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Bloggingheads 02-21-2011 05:06 PM

Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 

operative 02-21-2011 05:55 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Jumping around so far; enjoyable as always.

But when someone points out and condemns something that someone espouses, it is not a witch hunt. If someone fabricates quotes (eg the false quotes ascribed to Rush Limbaugh when he was pursuing purchasing the Rams), or in some other way misrepresents or induces the misrepresentation of someone's beliefs, then that is a witch hunt. Merely pointing out that Piven endorses political violence, which she does, and stating that that is an awful view, which it is, is simply not a witch hunt.

Starwatcher162536 02-21-2011 05:59 PM

Thought Experiment
 
Thought Experiment: What if the confederate states had not left the Union because of the slavery question, but instead left over something else not viewed so negatively today, such as import taxes on "widgets". Would it be then okay to celebrate the confederacy?

My own opinion is that it is okay to admire a person, idea, or institution for attribute X even if said person, idea, or institution had attributes Y and Z that are today viewed as deplorable. When judging people from the past you must judge them using a baseline of what was normal at the time.

operative 02-21-2011 06:07 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
I'm inclined to agree with John about Wattier, who outed himself as a bigoted goon and paid the justifiable consequences for doing so.

MargaretH 02-21-2011 06:22 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
I'm a 63-year-old unemployed white lady originally from the Midwest and now of the Northeast. I grew up in an upper middle class liberal Republican home in a university town. I revered Martin Luther King and the people who marched with him. I was scared of Malcolm X and the African-American Moslims shown in Time and Life Magazine. And I didn't know what to make of Stokely Carmichael. I was stunned by and totally dumb to the riots in Watts and elsewhere. I never attended an event, march, or rally for equal rights for blacks.

If John and Glenn are ambivalent about Black History Month, I can understand. I suggest re-dedicating the month to the people who shake me out of complacency and through actions that are often theatrically and violently extreme, confront me with any truth that is self-evident. I don't know what to call that month, but it would be worth observing.

ohreally 02-21-2011 06:44 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
A public apology is a funny thing. There are two completely distinct beasts hiding under the same name. If I insult you for no reason on bhtv -- something I'd never do, of course -- then, by offering to apologize, I offer to acknowledge the existence of something ugly in me that I can't always control. It's confessing my imperfections. It's acknowledging that my soul is not as pure as I wish it were and it's a renewed pledge to let my better angels do more of the driving. It's siding with you against the ugly in me.

A forced apology is an entirely different animal. It's an act of survival, not of contrition. Sincerity, being unverifiable, is irrelevant. Like when you pay a fine: no one asks you if your heart is in it. In a forced apology, the words are for the victims but their meaning is for the public. The objective is shaming. It's a power transaction really: I abused my power, so now you get to abuse yours, and we're even. Society's norms are upheld. We, westerners, don't do shaming very well (which, frankly, is just as well). So I understand McWhorter's concern. A forced apology is not about changing hearts but paying fines. The minute the student says "I accept your apology," she agrees that the offense was not worth more than the words of apology. But words are cheap. So how bad could the offense really be if a few insincere words are enough to undo it? Yet there is one reason she might want to do it even if contractually the deal isn't worth it. By accepting an apology she gets to display her ability to forgive, which is a noble trait.

bkjazfan 02-21-2011 06:58 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Is there enough interest in black history month to continue it? I know at the public library they put out these books on Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement, and the like. Other than window dressing similiar to that I doubt too many are paying attention to this February event. My feelings about it mirror John's and I don't think we wouldn't be losing much if it was cancelled.

chiwhisoxx 02-21-2011 07:25 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
As usual, an incredibly thoughtful conversation from the best pair on BHTV.

bkjazfan 02-21-2011 07:30 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 198619)
As usual, an incredibly thoughtful conversation from the best pair on BHTV.

