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I'm acting white by just talking to you.Keep it up and I'll go all Hispanic.
The thesis that mean whites made blacks afraid of them is myth. The blacks learned through hip hop music and rap and gangsta rap that the group/tribe which chants a message of power together can dominate a place. They learned to despise the weak whites. And who would want to imitate that?
I like John Mcwhorter but this quote really stung:"The joy of a school where no one can be called 'white'"
I found this bloggingheads very depressing. -No child left behind and the Faith-Based Initiatives could have been the basis of a "Black Agenda' Whaaaaattt!!! When will we seek an agenda that is collectively beneficial-Is "southern strategy" this much of an obsession for all black Americans? Did we think that when the Democratic Party lost its southern faction (that, yes, had a significant racist contingent) that neither party would pursue southern voters?- Is there such a thing as the "northern urban strategy"? Is it not pandering to have utterly secular white Democratic candidates, while on the campaign trail, go to the large inner-city black church and give a short speech that somehow alludes to our collective faith and throws in a few inner-city colloquialisms?-Is it really that hard to see how the Republican Party isn't racist? (Or at least doesn't mean to be.)
I can't watch the video at work, but I'm intrigued by the phrase "Urkel days." Like most people my age, I watched "Family Matters" every week for quite some time. One thing that strikes me about it is that it was in no way "black." Despite having a predominately black cast, race was almost never mentioned, and Urkel was just a nerd, with no interest in the significance of his race. It was, one could say, post-racial. Shows like that, and the earlier but still very much my generation Cosby show, certainly seem like they should have shown that race was a meaningless construct that we didn't have to pay attention to or make a big deal out of. Why have we retroactively racialized Urkel? - Lyssa
It so rare to hear more than one black at a time talk like this. I'm sure it happens all the time in private, but in the media, there always has to be an angry race warrior (black or white) telling him he's an Uncle Tom or at least out of touch. In other words, saying he's acting white.
Crack, I thought you were French.
So is the adult version of acting white, house negro?
I thought it was interesting to hear a discussion about how the tea party must denounce its racist elements, preceded immediately by a conversation about separating black kids from the accusations (from other black kids) that they are "acting white".The solution for the tea parties was the group must take responsibility for the few and try to get them to stop.The solution for the black students was not to try to stop the kids who do the name-calling/pressure, and not to denounce them as racist. But to try to set up an alternate reality for the kids who want to succeed.It seems like two completely different attitudes toward the two groups.
What they're saying is that when the talented tenth, of which they are prime examples, up and left the inner city "ghetto" and inner city schools, what was left, what is left, is the untalented nine tenths. And there ain't no cure for that.
Another successful Bloggingheads. Thanks to Bob Wright for understanding that dialogue happens in real time and to John McWhorter for his thought provoking insights.
One of the few blogging heads that I watched the entire way through. Very interesting.And at the risk of being called racist by the liberal trolls, it was a pleasure to listen to two obviously highly intelligent, rational,articulate people discuss and debate a sensitive subject without being disagreeable to each other.I was taken with Ford's point of the upward mobility within the black student community being one of the problems. At that point I recalled one issue in Good Will Hunting as being upward mobility of Matt Damons math genius character who was obviously going to "outgrow" his friends and cultural/social status. The upward mobility envy isn't just a race issue.The idea of a completely segregated school may have some merits as long as the school doesn't foster segregation beyond the academic environment. A segregated by gender school can also have some positives for the students, especially the males.Very interesting and worth while blogging heads episode.
"-No child left behind and the Faith-Based Initiatives could have been the basis of a "Black Agenda' Whaaaaattt!!!"C3, that was one of the McWhorter insights I was referring to in my previous comment.His point was that both of these initiatives would clearly help the minority community, yet George Bush never "sold" them as such. Hearing between the lines, it seemed to me that McWhorter considered that a missed opportunity for a Republican President leading a party that is, all too often, not appealing enough to minority voters whose percentages of population are increasing rapidly.
