Sunday, October 01, 2006

Is Sociology Part Of The Problem?

As my faithful readers know so well by now, I am slow, slow, slow to post these days and only flit in and out occasionally to comment on this or another blog. I graded papers week-end before last and fully intended last week-end to pick up where Ms White left off with A European-American Sets Me Straight (3), which I will surely get to shortly, I hope. But in the meantime, coming on-line with the best of intentions, I dropped by Clampett's blog and found first, a very funny, if typically outrageous, Chris Rock film clip on how African-Americans can avoid getting beaten by the police, and then, second, a link to an article by one Patrick L. Cooney, Ph.D., on racism.

The back story, of course--and there often is one, I guess--is that my Ph.D. dissertation which I worked on in 1993 and 1994 and which has gone the way of all uncompleted treatises, was entitled "On Rationalizing Racism: Institutionalized Oppression in Sociological Writings on African-American/European-American Relations." So, I was an instant sucker for Dr. Cooney's piece, subtitled "What if Black Muslim Kahlid Mohammed earned a PhD in sociology?". He almost instantly threw a couple of lobs at sociology as a perpetuater of racist thought processes and generalized practices, so even though it was long and sometimes arduous, especially at first, I couldn't help myself. I had to read it. And then I started making notes and now here I am--four days later--and Ms White is back on the back, back burner, as it were, once more.

Now, I'm fully aware that many of you will not read the article, especially when you wade through its opening paragraphs, but for those of you who can, I recommend slogging through it till you get to the good parts, which get better and better as he goes along, I thought. And in any case, he raises some issues I think are important, though I will also criticize the piece, as well (surprise!). But before I begin, please remember that I am not, repeat not, repeat (for goodness' sake) not! a scholar. You can talk bad about me behind my back or disregard what I have to say or put rabbit ears behind my head just before my picture gets taken. I don't care. I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything (hel-lo!). I'm just saying my piece. Those who sputter about my lack of credentials or scholarly publications can, well, suck an egg, for all I care. Including Cooney, who apparently feels that we should all talk nice to each other. I tried that. Nobody listened. Nothing changed. And I got a rash. Now I'm a fatmouth. Several people listen. And, at least, while I'm still waiting for change, my rash has disappeared, so as far as I'm concerned, I'm ahead of the game.

I agree with a number of Cooney's points, as I already said, but right at the outset, I wasn't sure I would. For example, he began by calling old guard racists racist. Then, he called "neo-racists" (those who come at it more "subtly") racist. Then, he called "racial separatists" (those who think the only way for ethnic groups to be okay is for all groups to be separate) racist. And finally, he called even "multicultural separatists" (those who think all ethnic groups are okay, but need to be free to establish themselves on their own terms) racist. In other words, pretty much everybody's racist, in his opinion. Except him? It's a little hard to tell. But regardless, this has everything to do with what one means by racism. It's like bandying about any other label. It all depends on what you mean by the term.

If I hand you a can of something and the label on the outside says that it's "sliced peaches," how do you know it's peaches? You assume the label is correct. But when you open the can, you're gonna know, right? Because you know what sliced peaches look like and you know what they taste like. It's a no-brainer. Unless, of course, you open it and it's beans or applesauce and the label wasn't correct.

And what if the outside of the can has no label? Then what? It could be anything. And I could put any label I want on it and, if I'm adept enough, I can convince you that it is what I say it is. Unless you open it and identify it as something other than what I labeled it.

What makes a "peach" a "peach" anyway? Social consensus. We all agree that a juicy fruit with sweet, yellowish flesh, a fuzzy skin, and a big hard crinkly pit in the middle is a peach. Or a melocoton. Or a peche. Or a pfirsich. Depending on what language we're using. Get my point? It all depends on where you're coming from. I, for example, posit that your own personal prejudices are not particularly relevant unless you have the power to do something with them--from a position of dominance. Using that definition, an African-American--who can certainly be prejudiced against or even hateful toward "Whites"--cannot be "racist." They don't have the power.

Toward the end of his article, however, Cooney discusses how some African-Americans internalize the values of the racist paradigm in the United States and then develop a racist orientation, even participating in the racist agenda (a la Condi Rice, for example?). He calls this being racist, and on this, we agree, though I had never considered it in this light before. I refer to internalized oppression often, but I had not called it "racist" because of the confusion this would undoubtedly create for people who would not choose to understand the nuances involved. Still, to put the racism of "White" people who appear to benefit from racist attitudes and practices in the same pot with the internalized racism of "Black" people who appear to benefit from them because they are rewarded for doing so by the "Whites" would seem to ignore the complexities and the dangers in how this discussion might be used. Also, the "racism" absorbed and manifested by African-Americans requires them to see themselves as inferior and I would argue that a great number of those who have found it necessary to "work within the system" (as Cooney calls it) may have absorbed some very self-destructive perceptions and perspectives, but nonetheless, at the base, know Whitey's not superior and White supremacy is a lie.

