Thursday, June 17, 2010

What''s Love Got To Do With It? - Part 1

On May 1st, I appeared as a guest on The Context of White Supremacy (C.O.W.S.) radio show. I signaled you that it was going to happen and I was quite excited because I thought we were going to explore the reality of how the socially-constructed political notice of "race" has been used in this country (and around the world) to oppress people of color. And we did. But instead of an open forum on ideas, it rapidly turned into a "let's-put-the-Changeseeker-on-a-spit-and-watch-her-psychological-skin-bubble" exhibition.

Now, I knew this in advance. I mean, I've been around for a few twenty-four hours and I know how to do my homework. So in preparing for the show, I listened to some archived broadcasts and read some of their statements and learned that the panel of questioners (who are quite specifically focused in their beliefs) are an intelligent and angry group of Black folks. And if you've read much of my blog, you know that I don't disagree with the reasonable nature of Black folks' anger. In fact, I raise the issue often.

But acknowledging it and having it directed at you for two solid hours live while being broadcast coast to coast and archived permanently are two entirely different things. And it's something like bootcamp, an experience not for the faint of heart. So why would any White person who is at all educated on the subject want to participate in such a thing?

Tim Wise -- who some people see as the godfather of White anti-racism just now -- has committed himself to appear on the show every month for a year, for example. Why in the world, after even one whopping helping of fixated whup-ass, would he agree to such an exercise? I can't speak for Wise, of course, but I can speak for me. And the reason for me was that I can't say I want to fight oppression if I refuse to look it in the face -- wherever it raises its ugly head -- even in my own life. And who better to point out what I need to examine than a focused group of intelligent and angry Black folks?

Anyway, the bottom line was that instead of talking about oppression in a more general sense or exploring the three hundred eighty posts I've published on this blog over the past four and one-half years, Gus T. Renegade et al decided to focus almost entirely on the fact that I have a bi-racial daughter and wouldn't I say that was a mistake and wouldn't I counsel Black people around the world not to do that or even get in "romantic" relationships at all with White people?

As a mother, this put me in a tricky position at best. I remember when my own mother suggested giving my as yet unborn child to a Black couple (like a litter of kittens?). I was dumbstruck. I was carrying a human being, after all, a manifestation of the expression of a bond, however ephemeral or ill-advised, between a man and a woman in love or in lust or in a historical moment, that I would no more disavow than I would cut out my own heart and eat it for breakfast. Having had an offspring murdered at the age of twenty-two has given me an extremely clear grasp on the value I give to a life I have carried, birthed and nursed. And believe me, it's non-negotiable.

So despite the complicated nature of "race relations" in the world today or at any other time, there's no way I could ever tell people not to reproduce any more children like my daughter. Which does NOT mean that I don't see Mr. Renegade's point: that under an international context of White Supremacy where the most powerful nation in the world is the poster child for that White Supremacist system, "romantic" relationships between a person designated as "Black" and a person designated as "White" are difficult at best. So are ALL "romantic" relationships, of course. In fact, the last statistic I saw on average length of marriage world-wide was four years. Hardly an advertisement for strength of commitment.

But Gus T. Renegade believes that no Black person can thrive in a "romantic" relationship with any White person under an umbrella of White Supremacy and that, therefore, Black people should be warned not to get into relationships with, marry or make children with White people under any circumstances. And I was asked repeatedly to co-sign this perspective.

My response? In a perfect world, all "romantic" relationships would be based on mutual respect and affection and a commitment to personal growth in all areas of one's personhood. But in this far from perfect world, most of us are hard put to get through Thursday. So I wouldn't begin to tell people who they "should" or "should not" get with. One of the reasons it was easy for me to stay alone for ten years until recently was that the vast majority of "romantic" relationships I see (regardless of the race or gender of the partners involved) look at least somewhat neurotic from where I sit and I didn't want to sign up for another tour of that kind of duty.

It's true without question that oppression in any form screws up relationships all day long and twice on Sunday (when oppression with a capital O is pushed from pulpits in the name of God). And for a relationship to last more than four years, all kinds of difficulties must be resolved between the participating parties even if oppression of one kind or another is not involved. Adding the element of "race" or "gender" to the mix is guaranteed to create a much deeper level of angst on both sides.

