This post is Inspired by greenheron who, in a recent comment, wrote:

"White people are blind to black experience, the same way men are blind to women’s experience, but save that one for another time. White people need to stop talking and listen, damp down their defenses and just listen."

Views: 430

Comment by Ron Powell on Thursday

@Kosh; I quoted the comment that inspired this post. It came from greenheron, not TM.

This is the statement made by TM that gave rise to the conversation/debate in which the comment made by greenheron occurs:

"For me, the question is not about whites, but about how much others deserve the same chance as I was given when I was small."


My reply to this statement concluded with this question:

"Do these kids DESERVE the chance to succeed or are they ENTITLED to the chance to succeed on an equal basis and footing with their white counterparts?"

The reaction to the question was not an attempt to respond to the question, but rather an excoriation of me for having the brazen effrontery and unmitigated gall to pose such an interrogatory. How dare I be so gauche?

At that point THE COMMENT STREAM took a turn in a direction that is clearly  uncomfortable for TM because it became a debate about the kids he was ostensibly advocating on behalf of, NOT THE AUDIENCE you say he is pitching to, none of whom reside on this platform.
 
You say: "Terry's concern isn't cultural but financial:  the Governor wants to reduce funding to this community - Paterson, NJ - and Terry is arguing against this on the grounds that it will affect minority children adversely...
...Ron objected to the way Terry couched his pitch to conservative and largely bigoted Whites in his area."

Koshersalaami, please show me exactly where in TM's post or comments is any of this made apparent or clear.

If you ask me, what he did was take some photos of the kids he is working with  and posted them here in some kind of show and tell montage and rather than simply say:

"Here's some pictures of the kids I do volunteer work with..."

He decided to place captions in the post to enhance the impact and effect of the display...That's where the 'trouble' began...

His captions in "conservativese" was a botched attempt at being prideful of the work he's doing because his subliminal and subconscious "white privilege" and posture came out without his being conscious or aware that it had.

My comment suggested that a rhetorical or linguistic adjustment would be appropriate in order to change or alter the tone of his statement to wit:

Change from;

"For me, the question is not about whites, but about how much others deserve the same chance as I was given when I was small."

to;

"For me, the question is not about whites, but about how much others have the right to the same chance as I was given when I was small."

Had he acquiesced and acknowledged that that would have been a more apt, effective , and unoffensive way to make his point HERE ON THIS PLATFORM, we wouldn't be discussing whether Tim Wise is relevant or not.

You insist on putting words in TM's mouth in an effort to support, defend, justify, rationalize, and excuse the slip in thinking that his remark, as is, shouldn't be read as offensive by me or anyone else of color.

In so doing you, and especially you, have made this comment by Tim Wise as relevant as it is correct.

Instead of trying to put me back in my place for speaking up, you should have trusted what I'm saying, amplify it, and convey my remark, in 'progressivese' to the audience you have a much better chance to reach than I, namely Terry McKenna.

I suspect that Tim Wise would not only agree with me, he would have done exactly that.

Had you started down that road with this discussion, we all would have been much the better for it.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on Thursday

I can't help but LISTEN and hear the same sense of "entitlement" to use POC as "props" to make TM (and several others here, as well) look like a better human being as I get from this interview of Rachel Dolezal, by Ijeoma Oluo, which reads in part, (bolding and [bracketed] words are mine):

"And it is white supremacy that told an unhappy and outcast white woman that black identity was hers for the taking [which is no different than using them as photographic props to make yourself look like such a good, caring person]. It is white supremacy that told her that any black people who questioned her were obviously uneducated and unmotivated to rise to her level of wokeness [which in no different than being told what others were REALLY thinking, what I/we were REALLY thinking and refusing to acknowledge you just might be wrong ~ multiple, long-ass paragraphs at a time!] . It is white supremacy that then elevated this display of privilege into the dominating conversation on black female identity in America. It is white supremacy that decided that it was worth a book deal, national news coverage, and yes—even this interview...

Dolezal is simply a white woman who cannot help but center herself in all that she does [this is a symptom of "white entitlement" that is all invasive around here (Including with me, as well)]—including her fight for racial justice. And if racial justice doesn't center her, she will redefine race itself in order to make that happen. [or take pictures of how we paternalistically "reach out"  WHEN IT SUITS US, or write books about subjects we don't know anything about so that we can call ourselves "progressive" ::roll eyes::] It is a bit extreme, but it is in no way new for white people to take what they want from other cultures in the name of love and respect, while distorting or discarding the remainder of that culture for their comfort." [EXACTLY what is being done, IMO]

http://www.thestranger.com/features/2017/04/19/25082450/the-heart-o...

Comment by greenheron on Thursday

YES. This. ^^^^^^^^

Read same interview on jezebel last night and thought the exact same as Amy. White people blind as bats with regard to self awareness.

