Monday, August 13, 2012

Teaching About Racism in a Post Racial Age: The Pleasures of Deconstructing Colorblind Racist Speech Online

We are having a great conversation here about race play and BDSM. I was a bit nervous about the topic because we do not usually discuss sex and relationships here on We Are Respectable Negroes. As often occurs, I am pleasantly surprised by the range of readers here on WARN and their insightful comments. I am learning so much from all of the good sharing that is going on in that conversation. Do chime in if so inclined.

The school year is about to begin. The summer has disappeared and I have three weeks left to work like a madman to get some long overdue work submitted. I did have some good successes and will count them as positives.

Like many of you, I am updating syllabi and rethinking a few of my classes. One of the courses I teach each year is a required section of "Race and Diversity" in the United States. Many of my colleagues do not like teaching the course because the students are not always engaged, the evaluations tend to be low, and the issues discussed can lead to intense and stressful moments for "snowflakes" who are not prepared to think about power and inequality. For that cohort, they are individuals raised by helicopter parents, and believe that institutional and society power has little impact on their ability to succeed in our society. Unfortunately, there are also many adults who have also not grown out of believing in such foolishness.

For those reasons, I enjoy leading the seminar. It is so broadly defined that I can do just about anything in terms of the assignments and themes discussed, and yet still remain "pedagogically sound." Given my research interests, the course is typically a mix of the Sociology of Race 101, cultural studies, labor history, comparative race studies, and critical race theory.

However, teaching this course is not easy. One of the challenges of teaching about race and racial ideologies in the post racial moment is that many "millennials" (and others) born after the Civil Rights Movement actually believe that racism is a thing of the past. Consequently, racism and white supremacy are minor inconveniences in the present.

Undergraduates tend to not believe a thing is real unless they can see it with their own eyes. Many undergraduates, and I would suggest the general public as well, are not yet at a point where they are able to mate sociological theories with empirical reality. The sociological imagination is not yet real for them.

In order to overcome that challenge, I use video clips, examples from popular culture, the news, and other resources which demonstrate that racism and other inequalities are real--and that they have human consequences.

For example, I will be using the much discussed Hurricane Katrina photos where black people looking for food are framed as "looters" whereas whites are "finding" supplies, pictures of Obama and his wife as monkeys, signs and interviews from Tea Party rallies, the new age black face of the white female rapper Kreayshawn, racially coded and dog whistle laced speeches by Republican candidates from the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and the "hoody politics" of the menacing black body and Trayvon Martin, to demonstrate how age old racial ideologies are both reproduced, as well as reinforced, in American society.

Given my interest in cyber racism and digital democracy, I have also been compiling helpful examples from online news media and social networking.sites. As I have written about repeatedly, websites' comments sections offer a great window into the collective political subconscious, and are rich measures of informal public opinion.

To point, here on We Are Respectable Negroes, there is a recurring commenter by the name of "OTB" who is an ideal typical case of conservative, colorblind racism in practice. On this thread for example, his comments are a pitch perfect demonstration of the logic of white racism(s) in the post Civil Rights era.

As such, I will be using his posts as a "living" example of the theories offered by social scientists such as Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Joe Feagin, Charles Gallagher, George Yancy, as well as the indispensible Omi and Winant. It is always invigorating and exciting to see the nuts and bolts of colorblind racism--what has been described as "racism without racists"--displayed so perfectly.

In total, OTB's understanding of the relationships between race, American politics, privilege, power, and history is an echo of the theories, empirical research, and historiographies that has been developed to explain how racial dynamics and the color line shifted (or not) in the decades following the Civil Rights Movement to the Age of Obama.

The simple and short story goes something like this.

The Civil Rights Movement was successful to the degree that the Black Freedom Struggle leveraged white guilt and the realpolitik concerns of white elites during the the Cold War (and who represented the interests of Wall Street and the Consumers Republic) to end Jim and Jane Crow. This shift was revolutionary and transformative in many ways. However, it was not radical in the sense of a deep reorganization of resources, power, or opportunity structures along the color line. Yes, de jure racism was largely eliminated; however, social and political institutions would continue to reinforce norms of white privilege and white institutional power.

America would become a "multicultural democracy" and marginally integrate among its elites and middle classes. But, day-to-day life would remain highly ordered along lines of race and racial inequality. Racism was forced to evolve in order fit a set of global political realities. Consequently, racism had to become more sophisticated and impersonal. American society would remain oriented around protecting the power, wealth, and resources of white people. However, this would be done through seemingly "race neutral" policies and practices.

One of the bargains made in the consensus deal that produced the Voting and Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, was that racism would become a sin of all people. It was not something exclusive to whites in America, a special sin that needed to be accounted for by robust and radical distributions of power or resources. Universities and corporate America would institute very marginal and limited "affirmative action" and "diversity recruitment" programs.

With the white ethnic backlash against the Civil Rights Movement in the 1970s, the rise of neoconservatism/neoliberalism, and Ronald Reagan, these modest programs would be all but eliminated. Because racism is now a thing of the past, and the radical nature of Dr. King's vision was reduced to a few soundbites of race neutral huggy feely hokum about kids and mountaintops, another shift could take place.

For the white racial frame, racism no longer exists as a force that significantly impacts a given person's life chances or life outcomes. As framed by symbolic racism, or what is alternatively term as "the new racism," blacks can succeed if they just work hard like all of the other immigrants. Blacks are also beset by bad culture, lazy, and complain too much. African Americans are also a threat within the American body politic, and are not really part of the American political tradition. The language used to describe race and racism also "evolved" and newspeak such as "reverse racism" was introduced into our common vocabulary.

