Sunday, October 19, 2008

Searching for a black friend in the age of Obama.




One of the side effects of this Obamamania phenomenon, is that all of a sudden everyone wants to have a black friend, or to at least be able to say, --- that other than a co-worker-- they know a black person. Forget those fake ass cheesy commercials, where you always see the token black friend or black couple, now it seems like white folks want the real deal.



Consider the plight of poor Devin Friedman. Friedman is GQ Magazine's senior correspondent, and he wrote an article about his search for a black friend which he actually posted on Craigslist, and which was featured in November's issue of GQ. Friedman's ad. in Craigslist went something like this:




I'm a 36 year old white guy. I grew up in a diverse neighborhood and have always gone to diverse schools. I've always had a decent number of black friends. That's changed over time. I work in the publishing industry, which is super white, and I've realized that my group of friends is getting whiter and whiter. He actually had some takers for his posting (I am trying to figure out who is more pathetic, Devin, or the black people who responded to him). And the article spends a great deal of time exploring Devin's encounters with friends from the dark side. So this lack of black friends is troubling to Devin, and his article chronicles his quest to change the racial makeup of his friends by any means necessary. "It's amazing to me that almost everyone I know has either black friends or white friends, but not both. We could have a black president but not a mixed country." Poor Devin, he is unwilling to accept the reality of self segregation. Or as the article called it: "Amicable racial estrangement". I like that phrase. I think there is a lot of "amicable racial estrangement" going on in A-merry-ca.


The article was funny in a rather pathetic kind of way. Still, I read it. I had to find out how Friedman went about pulling off "Operation Black Friend." Friedman talked about pitching the idea to his editors, and being amazed when they thought the idea was meant to be satirical. (Isn't it always when it comes to race?)But he was serious, and he seemed surprised to know that his fellow white people would view his sincere quest in such a way. "Everyone got quiet. Like: Um, I'm not really qualified to say if that's an awful idea. That's been pretty much the reaction of all white people who here about it. They stop talking. My feeling is: Fuck them." But he even had questions about his own quest for an Obama like friend. " Even if my intentions were noble, though, I have to admit that there was something about putting up an advertisement on Craigslist that didn't feel quite right." (Gee, ya think?). Then he found the satirical website, Rent A Negro, and he received another revelation. "It's satirical. You can log on and fill out a form to rent a black person--part of the joke is that black people get used all the time, anyway, so they might as well get paid for it. On the homepage it said: 'What can you give a person who has everything? Give them a new black friend!' Give them a new black friend!' Sitting in my office, clicking through this Web site, my blood went cold. It was like it had been invented to make fun of me, personally. One of the weirder aspects of racism is that no one is ever sure whether he’s racist or not, except for those few people who are totally okay with being racist. The rest of us, having internalized the knotty racial logic of this country, the contradictions about how you need to be color-blind and not color-blind, keep a wary eye on ourselves to see whether or not what we just said or did or thought was racist. And this project started to feel like the worst kind of tokenism—e-mail me here! I don’t care who you are as long as you’re black! I remembered what a friend of mine said about the ad I’d taken out: Why don’t you just get a lawn jockey and carry it around with you to parties?" Well, I wouldn't go quite that far. But Devin's friend had a point. I mean the reason a site like Rent A Negro can exist is because people like poor Devin exists. And the irony of it all isn't lost on me. Like he said; here he is really really trying not to be a racist, yet with the real racist, this as not such an issue, because he knows who he is, and is comfortable with it. But still, the whole Craigslist bit seems a little extreme, and it had me wondering if this was a stunt on Devin Friedman's part. I mean reading his account of his black interactions and contacts, I got the feeling that they were also full of racial stereotypes. Devin wasn't much better than the people he was trying not to become "..I can’t remember being at a party where people sang anything other than Happy Birthday.' Now I know why I wanted to go to a black party, I thought. Because they’re fun. Because white people really are uptight. We have a lot of good points, too. But Jesus it was nice to be at a party where not a single person asked me what I did for a living." "BLACK PARTY"? News flash Devin, there are a lot of parties where only black folks attend, and where the first thing they ask you is what you do for a living. And not all parties that black people go to are "fun". "I stood up and we shook. He bro-hugged me, in a more artful, more nuanced way than I do it. My shit hadn’t been updated since the ’90s, really. To be honest, I was just going by what I saw on TV." "BRO-HUGGED"? See, this is why I have issues with poor Devin. Even though I admire his effort, he still doesn't seem to get it. The fact that he thinks that there is a "bro hug" and there is this "artful nuanced" way of carrying it out, speaks volumes about how clueless he really is.


Here is the thing Devin: Us black folks are like any other group. We are not monolithic, and we have very diverse opinions, taste, ideologies, and yes; even ways to have fun. So there is no such thing as a black board of directors to give black people their cues on how to act and what not to like and like. I know I joke about shit like that all the time, but believe me, it's really not the case.


And please forget this insane pursuit to find a black friend. Just relax, be yourself, and eventually some black person might just find you and like you for who you are. If not, it's not a big deal. Trust me. There are plenty black folks without white friends. It's not the end of the world. We can all live in this amicable state of self segregation, as long as we show mutual respect for each other and afford each other the dignity that we each deserve as human beings.


"You can try out all kinds of personalities and styles when you’re a kid, when you’re a teenager. But when you get older, you become either black or white, you become a honky or a brother or an Oreo or a wigger. Those seem to be the choices. Wigger is a word I don’t use and would never speak aloud, the underpinnings of which I have fundamental beef with. But if I have to use it, then I kind of always wanted to be a wigger. I just never had the balls to do it. It always seemed somehow disrespectful. But it has nothing to do with wanting to be black, per se. I wish people understood that. What music you like is as much a choice for white people as it is for black people. And how it is you want to speak. And what it is you want your pants to say about you. It seems like life comes down to am I going to wear these Nike Air Force 1s or those Bass Weejuns. All other decisions about racial identity cascade from that. When I see white boys in long white T-shirts and baseball caps, black-culture-identified is how I say it, I feel a sense of recognition. Like I could have gone that way. A few different decisions and I’d at least know how to roll a blunt. But that’s fantasy..."




Oh boy.... Devin, why don't you just vote for Obama and leave it at that?


Read the GQ article here.

100 comments:

404Kim said...

"You can try out all kinds of personalities and styles when you’re a kid, when you’re a teenager. But when you get older, you become either black or white,..."


"When I see white boys in long white T-shirts and baseball caps, black-culture-identified is how I say it, I feel a sense of recognition. Like I could have gone that way"



Spoken like a true white person. "you become either black or white..." WTH? Regardless how many white kids I associated with when I was younger, I was black then and I'm black now. Maybe I've misunderstood what he was trying to say but I don't think I have. I've always said that once white teenagers get tired of listening to Lil Wayne, remove the backwards ball caps, pull up their pants, stop using slang, and put down the weed, they apologize to their parents, go to college, and proceed with their lilly white life just like their mother and father had planned before they even knew they were pregnant. Their "wigger ways" are buried deep in their closet of skeletons never to be spoken of again.



*Unfortunately, this doesn't work so well for white girls who get pregnant by a black dude... they are doomed to be with black men the rest of their lives because I don't know any white men who'd take on that situation. Adopting a black baby is one thing, but marrying a female who they KNOW had sex with a brotha... and got pregnant... well, thats a whole different situation*



Black boys grow up to be black teenagers, who (hopefully) grow up to be black men. Period. Hell, look at Obama... no matter all his accomplishments in life, there are still people that look at him and see a nigger.

Hathor said...

Just responded to a comment about the middle finger on the nose. You know it is still considered in our vernacular.

Pete in Az. said...

This guy actually tried to do this??

And he admitted it in a national publication?


My.... How embarrassing for him.

Kieya said...

"One of the weirder aspects of racism is that no one is ever sure whether he’s racist or not, except for those few people who are totally okay with being racist."

get out of my face with that bull.
people know they're racist, they'd just not be seen as such by others.

and "black party"? where we dont give a f*ck about working? cuz we're all shiftless negroes?

"I kind of always wanted to be a wigger.... few different decisions and I’d at least know how to roll a blunt"--> well that speaks volumes right there and as a black person, i probably wouldnt even want to be his friend

MsJoanne said...

Sorry this is off topic, but did you see this?

Obama Hung in Effigy on an Oregon College Campus.

http://tpzoo.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/obama-hung-in-effigy-on-college-campus/

Anonymous said...

Come on you guys. We all know that many white men have secretly (or not so much) envied black men and outwardly yearned for black women(I know you all have read the Isis Papers). Poor Devin is merely expressing that which we all already know, which is that deep down inside, white folks admire and intensely want to be black, even if the only way they can experience being black is vicariously through a friendship or relationship with a black person. This also accounts for the extreme hate that many whites have for blacks, the same hatred that we are witnessing coming from McCain's Klan rallies. They hate us because they are NOT us.

Red Devil said...

On Colin Powell...here is the photo of the dead muslim american that died for america...that Powell was talking about. It is profoundly moving.

field negro said...

404kim, your analysis was spot on.(Can I say spot?)

"This guy actually tried to do this??"

Yes pete he did. And I think he was serious. I thought the folks over at GQ were pretty on top of this race shit, being that they are in Manhattan and all. But I guess you just never know:)

"..and "black party"? where we dont give a f*ck about working? cuz we're all shiftless negroes?"

Damn kieya, I never even thought of that angle. I guess I am giving old Devin even more credit than he deserves.

And yes msjoanne, sadly, I heard about that story. And I think it was a christian college to boot.

field negro said...

red devil, I am scared to go into that link.

Faith said...

I read that article and see if Halle hadn't gotten the sexiest woman crown at Esquire I would've happily missed it! That guy was really clueless and I'm not even willing to excuse him for not 'knowing better'. He needs to do some work wit anti-racist activists and stop focusing on getting 'results'. It's not really sincere and he's not going to keep friends with that attitude.

Jody said...

This dude is clueless on so many levels it is painful....head slap to forehead.... oh, my people, my people....

Anonymous said...

..."amicable state of self-segregation."

Never heard it put quite like that, but upon reflection, you're right. Equally correct is your observation that nothing's wrong with that...so, this average white guy's gonna just vote for Obama and be on my merry way.

Grata said...

