Saturday, July 31, 2004
The owner noted that we could bring in our used books. I thanked him as I walked out with The Bluest Eye, The Kitchen God's Wife, and some book about self help/self defense black groups in the 70s. This bundle cost $12, not cheap cheap, but still fairly priced. It was a nice little find.
In other book notes, I have been enjoying Amy Tan's The opposite of Fate, because I enjoy hearing about other people's crazy families and their neurosises. There is something quite friendly I perceive about the ability to let people know that you are not the perfect creatures we are expected to be.
So when Amy Tan talks about how she once nearly ran over the Queen of Sweden on her skis, or her wonderment about the many mistakes people make about her life, such as thinking she is a Nobel Prize winner, it's really more endearing than anything. That's why I like books more than TV, actually. TV is more about outer life, and books are about the inner life. I already see the surfaces of people, and am interested more in their depths.
Friday, July 30, 2004
Thursday, July 29, 2004
It's like how some people may look down on me if I don't do well in math, because it's stereotypical, and I could agree with them, and say I am a bad person because I am only a C student in math classes. Or I could tell them to go fuck themselves. People might say, why don't you just get an A? That would only be possible if I had only one class on the type of schedule that they have on the normal school year. So it's basically, impossible, in real life, there are compromises.
But what I was trying to say, is that you don't have to be a white racist dick, or a minority sell out, there are other ways.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Little chunks are used I guess because it's assumed that we can't pay attention to anything, and also, they are easier for both sides to spin. If you take a bunch of stuff out of context, people can seem to be saying a whole lot of stuff that they aren't saying. I wish we thought that the future of our country was a bit more important than just a football game we play every four years.
"I'm fiscally conservative, and socially progressive, if you want to call that liberal, then I'm liberal" - a paraphrase of Howard Dean.
I'm down about how I have not really played a video game for months. It's sad how a hobby can die like that. You play all the time through high school, and then it gets so in college, that you only really play on other people's systems. I think a big problem here is that I missed the boat on getting a PS2, which keeps me out of the loop as far as new games. I know that I can get one, but I am really cheap, because I am thinking of video games less, and so when the opportunity to spend money arises, I am more likely to spend it on comics or books. I think another problem is that I tend to be broke now, and I have stopped even buying as many comics as I have been. Even though I have a job now, and so am fairly flush with cash, I am used to being broke. Also, when I'm at school, I'll keep spending money on going out, which is makes you broke, and also, I'll go to a convention a year, which always is a good way to splash out money.
Also, school is much tougher- I have to study all day and all night to get a B. In high school, if you did all your homework the night before, you could get straight As, and if you didn't do anything, you could get a B. When I think about it, I miss it, but I don't know how I can get back on the wagon.
Maybe some cheap PC games will be a nice infusion of pep into my step. I already have a computer, and all.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
The thoughts in it seemed to be the values that the Democratic Party should be striving for, even if they don't achieve them. I do believe that we all live in an interlocking society. There are no islands where we are not affected by the health of the other states, the other cities, the other neighborhoods. I think we should stop running and trying for a 'safe' place, and try to clean up the place we got. Of course, I am thinking of white flight, so maybe it is not a 'we', but it sounded really inclusive and generous at the time.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
I just read Parable of the Talents, and am still processing it. Although, I wonder who originated the literary device of having several people tell the story from their own perspective? I've always admired that device, as it really gives the reader a good sense of many different sides of the same story, and also, the different subjective interpretations of the different characters are interesting as the reader has to decide who is right, and who to believe. Of course, I tend to side with the primary narrator, especially in this book, but in other books, the narrators are given more equal weight.
I, who seem to be unable to even write a simple straightforward story, am shocked at the literary devices that people with a high level of craft are able to do. I mean, it sounds easy to say you are going to write a story, but with all the bad stories in the world, it certainly isn't that easy. And these are just straight forward stories, not using any 'special effects'.
In other, unrelated news, a person talks about mail order brides.
Not all whites have the ability to do this, but their numbers are few. Some of these may have racist thoughts, but somehow their racism isn't enough to stir them. For example, a guy who thinks that Africans never did anything at all, but isn't about to be for unfair laws for minor offenses. Somehow the racism isn't able to completely cloud the rational thought. Why, this is a mystery- anyway, that's just my bizarre theory.
