Welcome to Monday’s News on the March – The week that was in my digital world.
Blog article at Inner Circle:
I was tickled pink to wander across this recent interview with my good friend and author of Day for Night – Stacey E. Bryan. Few other ‘blog guests’ spots I have found as witty and engaging as what Stacey unpacks about herself here. Her backflip as a youngster from a friend’s fence (see inset photo) was the bee’s knees! You can check out Stacey’s blog Laughter Over Tears here.
My name’s Stacey but everyone calls me Oaks after the place where I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in L.A., Sherman Oaks. That’s not true. I just made that up. I am from The Valley, but I don’t have a cool nickname, although I’ve always wished I had a man’s name. Carson. Wyatt. Levi. Reed. From here on out, please call me Levi.
My last blog entry was a few paragraphs from David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” that involved a lot of dreamy, flowing words that I thought would instill a sense of quiet in those who read it, maybe diminishing all our coronavirus worries and concerns for a few moments at least. ..….…(Read entire article).
Video Interview excerpt at Rebel Wisdom:
Psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson shared on a former film “‘Mysticism, Spirit and the Shadow” his insights on how to defeat evil. This clip is from “‘Mysticism, Spirit and the Shadow”.…Watch entire interview excerpt
Poem at Intellectual Shaman:
is not enough
and when I make things bigger
I can’t ride the wave
Everybody wants some
until the fall
So, we must believe
there is an angel inside….(Read Entire Poem)
Any aficionado of the music of Bob Dylan should get their kicks from this massive resource site. I only stumbled across it when they linked one of my music articles about Bob to their resource links.
The objective of The Bob Dylan Project is to list every recording of every song sung or written by Bob Dylan and to provide direct links to the actual recordings. In addition the project provides direct links to other notable versions of each song available on YouTube or other streaming services….We are now at 200 Albums, 1,500 Songs, 5,000 Artists, 10,000 versions and 70,000 links to Bob Dylan related music! ..…(View web site)
Thanks Matt…I’ve never seen the Bob Dylan Project before I don’t think…wow you can get lost in that site…a great kind of lost.
Yeh, It’s a cool site. I’m looking forward to delving into it more.
Hi, Matthew. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview I did on The Inner Circle! Michael often does 8 Questions with people and about 99% of the time, nobody ever leaves a comment, so when the same thing happened with mine it was like Schrodinger’s Cat, you know? People may have liked it. People may have not liked it. Who knows? It’s locked up in a box that has not yet been opened, lol. Michael encourages long answers from the interviewees and I’m not convinced that’s optimal. I think people just don’t want to wade through all that. But it was lots of fun for me, in the end.
I liked the poem above for its optimism. We do hope the seeds take root somehow. As for an angel helping purposely or a devil unintentionally helping…yeah, either way, whatever works!
Speaking of which, I listened to the clip above too. I think he has a very good argument about people having to really and sincerely imagine themselves in the role of a villain, and not just intellectually, because you can’t just poo-poo something without considering it deeply and significantly and expect to have a meaningful understanding of it related to yourself. It’ll just be shallow.
There’s an old Buddhist tale of enlightenment about a man with a burden on his back (I first heard this from my spouse, actually). He’s trudging up a mountain with the burden. Then at one point he stops, removes the burden, and lays it on the ground. Once he has “let go” of all that the burden symbolizes–his worries, joys, sadness, the past, the present, the future–
he sees the world clearly and unambiguously, no longer painted by his perceptions or *feelings*, which are subjective and ephemeral. So now when he picks the burden up and puts it back on and continues up the mountain, his journey, and his life, have shifted and transformed, and he continues on as a different man with an open, clearer mind.
I saw the clip the same way but in reverse: you have to seriously and intentionally put a huge burden on yourself–the weight of comprehension that you are capable of anything, even great evil–before you can even approach clarity and arm yourself in any significant way against injustice, wrongdoing, etc., and be able to fight it or push it back and in the process make the world a better place. It’s hard! It ain’t easy, right? But once you do that, you can then take the burden off and continue on as a clearer, stronger person.
I’ve seen these invited guest questions and answers before and I would sometimes read them, but your answers stood out from others I have read. Your’s had ‘character’ and were funny, but introspective. I’m well aware of Schrodinger’s Cat as I have referred to it often here in the blog about my thoughts regarding consciousness and how it relates to the natural universe. I’m glad it was such a productive exercise for you. I think writing about yourself like that often is, but few people do it when it’s all said and done and that’s unfortunate.
I’m also thrilled you liked the other links inc the poem and Peterson’s argument. Peterson is not without his flaws and weaknesses as especially evident by his extended absence in recent times (among other things), but he brought the great philosophical and psychological thinking (mainly Jung and his tutor Nietzsche) out from theoretical book obscurity and presented them in a practical way for a modern culture which has been hugely profound.
I’m not sure if I relate to your looking at it in reverse. Until you realise the great harm done by oppressive regimes who thought they also were doing ‘good’ (and picture yourself doing that) then how do you know what is right or wrong and when to question yourself. I personally feel the ‘woke movement’ now with their morale virtue signalling are the clear beginnings of an oppressive regime which has the capacity of great evil. Their use of the COVID for example to push their ideological agenda is scary.