"We are not monolithic, and we have very diverse opinions, taste, ideologies, and yes; even ways to have fun. So there is no such thing as a black board of directors to give black people their cues on how to act and what not to like and like. I know I joke about shit like that all the time, but believe me, it's really not the case. "

It is amazing that the most diverse race on earth is one that is the most simplified and sterotyped.

To put black diversity in perspective, check this out; China has over 1 billion people, yet they have about 56 ethnic groups. Africa has about 800 million people and they have over 3000 ethnic groups. If I travel 200 miles from my village ( East Africa) in any direction, I can not understand their language or customs. They are as foreign as Chinese to me except that we have the same skin color. Depending on where I go to school, I will pick up some extra languages and customs.
As for the blacks in the Diaspora, I have no clue how diverse they are. Yet we are all supposed to be the same? There are African cultures that are even more conservative, uptight and as sophisticated as the whites this guy describes.
The depths of ignorance is amazing.

rottnkid said...

He's a Dumbass

Seda said...

Whoa! The poor guy. It's gotta suck to be that uptight.

Field, reminds me of the quote from Kai on your sidebar. On the money.

Ya know, people cycle through your life. I grew up in a lily white community (rural Wyoming). The only non-white person there was Japanese, and he was old and single - at that time, there weren't even any hispanics. Then I joined the Marines and met a bunch of black people who were - surprise! - individuals with widely varied tastes, interests, backgrounds, and character. Some of them became friends, most of them remained mostly strangers, some of them I despised, and within a few months of my discharge I'd lost connection with all of them. It happens. I've had black neighbors who were friends 'til I moved, but hell, I don't generally keep white friends after I move, either. We grow apart. Now I live and work with folks who are just about all white. It's not intentional segregation, it's incidental; but it's real. Maybe not ideal, but it's okay.

Which is why what you say here is (pardon me) spot on:

"We can all live in this amicable state of self segregation, as long as we show mutual respect for each other and afford each other the dignity that we each deserve as human beings."

Amen.

professor darkheart said...

The fact that he thinks that there is a "bro hug" and there is this "artful nuanced" way of carrying it out, speaks volumes about how clueless he really is.

Oh, c'mon, Field, admit it. You're just mad because some brother let Devin in on the nuances of the secret bro-hug that earns anyone who masters it a lifetime membership in Club Negro.

Seda said...

msjoanne,
It was NOT my alma mater, the University of Oregon (thank god). It was George Fox, a tiny little rinky-dink, and, 'coincidentally', christian college.

Talk about giving Oregon a bad name...

Racism is alive and well here, but resistance to it is, too. Y'all are welcome at my table.

La ~ Incognita said...

Well Field, I could kinda almost um understand what the poor guy is going through. Smart white people know they need to find a black friend for protection, and to get the 411 on all the evil plots since the white house is going to be painted 'black'.

Well, I don't have ONE white friend (you would have never thought). Come to think of it, I never really had one actually. Well, couple years ago I kinda had a white female IM pen pal. The thing is, she would occasionally try to bring up questions about... black men. lol. Not. I went MIA on her ass before should could say hockey mom.

Anyway, I'm a poor island girl in search of a real white friend, really. Anyone interested?

Bob said...

If a white man cannot talk to a black man & be himself, he needs to look at himself. I can't "act black" & I refuse to try (I can do Tony Soprano language, having grown up with it). As for the "bro" stuff, the only time I have to deal with that is from panhandlers at the train station, where "my man" & an attempt to get me to do some kind of ritual hand shake means I'm getting hustled for spare change.

MsJoanne said...

A Christian college in name only. I was blown away when I read it.

More hate:

http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/more-hate-voicemails-and-emails-directe

I am petrified for when the acts happen...when words will not be enough for these people.

red Devil said...

Here is SARAH PALIN's sextape. You know you've been waiting for this!

spoiler: It is a pg-13 comedy. Funny as hell!

Kismet said...

Just wanted to drop a name in here:

Damali Ayo is the artist who started Rent a Negro.

http://www.damaliayo.com/

She's pretty friggin brilliant. Just wanted to do my part to make sure she got a name drop for her idea.

And glad to see its doing its job too--at least Devin thought twice about his little project.

Field, no commentary on Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama? A lurking Obamaholic wants to know...:)

AgentX said...

So there is no such thing as a black board of directors to give black people their cues on how to act and what not to like and like.

Look out, Fieldy. Sounds like we need to bring back your Negro Review Board.

EzMun said...

Field,

Although, I can't see entirely this guy's reasons for the search or the article, I'm not bothered by it. I know many of us who don't have white fiends. I don't know one of this group (Black people not having White friends) who are actively seeking a white friend to the point of preparing solicitations in Craigslist or newspapers.

Still, I can at least see the guys point. His view that people grew up to be Black or White is a bit misguided. Those of us who have non-White skin understand that we are not White from very early on. In America, it's kinda difficult not to notice.

Anonymous said...

La ~ Incognita, I'll be your white friend.

What does this say about GQ magazine? Everybody has friends at work. Are't there any African-American writers, editors, fact checkers, graphic artists or copy editors at this magazine? The fact that Devin had to take out an ad to get a friend makes me wonder.

Sheila

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I really don't know what to say. This writer was clueless.

All my black friends have white friends and all my white friends have blacks friends (other than me!).

Now when I first went to Syracuse some folks from Do or Die Bed Sty (back then it was a very rough area) would call me and some other black girls "Huxtables or Oreos". It bothered me for a semester than I got over it. I can't help it if I loved P.E. and Led, Bob Marley and The Police. I'm sorry but Simon Le Bon was fione. Don't hate.

If my parents had not moved to the 'burbs maybe I wouldn't know all the words to Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad" but thanks to them I also love the Mighty Sparrow.

I have seen the Rent a Negro website. There's a book and I know a film company in Hollywood bought the film rights. Not sure how you make it a movie but the site was hilarious.

field negro said...

MIGHTY SPARROW? nyc/caribbean ragazza, are you a "Trinny"?

"What does this say about GQ magazine? Everybody has friends at work. Are't there any African-American writers, editors, fact checkers, graphic artists or copy editors at this magazine?"

Great point Sheila,I might have to cancel my subscription. Do you need a black friend? If you do, you can always use me as a reference. ["Hi my name is__and I am looking for a black friend. If you doubt my sincerity,please check with the field Negro"] And that is true for all of you white field hands, and honorary field Negroes:)

"Field, no commentary on Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama? A lurking Obamaholic wants to know...:)"

kismet, he is the FNOTD. And yes, I think his endorsement is a big deal for his O ness.

And props to Ms. Ayo. She is one of my idols in the blogging game. That site is classic.

"Anyway, I'm a poor island girl in search of a real white friend, really. Anyone interested?"

la~incognita, did you know that there are quite a few white Islanders? My first white friend was Jamaican. Come to think of it; so was my first Chinese friend.

"It is amazing that the most diverse race on earth is one that is the most simplified and sterotyped."

Great point grata. And where in East Africa do you live?

Karen said...

I think it's hard enough just to find a friend. I know lots of people, but I don't have that many friends. Ok that sounded more pathetic than I'd intended. But I know people, different shades of melanin (depending on the season), and everyone, every culture, runs the gamut of asshole to peach. I like who I like because of chemistry, not because of hue.

Anyhoo, tangent topic: I think it's interesting how we hold on to our designations so tightly as if we didn't have them we might disappear... If I didn't claim with fervor my heterosexuality, my liberal bias, my title of "mother," my inherited germanic roots (read: beer and brats), my sisterhood, my daughterhood, my professional name, my car, my beagle, my onset of middle-agedness, my religion, my ability to roll my tongue, my attachment to Mizuno, my girl scout badges, my Ford T-Shirts, my bumper stickers, my favorite scent and nail color, my neighborhood, my town, my candidate(s), and even the random gene that suggested my skin color, what would I be.

sharon in CT said...

I had the same thought as Sheila. Mr. Friedman might have focused his article on the dearth of people of color at his place of work and in his profession, but then I guess that that article might no have gotten published. Mr. Friedman needs to get out more. Or change jobs.

David Sullivan said...

Field, you are spot on when you say that maybe a black friend will find you. As an adult I've made few "real" friends, most of my real friends are from childhood. If folks don't have diverse friendships its because they either aren't exposed to other types of people at work, where they play or where they live. Till I was 13 I lived with all white, Irish Catholic people, went to a Catholic school therefore those were my friends. I then moved to a diverse neighborhood and soon most of my friends were hispanic, some black and white, still Catholic, but not all. In college I had mostly white friends, not by choice, but thats who I spent the most time with. My friends now are a mix of my current work coleagues, friends from my old neighborhood and golf buddies. Friendship, to me, isn't taken lightly and I would never call anyone a friend who wasn't loyal, trustworthy and sincere. If you can find these traits in anyone, regardless of their skin color, religious beliefs or income then hold on tight and don't let go.

Wine Dog said...

Come on Field, be my friend. Puhleeeeze?

classical one said...

To put black diversity in perspective, check this out; China has over 1 billion people, yet they have about 56 ethnic groups.


The Han Chinese make up 92% of the population of China and dominate all levers of power and popular culture. China is much closer to a monoculture than the United States.


When I see white boys in long white T-shirts and baseball caps, black-culture-identified is how I say it, I feel a sense of recognition. Like I could have gone that way"


Actually, what you are seeing are idiots, kind of like your self Mr. Friedman.

bean twn chica said...

Some of McCain's black relatives support Obama
BY ELGIN JONES
South Florida Times

black-mccain-family_web.jpgIn the rural Teoc community of Carroll
County, Miss., where the ancestors of Sen. John McCain owned enslaved
Africans on a plantation, black, white and mixed-race family members
unite every two years for their Coming Home Reunion, on the land where
the plantation operated.

Some of McCain’s black family members say they are not sure exactly
where they fall on the family tree, but they do know this: They are
either descendants of the McCain family slaves, or of children the
McCains fathered with their slaves.

White and black members of the McCain family have met on the plantation
several times over the last 15 years, but one invited guest has been
conspicuously absent: Sen. John Sidney McCain.

“Why he hasn’t come is anybody’s guess,” said Charles McCain Jr., 60, a
distant cousin of John McCain who is black. “I think the best I can come
up with, is that he doesn’t have time, or he has just distanced himself,
or it doesn’t mean that much to him.”

Other relatives are not as generous.

Lillie McCain, 56, another distant cousin of John McCain who is black,
said the Republican presidential nominee is trying to hide his past, and
refuses to accept the family’s history.

