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Old 01-08-2020, 11:56 PM
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How can you fight that of which you are ignorant? (dismantling racism) (long, sorry)


I recently had an a rather upsetting and unsettling experience with a former high school classmate, one whom I respect quite highly and who also happens to be black. Our interaction was re a couple of FB posts I came across on his feed. These posts were discussing the "white supremacist patriarchy" that the U.S. is founded upon and upon which racism today currently thrives. Both posts were "shared" posts of black-rights activists and both were posted in a relatively short period of time.

As a white, middle-class man, I felt a sense of disconnect from the trauma and struggle that I saw in the words that I read in those posts. Intellectually I understood them but I had no personal experience of being on the victimization end of a culture that is/was made to keep the white man in the position of power at the expense of other racial groups (most notably the black community). I'm not an activist, at least not currently and officially. I first need to be an "activist" in the multi-pronged disaster that is the current state of my own life (). But inequality is something that is always on my radar and something that I will push back against every time no matter what, considering that I myself am a member of a very marginalized minority group: the disabled community.

So when I came across these FB posts that made me think about these issues of racism in our country, I felt that familiar racing energy of my mind becoming engaged in critical thought process. There is nothing better than that quickening of the pulse and that fast paced movement in your brain that allows it to seemingly operate in a higher gear that it's normal every day "cruise control". This is what I felt as I began digesting the words of these knowledgeable black men and women and listen to them tell any who would/could listen just what they felt the ugly truth behind our country's cultural infrastructure was and is and what it would continue to be if not exterminated.

My old HS classmate, not quite a friend but definitely a friendly acquaintance, was someone I've always respected for his intelligence, independence of thought and ability to speak his mind in disagreeable company. It was for these reasons, but even more importantly, because he was a black man living in America, that I turned immediately to him (he also being the source of the shared posts) and sought his perspective. It was, in my eyes, the ideal place to begin my journey of enlightenment, introspection and ultimately application of those things to affecting change.

It was due to all these reasons and more that in seeking his perspective, I asked him what he thought, given the direct impact this racist partriarchy has had on him, might be some effective strategies or means of combating this evil white supremacist patriarchy? It seemed an ideal starting point, in no small part, because this was one of the first times I had read about so many facets of oppression tied together in a coherent package and it was coming from the shared experiences of black men and women, one of which was the man who brought these words and experiences to perhaps to largest forums to be seen by others, namely Facebook. He obviously wanted more people (like me!) who could never actually experience the traumas inflicted by this racism, and had to have the privilege-encased veils lifted from their eyes in order to see the truth of this nasty story that was euphemistically labeled "The American Dream".

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.

And this was the world from which I was emerging to ask my black classmate who so kindly shared these words on FB what his thoughts were in re to finally eliminating this behemoth of racial hate, oppression and bigotry. 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.
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Old 01-09-2020, 12:11 AM
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I can take a few guesses...

He (they) know that the problems will never be fixed, so he doesn't want to talk about it with you.
Talking about it brings up the hurt and negativity.
The problems are so pervasive and endemic that he wouldn't be able to cover them all anyway.
His explanations of the problems may just seem trivial to you because you won't understand, because you have no experience.

And, let's face it, you are an easy sell. You want to help, so you probably aren't much a part of the problem.
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Old 01-09-2020, 12:27 AM
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I can take a few guesses...

He (they) know that the problems will never be fixed, so he doesn't want to talk about it with you.
Talking about it brings up the hurt and negativity.
The problems are so pervasive and endemic that he wouldn't be able to cover them all anyway.
His explanations of the problems may just seem trivial to you because you won't understand, because you have no experience.

And, let's face it, you are an easy sell. You want to help, so you probably aren't much a part of the problem.
But these reasons are belied by the fact that he shares multiple posts on the subject on Facebook. He obviously cares about the subject and wants more than just those who are already familiar with it to gain knowledge. And those that *want* to help are the only ones who will ever be a part of the solution. Those that are actively part of the problem, the racists in power, are never going to be a part of any solution. And I was labelled as part of the problem. By multiple people chiming in on our convo, all black.
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Old 01-09-2020, 12:40 AM
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"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.
Please excuse the snip. This was the paragraph I wanted to discuss. If he only said, "Google is your friend," then the rest of your paragraph is your surmising, and frankly, I can see why this guy may have been upset.

First, how did you phrase your question? If you said something like, "Hey, Rod, you're Black. You've lived under white patriarchy. What do you think of all this?" he must have been very uncomfortable, even angry. It's a bold, rather inappropriate question to ask someone with whom you're only a "good acquaintance." And it implies that you're making the white privileged mistake of assuming that the experiences and perspectives of all Blacks are the same. He may well have assumed--correctly--that the fact you were asking this question when you're not even close enough to be a friend meant white privilege.

