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Author Topic: The White Guilt Thread  (Read 10652 times)

One Step Ahead

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #80 on: June 25, 2005, 02:07:53 PM »

JD good points and we are in agreement for the second paragraph.  I would like to come back to the question of normative analysis that you mentioned in your first paragraph.  I agree with you that there will always be a fair degree of normativity in our thoughts, but I don't think trying to purge those ideas is the role of the historian or social scientist.  In fact I would argue on the contrary that such normative aspects are the foundation of such scholarship, that the personal vision colors the perspective to an extent that it becomes the heart of the discipline.  Empirical evidence certainly lends the process more scientifically credible, but in choosing which statics have value we are inherently making normative judgments.

I agree that we cannot purge our analysis of all normativity.  One will always be intorducing a certain set of biases and assumptions into one's analysis and discussion.  You may want to get rid of some (because they're unreasonable or unwarranted), others not (becuase they're reasonable, or in some cases, because without those assumpions or biases you can't accomplish anything), but in any event you should be AWARE that you ARE introducing those biases and assumptions.  This is why historians, in my experience, agonize so much over how to call things, or how to periodize things, etc.  You can't purge all the normativity out; you have to be ware of what of it remains.  However, I don't think we should go so far as outright embracing normativity in all its aspects, because that usually leads to the production of panegyric and polemic rather than history.  That's what mostly concerns me here.

Frankly I find that historians claim to agonize while they clearly perpetuate panegyric and polemic histories.  In my opinion a pure history is an ideal that will never be attained, if we work from that premise, ultimately I think we come closer to creating a historical body in allowing different narratives to come into play.

True to some extent.  But I think (hope?) that it's more true in fields like bigraphy.  At lteast the historians that trained me have always been very big on getting me to think about, and admit to assumptions I am making in my analysis, to biases inherent in the sources (i.e. if all the evidence you have is about elites, it's kind of difficult to say as much about poor schlubs on the street).  I agree that the "pure history: is an ideal that we work toward, rather than a realistic goal.  But I also think that different narratives already play a very important role.  I think the real meat of the discipline comes from the debate and the competing interpretations and re-interpretations in the discourse.  That's a large part of the reason why I'm not really bothered by so-called "revisionist" history (so long as the actual scholarship has merit in its own right, is based on a fair reading of the sources, etc.).  Frankly there is a lot of history (back in the days when the ONLY kind of history was panegyric and polemic; think Tacitus, 19th century racist theorists, etc.) that DESERVES to be revised.  Put it this way: the historians I respect the most carefully and deliberately try to avoid the sins of panegyrists and polemicists, and, most of the time I think, succeed.  ;)

the statement above is where we perhaps have some disagreement, because I do think we are feeling the particular ramifications of an incomplete history because of surpressed or forgotten voices. 

blk_reign

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #81 on: June 25, 2005, 02:13:51 PM »
u should apologize to E for that comment... it wasn't very nice

HBCU--

you know all these personality changes are 'getting so tired, it's narcoleptic.'  we said be yourself, not an angry, bitter, #%@! face.  #@!* your soda.  Get back to us when you are ready to be real.

get me a soda and get off HBCUs d*ck! >:(
We're not accepting this CHANGE UP in the rules. Period. American presidents have been in the bed with organized crime, corporate pilferers, and the like for years. And all u want to put on this man is that his pastor said "Gotdamn America?" Hell, America.U got off pretty damn well, if you ask me...

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #82 on: June 25, 2005, 02:16:30 PM »
vintage

u should apologize to E for that comment... it wasn't very nice

HBCU--

you know all these personality changes are 'getting so tired, it's narcoleptic.'  we said be yourself, not an angry, bitter, #%@! face.  #@!* your soda.  Get back to us when you are ready to be real.

get me a soda and get off HBCUs d*ck! >:(

blk_reign

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #83 on: June 25, 2005, 02:17:31 PM »
i usually discard most vintage things...
We're not accepting this CHANGE UP in the rules. Period. American presidents have been in the bed with organized crime, corporate pilferers, and the like for years. And all u want to put on this man is that his pastor said "Gotdamn America?" Hell, America.U got off pretty damn well, if you ask me...

