Teju Cole continues to tweet. There are two items today that caught the attention here. The first is this: @tejucole “I learn more about privilege from what I get wrong about misogyny than from what I get right about racism.” There is probably a backstory there. 140 characters can only say so much.
The second tweet, and the subject of the bulk of this feature, goes like this. @tejucole “Everything I want in a piece of writing is here: Daniel Mendelsohn’s essay on the unburied: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/05/unburied-tamerlan-tsarvaev-and-the-lessons-of-greek-tragedy.html …”
The link is to a story in the New Yorker, Unburied: Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the Lessons of Greek Tragedy. It seems as though nobody in Massachusetts wanted to accept the remains of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The body is in an unmarked grave, in a tiny cemetery in rural Virginia. The New Yorker quotes various stories in Greek literature, which has no shortage of violence. In the end, even your worst enemy deserves a decent burial. “This is the point that obsessed Sophocles’ Antigone: that to not bury her brother, to not treat the war criminal like a human being, would ultimately have been to forfeit her own humanity. This is why it was worth dying for.”
America is currently killing people, in neutral countries, with unmanned aircraft. There have been reports that funerals have been targeted. There are even reports of killing “terror suspects”, and then returning to attack the funeral later. At what point do you forfeit your own humanity?
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
There is a graphic on facebook, with a message that PG agrees with. Seek, and yea shall find. (Pun not intended.) Not only does it have a good message, but the source is easy to find. Learning the context, of the message, can shine a light on dingy corners. G-d is in the details.
Without further ado, here is the message: Each of us bears a responsibility to reject hate, whatever its form, whatever its justification. A soul filled with hate can devastate a community. A nation filled with hate can devastate a people. It must start and end with each of us. George Takei
The comment is part of a blog post written August 7, 2012. It was in response to the attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Mr. Takei says that Sikhs are confused for Moslems, leading to incidents like this.
This is highly ironic. The Sikh people originated in India. Some say that Sikhs are Hindus, and others say they are not. Some say that Sikhism is a warrior branch of Hinduism, created to fight Islam. These differences can be very confusing to outsiders.
Sikh is pronounced seek, like hide and seek. Sikh is not pronounced sick, as in ill. How you say a name affects your thoughts. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.
There was a link to a TED talk that promised to “Turn Every Man Who Watches It Into A Feminist.” PG gave it a try, and was not impressed.
The speaker was Jackson Katz. He likes to put the letters Ph.D. after his name. You have to dig into his biography to see that his doctorate is “in cultural studies and education from UCLA.”
The speech was given at a gathering called TEDxFiDiWomen. (Spell check suggestion: Committeewomen) It is an “independently organized TED event. The speech was about what men can do to reduce violence, mostly against women. The choir Dr. Katz preached to enjoyed the sermon. Did anyone who needs to change his behavior hear this talk?
Dr. Katz is an entertaining speaker. He spoke fast and loud, and the intensity of his rhetoric grew as he went along. He seemed to get his crowd fired up. How this emotion will be channeled is a good question. It would not surprise this viewer if some of these fired up women went home, and took the frustration out on a significant other. Verbal abuse is violence.
The first part of the lecture is wondering why this is considered a men’s issue. There were a few exercises in semantic mumbo jumbo, which might prove something. The idea that this is a human problem… that bullying and aggression are not good ways to treat people … is hinted at. Then, the focus goes back on the men, and how they need a “paradigm change”.
The moment when PG almost gave up on Dr. Katz involved racism. Yes, he had to throw that boogeyman in there. He gave the example of a bunch of white men having a conversation, and someone making a “racist remark.” The enlightened man is supposed to speak up, and say that this is not acceptable.
What PG wonders is why this was assumed to be a group of white men. Are you saying that only white people say rude things about other races? Or, maybe it is alright for black men to say rude things about white men. Until saying so called racist comments is considered wrong for all people, we are going to have a problem. At the very least, Dr. Katz is not as inclusive as he wants you to believe. Or maybe he just said something the “liberal” TED audience would find acceptable.
