What sort of senility is softening up the frontal lobes of America's palefaces?
October 1, 2010 10:29 AM   Subscribe

White America Has Lost Its Mind
posted by desjardins (69 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Maybe add this to the thread from a couple days ago, if it's not already there. -- cortex



 
I love this post for the cover image alone.
posted by Fizz at 10:32 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not all us white people are crazy. Those cretins don't speak for every one.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:33 AM on October 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


I refused to be lumped in with those dirtbags.
posted by Splunge at 10:34 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of this article is retread (see the better Taibbi article from a few days ago), though I do agree with one point. I can't wait til we're rid of the Boomers. Though their spectre will probably loom for decades after the last one has died (by which time I'll be long gone myself).
posted by Eideteker at 10:34 AM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not all us white people are crazy. Those cretins don't speak for every one.

True, but "some white people are still saying and believing crazy things" isn't as catchy.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:35 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Oh, and black folks has known white folks is crazy for a loooong time now. I suppose it's time white folks got clued in, though.)
posted by Eideteker at 10:35 AM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


This isn't news. White people have always been crazy.
posted by GuyZero at 10:38 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lot of this article is retread (see the better Taibbi article from a few days ago)

Anyone have a link for this, post here or mail it to me, I'd appreciate it.
posted by Fizz at 10:38 AM on October 1, 2010




I refused to be lumped in with those dirtbags.

Hear, hear.
posted by kafziel at 10:40 AM on October 1, 2010


> That's a polite and understated way of saying that older white folks are losing their shit as they're being replaced by young brown and black kids while the economy is in the crapper.

Yup. I can't help but wonder what these crazy old white people think of Obama in the alternate universe where unemployment is low.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:41 AM on October 1, 2010


Just a quick warning to those with jobs: There are tits down the side of the page.

Also, yeah, not all of "White America" is middle-aged, Republican, and cuckoo bananas. Duh.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:41 AM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The language of this article, while maybe entertaining, is completely sensational in it's generalizations:

. . . and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office—white America rapidly began to lose its grip.

So following this logic, do "minority brains" now have a better grip on reality? It's great to make fun of crazy white people – I do it all the time. But this type of writing isn't really helping serious discourse about race in America.
posted by quadog at 10:42 AM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Of course it's sensational and that's what makes the piece a great read. But just replace "white Americans" with "many white Americans" if it bothers you.
posted by naju at 10:46 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Liberal pundits were mocking the "America isn't ready for a black president" trope during the 2008 campaign. The cruel aphorism was regarded as a cheap excuse. 'If not now, when?' they asked.

Unfortunately the trope was true. This is what it looks like when the country's not ready. If it were, the racist dog whistling would fall on deaf ears.

And it's actually detrimental in the long run. Much like when large numbers of blacks were elected to public office after the civil war, the backlash from conservatives coupled with the broken hearts of progressives, will ensure we won't have another black guy in the oval office for at least a generation. If not two.

I've been wanting to articulate this to someone for the last half hour, and then this FFP. MetaFilter: the reason I don't have my own blog.
posted by clarknova at 10:47 AM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Black Americans brains work like this...White Americans brains work like this!
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 10:48 AM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well. I've thought many times that mainstream Christians would do well to own and to repudiate the actions of their fundamentalist brethren.

I mean, I know they don't really consider themselves to be the same type of thing as the wackos, and in very important ways they're not. But still, I've had those thoughts about how there's some culpability there because the mainstreamers provide credibility for the fringe.

So, tit for tat: as a white person, I apologize for the white wackos.
posted by gurple at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


If, by "lost it's mind", they mean "succumbed to despair", then I'm in.
posted by everichon at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2010


FPP, rather
posted by clarknova at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2010


Did anyone else read this FFP and think that it might be about a new Funkadelic album?
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


So following this logic, do "minority brains" now have a better grip on reality?

A narrow minded person when faced with evidence contrary to their belief system can either revise their belief system or come up with increasingly elaborate and delusional rationalizations - "losing a grip on reality".

"Minority brains" are not assaulted by Obama's presidency, nor were they by previous presidents, because unlike folks who are mired in white privilege, there was never a belief system of "minority superiority" ingrained for generations to fight against.

