Stuff White People Say

November 20, 2008

“Listen to People of Color”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 9:17 pm

The basis of each communication is understanding. Person A sends message x to person B who in an ideal case decodes it into message x.
Communication is based on a common language, in real life also cues, facial expression and body language as well as the knowledge about the background of the recipient of a message.
When I for example say:
“Turid Rugaas points out the importance of calming signals and that they should not be ignored.”
people without the necessary background knowledge can listen to this sentence, they might be able to recite this sentence but won’t understand the meaning of it.
The message x decodes into message y or just into a question mark.

Topics and issues often have a certain terminology and listeners without the knowledge of the specific terminology either don’t understand the meaning or believe they understand the meaning based on their own experience/knowledge and perception.

The term “white supremacy” is one example of it, which is connected by many whites with white supremacists (KKK, Neo-Nazis).
Also racism without a commonly agreed definition can be a term which is misleading.

Based on a certain understanding information also can appear to be true or not. “Whites don’t see themselves as white” can appear true for people who also hold this point of view and sounds wrong for people with another understanding or background (knowledge).
Ones own knowledge and experiences always also influences the understanding.

Another problem is projecting. a) Person A believes that his or her own experience is valid for all people or that b) the experience of one person is true for all persons of this group.
a) One example is a white co-worker of mine who believes that Neo-Nazis aren’t a threat to People of Color because she herself doesn’t feel threatend by Neo-Nazis.
b) e.g. Obama (see, if you just work hard enough)

Dialogue about race becomes complicated because the white racist [regardless degree] mind works in ‘categories’, white at the top and Black at the bottom. All “below the top” can never criticize the “top”. The “top” makes the decision which statements s/he considers as true or untrue and according this world-view criticism is filtered.

In a neutral dialogue
person A sends message x – person B receives message x

In a dialogue with somebody racist [regardless how subtle]
Person C sends message x / white person D receives message y.

D works with a “filter system” which distorts the message sent by C.

Knowledge can be gathered via reading for example, lived experience or both. Lived experience is stronger than knowledge learned by reading alone.
Reading books written by People of Color or about racism in general doesn’t make a white person an expert. S/he is able to gather theoretical knowledge. But understanding racism/white supremacy doesn’t mean to “study” non-white people but it means to study and watch those who are the perpetrators – white people. Somebody white who “studies” white people will find a lot of examples of white supremacy already exposed without the presence of People of Color. Studying white people also means that the voices of People of Color confirm what such whites can or should already see when it comes to white folks. People of Color don’t offer new information to “anti-racists” but a different point of view.

The problem when it comes to dialogues about race is also that many whites put a lot of emotions in it with the great fear to be considered a racist. It is the projection of “what could PoC think about me” based on the assumption that every PoC considers whites automatically also as racist. This can lead to a reflex of defense mechanism based on prejudices.

Many whites aren’t emotionally neutral when they talk about race with People of Color, discussions about race become struggles for the mere “survival” of some white individuals. Therefore, Person of Color C sends message x to white person D who decodes it into “do you call me racist” for example. White person D’s perception is also that each error etc. will be translated into “you are a racist” which makes them resistant towards any further learning and understanding.

The ingrained “top” position of many whites also makes it impossible to actively listen to a Person of Color. An honest dialogue isn’t possible as long as the white part acts within the hierarchy of white supremacy.
In every dialogue also the perception of the other is important as well as prejudices one may hold. Somebody with the prejudice that People of Color are more emotional than whites will look for confirmation of this stereotype and will over-estimate or misunderstand the answer of a Person of Color based on that prejudice. Somebody who is afraid of being called racist will look for imagined signs and react accordingly.
Somebody white who believes that People of Color should be grateful also will have the prejudice that all People of Color have to be “nice”, which means nothing else that People of Color should be submissive towards the white ‘savior’.

Understanding racism also doesn’t mean to ask individual People of Color how it feels or what happens to them but to gather information about the entire system. Somebody with the prejudice for example that Black people are prone to crime will cite the high incarceration rate of Black people in the USA as proof for his prejudice. His research will stop there because the prejudice is confirmed. As long as whites learn about racism without knowing their own prejudices gathered knowledge will always also lead to confirmation of stereotypes or information is gathered within the confining walls of ones prejudices or assumptions about People of Color.

Macon demonstrates in his “handshake-post” what can happen when white assumptions together with white is at the “top” ignores the voices of PoC together with distorting the messages and even not realizing the own contradictions in his own writings. Already common sense would tell any reader including the author, regardless how uninformed, that his post is nothing else then non-sense.

So, I play the German tourist not familiar with American customs and read his post:
shake hands our way
Macon gives already a lot of information he ignores himself:

When two American adults meet for the first time, or when they know each other but not well enough to hug, they usually put their right hands together.

He already says that there are different methods among Americans to greet each other, dependend on the relationship to each other.

He continues:

Especially if they’re men. As a handbook on American customs posted on a University of Texas-Arlington web site says, “Some men might not shake hands with women unless the woman extends her hand first. Hand-shaking among women occurs even less frequently.