Some people find this sort of thing entertaining. It is possible that a man listening will hear this “leadership training” and learn to treat his neighbors better. PG suspects that the former is much more likely. The link is above if you want to hear it yourself.
The third sunday in april is the start of the warm weather festival season. When PG called Uzi, at twelve noon on the dot, the only question was which festival to go to. Both Candler park and Piedmont park are notorious parking disasters. Uzi speculated that they should go earlier, rather than later, and PG agreed.
Since PG had not bathed since friday, a shower was in order. The idea of showering before going to hang with hippies is a bit esoteric, but this is PG we are talking about. While waiting for the hot water to reach his back, a cosmic thought plowed through his head.
There are two questions that many people face these days. Are you a racist? Do you believe in G-d? These questions are very similar. Both are nobody else’s business. Both concepts are dependent on the definition of key terms. Whereas the concept of G-d seems to be shrinking, the boundaries of racism grow larger every day. PG has long questioned whether belief is the proper venue for knowing G-d. Maybe having a yes/no opinion on racism is similar. Being honest is a dangerous business.
So Uzi arrives at PG’s place at one pm, exactly one hour later. It was no surprise when the side street by the park had no parking, and you had to go three streets west to find a place. There is a entrance gate to the festival, with wristbands enabling beer consumption on sale. PG asked for a non drinker discount, which is tough to facilitate with free admission.
The 420 festival is set up different in 2013. The main stage has moved a hundred yards south. There is a VIP area in front of the stage, with an admission charge. The concept of a VIP area in Candler Park is …. WRONG. It should be noted that few people paid the VIP surcharge.
There was something called the Silent Disco. People were wearing headphones, and dancing to the canned music. Some of the people seemed to be having fun, so it must be ok.
A proposal was made to go by Piedmont Park, and see what the parking looked like. Just driving down Piedmont Avenue in front of the park was a gridlock nightmare. At three pm, it was too early to go for dinner. Ordinarily, this would be the time for getting started. Some things you have to try once, just so you will know not to do it again.
when you are a hammer
everything looks like a nail
look for something
you are going to find it
you look in the mirror
the hot air
coming from your mouth
creates a cloud
that prevents you
from seeing yourself
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.
@tejucole I see my point, but I don’t completely agree with myself.
@tejucole Strong hints that the next pope will be male.
@tejucole “Oh my God, this electric iron is terrible as a vacuum cleaner.”—internet critics
@tejucole I’m of two minds about most things, and so am I.
@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 last 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”.
One saturday morning, PG listened to as much as he could take of an online discussion. It was two Ivy League psychology types, discussing something called the Implicit Association Test. This gimmick shows you pictures, and tests your subliminal reaction. The test unit completed by PG said “Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Straight People compared to Gay People.”
So the frizzy haired psych talker… or maybe it was the other one … said that the tests would not have predicted that America would elect a black man POTUS. Since BHO has a white mother, some people do not see him as being black. If you say this out loud the ism police will come for you. PG decided that he would be happier if he did not listen to the rest of the discussion.
Facebook is not always an improvement. A fbf, who PG has not seen in eleven years, posted graphic number four. This is the fourth in a series of motivational graphics, where the reader is guilt tripped into reposting the image as a gesture of solidarity. On top of that passive aggressive nonsense, it was a lousy graphic. PG decided to simply retype the message.
Its been said that everlasting friends go long periods of time without speaking and never question their friendship. These friends pick up phones like they spoke yesterday, regardless of how long it has been or how far away they live, and they don’t hold grudges. They understand that life if busy and you will always love them.
The grammar police have been notified. This was written like H. P. Lovecraft.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
The unpronounceable one, Carl Hiassen, had a feature recently, “Another boondoggle in the works.” Someone wants to government to contribute eight, or nine digits to the renovation of a football stadium. A lot of people don’t think this is a good idea, but their opinions don’t matter. The role of the taxpayer is to pay the bills, and keep quiet.
