Green Party elected official receives dubious award

(excerpt from) The Arkansas News
Now the prestigious Bubba Awards
By John Brummett / April 11, 2009

Here are the biennial Bubba Awards for notable achievement in the legislative session.

The Rainbow Award goes to freshman Rep. Richard Carroll of North Little Rock, a white man from the Green Party who got turned down by the Black Caucus…

101 thoughts on “Green Party elected official receives dubious award

  1. Kimberly Wilder

    Yes. Sorry to the Greens for having brought up what is a controversial subject. But, the award write-up was just too cool to pass up.

    Mr. Carroll represents a primarily black district. And, I believe his wife is African American. And, Mr. Carroll wanted to be supportive of black issues. So, he thought that it was appropriate for him to join the Black Caucus of his legislature. The Black Caucus thought otherwise.

  2. Gregg Jocoy

    Kimberly wrote:

    Sorry to the Greens for having brought up what is a controversial subject.

    First of all, the Arkansas Greens did not ask Richard to do this. Secondly, as you point out, his district is majority Black. Thirdly, his wife is indeed Black.

    The NAACP accepts White members. So does the Urban League. So did the original Black Panther Party for Self Defense I believe, but I could be wrong.

    You seem to be saying that this was some sort of publicity stunt. With the Congressional Black Caucus sending billions into the mouth of the War Machine, even with the votes of former stalwarts like John Lewis, is seems to me that your concern is misplaced.

    The Greens are not the problem. Neither are the Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Socialists or anyone else here. I try to keep my eyes focused on the real threats to our nation, democracy, human rights and environment. Those threats come from the corporate parties and the filthy rich who buy them like we buy Chiclets.

  3. Gregg Jocoy

    More information about the things Carroll has been doing can be found at Green Party Watch

    I think Ross’ observation is more on target than anything else. The color that may be keeping him from membership may not be white, but green.

  4. Ross Levin

    Gregg, I think the only reason it would be controversial is that some articles haven’t included the fact that Carroll’s district is mostly black and his wife is black, they just make it seem like he’s some weird white guy that tried to join the caucus.

  5. Kimberly Wilder

    For clarification: I think that my statement expressed mostly that there was controversy in Richard Carroll’s position. Not necessarily that his position was wrong.

    But, as a woman, who has greatly desired a place where only women can confer, I do think that the bottom line is a white person should not DEMAND to be in a person of color caucus. And, certainly should not be presumptuous enough to attack the person of color caucus when they make their decision.

    But, I wasn’t even going to say that.

    I confess, Richard Carroll had a good argument in many ways.

    I see it as a controversy, with both sides having some valid points. But, overall, I think that the impression left in the press was that Richard Carroll was more in the wrong. Which is why I said it wasn’t the best thing to bring up for the greens. But, very interesting that someone took the time to give him “an award.”

    And, in some ways, in politics, the rule still goes, “It doesn’t matter what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right.” Which is not always true. But, Greens in the mainstream media is a bit of a coup.

  6. mdh

    Well, at its core, a black caucus deciding not to allow a white person membership is going to be seen as a racist move, even if it was more a political move than a racial one. I think that anyone who opposes racism should speak out harshly against the actions of the black caucus, because without some statement from them that their decision was not based on race, it seems safe to assume that it was. That his wife is of any specific racial background is irrelevant, however that his district is largely black seems to only support the case for him joining the black caucus.

    I’m curious whether he’s a member of the white caucus or not? Did they have anything to say about this?

    Isn’t the Green party really big into speaking out against racism? Here’s a good chance for them to do just that.

  7. Kimberly Wilder

    I think that it is usually wrong to NOT allow a black caucus to decide if it wants to allow non-blacks.

    Just like I think that a woman’s caucus should have the right to decide if it should allow men or not.

    Our society favors and is mostly controlled by white men. And, if historically oppressed groups wish to have some breathing room in terms of separate space to talk, it should be allowable. And, it is much less harmful than hundreds of years when men’s business clubs entirely excluded women. Or, white housing developments, theaters, or restaurants excluded blacks entirely, or made them stay in a separate place.

    I think that it is difficult for many white men to understand this. All they have known is privilege. They don’t understand that when you are crushed down and left out for so long, you may need your own place to vent with like-minded souls.

  8. mdh

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t allow people to behave in a collectivist way by practicing sexism, racism, etc. I’m just saying that as someone who opposes racism, I would criticize it wherever I see it. It’s their right to be racists, and my right to call them out on it because it’s something I don’t care for.

    As far as my being a white man, I’ve seen a lot of women and black people who’ve been a heck of a lot more privileged than me. Class has little if anything to do with what you look like, in today’s society. Of course, that’d mean it might be fair to have a poor folks caucus, too… except that you won’t ever see one of us winning an election. 😉

  9. Kimberly Wilder Post author

    I still disagree.

    I think that based on the history of our country, and the current status of still being discriminated against, black people have a right to create groups, clubs, or caucuses, where white people are not allowed.

    I don’t think that a government could say “blacks only and no whites” without being racist. But, a caucus that says “blacks only no whites” is allowed to form, and is only a self-defensive mechanism against a still racist society.

  10. mdh

    I’m not saying that it isn’t OK. I also think that white only clubs that don’t allow blacks or others are OK, too. In fact, both sorts of clubs exist, as do Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and other clubs.

    I do think it’s racist, however, and don’t choose to subborn such racism in any form.

  11. Gregg Jocoy

    If the Black Caucus benefits from taxpayer funds I am not sure they should be allowed to decide who is and who is not Black enough to join. Afterall, we here in the south have suffered for centuries under the “one drop” rule, which says that one drop of Black blood renders one Black. Should Richard be expected to undergo a DNA test to decide if he had that one drop?

    What if it turned out that Richard’s great granddad had a great great aunt who was Black?

    Then again, if the Black Caucus is not taxpayer funded I am inclined to say that the membership should be free to decide who meets their membership criterion and who does not.

  12. Bryan

    If an elected official represents a primarily African American, Latino, Asian, or other minority population then I see it as his/her duty to be on any caucus, focus group, committee, etc… that may address issues important to his/her electors. If the elected official is denied entry into this group, then it should be called out, because whose interests are they looking out for by excluding this elected official?

    I agree with Gregg, if the caucus is “self funded” then they have every right to include/exclude anyone they wish, but when tax dollars are in the mix…everybody else gets a voice in their decisions.

    Why would they not want someone who represents a largely black district in their caucus anyway???

  13. Gregg Jocoy

    I wrote earlier

    You (Kimberly) seem to be saying that this was some sort of publicity stunt. With the Congressional Black Caucus sending billions into the mouth of the War Machine, even with the votes of former stalwarts like John Lewis, is seems to me that your concern is misplaced.

    Kimberly did not say that. I read something into her post that was not there. I apologize.

    Gregg

  14. Mik Robertson

    I guess I’m not clear as to whether the Black Caucus is a caucus about issues pertaining to Black People (however that is defined) or whether it is a caucus of Black People (again however that is defined) promoting a common approach to public policy. Was the exclusion based on race or ideology?

    @10 “And, if historically oppressed groups wish to have some breathing room in terms of separate space to talk, it should be allowable. And, it is much less harmful than hundreds of years when men’s business clubs entirely excluded women.”

    I don’t see why one exclusion is bad and the other is not so bad. Would civil rights for all citizens have been achieved better or faster if MLK Jr. had excluded all but Blacks?

    @12 “I don’t think that a government could say “blacks only and no whites” without being racist. But, a caucus that says “blacks only no whites” is allowed to form, and is only a self-defensive mechanism against a still racist society.”

    So it depends on who says it whether it is racist or not? Is the Mexican-American club that says “no blacks” racist?

  15. paulie

    I guess I’m not clear as to whether the Black Caucus is a caucus about issues pertaining to Black People (however that is defined) or whether it is a caucus of Black People (again however that is defined) promoting a common approach to public policy. Was the exclusion based on race or ideology?

