Thursday, September 17, 2009

A (Not Exactly) Random Thought Thursday

Race Relations: Image credit [here]

So, is it just me or has there been in an influx of racial discord since, oh I don't know on or about Election Day?! If I'm to be completely honest, I've become a bit paranoid, as I know others (who choose to be less honest about their positions) are as well.

Recently, I've become more conscious of my word choice or rather my choice of silence. I find myself leaving what would have once been a healthy debate feeling like my position was somehow negated or downplayed because of my appearance. Hmm, let me give an example. A debate about the Serena Williams episode ended in the other party stating. "the next thing you know Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will be crying racism", this was in response to my comparison of John McEnroe's history of on-court histrionics. I thought comparing two athletes was analogously sound-unfortunately, my sexism argument was negated by the fact that McEnroe is white and Williams is black.

Then there was the Kanye West episode...and the N-word laden rants that ensued. Okay, Kanye is an honorary member of the Celebrities Behaving Badly club, but is it not safe to affirm that non-black celebrities are equally as capable of assholery? (As to the tweets declaring a difference between Blacks and niggers...crackers are served with cheese-context is everything.)

And of course Joe Wilson, am I an Uncle Tom if I believe race aside (if only for a moment) the overall climate in political office at this time could have a little something to do with his outburst? You do remember this debacle, yes? This of course, isn't to say that it wasn't racially motivated-only to say that I-based on what was said, have no factual evidence that it was racially motivated. Am I naive?

I am not by any means denying the troubling construct of race in this country, nor the existence of systemic racism and bigotry, I'm just saying...or am I asking, "Everything is not about race, is it ?"



Kwana said...

No, everything is not about race and I want to write about this and have need caution as I need to be smart with my words on my blog. I believe Serena was wrong as she said so not about race. Some of the later flames were to so with sexism as you said. Kanye a total mess. So not about race but about his ego another mess.
Joe Wilson was about a lack of respect for the president and his feeling of having him as the president and may have something to do with this president and his race. I cannot see into that man's heart. I can only see into the small group that hold up horrible signs, say terrible things, or are part of the birthers group. Just opinion.

I do need to write about this. maybe soon. Thanks for this thoughtful post. Love the cartoon.

Shannon said...

It always seems like this nation takes 1 step forward and 2 steps back in the name of race! Drives me insane... you are so right, everything should NOT be about race! But somehow, it seems to be true so often that "everything" is...

Anonymous said...

Then why did you make that comment about hip-hop on Racialicious?! I thought that was VERY race-baiting please if this were some rock star or country artist noone would make a big deal out of their music form OR their race. They would be treated like an i-n-d-i-v-i-d-u-a-l so why are YOU lumoing him in with ALL of hip-hop?! It's tiresome and b.s. . And if you really want to go there why is it there is NO backlash for Joe Wilson or people attacking him being a 'typical,white,arrogant,privileged male'. It hasn't happened and probably won't so we need to stop doing it too.

Ms. Bar B: said...

The almighty social constructions. Its all so very interesting and... sad.

T.Allen-Mercado said...

@Anonymous-(why not ID yourself as you are so passionate)I think you misunderstand fact I know you do. My comment on Racialicious was with regard to media hype and hip hop antics. This post is about the backlash and overtly racist response to said antics. Same position different topic. This is exactly what I mean kanye behaved badly and was attacked for being Black. Wilson behaved badly and your request is that he be attacked for being white-why not simply for being an asshole?

T.Allen-Mercado said...

for pedantics sake:Posted 16 Sep 2009 at 11:35 am ¶

15.t. allen-mercado wrote:

As the mother of an middle class, apiring rapper from the burbs, I totally get the point you make about the root of Sir West’s antics. But as an adult, I would think he’d have garnered a better handle on controlling his emotions.

The issue for me is two-fold, I think the media frenzy encourages this kind of behavior, Kanye is not a concert pianist, he is a rapper-to some extent there is an image to uphold, and since he is unwilling to wrinkle his clothig engaging in full on fisticuffs, he takes his histrionics to the stage. The other part is in many ways this kind of behavior is rap music advertising…talented but foolishness-lacking artists like Talib Kweli, Common and Mos Def will never rise to Kanye level infamy. In that respect maybe race does play a part…is hip hop the new shuck and jive…a modern minstrel show? I don’t know.

-Again...posed in the form of a question, how is anyone to really know.

Kathy said...

Uh, this stuff makes me crazy. I have siblings that live all over the country that look at life and the world in a totally different light than I do.