These semantic shifts in the public discourse are based on a number of common sense understandings held by (racially conservative) whites as individuals, and Whiteness as a construct of identity and power.
1. Racism does not really exist;
2. If racism does exist it is very rare;
3. Racism is an opinion;
4. The burden of proof when discussing race (or other social inequalities) is on the speaker to demonstrate that such an offense has actually taken place, or alternatively that race and power somehow intersect in a given moment or outcome;
5. Racism is mean words and overt violence such as that visited upon people by the KKK or Neo-Nazis;
6. Conservatives do not believe in either the power or existence of social institutions which impact life chances unfairly, therefore the language of "personal initiative" and "personal responsibility" eliminate and make impossible any discussion of institutional racism or inequality.
The most powerful move, the endgame, is that in the post racial, conservative colorblind era, those with power, privilege, and who constitute the "in-group," can then be the arbiters of what constitutes racism, classism, sexism, or homophobia. 

Evidence must be produced to convince those with power--and who possess a personal investment in denying their own relative privilege--that widely documented, empirically demonstrable social facts, are in fact true. As such, when a person of color confronts a white person (or white institution) about racism, it is the latter who get to decide if said offense has in fact occurred. Conversely, said person can then cry foul, because in their view they have been unfairly marked or maligned as a "racist," and are now a "victim" of angry, hostile, "overly sensitive" black and brown people who leverage fictions such as "the race card" to intimidate and bully good white people.

In total, these dynamics have created an absurd and bizarre set of outcomes where according to recent public opinion polls, a significant percentage of white respondents believe that anti-white racism is at bigger social problem than discrimination against people of color, and where white men feel the most aggrieved and least hopeful about their futures in the Age of Obama, when in fact white men are the most powerful and wealthy group in the United States

Colorblind racism also nurtures a perverse type of white political dementia, that in the Age of Obama white people are somehow oppressed and under siege by black and brown people--a lie that is willfully manipulated and played upon for electoral gains by Right-wing bloviators such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, agents who are working in the service of the Tea Party GOP and its political candidates.

Expert students and academics often lose sight of how theory should be sustained by practice, and made relevant to the "real world." My analogy here is one of catching an STD or getting a woman pregnant. A person knows that if they have unprotected sex either outcome is possible, however the math suggests it probably will not happen. But, these outcomes remain abstractions until said consequence is actually visited upon you.

I find white racism and other systems of power inequality fascinating on an intellectual level. I find it invigorating when I see the theories I read about and study played out in practice. Imminently so. The challenge of being a good educator is how best to communicate those moments of praxis to our students.


Your driver said...

No argument with the rest of the post but why pick on Kreayshawn? The Bay Area is full of white girls like her and she is satirizing them. Besides, she's revered BA music royalty, she grew up Punk Rock around her Mom's band, The Trashwomen. I like 'Gucci Gucci' and I think that video is funny as hell. As for everything else you write, thank you, thank you, thank you.

chaunceydevega said...

@yourdriver. thanks for the comment. her shtick is really just channeling some "ghetto" persona she had adopted, supposedly lived in, or the like.

this playing with "black authenticity" in some of the most degenerate and negative ways possible by white people is centuries old. on one hand you have tyler perry's racial crossdressing that masculinizes black women and feminizes black men simultaneously and then kreayshawn's white black face performance. I also talk about nikki minaj as part of the same efforts to be "racially transgressive" but that do nothing but reinforce the normality of whiteness.

Your driver said...

Yep, she reinforces the normalcy of whiteness.

OTB said...


I don't recall you asking for my permission to use me as a whipping boy for one of your articles.

I realize you are baiting me here, but since I am indeed the subject, it's only fair that I also have a voice in this (I know, "fairness" again).

You could have saved us both a lot of effort had you posted the second line of your third paragraph some time ago in response to a repeated direct question to you. Since you refused then to provide the information you volunteer now, I had to research elsewhere. You were not happy with the path of my research, yet you guided me to it.

As you terminated our last exchange (after I had already done so), it would help to know the ground rules here. If statements are made that are misstatements of fact, do I get to rebut them? Reviewing our past exchanges, that is the crux of much of them.

Do I get equal space to demonstrate how objectivity and straightforward questions are met with charges of ignorance, dishonesty and racism?

What's a brother to do when he feels oppressed?

chaunceydevega said...

@OTB. I don't need your permission. Your comments made here in a public place are a matter of public record. Sure, feel free to rebut.

Remember, I made a note of your cyber-stalking and perhaps against my better judgment let you post here again; don't make me regret that.

Also keep in mind that I have your IP and if you renew your cyber stalking I will report you to Comcast. I have already reported you and your ip to the admins at craigslist. Tread carefully.

So sure, answer the questions, rebut the assertions here, I think given all that you have written you meet the criteria of a colorblind racist, if not an overt one in denial.

OTB said...

Thanks for the reply.

Just as I don't know what proxy servers are, I do not know what you mean by cyberstalking (even though you claim I am guilty of it). Kindly explain so we are on the same page.

Thank you.

olderwoman said...

On the teaching evaluations bit, my department (which gives annual teaching awards) gave me a "special" award for "most bimodal evaluations". I typically have one faction calling mine the best course they ever took, and another calling it the worst course. If you just look at the means (which are on the low side of OK), you can't tell what is going on. I have tenure so I don't get hurt by this, but the younger faculty who teach ethnic studies, especially the faculty of color, get hurt by their low teaching evaluations and were really interested and gratified when I made this point in a meeting, because they have the same experience. Many/most students really appreciate their courses, but the dissident minority really hate them and, on average, they look like they are mediocre. So I'm putting this out there, trying to pass the word that people should try to educate administrators about this.

Sal Baje said...


i've been pondering the idea of using your posts on WARN as examples that illustrate the kinds of discursive strategies used by people who espouse colorblind ideologies. since your posts are a matter of public record, i won't even have to go through IRB! if the paper were to get published, you'd be famous, at least among the 16 people (and 3-4 reviewers) who would actually read the paper!

btw, one can use the *internet* to find definitions of proxy server, cyberstalking, and IRB. way to go asking the brown folks to do the heavy lifting for you! maybe i can use that in my paper, too.

@ CD

honestly, i don't know how you remain so positive about teaching undergrad diversity courses. i have to gird my loins before every class and get drunk on friday nights just to deal. since i am the *only* domestic student of color in my department, i guess it's my brown woman's burden to educate the white children about multicultural education. i would soak up like a parched sponge any advice you wish to offer.

Robert said...