Another early point Cooney makes is that "liberals" (whoever they are, because he doesn't define the term) are racist without meaning to be because they're busy trying to be "politically correct" and miss what racism really is. Actually, I don't disagree with this except that Cooney sometimes seems to be calling all sociologists "liberals" or all those who push "political correctness" "liberals". And that leaves out more than a few folks. That is to say, I'm a sociologist, but I'm far left of anything he could rightly label "liberal" (and possibly far left of him, though he likes to refer to his politics). And I'm unconcerned with being "politically correct." Particularly when you consider what the politics in this country are these days.

I believe in respect. I don't just believe in "talking nice." Those two things are not mutually exclusive, but they are not necessarily interchangable either. The term "politically correct," in fact, has been used (as is typical) to create a buzz-word backlash, as if calling someone a pejorative term as a means of robbing their personhood is the same as ridiculing somebody's ideas when they have had plenty of opportunities to change them and rather choose to still see others as beneath them--whether they admit it, understand it, consciously compute it or not.

So I see Cooney as making a mistake when he appears to lump "sociologists," "liberals," and "multiculturalists" into one big amorphous ball of contradictions and then proceeds to talk bad about them, saying they try to censor those they oppose. He writes that "...they believe in enforcing what has become known as politically correct multicultural ideas and speech. They are so biased that they do not realize they are often engaging in emotionally abusive language and behavior..."

But who is he talking about here? Sociologists? Liberals? Multiculturalists? All of them? Just the ones who say or write things that make someone uncomfortable? Dr. Cooney says much by the end of his article that would make some folks apoplectic. Does that make him emotionally abusive? You can't have it both ways. One has to assume that he has no bone to pick with sociologists who agree with him. And nobody on the left has wanted to be called a liberal since 1968. And what, precisely is the problem with letting folks decide for themselves where they want to sit? Is that racist because it hurts White folks' feelings? Later, he emphatically holds that it's appropriate for White folks to be afraid of African-Americans because of what continues to be perpetrated against people of color in the best interests of the White power structure, even if poor European-Americans get short shrift, too. But, at least in his opening, he seems to suggest that none of that matters. What matters is that everybody ought to be forced to hang together right this minute whether they feel ready to do that or not. Excuse me?

Sometimes Cooney makes statements I find problematic. For example, he refers at one point to Nathan Glazer's idea that "we have moved to the situation where the government ha[s] taken on a commitment to facilitate the maintenance of the ethnic heritage and a commitment that requires that school authorities take into account ethnic and linguistic differences in education..." and he attributes this to the influence of the multiculturalists. But the government is nothing more than a tool for those who have the power to define, in the strictest structural sense (and Cooney is into structure), so how does that become something we should fault multiculturalists for? I hope he's not calling the White power structure and its governmental appendages multiculturalist. It does its damnedest to prove otherwise.

Almost immediately after this, he mentions in passing that " terms of culture, [B]lacks were pretty assimilated...", and while you do see African-Americans everywhere in the U.S., I wonder what most African-Americans would say about how "assimilated" they feel on most days.

Then, when he flatly states that "Afrocentrist writings are just the silliest of the poor quality of the new research parading as scholarship," I am left wondering yet again: would this be all Afrocentrist writings all over the world for all time--even the Afrocentrist writings that are hailed as brilliant or win awards or whatever? There must surely be some Afrocentrist writings he doesn't find "silly." And if that's not true, if all Afrocentrist writings are, in fact, "silly" to him, I would suggest that he's missing an ability to get outside his Eurocentric paradigm far enough to know the difference.

And speaking of paradigms, what passes for "scholarship" is typically determined by the social scientific era in which it appears--and who's in the catbird seat in that field and in that era. The work of the "criminologist" Caesare Lombroso (who believed he could predict criminality based on body characteristics) was touted as "scholarly" for one hundred years until it was de-bunked as unscientific mumbo jumbo. And Galileo spent his whole life in house arrest for holding the "unscholarly" view that the world was not flat...?