This paragraph is nothing then weird:

Obviously, many African American men in particular have other ways of putting their hands together, and other racial groups do as well (though I’ll admit, I don’t know what forms the latter take). So this visitor’s handbook may be explaining the “normal” American method, but it’s really the “white” method. Adopting it, and dropping any other “ethnic” greeting gestures, has been another way in which immigrants have adapted in order to assimilate.

Macon gives the information that African American men have “other ways”. He also writes that “other racial groups” have “other ways”, based on an assumption because he doesn’t know which one. Not knowing which one means not knowing “if”.
He comes from African Americans to “other racial groups” to immigrants. Which immigrants?

Continued:

What’s more interesting, though, about differences in handshaking techniques is that if a white and a non-white person encounter each other in a casual setting and decide to clasp hands, there may be uncertainty about which handshaking method to use–the one that’s become the standard, “white” one, or a common non-white one.

The tourist from Germany rises her hand and inserts a question: Which “common non-white one”?

He ends with the sentence:

The non-white person often represses a preferred method of contact, and the white person feels little if any discomfort about being the enforcer of a standard.

but in an answer on swps Macon writes:

Where on my blog do I recommend this sort of behavior for white people interacting with non-white people, that they try to imitate the non-white person’s supposed cultural characteristics? I posted a video somewhere that obviously satirizes exactly that kind of white behavior, which is absurd, embarrassing behavior that any fairminded reader of my blog would know that I wouldn’t recommend.
https://stuffwhitepeoplesay.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/so-can-i-keep-my-hip-white-boy-status-pleeze/#comment-159

the confused tourist from Germany rises her hand and asks the question: Then what was your point of this post? If the “standard handshake” supresses the “African American and all non-white” “other ways” and you tell me that there is an alleged uncertainty which one to use when meeting “non-white people”, what is then your point if not imitating the “African American way”?

There have been some non-white “complaints”, nonetheless Macon lacks the insight.
Macon works with a perception nobody knows, but for him this sort of “logic” seems to work. Whatever filter he uses, the very clear messages x sent by People of Color don’t decode into message x but y in Macons brain. Macon’s claim to listen to People of Color becomes a very empty lip service when he is even in cases like this unable to listen and to learn.

Macons name can be replaced with many other white names, because what Macon displays is just a very common white tendency. His blog can serve as an example how [subtle] racism works and how difficult it can become to combat racism which happens on this level so few are able or willing to realize.

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36 Comments »

  1. Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly what happens. POC say x and then Macon D interprets it as y. y is his “summary” and “generalization” of what POC say, which is not what POC are really saying.

    This is why it seems like he doesn’t understand what he is reading. For refuse to listen to black anger, he thinks that The Privilege of Politeness supports what he was saying, when it actually contradicts what he says in his post. Tilahun writes:

    And even when POC are as polite as possible there is still hostility read into the words because people are so afraid of being called racist that they would rather go on offending than deal with the hard road of confronting their own prejudices.

    Macon D doesn’t understand the subtleties of what he was saying, and believes that black people sound angry to him because of their culture/lower-class background, instead of because of his white perception and privilege. Macon D writes:

    Finally, I’ll add here that in a post entitled “The Privilege of Politeness” at Angry Black Woman, Naamen Gobert Tilahun says some of things I was trying to say here better than I did.

    Uh, no. Macon D’s post and Tilahun’s post are saying two completely different things. Macon D just thinks that everything POC say confirms what he already knows to be correct, and thus, to him, he’s not making any errors.

    Anyway, I tried to comment on this post today – http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2008/11/white-quotation-of-week-michelle-t.html – but he decided not to publish my comment.

    Comment by Restructure! — November 21, 2008 @ 12:28 am | Reply

  2. SWPD = a case study in a performative contradiction. For a site named ‘stuff white people do’, one would think that the obvious first thing to do is examine the acts of one specific white person, i.e., the author, especially in terms of what the rhetoric deployed ‘does’.

    Comment by theboxman — November 21, 2008 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  3. Good stuff!

    @ JW… What you say is true: it’s clear people come to discussions with certain preconceived ideas and view certain messages sent using certain words through a filter with preset codes for what those words or concepts mean and, in a interracial conversation, apparently attach different meanings to those words/codes depending on the other person’s racial/ethnic background.

    @ Restructure… Thanks for the link to ABW. The commentary put into words something I’ve always felt was going on. Also, thanks for the insight into what JW mentioned in his piece — i.e. Macon’s “I’m not racist” defense in the “get used to blackness” thread. I guess it never occurred to me as clear as it does now that he was doing that. Your observations make everything clear up to and including his exaggerated lament that I only commented when he posted something about African-Americans.

    With Macon’s apparent perception of himself and the apparent aim of his “anti-racist labor”, it all falls into place with me now.

    Comment by Nquest — November 21, 2008 @ 3:39 am | Reply

  4. Thank you.

    And Macon still writes in his ‘refuse to listen to black anger’:
    “They may not realize it (middle-class ones, especially), but white people often insist that such discussions be conducted in their way. Their calm, rational way, that is, and if they’re talking to someone raised to discuss “hot topics” in an more emotionally engaged way, they not that way. (And guess who’s automatically at an advantage in calm, rational discussions, if they’ve been raised to discuss controversial issues in a calm, rational way?)”
    —————
    ra·tion·al

    1. reasonable and sensible: governed by, or showing evidence of, clear and sensible thinking and judgment, based on reason rather than emotion or prejudice

    2. able to think clearly and sensibly: able to think clearly and sensibly, unimpaired by physical or mental condition, strong emotion, or prejudice
    I can’t be rational when so many people give me conflicting advice.