Other races can have racially triggered hysteria, but as they are usually told to shut up and sit down, at least in the US, so it usually doesn't get to the dangerous peaks that white hysteria does. Not to mention, when the people making the laws go crazy, it's very hard to fix them.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Also, I am quite tempted to buy one of these. The problem with the net is that you always can find something you want.
Friday, July 23, 2004
What I need to also do is learn to incorporate fruits into my meals. There must be a cookbook on that somewhere. I feel confident that I can cook any recipe I see. That's a good feeling.
Also, I have a cute local color story! The library in Germantown is closed, and Germantown residents are not allowed to check out books from Memphis/Shelby County libraries. So some kids decided to protest. That won't stop the Germantown library from being turned over to a private company, but it's really adorable. Hopefully tomorrow the Commercial Appeal will have the story.
So fighting those myths, even though you benefit from them, is pretty brave to me. It's hard to look at yourself in the mirror when no one else is saying 'look at yourself'. I tend to be a bit more hard on white people and the black middle class, because if poor black people and other people of color haven't absorbed the constant message that to be poor is debasement, and it's all their own fault because they are lazy and stupid- they are simply rejecting it, and probably with good reason.
But it's easy for a more well to do black person to say "well, I have mine, so all other black folks must be stupid and inferior". I, of course, am working through my own classism. How easy it would be for me to say of my poorer cousins(literally) "Oh, work hard, and things will be fine". But then again, when my cousin is in the top 5 of the school and has to take remedial math in college, I can not really feel that things can be fine. Not to mention the fact that if a renter smokes dope in someone's house, the landlord can have the property taken away from them- guess who they are looking at to arrest for drugs- certainly not the nice middle class users and dealers. The fact that some people can use drugs and not be punished, but the punishment falls on one portion of the population rather than another, bothers me.
I can not just say- I have a job, I have done my part for the community. One has to think of what they owe to others, not just of what they themselves deserve. We all owe something to someone, so let's think about it,ok?
Thursday, July 22, 2004
I guess what I mean to say is that we have to divest ourselves of European values that aren't very good if we want change. I'm not saying everything that comes out of Europe is bad, but we should examine our baggage, and see if we want that or not. For example, I think that the idea that the only important things in history is people killing other people is stupid. However, much of our society is based around that idea- the history channel is filled with war specials, and history classes are overly war based. However, I don't think I have to agree with that, I can say, hey, wait a minute- what about what everyone else was doing?
The most powerful realization I have made is that you don't have to let society's perceptions become yours. It's not like I am a special person, but I am able to try my first steps on thinking for myself. I think that's a valuable thing to learn.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
And advice for smart white folk, usually if people say I'm not a racist, they are being racist. If you feel tempted, think about what you are saying. If it really needs to be said, don't use a disclaimer, and if you get checked, think about why you are getting checked. Don't rush to blame the other person- maybe thinking before you speak is a good policy. It's not like it's your fault exactly that the larger society is racist, and you may have been taught some stupid stuff, but it's not like you don't have the power to examine your beliefs. There are plenty of books in the library and plenty of resources on the internet.
The way I see it is that it is like resisting society's beauty standards. I could sit around hating myself because I have fat thighs. I am thin (101 pounds, 5 feet) but my booty and thighs are big- that is how I am proportioned, all my fat goes there. Like I could surround myself with magazines that say that my whole worth is in whether I look a certain way, I could go and talk to girls and guys who think how you look is the most important thing, I could read about how I am morally deficient because I eat food, and at most, walk. But I choose to live a different way. I choose to read socially progressive magazines that talk about how you can live a different , and interesting life, I choose to not watch a lot of Tv, because Tv is mindnumbing and full of ads, I choose to exercise for health only, and to only eat healthy foods because of how good they taste and how much more energetic I feel.
So likewise, you could choose to listen to Foxnews, and Rush Limbaugh, read only books about whites, or if they are about blacks, read only "Blacks are stupid, whites off the hook" type books, watch only Tv that demeans blacks or ignores them, refuse to read any webpages about anti racism, and talk about how proud you are of your ignorance, but you can't really expect much respect if you choose to behave in such a manner.
In other news, black art journals. Awesome! In other other news, I am enjoying PBS' website about Africa.
Also, I think this emphasis on the Down Low is keeping people from realizing that men get AIDs from women too, just because he's all straight doesn't mean you're safe. I think the article would be better served fighting against the war on drugs which gets people in prison and getting AIDs from rape and/or consentual relationships. Prison is a great vector for AIDs, and since the war on drugs is unbalanced- plenty of white middle class dealers getting away with it, but have a poor black guy even take drugs, and they are on his ass, it affects us very badly.
