Subscribe via RSS Feed

The South or the Nation?

[ 521 ] July 18, 2015 |

6a00d834516a0869e201bb0847c219970d-500wi

Tom Sugrue is a great historian and he makes excellent points in this op-ed about how racism is not just a southern problem but a national problem. But let’s face it, this is an overstated case. Even if everything he says about the North is true, and it pretty much is, Dylann Roof still shot up a church in Charleston, South Carolina (Denmark Vesey’s church no less), it is southern states that are seeking to disfranchise African-Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the most important parts of the Voting Rights Act and it’s also southern states denying the Supreme Court’s verdict on gay marriage, executing African-Americans in racist criminal injustice systems, and where the last die-hards going to the mat for the Confederate flag are hanging on.

Yes, racism is a national problem. No, the North and the West are hardly immune from the horrors of white supremacy. But yes, these problems are worse in the South and it’s important to recognize where the front line of the civil rights struggle remains.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Actually, I’ve come to consider “The South is worse!” another version of “At least you aren’t in Saudi Arabia.” So fucking what?

    Take, for example the likelihood an African-American will be killed by a police officer vs. a white person’s chances of death by police officer. National problem with no solution in sight because apparently even putting police officers on trial when they kill an unarmed black person will cause the moon to smash into the Earth. Saying “But Dylan Roof!” really doesn’t help anything except people who want to ignore problems going on in their cities.

    • Happy Jack

      In cities like Flint or Detroit they don’t have to worry about the ballot box. They just appoint an emergency manager.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        Notführer? One of those cases where English/German correspondence can lead you astry.

    • Woodrowfan

      Very true. But there is an additional point about the south, its effect on the politics on the nation as a whole. How much has the region’s elected representatives in Congress held back attempts to deal with issues of race, gender, and class? Not that the US would suddenly become the North American version of Sweden if the south were gone, but they have almost* always been a drag on attempts by the US government to deal with any social or economic reforms. Look at the states that still resist expanding Medicare to care for their own citizens that need it. It’s mostly (but not entirely) the former confederate states. No region is innocent of enacting reactionary policies, but the south sure does like to concentrate them in one place.

      (* CYA, I can’t think of an exception off the top of my head, but there might be one)

      • LeeEsq

        Sweden and the other Nordic states are unique cases. A United States with a more vigorous social welfare state would probably look closer to Australia or Canada than anything in Europe. Much improvement but not near Swedish levels of equality. The sheer geographic size and population of the United States would require a more bureaucratic and less personal system than anything in the Nordic states, which tend to be close knit societies because of their small population sizes.

        • DocAmazing

          …and, quite possibly, their racial/cultural homogeneity. If Sweden had a significantly more diverse-looking population, they might discover some of their more retrograde tendencies. I hope not, but it’s hard not to suspect it.

          • Happy Jack

            No need to suspect. Google their policy of sterilizing the Roma. It was a part of social democracy.

          • AndersH

            Currently about 15-20% of the Swedish population are foreign-born. Obviously there are quite a few more who have foreign-born parents.
            Accordingly, our asshole nationalist party got 13% in the last election and are rising. Personally, I blame the mainstream parties a great deal for their success, due to their willingness to dismantle the welfare system/schools/etc on a neo-liberal basis over the past 25 years, just as immigration increased (in other words, when a strong public sector would have made a whole lot of sense).
            Of course, it’s possible that the causal chain is reversed, and the Swedish parties were willing to reform the welfare system in such a way because a lot of white Swedes suddenly had an interest in self-segregating from “them”.

            • Gregor Sansa

              Racist party got 21% in yesterday’s Danish elections. Ick.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Of course, it’s possible that the causal chain is reversed, and the Swedish parties were willing to reform the welfare system in such a way because a lot of white Swedes suddenly had an interest in self-segregating from “them”.

              This reading would accord with US history too. As soon as white people realized that they weren’t going to be able to keep all those Great Society goodies to themselves in the same way they hogged the New Deal goodies they abandoned anything remotely like the Great Society!

          • LeeEsq

            There is mixed evidence on this. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are just as homogenous as the Nordic countries where when they set up the welfare states but do not have anything close to a Nordic welfare state. You also need the right political environment in addition to homogeneity potentially.

            • Snarki, child of Loki

              Might it be something to do with “harsh, barely habitable” geography? Those who survive are likely to be those who learn to work together.

              Then again, Arizona. But natural selection takes a *long* time.

              • LeeEsq

                Large parts of Japan are uninhabitable mountains and according to wikipedia, 90% of Taiwan’s population lives on one-third of the land. In South Korea, half the population lives in or around Seoul.

                I’d say that the more likely factors are a longer history of democracy in the Nordic countries allowed for the formation of genuine Social Democratic party earlier. Lower population levels also likely helped.

            • Jean-Michel

              Taiwan is only homogenous if you treat Han Chinese as a monolithic ethnic group. I think that’s a mistake in general and a big one in the case of Taiwan, where there is a sharp cleavage between waishengren (post-1945 immigrants and their descendants) and benshengren (those whose ancestors arrived before 1945); the distinction is less stark than it once was but still shows itself in voting patterns, language, employment, urbanization levels, and ethnic/national identification. Within the benshengren you have a split between the majority Hoklo (descendants of immigrants from Fujian Province) and the Hakka (a sort of migratory Han subgroup who are traditionally suspicious of “Hoklo supremacy” and are in that sense closer to waishengren). Despite all this Taiwan is much closer to a welfare state than anywhere else in Asia–single-payer health insurance, eight weeks’ paid maternity leave, modest unemployment benefits, mandatory severance pay, soon-to-be-implemented long-term care insurance, and possibly national social housing depending on the outcome of the next election. Ironically I think this was in some way predicated on the heterogeneous nature of Taiwanese society, as immigrant groups set up mutual-aid societies that were (and in some areas still are) effectively indistinguishable from local governments, and which after 1945 were showered with favors by the national government to secure support from various local population groups.

        • Ronan

          Best mono causal story I’ve heard for this is that state capacity was strong in Nordic countries before they democratised, which enabled a political culture and institutions develop that better integrated civil society into the state. When it happens in reverse (democracy before or alongside state capacity) it is more difficult to institutionalise “pro state” (for want if a better word) practices and behaviours.
          This is the point that’s often lost when people compare different political economies, that what exists in a country is the result of their own specific history, and can’t be easily imposed on another.

          • LeeEsq

            This also explains how France ended up more “pro state” than the Anglophone countries.

            • Ronan

              which is also probably significantly an outcome of the security competitions and conflicts on the continent (a mixed blessing, to say the least)

      • brewmn

        This tracks my reaction to Shakezula’s comment as well. The South gives critical mass to a racialized politics (as opposed to racist actions, which are how Northern racism is more directly manifested at this point).

      • But this argument (and I’ve seen it around) essentially cedes the power to stop racism in the U.S. to the South. “Until those people stop being racist, racism is going to be a problem throughout the country [shrug].”

        Which in addition to possibly leading to some weird conclusions (housing discrimination is illegal but it persists nationally because the South) it excuses non-Southerners and suggests that racism is a matter of politics, rather than a much larger (and thornier) matter of carefully cherished beliefs that is expressed in some instances by political actions.

        • DrDick

          Exactly, and if we cannot stop racism in New York, Chicago, or LA, we certainly will not be able to in the South. It is largely just a way for Northerners to wash their hands and say it is not their problem.

          • Aimai

            I see it going the other way–the argument that “the north is racist too” which is, obviously, true, is used to excuse blatant acts of racism and violence in the south, as it used to excuse the racism of republica policies generally, on the grounds that its sheer humannature and everyone would be racist if they could be or if they knew black people the way southerners or Republicans know black people.

            The localization of racism to the south, like the universalization of racism everywhere, can be an argument for action, or an argument against action, depending on who is making the arguement. By racists (whether southern or northern) its an argument against doing anything no matter where it comes from. By anit racists (a term I despise but I can’t think of anything else to say) and activists both can be used as ways of organizing action. It all depends on who is saying it, and to whom.

            • But even among alleged allies (another word I could do without) I’ve never seen “The other guys are worse!” used to do anything except passive-aggressively change the subject and involve everyone in bizarre attempts to triage oppression. It’s gross and unhelpful.

              • The only way I can imagine it being useful is if one is allocating resistance resources. But then you don’t really care as much about the *degree* (so who’s worse is a bit moot), but “where can we get the most bang for the buck” or maybe “what’s the current critical spot/where’s our best long term move”.

                It would be interesting if “being better” prompted people to live up to the hype, rather than to excuse whatever they actually do as ok. But human psychology is way prone to the former.

                • But human psychology is way prone to the former.

                  Yes, I think being better is more frequently a form of ego defense than an aspiration.

                  Plus (and I can only speak of the Mid-Atlantic) the deep south is something you laugh at/avoid like the plague/avoid while laughing. They’re backwards and uncouth. The white southerner is all that and violent and scary.

                  Suggesting someone has anything in common with them is deeply offensive. (For example “Bama.”)

                  Plus, they’ve got fire ants down there and surely that is a sign of God’s disfavor.

                • DrDick

                  Shakezula –

                  Agreed. I am not trying to gloss over Southern racism, though I am skeptical that it is actually worse than in the North or West though it may be somewhat more widespread there. Like you, I think it is often used by those outside the South to avoid looking too closely at their own neighborhoods. Even if it is true that the South is more racist, would it not actually be more effective to address racism in the areas where, while not as bad, it is still horrific?

                • I am not trying to gloss over Southern racism, though I am skeptical that it is actually worse than in the North or West though it may be somewhat more widespread there.

                  Oh, I didn’t think you were.

                  I think part of the issue is people look at “in-your-face” racism and assume its the worst because its the most obvious to them. There’s a “smoking gun.” And so (it is assumed) that forms that are less obvious to them aren’t as bad. Or don’t exist at all.

                  But one thing that attitude ignores is many racists have figured out “you can’t say the n-word any more.” So instead Rand Paul sobs into his toupee about States’ Rights and some people (not a lot, but some) blink in confusion when people call him a racist cobag because he’s just talking about states’ rights. He didn’t say he hates black people.

                  Oy vey.

      • StellaB

        Not that the US would suddenly become the North American version of Sweden if the south were gone, but they have almost* always been a drag on attempts by the US government to deal with any social or economic reforms

        There was tremendous amount of progressive legislation passed, including the building of a nationwide train system, the foundation of the land-grant colleges, and some early, but hard hitting civil rights improvements while the southern senators and congressmen were off doing their legislating in Richmond, VA. It was a golden era for progressives although there was the little matter of the accompanying war.

        • Aimai

          And the laws passed by the first black congressmen during reconstruction were notable for their progressive, inclusive, forward thinking especially on education. Pity about what happened after.

      • SatanicPanic

        But there is an additional point about the south, its effect on the politics on the nation as a whole.

        This is the main point for me. We may or may not have people with racism in their hearts all over the nation. We have racist police all over the nation. But if we’re going to do something, it almost certainly has to start at the federal level- where a good deal of our problems started (FHA endorsed redlining for example) Which parts of the nation would lobby hardest against that? Obviously the South.

    • LeeEsq

      South Carolina is actually very good at indicting and prosecuting police officers that commit unnecessary violence in the line of duty compared to nearly every other state.

    • joe from Lowell

      I suppose it’s coincidental that community policing began in Massachusetts and not Tennessee.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Well, KKK lynch mobs are a kind of community policing.

        (And, yes, I know that the Klan didn’t begin in Tennessee.)

        • joe from Lowell

          Well, KKK lynch mobs are a kind of community policing.

          Yeah, that Florida* courthouse post from yesterday has forever soured me on taking my political and historical cues from painters.

          *Located somewhere between Pennsylvania and Vermont, if I have my geography correct.

        • cpinva

          “(And, yes, I know that the Klan didn’t begin in Tennessee.)”

          yes, it did. Pulaski, TN, to be precise. this is how former confederate army general Nathan Bedford Forrest got involved, as he was a TN native.

          see:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

          its current incarnation is strikingly similar to its first iteration.

    • sam

      seriously. it’s nice to think that we in the north are somehow morally superior to those people in the south, but we’re really not. When the killings in SC happened, and I (a white lady) posted on FB about the extremely polite treatment of Dylan Roof being a really great example of privilege, one of my law school classmates piped in about how he totally disagreed with me because they were taking the confederate flag down. And then he started talking about the “racist south”, as if it was some walled of place separate from the rest of us.

      I had to respond (among other things, including that taking the flag down was a nice act of symbolism but certainly not going to solve the systemic/structural racism still present in society) that I didn’t know that his home city of Philadelphia, PA had become some sort of beacon of racial harmony in the 16 years since I lived there.

      Needless to say, he didn’t post a response.

      • cpinva

        many parts of the south would love to be a walled off place, separate from the rest of us. the good thing is, those most vehement in their overt racism are a dying breed, with less than a 1:1 replacement.

    • DrDick

      Have to agree with this completely. It was also Midwestern and NE states that pioneered voter suppression in recent decades.

      • joe from Lowell

        Voter ID law map.

        Is your history wrong, or is there something about Southern states that make them particularly attracted to policies with racist consequences even when those policies began elsewhere?

        If your history is right, and the Southern states went whole hog for a non-Southern racist policy, wouldn’t that be even stronger evidence for the prosecution?

        • DrDick

          I think you want to check your sources. It is worth noting that I said “pioneered”, which seems supported by the link here.

          • DrDick

            There is also this.

            • joe from Lowell

              Both of which back me up, showing the problem to be much more severe in the South than elsewhere.

              You know we can all actually see the map you linked to, right?

          • joe from Lowell

            Did you notice there were two options: “Is your history wrong?” or “the Southern states went whole hog for a non-Southern racist policy, to a much greater degree than the rest of the country?”

            You’re saying it’s the second? OK.

    • cpinva

      shak, you forgot “Black-on-Black” crime!

      • LOL. And I’m old enough to remember when the excuse for police violence and rampant civil rights’ violations was black-on-white crime.

        Progress!

        • cpinva

          progress of a sort. I await the next logical step in this progression: Black-on-Asian! crime.

        • cpinva

          progress of a sort. I await the next logical step in this progression: Black-on-Asian! crime.

          • cpinva

            oopsie! hit the damn thing twice.

    • Manju

      Actually, I’ve come to consider “The South is worse!” another version of “At least you aren’t in Saudi Arabia.” So fucking what?

      Anyone who has ever been stuck with the Donald in a Trump Tower elevator understands…

      • Ahuitzotl

        I thought Trump ingested anyone trapped in an elevator with him, to feed the Holy Hairpiece?

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Both Kansas and Arizona have been pretty active on the disfranchisement front.

    • Becker

      I’d say that that’s because the culture of the Republican Party is coterminous with the culture of the white South. The folkways and politics of that region are what the party considers to be America’s truest self. This explains the frequent tonedeafness, your Akins, your Mourducks, your Angles and Palins. They’re following the lead of the Southern GOP and are blindsided when rhetoric that kills in Dixie isn’t quite so hot elsewhere.

      This might explain how Indiana and Arizona incited national outrage with their discriminatory “religious freedom” bills, while Mississippi’s passed quietly into law.

      • Lee Rudolph

        tonedeafness

        I don’t think that’s the right word. I believe that most, if not all, of the “tonedeaf” statements uttered by Republican politicians (and their allies) are music to Republican (etc.) ears—and if the words and the tone grate horribly on the ears of others (or, especially, Others), that’s all to the good.

        • Right, it isn’t a gaffe or a dogwhistle. It’s politics by trolling. Bonus: When the nasty liberals complain, they can wring their paws, whine about Free Speech and hit up the rubes for more donations.

          • cpinva

            “Bonus: When the nasty liberals complain, they can wring their paws, whine about Free Speech and hit up the rubes for more donations.”

            and for about 99.999999999999999999% of them, this is what it’s all about anyway. I doubt most of them give two nanny-goat shits about anything but the grift.

            • You mean D.C. Stephenson wasn’t really worried about protecting white womanhood?

              Yes, I sometimes think the fact that racism is extremely lucrative is the biggest hurdle to reducing racism’s impact and reach. You either have people who are straight up grifters or people who have their racism reinforced by steady doses of cash.

              And that’s … incredibly depressing.

      • CP

        I’d say that that’s because the culture of the Republican Party is coterminous with the culture of the white South.

        I think most of the things we associate with “the white South” long ago became generic symbols of white butthurt across the nation. Kind like Nazism in Europe; Germany might have been the origin point, but swastika-tattooed skinhead gangs (and their “respectable” counterparts in far right politics) exist in France, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, England…

      • KmCO

        I’d say that that’s because the culture of the Republican Party is coterminous with the culture of the white South.

        Yes.

    • joe from Lowell

      And both Kansas and Arizona were slaver territories belonging to the Confederacy (in the case of Arizona, self-proclaimed).

      • Linnaeus

        Kansas joined the Union as a free state in 1861.

        • joe from Lowell

          You’re right, I mixed up Kansas and Missouri.

          • rea

            Also Confederate Arizona was a very different territory than the later state–more like the southern half of modern New Mexico and Arizona.

            • joe from Lowell

              Right, but the change in the boundary lines didn’t eliminate the cultural antecedents.

        • PhoenixRising

          Um, after a lot of deaths by bayonet? I think part of what’s the matter with Kansas is that it’s full of whites who don’t have any contact with non-whites, with a handful of whites who live in white suburbs of large cities having some abrasive, hostile contact with blacks.

          It’s a segregated mess. And it’s a Northern mess, except to the extent that the most overly racist white Kansans have wrapped themselves in the Dukes of Hazzard flag.

          Which makes KS a great example of why Erik is wrong.

          • Linnaeus

            I’m not disagreeing with you here.

          • joe from Lowell

            And it’s a Northern mess, except to the extent that the most overly racist white Kansans have wrapped themselves in the Dukes of Hazzard flag.

            After the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, both northern and southern whites fled into the territory, leading to Bleeding Kansas. Confederate sympathies there aren’t a 20th-century affectation, but a continuation of the culture established by (some of) the original settlers.

            • StellaB

              You see the same divide in my fair state. After the Civil War, southerners migrated to the southern part of the state and northerners to the north which is why there is a vast political gulf between Orange County and San Francisco.

              • weirdnoise

                Well, that and the mass migration from dustbowl states like Oklahoma to the Central Valley.

    • wjts

      Both Kansas and Arizona have been pretty active on the disfranchisement front.

      And Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

  • Drexciya

    But yes, these problems are worse in the South and it’s important to recognize where the front line of the civil rights struggle remains.

    To who? For who?

    Why do you feel comfortable saying this?

    • Dolly Llama

      What part of it do you misunderstand? Yes, racism is a problem everywhere, but as a native and almost-lifelong resident of the Deep South, it is worse here. It is the front line.

      • sharculese

        Drexciya’s foundational principle is that understanding must be rigorously opposed wherever pretension and obfuscation are possibilities.

        • Bruce B.

          This made me snort ice tea into, though not out of, my nose. Good work.

      • matt w

        But the question is why is it important for a Northern white person to “recognize” where the “front line” of the civil rights struggle “remains”? Think about what the “front line” metaphor means.

      • Drexciya

        Dolly Llama, are you a black person?

        What experience are you drawing from to gauge the contrast between the two regions? Specifically, I would like to know why being locked up for life until death, redlined into a violent, job-deprived ghetto where I have to engage in (or navigate) potentially fatal violence for survival, being shot by a cop, driven to suicide after years of confinement (with ample solitary for good measure), being executed and being murdered in a church are so significantly different that highlighting the latter over the others is justifiable. This post doesn’t do enough work to justify its own premise.

        What is even the point of particularizing southern racism like this? Who is this kind of post benefiting beyond white people who want to point to a region they don’t live in as the battleground for “actually bad racism”?

        • Dolly Llama

          Every war has front lines. If you don’t know where they are, you have no chance of winning. it doesn’t mean the front lines are the only place you fight.

          • Drexciya

            Yeah, lofty and pat as that sounds, that answers none of my questions and responds to none of my points. I would appreciate it if you did.

            Are you black? Are you a person of color? If you’re not, how do you comfortably and legitimately gauge where the “front lines” reside?

            • Dolly Llama

              Not black. Not a person of color. Grew up in the Deep South in an extremely racist family. I feel like I know exactly where the front lines are.

              • BubbaDave

                I am not normally a fan of Drex’s approach, and I understand folks who are reacting badly based on prior interactions. That said….

                If we’re playing anecdotes, I live in the Dallas area and used to watch football all the time at a sports bar in Richardson where I was usually the only white guy at a table of 8-9 fans who argued and talked smack and had a great time. Up in New Brighton, PA, I wanted to watch the Cowboy game and stuck my head in a local bar to see if they had the game on (they didn’t) and to ask if they could suggest a place I could find it. They suggested a place and then when I thanked them burst out laughing — “no, we’re just kiddin’, that’s the n—-r bar!” “Heh, you were sendin’ him to the n—-r bar!” “Man, could you imagine, trying to watch the game at the n—-r bar?”

                Also, the one time I’ve been called a traitor to my race was when I was knocking on doors in Eastern Ohio for Obama/Biden ’08.

                I wouldn’t try to tell Tyrone or Tony or any of the guys at Wizards that they have it easy compared to the folks in Pennsylvania. I wouldn’t tell any black people in PA or Ohio they should be glad they’re not in the South. What I can say, since I have a skin color that makes racists less shy about sharing their racism, is that there are assholes everywhere. But just because I’ve seen some skirmishes doesn’t mean I know where the front lines are.

                I don’t think Drexciya automatically knows either; I think we’re all blind men describing an elephant here. But if we’re going to try to make sweeping generalizations based on our personal experience such as

                Grew up in the Deep South in an extremely racist family.

                then I think denying the personal experience of someone who is going to be on the receiving end of racism is… less than helpful.

                • wjts

                  They suggested a place and then when I thanked them burst out laughing — “no, we’re just kiddin’, that’s the n—-r bar!” “Heh, you were sendin’ him to the n—-r bar!” “Man, could you imagine, trying to watch the game at the n—-r bar?”