Right! McWhorter's "Losing the Race" is a must read. Corn and Pinkerton get agoing, too.

carkrueger 02-21-2011 07:38 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Excerpt from Bill Clinton's Eulogy to Robert Byrd

CLINTON: There are a lot of people who wrote these eulogies for Senator Byrd in the newspapers, and I read a bunch of them, and they mentioned that he once had a fleeting association with the Klu Klux Klan and what does that mean. I'll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and the hollows of West Virginia. He was trying to get elected, and maybe he did something he shouldn't have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up -- and that's what a good person does.

AUDIENCE: (applauding)

CLINTON: There are no perfect people! There are certainly no perfect politicians.

Maybe it's time to forgive Trent Lott!

Invisman52 02-21-2011 07:43 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
While adults, particularly highly-educated ones such as McWhorter and Loury, might feel a certain kind of ennui when it comes to Black History Month, there is still great utility to its recognition when it comes to educating our children. In a lot of classrooms and schools throughout the country, Black History Month becomes the occasion when children learn something of the history and struggle of black people and their allies in the U.S. McWhorter's malaise with Black History Month is reflective of his own experience; however, as a public intellectual, a marker that he and Loury both accept, he ought to consider Black History Month's place among the general populace. Intellectuals, for better or for worse, are often ahead of the knowledge curve of the masses; as "passe" as Black History Month may be for the intellectual class, for many young and lesser-educated people it remains vital and enlightening. Black History Month offers a kind of hyper-focus on a history that many people might otherwise gloss over or skip completely for any number of reasons. When Woodson imagined Black History Month, he didn't have those with Ph.D.s in mind; instead, he saw it was an effort, a political one, to educate common people (including black people) about an important, formative, and shared history.

bkjazfan 02-21-2011 07:52 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by carkrueger (Post 198621)
Excerpt from Bill Clinton's Eulogy to Robert Byrd

CLINTON: There are a lot of people who wrote these eulogies for Senator Byrd in the newspapers, and I read a bunch of them, and they mentioned that he once had a fleeting association with the Klu Klux Klan and what does that mean. I'll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and the hollows of West Virginia. He was trying to get elected, and maybe he did something he shouldn't have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up -- and that's what a good person does.

AUDIENCE: (applauding)

CLINTON: There are no perfect people! There are certainly no perfect politicians.

Maybe it's time to forgive Trent Lott!

Lott's sin was venal whereas Byrd's was cardinal.

sapeye 02-21-2011 09:18 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ohreally (Post 198617)
A public apology is a funny thing. There are two completely distinct beasts hiding under the same name. If I insult you for no reason on bhtv -- something I'd never do, of course -- then, by offering to apologize, I offer to acknowledge the existence of something ugly in me that I can't always control. It's confessing my imperfections. It's acknowledging that my soul is not as pure as I wish it were and it's a renewed pledge to let my better angels do more of the driving. It's siding with you against the ugly in me.

A forced apology is an entirely different animal. It's an act of survival, not of contrition. Sincerity, being unverifiable, is irrelevant. Like when you pay a fine: no one asks you if your heart is in it. In a forced apology, the words are for the victims but their meaning is for the public. The objective is shaming. It's a power transaction really: I abused my power, so now you get to abuse yours, and we're even. Society's norms are upheld. We, westerners, don't do shaming very well (which, frankly, is just as well). So I understand McWhorter's concern. A forced apology is not about changing hearts but paying fines. The minute the student says "I accept your apology," she agrees that the offense was not worth more than the words of apology. But words are cheap. So how bad could the offense really be if a few insincere words are enough to undo it? Yet there is one reason she might want to do it even if contractually the deal isn't worth it. By accepting an apology she gets to display her ability to forgive, which is a noble trait.

Interesting post.

With a forced public apology, it seems to me it might be either/or. In the case of the prof (if I heard correctly) he was censured, put on unpaid leave, and finally resigned. That would seem to balance the books. Had he wished to keep his job, then certainly a public and private apology would have been required.

With private voluntary apologies there is also the aspect of healing the tension (anger/hurt/shame/etc) that the offense generated between the people. The offending person might not even have been aware that he or she had given offense. Requesting an apology can open a dialogue and increase awareness. It can also allow the offended person to question his or her own projections and to acknowledge that he/she also has an ugly side.