I have the following interview lined up for next week’s ‘News on the March’ but when I watched it I couldn’t help but think of you and a lot of what you have talked about regarding race etc. I thought you might want to see it. I was captivated by it:
Hi, Matt! I think my analogy was weak. I’m actually on the same page as you. I was trying to say that self-introspection and admitting to oneself in a genuine way that one could be capable of anything–even evil–is like a burden a person doesn’t generally walk around with all the time. They have to put it on, feel the weight, consider it seriously, and come to an understanding that, yeah, the road to hell is paved by good intention, and they could easily be a part of something like that–or worse. Then once an honest realization happens, the burden can come off, but the truth remains with them. I’d like to hear some of that interview above, too, so I’ll have to bookmark this! Thanks for the link, amigo.
Okay, I watched the first 10 minutes or so of the podcost. I stopped when the host began to, essentially, dole out the “tough love” to African-Americans in a lecture about they have failed and this is why they are where they are now–which, I guess he’s saying, is not a good place.
I understand where he’s coming from, and to an extent he’s right about that–most everybody, in one way or another, can take some kind of responsibility for their own downfall. But his argument that undo credit is being given in the 1619 Project to African slaves for building America is just as generalized as his blanket statement that today’s African Americans have put themselves where they are.
He even brings up prisons, insinuating that black people are putting themselves in situations to get themselves in prison, but how can black or ethnic people NOT get put in prison if an effing spotlight is on them at all times? On top of which, since many of them have been privatized and are now businesses meant to make money, it becomes the top priority of those states to pack those prisons with as many worker bees as possible to keep that business going–and we know who they’re going after to do that. As complicated as this 1619 Project’s thesis is, it’s just as complicated as this guy’s argument, and it seems to me that neither are being dealt justice with generalizations or inaccurate numbers and facts.
These two guys in the podcost are obviously very intelligent, educated, have done well for themselves, but they remind me a lot of a guy my husband and I knew once, a black guy who worked for Disney. He knew us for years and years and we were (what we thought) were good friends, and during a time when my husband was looking for work, he never once offered help; even a position in the mail room. There’s an old African American saying, “You got to get your own.” African-Americans are NOT big on helping one another up the ladder, and these two professors seem like that, unfortunately, even in the first ten minutes, especially with the finger-pointing about what black folk are doing wrong in their lives.
No, you can’t discount everything America has done in its short history due to the nature of its founding. But you also can’t discount the nature of its founding (slavery and genocide an religions suppression) and you can’t ignore the kind of schizophrenic thinking that juggled lofty ideals along with declaring Native Americans and Africans savages and not fully human. That kind of thinking has haunted us, no matter what the professors say, and America may be great in a lot of ways, but it’s also NOT great in a lot of ways, specifically and directly due to the very troubling, questionable, hypocritical, and violent beginnings.
Thanks, though, for bringing the 1619 Project to my attention, because (sadly) I had not heard about it! It’s very interesting, her point of view, and I can see why it’s causing such controversy.
Adios! 🙂 🙂 🙂
You couldn’t get past 10 minutes? Wait, what? He is an African American University professor talking with another African American U professor about what they see as the biggest hold-backs of African Americans progressing in society as opposed to how Jews and Irish have enriched their lives in America.
I believe exactly as these two men portray, many African American men are putting themselves in a position to get themselves into prison for exactly the reasons they laid out. And they exhausted those. But hey if you have just seen 10 minutes, and you were offended by that, there is nothing much I can add to the discussion.
Whoa, I didn’t think you’d respond so fast! I’m wrapping up my blog readings for the day. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t go on, too, because I have limited time. But just so you know, no, I’m not offended. I’ve heard this opinion and argument many times before, so it’s nothing new. I just don’t agree with it 100%. BUT…because of your enthusiasm and passion, I WILL finish the podcast at some point this week….and then respond AGAIN, perhaps with more enlightenment from whatever I hear. But ho, ho, ho, ho! We shall see.
I’ll take education and truth over victimization mentality any day. Unlike you, I rarely hear that narrative these days Thanks Stace for being flexible when you aren’t so flustered. Cheers Amiga.
‘Find out how much you can do in this world, but not in this ‘shall-not way’
I saw the podcast AND a documentary on 1619 project.
I am now forming my response.
I may have to email it to you. It’ll probably be really long, and I don’t want your blog to implode or anything!
Oh my gosh Stacey. I haven’t read the 1619 paper and in retrospect my comments to you were argumentative and abrasive so I wanted to apologize for that. I didn’t expect you would formulate an extended response. I understand you are already inundated with your day-job so please don’t feel compelled to write an extended response. But if you already have done it, I would be delighted to read it and learn something! Haha
That’s okay, Matt. I probably seemed like I was blowing off the professors too without listening to the whole thing. I have written the response but now I have to edit it down, lol !!!
