February 24, 2007

Will sensitivity about racism turn racism into a taboo subject?

I don't know what really happened here, but it's been on my mind. Now, I read this. What is going on? I should think that people who care about race would want to open up the discussion, but reactions like these are teaching the lesson that it's risky to bring the subject up at all.

ADDED: I've fixed the links. The first link is supposed to go to a post of mine from yesterday, about an incident at my law school. The second link is about an incident at Duke. There is an eerie similarity between the two stories. Please take the time to read the links and the links within the links to get what I'm trying to say here.

108 comments:

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Believe me, Ruth Anne, I had another sentence that was something like, do I dare hit publish, and I deleted it. I think it was because it didn't feel like a joke.

SGT Ted said...

"Will sensitivity about racism turn racism into a taboo subject?"

It already is a taboo subject at least when ideas that run counter to leftwing PC orthodoxy are raised. This is the danger of banning words or any other vocal expression based on selective outrage.

Unfortunately, the University culture has been at the forefront of using "sensitivity" and "diversity" as a bludgeoning tool to shut up critics by enacting speech codes that target conservatives exclusively. The true liberals went along with it for fear of being labeled "bigots" or "homophobes".

The Univeristies are becoming ilsands of totalitarianism in a sea of freedom. Where else can radical lefists get away with shouting down, disrupting and physically assaulting conservative speakers invited to speak on campus?

When someones "feelings" trump the free exchange of ideas, there is no freedom of speech.

This isn't anything new either; its been going on since the 80s.

Cedarford said...

If whites, Asians, hispanics conclude that there is a risky minefield about working with, being in the company of, even talking about blacks because of a collective black hypersensitivity and clamor to severely punish any speech "transgression", they will adopt prudent avoidant behavior.

Which blacks will conclude is "isolating" them, but will be sorta self-imposed.

Meade said...

"I think it was because it didn't feel like a joke."

That's the razor's edge we seem to be fated to walk -- racism is no joke yet losing (or censoring) our sense of humor is also unhelpful.

Nowadays, the real problem in American society is not white racism as much as it is white guilt. Simple Freudian denial holds us all back and this instance at Duke is a perfect example. Once the guilt is acknowledged and analyzed, appropriate remedies can be taken and the guilt can dissipate.

After that, the very concept of "white" as a race can be understood as being false and, along with the guilt, allowed to die a long overdue death.

Rick Lee said...

"Above the Law" is not responding... can someone summarize what this post is about?

CB said...

Wow, is Althouse big enough to crash ATL's server with a single link (or at least a double link--both of the links in this post are the same) Ann-a-lanche?, Alt-a-lanche?

Rick Lee, a lawyer told a story at a Duke Law School event about an old trial where the prosecutor called the defendant "nigger," and all PC hell broke loose.

Internet Ronin said...

CB: "Alt-alanche" sounds good.

Ann, I think the answer to that is still yes. I thought things were getting better for a while (in the '90's), but it seems harder than ever these days.

Rick Lee said...

FYI, it's working again now. Probably just a coincidence.

Fritz said...

I live in an affluent Chicago suburb that is 60-40% black to white. I have attended those forums that discuss race. I have talked about my mother's struggle with sex discrimination. She is still bitter about it, and her complaining about it is annoying. My wife and daughter though will never face anything remotely like it. As we talk about how far women's rights have progressed, we all agree that she should accept the change as good for the succeeding generations and let go of the past. I then switch gears and pose the question, why can't you with regards to racism? The faces change to anger and resentment, hostility erupts. The classic "you don't know" abounds. One time a lady asked where I was from, I said Wisconsin; she says, no wonder! African American culture is a legacy from the 60's that was truly a leftist separatist movement. Very tribal, unable to accept introspection, hostile to individualism. The late Professor Ogbu theorized that African American culture maintains an involuntary immigrant condition. I don't know what watershed event could break this hold, but it certainly would be welcome. John McWhorter and I had hoped that 9/11 would turn out to be such an event, but unfortunately it faded. I liked it when I watched black people after 9/11 talk about how they attacked US. Sadly we are back to George Bush doesn't care about black people.

Roger Sweeny said...

I should think that people who care about race would want to open up the discussion

Why? If you think you know the truth, and the truth is your culture's conventional wisdom/good manners, to open up the discussion can only move things away from what is good and true and proper.

My God, look what happened when we opened up the discussion about sexuality in the '60s.

Beth said...

This taboo plays out differently in literature courses. I have to encounter that epithet when I teach Flannery O'Connor and Richard Wright, to offer common examples. Because I grew up in the South in the 60s, in a family no less racist than any other white family at the time, I don't let that word trip off my lips easily; I had to unlearn it at some point in my life and definitely, there's shame attached to it. There ought to be.

But, in my experience, we have to make a place for it in lit courses, and we do. One of my colleagues who teaches Southern Lit deals with it upfront in the first week, and gets his students to talk about their responses to hearing it and saying it in the context of their discussions. There's just no way around it, other than to ignore stories that include it, and that's unacceptable.

Tim said...

I suppose law school students at Duke can't read "Huck Finn" anymore.

Or they can't publicly acknowledge doing so...

Old Dad said...

Like all politics, the PC game is ultimately about power. A major law firm got manipulated into an apology, and God only knows what transpired behind the scenes.

Out of curiousity, I looked up "nigger" in Merriam-Webster on line. The term is labelled "usually offensive," and it certainly is. It apparently takes a degree of maturity and judgment to know when it is not that escapes the PC crowd.

paul a'barge said...

Ann, both your links resolve to the same URL.

As for the content, how many of these incidents do we have to experience before we all just throw up our hands in frustration and decide not to take any black people seriously?

Why would anyone hire or promote a black person given the vulnerability to the black person's victimhood antics? Of course, it would be more safe to just be covert about it and find another reason to hire someone else.

I mean, this lawyer was quoting a racist from the '30's, with a quote that is a historical fact, and the quote was used in the context to illustrate the evil of racism, no less.

Look this entire "n" word jihad is just simply an extortion tool used by black people to bludgeon white people into giving black people preferential treatment.

It's time for this to stop, or for those who use this bludgeon to pay dearly for it.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Professor Althouse's view that we should be allow ourselves to have a more open and honest discussion of race and that this kind of dishonest race-baiting is unhealthy and counterproductive.

I had an interesting experience with this as an English-teaching Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia. Armenians referred to black people with a word that sounded just like the American epithet. But it was just the Armenian word, without any history of angry usage, just a word etymologically-based on the root negro/black. Many American volunteers forbade their pupils from using the Armenian word (when speaking Armenian) because they perceived it as evidence of Armenian racism. There's plenty of racism in Armenia but its not directed at black people (whom most Armenians have never encountered). The American reaction always struck me as a great example of American white guilt and illogical hypersensitivity on race.