I would hasten to add, here, that I am not trying to censor Dr. Cooney, a concern he has when strong statements about paradigm get made and appear to shut down what he apparently sees as the process of dialogue. (He particularly criticizes, for example, academics ridiculing in front of other academics statements of some of their respondents that demonstrated the racist warp and woof of our society.) But I would argue that what we are seeing is not censorship, but a collapse of one set of paradigms and the introduction of another.

According to Kuhn's theory of scientific revolution (which, as far as I know, has not been thrown out with either the baby or the bathwater, as yet) no one inside the proverbial box is ever comfortable with the noises made by those who, through whatever accident of thought or history, wind up placed outside it and still conversant. Did Galileo have a responsibility to "rationally" argue with his "colleagues" when they had him locked away? Would they have listened? Their action in sequestering him suggests even at this late date that they didn't choose to know what he was saying. Do you suppose that he might have cracked jokes about them to the few who would drop by to talk? According to both Lyford Edwards (in The Natural History of Revolution) and Alberto Melucci (in Nomads of the Present), ridicule of those in power and of those who support that power is not only typical in a pre-revolutionary society (or social science?), but is actually one of the techniques of "making the power visible" so that, as Foucault would say, a strategy of struggle can be developed and espoused among those who are listening.

I found particularly well presented the section entitled "White Racism Ignores Sociological Racism." It discusses how the mainstream U.S. "White" population came to see the socially-constructed, political notion of "race" and African-Americans as a people the way they do today, outlining quite nicely the effects of Moynihan et al in this process. Nevertheless, he himself in one sentence refers to "political scientist Edward Banfield and black sociologist Thomas Sowell" as if mentioning Sowell's skin tone was germane to Cooney's point. And therein lies the rub. Cooney and I and everybody else in the social science universe function within the context of our training, our mindset, and our paradigm. Much as we fight to see ourselves as outside it or able to observe it from a vantage point of some kind, our inability to stand apart, to avoid the very personal effects of our evolution during a particular period of history and in a particular culture will out. There is no moral high ground. We are all brothers (and sisters) under the skin.

But after this point, Cooney begins pulling out the stops, if you will. "Racism in America," he writes, "is more important than capitalist inequality in damaging the American system, although both factors work hand-in-hand and reinforce each other to cause the damage." "...[I]nstitutional racism is a way of avoiding putting the blame where it belongs: on the real, deliberate and active racism of white middle class people," he continues. "It would be a great redistribution of income from whites to blacks in order to equalize the races. And there would be very little willlingness on the part of whites to sacrifice economically to make these changes." Well, no shit.

"...[R]acism affects every part of American society and politics. The disciplines of all social sciences are involved, and these cannot possibly be found in a survey of a group of American citizens," Cooney suggests flatly. And he holds that the idea to which Moynihan gave birth that African-Americans have the same opportunities (today) as any other U.S. citizens, but are just broken people and cannot rise to the occasion is used to "absolve whites of any guilt over possible white immorality."

But then he'll add something like "the perspective of white racism creates unnecessary paranoia among minorities." I must be misunderstanding the man, since I don't see any level of paranoia among people of color as "unnecessary" the way things are. Unfortunate, maybe; crippling, certainly; but unnecessary? Talk to the surgeon from Florida who went to L.A. to present at a medical conference, but who was arrested for some specious reason and placed in hand-cuffs so tight, he'll never do surgery again. Paranoia is reasonable among African-Americans. Statements by social scientists are not irresponsibly whipping up an inappropriate response in people who would otherwise feel safe.

But when he calls racism a "social destroyer," he's right up my alley again. "Whites," Cooney claims, "are...actively engaged in pretense, lying, dissembling, hiding their real racist feelings, etc." And I would add: ashamed of this, as well, because they know it. They just don't want to say so.

"Racism," he continues, "is not just a part of U.S. culture. It is the main cause and primary ingredient of America's puritanical and moralistic culture. Racism is not as American as apple pie and motherhood. Rather America is racism. The American stress on puritanism is the result of racism, not vice-versa...Whites want to be racists. It is in their interests in the short run (which is the only time frame they are concerned about) to be racists." Here, I was with him hook, line and sinker until he reached the last sentence, which I disagree with because I think racism only appears to be in the best interests of "White" people. How can doing damage to other humans with which one has to live one's entire life possibly be in one's best interests--even in the short term? Making enemies among one's housemates is patently stupid. Which is one reason I'm so aggressive with those European-Americans who whine about how harsh I am. They're agitating people I live with and I, for one, don't like the fall-out.

