Question about pushing forward (1 Viewer)

DaveXA

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So I've been thinking a bit about how we build bridges and advance racial relationships and reconciliation and I need a bit of guidance. We've been talking issues, policing, protesting, culture among other things. But I have a bit more practical question. Who leads the process of reconciliation? What does it look like on a micro/personal level?

The reason I ask is because I don't want to step out of turn, or step on toes and speak for someone who doesn't want me to speak. I'm feeling a little unsure as to what my role is in the reconciliation process.

I do want to be an advocate, but I don’t know how to do it in a way that empowers people of color. I know it's a bit of an open ended question, but I'm puzzling over what the approach is. I want fair, equal treatment, and I'm willing to give what I'm able to level the playing field, but feeling unsure how to accomplish that on a personal level.

Thoughts?
 

Loose Cannon

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Still, white people need to somehow get over this self-centrism that insists they find their own sense of victimization, by default almost, because it impairs their empathetic ability to see others as victims.

that made a lot of sense to me
Can you expand on what he was saying white people feel victimized about?
 

guidomerkinsrules

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My top answer is Americans have to get used to the idea of reparations. As long as one group is and has been harmed economically in a capitalistic society--and they are never made whole from constant harms--then all of the issues we see on the surface will just continue. I would also throw changing laws into the mix, but obviously laws can be interpreted differently depending on whos enforcing it or who the harmed party is. So laws can mean nothing at the end of the day.

Actual, tangible, meaningful reconciliation has to occur before anything else. Especially when you still have these neglected "hoods" (aka racially redlined communities) all over the place.
since the market was manipulated by enslaved labor, it's really hard to call it capitalistic
it was as much of a kleptocracy as any we've seen
the argument could be to rebalance the system so we could actually have a capitalistic democracy
 

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I also firmly believe that we need to listen to stories. We need to talk. We need to witness. FTP cited James Baldwin, and I'm going to link to his essay, " Fifth Avenue, Uptown" which talks abouto the projects in Harlem and the struggle that people there faced, not even necessarily trying to live so much as get by.

First published in June, 1960

"Fifth Avenue, Uptown" by James Baldwin

and it's full of so many evocative, painful, determined passages, but this one speaks to me most as someone who encounters the notions of the "racist South" up here in Canada. And Canada and the northern parts of the US, meanwhile, get a pass on their racism.

But he hits on something that I think that hits very near the center of what I believe when I think of America. And opportunity. And equality.

And Freedom.

I'm reluctant to use the QUOTE tags because I don't want it to get cut off in that text box condensing thing that happens. Because I think the words are too powerful.

"None of this is true for the Northerner. Negroes represent nothing to him personally, except, perhaps, the dangers of carnality. He never sees Negroes. Southerners see them all the time. Northerners never think about them whereas Southerners are never really thinking of anything else. Negroes are, therefore, ignored in the North and are under surveillance in the South, and suffer hideously in both places. Neither the Southerner nor the Northerner is able to look on the Negro simply as a man. It seems to be indispensable to the national self-esteem that the Negro be considered either as a kind of ward (in which case we are told how many Negroes, comparatively, bought Cadillacs last year and how few, comparatively, were lynched), or as a victim (in which case we are promised that he will never vote in our assemblies or go to school with our kids). They are two sides of the same coin and the South will not change -- cannot change -- until the North changes. The country will not change until it re-examines itself and discovers what it really means by freedom. In the meantime, generations keep being born, bitterness is increased by competence, pride, and folly, and the world shrinks around us."
 

Oye

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Can you expand on what he was saying white people feel victimized about?
There are a number of things.

I would start with your post - you felt like you were having something taken away from you, in the song, right? That's your sense of victimization.

People feeling like their 'heritage' is being taken from them when Confederate statues are removed.

People talking about how they have to "apologize for being white" or going on and on about "white guilt." Personally, I find this stupid, because I have studied this stuff for a long time and I've never once felt this so-called 'white guilt'. But it's very popular, particularly for people seeking aggrievement opportunities.

People who talk about how they have to change the way they talk or walk on eggshells or abide by a "PC" culture that somehow inhibits their freedoms.

It's about NFL fans who moan and wail about Kaep kneeling for the national anthem or politics being mixed in with their sport, without realizing that sports is always political. Black music and art and literature and cuisine and etc are all political, and yet they are consumed and celebrated by white people all the time.

People who bemoan the "revisionist history" because slave narratives have been added to the US History curriculum and have to confront the reality that their whitewashed version isn't actually history, in sum.

