It must be thousands of times now I've watched who can pass the "test" in Hawaii. The successful are small in number, many simply vacate the premises and run back home. What exactly do I mean? Being called what you are, a Haole (this is often preceded by an expletive when between young men or other aggressive situations) ... very few so called Caucasians can take it, which is really really sad. One thing this guest post tries to do is explain that they don't even get it, which is usually true. Problem?- problem comes up guaranteed, they are going to say, do something, or act inappropriately without knowing it. The results vary, but usually are not good.
@Kosh; "That "At the expense of" concept really resonates with Ron and now he talks about White Privilege in those terms. There's no question that Black people have borne extra expense but I don't think forcing that expense on Black people actually helped Whites, even financially. Neither, incidentally, did Baldwin." As I see it Baldwin very subtly recast the term such that the definition became much more esoteric and abstract. "Expense" then became something less tangible and less material than the usage we are accustomed to seeing in the tangible/material world of business. Example: We have all been taught that it is improper and wrong to make fun of people less fortunate than ourselves or people who suffer from a physical or mental affliction. We were told that it's wrong to make a joke or have fun "at the expense" of others so situated. Kosh refuses to accept that twist in Baldwin's approach to the concept of "expense" AND my reaction to it. "I had no idea that's what Ron meant by 'expense'." Seems to me that with this new understanding and appreciation of what Baldwin and I meant by "expense", you should go back and rethink (if not rewrite) your entire critque of what my argument has been re white privilege since you, yourself, have stated that:".... That "At the expense of" concept really resonates with Ron and now he talks about White Privilege in those terms." YES, I "talk about White Privilege in those terms". However "those term" are my terms and Baldwin's, not yours. By the way, inasmuchas you totally misread and misunderstood me and my analysis of the debate between Baldwin and Buckley re the meaning of the central term "expense", it follows that your comprehension of the proceeding in the video is not as sharp or as focused as you believe it to be... No need to apologize... Just silently recognize and acknowledge to yourself that you blew it and are quite capable of blowing it when it comes to presuming to interpret and articulate other people's thinking.... Stop trying to be the arbiter of what people mean when they express themselves. Let the words they use speak for themselves. If their words are insufficient to convey what they mean the comments and feedback will provide ample instruction in that regard. Nobody wants you, me, or anybody else to grade their work by telling them what they "really meant to say", or what they "should or ought to have said".... Baldwin was having a "Miles Davis" moment with his subtle "twist" in meaning and you and, I dare say, every other white person in attendance, missed it. "There's no question that Black people have borne extra expense but I don't think forcing that expense on Black people actually helped Whites, even financially. Neither, incidentally, did Baldwin." That's true only because Baldwin's reference wasn't about finance and money. It was about something you didn't understand or appreciate or get until now....
@JPH - thanks. It is kinda a dharmaish practice...always practicing to not be inflammatory when i feel such deep sorrow or fear or pain or anger. I have not reached Yoda status, however - "Do. Or, Do not. There is no try."
@gh - yes. We do ALL learn not to piss off the group or person that holds so much power over us. Great point.
Learning to listen without countering is hard on many levels. And, the skills to do so are not widely taught. We usually have to go looking for them.
Diversity educators realize that the bulk of their white students in the average training are not just uncomfortable with the topic, they don't have the skills to listen and talk more than a few tentative words on the subject, not just because of their white privilege allowing them not to exercise empathy, but for lack of being taught in the first place. So, our dialogue is an exception to that finding b/c many here have already put in personal time reflecting and asking and listening, not just about racism, but on matters important to us in general. Learn a useful core skill like listening and respectfully speaking and it can be applied to many things.
I have found that many people are not very practiced at all sorts of difficult exchanges from racism, sexism, ableism, etc. to listening to a partner saying why they are hurting. People by in large are made to become functionally emotionally illiterate and void of empathy. Having to notice nuance in a hyperalert state of survival awareness of those who have institutional, familia, relational, economic power beyond our own is often the closest thing many of us will come to experiencing empathy...albeit as well practiced second nature like a frog to the footstep in the grass when it stops singing until the source of the sound passes by.
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