                  For the sake of your safety, I sincerely hope you didn’t go to the bar they suggested. Rooting for the Cowboys in a bar in Steelers Country is basically asking for an ass-kicking.

                • BubbaDave

                  wjts: Nah, I drove about 10 miles to Zookys and found a table with a bunch of other Cowboys fans (not all white) and we had a great time. Only time I’ve come close to getting my ass kicked by a Steelers fan was before the SuperBowl here in Dallas when I mentioned that I was rooting for the Packers because I thought Big Ben is a rapist. There are advantages to having a couple of friends in the 6’2″ – 6’7″ range around when you’re tailgating — cooled that conversation right down.

              • Ahuitzotl

                As far as I can see, it’s not a war, there are no front lines. It’s a guerilla war, and the front lines are everywhere.

            • Dolly Llama

              What do you care? I’m white and not equipped for this conversation. Just keep going. I’m just going to listen.

            • Stag Party Palin

              Are you black? Are you a person of color? If you’re not, how do you comfortably and legitimately gauge where the “front lines” reside?

              Aside from being an argument ad hominem this is full of logic fail. If a front line is where there are opposing forces, either side could tell you where it is.

              • Drexciya

                Why would your conception of the “opposing forces” be focused on the south and not on white people generally?

                And given its logicfail, you should have no problems answering the questions posed in the quote. That’s particularly true if they’re irrelevant.

                • Dolly Llama

                  Why do I get the feeling that if all racism everywhere, for you and everyone you knew, magically went away tomorrow, you’d still be pissed?

                • Drexciya

                  Ah, yes, I’m irrationally angry, despite comporting myself with relative equanimity.

                • Dolly Llama

                  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equanimity

                  So “It’s a black thing, you have no standing, and seeing white people even talk about this in any way offends me” fits the definition of equanimity in your mind? That is indeed irrational.

                • matt w

                  Dolly, I don’t think responding to “I’m black and that puts me in a good position to know personally that the front lines of racism are in the North too” with “I’m a white southerner and that puts me in a good position to know that they aren’t” is a good look.

                  And yeah, there is no evidence that Drexciya is displaying a lack of equanimity. It looks to me like s/he is getting subjected to a lot of nasty criticism for making fair points. And yes, “Black people are in a better position to know where racism is biting on them hard” is a fair point, as offensive as some of the white people in this thread seem to find it.

                • Linnaeus

                  For what it’s worth, I’ll add my agreement with matt w. I’m generally reluctant to talk about commenters in the third person when they are actively involved in the discussion, but I do think that Drexciya has made some fair points here and elsewhere and has done so with good decorum.

                • Drexciya

                  Linnaeus, matt w, thank you both so much. I’m not going to whine, but jesus.

                • I guess it’s a bit moot now, but I’ll chime in as well. Drexciya and I had an *extended* back and forth and I imagine that if anyone had less equanimity that it was me.

                  Here, Dolly, I think you clearly turned the conversation in a particularly bad way. There were much better ways to in response to the question: “How does one gauge where the front lines of racism are if not experientially? And do we have reason to think that a white person’s experience is adequate to such assessment?”

                  Here’s a way that it easily could not be:

                  Imagine a white person living in the south. They hear expressions of racism all the time and see it’s casually accepted. They move to the north and find that such expressions are few and socially disapproved of. They might infer that this is an indicator that other forms of racism are also less in the North.

                  But it’s easy to imagine that a black person’s experience would be radically different. Indeed, the racism might be more difficult to navigate (and thus perhaps more damaging) because it’s all covert.

                  So, where is the front line there? The front line metaphor is very weird. Is the North friendly territory for blacks? Or is the whole country hostile territory with the hostility having different shapes in different places? The latter seems much more reasonable to me.

                • Stag Party Palin

                  Why would your conception of the “opposing forces” be focused on the south

                  Not my statement and not my point.

                  and not on white people generally?

                  Incomprehensible.

    • joe from Lowell

      To and for people concerned about making progress.

      Because he has a solid factual understanding of American history.

      By all means, if you think he’s mistaken, make your case. I don’t think you will.

    • cpinva

      “Why do you feel comfortable saying this?”

      because:

      1. I have a very nice, well padded chair to sit on while I do it. and,

      2. it’s true.

      now, if you have evidence to the contrary, please, do tell.

      • joe from Lowell

        now, if you have evidence to the contrary, please, do tell.

        Been four hours.

  • I absolutely agree with Shakezula. Here in Minnesota, there are appalling gaps in wealth, homeownership, and employment – some of the worst numbers in the nation. Pointing at the South’s problems tends to absolve white, liberal Minnesotans.

    • DocAmazing

      Here in the we-can’t-possibly-be-racist Bay Area, we have SF cops arresting black folks at seven times the rate of white folks, an economically-driven exodus of black, Latino, and Filipino folks, and white people arriving every day from Real America to complain about how all these illegals don’t speak English.

      I’ve never been to the South, but I think we have a pretty significant problem here–we’ve just made it more baroque. Artisanal racism, if you will.

      • Artisanal racism, if you will.

        And locally grown!

        • cpinva

          “And locally grown!”

          and organic!

          • Snarki, child of Loki

            Free Range!

    • joe from Lowell

      Pointing at the South’s problems tends to absolve white, liberal Minnesotans.

      This is so wrong. Whether we’re talking about slavery in the border states, or anti-semitism in Nazi Germany, denouncing and fighting a more extreme version of a social ill elsewhere has often been the stimulus for addressing that ill in American (or northern) society.

      • Hogan

        And I at least see it used more often in reverse: northern racism is used to deflect criticism of the south.

        • joe from Lowell

          Yeah, I generally take it as a rule of thumb that if you find yourself pursuing some progressive goal by using rhetoric or tactics that are the same as those being used by the reactionaries fighting against that progress, you’re probably not doing it right.

          Drex asks, Would you be comfortable saying that racism in the South is worse to a black person complaining about racism in his northern city?

          Well, how about, would you be comfortable saying that racism is no worse in the South to a white Alabaman who was explaining why those outside agitators have no right to come into his town to protest racism?

      • Late to get back to this discussion. Just because you disagree with something doesn’t make it wrong. As Shakezula alluded, recently there was a long discussion about this in regard to gay and women’s rights, the conclusion of which is “it’s worse in ‘x'” is almost always is a deflection and a distraction.

        You’re all over this thread asserting that “racism is worse in the South” is a fact, rather than a hypothesis that needs proofs. Historically, owing to the formal institutions of slavery and Jim Crow, it is of course true. But as far as I can see, you offer only one piece of supporting evidence that this is true in 2015 — a map of Voter ID laws. This is an important piece of evidence that does support your claim. Voter ID laws have been proposed in many states, however, and in 2012 Minnesota very narrowly defeated a statewide ballot measure to institute a voter ID law.

        And setting Voter ID laws aside, there is strong evidence that contradicts your claim. Economically speaking, none of the five worst states for blacks are former confederate states (Minnesota ranks 2nd worst, behind Wisconsin).

        Finally, I’ll add that I can’t believe that in over 500 comments, no one mentioned to the famous Malcolm X quote – “If you are Black, you were born in jail, in the North as well as the South. Stop talking about the South. As long as you are South of the Canadian border, you are South.” It’s probably more true now than when he said it – racism is more homogenized throughout the country than it was in the 1960s.

        • tsam

          You know–I thought about this a lot more after this thread and finally came up with an analogy. Say you’re talking to a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and saw some combat. Would you say something like “at least you weren’t on those beaches on D-Day! Those guys had it way worse!” Combat is combat. Being the victim of racism isn’t the type of trauma that fits neatly into categories of bad to worse to worstest ever…in any case, it’s being told by your home nation that you aren’t welcome here, that you aren’t equal, and that you can’t do anything about it.

          • This is a good analogy, and I agree: you can’t compare one individual’s experience of the trauma of racism with another person’s experience. I wouldn’t want to presume to do such a thing. I’ve tried to focus on the quantifiable, measurable parts of institutional racism.

            • tsam

              That’s what I learned from this thread. I never thought I could describe the effect of racism on people, but did think that the quantifiable racist tactics have a proportional effect on people. That’s not true, and I won’t make that mistake again.

              But the quantifiable and identifiable components of racism have to be examined. That’s how we find out how to work on killing it.

            • We can certain (imperfectly) capture at least the material effects of trauma: Doctors do that all the time e.g., assessing functionality. This can go horribly horribly wrong e.g., certain measure of disability that are used to restrict benefits. And, of course, just being functional doesn’t capture what you may have lost, e.g., you may have *overcome* that trauma (which is great) but you might have been *way* more functional if not for that trauma.

              So, it’s pretty instructive. It’s just bad to try to compare individual experiences of trauma (which are highly personal and historical) esp. on a severity scale esp. from a third party perspective. A material orientation can be very instructive and helpful but you have to keep in mind that such operational accounts are 1) subject to a wide variety of biases including institutional interest and 2) tend to hide the individual and experiential dimensions.

  • MPAVictoria

    Going to chime in support of Erik. The south is obviously worse on race than the rest of the country. Why pretend otherwise?

    • Drexciya

      Are you black?

      Would you say that to a black person who lives in the north and complains about their experiences with racism?

      • joe from Lowell

        The factual merit of the statement “The south is obviously worse on race than the rest of the country” is wholly unaffected by the following factors:

        Whether MPAVictoria is black.

        How MPAVictoria’s statement makes you feel.

        The social awkwardness of expressing the thought in any given situation.

        Does truth ever, at any point, enter into your thinking?

        • sharculese

          Truth don’t get you as high as the sanctimonious joy of being a B- level scold.

          • joe from Lowell

            You know what’s kind of funny?

            The scolds who treat the wrong sort of anti-racist language as the most important problem ever, turning around and saying that the South being more “in your face,” more willing to openly express and celebrate racism in public, isn’t really important.

            • sharculese

              We are talking about the person who said that one of the most important things in discussing racism was that every time a white person enters the conversation they must ritually rend their garments over their inherent racism.

              Only when we’ve established the performance art aspects of being opposed to racism can we get any where at all.

              • It’s almost as though by constantly moving the goal posts on who can discuss racism and how, Drex wants to stop the conversation altogether …

                Nah.

                However, I do enjoy the not-at-all veiled hints that s/he be given a spot on the masthead. That’s performance art.

        • Linnaeus

          But I don’t think we can take the statement “the south is obviously worse on race” at face value, either.

          • SgtGymBunny

            I agree… And I agree as a black person originally from the South.

            Maybe somebody more knowledgeable than myself can clarify all these “obviously worse” things that go on in the south and nowhere else? Other’s keep vaguely mentioning things that are “in your face” forms of racism? What activities, exactly, are going on in the south that don’t happen in other parts of the US?

            Again, I say this as a black person originally from the NC, college in PA, now in Baltimore/DC. Maybe I’m the most oblivious black person to darken this country, but I haven’t noticed a remarkable difference in one region or another. Racism may have been embodied differently, and more often than not, clandestinely. If anything Southerners don’t like to automatically be considered de facto racist because of their heritage, and non-southerners like to think that they are not de facto racist because of their heritage.

            • Linnaeus

              Yes. Something like “obviously worse” needs to be unpacked: what is worse and how is this manifested? Are the social impacts of these manifestations obviously worse in Place X than they are in Place Y? And so on.

              • And the move from “obviously worse” to “front lines” is pretty wacked.

                “Front lines” just seems like a terrible, inherently broken metaphor.

        • Drexciya

          Whether you think it’s “obvious” that the south is “worse on race” is entirely affected by where you stand, racially, as well as where you reside. What race you are will also affect what criteria you use to legitimize the fundamental point. What race you are is also centrally relevant to your standing for discussing it.

          This isn’t really a question that white people are equipped to consider. Not in these terms.

          • Dolly Llama

            So much for all that “need for a national conversation” talk, I guess. White people just aren’t equipped for it.

            • Drexciya

              Not in the slightest.

              • tsam

                So you’re saying you don’t want any help in putting down racism from any white people then, since were incapable of empathy on the subject?

                We all recognize that the suffering of being black in America is something white peoe can’t experience firsthand. We also can’t understand what it feels like to be a target of a genocide campaign either. Doesn’t mean none of us has any authority to speak on the matter.

                • Drexciya

                  What I said was aptly encapsulated below. The entirety of the help you can provide is summed up by acknowledging, being introspective about and deconstructing the forms and avenues of the racism you express. Deviations from that are usually likely to express, reinforce or relish in the consequences of racism than be legitimately anti-racist.

                • tsam

                  How about we also educate people in our sphere of influence, not be tolerant of racist behavior, vote for people who we think might try to make things better, dispel myths about race, treat black people with respect and dignity, hire them for jobs, focus on their education, not discriminate in housing, etc

                • Aimai

                  Probably useless, Tsam. No empathy, learning, alliance or work is possible across race lines. I think I’ve learned that now.

            • sharculese

              That’s the thing I love most about this line of reasoning. It never seems to be ‘white people don’t and can’t understand these things about racism, but here’s the best we can approximate that’ it’s ‘white people don’t and can’t understand racism, so shut up because I say so.’

              It’s not that I’m saying that being the gatekeeper of this conversation is more important to Drexciya than doing anything about it- no actually, scratch that, I’m saying exactly that.

              • Dolly Llama

                Hush, whitey. Drexciya is talking. Listen and learn.

                • sharculese

                  I CAN’T! THERE’S NO CONTENT!

              • Drexciya

                ‘white people don’t and can’t understand racism, so shut up

                In the absence of black writers, other writers of color or a larger non-white readership, you can stop here and adequately reflect my position. Saying absolutely nothing at all is infinitely more pleasant and stress-free than these half-considered, superficial efforts to discuss the experiences of excluded parties.

                • Hogan

                  Is this the part where you discuss your experiences, rather than discussing the kind of discussion about your experiences that you want to see happen and your disappointment that that discussion isn’t happening?

                • sharculese

                  I hate to break it to you, but absolutely no one at all is going to take your demands that someone else’s blog be made all about you seriously.

                • Drexciya

                  Sure, my personal experience is that I’m a southern black person who has black family that’s moved north and black friends that live north and I would never dream of saying any of this to any of them and I don’t even understand the point of the contrast, much less the basis.

                  The arrogance and dismissiveness of people who are even more removed from what northern blacks (or any other people of color) experience than I am saying all this is appalling to me, but not entirely shocking or new. The only difference is that I’m presently registering my distaste.

                  And, for the record, I don’t think the premise of this thread/topic is sound and, as stated elsewhere, I don’t think many of the people being upfront with their declarations and dismissals are especially equipped to discuss this usefully, so there’s a good reason to question the idea that this discussion should happen at all. Very white threads about other people’s experiences with racism should draw as much skepticism and ire from supposedly progressive-minded folk as it is from me.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Very white threads about other people’s experiences with racism should draw as much skepticism and ire from supposedly progressive-minded folk as it is from me.

                  You’ve got plenty of ire, but I don’t see much skepticism. Skepticism is when you look for evidence of holes in somebody’s claim, not just where you say they have no right to make it.

                  If you want to share your experiences here, and why they make you disagree with the OP, then I bet commenters white and black would be giving respect to your lived experience. But if you just want to say that white people should shut up about racism, then you’re not adding anything.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  You know what: I take that back about the skepticism. I still think that you have a chip on your shoulder, Drexciya, and that things might go better if you didn’t; but you have a right to, and even if you didn’t, me piling on is totally unhelpful.

                  Sorry.

              • Bruce B.

                Drexciya is apparently more comfortable with Soullite than with the rest of us.

                • Jordan

                  This is a terrible comment.

          • joe from Lowell

            Whether you think it’s “obvious” that the south is “worse on race” is entirely affected by where you stand, racially, as well as where you reside.

            So you’re saying the SCLC and SNCC recruited white people from the North for a South-focused civil rights movement not because they’re understanding of the much greater problem of southern racism was objectively true, but because being black and from the South led them to incorrectly think it was true?

        • Malaclypse

          Last I recall, Charles Stuart didn’t happen in Alabama.

          EDIT: Or What Charlie S says below at 10:49.

          • joe from Lowell

            And Robert Byrd was in the Klan.

            I can think of a case of racism somewhere, so racism is the same everywhere.

            I’m glad we’ve found The Real Racists.

        • Charlie S

          But is this a purely “factual” question. It depends much on definitions of racism ad interpretations of experience that it cannot absolutely be answered.

      • tsam

        Stop that shit. Being black isn’t the only valid perspective on the level of racism that occurs in different areas of the country. It’s not specious to recognize an easily provable fact that racism in the south is worse than in the rest of the country, just as it would be specious and outright stupid to suggest that the rest of us aren’t guilty of a shitload of heinous racism.

        • Drexciya

          Easily provable by what metric? To who?

          Are you black? Are you a person of color?

          • tsam

            Hmmm-easy metric? It’s 2015 and the confederate battle flag JUST CAME DOWN FROM A STATE CAPITOL BUILDING.

            No, I’m white, from Washington State.

            • Drexciya

              Why is that a good metric for the comparative amount/effects of racism between one region and another instead of a statement about the forms that racism takes?

              • tsam

                See below

              • Manju

                How about taking a look at white racial attitudes. I’m talking about the type of quantitative work that Lawrence Bobo does.

                Pick a metric, ranging from old-fashioned racism (like support for legal segregation) to “racial resentment” (opposition to hiring preferences, for example).

                We’ll isolate whites and then I’ll see if I can divide the data up by region (a quick peek at the tool I use surprising doesn’t give me that option, but I could probably dig it up in a paper somewhere)

                • Manju

                  correction, it turns out I can divide by region (but if go into more obscure “racial resentment” metrics, I’d probably want to use a published paper instead)

                • Manju

                  Anyway, here a quick and dirty breakdown using a very common metric: support for laws against interracial marriage.

                  Whites Only
                  Year = 2002
                  By Region:

                  NEW ENGLAND
                  YES 2.2
                  NO 97.8

                  MIDDLE ATLANTIC
                  YES 8.8
                  NO 91.2

                  E. NOR. CENTRAL
                  YES 6.8
                  NO 93.2

                  W. NOR. CENTRAL
                  YES 9
                  NO 91

                  SOUTH ATLANTIC
                  YES 18.3
                  NO 81.7

                  E. SOU. CENTRAL
                  YES 36.2
                  NO 63.8

                  W. SOU. CENTRAL
                  YES 14.1
                  NO 85.9

                  MOUNTAIN
                  YES 3.9
                  NO 96.1

                  PACIFIC
                  YES 2.8
                  NO 97.2

                  Total
                  YES 10.8
                  NO 89.2

          • tsam

            Here’s a nice metric.

            I feel like I’m on solid logical ground with the number of lynchings by state.

            • Drexciya

              We’re sort of in 2015 now.

              So…

              Edit: I’m sorry for being snarky, but this is really silly.

              • Drexciya

                To be even more substantive, if your argument is to say that the south has a more racist history, I would be less likely to dispute it. For much of the country’s history it not only had significantly more black people it was, you know, a slave state. But that is not the conversation under discussion right now or the discussion initiated by this Erik’s post.

                • tsam

                  what do you want? If we didn’t talk about racism, we wouldn’t be doing anything about. When we do, you tell us we have no business talking about it. You just want to have a problem with all of this. So why don’t you put out something we can talk about instead of acting stupid questions about our skin color.

                • tsam

                  Racist history…as I said before, a racist flag was just this week removed from a state capitol. the flag didn’t show up the day before it came down.

                • Drexciya

                  tsam, there’s nothing wrong with not being equipped to have a conversation. Part of addressing and responding to racism is knowing your lane and knowing when your experiences and your “logic” and sometimes your “morality” is inadequate for addressing certain questions.

                  Whether or not racism is more damaging or stronger in the south than the north is one of those questions.

                • tsam

                  Soooo… In which lane are suggesting I stay?

                  There is evidence that I can see with my own eyes of the racist colonial/conquistador mentality everywhere in this nation. In the south, that mentality, along a violent, malicious streak of particularly virulent hatred of black people being far more common than elsewhere. It’s worse there.

                  I’m not sure what you think makes you qualified to assign responsibilities to others in this fight. You should probably think a bit more in that. At least rethink the condescending approach. Most white liberals don’t think we can provide a first hand description of what it’s like to be black in a culture that doesn’t like them very much. But we know it’s there, and we want to change that. We look to black authors and activists to help us learn where to focus the fight, and we have no illusions about structural racism and horrors it visits upon black Americans.

                • Drexciya

                  Which aspect of structural racism are you addressing for northern blacks by declaring (or supporting the proposition) that the racism they experience from northern whites doesn’t rise to the level of being a front line for civil rights?

                  Edit: Which gets at the point I’ve been making. If something so obviously problematic can escape your attention, why assume that your premises are capable of being sound on other racial topics? What can correct that beyond knowing where your speech is indistinguishable from an exercise of whiteness and/or racism and choosing to be silent?

                • tsam

                  Ok-now I get what you’re saying, and you make a good point. That hadn’t occurred to me.

                  ETA: You’re right.

                • tsam

                  Though I would never suggest that racism has a front line in any particular place. It has to put down everywhere or it won’t go away at all.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Which aspect of structural racism are you addressing for northern blacks by declaring (or supporting the proposition) that the racism they experience from northern whites doesn’t rise to the level of being a front line for civil rights?

                  1) The insufficient attention by the federal government to fighting civil rights violations, residential segregation, and voting rights violations. A racist Southern political establishment is the primary barrier to expanding those actions.

                  2) The historical denialism surrounding slavery, Jim Crow, and Reconstruction. It is a Southern historical false memory that has been imposed on our society about these things, and it is there that it must be defeated.

                  Both of those are main timbers holding up the structure of institutional racism across the country, and knocking them out would benefit minorities nationwide.

                • Stag Party Palin

                  Drexciya said:

                  sometimes your “morality” is inadequate for addressing certain questions.

                  Christ, what an asshole.

              • joe from Lowell

                We’re sort of in 2015 now.

                So…

                …the experience of historical racism is of no consequences in understanding contemporary society.

                Ed – Wow, I hadn’t even read her second comment when I wrote this.