People who cite "affirmative action" statistics and make jokes about how easy life in the US is for a transgender black female in a wheelchair.

People like the ones in the podcast by Hochschild I noted in the other thread.

But even among the "allies" who have to sit quietly and say nothing. But feel they need to (I find myself in this position... too often. It's one of my shortcomings, I know).

The ones who were kneeling in front of Black people asking for 'forgiveness'

Well intentioned whites who take a NIMBY approach to black causes. They will want to call themselves allies, but won't want to entertain urban planning and reinvigoration that might put black neighbors in their community. They don't want to remove a commercial or industrial structure in another community if it means it comes closer to theirs.

Naturally, these were not examples that the presenter listed - these are just some that I've come across over the years when I'm working with, talking with, teaching white people about what de-centering whiteness actually means. What it actually looks like. What something beyond lip service calls for.
 

guidomerkinsrules

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I also firmly believe that we need to listen to stories. We need to talk. We need to witness. FTP cited James Baldwin, and I'm going to link to his essay, " Fifth Avenue, Uptown" which talks abouto the projects in Harlem and the struggle that people there faced, not even necessarily trying to live so much as get by.

First published in June, 1960

"Fifth Avenue, Uptown" by James Baldwin

and it's full of so many evocative, painful, determined passages, but this one speaks to me most as someone who encounters the notions of the "racist South" up here in Canada. And Canada and the northern parts of the US, meanwhile, get a pass on their racism.

But he hits on something that I think that hits very near the center of what I believe when I think of America. And opportunity. And equality.

And Freedom.

I'm reluctant to use the QUOTE tags because I don't want it to get cut off in that text box condensing thing that happens. Because I think the words are too powerful.

"None of this is true for the Northerner. Negroes represent nothing to him personally, except, perhaps, the dangers of carnality. He never sees Negroes. Southerners see them all the time. Northerners never think about them whereas Southerners are never really thinking of anything else. Negroes are, therefore, ignored in the North and are under surveillance in the South, and suffer hideously in both places. Neither the Southerner nor the Northerner is able to look on the Negro simply as a man. It seems to be indispensable to the national self-esteem that the Negro be considered either as a kind of ward (in which case we are told how many Negroes, comparatively, bought Cadillacs last year and how few, comparatively, were lynched), or as a victim (in which case we are promised that he will never vote in our assemblies or go to school with our kids). They are two sides of the same coin and the South will not change -- cannot change -- until the North changes. The country will not change until it re-examines itself and discovers what it really means by freedom. In the meantime, generations keep being born, bitterness is increased by competence, pride, and folly, and the world shrinks around us."
yes, it is very important tp get in to the fine points of the untaught history
in other media i think it's important to seek out work that's not just about "The Struggle"
i've heard countless times black artists complaining that mostly white funding organizations only tend to fund Suffer Porn
Hollywood seems to suffer from that a bit as well
Insecure, Chewing Gum. Atlanta are compelling examples of 'just' stories
 

Loose Cannon

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There are a number of things.

I would start with your post - you felt like you were having something taken away from you, in the song, right? That's your sense of victimization.

People feeling like their 'heritage' is being taken from them when Confederate statues are removed.

People talking about how they have to "apologize for being white" or going on and on about "white guilt." Personally, I find this stupid, because I have studied this stuff for a long time and I've never once felt this so-called 'white guilt'. But it's very popular, particularly for people seeking aggrievement opportunities.

People who talk about how they have to change the way they talk or walk on eggshells or abide by a "PC" culture that somehow inhibits their freedoms.

It's about NFL fans who moan and wail about Kaep kneeling for the national anthem or politics being mixed in with their sport, without realizing that sports is always political. Black music and art and literature and cuisine and etc are all political, and yet they are consumed and celebrated by white people all the time.

People who bemoan the "revisionist history" because slave narratives have been added to the US History curriculum and have to confront the reality that their whitewashed version isn't actually history, in sum.

People who cite "affirmative action" statistics and make jokes about how easy life in the US is for a transgender black female in a wheelchair.

People like the ones in the podcast by Hochschild I noted in the other thread.

But even among the "allies" who have to sit quietly and say nothing. But feel they need to (I find myself in this position... too often. It's one of my shortcomings, I know).

The ones who were kneeling in front of Black people asking for 'forgiveness'

Well intentioned whites who take a NIMBY approach to black causes. They will want to call themselves allies, but won't want to entertain urban planning and reinvigoration that might put black neighbors in their community. They don't want to remove a commercial or industrial structure in another community if it means it comes closer to theirs.

