In certain circles, the phrase “white privilege” gets a lot of lip service. The eyeball snatchers at buzzfeed are paying attention. They recently published two quiz features, How Stereotypically White Are You? and How Privileged Are You? PG decided to see how he fits in.
Buzzfeed questionnaires are usually problematic. The “how white” form is a bit different. There is only one question, “Have you ever… (check all that apply).” There is a list of 100 things you might have done. You check all the ones that apply. Number 91-100 are: 91 Attended a film festival? 92 Wanted to live in Portland? 93 Embroidered? 94 Gone camping in a snuggie? 95 Been to Burning Man? 96 Been on a horse in the ocean? 97 Bought the clear Band-Aids because all the other ones were too dark for your skin? 98 Taken a group holiday photo shoot with your friends? 99 Used the hashtag #WhitePeopleProblems because you are white and had a problem? 100 Been personally offended by a post about white people?
PG is not a normal person. Yes, there are few things that are more common than a unique person. Still, this list gave PG problems. He still had not checked any possibilities when he reached numbers 20 and 21. 20 Gotten up to go dance because “The Macarena” came on? 21 Done the same for “The Electric Slide”? PG has run away from the dance floor when “The Macarena” came on. Of course, there was that night at the 57th when “The Electric Slide” came on, PG tried to join in, and made a total fool of himself by not knowing the steps.
There were five other possibilities that PG checked. 25 Recommended an NPR podcast? 32 Laughed out loud to Monty Python? 65 A toga party? 89 Watched Fox News? 100 Been personally offended by a post about white people? One night, PG made a beer run. He walked into a liquor store wearing a toga. This should get extra points.
“You checked off 6 out of 100 possible white people scenarios. Congratulations, you are NOT white! You’re the first of your friends to perfect a new dance move and never have to worry about what level of SPF you should use. Heck, you might not even know what SPF stands for and that’s OK because the sun is your friend and that’s cool as shit.” The result was illustrated by a picture of Colin Powell.
The privilege quiz has a similar format. “Check off all the statements that apply to you.” The statements are not numbered this time. To facilitate this post, PG copied the list of statements. This perhaps should be a privilege sensitive option, but is not.
This list is a familiar litany of statements about race, sexuality, body types, income, and religion. If you are on the good side of these things, you are presumed to have privilege. Being a white cis male is an indication of privilege.
“You live with 30 out of 100 points of privilege. You’re not privileged at all. You grew up with an intersectional, complicated identity, and life never let you forget it. You’ve had your fair share of struggles, and you’ve worked hard to overcome them. We do not live in an ideal world and you had to learn that the hard way. It is not your responsibility to educate those with more advantages than you, but if you decide you want to, go ahead and send them this quiz. Hopefully it will help.” It is not certain how this quiz will help people with too much privilege. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
It is blackberry winter in Brookhaven. PG is editing pictures from The Library of Congress, some of which will illustrate this post. While fussing over group portraits from a Navy vessel, PG is listening to The Glenn Show. Today’s episode features the host, Glenn Loury, and frequent guest John McWhorter. Both men are professors at Ivy League institutions. They are also African Americans. Their conversations are usually entertaining, and provide fodder for slack blogger content.
The first part of the chat involves politicians who say, in effect, “my opponent is not black enough.” An incident involving Barack Obama was discussed. In some of his early elections, the opponent charged that BHO was too closely connected to the big money elite.
Duh. You don’t get elected to public office without having wealthy friends. They want a return on their investment. This has been a problem for the *naive* people who thought they were voting for hope and change. BHO did not raise a billion dollars without making shady promises.
Most politicians face the “authentic enough” issue. When running in the party primary, they try to appear blacker than Spike Lee, or more conservative than Herbert Hoover. When the general election arrives, the need to reach less radical voters arises. Many politicians see the need to back away from what they were saying a few weeks earlier. Saints do not win elections.
After a while, Doctors Loury and McWhorter moved onto the issue of gentrification. Dr. McWhorter wrote a Time magazine piece, “Spike Lee’s Racism Isn’t Cute: ‘M—–f—– Hipster’ Is the New ‘Honkey” Regarding this article, there is a lovely quote from Dr. McWhorter. The quote says to always remember that racism is institutional.
People twitter hissy fits about racism like to have it both ways. They will tell you that racism is *really* about institutional systems that oppress POC. Ok, fine. Exactly what does a tweet, quoting a joke taken out of context, have to do with institutional systems of oppression?
PG saw a tweet that he agreed with. His reasons for agreement were probably different from the reasons of the tweeter, Black Girl Dangerous. In any event, this is something that PG has wanted to opine about for a while. It will be a good excuse to write text. Something needs to go between the pictures, from The Library of Congress. Permission to quote the tweets has been requested. If this permission is granted, the tweets will be included.
The tweets were about the expression POC. For those who are new here, POC stands for person/people of color. It is a preferred expression for people who are not of european origin, and use a language other than english. People of color is similar to colored people. The latter expression is considered offensive in 2014.
