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  #151  
Old 01-11-2020, 05:42 PM
Kimstu is offline
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Just because something is used as a tool, doesn't remove it from human nature.
But it is by no means proven that racism as the world has known it for the last few hundred years actually is an innate part of human nature.

We know that humans have various innate tendencies toward tribal cohesion and inter-tribal antipathies, but that doesn't mean that it's natural for humans to use skin color as a proxy for "tribe".

Certainly we don't see a similar kind of "color prejudice" in other animals with natural pigmentation variation. Different colored horses live together in the same herd, for example, and different colored dogs in the same pack. Even geographically separated but closely related species don't maintain a human-style "color line" when they come into closer proximity: witness, e.g., the increased mating rates between differently colored grizzly bears and polar bears in the wake of habitat compression due to climate change.

And when you consider that a whole lot of the human coloring variation that we now think of as "racial" is actually very recent in our history as a species---e.g., blond hair originated only about 11,000 years ago, and light skin among northern Europeans even more recently than that---you kind of have to wonder how this supposedly "innate" tendency for racial bias got established. Shoot, lactose tolerance is over 4000 years old and yet it's not "human nature" to be prejudiced against other people on the basis of that.

No, while basic human tribalism is definitely a long-evolved aspect of "human nature", there's no convincing reason to think that human racism based on melanin levels is.
  #152  
Old 01-11-2020, 05:44 PM
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Ambi, what kind of answer were you looking for from your friend?

What would you have considered a "good answer"?
  #153  
Old 01-11-2020, 05:50 PM
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Ambi, what kind of answer were you looking for from your friend?

What would you have considered a "good answer"?
His opinion on the matters being discussed in the posts of others he had shared on FB

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-11-2020 at 05:53 PM.
  #154  
Old 01-11-2020, 05:59 PM
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Barring that, his reasoning for witholding any sort of substantive answer at all beyond saying it "wasn't his problem".
  #155  
Old 01-11-2020, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Or possibly he had a long life's worth of experiences with white people that had led him to conclude that it's safer and simpler to just shut up around all of us, rather than continuing to put time and energy into figuring out which individual white people he can open up around. Nobody in the room at that moment may intend to be rude; but there may have been lots of people during Cecil's life who have been very rude indeed.
EXACTLY! Yes, I knew this and respected it and didnt try and join in or be pushy or anything.

Matter of fact with my black coworkers I almost never bring it up but just talk everyday things.

Like last night in the breakroom the tv was on and commercial came on for a dvd of classic Soul music performances like say Marvin Gaye, The Commodores, and James Brown and we both talked the groups and people we liked.
  #156  
Old 01-11-2020, 06:19 PM
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Barring that, his reasoning for witholding any sort of substantive answer at all beyond saying it "wasn't his problem".
Can you understand why an aquaintance may not feel comfortable sharing his (no doubt complex) opinion about a sensitive subject with you? Has this thread helped you to understand where he's coming from?
  #157  
Old 01-11-2020, 06:23 PM
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Barring that, his reasoning for witholding any sort of substantive answer at all beyond saying it "wasn't his problem".
What's wrong with "wasn't his problem" as a sufficient reason for withholding a "substantive answer"? Is he there for the purpose of providing "substantive answers" to Facebook acquaintances? Do you get how it's possible that he might have found your request a tedious and somewhat entitled imposition in a discussion that wasn't about providing you with Anti-Racism 101 lessons?

Because I gotta say, Ambivalid, I would have thought you'd have found it easier than this to intuitively understand how it's possible for some people to imagine that they're doing something useful when they're actually not, and they don't realize how much it annoys you to have to deal with it because in fact you encounter this exact same sort of clueless behavior all the time.

In that linked thread you were justifiably annoyed with the other person because, given your experience with that sort of situation, it was very apparent to you that he wasn't paying any attention to what you really needed or what would have been genuinely helpful. He was just locked into his own head about what he unreflectively thought would be "nice behavior" and make him feel good. But you know, maybe he just didn't see that because he has ambulatory privilege and he's never had to see that.

I mean, it's super obvious to you that people who would like to make life easier for wheelchair users should start out by paying attention to what wheelchair users actually say they want rather than what they naively assume would be a good thing to do. But that's not necessarily so obvious to people who aren't constantly dealing with such situations.


Likewise, maybe it's super obvious to your friend Mark that people who would like to be better at combating racism should first go do their due diligence by finding pre-written explanations, critiques and advice to inform themselves about the issue, rather than barging into an acquaintance's Facebook venting thread to ask him to take time and energy to educate them (while being duly considerate of their feelings as a well-meaning white person, natch). But that's not necessarily so obvious to you.
  #158  
Old 01-11-2020, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Can you understand why an aquaintance may not feel comfortable sharing his (no doubt complex) opinion about a sensitive subject with you? Has this thread helped you to understand where he's coming from?
To a point, yes. But he's never been one to shy away from expressing his opinion, even on race related issues. And it still seems unusual to me, even for a "venting session", for someone to post something that they are well aware that thousands of people will see (he has thousands of fb friends) and not be comfortable giving their opinion on it. What sorts of reactions was he hoping for/expecting when he shared those posts?
  #159  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:14 PM
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What's wrong with "wasn't his problem" as a sufficient reason for withholding a "substantive answer"? Is he there for the purpose of providing "substantive answers" to Facebook acquaintances? Do you get how it's possible that he might have found your request a tedious and somewhat entitled imposition in a discussion that wasn't about providing you with Anti-Racism 101 lessons?

Because I gotta say, Ambivalid, I would have thought you'd have found it easier than this to intuitively understand how it's possible for some people to imagine that they're doing something useful when they're actually not, and they don't realize how much it annoys you to have to deal with it because in fact you encounter this exact same sort of clueless behavior all the time.

In that linked thread you were justifiably annoyed with the other person because, given your experience with that sort of situation, it was very apparent to you that he wasn't paying any attention to what you really needed or what would have been genuinely helpful. He was just locked into his own head about what he unreflectively thought would be "nice behavior" and make him feel good. But you know, maybe he just didn't see that because he has ambulatory privilege and he's never had to see that.

I mean, it's super obvious to you that people who would like to make life easier for wheelchair users should start out by paying attention to what wheelchair users actually say they want rather than what they naively assume would be a good thing to do. But that's not necessarily so obvious to people who aren't constantly dealing with such situations.


Likewise, maybe it's super obvious to your friend Mark that people who would like to be better at combating racism should first go do their due diligence by finding pre-written explanations, critiques and advice to inform themselves about the issue, rather than barging into an acquaintance's Facebook venting thread to ask him to take time and energy to educate them (while being duly considerate of their feelings as a well-meaning white person, natch). But that's not necessarily so obvious to you.