Second, how the heck did you get "white people had to look only to other white people for answers and understanding" out of "Look it up on Google"? Did you assume all hits on Google would be by white people? Or did you interpret the reaction of one person who's Black as being that of all Blacks?

And last, how did you get "It's incumbent on whites, and whites alone, to figure out the solutions" based on his advice to Google it? It's not up to him to tutor you. Nor is it incumbent on him to help you figure this out. If you did indeed google the topic, you'd find lots of perspectives from all sorts of people. Do that. Learn. And don't make assumptions about the authors.

I'm sorry, but just because you're disabled (as I am, though differently) does not mean your experience is equivalent to his. You have some understanding of how society ignores and stereotypes the disabled, but you have not lived life as a person of color. (And he has not, presumably, experienced life as a person in a wheelchair does.) There's no Get Out of Jail Free card.
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Old 01-09-2020, 12:54 AM
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I've seen this idea a lot on different social media. The sentiment is "I have no duty to help you figure out your racism - figure it out by yourself". I have no idea what drives this. As you say, I spend a fair amount of time exploring disability issues and advocating for change in that space. If asked how society is stacked against the disabled, I would happy to provide a list.


I suppose it's a nice thought - that white people built the structures that oppress people of color, so therefore they already know how it works. I think it's a fallacy, however. There is so much history that I think engaging in a dialogue on remedies, experience, the future should be productive.


I'm sorry that happened ambi. It's not you, it's the times.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:21 AM
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Please excuse the snip. This was the paragraph I wanted to discuss. If he only said, "Google is your friend," then the rest of your paragraph is your surmising, and frankly, I can see why this guy may have been upset.

First, how did you phrase your question? If you said something like, "Hey, Rod, you're Black. You've lived under white patriarchy. What do you think of all this?" he must have been very uncomfortable, even angry. It's a bold, rather inappropriate question to ask someone with whom you're only a "good acquaintance." And it implies that you're making the white privileged mistake of assuming that the experiences and perspectives of all Blacks are the same. He may well have assumed--correctly--that the fact you were asking this question when you're not even close enough to be a friend meant white privilege.

Second, how the heck did you get "white people had to look only to other white people for answers and understanding" out of "Look it up on Google"? Did you assume all hits on Google would be by white people? Or did you interpret the reaction of one person who's Black as being that of all Blacks?

And last, how did you get "It's incumbent on whites, and whites alone, to figure out the solutions" based on his advice to Google it? It's not up to him to tutor you. Nor is it incumbent on him to help you figure this out. If you did indeed google the topic, you'd find lots of perspectives from all sorts of people. Do that. Learn. And don't make assumptions about the authors.

I'm sorry, but just because you're disabled (as I am, though differently) does not mean your experience is equivalent to his. You have some understanding of how society ignores and stereotypes the disabled, but you have not lived life as a person of color. (And he has not, presumably, experienced life as a person in a wheelchair does.) There's no Get Out of Jail Free card.

First of all, he *said* "Try Google. This is a white man's problem. This is not my problem. There are plenty of smart white people on Google who dont seem to be confused like you. I will not be your Sherpa." Him saying "try google" was by no means the extent of our conversation.


Secondly, he was sharing something that discussed the need to dismantle the white supremacist patriarchy. I asked him what, in his opinion, might be some strategies or means of achieving that end. That was exactly what i asked him, i simply asked for his opinion. The shared posts discussed what this patriarchy is and how it has survived but it did not discuss how to fight it. My question did not seem inappropriate in the slightest.

And lastly, OF COURSE my experiences as a disabled man do not give me direct insight into the lives and experiences of people of color. What it *does* provide, however, is the understanding of marginalization and the ways in which one can have legitimate life struggles twisted into false images of personal failings in order to be marginalized, silenced. I made sure to separate my experiences as a disabled man from those of people of color. I even highlighted how much i had been a beneficiary of white privilege.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-09-2020 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:26 AM
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I should add, i discussed posting this here and then posting a link to the thread on his fb wall once the thread had matured. So im not saying anything that im not comfortable (and actually look forward to) with him reading.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:28 AM
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"Google is your friend". Basically he said, this is not my issue, this is a white man's issue.
...because googling is only going to show you the White man's perspective?

ETA - I see you clarified that he did more than "basically" say, he "actually" said. Well, he's right, he's not your Sherpa.

Quote:
I wont do your homework for you.
He was right.

I mean, look at your response - coming to complain (and your OP really is a complaint) to, let's face it, not the wokest bunch of people online. Rather than actually listening to what your friend said.

Last edited by MrDibble; 01-09-2020 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:41 AM
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...because googling is only going to show you the White man's perspective?

ETA - I see you clarified that he did more than "basically" say, he "actually" said. Well, he's right, he's not your Sherpa.



He was right.

