Friday, November 12, 2010

Regarding my tiff with Menelik Charles and my ban from Abagond...


by Thaddeus

Several folks have commented on my recent banning from Abagond, so I feel I should put some thoughts down regarding that situation. The following is unpleasant and somewhat personal, so those of you who don't like intertubes drama should stop reading here.

I was a prolific commentator on Abagond's blog for almost exactly a year and was recently banned there for getting into a hissy-fight with an exceptionally sexist poster who goes by the handles of Menelik Charles and Malarki5. In real life, this active blog commentator is reputedly a 40 year old Trinidadian-Brit and, apparently, an ex-employee of the Headstart Bookshop, a now-defunct outlet for Pan-Africanist products and publications in Tottenham in London. For a couple of years now, he's been stalking young black women on the internet, paying particular attention to those who defend the idea that black women should date white men if they feel like doing so (i.e. so-called "swirling"). Charles has relentlessly harrased these women, calling them "insane" and far worse. Ironically enough, a couple of the women Charles routinely harasses (who also post on Abagond) are people who dislike me and whom I find to be what we in Brazil would call "excepcionalmente levianas". But hell, they are undergrads just out of their teens! They're SUPPOSED to be "leviana". Lord knows I was. That is no cause for some frustrated, aging black nationalist to call them names.

Charles is smart enough to normally keep his comments within bounds on Abagond, but he's engaged in a stalking campaign on other black and anti-racist blogs, following young swirlers around and publicly chastizing them. To make matters worse (and even more creepy), he routinely comes on to black women who agree with him that "swirling" is a bad idea. I think that the front page of his Youtube channel gives a pretty good idea of where Menelik Charles is coming from when he talks about his undying respect for black women...


Menelik Charles' (AKA Malarki5) Youtube channel. Dedicated to taking on The Man and providing the internet with crotch shots of scantily dressed young black women.

Menelik's main theory seems to be this (taken from here):

"I think if we're being fair, many Black men are tired of dealing with women who aren't particularly feminine. Sure, most Black women are emphatically female-looking (even the ghetto/hoodrat types)but whatever the class of sister, it's not common they'd be feminine.

Maybe something to do with female-dominated homes...even when a man is present."

In short, Menelik blames overly-strong black women for de-masculinzing the black household. These black matriarchs, in turn, raise man-hating daughters who perpetuate the cycle, pushing "good, upstanding brothers" like MC away from the family. It's interesting to point out in this context, based on what MC has written around the net, that his mother lost her husband when Charles was a boy and that he was raised by a perfectly acceptable step-father. It's also interesting to note that Charles has a young daughter himself and is separated from her mother. So this man who blames the so-called "death of the black family" on women is himself the product of a non-traditional family and is raising his daughter in another non-traditional family.

MC and I got into the shit several times over at Abagond, but what really twisted my titties about Menelik Charles were his attempts to intimidate me by claiming that he could "beat six types of shite" out of me because he's a boxer. (Internet tough guy syndrome, anyone?) I welcomed him to go ahead. I mean, it's not like I'm anonymous or anything: that's my photo and real name down below, there. If he wants to crawl over my DSL cable - or even buy a plane ticket to Rio - in order to commit felony battery on my person, hell, who am I to stop him? I pointed out that I was posting under my real name while he was hiding behind an alias and that this was hardly courageous behavior. Charles then claimed that he was posting under his real name and identity and had no problems with being "outted" on the internet.

At that point, it seems that MC jumped the shark as my mailbox started filling up with people dropping docs on the man, including photos, real name, current address in Islington... the works. I did my part to help spread this information around to some of the women he was stalking. Shortly after this, the man started losing his cool on Abagond. Tempers flared, Chuck went nuclear and I just couldn't resist one last dig under his short ribs, in spite of a warning from Abagond to cool it.

So I got banned.

Now, Abagond runs his show the way he wishes and, in spite of my being banned from his blog, I have quite a lot of respect for the man. It is almost impossible to find anti-racists who are willing to listen to anything but the most dogmatic of views on race and repression and Abagond gets full marks from me for being one of these.

I think the major tiff between Abagond and myself has to do with the fact that I tweaked him about his sexism and Catholicism on several occasions, particularly with regards to the fact that he's separated from his wife (we'd just say "divorced" here in Brazil). The way Abagond describes her, she was quite a piece of work and I'm sure he has good reasons for not being with her anymore.

Nevertheless, I always found it odd that someone who was so willing to parse any statement into tiny little pieces in order to perceive its racist foundations could be so blind with regards to his own sexism and homophobia. And then there's the Catholicism. Abagond is a merciless and generally correct critic of "white" power structures but he gives a pass to the Church, which any historian of slavery and race will confirm as one of the most enduring of those power structures, one which played more than a small role in the transatlantic slave trade.

Many times on Abagond, I was struck by the fact that, as a white, heterosexual male, I had been socialized to critique my presumed identity along several axises - gender, sexuality, race and class. Meanwhile, many of the black, het males on Abagond - including the blog's owner himself - seemed to be rather complacent with regards to any privilege other than that created by race.

And, unfortunately, their blindness is often transformed into chauvinism.

Tweaking Abagond about his beliefs regarding religion and gender was probably, eventually, going to get him very angry. I thought it would be a useful excercize because Abagond seems to feel a certain mercilessness when it comes to tweaking white people about their beliefs regarding race and yet has enormous blind spots of his own. Given my tweaks, however, it was a matter of time before Abagond would use the first convenient excuse to ban me and he did indeed give me fair warning.

My year-long experience as a commentator on Abagond has underlined, for me, why critical race theory has become increasingly detached from reality as it's really lived. While we were discussing to what degree today's whites were responsable for the crimes of the whites of the 16th century, or whether or not "swirling" was an appropriate black female response to black male chauvinism, the Tea Party came along and blind-sided America, with hardly any commentary at all by the people who make up Abagond's blog.

As someone who was brought up in a midwestern, white, working class community that voted heavily for Obama and also heavily for the Tea Party, I feel that the "Let's shame whites into critiquing their privilege" strategy engaged in by people like Tim Wise and bloggers like Macon and Abagond is extremely short-sighted and is based on an erroneous reading of social repression that focuses exclusively on race. The white poor and working class do not like being talked down to and they understand, very clearly, that they are not the people who have created the current situation in the U.S. By casting white history as hegemonic, effectively homogenous and unrelentingly privileged, people like several of the commentators on Abagond end up destroying any possible alliance with white groups or individuals unless these groups or individuals are willing to ignore any factor, other than race, as having significance in social and political relations.

In short, many anti-racists tend to end up painting themselves into a corner by presuming that any white person who disagrees with them about anything needs must be effectively the same sort of person as a member of Stormfront or the KKK.

Sorry for the longwinded post, but a couple people seem to feel I need to say something about Abagond and my year there, so... Abagond's blog will continue to be linked here as I still consider it to be a very worthwhile forum - just don't poke your fingers in the owner's sensitive spots if you want to continue commenting there!

As for Menelik Charles, the gentleman who was the proximate cause of this feud, a bit of advice: I suggest that you use your 'l33t boxing skills to work out some of that aggression towards assertive black women that you're carrying around on your shoulder. Nothing on the internet ever really dies and 12 years from now, your daughter is going to have access to all of these comments you're making regarding black women. Something tells me that she's going to be less than impressed, Menelik.



136 comments:

  1. Bohemian? (That's what an online Portuguese dictionary told me.) I like it. :-P

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  2. "Leviana" can mean "bohemian", "light", "doing things unreflectively", "going with the wind". It's not precisely a compliment or an insult and it's often used to describe young people from about 16 to 25.

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  3. "Light" was what I guessed before checking the dictionary--"Bohemian" is just cooler. I assumed it was a descriptor, not a compliment/insult, you old fogie. :-P

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  4. Well, it is a descriptor. That is probably the best word for it.

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  5. Hey Thaddeus. Just found out you were banned.

    I was just wondering how would you say that we should go about building coalitions with white anti-racists when, for so many people, the very presence of whites in these spaces creates something of a scandal/crisis: that is, people, for good or ill, have this annoying habit of looking to whites for leadership and very often whites (especially white males) can't take a subordinate role in these spaces.

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  6. Dear Jerome,

    First of all, I would suggest that this whole "who's the leader" thing is pretty masculinist to begin with and seems to presume that effective social organization needs to be solidly organized on a heirarchical basis.

    Secondly, I really don't think that people "look to whites for leadership" any more. Do you? I certainly don't. So it seems to me that this is an accusation regarding what other people do. I don't know a single person of color who looks to whites for leadership. Never met one in my life. And yet supposedly "they're" out there, somewhere, in mass numbers.

    Finally, take a good, strong look at American history: the only times black Americans have been able to concretely advance their political agendas have been those times in which they've convinced a substantial portion (maybe not a minority, but a substantial portion) of whites that their claims and revindications were just. Isolationsit ethnonationalism doesn't work very well in a "majority-takes-all" style democracy when you're part of the minority.

    Historically, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was pretty damned multi-racial and that is one of the reasons it was able to advance an agenda.

    Now tell me: who were the dominant white leaders during the civil rights movement...?

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  7. Shit Thad, you type fast! How about more articles on Brazilian history form a Brazilian point of view?

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  8. LOL! Articles need more thought that responses to comments, Herneith and they also need inspiration. Unlike Abagond, I only write when inspiration strikes and it's FUN to write.

    I get my 500 words of daily obligatory writing just writing up my academic stuff.

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  9. To your first point, I agree. Point well taken.
    Second: I wouldn’t have made the claim if I hadn’t witnessed it myself. Several times.
    Third point, I totally agree. You want something done, you have to convince the whites that it’s in their best interests. But why do you bring up the Civil Rights movement? What agenda was pushed and what were the end results? Were they successful and if so, who were the benefactors and how is this success measured?
    And I know that YOU know that many of those organizations (CORE, NAACP, etc.) had whites on their boards who I am SURE had more than a little “influence”.

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  10. Hey Thad, so which blogs will you be commenting on now?

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  11. WordReference.com defines leviana/o as frivolous, which seems to strike the right note of mild disapproval.

    Abagond won't be any fun without you, Thaddeus. It was so gratifying to watch you take to the more earnest, feeble-minded pretension there with a flaming sword. His coy goodbye post to you says in a roundabout way that he couldn't cope with you besting him and his ideological allies in an argument and knowing more than they do about various aspects of race relations.
    Jerome, when you talk about white males not being able to take a subordinate role, are you including spaces such as Abagond's blog?

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  12. I wasn't including internet spaces at all -- I really wouldn't even think to do so seeing as how there is always a certain amount of anonymity granted by the internet.

    I agree that Thad's comments were thought-provoking in some instances, and certainly he has an enviable understanding of the intersections of class and society, but I think that his banning from Abagond wasn't because Abagond felt bested. For me, what was made clear from our conversations, there was a lacking of a more nuanced understanding of the place race and experience.

    Normally, once I had figured this much out about a person, I wouldn't enter into conversation with them (especially when they, as Thad did, seek to define for me my own class position, the same position that I have lived my entire life -- honestly, Thad, really?) but I was curious -- he's an academic with years of experience with anti-racism and yet for the sake of forsaking "dogma" (as he calls it) things that should be obvious (101 material) become obscured. The logic escaped me and I'm a glutton for punishment. I HAD to make sense of what didn't make any sense to me.

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  13. What I would like to know is where do many of these people find the time to peruse all these blogs endlessly. Don't they have a job? Or do they have plenty of leisure time on their hands? As for criticizing the 'swirlers', why do they care?

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  14. Jerome, I don't know. I mean, you say you've seen this happen, but if I were to ask those black people you think kowtowed to whites, what do you think they'd say? Would they agree with you?

    Regarding the Civil Rights movement, its proximnate goal was to end formal, legal segregation and that it did. It did not, however, bring the jubilee.

    Herneith, I commewnt a lot because it's my break from writing real stuff and translating. I tell myself "OK, two more pages, then I can go do something fun for 15 minutes". It keeps me sane.

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  15. I'm curious, Thad. What is the state of the anti-racist left in Brazil?

    Do they subscribe to the same dogmas and the same "we must be uncompromising towards white people and shame them into critiquing their privilege" strategy that American anti-racists pursue?

    Or do they pursue more practical strategies that seek real change, and that don't alienate average white people and completely turn them off?

    I'm guessing that Brazilian anti-racists are at least a little more sane than their American counterparts, but I'm interested in your take on this.

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  16. Jerome, when you say "there was a lacking of a more nuanced understanding of the place race and experience" I imagine you're saying that it's Thaddeus who lacked said understanding, and that by "the place race and experience" you mean that he should have understood that, being white, he mustn't claim to know know more about racism and race relations than a black person. (On blogs such as Womanist Musings this convention is usually phrased as: "White people should just STFU and listen")
    The problem is that Thaddeus does know a lot more about racism and its history than most people on Abagond, and he was ill-mannered enough not to pretend otherwise. The "last man standing" post says as much.

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  17. @Random Guy

    Since I'm sure that dig was at, at least in part, me, I'll go ahead and answer -- in part.

    These groups don't have to alienate "average whites". Once these "average whites" understand just how much of their "average"-ness is tied into intersectional systems of oppression and understand just how much they would have to give up for things to be "right", from my experience, they generally tend to go quietly back to their "average" homes, and "average" incomes, and "average" lives (which are far better than most "average" black homes, incomes, and lives)and forget that they ever even entered into these anti-racist coalitions.

    @Katerina
    No, not at all. Thad probably knows more about the mechanics of racism than most black people. What I'm saying is that no matter how much he reads about it or its history, until he has actually EXPERIENCED it there's something thats not going to translate. It's beyond description, lost in translation -- something to be experienced.

    I don't think white people should STFU. I do think they should listen more. It takes a strong person to let go of their ego and actually hear what someone is trying to communicate knowing all along that there may be some things that you just cant understand and yet still want to help. What's wrong with taking a step back?