Which brings me to yet another bone of contention. As he winds down his treatis, Cooney uses Huey P. Newton (one of the founders of the Black Panther Party who ultimately marked himself as an abuser of women and drugs) as an example of the "type of people" that "liberals" of yesteryear (who are the multiculturalists of today, he says) supported. And he suggests that this is what is wrong with sociology. My response to that would be, yes, and who would you have supported, Dr. Cooney, since you don't sound old enough to have been there?

Huey P. Newton was the product of everything Cooney outlines in his article. The expectation that African-Americans could and should live under the kind of nightmare Cooney describes so well, but not respond to it accordingly, was--and is, I might add--exactly why some European-Americans who were there in the sixties supported the Panthers, and even Newton. Not because he was a "homocidal psychopath," as Cooney puts it, but because of why he was one.

Some of those who were active in one way or another in the 1960's and 1970's became so precisely because they felt that it was time to face the true repercussions of oppression against people of color (and others) even though many had no idea how to "be for real" about it all. We were scared, but we were not ready to try to tell somebody how we thought they had a right to defend their lives. It was not our pain. It was his (and theirs). And if he was crazy (and he was), we had made him so. Not just the system, as Cooney says, but us. "White" people. Some of whom still wanted to tell Newton, in particular, and African-Americans in general, how to present their case. By now, racism may be relatively easy to analyze for someone who has a clue, but the remedies will be complicated indeed, and will not, I suspect, be drafted by people that look like me, however intellectual, well-meaning or not.

When he castigates those who try to find their identity and personhood through loving their ethnicity, Cooney misses the point entirely. And calling this effort, which is never entered lightly because it is a often a painful process in many ways, "ethnocentric" suggests he doesn't even understand the term. Ethnocentrism doesn't mean I have pride in my heritage or that I love myself as a product of my history. Ethnocentrism means that I think my ethnic group is superior to others. People of African (and Latino and Asian and Native American) descent aren't claiming superiority or supremacy. Just White folks do that. And I would have to say, that even if a Native American (for example) did claim superiority, at least over the "White" race, I would understand where they were coming from. Nobody has tried to do (and done) what Europeans and their descendents have done around the world in terms of pure unmitigated self-serving brutality under the guise of racial supremacy. The damage that has been done to the earth and all the life thereon, including human, by people that looked or look like me is such that we could, in fact, be seen as inferior to any group that has not so behaved.

Nevertheless, that is not what the other groups suggest. They are simply trying to regain the joy in being that has been so viciously robbed from them for so long in the name of White power. And they will not stop just because their oppressors feel put upon or misunderstood. It's time for White people to stop expecting people of color to make them feel better about themselves. It's time for White people to start looking inside and behaving in ways they can feel good about without pretense.

As Cooney finishes up, he calls Martin Luther King, Jr., a "person of the left" which is arguable. He sought inclusion was all, not a highly radical concept actually. He spoke out against war and against White supremacy, but he didn't seek to change the system of capitalist exploitation per se. Still, I think it's much more telling that Cooney makes it a point that he considers himself a leftist in the King tradition, and one who opposes multicultural separatism. Why this really concerns him so might make a interesting night's conversation one on one. Because nobody thinks we can actually live separately in this world any more. Hell, I can be read in Africa as soon as I push "enter." But as long as White people make everyone else's life a hell on earth, why would they want to live with us? That's the question. And Cooney knows it.

"The discrimination against blacks reinforced by stereotypes and prejudice," he writes in one of his last paragraphs, "actually creates a reality for blacks so ugly the whites are scared of their own creation. This then reinforces stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. But that is the way racist whites designed and want the system to work. (Except that it is working too damn well and creating too much crime even for them.)"

And with that, he closes, referring finally to Andrew Hacker's "elevator test" for racism. Hacker asks his audiences sometimes which elevator they would get in if they were presented with two cars arriving at the same time, one filled with young White males and the other with young Black males. Apparently, Hacker suggests that, if you choose the one with the White males, you are racist. Cooney claims, instead, that "we" would choose the car with the White males "every time not because we are racists, but because we, unlike Hacker, understand fully the cruel and devastating nature of America's racist system."

But Cooney is not right about all of us. I, for example, would get on the elevator with the young African-American males because, despite all the craziness of our shared history, I know they're still Africans in their hearts. And Africans have a deep sense of community.

