Friday, July 31, 2009

How "evil" will they be?

I guess you all know by now that three hikers have gone missing in a part of the "axis of evil", also known as Iran. My first reaction to this story was: why would a bunch of hikers want to go backpacking in Northern Iraq and on the border with Iran in the first place? But then, I realized, that they could be young white people. And you know how you all are. I swear you all go looking for shit. Honestly, I don't know the race of those poor hikers, but I am going to bet you here and now that they ain't black. Hell no! Black folks don't go looking for adventure by hiking in groves of pistachio trees in the most dangerous place on earth. Just being black in A-merry-ca is adventure enough. (Ask Skip :)) So that kind of "be all you can be" shit just doesn't happen. Going on a ski trip (where 90% of us don't even go near a lift) or on a big ass roller coaster at "Great Adventure " is as wild as it gets for us.

But I don't want to make light of this. This is serious business and we have been down this road before. Besides, that damn Ahmadinejad could try to turn his O ness into Jimmy Carter by playing this for all it's worth. For them (the Iranians) this could be a major coup. This is just the kind of distraction they need after all the internal turmoil in their own country.

They will declare that these A-merry-cans were spies and that they are holding them for their own national security. Meanwhile, the US military is going all out to try and find these missing hikers....wait, did I just write missing? Can we stop saying that? "Missing Americans"? Missing is when you are lost in the woods or some shit. Missing is when no one knows where you are. We know exactly where our friends with the National Geographic jones are. They are in Iran.

Hell they communicated with their friend and said they were surrounded by a bunch of Iranians for crying out loud. So I wouldn't exactly say they are missing. Although, being held somewhere near Ahmed Awaa, ain't like being held in Tijuana if you get my drift.

Anyway, here is hoping that this ends well for those poor kids and that they will find themselves safely home without World War III breaking out. We need that kind of resolution for their families and for A-merry-ca. My pronouncement might seem premature, but lord knows we don't need another Ronald Reagan emerging out of this.


Gwhizz said...

Sigh... This is what is meant by "Why tempt fate?"

brohammas said...

Why you gotta call me out on this one. No joke here, just last week as I sat stiffled behind this desk, I thought, I bet hiking in Afghanistan would be cool. WOnder if there is a route where you can maybe hear guns but they arent pointed your direction?

Then my wife slaps me back to reality and tells me to go change a diaper.

Where were those guy's wives when they were needed?

kid said...

brohammas: There was a documentary on PBS of some guys backpacking through Afghanistan. This was a few years ago.

Field: You don't have to worry about the Republicans pulling a Reagan. None of the candidates on the right are ex-CIA directors.So no one will be playing let's make a deal with Iran this time.Besides, Palin too dumb to plan something like that.

Jody said...

This story is not what it seems. This is one I happen to know a little bit about. This morning, one of my friends, a fellow activist who is a med student, put out a query saying that three of his journalist friends had been taken by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Kurdistan. He was asking for help on who to contact. I do not know what they were doing there. But there is a good chance they were talking to Iranian Kurds and were taken by the Guard. I do not know how this is going to play out. I don't know if they were there working on a story or if indeed they were adventure traveling. But I do know, they were not only hikers. They are journalists. It may be that the state department is calling them hikers because most foreign journalists were kicked out of Iran. And, we just saw what happened to the 3 women journalists in North Korea.

Anonymous said...

Jody, why risk exposing them over the internet?

Monie said...

Well if they can find some actual Iranians as opposed to Iranian government officials they might be okay.

From what I know the Iranian people don't hate Americans, even if they dislike the American government. So if they can find some Iranian 'regular folk' there then they might get some help eluding the Iranian government especially after all the crap that happened there last month.

Monie said...

And FN the first paragraph of this post is hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I know they're not Latino. There's enough adventure crossing across the border in the California desert when it well over 110 degrees.

Anonymous said...


Your Lawn Jockey alert on Larry Elder has me confused. You mentioned his eyes are crossed? Isn't that the guy named Ron Cristie,(the one with crossed eyes, he can't help) who worked for the Republicans and always has a good word for them, no matter what.
Just scratching my head here on Maui.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps President Obama can have a beer, and resolve the situation?

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Yeah Makaii, Ron Christie is the one with the cross-eyes.

missincognegro, be nice now.

BNasty said...

Field, I live in San Diego and your comparison of an Iranian jail and a Tijuana jail is off base. I would say they are equivalent. People get their heads cut off and the bodies are piling up due to the current drug war. No joke.

This issue is not going to start anymore crap than the two journalist who were captured in Korea. Don't go assuming that these people were just innocent hikers either.

Rudy said...

FN: "My first reaction to this story was: why would a bunch of hikers want to go backpacking in Northern Iraq and on the border with Iran in the first place?"

Before I got out of the Army, I had two deployments to Iraq (Central and Southern regions). Few of the lucky troops in my detachment deployed to Northern Iraq (Al Sulaymaniyah to be specific).

According to their accounts, it is a different world up there-- no bombings. Further, these cats would walk the streets with no body armor and just a sidearm and visiting restaurants, while we were nugging it out in the Central region.

I can see why tourists would get complacent and lose their bearing. The backpackers will be alright. Iran is just making political noise. It could have been worse. They could have wandered down to southern Iraq and got decapitated.

Rudy said...

Speaking of Ron Christie, he's not as bad as I thought. At least he had the guts to say that Glen Beck's comment is stupid and unproductive.

Anonymous said...

Field the question is, are they HIKER'S or JOURNALIST? and why would they want to cause a problem for the President? who are these people? they knew they would be caught? this was done on purpose!!! and not by the President!

