Stuff White People Say

March 1, 2009

“I don’t think about things like that”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 12:18 am

Some or many whites claim that they “don’t think about things like that” which means they believe that they don’t think about issues which do not directly affect them.

One white person I know says: “I live in my happy little world”. But this doesn’t mean not knowing, it means using a filter to twist reality in a way that it becomes ‘harmless’. Harmless for the white person who benefits from the privilege to be able to ignore reality.

This person once sent me a racist picture (at least I consider it as racist) about Pres. Obama, shortly after his election. I told her that I consider this picture as racist and that she should never again send me anything like this. She wrote back, telling me, that I was so complicated, that she would never consider a person to be inferior because of skin color, but that she nonetheless thinks that the picture was funny. But she promised, that she never again will send something like this.

A few days later she sent a joke to me, not about Black people but with the (German) N-word in it. I sent her a link back to a website of a Black German media watch where there is also the explanation why the N-word is offensive and dehumanizing.
Her answer to me was: “I didn’t mean it that way.”

The happy little world where whites can send racism around without thinking about it and then claiming “it wasn’t my intention”.

A few days ago she came up with the movie “North and South” (with Patrick Swayze).
She wrote an email to me, saying to me “If you had lived during this time you would have been like Virgilia. But you would have remained more grounded, wouldn’t you, and not so mad”?
Continuing: “What makes me angry about Virgilia is that she generalizes about the South. Of course, slavery is wrong and it was about time that it was abolished. But it takes some generations until people change their minds to end slavery. Because it was their way of life. I also don’t believe that all slave owners raped their slaves or almost beat them to death. I think that many were like Orry (the “good” one). And then I can understand when people like Orry become resistant (to change).”

I wrote an email back to her, but she changed the topic [ok, you know, who wants to have arguments with people like Virgilia *rolling eyes*]

Yes, I think that is what such movies do to people who have “good intentions” but refuse to look at the whole picture. Already the justification that there would be such a thing like a good slave owner also indicates that the stereotype of the “happy Black person” still works.

It is the justification of violence towards people who are considered as “the other”, the “other” who already is satisfied with “good” treatment by his white master. The whites have to be understood with their way of life, not those who wanted to abolish slavery and most of all not those who had to endure slavery.

And this brings me back to a post by Nquest and this question:

“why was it necessary to have a n*gger in the first place?”

Baldwin reasons that the very creation of the “n*gger” indicates that there was a need for the “n*gger” and that White America has to find out why. ”
link

Black is not just the alleged opposite of white, I think that it was also necessary to justify the violence as well as to direct the violence. The invention of the “born victim” where it was legal to commit all crimes which were illegal within “the white club” itself. The creation of the “soulless opposite”, where the sickest phantasies could be lived. Perversion became protected by laws.
The function of it is probably not only controlling the masses but controlling the aggression. When the little man does get the power over somebody else within a system where he has no power, he is more likely to controll the “easier target” than trying to fight a system, which also exploits himself. Creating free rooms for lawlessness, I think also for this it was necessary to create a N*****.

It also helped creating these empty spaces for white persons who want to live in their little worlds. People who are assimilated and silent won’t face any trouble. The perfect tool within a system of white supremacy.

I have more thoughts about this, therefore, to be continued.

Advertisements

15 Comments »

  1. Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

    _________________________________
    Making Money $150 An Hour

    Comment by Mike — March 1, 2009 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  2. ““why was it necessary to have a n*gger in the first place?”

    Baldwin reasons that the very creation of the “n*gger” indicates that there was a need for the “n*gger” and that White America has to find out why. “”

    Sounds creepily like some of the comments of Nazi leadership (I can never quite remember which of the bastards it was) about how if there had been no Jews, then Jews would have had to have been invented.

    Which should give us a disturbing clue as to the ‘why’ that Baldwin challenges us for.

    Comment by Nathan — March 4, 2009 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  3. Faulty reasoning on your part, Nathan. And, as such, the lame Nazi reference can stay in creepy-creepyland or wherever you and the Nazi bastard whose name you can’t remember get your ideas from.

