Stuff White People Say

November 24, 2008

[Stuff non-white people say about stuff white people say]

Filed under: Uncategorized — nquest2xl @ 2:48 am

(under construction)

Pardon me.  I’m going to make a bit of a departure from the narrow confines here and just put something out there because it’s on my mind.  Maybe, if you consider this a sequel to the “What X said is stupid… ignorant… but not racist” thread, my comments will be in-keeping with the overall thrust of this blog.

What I want to do is have you take a look at this and see if you can help me work this out.  All I want to do is just ask a question and see how you would answer it so, maybe, I can get my own thoughts together.

Long and short, I went ahead and posted a comment on Macon’s blog in the thread that inspired my previous thread (linked above).  An African-American poster there (Siditty) responded to my post basically asking why the poster labeled Lindsey Lohan’s comments as “ignorance” (only).  This was, in part, Siditty’s response:

“Personally sometimes I give white people slack because I hate to say it most of the time I don’t expect much from them in regards to racial sensitivity.”

I want to know what you think about the idea of POC cutting White people slack.  My first reaction was, “White people don’t cut us any slack.”   But now I’m thinking more in terms of how giving White people slack may be like the silence that gets interpreted as complicity a la “If more POC than just you complained, I would reconsider.”

I say that because I’ve had to rethink my decision not to comment on the Jim Crow picture Macon D used to feature in his “feel threatened and imperiled as a race” thread.  JWBE asked me if I saw the picture after I saw it and decided not to respond.  I guess I almost have to rethink my position when Macon’s “if more POC would have complained” comment (next to last paragraph) was also about him posting “racist imagery.”

But that causes quite a dilemma.  If I take Siditty’s attitude of low expectations, why should I say something to Macon?  This blog was, more or less, inspired by moments, more than just a few, when he lacked “racial sensitivity.”

I’m also wondering what this means for POC.  I’m wondering what it means to give White people slack and whether that’s part of the internalized racism we’ve been enculturated with.  Maybe its me but it just strikes me as odd that POC would denigrate, demonize or marginalize the protest and resistance traditions like some African-Americans do when it comes to civil rights leaders/organizations.  (It’s even more odd to me from an ideological standpoint because I’m much more Malcolm X than I am Dr. King.)

I said all that and I guess I haven’t raised any clear questions.   Well, here’s a try:

  1. Given the social/racial power dynamics, how are POC in the position to “give White people slack”?
  2. And, what does that mean? That is, when POC “give White people slack”, where does that leave them in the grand scheme of things?
  3. And what price do we pay for our silence?  After all, even well-meaning Whites like Macon wouldn’t “know better” if we remained silent.

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3 Comments »

  1. I remember in The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm was arguing with the white preacher that Jesus was black. The white preacher agreed with all the premises but would not agree to the conclusion that Jesus was black, even when it logically followed. The preacher said, “Jesus was brown,” as a compromise, and Malcolm X thought that was good enough.

    I was thinking, “WTF?”

    The only reason Malcolm X was satisfied was because he had low expectations in the first place.

    So I guess when white people exceed POC’s low expectations, many POC give white people awards.

    Comment by Restructure! — November 24, 2008 @ 3:08 am | Reply

  2. Oh yeah, there’s also a difference between (i) staying silent and not bothering using your time and energy to respond, and (ii) being vocal and using your time and energy to make excuses for white people.

    Comment by Restructure! — November 24, 2008 @ 3:12 am | Reply

  3. Thank you for you keen observation in #2 (ii), Restructure. Yes, there is a difference. A big difference. Maybe that’s why Siditty thought I questioned his/her Blackness.

    Siditty keeps going on about the idea of getting upset over every little thing… I just wondered why go to the opposite extreme. I mean, if Lohan is someone “we” (by George, I think Siditty’s is trying to tell us how we’re supposed to feel Lohan and/or about what Lohan said)… if Lohan is someone “we shouldn’t be going to for… intelligent conversation” and someone Siditty doesn’t “seek to provide guidance for racial equality” then f-ck her… Who needs Lohan anyway? lol

    Seriously, why bother trying to rationalize something she said or did? That takes time and energy to. I’m all for no time or energy consumption when possible/practicable.

    Lohan saying “colored” is obviously small potatoes. Real small potatoes. The “cut White people some slack” reflex, however, is to me a big deal. A very big deal. Obviously, I wonder where that comes from (though it’s not like I haven’t cut someone White some slack, just not pre-emptively).

    Anyway… if it wasn’t for the fact that this “common non-white tendency” of calling racist/prejudiced statements “ignorant” instead of “racist (and ignorant)” being a pet-peeve of mine — i.e. I’m tired of hearing it because it does more than just cut slack; it teeters on not facing reality (defense mechanism?) and not being honest (denial?) about the reality — I probably wouldn’t have even commented on the thread at all.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 24, 2008 @ 3:33 am | Reply


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