These people were sent there by someone or some group to cause a problem for the president! this is called SABOTAGE! some people will do whatever it take's, to make it hard for the President to talk to the IRANIAN LEADER'S!

its beale street talkin' said...

hey field --- lay off my broh H.E. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... He's a kinda black iranian a George Jackson disciple can like. As to the so-called hikers IAEA spies... you know its like Grenada and Maurice Bishop more than J Carter and peanuts same ole script to justify something that need not be cuz folks here aint in control of their government.

Image what the situation would be like if after the second Bush wackin, folks here acted like the iranian greens

TrueBlue said...

Is "only white people hike" sort of the same as "black people can't swim?"

Anonymous said...

"hey field --- lay off my broh H.E. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... He's a kinda black iranian a George Jackson"

I'll lay off your bro Mahmoud when you lay off my bro Don Imus, he's a kinda white Malcom X.
And lay off my bro Michael Richards, he's kinda a white Jerimiah Wright
And keep yer mitts offa the KKK their sort of a white Nation of Islam.

Field Negro G. said...

Another Ronald Reagan is exactly what we'd get....IN THE FORM OF SARAH PALIN. I never underestimate the stupidity of the American people..........." uhhhhhhhhhhh, hmmmmmmmm, Universal health care, I'll have to think about that. After all, minimum wage just went up. "

By the way, that house Negro cop slipped a note a Obama talking about how HE may have messed up race relations in this country. Can you believe....well, I know you can believe it, so I'll move on. He's complaining about being called an "Uncle Tom"...yes, it's been flying across the FOX NEWS bar all night long, and a traitor to his heritage.

All I have to say to these despicable house Negroes is that "behavior is a choice, and displaying cowardice while one should be standing up makes them more than worth of carrying this title."

P.S. I think Tom mentioned something about a lot of these taunts coming via email. So congrats, your lawn jockey may convert someone, and bring them home. He may make the transition to "safe Negro", but he doesn't have the money to stay their long (as Oprah does), no hopefully, he', he'll find his way be into the house. Silly me.

Anonymous said...

FN- I can explain this phenomena to you, as a white person who was recently young.
Young white people from liberal backgrounds are schooled to think that having any misgivings of anyone or anything that is either 1) non-European or 2) comes from a non Judeo-Christian background makes you an ignorant redneck.
I've been surrounded by people like this my whole life and still am.
You could waterboard them and they still wouldn't admit that their safety is more precarious in Iran than in Canada. Or that they are more likely to be carjacked by a 19 year old black male then a 70 year old white woman. Or that if a plane explodes mid-air it was more likely caused by the young men named Mohammed than old tibertian buddhists.

Hope this helps

field negro said...

Makaii, don't be confused. I meant exactly what I said about Larry Elder. I know the difference between him and Christie. And if you have ever met in person or seen him on television, you will know exactly why I wrote what I did. :) I didn't want to be mean and put it out there, but I guess I just did.

"Is "only white people hike" sort of the same as "black people can't swim?""

Yes grinder, sort of.

LOL@ brohammas, glad I could bring you back to reality.

Jody, thanks for the 411. That would make sense if they were journalist. I admit, the story does seem a bit fishy. We will see.

And for all the people who mention that they watch FOX, please don't ever ever ever ever tell one of those ratings people that you do. PLEASE!

Cynthia Mckinney said...

@2:19- Hey Jerimiah Wright, I didn't know you were here too! Tell Louis I said hi!

Cynthia Mckinney

Ms Fit said...

Man, this weekend I need the laughter this post and the comments has brought me. Between the comfort food and booze I'll be checking back regularly.

Bravo, bravo.

Unknown said...

Off topic Off topic alert:
Field I just had a brain storm I think but in surfing the net and Google, I could not find a topic or a book on the Subject of: Getting Along with White People, I tried amazon and just about every search engine I know Why is it assumed that it's Blacks that must do the assimilating

Anonymous said...

Getting along with white people? Um, yer no good getting along with asians, arabs, jews, or hispanics, or african immigrants either.
considering a huge amount of black male on black male (and black male on black female) violence ya can't get along with yourself all that good either.


Some questions,

Will Obama send 5 helicopters to invade Iran during a sand storm?

Why is this happening in the age of Obama? Didn't the blame America first apology tour work?

Since Obama loves dictators,who will he side with?

Isn't it a good thing when idealistic white liberals get to see what the real world is like?

After the failed photo-op,historic deficits,historic unemployment,Obama failing to live up to his transparency promises,was this planned by Obama to get people's minds off of the failings of the Obama Adminsation?

kid said... Field: You don't have to worry about the Republicans pulling a Reagan. None of the candidates on the right are ex-CIA directors

I's didn't know Reagan was a ex-CIA director.

Can you provide links to prove this?

DuchessDee said...

FN, thanks for the laughter. Needed it after the past two weeks. Trust me when i tell you, white folks always sticking their nose where it doesnt belong. Whatever they are doing over there isnt good.

Brohammas, a good wife always knows what to do.


I know ya'lls high blood pressure and suger diabetes prevent ya'll form doing many outdoor actives.

But getting away from white racism might do ya'll is some good.

Hathor said...

Since Obama loves dictators,who will he side with?

Isn't it a good thing when idealistic white liberals get to see what the real world is like?

I miss William F. Buckley Jr.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Carter would be a welcome relief from BO.

Lxy said...

Funny that American "tourists" always end up getting lost in politically sensitive regions of the world.

The old "innocent Americans captured by evil foreign government" is only a meme that American Brownshirts, ... sorry patriots believe.

As for Iraq, America's aggression against that country has murdered over 1 million Iraqi people and counting.