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  18. @Random Guy
    Hmmm... Well, there are all kinds of anti-racist groups here in Brazil. Some model themselves on the U.S. groups and others don't. It's hard to completely follow the U.S. model, however, because at least 60% of Brazil has noticeable African heritage and even the so-called "whites" aren't very Aryan looking. So political proposals that are based on the presumption that there's a clear cut distinction between black and white don't tend to be well supported by the masses here.

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  19. I don't claim to know more than "black people" about racism. I do claim to know more about the history of race and racism than most people, black or white, because I've put a lot of effort into studying it. For the record, most of my professors in this endeavor are black and they surely know more than me.

    I don't see why I should pretend to not know something or dumb down my comments simply because my knowledge of the topic offends certain people. If you think I'm full of shit, well and good. But for god's sake, make a logical, rational argument. Don't tell me "I'm X and you're Y so I obviously know much more about this than you. Knowledge has just sort seeped into my life without any effort at pursuing it on my part, so just shut up because I don't agree with you".

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  20. @ Jerome

    Yes Jerome, I'll admit, that was partially addressed to you.

    All I know is that the Tim Wise strategy of "we need to shame white people into analyzing white skin privilege" just hasn't done the trick.

    As Thad has pointed out in the past, more practical strategies and appeals to common justice have worked.

    Esoteric rants about "white skin privilege," on the other hand, will simply turn whites off. And as Ta-Nehisi Coates would point out, who can really blame them for tuning out?

    I know, you'll argue that the problem is with whites not being able to handle the truth. Okay, let's just say for the sake of argument that you are completely correct in this regard.

    My question is then as follows: Are you more interested in producing substantive change or maintaining ideological anti-racist purity?

    Because as far as I can tell, and as Thad has pointed out, the Tim Wise's and Robert Jensen's of the world are more interested in maintaining their solid anti-racist credentials in the eyes of those who already agree with them in the first place. They're more interested in being "right" than actually creating positive change.

    I hate to break it to you, Jerome, but your approach is not how politics works. White Americans, and Americans in general, just want to go about their daily lives. They don't like being harangued, yelled at, or talked down to. Human beings in general don't really care about that which does not immediately affect them.

    Therefore, if you want to get white people's attention, you'll have to find a way to entice them, because they're just not going to stick around in order to be harangued, incessantly called racist, etc.

    You may regard that as surrender and compromise, but tough. The current anti-racist approach just doesn't work.

    And this whole "ego" thing. Again, you're dealing with human nature here. Whites aren't going to stop and say to themselves, "hmm, well we should drop our egos and listen to what these 'people of color' have to say."

    Heck, as Thad has pointed out, blacks don't exactly have an easy time adhering to the approach you outline for whites. Ana Paula's post on black Brazil is exhibit A in this regard.

    I know this will be interpreted as another cheap shot dig at you, Jerome, but I concur with Thad that critical race theory has become increasingly divorced from reality.

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  21. @ Thad

    In addition to not having the legacy of the One Drop Rule, do you also think that what distinguishes Brazil from the U.S. with regards to race relations is its Portuguese heritage, as opposed to the U.S's Anglo Protestant heritage?

    As you once pointed out, this whole "we won't talk to you nicely until you admit we're right" model of dialogue has its roots in North American Protestantism.

    And I can definitely see this whole "we're right, you're wrong, and you had better sit down, stfu and listen to us!" style of discourse used by many anti-racists. You also see this whole notion of absolute truth and uncompromising behavior in the writings of Ankhesen Mie.

    Why do you think that American culture is so reductionist? As you've pointed out, Americans are some of the biggest Marxists (in the sense of believing in an easily divided humanity between "oppressor" and "oppressed" classes, as well as being huge materialists) in the world.

    As an American, I'm interested in your take on why that is, or how this came to being.

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  22. @Jerome
    Now, you say "What I'm saying is that no matter how much he reads about it or its history, until he has actually EXPERIENCED it there's something thats not going to translate. It's beyond description, lost in translation -- something to be experienced."

    Here's my question: you're white yourself, so how do you know this? Jerome, you're presuming that something exists and insisting that others take it seriously without any proof at all. This is a pure faith position you are articulating not at all a rational one.

    There are so many dubious presumptions in your belief that an experiential, ineffable "something" lies at the basis of the racist experience that it's a bit of buffet: which does one choose to pick at first?

    I guess the main presumption of yours which bothers me is that this "something" which is lost in translation is simultaneously immediately accessible to everyone in a certain racial group and completely ungraspable to everyone else.

    ANY experience with racism is going to be subjective and ineffable. It will not translate to another person's experience in perfect form. What you seem to be saying is that this problem is somehow short-circuited when the two people in question have the same color. Where's your proof of this? I mean, other than your sincere and whole-hearted proclamations of faith on the subject.

    Secondly, racism isn't an independent and fixed variable. It is variable. How it effects one person or group at a given point in time is not the same for another person or group or at another point in time. You seem to presume that racism is a homogenous and stable phenomenon when even the briefest glance at the historical record would show you that it isn't. An overall understanding of racism thus needs must be approached via the intellect and via indirect experience. direct experience of it, while giving one an emotional impetus, does not give one the tools for proper analysis on an intellectual level.

    Third, as we've discussed on Abagond, it is oncorrect to presume that racism has not affected white people or groups. The whole concept of "white trash" is based on the same Anglo-saxon supremacist and eugenicist roots that gave us classical segregation in the States. It is thus simply incorrect to believe that white people never experience racism. White trash does indeed experience it, though they rarely have the intellectual tools or historical understanding which would allow them to perceive this.

    Fourth an finally, there are deep and abiding similaritiers between different forms of social exclusion on an experiential level. These can map over to each other, in cognitive fashion, much in the same way that one person who's experienced racism can map over to another racism victim's experience. This ability is properly called "empathy" and it does indeed extend beyond racial boundaries.

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  23. Random Guy sez: "I hate to break it to you, Jerome, but your approach is not how politics works."

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Going on what I see on Abagond and other anti-racism blogs, the movement in the U.S. is indeed more concerned with maintaining its ideological purity than with making substantial change. In fact, you could argue that they've abandoned politics almost completely.

    Note that the far right HASN'T done this, which is why day after day, America moves farther to the right.

    I am manifestly not impressed with the psychological and personalist analyses of race put forward by Wise and Jensen and their supporters. Their analysis may even offer insight into some individual cases, but it seems to avoid political engagement entirely. In fact, it seems to eschew everything we know about the social and the political in order to articulate that most dear of American myths: the individual can make an impact.

    Regarding Brazil's Portuguese heritage, a friend of mine, Antônio Carlos de Souza Lima believes that there's a specific "Portuguese way" when it comes to colonization and domination and I'm increasingly inclined to believe him. So yeah, I think Portuguese heritage has been a big factor in terms of what differentiates Brazilian racism from the American variety.

    It's hard to explain what Antônio means by this, though. Suffice it to say that when you've looked at a lot of situations of domination based on markers of difference throughout the Portuguese diaspora, you begin to notice certain commonalities: cordiality as a social control mechanism, for example, or intermarriage and absorbtion of dominated group elites, an acceptance of ambiguity in colonial, race, and other relations...

    This doesn't make the Luso system better, mind you. Thinking that it does is a mistake many gringos make. They see the apparently "softer" nature of our difference markers and the fuzzy lines dividing this group from that and mistake this for a situation where such markers mean nothing at all. Then, when they discover the true limitations of this system, they declare it hypocritical and worse than the anglo system.

    But it isn't better or worse, it just is. And it needs to be analyzed on its on terms, not from the exclusive point of view of anglo race theory.

    If the North American model of dialogus is "we won't talk to you nicely until you admit we're right", one could say the Luso-Brazilian model is "We won't talk to you at all until you talk nicely."

    As to why Americans are this way, this may sound banal, but I think it has to do with the fact that the colonization of New england by protestant refugees has left a huge shadow across American notions of self and their myths of identity. The puritan worldview was notoriously dichotic and reductionist and it's been periodically renewed by those Protestant "awakenings" the anglo-americans occasionally have. In Egnland, there are other factors upon which one can build myths of national identity, but the American myth of the secular religion is pretty much it when we turn to the U.S.

    At least that's how I see it.

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  24. @Random Guy
    Random Guy said: "I hate to break it to you, Jerome, but your approach is not how politics works."

    I know. I’m well versed in the “how politics works” and I agree with everything Random Guy said in relation to whites not wanting to be harangued. They don’t. But I will not be complicit to this “compromise” agenda or, at the very least, I’m not adopting it as my own. I’ve seen where it goes and I’m not impressed. This puts me on the outs with even most anti-racists (black or not), but I’m not in the fight to make friends, “be cordial”, or kow-tow to someone’s ego. I’m in it to regain my own humanity. To become “white” as Fanon says.

    “I know this will be interpreted as another cheap shot dig at you, Jerome, but I concur with Thad that critical race theory has become increasingly divorced from reality.”

    I don’t know if that’s true. I think that maybe, CRT is finally realizing just how fucked up this whole race thing is, and, perhaps, imploding or (more hopefully) evolving. How many waves of feminism did we experience before we finally started to understand what Audre Lorde and the Combahee River Collective were saying?

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  25. @Thad

    First thing: Where or at which point did I lead you to presume that I was white? Or, hell, anything other than black? Did you assume that I was white; because I’m damned sure I never intimated any such thing. And how utterly problematic would that be if you had! Be honest with yourself.

    Thad said:
    “ANY experience with racism is going to be subjective and ineffable…What you seem to be saying is that this problem is somehow short-circuited when the two people in question have the same color. Where's your proof of this?”

    How can I show you proof of this? How do you want me to measure it? What science can measure the psychological wages of what Fanon called the “epidermialization of race”? Or that its not an isolated, essentially individualistic experience? How can I show you what it means to be black in America OUTSIDE of the social and economic ramifications of it that even most people still deny? (And, anticipating a “blacks are not a monolith” response, I’m speaking specifically to systems of oppression and gratuitous state violence). Can I communicate how I feel when I hear about sites like Niggermania? Can I communicate what it means to have an entire multicultural coalition of people congregate under a single unifying theme: “Let’s hate blacks?” (Please don’t equate it to people rallying around a “lets hate whites” campaign because we both know that racism must be connected to a system of power and minorities in this country have no such power – besides, most people are endeavoring to BE white, or, as Hollinger says, “be definitively not black”).

    I mean I’m trying to communicate to you how hard it is to communicate experience and already you shut me down with an “it’s just not good enough” answer. Race isn’t that simple. I agree! But it’s more than “social exclusion”. THAT is reductionist. This isn’t high school and we aren’t discussing cliques.

    But you can’t even admit that MAYBE what I’m saying has some validity. Yet *I* am the one who is being too dogmatic and locked into my own line of thinking even though *I* am the one who engaged you in this discourse in an attempt to gain some understanding and because I thought that maybe you had something of value to teach me. I even thought, thinking way ahead into the future, that since we had fields that were bound to converge (I wanted to take on as my project for grad-school studies of race in Afro-Latino societies and cultures) you would be an ally, even if we didn’t wholly agree.

    “An overall understanding of racism thus needs must be approached via the intellect and via indirect experience. Direct experience of it, while giving one an emotional impetus….”

    The luxury of experiencing race only indirectly was not afforded to me. I don’t have it. Asking me to divorce this experience from my understanding of it is like asking me to amputate a limb and partially blind myself. And to what end? So that we will all be on “level” playing fields in this discussion of race?

    We’re talking in terms of rationality, but how do you RATIONALIZE race. You yourself have spoken about the arbitrariness of racial categorization. It’s a “legal fiction”.

    In the end Thad, however, I will have to concede. I will have to compromise and dilute my experience to make it palatable to white anti-racists. Because at the end of the day, you can decide to drop the whole “anti-racist” thing and enjoy your white, middle-class existence, no matter where you go because, for you, its and ideological identification -- I have no such luxury.

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  26. @Jerome
    "I will not be complicit to this “compromise” agenda or, at the very least, I’m not adopting it as my own. I’ve seen where it goes and I’m not impressed."

    Where does it go, Jerome? Where has any sort of "compromise agenda", as you call it, been effectuated in national politics in the last 30 years?There is no compromise: there's a ROUT going on.

    What you Yanks have is a white far right that is driving all before them. They have raped affirmative action. They have disenfranchised black voters. They have placed more black men in prison than apartheid South Africa. This wasn't created by "compromise", Jerome: it was created by a thorough-going rout of the anti-racists. The one small victory the anti-racist movement can more-or-less point to in the last decade is getting Obama elected and that ocurred IN SPITE OF the anti-racist movement.

    Or do you not recall that up until around July of 2008, Obama "wasn't black enough" for many people?

    As for you being white, Jerome, I think I'm confusing you with another commentator from Abagond. I've had this sort of debate with so many well-meaning white boys over there that I'm afraid you just blurred in with them. If that's the case, forgive me.

    Regarding your point, you ask "How can I show you proof of this? How do you want me to measure it?"

    Precisely. It's immeasureable and subjective. It certainly exists, but you're trying to treat it as if it were measureable and objective, at least among people of the proper racial background. To say that it is subjective is not the same thing as saying that it is isolated or individualistic: it is saying that it can only be apprehended through the leap of faith and intuition that lies at the bottom of empathy. You seem to be saying that this sort of empathic leap is not necessary among, say, black people and that it is at the same time impossible for white people.

    It's that presumption I object to, not the casting of racism as a social object, or even the belief that most white people could care less about it. It's the belief that belonging to a certain group allows you to naturally and wholistically apprehend this thing and that NOT belonging to a certain group forever means that one is lacking in apprehension.

    To me, this argument echoes German romantic notions of kultur and the "spirit of a people" which I deeply disagree with , given that they try to objectify the ineffable. And, practically, I see this thing getting brought up whenever a person from the "out" group makes a logical point that a person from the "in" group can't or doesn't want to refute, and yet doesn't like. That's when you hear this sort of "you can't understand me because you aren't me" rhetoric, and very rarely in any other situation.

    "How can I show you what it means to be black in America OUTSIDE of the social and economic ramifications of it that even most people still deny?"

    Write a book. You say it can't be done, but a lot of people have, in fact, done it. Fanon, for instance.