Also, how many articles can you have referencing the man shortage? We all know about the man shortage, so do we really need to hear about it all the time?
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Here's some more stuff on that weird rumor I keep hearing. I hope it is not true. Then again, wars always seem to make people get out of hand. It's pretty scary. The trouble makers are variously reported as translators orIraqi guards. Anyway, I hope our soldiers are not indulging in this sort of behavior, as it seems counterproductive.
Monday, July 19, 2004
I think of course that both parties should fight harder to keep white supremacy out of our country, but the Republicans especially coddle people of small minds, and weak morals, like this.
In other political news, some Democrats think Foxnews sucks, and think we should make them stop with their misleading advertising of fair and balanced news. They seemed pretty right wing when I have seen it, and it is pretty annoying. I don't mind if people are right wing and lie in public(well,ok, I do, but it's not like it's ok to stop them) but hey, whatever. You can read for yourself.
Friday, July 16, 2004
35% are more active. They complain about the loss of their special privileges, they whine about why can't they say the n word, they wonder why terrorist acts are strongly outlawed instead of given a wink and a nod. Some of these join groups of thugs or the Republican Party, which has a big problem with winking and nodding loudly at the racist vote.
In anti racist whites, we have 20% that are actually making a good effort. Sure, they may not actually be anti racist entirely, but at least they are reading a book besides "Blacks are Stupid" or "Blacks are all terrible people, so whites don't have any responsibility for anything".
The other 5% are truly anti racist, and are a beacon for all other whites to follow. You know they didn’t get that way by watching TV or listening to Lush Rimbaugh.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Sweet action. The situation of blacks has improved since the end of racial apartheid. Use sparklebottom as both nick and password for this next link. Some annoying dude is complaining about minority writers writing about being minorities. First off dude, thanks to an attempted cultural genocide, people are still trying to get their stories told. Second, history, politics, etc,etc, do not mean white history or white politics only. I think it's a problem of perception on the writer's part. He seems to think white people are neutral. That's not the case. Whites have a race, and their politics are racial too. It's not just the other 90% of the world, you know? And maybe we don't need to achieve 'harmony', which to me seems to be another buzz word for keeping the status quo in place. Maybe this guy needs to spend less time doing his whining, and more time reading and thinking.
I was reading critiques of a NY Times article on comics, and one thing that came up was the near lack of the Hernandez Brothers, and the lack of women covered. Also, someone mentioned that Stuck Rubber Baby was not mentioned. While I am aware that the writer was a neophyte to comics, I'd like to note that merely ignoring creators of different genders, colors and sexualities is a pretty effective way of making white straight males think they are superior. I'm not talking about minor creators, the Hernadez Brothers have influenced many artists, and creators like Glockner, Hernandez(Lea, no relation to the Brothers Hernandez), the creator of Perseopolis, Doucet, etc are no slouches either. I'm not saying that comics are the most diverse field in the country, but I see this a lot- refuse to see people as valid humans, and then blame them because you are stupid. It's stupid because you choose to be stupid. People who refuse to pick up book one, and then whine about how oppressed they are should be horse whipped in public, so they can have something to cry about. It's mild compared to what people like that think is ok just as long as it happens to someone of a different color. That special treatment for whites they complain about losing was built on the sort of violence that we would be shocked to witness. Maybe they should take responsibility for their actions once in a while,and stop crying because they didn't get enough special treatment.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Hana Yori Dango just gets better and better too. The artist may have some challenges, but she can sure whip up a good story. I wish I could afford to buy it every month, although I think the crazy people at Viz have put this 34 volume series at bi monthly? Crazy..
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Also, this is a good piece of the culture of white supremacy.
Here is a cute T shirt of art from Finder artist Carla Speed McNeil.
Monday, July 12, 2004
Sweet action! 1,300 pages of comics for $30. I've only read a few scattered issues but it's supposed to be very good.
In other comics related news, Mary Fleener (NSFW?) was banned by paypal! I am shocked, shocked. Why does Paypal hate group sex so much?
Sunday, July 11, 2004
25 (or so) Questions About Race in America.
1) Races are not biological constructions, as there is more within race variation than between race variation. How might it serve white supremacists to believe that race is not socially constructed?