His point was that both of these initiatives would clearly help the minority community, yet George Bush never "sold" them as such. Hearing between the lines, it seemed to me that McWhorter considered that a missed opportunity for a Republican President leading a party that is, all too often, not appealing enough to minority voters whose percentages of population are increasing rapidly. Even assuming that it would have been right to "sell" to minorities like that, do you think that it would it really could have worked, coming from Bush? The man did more for AIDS victims in Africa than any other president has, and got no credit. He appointed numerous minorities to high posts, and they were called house (you know whats) and he was still called racist. He (and McCain) pandered to the hispanic community on immigration, but still lost the hispanic vote. Narrative wins over action and selling points every day of the week. - Lyssa
Even assuming that it would have been right to "sell" to minorities like that, do you think that it would it really could have worked, coming from Bush?Perhaps not, but still, interesting to know that McWhorter thought it to be a missed opportunity that in historical perspective will be seen to be of benefit to the minority schools and students.The Bush administration missed many opportunities to make their programs and agendas clearer and let the media run with a disengenous messag.
McWhorter was also clear about the downside of desegregation. It didn't take into consideration the value of COMMUNITY. He told a wonderful story about a desegregated school with kids that ended up informally segregating by community, and not by race.
He told a wonderful story about a desegregated school with kids that ended up informally segregating by community, and not by race.Yes. This is what my experience was in the schools that I went to in the Bay Area. The area was expanding so rapidly that schools were being built yearly and the students split off from the previous school by geographic areas and combined with other areas.The "area" that I lived in was very rural and consisted of some whites, a lot of japanese, chinese and hispanics. We became combined with another district that had more blacks, hispanics from a neighborhood that was not as affluent and more urbanized.The students continued to maintain their friendships with those from the same community area (rural vs urban and socio-economic similarities), irregardless of race. In otherwords.....self segregation.You cannot force people to be friends if they don't want to be. You can force them to sit in the same classrooms etc. But you cannot force social ties. All that does is create resistance and problems.
I don't know that the overall message of re-segregation (just because whites are not as racist now) is so nuance as to be innocuous.Re-segregation is not just a step; its a giant leap backwards.These two seem to be saying that segregation does not foment racism.
As regular commentators who have met me at one of Ann's meetups know, Mortimer Brezny is in fact a colored man. It is true. I am one of the colored persons that the NAACP's mission seeks to advance. McWhorter and Ford, neither of whom attended a historically black university or college, are wrong about the absence of the "acting white" phenomenon at HBCUs. Much of the "social roughness" (McWhorter) and "built-in resentment" (Ford) that they mention occurring in K-12 environments I witnessed (and was on the receiving end of) in college. I identify with the treatment that McWhorter's friend Vincent received.The "acting white" phenomenon does occur in university-level majority black environments, precisely where one might think it would not.I was accused of racial inauthenticity in a number of ways. One was that I must only have liked white girls because I sought to focus on my studies. The other was that I thought I was white because I had always scored well on standardized tests. I was called a sell-out, a token, an apologist for white people, and a house nigger. I put up with four years of it.I know that it happens, no matter how inconceivable it is. If I had to do it all again, I would have attended a school where I would not have been intra-racially harassed so viciously and so frequently.
Bagoh20,Yea - Creole, really, but yea - and it's embarrassing.Everybody else,1. I'm a Republican, without anybody having to "sell" me on it.2. I'm a Bush (W) Republican.3. I disliked the choice of Michael Steele because it was too-obvious (and wrong-headed) pandering after Obama got in.4. The only black conservatives who will be able to convince black liberals it's time to go will be blacks who speak their language, understand their concerns, and can articulate the conservative vision without selling out black ideals. Unfortunately, from what I can see, for a variety of (bogus) reasons, conservatives don't appear to think they have - or have a use for - such people because (these should be pluses) we like Rap, won't calm down, and say things in a provocative manner. Hell, I'm an atheist and still have blacks telling me they wish I'd run for *something*, but I just want to lead through playing music.BTW, all donations - to force conservatives into dealing with reality - accepted here.
Instead of accommodating the racial labels (kids calling other kids as "acting white") why not call them on it? Why not just say that it's wrong.. that it is racist to say that.I don't get it.