First off, i didnt barge into a damn thing. I commented on a fb post from a fb friend. Isn't that what **everyone** does on fb? Or are their certain topics which are supposedly verboten for certain groups of people to comment on or express an interest in, even on Facebook, even when it's a fb friend's post that automatically comes up on your feed, if they come from other certain groups of people? And how do you recognize a "venting session" with no actual words or posts of venting, or in fact of any kind? I was the first person to comment on these shared posts. It was the shared posts themselves that i should have recognized as marking a "venting session"? Because sharing posts of others is a hallmark of FB.

His shared posts certainly didnt come with any disclaimers or warnings about the nature of their postings or who should be replying and who shouldnt. And maybe i wasnt even all that interested in becoming an active antiracist activist? Maybe i wad simply interested as a bystander to what i had read? Because the shared posts themselves talked about this patriarchy, what it was, how it thrived and why it persisted. However, it didnt talk about ways in which this patriarchy could be defeated or dismantled.

Yes, googling and doing research above and beyond FB is the right path. But i saw the first opportunity being that of asking one individual person, a friend that ive known for decades, what *his* opinions were as to ways of combating this patriarchy. I wasnt looking to him to speak for *anyone* but himself.

I could understand being characterized as "barging in" or "cold-calling" or as the many similar ways i have been characterized in this thread but how could that be, considering I was just asking a fb friend for his opinion re a shared post he had posted? Again, isn't that what Facebook is all about? How was i supposed to know this was a venting session and not a normal fb post which is open to normal questions? Why am i necessarily seeking an "education" from him, i was seeking his personal opinion. His opinion could have been " honestly man, i dont know either. I'd think googling would be a start tho."

And why is the simple act of me asking for his opinion on a fb post he shared somehow turn into "Anti-Racism 101" lessons? In order for that to be the case, I'd have to view his opinions as being the opinions of all black people. I absolutely did not. I only wanted the opinion of my friend who had posted on this subject.

"Tedious and entitled imposition"? I honestly do not understand this. Entitled as if i were entitled to a substantive response? Clearly not. When he said its not his problem and that he wasnt my sherpa *i did not continue to press for his opinion*. My questions then became ones trying to understand why he felt that simply asking for his opinion was interpreted as "asking him to be my sherpa" or "doing my homework for me". Thats where i used the word "substantive" and i only meant it as a response that helped me understand what i couldn't about why he was not giving me his opinion.

I can understand how i was *mistakenly* seen as hardheaded by continuing to ask why he was stonewalling me. But it was just that, mistakenly. I absolutely and truly did not understand. I had never before come upon a similar situation in my life. A person makes an interesting FB post, I, a recipient of that post inquire about the poster's opinion on the matter. The poster tells me no, in rather stark terms. And i then express my inability to understand why me asking for his opinion is so verboten. To which im given no answer that illuminates my lack of understanding.
  #160  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:30 PM
Ambivalid is offline
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What's

I mean, it's super obvious to you that people who would like to make life easier for wheelchair users should start out by paying attention to what wheelchair users actually say they want rather than what they naively assume would be a good thing to do. But that's not necessarily so obvious to people who aren't constantly dealing with such situations.


Likewise, maybe it's super obvious to your friend Mark that people who would like to be better at combating racism should first go do their due diligence by finding pre-written explanations, critiques and advice to inform themselves about the issue, rather than barging into an acquaintance's Facebook venting thread to ask him to take time and energy to educate them (while being duly considerate of their feelings as a well-meaning white person, natch). But that's not necessarily so obvious to you.
If this had been s FB post in which i had shared a post from someone else re the ways in which the world marginalizes and mistreats wheelchair users, and it didnt actually *talk* about ways to overcome that marginalization and a FB friend, especially one i had had a long history sharing good faith debate with, asked me my opinion on such ways, i would have gladly given it.

Now its not nearly an exact comparison to the situation here but the "paying attention to what wheelchair users say they want" could just as easily be "pay attention to what the victims of racisms say they want."

I would much rather someone hear from an actual live wheelchair user who is known to them *first* before starting that research into the cold, pre-written detached words of faceless disabled and nondisabled people. But i see that perhaps it's not the same task when it comes to discussing racism to those with no experience of it.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-11-2020 at 07:32 PM.
  #161  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:33 PM
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To a point, yes. But he's never been one to shy away from expressing his opinion, even on race related issues. And it still seems unusual to me, even for a "venting session", for someone to post something that they are well aware that thousands of people will see (he has thousands of fb friends) and not be comfortable giving their opinion on it. What sorts of reactions was he hoping for/expecting when he shared those posts?
Did you just ask for him opinion? Or did you ask specific questions to help him frame his response?

Because if someone were to PM me and ask me for my opinion on racism, I wouldn't know what to say. I know it may seem like I should have lots of stuff to say on the subject given my posting history. But I wouldn't know how to respond to that query in a succinct, effortless way. It would really have to think hard how I would compose something that would do justice to my thoughts and feelings without being a wall of scary unreadable text. Even in a PM, I care about how my words come across.

So if I was expected to share my opinion in front of an audience, I really wouldn't know what to say. Especially considering the high possibility that the person I'm responding to will have follow-up questions--questions that will likely piss me off because they will likely put me on the defense. Questions like, "Forgive me, but can you explain why you are so upset by X? Cuz I'm still not getting why X is a problem." It is super hard not to get angry over a response like this. In my experience, people who ask for an opinion are rarely satisfied with just getting that opinion. They almost always want to discuss that opinion and contrast it with theirs. And that is okay for trivial stuff like ice cream flavors. It's infuriating when it comes to racism.

Now, if someone were to ask me to share my opinion over a specific article about racism or a specific current event involving racism, I probably wouldn't have a problem sharing my thoughts since I can probably hammer out a one-liner that encapsulates my viewpoint without me getting too emotionally worked up. But if what you are asking me requires me to bare my soul, then I'm probably going to tell you what Mark told you. Google is your friend.

What a lot of people don't really get is that for members of stigmatized minority groups, racism isn't an intellectual abstraction. It's a lived experience. Talking about it is almost always going to bring up intense, negative emotions. So you just weren't asking Mark for an opinion. You were asking Mark to remember the horrible shit he's been through.

If you really do want to learn from a contemporary account, I recommend Ta Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me."
  #162  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:39 PM
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Did you just ask for him opinion? Or did you ask specific questions to help him frame his response?

Because if someone were to PM me and ask me for my opinion on racism, I wouldn't know what to say. I know it may seem like I should have lots of stuff to say on the subject given my posting history. But I wouldn't know how to respond to that query in a succinct, effortless way. It would really have to think hard how I would compose something that would do justice to my thoughts and feelings without being a wall of scary unreadable text. Even in a PM, I care about how my words come across.

So if I was expected to share my opinion in front of an audience, I really wouldn't know what to say. Especially considering the high possibility that the person I'm responding to will have follow-up questions--questions that will likely piss me off because they will likely put me on the defense. Questions like, "Forgive me, but can you explain why you are so upset by X? Cuz I'm still not getting why X is a problem." It is super hard not to get angry over a response like this. In my experience, people who ask for an opinion are rarely satisfied with just getting that opinion. They almost always want to discuss that opinion and contrast it with theirs. And that is okay for trivial stuff like ice cream flavors. It's infuriating when it comes to racism.