When I was doing my research for my Master's thesis on social distance between Africans and African-Americans and the attitudes of White Americans toward both groups, I asked individuals from each of the three groups to choose adjectives to describe their own and the other groups. The Africans most commonly chose adjectives to describe themselves as community-oriented or good members of a community (such as "family-oriented," "tribal," "very religious," "friendly," "industrious," etc.). The European-Americans chose adjectives that marked them as "rugged individualists" ("career-oriented," "materialistic," "goal-oriented," "self-centered," "power-hungry" and so forth). But though the African-Americans chose some of the same adjectives as their fellow country men with lighter skin, they also chose adjectives such as "hard working," "family-oriented," and "very religious." So its still in there. Which is probably why they haven't burned this country down long ago.

So, precisely because I know "White" boys aren't always "nice" either, and because I know that African-American youth frequently are made to feel the burden of White racist fear--most of the time unfairly, I would march onto the elevator with the young Black men, looking them in the eye, speaking my greeting as I entered, and they would make space and speak to me back. The problem, Dr. Cooney, is a social constuction and will be resolved when White people change.


Peacechick Mary said...

I save your posts for Sunday, when I can take the time to read carefully and think about what you have written. It seems to me, if we follow Clooney's logic, then Gandhi was a 'reverse racist' when in reality, Gandhi was demonstrating opposition to white supremacy style dominance. And I don't know where Clooney lives, but blacks are definitely NOT assimilated, not here, not anywhere, not on tv, not in government - NOT! I am stunned that he even suggests it. Whites are taught from birth to dominate - for God's sake dominate something and thus they must create division. Black, white, female, male - we are divided and never whole, in their eyes. To me, the parts make up the whole and we need all to make the wholeness mankind longs to have. So, to those who want to steal my vision, I say, "Fuck you!" I will not go color blind because you are. Oh dear, I seem to have gotten into a tizzy for a quiet Sundy, but that's good. Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Hillary For President said...

I smell what your cookin changeseek.

It is the sociologist that cause this. All that "lay on my couch and tell me you're problems" is what start this. Like when that do that and what people learn? How to lay on couch that all.

And more so, it a shame that in this day age a black person act white to get ahead. Talk all proper like and wear suits. Why can't they where native Africa cloths and talk not so-call "proper" schoolbook english? A white person act black, you know what it is they get. Dam rite. the shaft what they git. A conpiracy is what that is. Gotta act "white" get a head.

A society where you don't need follow the rule's and stuff like that too get ahead what we need. A culture where you do that you want, regardless what "so-call sciety" want, and get ahead is what you do because black is what you are and not because talk rite is what you do or participate in society is what you do or contribute is what you do. that is that we need.


Changeseeker said...

I'm pleased somebody had time to get through this looooong post. :^) Thanks, Mary and H4P, for your comments and continued support as I explore and examine the socially-constructed, political notion of "race." I had serious questions about why I was so committed to writing this particular post, but I couldn't seem to walk away from it, even though it required several late nights in a week that really took its toll. It's funny how this blogging thing takes on a life of its own somehow. And lovely how we make allies through doing it.

betmo said...

i would wait for an elevator with women- but that's just me :) thanks again for much to think about and then think about again.

Enemy Combatant said...

Interesting post.

I apologize for stating the obvious, but we do know that hillary for president is full of shit, right?

We do know H4P is an attempt at satire?

I hope so, because I would hate to see well-meaning liberals--or left of liberals or democrats or whatever is not evil--become a part of a conservative or neo-conservative or republican or whatever's attempt at satire.

Good joke, though, eh?

BBC said...

I couldn't even read through all of this. LOL... But.

"Those who sputter about my lack of credentials or scholarly publications can, well, suck an egg, for all I care."

You got that right Hon. A deploma on the wall doesn't mean squat. And you are right about being nice all the time. They just want you to do that because they can't stand to hear you call them stupid. :-)

BBC said...

Really Hon…. It’s the unknowns that will become the future social scientists and anthropologists that figure out and start fixing the problems of mankind. While the folks with college diploma’s spin their wheels in the muck of their college education’s and perceived self importance. There is getting to be a loose band of them on the web working on it all. The bottom line though will be the problems caused by religions, so called democracy, capitalism, and things like that. And nothing will change overnight. I keep telling folks that are worried about the future that if they are only here for a speck in time that there is no point in them worrying about any of it. But they do worry don’t they? I contend that it is because your soul is omnipresent, always here, that it really is YOUR future that you are worried about.

Professor Zero said...

I'm still working on figuring this out. Cooney, it seems to me so far, is too heavy on theory, too light on experience, and either not well enough read or unevenly read. I hope this post is going to turn into a journal article.

Meanwhile, thanks for the Milton
Mayer quotation
on my blog. Very apt. And I think we are indeed well around the bend into Fascism now. It may not be necessary for them to have brownshirts marching in the streets and so on, because it is a different age. Which means we could be further into it than we even realize. Chilling.