“After hearing him in 2000 claim his family never owned slaves, I sent
him an email,” she recalled. “I told him no matter how much he denies
it, it will not make it untrue, and he should accept this and embrace it.”

She said the senator never responded to her email.

Although Charles is uncertain who will get his vote for president,
several of John McCain’s black and white relatives are supporting his
Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama.

“I am absolutely supporting Obama, and it’s not because he’s black. It’s
because he is the best person at this time in our history,” said Lillie
McCain, a professor of psychology at Mott Community College in Flint,
Michigan.

“We simply need to look at the economy, and McCain’s campaign does not
take us there,” said Joyce McCain, Lillie’s sister, a retired
engineering manager with General Motors who lives in Grand Blanc,
Michigan. “He is my cousin, but we are in dire times right now and
people are hurting. Sen. Obama is clearly the best choice to be president.’’

Charles McCain and his wife, Theresa, who still live in Teoc, started
the reunions over a decade ago. Charles is the deacon of Mitchell
Springs Baptist Church, the only black house of worship in the area.

When Theresa McCain started the family reunions in the late 1980s or
early ‘90s (neither he nor his wife is sure of the exact starting date),
only black family members attended. But as word spread about the
gatherings, white members of the McCain family got involved. Today, the
reunion has expanded to the point where it is becoming a community event.

The reunion’s website, teocfamilyreunion.ning.com, has pictures,
postings and other information about the family gatherings. While Sen.
McCain’s brother, Joe, and many of his other white relatives attend the
reunions, family members say Sen. McCain has never acknowledged them, or
even responded to their invitations.

“Well, a lot of the people who had moved away and were living up north,
would send money to help us maintain the church,” said Theresa McCain,
62. “Myself and others began inviting them back home for picnics, just
to show our appreciation.”

The McCain campaign did not respond to repeated questions about John
McCain’s black relatives, or about his relatives of both races who
support Obama. Pablo Carrillo, a media liaison with the McCain campaign,
said the senator was aware of his African-American relatives, but asked
the reporter to put his questions into writing, and that someone would
get back to him.

After the reporter sent questions in writing, and made repeated
follow-up phone calls, neither Sen. McCain nor anyone else from the
campaign responded.

Based on information obtained by the South Florida Times, the senator
has numerous black and mixed-raced relatives who were born on, or in,
the area of the McCain plantation. The mixed races in the family can be
traced back to the rural Teoc community of Carroll County, Miss., where
his family owned slaves.

Sen. John McCain’s great, great grandfather, William Alexander McCain
(1812-1863), fought for the Confederacy and owned a 2,000-acre
plantation named Waverly in Teoc. The family dealt in the slave trade,
and, according to official records, held at least 52 slaves on the
family’s plantation. The enslaved Africans were likely used as servants,
for labor, and for breeding more slaves.

William McCain’s son, and Sen. John McCain’s great grandfather, John
Sidney McCain (1851-1934), eventually assumed the duty of running the
family’s plantation.

W.A. “Bill” McCain IV, a white McCain cousin, and his wife Edwina, are
the current owners of the land. Both told the South Florida Times that
they attend the reunions. They also said the McCain campaign had asked
them not to speak to the media about the reunions, or about why the
senator has never acknowledged the family gatherings.

In addition to distancing himself from his black family members, John
McCain has taken several positions on issues that have put him at odds
with members of the larger black community.

While running for the Republican Party nomination in 2000, he sided with
protesters who were calling for the rebel battle flag to be removed from
the South Carolina statehouse, only to alter that position later.

"Some view it as a symbol of slavery. Others view it as a symbol of
heritage,” John McCain said of the flag. "Personally, I see the battle
flag as a symbol of heritage. I have ancestors who have fought for the
Confederacy, none of whom owned slaves. I believe they fought honorably.’’

Novelist Elizabeth Spencer, another white cousin of John McCain, noted
the slaves the family owned in the family’s memoirs, Landscapes of the
Heart. Sen. McCain has acknowledged reading the book, but claims to have
only glossed over entries about their slaves.

“That’s crazy,” said Spencer, who also attends the reunions in Teoc. “No
one had to tell us, because we all knew about the slaves. I may not
vote, because I don’t want anyone to think that I have an issue with
John, but I don’t want to see him become president because I think Obama
is entirely adequate, and it’s time for a Democrat.’’

Spencer acknowledged donating money to the Obama campaign and to what
she called “Democratic causes.”

Sen. John McCain was born in 1936 at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station, a
segregated military installation in the Panama Canal, where his father
was stationed in the U.S. Navy. His family returned to the states
shortly after his birth; where he went on to attend segregated schools
in the Teoc community and elsewhere around the country.

He served in the Navy, where he was a prisoner of war during Vietnam,
before being released and eventually running for Congress.

After he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982,
McCain voted against the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday in
1983. When he arrived in the U.S. Senate in 1986, he joined North
Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms in opposing the holiday again, and voted in
1994 to cut funding to the commission that marketed it.

John McCain also aligned himself with former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham.

Mecham was the governor in McCain’s home state of Arizona from January
1987 to April 1988, when he was impeached and removed from office for
campaign finance violations. As a state senator and governor, Mecham
publicly used racial slurs against black people and other minorities. He
was also a member of the John Birch Society, which opposes civil rights
legislation. In 1986, Mecham campaigned for governor on a promise to
rescind the state’s recognition of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
holiday, which he did in 1987.

Earlier this year, during the 40th anniversary recognition of King’s
assassination, McCain, by this time a presidential candidate, said he
was wrong for opposing the national King holiday.

Politics in America has long been steeped in the dynamics of the
country’s myriad cultures, diverse ethnicities, and varying religious
beliefs. Several of Sen. McCain’s black relatives say Obama’s candidacy
represents progress.

“He is denying his black and white relatives in Teoc,” said Joyce
McCain, 54,. “I think he may not want the country to know his family’s
full history, but times have changed and we need to move on, and that’s
why I’m supporting Obama.”


The most influential African American weekly newspaper in South Florida

RisingTide said...

Mr. Friedman would have better luck attending an NAACP meeting (or some other "help folks out" kinda organization).

I mean, seriously? You want black friends, you lend a helpin hand!

And yes, the man is very too much color aroused.

I've had black friends, and times in my life when I haven't had black friends. Doesn't so much matter as people think.

devinf said...

Hey. This is Devin Friedman, the author of the article. I want to sit down and respond to all your comments, problems, eviscerations both minor and major. unfortunately I have to go to the airport momentarily. So I'll just say a few things.

First: I understand how all this can come across, and I don't blame anyone for being pissed or thinking I'm insensitive or clueless. I really hope I'm not. But I hope you'll judge me on the intentions of the piece. Which was about getting people to think, and to think about whether their world is narrow, and if that's what they want.

I'm glad this has elicited a strong reaction. That was part of the the idea. I didn't want it to be offensive, but I knew it had to risk offense if it were going to get people talking and thinking.

second: yeah, it was meant to be both satirical and not. the idea of putting an ad up on craigslist and putting up fliers is patently ridiculous. that's the satire part. but the fact that lots and lots of white people live out their whole lives and never have much of a meaningful interaction with black folks (go look at videos of people from rural west virginia talking about the election) is serious. and so was the sense that my life had grown narrower as i'd gotten older. that's the real, non-satirical part of the story.

third: of course black culture isn't monolithic. but one of the great contradictions of race is that cultures are both generalizable and not. it's insane to say that black culture is one way (that there even is a 'black culture') and white culture is another way. and it's almost equally insane to say that there aren't differences. what i experienced at that party in harlem isn't representative of what black people are like. of course every party is going to be different. at the same time it was different than what i'd have experienced at a white party. people bring their cultures into things.

fourth: let me just repeat this: no way do i think black culture is monolithic. that's why i tried as much as possible for this story not to be some wrongheaded thing about "what black people are like."

fifth: 404kim, did you say "spoken like a typical white person"? seriously? come on!

sixth: i obviously have a ton to say about all this. but i just didn't want my main point to get lost in all the dissection: thinking about the repercussions of segregation. and the durability of so-called identity

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Devin's comments are interesting.

No Field my family is mostly from St. Martin, Anguilla and Curacao. My parents wore out their Mighty Sparrow records.

I had the impression that there were black writers at GQ. If not, I would be surprised if they didn't have any black staffers given the magazine's readership. Come on even Vogue has several black senior exec/contributors.

vdubjb said...

Easiest way to attract black friends is to entice black men w/ chubby white women, ha ha.

Marc B said...

"amicable state of self segregation, as long as we show mutual respect for each other and afford each other the dignity that we each deserve as human beings."

SO TRUE!

Pathetic Devin is trying REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hard to be the good, guilt-ridden, white liber-al. His confusion is very typical of whites that have been reeducated under the PC movement.

Humans naturally mix with similar people, and racial homogeneity is the most primitive way determining who "your" people are. He's allowed himself to be stripped of his self-esteem in the process. He does not understand this because of all the mixed messages received by white males over the last 20 years.

He's trying to be good, but in turn reveals what a chump he really is. I get along fine with blacks better than most white because I have ZERO white guilt and don't give a rip what they think of me or my views.

I don't get defensive when someone suggests I am a racist because I don't have anything to apologize for. I care about my people and my self-interest and do not resent them for doing the same thing.

Red Devil said...

Damn! This gets crazier: 30 tires of Obama supporters slashed. Seriously, wtf?

shani said...

That was so funny and so sad. Its like he doesn't have a culutral identity so he thinks its something you ponder over right up to the type of shoes you wear. The first thing I thought of was the book Rent a Negro until I read that he actually saw the website and didn't get a clue. Here's another related website for him, www.blackpeopleloveus.com. He sounds just like the people on this site.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

We do have a very segregated social structure in our society. Like the man said, outside of work, most folks don't associate much. Maybe the guy was trying to make that point and open the topic for discussion.
I don't go out of my way to find black friends and as a result, most of my friends are white since I live in a predominantly white part of a predominantly white state.
Maybe I SHOULD go out looking for black friends.
At least let's open the topic up for discussion before condemning the idea.
Contempt prior to investigation is never a good process.

classical one said...

Ditto with Marc B.

Red Devil said...

Well, here is a REDNECK for you

rikyrah said...

FN,

You didn't comment about Powell.

