Racism, Ridicule, Righteousness and Reactions
September 18, 2013 3:16 PM   Subscribe

 
My first instinct is that we need to figure out a way to harness energy from all of this hand-wringing. But I get the point, calling out racism is bad because it about making yourself look good. OK, time to really read it this time.

But seriously, on the general topic of calling out and hypocristy: people are better "proofreaders" of everyone else. So when I call you out and you say "but one time you did that thing too!" my call-out still stands. And you are free to call me out as well, but right now YOU are being called out and it's not about what I might have done ten years ago. It's like when China calls the US out for Human Rights violations. Sure, they're doing it for attention, but much of what they have to say is true regardless of whether it was written by a violator of human rights. See Putin's op ed.
posted by lordaych at 3:23 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


In other words as I said to someone that I emotionally called out as "racist" the other day -- it's more constructive to think about people not as "racists" to the core, but people who might say racist things, or things that might be construed as racist. When I call you out it's a reminder, and I'd hope you do the same to me. A public callout on Twitter is a unique thing in its own right, and it was palpable when Scalzi was getting some flak and many of us felt aggrieved that someone seemingly "random" on Twitter was publicly trying to dress down someone we all know to be pretty conscientious and progressive on matters of privilege. It's complicated
posted by lordaych at 3:26 PM on September 18, 2013


Um, is this a LOL-at-the-crazies post, or am I supposed to be taking this seriously?

What's up with the online social justice contingent's determination to find convoluted arguments that label everything—including and especially straight/white/male supporters, it seems—as racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and everything in between?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:26 PM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


Saw that yesterday, and thought it was one of those things that a) I feel a little thick for not twigging to already, b) I really needed to read, and c) probably should be something worth talking and thinking about in the context of social media sharing, Metafilter posting, and internet activism in general. (Not from a moderation standpoint, just as something that people who are trying to do good things should consider.)

I know one of the things that we told people who asked, about improving the discourse around here regarding trans people, was "post more positive, normalizing things about trans people to balance out all the "isn't this awful" stuff that comes up a lot." And there has been some of that, and those threads tend to go quite well, and that helps everyone when the negative threads roll around. I'd love to see more of that when stuff like the Miss America flap happens - post a detailed bio on Miss America rather than a detailed compilation of all the shitty stuff people say about her! (Neither of which, I don't think, have actually happened here which makes this a semi-safe example.)

Not to make this entirely about Metafilter - I think it applies even more to Twitter and Facebook, and is harder to corral - but it's a common frame of reference.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:27 PM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, my meta-commentary would be "well, aren't YOU just the most self-aware non-racist ever for calling out the caller-outers!"

But that would be missing my own point...but I can do that!

At some point this seems unproductive and self-congratulatory, which is what he's on about. I've been moved quite a bit to embrace the awareness of privilege and problematic behaviors and whatnot, but at some point a sense of revulsion starts to set in. I guess a lot of that "Ivory Tower" SJ / feminist theory is just more out in the open and it has practical pragmatic outcomes, but I'm going to go out on a limb and write the words "circular firing squad" for the first time ever. The trick is not to die (or play dead) when you get shot, but then what?
posted by lordaych at 3:31 PM on September 18, 2013


Did you ever get around to actually reading the article, lordaych?
posted by restless_nomad at 3:33 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I stand by my joketweet about this. Seriously though, the "top 30 dumb racist things racists said about ___" genre of buzzfeed/gawker fodder is just easy, predictable clickbait that shouldn't be encouraged. It's not hard to find people saying shitty things on social media. It happens all the time. It's a simple search button away. It's neither enlightening nor fun. It just fulfills everyone's rage quota of the day in an unimaginative fashion.
posted by naju at 3:34 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let me see if I've got this right:

1. Some people say racist things
2. Some other people say "look at these racist assholes in #1"
3. Some other other people say "#2 calling out racists gives the racists too much attention and/or is just #2 being self-satisfied"
4. This guy says "#3 is actually being racist, subtly"

This is some kind of matryoshka doll of metacriticism here.
posted by echo target at 3:38 PM on September 18, 2013 [40 favorites]


It's good to see someone taking those lazy buzzfeed lists of awful racists to task. I'm sure I could find some idiot on twitter calling the president a n-word, but is a gallery of screenshots of them real journalism?

I also wonder if it's all just a bunch of 4chan kids trolling for lulz by trying to say outrageously ignorant stuff to get featured in those kinds of stories.
posted by mathowie at 3:40 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some other other people say "#2 calling out racists gives the racists too much attention and/or is just #2 being self-satisfied"

It's more like "Calling out racists reinforces a narrative of racism and completely overshadows the actual accomplishments of the person getting racist attention, making them yet another passive receptacle for hate rather than a person in the public eye through her own substantial accomplishments."
posted by restless_nomad at 3:40 PM on September 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


Did anyone even read the article before leaping to accusations of LOLSOCIALJUSTICE? Because it honestly makes some very articulate points that are worth considering.

I liked how the author drew attention to the observation that popular media and stories about people of color that would otherwise be interesting in their own light seem to focus more on the negative aspects of racism rather than the positive aspects of the accomplishment at hand. I thought it was a very acute description of how even when media tries to be positive about supporting people of color (i.e. criticizing racism), the focus and attention dominates around white people - the story is no longer about "hey look at this interesting thing that happened", but about how white people reacted to it. In that respect, I don't think it's out of the ordinary to call it passive white supremacy.

And I'm really appreciative of how the author talks about this phenomena in its proper context by deconstructing racism as a implicit thing with many graduations both conscious and subconscious instead of a binary thing. So from my perspective - yes, she's acknowledging that some forms of racism are more overt and harmful and obvious than others, but racist conditioning and sentiment can even infect anti-racist gestures as they have done so in the situations that the author points out.

So in other words, I don't hear any outrage from this piece. I hear a very articulate argument that is rooted in concern and wants to explain experiences of racism to anyone who wants to listen. And I'm deeply disappointed that the interpretation is that it must be an outrage piece because its premises seem counter-intuitive at first sight, because that's severely holding back people from learning from the piece. That's not the author's fault - that's the reader's fault.
posted by Conspire at 3:52 PM on September 18, 2013 [43 favorites]


See also: pointing and laughing at (or even just silently laughing at) MRA/PUA fools as a means of distinguishing "nice guy me" from "those MRA/PUA fools who are sexists."
posted by escabeche at 3:55 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the larger issue is the fact that news organizations take a couple dozen tweets out of the BILLIONS of tweets about something and make it into a news story. As if hotballz6969 is somehow the person who should be given a voice in national discourse.

I saw that awful, empty vessel of a human Carson Daily on NBC somberly saying, "There were 674 tweets using the words "Muslim" and "miss america" on twitter last night" as if he'd done some advanced statistical analysis of all tweets. It was so fucking disingenuous, because it doesn't give the average person watching whatever shit thing he's on the context to know that:

a) that is an infinitesimal number in the context of all tweets about any given subject

b) a healthy percentage of those were people saying, "hey sheeple! Mz. Amerika isn't a muslim!", making things worse.

c) Twitter is not a great barometer for most things. Especially something like Miss America, which is probably watched by a small percentage of people who use twitter.

Either way, I hate the click bait use of "white supremacy", which is a pretty loaded fucking phrase to just toss out in an otherwise interesting post.
posted by lattiboy at 4:06 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


See also: pointing and laughing at (or even just silently laughing at) MRA/PUA fools as a means of distinguishing "nice guy me" from "those MRA/PUA fools who are sexists."

Right, where that conversation makes the discourse about "how to get into a woman's pants" vs. whatever the actual topic of conversation was. It's not the specific type of problematic dynamic this post is talking about every single time, but where it redirects the conversation onto the privileged instead of the less-privileged subject of the conversation, that's exactly the problem.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:06 PM on September 18, 2013


I think it is worth acknowleging that beyond the LOLRACISTS and the handwringing, Nina Davuluri appears to be so awesome that it is hard to understand why she wasted her time with a beauty pageant anyways.
posted by sparklemotion at 4:06 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm desperately trying to find the link to the Onion News Network reading twitter for on air responses. It's a brutally accurate bit of satire.
posted by lattiboy at 4:08 PM on September 18, 2013


Cf column inches in this article celebrating accomplishments of targets of racism to column inches articulately calling out callers-out for calling out instead of celebrating accomplishments, and you begin to understand the magnitude of this problem. I'm doing it right now! So is everyone in this thread. Can we please just discuss how great these three women are and ignore racists and racism instead of being all white supremacist like this?
posted by perhapsolutely at 4:12 PM on September 18, 2013


I appreciated the article. Thanks for sharing it.

I recently read something (maybe on Metafilter?) talking about how white people sharing anecdotes about racist acts, even to deplore them, is an aggressive act, in that people of color already have to deal with that shit on a regular basis and don't really need to be exposed to it second-hand, too; this article seems complementary to that point. I've been working on shifting my thinking and communicating to avoid reproducing racist content, and I think that'll be easier to remember if I think of it, as this author does, as prioritizing the stories of people of color over those of racists.
posted by jaguar at 4:18 PM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Once, again, I question why we need so many labels in the world. Starting out with the "-Americans" which has always struck me as about as absurd as the idea of "Bosnian Serbs". If you live full time in America and have American citizenship, then you are American. Period.