I mean, look at your response - coming to complain (and your OP really is a complaint) to, let's face it, not the wokest bunch of people online. Rather than actually listening to what your friend said.
I only wanted his opinion on a matter that was clearly important to him. When he said "this is a white man's problem, its not my problem" I really got muddled. Im not complaining. Im only seeking to understand. Because i. *truly* cannot understand how he thinks it's not *also* his problem. Its a white man's problem to fix but we can only fix it with the help of those who we've affected with this problem that needs fixing. If white privilege has prevented us from having to be aware of most all of this suffering, how is it ever to be fixed without the constant feedback and baring of wounds from those that have suffered?
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:50 AM
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how is it ever to be fixed without the constant [...] baring of wounds from those that have suffered?
Are you actually reading what you're writing? Because you've answered yourself quite succinctly just there.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:50 AM
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...because googling is only going to show you the White man's perspective?

ETA - I see you clarified that he did more than "basically" say, he "actually" said. Well, he's right, he's not your Sherpa.



He was right.

I mean, look at your response - coming to complain (and your OP really is a complaint) to, let's face it, not the wokest bunch of people online. Rather than actually listening to what your friend said.
I only shared it here because i didnt know a better way to share my original words with him. The feedback from the dopers was a secondary thing-if i got any meaningful feedback it would only make it better. Complaining is nowhere on my horizon. The only "complaint" i have is the complaint of not understanding. And it seems like the more effort i make to understand, the further i drift away from that elusive goal.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:53 AM
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Are you actually reading what you're writing? Because you've answered yourself quite succinctly just there.
I guess i have a major blind spot here. Who has bared their wounds?

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-09-2020 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 02:38 AM
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I guess i have a major blind spot here. Who has bared their wounds?
Black people have, for ages, and clearly some of them are sick of doing it, but you want them to keep doing it - for your edification.

'Cos it's not like baring your wounds hurt, or anything.

What you wrote was effectively "How will it ever be fixed without even more suffering from those who have already suffered?"

Last edited by MrDibble; 01-09-2020 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:42 AM
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Black people have, for ages, and clearly some of them are sick of doing it, but you want them to keep doing it - for your edification.

'Cos it's not like baring your wounds hurt, or anything.

What you wrote was effectively "How will it ever be fixed without even more suffering from those who have already suffered?"
Ok, i understand your point. But i was only asking it in response to one black man saying it was *only* a white mans problem, therefore he had nothing to say to me. And when i made the comment about needing input, feedback and the baring of wounds, i wasnt referring to myself specifically as that who needed such things. I was referring to those tasked with dismantling the source of such wounds in aggregate. According to my peer, that would be the white man.

And sure, i can (and am) go online and research for myself. But considering the fact that my classmate brought this subject to the very public forum of Facebook to share, i dont understand his reticence, no his outright refusal, to give me some of his personal ideas and opinions on the best means of going about combating this long-standing, long lived monster of racism and oppression. I was not asking *him* to bare any personal wounds to me. Only possible strategies for combating the problem in general.

Of course he didn't and doesnt owe me one goddamned word. If i just asked him these things simply because he was a black man, I'd have a *much* easier time understanding his reticence. But i was only asking him his opinion of the very subjects discussed in the posts of others he felt were important enough to share on FB.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:51 AM
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I don't think you understand that for a lot of people, Facebook isn't a discussion forum, it's a venting forum.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:54 AM
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You got a better solution?

There's a saying where I come from: don't be right, be smart. I agree with you, MrDibble: what the OP's acquaintance said was exactly the right thing, and the OP should listen to him. The thing is, though, in most cases people like the OP won't (not you, Ambivalid - you're cool) listen to him, instead throwing up their hands and losing interest in the subject, and really, who does that help? If you believe in something, you can't just count on the absolute paragons to help you, you also need the milquetoasts and the middle-of-the-roaders. So you swallow your pride and bare your wounds, because while deeply unfair and morally wrong, it's still the smart thing to do.

Either that, or accept that the world doesn't give a shit about you and never will, and act accordingly.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:18 AM
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"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.
Heads he wins, tails you lose Ambivilad, If you now undertake your well intentioned and admirable investigation as instructed above, any insights you come up with or improvements you suggest could be dismissed as coming from a purely "white" perspective. From the tone of what you've reported to us here that seems like a decent possibility.

Sometimes the only winning move is not to play the opponents game. Also as others have said, it is a social media thing. no great insight to be gained there.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:21 AM
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I don't think you understand that for a lot of people, Facebook isn't a discussion forum, it's a venting forum.
You know what, this is probably the answer to my whole issue right here. Honestly. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense of everything that didnt make sense before. Well, most of what didnt make sense before. The rest, like him saying its a white man's problem, are maybe things that will make more sense to me the more i learn, which i *still* just cant help but find a bit ironic.