The fine print for @BlackGirlDanger says “Amplifying the voices of queer and trans* people of color. We don’t respond to clueless white tweets.” BGD responded to the comment by @chamblee54. The gravatar image for c54 has a paper bag over his melanin challenged face. Maybe the comment was clueful. In any event, a reply was made.
As for POC, it lumps too many different groups of people, with too many different experiences, together. It doesn’t say very much. Some POC are oppressed. Some POC are privileged. Many people who claim POC status have experienced little of the oppression that many African Americans face.
This is not the first time the BGD has written about this. There was a post recently, 4 Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege. Part four is about people who think it is cool to say they are POC, when they haven’t really had the experience. The post is copyrighted. You are encouraged to use the link and see for yourself what BGD has to say.
In June of 2012, a firestorm broke out in Atlanta about a drag queen named Sharon Needles. The linked post tells a bit of the story. PG made a comment. He was criticized by a person, who used the expression “those of us who are people of color” in the diatribe.
PG has heard that this person is of Indian origin. (PG also heard that the person was a FTM trans person, hence the lack of gender pronouns.) The amount of wealth, education, and privilege possessed by this person is not known. This person is clearly not of African origin, and might be caucasian. It is unlikely that this person has experienced the oppression faced by many African Americans. Why does this person make angry statements, with the phrase “those of us who are people of color”?
Writers tackle was rampaging through Brookhaven. PG looked in a list of old product, and found a feature built on the output of Teju Cole. He has a dandy article, at the New Yorker, about what is antiseptically called drone warfare. It is the twitter feed that gets attention. This is a repost.
@tejucole George Carlin’s original seven dirty words can all be said freely now. The one word you can’t say, and must never print, is “racist.”
The quote marks lend mystery to the tweet. Does he mean the dreaded “n word”? Or does he mean that other six letter slur? There is no shortage of people screaming racist in Georgia, often at the slightest provocation. There is an attitude that racism is the worst thing you can be accused of, and that, once accused, you are guilty until proven innocent. If you do a bit of research into racism, the word, you will see some interesting things.
The concept of groups of people not liking each other is as old as mankind. The word racism apparently did not exist before 1933 (merriam webster), or 1936 (dictionary dot com).
Something called the Vanguard News Network had a forum once, What is the true origin of the term racism? This forum is problematic, as VNN seems to be a white supremacist affair. One of the reputed coiners of the R word was Leon Trotsky, also referred to as Jew Communist. Another Non English speaker who is given “credit” for originating the phrase is Magnus Hirschfeld. As for English, the word here is: “American author Lawrence Dennis was the first to use the word, in English, in his 1936 book “The coming American fascism”.”
The terms racist and racism seem to be used interchangeably in these discussions. This is in keeping with the modern discussion. As Jesus worshipers like to say, hate the sin, love the sinner.
The Online Etymology Dictionary has this to add: “racist 1932 as a noun, 1938 as an adjective, from race (n.2); racism is first attested 1936 (from French racisme, 1935), originally in the context of Nazi theories. But they replaced earlier words, racialism (1871) and racialist (1917), both often used early 20c. in a British or South African context.”
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
PG was stumbling through another morning in the real world. Keep moving, get breakfast, survive i285, and maybe by Sunday you will get out of this funk. Those of you with any sense will skip this text, and look at the pictures. They are from The Library of Congress.
A twitterlady caught his eye. @Flyswatter “Feminists calling each other out for various offenses. At any rate, it’s an interesting and thoughtful article.”
Upon arrival, the page visitor is greeted by a fundraising as for “EMILY’s List.” This is an effort to raise money for select moving lips. EMILY is an acronym. Early Money Is Like Yeast.
Once upon a time, some feminists had a conference, #femfuture. They started to snipe at each other. A hashtag was hatched, #solidarityisforwhitewomen.
Before long, one cornerstone of correctness had an article, 5 Ways White Feminists Can Address Our Own Racism. The article had a header ad from an auto insurance agency. Your suggested next post was I Threw Away My Scale and I’ve Never Felt Better About My Body.
The article about #femfuture is long, and might cause brain damage. The authors are not talking to cismale crackers like PG. Today is going to require a few brain cells to negotiate, and reading these posts might wipe them out.
It is a cliche among certain pundits that this is not “Post Racial America.” No one seems to know what PRA would look like. PRA might be less noisy, with fewer odors, than the current model. The opinion that we do not live in PRA seems unanimous. After PG heard the denial of PRA one too many times, he began to wonder something. Who said America is Post Racial?
Mr. Google has 119 million answers to the question “who said america is post racial?” The short answer is nobody. The closest thing on the front Google page is an NPR commentary from January 2008. This was the early stages of the BHO run for the White House. The commenter said that the election of a dark skinned POTUS might usher in a post racial era in America.
This piece will not have any fresh opinions about race relations in America. That subject has been worn out elsewhere. If someone finds it to their advantage to denounce “racism”, there will be an audience. The truth is, very few people have ever said that America is Post Racial.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
It could have been predicted. Atlanta made the national news this week, and did not look good. We all know this, and many have opinions as to the nature of the problem. Now, Slate magazine has their hypothesis, What Does Racism Have to Do With Gridlock?