Will anyone think of the strawmen?!?
posted by yeloson at 10:51 AM on October 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


oh god... I lost my apetite when I clicked to go to page 2. You owe me Pinkberry, desjardins.
posted by spec80 at 10:51 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You see, there are white people, and then there are crackers.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:51 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I appreciate the author's research and outlining of the basic trend of madness which he outlines in his article, but I LOATHE his framing.

Take this, for example:
Is there any hope? Can the white mind be cured? And what—other than a massive lobotomy—can salvage it? It's hard to imagine a cure when, at this point, the patient doesn't seem to realize that he's sick.
Okay, granted, there's a lot of invisible knapsack unpacking that even the most enlightened whites have yet to do when it comes to race and privilege and stuff. I agree that's something that everyone can work on, but then, he holds up this:
Rush Limbaugh, for example, has declared that it's black Americans who have a problem. The "black frame of mind is terrible" because of unemployment, and, equally important, because of "Tiger Woods's choice of females," he has said. What was that about a pot and a kettle?
Rush Limbaugh? As an example of the totality of how "the white mind" is functioning in the US in the year 2010?

His entire article is like this. He's holding up before us all the loudest blowhards who have been speaking to the fringes and working as tools of discord for YEARS, and is generalizing from there that EVERY SINGLE WHITE PERSON IN THE US looks at the world through this lens.

It's actually disgusting, and led me to learn more about the author and question whether the same man who is writing these loathsome (dare I say, nearly racist?) statements about ALL WHITE PEOPLE can really be someone who has spent a year traveling with StoryCorps or who could have possibly produced the film version of The Laramie Project.

I am sure he wrote this piece as specifically inflammatory, probably to help the Village Voice sell papers and gain discussion on the internet. (Hey, look! It worked.) But for me, it's going to become a lens which will color (heh) anything I encounter by Thrasher in the future. In that, he's kind of failed himself.
posted by hippybear at 10:51 AM on October 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Every year the 'boomers become more and more like The Boomer; overweight, shuffling around in dirty sweatpants, belching and heaving up bile at anyone not already a zombie.

It's gets bad enough that you fantasize about moving to Europe. "Maybe the infection hasn't made it there yet!" you tell your girlfriend Zoey, who is way into you. "Maybe they've found a way to contain all the misdirected rage and general unkemptness of the human mind that seems to categorize a certain generation." But it's no use, every time you board a helicopter the pilot always ends up being infected too. "The gov'ment wants to tell me how to live," he says between groans. "Uurrrrggggh" he adds, finally crashing down in the same kind of place you started; some burnt-out town in the rustbelt of Pennsylvania overrun with "them", the greatest generation, who from all appearances are doing their best to damn sure there won't be too many future generations. At least you're not stuck in the swamp. Now where's my ninja sword.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:53 AM on October 1, 2010 [26 favorites]


You know, the answer to a bunch of bigots isn't to lump all white people together either.

It's to isolate these loons, dismantle their arguments one by one and expose their bigotry for what it is.

I hate to get all happy clappy about this, but teabaggers are just salivating to see this issue framed as a racial war by someone other than them.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:58 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I take regular melanin injections to stay sane. And to have a great tan!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:02 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree with the eventual conclusion -- boomers are selfish and some are getting senile -- but are we expecting to change anything with reactionary articles to reactionary politics? I'm down with calling people out, but this article seems to be political masturbation.
posted by notion at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


LOLWHITEY,

Seriously though, the trend toward explaining away the behavior of the lunatic conservative fringe in this country as simple racism seems completely off base to me. In my opinion these people aren't scared because they're xenophobic, they're xenophobic because they're scared. It's hard to blame them for being scared either, I sure as Hell don't know what we're planning on running the economy off of now that manufacturing for the consumer sector is dead and the military-industrial economy of the cold war era is on life support. Maybe if I was non-white I'd have some better ideas.
posted by ecurtz at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Have white folks lost their damn minds? Sure. Having said that, anyone who thinks that white folks are any more or less crazy than anyone else either doesn't know enough white folks, or doesn't know enough non-white folks.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:10 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I take regular melanin injections to stay sane.