Why not just say that it's wrong.. that it is racist to say that.I don't get it.It usually doesn't stop the behavior.
McWhorter has mentioned that this issue is willfully ignored by some, mostly on the left. The black people who suffered through this nonsense are already disinclined to wallow in self-pity. They're achievers.So it's good to see Mr Buck tackle the issue. I'm not yet finished reading, but so far the book does a fine job of documenting the problem.
Mortimer B: I taught at an historically Black college in the late 60s and early 70s and did not witness or hear students using the "acting white" jibe against others. The rural deep south school had the usual mix of kids wanting to get out as quickly and painlessly as possible as well as those who were eager to spend their time well but I didn't notice an antipathy to learning any different from the students at the large mid-western university where I taught before. It could well be that the students at the historically black school were for the most part from de facto segregated schools in the rural south and this would support the thesis of the book being discussed. Or my time teaching might have preceded the phenomenon.I was teaching at a moment in history that was still close to the civil rights struggles of only a few years before and in the time of campus unrest that resulted in lives lost at Kent and Jackson State. One would have thought that the Jackson State killings would have enraged the students at my college but they did not. Our students were clearly apolitical and only a few had been "radicalized" and then only by a little. They wanted a degree and jobs. Some wanted and got an education in the bargain.
"Instead of accommodating the racial labels (kids calling other kids as "acting white") why not call them on it?"Actually, I thought McWhorter did just that, and in a very funny way.He was talking about how even white kids don't want to be called white these days, but then went on to note that the white kids still found time to go home and study.
Or my time teaching might have preceded the phenomenon.McWhorter notes that the phenomenon did not begin until 1985, if I recollect the diavlog correctly. In any event, my experience took place during late 90s-early 00s. I do not doubt that in the 60s and 70s black students were more serious and dedicated -- my parents attended HBCUs in the late Sixties and they had no experience of the phenomenon. They also did not listen to gangsta rap.
"articulate the conservative vision without selling out black ideals."Crack, what are "black ideals"? Serioulsy, I have no idea.
Lem said... Instead of accommodating the racial labels (kids calling other kids as "acting white") why not call them on it? Why not just say that it's wrong.. that it is racist to say that.I don't get it.Because it probably won't work and if you're a teacher, it could destroy your career.Back in 1984, I was hired as a substitute teacher in a small town Alabama high school. I only had three classes a day. Two of those classes were advanced students in a program called Bioprep funded by the Macy Foundation. Those were some good kids and two in particular were exceptional students. The other class was an 8th grade general math class (the school was K-12). Those students were practically innumerate and illiterate.One day, one of those two exceptional students came to my classroom during the math class to ask a question. After he left, I commented that he was a young man who was going places. One of the students said he was just "acting white."I bit my tongue. If working hard and being intelligent is "acting white", what are they implying that being black must be?Today, that young man is doing very well in life. He worked hard and lived up to his potential. I can only wonder where those 8th grade students are now.I once asked the school's vice principal about the differences between the two classes. He said that those good students had parents (plural) who cared about and stressed the importance of their children's education. Those other students all came from single parent welfare families. The only reason they were in school is that the law required it until age 16. After that, most of them would drop out to go on welfare themselves. It was the only life they knew and they got stuff for nothing so why work for it? Some of them were 4th and even 5th generation welfare. Odds are there are at least two more generations of welfare dependency. If you have not seen it firsthand, it may be hard to believe things can be so bad. What can we possibly do to change this?
My sister deliberately used poor grammar in order to deflect hostility when she was a kid. "Just a nerd," isn't a comfortable place to be either. (I was too distracted most of the time to seem a threat, even if I'm *almost* as smart as she is.)I'm not sure that this is not primarily insecurity expressed in a way that presents itself. Now, it may become worse as it builds on itself as being white, but the initial dynamic seems pretty standard.
I once asked the school's vice principal about the differences between the two classes. He said that those good students had parents (plural) who cared about and stressed the importance of their children's education. Those other students all came from single parent welfare families.I think this kind of "built-in resentment" is what Ford was referring to in the diavlog. He was referring to neighborhood segregation; but there is a class function to neighborhood segregation. Resentment can even exist in college environments where many different kinds of students go on to become successful, but those who are resented for their path to the institution have a hell of a time while they are there. I certainly was dismayed to learn that I was "not black enough."