    3. in accordance with reason and logic: presented or understandable in terms that accord with reason and logic or with scientific knowledge
    a rational explanation

    http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/rational.html

    He still believes that whites are rational and PoC emotional.
    The next thing for me is, he doesn’t explain what “Black anger” is. He seems to believe that “Black anger” is just an emotion held by somebody Black.
    For me, “Black anger” is something different, this what was considered the “Negro Problem” and the Civil Rights Movement. Therefore “Black anger” is not about emotions but about Civil Rights. Refuse to listen to “Black anger” is the historical refusal of whites to consider Black people as citizens and the white reactions towards this “Black anger” was all but rational.
    The white reaction to Rev. Wright wasn’t rational.
    And in individual discussions about race whites very often aren’t rational but emotional. There the white refusal to listen to “Black anger” is the refusal to see somebody Black (or Person of Color in general) as equal with equal rights in a discussion.

    @Restructure,
    <but he decided not to publish my comment.

    And this would be another example or irrational fears of white guys and is exactly his refusal to listen to PoC.

    Comment by jwbe — November 21, 2008 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  5. “…in individual discussions about race whites very often aren’t rational but emotional.”

    One thing is for sure, Macon sure has a problem with being rational in terms of making “reasonable and sensible” statements/arguments “that accord with reason and logic.” Which is the very thing Restructure pointed out in “If more POC than just you complained, I would reconsider.”

    It was clear Macon had no interest in “discussing the matter and straightening things out” because he used the same stupid and inapplicable Clarence Thomas (skin color) line in response to Restructure that he used with you before. He does stuff like that when he’s on record saying POC know more about racism et. al. than Whites. Hmmm….

    It’s clear, however, that he hardly ever includes himself in those generic statements which is why he would standby his “I don’t see a problem with [it]…” statement and try to defend his comment validation process by, oddly, saying he used HIS (white) critical thinking skills and determined, all by his White self, that HE disagreed. Likewise, when JW asked him why he used the picture he was just now pressured to take down, Macon’s only considerations was HIS own considerations — i.e. no concern for what POC thought about the image and, frankly, I can’t tell whether any POC responded to his thread.

    So where exactly he gets the idea that it was okay since nobody but Restructure complained is beyond me and beyond reason, it seems. I know I saw the thread and, later, JW asked me what I thought about it. My reaction was like Tilahun’s on ABW:

    “…I may write a detailed reply pointing it out and teaching a bit. I may also go off. Or I may just ignore it. It all depends. Depends on if I just spent the whole day dealing with racism, if I know you, if I think you can learn, if it’s something that’s been repeated over and over and I’m tired of dealing with it and think that you as an (assumed) intelligent person should know better.”

    Plus I have an aversion to reducing talk about racism down to all too popular topics like White and Colored water fountains (referenced a lot when describing life under Jim Crow) and interpersonal, interracial relationships.

    Comment by Nquest — November 21, 2008 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  6. yeah, and so it works. The Macons of the world still hold the superior positions and the white world throws cookies towards him, because perhaps they know, that people like him also have the power to distroy organizations from within. In this regard I don’t separate the internet from real world only that it becomes sooner visible on internet.
    And while he allegedly believes in “untraining” whiteness and “changing minds and hearts” the world falls apart because they live the illusion that they have time.
    Robert Jensen’s latest article also talks about that and I think that anti-racists should understand that we don’t have so much time left.

    Comment by jwbe — November 21, 2008 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  7. I believe that the issue of Macon D. raises a broader question: What role–if any–should White people have in not only the so-called anti-racist movement but against White supremacy itself?

    You can make an analogy between this situation and the role of men in the feminist movement, straight people in the queer movement, or rich people in working class struggles?

    In each case, would you trust members of the dominant class to act in political good faith and not try to mold these movements for their own self-interest?

    Comment by Lxy — November 21, 2008 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

  8. white supremacy is:
    Racism
    Religious war against Islam
    Environmental pollution
    Pollution of the universe
    Pollution of drinkable water
    Exploitation of natural resources
    Nuclear weapons
    Nuclear waste
    Extermination of people
    Extermination of animals
    Global warming
    poverty
    world hunger
    etc.

    the question isn’t a question of trust.

    Comment by jwbe — November 21, 2008 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

  9. In each case, would you trust members of the dominant class to act in political good faith and not try to mold these movements for their own self-interest?

    That is the question of the day.

    I raised a similar question which seeks to point out what and who “these movements” are for. Like mine:

    What do White anti-racists feel is at stake for them and for Whites, generally, when it comes to trying to understand race, Whiteness, White Privilege and how things work and impact people, particularly White people, in a system of WHITE SUPREMACY?

