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Talking about race with white people

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ryanw
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Joined: May 24 2012

quizzical wrote:

me?

yes, I couldn't for the life of me wrap my head around how everyone in town today could be the "colonizers" you spoke of. How do you explain to that guy from SE ASIA who immigrated to Canada and worked 2 1/2 jobs for years to buy a house/land and then be told its stolen and they don't deserve it. Those WWII internees that had their villages sacked and then imprisoned for the better part of a decade having to then rebuild, how do you tell them their efforts meant nothing to anyone and were enablers towards the future we see today?

it was a mere quibble on my part; as I'd rather those people and their groups work together for proper redress for all and I thought your "all/every" might alienate them

that would have been a nice thought to express immediately after you asked for clarification and before the word Irish set the scripts off

 


onlinediscountanvils
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

ryanw wrote:

yes, I couldn't for the life of me wrap my head around how everyone in town today could be the "colonizers" you spoke of. How do you explain to that guy from SE ASIA who immigrated to Canada and worked 2 1/2 jobs for years to buy a house/land and then be told its stolen and they don't deserve it. Those WWII internees that had their villages sacked and then imprisoned for the better part of a decade having to then rebuild, how do you tell them their efforts meant nothing to anyone and were enablers towards the future we see today?

 

It's not like people have to be either the oppressors or the oppressed. Most people are both in one way or another. So yes, people who have had to struggle against things like racism, sexism, and capitalism can also be colonizers. Being a colonizer doesn't negate the fact that they've been oppressed. It doesn't mean they've had an easy life, or that they're a bad person. But neither does being on the receiving end of oppression earn you a free pass when it comes to colonialism. It doesn't make you entitled to someone else's land.


milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

It's not that the guy from se asia or the ww2 vet doesn't deserve what they have, but that any fair minded person should admit that what we have is largely the result of stealing land and resources from the original inhabitants of this land, which is still going on to this day.  

that doesn't mean those people aren't also oppressed in many ways, but you'd think the victims of this oppression could at least be honest enough to see the effect they're having on FN people over many generations, and hopefully have a desire to change that, just as they've worked to change their own circumstances over the years.

just like in palestine where israeli settlers often claim they can do no wrong because they too have been a persecuted people.  If your actions have a negative impact on others like canada has on the many first nations i think it's our obligation to admit it, and do something to change it.  

 

 


quizzical
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Joined: Dec 8 2011

ryanw wrote:
quizzical wrote:
me?

yes, I couldn't for the life of me wrap my head around how everyone in town today could be the "colonizers" you spoke of.

not my fault you can't see the truth of colonizers. maybe you could listen and learn a bit before  you go much further in life?

Quote:
How do you explain to that guy from SE ASIA who immigrated to Canada and worked 2 1/2 jobs for years to buy a house/land and then be told its stolen and they don't deserve it.

don't have to explain. the situation just is.

Quote:
Those WWII internees that had their villages sacked and then imprisoned for the better part of a decade having to then rebuild, how do you tell them their efforts meant nothing to anyone and were enablers towards the future we see today?

why do you believe First Nations have to be the ones who give up their land to them and bear the brunt of colonial occupation?

Quote:
it was a mere quibble on my part; as I'd rather those people and their groups work together for proper redress for all and I thought your "all/every" might alienate them

 a mere quiblle on your part means continued death and destruction of First Peoples. why are you not worried about alienating First Nations?  again why do we have to give up our land nicely to colonizers?

Quote:
that would have been a nice thought to express immediately after you asked for clarification and before the word Irish set the scripts off

 you can't be serious....

anyhow...don't bother answering my questions. i won't be back to respond. the racism expressed in your posts is too much and i don't have to  accept it.


ryanw
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Joined: May 24 2012

no one likes moderates do they?; being on superior moral ground will always trump practical realities like the current trend of dwindling or loose demographic ties to those historical and current events. Canadians from many walks of life are very detached from their governments(and a great number of other things); a trend that continues to the detriment of all. I think if one of those people can't see any direct connection to the colonizer which they are being dressed as, they're want to tune out. Its progress I suppose that I can see you're able to draw something of a comparison between the experiences of another group in the Palestinians. I don't think other Canadians would agree that they fulfill the same proxy role as Israeli settlers do, had I a microphone and began interviewing settlers about why they're in Palestine and interviewing Canadians as to why they're on Aboriginal land I think that difference would be more apparent.

When the stakes are so high as you point out;I think its worth investigating all avenues for communication optimization with the goal of additional supporters, even if they're not ones in position to honor past commitments.  


Jacob Two-Two
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Joined: Jan 16 2002

Your posts are kind of fascinating. The sentences all make sense when taken separately, but don't seem to say anything comprehensible together, much less refer to anything anyone else has written.