                • Aimai

                  In the last thread Drexcyia said Drexcyia was male. So I’m going with that for now.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Whoops, my bad!

                  I am so bad at that. I still have to remind myself that Sharc is a guy.

                • This is a reason I generally uniformly use the singular “they” esp. in comments.

        • LWA

          I think its important for us white people to recognize that we also have an authentic voice in the discussion about race.

          All too often I see the argument of the privileged viewpoint from the ethnic ghetto, as in, only black people are authorized to speak about racism.

          That may be true about the experience on the receiving end, but racism isn’t somehow a “black problem”- as Chris Rock pointed out, its not about black people’s behavior- its about how white people behave.

          And on that score, as a card carrying white person, I can speak with complete and utter authority on racism as practiced by middle class white suburbanites.

          • Lee Rudolph

            And on that score, as a card carrying white person, I can speak with complete and utter authority on racism as practiced by middle class white suburbanites.

            I will concede that claim, by you, about yourself. However, I am also a “card carrying white person”, and I really question my own ability to “speak with complete and utter authority on racism as practiced by” my neighbors, or white persons elsewhere in my county, my state (Massachusetts), or the country at large—starting with myself. Introspection and self-observation, even by people with some training in those arts (training which I cannot claim to have in any formal way), are notoriously fallible.

            • brad

              Yeah, Drex wanting to keep the ball solely for himself to play with aside, this does strike me as somewhat analogous to cat calling on the street. If you’re not the target you’re almost certainly not going to notice until someone who has experienced it teaches you, and you’re still not getting the real sense of it.

              Drex’s problem remains… grad school. His pose is very Punk, which is to say at times it’s also a bit onanistic. He’s got a lot worth saying, but still learning how to speak.

          • Dolly Llama

            Forget it, LWA. If you aren’t black, you don’t know shit about this. Drex has made this crystal clear above. This isn’t a conversation. It’s a lecture.

            • Drexciya

              I’m not really lecturing you at all. Asking about your race on a topic like this is simply questioning the gap between what you can actually know and what you feel confident in saying.

              • Dolly Llama

                And I’ve told you elsewhere. I’m white, grew up in the Deep South, and was raised in an extremely racist family. If you can’t see how that would give me standing and confidence to know what racism is, then I don’t know what else to tell you.

                • I…don’t think that does give you standing to know what racism is, at least in a general way. In my though experiment above, the point was that white people can often escape experience of many forms of racism (esp. covert ones).

                  So prima facie, a white person has two epistemic challenges: What it is like to be on the receiving side of racism and the fact that since racism isn’t directed at them they are less likely to encounter various forms of it.

                  Note that these epistemic challenge are not inherently unsurmountable. There’s lots of empirical work that can give insight include, er, reports from black people about their experiences.

                  *Given* the epistemic challenges, however, I think generalizing from a personal history as a white person is going to be pretty unreliable.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Dolly Llama:

                  And I’ve told you elsewhere. I’m white, grew up in the Deep South, and was raised in an extremely racist family. If you can’t see how that would give me standing and confidence to know what racism is, then I don’t know what else to tell you.

                  Bijan:

                  I…don’t think that does give you standing to know what racism is, at least in a general way. In my though experiment above, the point was that white people can often escape experience of many forms of racism (esp. covert ones).

                  So prima facie, a white person has two epistemic challenges: What it is like to be on the receiving side of racism and the fact that since racism isn’t directed at them they are less likely to encounter various forms of it.

                  It appears to me—taking Dolly Llama’s self-description at face value, including especially the (perhaps modest, perhaps profound) self-awareness signaled by the phrase “raised in an extremely racist family”—that the epistemic challenges in this case may be less challenging than in the general case. I will accept as axiomatic that DL does not, and cannot, have ‘knowledge by acquaintance’ of “what racism is” for someone of a disfavored race, which certainly rules out one (perhaps the strongest) possible ground for “standing and confidence to know what racism is” for such a person. But I would also say (as someone who’s not only not trained in epistemology, but may be using jargon that’s entirely outdated and/or risible: I picked it up from my car-pool buddy) that it must be equally axiomatic that there are meaningful degrees of ‘knowledge by description’, and that DL (taken at face value) is in a position to have a lot of ‘knowledge by description’ about “what racism is”; perhaps even (extrapolating without a lot of justification from such facts as that DL is, after all, posting here, etc.) some ‘knowledge by description’ that is informed by empathetic interactions with people back home who were of the disfavored race. If so, I think that would be an alternative ground for (some) “standing and confidence” (which also, after all, must have its meaningful degrees—mustn’t it?).

                • It appears to me—taking Dolly Llama’s self-description at face value, including especially the (perhaps modest, perhaps profound) self-awareness signaled by the phrase “raised in an extremely racist family”—that the epistemic challenges in this case may be less challenging than in the general case.

                  I think the challenges are different, sure.

                  I will accept as axiomatic that DL does not, and cannot, have ‘knowledge by acquaintance’ of “what racism is” for someone of a disfavored race, which certainly rules out one (perhaps the strongest) possible ground for “standing and confidence to know what racism is” for such a person. But I would also say (as someone who’s not only not trained in epistemology, but may be using jargon that’s entirely outdated and/or risible: I picked it up from my car-pool buddy) that it must be equally axiomatic that there are meaningful degrees of ‘knowledge by description’, and that DL (taken at face value) is in a position to have a lot of ‘knowledge by description’ about “what racism is”; perhaps even (extrapolating without a lot of justification from such facts as that DL is, after all, posting here, etc.) some ‘knowledge by description’ that is informed by empathetic interactions with people back home who were of the disfavored race. If so, I think that would be an alternative ground for (some) “standing and confidence” (which also, after all, must have its meaningful degrees—mustn’t it?).

                  Sure. But that’s why I said “in a general way”. The danger I think for someone of that experience is that they get to know a form of racism in a very strong way (e.g., overt and then conclude that they know about racism in general (including covert forms). Furthermore, it’d be easy to conclude in that experience that overt forms are worse than covert forms including in the experience of the targets of that racism.

                  To put it another way, academic study of extremist hate groups in the south does not particularly well equip you for studying redlining in the north. However, black people who have lived in both places were highly likely to experience both or know people who have.

          • Drexciya

            I think its important for us white people to recognize that we also have an authentic voice in the discussion about race.

            You have an authentic voice in discussions about the racism you express, the racism you visit on people of color and the racism you benefit from. You have considerably less of a voice worth listening to on contrasting experiences with racism, the political and psychological effects of that racism, its frequency (both in actual instances and how much time is spent avoiding and/or guarding against them) and how you respond to its often life-destroying and/or fatal conclusions in your vicinity (which includes your surrounding area and your family). There are significant gaps in understanding and empathy here and the sooner they’re grasped, the easier this will all be.

            An abstract understanding of racism is not an understanding of racism at all.

            • Dolly Llama

              Let’s see how far you get in your fight against racism talking to yourself.

              • Marek

                Harrumph.

        • SgtGymBunny

          It’s not specious to recognize an easily provable fact that racism in the south is worse than in the rest of the country,

          I actually don’t think it’s a demonstrably provable fact that racism is comparatively worse in the South. There has been much said as to, theoretically, why the south’s racism is more problematic on a political level (it’s connection with the national pro-racism/GOP/TeaParty platforms). But that’s a distinct argument from the racism in the south is worse than other parts of the country.

          I beg you all, please tell me what is going on in the south that doesn’t go on everywhere else? And why are these things any worse than the racism in other parts of the country?

          • There has been much said as to, theoretically, why the south’s racism is more problematic on a political level (it’s connection with the national pro-racism/GOP/TeaParty platforms).

            I think you just identified where this thread’s conversation has gone wrong. We all agree racism is everywhere*. What is different in the south as a region is the strength of retrograde politics. Individual states in the northeast and midwest may have elected garbage who put in place terrible policies, but if you look at the averages for the regions they’re better than the average for the south. Look at the map of Medicare expansion adoption under the ACA, look at anti-discrimination laws, look at the issues argued about in local elections. The problem with the south isn;t that it’s the most racist area in the country and it isn’t “southerners.” The problem is with the politicians put in power in the south, on average, compared with the rest of the country, on average.

            *Some obviously differ on its relative strength in different areas. I’ll plead ignorance: I don’t know if it’s worse in one area than another.

            ETA: Other people have made comments similar to mine, such as JfL, but I think yours identified the issue most clearly.

            • Drexciya

              Do the metrics you outline encompass the whole (or even a large part of) racism or its most objectionable forms? And if they don’t, why do you think they’re significant enough to justify the comparison or its inclusion?

              • I think the metrics I mentioned are ways of judging how state and local governments act towards the people who live in their jurisdictions. I realize you want a “yes” or “no” answer, but since this is a discussion of political reality such answers are unlikely to be found.

                Since you’re so fond of rhetorical questions I’ll ask one: Do you think that the changes in voting laws enacted after Shelby County prove that anti-discrimination laws are useful or not?

                • Drexciya

                  Of course they’re useful, for the specific policy or issue they’re intended to address. That specific policy or issue rarely encompasses “racism” as a whole, but simply one of its many aftereffects.

                  Secondary rhetorical question (none of which require a simple “yes or no”. By all means, elaborate at your leisure). What’s the difference, in effect, between a poll tax and, say, making sure prisoners or felons aren’t allowed to vote when most of the people in your prisons are people of color?

                • Why would I defend disenfranchising people when I disagree with it? It’s an obviously racist tactic.

                  But here’s an interesting fact: of the 11 states where felons can permanently lose their votes, five were Confederate. The other six Confederate states are all in the next-worst category, where voting rights are restored only after probation is completed. So, hey, it sure looks like the local politics in southern states is having a measurable impact on creating a racist outcome in effect.

                • Drexciya

                  I wasn’t expecting you to defend it. I was simply inviting you to see where broadly shared policies goals (i.e not letting a maliciously focused-on population vote) has broadly shared corollaries and effects. There’s not much value in a “what’s worse” conversation here, but there is value in looking at policies that yield specific effects (i.e a specific population being given a mechanism where they’re unable to vote) and to see how something with regional variances yields functionally similar racist results.

                  Furthermore, once again, it’s helpful to consider how even addressing specific matters that might be aftereffects of racism doesn’t actually shift the logic and effect of racism. The person who’s not lynched one place is choked on the street by the state in another. It’s neither productive or correct to view these actions as distinct, or to pretend like racism’s effects are encompassed by the disparities you focus on and the statistics you measure. Racism is considerably more than the sum of some of its parts and the things that are glaring to you may be background noise; overriden by more direct considerations to the people experiencing them. Which doesn’t make those dynamics more or less bad, but it makes your attempted narrowing somewhat unhelpful.

                • I was simply inviting you to see

                  …something I’ve known for years.

                  There’s not much value in a “what’s worse” conversation here, but there is value in looking at policies that yield specific effects (i.e a specific population being given a mechanism where they’re unable to vote) and to see how something with regional variances yields functionally similar racist results.

                  I’ve read this ten times and I have no idea what you mean. I’ve argued that looking at local policies and the politics that enacted them is more useful than talking about “south versus north” or “southerners versus northerners.” How is what you’ve said here different?

                  It’s neither productive or correct to view these actions as distinct, or to pretend like racism’s effects are encompassed by the disparities you focus on and the statistics you measure.

                  And right here is where I stop. First, I never said that racism is encompassed by the topics I discussed, so you are not arguing in good faith. Second, if you believe disparities don’t matter, then there is no way thing will ever get better, because political reality is that nothing changes instantaneously but rather happens over time. Finally, if you believe what you’ve said here, and I have no reason to believe you don’t, then we have nothing to talk about. Have a nice life and please, please declare victory in your response. I won’t be bothering to try to talk to you again.

                • Drexciya

                  I’ve argued that looking at local policies and the politics that enacted them is more useful than talking about “south versus north” or “southerners versus northerners.” How is what you’ve said here different?

                  Perhaps I misread, was ambiguous about who certain comments are directed toward or was being uncharitable, if I was, I apologize. It seemed like you were adopting the “look at how the south is worse” framing in a way that added to the general content of a lot of the rest of this comments section. If I read that wrong, or overassumed based on my experience elsewhere, my bad.

                  I’m not saying “disparities don’t mattter”, I’m saying that disparities don’t prove or capture the intensity or effect of racism as a whole or as a thing that black people experience both systematically and personally. My confederate flag is someone else’s getting choked for selling loose cigarettes. The reaction and sentiment they provoke is not quantifiable (and shouldn’t be quantified, which is why this comparison is awful). As such, their determinative value for this topic should be seen as limited. Given the national effect of what can be disingenuously called “local” issues the reach of oppression can be quite broad. What’s communicated by cops shooting someone and getting away with it and people “mysteriously” committing suicide after wrongful arrests is more broadly felt than this topic seems to be allowing so far.

                  If that addresses none of your points or posts or was entirely off topic, take it or leave it at your leisure.

            • Linnaeus

              The problem with the south isn;t that it’s the most racist area in the country and it isn’t “southerners.”

              But that’s the proposition that is clearly implied in the original post. If that’s the claim, then we need to know the means by which we are making this comparison and why those means are valid over others.

              • First, I don’t feel strongly for or against Erik’s post. I understand what he’s saying and I agree with most of it and can take or leave the rest.

                Look at my 1:41 comment above: Drexciya identified (possibly without meaning to) a good example of a policy that has a racist outcome and where the south’s record is worse than the national average.

                • Linnaeus

                  Which is valuable when we’re talking about a particular policy and its effects. Generalizing from that is a trickier thing to do, and needs to be exercised with care.

                • Sure. But I don’t see how we get to a general conclusion without looking at the details of a bunch of individual policies. Maybe the answer is to not look for a general conclusion, but that’s not a very bloggy thing to say.

            • efgoldman

              I think you just identified where this thread’s conversation has gone wrong.

              Nice try, Bear.
              No, the conversation went wrong when we didn’t recognize Drex as a subtle kind of troll (an oxymoron, I know) Who doesn’t let His freak flag fly directly like JenBob or Dagney, but rather derails the thread so it’s totally about Him and He can take it over. Success!

              • KmCO

                So he’s a latter day J. Otto Pohl is what you’re saying.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Without the good humor and impish charm.

              • Nick056

                Yes. God. What is so hard to understand about this?

              • Manju

                More likely there are schools of thought that you don’t recognize.

                I don’t agree with Drexciya at all, but I’m familiar enough with anti-racsim and critical race studies to, well, know it when I see it.

                But you just see porn.

          • Manju

            I actually don’t think it’s a demonstrably provable fact that racism is comparatively worse in the South.

            Look, by and large it is (demonstrably provable). See my list above for an example.

            With that said, there is a lotttttt of nuance here…especially once you get past hardcore racism. De facto housing segregation is one example. That might very well bring down the North.

            But there is still a demonstrable pattern. Pick your metric. I’ll see if I can dig up relevant data. You know me….I’m locked and loaded here.

      • cpinva

        “Would you say that to a black person who lives in the north and complains about their experiences with racism?”

        why would this even be considered (by a rational person anyway) as a response? recognizing that the south, birthplace of American slavery, the civil war and Jim Crow isn’t the same as claiming the North’s racism is somehow better, so that person’s experiences are better.

        when treating an illness, you go the source, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the symptoms.

  • Charlie S

    In terms of prejudice and outright bigotry, sure go ahead and lambast the South. But in terms of institutional racism, that defies region.

    • Origami Isopod

      As a Northerner, agreed. The entire country is lousy with institutional racism. The South is more in-your-face about it, but white people elsewhere need to stop using it as a foil.

      • Dolly Llama

        Saying “It’s worse in the South” doesn’t absolve other regions. In fact, it’s an acknowledgement that it exists everywhere, but accurately recognizes where it is more “in-your-face.”

      • sparks

        I’d easily include California, which is no paradise for black or brown people. The most telling example (I may have mentioned it before here, not sure) was when I took my mother to the local light rail station and some male black adolescents and teens came as a group to the station just after us, acting like kids, being boisterous – not towards us, just each other. A policeman quickly appeared and came towards them with a very purposeful stride, until he saw us staring at him. He backed off and just admonished them. The kids didn’t even deserve that, they were doing nothing wrong. It was something of an education for my mother.

        • Charlie S

          And, to slightly amend to my earlier point, it’s not as if recent Northern racism hasn’t ever been blatant:

          http://www.usnews.com/news/national/articles/2008/04/04/a-flag-a-busing-fight-and-a-famous-photograph

          It ain’t just a confederate flag thing.

          • joe from Lowell

            Has anyone, anywhere, said it’s “just” a confederate thing?

            When exactly did this epidemic of failing to understand the concepts “worse” and “more” break out?

            • cpinva

              “When exactly did this epidemic of failing to understand the concepts “worse” and “more” break out?”

              I think it’s always been there joe, it just gets louder in times of stress, such as the present. pointing out that there is racism in the north, but “it’s worse in the south” is somehow supposed to get everyone to ignore the racism in the north.

              the same goes for the cries of black-on-black crime. “sure, Dylan Roof slaughtered a bunch of people in a historically black church, but why is nobody talking about the levels of black-on-black crime?”

            • Charlie S

              I have no trouble with the concepts. It’s 1) the limited measures of those concepts that I disagree with and 2)that even if it is agreed upon to be “worse” it’s necessarily a “front line.” (See Gregor Sansa’s point at 11:35 a.m.)

      • joe from Lowell

        Perhaps it’s worth considering why southern racists feel more comfortable getting in your face than northern racists. People in the northeast aren’t more polite and restrained overall than people in the South; quite the opposite.

        • Malaclypse

          Anecdata: My parents lived in upstate PA. One of their neighbors had a lawn jockey in his driveway, which would be offensive enough, but he then put a noose around its neck.

          That strikes me as pretty in-your-face.

          • wjts

            Additional anecdata: the only place I’ve had a complete stranger tell me racist jokes at a bar was Massachusetts. The only place I’ve ever heard a white person say to a black dog, “Oh, you’re the only nigger we like!” was Upstate New York. The only place I’ve ever seen a white passenger on a train yell racial epithets at another passenger was Chicago.

          • joe from Lowell

            Yes, exactly: northerners aren’t less in-your-face. We’re a great deal more in-your-face. A northern racist is much more likely to be in your face than a southern racist. Same with a northern football fan for a northern anything else. That’ just how we role. You gotta problem with that?!?

            Which means that as we observe the objectively greater level of in-your-face racism in the South, we can confidently say that it is not the “in-your-face” part that is greater there.

            Which leaves….

        • wjts

          No, New England racists are famed for their decorum and reserve.

          • joe from Lowell

            As I say to Republicans when they go on one of their Robert Byrd Was In The Klan shticks: why are your photos always in black and white?

            • wjts

              Because those photos were taken in the long-ago year of 1974, eons before any soul now living was yet born, when Good Queen Anne sat on the throne and the savage dimetrodon roamed the Texas plains and the ferry from Divodurum Mediomatricum to Augusta Treverorum only cost a sesterce and color photography had yet to be invented, obviously.

              • joe from Lowell

                Yep, because the photos were taken two generations ago.

                Sort of like someone saying “Robert Byrd was in the Klan!” in the 2000s.

                I think your shift from “the North is no better” to “the North is a few decades better” is a wise one.

                • wjts

                  Yes, “…the experience of historical racism is of no consequences in understanding contemporary society,” particularly when that historical racism is in the distant, distant past of living memory for many of the people involved in this discussion.

                • joe from Lowell

                  That must be why you can’t find any color photos to make your point.

                  You really have nothing but straw men, do you? Faced with “Racism is worse in the South,” you can only answer “How dare you claim there have never been racism in the North?”

                  Faced with an inability to find anything contemporary to compare with contemporary Southern politics, you can only answer “How dare you claim that historical racism has no effects whatsoever on contemporary society?”

                  Your position must be very strongly grounded in objective knowledge.

                • wjts

                  Faced with “Racism is worse in the South,” you can only answer “How dare you claim there have never been racism in the North?”

                  No, faced with “Racism is worse in the South,” I wonder, “What does ‘worse’ mean in this context?” You have, within living memory, organized, political, and violent resistance to desegregation policies in Massachusetts. Just as you have, within living memory, organized, political, and violent resistance to desegregation policies in Arkansas. Was the Boston Busing Crisis exactly identical to the Little Rock Crisis? No, obviously not. But they’re not completely distinct, and they certainly continue to shape attitudes about race and racism in their respective communities today.

                  Faced with an inability to find anything contemporary to compare with contemporary Southern politics…

                  Voter ID bills in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Systematic disenfranchisement isn’t a Southern thing.

                • joe from Lowell

                  No matter how many times you write “within living memory,” the single Robert Byrd-like episode you’ve heard of from the early 1970s will not become contemporary, and will not make contemporary politics in the North equivalent to contemporary politics in the South.

                  You have to go back four decades to find your poster child. An honest person would acknowledge that meant something.

                  Voter ID bills in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Systematic disenfranchisement isn’t a Southern thing.

                  Except nobody said it was only a Southern thing, just that it is worse and more common. Again with the straw man.

                • joe from Lowell

                  But since you’ve decided to latch onto voting laws as your example of equivalence, let’s take a look at that.

                  Thank you for listing three northern states that have adopted such laws. No, there is no equivalence. As with so much else, even the aspects of racism that aren’t unique to the South are much worse there.

                • wjts

                  No matter how many times you write “within living memory,” the single Robert Byrd-like episode you’ve heard of from the early 1970s will not become contemporary, and will not make contemporary politics in the North equivalent to contemporary politics in the South.

                  It’s not a Robert Byrd-like episode. The point of bringing up Robert Byrd’s Klan membership is to synecdochically tar the whole of the modern Democratic party as a racist because one of its more prominent members was, at one point, a member of a white supremacist organization. My point in bringing up the Boston Busing Crises (which, for what it’s worth, isn’t just something “I heard of” once – my parents and I lived in and around Boston with a few sojourns back to Ohio from about 1973 to 1979) is that thousands upon thousands (if not millions) of Northerners were just as capable of organized, sometimes violent, opposition to pro-civil rights as Southerners. Granted, you don’t see so much of that in Massachusetts these days, or even Chicago. And nor do you see it in Birmingham. And why you sneer at Drexciya for responding to tsam’s list of lynching statistics which go back as far as the 19th century by noting it’s 2015 but insist that things like ROAR and mobs of Chicago whites hurling bricks at civil rights protestors are so far in the past (black and white photos, fnar-har-har!) that they can’t possibly have any contemporary legacy is beyond me.

