Thursday, July 9, 2009

"We are a post-racial nation"...that's what the president said didn't he?

Seems The Valley Swim Club in Philadelphia - the site of his highly touted "Race Speech" - missed that little part:

(As much as it chaps my ass to offer white validation for my people being "articulate" or "well-behaved" or any-damn-thing ('specially when they risk nothing by not using their whole name), The Michael Smerconish Daily Show had an eyewitness account from "Jan" about the nanoseconds those damn KIDS were in that pool.) In his "This Week in Blackness," Elon James White says all I care to say about this shit right now: Allison Kilkenny's piece, "Philadelphia Private Swim Club Forces Out Black Children," gives a clear and unvarnished truth about white privilege and the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy in which we continue to live here in America. Her closing paragraph begins with a succinct, and sadly, dead-on description of the way it's always been, and I fear, the way it will always be for those of my kinfolk in this country who still don't get that the "selection" of skinfolk like the Changeling doesn't mean a damn thing in our continued struggle for equality:
What a terrible lesson to teach two children -- one white and one black. The white child learns to fear those who are different from them. The black child learns there is something "wrong" and "dirty" about their very existence.
Yet another generation of Black kids with foot-firmly-planted-on-neck. And the beat goes on...


ea said...

Oh yes this stuff still happens. I hope there is a huge backlash against this club. If they are rich white folks, be prepared for the big F U.

But I will admit to being an attendee or observer of some gathering or event and asking inside my brain, "What's that white woman doing here?" It might be genuine surprise and delight of interest shown. However, it is usually a cynical, probably undeserved, thought that she would try to take over things or "contaminate" them.

Uh oh, my sleeping inner cynic has awaken. I predict the club will invite either the Obamas or Mayor Nutter's family to join them to prove that they are not racist.

I do not remember which particular book it is, but one in Maya Angelou's autobiographical series, in which she discusses the self-segregation of Coloured folk (¿1950s? in Chicago, I think) by skin colour and, uh, ¿comportment? ¿adoption of mainstream, i.e., white culture and mores? I still remember her quote, though not verbatim: "...acting like a bunch of Africans," recalled by Angelou as being said by a more "refined" woman of colour about others.

Anonymous said...

You sure sound like a racist. Dr. King told us to work toward a society that was colorblind (and I should know, because I was with him in Memphis back in 68), but all you see is color everywhere.

I was at a public pool in Atlanta some time ago and watched the neighbor kids run off three white kids. So don't you tell me about white patriarchal capitalists. There's just as much racism coming from our side. You all need to let the anger go and work towards unity and colorblindness.

Dr. King always said we got to start with love, not hate.

Jesse Pruitt

ea said...

I might be a racist; I might not be. Regardless, you are reaching inappropriately when you write about what I see. You do not know what I see everywhere. This comment was about a specific incident and part of an ongoing discussion of which you have not been a part. My comment was not directed to you--I did not tell you anything. Please do not tell me what I need. BTW, Jesse Jackson was with MLK Jr. also. Ask him what he thinks about Jewish people.

Despite what I have just written, Anonymous, I appreciate what I believe to be the sentiment behind your comment. There is a difference between what thoughts a person may sporadically have and how one interacts and works with others irrespective of skin color.

Deb, I apologize for taking the liberty of this response on your blog. I sometimes forget that we are having a conversation that others can overhear parts of, as it were. Also, I might be just a little testy right now because of other stuff.

Deb said...

Jesse Pruitt...Not sure to whom you were directing your comment, but let me add my 2 cents to what my friend, ea said.

Though you may have been with Dr. King in '68, can you tell me where he said "we should work toward a colorblind society?" That may have been what YOU heard, but having been born and raised in the segregated South, I doubt seriously that's what he meant (I hope you are not conflating his "not being judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" with colorblindness - because that is not what he meant. And as far as non-whites seeing color everywhere, has it ever occurred to you - ever - that "color" is a large part of who we are and have been in this country?? If you do not want to see color, then you obviously do not want to see nor know me or any other person of color for that matter. Color is a part of my cultural identity, a large part that I refuse to whitewash (no pun intended) to make whites - and those who identify as such - feel comfortable.

