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I wonder what the white people think? April 24, 2010

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in cult of lack of personality, we're only gonna die.
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Today’s new racist, xenophobic law in Arizona has led to a lot of white people on TV and online talking about race and immigration.  That never ends well.  The only time I open my mouth about race is to tell my fellow white folks to shut the hell up. Let’s begin with a visual aid, shall we?

Let’s say this line represents the discourse on race in this country:

|—————————————————————-|

This part:

|————-|

That’s white discourse on race in this country.

Dear white folks:

Shut up and listen for a change!

No matter how elegant or smart or radical what we want to say or write about race, I can guarantee that a person of color has already said or written it much better.  There is absolutely no reason I should turn on cable news and see two white people debating race and immigration.  NONE.

No white person in this country is an expert on race.  We’re just not.  White privilege is like living with blinders on.

The two most important things we as white people can do to fight racism are to educate ourselves and act right.  In short, “know your place, whitey!”  It sounds harsh, I know.  We want to save the world and we want to “stand up for the oppressed” and all that kind of crap proves is that we’re going to fuck things up.  Taking responsibility for having privilege means not getting what you want for a change.

And we’ve already had 500 years of white discourse on race in America and this is where it got us.  It would be great if white people knew how to fix the mess we caused, but if enough white people were not actively being racist, not actively exercising privilege, not actively silencing people of color, it would change the world.

P.S. – None of this is original thought either.  It’s been said before and it’s been said much better.  It’s only being repeated here because sometimes privileged voices must be raised to shout down other privileged voices in order for the real conversation to be heard.

Bits and Pieces April 12, 2010

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in two rights make a wrong, we're only gonna die.
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Some things I’m thinking about but don’t have a great deal to write about:

1.) The disproportionate number of women who were targeted and threatened by right-wing extremists following the passage of healthcare reform. Women don’t make up any where near half the democratic caucus, but seemingly accounted for about half of threats.  Dear media, can we talk about this?

2.) Robert Reich’s Fiefdom of the Boomers. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Reich’s proposal to prevent the coming collapse of entitlement programs under the glut of retiring Baby Boomers looks a lot like a return to feudalism!  His plan is to convince the (generally conservative) Boomers to support increased immigration as immigrant workers will pay into entitlements supporting aging Boomers and help reverse the trend of a shrinking ratio of workers to retirees.

I’m all for plans to tear down borders or defend immigrant rights, and I kinda love how much of an eff-you this would be to younger xenophobes, but wow, holy bold-faced cynicism using immigrants and the coming debate on immigration reform! Also, unless we’re gonna swing wide the gates to a huge number of people and then actually pay all those immigrants fairly, this isn’t a real fix at all.  But ‘Foreigners keep out, unless willing to support our aging Me Generation’ will look nice on a copper plaque.

Reich doesn’t seem to mention those immigrants becoming citizens and getting the same entitlements after they help us out of this jam.