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Jason Whitlock and the Black KKK
November 28, 2007 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Jason Whitlock again raises the specter of a "Black KKK", some take issue with his ideas, and Jason levels his response.
posted by mikoroshi (29 comments total)

 
Jason Whitlock is an idiot. Plain and simple.
posted by Autarky at 4:50 PM on November 28, 2007


Actually, most of it was surprisingly sane by Whitlock's standards. He still manages to take a reasonable premise and go crazy with it way out in the wild blue yonder.
posted by Autarky at 4:54 PM on November 28, 2007


I've never heard of this dude before.

He seems to make some good points, but he'd be much more readable without all of the self-Godwinning.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:55 PM on November 28, 2007


Autarky, why do you say that?
posted by konolia at 4:56 PM on November 28, 2007


I'd have tased his ass too.
posted by billysumday at 5:15 PM on November 28, 2007


This is only slightly less hyperbolic than Marion Barry's invocation of a "crack Hitler."
posted by klangklangston at 5:22 PM on November 28, 2007


Hey, check us out...have you seen us lately?
posted by dhammond at 5:26 PM on November 28, 2007


konolia,

Because I've been reading his sports columns for several years.
posted by Autarky at 5:53 PM on November 28, 2007


This is only slightly less hyperbolic than Marion Barry's invocation of a "crack Hitler."
posted by klangklangston at 5:22 PM on November 28 [+] [!]


And just as hilarious as another Crack Hitler.
posted by basicchannel at 6:08 PM on November 28, 2007


Basicchannel—That's Marion Barry that Faith No More sample.
posted by klangklangston at 6:55 PM on November 28, 2007


Black conservative lambasts hip-hop culture. I liked it better when Cosby did it. All in all, nothing new.


Although I gotta say, the term "black kkk" is completely absurd and really detracts from what he is trying to accomplish. Self-Godwinned indeed.
posted by anansi at 8:11 PM on November 28, 2007


His opinions make me feel sad so he must be wrong the end.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:47 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


anansi--

I think he's trying to identify and isolate people that he fears, such that their status is reduced and the acceptance of behavior he disapproves of can be diminished. He's doing this by attaching a label -- a fairly radioactive one, to be sure.

I'm interested in what people actively disagree with in his essay. People are acting like it's obviously wrong, but not a lot of detail why.
posted by effugas at 4:11 AM on November 29, 2007


People are acting like it's obviously wrong, but not a lot of detail why.

Ex-freaken-zackly. What I was trying to say - but without the sarcasm. I just can't help myself sometimes.

Here's a quote from the article:

When your leading causes of death and dysfunction are murder, ignorance and incarceration, there's no reason to give a free pass to a culture that celebrates murder, ignorance and incarceration.

Eeeeeww! He's an idiot he makes me feel sad I have been reading his idiotic articles for years the above statement is wrong.

I think the small amount of responses from this typical paint-by-numbers, left leaning forum says a lot.

I love gangster rap, by the way. But I get the joke.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:34 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


He's wrong because attacking hip hop culture is useless. It is attacking a symptom not a problem. He's wrong because black conservatives have attacked the culture of black youth/black poverty/black hipness since the early 20th century when the black bourgeois attacked jazz and the blues for the exact same issues. He's wrong because the conservative black middle class has been attacking the black poor for their lifestyle--ever since there have been a black middle class-- to no avail.

Mainly he's wrong because there are dramatic issues at play within the black community. Issues that need solutions, issues that are resulting in poverty, death and prison. . . and his solution is to coin a term "black kkk" that further stigmatizes those who actually need help. He's wrong for the same reason that Cosby was wrong--he's attacking people instead of helping people.

I'm really sorry that poor black people and the tropes of "urban" black culture embarrass him and make him feel uncomfortable. His actions are doing nothing to solve the problem and he is either wittingly or not providing fuel for the usual culture war assholes who love to point out how caustic and poisonous black culture is. "Look even the 'good negroes' agree with us!" I am not one that believes that black folk shouldn't air out our dirty laundry in front of white America (although the history of racism and the current climate of subtle, institutionalized racism still make me uncomfortable about it) but I do not see what he is doing as solving any problems. To me he is basically saying "ewww! poor black people are dangerous and stupid and I don't like the way they act." That's great, but what are you trying to accomplish that will stop the cycle of violence, crime, poverty, and terrible education? Somehow I don't think that calling them the "black kkk" will help.
posted by anansi at 6:56 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


anansi writes "Mainly he's wrong because there are dramatic issues at play within the black community. Issues that need solutions, issues that are resulting in poverty, death and prison. . . and his solution is to coin a term 'black kkk' that further stigmatizes those who actually need help. He's wrong for the same reason that Cosby was wrong--he's attacking people instead of helping people."