    My understanding is that it is a caucus of black members of the legislature, as defined by a combination of themselves, their peers, and “society”.

  16. Kimberly Wilder

    mdh said:

    -I’m not saying that it isn’t OK. I also think that white only clubs that don’t allow blacks or others are OK, too…

    I do think it’s racist, however, and don’t choose to subborn such racism in any form.–

    Well, some people assert that black people cannot be racist. Because, they are the ones oppressed. And, whatever they do to prop themselves up and create space from the oppressor – whites – is okay.

    I respect that opinion. Though, I am not sure that I would go that far. I think some black people could be so angry they could lash out at whites, and that could be acting “racist.”

    But…I do not think that black people who want to meet in a group that is all black can be called racist. They have a right. And, it is not lashing out at white people. Just taking space for themselves as blacks and as oppressed people.

    Just like there could be some women who are sexist. But, I would not say a woman was sexist just because she wanted to have an all-woman caucus, or an all-woman club, or an all-woman meeting. Women are the oppressed. They deserve a break from the oppression and the oppressor.

    Probably every time, but at least almost every time, women are at a meeting with men, we can feel all the patterns of patriarchy and condescension – right down to the fact that men are trained to be louder and have deeper voices, and often, unconsciously, just talk over women or bluster on.

    A similar kind of drudgery is part of the black/white experience that a lot of white people don’t get. It is called “the grind”. It is every single day, being exposed to one or two incidents where one white person or another puts you in your place, or cuts you in line because they think you are less. And, if you are white, you can’t understand why some black people seem resentful or need a break. Because, you cannot imagine every day of your life being reminded that you are “different” and “less” in the eyes of many of the people around you.

    Also, I don’t know the whole story of the Green legislature and the caucus. But, I will say this, if the guy truly wants to be part of the Black Caucus, he should respect that they said NO first. Respect their right to say no, and try to understand why they would say no. And, then instead of critiquing them, show his sincerity to their cause by proving himself and building trust, even if it takes several months or several years.

  17. Trent Hill

    “I think that based on the history of our country, and the current status of still being discriminated against, black people have a right to create groups, clubs, or caucuses, where white people are not allowed.”

    Sure–so long as white people, asians, men, and whomever else can too (assuming they dont accept taxpayer funds). Am I to assume that just as it is not racist for a black group to be formed for exclusively black membership, you also do not think it’d be racist for a bunch of white males to create their own caucus, golf club, or discussion group, Kimberly?

  18. Trent Hill

    “Probably every time, but at least almost every time, women are at a meeting with men, we can feel all the patterns of patriarchy and condescension – right down to the fact that men are trained to be louder and have deeper voices, and often, unconsciously, just talk over women or bluster on. ”

    Oh? why do you think its sexist that we talk louder? That biological, men have always had deeper and louder voices, feel free to look up the sociobiological reasons for that Kimberly. Exactly how is that sexist and why can’t you women fix the supposed-sexism without attacking others? Speak louder and deeper, no one is stopping you.

    “A similar kind of drudgery is part of the black/white experience that a lot of white people don’t get. It is called “the grind”. It is every single day, being exposed to one or two incidents where one white person or another puts you in your place, or cuts you in line because they think you are less. And, if you are white, you can’t understand why some black people seem resentful or need a break. Because, you cannot imagine every day of your life being reminded that you are “different” and “less” in the eyes of many of the people around you.””

    What a load. Kimberly, a white woman, wants us to believe that every white man is, at some point, an oppresor of women, hispanics, and blacks. Come out with it Kimberly, do not make broad statements. Point your finger at me, or Jason Seagraves, or Walter Block, and say “You. You oppress me. You are a racist. You cut in front of me in line at Walmart because im black.”.

    This is a major part of the problem. Racism has become an industry–and the Greens pedal it better than most others. If a white man cuts in front of a black woman–it MUST be because she’s black, it couldnt possibly be because the guy is just a dick, or in a hurry, or just inconsiderate to everyone. Anyone who is GENIUNELY interested in racism should hearken back to the founders of the NAACP, Oswald Villard, Moorfield Storey, and TRM Howard.

  19. Kimberly Wilder

    I can see we will not agree.

    I would call your attitude being, basically, a sore winner.

    In a very cosmic sense.

    Peace,
    Kimberly

    P.S. I am white. I have just listened to black people enough, really listened sometimes to their pain, and I have studied Dismantling Racism, and I just get it.

    P.S.S. If a woman were to talk louder at a meeting, to try to keep up with the men, she would be perceived as “unfeminine” in the least. But, probably, more likely, called the b- word and cast aside.

  20. mdh

    I have to say that the notion that one group “cannot be racist” is simply disgusting to me. It’s excusing some racism while saying that other racism is terrible and awful. As I’ve said before, free association is fine – a whites-only golf club, a men-only cigar bar, or a blacks-only caucus – but I wouldn’t want to patronize such establishments, as I find prejudice and racism to be distasteful personally. I think it’s worthy of criticism from good and decent people wherever it rears its ugly head, and I think we need to stamp out any and all racism.

    Martin Luther King spoke about equality for all people, not just “black rights” as some do. He was a really bright guy, and it’s too bad that his message of love and peace was drowned out by so many violent and even murderous racists of all stripes and colors.

    As long as any sort of racism is acceptable in the mainstream, people will see that and react in such a way that creates an opposing sort of racism. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Had affirmative action and other racist policies never been enacted, many white racists today would not feel the way they do – and I know that because I’ve actually had dialogues with these people. It’s hard to argue with them that they ought not be racists when they’re faced with official policies that make their lives harder. We eliminated those policies which did that to black people, only to re-energize the “white nationalist”, as it’s now called, movement. The only real impact has been a detriment to creating a society in which people view one another as equals.

  21. mdh

    To claim that you “just get it” seems to rather exhibit the supposedly negative traits you just ascribed to males.

    As far as women being soft-spoken and quiet, I’d invite you to meet my girlfriend… hahah!

    In actuality, I’d say that officialdom has often favored females over males. One of the most frequent places in which males and females face conflicts against one another is in the court room when defining child custody and support agreements. These have historically favored women by a huge margin. Therefore I’d say that it’s just as true to say that men are an officially oppressed group.

    The sad thing is that the original freedom fighters were in fact that. The feminist movement of the early 20th century had a distinctly individualist anarchist bent (Lucifer the Lightbearer, Voltairine de Claire, etc). By the 1950’s and 1960’s the black freedom movement had a more neoliberal bent, but individuals like Dr. King still preached equal rights rather than black rights.

    In the end, either you’re fighting for human rights for humans, or rights for a specific group of humans. I’m fighting for human rights for all humans. And when I say rights, I know what that word means. It’s a different word from “privileges.”

  22. Mik Robertson

    Everyone has their own burdens. To blame oppression for everything is an incredible stretch. I don’t know that MLK called for all people to be equal as much as they should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We might also add sex, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation to that list.

    Individual rights should be secured equally. Legislating opportunity for some at the expense of others does not reach that goal.

  23. mdh

    Legislating anything to do with any group does not reach that goal. Collectivist legislative policies always fail.

  24. Trent Hill

    “I would call your attitude being, basically, a sore winner.”

    You know nothing of me. What if I grew up a poor white kid in a middle class black city and was oppressed by the blacks? Or is that impossible?

    Also–you did NOT answer my VERY direct question. Am I a racist? Do I hate black people simply by virtue of being white and male?

  25. Trent Hill

    “P.S. I am white. I have just listened to black people enough, really listened sometimes to their pain, and I have studied Dismantling Racism, and I just get it.”

    I know you’re white. Whichever black people you’re listening to, are whiners and liars. You think reading a book by Joseph Barndt makes you eduacated on the subject? And you “just get it”? Wow.

  26. Trent Hill

    “P.S.S. If a woman were to talk louder at a meeting, to try to keep up with the men, she would be perceived as “unfeminine” in the least. But, probably, more likely, called the b- word and cast aside.”