Fritz: I have talked about my mother's struggle with sex discrimination... As we talk about how far women's rights have progressed, we all agree that she should accept the change as good for the succeeding generations and let go of the past. I then switch gears and pose the question, why can't you with regards to racism?

I think racial inequality, stereotypes, and barriers are much, much more culturally and socioeconomically ingrained in American society than sex, or even sexual orientation for that matter. Racial groups remain segregated geographically and economically due in part to the infrequency of interracial marriage. Barriers on the basis of sex and sexual orientation are easier to break down and easier to separate from the barriers that existed a generation or two ago because women and men, gays and straights, exist across all communities, racial, religious, and otherwise. So, I think the history of racism is and should be harder to let go of than your mother's frustration with sex discrimination because the effects of the history of racism linger much more strongly than the effects of sex discrimination

Joseph Hovsep said...

Paul and Fritz suggest this dustup makes blacks look bad. But in my experience, these PC fights tend to be instigated by hypersensitive whites speaking on behalf of the perceived concerns of the black community.

Mike said...

Ann said: "...but reactions like these are teaching the lesson that it's risky to bring the subject up at all."

You're just noticing this now??? Even innocent comments get shoved back down your throat. Look at the recent dustup over someone (Bush I think) calling Obama articulate. Sgt Ted is right, it's been like that for decades, and Old Dad is right, its about power. Of course, it's counter productive, but the people who practice this intimidation don't care. Anybody with half a brain just STFU about race or any comment that might be perceived as about race. I find it best to just smile alot.

SGT Ted said...

"Armenians referred to black people with a word that sounded just like the American epithet. But it was just the Armenian word, without any history of angry usage, just a word etymologically-based on the root negro/black. Many American volunteers forbade their pupils from using the Armenian word (when speaking Armenian) because they perceived it as evidence of Armenian racism."

There was a similar dust-up here in America just last year over the use of the word "niggardly". And so it goes...

Cedarford said...

Beth - If "nigger" was some archaic word that existed only in historical perspective and should be discussable in context of literature and ancient law cases and culture it would be one thing. Then you could discuss it in an academic context only.

The problem is "nigger" is more popular than ever in black conversation and in popular culture.

Fritz said...

Joseph,
That is white guilt PC. Gender discrimination has been around much longer. When signs were posted that said, "Irish need not apply" was that racism? Couldn't be, they were of the same race. Cultural attributes are being played as race. Caribbean and African immigrants do very well in the US. Let's face it, if the millions of illegal aliens were Asian, no one would care. Race is used as a substitute for culture and is used as a weapon to prevent assimilation. Mexican culture is not conducive to excellence in education, their offspring do not become high GDP producers, just add supply for low skilled workforce.

Roger Sweeny said...

Mike,

It was actually Senator Joseph Biden. He gave an interview to the New York Observer in which he told why he should be nominated instead of any of the other Democrats running for president. His take on Obama:

[Biden doesn't think Hillary is electable.] Mr. Biden is equally skeptical—albeit in a slightly more backhanded way—about Mr. Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

But—and the “but” was clearly inevitable—he doubts whether American voters are going to elect “a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate,” and added: “I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.”

http://www.observer.com/20070205/20070205_Jason_Horowitz_pageone_newsstory1.html

blake said...

Re the Armenian word.

Doesn't James Baldwin relate a similar story about living in Switzerland? If memory serves, he speaks of the children of the town (who had never seen a black man) chasing after him and laughing while shouting "negre".

Intellectually, he knew there was no malice. Emotionally, it still stung.

===Blake===
Loaded Shelf

reader_iam said...

"Will sensitivity about racism turn racism into a taboo subject?"

It already has, to a large extent, as pointed out already. We've been going down this road, toward this predictable place, for a long time, so, frankly, I'm surprised that anyone finds this...surprising.

-----

Unless those on both sides of a conversation are willing to acknowledge contexts, and to exhibit and appreciate good faith even--especially--in disagreement, no serious discussion can take place.

The most depressing and discouraging aspect of this issue is that there are key constituencies who are now deeply entrenched and invested in keeping us stuck--for differing reasons, depending on the contituency.

----

I should think that people who care about race would want to open up the discussion

Unfortunately, it's a reality that many people who say they care about the issue don't want, and haven't wanted, to do anything of the kind.

A big part of the taboo--or perhaps it's a separate taboo--is the question of why that is.

Naked Lunch said...

Cedarford,
Blacks laughed off the dumb remarks by Joe Biden, and Michael Richards, didn't they? I think blacks have the bigger picture in mind more than remarks here and there, and they know true racism when they see it.

When I hear Bill O'Reilly say that blacks should "feel sorry for us white folks here, because I'm telling you now I'm afraid to say anything. ... White Americans are terrified." I think it's pretty telling. For him that is, most Americans aren't terrified. One wonders if he worries about blurting inadvertently 'I love hair-backed men' or other such things he might regret later.

Zeb Quinn said...

It's very simple once you understand the rules. White people aren't allowed to say the word in any context. Except Quentin Tarantino is allowed to have white people say the word in his movies. But that's it.

Mike said...

Thanks Roger,

I remember the Biden thing, but I thought he got in trouble for "clean". Someone, I'm pretty sure Bush, called Obama articulate a couple of days later and he got in further trouble. I'd go searching for it, but I'm at home with dialup.

Fritz said...

Reader,
....and which Party benefits from race substituting for culture?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Nowadays, the real problem in American society is not white racism as much as it is white guilt.

I sincerely doubt sociologists would agree. But either way the behavior of white people is the real problem.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Couldn't be, they were of the same race.

They weren't thought of as the same race, and racial categories are conceptual, not based on genetics. Not to mention the bloodlines of the Irish and, say, the British are not actually the same. Pretending the Irish are the same "race" as other "Whites" is about as ignorant as claiming all Asians are Chinese.

reader_iam said...

I'm afraid my comment might seem snarky in tone, though I surely didn't intend that. It's just that this whole issue makes me so sad, and so frustrated. You'd think there'd have been progress, but the truth is that it was possible to have certain kinds of discussions 20 years ago that you couldn't have 20 years before that and that you can't have now.

What is up with that?

Mike said...

..."most Americans aren't terrified"

And you can take that to the bank, because Naked Lunch has the pulse of America.

Speak for yourself. Althought, you are right in a way. I'm not terrified. I just make sure I don't say anything.

Mortimer Brezny said...

The problem is "nigger" is more popular than ever in black conversation and in popular culture.

Is that the problem? Or is the problem the incessant theft of African-American speech patterns by white people trying to sound hip and nifty to other white people?

Fritz said...

Mortimer,
Thank you for your damming remark. It wasn't me that told my children to learn someone else's history so that they do not perform up to their potential. I wish we could bring back former slaves that searched all over the South looking for their families. They would be appalled to learn that today's homies abandon their children in their names.