Now, if someone were to ask me to share my opinion over a specific article about racism or a specific current event involving racism, I probably wouldn't have a problem sharing my thoughts since I can probably hammer out a one-liner that encapsulates my viewpoint without me getting too emotionally worked up. But if what you are asking me requires me to bare my soul, then I'm probably going to tell you what Mark told you. Google is your friend.

What a lot of people don't really get is that for members of stigmatized minority groups, racism isn't an intellectual abstraction. It's a lived experience. Talking about it is almost always going to bring up intense, negative emotions. So you just weren't asking Mark for an opinion. You were asking Mark to remember the horrible shit he's been through.

If you really do want to learn from a contemporary account, I recommend Ta Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me."
I asked him, "what, in your opinion, might be some ways to combat this white supremacist patriarchy"? Word for word, that is what i asked him

ETA: I did try to talk to him in PM form, to no avail. Perhaps it was too late at that point. And I'd have no experience to contrast with his, i honestly just wanted to listen

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-11-2020 at 07:44 PM.
  #163  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:45 PM
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I would much rather someone hear from an actual live wheelchair user who is known to them *first* before starting that research into the cold, pre-written detached words of faceless disabled and nondisabled people. But i see that perhaps it's not the same task when it comes to discussing racism to those with no experience of it.
I have a coworker who is disabled. I believe she has MS. She uses crutches sometimes, a wheelchair other times. We are acquaintances. She is a nice, friendly person.

If I was confused about constitutes abelism, would you advise me to talk to this aquaintance of mine? Or would you encourage me to do some reading on the subject, since there's a lot of good information out there already?
  #164  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:10 PM
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I have a coworker who is disabled. I believe she has MS. She uses crutches sometimes, a wheelchair other times. We are acquaintances. She is a nice, friendly person.

If I was confused about constitutes abelism, would you advise me to talk to this aquaintance of mine? Or would you encourage me to do some reading on the subject, since there's a lot of good information out there already?
If you wanted to know facts about what constitutes ableism, reading on the subject is the way to go.

If you wanted her opinion on ways to combat ableism, well, asking her would probably be the way to go.
  #165  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:11 PM
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I asked him, "what, in your opinion, might be some ways to combat this white supremacist patriarchy"? Word for word, that is what i asked him
That's a pretty broad question to ask someone. That's a question that involves typing out an essay if a person wants to do it justice. Not everyone wants to invest time and energy in composing an essay.

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ETA: I did try to talk to him in PM form, to no avail. Perhaps it was too late at that point. And I'd have no experience to contrast with his, i honestly just wanted to listen
I know you did, but your friend didn't know that. For all your friend knew, you were setting him up for a debate. It is possible that if you were friends rather than acquaintances, he would have engaged you offline.

It is also possible that instead of asking your friend to do all the thinking, you could shown that you have been doing your own and that you aren't a total novice to the discourse. This would have demonstrated that you respect his FB page and his postings and weren't baiting him into a debate. Things might have gone down differently if you had said something like, "The articles you have posted have been me a lot of food for thought, and I'm thinking about things I can do to fight the system. Can you point me to a resource where I can learn more?" Maybe Mark would have still given you a curt response, I don't know. But I can understand why your original question raised some hackles. Opinions are trivial, really. Everyone's got them. They are worth a dime a dozen. Someone who is serious about understanding seeks out knowledge and information, not opinions. It is possible that if you had asked Mark for information, he would have taken you more seriously.
  #166  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:28 PM
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That's a pretty broad question to ask someone. That's a question that involves typing out an essay if a person wants to do it justice. Not everyone wants to invest time and energy in composing an essay.



I know you did, but your friend didn't know that. For all your friend knew, you were setting him up for a debate. It is possible that if you were friends rather than acquaintances, he would have engaged you offline.

It is also possible that instead of asking your friend to do all the thinking, you could shown that you have been doing your own and that you aren't a total novice to the discourse. This would have demonstrated that you respect his FB page and his postings and weren't baiting him into a debate. Things might have gone down differently if you had said something like, "The articles you have posted have been me a lot of food for thought, and I'm thinking about things I can do to fight the system. Can you point me to a resource where I can learn more?" Maybe Mark would have still given you a curt response, I don't know. But I can understand why your original question raised some hackles. Opinions are trivial, really. Everyone's got them. They are worth a dime a dozen. Someone who is serious about understanding seeks out knowledge and information, not opinions. It is possible that if you had asked Mark for information, he would have taken you more seriously.
Ok i see your points here. Especially the first, my question was very broad, perhaps overly so. And i *did* tell him i was asking from a place of ignorance. He knows me to engage in good faith, I've never done anything like setting one up for a debate unknowingly by making it seem like i had nothing to say. That is not engaging in good faith. Ive had more substantial interaction with Mark than just about any of my other friends on FB.

Opinions *can* be trivial, depending on where they come from. Opinions coming from a place of ignorance and misunderstanding are rather trivial. But, for instance, my opinion on the prevalence of ableism in the day to day world is much much less trivial than that same opinion coming from an able-bodied person with no experience with disability. Plus, when it comes to dismantling this patriarchy, there exists nothing *but* opinions as to the best ways moving forward.

With Mark, it wasn't *just* the fact that he was black that i sought his opinion. It was also that i respected him, thought highly of his intelligence and would have regarded his opinion as one reached thru introspection, knowledge of the issues and understanding of nuances.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-11-2020 at 08:32 PM.
  #167  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:33 PM
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I could understand being characterized as "barging in" or "cold-calling" or as the many similar ways i have been characterized in this thread but how could that be, considering I was just asking a fb friend for his opinion re a shared post he had posted?
So then I take it that I was right when I implied you cold called him. There hadn’t been any discussion between the two of you before you laid that question at his feet. What happened was that he posted something to his page about racism, it passively showed up in your feed, and your response to this was to ask him what you can do about it.

My earlier analogy holds. Imagine if your friend had posted some nerdy fanwanky essay about Star Wars —presumably for those knowledgeable and interested enough in the movie to appreciate what he appreciated about it—and then you come along and ask him to explain what the whole Star Wars saga is about. Since it’s impossible to sum up Star Wars in a less than a couple of sentences, this is a ridiculously tall order. But even if it wasn’t, there is no shortage of content online about Star Wars. You can google it and get far better explanations than your average Facebook acquaintance could type out.

I don’t know if your friend thought your question was loaded or disingenuous, but it wouldn’t be an unreasonable conclusion. People really interested in knowing what Star Wars is about don’t go around asking people what the story is about, as if they don’t know what a DVD player is. They do the logical thing and watch the movies. Likewise, people really interested in knowing what they can do to fight racism don’t go around seeking advice from Facebook acquaintances (not even real friends). They look for essays, books, and even documentaries that will enlighten them.
  #168  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:41 PM
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If you wanted to know facts about what constitutes ableism, reading on the subject is the way to go.