Professor Zero said...

Later, he emphatically holds that it's appropriate for White folks to be afraid of African-Americans because of what continues to be perpetrated against people of color in the best interests of the White power structure, even if poor European-Americans get short shrift, too.

This is one of the points I find most problematic. It naturalizes a whole lot of stereotypes: they're oppressed, so they will hate you, so they will do something to you, so you should assume they are violent, etc. More African-Americans are in jail, but does that really mean African-Americans are more dangerous (or just that more get arrested and prosecuted)?

Professor Zero said...

But I would argue that what we are seeing is not censorship, but a collapse of one set of paradigms and the introduction of another.

Very good point. And very good point too
about why so many supported Huey Newton.

BBC said...

What is important is balance, so you need ‘liberals’ to offset the ‘conservatives’, whatever they are. As long as you have one, you have to have the other. Hell, I think all these monkeys are crazy anyway. Life is like a can of mixed nuts bouncing around in the car, the big ones work their way to the top. :-)

Clampett said...

Thanks for the erudite response.

I might have a bit perspective here, as a former racist (not knowing I was, just raised into it.. my views were ‘normative’ at one point)

Most whites do not feel the slightest bit of guilt over racism. They feel guilt over being exposed as a racist. The attitude is one of resisting the paradigm shift with a byzantine cunning and a stubborn determination culminating in a chameleon approach where words and actions never seem to line up.

The white-only signs are down, the language of racism is taboo, the schools are integrated, the dejure institutions of white supremacy are gone.

But, as we have discussed in the past, the defacto is putting up a damn good fight, a fight so good that she might be close to plugging the dejure leak in the hull of the white power flagship left by the torpedo of the late civil rights movement.

What opportunities wait the average black youth? Sure, the popular media sings the siren call of a future in Football, Rapping and Basketball…but for the majority, those pursuits bring a dead end job….at which point, crime looks promising.

It’s why I agree about the elevators.

Who needs a white-only sign or black codes when you already have a white only power structure complete with a self-sustaining mechanism: the fact that white actions go along the lines of this: eww, those (insert favorite term for blacks) are dirty, criminal and scary, lets not have them around, lets get them away from us good decent apple pie eating god loving charity giving hard working good guys (insert favorite term for whites). But we can’t call them ‘n*****’ or make them sit on the back of the bus b/c those damn-yankee agitators fucked up everything at the bequest of the Soviets years ago, so now we have to take alternate routes to achieving the same power structure… (Southern strategy and her organs) and smile and talk softly about ‘African Americans’ and ‘black friends’ while in our hearts we want them to go away forever.

Ok, We cannot prove that whites act that way, although we know it’s true, give or take a few degrees of racist thought/action.

Here’s where I think cloony didn’t go far enough. He didn’t show the reader that the victim of black crime and black resentment is, at least 95% of the time, a black person.

(B/c the victim ends up being a target of opportunity; the people in the neighborhood.)

THAT is no accident. The youth turned from a failure in sports or rapping either goes into a dead end or low-paying job, or they take the choice the ‘man’ inside most white people wants them to take: s/he innovates and becomes a thug gangster loc g banger who *thinks* s/he is fighting the system, but, those who turn to crime are agents of the system in so far as they ACT as a kkk raiding party by addicting their community to drugs, creating a militaristic gang environment, perpetuating robberies against local businesses and in doing so; turning the community into a ghost town war zone with no commercial or economic power…. perhaps doing a job beyond the wildest dreams of civil rights vintage KKK regulars.

The thug g loc banger is an instrument of the white supremacist system created by a deliberate blocking of black access to positions of political and commercial power. S/He doesn’t target based on race, s/he is usually ignorant of racial histories and just goes for the soft target dollar bill by any means necessary. That’s why I’d pick the white elevator. White youth doesn’t face as many barriers to achieving economic success through LEGAL means and that’s no accident.

Changeseeker said...

To all: I actually got on here on Saturday morning and wrote responses to all the comments except clampett's (it wasn't here yet) only to have the system shut down for some reason just before I pushed "publish." I, of course, being a grown-up and a professional, slammed the lid on the laptop and didn't have the heart to try again until now. Sorry. What can I tell ya?

betmo: You're welcome, of course, as always. And I understand about the elevator, but I've always been one of those "never let 'em see ya sweat" kind of people...sometimes that's smart and sometimes it isn't. But so far so good.

enemy combatant: Quite frankly, I take most of my commentators at face value because, if they're not antagonizing me, I don't pay as close attention. If H4P is being satirical (and it's crossed my mind), he's pretty over the top. Besides, I don't care one way or the other about Clinton since she's too cautious by my lights and hasn't opposed the war. At this point, I'd vote for Daffy Duck if he was running against a Republican, but that doesn't mean that I think Democrats are much better. Sigh.

bbc: The diploma certainly does mean something to me. The seven years straight I was full-time in grad school developed me in a number of ways and gave me the time and encouragement to do a lot of good work. That would not have happened any other way, I don't believe. On the other hand, there are asshats at every level, so yes, there are dopes that teach college and dopes that couldn't.