    Put another way: what is it a matter of for White anti-racist?

    https://stuffwhitepeoplesay.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/its-a-matter-of-life-or-death-for-non-white-people/

    I’d really like Macon D or any other White anti-racist, aspiring or otherwise, to address your question.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Reply

  10. I know I saw the thread and, later, JW asked me what I thought about it. My reaction was like Tilahun’s on ABW:

    “…I may write a detailed reply pointing it out and teaching a bit. I may also go off. Or I may just ignore it. It all depends. Depends on if I just spent the whole day dealing with racism, if I know you, if I think you can learn, if it’s something that’s been repeated over and over and I’m tired of dealing with it and think that you as an (assumed) intelligent person should know better.”

    Exactly. I don’t point out every single thing that’s wrong with his blog, or else I would be sitting at the computer all day and night. Yet some people think that racism is so rare that people wait in the bushes and have to look hard for it.

    Comment by Restructure! — November 22, 2008 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  11. the question isn’t a question of trust.

    Huh?

    Then what is the question? When what gets understood in society is the kind of ideas Macon has which would include at least lip service to everything you listed, then how is “trust” not an issue? How is understanding people’s self-interests and acting accordingly not important?

    What was the point of your thread about the different types of mindsets of POC if, somehow, LXY’s question isn’t the question? “Trust” would certainly seem to be an issue with POC who would side with Macon (in the philosophical disputes we’ve had, e.g.), those who actually exist and those Macon dreams up. Asking about a White anti-racist’s self-interest then would seem unquestionably important if for no other reason than to question POC who have ignored that fact of life (that people are motivated out of their own self-interest, however defined) or those who would rather believe in some fairy tale idea or figure POC should be especially nice to Whites instead of picking on Whites who are, at least, “trying”, etc.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 12:21 am | Reply

  12. > What role–if any–should White people have in not only the so-called anti-racist movement but against White supremacy itself?

    Perhaps it’s the second clause “White supremacy itself” of the question that matters more here? I can’t help but wonder if even speaking of an “anti-racist movement” (as if it were a singular organized movement and not the patchwork of contingent, conditional alliances it is) opens up this weird space where “anti-racism” is staked out as a kind of identity without the corresponding action vis-a-vis the various social justice concerns implicated therein. In other words, the issue for me is less about “untraining whiteness” (which is individualistic, and ultimately meaningless against the systemic) and claiming an identity as a “white anti-racist” but insisting on anti-racism as a category of analysis, that is, insisting on seeing (and addressing) the uneven impacts of social justice issues upon POC. I don’t really care if one claims to an anti-racist (or feminist, or ally) identity or not. That’s less important than the work itself.

    The problem is not these microaggressive “stuff white people do” per se, but the systemic and institutional structures of exclusion — the asymmetrical relations of power — that back it and that they serve to reproduce. All these acts listed in SWPD (or elsewhere) would either whither away or become irrelevant if not for their institutional and structural underpinnings.

    I can’t recall who (nquest? restructure?) said it here first, but I thought it hit the nail on the head: In the example of petting and hair touching, the problem is not that it offends POC, but that it offends POC *because* it is symptomatic of an underlying lack of recognition of the personhood of the other.

    To “untrain” whiteness on this individual level is to merely address the symptom, not the underlying collective social disease.

    Comment by theboxman — November 22, 2008 @ 12:50 am | Reply

  13. Exactly. I don’t point out every single thing that’s wrong with his blog, or else I would be sitting at the computer all day and night. Yet some people think that racism is so rare that people wait in the bushes and have to look hard for it.

    You know, given all Macon & Co’s bellyaching — and because I’ve never made or intended to make a broad statement his entire blog…. AND, like you, wasn’t going to spend all day, er’day pointing out questionable stuff Macon said — I consciously decided to avoid commenting on his blog on most subjects. And that was before the overt “control freak” issues surfaced with his supposed trial period for moderating comments (he couldn’t even be honest about that).

    I also avoid commenting now (I thought about commenting on the idea of having “White Quotation of the Week” featuring a Black author, Michelle T. Johnson, (instead of just correcting the POC who got it all twisted) and Macon posting videos of “This Week In Blackness” when every now and then Macon says his focus is “Whiteness.”

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 12:59 am | Reply

  14. Then I realize that I didn’t really answer the question. One more try — the role (task?) of white people (and for that matter, not only white people) is not only to call out specific racist acts (be they slurs, silly-ass questions, or whatnot), but also and more importantly, to grasp and account for what social and material conditions produce the desire to perform these racist acts, and address that through their action.

    Comment by theboxman — November 22, 2008 @ 12:59 am | Reply

  15. Boxman, Restructure was the one who made the point about the petting and touching offense. And a damn fine, clarifying point it was. Another fine point is your observation about “anti-racism” as an identity, in and of itself (i.e. the new way to be “GoodWhiteFolks”), and how “untraining whiteness” is “individualistic”, etc.

    I believe JW has tried to make the last point several times.