Well, what he is doing is trying to shake off the mantle of victimhood.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:47 AM on November 29, 2007


whoops ... posted to soon. Yes, and that's what Cosby is trying to do, too. I agree that he could be helping rather than scorning, but community leaders should make an effort to speak to their communities about good and bad, and encourage the good and discourage the bad. Whitlock may be hyperbolic, and his target of hiphop may be misplaced, but his message of self-sufficiency is not a bad one.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:52 AM on November 29, 2007


Black conservative lambasts hip-hop culture. I liked it better when Cosby did it. All in all, nothing new.

When did Jason Whitlock turn into a conservative?
posted by gyc at 11:14 AM on November 29, 2007


I agree that he could be helping rather than scorning, but community leaders should make an effort to speak to their communities about good and bad, and encourage the good and discourage the bad.

The thing is, black leaders do speak about what is beneficial and detrimental to our community. For some reason there is a perception amongst whites that all black leaders just sit around play victim and play the race card. First off, being a victim of institutionalized racism is not "playing the victim. Second, mentioning that America's legacy of racism has a negative impact on your life and your community is not "playing the race card." There are serious problems with American society that stem from the issue of race. These problems need to be addressed by everyone. These problems have existed since the inception of this nation and they are not about to go away anytime soon. they sure as hell will not be overcome when the majority of the dominant culture see everything as having been solved, not their problem and not their fault. Any true dialogue about the issue of race in America must address the issue of white privilege and the dangers of ignoring it. Just as much as I or any other black person is adversely affected by racism every white person enjoys some position of privilege. This is a two way street. We need to acknowledge this and heal our nation together. As long as things are seen as a black problem (or any other ethnic group's problem) instead of as an American problem, very little true progress will ever be made.
posted by anansi at 11:29 AM on November 29, 2007


krinklyfig

to clarify, my rant was not directed at you. I do however have very strong opinions on these issues and as such these are some of the things that I focus on in my studies, therefore I have a tendency to stand on my soapbox now and again. And your right, the message of self-sufficiency is a good one. It is one that has been made by Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Dubois (in his later years), The BPP, The Nation of Islam and pretty much every black nationalist movement/leader/activist/scholar in the US for several hundred years. Unfortunately, there are other isues at play that compromise and complicate self-sufficiency.
posted by anansi at 12:43 PM on November 29, 2007


anansi,

Whitlock's arguing that black-on-black crime is unacceptably high, and the individuals perpetrating it are an even worse threat to the black community than the KKK was in the fifties.

Has black-on-black violence been the topic of discussion for the last several hundred years? You're obviously familiar with the subject, and can speak to it in greater depth.
posted by effugas at 12:58 PM on November 29, 2007


It is attacking a symptom not a problem.

???
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:57 PM on November 29, 2007


Has black-on-black violence been the topic of discussion for the last several hundred years? You're obviously familiar with the subject, and can speak to it in greater depth.

Black on black crime has always been a problem. This has been fostered by several things. 1.) Black folks have generally been confined to segregated areas, therefore any black criminal element will of course target black people. 2.) Black people have generally not been allowed/accepted in predominately white areas. This makes black on white crime difficult to perpetrate. 3.) And most powerfully, black on white crime has been historically severely punished, whereas black on black crime has not been legally treated as such a severe offense. These are some factors that have molded black criminality.

???
posted by uncanny hengeman


???
posted by anansi at 2:10 PM on November 29, 2007


Whitlock's arguing that black-on-black crime is unacceptably high, and the individuals perpetrating it are an even worse threat to the black community than the KKK was in the fifties.

The thing is, these people are a part of the black community. As such, Whitlock's and Cosby's approach is not very effective. You know, cutting off your nose to spite your face. There are many within the black bourgeois who would like to separate themselves from the black underclass politically and culturally. That is part of the problem. As my coach in highschool used to say, "we either pull together as a team, or we fail by ourselves."
posted by anansi at 2:16 PM on November 29, 2007


anansi--

Differential enforcement of law is actually a significant factor in what's going on, but I don't think you can talk about the enforcement of norms without looking at the norms themselves.