"What's a brother to do when he feels oppressed?" Curious issue there: how to differentiate between the self-righteous indignation of the perception of oppression versus the reality of being oppressed?

I'm personally appalled that the voices speaking loudest about preserving their own inherent rights are also the most vocal about restricting the rights of others, e.g. conservatives speaking against gay marriage. Would the test be to count how many pieces of legislation have been passed and/or proposed to restrict rights allotted to other citizens (or extended to simply include humans)? As a casual observation, white heterosexual males really don't explicitly show up anywhere. It's almost as if they're assumed to be the default human. Golly!


Robert said...

@chaunceydevega, To give both parties a fair shot, I scanned through several of the WARN posts for dialogues between OTB and, well, anyone else. What shocked me wasn't so much anything particularly racist (the entire point of you using his as an example was his cryptic biases, after all) but his condescending assumption of entitlement.

As a guest and visitor of a website, he presents with an attitude of ownership and demands recognition despite exuding a type of low-grade disdain for anyone who isn't willing to play his particular sort of game. A mature, productive member of society would have rapidly realized that his or her involvement was not welcome and would have simply refrained from posting if not stopped visiting the site altogether since they find it so distasteful.

Instead, this OTB character actually takes offense and continues to cling to the assumption of entitlement, demands to be engaged and, essentially, just comes here looking for a fight under the guise of, "just asking simple questions." On those characteristics alone, OTB is simply a garden-variety internet troll. If those are really such simple questions, perhaps OTB could be bothered to read an introductory textbook on the topic rather than pester others. If the answer isn't readily discernible, perhaps it isn't such an easy question after all and OTB is grossly oversimplifying the issue. If OTB still wants an answer, perhaps a formal course at the university/college level would be a more appropriate way to gain an education than the comment section of a blog.


Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Yet another example of our fine "colorblind" and "post-racial" justice system:

chaunceydevega said...

@Rob. Trust me. OTB is a racist. Look at his answers to the questions I posed him as a test of white racial resentment of sorts. He is textbook. He is also a troll as you point out.

chaunceydevega said...

@werner. tomorrow or the day after for your great piece btw.

Robert said...

@chaunceydevega, "Trust me. OTB is a racist." Hmmm... I think I just picked up on the ignorance, condescension and entitlement and then wrote him off as a twit without going further to explore the specific flavor. Would it be valid to say that racism (and discrimination in general) is best described as a symptom of the more general innate sicknesses of ignorance, condescension and entitlement ("ICE", the social injustice trifecta)?

I'm a fledgling academic (PhD candidate, biology; teaching basic bio and human anatomy & physiology labs) and a fluent understanding of bias and discrimination is necessary considering the economic, social, cultural and ethnic diversity of my student base (both current and future). My university does not provide any meaningful training (it involved taking a 20-min online module) so I've been taking the initiative these past few months to do some self-training. I look forward to hearing about your class exploits.

makheru bradley said...

Interestingly one of the Lauderdale County Youth Court judges cited by the Justice Dept., Veldore Young, is an Afrikan American. Colorlines become confusing when injustice is carried out by the proxies of white supremacy. That’s why the primary focus has to be on Ma’at.

As regards post-racial America:
A report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement on the extrajudicial killings of Afrikan Americans reveals that every 36 hours (in 2012) a Black person is killed by the police a much smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes in the United States.

Extrajudicial killings abroad and extrajudicial killings at home: The national security state is consistent when it comes to extrajudicial killings of specific people.

OTB said...

@Sal Baje:
I understand the internet has definitions. I also understand, from personal experience, that Chauncey defines things the way he wants (including direct quotes from others). So, since he is the one who has accused me of using a proxy server and cyber stalking (neither of which I am either familiar with nor believe I am guilty of), the only definition that counts here is that of Chauncey. Even when he defines something, it's still tough to get him to stand by it. But at least if HE defines it, I will have some idea of where we stand. So until CHAUNCEY defines these terms, I have no effective way of answering the charges.

I haven't seen your name before, so I don't know how long you've been around. I have no sense of entitlement and work hard not to be condescending. Integrity and civility are my standards, even when under attack. However, I have been under a constant onslaught here for months for making what I felt were objective statements. What you might think is entitlement is simply me attempting to defend myself in a forum where the odds are stacked very much against me. If somebody fighting a lone battle (when no battle was sought) against an opposition that discounts nearly everything offered strikes you a certain way, that's your opinion. It is the opposite of both my intent and my actions. As I have mentioned here before, my objective is to learn where I am not knowing or where the information before me doesn't add up. When I get attacked as a racist or have my own words (or the words of others) twisted to convict me, I attempt to clear the air. I believe most people would do the same thing.

As I have offered to others, if you can find anything I have ever written that is either unfair or untrue, I'd like to see it. As I live by a standard of avoiding both of those, I'm confident you will not, which is why I am comfortable making the offer.

chaunceydevega said...

@Robert. Nice to have you here as a fellow traveler. WARN has an interesting range of readers. Many do not routinely comment, but if you ask some direct questions you will likely get a quick response.

There is a whole literature out there on race, health outcomes, public health, and the technologies of race re: racial inequality and white supremacy.

I have a few cursory links; if you want something a bit more advanced post the question here or email me off board. I look forward to learning from you as well. As you know a 20 minute module ain't gonna cut it.

OTB is demonstrating many of the dynamics of racism that we see in post racial America. When I say you can teach a class using his comments I do not mean that in jest I am going to use him as the point of a seminar.

If you are going to read any 3 books read Feagin's Racist America, then Racism without Racists, and then Front Stage/Back Stage racism. If you have time check the White Racial Frame and then Racial Formation by Omi and Winant. Those books will give you some footing and then you can troll the footnotes.

As WARN evolves we are going to do a book each week or 2 to discuss as a group if the readership is interested.

@OTB. I gave you the links in the post. This is not a matter of opinion. I know this literature. I know the research and findings. There are people who have forgotten more about these matters than I will ever know. If you encountered the latter they would have sent you packing already as a waste of their time. Trust me, you are a walking textbook example of colorblind racism. Do some reading; I will not do it for you.