    Thanks for your input.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 1:06 am | Reply

  16. Huh?

    It is the entire system of white supremacy. This is also the reason why I don’t like the term “white anti-racist” because this implies or means that s/he is just against racism and also implies the belief that racism can be combatted without combatting the entire system. I made a list above of things I think belong to white supremacy. The mentality behind, the belief that we [Europeans] can dominate and control life and nature. This is the main driving force of white supremacy I think.
    Everybody white who believes that it is enough to just challenge or question one part of it, doesn’t understand the nature of white supremacy. Anti-racism within a Eurocentric frame is an oxymoron, because the Eurocentric frame is racist.

    The Macons of this world also impact me. Daily. In another way than PoC, but they impact me negatively. “White inventions” impact me negatively and nobody asks me if I want this to happen ‘in my name’.
    I don’t want it. Period.

    to this question:
    In each case, would you trust members of the dominant class to act in political good faith and not try to mold these movements for their own self-interest?

    while I am not very trusting in general based on experience with many whites who make hypocrisy their way of life, and I know how difficult it is to find like-minded white people who don’t think just about their individual ego but have an understanding of ‘we’ and of a human community, I know that there are some white people who are serious in their efforts because they are able to see the bigger picture and therefore understand also the necessity of honest anti-racist work. My historical background is the German Holocaust and WWII, the answer where racism will lead to. Most of all now with a global economy collapsing.

    I don’t know if this answers your question?

    Comment by jwbe — November 22, 2008 @ 1:49 am | Reply

  17. The Macons of this world also impact me. Daily. In another way than PoC, but they impact me negatively. “White inventions” impact me negatively and nobody asks me if I want this to happen ‘in my name’.I don’t want it. Period.

    This is the very thing I’ve seen articulated from White anti-racists like Wise and Jensen. Obviously, they didn’t interpret the term “white anti-racist” to mean what you believes it implies.

    Language is, by definition, limited. Words, especially the two words “white anti-racist”, can’t say everything. That’s why they say most communication is non-verbal. Whether it is or isn’t, it’s clear that the two words can mean different things to different people. You just wrote a thread about the different interpretations of racism, etc.

    Also, the Macons of the world don’t define White anti-racism as far as I’m concerned. But that’s just me. I guess my first introduction to the concept was from more serious, more rigor and, perhaps, more genuine people like Wise and Jensen.

    Plus I’m a purist. Even if Wise or Jensen don’t epitomize all that White anti-racism is cracked up to be via their actions or what-have-you, from what I’ve seen, they’ve consistently articulated a focused and pure concept that has meaning and value beyond them and what they do or don’t do.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 2:17 am | Reply

  18. while I am not very trusting in general…

    But that doesn’t explain your initial comment which said it’s not about trust: that trust is not the question.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 2:21 am | Reply

  19. But that doesn’t explain your initial comment which said it’s not about trust: that trust is not the question.

    Lxy wrote:

    What role–if any–should White people have in not only the so-called anti-racist movement but against White supremacy itself?

    I made the list to show, how complex white supremacy is. White supremacy as a system with all aspects is not just perpetuated by whites as individuals and many of ‘white inventions’ are today also used by non-white nations who want to “develop”.
    Within this frame the question “what role-if any- should white people have in the movement against white supremacy” isn’t one about trust. It is a question of urgency and if nations as a whole can realize that.

    My “the question isn’t a question of trust” was not directed to Lxy’s

    In each case, would you trust members of the dominant class to act in political good faith and not try to mold these movements for their own self-interest?

    Comment by jwbe — November 22, 2008 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  20. <<<| My “the question isn’t a question of trust” was not directed to Lxy’s [statement]

    You really can’t expect anyone to believe that. What you’re saying isn’t making sense. Instead of trying change the question, why not answer it?

    Certainly you feel there is a role for Whites to fight against White Supremacy. What else are you criticisms of Macon about but your idea of proper perspective for Whites to have as far as honestly being against racism/WS instead of being concerned with being seen as “good” people, etc. And what else are you thoughts on so-called white anti-racist but your lack of trust that their interests are what they would like to say they are in terms of being against racism/White Supremacy?

    <<<| It is a question of urgency and if nations as a whole can realize that.

    Out of all the times I’ve quoted Tim Wise saying, “RACISM IS A WHITE PROBLEM,” I don’t recall you flipping into “urgency” mode.

    Again, what else are you criticisms of Macon but a statement about trust? You don’t flip into the “urgency” mode when you’re criticizing Macon. White Supremacy is complex. Okay. We got that point. Not that that point was lost on anyone and exactly why your comment about “White supremacy as a system… [includes] non-white nations” is relevant, no one knows.

    Even when you include non-whites there is still a question of what Whites are going to do, what role should they play and have to play. PERIOD.

    It’s really a simple question and it’s (the role for Whites question) inseparable from the trust question. Again, what else is your issue with the term “white anti-racists” and your criticism of the Macons of the world about but your lack of trust in them in terms of actually fighting against White Supremacy?

    For some reason you wanted to make a point and felt like you needed to downplay or dismiss LXY’s to me yours when you’ve essentially posed the same questions, made the same point LXY did, rhetorically.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  21. yes indeed, words are limited, most of all when it isn’t your first language and my background leads at least sometimes to thoughts other can’t follow as it seems.
    For me personally it is still true that in the entire system of white supremacy ‘trust’ is not the question, at least not the main question, but it is a question of understanding the problem. This is my personal thought I have and nobody has to agree with it.