    I dont know what circles you run in, but that must be a product of Northern Rudeness or Big-City Values, because here in the South, if you call a woman a “bitch”, black or white or purple, you get your ass kicked, handily. Oh–and lest you stoop to this level, I’m not disagreeing with you because you’re female, but because you’re wrong.

  27. mdh

    I almost guarantee that Kimberly would never associate with many of the black people I called friends when I was growing up. The fact is that I was a poor white kid in a poor black neighborhood. I’ve seen real racism, mostly on the part of cops. The thing is that it isn’t about race, really, so much as it is about class. Oftentimes, black cops behaved in the same way as white cops did, in the more up-scale neighborhoods. They saw us poor kids, mostly black, as threats. In the end, I spent some time in poor white areas with other poor white kids, as well. The thing is, the poor white kids were treated the same by the cops. The poor white people were treated the same in poor white areas, as poor black people are in poor black areas. That’s the reality of it – it’s not so much about race as it is about class, it’s just not en vogue to talk about oppression of poor white folks, so when it is talked about, it sounds like racism.

  28. Trent Hill

    “it’s just not en vogue to talk about oppression of poor white folks, so when it is talked about, it sounds like racism.”

    Kimberly’s understanding of racism says that racism cannot occur against white people. Only white people, mostly men, can committ racism. Anything done to white people solely because of their race is….well, reparations, or restitution.

  29. paulie

    The fact is that I was a poor white kid in a poor black neighborhood. I’ve seen real racism, mostly on the part of cops. The thing is that it isn’t about race, really, so much as it is about class. Oftentimes, black cops behaved in the same way as white cops did, in the more up-scale neighborhoods. They saw us poor kids, mostly black, as threats. In the end, I spent some time in poor white areas with other poor white kids, as well. The thing is, the poor white kids were treated the same by the cops. The poor white people were treated the same in poor white areas, as poor black people are in poor black areas. That’s the reality of it – it’s not so much about race as it is about class, it’s just not en vogue to talk about oppression of poor white folks, so when it is talked about, it sounds like racism.

    A lot of truth in that, and I have had the same experiences, but it’s not the whole picture. If you spend time in jail, everyone is dressed the same and the COs can’t tell if you grew up poor by looking at you, but in most cases they can tell what “race” they think you are.

    If you are young and drive a nice car, you can drive it to all sorts of places, but if you are “white” a lot of cops will assume you probably got it with your parents money (whether you did or not) whereas if you’re “black” they are much more likely to suspect you are making money illegally (even if it so happens your parents are rich).

  30. Nate

    Trent wrote:

    “I dont know what circles you run in, but that must be a product of Northern Rudeness or Big-City Values, because here in the South, if you call a woman a “bitch”, black or white or purple, you get your ass kicked, handily. Oh–and lest you stoop to this level, I’m not disagreeing with you because you’re female, but because you’re wrong.”

    In reference to Cynthia McKinney Representative Cass Ballenger said:

    “If I had to listen to her, I probably would have developed a little bit of a segregationist feeling. But I think everybody can look at my life and what I’ve done and say that’s not true. I mean, she was such a bitch.”

    Ballenger was born in and represented North Carolina, which is still the South last time I checked. Fact is, classifying Northerners in one way and Southerners in another makes you a geogravist, or area-ist, or whatever the term is for believing the primary determinant of human traits and capacities is where they live? 🙂

    Now, its hard to say what the representative from North Carolina would have said about his colleague from Georgia if she had been a man, but I’m willing to go out on a limb here and claim he wouldn’t have called him a bitch. And it might be pushing it, but it seems more likely that he would have said something like “I disagreed with him on every single bill, but you have to admire his self confidence and conviction.” And yeah, maybe he wouldn’t have said that, maybe he’d have called his colleague from Georgia a whole slew of racist epithets, it’s something we can never know. But I for one agree with Kimberly that a man who speaks his mind is often admired, and a woman who does the same is often just called names.

    Oh, and Trent, I’m neither confirming nor denying any racism or sexism on your part, I don’t know you from Adam. I like to think the best of people though, so until proven otherwise I’ll classify you as the least sexist and racist person I know.

    Black caucuses and similar were formed originally by minorities in legislative bodies. I have no problems with a White caucus being formed, I just think in most cases it would be ridiculous, as for the most part it would include almost the entire legislative body, there’s no real need for that. On the other hand if the trend stays the same in New Hampshire, pretty soon there will be a Men’s caucus in the state senate. I also don’t mind if the caucus bylaws exclude certain people, as far as I know the Democratic caucus doesn’t allow Republicans to join, even if they represent a majority Democrat district.

    I also don’t find the Black Caucus response all that sinister:

    “The caucus said no. Carroll is welcome to attend the group’s meetings and even voice his opinions, but he won’t be allowed a vote there.”

  31. Nate

    I’m also getting kind of sick and tired of hearing every affirmative action critic usurping MLK to his side.

    http://academic.udayton.edu/RACE/04NEEDS/affirm25.htm

    Under the heading “Setting the record straight” are a number of affirmative action like programs and views King supported. Everyone may have his or her own opinion about affirmative action, I’m not even going to argue with anyone about whether or not it’s racist. But King was not against it, and it’s highly unlikely he’d be against it now.

  32. Kimberly Wilder

    A series of responses to the dialogue above. Heck, dialogue is good…

    Trent –

    Your attitude is just so arrogant and privileged. It is funny. It is all the defensive inside you because you have not dealt with the issue coming up and DARING people to notice your flaws.

    The point is to have a conversation about race. The point is to care about people who have been oppressed.

    And, in this case to study the relationship between Richard Carroll and the black legislature.

    But, you have got your hackles up so that you are saying, “Am I a racist?”

    Well, you are not Richard Carroll. You are not the Black Caucus. And, you were not the focal point of my comments. So, please examine why I am forced to answer the question about you being a racist.

    It was somewhat insensitive and arrogant of me to say “I get it.” Because, of course, I have racist patterns and racism left in my heart. All white people in our culture do. And, I battle that nearly every day.

    But, at least I have gotten to a point where I can have patience for allowing black people to express their pain. And, I try to reflect on my part as a white person in an unfair culture. When someone holds a meeting on the fancy side of town, I notice there are no black people, and remember that the black people may have been afraid to go somewhere where the police will find them to look out of place and harass them. (Which happens all the time, especially in the little, rich white villages of Long Island.)

    —-

    mdh said:

    – As far as women being soft-spoken and quiet, I’d invite you to meet my girlfriend… hahah! –

    mdh – Glad to know that you have a close relationship with a woman. There is your chance to explore feminism.

    I have a challenge for you. For like a week, watch your girlfriend, who can be other than soft-spoken. Take not how she acts around you (who in the role of man with woman in this culture is probably something like her patriarchal guide and protector). Then, see if she acts differently around her own family, then at a store, then at a meeting, then at a church or place of worship. How does her attitude, manners behavior change in all those places. Women learn to know their places, and I think more than men. Because, we are afraid of being smacked down or called out. But, yes, when we are with men who respect us, we can often feel free.

    —-

    mdh said:

    -Legislating anything to do with any group does not reach that goal. Collectivist legislative policies always fail.–

    I don’t think anyone here mentioned collectivist legislation. Though, I guess that could be what the Black Caucus of the Arkansas legislature speaks about. (Though, they could also speak about more simple problems, like if the security guards at their checkpoints are rude to black elected officials, or if the black legislatures feel less able to schmooze and network with white legislatures.)

    Maybe single-group legislation does not work.

    But, surely, legislation which says “A workplace may not discriminate based on race or sex” could be useful. And, that way, all the non-racist, fair business owners would have no problems. Problems would only arise when an owner lashed out, paid less, or discriminated against a black person or woman in a way that was so obvious it was proveable in our courts of law (which are very corporate/money friendly.)

    —-

    If all of you are so non-racist, it would be nice to know that you were doing things to address racism. I mean, you can find racism all around. Just find an area where you notice it, and do one thing yourselves to help it (that way the government won’t be asked to.)