What i absolutely do not understand is how by being engaged in these issues, even if with blind spots and ignorance aplenty, I can be described as being "the epitome of the white supremacist patriarchy".
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:57 AM
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What i absolutely do not understand is how by being engaged in these issues, even if with blind spots and ignorance aplenty, I can be described as being "the epitome of the white supremacist patriarchy".
Well, riddle me this: did you just shut up, then say "You're right, bro", and do what he told you to, without question or complaint?
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:28 AM
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Well, riddle me this: did you just shut up, then say "You're right, bro", and do what he told you to, without question or complaint?
I *only* wanted to understand why he was refusing to give me his opinion about the very things he had shared. I truly, honestly did not understand why he was so totally unwilling and why he considered it "doing my homework for me". If I were to share something that was related to an issue that i cared about personally and someone i knew for decades came along and asked me for my opinion on an aspect of that issue, I would gladly give them my input. That was the lens thru which i was seeing this interaction with my classmate. If i would have said "you're right bro", i would have been being dishonest and saying something which i did not understand to be true. Im not in the habit of agreeing and acquiescing if it means speaking dishonestly.

And this was before i was here and you posted what should have been obvious to me and prevented this entire discord; that what he was doing had more to do with a need to vent that a need to discuss.

ETA: I should note that Mark, my classmate, was not the one to call me the epitome of the white supremacist patriarchy. That was a sentiment echoed by (multiple) other people chiming in on our convo. But he also did not dispute this.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-09-2020 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:53 AM
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If i would have said "you're right bro", i would have been being dishonest and saying something which i did not understand to be true.
So you would not believe the Black man you initially asked, without further consultation, is what you're saying? You think you know better, or can find better input elsewhere, because you didn't like his answer?

Sounds a wee bit patronizing. Almost ... patriarchal.

Last edited by MrDibble; 01-09-2020 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:32 AM
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So you would not believe the Black man you initially asked, without further consultation, is what you're saying? You think you know better, or can find better input elsewhere, because you didn't like his answer?

Sounds a wee bit patronizing. Almost ... patriarchal.
Well, i think we might possibly be getting things mixed up here. I never meant to imply that i didnt or wouldnt believe anything he said "as a black man". I simply meant that until I understood what was said to me, i could not honestly say "you're right bro". I wrote sloppily before, i should have said to say "you're right bro", I would have been dishonest in that i said something i did not *yet* understand to be true. I forgot that vital *yet* in the quoted post.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:18 AM
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Well, i think we might possibly be getting things mixed up here. I never meant to imply that i didnt or wouldnt believe anything he said "as a black man". I simply meant that until I understood what was said to me, i could not honestly say "you're right bro". I wrote sloppily before, i should have said to say "you're right bro", I would have been dishonest in that i said something i did not *yet* understand to be true. I forgot that vital *yet* in the quoted post.
I don't think adding a "yet" changes anything. You asked, he answered, you didn't accept. That's all true, yes?
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:24 AM
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I don't think adding a "yet" changes anything. You asked, he answered, you didn't accept. That's all true, yes?
Do you accept something as being right or true if you dont understand what is being asked of you to accept? The "yet" is important because it implies that i open to accepting his answer but more information was needed.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:47 AM
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Here's what it appears like to me based on your description -- folks were venting on FB; you took this venting to be a desire for discussion and asked questions about it; folks were annoyed by this interruption to their venting session, and may have used hyperbolic put downs to express this frustration.

In short, you made a faux pas and were rhetorically smacked for it. Not a huge deal unless you make it one.
  #26  
Old 01-09-2020, 08:48 AM
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Do you accept something as being right or true if you dont understand what is being asked of you to accept? The "yet" is important because it implies that i open to accepting his answer but more information was needed.
If you "need to understand", you are not doing what he told you to do, no? You're doing that instead. So, "ignoring his answer until..."
is still "ignoring his answer"

Last edited by MrDibble; 01-09-2020 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:50 AM
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The idea is that you don't need to understand "it" - you need to accept "it" unquestioningly. Because you will never understand "it" - you're not black.

You are supposed to just shut up, then say "You're right, bro", and do what he told you to, without question or complaint.

Regards,
Shodan
  #28  
Old 01-09-2020, 09:00 AM
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The idea is that you don't need to understand "it" - you need to accept "it" unquestioningly. Because you will never understand "it" - you're not black.

You are supposed to just shut up, then say "You're right, bro", and do what he told you to, without question or complaint.
See? Shodan gets it.

Last edited by MrDibble; 01-09-2020 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:30 AM
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The idea is that you don't need to understand "it" - you need to accept "it" unquestioningly. Because you will never understand "it" - you're not black.

You are supposed to just shut up, then say "You're right, bro", and do what he told you to, without question or complaint.

Regards,
Shodan
An approach which never fails to bring about increased understanding and harmony wherever it is practiced.....Ha!