You may be delighted to possibly learn something, but I am also delighted to have my synapses tickled, reminding me of how to think critically and to be able to formulate my thoughts coherently! Remember the old school days?! Oh, I hated writing papers! But it had to be done, ha ha ha. No worries. Talk to you soon………
Well at the time of sending you that video, I certainly did not foresee that we would be going down this path and it being the catalyst for you writing a paper! Haha. I hope you’ll be making a post with this paper in your blog. Oh well, one things for certain I’ll be facing a steep learning curve about slavery in the United States. That’ll help me fill up my time in Quarantine.
PS: Here is a video, in the meantime, to counter your two professors in the podcast:
It gives some insight as to why many ethnic people feel disenfranchised, having been erased from the record, and may lack the same enthusiasm and confidence others gain effortlessly from a society which reflects their “apparent” achievements and contributions all throughout history:
I’m going to have to read the 1619 paper, before I consider weighing up sides. The problem is it would appear one would require a subscription to the New York times to be able to access it.
What impressed me about the Lowry video were their arguments/their impassioned pleas that Black Americans develop individual responsibility and overcome this perpetual state of victim-hood sufferance… By taking ownership of their own lives and families rather than allowing this narrative to dictate their destinies. I think that goes for anyone of any race through no fault of their own had to undergo systematic discrimination or wrongdoing in their pasts. That was the crux of what I got from the video rather than it being about the 1619 project per se.
Okay, Matt, here you go…
A famous Afrocentric psychiatrist and orator, Frances Cress Welsing, once made this statement: “Black men (in America) are expected to pull themselves through a sewer and come out smelling like roses.”
The podcast professor who used the Irish and Jews as examples of “hard work and determination in America” that brings you success was misleading and disingenuous. He knows very well that on top of an Irish or Jewish man’s ability to melt into a crowd, looking basically like everyone else around them, both can change their names and Jews (and others) have often even changed religions in order to avoid judgement and unfair treatment at the least, persecution at the worst.
A black man, however, could change his name and change his religion…but he can’t remove skin, and at first glance he will always be spotted in a crowd, he will always stand out, he can never hide and pretend to be someone else. Which is something both of the previously mentioned did often, and in droves.
As the New York Times said in an article from several years ago (https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/nyregion/26names.html):
“The rationale was straightforward: adopting names that sounded more American might help immigrants speed assimilation, avoid detection, deter discrimination or just be better for the businesses they hoped to start in their new homeland.”
It’s a standard practice for celebrities—Bruno Mars, Martin Sheen, Anne Bancroft, Jennifer Anniston. Why did Martin Sheen change his name from Estevez? To get ahead in Hollywood. To get ahead in business. To get ahead in life by cleverly side-stepping institutionalized racism. Something a black person can’t do because they simply can’t hide the same way as everybody else—except, of course, for those who can pass for white, something that has even been done in my family.
Another problem with the professor’s example of the Irish and Jews: those populations of people have never been a part of chattel slavery. In fact no one has. Slavery has obviously been a common occurrence in the world since ancient times. But not this kind of slavery. The reprehensible practice of chattel slavery–a system which allowed people who were considered legal property to be bought, sold and owned forever—happened only in the United States.
On top of which, we all know that as time went by and the standard practice of rape continued, slave owners had no problem whatsoever keeping their sons and daughters in perpetual bondage. All this may have happened hundreds of years ago, but the damage was done. And the damage did not alleviate over time but in fact continued, in one way or another, on many different levels, and is still continuing today.
As Nikole Hannah-Jones stated in a documentary we watched about the 1619 Project (sic), “Nothing good comes out of still dealing with a ‘slavery’ mentality, and black folks really do not want to deal with it anymore. But the damage that was done has never been dealt with.” The damage never HAS been dealt with, and merely suggesting, as the professors did, that black people need to “get jobs” and stop saying “it’s not my fault” is like offering a Band-Aid for a gaping wound.
There’s a fine line between understanding and accepting the factual origins of where African-American suffering stems from and falling into a self-pitying and/or entitled victim role, the latter of which not everybody succeeds at avoiding. Many will fail. And why not? Black people aren’t angels or martyrs or supermen. They’re just people like everyone else. People of every race on earth play the victim card, but who’s to say that black people do it any more than anyone else? They are, however, under a relentless scrutiny where the subsequent narrative traditionally swings toward such easy and familiar descriptions.
The wound has to be treated with more than a Band-Aid, more than fleeting conversation suggesting that people get an education. Of course people need an education! But “education” (apart from being unaffordable, especially today) is one of the huge areas of institutionalized racism that has caused major damage and must be addressed before any meaningful change will happen (as you may have seen from the Fox News video I sent you).
One way that more kids would be excited about learning would be to include them in the history and world events their ancestors DID in fact engage in instead of covering up, minimizing, and deleting the facts. People might say, “Why does it matter what race people are?” but I would venture that question usually comes from those who never felt disenfranchised, diminished, or even outright erased from history.