    For instance:

    -Whenever you are waiting at a jewelry counter, or milling about waiting for help, and you notice that someone goes to help you, as the white person first, if you know you were not on-line first, make a grand show to make sure any black people waiting around first get served first by the salesperson or people in charge.

    -If there is any community in your neighborhood that is totally white (do you think it is a coincidence?) do something:

    Offer to walk your black friends through the neighborhood if they need to shop their one time

    Write a letter to the real estate agencies and ask them not to steer minority buyers away

    Study the school system and see if they are doing anything to discourage minority students from enrolling in the school (they probably are)

    And, be sure that if you hold a political meeting, you don’t hold it in one of those rich, white towns, where your black friends will be afraid to be seen driving slowly. Make sure that you call meetings in neighborhoods where diversity exists (unless you are afraid, as a white person, to go to those neighborhoods.)

    Peace and struggle,
    Kimberly Wilder

  33. mdh

    Kimberly,
    I live in West Virginia. There’s not enough rich people of any color here to form a rich town of any sort. It’s a predominantly white state simply because that’s who ended up settling here to work in the mines. I don’t see racism at all here, to be honest. In my workplace, I work with a lesbian gal, a gay guy, a black guy, and a few other guys and gals.
    To say that racism doesn’t exist at all here is probably just silly – I’m sure it does. It isn’t out in the open though, and once again, the only offenders I’ve *ever* heard of have been police. It’s not something you’d spot on a day to day basis, ever, in this town. Of course, this is a friendly place in general.

    Marijuana posession for less than an ounce won’t result in a trip to jail or prison, and more often than not the cops don’t even bother writing the $100 ticket.

    There are two awesome gay clubs that advertise and operate openly.

    Our state house delegates all co-sponsored (and one authored) the ballot access reform legislation I was working for.

    We have the absolute lowest unemployment rate per capita of *ANY* city in the entire nation.

    We’re almost all happy drunks, and violence is rare despite drunkenness being incredibly common. People drink and drive, but it rarely results in accidents.

    Anyone can get laid. Any night of the week. Just by going downtown. Even dorky people.

    And all this because I rule this town with an iron fist… 😉

  34. Brian Miller

    A couple of random thoughts:

    1) Note how quickly any discussion about this quickly breaks down into the “oppression Olympics.” Mostly white liberals arguing with mostly white conservatives about the experience of a community that both largely patronize but otherwise avoid (unless they live in one of the few major post-racial urban centers like Philadelphia or the Bronx).

    2) The Black Caucus in Arkansas is making a serious mistake, in my estimation. One of the goals of any minority caucus is to represent and disseminate the views of the perspectives of a visible minority. As a queer guy myself, I’m happy that most of the legislative caucuses in statehouses and in Washington that describe themselves as “LGBT” are open to anybody of any sexual orientation. That’s ultimately what successful caucuses do: they exist to inform, educate, and immerse. Excluding interested people from a caucus is bad politics.

    3) How presumptuous of the “political writer” to label the legislator in question as “a bubba.” The irony is that 90% of the “progressives” in his state would never enter into an interracial relationship or be “caught” in the “black part of town.” The most tedious of people are the “progressives” who exit their spacious suburban estates to head to an urban “community center” for an hour to pat on the heads of their “pet” gay, black, latino, recent immigrant, and impoverished people. It makes my skin crawl — we’re regarded as “less than people.” The political writer strikes me as someone in a similar vein.

  35. Brian Miller

    at least almost every time, women are at a meeting with men, we can feel all the patterns of patriarchy and condescension – right down to the fact that men are trained to be louder and have deeper voices, and often, unconsciously, just talk over women or bluster on.

    A perfect example of the oppression Olympics I’m talking about.

    A couple of other observations, as a queer man:

    1) Lots of men are soft-spoken, and they tend to be less likely to get ahead in corporate life than strongly spoken women;

    2) Men tend to have deeper voices because of the effects of testosterone on the vocal cords;

    3) Some men certainly leverage gender dynamics in order to bully women — but the converse is also true. I worked at a company a while back where women would contrive “tears” to get what they wanted — walking into senior management’s office while sobbing. If a guy did that, he’d quickly be labeled a “fruitcake,” and several times men who did nothing wrong were labeled as “bullies who made [fill-in-the-blank] cry.”

    4) Women are just as capable of sexually objectifying men. As a gay guy, I’ve received very aggressive, inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances from women who are senior to me. The situation is just as horrifying and awkward for a man as a woman.

    In general, ethical behavior dictates that one treat others as he or she wants to be treated. Unfortunately, so many people have bought into the “oppression Olympics” dynamic that they believe they have a right to undermine and demean others, simply because they perceive themselves as a victim.

    And that simply continues the cycle of dehumanization.

  36. Brian Miller

    some people assert that black people cannot be racist. Because, they are the ones oppressed

    That’s the argument that people like Jasmyn Cannick made, when defending their decision not to oppose Proposition 8 in California.

    She claims that marriage is for “white wealthy gays” and that she and her cohorts won’t oppose anti-gay amendments until:

    1) Racist drag queens in Atlanta are shut down;

    2) A huge bundle of welfare and arts funding is sent her way.

    Nasty stuff.

    And rejected by a large proportion of the black community here in Philadelphia, which is largely supportive of the rights of LGBT people.

    Cannick would claim I have no right to make that observation, as a white guy — despite the fact that she is factually incorrect in every single one of her assertions.

    And that’s the problem — someone like Cannick nominating herself as the “official spokesperson” of an entire group of people. The fans get flamed, “sides” get drawn, and the entire issue gets drowned in a massive storm of bullshit. Nothing gets accomplished, the idiotarians on both sides of the issue become the “leaders,” and people of character, conscience and courage get drummed out of the marketplace of ideas by the MSNBC-screaming-idiot versus FOX-News-screaming-idiot “dynamic.”

  37. paulie

    If all of you are so non-racist, it would be nice to know that you were doing things to address racism.

    That’s a fair question.

    1) I call it out when I see it.
    2) I make it known that I don’t find racist jokes funny or racist attitudes to be cool.
    3) I don’t identify myself with any so-called race, especially on nosy regime forms. My race is human.
    4) I’ve promoted issue and outreach approaches to make my party more diverse.
    5) When I’ve hired people, I’ve always been an equal opportunity employer.
    6) I’ve lived in neighborhoods that are majority “black,” majority “hispanic,” majority “white,” majority “asian,” and majority “native.”
    7) If I am not infertile, I have biological children and grandchildren of all these so-called races.

    8 ) Not exactly something I did, but my sister’s husband is “black,” so if/when they have kids, they will be considered “black.”
    9) Back when I was a kid in the hardcore music scene, I was involved in many street fights with neo-nazis and racists.

    Those are a few things off the top of my head.

    Much of my life I have dealt with “white” people who don’t consider me “white” enough to be “white,” as well as some “black” people who thought I was too “white” to live in their neighborhood (at least until they got to know me). Racism of all types has always irked me.

  38. paulie

    Mostly white liberals arguing with mostly white conservatives about the experience of a community that both largely patronize but otherwise avoid

    Who in this discussion do you think largely avoids the black community?

  39. paulie

    people of character, conscience and courage get drummed out of the marketplace of ideas by the MSNBC-screaming-idiot versus FOX-News-screaming-idiot “dynamic.”