This is the reason that, increasingly, women around the world have come to the conclusion that forming relationships with men is a bad idea for women. While the socially-constructed, political notion of "race" has been around for no more than five hundred years or so, men established themselves in a position of dominance over women as much as seven thousand years ago, leaving many convinced that men are supposed to be in that position, that it's "natural." Consequently, women are stuck with trying to survive under a patriarchal system in romantic relationships with their oppressors. Who, by and large, are frankly, beyond clueless about the situation. As a matter of fact, this arrangement has been in place for so long, the vast majority of women don't get it either. They bow and shuffle and go along to get along and make excuses for striving for new levels of "submission" to their "mates" according to "God's" law and so forth ad nauseum. I see them come into my gender courses semester after semester, only to leave with their personal lives in disarray because of their new level of consciousness.

But do I tell them they shouldn't make relationships with men (as some other women do)? No. I tell them that THEY are responsible for the quality of their lives, whether in or outside of relationships. I tell them that no enterprise worth bothering with -- "romantic" or otherwise -- is going to be easy. And that crossing the "gender" line to mate with a man will require constant vigilance related not only to his socialization as "king" over her and his perception of the meaning of "manhood," but related to HER socialization as "queen" under him and her perception of the meaning of her role as a "woman." When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

And I apply the same principles to bi-racial relationships.

I laughed when Gus asked me if my daughter has sex with White men. Apparently, the point he was going for was that being raised by a White woman would leave her without Black reference points (reminding me of a middle class Black woman who once told me flatly that her children were never going to have a "boom box," that if they wanted to listen to music, they could listen to it in the living room on the "stereo"). But if the reference points my daughter was raised with at home included exposure to African and African-American culture of all types and all manner of people from all over the world, including a number of African nations, then the White reference points with which we are ALL embedded were delivered to her particularly in school in bite-sized chunks from the time she was in kindergarten until she graduated from college. In my role as a college teacher, I see Black young people everyday who've been raised by loving Black caregivers and who are as deeply embedded with White Supremacy as my daughter will ever be on her worst day.

After all -- and Gus seemed fascinated by this -- she had barely learned to write when she handed me a paragraph that read:

“I think Whites do the things they do to Black because Whites want to be better than Blacks and most Whites want to be better than all colored people. Whites think they are the king and queen of the world. I think Whites and Black should have the same rights and should be abel to do the same things. Whites treat other colored people like they are animals. I think it should be stop right now. Blacks should be respected just as Whites are and the same for all the other colored people.”

Where does he think she got that understanding? From an NWA song?

She is who she is. Just as I am. And while I may still be working on my Self on a daily basis in a lot of areas, I think I'm doing a helluva job overall being a Person I feel good about being. And if my daughter is any indication of who I am, then I am proud of myself indeed. Because she's the bomb.

Renegade asked me to see if my daughter would come on a subsequent radio show with me and I said I would ask her. Actually, I thought she would say no hands down because she's one of the most private people I've ever met. But I knew that, regardless of what she said, I would never subject her to the grilling of his troops. She may be twenty-eight, but I'm still her mother. Allowing myself to be attacked is one thing. Inviting her to be attacked -- because I'm her mother -- is something I couldn't live with.

Besides, I've only posted nine segments of my book, Reduced to Equality: My Odyssey to Renounce Racial Privilege -- and Find Myself. That consitutes less than half of it. And I finished it several years ago, so there's been some new developments in my life since then. Because those few segments seemed to be the only information he had taken in, Gus may not have had all the information he probably needed to do the job he seemed to want to do.

For example, neither he (nor any of the rest of the team) ever asked me whether or not I am right now in a bi-racial relationship. And the answer is yes. I stayed alone for ten years, working on my self as an individual. And then, when I finally agreed to date someone, he happened to be African-American. I'm thinking Gus et al would have had a field day with that. Especially since we'd only been dating four months at the time of the broadcast and so were still in a very formative stage.