Regardless of the subject if you stop challenging and stop questioning you've already stopped thinking.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:54 AM
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I think people are probably on the right track with FB being a vent, but there's also the imbalance of time. Look at what happens when a troll comes here to the SDMB and JAQs off about something that we've already had a thousand threads about. People spend collective hours writing up well-meaning, informative, and educational replies, and only one of two things ever happens -- the troll disappears, or the troll is unfazed. Not to say you're an IRL troll, but in the context of FB I can understand why someone would be dismissive of the potential for any meaningful education to occur.

Frankly, I think there's more too it than that -- I don't think the answers are out there on Google. My wife has become very involved in D&I efforts over the last couple of years, and I love her for it, but I've also not taken her up on any offers to get involved myself. Why? Because while I think "raising awareness" and "having a conversation" are all good things, that's not really my thing, and none of these D&I groups have come up with any "next steps." What can I, as a part of the white male patriarchy, actually do about the racial problem in America? It's a valid question, and if black people don't have a responsibility to tell me (they don't), then where can I find this information?

The one thing I've found evidence for, the one thing that I think I could do that might actually help, would be to take my white privileged family and move us over to the black side of town. Enroll my kids in a black school and actually work to re-integrate our city my own self. Bring my middle class income and my generational stability and my connections into a community that could desperately use all of those things. But there are problems with this. One, I'm not sure if I'm a good enough person to actually uproot my comfortable life to do this, to remove privileged access from my kids' lives in order to do this. Two, I realistically would have had to have been a good person a decade ago, before my kids got involved in activities and friendships, because now I'd have to be an extra good person in order to upend our lives like that. And three, even this thing that I think might actually make a difference in America, that there's actual peer reviewed evidence in support of, even this is just more white patriarchy bullshit. Like, I'm gonna ride my white ass into a black neighborhood and save the day like some kind of colonist? Should I bring bibles and medicine too? It's all very fucked up, and I don't know if I'm charismatic enough to get black people not to resent me for doing it.

So it very may well be that he doesn't know what you can do, because there are no easy answers, and there's not even a whole lot of hard ones, nearest I can tell. It could be that raising awareness and/or fostering a dialog are where he sees his strengths are. Or it could be that he's skeptical of whether or not you're worth the time.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:04 AM
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If you "need to understand", you are not doing what he told you to do, no? You're doing that instead. So, "ignoring his answer until..."
is still "ignoring his answer"
I guess this is true. I honestly didnt regard it as "ignoring" anything he said, rather i saw it as trying to listening to what he said and not understanding the answer and attempting to gain more understanding. I didnt ignore anything he said, he said try google, i have and will do more as i go on. I also didnt keep pressing him when he said he wasnt doing my homework for me or that he had nothing for me. I simply expressed my confusion as to why he would respond that way to me asking for his thoughts on the things talked about in the posts he had just shared.

Once he said he had nothing for me, i didnt ignore him and continue to ask and prod him for his opinions. I listened and expressed my confusion as to why he'd respond that way to what i intended to be a very friendly, supportive question. When he said he wasnt doing my homework for me, i listened to him, then responded by saying i didnt understand why he thought i was attempting to have him do *any* of my work for me.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:12 AM
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First of all, he *said* "Try Google. This is a white man's problem. This is not my problem. There are plenty of smart white people on Google who dont seem to be confused like you. I will not be your Sherpa." Him saying "try google" was by no means the extent of our conversation.
A lot of times minorities don't even fully understand the extent of their own oppression and may not trust themselves to communicate the contours of that oppression to others. It's not like the old days when the racism and oppression was pretty clear and obvious and the problem was that white people were simply OK with terrorizing black people and treating them like second class citizens. There were legislative solutions to many of those problems.

These days the racism is not nearly as bad as it used to be but it is still creates barriers and trauma. E.g. after you discount the direct effects of poverty (which can be directly traced to past racism in many communities), you still have the effects of a society where poverty is color coded. People assume black people are poor and that affects how people treat black people. Perhaps we should all start treating poor people better while we are at it.

When you pass white man on the street in a T-shirt and shorts, he is going to the gym. A black man in a t shirt and shorts might try to sell you drugs or maybe rob you.

There is a lot of literature out there now that at least addresses the black perspective on these issues.

I don't know them all but I thought "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nahisi Coates was pretty enlightening. I don't necessarily agree with everything in the book and it is very anecdotal but I found it useful.

It is a little unreasonable to expect everyone to have a ethnic studies degree but that is where we are. Understanding these issues is starting to become an element of good citizenship.

Quote:
Secondly, he was sharing something that discussed the need to dismantle the white supremacist patriarchy. I asked him what, in his opinion, might be some strategies or means of achieving that end. That was exactly what i asked him, i simply asked for his opinion. The shared posts discussed what this patriarchy is and how it has survived but it did not discuss how to fight it. My question did not seem inappropriate in the slightest.
"how to be an anti-racist" by Ibram C Kendi does a good job of identifying the problem in a way that is easily digestable. I don't agree with his solution but by looking at his proposed solutions, you get a pretty good idea of what the problems might be.