Methinks he's been kicked out of The House. The best he can do is the Patio now...LOL

daedalus2u said...

Field, the origins of xenophobia are something that I am working on in my autism research. I think it relates to what is known as the uncanny valley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

and also to the “fixing” of a personality style at a certain age. I think the "fixing" of personality occurs at the same time as children lose the ability to form a Creole language.

”You can try out all kinds of personalities and styles when you’re a kid, when you’re a teenager. But when you get older, you become either black or white, you become a honky or a brother or an Oreo or a wigger. Those seem to be the choices.”

I think that the “personality” being talked about relates to the non-verbal language that people communicate with. When you meet someone, you size them up, try and understand where they are coming from. I see this as effectively doing a Turing Test on them, check out their non-verbal communication, and see how close they are to you, or to people you are familiar with. If they are “close enough”, then you can grok them, and if you can grok them then the antipathy of the uncanny valley is not triggered.

The technical term for how people communicate is via their “Theory of mind”. You have to be able to emulate another person’s thinking process to be able to understand them. All communication is the transfer of mental states, the first person translates their mental state into language, the language is transmitted, and then the second person translates that language into their own mental state, which if it is close enough to what the original person intended means there has been communication. When the error rate goes up, then an individual can fail the other’s Turing Test, and that invokes xenophobia via the uncanny valley mechanism.

I suspect that this may derive from human evolution when there were other extant hominids, Neanderthal and others all of which are now extinct. Killing off non-human competitors may have been a “feature” when there were non-Homo sapiens to kill off. But non-humans exhibit this type of behavior too, monkeys for example will kill other monkeys that exhibit autistic behaviors.

I think there are two ways that this lack of consilience between theories of mind can occur, one through cultural differences (that would be ordinary racism), the other through disruption of the neural structures that mediate it (that is what happens in autism) (which is why people with autism are so vulnerable to being bullied (usually by the same people who are racist).

These feelings are quite automatic. Racists rationalize them as being due to the “other”, non-racists understand the feelings are about themselves.

I have Asperger’s, so the nuances of communication are difficult to impossible for me. I don’t have an automatic communication mode, it all has to be very highly processed. Some friend-type behaviors are difficult too. It isn’t that I don’t want to do them; they are just very difficult to understand and mimic.

J said...

I know this is supremely off topic but early on in this thread there was mention of a Christian college which if not through complicity then implicitly condoned the hanging of an effigy of Obama. I wish to say that such an institution has failed if it calls itself Christian. Those involved would have us believe they represent Christ through their political views, hatred and outright racism.

Am I the only one not see a major discrepancy between their views and the life and example set by Jesus Christ? If He walked the Earth today he wouldn't confine himself to reaching the good people in their pews on their respective days of worship alone. He would seek out the pimps, pushers and drug-addicts, the thieves, rapists, killers, the outcasts and the cast-offs of this great society that prides itself on it's morals so much that is tries to legislate them to the populace. Christ was and is a radical who didn't see politicians and government in the same way that the so-called Christian Right of today do. His words carried force tempered in love but they never forced themselves on a hard heart.

I was blessed to be raised by a mother who never forced her beliefs upon me but left an indelible mark upon me for the example she gave. Because of this I have come to understand that I have the power to choose to follow God. No one forces this upon me and I don't force it upon others.

While my religious views maybe lean towards the conservative my political views lean towards a more centrist stand. The greatest challenge that will face America in the coming years is silently gain strength with each passing generation. It is up to us to ensure that church (all churches) and state remain separate. Everything else will prove to be a distraction to preserving our Constitutional integrity. Let's not turn the words "Christian" or "religion" or "atheist" for that matter into weapons. It always strikes me that when someone uses the term "Christian" in a negative light they show they are unaware what a Christian is supposed to live like. Otherwise they would know that the target of their disdain is usually just as ignorant of the ideals they should strive to live towards as well, love of God and love of their neighbor (whomever that may be).

John B. said...

Hey Field, you're not letting James T. Harris off the hook are you? I demand you restore him to his rightful place as House Negro of the Day. Better yet, why not create a new honor, House Negro of the Year?

grinder said...

Here is the thing Devin: Us black folks are like any other group. We are not monolithic, and we have very diverse opinions, taste, ideologies, and yes; even ways to have fun. So there is no such thing as a black board of directors to give black people their cues on how to act and what not to like and like. I know I joke about shit like that all the time, but believe me, it's really not the case.

Really interesting posting. I can see this one from both sides. I am white, age 50, and grew up in Milwaukee, one of the most segregated cities in America. The only black people I knew were the one kid who mugged me at an amusement park, and another one who mugged me in a city park.

So, I guess it's fair to say that I grew up being afraid of black people, and seeing them as an undifferentiated group, and as seeing them as, well, exotic. I'm not proud of it, and I'm not ashamed of it. I'm telling you how it was.

It wasn't until I was in my late 20s and my job took me to Washington, D.C. for a few years that I saw what is utterly obvious to you, which is that there are all kinds of black people. I mean, it's embarrassing to say it, but I was amazed that not all black people are alike! How stupid, but it was news to my lizard brain.

One incident stands out in particular. I was in a record store, and got talking to the black clerk there. Now, in spite of my lily white background I have been a major jazz fan from way back. I grew up on Kind of Blue and My Favorite Things. Coltrane IS a saint, Miles IS God, and Bill Evans sits at the right hand of God, playing the piano.

Anyway, this black kid clerk was the nerd's nerd. His favorite band was something called The Swingles. That's when I learned that not all black people like jazz, and even though that ought to be obvious to any dork, it was a major revelation to me.

I also witnessed a black guy being rousted out of a convenience store for doing exactly the same thing I was doing: standing and reading the magazines. And one Sunday, I walked down the street and saw some white homeless guy shouting racial epithets at a black man in a suit who had not given him any money.

The first time in the convenience store, the juxtaposition didn't register on me until later. It's amazing what people don't see. The second time, I stood there asking myself what to do. The heroic but phony gesture? Ignore it? What to do? I wound up walking over to the guy and telling him that he was in no position to put anyone else down.

The guy who advertised for the black friend is self absorbed and ridiculous and I'm sure he knows how foolish he is, or at least I hope he does. But you know what? I wish I had some black friends, too. Especially ones who like jazz.

J said...

daedalus2u:

Truly enjoyed reading your scholarly exposition on communication and autism and it's relation to racism. You've succeeded in getting me to think about how I communicate with those I have differences with or with whom I disagree with fundamentally.

Any thoughts on reconciling those differences so we can co-exist with those we have difficulties in communicating with? TEACH

CoCo said...

Long-time lurker here.

Since I don't read GQ, it's hard for me to tell which parts are meant to be satire and which parts are "non-satire". His response here contradicts the excerpts from his article, and I can't help but wonder if he wrote the article for a particular audience (::coughliberalprogressivewhitescough:) and only commented here to address critcism. It will be interesting to see if he writes back after his flight to continue the "dialog" he sought to start.

IMO, his article seems silly and useless. Diversity is not a degree or award to be had. You cannot get it from attending a party in Harlem, receiving a "bro-hug", or any of the counterproductive activities he wrote about. Diversity is something that comes from everyday interaction with (and mutual respect for) people different than yourself. You can get such an experience from work, school, community orgs, gym, church/mosque/mass/etc.

Devin: your insistence that your experience going to the "black party" in Harlem was so different from your experiences at "white parties" sounds disingenuous. I've been the only black girl at "white parties" and clubs before, and there is little to no difference between the two (not even with the music these days). If you are seriously trying to broaden your horizons, there are plenty of areas in NYC you can check out to interact with all kinds of different people.

grinder said...

Here's another one that stuck out at me from living in Washington.

I had moved there from Santa Monica, CA, and in Santa Monica I would work out at this one gym where, among other people, I'd see Arnold Schwarzenegger from time to time. Surrounded by babes, natch. Anyway, it was pretty much all white, and half the people were on steroids, and there was major league L.A.-style attitude.

So I get to Silver Spring, MD, which is where I started out living. Just over the D.C. line, near a high-end neighborhood there known as "The Gold Coast." There was a YMCA nearby, and that's where I worked out. I was, if not the only white guy there, one of the few.

Remember, I'm this guy who quite literally hasn't known any black people other than the two childhood muggers. I wasn't quaking in my boots but I was somewhat on edge. In retrospect, I think the generally rudeness of the gym in Santa Monica is what did it more than anything, but being the only white guy in the gym in Silver Spring didn't make me any MORE relaxed.

Turned out that there were a whole lot of nice guys there. Didn't have to worry about asking someone for a spot (help), which was a no-no in the steroid-drenched, L.A. place. All kinds of little things made it infinitely more comfortable than where I had come from.

So, I guess little by little those things opened up my mind to some degree anyway. If there's any broader point it's just that proximity between the various ethnic groups, while not any panacea for anything, is something that had a positive impact on me, anyway.

All that said, I don't blame you at all for laughing at Devin. It was PAINFUL to read some of that stuff! Yet, some of kinda sorta rang true ...

grinder said...

Black boys grow up to be black teenagers, who (hopefully) grow up to be black men. Period. Hell, look at Obama... no matter all his accomplishments in life, there are still people that look at him and see a nigger.

That's absolutely true, but there is another reality. There are people who started out pretty damn skeptical of Obama, who came from nowhere and looked like a showboater.

Then they watched him get hit, and get hit again, and again, and again, and they saw a cool customer and a really smart man. They kept watching, and that impression sank in. So they supported him, first with some hesitation and then with increasing confidence and eventually with real conviction.

Trust me, there are those people too. You're talking to one of them.

field negro said...

"daedalus2u:

Truly enjoyed reading your scholarly exposition on communication and autism and it's relation to racism."

Co-sign with j on that one.

Devin, thanks for responding to my post and our comments. And I, like coco, hope you will continue the dialogue. I agree with you that it's important that we understand the issue of race and what divides us. But I think you are going about trying to solve the problem the wrong way. Going to a black club and meeting a couple of black folks through the Internet won't make you understand us as a culture, anymore than me reading Mark Twain, and listening to Dylan, will make me understand yours.

I love white folks like grinder, because they are honest. (His Coltrane reference doesn't hurt with me, either) And at the end of the day, honesty is the only way to solve the problem of race in A-merry-ca. If we continue dancing around the subject and bull shitting each other, we will never get anwywhere.