What's difficult is to let go of resentment when an apology is deserved but not forthcoming.

badhatharry 02-21-2011 09:19 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by carkrueger (Post 198621)
[B]Maybe it's time to forgive Trent Lott!

Hear! Hear!

But he's kinda useful to trot out every once in a while.

Ocean 02-21-2011 09:40 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Invisman52 (Post 198622)
While adults, particularly highly-educated ones such as McWhorter and Loury, might feel a certain kind of ennui when it comes to Black History Month, there is still great utility to its recognition when it comes to educating our children. In a lot of classrooms and schools throughout the country, Black History Month becomes the occasion when children learn something of the history and struggle of black people and their allies in the U.S. McWhorter's malaise with Black History Month is reflective of his own experience; however, as a public intellectual, a marker that he and Loury both accept, he ought to consider Black History Month's place among the general populace. Intellectuals, for better or for worse, are often ahead of the knowledge curve of the masses; as "passe" as Black History Month may be for the intellectual class, for many young and lesser-educated people it remains vital and enlightening. Black History Month offers a kind of hyper-focus on a history that many people might otherwise gloss over or skip completely for any number of reasons. When Woodson imagined Black History Month, he didn't have those with Ph.D.s in mind; instead, he saw it was an effort, a political one, to educate common people (including black people) about an important, formative, and shared history.


I agree with your comment.

Winspur 02-21-2011 09:52 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
John mentioned the "states rights orientation" common among Southern conservatives. This almost always excludes the right of states to recognize gay marriage--these people loved the proposal for a Federal Marriage Amendment. If they were content to focus on their own states, that would be one thing, but the Bush presidency showed us that their appetite for dictating social mores across the entire nation is immense. This is not unlike the demands made by pro-slavery politicians in the 1850s for ever farther extensions of slavery into the territories.

Ocean 02-21-2011 09:53 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Great discussion.

Black History month should continue until it's no longer necessary to make a separate history. Perhaps it should be renewed every year, updated, or have some version of "State of Black History".

I think that John tends to be in denial of the extent to which racism is still evident. He has a rather peculiar way of dealing with his own reactions to racist remarks, but he shouldn't expect too many others to be able to brush them off so easily. The standard to measure against is that of how an average person in the same position would feel or react.

In terms of the student asking for an apology, again, it's not about what John would feel or do, but rather about putting oneself in the student's shoes and try to understand why she may want an apology. No one is above or below an apology. Like any other human interaction, apologizing is a transaction between two parties. It can acquire multiple meanings, depending on the situation and whether it's sincere or forced. But the decision should ultimately be left to the involved parties. Did the professor show evidence of regretting his actions? Did he admit he was wrong?

badhatharry 02-21-2011 11:48 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Winspur (Post 198629)
John mentioned the "states rights orientation" common among Southern conservatives. This almost always excludes the right of states to recognize gay marriage--these people loved the proposal for a Federal Marriage Amendment. If they were content to focus on their own states, that would be one thing, but the Bush presidency showed us that their appetite for dictating social mores across the entire nation is immense. This is not unlike the demands made by pro-slavery politicians in the 1850s for ever farther extensions of slavery into the territories.

Just one question...what social mores were dictated across the entire nation by Southern conservatives during the Bush presidency?

And one observation...pro-slavery politicians were not sucessful in their demands for extension of slavery into the territories. In fact, they decided to secede because they weren't.

And one more question...How do pro slavery politicians relate to Southern conservatives and their appetite to dictate social mores? You did say they were not unlike each other.

sapeye 02-22-2011 02:41 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
I don't know the accepted etiquette here. If I'm misbehaving, please let me know.

This column by Chris Hedges on today's truthdig site is a non sequitur in this thread. It relates to the discussion we had a couple weeks ago about the Huffington Post.