    Simply, the Jews in the Nazi bastards logic aren’t the same thing as the invented n*gger phenomenon Baldwin refers to.

    Baldwin says nothing approximating the “then Jews would have had to have been invented” part. Indeed, Baldwin does no such speculation — makes no assertion that Whites would have had to scapegoat and make some group, whether Black or otherwise, into “n*ggers” because of how Whites were either hard-wired biologically or forced by some sort of irresistible social/cultural dictates to turn somebody, anybody into “n*ggers.”

    Baldwin’s “challenge” (your odd word choice) is the result of merely raising the question about what motivated Whites to invent the n*gger as a way to spark an examination by Whites of their own culture. The Nazi’s bastards statement already judged German/Nazi culture. No further examination needed.

    Comment by Nquest — March 4, 2009 @ 6:38 am | Reply

  4. Further, Baldwin indicates that the ultimate purpose for his “challenge” was to get Whites to “save themselves.” That’s what should disturb us and give us pause because the examination Baldwin “challenged” White Americans to undertake has hardly been considered and if your reaction, Nathan (whether you’re White or not), says anything about how any significant number of Whites will/have responded to Baldwin’s challenge…

    Well, would should all tremble in fear over what could ever be so horrific and frightening that Whites will come up with all sorts of ways to avoid examining themselves and won’t dare take on the challenge of coming up with answers to the question inherent in Baldwin’s “challenge.”

    They must know something about themselves, intuitively or otherwise, that they are too afraid of knowing/acknowledging themselves and must be deathly afraid of the prospect of anybody else knowing their little, dark, horrific inner secret.

    Comment by nquest2xl — March 4, 2009 @ 7:22 am | Reply

  5. Hi Nquest,

    “Further, Baldwin indicates that the ultimate purpose for his “challenge” was to get Whites to “save themselves.”

    Thats why I said challenge; a challenge to self-examination. It seems the appropriate word choice.

    Okay, to elaborate more fully, the comment from the Nazis was of the nature that if they did not have a scapegoat, an Other supposedly ready-made in the Jewish people they hated so much, they would have had to create another ‘other’ with which to mislead people and appropriate and justify their power.

    It is in this sense I brought it in, because the creation and othering that occured in America was rooted in the same sense of misleading, appropriating and justification for the inexcusable.

    “Baldwin’s “challenge” (your odd word choice) is the result of merely raising the question about what motivated Whites to invent the n*gger as a way to spark an examination by Whites of their own culture. The Nazi’s bastards statement already judged German/Nazi culture. No further examination needed.”

    I bring it in because it is important for Americans to realise, that at the core, the examination will find much the same cause behind what created the concept of the “n####r” and what created the concept of the Jewish person as root of all evil for the Nazis.

    “makes no assertion that Whites would have had to scapegoat and make some group, whether Black or otherwise, into “n*ggers” because of how Whites were either hard-wired biologically or forced by some sort of irresistible social/cultural dictates to turn somebody, anybody into “n*ggers.””

    I make no assertion of that kind either, there was no hardcoding, no genetic imperative. White society did not HAVE to create this concept; it just did it anyway, to attempt to brush away the inexcusable. Because somewhere, at some point, the people who started this ball rolling must have known that what they were doing was terrible, but it profited them, and profited their children, and they had to find a way to justify it to themselves. And so this Othering grew ever more monstrous.

    As a disclaimer, I am an almost entirely white American-Australian (with a little Jewish and Cherokee blood).

    Also, Nquest, are you and nquest2xl the same? Sorry for my ignorance.

    Comment by Nathan — March 4, 2009 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  6. Or in short, my first post suffered from being distracted by work. What you took from my post was not what I was trying to express, which is a failure of my writing.

    As such, I apologise wholeheartedly for all distress or offence I caused with that first post.

    And I certainly did not mean to attribute anything untoward to Baldwin, even though upon re-reading, I see that I did. Again, this was my failure in my writing, and I shall try to be more careful in future.

    Comment by Nathan — March 4, 2009 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  7. Now that I’m home from work…. as an aside, when I refer to white people here, I’m referring to, in particular, white US-born people, particularly of Anglo-Saxon extraction.

