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  #1  
Old 12-15-2011, 12:16 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default TNC and Muscular Empathy

Ta-Nehisi Coates comments on the "if I was a poor black kid" Forbes article here.
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2011, 12:17 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

One bit:

Quote:
When I read this piece I was immediately called back, as I so often am, to my days at Howard and the courses I took looking at slavery. Whenever we discussed the back-breaking conditions, the labor, the sale of family members etc., there was always someone who asserted, roughly, "I couldn't been no slave. They'd a had to kill me!" I occasionally see a similar response here where someone will assert, with less ego, "Why didn't the slaves rebel?" More commonly you get people presiding from on high insisting that if they had lived in the antebellum South, they would have freed all of their slaves.

What all these responses have in common is a kind benevolent, and admittedly unintentional, self-aggrandizement. These are not bad people (much as I am sure Mr. Marks isn't a bad person), but they are people speaking from a gut feeling, a kind of revulsion at a situation which offends our modern morals. In the case of the observer of slavery, it is the chaining and marketing of human flesh. In the case of Mr. Marks, it's the astonishingly high levels of black poverty.

It is comforting to believe that we, through our sheer will, could transcend these bindings -- to believe that if we were slaves, our indomitable courage would have made us Frederick Douglass, if we were slave masters our keen morality would have made us Bobby Carter, that were we poor and black our sense of Protestant industry would be a mighty power sending gang leaders, gang members, hunger, depression and sickle cell into flight. We flatter ourselves, not out of malice, but out of instinct.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2011, 01:09 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Another good post by Mr. Coates. He might be a little more polite than I would be in attributing typical reactions to benevolent and unintentional self-aggrandizement. The barstool braggadocio of the "If x ever happened to me I'd blah blah blah" claim is usually a sign that the speaker has never been within a country mile of the situation they are mouthing off about, and isn't very interested in honestly considering themselves, that situation, or what it might actually be like to be in it.
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2011, 02:27 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by cragger View Post
Another good post by Mr. Coates. He might be a little more polite than I would be in attributing typical reactions to benevolent and unintentional self-aggrandizement. The barstool braggadocio of the "If x ever happened to me I'd blah blah blah" claim is usually a sign that the speaker has never been within a country mile of the situation they are mouthing off about, and isn't very interested in honestly considering themselves, that situation, or what it might actually be like to be in it.
I have to admit, joking aside, this racial transvestism (of which the forbes article is but one example) is in my top ten of annoying things.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2011, 10:12 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

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Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
I have to admit, joking aside, this racial transvestism (of which the forbes article is but one example) is in my top ten of annoying things.
It's the "if I were a slave/held up at gun point/lived in Colonial America, I would do X" thing that drives me crazy, so you can see why I liked TNC's discussion of that. I hadn't realized that racial transvestism was actually a thing, but now that I do I'll probably be joining you on that too.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2011, 09:46 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by cragger View Post
Another good post by Mr. Coates. He might be a little more polite than I would be in attributing typical reactions to benevolent and unintentional self-aggrandizement. The barstool braggadocio of the "If x ever happened to me I'd blah blah blah" claim is usually a sign that the speaker has never been within a country mile of the situation they are mouthing off about, and isn't very interested in honestly considering themselves, that situation, or what it might actually be like to be in it.
Or what that situation maintained year after year since birth, probably carried through previous generations, can do to one's self esteem, creativity, will power or even hope.
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:25 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
One bit:
One does wonder how in such a totality of suppression (Apparently ongoing), any slaves ever did manage to revolt. Which they did.

One wonders why this has historically been a substantial risk associated with slavery.

I find it surprising that even left wing members of this board fail to see the flawed comparison between living in slavery and reporting crimes to the cops, which is what he seems to allude to in the last part of your clip.
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  #8  
Old 12-15-2011, 01:04 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Ta-Nehisi Coates comments on the "if I was a poor black kid" Forbes article here.
More proof that Marks is a jerk:

http://youtu.be/D3Vp9fQ616k
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  #9  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:27 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

A couple more responses from ABL:

Quote:
My point is this: Being a poor black child trying to succeed in school is difficult for myriad reasons: lack of resources, parents struggling to put food on the table (often working multiple jobs), teachers paying less attention to black students than non-black students. But being a black child — poor or not — is also difficult because teachers and administrators take a look at you and make assumptions about your intelligence and abilities based solely upon your skin color. In my case, even after I told my teachers and principal that the classes in which they had placed me were too easy, they didn’t believe me. It took my mother getting involved and putting her foot down.

Now how many mothers work jobs that allow them to take a day off to ensure that their child is getting the proper education? My guess is not many. Had my mother not taken that day off — or not been permitted by her employer to take that day off — I likely would not have gone on to take Calculus at Girls High. Maybe I wouldn’t have gone on to Oberlin, or UVA Law. And had my mother been black, who knows how her request to take a day off to talk to her daughter’s teachers would have been received by her employer. I wasn’t sick. There was no emergency. So who knows what would have happened to her — what would have happened to me.

