Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The social dynamics of the acting white myth(which is not true) piss me off. Just one small study from one school, and all the sudden, all black kids are being held back by their peers- strengthing the stereotype that blacks are stupid and lazy- that every single problem blacks have is their own fault(the larger social discourse which this article is in the background of- you can't have things disconnected from society) . There's a little dissent, but it's not what most people are going to hear. And so some folks here have instead of interrogating these other factors are also feeding this stereotype. This is not a neutral discourse- this has a social use. As I've said before- this is being treated as distinct from the nerd issue because it is black children.

When white children make fun of other whites, there are no news articles published.

I find it similar to the idea that black people's families are pathological because they are mother headed. Many black people have had their mother support the family, but the social discourse that black women are ruining the black familiy only occurs because of the idea out there that females can't run a family, that black people have something wrong with them, that indivudual issues are more important than greater social issues. This theory persists because it gets people off the hook for what is really causing family breakdown which is economic issues.

The fact that some kids tease is given a new importance and a new interpretation by race. Because of the race of the participants- it can't be a part of growing up- kids who are good at amassing groups, but are still at the teasing stage loom large.

Instead of becoming a narrative of "kids who were mean to me before they grew up" it becomes a narrative of "why the black race is inferior(and why I am an exception oftentimes)". By making so much of the issue of kids teasing other kids, we're ignoring the real issues.

It's like the sort of black people who always forward stuff about how black people don't read books. Now, black publishing imprints are really fast growing, but they don't see that- and I think the folks who say all of the black folks under 30 are criminals are part of the same discourse as the acting white folks and the black folks don't read books folks.

They try to say they are just pointing out the flaws of the black community- but the thing is that this is not a neutral flaw pointing out. They reinforce the idea that something is wrong about being black- we don't read books, we're all criminals, we prevent the folks who want to learn from learning. But by pointing this out, they also try to show their own position is different.

The acting white thing makes this explicit instead of implicit like the other discourses on why other black people are flawed. Other blacks teased me for being different- the difference in this story is always something positive like reading books or neutral like rock music. It's never the more likely problems like talking with a lisp or having bad fashion taste.

In this narrative(as it is a narrative- we all order our lives according to our thoughts) childish teasing marks the person as different, but also as better or special. It annoys me because to make you seem special and different, all other black people are denigrated.

By trying to be the exception, you strengthen the idea that most black folks aren't about anything. Thanks, folks.

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