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Author Topic: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?  (Read 61035 times)

BearlyLegal

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #100 on: April 05, 2008, 06:35:36 PM »
Bearly--that's only one very specific and narrow aspect of white privilege. There are plenty of others that you get, even if you're poor or new to the country. See the checklist earlier in the thread.
I have seen that checklist many times before it was posted here. One of my recommenders is a professor who is a longtime contemporary of the woman who wrote that list. I didn't want to go over them one by one refuting them all because I think it would be a childish endeavor. I am willing to for sake of discussion, but when I raise up points in this discussion, I seem to get nothing but eyerolls and namecalling in response, and so I don't feel like it's worthwhile tackling every individual point on that list when the things I mention are generally disregarded, and not even considered with an open mind. If someone wants to have a real conversation about those points, I will gladly engage them.

Most of the disadvantages listed are faced by almost anyone that doesn't look like a "standard" member of a given social group. Many of the disadvantages described are faced by other social and ethnic groups. Similarly, people who are "too short", or "too tall", or "too skinny", or "too fat", or have a wart on their nose, or are albino, etc. face massive challenges in "mainstream" society. The disadvantages listed are not unique only to black people, and there are plenty of white people who look different, or act different, or speak with a permanent accent, or have "funny" names who also face these kinds of disadvantages.

Again - I agree 100% that "white people" as a macro "racial" group have more advantages than "black people" do in America. But real life doesn't take place on a macro level - assuming that every individual white person has the advantages that the poster I originally took umbrage with asserted we have is simply untrue, and racist.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #101 on: April 05, 2008, 06:36:27 PM »
Bearly--that's only one very specific and narrow aspect of white privilege. There are plenty of others that you get, even if you're poor or new to the country. See the checklist earlier in the thread.
I have seen that checklist many times before it was posted here. One of my recommenders is a professor who is a longtime contemporary of the woman who wrote that list. I didn't want to go over them one by one refuting them all because I think it would be a childish endeavor. I am willing to for sake of discussion, but when I raise up points in this discussion, I seem to get nothing but eyerolls and namecalling in response, and so I don't feel like it's worthwhile tackling every individual point on that list when the things I mention are generally disregarded, and not even considered with an open mind. If someone wants to have a real conversation about those points, I will gladly engage them.

Most of the disadvantages listed are faced by almost anyone that doesn't look like a "standard" member of a given social group. Many of the disadvantages described are faced by other social and ethnic groups. Similarly, people who are "too short", or "too tall", or "too skinny", or "too fat", or have a wart on their nose, or are albino, etc. face massive challenges in "mainstream" society. The disadvantages listed are not unique only to black people, and there are plenty of white people who look different, or act different, or speak with a permanent accent, or have "funny" names who also face these kinds of disadvantages.

Again - I agree 100% that "white people" as a macro "racial" group have more advantages than "black people" do in America. But real life doesn't take place on a macro level - assuming that every individual white person has the advantages that the poster I originally took umbrage with asserted we have is simply untrue and racist.

Penn263

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #102 on: April 05, 2008, 06:57:50 PM »
I'm not white...actually I'm of an ethnicity which AA benefits the MOST. Yet, I think AA needs serious revamping. It must emphasize socioeconomic background heavier than ethnic background, among other things.
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mbw

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #103 on: April 05, 2008, 07:12:27 PM »


Again - I agree 100% that "white people" as a macro "racial" group have more advantages than "black people" do in America. But real life doesn't take place on a macro level - assuming that every individual white person has the advantages that the poster I originally took umbrage with asserted we have is simply untrue, and racist.

I want to interject that this is where I get really pissed off. "Race" in America has been reduced to black and white - literally.  Even Obama in The Speech couldn't think to mention the issues and concerns of non-AA people of color more than a handful of times (we NDNs got two words.)  There is a whole lot more to "race" in America, and many of these intersect with socio-economics and justice in ways very different from the discussion we seem to always have when affirmative action and race are brought up.  Geez, in another thread the other day, I saw some guy with the username "skinzfan" blather on about "why are 'people' so focused on racism?" - I had no words, no words.  The LA Times published an editorial last week in which a famed scholar on human rights wrote, "...are the Tibetans doomed to go the way of the American Indians? Will they be reduced to being little more than a tourist attraction, peddling cheap mementos of what was once a great culture?"  The uproar?  None.  Now imagine if African or Chinese culture was so described.

That's why "the checklist" works on many levels - while we've gotten to the point in higher education that it's pretty unusual in large universities for AAs to be the only AA in their class, it's absolutely not the case for me.  I can't remember when I ever had another NDN in class, and thus, how I was expected to Teh Spokeswoman for all NDNs.  Indian issues are so far down the totem pole, they're subterranean.  But when you add up the issues of all people of color, (and not just law school URMs,) and compare what thus amounts to almost half of the US population with the "privilege" still held by the melanin-challenged, there's a huge gap (a growing one, for a lot of brown people.)