Regardless, and I kid you not, Gus T. Renegade and Justice and the others really took me places in my consciousness I've never been before. I was so rocked by the experience that it took me a week to process it all enough to do anything else. I went deep and stayed long. And I entered a whole series of dialogues with Boxer that forced us both to look at everything we were doing in an even more rigorous way. So I'm grateful. I can't have it both ways. I can't grow beyond where I already am without breaking new ground. And I can't do that alone.

From the looks of his archives, Gus has stayed busy interviewing others on The Context of White Supremacy. I highly recommend that you check out what he and his compatriots are up to. I guarantee you'll learn much. But keep in mind, it can be dangerous way out there on the ends of the branches where the fruit is.

Tomorrow, I'm going to write another post on the topic of bi-racial relationships. I do think they have to do with more than just "love" or even "lust." I believe, in fact, that under White Supremacy, they are necessarily a political statement. So give all this some thought and join me tomorrow, if you will, for the second part of "What's Love Got To Do With It?"

17 comments:

Will Capers said...

I think Gus was, in a way, testing whether or not you're a true anti-racist. When it comes to whites and racism, I think some POC believe that whites have no clue what racism in its total context is, and it's evident with most of them. As a POC myself I've seen whites come up with the usual responses when the topic of racism is uttered which includes that "I'm not racist" claim. I, personally, find it disturbing.

I believe some POC conclude that whites, including those committed to anti-racism, have racist and prejudice beliefs within them. To some POC there is no such thing as a white person who isn't racist.

As far as love and relationships go it's kinda complicated. I admit that when I see a black person with a white person, there's a sense of curiousity as well as pain. To (some) blacks dating a white person is like sleeping with the enemy. They know all of the horrific crimes committed against blacks from then until now, and seeing a black person with a white person is the ultimate insult. They conclude that that black person is a self-hating sellout, race traitor, etc.

On the perspective of blacks who date whites, I've heard some of them that the reason why they date whites is because they think whites treat "them" better. The positives stereotypes about whites are used as reasons as well as the stereotype that white women are more "easier to control". Some blacks and whites say that they have no preference, in that they would date whoever they like.

Some whites, particularly white women, admit that they date black men because they are "good in bed", a flattering yet stereotypical reason. While some brothas will jump on that opportunity like any other man would, some will avoid it for numerous reasons.

I don't know if this is a good response, but relationships with me is a complicated thing. That's why I stay away from them.

Changeseeker said...

Thanks for weighing in on this topic, Will. I know it's tricky and I'm not surprised, given the fearless way you blog, that you'd be willing to leave a comment.

I'm sure you're right about me being tested by Gus and the others. Which is another reason I chose to do it. You gotta be willing to walk the coals if you want to be taken seriously about such life and death matters (and I see them as that). In addition, and I want to make this very clear, I never felt disrespected by them. I felt challenged. And I think that's appropriate under the circumstances.

I have often said on this blog and in my classes something I say in a video in the library on my campus: "If you're born in the United States and you look like me, then you're a racist. It's in there. Just like Prego." That doesn't mean I excuse it. That means I have to acknowledge it and keep my eyes and ears and mind open to rooting it out DAILY with or without help. That's my job as a person who benefits from the way this nation is run.

Personally, when I see a Black woman looking daggers at me for being with a Black man, I understand. I don't blame her at all. I know the statistics. But I didn't choose this man to hurt her and my walking away from him wouldn't ensure that she could be with him. Mating doesn't work like that.

Sleeping with the enemy is a concept that EVERY woman Black or White who has sex or relationships with men understands all too well, believe me. The U.N. released the statistics a couple of months ago that our best estimates now suggest that something like half of the women on Earth have been raped, many of them as children. And this is an on-going reality for us. One we're constantly aware of.

Still, do not misread me. I'm not in any way discounting African and African-American history to the present moment. I regularly reduce my students to open tears talking about what White people have done and still do every day to people of color. I am painfully aware of the manifestations of institutionalized oppression. I think about it almost continually. In fact, I have diagnosed myself with what sociologist Lyford Edwards called "oppression psychosis."