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And lastly, OF COURSE my experiences as a disabled man do not give me direct insight into the lives and experiences of people of color. What it *does* provide, however, is the understanding of marginalization and the ways in which one can have legitimate life struggles twisted into false images of personal failings in order to be marginalized, silenced. I made sure to separate my experiences as a disabled man from those of people of color. I even highlighted how much i had been a beneficiary of white privilege.
For some people, there is a hierarchy of oppression and you are on the wrong end of that spectrum by virtue of the color of your skin. For some people, your problems don't matter until their problems are addressed.
  #33  
Old 01-09-2020, 10:15 AM
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let's face it, not the wokest bunch of people online.
Really?

Where the fuck do you hang out on the internet? AOC's twitter page?
  #34  
Old 01-09-2020, 10:18 AM
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The idea is that you don't need to understand "it" - you need to accept "it" unquestioningly. Because you will never understand "it" - you're not black.

You are supposed to just shut up, then say "You're right, bro", and do what he told you to, without question or complaint.

Regards,
Shodan
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
See? Shodan gets it.
Seems an odd belief structure for those who also believe that the very people who will never understand it are the same people who are tasked with fixing this patriarchy. And he told me to find my answers elsewhere, because this was not his problem, it was a white man's problem.

So this patriarchy, that we all agree needs to be eradicated, is only ever truly able to be understood thru the Black Experience. Also, the white man will never be able to understand this, so he needs to just flatly accept what the black community tells them and just do what they say. *Also*, this is only a white man's problem, so dont expect the black community to do your work for you and tell you what to do.

Tell me again what my HS mate was telling me to accept?
  #35  
Old 01-09-2020, 10:28 AM
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I don't think you understand that for a lot of people, Facebook isn't a discussion forum, it's a venting forum.
And not just Facebook.

There are lots of people (for a wide variety of subjects from all portions of the political and identities spectrum), we see them here too frequently, who are completely disinterested in discussion let alone actually working towards any positive change. And maybe not even venting. Sometimes it is people looking for what would basically be an online support group: vent and get some unquestioning "that sucks" and "me too"s that ask nothing of you. But more often it's about posturing and getting affirmation from a target audience. Rarely are people looking for anything other than those things.

If only it was only Facebook.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:59 AM
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Putting the burden to "fix" the problem onto the oppressed population is a classic passive aggressive technique to appear like you are being fair and reasonable, and then then shift the blame for everything to the oppressed population. Oppressor says "What's the solution? Tell me what I can do?" and then nit-picks, dismantles, rejects, or vomits out minutia about everything that is proposed--it's not possible, it's not fair. The oppressor takes the suggestions personally, reinterprets the conversation as being about the oppressor and the exact outlines of his culpability and responsibility, not about reality of the oppressed. The oppressed's solutions are turned into strawmen, held up as examples of unreasonableness and evidence that the oppressed, as a group, are unmanagable and defective. Then, when nothing changes, the oppressed is blamed because they "didn't come up with a solution" even though they were "given a chance".

After centuries of that cycle, is it any surprise that people react poorly to being invited to play another round?
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:09 AM
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Tell me again what my HS mate was telling me to accept?
I don't think it could be any clearer - he is telling you to accept unquestioning submission.

And "unquestioning" means literally that - you don't get to ask any questions. That you don't understand what they want you to do is a feature, not a bug. They never want you to think you've done enough, because they always want you to do more.

Besides, once you start letting people ask questions there's no end to it. "What do you want from me" is a question. Don't ask questions.

Regards,
Shodan
  #38  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:14 AM
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Black people have, for ages, and clearly some of them are sick of doing it, but you want them to keep doing it - for your edification.

'Cos it's not like baring your wounds hurt, or anything.

What you wrote was effectively "How will it ever be fixed without even more suffering from those who have already suffered?"
And that baring of wounds has resulted in many changes like the civil rights act.

This country is still 75% white. You're not going anywhere without them.

The problems that remain are not things that can easily be legislated away. It is significantly harder to identify and prove and mostly exists within the hearts and minds
  #39  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:18 AM
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What Manda Jo said, as usual .

It's a little concerning that your takeaway from the conversation isn't a commitment to dismantling racism, but is rather a long and rather plaintive screed about how unfairly you were treated by your black friend. Stipulate that he was a rude asshole to you: is that really the Great Debates material you need to write about?