Read what I argued here and rebut it. Are the examples of how racism works in this moment something you would agree with or not? How does your behavior fit this model or not? Not difficult. Please stop playing the victim. Interestingly, you are not engaging any of those specific points because you have been called out.

"However, I have been under a constant onslaught here for months for making what I felt were objective statements. What you might think is entitlement is simply me attempting to defend myself in a forum where the odds are stacked very much against me."

If you are so abused and long suffering here on WARN why hang around? Go away for your own sanity's sake. Start a website and support group for aggrieved colorblind racists. Again, stop being a troll and contribute or move along and/or be banned. Your choice.

Weird Beard said...

It's funny when you push these colorblind racists, many will quickly revert to showing their true colors without even the slightest inkling of understanding as the more blatant racism flows out from beneath the thin veneer.

The fact is, a good section of these punks actually believe they as whites are more often the victim of racism in the age of obama despite all factual evidence to the contrary.
-seriously you have to read this shit-...

Robert said...

"I have no sense of entitlement and work hard not to be condescending." Simply astonishing. The simple fact that an individual goes out of his way to visit a blog, goes to great lengths to post comments that conflict with the post and then claims victimization when he is not validated is a quintessential example of entitlement and condescension. His behavior is akin to going into the forest and poking a raccoon with a stick so he can complain about the dangers of wild animals when he's bitten.

I realize that all people suffer biases. It is unavoidable and due to our innate limitations, e.g. sensory, intellectual, cognitive, cultural and experiential. For an individual to claim that he or she is without bias is to effectively pronounce their gross and unapologetic ignorance. I am prejudiced. As a consequence of my culture, upbringing and personal experiences I have many preconceptions that are likely misconceptions. It is unavoidable. However I invest time and effort in identifying my biases and actively strive to minimize them. CD, thank you for the kind invitation to email you directly. I will check the campus library for your recommendations and will slip them in between dissertation reading.


OTB said...

@Chauncey (and Robert):

I do not dispute that racism exists. I do not agree that it is as universal as suggested here.

Looking back, I found what may have been a comment by me under the name AlterEgo, prior to choosing Colorbind.
Here was that comment: "Dave: If "I never thought I'd live under a colored man as president" is a racist comment, why is it that millions of blacks said the exact same words, and you have no problem with this?"

Shortly thereafter, I chose the name Colorbind and questioned your assertion that conservatives could not conceptualize black genius, accept the idea of a black middle class or superior achievements of blacks and browns. You were in the midst of putting down "Constructive Feedback" -- including calling him "Constructive Masturbator", and it appears you connected me with him (I have no idea who he is) and said that I was deep in the sickness. Oddly, some time later, your own CNu wrote the following about my comments:
"CDV - your performance wrt and in response to Colorbind has been particularly disgraceful and disappointing.

You can be a cordial and infinitely patient host to a flagrant, infantile, and utterly mendacious asshat like Greg Thrasher, but you're a rude, petulant, and incompetent correspondent to Colorbind?

That speaks volumes about how far under your remarkably thin skin Colorbind has gotten by persistence and attention to detail.

You GOTS to step up your respectable game brah....,

For CDV and the serious professional racism-chasers, (not emotional negroe buffoons) Colorbind's measured and methodical performance on these discussion threads is a nice foreshadowing of what the Zimmerman defense is going to do in court, and the results that can be expected to be obtained under the law.

If you clowns are simply incapable of doing any better than this, then you might as well begin sharpening your pitch forks and tarring up your torches to show out in the streets - because you're NOT going to prevail as a matter of logic, language, and law - no matter how much emotional whining and prevaricating you attempt to do.

CDV - "your people" are transparently wrong on an inexcusable number of levels.

It's one thing to be stuck on stupid and in need of mentorship when you're 17, it's a whole other ballgame to be fully grown and infantile.

As for Colorbind, he's taken all-comers at WARN and easily and persuasively overmatched one and all.

This is akin to an evolutionary biologist debating someone who believes in creationism. There are no shared priors. With Colordenial being the latter."

While I did not see your links, I did look up proxy server. I have never been associated with one. I also looked up cyberstalking -- which I have also never participated in. It entails using the internet for malicious or threatening behavior, none of which have I ever participate in. Just to be clear: you accused me of cyberstalking for placing an ad on Craigslist asking "Who is Chauncey DeVega" and actually praising you. I did this because you wouldn't answer a question as to your teaching, and I wanted to know. Your own cover page here says:
"He remains anonymous for now. But there will be clues, tasty morsels of information, that friends (and perhaps enemies) can use to find out his gov't name." Certainly trying to follow those clues isn't any form of stalking -- it's using available research resources. BTW, one definition of cyberstalking includes description of lewd and lascivious acts. I believe the host has practiced this at times.

So our entire relationship here looks to have gotten off to a bad start -- and continued that way. I do wonder if some of your animosity toward "Constructive Feedback" was also aimed at me.

Again, I never came her to be the focus. I came here for learning and clarity. That hasn't changed.

Thank you.

chaunceydevega said...


The more you write the more you prove my thesis. You need help. You are so mired in white racism that you are incapable of understanding how sick you are.

For example, if you cannot understand the difference between the joy and surprise expressed by a group of people who have been denied their citizenship by law, owned as property, killed by the millions, and only being included in the polity for some 40 years seeing one of their own become president and a white person who is shocked that a "colored" is President--and is likely scared by this fact--I can't help you.

You can selectively quote other commenters, but you are unable to respond to the simple guidelines for colorblind racism I posted here. Those questions did not come out of the ether; they are pretty close to the measures of symbolic racism one finds in the literature.

You are a conservative colorblind racist troll. Just own that fact and move along. You are also a cyberstalker who visits this site hundreds of times in a week and then puts ads on craigslist.

You need to find a positive outlet for your energy. As one of the commenters suggested earlier you need to find a lover, someone who you can expend this voluminousness energy and time on.

Weird Beard said...