Now about that free subscription......let me stop, before you think black folks always want free shit....well, actually..never mind.

"Hey Field, you're not letting James T. Harris off the hook are you? I demand you restore him to his rightful place as House Negro of the Day. Better yet, why not create a new honor, House Negro of the Year?"

Yes jon b, that sorry Negro should be in the house Hall Of Fame. Maybe we can do that sometime. Everyone send in their nomination and we vote on that bad boy.

shani, thanks for reminding me about that site. That's another good one.

Robert M said...

Wait till you have to deal w/ all the people whom "were down w/ Obama from the begining."

In the mean time, courtesy of Pam's House Blend: Get ready Field its about Killadellphia:Philly election official on long lines: no need to worry about disenfranchisement - get a life (+)
read the whole thing:
http://pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7665

GoldenAh said...

I read something a while ago that claimed Americans now have fewer friends than they had in the past. Supposedly, we're down to 1 or 2 good buddies and that's it.

There was a book out about this - the lone bowler, or something. The closest friend people have is their spouse or significant other.

As for the writer, I remember Charlayne Hunter-Gault saying she found the North to be more socially segregated than the South. Although how anyone can be in NYC and racially segregated I find mighty hard to believe. It's an effort to ignore the different people(s) around you.

Like someone said, maybe the real issue should be: Why is the media in NYC discriminating against hiring black people?

As for me, if you want to "hire" me as a friend, I'm willing, but you can't be freaky, sneaky, or crazy. I'm certainly not a hip funky black chic.

grinder said...

Lots of people are looking for the magic bullet. I see it all the time in Democrats, and it drives me crazy. You know, that magic moment, like when Nixon came out in the summer of 1974 and admitted, Everything they said about me is true, and for a brief moment the scales fall from everyone's eyes and we're one big happy family.

Well, okay, if Obama wins 54% of the vote and takes West Virginia and Indiana along with the rest of them, and the cameras capture people around the country dancing in the streets, you just might see me there too, basking in the moment and hoping for a better day.

But then will come Wednesday, and reality will set in, which is that you build (or tear down) walls stone by stone, over time. field negro, you can't understand white culture by listening to Dylan because there is no white culture. There are many white cultures. I can't understand black culture by listening to A Love Supreme or reading Ralph Ellison because there isn't one black culture.

That's what I learned from living in Washington, D.C. for those years. It's all in the balance, which is something I find myself saying a lot more these days. It's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and sometimes a whole lot of something over there. I think all of this works better for people if you've got simple proximity.

One more story. After Washington, I moved to Boston. I started out in Charlestown. I lived in the high school where the black guy was pictured being rammed in the gut by a white guy using an American flag as a battering ram. They had converted it to apartments.

Charlestown is very quaint, and very Irish. Black people would not want to live there. But neither would "yuppie" non-Irish whites, with the word "yuppie" meaning anyone who wears a suit to work. Two and a half years and some unbelievably sick crimes (fortunately not perpetrated on me), I moved to the racially integrated neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, and my attitude about Boston improved virtually overnight. It was amazing to be greeted with a smile. Soon enough, I was smiling back. Who knew?

I must say, it would be nice to have some black friends, but I don't exactly think anyone's going to see my advertising for them on the Internet or prowling "black parties" looking for "bro hugs." I'm not a hugger, bro or otherwise.

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sharon in CT said...

"There was a book out about this - the lone bowler, or something. The closest friend people have is their spouse or significant other."

Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Robert D. Putnam.

I predict that with the coming belt-tightening many of us will be rediscovering the pleasures of spending more time with friends, neighbors, and family, and that's a Good Thing.

Exodus Mentality said...

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the problem, and even hostility, so many appear to have with young Devin. (By the way Devin, if you read this, mad props for having the cajones to come into the field with this conversation.)

I understand why you might think him quite confused, for at least in regards to Black people he most certainly is; and he pretty much admits that he is. But then again aren't most non-African-Americans quite confused about African-Americans. Hell I know plenty of brothas and sistas who are confused about African-Americans. We all know we are not a monolith, but we can't quite seem to get a grip on what it is that could or should define us as a group (even though by and large we still insist on identifying with the "group"), other than the shared legacy of slavery.

But why is it odd for him to want Black friends? Why is it not admirable, at least in the sense that a sincere desire to transcend the racial boundaries he knows that he has been conditioned with should be a laudable thing?

So he doesn't work around many Black people; you suggest the man quit his job?!?!?! Why is that so shocking? We already know there are plenty of industries and companies where there are few if any Black people working. GQ and the Publishing industry are just a small part of a bigger problem. But maybe if more of those white folks had a Black friend, more Black people would find out about, and be in position to gain entry into, areas heretofore protected by nepotism and friends helping friends.

Devin already laid the satire label on the Craig's list and flyers ideas; but how would you suggest meeting a potential friend from a culture with which you rarely find yourself in contact? Say I wanted an Amish friend. Why is it so ridiculous to put an ad where an Amish person might see it? Why does the method have any bearing on the intent? I've actually made a number of very interesting connections via the internet; is it so unreasonable to think that Devin could meet a Black person on the internet and ultimately become friends?

Does it mean that Devin, or anyone else, really believes that all people of a particular race are the same, just because they buy into some of the stereotypes? Don't we all buy into some of the stereotypes; aren't some of them in fact, far to often true? I know some Black people who fit every negative stereotype you could ever think of, some who actually fit all of them. The same is true of white people.

I am so down with the "Amicable State of Self Segregation". Left to my own devices I would likely not move into an area that was not majority Black. There's safety in numbers and for a young Black man growing up in the newly desegregated south, that's a lesson that is taught very early and very often.

But I recognize that I feel that way as a direct result of my conditioning as a Black man in a white supremacist world. I often find myself torn between passing my conditioning on to my children as a necessary survival mechanism, or giving them an opportunity to try to face an evolving world without some of the burdens of race that were forced upon us. It's a slippery slope.

Devin, for what it's worth, friendship is a big deal to a lot of people. I myself have less than 10 real friends. Maybe a couple dozen close associates, even more semi-close associates, but very few real friends. Therefore, I will not even pretend that making a friend is as easy as that, even if you set out with that very intention. But I am more than willing to get to know you and perhaps through that association we could become friends. I'll even show you how to roll a blunt. I will not, however, tell you how I learned; at least not until we get to know each other a little better.

The Exodus Mentality isn't hard to find.

404Kim said...

Devin,

Actually, what I said was "spoken like a TRUE white person"...

I think the dumbest line in your article is as follows:
"I’ll also concede that I hoped this might yield an actual friend and not someone who only thought it’d be cool to be in a magazine". Seriously? (As you would say). You didn't REALLY mean that, right? Is that how you found your actual white friends? On Craigslist?


Oh wait - I found another dumb line...
"The next day, Amber C—— wrote me to say, “so u wanna get some black friends well I’m black.“ Amber, what’s the attitude about?. Attitude? Really? How so?



Devin, I guess I find your article foolish because I went to private schools, which were well mixed, my whole life. I've never had to work at having friends of either race. Probably because I'm a likable person. So, maybe your issue isn't the publishing industry in which you work, maybe it's your personality.


How'd you find this site anyway? We already know you didn't have any black friends to tell you about it.


----------------------------

Grinder,

Believe me, I know exactly what you're talking about. I traveled to SC on behalf of the Obama campaign about 5 times between September 2007 and January 2008. The first trip I went on, there were no white people in attendance. By the 3rd tip, I would say about 1/3 of those on the vans were white. By January, there were more white people on my van than blacks. I watch the movement, in the south, and it is a beautiful thing.

404Kim said...

"But why is it odd for him to want Black friends?"

Why is it NOT odd? Do you make a checklist of your friends? Fat friend, check! Gay friend, check! Unemployed friend, check! Muslim friend, check! Quadriplegic friend, check! Blind friend? Oh lawd! I don't have a blind friend... gotta run out and get one of those. Like you keep a pantry of friends and when you realize you're low or out of one type, you can just go shopping for a new one.


Exodus continues...
"...but how would you suggest meeting a potential friend from a culture with which you rarely find yourself in contact? Say I wanted an Amish friend. Why is it so ridiculous to put an ad where an Amish person might see it?"

Devin, is that you???

grinder said...

Believe me, I know exactly what you're talking about. I traveled to SC on behalf of the Obama campaign about 5 times between September 2007 and January 2008. The first trip I went on, there were no white people in attendance. By the 3rd tip, I would say about 1/3 of those on the vans were white. By January, there were more white people on my van than blacks. I watch the movement, in the south, and it is a beautiful thing.

Ah, but you make an implicit assumption that to be hesitant is to be white. Not so. One of my brothers was an early Obama supporter. My mother, who arrived in grade school speaking German, gave me a copy of The Audacity of Hope for Christmas in 2007. And so on.

My skepticism about Obama wasn't because he was black. (I know, I know, you've heard it before.) It was because he was new. My line was, "Let him pay his dues (by which I meant in the political system) and run for president in 2012 or 2016. He's a rising star in the Democratic Party, but he is unseasons."

Also, I didn't like the adulation he was getting in January and February. People didn't seem to know why they were for him. I don't trust enthusiasm. To understand why, read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. None of this was race based. It was a matter of Obama being too new, and his support being too intense, for my sensibilities.

Hillary Clinton performed a huge service. She kicked him around. I didn't like it, and I especially didn't like the undertone. It turned me off in a major way, and it embarrassed me. Yet, in the larger scheme of things she performed a service because she made it possible for Obama to show (what to me is) his most attractive trait, his steadiness under pressure.

Look, I'm a Democrat, and the day I don't vote for one is the day a bolt of lightning will issue from the sky and burn my right hand off. So, it's really a matter of how intense I'm going to be about it. Obama's steadiness under pressure, together with his intelligence (and NOT graded on a curve -- to me, there is no affirmative action when it comes to the presidency, ever), have impressed me more than I can really express.

I know that my frame of reference screams "white suburban." So be it. But, to the extent that it's possible, I really think I've embraced the guy not on the color of his skin but on the content of his character. So, he's going to be the next president, and that'll be good. Now, let's see what happens when he fucks up, because he's going to. They all do, and that will be the test.

p.s.: By the way, as painfully embarrassing as some of Devin's stuff was, give the guy credit for willing to be foolish. I see some bravery there, so I guess I say have a laugh but be sure to let him know that being human is to be a fool. Maybe I'm being too trusting. Who knows?

