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Katrina's Hidden Race War
December 19, 2008 6:16 AM   Subscribe

Whites used Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to lynch their black neighbors. The shootings have never been investigated.
posted by shii (274 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hidden?

"Almost everyone I've talked to said we're going to move to Houston. What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. (Said with concern.) Everybody is so overwhelmed by all the hospitality. And so many of the peoples in the arena here, you know, they're underprivileged anyway, so this — this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." - Barbara Bush
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:24 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]




When you are in the French Quarter or Uptown by Tulane things are pretty nice. Though if you go 1000 feet outside of New Orleans it is suddenly is 1866. What a crazy place.
posted by four panels at 6:31 AM on December 19, 2008


Guns don't kill people.
Easily scared, bigoted and racist hillbillies who seem to think they still live in the Wild West kill people :P
posted by kampken at 6:32 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have some more serious thoughts on this but the part of this story that kills me is this simple distillation:

Racism, and the irrational fear of gangs of violent black men, caused whites to form gangs and commit violent acts against innocent blacks.

Meanwhile, many white males commenting on this story are desperately trying to form some sort of moral equivalency - that somehow displaced and homeless black people and their families coming into "their part of town" is a crime in and of itself, and that the gunmen were only defending their homes, even in the absence of any danger, and even when they were not in their homes.

I don't know if I'm expressing myself well, but this story sums up to me everything that has gone wrong in the white community and with white culture.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:34 AM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


I don't think you need the smiley kampken.
posted by chunking express at 6:35 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't know if I'm expressing myself well, but this story sums up to me everything that has gone wrong in the white community and with white culture.

I think Frank Zappa said it pretty well: "I'm not black, but there's a whole lotta times I wish I could say I'm not white."
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:38 AM on December 19, 2008 [40 favorites]


Algiers Point is largely white, while the rest of Algiers is predominantly black. It's a "white enclave" whose residents have "a kind of siege mentality," says Tulane University historian Lance Hill, noting that some white New Orleanians "think of themselves as an oppressed minority."

This is exactly what it's like in the poor and working class white neighborhoods in Philly. Fishtown, Port Richmond, Frankford, Kensington to a lesser extent today but hugely fifteen years ago, parts of South Philly and even the Overbrook section of West Philly when I lived there as a kid. I think pretty much the same thing would happen here under Katrina conditions.
posted by The Straightener at 6:42 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting New Orleans has the highest crime rate in the country, beating out stallwarts of urban decay such as Newark, Detroit, and D.C.
posted by four panels at 6:46 AM on December 19, 2008


I hate to bring up semantics at a time like this, but the word "lynch" was never used in the article, and vigilante justice/security isn't quite the same. This is really, really scary racism, but this wasn't lynching.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:57 AM on December 19, 2008


Related news: Gretna Cops win round in court.

"The Gretna Police Department and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office had "compelling safety and welfare reasons" and were enforcing state laws and regulations when they barred people from trying to walk to the West Bank, U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon ordered in siding with the police."

I guess "compelling safety and welfare reasons" do not have to include the safety and welfare of homeless refugees.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:58 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


As a northerner in the "deep south" for the first time, in the aftermath of Katrina, I came to understand race a little better. It was about 9 days after the hurricane ripped through New Orleans and I was out trying to find propane to power our forklifts. I was standing in line at the family owned hardware store. The queue was about 6 people long. In front of me, a young african american man. Behind me a middle aged white woman. She tapped me on the shoulder and said "Would you be interested in buying any guns? We need the money and the are very nice. I will give you a very good price. I just need the money." I thanked her for the offer but told her that I would be traveling on an airplane soon and that I could not check them. I then went to tap the shoulder of the young man in front of me and she reached out and blocked my hand. I turned and looked at her and she shook her head and mouthed the words "not him". It was a subtle statement but carried the message very clearly.
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:59 AM on December 19, 2008 [19 favorites]


"I'm not a racist," Pervel insists. "I'm a classist."

WELL THAT'S MUCH BETTER, ASSHOLE.
posted by desjardins at 7:00 AM on December 19, 2008 [32 favorites]


It's not lynching? Groups of White people going out and killing Black people is usually how most people define lynching. Also, what some yokel thinks is "vigilante justice/security" is probably lynching.
posted by chunking express at 7:00 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I'm expressing myself well, but this story sums up to me everything that has gone wrong in the white community and with white culture.

I don't know what community in particular you are refering to, but the individuals portrayed in this article don't reflect the white community or white culture as a whole. as a matter of fact, isn't pointing to individuals actions as somehow reflective of a whole category what has caused this mess in the first place?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:05 AM on December 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


When you're in the jungle you develop a "jungle" mentality.
posted by winks007 at 7:05 AM on December 19, 2008


This is exactly what it's like in the poor and working class white neighborhoods in Philly. Fishtown, Port Richmond, Frankford, Kensington to a lesser extent today but hugely fifteen years ago, parts of South Philly and even the Overbrook section of West Philly when I lived there as a kid. I think pretty much the same thing would happen here under Katrina conditions.

I've seen it in other cities as well, and you can read about it in books like All Souls and Made In Detroit or even the 'Port' plotline of The Wire. Working-class urban whites feel (with some justification) like an abandonded constituency and sadly that can have some ugly manifestations. It can have some positive ones, too as those books try to illustrate.

Whether that's what happened here, or whether it was just some racist asshole, I don't know. Horrible thing anyway.
posted by jonmc at 7:10 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


>>> This is really, really scary racism, but this wasn't lynching.

Let's go over this again.
Despite the common association with hanging, lynching is not confined to one horrible method of execution. "Lynching is an extrajudicial punishment meted out by a mob." (Wiki)
And so, a self-appointed army (mob) of fifteen to thirty white men meting out extrajudicial punishment upon anyone they felt "didn't belong" -- defined evidently by their victims being black -- is very much a lynch mob.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:11 AM on December 19, 2008 [11 favorites]


I don't know what community in particular you are refering to, but the individuals portrayed in this article don't reflect the white community or white culture as a whole.

Strongly disagreed. White culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine." Trying to make petty distinctions across regional boundaries doesn't change that.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:14 AM on December 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


Working-class urban whites feel (with some justification) like an abandonded constituency...

One of the core tenets of the Southern Strategy.
posted by TedW at 7:16 AM on December 19, 2008


One of the core tenets of the Southern Strategy.

Exactly, and we on the left dropped the ball by not getting to that constituency first with a positive message.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Lynch: To execute without a proper legal trial; To commit an act of violence by a mob upon the body of another person.
posted by RussHy at 7:19 AM on December 19, 2008


I hate to bring up semantics at a time like this, but the word "lynch" was never used in the article, and vigilante justice/security isn't quite the same. This is really, really scary racism, but this wasn't lynching.

Please then, enlighten me as to what separates this vigilante-style, murdering of black people from lynching type, vigilante-style, murdering of black people.


When you're in the jungle you develop a "jungle" mentality.

I'm sorry, but what the fuck is that supposed to mean. I can't help but parse your sentence with the "jungle" reference as referring to an environment with black folks as being a "jungle." Dear lord, I hope that I'm reading that wrong.
posted by anansi at 7:20 AM on December 19, 2008


The storm victims were "hoodlums from the Lower Ninth Ward and that part of the city," he says. "I'm not a prejudiced individual, but you just know the outlaws who are up to no good. You can see it in their eyes."

Fuck that guy. Fuck that guy and the people like him right up the ass.
posted by splice at 7:21 AM on December 19, 2008


If you wern't here during that time, you wouldn't understand. When there is no one to watch out for you, you watch out for yourself. I never saw anyone lynching blacks. All I saw was people who were willing to defend themselves. We still have that right. Remember don't let a few bad bananas spoil the bunch.

Maybe some perspective is needed. Did you see what they did to the Superdome?

Now put all those people, the good and the BAD on Causeway Blvd and 1-10 and that puts those peeps within 1 mile of your house. You can say what you want to in the blue, had you been HERE, you would have been ready to defend youself and your neighbors.
posted by winks007 at 7:23 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


(also, I should add that with my comments, I'm not trying to make excuses for incidents like this, I'm just thinking about the background that breeds them)

also, winks007, what the hell are you talking about? You can't reduce this to some quick epigram. On your user page you say 'I want to be like jonmc.' You're doing it wrong.
posted by jonmc at 7:24 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Strongly disagreed. White culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine." Trying to make petty distinctions across regional boundaries doesn't change that.

Jesus, you really think that's not a completely racist thing to say? It's not a regional thing, its a racist thing. "White culture" is not a real thing. What these assholes is not reflective of what other people even in their own neighborhood thing, "feel", or believe and any attempt to impose their actions on others beliefs is simply racisism on your part.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:24 AM on December 19, 2008 [17 favorites]


> White culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine."

I don't think this outlook is limited to white people.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:25 AM on December 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


White 20th century culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine."
posted by bitteroldman at 7:26 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


White 20th century culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine."
posted by jonmc at 7:28 AM on December 19, 2008 [15 favorites]


Strongly disagreed. White culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine."

What bullshit. There's no such thing as "white culture," and that's straight-out racist thinking. Reexamine your axioms and thought processes, because they're leading you in the wrong direction.
posted by languagehat at 7:28 AM on December 19, 2008 [20 favorites]


That article could have been about 5 pages shorter and a bit more balanced. When one black man finds another black man that's dead no one has any idea who killed the dead man. And in the United States, and I would even guess New Orleans, statistically, a black man is more likely to be killed by another black man than a white one.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:29 AM on December 19, 2008


All I saw was people who were willing to defend themselves.

Well, I'd love to hear why the gunmen in the article needed to defend themselves from Mr. Herrington, and I'd especially love to hear how he could possibly have been so menacing with his back turned to them.

Maybe some perspective is needed. Did you see what they did to the Superdome?

Please, explain what happened at the Superdome and the ways in which it justifies shooting people in the back. You opinion is very important to me and I look forward to hearing your cogent responses.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:29 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


And in the United States, and I would even guess New Orleans, statistically, a black man is more likely to be killed by another black man than a white one.

Whites are more likely to be killed, robbed, etc, by other whites as well.

and winks007, I'm sure that living in the chaos of post-Katrina New Orleans was no picnic, but don't swallow a lot of ugly bullshit rhetoric, it in't helping you or anybody else.
posted by jonmc at 7:32 AM on December 19, 2008


I would never justify shooting someone in the back!

jonmc. maybe you have jumped to conclusions. I was watching it all deteriorate from a nice, safe distance.

Put yourself in the shoes of the locals, where you live imagine if, the police could not be counted on, and there was no electricity, no communications and you're little neighborhood was close to where things were going south at a rapid pace. You do what you have to. You may not be too proud of it later but, first and formemost has to be your survival.

We're white in a mostly black suburban area, white people know where we stand with our urban youth.
posted by winks007 at 7:33 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Maybe some perspective is needed. Did you see what they did to the Superdome

Also, when you say, "they", are you talking about black people? Because, really, you should just say so.
posted by chunking express at 7:33 AM on December 19, 2008


o.k. did you see what the "blacks" did to the superdome?
posted by winks007 at 7:34 AM on December 19, 2008


At the risk of derailing, which is not the inention, I think this article highlights why blacks don't equate the gay rights struggle with themselves. I imagine the thinking is similar to this: "However bad or unfair it may be too homosexuals they can at least hide. Blacks in America have no such option and when things get rough, we're going to be the first ones against the wall. We are not the same as them, we have been and will be treated differently and have long history of slavery and abuse as evidence." I don't support this view, as it servers to separate those who should be united against a common foe, but I understand it a bit more after reading this article.

That said, as someone who was born in New Orleans and who's family has been in city for generations, the article doesn't surprise me. I had forgotten about this things, hadn't thought of them in long time, but my first thought on reading it was "Oh yeah, that stuff."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


When things get scary, people's fears that are quiet in better times come to the surface. There's still a lot of fear of black people in this country. I wish I was surprised, but I'm not.
posted by Tehanu at 7:35 AM on December 19, 2008


Did you see what they did to the Superdome?

Yeah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 AM on December 19, 2008 [26 favorites]


Put yourself in the shoes of the locals, where you live imagine if, the police could not be counted on, and there was no electricity, no communications and you're little neighborhood was close to where things were going south at a rapid pace. You do what you have to. You may not be too proud of it later but, first and formemost has to be your survival.

Perhaps. But the people in this article don't sound like that was what they were about. And I've never been in a crisis like Katrina, and I'd be the last person on earth to suggest that New York is some kind of racial utopia, but during crises like the big blackout a few years back and the transit strike, where the streets were flooded with people and things could've gotten very ugly, I saw a distinct abscence of such things and actually saw people who might ordinarily be antagonistic helping eachother out; as I walked through the Queensbridge projects (one of the roughest in the city) on my way home during the blackout (looking like something out of lord of the flies, I might add), a bunch of guys had rolled out a water cooler and were offering it free to everybody. During the traansit strike, people of all races were giving people lifts across the bridge (partly out of self interest, due to rules about having multiple passengers etc). Crises don't always have to bring out the worst in people.

(apologies if I got incoherent, I'm on strong painkillers)
posted by jonmc at 7:41 AM on December 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


white people know where we stand with our urban youth

Is Urban Youth code for Black people? Is so, you should just say black people. (The faux politeness doesn't make the rest of what you have to say any less offensive.)
posted by chunking express at 7:42 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


white people know where we stand with our urban youth
So where exactly do you stand with them? Be specific.
posted by RussHy at 7:43 AM on December 19, 2008


Did you see what they did to the Superdome?

Yes, it's really awful what the rich and the powerful did to the Superdome by abandoning poor folks without transportation and calling a sports arena an emergency shelter, without providing adequate staffing or supplies.

That is what you meant, right?
posted by hydropsyche at 7:44 AM on December 19, 2008 [38 favorites]


o.k. did you see what the "blacks" did to the superdome?

Yes, and it's just shameful.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:45 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


white people know where we stand with our urban youth

Um, are you from Algiers Point?
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:01 AM on December 19, 2008


I don't know if I'm expressing myself well, but this story sums up to me everything that has gone wrong in the white community and with white culture.

Silly rabbit, there's no such thing as "white community" or "white culture". This reminds of this story.
posted by MikeMc at 8:04 AM on December 19, 2008


God, every day I live I curse the whiteness of my privileged skin. I carry it as a Scarlet letter, as a mark of shame. I castrate myself upon the noble non-white races and their cultures of peace, understanding, and brotherly love. In this country, in 2008, there are how many black quarterbacks in the NFL? How many black professors did you have in college? And tell me white man, how many nonwhites did your sister date? To me, I look at the races of man like the breeds of the domesticated dog. Only when the daschunds and the Golden Retrievers stand side by side, only when the poodles and the German shepard can make love free of shame, only when all managerial and prestige-occupations are 50% bulldog and 50% Airedale terrier, standing side by side, embraced in the nobility and strife of the spirit of all mankind, can we rest on our racial laurels. Until that day comes my friend, and all the world is but one race -- the hardy mestizo -- may we rest.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 8:05 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


This strikes me in an odd way. My parents home was destroyed by a flood along with several hundred other people in a rural area. Devastation on a micro-scale in a poor area of the northern most area of Appalachia. I was in Chicago at the time and left for a month to go back and help sort things out. When I arrived, there was a "check-point" set up to the neighborhood by a couple of highly agitated and armed locals in front of a spray painted sign saying, "Unless you've come to help, KEEP OUT!" I remember being so relieved when the National Guard finally got set up because these people made me afraid (I didn't really grow up there). I look back on that remembering the shock and fear associated with disaster and aftermath changes people, and not always in good/justifiable ways. I would no sooner turn my back on them than I would a drug.
posted by mrmojoflying at 8:05 AM on December 19, 2008


I kind of agree with this "this is terrible and horrific, but it's not technically lynching" thing. It doesn't make it any better - just different.

I think if you wanted to be specific, classic lynching is a very community-oriented action - that it is not only sanctioned by a community, but takes place in a semi-public or public way. People take photos, there are crowds to witness. There is a kind of horrific theatre to it (up to and including torture and mutilations).