    >Again, what else are you criticisms of Macon but a statement about trust? You don’t flip into the “urgency” mode when you’re criticizing Macon.

    I am not sure what you mean with that because I already told Macon the urgency, I also wrote about the Macons how much time they think they have.

    ?

    Comment by jwbe — November 22, 2008 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  22. <<<| yes indeed, words are limited, most of all when it isn’t your first language

    This has nothing to do with you being German.

    <<<| For me personally it is still true that in the entire system of white supremacy ‘trust’ is not the question

    What are you talking about? What are you saying? What I “follow” is that you think there’s nothing else to talk about but “the urgency” because, apparently, that’s all that you want to talk about… now.

    Okay.

    How do you propose “nations as a whole”, nations which include a lot of White people like Macon… how do you propose for those nations to “realize” both the “urgency” and complexity of White Supremacy and work towards eradicating it? And once those nations begin to “realize” everything you listed, what do you think they will do? Tomorrow, if Pres. Bush made a speech and said, “it’s time to address the length and breadth of White Supremacy” what would you think?

    <<<| I am not sure what you mean with that because I already told Macon the urgency, I also wrote about the Macons how much time they think they have.

    JW, don’t be so disingenuous. Surely you know ALL of your criticisms of Macon haven’t been centered around the idea of “the urgency.” You didn’t do it herehere or here.

    The vast majority of your threads and comments don’t do it. In fact, you didn’t do it here where the topic is, oddly: “Listen to People of Color”

    You did mention White Supremacy, though…

    <<<| The ingrained “top” position of many whites also makes it impossible to actively listen to a Person of Color. An honest dialogue isn’t possible as long as the white part acts within the hierarchy of white supremacy.

    In every dialogue also the perception of the other is important as well as prejudices one may hold. Somebody with the prejudice that People of Color are more emotional than whites will look for confirmation of this stereotype and will over-estimate or misunderstand the answer of a Person of Color based on that prejudice. Somebody who is afraid of being called racist will look for imagined signs and react accordingly.

    Somebody white who believes that People of Color should be grateful also will have the prejudice that all People of Color have to be “nice”, which means nothing else that People of Color should be submissive towards the white ’savior’.

    You know, I missed the part about “the entire system of white supremacy” in your OP. For some reason, the question wasn’t “the urgency”… Now how did that happen?

    Yes, I missed the part about “the urgency” in your OP but, more importantly, I missed where you explained how someone like Macon and other Whites… hell, “entire nations” can be convinced that the situation is “urgent” or how any one of us who have points of disagreement with the Macons of the world can be convinced that they all-of-a-sudden “get it” and will do something about it and bury the Eurocentric way of viewing the world.

    Comment by Nquest — November 22, 2008 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  23. For me personally it is still true that in the entire system of white supremacy ‘trust’ is not the question, at least not the main question, but it is a question of understanding the problem.

    And? Your point? You tried to say you didn’t direct your comment to what LXY said. LXY was the person who introduced the issue of trust into this conversation. Also, your comment came directly after LXY’s and you keep trying to make a point about what is or isn’t the question even while pretending you’re not saying something against what LXY said.

    How exactly this got to an issue of what is THE question or the MAIN question, I don’t know. What I do know is and observation was made and put in these exact words: “I believe that the issue of Macon D. raises a broader question…”

    “A broader question”… JWBE. Not THE question or the MAIN question AND the question wasn’t about “the entire system” per se but about what realistic expectations we should have of certain people, so-called White anti-racist and Whites in general as it relates to their involvement in movements against White Supremacy.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  24. <What are you talking about? What are you saying? What I “follow” is that you think there’s nothing else to talk about but “the urgency” because, apparently, that’s all that you want to talk about… now

    No. It was my attempt to explain my comment “the question isn’t a question of trust”.
    My list + this one sentence was my thought I had when I read Lxy comment: “I believe that the issue of Macon D. raises a broader question: What role–if any–should White people have in not only the so-called anti-racist movement but against White supremacy itself?” […]
    In each case, would you trust members of the dominant class to act in political good faith and not try to mold these movements for their own self-interest?”

    >How do you propose “nations as a whole”, nations which include a lot of White people like Macon… how do you propose for those nations to “realize” both the “urgency” and complexity of White Supremacy and work towards eradicating it?

    political activism which pressures the government and in Germany also the building of an alternative political party which works together with different organizations

    >You know, I missed the part about “the entire system of white supremacy” in your OP. For some reason, the question wasn’t “the urgency”… Now how did that happen?

    Again, this was in reaction to the part of Lxy’s comment plus your huh? and my failed attempt to explain what I meant.

    This post was about communication.

    >You tried to say you didn’t direct your comment to what LXY said.

    No I said:

    My “the question isn’t a question of trust” was not directed to Lxy’s

    “In each case, would you trust members of the dominant class to act in political good faith and not try to mold these movements for their own self-interest?“

    This part I didn’t address, so organizing within ws.