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

A lot of people submit personal ads in which they say they are "single, white, female" and are looking for a "tall white man, blond hair, blue eyes."

If it's alright to specify that you only want to date white people, why shouldn't it also be permissible to use the personal ads to expand your friendships and romances beyond white people? The problem is not that whites would use personal ads to find an appropriate Black friend.

The problem is that for over a hundred years they have used personal ads to exclude the possibility of meeting Black friends, while expressing a determination ONLY to meet other white people.

The question is, "If whites regularly use personal ads to exclude the possibility of meeting a Black person, is it permissible to also use them for the purpose of meeting a Black person? Is it alright to move from Jim Crow segregationist ads to exploratory affirmative action ads? Hey, why the hell not?

We should expect some new social behavior in an Obama nation. Otherwise, what's the point?

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Fascinating story, including the way his coworkers reacted. There is a naivete about Devin I find appealing, and Field, I thought your criticism much too harsh.

For every Devin who wants to build a bridge to good racial relations, there are at least 10,000 haters who don't.

I imagine that mocking him for how he went about it in such a hostile way puts a chilling effect on other sincere whites who haven't a clue how to expand their friendships to blacks.

It was pure bullshit too when you said about the bro hug and black parties. It exists. Overall, I was disappointed in the racially divisive way you handled this story. You could have done a lot better.

Exodus Mentality said...

404kim, you may be a homegirl, I was born and raised in the A, grew up in College Park. And I am definitely not Devin.

And I get your point, that one should not need to try to develop some superficial list of friends so as to be politically or otherwise correct. However, I wouldn't equate that checklist mentality with a sincere desire to meet and learn about other people; to acknowledge our differences and chose to learn from each other rather than contend with each other over inconsequential contrasts.

You put too much stock into Devin's use of the word "friend". he doesn't really want a Black friend in the sense that you or I refer to our closest and dearest companions and acquaintances. Devin wants to meet and interact with his fellow citizens of African American descent in an amicable, cordial, open and understanding fashion. He finds that difficult to do, and I understand. Maybe it's different for you. Maybe you have no trouble interacting with anyone, no matter their race, sex, culture, language, or beliefs. For most of the rest of us, those types of relationships takes work. Quite often it's work that simply doesn't get done. for lack of opportunity or lack of motivation.

One of my few dear friends happens to be a quadriplegic, paralyzed and wheelchair bound. Just so happens I met him in a strip club, but I've never ,before or since, intentionally put myself in a position to try to interact with more people with disabilities. Perhaps I should have. I've learned so much from him that I would never have known had I not known him. I realize that because my associations are limited, so too is the scope and breadth of my understanding. Fro this reason alone I can see much to aspire to in Devin's desire to expand his circle of acquaintances.

Anonymous said...

There is a completely different angle to view this from. Could it be that people are just looking for friends, period? There are a million Internet sites for searching out sex partners, but how many for just looking for new friends?

Dark Moon said...

Frankly, I think Devin’s quest is condescending and uber sanctimonious. Only a White man has the privilege to seek out black friends and as Blacks in America, despite the complexity of those from other Diaspora, our minority status forces us to interact with Whites on every conceivable level, even if we don’t elect to have White friends in our personal space. We have this knowledge about them and can on most occasion respond with some level of humanity because we don’t have a choice in our day to day interactions. However Whites like Devin always have a choice, and even if the specter of an Obama presidency has shined the light on his own self imposed (because that is what it is not some random happenstance) exclusion, nevertheless, when do most whites ever think about blacks except when confronted with a possible murder on court TV or the value of their property values dropping.

Obviously, Devin’s admission that the publicity world is all white should hardly be surprising in New York, when shows like Friends often hermitically seal themselves from the unspoken pollution of Black inhabiting their bizarro world. Derision for his quest deserves criticism, but his tortuous rationalizations only accentuate the belief that Whites see Blacks as other and often as perpetual refugees to paraphrase Langston Hughes. This is strikingly highlighted from the Neanderthals at McPalin rallies and the supposed angst ridden Independent White voter, who still keep asking, “Who is Obama or I can relate to him at all.

Still in all, despite the complexity of Black culture in the Diaspora, I will contend that there is a definite Black American Culture which is quite unique and goes beyond the bro-hug. It is an amalgam, of strife, derision, oppression and art. It is distinct and in many cases separate from the omnipotence of White culture.

Deacon Blue said...

I think we need to look at it from the potential friends' perspective...

Do you think gays/lesbians like it when people pick them just because it's cool to have a lesbian friend (and there are plenty of people who do)?

Do you think a wiccan or someone similar wants to be befriended just because it's novel to have a "pagan friend"? (I've known people who do that, too.)

It's not bad to look to have diverse friends. But when you target a specific group, you are making them a token group. Plain and simple.

Seems the better thing to do is keep one's eyes open at work and not get focused on your own color/class/specialty/etc. group. (assuming your workplace is large enough to be diverse)...and look for natural and logical ways to engage with someone you see (black or otherwise "different") with whom you might share some actual friendship-worthy trait.

Or to simply go places that are more diverse (and not necessarily specific to one specific segment of "diversity") in the hopes you'll find compatible people who take you outside your "white zone."

I mean, really, sure, personals ads specify a lot, and that's fine...and maybe that is one legit way to look for friends of difference. But going to places to specifically target a certain group feels like stalking.

I mean, if you're a woman using the personals and you decide to call up a guy who's looking for someone with nice breasts and blonde hair, and you happen to fit the bill, great. But how many women want to be approached at work or in a bar or wherever with the knowledge the person is focused on their chest and hair color and not their personality?

devinf said...

Hey. It's Devin Friedman, the pathetic, naive, and some other choice adjectives, author of the article (sometimes) in discussion here. I have taken my plane trip, and I type to you from Atlanta.

I have to say, it's excellent to see this whole thing debated so seriously. And I'd be happy to take questions from people. Which is way better than assuming things about me. Like, for instance, that I have no friends and possess a bad personality. Was that a serious criticism? Of someone you've never met?

The thing about writing an article is that you create it with certain intentions, interlace it with certain meanings, and send if off into the world. And then it's up to people like the people in this forum to find those meanings, or not. At that point it becomes disconnected from me, and readers can assign their own meanings. A lot of them, as posted here, I'd disagree with. But like I said: the thing doesn't belong to me any more, it belongs to readers.

That said, I just want to remind you guys of one thing. The point of this story was simple. Find a funny, outrageous way to show the alarming lack of interaction between races in certain parts of the country. I agree that it's kind of ridiculous to target certain groups for friendship, like a social affirmative action program. On the other hand, I find it equally ridiculous not to look around and see what your world is like and if you'd like it to be different.

I spent a lot of my life living in an integrated neighborhood, going to integrated schools, belonging to integrated groups, etc. And to look around and see that my world was getting increasingly white didn't make me happy. I'm sure I'll get some hate for saying this, but: being around people who all come from the same background and listen to the same music and wear the same clothes is kind of boring for me. And sure, it was my fault. I made the decisions in my lie. But it's my feeling that people get increasingly socially complacent when they get older, people cocoon themselves. And I think that is not only bad for society, but it makes people unnameably unhappy.

Dark Moon said something interesting when he wrote: "Only a White man has the privilege to seek out black friends and as Blacks in America, despite the complexity of those from other Diaspora, our minority status forces us to interact with Whites on every conceivable level, even if we don’t elect to have White friends in our personal space." He/she's right about that. First, he's saying there's a white world and a black world, and I'd like to see some folks accusing him of suggesting monoliths, too! But again, when it comes to real life, there both is and isn't discrete racial identity. But yes, black people often have to live in a white world, which he says, but white people don't often find themselves living in a black world. And a lot of my article was directed at people like me. Dark Moon is saying: it's not the same to be white and black, because black people have the quote unquote white world foisted on them, which some people may argue with. And white people can be totally oblivious to the idea that they're living in a "white world" because they don't know anything else.

Anyway, I digress. My main point here is: don't take the Craigslist stuff seriously. It was meant to be symbolic, satirical. And if you don't think there are repercussions to racial cocooning, check out white peoples' freaked out reactions to Reverend Wright.

Devin

grinder said...

It's really unfashionable to ever admit in any Internet posting that you made a mistake in a previous posting, because then you've lost the argument and you're a worthless shithead. But, so be it, I will admit a mistake.

Early on, I didn't see that Devin had been partly satirical. I took him entirely literally. To recall Gore Vidal, America is the home of the literal and the land of the dull, and in with respect to what Devin originally wrote that includes me.

If you take Devin less literally, then he's got more to say and it's not quite as ridiculous. His basic point about the isolation between the races in America is, in my opinion anyway, a good one.

If we only experience each other through filters, then we really don't experience each other. I wrote earlier that my first two black acquaintances were young muggers. Being mugged is a shocker no matter what, but it was even more shocking to me as a young white kid because, until that point, my two black heroes had been Martin Luther King (loved the 1963 speech -- used to listen to it on my record player along with JFK's inauguration speech on the same record) and Hank Aaron, who just sat there hitting home runs in Milwaukee without getting a lot of attention except mine. I'd have arguments with my big brother about who was a better home run hitter, Aaron or Ruth, and in the mid-1960s at the age of eight, I said Hank Aaron would ultimately hit more home runs. I still remember the game my dad took me to where Hank Aaron hit two in one nights in front of about 4,000 people. My ticket cost 50 cents.

Anyway, I digress. When the black kids mugged me I felt betrayed. Both times were when I was 10 years old, the summer after the riots. Interesting, huh? Hopes smashed nationally and personally. But even at that age I knew that my images of black people had been unrealistic, and that the kids who got my money weren't obligated to be Martin Luther King. But in my lizard brain I wanted them to be.

So, the mediated images have their downsides. I loved not just jazz but Motown, so like a lot of white suburban kids I grew up thinking that blacks had rhythm and could dance. Well, shit. Wouldn't it have been a whole lot better if I had known some black klutzes? Still, I sure do miss the Temptations, especially when I hear (sorry, can't help it) bullshit hip-hop that is not only an insult to women, to civility in general, and to music, but to rhythm. And now, in the usual pattern, the white performers horn in on it. None too soon if you ask me, because then maybe something new will come out of black musical culture that will make me see sunshine on a cloudy day. At least once every six months, I miss Ella, who was liquid sunshine.