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #84 on: June 25, 2005, 02:21:39 PM »
i usually discard most vintage things...

and someone else will pick it up...

blk_reign

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #85 on: June 25, 2005, 02:24:03 PM »
go for it  :D



i usually discard most vintage things...

and someone else will pick it up...
We're not accepting this CHANGE UP in the rules. Period. American presidents have been in the bed with organized crime, corporate pilferers, and the like for years. And all u want to put on this man is that his pastor said "Gotdamn America?" Hell, America.U got off pretty damn well, if you ask me...

J D

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #86 on: June 25, 2005, 02:44:10 PM »

JD good points and we are in agreement for the second paragraph.  I would like to come back to the question of normative analysis that you mentioned in your first paragraph.  I agree with you that there will always be a fair degree of normativity in our thoughts, but I don't think trying to purge those ideas is the role of the historian or social scientist.  In fact I would argue on the contrary that such normative aspects are the foundation of such scholarship, that the personal vision colors the perspective to an extent that it becomes the heart of the discipline.  Empirical evidence certainly lends the process more scientifically credible, but in choosing which statics have value we are inherently making normative judgments.

I agree that we cannot purge our analysis of all normativity.  One will always be intorducing a certain set of biases and assumptions into one's analysis and discussion.  You may want to get rid of some (because they're unreasonable or unwarranted), others not (becuase they're reasonable, or in some cases, because without those assumpions or biases you can't accomplish anything), but in any event you should be AWARE that you ARE introducing those biases and assumptions.  This is why historians, in my experience, agonize so much over how to call things, or how to periodize things, etc.  You can't purge all the normativity out; you have to be ware of what of it remains.  However, I don't think we should go so far as outright embracing normativity in all its aspects, because that usually leads to the production of panegyric and polemic rather than history.  That's what mostly concerns me here.

Frankly I find that historians claim to agonize while they clearly perpetuate panegyric and polemic histories.  In my opinion a pure history is an ideal that will never be attained, if we work from that premise, ultimately I think we come closer to creating a historical body in allowing different narratives to come into play.

True to some extent.  But I think (hope?) that it's more true in fields like bigraphy.  At lteast the historians that trained me have always been very big on getting me to think about, and admit to assumptions I am making in my analysis, to biases inherent in the sources (i.e. if all the evidence you have is about elites, it's kind of difficult to say as much about poor schlubs on the street).  I agree that the "pure history: is an ideal that we work toward, rather than a realistic goal.  But I also think that different narratives already play a very important role.  I think the real meat of the discipline comes from the debate and the competing interpretations and re-interpretations in the discourse.  That's a large part of the reason why I'm not really bothered by so-called "revisionist" history (so long as the actual scholarship has merit in its own right, is based on a fair reading of the sources, etc.).  Frankly there is a lot of history (back in the days when the ONLY kind of history was panegyric and polemic; think Tacitus, 19th century racist theorists, etc.) that DESERVES to be revised.  Put it this way: the historians I respect the most carefully and deliberately try to avoid the sins of panegyrists and polemicists, and, most of the time I think, succeed.  ;)

the statement above is where we perhaps have some disagreement, because I do think we are feeling the particular ramifications of an incomplete history because of surpressed or forgotten voices. 

I wholeheartedly agree with you there.  There are many stories that have not been told, either because of a deliberate bias against them, or because there aren't as many good sources (or the ones that are there are too difficult to use, like archaeology), or because some historians would rather focus on some other grouping (the rise of the bourgeoisie, the rise of the proletariat, the rise of the state, the rise of the samurai, etc.  All these things tend to have a high helium content: all they do is rise).  ;) 