Hehe... got to the end...All you have to do if you're not a racist is say it...Ha ha ha ha hehe ha ha he he ha ha ha...
And here I was under the impression that segregation was a legacy of a racist society.Sorry.. its going to take me a while to cleanse and toss out all the reading of so called civil rights movement.. not to mention the films.. the holidays.. black history month.. there is much to unlearn ;)This book must be some kind of manifesto.
My sister deliberately used poor grammar in order to deflect hostility when she was a kid. "Just a nerd," isn't a comfortable place to be either.I think McWhorter gets wrong that all one needs to do is be quiet in such hostile environments. Others actually refuse to allow you to be silent and may interrogate you. In responding, you are expected to adopt a new, more acceptable persona. In the case of "acting white" bullying, a more "authentically" black one.To deflect hostility in college at an HBCU I had to adopt ebonics, start watching BET, make lewd and crude jokes, dumb down my vocabulary, tolerate rabid Marxist thought, and pretend that I didn't like classic rock.
Lyssa ... if you get a chance to watch the video, I think you'll see that 'they're urkel days' is quite unrelated to the presentation of nerdiness in Family Matters (a presentation that was pretty absent of racial conflict, as I'm sure you noticed).one of the interesting things they bring up in this video is how nerdiness is viewed in the Black community over time. They say that in the 50s, and 60s, there would be no such notion of smart = acting white; whereas in the 70s and 80s when they grew up, they got that nonsense all the time ... I'm not sure how it has changed in the 90s and aughts relative to the 70s and 80s, but I suspect it might be *slightly* less intense since its so publicized now. And w/ the President as a role model, I cant wait to see that foolishness go...
This is the most pleasant and relatable I've ever seen John McWhorter. Normally he comes off as more ... what's the word ... cocky, defensive, insecure ...
Mort, I will say that in my experience this disappeared by college and I find it horrifying that your experience was that it didn't. College was this wonderful thing where I wasn't an outsider anymore and people thought I was smart instead of ditzy. There was some pressure that I could see when I was in the Air Force for black airmen to actively avoid white friends when off duty. Not everyone bought into that, only enough to notice. And to those who doubt it... yes, really, that was the direction of the avoidance.
"The solution for the black students was not to try to stop the kids who do the name-calling/pressure, and not to denounce them as racist. But to try to set up an alternate reality for the kids who want to succeed."MayBee, you got this completely wrong.First of all, the over arching point they make is that this notion of 'acting white' is wrong, and detrimental. Not sure how you missed that one.Secondly, It is clearly the case that remedies for adults and children -- children clearly seeking community, identity and wrongly pushing their view of the world on to their peers, and adults who should know better underhandedly seeking broad political power -- must be different.
Mortimer B: The intolerance you experienced is maddening and your candor on this topic has to be painful. But it is greatly appreciated. Not everyone has the guts you have and we will never know the number of bright kids who could not resist the bad trade of short term gain of popularity for long term success. But we now live in a world where the experience of Clarence Thomas can be deemed inauthentic for politically expedient reasons. And "progressives" can sneer at Thomas and maybe even venture an epithet because he is a safe target. The white version of dismissing a man for his achievement.
Mortimer, your experience reminds me of that of some people I've talked to who've attended our local state HBCU. I teach at another state university just down the street that one. We opened in 1958 and were never segregated, so have always had an appeal to the black middle class but by the late 90s, we started to see our black student enrollment exceed that HCBU's. We're a bit more expensive and have higher entrance standards, so our students arrive largely prepared for college. There's an active black student union on campus, and Greek organizations, and I've never encountered any serious anti-intellectual posturing from any of my students. I do sometimes encounter some insecurities, but a lot of young people have those. I wonder if the basic middle-class tenor of the campus creates a more comfortable environment.