2) What percentage of your information about blacks do you get from TV? Do you think that TV depictions of whites are true to life? What patterns of narratives do you see blacks acting out on TV?
3) If Jim Carrey said that white teens stole things and wore expensive tennis shoes, do you think he’d get as much news play as Bill Cosby and be as much of a darling of conservative pundits? Why or why not?
4) If a group resorted to terrorist attacks, private schools so they could legally not let you in, and outright murder because you wanted equal education and equal jobs, would you be comfortable if that group was left to the honor system in terms of access to jobs and education? Would you think that changing laws would have changed attitudes?
5) If you think Ebonics (real name: African American Vernacular English) is a sign of a lack of education, why do you not think other dialects such as Standard Midwestern English (often used by newscasters) are signs of a lack of intelligence/education? Are you aware that many educated blacks also use this dialect? Why do people ridicule this dialect, but not other dialects?
6) Some people have called the NAACP racist. Why is forming a group to defend against racism considered racist? What about groups that are all black and were formed when whites did not allow us into their organizations? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of organizing in a black led organization?
7) Whites are the majority of drug users, but blacks are the majority of the drug prisoners. Why do you think this is?
8) Do you think police have choices in whom to arrest? Do you think that the District Attorney can choose which cases to prosecute or not to prosecute? Do you think juries can choose whether they think a defendant is guilty or innocent? Do you think personal feelings ever affect these decisions?
9) If your grand parents not holding slaves makes you not responsible for slavery, why are excuses made for it? How might making excuses for slavery help whites in the present? Do you think that America could have become such a rich nation without so many years of free labor?
10) If locking people in camps in terrible conditions merits reparations, why does committing atrocities against people, and removing their civil rights for all but possibly the last 40 years not merit them? Do you notice a certain narrative being pushed on reparations? Why are they thought of as ‘ridiculous’ or beyond the pale?
11) If it is not ok to fly a Nazi flag, why is it ok to fly a Confederate flag? Why did the Confederate battle flag fly at both Klan rallies and above state houses when the fight against integration started?
12) The same act of killing someone can have different consequences based on the defendant’s mens rea (the criminal intent). Whether a murder was premeditated or not has a big effect on sentencing. Given that, why do people ignore that in the case of hate crimes? How might terrorism in the service of race help non-violence using whites?
13) When you go to Blockbuster or whatever rental chain, what do you see reflected on the boxes of the black movies versus on the boxes of the white movies? What percentage of your information about blacks do you get from movies?
14) When a white person complains about reverse discrimination, do you ask them to prove it? Do you ask them where they heard this story, or whether their brother’s roommate’s cousin’s sister’s best friend’s cousin’s husband has any proof? Do you think the idea that if a white is rejected for a job/school and there is a black person working/studying there, then the black person got the white person’s job/spot unfairly makes a certain amount of assumptions that may or may not be true? Does the obsession with ‘merit’, despite legacies and people who get in because the school needed an oboe player, remind you of poll taxes and literacy tests at the polls? Why or why not?
15) How can blacks not want to work and prefer welfare handouts to getting a job, and take all the white peoples’ jobs, at the same time? Especially when you consider that blacks are about ten percent of the population?
16) Whites are the majority of people on welfare, and people in charge of large corporations that receive handouts from the government. If they are the majority of people receiving handouts, why are they not stigmatized as not wanting to work?
17) Why is straight hair and light skin considered the standard of beauty, so much so that the majority of nappy haired black women straighten their hair with chemical relaxers, and the majority of black actresses are in the lighter skinned range?
18) Why do you think a community with its own banks, hotels, insurance companies, colleges, which do turn out doctors and lawyers, restaurants, magazines, book publishing companies, churches, radio stations, community groups and more, which has a larger percentage of teens that want to start their own businesses than other races, such as whites, get tarred as lacking get up and go or being dependant on whites?
19) Why is the fact that whites commit more crimes than Asians not considered a white crime problem? What does the lack of focus on pathologies in the white community tell you about the position of whites in this society?
20) How might the model minority myth, in which Asians were oppressed as badly as blacks, but rose to prominence because they worked hard serve to keep both blacks and Asians in their places? What assumptions does this myth make? Do you think the eliding of the facts of immigrant professionals from Asia and poor Asians in general are intentional or unintentional?
21) Why is the meth epidemic not racialized as the crack epidemic was? What different narratives do you see in the reporting of these problems?