The one that bothers me the most is the one that lives in SC....where many people still teach their children to hate people of any color other than their own and it works both ways. I never knew things were like that until I visited there and saw the lack of interaction between the races and the words that people used in their every day conversations. It made me cringe.

I am not saying everyone is like that, but it was enough to make me decide that I would never live there. I couldn't. It breaks my heart.

There will always be those that blame the color of the skin rather than the person inside the skin...whatever color that skin might be.

I truly believe the only way to "fix" it is through our children, but many people still teach hate rather than love.

As far as the people with the bad manners? They come in all colors as we all know.

mairedodd said...

no, to me it is not - bad behavior, good behavior are human based, not racial... never doubt yourself - you are an objective thinker... but you can doubt the sanity of the current climate... hmm, mel gibson's drunken rant? in a world where info is abundant, the mental capacity of some people has become even smaller... it is disheartening...

Sherry said...

There are so many things swirling in my head right now, so I will mostly like come back and comment on the public racial examples you cited.

I will say though, that so many things are about race. You can have a totally innocent conversation with someone and in the blink of an eye find out they are racist. It changes everything. My husband always says, racist is too polite of a word. Call a bigot, a bigot.

Jewelry Rockstar said...

The Serena backlash didn't seem about race. However, those girls have suffered many insults and innuendo based on race. Let's not forget how white tennis was until they came along. I think folks have been waiting to criticize her for a while, now they got what they wanted. She behaved in a way that was uncharacteristic and so... I did that just last week.

Kanye, was a total asshole! He's done this a few times before and I don't remember anyone calling him the n-word, but maybe they did. Twitter wasn't around then. I don't know why I have to be insulted because he behaved like a jerk, but it happened. Whites and Blacks did that on twitter.

Joe Wilson, totally disrespected the President out of his hate for a Black Man being Commander-in-chief. Plus his hatred of Mexicans. I have absolutely no doubt. I've been living in the South too long and I completely recognize his facial expression, his tone, and his posture. Completely racist! President Carter knew it too, he's seen it more than me.

Everything is not about race and it shouldn't be, but some people use hatred as a reason to explain everything. That's on both sides.

A Cuban In London said...

Love the cartoon. Wise words and a very well-written post.

Kanye is past rehabilitation, no one can fix the poor bugger. He lives on West's planet. Nothing to do with race, but with ego.

greetings from London.

Jennifer said...

I'm all confused these days. I think that our new president's presence has opened a flood gate of important gunk that needed to come out! I am angry that the media gives so much voice to the hatred. It would be great if more pundits called their audiences to reflect that would be amazing!!

I also think it's interesting that no one wonders if black people, and international people (legal or illegal) feel less safe and that sort of thing...I'm writing in a hurry so sorry if this doesn't all connect!

I think there could be healing in this. I have no idea how to tell what's race related if it isn't blatant sometimes. I wasn't raised to hate or feel targeted and that often leads people of my own race to conclude that I'm ignorant...a whole nother layer...I think it's interesting that not seeing race was a mantra for many until now. I sometimes want to find a safe place to hide because I don't get hate, racism, etc. *sigh*

J.Diane said...

Race is the easy way out when people do not want to accept that there are jerks in every race. And I agree since election day it has gotten worse, EVERYTHING has something to do with race! Kanye and Joe Wilson must be related, Serena and McEnroe, were wrong, and the world needs to get a grip and know that we are more alike than different, but if we do that we may get a long, so the only thing that it can hold on to is our skin color is different...I would like to discuss more, but just my few and simple comments

Diva Ma @ Mommy Fabulous said...

Every situation that you spoke of is different. In all do honesty, As a mom, who has ALWAYS tried to derail my children from ever seeing difference because of skinned color and raising blind to such, I am not sure how to see some of these situations. The Kanye situation has nothing to do with race but sheer jackassism, as any person whether they were country, or christian would receive the same title of stupidity for what he did. WHO PUT RACE IN THST SITUATION?

Serena? She was wrong for her reaction, but it has nothing to do with race. She needed to get her point of view across and honestly anyone would have gotten upset. Should not be about race.

Jack Wilson? ehh. I have to say that I feel that there may be a hint of race issues in there. I mean, this is our first Black President. Regardless, there is a fight in that. No matterhow you loon at it. And if you are one of those people to deny that racism is alive in this man's presidenct, then you are probably one of the ones secretly dishing it out in the comforts of your home.

Just saying. There is some race issues in today's society. It's not gone by any means. But everything is not about race.

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