I probably shouldn't but my curiousity compells me. I could take almost anything, but let's start with one of the more legible bits.

"no one likes moderates do they?; being on superior moral ground will always trump practical realities like the current trend of dwindling or loose demographic ties to those historical and current events."

 

What are you trying to say here exactly?

 

 


milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

@ryan 

i think the big difference is that our colonization has been going for several hundred years, while the situation in palestine is only since 1948 or so.  

So for those of us alive today, we don't see the bloodshed and war and torture etc that got us to where we are today.  It's stuff like grassy narrows, oka, etc...but i'll bet it stings just as bad to the ancestors of those who were killed and whose nations were almost destroyed.  

I had a great conversation with my mom about this very topic.  she's totally not a lefty and i'm sure doesn't see herself as part of a colony of any kind, but that's the real hard question--in all issues, not just this one--of how you you convince people to care about the harm they do to other people, the environment...hell, it's even hard to convince people to not harm themselves!

i know for most people they probably just have no idea of the reality of what happened or what is happening now.  the news media doesn't report it, the history classes don't teach it, etc.  Also, when we benefit from the racism (and this goes for any dominant culture in any country in the world) it means possibly giving up some of your own privileges for the benefit of someone you don't even know so i'm sure that discourages a lot of people from doing anything.

Also, fighting a massive thing like a system of government or a culture is really hard work that might kill you, have you in jail or tortured, lose your job etc. so that discourages people too.  especially when the benefits of just going along are so great.  

I remember noam chomsky talking about his decision to get involved in the anti vietnam war movement in the 60's and he had to think about the possibility of throwing away a teaching career at MIT, maybe going to prison, losing his family or worse so it's a tough call and only a certain kind of person is willing to take the leap.

 


ryanw
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Joined: May 24 2012

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

"no one likes moderates do they?; being on superior moral ground will always trump practical realities like the current trend of dwindling or loose demographic ties to those historical and current events."

 What are you trying to say here exactly?

 

1.moderates recruit idling minds to add them to their respective camp and/or otherwise advise the camp on strategies to sway the undecided. superior moral ground doesn't take suggestions that contravene that incontravertable tennant "it's their experience; your input is irrelevant" and so we get nothing wagered nothing gained. Which does in-part foster powerlessness as nothing is being done apart from "holding the line".

superior moral ground5%--moderates0.01%---people with 'better' things to do 80%--bad mods1%----Bad Guys Inc. 15%

2. as for "the trending" as previously stated some of the undecided Canadians don't or haven't enjoyed all privileges the moral high ground perceives them to possess and would apprieciate a softer approach which may or may not include shared experience validations as opposed to unilateral terms dictation. People vote less and might have trouble reconciling that not voting is an action with repurcussions, short attention spans, theres a long list of needs to satisfy to reach people who aren't listening and its so much easier to say to hell with them instead of wading through the ignorance

 


milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

"theres a long list of needs to satisfy to reach people who aren't listening and its so much easier to say to hell with them instead of wading through the ignorance"

true, it's really hard work that has to take place over generations.  I think that's why it seems so "hard" in that the people doing the hard work of trying to change the attitudes of a dominant culture don't usually get to see the progress being made. 

at the same time, if you look around: kids don't work in coal mines, women have gained rights, workers have things like labour/saftey/minimum wage laws, people can for the most part protest without being killed, etc. etc.

can you imagine where we'd be if all the people that organized and fought against those (and other) things just gave up because it was frustrating, dangerous and difficult?  one of the most inspiring things about activism, and to me the thing that keeps it going day after day is that it is done not for the benefit of the person doing it, but for the good of humanity!

isn't that reason enough to try? 


Left Turn
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Joined: Mar 28 2005

A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism'

Quote:
There's been a lot of talk these last couple of weeks about "hipster racism" or "ironic racism"-or, as I like to call it, racism. It's, you know, introducing your black friend as "my black friend"-as a joke!!!-to show everybody how totally not preoccupied you are with your black friend's blackness. It's the gentler, more clueless, and more insidious cousin of a hick in a hood; the domain of educated, middle-class white people (like me-to be clear, I am one of those) who believe that not wanting to be racist makes it okay for them to be totally racist. "But I went to college - I can't be racist!" Turns out, you can.

People benefit from racism-hell, I benefit from it every day-and things that benefit powerful people don't just suddenly get "fixed" and disappear because Halle Berry won an Oscar or whatever. Modern racism lives in entrenched de facto inequalities, in coded language about "work ethic" and "states' rights," in silent negative spaces like absence and invisibility, and in Newt Gingrich's hair. And in irony.

...

Racism is like a wily little bacterium. It doesn't just roll over and die once we swallow our antibiotics-it mutates and evolves and hides itself in plain sight, and then all of a sudden, fuck, my arm fell off. Dickhead bacteria. (Sidenote: arm for sale!)