    .....

    ReplyDelete
  27. ...[comments to Jerome continued]...

    You're the one arguing that this experience can't be understood unless it's experienced, man, not me. I'm arguing that ALL experience is either understandable through empathy and learning or it is not and we are ultimately alone. I believe that the first option offers more to us and so as long as I'm going to take things on faith, I'd rather go that route. Either human experience is indeed one or it's hopelessly fragmented. You can't logically argue that it goes only so far and no further, which is what you do when you claim certain experiences are only accessable to the "right" kind of people.

    "Can I communicate how I feel when I hear about sites like Niggermania?"

    You obviously do, so you seem to be undercutting your own belief that you can't.

    "Race isn’t that simple. I agree! But it’s more than “social exclusion”. THAT is reductionist."

    I think that you need to take a deeper look at social exclusion theory if the first thing that springs to your mind when you hear it is "high school cliques". Race was indeed invented as a disposition of power to create and enforce social exclusion. It really has no independent existence outside of that history, although it is such a deeply rooted and powerful disposition that it often seems as if it were independent of human volition.

    The urge to socially excude may indeed be human and universal, but there's nothing universal or essentially human about using ethnicity - reified as race - to do it.

    As for dogma.... Look, when you hold to the idea that something needs must be, not because you have proof of it, but because it fulfills an ideological need, then you are being dogmatic. The idea that black Americans somehow "understand" racism on a level that's not accessible to other Americans because they have been victimized by racism is a dogma. There is no proof at all that this is the case. It's something that's repeated and repeated and repeated until it's acccepted as true. either you accept it or you don't and pronto! It's like Catholics and the miracle of transubstantiation.

    ....

    ReplyDelete
  28. ...[comments to Jerome]...


    My question to you isn't an attempt to shut you down: it's an attempt to get you to think about this issue without having to support your thoughts the crutch of dogma. To think about it based on what we can PROVE, not on what we can rhetorically assert or FEEL to be true. So if you're going to build a theory of race which postulates some sort of ineffable linkage between black people based on experience, you need to quantify or at least qualify this linkage. Many writers have been able to do this, but they do it by defining very clearly the groups they are talking about. You're not going to be able to do it by presuming that blacks everywhere - or even all black Americans - share a common experience when dealing with racism. It's beautiful political rhetoric, but obviously weak science and logic. If you're attempting to build a theory that talks to anyone other than people who already agree with you, then you can't support it on faith- or politics-based rhetorical crutches.

    Now if all you want to do is be a politicain, the skies the limit. Bullshit away!

    And dude, I'm 43. Up until about 8 years ago, I would have TOTALLY agreed with your postulates. So it's not that I don't understand them, it's that I've found them to be insufficient when looking at race outside a very strict U.S. black-and-white framework. And they don't even deal very well with some U.S. black-and-white realities at that.

    "The luxury of experiencing race only indirectly was not afforded to me."

    But why do you seem to presume that it was afforded to me? Or that it's afforded to all white people, in general? As for "divorcing yourself" from your subjective experiences, who's saying anything of the sort is needed? What I AM saying is that you shouldn't presume that your subjective experience creates "natural" understanding with some people and blocks it with others. That's my point and I've made it quite clearly, several times.

    The fact that I say this and you hear "divorce yourself from your subjective experience" is, to me, a good indication of how dogma and rhetoric direct racial discourses. I mean,it seems to me that you're not even engaging with what I'm saying, but instead seem to be looking for a way to cast my words as an easily dismissable meme so that you don't need to think about them anymore.

    .....

    ReplyDelete
  29. [...final comments to Jerome...]


    The reason why this sort of blindering of oneself with rhetoric and dogma is bad is not because it prevents "a level playing field", but because it pushes one to opperate on assumptions that are manifestly untrue - untrue enough that any reasonably intelligent person can suss them out as bullshit (in Frankfurt's sense of the word: not a lie, but not the truth, simply discourse designed to create a given emotional impact). This is what Wise and Jensen are doing and the righteousness of their preaching is blinding them to the fact that they are not causing anything like the effect that they desire. But, of course, the are pure, so I guess that's good enough for them.

    I don't think you should dilute or compromise your experience to make it palatable to white anti-racists. I DO think that you should not presume that said people need to VALIDATE your experiences in order for you to work with them. You want them to have empathy with you, and yet you simultaneously believe that they are constitutionally incapable of it. How, then, do you want them to act, precisely? You seem to want a utopia where the bottom line for any sort of discussion or alliance is complete agreement with your principals and beliefs beforehand. You're never going to get that.

    As for my "white middle class existence"... First of all, I'll lay you dollars to donuts it's a lot less cushy than those of the vast majority of commentators on Abagond. Secondly, you say "white middle class existence" as if this were somehow homogenous and unrelated in any way to race. Both Malcolm X and MLK made very good arguments that this is not the case: there is no way to drop "race", no matter if one is white or not.

    Now, if you want to argue that I don't have to engage in discussions with sincere, ideologically-motivated black, white and brown youths who've seen some nasty racist shit in their lives... Jerome, I'm a social science professor in one of the most dangerous and racist urban environments on Earth - a place which makes Baltimore and New Orleans look positively calm by comparison. I suppose I COULD destroy my career, walk away from my wife and family and go off somewhere and live without ever thinking of this topic again, but I wouldn't be anything approximating middle-class after that and I CERTAINLY wouldn't be living a comfortable or carefree existence.

    What you don't seem to grasp is that I was the kind of guy who'd mouth the dogmas Wise and Jensen mouth up until about 8 years ago. In fact, whjen dealing with undergrads, I still mostly mouth these dogmas because I have nothing better to give them as yet. It would be MUCH more comfortable for me to just cruise along with whatever the main trends are in pop anti-racist and never contradict them. That's the way to gain acceptance and tenure in my field, not publically pointing out the Emperor's inappropriate attire.

    So I find it kind of funny that you think "being comfortable" means ignoring this issue. Being comfortable, in my job, means nodding my head at pretty much everything young activist people like youself say and never contradicting them, at least when it comes to the "right" causes and political positions - of which critical-race theory based race critique is one.

    WHEW!

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  30. @ Jerome

    This is all I'll say.

    You can insist on ideological purity, continue to remain defiant and uncompromising, refuse to "kowtow to anyone's ego," and overall remain a feisty and resolved anti-racist warrior.

    Fair enough, and knock yourself out.

    Just know that your approach won't exactly do much other than win the approval of those who already agree with you in the first place. And just know that there won't exactly be any positive changes that result from your approach.

    And as for your whole "I'm just trying to reclaim my humanity" angle, well, that's exactly what I'm talking about when I say that radical anti-racists just don't have a clue when it comes to changing white people.

    This whole false dilemma advanced by Robert Jensen about how "you can either be white or a human being, but not both" is pure silliness.

    Yeah, that's the ticket to getting whites to join you! Say that they're not truly human and that they're all deluded freaks, and then scream at them about how much they benefit from "white privilege." Sure, that'll work.

    Jerome, your heart seems to be in the right place, but you might want to reconsider the strategy you're pursuing. If you're just doing this for yourself, fair go.

    But if you actually want to fight injustice and create a better society, then you ought to familiarize yourself with some more world history and power politics.

    And sorry, Jerome, but your approach hardly puts you on the outs with most dogmatic anti-racists. I read you, Macon D, and Tim Wise, and I'm essentially seeing the same thing.

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  31. Two concepts I've recently come to believe generally say very little:

    "White privilege".

    "The objectification of women."

    In my experience, 9 out of 10 people who use these terms don't do it because they have a good idea of what they are talking about: they do it to gain rhetorical points.

    Are you in an argument with a man? Claim that he's supporting the objectification of women and that he's not aware of it because he's a man.

    In an argument with someone white? Claim that they are hiding behind white privilege and don't realize it because they are white.

    Note that you don't have to have any coherent idea as to what constitutes "privilege" or "objectification" in order to perform this rhetorical manuever. If anyone asks what you mean by those terms, look at them condescendingly and claim that they're lost in a Eurocentric (or masculinist) worldview which prioritizes so-called "logic" and "rational thought" which, by their very nature, excludes blacks (or women).

    And try to ignore the fact that you've just essentially agreed with the main point of every masculinist and racist out there: that blacks and/or women are constitutionally incapable of using logic or rationality....

    ReplyDelete
  32. @ Thad

    Yeah, TIm Wise does the exact same thing. In one of his articles, he went on some bizarre rant about how the origins of white racism can be tied back to ancient Greece and the belief in logic and rational thought that excludes emotion.

    Also, according to some reviewers of his autobiography on Amazon, he wrote about how white education is so centered on this obsession with "seeing both sides of the picture" and "rationality," without taking into account how the oppression of other groups makes this type of debate conform to oppression.

    And as the reviewer pointed out, this demonstrates Wise's arrogance because he presumes that blacks are incapable of seeing both sides of the picture or thinking rationally.

    Well, who knows? This could just be Wise's overall arrogance. Even certain black anti-racists I've spoken to on the internet who agree with many of his views acknowledge that he's often a sanctimonious and overbearing prick.

    But to get back to the main point, I think this is one of the main reasons why so few whites get involved in these discussions. Yes, many of them don't give two hoots about these issues, and others are white nationalists/supremacists.

    But honestly speaking, who's going to want to participate in a conversation or movement where anything they say (that contradicts what blacks believe, that is) is going to be dismissed as racism, white privilege, eurocentrism, etc?

    Who's going to want to stick around just so they can get further harangued and denounced as oppressive and privileged? Especially when many of the people doing the yelling and screaming live nice, middle/upper middle class lives?

    And why are they going to want to stick around when these anti-racist types assign moral standards to them that they themselves are neither willing nor able to follow?

    For example, I don't see Abagond losing sleep over his sexism or homophobia. I didn't see any of the upper middle class black males at my high school lose any sleep over the fact that they could purchase relatively cheap white t's and other cool clothing due to 3rd world sweatshop labor. I don't see most of the Asian students at my college losing sleep over the Israeli evil that the U.S. is complicit in, or the destructive wars that this country has launched. Etc.

    I think that, at the very least, these anti-racist types need to learn a thing or two about human nature. Because as of now, they seem to think that screaming "white privilege," "eurocentrism," and "all whites are responsible for the maintenance of racism," and then expecting whites to sit down, stfu, and unquestioningly agree with what they say, is a viable strategy.

    Sorry, but expecting white people to drop everything they're doing just to hear you out, and then hoping that yelling at them enough will get them to agree with you is just pure silliness.

    ReplyDelete
  33. And Jerome, just so you know, I'm not even necessarily addressing YOU, per se.

    My critique is primarily targeted towards these Abagond, Tim Wise, and Robert Jensen types.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I think that one can indeed critique western rationality for objectivism and for presuming a mind/body/heart divide. The problem, however, isn't critiquing that: it's coming up with something better.

    Usually when someone starts in on a rant regarding how positivism is horribly racist and based upon all these ethnocentric and sexist assumptions and yada yada yada, it's not because they have a better philosophical structure than positivism: it's because someone has bested them at thinking rationally. The very same people will cheerfully use positivist thought when its precepts SUPPORT their arguments.

    Generally, what someone is saying when they give that sort of rap is "My entirely made-up facts are as valid as your supported facts. I just don't want to have to do the work of supporting my arguments, so I'll call 'foul' if you support yours."

    And while this person is poo-pooing science and rationality, their entire life - right down to the tools they're using to make their points and send them across the ether - is entirely based on those precepts.

    Positivism can and should be critiqued, but it takes a lot of work to get something better than it in place. In anthropology, Johannes Fabian is one of the handful of people who are able to do this with some degree of success.

    Fabian's solution to the impasses of positivism is to pay more careful attention to dialogue and ambiguity.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I think that human beings in general are intellectually dishonest. When certain logic serves them in an argument, they'll use that logic, but when it contradicts their views, they'll denounce that kind of logic.

    And in high school, the types of students who would ramble on about how certain subjects were pointless, how does this contribute to our development, what is the reasoning for this, etc.

    More often than not, they just didn't want to do the assignment.

    ReplyDelete
  36. “I suppose I COULD destroy my career, walk away from my wife and family and go off somewhere and live without ever thinking of this topic again, but I wouldn't be anything approximating middle-class after that and I CERTAINLY wouldn't be living a comfortable or carefree existence.”
    Yes. You could. And you wouldn’t be comfortable, but you’d still be light years ahead of a black man who did the same thing. See what I’m saying?

    “But why do you seem to presume that it was afforded to me? Or that it's afforded to all white people, in general? As for "divorcing yourself" from your subjective experiences, who's saying anything of the sort is needed? What I AM saying is that you shouldn't presume that your subjective experience creates "natural" understanding with some people and blocks it with others. That's my point and I've made it quite clearly, several times.”

    So you mean that we can have a conversation, and I can simply explain to you how shitty it feels to wake up every morning with the clear understanding that there is a world of people waiting to shit on me for no other reason than the color of my skin (and even if this empirically (read: measurably/manifestly) untrue, I still contend that I’ve been made to FEEL that way) and you can make that “intuitional leap” that empathy provides and actually be angry WITH me, knowing that, for my life to change significantly, various important aspects of yours must inevitably change as well? And I’m to believe that you can do this in spite of the patently self-involvedness characteristic of human beings in general? How much are you willing to give up for those black and brown youths you school every day?

    And for the LOVE of all that is holy STOP comparing/relating me to Tim Wise and Robert Jensen. The former I only know because he spoke at my school (and NO I didn’t run to him like he was the second coming – quite the contrary I had issues with some of his message) and the latter I’ve never even heard of before you mentioned him. By the by, both of you mention them as though you’ve undergone some kind of anti-dogmatic dogma training. If you were to ideologically align me with anyone try: Jared Sexton, Frank Wilderson, Hortense Spillers, David Hollinger, Loic Wacquant,
    Pascoe, Bonilla-Silva, etc.

    By the by, I havent spoken of white privilege nor have I discussed the objectification of women. See in the latter, I normally step back because it’s not my place to determine whether or not what a woman feels is really, truly chauvanistic male oppression. See how easy that is?