It might make sense (in understanding the mechanism and social function of the crime) to separate this from more general vigilanti violence like this, which has definitely been called lynching, but isn't the same as what a lot of people talk about as "a lynch mob".
posted by jb at 8:07 AM on December 19, 2008



Strongly disagreed. White culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine." Trying to make petty distinctions across regional boundaries doesn't change that.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:14 AM on December 19


Let me explain to you why this is completely retarded.

First, as languagehat noted, there is no monolithic white culture. American history is frought with examples of whites being racists and bigoted against other whites.

Second, many whites in this country are descended from people who can here less than three generations ago with nothing. They fled from their home countries as refugees from war or famine or both, and they came here to survive. Not "get theirs."

This is not a story about whites lynching blacks, just like the arrest of a black drug dealer is not a story about blacks selling dope to whites. This is a story about some jackass hayseeds with more ammo than brains.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:10 AM on December 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


I kind of agree with this "this is terrible and horrific, but it's not technically lynching" thing. It doesn't make it any better - just different.

I always associate lynching specifically with hanging as that seems to have been the preferred method of murder "back in the day" so it tends to strike me as wrong when the term is used to refer to something else.
posted by MikeMc at 8:14 AM on December 19, 2008


I think Frank Zappa said it pretty well: "I'm not black, but there's a whole lotta times I wish I could say I'm not white."

Don't Call Me White

White culture sucks, black culture sucks, you suck.

In NYC I would hear about this being exacerbated in Queens specifically because is the only decent-sized county in the country where the Black people are actually richer than the White people. And that sure does piss off some of the White people.

Is Urban Youth code for Black people?

It also includes Hispanics who are dark skinned and scary as well.

as I walked through the Queensbridge projects (one of the roughest in the city)

I walked through Queensbridge (well, alongside it) every day one summer. In high school I had to wait a couple hours for a public bus after school and sometimes we'd go to this upclass mall for rich shits (to sit around the fountain or read all the books in the bookstore.) Only in the latter did anyone ever try to mug me, not that I let them.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:16 AM on December 19, 2008


Is Urban Youth code for Black people?

It also includes Hispanics who are dark skinned and scary as well.


Don't forget the Juggalos.
posted by MikeMc at 8:19 AM on December 19, 2008


This is a story about some jackass hayseeds with more ammo than brains.

Yes, you could transplant the basics of this story to white catholics hating white protestants or some such, but in this specific story, race THE factor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:19 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I know it's been linked to but: the Superdome? You mean, that building designated a shelter but without functional plumbing or enough food or water, without help from outside, without hope, where old people died in their wheelchairs and weeping mothers pleaded with camerapeople for milk for their starving infants while Bush, FEMA, and the LA. govt did nothing but watch them suffer? THAT Superdome?

I have no words for your heartlessness or your ignorance. Well, none that I can type at work anyway.
posted by emjaybee at 8:20 AM on December 19, 2008 [18 favorites]


I kind of agree with this "this is terrible and horrific, but it's not technically lynching" thing.

no, i guess it doesn't count unless you make sure you're lynched by accredited professionals and have your dead ass stamped "lynched" by the ISO 0666 inspector

what. the. fuck.
posted by pyramid termite at 8:20 AM on December 19, 2008 [11 favorites]


This is a story about some jackass hayseeds with more ammo than brains.

Yes, you could transplant the basics of this story to white catholics hating white protestants or some such, but in this specific story, race THE factor.


I'm thinking you're right. I don't believe for a second that any white people from outside the neighborhood would have been shot as potential looters for wandering around Algiers Point.
posted by MikeMc at 8:23 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is not a story about whites lynching blacks

No of course not how could I have been so stu

"Fellow militia member Wayne Janak, 60, a carpenter and contractor, is more forthcoming with me. "Three people got shot in just one day!" he tells me, laughing. We're sitting in his home, a boxy beige-and-pink structure on a corner about five blocks from Daigle's Grocery. "Three of them got hit right here in this intersection with a riot gun," he says, motioning toward the streets outside his home. Janak tells me he assumed the shooting victims, who were African-American, were looters because they were carrying sneakers and baseball caps with them. He guessed that the property had been stolen from a nearby shopping mall. According to Janak, a neighbor "unloaded a riot gun"--a shotgun--"on them. We chased them down."

Janak, who was carrying a pistol, says he grabbed one of the suspected looters and considered killing him, but decided to be merciful. "I rolled him over in the grass and saw that he'd been hit in the back with the riot gun," he tells me. "I thought that was good enough. I said, 'Go back to your neighborhood so people will know Algiers Point is not a place you go for a vacation. We're not doing tours right now.'"

He's equally blunt in Welcome to New Orleans, an hourlong documentary produced by the Danish video team, who captured Janak, beer in hand, gloating about hunting humans. Surrounded by a crowd of sunburned white Algiers Point locals at a barbeque held not long after the hurricane, he smiles and tells the camera, "It was great! It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it." A native of Chicago, Janak also boasts of becoming a true Southerner, saying, "I am no longer a Yankee. I earned my wings." A white woman standing next to him adds, "He understands the N-word now." In this neighborhood, she continues, "we take care of our own." "

posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:28 AM on December 19, 2008 [14 favorites]


It is truly ironic that asshole bigots will contend that they need to protect them and theirs from "scary people" that look like me and my family with deadly force, because we are dangerous. Meanwhile, they are the ones killing us. We are dangerous? We were not the ones in the article banding together and murdering folks. Pot, meet kettle.
posted by anansi at 8:30 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


white people know where we stand with our urban youth.

Behind them with a shotgun?
posted by Operation Afterglow at 8:30 AM on December 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


It was a weird time to be in the city. But not so weird that we were all stringing barbed wire around the house and standing guard paranoid and armed. Relax, winks. You're making us white folks who also happen to be urban youth look insane.
posted by gordie at 8:32 AM on December 19, 2008


I look back on that remembering the shock and fear associated with disaster and aftermath changes people, and not always in good/justifiable ways.

It is possible that these people are thinking 'what would I do in their place?', and being paranoid, greedy and/or psychotic they conclude that they are under dire threat of being attacked.

Expecting the worst in others, as you would in yourself.
posted by asok at 8:33 AM on December 19, 2008


In this country, in 2008, there are how many black quarterbacks in the NFL?

Let's see: JaMarcus Russell (Raiders), Jason Campbell (Redskins), Tarvaris Jackson (Vikings), David Garrard (Jaguars), Seneca Wallace (Seahawks), and Donovan McNabb (Eagles). Six black quarterbacks, 32 teams, 18.75%.

According to the 2000 United States Census, black people make up 12.3% of the population.

MetaFilter: some jackass hayseeds with more ammo than brains.

posted by kirkaracha at 8:36 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Silly rabbit, there's no such thing as "white community" or "white culture".

There is in the south. It's not a monolith or homogeneous, but it's still there. Which racial category you fall in dictates very specifically how people treat you. It's not just the south, but things are more visibly and strongly polarized there along racial lines. It might be kind of weird to wrap your brain around if it's not a place you've spent a lot of time in, and it might seem glib, but it's true. It's how there can still be so many misconceptions about other racial groups there. Race is the strongest element around which social groups organize there. In high school I had black friends who had really weird misconceptions about white people, and white friends who had equally strange incorrect assumptions about black people. Scratch the surface just a bit, and you'll find a lot of deep-seated fears.

I don't know New Orleans, but I know Memphis. Race dominates things, and it's a strict white/black dichotomy. There's fear and resentment on both sides, and a lot of misconceptions. But the fears of whites are particularly fueled by urban crime rates and a parade of dark faces displayed over gruesome violent crime stories every night on the evening news. I think local news there does a real disservice to the public in that respect. So you see the fear was already there, built up over time. Think of it as fault lines. My impression is that most large southern cities already have these racial fault lines, and all it takes is some exterior stress to crack them open way more than they usually are. In this case it was the worst case scenario, short of a military invasion (and maybe not even): a natural disaster that kills many, floods entire neighborhoods, strips away any sense of safety and security, and makes vital resources scarce. Black people are looting stores. TO SURVIVE, but as a freaked out white person, that's not the part that registers. There are black people looting! Violence is surely next, because this is a desperate situation and those are black people over there. Best be armed.

That's how seemingly normal people can commit horrible acts against their neighbors. It's how they can quickly feel a need to "defend" themselves against a displaced back family. Because all the seeds of fearing black people have been sown in your brain your whole life, and the world is suddenly as dangerous and violent as you'd always feared it might be.

I'm not justifying or condoning it any more than I would justify or condone any other paranoid act of violence. Just trying to put you in that context, if I can. That's the real evil of racism in this country. Fear. Mistrust. Assumptions. It's how a few right-wing pundits could predict mass riots upon Obama's elections and be dismissed as ridiculous by many of us but not by a lot of their viewers.

jonmc, I think New York is different because it's so diverse, has such a long history of immigrants, and doesn't have the same local history as cities like New Orleans. Racial tension's a very big part of Memphis, anyway. It permeates everything there. I haven't had that impression about New York. It's one element there from what I've noticed but not the elephant in every room.
posted by Tehanu at 8:38 AM on December 19, 2008 [11 favorites]


jonmc, I think New York is different because it's so diverse, has such a long history of immigrants, and doesn't have the same local history as cities like New Orleans. Racial tension's a very big part of Memphis, anyway. It permeates everything there. I haven't had that impression about New York.

There's plenty of racial, ethnic and class tension here. and some ugly incidents. and that history of immigration has been difficult and complicated from the beginning. It's no Utopia up here, if anything, because of the huge diversity, it's even more complicated and aggravated by economic isues as well. I'm not saying that diverse populations can't and don't get along fine a lot of the time up here, (as I'm sure they do elsewhere, too, to be fair), just saying that this is not utopia.
posted by jonmc at 8:45 AM on December 19, 2008


my white cousin has a house on Algiers Point. She left and went to Houston during the storm, leaving a nephew to watch over the house. Then when she thought it was safe to return, she found out the crazy ass white vigilantees were carring machine guns, she decided to stay right where she was in Houston, the nephew took off too....I think she is still there to this day. Not everyone agrees with what was happening there at that time.
posted by brneyedgrl at 8:48 AM on December 19, 2008


I just want to say that A.C. Thompson has done a hell of a job with this, and when people crab on about reporters, I wish they'd think more about people like Thompson and less about the shills in the press corps.
posted by Shepherd at 8:51 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


[a few comments removed - MeFi is not your scream therapy]
posted by jessamyn at 8:53 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


In high school I had black friends who had really weird misconceptions about white people, and white friends who had equally strange incorrect assumptions about black people.

This was my experience as well. In Boston.
posted by rtha at 8:54 AM on December 19, 2008


1.) (this is my first post ever - be gentle)

2.) There is no pan-region "White" or "black" culture. It is contingent on where you are and who you associate with. Always. There are different attitudes associated with different parts of the country, but I lived in Texas for several years, and found myself a part of a music/art scene that was quite a bit more integrated than I had experienced living in places like Detroit and New York. This is not a situation where ignorant cockblasters decided to pick up guns and start shooting people, because they were scared, and had no other outlet for their fear and desperation at being trapped in their ruined city.

3.) New York is not nearly as integrated and understanding as Jonmc claims, nor is Queensbridge any longer the rough and tumble neighborhood of Illmatic and MC Shan. Neighborhoods are characterized by the culture that inhabits them - (Carribean/Jamaicans in Crown Heights, Chinese in Flushing, Indian in Woodside, Hasids in South Williamsburg and so on) ... Typically, in these neighborhoods, there's just a lack of interaction. That was the case when I lived in Bed Stuy for two years. Were it not for the fact that i was part of the block association, I would not have known any of my neighbors. I don't feel as though racial tension permeates here like it does in Memphis, according to Tehanu, there is definitely a "separate but equal" situation going on in this city, with a few notable exceptions here and there.
posted by orville sash at 9:00 AM on December 19, 2008


White Culture, hah hah hah.


Winks007,

You ever been to the Desire Projects? I used to work in NO and part of my job took me into them almost every day for months. They make projects in New York look like luxury condos, no word of a lie. There were times when I'd be at a stop light and people would come up to me and say "You a cop?" (I'm a beefy dude who had a short haircut at the time). I'd say "no I'm not." and they'd say "Well you shouldn't really be hanging around here then." I'd say "Ok, thanks for the advice." In my time in New Orleans I saw more permutations of racial weirdness than I thought could be possible, went to barbeques in the projects where I was welcomed like family, was shot at by a couple of black teenagers who were jaywalking across a highway that I honked at because I had to swerve around them doing 50, listened to rich white hip people in the Garden district pal around with black people and them call them niggers out of earshot.

Race and class and poverty are deep issues with complex causes and solutions. People like you who say "look what they did to the Superdome" as if that is some kind of explanation for your own fear and culpability and inability to widen your understanding of how the world works or could work. Those people trapped in the Superdome, some of whom I personally know and love, they got out of there, some of them fucked in the head for life, but they got out by hook or by crook and they did their best to take care of each other, white or black or whatever else. Whatever it is that you're trapped in I expect might be harder to escape. I wish you luck.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:01 AM on December 19, 2008 [40 favorites]


A nationally recognized historic area, Algiers Point is largely white, while the rest of Algiers is predominantly black. It's a "white enclave" whose residents have "a kind of siege mentality."

Algiers point? Seriously? If this is really "a story about some jackass hayseeds with more ammo than brains," then I suppose the other battle of Algiers could be described in the same way?

It's fine to say that white culture is blameless here, because it doesn't exist; however I'm skeptical.

Just yesterday for example, I put up a post on Metafilter about a proposal to great a directly elected assembly at the UN. The post didn't draw many comments, but the general sense was a laconic dismissal of the proposal. For example: "Pshaw. The Western world sure as hell does not want China and India to gain equal representation in our global affairs. They outnumber us by a lot and are significantly poorer."

The fact is that this siege mentality of "Algiers Point" is typical not only of White culture, but of Western culture more broadly, and the violence described in this article is just a tiny specimen of the violence meted out daily by defenders of a global political status quo that continues to benefit white people more than any other group.

If this lynching bothers you, but you're cheerfully untroubled by the the price of underwear at Target or the odd absence of international stories on the American nightly news, then you've got some more thinking to do.
posted by washburn at 9:02 AM on December 19, 2008 [14 favorites]


Also make sure to check out the second article, Body of Evidence, the YouTube video and the petition calling for an investigation. (via Pinko Magazine)
posted by VulcanMike at 9:04 AM on December 19, 2008


New York is not nearly as integrated and understanding as Jonmc claims,

*cough*

(read my comments before you tell me what I'm claiming, sir)
posted by jonmc at 9:04 AM on December 19, 2008


Perhaps Dmitry Orlov was right, and social collapse in America would be followed by ethnic cleansing and roving gangs.
posted by acb at 9:06 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Correct link for petition calling for an investigation. Evil new Facebook link banner is evil.
posted by VulcanMike at 9:06 AM on December 19, 2008


While the lack of international stories on the news bothers me, I'm cheerfully untroubled by the the price of underwear at Target - what gives?
posted by cashman at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2008


There is in the south. It's not a monolith or homogeneous, but it's still there. Which racial category you fall in dictates very specifically how people treat you.

No, that's just it, there is not. I think you are missing the point. You even disprove that idea in your second sentence, if it is not monolithic and homogenous then there is no honest way to point to someone and say, "he is white, he is like this." Not all white people are the same, not within Memphis, not within New Orleans, not within New York city, not within Algiers Point. Suggesting otherwise is the very definition of racisim even if you are yourself white. It is certainly true that people hold racist ideas about all white people or all black people or some white people or some X people, but that does not mean that those concepts are accurate or true in any way shape or form.

People are racist. People make decisions based on race. That much is very true, but it doesn't make racist ideas accurate or honest or the myth of a "white culture" real.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


*cough*

(read my comments before you tell me what I'm claiming, sir)


Sorry, jonmc, you dropped that comment while I was still editing mine. Duly noted.
posted by orville sash at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2008


No problem, not accusing you of anything, just didn't want any misunderstandings. welcome aboard, fellow Astorian! I'd offer to buy you a beer at the Remote, but I'm grounded with a broken foot at the moment.
posted by jonmc at 9:13 AM on December 19, 2008


winks007, you've made your position clear in a previous thread and my position hasn't changed since then.

i still won't go over to the west bank (where algiers is). if i could help it, i wouldn't go to metairie, either, where they, like the west bank, also had cops--not vigilante citizens, but parish deputies--'defending the borders.' i wasn't back in new orleans until october 8, 2005. it was a scary, scary place to be at times, but not once did i feel the need to buy a weapon for defense. god knows, there's plenty to be ashamed of in the big easy; i wasn't about to add to the list.
posted by msconduct at 9:18 AM on December 19, 2008


winks007, you've made your position clear in a previous thread

good lord
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:28 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


While the lack of international stories on the news bothers me, I'm cheerfully untroubled by the the price of underwear at Target - what gives?