22) Ninety percent of the people on earth are people of color, i.e. non-white. Is that reflected in the narratives you see on TV, the classes you take at school or the books you have on your bookshelf?
23) Do you think that Latino Studies, Black Studies, Women’s Studies, etc, are ‘useless’ fields of study? Why? Is your perception of the value based on the amount of money that can be made? Can basing the value of the field of study on monetary rewards lead to skewed values?
24) Why do you think that the US Government felt comfortable in injecting soldiers in Alabama with syphilis and leaving them untreated? Why did the apology come only twenty-four years later? (The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments started in 1932 and ended in 1972, President Clinton apologized in 1996) Does this have any similarity to Nazi experiments? Why or why not?
25) Why do you think Africa is thought of as one big homogenous mass? Can an entire continent be summed up in the thirty seconds of a TV news report or a Save the Babies commercial?
26) There are a wealth of books discussing racial topics that have analysis beyond ‘blacks are inferior, case closed, whites off the hook”. Why do people refuse to read them? How complicit are whites in their own ignorance? Do you agree with the phrase ‘pale skin never kept anyone out of the library”?
27) Why are African ethnic groups called ‘tribes’ and not European ethnic groups?
27) Why do people complain about feeling guilty or blamed over racism? How might that be an ineffective strategy? Why can’t people take responsibility instead of making excuses?
Anyway, I wish I could actually write or create something, but I am too picky, and can't do anything because of that. I should be tolerant of mistakes, and meditate on the futility of life and all that, but a big part of my nature always wants to be the best, which is an illness I am unable to shake.
It is impossible to be the best. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to be good at anything. But one is very sensitive to their culture, and one of the problematic internalized culture thingies or whatever I have is that one must be perfect or ELSE!
I could never be a Republican because of that. You take a little judgmentalalism and intolerance for imperfection, mix it with a little bit of hardline free market fuck anyone who isn't up to my standardsing and you end up with a fascist, and brown shirts don't go with my complexion.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Also, once I was mistaken for a boy. I was shopping with my mother. That day I had twists in my hair, and t shirt and jeans as one can not exactly work in a fancy dress. Anyway, this kid said "Are you a boy or a girl?" I said "girl"
That reminds me of the time I was mistaken for a teenage mother. My cousin's kid was about 1 or 2. I don't remember. Probably 2. Anyway, I was in a little sundry store, and he was following me around and bothering me to buy him candy. A girl said "Is that your little boy?" I said no, as I was about 16 at the time.
Also, once I was mistaken for a doctor. I was at Lebonheur, a children's hospital, and I was wearing a white lab coat, because in this program I was in, we got gnicky white lab coats. I interned at the Mental Health Institute, but we always ate at Lebonheur as there was no crazy people there. Anyway, this man comes in to me. He has working clothes on and an American flag rag on his head and thanks me for all the great work we do here. I'm like I'm not a doctor, but thanks...
Well, that's all the boring anecdotes I have for today. I feel better now.
I guess it's easy to accept the excuses society holds out for your behavior. "They were asking for it" is the most common excuse. Saying that makes it seem like you were somehow forced to engage in bad behavior. The victim somehow made you do something you didn't want to do, that is.
However, acting with integrity is the opposite of that. You take responsibility for your own actions. I mean that in the way that means "I can say no to bad behavior" not the way that means "fuck you". It's really hard to use words that have been co opted to be really judgmental. Like judgmental pricks are always saying take responsibility to the victims of things, as if they caused the problem, not never to the preps. I reject the idea that if you did it first or you did the worst thing that you don't have to take responsibility. Bump that.
Oh yea, and yesterday I was a total jerk. Like I complimented a white dude on not being a racist jerk. I apologized, but that was very mean of me. It's like being complimented on speaking English well to me. I have lived in this country(the US) for my entire life. Of course I speak English well! Likewise, whites are able to not be racist jerks, and should be expected to not be racist jerks. I apologize again for my bad behavior.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Today I finished watching Memories, and I really like it. The animation is evocative for those who prize animation quality. I like the storylines- they are mostly harder sci fi, trading more on what if than 'look, there are space ships, and things explode'. Also, the first story has an appealing psychological spin that appeals, and the last one reminds me of the never ending war that Bush has stuck us in.