But, as I write in Part 2 of this post, the stereotypes are no more always true in this arena than in any other. Not all White women are pushovers. It took the man I'm with a YEAR to get me to go out with him the first time. I was brutally honest with him out the gate about all sorts of things that could have been deal-breakers, trying to get him to lose interest. He most assuredly does not hate himself or me, though he does have some blisteringly angry feelings toward those with the power to define in this country and those White and Black people who reflect commitment to those racist and sexist definitions. And over the long haul, the sex typically only stays good between two people who are communicating intimately in every area of their lives -- no matter what a man's "tackle" looks like. (As a point of reference, by the way, research has shown that Black men's dicks are not appreciably bigger than White men's dicks. I came across this information reading research for my sexuality course, but in a classroom full of students -- Black and White, men and women -- the discussion based on their experience was that some Black men and some White men have larger penises, but that most of both groups are average in size and sexual prowess. Something I could have told them.)

Anyway, I totally agree with you that it's complicated. And we all wind up having to muddle through one way or the other. Which is why I wouldn't tell anyone that they should choose a mate by skin tone.

Will Capers said...

I agree with your agreement lol. Race is one of those topics to avoid along with politics and religion. I haven't yet engaged in a conversation about race, or at least a verbal conversation with people right there as I have trouble getting my point across with any subject, especially relationships. lol

I'll check out the second part soon.

fwoan said...

Being a member of an interracial relationship has been (among many things) an incredible consciousness raising experience for me regarding race. It has challenged many of my notions about society and given me glimpses into perspectives that I had never imagined.

Changeseeker said...

Don't underestimate yourself, Will. You may feel uncomfortable talking about race with people face to face, but you CERTAINLY have the hang of expressing yourself on your blog. And your comments here (past and present) demonstrate a willingness to engage openly with the most difficult of racial topics.

Fwoan: I'm sure this is true, but that's because you think like a sociologist. ;^)

AE said...

Well hey there, I listened to the episode and thought you did great. You certainly held your ground when pushed by the folks on that show, including Gus, who can be ironically biogted about what other people chose to do with their private lives.

Will Capers wrote,

To (some) blacks dating a white person is like sleeping with the enemy. They know all of the horrific crimes committed against blacks from then until now, and seeing a black person with a white person is the ultimate insult. They conclude that that black person is a self-hating sellout, race traitor, etc.

I think that's pretty much what Gus and his loyal listeners believe (along with a weird, paranoid, and ultimately hateful disgust with homosexuality). White supremacy is such an insidious and overwhelming force to them that they can't seem to see how an Interracial relationship could possibly result in the non-white person not being horrifically abused. Gus's continual reference to illustrative parallels/analogies like the one you make in your post (patriarchy is a system of dominance too, so does that mean that women shouldn't have relationships with men?!) as insidious white acts of derailment, is vile; it's its OWN form of derailment. Oddly, Gus uses analogies too. He just doesn't like it when white people use them to effectively refute his occasional bigotry.

Anyway, thanks for the good show, and I'm relieved to read that you have no intention of subjecting your daughter to single-minded and simplistic harrassment on that show.

Changeseeker said...

Thanks for listening to the show, AE, and taking the time to read this and leave some feedback. Otherwise, how would I know how I'm doing in my campaign to make a difference?

Tough but Maybe? Fair said...

Ok, I've thought long and hard about whether or not I should comment on this post because I think you're awesome and I don't want what I say to be taken as a criticism of you - but - on this post I think you are off base. And this is my perspective as someone who is both a fan of your blog and who heard you on C.O.W.S.

1. The first paragraph sounds like, "I, the white person, wanted to talk about REAL racism and that mean black guy just wanted to pick on me." The personal is the political and what Gus was talking to you about is real and relevant racism.

2. The second paragraph sounds like, "I accept the legitimacy of black anger, except for how I don't when it's directed at me."

3. I didn't hear Gus call your daughter a mistake, nor did he say that there shouldn't be white/non-white relationships. He asked about the implications of those relationships under the system of white supremacy. In other words, have you heard the Bible verse you can't be a Christian if you can't hate your mother - Jesus says this. Gus is saying to be an anti-racist non-white you have to love justice more than your spouse/parent and it's hard to hate white supremacy, even the white supremacy embodied in white antiracists simply by their existence as whites in this society, when that white supremacy is in your spouse/parent. And because love has so often been used as a weapon against non-whites - think of black Southern maids being told, "You're like one of the family!" Do you think in a hypothetical world where people refrained from romance across race until the end of racism the end of racism might be brought about a bit faster? Consider too the very real historical use of buffer biracial classes in Haiti, South Africa, Brazil, New Orleans, etc. by white supremacists.