The more we allow all these sublabels, the more we promote divisiveness, IMO.

The more we allow divisiveness, the more we allow people to find new things to hate other people about.

Fundamentally, we all are bipedal mammalian primates.

Or that's how I look at it.
posted by Samizdata at 4:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Culture is not a bad thing, Samizdata. People should be able to enjoy their own cultures and traits and values without being set up as targets for bullies.
posted by jaguar at 4:24 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


On why "colorblindness" is not actually a positive.

It's also a hoary old chestnut and not particularly relevant to the thread.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:29 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]



Once, again, I question why we need so many labels in the world. Starting out with the "-Americans" which has always struck me as about as absurd as the idea of "Bosnian Serbs". If you live full time in America and have American citizenship, then you are American. Period.

I am Indian American, and I call myself that so as not to be called "Indian," which I am not. Most people I interact with whom I do not know well ask me where I'm from, and they don't mean "Virginia," which is how I answer.

It's not Indian Americans or anyone else who is calling for these distinctions, it's just a fact of life. We also have threads where people say "people are curious, you look different, why get offended?" So I don't feel like I'm just "American, period" because I'm not treated that way, I'm told I'm different.

Also, yeah, I'm proud of my culture, and we still have such little visibility that I celebrate these sort of accomplishments. All "people of color" don't have similar experiences, and for Indian dance (not just someone of the culture, but the actual culture represented in a cool specific way) to be on the stage at Miss America? I just think of my eight year old self who got asked if she was "dot or feather" and said Indian/Indian American girls can't be actresses, models, or in pageants in America because "no one wants to look at them." So yeah it's not "absurd" to think of myself as having a different "label," because we have a different history as Indian Americans.

Can't win.

Except Miss America, we just won that.
posted by sweetkid at 4:33 PM on September 18, 2013 [43 favorites]


The more we allow all these sublabels, the more we promote divisiveness, IMO.

As someone who is Asian-American, I agree and disagree with this. The agree points are easy, so let me lay out a few of my disagrees.

- Overwhelmingly, I don't do the "-Americaning," white people do it to me. All the time, I get asked "What are you?" and NOBODY NOBODY NOBODY who asks me that accepts "American" as an answer. Ever.

- Lots of times, the front part matters. For example, it matters that African-Americans have a unique susceptibility to sickle cell anemia. It matters that Asian-Americans are selected out of elite colleges because their average academic stats are significantly higher than other ethnic groups. It matters that recent immigrants that have ethnic names have unique voting problems that must be handled because of the shitty way US Immigration works. There are lots of other examples, those are just off the top of my head. If you ignore the front part of "-Americans" a lot of these things get washed away.

- Census taking reveals lots of trends that are systematic impacts to "-Americans" that are deeply racist, even if there's no one "Head Racist" directing things. Gerrymandering for voting districts are an easy example of this, but there are lots more.

- if you, as a non-racist, don't pay attention to "-American" labels, the only ones that do are the racists, and those racists who have power will influence things to have racist outcomes, and the non-racists won't see it happening because they're not paying attention to the labels. For example, the huge discrepancies in how African Americans are treated in death row prosecutions (such as black killing white vs white killing blacks) would be invisible to you if you chose to ignore the "-Americans" component.

The last one is what ultimately got me to switch from your line of thinking. If I never paid attention to race, you would never know that blacks were disproportionately sent to their deaths. You NEED to pay attention to race to stop racism.
posted by shen1138 at 4:34 PM on September 18, 2013 [25 favorites]


Once, again, I question why we need so many labels in the world. Starting out with the "-Americans" which has always struck me as about as absurd as the idea of "Bosnian Serbs". If you live full time in America and have American citizenship, then you are American. Period.

The problem with this stance is that it ends up demanding assimilation, intentionally or not. More often than not, "American" means white, not a recent-ish immigrant, not their children, Christian (probably Protestant), etc. Everyone else's American-ness is contested. On the one hand, that's not a good thing. On the other hand, I would have real difficulty saying I was an American without complications. Sure, it's partly because I became so used to people telling me I wasn't a 'real' American, but it's also because it would be a big blow to my mother, as if I was somehow rejecting her.

(I object to tying American-ness to citizenship as well and am compelled to state this objection, but I don't know that there's much to discuss, really.)
posted by hoyland at 4:38 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I follow a couple people on Twitter who occasionally decide to retweet a bunch of dumb racist/sexist/classist/otherwise unpleasant tweets on a theme, and every time they do I have to reconsider why I follow them at all, and David's post is a great articulation of some of the vague discomfort I was feeling there. That particular minigenre of Twitter usage also comes with a kind of gross overtone of "thirtysomething white guy proves to the world that he's way, way more morally evolved than some teenage girls".

I also appreciated the idea that we don't necessarily want to make the lives of the less-privileged out to be lives of ceaseless, totalizing misery and torment. I absolutely understand the motivation there, but, like he says, it's not entirely unproblematic in its own way.
posted by Copronymus at 4:42 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which culture should African-Americans celebrate, though? The Dominican, Peurto-Rican, Egyptian, Haitian, Australian?

If our race labels had anything at all to do with our actual cultural backgrounds, I might agree. Why aren't Russians considered Asian Americans, for example?
posted by saulgoodman at 4:44 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's all about who's the least racist. It's me, of course, because if you call out racism less than I do, then you're more racist, because you call it out less. And if you call it out more, then you're more racist because calling out racism mentions racism which elevates racism and something something. I call you out for calling it out too much! Or not enough!

The point is, I'm better than you. You know...purer. Holier, one might say, than thou...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:44 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Our race categories are probably actually more useful a mechanism for stripping people of their original cultural identity by lumping heterogeneous peoples together into a color-coding system on the basis of superficial traits rather than actual heritage.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:48 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The point is, I'm better than you. You know...purer. Holier, one might say, than thou...

What if you're actually a member of a minority group and this sort of thing affects you daily, but there are a lot of different ways to talk and think about it and you'd like to discuss that, particularly online with other people who also like to talk and think about the nuances on this topic? Does that make me pure or holy, that I want to do that?
posted by sweetkid at 4:50 PM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Sweetkid illustrates the point that this thesis applies just as much to people assuming that all "social justice" conversations are between privileged people looking for cookies, and talking about them, rather than talking about the actual people being affected by the situation.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:52 PM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


This is some kind of matryoshka doll of metacriticism

Hi, welcome to MetaFilter.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:54 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hi, welcome to MetaFilter Academia.
posted by klanawa at 5:07 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


People who talk about and obsess over race--no matter your skin tone--while claiming not to be racist always remind me of That One Guy who can't stop talking about how gay gays are and how gay he isn't.
posted by perhapsolutely at 5:09 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was ready to give up on the article until about halfway down; it seemed like the author was conflating two different things, the linkbait "Look at these here racists!" and the sort of cultural self-policing white people do, which may be problematic, but does at least function as a sort of a social immune system, setting out certain thoughts and behaviors as forbidden, which is quite useful. Conflating those two, but forgetting the structural racism that does so much more damage than somebody's bigoted tweet.

Then I got to this bit: "But any colored folk can tell you that’s not how racism works. Everybody is a little racist. There are hundreds of learned reactions to different groups of people to unlearn, not to mention the areas of society where racist sentiment is implicit instead of explicit, like zoning laws or the prison industrial complex or the war on drugs. It’s in all of us. We’re gonna have to live with that racism until we fix it and our selves, and viewing racism as a binary personality choice doesn’t allow for that."

That's when I started liking the piece. And I think that argument is really important, especially when you're talking about online communication, which is naturally compressed and has a lot of nuance squeezed out of it. It becomes hard to have any sort of reaction to race at all, because you have to be willing to implicate yourself in that "little racism" he talks about, and at the same time, sort of shut up about it. I don't think the self-policing discussion could or should go away--I mean, someone has to point out when a viewpoint is hurtful and unacceptable--but there's an addictive quality to the self-policing, because it's easy to talk about those behaviors, even if it's about a topic you don't care or know much about (sports, pageants), so at least you get a chance to chime in with your important opinion, with the added appeal of being morally right!
posted by mittens at 5:10 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't entirely agree with the OP's premise. A Black female writer on Clutch online magazine's site addressed the issue by not only deriding the racist tweeters but also pointing out how the prevalent colorism in India would make someone as dark as the new Miss America extremely unlikely to win any beauty pageants there. Now I think it could be argued that the writer of the Clutch article was just bringing a different kind of buzz kill but I'd hardly consider it promoting White supremacy.