    And I guess at the mentioning of Positivism its my queue to bow out. I’m not afraid of the conversation, but its become positively clear that my insistence of an emotional realm of experience will be met with derisive commentary. I can't convince you that it exists and you cant convince me that it doesn't. Maybe I'm just too close to subject? Heh.

    So here’s the question of the day, I suppose: What was the nature of the event that forced a sudden epiphany 8 years ago?

    ReplyDelete
  37. @Jerome
    "... the objectification of women... I normally step back because it’s not my place to determine whether or not what a woman feels is really, truly chauvanistic male oppression. See how easy that is?

    I don't, and I'm think I've had a lot of experience of being objectified. If you wanted to listen, I think I'd be capable of discussing it without insisting that my female word is worth more than your male one. The facts are good enough. I wouldn't insult your intelligence and deliberately short-circuit the discussion by saying you haven't lived it so you'll never understand.





    @Random Guy, I don't think anti-racists who want whites to "work" at being anti-racist care all that much about getting whites to agree with them.
    So many anti-racist blogs posts sound just like my racist aunt in Australia endlessly moaning about "Asians" and how they're taking over the country and they take undersized fish and they can't drive blah blah blah. The difference is that when my racist aunt complains about Asians in Australia it's embarrassingly uncouth, but when a black US American does it about whites it's critical race theory. A blog post about office politics becomes a much circulated, well-respected trope called "white woman's tears".

    ReplyDelete
  38. @ KaterinaBlum

    I agree that many anti-racists don't actually care about what many white people think.

    But at the same time, they lament the inability of white people to "deconstruct their whiteness" as well as lament the supposed lack of humanity among whites.

    Also, a major problem is that Tim Wise types spend all this time advertising how they work to educate whites on how to be less racist, and yet their rhetoric and strategies don't do a lick of good when it comes to actually fighting racism and inequality.

    As various people can attest, Wise's rhetoric (and the rhetoric of other anti-racists for that matter) simply falls on deaf white ears, in spite of Wise's supposed expertise on white people.

    (just so you know, I frequently bring up Wise because his style of anti-racism seems to predominate among most anti-racists, black or white. I know Jerome thinks it's unfair that I lump him in with Wise, and regards it as a strawman on my part. But when I read what most anti-racists have to say, it tends to be a reduplication of Tim Wise)

    It's also hard to take people like Wise seriously. While he spends all this time agonizing over his "white privilege" and the ongoing struggle to "unmake his whiteness," he continues to reside in a comfortable house worth over 600K, and collect handsome speaking fees while many Americans have to worry about losing their homes.

    Something just tells me that most white people, particularly middle class and below, won't want to be lectured on how "privileged" they are by someone like him.

    I guess you could say the point I'm trying to make is that in spite of their claims that they're trying to fight racism and injustice, and teach whites to be less racist, these anti-racists are not doing a very good job.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Dear Mrs Da Silva and dear Mr Blanchette,
    I'm sorry to bother you here but I couldn't find another way to reach you. I am a third-year-student at the University of Brighton, UK, studying Tourism Management and am doing an important project for one of my classes, contemporary issues of tourism. I came across your article called 'Sexual Tourism and Social Panics: Research and Intervention in Rio de Janeiro' which was published in the Souls magazine last year. I can't purchase it only so I was wondering if you could forward me the article via e-mail?

    I would be grateful for an answer,
    best regards from the UK;

    Isabel Grendel

    PS: Email-adress: isabelgrendel@yahoo.de

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thaddeus,

    I must say Abagond's blog is a much less interesting place without you.

    I'll add though that I think the reason you got banned is a little different to your theory. My guess is you just tried Abagond's patience too much by being overly confrontational towards other commenters over a sustained period of time. You acted like this to almost all of us on the blog at some point or another. Maybe only once towards me, but I remember not enjoying the experience.

    As I've said to you previously, I have a lot of respect for most of your ideas. There is certainly a bit of bullshit going on Abagond's blog sometimes, either from him or from commenters, and I admire that you had no compunctions in calling them on it.

    But I had a strong feeling for a while that you were going to get banned, because of the tendency for your arguments to get pretty unpleasant. The reason I suggested a couple of times that you pull your head in a bit was that the abrasive style of your comments was overshadowing the good sense contained within them. And I figured that if it led to you being banned it would be a victory for the more extreme ideas that some were fostering.

    I think Abagond tries to be intellectually honest and I doubt he banned you because you were challenging him. That said, I can't help but feel that some other commenters got away with far worse, and I wonder how much that has to do with Abagond's own unconscious prejudices. Case in point is the post in which he ludicrously believed that our indignation about Natasha & Witchsistah's aggressiveness was due to our prejudices towards black women!

    While I won't miss your occasionally over-long comments and occasionally patronising tone, I can sincerely say that I was saddened by your banning.

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  41. Let me just clarify one point here...

    I'm not arguing that "white privilege" and "the objectification of women" don't exist: they most certainly do.

    The problem is that these two terms get used as placeholders in conversations to discredit opposing views without regards to whether or not what's happening is based on objectification or privilege. They've sort of become "universal argument solvent". And in so doing, they've made it much harder to actually see real objectification and/or privilege.

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  42. Sure, Isabel! I'll shoot you a copy of the article as soon as I get home.

    ReplyDelete
  43. @Jerome,

    I've been thinking about your dilema today and it strikes me. You claim that I don't know what it's like to be black. That's true.

    But do you?

    I mean, you know what it's like to be a certain kind of person who is black. You have a certain kind of experience with life that you can call "a black experience". But your experience is not THE black experience. There IS no singular, unified or wholistic black experience.

    Most of what you would call "being black" you have to access the same way I do: through listening, reading and empathy. You do not know what it is like, for example, to watch a lynching. Nor do you probably know what it's like to have the KKK fire at your house, unless you are a very rare person. (Ironically enough, I DO know what it's like to have the KKK fire at me, however.)You don't know what it's like to be forced to use seperate wash facilities or seperate hotels, to be prohibited from being in certain cities after the sun goes down, etc. etc.

    You DO know what it's like to be discriminated against. But then again, so do a lot of non-black people. You talk about how shitty it feels to wake up with a world full of people waiting to shit on you because of the color of your skin. However, there are plenty of people who get shit upon because they carry around difference markers. Women, just to name one group, know the feeling of waking up to a world where they'll be shit upon just because they have a vagina. Gay men know the feeling of living in a world where they are shit upon because of their sexual preference (and PLEASE do not give me that old conservative, masculinist black saw that "gays can hide". "Passing", even when it is an option, carries its own psychological burdens, as African American literature can well attest to.)

    So it seems to me that your situation - waking up and feeling that the world is against you just because you happen to carry a difference marker that is stigmatized - is not an exclusively, ineffably, black feeling.

    Nor are many typical black American experiences - like the ones I mentioned above - things which you can relate to from your own life.

    So really, Jerome, this "you can't understand me because you aren't exactly like me" stuff is pretty jejune.

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  44. @Jerome, again...

    Now, you say that for your life to change, my life needs to significantly change.

    Let's take that out of the realm of empty rhetoric and try to imagine it in real life, Jerome. What needs to change, exactly, about my life for yours to change? How are you imagining this transformation? What do I have which you simply cannot have?

    Secondly, you ask what I give to those black and brown students of mine... Jerome, what do YOU give to the vast majority of people in this world whom your nation exploits? I mean fair is fair: you're an American university student: that's hardly an unprivileged position, friend. 4 years from now, you're going to be out and making more cash than the vast majority of Brazilians could ever hope to see. As long as we're talking about things that need to change in the world in order for there to be justice, let's not forget that, African American or not, simply as a college-educated citizen of the U.S., you are sitting much nearer to the top of a pyramid of privilege than the vast majority of people in the world.

    So as long as we're going to be spreading stuff around, how about taking some more of those well-paying U.S. jobs and spreading them our way and over to India and China? I mean, fair is fair, right? :D

    Re: Wise and Jensen, I'm not comparing you to them. Sorry if that seems to be the case. I do indeed enjoy Loic Waquant. He's an ex-prof of mine (taught some mini courses here in Rio). But he'd be the very FIRST person to tell you to avoid making presumptions about social realities and how they play out based on one or even a series of identity markers.

    Regarding "stepping back because it's not your place to determine", then white people are more then justified from stepping back from racism, right? :D You seem to confuse having an opinion and engaging in dialogue with having the power to determine. I barely have the power to pay my rent, so I'm hardly a person who has to worry about "determining" anything for women, blacks, or anyone else. This week I got to see who does that determining, however, at a government conference in Belo Horizonte. Let me tell you: it isn't underpaid anthropology profs.

    My comments regarding positivism aren't meant to deride or deny an emotional realm of existence. My point is, once you decide that you are the one who determines how the universe works, according to your humors, where does it end? What's the difference in such a world between fantasy and reality? Like I said, I think it's perfectly OK to critique positivism, but that means coming up with something that works BETTER. If your only critique is "I don't like positivism because it gets in the way of my asserting fancy as fact", then there's a problem.

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  45. @ES,

    While I agree that I can project a patronizing tone, it amazes me that one the one hand I'm being castigated here for being too coldly positivistic and ignoring the emotional and subjective dimensions of human experience and, on the other, I'm being taken to task for reacting emotionally. :D

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  46. Hi Thad,

    I was busy at the time you were ostracised, so I didn't really follow what was going on.

    You were naughty, I guess. You knew what was about to happen but you did it anyway, so I guess you asked it for yourself. But you are a strong lad and I am sure you're cool with this.

    We all know you were a major pain in the ass, but I do think you were a valuable commenter. :) All in all, Abagond's blog is not going to be the same without you, and we all know it. If nothing else, people won't have any chance to agree on how annoying you are.

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  47. @Thad

    Hmm.... definitely food for thought. I've always tried not to quantify suffering and so I stay away from conversations that compares one oppressed group's opression to another's. I don't fully agree (I do think that black people share the status and stigma of being "black" in this society) but I do think I'm gaining some understanding into the way you perhaps approach race. We don't come from the same place in regards to race, but that doesn't mean we can't be civil. You fight your fight, and I will fight mine. It could be worse: you could decide that you don't give two shits about these colored folk (which, consequently, I think is an ever-present crisis when whites enter into these spaces -- it's happened before in the Civil Rights movement and then again in the 80s when those 70's activists decided to not be so "radical" and history has a habit of repeating itself). But I'm not worried about that. I'm through with coalition-building. While I try to hold hope for the future of this race issue, I'm decidedly pessimistic about it.


    Still never answered my question though: what happened 8 years ago? What induced the epiphany? One too many "STFU white boy" comments?

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  48. Don't worry, Mira! They'll quickly find someone else to dislike. Abagond's posting crowd often acts like the cool kids at a high school lunch table: if they can't bitch about someone, they soon discover that they have nothing, really, in common and needs must start bitching about each other.

    And you're right, I'm totally cool with my ban. A year was enough. 8)

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  49. @Jerome,

    Regarding sharing the stigma and status of being black, you should really take a gander at Eugene Robinson's new book. Robinson postulates that there are now at least four black America's, with precious little in common.

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  50. As for the question "what happened 8 years ago"?, it wasn't a great epiphany or a sudden change. Its base was simply more and more knowledge about how race has been historically constructed, especially outside the U.S. black/white axis. The position I'd grown up on stated the following postulates:

    1) Racism was based on white supremacy.

    2) As such, all "people of color" had a common experience in facing racism.

    3) Whites were universally beneficiaries of racism.

    What I began to discover was that racism was actually originally based on religious supremacy and then morphed over to white supremacy, a change which took quite some time and was never really complete (witness white racists views of the Jews, frex); that racism was very flexible and multi-faceted and had created different forms of race relations everywhere, so that what was taboo in one place was mandatory in another and vice versa; and that many if not most of the people today called "white" were mostly not considered to be such during the heydey of racism and social darwinism in the second half of the 19th century. In other words, white trash was not considered to be racially supreme and many laws and dispositions were created to keep white trash in its proper place.

    I was happy to endure "STFU white boy" comments back when I thought that the people making them actually had a fairly decent grasp of race history in general. Still am happy to endure them when it comes from folks who do. But knowing what I now know, I'm not interested any more in potentializing peoples' fantasies about race, especially when they tend (as they so often do) to go blithely traipsing down the primrose path of fascism.

    Paul Gilroy's discussion of the fascist and authoritarian tendencies in much Pan Africanist thought really opened my eyes up, there. I'm not interested anymore in pretending that 19th century German romantic views of "the essence of peoples" are somehow ancient African wisdom.

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  51. Jerome, what do YOU give to the vast majority of people in this world whom your nation exploits? I mean fair is fair: you're an American university student: that's hardly an unprivileged position, friend. 4 years from now, you're going to be out and making more cash than the vast majority of Brazilians could ever hope to see. As long as we're talking about things that need to change in the world in order for there to be justice, let's not forget that, African American or not, simply as a college-educated citizen of the U.S., you are sitting much nearer to the top of a pyramid of privilege than the vast majority of people in the world.

    I think this is another reason why it's hard to take all this agony over "privilege," particularly coming from middle/upper middle class, college educated anti-racists, seriously.

    Though they OCCASIONALLY do give lip service to the evils of U.S. imperialism and the evil actions of the American empire, I don't exactly see these people losing much sleep over their middle/upper middle class status. I don't see them losing much sleep over the fact that the white phosphorus shells that Israel fired in Gaza came from the U.S. And while he spends all this time agonizing over his whiteness and the inability to fully shed his white privilege, I don't exactly see Tim Wise losing sleep over the fact that he lives in a nice home worth over 600K, which is more "privilege" than most Americans, much less most people in the world, enjoy.

    And many of the "people of color" that I know, or have known (Asian, Hispanic, or black) don't exactly lose much sleep over the fact that they can purchase cool clothing relatively cheap due to 3rd world sweatshop labor.

    You get the point.

    And yet, even impoverished white Americans, or gay white Americans, are supposed to drop everything they're doing in order to "critique their whiteness" on behalf of black people.

