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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I think that summary of the author's point is this:

    "If white people find this restriction on their vocabulary unreasonable they need only bring forward the day when racism is eradicated - a day all black people look forward to - after which they can say what they like."

    I think for white people to not respect the fact that black people don't like to hear white people say it is just fucked up. Just because a black person says something or acts in a certain way does _not_ mean that it's okay for a white p
    • I understood his argument, but I found it fundamentally irrational, or at least irrationally expressed. It was not "the word is bad because..." but instead "this upsets us (or really, some of us), although you wouldn't really understand it".

      Moreover, it's founded on a basically flawed theory of meaning -- the idea that you get to judge words based not on their intended meaning (because that would really be "context"), but on however listeners or passersby want to willfully misconstrue [uiowa.edu] them.

      I run into a s

      • That's all very nice but...

        As a white person its not really your position to be telling black people what they can or cannot be upset over.

        Honestly, it sounds irrational to me too, but I suspect that this comes from the racism of being white. More importantly, I realize that if I made the argument you're making, black people would interpret it as racism. At which point you'd say something about how irrational that is. Except the fact is, that given the average black person's experience, assuming raci
        • As a white person its not really your position to be telling black people what they can or cannot be upset over.

          Then I say the converse is necessarily true: it is not a black person's position, as a black person, to be telling white people what words they can or cannot use.

          I personally don't think anyone has any business telling people what words they can or cannot use, or what they should or should not be upset about, and further that this never has one damned thing to do with color.

          Honestly, it sounds irrational to me too, but I suspect that this comes from the racism of being white.

          Speak for yourself. I am not racist in the slightest. In fact, if I were to agree that white people should treat black people differently just because of the color of their skin, as you suggest, then I would be a racist. I refuse.

          You readily group people into separate racial groups. I call that irrational, and I call that racism. When Alan Keyes [keyes2000.org] begins hosting his weeknightly hour-long talk show on MSNBC [msnbc.com] later this month, do you think it will be reasonable or helpful in any way to treat him as you have described we should treat "blacks"? (If you are unaware, Alan Keyes is a conservative Republican black man, former ambassador to the UN and presidential candidate, who has such "heretical" beliefs as the reasonableness of racial profiling in law enforcement, the unreasonableness of government-sponsored welfare, etc.).

          The fact is, white people _are_ for the most part horribly insensitive to black people.

          I am horribly insensitive to all people, until I get to know them. What does it mean to be "sensitive" to black people? It means that I know what black people are thinking, and that I am sensitive to their feelings and thoughts. But I don't know what black people are thinking, not because I am white, but because black people don't think as a group. Therefore I cannot be sensitive to black people, and neither can anyone else.

          Black people are as diverse as any other group: they completely span the spectrum of views on racism, politics, religion, culture, and the rest. Sure, they almost universally think that slavery was wrong. Well, so do I. That's about all "black people" have in common, and it is something I have in common with them. So excuse me if I find it completely illogical to put black people in a box and imagine that it is possible to be sensitive to them.

          In other words, how can one possibly be sensitive to "black people" when "black people" don't universally share any of the same sensitivities, except for those that one also shares?

          You might say that Keyes and others are exceptions to the rule. You might even be vindictive and unreasonable, and call him an Uncle Tom. But I say when dealing with other people, exceptions are the rule. My duty as a fellow human is to treat everyone I meet with the same high level of respect. I have no obligation to, and can see no logical value in, trying to guess how someone might react to something I say or do. And further, I think it shows a fundamental lack of respect for the individual to treat him as though I know what he is thinking, when I cannot possibly know such a thing.

          I have a good friend who is gay, and is sensitive regarding jokes about AIDS, for example. So I don't make such jokes in his presence. That one I could have guessed, probably. I have another friend who is sensitive about jokes regarding car accidents. He is far more distressed about that than most black people I know are about using the word "nigger." How could I possibly know that until I get to know him, and possibly unfortunately offend him along the way? And I have a good friend who is black who is doesn't have any problem with me using the word "nigger" in certain contexts, because he knows I love and respect him as a person, and that I am merely joking, and he gives as good (well, better) than he gets.

          The point is that we should attempt to treat everyone as an individual and get to know them and be sensitive to whatever they, as individiduals, are sensitive to, and that we shouldn't treat people as member of a group, because that is racism and that is offensive.

          Indeed, I wouldn't use the word "nigger," or joke AIDS, or joke about car accidents, in front of anyone I didn't know wouldn't be offended. Anything I think might cause distress to a "black person" is something I think might cause distress to any person. Yes, the word nigger is offensive. But I know far more whites, per capita, than blacks who find it inherently offensive. What does that tell us?

          That's what white privilege is all about and you and I both take advantage of it.

          It is not "privilege" to be treated well. "Privilege" means something "above and beyond" expectations. I will readily agree that many people, for many reasons, are treated poorly, including blacks, Jews, fundamentalist Christians, Republicans, Democrats, and whites. But when they are treated poorly, it is not evidence that those who are not treated poorly are "privileged." It is evidence that they are treated poorly, that they are not getting treated as they deserve to be treated.

          To use "privilege" in this manner implies that people don't deserve to be treated well, and that people who don't have it can't expect it, and those that do are lucky to have it. It's the other way around: everyone deserves it, those that don't have it should, and those that do are not lucky, but normal.

          OK, I think that's enough. If you've read this far, thanks. :-)

          • Speak for yourself. I am not racist in the slightest.

            It is simply not possible to be white and not be racist. You have enjoyed white privilege your entire life, at the expense of people of color. That is racist.

            Now as to how I'd define white privilige [whiteprivilege.com], just follow [utexas.edu] the [dickshovel.com] links [disciples.org].

            I doubt you could honestly tell me that you haven't experienced those privileges. If you have. but maybe you've never noticed them, that's a privilege too.

            That is the heart of racism. Its not about whether you think black peo
            • It is simply not possible to be white and not be racist.

              Only insofar as it is not possible to be human and not be racist.

              You have enjoyed white privilege your entire life, at the expense of people of color.

              No, I have not.

              I doubt you could honestly tell me that you haven't experienced those privileges. If you have. but maybe you've never noticed them, that's a privilege too.

              I refuse to bow to your desire to use the word "privilege" to mean "normalcy." Please use words properly. Yes, I know

              • >> You have enjoyed white privilege your entire life, at the expense of people of color.

                > No, I have not.

                Yes, you have.

                People of color are less able to compete with white people for things like quality education (starting with elementary), college admissions, jobs, housing, loans, etc.

                That's not to mention the fact that if you get arrested you're more likely to get a light sentence (no jail), you're less likely to get arrested in the first place, you're less likely to be beaten by a police
                • People of color are less able to compete with white people for things like quality education (starting with elementary), college admissions, jobs, housing, loans, etc.

                  I do not compete with anyone for any of these things. Education? It was public, open to everyone who lived there. College? Nearly everyone got in to my college, and I would have had a better chance if I were not white. Job? Probably no difference, but if there were, it would be easier if I weren't white. Housing? I was the only one