Well, I see your "disagreement of racism not being as universal as put forth here" as your world viewed through privilege tented lenses and then arguing that those with clearer insight into the matter than you are wrong. You are inherently claiming that you know more about racism and the racial state in America than those more likely directly being negatively impacted by such state. Whiteness reserves the right of veto power in matters of racism. Unless you can convince Whiteness that racism happened, then it didn't. Whiteness denies the racism then blames those observing, experiencing, and speaking truth about racism as being "too sensitive" and "overreacting" and "making something out of nothing". Your position is inherently offensive. You stink of the white racial framework which in its denial serves to perpetuate inequities, white supremacy, white dominance, oppression, and white power. But whiteness gets to deny that any of this exists, and holds a different and more important opinion.

chaunceydevega said...

@Weird. OTB is everything you describe and likely more. He is intellectually dishonest and a liar as well. As such, he selectively quotes and edits comments--like the GOP--in order to further an already weak thesis.

Interestingly, he left out the remainder of our exchange where the very person he quotes was impressed with how I thoroughly embarrassed and deconstructed OTB's tired Zimmerman defense. Of note, our resident racist troll only started posting with regularity as he was shocked at how poorly the murderer Zimmerman was being treated by the media and wanted to make sure he got fair treatment. OTB had little concern for Martin however. Very predictable.

People like OTB are dangerous. They are also quite common. Be weary of them as they are neighbors, coworkers, etc.

Opal A. Lynch said...

@OTB As you speak of fairness, and judging people based on what they say, you drop the height of your own ceiling, and limit your ability to understand. this is why you ask all of these questions.

Nothing, is black and white. Nothing. You cannot step into a conversation as labour intensive as the conversation about race relations and politics, and say that you expect others to judge people by what they say, not by what their implications are. Well, actually you can, but expecting many of the readers and commenters here to sympathize with you is foolish. We live in a world of implications, slights, underhanded comments, connotations, denotations and general manipulation of language. Hence Dialects; many many people can speak the same language and mean something other than what they have purely said. We are not machines, into which data can be fed, and an action is then completed. We each process things differently, dependent upon our stimulus.

To say that you don't see why people and associating racist views with the tactics used by Romney's camp, leave those of us, who unlike you, are attempting to understand people's intentions via their words AND implications, wondering what the use of answering your questions, is, if you lack the simple understanding of undertones, and refuse to realize that past ideologies, lay the groundwork for the much more subtle, and some times, not even as subtle, racial messages being put out there.

You do not hear the dog whistle. Good for you, but apparently, since you take EXACTLY what is being said into considerations, and nothing more, then why interject yourself into conversations about undertones at all? You are adding nothing of value. If you feel so browbeaten and unwelcome, if you are sure we will not answer your questions, and will continue to "deflect" which is really, our false assumption that you would understand the most simple of things that are being referenced.. Why do you stick around?

A. Ominous said...

Whatever OTB's actual reasons are (good faith cluelessness or sabotage), he is causing You/Us to divert your/our resources to the putting out of a thousand little dumpster fires while the Library smolders.

And can you really exploit him as a "model" of anything, since he's essentially anonymous, could be of any description, could be several actors, etc? A detailed profile would give his comments context; in lieu of that, what do you have? There's no evidence he's "privileged" (male or otherwise) or anything else We think we're reading when slow down to Grok him.

Now, I have commented extensively on some fairly rarefied sites (if any of you know of a blogger called "Language Hat", you'll know the demographic I'm talking about), and the standard M.O. on those place is to talk over the heads of the kiddies and the crazy uncles. They do not suffer from the "Inclusivity" that "We" seem to default to. "Negro" itself is a promiscuously "inclusive" category, is it not? It means "no door policy". And, of course, They've set up "White" as the opposite condition.

I think We need to learn a little Arrogance; We need to learn to be Exclusive. Is it really the problem that "Whites" are "entitled" and/or "condescending", anyway, or is just that We've had our senses of Self sliced and diced and sandblasted by Hegemony so (generationally) long that even Black academics can't play the Ranking Game well enough to freeze plodding, unlettered OTB out of the conversation he exists to derail?

(I suspect, by the way, that if HLG had internalized The Tone... that icy, withering, infinitely exasperated but barely audible vector of Patrician Hauteur... instead of losing his cool and raising his voice and fuh-reaking like a Brotha will... that cop would've snapped to attention and goose-stepped backwards down the front porch steps. But it is very VERY hard to fake that kind of WASPy control)

(Kingsley Amis does a very good job of describing it, or a Limey species of it, in his "Memoirs (sic"); the chapter about Anthony Powell; to throw you a curve ball with the weirdest literary reference WARN has ever seen...)

A. Ominous said...


"There's no evidence he's 'privileged' (male or otherwise) or anything else We think we're reading when WE slow down to Grok him."

A. Ominous said...



chaunceydevega said...

@Steve. I hear you. But his language and the consistency of it constitutes a case of sorts, the speech codes he uses are part of a type of genre of writing within a larger discursive community--i.e. online writing and comments related to a colorblind conservative white racist political project. I have been keeping a running file of these types of comments and it is striking to see the speech codes they all seem to deploy.

I know that he is white and male for a fact. I can also say with good accuracy that he is the only person posting as the narrative is so consistent.

Interestingly, when challenged he does not appear to offer a substantive engagement with the claims. He fits almost every criteria for colorblind racism and white racial resentment. I just want him to own up to the fact.

A. Ominous said...

Erm, hold on. I've actually taken the trouble to read the latest (or most of it) and he "sounds" suspiciously like CnU.


"As for Colorbind, he's taken all-comers at WARN and easily and persuasively overmatched one and all."

"For CDV and the serious professional racism-chasers, (not emotional negroe buffoons) Colorbind's measured and methodical performance on these discussion threads is a nice foreshadowing of what the Zimmerman defense is going to do in court, and the results that can be expected to be obtained under the law."

Sounds like classic CnU (whoever CnU is). Just (as they say) Sayin.

A. Ominous said...

"I know that he is white and male for a fact."

How, CdV? Reverse DNS lookup doesn't go very far.

chaunceydevega said...