    And the part where the “would have had to be invented” comes into it, again, emphasising this is in no way a hardwired or compelled action…

    Just as I believe that if, by change in historical events, the Jewish diaspora never occured and they never showed up in Europe, that another marginalised people group (the Roma for instance) would have taken centre stage in the Nazi’s scapegoating and othering…

    I also believe that if Europeans had not had access to Africa (impassable reefs or what have you), my American fore-fathers would have exploited some other people group, who would have become the “n####r”, though called by some other name. “Someone” was going to be forced to work those plantations, someone who could be Othered and exploited.

    They did not have to.

    I believe (and this is just me, I don’t state this as fact, but this is my belief) that it was the greed of the Western person, not just over in the US, but in so many places, that led to the Othering, because no one can justify the exploitation, even in the most superficial ways, without trying to dehumanise their victim. This is why they had to create the “n####r” as a concept and tool.

    Greed and power-hunger are the why behind the creation of the “n####r”, as a psychological buffer against coming to terms with the atrocities white people were committing, is what I see when I listen to Baldwin’s challenge to look inside and find the why.

    I’ve read a few of the posts and comments that you and jwbe and Restructure have made here and have noticed jwbe comment a number of times on how effed up white Americans must be in some of their reactions and attitudes to racial issues. This is what I think is the cause of white Americas neuroses.

    “They must know something about themselves, intuitively or otherwise, that they are too afraid of knowing/acknowledging themselves and must be deathly afraid of the prospect of anybody else knowing their little, dark, horrific inner secret.”

    In this, I think you’re on the mark.

    Please understand, though I must seem glib and matter of fact in my writing, it is not how I feel; the formality is a reaction to feeling mortified, both for my conclusions and for having made a meal of my first post. Even as a white person who was not born in the US, lived there for less than a decade as a child and has citizen only by virtue of a parent and to whom American heritage was by and large simply something other schoolchildren used to tease and abuse me with … even with those degrees of separation, it is a very hard thing to contemplate and discuss and it makes me blanch with shame.

    So I can see why an American-born white person would have that bubbling away in his subconscious, suppressed all the harder. Because I believe that western culture as it stands inflicts a certain responsibility to us all for the sins of the father (or mother), and this weighs on the minds of all white people. This is what I think propels white people to grow defensive when racism is discussed, because we are helpless in the face of that historical weight.

    To go to an Australian example, everytime I read more on the White Australia Policy, it make me want to tear my hair in frustration that people were that stupid, that people I love dearly like my grandparents voted for parties in favour of that nonsense, and helpless in knowing that the shame of those policies will always be present on the nation, and on all Australians, myself included, even though they were all abolished before I was born (even worse in its way, because I can’t say argued against it or voted against it or anything like that). This is a shame I feel like a palpable thing whenever I think on those defunct policies and there is absolutely nothing that can ever be done about it, becaues it happened in the past and that can never be changed. So we hide from history.

    Because, however much the intention of the challenge is for white people to “save themselves” as you point out, Nquest, how can we possibly save ourselves from the sins of our forebearers that pass on to us, that our culture tells us we all share?

    Comment by Nathan — March 4, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  8. Okay, to elaborate more fully, the comment from the Nazis was of the nature that if they did not have a scapegoat, an Other supposedly ready-made in the Jewish people they hated so much, they would have had to create another ‘other’ with which to mislead people and appropriate and justify their power.

    The Nazi time shows Eurocentrism compressed. Jews in Germany have a ca. 1,700 years old history but Jews never have been the (alleged) opposite of Germans/Aryans. Also in Europe black is the opposite of white and a similar concept of the N* is used. The Nazis created many different ‘others’ they sent to the gas chambers, the genocide of Jews is the most recognized while the Roma still fight to get reparations for example. Only about 30 years before the well-known Holocaust Germany committed genocide in Namibia and committed the same attrocities, reparations are demanded but Germany still refuses to pay.


    even with those degrees of separation, it is a very hard thing to contemplate and discuss and it makes me blanch with shame.

