Friday, October 25, 2013

Meditating on the Varieties of Day-to-Day Racism While The Hulk Fights a Bear and Gay "Sex Demons" are Exorcised on Stage

I propose that we add a new phrase to our shared American and British vernacular. In keeping with our discussion of 12 Years a Slave, when confronted by racism, black folks should say to those who have transgressed us "are you trying to Solomon Northup me?"

Invoking the name of a free black man who was sold into slavery and who escaped back again has many pithy uses. I do not propose a flattening of history or trivializing of the horrors which were so common as to be quotidian; moreover, how does one accurately describe the horrific when it ceases to be unusual and is instead an accepted state of affairs?

We, Blacks, the Roma, Jews, and First Nations Brothers and Sisters--and any people who have had to negotiate systematic oppression--learn to laugh to keep from crying. This is a necessary survival skill.

Life is a journey of the mundane and the repetitious punctuated by periodic moments of absurdity. 

To the latter, I encountered a bit of it early this week, when I was threatened with arrest for having the hubris to request that my food be reheated while eating at a self-consciously mid-tier restaurant which felons and ex-cons dream of, where upon release they will gorge on a celebratory meal. 

Yes, I will soon share details of what occurred once some matters are sorted out. 

[And to she, the wicked crone who transgressed me, quoting the talented and indispensable wordsmith WWE wrestler Mr. Mark Henry, do I look like I got Kool-Aid for blood? Consequences. There will be consequences. I will revel in them.]

Am I crazy? Am I being overly sensitive? Am I imagining things? These are questions that come from life as a person, in a society that is supposedly "color blind", but where racism has evolved to hide itself, and its owners/perpetrators have refined a language of "white victimhood" and the oxymoron myth that is "reverse racism".

Navigating such encounters are exhausting--if you let them get to you. Moreover, one can so easily fall prey and get lost in the maze that is trying to understand other people's behavior.

Consider the following question(s)...and its many permutations. Is said person just shitty, mean, and incompetent? Or is said person shitty, mean, and incompetent--and their shittiness, meanness, and incompetence are encouraged and exaggerated because I am a person of color?

I am very curious about your life strategies and rubrics for such scenarios.


vintagepeugeot said...

Were you at Red Lobster? Looking forward to that story.

I think sometimes, yeah people are just shitty, and racist. But other times, when in places that are extreme white bubbles, like Boulder CO I feel it might be lack of exposure to anything unlike themselves. They can't handle it, because everyone should be just like them. Liberal close-mindedness is just a destructive as the conservative version.

I will say that I have stopped shopping at REI after a couple incidents. In Boulder, the welcome desk girl asked "Are you in the right place?" before WELCOMING me, her job. In another location in a rich, white enclave (Rockville, MD) after asking a question about gear, he felt the need to respond to me in a tone only appropriate with retards.

After seeing 'Django' with my white boyfriends parents last year, they concluded I enjoyed the film "too much", and that now that it was over, "we can get back to how things should be." You know, white people in charge. They're democrats.

When I was younger, shit like that would bother me for a long time. Now it's more water under the bridge, and part of being a black American.

DanF said...

I love how polite the demon is in that second video. He always waits for the mic to be presented before he speaks and sits back quietly while being rebuked. That's a very well-mannered demon.

As a white guy I'll get bad service from time-to-time, but threatened with arrest for asking my food to be re-heated? WTF? No. You're not being overly sensitive. Food being served cold followed by a threat of incarceration sounds like "your are not welcome here." Your waiter could take courtesy lessons from that demon.

If it's a chain restaurant you can write to corporate and probably get some response, but that's part and parcel of "Navigating such encounters are exhausting". I can't even imagine how tiresome it gets...

Learning is Eternal said...

And some will say these white, racist, caucanderthal, fucktards aren't/haven't been exposed to or been around anything different. I can't count how many times I've seen a pink toe @the door of an Afrikan lust interest only to be invited in or caucasoids curious bout soul food seated & served w/o malice.

This has nothing to do w/fear or revenge. It's just the difference between us & them. My rubric is to put the teeth of the racist mindset next to their shoes but this is not rational thinking and I could never fight away 500 yrs. & running of atrocities. Violent outbursts & small victories in battle (sometimes) have little impact in 'this war.'

So I arm myself in ways not expected.

Educate myself daily about any & all. Only The knowledgeable can fight ignorance. The latter will never beat the former.
Practice Group economics as best I can.
Read, Read & Read. This site included.
Thought before action.

The answer is both CDV. They already fucked up mentally but when a POC comes around 'everthing' is exaggerated.

anonymous said...