The US stopped the immigration of poor Europeans until they assimilated into the culture.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Mortimer,
Thank you for your damming remark.


First, I explicitly disagreed with your remark. Second, I pointed out the immediate conclusion of your proposition. It is called deduction. It has nothing to do with damnation. Indeed, Logos is (supposed to be) the essence of the Word.

But continue to generalize about "blacks" and "homies" all you like. Just be sure to take a shower afterward.

Old Dad said...

Mortimer Brezny,

I'll see your generalization and raise you another.

You said that "the behavior of white people is the real problem."

Care to explain lest someone mistake you for a bigot?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Fritz: Nowadays, the real problem in American society is not white racism as much as it is white guilt.

Me: I sincerely doubt sociologists would agree. But either way the behavior of white people is the real problem.


---------------------------------

I was responding to and analyzing the logical conclusion of Fritz's statement. If you dislike what Fritz said, take it up with Fritz.

reader_iam said...

There's something deeply ironic about the way this comments thread is developing.

Depressing, too.

Fritz said...

Mortimer,
I don't see race as the reason for disproportionate adverse outcomes, other than the racist culture known as African American that requires people of US African slave decent to adhere to it.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Mortimer,
I don't see race as the reason for disproportionate adverse outcomes, other than the racist culture known as African American that requires people of US African slave decent to adhere to it.


That's not what your previous statement logically indicates. I would suggest you more clearly draft your arguments in the future or look up the word "inconsistency".

But your belief that racism does not exist and African-Americans are so feeble-minded they operate under the delusion of perpetual victimhood is noted.

Old Dad said...

Mortimer Brezny,

I see your point. Doubt it's what Fritz intended, though.

Regardless, I'm curious as to why you think it's a problem that whites adapt parts of African American culture that they find attractive, and vice versa.

Fritz said...

Reader,
Your PC'ness is why this topic would appear to you as depressing. White racism is the reason black folk disproportionally fail is a trope. My character is being impugned because someone made up this trope to hide behind a failing cultural influence.

Remember when Baghdad Bob told reporters, "While President Bush's ancestors were in the caves of Europe, Iraqis were creating algebra."
So what Cornel West, the decedents of those cavemen learned your algebra and now guides our missiles into regime targets!

Mortimer Brezny said...

Regardless, I'm curious as to why you think it's a problem that whites adapt parts of African American culture that they find attractive, and vice versa.

White people calling black people nigger is not what I would consider a progressive adaptation. Nor do I think it is beneficial to anyone for stereotypes or racial caricatures to proliferate. Nor do I think there is any such thing as "African-American culture" after, say, 1930-1945. The mere idea that there is such a thing is pernicious if not remarkably stupid. To think there is any difference between New Kids on the Block and New Edition is just fucking dumb.

Fritz had no idea what he was actually saying. That was the point.

Fritz said...

Mortimer,
I didn't the white liberals comment. Meade at 11:18 did.

Revenant said...

racial categories are conceptual, not based on genetics.

They are conceptual categories based on genetics, just like the categories "blonde", "brunette", and "redhead".

Daryl Herbert said...

If I was recruiting for a law firm, I would require all hires to read from a script including the N-word and other unpleasant things, to prove they weren't too sensitive to stand up for a client's interests if ever such a situation arose.

Then I would have them choose between enduring 15 seconds of being kicked and hit by a gang of associates, or picking a fight with a hobo.

You would have to kill someone to make partner. My firm would be hardcore like that.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Fritz,
Either way, it's a statement worthy of criticism.

Mortimer Brezny said...

[Races] are conceptual categories based on genetics, just like the categories "blonde", "brunette", and "redhead".

Actually, they aren't. Racial categories, the ones we use today, predate human knowledge of genes. The idea that race correlates to genes is novel and recent and generally rejected by geneticists.

Old Dad said...

Mortimer Brezny,

I don't think that anyone on the thread thinks it's a good thing for whites to refer to blacks as niggers. You posted the following:

"Is that the problem? Or is the problem the incessant theft of African-American speech patterns by white people trying to sound hip and nifty to other white people?"

Clearly you seem to object to white people adopting black speech patterns when talking to other whites. What's the harm? Imitation used to be the sincerest form of flattery.

igbalonigbanlo said...

As an immigrant I'm somewhat amused and sometimes confused by the exchanges about race i've witnessed in the few years i've been here. In the first six months of being here, I asked a colleague why considering the claim that blacks are better athletes there are so few black quaterbacks in the quintessentially american game of football and he responded that blacks don't have the kind of coordination required to lead a team. That threw me for a loop, as I come from a soccer playing country and except for the crappy sports administration that ensures the teams don't do well and the graft that goes on behind the scenes the ability to coordinate as captain of a team was never in doubt and i suspect soccer requires a lot more finesse and coordination (but i'm sure that could be argued and of course i mean no disrespect to my host country). Within this thread i've read statements that purport to identify the lack of upward mobility of blacks as due to the lack of interracial marriage which could be construed to mean that they need other races to bring them up. I believe a people have to determine their own path. Let them either make it or self-destruct on their own. I've read statements like 'avoid hiring them'. I've worked in a few places and I'm yet to note an incident where race was an issue. What confuses me most is how white folks (that's the term i've heard bandied around and i hope it has no negative connotations) feel bothered about a word that was used negatively by their ancestors in reference to other folks. Why do you want to use the word. Where i'm from you ignore a person crying wolf. If you don't use the word at all do you lose any savings over it? Does it make you less of a person? I think if the word is ignored by most people it would eventually pass into disrepute and not be used.

Someone up there said something about banning words based on selective outrage - trying to forget a horrible past is selective outrage?

Prudent avoidance seems to have historical antecedents or maybe it was called something else then. Why is it to hard to judge each person on his own merit and forget about all this noisemaking?

I agree with the person that said PC like all politics is about power. So if we flip the script so to say, this need to discuss another persons problems is it about power, is it about taking back a word we invented? to use an analogy if someone's mom's behind (I use that because where i'm from the worst thing you can do is mention someone's mom, you better be ready to fight) is leaky, do you the bystander insist on talking about it.

When someone's feelings trump the free exchange of ideas, there's no freedom of speech - so is freedom of speech limited by fcc censorship. Is freedom of speech limited by the lack of use of the F-word. Use the k-word (or the myriad other words) when discussing with a person of semitic extract and I wonder how much free exchange of ideas would follow.

Why is there even a discussion about race? Would that stop idiotic people from passing idiotic ideas on to their progeny? I thought education (not schooling) changed things in essence books about issues and thank god Al Gore invented the internet now we can all drink from the torrents of information.

On this site a couple of blogposts ago some guy called himself old relic and made some interesting statements to the effect that blacks are not americans, and have never been american? People like that of which there aren't too few yet will never be satisfied until either the whole world acts and thinks like them. So what does discussions about race achieve? What is the purpose of discussing race? To highlight racial differences, those are pretty obvious to any observant and curious person. To highlight cultural differences stemming from historical antecedents, again a few books every now and then would cure a lot of ignorance. Forgive me but what is the purpose of discussing race?