It's an American crime against humanity that the "freedom-loving" American people still deny.

The fate of lost US "tourists" pales in comparison to this American atrocity.

A Million Iraqi Dead? The U.S. press buries the evidence

Crimes in Iraq: “As American as Apple Pie”

Anonymous said...

Ahh Field, Short memory... Google "Jim Jones" or "Guyana" sometimes...But I know they aren't Black either, cause the government doesn't give "Airline Ticket Stamps", and the Iranians are pretty picky about who they let in their country, "IRAN" is derived from "ARYAN" dontcha kno...Senator Byrd would be right at home there if you get my drift...
And anyway, Iran's friggin Switzerland compared to D.C, Atlanta, or your City of Brutha-ly love...


MR.R said...

I remember when Willie Brown [black Democrat} from San Fran calling Jim Jones the white Martin Luther King.

What was going on in those meetings between Jimmy Carter and Jim jones?

Jim Jones is a perfect example of what happens when ya'll blindly follow white Democrats.

Ivan Ivanovich Renko said...

Congrats, Field-- the greater the conservatard infestation, the surer knowledge that you're doing something right.

beale street is talkin' said...

Black on topic -- Consider the fact that not to long ago an iranian-nihonji woman journalist was nicely held on lock down for some weeks before being release. She entered with a visa. So, it is pretty much a done deal for these 3 fooles who entered illegally without a visa. Kiss them bye bye and add them to the Iraq collateral damages statistics and move on [move on to where from where is always my question]

Swiff said...

So after a week of 200+ comment posts, Field finally switches off of Gatesgate....


Well, at least our dear friends Drackman and Mr. R are still here.

field negro said...

Wow,so many wingnuts so little time.:(

Where do u people come from?

Don't worry his O ness will get those good white people home, and once again you wingnuts will be left scratching your heads.:)

Anonymous said...

@Jody -- Your story makes sense. It's hard to buy three tourists getting "lost" like this. Journalists, spies, or journalist-spies makes much more sense. Besides that why would three tourists go hiking in a foreign country over foreign terrain without at least one guide? I doubt the trails were marked. ;)

@anonymous multiple -- If you're gonna troll so much pick a sig at least. How else are all us Field Negroes and Honorary Field Negroes supposed to address those pearls you're casting before us. Take 8.19 such an original accusation (definitely not seen on every white supremacist website online) surely it's worthy of signing.

@Rudy -- Thanks for sharing that. My cousin did multiple tours in Iraq but he was in the "Green Zone." The emails he sent were funny cuz he was always telling us he was safe while we were hearing on the news about another bomb going off near him. He didn't want us to worry and the only time he'd mention bad things was when one of his men got killed and when the Mess was bombed. I'm glad he's finally out of the Army now.

@Jusus -- I think assimilation is definitely a worthy topic but I'd like to throw something out there for people to chew on. When we talk about assimilation we usually talk about it in terms of non-whites assimilating into the white world but I think it's far more stringent than even that. The demand is not just for cultural whiteness but a very specific kind of whiteness. Namely, the demand is that all Americans assimilate, at least in terms of social behavior, to East Coast upper middle class white protestant culture -- even other whites must do this. Whiteness is revocable in America -- you see it with whites who cross color lines, Jews who refuse to assimilate, "wi33ers" who lose their status, poor whites who are deemed "white trash" (the trash label delineating clearly they're no longer even human), in some places Catholics, white Latin@s who refuse to abandon their culture, any white ethnics who refuse to give up their ethnicity, poor Appalachians, and so on and so forth.

Whiteness is a much stricter designation than most of us think about. A person of color can't adopt just any way of being white --become "Appalachian black" or "Jewish black" and see how that works out-- but rather must adopt a very WASPy upper middle class form of whiteness. Other whites must do so too or find themselves without 'whiteness' -- kind of 'outlaw whites' who are disdained and rejected by accepted white society. Even speech patterns must be "newscaster white" in order to be fully accepted. You also aren't allowed to be too poor imo even if you assimilate in all other ways.

It's both fascinating and disturbing that we've created such a strict category of "whiteness/Americaness." But I wonder if the topic were approached more often in this manner if "whites" might understand the notion of assimilation and what one is forced to give up a little bit better. There may be a lot of common ground there.


TrueBlue said...

So, Field, can you explain why black people don't hike, but do run?

Anonymous said...

The area they were near is a popular hiking destination. Apparently, they mistakenly went over the border and were arrested. The Iranians will probably hold them hostage as some kind of diplomatic bargaining chips. The lesson is don't go hiking in third world countries-try the alps instead.

Anonymous said...

The demand is not just for cultural whiteness but a very specific kind of whiteness.

The term you are looking for is 'Anglicization'. Which is something that resulted from the spread of English 'hearth culture' to this part of the world.

Anonymous said...

@1.30 PM -- I thought about both Anglo and Anglicization but the terms don't have the same bearing that they had earlier on in our nation's history. We've moved beyond English culture into a cultural "whiteness" that now has a distinctly American flavor.


Anonymous said...

We've moved beyond English culture into a cultural "whiteness" that now has a distinctly American flavor.

That is very true; however, that origin of that is very much rooted in English culture. The same thing happened in the British isles. The Scottish, Irish, and to a much lesser extent, the Welsh, acclimated to English ways of carrying themselves (those that wanted to succeeded did anyway.) Even the way Americans view "whiteness" is very much rooted in ancient English ideas about whiteness, purity, and religion. Even early American racial attitudes were formed by English experiences in other parts of the world (namely the Carribean and West africa.) Hell, the English slave system in barbados was exported whole sale to the Carolinas. It also had a huge impact on the planters who set up the slave system in the Chesapeake.