1) Whites (males especially) who complain a lot about how hard they have it: You were supposed to not call people names and try to understand that there were other valid people on this planet sort of as a basis for human existence, not as some sort of special punishment. Also, so things don't always benefit you anymore. So? That's the way it's supposed to be. Not everything is supposed to benefit you.
2)People who don't read books: Unless you have a severe reading disability or are just plain illiterate, this is your own damn fault. So, you don't read fast. Read a page at a time. With this method even the slowest reader would have gotten at least one book read. And yes, you have time. Aren't you up here reading this website? If you have a spare ten minutes a day, you can read a page a day.
Why do I stress books so highly? It's the only way you can get deep information. A TV show can be informative, but only on a surface level. On a complex subject, it's difficult to have enough time to put everything in, and still make it a time length that someone will watch. However, in books, information can be more dense. There is a space limit, but you can still get more information in 300-500 pages than you can get in 30 minutes of TV.
Also, books are cheaper to produce, so more of them can be made in a niche. Even in a niche channel on TV, there's only so much space. So books are more diverse. I note this because even the trashiest black novel has more defined and developed characters than every one but the best black TV shows. Of course, it's easier to depict internal life on paper, as writing he thought that maybe his weak attempt at humor would get him some play doesn't sound as awkward as inserting a running monologue.
If you're broke, library cards don't cost much and you get as many free books as you want. Also, there are used books.
3)People who don't vote: You can't take a few minutes of your time to say who you want to rule the country? People vote on American Idol, so why can't they vote on something important? Some may say, well, republicans and Democrats are all the same. On one hand, maybe you'd feel more comfortable voting for someone else. On the other, maybe they aren't really the same. I mean, one wants women to be able to control their bodies and lives, one doesn't. One would like it to be easier to be a gun owner, one doesn't. One likes a foreign policy of having a lot of wars all the time, one doesn't. One likes a tax policy that gives a lot of money to the military, another would like more social services,etc,etc. Of course both are beholden to corporate interests.
4) People who are just plain apathetic about everything: Why are you even existing on this planet?
5)People who think that parroting political philosophies without knowing what they are for is a good thing: Right wing ones annoy me most, mentally put in left wing ones if you prefer. Like you can't go around accepting blindly the existence of feminazis, ridicule the real concerns of blacks while whining that they don't get enough privilege, and complain about 'gays taking over', and then try to say you're not trying to put anyone in their place. No, the Nazis that started that crap wanted you to repeat it so that they could put people in their place. Why are they Nazis? Well, they are proto fascists in my view. To me, fascism actually involves real risk, which is why someone giving you the hairy eye when you reveal that you're a douche is not fascism.
6)People who complain about people not wanting to see that they are douches: Yes, it's a free country, but people are going to give you the hairy eyeball if you reveal that you are a douche. Here's how to avoid this: Never use racial slurs in formal places or with people you do not know. Don't throw a white boy pity party- it only shows that you're ignorant and has a warped sense of entitlement. Never compliment a native speaker on their English. Never touch a person's head for no reason. Never yell rude things at a woman in public. There are many other ways to show your ass, but these are just a few.
The reason is hate, I think. They simply hate us so much that they'd rather believe lies than the truth. I guess it is nicer and more conducive to their mission if they believe they can be convinced, but I am not so sure. Most whites would fuck themselves over to vote against us, they would do anything not to live near us(white flight anyone?), and they have been whining for twenty fucking years about having to act like decent human beings. And I'm like, you're acting like the more decent people of your group saying "Hey, act like a decent human being here" is racism? Do you even fucking know what that means?
The fact that most whites like to be racist is probably a big obstacle. I'm sure that some would be able to be convinced, but wouldn't that be preaching to the choir? If they were able to be convinced, they'd already be part anti racist anyway, they'd just be refining the message. I wonder if there's a study comparing racists to non racists and showing what made the non racists non racist?
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Also, I have a story from my freshman year. At my school, we went to see a exhibit of lynching post cards. It really freaked me out, as I couldn't imagine being a white person and seeing that. I of course was younger, so imagined that I would feel guilty or disgusted if I had witnessed this in a white body. I felt like I would wonder if it had been an ancestor of mine doing this gruesome thing. Of course, now I know that people don't care, and they say it was the black's fault, and anyway, it was a long time ago, so we should forget all about it.
They don't see blacks as real people in the present, so why should they care about atrocities in the past? The fact that anyone murdered anyone without repercussions, and thought it'd be a fit subject for a post card should make anyone sad, but not these poor babies. I mean, a black man might go to college, that is surely worse than murder.
