Thursday, August 8, 2013

Race Is A Construct: Can We TRY And Be Constructive?

"Even though America is soundly post-racial and racism is over because Barack Obama and Cheerios, it turns out that many white Americans still don't have any non-white friends. I find this odd, considering that white Americans typically cite their "black friend" as evidence of their inability to harbor racist beliefs. You guys just made him up, didn't you?"

An online friend (I think he's white) sent an Ann Coulter column defending Bill O'Reilly for this:
"The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family. Right now, about 73 percent of all black babies are born out of wedlock. That drives poverty. And the lack of involved fathers leads to young boys growing up resentful and unsupervised. And it has nothing to do with slavery. It has everything to do with you Hollywood people and you derelict parents."

Now, on it's face, I don't think the statement needs defending. It's fine. In one manner or another I've said it all myself, here, many times - minus the line, "it has nothing to do with slavery."

And let me add that, despite my disagreement, I would never stoop to playing "gotcha" with it, as conservatives have with Oprah Winfrey's assertion there were "millions" of blacks lynched.

Why? Because I'm an American, so I know what Oprah and Bill are trying to say, and why pick a silly fight (see: Obama offered dog as a child and Mitt unfortunately putting his dog carrier on the car) with my fellow countrymen over how they talk?

That's saved for Bawney Fwank.

I LIKE how Americans talk! It's wild, and wooly, and - when well observed - changes with the times. I'm not always looking for, or expecting, specificity. 

I'm listening for an idea, and open to being surprised by style.

As much as I hate being put in the position of defending Oprah Winfrey - by my fellow conservatives, thankyouverymuch - the spectacle of all these whites, collectively (and apparently instinctually) deciding to hold a internet "teach-in" on lynching is both pathetic and ugly. (How much do you want to bet there are black people out there who are POSITIVE you're the experts?) I'm sure I haven't checked every column on the "phony" Oprah controversy but has anyone done anything but attack her about it? 

Asked her to clarify or expand on her views?

I can hear some now, thinking "What's to clarify? She said 'millions'."
Oh, if it were only that simple. But, the issue's a fine place to show everybody two things:

1. Slavery's always with us. It's made us who we are.

2. That saying - "It's a black thang - you wouldn't understand" - was real shit. And, in every racial and social direction, we need to close these gaps.

Let me start by saying I don't obsess about race. Sure, I can get caught up in the tide, like when I found myself crying over O.J.'s potential suicide during the slow speed chase through Los Angeles. Or, like during this Trayvon Martin media fiasco, I can be drawn into seriously talking about race because, then, there's no escaping the overwhelming number of morons who demand to be heard after, I suppose, the Son Of Sam's dog said they're informed. 

Really, left to my own devices, I don't have time for any of it and see it as an imposition on my life:

Yesterday I spent time with a black friend and his family. I cried because he has a genetic blood problem they found kinda late - he's really skinny - but, happily, they found it. After shooting the shit with him, I played with his grand daughter for an hour and went home. Today, there's a white guy in my kitchen making dinner, and cracking-the-fuck-up because he discovered I really like freshly cut watermelon. Funny story:

The first time I was invited to a white friend's home, his mother wasn't expecting me and exclaimed, "We're having watermelon for dinner!" After my friend apologized too quickly, they were pleasantly surprised by my reaction. I am now a part of their family. 

Back to the crazy fucker in my kitchen:

He says "nigger" more than I do, and is an excellent source for hot Rap music, especially the dumbest of the dumb shit. I mean, if there's a bad idea recorded over a beat, the cracker in my kitchen probably has had it cranked to 11. He's also huge on the Velvet Underground, Hank Williams, Sr., and much, much more. 

We've been friends for 25+ years and I love him.

So that's a racial sketch of my immediate world - and a bit of the past - Bill O'Reilly and Miss Ann can judge what follows by it.

How can blacks turn thousands lynched (including white people and others) into millions of themselves, exclusively? By adding those that "don't count". Ask yourself, how many blacks were strung up during the Middle Passage? Do they count? They do to black people. How about those thrown to the sharks? If rapes weren't well recorded, what makes anyone think all the deaths of defiant niggas - especially men who made the master feel small by comparison - were always duly noted? Black oral history says otherwise. Our country has dirty laundry. And, in spite of what some whites think, blacks aren't so far removed from it. Why would we be? Until the beating of Rodney King was recorded and aired, whites denied anything of the kind was occurring in major metropolitan areas in the modern era. How many of those have occurred, still occur, and are counted? My friends, this has always been the traumatic "real" history blacks are left alone - totally alone - to wrestle with. 