He quoted CNU to try to make a point to discredit me, thus that language.

I grok him.

I also know other things about him too. That is all I will say.

Shall we share water and discuss the bigger issues?

A. Ominous said...

Srsly, CdV. I've been an enthusiastic online "debater" (laugh) for almost 15 years now, and I'm a close-reader of texts, and if I'd actually bothered to read more of "OTB's" comments before, I would've told you that White Dudes do not write this sort of thing:

"As for Colorbind, he's taken all-comers at WARN and easily and persuasively overmatched one and all."

Sounds like Prince Namor, doesn't it? Black Dudes with Book Smarts often lapse into that register (I can't hear myself doing it, but I wouldn't be surprised).

White Dudes (Yankees, I mean) capable of stringing together more than three grammatically-sound sentences in a row (ie: with at least some college under their belts) tend, overwhelmingly, to do a post-DFW, self-effacingly casual thing, *esp. while attacking*. And White Dudes with MFAs tend to pepper their flames with citations; "OTB" does neither the "casual" thing nor the "citation" thing and he definitely doesn't come off all Tea Party.

Sorry, but I read "Brother" there, esp. when he's in Bluster Mode, and when he's in Bluster Mode, he's a ringer for CnU.

Now, CdV, if I examine *your* stylometrics and they match CnU's, do I get a full refund and a signed "Riddler" mask...? (laugh)

Robert said...

"Black Dudes with Book Smarts often lapse into that register" Did... did someone just try to attribute literary style to genetic heritability (e.g. "Black Dudes")? *cough* Wow. So, it would stand to reason that, say, an ethnic Hmong infant adopted by a black family be immune to such writing variability while the family's biological children remain susceptible to transition among writing styles. Similarly, a black infant adopted and raised in Norway would naturally manifest these literary trends and lapse between registers. What a curious model of genetics - it completely ignores the environmental (e.g. developmental, learned, socio-economic and cultural) factors on an organisms behavior.

Plane Ideas said...

I will admit when posters trash me to buttress hollow talking points I blush ..

A. Ominous said...

""Black Dudes with Book Smarts often lapse into that register" Did... did someone just try to attribute literary style to genetic heritability (e.g. "Black Dudes")? *cough*"

Nah. It's a function of socialization. You know, like, eg, a "Southern Accent"? Or do you think that's "genetic"?

Geez, come on... step away from the PC Panic Button! Laugh

A. Ominous said...

"Hmong infant adopted by a black family be immune to such writing variability while the family's biological children remain susceptible to transition among writing styles."

Here's another Thought Experiment: you read my comment *closely* and respond to its actual content! If you can find the bit where I refer to Genetics, I'll Paypal you a dolla.

OTB said...

I will attempt here to answer the questions that are still in evidence.
Having a different perspective does not make one a racist. Neither does defending oneself.
Chauncey (and others, perhaps) is immersed in race theory and sees things through that perspective. I see things from a non-theoretical focus on logic and evidence. I don’t claim race theory is willfully ignorant; it certainly has some value. Conversely, my preference for facts over theory shouldn’t be discounted either, nor should my intelligence or ethics be impugned because my perspective is different. I focus on what was actually said by someone. Chauncey likes to focus on what they might have meant based on race theory. In a court of law, evidence should beat theory. It doesn’t always, but at least that should be the goal. Chauncey’s perspective is colored by race theory, mine by the court system. The difference doesn’t make either of us right or wrong. Undertones was not my focus: seeing an exact quote and then reading someone claim that something else was factually stated begs for either clarification or silent assent to an erroneous assertion. I ask for the precise quote, willing to be corrected if my interpretation was wrong. I’m open to new information that is factual.

Disagreeing with a misstatement of fact (the actual words someone said vs. what they might have meant) is not a function of white privilege. It’s a function of seeking hard evidence. I did not say others were wrong in their beliefs; I said that I have an equal right to my own perspective. It seems MLK said we should be judged based on our character – and not the race-theory implications of our thoughts. I do not subscribe to any codes, nor am I part of any group of writers. I am independent, always have been, always will be. I cannot “own up” to white racial resentment because I don’t have it. Clearly, Chauncey does not “grok” me, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

I did not claim to know more about race theory than others. I figured I could learn more here. I do, however, know infinitely more about who and what I am than a fiction created by someone who creates an identity for me based on defenses to attacks on this site. By the way, I do not visit this site hundreds of times a week, and I placed a single solitary ad on Craigslist to learn the answer to a question I repeatedly asked Chauncey on this site without a response. As his “clues and tasty morsels” didn’t answer the question (which he voluntarily provided this week), I took a logical research path – his city of residence and people who might be able to answer the question he refused to respond to. For this, he charged me with cyberstalking when we both know it is nothing of the sort. Repeated requests as to where the charges were filed so I can defend myself have also been ignored.

OTB said...


Contrary to erroneous and repeated claims here, I do not deny racism. But I can and will continue to say in all honesty that I am not a racist. Again, disagreeing with someone on race theory, equal rights for subjects of a case, or the actual quoted words of a public figure do not equate to racism in any dictionary (or civil society) that I am aware of. I am against white supremacy, black supremacy, albino supremacy, and any other sort. This would include being treated as a person of questionable value and intelligence merely because of a difference in perspectives.

I did not post the comments from CNu to make Chauncey look bad. (Again, race theory interpretation vs actual reality). I posted them to demonstrate that I have at times been commended (including by Chauncey) for my reliance on facts over opinions. If readers are seeing attacks on me, it would be rather one-sided not to include at least one outside opinion to the contrary. And I sincerely resent any charges that I am dishonest because there is not a dishonest fiber in my body. My intention is never to derail a conversation. I seek clarity, thus I ask questions when something is not clear.

To offer a different path for this conversation, I’d like to congratulate Michelle Obama who (on The View – a repeat) refused to bite on questions of racism in the Presidential contest, although host Barbara Walters insisted that this was an important question, and kept asking it.

Lastly, Chauncey: I saw “Red Tails” tonight for the first time. After reading some of your earlier reviews, I’d like to hear what you thought of this movie (apologies if you already reviewed it; if so, I am not aware of it.)