4. The whole "but women have relationships with oppresive men" thing is a derail.

5. The thing about - but "full blooded" black people are confused, too - is immature. Smoking doesn't not have a connection to lung cancer just because non-smokers sometimes get it.

6. You were not attacked - and perhaps the most offensive part of this post (let me reiterate, on a WONDERFUL blog) is that you perceive actually being called on your privilege and having to walk the walk as an attack. The beautiful blog posts are great but rhetoric is not enough. And if being asked hard questions registers to you as an attack - I have to wonder how serious about anti-racism you really are.

7. If you listen to the programs with The Oreo Experience and Biracial Tiffany you will see that Gus states that he will be and makes a point of being gentle with biracial young people.

8. I don't like how towards the end of the post you, the white person, think that you know better than the black person about what you really should have been discussing on the program. As though Gus's subject matter is arbitrary or idiosyncratic or didn't have a reason behind it.

9. I would be VERY interested to know what statistics you have that make you understand why black women look angrily at black men.

Again, you're fabulous - if I didn't think so I wouldn't waste time on this response.

P.S. said...

http://whiteantiracist.wordpress.com/

P.P.S. said...

On biracial children - I don't think one has to believe that a certain group of children shouldn't exist, are a mistake, or don't have value, or are of lesser value, to say that the context in which they came into existence is problematic. For example, many people love people who were born to teen mothers. Those children or adults can be wonderful and precious and those who love them totally recognize their right to exist. If you encourage a teen girl not to get pregnant does that mean you are saying a person you treasure who was born to a teen mom is a mistake? That doesn't mean we would encourage teens to become mothers to have more such children. Not saying I agree or disagree with Gus, but I'm trying to clarify what I think he was saying.

Changeseeker said...

Your comment is obviously carefully considered, Tough, so I'll respond to it point by point. Unfortunately, Blogger is telling me that my response is too long, so I'm going to split it into sections. This covers the first two points:

You wrote: "1. The first paragraph sounds like, "I, the white person, wanted to talk about REAL racism and that mean black guy just wanted to pick on me." The personal is the political and what Gus was talking to you about is real and relevant racism. 2. The second paragraph sounds like, "I accept the legitimacy of black anger, except for how I don't when it's directed at me.""

I can see how it could sound like that and I totally agree that Gus and the others in the group were raising the issue of VERY real and relevant racism. But it was about one very specific area of racism and I had hoped for a broader palette, I guess. Now, the fact is that this is the area the C.O.W.S. radio show addresses and that is totally legitimate. And it is equally legitimate to put ANY White person's feet to the fire to address ANY area of institutionalized oppression against people of color at any time. But it's also legitimate for a person with burnt feet to holler "ouch!" It was legitimate to make my personal life the focus, but the show only makes one point that way. It makes that point hellaciously, but it looks at nothing else. I received a number of emails suggesting that some who listened to the broadcast had hoped for more.

Changeseeker said...

This covers points 3 & 4, Tough.

You wrote: "3. I didn't hear Gus call your daughter a mistake, nor did he say that there shouldn't be white/non-white relationships. He asked about the implications of those relationships under the system of white supremacy. In other words, have you heard the Bible verse you can't be a Christian if you can't hate your mother - Jesus says this. Gus is saying to be an anti-racist non-white you have to love justice more than your spouse/parent and it's hard to hate white supremacy, even the white supremacy embodied in white antiracists simply by their existence as whites in this society, when that white supremacy is in your spouse/parent. And because love has so often been used as a weapon against non-whites - think of black Southern maids being told, "You're like one of the family!" Do you think in a hypothetical world where people refrained from romance across race until the end of racism the end of racism might be brought about a bit faster? Consider too the very real historical use of buffer biracial classes in Haiti, South Africa, Brazil, New Orleans, etc. by white supremacists. 4. The whole "but women have relationships with oppresive men" thing is a derail.
"


I think Gus does say (in one way or another) that "Black" people should not mate with "White" people and that there is NO WAY this can be done productively. He sidesteps the terrible damage that people do to each other in unhealthy relationships where race is not an issue. And he sidesteps entirely the unavoidable reality that the oppression of women would necessarily call for the exact same treatment, if, indeed, the answer to more quickly bringing oppression to an end was to stay out of intimate relations with each other.

