Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Good To Be a Honky

to begin, white privilege is very real, very much still a part of our culture, and very easily ignored by those who benefit from it. I am a rich white male, and part of why I am so confident in sharing my opinions is because I have grown up expecting to be listened to. I'm not apologizing for that, but I do recognize that not everyone has had the same experience, and that race, class, and gender play into it. I also know that there are ways I am privileged which I'll only slowly, even never, recognize, ways which are patently obvious to those who have a different background. I don't think this awareness is any kind of achievement.
Megan, however, can make it seem like one.

Adam Serwer defends himself on the grounds that I'm just perpetuating white privilege:
I wrote about this during the election, but white people are far less concerned about racism than they are about accusations of racism, because racism isn't really a part of their experience, but being accused of being racist is. So this is a pretty self-serving argument: Kling's racism isn't problematic, because it doesn't "shut down the discourse" but Walcott calling out Kling is out of line because it might hurt some delicate feelings.
I can't speak to what "most white people" do or do not care about, because I am only an individual white person. Had he looked for evidence about this particular white person, by, say, googling what I've written about racism, he would have found that his statement was not an accurate characterization of the specific white person he was talking about. I read through the first hundred hits or so, because hey, maybe he's right--I actually agree with him that we are all guilty of subtle racial bias, so maybe I'm too worried about accusations of racism, and not worried enough about the lingering legacy of slavery.
For a moment, let's play Megan's game and ignore Jail the Jena 6 and blacks are lazy, and look at the results of that google link of her work she poured over. The first result is titled Ending racism: are we there yet? Huh? Huh?. The second result is titled The privilege olympics: sexism or racism?, where sexism "wins" as worse. The third result is by Conor Freihoffer guestblogging, and 'argues' it's unfair to link racism and conservatives. The fourth result reduces racism to an ill-defined mostly hypothetical concept, and features multiple lengthy comments from racist asshole Steve Sailer.
In fact, let's linger on that post, because it's unintentionally insightful, in a tiny way.
Most of us use a working definition of racism and sexism that is something like "Holding (bad) false beliefs about racial minorities and women". But if that is our definition, everyone is going to fail a racism/sexism self-check: no one believes that their own beliefs are false.
Hence Megan giving herself a good grade for racial awareness, and thinking her writings on the topic reflect well on her.
She goes on to defend herself, but fuck that. It's many hours after I originally began this post, I'm highly non-sober, and her self involved dribblings are extra boring at this hour in this state. But before I throw this up I have to note that, back in the original post, after becoming indignant over the notion she was minimizing racially questionable language from a fellow honky, Megan dishonestly minimizes racially questionable language from a fellow honky.
But accusing someone of deliberately using racial code-words to inflame prejudice against Barack Obama is a serious thing.
Megan should be a lawyer instead of a pretend human. Notice the word "deliberate" in there? If he didn't mean to be racist but was by accident, then it doesn't really count. Like when Megan does it. The language we use can be unintentionally revealing, but not Megan's, or that of people she likes.
With that lie via rhetoric set in place, Megan ends up with indignation. This is how we as people stay in denial of our worst faults; we accuse others of falling prey to them and take shelter in indignation, projection. This is the first, of many, privileges Megan refuses to acknowledge; the ability to spend her entire life lying to herself about who she really is with the aid of damn near every aspect of the culture around her. I don't put much stock in old Holden Caufield, as I think he was the true phony of his story, but Megan reminds us he had a bit of a point.


Susan of Texas said...

Yeah, this post shows that McArdle doesn't even think racism exists to any significant degree any more.

Mr. Wonderful said...

From the post SOT links to:

"And, to tell it true, the newer forms of sexism and racism aren't as bad as what proceeded them."

Sometimes I think Brad and Nutella and Bouffant get too picky about mocking MM's usage or vocab. errors, but "proceeded"? THIS IS NOT HER HOBBY. THIS IS HER MAIN, IF NOT ONLY, JOB. Sorry to shout. Jebus wept.

(And don't get me started on "to tell it true.")

NutellaonToast said...

Woah there, I'm not a grammar NAZI. That's MM's dept. brad uses more "sic"s than I do.