One of the silver linings to Obama's election is the chance that seeing an Ivy League black man in the Oval Office might help to eliminate this destructive phenomenon.This might be a positive, as long as our nation survives the Obama presidency; and as long as he's not such a colossal unmitigated failure that he actually has the opposite effect and exacerbates this criticism of hard work and studiousness. "Acting white" might become "Acting Obama".
Mort, I will say that in my experience this disappeared by college and I find it horrifying that your experience was that it didn't. College was this wonderful thing where I wasn't an outsider anymore and people thought I was smart instead of ditzy. There was some pressure that I could see when I was in the Air Force for black airmen to actively avoid white friends when off duty. Not everyone bought into that, only enough to notice.What makes it most troubling is that I had no such experiences until I got to college. I was an insider until I attended a historically black university, at which point I was derided and transformed into a repulsive outcast because I was insufficiently black.I'm familiar with the "don't socialize with white people" norm. One of the RA's invited his childhood friend, a white woman, over to visit, and afterward many in the dorm stopped talking to him.Music was also a fault line. It was simply a social convention to hate music made by white people or considered culturally white until that music was so popular amongst blacks that denying its value became socially unacceptable. Listening to The Doors was not o.k. until Lauryn Hill and Jay-Z sampled them, etc.One black student who borrowed a Jimi Hendrix CD from one of the rare white students had to borrow it late at night; when that white student returned to collect his CD during the daytime and too many other black students were around, the borrower temporarily pretended not to know the lender.
I made it to a little more than the 6 minute mark. There was no reason to go any further. I had my first black friend in 1959. Since he was about my size, and age, and had an interest in sports, we became friends. When I think back, and I'll have to admit, I didn't have that many black friends, one thing we all had in common was a mother and a father.That's not the case any more in the black community. There was very little inter-racial marriage back then, also. Who is instilling this acting white is bad nonsense on young black people? I have no proof, but my guess would be black women who have no black man/parent around.
His point was that both of these initiatives would clearly help the minority community, yet George Bush never "sold" them as such. Hearing between the lines, it seemed to me that McWhorter considered that a missed opportunity for a Republican President leading a party that is, all too often, not appealing enough to minority voters whose percentages of population are increasing rapidly.From the past:The rift between Bush and the NAACP began four years ago when he was running for president and accepted an invitation to attend the organization’s annual convention. During his speech in which he admitted that the Republican Party has not been friendly towards Blacks and the NAACP, Bush received a smattering of applause. However, that display was quickly squelched by a controversial ad. The ad reportedly ran by a group loosely associated with the NAACP implied that Bush who was then governor of Texas was unsympathetic to James Byrd, the 49- year old Black man who was dragged to death by three White men in 1998. ...Speaking at the 2003 convention in Miami, Bond said the “Republicans idea of equal rights is the American flag and swastika flying side by side.” Not surprisingly, the former Georgia legislator’s remarks at this year’s convention were equally terse when he accused the GOP of playing the race card during elections. "They preach neutrality and practice racial division” Bond quipped. Mfume whom many feel is less contentious than Bond compared the snub to prostitution. “We’re not fools. If you’re going to court us, court us in the daytime, but not like we’re a prostitute where you run around at night or behind closed doors and want to deal with us, but not want to deal with us in the light of day.” Hmmmm.....
Larry J asks: "What can we possibly do to stop this?" "This" being welfare as a way of life unto the 4th or 6th or nth generation. Here's an idea. Stop granting welfare to a perfectly able bodied young man or young woman.
My daughter was the first white girl in an historically black sorority. They were nice until she dated a black guy. But they gave him more shit about it than her.I will grant Obama this for his legacy: I no longer give a damn about race at all. All the diversity talk is mere Marxist class bullshit, and I ain't playing the game anymore.
Larry J asks: "What can we possibly do to stop this?" "This" being welfare as a way of life unto the 4th or 6th or nth generation. Here's an idea. Stop granting welfare to a perfectly able bodied young man or young woman.Stopping welfare as a way of life? Yes. The welfare reform law that Clinton finally signed in 1996 was supposed to change all that. Didn't happen.On a more basic level, can anything be done to reverse the idea that excelling in school is "acting white?" Until that happens, a lot of kids are going to be trapped in poverty partly of their own making. It hasn't always been this way and it doesn't always have to be that way.
