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If anyone questions why this week of speaking out is essential, I want to reference these responses to a blog post in the On Faith area of The Washington Post.

Facts show that 70%of black children are born to unmarried black women; 50% of school dropouts are black youths; many prisioners are black men. For some reason, American law just doesn't seem important to blacks. This conflict of interest causes many of these racial "events". But more interestingly, these events are moneymakers for those in the Victimology business. Something is happening in our nation. White patience is wearing very thin for these phony cries of "victim". We now have a black president, black attorney-general, and hundreds of mayors who are black. Massachusetts has a mayor,and governor who are black, and still the cry of "victim" comes from a man who started the whole thing. There is no slavery victim, just spoiled brats who want money.
DRZIMMERN1 at the Washington Post's On Faith Blog in response to Sally Quinn's post "The Scary, Honest Truth About Race"

give me an example of even ONE race, besides Caucasians, who have made any major contribution to technology and society in the past 1000 years or more. And forget the Chinese, Japanese, etc as they have learned all they know from the West, and have only just learned how to use that knowledge in the past 30 or 40 years.
And for some reason, white people are supposed to feel ashamed??? Because we didn't give the rest of the world enough yet?
SCOATES2482 at the Washington Post's On Faith Blog in response to Sally Quinn's post "The Scary, Honest Truth About Race"

The levels of ignorance disgust me.

Racism is a daily problem.
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Let me start this by saying, I'm 5'2" (about 164 cm for those of you who are metric), blue eyed, and white. I went to boarding school, for heaven's sake. There's not much more white privilege I can have.

I think I have the Ur-example of white privilege to give you all.

About five years ago, my sister called me. Someone with our last name had called her. I'll refer to him as M. He explained that he knew all the others with our surname in the Los Angeles area, mostly because he was their father, grandfather, or cousin, and was interested to know if this new person might also be a relative. It's a very uncommon surname.

Being good southerners, both sides carried complete genealogies in their heads. It was determined that of the four brothers who came to this country around 1789, we were descended from the one who settled in Maryland and they were descended from the one who settled in Tennessee. An hour and a half later, they were finally getting down to maybe saying goodbye -- we'd already been invited to the family reunion -- and M asked, "Are you black or white?"

Sis answered, "White, of course."

M said, "There's no 'of course' about it."

It's the "of course" which makes it art a pure example of white privilege.

This is what I can't get through to people.

A few years ago, I was mugged.

The friends who weren't in Boston or on LJ that I told, including my sister, assumed the muggers were black. Sis actually went on a long diatribe about how black people resented white people and about the time she said, "I don't know why they didn't just shoot you," I told her I had to hang up. I shook for an hour.

To another friend who made the assumption a few days later, my answer was, "Yes, and so was the housemate who comforted me. Your point?"

I have been told "You'll never be hired by the District because you're not black. They only want their own." To which I've said, "How does that differ from the all white offices I've been a part of?"

We, who are in the position of privilege, don't seem to understand that we get away with the very things we try to call other races on.

I think the single most appalling thing I can remember someone suggesting to me (yes, even beating out the married professor who tried to get me to better my grade by sleeping with him), is that I use my Native American heritage to get funding for college. The person making the suggestion kept saying it was unfair for minorities to get help for college and not white people.

Damn, this sounds self justifying. I don't mean it to. I'm sure I've done some horribly kack-handed things. But part of White Privilege is never having to recognize your own stupidity.

What's the emoticon for an eyeroll?
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[livejournal.com profile] delux_vivens commented on my post from yesterday that some people have a hard time with seeing portrayals of loving relationships between black people.

I live in DC, one of the few cities in the US with a higher population of African-Americans than Caucasians. In the last several months, I've been unemployed, and, like many book addicts going through unemployment, rediscovered my local library.

Within the library there is an entire section devoted to romance novels aimed at African American women. This is not a small part of my little library. I'd say it takes up nearly a fifth of the overall shelf space. This is also, I would venture, not a small money maker for certain publishing houses. I know that certain authors in the genre get large campaigns on the Metro when their new book comes out, just like Dan Brown's new Da Vinci Code sequel did.

So why is it, when I go to my downtown Borders Bookstore, these books are relegated to a small section between the more conventional (i.e. white) romance novels and the bargain section? Seriously, I think they have more Manga than black romances, and DC is not exactly a manga town.

There's obviously a large segment of the local population that reads these books. Based on my unscientific observations on the Metro and buses, most of the people that read them, buy them. Most of the local bookstores, and not just the big chains, don't seem to carry them. At a time when bookstores are failing, this seems like a mistake to me.

Is the problem that booksellers don't know this subsection of the larger genre exists? The big ad campaign would argue against that, but it's possible, I suppose. Is there discomfort at the idea of the romance novel tropes, especially the one of lasting love, being enacted by People of Color? I hope not.

I do know that I'd like some suggestions. I like some romance novels, but not all. I tend to prefer strong women who don't become meek just to get their man (it's amazing how many romance novels that eliminates in any subgenre. Grrrrr.). I prefer not to have deus ex machinas, and the sex shouldn't make me cringe.

Anybody got titles for me to read?


Jul. 28th, 2009 11:39 pm
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IBARW stands for "International Blog Against Racism Week" and I found out about it through [livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster on my friends list. I hope I'm doing this right.

I've just finished watching a History Channel documentary about the sexual revolution and how 1969 was a seminal (arrrgh, not the best pun, but unfortunately the best word) year for the evolving mores. Just as we can point to 1968 for the political side, pretty much worldwide, in the United States at least, it's easy to point to 1969 for firsts or lasts about sex.

All of this is well and good. I would have liked a little more background, although, among the "fun facts to know and tell" I came away with: DC had laws on the books that forbade anything other than the missionary position. I really hope that's changed, otherwise a girl could get arrested.

Why is this an IBARW post? Because from what I could tell, other than the first ten minutes of the second hour, only white people had sex. Mostly only men and blonde women had sex (Seriously, there were surprisingly few brunettes shown, and I didn't see a single redhead.).

In some ways this could be justified, Gays got about the same amount of time, mostly devoted to Stonewall, at the end of the second hour, and the Women's Liberation Movement didn't get too much more in the middle of the second hour.

But sex for POC was A) limited only to African Americans and B) related to black men and white women. Oh, there were a couple of comments about young black women being allowed to get laid, and in the later segment about gay liberation there were pictures, no spokesmen, of young gay black men, but most of the segment revolved around the film 100 Rifles, and how Jim Brown being allowed to act like a lover rather than a rapist with his white co-star was a bench mark.

Some little bits were discussed about about miscegnation, but they used Birth of a Nation as the relevant cultural touchstone. One would think that the Supreme Court ruling in Loving vs Virginia in 1967 might be mentioned, but one would be wrong. Everyone, including Jim Brown, harped on the fact that the big fear was how much black men wanted to rape white women.

Not one mention was made of the oppression black women suffered from white men, nor of the possibility of a loving relationship between a black woman and a white man. For that matter, there wasn't a mention of a loving relationship between a black woman and a black man.

More than any other segment, this seemed tacked on. The only time we saw black commentors was during this segment. While the legacy of slavery was mentioned, it was predominantly about the oppression of black men. And the one black woman seen commenting talked about how there were ten white women for every black man. (In fairness, I believe she was answering a question put to her. We never hear an interviewer, but the framing of many of the "talking heads" sections was such that I'm fairly certain they were responses to specific questions.)

In 2009, this should not be how we frame our discourse about race or sexuality.


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