I might even add that if you’ve never been followed in a store, had a woman subtly pull her purse away from you, seen someone locking their car doors as you walk past, or had police pull you over for no reason (and on and on and on) then you’re living a good life. Because I wouldn’t wish that other life—the life of existing with these daily, hourly microaggressions—on my worst enemy. So it hardly would be surprising that those who are the focus of such unrelenting negative feedback might not always be able to shrug it off and might even succumb to a lack of motivation stemming directly from despair.
In the schools, instead of just learning about Plato, let’s hear about the black man who introduced inoculations to the Americas (it was an old African practice, and he brought the wisdom with him) and instead of just learning about Paul Revere’s midnight ride to warn about the British, include Cheswell, the black man who rode with him. What about Sor Juana Inês de la Cruz, a 17th century feminist writer or Schomburg, an Afro-Puerto Rican writer and scholar? I never learned about ANY of these people when I was in school. As you may have seen in the clip, the host asks over and over, “Why? Why have these people been erased?”
And it’s a good question. I think the professors need to answer that question, because then their “disappointment” in their own race might soften a little when they recall, oh, yeah, I remember when I felt invisible. Insignificant. Ignored. The walls that were thrown up that I had to climb. The doors that closed in my face that I forced open. But I pushed on. I did something with my life anyway—regardless of the macroaggressions—but yeah. Kids might feel more invested in life, in the world, if they were shown how significant their cultures and knowledge and courage and contributions were. They might be inspired by school instead of feeling marginalized—literally removed from history. And then who knows where they might go and what they might do with just that inspiration and encouragement alone?
I really don’t think anyone wants to be a victim but it’s very difficult not to fall into self-defeated, circular thinking without support, without the right point of view and with a society that all but abandons you. Hell, after I send a story out for publication and it comes back over and over, rejected, I start thinking, “Maybe I’m not a writer. Maybe I stink. Why am I wasting my time?” and I had all the love and support in the world! Egos are fragile and negativity is an easy go-to, but I can generally rally out of my low points mainly due to my support system and a history of reassurances and bolstering from those around me.
My father used to be a Republican but in the last ten years or so, even before Trump, he became a Democrat. He used to be all about “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,” etc., etc. But then one day in church, the woman in the pew in front of him glanced at him from the corner of her eye…and then moved her purse closer to herself. And my dad knew at that moment that no matter how “green” he thought he was (successful at making money, successful in life) he was still black.
He could change his name or his religion or be a professional but none of it really mattered in the end. After all his success, at the end of his life, even in church, what was he boiled down to? Just a black man who was still somehow under suspicion. Not worthy of the trust and respect that others received so regularly, so openly.
And the average person just can’t rally back against suspicion, disregard, and downright hatred that’s that strong. Like I said, we’re entering superhuman territory at that point.
Let me end with several points here against the professors’ claim that white supremacy is an excuse or bullshit.
The only two bombings that have ever happened in the United States of America happened during the 1920s in Greenwood (men dropped kerosene bombs from planes) and in 1985 in Philadelphia. And this unique and very special violence was visited upon black people only.
And, of course, the atomic bomb was dropped on Asians. It SHOULD have been dropped on Germany, who was stuffing people into ovens, but Germans are white people, so we weren’t going to bomb them.
In modern times, a couple of examples of white supremacy and the special umbrella other white people exist under are the young man who murdered the black people while they were in church and the female cop who walked into someone else’s apartment (claiming that she thought it was her own apartment) and murdered a black man as he sat on his sofa watching TV and eating ice cream.
Now, the crimes in themselves aren’t even the issue here. Those happen all the time! And generally, unless it’s a massacre, the shooter will get off. This is life in America for ethnic people. The point I’m making comes afterwards. The lady cop, after the trial where she was convicted of murder…received a hug from the judge. I have NEVER seen anyone black, cop or otherwise, receive a hug from a judge after being convicted of murder.
On the way to jail with the psychopathic young man who murdered the churchgoers, the cops stopped at McDonalds or Burger King (I forget which one) and bought him some lunch. How thoughtful of the police. Because he definitely deserved it. While Freddie Gray, a black man in Baltimore, was arrested by police for “possessing a knife”, thrown into the back of the police van and not secured. The cops then proceeded to speed through the Baltimore streets at top speeds, driving roughly and taking corners sharply, resulting in damage to Mr. Gray’s spinal column, after which he fell into a coma and then later died.
It’s a pervasive mindset, a kind of subconscious dismissal of black lives, a hypocrisy of treating some people one way (with hugs and cheeseburgers) and others with disrespect and even contempt. How is one supposed to live in/react in a world where one person slaughters elderly churchgoers and receives a Happy Meal on the way to jail and another person…with a knife? Huh? A knife?…dies on the way to jail? How do you say “Get a job” to that person or “Raise your children right” to their families? The situation in this country goes way beyond the magic bullet of those patronizing and sanctimonious points of view. It’s dire. It’s critical. It’s institutionalized. It’s not bullshit. It’s part of our history.
We’ve also exported racism out into the rest of the world, and much of the world has accepted our poisonous package and continues to spread the negative narrative.