If you wanted her opinion on ways to combat ableism, well, asking her would probably be the way to go.
Reading on the subject would probably give me a lot of facts AND opinions on abelism. Including opinions that my acquaintance would agree with.

Asking one person to give me her opinion of ableism is setting myself up for a "Google is your friend" type of response. It's also setting myself for other disappointing, unhelpful responses. So no, I don't think that's the best way to go.

If someone asked me about my opinions on how to combat racism and I told them I don't wanna talk about it, would it be reasonable for that person to throw up their hands and give up their quest for understanding? Or should they realize that my opinion isn't the key to their understanding and they should consult with existing sources of information if they want to be properly educated?

People like Coates write books and op-ed pieces so that you don't have to ask people like Mark to bare their souls to you.

I don't know when this exchange happened, but have you actually gone to Google yet? I gave you a book recommendation. Are you going to check it out? If all you are interested in is this one guy's opinion, then it is hard for me to think you are all that interested in understanding black people's experiences with white supremacy patriarchy.
  #169  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:58 PM
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He knows me to engage in good faith, I've never done anything like setting one up for a debate unknowingly by making it seem like i had nothing to say. That is not engaging in good faith.
"Good faith" is in the eye of the beholder, though. Racism is not a sensitive topic for you. Conversations about race are not loaded with landmines for you. But they probably are for Mark. So in a dialogue about race, you might perceive yourself to be asking perfectly innocent questions. For someone like Mark, those questions may not come across so innocently. They might come across as belittling or purposefully obtuse. They may remind him of the vast gulf between you two.

If you've never dialogued with Mark before about race, he has no idea how "cool" you are. There are some folks I trust with conversations about race. But there are other folks who I don't trust with this topic, even though I trust them on everything else. I don't know how you build trust, but I would say social media postings is not the way to do it.
  #170  
Old 01-11-2020, 09:10 PM
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Reading on the subject would probably give me a lot of facts AND opinions on abelism. Including opinions that my acquaintance would agree with.

Asking one person to give me her opinion of ableism is setting myself up for a "Google is your friend" type of response. It's also setting myself for other disappointing, unhelpful responses. So no, I don't think that's the best way to go.

If someone asked me about my opinions on how to combat racism and I told them I don't wanna talk about it, would it be reasonable for that person to throw up their hands and give up their quest for understanding? Or should they realize that my opinion isn't the key to their understanding and they should consult with existing sources of information if they want to be properly educated?

People like Coates write books and op-ed pieces so that you don't have to ask people like Mark to bare their souls to you.

I don't know when this exchange happened, but have you actually gone to Google yet? I gave you a book recommendation. Are you going to check it out? If all you are interested in is this one guy's opinion, then it is hard for me to think you are all that interested in understanding black people's experiences with white supremacy patriarchy.
First of all, im saying if you wanted to hear **her** opinion on the ableism topic, because you knew from past history with her that she might very likely have something to say that was worth listening to. Especially if say, she had just stuffed your maibox with a letter *about* ableism.

Secondly, if Mark had responded to my query with "I don't want to talk about it" then i would have no reason to press on at all. But that's not what he said. He said "im not your sherpa" and "its not my problem". I honestly didnt understand why i received that kind of response from him. And i was **not** looking to be "properly educated". I wasn't viewing his opinion as a substitute for proper research. I was just curious to hear his opinion on this subject he had taken the time to find and share an informative post on that was now in my feed. Curious because i appreciated what he had to say on many other matters.

And actually, i havent had to google yet. My gf has "We Were 8 Years in Power" by T.C. which ive just cracked. Its more a collection of essays but since i already have it (and i much prefer reading old school page-turners) i figure its a good starting point.
  #171  
Old 01-11-2020, 09:17 PM
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"Good faith" is in the eye of the beholder, though. Racism is not a sensitive topic for you. Conversations about race are not loaded with landmines for you. But they probably are for Mark. So in a dialogue about race, you might perceive yourself to be asking perfectly innocent questions. For someone like Mark, those questions may not come across so innocently. They might come across as belittling or purposefully obtuse. They may remind him of the vast gulf between you two.

If you've never dialogued with Mark before about race, he has no idea how "cool" you are. There are some folks I trust with conversations about race. But there are other folks who I don't trust with this topic, even though I trust them on everything else. I don't know how you build trust, but I would say social media postings is not the way to do it.
Please dont make me sound silly. I never said he knows im cool. All i said is, from all our past debates and discussions (of which there are many), as well as our time as classmates, he has always known me to engage in good faith. Race discussions may be different but any suspicion he may have brought to our exchange did not come from our extensive history of dialogue.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-11-2020 at 09:17 PM.
  #172  
Old 01-11-2020, 09:44 PM
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So then I take it that I was right when I implied you cold called him. There hadn’t been any discussion between the two of you before you laid that question at his feet. What happened was that he posted something to his page about racism, it passively showed up in your feed, and your response to this was to ask him what you can do about it.

My earlier analogy holds. Imagine if your friend had posted some nerdy fanwanky essay about Star Wars —presumably for those knowledgeable and interested enough in the movie to appreciate what he appreciated about it—and then you come along and ask him to explain what the whole Star Wars saga is about. Since it’s impossible to sum up Star Wars in a less than a couple of sentences, this is a ridiculously tall order. But even if it wasn’t, there is no shortage of content online about Star Wars. You can google it and get far better explanations than your average Facebook acquaintance could type out.

I don’t know if your friend thought your question was loaded or disingenuous, but it wouldn’t be an unreasonable conclusion. People really interested in knowing what Star Wars is about don’t go around asking people what the story is about, as if they don’t know what a DVD player is. They do the logical thing and watch the movies. Likewise, people really interested in knowing what they can do to fight racism don’t go around seeking advice from Facebook acquaintances (not even real friends). They look for essays, books, and even documentaries that will enlighten them.
You're mischaracterizing way FB works. It wasnt "posted to his page", it was posted to all the 4000+ fb friends he has. So it didnt "passively" show up on my feed (im not sure what you mean by that anyway), it showed up exactly the way its supposed to and exactly the way he intended it to.

Also, to keep the Star Wars analogy going, the post shared was discussing Star Wars and it informed in about a paragraph. It didnt need to give the entire history, prologue, epilogue and cast of characters in order to be informative.

And neither did Mark. He didnt need to give me any kind of exhaustive, essay-level answer. I was asking him (what i thought was) a logical followup question to the shared post. That post had described what the patriarchy *was* *how* the patriarchy functions and *how* it would be with us until destroyed.