    Comment by jwbe — November 22, 2008 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

  25. <<<| my thought I had when I read Lxy comment

    The question is: why wasn’t that thought (of yours) consistent with what LXY was commenting on. You know, your OP. LXY commented on the content in your commentary where you directed a number of your comments to Macon’s behavior. Your response to LXY acts as if your “Listen to People of Color” commentary and your comments about Macon aren’t even there. It’s like you wanted to change the subject for some reason…

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

  26. why should I want to change the subject?
    My post/commentary wasn’t about trust, but communication. Yes correct, this post was the reason why Lxy posted his/her thoughts, and I posted my thoughts to his comment. What it wrong with that?
    Correct, I didn’t answer his last question, how is this trying to change the subject?

    Comment by jwbe — November 22, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  27. <<<| why should I want to change the subject?

    My question exactly. I commented because I don’t understand why you felt the urge to talk about what “THE” question is especially when your OP/commentary wasn’t about “THE” question. I mean, look at the last half of your commentary. It was, essentially, all about Macon (or your thoughts about things Macon and people like him do in interracial dialogues).

    And notice how you referenced White Supremacy in your commentary and even cited it as a term that gets interpreted differently but, for some reason, you didn’t feel the need to list what “white supremacy is.”

    As you like to ask: what was the purpose of that post?

    Did you think LXY or anyone commenting here didn’t know what WS is? And why did you say “the question isn’t a question of trust?” Looking at what you said in your OP/commentary… what was the question?

    I asked you that before…

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 22, 2008 @ 11:38 pm | Reply

  28. >As you like to ask: what was the purpose of that post?

    The purpose of the post was communication.

    >And notice how you referenced White Supremacy in your commentary and even cited it as a term that gets interpreted differently but, for some reason, you didn’t feel the need to list what “white supremacy is.”

    Why should I when this was just an example in the post? And what is wrong when Lxy posts his opinion and I post my opinion to his?

    >Did you think LXY or anyone commenting here didn’t know what WS is? And why did you say “the question isn’t a question of trust?” Looking at what you said in your OP/commentary… what was the question?

    My OP was an observation. Things I observed and wrote down. There was no question about trust, and I also don’t think that it necessarily needs trust to communicate.

    Lxy posted then also this:
    >In each case, would you trust members of the dominant class to act in political good faith and not try to mold these movements for their own self-interest?

    And you called it the question of the day. You also wrote:
    ‘I’d really like Macon D or any other White anti-racist, aspiring or otherwise, to address your question.’

    This was not off topic for you but my answer is trying to change the topic. Which topic? The OP or Lxy’s question?
    I already posted my opinion to Lxy’s question, but I can again answer: It depends, I don’t think there is a ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to this question, because it depends on the individuals who organize in groups.

    Comment by jwbe — November 23, 2008 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  29. The purpose of the post was communication.

    I wasn’t talking about your OP/commentary. I was asking about your response to LXY. Communication, indeed…

    Comment by Nquest — November 23, 2008 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  30. I also don’t think that it necessarily needs trust to communicate.

    This is beyond obtuse. LXY didn’t place trust in a communication context (though, certainly, you’d have to trust the sincerity of a person’s statements or vice versa in order for the desired communication to occur). What LXY was commenting on is that large half of your commentary that talked about Macon and his behavior.

    Several times (we and) you have questioned whether Macon is an anti-racist or otherwise sincere in what he says he’s about so I don’t understand why you’re acting like LXY’s “trust” comment which does the same thing is so foreign to you or off-the-topic when you made Macon one of the focuses in your OP. Ironically, “the entire system of white supremacy” wasn’t one of the focuses of your OP.

    This was not off topic for you but my answer is trying to change the topic.

    You’re struggling… You’re the one who, in your OP, made Macon’s behavior (as many of the threads here are) one of the focuses of your commentary. LXY commented on the general impression s/he got FROM YOUR OP. I commented on the question that came from LXY general impression of YOUR OP. Beyond that, there was nothing in my comments about saying LXY’s post raised “the question of the day” that suggested that there was nothing else to talk about but that “question of the day.” Your response, however, wanted to CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

    It was no longer about your OP. Again, your OP wasn’t about “the entire system of white supremacy” and whatever you think there is to talk about when it comes to that. That, you can never deny. So, yeah… Which topic, JW? Which topic were you talking about with #8? Your OP? That wasn’t it.

    But maybe you feel offended or something since you’re implicated in the question. I dunno. I do know that saying you already posted your opinion about LXY’s question AFTER you summarily dismissed by saying “the question isn’t a question of trust” is laughable to say the least, especially after you claimed how that comment wasn’t directed to LXY who was the only person to talk about trust. That also explains your belated answer.

    Of course it “depends” because, for one, you want to be “trusted.” That’s the only thing that can explain your behavior here to me: that you took things personally when, at any other time, you’d be the one talking about white anti-racists and the organizations they run or are a part of.

    Comment by Nquest — November 23, 2008 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

  31. I’ll show you how LXY’s question naturally flows from things you, yourself, said in your commentary:

    <<<| “An honest dialogue isn’t possible as long as the white part acts within the hierarchy of white supremacy.”