...

So racism went underground. Sure, you can't say racist things anymore, but you can pretend to say them! Which, it turns out, is pretty much the exact same thing. There are a couple of strains of "ironic racism" making the rounds right now, and a couple of typical defenses.

...

But you know what? At least that's sincere. And at least sincere racism isn't running around Brooklyn wearing artisanal suspenders and masquerading as enlightenment. Give me sincere racism or give me no racism at all, but enough with this weaselly shit.


Jacob Two-Two
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Joined: Jan 16 2002

Well, that was a little bit clearer ryan, but not much. I gotta say man, your writing style really really sucks. I don't know if you are in fact one of those people who deliberately write in an opaque manner to sound intelligent, but you definitely come off like that and it's not a good thing. If you're not doing it on purpose than you need to do some work to prevent it. Truly intelligent writing is distinguished by its clarity, not its inscrutibility.

I still feel like I need to make a lot of assumptions about what you're saying in order to respond, which is not something I like to do, but I'll make a stab nonetheless.

Your fixation on the subtle gradations of privilege within privileged populations is missing the point entirely. Take my example: I was born and raised in Newfoundland, and come from many generations of poverty-stricken Irish-Catholic bloodlines. I was educated in the shittiest school system that Canada has to offer (run by the friggin' churches, no less), and grew up in a house that was heated by a woodstove and had no indoor toilet. I feel fairly confident that I'm near the bottom of the totem pole as far as my class and race goes.

But you know how much any of this matters when it comes to questions of race? Not a bit. The fact still remains that I am a white male. That's what I am and that's how I'm treated and I have no concept of the experiences that truly disenfranchised peoples live with every day of their lives. The marginal understanding I have of their struggles is only gained by listening to them tell their stories and taking them to heart, and I always, always take it very seriously when I am told that my language or actions may be exclusionary or elitist, because from my extremely privileged position as a white male it is all too easy for me to overlook these things. The luxury of overlooking the prejudices of society is what privilege is all about.

All you are doing here is splitting hairs in a manner that has no value to the discussion of the racial prejudices of society. The fact that there are some white males out there that have had more privilege than me does not dilute my privilege or change it in any way. It is still a fact, and trying to qualify that fact only smacks of defensiveness and self-absorption. Once again, it is the white male trying to make the conversation all about himself. Own your privilege and work to change it, and then you might move the conversation forward. Anything else just moves it back.


ryanw
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Joined: May 24 2012

my post isn't about me or anyone that knows anything about this group; it certainly isn't about people who know something and have it all wrong. It's about that slice of Canada (and those that would have their ear)that could most reasonably understand the experience, the abuse, the genocide, the poverty and have the highest probability of becoming activated

having people politely calling me names is such an insignificant deterrance for me to discontinue my chosen route of activism; given as I have so much privilege in my life this is a walk in the park 


Jacob Two-Two
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Joined: Jan 16 2002

What? Once again I have no idea what you're trying to say. Are you saying I'm calling you names? I assure you I'm not. I'm just trying to tell you your attempts to communicate are failing. Can't you say what you mean plainly?

My post may not be pertinent to whatever you were trying to tell me. I can certainly buy that, but like I said I was taking a stab in the dark because I haven't yet discerned what point you're trying to make, which makes it hard to respond. You really need to work on this.


Left Turn
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Joined: Mar 28 2005

Let's move this discussion forwards!!!

How to talk to white people about racism

Quote:
I've come to realize that debating is just another derailing tactic. If you come across a white American who wants to argue, cloud the issue, split hairs, etc., then you've reached the end of the conversation - period. Social justice is not a cult; it's not your job to "convert" people. They have to choose to either be a decent human being or to support the racist colonialist system that is America.

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Left Turn wrote:

Let's move this discussion forwards!!!

How to talk to white people about racism

Quote:

I've come to realize that debating is just another derailing tactic. If you come across a white American who wants to argue, cloud the issue, split hairs, etc., then you've reached the end of the conversation - period. Social justice is not a cult; it's not your job to "convert" people. They have to choose to either be a decent human being or to support the racist colonialist system that is America.

Good article and I liked this comment after it.

Mira wrote:

Don’t talk to whites about racism. And if they don’t realize you’re not talking to them about it not because there’s no racism but because you know it’s useless, don’t talk to them at all.


MegB
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Joined: Nov 28 2001

Thanks for the link - very relevant to the theme of the thread!


milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

personally, i get a kick out of arguing with people, even if they don't agree with me.  Maybe they're trying to save face, but you know when they go home that conversation is probably on their mind and might have an impact.  

maybe it's useless , sure , but it's worth a shot!