Coincidentally, The Root published a piece today called, How to be a Better White Person in 2020. It's a great read, and while it doesn't explain or justify your friend's response to you, I don't much care about that and don't think you should either. Instead, it gets right to the heart of what you as a white person can do to help dismantle racism.
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:23 AM
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Putting the burden to "fix" the problem onto the oppressed population is a classic passive aggressive technique to appear like you are being fair and reasonable, and then then shift the blame for everything to the oppressed population. Oppressor says "What's the solution? Tell me what I can do?" and then nit-picks, dismantles, rejects, or vomits out minutia about everything that is proposed--it's not possible, it's not fair.
And yet there are a lot of people who think there should be a "dialog" about these issues. And a dialog has to have some back and forth or it isn't a dialog. And who better to have a dialog with than someone you know already who is complaining about these issues? If you try to have this same type of interaction with people in the media or vocal people in cyberspace, they'll say you're sealioning, and if you go to people you know who are not bringing up this issue, they'll correctly accuse you of being their go-to person on these issues with all that that entails, rather than incorrectly in this case.
  #41  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:27 AM
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What Manda Jo said, as usual .

It's a little concerning that your takeaway from the conversation isn't a commitment to dismantling racism, but is rather a long and rather plaintive screed about how unfairly you were treated by your black friend.
Lol, what exactly about that conversation was supposed to convince him to a "commitment to dismantling racism"? Because they were so mad they must be right? Right about something he didn't even grok?

No, this black acquaintance is not required to be Ambi's sherpa. But if you want people on board, you need some sherpas. White supremacists can be angry and tell me to "try google" too. It's not meaningful.
  #42  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:28 AM
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Putting the burden to "fix" the problem onto the oppressed population is a classic passive aggressive technique to appear like you are being fair and reasonable, and then then shift the blame for everything to the oppressed population. Oppressor says "What's the solution? Tell me what I can do?" and then nit-picks, dismantles, rejects, or vomits out minutia about everything that is proposed--it's not possible, it's not fair. The oppressor takes the suggestions personally, reinterprets the conversation as being about the oppressor and the exact outlines of his culpability and responsibility, not about reality of the oppressed. The oppressed's solutions are turned into strawmen, held up as examples of unreasonableness and evidence that the oppressed, as a group, are unmanagable and defective. Then, when nothing changes, the oppressed is blamed because they "didn't come up with a solution" even though they were "given a chance".

After centuries of that cycle, is it any surprise that people react poorly to being invited to play another round?
Sure. But to characterize me asking, in casual conversation, what a FB friend's personal thoughts were in re to multiple posts on a subject they had recently shared, as "putting the burden to *fix* onto the oppressed" is to strain credulity. Mark knows me well. He knows im not any kind of troll or active "oppressor" who is engaged with him in bad faith. We've been in countless good faith arguments over the years. I didnt ask him to tell me what i needed to do, I asked him what he thought.

I only realized much too late that it wasnt the place for me to ask him questions, he wasnt sharing these posts to have his mind picked by those who didnt immediately understand and relate to the words in those posts. If we (ignorant but eager to learn) wanted to understand, it was our responsibility to take it upon ourselves to learn what we needed to learn.
  #43  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:31 AM
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Coincidentally, The Root published a piece today called, How to be a Better White Person in 2020. It's a great read, and while it doesn't explain or justify your friend's response to you, I don't much care about that and don't think you should either. Instead, it gets right to the heart of what you as a white person can do to help dismantle racism.
OK, I've read that, it's a short read -- Accept, Recognize, Know, Talk, Talk, Think. Still nothing in there that I can actually do.
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:37 AM
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Really?

Where the fuck do you hang out on the internet? AOC's twitter page?
Private Facebook groups. The Root. Coloured Twitter. Lots of places where, suffice to say, the OP would just draw derisive laughter, at best. The question "What white nonsense is this?" would already have been asked, possibly multiple times.
  #45  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:40 AM
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And that baring of wounds has resulted in many changes like the civil rights act.
And 6 decades later, the onus is still on the PoC to do all the hurting? Naah, son.
  #46  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:44 AM
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As a black person who spends a lot of time around white folk (primarily at work) I frequently find that I am the ONLY black person these white folks know and feel like they can access. I have found that white folks (and white culture in general) go to extraordinary lengths to minimize any and all contact with non-white people then turn around and act all confused as to why they have these huge racial blind spots. I believe this to be a big problem and potentially the root cause of a lot of the racial division we have always been challenged with.

As a black person I have had a lifetime of training as to what offends white people and how to operate in white culture so as not to cause myself or others any problems. I also learned the same things about black people, (and later on as my social circle continued to expand) Latino folks and Asian folks as well. I’m my opinion, white people ONLY learn how to operate in white environments and it shows

And I am sick and fucking tired of having to hold each and every white persons hand who happens to finally realize that racism is real and wants to learn/help/whatever. Ask your black friends for help. If you have no black friends to ask and have to resort to a work friend, Facebook acquaintance or random black person on a message board then maybe that’s part of the problem and maybe that is where you should start your journey.

