Chamblee54

Fighting Racism With Clickbait

Posted in Library of Congress, Race, The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 2, 2017

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A link keeps turning up on facebook. It is for an item, 18 Things White People Should Know/Do Before Discussing Racism. It was posted at The Frisky | Celebrity Gossip, Relationship Advice, Beauty and Fashion Tips. The facility has a series of suggested posts at the top of the page. The first one you see is BLOWJOB TECHNIQUES YOU NEED TO TRY.

18 Things is supposed to be educational. PG was encouraged to read the piece two weeks ago, and found it lacking. The link today was from a combination facebook friend/ facebook unfriend. Maybe 18 Things deserves another look.

18 Things is garbage. Take a look at number one. “1. It is uncomfortable to talk about racism. It is more uncomfortable to live it.” You would never know this from the number of people who seem to enjoy talking about racism. The louder you talk, the more passion you display, the more truth your words have. What is uncomfortable is to quit talking, and listen.

But then, maybe the idea is for everyone to talk at once. Here is item 16: “16. Silence does nothing. Blank stares and silence do not further this difficult but necessary conversation.” If you are going to listen to someone, it is very helpful to keep your mouth shut.

“2. “Colorblindness” is a cop-out. The statements “but I don’t see color” or “I never care about color” do not help to build a case against systemic racism. Try being the only White person in an environment. You will notice color then.” This is a curious paragraph. Sentence one has little to do with sentences two, three, and four.

Sentences three and four are connected. The author assumes that the PWOC reading this piece has never been the only pale face in an environment. Actually, it is probably more common to be the only white person in the room, than to be the only black person in a room full of whites.

“3. Oprah’s success does not mean the end of racism. The singular success of a Black man or woman (i.e. Oprah, or Tiger Woods, or President Obama) is never a valid argument against the existence of racism. By this logic, the success of Frederick Douglass or Amanda America Dickson during the 19th century would be grounds for disproving slavery.”

Has anyone ever said that the success of Oprah Winfrey is the end of racism? Do you have a link for that? Ok, and even if they did say that, it would be wildly untrue. But it gets better. If you agree with this statement that very few people have made, that is like saying that the success of Frederick Douglass disproves slavery. This is ridiculous.

The rest of the piece is little better. Items 4, 5, 9, 14, and 15, can be summed up with the five words … there is racism in America. You are encouraged to use google to educate yourself. This can go in different directions. Maybe you could google “logical fallacy,” or “critical thinking.”

This feature should not be taken as denying the existence of race problems in America. (The words racism/racist are problematic.) People should be treated with kindness and respect. Opportunities should be available to all people. The police should not target racially defined populations. Celebrities should not say tacky things.

The question arises, though. What value do articles like 18 Things have? Do they inform people who need to learn? Are they preaching to the choir? (Frisky has a header ad for Red Bull. Do articles like this sell power energy drinks?)

There are other possibilities. Do articles like 18 Things trivialize racial problems? Maybe the constant promotion of nonsense like 18 Things will lead people to believe that there really isn’t a race problem in America. People who uncritically praise articles like this are doing more harm than good. Those who claim to educate should be held to some sort of standard. Posting nonsense on the internet is not the same thing as working for equality and justice.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
















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