We, i.e. American citizens have steadily moved away from allowing any value to racist attitudes. Our founding documents maintain that all are created equal. The word used was “men” and that is a good example of exactly what we are dealing if you will allow me to add gender to race. That word “men” in 18th century language meant “people” in general. But from a 21st century perspective that meaning of “people” encompassed both women and other than caucasians of European ancestry as less than equal. Both groups were considered, to a greater or lesser extent, subservient to the white male population as indicated by the lack of legal agency. As a result most people today are uncomfortable using “men” in that expression and will often simply substitute “people”. And that is exactly what deconstruction formalizes.
So yes this. Although, I’d challenge the first sentence. Some American citizens have steadily moved away from valuing racist attitudes or racism. Believe me, many others have not. I think this needs to be acknowledged that Americans are all over the spectrum with regard to racism. Some see it, and speak out against it, and attempt to correct it. Others have learned to tolerate it, and don’t believe it will ever end and feel entirely disempowered by it. Still yet others are outraged and incensed over it. They feel like enough, is enough is enough.. Others - and I think this is particularly upsetting to people of color - deny that it exists. And that is actually an awful lot, I’d hazard a guess and say the majority of white Americans. Most do not make bold proclamations about it’s nonexistence, but I think it is a fairly common belief among most white Americans. This belief exists due to selfishness, which as arthur lecuyer so aptly pointed out, is not unusual. It’s actually quite normal. To be only concerned with societal problems that impact you or your own group directly.
And yet, this is my button. I find that the most irritating of all. I don’t know why. I think it’s because I feel as if it is an insult to my intelligence, as well as extraordinarily arrogant and condescending to tell me (so self-righteously, in fact) that my lived experiences are not what they actually have been so that you can feel comfortable about yours.
And then there are those who are unapologetically, unabashedly, undisputedly racist. You know what? They don’t bother me so much. I feel as if people like that live in a hell of their own creation, because when you feel so little love for yourself, that your only consolation is to spend enormous amounts of time and energy belittling and attacking another group that you feel is beneath you or worthy of your contempt, and you have to subscribe to that ideology in order to have some sort of positive identity, well, let’s face facts. That is a really sad and sorry little life. And I think this is the reason most people are not blatantly racist, I think (or at least I hope) that most people are intuitive enough to realize that the price of hating anyone else is loving yourself less. Eldridge Cleaver said that.
We need to consciously address this to break the grip of ingrained racism or misogyny or xenophobia in ourselves and society. My goal was to be positive and supportive.
Well thank you. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the reality of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia; and the support that you lend in calling out this particular gas-lighting game of “it doesn’t exist.” Who really thinks that is going to work?
As far as all of these views go, there are people far more radical than me, and far angrier than I could ever get over Mr. Lecuyer’s commentary or Mr. Meyer’s commentary (which as far as I can tell, is pretty innocuous, but I just read it to a friend who pointed out a number of flaws in his arguments, pointing out how in her view, he is simply trying slyly promote a soft more palatable view of the same old patriarchy. She said to me, just this afternoon, there are no “woke” white men. I said check this out. Here’s one. Mike Meyers gets it, I think.
She said “Nah.” And then she went onto deconstruct all of his points, and point out all the racism and sexism and lack of nuance and true critical thinking (acccording to her) contained in his response.
(Sigh…I thought it was pretty on point, albeit, a bit academic.)
It just occurred, just today, there is no turning back. Our American society is badly fragmented with a lot of extraordinarily angry people on the right and the left, who want their pound of flesh and pint of blood, around all of these identity politics. I just got blocked, by a black trans person who went on an epic rant about the insidious racism of white women. Why did I get blocked? Because I dared to suggest, as I did to Mr. Lecuyer, that all white women are not racist- in the way that she described. I get blocked for that? Really?
Not the first time, a black person has blocked me for expressing those kinds of views. Many black people, like many white people are at a point in American history where they want to have cart blanche to just rage, and scream, and shriek and attack and annihilate the other.
And…that solves what problems? At least people who work in social justice (I know, I know we’re all Marxist, Arthur and Svetlana Voreskova have made that much clear) are trying to mediate, negotiate between two warring factions and solve some problems.
And, when it comes to these issues, racism, sexism, and xenophobia, I am more Sinead O’conner. Give me a picture of the Pope. I will rip it up on SNL and say “fight the real enemy;” and yet no one will get it. But what I mean and - what she meant was (I think) that the problems we face are created by systems designed to control the way we think. They have the majority of us thinking in some pretty primitive and ineffectual ways.
I , Like Robert Frost, believe that education is the ability to listen to almost anything. Notice how he said - almost. The fact that I am being continuously called a Marxist? That just barely makes it into the category of the “anything” that I should be have the ability to listen to.
When you come to the table with racism doesn’t exist in America- that is something that falls outside of the category almost. Which is to say it is such a preposterous idea to me that I must place it in the category of utter nonsense. I will refuse to listen to that — or, do what I do best - get snarky and sarcastic in response. I can’t help it. I think it’s fun!