Your cheap underwear is provided by the abject misery of other people and the destruction of the environment.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:33 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Random lynchings and vigilante justice can never be excused away, but I can see where the mentality that leads to it can come from.

My neighborhood had very little damage, but lost power for 11 days after Hurricane Ike. My street is four blocks from the start of what could be considered a "bad part of town", and numerous thefts (mostly generators) were reported around us in the days immediately after the storm. We had intermittent city power and a generator, so I had satellite TV, DSL internet, a refrigerator, and fans. Just no AC.

Most nights were spent sitting around a card table and camp lantern set up in a neighbor's driveway, BSing and just hanging out with the people who lived around us. At least three of us were openly carrying holstered firearms (which is legal on privately owned property). Whenever a car that we didn't recognize drove down the street a little too slowly for our tastes (as if they were casing out houses for robberies), they got lit up with a couple of high powered flashlights. More than once the car hit the gas and sped away when the occupants realized they were being watched.

I know we were all a little bit twitchy, tired, and scared. There certainly wasn't any "organized militia", just armed homeowners making sure our families and property remained safe.

I can only imagine how bad it was in other parts of town, the Galveston area, or New Orleans after Katrina - but there's no excuse for racism or murder.
posted by mrbill at 9:37 AM on December 19, 2008


First, as languagehat noted, there is no monolithic white culture.

Of course there's no "white culture." There are also no actual "white people," yet here we are talking about them as if they exist.

Racism is also patently absurd on its face, since as we just acknowledged, there are no "races" other than the human race. Yet people act on racist beliefs, making it real, whether we like it or not.

And up to this point in civilized history, there has just about always been a dominant class, or dominant classes. There has been nothing intrinsically superior about them as people, yet there they've been, and there they are. And in North America/Europe so far, they have been predominantly people predominantly believed to be "white."

"White culture" is a damned clumsy phrase, maybe even just about to the point of uselessness, and ignores or at least obscures the matter of class. But to dismiss it so vehemently and reflexively is dismissing a whole hell of a lot more than semantics. This isn't a simple issue.
posted by regicide is good for you at 9:38 AM on December 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


Anecdote, after anecdote. This is shabby reporting. People who know someone, drunken crackers claiming to know things that happened but never actually witnessed. A shooting victim's assailant is described as a "civilian gunman"- the article supposes that we will assume the skin color of course. It seems that the article has no evidence directly linking any other shootings during the flood to vigilante / mob behavior other than the first situation described. The doctor relates information of other shootings - "as many as 11 some who may have died" but no evidence of their skin color / or who they were. In a time of absolute chaos, to criticize the record keeping of the coroners office seems a stretch also.

Much like Brandonblatcher's link the chaos led to gross exaggerations based on hearsay and rumor. This article is too little too late and does no good as an investigative piece to discover information or evidence that it alleges happened.
posted by pianomover at 9:42 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


divinewino, I used to swim in the pools at The St. Thomas Housing Project when I was 6 or7 years old. At age 13, I had a black friend turn his back on me at a cruicial moment and that was when I learned who I could rely on in a bad situation. Although I'm armed and well trained now, I wasn't one of the shooters. Not was anyone I know. I don't condone shooting anyone either.

msconduct, why wouldn't you go to those locations?

While you are certainly free to feel how you wish. I guess I took the wrong approach when the point I was trying to make is...in a emergency situation, you have to do what you think is right, not what you THINK is well accepted by society. Chastise me if it makes you feel better. It's o.k., really.

Mrbill, did what he had to do and would have done even more had the sitation escalated to the point of having to defend himself or his neighbors.
posted by winks007 at 9:43 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


White culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine."

What's that phrase about ladies doth'ing too much?
posted by jsonic at 9:47 AM on December 19, 2008


Your cheap underwear is provided by the abject misery of other people and the destruction of the environment.

No wonder they feel so scratchy.
posted by MikeMc at 9:47 AM on December 19, 2008


At age 13, I had a black friend turn his back on me at a cruicial moment and that was when I learned who I could rely on in a bad situation.

You learned that you could not rely on black people or that one dude?
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:53 AM on December 19, 2008 [18 favorites]


Maybe some perspective is needed. Did you see what they did to the Superdome?

White culture as a whole can be summarized as "fuck you, got mine."

As an outsider, I can never figure out how Americans can assign culture and behaviour according to skin colour. It's just bizarre. Hopefully eight years of Obama will help change things.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:55 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


And, Jesus Christ, winks007, either you are trolling this thread or your are in fact a ghoul.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:56 AM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]



While you are certainly free to feel how you wish.


Well, I think that the consensus is that you are a scary, potentially violent bigot.
posted by anansi at 10:00 AM on December 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


Your cheap underwear is provided by the abject misery of other people and the destruction of the environment.

Do you know the people that made his underwear? Have you asked them how they like working in the underwear factory? Have you asked them what made them move from their small farming village to the Pearl River delta to work in the underwear factory and if it was the right decision? Your assumptions seem like a stretch at best.

i still won't go over to the west bank (where algiers is). if i could help it, i wouldn't go to metairie, either

How is your position any different than winks007's decision to avoid town?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:04 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm neither scary, or violent thank you very much.
posted by winks007 at 10:07 AM on December 19, 2008


At age 13, I had a black friend turn his back on me at a cruicial moment and that was when I learned who I could rely on in a bad situation.

Use your words. Are you saying that because a black friend didn't stand up for you when you were 13 you no longer trust any black people?
posted by rtha at 10:08 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think the only solution is to break up the enclave. Use immanent domain, buy the historic homes up, and pay for the the racist slime to move someplace else. Iowa maybe [1], or some other place they don't have to see the black people they so hate on a daily basis. Ban them from owning weapons, they've proven themselves to be incapable of using them responsibly. And, of course, a scrupulously fair trial resulting in life sentences for all the evil fuckers involved.

Obviously the place is a petulant cancer and needs to be eliminated.

What I'd *LIKE* to see is the entire place burned to the ground while the racist fucktards watch. But that would be counterproductive, as well as just a mirror of the same mob violence evil they did. Unlike them I am capable of suppressing my base urges and recognizing that what would feel good (the look on their evil faces as they watch their homes and possessions go up in flames) is not what we should do.

Oh, and winks007, your armed macho posturing aggressive bullshit is pure evil and I wish you ill in all your endeavors. You are a disgrace to the human species. If you are so frightened of black people, why don't you stop threatening people with guns and move to a place where you'll feel a bit less pants wettingly terrified? Your posting history on various topics is, to me, very good evidence for the position that your neighborhood is a petulant cancer. I sincerely hope that you do not have children, it would be terrible to see any innocent victims imprinted with your sick memes.

[1] No offense to Iowans implied, it was just the first place with an almost non-existent black population that popped into my head.
posted by sotonohito at 10:10 AM on December 19, 2008


Hidden Race War

Uhh.. apparently not so hidden, reading these comments. Ugh.
posted by giraffe at 10:14 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


If this lynching bothers you, but you're cheerfully untroubled by the the price of underwear at Target or the odd absence of international stories on the American nightly news, then you've got some more thinking to do.

Equating Chinese factory conditions with racist vigilante murder is pretty distasteful. I'm sorry people bagged on your United Nations post, but this just isn't the same fucking thing.
posted by electroboy at 10:15 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm neither scary, or violent thank you very much.

So then, this is all just a bit of internet posing for you, huh? Don't start backpedaling now. Either you are willing to "do what you have to" to "those people" or you are not.

Your posts in this thread have been redolent of racism, fear and potential violence. Your post in another thread that was linked to in this thread just exacerbates the stench.

Are you trying to say that you have been in some way misunderstood or mischaracterized? Or are you just trolling?
posted by anansi at 10:15 AM on December 19, 2008


winks007, I tried to be patient with you and maybe let you see what you were doing here, but if this is what you're all about, take my name off your user page please. I'd rather not be connected to this.
posted by jonmc at 10:19 AM on December 19, 2008


I think the only solution is to break up the enclave.

You know who else liked to relocate "undesirables"?
posted by MikeMc at 10:20 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


anansi - Doing what I have to do doesn't make me violent or scary, just cautious and prepared.
(you sound like a person who has never had to defend ANYTHING)

My neighborhood is fine, it's the neighborhoods that I grew up in that went to shit. That's the neighborhood that they're referring to.

sotonohito - Where the fuck do you have me threatening people with guns?
And I have awesome kids! You sir, are a major prick!
posted by winks007 at 10:22 AM on December 19, 2008


I'm neither scary, or violent thank you very much.

Well--judging by your comments here, anyway-- you've already well established that you would scare the shit out of me.

..Oh, and btw, I've been to Metairie, LA. --And "They" can have it.
posted by applemeat at 10:24 AM on December 19, 2008


jonmc, it's been changed. Good luck the foot.
posted by winks007 at 10:25 AM on December 19, 2008


*with the foot*
posted by winks007 at 10:26 AM on December 19, 2008


Man, it would nice to sit down a bowl of gumbo, right about now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:26 AM on December 19, 2008


off, winks007. I'd rather people upset with you here who click on your name didn't find that and think I'm on your side here.
posted by jonmc at 10:26 AM on December 19, 2008


Homeowners trying to protect themselves and their property in a situation where the official authorities have fled, why not? Is it just black people they are protecting themselves from? If a group of white thieves came along would they let it go because they are not black?
Some homeowners behave badly, others while armed do not. Pointing flashlights at night at a unfamiliar vehicle is not racist behavior, hell a white person shooting a black person cannot immediately be assumed to be a racist act.
There are some fantastic leaps being made here and in the article from what is being said and what is being inferred.

As I said above this is a shabby article and serves no good. Calm down read it again, where are the facts?
posted by pianomover at 10:27 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


What I've learned from this thread: people with concealed carry licenses are scary and violent and deserve to have their homes taken away.
posted by jsonic at 10:27 AM on December 19, 2008


Hey all,

Can someone explain to me why there is so much resistance to the phrase "white culture"? It seems obvious (to me) that the phrase is intended to mean dominant cultural norms (I honestly don't think that those who are using the phrase intend to include, say, Laplanders).

Since the dominant racial group in the US is white, it is obvious that white culture (ie the cultural norms of American white people) is dominant as well. Since white racism toward black people is a historical reality (and persistent, even in the comments here), why are we even arguing about this?
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 10:30 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


(you sound like a person who has never had to defend ANYTHING)

Actually, growing up black in West Virginia, I had to defend myself from people just like you all the time. I actually grew up with a siege mentality. Everybody around me was "the enemy." I learned to fight (not as a sport, but to protect myself), I learned to use firearms, I learned to be constantly vigilant of my surroundings and I unfortunately learned to distrust those around me. Granted, this is because we really were under siege (cross burnings, violence directed toward me and my family and social excommunication because of the color of my skin). It took me years to work my way past all of that. I gave up my CCP, I am no longer surrounded by weapons, nor do I train to use them (OK, I study kung fu . . . but that's for fun and philosophy. I'm not about to whip out some nunchaku and go all Bruce Lee on someone's ass). I also don't see all white people as potential enemies. If I was able to get passed all of that after a couple of decades of actual persecution and violence directed towards me, then even a jackass like yourself can eventually see the light.
posted by anansi at 10:33 AM on December 19, 2008 [19 favorites]


I still think it's fucked up you can walk around with concealed weapons in the US. What the fuck is up with that?
posted by chunking express at 10:35 AM on December 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


I never in my life felt threatened enough to purchase a handgun, or apply for a permit to carry it concealed on my body, until I left the black, Hispanic, and multi-cultural neighborhoods I grew up in and moved to the rural ancestral homeland of Western Pennsylvania for a spell (where my parents moved after I left home for college). Of course, I shouldn't have so obviously brought the law down on my sister's drug-dealing, dog-kicking, girlfriend-beating boyfriend, but I can tell you with deep certainty that living in a multi-racial tenement in Hollywood proper I never was advised by police to answer the the door with a gun handy. I can also say that any urban confrontation I've ever been involved in from mugging to simple jackassery would have been made infinitely worse if I was armed. But living alone, in the middle of the woods, and death threats appearing on the door, I feared my redneck white brothers.
posted by mrmojoflying at 10:37 AM on December 19, 2008


*Short derail
In all honesty, most people with CCP are law abiding folks. If you are going to commit a crime with a firearm you are not likely to spend the time and money on acquiring a permit.
posted by anansi at 10:37 AM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I still think it's fucked up you can walk around with concealed weapons in the US. What the fuck is up with that?

It's a simple recognition that the police can't be everywhere at once. Violent crime is distributed. Concealed carry allows defense against violent crime to be distributed as well.

It's also the recognition that banning law abiding citizens from carrying a weapon would not stop violent criminals from carrying a weapon. We'd all love to live in a world without violence, but that's not our world at the moment. Until then, concealed carry gives you the ability to defend yourself, if you so choose.
posted by jsonic at 10:41 AM on December 19, 2008


it is obvious that white culture (ie the cultural norms of American white people) is dominant as well.

What are the "cultural norms" of American white people?


I still think it's fucked up you can walk around with concealed weapons in the US. What the fuck is up with that?

It's an American thing, you wouldn't understand. Besides, prohibiting concealed carry (like we do here in Wisconsin) has never stopped a single criminal from carrying. They're criminals, by definition they don't obey the laws.
posted by MikeMc at 10:41 AM on December 19, 2008




jonmc, I never intended to imply that you were "on my side." Please accept my apologies.

jsonic, I don't have a concealed carry permit. I don't need one. And maybe you're big enough to come take my home away. I think your statements make you a bigot too.

applemeat, the opinion of a white JD from Chicago will never fare well with me. I hereby give Chicago permission to keep you as well.

I never really saw this coming. I thought I was chiming in on a topic. Well it's my turn to bring the snacks for my son's middle school Christmas party. Big, scary, voilent me delivering cupcakes (white cupcakes) to all the kids in his class, not just the white kids.


You guys have a great weekend.
posted by winks007 at 10:45 AM on December 19, 2008


Calm down read it again, where are the facts?

Bolded for emphasis:
Seeking to corroborate their stories, I sought out documentary evidence, including police files and autopsy reports. The NOPD, I was told, kept very few records during that period. Orleans Parish coroner Frank Minyard was a different story. The coroner, a flamboyant trumpet-playing doctor who has held the office for more than thirty years, had file cabinets bulging with the autopsies of hundreds of Katrina victims--he just wouldn't let me see them, in defiance of Louisiana public records laws.

Otherwise, there's tons of quotes in that story where the homeowners are quite open about what they did and some has said so on videotape that was aired in 2005. What more do you want?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:47 AM on December 19, 2008


MikeMC,

My bad, I should have linked at the more appropriate place. This is what I mean.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 10:48 AM on December 19, 2008


winks007- jsonic, I don't have a concealed carry permit. I don't need one. And maybe you're big enough to come take my home away. I think your statements make you a bigot too.

I was trying to be over-the-top sarcastic.
posted by jsonic at 10:50 AM on December 19, 2008


winks007: I never really saw this coming.

Because you are too ignorant to realize how racist and paranoid your comments make you seem?
posted by applemeat at 10:52 AM on December 19, 2008


See you wink007. Make sure you have your gun concealed securely under your jacket, just in case.

It's a simple recognition that the police can't be everywhere at once. Violent crime is distributed. Concealed carry allows defense against violent crime to be distributed as well.

In Canada there is gun control (and certainly no CCP), and murder rates are about a tenth of what they are in the US. But, then again, Canada's boring national motto is "peace, order and good government" rather than the somewhat more chaotic "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Some times law and order is a psychological (and cultural) phenomenon.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:52 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]



You guys have a great weekend.