    As I've said before, the problem is that these Abagond types assign moral standards to whites that they themselves don't follow, or are unable/unwilling to follow.

    So honestly, why should whites be expected to listen to the Abagond's and Ank Mie's of the world?

    They don't exactly agonize over any of their "privileges" or the evil that's being done to others not related to race. In fact, as you've pointed out Thad, I doubt they even think too much about it.

    And I'll be perfectly honest. I live a middle-upper middle class lifestyle, am attending a good college, and live in a safe and comfortable environment. I also happen to know more about U.S. evil in the world than most Americans.

    And yet even I'm not exactly losing a ton of sleep over this. Even though I think about these issues, these evils don't exactly take a toll on my everyday conscience.

    Does that make me a monster? Does this mean I have a wicked psyche? No, I'm just going about my daily life and doing my thing. As are most of the American students at my college, white, Asian, brown, and black, unless they happen to be passionate about issues that DIRECTLY AFFECT THEM.

    That's why I agree with Thad when he says we need to stop looking at the problems of racism and injustice from a psychoanalyst perspective (ie. rants about the tortured psyche of whites), and instead look at this more from a banality of evil perspective.

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  52. I would say that one of the things I've learned, RG, is that it's worthwhile for me to critique whiteness not on the behalf of black, brown or whatever people, but on the behalf of MYSELF. Ditto with critiquing masculinity.

    And that means that I'm not overly concerned anymore with how people FEEL about my critique, I'm more interested in what they THINK about it. Unlike Wise, I'm not critiquing whiteness because I feel that I need to stretch a hand out to poor, oppressed victims because I'm so privileged and powerful. I know that I am not powerful and that the "privileges" I have are actually pretty minimal in the overall scheme of things.

    As I've said on Abagond's blog, I think that people who rely on "privilege" discourse often don't have a good understanding of what privilege really is. I mean, take Jerome's comment that I need to "lose privileges" in order for his life to become better.

    Well, what privileges are these that I'm supposed to lose, exactly, and how are they going to map over to making his life better?

    I'm sure Jerome has a series of answers on the tip of his tongue and I'm equally sure that all of those answers are pretty abstract. Most of that so-called list of privileges that was posted on Abagond either don't apply to me or are not privileges to begin with.

    Here's one privilege: cops are generally going to give me a pass in the U.S. where they might not Jerome. But that's a real shaky "privilege", being that cops generally HAVEN'T given me a pass in the past. One of the jokes that Ana and I constantly share is that while we were in DC, she was a lot less "suspect" than me in the eyes of the cops.

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  53. Thad said:

    "I would say that one of the things I've learned, RG, is that it's worthwhile for me to critique whiteness not on the behalf of black, brown or whatever people, but on the behalf of MYSELF. Ditto with critiquing masculinity."

    That you are even critiquing it says tons.

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  54. @ Thad

    Good point. I don't have a problem with white people critiquing themselves for their OWN development.

    But if they're doing it out of some martyrdom complex like Tim Wise, then I just shake my head.

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  55. By the way, Thad, what exactly about you makes you "suspect"?

    Is it the beard? Because I have facial hair as well. I haven't yet had any serious encounter with a cop, but for future reference, maybe I should drop the beard! ;-)

    Maybe it's the leather jacket.

    Well, I'll let you answer.

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  56. Thad sez...

    @RG
    As far as we could tell, it was a combination of things.

    The beard, the leather jacket, the jeans and the big black backpack (filled with research materials) were bad enough. What really tipped it over, however, was the fact that I was a middle-aged white guy dressed this way.

    In Washington D.C., on Capitol Hill.

    I mean, think about it. White guys dressed that way in DC on the Hill aren't supposed to be pushing 40. If they're my age and white, they're either supposed to be in some sort of institutional uniform or in a suit.

    We figured this one out after noticing who it was that always called me "brother" in DC: it was inevitably aging ex-punk types who were bartenders or on the nightshift at pizza places. :D

    When I'd go through security checkpoints, the guards would practically cavity check me.

    Ana, meanwhile, being black and a cute woman, was routinely waved through checkpoints, chatting with the guards all the time.

    Yet another example of how difference markers don't necessarily stack up linearly. Critical race and gender theory would have pointed out Ana as the "suspect" every time, but it doesn't work that way in the real world.

    Ana says that Al Quaeda should start recruiting cute black women. :D

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  57. Interesting.

    I'm curious, was the fact that Ana Paula is a black FOREIGNER (presumably, they could tell Ana was foreign due to her accent) also impact the interactions she had with the (presumably) white American security guards?

    Because I've noticed, based on my personal experience, that many white Americans tend to have a higher opinion of black foreigners than they do of black Americans.

    They see black foreigners as more exotic, more friendly, less hostile, less crude and unsophisticated, etc.

    Mark Mathabane, author of "Kaffir Boy", wrote an article where he talked about how white Americans were more comfortable around him than the average black American. They saw him as less angry, more exotic and sophisticated, and in general regarded him as less of a threat.

    While Ana Paula's attractiveness and the fact that she's a woman played a role, I also think that the fact that she's foreign might have played a role.

    (And just so you know Thad, I'm hardly trying to claim that being a foreigner in the U.S. is easy or that Ana Paula and others don't face difficulties on account of having a passport that's the wrong color. I just think that in the context of black-white interactions in the states, whites do indeed perceive black foreigners differently from black Americans, and in general are more comfortable around black foreigners. Well, at least based on my own observation, and what I've read from black foreigners such as Mark Mathabane)

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  58. Also, I'm aware that these notions of foreigners being "exotic" is based on American ethnocentrism, and even if complementary, these notions of "exoticness" can be patronizing and offensive.

    That wasn't the message I was trying to convey, just so you know.

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  59. I had to put in my two sense here because I'm sure arguments like the one that you an Jerome are having happen frequently and as it so happens I was having an argument like this the other day with a friend of mine.

    How much does personal experience count in one persons understanding of a situation?
    I want to understand your view.

    Because if I understand your logic/argument personal first hand experience are of limited value because they are subjective and are not universal?

    Am I misunderstanding?

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  60. I wanted to ask first before I got into my syllogism and not argue against something that may or may not have been apart of your actual argument.

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  61. "Don't worry, Mira! They'll quickly find someone else to dislike. Abagond's posting crowd often acts like the cool kids at a high school lunch table: if they can't bitch about someone, they soon discover that they have nothing, really, in common and needs must start bitching about each other."

    It's sad, but I get the sense that this is all too true.
    Many in the anti-racist crowd are sustained by righteous indignation at perceived racism or ideological incorrectness. I was like this in my younger days at university. They need a target for their righteous anger, and when an obvious target (eg. no_slappz) isn't around anymore, they instinctively start looking for new ones among those who they would in other situations consider allies.

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  62. Hi there,

    I read your post and was wondering if you have any sort of evidence that Menelik stalks women on the Internet. You make a lot of claims yet haven't provided any links or substantial evidence to support what you say. can you point me to a place where he has made distasteful comments about black women that would potentially turn his daughter off when she becomes of age to understand?

    Appreciate it...

    Thanks

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  63. you got banned because you are a fucking asshole

    you live in santa teresa and think anything north or south of you is beneath you

    you dont represent brazil, you are one person living in brazil with your little opinion

    your sliding biology rule about racism is like telling a black person facing getting hit in the head with a racist bat , that it isnt really solid. and biology and physics say it is made up of atoms so it isnt really a solid object.

    and you may be married to a brazilian black woman, but you dont know how to talk to american black woman. you are still just a midwestern white boy rocker.

    you dont even know what black culture is or where it came from

    go suck on a mop

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  64. and you are fucking bullshitting everyone about what happened on abagonds forum

    he cut you a break every step of the way. you got away with murder because he liked you. its not because you attacked some of his points of veiw.

    its because you came in there to not be civil, you even said that. you came in to fuck with people and take shit out on black people because some black nationalists nearly kicked your ass up in salvador.

    you were the king of ad hominems on abagond. you made the stupidest assumtions about people. you alianated person after person with bullshit hidden under your so called attack on dogma

    please spare me how dangerous you think your life is . or your michelle feifer want a be tales about the students hanging up their guns in your classes

    or spare me your "im working class and less provileged.." you are just "working gas"...

    please spare me how you think the cops get after you...fuck you

    you live in a dream world

    please spare me talking in "we" terms , like you are brazilian, and your "you yanks"...man fuck you asshole

    even if you have your passport, you are just one little perons with one little opinion

    and a lot of your opinions about brazil are full of shit and typical of a white academic from rio, with ass backwards veiws of the world and especialy of the usa

    you are just one little mother fucker, dont play like you represent brazil..fuck you

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  65. "professor" here will try to take away your cultural identity with academic smoke and mirrors

    try to hide behind brazil and its sliding rule of who is black and white

    he wont mention its black concience month in brazil, wont tell you of the recent neo nazi activity in rio grande de sul

    i was just in patio de sao pedro in recife for "terca negra" night, and ill tell you there are a lot of black brazilians reaching out for their identity and culture here in brazil

    dont let this bafoon fool you into thinking brazil doesnt have black culture and awareness

    he is sitting in snooty santa tereza with his admitted meteleira wife, who doesnt know her own black culture, enclosed in ivory covered walls of academic ignorance and tunnel vision , hell bent on pushing his biological revelations of telling you that racist bat about to bust your head open is made up of atoms and quarks and isnt really solid material at all

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  66. Thad, I wish you weren't banned. It was really interesting to read your posts on Abagond's blog. I daresay I learnt as much from your comments as I did from Abagond's blog posts, if not more.

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  67. (Eating popcorn)

    You are not even on our radar. You can't go to WAR from "Rio"! London is doing his thing. You already know what I am about ALREADY!

    You will never stop what we do. You got some nerve making references about "us". We won't even talk about the women "in Rio".

    I plan to make a trip soon to see some of these beautiful women. You read the article about black men in "Rio".

    Oh yea, I plan to release "CITY OF GOD" PART 2. It will be dedicated just for you.

    You lying ass coward. Nobody is stalking anybody. Black men can state their opinions about these sellout black women coward!

    Go back to peeing sitting down. We know you are good at that! Be glad you got any "promotion". You need to thank us coward!

    Mr Laurelton Queens

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  68. Miss reading your comments Thad... I'm not actively engaged in the blog world like I used to be, but I still enjoy browsing and reading. Thanks for all your comments, efforts, and willingess to share opinion & knowledge. Agradeço... Foi um prazer. Abraço... - Col O´Luv
    (One Love, One World - Amen)

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  69. Loads of allegations about M Charles but not a single link supporting anything you claimed.

    what gives, man?

    And why no "victims" on here congratulating you on allegedly exposing M Charles?

    I don't get it!

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  70. Actually Thad, nevermind. I wanted to learn something from you but these sock puppets are derailing the discussion. I do think abagond banned you unfairly. You could be a bit snarky in your rebuttals but I don't think you went into ad homiums until they were directed at you. If anything both of you should have been banned. Abagond discussions suck now, they lack intellect and versimillitude.

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  71. It's basically a majority of people who agree with what he says. No one to turn a point on it's head and give a different way of looking at something.

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  72. what are you talking about ?

    this isnt really about charles, that was just the last conflict out of many

    blanchette directed ad homen after ad homen from person to person, patronising them and making huge false asumptions about people trying to peg them , and belittle them .

    and he loved it, that is what he admitted, he didnt come in there to be polite. he does that with his students , acts polite. he came in there to fuck with people, out of some real life conflict he had , so he had to take it out there.that is what you really do on forums anyway.

    and , he got away with a lot more than other people

    he acted like a blow hard , and , subjects he didnt even know about , he tried his same tactics of college dabate semantics and putting people down, rarely addressing their ideas.

    plenty of people plain didnt like him or his tactics, so, i dont know where you are coming from....student of the world

    he go what he deserved

    abagonds forum is a fake situation anyway, if he said the shit to people he said there, hed sure get hit with all the words abagond bans , and he would deserve that

    bullshit is bullshit, i dont care what packedge you wrap it in....fuck wrapping that shit in some academic intellectual packedge,

    he should be man enough to admit he hit below the belt and got what he deserved and not blame charles or abagond

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  73. and all this , " we (brazilians" and "you yanks", "you americans and your wars (as if brazil isnt in a state of war) ", "you gringos "....

    give me a fucking break

    thaddeass doesnt represent brazil

    he is one person with his opinion ...and his agenda

    he cant even tell the people here who ask about black movements in brazil that it is "black awareness month " in brazil

    he wont mention that there was just neo nazi activity in rio grande de sul, just like the racism you can find in the states

    he cant even tell you about black brazilian or american culture because he doesnt beleive it exists

    he is so invested in his theories of no race that he cant see the forest because of the trees

    he actualy has his agende and the more i hear about it, the more i think its skewed, and i dont trust him , or people like him...like noam chompski or ward churchill ( a bogus indian if i ever saw one)

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  74. If you're posting as anonymous I'm not responding to your comment, and anyways Abagond has people who do that anyway who haven't been warned or banned.(Obsidian Files, Menelik Charles, Chuck)
    The only difference is that they never challenged Abagond in a way that brought alot of his points into question. I think thats why he was banned . He stole the show, many times.

    ReplyDelete
  75. They( Obsidian,Menelik, Chuck and others) clutter up the board and derail the discussions, repeatedly, and he still allows them to post. That shit is annoying especially when I'm trying to get other commentators take on the post. Shit depending on what the topic is Obsidian Files is always counted on to attack other commentators and derail the discussion, over and over again. I don't even read the comments anymore. Besides if you hate what the man says so much why are you coming to his blog and doing the exact same thing that you accuse him of? It seems like a waste of time. And I don't exactly agree with a lot of what Thad says either, I don't disagree with it per se, I just find it interesting, it makes me think. I used to find Abagond interesting.