Nice try John Boehner.
posted by ryoshu at 11:10 AM on October 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


MuffinMan - you are spot on. This article is hardly the way to start having the rational discourse that America so desparately needs.

As a person of Chinese descent - I love living in North America. When I worked in Shanghai - I saw many of their best and brightest take huge career hits to move to the US for the sake of their kids. Yes, things are weird right now, but the US is still the country of choice for the vast majority of people in the world to stake their future and raise a family. Let's not let the loons hijack the conversation, and let's not make blanket statements about ANYONE based upon their race.

Some of my best friends are White for goodness sake!
posted by helmutdog at 11:11 AM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Arizona passed S.B.1070—a law that would force its residents to carry identity papers with them at all times."

Hmm. Sounds familiar.

seewhatididthere
posted by Evernix at 11:13 AM on October 1, 2010


Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus
According to the poll, Obama has lost favor among many voters who supported his candidacy in 2008 but have since come to doubt he is a mammal. While these Americans concede Obama may not specifically be a cactus, most believe he is a plant of some kind, with 18 percent saying the president is a ficus, 37 percent believing him to be a grain such as wheat or millet, and 12 percent convinced he is an old-growth forest in Northern California.

When asked why they agreed with the statement "President Obama is a large succulent plant composed of specialized cells designed for water retention in arid climates," many responded that they "just know," claiming the president only acts like a human being for political purposes and is truly a cactus at heart.

[...]

"If the president says he is a human being, I'll take him at his word," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on Meet the Press. "Though I've never heard him complain about being thirsty. Not once. That could be a coincidence, I suppose, but it's really not my place to say."
posted by Rhaomi at 11:18 AM on October 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


There really isn't much new or interesting in this article. It's tabloid journalism and the fact that it's aimed at the right people doesn't change that. Getting people worked up isn't going to help anyone right now.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a White Person (I can't even claim any Authentic Cherokee Ancestors - I'm White all the way back to the Vikings, where records start to get a bit shoddy), I like this article, or any article, really, that deals with White People as a monolithic group the way that Black People (or Women or Asians or LGBT) are treated. I don't expect Steven Thrasher to fix or ruin race relations in America with one light-hearted article in the Village Voice.
posted by muddgirl at 11:20 AM on October 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


If you're not the sort of person he is talking about in the article, he's not talking about you. This knee-jerk reaction to say BUT I'M WHITE AND I'M NOT CRAZY was, I suppose, inevitable, but let's not let it dominate the thread, if it all possible, if you wouldn't mind. Because the framing is meant to be a bit inflammatory, to attract attention, but let's go beyond the framing to the primary point -- there is utter lunacy in modern politics, and modern America, and much of it stems from older white Americans responding in terror to a perceived loss of their status and privilege at the hands of darker-skinned people.

I'm white and I am not crazy, but I can get behind that point.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:20 AM on October 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


Cyclopsis Raptor - It's true, it's true, we're so lame!
posted by partylarry at 11:20 AM on October 1, 2010


I think this article is mostly bullshit. Is there anyone to whom he devotes space who wasn't already crazy before Obama won the election? None of this shit is new. I guess some people might singing different words, but it's the same fucking tune as 10 or 20 years ago.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:21 AM on October 1, 2010


Or, in other words, half of all Americans are of below-average intelligence.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:25 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tea Partiers have never really struck me as crazy. Their leaders certainly have their vices, but the rank and file seem far more in denial than anything else. There's a single fundamental truth that they are trying to escape, shouting down with anger, fears and lies.

The truth? They're losers; sore losers. Everything comes down to a team mentality (us vs them), and the tea partiers know they're not on the winning side.

For the past couple of decades Republicans have had it pretty good. In 1994 they gained control of congress, and in 2000 the white house as well. The policies enacted over that period may have been directly hurting the people that make up this movement, but that didn't really matter, because they were "winning" (winning just required that they take one for the team). In 2008 the Republicans lost, bad, and a large portion of the rank and file just can't admit that they aren't #1, leading to anger.

Now that people they support aren't in control anymore, suddenly all the inconveniences that they were putting up with for the last twenty years are too much. Taxes haven't jumped, but now they're paying for the other teams toys. Entitlement doesn't so much creep in as jump to life, fed by all that fear and anger.

