other person.
So, for example, even in my “1% post,” about Allen Shepherd’s statement on police brutality, what I’m essentially saying to the reader is this:
“If what @ajshep says is true, then these are other situations we must also believe to be true.”
Her shock was my own. When I first started reading the posts of writers here, on Spectrum, about racial issues, I expected that, since they were mostly religiously liberal people, their politics would be similar.
Was I in for a surprise!
@David1, to quote Captain America:
This won’t be fun unless you come clean and disclose your legal name, where you live and the SDA church you belong to so everyone knows who you truly are. You’ll have to give permission to the @webEd so he can identify who is this harryallen. I won’t take any answers from you. Only from the WebEd. Otherwise… you can have this forum.
Blessings and thanks for your interest.
@GeorgeTichy: I have not been interacting with you either, and I probably will not.
I am sensitive to your request, though, and I will consider it.
This means I may do what you’ve asked, or I may not.
Thanks, however, for your kind wishes. Be well, also!
Well, you did it again, the opposite of my request.
I wonder if continuing this is actually some kind of attempted harassment? This time I won’t ask the Webed to look into it, because he may well end up scorching ME again.
This is a false statement. You have been interacting with me every time you use the “@” when you write your nasty comments including my name.
Look, I am seriously and ultimately requesting that you leave me alone, that you do not trigger ANY further notification directed to me. This request is legally bound from this moment on. Any persistence will be recorder as harrassment.
You will not hear from me on this forum again.
@elmer_cupino, when someone says, “Come clean,” I think of Jeru The Damaja’s eponymous, 1993 banger, produced by emperor soundscapist DJ Premier.
As you and your other clients will note, the track is mind-boggling.
In 2015, Complex Magazine rated “Come Clean” one of “The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All Time”:
Above: That’s DJ Premier, the record’s producer, on the right, with the keyboard.
THIS WAS FUN!!!
Thanks, @tekcajwolley. I’m happy to help you out.
I can’t do anything about your attention span. But maybe what you can do is:
Read small amounts of my texts, at a time;
Make sure that you understand what you’re reading, making notes, if you have to do so;
Then go forward.
If you do this, in increments, you should be able to get through anything I’ve written in a reasonable amount of time.
If you have a specific question for me about anything that I’ve written, I’ll happily take and respond to it, on forum, or in private.
I can’t volunteer their time, or their interest in what I’m about to suggest, nor have I previously discussed this with them.
But I’ve found @Jaray, @Kate, @David1, and a few others to be close and compassionate readers of my work.
They all seem like thoughtful, giving people. Perhaps if there’s something that’s confusing to you, you might, in private, deferentially ask them for their help, understanding what I’ve said.
Again, I’m not volunteering the time of these persons. They have busy lives. But, because they’ve been generous to me, perhaps they will be generous to you.
And, finally, this topic will automatically close in 20 hours.
Is there anything about which you’d like to ask me, now?
I’ll keep trying, but there are places elsewhere that are a bit easier to digest.
I appreciate you taking the time in your attempts but there’s just a certain level of difficulty here that’s probably beyond me.
It’s not harassment, @GeorgeTichy. Why would I harass you?
You reached out to me. I replied. I said I would consider it. I took it as a request.
Was it an order?
No, I’m not interacting with you. I’m posting your @handle, about things you’ve said, that you posted.
As for “nasty comments,” everything I’ve ever said in connection with your name is true. If not, point to anything I’ve said about you that was false, and I’ll immediately apologize and retract it.
If you don’t believe me, ask @elmer_cupino, when you’re wink-winking to him about me and @ajshep! I will apologize immediately about any nasty comment I’ve made about you. I take such accusations very seriously, brother.
How is this different than what you said before: Your use of the word “legally”? Or is it “seriously” Don’t you think I’m serious?
Is that a pledge or a commination?
Regards, in kind,
Of that, I am certain.
Not a problem, @tekcajwolley.
I wish you well!
As I have gotten into that age of having lived a little, I find myself wondering about things like race relations. In 1968 I was only 15 but knew that it was a political tool used by both parties to attempt two things. 1) votes and 2) leverage. Watching night after night on only 3 choices, NBC, ABC, or CBS there was no time for the networks to “ make the news”. Today it’s about making or shaping the news for your business model. Keeping the pot boiling brings in money.
From a practical sense the vast majority go about business not even thinking about race until we sit down to watch a cable news show. Suddenly our emotions get stimulated for or against a group of people because some pinhead on TV tells us we must in order to be both informed and good Americans.
The next morning we wake up, go to work, interact with all kind of people of all walks of life. We like some, love some, hate some but none of these emotional reactions center around race. It’s just people. We go home and the cycle begins again. That’s what I mean by a circular firing squad. Americans allow this to happen and use whatever statistics necessary, quote what ever paper to attempt to prove our position on a blog like Spectrum. I just don’t have time or even interest in either.
THE SPECTRUM BOAT:
So many people abandoned ship!
I guess this was hanging on the boat’s restroom’s door: