Harry, I want to thank you for your continued and valued contribution to this discussion. Like Bryan, I feel somewhat inadequate to try to explain racism to white folk, and when I do, more often than not I feel unheard, so it is important to me to hear it from your perspective, and to listen to what you have to say.
As a small child I grew up in a small, SDA congregation of not more than maybe 75 souls, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. I’m estimating that probably 50% of those attending were “Negros”, the word we used at the time (I never heard the derogatory form of that word until I was in my teens, and was appalled). Our family, including grandparents, probably made up 20% of those in attendance on any Sabbath morning.
The thing is, as a small child, the skin color of those in attendance was a non issue. I recognized the differences but everyone was so loving and wonderful to me as a little guy… I felt like I was surrounded by love. And man could we make music in that little church, and the potlucks! I adored everyone. All four of my siblings tell a similar story. There was this one little Black girl, the only child my age, who was my best friend. at age 4-5 I was sure I would grow up and marry her.
Well, we moved away from that community due to job issues, but returned often to visit relatives. During my teen years, after I learned about the evils of racism, I sat down individually with various Black members and dear friends in that congregation and asked them to tell me their story. I get tears in my eyes even recalling some of the things I heard during those visits. I get tears in my eyes seeing the things that continue to happen all the time, and to which white society, or swaths of it, continue to deny, obfuscate, and attempt to bully their way into predominance of thought in society’s mind.
I get so very annoyed with some of the disenfranchising things I’ve read in this conversation, and frankly don’t always know how to respond. I’m much more of and emotional person rather than cerebral, and there are so many of you who can and will do a great job of holding the line on this issue.
From my perspective, for whatever that’s worth, racism is still a huge problem in our nation, no matter the denial of the voices yelling loudly that it is not. It’s interesting to me that whenever this topic comes up among people there are always those who “yelp”. That phenomenon pretty much speaks for itself.
When my black friends and brethren, who live in the same neighborhood like I do, started to tell me about their experiences and I finally started to listen, I was shocked. Shocked about them facing regular death threats, followed in shops because it is suspected that they are criminals, stopped at the streets and in cars, spit at, mobbed, not getting apartments, with a “you are black” as stated reason or explicit hint almost every time! None of which is stated as “reason” for their treatment (poor, criminal, divorced parents, drugs…) even at this forum is true about them.
I considered myself an antiracist and still couldn’t see the extent of racism in my country. It is so deep connected into society, it’s scary. How could I not see? Shocked and embarrassed at myself, my holier-than-thou-attitude. Not a nice feeling.
Don’t lose hope. Personal stories of close friends or admirable people will maybe reach more hearts in more countries, more than anger or even facts could do. Basically what @JohnCarson said (sorry for the repetition, he was faster).
So, so true. Its kind of amazing that you can ask essentially any black person, and if they trust you, and you ask them to tell you about their personal experiences with racism, they will have stories, lots of them. What is amazing about that is that these stories happened to them in a country where almost no one considers themselves racist.
Of course, I think the word racist has lost its usefulness, and trying to identify anyone as racist is a fruitless exercise. The real question each of us needs to ask ourselves is whether we are antiracist, and I believe we each need to search our souls ruthlessly as we ask that question.
It’s not an assumption. It’s a suspicion, as I said. There’s a difference.
I’m not sure why you are bringing this up.
What have I assumed?
What do you mean by that?
No, I didn’t. You misunderstood me, and/or I was unclear.
You said, quoting another white person [with my brackets], “The vast majority of people, regardless of race, are happy to have conversations about [race]- if [the conversations are] respectful and evidence based. Period.”
First of all, this is not true, especially of white people: They are not happy to have conversations with Black people about race at all. The proof of that is how rarely they do it without Black people, first, compelling the issue.
Bringing up race ends other conversations, making them dire and uncomfortable. Bringing up race ends relationships.
I’ve watched white people, on this issue, probably more closely than they watch themselves, because what they decide about this subject affects me. The reverse is not true.
One of my mentors puts it this way: "You can’t talk about racism without doing two things, right off the top: Embarrassing Black people, and offending white people. You can’t do it…if you’re going to tell the truth."
This statement is true. The one you have offered is not.
I, then, said:
To Black people, this offer is kind of like having the person who, five years ago, broke into your house, tied you up, raped your wife, shot and killed your kids, stole and fenced all your valuable goods, and was never caught…suddenly calling you up and offering to have a polite discussion about the event. Your response should be both deafening and unprintable.
The first three words of this response are “To Black people.” I’m talking about how Black people would hear, and receive, your quoted offer. I’m talking about how I do.
I’m not talking about your attitude. I’m talking about Black people’s attitudes.
Also, I’m not necessarily saying all Black people would feel this way. I’m not saying most. I do not know how many would do so. However, some would receive it that way, especially the ones who have thought a great deal about how racism works.
I thought you should know that. I also thought that you should be curious why, since you offered it which such apparent enthusiasm.
This is bad form.
However, I hope you can now see that my comment was not about you, but about how Black people would receive your offer.
Like I said, one should hope you’d wanna know that.
I suggested you should jump up and say, “THANK YOU,” not because you know me—you don’t—but because I thought that you might have intuited I am being honest with you about race.
My writing has this type of quality, objectively; one where you can read what I’ve written and say, “Wow: I may not like what he’s saying, but I don’t get the feeling he’s lying to me about who he is, or what he thinks.”
(Once, @Timo said, “You clearly do not mean your words, even in the way you say you mean them.” I replied, “You’ve never met a person who means what he writes as much as I do, Timo.”)
That’s why, when @DannyS was in here, we had such a lengthy exchange about 3ABN and about race: He said what he thought, and I said what I thought. I didn’t flatter him; that being, I’ll bet, what most people in his circle do. This kept the conversation honest, and it kept it going. He even said, “Let’s exchange emails, so we can talk more about this.” I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but I reached out, anyway, in good faith.
Honesty is something people need in communications; I think you’d agree with this. However, most white people don’t get it from non-white people, especially when it comes to race, because, as I just said, Black people don’t want to offend white people.
That is not my concern here. Objectively, you should take advantage of it.
Thinking about it is not enough.
I don’t know what you mean. I don’t know why white people practice racism.
One of my mentors says that racism is, in essence, a conglomeration of defense mechanisms that white people implement, in order to ensure white genetic survival; a three-word term that I think is simply an elegant intellectual formulation.
Another mentor says that, basically, white people are racially psychopathic.
Another says that racism, to put it one way, is the expression of a long-held white resentment, against Black people, for kicking white people’s ancestors out of Africa, thousands of years ago.
Another just says that racism is “one heck on an ego boost.”
I’m not sure which one of these is the reason, if all four are the reason, if there are more reasons, or if none of these are the reason.
I do think that this deserves more study and discussion, however. When people talk about race, it’s typically analyzed in terms of Black people, but almost never in terms of why white people appear to have the racism drive.
I’m not, because I can’t be.
Racism is white supremacy. That’s it’s only functional form.
For me to be a racist, the minimum requirement is that I be white.
I am not white.
It would be a survey about race. Most Black people would welcome being asked their opinions about race, particularly in this era. Usually, Black people are not asked for their opinions. Usually, white people speak for them, and offer a variation on, “Our Negroes are happy,” or just assume that it is true.
Take it from a Black person: If I got a survey, where I was given a short, pithy exchange between a white person and a non-white person, then asked to write down what I thought about what I’d read, I’d take them up on it. I mean, that’s what I do here.
Let’s go over this, again:
You affirmed, in bold, a statement regarding the conditions under which discussions about race should take place. (You also included comments about Robin DiAngelo, the author of White Fragility, but that’s a side issue.)
I responded with a critique of that statement.
You thought the critique was unfair.
So, I said, "Don’t believe me. Ask other, random Black people what they think.
“However, do so in a way where, if they know you, you can’t trace their comments back to them, and let them know this. Do this, because, if you can trace their comments, they won’t be honest with you, because they won’t want to offend you.”
You say, “Your assumption is that they will rspond on the basis of what whites are, not on knowing me.”
ANSWER: It doesn’t matter what I think, or assume. That’s why I suggested you do the experiment: To find out what they think.
A year ago, @Arkdrey made the mistake of saying, “If racism is systemic, then it’s a miracle that virtually every Nigerian I’m a client of, or who is a client of mine… are doing just as well, or better than I do.”
He was making a counter-argument to mine. Mine is that racism is a global system—throughout the known universe—called white supremacy.
So, I asked him a few questions. Basically, I just asked him to explain his statement.
Then, at another point, I suggested he ask his Nigerian clients a question that I supplied, just like I’ve done, here, with you.
Later, I even said, in so many words, “You’ve been in this country 20 years. What do Southern Black people, whose families have been here for centuries, think of your racial hypotheses?”
I took this to mean what I, ultimately, said to him at least a couple of times: When it comes to racism, @Arkdrey, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.
Again, I said this only after he repeatedly failed to meaningfully engage the material; even his own.
In your case, what I’m counting on is that, were you to do what I’ve suggested, you would get valuable input that would contextualize what I’ve said.
That is my assumption, and it is my only one.
I don’t know why you’ve included this information.
It reminds me of your earlier statement, when you spoke about settling an interracial conflict.
I mean, this is colorful, but it doesn’t seem relevant.
It depends on what you’re trying to get done.
Are you asking, "Don’t I have an opinion from those who really know me about whether the critique Harry Allen offered was unfair?
You don’t have that opinion. Also, as I suggested, if you want honesty, especially about race, don’t petition people who know you, because they will protect you, and part of the way people do this is by not being honest, especially brutally honest.
Well, yes, it kind of does, because of what I said: When I offend white people here, I sometimes challenge them to ask other Black people, in their day-to-day lives, what they think.
They never take me up on it, and you have just added yourself to that list.
What I noticed about your country, and I could be wrong, is a deep rooted anti-communism, a relic of the Cold War, that everything that slightly even remotely possibly only a little smells of something that could come from that direction is almost immediately rejected and everything that is connected with it, however improbable. Especially movements aimed at change (BLM and other) seem to be suspicious of this. This fear is really astonishing given US history and the end of Cold War. It seems that certain movements aimed at deep change have no chance for becoming mainstream. Am I observing correctly or is that too generalizing?
@Harry_Allen, i believe you.
Your words are zealously racist-and you stridently try not see that…
White people, in your view, are incapable of doing anything (except building and structuring a village, a city, a church, a nation, an entire society geared only to subjugating people).
All because they are white-and can’t help it.
LOL! You are spot on. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. was repeatedly accused of being a communist. Hey, even supporting the enactment of some form of universal healthcare, or its lesser evil, The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is enough to label someone communist. BLM is a collective, and even the original founders are hardly what one would characterize as Marxist, whatever that means. It seems as if any recognition that there is class warfare is enough to get something labeled as Marxist.
I suspect that this is more racial gobbledygook, @arkdrey; the kind that one, possibly, sits for a long time, in a chair of average comfort, thinking up while dead-lifting Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter, Coleman Hughes, and a bunch of white libertarian professors—like, perhaps, the one who gave you that absurd response about Columbus.
I’m talking to, and on behalf of, Black people. Most of them are deemed, at best, minimally competent under the system of white supremacy.
The reason given is that they are non-white. Now, this doesn’t make any sense, on the face of it, because, as one white guy—a “German,” I think—said, “There is no race of white people, much as it is talked about, but every white man is a bleached one.”
However, if one has sufficient force behind it—and sufficient motivation—one can compel any bad idea. This is a bad idea that has taken hold under tremendous, even exponential, force.
Like I said before, if you are really sure that this is the issue, since you’ve analyzed it, what do Black people say when you share your details with them? I ask, since they are the ones who are suffering under racism, not you. They need an answer on how to alleviate it.
There are Black people whose families have been here for centuries, for example. What do they say about your circular ideas on “competence,” and how race works?
It’s very difficult to discuss issues with someone who looks at the world through the lens of such assumption… basically projecting guilt on skin color. And that’s what you are doing.
I simply don’t have time, neither I have to respond to every question you ask. And neither anyone in this forum. No one owes here anything to anyone other than some basic consideration and civility.
In fact, it becomes a case where you are caught in a circularity of…
If you are white you are racist supremacist unless you admit it and dismantle your system. So, if you are white, you are racist either way I. It just depends on which kind of racist I am going to be for you… a sympathetic racist, or the bad one.