Wonderment 02-22-2011 03:04 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
The ending is too good not to repost in its entirety:

Quote:

If Huffington has a conscience, she will sit down when the AOL check arrives and make sure every cent of it is paid out to those who worked free or at minimal wages for her over the last six years, starting with Mayhill Fowler, the blogger who broke the “clinging to guns and religion” story about Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and spent two years writing and reporting without a salary.

“She strung me along for two years while I repeatedly asked for funding for three projects, and then I quit,” Fowler told me from Oakland, Calif., as I spoke with her by phone. When Fowler, whom the site nominated twice for a Pulitzer, finally resigned last year in disgust, Mario Ruiz, the spokesperson for The Huffington Post, acidly told Yahoo News: “Mayhill Fowler says that she is ‘resigning’ from The Huffington Post. How do you resign from a job you never had?”


That comment says it all. It exposes the callousness of our oligarchic class and their belief that they have a right to use anyone who can contribute to the monuments they spend their lives erecting to themselves.

bjkeefe 02-22-2011 05:25 AM

Re: Thought Experiment
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 (Post 198613)
Thought Experiment: What if the confederate states had not left the Union because of the slavery question, but instead left over something else not viewed so negatively today, such as import taxes on "widgets". Would it be then okay to celebrate the confederacy?

Thought experiment: What if Hitler had not tried to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jews, but instead did something else not viewed so negatively today, such as import taxes on "widgets". Would it be then okay to celebrate the Third Reich?

Quote:

My own opinion is that it is okay ...
Your opinion needs more thought.

bjkeefe 02-22-2011 05:44 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sapeye (Post 198642)
I don't know the accepted etiquette here. If I'm misbehaving, please let me know.

"Misbehaving" is a little strong.

Since you asked, though, my feeling about wanting to resurrect a previous discussion is that rather than putting up an obviously off-topic post in a new diavlog thread, it is better to either (1) locate the thread (near here) where the discussion last left off, or (2) start a new thread in the Life, the Universe and Everything forum.

bjkeefe 02-22-2011 05:50 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Invisman52 (Post 198622)
While adults, particularly highly-educated ones such as McWhorter and Loury, might feel a certain kind of ennui when it comes to Black History Month, there is still great utility to its recognition when it comes to educating our children. In a lot of classrooms and schools throughout the country, Black History Month becomes the occasion when children learn something of the history and struggle of black people and their allies in the U.S. McWhorter's malaise with Black History Month is reflective of his own experience; however, as a public intellectual, a marker that he and Loury both accept, he ought to consider Black History Month's place among the general populace. Intellectuals, for better or for worse, are often ahead of the knowledge curve of the masses; as "passe" as Black History Month may be for the intellectual class, for many young and lesser-educated people it remains vital and enlightening. Black History Month offers a kind of hyper-focus on a history that many people might otherwise gloss over or skip completely for any number of reasons. When Woodson imagined Black History Month, he didn't have those with Ph.D.s in mind; instead, he saw it was an effort, a political one, to educate common people (including black people) about an important, formative, and shared history.

Very well put.

harkin 02-22-2011 08:29 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Glenn's complete inability to admit the culpability of Cloward, Piven and The Nation is pathetic. Nice try John and keep fighting the good fight.


Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 198612)
Jumping around so far; enjoyable as always.

But when someone points out and condemns something that someone espouses, it is not a witch hunt. If someone fabricates quotes (eg the false quotes ascribed to Rush Limbaugh.


It only took Rachel Maddow four+ months to apologize for her use of false quotes smearing Limbaugh. BJKeefe parrots her ultra-weak mea culpa with the same mud about his 'other' racist rantings which always end up being innocuous in context. She was perfectly happy to allow the smear about awarding James Earl Ray a medal of honor to go out there, it's what they do on the left. These people never give up - I still hear Rush being blamed for the Barack the magic negro line when all he did was point out a very funny piece in the LA Times.

The liberals never seem to grasp the fact that if Limbaugh was such a bigoted racist, why would they have to keep making up quotes?

Quote:

Originally Posted by operative (Post 198612)
Merely pointing out that Piven endorses political violence, which she does, and stating that that is an awful view, which it is, is simply not a witch hunt.

