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Old 10-12-2010, 12:06 PM
Abu Noor Al-Irlandee Abu Noor Al-Irlandee is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 392
Default Re: Communitas: Race, Culture, and Government (Adam Serwer & Amy Wax)

Rfrobison, Although I am not Ocean, I hope you don't mind me responding as well since it is a quote of mine that Ocean highlighted that you are askin about.

First, I should make it clear that although I spoke for liberals here, I did so as someone who comes from a liberal family and background but I am not actually a liberal currently.

I actually do not think that the responsibility to assist those in the society who are struggling comes from a sense of guilt about what was done in the past. I think it more so comes from a sense of gratitude for all the undeserved blessings one has if one is doing well in society and an obligation to share one's blessings with others. If one wanted to be more negative about it, one could phrase this as a sense of guilt about how much one has received currently compared to others. It is certainly true that this is something owed not exclusively or even primarily to Blacks as Blacks, but I think in a society with a racial history such as ours it would be foolish to deny or pretend not to notice the disproportionate ways in which Blackamericans are less well off than other Americans.

To some extent we are all responsible for each other. While I certainly think it is helpful to point out what is self serving or not helpful but done in the guise of help, I don't think it is helpful to try to avoid or deny responsibility.

Now that I've listened to the diavlog, I think many interesting points came up in the discussion but I did not find Ms. Wax to be a very articulate nor symptathetic advocate of her position...she seemed completely uninterested in listening or trying to understand what Mr. Serwar had to say.

No thinking person can fail to realize that discussions about race in this country, including in academia or the liberal media, are oft times mindnumblingly contrived and artificial, but Ms. Wax's notion that there is some conspiracy to hide the state of the Blackamerican family is, frankly, disingenous. I mean is there a single person who listened to this diavlog and was surprised to learn the statistics about the Black family? I mean is there anyone in America who is not aware of this?

Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Ocean: I'm going to approach this point gingerly because I don't want to have a big, loud argument over race. There's a large part of me that feels quite unqualified to speak on this topic at all, having grown up in a pretty typical upper middle class environment--and a lily-white one at that.

Still, I can't help but wonder what sort of responsibility Whites have as a group to Blacks as a group beyond, of course, the responsibility we all have as human beings to treat one another with respect and dignity and courtesy? Are all American Whites, regardless of their own personal or family history, responsible for the grievous injustices suffered by all Blacks past, present, and future--simply by virtue of their Whiteness? Aren't racial constructs sort of artificial and arbitrary in the first place? When will we be able to say: "Debt paid in full"? And what specific things should government be doing specific to Blacks, for Blacks, and what does it owe to Blacks as Blacks that it does not need to do for or owe to the rest of the citizenry?

I suspect there are quite a few Blacks who might be offended by the notion that Whites are responsible for their fate.
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