I choose neither. Your assumption that all white people on earth “act like white people” in a way that’s detrimental to everyone else … is wrong, and racist. I’m sorry. I can’t accept that premise. And I doubt that a change of my skin color would change my mind.
Which black people? Certainly not the one who you have mentioned. They wouldn’t want you speaking on their behalf.
I had a lunch with a friend of mine. We did ministry basketball camps together for inner-city youth. He works at a factory here. And he complained about management wrangled up all of the black people for a meeting of genuflection where the management promised that they will be doing a series of training seminars, among other genuflection of typical corporate “let’s cover our liability issues” stuff. He, along with other people were both insulted and objecting to all of that as unnecessary.
You see, they didn’t feel “black” and have fairly good relationship with their coworkers. And these seminars would make them “black”. And by “black” I mean treated differently. And that’s essentially what the modern anti-racism does for many people . It assumes that “black people” would all want the same thing, and that they care about their “blackness” more than they care about being a member of society, which many manage to operate just fine… with police not being an issue. It’s not an issue for him. It’s never been an issue for him, and he grew up in Chicago.
So, you can’t consolidate all of the experience into your model of oppression. There are plenty of people would wouldn’t want you to speak for them.
So you need to parse what you mean by “black” a bit more. Since you have to account for plenty of “black people” who will disagree with you.
That point was, and is, that Black men who are violently restrained by police—or even stopped by them—often end up deceased.
That is my point. You are trying to make an argument that this happens because Black men commit a lot of crime. I’m saying prove it. You’re saying, “Prove that it’s not.”
My response is nada. 1) This is not what I’m interested in discussing, and 2) this is not my area of expertise; namely, how these ratios correlate.
For that, you should speak to someone who both a) like me, believes that racism is real, and, ideally, that it is solely expressed as white supremacy, and b) works tirelessly when juggling police shooting data. Perhaps start with the authors of the report: Frank Edwards, Hedwig Lee, and Michael Esposito.
I’m only just dumb enough to see when when someone is pulling a logical fast one, as you were; “imagination vs forensics”. My relative expertise is in the logic of race. I’m not a quantitative researcher on police shootings.
It’s a talking point, promulgated by right wing talk radio, right wing talk internet, and talking head right wing television. I spent a day this last week specifically focused on listening and watching, painful though it was, and heard this same talking point, BLM = Marxism, repeated ad nauseam. So I suppose the old adage, consider the source is applicable. It certainly is enlightening, considering the claim made of thinking for oneself, to have spent that day listening then follow the ensuing conversations on the various Adventist bulletin boards to see it echoed over and over again.
Black men killed by police?
Almost half the numbers of white men.
Almost a magnitude less than the cops killed by Blacks.
If white on black crime is justification for dissecting and burning society by whatever lawless anarchy imaginable but the magnitudes more prevalent black on black crime, or black on white crime is dismissed as irrelevant, I venture it is not justice and equality you want, but pure and simple, a reversal of racism masquerading as some misguided form of vengeance.
Harry, many, even the very elect, have been duped-
otiose, really, your obsessive insistence the the race-based constructs
“fragility, privilege, supremacy” are to blame for all black ills-
even when the simple numbers don’t add up-
but you dismiss them and palm off these fictions.
On another note just found out today that almost 1200 black babies are terminated in NYC
(how many at state cost?)
for every thousand who survive that perilous trip down mothers loving canal.
More terminated than born, what was that 3 letter acronym/mantra again?
Refusal to answer these real numbers undermines your position, despite your innumerable and finely orchestrated words. I pray peace for you-you really sound like you need some.
It seems you don’t have any problem from right wing radio being labeled but God forbid someone labeled anything from the left being as Marxist. Just be consistent Bryan. Being balanced goes a lot further than extremists in being listened too. You know like outside reading
The way I figure it, there’s BLM (your definition of the extreme left aka Marxism, not mine) and there’s right wing fascism and never the twain shall meet, except somewhere in the middle and to a degree both are wrong. I favor an approach leaning toward left of center but not to the extreme left. I spent many years way to the right of center and a couple years on the extreme right so I can honestly say, been there, done that, got the hat, the mug, and the t-shirt, and am not going back. Can you honestly say you’ve been on the left and even on the extreme left, so that you have some kind of understanding of what the left really is? Somehow I doubt it, but that’s okay, just keep going blithely on