1. Some people say racist things
2. Some other people say "look at these racist assholes in #1"
3. Some other other people say "#2 calling out racists gives the racists too much attention and/or is just #2 being self-satisfied"
4. This guy says "#3 is actually being racist, subtly"


But on the other hand, I've watched pretty much this exact 4-part scenario play out on a couple of forums dedicated to this season's Big Brother USA show.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:12 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]



People who talk about and obsess over race--no matter your skin tone--while claiming not to be racist


If you talk about race you're a racist? No, not at all.
posted by sweetkid at 5:12 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


That should read 'talk obsessively' perhaps. It was meant to be an inclusive 'and'. Apologies.
posted by perhapsolutely at 5:18 PM on September 18, 2013


Well, "HEY, A THING HAPPENED. I WONDER WHAT STUPID RACISTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT?" is certainly an easy way to 1. find content and 2. make the reader feel smarter and less socially abhorrent by enabling them to laugh at the racists.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Great article, and a lot to think about. David Brothers is one of the most thoughtful bloggers around, I really really like his work. It's weird thinking about it how there was a straight line in my life from "Oh hey I like comics" to "Oh hey I like comic blogs, this one that talks about wrestling half the time is especially great" to "Oh hey I have some valuable newfound enlightenment on nuances of race and privilege."
posted by jason_steakums at 5:24 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Trudy from Gradient Lair just linked to this great pdf today, called 28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors that Indicate a Detour or Wrong Turn Into White Guilt, Denial or Defensiveness and it seems perfect for this topic. I think the topic of the post might fall under #21.
posted by Ouisch at 5:34 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, seriously. This thread is like a living demonstration of exactly what the piece is talking about. I am a person of color, but when I start talking about social justice and racism online, the default assumption is that I'm doing so for "brownie points" and not because it's a serious issue that affects every aspect of my life. In other words, I get white-washed because the voices of white allies are presumed to be so much important than the voices, of y'know, actual minorities, that they're shuttled into being the default.

So the only logical response is for me to speak up and go, "uh, no, I'm actually a Chinese-Canadian and these are things that are actually sort of pretty important to me," but apparently I'm also not allowed to do that either because then I'm talking obsessively about my race and creating divisiveness and being a whiny minority who just can't stop talking about how colored my skin is.

Do you see how I Just Can't Win here?
posted by Conspire at 5:45 PM on September 18, 2013 [28 favorites]


That was a good article, thanks for sharing it. I've always hated "man on the street" news pieces and considered them lazy. Why the hell should I care what some rando thinks about this or that policy/celebrity/tragedy? Cherry-picking tweets is the worst of that. Opinions of people who I have no reason to care about, vetted by the journalist to create maximum sturm and drang. I see now that there's even more to it. It really is passive racism to care more about the racists than the person who did the awesome thing and is being targeted. Ditto for sexism/homophobia/etc. haters gonna hate. Fuck 'em.
posted by arcticwoman at 5:45 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


when I start talking about social justice and racism online, the default assumption is that I'm doing so for "brownie points" and not because it's a serious issue that affects every aspect of my life

Yeah, I think for the most part people who say this are white people who think they are talking to other white people. I think that's what pisses me off the most about it. They genuinely don't realize that there are people affected daily by racism who are talking here and elsewhere, it's all white hipsters on fixies trying to be cool or something.
posted by sweetkid at 6:04 PM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


1. Some people say racist things
2. Some other people say "look at these racist assholes in #1"
3. Some other other people say "#2 calling out racists gives the racists too much attention and/or is just #2 being self-satisfied"
4. This guy says "#3 is actually being racist, subtly"


5. #1 laughs his assholish ass off, goes home and eats watermelon and fried chicken "ironically".

I'm white-male and after a lifetime of privilege for that, I don't need 'brownie points'; I need to pay something back AND forward.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:07 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trudy from Gradient Lair just linked to this great pdf today, called 28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors that Indicate a Detour or Wrong Turn Into White Guilt, Denial or Defensiveness and it seems perfect for this topic. I think the topic of the post might fall under #21.

That's really good. This bit in particular really needs to be taught better in school, I remember growing up that the distinction between racial prejudice and racism was taught when I went to DoDDs schools overseas as a military brat but was absolutely not taught when I got back to the states and went to a bunch of different regular public schools:
Let’s first define racism with this formula: Racism = racial prejudice + systemic, institutional power. To say people of color can be racist, denies the power imbalance inherent in racism. Certainly, people of color can be and are prejudiced against white people. That was a part of their societal conditioning. A person of color can act on prejudices to insult or hurt a white person. But there is a difference between being hurt and being oppressed. People of color, as a social group, do not have the societal, institutional power to oppress white people as a group. An individual person of color abusing a white person – while clearly wrong, (no person should be insulted, hurt, etc.) is acting out a personal racial prejudice, not racism.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:12 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I suspect part of the reason there's so much being made of this stuff by white people right now is that, in case it wasn't already obvious to some, there's been a lot of backsliding on issues of race within white culture in recent years. It's really pretty shocking how much more casually a lot of white people have been dropping racist sentiments in their exchanges with other whites, as if it's respectable again. I think a lot of white people are genuinely freaked out about it, because a little while back it really started to seem like blatant, overt racism like that had effectively become taboo within the white community. Now we're dealing with people acting as if they can safely assume shared racism among their white peers again. At least I've seen a lot more of that. White guys that barely know me will make casual racist comments in passing sometimes now, as if we're all obviously on the same team. It's really gross.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:21 PM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's really pretty shocking how much more casually a lot of white people have been dropping racist sentiments in their exchangesbwith other whites, as if it's respectable again.


This is true, which I weirdly know because people will say racist things in front of me and say "but you don't count as a minority" or say racist things about Indian people because they don't know I'm Indian American. Most people think I am Hispanic, or basically whatever brown minority they think I look most like.

OR! Once after hearing racist stuff I said, "actually, I am Indian American" and the person said, "Oh, well then you know how they are."

!!!!!!
posted by sweetkid at 6:27 PM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


I suspect part of the reason there's so much being made of this stuff by white people right now is that, in case it wasn't already obvious to some, there's been a lot of backsliding on issues of race within white culture in recent years.

When was this highpoint that we're now backsliding from?
posted by amorphatist at 6:32 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I suspect part of the reason there's so much being made of this stuff by white people right now is that, in case it wasn't already obvious to some, there's been a lot of backsliding on issues of race within white culture in recent years. It's really pretty shocking how much more casually a lot of white people have been dropping racist sentiments in their exchangesbwith other whites, as if it's respectable again. Ithink a lot of white people are genuinely freaked out about it, because a little while back it really started to seem like blatant, overt racism like that had effectively become taboo within the white community. Now we're dealing with people acting as if they can safely assume shared racism among their white peers again. At least I've seen a lot more of that. White guys that barely know me will make casual racist comments in passing sometimes now, as if we're all obviously on the same team. It's really gross.

It's a pendulum. Always, always a pendulum. That's how societies change.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2013



When was this highpoint that we're now backsliding from?


I get this, but at the same time I've noticed some really racist stuff said in front of me in just recent years, from pretty progressive people so I'm not sure what's going on. Like I really don't understand it.
posted by sweetkid at 6:37 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


When was this highpoint that we're now backsliding from?

I actually think it's more that existing racism has become much more visible as people use social media badly - they think they're talking to like-minded peers, and forget that what they say is visible to everyone. This has the cumulative negative effect of normalizing racist speech.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:39 PM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


When was this highpoint that we're now backsliding from?

It's not like I'm saying we ever reached the promised land or anything. I've only been on this planet since 1974, and in the US since 1979, so I can't speak to what it was like before that, but it's definitely gotten more common since the late 90s, in my personal experience. I don't have any longitudinal studies to back it up, but I'll tell you, I've had to drop an awful lot of old friends who would never have spouted such filth when I knew them growing up from my FB friends list. And it even comes up more and more in professional settings too.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:49 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Basically, it seems to have gotten a lot worse since all the obnoxious white conservative blowhards like Rush started getting traction. It's been getting noticeably worse since that whole ugly scene picked up.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:55 PM on September 18, 2013


When was this highpoint that we're now backsliding from?

I actually think it's more that existing racism has become much more visible as people use social media badly


That kinda makes sense. As with the Nina Davuluri, one could pick up examples of racism from idiots on twitter that previously would have been made only in bars and living rooms. I'm not sure I'd characterize the overall situation as having backslid though.
posted by amorphatist at 6:56 PM on September 18, 2013


Well that's where we differ. It's not even debatable from where I sit it's so much more pernicious and commonplace now. Maybe Florida's a special case.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:04 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Combo black president with obvious decline amongst whites from positions of priviledge.

For some of these people, it seems it is really important that the person who is ruling over them is the same color as them.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:23 PM on September 18, 2013


It's really pretty shocking how much more casually a lot of white people have been dropping racist sentiments in their exchanges with other whites, as if it's respectable again.

But, with very few exceptions, direct violence against minorities is largely and correctly seen as wrong. What's left is the casual racism.