"So many of us in limbo  
How to get it on? It's quite simple 
Three stones from the sun  
We need a piece of this rock 
Our goal - indestructible soul 
Answers to this quizzing 
To the Brothers in the street 
Schools and the prisons 
History shouldn't be a mystery 
Our stories real history 
Not his story 
We gonna work it out one day 
Till we all get paid 
The right way in full, no bull 
Talking, no walking, driving, arriving and stylin' 
Tell 'em -- soon you'll see what I'm talking 'bout 
Cause one day 
The brothers gonna work it out 
Brothers, brothers gonna work it out"

And if we think about it, even trying to get past slavery - no matter what color you are - has something to do with slavery. Just like the word "nigger" pops into the mind, whenever someone lamely says "the 'n' word," there's no escaping slavery's pull on our lives. We're Americans. I don't know why we try. We're the descendants of slavers and slaves. Are you ashamed? I'm not ashamed. 

It's who we are:

No slavery, no major black presence in America. 

No major black presence in America, no Civil War. 

No Civil War, no Jim Crow. 

No Jim Crow, no Civil Rights Movement. 

No Civil Rights Movement, no black kids as targets for bombers. 

No black kids as targets for bombers, no black kids recognizing their utter worthlessness and going to jail for the movement. 

No black kids recognizing their utter worthlessness and going to jail for the movement, no black kids considering jail a finishing school. 

No black kids considering jail a finishing school, no current disregard for the law or life or what anyone else thinks. 

Hello, Trayvon.


You'll notice, I never once mentioned missing fathers.

And BTW - Whites want to carry that around for a while? It's heavy shit.

An amazing fact of American culture, a gift from our industrious Founding Fathers themselves, is our contradictory ability - and drive - to make something out of nothing. My country has more cults than any other nation on Earth because, Good Lord, when it comes to us, it doesn't take much. Race seems to generate a lot of heat, but not much light. 

That's Hell, isn't it?

Yes, it is. And it's burning up our creativity, and national purpose, to repeatedly twist us into new and interesting - but useless - tools. Good for nothing, and nothing for Good. What's the point of being "white" or "black" if, in the end, everybody's still wrong - and proud of it?

I'm an American. I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't have a "side". I see family members with race-based PTSD. And because nobody's addressing that, they're allowed to go 'round and 'round and 'round with it, baring their teeth and scratching the orderlies. 

I provide the music:




  1. Crack's online white friend Dante (Ed Barbar) here. First, I had the opportunity to experience the black culture first hand, with a four other whites in San Francisco in the early 70s, as a part of integration. The stint was 3 years. I have a chip on my shoulder about this, mostly for the judge who elected to not integrate St. Francis Woods where his granddaughter went to school.

    I learned individuals are cool, and groups suck. Groups allow evilness to come out against others. At present, I have exactly one close friend, who happens to be white, but he could be anything. I work almost exclusively with southeast asians, and asians. In my career in the software field, perhaps I've worked with one black, who I hired (see crack's one black friend thing) when I was doing the manager thing. I've worked with one Hispanic, though he was the high class kind and came from highly educated Spanish Mexico (there is another racial injustice, the ruling Spaniards still control Mexico, and make the pure population there into untouchables).

    I've been beaten and terrorized by blacks, one of my sisters was anally raped at 7 years old by a black, and another sister was molested by her black friend's father when she was 9. All people do this shit, but for some reason blacks do this more than other races. I blame America's obsession on race, racial demagoguery, and the destruction of the black family by leftists.

    Crack says "This happened a short a period of time ago." I say, so what? You can't right the historical injustice, you can only make the system fairer. The system can never be fair. But, is it fair enough? I say it is.

    I don't know about all states, but CA distributes money equally to all schools. The money goes up to the state, and except for small adjustments due to geographic cost of living, all public schools get the same funding. It's not the schools.

    This country spends a huge amount of money trying to keep black neighborhoods safe, by locking up violent blacks (don't care about the drugs stuff, it's tangential).