The leaders of the tea party represent everything that the rank and file think they aren't. Beck and Palin are both incredible narcissists, brimming over the top with confidence. They may be scamming everyone they meet, but that doesn't matter so much to the Tea Partiers because the important thing is that by being part of this movement, being so close to what seem like winners, the Tea Partiers don't feel like losers anymore. Hell just look at Reagan. A hollywood cowboy, his rising tide carried self-confidence more than boats.

tl;dr Effective rhetoric against the Republicans won't call anyone crazy, it'll suggest that the Republicans are weak and the Democrats strong. Losers, whiners and bullies, the Tea Partiers like to win.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 11:26 AM on October 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


On second thought... maybe this is just a warmup for the Rally To Restore Sanity.
posted by hippybear at 11:26 AM on October 1, 2010


LOL!

Y'all expecting the Village Voice to thread lightly on the topic of race?
Good luck with that.
posted by liza at 11:32 AM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, yeah, not all of "White America" is middle-aged, Republican, and cuckoo bananas. Duh.

And not all Boomers are Republican and cuckoo bananas (63 year old Bleeding Heart Atheist Liberal and damn proud of it).
posted by jgaiser at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a quick warning to those with jobs: There are tits down the side of the page.

And how! But their gallery interface is absolutely terrible. It takes like 5 seconds to move from one image to the next - the whole page needs to be reloaded. Incredibly annoying.
posted by delmoi at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know a few white people personally. I understand that ya'll are not some monolithic group of oppressive, power hungry, politically underhanded bunch filthy rich people. However, when all I see on TV are Sarah Palins and read on the MetaFilter about Glenn Becks, and read in the newspapers about how some banking executive has been arrested for bilking people out of millions I start to wonder: where are the leaders in the white community decrying this sort of thing? How come I don't see them on the news? Don't tell me Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. They are comedians.
posted by Mister Cheese at 11:38 AM on October 1, 2010 [24 favorites]


Tea Partiers have never really struck me as crazy. Their leaders certainly have their vices, but the rank and file seem far more in denial than anything else.

Maybe you're in denial.
posted by clarknova at 11:39 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Liberal pundits were mocking the "America isn't ready for a black president" trope during the 2008 campaign. The cruel aphorism was regarded as a cheap excuse.

I mocked that notion during the '08 campaign because it was risible, not because I thought every white person in America was "ready" for a black president. Will Obama's term(s) be "detrimental" to majority-minority relations in the long run? I very much doubt it, or no more so than the civil rights movement turned out to be.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:39 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am astounded at the general reaction to this, here. WHADDYA MEAN ALL WHITE FOLKS ARE CRAZY? Really? Also, Jon Swift wants to eat your McBaby.

I read it and enjoyed it, as much as one can enjoy reading about the Republic lurching Wasilla-wards, etc. etc. Also, it is the Village Voice, people. Not WaPo. (Insert your own joke here.)
posted by joe lisboa at 11:40 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree that there's a lot of racism on the right, but they were just as crazy when Clinton was president.

Also, the title of the article is adding to the problem.
posted by callmejay at 11:42 AM on October 1, 2010


Who the hell is Steven Thrasher? I don't understand why people are getting so worked up, both Mr. Thrasher and the Village Voice are completely irrelevant. Maybe next we can get an FPP on Matt Drudge's take on the Tea Partiers.
posted by MikeMc at 11:42 AM on October 1, 2010


both Mr. Thrasher and the Village Voice are completely irrelevant.

Indeed. Aren't we all?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:43 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


yeah...mikemc is right...gunning for pageviews and a drudge fpp...lol at the male stripper ad that comes up for me on the front page of the new times (VV owners) website
posted by lslelel at 11:45 AM on October 1, 2010


This article is many kinds of hilarious and sad.
posted by Theta States at 11:46 AM on October 1, 2010


You know, the answer to a bunch of bigots isn't to lump all white people together either. It's to isolate these loons, dismantle their arguments one by one and expose their bigotry for what it is.

That is just ADORABLE. Reason and logic! Oh god, thank you, you made my Friday!