I wonder why some people view using the threat of calling the police, as a way of instilling fear in Black people?

I once had this done to me by a cab driver, and while we were in the midst of disagreeing with each other, he threatened to go to the police station, and commenced driving as if he was going to the police department. I explained that not all Black people are alike, and we could go to the Police department. It might be a better idea if they decided who was at fault. I explained that he should be prepared to be sued, along with the cab company. In retrospect, I think that we both were dealing with a language and cultural barrier, and in his case some preconceived notions about Black people.

I think discrete video taping helps too, and quickly emailing the video to yourself. I know that one of the Sikh organizations has an app where you can video tape an incident, and the Southern Poverty Center has a similar app. I figure someone like that (the waiter you were dealing with) is banking on the fact that anyone who is Black is supposed to be scared of the police, and that we are all criminals. They usually end up looking foolish once I tell them that they are welcome to go ahead and make the call, or I could place the call for them, and I would be happy to wait until the Police arrive and speak with them. I also explain to them that they are behaving as if I am supposed to be afraid of the Police because I am Black, and I give them a run down of my background, after I do this, they begin to look a bit peckish, and start to back down. Now, this strategy is best used with a great deal of discretion and forethought, I try to size the person up, and use whatever strategy I think best works with the type of person I am dealing with, with the aim of preserving my dignity, and diffusing the situation. If at all possible at the end of the encounter, I will go out of my way to be pleasant to the people around me, who are often looking at the person like they have just lost their mind In some cases they have intervened on my behalf, but I still work to deescalate things, because I figure the individual who attempted to pull the police card has suffered enough humiliation.

I think that..." is said person shitty, mean, and incompetent--and their shittiness, meanness, and incompetence are encouraged and exaggerated because I am a person of color?" Is a pretty good assumption to make.

chauncey devega said...

"This has nothing to do w/fear or revenge. It's just the difference between us & them."

"They already fucked up mentally but when a POC comes around 'everthing' is exaggerated."

Remember, race essentialism is a dead end my friend.

chauncey devega said...

" wonder why some people view using the threat of calling the police, as a way of instilling fear in Black people?"

I think there is a very good reason for that: the police historically and remain a force for white government and the racial state to terrorize, control, harass, murder, and intimidate people of color and the poor of any color. We cannot assume that the police will act in a fair way; white bigots know that the police are on their side.

That video app is a great tool. I wish I had one at the time. Great suggestion, I didn't know that our Sikh brothers and sisters had a video app.

chauncey devega said...

The demon is very very polite is it not? Perhaps, it went to a finishing school? Easier to possess people that way.

The story is even more bizarre than that. I talked to a regional manager on Thursday. I have him until Tuesday before I take some next steps which he was very much not wanting me to until he sorted matters out. Consequences. There will be consequences as I explained to him.

chauncey devega said...

All the cons dream of Red Lobster. I just don't get the appeal. A similar place though.

I was in New Hampshire with a friend and we were being followed around the store by a security guard who thought he was sneaky. I went up to him, introduced myself, and asked him what I can do to help him. Rent a Cop turned bright red and skulked off.

anonymous said...

Bryan Ortez said...

On the attitudes of white people I am reminded of Alexis de Tocquevilles private reflection during his time here in America.

I'll start with the interesting bit, then add the whole scene.

"freemen, consider themselves privileged beings; and likewise that colour is a veritable nobility in this country."

Here is the rest of the context:

Tocqueville had traveled through the entire north of America and had just began his journey into the South. He and his friend were staying in the Kentucky frontier.

"My hosts are good people, very proud though innkeepers, and very lazy though poor.
They are proud because they live in a region of slaves. Not a small landowner, however wretched, but possesses two or three slaves. The latter are, in the house of the whites, an obligatory furnishing, as is a chair or table.

It results from this that all those who are not black, and who are consequently freemen, consider themselves privileged beings; and likewise that colour is a veritable nobility."

Whites, especially those who identify strongly as white, are a veritable aristocracy and always have felt this way about themselves.

Bryan Ortez said...

I thought the 'white, racist, caucanderthal, fucktards' bit was pretty funny. I think I know who they are talking about.

I don't like the 'caucasoid' 'negroid' 'mongoloid' labels, but I think I see what they are getting at. Most whites think in these terms even if they don't know these three distinct racial groupings invented by racist white historians and anthropologists. It also not as if the anti racist folks don't have a number of problems with whites as allies or enemies.

Also, I have to wonder why my Disqus spellchecker says 'caucasoid' needs to be capitalized while 'negroid' and 'mongoloid' are fine in lower case.