    So I can see why an American-born white person would have that bubbling away in his subconscious, suppressed all the harder.

    and this is the part I don’t understand. I cannot understand how whites, regardless where, can say “omg this is so terrible”, feeling ashamed or guilty or whatever and then start denying it. I mean, you live among such people and some or many of them would still be able or are able to commit the same crimes of our ancestors, our white history constantly repeats itself. Which excuses will our generation use? “I didn’t know”?

    Comment by jwbe — March 4, 2009 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  9. Perhaps greater context (and a still accessible link) is in order:

    Video #1
    Video #2
    Video #3

    The challenge question, Baldwin’s call for White Americans to engage in self-examination and come up with an answer for “why the n*gger was invented” were in his closing remarks in Video #3. In Video #1, he reflects on things that were happening while he was living. Not during slavery. While he was living.

    In fact, Baldwin personalized the challenge-question (in Video #3) as he stated emphatically that he is/was not a n*gger AND he reasoned that anyone (any Whites) who considered him a n*gger consequently needed him to be a n*gger; hence the question.

    Again, Baldwin did not many any kind of speculation similar to or “creepily like” the infamous statement made by the unnamed Nazi bastard.

    (more later)

    Comment by nquest2xl — March 5, 2009 @ 1:10 am | Reply

  10. “and this is the part I don’t understand. I cannot understand how whites, regardless where, can say “omg this is so terrible”, feeling ashamed or guilty or whatever and then start denying it.”

    My theory, jw, is that the denial is not in spite of the shame, but rather because of.

    “The Nazis created many different ‘others’ they sent to the gas chambers, the genocide of Jews is the most recognized while the Roma still fight to get reparations for example. Only about 30 years before the well-known Holocaust Germany committed genocide in Namibia and committed the same attrocities, reparations are demanded but Germany still refuses to pay.”

    I did not realise the Roma had still not received reparations. The Namibian atrocities I was unaware of.

    @ NQuest

    I am sorry, I cannot view your links at the moment; I am at work again, and I have no speakers here.

    I would like to say again though, I at no point was looking to inscribe Nazi intent or thinking to someone I am aware of only very superficially. I had been trying to say that the wording brought that to mind and got me thinking about the subject.

    Comment by Nathan — March 5, 2009 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  11. Okay, now I see how I read your initial comments the wrong way. I still maintain, however, that Baldwin’s challenge was not about the kind of inferences you projected on to it. And, after reading your clarification, I still have issues with where you’re trying to take this.

    “I’ve read a few of the posts and comments that you and jwbe and Restructure have made here and have noticed jwbe comment a number of times on how effed up white Americans must be in some of their reactions and attitudes to racial issues. This is what I think is the cause of white Americas neuroses.”

    First, I’ll reiterate the point I made about Baldwin. He was doing then what we are doing now: talking directly about the times in which we live.

    Second, JWBE is a white woman from Germany. So perhaps you can better explain what you feel is “the cause of white Americas neuroses.” I read that comment, perhaps, in the same way I misread(?) your comment about Baldwin especially the whole “challenge” aspect. To be clear, I’m reading your statement as saying the type of comments we make here (though the only ones that stick out in your mind seem to be JWBE’s), and the very focus placed on examining racism/White Supremacy causes psychic distress for White [Americans] because, like you, feelings of shame under the full weight of the tragic (and, I suppose, regrettable) historical acts perpetrated/permitted by their White/European ancestors… which is beside the point made here and hardly the direct/immediate point Baldwin was making via the “challenge.”

    “Because I believe that western culture as it stands inflicts a certain responsibility to us all for the sins of the father (or mother), and this weighs on the minds of all white people. This is what I think propels white people to grow defensive when racism is discussed, because we are helpless in the face of that historical weight.”

    Therein lies the problem. Read JWBE’s commentary again. Show me where JWBE makes a reference to racism committed by the emailer’s White/European/German ancestors. Demonstrate how she (the emailer) is/was “helpless” in the face of the racist picture or the racist joke she emailed to JWBE.