Now, in this part of the world, race usually has something to do with just about anything. The lack of preparation, the skepticism about the warnings, and the disaster that ensued are all, to this author, subordinate to “the question of race.” The rest of America is amused.
“Exhibit A” is the failure of the T-SPLOST referendum. What the author fails to mention is that T-SPLOST was opposed by the local NAACP. They were upset because there were no plans for a rail line to South DeKalb county. T-SPLOST was opposed by many people, with a wide variety of labels.
T-SPLOST was a horribly flawed proposal. Two weeks before the referendum, the staff of Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed objected to being blamed for the problems with T-SPLOST, and wrote a tacky newspaper article. Wednesday morning, as Atlanta struggled to recover, Mr. Reed was widely quoted as saying “I’m not going to get into the blame game.”
Black people are a part of the political power structure, especially on the local and county level. Thirty percent of the voters statewide are Black, with majorities in many local areas. If the Black community does not work together with the White community, there are going to be problems. Whose fault is this? There is plenty of blame to go around for everyone.
The story quotes another piece on income inequality, saying that Atlanta leads the nation in this problem. Here is a case where you make your statistics tell whatever story you want them to tell. It says that this is the City of Atlanta, which has less than ten percent of the metro population. It also does not mention the large, affluent Black middle class. Black is no longer synonymous with poor.
To repeat the obvious, yes race was involved. But to *blame* this disaster on racism is not going to help. Finger pointing, and refusal to accept responsibility, is not going to accomplish anything. This is a time to work together. Blaming a disaster on racism is not going to help. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
There was a post a while back, 10 Conversations On Racism I’m Sick Of Having With White People. The original started at The Chronicle, but LiveJournal is kind of weird, so a mirror image will have to do. There are comments, at the sourced post, that illustrate some of the points covered today.
I got to thinking about “10 Conversations”, and a reply began to take shape. I started a list of conversations the I am tired of having, and before you could say affirmative action, there were a dozen items. Many of these incidents have involved people of color, or POC. Many others have not. Often, the ethnicity of the other person has little importance to the discussion. Therefore, the title of this feature will not be racially specific. This monolog will probably not go viral, or even bacterial. Washing your hands might be a good idea when you are finished reading.
Meetings where one person does all the talking The word conversation implies that more than one person says something. Often, this does not happen. One person will talk for a while. Before person two finishes a sentence, person one will interrupt them.
This does not work. When the other person is talking, shut up and listen. Don’t be thinking of your clever comeback, but pay attention to what the other person is saying. What the other person says is just as important as what you say.
Listening is not valued in our culture. It is seen as a loss of control, a sign of weakness. It is really a sign of strength. If you are weak, you don’t want to allow the other person to say anything. Have you ever heard anyone boast about the clever things that they say to someone? Of course you have, just like you never hear anyone talk highly about himself because he is a good listener.
My question is not an excuse to make a speech. Some people have an agenda. Whatever you say is an obstacle to the message they want to broadcast. When you ask a question, some people think you are handing them the talking stick, to do whatever they want. When your eyes glaze over, they plow on, in total disregard to your discomfort, and lack of comprehension. It is almost as if they are talking to hear the sound of their own voice.
I’m not talking to you. If you are screaming something, anyone with earshot can hear you. Do not get offended if there is a reaction to your words, especially if it is subtly directed at the person you are not talking to. This applies to the internet as well, where all of humanity is *privy* to your innermost thoughts. Keep the farmyard meaning of *privy* in mind when sharing your innermost product.
Conversations should be with people. If you are a business, and you want to tell me something, send me a written message. Please refrain from using robocall machines. I feel very foolish talking to a machine, especially one that doesn’t understand southern english.
You don’t have to shout. The amount of truth in a statement is not increased by the volume of expression. If you are standing next to me, the odds are I can hear you in a normal tone of voice. If you are across the room, come stand next to me, rather than shout across the room. If your normal tone of voice is shouting, then you have a problem.
The same principal goes to controlling your temper. When you choose not to control your temper, you show disprespect to yourself, and the person you are talking to. There is no situation that cannot be made worse by angry speech.
Privilege Racial polemic is getting more subtle these days. We are not quite post racial, although there are rumors of a PostRacial apartment complex in Dickhater. The phrase that pays these days is Privilege. This is always something owned by the group you do not belong to. Last summer, I heard this quote in a discussion, and nearly fell out of my chair.
From the N word to POC. Labels for groups of people can cause problems. I have expressed myself on the N word before, and don’t have much to add. As for POC, that is even sillier. Colored people is an insult, but people of color is preferred. I am sure some of you have a terrific speech to ‘splain this, but I am not interested. My neck may be red, but that is a color. PWOC is an insult to my humanity, whether you are talking to me or not.
This is getting longer than the attention span of many readers. It might be continued at a later date. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.