In a class I took on the history of Japan, the prof made a special habit of going beyond the texts she had assigned in order to give a voice back to those who had been ignored (for whatever reason) by much of the scholarship, for example, peasants, women in the age of the samurai (who lost basically all agency they had ever had, even at the elite level), "non-humans" (bokuramin, the members of a religiously "unclean" caste), etc.  There has been more of a shift (towards social and cultural history), since the 1980s and 1990s, I think, to focus less on elites (or on European peasants and factory workers, in the case of the Marxists) and start finding these lost voices from "normal" people and other large segments of the population.  This is also, I think, a part of some needed revision, in addition to debunking previous fictions and manipulations of our historical memory (e.g. during WWII in Britain, there was equality of sacrifice and class divisions disappeared; the samurai were noble, selfless creatures, willing to sacrifice themselves in the cause of their masters at a moment's notice out of pure loyalty, etc.).
"I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough."--Albert Einstein

blk_reign

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #87 on: June 25, 2005, 02:52:42 PM »
mob i'm cracking up


I am soft, liberal and sappy.  So in the spirit of the "gay" people, the chewing stick progressives, I offer HBCU.EDU this natural ginseng soda:



This is what my people drink.  Next time, I'll give you a yummy wheatgrass smoothie!
We're not accepting this CHANGE UP in the rules. Period. American presidents have been in the bed with organized crime, corporate pilferers, and the like for years. And all u want to put on this man is that his pastor said "Gotdamn America?" Hell, America.U got off pretty damn well, if you ask me...

One Step Ahead

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #88 on: June 25, 2005, 04:54:46 PM »
Side note: we basically had the same emphasis of study that's sorta cool..

My problem with ignoring the brutual nature of slavey in the US is that the majority's argument is often "my grandparents or great grandparents came over from ____ country and they were able to do well, so Black Americans should be able to do the same." I think that argument is intellectually dishonest and ignores the psychological scars that the Black community still bears to this day from the brutality suffered by slaves hundreds of years ago.

pearl,
I definitely agree.  I also find it disturbing when someone makes the statement like "my grandparents or great grandparents came over from ____ country, they didn't oppress anyone."  In benefitting from the legacy of discrimination in this country, they became party to the oppression.  Here we are not talking about of collective guilt, but collective responsability.  These are the same people who will wave the American flag and sing the anthem.  In choosing to become a part of this society they must accept the legacy, both positive and negative, of what belonging to a collective American imaginary means.

So does this mean black people who have made it big need to take collective responsibility for their actions?  Do Colin Powell and Oprah need to repent because they've waved the flag and benefitted enormously from the American economic system?  What about the descendants of white abolitionists, and those who fought and died for the Union cause?  Are they excused?  No one living now is in any way responsible for slavery, and the problems with race in this country are not just focused on the black community.  We ALL need to take a good hard look at the natural human desire to categorize people and to shy away from people, places and things that are different than ourselves or our own experiences and work for equality and understanding from that point. The problems in the black community cannot continue to be blamed on slavery, or they will never be properly addressed and corrected.  The breakdown of the family is not something specific to the black community, nor are the trials of urban life.  It's absoultely ridiculous to say that immigrants who came to this country well after the end of slavery need to take responsiblity for it because they chose to seek a new life (an enormously difficult and taxing process with its own enormous tribulations and roadblocks) in a country that at one time practiced slavery. 
fuego, call down.  Yes the black community does need to accept collective moral responsability--that is to say a willingness to evaluate what one has done in the past and work towards eradicating the vestiges of said past--that is why it is a collective rather than communitarian problem.  It isn't a question of guilt or repentance as much as one of atonement--how can we make whole of a situation that left a sizeable portion of the country shattered?  it is not just about slavery, or even about Jim Crow, or even about Northern industrialists encouraging immigration to maintain a subservient black underclass, it is a series of actions in this country.  BTW nothing that I said should make you assume that I am only talking about collective responsability for discrimination against African Americans here; it just happened to be the context of the particular article we were discussing. 

HBCU.EDU

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Re: The White Guilt Thread
« Reply #89 on: June 25, 2005, 05:48:16 PM »
mob i'm cracking up


I am soft, liberal and sappy.  So in the spirit of the "gay" people, the chewing stick progressives, I offer HBCU.EDU this natural ginseng soda:



This is what my people drink.  Next time, I'll give you a yummy wheatgrass smoothie!

I started the "chewing stick progressive" thing just to let you know. Wheatgrass smoothie is pretty funny as well  :D I can't wait for blk to take me to the wheatgrass smoothie store ::)