Saturday, October 27, 2007

EPIC FAIL: Online classroom edition

[sic sic sic] for all these quotes.

I believe the biggest factors facing the black community are: failure to get past racism, an education deficit, and lack of morals.

Racism will always be an issue, so I cannot say that it’s something to easily overcome. However, I do believe blacks are able to make it in America if they are willing to get past racism. I mean, just because racism exists doesn’t mean one has to dwell on it. I think that far too often blacks use racism as a reason not to try. I also think the race card is used as an excuse to scapegoat whites.

For instance, in the case of the Jena 6: the DA was wrong to charge those young men with attempted murder, however, I don’t think it’s right to make heroes out of them, which is what I believe is happening. For example, two of the young men were presenters at the BET awards. I do not understand how you glamorize men who gang beat a fellow classmate until he was unconscious.

Education in the black community is not something that is enforced. In 2007, a black child is still ridiculed for “acting white” when he/she studies to make good grades and speaks proper English. If lower-class blacks would realize that education is a good and necessary thing like the Koreans, I think all members of the black community would be further ahead despite the racism they face. In an age where affirmative action is abounding to help blacks at every angle, there is simply no excuse for more blacks not to try and take advantage of these resources that are there for them. The fact that 1 out of 3 blacks drop out of college is only further proof that education is not something that is being enforced on a constant basis.

Single parent households, unplanned pregnancies, absentee fathers, and drug dealers on every corner exacerbates the fact that morals in the black community are at a decline. Even during the Jim Crow era, when racism was encountered at every turn, black people still valued family above all and were not afraid to enforce order and good conduct. If a child acted out, he/she was quickly corrected. That’s not the case today. If it were so, I believe there would be less prisons, less unwed mothers, and more households headed by fathers.

So says a classmate of mine in an online class about race and ethnic relations. The question she's addressing is one about the most pressing issues facing black Americans today, and true to her almost certainly white privileged background, she blames all them Neegrahs for their own failings in a society which favors whites and whites exclusively.

I'm new to debating issues of race, because for a long time, I felt that because I was white, I didn't really have much of a relevant perspective, since most of my exposure to black culture involved listening to a lot of Public Enemy and occasionally reading bell hooks. However, I'm starting to get past that reservation, since I live in suburban North Carolina, where my boyfriend lives half a block away from a group of white supremacists and where people can say shit like, well, that and have people agree with them. Take this trainwreck, for instance:

I agree with you on so many levels as usual. I am outraged by the fact too, when the black communities want to glamourized bad behavior of people. I do not believe either that those boys should be made out like total victims. They are not! The whites were wrong too. So, then it makes it okay to be just as wrong? And be rewarded for it? I don't think so. What is this saying about the priorities for blacks. Just be on my side even if I am wrong? Apparently it seems to be the popular vote for some. And I am certainly not speaking of all blacks. However, the blacks that want to blame others for the lack of educational opportunities, or proudly display gang membership signs and activities, make me just a bit upset. The education is there. You just have to fight for it. Would you think a young person would be happy for themselves knowing they fought for something positive instead of waiting for someone to give it to them? I know I work hard for my grades and I am extremely happy to tell anyone that will listen. You are correct in saying that if a black student does seem to be doing well for him/herself they are teased for speaking correct english and dressing like a clean cut kid usually wants to. I just don't get it and I really get tired of trying to figure it out. It all seems to boil down to the same "pointing the finger" attitude and deliberate "self-sabotage". All I know is that all of our foundations and early lessons that will define our character and start at home. And black people are letting themselves down as a "people". You did an awesome job.
You'll notice the recurring theme that black kids get "teased" for "speaking correct English". As if the default, proper way of speaking English is white. As if the default, proper way to even fucking exist is white. As if white people speak correct English all the time!

Then there's their opinion about the Jena 6 case, which seems to be that those kids were unprovoked and went out to kick a white kid's ass just because. They seem to have forgotten that one of them good ole Lusianna boys done pointed a fucking gun at them Neegrahs, and after he was disarmed, the people he was aiming at with malicious intent were charged with theft of the gun.

So how the hell do these people deemphasize the significance of this case and what it means about racism in America (namely, the fact that it's alive and fucking well)?

Easy. A little thing called white privilege. White privilege which allows people to assume that racism is dead and gone, and that its ugly corpse is some nebulous thing which roams around the Southeastern United States, randomly calling people niggers and letting that be that. The reasonable people of the world recognize that racism is in fact Dick McMiddlemanagement getting two identical resumes and calling back the applicant with the more white-sounding name. Chad gets a call back and an interview, Tyrone gets shafted because he's named Tyrone. Racism is the raw material, discrimination is the product.

White privilege also built us this nifty bomb shelter we call a PC culture, which Bill O'Reilly and Larry Elder would like to tell you is harmful because it prevents them from spouting their disgustingly racist views on national television. Actually, PC culture is bad because while it keeps white people from throwing ethnic slurs all over the place, it also makes sure that white people uncomfortable with their own privilege (or more accurately, with losing their own privilege) can sweep racism under the rug by accusing anyone of bringing up topics regarding race and racism as "playing the race card". Suppression of discourse about the nature of race in America allows for the racist attitudes of many white people to fester, and to manifest themselves in more subtle ways - like the example of our friend Dick McMiddlemanagement.

The original poster also mentions affirmative action as if it's some government body when it's really just a loose set of guidelines that many companies and workplaces have in place to make sure open racism (note the word open) doesn't occur, and while it is illegal to deny someone a job or to fire them because of their race, things like that have to be contested in court - which requires either a lawyer or an extensive knowledge of that specific kind of law, which is something that many people cannot afford, black or white.

Also note the sexism inherent in the original post, and mentioning problems like unplanned pregnancy, single motherhood, absent fathers, and high rates of drug abuse as if they are problems which plague only or mainly the black community, when in fact these problems are more accurately defined as linked to socioeconomic status. Also the fact that those first three issues can really be tied to lack of education about sex, and the dreaded abstinence-only sex education. You know, the method of teaching kids about sex by saying that abstinence until marriage is the one-size-fits-all solution to all those urges bouncing around inside them, that condoms don't work, and that girls' value is intrinsically linked to their hymens? Gee, it sure is easy to blame girls and young women entirely for their unplanned pregnancies once you make sure that the onus is totally on them to prevent it, even in the absence of easily-accessible contraception. Don't forget that male-headed households are important! It certainly isn't a case of institutionalized misogyny which allows men to leave the mothers of their children to fend for themselves almost without impunity, because most states are totally on top of the whole "child support" and "deadbeat dads" issue. This problem is absolutely one restricted to the black community.

I do question the validity of submitting individual anecdotes as evidence, considering that people have been pulling the Oprah card on blacks for a while now - you know, the assumption that since Oprah managed to build herself a media empire means that all black people can, too! But that's an extreme example of anecdotal evidence. The thing I find really telling about just how deeply racism is ingrained in our society is a response to that post I quoted here, in which another of my classmates recounts how her (black) daughter came home from school saying that another girl on the bus had told her that she was allergic to black people, and demanded my classmate's daughter move. When my classmate asked her daughter what she had done and whether she had moved, the little girl said no, but she turned to face the window, and sat very still because she didn't want to make the other girl sick. My classmate's daughter felt like she had done something wrong, of course, and felt like crap about the whole incident.

I'm telling you this because I've often heard it said how kids don't generally discriminate based on race when they're that young (around five years old). But the fact that it happens just demonstrates how deep this goes. When a five-year-old can basically say "Oogie-boogie, nigger!" to a classmate just like that, I'd say we have a pretty big fucking problem.

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