Owed Explanation I (Was Re: Ebonic Xmas)
|Date:||Friday, January 14, 2000, 5:10|
Thoughts on Racism
Races: the scientific term is "sub-species", for humans
there are three which are clearly distinguishable, colloquially;
asians, blacks, and whites.
My initial comments, which were stapled as racist, made the point
that if a race encourages a certain comic stereotype of itself,
members of that race who condone it (be it by action or by
inaction) cannot realistically expect the stereotype to be a
I did not claim that black comedians are responsible for racism
against blacks. What I did claim was that the racial stereotype,
or more to the point the socio-economical stereotype that was
appearant in the poem "Ebonic Xmas" is, and has been for a while,
endorsed and indeed used comically by black comedians.
Is that alright because they are blacks? No. Even "Seinfeld"
illustrated the absurdity of the idea that people belonging to
a certain group should be allowed to be racist about the group.
I am referring to the episode where the dentist converted to
Judaism "just for the jokes".
If a certain group of people do not want a word used in association
with themselves; they should stop using it and should object to
its use by others as well. In the visible black community in
North America only the latter has materialised. Yes, black people
object to terms and ideas applied to themselves which may be
negative; however, they laugh at racist (against blacks) jokes
made by black comedians. And those who do not? Well, I am yet
to see a black comedian or rap artist (whose lyrics often depict
almost exactly the kind of stereotypes that people have been
objecting to) be accused of being racist or politically incorrect
by his fellow blacks.
On a little sidenote: Mr. Hoensch is not German, and has read
it with regret that some people on the list are active recepients
of such jokes. Of course... Germans are not really a race, they
are a nation. And as far as practicing what I preach; my split
with my own mother has been partly (large partly) because of her
racism against my people (ironically enough her people as well).
I do not appreciate offensive jokes about my own people, be they
from foreigners or my fellow countrymen. That is not quite the
case with a lot of visible blacks.
On "nigga"... it is offensive when used by whites (regardless of
circumstance or intent), and (unless used in an offensive way)
harmless by blacks. In fact, it is an endearing term rekindling
the bond of the "black experience".
Someone compared my refusal to accept that as normal/logical/right
to someone not accepting that "dog" can be used derisively. Let
us see... I see a dog, I called it a dog: not offensive. I see
a person, I call him/her a dog: offensive.
However... a black individual sees another black individual and
is greeted with "What's up, Nigga?": not offensive. But a when
a black individual sees a white individual and is greeted with
the same phrase, same intent (the poor white man having heard
this used amongst blacks, and trying to be cool): offensive.
The difference? The color of the speakers skin. Prejudice
I am not saying that whites cannot use derisive terms towards
blacks. My conclusion is merely that it is prejudical and indeed
racist to assume that a term with two meanings is intended to have
the derisive meaning solely because the speaker is white.
And the "black experience"? As the goal of anti-racism seems to
be to stop discrimination (unneccessary differentiation) between
the races, let me ask the following:
What is the black experience? Is it a lifetime of slavery? Is
it having to hide from the authorities even when one has not
committed a crime? Is it unjustified poverty and no easy way to
get out of it? These days it is neither. In fact I call into
question that a black experience (other than being able to call
somebody "nigga" without being labeled racist) exists.
No blacks alive today (other than some unfortunate people in
Afghanistan where, if I recall correctly, slave trade still thrives)
has suffered from slavery. There certainly has been discrimination
against blacks who are alive today, but a racially motivated
action against someone is not unique.
A black man stopped by a racist policeman (who's up for no good)
is in no different a predicament than is a female driver stopped
by a sexist policeman. And for that matter, nor is the average
Joe Schmoe any better off stopped by a policeman who is not very
moral and is getting very bored, thus deciding to fool around with
the next passing-by motorist.
A black child teased for the color of his skin is no better nor
worst off than is a child teased for wearing glasses, being too fat,
not having the right clothes, or one who was trashed by the most
popular kid. None of these things should be happening, but being
black does not make it any worse.