Naturally, these were not examples that the presenter listed - these are just some that I've come across over the years when I'm working with, talking with, teaching white people about what de-centering whiteness actually means. What it actually looks like. What something beyond lip service calls for.
Makes sense, and sort of what I was getting at with the anecdote about the Eyes of Texas. I don't know if I'd call it "victimization", exactly, but it's definitely a reaction to something being "taken" from you, even if what's being taken from you is completely meaningless and has no value to your life whatsoever (IE "master bedroom").
 

Oye

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yes, it is very important tp get in to the fine points of the untaught history
in other media i think it's important to seek out work that's not just about "The Struggle"
i've heard countless times black artists complaining that mostly white funding organizations only tend to fund Suffer Porn
Hollywood seems to suffer from that a bit as well
Insecure, Chewing Gum. Atlanta are compelling examples of 'just' stories
Yes. Using another ethnicity's example - because it's one of the most enjoyable things that I teach and students enjoy for this reason - is "Kim's Convenience" - the award-winning play that became an award-winning TV series.

The play's popularity - with white people in Toronto - is that it's universal. It's about a Korean family, but it's a family like most any other, in ways that transcend a notion of 'Korean'

so it doesn't become 'suffering porn' - we actually battled this last year when we started really re-vamping the curriculum for Aboriginal Canadian voices. We realized that we got caught up in that 'suffering' element because it's:
1. how we understood them - as victims, not humans; 2. we think it accentuates difference which we value, but mistake that priority over similarity, which isn't good; 3. there's a limitation of the voices out there because they are often funneled through a white-centric publication process that also feeds off of 1 and 2.

And I think this does get to exactly what Baldwin is talking about. The *necessity* of seeing Other as Human.

Excellent point.

And I realize I've already said more than I intended, so I'll shut up now
 

texasjefe

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Who can you really have influence over? Your family, kids, significant other, friends, co-workers, yourself, etc.... Within these circles, if you sense someone has racist attitude, you gently push back and at least establish a boundary, planting a seed of change. In an ADD society, and one where we isolate and spend more time each day in our relationship with media than we do with people we are closest too, it's far harder now than decades ago to get into meaningful or unemotional discussion. You do incremental things. You may lose some friends or walk into healthy tension and conflict, but the void will be filled with newer positive people.

The next thing is that with politics, you fight for income equality, healthcare for all, getting money out of politics, jobs with benefits -- i.e. a level economic playing field. Income inequality (and power imbalance) is the biggest racist lever that gets pulled. Fight that, and we'll have a more just society in ethnic, gender, and racial equality.

This is a truly historic time. Embrace it.
 
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DaveXA

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Lots of really great comments all. Thank you for your thoughts and perspectives. A lot to ponder.

A couple of questions. I don’t really know, and probably will come across more as I begin reading and learning more, but is the proper term Negro an offensive word or how is it viewed in the black community?

Second, I'm a bit embarrassed to say, but my wife, even though she's Asian, is actually quite prejudiced. It actually bothers me, and even bothers my kids. But, I'd like to educate her on the suffering blacks endured during and after slavery. Are there any good documentaries on Netflix or Amazon Prime that I can watch with her?

We recently watched The Wire, and seeing a little bit of how poor blacks live in the inner cities shook her, and she actually started to come around in the sense that she started to feel empathy for those in really difficult day to day living. And it humanized her view enough that it made her genuinely sad.

She literally has no education about slavery and and the true impact it's had on our country. Gone with the Wind doesn't count. Heh. I think if she understood better how our country got here from there, she'd understand why black have been behind the 8 ball from the outset of our country. I think this will give me a chance to work with her in letting go of our prejudices and truly embracing blacks as our brothers and sisters. It's going to be a bit of a paradigm shift for her. She's deaf, so she understands being oppressed and being taken advantage of, and i think if i can illustrate the black experience in a way that makes sense to her, I think she'll embrace it.

One other quick comment, I really do appreciate that we have a forum for this discussion. I wouldn’t call this a safe space, because our old notions should be challenged and hopefully changed such that we give up the fear of losing our identity, and embrace a different reality, the red/blue choice given to Neo. See you on the other side. :9:
 

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Lots of really great comments all. Thank you for your thoughts and perspectives. A lot to ponder.

A couple of questions. I don’t really know, and probably will come across more as I begin reading and learning more, but is the proper term Negro an offensive word or how is it viewed in the black community?

Second, I'm a bit embarrassed to say, but my wife, even though she's Asian, is actually quite prejudiced. It actually bothers me, and even bothers my kids. But, I'd like to educate her on the suffering blacks endured during and after slavery. Are there any good documentaries on Netflix or Amazon Prime that I can watch with her?