Having blind spots does not make someone a terrible person. When you are raised by white people and live in the company of white people, how are you supposed to know? When black people are raised to avoid eye contact when speaking to white people, no black person is going to tell you. Although this is changing. Black people are finally beginning to insert themselves, sit down on highways, force their way into academic administrators offices, start their own banks, and own their force. Old white guys are never going to have it be all good for only them again. It’s about damn time.

People here are fortunate to have Ron, who is willing to hang out and speak honestly. OF COURSE he has anger and it emerges. White people owe it to black people to allow their anger without attempts at attitude adjustment. 

Counter to Terry’s claim, I relish a good open discussion about race. It’s an opportunity to hear things that people of color would not otherwise tell me, things that can open my eyes and alter my perspective and hopefully help me to be a better human. Most people want to be a better human.

Koshersalami, you dismissed the offensive tone and terminology throughout Terry’s post and comments, sailed over the sources of Ron’s complaint, pursued and argued and defended something else instead. Didn’t you write a book on the subject of talking about race? One would assume then you must be an expert, yet you failed to recognize the most basic blind white lingo littered throughout Terry's post and comments, and why Ron was offended by them. I didn’t write a book so can’t call myself an expert, but I was raised to speak white, so here are few examples with translation:

“sweet and eager as any group of children”  

Translation: any group of (white) children

“This is Mohammed (Egyptian/Muslim) and a talented 10 year old Muslim girl.  We both were impressed by her hand skills.” 

Translation: Who knew that Muslims had hand skills? That’s remarkable!

.  

“hey, I thought this was the hood, these kids looks like kids anywhere”.  

Translation: Quelle surprise! As we all know, the hood kids= gangstas.

“You are not white, so have issues coming from the other side” 

Translation: the other side=black people, not the same side as white people, i.e. unequal.

“Quit playing games. Not interested in gotcha.”  

Translation: not interested in listening to the painful truth about white attitude. You’re a black guy ‘playing a game’ and gotcha-ing me. I am a good white guy and your problem is not recognizing that.

Re: Terry’s audience of conservative white men. Where are these guys? Are they lurking? Do you have some inside knowledge that they are here? Surely they are necessary to making a case for the importance of Terry’s post. Maybe they’ll show up soon, and testify that they’ve seen the light, and I’ll be wrong wrong wrong. That would be so great, but since they don’t seem to be participating at the moment, how about having a discussion with those who are here? Maybe you’d consider stepping away from the lectern and sitting in the audience. What do you think about Ron’s response to the examples I listed above? What is your own response to those same words?

If the big white conservative audience shows up, then we’ll change the subject, yes?

Comment by Ron Powell on Thursday

@greenheron; I can only imagine what the response would be had I chosen to parse TMs 'captions' as you have here.

I chose the statement that presented what I thought would be the least line of resistance because, in my view  view, the linguistic and rhetorical adjustments would do nothing to alter the thrust of TM's statement but make it a bit less offensive.

Instead, what I got was indignation at the thought that a black man would deign to call the motives and intentions of a magnanimous, and benevolent white man into question.

I would liker to think that if TM is  'all that', he would welcome the opportunity to learn how to better communicate with me and others of the nonwhite persuasion., here and everywhere else. 

However, as you have so aptly observed, if I trying to teach and no one is listening , I end up lecturing by default.

You went much deeper than I would have and I'm grateful for your having done so....

Thanks for the excellent contribution to this post and comment stream. You continue to motivate and inspire me...and thanks for your gracious compliment.

 

Comment by koshersalaami on Thursday

I write here all the time in a specific way to reach conservative audiences. I always have. I've written about why affirmative action is a good thing without using social justice in my case at all. I've written frequently about why income polarization/wealth concentration is a bad thing from a business standpoint rather than a social standpoint. I don't know who else reads and I know that the usual people who comment on my stuff don't need to be told that affirmative action is good and wealth concentration is bad. It's more important to figure out how to preach to people who aren't in the choir. I've probably used that approach in more than a hundred posts. 

Who commented on Terry's post?

Ron, me, Amy, Nan, AKA, FM, Tr ig, Token, Greenheron, 

and on this post we add Ben Sen and JMac.

With the possible exception of Token, who tends to object to government involvement in anything,

Who on that list doesn't already think that minority kids deserve/have a right to equal help from government funding? Aside from Doc and Gordon, who else do you know on the entire site who doesn't already think that minority kids deserve/have a right to equal help from government funding?

If you think Terry wrote the piece for liberal cred, you clearly don't know Terry. 

So why did Terry write it?

Let's ask him or, better yet, read his own comment:

"Greenheron - sorry, missed my point.  This is about, 1) celebrating a successful event and 2) wonder how we in NJ can get folks to care about kids in the hood.  The governor wants to reduce funding to Paterson.  so..  this is my effort to say, these kids should matter to all of us.  And trust me, Ron may know about being black, but I know the white suburbs, full of resentment about what they see as $$$ squandered on Ghetto trash."