Yeah, don't address anything that I said . . . that seems to fit your "style."



Anyway, good riddance to bad rubbish.
posted by anansi at 10:52 AM on December 19, 2008


electroboy writes: Equating Chinese factory conditions with racist vigilante murder is pretty distasteful. I'm sorry people bagged on your United Nations post, but this just isn't the same fucking thing.

Electroboy, my point is that the price of labor in the "developing world" isn't low purely by accident, and that imperialist economic policy and straightforward violence have long been employed to engineer those cheap-labor conditions. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the violence meted out in this graphic example is only a small representative of that employed by nation-states for similar purposes.

For example, how many of these Louisiana vigilantes do you think supported the war in Iraq? Do you suppose that the neighborhood-defense reasoning that permitted the Algiers Point lynchings was so very different from the national-defense reasoning that licensed American adventurism in Iraq? Why is it that in your mind these instances of localized and globalized racial violence are so "distasteful" to compare?
posted by washburn at 10:57 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


In Canada there is gun control (and certainly no CCP), and murder rates are about a tenth of what they are in the US.

I agree the violence is partially a cultural phenomenon. And for whatever reason, the U.S. has much higher levels of violent crime. Which makes the right to defensive concealed carry all the more worthwhile here. As soon as the U.S.'s violent crime rate falls to the same level as Canada, I'll re-evaluate.
posted by jsonic at 11:00 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Correct link for petition calling for an investigation. Evil new Facebook link banner is evil.

If I recall correctly, there were some medical personnel in NOLA charged and prosecuted for mercy killings of patients who were doomed to die an agonizing death because the power had been shut off and they couldn't be evacuated. But the authorities have declined to prosecute these vigilante bigots? WTF?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:03 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the only solution is to break up the enclave. Use immanent domain, buy the historic homes up, and pay for the the racist slime to move someplace else. Iowa maybe [1], or some other place they don't have to see the black people they so hate on a daily basis. Ban them from owning weapons, they've proven themselves to be incapable of using them responsibly. And, of course, a scrupulously fair trial resulting in life sentences for all the evil fuckers involved.
...
your armed macho posturing aggressive bullshit is pure evil and I wish you ill in all your endeavors. You are a disgrace to the human species.


You advocate ethnic cleansing and then have the gall to claim someone else is "pure evil?" Sweet Jesus, this is horrible.
posted by Snyder at 11:07 AM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Holy shit, what a thread.

It's fine to say that white culture is blameless here, because it doesn't exist; however I'm skeptical... The fact is that this siege mentality of "Algiers Point" is typical not only of White culture, but of Western culture more broadly

"White culture" is a damned clumsy phrase, maybe even just about to the point of uselessness, and ignores or at least obscures the matter of class. But to dismiss it so vehemently and reflexively is dismissing a whole hell of a lot more than semantics.

Can someone explain to me why there is so much resistance to the phrase "white culture"? ... Since the dominant racial group in the US is white, it is obvious that white culture (ie the cultural norms of American white people) is dominant as well.


I find it hard to understand how some people find it so hard to grasp the irony and stupidity of using and defending the phrase "white culture" to show off (presumably) your proud anti-racist credentials. There is no such thing as "white culture" or even "white people," except as exactly the kind of constructed pseudo-identity that causes "white people" to rail against "black people" and talk about what "they're" like. Reverse racism is still racism. We're not going to get anywhere (here on MeFi and as a species) until we learn to get past that groupthink and treat each other as individual human beings, some of whom share some things (skin color, attitudes, whatever). There is no "them."
posted by languagehat at 11:10 AM on December 19, 2008 [18 favorites]


I'm neither scary, or violent thank you very much.

I disagree. Anyone who voluntarily goes someplace they feel they have to carry a firearm for protection is scary and violent. Peaceful people avoid those situations when they can. You are, let's face it, bragging about doing so.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:12 AM on December 19, 2008



We're white in a mostly black suburban area, white people know where we stand with our urban youth.

and where do you stand? are you afraid because you're oppressing your urban youth, preventing them from having a decent education, and therefore ensuring that the cycle of un/underemployment and resorting to crime continues? and you think they might hold you responsible for that? and therefore not like you very much?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:13 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


For example, how many of these Louisiana vigilantes do you think supported the war in Iraq?

You are making assumptions based on your own prejudice, particularly about the race of these people. Also, the war in Iraq is not in a Chinese underwear factory.

Why is it that in your mind these instances of localized and globalized racial violence are so "distasteful" to compare?

The workers in a chinese underwear factory are not shot in the back for being black instead they get paid to sit at a hot sewing machine for 20 hours a day and you want to say that those things are the same? Sure, they are both bad. Sure, you can point out racial implications to farming out our desire for cheap products to some remote "other" but how many people even know that their underwear comes from a Chinese factory? They buy it because it's $1.25 a pair, not because they can stick it to the Chinese. In this article, the white guy stuck it to the black guy specifically because he was black.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:14 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Listening to people like winks007 is like watching someone in a bad marriage. Yes, I can see the chain of events that lead people to think like this, but I am kind of dumbfounded that they don't recognize how their attitudes and actions compound the problem. This is a luxury I am afforded by coming from a relatively peaceful and diverse community. I don't know what I would do if I found myself in the middle of a deeply divided racist society as institutions and social order were falling apart, but then again I believe strongly that institutions and social order are much more robust when we create a more egalitarian society.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:18 AM on December 19, 2008


Languagehat,

I find it hard to understand how some people find it so hard to grasp the irony and stupidity of using and defending the phrase "white culture" to show off (presumably) your proud anti-racist credentials.

First, I never claimed to be anti-racist. I fully believe and accept that I have racist tendencies that I work toward combating. This begins by my accepting the pervasive and destructive presence of racism within my own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Second, as far as this goes, "the kind of constructed pseudo-identity that causes "white people" to rail against "black people" and talk about what "they're" like", it sounds very empty. All identity is constructed, so I'm not sure what you mean.

I will say that this statement, "We're not going to get anywhere...until we learn to get past that groupthink and treat each other as individual human beings" forcefully ignores the present context that people live in (say, an environment that touts law and order while selectively not prosecuting crimes against a minority group).

Why we would want to look beyond the fact that we are different as individuals and as groups (and that those differences should not be discouraged) makes no sense to me.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 11:28 AM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Re: white culture. There is, to my mind, a white culture in so far as there are people who say there's one. What people imagine when they say the words "white culture" is what varies greatly, and I agree that it's an objectively meaningless appellation.

This article is too little too late and does no good as an investigative piece to discover information or evidence that it alleges happened.

Investigative journalism, especially when investigating a violent incident that took place in an area where there was little or no outside observation (think the Balkan Wars, for example), is going to gather anecdotal information to build a picture of what happened. So your complaint that this was "anecdote after anecdote" is actually the way it's supposed to be done. Furthermore, some of these "anecdotes" are pretty damning admissions. There's also a good amount of cross-referencing with regards to verifiable information. As a result of it, I'd venture to say this Janak person and others stand a real chance of facing charges. I don't think this is "too little, too late". It should have happened much sooner but it's far from too late.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:29 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


If I recall correctly, there were some medical personnel in NOLA charged and prosecuted for mercy killings of patients who were doomed to die an agonizing death because the power had been shut off and they couldn't be evacuated. But the authorities have declined to prosecute these vigilante bigots? WTF?


No, charges were dropped.
posted by govtdrone at 11:32 AM on December 19, 2008


As an outsider, I can never figure out how Americans can assign culture and behaviour according to skin colour. It's just bizarre.

Baby, I'm on the inside, and I don't get it either.
posted by davejay at 11:37 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the only solution is to break up the enclave. Use immanent domain, buy the historic homes up, and pay for the the racist slime to move someplace else.

It's "eminent domain," and you can't use it just 'cause you don't like someone.
posted by desjardins at 11:38 AM on December 19, 2008


I find it hard to understand how some people find it so hard to grasp the irony and stupidity of using and defending the phrase "white culture" to show off (presumably) your proud anti-racist credentials.

I agree and disagree. Let me explain. These monolithic terms and groupings are a part of the problem. They do help to divide us. However, we have yet to come up with terms that are universally used to express the situations and nuances that these terms propose to define. There are differences in the way that the gestalt white community and the gestalt black community perceive and react to things. These are part and parcel of different historical experiences and perceptions. Now both white and black communities differ greatly as they are subdivided by region, ethnicity, social class, etc. The only way to adequately address this is to be very specific about whom and what we are talking about, but that is often difficult and clunky. Most folks resort to quick generalizations which are seen as useful.

Additionally, most of this stuff is filtered through the lens of perception. Perception is often misinformed, wrong and even ugly. Although race as a purely biological construct does not exist, as a social and historical construct it is very real. We cannot ignore that reality. The same thing goes for white culture and black culture. Yeah, these are very problematic terms, but American society buys into these concepts, therefore they are granted a ort of pseudo-reality. They still must be dealt with because their perceived reality affects us as much as if they were hard and fast scientific categories.
posted by anansi at 11:39 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why we would want to look beyond the fact that we are different as individuals and as groups (and that those differences should not be discouraged) makes no sense to me.

Because the very existence of the groups, to a great extent, and any importance or unimportance of the groups are arbitrary. So the group of people with dark skin, nappy hair, etc. is for some reason extremely important to divide from the group of people with light skin, straight or curly hair, etc. and thus pit them against each other but the group of people who can roll their tongue is not divided from the group of people who cannot roll their tongue or the group of people who are over 5'8" is not divided from the group of people who are under 5'8".
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:40 AM on December 19, 2008


it is obvious that white culture (ie the cultural norms of American white people) is dominant as well.

What are the "cultural norms" of American white people?


There's a site that will answer all your questions.

(Sorry, I don't normally endorse the glibly humorous SWPL, but this thread in itself has made for grim reading.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:44 AM on December 19, 2008


Because the very existence of the groups, to a great extent, and any importance or unimportance of the groups are arbitrary.

That sounds like something a right-hander would say!
posted by desjardins at 11:46 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


As an outsider, I can never figure out how Americans can assign culture and behaviour according to skin colour.

Yeah, 'cause they never do that outside of America. What?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


That article uses the word "militia" again and again to refer to the white lynchmob. "Militia" is a nice, sanitary, organized, civilized, official-sounding word, isn't it? Imagine if the races in the story were reversed. A loosely-organized group of tattooed black men riding around in pickup trucks, shooting innocent white men unprovoked, and leaving those white fathers, husbands, and sons to bleed to death and rot in the street. Would those hypothetical black murderers be called a "militia"? Hell no. They'd be called thugs, or a gang. And they'd deserve it. The Algiers Point shooters are a murdering, lynching lowlife gang of filthy thugs. Notice how black people who are observed to carry sneakers through the street are assumed to be "looters", while these white men who brag that they gunned down defenseless black people on suburban streets are "militia". COME ON.

And for some reason, a menacing, glowering black man is the illustration to this story- how is that the right image to accompany this news? Why depict a shooting victim posed in the body language of an agressor? Scowling and with an arm barred across his chest & fist slightly clenched? Why don't we see him looking vulnerable, or sad? He was shot in the throat and left to die while his attackers sped off laughing. Let's see the scar on his neck where that disgusting mob tried to murder him, instead of him scowling down the barrel of the camera as if he's part of the problem.

Please observe that even an article trying to root out horrendous, unprovoked racism, both interpersonal and systemic, does so while using racist language coupled with imagery that makes black people look dangerous. Disgusting.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:51 AM on December 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


Because the very existence of the groups, to a great extent, and any importance or unimportance of the groups are arbitrary. So the group of people with dark skin, nappy hair, etc. is for some reason extremely important to divide from the group of people with light skin, straight or curly hair, etc. and thus pit them against each other but the group of people who can roll their tongue is not divided from the group of people who cannot roll their tongue or the group of people who are over 5'8" is not divided from the group of people who are under 5'8".

Have we already forgotten the lesson of the Sneetches? On a side note I thank the FSM every single day that I'm a part of the right group (The over 5'8" group of course).
posted by MikeMc at 11:51 AM on December 19, 2008


So, winks007 ... (is that Sarah Palin, licensed to kill?)
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 11:52 AM on December 19, 2008


Terrible article. You might start by looking up articles of the guy quoted the most on the first page, compare them to info you find elsewhere. Some investigative work or more interviewing of residents and other authorities should have been undertaken regardless. This is all I will say, except to a) be skeptical, while remaining as open-minded as possible, and b) not react in a "oh this is so typical and it's not like this in Brooklyn" or whatever absurd and unthinking way before knowing more about the story other than what you see here.
posted by raysmj at 11:53 AM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please observe that even an article trying to root out horrendous, unprovoked racism, both interpersonal and systemic, does so while using racist language coupled with imagery that makes black people look dangerous. Disgusting.

When did "militia" come to have sanitary connotations? I always thought the modern usage of the word conjures an image of gun-toting rednecks with Turner Diary fantasies, e.g., the Michigan Militia.

Also, "a menacing, glowering black man"? I don't see it. He looks hurt and pissed off, but the caption seems to make it pretty clear why.

I have a real hard time seeing the "racist language and imagery" of an article that went out of its way to expose a racially motivated mob mentality crime.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:56 AM on December 19, 2008


"And for some reason, a menacing, glowering black man is the illustration to this story..."

He looks like a normal guy to us. We'd venture that he has the right to look a little peevish, what with being shot in the neck and all - but we have pretty much the same expression in rush-hour traffic every morning, so maybe we're not the best judges.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 11:56 AM on December 19, 2008


Investigative journalism, especially when investigating a violent incident that took place in an area where there was little or no outside observation (think the Balkan Wars, for example), is going to gather anecdotal information to build a picture of what happened.

Lance Hill is far from the only 'observer" of racial politics in NOLA. And this is not a far-away place like the Balkans. you can send reporters down to talk to other people, for gosh sakes. They won't bite--or, at least, most of them won't.
posted by raysmj at 11:58 AM on December 19, 2008


Anyone who voluntarily goes someplace they feel they have to carry a firearm for protection is scary and violent. Peaceful people avoid those situations when they can.

If you live in an area with a decent sized population, then violent crimes happen in your area.

That's the case where I live. In my day-to-day life I never see violence, and this area is generally considered very peaceful. But a quick look at the police crime map for my area shows that violent crimes and robberies consistently happen multiple times a week.

It's really just a numbers game. The likelihood of you, personally, being attacked is low. Some people choose to have the ability to defend themselves in the unlikely case they are attacked. This doesn't automatically make them scary or violent.
posted by jsonic at 11:59 AM on December 19, 2008


Most folks resort to quick generalizations which are seen as useful... Although race as a purely biological construct does not exist, as a social and historical construct it is very real. We cannot ignore that reality. The same thing goes for white culture and black culture. Yeah, these are very problematic terms, but American society buys into these concepts, therefore they are granted a ort of pseudo-reality. They still must be dealt with because their perceived reality affects us as much as if they were hard and fast scientific categories.

I completely agree (and let me add that I've found your contributions to this thread among the best), but there's a difference between "dealing with" these concepts—acknowledging that they exist and that people talk as if they were real—and treating them as if we thought they were real. I'm quite capable of discussing heaven and hell with a Christian without telling him "you're stupid and your religion is stupid," but that doesn't mean I believe in them.
posted by languagehat at 11:59 AM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


And this is not a far-away place like the Balkans. you can send reporters down to talk to other people, for gosh sakes.

Thanks, I'm aware of where New Orleans is. But there were very, very few journalists in this area of New Orleans when these incidents occured - except from a helicopter. What the article does is go in and talk to people who were there during this time and try and piece together a picture of what happened. Of course it's not going to be a complete picture, but it does succeed in bringing to light a number of consistencies in what people describe happening, which is a good indication of its truthfulness.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:02 PM on December 19, 2008


Please observe that even an article trying to root out horrendous, unprovoked racism, both interpersonal and systemic

Which article were you looking at? I saw one that was trying to inflate the actions of a gang of lowlife thugs to equate a widescale "race war." I don't see where you are seeing one that is trying to root out racism at all. Using the terms militia and "race war" does imply organization beyond what these thugs were involved in, it implies a grander conspiracy, preparation, and premeditation, not opportunistic racist assholes using the tragedy to justify their shooting of a couple of black guys.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:03 PM on December 19, 2008


And, for the record, predominantly white precincts in New Orleans went for Obama, by and large, even the most historically conservative. This was not true of neighboring suburbs, which went for the GOP more than in 2004, percentage-wise.
posted by raysmj at 12:06 PM on December 19, 2008


... Which makes the right to defensive concealed carry all the more worthwhile here.