On the matter of the Bible verse, I'd need to see the reference on that. I'm not a Bible scholar, but I was raised up in it pretty hard and I have never read a verse that said what you're saying in the way that you're saying it. I particularly doubt that Jesus said it. It sounds more like something Paul would have written.

Your point about buffer classes is an important one, particularly as it contributes so graphically to colorism (the practice of lighter skinned people of color seeing themselves as superior to people of darker shades). Would the answer to colorism, then, be darker skinned people of color only entering intimate relations with other darker skinned people of color -- in an effort to undo the past effects of adopting the internalized perspectives of the oppressor?

Changeseeker said...

This covers points 5, 6 & 7, Tough.

You wrote: "5. The thing about - but "full blooded" black people are confused, too - is immature. Smoking doesn't not have a connection to lung cancer just because non-smokers sometimes get it."

I read the post twice and all the comments and I'm missing this one somehow. Perhaps you could comment again, pointing out the location of this quote more directly...?

You wrote: "6. You were not attacked - and perhaps the most offensive part of this post (let me reiterate, on a WONDERFUL blog) is that you perceive actually being called on your privilege and having to walk the walk as an attack. The beautiful blog posts are great but rhetoric is not enough. And if being asked hard questions registers to you as an attack - I have to wonder how serious about anti-racism you really are."

Re-reading this post a minute ago reminded me that I wrote much here that gave Gus et al kudos for their work and discussing its importance. I said over and over that I can't be taken seriously if I won't be open to correction in this area. But some of the styles, communication techniques, and interrogation mechanisms employed by the group are an attack mode. I don't suggest that this is inappropriate. In the post I write that I can't have it both ways. If I want to fight racism, I have to fight it even if it means acknowledging it in myself. The same is true for Gus et al. They can't have it both ways. They can't go into attack mode and then pretend it's something else. It's reasonable under the circumstances, so they can legitimately use it and not apologize. But I'm grown and I know when I've been in the ring.

You wrote: "7. If you listen to the programs with The Oreo Experience and Biracial Tiffany you will see that Gus states that he will be and makes a point of being gentle with biracial young people."

My daughter is twenty-eight, very intelligent and very articulate. That's not the point. She didn't choose to be born or to be a sociologist. I did. She doesn't choose to blog on race or have a highly visible public personna. I do. This is not about her -- no matter how many times she was mentioned on the show.

Changeseeker said...

And here are points 8 & 9, Tough.

You wrote: "8. I don't like how towards the end of the post you, the white person, think that you know better than the black person about what you really should have been discussing on the program. As though Gus's subject matter is arbitrary or idiosyncratic or didn't have a reason behind it."

It's interesting to me that you choose lines and phrases to interpret negatively when I say so much in this post and the comments attached to express my respect for the process in which Gus T. Renegade and his group are engaged. I am very clear in the post that I was challenged and that I see this as utterly appropriate; that I gained much from the experience of the show; that I am grateful for people of color who help to fight the beast of oppression in White people -- even me. White people are socialized to imagine they will always feel "on top of things." When they're caught off guard, they feel the pinch. I don't complain. I learn. I grow. And a blog is such a public place that a White person writing about race better get herself ready for whatever comes. I am. Because I mean what I say in my Manifesto.

You wrote: "9. I would be VERY interested to know what statistics you have that make you understand why black women look angrily at black men."

I didn't say that. I said Black women look angrily at me. I believe that's at least partly because of the very public statitics on the numbers of Black men in prison, among other things. With fewer Black men available to mate with Black women, the sheer numbers are such that every White woman who "steals" a Black man from the pool engenders frustration in Black women. In Louisiana, however, it's hard to say who's the most upset, the Black women or the White men. Both make their feelings very apparent.

Changeseeker said...