Anonymous said...

@1.47 -- You make a good argument for keeping it but I'm still not 100% on it. I think it's a great historical term and even the right term for talking about today in a history class -- addressing history applying to today. That said, it comes up short when used sociologically or solely when addressing the present. It's just not precise enough and points too far back in our nation's past when a term such as this should focus on describing our present day culture. I suppose it's much better than nothing which is unfortunately what I've got right now as far as a precision replacement goes. :)


field negro said...

J and anon,you both have a great discussion going. We are all reading and learning.

Swiff,you are right,I am over Skipgate.Nothing will change in A-merry-ca.

It's on to more important things; like the latest Lark sighting,for instance.

Anonymous said...

@field negro -- FN thanks for providing the forum and impetus for a good discussion. It's always enlightening to hang out here in the field. So much to learn and so many good conversations. :)


History dude said...

It's just not precise enough and points too far back in our nation's past when a term such as this should focus on describing our present day culture.

Maybe I overstated the case. Perhaps a more accurate version involves the amlgamation of English culture with what later became an American culture. After all, the early European settlers were mostly Anglicized over time; however, they drifted away from England thanks to the vary different environmental circumstances in the New World. The most powerful of those would probably be the readily available supply of land and the "frontier mentality" which prevented a complete importation of English culture. For example, in England the finite supply of land allowed a landed gentry to exert a disproportionate amount of power. This was not an issue in the colonies; nor was there the presence of the crown or of English royalty. Those became things colonists were only familiar with through second-hand newspaper accounts and stories from back home.

There has long been a lively discussion over where American character comes from. Some say it comes from the Puritians in New England; others say it comes from the Chesapeake region of Virginia; and others say it can be found in the colony of Pennsylvania. Later, another theory emerged called the "frontier thesis" which states American character is a product of the frontier: A character inspired by individualism and rough and tumble morality and lifestyle.

vanishing point said...

my first question would be, don't u need a visa to get into iran? if so, don't you have to say where u will be traveling to in that country, wouldn't these hikers/journalists be advised to stay in certain areas?

john keith idema was arrested a few years ago in afganistan, i think, he was a former green beret, he was in trouble in the us, even went to prison in the us, he had prisoners in a house when he got caught, said the us sent him in, but the us denied that. hard to figure out the truth. i don't know where idema went, he was released and then seems to have disappeared, anybody know what happened with him?

Anonymous said...

DuchessDee said...
. Trust me when i tell you, white folks always sticking their nose where it doesnt belong. Whatever they are doing over there isnt good.

Well said Duchess. I'm sure you speak for experience- being the benefactory of white charity, of affirmative action, etc.
All those white lawyers who worked pro bono for the black panthers and other blacks having to deal with the law. All those whites who volunteered during Katrina and marched with blacks from MLK to the Jena 6. They should have butted out. There was a story recently about a rich young white guy who gave up his lucrative career to volunteer working at a school in a poor black neighbor. Ended up being shot by one of the kids he was trying to help.
A young female Stanford student near where I grew up went to South Africa to fight against apartheid and was stoned to death by a mob of young black men because she was white. Even the KKK didn't target women.
I agree white folks should have never stuck their nose in the civil rights movement. Never do anything to help poor blacks. And never take it apon themselves to condemn racism.
If only we could do it all over again.

vanishing point said...

@history dude,
the first european settlers in new york were dutch and french, not english. the english took over manhattan from the dutch. the very first recorded white person born in new york state was a french hugeonot, not english. there is a really good book, my mother has it, i haven't gotten around to reading it yet, called the island at the center of the world..

Anonymous said...

@ anon 12:58. One doesn't need to troll white supremaist websites to see black folks don't get along with anyone. There is only 2 things you have to do:
1) listen to black community leaders hate speech and scapegoating of the (whites, jews, asians, hispanics, gays, women) who are committing some slight or another to their upstanding people.
2) look at the race/gender/sexual orientation based violence blacks commit it disproportiate numbers.
Some of it gets played down by the media. One such example is the lynching of a hispanic man by a black mob lst year near Ausin. He and a friend hit a young black girl playing in the street. They got out of the car to help her and were attacked. One was killed, the other got away. A few dozen people particiapted and over 100 saw it. NO ONE would tell police who did it. I can assure you if the races were reversed in this case we would all be expected down there to shout "no justice no peace" until someone was pressured into talking. But noooo, civil rights leaders can't be bothered being angry about hate crimes committed by black folks. And the black people on this blog would rather bitch about 3 white hikers then take a good look at some of the KKK like behavior in your own community.

History Dude said...

the first european settlers in new york were dutch and french, not english. the english took over manhattan from the dutch.

Very true, however the English took over New Netherlands and remained it New York. Eventually, Dutch culture (which had weak roots thanks to small numbers, a poor church structure, and no Dutch press) was eventually subsumed.

The French had a weaker presence than the English as well, though their legacy is longer lasting than the Dutch. Yet, new France was mostly rooted in modern day Canada and French culture had a much more lasting impact there. After the defeat of the French in the Seven Years war (French and Indian War in the states) their effect on the colonies was minimal . The English managed to wrest the colonial world from the Spanish, Dutch, and French; therefore, English culture had a more lasting impact, at least until the American Revolution changed the game.

vanishing point said...