I might be getting a little Clash of Civs here, but it might have to do with the events in the last 25 years. During the Cold War, the Soviets were the main enemy and rival of the United States. When the Cold War was ending in the 80s, that's when things started to change. Japan was briefly seen as a rival, China started it's economic reforms, and the Soviet Union declined and eventually collapsed. Then in the 90s China started growing and was seen both as a partner and rival by the US (Taiwan Strait Crisis, Belgrade Embassy Bombing, China entering the WTO, and later the spy plane crisis and the Beijing '08 Olympics).

In the 00's the narrative of China's rise (and with it the decline of the West) accelerated, and was only superseded by the depiction of anything vaguely Muslim or Arab as a threat in the post 9/11 world. So all through these last ten years of the "Asian Century", Americans have been told that their lunch is getting eaten by the Chinese and the Muslims are out to kill them and their "freedoms". That's not even mentioning the slow pressure build up of the increasing Latin immigration. And well, topping it off with an economic crisis and the election of an African-American president didn't reassure them either.
posted by FJT at 7:35 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's also super easy to find out you're not alone as a racist nowadays and absorb all the culture you want that supports and excuses your worldview specifically. I don't think it's coincidence that "casual" racism offline comes at the same time as a torrent of anonymous casual racism online. The connecting, empowering ability of the internet applies to shitty things, too.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:42 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


But it's progressive people too. Like progressive anti racist white people. I feel like the dialogue changes quickly, and people can't keep up or are thoughtless in a way. Or they're comfortable around you so they say shitty things? Like I was complaining to my friend that married men were hitting on me a lot and she was like, "It's probably because you're dark and exotic, seem mysterious."

Also the "you know what Indian people are like" was to my face. Most of it is to my face, not social media.
posted by sweetkid at 7:51 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


People imagining that they're calling this insightful article out by referring to it as overly meta or something are being really unhelpful. It's this weird cousin to tu quoque that somehow magically always reinforces the status quo.
posted by threeants at 9:04 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


The more that I read about identity politics, the more that it seems like some emotional screed for logical fallacies (in this case, ad hominem attacks). I also loathe when I have to justify a factual and reasonable position with "Well, my cousin committed suicide, therefore..." or "Speaking as someone who belongs to [minority demographic]..." It's frankly repugnant.
posted by koavf at 9:21 PM on September 18, 2013


Calling out people for (imagining they're) calling out this article for calling out people who call out racists? Sure. I'll call that out. 'Absurd!' Your turn.
posted by perhapsolutely at 9:39 PM on September 18, 2013


I also loathe when I have to justify a factual and reasonable position with "Well, my cousin committed suicide, therefore..." or "Speaking as someone who belongs to [minority demographic]..." It's frankly repugnant.

I find this position really confusing. I'll grant that context can be hard, in this faceless-words-on-the-internet world we live in now, but I can't see how context is repugnant.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:46 PM on September 18, 2013


To say people of color can be racist, denies the power imbalance inherent in racism.

If your only frame of reference is the USA + Europe, I guess.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:46 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


a sort of a social immune system, setting out certain thoughts and behaviors as forbidden

setting out thoughts as forbidden is a fool's game
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:10 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


also, societies are not just giant people made out of littler people
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:11 PM on September 18, 2013


Let me see if I've got this right:

1. Some people say racist things
2. Some other people say "look at these racist assholes in #1"
3. Some other other people say "#2 calling out racists gives the racists too much attention and/or is just #2 being self-satisfied"
4. This guy says "#3 is actually being racist, subtly"

This is some kind of matryoshka doll of metacriticism here.


a) I don't see the 4th part in this article; isn't the author in #3 throughout the essay?
b) I didn't read it as about levels of people criticizing other people; it's more about how people think about racism and be limited by their/our constructed narratives, and about developing a more realistic and robust understanding of racism, which requires notions such as implicit and structural forms of racism.
c) And, well, a really big point in the article is the "0. Here's an interesting minority individual", and leaving that out of the picture is, well, maybe perhaps somewhat telling.
posted by polymodus at 11:40 PM on September 18, 2013


I kind of agree with the poster, at least with their point about lending a voice to racists. We should call out racists, but not at the detriment of talking about the source story. I don't really understand the response in this thread, though -- it's a fairly valid point to make.
posted by spiderskull at 12:02 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also the "you know what Indian people are like" was to my face. Most of it is to my face, not social media.

Yeah, I think there's a lot of parallels between aversive racism and something like street harassment, where if you're the target it happens astonishingly frequently and if you're not it's nearly invisible. The internet and social media create a social retention of shitty things people have said online, so that the problem maybe becomes more obvious to those who wouldn't otherwise notice, but the downside seems to be that those people think "oh, well it's just assholes online, what do you expect, greater internet fuckwad theory, it's not real life, stop taking the internet so seriously, whatever whatever". No, this stuff seriously happens quite regularly in real life, and being told that I'm "promoting divisiveness" or trying to prove how much of a closeted racist I'm not for talking about things that actually happen to me is both a fucking bummer and utterly predictable pap.

I didn't make the world in which "guess my ethnicity" is the first and only game anyone wants to play with me. I grew up thinking that my race was an interesting divergence from most of my friends but not really a big deal. I didn't become disabused of that notion because it gives me some kind of social authority; I stopped believing that my race wasn't a big deal when it became clear that it was an enormous, world-defining deal to everyone I meet, well-meaning or otherwise. I didn't make the world in which people come up and ask to touch my hair, or don't even bother to ask. I didn't make the world in which people smirk when I resignedly tell them I work in IT. (I fucking hate telling people what I do for a living. I'm an Indian-American working in IT; could I be any more dismissible and uninteresting?) I didn't make the world in which people who look like me are called terrorists and ragheads, to our faces. I didn't make the world in which my race matters. You guys did. So, please, spare me your snide and precious hand-wringing over how identity politics are making everything worse. Identity politics are the only reason most of you know I have any kind of identity in the first place. You're just going to have to live with it, the same way that you tell me to live every day with the knowledge that the mere fact of my existence is repugnant to you.
posted by Errant at 12:28 AM on September 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


I was going to read this article, but then I realized that doing so would be crypto-passive white supremacy, so I resisted.

Now I realize that making this comment is meta-crypto-passive white supremacy.

And as for you, reading this comment? YOU ARE A PARA-META-CRYPTO-PASSIVE-WHITE SUPREMACIST SCUMBAG!
posted by kcds at 3:52 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't make the world in which "guess my ethnicity" is the first and only game anyone wants to play with me. I grew up thinking that my race was an interesting divergence from most of my friends but not really a big deal. I didn't become disabused of that notion because it gives me some kind of social authority; I stopped believing that my race wasn't a big deal when it became clear that it was an enormous, world-defining deal to everyone I meet, well-meaning or otherwise.

Yes. YES. Thank you. This is one of the most egregious examples of "guess my ethnicity" I've received. Plenty of discussion in that thread about how minorities should offer up their backgrounds on command because they're so "interesting" and "different" to "Americans" which, just by that phrasing, tells us that we are not "Americans, period."
posted by sweetkid at 4:19 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I find this position really confusing. I'll grant that context can be hard, in this faceless-words-on-the-internet world we live in now, but I can't see how context is repugnant.

I think it's because a lot of people are sort or implicitly taught from a pretty young age that if you have to justify your argument like that, or state your knowledge/qualifications to make that statement you're somehow being a dick or using some unfair trump card.

I'm not totally sure where it comes from, but I've absolutely gotten that "hey, you're being an asshat" twinge in the back of my mind whenever I qualify a statement like that. And it seems like a lot of other people do too.

So it feels like its gross even if it isn't, pretty much.
posted by emptythought at 4:40 AM on September 19, 2013


Buzzfeed Creates Amazing Fractal of Bullshit
On September 15th, the 2013 Miss America pageant was held, a contest which has been bullshit since 1921. Upon the crowning of the pageant’s winner, Buzzfeed searched high and low on Twitter and other social media sites for bullshit comments made about her, compiling them into one of its customary lists. This time, however, the bullshit was in reference to bullshit, thus exhibiting self-similarity. The Buzzfeed Bullshit Fractal was born.

Sadly for humanity, this feedback loop ensured that the very bullshittiest ideas ever voiced by the dregs of humanity would travel as far as possible.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:48 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I stopped believing that my race wasn't a big deal when it became clear that it was an enormous, world-defining deal to everyone I meet, well-meaning or otherwise.

You must hang out with some really odd people, that your race is an "enormous, world-defining deal to everyone".

I didn't make the world in which my race matters. You guys did. [...] Identity politics are the only reason most of you know I have any kind of identity in the first place. You're just going to have to live with it, the same way that you tell me to live every day with the knowledge that the mere fact of my existence is repugnant to you.

Who is the "you" you're addressing here?
posted by amorphatist at 5:57 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know. I think the article makes a pretty good argument. I also think it's an argument that does not apply to all social circles on the internet, and so it describes one thing really well but maybe suggests that this one thing is the only thing. Here's my thoughts:

1. Most of the reposts of racist tweets that I see are posted by people of color whose audience is substantially POC also. I think that a conversation about the whys and hows of posting these can only happen among POC.