"On a more basic level, can anything be done to reverse the idea that excelling in school is "acting white?"I took from the McWhorter/Ford dialogue, that these issues didn't rear their ugly heads until middle school, which is exactly the age at which kids of any color begin to flex their "grown-up" muscles. That says to me we have to do more focused teaching with kids from kindergarten through 6th grade.
McWhorter almost resembles a grown-up Jaleel White in the opening shot, ironically enough.
How about acting normal instead of falling prey to the idiotic stereotypes that your culture has fabricated all on its own?
How about acting normal instead of falling prey to the idiotic stereotypes that your culture has fabricated all on its own?The entire point is that "black culture" often consists precisely of the dysfunction that some resentful blacks inflict on other blacks. Being told you are acting white is a form of social sanction. You are being told you are abnormal because of your positive attitudes and likelihood of future success. Acting normal is not an option if you want the bullying to stop. Also, many of these stereotypes are not as recent as you think; they are being re-purposed in many cases by a new generation.
"Who is instilling this acting white is bad nonsense on young black people? I have no proof, but my guess would be black women who have no black man/parent around."Woah, AllenS, that is quite a jump you make there... and a ridiculous and unfounded indictment of black women. just because you havent heard the voice of a black woman on this issue is not reason to think that this 'acting white' critique is gendered...maybe you should examine why you have the bias that this ridiculous judgment reflects.
Pogo;Did I read this correctly. Father of white girl understands his daughter a black man and is ok with it however, friends and acquaintances of black man strenously disapprove.We have come a long way haven't we.
Though the movie was otherwise pretty lame I thought this scene from "Guess Who" was excellent
This kid will be acting white in no time.
Lem,"Why not just say that it's wrong.. that it is racist to say that."Because then you'll get your ass kicked on top of it.Seriously, it takes a certain set of skills to get through to these guys.
Mortimer Brezny,"My parents attended HBCUs in the late Sixties and they had no experience of the phenomenon. They also did not listen to gangsta rap."Now, now. Why does this art form always have to be dragged into the conversation? (I like classic rock as well.)Bagoh20,"Crack, what are 'black ideals'? Serioulsy, I have no idea."Upward mobility, etc., same as everybody else - but black. Long story short: There's a wound. Don't pick at it - kiss it and make it better. And then show them surviving the injury has made them stronger. A lot of blacks feel, because of slavery, America is the enemy (still) when, in truth, this is our land and we are one people. First one to articulate that in convincing ebonics wins. Danielle,'Woah, AllenS, that is quite a jump you make there... and a ridiculous and unfounded indictment of black women. just because you havent heard the voice of a black woman on this issue is not reason to think that this 'acting white' critique is gendered..."Bullshit. Black women hate your guts. They hate white people more than black men. (One of my foster mothers would come home from work - every day - and scream "I hate white people!" at the top of her lungs. We'd give her a wide berth until she had her glass of wine and a cigarette to calm down.The only people who hate white people more than black women is old folks. Why?Because there's a reason blacks think reading is "acting white".
These old folks, they're a hundred and fifty years old?
Go ahead, danielle, tell everyone where this acting white bullshit that is ruining black children's education is coming from.
One more thing, danielle, if you're going to critique me, don't use elipses. Finish your thought. Complete the sentence.WV: rearsOtherwise, danielle, you're talking out of your WV.
Did I read this correctly. Father of white girl understands his daughter a black man and is ok with it however, friends and acquaintances of black man strenously disapprove.We have come a long way haven't we.Not such a long way. Black women always hated black men chasing white women. Nothing changed about that.What's changed is the intimidation of white fathers into pretending they don't care if their daughters date black men. If there actually is such a creature out there, there ain't many of them, and those that there are are all lefty-liberals....which is further evidence that white liberalism is going to largely disappear this century. Some white liberals will convert to conservatism, some don't reproduce at all or only have one child, and some have mixed-race children, thus by definition ending their line of white liberals.
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