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  76. gee whiz, "student of the world"...looks like you are anonymous also..it just wouldnt make a differance if i gave my name or not

    hate blachette, haha, i dont hate blanchette,i dont wish him and his lovely wife any personal harm. i just dont trust him as far as i can throw a bus with my hands tied behind my back .

    and , he runs a lot of bullshit that needs to be called.and i mean needs to be called on very badly

    like trying to make like abagond resented what he said about him. abagond loved thad, he cut him a break every step of the way. but thad just alienated person after person , how quickly you pro thadders forget.

    but , his bullshit runs way deeper than that.he wraps himself snugly in the corner of the academic ivory towers in rio, where fellow intellects can rail against the usa, and , his racial veiws strongly align with the white brazilians who dont want quotas , and, try to hide behind the sliding scale of racial identity in brazil, trying to say racism is so differant in brazil because you cant really define who is black and who is white...

    bullshit !!while brazil should never feel the need to copy the american style of racial dynamic , go into the prisons and compare the racial makeup with who is waiting in the gates for airline travel, who are in the universities, who is in the congress.he withholds information about brazil and its racial dynamic to try to bullshit gringos about what is happening down in brazil.

    and make no mistake, brazil is in a state of war now, and , while on the surface, it plays out in class, underneath are the racial divisions that the atlantic slave trade has a heavy responsibility for creating

    and this guy will deny there is black culture. because it wont fit into his theories of there is no race.he cant acknowledge parts of brazilian culture that came directly from africa

    he will take cultural identity away from people ,because he is trying to destruct truth and realities to fit into his theories , and dogmas, based on intellectual debates, using semantical twisting to cover truths.

    the truth is, he severly needs to do more reseach on black culture and then re , adjust his theories.

    what these people , you mentioned, are doing, is exactly what thad did , except his below the belt shit was way more viscous , hell, i know natasha could dispatch of these idiots with the swoop of her hand

    and , he really doesnt know how to listen to the black american woman. he lit into various black female posters with out any concern for their need to express themselves on certain issues, all in the name of putting his dogma over theirs.

    becaue he doesnt have the key to the truth any more than they did , just a lot bragadocio academic hot air. just because they didnt read fanon doesnt mean he couldnt listen to what they had to say and sympathise with it and then make his point with a little more tact.but, you realise, part of his purpose was to come in there and belittle black americans .sure , he may do that at stormfront also, because he is a self hating american

    and a little message to any anti american brazilians out there wallowing in their hate , that has been brain washed into them for the last 20 years, so that they just have dislike for anyone american, just because they are american....kiss my ass and try to really understand world history and what really happened and why there was a cold war, and why the idiots who thought communism by way of the soviet union and castro was just hunky dorey, got there heads handed to them on a platter

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  77. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgs5EvXaSQw

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  78. @ Student of the World,

    you really are missing the point, dude! This post is about menelick charles. Thad makes bold, inflammatory, claims about the internet conduct of charles but provides not a single link supporting his claims.

    Strange.

    If you are forgetting, dudy, he constantly demanded you provide evidence to support your arguments, assertions, whatever - because as an anthropologist, this is what is required in order to be taken seriously.

    Menelick nailed him good 'n' proper so he started getting personal and lying about him and his family. He is doing the very same thing here...and again with NO supporting evidence and no groupies alleging victimization at menelick's hands.

    Very scientific, yes? or just plain dishonest?

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  79. http://mrlaureltonqueens.blogspot.com/

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  80. What a fraud! rewriting your lies is not evidence that menelick harasses women. And providing a link stating what he believes is the reason for the failing black family does not constitute evidence since charles himself will readily repeat his argument lol

    We want links/evidence charles harasses women in mixed relationships. This is your main charge. Where's the evidence?!?!?

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  81. I'm late to the party, but I agree strongly with this as well as the two paragraphs that preceded it:

    "In short, many anti-racists tend to end up painting themselves into a corner by presuming that any white person who disagrees with them about anything needs must be effectively the same sort of person as a member of Stormfront or the KKK."

    The same exact critique extends to the discussion around gender, in my opinion.

    It's the result of a combo of Echo-chambering and the shaming of good-faith dissent. This seems especially true on the internet blogs and message boards.

    ReplyDelete
  82. First off, appologies to all for dropping this conversation mid-bounce. Ana and I went up to New Orleans for the annuall American Anthropological Association convention. A post on NO vs RdJ is now in the works!

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  83. Dear RG,
    Most of the security guards in DC were black and they didn’t see Ana as a threat because she’s a cute and small black woman. They’d then decide to banter with her and only then would they learn that she was a foriegner. So I’m not so sure that being a foreigner really affected their reaction that much.
    Foe Ana’s part, she says that the only time she faced prejudice and discrimination in DC was when she’d walk around with her Brazilian friend Fernanda, who looks stereotypically “latina”. Then, she says, she got the hairy eyeball from blacks and whites alike.

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  84. Dear CeCelia,

    Regarding Menelik’s stalking, I suggest you talk to Jasmin. I spent an afternoon following his postingsa around the net and what I saw was enough to creep me out. Yes, he attacks female posters and then goes on other. Like-minded blogs, to call friends in to the attack. And he does indeed follow people like Jasmin around to where they are posting and attacks them there.
    What I find truly disturbing, however, is that if a woman makes one positive remark about his posts, he almost always follows that up with a smarmy comment about her looks or marriage possibilities.
    Erg.
    As for distasteful comments... Let’s put it this way: look at his YouTube channel’s front page. I mean, it’s all well and good that he appreciates the female body and whatnot, but I think it’s rather odd that a guy who sees himself as a paladin on black female respectability should hail visitors to his site with a cootch shot. Your mileage apparently varies. Maybe Chuck’s raising his kid to shrug off photos like that. That’s cool (I personally have no problem with the photo myself, but then again, I’m not the one arguing that black men are so much more respectful of black women than white men). But somehow, methinks such an attitude doesn’t square with his Big Black Daddy rhetoric. I personally bet that when his kid is 18 and looks at that site’s front page, she won’t find it very uplifting or respectful of black femininity.

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  85. Dear “Anonymous”,

    “Sliding biology rule”? Wtf? :D

    As for calling me a “rocker”, only one person has ever done that – the extremely poorly informed and overwrought Abagond commentator, B.R. B.R. apparently thinks that I’m a big fan of Brazilian rock simply because I made the comment that – good music or not – it would one day be as enshrined as MPB in the annals of “real” Brazilian music.

    If you truly want to maintain your anonymity when you do your spews, it’s better to not repeat innane insults that only you would make. Also, B.R., feel free to let us know when your son’s “roots” northeasterner band is going to play again at that highly-regarded carioca roots musical venue, Hard Rock Café Barra da Tijuca. I’ll be pleased to publish the date so that gringos and Brazilians alike can go out there and hear “real” Brazilian music.

    See ya in the funny pages, bucko! ;D

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  86. Dear Mr. Laurelton Queens,

    Yes, i do know that you are one of MC’s biggest fans, so there’s no need for introductions. As for “war”, perish the thought. I’m a pacificist and it’s your lad MC who seems to feel the need to inform all and sundry about his pugilisitic skills, not me!

    As for you coming down here, please do. The carioca economy can always use a few more tourists, sexual or otherwise, and I’m sure that you’ll find a ready selection of wholesome young women on Copacabana who’ll be happy to relieve you of your discretional income. Many of these women, you'll find, look very much like the woman in MC's YouTube frontpage, so you should feel right at home.

    “City of God Part 2”! How droll! Yes, you are indeed quite the connoiseur of Brazilian culture if you know about CoG – a very obscure film indeed. Why, I bet you’ve even heard about “Elite Squad” as well! No moss on you, Mr. Queens!

    Looking forward to spotting your gringo ass at Meia Pataca one sunny afternoon in the near future.

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  87. Dear Student of the World,

    Personal experiences are anecdotal and they are valuable. However, one should be very wary about generalizing one’s particulars, which is what most identitay politics seem to be based on. Frankly, I personally appreciate someone who’s gone to the effort to read books and try to combine this knowledge with their personal views. Too often, “I know and you don’t because you aren’t X like me” really means “I haven’t a rational leg to stand my arguments on, nor a knowledge base capable of supporting them, but I want my opinion to be treated as if I had both those things, so please accept my annecdotal experiences in lieu of studying. Studying is boring and it’s hard work.”

    I mean, if you want to be afrocentric, great. But PLEASE don’t give me that old saw about “How we know nothing about Africa because it’s all written by the white man”. We know a fuck of a lot about Africa and much of what we know was not written by the white man. What people who say this really mean to say is “I can’t be bothered to read about Africa, so I’m going to pretend that nothing of worth has been written about it other than a few easily understood pamphlets that support my prejudices.”

    Regarding my argument, what I am saying is that while your personal experience is indeed valuable and may indeed link you into a like community, no one’s subjective personal experiences are wide enough to create an effective knowledge base predicated on subjective community that can take in population group on the order of a race or a nation. In other words, if you are black, you do not auytomatically understand the experiences of other black people the wide world over simply because you have similar skin color.

    Now, if you want to make some sort of subjectivist argument based on a real community – i.e. a real group of human people in more-or-less intimate communion with one another – that’s something different. But neither “blacks” nor “women” are such a community.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Dear Scipio Africanus,

    I agree. Identity politics and the facile "us versus them" approaches that it has generated have about run their course, I reckon. Something new needs to be worked up and that novelty, to me, is the intersectional approach.

    ReplyDelete
  89. fuck you, posts are just getting erased here

    ReplyDelete
  90. Post a link re menelick's stalking lol. Just one link ought to do it, dude. Let the reader decide the nature of the encounter/conflict not some biased axe-grinder.

    Also let this jasmine declare herself a victim. Doubtless, she will but ultimately its for us to decide.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Dear Thaddeus Gregory

    (Clapping) One problem I am not a Gringo. Number 2 you sound bitter that some of your Brazilian women are whoring themselves to "Gringos" as you mentioned. Instead of blaming "the men", why don't you blame the women for compromising their "values".

    As for your claim of being a pacifist, I highly doubt that but you can patronize you're readers with those rebuttals.

    I skimmed through your blog. I don't know if you are a "Male Feminist" or just one of the "many men" that gets relieved of his discretionary income by his "own" women in Brazil. (You mentioned that earlier)

    Mr Laurelton Queens (Pointing to you; I don't ever write anonymously)

    City of God Part 2 was pretty good it garnered some responses.

    Look for "SILVERBACK". Since I am always called a "Guerrilla or Ape". I figure it was the most appropriate title for new "works".

    You have a nice day.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Ahh. I see. I don't actually remember what I was going to say originally now though. LOL.

    Although I think reading and studying something is necessary, but actually experiencing it gives you a different perspective from someone who has studied it. Is it better? *shrug* Depends on the context in which it's used.

    Like you can have knowledge of something, without understanding it, if you haven't experienced it. Not saying that you haven't cause I don't know.

    I think with racism in America thats what Jerome was trying to say(?) And I'm not saying you can never understand what it feels like, I think alot of non black minorities do understand what it feels like. But a certain percentage of them don't and they just say that they do to negate any minority who happens to complain that yes racism still exists, and that yes they still experience it.

    I think globally every country has its segment of the population that gets shitted on for no good reason, just as badly as black people have if not worse.

    However knowing that really doesn't make me feel better about the fact that it happens to me. Just as it was probably no comfort to the Jews during the Holocaust and other acts of violent antisemitism to know that the Armenians went through the same thing. I know thats not the point, but for people who are victimized by the isms pointing out that other people go through it too, doesn't help anybody.

    Like recently I have been hurt by racism, and I'm going through some type of PTSD from it as my therapist tells me. I avoid most white people and white authority figures unless I absolutely cannot avoid it, and I have flashbacks and panic attacks(sometimes). This doesn't apply to every white person because they are white and it's not even like all the time, just when I'm stressed. Like I'm friends with this Irish girl and her Romanian friend but usually I just don't want to interact with people. Especially since where I'm at alot of people are very ignorant or disregard the realities of racism. I know that alot of it is classism and just prejudices/misconceptions/ignorance in general, and they direct it at other people too. But the way that it affects me is the same. I wasn't harmed physically, and I don't want to go into details, but it was hostile and aggressive and I literally did nothing to provoke it. It wasn't just me. Other black people I was with at the time had it directed at them too. And i had no recourse, even though there was ample evidence the people responsible for it.

    Now if I was in an environment that wasn't kind of socially racist already it might be easier for me to "get over it" and see the flaws in everybody, but I feel like its all around me especially when I'm at school which is most of the time. And I'm still dealing with the consequences of it by the way.

    I started out where you ended up! I guess ideologically. Now I don't really know where I'm at. When I do (seldom) express my thoughts about racism I'm not expecting them to validate me or even to sympathize, but just to recognize that it's valid.

    ReplyDelete
  93. When I was in Canada, i really enjoyed it. I had alot more friends, people in general were more....or less.....something. I know Canadians do have prejudices, but not as many as Americans to me and they do tend to be less passive aggressive, hostile about them.

    The way I feel now, I didn't feel there and it was arguably the best time of my life. Could just be stranger in a foreign land thing, but most of the black people there have no real conception of what I go through here. I don't know if that's because they haven't really experienced it, or because they have and just don't recognize it for what it is. I think the former though. I did spend five months there. That's enough time to make an impression I think, I could be wrong.

    One of them said "Wow. Thats savage."

    ReplyDelete
  94. Dear Anon,

    Jasmin (note spelling) has talked at length about being stalked on Abagond's blog and elsewhere. Go read those posts. Right now, I'm working. End of semester, you know. So I'm not particularly interested in pulling up my MC file, yet again, and dragging out examples of his general and specific attitudes towards women. I may do this after the holiday rush, if I find I have nothing better to do. Otherwise, I guess you're shit out of luck.

    In short, MC is the kind of man - black or white - that most right-thinking women steer well clear of. I suspect that it's the fact that he can't keep a relationship going more than a few months which lies at the root of much of his butt-hurt baaaaaawing regarding "sell outs".

    As for your problems with posting, I sympathize. Several of my posts have been mysteriously deleted, too, here and on other threads. I have a complaint into blogspot. Until then, my suggestion is to do what I do: copy your post before posting and check to see if it's up.