I wasn't "going around seeking advice from fb friends". I was *responding* to one specific friend whose FB post on the subject of racism brought up what i honestly considered to be a legitimate, honest and thoughtful question. He could have given me an informative answer with just a few sentences. He could give me a *thoughtful* answer to "in your opinion, what are some possible ideas for fighting this patriarchy", without it having to be an *exhaustive* answer. I'm not sure where the assumption came from that in order to give an opinion on this subject, one would need to give a novel-length opinion, covering the entire history of racism.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-11-2020 at 09:45 PM.
  #173  
Old 01-11-2020, 10:07 PM
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Secondly, if Mark had responded to my query with "I don't want to talk about it" then i would have no reason to press on at all. But that's not what he said. He said "im not your sherpa" and "its not my problem". I honestly didnt understand why i received that kind of response from him.

The Sherpa thing seems self-evident. He found your question to be an imposition, much like the burden a Sherpa has to carry so that privileged people can have the thrill of journeying up a death trap.
  #174  
Old 01-11-2020, 10:16 PM
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At least Sherpas are paid.
  #175  
Old 01-11-2020, 10:16 PM
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... Conversations about race are not loaded with landmines for you. But they probably are for Mark. So in a dialogue about race, you might perceive yourself to be asking perfectly innocent questions. For someone like Mark, those questions may not come across so innocently. They might come across as belittling or purposefully obtuse. ...
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... Race discussions may be different but any suspicion he may have brought to our exchange did not come from our extensive history of dialogue.
Sounds like agreement to me.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:39 PM
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You're mischaracterizing way FB works. It wasnt "posted to his page", it was posted to all the 4000+ fb friends he has. So it didnt "passively" show up on my feed (im not sure what you mean by that anyway), it showed up exactly the way its supposed to and exactly the way he intended it to.
When I say “passive”, I mean he didn’t target that post to you as if it were a personalized communication. If he shared something with 4000+ people, he obviously wasn’t trying to have a discussion with 4000+ people. Especially 4000+ people asking for his opinion about a heavy subject. But you tried to turn it into a discussion. That is not what most FBers use the system for.

Look, every time my dad posts a pic of his grandkids on FB, dozens of people sees it on their home page. It’s distributed to his network simply as a result of him posting it on FB. Yes, he wants others to see it, like it, and comment on it, but he doesn’t do this with the expectation or desire that people will email him with very personal questions about his grandkids. Personal questions from an acquaintance who doesn’t even know his kids, let alone his grandkids, is asking to be unfriended. It’s a tone deaf thing to do.

At this point, you either get it or you don’t. The amount of ink you’ve given the whole exchange tells me that you’re making this way more complicated than it needs to be.

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Also, to keep the Star Wars analogy going, the post shared was discussing Star Wars and it informed in about a paragraph. It didnt need to give the entire history, prologue, epilogue and cast of characters in order to be informative.
Okay, but your question to him was heavy enough to warrant more than superficial treatment. That’s what you should be seeing in the analogy.

Last edited by you with the face; 01-11-2020 at 10:44 PM.
  #177  
Old 01-11-2020, 11:27 PM
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He could have given me an informative answer with just a few sentences. He could give me a *thoughtful* answer to "in your opinion, what are some possible ideas for fighting this patriarchy", without it having to be an *exhaustive* answer.
He could’ve also ignored you completely. But he didn’t. He actually told you what his opinion on the matter was. He believes you should ”google it”. Seriously, I’m not even be facetious here. He gave you a meaningful answer to your question.

And it appears you completely disregarded his answer. You admit you have not done any googling. How hard would it be to do that? If doing a search for that information is that elusive to you, can you not see how it looks like intellectual curiosity on your end seems lacking? Like you’re wanting him to essentially carry you like a Sherpa would over the scary mountain?

You haven’t convinced me that Mark should’ve given a more “informative” or “thoughtful” answer.
  #178  
Old 01-11-2020, 11:32 PM
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I'm reminded of a different story as an analogy. You were hoping maybe for your friend to be a Hillel but a Shammai response is more what should be reasonably expected.
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This is the story of how a Gentile came to the great pair of rabbis, Hillel and Shammai, and promised that he would convert to Judaism if they would teach him the Torah while he stood on one foot.

The sages’ answers are given in the Talmud as testimony to their very different personalities. The stern Shammai impatiently “pushed [the Gentile] away with the ruler he was holding in his hand.” To him, the idea that you could learn the Torah—which would have to include the Oral Torah, the whole Mishnah—while standing on one leg was so preposterous that the Gentile’s question could only be mockery. The humble Hillel, on the other hand, returned the answer that has become proverbial: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow; this is the entire Torah, all the rest is an elaboration. Now go and learn it.”
There may be a pithy response possible to "what, in your opinion, might be some ways to combat this white supremacist patriarchy"? but without one at the ready asking for an answer to that is a big ask, not one well suited to comments on FB.
  #179  
Old 01-12-2020, 12:07 AM
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Like fuck it is. It's very real. People die from it.
How do people die from responding constructively to people like the OP?
  #180  
Old 01-12-2020, 12:08 AM
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This is why I think it's incumbent on white people to work at persuading other white people that there's a problem, and why it's incumbent on white people to work on figuring out how to solve this problem. Even if it means white people get subjected to glib, sophomoric taunts about how they're appointing themselves the spokesperson for black people; we'll just have to bear up under that foolishness.
So that black people don't have to?

I always figured fighting racism was an all hands on deck sort of exercise but if it's on white people to fix it, I am relieved cuz I'm not white.
  #181  
Old 01-12-2020, 03:11 AM
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I always figured fighting racism was an all hands on deck sort of exercise but if it's on white people to fix it, I am relieved cuz I'm not white.
This really frees up your weekends?
  #182  
Old 01-12-2020, 03:35 AM
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The Sherpa thing seems self-evident. He found your question to be an imposition, much like the burden a Sherpa has to carry so that privileged people can have the thrill of journeying up a death trap.
The thing about Sherpas is, they're also necessary - white people can't climb Everest without them. So then question is, do you want people to climb that mountain?
  #183  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:49 AM
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The thing about Sherpas is, they're also necessary - white people can't climb Everest without them. So then question is, do you want people to climb that mountain?

When white people want to climb Everest, do they ask random Nepalese acquaintances to take them up? Or do they hire professionals?

When white people want to climb Everest, do they wait until they get to the foot of the mountain before searching for information about it? Or do they read as much as they can before they even committing to the journey? None of us would take a prospective climber seriously if they admitted to not even doing the most basic of online research. To not even google “what to do when preparing to climb Everest” would mark someone as remarkably lacking in resourcefulness.

So then tell me, how would you respond if a person like this then lamented “How can you climb Mt. Everest when you are ignorant of how to do it?”
  #184  
Old 01-12-2020, 09:41 AM
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When white people want to climb Everest, do they ask random Nepalese acquaintances to take them up? Or do they hire professionals?
Yup. This is something I've had to learn in the past several years. My community doesn't have a huge number of black professionals, and those that are out there are getting asked constantly to weigh in on matters of racial equity and are asked to join nonprofit boards and so on.

These requests come from a pretty good place: white people looking at their organizations see that they're pretty monochromatic and know that they need to diversify and get voices from people of color in the organizations.