Whitlock is tired of the violence. You're saying he's part of a bourgeois, separating himself from the black underclass politically and culturally. Are you saying that anyone not wealthy and bourgeois actually likes the violence? I doubt that's the case. There's a battle for the middle going on, a fight to determine who the heroes should be, and what it means to be a jackass. This is a fight repeated on small and large scales through eras and nations. It's literally a core part of how societies operate.

Now, regarding effectiveness of Whitlock's approach, I can't speak to that. I'm not convinced your historical/sociological commentary model is any more effective though.
posted by effugas at 4:16 AM on November 30, 2007


effugas

I'm not debating your points. The violence and crime is tiring and draining to everyone.

What I am getting at, is that Whitlock is not fixing anything with his vitriol. And I think that his rants portray an ignorance of historical/sociological factors. I am not personally putting forward a solution. I am not a social worker/politician/activist. . . I don't have the answers, I don't have the background to even enable me to begin formulating workable solutions. I don't really know what the solution is, but I can recognize it when something is not working. Whitlock, Cosby and others are basically yelling at the poor and saying, "heal thyself!" This bootstraps mentality is very realistic. If it worked, we'd all be fabulously successful and content.

Are you saying that anyone not wealthy and bourgeois actually likes the violence?
Not at all. I'm saying that the bourgeois have the luxury of being able to separate themselves. The poor have to live with it daily.
posted by anansi at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2007


Anansi,

Without ostracism, norms do not change. If you look at anti-racist plotlines in television shows, movies, and plays, they always end up with a bunch of people looking horrified at the backwards idiot who hates some group of people just because of the color of their skin.

You're seeing the "black KKK" as part of the community, and I don't think Whitlock does. You think that means he's segregated himself; I think he's trying to segregate them. He's trying to create a meme that says -- these people, these violent and draining people, they are not us.

You think that's unhelpful. I'm not going to disagree with your perspective, because I think you have more raw data to work with than I do. However, I think you have to admit that for every word out of Cosby and Whitlock, there is some portion of the quiet middle that finds cover and solace in their ambition. Whitlock is saying, bluntly, that there are better role models to be had. Some number of kids are in fact now looking up to those role models, because they feel free to.

Whatever harm may come of Whitlock's approach, he's actively telling kids that it's OK to want nothing to do with the violence. I'm not convinced that's a bad message. If you accept that norms need to shift, there really is no other way but to ostracize those who violate them.
posted by effugas at 12:16 PM on November 30, 2007


Here's the thing. I don't disagree with the criticisms that Whitlock is making. I disagree with the hyperbolic, self-Godwinning turn of phrase "black kkk." I disagree with the idea of ostracizing those who do wrong, they are the ones who need help. Otherwise we are just preaching to the choir. I feel that Whitlock's message will only be embraced by those who already agree with him. Those who do not have the skills/education/upbringing--whatever that allows them to be successful in life will not be affected in any way by Whitlock's message. The criminal element is already ostracized by the black community. Black people are (aside from the role of race) much more conservative than mainstream society. These behaviours are looked down upon and that is obviously not working. Whitlock's rants about the "black kkk" will not ameliorate the problem. In the end all he is doing is rhetorically masturbating, it feels good but is ultimately pointless.
posted by anansi at 3:58 PM on November 30, 2007


Anansi,

Norms do not change unless friendships can be lost over them. You're absolutely right, "Black KKK" is offensive to the extreme. Would you spend any time with a KKK member? Neither would I. There was a national, even federally sanctioned ostracism of that sect.

It worked.

Whitlock is giving kids the emotional and rhetorical backing to disassociate themselves with old friends who are no longer a positive influence in their lives. That's a big deal, something I'm not seeing even you realize is important. It's not just about conservatives and liberals. Most people are just trying to live their lives, do the right things, find love and success and happiness.

Meanwhile, huge numbers are ending up in the gaping maw of the prison system.

Being kinder and gentler and softer does not address the fact that people are getting destroyed here, and it's happening because a comparatively small core of the community is toxic and contagiously so. This isn't a special thing -- there's *always* toxic groups within every community. Whitlock is calling them out, hoping others will do the same.

Some will. Somewhere, some kid is going to say he ain't going down like Taylor did. That's not a bad thing.
posted by effugas at 3:45 PM on December 1, 2007


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