2. Most of the white people I see who repost these are themselves trying to follow the lead of bloggers of color and the discussion is framed around a general critique of white supremacy. I think the conversation around why these reposts happen so much in this internet milieu is different from "you're just trying to prove you're not racist".

In the larger But What About White Supremacy sense, I have a couple of thoughts:

1. I think that we're never outside of white supremacy. I think that there is no action that anyone can take that is not modulated by white supremacy. There's this whole way of saying "well, you're only doing X because you don't want to be racist, that means it's all about you and therefore you're racist." Dude, of course I do shit because I don't want to feel like a racist. I donate to people's "please help me pay my medical bills" requests, I call to stop deportations, I change the content of the literature classes I teach to discuss more about race and read more authors of color. Of course I do that shit because I don't want to be racist. And what's more, I suspect that a lot of social justice work is motivated by people's desire to minimize the ways that they participate in systems of oppression. (See? It sounds so much better in fancy language.) What the hell is wrong with that? I mean, I also do stuff because I feel solidarity and anger and because I really, really hate the fucking Jim Crow situation that we seem to live under now, but I'm a human, not a marble sculpture of the ideal social justice activist, and that means that my motives are complicated and mixed - and there's no way around that. Trying to say that we should all be aiming for some state of incredible motivational purity is...well, it's really unrealistic about what humans have historically been capable of doing.

2. So I think "you should never do anything because you don't want to be racist" is a bad statement. But "you should never do bullshit things because they make you feel not-racist while actually not helping" is a great statement. So is "you are never Permanently Not Racist no matter what you do". These are, I think, the guts of what "don't do things in order to feel not racist" is trying to get at, and they're a lot more.....hm....empirical than the business of "we're going to check on your motives to make sure that they're good enough according to a perpetually shifting metric".


On another note: activist culture. Look, I've been around activist culture for better than twenty years now. I'm not saying that I therefore know what we should all do, much better than you certainly - I don't know shit about what to do. I have however observed a particular ideological pattern over and over - this whole business of "you tried, but not sincerely enough, and that shows that you weren't really trying at all, because this thing that you tried Didn't Solve The Problem". And the blame game - "you tried as best you could, given the limitations of your knowledge and background, and it wasn't so great - and that's not because you need more knowledge and should think more carefully the next time, or because systems of oppression are powerful and pervasive, it's because you personally are still emotionally invested in being an oppressor". This perennial return to the unquantifiable and the unhackable!

Again, look, I was socialized as a white person in a really white, really crypto-racist town (ie, no one said anything overtly, especially not to people from a liberal background, but a lot of racism was floating around). On some level, because of this and because we live in a culture of white supremacy, I will basically be a shitty person til the day I die - that's where I grew up, god knows what kind of nightmare ideas are buried in my subconscious. I try to be aware of this, I try to work on myself, I try to take my lead from POC racial justice activists, I have done my best in the past to take responsibility when I've said or done problematic things. At the same time...I think of myself in terms of race the way I think of some "feminist" dudes I know. I love them and basically trust them and I know they do their best, and they're still socialized male and I wince sometimes. And that's just a fact of being human.

My point is that I think that white people (and in general, people doing activism about stuff in which they are privileged) are going to be the most productive when we recognize that we're always-already embedded in white supremacy, we're always-already going to have that shitty white socialization, we're always-already going to have mixed and imperfect motives. And that the focus should be on constantly interrogating whether what we do is in line with our values and useful, not whether we are ever perfectly intellectually free of white supremacy - because that's never going to happen.

So I am not entirely sure I'm into the framing of this article, that's what I'm saying. "Is reblogging endless parades of racist tweets really in line with what we consciously say we want to achieve" seems like a good question. "Is reblogging endless parades of racist tweets really an indication that you are still white supremacist inside" strikes me as a bad question, because yes [edited to remove ableist language], white people are always going to be tainted by white supremacy (until we've had a few generations of some kind of awesome racially just society and the old folks are dead, maybe).
posted by Frowner at 6:11 AM on September 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


On some level, because of this and because we live in a culture of white supremacy, I will basically be a shitty person til the day I die -

Wow. That sort of self-loathing is, as they say, problematic. Although I suspect this may be a feature, not a bug.
posted by amorphatist at 7:35 AM on September 19, 2013


Wow. That sort of self-loathing is, as they say, problematic. Although I suspect this may be a feature, not a bug.

No, it's not! I don't loathe myself. Honestly, I think I'm pretty great in many respects - I'm funny, I'm a great cook, I have an in-depth knowledge of science fiction theory, I write very solid business letters, I have fantastic taste in shoes. Also, for a fat person in early middle age, I am a really terrific dancer.

But you know what? I do loathe the part of me that was formed by growing up in a racist town in a white supremacist society. That part of me is loathesome. I'm not kidding myself that white folks who grow up in racist societies can easily and neatly scrub ourselves of bad ideas and bad practices - not least because I'm always discovering new stupid things that I do and say without thinking. White folks in this society, left to ourselves, thoughtlessly do all kinds of dumb shit. Struggling against that flawed part of myself is like struggling against my own greed and cruelty. I'm not going to kid myself and say that I am a person who is never greedy or cruel, or that greed and cruelty don't come out in tiny and hard-to-spot ways in my daily actions.

That doesn't mean that I loathe myself; it just means that I'm not pretending that liking myself means I'm perfect.
posted by Frowner at 7:43 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


That doesn't mean that I loathe myself; it just means that I'm not pretending that liking myself means I'm perfect.

"Not perfect" != "shitty person til the day I die". Holding yourself up to the "unquantifiable and the unhackable" as you put it, and judging yourself "not perfect" on that basis, well if it's not self-loathing, it seems to be some type of catholic-guilt-style self-flagellation. Being born into your own skin is not a sin.
posted by amorphatist at 8:00 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I stopped believing that my race wasn't a big deal when it became clear that it was an enormous, world-defining deal to everyone I meet, well-meaning or otherwise.

You must hang out with some really odd people, that your race is an "enormous, world-defining deal to everyone".


It's not odd people, it's just an experience you may not personally know or understand.

I didn't make the world in which my race matters. You guys did. [...] Identity politics are the only reason most of you know I have any kind of identity in the first place. You're just going to have to live with it, the same way that you tell me to live every day with the knowledge that the mere fact of my existence is repugnant to you.

Who is the "you" you're addressing here?


Can't speak for Errant but I understand the "you" to be the mainstream American culture, and people who buy into it who see "white" and sometimes "black" as a default and anything else, especially people from Asian countries, as from somewhere else, and "where are you from REALLY."

Errant's comment is part of a set of comments, including mine, that respond specifically to the "you're Americans, why do you have to label yourselves" comment from Samizdata.

I mean. If you are not part of a minority culture, and people do not ask you what country you are from almost daily and exclaim how well you speak English even though you were born here, can you please, please, PLEASE stop denying the experience of people who do know what that's like? I think that's the least you could do. Thank you.
posted by sweetkid at 8:02 AM on September 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


PLEASE stop denying the experience of people who do know what that's like?

People ask me daily what country I'm from, so I guess I'll keep participating. Is the following an actual experience?

I stopped believing that my race wasn't a big deal when it became clear that it was an enormous, world-defining deal to everyone I meet, well-meaning or otherwise.

Or is that just hyperbole? Because that statement could use a few modifiers to bring it into line with actual "experience", unless the author is the actual Yeti.
posted by amorphatist at 8:16 AM on September 19, 2013


"Not perfect" != "shitty person til the day I die". Holding yourself up to the "unquantifiable and the unhackable" as you put it, and judging yourself "not perfect" on that basis, well if it's not self-loathing, it seems to be some type of catholic-guilt-style self-flagellation. Being born into your own skin is not a sin.

But you didn't notice that I wrote "On some level, because of this and because we live in a culture of white supremacy, I will basically be a shitty person til the day I die " - that is, "on some level" qualifies the rest of the sentence. I did not write "I am worthless because I am a white person in a white supremacist society", which would be sort of bizarre and self-centering, and which is the usual interpretation that a lot of white people put on any sort of critique of whiteness.
posted by Frowner at 8:32 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


sweetkid: "Can't speak for Errant but I understand the "you" to be the mainstream American culture, and people who buy into it who see "white" and sometimes "black" as a default and anything else, especially people from Asian countries, as from somewhere else, and "where are you from REALLY."

Errant's comment is part of a set of comments, including mine, that respond specifically to the "you're Americans, why do you have to label yourselves" comment from Samizdata.

I mean. If you are not part of a minority culture, and people do not ask you what country you are from almost daily and exclaim how well you speak English even though you were born here, can you please, please, PLEASE stop denying the experience of people who do know what that's like? I think that's the least you could do. Thank you.
"

I am, essentially, whiter than Wonder bread (with mayo on it) and male. My philosophy on race/gender-ism? I'll like you until you prove unlikable, and that takes some conscious effort on the part of others to occur. Now, pet-wise, I will admit I prefer cats, so I am not without bias. (And a large part of that bias is due to the idea of having to take walkies.)