    Often, but not always, true. For example:

    Full Article with hyperlinks at Salon

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/08/criticism/

    —————————————————————–

    Excerpt:

    Glenn Greenwald
    Wednesday April 8, 2009 10:26 EDT
    Keith Olbermann’s scathing criticism of Obama’s secrecy/immunity claims

    (updated below – Update II – Update III)

    Several weeks ago, I noted that unlike the Right — which turned itself into a
    virtual cult of uncritical reverence for George W. Bush especially during the
    first several years of his administration — large numbers of Bush critics have
    been admirably willing to criticize Obama when he embraces the very policies
    that prompted so much anger and controversy during the Bush years. Last night,
    Keith Olbermann — who has undoubtedly been one of the most swooning and
    often-uncritical admirers of Barack Obama of anyone in the country (behavior for
    which I rather harshly criticized him in the past) — devoted the first two
    segments of his show to emphatically lambasting Obama and Eric Holder’s DOJ for
    the story I wrote about on Monday: namely, the Obama administration’s use of
    the radical Bush/Cheney state secrets doctrine and — worse still — a brand new
    claim of “sovereign immunity” to insist that courts lack the authority to decide
    whether the Bush administration broke the law in illegally spying on Americans.

    The fact that Keith Olbermann, an intense Obama supporter, spent the first ten
    minutes of his show attacking Obama for replicating (and, in this instance,
    actually surpassing) some of the worst Bush/Cheney abuses of executive power and
    secrecy claims reflects just how extreme is the conduct of the Obama DOJ here.
    Just as revealingly, the top recommended Kos diary today (voted by the
    compulsively pro-Obama Kos readership) is one devoted to attacking Obama for his
    embrace of Bush/Cheney secrecy and immunity doctrines. Also, a front page Daily
    Kos post yesterday by McJoan vehemently criticizing Obama (and quoting my
    criticisms at length) sparked near universal condemnation of Obama in the
    hundreds of comments that followed. Additionally, my post on Monday spawned
    vehement objections to what Obama is doing in this area from the largest
    tech/privacy sites, such as Boing Boing and Slashdot.

    This is quite encouraging but should not be surprising. As much as anything
    else, what fueled the extreme hostility towards the Bush/Cheney administration
    were their imperious and radical efforts to place themselves behind an
    impenetrable wall of secrecy and above and beyond the rule of law. It would
    require a virtually pathological level of tribal loyalty and monumental
    intellectual dishonesty not to object just as vehemently as we watch the Obama
    DOJ repeatedly invoke these very same theories and, in this instance, actually
    invent a new one that not even the Bush administration espoused.

    Continue reading at

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/08/criticism/

  40. Brian Miller

    Who in this discussion do you think largely avoids the black community?

    The entire discussion.

    First, it assumes a monolithic “black community,” something I don’t think exists. The attitudes in my hometown of Philadelphia, for instance, are very different from Los Angeles. We’re more integrated here, and black consciousness here is a sense of participation in a broader community. Whereas my view of the “community leaders” in Los Angeles sees a lot of rancor and judgment based on the ethnic makeup of those they criticize.

    And very, very few of the people in any of the groups which comment on this issue themselves live in a diverse urban community. Most seem to spend time in a monolithic reality, imagining what the “others over there” are planning to do to them. Hence the divisiveness in LA versus the relative harmonious existence in Philly. And those are just two examples amongst many!

  41. paulie

    The entire discussion.

    Not me, I’ve always lived, dated and worked among all the so-called races. Matt mentioned he grew up in a majority-“black” area. Trent hinted that he may have as well, although he posed it as a hypothetical so it wasn’t exactly clear. I don’t know about other folks who commented here, but I’m not making any assumptions.

    First, it assumes a monolithic “black community,” something I don’t think exists.

    That’s certainly true, and I don’t make such an assumption – I was just using terminology you introduced as a terminological shortcut.

    And very, very few of the people in any of the groups which comment on this issue themselves live in a diverse urban community. Most seem to spend time in a monolithic reality, imagining what the “others over there” are planning to do to them.

    That’s a big generality. I don’t think it’s true of the people here who have addressed the question. I don’t know that it is necessarily true of those who haven’t addressed it either.

  42. Brian Miller

    That’s a big generality.

    It’s big, but it’s generally accurate.

    Most people who patronize urban residents of diverse backgrounds wouldn’t be caught dead in our ‘hoods after dark.

    You should see how the suburbanites freak out when I take ’em past my old house in North Philly at 8 PM on a Friday! 🙂

  43. paulie

    It’s big, but it’s generally accurate.

    It’s not “generally accurate” about the specific people who commented here, unless either people are lying or you mean different people than the ones who already addressed the issue.

  44. mdh

    I’ve been in Philadelphia’s hoods after dark. Riding buses at like 4am to get to the Greyhound station to catch my early bus home, because the trains weren’t running out to where I was crashing. The train station I got on at was in a pretty old and poorly maintained neighborhood with lots of bars over windows and shops closed up by way of iron grating. The station I got off at was full of homeless folks sleeping.

    Oh, and there were both white and black homeless folks sleeping.

  45. Trent

    “It was somewhat insensitive and arrogant of me to say “I get it.” Because, of course, I have racist patterns and racism left in my heart. All white people in our culture do. And, I battle that nearly every day.”

    Again, i’d like to directly ask the same question. Is EVERY white person racist, just by virtue of being white? Is EVERY male a chauvinist, just by virtue of being male? This seems to be collectivism at its worst.

    I would suggest that anyone consult the excellent writings of TRM Howard, Oswald Villard, and Moorfield Storey.

  46. Kimberly Wilder

    Hey! I wrote that before Trent’s question…

    We live in a society built on slavery and caught up in racism.

    Until it is all fixed, everyone who is on the “top” of the system – everyone who passes as “white” and receives the accompanying privileges – is a racist.

    I suppose if the white person speant 24 hours a day fighting for racial equity, we could give them a pass.

    But, truly, it doesn’t matter who is what.

    It just matters that people acknowledge racism exists; take time to reflect on times that they might accidentally be asserting privilege or oppressing others (letting yourself be put to the front of the line); and doesn’t beat up on oppressed folks when they vent or ask for help.

    That’s about it for me…

    Still crying…

  47. Trent

    “Trent –

    Your attitude is just so arrogant and privileged. It is funny. It is all the defensive inside you because you have not dealt with the issue coming up and DARING people to notice your flaws.”

    Arrogant and privileged? Please, for a moment, take the time to explain exactly what it is that you KNOW about me, other than the fact that i’m white. For you to assume I’m priviliged is an odd assumption considering how little you know of me.

    Here is what is funny. I’m married to a minority, live in a down-trodden and mostly black neighborhood, and am in the lowest tax bracket. My kids will be something other than “white”, and yet you charge that by virtue of being their white-father, I MUST be a racist towards my own children, right?

    You “just get it”, and yet I’m the arrogant one? You accuse every white person of racism, and every male of sexism just because they are white or male and yet im the racist, sexist? What an absurd understanding of racism that says minorities cannot be racist, whites must be, and the whole time you’re classifying people into groups, while I view people as individuals.

  48. Trent

    “Until it is all fixed, everyone who is on the “top” of the system – everyone who passes as “white” and receives the accompanying privileges – is a racist.”

    So “yes” is your answer, essentially. I just wanted all readers to be clear on exactly what you were saying. Any white person is racist, any male is a chauvinist.

  49. Kimberly Wilder

    Trent,

    I see how personally you are taking all this. So, it must make you feel very upset and angry.

    Please note that I did not use the language “chauvinist.” And, I did not take the argument about men and women to the place that you did.

    I can’t imagine why you would choose to put those words in my mouth, and demand to summarize my positions and demand that others see it your way.

    I just want all readers to be clear that Trent is really bothered by the idea that white privilege exists and that he might have some. And, that Trent thinks he can summarize my position, add his own language and characterization of it, and try to act is if everyone should be appalled by it.

    Perhaps a better ending to this dialogue – which started to be about Richard Carroll and the Black Caucus of the Arkansas Legislature– should have something to do with the people involved in the actual problem.

    Should Richard Carroll have applied to the Black Caucus. Did the Black Caucus have a right to deny him? Was it fair? politique? wrong? or right? of him to express public dismay when they turned him down?

    And, perhaps a helpful, productive, philosophical end to the conversation would be what I wrote above:

    –It just matters that people acknowledge racism exists; take time to reflect on times that they might accidentally be asserting privilege or oppressing others (letting yourself be put to the front of the line); and doesn’t beat up on oppressed folks when they vent or ask for help.–

    Trent, are you saying that racism does not exist?

