Thursday, March 27, 2008
And you don't wanna heeeet.
YAH YAH TRICK. The old punks have had their say. Time for the sagely voice of youth.
Whether you realize it or not, OldPunk has addressed all the objections, contentions, and accusations of all the "haterz" in the comments section. Every last one. Your excuse for calling him racist, whatever it is, has a successful rebuttal in one of the last two posts. If you're up to the task of reading a massive block of text thicker than three whole lines, that is. And even if you aren't.
I'm sorry. I'll be nice.
I'll put this as plainly as possible. White criticism of Black America is not, as one commenter claimed, de facto racism. It may not be "allowed," but like any judgment, it sure can be valid.
Nor is use of the N-word de facto racist. You think white people are, like, biologically incapable of jocular use of the last dirty word in the English language? Nigga please.
You have to understand. The whole race issue is very different for all the white kids born since 1980, like me. Those of us who weren't extremely poor were raised to hate racism. Yes, hate. Yes, as a rule. If you're white, and hate racism so much, don't think of yourself as one of the precious few or something. Anti-racism has, in fact, been a main point of the social orthodoxy kids have been raised with for a couple decades at least.
And here's something interesting: Another tenet of said orthodoxy was that society was racist. Even though, in all important particulars, it just wasn't anymore. Yes, I know you can recite a big long list of contrary cases and incidents. Even so, I maintain there's not enough exceptions to disprove the rule. (If you disagree, well... we'll have to agree to disagree. And if you don't agree to that, go ahead and fuck off. I said I'd be nice, but give a nigga a break.)
All of my batch of white kids who went to public school learned the Martin Luther King story every February for 12 years straight. From Rosa Parks to I Have a Dream. It went like this:
Racism is bad. Once, there was legalized racism in the south. MLK desegregated the schools and buses and diners and drinking fountains, then led every black person in the country and a few whites in a march to the Washington Monument, where he said someday we should stop being racist altogether. Which is impossible, of course, because white people will always, always be at least a little racist, even if they don't know it. They (we) can't help it.
I believed it. Until I became a surly teenager and realized the N-word was the heaviest artillery in my 'Piss Adults Off' arsenal. (N-)Bombs away!
Thing is, I never used it around black people. a) I didn't want my ass beat, and b) even when it was some black dude I could have taken in a fight, I had just enough empathy to show a scintilla of respect (of course, if you had called it "respect" to my face, I would have beat your ass).
My hilariously casual use of "nigga" continues to the present. The best way to get a rise with it is to pretend using it is no big deal. That raises people's hackles so quick. So satisfying. I still don't use it around blacks, because I only believe in punching very good friends in the balls, and I haven't yet become close enough w/ any black person to rib him with an N-grenade. I'm a rude dick only up to a point, and I pride myself on that.
Lots of my peers feel the same way. And-- don't take this the wrong way-- we don't care even a little if you think our attitude is inappropriate. We know we're not racist, and obviously even our flawed "bust balls to make friends" approach works a whole lot better than yours.
So there's that.
The N-word isn't the real central issue. The reaction to "nigger" is a visceral expression of how we've come to define racism for ourselves. From An Amerian Glossary:
including whites, needs to be free to express their observations and suppositions. About anything and everything. No matter how noxious or egregious their conclusions may be. Since human beings depend on their minds to, you know, function, the brain really has to be free to do its thing. I know we think there's ideas and beliefs that are too dangerous not to be stomped on with a heavy boot, because giving them any air at all will lead to Willie Mays getting dragged behind a truck or whatever.
But real prejudice is easy enough to diagnose when we come across it that we don't have to be prejudiced against it. Thinking things through as a rule is a much better plan than establishing a No-Fly Zone over certain notions. That's responsible for most of the recruiting power currently enjoyed by white supremacists and skinheads. They're the only ones allowed to even appear to be unafraid of the subject.
For the record: White Supremecy is crap. Utter idiocy. Enough black men and women have demonstrated profound achievment and capability to place the entire race beyond suspicion of subhumanity. Which is why the black community is worth worrying about. Because it sure as hell looks, to anyone willing to look, like the highest aspiration of any black man younger than 40 is to live, and die, like Al Pacino in Scarface.
The black American dream?
What's that? Do I go out of my way to denounce all white trash? Nope. Because I see plenty of white people who aren't trash. I see few enough black examples who aren't to wonder if it isn't anomalous. And oh my God, don't start screaming about "the media" now. Chris Rock, that whistleblower of racial politics, put that excuse to bed a while ago:
Are you starting to get it? This is what an honest discussion of race looks like. It's ugly. It's uncomfortable, for all "sides." It entails risking your tolerance on the results of your understanding. It is not a contest. It is not a forum for showing off your love by hating those who don't love. It is definitely not a time to reinforce only the smug assumptions you already have. The ideas you come across in the course of it stay with you and bother you long after you're done talking.
You don't like that?
YAH, TRICK, YAHHH!