What you did was put the burden of explanation on us. You made us responsible for your understanding and education while you sit back and do nothing. I understand that probably wasn’t your intention but I simply cannot express how infuriating it is to have to explain this shit white folks over and over and over again. No one wants to be responsible for your education. Especially not someone who doesn’t consider you to be a close friend. Black folks are the ones who have to deal with the negative effects of racism yet white people continue to act like they deserve all the special treatment when trying to navigate these particular waters.

I have thoughts, feelings and opinions that I am hesitant to share IRL because there is a very real possibility that white folks are going to make me their personal spokesman for racial relations and assume my opinions are the gospel according to black people. It’s almost like white folks cant help but think that we are one monolithic group of hive minded people and if you can get one black person to agree then all black people will automatically agree as well.

If white people really want to actually make a substantial change to race relations in this country then I would suggest you go out and make serious effort to expand your non-work social circle to include at least a few black folks. See how they live. Meet their friends and family and see what challenges they face and how the racial climate of America effects their daily lives. Be around when they have to deal with some racist bullshit and witness first hand the effects it has on their demeanor.

Learn by being part of our lives and not by sitting back and studying us like we’re some type of wild animals to be studied from afar.

Last edited by BeagleJesus; 01-09-2020 at 11:47 AM.
  #47  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:54 AM
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What Manda Jo said, as usual .

It's a little concerning that your takeaway from the conversation isn't a commitment to dismantling racism, but is rather a long and rather plaintive screed about how unfairly you were treated by your black friend. Stipulate that he was a rude asshole to you: is that really the Great Debates material you need to write about?
First of all, please forgive me if I've placed this thread in the wrong forum. If the moderators feel it necessary, they can move it to where they see fit. If I've failed some "Great Debates" test of excellence, i bow as a humbled man.

Secondly, my conversation with Mark had *absolutely and utterly* nothing to do with dismantling racism, despite my brief efforts at the outset to engage him in just that topic. Also, i didnt need any conversation with him to become committed to dismantling racism. That commitment had already been pretty well formed. I asked for his opinion on what he shared as a way of adding valuable, needed perspective to that comittment.

It was just about completely devoted to me trying to understand why he was, as i saw it, stonewalling me in what I thought was a reasonable and most likely to be welcomed question. *Please* try to abstain from mischaracterizing anything ive previously written, i never said i was being treated "unfairly" by anyone, much less by my "black friend". I also did not ever say he was rude to me. I was only *ever* confused and desirous of understanding what brought about his tip-lipped responses.

It's concerning to me that you can read everything here and then post what did with a straight face.
  #48  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:58 AM
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And 6 decades later, the onus is still on the PoC to do all the hurting? Naah, son.
Onus? I don't even get where you're going here. "Baring of wounds" is to get non-victimized people on board. But that's no fair and it's white people's turn? How does that make sense?
  #49  
Old 01-09-2020, 12:07 PM
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As a black person who spends a lot of time around white folk (primarily at work) I frequently find that I am the ONLY black person these white folks know and feel like they can access. I have found that white folks (and white culture in general) go to extraordinary lengths to minimize any and all contact with non-white people then turn around and act all confused as to why they have these huge racial blind spots. I believe this to be a big problem and potentially the root cause of a lot of the racial division we have always been challenged with.
Don't overestimate how much effort this takes. I chose to live in a neighborhood with good public schools, which in my city means choosing from one of 5 or 6 neighborhoods that are 99% white. I understand that there are black families who can afford to live in one of these neighborhoods but choose not to because they don't want to live in a white neighborhood. I get that, and I get that the few black families that do live here must be exhausted from "acting white" in public. This is a privilege of mine, but I didn't go to great lengths for it, it's sorta just the default. As a consequence of having 3 kids I tend to only socialize with other parents, and as a consequence of living in a white neighborhood they tend to be white parents. Again, this requires no effort and is just what happens in central Ohio when you choose a house based on school ratings.

It's true that my only social interactions with black people are at one of my two jobs, but that's because I'm over 30 which means I only have like 2 actual friends. Making friends is hard so again, socializing with black people would require socializing in the first place, which is already a challenge.

I think this touches on a lot of what you said and a lot of what we've seen and heard about white privilege and never having to "code switch." Being in the majority or plurality means never really having to be uncomfortable if you don't want to.

I will say, that based directly on your post here I've decided to talk to my wife about identifying black owned small businesses to patronize, which will force us to leave our little bubble here. It feels like something I can actually do that's not just talking or thinking. No need to respond but if I'm off track feel free to let me know. Of course, being white we tend to seek out vegan restaurants, hopefully that doesn't cause issues...

Last edited by steronz; 01-09-2020 at 12:09 PM.
  #50  
Old 01-09-2020, 12:11 PM
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https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...57861&sfnsn=mo




https://photos.app.goo.gl/aY5MRxpooCLySDNQ8

Just for informative purposes, here were the two shared items that ultimately sparked this thread. I shared the original source, so none of the conversations or private info is on these posts.
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