                  Except nobody said it was only a Southern thing, just that it is worse and more common.

                  More common, I suppose, in that every Southern state has a voter ID law on the books. But there are Northern states with more restrictive voter ID laws than some Southern states, so “worse” is relative.

  • matt w

    I think this is something that depends on the audience and purpose with which it’s said. White Northerners have absolutely no grounds for looking at the South and being complacent. But white Southerners making the similar argument are in no better a position.

    If you’re in a position to be doing comparative work–say, if you’re a Justice Department lawyer or Supreme Court justice who’s trying to figure out whether there ought to be particular concentration on the Southern states for enforcing the VRA–then it’s definitely relevant to point out the ways in which the South is worse. But if that’s not the kind of action you have to take, then I don’t think it’s much use to pretend that the front lines of racism aren’t everywhere.

    Like in the schools of Vermont, where a report reveals that black kids are punished more and disproportionately (of course) and a respected teacher responds with a “Don’t call me racist” whine. Or where one of the not that many black parents in my kid’s class was subject to a police beating for parking in a fire lane while loading her car at the Wal-Mart, and whose boyfriend was subject to street harassment by new neighbors who’d moved in. And I’m sure all the rest of you can think of front line racism near our homes too.

    • Aimai

      I said this upthread, because I hadn’t read the entire thread. I couldn’t agree more.

  • LeeEsq

    Open racism is probably more glaringly obvious in the South but some of the worst recent abuses of cops against African-Americans took place in the non-Southern states. There is also the fact that income inequality for African-Americans is a nation wide problem like Shakezula and Knight of Nothing pointed out. What the South does is make fighting institutional racism and inequality in general harder on a national level by using the veto points in the Constitution to fight welfare measures tooth, nail, and claw.

    • LosGatosCA

      That’s pretty much my view.

      Jim Crow was never institutionalized in the North and the South is still dealing with it’s recalcitrance about it’s legal end.

      That’s Exhibit A.

      The Southern cultural progression on race:

      Slavery, Jim Crow, segregation academies, voter suppression.

      They are still lagging, it’s not that hard to understand and it doesn’t excuse bad behavior anywhere else.

      • efgoldman

        Jim Crow was never institutionalized in the North

        Really?
        It was never written into statute, that’s true. There weren’t “whites/colored only” signs in restrooms and water fountains and railroad cars, all true. But anybody that thinks there wasn’t severe discrimination in housing, schools, employment, government services, etc doesn’t know the history and hasn’t been paying attention.
        Too lazy to look them up right now, but check out Coates on Chicago housing and on Levittown.

        • Check out the last 500 pages of The Power Broker.

          • Lee Rudolph

            [misfired joke based on confusing author and subject removed]

            • Mosaics require more than one color tile.

        • Hogan

          Jim Crow was not just segregated housing, education and employment. It was a legal regime guaranteeing that white people would never have to encounter black people who were not in a subservient position. Whites in the south regularly interacted with blacks, of necessity–someone had to carry their luggage (on those “segregated” trains), clean their houses, shine their shoes, and so on. White people could and did invade-and even destroy, as in Homewood and Tulsa–black spaces with impunity.

          Was there a northern equivalent?

          • Malaclypse

            Was there a northern equivalent?

            Arguably, yes.

            • Hogan

              I would need to hear the whole argument.

              • howard

                while they are not describing the precise phenomenon that malaclypse linked to, and admittedly i am speaking entirely as a lifelong white person, i have always believed that chester himes’ “harlem detective” series, while not itself intended as realistic policiers, vividly conveys segregation and color lines in 1950s new york.

                • Hogan

                  I would have to read them again, but I’m not sure that stories about black police detectives are strong evidence of legally mandatory black subservience in the north.

                • howard

                  Yes, read them again. They are black cops caught between white superiors and a very clearly geographically determined community that primarily crosses those boundaries to work as domestics.

                  Plus they are great reads.

              • LosGatosCA

                Even a partially, fact based argument for widespread statute driven discrimination in the North would be new to me.

                Indirect policy, custom driven racism – no doubt.

                See Moses, Robert of NY among other examples. Not legally compelled to behave as badly as he is reputed to. But racist yes.

    • Karen24

      Yeah, this is correct. The southern states actually enacted and enforced laws making African Americans second-class citizens and we still cling to that idea publicly. That fact alone earns us a unique level of scrutiny. While paying extra attention to us is a good idea, no one should ignore the rest of the country. Just because you’re not in Alabama doesn’t mean life is a picnic for anyone who isn’t a rich, white, male. Make a difference where you can and don’t use the fact that someplace else is worse as an excuse to slack off. If that were the case, no one anywhere could advance because there’s always somewhere worse.

  • joe from Lowell

    If, somehow, the South became its own country, the Northeast would still be a hub of racially segregated housing and schooling, the West would still be a bastion of prejudicial laws that put immigrants and black residents behind bars at higher rates than their white neighbors and the Midwest would still be full of urban neighborhoods devastated by unemployment, poverty and crime.

    No, they wouldn’t, because the federal government would be willing and able to be much more effective in fighting each of those ills if it weren’t for the influence of Southern Congressional delegations.

    • Charlie S

      This strikes me as somewhat naïve. Local housing policy is not effected by Southern Congress critters, and yet northern cities maintain higher rates of residential segregation. So why is that?

      There’s plenty of local regional Northern racism to go around.

      • joe from Lowell

        There are all sorts of mandates and restrictions the federal government puts on local housing policy, and all sorts of additional ones that they could but don’t, for reasons of politics. Not to mention enforcement.

        northern cities maintain higher rates of residential segregation. So why is that?

        Because the “segregation” stats you’re talking about looks only at geographic proximity, and southern “segregation” has always been based on close physical proximity in the midst of segregated social, religious, and professional circles. The statistics you’re thinking of would have shown low levels of segregation on the plantations in 1858, because the big house and the shacks were just a few hundred feet apart. As happens so often in “both sides are the same” arguments, you’re not just failing to give due credit to the better actors; you’re giving credit to the worst actors that they do not deserve.

        I am distinctly unimpressed by the type of “integration” that consists of rich white families in big houses on the main streets, and poor black families in converted stables and outbuildings that front on the alley behind.

        There’s plenty of local regional Northern racism to go around.

        Yes, but far less than those determined to defend Southern honor would have you believe.

        • Linnaeus

          If I had one criticism of Sugrue’s piece, it would be the point about segregation, which you identify here. Which is not to say that his overall argument is necessarily wrong, but that there’s a lot that he leaves out.

        • Charlie S

          Sounds like a form of Congressional Green Lanternism on this one. Are you telling me that if Northern localities somehow moved to desegregate their residential areas federal laws enacted by Southerners would stop them?

          Moreover, geographic residential segregation–which is real– simply relieves Northerners of having to engage in the “in your face” types of “social segregation” mentioned above.

          See Karen’s point below. The South does some heavy lifting for Northern racism on this one. Just consider what happened when MLK went to Cicero. Should the “average” Southern awake tomorrow and think and act like the “average” Northern, we (as a nation) will not have come that far on the question of race..

          • joe from Lowell

            Are you telling me that if Northern localities somehow moved to desegregate their residential areas federal laws enacted by Southerners would stop them?

            Your phrasing assumes a uniformity among Northerners – that we’re talking about one “they” acting cohesively.

            What actually happens is that individual towns get into confrontations with the state or federal government over segregation. I’m saying that the federal government would have more resources to impose that desegregation agenda if its hands weren’t being tied by Southern Congressional delegations.

            Moreover, geographic residential segregation–which is real– simply relieves Northerners of having to engage in the “in your face” types of “social segregation” mentioned above.

            Nice theory. In practice, integrated northern cities do not work that way. If you look at everything from cross-racial voting to polling about interracial relationships, you’ll find that, no, Northerners and Southerners are not indistinguishable but for geography.

            Should the “average” Southern awake tomorrow and think and act like the “average” Northern, we (as a nation) will not have come that far on the question of race.

            So you’re acknowledging that Erik is right – the South is worse – and we’re now discussing degree. That sounds like a much more reality-based conversation.

            • Charlie S

              But Northern cities are actually not well integrated, that’s the point. And there’s nothing at the federal level that are stopping them from becoming integrated. To the degree that local officials were really concerned with desegregation they would devote the resources to the problem. How did Milwaukee become one of the most segregated cities in American before Scott Walker took office and Republicans control Congress? Yes, their bad intentions make matters worse, but there’s more to actually existing racism in the USA than bad intentions.

              What I am acknowledging is that racism in the South may be somewhat more blatant and “intentional” than in the North. I make this conditional because I’ve not had much experience in the North, but coming from Boston I’ve seen and heard plenty of overt and virulent racism. Been to Fenway Park lately? But (to use an absolutely awful metaphor), at this point blatant and overt racism pretty “low hanging fruit” in this struggle. That doesn’t mean states shouldn’t take down the confederate flag. But the more difficult and intractable problem is “unintentional” racism embedded in institutions and practices, as well as the personal and collective unconscious. “The North” (yes, I generalize, just as people on this thread have used “the South” to generalize and suggest a uniformity)are no better in this regard than the South. I think such moral finger pointing at this point in the history loses sight of how really existing racism operates, particular in the North, Which itself then becomes a “racial issue” as this nation attempts to move forward.

              • Charlie S

                Late edit: Should read: “I’ve not had too much experience in the South”

              • joe from Lowell

                But Northern cities are actually not well integrated, that’s the point.

                Some are, some aren’t – and Southern cities are just as segregated, if not more so; it’s a flaw in the methodology that allows you to claim they are not. The measure by which you can claim that Southern cities are more integrated would have counted slavery plantations integrated.

                And there’s nothing at the federal level that are stopping them from becoming integrated.

                And they are becoming more integrated. The cities, and the suburbs too.

                Were you, at any point, going to try to answer the point you keep replying to and changing the subject from, about the make-up of Congress?

                How about the point about the problem with talking about northern politics as unified “they?” I’ve answered all the points you’re repeating already. Why won’t you respond to them?

                But the more difficult and intractable problem is “unintentional” racism embedded in institutions and practices, as well as the personal and collective unconscious. “The North” (yes, I generalize, just as people on this thread have used “the South” to generalize and suggest a uniformity)are no better in this regard than the South.

                Really? Institutional and personal racism is no more strong in places that realigned towards the Southern Strategy and anti-Obama Republican Parties than in the places that realigned away from it? Is that what you think?

                You know, you don’t have to insist on equivalence in order to believe that there is also racism in the North.

                • Charlie S

                  If you have a better measurement of residential segregation than the “index of dissimilarity” I’m sure the sociologists at the US Census would love to hear about it. What measures are your own claims about Southern cities being more segregated than Northern ones is based on? Moreover, on what basis do you claim it’s getting better (without using that standard measure)? While it’s not a perfect measure, it still is a meaningful measure which suggests that it’s not all “obvious” that all things racial discrimination is necessarily “worse” in the South.

                  Much of it depends on how one decides to operationalize “worse” and there’s no one absolute or correct way to do so, which leaves the matter more complex than is suggested in the initial post. The developing discourse on “micro aggressions” by people of color, for instance, suggests multiple ways of reading local situations, including how race and racism are experienced.

                  Now saying this isn’t insisting on “equivalence” between racial problems in different regions of the country. As I wrote, I suspect they play out in different ways. But having lived only in Boston now California, I cannot make any strong experiential claims about “how bad” it is compared to the South. I only know it’s been bad where I have lived and thus work remains to be done here.

                  I simply don’t think it’s useful to frame the matter that the South is “the frontline” of the modern civil rights movement simply because there are some instances where the behavior or discrimination appears more overt and intentionally racist, and that things are therefore “worse.” I think the focus on intentions (good or bad) rather than institutional practices creates problems, beyond the one of moral smugness and hence possible complacency. (Not putting you or Erik in this category, but I know some self-described liberals/progressives who fall into this camp.) In terms of institutions there are enough “frontlines” that exist locally in all areas of the country, and it seems to me in the post-Civil rights era, focusing one’s energies primarily on this abstraction called the “South,” especially if one doesn’t live there, can be a potential distraction from more immediate problems at hand. (For instance, in the progressive Bay are where I live there are many struggles over zoning matters and building affordable housing. And while those issues are typically not framed in explicit racial terms, the NIMBYISM involved has a disparate impact on people of color.)

              • SgtGymBunny

                I’ll second this. Not that this doesn’t occur in southern locales as well, but larger northern cities can easily rely on insular neighborhood dynamics and urban development to maintain segregation. One of the biggest trends now, especially in Baltimore/DC (northeastern-ish cities in the South??), is “walkable” neighborhoods. Ideally one who could live, eat, work, go to school and entertain themselves within a three block radius or something. While that’s great and lends a certain tribal diversity to a city, I worry that this is how de facto segregation entrenches itself. It’s much easier–and more polite–to argue that I should be able to shop, work and educate my kids in my own neighborhood among people like me than to argue that I don’t won’t to mix with those people if I have to cross neighborhood boundaries to do something (or I don’t want them crossing boundaries into my neighborhood).

                • Aimai

                  Cambridge used to have neighborhood schools (i.e. walkable) then to combat racist segregation of the schools by region they went to a system of lottery–you enter your kids into a lottery for the school you want and if they get it they go (sibling preference means all your kids can go to the same school) and they are bused all over our relatively small city. Has this resulted in desegregation fo the schools and better schools? I’m not sure. The city as a whole remains very segregated by wealth but I believe the quality of the schools has leveled out with no school being identified as a poor school or a minority school. Its a kluge. Area four, the poorest area with the most renters, remains the area with the most crime and poverty.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Wow is this backwards.

                  Because poor and urban minority communities have so much less access to automobiles, promoting walkable cities is a way to increase their access to businesses and increase the integration of those businesses’ clientele.

                  And when you add to that the undoing of the damage done by urban highways projects – how many cities have black ghettos full of people with no cars, surrounded by highways they can’t drive on or safely cross? – promoting walkable cities is an important project for undoing segregation.

                • Cambridge used to have neighborhood schools (i.e. walkable) then to combat racist segregation of the schools by region they went to a system of lottery

                  NYC has neighborhood schools up to sixth grade and then a combined choice and lottery system after that. A lot of kids at the high school level and a good percentage at the junior high school** level travel and, NYC being NYC, they travel by public bus and subway. I suspect the kids have more exposure to different races and income levels during the travel time then they do at school.

                  *At which point one could, depressingly, argue that the kids’ beliefs about race are already set.

                  **I’ll probably not get used to calling it middle school, which is a newish name here, until Mini__B gets there.

                • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

                  Lol, ‘”walkable” I.e. walkable for Tyrone to conduct a home invasion and take your TV after the urban planners plop some Section 8 concrete block next to your subdivision.

                • SgtGymBunny

                  All things equal, yes, promoting walkable cities may lend itself to greater access to jobs, services and resources within disadvantaged cities. But that’s if all things really are equal with regard to investment into making those things happen, so businesses really can open and bring jobs and services and raise the quality of schools in those disadvantaged areas.

                  With regard to mobility, at least in Baltimore/DC, the less advantaged walkable parts are not entirely isolated from the city. Public transit normally does a sufficient job mitigating that, up to the extent that there it has the public sort. But in DC/Baltimore, if you want to set off a racially tinged slugfest, talk about adding a new transit route from a poorer area into a well-off area. There is guaranteed to be the “We don’t want them coming into our neighborhood” crowd.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Actually, even if all things are not equal, and cities with diverse populations get less investment than suburbs with white populations, promoting walkable cities still serves to reduce segregation.

                  But when we’re talking about walkability and economic opportunities, it’s more about the opportunity to be a customer/client than an employee. Very, very, very few people outside of the cores of a few major cities are even going to be able to walk to their jobs; but many, many people could have their opportunity to walk to the store or the hairdresser enhanced. I mean, there is some jobs effect, but it’s a distant second.

                  As you say, if we’re talking jobs for those same people, we mainly need to be talking about investment and transit.

              • joe from Lowell

                Do you think that the appeal of the modern Republican Party contains a hefty dose of racism, or at least appeals that racists would find attractive?

                Do you think that a greater degree of success among a party that tries to appeal to racists indicates a greater degree of racism within the political culture?

                Do you think that stronger federal laws to fight things like segregation and discrimination are important?

                Do you think that the presence of more racists in Congress makes it more difficult for the federal government to fight segregation and racism?

                • efgoldman

                  The city as a whole remains very segregated by wealth but I believe the quality of the schools has leveled out with no school being identified as a poor school or a minority school.

                  Cambridge is in no way a typical American small city. It was more of one decades ago when East Cambridge and the area along the river up to Western Avenue were industrial (candy factories, paint factories, printers and book binderies….) If anything, it’s become kind of a mini-San Francisco, without the fog.
                  Is Rindge and Latin an exam school, or just another high school?

    • Karen24

      Yeah, I don’t actually think this would happen. Northern racists would be more vocal and open if they couldn’t rely on us down here to do the heavy lifting.

      • joe from Lowell

        But they would lose just as assuredly as they do today – the difference being, they’d lose in Congress, too, not just the Massachusetts legislature.

        • Karen24

          Ugh, I just replied to myself instead of editing. Need more coffee.

          • Karen24

            I’m not convinced. I think you would find a lot of local pols using different arguments about “culture” and working harder on de facto restrictions.

            • joe from Lowell

              I’m sure you would.

              I’m not disputing the claim that there are northern pols that are backwards on race; rather, it’s the other side – the feds – that I’m talking about.

              Sure, those local pols would do that. If Southern Congressional delegations were like Northern Congressional delegations, the feds would push and push back harder.

              • Aimai

                Bart Stupak is a good example of a local pol whose basic, stupid, sexism, racism and all around awfulness allowed him to become a pawn in the larger GOP attacks on the ACA. Absent the enormous anti-Obama push of the entire GOP, which was heavily weighted towards the South and West, Stupak’s one vote wouldn’t have mattered at all.

                • Linnaeus

                  The guy who replaced him? Even worse.

      • joe from Lowell

        Northern racists would be more vocal and open if they couldn’t rely on us down here to do the heavy lifting.

        This is exactly the opposite of how politics and society work. People don’t become quieter when they have allies; they become bolder.

    • tsam

      I don’t know–the best president in our history on civil rights was a loud mouthed asshole Texan. Conversely, upper Midwest cities are still segregated and full of police violence and racial inequality.

      ETA: which is not to imply that this alternate history thought experiment means jack shit–just saying that it’s not easy to find politicians that are willing to act on civil rights in a meaningful way from anywhere in the nation.

      • I don’t know–the best president in our history on civil rights was a loud mouthed asshole Texan.

        W? You learn something new every day…

        • tsam

          He’s a Connecticut blue blood in a cowboy costume.

          • You say that like it’s a bad thing.

            • tsam

              The cheerleader thing is endearing.

      • joe from Lowell

        I don’t know–the best president in our history on civil rights was a loud mouthed asshole Texan.

        A loudmouth asshole Texan who led filibusters against Civil Rights acts before he went to work for a President from Massachusetts.

        • tsam

          But then signed it all after that guy got shot. Net result was a big step forward.

          Lincoln ran in containment, not abolition.

  • Linnaeus

    OT, but Tom Sugrue left Penn for NYU? Really?

    • brewmn

      I just learned that Paul Krugman is leaving Princeton for, you guessed it, NYU.

      • Lee Rudolph

        No! He’s going to CUNY (specifically, the CUNY Graduate Center). A very different animal indeed.

        • Linnaeus

          Good.

  • navarro

    i have lived most of my life in rural and small town texas but i did live in colorado and i met many people from all over the country there in estes park just as i also did when i went to college. my observation of the racist behaviors of the people from all over the country makes me think of the parable about the beam and the mote except in this case it’s like both parties have a beam in their eye. i didn’t notice the people i knew from new jersey, massachusetts, pennsylvania, vermont, ohio, or rhode island being any less inclined to racism than the people i knew from texas and louisiana. the biggest difference, in my view, between the north and the south is that the north tends to rely on de facto discrimination while the south tends to put it into their laws.

    i’m sorry if i seem strident about this but i think racism and discrimination anywhere is a tragedy.

    • howard

      racists are everywhere, but culturally and legally, racism is more entrenched in the former confederate states.

      • Charlie S

        Perhaps, but that actually makes it somewhat easier to confront and uproot.

        • efgoldman

          Perhaps, but that actually makes it somewhat easier to confront and uproot.

          Bingo!

        • LosGatosCA

          Which the last 150 years in the South has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

          • joe from Lowell

            Good point!

            The other problem with this argument is that it assumes that the “quiet, boardrooms and city council” racism one finds in the North is absent in the South – that the only racism in the South is the “in your face” kind. But that isn’t at all true. Do real estate agents in Alabama not engage in quiet steering? Do zoning ordinances in Georgia not prevent affordable housing in rich suburbs? Do business elites in the South not tend to hire people like them and thereby continue racially-unfair hiring patterns even in the absence of a racial agenda or even prejudice? Of course they do!

            Acknowledging the greater racism in the South isn’t a matter of choosing which of those is worse; it’s a matter of noting that 2>1.

    • LosGatosCA

      I share that view with some modification.

      The intensity and commitment to the bigotry and racism is different between the subcultures. I knew plenty of bigots growing up on Long Island. But they fully realized that their private bigotry has limits and consequences in public. Many public statements in the South would not even be tolerated in conservations among friends and family, even with the bigots I knew.

      There is value in that. Even if you call if hypocrisy.

      • Dolly Llama

        This.