    Yers in Jeezis,
    Thad

    ReplyDelete
  95. Dear Drew,

    I hate to break it to you, cousin, but from a Brazilian persepctive, a Jamaican or a Mexican is just as gringo as anyone else. "Gringo" means "funny-speaking foreigner" down here and has no necessary connection to race. Black men from Africa, the States, Europe and the Carribean get called "gringos" by the girls down on Copa all the time.

    I find it amusing that you'd qualify me as a "male feminist" (a charge I wouldn't necessarily dispute), given the fact that there are hordes of feminist commentators calling for my sexist balls over on the "Bullshit Patrol: Acquaintence Rape" post. But that old North American binary thinking will get you every time, I guess. I disagree with you; you disagree with feminists: ergo, I must be a feminist. Same thing happens to me when I argue with Republicans: they presume I'm a liberal.

    As for your "Mr. Laurelton Queens" handle, a persistent blog handle is still anonomity as is identifying yourself as "Andrew in Florida". If you've got balls, show them and post under your regular "on your drivers lisence" name. Otherwise, quit wasting everyone's time with this crap about how you're not anonymous.

    My main beef with guys like you and MC is that you talk a fine line and bluster about how you are boxers and "silverbacks" and what not, but when it comes to simply writing under your real name, you unaccountably wuss out.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Dear Student of the World,

    The problem with annecdotal experience is that its fine in the individual realm, but it sdoesn't work to provide some sort of "spiritual" or "people" connection with others, absent reading, study, or paying careful attention to others' stories.

    While I agree very much that racism exists in the U.S., I question the presumption that somehow one has a special knowledge of it that corresponds to other peoples' knowledge of it simply because one has been a target of it. As I pointed out above, there are plenty of things in the "black experience" that Jerome only knows through reading or study or whatever. While his experience of racism makes it a more pressing issue for him, it does not necessarily give him a better or deeper understanding of the phenomenon than anyone else.

    Note that it DOES probably give him a better or more deeper view than that of some people. What I'm saying is that it doesn't NECESSARILY do this.

    And you're right: this is cold comfort to someone who actually has to find a way to live with racism in their day-to-day life.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Dear Drew,

    AFAIK, there was no "City of God, Part 2", unless HBO or someone in the States marketed the "City of Men" T.V. series up under that moniker.

    Frankly, I think that you're mistaking it with another film.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Dear Thaddeus

    City of God Part 2 was from a post I did a year ago. Since you are in RIO. I called the post Part 2 because I hate using the same titles for my blogs.

    (Smiling) Why you ducking me concerning topics? People want to know how a Midwestern white guy ends up in "RIO".

    You seem like a brilliant guy. But "brilliant" men are not "immune" to the temptations of the flesh and etc.

    I would like to peek at all the skeletons in your closet concerning "minority" women you love to stand up for.

    I will have to read some of your work to get a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Dear Drew,

    I've mentioned how I ended up in Rio both on Abagond and here, so I'm not so much dodging the story as wondering why you haven't bothered to find it. It's on my on-line published CV after all.

    I originally came to Brazil in the 1980s and learned Portuguese. I returned in 1990 on a year's scholarship to the University of São Paulo, which I subsequently parlayed into a three year scholarship. I worked in the publishing industry in SP until 1999 when I relocated to Rio to pursue my doctorate in social anthropology. I've been here since.

    As for being "immune to the temptations of the flesh"... Jeezis, there speaks someone who had the Bible thumped into their skull at a young age! Are you talking about sex? Yes, I've had a lot of sex in Brazil, just like I had a lot of sex in the States back before I immigrated.

    But if your commment is meant to be some sort of tie-in to the common gringo belief (much reported by hip-hop and gangsta rappers) that Brazilian women are somehow "different" from American or European women and that Rio de Janeiro is a sexual Disney World.... All I can say is that it amazes me what gringos are willing to believe.

    Brazilian women are not substantially different from women of any other kind on Earth. They are not hyperactive sex bunnies who are willing to do anything to please them. They are, by and large, smart urban ladies with their own agendas and the means and will to employ them.

    There is one "exception" to this rule and that is on Copacabana, where the prostitutes who service the sexual tourism scene are well aware of the fantasies that gringos have regarding brasileiras and will cater to them - for a price. And since I'm not into paying for having women lie to me, I don't find that particular flesh to be very attractive. Your mileage must vary if that is the sort of thing that you find "tempting".

    But I have absolutely no problems with gringos who do P4P on Copa. The women there make a lot of money by catering to frustrated, lonely foreigners and I only wish them the best. That's why Ana and I work for the local prostitute rights association.

    As for the "minority" women in my closet... has it ever occurred to you that the Brazilian MAJORITY is black and brown? Or do you really believe that the world is just the U.S. written big? I've been married twice, once to a light brown woman who considers herself to be white and to Ana, my current wife, whose picture you can see here. As for dating... Most of the women I've dated here consider themselves to be "mestiça" and have "white" on their birth certificates, whatever their skin color might be.

    Your U.S. American racial classifications don't work very well down here, Drew.

    ReplyDelete
  100. By the way, if you truly believe that Brazil is somehow more "tempting" in sexual terms than the States, I suggest that you begin your reading of my stuff with this here...

    http://omangueblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/hottest-spot-north-of-havana-why.html

    ReplyDelete
  101. you are not "mr brazil"...you are one person with your one little opinion, dont go running around thinking you represent brazil.

    you couldnt even tell these people it was "black awareness " month in november in brazil, that there was recent neo nazi activity in brazil

    you dont recognise afro brazilian culture and its origins , you think a bell pattern in candomble , didnt come from culture from africa

    you think the white woman in colonial times was on the same leval as black african slave women

    jasmin was never harrased by melnick charles

    man up and just admit you fucked with people on abagonds forum and got banned for that

    ReplyDelete
  102. Aw, shit, Anon (or should I say B.R.). And here I thought I was "Mr. Brazil" and that my opinion was golden! :D

    Sunny Jim, there is ALWAYS neo-Nazi activity somewhere in Brazil, it's ALWAYS "awareness day/week/month/decade" for some or another group and I'm not the New York Times.

    But let me tell you what a clueless little self-righteous twat you are when it comes to what REALLY affects black, brown and poor white people in Brazil.

    In case you haven't noticed, Sunshine, Rio de Janeiro went through one of the biggest armed urban revolts in recent years last week. The Army and Marines got called in and invaded the Complexo do Alemão at gunpoint using armored vehicles, helicopters and heavy weapons. 42 people were killed, the VAST majority of them black and brown and probably mostly innocent bystanders. Hundreds of homes were shot up and hundreds of busses and cars were burned or otherwise destroyed.

    If you'd like to see some photos of these recent festivities - which apparently passed completely beyond your threshold of awareness - I suggest that you go here:

    http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/11/rios_drug_war.html?fb_ref=homepage

    Please note the color of most of the civilians running, crying and being shot, as well as most of the traffickers.

    Presuming that I had the time, if I were to be writing about anything in Brazilian current affairs with a racial spin on it, it wouldn't be about a tiny band of shaven-headed idiots beating up the odd northeastern immigrant or two over in Sampa. I think that would rather be missing the forest for the trees, given what just went down in Rio.

    So while I may not be "Mr. Brazil", Mr. Anonymous, I think that we can conclusively say that you don't have even the slightest fucking clue as to what constitutes a serious race-related problem in this country and what is just media fluff on a slow news day.

    Now why don't you just waddle on back to your little northeastern hideaway, roll a big, fat doobie and put on some reggae, like you normally do, B.R.? I'm sure you'll feel much better about the world and yourself once you go back to ignoring anything in Brazil that doesn't poke its nose above your hypertrophied event horizon.

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  103. The nerve of some people!

    Anon is upset over cowbells while people are being gunned down by the dozens in the streets of Rio. And you should be talking about "Black Awareness Month" while tanks plow through Vila Cruzeiro.

    This is further proof, if more was needed, that politically correct American so-called anti-racists love to fiddle away while Rome burns.

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  104. oh ha ha , what the fuck , bitches, im more than willing to talk about the stuff i saw, why the fuck didnt you two assholes say anything about that ?

    im more than willing to discuss the obvious veiw that was shown how the higher you got in the favela the blacker the people were.

    im more than willing to note that while people are wallowing in railing against the usa and the dictatorship for bringing out tanks and torturing people, that shit is going on right now...

    as a matter of fact, bitches, i did say it here, if its not above, its one of those posts that got erased..

    so fuck you anti americanists, it never was about cowbells, but if bitches cant recognise what black culture is, and i mean brazilian style, how can anyone trust you to bafoonily pontificate a bunch of hot air bullshit

    antonio nobrega is a real artist who can talk about the value of afro brazilian culture, not the shit you see on here

    ReplyDelete
  105. But you're apparently not more than willing to use punctuation, capital letters or write coherent English.

    Next...

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  106. Things suddenly get very quite when anonymous commentators real identities become known. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  107. Dear Andrew Scott Potter,

    Please read the new comments policy and its attendent addendum.

    http://omangueblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/missing-comments-mystery-solved-oh-and.html

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Still waiting on links to prove menelick stalked black women "all over the internet", Thaddeus!

    ReplyDelete
  109. Here's an idea, Anon: why don't you hold your breath while waiting?

    ReplyDelete
  110. why don't you provide some evidence and save me the trouble?

    ReplyDelete
  111. Because I do not want to save you any trouble at all, Anon, especially when I've got my hands full to brimming with end-of-semester crap.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Eurasian Sensation wrote:

    I'll add though that I think the reason you got banned is a little different to your theory. My guess is you just tried Abagond's patience too much by being overly confrontational towards other commenters over a sustained period of time. You acted like this to almost all of us on the blog at some point or another.

    I think Abagond tries to be intellectually honest and I doubt he banned you because you were challenging him.


    This pretty much sums it up. Expressive invective seems to be your favored writing style. Your banning had nothing to do with your politics.

    Many in the anti-racist crowd are sustained by righteous indignation at perceived racism or ideological incorrectness.

    But Thad is part of this dogmatic anti-racist crowd. His position is different only in degree, not in kind, with respect to Wise. He was often the head anti-racist cheerleader at Abagond’s.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Mira wrote:

    All in all, Abagond's blog is not going to be the same without you, and we all know it.

    I have to agree with this. Though Thad is often wrong, he has a considerable degree of intellectual energy. I salute him!

    ReplyDelete
  114. RR, only a full-fledged, committed racist could see my views as being similar to Tim Wise's.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Thad,

    Exactly. Your comment is a prime example of what you accuse Wise and others of. You believe that race has no scientific utility. You believe that race is exclusively a social construct. Because I don't agree with you, you conclude that I am a racist. Your views only differ in degree to Wise's. Everyone who disagrees with Wise is a Nazi/Racist. You have been hoisted by your own petard but are too dogmatic to realize it.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Thad,

    I was sorry to hear that Abagond banned you. I am opposed to banning in
    virtually all circumstances. Having been banned from multiple sites myself, I sympathize with you. That said, I don't understand why you insist on engaging in arguments that deteriorate into exclusive personal invective. It was obvious that your encounters with Menelik were not productive. Why didn't you just stop engaging him? I don't get that. Do you like drama? Why do you like
    drama?

    ReplyDelete
  117. RR, first of all, you're not even stating my position correctly: I believe that human race has no BIOLOGICAL basis and that it does not determine human comportment. It does indeed have scientific utility as a SOCIAL construct. The social sciences are also sciences, despite what your dogmas might indicate.


    Secondly, if you believe that Tim Wise and I are "essentially alike" because we both believe that race has no biological existence among human beings, then that's a really big tent you're tossing us into, given that it's pretty much the consensus among scientists - social and otherwise - that race is socially and not biologically constructed.

    Following the same sort of "logic", you could say that both Hitler and Ghandi had essentially the same views because they both believed the world to be round.

    I mean, if that's how you view the world - "us" scientific racists over on one side and "them", the politically correct brainwashed idiots who see race as a social construct on the other - then it must be very lonely to be RR.

    As for the idea that "everyone who believes in race is a Nazi", I think I've made it VERY clear that racism stretches well beyond Nazism as a political phenomena. However, the idea that "everyone who believes that race is a biological construct is a scientific racist or racialist" is simply true as that is the defining characteristic of a racist/racialist. It doesn't mean, necessarily, that one to believe in races one needs must believe that some are inferior and others superior. Simple belief in the biological existence of races is properly called "racialism".

    However, given the quantity of electronic ink that you'vge spilled trying to "prove" that race is not only a biological fact among humans but that, furthermore, blacks are intellectually inferior to whites, it is quite proper to call you a "racist".

    I haven't noticed any particular fascist bent to your thoughts, RR, but you are indeed a racialist, a racist and a white supremacist and I say that in the most pure classificatory sense possible, not as some sort of ad hominem.

    As for Menelik, I'm not aware of subjecting him to any particuarly nasty degree of personal invective - at least nothing near as bad as the terms he routinely uses to qualify the women he deems to be sell-outs. I simply called him like I saw him.

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  118. menelick calls black women 'sellouts'? When and where?

    ReplyDelete
  119. I noticed that you seem to idolize Fannon, calling him a brilliant psychologist etc
    One commenter on Abagond essentially described you as a sexist wanting to shove your patriarchal ideas down black women's throats...
    While I don't truly believe you are a sexist, it would be more reassuring to me if you included the works of prolific black female writers in your blogs as your views CAN come off as quite sexist. Patricia McFadden for example, is a radical African feminist who has written works that I find to be in-keeping with the subject of your blog.
    Some links about her:

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/30/152.html

    http://www.escueladefeminismo.org/spip.php?article147

    I find you to be extremely well-spoken and clearly enjoy a healthy dose of debate and you have an incredible ability to CLEARLY explain your views, however, as a female reading your blogs (and yes i'm black, but i'm one of those people who consider myself to be a woman first, my "race" is only the secondary part of my identity) but as I was saying, as a woman reading your blog, I would love to see you incorporating the female voice in your texts as well (perhaps you have and I have missed it somehow?)
    The blogs seem to have women as the subjects, something to be studied, dissected rather than equal producers of knowledge?