I kid, I kid, but....geez. I've got a 3 1/2 year old son. He's scared of the dark. He doesn't know why, but he is. We can sit there and talk through it for an hour, reach the end of the conversation with him agreeing that there's nothing to be scared of, but sure as shit he'll be out of his room in tears 15 seconds after the lights go off.

Now imagine if every time the news was turned on, some jackass decided to lead with a story about someone who was killed in the dark. What if there were people on talk radio saying "oh sure, nothing's wrong with the dark, I've spent time in the dark myself, but geez, there seems to be a conspiracy against the light. It's not about the dark's right to be dark, but why do we hate the light? Why is everyone trying to turn out the light? What are their secret motives? Are they waiting to kill you in the dark? Boy, something scary is going on here. Be vigilant! Your parents are probably part of the conspiracy!"

Sigh.
posted by pjaust at 11:49 AM on October 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I don't see how this helps. Any framing of behavior based on race can really only legitimize race-based categorization on some level. I mean, maybe "The Historical Political Establishment Has Lost Its Mind" would be a little better. It seems like such a lazy way to make a point. I lose interest when a writer has to resort to sensationalism like this to sell a story.
posted by Shohn at 11:50 AM on October 1, 2010


Lord loves a working man, see a doctor and get rid of it, don't trust Whitey.
posted by rusty at 11:51 AM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Historical Political Establishment Has Lost Its Mind.

Not bad. But it needs to be punched up. It's missing a certain pep. some razzmatazz. What, in show business, we call bangwhatsis. Now, how are we going to get people talking about this piece? A little bit of outrage goes a long way. Oh, sure, people will complain, but they love being a little peeved. So all we have to do is replace the words "historical political establishment" with something punchier.

But what? What?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:53 AM on October 1, 2010


My favourite comment there:

WAIT A MINUTE!!!! WHAT IS SATIRE???
posted by Theta States at 11:54 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Interestingly, a read something a while ago that discussed a study that demonstrated that if you say "White people are like this," white people have a predilection to say "No I'm not!" Whereas if you say "black people are like this," black people have a predilection to say "Well, I'm not, so he's not talking about me, so I'm just going to keep quiet."

I wish I could track down that study and look into it more. I find it very intriguing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:02 PM on October 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


CNN finds that a quarter of Americans also believe that Obama was "probably or definitely" born in another country.

Do we have figures for the percent that thinks Hawaii is another country?
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:11 PM on October 1, 2010


I tried to read this, but couldn't get past page one. The Taibbi FPP did a much better job of covering the same territory.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:20 PM on October 1, 2010


A certain, admittedly large, segment of white America has lost it's mind. Please. juxtaposing a skin colour with an unqualified sweeping generalisation is pretty much always racism, and it doesn't help us hold the higher ground.
posted by Decani at 12:22 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It's"? ITS, dammit. Argh, I hate it when I do that!
posted by Decani at 12:23 PM on October 1, 2010


I take offence at this. It suggest that they at once had one to lose.
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 12:47 PM on October 1, 2010


Maybe next we can get an FPP on Matt Drudge's take on the Tea Partiers.

FWIW, I would love to read that.

Yeah, I don't see how this helps.

What is it supposed to help? And why?

Rush Limbaugh? As an example of the totality of how "the white mind" is functioning in the US in the year 2010?

Who speaks for "white america"? Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. What other choices are there? Morris Dees?!?!

Here is the National Journal story referenced:

The Gray And The Brown: The Generational Mismatch: A contrast in priorities is arising between nonwhite young voters and white, older voters, by Ronald Brownstein
posted by mrgrimm at 12:58 PM on October 1, 2010


He's holding up before us all the loudest blowhards who have been speaking to the fringes and working as tools of discord for YEARS, and is generalizing from there that EVERY SINGLE WHITE PERSON IN THE US looks at the world through this lens.

That's an outrage. Thank god no one ever does anything like that to black people,

But if they did...the black people might have some sympathy for how bad whites feel when we get stereotyped like that.
posted by straight at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This article is an idiotic pile of garbage, and it doesn't belong on the front page. It's not funny, it's not informative, and it's not even worth saving to have a glance over later tonight when I'm drunk.
posted by koeselitz at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2010


I mocked that notion during the '08 campaign because it was risible..

You're bordering on tautology there.
posted by clarknova at 1:09 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


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