navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Tag Archives race
  • Privilege and Virtue

    The further you are away from privilege the more virtue you have to exhibit to get the same amount of reward of one of privilege.  Just image if Trump would have been black and exhibited the same (at least to Christians) immoral behavior.  He would not have had a shot in hell at getting elected.

    It’s bad growing up as well. Virtuous people treat you worse the further you are away from privilege (at least that’s been my and many others experience).  The friendship groups that are accepting often revolve around vices like drinking or drugs.

  • Racism is Real

    Racism is Real: Trump Helps Show It []:

    Tomás Jiménez, an associate professor of sociology and comparative studies in race and ethnicity at Stanford University, uses what he calls the “ghost metaphor” to describe the quandary of people who personally experience or aim to draw attention to racism. “It haunts every aspect of your life, but nobody else sees it and they don’t believe you” he said. “Sometimes it makes a very pronounced appearance, and that’s why people seize on it.”

    My autobiography.  The times in my life when I looked normal enough and could pass as non disabled were the times I got treated leagues better and got jobs.  Of course I have multiple disabilities so often times one or the other would sink my chances, usually my visual impairment but sometimes my aspergers.  I always got treated the worst in church and job interviews.  And a vast majority of the prejudice flied under the radar, so much so that my family thinks I’ve just been unlucky in life.  Because it defends the oppressive social order thinking about it in those terms.  It’s more comfortable.

  • Healthcare Reform

    I always thought states refusing to expand Medicaid was racially motivated.  This NYTimes Piece gives me more evidence:

    Gains for blacks were muted because they disproportionately live in states that chose not to expand Medicaid. About 60 percent of poor blacks live in states that did not expand Medicaid. While the share of poor blacks covered by Medicaid did rise by two percentage points in those states, the rate rose by six points in states that expanded the program.

  • I, Racist

    Amazing sermon on the discourse of race in America:

    White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.

    Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if we express any emotion while talking about it, we’re tone policed, told we’re being angry. In fact, a key element in any racial argument in America is the Angry Black person, and racial discussions shut down when that person speaks. The Angry Black person invalidates any arguments about racism because they are “just being overly sensitive,” or “too emotional,” or– playing the race card. Or even worse, we’re told that we are being racist (Does any intelligent person actually believe a systematically oppressed demographic has the ability to oppress those in power?)

  • ramblings on diversity

    The new thing for churches is intentionally trying to become racially diverse.  I can’t help them.  I don’t speak white which is strange because I am white.  I am non privileged in other ways, having a mental illness, a moderate physical disability, and being on the autistic spectrum.  I may not be able to speak for blacks but I am not put off by their perspective when they go off script and start speaking their mind.   For example after Hurricane Katrina when Kanye West stated the obvious, that Bush didn’t care about black people.

    The problem with churches is they often hire diversity consultants.  These are people paid to talk to white people, even when the group includes people of color one will get a very watered down perspective.

    My philosophy for pretty much everything comes from an Antoine de Saint-Exupery quote, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”  Why it works with diversity is often “nothing left to take away” matches oppressed people’s predicament.  Many of them do not have their basic needs met.  The best thing I can think of that you could do for poor people is partner with a service such as Uber to offer reduced rate rides to poor people to stores, work, food pantries, the doctor, etc..  The technology to do this has matured but it takes people of privilege walking a mile in a disadvantaged person’s shoes to implement.

    Speaking white is about having the luxury to add and be obtuse and inauthentic because privilege has allowed you to not be careening so close to the edge that every word must count.  For a person far from privilege even learning isn’t an anodyne process.  Taking in past and current oppression of the non privileged group you belong to often leaves you (justifiably) angry and immobilized.  And perhaps the worst part of it is it makes you unconsciously associate learning with pain often turning you off to future learning.

    If I could get churches to read one article on diversity it would be Christina Clevelant’s Listening Well as a Person of Privilege.

  • On Black Males

    There is a hot dog stand south of us in a somewhat black neighborhood.  It contains a lot of memorabilia like a novelty barrel of moonshine.  One thing stuck out at me, a tin can with the confederate flag on it.  This made me very angry, not because I give a hoot in hell about political correctness but because I can imagine a poor black male living with his mother trying to turn his life around seeing it when he wants to get some ice cream.

    Black males are fighting a war on two fronts.  I’m not black but I know what it is like fighting a war on two fronts having both a physical disability and a mental illness.  In order for a black male to be successful he has to surmount the barriers of prejudice and thug culture.  Anyone who thinks prejudice is a thing of the past obviously isn’t very familiar with our “justice” system.  The grandpa on my bipolar side of the family couldn’t take some passive-aggressive bullshit someone he worked with was giving him so he busted this guy’s jaw, sending him to the hospital.  If my bipolar grandpa would have been black (especially if the victim had been white) he would have spent years in prison.  Then there’s also job discrimination and the fact that blacks hold twelve times less wealth than their white counterparts.  These kinds of problems, when commingled, add up to more than the sum of their parts.  For example when a black male ends up in jail (often for a victimless drug crime) he can’t find a job or a place when he comes out so he’s as good as locked out of society.  He can’t afford to marry so he ends up starting what ends up being another single parent household.

    An understandable reaction to all of this is thug culture.  I’m not supposed to criticize it because I’m white and race is a singularity.  But I’ll just leave you with this Neil Degrasse Tyson video  (Neil Degrasse Tyson is a physicist who hosts the new Cosmos show, one of my heroes).  I will say that poverty alone kills the equivalent of 13 IQ points.  If dealing with prejudice and thug culture were thrown into the mix it might go up to 20.

    Weight of history.  Identity is something that is formed (like wealth is amassed) over several generations.  The fact that you originally came from slaves and your grandparents were subject to lynchings and having their businesses burned leaves a stain on your psyche.  I’m no friend of the church but one Sunday night I went to a meeting (consisting of all white people) on the subject of race.  The leader said something like we shouldn’t focus on the past at all.  I was fuming.  When someone who is black can do significantly worse on a test when they are reminded of their race, I think a breadth of the past is being referenced.  EDIT: according to this scientific study memories may span multiple generations.  This has seismic ramifications for oppressed minorities.

    Black males often have no dad.  People from single parent homes on average have seven less years of education than those in two-parent ones.  I’m not going to be like George Bush and tell broke black males to marry because as a broke white male I realize I’m not marriageable.  I will say the ideal is to have a mom and a dad and boys who don’t will have a harder time, particularly in their teens.  There are pockets of white culture (like Focus on the Family) that idealize and encourage family building and I don’t see that anywhere in black culture.

    No black male press.  An intelligent black male growing up often has no desire to learn how to write so he can fill out TPS reports for some rich white CEO.  However if there was a prominent website/magazine similar to Indymedia that voiced specifically black male concerns, he would have something to aspire to.  I’ve come to the conclusion that education doesn’t elevate you (I’m still broke and I have a Computer Science degree) but it does allow you to express yourself in a manner that allows you to speak truth to power.  If more oppressed people thought about education this way they might take it more seriously.  Because let’s face it, the deck is stacked, the middle class is dying, and getting a job is just a matter of being known by the right rich white people.  But if enough people call society out on its bullshit perhaps we can bring about some change.