Maybe, just maybe, giving everyone and their mom a gun increases incidence of violent crime. Maybe.
posted by chunking express at 12:09 PM on December 19, 2008


Maybe, just maybe, giving everyone and their mom a gun increases incidence of violent crime. Maybe.

Feel free to point out all those concealed carry permit holders who are the source of America's violent crime rates. You've got your cause and effect switched.
posted by jsonic at 12:12 PM on December 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Marisa: Again, he's not the only academic around who studies New Orleans politics or race relations. Yet he's the only person quoted. He always has a particular slant, and for that reason I am always skeptical of anything he has to say. He's also sounded like a Nagin apologist, saying that the mayor was the only leader to stand up against the recommendations of his own Bring New Orleans Back Commission to consider turning some flooded areas (all black, Hill suggests, but Gentilly and Broadmoor--the latter of which got highly organized post-K as a result of the neighborhood feeling threatened--are racially mixed). This is patently false. Members of the City Council had expressed concern and outrage about the plans earlier, the first time while Hizzoner was off in Jamaica on vacation. Hill even seems to suggest that having one tax assessor rather than seven was cutting off black power at the knees, which is bizarre. Nagin's administration hasn't done much of anything for poor black residents.
posted by raysmj at 12:14 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Snyder "Ethnic cleansing" was what the lynchmob tried. I'm simply observing that we have a festering sore of self-reinforcing evil located in Algiers Point. Doesn't it make sense to take the people out of the environment that is obviously not doing them good?

I really don't give a shit where the evil fuckers move, as long as they aren't allowed to resettle anywhere within 10 miles of each other. They obviously have some serious psychological problems WRT black men, so it'd probably be best if they stayed away from areas containing many black men but I'm hardly insisting on that.

I wasn't as clear in my original comment as I should have been.

"Ethnic cleansing" is when you shoot people for being the wrong color/religion/whatever. I'm not proposing that at all. I'm merely proposing that psychopathy racist individuals shouldn't be forming a cancerous knot right next to a group of people they hate with a burning passion.

And, frankly, I really don't give a shit about the delicate sensibilities of members of a lynch mob.
posted by sotonohito at 12:14 PM on December 19, 2008


But, then again, Canada's boring national motto is "peace, order and good government" rather than the somewhat more chaotic "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

And then think about Texas, where the motto is an outright THREAT!!!

kidding!
posted by inigo2 at 12:16 PM on December 19, 2008


Forced relocation is OK when WE do it.
posted by jsonic at 12:16 PM on December 19, 2008


I find it hard to understand how some people find it so hard to grasp the irony and stupidity of using and defending the phrase "white culture" to show off (presumably) your proud anti-racist credentials.

Take a minute and consider the possibility that people who are explaining how they see the world differently than you are perhaps not showing off anything. Anti-racist credentials? I'm not even sure what that means.

There is no such thing as "white culture" or even "white people," except as exactly the kind of constructed pseudo-identity that causes "white people" to rail against "black people" and talk about what "they're" like.

Yes, and most of the people in power are among those "white people." And many of those "white people" in power inhere a lot of concrete reality to those constructed pseudo-identities, because they believe in them. Their belief is currently independent of your opinion on the matter. And so are the social repercussions. Jehova's Witnesses believe there's room in heaven for exactly 144,000 people, with everyone else returning to Earth after Armageddon. That's fucking stupid, but it being fucking stupid doesn't mean they're not going around ringing our doorbells on Saturday mornings. Stupid abstraction = real consequences, when there are enough people making the same ones together. The JWs have a culture. Am I being religiously intolerant to say so?

Reverse racism is still racism.

I'll just chalk up your use of the phrase "reverse racism" to being worked up over an understandably touchy subject, because I know you're usually more careful about language than that.

Anyway, I'm not sure how saying there is a "white culture" is racist, true or not. I don't see much sense in the phrase myself, I'm just saying.
posted by regicide is good for you at 12:20 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


that last comment was intended for languagehat, btw
posted by regicide is good for you at 12:21 PM on December 19, 2008


Maybe, just maybe, giving everyone and their mom a gun increases incidence of violent crime. Maybe.

Or ten times the population density of Canada, large income disparity, a failed drug control policy, poor access to healthcare and a large population of people who were discriminated against by the government for hundreds of years.
posted by electroboy at 12:23 PM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Again, he's not the only academic around who studies New Orleans politics or race relations.

Fair enough. But he's not the only person the journalist talked to with regards to what happened there. I don't see how the entire article can be dismissed because of the academic the journalist spoke to.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:24 PM on December 19, 2008


Wow..."did you see what those people did to the superdome". Congrats wink! You now hold the Most Racist Thing I've Ever Read On Metafilter Cup!

Good lord. What am I gonna do with you, America? Reading this story, at this time, is like watching your brother beat a really bad smack habit, only to find him a month later covered in his own filth in a flophouse with a needle sticking out of his ass.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:24 PM on December 19, 2008


addendum: I meant, converting flooded neighborhoods or parts of them into greenspace or parkland, in the post above.
posted by raysmj at 12:26 PM on December 19, 2008


TheOnlyCoolTim,

Because the very existence of the groups, to a great extent, and any importance or unimportance of the groups are arbitrary

As far as I can tell, the existence of groups is a characteristic of human societies and probably has evolutionary underpinnings. They identifying characteristics of those groups or the reasons that members come to consider themselves part of those groups can be varied.

Because these characteristics are varied does not mean they are meaningless. Because we refuse to accept them does not mean they are not there.

The discussion of white culture reminds me of a line David Foster Wallace's commencement speech...

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 12:28 PM on December 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


my point is that the price of labor in the "developing world" isn't low purely by accident

You don't really have a point. You're taking two completely unrelated things and attempting to connect them without any evidence. Are you saying that the Great Leap Forward was concocted by "The West" to make cheap underwear? It's a nice fantasy, but China's crushing poverty was for the most part, their own doing.
posted by electroboy at 12:29 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Marisa: It sets the tone of the article, suggests that quotes are authoritative. The article goes on to include broad statements of supposed fact like this, which are informed by the tone set earlier:

"Within that community the gunmen enjoyed wide support. In an outtake from the documentary, a group of white Algiers Point residents gathers to celebrate the arrival of military troops sent to police the area. Addressing the crowd, one local praises the vigilantes for holding the neighborhood together until the Army Humvees trundled into town, noting that some of the militia figures are present at the party. "You all know who you are," the man says. "And I'm proud of every one of you all." Cheering and applause erupts from the assembled locals.

This group is representative of the entire neighborhood? What "community" is being talked about? It's either the "militia," whose size is never pinned down, or the entire Algiers Point neighborhood, which would be a highly dubious assertion.
posted by raysmj at 12:37 PM on December 19, 2008


Metafilter: not a pussy community.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 12:40 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


When it comes to the lack of action on the cases, one well-placed NOPD source told me there was plenty of blame to go around. "We had a totally dysfunctional DA's office," he said.

Another example. An anonymous source was needed to report this? Really?
posted by raysmj at 12:42 PM on December 19, 2008


or the entire Algiers Point neighborhood, which would be a highly dubious assertion.

It's the real Algiers Point neighborhood if you know what I mean.
posted by MikeMc at 12:43 PM on December 19, 2008


Metafilter: not a pussy community.

Boyzone?
posted by electroboy at 12:49 PM on December 19, 2008


As far as I can tell, the existence of groups is a characteristic of human societies and probably has evolutionary underpinnings.

Fuck evolutionary underpinnings. Thoughtlessly following those is for the stupid animals and people can do better. Evolution didn't happen with a goal of making people happy. You can argue that rape and violence also have evolutionary underpinnings. Shall we throw up our hands and accept those?

Go to other parts of the world and they have different races based on different bullshit. Races and all these shitty little divisive groupings based on unimportant shit are made up. Let's make up one race and everyone's in it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:51 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


raysmj: I don't think it "sets the tone" of the article, so much as it's supposed to lend academic background to the accounts being decribed. You describe a videotaped interview with Janak and others, and draw from this that it's trying to paint the entire neighborhood with the same brush, but there is a middle area, you know - that there is a group of openly and even proudly racist people in this community who openly and even proudly committed terrible crimes. I understand that as a New Orleans resident you don't want entire communities painted with the same brush, and I'd agree that's an impulse to be vigilant against. But it doesn't discredit what first-hand accounts from victims and perpetrators are describing happened.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:51 PM on December 19, 2008


Algiers Point almost perfectly correlated with Census Tract 1 for Orleans Parish, ending at Opelousas Avenue. According to 2000 data, it had a white population of 1,682 whites and 601 blacks. I don't think the latter classifies as a "handful," although that certainly differs from the pre-Katrina demographics citywide. Unfortunately, I cannot find much info at the block level.
posted by raysmj at 12:57 PM on December 19, 2008




He's not quoted anywhere else in the article. The quotes are of course there to lend background and that's not vastly different from saying it sets a tone. I read an academic account of the Nagn re-election that only cited Douglas Brinkley's mistake-ridden post-K tome (the one with the bit about kudzu being around in the 18th Century, with Mobile being in the Eastern time zone, etc.) to make assertions about Nagin. Why? Backed up their assertion that democracy failed in post-K New Orleans. But Brinkley's book wasn't and shouldn't be considered the final word.

I wouldn't normally think that journalism should be held to as high of a standard as academic work, but given the subject matter here it's inexcusable that other people couldn't have been sought for background commentary.
posted by raysmj at 1:05 PM on December 19, 2008


No, charges were dropped.

Thank random forces sanity prevailed. But still, why go after these good souls and not try to find the racist killers?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:10 PM on December 19, 2008


“You know who else liked to relocate "undesirables"?”

Elliot Ness?
...no, wait.

If there is a white culture, I’m not part of it.

“I really don't give a shit where the evil fuckers move, as long as they aren't allowed to resettle anywhere within 10 miles of each other... I'm merely proposing that psychopathy racist individuals shouldn't be forming a cancerous knot right next to a group of people they hate.”

And how do you propose to enforce such a thing if those evil fuckers don’t want to move?
I think one would wind up shooting in such a scenario. And then it become state mandated relocation. And how does one ID these types of folks? Give them a test? Know ‘em just by sight?

“Janak, who was carrying a pistol, says he grabbed one of the suspected looters and considered killing him, but decided to be merciful. "I rolled him over in the grass and saw that he'd been hit in the back with the riot gun," he tells me. "I thought that was good enough. I said, 'Go back to your neighborhood so people will know Algiers Point is not a place you go for a vacation. We're not doing tours right now.'"”

Man, that guy is bad-ass. I bet it went down that way too. I remember every time I’ve been in a firefight, I’ve always had a tough sounding epigram at the ready. Sounds like he was really being merciful too, because he could have just blown that guy away, being, y’know, all bad-ass and all.

I dunno. I do believe in owning firearms, but - basic human compassion aside - in any ‘defense’ thinking you have to consider what your opponant’s goals are.
If they came into my neighborhood I’d feed ‘em.
Fear is understandable. But succumbing to it and allowing it to dictate your actions is an abdication of your humanity.
(Seen it happen all too easily and often too. Over less than this)
Fear can be an explanation, but not a justification.

Anyway, it’s been my experience that either men in uniforms or people with briefcases are the ones who take your home away. I’d chew up any number of frightened refugees if it came to it, but those other ones are the tricky bastards.

Re: Underwear.
Commando. Yep, free and easy here.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:13 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


the group of people who are over 5'8" is not divided from the group of people who are under 5'8"

The former are called "basketball players."
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:14 PM on December 19, 2008


Feel free to point out all those concealed carry permit holders who are the source of America's violent crime rates.

If only I had enough time to post every article a quick google search would pull up with the search phrase: "shot by police"
posted by Pollomacho at 1:19 PM on December 19, 2008


"shot by police"

ZING! Then you realize that you basically just stated that all police officers are violent criminals.
posted by jsonic at 1:29 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


For example, how many of these Louisiana vigilantes do you think supported the war in Iraq? Do you suppose that the neighborhood-defense reasoning that permitted the Algiers Point lynchings was so very different from the national-defense reasoning that licensed American adventurism in Iraq?

You know, normally I'd be the first guy to agree with your stance on colonial oppression and the sort of mindset that readily acquiesces to it, but I think you've swung your pendulum too far. Specifically:

The fact is that this siege mentality of "Algiers Point" is typical not only of White culture, but of Western culture more broadly, and the violence described in this article is just a tiny specimen of the violence meted out daily by defenders of a global political status quo that continues to benefit white people more than any other group.

I humbly suggest that even the weakest bit of Google Fu would clear up any notions that this kind of mentality is restricted to White or Western culture. Africa and Asia were no strangers to violence, hatred, and xenophobia before the White man arrived, and they certainly aren't Utopias today. Valid points can be made about how the post-colonial West benefits from a state of instability elsewhere in the world, but to specifically connect that "siege mentality" to any one group, of whatever designation, rather than the worst parts of human nature, is hogwash.
posted by Amanojaku at 1:42 PM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was going to chime in with this 'what the hell are you talking about when you say white culture?' think but languagehat basically said what I was going to say. I did look at the site that Hypnotic Chick linked to and it's really just a bunch of extremely broad generalizations, that, to any European are pretty laughable. Some of the 'Other cultures' examples would seem to cover the cultures of many European nations. I could give examples, but I'm too lazy, just think of the cultures of Southern Europe, starting at some indiscernible spot in the English Channel. It's just so amazingly broad as to really not make much sense. That's just one of the problems when people talk about 'white culture'. It seems to really mean the perceived cultural norms a limited group of Fairly-Well-Off Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans and even then that's a very broad generalization.
posted by ob at 1:49 PM on December 19, 2008


The JWs have a culture.

Yes, but "white people" don't. To claim that they do is stupid and racist, I don't care what kind of academic trimmings anyone decks it out with. It is quintessentially human to adopt the methods of the enemy one is fighting, but that doesn't make it right.

Anyway, I'm not sure how saying there is a "white culture" is racist, true or not.

Really? You don't see how claiming all "white" people share a culture, or that a single culture is somehow representative of all white people, is racist?
posted by languagehat at 2:05 PM on December 19, 2008


according to the grapevine from Algiers point, white dudes in the video are the "neighborhood drunks."

but, this being new orleans, i take that with a pinch of salt.
posted by eustatic at 2:10 PM on December 19, 2008


Snyder "Ethnic cleansing" was what the lynchmob tried.

What's your point? You still want to forcibly relocate an entire town because the crimes of a few. You make a distinction between those involved and those who are not, so I can only assume you want to expel people because of their race and the place they live.

I'm simply observing that we have a festering sore of self-reinforcing evil located in Algiers Point. Doesn't it make sense to take the people out of the environment that is obviously not doing them good?

Couching tyranny in bullshit disingenuous "compassionate" language does not make you less of an authoritarian or make what you want less oppressive.

"Ethnic cleansing" is when you shoot people for being the wrong color/religion/whatever.

No, ethnic cleansing also includes the expulsion or imprisonment. Or does that only count with "bad people."

And, frankly, I really don't give a shit about the delicate sensibilities of members of a lynch mob.

More disingenuous crap. Or is the freedom not be punished for the crimes of others of others a delicate sensibility? Should all black people, or all members of the NOI, have their property seized and expelled from San Francisco because of the Zebra Murders?
posted by Snyder at 2:14 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


electroboy writes: Are you saying that the Great Leap Forward was concocted by "The West" to make cheap underwear?

No.

Languagehat writes: There is no such thing as "white culture" or even "white people," except as exactly the kind of constructed pseudo-identity. He later elaborates: there's a difference between "dealing with" these concepts—acknowledging that they exist and that people talk as if they were real—and treating them as if we thought they were real.

I'm not sure how to parse this, but it's hard to avoid seeing a suggestion here that because identity categories are "constructed" they are therefore "not real." This is a strange idea to me. Are there "real" unconstructed identities that we can adopt apart from socialization? What would be a "real" identity category?