How dare you use Piven's own words against her.

"An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union"

But at least you're better at sourcing quotes than MSNBC. lol

Quote:

Your lies are getting more pathetic by the day, oppie. I'm not sure who you think you're influencing on this site.
Got that? How dare you shatter the CW here, esp with facts.

Comedy gold.

badhatharry 02-22-2011 08:39 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 198643)
The ending is too good not to repost in its entirety:..."If Huffington has a conscience, she will sit down when the AOL check arrives and make sure every cent of it is paid out to those who worked free or at minimal wages for her over the last six years..."

"Huffington describes herself as a "former right-winger who has evolved into a compassionate and progressive populist". She is the founder of The Huffington Post, a liberal online news and commentary website and aggregated blog."

evolution, ya gotta love it.

badhatharry 02-22-2011 09:05 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by harkin (Post 198653)
It only took Rachel Maddow four+ months to apologize for her use of false quotes smearing Limbaugh.

I wonder how long it will take her to retract what she said about the Wisconsin budget being pefectly fine.
Quote:

I’m here to report that there is nothing wrong in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is fine. Wisconsin is great, actually! Despite what you may have heard about Wisconsin’s finances, Wisconsin is on track to have a budget surplus this year.
She didn't get close last night but instead continued her smear campaign against Scott Walker. Maybe when she's ready she and Ed Shultz could do a joint apology. They could make it a special event and call it The Rachel and Ed Come Clean Show.

Ezra Klein did an very weak apology at the end of his original column but the damage had already been done. Somehow I bet he knew that would be the case.

badhatharry 02-22-2011 10:28 AM

Cloward-Piven
 
I think it must be said that Frances Piven was not advocating physical violence as much as violence to a system she thought of as corrupt. I would assume that she thought there was little chance of changing the system so her strategy was to collapse it.

Quote:

proposed to create a crisis in the current welfare system – by exploiting the gap between welfare law and practice – that would ultimately bring about its collapse and replace it with a system of guaranteed annual income"

Group conflict, spelling political crisis for the local party apparatus, would thus become acute as welfare rolls mounted and the strains on local budgets became more severe
Of course if the idea had been successful, the result could very well have been physical violence. From the clips I've seen of her I have the feeling she wouldn't shrink from violence in the name of her cause. I bet it is a big surprise to her that her ideas have been resurrected lately.

bjkeefe 02-22-2011 10:34 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by harkin (Post 198653)
It only took Rachel Maddow four+ months to apologize for her use of false quotes smearing Limbaugh. BJKeefe parrots her ultra-weak mea culpa ...

Two lies. I never said anything about Maddow, and I never said anything about an apology.

Quote:

Originally Posted by harkin (Post 198653)
... the magic negro ...

Bet you loved the excuse to type that again. Pretty sad.

Winspur 02-22-2011 11:01 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
You may recall that there was a wave of anti-gay ballot initiatives in 2004 and 2006, avidly supported by Ken Mehlman and other Bush administration people. This was by no means limited to the South: Nevada, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, and Wisconsin all passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage in the Bush years.

badhatharry 02-22-2011 11:32 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Winspur (Post 198664)
You may recall that there was a wave of anti-gay ballot initiatives in 2004 and 2006, avidly supported by Ken Mehlman and other Bush administration people. This was by no means limited to the South: Nevada, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, and Wisconsin all passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage in the Bush years.

Are you talking about anti gay marriage initiatives? I think it is disingenuous to name these initiatives anti-gay. Also, I doubt you can pin people who have promoted anti gay marriage legislation entirely on Bush or Southern conservatives.

So it looks like what you are saying is that being interested in and promoting an issue is akin to trying to foist social mores on the entire country. Are there any cases where liberals do the same thing? I bet there are.