@history dude,
yes you are right, the english had what i would call the dominating impact, so much so that white people, not matter what euro ethnicity are called "wasp", even though they might not be anglo/saxon and definatedly not protestant. just think how many states have a large catholic population, they are still probably seen as "wasp". they probably are celtic, norman, hun, or some other euro-ethnic tribe.
the dutch were very much in favor of what is now called tolerance, and free speech. these seeds probably gave new york at least a modicum of hope for a better world.i always try to remember how President Obama spoke of striving toward perfection, i think he still trying, it must be a really horrible job for him, i wouldn't want that job in a million years.

vanishing point said...

@j, It's both fascinating and disturbing that we've created such a strict category of "whiteness/Americaness." But I wonder if the topic were approached more often in this manner if "whites" might understand the notion of assimilation and what one is forced to give up a little bit better. There may be a lot of common ground there."

wow, thank u, that is very insightful. i think sometimes, when white people try to reclaim themselves as they journey toward social justice, they get accused of distancing themselves from their white guilt or from white privilege, which of course, may still be true, but your post points to a different direction. thanks for that.

Claudia said...

I've actually had travel issues on my mind since all of the profiling talk in Gates posts.

One privilige derived from basically looking like everyone else is not being so visible in foreign climes. So many of my non-black friends don't think twice about going anywhere in the world while there are places I avoid in the SF Bay Area because my black azz isn't welcome.

Too many of my travelling black female friends have been complaining about being thought refugees and/or prostitues until they start speaking.

Then they have to deal with the better or worse treament the american voice garners the repeating of that cycle with everyone they meet.

The flip side has been friends thinking their brown skin is a pass to freely roam parts of the Caribbean and Africa only to discover looking like the locals can be good, but is sometimes bad too.

I'm sure I miss a lot by curtailing my activities, and will eventually make my way to Alaska, the Eastern Seaport, and Venice to start. I'm all about off season solo travel, but recognize some places are better experienced via seasonal group travel or perhaps not at all.

Anonymous said...

@History dude -- I am much happier talking in terms of amalgamation. I think the English get far too much credit at the expense of others who also contributed greatly to what would become American culture or perhaps more precisely American cultures. I feel the same way about Scots-Irish influence in the South East and Appalachia. There's a diverse history and culture that's often overlooked in favor of a purely Scots-Irish myth of culture-making. However, even isolated Appalachia shows a blending of many cultures. And just one example in the South, how can we overlook French influence so easily when the Southern accent itself is a direct descendant of blending French and British accents? This says nothing of the huge contributions of slaves, free people of color (fewer in number), Spanish speakers, and many others.
Southern culture is nothing if not blended and when you get more specific you find that the separate subcultures borrow and blend freely. The exchanges go both ways and always have. Culture, no matter how dominant, doesn't develop or remain in a vacuum.

@kathy -- I'm glad to have given you something to ponder. One of my goals is to find new ways of thinking about race, racism, color, whiteness and white privilege. I believe that white privilege in particular is a concept that needs some tweaking in order to progress in any dialogue with the general public. We must find a way to challenge privilege, but at the moment, most white people will never get past the word privilege to go any further. Is there a way of talking about it and challenging privilege without stopping the conversation before it starts? If whites learn what was sacrificed to become white and just how tenuous and transient their whiteness really is will they understand privilege and/or whiteness differently? Can the sense of insecurity that others feel, namely people of color, be empathized with more deeply if one begins to understand that their own place can be taken away? Just a couple of challenges that have been rolling around in my brain and they're a work in progress so I could very well be full of it, too hopeful, change direction, or what have you. But the ideas have been too tempting for me not to play with.


TrueBlue said...

Maybe more black people ought to take up hiking. And cut out the fried foods, and the starch. White people are fat enough, but black people are fatter. On average.

Call it English heath culture if you want to.

Unknown said...

Thanks for putting Larry Elder on the lawn. At least now he has a job besides using his tongue as his white master's Preparation H.

If these "hikers" wanted to go to Iraq so bad, they could have signed up and got paid to go hiking for the U.S. Army. Before everyone gets all weepy about them being held by the Iranians, think about what would happen if some Iranian "hikers" wandered into the U.S. from Northern Mexico?! Off to Guantanamo or another "undisclosed location" for their happy asses!

vanishing point said...

Grace Lee Boggs wrote a book called Living for Change, and the biggest nugget in that book for me was her idea that today's solutions are tomorrows problems, she said not to be constrained by previous thought, but be able to move on, think in new an innovative ways. I love that book.

I also try to think of new ways to get white people to get past privilge, sometimes I use the concept of double standards, and I also believe in the concept of race as an illusion, PBS, and Francis Holland has written a lot about color arousal.
It's so interesting what you wrote about the influence of other euro-ethnics in the south. thanks.

History Dude said...

If whites learn what was sacrificed to become white and just how tenuous and transient their whiteness really is will they understand privilege and/or whiteness differently?

We should think about the origins of whiteness. What did whiteness mean to Europeans? Whiteness was purity; whiteness in Christainity was goodness and the light of the lord. When Europeans came in contact with nonwhites it gave them a frame of reference for their own differences. The Welsh saw whiteness as the mark of beauty. A white woman in red was considered the height of beauty. Whiteness brought Europeans together In America to keep the country from Balkanizing over ethnic differences. Yet, its roots are very deep.

Are you asking, what would it take to get whites to give up whiteness?

TrueBlue said...

Are you asking, what would it take to get whites to give up whiteness?

Money would do it, I'm sure.

vanishing point said...

@J and History Dude, really good question. what would it take for white people to give up whiteness? this might be better frame than white supremacy, or privilege, I have read other bloggers who use the term whiteness rather than privilege. one problem though, is that whiteness seems to demand that everything be framed a certain way, that in itself seems to be problematic.

Anonymous said...