Not trying to derail this, but just a reminder that stereotyping is a charge that can be tossed around regarding arguments, not just the groups discussed therein.

ETA:  Bearly, earlier you talked about the American "ideal" of assimilation, of your parents' having to give up their culture to fit in - but that's certainly not my ideal.  Nothing personal, but I would prefer if all you immigrants, going back to 1492, would get the @(*&^ back to wherever you came from.  Just go. 
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BearlyLegal

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #104 on: April 05, 2008, 07:49:38 PM »


Again - I agree 100% that "white people" as a macro "racial" group have more advantages than "black people" do in America. But real life doesn't take place on a macro level - assuming that every individual white person has the advantages that the poster I originally took umbrage with asserted we have is simply untrue, and racist.

I want to interject that this is where I get really pissed off. "Race" in America has been reduced to black and white - literally.  Even Obama in The Speech couldn't think to mention the issues and concerns of non-AA people of color more than a handful of times (we NDNs got two words.)  There is a whole lot more to "race" in America, and many of these intersect with socio-economics and justice in ways very different from the discussion we seem to always have when affirmative action and race are brought up.  Geez, in another thread the other day, I saw some guy with the username "skinzfan" blather on about "why are 'people' so focused on racism?" - I had no words, no words.  The LA Times published an editorial last week in which a famed scholar on human rights wrote, "...are the Tibetans doomed to go the way of the American Indians? Will they be reduced to being little more than a tourist attraction, peddling cheap mementos of what was once a great culture?"  The uproar?  None.  Now imagine if African or Chinese culture was so described.

That's why "the checklist" works on many levels - while we've gotten to the point in higher education that it's pretty unusual in large universities for AAs to be the only AA in their class, it's absolutely not the case for me.  I can't remember when I ever had another NDN in class, and thus, how I was expected to Teh Spokeswoman for all NDNs.  Indian issues are so far down the totem pole, they're subterranean.  But when you add up the issues of all people of color, (and not just law school URMs,) and compare what thus amounts to almost half of the US population with the "privilege" still held by the melanin-challenged, there's a huge gap (a growing one, for a lot of brown people.)

Not trying to derail this, but just a reminder that stereotyping is a charge that can be tossed around regarding arguments, not just the groups discussed therein.
I agree 100% with all of the above. The popular construction of "race" in America is overly simplistic, and badly undercuts the legitimate positions of other URMs.



Quote
ETA:  Bearly, earlier you talked about the American "ideal" of assimilation, of your parents' having to give up their culture to fit in - but that's certainly not my ideal.  
Just to clarify, I am personally an immigrant. I came to this country specifically because I was a badly mistreated URM in my homeland.

Quote
Nothing personal, but I would prefer if all you immigrants, going back to 1492, would get the @(*&^ back to wherever you came from.  Just go.
I'm not offended at all. Your point is totally legit. This land is by all rights yours, and the crimes that have been committed against your people are irreperable.

Susan B. Anthony

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #105 on: April 05, 2008, 08:00:05 PM »
On a less adversarial and cranky and somewhat related note, I'm reading Mae Ngai's Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America for a seminar paper, and it's very interesting. I highly recommend it if you're interested in such issues. She has an excellent discussion about the construction of whiteness, among other things.

mbw

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #106 on: April 05, 2008, 08:08:28 PM »


Again - I agree 100% that "white people" as a macro "racial" group have more advantages than "black people" do in America. But real life doesn't take place on a macro level - assuming that every individual white person has the advantages that the poster I originally took umbrage with asserted we have is simply untrue, and racist.

I want to interject that this is where I get really pissed off. "Race" in America has been reduced to black and white - literally.  Even Obama in The Speech couldn't think to mention the issues and concerns of non-AA people of color more than a handful of times (we NDNs got two words.)  There is a whole lot more to "race" in America, and many of these intersect with socio-economics and justice in ways very different from the discussion we seem to always have when affirmative action and race are brought up.  Geez, in another thread the other day, I saw some guy with the username "skinzfan" blather on about "why are 'people' so focused on racism?" - I had no words, no words.  The LA Times published an editorial last week in which a famed scholar on human rights wrote, "...are the Tibetans doomed to go the way of the American Indians? Will they be reduced to being little more than a tourist attraction, peddling cheap mementos of what was once a great culture?"  The uproar?  None.  Now imagine if African or Chinese culture was so described.