Eight degrees north, a similar discussion is going on. The forces of evil want the taxpayers to help pay for the Blank Bowl. Jim Galloway noted a few days ago that this affair has gone through a subtle shift. The talks have gone to the Atlanta City Council, away from the Georgia Lesterslature. When a deal is too odious for the gold dome bandits, the public should be concerned.
The affair has also moved away from the attention of the press. This is where the players want the deal to be done. Arthur Blank is on the board of directors of Cox enterprises. He can turn the publicity spigot off when he wants to. Stadium deals are like mushrooms: they flourish in the dark, and live on a diet of animal waste.
The second part of this double feature is borrowed from WTF Japan Seriously. HT to World Class Stupid. The facility has a picture of a woman in a mask shop, holding up some product. This is a white woman, holding up a mask with POC features. People in the comments are buzzing. Most of these thoughts are from AnonymousFebruary. It is not noted where AF lives.
One of the comments has a super sentence. The definition of racist does not encapsulate the entirety of what racism is. It is not known if the commenter is a POC. Some say that only POC are qualified to render judgements on the racisisicity of a entity, so this is an important distinction.
yes you are a racist if you think this is racist, like the chick in the picture holding it up, ignoring the other types of masks of the the types of races
Its a Bobby Ologun Mask. He is kind of famous in Japan. So i wouldn´t call it racist.
Look up the definition of “racist” and explain how it pertains to this photo. Some people are just way too uptight and would probably crap a diamond if you shoved coal up their bums.
I don’t understand what people see racist in these things, its just a caricature. It simply exaggerates the obvious visual charakteristics of somebody, here of a black person. Yes, some are just stereotypes, like the hooknose in caricatures of jews, but so what? Is somebody less of a human being because he or she has prominent lips, epicanthic folds or freckles? It’s just comedy, these are carnival masks, if somebody finds that racist they are either oversensitive or closet racists, I can’t think of any other reason why one would find offense in these.
100% racist. The japanese barely tolerate the “white devil”, so it is no surprise they do stuff like this with the “black shit”.
Yes, this is a mask of Bobby Ologun. Can’t make somebody’s mask? Aren’t there lots of Obama’s in US?
In the eyes of some sort of bleeding-heart, liberal, vegan, pro-life, white american softee then, yes, unfortunately this is probably seen as terrible and racist. To the rest of us, its funny, harmless and the last thing in our minds is skin color. (This comment got a reply.) “pro-life” is not like the others
i want a mask of her face. its hilarious and just as ‘offensive.’
yeah, let’s go to a country with a completely different culture and a different view on lot of things like humor and racism, and complain that it’s not the same like ours… i don’t see a problem, stop being oversensitive PC wussies…
After reading these replies, I wonder if the people crying “racist” even know what that word means or are they just the overly-sensitive, politically correct fools who are ruining society?
It’s racist. The definition of racist does not encapsulate the entirety of what racism is. This mask is an example of what’s known as blackface.
It’s Racist. The character that is well known is also a racist depiction. A hooked nose depiction of jews is also racist. Just because it maybe done for comedic effect, or its a carnival mask doesn’t make it not racist. It’s essential a mask of character done up like an American minstrel show.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
For better or worse (it’s ok to curse), the tea party is a part of the scene. The seminal event was the Boston Tea Party in 1775. The first post below is a look at what really happened in Boston harbor. It is tough to discern truth from fable at a distance of 236 years, but we will try. The tea party metaphor gets worked over in another post, would you like a refill?
The second part is a look at the phrase “founding fathers”. This phrase is “liberally” sprinkled into rhetoric of all persuasions. This author sees a square peg being forced into round holes.
In the first year of the Obama regime, America has seen the rise of the “Tea Party”. These affairs are usually right wing, and have lots of clever signs. The general idea is that taxes are too high, government is too big, and that the people need to do something.
