Stuff White People Say

July 18, 2009

A safe space to talk about race

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 2:50 pm

Because of the negativity of real life events as well as the negativity of many online discussion, when it comes to discussions about race, racism, white supremacy, I write this thread.

There are two forms of talking about race:

first: where whiteness and whites can dominate, regardless whether in ways of subtle racism or blatant racism. “Discussions” which become exhausting (to me at least), because the real topic can no longer be discussed. This deeply reflects real life “discussions”. With white insults, non-knowledge, denial, “I want to learn” and all else.
I have to say, for me personally such experiences can sometimes be very exhausting, emotionally. I cannot disconnect my feelings from what I have to read on discussion boards or blogs and what I have to hear in real life about or towards People of Color. It hurts, and sometimes very deeply.

second: talks about race that are honest, dominated by People of Color and with participants who know what they are talking about. Discussions which are an enrichment. Discussions where I feel ‘at home’ (in lack of a better expression) because all people are respected and nobody’s humanity is questioned. Safe spaces. Unfortunately very rare places, online as well as in real life.

Any thoughts?

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5 Comments »

  1. Interesting comment. Really interesting when you think about all the issues that people are passionate about — e.g. politics and religion — when it comes to race/racism/WS, White people’s behavior and approach to the issue changes when compared to how they treat other contentious issues. When it comes to race/racism from what I’ve seen, White people are generally deceptive, on some level or another, perhaps for a variety of different reasons which may vary from personality type to personality type.

    They’re are definitely more deceptive than when they discuss politics and I think their presumed sense of White Supremacy has a lot to do with it, among other things. Rarely do Republican or Democrat partisans go to their opponents website pretending to be an ally. Political party/ideological partisans also are rather direct in how they disagree with their political opponents and generally feel no need to pretend like they believe in the same things their opponents do.

    You know, how Whites who end up demonstrating some kind of problematic view they have towards POC claim they believe in equality and admit that racism exist. Hell, Republicans/conservatives in recent years have coarsened political discourse to where Democrats/Liberals are seen as “un-American” and the source of all/most of the things that’s wrong with America even though both parties essentially agree in terms of American empire and so-called American interests.

    It also interesting that you use the word “dominate.” Along with (or more likely, part of) the White Supremacy mischief making Whites have on the brain, I think there’s an urge to “dominate” POC and demoralize them/us. I don’t know but it’s hard to see why so many Whites are motivated to go to places like Racism Review and any number of Black oriented boards/blogs when they don’t have a genuine interest in the type of things the owners or ideological consensus of the board are concerned with.

    But then, again, when the idea that so-called Black people would dare call themselves “African-Americans” become an issue Whites are passionate about, you have to wonder about the White psyche and the racist culture Whites continue to inherit and pass down. It’s as if a slave-master’s or Jim Crow mentality lives in their belief that they have every right or every reason to dictate to so-called Black people who they/we are, how we’re supposed to act, etc.

    And for all those Whites who love to go to boards/blogs where anti-Black racism, etc. is discussed and call the regulars “racist”… I just can’t imagine that a similar percentage of POC or anti-racist are going to websites run/populated by White racist just to give them a piece of their mind…

    Comment by Nquest — July 19, 2009 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  2. Very true.

    >It also interesting that you use the word “dominate.” Along with (or more likely, part of) the White Supremacy mischief making Whites have on the brain, I think there’s an urge to “dominate” POC and demoralize them/us.

    What I realize for myself that I have some serious problems with dealing with people like a certain owner of a blog whose name I don’t want to mention. This power of whites to be racist, to expose this racism in a sometimes very subtle manner and to teach it to other white people.
    His ability also that I sometimes question myself if I overreact or read to much into something that is perhaps not there.

    Comment by jwbe — July 19, 2009 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  3. to this certain blog owner, it is like watching a racist’s learning curve, not how to be anti-racist, but how to be a better racist to face less criticism

    Comment by jwbe — July 19, 2009 @ 1:39 am | Reply

  4. Since you mention that, I like the piece Restructure did talking about how people who announce or say how much of an anti-racist they are tend not to actually do much more than that in terms of actually working towards or effectively arguing for what should be the goal of the anti-racist which goes beyond merely stopping racism (or, as you suggest, stopping the appearance of racism) but is serious about racial/social justice which is, by definition, a political statement as opposed to a “race relations” concern. Of course, Restructure has long since explained the difference.

    As far as the type of person you may be talking about… I think I’ve seen recent evidence that says you are hardly over-reacting in terms of seeing the problem with that individual. However, I don’t know if what that person is doing necessarily causes others to do the same. Clearly, people take away what they want. Still, that just may be it for that individual or, if nothing else, the ego is the last thing to go.

    I do understand your point and I’ve seen how interacting with Whites who want a good anti-racist (or not racist) reputation only gives them more material to maintain their facade.

    I remember something Jane Elliot had on her website (Elliot is the teacher famous for the Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes experiment simulating racism in her all-white grade school class.) She spoke about how diversity/sensitivity training either in society or in the workplace/classroom had washed White people’s mouths out with soap, informing Whites on what things they should and should not say but hardly changing their behavior or society.

    It’s hard to say that’s not going on, otherwise the http://whiteantiracist.wordpress.com/ wouldn’t exists.

    Comment by Nquest — July 19, 2009 @ 3:08 am | Reply

  5. >However, I don’t know if what that person is doing necessarily causes others to do the same. Clearly, people take away what they want. Still, that just may be it for that individual or, if nothing else, the ego is the last thing to go.

    The problem I see is that it is not just about what is actually written there but the dynamics of white supremacy in action. While the posts are allegedly to be about becoming ‘less racist’, the way the comment section is moderated etc. reinforces on a subliminal level that white is right and no critical voice is allowed to ‘interrupt’. Via the comments section whites learn how to practice white supremacy. The comment section also teaches there, that PoC can be degraded and their points can be devalued, reinforcing and securing racial dynamics there like they are in real life. Whites on the top and PoC in the ‘periphery’. PoC aren’t treated as equals, they are only accepted there as long as they don’t question the status quo.
    And his blog is only one example out of many what is going on on internet and rl

    >It’s hard to say that’s not going on, otherwise the http://whiteantiracist.wordpress.com/ wouldn’t exists.

    oh, I forgot about this site. Now I went there, the recent comments there are about the same topic, some sort of ‘soap in the mouth’ to avoid to ‘fuck up’

    Comment by jwbe — July 19, 2009 @ 5:44 pm | Reply


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