Some black people feel censored around white people because they try not to say anything that might be construed as stupid (even jokes become an issue) because they might be accidentally reinforcing someones perception. Some white people feel they can't say anything around black people because they are 'da man'.

To paul a'barge, what kind of preferential treatment does calling someone a nigger negate?

nota bene: I really don't get what the whole issue is about. I moved to central jersey and to my surprise (because i had read on la shawn barbers blog in the comments that white guys are generally not attracted to black girls) I keep running into white male black female couples, about 10 and still counting (because now I'm curious).

Full disclosure: african (black) immigrant.

Some of the above might be considered snarky. It was not intended. I just don't get the whole hoopla.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I think that "the incessant theft of African-American speech patterns by white people trying to sound hip and nifty to other white people" leads to white people calling black people nigger.

I do not think that "white people adopting black speech patterns when talking to other whites" -- for example, using the word nigger -- is flattery or imitation. Usually it is mere proliferation of racial caricatures or stereotypes under the guise of humorous imitation.

Fritz said...

I wonder if one could make the racial charge, white liberals are in love with Obama because he is not a descendent of American slaves? We never had a sea of white faces for the Reverend Jessie or Al. Could it be because he is half white, gives comfort to racist Amerika?

reader_iam said...

Your PC'ness is

???????

clairedm said...

I realize that the comments have taken off in a different direction, but as a student in the Legal Process class at UW which was the subject of part of this post, I want to say something specifically about that. Professor Kaplan was not being racist or offensive, he was being un-PC. Those are different things. Professor Kaplan was trying to show us how differences in culture cause the same event to be viewed from totally different perspectives: one side sees rape and the other side may see a normal way to go about marriage. While I am glad that the students at my school who felt offended had their voices heard, I am sorry that a member of the faculty that is supposed to teach me has to sanitize his speech. What am I really going to learn if we can't talk with openness and opinion. If everyone is going to say the same bland thing, I may as well get my education from reading a book.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I wonder if one could make the racial charge, white liberals are in love with Obama because he is not a descendent of American slaves?

Holy shit. Fritz hangs out in black barbershops.

Mortimer Brezny said...

If everyone is going to say the same bland thing, I may as well get my education from reading a book.

At least your ancestors were permitted to read!*










*This is a joke.

igbalonigbanlo said...

And the recursively ironic nature of this thread is that on the internet you can talk about anything you want so if you feel a need to discuss race you can do it here. So why the complaint about not being able to discuss race?

reader_iam said...

Clairedm: Thanks for weighing in. It's good to hear from someone who was actually in the class.

While I am glad that the students at my school who felt offended had their voices heard, I am sorry that a member of the faculty that is supposed to teach me has to sanitize his speech.

The problem is, however, that "voices heard" translates, in this case, to the "sanitiz[ing]" of someone else's.

The sense is that one set of voices, if raised, automatically trumps another, regardless of context, it seems, in some areas and cases.

That goes to the core, or at least part of the core, of the conversation it is difficult to hold in an atmosphere of free, open and good-faith debate, without it descending into cries of "bigot," or whatever, from both sides.

Old Dad said...

Mortimer Brezny,

"I do not think that "white people adopting black speech patterns when talking to other whites" -- for example, using the word nigger -- is flattery or imitation. Usually it is mere proliferation of racial caricatures or stereotypes under the guise of humorous imitation."

Sure there are bigots who do the Amos 'n Andy schtick, but there are a million white kids who'd die to be as cool and funny as Will Smith.

Neither of us has any data to support our respective positions, so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Fritz said...

igbalonigbanlo,
I wish every black American felt as you do. I mentioned earlier Professor Ogbu's theory of "involuntary immigrant." Those blacks in the US that drink the African American kool-aid, teach their children early on that they are here because of White folks, and if they could, these white folks would re-establish slavery in a minute if they could. You come to America without such a chip and can see all the opportunity that America affords to all its people.

Mortimer,
ROFL I've been listening to Dyson!

Gahrie said...

I regularly get confronted by parents because I do not allow black students to use the word Nigger or nigga.

And Mort for the record, my Hispanic and white students "talk black" (I prefer to say "talk ghetto") all the time, and use the word nigger when refering to their friends regardless of their friend's color.

reader_iam said...

So why the complaint about not being able to discuss race?

Is that a serious question?

Fritz said...

igbalonigbanlo,
I have a question. Do you have an opinion about African American culture in the US? Would you please share it with us?

vbspurs said...

I like Alta-lanche.

It sounds like Ann is saying "Atta boy!" when doing so.

As for the question:

Will sensitivity about racism turn racism into a taboo subject?

Yes, and no.

There has to come a time when people say enough is enough.

My personal bugbear is the n-word, followed very closely by calling a woman to her face in anger, a bitch.

But if someone in an instructional class or comedy skit (like Sarah Silverman's Jesus is Magic) people SIMPLY cannot take it the same way.

One wonders if there's a common sense gene missing in the DNA of a Politically Correct person.

And if Duke University has that on their recruitment check-list.

Cheers,
Victoria

Invisible Man said...

Well this was a great. Insults, condescension and whining about white guilt have gotten this discussion on race off to a roaring start. If there was ever a televised discussion on race relations similar to the meetings that Clinton proposed, I'm sure your comment board would elect Rush Limbaugh as the white spokesman, Ann. Because Fritz, Mortimer and the others seem so much more interested in racial relations rather than just making silly, puerile cheap shots.

Cedarford said...

Mortimer - Actually, they aren't. Racial categories, the ones we use today, predate human knowledge of genes. The idea that race correlates to genes is novel and recent and generally rejected by geneticists.

The fact that humans could distinguish between chimps and giraffes and categorized them as quite different, before knowledge of genes, does not mean that they are not genetically quite different.
Same with races. Any competent geneticist (not the liberal fantasy that race doesn't exist) can tell what gene pool a sample came from, whether that sample came from a black, white, mongoloid, or mixed race individual. And of course, can go further if need be in noting markers for Malay vs. Han Chinese, Athabascan vs. Eastern Woodland or Siberian native.
But race is the most prominant source of differing characteristics. 99 times out of 100, past genes, a forensic anthropologist can look at a skull and say if it was Asian, Caucasian, Negroid...and be correct.
Other race markers are quite evident in behavioral characteristics, rate of infant development, spatial ability, metabolization of food and/or drugs, plus selective mutations found in only one race or ethnicity...

********************

Mortimer, on the enduring popularity of "nigger" in black vernacular:


Is that the problem? Or is the problem the incessant theft of African-American speech patterns by white people trying to sound hip and nifty to other white people?


Common use of "nigger" or variants like "niggaz" is not a white phenomenon unless they are repeating rap that depends on niggaz or such in rhyme. "Nigger" is rarely used by whites, asians, or hispanics in public or in private.
It is the ubiquity of the word among black youth and various stakeholders in the black community being all over the map on dealing with it.

1. A portion wish to somehow make it tribal...that it is perfectly OK for blacks to use the word, but no one else.

2. A portion take the moronic "just say no!" approach that Nancy Reagan tried with drugs. That somehow if they demand it be banned, forbidden to be uttered as the Mother of All Cuss Words, or dropped in usage, it will be. A Harry Potter riff - "It, the Word - That Shall Not Be Named!!!" Particularly popular among "old school" civil rights types that believe a law and Federal Government prosecution of non-blacks saying it, will end it...folks that choose to be deaf to what is said in just about any large crowd of young blacks..

3. A portion of the hypersensitive black grievance culture secretly love the word because it gives them imagined moral power over "guilty oppressors" of other races. They are the ones that say black usage is naughty, but when a white person, hispanic, or Asian says it - an instant black victim is created, a quivering pile of humiliated protoplasm that must be avenged from the destruction hearing the dreaded "N-word" causes to the black mind when it passes through other than black lips. (They are also the same portion that falsely accuse cops, white college students on occasion of using it because grievance means power and perhaps money...) Also the same race card players that have attacks of the vapors when Obama is called "articulate".

4. The Chris Rock school - that portion of the black community that believes there are niggers, then there are black people...and they love the black person but hate the lazy, feckless, knuckleheaded nigger criminals.

5. Blacks who don't give a crap and believe the more anybody says it, the less it matters as a dividing point.

I believe the prevailing white, Asian, and Hispanic view is that it is a good sort of cuss word if one is seriously provoked by a black, or wishes to provoke a black...but using the word commonly reflects badly on the user. As a coarse, ill-educated sort.
When "my niggah" became popular, a few years before "Pulp Fiction" and for a years after that, blacks on my son's basketball team had everyone using it. Son was told not to say it, or shit, fuck, bitch, and the usual mixes - in the house. Of course, son thought having his black team mates and their parents at a picnic at the house meant dispensation was granted, and who was whose "niggah" was heard. I called them together, with parents and said "no bad words allowed here", son of course had to remind all I had cussed the "s-word" when I smashed my finger building a fence. A black dad then proposed that all the kids willing to have their fingers smashed would be free to say "nigger, my nigger, who was the bigger nigger" all they wanted to...picked up a rock and asked anyone interested to lay a finger, any finger on my picnic table.
No takers. It was funny.
After the kids went off, we did discuss "nigger" - mostly in context of how common it is in black kids conversation, how hispanics use different slurs, and how rap was bringing it into general use and just how harmful it was...
But I think the safest thing is to be avoidant. Avoid the topic with blacks, and avoid blacks with chips on their shoulders as much as possible, avoid making any public comments on racial matters.

PatCA said...

I don't know if it's taboo, but talking about race is a mine field, mostly because the media/academia nexus, or the public discourse, on race is the codified culmination of the past. The culture on the street is way ahead of them. I saw black people defending Bill O'Reily's traditional views on Oprah. And did you see the video of the soldiers in Iraq defending their decision to enlist? A black soldier said, "I joined because, well, I love my country!" That view would be considered at best inauthentic and probably stupid, while Obama considered his separatist church manifesto appropriate for a president-to-be.

In a free country the pendulum is never still, but I do hope that it starts swinging back into the center before it's too late.

http://www.tucc.org/about.htm

Mike said...

Welcome Clairedm. Good to hear from you.

With respect to the two cases at hand, (Duke and UW), I think reader_iam really nails it.

Claire, when you say: "While I am glad that the students at my school who felt offended had their voices heard, ...", the crux of the matter is whether they should have been offended or not.

If Professor Kaplan truly meant offense, he should be held accountable. However, if not, if he was engaged in a legitimite, honest discussion, then the raising of those voices has a pernicious effect. It stifles an important discussion. Serious people need to discriminate between these two situations if we are ever to resolve this issue.

AlaskaJack said...

All this talk about "racisim" in this thread and yet nobody has provided a definition for this word. Perhaps Mortimer Brezney, since he appears to know something about logic and since he appears to be something of an authority on the subject under discussion, will provide the rest of us with a definition of the term "racisim".

paul a'barge said...

To paul a'barge, what kind of preferential treatment does calling someone a nigger negate?

Sigh. If this is what passes for logic between those ears of yours, perhaps you'd be better off back in Africa, where anyone not beating the skinhead on a drum is a savant.

Go back and this time read my comment. No where do I advocate using the "n" word (oops, you used it ... fully taking advantage of the fact that as a black person, you have certain privileges that us whites do not). No where in my comment do I assert that using the "n" word negates anything.

I'm not advocating using the "n" word. I'm advocating not using the "n" word, both by folks who would use it as a pejorative and by those who would use it to wield their victimhood bludgeon.

You know how to pejorative don't you? You put your lips together and blow.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I was going to comment earlier, but then I got scared, but then I had a few glasses of cabernet sauvignon and an excellent meal, which I should not have had because it is Lent, but I will make up for it tomorrow, so now I will comment.

About "the word in question." It is evil. Except when it is used to illustrate evil.

This confuses some people. They are morons. But we must exercise charity.

About the Hmong. Who the f*** are the Hmong?

reader_iam said...

Full circle, back to the starting point: it's fucked up.

Johnny Nucleo said...

For the record, I was going to use "fuck" but I was trying to be nice because I am a nice guy. But that bastard, Reader_IAm, made me look all square. Thanks, Reader_IAm!

Johnny Nucleo said...

I just learned Reader_IAm is female, so change "bastard" to "bitch."

(Reader_IAm,

I am just kidding, of course. And I am not just saying that because I just learned that you are a chick.)

reader_iam said...

jn: Just saw your comment.

First of all, "the Hmong" are not a monolith.

Second, having pointed that out, and specifically acknowledging the point, I'm going to offer the following in the interest of a presenting a quick, pithy response (which has many flaws, not least of which is the shallowness resulting from both the pithy and the quick):

The Hmong people lived in high in the mountains of Laos, and during the Vietnam War, they were significant in the narrative because they, as a group, suppported the U.S. I understand that many people would prefer that I present that as: They were recruited to support the U.S. My take is that the truth is more complicated than either stark statement takes into account.

In any case, in the aftermath, many Hmong, classified by the U.S. as important allies, were brought to the U.S., mostly (?? I think mostly) following stays in camps in
Thailand.

The purpose was to prevent retaliation from the governments, specifically communist, following our withdrawal from the Vietnam War.

I suppose I should point out various: accusations crossaccusations collaborations countercollaborations here there back forth up down everywhere no sides all sides back forth north south east west ass over ears pass go do not collect--STOP! No point.

So it goes?

reader_iam said...

My 9:44 comment was posted prior to my seeing johnny nucleo's comment just preceding it, so--really!--it was not a response to jn, but rather more generally.

Really! (See my next comment--which itself is now out of time.)

This whole sequence goes to show--whatever. Well, at least I think it's representative of-- something. Isn't it?

jn: bastard, bitch--whatever. In the end, it's sort of the same thing. In context.

In any case, it's all good. Er, all bad. Um--????

reader_iam said...

LOL.

Not a bad place to unexpectedly find oneself... .

Johnny Nucleo said...

Reader_IAm,

My apologies. I did not read the entire thread, so I was not aware of your previous comments.

The fact is, Althouse threads are complicated, and even when I have read an entire thread, my prime concern is my own ego.

That said, what I meant by my comment was this:

The Hmong, like most tribes thoughout the eons of human history, are irreleviant. What is relevant? Athens and Jerusalem. Is there and exception to this rule? Yes. China.

ploopusgirl said...

paul a'barge said...

To paul a'barge, what kind of preferential treatment does calling someone a nigger negate?

Sigh. If this is what passes for logic between those ears of yours, perhaps you'd be better off back in Africa, where anyone not beating the skinhead on a drum is a savant.

Go back and this time read my comment. No where do I advocate using the "n" word (oops, you used it ... fully taking advantage of the fact that as a black person, you have certain privileges that us whites do not). No where in my comment do I assert that using the "n" word negates anything.

I'm not advocating using the "n" word. I'm advocating not using the "n" word, both by folks who would use it as a pejorative and by those who would use it to wield their victimhood bludgeon.

You know how to pejorative don't you? You put your lips together and blow.


I'm sorry. What are you trying to get across here, Paul? He questions you without in any way insulting your intelligence or you personally in any way, and you respond by... insulting the intelligence of the entire continent of Africa? But racism is dead, and the black people who think it's still present are just playing victim! Clearly.

Fortunately, like you, I'm not above insulting people like I'm twelve, so here goes: you're a stupid, fucking, pretentious, narrow-minded, idiotic son of a bitch and the reason that most people associate conservatism with racism. You know the black people that you visualize (you know, the homies, the gangstas, the only kind of black people there are nowadays, who've thrown away all the progress their ancestors made)? I hope you run into a couple of your stereotypes and they tear your esophagus out and feed it to you! Have a good day now!

vbspurs said...

Beth, loved your comments about growing up in the Deep South, and your unlearning certain words as you grew older.

In Britain, as most people know, the n-word was actually considered if not polite, then the normal word, used without any malice whatsoever even by little kindly spinsters.

My great-auntie Violet was one such lady.

She once befriended an enormous black American GI during WWII, because she saw him inside a bus one day, looking lost and forlorn.

Asking him to her home for tea, she made sure she left instructions with the porter to let in the "nice American n-----r" at the front door, so he wouldn't get hassled.

Obviously, everyone knows that Agatha Christie's mystery, "Ten Little Indians" was called "Ten Little N-----rs" originally in the UK, having to be changed for the American market.

Cultural norms are definitely tricky, no less today.

When you hear a Spanish person refer to a black American as "coloured person", that's because in Spanish, saying "una persona de color" is the POLITE phrase.

"Negro" being correct, but considered a bit abrupt.

I once had to come to the defence of a nice Cuban lady here, who uttered "coloured person" when speaking of her colleague.

She was almost reported to her boss, erroneously...

The US and other countries should justly be careful with all phrases.

But context is everything.

Cheers,
Victoria

Daryl Herbert said...

Paul: Sigh. If this is what passes for logic between those ears of yours, perhaps you'd be better off back in Africa, where anyone not beating the skinhead on a drum is a savant.

It's pretty clear (to me at least) that igbalonigbanlo is asking questions in good faith. He's about as threatening as Wayne Brady.

You can find some way to tell him you don't see what he's getting at without raising a bunch of racist imagery.

Apologies are in order.

Mortimer Brezny said...

My definition of racism is Cedarford's latest post.

Revenant said...

[Races] are conceptual categories based on genetics, just like the categories "blonde", "brunette", and "redhead".

Actually, they aren't. Racial categories, the ones we use today, predate human knowledge of genes.

So do the categories "blonde", "brunette", and "redhead". Humans recognized that we had inheritable traits thousands of years ago. We just didn't know HOW they got inherited until recently. Those terms, like racial labels, describe groups of humans who differ genetically from one another in a relatively consistent manner, particularly among those genes which determine our physiognomy.

The idea that race correlates to genes is novel and recent and generally rejected by geneticists.

That race is an expression of genes is a "novel" idea in the sense of being older than anyone in this thread, and is accepted by virtually all geneticists for the simple reason that it is a proven fact. This is why children never have a racial identity other than that of their birth parents.

In short -- you're completely and utterly wrong on this point.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Will sensitivity about racism turn racism into a taboo subject?

Sensitivity never creates silence, it just fosters a climate of redacted thinking where the full unvarnished truth never comes out.

So people will continue to "talk" racism, and hold conferences, and have group think moments. But nobody, not blacks, not whites, will say enough of the truth to make talk about racism worthwhile.

Daryl Herbert said...

Mortimer Brezny: My definition of racism is Cedarford's latest post.

Genetics is science, and all the wishful thinking in the world won't make it go away.

Of course race comes down to DNA--what the hell else would be driving it?

DNA defines what we look like, how smart we are, and all sorts of other things. If you don't like it, you can rage against God and science and whatever but it is what it is.

Genetics isn't just about race. Silicon Valley is a great example. Guy nerds (from all sorts of ethnic groups) marry girl nerds and their nerdy DNA, in addition to making them good at math, increases the chances their children will have autism.

Fact is, the reason people from the same ethnic group look alike is because their DNA is more similar compared to each other than if you compared it to someone outside their ethnic group. This is true if you want to do coarse-grained comparisons (e.g., some blacks compared to some whites) or fine-grained comparisons (e.g., French vs. Poles, or even comparing regions within a single country)

All the political denunciations in the world won't change the fact that blacks can't swim at the Olympic level because genetically they've got different body fat ratios (and I'm not saying whites are superior--we're softer/flabbier!)

I don't like a lot of what Cedarford says about race (I'm going from memory on that, don't ask me to cite specific posts) but it's hard to find fault with his posts on this particular thread.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Of course race comes down to DNA--what the hell else would be driving it?

