Sunday, October 14, 2007

Today's post is about race.

On this subject, I'm hardly going to say anything at all.

(Disclaimer: my agenda here at drift. is basically to exercise my lack of an agenda to the fullest (which of course does little to set me apart in the blogosphere, but whatever), so while certain subjects will crop up more than others, I reserve the right to be as inconsistent as I please.)

So, as I was saying: race.
First, I'm going to link to this. Next, I'm going to thank my dear friend CM for that link.

Now, I'm going to pull the following secondhand quote out of the aforelinked article (which quote actually originates here, but Douthat cites it affirmatively, so same difference kinda):

This all seems resonant with a theory I have heard spouted (though never read) by and about young people today—that growing up in “diverse communities” with friends of every color and creed, they are “postracial.” It follows that they make racist jokes without malice, as a way of rebelling against the tyranny of political correctness. Perhaps this is true, and maybe it’s not even such a bad thing: racism isn’t racism anymore it’s just breaking of taboo.

For my next move, I'm simply going to point out that when taking this quote out of context, it is not apparent that the "young people" under discussion are actually quite specifically "the hipsters," as opposed to "all young people."

And now, the highly ambiguous and totally inconclusive coup de grace: I leave you with this link, in which Wayne&Wax takes a very different approach to discussing race and the "youth culture of today." Nary a "Wes" nor an "Anderson" in sight there, I might add.


Blogger J. Benjamin Franklin said...

I have this cousin who is perpetually fighting his own tendancy to put his foot in his mouth. He was saying to me over lunch one day that one of his neighbors was mugged and her apartment thoroughly robbed by residents of nearby housing projects. He was sick and fed up of it and he wanted all the welfare and public housing "bullshit" to be revoked or at least reformed and for the lazy, good for nothing people sent "away." He said that he worked for a living (he is a Manhattan realtor) and there is a whole segment of the population that is lazy and criminal. Later he cited the "statistic" that 90% of the service workers in New York were Latino, and that these immigrants were ready to work and do whatever it takes to get ahead in America, where if you work hard, you can make it.

He never actually accused black people of anything explicitly, but I still claimed that his views were racist. Of course it wasn't until later that I could look up bureau of labor stats to disprove him. In the meantime, I had to argue that he was really just pissed at his lazy brother.

Later I told my black co-worker this with a bit too much pride, making myself out to be a hero of race relations, rather than an avid watcher of "The Wire" which makes up the majority of my "race relations" efforts.

If we are indeed post-racism, it seems that it is the vagaries of emotions, without an over-generalized face, that move our decisions. I acted out of angry, fearful pride; my cousin also acted out of angry fearful pride. I was fearful of appearing inconsiderate, he was fearful of appearing weak. We were both gesturing at appearances to Black people. This is perhaps why we have a war on terror, which can also be called "anger against the transference of fearful inadequacy." As far as that goes, terror may only travel one way, and that is unto the poor people and those with a "deficient" social system.

And then there are those people, of whom we secretly harbor over-generalized misconceptions. The misconceptions we can cope with we call out in post-racist humor. The rest we hide in oblique language and desperate gestures.

October 17, 2007 at 2:58 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home