But what ends up happening is that the people they're asking are a pretty small community, and they get inundated with those requests. They're being asked for far more unpaid labor than the white board members are asked for.

Something similar happens in schools. When you have one black teacher on a staff of 30 teachers, well-intentioned white teachers can go to them all the time to help brainstorm solutions to tricky situations involving equity. It adds a huge workload to that black teacher.

Part of the solution is for the individual white teacher to take on that workload by doing research first. Part of the solution is for white teachers to work on equity without requiring black teachers to participate, using book-club formats or the like, and paying for the books.

ambivalid, it sounds like you consider the "In your opinion" part of your question really significant. Is that true? Is it also possible that Mark didn't think that was a particularly significant part of your question?
  #185  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:47 AM
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EXACTLY! Yes, I knew this and respected it and didnt try and join in or be pushy or anything.
All right then.

But what you wrote wasn't that you thought Cecil might be silenced around white people because of previous exposure to prejudice from white people. What you wrote was:

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nobody is being rude or anything. Cecil just had his preferences of who he liked to open up with.

Its only human. We all like to segregate ourselves. You see it by age and gender also.
which read to me as if you meant 'this isn't a response to racism, there isn't any racism involved; it's just utterly natural for people to only want to talk around others who are members of their own social group.'

And I read it that way at least in part because I've run into other (white) people who were making explicitly that argument: that segregation exists/existed not because of racism on the part of white people, but only because black people preferred to live solely around other black people.

(And, while I do see segregation by age and gender, I also see plenty of groups mixed by age and gender -- and even by "race" -- in which nobody is silenced. If I knew a woman who was lively and talkative routinely when around other women, but who shut up entirely the moment any man came into the room, I wouldn't think 'oh, that's only human.' I would think 'there's something seriously wrong'.)
  #186  
Old 01-12-2020, 11:00 AM
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I once had a white coworker laugh at me when he overheard me talking to a black coworker in AAVE. Like, he actually pointed and laughed at me. Because it was early in the morning and I wasn't in the mood, I told him to leave me the fuck alone. He avoided me for a whole month.

It was wonderful.
  #187  
Old 01-12-2020, 11:07 AM
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How do people die from responding constructively to people like the OP?
That wasn't the "it" in my sentence, as you're well aware.
  #188  
Old 01-12-2020, 11:11 AM
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The thing about Sherpas is, they're also necessary - white people can't climb Everest without them.
They could, though. But it would involve a lot more suffering on the part of those White people. So they've never even tried.
  #189  
Old 01-12-2020, 01:33 PM
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I would think many of the same issues discussed here wrt to racism would have similarities with abelism. I would assume there are struggles with employment, issues in the workplace, housing, the way you're treated, etc. As not many people have friends with similar disabilities, he may be approached often for requests on how to deal with handicapped issues. I know Ambivalid has shared some of his experiences in threads here. He engages with the people responding, answers their questions, clarifies misconceptions, etc. As a result, more people understand the situation both for him and in a global sense. If instead he responded "Google is your friend", I doubt many people would engage in discussion or do any research. Likely, they'd just click over to another thread and go on with their life. Certainly it's a person's right to tell someone they don't want to engage, but it misses a great opportunity to increase awareness that likely won't happen otherwise.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:59 PM
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I would think many of the same issues discussed here wrt to racism would have similarities with abelism. I would assume there are struggles with employment, issues in the workplace, housing, the way you're treated, etc. As not many people have friends with similar disabilities, he may be approached often for requests on how to deal with handicapped issues. I know Ambivalid has shared some of his experiences in threads here. He engages with the people responding, answers their questions, clarifies misconceptions, etc. As a result, more people understand the situation both for him and in a global sense. If instead he responded "Google is your friend", I doubt many people would engage in discussion or do any research. Likely, they'd just click over to another thread and go on with their life. Certainly it's a person's right to tell someone they don't want to engage, but it misses a great opportunity to increase awareness that likely won't happen otherwise.
Just curious how many times you've been asked to share your thoughts and feelings about painful experiences from people you don't know well and you eagerly obliged them without suspecting their motives.

It is easy to say that members of minority groups should be happy ambassadors when you've never had to be anyone's happy ambassador. So have you ever been someone's happy ambassador?

There's a difference between asking someone a question in a thread on a forum called In My Humble Opinion and reaching out to someone on their FB page. I'm sure if someone reached out to Ambi through his Insta page and asked him to share his opinions on abelism, Ambi would probably find that strange. But asking Ambi to share his thoughts about abelism in a thread he's created about abelism wouldn't be strange, of course. Different internet media have different unspoken rules.
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Old 01-12-2020, 02:49 PM
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Just curious how many times you've been asked to share your thoughts and feelings about painful experiences from people you don't know well and you eagerly obliged them without suspecting their motives.

It is easy to say that members of minority groups should be happy ambassadors when you've never had to be anyone's happy ambassador. So have you ever been someone's happy ambassador?

There's a difference between asking someone a question in a thread on a forum called In My Humble Opinion and reaching out to someone on their FB page. I'm sure if someone reached out to Ambi through his Insta page and asked him to share his opinions on abelism, Ambi would probably find that strange. But asking Ambi to share his thoughts about abelism in a thread he's created about abelism wouldn't be strange, of course. Different internet media have different unspoken rules.
Being a straight, white, able-bodied male, I haven't had too many struggles that compare. But certainly there are things I complain about in life, relationships, job, etc. If I was complaining in a space where others could respond, I would respond in a way that would help whatever goal I was hoping for when I made my complaint.

Even he didn't want to be a happy ambassador, there are ways to disengage that aren't so off-putting. Take this thread as an example. Here we are on page 4 of a discussion about how the response was made rather than talking about the issue of white privilege. That's the reality of how these things go and how people react. Even if Mark didn't want to engage, which is fine, he could have done so in a way where Ambivalid didn't have such a strong negative reaction. Then instead maybe he would have come here to start a thread about ways to combat white privilege and we'd have 4 pages of great ideas of things we all could be doing in our day-to-day lives to make Mark's life better.
  #192  
Old 01-12-2020, 02:54 PM
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Then instead maybe he would have come here to start a thread about ways to combat white privilege and we'd have 4 pages of great ideas of things we all could be doing in our day-to-day lives to make Mark's life better.
Huh? He wouldn't have had to do any such thing. Whether to make a thread about how to combat white privilege, or whether to make a thread as he did, was entirely his choice, regardless of what Mark chose.

And this thread has had some ideas about how to combat white privilege. They've been dismissed or ignored.

Here's another link that came across my FB feed today: 10 Books About Race To Read Instead Of Asking A Person Of Color To Explain Things To You. Relevant to our interests .
  #193  
Old 01-12-2020, 03:18 PM
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That's the reality of how these things go and how people react. Even if Mark didn't want to engage, which is fine, he could have done so in a way where Ambivalid didn't have such a strong negative reaction.
Mark isn't responsible for Ambivalid's feelings, though. And I think Ambivalid could have done better with framing his question so that Mark wouldn't have felt like he was being put in a vulnerable position. Like, there wasn't nothing stopping Ambivalid from sharing his opinions first. He's a smart guy with some opinions on things. Why not share those opinions and then invite Mark to share his?