Anyway, no one can solve everything, and Devin, maybe that's what you ought to meditate on. We're all a bunch of loose ends, black and white and Hispanic and Asian and (increasingly, thank God) those who are some of each. You can't solve everything. Make your aims more tentative and your dreams more realistic -- emphasis on "real" -- and it'll pay off bigger.

Everybody else, including me, yeah listen to the words and the notes, but don't forget the music. Everybody's music is something that wasn't there before. The worst we can usually say is that we don't like it, but might see it differently on a new day.

grinder said...

Geez, now is this weird or what? Devin wrote, "Anyway, I digress." And I wrote, "Anyway, I digress." With no snarky intent. I hadn't even noticed it until I re-read that two posts. That scares me. I think I need some black friends, right?

Deacon Blue said...

Well, Devin, with anything as highly charged as racial stuff, you're bound to get a wide range of responses, and some of them negative. Being white is still a position of privilege, and so when black folks see us say things like, "I need black friends," it's bound to raise a couple eyebrows.

I think the problem is, if I have followed this thread sufficiently, is that you tried to be both serious and satirical at the same time, and perhaps shot yourself in the foot for doing so.

Had it been a completely satirical "I need a black friend" piece...or had it been a completely serious, "How can whites and blacks more easily cross the friendship line" you would have been fine.

But with a dual approach, it is hard (I think) for many people to sort out how much of your motivation is white guilt vs. annoyingly empty liberal inclusiveness vs. genuine desire to be part of a more diverse community vs. curiosity vs. social activism vs. whatever else.

Kat said...

I don't mind people looking for a particular friend but when people specifically searches for someone from a particular group, it is wierd. In order for friendships to last, it must be genuine.

grinder said...

Show me someone with pure motives and I'll show you a bullshitter, so in an odd way I've warmed up to Devin because he's willing to be a fool in public. Gotta give him some points for that. Most people don't get much farther than the recurring dream about going to school in their underwear.

Jody said...

Devin,
I will take your challenge seriously, to take a look at how we are socially segregated and that in your own life you are not happy with how your world has narrowed. So, here is my suggestion. I offer this to you from a friend of mine. She challenged me to for the next year ONLY reader authors of color. Be it literature, newspaper writers, whatever. It will, I promise you, change your perspective and widen your horizons. There will be discoveries that do not come at the expense of someone having to "educate you." Which by the way... it is your job to educate yourself. About 20 years ago, I had the same sense of isolation you say you are experiencing now. I do not and have not had that experience for years. This was my first step. If you are serious about this, shoot me an email at j.dodd@lycos.com and I will be happy to talk to you more.

bean twn chica said...

grinder- jamaica plain is full of Puerto Ricans, and charlestown is the most segregated, racist part of town interesting you decided to move their first. Why raise the point of what music you listen to or who mugged you? Unknowingly or not you sound like many prejudging whites. Some black kids did me wrong and I like black music what is your point? Who bases their friendships on color why not character? This is why I find this article idiotic. It seems a mask to hide prejudgment.

Interesting that you didn't bring up any negative stories about the whites in Charlestown because I know right now if I went to that neighborhood some one is going to yell nigger. I grew up with whites throwing rocks at my bus, do I use that as a basis every time I meet a white person ? NO, I build friendships based on a person's character not music. Like so many whites your attitude and interactions with blacks are being mugged and music. I only hear whites generalize like this. I believe your isolation like Devin's is a conscious decision. I don't know any blacks or whites that all listen to the same music. Devin's article seems idiotic to me, I know it's an exercise to open up a discussion but really? we are all Americans, we all grew up with MTV, Ronald Reagan, assassinations, Frosted Flakes,slinky, etc.

Prejudging whites seems to focus only on the differences, like black people are some aliens from an unknown world. That is the problem, we are all human and we share the same experiences being amerikkan.Base your friendships on character, not color, not music, maybe then Devin will find he has a variety of friends.

Why does it take a natural disaster for people to see each other as fellow human beings?

Janice said...

The larger question is where you make your friends? For me it is in my neighborhood and at work. As a Black person in Biotech in Boston, that usually means they are all white. My Black friends are all from college, it feels like from here on out I am stuck. So I can understand that if you do not live or work with a diverse population that is it as far as making a more diverse group of friends. Sadly, people like me are stuck with triple shifts of being the 'Black friend'...lol. But heck if you are a good friend and dont ask me too many stupid questions (or ask to touch my hair), I really dont care...It just isnt that serious.What is the worst that could happen? You meet this dude who is looking for a friend, you get along with him and you end up with your umpteenth white friend or you dont get along and he joins the ranks of the 1000 white people you meet everyday who is not your friend. No harm done.

grinder said...

beantwnchica, I was working downtown and I wanted to live within walking distance, so it was either Charlestown or the North End. I visited both places, and I liked the quaintness of Charlestown. Later on, I realized what a shithole it was. Looking back, my only regret is that I stayed as long as I did. Should have left within the first year.

I don't base my views of black people on the two kids from childhood. I mention it as biography, really. We're in some ways the sum total of our experience, direct and indirect. I grew up scared of black people at a direct level. I could bullshit you and say something else that would sound better, but I don't do that. It sucks in some ways, but it's real. It's where I came from, and it's a fact of life.

Adult experiences, and education, but especially experiences, gave me a different perspective. It's a journey from one place to another. People are incomplete, and that includes me. And yeah, you're right, liking jazz is not a prerequisite for being friends with anyone, including a black person. I was musing about music, not establishing a criterion.

Yeah, I remember shortly after moving to JP, having a cab driver say, ah, Jamaica Spain, when I told him where I was going. At which point I remember pouring it out to him about how I had moved there from this all-white Charlestown, and couldn't have been happier to be out of there and in Jamaica Spain.

I found Boston a fascinating city in all kinds of ways. A very tribal place with lots of neighborhood identity. I just wish the neighborhoods didn't seem to hate each other as much as they do. But in Boston, the neighborhoods were so distinct that if you didn't like where you were living, you could pick yourself up and move to a whole new world. Took me too long to realize that, I suppose.

I'm not obsessed with any of this. I stumbled on this site after creating a satirical site about Obama's SECRET PLAN to implement Black Socialism in America, including making "Muslim" one of the official languages. There was a comment there from a black guy, and I followed links, and here I am.

Devon's stuff was ridiculous but I could relate to it. I could also relate to laughing at it, because it's absurd. But give people an ounce of credit for realizing how ridiculous it all is. It kinds of reminds me of when Gerald Ford's agriculture secretary said that all black people wanted was loose shots, a tight pussy, and a warm place to take a shit. I was 18 years old, voting in my first election, and I laughed my ass off at the outrageousness of the comment, not just in itself, but in the sense of a man aiming a bazooka at each foot and pulling the triggers.

Much later, I thought to myself that maybe the guy's real mistake was attributing it just to black people. After all, who stuck George W. in office, and why? The comment was a crude remark about idiocy and complacency and absurdity, which is all around us.

Adam said...

Field,

Here is the new question that every white "liberal-minded" person who spends time on the internet will ask themselves- "Why aren't there any black people on my Facebook?"

Occasionally I am still asked about how or why I married acrossed racial/ethnic lines. My answer is the same, "Because I fell in love with her! I could see myself having children and growing old with her!"

For good measure, I'll throw this in too: "You know she has to be a saint if she married a white man!"

LOL!

Good thread, here, Field. Hits home on several levels with me!

-Adam

grinder said...

Typo up there: "Loose shoes ..."

grinder said...

By the way, here is a bit of good news: Obama is doing 4 points better among whites this year than Kerry did in 2004. Looks like the difference is because young people are much more pro-Obama this time than they were pro-Kerry last time.

Take your hope where you can find it, I say. I never would have imagined that we'd have a black president, much less a liberal Democratic black president whose middle name was Hussein. Avoid the cemeteries on the night of Nov. 4th, because too many people will be turning over in their graves.

Anonymous said...

This shit gets more surreal by the day:

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/22/al-qaeda-linked-web-site-backs-mccain-president/

Dark Moon said...

First, he's saying there's a white world and a black world, and I'd like to see some folks accusing him of suggesting monoliths, too! But again, when it comes to real life, there both is and isn't discrete racial identity. But yes, black people often have to live in a white world, which he says, but white people don't often find themselves living in a black world.

No we are not a monolith by far, but we are seen, collectively, as something far more alien and insidious and rather monstrous, as an be seen by the hate, like pus, that is re-surfacing once again.

An interesting point regarding your ersatz experience into the Black world is that you have, given your assumed privilege, the social fluency to gravitate from your sanitized white world to the black world and for the most part are accepted without the specter of cross burnings or irate home owner’s association members clamoring for your ejection. Blacks often do allow whites into their public space and in your case, you received quasi acceptance for your efforts. It is interesting how easy you can enjoy our strange rituals and you can look on with mildly amused anthropological condescension, whereas Blacks are penalized and are often treated as suspect for invading a White spaces, neighborhoods, and towns. The ugly reality of Sundown Towns would certainly not exist if whites were as colorblind and self effacing when it comes to race and that blacks are the ones with anger management issues and low morals.

In any case, you have choices and you can continually reinvent who you are without being saddled by debilitating stereotypes and the requisite status as the global boogey man/woman. You can dabble in the tar pit, soak in the magical Negro funk and fairy dust, but when you grow tired you can always slough off the tar muck, put on a clean linen suit, and become miraculously innocuous, yet safely ensconced as part of the white majority.

How many of your tangentially black acquaintances or associates (if they are indeed real) can blithely follow behind you. And I will say again, whites rarely if ever think of Blacks, if at all, unless it is negative footnote in the media or a personal experience that tars us all. Other than that, like the miner canary, we dine on your consistent incongruence.

grinder said...
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grinder said...
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Marc B said...

"How many of your tangentially black acquaintances or associates (if they are indeed real) can blithely follow behind you."

Many. I have seen blacks in very small numbers moving freely in majority white social and work settings with little or no concern in Memphis, TN for decades. Whites are much more willing to cut slack to or even encourage blacks in association. As far as the "there goes the neighborhood", scenario, it pertains to lower class blacks with ghetto ways, not the Bougies. Most whites just don't want to see their neighborhood become blighted like an urban S-hole. It's about culture and class more than race.