Yes, I am bitter in my young days. To hate so much, over so little, boggles my motherfucking mind and I'm fucking pissed off.
I think this is a good exercise, although some benefits can also be conferred by class, although the problems with race have caused many blacks to be unable to climb up the class ladder. Also, I think individual whites are responsible for racism- if they stopped being racist, the worst would be over.
My theory of whiteness is that it's like a sorority. Only the already existing members can let you in, and first it is on a provisional basis- maybe you have to trash the non greeks a little more, so people'll see the difference. At first, only the members of this sorority could do certain things, like become student president or take more advanced classes or work in the cushier jobs. Now, the University administration has stepped in, and now, at least in theory, the non greeks can have those jobs, and there is a great deal of protest. The greeks say that the non greeks have lower test scores so they should not be let in, despite the fact that they have crib sheets that the non greeks are not allowed to use, and the fact that it never did matter how high or low a greek's test score was before this change.
There also has never been a non greek student president, because people are so used to voting for one greek or the other. There are also other interesting complications. Some of the non greeks say that the non greeks are inferior to the greeks. While many of the non greeks oppose this, it is pretty obvious why this is done, because non greeks who are willing to speak out against other non greeks get to editorialize in the mostly greek controlled school newspaper, and might even get invited to greek parties. There are also greeks that have fully embraced this set of affairs, and many who have partly embraced it. While some greeks may give lip service to non greeks having these rights, they may also talk about them and spread rumors behind their backs. While other greeks have decided that everyone deserves the same rights, and have even started to defend the non greeks in public. While the fact that everyone listens to greeks more than non greeks is a problem, it is a start.
*I think my story should be obvious, but I still think I should explain it. It is pretty obvious that greeks are whites, and non greeks are blacks. Why this? It's because I know mmore about the black-white situation than others, and also, the fact that it's easier to write a simple story with two. Although the provisional greeks can be several races- the Irish in the old days, some Asians now(many Asians get crap, but other Asians are seen as a model minority,and are set up against the rest of the peoples) ,etc. The part about the greeks getting the cushy jobs is supposed to represent the Jim Crow days, and the crib sheets represent white privilege. The non greeks that bad mouth other non greeks are blacks who badmouth blacks, and the greeks who pay lipservice but talk behind people's back are white who may call themselves liberal, but don't have liberal hearts, and the ones who think that everyone deserves the same rights are anti racist whites. Well, I'm sure this story is a weak analogy, but that's how I think of it.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
A) Volunteer in an inner city school for 20 hours
B) Read ten books about the either the economic problems of the underclass, black history, or whiteness studies.
C)Teach a black history lesson to students
D)Become a public health volunteer
E)Sweep the streets
F)Try to survive on minimum wage in a new city and try to make rent
G)Do the "Black Like Me" thing
Monday, July 05, 2004
Also, here is another good LJ post, about whiteness as a club.
And now for more book talk- Between Brothers was pretty good. While the gangster part of the plot was pretty unrealistic- I mean, what gangster goes in on such a complicated scheme to take down a community center, even if it tells kids not to do drugs? Although, it was nice, our main characters all learn their lessons- the womanizing preacher learns that sleeping with half the congregation isn't a good idea, the celibate guy learns that sometimes having sex is ok, and that the reason his 'nice guy' behind didn't get any play was because of his shallow standards, the political guy learns that a girl with substance works better than just arm candy, and the young engineer learns that sleeping with people for tuition is stupid, and gets an very happy ending in which his employer doesn't become racist, and he gets a job.
It's not great literature, but it's not totally bad either. Shallow morality plays won't improve your mind, but you probably won't be reading this for that reason anyway.
You have the freedom to remain ignorant, the freedom to be seen as an individual, the freedom to lie freely about others, without being called on it. You have the freedom to never have to justify your existence. You have the freedom of being assumed to belong anywhere. You have the freedom to have people automatically think you are smart and worthy.
You have the freedom to think that your people are the only ones that matter, whether you choose to take it or not, you have the freedom to have your history respected, you have the freedom to have rights, without people complaining about them, you have the freedom to assume you are the norm. You have the freedom to think your history is the only history. You have the freedom to have accumulated wealth off of the backs of others, and then make excuses about it.