And again I'll ask what is the correlation between this and pro slavery politicians?

brucds 02-22-2011 11:35 AM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Regarding HuffPo and it's unpaid bloggers, most of them totally suck and couldn't get paid to write if their lives depended on it. As for Mayhill Fowler, she was better than most at least some of the time - her "unreadable" quotient was at some middling level, just like...uh...David Brooks - but she used Huffington Post at least as much as she was used. Had she been a professional journalist and not occupied her self-annointed "grey area" she never would have gotten access to the only story that's ever gotten her writing any attention. She went to an informal fundraising event open only to "supporters" and closed to journalists, and took advantage of the folks who let her in. I always thought that particular ungaurded comment made in a room supposedly devoid of reporters looking to file copy, in context, was a tempest in a teapot, but she managed to gin it up and get her 15 minutes.

Sorry - this is off-diavlog-topic, but I saw that Chris Hedges complaint. Hedges is a smart guy and I've found value in most of his books, but he's also a master of self-righteous outrage and turns a lot of complicated issues into simplistic morality plays.

stephanie 02-22-2011 12:07 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bkjazfan (Post 198624)
Lott's sin was venal whereas Byrd's was cardinal.

Quite the opposite, really. It's a silly comparison (the venal/mortal sin one, I mean) but if you want to make it, the definition of mortal sin is that one does a serious act with knowledge and consent.

Byrd's history suggests that he had a background that caused him to have early sympathy with the KKK in the early '40s. That's not admirable, but it's understandable. He later repented. So one could say that he did a serious act with flawed knowledge/understanding.

Lott's comments were made in '02, and contrary to John's apology, I don't think he simply lacked awareness of the significance or implication in them. He went to college at Ole Miss during the era of the Civil Rights Movement (despite at one point denying that there were any problems there). To the extent he made his comments for political gain, I think Glenn's take was correct -- it was knowing, cynical.

I also tend to agree with Glenn's idea that the reaction was overdone, but not because Lott deserves sympathy or was just unthinking.

Anyway, I thought the discussion about Lott was a little weird, because who cares. I guess more people than I thought.

stephanie 02-22-2011 12:16 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 198630)
I think that John tends to be in denial of the extent to which racism is still evident. He has a rather peculiar way of dealing with his own reactions to racist remarks, but he shouldn't expect too many others to be able to brush them off so easily. The standard to measure against is that of how an average person in the same position would feel or react.

Yeah, I think I agree with this.

When it comes to personal reaction, I tend to agree with John. What we can control is our own reaction, and I'm generally of the view that it doesn't make sense to focus on perceived racism (or, in my case, sexism), but simply to engage with people in as positive a way as possible. I think that avoids playing into the efforts, sometimes, to try and offend people to create a diversion, also, and probably does more to focus your own attention on what you can control and even reaching some people who may have started out with more discriminatory views. I admit that I don't know what it's like to experience racism, of course, so won't judge the reactions of others, but John's approach certainly seems a positive one to me.

Where I think he's wrong is in letting that perception govern whenever it comes to an analytical discussion of what's going on more broadly. You can say it's not helpful to react to someone else by assuming racism without saying that we can't acknowledge that racism plays a role in certain ways in some of that is going on when discussing it, yet he often seems to bring up his personal reactions as a reason to avoid seeing racism or at least acknowledging it. I think he's either being naive or is going too far the other way because perhaps he thinks some see it too easily.

bjkeefe 02-22-2011 12:16 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brucds (Post 198666)
Regarding HuffPo and it's unpaid bloggers, most of them totally suck and couldn't get paid to write if their lives depended on it. As for Mayhill Fowler, she was better than most at least some of the time - her "unreadable" quotient was at some middling level, just like...uh...David Brooks - but she used Huffington Post at least as much as she was used. Had she been a professional journalist and not occupied her self-annointed "grey area" she never would have gotten access to the only story that's ever gotten her writing any attention. She went to an informal fundraising event open only to "supporters" and closed to journalists, and took advantage of the folks who let her in. I always thought that particular ungaurded comment made in a room supposedly devoid of reporters looking to file copy, in context, was a tempest in a teapot, but she managed to gin it up and get her 15 minutes.