@kathy -- I agree wholeheartedly with the notion that race is an illusion. There's simply no such thing as race. It's an artificial construct. And thanks for the reference.

@History Dude -- I think you're thinking about whiteness in too literal a manner. Whiteness isn't a color but a state of being; of acceptance by the dominant culture. Most whites are born into whiteness and will stay there but it can be revoked and whiteness can also be entered into by people of color -- lighter skin makes it easier. White skin privilege is a bit different because that is something that isn't so changeable and tied more directly to color. A white person would have a harder time losing his/her white skin privilege though not impossible.

Others may define the terms differently but this is how I view the concepts.

History Dude said...

Unfortunately, most of these bloggers don't realize how much whiteness is embedded in the very fabric of the nation. It's embedded in people's psyches and in their souls, even if they are unaware of it.

Take this ominous message from history:

"deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of one race or the other."

Thomas Jefferson

vanishing point said...

History Dude,
light skin tone seems to be revered in many places, from South American, where in Brazil, light skin tone prevails in the marketing media, to China, where light skin tone can also be very important. Come to think of it, in Puerto Rico, I have seen many women walking around with umbrellas to protect their skin from the sun, where it be for health or not, not completely sure.
Christianity words do have a deep impact, just think, you get taught that your soul is white, if you sin, that's a black spot, there are many instances where this idea happens, I pretty sure Malcom X wrote about the connotation of words and the impact it has.

History Dude said...

I pretty sure Malcom X wrote about the connotation of words and the impact it has.

Very true... The concept of whiteness was in Europe long before the English, Spanish, or Portuegese ever met an African. Think of the meaning of black cats, blackballed, a blackened soul, the darkness of hell etc. When the first Europeans met Africans, it was usually their 'blackness" which made the most impression. That, along with their lack of christainity. Many European thinkers thought that West Africans must be the decsendants of Ham, the cursed son of Noah; it was just one more connection to the meanings of the words 'black' and 'white'.

Anonymous said...

@kathy -- Giving up whiteness? Wow. I think that's the question of our age. Hmm... I suppose I don't think whites will ever give up whiteness willingly but I do think that whiteness can be extended to encompass all colors. In this way, I suppose whiteness would become the totality of "good society" and only those who were still on the outskirts, the poor, those in subcultures, criminal classes would remain on the outskirts. Maybe those who were still too ethnic or different would stay there on the outside of whiteness as well. So I guess I think that whiteness will die a slow death through expansion and eventual abandonment or by simply extending to encompass so many that it in no way resembles a category that privileges one color over another.

@History Dude -- I love Jefferson but racism is not our natural state of being. To the contrary, American racism was cultivated and instilled in order to promote and protect chattel slavery. Also, race as Jefferson would be familiar would just as easily refer to nationality as color -- e.g. the French race, the English race etc.


History Dude said...

Also, race as Jefferson would be familiar would just as easily refer to nationality as color -- e.g. the French race, the English race etc.

I would disagree with you on that. Jefferson wrote allot about race as being a black and white issue. You should check out his "Notes on Virginia" there are many passages dedicated to the issues of race. Jefferson was convinced that there were physiological differences between whites and blacks.

History Dude said...

For the record: I'm not as cynical as jefferson; however, I think most people have no idea how deep the problems of race are and how they are tied to the origin of this country.

vanishing point said...

i don't really believe the solution would be for other colors to be absorbed into whiteness, that already does happen, especially when we think about the difference between being latino or asian, the injustice these groups experience is invisible to most, and i believe there is pressure on these ethnic groups to conform to whiteness or just experience more injustice, which happens anyways, but many times is not recogized.
think about how, in our recent past, a Chinese American spent all that time in solitary confinement, being accused of being a spy, the New York Times reported a lot of false sources,the basis for his long confinement, wouldn't that kind of treatment cause Asian Americans to default to silence and conformity?There is a long history of that kind of invisible treatment, Asian Americans and Latinos can get murdered, and the sentence for the murderers can range from small fines to not-guilty verdicts.

Anonymous said...

@History Dude -- Thank you for the reference I'll have to take a looksee. I don't mean to say that Jefferson was unaware of race as black/white concept or an innocent when it comes to such discussions just that race was used freely to describe national, ethnic, and even religious differences as well. The term was much more fluid and national prejudices --of the kind we wouldn't really recognize today-- were incredibly important and divisive. Remember, the fight over whether or not to help the French in their own Revolution was viewed as a genuine threat to domestic stability and that was partially due to national/racial prejudices on the part of those taking sides.


Anonymous said...

@kathy -- I don't think it's a solution that should be promoted per se just a possible outcome -- maybe the most likely outcome. In general, I find it far more likely that whites will expand the term than actively give something up. No group ever really wants to give up privilege. However, I think they could slowly lose it through expanding -- an easier path that until the expansion has gone on so far no one notices the sacrifice. Does that make any sense?

But honestly, I'm not committed to a particular answer on this. I'm trying to think on my feet in regards to your hypothetical. I haven't thought things out far enough to be really committed.


equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Jusus: You complain about not finding any books about getting along with white folks and complain that assimilation is only expected of people of color. While that is true, since whites have historically considered themselves as the majority and the founders, etc, your complaint is specious. If there WERE books about getting along with White people, it would be implying that non-whites have to make the effort. Get my point?

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Chicken Hammer you moron, Bush Sr was the former CIA director. Plus the rest of your magoo rantings were horseshit.

vanishing point said...

equa yona, it's interesting, i was in mexico city 20 years ago when i learned about the Olmecs at the anthropology museum, then I also saw a video on you/tube recently about Black people who were already in the united states before europeans, then i think about how all of a sudden, eqypt is not considered part of africa.

bob said...