    • Karen24

      I share your background and understand a little of this attitude. One of the strangest moments of my life was listening to the Chicago born and resident parents of a college friend of mine at UT Austin talk about people of Polish ancestry as a separate race. Part of it was they were certain that since I was from a small Texas town, it was okay to show their butts to me, and much of the reason they thought that was because Texas has a long history of very public and official discrimination against black people.

      That said, whites in most of the south other than the Appalachian states are likely to have daily contact with African Americans are are almost always polite and friendly in those daily interactions. Southerners think that because our daily contacts are pleasant, everything for our African American friends should be pleasant as well. Northerners are rather less likely to have this level of contact and therefore assume that since they would never support Jim Crow laws, everything must be just as nice for other races in their areas. In both instances, white people assume that our experience is the only one possible.

      Finally, there is a lot of very ugly de facto discrimination outside the south and it is foolish to ignore it.

      • Thom

        Well said, Karen24.

      • Aimai

        Very well said, Karen. Isn’t this the compositional fallacy?

        I, personally, have no racist friends–I have very few friends, and the ones I have are all progressive to far left Democrats. That doesn’t mean they (and I) don’t benefit from racism, don’t live in a racist society, don’t have the luxury of ignoring or being unaware of the impact of racism on the lives of minorities in this country. However, politically, we are not the problem. On the other hand, we aren’t big enough to be the solution. We can only be part of the solution. And the solution will have to be national.

        • Drexciya

          However, politically, we are not the problem.

          Why do you think that?

          • Aimai

            Because there are bigger problems and worse supporters of racism and racist policies in this country. This, admittedly small group, tends to donate, vote, and support the dismantling of the military industrial complex, better social security, higher disability payments, the welfare state, free or low cost education, public education, is anti voter ID laws, etc..etc..etc…

            I’m not saying we don’t benefit from racism–as we benefit from classism–and I’m not saying we don’t have plenty of work to do locally and within ourselves. But I am saying that from a political action point of view we are not the first problem that an activist has to tackle.

          • brad

            Do you know who Twisty Faster is?

        • Lee Rudolph

          I, personally, have no racist friends–I have very few friends

          Oh, I am so glad to have another person say that.

    • Jordan

      I dunno, I lived in Houston for 6 years. I had multiple “friends” who identified as democrats and liberals and whatever who had no problem whatsoever calling black people “niggers”. And specifically in the “Nah, I’m friends with [this black person’s name] and [that black person’s name] but they aren’t niggers“.

      I have never yelled-at/fought-with any of my white friends from Idaho(!!!) or New Jersey for doing that.

  • Gregor Sansa

    “Front line” is an interesting choice of metaphor. It’s where organized troops face off over clear control of territory. And yes, the place for that is where racism is worst, which is generally speaking the South.

    But most of racism is more like a guerilla war: everywhere and all the time, and the way to win is to attack where the enemy is least organized. And in that sense, an important part of the value of the “front line” is not the territory won or lost there, but the battle-hardened troops it forges.

    So by all means, lets pay national attention to the South. But let’s not forget that doing so has to create organization and alliances that can also handle local issues.

    • joe from Lowell

      And what did more to create organizations and alliances in the North to fight racism, than Freedom Summer and the South-focused civil rights movement?

      There is a reason why the SCLC didn’t recruit Alabamans to go march in Brooklyn.

      • DocAmazing

        Ah, but such a missed opportunity for a clash of accents!

        • joe from Lowell

          My Cousin Beauregard?

      • Gregor Sansa

        You do realize you’re agreeing with me, right?

        • joe from Lowell

          I wasn’t sure if I was adding something new or just making part of your point more explicit.

  • Botsplainer

    Jesus, so many butthurt feelings.

    OK, so the deal is that the South has such a concentration of deeply culturally imbedded racism that it is actually a center of gravity for a great deal of nastiness. Diminish its strength in the South, and the copperheads shut the fuck up.

    And I’m from Kentucky, albeit the People’s Democratic Soc!alist Homo Kenyan Abortionist Republic of Louisville part of it. Underneath all my progressive urbanity, on my maternal line of undistinguished Central Kentucky poor white trash, we have trailers and a family reunion where gunplay happened…

    • Origami Isopod

      the People’s Democratic Soc!alist Homo Kenyan Abortionist Republic of Louisville

      How do you fit that all on the city seal?

  • Jordan

    I mean, can we actually try to justify everything a bit?:

    1) Dylann Roof still shot up a church in Charleston, South Carolina (Denmark Vesey’s church no less),

    Yes.

    2)it is southern states that are seeking to disfranchise African-Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the most important parts of the Voting Rights Act

    Is it actually distinctly more southern than just republican? Lots and lots of non-southern states are doing this, and I think maybe more effectively? So my guess is no to this, but an argument is welcome.

    3) and it’s also southern states denying the Supreme Court’s verdict on gay marriage,

    This sounds right.

    4) executing African-Americans in racist criminal injustice systems,

    This sounds quite wrong. Almost all states do this, all the time. So, argument that this is so?

    5) and where the last die-hards going to the mat for the Confederate flag are hanging on.

    Well, kinda. Where most die-hards are going, sure. Where all die-hards are going? Not even close.

    6) It’s important to recognize where the front line of the civil rights struggle remains.

    I don’t always agree with Rage Against the Machine, much less when its for a song for that crappy Godzilla movie from the 90s, but The Front Line Is Everywhere.

    • djw

      Executions are a pretty southern thing these days, as long as we count Texas and Oklahoma.

      • efgoldman

        as long as we count Texas and Oklahoma.

        And why wouldn’t we? It’s a thing they’re really proud of.

      • Jordan

        Oh, ok, I was reading that differently. Yes, formal executions by the racist criminal injustice system are still largely concentrated in the south. I thought that referred partly to police shootings.

  • djw

    I find the hostility to this fairly banal observation very strange. Just as we can walk and chew gum at the same time, we can recognize the uniqueness of the South without excusing the racism of the North. If treat racism as a “Southern problem” we can’t fully understand American politics. But similarly, if we don’t recognize the uniqueness of the South, we miss a great deal about American politics as well.

    One obvious dimension of this. White people in general are reluctant to engage in important political projects with black people as partners. In the North, however, sometimes enough white people to form a majority will do so. In the South, they will not. Is that not a significant difference; a difference in kind? Does recognizing it demand we excuse Northern racism?

    • Jordan

      The South is unique in the way you say. Some of the problems Eric mentioned aren’t.

      The disenfranchising of black voters and the racist criminal justice system are, really, *not* uniquely prominent features of the south.

      • efgoldman

        racist criminal justice system

        I agree that it’s racist everywhere, but is that a function of race itself, or of class/money? Is a rich black man anywhere in the country who can afford the best, most obfuscatory defense, more likely to be convicted of the same crime as a white man in the same circumstances?

        • Jordan

          More likely? I mean, I’d assume so, but I have no evidence for that.

          I think once you slide down the income scale, then yeah, at the same income level and for the same thing, a black person is more at risk from the criminal justice system than is a white person.

    • I find the hostility to this fairly banal observation very strange.

      Speaking only for myself, the fact that it is banal is part of the problem.

      “Wow racism [or slavery] in the South is dreadful. People really ought to do something about it.”

      [150 years pass]

      “Wow racism in the South like, sucks. People like, really ought to do something about it.”

      Bleh.

      • joe from Lowell

        Yes, if you leave the Civil War, abolition, and the civil rights movement out of American history, the focus on Southern racism really hasn’t produced any results.

        • This will be a valid point when I argue the focus on Southern racism really hasn’t produced any results.

          • joe from Lowell

            You mean like

            “Wow racism [or slavery] in the South is dreadful. People really ought to do something about it.”

            [150 years pass]

            “Wow racism in the South like, sucks. People like, really ought to do something about it.”

            Bleh.

            You just argued that. I can understand being embarrassed at having argued that, but we can all scroll up and read the comment.

            • Aimai

              Oh for fuck’s sake, Joe. Can’t you just argue your own point without demanding that everyone else agree with it in every little detail? Shakezula is responding to djw’s point and saying something that is absolutely true.

              • joe from Lowell

                Easy there, big fella. No need to get all upset.

                I don’t even know what point of mine you think I’m arguing here.

                She’s not saying something that is absolutely true, but rather, something I think is false. Pretty please, Den Mother, would it be all right if I wrote a comment disagreeing with it?

                Oh, wait, I don’t need your approval, so I’m going to do it anyway.

                Shak, you’re wrong. The “banal” focus on Southern racism is what has driven every single significant advance for racial justice in our nation’s history. Maybe you find it boring to hear it again, but that’s quite a bit less important than its value for advancing the issue in a substantive way.

                Given that history, I don’t see how you can view another round of focus on Southern racism as “banal.” I think it’s very exciting, because it augers progress.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  When a third party sees you arguing and tells you to back down, you can either look like a mensch, or look like an asshole. Guess which one you just chose. You’re often so, so, right; so don’t ruin it.

                • Jordan

                  oh look, Joe being an asshole. Surprise!

      • djw

        I really don’t get this. Things that are banal are also true. How would the struggle against racism benefit from suppressing or ignoring this truth? I’m sure there have been many northern racists who use this fact to excuse or deny their own racism. But that narrative isn’t causing their racism. I’m sure they’d come up with something else if it wasn’t available.

        • My point is that non-Southerners continuing to talk about racism in the South appears to be coming at the expense of doing anything about racism in the non-South.

          Further, it makes it much harder to get white non-Southerners to recognize racism when it isn’t (for example) shooting nine black people, waving the TiDoS flag or ruining perfectly good bedsheets.

          This result in any discussion of racism frequently devolves into people getting uptight because they feel they’re being equated with cross burners, when they’re really being equated with assuming a black job applicant isn’t as qualified as a white one.

          • djw

            “appears to be” is doing some heavy lifting here. I think white people freaking out at any suggestion of a taint of racism is pretty overdetermined.

            • It I didn’t use a qualifier people would rightly demand citations, which I don’t have.

              But I’m not sure why that statement is “doing a lot of heavy lifting” but a statement that the problem of racism is worse in the south is banal.

              Or is it overdetermined?

              • joe from Lowell

                It’s doing a lot of heavy lifting because the claim that a focus on racism in the South prevents people from doing anything about racism in the North is unsupported by anything except your impression.

                Especially since, throughout American history, advances in the position of black people throughout the nation have always come on the heels of people focusing on the front lines in the South.

                Slavery was banned in the Border States and D.C. after the Confederacy was crushed.

                Black people in the North were guaranteed the vote immediately after the Civil War.

                Brown vs. Board, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act all came immediately after the SCLC and SNCC pursued a series of campaigns in the South.

                The focus on racism in the South hasn’t come at the detriment of fighting racism nationwide; quite the opposite. So why does it seem to you that it would work that way this time?

                • The fact that racism in non-Southern states is still a huge problem. Africans have been in this part of the world for almost as long as Europeans. It’s been about 150 years since it was legal to own a black person.

                  Brown is over 50 years old (60?) and various forms of segregation in this country persist. (For example, “tracking” in New Jersey.)

                  A couple of years before King was killed SLCC and SNCC had broadened their scope to address racism in the north I think anything calling itself a civil rights movement today should follow that example or improve on it. So we see #BlackLivesMatter address America’s little summary execution problem at a national level, because that’s were the problem exists.

                  tl;dr – Something about the way we address racism in this country didn’t work as well as was intended by those people who started out in the South. Why is that?

                • joe from Lowell

                  Of course racism in the rest of the country as a whole is still an important problem. One needn’t deny the obvious about Dixie in order to recognize that.

                  A couple of years before King was killed SLCC and SNCC had broadened their scope to address racism in the north I think anything calling itself a civil rights movement today should follow that example or improve on it. So we see #BlackLivesMatter address America’s little summary execution problem at a national level, because that’s were the problem exists.

                  And I don’t recall seeing a single person respond to the protests in Baltimore and New York by saying “Go protest in Alabama.” Not a single one of us on this thread, pointing out the obvious about Southern racism, did that. Has your experience been otherwise? Have you come across liberals complaining that the protesters should stick to the South?

                  Something about the way we address racism in this country didn’t work as well as was intended by those people who started out in the South. Why is that?

                  Because fighting racism is hard. I still can’t help but notice that all of the advances started by taking on the South.

                • Not a single one of us on this thread, pointing out the obvious about Southern racism, did that.

                  This will be a valid point when I say anyone in this thread did respond to #blacklivesmatter protests in that manner. At the very least, wait until someone else brings it up so you can try to reverse-engineer my comments to be in response to something they said. Otherwise it looks like a desperate attempt to create a strawman and I know you’d never do that.

                  At any rate, to make it 110% clear, I’m talking about my overall experiences in the past 40 years and naturally the majority of that is things I’ve seen outside of this blog.

                  On a depressingly regular basis.

                  Frequently by people who at least say they support civil rights.

                  Really, if my experiences with non-Southerners/liberals were limited to things read on LGM, my outlook on race relations in the U.S. would be a great deal sunnier.

                  Because fighting racism is hard.

                  Yup.

              • djw

                The “appears to be” clause suggests that the rhetoric is somehow causing non-Southern white racism to persist unaddressed. I think that underestimates non-southern racism, frankly.

                • Sure. However, I do think regional pride is a component (or a symptom) of non-Southern racism. There’s only so many times I can hear TSiW as a response to a discussion about microaggressions or the grossness of #bluelivesmatter or anger at some trolling cackhead before I feel it is reasonable to suspect the two are related.

                  But I’m also trying to talk about this stuff without triggering a display of synchronized tsimmis. I should probably just say fuck it and be myself.

            • altofront

              I may have missed someone, but my impression is that all of the commenters who have identified themselves as Black (and there’s not many of them) don’t agree with Erik’s framing of the issue. That suggests to me that it’s fundamentally flawed.

              • Lee Rudolph

                I read Lord Jesus Perm’s only comment in this thread as having nothing to do with Erik’s framing of the issue. Otherwise, as far as I can tell, you’re right.

    • Denverite

      One obvious dimension of this. White people in general are reluctant to engage in important political projects with black people as partners. In the North, however, sometimes enough white people to form a majority will do so. In the South, they will not. Is that not a significant difference; a difference in kind? Does recognizing it demand we excuse Northern racism?

      This is why djw is the Chris Sale of LGM bloggers. Not as many innings as Loomis and Lemieux, but man, what he does when he’s out produces a similar WAR.

      Anyway, it strikes me that this is exactly right, but it really undercuts Erik’s point. Erik wasn’t criticizing people for noting the difference in kind between Southern and non-Southern racism. He was criticizing them — as I read him — for disputing that the South is “more” racist. But those are different things. And if Erik was arguing that the formally politicized racism in the South is worse than the cultural racism in the North (and I think at the very least there is a compelling argument that we need to address the former first, if only because we can’t really address the latter until that’s done), I don’t think Erik did a good job doing that.

      • Linnaeus

        Erik wasn’t criticizing people for noting the difference in kind between Southern and non-Southern racism. He was criticizing them — as I read him — for disputing that the South is “more” racist.

        Which is what a number of commenters are addressing. We can certainly discuss the different forms in which racism is manifested in different regions of the country, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the content and effects of those forms are better or worse.

        We should also be careful about too neatly separating “cultural” racism and “political” racism – no, they’re not exactly the same, but there’s discernable overlap.

        • djw

          I don’t get this. Either.

          Racism is bad. Racism comes in different forms. The notion that those different forms are exactly equal in how bad they strikes me as so obviously wrong that it couldn’t possibly find defenders, but it sure seems like that’s the implication of what you’re arguing here.

          • Linnaeus

            No, that’s not what I’m arguing, but if I wasn’t clear, let me rephrase. Yes, some forms of racial oppression are worse than others, but it’s also true that different forms of racism can have similar enough effects that they are, functionally, not as different as they appear.

            • It’s also the case that more overt forms are easier to detect and oppose and rate as really bad whereas covert forms are much less so. The North traditionally has been much more covert in its racism.

              Recall Coates’ column about Good Racists:

              In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist. In 1957, neighbors in Levittown, Pa., uniting under the flag of segregation, wrote: “As moral, religious and law-abiding citizens, we feel that we are unprejudiced and undiscriminating in our wish to keep our community a closed community.”

              But much worse, it haunts black people with a kind of invisible violence that is given tell only when the victim happens to be an Oscar winner. The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story. Forest Whitaker fits that bill, and he was addressed as such.

          • The notion that those different forms are exactly equal in how bad they strikes me as so obviously wrong that it couldn’t possibly find defenders

            Yes, I’ve never seen anyone say all forms of racism (or any other form of oppression you care to name) are exactly equal.

            I have seen plenty of acknowledgement that attempting to rank types of racism is a mug’s game because it leads to conversations such as “Is it worse to be called the n-word or receive sub-par health care due to one’s race?”

            Decisions, decisions.

            • djw

              That is a subtle but useful distinction that helps me better grasp where you’re coming from here.

  • joe from Lowell

    The much-higher vote share the Republican Party receives in the South, and the unusually poor performance of President Obama among Southern whites (compared to other Democratic nominees) should be enough to convince any reasonably aware person of the greater degree of racism there.

    I really don’t see how you can acknowledge the Republicans’ core racist appeal, note where it is much more effective and among whom, and then say those people are no more racist than the rest of the country.

    This remains true even if you have that one uncle from Philadelphia who is totally racist at holiday dinners.

    • Drexciya

      The much-higher vote share the Republican Party receives in the South, and the unusually poor performance of President Obama among Southern whites (compared to other Democratic nominees) should be enough to convince any reasonably aware person of the greater degree of racism there.

      This would only do that if “voting Democratic” meant “exercising anti-racism”.

      • wjts

        The “unusually poor performance of President Obama among Southern whites (compared to other Democratic nominees)” speaks at least a little bit to this. Voting Democratic may not mean exercising anti-racism, but for a voter who voted Democratic in, say, three out of four presidential elections prior to 2008 to vote for McCain and/or Romney suggests that voting Republican might well be an exercise in… pro-racism? (That was not phrased as well as it could have been. Put another way, had “Brendan O’Blarney” run in 2008 and 2012 on a platform identical to Obama’s, he might well have done better among Southern whites than Barack Obama did.)

      • joe from Lowell

        No, it wouldn’t. Your logic here is faulty.

        Even if the Democratic Party was wholly silent on anti-racism, being attracted towards a racist message would indicate an attraction towards racism.

        This isn’t difficult:

        Campaigner A: “AAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

        Campaigner B: (Silence).

        Voter: Wow, I sure like that Campaigner A!

        This demonstrates an attraction towards A among the voter, just as assuredly as if Campaigner B had been shouting “Not A!” over and over.

        • Drexciya

          Absent direct challenges to white supremacy, white supremacy gets expressed, reinforced and upheld. So if a white Democrat is not saying anything about mass-incarceration or, like Joe Biden, authored the bill magnifying its effect, then mass-incarceration persists, racist consequences continue and Democratic politicians are rendered complicit by their silence and signal something completely indistinguishable from acceptance.

          You’re trying to portray them as distinct, when in effect, they’re one in the same thing and they serve to reinforce one another. With this topic, if nothing else, this logical approach should be abandoned.

          • Aimai

            Mass incarceration? Huh. I wonder which of the two parties will be the first to do something about mass incarceration?

            • Drexciya

              Seriously?

              That’s such a gross point and an even grosser time to make it.

              • Aimai

                Really? How is it gross? Is it not the case that the President of my party has just visited a Prison and is the first President ever to bring this issue to national attention? Of the politicians who have, or are going, to lead the fight against mass incarceration and the war on drugs are the majority, if not the totality, of them not going to come from the Democratic party?

                • Gregor Sansa

                  You’re obviously right, and “gross” was entirely unfair. But when you say “totality”, I remember Obama:

                  As Republican Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul has said — (laughter) — no, and to his credit, he’s been consistent on this issue — imprisoning large numbers of nonviolent drug offenders for long periods of time, “costs the taxpayers money, without making them any safer.”

                  But here’s the good news.

                  AUDIENCE MEMBER: All right, good news.

                  THE PRESIDENT: Good news. Don’t get me preaching now. (Laughter.) I am feeling more hopeful today because even now, when, let’s face it, it seems like Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on anything — (laughter) — a lot of them agree on this. In fact, today, back in Washington, Republican senators from Utah and Texas are joining Democratic senators from New Jersey and Rhode Island to talk about how Congress can pass meaningful criminal justice reform this year. (Applause.) That’s good news. That is good news. Good news.

                  That doesn’t happen very often. And it’s not just senators. This is a cause that’s bringing people in both houses of Congress together. It’s created some unlikely bedfellows. You’ve got Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. (Laughter.) You’ve got Americans for Tax Reform and the ACLU. You’ve got the NAACP and the Koch brothers. (Laughter.) No, you’ve got to give them credit. You’ve got to call it like you see it. (Laughter.) There are states from Texas and South Carolina to California and Connecticut who have acted to reduce their prison populations over the last five years and seen their crime rates fall. (Applause.) That’s good news.

                • Drexciya

                  I think it’s really glib (not to mention unresponsive) point scoring that’s using recently created steps toward a correction to deflect attention from Democrats’ open contributions to the dynamics we’re talking about. Even if I grant, and I have no problems doing that, that the step is fruitful/positive, this has languished too long for me to be celebratory for anyone except the prisoners that might, someday in the future, be freed.

                  And it’s unclear to me that “freeing” them qualifies as restitution or sufficient action. If they’re on parole, if their records aren’t expunged, if they’re not given jobs and reparations, if they don’t have all their basic needs met, then we’re just throwing a bunch of people into conditions that make other forms of suffering more likely and we shouldn’t in any way congratulate ourselves for it. This is a belated, long overdue moment and real people suffered and are continuing to suffer while we waiting for the Democratic establishment to show a basic morality. I might be overreacting, but this should be a moment of sober introspection and possibly calls for meaningful accountability, not pride.

                • brad

                  Responding to motions towards progress with complaints about its imperfections is quite simply not constructive.
                  I realize I join in the pile on at times and you don’t care to discuss your approach when you have thousands of words to dance with, but quite simply, you don’t come across as wanting to improve things, but as seeking personal recognition (yeah, really, the “it’s only my views” probably don’t even fool you) and to feel good for challenging and getting in people’s faces.
                  I don’t actually believe that your motivation is so base, but it really is on you to learn how to speak to people without being a dick to them.