Similarly, as I already mentioned to enemy combatant, I'm neither "liberal" nor "conservative." In fact, I think those are not radically different in this country, so I think your perception of balance might be skewed. As far as "worrying" is concerned, I'm not "worried," I'm horrified--not about the future, but about the present decisions that we appear to be allowing without protest. And I wish you'd stop calling me "Hon." I'm trying to be mellow about this, but my mother doesn't even call me that and I find it demeaning.

PZ: I agree that we are well into the fascist process and am forced to think about that rather more often than I like.

Where this post is concerned, I can't imagine how it would morph into a journal article since it's not at all rigorous and devoid of research. Maybe you could email or call so I could learn something more about the process, though I probably wouldn't have time to follow-up, even if all I needed to do was print it out and mail it.

Cooney is inconsistent, yes. But Black rage does exist, though people of color often turn it back in on themselves, affecting their physical or mental health, etc. I mean, if African-American men acted on their rage, there wouldn't be a tree left standing, let alone anything else. Unfortunately, instead of recognizing this and changing things to alleviate the situation, "White" folks (always prioritizing making themselves feel more comfortable) just look to people of color to "suck it up" endlessly. My lines in class are always, "Wherever you find oppression, you will find social conflict" and "No people will ever let themselves be oppressed forever." That's not a threat. That's history.

Now, in the interest of not losing everything once again, I'm going to publish this before I respond to clampett.

BBC said...

You're like me Hon, you like to argue-debate with others. :-) Gotta love ya for that.

I wasn't talking about the people that are teaching, I was talking about the fools that have diplomas and think they are important just because they do.

Umm.. That will teach you too copy your message before sending it off to net land. You silly girl, always copy it, then all you have to do is a paste again. Now go stand in the corner for ten minutes.

Professor Zero said...

Journal article: no, you can't just print out and send, but you've got a good start.

Why to do it: this is apparently an important article - grabbed your attention, Clampett's, his professor's if I'm not mistaken, etc. - and merits discussion.

So, you write a response to Cooney and send it to the same journal. Start by saying why the article is important and
why you want to underline some key points and take issue with others. You will have to place it in a context of other scholarship, but you will not have to go out and cite everything in the field: you know a lot, so the citations you need, will come to you, and then, if there is something the editors want you to address that you don't, they'll say so.

You don't have to, though - I'm just saying, you've got most of the thinking and a good deal of the writing done, so you might as well run the last lap. Maybe when classes end or something...!

P.S. It may not be my place to say this since it's not my blog, but bbc, your last comment, on standing in the corner, gives me the creeps. You're not really speaking to the topic, either. Could you please be a bit more respectful to the author, and to the other commentators here?

BBC said...

Professor Zero.... I was using some humor. Do you know what humor is? To many of you 'Professors' lose your sense of humor, I suggest that you get over it.

Changeseeker said...

The fact that you called me "Hon" again, bbc, suggests strongly that you are a sexist who talks down to women to prove something (to yourself?). I considered implementing the moderating feature on my blog, but really hate to be bothered, so instead I will simply ignore you from now on.

PZ: I appreciate your guidance. I'll consider it.

clampett: I swear I'm trying to respond to your comment. I lost the first attempt (seems to be a problem tonight), but I will try again.

Professor Zero said...

Hey - I just clicked on the link to the article and realized - it is self-published or something - ??? - if it's a question of a journal article, it's important to figure out who this guy is.

If he is an influential scholar, then you approach it one way: focus mostly on him/his arguments, bring in whatever else you decide is necessary. That's the easiest scenario and the closest to the text you have now. If he's not, but the ideas are new and worth discussing further, present it that way. If (third possibility) he is an example of a certain line or mixture of lines, then it has to be presented with that context.

I think Clampett had this on a course reading list, although I'm not sure.
If that's the case, it would be interesting to know what the context was, what the other readings were, etc., for purposes of seeing how other people are contextualizing Cooney.

One can of course also Google. ;-)

Professor Zero said...