My husband thinks both Nikole Hannah-Jones and the professors are both wrong in their point of views. (He got sucked into this because he’s doing research for a screenplay). And it’s simply this: black people need a strong, charismatic leader but the U.S. has murdered anyone who has attempted to take on that role.
He thinks white racism is not an excuse, as the good professors say. It’s large and in charge and has been amazingly successful in suppressing, muting, disappearing, and/or assassinating anyone who deigns to take on the role of uniting black people. Both India and China’s confidence were restored and strengthened with Ghandi and Mao Zedong respectively (regardless of the harm Mao did after that); both of these exemplary examples, by the way, of the white supremacy that the professors say is an excuse or even bullshit.
I’ve seen men like the two professors before in my life many times, and what they’re doing is running from reality as fast as they can, and that’s why they ran right into the arms of conservatism. They don’t want to remember the purses being pulled away. They don’t want to remember being followed in the store. They don’t want to think of all the hard work and studying they did only for someone else to get tenure before them. I’ve known people like them my whole life.
I have very successful relatives who have told stories of being disrespected in some way and said very bitterly, “I was treated like some n***er off the street!” Especially when one “makes it”, they try to get as far away from the “Ns on the street” as they can. To be associated with the lower classes that are still squirming around in the mud is their worst nightmare, so they distance themselves, become righteous, offer generalized and simplistic panaceas for the troubles that still persist because they do not want to remember, do not want to go back there.
And why would they? A terrible catch-22 situation has been created and has worked very well in the continued purgatorial existence of American blacks. There may be many African Americans whose self-examination never goes beyond self-pity and the victim card (which I still maintain is the common state of existence for most people in the world anyway), but what are they, in all reality, supposed to do? Without backing, without confidence-building, without guidance?
The professor who touted the Jewish and Irish successes ironically seems to lack, himself, the very thing those two groups obviously had—a sense of community and helping one another. The professor will sit there condemning black society, my uncle will scorn “lower-class” blacks, and my father will be a card-carrying Republican for most of his life, and to what end? How does it help? It doesn’t.
The sense of community and helping one another is just not there, in large degree, within the black community. And that’s where the missing authority comes in. I agree with my husband that leadership is the badly needed element here in the U.S. All issues would be addressed, one way or another, falling under that umbrella: a strong charismatic leader to bind the people together, build them up, organize them and lead the way out of the nightmare of impotence, (constantly reinforced) self-hatred, and undefined priorities. If a leader could stay alive long enough to accomplish those goals, of course, which, here in the United States, in the land of the “free” and the home of the “brave,” is extremely problematic and, sadly, against the odds.
Thanks for forwarding this to me Stacey. I will take my time to read it and analyse the points before I send a reply. I will watch the video as well and send you an extended reply shortly. I hope you guys are doing well these days. Cheers.
This is my response to your extended response to The Glenn Show video. Firstly, I would like to say that I appreciate that you watched the entire episode despite your initial disdain for its contents. I apologise upfront if my wording in my response here may be interpreted as dismissive or impersonal, but I sense that when people discuss these delicate matters there is a tendency to resort to alarm-ism or sensationalism by way of using bad analogies, innuendos and sweeping generalizations, which don’t reflect reality. You’ll find me reluctant to engage in ideological misrepresentations. For example, the premise made that ‘Black men (in America) are expected to pull themselves through a sewer’ is in my estimation an ideological motivated misrepresentation of reality. So I will refrain from entertaining and engaging in discussion of that nature.
Your argument that Dr Lowry was disingenuous comparing the plights of the Irish and Jews with African Americans because of the colour differentiations of their skin and not being able to blend in more would insinuate there being widespread racism in the US against people with brown/black skin. I think ‘widespread racism’ is an accurate generalisation of what occurred to African Americans during most of the 20th Century and prior. This racism was underscored by political policies geared towards segregation. You enlightened me about the fact that people adopted new names to assimilate more rapidly in American culture which African Americans weren’t afforded is partly evidence of this systemic racism. Although I might contend that some of the showbiz names were probably changed to sound more ‘showbiz’ and that’s that. Bruno Mars unless I’m mistaken doesn’t sound exactly ‘American’.
I was unaware that ‘Chattel Slavery’ only occured in the US. My understanding was that Chattel slavery was supported and made legal by European governments and monarchs. Wikipedia states here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery#Chattel_slavery:
‘Although it dominated many different societies throughout human history, this form of slavery has been formally abolished and is very rare today. Even when it can be said to survive, it is not upheld by the legal system of any internationally recognized government’
What evidence do you have that it still continues today in the US?