And what if Mark had responded to Ambivalid with his honest opinions, and Ambivalid had still come away feeling hurt and frustrated? Would Mark still get a finger wag from you?

The fact that Ambivalid had such a strong negative reaction to something as benign as "Google is your friend" suggests to me that Ambivalid may not be ready to hear what Mark really has to say right now.
  #194  
Old 01-12-2020, 11:08 PM
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All right then.

which read to me as if you meant 'this isn't a response to racism, there isn't any racism involved; it's just utterly natural for people to only want to talk around others who are members of their own social group.'

And I read it that way at least in part because I've run into other (white) people who were making explicitly that argument: that segregation exists/existed not because of racism on the part of white people, but only because black people preferred to live solely around other black people.

(And, while I do see segregation by age and gender, I also see plenty of groups mixed by age and gender -- and even by "race" -- in which nobody is silenced. If I knew a woman who was lively and talkative routinely when around other women, but who shut up entirely the moment any man came into the room, I wouldn't think 'oh, that's only human.' I would think 'there's something seriously wrong'.)
I dont think its the ONLY reason but I think people feeling more comfortable around a certain group plays a part. Alot of that is just plain learned behavior such as if you grew up basically only around a certain group of people you might feel more comfortable just around them.

I feel that over time people working and living around each other breaks down barriers.
  #195  
Old 01-13-2020, 05:08 AM
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And i *did* tell him i was asking from a place of ignorance.
IME that in itself can come across as tactless, when somebody who benefits from a particular form of structural injustice---and therefore has the privilege of remaining largely ignorant about it---is talking to people who suffer from that structural injustice. The people who have to deal with this shit all the time are expressing their frustration at having to deal with this shit, and one of the people who never has to deal with this shit pipes up "Gosh, folks, I don't know anything about this, can you explain to me some ways to fix the problem?" I can see how that would be something of a moment for the people being addressed.

Rachel Jane Liebert on the relation between ignorance and privilege:
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Many people think white supremacy means that as a white person you consciously think that you are superior to non-white people. But that’s not true. It is actually the social structure that we are all socialised by, which passes white people into this superior position. [...]

Whiteness or white supremacy is an experience of ignorance, not being able to see how it actually works. Therefore, we have to do the work ourselves, educate ourselves. When I started to realise how ignorant I was, I sought out as many things as possible, written by people of colour, on the subject. It’s a structure that gets in the way of (non-white) people’s movement in the world.

I talk to white people about how whiteness is an experience of being covered in lube, so they move more easily through the world, just slipping through the social structures. Actually the lube kind of gets in their eyes and stops them seeing, and makes them ignorant.
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Originally Posted by filmore
Even he didn't want to be a happy ambassador, there are ways to disengage that aren't so off-putting. Take this thread as an example. Here we are on page 4 of a discussion about how the response was made rather than talking about the issue of white privilege.
Except we are talking about the issue of white privilege. Ambivalid's hurt feelings and other people's reactions to them are providing a lot of insight into how this "experience of ignorance" associated with whiteness in a racist society affects us all, and affects our interactions across racial lines.

If Mark instead had just patiently put on his "happy ambassador" hat and told Ambivalid a few truisms about being a good ally, we'd probably never have had this discussion at all. And almost certainly Ambivalid wouldn't have gained any understanding about the problematic aspects of his question. Sometimes a little candid expression of exasperation supplies more enlightenment, and a clearer view of our own ignorance, than large amounts of patient deferential coddling.
  #196  
Old 01-13-2020, 06:48 AM
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Mark isn't responsible for Ambivalid's feelings, though. And I think Ambivalid could have done better with framing his question so that Mark wouldn't have felt like he was being put in a vulnerable position. Like, there wasn't nothing stopping Ambivalid from sharing his opinions first. He's a smart guy with some opinions on things. Why not share those opinions and then invite Mark to share his?

And what if Mark had responded to Ambivalid with his honest opinions, and Ambivalid had still come away feeling hurt and frustrated? Would Mark still get a finger wag from you?

The fact that Ambivalid had such a strong negative reaction to something as benign as "Google is your friend" suggests to me that Ambivalid may not be ready to hear what Mark really has to say right now.
I've corrected such notions many times throughout this thread, what's one more? I was never at any point, hurt and frustrated by this exchange with Mark. Perhaps I've been frustrated at times here in this thread but that is something completely different. And in what world does "confused" and "wishing to understand" qualify as "strong negative reactions"?
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Did you just ask for him opinion? Or did you ask specific questions to help him frame his response?

Because if someone were to PM me and ask me for my opinion on racism, I wouldn't know what to say. I know it may seem like I should have lots of stuff to say on the subject given my posting history. But I wouldn't know how to respond to that query in a succinct, effortless way. It would really have to think hard how I would compose something that would do justice to my thoughts and feelings without being a wall of scary unreadable text
I'm beginning to suspect many commenters in this thread did not read the OP. The post which he had shared provided all the framing to my question that was needed. I **absolutely** did not just come up to him and ask him to give me "his opinion on racism". You say I'm such a smart guy then characterize me as asking stupid shit like this? No, for the gajillionth time, he shared a post from a black activist group. This post talked about the white supremacist patriarchy and how it thrived off of death and bloodshed and "capitalism" and why it would be a part of this country until it was destroyed. However, it didn't mention any possible methods, means or ways in which to destroy it. My question seemed a logical follow up to a thought-provoking post he had shared for thousands of people to read and digest.
  #198  
Old 01-13-2020, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
I've corrected such notions many times throughout this thread, what's one more? I was never at any point, hurt and frustrated by this exchange with Mark. Perhaps I've been frustrated at times here in this thread but that is something completely different. And in what world does "confused" and "wishing to understand" qualify as "strong negative reactions"?
You'll forgive folks for being confused, given your OP:
Quote:
I was, and still am, not prepared for his answer. It was...

"Google is your friend". Basically he said, this is not my issue, this is a white man's issue. I wont do your homework for you. I have nothing for you. Try Google. I am still stunned and unable to grok what exactly happened. According to this black man, who has spent his entire life living under a racist patriarchy, even getting the most basic, vague precursors to the answers to these incredibly difficult questions about how to re-structure our entire national identity (foundation?) was something that white people had to look only to other white people for answers and understanding. It was a white man's problem after all, this white supremacist patriarchy, so it was incumbent on whites, and whites alone, to figure out the solutions.

It didn't matter how I came at this rather vexing obstacle, I was stonewalled. My words were grossly mischaracterized, misused, taken out of context. Other black friends of his on fb were coming in to the conversation, condemning me as a "portrait of the white supremacist patriarchy" and being "willfully obtuse". All had the singular message of "figure this shit out yourself".