    (Because, really, I don’t care whether you, personally, are a racist or not.)

  50. Ross Levin

    I don’t think getting the privilege of a society tilted one way or another makes you supportive of that society or system. I’m white and well-off but that doesn’t mean I support the system that makes it better to be that way.

    For example, I am the best standardized test taker there is. I am the white, upper middle class, suburban, Jewish male who these tests are slanted toward, and I do well on them. But I still hate standardized tests. I recognize that they’re ruining my education and millions of kids’ educations and if I could I would get rid of them in an instant.

  51. Kimberly Wilder

    Ah. But, if you got a scholarship based on having a high test score – knowing the test were unfair to black students – would you turn down the scholarship?

    All of us white folk receive white privilege.

    Do we ever turn down the privilege? Or, try to invite, give back, and support back the people who are “beneath us” in this racist, patriarchal, society?

    How many of us take time out of our life to try to address structural inequities?

  52. mdh

    I sincerely object to the notion that every white person has racism in them. That’s an awful generalization. Speak for your own damn self, NOT me.

    As far as racism existing, sure – just look at the likes of KSS or SPLC. Or affirmative action policies where they still exist.

    The point is that oppression exists for everyone. Consider a 15 year old white male versus a 30 year old black male and a 45 year old asian female. The white male cannot buy tobacco or alcohol. In many places, he cannot drive. He cannot vote. His right to work is limited in many states. All because of one factor over which he has no control. Anyone who has been under 21 has been a part of an oppressed minority.

  53. mdh

    Kimberly, to claim that black people are beneath you seems to be a pretty racist sentiment to me. And that’s what it comes down to. Many black folks I know agree. The progressive agenda is one of oppression. “The darkies need our help because they’re inferior. Give them affirmative action so we can feel superior while looking like the nice guy.” That’s what it really is at the heart and soul of it. The real racists are those who support ANY inequality based on any collective trait.

  54. Trent Hill

    Of course racism exists. However, to acknowledge it exists is not to say that it only exists in one race (whites) or that it cannot exist in others (minorities, apparently). Nor does acknowledgement mean that it is as frequent a problem as you seem to think it is, with racism around every corner. To summarize, yes racism exists–but no it does not exist in the ways, and to the extent, you claim.

    Now, I have answered your question–would you deign to stoop and answer mine, in plain language as I did with your question. I want these questions to be asked honestly because I wish to more fully understand your understanding of racism, which I find utterly devoid of logic or common sense. Yes/no answers are all that is required, or maybe a sentence to accompany.

    Are all whites racist?
    Can blacks or hispanics racist?
    Are all males chauvinists?
    Can a female be a sexist?
    If it is ohk to have a strictly-Black Caucus, is it ohk to have a strictly-White Caucus? Does the same thing apply to golf clubs or resorts?
    What if a white man is married to a black or hispanic woman? Is he also racist towards her?
    What if a white man has minority children, is he automatically racist towards them?

    “I just want all readers to be clear that Trent is really bothered by the idea that white privilege exists and that he might have some.”

    This is precisely what I’m talking about. Why is it “white privilege”? Why must you break it along race-lines? That someone comes from “privilege” is a decent point, becasue then they may not realize how hard others have it, but there are plenty of jews, blacks, asians, and hispanics who come from privilege, too.

    And again–you know nothing of me. Im quite sure you don’t even know my ethnic heritage. But, for the record, I AM married to a Hispanic–and she has read the same book, Dismantling Racism, and found it to be a DISGUSTING way to perpetuate racism.

    I am outraged on a personal level, and i’ll tell you why. Im married to a Cuban, live in a black neighborhood, and do not come from “privilege”. I see people as individuals in all circumstances, including on the issue of racism. Although I acknowledge racism, I combat it with individualism. Meanwhile, you’ve got the gall to accuse an entire race of being racist (which is racist in and of itself) simply by virtue of their skin-color. That is racist, not the fact that I was born white. You accuse all males of being sexist because of their deeper and louder voices, despite the sociobiological reasons for it, and have the gall to suggest every man is a chauvinist. It is both sexist and racist to suggest what you have suggested here, and yet you’re the watchdog of sexism and racism? Moorfield Storey is rolling in his grave over this collectivist crap.

  55. Trent Hill

    mdh sums up the “race lobby” nicely. They oppress blacks far more than any salvery could. Their welfare system have destroyed the black family, which survived even the tortuous system of racism. Their Drug War has taken more lives from young black and hispanic men than the KKK. Their affirmative actions say “black men cant get their own jobs, we must help them”.

  56. paulie

    Before we get in too deep accusing each other of racism, let’s step back a bit.

    I’ve known a lot of racist people, and from what I can tell I would not put Trent or Kimberly in that category. Maybe they have some subconscious racism, maybe not, but I’d rather give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they give each other the benefit of the doubt as well.

  57. paulie

    Do we ever turn down the privilege?

    Yes.


    Or, try to invite, give back, and support back the people who are “beneath us” in this racist, patriarchal, society?

    Yes.


    How many of us take time out of our life to try to address structural inequities?

    It’s not taking time out; that pretty much is what the main idea of my life is.

  58. Trent Hill

    “I’ve known a lot of racist people, and from what I can tell I would not put Trent or Kimberly in that category.”

    That is just the problem. Kimberly thinks i’m racist because i’m white. I object.

    Not only do I object, I think that’s a racist assertion. So i’m doing as instructed, combating racism wherever I find it.

  59. paulie

    Trent,

    I think you are both people who are seeking what you believe is justice, equity and a level playing field for everyone, but you have different ideas about what that means.

    Racism comes from an entirely different perspective.

  60. Trent Hill

    Paulie,

    I agree somewhat, but these are important distinctions. While I think she is seeking what she believes is justice, her ideas of justice and racism are repugnant to me. They are racist at their core, and collectivist in a broad sense.

  61. paulie

    By the way, contrary to what Brian generalized earlier:

    Matt, Trent and I (at least) all either live or have lived in “majority minority” neighborhoods. Possibly other people here too.

    Trent and I (at least) have had so-called interracial relationships. Probably other people here have too.

    So, Brian, who are these people here who are “mostly white liberals arguing with mostly white conservatives about the experience of a community that both largely patronize but otherwise avoid”?

    So far I have yet to identify a single person who has participated in this discussion who fits this description, but I’ve identified several who don’t.

  62. mdh

    Trent speaks common sense here.

    As far as relationships, I once dated a black girl while married to a hispanic girl. That’s fairly irrelevant though.

    Kimberly, what is the racial makeup of the neighborhood you live in? Do you avoid black people regularly because you’re afraid of them and see them as the sort of people who are less than you and hence need your superior help by way of affirmative action and such because they are inferior?

  63. paulie

    As far as relationships, I once dated a black girl while married to a hispanic girl.

    More evidence against Brian’s generalization.

  64. Trent Hill

    The entire issue is rediculous. If you dont frequent mostly-black communities, you must be racist. If you cut in line and theres a black guy in it, obviously it was for racist reasons. It’s all so contrived. I object to anyone’s hypocrisies. Kimberly overgeneralizing an entire race is racist.

  65. Kimberly Wilder

    To mdh:

    Wow! You either are having a severe lack of hearing and understanding me – which could be the case, I am a poet…

    Or, you are just low and nasty in how you argue.

    I said:

    —Do we ever turn down the privilege? Or, try to invite, give back, and support back the people who are “beneath us” in this racist, patriarchal, society?–

    With the quotes in, in my original. Because, I was saying that if we live in a racist, patriarchal society, with a hierarchy, then it that context, blacks would be underneath us in the charts, because whites are given white privilege.

    And, you said:

    mdh // Apr 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    —Kimberly, to claim that black people are beneath you seems to be a pretty racist sentiment to me.–

    Um, yeah. That was like not funny. Either a monster of a misunderstanding, or you determined to sling mud. Hope we understand each other now.