    Crucified afresh

    For some reason, you considered Baldwin’s question about the invention/creation of the n*gger in the past tense. In fact, your only consideration and the whole extent of your examination revolved around slavery and other brutal acts of racism of great physical or social violence which were all located in past generations as if the n*gger or extreme Othering is frozen in time and doesn’t exists today.

    This is a serious error.

    Again, Baldwin most direct and immediate context and consideration was what was happening during his lifetime. The same thing goes for what JWBE talked about in her commentary. Any White person who would have answered Baldwin’s question then the way you’re doing now would have had to explain why the n*gger wasn’t frozen in time and not just a tool used during slavery’s time. The same is true for today. And it is the n*gger as a tool used by Europeans/Whites who are alive TODAY and, for some reason, seem to “need” the n*gger TODAY that’s at issue.

    Comment by nquest2xl — March 5, 2009 @ 2:47 am | Reply

  12. Back to Baldwin… He came to view European/White Americans living during his lifetime as “moral monsters” not based on what their ancestors did but on the “conduct” he observed, again during his lifetime, of the European/White Americans. This is what he says towards the end of Video #1 where he first raises the question (you say “challenge”) to White Americans asking what are they going to do to “save themselves.”

    N*gger is the history that repeats itself

    You see, it’s really not about what Thomas Jefferson and other White people like him did because no matter what they did in terms of inventing the n*gger to feed their greed or hide their shame, they can’t do anything to keep the n*gger alive today. That’s something that only White people living today can do.

    Again, Baldwin insisted that he was not a n*gger but he was convinced that White people living in his day and time, years after slavery had come and gone, still felt that he wasn’t human. When he stated he view them as “moral monsters”, he said he based that on what they did and not what they said. Enter JWBE’s commentary:

    This person once sent me a racist picture (at least I consider it as racist) about Pres. Obama, shortly after his election. I told her that I consider this picture as racist… She wrote back, telling me… she would never consider a person to be inferior because of skin color

    The ability to judge White people on the basis on their conduct has not been lost. Black people, e.g., alive today can do just what Baldwin did and assess how they are regarded by White people living and breathing the same year 2009 air that they are.

    Comment by nquest2xl — March 5, 2009 @ 3:29 am | Reply

  13. My theory, jw, is that the denial is not in spite of the shame, but rather because of.

    I get the impression that this “shame” comes from still identifying with these ancestors and looking for any justification (product of the time etc.) is the justification for themselves who they are today. Somebody white who wants to claim that she doesn’t consider PoC as inferior but at the same time demanding that there should be understanding for the perpetrators dehumanizes the victims of a system. At least I see it that way.
    The denial I think doesn’t come from the ‘burden of history’ but from the knowledge that they aren’t so very different to their ancestors.

    Comment by jwbe — March 5, 2009 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  14. In Eurocentrism with hypocrisy as a way of life, true self-determination doesn’t exist, with that I mean, the search of the own personal self and being oneself isn’t encouraged. The N* as an “opposite mirror” gives whites the illusion of knowing who they are because they allegedly see what they are not.
    I think that this leads also to the respect/justification/defending of wrong “idols”. Like the emailer who wrote that “not all slave owners raped or beat to death” but that many were like the “good one”, therefore for her there is nothing really wrong with white supremacy when it comes in the camouflage of “good”.
    With that whites can create a niche for themselves and other whites within the system of white supremacy, their actions are considered within a limited frame but not within the system in general.
    It is also no accident that Virgilia who opposes slavery, is portrayed as a white women who later became insane. Women opposing the system are “insane”, which has a history and present in real life.

    Also I think the European expansion has only been possible with also colonizing the minds of the victims via ethnocide and imposing European culture. With war alone European dominance wouldn’t be possible.

    Comment by jwbe — March 6, 2009 @ 12:10 am | Reply

  15. because this emailer is a co-worker of mine the dialogue or so continues. We are at the stage, that she still doesn’t get why the N-word is wrong or the racist picture or Orry, that people won’t change, that people are that way, paraphrasing: “that “weak people” are oppressed or discriminated against and that people who are not mainstream are excluded.”
    She wrote also some other things.
    And I admit that these are the disappointing ‘moments’

    Comment by jwbe — March 7, 2009 @ 11:11 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: