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Old 02-22-2011, 01:16 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Black History Edition (John McWhorter & Glenn Loury)

Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
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.
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