You have the freedom to think you are the only people to have ever written. You have the freedom to think that the status quo is the way everything has to be always. You have the freedom to believe that you have no agency, and no part in the way things turn out.
You have the freedom to think that the past is another country. You have the freedom to think you are smarter than everyone else. You have the freedom to run with a head wind at your back, never understanding its influence.
Seriously, trying to erase our history is super disrespectful. So like fuck that shit.
Sunday, July 04, 2004
I'm sorry, but the proper answer to a rape survivor is not "let's plan how to do your thesis', thank you? The writer may write competent sentences, but she has a bad ear for character. That sort of book only really works if the character is sort of drifting in a random anomie for no reason, and it's totally self inflicted. But if your mom is facing hearing loss, your first boyfriend rapes you, and your second one is really distant and can't pencil you in for an appointment, I'm sorry, but I can't really say "Oh, my god, she is watching TV, while getting her masters with honors! Where is her drive and ambition?"
Bridget Jones worked, because you could say that her problems were at least her own problems. While she didn't just stand up and say "Well, today I have decided that my weight and boys is the most important thing in my life", she probably just went with the flow. It's a perfectly normal flaw, exaggerated a bit.
Confessions of a Shopoholic also works in the same mode. Lots of people have problems with debt, because they want the comfort of shopping, and the status things provides, and while our society has a problem with consumerism and all, it's not like our heroine is a single mom who sometimes buys too much to fill her emotional void. She is a single twenty-something who buys a lot of stuff, because it is fun to buy stuff.
I guess what I am getting at is that if you have a major problem in your plot, you can't write it as a thirty-something neurotic novel, it'd probably be better as an Oprah novel. Leave the neurosis to those who have nothing to complain about, and let us laugh at our own foibles. Never put rape in a light plot, it draws it down.
In other book talk, Box Office Poison has a good depiction of what happens in the real world to pop psych. Sherman, our main character, meets with his dad, and he is a total douche. He cheats on his wife, and you know what? blames it on his wife. He says, basically, I met a giving woman, and my wife got mad. Doesn't she understand that I',m not responsible for her feelings?
That's a common use of this sort of thing, to excuse yourself. Even if the person who started the whole Only you are responsible for your own feelings thing has good intentions, s/he certainly opened up the door to a whole lot of assholery. If I don't have to think of others' feelings, why do things to not hurt them? That's what Sherman's dad does- he acts in a completely selfish manner, and alienates his sons and his sister.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Now for my famed(not) bitching and moaning. People act like Bill Cosby is being innovative with his comments. No, it's been going on for a long time. In 1833, Maria Stewart said "Had those men among us who had an opportunity turned their attention as assiduously to mental and moral improvement as they had to gambling and dancing...I might have remained quietly at home, and they stood contending in my place" (This quote taken from the pages of Forgotten Readers, p. 71).
In griping about the young, try out "Muta"(a person who wrote to Freedom's Journal in 1827) "Many of our young men whose situation in life afforded them the means to improve their minds, and whose prospects were so fair that nothing except their assiduous attention to direct their course through life, after having acquired the rudiments of a libreral education, have degenerated into such insignificance,that their very existence is a matter of no concern" (p. 99, Forgotten Readers).
Of course, these sentiments aren't as punitive, as the grumbling nowadays, but we're going into a big scapegoat phase in our culture. We seem to forget that rich white people have babies having babies too, they just get abortions. Or that rich white men beat their wives too. Or that white teens of all types cuss and cut class. That people of all races do drugs and steal.
Old people have been grumbling about stuff for years, and he wouldn't have gotten any press, if he had been a white man saying that white kids did this and that. It's only compelling to the public if it reinforces their myths, one of which is that blacks have only themselves to blame for their situation, and racism simply doesn't exist.
Of course, Cosby doesn't really mean to go along with this sort of thing. I'm sure he really means that we should work harder, and all that, but to tell the truth, I believe that only a few people really don't want to make it, and those people have severe mental problems, everyone else is doing the best that they can, or that they believe they can.
I mean, when I go and do something stupid, I sure as hell am not saying "I'm going to do something stupid, just because", I always think I am making the best decision with the information that I have. Tough love is easy, now what are you going to do?
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Also, here's a book drive blog. Now that I got my paycheck, I should buy the books to donate to the library. I was thinking of getting bell hook's Outlaw Culture, and maybe something else. Our libraries in Shelby County need some help, and even a little help is better than none.