Sorry - this is off-diavlog-topic, but I saw that Chris Hedges complaint. Hedges is a smart guy and I've found value in most of his books, but he's also a master of self-righteous outrage and turns a lot of complicated issues into simplistic morality plays.

Agreed.* Very well said.

==========
*(Except that I can't comment on Hedges's books, having not read any of them. I can only judge him based on articles he's written and interviews he's done.)

Starwatcher162536 02-22-2011 01:07 PM

Re: Thought Experiment
 
Quote:

Your opinion needs more thought.
How convincing!

bjkeefe 02-22-2011 01:09 PM

Re: Thought Experiment
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 (Post 198693)
How convincing!

Sorry, Star, but your hypothetical was too ridiculous to discuss beyond that. [Added: And the counterexample I gave.]

chiwhisoxx 02-22-2011 01:26 PM

Re: Thought Experiment
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 (Post 198613)
Thought Experiment: What if the confederate states had not left the Union because of the slavery question, but instead left over something else not viewed so negatively today, such as import taxes on "widgets". Would it be then okay to celebrate the confederacy?

My own opinion is that it is okay to admire a person, idea, or institution for attribute X even if said person, idea, or institution had attributes Y and Z that are today viewed as deplorable. When judging people from the past you must judge them using a baseline of what was normal at the time.

What's the point you're trying to get at here? Whether it's OK to celebrate secession? That seems to be the point of your hypothetical, but it seems like kind of a banal one. Whether or not we could celebrate it would probably depend on the details. It also doesn't seem terribly likely for a country to fall apart over...import taxes on widgets.

stephanie 02-22-2011 01:54 PM

Re: Thought Experiment
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 (Post 198613)
Thought Experiment: What if the confederate states had not left the Union because of the slavery question, but instead left over something else not viewed so negatively today, such as import taxes on "widgets". Would it be then okay to celebrate the confederacy?

Are we assuming that they now have their own country? If so, I'm sure they'd celebrate it, and that would be fine, and I expect the US wouldn't, but would probably not care much anymore either. (Assuming that we had friendly relations now and all -- kind of like the US and UK, maybe.)

Or are we assuming that it was something that caused them to leave and that a bloody war was fought over and they subsequently became part of the US again? If so, I think the honor of the cause that led to the leaving depends on what it was about (as others have said) so we don't have enough information. But as for the celebration of fighting a war against the US, I have a problem with that, for people who claim to be patriotic US citizens, no matter what the cause.

My problem with the pro Confederacy stuff, then, is twofold. First, there's a racial element. And it's not just slavery -- the movement to bring back the Confederate battle flag was related to the Civil Rights Movement and anger at uppity blacks and meddling Yankees and the federal government then, it's impossible to say it's all about the right of secession or whether some Confederate general was a brave man or good tactician.

Second, as an American, I wouldn't join in a celebration of people who fought a war against my country, who injured or killed my ancestors who were fighting for the country that we supposedly all live in and love. I find it offensive for people to do that while claiming to be loyal Americans -- there's an inconsistency. It's especially distasteful when it's people who claim to be more patriotic than those of us Americans (the non real ones) who don't celebrate the Confederacy. Just weird.

db63 02-22-2011 02:15 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
John and Glenn are the only two Bloggingheads whose arguments are repeatedly of such high quality. I rarely find myself saying "oh, that's a good point" as much as I do during these conversations. The best part is, both speakers elicit my response. Is it possible to have John and Glenn do a weekly Bloggingheads? If they want to, of course ...

sapeye 02-22-2011 04:25 PM

Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brucds (Post 198666)
Hedges is a smart guy and I've found value in most of his books, but he's also a master of self-righteous outrage and turns a lot of complicated issues into simplistic morality plays.

I agree with this part of your post. This doesn't mean, though, that Hedges doesn't have a clear-eyed view. I've rarely, if ever, read anything by him that I think is internally inconsistent or not grounded in facts. He describes issues from an extreme, often apocalyptic, perspective, but that can be very useful in cutting through short/narrow-sightedness and self-serving rhetoric.


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