The namesake event was the Boston Tea Party. On December 16, 1773, crowds of people (some dressed as Mohawks) went on board the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver. The crowds threw overboard 342 chests, containing 90,000 pounds of tea. The crowds were unhappy because the East India Company was importing the tea into America, with a 3 pence per pound tax.
A website called listverse plays the contrarian. (spell check suggestions: contraction, contraption) According to them : “American colonists did not protest the Tea Tax with the Boston Tea Party because it raised the price of tea. The American colonists preferred Dutch tea to English tea. The English Parliament placed an embargo on Dutch tea in the colonies, so a huge smuggling profession developed. To combat this, the English government LOWERED the tax on tea so that the English tea would be price competitive with Dutch teas. The colonists (actually some colonists led by the chief smugglers) protested by dumping the tea into Boston Harbor.”
According to Wikipedia, the Dutch tea had been smuggled into the colonies for some time. The Dutch government had given their companies a tax advantage, which allowed them to sell their product cheaper. Finally, the British government cut their taxes, but kept a tax in place. The “Townsend Tax” was to be used to pay governing colonial officials, and make them less dependent on the colonists.
In Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia, the tea boats were turned around, and returned to England with their merchandise. In Massachusetts, Governor Thomas Hutchinson insisted that the tea be unloaded. Two of the Governor’s sons were tea dealers, and stood to make a profit from the taxed tea. There are also reports that the smugglers were in the crowd dumping tea into the harbor.
The photogenic tea party movement seems to be destined to stay a while. The question remains, how much does it have to do with the namesake event?
People often try to justify their opinions by saying that the “founding fathers” agree with them. They often are guilty of selective use of history. A good place to start would be to define what we mean by the phrase founding fathers.
The FF word was not used before 1916. A senator from Ohio named Warren Harding used the phrase in the keynote address of the 1916 Republican convention. Mr. Harding was elected President in 1920, and is regarded as perhaps the most corrupt man to ever hold the office.
There are two groups of men who could be considered the founding fathers. (The fathers part is correct. Both groups are 100% male.) The Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, which cut the ties to England. Eleven years later, the Constitutional Convention wrote the Constitution that governs America today. While the Continental Congress was braver than the Constitution writers (We must hang together, or we will hang separately), the Constitution is the document that tells our government how to function. For the purposes of this feature, the men of the Constitutional Convention are the founding fathers.
Before moving on, we should remember eight men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and later attended the Constitutional Convention. Both documents were signed by George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, George Read, Roger Sherman, and James Wilson. George Wythe left the Constitutional Convention without signing the new document. (He needed to take care of his sick wife. Mr. Wythe later supported ratification.) Elbridge Gerry (the namesake of gerrymandering) refused to sign the Constitution because it did not have a Bill of Rights. Both Mr. Wythe, and Mr. Gerry signed the Declaration of Independence.
The original topic of this discussion was about whether the founding fathers owned slaves. Apparently, PG is not the only person to wonder about this. If you go to google, and type in “did the founding fathers”, the first four answers are owned slaves, believed in G-d, have a death wish, and smoke weed.
The answer, to the obvious question, is an obvious answer. Yes, many of the founding fathers owned slaves. A name by name rundown of the 39 signatories of the Constitution was not done for this blogpost. There is this revealing comment at wiki answers about the prevalence of slave ownership. “John Adams, his second cousin Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine were the only men who are traditionally known as founding fathers who did not own slaves. Benjamin Franklin was indeed a founder of the Abolitionist Society, but he owned two slaves, named King and George. Franklin’s newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette routinely ran ads for sale or purchase of slaves.
Patrick Henry is another founding father who owned slaves, although his speeches would make one think otherwise. Despite his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, he had up to 70 slaves at a time, apologizing a few times along the way, saying he knew it was wrong, that he was accountable to his God, and citing the “general inconvenience of living without them.”
Patrick Henry was a star of the Revolution, but not present at the Constitutional Convention. The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was in Europe during the convention. Mr. Jefferson not only owned slaves, he took one to be his mistress and kidsmama.
One of the more controversial features of the Constitution is the 3/5 rule. Here are the original words “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” In other words, a slave was only considered to be 60% of a person.
That seems rather harsh. The truth is, it was a compromise. The agricultural southern states did not want to give up their slaves. The northern states did not want to give up Congressional representation. This was the first of many compromises made about slavery, ending with the War between the States. This webpage goes into more detail about the nature of slavery at the start of the U.S.A.
The research for this feature turned up a rather cynical document called The myth of the “Founding Fathers” . It is written by Adolph Nixon. He asks : “most rational persons realize that such political mythology is sheer nonsense, but it begs the question, who were the Founding Fathers and what makes them so great that they’re wiser than you are?”
Mr. Nixon reviews the 39 white men who signed the Constitution. He does not follow the rule, if you can’t say anything nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all. Of the 39, 12 were specified as slave owners, with many tagged as “slave breeders”.
The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, have served America well. However it was intended, it was written so that it could be amended, and to grow with the young republic. It has on occasion been ignored (when was the last time Congress declared war?). However fine a document it is, it was created by men. These were men of their time, who could not have foreseen the changes that America has gone through. Those who talk the most about the founding fathers often know the least about them.
A big thank you goes to wikipedia Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. This repost was written like H. P. Lovecraft.
There is yet another blog post about Shirley Q. Liquor, I’m Tired of Explaining Why I’m Offended by a Racist Drag Queen. SQL is a comic character, a black woman played by Charles Knipp, who is white. The concept is not pleasing to many people.
There is a sentence in the post which needs to be broken down. “Here’s my question: When people like me say that something is potentially racist, why do we have to defend ourselves to White people who act as the final jurist of the opinion?”
To begin, people very seldom say anything as restrained as potentially racist. The judgment is made with great force and certainty. The accuser appoints herself judge, jury, and hangwoman. There is a rush to be seen denouncing the so called racist, usually at top volume.
Racist is a six letter label, just like the N word. It is a word that gets attention. Racist is casually tossed around, and is filtered out by many people. Maybe, just maybe, there are better ways to deal with situations without using this six letter judgment.
Last summer, PG received a mailer that had some questionable content. It discussed the creation of a city of Brookhaven. The mailer was displayed, and the racially obnoxious aspects of it were discussed. Six letter labels were not used.
On election day, the voters chose to create a new city. PG’s protest did not do any good. Would using a six letter label have made any difference? Probably not. This blog does not have that large of a readership. Also, some people who were troubled by the mailer felt that a new city was the correct thing to do. PG just wanted to let people know he was not pleased.
PG is white, and can only speak for himself. When he hears the word racist, his BS detector kicks into action. These arguments are rather one sided, with white people usually the bad guys. If you want to influence behavior, you might think twice before tossing a six letter label into your speech.
There is a bit of logical fallacy in that sentence. You make a statement, go past considering whether or not it is true, and go directly to asking “why”. That would seem to be the case here. When is a person made to feel that “we have to defend ourselves to White people who act as the final jurist of the opinion?” Do these PWOC (People With Out Color) use a weapon to force this explanation? Why would you have to explain yourself anyway?
It is *racially specific* that she says white people in this sentence. Would it be better if a POC (Person of Color) didn’t automatically believe everything the author says? PG, the PWOC, could also add that he has observed POC, who generally act as the final jurist on racial matters. Maybe it is POC privilege.
When you google the phrase “what is racism?”, you get 156 million results. The definition is changing everyday. Certainly when you discuss so called reverse racism, or anti PWOC nastiness, there are many who say that racism is a society wide privilege for the PWOC, and that POC cannot be racist. Whatever.
The point is, when you hyperdefine a concept like racism, you run the risk of defining racism so narrowly that offensive entertainers do not fit the definition. Shirley Q. Liquor talking about her nineteen babydaddies does not affect the larger issues of white privilege. Or maybe racism is anything that annoys a POC. At some point, the six letter label does not mean very much.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.