    ReplyDelete
  120. You and Wise are not essentially the same, although the belief that race is a non-scientific (and l am referring to hard sciences) construct undergirds both of your arguments. Wise is clearly a racial opportunist. He makes good money enunciating his wish for the death of the white race. You don't do that, but in your refusal to treat race as another human attribute, you aid and abet the likes of Wise. As I
    pointed out to you previously on Abagond's blog, what is needed is a good definition of race. As you know, I prefer Steve Sailer's definition:

    Race is an extremely extended family that inbreeds to some extent.

    This is why bone marrow researchers like those at Dana Faber use race as a criterion in assaying potential bone marrow donors. This is why forensic scientists can determine the "race" of a given deceased victim of crime or the alleged perpetrator of crime through DNA samples.


    I would say that people can be divided into two groups:

    1) People who believe in the scientific method and who favor no restrictions on scientific endeavor, regardless of where such endeavors lead.

    2) People who believe in limiting certain scientific endeavors for fear of where such endeavors might lead us.

    You, Wise, the late Stephen J Gould et al fall into group 2. Of course, belonging to group 2 has its virtues. It is reasonable to fear delving into historically and politically sensitive areas (this is why we have religions. You belong to the secular religion of racial gnosiophobia). But as Sailer has noted, truths have a habit of leading to other truths and lies require the support of additional lies. We can't go on living by lies with respect to race just to sooth our souls. The lies promulgated by Marxists regarding the malleability of human nature led to the deaths of millions. Is the world destined to repeat this error again?

    You rightly decry phrases like "white skin privilege", but hypocritically use equally empty phrases like "scientific racism" when the mood strikes you. In this, you are similar to Wise. Since you have characterized my positions on race as inherently racist/racialist and white supremacist, perhaps additional definitions are in order. My definition of racist is the following:

    racist - a person who has an abiding irrational hatred of people of a given race.

    Your definition seems to be

    racist - a person who believes in the scientific (biological) notion of race.

    Your definition clearly begs the question. By your definition, the researchers at Dana Faber are racists. My doctor would also be racist for advising me at age 40 to begin getting yearly prostate exams since I am of West African descent and men of West African descent are twice as likely to get prostate cancer than men of European descent. This increased likelihood is related to the fact that West African descended blacks have higher testosterone levels on average than men of other racial groups.

    In your opinion, is it possible for the word racist to have a non-pejorative meaning?

    Menelik has a….unique perspective. He can be quite obnoxious. But you seemed to revel in trading barbs with him. Why? What was the point?

    ReplyDelete
  121. Dear Aisha,

    If you can tell me of a way in which I can disagree with a black woman without running a non-trivial risk of being called a sexist and/or a racist, I'd love to hear about it! :D

    For the record, my views on Fanon are hardly unusual and parallel a series of other anti-racist commentators' views - of many colors and both genders.

    IIRC, the woman who was complaining about my "patriarchical attitude" hadn't even bothered to read the book in its entirety and became upset when Fanon used a few terms which, in her mind, sullied the entire book. That's not really a winning strategy if one wants to truly engage with an author's ideas and to point that out is hardly racist or sexist.

    Here's my views on "including authors": I write about what I'm interested at the time, as long as it has a connection to race, gender and particularly Brazil. Note that I have not written about a single author yet on this blog, though I have critiqued some early 20th century Brazilian intellectuals, so how is it, precisely, that this blog is supposedly over-representing male authors?

    On Abagond's blog, I talked quite a bit about Nell Painter and also about Angela Davis, Deborah Grey White, Denise Ferreira da Silva and, of course, Ana Paula da Silva.

    I'm not much for identity politics of any kind, as I see it as a retreat from modernity into an anti-modern sort of romanticism. But regarding "women as producers of knowledge", Ana's a co-author on this blog. She's not as active as I am, but that's her choice as well.

    ReplyDelete
  122. RR, first of all, the "hard sciences" are a misnomer, given the fact that even physics has determined that perspective influences results. Secondly, a man who's trying to ressucitate one of the most discredited scientific notions of all time, flying in the face of the vast majority of the best human genetic scientists on the planet, is really in no position to be making claims as to what scientific forms of knowledge are "hard" and what aren't.

    Third, I do not deny that race is a human attribute. You don't seem to get my point, for all that you've heard it enough times: race is indeed a human attribute, a socio-poitical and historical one. What it is NOT is a biological constant.

    We've been around the block many times re: Steve Sailor and his amusing theories. Again, I'll take the expertise and clearly apolitical understanding of race of award winning, renowned human geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza over the ramblings of a journalist-cum-computer salesman when it comes to human biology, thanks. If Stevie manages to start publishing peer-reviewed papers on human biology in scientific journals, let me know. Until then, he's a pundit and not a sceintist. Case closed.

    But even given that, Steve's definition of race does not allow one to make the sweeping claims he and you do. A family is not an evolutionary unit on the scale necessary to establish subspecies. Lineages are not races in the sense that you ascribe to them. From a family/lineage point of view, there are something like 50,000-200,000 biologically more-or-less inbreeding human groups on the planet. The macro-style, 19th century races you and Stevie love to talk about - Caucasians, Negroids, Asians and etc. - simply have no meaning at all in that sort of human genetic picture.

    Now, if you want to squint your eyes REALLY HARD and claim that a relatively in-breeding group of 10-20,000 people is a "race", OK. But my question then would be why are you trying to revive an inadequate term to describe a qualitiatively new understanding of human biodiversity? And if that is indeed your view of race, why then do you always talk about it using 19th century terms and not the clinactic and populational terms you'd need to use if you were seriously contemplating breeding groups as races?

    ReplyDelete
  123. (To RR, continued...)

    (Your Dana Farber people, by the way, were making a popular call for donors in terms laymen can understand, which is why they used race. You show me a peer-reviewed paper by a Dana Farber scientist who believes that categories such as "black" and "white" are determinative in screening for bone marrow transplant donors and then you might have something.

    Good luck.)

    With regards to "limiting scientific endeavors", white boy, PLEASE! No one is censoring Stevie, you or anyone or impeding you from doing scientific research. What people are saying is "Where's the beef?" Radical claims need radical proof to back them up and so far, that proof has not been forthcoming from anyone, anywhere. Don't whine to me about "restrictions": racialist science has TONS of private market financial donors. Pick some of that cash up, construct a reasonable methodology to test your hypotheses and GET THE DATA. Until you do, you ahve no cause to whine that you're being ignored: people without reliable data are RIGHTFULLY ignored in science. That's not censorship, that's the way the game works, RR.

    And RR, if you don't want to get banned here as well, PLEASE don't make me go through our entire set of discussions that are already up on Abagond, ad nauseaum, about the "proof" that's supposedly out there regarding black genetic intellectual inferiority.

    That would definitely be gratuitous dumb-fuckery in my book. Say something new or don't bother. Repeating the same damned ladainha about black/white IQ scores which you've repeated several times on several different blogs and which has been thoroughly and effectively addressed by dozens of people isn't necessary.

    People have torn apart your arguments and your debating style seems to be that if you ignore what they say and stick to your guns, your bad arguments will somehow magically metmorphose into science. Science is a dialogue: you make a hypothesis, it gets tested, people point out the holes, you do a better test and compare results with your colleagues, etc. When you refuse to address peoples' concerns or issues regarding your methodology and definitions, you are no longer doing science: you're engaging in politically correct politics.

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  124. (To RR, final...)

    The nut of the matter is this: there is no cohesive "black" genetic mix which can account for lower IQ scores of blacks versus whites. Furthermore, what little comparative IQ studies have been done so far have huge sampling issues. Until you can show us statistically significant samples and a reasonable definition of how "black" is defined in biological terms, none of these statistical games your mentors are playing have any scientific weight at all, let alone the weight you wish to give to them: to wit, that they somehow "prove" blacks are intellectually inferior to whites.

    Here's one big methodological hole in those comparative IQ studies you love to cite: the authors are infering biological results from the data, but they do not control for biological make up when they select informants. They allow informants to define themselves - which is, of course, a sociological and not a biological definition of race. An American with 1 in 8 black ancestors will unproblematically call himself black in this situation whereas a Brazilian with the same sort of ancestral proportion will call himself white. Your mentors classify one as "black" and the other as "white" when they very well might have an extremely similar genetic make-up.

    So if you really want to talk about something NEW - and not get accused of gratuitous dumbfuckery - I suggest that you think about how one can infer genetic data from sociological defintions.

    If your mentors were serious about attempting to prove their point (instead of just whining about how unfair it is that folks demand proof of their theories), they'd do IQ tests in randomly selected, statistically significant populations all over the world and then COMBINE those tests with DNA tests. Until they do something like that, their results are simply not scientifically sound.

    Q.E.D.

    Now PLEASE don't fill up our blog with the same old, threadbare arguments you've repeated unto the death on Abagond and elsewhere. Concisely address the point I brought up regarding inferring biological data from sociaologically selected samples or be prepared to have your posts shit-canned.

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  125. Your intelligence is a major turn on :p
    Ana is lucky to have you ;)

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  126. Ok, thanks for the clarifications. I would love to see Ana's views on the topics you write about, I always feel that topics dealing with gender need to be addressed by both genders in order to be taken seriously (less bias) in my opinion and i'm wary of men who highjack discourse and claim to speak on any woman's behalf (not blaming you of this)

    Just a few more questions for you:
    "Race, sex and Gringos..."
    is the "sex" here referring to "gender" although gender is a social construct which has nothing to do with biological sex?

    Also, what do you make of people like Irateirishman and his disgustingly racist website (which got taken down but he promptly created a new one)

    When I first read this section, I had tears of anger by the time I got to the last "fact"
    http://irateirishman.com/blog/?page_id=438

    Maybe I'm too sensitive, and I'm smart enough to think of counter-arguments for the vast majority of them, but it still hurts to think that there are people who still think this way in this day and age :(

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  127. Dear Aisha,

    I think Ana's intimidated that most of the readers of this blog are English speakers and she only writes in Portuguese. So either I need to do tons of translation - which is a chore for both of us - or she just needs to write away and not worry about it (which is what I tell her) and maybe we'll gain a lusophone readership.

    The article on black tourism in Brazil, linked to the right, is in English and is an example of her work.

    I see "sex" and "gender" as being effectively the same thing, following Thomas Laqueur's thoughts on the subject. At least, I no longer sweat that divide between social gender and biological sex. "Sex" here should properly read "the sex/gender system", but it also refers to the sweaty (at least in this town) biological act. Ana and I want to start posting bits from our field work here, sooner or later, so simple "sex" it is.

    I've not seen Irateirishman's site. I do my anti-racist internet duties trolling Stormfront now and again. Usually, however, I just ignore the flat-out, in your face, gross white supremacists as they are really not convincing anybody other than their fellow zealots.

    What worries me far more are the politically-correct (in a right wing sense), smarmy little "scientific" neo-biodeterminists, such as RR's intellectual heroes. They have little scientific respectability, but because America by-and-large truly does believe in race as a determinist biological construct, they have
    great popular oomph among non-scientists. If a shift to the bad old days were ever to occur, it will probably start there, with people like Stevie Sailor convincing Joe Palooka that blacks are really genetically limited in intelligence, poor things, through no fault of their own...

    That sort of shift has to come first before guys like the Stormfront krewe can ever come close to bringing back the "fun" of institutionalized lynching and white supremacy. So that's more the front I fight on.

    Vulgar white-supremacist racists, at this point in time at least, deserve more to be put in freak shows than rationally addressed.



    Dear Anon,

    Thanks and blush, presuming that you aren't a troll! :D

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  128. hehehehe, .....as someone whose gotten in a little trouble at Feminist blog's--they always tell me that I am blind to my privilege....

    Always makes me think of that episode on the Simpsons where Homer gets invited to some Masonic order and all of the sudden he gets all kinds of "free passes."

    I've seen your posts on Hugo Schwyzer's site and I do think you've ruffled his feathers. That's all good in my book, looks like I'm banned there. ;) I saw a bumper sticker that said Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History....Well if we make that statement gender neutral, you get the idea...

    I heard an old statement that says you don't choose the deck of cards your given, just how you play the hand and I think that's all I've got to say on such matters....

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  129. What was the post that got you banned? Could you post a link?

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  131. I really don't have a problem with interracial relationships..but my problem is, if there's any is when black women act civilized around other race and only show the black man the hood mentality (the TV black woman with attitude...it really aches me a lot....but at the same time i understand some black men do alot of hateful and degrading things towards black women. I just want black women to know that all men and people all act differently in the things we do as "Dogs" as we are branded.

    All men cheat, but we do it differently. A black man is careless because he gets praise and more women still sleep with him even after knowing he is a dog. A white man wil be married and cheat on his wife and you will never know, but the difference is he might be spending a lot of money on you and makin u his mistress...bottom line is all men of all race mess up. So we deserve to all get the same treatment.

    To stop blackmens stupid behavior, women should protest by actions such as "stop having sex with (black )men until they respect you and treat you right. Blackmen get blamed saying we degrade women and see them as sexual object..well look around and turn on the TV, all you see is black women barely dressed shaking their behinds in some degrading song. When those women stop and save some things for the bedrooms and mens eyes people will see women differently...Because of women who don't respect theselves alot of other women get mistreated...I understand black women got beautiful bodies/figures but save some for a mans imagination. not all do this but they few ruin it for everyone.

    Us men too need to learn to respect women no matter what class she is from (Ghetto, educated, normal). We need to be faithful in our relationship and stop trying to emulate every rap video we see. No one side is right but if we work together and stop the negative in society maybe 20yrs from now we can get the days of videos with fully dressed black women back. we can get the days of blackmen praising the black woman. Mayb someday racial profiling and discrimination may not exist as bad as it do today. Only we can make tomorrow better by being better ppl instead of pointing fingers.

    im sorry if anyone got offended but this is just to shade some light on certain issues and hoping we can all help each other see things clearer.

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  132. I think the branding of black men as "dogs" is indeed bullshit, Rob. That's an issue black men and women need to hammer out on their own, however.

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