Thank you.

chaunceydevega said...

@OTB. Your post reads like intellectual feces wrapped inside of a taco of vapid thinking and dipped into a mix of white racism and willful privilege. You are making my lecture on colorblind racism so easy. Do keep it up.

"Race theory" is not a group of people sitting around pulling ideas out of the sky. I am an empiricist. I gather data. You still have not answered the questions I posed to you re: the questions on race and racism. Racism is not an opinion OTB. You just don't get that.

Structural inequality and the fact of racism and racialized outcomes in this society is one of the most documented facts in social science. Real people; serious pros don't even debate the prior. That isn't people making stuff up.

You don't have the openness, skill sets, or humility to participate in this conversation. Do some more reading, unplug Rush Limbaugh, take an enema to clean out your white victimology colorblind racism impaction, and come back.

I will leave you for others to dissect.

And please get Dr. King out of your mouth. It is disgusting when colorblind white racists like you, Glenn Beck, and others dare to mention one of our elder god's names. Go back and read the whole I have a Dream Speech and then come back to us. You do realize Dr. King supported reparations for slavery, affirmative action, and wealth redistribution, no?

A. Ominous said...

OTB: it's obvious that you're a sock puppet. Your writing style is too similar to other apparent commenters on this site. I can easily tell the difference between, say, Fred C. and Thrasher, writing-style-wise, but it's almost impossible to tell the difference between your writing style and _____'s : your puppeteer makes the mistake of trying to use narrative clues to give you a plausible biography, when he really should be focusing on style as the ID. (For future reference, Dude)

Funny thing: lots of political blogs suffer from Sock Puppetitis these days. Sometimes it's the regulars who do the puppeteering, sometimes it's the Blog Owner. But there seems to be an epidemic of it in 2012 (maybe one symptom of the Mayan Apocalypse is Rampant Sockpuppeting).

I understand the temptation: sometimes you need a Perfect Foil to help you make the point. But, in the end, the practice is a little cheezy, and casts a weird light on the enterprise, and is a bit too much like those Ladies of Academe who run the Diversity Departments and try to jazz things up by faking hate crimes against themselves every couple of years... and get caught! Laugh

A. Ominous said...


"You do realize Dr. King supported reparations for slavery, affirmative action, and wealth redistribution, no?"

He was also strongly against the War in Vietnam (War in general; some think that's what got him whacked) and would have made a strong statement against the sickening irony of the warmongering POTUS' Kissinger Peace Prize, I'm sure.

Weird Beard said...

I am not racist and will not consider myself so until proven in a court of law, so unless anyone has any factual empirical data proving that I am indeed racist in legal terms then my statement will stand that I am not racist whatsoever (white defensiveness, absolute end game stumbling block to any opportunity to grow or learn racial reality).
-you will learn nothing here, you are rocky soil. pearls cast unto you are as though unto swine. No one here owes you anything. If you are seeking some legal proof of something, go somewhere where someone is offering that. Your websters dictionary approach to racism and 3rd grade paragraph understanding of MLK coupled with your grown up stubborness mired in your deified legal defensiveness(white system set up to benefit whites) leaves you uneducable in your current state. The conversations here have already risen above your current level of internal conflict in your adolescent placement of Kohlbergian moral development fixated in legal black and white right and wrong. Your conceptualization of race fits a teenage white kid. Though your argumentative style is more developed, your consciousness is not. Yet with autistic ferver you plow forward doggedly and endlessly. racism, yah, racism in Cincinatti, yah, cant prove it, yah, im not racist, yah, uh oh fart.

CNu said...

Sorry, but I read "Brother" there, esp. when he's in Bluster Mode, and when he's in Bluster Mode, he's a ringer for CnU.


Even fruity, dilletente jiggaboos, as contrasted with sweaty basement jiggaboos, can't keep the name CNu - out they muhphukkin mouf!!!!

Plane Ideas said...

Now we have some drama on WARN a virtual mystery who is the puppet master for OTB??

I have some candidates in mind but I will reveal my candidate for the puppet master.

Plane Ideas said...

Stay Tuned:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I found this site, thanks to Ta-Nehisi Coates. I want to learn about institutional and colorblind racism because I am aware that I may exhibit or represent these as a member of a school staff. I want to change the atmosphere and the conversation at my elementary school so that families of all of the children are able to feel invited and comfortable having a part in their children's public education. It's too easy for white middle class educated adults to adopt superiority and stereotypes and to misread and judge.
It's also enjoyable to read intelligent discussion. Thanks for all of this.

Weird Beard said...

otb/colorbind reminds me of Dan Boyd, but other than that, i couldn't care less. What does it matter who he is or how many aliases he posts under. A random argumentative poster not worthy of that much investigation. trollers gonna trollolol.

OTB said...


As always, thanks for the classy response NOT in keeping with your house rules -- or your own words:

"my first commitment is to the truth--empirical truth, philosophical truth, moral truth, scientific truth"

"It is a matter of truth and fairness"

"[this] is a space for reasoned and reasonable discourse based on...truth and reason."

Thanks also for the following words which you previously wrote about me:

"I give you points for sticktoitevness. If there was even an old school rumble you would be great to have on my side."

You just don't get that I HAVE REPEATEDLY STATED THAT RACISM IS NOT JUST AN OPINION OR THEORY. Why do you keep misstating a clear fact?

(Isn't that how this all started...and continues: "guilty as charged"...?)

I greatly respect Dr. King -- he's at the top of a list of heroes I've had above my desk for years.

You claim I deny things I have clearly stated I do not deny. I believe in respectful disagreement.

How about you?


The court of law reference is a metaphor. I know this isn't a trial (well, maybe in some ways it is, although I happened to like kangaroos.)

My point is that racism isn't something to be convicted of merely because you disagree with somebody else's educational background.

Bottom Line: I would happily place my life in evidence (yes, in court) to determine if I am a racist. What I do and who I am is much more relevant than a conviction here based on philosophical differences.
(Or do we convict Chauncey of racist rape as he has stated he enjoys seeing black men have aggressive sex with white women -- but not the other way around?)