    What’s that, you say? Shall we ask WHY whites, even so-called or self-described white anti-racist would work/act within “the hierarchy of white supremacy”? Well, certainly they can see it as ***within their own self-interest*** to do so, as LXY suggested.

    Flipping it on its head, White self-interest in a society structured on White Supremacy — and the relative White Privilege all Whites enjoy — being what it is (or what it seems to be for so many Whites), exactly what kind of dialogue would you expect when Whites are motivated to preserve their privileged status “on top” or relative advantage over their socio-economic counterparts but a less than honest dialogue — one that pays lip service to all that sound good stuff while (as you said about the term “anti-racism” itself) never really talking about, much less staking out, ***the role Whites should/have to play in dismantling White Supremacy*** which was, obviously, part of the 2 or 3 part question LXY raised.

    Now for a comment of yours…

    <<<| “… I don’t like the term “white anti-racist” because this implies or means that s/he is just against racism and also implies the belief that racism can be combatted without combatting the entire system.”

    Aside from asking what term you would use (anti-white supremacists?), it’s clear that you’ve arrived at this idea, that you’ve questioned the term “white anti-racist” itself because of what you’ve observed from self-described white anti-racists which came about, no doubt, from not “trusting” the things they (Macon for example) merely played lip service to and, instead, looking at what they actually focused and emphasized day in and day out.

    I bet you Macon would say (because I’m sure he has said) that you have to “combat the entire system.” The problem is you don’t “trust” him when he says it because you’ve observed his body of work to-date which sends a different message. One like the idea promoted by whiteantiracist.wordpress.com. Which is an idea about, what’d-ya-know, the kind of selfish (“I’m not racist”) self-interest Whites (i.e. members of the *dominant class*) have in presenting themselves as people who intend to ***act in political good faith*** and solidarity with POC when, really, it’s all about them and their selfish, self-interests that you don’t “trust.”

    You don’t ***trust*** them when they say their against White Supremacy and that’s something you pick up from both the way they communicate and what they communicate.

    Comment by Nquest — November 23, 2008 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  32. >Aside from asking what term you would use (anti-white supremacists?), it’s clear that you’ve arrived at this idea, that you’ve questioned the term “white anti-racist” itself because of what you’ve observed from self-described white anti-racists which came about, no doubt, from not “trusting” the things they (Macon for example) merely played lip service to and, instead, looking at what they actually focused and emphasized day in and day out. 

    The term I use is ‘left’.
    That I question the term white anti-racism has a real life history, how this term is used by some or many organizations which aren’t anti-racist.

    >You don’t ***trust*** them when they say their against White Supremacy and that’s something you pick up from both the way they communicate and what they communicate.

    Yes, because also this is real life experience.

    And when I say “yes indeed, words are limited, most of all when it isn’t your first language” and you answer “This has nothing to do with you being German.” this becomes your truth, not mine, because I know that I am limited by the English language and I know that I neither can express the way I can do in German nor that I understand it with all the nuances like I understand German.
    And you can think that I am disingenuous or obtuse and I realize that things will only get worst because I still don’t understand your point.

    Comment by jwbe — November 23, 2008 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  33. This is my last comment…

    That I question the term white anti-racism has a real life history, how this term is used by some or many organizations which aren’t anti-racist.

    Of course. And, obviously, you aren’t the only one with that “real life history.” I’d venture to say LXY’s “trust” question is a reaction to that “real life history”, let alone the whole logic of it.

    So that makes it even harder for me to understand your initial response to LXY and my comments immediately following yours. Again, you aren’t the only one seen organizations that profess to be anti-racist or, older organizations, for equality, etc. that functionally were not in any real/absolute terms.

    Comment by Nquest — November 24, 2008 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  34. I read Lxy’s comment and made the mistake that I only thought about “what role, if any, play whites against white supremacy itself” and because he also mentioned the “trust-question”, my thought was, with ws itself trust is not the issue. Because I thought also about governments, or when there are for example rallies, there one doesn’t have to trust participants.
    But this doesn’t mean that I think trust is not an issue when it comes to organizing itself, individual groups with certain goals, like anti-racism.

    >But maybe you feel offended or something since you’re implicated in the question. I dunno. I do know that saying you already posted your opinion about LXY’s question AFTER you summarily dismissed by saying “the question isn’t a question of trust” is laughable to say the least, especially after you claimed how that comment wasn’t directed to LXY who was the only person to talk about trust. That also explains your belated answer. Of course it “depends” because, for one, you want to be “trusted.” That’s the only thing that can explain your behavior here to me: that you took things personally when, at any other time, you’d be the one talking about white anti-racists and the organizations they run or are a part of.

    As I understand it, you think I deliberately didn’t answer the question because it includes me? Trust is ‘earned’. That I for example can participate with this blog is a certain degree of trust. Restructure created this blog and she also gave me administrative rights, probably because of what I write on Macon’s blog.
    What I do I do because of what I believe in.

    Comment by jwbe — November 24, 2008 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  35. As I understand it, you think I deliberately didn’t answer the question because it includes me?

    No. And I’ll leave it at that because my last post was supposed to be my last comment on this subject.

    Comment by Nquest — November 24, 2008 @ 1:56 pm | Reply


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