  66. Kimberly Wilder

    First off, this whole conversation feels awkward because we do not know each other very well. And, there is so little dialogue about race in our culture, we are all inadequate and inarticulate in discussing it. But, worse is having a shared vocabulary about it.

    Also, for me, I am pretty new to this community, and it is strange and confusing to have gotten this deep. Also, as a new writer on staff, I feel horrible (and a little frightened) of arguing this much with the editor.

    😉

    Maybe we should create a list-serve to have this kind of conversation with staff and readers who really wanted to explore race issues? Or, maybe take a break until people know each other better.

    I wanted to clarify that Trent thought I was defending the principles of the book “Dismantling Racism.” I was not. I took a workshop with that name. Not sure if it was based on the book or parts of it. It was not with the author of the book. But, I did not know the book existed. So, I am sure I do not have to defend the book nor all its ideas. Maybe that will give him some relief to know.

    It is interesting to see how I got put on the spot to answer the question:

    “Are all whites racist?”

    First of all, I asserted nothing like that in any way in my article or my first few comments.

    What happened was, I tried to assert that perhaps, because black people and women are historically oppressed groups, they have a right to meet in a space by themselves.

    Evidently, that idea was threatening as heck to people here. Because, various people at various levels have changed the subject, pounced on me, polarized my statements, and called me a racist, etc.

    So, if this was a battle, I lose. I cannot state simply that I have a right to meet with other women. I cannot simply express an opinion that I agree with the Black Caucus without people mischaracterizing my supporting arguments and mischaracterizing my position. And, calling me a racist.

    Back to the idea of me answering the question “Are all whites racist?”

    Is it that I should have to answer that question, just because that philosophy exists in the universe and I dared to list it as one line of thought?

    I did not say those words, or make that proposition in my first several posts. When, the conversation got thick, and I saw an opening to put out ideas, I merely said other people have that philosophy:

    I wrote:

    —Well, some people assert that black people cannot be racist. Because, they are the ones oppressed. And, whatever they do to prop themselves up and create space from the oppressor – whites – is okay.

    I respect that opinion. Though, I am not sure that I would go that far.–

    Hmmm….I still don’t think that that says all whites are racists. Just that blacks are oppressed and have the right to gather among themselves.

    I looked pretty carefully, and now I do not see anywhere where I said that was my position.

    So, hmmm. I wonder why the argument got to that question? I wonder why I am being attacked and put on the spot?

    I decline to answer the list of questions posed me. Except for one, which I liked, and was on topic and brings us back to what I was trying to express by posting a simple article about an award that another person gave out.

  67. paulie

    Also, as a new writer on staff, I feel horrible (and a little frightened) of arguing this much with the editor.

    No need to worry about that. We do that all the time with Trent, just like we did with Jason. Austin was never in the comment sections near as much.

  68. Nate

    Trent,

    while I agree with a lot of what you say, I’d like to respectfully disagree that you view people as individuals and never in a collectivist manner.

    You’ve made claims about people from the north being different than those in the south based purely on geography. Multiple times you’ve mentioned, no flaunted, the fact that you’re married to a “minority.” And you seem to believe that this somehow matters one way or the other in regard to racism.

    You’ve asked:

    What if a white man is married to a black or hispanic woman? Is he also racist towards her?
    What if a white man has minority children, is he automatically racist towards them?

    Well, my answer to that is plain and simple: Depends on the man. But I don’t think being racist is actually geared towards a specific person. A racist person might well have friends, spouses or children of a different race. A sexist man might well be married to a woman, and in fact I believe most are. None of this is proof one way or the other about racist or sexists beliefs.

    As an aside, although I don’t think you really do view everyone as an individual under all circumstances, I’m certainly not making the claim that I am any better. I think we probably both do try very hard to view the individual as one, rather than simply a member of a certain group, but I don’t think it’s particularly easy at times. We fall back on certain stereotypes, like how rude New Yorkers are. Of course there are polite New Yorkers (although I’ve never met one 🙂 ), and certainly they don’t deserve to be thrown in with a whole group of people based purely on geography, but with 8 million of them living so close together it’s hard to see the individuals, and easy to see the group.

    However, with each generation I feel that the prejudice gets weaker, and I believe we are moving more towards viewing people as individuals. I enjoy being optimistic in that way.

    Cheers

  69. Kimberly Wilder

    Trent asked:

    —If it is ok to have a strictly-Black Caucus, is it ohk to have a strictly-White Caucus? Does the same thing apply to golf clubs or resorts?—

    I think it is okay to have a strictly Black Caucus. But, I do not think it is okay to have a strictly White golf club. And, I think that they are entirely different entities. And, it is probably too much to explain here.

    But, to try to get the folks here – many of whom are conservatives, Libertarians, etc – to understand my reasoning, I offer an analogy.

    Let’s compare two other sets of people.

    What if there was about to be a proposal at the Town of Babble to increase town taxes by 30%, and give raises to the council people.

    And, what if a group of 10 people – two of the council people, the supervisor, the tax assessor, and the town attorney and 5 town employees had a secret meeting to discuss it before the vote. And, they did not tell anyone else, but if someone found out they were not invited.

    But, what if there was another group of 10 people who wanted to have a secret meeting. 10 private citizens of the Town of Babble, who were concerned about their tax bills, and wanted to plan their comments in the public portion?

    Would you see a difference with the two groups meeting?

    What are the differences?

    Should they each be allowed to meet based on the following criteria:

    -Technically and legally should they be allowed to meet? Would the law condone their secrecy and privacy?

    -Morally, do you think they should be allowed to meet? Would you, personally, condone their secrecy and privacy?

  70. Kimberly Wilder

    Also…you should be weary of getting me on a role, on a day when I don’t get a temp job. But, I hope to make this my last for awhile. I would like to do my actual job and post articles…

    Talking about the town, here in my Town of Babylon, I was upset years ago, because I realized that with our town board, which had about 5 members, and was 4 Democrat and 1 Republican, the Democrats were having private caucuses. So, the majority of the board was meeting in private to plan comments, strategies and votes. And, the press was not invited, nor the public, not the 1 other council person.

    When I questioned it, I came to the understanding that the law (I believe NY State Town Code, but I am not entirely sure) gives a specific allowance for such meetings – caucuses of party members.

    So, isn’t it a problem that Democrats can have caucuses and exclude anyone not a Democrat? And, Republicans can have a meeting excluding anyone who is not a Republican? It is not exclusive based on racial/gender critieria, but it is still a little odd.

    But, more the problem since it is an excuse to let as much as half or most of a government meet in private, off any record.

    Maybe that should worry people here more than some black elected officials in Arkansas trying to stick together.

    And, for the record, I heard somewhere that the Black Caucus was going to let Richard Carroll attend meetings and participate in other ways. They just did not want to give him a vote.

    Which, could be a way of saying that he can do anything but become and officer or take over the leadership. Because, as third party activists know, having the right to vote in a system, means you are eligible to run for office in that system. So, this whole can of worms could be the only strategic way that the Arkansas Black Caucus knew to make sure that they did not wind up being taken over by a white person.

  71. mdh

    Let me sum up the libertarian angle here to the best of my abilities. Actually, better yet, let me sum up my own angle, which is of course based upon the libertarian angle and my own personal feelings. I think a number of folks here tend to agree with me on this. I’ll start with a few simple premises.

    A> Racism is a bad thing.
    B> State-sponsored racism is even worse, since the state has a monopoly on force, and can wield its power in a way that a group like the KKK cannot.
    C> The initiation of force is never acceptable.
    D> Free association means just that – FREE. People should be able to be racists if they so choose.
    E> I don’t like people who so choose, and will call them out on it, regardless of who they are.