Just trying to keep it real.

chaunceydevega said...


You are fun. You looked through dozens of posts on this site today over the course of several hours to find a few lines to cherry pick. Like I said I track you in the visitor logs--you are here more than I am. You need to find a woman, really you do.

You are now so desperate as to do the equivalent of what Sal and Richard on Howard Stern when they take snippets of audio from interviews, movies, and audio books in order to make their phony phone calls.

I never said I like watching white women be raped or attacked by black men. Stop playing with that myth of the black rapist stuff.

I know you are stuck in the white racial frame because you are sick with racism. Even then your claims are a reach. In a post about race, the erotic, and race play I shared how some types of porn are not compelling to me because of the historical and racial elements involved.

Given how binary and simple minded you are, a quest for false equivalence is your default. Conservative authoritarians are plagued by binary thinking. You prove that point as well.

Do you want to suggest that the mass rape of black women by white men over centuries in this society has any equivalence in scale or historical weight to the rape of white women by black men?

You do not even know enough about Dr. King to begin to "respect him."

So stop playing.

Plane Ideas said...


People like you are one of the reasons I penned this:

OTB said...


1) In the interest of not "derailing" a page, I limit my responses. With you, I damned if I do and damned if I don't.

2) You cherry pick my words, and then MISQUOTE me. Read what I wrote about your tastes. I never said you like watching rape. R E A D the words I W R O T E S L O W L Y and this might sink in.

3) I never suggested anything about mass rape. Using YOUR false equivalency, I asked if -- using your words -- it would be fair to convict you of racist rape, as you have convicted me for things I have never said, written, or done.

I come here to get a drink from a hose. You set the building on fire, and accuse me of wasting water for trying to put out the blaze. And you call me dishonest?

BTW: How's the detail on that cyberstalking charge coming? Or are you also going to ignore that?
(You brought it up. I'm just trying to defend myself against clearly fraudulent charges.)

In fact, I do know enough about Dr. King to respect him. The plain fact is that you don't know enough about me to disrespect me or call me dishonest, stupid, or racist.

Yet you do. Who's the pretender?

OTB said...


Your misdirected attribution doesn't stop me from agreeing with your article. People SHOULD be credited with their exact words.

I was not aware that the change on the monument was intentional -- I had read that it was done in the interest of time and space. What are the details?

Again, on crediting people for their own words: do you finally have an answer regarding your words on your video being against white Arne Duncan giving essentially the same appraisal to Detroit schools that you offered as a black man?
(Leave Telford out of this. He was never part of this issue.)

I'm trying to take you at your words. Not easy if you disown them.


chaunceydevega said...

OTB who needs the gentle touch of a woman who likes sushi and the outdoors:

you are not even a good dissembler; you misrepresent your own words. You wrote:

(Or do we convict Chauncey of racist rape as he has stated he enjoys seeing black men have aggressive sex with white women -- but not the other way around?)

"Racist rape" is your phrase. Given your limited reading comprehension you were suggesting that i enjoy racist rape. I then asked you to reconcile an example of real "racist rape", i.e. the mass rape of black women by whites in this country, with your claims about my tastes.

Again, get Dr. King out of your mouth. Based on what you have demonstrated here and your colorblind conservative racist ways, I think you would not have supported his radically democratic, inclusive, and socialist-humanitarian vision.

You are an amateur. Go comment on another thread. Everything you say is just more fodder for me to use

Plane Ideas said...


Your efforts to convince me you are logical has no currency with me or others in here.Dr.Telford is white and I agreed with him as I posted earlier please do better research whenever you dare to debate me. I am smarter and more logical...Get over me,lol,lol You remind of so many whites who simply cannot get over the fact that Obama is brillant I observe the same angst in your posts because I am Black and smarter than you it is drving you crazy .lol,lol.,lol

I used your own words against you to defeat your underdeveloped logic deal with this truth.

Nothing you can post now will change this,lol,lol

Weird Beard said...

the problem is that your definition of racism comes out of a websters dictionary with a 3rd grade depth of understanding. Its an issue of semantics. The 3rd grade websters "racism" you are denying is not what is being discussed here. you are having the wrong conversation. The "racism" 2.0 or modern day understanding of racism that is being discussed on this site is something you are indeed guilty of by virtue of your comments. It's called "color blind racism" and it has been explained to you several times. Yet you cling to your 3rd grade websters racism like a security blanket in order to protect your fragile ego. Because if you actually decided to learn something about how racism works in a more in depth way, you would have to admit that it is part of your life and affects you as it affects us all. But that would be learning and personal growth which you obviously have no interest in and would rather hold your dear baby blanket of 'I am not a racist'. good luck with that toddler bullshit.

OTB said...


The only one misrepresenting my words is YOU. Try reading again what I wrote. I asked if you could be convicted of racist rape for preferring selective porn in the same way that you have convicted me of racism for differing in perspective from you. Any other defining of my words by you is DISHONEST. If not, prove it.


Fine: You agreed with Telford that a white guy was wrong to criticize a black school district, which you then duplicated. AGAIN:
would your opinion be different if Duncan were black? It is a fair question based on YOUR OWN WORDS. If you fail to see this, your "smarts" are sorely lacking. Thanks.


Let' see. Based on some theories I read somewhere, you are guilty of arson, bigotry, pedophilia,incest, and willful ignorance. Where is my proof? Must be in the same reference books you depend on. Pretty silly way to convict somebody, don't you think?

I judge people by what they ACTUALLY DO -- not by what some theory or definition says they MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT.

Please, please, please, drop YOUR toddle b.s. and tell me what is unreasonable about that. Thanks.

chaunceydevega said...

@OTB. As I said elsewhere and repeatedly. Please get a woman or a hobby. You have too much time on your hands. I am calling the mercy rule and saving you from further embarrassment. You are like a child when in reality you are a grown man who just has to get the last word even when their interests are best served by disengaging and putting themselves in time out in the corner.

This thread is done, move on. If you post again on this thread it will be deleted.