                • SgtGymBunny

                  I don’t actually believe that your motivation is so base, but it really is on you to learn how to speak to people without being a dick to them.

                  Ok. Drexciya is probably above saying the following. I, however, am not.

                  Brad: Who are you to tell them anyone to “learn how to speak to people”? And, pray tell, how were they being a “dick”???? Just look at the optics of what you just wrote.

                  Moving on, Drexciya is not pissing on anybody’s parade by noting the structural challenges that newly released prisoners will experience upon release (perhaps after being in jail for 15-20 years). Re-intergration for ex-cons is a very big deal, especially in terms of finding gainful employment. The box has not been universally banned.

                  And fwiw, while Dems moving forward to embrace prison reform is great, we are obligated to acknowledge all the political forces–including Dem complicity–that shaped the policies that brought about mass incarceration in the first place. Point at the conservatives, and saying “They made me do it” isn’t good enough. There were some very convincing reasons why the Dems went along. What were they? Are those reasons still convincing now? What laws and policing/sentencing practices did Dems support that led to mass incarceration? Are they going to revisit those issues and change the policies so that mass incarceration doesn’t rear its ugly little head again? Reform is great but we need to be very comprehensive in doing it. And Obama’s stated goals–but I don’t know about other Dems–was fairly comprehensive.

                • brad

                  Please note that substantively, I actually agree with Drex here for the most part. I’m not saying that as any defense for any mistakes I’ve made, but clarity.
                  That said, I’m being a presumptive dick back to him because I’ve also been to grad school, and I don’t agree that race can be read into everything in the world. Drex is not a troll and I am not trying to say that. But he is not a good advocate for his positions, not with his current tactics. I don’t expect him to really listen to my white ass, and I’m not saying that prickishly, but the topic and the historical potential undertones don’t make for excuses.

              • joe from Lowell

                Somebody needs to start keeping up with the news.

                Ed – did everybody notice that the word salad above completely deflects from the subject of white Southerners being much more likely to be attracted to racist politics, and opposed to a black President, than people in the rest of the country?

                This is what losing an argument on the internet looks like. When there is no possible way to rebut an argument, start a different one and hope nobody notices the sleight of hand.

                I’m not going to let you get away with this: you claimed that racism is no more prominent in the South, and the results of the election prove you wrong; white Southerners’ voting patterns demonstrate a much higher degree of racism than those of white voters in the rest of the country.

                • Drexciya

                  I’m not going to let you get away with this: you claimed that racism is no more prominent in the South, and the results of the election prove you wrong; white Southerners’ voting patterns demonstrate a much higher degree of racism than those of white voters in the rest of the country.

                  Why do you disagree that the metrics you’re using are completely inadequate for conceptualizing the scope and nature of racism and racist action?

                  “Being attracted to racist policies or not” is extraordinarily superficial for this topic, since your policy preferences don’t, in isolation, reflect your behavior or your actions. A white person can vote for Obama, support ending the drug war, hate Republicans, whatever and feel really uncomfortable and/or shout down conversations about “white privilege”, ignore minority voices and needs in the formation of their political views or socially/professionally dismiss them from their proximity. All the while benefiting from (and not eschewing the benefits of) a white supremacy that, if described, they ostensibly oppose.

                  Once again, I’m finding the framing you use for topics like this too simplistic. Racism is a white thing, it’s not a Democrat/Republican thing. Party identification only influences the forms and the effects. To the extent that Democrats are “ok” – and I don’t think many are – on this subject is to the extent that its establishment sees people of color as an integral part of its coalition. Which is to say, it’s us, not you.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Why do you disagree that the metrics you’re using are completely inadequate for conceptualizing the scope and nature of racism and racist action?

                  I don’t. As I’ve said over and over and over (and over again), they are one piece of evidence. If I move onto another one, that will also be one piece of evidence. And if I move onto another one, that too will be just one piece, all of which on their own are inadequate to “conceptualize the scope and nature of racism and racist action.”

                  Heck, even if we add them all together, they still won’t “conceptualize the scope and nature of racism and racist action.” They will, however, provide a pretty irrefutable case for the greater racism in the South.

                  Especially when you look for the evidence for the opposite case, and it consists of “trust me, I have experience” from someone with an ax to grind.

                  A white person can vote for Obama, support ending the drug war, hate Republicans, whatever and feel really uncomfortable and/or shout down conversations about “white privilege”, ignore minority voices and needs in the formation of their political views or socially/professionally dismiss them from their proximity.

                  Certainly; and that white person would exemplify a strain of racism that is much less virulent, and an ideology that is much less tied to racial superiority – that is, a lesser strain of racism – than that exemplified by the voter who disdained voting for Obama because he doesn’t like black people and doesn’t want the government run by someone seen as likely to work for their interests. Again, you’re arguing the uncontroversial point that there is racism in the North, too. Yes, there is.

                  To the extent that Democrats are “ok” – and I don’t think many are – on this subject is to the extent that its establishment sees people of color as an integral part of its coalition. Which is to say, it’s us, not you.

                  I think there’s another logical problem here: is to the extent that its establishment sees people of color as an integral part of its coalition.

                  How the “establishment” sees black people is, indeed, about the establishment and their views. And one party’s establishment is interested in including them as partners in its coalition, and one party is not. That, too, is evidence of very different degrees of racism.

                  Did you really mean to argue that wanting to include black people into your coalition isn’t evidence of opposition to racism and support for black empowerment?

                • Drexciya

                  Certainly; and that white person would exemplify a strain of racism that is much less virulent, and an ideology that is much less tied to racial superiority – that is, a lesser strain of racism – than that exemplified by the voter who disdained voting for Obama because he doesn’t like black people and doesn’t want the government run by someone seen as likely to work for their interests.

                  To who? Good lord.

                • joe from Lowell

                  To anyone making an honest attempt to answer the question.

                  Go ahead, say the opposite – tell us that someone who votes against a black candidate because he doesn’t like black people is no more racist than someone who votes for him while still having some racial baggage.

                  Don’t just do your little “OH MY GOD IT’S ALL RELATIVE!” shtick. I dare you to come out and say I’m wrong.

                • SgtGymBunny

                  Go ahead, say the opposite – tell us that someone who votes against a black candidate because he doesn’t like black people is no more racist than someone who votes for him while still having some racial baggage.

                  This distinction really only matters to white people.

                  If I get turned down for a job interview because a white person thinks that by the way my name is spelled I’m an inarticulate, lazy ghetto hoodrat, do you really think I’ll give a damn if they voted for Obama? For victims of these “lesser strains of racism”, it really doesn’t matter that the white people who did them wrong voted for Obama.

                  It’s not like a black person will be like: How dare you stereotype me, you racist! Oh, what’s that? You voted for Obama? Oh, well nevermind then. Eh. At least you’re not flying a confederate flag and shit. Peace out! :-)

                • joe from Lowell

                  If the distinction only matters to white people, than why do 95+% of black people consider it important enough to determine their voting patterns and party registration? Including yours, IIRC.

                  Do you really think that people who voted against Obama because he was black are merely equally likely to turn you down for a job for racist reasons as people who supported him?

                  If you walk into an office for a job interview, does the presence of a big Dixie Swastika really say nothing to you about your chances or your desire to work there?

                  Yes, if we assume exactly the same behavior from two groups of people, we can conclude that there isn’t much difference between them – but that can be a pretty questionable assumption.

          • joe from Lowell

            I just wanted to recap the debate to show what I mean:

            The much-higher vote share the Republican Party receives in the South, and the unusually poor performance of President Obama among Southern whites (compared to other Democratic nominees) should be enough to convince any reasonably aware person of the greater degree of racism there.

            This would only do that if “voting Democratic” meant “exercising anti-racism”.

            No, it wouldn’t. Your logic here is faulty.

            Even if the Democratic Party was wholly silent on anti-racism, being attracted towards a racist message would indicate an attraction towards racism.

            So, what you are seeing is a discussion of Southern white voting patterns and their implications for the theory that Southern white voters are more racist than other voters.

            I’ll now repost the “response” to this point in its entirety:

            Absent direct challenges to white supremacy, white supremacy gets expressed, reinforced and upheld. So if a white Democrat is not saying anything about mass-incarceration or, like Joe Biden, authored the bill magnifying its effect, then mass-incarceration persists, racist consequences continue and Democratic politicians are rendered complicit by their silence and signal something completely indistinguishable from acceptance.

            You’re trying to portray them as distinct, when in effect, they’re one in the same thing and they serve to reinforce one another. With this topic, if nothing else, this logical approach should be abandoned.

            This comment includes A) an argument about the ongoing discussion of Southern vs. non-Southern white voting patterns and what they demonstrate about Southern vs. non-Southern racism, or B) a denunciation of Democrats and an order to shut up.

            • Drexciya

              Yeah, this is another comment addressed to me where I feel we’re in totally different universes. And I’m cool with that, I just want to register that I’m both unmoved by this and uncertain as to where this big, cataclysmic deconstruction of my remarks took place.

              The logical corollary of your remarks isn’t just that the racism black northerners feel is inferior in kind and degree to my own, but that racism is, predominately, a southern white and southern Republican thing and that they stand as my primary opponents. This doesn’t conform to any approach or view I hold or recognize. And while it’s true that it doesn’t have to, I thought it fair to perhaps state where our primary disagreements seem to be.

              • Gregor Sansa

                Honestly: JfL always does that. “I won the argument 5 comments ago and you changed the subject.” Sometimes he’s right about it, sometimes he’s partly right, occasionally he’s totally off base. But I try not to take it too seriously.

                As far as I can tell — and I could be wrong — you’re talking past each other. That is, you both have valid points that don’t actually contradict each other.

                Drexciya, I for one appreciate your presence here, but I would appreciate it even more if you talked more about what you think is true and less about why other people can’t see it. Sometimes that means ignoring people trying to have an argument with you. And I know I was one of those above, and so I’m sorry.

                • Drexciya

                  Gregor Sansa: your advice is noted and appreciated. Thank you.

              • joe from Lowell

                I just want to register that I’m both unmoved by this and uncertain as to where this big, cataclysmic deconstruction of my remarks took place.

                Then let me make it clear: you were attempting to argue against the point that Southern white voters are more racist than Northern white voters, and when faced with evidence, you deflected to something you’d rather talk about instead.

                And now, when it’s pointed out to you and the rest of the readers that you did this, you still won’t face the issue or acknowledge the evidence. Just as the voting patterns of white Southerns demonstrate something, so does this classic internet bullshitter deflection technique.

                The greater racism evident in Southern white voting patterns does not depend upon your acknowledgment to be true.

  • Owlbear1

    Condescending over-politeness is far more insidious then loud mouthed assholes.

  • KenB

    I believe that the North is more or less just as racist as the South. It’s just that there is no need for overt racism in states where the minority population is too small and lacks the political power to be a threat to the status quo of white supremacy.

    • There’s also the fact that loud racism (especially the fear/resentment flavor) is a handy tool for keeping poor whites from teaming up with poor blacks and building tumbrils for the rich whites who stomp on everyone’s necks.

      Anyone care to guess where the highest levels of poverty are in the U.S.?

  • joe from Lowell

    Obama vote share by state, 2012.

    Bottom ten: Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina, Arizona

    Top ten: Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Delaware, Washington, New Hampshire, Iowa

    And, in conclusion, racism is no worse in the South than anywhere else.

    • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

      Again, Patterson’s First Axiom. The top ten states, with the exception of Delaware (which I chalk up to Biden) have extremely low percentages of Non-Asian Minorities. Familiary with NAMs breeds contempt.

    • joe from Lowell

      And whether that outcome is a result of individual racism towards Obama or the sort of anti-crime, anti-welfare, anti-anti-discrimination politics that we all understand contain a major racist element doesn’t really matter.

      The thing speaks for itself, even if you know a racist guy in Delaware.

      • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

        It’s very easy to be “anti-racist” in place like Vermont since there are about ten blacks in the entire state.

        It’s a bit harder when you actually have to, you know, deal with their anti-social pathologies in Mississippi or South Carolina.

        • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

          I DO wish they would drop off some Somali or Guatemalan refugees in Windsor or White River Junction. It’d be extremely entertaining to see all the white liberals all of a sudden have to deal with ‘diversity’ and things like MS-13.

          • joe from Lowell

            I find it adorable that you think Lowell is a white suburb.

            Pat pat pat.

            • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

              According to the 2010 Census, Lowell is less than seven percent black.

              Your “diversity” consists almost entirely of Asians, and Lowell is probably now (though not in 2010) a majority-white city (they were pushing at majority status even in 2010). NAMs (Non-Asian Minorities) make up less than 30% of the population.

              Living in a Hipsterburg with a few Cambodians doesn’t cut it.

              How many blacks were in your high school joe?

              • Lee Rudolph

                I never thought I would see the day when Lowell had become Hipsterburg.

                Joe, did you do that?

                • Malaclypse

                  Nah, it was the Spinners becoming a winning team that dd it.

                • Jackov

                  baseball? please

                  The River Hawks winning Hockey East marked Lowell’s ascension to Hipsterdom

                  Euros with sticks on ice viewed while wearing your long scarf/TNF jacket and drinking hot chocolate – it’s white people’s greatest hits combined into one activity

          • Gregor Sansa

            Guatemalan refugees … MS-13

            Must… not… fisk… troll… would… only… encourage… it.

            • wjts

              Anybody who passed fifth grade geography knows that El Salvador is the capital of Guatemala.

              • Gregor Sansa

                Thank you.

                (I could continue discussing this issue, which is an interesting one, but, troll.)

            • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

              All Central American countries, except Costa Rica (which is white) are violent hellholes filled with gangs so, same difference. I’m sure there’s an equivalent in Guatemala. Mestizos love to form gangs.

              • wjts

                I’d be more inclined to believe you if I thought for a single minute you could find Belize on a map of Belize.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  You know who’s good at geography? Navy seals. Just sayin. Wink, wink.

                  In other words: you’re right, but don’t feed it.

                • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

                  I’m quite good with geography, thanks. It’s necessary as I live in southern California and have to be quite careful about which neighborhoods I transverse, where I live and so on. NYT’s Mapping the Census is a great way to “Avoid the Negroid”. It’s extremely ironic that a newspaper for Jews and white liberals gives us one of the best race realist tools around, but there you go!

                • wjts

                  You know who’s good at geography? Navy seals. Just sayin. Wink, wink.

                  I dunno. I don’t find that as funny as some of the other folks here do. So I’ll just end my part in this conversation by saying that picturing Our Little Buddy up there scurrying through the streets like a frightened rabbit, furtively using his iPhone to check his collection of census maps, and breaking out in a cold sweat every time he hears an approaching elotes cart has brightened a rather dismal day considerably.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Wjts, have you ever read “La Casa Tomada” by Cortazar? That’s our friend to a T.

                  Spoilers below, but if you’ve already read it, the end still gives me goosebumps, it’s such a perfect description of this troll:

                  Como me quedaba el reloj pulsera, vi que eran las once de la noche. Rodeé con mi brazo la cintura de Irene (yo creo que ella estaba llorando) y salimos así a la calle. Antes de alejarnos tuve lástima, cerré bien la puerta de entrada y tiré la llave a la alcantarilla. No fuese que a algún pobre diablo se le ocurriera robar y se metiera en la casa, a esa hora y con la casa tomada.

                • wjts

                  I hadn’t read it, no. That’s pretty good.

          • Gregor Sansa

            What the horseapples did you just bucking say about me, you little blank-flank? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Equestrian guards, I’ve faced down an Ursa Major, and I have over 300 confirmed pals. I am trained in friendship magic and I’m the top buddy in the Earth, Unicorn, or Pegasus branches of the guards. You are everything to me and not just another changeling. I will teach you the power of friendship with amiability the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my bucking words. You think Celestia doesn’t care or that your scrolls just turn to ashes when your dragon burns them? Think again, filly. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of BPFs across Equestria and your cutie mark is being traced right now so you better prepare for the sonic rainboom, Derpy. The rainboom that teaches you that even a life that seems pathetically little can be better with friends. You’re gonna think you must have had the cutie pox, filly. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can befriend you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my earth pony magic. Not only am I extensively trained in kindness, but I have access to the Elements of Harmony of the Mane Six and I will use them to their full extent to wipe your miserable frown off your face, you little squeebundle. If only you could have known what kind of (((hugs))) your “clever-hooves” little comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have loosened up your cute little tongue sooner. You couldn’t, you didn’t, but now you’re learning your lesson, you Celestia-beloved colt. I will shit rainbows all over you and you will frolic in them. You’re bucking adorable, foal.

            • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

              Whatever. They’re all brown to me, and I notice you didn’t refute the violence part.

              If you love Guatemala so much why don’t you live there, btw? I think I know why!

              • Gregor Sansa

                PWNYED!

                • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

                  Nobody cares, spic-lover.

                • Malaclypse

                  “Did I ever tell you about the man
                  who taught his asshole to talk?

                  His whole abdomen would move up and down,
                  you dig, farting out the words.

                  It was unlike anything I ever heard.

                  Bubbly, thick, stagnant sound.

                  A sound you could smell.

                  This man worked for the carnival,you dig?

                  And to start with it was
                  like a novelty ventriloquist act.

                  After a while,
                  the ass started talking on its own.

                  He would go in
                  without anything prepared…

                  and his ass would ad-lib
                  and toss the gags back at him every time.

                  Then it developed sort of teethlike…

                  little raspy incurving hooks
                  and started eating.

                  He thought this was cute at first
                  and built an act around it…

                  but the asshole would eat its way through
                  his pants and start talking on the street…

                  shouting out it wanted equal rights.

                  It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags.
                  Nobody loved it.

                  And it wanted to be kissed,
                  same as any other mouth.

                  Finally, it talked all the time,
                  day and night.

                  You could hear him for blocks,
                  screaming at it to shut up…

                  beating at it with his fists…

                  and sticking candles up it, but…

                  nothing did any good,
                  and the asshole said to him…

                  “It is you who will shut up
                  in the end, not me…

                  “because we don’t need you
                  around here anymore.

                  I can talk and eat and shit.”

                  After that, he began waking up
                  in the morning with transparentjelly…

                  like a tadpole’s tail
                  all over his mouth.

                  He would tear it off his mouth
                  and the pieces would stick to his hands…

                  like burning gasoline jelly
                  and grow there.

                  So, finally, his mouth sealed over…

                  and the whole head…

                  would have amputated spontaneously
                  except for the eyes, you dig?

                  That’s the one thing
                  that the asshole couldn’t do was see.

                  It needed the eyes.

                  Nerve connections were blocked…

                  and infiltrated and atrophied.

                  So, the brain couldn’t
                  give orders anymore.

                  It was trapped inside the skull…

                  sealed off.

                  For a while, you could see…

                  the silent, helpless suffering
                  of the brain behind the eyes.

                  And then finally
                  the brain must have died…

                  because the eyes went out…

                  and there was no more feeling in them
                  than a crab’s eye at the end of a stalk.”

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Wait a minute… do I love them or am I afraid of them?

                  Troll is boring. But I actually have a current Guatemalan refugee living in my house. That’s aside from my wife, who was a refugee when she was growing up. So I guess the “lover” is right.

            • Lee Rudolph

              And refugees from there tend to be western highlanders.

              There can be only one.

              • Gregor Sansa

                Man, you messed up my trick. I was trying to get it to go for that one, I had a highlander seal all ready, but no bites.

    • Drexciya
      • Drexciya

        joe From Lowell: How would you frame this piece and does it at all shift your comfort with your assessments?

        • Drexciya

          My bad for the doublepost. I thought it was an edit.

          • joe from Lowell

            Pay wall, can’t see it.

            I have discussed the flaws with the methodology of how segregation is measured – the method of counting would report slave plantations as having a high level of integration.

            But I haven’t the slightest trouble acknowledging that geographic-dispersal segregation is more common in the North than in cities in which black people used to live and work as slaves right in the homes of white people. I certainly don’t feel the need to insist that there is no racism in the North, or no varieties that are specific to the North. The disparity between the levels of racism in the South vs. North isn’t a result of the North being pristine.

            People can keep throwing out examples of Northern Racism if they’d like, “Robert Byrd Was In the Klan” style. It still doesn’t demonstrate that the parties or regions are equivalent.

            • Linnaeus

              Try clearing your cookies or viewing it in private/incognito mode. That’s worked for me.

            • Charlie S

              “I have discussed the flaws with the methodology of how segregation is measured – the method of counting would report slave plantations as having a high level of integration.”

              This is the second time you’ve made this point and it needs to be queried:

              Are suggesting that the “segregation” and “integration” experienced under paternalistic/slave systems of racial relations of 150 years ago is the same as under fluid competitive system we have today?

              If the answer is “no”, then what’s the actual point?

              • joe from Lowell

                No, I’m saying that the method of measuring segregation – counting white and black households in a geographic area – doesn’t adequately capture the practices of segregation.

                I’m saying that, in the middle of Jim Crow, or in 1859, a study of segregation that used the methods being used here would show that there was very little segregation in the South.

                I’m saying that the black and white water fountains were often quite close to each other.

                I’m saying that the physical proximity of young Ms. Brown to the white neighbors she wasn’t allowed to go to school with doesn’t make her city integrated.

                I’m saying that only looking at geographic proximity of households misses most of how segregation works.

                The actual point is that the higher official rates of segregation in some Northern cities than some Southern cities isn’t actually evidence of greater racism in the North. It demonstrates a distinction, but not one of scale, just character.

                • Charlie S

                  Ok, I guess I see your point. But it seems to be the historical point that “things that appear integrated are not necessarily so.” But while this was true 150 or even 50 years ago, is it so true today? Consequently, don’t current measures of segregation (the index of dissimilarity, which is the standard instrument–I know of few others) actually measure existing differences in racial residential patterns, leading to real social inequalities. And that these scores tend to be worse in Northern and Mid western cities (compared with the South) through de facto (not de jure) modes of discrimination?