I think the Jewry has suffered persecution and degradation on another level in our comparative recent human history and antisemitism continues to this day. But I feel it’s a bit disingenuous labeling and comparing the sufferings of various ethnic groups in human history. Many ethnic groups have at various times suffered a great deal to the point where any one person from these groups could based on their ancestors’ experiences play the victim-card. Success to overcoming this torment seems to be about how the ethnic group / community confronts these atrocities and persecutions by their unique-individual approach to living in the present. No, noone ‘are angels, martys or supermen’, but there does seem to be an onus on the ‘individual’ to bear it and be a better person in the face of what occurred in the past. As Jordan Peterson argued in that short presentation excerpt. ‘Don’t be a victim!… Of course you’re a victim!’ This is the responsibility that each individual confronts despite their ethnic background- to be a better person in the face of suffering. Otherwise what’s the point of existing? We’re all going to suffer. I think since segregation policies were abolished and affirmative policies were implemented and social welfare extended (the bandaid as it were) it would appear the footing African American find themselves has never been better in at least how policy is directed.
If the community for which the individual is represented ‘consistently’ feels deserving of ‘more than a bandaid’ (as you put it) to seek retribution for past systemic failure, and this continues and overrides the message about ‘individual responsibility’ and ‘’divinity of the individual’ then we are all destined to a fate of living as ‘persecutor’ or ‘victim’. It’s this ideological narrative driving the new leftist message for the past 10 years or so which has so many of your fellow citizens very concerned and fueled in part the support for Trump in the last election.
I agree that education, like health in the US have become increasingly ‘out-of reach’ for many American battlers, Black or White and in between. Actually anyone who was born after the baby Boomers and Generation X would have had a comparatively much harder time securing wealth or even their own house for that matter such are the meager increases in average wages in these recent epochs. I see this as a weakness / failure of neo-liberalism, Government and market institutions than I do it being some form of underlying persecution by the tyrannical patriarchy towards minority communities.
I do not feel that African American’s have been side-swept from the telling of (at least) 20th Century history. I think there has been a plethora of movies, books etc which have educated not only Americans, but the rest of the world on the African American plight even back to the civil war.
You might want to reconsider the motivations behind why someone might ‘appear’ to be safeguarding their personal security when someone of another ethnic appearance is close. You’ll find that during this pandemic, that people are more cautious in terms of maintaining their distance from others. I will admit even before the Pandemic that if someone fit a particular profile I would be more likely to take precautions. My point being that crime statistical data and coverage could have more to do with someone acting a certain way in the presence of another rather than it being because they are resentful towards a race or are feeding someone pathological hatred. At the start of the Pandemic I found people in my neighborhood in Bogota wouldn’t be caught dead close to me when I was out and about, because I was a, ‘extranjero’ (foreigner) and foreigners were associated with being tourists and closer to where the virus was doing damage.
I agree if it isn’t taught already, people need to learn of those great African American persons you mentioned and the Professors should answer that question. I doubt they have been erased otherwise how would you know about them? I doubt also that African American children don’t already hear a great deal about their heritage in their households, but yeh if the education system is not educating the wider American public, then that is a concern. What I might try to do or you is send Glen Lowry (somehow) a transcript of our discussion on this topic if he isn’t already inundated and see what he has to say.
While I admired to read the part about your father in Church I do not hold up to a characterization that the non-African American population would look so condescendingly upon your father based on his skin colour. I have no doubt there are racist Americans, but I think there are extremist pockets and of course anyone from a minority community and I am part of one here in Colombia will undergo forms of Xenophobia /racism in their dealings with others (and this is an important point) when the cultural majority are of a different ethnicity. That is a given I’m afraid based upon the most basic human psychology, and I don’t believe it’s because of some inbuilt deep systemic hatred, rather they feel bordered, protected if you will, for the culture they are enriched by. It’s only natural.
Your extended – extended section I have some contentions with and I’m willing to learn if I am mistaken about any of these particulars. There have been many bombings on the United States and not just those two you mentioned. But if those two bombings occurred to harm just black people then that is appalling. I know just like you that Arabs from ISIS have killed many thousands of Americans of all races on American territory and i imagine the same is true between the ethnicity’s domestically, but over an extended period.
I don’t think the Americans dropped the bomb on Japan as opposed to Germany because Germans were white, rather I believe their reasoning was because the Japanese would not surrender to the allies so they dropped the two on them. The Germans were done for with the Soviets approaching from the east and Allies from the West. Hitler had already committed suicide. The Emperor of Japan remained ‘gung-ho’. The greatest ignorance in my estimation surrounding the study of WW2 is that the Germans were defeated because of the Soviets (who lost countless many more lives than the allies) and not because of the DDay and other heroic landings and infiltration’s led by the UK and USA as we read about or see in movies.
Regarding the other aspects/crimes you detailed in the extended-extended part, they are extremely concerning as any hate-crime is. I do not believe that White Americans in general possess a ‘pervasive mindset, a kind of subconscious dismissal of black lives’. I think the great majority treat each individual according to their own merit. If someone from a certain ethnic origin conveys everything they have gleaned to be a ‘threat’ and this to be based on ‘good reason’ and rationality, then they are fully within their rights to act on their assumptions and intuition. They shouldn’t always have to be feeling always ‘Oh I can’t seen to be racist’. Unfortunately the modern left have portrayed the cultural majority or at least this purported systemic racism as such, ‘It’s dire. It’s critical. It’s institutionalized. It’s not bullshit’.(your words), Your drive, your ideological narrative like exporting racism out into the rest of the world makes no sense to me. Obama was elected as your President voted by the majority! Also, some of the most endearing elites and ‘protestants’ in the 20th Century (worldwide!) are Black Americans. I don’t know how that could happen if America was systemically racist. Also young people of all races love hip-hop, rap artists which was spawned from Black American culture. What am I missing?