    So I think the primary issue at hand here is this: is it OK for group A to be racist against group B, but not for group B to be racist against group A? Is it OK for a black caucus to exclude individuals specifically because they are white, and if so, would it be OK for a white caucus to exist and to exclude individuals specifically because they are black? I’d like everyone here to feel free to answer these questions succinctly as they see fit, as I think this will give us a better understanding of eachothers’ positions. For myself, I’d say that both are OK and should not be forced to cease to exist, however, such antiquated and useless ideas as exclusion based on race should be met with derision by sensible modern people.

    To go a bit deeper, we’ve crossed some borders here but without fully exploring the consequences. What about oppression other than by race? What about oppression by sex, by class, by age? Kimberly, you seem to feel that all white males have one-up on non-white males. I disagree and counter-claim that in fact class discrimination and age discrimination are vastly more prevalent and even subborned by modern society in many places, including in the realm of law. Paul has agreed with me, both of us being poor white males who were once under the age of 21.

  72. paulie

    Paul has agreed with me, both of us being poor white males who were once under the age of 21.

    Whether I’m “white” or not depends on who you ask. The boneheads, nazis and KKK say I’m not. The US Census Bureau and the Nation of Islam say I am. But then, why should I let hate groups define me? My race is human.

  73. paulie

    A> Racism is a bad thing.
    B> State-sponsored racism is even worse, since the state has a monopoly on force, and can wield its power in a way that a group like the KKK cannot.
    C> The initiation of force is never acceptable.
    D> Free association means just that – FREE. People should be able to be racists if they so choose.
    E> I don’t like people who so choose, and will call them out on it, regardless of who they are.

    I agree.

    So I think the primary issue at hand here is this: is it OK for group A to be racist against group B, but not for group B to be racist against group A? Is it OK for a black caucus to exclude individuals specifically because they are white, and if so, would it be OK for a white caucus to exist and to exclude individuals specifically because they are black? I’d like everyone here to feel free to answer these questions succinctly as they see fit, as I think this will give us a better understanding of eachothers’ positions.

    I think Kimberly makes a good point in 82:

    What if there was about to be a proposal at the Town of Babble to increase town taxes by 30%, and give raises to the council people.

    And, what if a group of 10 people – two of the council people, the supervisor, the tax assessor, and the town attorney and 5 town employees had a secret meeting to discuss it before the vote. And, they did not tell anyone else, but if someone found out they were not invited.

    But, what if there was another group of 10 people who wanted to have a secret meeting. 10 private citizens of the Town of Babble, who were concerned about their tax bills, and wanted to plan their comments in the public portion?

    My personal preference would be open meetings all around, but I’d especially distrust the group of insiders meeting.

  74. Nate

    “But, to try to get the folks here – many of whom are conservatives, Libertarians, etc”

    I’m considering founding the “etc Party,” who’s with me?

  75. Trent Hill

    “Also, as a new writer on staff, I feel horrible (and a little frightened) of arguing this much with the editor.”

    I brought you on to write about leftist third parties, not to teach a race relations class. You’re in no danger of being shut up or anything like that. Argueing with the editor, or anyone else, is part of the fun of IPR–always has been, under me or Jason.

    As for taking this off-site, I’m not interested in that, for three reasons.
    1.) Public arguements keep both participants honest (at least, more honest).
    2.) The arguement started here, it ought to be finished here.
    3.) It increases interest in the site.

  76. Trent Hill

    “Hmmm….I still don’t think that that says all whites are racists. Just that blacks are oppressed and have the right to gather among themselves.”

    Saying that all blacks are oppressed, and whites do the oppressing, is just as racist as saying all whites are racist.

  77. Trent Hill

    “Back to the idea of me answering the question “Are all whites racist?”

    Is it that I should have to answer that question, just because that philosophy exists in the universe and I dared to list it as one line of thought?”

    Im trying to be clear on what you believe. You have, several times, stated that whites are oppressors and beneficiaries of the status quo, and that blacks are oppressed. That’s a pretty horrid generalization all by itself, but it’s wider implications (that all whites are racist, that all blacks are oppressed), are even worse.

  78. Trent Hill

    “You’ve made claims about people from the north being different than those in the south based purely on geography. Multiple times you’ve mentioned, no flaunted, the fact that you’re married to a “minority.” And you seem to believe that this somehow matters one way or the other in regard to racism.”

    Based not on geography, but on culture. The North/South thing was tongue-in-cheek darling, sorry no one picked up on that. As for being married to a minority, I am, and that isnt a collectivist thing to say. I didnt say that because she was a minority she had to be X (oppressed, a victim of racism, rich, poor, etc). I just said she IS a minority. It is not collectivist to note my wife’s ethnicity.

  79. mdh

    Another good point: I am a part of the oppressed majority in this country. Those who are not a part of the ruling class. I am oppressed by government. Kimberly proposes that government continue to exist. Therefore she is acquiescing that the oppression of myself and people like me is tolerable to her.

  80. Trent Hill

    “I think it is okay to have a strictly Black Caucus. But, I do not think it is okay to have a strictly White golf club. And, I think that they are entirely different entities. And, it is probably too much to explain here.”

    I think both should be legal, and I think both are, at their foundation, racist. But, forget the golf club, can both groups have a caucus?White and black?

  81. mdh

    Paulie,
    Maybe we should start our own opt-in only race for people who think that mandatory race-association is outdated and prefer voluntary association? 🙂

    We could call it Trill, and then get tattoos like the Trill spots from ST:DS9. That would be pretty cool.

  82. paulie

    Opt-in race: works for me.

    Tattoos: Opt out.

    I’ve always thought getting tattoos was not for me. Where I grew up, everyone I knew was getting them, and how “rebellious” was that? It was more rebellious of me not to. Plus they are a great way for cops to identify a suspect.

    Looking back on it, I’m very glad I didn’t get them, because I would not want to be wearing today what I would have chosen to get tattooed back then. So I imagine if I were to get tattoos now, I probably wouldn’t want to have them 20 or 30 years from now.

  83. Trent Hill

    “A> Racism is a bad thing.
    B> State-sponsored racism is even worse, since the state has a monopoly on force, and can wield its power in a way that a group like the KKK cannot.
    C> The initiation of force is never acceptable.
    D> Free association means just that – FREE. People should be able to be racists if they so choose.
    E> I don’t like people who so choose, and will call them out on it, regardless of who they are.

    So I think the primary issue at hand here is this: is it OK for group A to be racist against group B, but not for group B to be racist against group A? Is it OK for a black caucus to exclude individuals specifically because they are white, and if so, would it be OK for a white caucus to exist and to exclude individuals specifically because they are black? I’d like everyone here to feel free to answer these questions succinctly as they see fit, as I think this will give us a better understanding of eachothers’ positions. For myself, I’d say that both are OK and should not be forced to cease to exist, however, such antiquated and useless ideas as exclusion based on race should be met with derision by sensible modern people. ”

    Agreed on all points.

  84. Nate

    “It is not collectivist to note my wife’s ethnicity.”

    No, it’s not. But it’s kinda strange that you do. You see, for the most part people only mention things that have some merit to the topic at hand. If you just happened to want to mention your wife’s ethnicity, I certainly won’t stop you from doing so. However it seemed to me you wanted to imply something. Perhaps that you couldn’t possibly be a racist because of your wife’s ethnicity.

    That is why I wrote:

    “And you seem to believe that this somehow matters one way or the other in regard to racism.”

    And this would not be based on who your wife is, not what sort of individual she is, but purely by her ethnicity.

    If we have four men, one married to a white woman, one to a black woman, one to a woman who fights for civil rights and race equality, and one married to a neo nazi, which ones are racist? I’d say you can’t tell from that alone, but I’d certainly be willing to guess in the last two cases, not so much in the first. If you want to mention what sort of a woman your wife is, we could assume you might be a similar type. But race doesn’t work that way.

  85. Trent Hill

    “No, it’s not. But it’s kinda strange that you do. You see, for the most part people only mention things that have some merit to the topic at hand.”

    No its not. We’re having a discussion on race. I thought it was of interest to ask if a white man married to a hispanic, like me, would be considered automatically racist against his own wife?

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