As critical race theory would suggest, to discuss these categories (such as "whiteness") is not necessarily to presume they have a tran-historical point of origin, but rather to make possible conversations about privilege and power that are difficult or impossible to have when people refusal to consider situations in terms of racial identity. See the work of David Roediger at my own fine institution, for example.

Still, perhaps in discussions such as this thread, where there are many audiences (including some readers who may be openly racist) the fact that these categories are inventions does bear more frequent repeating, even if the repetition might seem somewhat tedious to many commentators.
posted by washburn at 2:14 PM on December 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


I don't care what kind of academic trimmings anyone decks it out with.

If you're confident in your position, you don't need to accuse others of being "academics" when they disagree.

languagehat I'm trying to be a little more nuanced here. There is a dominant culture/class/rubric of classes/whatever you want to call it within the greater North American culture; it has traditionally been overwhelmingly white. I'm wondering what kind of impact that has had, and continues to have. I'm not making any sweeping statements here, I'm suggesting that though someone may use an inappropriate phrase like "white culture" - one I wouldn't use myself - their motives may still be more intellectually responsible than you're assuming.

Really? You don't see how claiming all "white" people share a culture, or that a single culture is somehow representative of all white people, is racist?

I agree that such a claim - which hasn't been explicitly made here - would be ridiculous, counterproductive and ignorant. I just don't know if it's racism specifically. That word doesn't seem quite right to me. Splitting hairs at this point, I guess.

But I do think maybe there's a distinction to be made between saying "all white people share a culture" (which is stupid) and "there is a dominant culture which attempts to appeal to the abstraction of whiteness."

Anyway, I'm just kind of thinking this one through as I go along. I don't see what harm can come of that. If you're interested in having a fight about it, I respectfully decline.
posted by regicide is good for you at 2:24 PM on December 19, 2008


Fear is understandable. But succumbing to it and allowing it to dictate your actions is an abdication of your humanity.

Well I'd sure rather live in Smedleyman's neck of the woods than winks007's.
posted by rtha at 2:31 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]



Besides death and taxes there is another thing I am certain of. The baser tribal instincts of humanity will still be around long after I am not around.
posted by notreally at 2:34 PM on December 19, 2008


Canada's boring national motto is "peace, order and good government" rather than the somewhat more chaotic "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

I always thought it was A mari usque ad mare (Latin for, From sea [all the way] to sea), but other than that I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment.

I agree the violence is partially a cultural phenomenon. And for whatever reason, the U.S. has much higher levels of violent crime. Which makes the right to defensive concealed carry all the more worthwhile here. As soon as the U.S.'s violent crime rate falls to the same level as Canada, I'll re-evaluate.
posted by jsonic at 2:00 PM on December 19 [+] [!]


But what if the concealed carry is one of the REASONS for the US's violent crime rate? Then it won't ever fall, because everyone is too busy shooting each other in case they might get shot.

You know, like in this link.
posted by jb at 2:48 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Feel free to point out all those concealed carry permit holders who are the source of America's violent crime rates. You've got your cause and effect switched.
posted by jsonic at 3:12 PM on December 19 [2 favorites +] [!]


Or perhaps you do.

or perhaps the whole issue needs more study, because we don't know.

But as for the danger inherent living in any densely populated place - I currently live in a very dense little city, with plenty of crime, and a nice serenade of sirens with the occasional gunshot on the weekend.

And I wander around at night with no weapon, save the occasional over-heavy bag of books. Why? Because it's simply not that dangerous. I am so much more likely to die violently at the hands of someone who didn't look before turning a fast right.
posted by jb at 3:03 PM on December 19, 2008


And how is a gun a magic bullet shield? You can't parry bullets with a gun - at best you can shoot back, as you bleed to death...
posted by jb at 3:04 PM on December 19, 2008


If you are seriously worried about your safety - wear a bullet proof vest.
posted by jb at 3:05 PM on December 19, 2008


everyone is too busy shooting each other in case they might get shot.

You know, like in this link.


Like in this thread.
posted by oaf at 3:09 PM on December 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


If you are seriously worried about your safety - wear a bullet proof vest.

If you're allowed to (there are laws about these things you know).
posted by MikeMc at 3:20 PM on December 19, 2008


But the authorities have declined to prosecute these vigilante bigots? WTF?
Mental Wimp: the TF of your WTF? is that it wasn't just crazed pinheaded citizenry that were totin' guns & shootin' at the boyz from da hood.

Days after Katrina, when evacuees tried to leave New Orleans to reach buses in Jefferson Parish, they were met with armed police from Harry Lee's Jefferson Parish force, who turned them back across the bridge. (anecdotal: a white friend of mine was met with a cocked shotgun when he tried to cross the crescent city connection. i believe the gentleman sighting down the barrel was a member of the gretna police force, which is not under the purview of the jefferson parish sheriff. my friend managed to talk his way across; many others did not.) it wasn't much better in the city, either. Five days after Katrina, the New Orleans police killed two civilians and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge, which connects two predominantly black neighborhoods that were flooded by the storm. when the cops turned themselves in, somewhere around 200 of their peers & supporters applauded as they walked into the courthouse. those charges were eventually thrown out and the cops were cleared.
posted by msconduct at 3:21 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really? You don't see how claiming all "white" people share a culture, or that a single culture is somehow representative of all white people, is racist?

To be sure, such a claim is prejudiced on its face. But racism is more than prejudice; racism is prejudice within the construct of a societal power imbalance (majority v. minority) that permits and fosters actual (as opposed to merely symbolic) consequences against the subject persons of such generalizations and assumptions. Racism is much more than an irrational “dislike” or “mistrust” that blacks may indeed hold against whites (or women against men, or gays against straights, etc...) and vice versa. And I strongly believe—speaking here in the United States in the year 2008—that non-white Americans cannot (..yet) be racist.
posted by applemeat at 3:33 PM on December 19, 2008


Of course there's a white culture. As enthusiastically as you and Frank Zappa try to distance yourself from it, only makes it more clear that it exists. Myself, I see a line connecting New-World Whites to Western Europe, specifically but not limited to Romanized Britain, to the Roman Empire itself--a culture of Manifest Destiny--we know what's best for you, you must embrace our culture, or perish. But really it's about what resources you might have that we can use, we want it, and we'll take it. If you stand in our way you will die.

Any deviation from this line makes you an Atheist, Leftist, Feminist Multiculture Eco-Lesbian sushi-eatin' college professor Evolutionist cat-lover and a traitor to your race. The violence you see in Africa, and in African-American communities, really didn't amount to much until we gave them guns and ammo. Until we devalued and debased them. The rope to hang yourselves, let me give it to you.

Life among the Cajuns, the Indians and Freedmen in the Mississippi River Delta was probably pretty sweet until white folks came along and fucked it up. Turned Mardi Gras into a Las-Vegas-style travel destination. Destroyed it.
posted by Restless Day at 3:42 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


But what if the concealed carry is one of the REASONS for the US's violent crime rate?

Point #1: You don't have to press "Post Comment" after every sentence.

Point #2: People with concealed carry permits are NOT the cause or perpetrators of the U.S.'s violent crime rate. Feel free to offer even the slightest shred of evidence that people with concealed carry permits are the ones guilty of armed robberies, knocking over convenience stores, and murdering people.

Otherwise just admit that you're making shit up since you actually have no argument.

Point #3: Nobody said a gun was a magic shield. But it certainly beats strong language in the unlikely case you actually need it.

Point #4: Feel free not to buy gun. It helps keep the prices down for those of us who do.
posted by jsonic at 3:48 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


But what if the concealed carry is one of the REASONS for the US's violent crime rate?

Florida adopted a right-to-carry law in 1987. Between 1987 and 1996, these changes occurred:

Florida homicide rate: -36% (US homicide rate -0.4%)
Florida firearm homicide rate -37% (US +15%)
Florida handgun homicide rate -41% (US +24%)

Source
posted by desjardins at 3:51 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


OH NO THIS AGAIN

The dictionary word "racism" means prejudice based on race.
The sociological or academic term "racism" means what applemeat said.
To the best of my knowledge most people are working with the former.
Let's try not to get our discourse confused.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:54 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


[CCW] Licensees [in Texas] were 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public - 127 per 100,000 population versus 730 per 100,000. source
posted by desjardins at 3:57 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


And I strongly believe—speaking here in the United States in the year 2008—that non-white Americans cannot (..yet) be racist.

Ah, yes I think we all dream of the day when those of dark skin can finally announce themselves racists!
posted by ob at 3:59 PM on December 19, 2008


Or, on preview what TheOnlyCoolTim said.
posted by ob at 4:01 PM on December 19, 2008


desjardins has taught me that there is no need to argue when posting the facts proves the point.
posted by jsonic at 4:02 PM on December 19, 2008


And I strongly believe—speaking here in the United States in the year 2008—that non-white Americans cannot (..yet) be racist.

True, but some individuals can certainly be assholes based on color. I've been denied service at restaurants in black neighborhoods for no reason other than my fair skin ("get out of here, cracker" made that fairly obvious.) However, that's not systemic racism, that's just jerkiness (and probably teenage stupidity, as it was fast food restaurants).
posted by desjardins at 4:05 PM on December 19, 2008


I agree the violence is partially a cultural phenomenon. And for whatever reason, the U.S. has much higher levels of violent crime.

Really? So you have more stabbings and beatings per capita, or is it just gun crime?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:07 PM on December 19, 2008


Finally, the Brady Campaign, which is an ANTI GUN lobby, even admits that strict CCW laws reduce crime (states with weak CCW laws still saw a reduction, though not as much):

Between 1992 through 1998 (the last six years for which data exists), the violent crime rate in the strict and no-issue states fell 30% while the violent crime rate for states that liberalized carry laws prior to 1992 dropped half as much — by 15%. Nationally, the violent crime rate fell 25%.

/end data geekout, back to doing laundry
posted by desjardins at 4:11 PM on December 19, 2008


Couple of people keep asking for examples of white culture element. Here you go, from my own observations. I grew up in a really mixed neghborhoods and noticed nonwhites praise or use the following MUCH LESS compared to whites:

Thin (size 6 or less) = beautiful.
Straight or straightened hair is professional and simple to maintain
Apple pie
Go hunting or have guns for protection
Baseball (Alledgedly america's sport)
Tevas sandals
Bitch about weight and diets with friends
Tanning salons
Friends, the tv show
Braces on teeth as a teen rite of passage
Binge drinking in the teens and twenties

Many of these are class-related. But yeah, there is a white culture. If you don't think there is, ask yourself why you consider The Simpsons, "white" though their skin is yellow? I like the idea of white studies, black studies,etc b/c it concerns something real, though divisive.

I hope the people who confessed to shootings are investigated. Katrina was a bitch.
posted by Freecola at 4:13 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course there's a white culture. As enthusiastically as you and Frank Zappa try to distance yourself from it, only makes it more clear that it exists.

Zappa? White? According to Wiki Zappa was of Greek/Arab/Italian/French. I think the Arab part disqualifies him from being classified "white" (the French part doesn't help any either). "White" is such a fluid concept isn't it?

we know what's best for you, you must embrace our culture, or perish. But really it's about what resources you might have that we can use, we want it, and we'll take it. If you stand in our way you will die.

These, of course, being strictly European concepts. Prior to the rise of Europe no man ever killed another to gain control of resources that he himself did not have or impose his values on another.

Until we devalued and debased them. The rope to hang yourselves, let me give it to you.

We? Speak for yourself. Not everyone buys into the concept of collective guilt.
posted by MikeMc at 4:21 PM on December 19, 2008


“The violence you see in Africa, and in African-American communities, really didn't amount to much until we gave them guns and ammo.”

Um...what? I mean not even looking at the Moorish invasions (life in Spain was probably pretty sweet until black folks came along and fucked it up).
Carthage, the Punic Wars, the Islamic invasions, the Umayyad, and Fatimid dynasty conquests, the slave trade in Tunis and Mahdia, the Almohads (who threw out all the Jews) the Mamluks (I played a lot of Civ), the Marinids (who also kept attacking Spain), the Sudanese who kept invading Egypt (ab. 715 b.c.), Mansa Musa taking out Ghana in 1300 (a.d.), etc. etc. I mean, ok, the East India Company has a lot to answer for, but let’s not go kicking Vasco De Gama in the pants. Africans were killing the hell out of each other long before they saw any Europeans or aquired gunpowder and the slave trade in Africa had been going on before Bartolome de las Casas showed up with his bright ideas.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:21 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thin (size 6 or less) = beautiful. I don't think this.
Straight or straightened hair is professional and simple to maintain. I have never thought about this
Apple pie. Fine I do quite like Apple pie, but I like other pies too. I'm open like that.
Go hunting or have guns for protection. Nope
Baseball (Alledgedly america's sport). God no.
Tevas sandals. Never.
Bitch about weight and diets with friends. No, I'm a guy.
Tanning salons. No, I do not wish to be orange.
Friends, the tv show. Christ, no!
Braces on teeth as a teen rite of passage. No
Binge drinking in the teens and twenties. Fine you got me.

So that's 2/11 on your list. Then again, I'm not American I'm European...

If you don't think there is, ask yourself why you consider The Simpsons, "white" though their skin is yellow?

Um, because they have Caucasian features? What is this supposed to mean anyway?
posted by ob at 4:37 PM on December 19, 2008


Thin (size 6 or less) = beautiful. - Nope. Mike Likes 'em curvy (-1)

Straight or straightened hair is professional and simple to maintain - That's just how my hair is. (0)

Apple pie - Mmmmmmmm (+1)

Go hunting or have guns for protection (as opposed to having them for criminal activity?) - Own guns but haven't hunted for 20+ years (+.5)

Baseball (Alledgedly america's sport) - Yawn. (-1)

Tevas sandals - What? First I'm hearing of them. Seriously. (-1)

Bitch about weight and diets with friends - Nope (-1)

Tanning salons - Nope (-1)

Friends, the tv show - Oh hell no. (-2)

Braces on teeth as a teen rite of passage - Nope. (-1)

Binge drinking in the teens and twenties - Oh hell yes (+5)

Upon further review it appears I may not actually be white. You should have worked mayonnaise in their somewhere.
posted by MikeMc at 4:40 PM on December 19, 2008


"I'm not a racist," Pervel insists. "I'm a classist. I want to live around people who want the same things as me."

Excellent. The Sentinelese also want an ethnically homogeneous neighborhood. We'll send you over right away.

Those of us who would rather have liberty and justice for all are staying right here.
posted by eritain at 4:47 PM on December 19, 2008


And how is a gun a magic bullet shield? You can't parry bullets with a gun - at best you can shoot back, as you bleed to death...

A person concerned about personal safety is better served by learning a lethal form of self-defense such as Krav Maga in my opinion.

If you are seriously worried about your safety - wear a bullet proof vest.

As a rookie police officer (in a jurisdiction with a good deal of violent crime) I was astounded the first time I saw fellow officers at turn-out without a vest. Turns out a lot of cops do not like to wear them when it gets above 80 degrees or so. Or they wear the kind you put on over your uniform shirt.
posted by nautical-by-nature at 4:57 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


grew up in a really mixed neghborhoods and noticed nonwhites praise or use the following MUCH LESS compared to whites

OK, I'm less than a size 6, but that doesn't mean I don't find larger sizes beautiful. I also own Tevas. Otherwise nothing on your list applies to me, and I'm white, middle-class, suburban American of Irish/German descent. Besides, hip hop culture, which indisputably began in the black community, is pervasive amongst whites and has been since I was in high school (class of '92 represent). I think American culture is much more fluid and mixed than people perceive. There is definitely an income gap and persistent segregation, but due to TV and the internet, cultures have been mixing for quite awhile. Heck, we have Spanish rap playing on mainstream radio in mostly white areas.
posted by desjardins at 5:07 PM on December 19, 2008


“Thin (size 6 or less) = beautiful.”
I like big butts, and I cannot lie. Also Asian butts, like my wife’s.

“Straight or straightened hair is professional and simple to maintain”
Well, the Johnny Unitas look works for me.

“Apple pie”
I don’t eat pie.

“Go hunting or have guns for protection”
I do hunt. But I’m more dangerous with a knife.