What I think this whole augment is lacking is the forthright view of ‘don’t underestimate ‘cultural majority’. In just about any country there is an ethnic and cultural majority and it’s founded according to the prevailing majority opinion. If it wasn’t founded according to this then what is it? A country without borders, without stake in its culture? It’s ethnicity and cultural heritage makes it a country at least from the get-go. Should I expect Colombia and its cultural where-for-all to stop calling me ‘Gringo’ because I find it mildly offensive. Or should they adopt everything which I like about Australia which makes it so prosperous and tranquil? No Fucking way. The cultural majority will always win and it’s no fault of their own or indeed is it part of any systemic racism, that they have resolute pride in its origins and the constitution and will do anything to uphold it.
I have to adapt or die here. I don’t wish to correlate my experiences with Black Americans but I wish to express that a Country is a Country because of its customs, norms, cultural majority and minorities. But if you let a ideological narrative drive a society and say its history is due to a hidden persecutor-victim mentality or that the majority are somehow bad people then I have a problem which I imagine many Americans do.
Yeah, like you said, it’s more about what they were saying than the 1619 Project, to which you have my lengthy response, so I won’t expect to hear back from until oh… two weeks from now, lol.
But, yeah, the “personal responsibility” argument is only valid to a point and mightily simplistic when it comes to the history between black and white in the U.S.
It could well be two weeks by the looks of it, but I will get there I can assure of that lol The following might be where we differ in our world view on these matters based on what you wrote above. But by all means tell me how I might not be understanding your brief statement:
I don’t see ‘personal/individual responsibility’ as simplistic, as opposed to just labeling people according to their group identity, on the contrary, I believe there are more differences between any two individuals than there are those from different group identities. I’m not a fan of group collectivism full-stop because it essentially casts a ‘label’ on people and the nuance and supremacy of the ‘individual’ which our Judaeo-Chistian society is predicated on becomes a secondary consideration.
Please tell me how I am not seeing this as I should.
I imagine we will be at this for a long time given our passions towards our respective beliefs and political persuasions. But that can only be a good thing to understand, learn and empathize with another viewpoint. In the interim, I’ll forward to you this brief video which encapsulates succinctly and rationally what I am getting at. I understand you might not have the time to get to it, but in case you do here it is:
Hi, Matt! Hey, I never saw this response ’cause I think if you don’t “like” the last thing I said, it doesn’t show up in my feed for some reason. Yeah, I’ll check this video out hopefully this weekend. Both sides learning and empathizing with the other side’s point of view is always important, I think. I don’t want to *petrify* into one thought process that can’t be budged one way or another!
Talk to you soon…..
Okay! Saw the video! Nice and short, actually, hehe.
And I agree. Like 100%. And I think most people would agree 100% that we have to get ourselves together, transcend suffering (as best we can), and try to lessen some of the suffering in the world. An example of which is most obvious with you yourself, what you’ve been through, and how you managed to climb out of a hole back up into the world again.
I’m not arguing that point. Jordan’s right. You’re right. The professors, on one level, are right. Life is suffering, everybody has problems, but why wallow in it? Get back on the horse, pull it together and go on at the very least. Excel, even better. Inspire and help others–the best of all possible worlds.
My only issue is this: Everybody DOES have problems and DOES suffer…but black Americans, specifically males, have the same problems as everyone else, suffer like everyone else, and then ON TOP of this, they must deal with institutionalized, privatized, and personalized racism.
Do you see what I mean? I can’t put it much simpler than that. If life is hard for everyone and life is suffering but we have to be strong….why is it that black Americans are expected to go through everything everyone else goes through…and THEN some and come out smelling like roses?
What are the odds that you would have succeeded the same way you did by wrenching yourself out of the dark place you were in back into life if you were also under constant suspicion, criticism, were followed around in stores, or your life was actually in danger? Do you honestly think that with all the normal domestic and personal problems you managed to work through that living like a kind of outlaw in your own country would help you, in any way, to reach the place you are in today?
I don’t know, Matt. I think I’m just not explaining myself well, unfortunately.
I feel like you’ll still read this like I’m giving a “pass” card to black Americans like it’s okay to be a victim. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying I understand it, when I do see it, where it’s coming from. And ultimately I’m saying it’s a LOT harder for black Americans and their situation can’t just be swept under the rug like, no, it’s rough for everyone, things happen to everyone. Yes, “things” happen, but not like the “things” that happen to black folk in America! They don’t! How many people do you know who have been sitting in their own home eating ice cream and get gunned down by a cop?
Or–latest example–a black jogger in one of our less-than-desirable Southern states who just was murdered by some white guys who said he was a thief. And he wasn’t. He was just a jogger! But now he’s a dead jogger. And another dead American black male.