Privilege and racism are embedded in the system, and grand statements like “Try harder! Get a computer (which a poor black kid likely can’t afford in the first instance)! Get into private school!” are offensive in their banality.

So Mr. Marks, the next time you want to opine about life as a poor black kid, just stop. You know nothing of growing up black. You know nothing of growing up poor. You know nothing of the systemic problems in education that result in many black kids, poor or otherwise, being left behind. It’s not a matter of just “trying super hard and really wanting to succeed.” Your assumptions are faulty, and frankly, you sound like a jackass. A well-meaning jackass, perhaps, but a jackass all the same.

So just stop.
And Campos (as poor black kid):
Quote:
Gene Marks, business owner and column writer for Forbes and the New York Times, has written an excellent piece about how I can overcome the massive structural economic and cultural barriers that make it extremely probable I’ll continue to live a life of poverty here in the slums of West Philadelphia.

Marks points out that if I happen to be a good deal smarter and much luckier than most of my “cohort,” as they say in the University of Pennsylvania sociology class that I will never attend, all I need to do is work extremely hard in school, get my hands on some computer technology one way or another, use it to somewhat magically acquire the cultural capital regarding the world of education that Marks acknowledges was a birthright for his own children, and then squeeze some scholarships out of the limousine liberals on the boards of Choate or Phillips Exeter. This will allow me to get into college, which as Marks is well aware guarantees Americans today a solidly middle class — as a writer for Forbes he defines this as a household income of $250,000 per year or higher — lifestyle.

This is just a terrific set of unspeakably useful suggestions for someone in my admittedly daunting social situation. Thanks rich middle-aged white guy!
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:52 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Its too bad they don't allow you to serve in the military if you're poor, or black. If they did, most of these excuses would be ridiculous.
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  #11  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:20 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Its too bad they don't allow you to serve in the military if you're poor, or black. If they did, most of these excuses would be ridiculous.
Really? There's a slot in the service for every poor or black person in the States, waiting for each of them, guaranteeing them success in life? Wow, cool!
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  #12  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:54 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Really? There's a slot in the service for every poor or black person in the States, waiting for each of them, guaranteeing them success in life? Wow, cool!
Nope. Only those with the very minimum standards required for entry to compete. Though it is strange, I have never heard of the military having "too many" volunteers in this day and age.
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  #13  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:56 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Nope. Only those with the very minimum standards required for entry to compete. Though it is strange, I have never heard of the military having "too many" volunteers in this day and age.
That has nothing to with your assertion that the military provides a backstop for everybody who is "poor, or black."
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2011, 07:01 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
That has nothing to with your assertion that the military provides a backstop for everybody who is "poor, or black."
It does. And indeed, "everyone" isn't necessary, just the male population. So "everyone" who is willing to do the minimum amount of work to become literate and finish High School has an opportunity to gain every necessary element for success in the military.

Now, if everyone exercised that option, it probably would no longer be true. But since they don't, and it is, then these excuses ring hollow.
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  #15  
Old 12-15-2011, 07:37 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
It does. And indeed, "everyone" isn't necessary, just the male population. So "everyone" who is willing to do the minimum amount of work to become literate and finish High School has an opportunity to gain every necessary element for success in the military.

Now, if everyone exercised that option, it probably would no longer be true. But since they don't, and it is, then these excuses ring hollow.
Sulla you haven't framed a coherent argument yet. The service isn't limited to men, and even it was 50% of "everybody" is still an order of magnitude or more greater than the number of opportunities represented by it. Your assertions have no basis in fact and the numbers implied by those assertions are absurd.
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  #16  
Old 12-15-2011, 09:39 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Sulla you haven't framed a coherent argument yet.
Sure I have.

Quote:
The service isn't limited to men
Obviously. But the point is that if men took their proper role as providers for a stable family back home, they'd be able to subsidize the part time (Or shared family living arrangement) work for their women and children at home.

And upon returning to civilian life, attend a trade school. Or college, if they must.

Quote:
and even it was 50% of "everybody" is still an order of magnitude or more greater than the number of opportunities represented by it.
Which would be a fine argument if we reached that kind of critical mass. Since no one is being turned away because the military is "full", its ridiculous. People have the option to improve their lot; now. People are choosing not to take advantage of these chances, now.

It isn't theoretical. It is real.
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  #17  
Old 12-15-2011, 08:03 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Its too bad they don't allow you to serve in the military if you're poor, or black. If they did, most of these excuses would be ridiculous.
Sure. If you're poor or black all you have to do is take somewhat better than even odds of getting shot or blown up and you're golden.
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  #18  
Old 12-15-2011, 09:35 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

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Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
Sure. If you're poor or black all you have to do is take somewhat better than even odds of getting shot or blown up and you're golden.
The risk of which you can mitigate by joining the Navy, or Air Force, or work towards a support job in the Army.

Of course, it is a shocking development that the world isn't fair, and that some people have to do things that other people don't. While we bemoan that fact, why don't we ask ourselves what difference it makes for the existing opportunity?

I'd rather take my chances swabbing a deck on a weapons resupply ship for 4 years than live 60 years as a member of the lumpen proletariat.
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