I feel about as sorry for them as I do for people who fall climbing mountains in Alaska in winter, or drown swimming in rip currents an hour after the life guards go off duty. If they ain't CIA, they're folks with too much damned money & stupid about where to spend it.

Hathor said...

I think using an umbrella to shield from the sun is African. When I was young in the south, older Black women used umbrellas in the summer, it didn't matter what shade they were. When you are a walking society some things were done a little different. If you look at Black women dark and light skin in pictures takened during the 30's and 40's, you will notice how strong there upper bodies were. That is because many didn't have central heat and they carried, coal or wood to make fire and they also washed clothes without the benefit of a washing machine.

You will notice that they were not fat. My grandmother died at 96 the same size she was in her thirties. By today's standards that would be a size 10.

You must only remember the mammy stereotype.

vanishing point said...

Hathor, thank you for your explanation of the umbrella.

Unknown said...

I would like to thank everyone who contributed in a positive light, Your explanations have open my mind,


Anonymous said...

@Jusus -- I should say a thank you to you as well. Your topic of assimilation really spurred an enjoyable and informative discussion.


field negro said...

Wow! smart hoNest discussion drowning out the hate. That is always so nice to see.

"One such example is the lynching of a hispanic man by a black mob lst year near Ausin."

Anon. 3:27PM, could you provide a link to back up this statement please?

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

This was one conversation I enjoyed reading.

Anonymous said...

@field negro -- lol. We've probably broken some cosmic rule of the internet and are at present causing a small universe inhabited by fuzzy, ultra-cute, talking kittens to spin off its axis in order to correct for our actions. o_O

In all seriousness, I have a prediction I'd like to lay out and hear people's take on. I think the GOP has found it's line of attack on Obama.

My prediction (bear with me while I set things up): It's not ok, even for white bigots who hold self-acknowledged prejudices, to openly or otherwise, viscerally hate a black man or person of color. Save for the hardcore sheet-wearers hating just isn't allowed to be acknowledged even to the self. This is why we hear so many who are obviously prejudiced or racist in either words or deeds maintain they don't hate black people etc. The first words are usually, "I'm not racist. I don't hate X people!" as though emotional hostility were the most important or only factor that determines whether a person or his/her actions are racist. Visceral hate is a bridge too far because of present day taboos and associations with the dregs of society despite the fact that those prejudices and bigotries some people hold are themselves hateful and have hateful consequences.

However, hating a racist is perfectly fine and as many a liberal knows both cathartic and righteously justified. Hating a racist is not only OK but necessary and admirable. Labeling Obama a racist allows --in fact is probably the only way to allow-- open venomous hatred towards him by white people (beyond the teabagger crowd that's already there). So I think that "Obama the racist" will become the next big push and I think they'll stay on it forever (as long as they possibly can). The fact that the Gates mess corresponded with a drop in polling numbers will only embolden them further. It also builds on a framework they've laid out with Sotomayor as racist (Obama guilty by association/choice) and a dozen other innuendos and smear campaigns from Wright to Israel to his alleged foreignness.

I'm thinking they'll hold onto and push the "Obama the racist" nonsense with the same vigor, shamelessness, and reality-facts-and-absurdities-be-damned attitude that they pushed "the Clintons killed Vince Foster" or any number of 90's smears. They've proven they've got no problem staying on the crazy train no matter how ridiculous or absurd they're smears are proven to be.

Any thoughts? Way off base? On to something?

@Granny -- Hey Granny! :D


beale street is talkin said...

@ Jusus earlier up and Anon @08:19

J-- Consider hunting down this text -- "Getting Rid of White Folks - a sanity primer for people of colour" search this one out...

Anon -- People of colour get along quite well in fact too well... go study Bandung Conference.

and historical speaking did your mind ever realise that it is/was your colourless kin folks who have been the shepherds of global conflagation be it wars, disease run amuck or just merely butting into bilateral negotiations between folks of colour. White folks have dropped nuclear arms on a nation of colour/Japan; split the Korea peninsula in two under a stupid concept called communism; attempted to bomb iraq, laos and vietnam [a nation that beat the chinese, the french and then the old USA arses for its freedom!] back to the stone age. sponsored coups in central/south americas, africa and asia, created global economic malaise via the introduction of money and the quest of such as viability of economic well being [folks of colour are use to the barter system i.e. exchanging services in kind], drugged out the chinese and had them sale off macao and hong kong as well as singapore for countless years.

If western black folks had a good grounding in peoples of colour histories, i doubt urban and carib blacks would have let the crack cocaine menace into their socities to blossom and destroy them as such since a knowledge of how the brits strung out the chinese on opium would have been enough of a lesson to not have it repeated.

So, when are white folks gonna learn to butt out until they are asked by folks of colour to butt in i pardon?

2 FN -- i must say your post commentary replies are volumious and inter alia they speak to the mental pain of the folks of colour contra the stony face denial by colourless folks of a race problem.

For as i had predicted prior to O-man's electoral disfunctional here of late, so-callled liberal racist whites assumed that checking a chad for a half white/half kenyan it would instantly absolve them of a need to do any work further in their marred race relations history on the one hand and Blacks wrongly assumed that mister halfnhalf would been in a position to address their racial concerns. Both folks got duped at the altar of same ole game theory

Pardon this... why are all the texts on race and racism coded and keyed by the Library of Congress, et al. under African/Black, Latin and/or Asian studies? Should these texts not be under the general history section where the white folks browse and buy? How many white folks are going to go seeking out such texts in the dedicated sections for Latins, Asians and Blacks?