 

Ron, your comment "suggested?"

" For me, the question is not about whites, but about how much others deserve the same chance as I was given when I was small.'

"That’s mighty damned white of you TM. "

You're telling me that if a comment like that was addressed to you, you'd take it as a suggestion? You want help with translation, fine, but don't throw down a gauntlet and claim there's no gauntlet on the ground. 

Yes, the tone of the piece is paternalistic. Terry writes like an old conservative White guy because he's an old conservative White guy. But that's not the news here.

The news is that an old conservative White guy just wrote a piece on behalf of minority kids. 

You just got handed a glass that's 90% full and all you can see is the 10% that's missing!

Liberal allies are a dime a dozen. Conservative allies are not. You got a conservative ally and you're complaining that he sounds like a conservative? And you treat him like he stole your 10%? 

 

Comment by greenheron on Thursday

“I write here all the time in a specific way to reach conservative audiences. I always have.”

“It's more important to figure out how to preach to people who aren't in the choir. I've probably used that approach in more than a hundred posts.”

Why? When there are no conservatives here? Just five or six people who sit somewhere along the lefty spectrum. You think Terry is a conservative? He went to art school! He labels himself an artist and dabbles in photography. There are no conservatives in art school. None. Nada. Zippo. Trust me on that one.  

You work very hard on your posts. Why not blog at at a conservative site where you might actually reach your intended audience? Wouldn’t that be a more valuable use of your time, if your goal is genuinely and authentically ‘to preach to people who aren’t in the choir’ ?  

Or does something else drive you to write so hard here? I’ve asked you that a number of times before. You never answer. What is your reward? What do you get out of your preaching?

A preacher’s real pay is to show sinners a good man. A calm man. Rational. Reasoned Right. Patient with sinners. Not angry like Amy. Not eccentric like Art James. Sane. Smart. In possession of all the answers. 

Thing is, as any good sinner knows (ask Tom Waits), the preacher’s just a crazy guy denying his sins.

Ron, you could have translated those bon mots MUCH better than I did. As you can see, I am not nearly as polite as you are. And if that glass is 90% full, then what it’s full of is old white man piss, which probably tastes pretty bad, so don’t mistake it for lemonade and drink it.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on Friday

Not angry like Amy. Not eccentric like Art James. Sane. Smart. In possession of all the answers. 

Gee, greenheron...  thanks for saying I am neither sane nor smart.

Comment by Ron Powell on Friday

@Kosh; "The news is that an old conservative White guy just wrote a piece on behalf of minority kids."

So you're saying that the way to write "on behalf of minority kids" is to be racist in tone by saying in essence that "helping 'these' kids won't alter their status as being inherently inferior, or yours status as being inherently superior."

We show that helping them is actually a reaffirmation of the racism that causes them to need help in the first place.

It's a White Man's Burden, noblesse oblige, Manifest Destiny kind of thing....

Hence my opening retort....

"That’s damned white of you."

My suggestion lies in the question that I closed my comment with...

You can't confront racism with more racism....

Saying that that is a valid approach to the economic and social problems spawned by racial bigotry is flat out wrong....

Two, or three, or four wrongs can't ever make a right no matter how you decorate and stack them up.

You don't help someone by demeaning, denigrating, and insulting them...

I grew up as "one of those black kids who isn't like the rest of them".

Which is precisely what TM is saying in his post.  I cannot and will not subscribe to the chauvinistic hypocrisy that is entailed in an appeal or approach that says:

"These kids are special and deserve your help because they're not like the rest of them."

 

 

 

 

 

Comment by Ron Powell on Friday

@greenheron; "Ron you could have translated those bon mots MUCH better than I did. As you can see, I am not nearly as polite as you are."

Even if I could have done a better job of translation, you have an infinitely better chance of reaching the folks here than I do. Which is the point that Tim Wise makes in his comment....

And, like Bartles and James, I thank you for your support!

Comment by koshersalaami on Friday

He is not saying these kids are exceptional. If he was, he'd have no case. He's saying they're the norm, and that the other White guys in his neighborhood have got the kids wrong. 

Greenheron,

This is the community I know. I blog here because I know people here. My first post anywhere was on Open Salon, and I went there to support Jon Wolfman with comments on his blog because I knew him from AOL Jewish chat. I initially had no intention of posting my own blogs. I didn't know I could do it because I didn't know anything about blogging. 

I write for a different audience for three reasons:

1. As an exercise to show myself it can be done. I don't see other people write about liberal things for a conservative audience. I'm in sales for a living and this is a sales exercise.

2. Because I know that more people read than participate and I don't know who else is out there. Also, there was a more varied audience on OS and I just never changed when I moved here. 

3. In case I say anything that someone here can use in a discussion with a conservative. I once wrote a post about the Ground Zero Mosque, the piece I wrote that had the most readers by two miles, and a blogger I know who was a schoolteacher used it in her classroom. 

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