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Whites Believe They Are Victims of Racism More Often Than Blacks

 

Whites believe that they have replaced blacks as the primary victims of racial discrimination in contemporary America, according to a new study from researchers at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School. The findings, say the authors, show that America has not achieved the "post-racial" society that some predicted in the wake of Barack Obama's election. 

Both whites and blacks agree that anti-black racism has decreased over the last 60 years, according to the study. However, whites believe that anti-white racism has increased and is now a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

 "It's a pretty surprising finding when you think of the wide range of disparities that still exist in society, most of which show black Americans with worse outcomes than whites in areas such as income, home ownership, health and employment," said Tufts Associate Professor of Psychology Samuel Sommers, Ph.D., co-author of "Whites See Racism as a Zero-sum Game that They Are Now Losing," which appears in the May 2011 issue of the journalPerspectives on Psychological Science.

 


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

Not surprising. But that does not make it any less depressing. {I guess 'sobering' would be the more proactive way to put it. But it does depressing for me.}


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

I find that one really can't say very much about people's choices when they're excited about planning for vacations down south, say to Cuba or Mexico or the Dominican Republic.  They'll stock up on sample sized toothpaste, soap, and deodorant not for themselves, but as gifts to the hotel staff in exchange for proper room service or what not.  Apparently they've learned from experience or by word of mouth passed on from other travelers that gifts of this nature are what people living there covet and appreciate the most.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Actually this song says it all about vacationing in the Caribbean.  Not much has changed in peoples attitudes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGxL2uNr7bk


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Calipsonian Lord Invader's much harsher and more pointed version is far superior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMWUF3LYd88

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2002/jan/26/guardianobituaries


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

The one time I took one of those flights to Cuba (it was a family gathering) we were advised to bring things like clothes and pencils. I took a box of hand-crank flashlights, and we asked around to find out who could best use them. Maybe it was of some use, maybe not, and if I was wrong I don't mind being a fool for the mistake.I certainly didn't feel like a hero for doing it; it was just some extra room in our bags.

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

I posted the Andrew Sisters because it represents the sentiments of the white folks going on vacation to gated beaches far more than the various progressive versions.  You are totally right that the version you posted is way better.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Oh yes, it is still the same ... even in Cuba. The Andrews Sisters version sugar-coats the story.

Here is another great one by Lord Pretender, "Human Race". Nowadays, we'd call it rather heteronormative, but that wasn't the point:

http://guanaguanaresingsat.blogspot.ca/2011/02/human-race-song.html

 


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Yes, SJ mentioned Cuba too, so I didn't think my destination was in any way special. I don't see it as any different than me transporting things to a developed country that are hard to find there. And I know I have asked enough times for people to bring things here that I can't get.

Now if someone is under the impression that they are saving the world with a bar of soap, I'd agree they might be a bit deluded.

 

 


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

In terms of travelling to Cuba, yes, you should be taking toiletteries and parapharmaceuticals, simply because there are severe shortages because of the embargo. But not as an alternative to leaving a tip, if that is the custom there (I don't know, think so?)


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ lagatta

Yes, I agree that would be crass, which is why I mentioned that we asked around, and gave things to people personally outside of the work relationship. Sorry for dancing around that point; it was on my mind too.

And again, if I am a fool for doing that, then I am content to be one.

I guess what I am saying is that if one is doing this in a practical way (and really, many of us do this at home too) rather than a prideful way, I don't see a problem with it. But I agree that a lot of people do it in a shameful and cheap way.


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

The Invention of the White Race

Quote:
The key to understanding racial oppression, Allen argues, is in the formation of the intermediate social control buffer stratum, which serves the interests of the ruling class. In the case of racial oppression in Virginia, any persons of discernible non-European ancestry after Bacon’s Rebellion were denied a role in the social control buffer group, the bulk of which was made up of laboring-class “whites.” In the Anglo-Caribbean, by contrast, under a similar Anglo- ruling elite, “mulattos” were included in the social control stratum and were promoted into middle-class status. For Allen, this was the key to understanding the difference between Virginia’s ruling-class policy of  “fixing a perpetual brand” on African-Americans, and the policy of the West Indian planters of formally recognizing the middle-class status “colored” descendant and other Afro-Caribbeans who earned special merit by their service to the regime. This difference, between racial oppression and national oppression, was rooted in a number of social control-related factors, one of the most important of which was that in the West Indies there were “too few” poor and laboring-class Europeans to embody an adequate petit bourgeoisie, while in the continental colonies there were ‘’too many’’ to be accommodated in the ranks of that class.

Quote:
When he completed Volume II sixteen years ago, the 78-years-old Allen, in words that resonate today, ended by describing “unmistakable signs of maturing social conflict” between “the common people” and “the Titans.”


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

The first rule of blackface: It’s not hard to understand, everyone...is don't wear blackface.

The end.

Now why is that so hard for some people to remember?

 


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