                • joe from Lowell

                  I’m thinking of my friend from Memphis who told me about the part of town that was built with big houses for white people on nice, tree-lined streets, with alleys running down the middle of the block for their stables and whatnot.

                  Today, those stables have been converted to rental housing, occupied almost entirely by poor and working-class black people.

                  That set-up would show up as a high level of integration even at the census block level, but it would be a lie. The people living there live lives as segregated as, well, the Republican event Loomis went to, that had an all-white attendance with all-black servers.

                  My point isn’t that the index doesn’t show real social inequalities in those cities with distance-segergation; it does.

                  My point is that it fails to similarly capture the equally-real social inequalities in cities with traditionally-Southern patterns of segregation. It’s not that the data for the North is bad, but that it can’t be meaningfully compared to the data from the South as a measure of racism.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  the Republican event Loomis went to, that had an all-white attendance with all-black servers

                  Wait, I thought that was the student cafeteria at a small private liberal-arts-and-research university not 100 miles from URI!

        • SatanicPanic

          But that’s exactly the point- localized racism has to be fought at the national level. In this case, it’s the Obama admin doing the fighting. And look where Obama’s strongest opposition is

  • Sabine

    There does seem to be a strange desire to respond to anyone specifically discussing racially based issues in the South with ranting about how the North is just as bad. I am not sure why. There was no shortage of progressive interest and protests and the rest in Ferguson, NY, Cali etc and if anything Rikers gets criticized more than Angola in Louisiana, certainly not less.

    I think it comes from a heartfelt belief that if you acknowledge in any way that there is something unique about the South you are somehow risking letting the North “off the hook” or something. Which is baseless, certainly there were no liberal writers or activists saying “f Eric Garner and Akai Gurley what about Mississippi.”

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    Of course this post got derailed by regionalism and M_Young’s uninteresting ass.

    • Aimai

      Yup. But I think people are really trying to ignore M.Younge so its posts can be gutted. I think what is sad is that we couldn’t have a productive discussion of regional differences and overlapping similarities because everything got turned into a war of personal position and vantage point.

      I just don’t think it necessary. There’s enough racism to go around, people! There’s quiet racism, and there’s noisy racism, there’s cultural racism and there is structural, institutional, and embedded racism. There’s a racism without words–an oppression that goes beyond race–that is embedded in policies of incarceration and oppression of the worker class that goes all the way back to the founding of the country and the need of the upper class to tie labor down to a location and to a work when there was enough room in the country for people to vote with their feet and leave.

      We could be talking about the policies of states and localities towards the destitute, disabled, poor, underemployed, working poor and how those policies go all the way back to the first settlements and our Calvinist/capitalist approach to labor. We could be talking about borrowings back and forth between regions of cultural tropes through migration–the areas of the worst Northern or Western cultural racism can usually be traced directly to migration patterns after the Civil War. But no, we got derailed by a discussion of who gets to say what and how racism in this country is just a big soup in which every bit is the same as every other bit.

      • this country is just a big soup in which every bit is the same as every other bit.

        Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is that you?

        Just kidding…put the knife down…

  • The Rachel Jeantel College Scholarship

    I don’t quite see how this is “derailing”, I’m entirely on topic. I’m just notcing the element of white hypocrisy.

    I’ll bet money nobody on this board went to a high school where blacks exceeded 10 percent of the student body . And that probably even includes the black posters.

    • DocAmazing

      Well, you lost that bet, sweetcheeks.

  • joe from Lowell

    I see that some people are latching onto Voter ID laws to claim that it is unfair to single out the South.

    So let’s take a look at that.

    But maybe I just cherry-picked one particularly bad map! I’m sure googling on “voter id laws map” would demonstrate an even spread across the country. Or not.

    As with so much else, voter ID laws aren’t unique to the South, but they sure are worse there.

    • Drexciya

      Which says that Voter ID laws are worse/more prevalent in the south and nothing else. What’s beyond the pale is looking at “worse” Voter ID laws and determining that they’re a valid entry point for assessing the experience of racism and the nature of oppression and that Voter ID “being worse in the south” is sufficient for proving or even showing that racism worse there.

      It isn’t, and despite this framing conforming to partisan preferences and certain forms of self-congratulation there’s nothing at all progressive or social justice-minded about this topic.

      • joe from Lowell

        Which says that Voter ID laws are worse/more prevalent in the south and nothing else.

        I didn’t even intend to go that far; I was just knocking down the argument that Voter ID laws show the South isn’t worse.

        What’s beyond the pale is looking at “worse” Voter ID laws and determining that they’re a valid entry point for assessing the experience of racism and the nature of oppression and that Voter ID “being worse in the south” is sufficient for proving or even showing that racism worse there.

        There is more to racism than your personal experience. You need to stop thinking the world revolves around your experience. What you’re doing is a bit like saying that you don’t know a single person who voted for Nixon. I don’t care; Richard Nixon still won. I don’t need to be black to google that map. I don’t need to be black for that map to represent factual evidence.

        Those voter ID laws are a cold, hard fact, whether you’ve personally experienced them or not, and they are a cold, hard fact that serves as evidence for the case that racism is worse in the South. At a certain point, all of those individual exhibits you keep dismissing as “insufficient” add up.

        • SgtGymBunny

          From what I understand, Drexciya is saying that using the existence of Voter ID laws as well as other obviously racist institutions as objective proxy measures of whether racism exists in a given area or how intense that racism is limiting to the discussion of how racism functions in America. Yes, they are easy to identify and to measure, but they are not all-inclusive of all the ways that it is possible to experience racism.

          And, yes, one’s race does matter in how one personally experiences racism. No black person can experience racism impersonally. Unfortunately, white people can by, as you’ve just done, referencing the cold, hard facts of Voter ID laws. But those kinds of cold, hard facts are very limited in defining how racism is experienced at the personal level.

          Take police stops. Stop-and-Frisks in NYC were obviously racist, so to speak. The War on Drugs is obviously colored by racism. Up until Ferguson, I seriously doubt many white people would have acknowledged that the Ferguson’s opportunistic and revenue-driven policing practices were just as racists. DOJ’s report on the financial incentives of the PD were a surprise to approximately 0 black people, but I could be exaggerating. Any black person in Ferguson could have written that report. But up until then, that economic exploitation that many black people personally experienced was not in the generally accepted cannon of obvious cold, hard racist forms of policing. It took the very blatantly racist shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer for these practices to be uncovered. Who would have thought that misdemeanor citations could be a real racket in racism? This is a totally new concept. Before Michael Brown, who at the DOJ would have initiated such an investigation into racist citation and fine practices???

          Racism is resilient. And it’s opportunistic. One form of racism gets banned, another one pops up but in a different form. When people fall into the racism is “A in place X” it becomes really difficult for people who experience “B in place Y” to prove that what they experienced was racism, too. That may not be the intent, but that is what happens. Especially, when people are demanding that they leave their personal experiences at the door and just bring the cold, hard facts, which may not conform to our previous understanding of racism.

          • Drexciya

            SgtGymBunny: Precisely and so very well said.

          • joe from Lowell

            But I don’t claim that a map of Voter ID laws is comprehensive as a measure of racism in American society. I said it’s one useful data point. And I didn’t even bring the subject up – people arguing the other side brought it up. I notice that no one gave them any push-back for doing so; it’s only when it became clear that the evidence it provided went in favor of Erik’s argument that it became, in one remarkable quote, “beyond the pale” to cite Voter ID laws as evidence in this debate.

            All of the measurable evidence keeps going in one direction. I find that meaningful.

            I haven’t insisted that no one bring their experiences to the discussion – if fact, I think it would be pretty awesome if we could get people to actually do that, instead of writing comments celebrating doing so in theory. As opposed to Drex, who greets every actual incorporation of measurable evidence into the discussion with a furious denunciation of bringing measurable evidence into the discussion.

            I also haven’t insisted that Southern racism is the only kind; indeed, I just provided a map that shows that, yep, there are voter ID laws in some Northern states, too.

            Why are people reading “Racism is worse in the South” as “Racism doesn’t exist in the North,” even in the light of explicit acknowledgments that it exists in the North?

            • SgtGymBunny

              Racism is worse in the South” is problematic because it begs us, first, to define what qualifies are racist, and, second, to rank those things according to some pseudo-objective subjective understanding of what would be “worse”. It says so little but assumes so much.

              But who is going to determine this??? That is why Drexciya was asking upthread whether commentors were black or not. I don’t doubt the sincerity of white liberal’s commitment to end racism. However, is it really appropriate for a white person to define the experience for racism and then determine that it’s worse in one region as opposed to the other? Accepting the declaration that ‘”Racism is worse in the South” is fine if you’re white because you probably won’t be on the business end of said racism whether you’re in the South or elsewhere. But this statement has a significant impact on a black person in Detroit or a Latino in Phoenix. While we’re off re-fighting the Civil War we’re ignoring their plight. We’re signalling to them that their concerns are not important, and that is so not fair.

              And seriously, do we really need superlatives to understand racism. Racism is bad. All of it. Let’s leave at that. Debating whether racism in the south is worse as opposed to elsewhere is like debating which flavor of shit is worse. Racism, like shit, is just not palatable anywhere, and it’s a travesty wherever it shows up. It’s worth our time to commit to fighting it wherever we meet it.

              • joe from Lowell

                But who is going to determine this??? That is why Drexciya was asking upthread whether commentors were black or not. I don’t doubt the sincerity of white liberal’s commitment to end racism. However, is it really appropriate for a white person to define the experience for racism and then determine that it’s worse in one region as opposed to the other?

                If we were doing such a poor job of it, why won’t anyone put up even a semi-respectable counter-argument? As opposed to this business of disqualifying people from speaking? If we were so wrong, shouldn’t there be something other than “Trust me” on the other side?

                If our lack of experience, and your much greater experience, with being on the receiving end of racism actual does provide you with such greater insight into the particular question of the levels of racism – not the nature of what it’s like to experience racism, but the levels – then go ahead and show us that we’re wrong. Otherwise, you’re arguing “Don’t tell me it works in practice; it doesn’t work in theory.” Well, maybe the theory is being misapplied.

                But this statement has a significant impact on a black person in Detroit or a Latino in Phoenix. While we’re off re-fighting the Civil War we’re ignoring their plight. We’re signalling to them that their concerns are not important, and that is so not fair.

                I keep seeing this argument, but again, that is exactly the opposite of how the fight against racism has worked throughout American history. One could have complained about the Union Army freeing Southern slaves but not those in Kentucky in 1864, but was it not the war against the South that led to the abolition of slavery in Kentucky? And to the guarantee of voting rights for black people throughout the country? And to the incorporation doctrine of the 14th, allowing the feds to protect the rights in the Constitution everywhere in the country?

                Where does this notion that fighting racism where it is worse means not fighting it elsewhere come from? From what I’ve seen, effective fights against racism where it is worst generate more interest in doing so elsewhere, not less.

                • SgtGymBunny

                  Nobody is “disqualifying” anybody?

                  But FWIW, I’ll let a non-black person decode this concept you find particularly hard to comprehend:

                  From Bijan Parsia upthread:

                  In my though experiment above, the point was that white people can often escape experience of many forms of racism (esp. covert ones).

                  BP doesn’t identify as black, so rest assured that you can trust them instead…

          • efgoldman

            From what I understand, Drexciya is saying…..

            Anything that will allow him to derail the thread and call attention to himself. A much more subtle kind of trolling than Mitch baby above.

          • brad

            Well said.
            Insofar as I have any vantage on this at all, which I don’t say with any snark, I really disagree that “the South” is the front line in the battle to unwind white supremacy in the US.
            It’s the criminal justice system. Voting is an essential right, but physical freedom (and personal safety from the fucking police) is… primary.

    • wjts

      I’m sure googling on “voter id laws map” would demonstrate an even spread across the country.

      Scroll down a little. Note that the map is slightly old, so doesn’t include the laws in Wisconsin or North Carolina, which were slated to be enacted after the map was made. So, yes, while every Southern state has some form of voter ID law on the books, there are plenty of Northern states with ID laws that are just as stringent, or even more so.

      • joe from Lowell

        Adding one Southern state and one Northern state doesn’t alter the very obvious pattern.

        Which is, as you say, that the South is a great deal worse than the North, though there are problems in the North as well.

        • wjts

          I don’t know that you can say that, exactly. There are states in the South with more lenient voter ID laws than some Northern states, but there are no Southern states with no voter ID laws. So the problem is more wide-spread in the South but “more severe” in some parts of the North. So it’s a bit like asking, “Which is more exclusionary: a restricted housing covenant or a poll-tax?” Both are going to keep people from voting in a certain area, and while the poll tax affects more people, the restrictive housing covenant bars their participation completely.

          • joe from Lowell

            Except that even the most severe restrictions are much more common in the South than elsewhere.

            The map shows that the laws at all levels – from the most mild to the most severe – are more common in the South. You’d have to cherry-pick the 3 most restrictive Northern states and the 3 most restrictive Southern states to deny the pattern.

            The least-restrictive Southern state is worse than the least-restrictive Northern state. The least restrictive quarter of Southern states are worse than the least-restrictive Northern state. The median Southern state is worse. The South as a whole is worse.

            Can you use the data in that map to formulate an argument that the South isn’t worse, which you’d be willing to submit to your Quantitative Methods professor?

  • SatanicPanic

    Shit, just look at what flag people in the North fly when they want to announce that they are racist morons. Why don’t we just take them at their word that they know what they’re talking about?

      • SatanicPanic

        haha, good point, but that one’s not quite on the same level… yet.

  • brad

    As annoying as it might be to say, I think I agree with Drex on this one. I’m just not comfortable, as a white guy, ranking regions in terms of racism, just as I wouldn’t be ranking them in terms of sexism. I don’t experience these assaults, and in fact American society is all but designed to make them invisible to me.
    If there’s anything that made me realize things like “the south is obviously more racist” is wrong, in the sense that I plain don’t know, it was being taught what a sundown town is by Dave Neiwert, and realizing I grew up in one, or one that “had been” one.

  • Sly

    Most people forget, or failed to learn in the first place, that the overwhelming majority of black Americans – approximately 9 in 10 – lived in the South until the heavy industry boom following WWII. The reason why the South had institutionalized a complete social hierarchy centered on whiteness is because that was where black people actually lived. You don’t need a rigorous legal code to segregate people who aren’t there to begin with.

    The extent of white supremacy in the North centered around two very simple arguments. The first, more popular, was “We don’t want to be near you, so we’re going to leave and take all the good stuff with us.” The second, less popular, was “If you come here we’ll fucking kill you.

  • Bruce B.

    I’ve realized something in particular about Drexciya’s comments that’s been annoying me: they seem to all presume that the white people who talk about race-related matters do so only here, that none of us have any encounters with people of color in our day to day lives, that we do not know or listen to people of color in any venue…that this is all there is, and so anything we may say about race matters here rests entirely on what other white people also say here. We have to have people of color on the masthead on this blog, apparently, because otherwise we’ll never be listening to any.

    This is wrong.

    (This is apart from the question of the ways in which the South is distinctive within the US on race matters and ways in which those do or don’t matter to the experience of people of color in the rest of the country.)

    • Drexciya

      This is an incorrect summary of my views both elsewhere and in this thread and doesn’t work as a fair or accurate reflection of my perspective.

      Do you think that having more people of color participating here and people of color on the masthead as a worthy and necessary goal in and of itself? Do you think it reflects poorly on the progressive character of this site (and other white liberal sites) that there aren’t more here? If not, why not? Do you think this place’s status as predominately white (in every respect) has a neutral effect on the kind of racial discussions that happen and how encouraged minority participation/views that flow from their experiences become? And if the effect is not neutral, why shouldn’t that be challenged and changed?

      • Bruce B.

        Browbeating disabled people – I’ve posted at length about my problems here in the past, it’s not a secret – is not charming. Go harass someone else. Develop an understanding of, among other things, PTSD.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Browbeating disabled people

          Did Drexciya perhaps edit his comment (to which your comment is attached as a reply) after you posted yours? I don’t see anything in it that I can recognize as “browbeating disabled people”. Or was this your response to something he’s said elsewhere in this thread? (I admit to not reading everything.) I’m puzzled.

          • Bruce B.

            It happens that I’ve had some real-life complications on an entirely unrelated front that led to me having a brief but intense panic attack reading Drexciya’s response to me. He presumably had no idea anything he wrote would have that effect…but it’s not like he’s made any effort to learn anything about who he’s lecturing, which is precisely the problem. He doesn’t seem to feel it relevant to know whether he’s talking to people who are male, female, or other, straight or LGBTQ, cis or trans, rich or poor, of what age, or a lot of other things that end up bearing quite directly on what people know about kyriarchy in action and how they may and can respond to it.

            We are not a seamless mass, any more than Bill Cosby, Thomas Sowell, and Clarence Thomas form an adequate sample from which to assess all African-American men, let alone all African-Americans, let alone all people of color in the US.

            • that led to me having a brief but intense panic attack

              Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. I hope I’ve not contributed in any way!

              Feel better!

              • Bruce B.

                Working on it. :) It was not at all a bad one, for me. And no, you weren’t – we’ve argued in the past and will again, but here you’re saying things I’d have liked to if I’d been more articulate today.

    • Don’t forget the assumption that everyone commenting here is white.

      P.S. None of this is an attempt at derailment. I promise.

      P.P.S. If you believe that, see me about a fantastic deal on unicorns.

      • Drexciya

        It’s almost like I wrote the post I’m responding to.

        • It’s almost like you expect everyone to buy your schtick.

      • To be fair, afaict, all the people explicitly asked turned out to be white!

        Of course, there are also a number of regulars who have identified as black in this thread.

        I don’t see that we needed to be derailed. I don’t see Drexciya as having been super aggressive in that respect. If other people had not gotten bent out of shape then it seems like it could have been fine.

        I’m not personally super comfortable with the comments which push back against real or perceived assertion of black epistemic or dialectic privilege at least in the way they’ve gone here. Even if justified by the particularities of Drexciya’s commenting history, it potentially could easily segue into a rather forbidding environment.

        I mean there are risks in such responses.

        • brad

          This is very true, and I’m not going to make my opinion on the topic into a crusade much for this reason. I can’t say that I am purely objective, I’m not, no one is.
          I’m not trying to tell anyone how to speak, to try to be clear, or police tone. And I don’t in any way expect my opinion to matter, it probably doesn’t, which is neither snark nor self pity.
          But Drex reminds me of elements of classes I’ve taken, and in a small sense of part of my own experience taking my “voice” out of philosophy grad school into the general public. If you want to make people open to your POV you do have to take them into some consideration, and I genuinely feel Drex fails at that often. Tactics and presumptions that are just common ground in the academic setting do not always translate, and it is on him to learn that.

          • Drexciya

            If you want to make people open to your POV you do have to take them into some consideration, and I genuinely feel Drex fails at that often.

            I’ve said this before, but I’m not a racial evangelist. I’m not here to convert white people and I don’t see centering their conversion as a worthwhile goal. Any failures in this regard are a consequence of unshared priorities, not some kind of academically-inspired inability to socially adapt and adjust.

            Outspoken non-white voices shouldn’t be forced to be mini-organizers and patient, handholding tactical saints to make points that are essential to their politics. That expectation (explicitly or implicitly) is entirely the consequence of homogenous and unhealthy commenting environments and a sense that certain forms of outspokenness are de facto antagonistic. It shifts the burden of engagement from the people doing the racism to the people trying to respond within that racism, with the latter biting their tongue and holding back their anger because there’s no pretext where that anger can be normalized. The failures are not starting with me.

            • brad

              Nope. These are the kinds of presumptions I’m talking exactly about. For one, I don’t care that you’re angry. Not in a dismissive sense, I care that you are hurt and angered by what racism does to you, I don’t care about it in your voice. I expect it, because with your background it is natural. I’m not dismissing it, or trying to elide it. It’s real, it’s valid regardless of my opinion, and it should be part of your voice and perspective if you choose to make it so.
              Saying “I’m right, come to me” is satisfying and Punk and gives you a chance to show off and exercise your chops, but it’s not going to work in terms of creating genuine engagement. In academia you’re being taught to give lectures. Out in the world, you have to give people cause to listen to you.

            • Gregor Sansa

              Honest question: what are you trying to accomplish then?

              You’re absolutely right that people shouldn’t be expected to devote energy to being ambassadors if they don’t want to. But (to continue an obviously-flawed metaphor), if you visit another country, and you’re not an ambassador, then you should be something else: a worker, a tourist, a merchant, an artist, a spy… Going and just saying “you are all doing it wrong” seems like a waste of time.

              • Gregor Sansa

                Note again that I do appreciate it that you’re here, whatever your goal is.

              • Drexciya

                I’m doing what you’re doing: I’m stating my opinion and commenting just like everyone else gets to, but, I notice, not with the same effects or expectations.

                Edit: And yes, thank you for that.

                • brad

                  I profoundly disagree. You’re being held to the same standard of general tact as everybody else. Maybe there are racial elements to the structure of the dialogues here, sure. But you’re conflating substantive disagreement with calling out your own misbehavior, and that ain’t kosher. I’ve been piled on here, too. Most of the regulars have. Joe gets it often. You’re not that special.

            • joe from Lowell

              Asking that you actually make your case just like everyone else, instead of stomping your feet and saying Shut Up and Trust Me, isn’t holding you to an unfair standard.

              • Drexciya

                Summarizing my comments as “shut up and trust me” is an unfair observation, though.

                Although, once again, if white people can’t have these conversations well and right, I’m suspicious of the value of having these conversations at all. What is a racial discussion where the assumptions about racism are filtered through the experiences and observations of its perpetrators?

                • joe from Lowell

                  I really can’t see how could possibly object.

                  Are you not telling us to shut up?

                  Are you not telling us to take your assertions without question?

                  Are you not refusing to provide any support for those assertions other than asserting your own authority, despite repeated requests to do so like everyone else?

                  if white people can’t have these conversations well and right, I’m suspicious of the value of having these conversations at all.