P.S. to bbc, it is not we who lack senses of humor, in this case (what you are doing isn't comical) - but you who, in this case, are not respecting peoples' boundaries. Just for the record.

BBC said...

I call almost all women Hon, because I like almost all women. That isn't sexist, it's a compliment and many of them like it. Boy, some of the people in this blog are really stuffed shirts. But I guess I don't have to visit it, do I?

It's not my fault if you have boundaries Prof, try getting over yourself, you are no more important than anyone else. :-)

BBC said...

"Including Cooney, who apparently feels that we should all talk nice to each other."

So there are differant rules for me than for yourself?

I don't know why folks carry on and on about colored folks anyway. The peaceful and educated ones are no problem for the most part. The rest of them just need to grow up. I've always judged all people by what they are, not want color or nationality they happen to be.

The whole damn world has to grow up, a lot of 'white' folks aren't so hot eathier.

Changeseeker said...

clampett: You are a damned fine writer when you've a mind to be. Thanks for pulling out the stops over here. I'm honored.

Mini-responses on my way to class:

I don't think the "White power flagship" has ever sprung a leak. It's just that every time people of color work up a strategy of struggle, Whitey changes the rules. Very effective.

Dollard's frustration-aggression theory has been applied to Black on Black crime. Dollard developed his theory examining the relationship between the number of lynchings and the fluctuations in cotton prices in a Southern U.S. setting (the lower the prices, the more the lynchings). Similarly, it's been suggested that African-American men attack each other in frustration over their powerlessness to attack the real source of their pain.

While African-American males are certainly forced into crime (and into prison) for economic reasons, it should be remembered that 4 out of 5 powder cocaine addicts are White. Addiction is rampant across the U.S. And a huge study by the Center for Disease Control found that European-American kids use more alcohol and drugs and use them more often than youth of color.

How did you get exposed to the Cooney article?

If you've never visited I highly recommend it. I think you'd appreciate it about now. :^)

Anonymous said...

Will the real Clampett please stand up!

And answer the question about the Jews, son. If the Jews, the subject of white oppression, are able to achieve status despite white priviledge, then why can't blacks? Either the society is not racist, or Jewish behaviour differs from blacks. And why would Jewish behaviour be different than blacks? Hmmm.....

As Vox said, you can't have it both ways.

Desmond Jones

Sarah said...

"I've always judged all people by what they are, not want color or nationality they happen to be."

BBC, is that why you called them "colored" people?

BBC said...

Sarah.... It's just a word. We are all colored, to others. White, black, everything in between, it's just all colors. But it doesn't change the fact that we are all from the same source.

I'm 'white', but I prefer mates that are darker than I am. There is something intreging about that to me.

Anonymous said...

"Afrocentrist writings are just the silliest of the poor quality of the new research parading as scholarship,"

No... Cooney isn't at all racist...

He is prejudiced by his own attempts at finding the core of such silliness. By silliness I mean his attempt at trying to find the source or alleviation or some such nonsense of what he considers to be a wash of all stripes, colors and sizes. I do think he hit some points in his often racially simmering language, but over all I would say that his writing reflects a lot of his own attempt to distance himself from his own racist leanings.

You broke it down rather nicely, and it was a very long lot to break down...Where I find it most telling is his lumping of so many attitudes or alignments into such convoluted groups of one thought etc. Telling of his own thinking more than the worlds.

Oh, but Cooney's not racist, just ask him.

Professor Zero said...

I would say that his writing reflects a lot of his own attempt to distance himself from his own racist leanings.

Yes. And CS, how you is? You going to write another brilliant post soon?

Changeseeker said...

I agree, as well, Poetryman. Well put.

And I am bone weary tonight, PZ, having just this minute finished grading 94 papers that all came in this week...

I missed my friend's birthday party last night and the Darfur fundraiser tonight and I still have three exams to prepare this week (one of them brand new), so I'm feeling pretty effed-up just now...

But actually (since you asked--thank you--I needed a touch-base tonight), my next post (in my next life-time?) will be on losing control of the classroom Friday (a first-time ever occurance) to a threesome of overly-entitled European-American male freshmen with money who freaked out over my trying to deliver a brief and fairly superficial lecture on race...


Don't know yet just what it is I want to write about it, but suffice it to say, I didn't handle it well at all, except that I didn't slap anybody...


delux said...

The peaceful and educated ones are no problem for the most part.

Are his pet coloreds caged or free range, i wonder?

BBC said...

Is there really any such thing as 'race'? Okay, I know that there is, but should there be?