That's why "the checklist" works on many levels - while we've gotten to the point in higher education that it's pretty unusual in large universities for AAs to be the only AA in their class, it's absolutely not the case for me.  I can't remember when I ever had another NDN in class, and thus, how I was expected to Teh Spokeswoman for all NDNs.  Indian issues are so far down the totem pole, they're subterranean.  But when you add up the issues of all people of color, (and not just law school URMs,) and compare what thus amounts to almost half of the US population with the "privilege" still held by the melanin-challenged, there's a huge gap (a growing one, for a lot of brown people.)

Not trying to derail this, but just a reminder that stereotyping is a charge that can be tossed around regarding arguments, not just the groups discussed therein.

ETA:  Bearly, earlier you talked about the American "ideal" of assimilation, of your parents' having to give up their culture to fit in - but that's certainly not my ideal.  Nothing personal, but I would prefer if all you immigrants, going back to 1492, would get the @(*&^ back to wherever you came from.  Just go.

 :o

As an individual who is part Native American, I respectfully disagree.

If you're not a tribal citizen concerned with indigenous sovereignty, I wouldn't expect you would agree, no matter what your distant ancestry might be.  And since I'm not Teh Spokeswoman for all NDNs, I don't expect all culturally affiliated and/or enrolled tribal members to agree with me either.  But I would argue that my view is the majority view in Indian Country today.

ETA: BTW, this doesn't mean that I don't really like many of you - in fact, I'd love it if you visited frequently after resettling someplace else.  ;D
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dashrashi

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #107 on: April 05, 2008, 10:14:31 PM »
Confidential to Bearly: just as the personal is political, the micro is macro.

To expand on this theme: Nothing can happen on the macro level that doesn't have effects on the micro level, so it's disingenuous to insist that change needs to happen--it just can't happen in any way that ever affects someone that you would call unfair. If you want change to happen, maybe you've got to take your lumps like everyone else does. Or, to say it another way: be the change you wish to see in the world. Or, one more way: we are the people we have been waiting for.
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dashrashi

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #108 on: April 05, 2008, 10:18:50 PM »
I'm not white...actually I'm of an ethnicity which AA benefits the MOST. Yet, I think AA needs serious revamping. It must emphasize socioeconomic background heavier than ethnic background, among other things.

Yes.

This thread reminds me of the episode of South Park where Big Gay Al says he is ok with the fact that the Boy Scouts don't allow gays, and then gets called a homophobe for it.

Just so you know, it's possible to like things that hurt you. Exhibit A: Masochism. Exhibit B: Warren Buffett on the estate tax. Exhibit C: Jewish antisemites. Exhibit D: Log Cabin Republicans. The list goes on.

Yet one more reason law and econ is such a motherfucking pile of bull.
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BearlyLegal

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Re: Be honest WASPs: why does AA really bother you?
« Reply #109 on: April 06, 2008, 06:36:29 AM »
Confidential to Bearly: just as the personal is political, the micro is macro.

To expand on this theme: Nothing can happen on the macro level that doesn't have effects on the micro level, so it's disingenuous to insist that change needs to happen--it just can't happen in any way that ever affects someone that you would call unfair. If you want change to happen, maybe you've got to take your lumps like everyone else does. Or, to say it another way: be the change you wish to see in the world. Or, one more way: we are the people we have been waiting for.
Right! Now we are talking. This is exactly why I DO support AA wholeheartedly. The necessity for AA to solve a significant macro problem is obvious, and it's ok if some people need to make minor sacrifices on the micro level to achieve desirable macro effects.

The only contention I had was with a specific post that claimed that every individual white peson starts off on "third base" due to "white privilege". That's just not the case. There are 221,331,000ish "white" people in the US. Due to that volume, 48% of Americans living below the poverty line are white.

While it is true that the wealthiest Americans do happen to be white, the socio-economic disparity between the wealthiest whites and the poorest is also the widest gap. So the contention that "all whites are privileged" is a silly concept that creates significant racial tension between poor minorities and poor whites - when the real common "enemy" is the actually privileged nepotistic and entitled whites at the top of the socio-economic ladder. This tension between the poor of all the various groups in the US has historically been used to propogate racialist and racist thinking, and to benefit the "anglo" dominance in many ways (which I would be willing to discuss, but that's a pretty long digression), while damaging race relations, and undercutting the ability for all disadvantaged groups to raise themselves out of socioeconomic second-class citizenship.

The contention that "white" history is taught in schools is also nonsense - Western-European history is taught in schools. The idea that we are living in a "white" culture stands in stark contrast with the well-established sociological principle that "... culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs" - an ethnically defined status, not a racially defined one. The millions of Eastern Europeans, Serbs, Bosnians, Greeks, Turks, Persians, Cubans, etc. who live in the US do not benefit from the dominant "white" culture and language the way that that "anglo" whites do.

In short, one can support Affirmative Action and other programs to solve significant national macro problems, without being blind to the micro complexity that exists - and making racist remarks like "all whites have it easy".