                  You’ve yet to give anyone reading this any reason to think that we’re not having the conversation well and right. You keep saying it over and over, but you can’t rebut anything, and you won’t offer any counter-arguments. You just flash your Official Black Person card and insist that we’re wrong.

                  If our filtering is screwing up the discussion so badly, show us where we’re wrong. Don’t just keep writing this insistence that we must be wrong (because we’re white) without being able to give us an example.

                • Drexciya

                  You just flash your Official Black Person card

                  Ok.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  JfL: stop. digging. please.

                  Have something to say about the subject at hand? Great, say it. Want to say “yuh-huh, is too”? If you must. Have something to say about how other non-troll commenters are idiots? Stuff a sock in it.

                  And by “non-troll” I mean everyone up to and including Jotto.

                • joe from Lowell

                  You whine a lot of about phrasing in an attempt to deflect from the emptiness of your position.

                • Let me second Gregor’s request.

                  Using “the card” bit just isn’t helpful, and it potentially licences (or is taken as licence by) people of quite bad faith to use it.

                • joe from Lowell

                  But remember, everyone: organizing and speaking out against the Dixie Swastika is a shallow exercise in avoiding confronting the real, substantive problems of racism. Because it’s just an unimportant symbol.

                  But repeatedly freaking out about insufficiently flattering phrasing is the sign of a Serious Mind.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  JfL, what the fuck? You make a brainless two word comment, then see that two different people are telling you to back down. Your choices are: leave the comment as it is, delete it, or edit it to make your stupid fucking point more long-windedly. Guess which option you choose?

                  There’s a word here. Starts with “S” and ends with “orry”. You are not very good at using it and now would be an excellent time to practice. I say this as somebody who likes you and wants you here. Please.

                  ETA: …and you are still at it, with yet another comment. Seriously, if you can’t learn here, you need a good disemvoweling. But if you can, good for you.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Gregor, let’s work out a system:

                  When I’m interested in your thoughts about how I should write, I’ll type a series of punctuation marks like this: &$!%(…<.

                  Watch for it!

                • Gregor Sansa

                  So “can’t” then.

                  What’s your signal for when you want Bijan’s opinion? Or somebody else’s?

                  Tell you what. Let’s have a bet. If the next person in this subthread who isn’t me, you, Bijan, Drex, or an undeniable sock or troll, takes your side, I’ll never reply to a comment of yours again. If they side against you, you apologize. OK?

                • Malaclypse

                  I’ll just note that there are many times that white people, particularly white dudes, should shut the fuck up and simply listen, even when, sometimes especially when, people are saying they are wrong.

                  It’s a hard skill to learn. Took me decades. It was worth it, even if I still don’t have it down pat.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Again, you seem to significantly misjudge my level of interest in getting positive feedback from other internet commenters.

                  There are no circumstances under which I’m going to apologize for anything I’ve written here, and you’re perfectly free to reply to whatever you want.

                  I just wanted to make it perfectly clear how effective this type of tactic is going to be for you.

                • joe from Lowell

                  There are many times, Mal.

                  While being berated by the person who went to the wall to insist that Throttle Jockey not be called out for his “You all just want to lynch black men” comments on the Cosby threads is not one of them.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Huh? Is that supposed to refer to me?

                • joe from Lowell

                  On the other hand, if that person had deigned to explain what he thinks about the question at hand, I would have happily shut up and listened.

                  In fact, I repeatedly requested that he do so, so I could. So did other people.

                  It’s difficult to shut up and listen when he won’t say anything.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Of course not, Gregor. It refers to Drexciya.

        • Bruce B.

          True enough, Bijan.

          I suspect, though, that Drexciya would have gotten better response by, among other things, starting off with more questions that didn’t presume their answers – find out who’s where in the intersectional morass of power relations that comprise US social life, and go from there. Too many actually existing Drex comments provoke bad answers for exactly the same reason a lot of Freddy deBoer comments do.

          • I agree that Drexciya could have gotten better responses with different comments. (Or rather, I strongly suspect so.)

            But, is that pertinent? We’d have a better thread if people didn’t respond the way they did.

            I don’t see Drexciya’s comments to be in the same realm as deBoer’s. Indeed, I struggle a bit to see the parallel. Oh, maybe the “you’re doing it wrong” aspect? Ok, but, look, when I’m not part of a marginalised group and a member of that group tells me that I’m doing it wrong, I have a choice. I can react negatively or I can try to work with it. Even if I’m in the right and even if I’m scrupulously careful, I run a real risk of going off the rails in standardly problematic ways.

            Let’s compare these threads with the ones where people are mixing it up with GoDeep or ThrottleJockey. Those seem to me (from my limited perspective) to have gotten less “off”, even when more heated. (Now, I’ve been heated in a lot of those, so this observation might be biased by self-interest.)

            It just seems like telling off racist trolls is easier for us than avoiding getting overly bent out of shape about some pretty common standpoint epistemology based claims coupled with a bit of provocation and some poor argumentation (though not uniformly so, by any means).

            I mean, I cringe a bit at the “why don’t you tell us about your experience/educate us” style comments because they are classically identified as problematic ally behaviour.

  • weirdnoise

    Having spent the last hour reading the entire thread, I have to say that overall Drexciya has given a lot better than he’s got. I’d think that a blog like this with people highly attuned to the economic forces that drive class and culture would be aware of how Northern racism has been every bit as forceful as Southern racism. That it is done quietly and bureaucratically in boardrooms and zoning authorities and city councils makes it harder to uproot than the more vocal patterns of the South. As Coates and others have so carefully documented, the ghettoization of Northern cities was and is entirely by design. Saying that in the North it’s class and not race ignores how insidiously class has been used as a means of implementing racism, North and South.

    The most salient argument against Drexciya has been his failure to bring more of himself and his own experience to bear, which has led some folks to dismiss him as avoiding the argument with “you can’t know — it’s just a Black thing.” But, really, given the hostility and thick-headedness of some of the commenters here, who can blame him for being guarded?

    • Gregor Sansa

      I’d just like to note that it’s not exactly Drexciya vs everyone else.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Actually, I just reread things too.

      Drex came in with some brief, dismissive comments. Dolly answered with something equally content-free and more confrontational. Drex played the race card on Dolly; since they were already in an argument, fair game. That one didn’t blow up.

      MPAVictoria said “OP is right”, and Drex played an unprovoked race card on them. That’s when JfL jumped in, and I have to say that even though JfL hasn’t covered himself in glory in this thread, I think this first reply was justified.

      Later, Drex explained their point more fully, and perfectly well. They didn’t cite personal anecdotes, nor should they have to. Something to say; said it.

      Things went on from there much as they could be expected to. Considering this is the internet, perhaps a bit better than you might have expected.

      But the one reply to MPAVictoria I think was a mistake. Drex, you have no obligation to be an ambassador, but you should try to avoid being a provocateur. (Or that other internet word for “provocateur”, which you’re not, but still could be more assiduous in avoiding acting like one.)

      • Drexciya

        The race card is not a thing and it needs to be completely abandoned as a concept. When people are making absolute, declarative assertions about the experience of racism it’s fair game to ask what that experience is drawn from. Furthermore, given the structure of racism and its omnipresence as a social dynamic and a political determiner whether or not you can do more than read about racism is an entirely relevant consideration. Entirely. And one that colors the depth of your judgement.

        There’s a whole lot of recklessness that’s coming out of the assumption that white people making claims about the experience of racism from a vantage point of complete whiteness is an innocuous contrivance that’s not powerfully motivated by your own placement in the racial hierarchy. That assumption needs to be dispelled loudly. Those comments were ridiculously myopic (for reasons that were, IMO, pretty transparent). “How do you know” is a perfectly legitimate response to them, and directly addresses a dynamic that would have been visibly subtextual even if I hadn’t asked.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Of course it’s a thing. It’s also the racist word for that thing, used by people who wrongly think that it’s always a bad thing. So OK, I should find another word for it.

          MPAVictoria was just saying “+1”. Singling them out and personalizing the discussion was uncalled-for.

          If you’d written the nuanced points you made later — including the ones about the how it is unproductive to have mostly-white conversations about which kind of racism is worse and which isn’t so bad — at the start, I think this would have gone better.

        • tsam

          Well I learned that it’s kind of a dick move to project my view of racism as it pertains to region on to black people. I’d be talking out my ass if I suggested that a black parent in Chicago with teen boys has any less to fear than one in Montgomery. That’s a mistake and I won’t make it again.

          The only advise I have for you, Drex, is this: Don’t ask if someone is black (gives the implication that you’re telling them to STFU). You’re plenty capable of making your point without resorting to that crap. You may or may not have any interest in that advice, but I know I had to dig through a lot of that to get to the point, which educated me. Thanks for that, btw.

      • BubbaDave

        Two thoughts:

        1) I know you’ve already apologized for the “race card” line. Since I’m verbose by nature, I suggest the “personal experience as a person of color” card

        2) There seem to be a lot of folks still bent out of shape about Drex’s approach in the Bill Cosby thread. That’s fair; I’m one of them. But how hard is it to see that even if the PEAAPOC card doesn’t apply in a discussion of celebrity rapists, it still has relevance in a discussion of American racism?

  • I’m sorry, but I have seen this and must inflict it on share it with you all.

    • I would thank you but ewwww!

    • It would be better if the snake was swallowing its tail. Or its own shit. But, yeah, it’s a thing of “beauty.”

    • Gregor Sansa

      JOIN, or DIE.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Superimposed over a US flag.

    • Warren Terra

      That was pretty much the subtext all along, right?

    • tsam

      Great pattern for toilet paper. You can skid two flags at once!

  • Aimai

    Oh, this looks like its been fun! I have to agree with Shakezula here–Drexycia basically derails every thread he posts on. Within a few comment we are all forced to discuss our positionality w/r/t Drexcyia’s fantasy of a right and wrong way to speak about things. I’m glad I bowed out early. I’m sorry I bothered to engage at all. Drexcyia is basically a combo pack of several people from The Phantom Tolbooth.

    The Terrible Trivium – The Terrible Trivium is a demon with no facial features. He lives in the Mountains of Ignorance and preys upon travellers, convincing them to undertake tasks that can never be completed.
    The Demon of Insincerity – The Demon of Insincerity looks like a cross between a beaver and a kangaroo. He tries to scare Milo and his companions off their path through the Mountains of Ignorance by throwing half-truths at them, which are only dispelled when they see this demon for what he really is.
    The Senses Taker – The Senses Taker spends his days in the Castle in the Air trying to rob people of their senses by bombarding them with detailed questions. His appearance as an ink-stained old man perched over an enormous book deceives Milo into thinking his purpose is anything other than wasting time.

    I can reduce every one of these threads to a few basic points.
    Statement that involves Race or Racism
    Drexcyia disagrees because it doesn’t “center” or privilige some kind of black view or experience
    People respond
    Drexcyia disagrees because Drexcyia doesn’t think these people are black and so they don’t have standing to have an opinion
    People respond that they are doing the best they can, politically, or attempting to work on things
    Drexcyia disagrees that anything that non black people can do has any relevance, meaning, or moral force and that they still don’t have standing to discuss things or they are discussing them in the wrong way.
    Lather, rinse, and repeat.

    By the end of one of these threads have we learned anything new? I haven’t. And that’s a pity. Because learning something new is pretty much why I read blogs.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Yeah, well, I learned “kyriarchy” today. You probably knew it already, so I’m one up!

    • Drexciya

      So all the non-me commenters are innocent and informative and just trying the best that they can while I’m singularly preventing interesting threads about how (or whether!) the northern blacks have it easier than southern blacks – which everyone already knows.

      I love this post, though. It’s the first time I’ve laughed all thread, I think.

      • Gregor Sansa

        You’re lucky I’d never stoop to being the tone police for a thread. Because in this comment you’re basically acting like JfL.

        Some people just can’t handle criticism.

        • Lord Jesus Perm

          In Drexciya’s defense, there aren’t exactly any positive ways to take Aimai’s comment. And it doesn’t read as a criticism so much as it does an attack.

          • Gregor Sansa

            I love this post, LJP. It’s the first time I’ve laughed all thread, I think.

            • Lord Jesus Perm

              …..Ok?

              Drexciya’s response doesn’t change my opinion of the post that preceded it, does it?

              • Gregor Sansa

                Sorry, LJP. I see how that could have sounded as if I was snarking you. I was actually telling the truth: you made a good point, in a way that made me laugh.

                • Lord Jesus Perm

                  My apologies.

        • Drexciya

          I think one should consider how wholly the well was poisoned by an incredible series of overstatements, and questionable premises before the first comment was rendered. I think, before bemoaning how I ruined the thread, it should be recalled how ruined the thread already was. She’s not the only one that likes learning things from comments sections, and yet she’s didn’t acknowledge how the capacity for learning was limited before my first comment was made.

          Imagine if I hadn’t posted and if I simply lurked, as is my preference. What in the world am I supposed to get out of a thread proceeding from these premises, especially if they’re left alone? Would the thread have been improved if it was simply a nicer, less direct form of the conversations that already took place? The answer, in my mind, is “nothing/very little + quite a bit of annoyance” and “no, it would have been the same thing, but beneath some commenters notice”. I understand that she finds me irritating and, in her words, “stultifying”, but she ignores how undeserved the media and political needs of people of color are by racist and superficial discussions that proceed without either their participation or consideration.

          I’m fine with criticism, but I prefer it with a little context.

          • Drexciya

            In Drexciya’s defense, there aren’t exactly any positive ways to take Aimai’s comment. And it doesn’t read as a criticism so much as it does an attack.

            Thank you so much for this. There’s no real way to respond to it beyond ignoring the substance and trying to be “substantive”.

            • SgtGymBunny

              Co-signing on Drexciya and Lord Jesus Perm.

              If anybody has hi-jacked this thread without making any substantive point about the OP it certainly wasn’t Drexciya.

              • Origami Isopod

                This is really late but I have to agree.

                I’ve seen a lot of people I respect resort in this thread to language that is, at best, highly questionable in order to make their points. However irritating Drexciya was being, that didn’t justify the use of such language.

          • Ronan

            Yeah, I think you’ve been a little hard done by. I don’t really agree with most of your comments but they’re hardly breaking any LGM norms * (privileging people’s opinions from a disadvantaged group, forcefully making your case etc) The pushback you’re getting ,afaict, IS because you’re explicitly attacking “allies” rather than right wing lunatics.(also because of your rhetorical verocity! But that’s hardly unusual)
            Having said that, I do have my problems with what I’ll call (not dismissively but for ease ) “the rhetoric of identity politics.” (Not specifically race, but on gender , class , nationalism etc) But that’s a different story ….

            * I don’t mean the “LGM norms” bit dismissively.

            • BubbaDave

              As I posted above, I will defend to the death my right to criticize Drexciya’s contributions to the Bill Cosby thread — but if “the rhetoric of identity politics” can have no bearing on how white people talk about racism, how can our discussion avoid devolving into wankery?

              • Ronan

                I don’t really understand what you mean by the second part. In this context “the rhetoric of identity politics” is the automatic expectation of authority because you come from the identity class under discussion (this also happens with gender all the time. Class, nationality etc)* I think it’s banally true that a non white would (in general) have a more fully rounded view on racism thdn a white (as a woman would on sexism than a man) but conversationally I don’t think pointing this out repeatedly gets us anywhere.
                However Drexciyas hardly unique in doing this , and a lot of his points above, in a less heated thread, would be generally seen as uncontroversial. so I’m not sure what the hullabaloo is about

                *im not saying I don’t do this aswell. I do, much too regularly.

          • UncleEbeneezer

            I’ve been reading this thread from afar and I’ve been learning alot from it and appreciate the points you’ve raised with the OP and in your back-and-forths with other commenters. If anything this has been a great example of the need for more PoC in mostly-White Liberal spaces. Like others, my assumption when faced with the issue of regional racism would be to focus on metrics that are easily quantifiable and analyzed from my White perspective. It’s just the easiest angle to wrap my head around. So it’s good to be reminded of the aspects of racism that I will never be able to access directly and get a better idea of the severity they can have on those who don’t have that luxury.

            • Origami Isopod

              If anything this has been a great example of the need for more PoC in mostly-White Liberal spaces.

              Yes.

              • This is v. true.

                OTOH, there’s no reason the mostly-White Liberal spaces can’t improve their discourse strategies. While it’s true that after a certain threshold of perceived marginalised group participation, there is a big decline in micro aggressions (at least in workplaces), there’s nothing in principle that prevents micro aggressors from learning about and controlling them absent such increase in participation.

                It shouldn’t be that we need more PoC *in order for* us to be hospitable. Our being hospitable should make it easier for more PoC to participate.

                And really, a lot of the problems here are pretty basic.

                • Manju

                  Micro-aggressions? Is this really an accurate description of what’s going on? Seems more macro.

                  Look Bijan…you’re really articulate and you speak good English and I like you. I certainly would have no problem accepting your opinion on fashion or fragrances.

                  But perhaps we should leave such subtle cultural arguments to more qualified people.

                • Micro-aggressions? Is this really an accurate description of what’s going on? Seems more macro.

                  It wasn’t meant as a description of what’s going on here per se, but as an analogy. However, it does seem accurate as I understand the literature.

                  Look Bijan…you’re really articulate and you speak good English and I like you. I certainly would have no problem accepting your opinion on fashion or fragrances.

                  But perhaps we should leave such subtle cultural arguments to more qualified people.

                  Funny!

            • Manju

              I thought you were black this whole time.

              • sparks

                I thought you were white, soft, and filled with red bean paste.

                • Manju

                  Either way, Japanese people love me.

                • sparks

                  Ah, the “I’m big in Japan” defense.

  • Am I the only person getting Ben Carson for president ads in this page?

    • Lee Rudolph

      No.

      At that, I prefer him to Beautiful Asian Women who supposedly Want To Meet Me.

      [Added: now it’s changed to Dispute Resolution Services. Hmmm.]

      • supposedly

        Did Orphée aux Enfers teach you nothing?

        • Lee Rudolph

          Wait, Ben Carson is Orfeu?

          That explains a lot. I mean, it explains nothing at all.

          • He plays the lyre [sic] beautifully.

  • Gregor Sansa

    Well, Loomis, you’ve successfully trolled us.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I sort of think we trolled ourselves on this one

      from the watching standpoint it’s been interesting- predictable in some ways, not so much in others

  • KmCO

    I really enjoyed that time we collectively ignored the racist troll.

    • Gregor Sansa

      It’s not my fault! JfL and wjts were doing it too! And their parents aren’t grounding them! God, my life is over, I hate you.

      • Lee Rudolph

        As the bear has just reminded us, life is enfer, and then you go to hell.

      • wjts

        Do you know what we do to tattle-tales in this comment section, Gregor? Let’s just say I’ll see you by the 4-square court at recess on Monday.

        • 4-square court

          AKA skelly or a different game?

          • wjts
            • That’s, like, athletic. Unlike skelly, which was responsible for me ripping a lot of pants.

  • shah8

    Oh man, I’ve finally got to the end of this entirely hilarious (and predictable) thread. This is why I don’t want to talk about race with any large groups of white people. If I feel as if I gotta comment, now, I just make one, and GTFO. I am happy to know more about the identities of a couple of people here and will read their words closer for that reason.

    As for Drexciya, my personal opinion was that s/he was gently mocking you all. It seems to have been a point to always make the others involved think things through to logical conclusions-a bent Socratic Method, so to speak. A few people got it and stepped down, and the sort of people who’d never really get why black people (or other minorities!) wouldn’t agree with Loomis’ sentiment stepped up with belligerence, as expected.

    Look, I imagine that if Sugrue was here, commenting, I think he’d basically say that he could simply counter every incident that Loomis cites with more incidents in the North as a game of one-upmanship. He’d then say that white people have generally the same amount of racism everywhere, not least because it’s fundamentally instituted at a federal level, with federal policies, no matter the creativity of the local southern states in black repression. Said policies would have occurred if there had never been union with the Southern states because inter-ethnic violence was baked into the fundamental union (if no slaves, then all the Aboriginals you can name) of the nation.

    Virulence, Sugrue continued, would simply be a factor of the presence of black people combined with the means available to the local white supremacist communities. As such, fundamentally, where the North could afford whisper-quiet enforcement of racial outcomes in easily controlled ghettos, the grotesque nature of Southern racism is ultimately derived from both Southern poverty, and the uncomfortable dependence on black labor, black economic activity, and thus how to extract value to the benefit of white supremacy. The nature of that character is simply a matter of local factors, and has no qualitative difference from anywhere else. Sugrue would have concluded that Loomis isn’t making a material answer to that fundamental point as he points to Dylan Roof, misguided by the charismatic nature of certain bits of racism.

  • Pingback: Links 7/20/15 | Mike the Mad Biologist()

  • liberalrob

    This was a very interesting read, as befits a 500+ comment thread.

    I would be interested in the response of Drexciya and the others of the “PoC” side to John Roberts’ opinion in Shelby vs. Holder, widely denounced here and elsewhere (properly, in my opinion), in view of the opinions on the universality and pervasiveness of racism and discrimination they have expressed. If racism is as non-regionally localized as you have argued, then wasn’t Roberts correct to say

    “Regardless of how to look at the record no one can fairly say that it shows anything approaching the ‘pervasive,’ ‘flagrant,’ ‘widespread,’ and ‘rampant’ discrimination that faced Congress in 1965, and that clearly distinguished the covered jurisdictions from the rest of the nation.”

    I realize that what Roberts actually meant was that he felt discrimination was no longer ‘flagrant’ etc. in those jurisdictions, which is obviously BS. What I am interested in is the part about “the covered jurisdictions” no longer being “clearly distinguished…from the rest of the nation.” If your argument is that discrimination in the South is no worse than discrimination in the North because discrimination is bad everywhere it exists and it exists everywhere, then as a matter of constitutional law you must agree with Roberts that singling out the South for special preclearance procedures is an unconstitutional overreach on the part of the Voting Rights Act. Are you sure that’s what you want to argue?

    I would like to see that preclearance regime extended to ALL jurisdictions, personally…

  • Pingback: What must be done about the censoring of divorce and family court reform? | Civil Rights in Family Law Florida()