Bryan Ortez said...

telling you you enjoyed the film 'too much.' wow

blackfather said...

One of the reasons for being glad to be as old as I am is that I may be spared living to see a race war in America. Race wars are often wars in which nobody
wins and everybody ends up much worse off than they were before. Initial skirmishes in that race war have already begun, and have in fact been going on for some years. But public officials pretend that it is not happening, and the mainstream media seldom publish it at all, except in ways that conceal what is really taking place. More dangerous than these highly publicized episodes over the years are innumerable organized and unprovoked physical attacks on whites by young black gangs in shopping malls, on beaches, and in other public places all across the country today.
While some of these attacks make it into the media as
isolated incidents, the nationwide pattern of organized black-on-white attacks by thugs remains invisible in the mainstream media, with the notable exception
of Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel. Even when these attacks are accompanied by shouts of anti-white rhetoric and exultant laughter at the carnage, the racial makeup of the attackers and their victims is usually ignored by the media, and public officials often deny that race has anything to do with what happened.
These attacks have sent many people to the hospital, and some victims have died, but the attacks are often carried out in a festive atmosphere. What are called “troubled youths,” in this and other contexts, are
often in fact young people enjoying themselves greatly by creating big trouble for others. Sadly, what happened in Milwaukee and Chicago were not
isolated incidents. They were part of a pattern repeated in dozens of cities, in every region of the country. Colin Flaherty’s book, which is subtitled “The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It,” reveals this pattern in painful detail. Other books are emerging that are more clearly a white backlash, in the sense that they attack behavior patterns among contemporary blacks in general. Perhaps the most clearly “backlash” books are those written by Paul Kersey, whose central theme is that whites have created thriving cities, which blacks subsequently took over and ruined. Examples include his books about Birmingham (The Tragic City) and Detroit (Escape from
Detroit). Kersey even takes a swing at Rush Limbaugh (and at yours truly) for saying that liberal policies destroyed these cities. He says that San Francisco and other cities with liberal policies, but without black demographic and political takeovers, have not been ruined. His books are poorly written, but they raise tough questions. It would be easy to simply dismiss Kersey as a racist. But denouncing him or ignoring him is not refuting him. Refuting requires thought, which has largely been replaced by fashionable buzzwords and catchphrases when it comes to discussions of race. Thought is long overdue. So is honesty.

Bryan Ortez said...

Here's a link to a page this was copied and pasted from.

What do you say to this type of stuff?

chauncey devega said...

How did you come upon that? Reading it yourself or researching above?

chauncey devega said...

I usually delete trolls. This is a copy of the non-sense being circulated by paid black conservative hustler Thomas Sowell. Allen West also echoed said mess this week too. It is based on a thoroughly debunked book.

Salon and others have been very patient in taking the time to go through it. I have no interest in such games.

The FBI and others' own data highlights how blacks and other people of color are orders of magnitude more likely to be the victims of white racial violence than the other way around.

The above is just an old Reconstruction Jim Crow white victimology hustle.

chauncey devega said...

that is funny.

Bryan Ortez said...

I copied a little of what they posted and searched on google. These sites really pass these stories around. I've read other pieces of info that debunk these stories and the fear associated with them, but I can't help but try to discern why people are sharing them and here is one specifically stating the 'race war' fear I've mentioned here before.

So far this week the only thing you've pretty much discussed is '12 Years a Slave' and how we can discuss slavery in a more realistic way.

I have a strong feeling that this sentiment, that "Young blacks are especially susceptible to the message that all their problems are caused by white people — and that white society is never going to give them a chance. In short, they are primed to resent and hate individuals they have never seen before and who have never done a thing to them." (another from Thomas Sowell) Is being and has been used to suppress discussion of race in not only contemporary issues, but also in history classes.

Fear of the American race war has hindered our understanding of race in American history and stifled conversations for a long time.

By all means delete the troll, but you know they will be back.

chauncey devega said...

People need to understand the coordinated cyber racism effort that is afoot. The black on white race war meme goes back to whites efforts to justify slavery in the 19th century. It is also a perverse dream and yearning in order to legitimate white hate crimes against people of color. The black conservatives parrot the meme because they are paid to do so.

Tamytrice said...

@blackfather. thank you for this comment. as a young black woman i am ashamed of the culture of violence our people have embraced. its not safe in our communities, because many of our young people act like animals. black on non-black and black on black violence is absolutely out of control. the election of Obama was supposed to be good for our communities. instead blacks are worse off on every issue. the whites will only take so much until they start to fight back, then like you said we will have a race war where everybody losses. my fear is the black community will lose the most and we have the least to lose.