The situation is very different when you are the lone white in a pack of urban blacks. The term racial cold war comes to mind, and that is from someone that spends A LOT of time in the hood and generally gets along with the brother man. I can only imagine what it is like for a suburban white that has been culturally insulated and doesn't know the score.

When the situation is reversed, I see much more rudeness and hostility directed at whites as soon as the numbers are in the favor of the local majority population. Any white guy that has been the only white person walking into an unfamiliar black bar (or business with nobody to vouch for them) knows the drill. But then again, we have no business being there in the first place, so why complain. Blacks are among the few groups considered OK to claim turf and maintain tribal unity.

When a white gets beat up (or worse) in the hood, they weren't supposed to be there in the first place. When same thing happens to a black, it's automatically a hate crime.

grinder said...
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Bob Godwin said...

When I lived in Detroit, I had a lot of friends, mostly black. I was mainly a jazz musician at the time, plus the racial make up of the city, so that should come as no surprise, I guess. I live in a small, 99.8% white town and have no friends to speak of here. Guess what I'm trying to say is that city folk are more my type, no matter what their skin color is.

Oh, and Marc B, not sure where you're from, but there aren't many small towns around here that a black person could even drive through, much less walk into a bar, And judging from what I'm seeing at Palin/McCain rallies, the same would hold true in most of "real" America.

(And just to let you know, my uncle was the mayor of a curtain major Alabama city during the '60s. What happened there during a visit at the age of ten changed my life.)

Black Rose said...

Dark Moon well said and honest. I am looking forward to Devin's response to your comments.

Dark Moon said...

Many. I have seen blacks in very small numbers moving freely in majority white social and work settings with little or no concern in Memphis, TN for decades. Whites are much more willing to cut slack to or even encourage blacks in association.


Small being the operative word.

You didn’t understand the question I proposed to the previous poster. I am asking directly, how many can follow behind and enter into his space without being treated as less than human and without whites doing a double take and getting nervous or unsure if a black person would enter. I’m not talking about sleep walking through the town square or passing each other on a people thronged thoroughfare and a curt nod as acceptable, but then I would hardly expect your “encouragement of blacks association” would equal having a gaggle of black –in laws within your family tree. Naturally Martin Luther King was assassinated there and as recompense there is a civil rights museum, in the same manner that Berliners, in Germany must have a death mask for the millions of Jews that were led to their deaths.

Nevertheless, you would negate that reality of Blacks with the usual tired rhetorical counterpoint that Blacks do it to. You obviously don’t get that White flight doesn’t factor in whether a Black family is a “bougie” or a ghetto infested pariah. Any presence of a Black person will effect the property values for Whites, regardless of the economic status of that black person. One family may be marginally tolerated but any more than you will literally see whites seeking higher ground. In your own city, whites specifically left Memphis because of the re-segregation in the schools. Did they move because of the threat of violence that is always associated with blacks? No they moved because they did not want theirprecious white children to be polluted by the presence of their sitting next to a Black child.

On the other hand, reverse gentrification of many supposed black blighted neighborhoods have a re-resurgence of White people who go about freely in black spaces without threat of being car-jacked mugged or brutalized as can be seen in places like Harlem et al. And I would wager that a Black person would just as easily been the victim, since Black on Black crime regrettably supercedes any threat that a white boy being violated because he happened to pass a dope hole. I know because I have lived in gentrified neighborhood and they attended “our” block parties, dined in “our” restaurants and gawked at “our” loud behaviors without the threat of soul-destroying violence.

Still that doesn’t negate the titanium hardened racial divide that permeates the state and despite the relative size of Tennessee there are at least 30 White Hate groups, that have been reported with the Southern Poverty Law Center and with the fact that several Sundown Towns still existed there (and other parts of America where the threat of “That One” putting so many white people into a lather that Obama will place them in socialist slavery) as was exhaustively documented by James Loewen, I am loath to put any stock in any anonymous who thinks that blacks are free to shuck and jive, but often go before dark to there separate White and Black enclaves.

Marc B said...

Dark Moon,

"but then I would hardly expect your “encouragement of blacks association” would equal having a gaggle of black –in laws within your family tree."

I was mentioning the general white population here. As stated in an earlier post, I live near and associate with non-blacks in my free-time. Race-mixing would not please any members of my family, even the Obamatrons. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

"was assassinated there and as recompense there is a civil rights museum, in the same manner that Berliners, in Germany must have a death mask for the millions of Jews that were led to their deaths."

That is a ridiculous analogy. The systematic elimination of millions of people is not equal to the death of a single or even multiple civil rights leaders. Besides, there is little direct connection between local black youth in their 20's and the King assassination. There are other reasons for any antipathy. I'm sure someone like you has a laundry list of them at the ready.

"since Black on Black crime regrettably supercedes any threat that a white boy being violated because he happened to pass a dope hole."

So, you would prefer a higher ratio of white crime victims and you also casually use the condescending and inflammatory term "white boy". If whites ever engage in destructive behaviors in similar percentages as blacks, your dream will come true. I am an admitted separatist, but you showing your true colors with that statement.

"Did they move because of the threat of violence that is always associated with blacks?"

I suppose watching major cities burning all over the US in the 1960's and 1970's should have made forced integration an exciting prospect for them. Why should whites be allowed to follow self-preservation and survival instincts? Besides, attitudes have changed in the last 30 years. Many of your views on the Southern US are locked in 1960's civil rights era strife. Blacks are a majority population in most major cities here, and are also well-represented in supposed Sun-Down towns in Palin country.

"Still that doesn’t negate the titanium hardened racial divide that permeates the state and despite the relative size of Tennessee there are at least 30 White Hate groups, that have been reported with the Southern Poverty Law Center"

Those numbers are skewed. The SPLC lumps European-American advocacy organizations with groups that advocate racial hatred and direct violence. The numbers of active KKK/ NAZI types is extremely low. If they are so numerous, than where are all the racist attacks taking place against blacks. When was the last time they dealt with Southern Poverty Law anyway? Not often. because their primary activity is race baiting.


"I am loath to put any stock in any anonymous who thinks that blacks are free to shuck and jive, but often go before dark to there separate White and Black enclaves."

But just enough to dedicate the time and energy to counter my post. So, Dark Moon is your legal name...


Marc B.

grinder said...

European-American advocacy organizations

Could you kindly favor us with some names of those organizations that you feel have been unfairly maligned? This should be good.

Dark Moon said...

But just enough to dedicate the time and energy to counter my post. So, Dark Moon is your legal name...

Right.

However you felt the need to inveigle yourself into the conversation when my initial response was clearly directed at another poster, so your simulated effrontery that I even took the effort to respond to your depressingly familiar screed is moot. It was offensive because you have without much effort, resoundingly proved my original point ( even with the the added bonus of finding the presence of blacks in your familiar tree offensive). And Naturally as a committed separatist being white allows you to exercise that privilege of residing in a sanitized white world. And what is even more evident, is that you have no authority to speak on the Black experience when you have plainly chosen as a committed separatist, to interact with Blacks like cardboard cut outs in a 4th rate western, without seeing the heart and mind of the person.

On the other hand blacks have this uncanny habit (because we must) of knowing more about white people then you could ever know about us without referencing FBI crime stats and perusing your dog-eared copy of the Bell Curve while watching Birth of Nation. In regards to the riots you referenced, as I noted earlier, Blacks are far more likely to kill and maim each other in greater numbers than a White “boy”, especially when the “race riots” of the 60’s, saw Blacks burn down their own blighted neighborhoods. Watts, Detroit, Harlem and Brownsville—all Black neighborhoods, therefore Whites were not any where near the vicinity of Blacks since segregation was already a fact of life. But oh yes the double standard is evident, when Whites do it is protest against a tea tax, anti-war activists and protesters, but when blacks do it---we are animals.

Obviously historical subltelty is not your forte. My comparison regarding the Jews and the Civil rights movement and erection of the museum as a token of atonement, symbolizes the murder of MLK and the culmination of years, not just the 60’s, and thousands of dead Blacks who championed human rights and the innocents who died for being black. Naturally, your egregiously callous dismissal of those deaths from lynching, burned down townships, wholesale domestic terrorism and of course the requisite sundown towns that spanned a century, is of course hardly surprising. Interestingly the last lynching of a black man was in the 80’s—in the South, but I guess that doesn’t count since that was far in the mists of the distant past. Obivously as a committed separatist who would most certainly rationalize and demonize such facts as mere hokum pedaled as historical revisionism.

Lastly, I am an integrationist.—but Whites can never truly understand the depth of why some Blacks are justifiably angry—because in essence they have never desired or were curious enough to care to make the effort to understand the minds and hearts of Black people. That would require the radical yet seemingly simple supposition that we are in fact human and part of the same species, instead of a biblical scourge.

And with that do not address me again and I will be sure to return the favor.

grinder said...

I am an integrationist.—but Whites can never truly understand the depth of why some Blacks are justifiably angry—because in essence they have never desired or were curious enough to care to make the effort to understand the minds and hearts of Black people.

Without wanting to sound like Bill Clinton defining the word, "is," I think this depends on the definition of "understanding." There are inherent limits to empathy; after all, our minds are separate.

I agree that it's tough for most white people to see it the way many black people have seen it. When someone is in a dominant group, the structure of dominance is invisible at many levels, some of which are "trivial" until you pull on the loose thread.

The best example I can think of is the incident I mentioned earlier of being in a convenience store reading the magazines, and seeing a young black man being rousted for reading them while I was left alone.

It literally didn't register on me until about an hour later, and it's something that I've never forgotten. I mean, no biggie, right? Magazines on a rack. But actually, if you think about it, a door to something a whole lot bigger.

On the other hand, and there is always another hand, there are forms of oppression that have nothing to do with race. And you know what? At some level, oppression is oppression regardless of where it comes from. Trust me on this, I have seen white people oppressed. Not for being white, but for other reasons.

So, while I can't argue against your basic thought, I might suggest that maybe the ability to see oppression, whatever its source, can go a long way to filling the gap you speak of. There are plenty of people out there, many of them in the most unexpected of places, who are kinder than you might imagine.

Which is, in my view, the bottom line. See, the forces of evil always have more firepower. But the forces of good have something that, at least to this point, has been more powerful.

grinder said...

What's more powerful is membership in the band of civilized people who are their brother's keepers. Doesn't matter if you're a Christian. Do you give a damn or not? I really think that, over the long sweep of time, civilization prevails. If it didn't, there wouldn't be 7 billion of us here.

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