Although, I must admit, my opinion on labels is largely based on my experience as a bi male (although I prefer to be called non-judgmental in that case, as my preferance is "Do I dig you? Do you dig me? Awesome, it's all engineering now." which is more often "I dig you. You dig me? Really? Really really? Awesome!") and the way I was treated by members of the local GLQBT community (did I get that right?) who harassed me time and time again as an uncommitted fence sitter who needed to "choose a side". And I was like "Really? Why?"
posted by Samizdata at 8:33 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not about whether people like you or not though. It's about how people will label you anyway, so you just need to label yourself. I experience it within the Indian American community as well, people will refer to "American" and mean "white." It's not just white v everybody, it's just that white people in America will feel the need to label themselves less for the most part, because, as I said before, for most people, white or other wise, American = white.

the way I was treated by members of the local GLQBT community (did I get that right?) who harassed me time and time again as an uncommitted fence sitter who needed to "choose a side". And I was like "Really? Why?"


The "choose a side" thing for bi people is really shitty and I'm sorry about that. But it's not really analogous to race/culture stuff in my mind.
posted by sweetkid at 8:37 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I stopped believing that my race wasn't a big deal when it became clear that it was an enormous, world-defining deal to everyone I meet, well-meaning or otherwise.

Or is that just hyperbole? Because that statement could use a few modifiers to bring it into line with actual "experience", unless the author is the actual Yeti.
posted by amorphatist at 11:16 AM on September 19 [+] [!]


Again, I'm not Errant, but the fact that you're picking out that he said "everyone I meet" from the rest of his statement because that couldn't possibly be true, means you're making a sort of tone/word choice argument when you could just try to understand.

And still not Errant, but for me, yes almost everyone I meet makes some sort of big deal about my looks, name, ethnicity, why I don't look like what they think my ethnicity should look like, what they believe about Indian culture, on and on. Almost everyone. That includes Indian people, who ask me things like "where I got that last name."

So again, not white people v everyone. But it is mostly white people who are resistant to criticism of the behavior.
posted by sweetkid at 8:41 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


exclaim how well you speak English

That compliment is such a basic, enraging little tool of exclusion--not just used for race purposes either, but for a little obnoxious class warfare too. I got it the other day. One of my new neighbors came by to welcome me to the neighborhood, and a little while after warning me not to give out candy for Halloween (because we'd run the risk of black or Mexican kids coming to our door), she gave me the chilly, "You talk so well, where are you from?" And it really does sound like a compliment, until about the millionth time you hear it, when you finally put it together that you've been set apart. Which, on the one hand, hooray, I didn't want to be part of your stupid club anyway. On the other, why bother pointing out the difference, except out of the sheer cussedness of wanting to draw little lines? (On the "Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors" chart linked to before, the preceding paragraph counts as "BWAME: But what about me?")
posted by mittens at 8:49 AM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


The salient point in the piece, to me, is that it's unfair to spend so much time talking about accomplished people like Gabby Douglas in the context of racism and racists who dislike her/envy her/whatever. It is better to think of her as 'Gabby Douglas, awesome gymnast' than as 'Gabby Douglas, beleaguered black gymnast.'

The difficulty is that everyone has a different definition of 'so much time;' in other words, how much is enough? I agree in principle that it would be a good thing to stop publicizing some of the inane and hateful Twitter crap. Gabby Douglas doesn't need HuffPo to rescue her from anonymous idiots.
posted by Mister_A at 9:06 AM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Again, I'm not Errant, but the fact that you're picking out that he said "everyone I meet" from the rest of his statement because that couldn't possibly be true, means you're making a sort of tone/word choice argument when you could just try to understand.

A tone argument (which we just had a MeTa on) is "you sound angry/sneering, therefore I'm dismissing your point". This is not a tone argument, this is a fact argument: the statement is false on its face, and false statements should be avoided (and called out) as they lead to derails such as this one. There's no exemption due to the topic of the thread.

But you didn't notice that I wrote "On some level, because of this and because we live in a culture of white supremacy, I will basically be a shitty person til the day I die " - that is, "on some level" qualifies the rest of the sentence.

Personally, and perhaps due to a catholic upbringing, I'm not a fan of the "shitty person til the day I die" formulation, maybe it reminds me of the dismal original sin doctrine, but fair enough, I take your point, the "on some level" does qualify it.
posted by amorphatist at 9:13 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


But it's not really analogous to race/culture stuff in my mind

Well, it's a different -ism, but it's still the same old hegemonic culture grinding you down, with similar tactics. I think Samizdata was abbreviating things a bit with "choose a side." Because if you're bi, you get to have the same risk of getting the crap kicked out of you when someone spots you with Partner of Wrong Gender, you run the same risk of losing your job, etc., as a gay person would, without the sense of inclusion in the gay culture to boost your spirits (at least, as far as I can tell...there may be plenty of bi-welcoming groups out there, maybe just not in the deep South?) You can have a tougher time finding people willing to commit because of the lingering stereotype that bi and monogamous are mutually exclusive. You can also, like gay folks, deny part of your identity and jump in the closet, with all the attendant neuroses that go along with that. Hell, even if you fall for someone of The Right Gender and are very happy in that relationship, it's still weird because part of your identity is still sort of tucked away.

So, yeah, nobody's burning crosses in the yard, and there probably aren't a million insulting tweets about it, but it's very much living in a minority group with all the stresses that entails. Maybe different flavors of stresses, but there nonetheless.
posted by mittens at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


(um, maybe I should clarify that I'm not trying to rank various forms of discrimination or anything, and not trying to detract from anyone's experience, with the above. I just re-read that second to the last sentence and worried it sounded kind of blase about examples of racism, which isn't what I meant.)
posted by mittens at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2013


mittens, by "not analogous," I didn't mean "less of a big deal," I meant that it's not analogous. It's not the same experience, that doesn't mean that one is less bad than the other.
posted by sweetkid at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2013


ha, on preview looks like we're on the same page there mittens.
posted by sweetkid at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2013


Re: restless_nomad: What I find repugnant is that I have to provide some extra and illogical justification for making a claim because it doesn't fit someone else's preconceived notion of power matrices or privilege equilibriums or street cred or whatever. Attacking who says something rather than what he says is intellectually weak and craven and is a tacit admission that you don' have a valid or interesting counter-argument. I also hate the fact personally that I sometimes end up in conversations where I feel forced to do that as a cheap tactic. E.g. when I was arguing with someone else in my ethical theory course about the value of the military. She has gotten a lot of her military service and because of her personal narrative, she lends some anecdotal credence to the idea that the military or war is good. I have a military suicide in my family so my totally anecdotal evidence is that it's bad. Either way, these are not logical or valid arguments for massive war machines—they're just disconnected personal narratives which are fine as far as they go but have nothing to do with deciding what is ethical or not.

Re: all of the stuff about bisexuality, if anyone's interested, you can read Bi Any Other Name, which has a number of coming out narratives from bisexuals who usually experience more prejudice from homosexuals than heterosexuals. All of the same stuff—you're a fence-sitter, you're a slut, you're gross—but with an added layer of "you're undermining The Cause". Another reason that identity politics is disgusting.
posted by koavf at 9:32 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


they're just disconnected personal narratives which are fine as far as they go but have nothing to do with deciding what is ethical or not.

Sure, but:

1. People are very seldom having pure philosophical debates, arguing from logic and not from experience. Especially on the internet. Even - perhaps especially - the people who claim to be doing so usually reveal strong, illogical personal biases and investments when pressed. Concealing those doesn't make your argument any stronger or more convincing, and being unaware of those makes you look seriously illogical.

2. When we're talking face-to-face, we're transmitting a ton of information that we're used to working with. From non-verbal communication (tone, body language, facial expression) to class, culture, race, and other in- and out-group markers, there's a whole data channel in heavy use. Humans are social creatures and our interactions rely heavily on this stuff, even when we're not consciously aware of it. When you take all that away, people make it up - and they're usually wrong. That leads conversations astray.

So providing that sort of information provides context - it grounds the discussion in a way that makes it go better for everyone. Even if you are trying to have a purely intellectual debate, acknowledging each other's starting points is just good sense. Acknowledging your, and your conversational partner's, emotional starting points and triggers is even more useful, because people are made of meat and have emotional reactions to things that blur their reasoning. Prizing "logic" so highly that you find doing that distasteful doesn't make any sense to me.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:06 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


2. When we're talking face-to-face, we're transmitting a ton of information that we're used to working with. From non-verbal communication (tone, body language, facial expression) to class, culture, race, and other in- and out-group markers, there's a whole data channel in heavy use. Humans are social creatures and our interactions rely heavily on this stuff, even when we're not consciously aware of it.

Yeah, I think it's useful to realize that many people from marginalized/oppressed groups have very obvious markers of their "otherness" visible in most face-to-face contexts. Race, gender, and a great many physical disabilities are usually evident, and other things like religious affiliation or social class may very well be, as well. So in a sense, in face-to-face conversations, people in those groups are always "stating their qualifications" -- and often are being actively dismissed because of those aspects of themselves.