In your P.P.S., Tough, you wrote: "On biracial children - I don't think one has to believe that a certain group of children shouldn't exist, are a mistake, or don't have value, or are of lesser value, to say that the context in which they came into existence is problematic. For example, many people love people who were born to teen mothers. Those children or adults can be wonderful and precious and those who love them totally recognize their right to exist. If you encourage a teen girl not to get pregnant does that mean you are saying a person you treasure who was born to a teen mom is a mistake? That doesn't mean we would encourage teens to become mothers to have more such children. Not saying I agree or disagree with Gus, but I'm trying to clarify what I think he was saying."

This makes a good point and one with which I can agree, as far as it goes. However, teen mothers are rarely, if ever, ready to take on motherhood. To suggest that biracial relationships are rarely, if ever, healthy is probably not analogous.

tough said...

Changeseeker, thank YOU for responding to my comments. Here are my responses - I know it's hard to read tone over the internet but please understand if you could *hear* me it would be a, "Let's have a dialogue" tone, not an angry argumentative one.

Sooo...

I don't think Gus is saying that white/non-white relationships can never be ok, I think he's saying that they're harmful to such an extent that they're better off not occuring under the system of white supremacy. For example, one can smoke and not get lung cancer, that doesn't mean that lung cancer doesn't often result from smoking. Should we not encourage people not to smoke just because sometimes it won't lead to lung cancer when if everybody stopped smoking lung cancer would amost disappear? I'm not saying I agree w/Gus, but I get his argument.

Furthermore, if white people are saying that they are white supremacists - are non-whites supposed to take that seriously? And if so, why get in a relationship with a white supremacist?

I don't think comparing gender oppresion to racial oppresion is analagous. If there were no male/female pairings humanity would end. However, racism is a threat to humanity so strategies for ending racism, and Gus is suggesting no non-white/white relationships as a strategie, are crucial to our future as a species.

The Bible verse I'm referring to is: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26

I don't think the answer to colorism is "reverse colorism" - that was the white supremacists' intention - to divide people of color and give mixed people divided loyalties. In Brazil people are solving the problem of buffer classes by simply reasorbing mixed people into blackness. Mixed people can choose to subvert white racism by identifying as being of color - but again, this can be hard to do if you have divided loyalties because of your family.

My comment about full blooded black people refers to your quote, "In my role as a college teacher, I see Black young people everyday who've been raised by loving Black caregivers and who are as deeply embedded with White Supremacy as my daughter will ever be on her worst day."

I know you think I'm trying to interpret your work negatively - but I'm not. I just see a lot of doublespeak happening. You say "when people interview me hard I get to say ouch" - and I say, "No you don't." You get to say ouch when you're pulled over for driving while black. You get to say ouch when you're going to die earlier than a white person because of the stress of racism when all other factors are held constant. You don't get to say ouch because someone questioned you on a radio show. That offends people who have real ouchies. I have trouble believing you think the way you were treated was ok - if it was ok why are you writing a long post saying how hurt you are?

Changeseeker said...

Briefly, Tough, in the interest of getting this comment answered, I would just say:

Smoking is not necessary, so we speak out against smoking. Vegetarians speak out against eating meat because it's not good for us and it's bad for animals. They have a right not to eat it and the right to speak out against it, if they like, but it is unlikely that they will convince all other humans to adhere to their perspective at this point in human history.

You ask why, if it's not necessary, should someone be in a bi-racial relationship? And I would simply ask why anybody should be in any relationship? We are social beings. We are in relationships for many more reasons than just having children.

Race and gender are absolutely analogous. They were both ideas socially-constructed for the express purpose of establishing and maintaining power. Which they have done and continue to do. Half of the women in the world have been raped. That alone would suggest that women ought to stay out of relationships with men -- IF we want to be utterly logical. Sperm banks can take care of reproduction, if we're serious about surviving.

The Bible verse you quote is about counting the cost of being a true "Christian." I'm not clear on how being a disciple of a particular religious dogma fits in here.

I don't think you're interpreting my words negatively. I think you want to see me as a bad influence. It's your right to have any opinion you like, but truth is truth. The more voices we hear, the closer we'll get to the real truth.