The Sanity Inspector said...

Bad restaurant service, the Hulk, and gay demons...Thanks to this post, it's no longer necessary to do separate Google searches for those subjects!

As to your penultimate paragraph, was your restaurant experience one of those occasions where the server assumed that black people don't tip" and treated you accordingly?"

SabrinaBee said...

Great article CD. I read it over at Salon. Even more interesting were the comments below. We had one person arguing that 150(?) years of slavery should be a moot point by now and was nothing compared to the suffering of Asians in this country. Never mind that slavery was at least a 200 year old institution (1654 - 1865) here in the states, not counting indentured servitude. They also completely ignore the Reconstruction Era, where the promise to slaves was reneged on, the Jim and Jane Crow era where, blacks were terrorized, and the Civil Rights era where blacks continued to be infiltrated, assassinated, terrorized, experimented upon and vilified. And the poor Native Americans that were practically decimated was of no mention to her. And that was a democrat! Another took issue with America only being half a slave country in 1850 or so. Again, dismissing that this wasn't always so. But the main argument seemed to be more sympathetic towards Asians. It is eye-opening to see the lengths that some will go through to marginalize that whole business of racism in this country. Even within "our own" political persuasion.

craig said...

Chauncey-you are the rope that binds me to the mast that prevents me from being seduced by the Sirens; that post by blackfather had me going there - I'm glad you were right below to refute it. Now, rereading blackfather's post makes me wonder - how I could have been so stupid?

chauncey devega said...

We are all stupid my friend. The siren's song is strong. Part of the problem w. well-intentioned people is that they believe that others are operating from the same prior. There is nothing "black" or "fatherly" about blackfather.

chauncey devega said...

I aims to please ;)

chauncey devega said...

Bumper sticker there?

chauncey devega said...

Great point. Mr. De Tocqueville was/is the truth. Have you ever read Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia?

Bryan Ortez said...

I have read parts, I don't think I have read all of it. I have also read a few books that reference his Notes on Virginia.

Slave Country by Adam Rothman was one I read back in my undergrad

Bryan Ortez said...

Also I wanted to add this bit from Texas' secession declaration documents about how the American nation is the white man's birthright.

"We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

"That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states."

This was, I think, from a time period in which slavery had been abundantly justified by religious and historical examples, enforced by constitutional provision, and the sciences were beginning to unite the idea of white supremacy within the historical record.

Anonymous said...

N0W .

chauncey devega said...

"Consequences" is my speak for lots of trouble and maybe a very public boycott and threatened lawsuit.

I think he is gambling; we will find out tomorrow.

OldPolarBear said...

I am actually old enough that my grade-school textbooks, sad to say, actually taught that "three races of mankind" bullshit. I can vaguely remember the entire class reciting them off by rote, like the times tables or something. Maybe that last detail is slightly exaggerated or even invented, but anyway, it was plenty bad.

OldPolarBear said...

An app that would transmit to some cloudspace as it was taping would be great. That way, even if they grab it and smash it, which they are known to do, it would be safely stored.

I admire your courage. I am white and probably have no objective reason to fear them and I really hate the idea of calling the police. I find them intimidating, but I am intimidated by almost any kind of confrontation. I hope that in addition to sizing the individual up, you give some thought to the police jurisdiction you are in. Police in some areas are notorious for showing up and just tazing the fk out of somebody, especially a black person.

OldPolarBear said...

When I started reading this, I was going to guess you had been at Denny's, but then realized that no one would describe it as rising even to the level of "self-consciously mid-tier restaurant" lulz. Besides, they have supposedly cleaned up their act, although I wouldn't count on it. I will be interested to hear more about this as it develops.

chauncey devega said...

I remember Denny's when it was openly and unapologetically racist. They would literally make blacks and hispanics wait while they took white customers. Once I saw this I refused to go back. Sadly, many people of color do not vote with their dollar and feet and somehow think they are "sticking it to the man" by spiting them, i.e. giving racist businesses our/their money.

Random story, a college friend worked at Denny's and threw a boiling pot of water in a racist customer's face. Great story.

SabrinaBee said...

lol Sure, why not? Maybe it will catch on. Incompetent>shitty>mean. I'll direct them to your post for artistic license.

anonymous said...

Both Apparently are stored and I know Southern Poverty will analize the video. It was like I explained to a police captain after being manhandled by an officer. Sometimes you have to be willing to die for what you believe in. Cops that are racist are basically sick in the head. Sometimes ill treatment can make you so tired you get brave. Yet description and wisdom should always prevail.

anonymous said...

Should be descretion .
Typing from mobile device is not easy.

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