Ignorance can be bliss, huh?

TrueBlue said...

You will notice that they were not fat. My grandmother died at 96 the same size she was in her thirties. By today's standards that would be a size 10.

You must only remember the mammy stereotype.

On the issue of obesity, there is ammunition for both of us in the official health statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 72% of both black and white men are overweight. This surprises me; I thought black men had higher rates of obesity than white men.

It turns out that the greater rates of overweight among blacks come entirely from women. Among women, 57% of whites are overweight and 81% of blacks are overweight.

Some other issues: Blacks have much bigger problems than whites with AIDS, homicide, hypertension, and breast cancer. Whites commit suicide a lot more often than blacks do. It must be the pressure of all that privilege.

Hypertension rates (high blood pressure) are 17% among white men and 16% among white women, but 27% among black men and 24% among black women. Death rates for heart disease are correspondingly higher for blacks than for whites.

Death rates per 100,000 by homicide: Non-Hispanic white male, 3.5. Non-Hispanic white female, 1.8. Black male, 37.3, black female 6.1. Hispanic male, 13.6. Hispanic female, 2.4.

Breast cancer deaths per 100,000 females: Black 32.8, Non-Hispanic white 24.0, Hispanic 15.0

HIV/AIDS deaths per 100,000: Black male 28.2, black female 12.0, Non-Hisp white male, 3.0, Non-Hisp white female, 0.6, Hisp male 7.5, Hisp female 1.9

Suicide per 100,000: Black male 9.2, black female 1.9, Non-Hisp white male 21.2, Non-Hisp white female 5.3, Hisp male 9.4, Hisp female 1.8

For those stats and more, see the following link. It is a very large PDF file, so don't even try downloading it unless you've got a broadband connection. Health, United States, 2008

TrueBlue said...

One more: 8.8% of non-Hispanic whites have diabetes, and 16% of blacks have it.

Hathor said...

Black women carry more fat on their butt, I wonder if their morphology is taken into account when determining overweight. I was put on a diet at 9, because I didn't fit into the white model; then again at 12 which started me on a trip into the yoyo diet mode. I was only initially 10 pounds overweight but having more legs for my height that a longer waisted white person didn't matter. Leg muscle weighs more than stomach fat. Black women also yoyo diet to try to fit that white model body, that drives women to be fat. I don't know what you are trying to imply by using Black woman as the model of fat. If you live in Philly get on the EL and count the fat, your model will fail.

DuchessDee said...

okay, i would like to thank everyone for a truly thoughtful conversation. I hadnt realize how bitter i was becoming. I am so glad someone threw out positve energy. I actually laughed today.

TrueBlue said...

Black women carry more fat on their butt, I wonder if their morphology is taken into account when determining overweight. I was put on a diet at 9, because I didn't fit into the white model; then again at 12 which started me on a trip into the yoyo diet mode. I was only initially 10 pounds overweight but having more legs for my height that a longer waisted white person didn't matter. Leg muscle weighs more than stomach fat. Black women also yoyo diet to try to fit that white model body, that drives women to be fat. I don't know what you are trying to imply by using Black woman as the model of fat. If you live in Philly get on the EL and count the fat, your model will fail.

I have recently become educated on fat issues, as a consequence of having started a diet and exercise program. (It has worked shockingly well for me, by the way. I have lost one-third of my body fat and reduced my resting heart rate and blood pressure to athlete levels. I do this when not surfing the Internet.)

Where you carry the fat is irrelevant to the total percentage of it in your body. Women are supposed to carry more fat than men, so their "normal" percentages are higher than for men.

The statistics are not about ideal body types and shapes. I am in no way, shape, or form promoting a "white" body type with the comments I have made. The numbers I have quoted do not lie. The government has been collecting this information for decades. The whole society is getting fatter, and it's a problem.

We eat too much. We eat a lot of the wrong stuff. We don't exercise enough. These issues are, generally speaking, worse among black people than among whites, and especially among black women.

I, for one, have absolutely noticed what the Obamas are doing, and in particular Michele Obama's garden at the White House. I think it's a great thing, and at some point I'd really like to see her get out there and start talking about all of this stuff, especially to black folks.

You've got twice as much diabetes, 1.5 times as much overweight among women, and much higher rates of hypertension and heart disease. These are to big degrees functions of diet and exercise.

I was really shocked by the HIV/AIDS disparity, which I suspect (but do not know for sure) is the result of shared needles + "down-low" sex among men (how much in jail?) + general ignorance and denial. And the murder rate among black men -- more than 10 times for that of non-Hispanic white males! -- is truly depressing.

The only bright spot, if there is one, is that blacks commit suicide at a much lower rate than whites do. Congratulations on that one, but I think it's cold comfort, myself. In any case, no one ever made progress by hiding from the truth.

History Dude said...

Duchess Dee,

I'm sure you are a lovely lady, and all lovely women should laugh loud and often (: Keep your head up!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for answering my question about those crossed eyes on Larry your Lawn Jockey guy. I guess I've never seen him on TV, just heard him on the radio in L.A. when I lived there years ago.


Anonymous said...

@beale street -- I did a quick google search and couldn't find anything :( I will keep an eye out for it though. Thanks for the rec.


beale street is talkin said...

@ j--- you need not bother seeking the proposed text as it doesnt exist... unless i author it, it never will.. of course, it goes without saying that i would first need to regain my sanity "black" from so much rage and disguising hate of white folk... taint going be easy that last task given my 50 plus years of racist victimization and the fact that i dont have another 50 years to be re-educated.

as Field might say... Wingnuts can become wingnut butter when grinded to a fine powder and lubricated well.

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