So if you can jog down the street not worried for your life or sit on your sofa not worried for your life or go to a store and not be under suspicion or walk past someone who doesn’t lock their doors, then more power to you. But for those in America who live that way every day…just “picking themselves up” and taking responsibility IS simplistic at least on one level–I won’t even say many levels–just one level, at least. It IS simplistic. Because if you can’t even stay alive long enough to inspire others or help others or leave your mark in the world because the bull’s-eye is on your back everywhere you go….what can I say?
So summary: Yes. Somebody HAS to transcend, otherwise we’d all be wallowing in misery and depression. I think most people DO try to overcome. And it’s essential to try. But I will never back down from the playing field being EXTREMELY uneven–at least in the good old US of A. Extremely uneven. And it’s just idiotic for people to pretend it isn’t and that everyone has an equal chance at success. I’ve had personal experiences all my life, along with my mother, father, and brother who killed himself in 2011. I’m working on a story about his suicide, actually, that I feel isn’t in the right place yet. It’s done but I think it needs a different trajectory. It’s on a back burner for now, just sort of boiling in a pot…..
If you want to get a point of view on white privilege or white racism from an actual white guy who’s famous for his talks, look up Tim Wise when you get a chance. I don’t know, maybe he phrases things more succinctly than I do. I think I’m failing.
But as usual, thanks for engaging!
I don’t want to be someone who argues that African Americans aren’t suffering some form of racial hostility even to this day. As a Caucasian in Colombia I do too suffer varying degrees of this. I read about the African American jogger and that was horrible what occurred by racist hatemongers…I imagine.
In conclusion, I don’t see how our conversation on these matters will lead to anything that is pivotal or that’s going to expand ourselves educationally apart from what we already view as our prevailing opinions.
I hope you are doing well Amiga.
Yeah, it’s frustrating. I know you know about racism here, and I know it goes on in other places against other people in varying degrees and I’m sorry to hear about your experiences too. I do think we’re on the same page, more or less, and we can’t go much further than that. I think my frustration really actually comes with not just the professors but anybody suggesting what *sounds* like simplistic advice to any oppressed people without also offering solutions. One has to dig beneath the surface to see where behavior comes from and what history, if any, has fostered it. Same with those in your country. It’s not just there by happenstance; it’s coming out of something specific and for some reason. Not that it makes it right or easy to deal with. But………..yeah. I think we’ve covered all the bases we can and also created a few, lol.
Let me just say, on a different note, you have a wonderful voice and command of language and I’m very jealous of the fact that you can argue so well in English! I can’t even imagine trying to get my point across so eloquently in my forgotten, rusty Spanish! But that was entirely my fault, and I could get it back fairly easily, I think, if I ever got the time and/or energy to do it.
Still….props to you, Matt.
I hope you’re doing well also amigo.
I just finished an ‘extended’ response to your extended reply to the Lowry podcast. It was bugging me for days. In fact I put off posts just letting it stress me. Haha
I was trying to derail it by my response to you above. But I felt compelled to act on it. I felt over the moon the read about your comments about my writing. I feel exactly the same about you. That’s so nice of you really! Your the bees knees Amiga
Well, you are a really, REALLY good writer and I mean that sincerely. I also thank you for your compliment. But Oh my god, Matt, I’m sorry about that. I really hate having things on my mind like that, too, that keeps me from doing other things, like if your other posts got delayed! God, we’ve gone down the rabbit hole. I really feel like I failed to clearly explain my point, because the issue here in the U.S. goes SO beyond just mere racism….it’s almost like it’s a separate, sentient entity of ongoing hatred and evil that undermines and continuously destroys any progress. I’m not sure I can even talk about this anymore after today when I found out what happened in Minneapolis with the latest police murder of a helpless black man. I’ve actually been emotional and crying all day, due to the details of it and what he was saying while he was dying. My eyes are tearing up right now as I write this. I feel hopeless over this, sick, disgusted, horrified, and beaten down. I feel like it will never end.
Thanks Stacey, that means a lot! Actually I was reading my comment back and I noticed I made some glaring errors. Oh well, no one’s perfect.
I’m sorry to read about the helpless black man. I’m unaware of the details surrounding it. It must be horrible if you have been distraught all day.
I’m going to laydown tools on this topic for the time being. But when you feel better, don’t hesitate to clarify about the ongoing hatred and evil you remarked about.
Please take it easy on yourself and don’t let things outside of your control weigh you down so much. We already have enough on our plates with this Pandemic. 😉 Cheers amiga
I can’t get to sleep tonight. Maybe I’ll drink a glass of wine. I’m a lightweight, haha.
Hi Stacey, I am 3/4 of the way through this discussion about the Minneapolis incident of police brutality. I cannot recommend it more highly as it pertains to a great deal of what we have discussed even down to the detail of your distraught reaction to it as well as potential residue rasism you implied in your interactions with white Americans. I hope you don’t turn it off before seeing it all since the real meat in the sandwich as it were is in the second half. I hope this message finds you well.