My point was that the racial categories we have and commonly use in society do not correspond to what the genetics show. I did not argue that one could not draw "racial" lines based on genetic information -- my point is those racial lines do not correspond to the racial categories in common use. People do not use racial categories because they have expert understanding of genetics; nor do they use those racial lines that are justifiable based on the current level of genetic knowledge. They use racial categories for other reasons and the racial categories they use are unscientific. Racial categories did not come about because of scientific understanding of genetics (or inherited traits); people today use genetics to justify their sloppy racial classification, which is used for purposes other than to further scientific knowledge. This phenomenon has nothing to do with Chris Rock. And to the extent it is used to justify prejudice or promote the notion of genetic determinism (which no reputable geneticist would confirm) I would call it racist.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Fact is, the reason people from the same ethnic group look alike is because their DNA is more similar compared to each other than if you compared it to someone outside their ethnic group.

Fact is, plenty of people who "look similar" aren't all that genetically similar. And the DNA that makes them "similar" is such an insignificant portion of their genome that using it to group them and segregate them from other human beings on that basis is scientifically unjustifiable. It is also the case that the common usage of racial classification is blind to ethnicity, i.e., someone from Detroit with no Senegalese ancestry and someone from Senegal are both considered "black". Likewise, someone from Vietnam and someone from Japan are both Asian. You can say Japanese people and Vietnamese people "look similar" but that's really just ignorance on your part. They look different enough and are different enough not to be grouped together simply because you're ignorant of the differences.

Mortimer Brezny said...

And Mort for the record, my Hispanic and white students "talk black" (I prefer to say "talk ghetto") all the time, and use the word nigger when refering to their friends regardless of their friend's color.

If race is equivalent to skin color, then you're only proving my point. And I don't think ignorant use of the word nigger makes it innocent.

Sure there are bigots who do the Amos 'n Andy schtick, but there are a million white kids who'd die to be as cool and funny as Will Smith.

Except Will Smith purposely does not curse or use the word nigger.

Slim Tyranny said...

reader_iam said...

There's something deeply ironic about the way this comments thread is developing.

Depressing, too.



The way this comments thread developed was entirely predictable.

----------------

Most ridiculous analysis of race in America goes to the fool who intoned knowingly about "the hypersensitive black grievance culture." Do you go to their roundtable meetings?

----------------

paul a'barge said...
Sigh. If this is what passes for logic between those ears of yours, perhaps you'd be better off back in Africa, where anyone not beating the skinhead on a drum is a savant.


Unless I am missing the irony here, Paul can go fuck himself (look how un-PC I am!)

Roger Sweeny said...

igbalonigbanlo said...

As an immigrant I'm somewhat amused and sometimes confused by the exchanges about race i've witnessed in the few years i've been here. In the first six months of being here, I asked a colleague why considering the claim that blacks are better athletes there are so few black quaterbacks in the quintessentially american game of football and he responded that blacks don't have the kind of coordination required to lead a team.

For years, all sorts of reasons were given for why blacks couldn't be quarterbacks. Most of them were demonstrably wrong (like the co-ordination excuse).

Most of these excuses are no longer made because there are more and more black quarterbacks proving them wrong. Why are there more and more black quarterbacks? Professional teams make more money if they win. Choosing a not-as-good white quarterback is not a good business proposition.

Years ago, many white fans would not have rooted for a black quarterback. That has changed.

Lonesome Payne said...

Mortimer -

"Is that the problem? Or is the problem the incessant theft of African-American speech patterns by white people trying to sound hip and nifty to other white people?"

The strength of the US is freedom. We evolve, as a people and individuals.

Sometimes - often - that evolution will involve white people noticing and taking on aspects of non-white culltures. It seems a littel hard to avoid, in fact. Nevertheless a certain sort of person can identify it - always - as an example of white thievery.

So either we can be sane, and recognize that in a free, white-majority or white-plurality nation the cultural flows will inevitably involve white people borrowing from non-white cultures; and that the process is in fact part and parcel of the reason our huge, multi-racial society manges to limp along pretty well as we all keep evolving...

...or we can decree, as you would prefer evidently, that no white person ever add any attribute or behavior that is not purely white. As defined by you, if you're available.

Personally, I think it'd be easier to decree that people like you pull your intelligent heads out of your rears.

igbalonigbanlo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

This is PC gone mad. A Fulbright & Jaworski partner using the "N" word to describe how one of its founders fought against racism in the 1920s is condemned for using the word. But the apparent purpose of using the word was to show the racial climate of Waco, Texas at that time, and therefore how virtuous Leon Jaworski was in defending an African-American back then. Apparently, the DA used the word to describe the defendant.

Think of it this way, how effective would the story have been if it had been changed to refer to the defendant as an African-American. Sure, the racial climate would have looked a tiny bit bad, but it wouldn't have had nearly the effect that the story had with the accurate use of the more appropriate "N" word. Remember, it wasn't Jaworski using it, it was the racist DA who did.

So, now we are at the point where an adverse racial climate can't be described through an accurate use of that word, because mere uttering of it is apparently racist.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe a clarification is in order. I am not suggesting that we should use the "N" word. Rather, that its use to describe how a 1920s era DA in Waco described a defendant is strong indicia of the racism there at the time. And condemnation of that is what I consider PC gone mad.

Cedarford said...

Mortimer Brezny said...
My definition of racism is Cedarford's latest post.


Snide crack, fuckwadd.

You still are quite ignorant of genetics and why the 3 racial groups are distinguished by different inheritable characteristics and unique genes.

In your ignorance, you childishly fling "racist" charges at those who are better informed than your silly "race is a myth" line....

My point was that the racial categories we have and commonly use in society do not correspond to what the genetics show.

Rubbish. You are clueless of what human genome studies are finding regarding gene pools of those remaining in Africa, and the divergence of peoples in the Out of Africa model in two main Asiatic migrations, then the differentiation of proto human stock into the white and Mongoloid races.

People do not use racial categories because they have expert understanding of genetics; nor do they use those racial lines that are justifiable based on the current level of genetic knowledge. They use racial categories for other reasons and the racial categories they use are unscientific.

Rubbish.

There are a host of scientific tools used for scientific classification of species, races, subgroups. They have been in use for hundreds of years. Genetics did not replace them, but merely joined them. From Linnaeus onward, the biologists made few classification mistakes that later genetic studies disputed.

igbalonigbanlo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daryl Herbert said...

Unless I am missing the irony here, Paul can go fuck himself (look how un-PC I am!)

Righteous indignation against conventional expressions of racism is 100% in line with political correctness.

Especially if your message is in part Paul was rude, now I'm gonna be rude, because that includes the double standard of political correctness (if you're un-PC, you have to speak as if walking on eggshells, whereas if you are PC, you can be as rude as you like)

This is not to say that your indignation is misplaced (I share it), but I'm completely, totally sick of misuse of the word "PC"

Leftists have tried to claim that there is no such thing as PC, that we are "beyond PC," that there's more of a backlash to being PC than being un-PC . . . all of which is bullshit.

What's really obnoxious is when someone crows about how "un-PC" they are at the very moment their political correctness is at its climax.

Slim Tyranny said...

Daryl Herbert said...