    I personally was sickened by the police abuse of Rodney King. It's that group thing I was talking about. The guy was driving 100 - 120mph down the streets, and the police gave the man a beating. A few days ago, some probably mentally ill white guy said to a cop "What you going to do about it, bitch," and she killed him. OJ got off. Shit happens. Sometimes it is racially motivated. If you look for it you will find it. And if you don't find it, you can always invent it, like Zimmerman or the Duke Lacrosse case (both cases politicians using race for their own purposes, and the media making things worse for who knows what reason).

    Here is my basic view. Right now, the system is pretty damn fair. Looking in the rear-view mirror isn't helping anyone, and is hurting black children most. I think hurting innocents is the worst part of all.

    I do not think it is possible to right the historical wrongs. I suspect if you peel the onion enough you will find a relatively small number of people pursuing economic/political goals to achieve their purpose, and naturally demagoguery as well.


  2. So what's the solution? I say it is to look at the system, and if there are things unfair in the system (equal opportunity, not opportunity of outcomes), you fix those things that do not provide equal opportunity, and use the institutions in this country to better your family. That's what's really important isn't it?

    And stop enabling idiot politicians who continue making racial relations worse. In my view, everyone is racist. It's just the way our brains work, by filtering and organizing people, things, events by how they look. Good people realize this, and try to overcome it by being fair-minded. Small minded people succumb to it. And that's what is going on in my view. Blacks are being used, as have whites in the past, in an ugly way.

    Blacks should focus on integrating with a damn good system, instead of looking in the rear-view mirror. It's not easy, of course. Scars are visible, and strong reminders. But it's not right for the children, and its a huge waste of time.

  3. I'm Jen, and I'm really not anybody's friend.

    I grew up among hillbillies (which, is in some ways more diverse a group than outsiders realize; not widely diverse, but not monolithic). The Amish are next door. My dad was Italian and grew up in one of the worst slums in NYC -- he was the exotic, alien, colored other where I grew up.

    This black culture thing that seems to be focused on the city is an alien world for me -- so is this white culture from the city -- we visited my dad's family in the summer; I was a tourist. The country/city divide is more evident and pressing on my life.

    Everybody around here eats watermelon...watermelon and tomatoes are grown everywhere (seriously, it came as a shock to me when I was a kid, going out into the world, to discover that watermelon, fried chicken/cube steak with gravy, pot likker and ribs were "black things"; everybody eats that shit back home, I grew up on that shit and Italian food, and it is delicious; what the hell have white people been eating then?).

    There aren't that many black people left out here (there used to be more, but they moved to the city -- now some are moving back) to befriend out here, so that cuts into the probability (not everyone you meet is going to be a friend -- law of statistics applies) and then it gets into the realm of "why would I befriend somebody just because of their skin color?". I've got no reason to check any boxes; I don't want/need to be a friend missionary, capturing their souls just to make some quota or something. I worked with and for some black grooms, trainers, riders, owners in the horse world (some good, some bad, and some were my own personal folks, the people who would take me in and feed me and vice versa) -- but they were also largely rural in their background like me and thus I "got" them(there's still the race thing, but maybe it's different than in the city). The worlds overlap, people belong to different ones all the time, and I think that's where people get each other. Who your people, your folks are is a lot more nuanced than some more sheltered people seem to realize -- the kind of people who make sure to have a black/white/yellow/brown "friend" I'm guessing.

    I read Franklin's comments about "brown Germans" and the whole "black Irish" thing from our past and I giggle my silly ass off (mainly due to the notion that anybody could look at your typical German or Irish and consider them dusky). My dad's family is Italian , and they really bear the scars of that whole "who is really white?" thing; it weighs on them. I can understand the problems associated with that.
    So there's a big problem right there: whites in this country can't even figure out who is white; my dad tell you straight up you were crazy if you didn't realize that Arabs, "latinos" (they didn't even use that term), N. Africans, Ethiopians and Somalis were white, but I hear people calling those same people brown/black; my grandma's family went through a few many skin color labels depending upon who they ran into, but the census forms call them white for the last 50 years so white it is, and they were on some points considered more white than my dad's family here -- so it's really mixed up).

    None of us can even figure out what white even is in order to have this discussion. To heck with the notion of then progressing to the white/black race thing -- maybe that's one of the things that pisses blacks off; this insistence on changing the goalposts of "what is white?" and/or that it is important at all; the fact that now many whites obsess over having a "black friend" like they go door to door like a missionary looking for one because we must all check the box -- I have no idea really, but maybe there's something to that.