“Baseball (Alledgedly america's sport)”
Gosh, I don’t know any black folks that like, or play, baseball.

“Tevas sandals”
?

“Bitch about weight and diets with friends”
?
“Tanning salons”
Like...for leather?

“Friends, the tv show”
Well, T.V. is a big, big hit with folks on Metafilter.

“Braces on teeth as a teen rite of passage”
Like, to fight zombies?

“Binge drinking in the teens and twenties” Too busy doing sports other than baseball.

Ah, y’know, it’s not a rebuttle really, but it’s fun to address and apply these ‘whiteness’ standards to oneself.
My wife’s parents enjoy(ed) the Lawrence Welk show. I’d rather, y’know, break my toes with a hammer.

I think I don’t take issue with the ‘culture’ part of that equation. I think there are valid observations on elements there (yeah, a whole slew of a certain type of person watches Friends, wears backwards baseball hats, listens to Dave Matthews, etc. etc. - not to Garafalo this).
I think my beef is with being lumped in with an arbitrary racial classification.
I may be part of a culture, but it ain’t white. And I don’t think ‘white’ exists as other than a haphazard rule of thumb.
It’s based on a superficial physical feature. I have white skin, but I’m not white. My kids have white skin, but they have almond shaped eyes. So - what? Asian? Latino?
Obama’s ‘black’ but he’s 1/2 ‘white.’ So - what is he?
I think he’s an American. Like anyone else who lives here.
Now it’d be fair to say he has dark (or black for shorthand) skin.
But really, it’s this ‘who’s white’ bullshit that’s screwing everything up.

It’s an elitist game to begin with and any attempt to insert it as a reference point - or really lending it any validity at all - plays into that.

As much as the “oh I don’t want to be a member of that golf club, but why won’t they let me in?” schtick. Because it’s always going to be semi-exclusionary, not only if - but especially if - you get in. You ‘become’ white.
F’em.

Hell, the Irish weren’t considered ‘white’ for a long while and they’ll blind you if you look at them too long on the beach.

I don’t buy it. There is a dominant culture, but I refuse to lend it any validity by playing this ‘who’s white’ game.

If I’m going to classify people, it’s going to be by what they eat.
So you want to call ‘em mayonnaise eaters, that’s fine by me. The mayonnaise culture is dominant. No problem.

I’ll be here with the folks eating the greens, chickpeas and ribs and chorizo and kimchee and...y’know, maybe that doesn’t work well either.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:07 PM on December 19, 2008


Unfortunately, talking about this means generalities so going through my exaggerated list and applying it to indivudals makes it seem silly (ok the Tevas sandals was definitely silly, I was calling out some friends of mine). That's a good thing. But I think most people understand the point, you can generally point out extremely broad cultural elements that don't apply to everyone.

There are trends, attitudes, etc that are racially based and I'm happy to see them change and blend. Woo Obama!

I really hope there's a follow up article or thread on investigations. Can't believe someone would brag on camera about witnessing shootings or shooting people without repercussions.
posted by Freecola at 5:20 PM on December 19, 2008


most guns carried by criminals are made legally for the "legitimate" market. the more ways you have to permit the ownership and use of guns, the larger the market for them becomes. as the market increases, the supply increases, and that means the number of guns available for theft or black-market sale increases too.

the legal market for guns is what creates the supply of guns to criminals. it's just an inescapable fact. sorry.

of course, americans, being (not uniquely, but especially) the paranoid, violent lot they are would probably find other ways to kill each other in the absence of firepower, so the whole argument is moot.
posted by klanawa at 5:25 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't call me white and Kill all the white man
posted by Balisong at 6:15 PM on December 19, 2008




^ that was meant for klanawa.
posted by desjardins at 6:17 PM on December 19, 2008


Winks007: At age 13, I had a black friend turn his back on me at a cruicial moment and that was when I learned who I could rely on in a bad situation.

This would be a good story to tell to a therapist. Please think about it, it could be very helpful.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:19 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


“the legal market for guns is what creates the supply of guns to criminals. it's just an inescapable fact. sorry.”

So end the legal market for firearms? So what, just stop making them and no one will have pistols ever? Or will only law enforcement and the military have firearms?
I mean, if we’re talking ‘criminals’ here who’s the bigger criminal, the guy who robs a bank or the guy who founds one?

But let’s examine your logic - guns are available to criminals, who presumably by them on the black market, because they’re available legally?
So logically then, criminalizing, say, cocaine, would eliminate its availability?
The need or desire will just go away?

It’s not at all possible that restrictions through legal channels will change the pattern of their availability?

Looking at the reports , doesn’t look like the gun supply has an impact on homicides, etc.
So, it’s not inescapable, nor a fact at all.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:29 PM on December 19, 2008


Hell, the Irish weren’t considered ‘white’ for a long while and they’ll blind you if you look at them too long on the beach.

Oh please, no. Please not this trope in any way comparing the plight of the Irish in America to that of the American blacks. Sure the Irish had it bad, (Yeah, I read Johnny Rotten’s biography too) but The fair-skinned, obviously Caucasian Irish (like the German-Americans living in the U.S. during WWII and who were not relocated by the U.S. government to detainment camps at that time as were the visually distinctive Japanese-American U.S. citizens also living in the U.S.) could always "pass" in a crowd of white America, and had only to shut their mouths and no one would know that they were Irish. Not so the blacks. Please don't seriously compare the plight of Irish-Americans to that of the African-Americans. And I ask this as an Irish American.
posted by applemeat at 6:45 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please don't seriously compare the plight of Irish-Americans to that of the African-Americans. And I ask this as an Irish American.

You're a Protestant aren't you? Damn Orange(wo)men...
posted by MikeMc at 7:07 PM on December 19, 2008


western civilization, a good thing to have ~ mk gandhi, paraphrased
posted by infini at 7:14 PM on December 19, 2008


Boy o boy, I go away in the morning come back 9 hours later and the discussion devolves into an analysis of "white culture." Which white culture? The wealthy ivy league grads of Wall Street and corporate america, the flag waving suv driving middle class, how about those wacked on meth trailer folk we love to denigrate? Which one is it? I'm white(I think) and I'm none of those, although I would like some of the cash from the top.

This article is shit, start with this: Herrington, Alexander and Collins are the only victims, so far, to tell their stories. But they certainly weren't the only ones attacked in or around Algiers Point. In interviews, vigilantes and residents--citing the exact locations and types of weapons used--detail a string of violent incidents in which at least eight other people were shot, bringing the total number of shooting victims to at least eleven, some of whom may have died.

this guy needs an editor. One incident, the rest hearsay and speculation.

White culture, sheesh.
posted by pianomover at 7:35 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


desjardins, it goes both ways:

murder rate in Canada (2007): 1.8 per 100,000 inhabitants
murder rate in the U.S. (2007): 5.6 per 100,000 inhabitants

That's more than triple.
posted by oaf at 7:47 PM on December 19, 2008


One incident, the rest hearsay and speculation.

Already covered this part.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:38 PM on December 19, 2008


But let’s examine your logic - guns are available to criminals, who presumably by them on the black market, because they’re available legally? So logically then, criminalizing, say, cocaine, would eliminate its availability? The need or desire will just go away?
you're not getting it. farmers can't grow guns in the jungle like they can cocaine.

look, weapons manufacture requires a large-scale industrial commitment that would be impossible to sustain, illegally, in a functional state. no such commitment would be made in the absence of an economic incentive to produce guns. that incentive could be through the legal or illegal trades, but in a country with no legal trade in guns it would be impossible to justify their manufacture to the authorities. the legal trade legitimizes the production of weapons, some fraction which inevitably reach the black market.

if there are guns, there will be guns available to criminals. if there are no guns, there will be no guns available to criminals.

desjardins: that last line was clumsily tongue-in-cheek, but as oaf points out, the spectrum of what constitutes violent behaviour is vast. if you read the foot note on the government of canada link, you'd see that 718.5 of those 929.6 violent crimes were "Assaults, level 1 to 3". for example, number 1:
1. "Assault level 1" is the first level of assault. It constitutes the intentional application of force without consent, the attempt or threat to apply force to another person, or openly wearing a weapon (or an imitation) while accosting or impeding another person.
the US aggregate, meanwhile, includes only murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, aggrivated assault and robbery.

big difference, no?
posted by klanawa at 8:55 PM on December 19, 2008


i should note that i don't personally feel that banning and destroying all weapons is a good idea. in canada, most guns (we have tons of them) are for hunting and, in many places, necessary for survival.

it's just that there's an inescapable logical equation at play, here.
posted by klanawa at 8:59 PM on December 19, 2008


washburn writes "it's hard to avoid seeing a suggestion here that because identity categories are 'constructed' they are therefore 'not real.'"

This. It's all well and good to aim for a society that realizes most of identity is socially constructed, but tactically I'm not going to give up the cloudy, poorly constructed concept of whiteness as a tool to battle back at the even more cloudy, poorly constructed concepts of blackness, asian-ness, the feminine, etc. Because that's the whole fucking point of our collective cultural myopia on race and identity: "Whiteness" is to be unmarked, to be "normal," to pass as the unspoken normative (you could make a similar case for male-ness).

I honestly admire languagehat's ideal for a world where we we get over our stupid ideas about race and identity, but the fact is we're not there yet. And to attack "whiteness" as bullshit without doing the same thing to the concept of "blackness" is to take a step backwards, IMO.

That said, it's always fun to open up sentences to my white friends with the phrase "As a white person, how do you feel about issues X, Y, and Z?"

"Hey man, I'm an individual, race doesn't matter!"

"Really? Seen any television interviews with a person of color lately, where they're expected to 'speak' for their entire culture?"

Kind of a fucked-up country we live in, no?

That said, in addition to visiting a muslim capitol as he has said he plans to do, I think Obama should launch a Federal Works Project to restore New Orleans to being one of the greatest cities in the world. Beat giving more money to asshole investment bankers.
posted by bardic at 9:07 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Winks007: At age 13, I had a black friend turn his back on me at a cruicial moment and that was when I learned who I could rely on in a bad situation.

People have traumatic experiences, frequently we try to protect ourselves with prejudices. Person A did something that harmed me or I didn't like, so I will avoid people like person A to avoid that situation. I grew up in south Georgia and middle Tennessee. I developed prejudices too. The things I have seen and experienced have caused my mistrust of racists, rednecks, gun owners, the wealthy, the judicial system, and the unapologetically ignorant. I have also found friends in people who could be described in those ways. In my life, I have been attacked without provocation by a group of black kids while sitting on a sidewalk with friends. I have been beaten with my own skateboard for riding in the town square by white cops. I had a gay black friend so scared for his life in class that he stabbed someone with the closest thing he could find, was tried as an adult at 17 and went to jail. I have seen the black kids at my high school baited into a massive race fight by the FFA jerkoffs protesting MLK Day with "Nathan Bedford Forest Day" flyers all over school grounds. We were an hour and a half or so away from Pulaski, the birthplace of the Klan and those echoes still reverberated.

It would have made my life a lot easier to condone racism and classism, to conform to the more overt and more subtle societal definitions of who I was supposed to be. I have always taken people for their individual worth. I also take exception to the idea of a homogeneous "white culture". Sounds like the person defining the stereotypically white things hangs out with preppies and hippies. These are two groups I used to be extremely antagonistic toward. There are many white cultures as there are many black cultures. One of things I have always admired in the black community as a whole is that there is a real effort to foster communal sentiment and support. There is more of a family feeling when you feel you struggle together. A family shares joy and disappointment, helps us heal and forces us to face the things we need to face. The disintegration of community is one of the greatest challenges we face as we attempt to become a 21st century nation. It is my most fervent wish for my boys to see America build on that sense of community and encompass everyone. I know I will make sure they know what a more perfect union is and what its pursuit can bring. I hope you all do the same.
posted by ashabanapal at 9:08 PM on December 19, 2008


Boy o boy, I go away in the morning come back 9 hours later and the discussion devolves into an analysis of "white culture."

it's all about us - even when it's black people getting their asses shot off, it's all about us
posted by pyramid termite at 9:10 PM on December 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am just seething with anger after reading this article. Thanks for posting it. I'm glad I read it. But damnit what the hell is wrong with people. It's bad enough they did what they did, but to then brag about it and think it's funny. FUCK! THEM!
posted by wherever, whatever at 9:33 PM on December 19, 2008


sotonohito: I think the only solution is to break up the enclave. Use immanent domain, buy the historic homes up, and pay for the the racist slime to move someplace else. Iowa maybe [1], or some other place they don't have to see the black people they so hate on a daily basis. Ban them from owning weapons, they've proven themselves to be incapable of using them responsibly. And, of course, a scrupulously fair trial resulting in life sentences for all the evil fuckers involved.

Obviously the place is a petulant cancer and needs to be eliminated.

What I'd *LIKE* to see is the entire place burned to the ground while the racist fucktards watch. But that would be counterproductive, as well as just a mirror of the same mob violence evil they did. Unlike them I am capable of suppressing my base urges and recognizing that what would feel good (the look on their evil faces as they watch their homes and possessions go up in flames) is not what we should do.


I found this part of your comment very interesting because the story of this town and its people reminds me of the movie Dogville.
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:48 PM on December 19, 2008


The kind of people who post in this thread are all like "Hey! I'm not racist! You're racist! All people like you are racist! People like me are never racist!". All of them.
posted by tehloki at 10:04 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's a very classist thing to say.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 PM on December 19, 2008


you're not getting it. farmers can't grow guns in the jungle like they can cocaine.

Huh? A gun is a lot easier to manufacture than cocaine. Anybody with a half-decent machine shop can make one, albeit not nearly as efficiently as a modern factory, but as you seem to understand with cocaine, just because you're not Pfizer doesn't mean you can't make stuff that does the trick.

You could probably curtail ammunition availability somewhat through a prohibition scheme, but I doubt — again, as amply demonstrated by the failure of prohibitionist drug policy — it would really be effective, and there are lots of firearms designs that don't require "ammunition" in the modern case-powder-primer-bullet combination sense.

I'm not even a mechanical engineer by training but I'm pretty sure I could probably whip up a pretty nasty semiautomatic pneumatic gun that would fire metal slivers or ball bearings, be at least as lethal as some handgun cartridges, and not require anything more than off-the-shelf parts, if sufficiently motivated. Doubtless there are many people far more qualified for the task than I, who would put their minds to this task (and come up with many novel solutions) if the right financial motives existed, which they would.

And to prevent that you would be stuck trying to register and control compressed-gas systems, paintball equipment, and a wide variety of industrial and plumbing parts.

Also, guns are in many ways easier to smuggle than drugs (no chemical residue or odors to sniff; critical parts can be easily disguised, less sensitivity to heat/light/chemicals), and unlike drugs they aren't really consumed by use.

What you seem to be proposing is applying all the failures of the War on Drugs to a product where they are even less likely to be effective, and for which there is a huge legitimate market and a vast existing supply that's not going to go away under any imaginable scenario.

There's pretty clearly a violence problem in the U.S., but creating yet another lucrative black market for weapons is such a terrible idea, and it would represent such a severe distraction from real problems, that I think it has to be nipped aggressively in the bud. Alcohol prohibition didn't work, but it left us a legacy of organized crime and heavyhanded legislation to combat it. Drug prohibition pretty clearly doesn't work, and its negative effects are still being discovered (but probably include a whole lot of violence, among other things). A 'weapons prohibition' would be even less effective, and do more damage.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:02 PM on December 19, 2008


in reference to the scariness of "white culture"--

i have walked alone through "ghettos" in Chicago and East St. Louis. in the early 90s, i was one of two cabdriving females in the city of Chicago.

while nervous (as a white naive/suburban-born female) in doing these things, i never felt compelled to practice shooting a gun for the first time until i spent many weeks in southern Mississippi learning hard that there were a bunch of sheriff-supported white folks who wanted me dead for being queer and non-christian. i have never been so scared in my entire life as the time i realized that there were guns being fired by hostile, drunk white men out there in the piney woods, and the cop on the phone was trying to hide his laughter at our fear.

so yeah. i find it horribly ironic that certain white folks will go and grab a gun for "defense". so many of them are defending a certain way of life. in Ovett, it was called the "Southern way of life." that way of life can't die soon enough for my taste.
posted by RedEmma at 11:40 PM on December 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


"While you are certainly free to feel how you wish. I guess I took the wrong approach when the point I was trying to make is...in a emergency situation, you have to do what you think is right, not what you THINK is well accepted by society. Chastise me if it makes you feel better. It's o.k., really."