After all the years in this country where being anything other than white was, and in some cases, still is, the worst thing in this world, please do not lecture me about racism. That, IMHO, is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to eradicating this particular -ism in American society (may I suggest you click on Prof. Jensen's lecture, in the sidebar, "The Color of the Race Problem is White" for further clarification?).

Unless and until the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarcy owns their shit, there will be no "real progress" toward unity. And even if you do, there will never be colorblindness, and there never should be. We might be "more alike than we are different" as Maya Angelou said, but we ARE different. You all need to let go of your unfounded fear of "the others," as well as the misconception that YOU get to decide WHO WE ARE. You don't.

Oh, and a small point about racism versus prejudice (since you obviously have them confused). Your description of the Atlanta incident was hardly racism, though it may have been prejudice (not enough details to be sure). Racism involves "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race" and the POWER to impose that supposed inherent superiority upon those believed to be inferior, negatively affecting their lives and livelihood. That's what the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy does on the regular - because they can. Prejudice, on the other hand, is "a preconceived judgment or opinion; an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics" - period. It does not involve the kind of POWER that racism does. That may have been what the Black kids did - depending on the details.

As for Dr. King saying, "we got to start with love, not hate." - in his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail," he also said, "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. I concur.

ea...Hey!!! No apology necessary Hermana - you should know that! I've been out-of-pocket for the last week or so and haven't written or read much of anything. I didn't even see the Pruitt comment until now! Thanks for picking up my slack! :-)

Testy? ¿Por qué? Dígame cuando usted está listo mi amor.

Cinie said...

Hey Deb, how're things coming? Just checking in. In light of the Gates incident, and Obie's subsequent commentary, though, I thought a little "we sho' is post-racial, now, ain't we?" snarky jab might be appropriate.

ea said...


I read your post early early yesterday morning but was too tired and rushed to respond. Me pone loca el trabajo. Pero quiero que sabes que me sentí muy --no tengo las palabras--agradecí mucho tu respuesta ayer. A mí sintió como un abrazo.

Even though I think Jesse Pruitt's comment was a little misdirected, it served as a useful reminder of the common human tendency to take a single observation and broadly extrapolate. I think the underlying intention was a desire to introduce something positive--giving the benefit of any doubt here.

cheapofraud1 said...
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Deb said...

Cinie...Hey! Thanks for checking. Things are slowly coming together. The hard part's over far as I'm concerned.

And Chile, yes!! You're snark is right on point!! I know I'm late to the party on that one, but I just have to write a post about that shit!!! Stay tuned! :-)

ea...¡De nada Chica - eso es lo que lo hacemos! :-)

You said, "I think the underlying intention was a desire to introduce something positive--giving the benefit of any doubt here."

You are probably right. However, I am more than a little tired of, as Dr. King said, "Shallow understanding from people of good will..." Especially now - in 2009. It's been years!! Years!!

I cannot be the only person in this country that recognizes that despite all the "people of good will," we're still fighting the same damn fight!!! He was marching, but apparently, he wasn't listening.

As I said, when they're really ready to own their shit - all of it - I'll be more than ready to sit down and have a "positive" conversation. Now that would be meaningful!

We cannot move forward on race if some people continue to think they can choose - for us - when and where color is important. Especially after having made it THE MOST IMPORTANT THING for all these years.

And I wonder what response I would get if I said to Jews, "You all need to let the anger go and work towards unity and ethnic/religious -blindness, particularly with the Germans??" Please! I'd be accused of anti-Semitism at worst, and devaluing their experience at best.

You said, "BTW, Jesse Jackson was with MLK Jr. also. Ask him what he thinks about Jewish people."


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