So when I hear people who are usually "unmarked" in face-to-face conversations complain about having to "prove their qualifications" or otherwise "mark" themselves, I get annoyed because it sounds like you're complaining about having to do something that the rest of us have no choice but to do in 95% of our interactions with people.

I know the internet was heralded as a utopia where only ideas would matter, but since that hasn't proven to be the case and since power imbalances in real life have been recreated online, I don't really think it's appropriate for people in positions of relative power to complain about having to give a little bit of that up in order to participate in conversations with people with less relative power.

Join the club of the marked.
posted by jaguar at 10:44 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I stopped believing that my race wasn't a big deal when it became clear that it was an enormous, world-defining deal to everyone I meet, well-meaning or otherwise."

Or is that just hyperbole? Because that statement could use a few modifiers to bring it into line with actual "experience", unless the author is the actual Yeti.
posted by amorphatist at 11:16 AM on September 19 [+] [!]


This is an archetypical tone argument, in which a person speaking passionately of their experience of social marginalization is poo-pood as either engaging in an illegitimate rhetorical strategy of hyperbole, or a monster. This approach sidesteps the substance of Errant's comment (which was much larger than that one sentence) by mocking the messenger, and I really wish people wouldn't do it.

As for the substance of this post. . . look, racism, like any form of bias, works on many levels. The most glaring are expressions of conscious hatred, which are indeed repellent, but are only the tip of the iceburg. We know that many people express bias toward others in less blatant ways--only voicing overt bias outside the presence of people they believe to belong to the group they disdain, for example, or through microaggressions such as glares or laughter. More bias exists at a nonconscious level. It's empirically very well established that most people who believe themselves nonracist (or nonsexist, nonhomophobic, etc.) in fact demonstrate unconscious biases. And then there are institutional biases (such as those locked into the structure of buildings that lack elevators, ramps, gender-neutral accessible bathrooms, etc) .

Now, I live in the most racially segregated major metropolitan area in the U.S., and I'm a white guy. So I encounter a lot of white people saying racist things or acting in racist ways, but mostly it's in the "I'm not a racist, but. . ." vein. "I had to drive through [totally middle class African American Neighborhood X] yesterday, and I saw all these houses with satellite dishes on them, and it made me so mad! Those people spend the welfare money we give them on that?!" There are no cross burnings on the lawns of my suburb. On the other hand, when a friend who is a man of color was looking into buying a house here, he had the police called on him three times when he parked his car in front of houses with For Sale signs at midday, got out, and stood there looking at them, because neighbors couldn't believe someone who looked like him was actually in the homebuying market, and thus that he must be "casing the joint."

When I call other local white people on things like this, they almost always respond with affront that they aren't racists, that they are colorblind and don't care if a person is green or purple, and that they despise the Klan and other hate groups. And I find this related to the fact that I see local Facebook pages which only ever link something about race that isn't a supposedly ironic racist joke if it is one of these "Look at how dumb these crazy racists are!" posts. I think making fun of stupid overt racists lets some people feel that their less viciously repugnant comments and attitudes are the justified opinions of the supposedly colorblind righteous.

This is a totally different thing from saying "everyone who links LOLRACISTS posts is a racist." People can link collections of vile quotes for a variety of other reasons. But the popularity of these posts drawing outrage at poorly-written, misinformed, and viciously biased quote collections doesn't help people understand the much broader issues of institutional and unconscious and just less blatant racism. And as the author says, it's disturbing that the actual achievements of those attacked by racist tweetstorms don't seem to interest the white mainstream sharing these posts.
posted by DrMew at 10:53 AM on September 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is an archetypical tone argument, in which a person speaking passionately of their experience of social marginalization is poo-pood as either engaging in an illegitimate rhetorical strategy of hyperbole, or a monster.

No, it's not, not by the common definition of "tone" or "tone argument". I already addressed this upthread. I made no comment about the author's tone; I called out a hyperbolic, false statement; such statements lead to derails. We're having one here.

And as the author says, it's disturbing that the actual achievements of those attacked by racist tweetstorms don't seem to interest the white mainstream sharing these posts.

"Woman wins beauty pageant" is probably not going to rise to something that lots of people are going to tweet or post about, but, grar there's racists-on-twitter clickbait... well, there's a reason it's called "bait".
posted by amorphatist at 11:33 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is more to this story than "Woman wins beauty pageant" - it's "Indian American woman wins beauty pageant."

Also, agreed that to some degree the framing of the racist tweets articles are click baity and "look at the racists" fodder - but that doesn't mean the racism didn't happen.
posted by sweetkid at 11:49 AM on September 19, 2013


sweetkid: "It's not about whether people like you or not though. It's about how people will label you anyway, so you just need to label yourself. I experience it within the Indian American community as well, people will refer to "American" and mean "white." It's not just white v everybody, it's just that white people in America will feel the need to label themselves less for the most part, because, as I said before, for most people, white or other wise, American = white.

the way I was treated by members of the local GLQBT community (did I get that right?) who harassed me time and time again as an uncommitted fence sitter who needed to "choose a side". And I was like "Really? Why?"


The "choose a side" thing for bi people is really shitty and I'm sorry about that. But it's not really analogous to race/culture stuff in my mind.
"

Well, in my mind, it is somewhat, as it is a judgement based on arbitrary criteria that you have no real control over being imposed by an outside party to place people under labels.
posted by Samizdata at 12:02 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Indian American" isn't entirely imposed on me by an outside party. It's both an outside and not entirely specific identifier and a label I ultimately do identify with.

Specifically, I have Chitpavan Brahmin Maharashtran ancestry (a highly specific sort of Indianness, which all Indian origin people have of some sort), English, French, and Dutch ancestry (also with specifics, though I do not know those) and I grew up in Northern Virginia but have spent a lot of time in the Northeast as an adult.

Indian-American, while it doesn't describe the whole picture, is an ok "label" for all of this for me. It doesn't mean that there isn't more to the story, or I don't think a lot of labels are in fact arbitrary, like "people of color," "Asian American," or even "Indian American," all of which I fit into in some way but don't completely describe me.

But the point is that I am not "American, period," both because of outsiders' labels and the way I identify.
posted by sweetkid at 12:15 PM on September 19, 2013


sweetkid: ""Indian American" isn't entirely imposed on me by an outside party. It's both an outside and not entirely specific identifier and a label I ultimately do identify with.

Specifically, I have Chitpavan Brahmin Maharashtran ancestry (a highly specific sort of Indianness, which all Indian origin people have of some sort), English, French, and Dutch ancestry (also with specifics, though I do not know those) and I grew up in Northern Virginia but have spent a lot of time in the Northeast as an adult.

Indian-American, while it doesn't describe the whole picture, is an ok "label" for all of this for me. It doesn't mean that there isn't more to the story, or I don't think a lot of labels are in fact arbitrary, like "people of color," "Asian American," or even "Indian American," all of which I fit into in some way but don't completely describe me.

But the point is that I am not "American, period," both because of outsiders' labels and the way I identify.
"

Huh. Interesting. (As a complete aside, I wonder how some of those words are pronounced.)

The point I was trying to make was if we are going to be all one people we need to think of ourselves as all one people. Yeah, it needs work on both sides.
posted by Samizdata at 12:26 PM on September 19, 2013


I don't mean this as snarky - what are the "both sides" you're referring to? Both sides of what?

Also, we're not going to be all one people. See the PDF linked upthread how "colorblindness" isn't a good thing.

That people identify as "-American" does not make them any less American.
posted by sweetkid at 12:35 PM on September 19, 2013


There is more to this story than "Woman wins beauty pageant" - it's "Indian American woman wins beauty pageant."

Oh, absolutely. The possible Catch-22 in there (and I'm not saying this applies to anybody in this thread) is if you're saying the notable thing about her winning is that she's Indian American... well, it could be said that you're orientalizing her, and shouldn't she be notable because of her achievements, not her race, etc. I'm not sure if the topic can be discussed without running foul of some identity politics code, by somebody's interpretation.

But the point is that I am not "American, period," both because of outsiders' labels and the way I identify.

As an aside, in my experience, probably because of the youth of this nation, I find that a lot of "Americans" actually identify with their historical ethnic group... "Oh, I'm Irish, Jewish, Mexican, Italian etc". I've seen very little "American, period", but maybe it's just that I've mostly lived in places here that still have strong recent immigration history. I'm not sure this has any bearing on this conversation in general, just an anecdote.
posted by amorphatist at 12:39 PM on September 19, 2013


Hey, turns out my life is hyperbolic and false on its face. I guess that means I can stop going to therapy now.

I didn't make the world in which my race matters. You guys did. [...] Identity politics are the only reason most of you know I have any kind of identity in the first place. You're just going to have to live with it, the same way that you tell me to live every day with the knowledge that the mere fact of my existence is repugnant to you.

Who is the "you" you're addressing here?