[slim tyranny said:] "Unless I am missing the irony here, Paul can go fuck himself (look how un-PC I am!)"

Righteous indignation against conventional expressions of racism is 100% in line with political correctness.

Especially if your message is in part Paul was rude, now I'm gonna be rude, because that includes the double standard of political correctness (if you're un-PC, you have to speak as if walking on eggshells, whereas if you are PC, you can be as rude as you like)

This is not to say that your indignation is misplaced (I share it), but I'm completely, totally sick of misuse of the word "PC"

Leftists have tried to claim that there is no such thing as PC, that we are "beyond PC," that there's more of a backlash to being PC than being un-PC . . . all of which is bullshit.

What's really obnoxious is when someone crows about how "un-PC" they are at the very moment their political correctness is at its climax.


----------

Daryl, this is not about righteous indignation and this is not about Paul's rudeness. It's about Paul's blatantly racist remark. My parenthetical was a snide dig at the Pauls of the world who want their racism excused as simply "un-PC".

Paul's racism has nothing to do with political correctness. Paul's racism was simply that: racism.

I like how you find "really obnoxious" my supposed "political correctness" and not Paul's actual racism. Guess what --- I wasn't being political correct when I called Paul on his sick bullshit. I wasn't even being politically INcorrect. I was giving him exactly what he deserved for his racism. Nice that your comments were aimed at me, and not at the racist and his posting.

Daryl Herbert said...

My parenthetical was a snide dig at the Pauls of the world who want their racism excused as simply "un-PC".

Right. I misinterpreted as self-congratulatory for your braveness in using the F-word.

When you switch tone of voice in the middle of a sentence, that doesn't always come through over the internet.

Anyway, I was one of the first to condemn Paul's comments.

Slim Tyranny said...

Daryl Herbert said...

"My parenthetical was a snide dig at the Pauls of the world who want their racism excused as simply "un-PC"."

Right. I misinterpreted as self-congratulatory for your braveness in using the F-word.

When you switch tone of voice in the middle of a sentence, that doesn't always come through over the internet.

Anyway, I was one of the first to condemn Paul's comments.


First, understood about the confusion over my sarcastic parenthetical.

Second, you are WAY off when you say this:

"All the political denunciations in the world won't change the fact that blacks can't swim at the Olympic level because genetically they've got different body fat ratios (and I'm not saying whites are superior--we're softer/flabbier!)"

False. Just because blacks and whites, as groups, have different body mass ratios DOES NOT MEAN that individual blacks are then "unable to swim at the Olympic level." False. Proof?: Suriname's Anthony Nesty (black guy) won the 100-meter butterfly in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Come on, walk away from such ridiculous conclusions already proven wrong.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I'm sorry that you believe in genetic determinism, Cedarford.

Mortimer Brezny said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race

Mortimer Brezny said...

...or we can decree, as you would prefer evidently, that no white person ever add any attribute or behavior that is not purely white. As defined by you, if you're available.

I don't think I made that argument. I think my point was that pissing on someone's head and telling them it's raining isn't nice. The next time someone traduces you I doubt you'll consider it a contribution to the nation's culture.

TMink said...

Daryl wrote: "DNA defines what we look like, how smart we are, and all sorts of other things."

I think the word defines is an overstatement. Wouldn't it be more accurate to talk about genetic potential than genetic definition? Nurture is a powerful force as the seed requires sufficient water and nutrients to express the genetics. Also, environmantal toxins can kill or deform the seed.

So while my genes set the code for how tall or intelligent I might be, diet and learning and culture play a significant role in how tall or intelligent I become.

Unless I am aborted and all that genetic potential is for naught.

Trey

Lonesome Payne said...

Mortimer -

I'm baffled.

I have no idea how you can argue you weren't condemning all white borrowing of black culture (in order to sound hip) as incessant thievery.

Your phrase:

"... the incessant theft of African-American speech patterns by white people trying to sound hip and nifty to other white people..."

Is it the importance of the context I'm missing? I don't think so.

The context was use of the n-word, and I'll use that stand-in here to avoid slipping into that debate. But I can't see that knowing that has any effect on the phrase's meaning, one way or the other.

"Incessant theft" describes the general process of whites borrowing any speech patterns from blacks. It is done in order to impress other whites. That's what you say and it reveals a nice combination of loathing and dumbness. You let your slip show.

I also have no idea what you're talking about with the argument you say you were making.

Lonesome Payne said...

And furthermore -

Way up earlier someone said the real problem isn't white racism but white guilt.

Whatever. I was struck by your response: "I very much doubt sociologists would agree."

Many of us are less impacted than you imagine by the troubling possibility of sociologists disagreeing with us.

Lonesome Payne said...

You're amazing, Mortimer. It's just one after the other with you. Is this the first time you've encountered people who argue with you and your moral givens?

"But your belief that racism does not exist and African-Americans are so feeble-minded they operate under the delusion of perpetual victimhood is noted."

I'm focused on the second half of that. The feeble-minded part.

Here, the argument you're unavoidably making is that it is impossible to ever conceive of a general kind of political waywardness manifesting itself in any population.

How do we know? Because anyone making that kind of argument isn't answered in any meaningful way; he's simply sucker-punched with the observation that he's calling that group feeble-minded.

I suppose maybe you're saying that only black people can always be exempted from any suspicion of generalized political sickness.

Or maybe you're saying that only white people should be considered candidates for that age-old sporadic human condition?

But I can't believe you'd say that. You're not a racist, we all know that for sure.

Laika's Last Woof said...

Miranda once offered sage counsel on the topic of race:
"You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you."
Duke Lacrosse changed that.
Of course people are going to accuse you of racism whether or not you're guilty, same as always. Certain college professors seem to have spent entire careers dreaming up new "critical race meta-narratives" whose criticism is curiously only directed at me.
But now we have a "critial meta-narrative" of our own: their paranoid delusions have corrupted our would-be inquisitors, Nietzche's dragonslayers become dragons, and Duke Lacrosse is the proof.
The importance of whether or not I may or may not be a subconcious racist pales in comparison to the vile depths to which our accusers themselves have fallen by falsely accusing innocent men of rape because of their race and sex. No amount of "subconscious racism" can even begin to make up for the heinous attempt to impose violent felony punishment for imagined crimes.
For years we've had to endure their preening moral superiority, the self-righteous finger-wagging, and their false accusations in seething silence, burning with the fury of the wrongfully condemned yet unable to respond ... until now. Now we have Duke Lacrosse.
As Doctor King once said, "I have a dream." I have a dream that some day ... when you accuse me of racism I can throw it right back in your face.
That day is now. We can stand our ground. "Duke Lacrosse" are the only two words you'll ever need to talk about race.
Feminism? Duke Lacrosse.
Critical race theory? Duke Lacrosse.
Michael Richards? Busted. The "Duke Lacrosse Defense" only works if you're innocent ... or at least less guilty than your accuser.