But that was exactly where I had the strongest disagreement with anything that had been said. I have used a wheelchair as a paraplegic for the past 20 years, I am 40 years old. During this time, I have become acutely aware of all the insidious ways in which the disabled community in general, and wheelchair users specifically, are marginalized and treated as second class citizens by the world at large. In seeking to dismantle this society that sees wheelchair users as living lives that are simply unlivable by most able-bodied perspectives and preconceptions, the last thing I would suggest is for all those ignorant able-bodied people with their heads full of misconceptions, stereotypical "truths", unspoken assumptions and bigoted unchallenged beliefs, to all get together and figure out how to stop being all those things. No, they need to be shown just how all those things affect the realities of the disabled people that they are directed towards. And that requires the perspectives and input from those very disabled people that all those ignorant able-bodied people are trying to figure out how to treat more equitably.

While there are certainly many differences, I'd say that is a very similar situation to that of dismantling the white supremacist patriarchy. The last thing that someone who is interested in getting rid of this ugly part of our country's identity should do is tell all the members of that cozy middle class white privilege-benefitting community, who are all quite nicely oblivious to that which they don't have to worry about, to form a group to figure out the best way forward towards dismantiling that racist patriarchy. That patriarchy that they've never had a reason to acknowledge or realize even existed. Another "not having to worry" benefit to white privilege. Probably the biggest and most meaningful privilege of all, that of never having to ever realize that privilege ever even exists in the first place.

How can this be a "white man only" problem? If that is how it is to be viewed, then it will forever be a "white man's only" problem to solve but also forever be a problem to all the minorities as to how to survive it. Of course, I see it as a human problem. The white man does need to figure out how to change the evil, racist foundations that his original powers have always rested upon. But doing that is impossible without constant input, dialogue and the baring of of wounds from those that this violent empire has mercilessly victimized in order to maintain power.

My classmate and his friends treated me like I was part of the problem. Literally calling me "an embodiment of the white supremacist patriarchy". My words were denigrated. As if I were actually part of what needed to be dismantled. When I was callled "willfully obtuse" I couldn't help but feel a twinge of irony.

Sorry for the much too long post here. If anyone has stomached reading this entire thing, I really really really would appreciate your input. About whether I am blind to something that would explain my classmate's reaction or feedback of any sort.
(emphasis added)

That sure sounds to me like someone who was hurt and frustrated, who had a strong negative reaction.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 01-13-2020 at 07:00 AM.
  #199  
Old 01-13-2020, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
IME that in itself can come across as tactless, when somebody who benefits from a particular form of structural injustice---and therefore has the privilege of remaining largely ignorant about it---is talking to people who suffer from that structural injustice. The people who have to deal with this shit all the time are expressing their frustration at having to deal with this shit, and one of the people who never has to deal with this shit pipes up "Gosh, folks, I don't know anything about this, can you explain to me some ways to fix the problem?" I can see how that would be something of a moment for the people being addressed.

Rachel Jane Liebert on the relation between ignorance and privilege:



Except we are talking about the issue of white privilege. Ambivalid's hurt feelings and other people's reactions to them are providing a lot of insight into how this "experience of ignorance" associated with whiteness in a racist society affects us all, and affects our interactions across racial lines.

If Mark instead had just patiently put on his "happy ambassador" hat and told Ambivalid a few truisms about being a good ally, we'd probably never have had this discussion at all. And almost certainly Ambivalid wouldn't have gained any understanding about the problematic aspects of his question. Sometimes a little candid expression of exasperation supplies more enlightenment, and a clearer view of our own ignorance, than large amounts of patient deferential coddling.
Quote:
As a white man who had never experienced racism or poverty, I freely acknowledge that I had benefitted greatly from the protections and comforts of white privilege. I'd probably describe white privilege as the "privilege of not having to". Not having to worry about police abusing and killing you. Not having to worry about beiing seen as a threat and having the cops called on you, simply for being "black and in public". Not having to worry about making sure you don't show (justified) anger in situations as a black woman, lest your legitimate anger just be used against you as "proof" you're just "an angry black woman". And on and on. This privilege of not ever having to worry about the myriad little and not so little things that minorities have to worry about every single day is basically the world of middle-class America. Probably the biggest and most meaningful privilege enjoyed by white privilege is that of never having to ever realize that privilege ever even exists in the first place.
How on or off-point would you say my understanding of the concept of white privilege is (from the OP)? Just your opinion.

And why is it so tempting for people to stray from the reality of my experience and characterize me as "having hurt feelings" or "wanting to be seen as a good white guy" or simply asking for "his opinion on racism" or wanting "deferential coddling"? This wasn't some conversation between a bunch of black people "expressing their frustration at having to deal with racism", this was an interesting excerpt on a discussion of the nature of the white supremacist patriarchy which my FB friend had decided needed to be shared to a whole shitload of people decidedly not frustrated with having to deal with this racism or this patriarchy. The discussion in the post ended where one might expect to find it turn to talk of ways of destroying said patriarchy. My brain immediately went there and since he had posted this and wanted others to see it, it seemed a straightforward question for me to ask him if he had any opinions of ways of combating said patriarchy. He could have given me as in depth or as quick an answer as he saw appropriate (which he did), it didn't need to be anything exhaustive.
  #200  
Old 01-13-2020, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
You'll forgive folks for being confused, given your OP:
(emphasis added)

That sure sounds to me like someone who was hurt and frustrated, who had a strong negative reaction.
Ok, I can see how that could be read as a bit of a confusing segment. However, me saying I was stunned and unable to grok what had happened is a description of not understanding, nothing more.

When I was describing the denigration, being taken out of context and especially being labelled "epitome of the white supremacist patriarchy" I *was* describing an unpleasant experience. But I have been specifically characterized as having "strong negative reactions" to specific lines such as "google is your friend", which I only had a reaction of confusion as to why he would give such an answer. No negative feelings. The only things to which I had a negative reaction were having my words twisted into things that they weren't, being called names and having motives of malice attributed to me for doing nothing more that expressing a desire to understand. And the vast majority of these things were done by tangential posters to the conversation Mark and I were having. But he was also mischaracterizing my words too.

But I think I have responded *specifically* each time when I have pushed back against the hurt feelings comments or negative reactions comments. For those comments were always attributed to Mark just telling me "google is my friend" or other curt, tight-lipped responses to my questions. I never had any reactions that were anything but stunned, unable to grok, confused, or wanting to understand. Certainly having disagreements with what I understood some of the arguments to be (most likely incorrectly at the time) is in no way having a "negative reaction". That is how dialogue goes, how ideas are formed. I said I disagreed and then gave rather extensive personal reasoning as to why. I'd categorize that as "positive", if anything. I stand by my previous corrections with the caveat that I did experience frustration at my inability to gain any understanding. Frustration was the most negative reaction I had to my interaction with Mark himself. And that only had to do with my inability to attain any level of understanding as to why I could get no feedback from him on a question I felt was logical and in line with the post he had shared with thousands of others on Facebook.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-13-2020 at 07:44 AM.
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