An emergency situation like having "those peeps within 1 mile of your house."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:27 AM on December 20, 2008


Harrisburg PA couple names child after Hitler--Adolph Hitler Campbell.
posted by raysmj at 12:51 AM on December 20, 2008


I say this for the reord because I know only the angry and certain (read young) are here this far down in any commentfest.
I'm not well known here on Mefi and unfortunately that is a discount in some peoples minds.

Racism is here in the greater New Orleans area as everywhere of course, but it's not the flavor you learned in your deliciously guilty African American studies module in school. (Right then, you are equally worried walking down the street with 4 blue-hairs coming your way as you are with 4 black men, seriously?)
I don't try to defend it but doctrine doesn't hold for those that haven't spent some time here. It is better. People are better friends here in the South.
Full disclosure: I've lived in Alaska, Seattle, Rural Washington State, San Francisco, Des Moines Iowa and now I'm "down the road" in St. Bernard Parish south of NO.

An anecdote: I was at a bar, called de Popes, down the road. It's an old person bar, which I like because I'm 44 and have a girlfriend. Mostly old white people hang out there, sometimes old black people too. We are old so it's not a problem

I was there one day and there were only 4 people there I suppose. There is a "lake" here (even thought it connects directly to the ocean they call them lakes) that is called, or rather mapped as Nygra Lake.

Of course it used to be known as nigger lake.

So I'm there and these guys are on my aural periphery as I'm watching some sport or another. Then I hear "None of the niggers I fish with call it Nygra lake, they all call it nigger lake"

And I'm thinking shut up, then I think, if they are going fishing, how bad of enemies could they be?

I've been just walking down the street, said ("alright" which is "hi" here) to a family having a birthday party and invited to "fix you a plate". Oh, they were black.
My landlady who is 75 and had a home entertainment system hooked up by her son she referred to it as"nigger rigged". I told her to not use that language with me.
I lived in the hood here in St. Bernard, tarpaper shacks and all, and I was perfectly safe, in Seattle I would have gotten my ass kicked for being white. What say you that ascribe violence to poverty?

Everyone here seems to be talking past themselves and missing the issue, here is the issue: Young irresponsible mean fuckers v old assholes. (I was a charter member of the former, now I'm a member of the latter).

Old black people hate young no-account black kids, they are embarrassing is what they tell me. I don't like young no-account white kids. It's not a race thing, it's an age thing.
posted by vapidave at 12:55 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Excuse me, paper has contact info for Harrisburg. This is in rural NJ.
posted by raysmj at 12:57 AM on December 20, 2008


The only bit of cringe-worthy racial talk I've heard in NOLA recently came at a Mardi Gras prep-related party, with mostly white people in the immediate vicinity. The indicted and shameful William Jefferson, first member of Congress elected in Louisiana since reconstruction, was up for re-election, against a largely unknown Vietnamese-American, Republican Joseph Cao. I was picking up precinct level data for a local TV station, and told some people I knew at the party about how all but one precinct went for Jefferson, overwhelmingly, and that I figured the one that went for Cao was full of white hipsters, artists, freaks and gay people (it was the Bywater area), the others older black people. I was almost certainly right about that! But turnout, a precinct person told me, was low. I still figured that Jefferson would probably win, said that, since he'd won on the presidential election day. (Jefferson had entered the Dem. primary runoff then, delayed after Gustav, against a weak opponent. Earlier, nearly 75 percent of voters had given the nod to someone other than the incumbent.)

The response from one person was, "If black people elect him again (person taps my head--I'm white, for the record), I guess this means we'll be taking care of you forever." Immediately two people stepped in to say that things weren't quite so simple, that Jefferson had weak opponents for two elections in a row, that progressive whites had failed to put up a decent candidate or give solid backing to a good black candidate, etc. The guy said, Well, yeah ...

I got home that night to find out the winner: Cao. Black voters had largely stayed home--the reason, some analysts say, was voter confusion. Others suggested that black voters were disgusted with their options and the existing black leadership. (I side with the latter explanation, along with "apathetic and indifferent" while believing that some voters were indeed confused, but not enough to make a difference.)

But as for the election results went, I was so, so wrong.
posted by raysmj at 1:18 AM on December 20, 2008


Feel Better
We do.
posted by vapidave at 1:22 AM on December 20, 2008


People are better friends here in the South.

The South can't be racist, it has a Black friend!
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:17 AM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


The South can't be racist, it has a Black friend!

Seriously. What was the point of that rambling anecdote anyway? "The black people I know call it nigger lake! The older black people don't like the younger no-account black kids! You liberals with your white-guilt-ridden classes!" What's next, you're going to talk about how "they" use the N word all the time?

Everyone knows racism exists everywhere. You don't need to fly to the defense of your town with some quaint anecdotes because an article investigated something horrible that happened there. You should be more upset with the infrastructure - both local and national - that let a hurricane aftermath situation devolve into something out of Road Warrior.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:25 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also live in a "majority minority" city which people from neighboring areas (and recently the whole country) consider a cesspool of crime and poverty and avoid at all cost.

I adore Durham beyond all measure and can't really imagine living anywhere else. The culture, the people, the lifestyle are just lovely. I really have never been afraid walking down the street, except when local frat boys engage in the street harassment of women that they love so much.

Another place I love, that I would probably be very happy living in, is New Orleans. I got to know it from volunteering repeatedly over the years since Katrina. Once again, it is the culture, and the people of New Orleans that make it such a wonderful place.

But I would avoid Algiers Point (and apparently Metarie) at all cost.

I've met people who were in the Superdome. I've helped repair their homes. I've heard stories of people huddled in attics and being found in trees days later and having their legs amputated. I've heard about the evacuation from people who were in their cars (for days). I've heard about the shelters in Houston. But no one I've met told stories of these shootings. Granted, I've worked mostly in Broadmoor and Gentilly and New Orleans East. These things weren't happening there. But it almost seems as though this is a taboo subject and I applaud this journalist for doing the research and pursuing the lawsuits and everything else to get the word out about this.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:28 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well now I know that one answer to Americas gun crime is more guns. Guns no one knows you are carrying. Oh hells yes.
posted by chunking express at 6:39 AM on December 20, 2008


To be sure, such a claim is prejudiced on its face. But racism is more than prejudice; racism is prejudice within the construct of a societal power imbalance (majority v. minority) that permits and fosters actual (as opposed to merely symbolic) consequences against the subject persons of such generalizations and assumptions. Racism is much more than an irrational “dislike” or “mistrust” that blacks may indeed hold against whites (or women against men, or gays against straights, etc...) and vice versa. And I strongly believe—speaking here in the United States in the year 2008—that non-white Americans cannot (..yet) be racist.

Sigh. I'm so tired of this bullshit (or "cant," as our forefathers called it—oh, wait, I'm quoting white people! they must have been racist! wash my mouth out with soap). But if it makes you feel better and more progressive to think that, be my guest.

The dictionary word "racism" means prejudice based on race.
The sociological or academic term "racism" means what applemeat said.
To the best of my knowledge most people are working with the former.


Yes, and it would serve academics well to learn to use ordinary language to talk outside their little academic ghettos. But then they'd lose their academic cred and people might not understand how superior they are.

The violence you see in Africa, and in African-American communities, really didn't amount to much until we gave them guns and ammo.


Hahahaha! Or: what Smedleyman said. Learn some history, friend.

Unfortunately, talking about this means generalities so going through my exaggerated list and applying it to indivudals makes it seem silly

That's because it is silly, like all such generalizations, some of which we call "racism" depending on who the "racists" are and who "we" are.

Hell, the Irish weren’t considered ‘white’ for a long while and they’ll blind you if you look at them too long on the beach.

Oh please, no. Please not this trope in any way comparing the plight of the Irish in America to that of the American blacks. ... Please don't seriously compare the plight of Irish-Americans to that of the African-Americans. And I ask this as an Irish American.


For fuck's sake, get off your high horse and learn to read. Nobody's trying to "seriously compare the plight of Irish-Americans to that of the African-Americans"; the comment you quote said that "the Irish weren’t considered ‘white’ for a long while," which is absolutely true whether it suits your progressive sentiments or not. Learn some history, friend.

I honestly admire languagehat's ideal for a world where we we get over our stupid ideas about race and identity, but the fact is we're not there yet. And to attack "whiteness" as bullshit without doing the same thing to the concept of "blackness" is to take a step backwards, IMO.


Dude. Do you seriously think I'm attacking "whiteness" as bullshit without doing the same thing to the concept of "blackness"? Do you seriously think I think "blackness" is real? Come on, you're smarter than that and we've been stumbling around this jungle together a long time. And my ideal should be everyone's ideal; I don't know why people are so intent on clinging to things they know are imaginary. (Smug atheists should think about that next time you're about to go on a tirade of LOLXIANS mockery.)

It's not a race thing, it's an age thing.

Get serious. Did you RTFA? These people were shot for being black.
posted by languagehat at 7:20 AM on December 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


The indicted and shameful William Jefferson, first member of Congress elected in Louisiana since reconstruction,

First member of Congress since Reconstruction? Damn, that dude is old!

Anyway, I think I get what you're saying.

I spent the first 17+ years of my life living in a low income housing project in Milwaukee and I must say in all of those years I had very little trouble that could be traced back to race (there was that angry Black Muslim family down the street but that's another post). This is not to say that race relations were all peaches and cream but for the most part there was a certain comfort level. Pretty much everyone who had lived there for more than a few years were at least nodding acquaintances and everyone knew where they stood in the scheme of things. I think that's what you're talking about above, comfort level. Not friendship, comfort level. Interestingly enough I've seen white people who are blatantly racist get a certain grudging respect from black people as at least they are open about what they believe and, again, everyone knows exactly where they stand. The devil you know I guess. I don't know if this rambling mess makes any sense but I hope it does.
posted by MikeMc at 7:32 AM on December 20, 2008


Languagehat,

if "prejudice" and "racism" are equivalent, interchangeable terms (as only self-congratulatory, high-horse-riding, and apparently illiterate intellectuals who need to learn history wouldn’t know) then I am curious as to your opinion on why Japanese-Americans--a relatively tiny segment of the American population during WWII-- were relocated by the U.S. government to detainment camps in disproportionately higher numbers than were the white German-Americans who made up a sizable percentage of many American cities during the same time.

Perhaps you could even do this without resorting to insults.
posted by applemeat at 8:47 AM on December 20, 2008


if "prejudice" and "racism" are equivalent, interchangeable terms

"racial prejudice" (as opposed to gender prejudice, age prejudice, class prejudice, etc.) and "racism" are indeed equivalent terms to most people.

My discipline has a bunch of regular words redefined into jargon too, but I don't go around expecting everyone to use only those definitions in the public discourse.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:13 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


if "prejudice" and "racism" are equivalent

if they're not, does my dislike of strawmen make me racist or prejudiced?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:43 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was writing late. First *black* person elected to Congress from LA since Reconstruction.
posted by raysmj at 10:29 AM on December 20, 2008


The Hot 8 thing, which I noticed just this morning (the other was no more worth addressing than the one involving Ovett MS) was a bit of sad irony re feeling better in a story involving gun violence, which is the overwhelming story here (that and the dysfunction in the justice system--a better DA was elected here recently, but ... Nagin's NOPD is a mess, he recently tried to cut funds for the DA's office, etc.). The drummer for that group was shot by a kid--a kid--who had a beef with his step-son.
posted by raysmj at 10:36 AM on December 20, 2008


Have nothing to add to this discussion but I'll post a rambling anecdote about New Orleans that proves absolutely nothing.

In the late 90's, I had a girlfriend with New Orleans roots. I never lived in the city but would travel there frequently back then and to save a little money, she and I would stay with her parents.

Her parents were pretty much typical redneck southerners. So there was this one day when her mom told us that we would have to entertain ourselves because she was going shopping at the outlet mall with her best friend Brenda. Then something came up on the television news and that made the mom start going off on this racist rant about niggers this and niggers that, and how all black people were hopeless, stupid, and criminal, etc.

I was pretty relieved when the doorbell rang and the rant stopped. Brenda came into the room and to my complete and total surprise, Brenda was black. And by the way they talked to each other, they were clearly best friends and had been since childhood. Not "friends" in the way of "white liberal guilt" as that stereotype goes, but genuinely best friends.

For some reason, this random incident has always summed up New Orleans to me.
posted by pandaharma at 10:48 AM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, for the record, looked up precinct totals for the 2008 election. I was earlier going on what a PoliSci prof told the Times Picayune in re to Obama's winning even conservative white districts this time--I think the paper misquoted him somehow, or he was talking off the top of his head. Obama lost in places like the Garden District in Uptown and Lakeview, which is more similar to Old Metairie in political culture. Obama won, however, soundly in the precinct that corresponds rather neatly to Algiers Point (15-1), 145 for Obama to 95 votes for McCain.

Election totals here, precinct maps here.
posted by raysmj at 11:01 AM on December 20, 2008


pandaharma: I've known plenty of people like that, from all parts of the country, who will spew invective about black people, yet genuinely love some black individuals. It makes fighting this stuff infinitely more complicated, which is why some of the simpletonism surrounding race relations can be infuriating.
posted by jonmc at 11:18 AM on December 20, 2008


pandaharma - that's been my experience of my grandparents, who will rant and rave about n---rs and mexicans taking over the country, but will be unfailingly polite and friendly to black people they actually know.
posted by desjardins at 12:33 PM on December 20, 2008


Smedleyman, languagehat, I didn't say violence in Africa didn't exist until we gave them assault rifles, grenade launchers and land mines; the fact that most Americans have probably never even heard of the Almohads, the Mamluks, or the Marinids supports my point that "white culture" (as I defined it in my comment) is narcissistic and insensitive to the culture and history of other nations.

Or, in a word, racist. I agree 100% with everyone who has said race is a sociological construct and I'm using "white culture" in an equally pseudoscientific manner. Not all white people are racists; not all white people are even white. If that doesn't make any sense it's because human beings are generally not sensible creatures.
posted by Restless Day at 12:57 PM on December 20, 2008


the fact that most Americans have probably never even heard of the Almohads, the Mamluks, or the Marinids supports my point


As opposed to most Egyptians or Moroccans who are intimately familiar with the Geats, Normans or Jutes?


that "white culture" (as I defined it in my comment) is narcissistic and insensitive to the culture and history of other nations.

Again you ascribe universal human traits solely to "white culture" and that seems to be a sticking point.
posted by MikeMc at 2:00 PM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


while nervous (as a white naive/suburban-born female) in doing these things, i never felt compelled to practice shooting a gun for the first time until i spent many weeks in southern Mississippi learning hard that there were a bunch of sheriff-supported white folks who wanted me dead for being queer and non-christian. i have never been so scared in my entire life as the time i realized that there were guns being fired by hostile, drunk white men out there in the piney woods, and the cop on the phone was trying to hide his laughter at our fear.

I've felt similarly at times, and that's as a white(ish) straight man, so I can only imagine. Thanks for sharing that.

Apropos of nothing: what's up with the weird intersection of feminism and near-rabid anti-Islamic/pro-Israel political screeds on that site? Didn't expect that.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2008


not all white people are even white. If that doesn't make any sense it's because human beings are generally not sensible creatures.

Or it could be because that just doesn't make any sense. You decide!

Again you ascribe universal human traits solely to "white culture" and that seems to be a sticking point.

Yeah, that's my issue with all this too.

"racial prejudice" (as opposed to gender prejudice, age prejudice, class prejudice, etc.) and "racism" are indeed equivalent terms to most people.


Yes they are. Just because one section of academia has decided to renegotiate the meaning of a common term doesn't make that meaning true or indeed accepted outside of that community.
posted by ob at 2:36 PM on December 20, 2008


"I would never justify shooting someone in the back!"

What if they represented an immediate and credible threat, and were running for cover with the intent to engage you?

I think, in history, there are a few instances where shooting in the back is fully warranted.
posted by Sukiari at 11:40 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]




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