We recently watched The Wire, and seeing a little bit of how poor blacks live in the inner cities shook her, and she actually started to come around in the sense that she started to feel empathy for those in really difficult day to day living. And it humanized her view enough that it made her genuinely sad.

She literally has no education about slavery and and the true impact it's had on our country. Gone with the Wind doesn't count. Heh. I think if she understood better how our country got here from there, she'd understand why black have been behind the 8 ball from the outset of our country. I think this will give me a chance to work with her in letting go of our prejudices and truly embracing blacks as our brothers and sisters. It's going to be a bit of a paradigm shift for her. She's deaf, so she understands being oppressed and being taken advantage of, and i think if i can illustrate the black experience in a way that makes sense to her, I think she'll embrace it.

One other quick comment, I really do appreciate that we have a forum for this discussion. I wouldn’t call this a safe space, because our old notions should be challenged and hopefully changed such that we give up the fear of losing our identity, and embrace a different reality, the red/blue choice given to Neo. See you on the other side. :9:
FTP quoted nikole Hannah-Jones
she did the 1619 Project with the NYTimes
also a podcast
that might be a good place to https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html
 
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DaveXA

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FTP quoted nikole Hannah-Jones
she did the 1619 Project with the NYTimes
also a podcast
that might be a good place to https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html
I have to sign up to view it. At least on my phone, I can't view it. A lot of the YouTube and podcasts have limited captions, which we'd need to get the most out of viewing those. Which is part of why I'd like to start with a documentary or movie on Netflix or Prime. Or even cable TV. I'm sure there's something good out there.

I'll Google the 1619 project and see what that's about. Thanks for the tip.
 

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This PBS documentary on Jim Crow impact in Minnesota has CC - I just checked.


13th on Netflix


Scene On Radio with Duke university podcast series: Seeing White.

no video but there are podcast transcripts (as opposed to the Ezra Klein interview with Nikole Hannah-Jones - tried but couldn’t find one)


Harpers Bazaar mentions some of the Netflix content marked with BLM (you can also search Netflix and BLM and it’ll take you to the Netflix page with the titles)


James Baldwin “I am not your Negro” is streaming on amazon video (thought it was free but maybe not). So is Just Mercy, a biopic about Walter McMillan’s case handled by Bryan Stevenson, head of the EqualJustice Initiative. WATCH FREE IN JUNE, so watch soon



Bryan Stevenson’s TEDTalk “Let’s Talk about an Injustice” has CC that was pretty accurate from the couple of minutes I watched to check and see


Chimamanda Ngozi Adochie’s TEDTalk, “The Danger of a Single Story” also seems to have pretty accurate CC


the movie made on Angie Thomas’s book, The Hate U Give, is streaming free. Maybe something the whole family can watch?

 
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since the market was manipulated by enslaved labor, it's really hard to call it capitalistic
it was as much of a kleptocracy as any we've seen
the argument could be to rebalance the system so we could actually have a capitalistic democracy
Whatever we want to call it, there is no amount of exchanging feelings and words that will truly change anything.

South Africa, as a prime example, is the poster child for that nonsense. I wouldn't take this blog as some peer reviewed study, but I don't see how anyone could make any different conclusion:


TRC’s likely biggest failure is its lack of involvement in addressing social and economic transformation.

The commission members were given the power to grant amnesty, but not the power to implement reparations. Instead, the government established the Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) to address the mobilization of South Africa’s socioeconomic policies.

However, progress has been slow. The disparity between policy and actual implementation continues to immobilize the restoration of land equality. Whites continue to own the majority of resources, while most black people live in densely populated areas with inadequate access to basic infrastructure and resources.

TRC has made past violators of rights accountable to an extent, but it failed to give victims adequate reparations. It chose to humanize past crimes in order to facilitate the political and social transition to rebuild a nation. Accountability came in the form of public acknowledgment of wrongdoings by perpetrators, increased information about the truth, and the ability of victims to listen.
People need money and assets in this society. And there is no reason African Americans should be at the bottom of either category as people that immensely helped this country gain its wealth, while being routinely and purposefully left out and/or blocked from it.

It's one of those "roots" that has never been properly addressed. If anyone is honest about reconciliation, THAT is where the rubber meets the road.
 
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Whatever we want to call it, there is no amount of exchanging feelings and words that will truly change anything.