Right now, in this thread? I mean you. I understand that my racial experience seems strange and weird and off-putting to you. I also very much appreciate that you think I'm a liar for relating it. You are the creator of a world in which I must be engaging in hyperbole and dramatic embellishment for effect, because I have the audacity to own an experience that is different than yours. I get that you don't believe me, and I get that you believe that I am lying to you in order to further some agenda. I do not expect you to forgive me for thinking that you are engaging in a fairly bog-standard mechanism of erasure and denial. It's kind of adorable to see it up close, actually; usually I just have to make it out from nervous whispers.

I do not believe that I have had a casual conversation in the last ten years that did not reference my race at some point, and not because I brought it up. If I have, they are vanishingly rare, and it'll usually come up the next time. I actually talk about race a lot less than I used to, because folks like you stop listening the second I start. And it's not just about being Indian-American. I have at turns been Pakistani (or more frequently just a paki), Iranian or Iraqi, Saudi Arabian. (I met a friend's girlfriend one time, lit her cigarette, and the first thing she said to me was "Wow, nice lighter, that oil money's really working out for you." I didn't realize Bics were a status symbol.) I've been Greek and I've been a Moor (I know! The classics never go out of style). I've even been regular old black a couple times, that was interesting. I've had strangers verbally assault my white ex-girlfriend for being seen in public with me. I've had deli workers refuse to make my food. You know what I never am? White. You know who notices and has a burning need to point that out to me? Pretty much everyone. Sorry that that bothers you, dude. It kind of bothers me too, so hey, common ground, I guess this conversation has been productive after all.

Specifically, I have Chitpavan Brahmin Maharashtran ancestry

Maharashtran Brahmins represent! Let's go write some radical Vedic commentary. If anyone gives us any guff, I'll break out the Kshatriya-side chakram and start cutting fools.
posted by Errant at 1:17 PM on September 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


I mean talk about labels - in the old country there are the frequently touted ONE BILLION PEOPLE and yet most people know all about their personal caste/class/location/ancient tribe identifiers.
posted by sweetkid at 1:28 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also very much appreciate that you think I'm a liar for relating it

No I don't think you're a liar for relating your experiences, but I don't think it advances anything by claiming your race is an "enormous, world-defining deal to everyone". That's hyperbole. I don't think you, or I, or anybody else on this planet has such a "world-defining" effect on everyone.

You are the creator of a world in which I must be engaging in hyperbole and dramatic embellishment for effect, because I have the audacity to own an experience that is different than yours.

Or maybe I think hyperbole is unnecessary and derailing, and that here on the blue it's possible to relate our experiences without it. And I firmly believe you when you tell me that this is a very common occurrence for you.

I have at turns been Pakistani (or more frequently just a paki), Iranian or Iraqi, Saudi Arabian.

I have been, on multiple occasions, accused of being German. Just think about how that stung! Apologies to ye teutons here, I jest.

You know what I never am? White. You know who notices and has a burning need to point that out to me? Pretty much everyone. Sorry that that bothers you, dude.

Well, I'd be happy if all the people doing that to you stopped doing so.
posted by amorphatist at 1:32 PM on September 19, 2013


It's all about who's the least racist. It's me, of course, because if you call out racism less than I do, then you're more racist, because you call it out less.

It's sad that you can't even conceive of people calling out racist garbage because they are thinking not of themselves but of how much it sucks for the people who have to swim in that crap all the time.
posted by straight at 1:33 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


No I don't think you're a liar for relating your experiences, but I don't think it advances anything by claiming your race is an "enormous, world-defining deal to everyone". That's hyperbole. I don't think you, or I, or anybody else on this planet has such a "world-defining" effect on everyone.

You know what's funny? I originally wrote "self-defining", but then I changed it because I thought that sounded too vague. Ha! Just pretend I wrote that instead, ok? The point being, my race is a sole and sufficient definition of me for most people, my world is circumscribed to the contours of that framework, and even when I am permitted to be somewhat more, it's never out of that context. By "world-defining", I meant the ways in which my world and experience are artificially defined and compacted by them, not the ways in which theirs are by me.
posted by Errant at 1:50 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know what's funny? I originally wrote "self-defining", but then I changed it because I thought that sounded too vague. Ha! Just pretend I wrote that instead, ok?

By "world-defining", I meant the ways in which my world and experience are artificially defined and compacted by them, not the ways in which theirs are by me.

I'll take that deal! Damn you Errant, that's completely eminently reasonable, what am I going to do with my day now?
posted by amorphatist at 2:03 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Consider how the mantras "tat tvam asi" (That Thou Art) and "I am that I am" reflect differences in locus between the externalized Self and the internalized Other. Bring a kukri, this shit gets off the chain with a swiftness, and those Jesuits don't fuck around with the small blade.
posted by Errant at 2:13 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The slow blade penetrates the shield?
posted by amorphatist at 2:19 PM on September 19, 2013


whoa what happened

rock on Errant and amorphatist
posted by sweetkid at 2:19 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Folks, there's been an outbreak of agreement. HIGH CONTAGION RISK. PLEASE EVACUATE TO YOUR NEAREST META THREAD.
posted by amorphatist at 2:25 PM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


see this is why speaking for Errant goes less well than Errant speaking for himself.
posted by sweetkid at 2:28 PM on September 19, 2013


Nah, you did good. I just had a weird modifier problem where "self-defining" made it sound like I was doing it to myself and I didn't read "world-defining" as potentially meaning my effect on others within the overall context. I was sufficiently aware of the problem to have briefly toyed with "self-world-defining", but then my English degree spontaneously combusted, which seemed like a sign.
posted by Errant at 2:46 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, it's almost as if discussing things can sometimes brings people together in shared understanding! And that when amorphatist didn't quite catch what Errant had meant by "world-defining", they were able to resolve the misunderstanding through engaged conversation!
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:18 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know it's a Christmas miracle
posted by sweetkid at 3:20 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I almost feel guilty that this all got peaceably resolved before the cavalry arrived and got this shindig going proper...
posted by amorphatist at 4:10 PM on September 19, 2013


shhhhh
posted by sweetkid at 4:13 PM on September 19, 2013


.
posted by kalessin at 5:42 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Goodbye thread, sure we hardly knew ye.
posted by amorphatist at 6:14 PM on September 19, 2013


no no one ruin it. In honor of this accord, let me play you the song of my people, or really the Punjabi MC Knight Rider remix that gets played at EVERY. SINGLE. INDIAN. WEDDING.
posted by sweetkid at 6:35 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


/can confirm that.
posted by Artw at 7:33 PM on September 19, 2013


I was all ready to be like, "bullshit, never heard it."

Knew it inside three notes. Motherfuck our people.
posted by Errant at 8:24 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your swearing reminds me of the one thanksgiving where my brother and I were watching Aziz Ansari specials and my mom overheard the swearing and tut tutted us, and my brother was like "it's ok! He's Indian!"

Like "no we're doing something cultural, for sure, legit. Treat yoself
posted by sweetkid at 8:55 PM on September 19, 2013


Ok, here is my most embarrassing story. Before fifth grade, I had never used a swear before. I literally changed the channel if I ever heard someone on tv say "ass" or "damn". (Side note: in typing this, I had to add "damn" to my Swype dictionary. Thanks, Obama.) ("Obama" was already in there.)

My friends at the time decided this was an unsustainable chain of events. So they started me out slow, by insisting that my name was not Alok but Aloc-Tone. (Tone Loc had just blown up.) I didn't have any idea what they were talking about, because all we listened to was AOR. I had 45s of Christopher Cross and the Arthur theme. I wasn't ready for the hip-hop revolution.

So one day, my friends corner me before recess. We're not letting you leave, they say, until you say a curse word. Come on, you can do it, no one's listening, just swear one time.

I desperately want their approval. I can tell that they like me, because they gave me this awesome nickname. (That's not why they gave it to me; I was the squarest kid in the room.) But I can't swear. Like, physically. I start stuttering. "A-A-A..."

"Come on! Fucking come on!"

"A-A-Ass..."

"More! Say it! Say it!"

"A-A-...ASSHOLE!"

The light dawned. Something in me fell clear. Suddenly, though I wouldn't have said this then, all those rules started to feel like so much bullshit.

Now I drink, smoke, swear, gamble, and hang out with loose people of many genders. At least Yudhisthira understands me.
posted by Errant at 9:44 PM on September 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Errant, next time you're in Colorado, I'll hook you up phat, blades or no.
posted by amorphatist at 2:08 AM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're in Seattle, me + you will = the business.
posted by Errant at 10:20 PM on September 20, 2013


Twitter Trolls [Facebook Video] [NSFW], Bill Maher, HBO Real Time, 20 September 2013

Maher Goes Off on Twitter Hate: Who Wastes Their Time Telling Cheesecake Factory to F*ck Off? [Video] [NSFW], Josh Feldman, Mediaite, 20 September 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 2:40 AM on September 21, 2013


Knew it inside three notes. Motherfuck our people.

Still better than the chicken dance and/or the hokey pokey...
posted by rmd1023 at 7:43 AM on September 21, 2013


Still better than the chicken dance

Aah, the dance of my people.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:02 PM on September 21, 2013


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