South Africa, as a prime example, is the poster child for that nonsense. I wouldn't take this blog as some peer reviewed study, but I don't see how anyone could make any different conclusion:




People need money and assets in this society. And there is no reason African Americans should be at the bottom of either category as people that immensely helped this country gain its wealth, while being routinely and purposefully left out and/or blocked from it.

It's one of those "roots" that has never been properly addressed. If anyone is honest about reconciliation, THAT is where the rubber meets the road.
Quick question. I recall you posting sources for the topic of reparations. Can you list that again here? I've stated before that I'm open to the idea and would like to read up on actual proposals that have been made. I know the bulk of the topic is ultimately political, but it's foundational enough to at least introduce it here. As with most massive government programs, the devil will be in the details.

I don't know how close or how far we are and whether there's political will in Congress to introduce legislation on it, but I support some sort of financial payments. I have no idea what the criteria would be are in terms of who would qualify and how much, so I'd like to read up and see what ideas are out there.
 

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Quick question. I recall you posting sources for the topic of reparations. Can you list that again here? I've stated before that I'm open to the idea and would like to read up on actual proposals that have been made. I know the bulk of the topic is ultimately political, but it's foundational enough to at least introduce it here. As with most massive government programs, the devil will be in the details.

I don't know how close or how far we are and whether there's political will in Congress to introduce legislation on it, but I support some sort of financial payments. I have no idea what the criteria would be are in terms of who would qualify and how much, so I'd like to read up and see what ideas are out there.
Sandy Darity, Jr - an economist at Duke - is probably who you want to start with. He is the foremost expert on the topic and started #ADOS (which you can also use to research beyond).

This is one place to start:


I also like the Coates Atlantic article - amazingly written and crafted. Stylistically impressive, even more than the content:


Finally, I there was talk about 'reparations' in the presentation that I attended yesterday and I'll just excerpt that part, because different panelists had different ideas about it:

  • Reparations in society - discussions around education, material support. Attacking homelessness and houselessness and healthcare. These are bare expectations.
  • Reparations re: defunding in law enforcement - look at the funding agencies to transform punishment to rehabilitation. Moving away from punishment and torture designs to things that can work through knowledge and building up when possible
  • research partnerships established with police themselves - publicly funded support needs more access to publicly funded services, like education and the police. But the police are the most resistant to this
    • one example that was specifically cited was the disinclination and refusal to participate in studies to examine the efficacy of body camera usage in policing
  • The debates over Confederate Monuments - let's talk about not just taking down, but what merits going up. Why can't abolitionists be memorialized? This could be reparations. Because it's not just a discussion about what comes down but also what goes up. That's inspiring.
  • A police officer responsible for the torturing of over 100 Black men becoming part of the Chicago school curriculum, so that AP US History includes things like that and lynching - that history about these things exist. Lynchings as terrorism. The frame of "white criminality" is part of curriculum reparations
 

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The next thing is that with politics, you fight for income equality, healthcare for all, getting money out of politics, jobs with benefits -- i.e. a level economic playing field. Income inequality (and power imbalance) is the biggest racist lever that gets pulled. Fight that, and we'll have a more just society in ethnic, gender, and racial equality.

This is a truly historic time. Embrace it.
I'm scarfing down lunch between calls so I probably won't articulate this as well as I should but I'll give it a shot. This may get too political for the mods, if so feel free to delete.

What you said up there is something where my perception has shifted. In my 20s and early 30s I fancied myself a bit of a libertarian (probably little l, not big L) and a "fiscal conservative/social liberal". Over time I've come to the realization that "fiscally conservative socially liberal" can often be an oxymoron and at times it's a bit intellectually immature.

What creates the uneven playing field are the built-in advantages. I went to good schools. I ate good food. I had good healthcare. My parents had access to educational toys and tools as I got older. So did my parents. And their parents, going all the way back.

If we're going to create a level playing field, we have to change that. That means healthcare. That means better education. That means access to a living wage. That means all of the things that a "fiscal conservative" would traditionally be against. But if you're truly "socially liberal", you've got to understand that without access to those things, minorities will never have the same opportunity that my kids will. Politically I'm still sort feeling my way through exact policies (I'm still unsure about universal healthcare, for example). But I do recognize that until those things are accessible to all, there isn't true equality of opportunity.

There are a lot of smart white people who I think truly in their hearts want equality for all. But I think there's a lot of people (myself to some extent) that naively believe that you can be "fiscally conservative and socially liberal". We're going to have to spend money on things if we really want to create equal footholds for all.

Anyway, a bit of an unfinished thought, I'll prob circle back later after others have added more to the discussion.
 

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